Shaheem Carter

https://twitter.com/#!/shaheemhbcarter

This conversation is closed.

This Question is for the people that believe in god. (Atheist views also please)

Did you ever thought of this, and if so, please explain to me how does this make sense to you,
Because it doesn't to me.

BTW I'm atheist, but I'm asking this question from a christian point of view.
(I don't claim to no everything, just a truth seeker)

OK, Here we go:

God created you,(Remember you didn't ask to be here,) and then gave you an ultimatum, Worship me and go to Heaven, or You'll burn for eternity in my hell fire.

But...What if i don't want either, why can't i create a third option?
Really, is there any free will in this or is this just free choice?
Besides were ever i was before you created me, am sure i was perfectly fine.
then you decide to bring me here and trap me in your Crappy Options (Heaven or Hell).

Ofcourse if am a believer i wouldn't want to burn in hell, so i'll pick the other option which is heaven.
but am only picking heaven because hell sucks a bit more.

So basically it's worship me or you'll pay. and if i decide not to, Hell awaits me. So, if god really is love why is he so upset and is going to burn me indefinitely, because i think he's a myth that man created to find solace in?
i mean, what type of god leaves no evidence at all, and gets angry because i don't acknowledge him? Let's face it, you can tell me god did it, god created it, god this, god that..but it's all faith based. No matter how much you tell me, you have no proof. So as far as am concerned, if i tell you a pink unicorn in blue jeans created all of this, you can't disprove that.

  • Mar 24 2012: W. C FIELDS and Douglas Fairbanks were famous actors in the twenties and thirties W.C Fields was an atheist the story goes that Fields was dying and his good friend Fairbanks went to visit him in the hospital when he entered the room he saw his old friend sitting on the bed reading the Bible he was shocked knowing that his friend had been an atheist his whole life so he said W.C what are you doing ? W.C looked up from the Bible and said......looking for loopholes
  • Mar 25 2012: Shaheem !

    All atheists' points of view are expressed with no new forthcoming. They require the proof of the existence of God, the EVIDENCE. Truth is self-evident.. The truth of one's real self is the expression of divinity. It can be discovered through the pathway of everyday life.The commonplace and God aren't distinct. What/ Who is the God you don't believe in ? You don't believe in names ? Me too.
    God is not the Holy Other, God is the Whole. To live with care and kindness is all that is necessary. And the sense of sacred reverence, alone helps to be one with the Whole. It is not a belief, it's experience :)
    • Apr 1 2012: Natasha, your remarks were addressed to Shaheem. Please excuse me for interjecting my thoughts.

      You said "Truth is self-evident." I think that is far from being the case. If truth were self-evident there would be no need for jury trials, or mathematical proofs, or scientific experimentation, or archeological excavations or evidence collection.

      "Chase after truth like hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat-tails."
      Clarence Darrow (1857 - 1938)

      By the way, I, as an atheist, agree wholeheartedly with your statement: "To live with care and kindness is all that is necessary." No supernatural deities are required.
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    Mar 24 2012: God never gave any "crappy options" in the sacred texts but man himself since the early age does not want to be burdened upon. I think it was a way to discipline the people of that era who were indulged in chaos, immorality, obscenity etc. At the same time it is important to note here that things like, morality, ethical behavior, norms of the society all were a result of information provided in these religious books hundreds of years back. And what science proved today or ethical principles developed were somehow magically present then without all the new age gizmo stuff & today's scholastic thinkers?

    These are the things that force us to think about religion/God etc. My question to you is , is it necessary to see God to believe in him? If it is, then why do you believe in all the scientific stuff that is backed up by unproven theories/hypothesis like the bigbang, gravity, or the Planck era earliest period of time in the history of the universe, from zero to approximately 10−43 seconds (Planck time) etc

    I would also like to share this video to show what faith is:
    People during the deadly tornado at kentucky, began praying, Why was praying the first thing that came to her mind? link attached below is quite evident of a spiritual connection that each one of us has during fear, we connect with god, then why do we find solace in god in times like these:
    http://youtu.be/yxgbRXyFPMg
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      Mar 24 2012: No one is asking to see god, someone doesn't have to show their face to prove they exist. get it? as far as the people praying during the deadly tornados etc, is a horrible analogy, your talking about a woman who was brought up in a society that spoon feed her religion and god from she was a baby, so now she has this illusion inside her that someone is going to save her. if she grew up somewhere, were they never ever knew about religion and god you think she would be praying when she saw a tornado? you fill kids head with the idea of superman and batman and they'll ask you for a batman/superman outfit for their birthday, if superman/batman never existed, you think they would? besides, their is no evidence what so ever that prayer works, saying my prayer got answer over the billions who needed it more than you, is arrogance dipped in illusion.
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        Mar 24 2012: Shaheem, I will be most interested in reading your closing on this conversation. I do hope that you continue your quest for truth, and that some day you will indeed open your eyes.

        With all kindness, I think it must be said that you keep making the same claims over and over again, and seem genuinely resistant to all reassurance, explanation, or alternative questions. But I think that this conversation has shown evidence of Christ's love by the gentle responses you have received here, and by the prayer for your peace.

        Lastly, in answer to one of your many questions, about being forced here to deal with the "Crappy Options" but if you were to change your perception, you would see it differently. If you were to see that you do have the free will to will these Options into "Less-than-Crappy Opportunities" you might find the answers to all these questions (which we have been answering but which just don't seem to satisfy you.)

        All this to say: sometimes it seems you are so busy asking questions you never stop to consider that the answers are being given to you.

        Just think about it.

        With all Peace and Love,
        Verble
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        • Mar 25 2012: Hi, Bridget !
          Your comment reminds me this quote :
          "I have always thought it curious that, while most scientists claim to eschew religion,
          it actually dominates their thoughts more than it does the clergy "
          Fred Hoyle
          Very interesting observation, indeed ! :)
        • Mar 31 2012: Bridget,

          Your comments were directed to Shaheem, but I hope you won't mind me interjecting some of my thoughts.

          Evidence of God's existence that would satisfy me:
          * A huge face of God suddenly appearing in orbit around the Earth, and responding to every question in the questioner's own language.
          * A voice heard by every person in the world in their own language announcing that God was about to reverse Earth's direction of rotation, so hold on ...
          * Giant words written in the sky and readable all around the Earth in each person's favorite language stating all the winning lottery numbers for the next week.

          I could go on, but I think you get the drift. An omnipotent being could provide evidence of its existence by doing something that requires omnipotence.

          Regarding one's mind as "evidence" can be used as proof of the correctness of any delusion, including the existence of goblins, ghosts, and gods.
        • Mar 31 2012: Natasha,

          I can't post a reply directly below you post because it is nested too deep, so I'll post a reply to Bridget's post.

          You quoted Sir Fred Hoyle as saying ""I have always thought it curious that, while most scientists claim to eschew religion, it actually dominates their thoughts more than it does the clergy ."

          Of course this is not necessarily true simply because Hoyle said this, but let's set that aside for the moment.

          Sir Fred Hoyle was an astronomer, and his mention in connection with religion reminds me of another astronomer. No doubt religion dominated Galileo Galilei's thoughts as he was forced to recant his own discoveries when standing before a tribunal of the Inquisition.

          Religion may dominate a person's thoughts, but that doesn't mean that the person is having positive thoughts about religion.
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        Mar 25 2012: Dear dear shaeem,

        If you read the sacred texts , in almost every text you have the option, asking you to choose, meaning that of "free-will". The idea as you said is never forced into a child growing up, but when that particular child grows into an adult, uses his developed mind to understand the text & implement it as if he was somehow spiritually destined for it.

        With regards to my previous post your answer is still awaited !

        Have a nice weekend
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    Mar 23 2012: My personal beliefs.

    I am a Catholic....At least I consider myself one.

    I have heard many arguments for and against Him/Her. From crackpot camp counselors to Stephen Hawkins. I understand pretty much what they all say. But at the end all the arguments just fizzle and fade into people trying to talk about something they cant comprehend.

    I Believe there is a God,
    But there isn't a human alive that fully understands his/Her intentions... Or totally understands...even my own chosen religion.
    I think there are very few TRUE atheist...if any. Every one has something inside them that tells you there is more out there..That's why we ask questions and think about it so much...maybe that's where " in his image" came from? Most atheists just cant stand organized religion or people telling them what to do, they want to make up their own minds....Maybe that's where " in his image" came from!"


    So basically just because the way its been explained to you doesn't make sense doesn't mean God doesn't exist. Nobody can explain it right... look inside yourself to see the truth....maybe thats where " in his image" came from.
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      Mar 23 2012: So tell me this, what makes you think how it was explained to you is right? what if there is a god, but your serving the wrong one? then all your time on earth worshiping your god was and.... is all in vain. there can be a million lies, but only one truth. every religion believes there the truth, Jehovah witness, catholic,seventh day Adventist, Muslim etc. and if you believe your religion is all truth, then you have to believe the others are some truth and some lies. my point: iv'e seen religious people argue and debate among one another more then gang members. religion is bad, very bad. it equals division. if your a believer then fine, but why the religious titles? why not just be called a man of god?
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        Mar 23 2012: Ohh I know its been explained to me wrong. Like I said I don't believe anyone has all the answers. It has been explained to me so wrongly at times I felt that internal "what the hell" that all atheists feel. But instead of denying everything I took a step back and looked at the big picture. The essence of Gods message. And Its all about how we treat other people. Now you might think... Do I really need faith/religion/God for that.... Yeah I probably do.

        I know why people are atheists. Its because religion as a whole contradicts...and we like to be in control. But that doesn't mean the whole concept is wrong. More than likely we are just seeing imperfect humans trying to carry out a perfect plan they don't fully understand.

        As for being a Catholic. I say I consider my self one... Mostly because that is the faith I was raised in. I do not agree with every viewpoint the church holds. I don't give a damn who you marry girl/girl boy/boy as long as your willing to take one for the team if the earth's population is ever in jeopardy...since I don't see that happening... I don't care if Mary was a virgin... I do believe in evolution ( as do most Catholics)... I see a point the point or purpose in most stories in the bible without taking them as historical fact...And I have no clue who is going to hell if it even exists... I don't think Budhists, Muslims ,Jewish people or doorknob worshiping monks from the arctic circle are going to burn in hell.
        I do know that at times in my life I felt a presence that I cant explain with chemical reactions or chance.. I have felt Gods presence...as most people have. We didn't come from nothing...and that's not just a cry out against the inevitable that just makes sense...
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          Mar 23 2012: You said: We didn't come from nothing. Meaning: nothing can come out of nothing? so tell me. who created god? where did god's morals come from? Christians believe in Objective morality, but how can Objective morality come from a subjective god? ask yourself this, where is god's proof/evidence that what he considers ''wrong or right''? is actually fact? does he even have proof, or is ''wrong and right'' just a matter of his personal opinion? remember ''opinions aren't facts'' think about it, god murdered more people than Lucifer. What makes it right, because he said so? but i thought he uttered ''Thou Shall Not Kill!'' so killing is only right if he does it?
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          Mar 23 2012: @ Shaheem. What makes you say that God is subjective?

          Why do you believe that God has morals?

          What makes you say God murdered more people than Lucifer?
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        Mar 24 2012: You asked "...who created God?" Well that's the big question isn't it. My answer is simply nobody. Before you say WHAT! Well then... Remember I personally believe nobody can truly comprehend God...The closest we can get is looking at ourselves...and sometimes that's not a good picture....but the reason we have such a hard time comprehending him is because he exists without time and any word used as a reference to time does not apply to him/her as a being. One other thing in our world that does not follow the rules of time.... Light. God is often referred to as the "Light". There is a lot of interesting comparisons on this point.
        As for the old testament and the acts of God. I can honestly say I have no clue about some of them. He seems pretty harsh and unfair and you wont find me on any street corner preaching fire and brimstone...Instead of the 10 commandments..THOU SHALL NOT!!! Try looking at the Beatitudes.. Be a peacemaker...thirst for righteousness...don't be afraid to stand up against what is wrong...Now did God decide all these thing are right or just? Do most of us feel these within ourselves as right?. Did he know this is what was best for us. Most other animals don't feel these desires within themselves.
        PS: I realize I wont change your mind about anything...but I do believe God wants us to ask questions rather than just doing as your parents do or following a charismatic televangalist.
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        Mar 24 2012: As you can see Shaheem you have touched the souls of many believers with your provocative inquiry. TED limits responses to three so that these kind of conversations do not become marathon disputes generating much more heat than light. Please notice all of your respondents demonstrate a sense of patience and concern for your searching questions. You are experiencing the real world application of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Faith is a free gift of God's grace (Ephesians 2:8, 9). If you do not have faith it is because God has not given it to you. There is no other way to have faith, only as a gift from God. If you consider the evidence, both physical (Psalm 19; Romans 1:18-22), and spiritual (the Holy Bible), and decide to reject it all as fraudulent untruth, then you will never have everlasting life, instead you will perish, which is to become as if you never existed (John 3:16). Do not trifle with this subject as a way to entertain yourself online. Rid your heart of arrogance and begin a humble, open-minded search for God. He invites people to seek Him through the Holy Bible. You are correct to suspect modern translations of the Bible. Use the Authorized King James Bible, it is most faithful to the Majority Texts which are in-turn most faithful to the earliest manuscript copies. This is not a fun little game to be played using sophistry and endless challenges. Seek ye the LORD while He may be found. (Isaiah 55:6). May God move you to seek Him, Shaheem, farewell.
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          Mar 24 2012: You said: If you do not have faith it is because God has not given it to you. There is no other way to have faith, only as a gift from God.

          so god shows favoritism then? how is it he gave you it and not me and every atheist/Agnostic?
          People don't have faith because they can see through the god foolishness, you claiming you were single out and got your gift of faith from god is just arrogance speaking.
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          Mar 24 2012: I uderstand a lot of what you are saying Shaheem, but I feel like you deny the exsitance of God for two reasons. 1) because you look at the world and it doesnt seem like a place ruled like a loving God. 2) because you take things people are saying out of context..try to apply them to your life or how you think God should be and then play "devils"..haa haa advocate.
          as for 1) there are definatly parts of this world that do not represent God. but is that his fault. If your Dad sends you to the store to get a gallon of milk and you go to the store and rob it because you felt like keeping the money. You get caught and say " I am just doing as my father told me." Is it your fathers fault. No it was your greed and selfishness you are just using his name truly in vain. We'll thats what I think of all these people killing themselves or robbing old ladies...in Gods name.
          as for 2) You need to look at the bigger picture and nobody can explain it well enough in these responses to change your mind You even said you dont even want your mind changed..You will always find a contradiction or one sentence you can pick at. If you want to see proof you have to look for it in the people not on the 11:00 news or even here..but maybe at your local soup kitchen, in the closest hospital, talk to a group of elderly nuns sewing hats for kids...look up missionaaries in Haiti or Calcuta...even at a nearby prison. I think you might see be the physical evidence you are looking for.. Evidence you will feel as well as see.
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      Mar 23 2012: What would consitute as a true atheist because from my understanding and experience, no atheist would ever deem themselves to be a "true" atheist.
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        Mar 23 2012: That's a tough one. Its a hard concept to imagine. I can easily imagine an agnostic person or a person who has no use for a supreme being or doesn't really care or even a person who rejects god..but a true atheist is tough... an atheist to me reminds me of a machine. A person who feels no inspiration, motivation, or influence in their lives except those derived from internal and external stimuli...chemical reactions. They don't feel the existence of a soul within them. They would react basically on chemical changes in their body and or conditioned responses. They don't know how they got here but they do know nothing made them. I think they would explain love as extreme chemical reaction or a strong urge to preserve their species.
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          Mar 24 2012: I just love that one James H.! The reply to Orlando question about "a true atheist".

          All of your comments or powerful and intelligent, thanks for all your input, really appreciate reading all of them. Great job!! Refreshing
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          Mar 25 2012: Thanks James for your response.

          But its very, very misinformed which is scary given the fact that Mireille agreeed with you, which shows how impressionable the mind really is.. nonetheless I respect the fact that you answered and please don't take my post as a sign of disrespect.Ok first off there is no such thing as a true atheist. Such a person does not exist and will not exist. Secondly atheism is not a philosophy, worldview, belief system, doctrine or anything. Atheism simply is the belief or notion that one can get by without some higher diety. Secondly its the repudiation and questioning of bad ideas (all of them). I for one do not ever identify myself as an athiest. I do not believe in god but I'm not athiest. Third, there is nothing you can tell about an indivdiual who is an athiest. You can't tell anything about my lifestyle, my politics or even my religoius beliefs (yes some atheist are religous and there are many religions that do not require a belief in God or Gods). It really is a word without content. Fourth to state that a "true atheist" is a person who feels no inspiration, motivation or influences in their lives and have a "chemical problem" is one of the worst descriptions I have ever heard and its quite offensives for the following reasons:

          (1) it asserts that God is the source of inspiration, motivation which is quite incorrect. The brain and its physiology of ones is the souce of this

          (2) It asserts that such a person is not a human being or at least have a problem with them. This is quite incorrect. For one there are many others sources for motivation (for example my son is the inspiration and motivation behind my success) not God and the fact that I can do this without the aid of God in my opinion only validates that God is not the source.

          (3) All atheist value the life that we have being that this is the only life we can be certain of living.

          Lastly, atheist are one of the most morally sound people I have ever met.
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        Mar 25 2012: Ok...Your reply is why its near impossible to discuss this point in person and totally impossible to discuss this issue in a forum. You read my response...once I would presume. Let it stand alone...misread some of it and then commented...and asked me not to be offended. For one I am in no way offended even when you seemed to misread that I said Atheists have a "chemical problem" which I never stated...and needlessly commented on the impressionability of Merille's mind as someone who agrees with BOTH of us on the improbability of a true atheist.

        I was looking at an atheist as one who does not believe in deities of any kind. I used the word "True Atheist" meaning one who Truly believes this and isn't just arguing in order to get a rise out of fundamentalists or because they like to point out the contradictions in organized religion. One who has looked at the evidence of both sides and thought about it and their own lives and isn't willing to say there is some kind of God or " I honestly don't know." but one who believes they do know there is no God one who Truly believes they came from nothing.
        So I apologize if I was going by the only definition I had ever heard of an atheist. To me your definition sounds more agnostic.
        Read the beginning of my comment I state how I can't even imagine someone being a "True Atheist" A point I think you miss that we are both agreeing on...

        On another point, out of true curiosity could you name some of those religions that don't believe in deity?
        • Mar 25 2012: So, as I am one who does not believes in deities of any kind, would you say that I am your definition of a 'true' atheist. I truly believe it to be so and I am not just saying it to get a rise out of you. I have never seen anything to convince me otherwise and I wholeheartedly believe there to be no deities whatsoever.

          Now, I am a part of the UNICEF team in my university. I volunteer to accompany elderly people who have no longer any friends nor family to talk to. I am an academically successful student headed for a cum laude degree with an inquisitive mind regarding the endless beauty of our world. I speak four languages because I believe a fuller linguistic comprehension allows me to connect with people more, both in understanding others and in explaining my own views to the best of my abilities. I exercise regularly and refrain from harming substances to keep myself in great shape to allow me to experience the world any which way I want. I love my family, my friends, my passions and the world. Yet here I stand, telling you that I believe there is no god. Once I leave this amazing, wondrous planet full of so many mysteries yet to be solved, so many places to visit, so many people to meet and experiences to be had, I will not move on to an afterlife. I will die and that will be the final period to my story.

          Now please, please tell me that I remind you of a machine, how I am but a collection of chemical reactions and responses to external stimuli. Judging by the tone of your definition, you would also believe me to be inferior to you, if not personally then at least by quality of life. I'm a true atheist, I don't believe in the spiritual soul and I am certain that my life is as swell as yours. What does that say about this whole argument?
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          Mar 26 2012: Hi James, I could have misunderstood your comment, after all you are the only one who knows what your really thinking and trying to say.

          You are correct that I did take your chemical stimuli description out of context so I do owe you an apology and I state that I now understand what you were implying in that regard but I do not see how that is a bad thing when everyone operates like that

          I know that you were not directing it towards me (remember I do not identify myself as an atheist) but your response is defiantly what many people envision myself, Johan and other non-believers to be like. You may not hold this perception but I can tell you that many believers do and that is what I was addressing. Don't think I think your a bad person and I know your intelligent, I was just pointing out how your analysis of what constitutes a true atheist, is exactly, from my experience and from others that I have talked to, what many believers think about us non-believers. I honestly do not know your personal beliefs so I was not attacking you. I just had to clear the air.

          For one I TRULY BELIEVE that there is no God or Gods that any human being on this planet worships. I mean how could anyone possible know the true personality of GOD and write a book about it? You must note that this is just a belief, a thought from my mind. Now am I CERTAIN that there is no God? I do not think any body would ever claim that but belief and certainty are two separate things and many people on here are Certain that God exist and are too afraid to admit their doubt.

          I have looked at the evidence from both sides and I still am but nothing has convinced me that I need to just all of a sudden take a leap of faith or that some supreme being exist.

          My definition is nothing close to agnosticism. I have chosen a side, I just decided to not attach a label to my worldview and have taken the intellectually honest route, which is something I have yet to see anyone else do
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        Mar 26 2012: JOHAN....Nope you dont remind me of a machine at all...And if you do all those truly awesome things with no hint that you are connected to those around you in any other way than the fact that you all randomly evolved on the same planet that itself randomly banged into existance. Then you must be by your own beliefs...not mine. Doing what you do because thats how you randomly evolved. Why do things evolve? (very simplistically) because they mutate in such away that helps them to adapt and there species change in such away to help them florish and reproduce... all by chance acording to your beliefs. You cant really get upset or offended by my comment... I explained how I thought a true atheist must explain their own actions or exhistance... I dont actually believe those things about you personally..( that you are a machine and run on conditioned responses)...I couldn't because I know you are an atheist and I personally believe you are wrong.You say you love your family...that is awesome...Where did that love come from?...Isnt it just a highly evolved way to protect you family unit therefore ensuring your species survivies? Arent you just feeling bonds that all mammals feel to ensure the young stay close to their parents so they can be protected and learn...I dont think thats why you love them... But dont you?
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    Mar 22 2012: You are free to create as many options in your own world as you feel the need for. If you think heaven is a "crappy option" I do suggest you read what the landlord of Heaven says about it. You will find His description quite impressive even if you dismiss it as fictional propaganda. Borrow a King James Version of the Holy Bible and go to the last of the 66 books it contains. The book is commonly called "Revelation". Read chapter 21. It will likely be foolishness to you but you should sense something of the staggering beauty of heaven in this unsurpassed masterpiece of descriptive literature.
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        Mar 23 2012: I think Mr.Carter's question is a plea for evidence which will make him know God is real. But, without faith it is impossible. He correctly notes that "it's all faith based." I hope he reads enough to see the faithful and true description of the afterlife for those who are born again, which, as you say, includes a perfect (sinless) Earth and Heaven. Heaven is so much more than a "crappy option" to Hell.
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          Mar 24 2012: Cheers Edward!!

          I really appreciate your comments and honesty. I always believe that people have their opinions and they can do, choose what they want, its their perogative. I just don't go for someone that call Heaven "a crappy option" to hell. People that are calling God crazy, mad etc. Lack of manners, if you ask me!

          You may not agree, or understand something, but there is no need to disrespect God, or others that have faith for God.

          I'm done with this conversation.. Shaheem, get a bible, read the coran, whatever that you need to understand, or even, to not understand about God, faith etc., it's all about you. Because most of us here, knowse what God, Jesus is for us.

          Find your way, or get off the way of others, that find their ways to God. Furthermore, we did not choose God, He choose us, and from that, slowly but surely, is doing His work in us, to seek Him, through the eyes of faith, through Jesus.

          Good luck finding what you are looking for....We all did, even the Quaker person!
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          Mar 24 2012: Tell me Edward Long, why would god want you to walk by faith? doesn't that make you think? it makes no sense. according to the bible he left tons of evidence to the people in those days, why not us? (i thought god is the same yesterday,tomorrow and forever) how can a god punish humans like me, (w/e punishment he decides) due to lack of faith in him, why not leave evidence and punish me if i choose to ignore it? the bible has been remixed more times than an ignorant rap song. is god looking down from heaven and smiling at how his word has been edited,deleted and rearranged, to the point so many people created so many religions? some god! according to him the bible is absolute truth. which one!? the bible is just a book man made. name me something the bible predicted and actually happened the way it said it would. and remember if i tell you 20 years from now murders and hate will increase, men will become more greedy and lovers of themselves that's not a prediction. it's common sense. as long as you study society and human behavior you can always pin point humans future actions. but that's not a prediction. people always say these are the last days, they were saying that forever. the bible has some good points, but it's just a book!
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    Mar 22 2012: Shaheem; An excellent point. To answer your question, I will point out how you should look at the scenario.

    You shouldn't look at the situation as "do this or else". However it should be looked at in terms of God's love. It should be seen as God saying "Follow me because I don't want you to suffer in hell".

    That raises the question why there is a hell, because if God loves us so much and doesn't want us to suffer, why doesn't he just get rid of it? Love is the answer again(weird right?). God gave us free will, he won't force us to follow him. He loves us so much that, no matter how much it pains him, he will allow you to turn away from him and choose hell. There is no middle road between heaven and hell. You choose to follow him or you don't. If you attempted to choose a middle road, you would not be following God.

    The next question may be "If God knows what is going to happen, what is the point of the Universe we are in right now?". He created us as we are now because he wants us to understand the choice we make, so we know why we chose Heaven or hell and what led us to choose Heaven or hell.

    So God isn't just throwing hell into the equation to get you to follow him. He is allowing it for your choice.

    As for proof of God, I have enough proof for myself to the point where I will always believe that God exists. I find proof in probability.

    If you compare a computer to a human being, it's quite obvious that the human is vastly more complex. If God didn't exist then we would had to have been created randomly. Since a computer is much less complex than a human, then it is more likely that a computer would be created out of a random event than a human. That means there should be a lot of computers floating around the universe, but the is not, because we created computers. If something much less complex than humans had to be created by humans to come into existence, then what would it take to create a human. I see this as God's work.

    Any feedback would be nice.
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      Mar 22 2012: Wow, I just love your point of view Sterling Spencer, simple words, but the essence so powerful!!

      Thank you for voicing your opinin with such intelligence and wisdom.

      Be bless always!
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      Mar 22 2012: I wholly agree with Mirielle, Mr Spencer, very well said.
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    Mar 22 2012: Shaheem,
    Pope John Paul 2 described God as "The all-knowing absolute."
    The fallacy here is that the absolute is a universal equilibrium/unified state, while knowledge is based on distinctions and judgement.
    The absolute is basis, not apex. As in absolute zero. So a spiritual absolute would be the essence of being from which we rise, not a moral and intellectual ideal from which we fell.
    We are taught that good and bad are ultimate moral standards, but they are actually the primal biological binary code. Life is attracted to the beneficial and repelled by the detrimental. What is good for the fox, is bad for the chicken and there is no clear line where the chicken ends and the fox begins.
    There are eastern religions which really don't have the western concept of a deity, because they are context oriented, not object oriented. It's more about the two sides creating the larger whole, rather then the goal focused nature of western thinking, with the various concepts of a higher deity as the ultimate totem. While nature is ultimately a function of balance, it is those most focused on goals which create outcomes in their favor, so that's why eastern religions might have a clearer understanding of reality, it is western religion based thought systems which are more politically successful. Until of course we reach the end of the line and all that karma kicks in. Oops.
    Free will is something of a misnomer. If we were completely free of all influences, then we would have no influence on anything else either and it wouldn't matter whether we were free or not. The puppet pulls back on its own strings, giving meaning to the puppetmaster.
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      Mar 22 2012: So are you a christian,Atheist,Free thinker etc?

      Correct me if am wrong, your saying it's impossible to make a choice if it isn't influence by something. (E.g genes,society, environment, etc) so no influences =no choice. i agree if this is what your saying, also on the free will being a ''Misnomer''
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        Mar 22 2012: I suppose I would be a deist, maybe a pantheist. Life is bottom up and there is no real explanation for its source. If all of biology is elementally conscious, its one mystery, but if life exists and consciousness arose from it, it's two mysteries.
        Monotheism confuses one, with oneness. Oneness is connectedness, while one is a singular set. Life is connected, but it's not one single entity, rather an endless network that is constantly regenerating.
        It was polytheists who invented democracy, because if the gods are arguing, a political system of discussion makes sense. Monotheism mostly supported monarchy, because if there is one ruler up in heaven, then it made sense to have one ruler down on earth. It was called the divine right of kings. God put me in charge, don't argue.
        Another part of the problem with the idea of free will, vs. determinism is our concept of time. We think of it as a line from past to future, because that is how we see events in retrospect, but physically, it's the changing configuration of what is, turning future possibilities into past events. So rather than the earth traveling some fourth dimension from yesterday to tomorrow, tomorrow becomes yesterday because the earth rotates.
        If we view time as past to future, we can't change the past, or affect the future, but if it's the future becoming the past, due to what is happening in a permanent present, our actions affect what is around us, as they affect us.
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    Mar 21 2012: Hi Shaheem.
    So you are an Athiest because you disagree with God ? Now let me ask you; who is most likely to be right, you, or the creator of the universe; take a moment & think about it.

    You are trapped on a cliff edge by wild beasts. There is a rope, or you can jump. Why do you think there should be a third choice ? Are you really going to jump because there isn't a stair ?

    The creator of the universe came down & lived with us. Can you imagine what it would be like to be born as a tadpole so you could talk to tadpoles? Rather than be grateful; we tadpoles whipped him, spat on him, & nailed him to a cross. He knew we would do this, but he was our only shot at heaven, so he did it in real time in our history. That's what he thinks of us, he loves us.

    I agree; I rebel at the Hell thing as well. I think it sucks & I don't understand it. However if the creator of the universe is inviting me to his house, I'm certainly not going to choose Hell just to upset him. He loves you dearly Shaheem, take the rope, don't be a Tadpole..

    :-)
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      Mar 21 2012: Peter, how can anyone disagree with something that doesn't exist?

      If you trust in life and your natural power, no beast will trap you on a cliff edge.
      Animals only kill for food or out of fear.

      Coming down as you say we call incarnated, coming in the flesh if you like. We all do we all create.

      I think Peter, there's a lot more than hell you don't understand.

      What's wrong wiith a tadpole? I talk to tadpoles all the time.
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        Mar 21 2012: You make a good point. I don't believe that unicorns exist. Because I do not believe they exist, I do not ask questions about how they think, why they do the things they do, why don't they reveal themselves to me.

        If I did ask these questions, then it woould be logical to assume they exist.

        Shaheem, I do believe that you know God exists, and I would go so far to state that ergo, you are no athiest.

        You have questions, and I thank you for asking them.
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      Mar 22 2012: Hey Peter law, I am an atheist because i don't believe in god.you can't use the bible to prove the bible. Allow me to Quote ''Frans Kellner'' Peter, how can anyone disagree with something that doesn't exist?
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    Mar 20 2012: Everyone has the right to believe what they want, if they are material/physically based as most athetic people are then fine,no ones going to burn you at the stake.Most young people these days don't have the conditioning that the classical so called christians have put people through,instead they have only a passing superficial knowledge of the bible as it is to confusing and full of contradictory passages.

    A christian can only argue from the book as that is his word passed to those who have faith in it.From what i know of the book i haven't seen anything that says you will burn in hell which comes from the word sheol which means the grave.There is a place set aside for the dark one and those who follow his ways but that is a temporary arrangement until it is time for them to go into the grave= nil input/zero output.Personally i don't think humans sprout wings when we die,it just means we cease to exist but hope our life,memories are recorded in the book of life until it is time to answer for what i have done with my life,rematerialized if you like,whatever but if we go to heaven then what the hell is the point of this universe and it's creation.

    Of course you have people like yourself who have athetic beliefs and whatever you deem fit for yourself which is free will in action,we all have free will to take it or leave it at anytime,those who force something upon you are only trying to control you.

    Sometimes though it's the culture ones born into that can make you feel you're in a prison.
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      Mar 20 2012: gr8 points
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        Mar 21 2012: Hi mary

        You're probably gonna think i'm a crackpot for it but when i was 18 i studied with a group of Jehovah's witnesses for a while until i felt i wasn't ready for such a big move.It was in their teaching material,over the years i've looked into other christian churches and have found that the witnesses are the odd ones out and are considered as nutters yet they use the same king james version of the bible as the rest of them except they use his name instead of the word god.

        There is a controversial minister that has great insight into the old hebrew culture of the time when the books and letters were written,though i'm not an adherent to what they profess as their political views are somewhat silly,please exscuse me for the description but the words conservative republican is the best fit.It was his knowledge that drew me to listen, other than that, to me they're crackpots though i understand why doesn't mean it's right.

        Chuck misseler of Koinonia house

        What i meant by prison is that sometimes being born into a orthodox christian culture and not given a choice of what you want to do i.e baptizing a baby. which is a catholic tradition not the early christian practice is wrong and no where in the book says it must be done only an adult can make that decision for themselves.
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          Mar 21 2012: Ken, I think you have touched on something that is very valid and perhaps cuts to the heart of most of the disconnect between the faithful and the secular. It should probably be its own conversation, but you've made a good point about the overuse of Hell in Christian theology. The image of Hell as we understand it, as it has been taught for millenia, is largely a human construct, and as such, I consider it invalid for true preaching of the truth.

          What concerns me is that this idea of hellfire and damnation, this image, is what really prohibits many people from truly studying scripture. Look at this very question! Shaheem's view is based on the understandable inability to reconcile a loving God with someone who's going to cast you away like trash if you don't bow down in abject supplication.

          I was never fully in line with those of my generation who preached fire and brimstone and eternal torture to get drunks to convert. I know now that their desires were perhaps noble, and that they were doing the best they could with the tools they had, but except for some wonderful exceptions, mostly they backslid. I have always known that you can't scare someone into loving Christ, just as you can't tie the message of Christ's love in a red bow to the tip of a bullet. Trueconversion comes from those who know the truth to walk as lights for that truth.

          To me, Ken, it sounds as though you have had an interesting walk, and I look forward to reading more of your insights in future discussions.
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      Mar 21 2012: Revelation 20:13-15 (KJV)
      And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

      The Lake of Fire sounds like the final resting place.

      Revelation 21:1-3 (KJV)
      And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. [2] And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

      God lives forever with His people in a new universe.
      :-)
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        Mar 22 2012: You know i have read revelation from top to bottom and have listened to it from many ministers and yet i'm confronted with something like this all the time,thanks pete

        On a personal view,i think the lake of fire is for those of us that follow and have fallen,those of us that have walked away after the baptisim,those of us that have used it for personal gain and those that have let ourselves cooldown and those that utter the words but are empty.

        I'm still looking for the poorest of the seven.Maybe one day i'll take the last step as that to me is the unbreakable contract which still scares me now.Alas i'm not here to try to convert as like the book said, they will be treated better than those that knew the word.

        Do you think Christianity will have to go underground when the time comes?
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          Mar 23 2012: Hi Ken.
          The Lake of Fire is for those who are not recorded in the Book of Life.
          John 3:16-17 (NIV)
          For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

          The qualification; 'Belief in Him'; that's it. Yes true belief should motivate you to try & please Him. We all fail to a greater or lesser extent,& to God sin is sin. If you truly believe then that's it, you'll be there. Go for it.

          Christianity has always grown stronger during persecution, that way the dross floats off & the true church emerges. It may go underground, but the doors will always be open .

          :-)
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    Mar 20 2012: IT'S ALL ABOUT FAITH!

    If you choose to believe in God or in devil, is your own choice. You just know, if you choose one, it will bring you that, and if you choose the other, it will bring you this.

    Why do you beleive in atheism ? This your choice, this is your faith, this is what you decide to believe! Is it because, you think you're so much it, that you cannot conceived to have someone over you : God. Please bare with me, this is not an insult to you as a person, just for the purpose of this discussion.

    What I love about the idea of God, within all His power that He his, He let you be and become whom you want to be, free of it all. You come to Him if you want...How great is that?

    It's like anything else, is building a relationship right? You meet this beautiful woman, on your case, and you don't know her prior, but there is an attraction, you want to know more about her, you want to please her, make her happy etc., you construct your relationship base on love, trust, caring etc, even if you don't see her at times or all the time...You choose to do that for someone that you don't even know...that eventually, you come to know.

    GOD is like that, learn to know Him and He will let himself known to you.

    As you said Shaheem, mind is well be on God side, and look for His face, 'cause you might burn on two side, but I pray to see you in heaven, after all this. Listen to Joel Osteen : www.joelosteen.com, once in your life on any giving Sunday to the end of it.

    Peace

    PS: God create all things in His image : Pink unicorn in blue jeans! Why not, everything is possible. What's impossible to man, is possible to God!
    It's like saying to a kid that Santa Claus does not exist...you'll have the fight of your life with that 5yrs old, and he will win! Cheers!
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      Mar 20 2012: Keep in mind, i don't have a problem with someone being over me. i have a issue with someone that gets a hard on for praise and gets upset and threatens me with eternal fire if i don't give him it. like honestly. why does me praising you even matter. reminds me of a delusional celebrity who gets piss when his/her fans don't care about them anymore. If you talk to God you're religious. If God talks to you, you're psychotic. building a relationship with god is an illusion, it's no different than a kid building a relationship with Santa.
      gods needs to build a relationship with me, he no i exist. am the one who thinks he doesn't. every accomplishment you gain in your life is due to your hard work, your choices. there is no evidence that your prayers or god had something to do with it. if you grew up in a world were they believed mickey mouse is the reason you breathe, then you would be thanking mickey mouse for every step you take. it's so sad how people say god answered my prayer. really? you mean he choosed your minor prayer over the starving kids, who really needs it? that's people's arrogance if you ask me
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        Mar 20 2012: I don't know you Shaheem, but you seem to be so angry about something, that you did not dare to face within you!!

        All the best to you though!! I will pray that God touch your heart, like he did for Paul!! You'll come back after and preach to us all how wonderful and powerful God is in your life, all that you have, and ever be, it's because of Him!!

        Cheers!
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        Mar 20 2012: I agree with Michelle. You seem to be very angry. I have said this before and I will say it again:

        God did not condemn you to Hell. He did not. No way. No how. No. Non. Nein. Nicht. Nyet.

        Since you have said that experiences and the past shape our decisions, then i will guess that someone along the way misrepresented God as some sort of callous, heartless killer who loves watching us squirm. But please know that is how some PERSON represented God. It is not who He is.
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          Mar 20 2012: I don't understand why you assume am angry. hey, i guess that's you perception
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          Mar 21 2012: All of your comments have this : "Beyond mad", "madness" "crazy" quotes in them...simple as that!

          If you're not...my apologies than!
        • Apr 1 2012: Verble,

          You keep saying that God does not condemn us all to hell, that we were already condemned to hell. But don't you also believe that God created everything, including hell, and set up the rules so that we were already pre-condemned to hell? Doesn't that amount to the same thing?
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        Mar 21 2012: Shaheem, my apologies for not noticing it sooner, but you have an excellent question in asking why God would answer someone's minor prayer over helping starving children. Very very valid concern for many people.

        Let me start by dispelling the myth that believers just pray to God and God gives them stuff. Yes, I have heard people say, "I needed a car and was only expecting a Toyota and God got me a Lexus.". This is a lie. The whole thing about prayer is to get us into synch with God, prayer is not some magical spell used to conjure up goods and stuff, but rather, prayer is a method by which we commune with God in order to ask Him what we need to pray about.

        Now, I know scripture quoters are going to jump all over this, (pray as though it's already done, give you desires of your heart, etc.) but delving deeper into scripture, we find that through constant prayer and communion with God, we align our desires with His. Ergo, when we pray for our desires, we are now praying for His.

        I'll end with an example. There's a Christian band called Jars of Clay, had a mega crossover hit in the mid-90's, gave them enough cash to do whatever they wanted. I read an interview with them t the time,where they thanked God, and prayed that they would never have so much worldly success that they would led from Him. They have not had another mega-crossover hit since, but they have continued to make albums and have started many humanitarian organizations, one which builds wells for drinking water for those in villages where there is no clean water. Do you see the connection? These musicians prayed, and starving children get fed.

        Does that mean starvation is eradicated? Not yet. But it can be, through the working of all decent people, whether they pray or not, whether they believe in God or not, but when it is eradicated, many people's prayers will have been answered.
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      Mar 20 2012: I think by definition people who believe in god mostly also believe in the devil and people who don't believe in god also don't believe in the devil by implication. There isn't really a choice of believing in god or the devil.

      As for your analogy with Santa, it's perfect! It's hard to convince a child that's totally swayed that he doesn't exist even if they don't have any evidence to back it up and it's just an idea promulgated by parents and culture, sound familiar?
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      Mar 21 2012: Hi Mireille,

      You stated that it is all about faith and from what I read from your post you would want this faith to be respected am I correct?

      So allow me to create a scenario for you and see if your position still stands because if it does not, I think you would really need to question your own personal convictions.

      What if I was to create a post stating that I had a dream that God and Jesus came to me. In this dream, God told me that I was his second son and that Jesus was my brother. Since Jesus is in the Kingdom of Heaven, God left it to me to cleanse the world of false Gods and infidels.

      So the next day I wake up and create a post on TED talking about how profound and real this dream was. I start talking about my experiences within this dream and what God has planned for me to do. I decide that it is an "idea worth spreading" that Jesus and God wants me to rid the world of infidels and false Gods and any person or culture that practice these things must be wiped out and killed.

      Now there is no evidence to back up any of these claims. How do I know the people in my dream was really God and Jesus? If I seriously believed any of this to be true should such a view be respected? What are the implications of such beliefs?

      For me to actually believe that I was in the presences of God and Jesus and they wanted to spread their message and rid the world of evil things and people, wouldn't I have to take this all on faith to seriously believe this? There is nothing in my post that requires evidence to back up the experiences from my dream. I would have to take a serious leap of faith to assume not only that this was God and Jesus but that they wanted me to carry out such a plan

      My question to you is would you still accept such a position to be true? with the exception of mass murder how is my experience different than that of Moses, Abraham, Saul of Tarsus or Saint Teresa? How would the TED community respond to this? should they respect my belief?
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        Mar 21 2012: Amazing example Orlando, i would love to hear Mireille's response
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        Mar 21 2012: Hello Orlando,

        First and foremost, I would never aloud, permit, give power to any human being to make me think differently of my own, or bring doubts to MY convictions. Aint not happening!! This is how strong my faith IS in what I CHOOSE, and in all my rights to do so.

        Now this being said, FAITH IS : "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". Is to beleive in something that you never seen. It's like a pregnant mother, she knowse there is something in her belly, never seen it, touch it, or even "physically" touch it. It's like planting a grain in spring...you don't see it for a while before it comes out the ground, but you believe that you'll see it, you know deep down, that it will grow...

        Secondly is about choice. I CHOOSE to believe in this, or in that. This is my rights also. If the dream you're suggested above, make sense to you and you believe in it, why not Orlando? Do you know how many dreams, ideas that will never see the day, because people let others to convince them of the contrary of their beliefs?

        I'm not here to change anybody else mind, convictions, ideology, philosophy, this is why I love the platform of TED, it aloud us to express in a coherent, respectful manner our opinions, there is no rights, or wrong here, and it help me grow...

        I don' t have to agree with you, Shaheem or anybody that have another opinions then mind, or that even oppose my way of thinking. It all good to me...

        I'm secure in myself to respect the differences or our voices, ideas etc. without trying to change others mind, by trying to make them think like me.

        Peace
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          Mar 21 2012: first allow me toI offer my apologies if you were offended in any way.

          but I think you may have taken my post out of context. I said you need to QUESTION, not CHANGE you position. No where in my post did I say I was going to change your mind. If you have faith then you have faith. I question my personal convictions all the time. It's what keeps me open to new possibilities. It's what help me learn from others as well as myself. I can have a process of reflection without having to change my own position and change the way my life is. if it leads to that then go right ahead but before you decide to pounce consider the point i was trying to make. If you think that I am trying to convert you to a non-believer then you are very highly mistaken being that I do not count atheism as a religion (I do not even use the word) but I see no harm in saying that people need to reconsider their position (this includes myself).

          All I was simply implying, from a logical standpoint, is that if someone created a post, as I have mentioned in my last post, about such things (that required faith as I have mentioned) would you or any other believer support such a claim and if not why?

          From what I read, it seems like your ok with such a dream. What I do not think you realize is that over 20 million people were killed because such a man was incapable of changing his mind and influenced everyone else (this was an actual event called the Taiping Rebellion). Once again I am offering a perspective and possible dangers of blind faith. To me this is a major problem and extends well beyond the realm of religion (Nazism, fascism, etc). Just somethings to consider.

          I am almost certain many believers would not adhere to such a post and the reason is because millions of people were killed but in the end he was only doing what his faith (and in the case God and Jesus) told him to do.
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        Mar 21 2012: You did not offend me Orlando! I respect your points of view, even if I don't agree with them all.

        I speak for myself, I will adhere in such a post, because I want to express my opinion and put it outhere and learn from others also.

        Obviously, Hong Xiuquan was somewhat and extremist in his ways, and if people accept and follows what he impose on them...well history shows you that 20M innocent died from it, and it's really sad and I condamn such ways in the name of Jesus, Allah or any other deity.

        For argument say, if this Xiuguan was right and God told him to do so. Whom I'm I to discuss about God ways ? His the master mind, he has a plan and a agenda for His planet and world that He created, so if 20M person have to died for the purpose of his plan, hey, we are all going to die eventually, right? I don't agree with it, but I'm one of his creation, he can do whatever, because I believe He knowse best!

        MAN (human), change GOD in anything that they want, just to get and feel the power that come with it, so that they can have control, power, money over others...Anything that uses the name of God, Jesus, Allah, Jehovah to killed, murdered, I will never stand for that...but again, to each their own CHOICE to believe and have FAITH in what they want.

        Whatever you do on this planet, good or bad, it will come back to you, somehow...so for me, I choose to do good, be at peace, respect others that respect me, and believe in what I want, no matter what others may think.

        .
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    Mar 19 2012: Let me put it another way.

    If God is to man a creator like sun and rain have created a tree so it is natural to any tree for the leafs to search the sunlight while the roots reach out for water.

    I'm no atheist nor do I believe in God so I'm not invited to answer but anyway, think it over.
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      Mar 20 2012: No agnostics, buddhists or other allowed right?
      What are you doing here Frans?
      Chuckle
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      Mar 26 2012: I really try my best to understand if you Christians actually study what you read. i mean how come i see it but you don't. tell me how is it, god created this beautiful garden with adam and eve, then allowed a ''Serpent'' to gain access to it and temp them? first off, why is satan even in the same existence as adam and eve. this is the same guy that tried to take over your heaven so you cast him out (according to the bible) so you cast him out, and ironically he gains access to your beautiful garden? wow! god fails again!!! another question, people always say you can't enjoy good without the bad, you need pain in order to grow (and i agree) but answer this, what if adam never ate the fruit? then pain,sadness etc would of not exist. so if we really need the opposite of bad to grow, then if adam and eve never sinned they wouldn't of growN mentally? they wouldn't of been able to appreciate the good since there wouldn't have been no bad? if that's the case, your god was cheering for satan and praying to himself that adam failed. what makes you think god didn't call satan & give him directions and uttered: GET THEM MY FRIEND.
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        Mar 26 2012: Shaheem,

        The funny thing about Christians is that they really ignore much of the old testament because of the fact that they know how much of a monster God was, so they choose to just focus on the new testament without really realizing two things:

        (1) they still adhere to parts of the old testament. Many Christians I know constantly talk about the first five gospels.
        (2) Jesus actually never really repudiated any of the things that his father said in the old testament (or for those who are Jewish and will get offended for me saying Old Testament I'll just say Torah). All he did was add compassion to the mix but other than that he also talked about how if people do no follow what his father says they'll burn in hell. (For those who think this is false I am more than willing to get a direct quote from the bible)

        since its only three more hours left for this thread I'll say this: there are many accounts in bible that really do not match with history:

        For example, Moses saving the Jews from the Egyptians is not a true story. There is no account of such events taking place in Egyptian history.

        Secondly, Jesus being crucified at the Cross on top of a Hill on a sunset is not true at all. Back in those days, Romans used to put people on the cross on their roads, not hills. The reason for this is because the Romans used these people as examples. This was to show anybody that if they broke Roman law, the same thing would happen to them. It was not part of Roman custom to crucify people on a Hill. All roads leading to Rome would allow traveler to see who has been bad and Jesus would not have been an exception to this rule..

        I could go on but being that I know very few Christians know this (because they get their faith or facts from the Bible) I am with Shaheem in saying, How many of you actually study what you read?

        From my understanding, very little of what is said in the bible is factual. Knowing this I know realize why faith is so important
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          Mar 26 2012: Although I am a non-believer I have much respect for your response Adrian and I am happy to know that there is someone here who, at least from what I read from your other post, believes in God but yet is still honest enough to admit certain things.

          I do not see how its really a major problem for someone to admit that many things in the bible are not meant to be taken as factual information but instead a way for one to gain more insight into their spirituality. I personally do not see a problem with that account.

          The fact many accounts of the bible may not be true does not, in my eyes, take away from the validity of spiritual experience and I believe someone mentioned this before "its about experience, not facts.

          at the end of the day, the only thing that can possibly matter is subjectivity.
        • Mar 31 2012: Adriaan,

          I am puzzled by your statement: "Adam was not a person but the first church or belief system on earth. "

          I assume you mean that Adam symbolizes the first church or belief system on Earth. Perhaps, but the first belief system on Earth would have taken form hundreds of thousands of years before the Garden of Eden story was codified. Did you mean that Adam symbolizes the first beginnings of belief systems (which no doubt were animistic)?
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    Mar 25 2012: I'm so greatful about this post Shaheem, because you have the strenght to stand for your beliefs, even if sometime you choose to insult God, call Him : mad, crazy, crappy options etc. You've choose to disregard or acknowledge any of the commentaries that all the people provide to you with : peace, humbleness, respect.

    You make me realize how real GOD is, how real is my LOVE for God and how real is my FAITH in him and growing stronger. GOD LOVE FAITH!

    I am and will be as stobburn as you are about my unfailling faith, love for God through Jesus, as you are not!! I never felt more proud to have spent time, nights, hours, crying, looking, pleading, reading for His amazing face to shine upon me, and man, He did it in a great way, and this is just the beginning....

    To all of you, be blessed and make the light and love of God shine upon you and may He continues to direct and open your heart to become all you should become and make all your heart desires come true.

    Faith is now people, because all God words are YES and AMEN!
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      Mar 24 2012: Bravo Bridget!!

      I truly believe Shaheem is looking for God, but he does not the idea of being submissive, or have an entity over is persona to worship, mostly he do not comprehent the essence of God, base on the faith.

      I compliment you, to ask him all these questions so that he might answers them, instead of only asking a bunch of question, that lots of people answered, and after, he get back only with a confrontation question again.

      It's you time Shaheem to answers some of the questions of Bridget, why did you post this question, about something that you don't believe, seen, comprehend, experience, feel...

      Why do you think there is no God?
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      Mar 24 2012: Hey Bridget Treton, of course i am an atheist and i find complete solace in my belief. i have no care to pray or find god. i don't have a void in my life and is hoping god can fill. am completely fine, but if any atheist tells you his belief is an absolute truth, as well as a believer in god, they are clearly HIGHLY ignorant. am a human being, atheist debate all the time with Christians, we find tons of paradoxes in the bible and things that don't make sense and we ask believers these things and it's extremely sad how they don't see what were seeing. it's what i do. am not trying to convert anyone, i believe we all can get along regardless of of our beliefs, iv'e dated woman that were firm believers in god, it was never an issue. but the man who stops asking questions is a man who is dead. in the grave or above it
    • Mar 24 2012: I need to give thought to every major religion in the world because they are prevalent in our society. If there was a boom in pink-unicorn-in-blue-jeans believers, I would have to speculate on the reasons behind that as well.

      As it stands, I've yet to have anyone condescendingly tell me that they're praying for the pink unicorn to save me, neither has anyone in a pink unicorn suit approached me in the bus, asking me to attend one of their weekly 'All things equine' sermons or picking up a conversation by asking me whether I care about my family (because the pink unicorn sure does). If writings of the unicorns ideology were to then demand a ban on gay marriage and abortion - writings which the staunch believers would determinedly stand by - I'd probably ponder the unicorn-faith's legitimacy as well.

      You don't question the existence of unicorns because you don't have 80% of the world's population beating you to a pulp with incessant claims that the unicorns are out there and that you should let either the pink, purple or turquoise one into your heart.
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        • Mar 26 2012: Every culture in the world since time immemorial pays homage to a higher power because they needed to explain the then incomprehensible world around them. Someone had to interpret why lightning and thunder occasionally appeared, or why the drought ruined the crops. I'm pretty sure we're capable of explaining those phenomena now (before you jump at the opportunity, no we don't know everything yet nor do we have to know everything now).

          Which is more beneficial? Whoever offers to pray for me will not change a single thing except for wasting their own time. The condescending one has no effect on anyone either.

          Sadly the following questions you posted are not relevant to the previous topic. I'd rather be complimented. I'd rather be in the company of positive energy most of the time. Thank you for asking, but those answers don't relate to what we're talking about. Now, good and evil are difficult concepts, but surely anyone would like a nice dose of 'goodness' more. At the same time, you are equating a believer to possessing inherent goodness, which is nothing but nonsense. I could similarly establish a nonsensical argument against religion by asking you: Which is more beneficial - a person who offers to aid you through empirical means or one who discounts your capability for empathy and living life to the fullest based on your lack of belief in something they believe in?

          It is a far too one-sided an argument and cannot be believed to apply.

          About your last point, I refer you back to my last post. People aren't thinking about pink unicorns because their existence is not an argument that is brought into question all the time. You and I have been writing about pink unicorns quite a bit now, does not mean I acknowledge their existence. I don't have a relationship with any deity just because I have to express my disbelief in them fairly often or because I hear about them on the news. Once again, thinking of and crediting unicorns doesn't make them real.
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    Mar 21 2012: Oh and just for the record, if anyone read my last post about the dream about Jesus and God, it was borrowed from an actual event in history known as the Taiping Rebellion.

    It occurred in China around the mid-1800's. For more information on this here are some links:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiping_Rebellion
    http://www.taipingrebellion.com/
    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/580815/Taiping-Rebellion
  • Mar 20 2012: If you want to find spirituality abandon religion and seek the refuge of ethicalist belief systems and physics.
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      Mar 20 2012: Nice!

      would this also include quantum mechanics in relation to consciousness (more on this look up the book "Quantum Enigma").
      • Mar 20 2012: Absolutely. There is some amazing work being done right now on the global consciousness......
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    Mar 19 2012: Let me commend you on your question and your candor. You have a deaire to seek truth. Don't ever let anybody dissuade you from your search.

    I am a devout follower of Christ, but I am not any sort of minister but let me try to share my view, and I'll start by trying to dispel a few miconceptions, starting with . . . God doesn't condemn anybody to Hell. We are already condemned by our original sin (Adam, Eve, apple, serpent). What God provided is a way to Heaven through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Saviour. It's not an ultimatum, any more than drowning in the ocean is an ultimatum: The ocean doesn't condemn you to drown, you just do unless you have a life preserver. That's the mindset you must get into when thinking about Christ.

    Some people don't like the Original Sin/Garden of Eden story, because they think it's a myth. OK, then, let's get down to brass tacks: God created us to worship Him. And the answer to that is, "what a pompous God, he just wants all the glory!". To which I say, well, He created everything in existence. What have you or I created? A kid or two? A new party drinking game? Pretty small potatoes by comparison. But if you look at it as He created us to worship Him because we are the only beings in creation who CAN, then it feels a little better. Simply, He thought we were so neat that He let us slaughter His own flesh and blood like running over some cat in the road, so that we could take part in an eternity of joy, knowledge, peace, and love.

    Let's face it, at the core, we all wanna be God and create our own world, at least in our own minds. This whole Christ thing forces us to get out of ourselves and tap into something bigger. Take the Mark Twain quote: "The world doesn't owe you anything. It was here first.". Substitue God for "world" and you'll see God's not angry, he just gave us a job to do; we euther accept it or we don't. Sounds cold, I know, but when you get into the mindset it's really OK.
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      Mar 20 2012: Our original sin? Adam was the one who ate the fruit, his mistake should lead to his punishment, so why should we have to suffer for it?

      Also why would god create us to worship him?
      i mean you have to be really insecure to want constant worship.
      And as a atheist i live a pretty moral life. of course i do wrong, but I'm no Hitler. but just because i don't believe despite the fact that i never killed or done any other atrocious crimes, god is PISSED!!!
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        Mar 20 2012: We each have sinned. Basically, the lesson from Adam is that sin is inherent in each of us.

        I can't really attest to His reasons, but I'll find out when I'm part of the great melieu of light and knowledge, but I suspect God created us to worship Him because we were the only beings in creation who truly could. He made us to be wonderul beacons of light, full of ideas and hopes and dreams and desire to create things ourselves. He created us so that we could be the kind of peoe who would explore and appreciate this wonderful world and universe we've been given.

        God is not angry if we don't believe in Him, any more than outer space is angry if we can't breathe in a vaccuum. It simply is what it is. I do believe that God mourns when someone hears the truth and rejects it, but that's why it is intensely incumbent upon the messenger to speak truth with love.

        Basically, even if I'm not making a great casr, at least know that it is only our perception that God created us with an inherent femise as some sort of sick joke. When we switch our perception, we en our minds to realise that He created us to be a part of His continuing creation, with access to infinite wonders, but with ncessary limitations in order to remind ourselves that we can not do it all on our own.

        Lastly, iving a moral life is great, and I'm glad you do. Peoplewho live moral lives generally are living the second great commandment (love others as you loveyourself) evn if they don't believe in Him who spoke it. For that, I assure you, God is not "pissed"
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      Mar 20 2012: Verble, what you seem to be saying is the Christian god has already condemned us to hell because of something we as individuals didn't do, but it has provided us an opt out of hell option.

      Tough luck for all the non Jews before JC was born or all the billions of people who never heard of him in the last 2,000 years.

      Not a very moral god by human standards. Not a very likely god by any standard. Just as likely as most other god beliefs.
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        Mar 20 2012: Yes, I know. I had to jump straight into a philisophy that actually becomes revelatroy after years of study. I understand how fantastical it sounds, and trust me, i completely understand how bad it makes God

        And before I continue let me just say that if I present God badly then the fault is mine alone. And I pray that, if not today, then some day, you will learn about Him from someone beteer explanatory than I am. But essentially, God has not condemned us. We have condemned ourselves.

        And it's not that we're taking the heat for people long dead in some garden- the whole point of the story is that we sin ourselves. Each one of us. Let's face it, each one of us has lied, cheated, done wrong to some lover in our past. There is none of us without sin. When we think we're "doing OK" that is the lie that we keep telling ourselves in order to pretend that we don't need God.

        Don't have space for metaphysics, but about the "tough luck" - that statement presupposes that God is restricted by linear time in His plan for salvation.

        No, He's not a very moral by human standards. We have to learn to see Him by His standards, not our own.

        At the crux of the whole venture is that we have to move beyond our selves in order to see Him. It is our perception of Him that makes Him seem so mean. We have made Him more malicious than He really is.

        Lastly, personal question, have we discussed similar topic before? Your name is different, but your photo is the same as someone else with whom I've had the great pleasure to converse.
  • Mar 19 2012: Sometime, it is better to be honest with yourself instead of opening a door to "mass sining" by asking questions your brain produce when the answer lay deep in your heart. With or without the bible, the idea of GOD run inside your blood and your mind. Why are you asking a question that contains its answer?
    Two things: Either you want to mislead weak mind or you don't know what to do of your time. One way or the other the answer is still contained in your heart. I advise you to take proper meditation exercises, lift your spirit high and come back with the answer for nobody can convince you right now.
    This is an advice, just an advice.
    Atheism is as well a kind of faith. Is it wrong or wright? You will find the answer when your counter will stop and trust me, I prefer to BELIEVE in that GOD now than to find later my mistake. I HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE.
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      Mar 20 2012: Eric, if someone chooses to believe in a particular god because primarily because this is better than risking eternal damnation (Pascals argument), I would argue they potentially have a lot to lose.

      Some other god might be the right one and they may end up going to hell anyway.

      The real god might have rules that support a happier life for them and everyone.

      Or there may be no god and you might lead your whole life following a delusion.

      What a silly reason to have faith. Be authentic I say.

      Also, the idea of god, religions etc are deeply embedded in many cultures. You can not escape this powerful cultural construct. I guess if your were brought up on an island with no religious cultural baggage, taught modern science, we might still wonder where we came from, the meaning of life etc but far fewer people would jump to god. Plenty of us, brought up surrounded by religious beliefs, see it as a human construct and have no innate programming to belief in superstitious cultural nonsense.
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        Mar 22 2012: @Obey No1kinobe AMAZING
      • Mar 26 2012: Hi,
        I don't see sillyness into believing in a GOD that have as rules all the moral values we so much praise in our society.
        If you have enough time, I advise you to read the three most common HOLY books we have in the market regarding the most HIGH GOD. I cite them so there will be no confusion regarding your choices: The TANACH(JEWISH), BIBLE(CHRISTIAN) and the KORAN(MUSLIM).
        These books contains between them all the moral rules our society accept today and always has.
        Your demonstration about the idea of god is somewhat naive. If a child is born in an island, he will maybe not have any information about GOD but somehow the need of perfection and wrong or right doing will be deeply embedded inside his mind. where did he get them-refer to DESCARTES-?
        By believing in GOD, I will have to comply with his rules so, conducting my life in a respectable manner. If you live in USA, you must respect the law there otherwise it is in hot water you will found yourself so why not respect the spiritual laws and accept the minimal risk to believe in GOD? Believing in GOD doesn't harm. Oath is made on a HOLY BOOK be it in a Christian Country or Muslim one. Why? Because the rulers there knows a lot more about spirituality.
        I BELIEVE IN GOD AND THERE IS NOTHING SILLY IN THAT!
        THE PEACE OF THE LORD BE WITH YOU
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      Mar 20 2012: Cheers Eric!!

      Just love what you wrote : I prefer to BELIEVE in that GOD now than to find later my mistake. I HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE.

      Have a great one and see you in heaven!!
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      • Mar 26 2012: Thank you so much my dear, I know what I've been through and GOD is a daily experience for me. I pray so we all come to found HIM.
        Be BLESSED!
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          Mar 27 2012: God is wonderful, seek Me, and you shall find me He said....God bless you always my dear Eric....I can wait to see Him face to face!!

          Be blessed alwaysssssssssss
      • Apr 1 2012: Re. "I prefer to BELIEVE in that GOD now than to find later my mistake."

        Wouldn't it be better to find your mistake now, and stop wasting your time believing in fantasies?

        You seem to have ignored Obey No1kinobe's post concerning Pascal's argument.
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    Mar 19 2012: i dont know about all this, but what you have defined is not how i see it.


    it IS all faith based, though.
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    Apr 1 2012: ok this makes no sense at all. not even an ounce
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    Apr 1 2012: shaheem;ı am muslim and ı believe in god;ceartinly...you are telling you are atheist and you wonder why people believe in GOD...why dont we believe in GOD???ıs any reason ın order not to believe him???you tell that there is not any proof to show him...but;you are wrong.you have mind.can you show me????you cant.it is in this way;you can show.but we know his existence forever.please look at you around.look at trees,land,sea,sky and everyting about nature.who created them?they are created by themselves..nooooooo.there is god.there is ALLAH.and also;you wrote:why does he punishes us?because;if you are in a wrong way;you deserve it.it is just for peace in the world.because;people try to behave in a good way in order not to got to hell...that's all.you can agree with me or not.it is up to you...ı just wanted totell my idea...
  • Apr 1 2012: Adriaan,

    You said "Personally I do not bellieve God cares about what we believe or even what name we give Him. Do the best we can, for the right reason, and everything should be fine with us."

    The last sentence above works well whether or not God exists.
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      • Apr 1 2012: Bridget,

        Thank you for your reply.

        A brief synopsis of our exchange of thoughts is:

        * You asked what evidence would be convincing for the other side of the argument.
        * I answered by providing a short list of physical evidence that I would find convincing.
        * You then suggested nonphysical evidence that you would find convincing.
        * I said that nonphysical evidence could be used to support any delusion.
        * You responded by asking for physical evidence that nonphysical evidence could be used to support any delusion.
        * You then called me delusional.

        Did I get the synopsis right?
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    Mar 27 2012: You said: Everyone has the freedom to take the Bible in the way that speaks to them the most.

    that's the problem, this is why there are so many religions debating against one another.
    they all believe there interpretation is the right way. look around it's chaotic.
    i have Jehovah witness telling me the baptist and the catholic are misinformed, and the catholic and the baptist are saying the same thing about the Jehovah witness and each other. it's like these people are in a race to see who gets the most members. makes me think. if god even did exist why would he care what church you go to, i thought it was all about a mans heart.
    • Mar 27 2012: " it's like these people are in a race to see who gets the most members."

      That is how you see it?

      You totally missed the point of my posts.



      I'll leave you to it.
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    Mar 27 2012: 1. You say satan was perfect, think! a perfect person can't have free will, it's impossible. a perfect person is design to only do what's right. from satan started harboring feelings of jealousy for god, that shows he wasn't perfect to begin with. how can a perfect man sin? once again your wrong!
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    Mar 27 2012: Years ago, scientists discovered that during grand mal seizures of epileptic patients, massive electro-chemical surges were passing through the nerve bundle connecting the two hemispheres together. They cut the nerve bundle as a last resort to free the patients from a life debilitating condition. Through experimentation with these patients, they discovered that the two hemispheres do not think alike. The brain functions of the left hemisphere were math, science, and language, all built on logic. The brain functions of the right hemisphere were music, art, dance, fantasy, and creativity, all built on associations. (Roger Sperry 1970 California Institute of Technology.)

    Religious writings were all built on associations. The right brain sees the forces of creation as a creator, hence the term God. God is a personification of the cosmic singularity, otherwise known in science as the unified field theory. They are different expressions of the same thing. A right-brain oriented person has strong convictions that there is a God. A left-brain oriented person has strong convictions that there is no God.

    Would the world be any different if no one ever believed in God? The answer is no, because the pressures of survival are what drive human behavior. Religious belief is just a uniting factor. Take God out of the picture, and people will replace it with some other uniting factor.

    Free thinkers have gone beyond the herd mentality of the human animal (which is what Cain represented) and ascended to the position of co-creator with the cosmos (which is what Abel represented). Right-brainers call the cosmic singularity God, left-brainers call it quantum fields.

    When we pray, we are trying to communicate with the cosmic singularity. Some connect and some don't. I have, and it has brought guidance to my life. As a result, I will continue to pray. Those who say that prayer doesn't work, don't know how to pray.
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      Mar 27 2012: Wow gr8 post, I really enjoyed reading this, up to the paragraph before the last. it really makes me think. so in other words your saying left/right brain thinkers are just a product of their brain? and they can't help how they feel and view the world?
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        Mar 27 2012: That is part of of it. What we are taught is also part of it. It's an integrated whole. How this affects our life depends on how far we go beyond what we are taught. We have to learn to make sense out of it all, otherwise, we become brainwashed by authority figures.

        I don't believe that one is either right or left brain oriented. I feel I am split down the middle. I can talk both sides of the brain. Often it is the conversation that moves me from one side to the other. I am not fixed to only one side. I find that there are others who are predominantly right or left brain oriented. These are the ones who know they are right regardless of how well you argue your point.

        An important point is that when you are looking at religion, you have to look for associations. You cannot analyze it logically because it often makes no logical sense. It all has to be broken down into associations because that is how it was developed in the first place. Ancient cultures were more right brain thinkers. The shift to predominantly left brain occurred during the Renaissance where the scientific method captured the attention of most people.
      • Mar 27 2012: Shaheem and Roy !

        "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift. And the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created the society that honours the servant, but has forgotten the gift "

        Listen to this talk if you are not familiar with it already
        http://www.ted.com/talks/iain_mcgilchrist_the_divided_brain.html
        it may help :)
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          Apr 1 2012: Natasha,
          I have reviewed your link and what a wonderful explanation indeed. Thank you very much.
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    Mar 26 2012: Wow Mr. Braam, once again, some god! according to the bible the spirit of god was over men while they wrote the books of the bible. in other words, god worked through them, so not taking the bible literally is actually an offense to god, think of it. this guy gave these man the spirit to write a book so we can choose which parts to take literally? lol this is complete non sense and you no it. i would think a book by god suppose to be taken literally word for word. see, even if a true bible exist, (which i don't believe) there is no way humanity will ever get hold of it. man has wrongly interpreted the words from they found it,add and deleted so much info into & out of it , just to shape a society into the way they want it. god must me happy to see how his word has failed! if you wrote a book for me, don't get mad if on the way to me the book was remixed so many times, that when it reach my generation/hands it's filled with tons of paradoxes and flaws. then people question why are people atheist? wait!! this was all part of gods plan? (No offense) But,this guy is such a failure.
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  • Mar 26 2012: Shaheem,

    The following survey from PEW shows some interesting information. Atheists, as a group, are more knowledgeable about religions than the religious. It makes sense to me!!

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1745/religious-knowledge-in-america-survey-atheists-agnostics-score-highest
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    Mar 26 2012: I have read all the comments. This is the first time seeing this.

    The idea of hell comes from ancient Egypt. The Israelites (Hebrews) were told to leave Egypt behind. The current version of Hell isn't found in Genesis. It was dragged back into modern religions through twisted and conflicting beliefs.

    There is no place in the bible where God demands to be worshipped. He requested Moses come and worship him where he would bestow on him the means to create a great nation. If some power made that request to me, I wouldn't hesitate to take that offer.

    The bible was written so that we could come to know the creator that brought us into existence. If the power that created this universe does not really exist, then the universe could not have come into being. If that makes sense to you regardless, then you haven't really thought it out.

    Heaven and hell are the two extremes of human existence. If I could choose one over the other, heaven gets my vote. How I achieve that goal may require that I understand what stands behind it. If I don't know how the universe works, I can't find ways to make it any better.

    Original sin is what we inherit by all the wrongful choices of those who went before us. Whatever they messed up, we have to deal with it whether we like it or not. Or we can just suffer in it if we don't want to deal with it. I choose to deal with it and try to restore it to a better condition.

    Religious writings developed in the age of myth. They are all based on associations. Understand what is being associated and you can figure it out. Today we have the unified field theory of physics. Quantum fields are everywhere. They are invisible. They are the source from which all things come and back to which they go. They are what is doing the creating. They have all the qualities that are attributed to God because that is what they are.

    Shaheem, you have every reason to question what religion is teaching you. Look beyond the words.
    • Mar 31 2012: Roy,

      You said "The bible was written so that we could come to know the creator that brought us into existence."

      The same could be said of every document that contains a creation myth. But more precise wording would be "The bible was written so that we could come to know what the authors of the bible wanted us to believe about the creator that brought us into existence."


      You also said "If the power that created this universe does not really exist, then the universe could not have come into being."

      Your statement isn't necessarily true because you have used different tenses in the two clauses. The power that created this universe could have existed at the time the universe was created, but that power may no longer exist.

      You then said "If that makes sense to you regardless, then you haven't really thought it out."

      This statement is the one that most puzzles me. The issue is that the word "that" is an ambiguous reference. Grammatically "that" could refer to several different items, but the most logical reference is to the immediately preceding sentence. Did you really mean to say that if your sentence makes sense to the reader, then the reader hasn't really thought it out? Maybe you were engaging in some self-effacing bit of Zen wisdom, but I doubt it. What were you trying to say?


      But getting back to the power that created the universe, you haven't established that the power is/was sentient, let alone that the power is actually your favorite deity.

      But later on you say that quantum fields are God. ( So I suppose Quantum Fields should be capitalized.) I attribute to God quite a number of attributes, such as being vengeful, loving, self-aggrandizing, omnipotent, eternal, omnipotent, mythological and non-existent. So Quantum Fields have all those attributes?
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        Apr 1 2012: You are right about other documents as well. I don't use the bible as the truth, I use it as a way to seek the truth. Until I understand it, it is only words. I seek to see beyond the words.

        I see the power that created the universe to be the same power we claim to be God. The universe, even if it brought itself into creation by laws of quantum fields, is real in itself.

        As far as the confusion, you are right that the wording is off. What I was trying to say is if you can believe that the universe is real, but the power that brought it into existence is not real, it makes no sense to me.

        I only see one deity and that is quantum fields. I believe that we are all connected because of an experience that I had when I was nine. I came to understand the principle of quantum fields eleven years before I received any formal training on the subject. I still don't know how such an experience was possible. I had two way communication with something.

        Quantum fields are the source from which all things come and back to where they go. They are singular, and therefore, neither good nor evil, they are the great I AM. When appearances emerge, they break into pairs of opposites, and there is where good and evil emerge. We seek to understand that power so that we can benefit from its blessings and avoid its curses. The same power that lights a city will cook you to death if you don't understand the rules. The rules are based on quantum fields and our place within them. They are the master, we are the servant.
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    Mar 25 2012: i think that these concepts about hell and heaven are made by different systems about god created by different men from different religions. if you ar christtian or muslim or hindu or jew, facts change ...the similarities that we observe about these religions might be because of human behaviour. like concept of hell and heaven is there in almost every religion. but it might be just because of facts that we dont take things seriously unless we find importance in them. may be that is why the religion puts the condition of if's , then's, but's. but still there are some religions that dont say so. the tribes living in deep forest take nature itself as gods, and if you observe so then its totally convincing..
    afterall faith in god is just like any other random liking or disliking. because you believe what you find sense in.....in same way that . just like you like black and not red. i think thus the faith of two people is not at all related.
  • Mar 24 2012: religion has evolved right along with man in the dark ages any one who would questioned religion would at best been cast into the wilderness never to be seen or heard again as far as believing in God some would say the world would be a better place if he never existed and maybe that would be true if civilization was starting here and now but it did not it started when we were still groveling in the dirt and doing[ by our standards ] unspeakable things it had to be unforgiving and intolerable to raise us to a better place God and man have evolved together and Shaheem if this was not the case you would not be able to express your conviction
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    Mar 24 2012: The part of your question that interests me Shaheem is "why is there not a third option?" In all the years I have been having these debates online and in real life I dont think I have ever heard this one.
    It is true that we did not ask to be put in this position of having to worship to avoid hell, at least I did not.
    Very clever Shaheem, I will ponder this today.
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    Mar 23 2012: I'm a person of faith - a Quaker - I have faith in the continued existence of the soul and of a higher power. I believe we can gain spiritual insight through meditation and quiet reflection.

    I also believe in evolution, the big bang, DNA and rational thought as well as art, music, sculpture and myths as a source of great cultural significance. I don't believe in the old testament, nor a great deal of the new. I believe in a historical man, now known as Jesus, who was a wise and highly evolved human. I do not believe in the resurrection of the body, I do believe in the reincarnation of the soul.

    I don't believe in a vengeful god - I believe we come here to learn - we may succeed or fail - either way we don't end up in a heaven or a hell - we simply continue our learning.

    I don't get worried about other people's faith / non-faith - unless they are bigots or bullies - and even then I believe we all end up in the same place in the end.
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      Mar 24 2012: Sorry for my late response. tell me, when did god create your soul? the minute you were conceived, way before that (and he was just waiting for your parents to meet) which means you were somewhere doing who no's what, until god decided to beam you in a body! or did he create your soul the minute the fetus started to form? according to the bible the soul is greater than the body right?, the body is fallible and temporary, but the bible says we have free will! OK, so does your soul have free will, seeing that it is way greater? if so, why didn't you have a choice in joining earth? why is there no proof of a soul? enlighten me if you know these answers.
    • Apr 1 2012: Heather,

      Thank you for your thoughts. I share most of the beliefs that you expressed, except those concerning the soul (since I am an atheist). I respect theists who respect others with different beliefs. I give Quakers and Buddhists high grades for that.
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    Mar 22 2012: Frans, (These reply buttons don't go past the third comment?!)
    Thank you. I did start a thread a few days ago, linking to an essay I wrote, essentially about the function of money in society: http://www.ted.com/conversations/9966/defining_currency_as_a_contrac.html
    It does go into the conceptual foundations of society.
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    Mar 21 2012: response to orlando
    "
    It make much more sense to assume how free-will would exist until after the fall but with this approach you would have to explain how exactly did Adam and Eve make the choice of eating the "forbidden fruit" from the tree of knowledge if before the fall everything was part of God's plan. With this approach we would also have to explain how God lost control of not only his creation but pretty much everything else.

    So from what you say, God was dead until the dead sea scrolls were rediscovered? I'm not sure if I follow for the simple fact that the Dead Sea Scrolls have not inspired more faith into everyone....also from those who have read it, they state there is really nothing special about them....if this is indeed the case, this is a sad way for god to emerge back into existence wouldn't you think? "

    1. if you read the old testement backward, the chronology makes a little more sense. he lost control the seconed he iniated creation, pre fall people could talk to god (or gods) directly and did whatever they said. i think that led up to it becoming too easy for a voice other than gods own to do the same, so then the occulusion, one so great it put a casam between us and it. jesus was it breaking back in, and showing us the situation we are in and what we should do. the DS scrolls were a litteral living word buried, and when uneathered litteraly traveld into the viewers brian and released itself, starting true time again. history imo can back what has happened sense the 40's to now has been, diffrent.

    2. the words of jesus christ directly were of no importance? i disagree. thomas what his hand and did nothing bust listen and follow, he added nothing of himself in being jesus scribe, and by greek definition twin. the force which we have been put against from a.d70 till the 40's was great, and it is indeed a great drama.
  • Mar 21 2012: Shaheem, you asked "..., what type of god leaves no evidence at all, and gets angry because i don't acknowledge him?"

    The answer that occurs to me is :

    a god made up by people who have a vested interest in getting others to believe in their particular nonexistent god, because inventing a god gives the inventors the inside track and improves their status within the believer community.

    The inventor of YHWH may have been Abraham or Moses, or some other person whose identity has been lost in time. But many a priest over many years has made a living out of claiming to know how to happy-up that god. And who would have heard of Joseph Smith but for the religion that he invented? And apart from readers of 1950's Sci Fi, who would have heard of L. Ron Hubbard but for the religion that he invented?
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    Mar 20 2012: Shaheem, Religion is faith based. It simple terms it is the word of God as written by man. If you do not want to be a part of organized religion, no problem. As you say 'If God exists" and he is a just and merciful God then he will reconize you as a good man with good intentions toward your fellow man. I am certainly not perfect but I try to treat me fellow man with respect. I do not want eternity in any ones hell. I have faith that God will see me as a good guy. The final decision is yours and I am happy for you to follow your heart and conscience in this matter. Best of luck. Bob
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      Mar 22 2012: How do you no it is the word of god? all you no is, it is written by man.
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    Mar 20 2012: Shaheem,

    The kind of god you are describing is either a perverse fascist dictator or the construct of humans living in a more savage and barbaric time.

    If there is a god in the religious lottery I hope the Christians didn't get it right. They actually could be right to some degree. Or maybe the Muslims, or the Mormons, or the Jews, of the Hindus, or the ancient greeks, or the Aztecs etc. Chances are they all have it wrong.

    There are probably some belief systems with less evil deities or none at all - Buddhism, atheism, Deism etc.
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    Mar 19 2012: What also isn't fair is that you have to bear the load of all your ancestors as though what they did was your own fault. That's the thinking behind original sin, our ancestor sinned which makes us guilty by descent. Mad isn't it?
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      Mar 20 2012: Common Matthieu, please!! Look at all the Germans, their ancestors, their history....I don't see any German dying of hunger, poverty and all...

      What did the Africans did to have been in slavery through history...just because of the color of their skin!!

      To each their own choice to cherish, adore and love God, and the ones that don't it's your perogative...lets not blame something that we don't comprehend, specially when "atheism" or any others that don't regconize God as God!

      Peace
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        Mar 20 2012: Well of course its not reflected in reality, the whole idea is nonsense. Don't shoot the messenger, I think it's all nonsense myself. You can't deny though that this is indeed the thinking behind original sin, that somehow we are sinful just for being Adam and Eve's children. Nobody can help what they did (they didn't exist but pretending for a second they did) and nobody should have to carry their sin as the old testament proclaims or be forgiven for a sin they didn't commit as the new testatment claims. The idea that we are bound by the sins of our fathers is preposterous, but it's exactly what the Bible claims.
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          Mar 20 2012: Ok Matthieu, I'll give you a thumbs up for that : Don't shoot the messenger.

          It's all good people...this is your right to advocate your belief!!

          Cheers
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          Mar 20 2012: Matthieu, maybe the story has more to it than most people think.
          The Bible has at least two stories of creation and this one originated from the Sumerians.
          If you see the first human as being the first animal that became self-aware and started to use language that were styled as the parental pair Adam and Eve. The tree of life is nature at large while the tree of good and bad was the human race that from then on could choose.
          Unlike animals they could judge and act upon any situation at will. That independence made them act in accord to their own shortsighted vision which led to erosion and depletion of resources. Their offspring started cultures presented by Cain and Abel that were much in conflict as nomads with cattle still have problems with settlers or farmers.
          So by becoming self aware humans broke down paradise and ruined nature which they call a sin. This goes on up till today as humans upheaval the earth surface to mine for minerals and fuel while the last rainforests are chopped down as the oceans are depleted of fish and the water is made acidic. Sea and surface water are made into a sewer system how sinful can one be or in other words how far can we oppose nature at large. Hell or paradise? We can still choose but only if all humanity cooperates to restore the damage done.
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          Mar 21 2012: i agree with your first and fourth paragraph there
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        Mar 20 2012: Frans, That's very damning for non-human animals and the gradualist nature of nature, don't know that I agree with this interpretation (which, as far as I can tell sounds like a Karen Armstrong type belief, sophisticated and context-aware, but held by maybe a dozen people).
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      Mar 20 2012: Beyond mad!!!!
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    Mar 19 2012: I think the best thing you can do is not concern yourself with the question or belief if you do not think it is true as well as to weather it serves a suitable purpose to your life.

    Live the life you want to live and just realized that weather or not God exist does not matter but what matters is how you live your moment to moment experiences.

    The way I see it, God does not really care what is going on, on earth. If God exist, God certainty does not care to reveal himself anytime soon (or ever). If God does not exist, why would this matter? would this change the way you already live your life (you have mentioned your atheist so I assume the answer to this question is no)

    I think atheist should concern themselves with other things outside of wasting there time with this age old philosophical question. Its fun to think about...its also fun stating how unreasonable certain beliefs are and I do think its important that everyone understand the nature of belief and the consequences that follow from beliefs..

    As Frans mentioned before me, I too am not atheist nor do believe in any sort of God(s) so I'll keep my mouth shut as well. (in case your confused about what I as well as Frans just said about not being an atheist but not believing in God I would suggest watching/reading what Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchen's say's about the word atheism)
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    Mar 19 2012: maybe the non being god decided to create, and that instant hatched an egg with twins who, in the selfish act of creating istelf (becuase of free will) made one twin angry and pulled an opposite direction, between the two creating (in hologram form) the universe. the angry twin was the matter of the universe, as it is streaked with the irrational. the good twin was novelty and light in one. god did not see this happening but the seconed it did he decided to undue it from his point (the end of time, but he is in all time, anyways) to in negentropy to reverse the process from the inside. our expressin of information to this point has created a new module for the first twin to further the unwinding process. it is computer like, and works in binary. it facilitates the push-pull relation ship with us in this dimention and it in the 5th. god is us, god is this information feeding entitny, god is outside time and the unduing of time(entropy). god is infininiy in every aspect. suffiring is complicated but the death of himself in a.d40 was an act on himself becuase of freewill in the first place. see also, the breakdown of the bimecurial mind.or, not. all of this is prob untrue.
    but as you said, its all in faith.
    the twins was also himself.
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      Mar 19 2012: According to Calvin and other Supra-Lapsarians, Free-Will ceased to exist right after the fall of the Garden of Eden so Jesus (or as you state God's) death at A.D. 40 was all part of providence (God's Divine Plan)...
      so in other words, there is no free-will
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        Mar 19 2012: i would say the opposite, and that free will did not exist untill the fall. with the fall was occulsion in us and the god head, as we may forget and thus choose to experience agape, the ultimate aoplogy for creating in the first place. god remembered himself through christ and his death stoped time in order to work undetected till the 1940's with the nag hammadi scrolls descovered, the atom bomb, and the finding of dna, and lsd.
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          Mar 20 2012: Before I respond I would like to correct what I said earlier. I meant to imply that Calvin, along with other Supra-Laparians believed that the fall of the Garden of Eden was part of the providence. The reason for this is because if the fall was not part of God's plan, God would have a lot of questions to answer about his fallible creation. there is more to this but I at the moment do not feel like explaining it (my bad).

          It make much more sense to assume how free-will would exist until after the fall but with this approach you would have to explain how exactly did Adam and Eve make the choice of eating the "forbidden fruit" from the tree of knowledge if before the fall everything was part of God's plan. With this approach we would also have to explain how God lost control of not only his creation but pretty much everything else.

          So from what you say, God was dead until the dead sea scrolls were rediscovered? I'm not sure if I follow for the simple fact that the Dead Sea Scrolls have not inspired more faith into everyone....also from those who have read it, they state there is really nothing special about them....if this is indeed the case, this is a sad way for god to emerge back into existence wouldn't you think?
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          Mar 20 2012: Keep in mind Orlando, How can an all knowing god that see's everything before it happens and it's impossible for him to be wrong, so what he sees, has and must come to fruition. which means as long as he has these qualities, there can never ever be free will. if the guy is real, he fated everything and tomorrow already exist.
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        Mar 20 2012: So i'll assume your a believer in god, please correct me if my assumption is wrong. But are you happy knowing you have no free will as a believer in god? this means before your birth he already knew if you were going to hell or heaven. it's madness actually. your fate has already been decided. it's hard to believe someone can find solace in this belief. As an atheist i don't believe in free will, i believe all choices are influenced by environment,my past,the way i was brought up, society etc i believe no choice that is influence by something is free. but the thought that a some god created me and i have no free will would give me headaches. plus it makes god look even more insane than he already is
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          Mar 20 2012: Oh no my good friend, I am far from being a believer in God (although I understand where you get that impression). My views are just as extravagant as yours but the only difference is that I do not identify myself as an atheist. I see no use for the term philosophically and my disbelief in god does not get me through the day. . Atheism to me is not a doctrine, belief system, philosophy or worldview. It simply is the disbelief in a God(s) and the questioning of bad ideas.

          I agree with you that such thoughts are insane but I understand, the usefulness of having such beliefs (not that I agree with them). One reason why people like to believe such things is because as humans we enjoy life so much that we cannot imagine ourselves as being non-existent. Another reason is because we incapable of embracing nihilism. Nihilism is terrifying to us.

          Nietzsche once stated that "humans can live with suffering, what they CANNOT live with is MEANINGLESS suffering--suffering for no reason at all"

          As an individual, I see the issue of free-will and determinism as paradoxical by nature. I see the entire make up of the universe as one big paradox.

          You are correct about your notion of determinism. All the evidence in the natural world points to the world being deterministic but in spite of this, we humans are capable of still being free.

          If you take the approach of consciousness and physics, you come to realize that there is something that transcends the determinism of the natural world. Something that does not abide by the laws of nature and what this something is, is known as sub-atomic particles (as well as some atoms and protons depending on their nature).

          Also if you meditate, you can learn to change your mind. To have control of the flow of your thoughts and break the chains of classical conditioning but none of this comes easy and may take a life time.

          In other words, we are much freer than we think we are and this is something that I do think God himself understands
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          Mar 20 2012: I don't know Shaheem about calling God crazy, mad etc. Hitler, rapist, predators etc are madly crazy!!

          You can say you don't agree, or whatsoever, I don't beleive to call names something that you don't understand. It's like going to China and you think they are all crazy because you don't speak Chinese.

          Lets stay respectful for the people that believe in God, even if you don't and for the sake of TED philosophy.

          Cheers!
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          Mar 20 2012: Shaheem, please forgive me but I don't understand this post. Are hou saying that you don't believe in the possibility of free will, whether we were created by God or not?

          You have stated that you do not believe in free will because all choices are made based on past experiences, which are influenced by environment; however, you would get headaches if this lack of free will had been imposed by some god.

          What confuses me is that you would prefer to have a lack of free will, as long as it was imposed by a world that didn't care about you at all, or by just a meaningless collection of random acts, rather than an actual being who said, "hey, guess what? i love you!".

          Pardon my snarkiness there, but regardless, we do have free will. We can make whatever chce we want, create whatever private world we want. Although I will agree with you that the decisions we make with are free will are indeed shaped by past experiences. We make decisions based on what we know, and what we have seen influences the choices that we make, but in the end, the choices are ours, and ours alone.
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          Mar 20 2012: hahaha nice and funny quote

          but I think your forgetting something..

          sorry to be analytical but your statement is implying that these teenagers already know that God exist but are too stubborn to want accept this fact...

          The truth of the matter is, is that I'm not one of these stubborn teenagers because as far as I know God has yet to reveal himself to the world (or myself) and until that day comes then I'll have to continue to live my life as though this is the only life I have.
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          Mar 20 2012: @Verble Gherulous Understand what am saying, the fact that god is all knowing and it's impossible for him to be wrong, means he sees everything before it happens, and what he sees has to happen, or he's not all knowing, and since he is the creator, it means he predetermined it. Good and Bad!! you can say, you have free will all you want, but as long as your god no's everything, it erases your free will. which means even your thoughts are predetermined. So if i was a believer that alone would hurt my head. As an atheist i still don't believe in free will, but even thou i don't have free will, my life isn't predetermined by some deity.
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          Mar 22 2012: @Shaheem. When we say that God is all knowing and has known us before He created the Universe and knows everything that we are going to do and forgave us of our sins before we were even born, because He knew that we would choose Him, we are not saying that God is controlling us. We are in linear time, yesterday today tomorrow, it is behind us and in front of us. God exists outside of time. He is the IS. Just because All of eternity exists for Him in the same moment does not mean that he has predetermined you to write the next post you are going to write.

          Imagine it like this: think of the last movie you saw. You know what happened to the characters in the middle of the middle, but the characters do not. To them, what is happening to them is all their is, and they've got no clue what will happen to them. You do.

          That is a VERY simple analogy, I know, but hopefully itillustrates how One can know without imposing their will.


          But I will leave with a question: since you don't believe in free will anyway, why do you even care whether this lack of free wil is from some big meanie or a passionless, uncaring, unsentient universe?
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          Mar 20 2012: Mary, again and again you say with ease what I just blather on about. Thank you for expressing such concepts with care, understanding, and clarity.
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          Mar 20 2012: Well said Mary M.!! It's all about your personal relationship with the Creator...This is what I love about God, if you search Him, you'll find Him....

          I just love Him big time in Jesus name!!!

          Peace to all...I have to pray specially for Shaheem and Orlando!

          Cheers
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          Mar 21 2012: Hi Mary,

          Great post by the way

          I'm going to kindly ignore the first four statements that you have made being that I agree with you.

          but you lost me when you mentioned "knowing or believing that someone exists does not equal love of that entity or willing submission to it. If just knowing the existence of something equaled obedience and submission, the jails would be empty".

          I would have to respectfully disagree with you and here is why:

          Nowhere in the Ten Commandments does it state that you do not have to submit to the injunctions that God has laid down for you. These are the very reasons as to why they are known as commandments. The very word Islam means "voluntary submission".

          So if I am going to submit my life to a principle or ruler I would love to know not only why but who they are. We would have this process of thinking when it comes to other human beings but when it comes to God, we cannot be at the very least skeptical? It's flabbergasting to actually think about.

          I understand the whole notion of a personal relationship to with the creator and I personally have nothing against this but if I may allow me to ask you this:

          you whole notion of the creator at least came from some religion that adheres to deities. Now it is safe to say that your personal relationship with this creator is different than that of, let's say Mireille.

          My question to you is that how do you know you are worshiping the same creator? For all you know you could be in dialogue with Zeus. If you base your life around this one creator and establish your values off of this personal relationship, how exactly does your life correspond to what it says in the text?

          I apologize if I am coming off as strident but too many bad things has happened throughout the vicissitudes of human history off the basis of faith...This is the only problem that I have with believers because they tend to give a justification for such occurrences.