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Atheism: why do people don't believe in God?

My question to all atheists is that, why don't they believe in God? Can't they see His signs and can everything that happens on Earth happen by chance? If I don't believe in Allah, Jesus, Buddha or any other God, how can I live? I'll have no direction or paths.

Ok. I agree. There are somethings that we don't know about God, i.e. where did he came from but I believe there is a difference between the knowledge he possesses and we possess. If we'll get all that knowledge, what will be the difference between Him and us? There are numerous points where his knowledge is way better than ours.

If I don't believe in any God, then (I suppose) we are saying that everything that happens, happens by chance. What will be the purpose of living then? Other than living for the betterment of the people, is there any other reason for living? We already live in such chaotic conditions, so isn't it better to die in this case?

Now, I am not trying to hurt anyone's feelings (and if I have done that, I apologize from the depths of my heart) nor am I saying that atheists should die or have no reasons to live but I still find it difficult to NOT believe in God. Thank you.

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    Sep 19 2012: Im an atheist an i enjoy my life very well, i have fun, i make the best out of the time i have left on this planet. i believe god doesnt exist, so what?? that doesnt steal my joy! were all going to die and thats a fact! i just believe that when i die thats it, no heaven, no hell. there is alot of things man cant explain, that we will be able to, eventually. in my personal opinion, i find it more terrifying to actually believe in god and have a peace of mind. the guy is a prick, a loser and if he is real, there is no way you can tell me he loves you. worship that? never. (and no, i haven't had a tramatic experience that made me covert to atheism) i just studied the bible and found multiple paradoxes and the true nature of this evil god, that murdered more people than this so called satan. god is a fantasy humans use to find solace in, they find believing in god comforting, and thats ok, i have nothing against that. but there is no evidence that there god exist, so they can pray all they want, it will never be answered. and if you pray for something that came to fruition, i can assure you, god had nothing to do with it. what made it happned was a result of cause and effect! god is a myth. tell him i said it and if hes real tell him text me. lol
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    Sep 17 2012: Thank you for the question, which I believe, we all consider at one time or other in life. I basically approach the question from the other side though : why do theists believe in God ?
    I can see and know too that for everything to happen in the world, chance plays a big part. I am not sure if that draws God question into life.
    The direction in life does neither seem to involve God, a particular God that is, to me. Spirituality, yes, but not God. I can pretty well live with sufficient peace, joy, enlightenment and more basic issues of life without ever believing in God. If that earns me a name 'atheist', well, I do not need it to write pay cheques.
    Strangely, correct me if I am wrong, your question excludes billions of living beings on earth because we humans are self declared sentient beings.
    I find it very easy, almost normal, NOT to believe in God.
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      Sep 17 2012: Hello Pabitra....good to see you here:>)

      As you may know, I do not label myself either, and after extensive study, research and practices, it also seems very natural and normal to NOT believe in a God(s).

      I believe some folks use God and religion as a valuable life guide, and some folks....not so much. If God's impact, or message is some of what we're seeing on this conversation thread, I am happy and content to NOT be a believer.
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        Sep 17 2012: Hi Colleen :) Yes, it's good to see you too.
        It's a free world as far as what we choose to believe and get inspiration from. It's just pointless trying to impose my kind of belief on others. Moreover, my belief does not make me inherently good, my action does.
        I am a bit at a loss to see the question with reference to Sam Harris's talk. I thought Sam tried to make a point about morality (the innate sense of good and bad) being independent of religion (and God, arguably).
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          Sep 19 2012: It is, absolutely a free world Pabitra, regarding what one chooses to believe. It is pointless trying to impose any belief on others, when others prefer to embrace his/her own belief. I recognize that as one of the big challenges in our world regarding god/no god. Too many people wish to impose their own beliefs in a god or religion on others. This imposition causes a great deal of unrest in our world.

          I agree with you that it is not what we believe in that makes us good or not so good....it is how we use the information of our beliefs in our daily lives.

          The discussion question was framed rather oddly, and I also perceive Sam Harris to clearly seperate science from religion or god.

          I believe many people may get moral ideas from a religion, or a belief in a god, then it is a question of how many of those people actually live what they preach. My personal belief is that we can use all available information to learn, grow and evolve as humans. If some choose to depend on, and trust information provided by a religion, that's ok, AS LONG AS they do not try to impose that belief on others, or use that belief to abuse or violate the human rights of others. If some folks choose to get information only from science, that's ok too, AS LONG AS they do not try to impose their beliefs on others. We need to learn to accept others and different beliefs, if we are ever going to experience peace in our world.

          I am not advocating behaviors that are not useful to the whole of humankind....only beliefs. Behaviors that suppress, abuse, or attempt to take away the rights of others need to be addressed by our global community.
  • Sep 5 2012: I can only post a quote to state it all:


    "The starting point of belief is the ending point of inquiry.

    When we believe in the supernatural, in theories, assumptions, we shackle ourselves in laziness, expectation, and authority. When you believe something, you do not inquire anymore. Believing something to be so and so, does not show you how it truly is. The inquirer that asks, investigates, immerses into the subject with blunt curiosity is the learner and the driving force of society. If you are willing to be courageous and challenge those long-held cherished beliefs, then you have become wiser my fellow one. The act of disproving or proving a belief arrives you at what truly is."

    ~Sapiens ad Aequilibrium
    • Sep 5 2012: I think this quote provides a very valid view on a subject, but it seems as if that quote assumes that all believers must simply stop thinking. I see how one could believe that, but I don't believe that is the entire case. Take for example these two different thinking processes.

      One man sees a flower bloom and thinks "wow, that is amazing! God's miracles are wonderful."

      Another man sees a flower bloom and thinks "I wonder why the flower blooms every spring? Why would God make a flower like this?"

      They are two different manners of thinking, but both have a belief in God. I personally do believe, but that certainly doesn't mean that I am complacent just taking the world as it is. I am incredibly interested in the world and want to know more about it. I question everything.

      It could be argued that I am making my world-view fit my view of God, but I dont think that is true. If it is, it is only in areas where science cannot explain. Examples would be the origins of the very beginning of the first universe. Another example would be in my philosophical views on right and wrong. I believe in God, but I really don't see how that limits my view of anything; in fact, my religious convictions actually motivate me to question more.

      I certainly see what you mean by the quote. I have to ask though, does believing in a God really equate to not questioning?
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        • Sep 5 2012: I can honestly say that I have questioned the existence of God. I have examined both arguments for and against His existence. From what I have read and what I have experienced, I conclude their is a God. This belief system comes through what ultimately comes down to personal thoughts. (for example, is there a true right and wrong? or is there room for a divine causation in modern theories of science? I say yes but others say no.) I may be one of the few that has questioned the core of my religion, but I still do. Thus the idea that believe must equate to not questioning is not true.

          Also a very similar scenario applies to those not-believing in God. People who assert that there was absolutely no form of divine interaction before the universe (or the multiverse/ universes before our universe) are misconstruing science. Science does not deal with supernatural areas. God is supernatural. The truth is that we simply don't know if there could of been a divine creation. We have theories that explain our universe right now; however, these most certainly do not rule out the existence of God. After all, who is to say that if there is a God, that He couldn't use the physical constants to create the universe.

          I guess that you could still argue that I'm fitting my world view to fit my religion, but even if that is true, I am still questioning and exploring everything. I don't see how this limits my curiosity or anything of the sort though. I still don't think that having a religious belief prevents questioning.
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        • Sep 6 2012: I think you bring up very valid points, but once again, the issue is not very simple. I'm assuming the statement that there is "no answer" is referring to no scientific evidence for or against any sort of supernatural power. This is entirely true; no one can prove or disprove God. But this is the nature of the supernatural; it is not "provable" by science.That certainly doesn't mean the question is meaningless though. Belief (or disbelief in a higher power) can certainly have a huge impact on someone's life. Even if it is, in the opinions of some, totally absurd, no one can deny the amount of impact belief in high powers can have on an individual.

          The majority of your second paragraph is based on as much as humans can perceive. We as humans are bound to this universe. God, being supernatural, is not though. He could of existed before "existence" because our definition of "existence" is bound by what we can perceive. We cannot prove nor disprove that there ever was anything before time because we are bound by our human perception of time. So if God is not bound by time, He could of been before the beginning of our definition of time. Once again, this is more of a philosophical topic that isn't able to be solved through scientific inquiry.
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        • Sep 6 2012: I do see the point your making. That if I examine my belief system, it is based upon the notion that God does exist. Everything is hinged upon that one crucial fact. I completely agree, but the alternatives are simply different philosophical views. If I did change my "lens" to a different idea, I really don't think it would change my view on almost anything. I would view the world as a complex mathematical machine which is based on physical concepts. This is not any different than my view now; the only difference is that now I believe that God set up these physical constraints on the world. It doesn't in any way or form mean that I have to stop questioning scientific processes. The only thing that would possibly change would be how much time I spend doing Christian activities (almost all of them beneficial; giving to charity, meditation, and trying to live by moral principles are good examples. This is not to say that people who don't believe in God do not practices these; I simply do it much more often because of my beliefs.) and what I consider my purpose in life. Now my existence is meaning in my eyes because of my relationship with God. I love Him, and He loves me. This is my main motivating factor, and I am not ashamed to admit it (It is not the promise of a reward in Heaven either; my fulfillment comes from simply loving my Lord).

          I understand fully what you are saying. I have seen other sides, and I have questioned the existence of God. I simply arrived at a different answer than others on TED. I doesn't mean that I don't question, nor does it mean that I support all that modern day Christians have done. It simply means that I have chosen a path that gives me much fulfillment. One thing that I really don't understand is why people are so adamant that believing in God is bad. Unquestioning allegiance to doctrine is, but I do question. After all, if I am wrong, (which I wholly believe that I am not wrong) it will not matter at all.
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        • Sep 6 2012: Mark, I did not mean to come across as offensive if I did. I simply was trying to broach that believing in a supernatural God was not always directly related to the absence of questioning. This is fairly evident because some of the greatest scientific minds in history had some belief in a higher power(they might not have believed in the Christian God exactly as I do, but Newton, Galileo, and Pascal all had some religious beliefs). I do not my belief limits me in the scientific field at all; I do not have problems with the controversial theories of the day. So in a practical sense, my belief in God does not make me unable to function in a scientific world.

          In a more philosophical sense, I have found personal "proof" of God through the ideas of good and evil, the incredible workings of the universe, and my personal relationship with God. Can I scientifically prove His existence? Nope, but that is the nature of the supernatural. And even if He is just simply an icon in my head, what does it matter? If it does turn out that all religion is wrong, is that hurtful to me personally? I don't think so because my personal relationship with God has brought a lot of joy to my life while also encouraging me to be a better person.

          I believe that my statement on "changing my lens" was misinterpreted. I have had periods when I did not believe God existed. Personally, that time was very not enjoyable. I thought that life was rather pointless because, in my view, nothing was desirable. Money could provide a lavish lifestyle, but I would eventually die and cease to exist. I could help others and make them happy, and I could benefit humanity. After that I would die, but nothing I would do would ever have any real impact on anything. I found it to be a depressing outlook (not everyone's is like this, but mine was). That is what I meant to express by that statement. My scientific view of the universe was the same in both though. Being religious doesn't make me a bad scientist.
        • Sep 6 2012: I'm not exactly sure what you meant by that last paragraph. I was stating that I can still believe in both modern scientific theories and God. The two don't conflict in that manner because I believe that God could use science to create. It is kinda like "eating my cake and having it too," but that is simply the nature of philosophical and theological concepts. I'm not really sure what that last paragraph meant though.

          You can still state that I am being blind to my own ignorance. It could be argued that I am still basing my entire world view to fit my beliefs. The truth is that the existence of God is a very philosophical topic. There is not really a "right" or "wrong" answer to philosophical topics. Any atheistic view is based on atheist beliefs. Probably the best defend-able stance is the stance of agnostic. I still believe that there is a God however. In a matter that is so rooted in philosophy, it is unfounded to deem believers as intellectually incapable of questioning.

          I suppose I did answer your question against your wishes, but the whole situation comes down to personal beliefs that really are not quantifiable. I think it is very absurd to judge one on this issue.
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        • Sep 7 2012: Mark, I would first like to say that it is a pleasure talking to you because of your tact and articulacy of ideas. It is very rare that I can talk to someone about this subject without the conversation becoming quite nasty. Text is not able to express tone, so I was sure how you phrased the message before I commented on being offensive. I would like to ask a few questions because I would really enjoy to see how you feel about the subject.

          In your view, is there an absolute moral right or wrong or is that just explained by evolutionary adaptation?

          What motivates you? I find my motivation in my God, but I know others have found contentment without religion. I have heard many people attribute it to "helping others" or "making the world a better place," but it seems that these all acknowledge some sort of concept of "good." It is a different belief system, but it still is a belief system. It is basically the same as God in regards to belief, yet people call their beliefs by a different name. The only other option I could imagine with out this system of "good" would be rather bleak. This is what I was referring to with my view of a God-less universe. You have a rather different outlook though. So, if you don't mind me asking, what motivates you?

          Finally, you said "concepts do not create reality, it only creates our perception of it, and we mistake that for reality." What should we be using to create our perception of reality? If I said science, we really do not know everything about science (take quarks for example), and our view of science is constantly changing(our knowledge of DNA's structure is only 60 years old, but it has had huge impacts in science). It seems that basing it on this reality would be incomplete. Belief is self-fulfilling, so you do not wish for it to be the basis of your perception of reality. Is reason the only thing left?
        • Sep 7 2012: I have one final question. Is it possible to make reason a belief system? We base things on reason and logic, but our entire system of reasoning is based on the facts that 1) logic is true and 2) everything follows logic. By perceiving the entire universe through the lens of logic and reasoning, is one believing (by accepting that that statement is true without proof) in logic like one believes in religious beliefs? Is belief in Reasoning a belief system in and of itself?
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        • Sep 8 2012: Those were very well-thought out answers. If you do not mind though, I would like to clarify some of the questions in addition to adding some more.

          You said that there is no absolute set of values. This is why I was wondering what motivates you. I really just wanted to know what drives you personally to keep on working, learning, or even just living. It may seem very odd, but I do understand what would provide meaning without any sort of "good" to strive for. I could see basic survival motivations such as eating and drinking. I could also see working for things that make one happy such as being prosperous or even having children. I do not see how that sort of reasoning could ever lend itself to a cause though. There would be no desire to help those in poverty(or any other cause) unless there was happiness gained from it; it seems that happiness would only come from those causes if one believed in some sort of ultimate good. To me, this would be a very bleak world view where nothing had meaning, so I really just did not understand what motivated you.

          Ironically though, the way you described belief is how felt when I had no belief in God. "If you look through the lense of belief, eveything seems dull, you get bored and frustrated, you wonder what's the point" is the exact way I felt without a belief in God. I should also point out though that my relationship with God is not the negative stereotypical example that is seen commonly in our society. You point out that religion is normally fear-based but I do not see my relationship with God like that. I simply love Him, and He loves me. I try to live a Christian life because I want to make Him happy(much like a married person ideally will try to their spouse happy. It is loved-based not fear-based.). I totally understand that you don't see religion like that though, and i respect that.
        • Sep 8 2012: I'm also a little confused on what you were stating when you were talking about reality. You claim that we should just look at reality as it is. You start talking about how reason and all thought processes are abstract, symbolic, or representative of reality. You state that science is another proxy of abstractions. It seems that you are saying that no matter what, we are not able to fully perceive reality. We must then formulate reality based on our interpretations of it. We often attribute much reputability to science and logic. However, science is not perfect, and logic is only logical because we believe in logic. It all ultimately comes down to personal cogitation. (Of course people could have faulty logic, but even that is only bad logic if we believe that true logic is true.)

          If that previous paragraph is true, I do not see why people are so hostile to the notion of God. You have been incredibly neutral in the issue and respectful of my beliefs. Thank you for that. I just don't get it though. If someone is agnostic, they should not care because in this mindset, it wouldn't matter. Atheism uses a belief-based argument which ironically it is criticizing. I can understand why people would accuse Christians but attacking God makes no sense to me. (sorry for the rant, I just have never got this.)

          One last question, If God is supernatural, is it really irrational to say He doesn't exist if we are basing it only upon what we can experience of reality? It seems that we are basing the rationality of God based entirely upon the scientific measurable phenomena, which by definition is the physical realm. If God is supernatural, He isn't measurable by these methods. Can we say He is either rational or irrational based on this?
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      Sep 5 2012: Jan :

      "The starting point of belief is the ending point of inquiry."

      You didn't provide any reasons for your quote --- I understand you , there aren't many , no relevant one in fact , that quote is almost entirely false . No realization would have happened without belief , no big deed would have been done without believing , without faith . Only if you are entirely ignorant about the history of the humans big realization you can make a bit of sense with that quote .
      Atheism and the art : I could never find 2 more opposite things .
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        Sep 5 2012: Hi Eduard (E G)
        To me, the quote makes a lot of sense. What it says to me, is that once we think we "know" the answer, we stop exploring. If we thiink we are already "right" with our beliefs, we stop being open to anything else. Those who ask questions, investigate further and are curious, can usually learn more than those who are "stuck" in certain beliefs.

        The reasons for the quote Eduard, and the relevance to this topic seem clear to me. I don't think Jan or I are ignorant, and it serves no useful purpose to suggest that Eduard.

        Atheism and art are not at all opposites Eduard....there are plenty of atheists who are artists, just as there are many artists who believe in a god.
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          Sep 5 2012: To believe doesn't mean for the most believers , for the all decent believers in fact , that 'they know the answer' . So what sense does that still make to you ?

          You can't be artist and claim that 'The starting point of belief is the ending point of inquiry' .
      • Sep 5 2012: There is where you perhaps are viewing things backward E G. It is when we begin to inquire that we arrive at realization, not when we believe, or think we know. No big deed would have been done without questioning. Take Isaac Newton. When he was taking a walk, an apple fell down a tree, and he asked himself: Does the moon also fall? That is when he arrived at realizing the Newtonian Laws he presented to the world. Would he have just believed the moon was a goddess of some sort, that would have been the end of it. No inquiry, no realization, no 'big deed'. The quote in itself is self-explanatory, that is the reason I didn't have to say much. It views things from an unbiased, unknowing standview. The greatest words that we can utter in life is: 'I don't know' (thus proceeding to finding out).

        If it were for belief, we would sadly still be living in the Dark Ages. Now on the other hand, imagination (hypothesis) is what propels the knowledge forward; another thing entirely. Believing something to be true, does not make it so; interestingly enough that often happens: Belief becomes a person's truth, and when this person tells others it is the truth, well, that is dogma. So attributing the unanswered to the doings of a supernatural being, is counterproductive. I am an agnostic myself, that doesn't know if there is a God or not; but when someone else claims the existence of Her/Him, that person better have some evidence to those claims (other than that person's word, oath, or faith). For that reason you can read 'The act of disproving or proving a belief arrives you at what truly is.' at the end of the quote.
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          Sep 5 2012: You're arguing the importance of the inquiry as if I was talking against it , I was't . I was arguing for the importance of belief and for the falsity of your quote . (your first paragraph)

          You're talking as if I said that the big deeds happened ONLY because of belief .......... this is another misinterpretation . (your first part of the second paragraph ) .

          "So attributing the unanswered to the doings of a supernatural being, is counterproductive"
          If only this is what happens with some theists , I would agree with you but it isn't , they are also for knowing God , that's why what they do is more than productive . Anyway your quote still remains false , you provide no reason for it .
        • Sep 5 2012: Jan, I certainly see what point you are trying to make about belief, but I do not believe that belief must equate to accepting adherence to teachings of a religious power. Take for example Galileo. Galileo suffered persecution from the church for opposing the idea that the earth was at the center of the universe, but he opposed the idea. He was still a Christian though. He was actually quoted saying, "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." This is actually a very fitting quote for the point I would like to make. It is very possible to believe in God and still question the world. It is still possible to be productive in science while also believing in God.
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        Sep 5 2012: Dear Eduard,
        One can be an artist and believe whatever s/he wants to believe:>)
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          Sep 5 2012: I'm sorry Colleen but that isn't true . I'ts not here the place to talk about what to be an artist mean , yet..... .
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        Sep 5 2012: The following are among the artists who considered themselves atheists: Duchamps, Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet, Picasso, and Raphael.
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          Sep 5 2012: Hi Fritzie....haven't seen you in a couple days....nice to see you again:>)

          Eduard (E G)
          YOU brought artists into the discussion with your comment above...
          "You can't be artist and claim that 'The starting point of belief is the ending point of inquiry' "

          Now that evidence is offered of people being artists AND atheists, you say "I'ts not here the place to talk about what to be an artist mean , yet..... . "

          OK....fine Eduard....we won't talk about it if it is uncomfortable for you:>)
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          Sep 6 2012: Fritzie :

          In this case the single thing that have in common the atheists from here (TED) with that you mentioned is only the name .

          Colleen :

          It's not uncomfortable for me to talk about my ideas , I'm not sure about you .... ?
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          Sep 6 2012: I am comfortable talking about ideas E G.

          Eduard,
          You expressed a concern/idea...
          "You can't be artist and claim that 'The starting point of belief is the ending point of inquiry' . "

          Fritzie and I addressed your concern, providing evidence, then you wrote...;
          "I'ts not here the place to talk about what to be an artist mean , yet..... . "

          YOU expressed an idea, WE followed through with addressing YOUR idea, then you say this is not the place to talk about it.

          If you were more clear with your communications Eduard, you might have more interesting conversations.
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        Sep 5 2012: Eduard,
        I understand that you may not want to look at this right now, but you brought it up, and if you do want to explore it at some point, here is some information.

        Listings of atheists, according to profession, and you will find artists under the catagory of "Visual Arts".

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_atheists
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          Sep 6 2012: Colleen :

          I'm afraid you got me wrong . I should have been more clear , that's true . I knew , I know there are artists atheists , it's too obvious to don't know .

          However , what we could be arguing about is that the atheism I met here has nothing to do with art .
          That quote is an evidence in this sense , it is obvious to me Jan Seidler and his words have nothing to do with art , and he is an atheist or agnostic. You don't believe in god and seem to agree with him .
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        Sep 6 2012: I agree E G...you could be more clear. I also agree that atheism may have nothing to do with art, but YOU brought it up. I am not arguing with you E G, you are arguing with yourself. Fritzie and I simply provided information to you, so you would see that there ARE indeed artists who are atheists.

        I agree that the quote Jan Seidler offers is very insightful, and addresses the topic of this discussion.
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    TED

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    Sep 21 2012: This conversation is being closed early, due to a series of unconstructive and disrespectful discussions.
  • Sep 19 2012: Maybe God is a mystery that meant to be experienced not believed in. :)
  • Sep 4 2012: One of the reasons I've read here on TED is the fact there is no material, physical proof of God's existence. People who rely totally on material resources seemingly reject any possibility of spirit! I can't speak for anyone who professes not to believe, but I would encourage everyone to be fully honest with self and others regarding possibilities of a vast reality of spirit existence.

    The only real proof of God's existence is an individual's personal experience. These varied widely since the beginning of human beings and some people developed false beliefs, largely on ignorance. These false beliefs, be they obvious or subtle, I believe have driven some people to greatly distrust all religion. But, we people need true light! Humanity will emerge from great confusion. It will take patience and faith.

    My understanding is the original person who was planetary prince, a non-human invisible to human eyes, defaulted and went into rebellion against higher authority and took this planet into spiritual darkness. Adam and Eve defaulted and even more confusion developed. We have a long way to go to right things and we will be helped. Great spiritual growth will someday be evident.

    It is the errors of the past that caused spiritual disarray and we have problems including confusing religious position and prognostication.

    I hope this addresses your question.
    Peace,
    MK
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      Sep 9 2012: Hi Mark. Thumbs up for the comment.

      I would just suggest that as an atheist I do not deny religious or spiritual experiences. I tend to think they are just neurological events, however I do not deny the possibility of spirit.

      However, I would also suggest to the religious that spiritual experience could very easy be just brain/mind processes. I would suggest these are not evidence of spirit or god.

      In fact they seem so subjective in interpretation to not be a reliable indicator of any particular view point. Personal experience could simply be a trick of the mind, like imaginary friends for adults. And I'm not aware of any belief system based on revelation, scripture or authority standing out.
      • Sep 9 2012: Thank you for your thoughtful response. As I consider the larger topic of relating to the Cosmos, religions, and personal involvement, we are wise to remember the many events in which people actually saw and communicated with non-human beings. I am not familiar with all of them. There is the report of Gabriel appearing to Mary and to her cousin Elizabeth. A celestial appeared to Jesus when he was age 12; again a spiritual event witnessed by the Baptist John and James, the brother of Jesus after Jesus' baptism. They all heard the voice of the Father God approving of His Son. There could be thousands more examples.

        I question the doubting of such stories; maybe some details are missing but how can we honestly dismiss them. Also, this Jesus appeared 19 times to nearly 1,500 people in different places after his death. He talked to them and then disappeared from their view. These 1,500 people surely were not kooks or psychos, nor were they experiencing hallucinations, were they?

        What other evidence of spiritual exists that is worthy of your time and honest examination?

        Regarding neurological, I suggest no human being can separate spiritual from neurological life forces in mind. Yes, I do believe some mortals have experienced strong psychic events, but a balanced, truth seeking mind need not suffer fanatical results.

        If you want to discuss more privately, then send me an email.,

        In kindness intended.
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          Sep 10 2012: Hi Mark, perhaps it depends on your starting assumptions or world view.

          Gabriel apparently quoted the Koran to the prophet Muhammad over decades. The founder of the Church of Latter day saints and Swedenborgs and Christian Scientists also claim visions.

          Shamans and figures from different religions have had conflicting visions and revelation, divine dreams.

          Gurus is India today are performing miricales similar to those claimed by Christians or the bible. One guru even claims to be born a virgin and there are thousands alive today that attest to his miracles.

          Some of these visions and belief in miracles may be genuine. Some contrived.

          If genuine - people hallucinate or unconsciously subjectively misinterpreting or selectively filter and interpret sensory data all the time. You probably give legitimacy to the proposed visions that fit your world view.

          If an old holy book of another religion states something miraculous and that there were 1,501 eye witnesses, would you believe. Do you believe the living witnesses in India? Do you believe in the Koran quoted by Gabriel?

          I agree that the supernatural may be acting through our bodies and brains. I don't know how we could tell either way for sure because the proposed spirit is not detectable in normal means. So when someone prays or drops acid and experiences something we will never know if they touched this mysterious realm or not.

          What we know of the new testament is that the oldest texts estimated at 30 to 90 years after Jesus is supposed to have died. We don't know who the authors were of the gospels. The gospels may have developed as oral traditions for decades. Who knows. I see no reason not to be sceptical of anything written in the bible or Koran etc. Especially the supernatural claims. We don't know if 1500 people saw something, or someone just made it up.

          Appreciate the discussion. I guess we have different views on what counts as compelling evidence and whether it is appropriate selectively decriminate
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          Sep 20 2012: Mark Thanks for your studius remarks.

          In a way I'm like Obey, I do believe in some type of spiritual part of our material machinery, a life force if you will allow it. Something, perhaps, not detectible with the tools we have in science today. Many of us are aware of super human qualities of the brain, the body and the brain over the body and have seen demonstrations in the laboratory, but the life force that causes a rock to become animated and have self interest has yet to be detected. There have been adequate and possible explanations about how DNA arose in the primordial soup but no real laboratory reproductions of this process. The code of Life which is nothing more than an arrangement of atoms so to cause a perpetuating motion within a system of molecules and whence it came from is still a mystery.

          I notice that we humans categorizes ourselves in levels of mind strength and talent for discovering new and meaningful knowledge. These abilities are well and above the animal kingdom on this planet. Isn't it strange that we bear so much resemblance to a chimpanzee?
          Yet we are so far removed in brain strength.

          Sometimes I think that DNA is a manufactured product and cannot be invented by random chance in sufficient quantities to explain for the abundance of life on our planet. Science has demonstrated the possibility of us being able to manufacture it, even though we haven't done so yet.

          What many call evolution I say has more to do with environmental influences, until we discover life on another planet that is chemically different from ours.

          Do you sometimes get the feeling in TED that you are in a room with first graders all the way to 12 graders and beyond with only one teacher? The question swings from total ignorance of the nature of the conversation to the level where it is adequately being examined by confident intellectuals, interspersed with crackpots and smirking little children. :)









          So, I wonder and keep an open mind.
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    Sep 21 2012: The answer to the question why does something exist and not nothing, is energy. for it can neither be created or destroyed. And the only thing that does exist is energy in its infinite forms. My universe/energy is your God.
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        Sep 21 2012: Good day to you sir,

        I don't understand the last sentence. Own?

        Yes I do believe this to be true that all that exist is energy. I have some current problems with our current understanding of the big bang but that neither here or there.
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        Sep 21 2012: Yes 100% those are my words from my mouth and or finger tips. However you would like to look at it.
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          Sep 21 2012: Hey Casey!
          Your comments are short and sweet:>)

          I'm wondering if we are on the same page with this idea? I agree with you that energy is neither created or destroyed. So, I believe that the energy that powers the body, may be in another form (or no form at all, as we humans know form) when the body dies.

          When you say..."My universe/energy is your God", are you suggesting that you and I may call it energy, and others may call it God, and it is actually the same thing? I believe the terms god/soul/spirit are words created to try to explain the energy that powers our body.

          I also noticed another of your comments, where you said time is a human construct, which I totally agree with....energy has no time frame.
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        Sep 21 2012: Hello Colleen,

        Yes I am saying that what I (and most) call energy other call their deity. I actually am also a spiritual person I am a level 3 Reiki student which is a form of energy healing. I am short and sweet with my comments because I don't to loose track of what being said. And I and other people can go on wild tangents and it much harder to bring back full circle via text.
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          Sep 21 2012: Hi Casey,
          I agree with your perspective, and am familier with Reiki. I TOTALLY agree...short and sweet comments are good for the reasons you mention:>)

          Don,
          You got the notice because of the TED reply sequence, which you must be familier with by now?
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        Sep 21 2012: Don,

        I think it is all in the same reply line. She had no place to reply to next to her name so I went with the closest reply button.

        Yes Reiki is very interesting and is the seeking of higher vibrational fields of energy. That is already flowing through everything and everyone. I am sorry she regressed. Also Reiki does not need to replace your spiritual deity they work hand and hand and the label that is given to them is your choice. Most people in my classes refer to it as spirit or god or even jesus as well as alluh . All these terms are fine, for they all mean and represent in that persons mind the same thing as the other persons mind.

        If you would like to talk more about reiki and maybe what happened with your wife and her regression in private manners, I would be more then happy to. cs3@email.com
  • Sep 20 2012: I ran out of space there oops. As predicted, I was starting to get waffly! I have lots of other little things about the idea of God and religion that irk me a little, but I feel if I keep going I'll get too far away from addressing your question.
    Can everything that happens on Earth happen by chance? I don't know. I'm fine with the idea of life having developed by chance, and think it makes more sense to believe that than to invent an answer so as to avoid uncertainty, i.e. God. What has happened here, I feel, is humans, as opposed to all other life on Earth that we know of, have developed big brains and begun to question their existence. The easy thing to do, is to say that there is a creator, a reason, a 'purpose', and all the mystery and wonder and uncertainty is gone. I think that when everything is taken in perspective, the more honest and defensible and, dare I say it, the more daring thing to do is to put oneself out there and say, "There's no reason to invent a God. I am brave enough to stand upon the precipice of my own existence, to answer to myself, to take the uncertainty and the drama and the harshness, to take this burdensome, glorious and beautiful thing that is life and bleed and love and die in all its brief fury." To imply that beauty can be appreciated and worth be gotten from life only when one is living for God, with a belief in God, is insulting. It's insulting to me, to animals, to the universe even. Take animals for example. They never contemplate their existence, so thereby have no reason to live? Have you seen the joy of a dog chasing a ball, a lion chasing a zebra, an eagle in flight above the highest mountain? There is beauty in the universe, and that beauty continues to exist in and of itself, in life, in rocks and molecules and empty space and all that there is, regardless of the pace at which it moves, regardless of the observer or lack of an observer, regardless of the existence or non-existence of god(s).
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      Sep 20 2012: Very beautifully expressed Jamie.......thank you:>)
  • Sep 20 2012: Your question seems quite genuine Arthur so I'll try my best to give you my reasons for being an atheist, in as simple and honest and non-contrived a manner as I can manage. I went to a Catholic primary school, tried my best to believe it and did my confirmation and all those things, said my prayers, told myself God was listening and all of that. I was always a little unsure of it and had my suspicions but at 6 or 7 my simple answer to these doubts was to give it a good shot and if it was all true and correct I'd feel it. I never had a big epiphany type moment, and I was at least a bit scared when I was moving away from religion because of course we were told that it gives our life its purpose and beauty and whatnot. I have always been very logical and questioning though, and my questions and my doubting eventually lead me to not believe in any God or gods or spirit, and I'm happy to be here. I suppose to answer your question this is the part where you'll be wanting my reasons for this, so here goes. I have a feeling I'm going to have difficulty being succint and clear here but I'll try.
    1. There are so many different religions, with so many different beliefs and gods and customs, they can't all be correct in asserting their god(s) and customs as the correct ones. It seems equally unlikely that just one is correct, and the others all wrong.
    2. The fact that most religions attribute some special importance to humans for me is enough reason to conclude that they are simply a product of human invention and have no relation to truth or reality. Perspective is important here to understand my point: humans have been around for roughly 1/1500 the time that the Earth has been around. Yet, in most religions their image of god bears some resemblance to a human? Why not a single-cell organism of some kind? To me this seems ludicrous and almost upsettingly anthropocentric, and at the same time a clear indication that God is an invention of ours.
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      Sep 20 2012: Very beautifully expressed Jamie....thank you very much:>)
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    Sep 19 2012: Arthur,
    There are many creation myths. I believe that Genesis is just another one. In none of these creation myths does it say HOW God created anything. Nor do they tell you ANYTHING verifiable about God. Religion says that God is good. If that were true, then we have a lot of bad by this good God. Religion says that bad is the result of the devil. But if God is omnipotent, then God allows it all to happen. Where is the virtue in that?

    I was raised as a Catholic. My parents believed in purgatory. They wanted me to be the perfect child so I wouldn't have to suffer in purgatory. My childhood was a nightmare.

    Today, we have many people who believe in God who would just as soon you were dead so there would be more for them to enjoy. Do you think that their belief in God is any less real than yours?

    You say without God (in whatever name), how could you live? You'd have no direction or paths. Since I was born, I have found no store or any item in them that was created by the being that you call God. Even food can be explained by ecology. I didn't find my profession in a church, and unless you are a minister, neither did you. Your profile says that you are passionate about technology. How is God responsible for technology? I found my paths in modern education. What other paths are there?

    In what points is God's knowledge better than ours?

    What is your reason for living if it isn't for the betterment of the people?

    What makes it difficult for you to not believe in God?

    Before you answer, you may want to look at my profile. I am not an atheist. But I came close to being one, and what I wrote in my comment are the reasons why.
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      Sep 20 2012: I agree with much you say Roy.

      For believers to assume what a god says via scripture or dogma or the pope/authority says is moral and good by definition is a totally circular argument.

      This not explain why these pronouncements are good. God says so is not a satisfactory explanation.

      Why is it okay if your god says kill homosexuals but not okay if someone else's says kill infidels?

      A morality based on reducing human suffering, increasing happiness/wellbeing and improving the human condition is so much more elegant. And it is based on somethings we know are true and real and reasonable - that sentient beings exist, that joy is preferable to needless suffering.
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        Sep 20 2012: Obey,
        These are all very good points. They need to be addressed by the church if the church wants to survive.

        The church has dictated much of what people are supposed to believe without explanation. They chose what books would go into their "Word of God". They rebuked spiritual gifts as the work of the devil. They were a very condemning lot. It came down to having to make a choice between evolution and creation. The evidence of evolution could be presented. The evidence of a God creating could not be. The church did not consider the evidence of evolution when I was growing up. And the pains of suffering in hell verses the joys of eternal happiness in heaven were the only driving forces for accepting the church over science. Once you see through that, science is the only logical choice. Science was growing. Science was producing results. Science was providing answers that made sense. I could understand science. I couldn't understand what the church was doing. If I had to make a choice, it didn't take rocket science to figure out which one to go with. Although science did offer rocket science if you wanted to know.
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    Sep 19 2012: I'm just going to answer your title question since the rest gets kind of messy...

    In my case I don't believe since there's no reason to, It's as simple as that.

    furthermore I'd like to end with a quote

    "Science adjusts it's views based on whats observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so the belief can be preserved" - Tim Minchin
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      Sep 20 2012: Now I suppose you are going to tell me the great evidence that Tim Minchin discovered that proves, once and for all that God doesn't exist so we can put this argument to rest; right Jimmy?
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          Sep 20 2012: Gabo, I'll get back to you in a moment. There are 16 messages ahead of you. :)
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          Sep 20 2012: Ok. I read the nonesense again. I hope that make you happy.

          I don't read Minchin. I read John_Moonstroller. For some reason his world make better sense to me, I suppose because I'm so close and kindired in his thoughts and undersatndings.

          Minchin said: "Faith is the denial of observation so the belief can be preserved" - Tim Minchin

          Gabo there are two extreames in this God issue. The ones on the right:' We don't believe in God", and the ones on the left: "God is all there is".

          Neither side can scientifically prove the other side is wrong. So they pound it out with analogy's, metaphorical reasoning, hoping that one of the rocks will land on the other side and hit someone in the head, bringing them to reason.

          Just down the street where away from where this obscene war is taking place, is place of calm where people share ideas about their differences with respect and calm. We call those people. Open minded and reasonable.

          They are in the middle and treat all ideas with respect, weighing their potential and descriptively filing them away in their minds without upsetting the originator of the idea. They turn and smile.

          Is it pretentious? Yes it is. But it's a harmless form of pretentiousness. Kinda like a white lie. :)

          I have to tell you the truth. I've gotten more knowledge from watching Forest Gump then I have from reading the comments in this conversation.
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        Sep 20 2012: Well, Tim Mincin is an artist/comedian, I'm not taking His word as law (sound familiar?), I just like the quote.

        Can you prove to me once and for all the the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" doesn't exist? How would you refute this preposterous thesis? You see you can't do that, it's impossible to "disprove" something that has yet to be proved... And you (or your community, or any religion for that matter) have still failed to do so (your scriptures aren't proof they're hear-say stories past down and altered along the way)...

        Get started on the basic understanding of the burden of proof by clicking on the link ;-) http://lmgtfy.com/?q=burden+of+proof
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          Sep 20 2012: Of course I can't prove it..... silly boy :)
          I'm sixty years old and haven't seen him come around yet. But, I haven't' been to mars either or Lithuania for that matter.

          There is much I haven't seen in this short life.

          I'll probably never see it all but, my reasonable mind, knowing and understanding the vastness of realty, isn't going to wash aware possibilities just because I haven't seen it. In sixty years, I've yet to see anyone who has. But, I have spoken to people who have witnessed miracles.

          Were those miracles real? To them they were and I'm not the type of self-centered know it all to try to make them believe otherwise. It doesn't affect my life. It's a small thing. Something that shouldn't bother a big mind. Be sides, I've seen miracles myself.

          Things that are unexplainable by any means of science the defy my understanding of Physics and science. What am I to do? Pretend it didn't happen? That would be pretentious, something I am not.

          Can you:)

          The link you posted is cute.... that's about all it conveys. When you grow up and become a man, you will put away such childish behavior and take a manly course through life and discover many things. Until then, your just a child. Have some respect for your elders. What they know could keep you alive in hard times, and, son, there are had time coming for your generation. You should be preparing. Can you garden? Can yo saw a tree with a manual crosscut saw? Have you ever tried it? Could you watch your child grow hotter and hotter with fever and then die what you look on helplessly? These were the trials of your forefathers, who turned to God when science let them down.

          I was a combat warrior for Vietnam. I can assure you, there are no Atheists in Foxholes when the mortars start landing close to your hole in the ground.
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          Sep 20 2012: You have seen and participated in miracles John....I have seen, am called a miracle.....we are here! We have both faced near fatal head/brain injuries....correct? I need to ask you again John.....what do you think about Don Wesley's theory that those who have sustained head/brain injuries do not have any emotions?
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          Sep 20 2012: Gotta keep in mind Jimmy that burden of proof is usually a legal term. Science, against what many people believe, does not work as a court room, where an individual tries to make a case, brings facts and proof, and convinces an audience that a verdict is true.

          Many religion vs. science discussions start because people confuse the definition of "facts" as in the courtroom evidence, with "data" as collected during a scientific experiment, and theory (as a courtroom speculation) with a scientific theory (like the well established theory of general relativity) which helps make predictions that can later be compared to "data" as many times as desired or physically possible

          cheers
        • Sep 20 2012: Andres,
          The burden of proof is also the philosophically obvious point. If somebody claims that there's a god, then it is that person's burden of proof to show that such a thing is there, not for others to prove the negative. This is logic, not courts. This logic applies to science just as much. Otherwise we would have tons of fantasy in the field helping understand nothing at all. After all, we can make claims about things and they would have to accept them even if the proponent did not show any evidence for the claim.

          Do you see the problem? Not courts, simple, straightforward logic. The burden of proof lies in the one making the claim for the existence of something, not in the one who prefers to hold verdict (metaphorically speaking) until shown some evidence.
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          Sep 21 2012: Ok dad...... :) I'll go read it again. Ok. I read the same nonsense again.

          You state: "For evidence that "God" does not exist (if you asked the proper person, one who has told you that "God" does not exist), you have to define which of all gods ever invented, believed to exist, you are talking about. For example, some are nonsensical, thus positively nonexistent."

          I say there are no rules in this game and if you can't handle that Lower your tone. I'm never messy. I'm usually clear and concise. I do notice you post is bloated with conflicting ideals and nonexistent notions about rules that do not exist and wavers a bit off the main message.
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    Sep 19 2012: Just for fun (for atheists, that is), heed the initial warning http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr1I3mBojc0
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      Sep 20 2012: That guy has makeup on his eyes.... ;) Reminds me of Alice Cooper.

      I don't see the connection to the short remark you made the video you pointed me too. The video was a waste of my time.
      Just for fun, why don't you elaborate a bit on what it is you are implying Jimmy. Help me dispell my confusion on the thang..... :)
      • Sep 20 2012: He did not point you to the video. The comment clearly says "for atheists that is."
        I enjoyed it.
        :)
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        Sep 20 2012: Well you see John, from an atheists point of view it's funny because i't's true.

        The song kind of points to many religious mindsets which we find hilarious and very sad at the same time. At least that's how I interpret it...
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    Sep 17 2012: Hi Arthur,

    I would be interested to read what you have to say on this discussion... I went through the whole conversation but I could not see your comments anywhere.

    Sometimes this same topic becomes a battlefield, as many have pointed out. I for one certainly do not enjoy that kind of battlefield discussion, and would rather discuss the topic in a friendly way, able to learn and try to convey my point of view respectfully.

    Why do you think atheists don't believe in god? (and if you allow me to pick on the last sentence in the question, it's really not all that difficult!)

    cheers.
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        Sep 17 2012: Hi Don, thanks for pointing me to the University of Virginia debates. A ton of information there, for sure. I don't particularly like the debate format. I find it too much similar to the courtroom format, which i think is very constrained and polarizing, and way too much weight is given to the best speaker and not to the facts that are presented. But filtering out these aspects, i must say there is good information that can be extracted from those University of Virginia debates.

        I must agree with you, that our words not only convey our thoughts, but have embedded our feelings and subconscious background. As i have said before, the way we say something or ask a question reveals a lot about us as a person.

        Yes, people have a natural reaction when they feel their belief foundations under attack, having done a bit of research on that, I think it is because of cognitive dissonance... that uncomfortable feeling we get when we begin discovering that something we previously believed to be true, may not be exactly the way we thought.

        But different people react differently to cognitive dissonance. Some simply walk out to avoid receiving more information on the contended point of view... Some discard any alternative, fiercely attacking anybody who thinks differently. I must say that the scientific community has an advantage, as it lives with cognitive dissonance all the time. Even the most cherished ideas in science are put to test with differing alternatives all the time. I think there lies the secret. We must learn to control our subconscious (that unpleasant feeling when the dissonance is realized) and must be able to live our lives knowing that a different version of the truth might be out there. It takes some practice, but it has been done for a few hundred years successfully

        Someone mentioned that to be an atheist you need have considered god at some point. There is some truth there, at least in my case. But i don't think that qualifies as proof of existence

        cheers
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    Sep 16 2012: Wow. Religion and politics ... no middle ground. I am not feelin the love here.

    If I showed you ten photos .. please select the one who represent 1) religious; 2) atheists; 3) non believers. Which of the three can do a good deed? Which of three can love his brother? Which of the three could be a friend in need? There is no need to go on. Any of the three could fill the need.

    Why is it that when this conversation comes up the need to convert someone is the highest purpose.

    This is no longer a debate. Trenches have been dug and barbs have been cast.

    My question now is this ... Is this an idea worth spreading? TED needs to evaluate this question and perhaps be more cautious of what discussions are more along the lines of ideas, questions, and debates.

    I was not even going to look at this site because of the gauntlet that had been thrown down by Authur McQueen. I could see the direction this would take and sure enough it did.

    The conversation monitors allowed Gabo and Don to duke it out and even spurred it on with placing the comments in the box of 12. Conversation monitors should be the voice of reason. One person, Colleen, did attempt to intervene and sought resonable exchange ... to no avail.

    I give thumbs up to Jimmy Strobl and Colleen Steen for the best comments. Thanks for lightening it up.

    All the best. Bob.
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      Sep 16 2012: Thank you Robert, for your kind words and recognition of my attempt. Mediating with convicted felons was sometimes easier than mediating with religious extremists/fundamentalists/religious enthusiasts! The criminals were a little more open minded.

      Bob, you ask...."Why is it that when this conversation comes up the need to convert someone is the highest purpose"?

      Misery loves company?

      I too am a little disappointed in TED for allowing this to continue. We see preaching, insults which question other people's integrity, mental capacity and stability, and a lot of very off topic rhetoric.

      Thanks again for your kind words.
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          Sep 16 2012: Don,
          The topic of this discussion is "Atheism: why do people don't believe in God?"
        • Sep 16 2012: "If we had quick Justice, you would have fewer criminals minds to change. " What does this mean?
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        Sep 20 2012: In your preachy statement colleen, I didn't see one word related to the topic, yet you hammer the others and call out to the TED god to do you homage?

        Can't you see how hypocritical that is Colleen?


        To Brian up above: That's Christian speak for the "coming of the Lord". If your going to disagree with someone you need to read the material your disagreeing with.

        To don. down below:

        I listened to that music the little girl sent to you. It was very pretty, like her. I had no problem playing along on my guitar. That young lady has very good taste in music. She looks a bit like Vennasa Mae, don't you think?.
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          Sep 20 2012: You are right John....my previous comment was off topic. I simply acknowledged Robert's insightful recognition of the fact that I was trying to seek reasonable exchange in this conversation.

          My intent was not to "call out to the TED god to do.... homage"

          My statement is:
          "I too am a little disappointed in TED for allowing this to continue. We see preaching, insults which question other people's integrity, mental capacity and stability, and a lot of very off topic rhetoric."

          TED has a "terms of use" agreement, which we all sign when joining the TED community. Generally, comments which are off topic, with disrespectful name calling, are removed by TED. I stated that I was/am "disappointed" that what generally happens, did not happen. I understand that to be a choice TED makes with each and every interaction.
        • Sep 20 2012: John, isn't that a fancy way of saying, when the lord returns to murder all those who do not pledge allegiance to his divine dictatorship? My point was that Don was essentially endorsing the murder of people on the fence about God, as a "quick justice", which is downright reprehensible.
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      Sep 16 2012: Mr. Winner I have to disagree that Ted should have intervened. I agree with most of what you said but it would be worse I believe if it was censored.

      Debates can get heated and trenches dug but that does not automatically invalidate the process. New knowledge can come from the process just as the ancient Greeks understood.

      What I learned here was how to articulate what my stance was succinctly and accurately to decrease any inaccuracies. And I could not have done that had my stance not been challenged.

      I agree that it can degrade into stupidity but that is the risk. It is somewhat new for some of us to debate in the online discussion format so we are all learning as we go. Mistakes can happen. But to censor this all the time would not allow people to learn. That would be sad.

      I do not think there are any easy answers but I really do not think that censorship is one of them.
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      Sep 20 2012: At least he's a nice person.......
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      Sep 16 2012: Jimmy!!!
      Great to see you again:>)

      Two of my favorites are Kuan Yin and Kali:>)
  • Sep 15 2012: Hi Arthur, it looks to me like your primary question is about how atheists assign purpose and meaning to a life not directed by God. I'll start by addressing your chance comment - Lack of belief in a deity in no way implies that everything happens by chance. Chance is a human construct created to help us conceptualize situations in which we lack the required information to definitively determine the result of an action. Things do not happen by chance, but through cause-and-effect principles. When people choose paths for themselves, be it through religion or not, they do so because they have found something which they enjoy and as such seek to let that enjoyment fill their life. Perhaps a good way to think about it is taking your purpose for living, and replacing the suffix of " because I believe in God" with " because I would enjoy such a life". Additionally, God is not the only thing which can provide paths. Society, family, friends, and everything else we experience in our lives provides us with direction.

    I'm afraid that I can't quite make out the point you were trying to provide in your second paragraph. If you would clarify it, I would be more than happy to give my viewpoint on that as well.
  • Sep 15 2012: "Can't they see His signs and can everything that happens on Earth happen by chance?"

    How do you know you're not just looking for patterns that aren't there? What's so implausible about things happening by chance?

    "If I don't believe in Allah, Jesus, Buddha or any other God, how can I live? I'll have no direction or paths."

    And I lament the fact that Bar Refaeli is not my girlfriend, alas, wishing something was a certain way doesn't make it reality.

    "If I don't believe in any God, then (I suppose) we are saying that everything that happens, happens by chance. What will be the purpose of living then?"

    I have a bachelor degree in physics but I've never heard of a law of physics that says life must have a purpose.
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    Sep 13 2012: "My question to all atheists is that, why don't they believe in God? Can't they see His signs and can everything that happens on Earth happen by chance? If I don't believe in Allah, Jesus, Buddha or any other God, how can I live? I'll have no direction or paths."

    If you believe that God controls everything that happens on earth then, along with his miracles, you must attribute every tragedy to him also. Would you rape, murder and torture? If not I don't see how you could suggest that you're made in his image. How can you live? Just like me, very well and always in the same direction.

    " If we'll get all that knowledge, what will be the difference between Him and us?"

    The difference is that we tend to share our knowledge with each other as we don't lose any of it by doing so.

    " What will be the purpose of living then?"

    The purpose is to enjoy it, to bask in its richness by collecting as much as you can of what you value most.

    "We already live in such chaotic conditions, so isn't it better to die in this case?"

    I don't think I could handle the dissonance of believing that God is responsible for the chaotic conditions that would make you want to die if you didn't believe in him. The headache is already starting.

    "nor am I saying that atheists should die or have no reasons to live"

    Right, you're not saying that we should die, just that we should want to die.
    • Sep 13 2012: My question to creationists, why don't they believe in science? Can't they see the signs and causation relationships in nature? If I don't believe in science then how can I use this computer, drive to work, skype my mom or fly to hawaii. I'll have no capability in this world, no gps to guide my path.

      The argument goes either way. It comes down to this:
      Some people choose to use their brains differently than others. A fashion designer spends a lot more time thinking about color and material and flow than most of us. They spend less time concerned about viscosity and temperature than a formula one engineer. So engineers wear the clothes and designers drive cars and hopefully appreciate the focus and talent that produced the objects of they enjoy.

      Science minded atheists spend more time asking why and how are we here than do creation minded religious people. This is not an assumption it is a necessary outcome of the world view of both. Creationists have an answer that suits them so no need to ask why, atheists do not.

      Creationism, religion in general, traditions, manners etc. are all mental shortcuts so that we can use our brains for things we find interesting or important. The problem is that the shortcuts are contextual and the world's contexts are dissolving into one. That is the reality. Evolve your shortcuts or your mind will become irrelevant your opinions suspect. We need all the minds we can get so please keep up with new science if that's your thing and evolve your morality if that's your thing. For context, creationists are more hardline than the pope when it comes to science issues. This is the same office that ran the inquisition, went on crusades and jailed scientists that disagreed with them. They evolved.
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        Sep 15 2012: The most concise and accurate statement in regard to religion is that "Religion is the opiate of the people."

        Originally from Marx and pulled from a longer statement about the role of religion in a society that is less than ideal, the parallels between opiates and religious beliefs are endless and potently precise.

        As someone who was once very familiar with the daily use of opiates, I will stick to what I know and you can make your own inferences.

        Everyone knows that opiates are administered to dull pain, and everyone knows that they are addictive. While opiates can make you more comfortable, they don't help to heal the source of your discomfort, they make you care less that it hurts.

        Unfortunately opiates don't just dull pain, they dull pleasure too. It is virtually impossible to orgasm while high on opiates. In the same way that they effect your sense of touch (physical feeling) they affect your emotions (mental feelings.) Opiates take the anger(pain) out of hate and the joy(pleasure) out of love; the shame out of remorse and the pride out of accomplishment. They put a "but whatever" at the end of every "I feel"

        Your body has natural painkillers (endorphins,) and when you take opiates, your body stops producing them. The longer that you stay on opiates, the weaker your natural system gets. This is what perpetuates their use and fuels addiction; if you stop taking them it hurts until your natural system regains its strength.

        A life on opiates is never great and never awful, it's a life in which you don't really care because you don't really feel.
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    Sky F

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    Sep 13 2012: “If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.” - Penn Jilette

    I don't believe in the Christian god for the same reason I don't believe in any Greek god or Roman god or Egyptian god or Mayan god or Hindu god or Martian god or whoever turned Gandalf grey to white god.

    Also, God isn't ANY of our creators, our respective mothers are. I don't even need faith to believe that.
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    Sep 9 2012: There is no evidence or compelling reasons I am aware of to indicate the existence of a god

    Some believe in a god that created the universe, billions of galaxies with billions of stars, just for the trial run life of one species on one pale blue planet, before an eternal afterlife, and this god is particularly interested in our sexual habits and what we eat.
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        Sep 12 2012: There is a huge difference between legal evidence and scientific evidence. The whole concept of "reasonable doubt" is treated differently and you cannot equate one with the other.
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        Sep 12 2012: Hi don. The prevalence of belief indictes humans are susceptible to religions.

        Truth however is not based on a majority vote, rather by evidence and reason.

        If a majority think the earth was made in 6 days, or that the sun is a lump of coal floating around the eartth, that does not make them correct in their assumptions.

        You also ignore that religious believers have conflicting beliefs. Which indicates most must be wrong, possibly all. Religious beliefs are obviously not reliable when it comes to specifics.
        • Sep 13 2012: Hi Obey,
          --"You also ignore that religious believers have conflicting beliefs. Which indicates most must be wrong, possibly all. Religious beliefs are obviously not reliable when it comes to specifics"--

          There seems to be great difficulty in seeing and accepting the differences between the material/scientific world and the spiritual/religious world.
          When an accident happens each witness has a different perspective, but the accident still happened.
          Unless we have a watch or set a timer, the length of thirty minutes is different for most people in even a large group.
          Science can detect, measure and proof. In the spirit that is impossible.

          So with science you can talk about "specifics" and "conflicting beliefs" and thus possible friction. In a good spiritual environment there are no specifics and conflicts because good characters are based and constructed by mutual love.
          I want very much to emphasize that this only happens in a good environment! This also applies to marriage, parents and kids plus also humans and God.

          It is also that we are not here for this world. Our reason for being here has nothing to do with this world. This is only the seedbed of the next. Realizing that could make it much less hard for someone who lived this life without money or without legs or both. As people have found out.
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        Sep 14 2012: Hi Don,

        Most of my comments above are about the claims that gods exist.

        If you want to talk about reducing suffering, improving the human condition, that is another discussion.

        I would suggest that we can improve the human condition without religious dogma. In fact some religious dogma holds back the ethical and social development of humans.
  • Sep 6 2012: "If I don't believe in any God, then (I suppose) we are saying that everything that happens, happens by chance"

    No, we say that we have to find out how it works. While people who believe in gods refuse to think about many aspects of life, simply by saying "god knows why"...

    "If we'll get all that knowledge, what will be the difference between Him and us?"
    So in the end it is about staying small/infantile? You in person will know a lot more things than your parents did, your children will know a lot more than you ever did.

    So assumed there is a god or gods, then of course finally their children will overcome them in all aspects. It would be inevitable.

    "We already live in such chaotic conditions, so isn't it better to die in this case?"

    That is the, you may excuse this, most funny part about religious beliefs. The "paradise".
    See, you complain about chaos in this world, the evil, the sadness and unfairness of life. In your belief, there is a "next step", a paradise, a place where all this suffering makes sense.

    But, if we all go somewhere, it means, we all meet again. So the same "idiots" you find here, you gonna find "there" too. Nothing will change-and why should you like people you hated "here", once you get over to "there"?

    You can't forgive them their mistakes or sins down here on planet earth, but you think you can do this just by dying and moving to another sphere? It will still be you, and all your religious infantilism stopped you from becoming mature. You will have the same chaos anywhere, because the chaos is just in your head, because you fear to look behind the curtain and discover that there is no ghost behind it. That all the trouble you are in is selfmade, not by the devil, or gods bigger mind.
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    Sep 4 2012: Because I don't know what "God" means. Can you give me a definition?
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      Sep 9 2012: I agree.

      I have heard god is everything, god is the universe, to god became a man 2000 years ago, or we can become gods etc.
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        Sep 9 2012: Right. How silly would it be if people believed in something they couldn't properly define? Wouldn't that be intellectual laziness?

        Or perhaps they're worried that no two believers believe in the same thing, meaning God is, really, anything you want It to be... ?
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          Sep 20 2012: Yes Gerald, I agree it "could be". Can you define yourself, sufficiently so that someone, 2000 years from now will know exactly who Gerald O'brain is and is all about? What if that definition got tampered with along the way? Would it affect who you really were and what you were about?

          Food for thought.
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        Sep 20 2012: @john
        No, distortions in the definitions of God don't affect what God is.
        Except people believe in what they think to be true. And in a situation where truth is beyond the reach of rationnal explanations, faith is enough.
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          Sep 21 2012: So you can't define yourself sufficiently so the definition will last for over 2000 years. Is that your reply?
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        Sep 21 2012: @john

        Not in a single sentence, no. But a short book about me would work unless it was full of inconsistencies and contradictions.
        scientific theories are immuable, for instance. They get superceded all the time, but no one has any doubt about what Newtonian physics were about. This will last forever.

        The distortions you mention apply to poorly explained, ambiguous scriptures. Like stories written by a seven year old.
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          Sep 21 2012: I guess my point was too cryptic. What I am implying is that over time, the writings of some books have been distorted by copying, translating, etc. What truly happens in the past can become distorted. I was using the analogy to offer that the definition of who your are could also become distorted over the same period of time.

          The many doubts about Newtonian physics is the reason that gave rise to quantum Mechanics. Newtonian mechanics didn't hold true for the microscopic view of the atom and its' constituents (particles) Newton was limited to the technology and knowledge of his time.

          Einstein opened up a new door revealing the inadequacy of Newtonian mechanics in describing some phenomenon.
          "In quantum mechanics, due to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, an electron can never be at rest; it must always have a non-zero kinetic energy, a result not found in classical mechanic" ~wikipedia.

          Newtonian Mechanics (although agreeing with relativity in some cases) does not work in a lot of modern physics experiments. So the forever part does not apply in certain experimental situations.

          I'm afraid I don't understand your mention of the stories I tell. Could you offer some help?
          The idea they are comparable to something a 7 year old might write is disturbing to me. If I need to improve on something I said I would be more than happy to alter the story in a suitable way. I'm not a seven year old, I'm sixty and have been studying these things for a number of years.
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        Sep 21 2012: @john, john, john

        Have you read my post?
        "They get superceded all the time, but no one has any doubt about what Newtonian physics were about."
        Classical physics have been replaced. But we know what classical physics are, because they were well explained.

        My point is that people who wrote scriptures and people who believe in them are either childish or lazy. Newton was wrong, but God damn it, we know exactly what his ideas were about. There is no ambiguity whatsoever.
        So good definitions are not endangered by the distortions imposed by time. That's what I mean.
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    Sep 20 2012: There is a code in everyone's body...... could someone tell me how it got there? The random chemicals argument has never been demonstrated in any laboratory on this earth. So much for Science. Perhaps far in the future they might work it out.

    I don't know. There's the way it is.... and the way it should be.

    Is God real?


    If there is an eternity of possibilities, that means that we cannot put all our knowledge of this subject under the bell curve because there is no set of data that can accumulate in one spot long enough to find the normal coordinates.
    That still leaves the possibility, not probability, that God is possible.

    If eternity exists.

    If in the beginning there was nothing there would be nothing still, having nothing to alter that situation with. Ergo, something has always existed. Ergo eternity is real.
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      Sep 20 2012: Do you mean genetic code? It got there by biological evolution which is a rather dumb and slow process of repeating copies with some rudimentary rules and changing a little bit each time. It can be mathematically shown that a system can become astonishingly complex, self generating (almost life like) starting from a simple combination and reiterating with simple mathematical rules for vast number of reiterations.
      The random chemical argument has been demonstrated in laboratory in this earth. Please check Miller-Urey experiment.
      'That still leaves the possibility, not probability, that God is possible.' As argument this is lame. You may like to check Russel's Teapot.
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        Sep 20 2012: Pabitra, I don't know you so don't take this personal. I have a hobby genetics lab in my basement where I study mushrooms :)

        I was just throwing that out to grab everyone's attention to the fact that scientific truth is an ongoing affair, and can't be used to settle the question of Is God or Is God not.

        I am currently very well updated on the frontier of Genetic understanding and what I don't know I can always ask Theodore A. Hoppe.

        Thanks for your lame and unending circular contribution to this question. Now,we are both lame... I hope you are happy. :)
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        Sep 21 2012: Gabo. I'm beginning to understand how this conversation got so out of hand.

        I'm done with you sir. I will not answer any more of your sentiments. What this site needs, for clarity, is an ignore user button that clears the conversation of clutter. I like the Newest first and oldest first functions but they still don't give the clarity of the conversation I need. I will suggest this to TED just as I suggest they install an edit/delet function.
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          Sep 21 2012: Why bother to suggest anything to TED John? You wrote....

          "TED is dead colleen. It always was... just an experiment."
        • Sep 21 2012: OK John, sorry that I bothered you again answering above about your turn of rhetorics on Tim's phrase. By the way, you can always erase your comments. there's a delete button right there. Anyway, just ignore my latest answer and we leave it there.

          :)
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      Sep 20 2012: I suggest there is no design just adaptation and complexity. Life struggling to survive.

      And who designed your designer.

      Strange how you can accept an inexplicable designer but not natural proceeses.
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          Sep 20 2012: Hi don just because there is no evidence of designer does not mean this is because of the devil.
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    Sep 20 2012: I think that Jihadist suicide bombers have this same issue. They don't think the world is a nice place to play so they want their life to mean something. I understand those types of personalities make good recruits.
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        Sep 20 2012: You are too cool for words daddy oh....
        How's it going Don. :)
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    Sep 19 2012: Well said Colleen.
    If I am not very mistaken the heart of Sam's argument is that morality can very well grow without necessarily accepting God as the epitome of absolute good. It can grow from science or scientific reasoning as well. As a corollary he also postulates that there is no such thing as free will.
    We can debate on his argument but I am not clear how Arthur poses the question with reference to Sam's stand. However, I am open to his points, if he chooses to place those.
    Otherwise, God debate does not interest me anymore.
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      Sep 19 2012: I agree Pabitra....the God/no God debate may go on forever! The main question, stated by Arthur in the introduction seems clear...."My question to all atheists is that, why don't they believe in God?" With that question, using Sam Harris' talk seems appropriate, because, as you say, his talk suggests that morality can very well grow without accepting the concept of a god.

      Acceptance of a god and religion has not proven to be the epitome of absolute good, and in fact, has caused chaos, unrest, abuse and violation of human rights in our world, more often than not.

      It would be great to have the facilitator pop in to clarify his intent.
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    Sep 19 2012: normal ..then i find the reason why i am being in that state ..i think i am so easy to be influenced by others .and do not trust myself firmly..that is it ...now sometimes when i think of that .i am a little scared..
    while it is very nice to share it with you. it is really a helper thanks for TED thanks for your time!
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      Sep 19 2012: Good observation Chen!! You see....you "find the reason". Be patient with yourself....trust yourself....yes?

      You are exploring, learning about yourself and others....I LOVE it! It is a good reminder for all of us Chen.....thank you for sharing yourself with us:>)

      What are you scared of?
  • Sep 16 2012: Good question!

    And now my question to you is, why do YOU believe in God? I tried looking for clouds with Allah or Yahweh signature since I was an egg, still haven't found one. Is He busy or something? Having a hard time trying to fight off Satan? But I'm still alive, enjoying life and everything that comes with it, especially the touchy feely stuff. All the sadness, melancholy, the feelings of relief, anger, and happiness. I have made it my -goal, direction, path - to experience as much of these feelings as possible, good or bad.

    Now I'm not trying to hurt YOUR feelings, but.... until I see God write something like "Hey Jon Ho, I'm Yahweh/ Allah /Buddha /Tom Cruise, and I approve of this cloud, signed - Your God" using his cloud pen, I will have to say no.

    And don't give me that bullshit about God being too busy fighting Satan to spend 10 seconds for a single human. Or even worse, God works in mysterious ways and my human brains can't begin to understand how stuff works because seriously, that God is a failure if He can't explain the universe in simple terms to a human. I mean even Einstein can explain E=mc², and the God who works in mysterious ways couldn't? Epic Fail-Boat!
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      Sep 16 2012: Yes Don, you are absolutely right...we can easity identify those who bring evidence into a debate, and those who only criticize.

      Only you can answer your own questions Don, including how you managed to get a thumbs up IMMEDIATELY when your post appeared on the site. Also interesting, is the fact that your comment states:
      "Just count the sudden reciprocating rise in the number of thumbs-up. The crowds in the stands shout out their emotions." It's as if you already KNEW you were getting a thumbs up when you wrote that.

      I think you are shouting out your own emotions Don, and giving yourself thumbs up with another account.

      This is not a soccer match....it is a conversation on TED, which is supposed to be respectful. You are right again Don, there are a lot of things being revealed right here....right now.
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        Sep 16 2012: Oh my gosh! Can you imagine THAT debate:)
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          Sep 16 2012: Don,
          The topic of this discussion is "Atheism: why do people don't believe in God?"
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          Sep 16 2012: I do not EVER "invite a reply" from you Don, because I have learned about your replies...not desirable.

          Don, when you first came on TED, I tried to reach out to you and you accused me of being abusive because I did not agree with you....this is fact, as you say:>)

          The topic of this discussion is "Atheism: why do people don't believe in God?"
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        Sep 20 2012: Of course that is just speculation right colleen?

        Actually I think the author is trying to ask why Atheists don't believe in God.

        Do you have a legitimate answer?

        Don, Some people, don't believe in God. That's the way it is. You understand this.

        Colleen, Don's happy. He's just trying to help a fellow who doesn't understand why some people don't see the wonder of spirit that he does.

        Harmless really, nothing to make one's self look foolish about.
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          Sep 20 2012: Yes John,
          Anything having to do with the topic God/No God is generally speculation.

          I agree...the author asks "why Atheists don't believe in God".

          I answered from my own perspective John, as one who does not believe in a god.

          Here it is again....
          As a person who was born into a catholic family and forced to practice that tradition for many years, I was always questioning the dogma and teachings, which did not make any sense to me. Love thy neighbor...IF s/he was catholic. Things like that felt contradictory and hypocritical to me.

          I abandoned that religion at age 19, and did not practice any religion for 23 years. After a near fatal head/brain injury 22 years ago, I started questioning religions and philosophical beliefs, exploring, studying and practiced various religious traditions. After years of exploring religions and beliefs, I decided that I did not need a religion to be a good person, and I did not/do not believe there is a god.

          I don't know if this is "legitimate" in your perception John. You alone are the judge of what you perceive to be legitimate.

          I understand what Don is trying to do John...like you insightfully recognized and stated in another comment....I know Don pretty well. I totally agree..."nothing to make one's self look foolish about"....well said John:>)
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    . .

    • +1
    Sep 14 2012: It isn't what people say but rather how they act and what good is caused by each that matters in the world.
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      Sep 13 2012: Hi Don, religion may help provide solace even if there is no life after death, even if the beliefs are false.

      The consolations and utility of religious beliefs are not evidence for the supernatural claims.
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          Sep 16 2012: The question is why don't believe in God.
          It fails to define what is meant by God.
          It seems to imply there is only one. How do we know that.
          We don't.
          We don't know anything about possible gods other than what others made up and wrote down or how we interpret psychological experiences - in my view.

          I assume you see God through a protestant Christian paradigm
          Others do through a Mormon paradigm or Muslim or Hindu or Norse or Deistic or Pantheistic etc.

          Theists often say religion is the problem. Why not go direct to god. Given there is no evidence for God, people don't really know what this God is, its true nature and intent. So they make up different stories.

          Religion is a problem because there is no clear evidence for any gods and especially no clear evidence of which claims of specific details may be correct if any.

          Gods and Goddesses are the foundation problem for religious belief systems and organisations because humans seem to have made them up and there is no evidence to believe in any of them, so the details are all over the place.
  • Sep 13 2012: Hello sir, I give you thanks in knowing that we can acknowledge each other as equals. As for that Sam Harris talk you I haven't yet seen it. I had read a lot of your comments on this debate while in class, and I enjoyed your point view and agreed with it. Science is a better way for people to understand whether or not there is an almighty being rather than people saying they feel a mere presence within them. As for those who have faith and religion, I don't dislike them for it because like you and I we have our own beliefs. But when comes to be questioned about it and how so many find us to be wrong, it irratates me.
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      • Sep 13 2012: The class I was at the time i wrote my first comment was my Technologies class, its a class in that it allows to study different branches of jobs and the technologies they use in order to proceed in the everyday tasks they do. As for my stand point on religion it was made up in my 10th grade year, my World History teacher gave us a 13 page report on 2 religions of our choice. I choose to do Norse Paganism and I don't remember the other. But after weeks of reading and learning about these two religions and many others, it dawned on me that religion isn't needed, its more of a way to express a group of beliefs. Even though I'm atheist now, I will still always have that day in my life were I may turn to faith and believe in a god but only at my will.
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      Sep 12 2012: Actually yes, and it is not one book but several. Starting with Aristotle's Nicomachian Ethics.

      You might want to clarify which 'one' book you are talking about. There are several. Lots of gods and prophets out there.
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          Sep 12 2012: Of course Aristotle book is not called "Atheism" just as the Bible is not called "God." Where are you going with this analogy?

          What you asked for was a system of moral beliefs that has been debated for over a century in a book. That is why I listed Aristotle. And I know lots of people that do not follow Aristotle, do not go to church, and are still moral. Some follow different books like the Vedas, the Quran, the Analects, the Tanakh etc.

          Like I said, lots of prophets and lots of gods. Lots of ways to morally walk in the world. Atheists are moral. To assume different is incorrect.
    • Sep 12 2012: Don, "atheism" is not meant to have a nomenclature or moral code. If one dubs himself an atheist then I assume that he/she simply rejects the ideas that theism has to offer as being credible or true. The entire world with an unrestrained chain of thought is what atheism has to offer.
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          Sep 12 2012: Hi don. I guess the context of someone's belief in gods or non belief can vary.

          Some may have thought deeply about it. Others maybe just follow their parents without much examination.

          For me, I tend to be somewhat skeptical in general. This skeptism flows through to my position on astrology, crystal healing, herbs, acupuncture, gods etc.

          I agree with Brian that not believing in gods means you don't automatically assume any one religious code or dogma. You can be openly critical and take the best from secular and religious codes if you choose.

          I don't have the dissonance of dealing with a book that has a god that commits and supports genocide, endorses slavery, orders murder for adultery or working on the sabbath or being gay. That tells you what foods to eat etc. a believer needs to pick and choose because we have moved past these iron age values.

          I'm curious why you think atheism is delusional? From my understanding it is the theist who is more likely delusional with an invisible imaginary friends and personified dark forces when we have no proof of anything regarding some spiritual realm, or the supernatural claims in scripture etc
        • Sep 12 2012: Don, the unrestrained train of thought I speak of is in regards to the idea that one can think as they please. Only in religion can one be deemed "sinful" based on thought. People do not control the thoughts that pop into their head, neuroscience shows this to be true as many schizophrenics, or especially people suffering from OCD, have constant recurring thoughts that would not be considered to be pleasant, in fact they can be downright distressful. At no point in time would anyone suffering from these mental illnesses be able to control or stop themselves from "sinful" thinking.

          Obey summed it up well, but ill reiterate, my statement also meant to say that one can read proverbs and enjoy the wisdom yet still be an atheist, one can read the koran and still be an atheist etc...


          Atheism, is just the rejection of theism there is no set of beliefs that go along with the tag.

          Im also wondering why you would claim atheism is delusional? Whats your basis for this claim?
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      Sep 12 2012: Hi don atheism is not a moral code. It's not a belief system with dogma. It's just a position on whether you believe gods exist or not.

      This means everything else is up to the individual. You can be conservative or liberal. You can be a humanist or Buddhist. You can take the good or the bad from all the thinking on morality available to us and come to your own conclusions. You can also look to science to understand why humans behave the way we do and work out rationally what improves the human condition.

      In that regards it is hard work because you don't blindly accept one dogma.

      I guess most believers are also a bit judicious in what they take from some religious codes. There is plenty of bad stuff in the bible, as well as some good stuff. But the bad stuff, like endorsing slavery and murdering adulterers makes it hard for me to think this book has some divine source.
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      Sep 13 2012: Hi don. The fact that religions may have moral dogmas does not prove god exists.

      You are essentially making a utilitarian argument that religion can be useful by providing a moral framework..

      This does not mean all religious morality is good. It also does not stop people developing ethical frameworks independent of religious dogma.

      I personally think religions provide some benefits but at a cost. And these benefits may not be based on truth. Surely basing your world view on evidence and reason is a more sound foundation than cultural religion or wishful thinking.
    • Sep 13 2012: Don,

      First you are mistaking atheism for science. Second your stuff about neural science is false. Not once have neurologists concluded that "thinking is restrained; it is framed and those frames are prisons of thought frozen in time." That's just ridiculous. Third, atheism is mostly a conclusion, as others said here, a position about the existence of gods. A rejection of such beliefs to be precise. As such, you can't expect it to be any kind of "thinking," since it is a result, not a method. You cannot criticize atheism for not being what it is not defined to be. It would be as if I criticized cookies for not offering moral codes.

      Then, that atheism does not offer stuff is not a problem since atheism is just about gods. Of course I understand your problem. Since you think that a god is the source of morals, then you think that those who don't believe in your god thus look for morals in their disbelief. Well, not so. Given a rejection of gods (it is not just yours that is not believed, but any other gods as well), atheists are free to figure out where morality comes from, and/or build a system. It's not easy, of course. But it's not easy with gods either. For one, they are imaginary, for another, I could show you lots of biblical laws that you would find aberrant and would not follow.

      Be well.
    • Sep 13 2012: Don,

      I do not understand why my comment is "abusive." After all, you claimed that the statement/conclusion/view was from Neural Sciences (which is certainly not, I have know lots of scientists in the field, and none comes close to making such statements, let alone finishing with such a nonsensical ending as "and those frames are prisons of thought frozen in time," I mean this with all due respect, that does not mean anything scientifically speaking--does it mean something otherwise? Not a single self-respecting scientist would make such a claim), not from yourself. Then you have to understand that when something does not make sense to the point of being ridiculous, there is no way of softening it out. It would actually be a disservice and a complete lack of respect if it is ridiculous and I don't tell you clearly so. So here: there is no way that your statement can be built as anything coming from any scientific literature. It is so incredibly nonsensical that it just can't be. The only source I can think that would claim such a thing would be propaganda. I am pretty sure you know which kind of propaganda I am thinking about but let us leave it there.

      That's exactly how I defended my thesis. When something was ridiculous I said so (when something I said was ridiculous I was told so too.). That's what I was taught, that your best friend in science would tell you exactly what you've got wrong. No useless softening it out. Straight through. We need clarity and we appreciate clarity over politeness any time. Any good scientists would understand that.

      I know you are no scientist, but I can do little about it. I am truly sorry that you find this offensive, but I do not see any fault in my phrasing (except perhaps that it was not much more and better at explaining). Feel free to flag it though. I do take issue with that, but you have your freedoms just like I have mine.

      Be well.
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        • Sep 14 2012: I did not say that I was superior at all. Clearly I said that when my thoughts have been ridiculous I was told so. Didn't I? Doesn't that at the very least imply that I have, and will have, ridiculous ideas?
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        • Sep 14 2012: Once I check it I will let you know. But I doubt that I can take a person on political whatever seriously when it comes to neural science. (Will check anyway when time allows. Either there's some mistake in your understanding, or this guy was being somewhat rhetorical. Also, the word "frozen" is quite different to the word "plasticity.")
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        Sep 14 2012: Gabo,
        Don't take the "abusive" label too personally. Some folks label "abusive", that which they do not agree with. Don't be surprised if the next label is "representative of the devil".....I speak from experience:>)
        • Sep 15 2012: Thanks Colleen.
        • Sep 15 2012: "representative of the devil"? Cool! I haven't earned that yet, despite all my abrasiveness :-) One day...
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        Sep 16 2012: LOL!!!

        John,
        I do not find your comments abrasive. Anyway, it is not necessary to write abrasive comments to get that label. The only criteria seems to be disagreement with the accuser!
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          Sep 16 2012: I've been out of these kinds of Conversations for almost a year now, how can you still keep at it Colleen? Don't you get fed up with all the religious dogma?
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        Sep 16 2012: Yes indeed I do at times Jimmy, then I take a break from it and participate in conversations that are more interesting. How are we going to change things in our world if we are not persistant? Those who believe we should all follow the same religious dogma are persistant.....yes? That is how it has been allowed to exist in our world for so long!

        When people do not agree with them, extremists/fundamentalists/religious enthusiasts use abusive tactics, which can often violate the rights of others.....yes?

        My argument is simply that we all need to live and let live, AS LONG AS BELIEFS AND PRACTICES DO NOT ABUSE AND VIOLATE THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS. I am not against religious beliefs. I AM wholeheartedly against abuse and violation of human rights under the guise of religion.

        How are we going to change our world, if we do not participate in the process? If we're not part of the solution, we're part of the problem.
  • Sep 11 2012: The last couple of years I've been visiting an Atheists website. Through many discussions I got the impression that many Atheists do not believe in a God because they reject the traditional Christian belief and 'understanding' of God.

    TheGodGuy has a blog and one title is: "Emanuel Swedenborg: The perfect theologian for atheists and scientists." (Emanuel was a much respected scientist himself).

    That post starts like this:
    "ONE of the big issues atheists have against religion is that many of the stories in the Holy Bible seem irrational and do not stand up to either scientific scrutiny or today’s enlightened sociological sensitivities. However, having been a scientist himself, Emanuel Swedenborg’s contribution to theology was unparalleled in allowing the human understanding to probe rationally, and even scientifically, the 'mysteries' of faith."

    This blog post is not too long, and may be found interesting.
    http://thegodguy.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/emanuel-swedenborg-the-perfect-theologian-for-atheists-and-scientists/
    • Sep 12 2012: Oh my, looks exactly as a load of snake oil sales pitch. Quantum this, quantum that, infinities, and that all of this is hidden in "in the beginning was the Word, God was the Word, and that everything created in the universe was created by the Word." Of course, the presumption of "credentials" could not be missed. This was written by A Scientist (TM).

      Come on! Next the ten spirits of Sanskrit hidden in my letter soup. They truly reveal divine existence and infinities within the finite soup. All at the quantum level when it crosses with m-theory and you understand that branes sound a lot like brains thus the cosmological unavoidable existence of The God (TM). Hey I am A Scientist too! So you have no option but believe me.

      Meh.
      • Sep 12 2012: Gabo, I fully agree with you that one should never, ever believe something one chooses not to believe.

        Just one thing though, we do not accept and believe what Swedenborg wrote because he was (only) a scientist, sorry.
        He was (Wikipedia) "also a prophet, philosopher, theologian, revelator, and, in the eyes of some, Christian mystic."
        • Sep 12 2012: Well, those "credentials" make it even worse. A snake-oil salesman for sure.
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      Sep 12 2012: It is always amazing to me how religocentric (is there such a word?) people of Christian faith think they are. Like they are the only religion that believes in a god or something.

      You forget, it is not just the Christian Bible, but the Vedas, the Quran, the Analects, the Tanakh etc.that are looked at the same way. The stories are interesting, the parables applicable, each of them an acceptable way to walk in the world. But atheists do not literally believe in any of them. We do not choose one and run with it. They are all excellent books with many lessons just as there are many others. We just do not run around saying I am right and you are wrong.

      And you have got to stop looking at one website and thinking that that represents all thought on the matter. That's like looking up feminist and thinking all are the same.
      • Sep 12 2012: Hi Linda,
        --" Like they are the only religion that believes in a god or something."-- You've never seen me type that. Anyone that believes in a higher power, or anything beyond matter is fine with me. No one is perfect and neither is any religion. It is just that I'm somewhat familiar with the Bible and its internal meaning.

        --"We just do not run around saying I am right and you are wrong."--
        Somehow I do seem to get that message. When I give my view and opion it is purely on the bases of "take it or leave it", in fact I often compare it to feeding birds. I put it out, and that's it.

        My religion helped me very much and I want to give everyone a chance to have the same benefit.
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          Sep 12 2012: You are absolutely correct. What you did type was
          "many Atheists do not believe in a God because they reject the traditional Christian belief"
          I am refuting that statement. It is simply not true.
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          Sep 13 2012: Won what Don? He may be technically correct but his premise is still wrong.

          Just because I took some literary license does not make his argument correct. I still stand by my statement and he has not challenged that. Only that he did not type that stuff.
      • Sep 13 2012: Hi Linda, would you mind clarifying some things for me?

        "But atheists do not literally believe in any of them." Neither do I take the Bible only literally.

        "We just do not run around saying I am right and you are wrong." Neither do I. In fact, during the many discussions over the years I very often agreed with Athists about the interpretation of the literal text of the Bible.

        "And you have got to stop looking at one website and thinking that that represents all thought on the matter." What makes you think I am looking at just one website??

        "Only that he did not type that stuff." Where does this apply too??

        Have a good night
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          Sep 13 2012: OK. Your major premise is "many Atheists do not believe in a God because they reject the traditional Christian belief" which you arrived at by visiting "an Atheist website."

          Gabo countered your premise by attacking the lack of validity of the website and establishing that it lacked any credentials.

          I brought you back to your major premise and countered that the problem was not just in the website and cautioned against creating an argument based on a single website. The problem was in the premise. That perhaps Atheists not only reject the "traditional Christian belief" but also many other beliefs based on some omnipotent being(s). That belief in said being(s) creates an 'I am right, you are wrong' view of the world. However, many atheists while still respect these works for what they bring to humanity. (This is a little out of order because I have to keep scrolling up so forgive the technicality).

          You pointed out that I was technically incorrect. That you did not type those words that were an elaboration on my part (" 'Like they are the only religion that believes in a god or something.'-- You've never seen me type that."). And you mentioned that you do not set up an "I am right and you are wrong" scenario. I agreed that you did not type that but disagreed with your right/wrong statement which was outlined in your premise "many Atheists do not believe in a God because they reject the traditional Christian belief." You did not say that Atheists believe differently than Christians. You did not say that Atheists reject traditional Hindu beliefs. You said Atheists reject Christian beliefs. Your beliefs. In other words, you are right and Atheists reject it.

          I said that was not true.

          Then Don congratulated you and I asked for what.

          I hope that you can follow your debate now. I outlined it as clearly as I could.
      • Sep 13 2012: Hi Linda,
        It seems that you took text out of what I first wrote and build up ideas and thoughts regarding a premise of mine.

        These are my words:
        --"Through many discussions I got the impression that many Atheists do not believe in a God because they reject the traditional Christian belief and 'understanding' of God."
        Could an impression be regarded as a premise?
        I think I even said somewhere that I, also, do not agree with the traditional Christian belief and their understanding of God.

        So I'm not very sure where you want to go with all this, but thanks for your attention

        BTW the Atheist website that I was contributing to was started in Britain and grew into the States and Canada. It was started through a bus add campaign. http://atheistbus.ca/ has gone through some changes but the one that runs it is Chris. He even sent me a note asking me to come back and participate again.
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          Sep 13 2012: Of course an impression is a premise. All premises can be traced back to the original belief also called an assumption or presumption. All I did was apply rules of logic to reach an inferred conclusion. If it is wrong, your rebuttal should correct the logic that was used to reach that conclusion and correct my assumption.

          I outlined how I arrived at the conclusion. I did not create ideas and thoughts out of some text.
      • Sep 13 2012: Well, I based my impression on the frequency and context which expressed the thought: 'We have no problem with you, but it is these traditional and fundamental concepts that we have issues with'

        This ended close to three years ago because of organizing our son's wedding, and I may have saved some text somewhere but am not sure.
        • Sep 14 2012: I think many atheists make the mistake of descending at the level of the person arguing with them and let them get away with "God" to imply their god. I agree with Linda. It is not personal. I do not believe any of the gods. This is why when someone asks me why I don't believe in God, I change the word "God" and either put it within quotes, or change it to "god(s)." This so that the Christian, or whatever the person is, understands that from this side his/her god looks exactly the same as any other gods, and that we don't believe any of them. Not just theirs.

          So, I agree with Linda, your statement about "Christian beliefs," is wrong. We reject many other beliefs, not just the Christian's.

          Yet, I centred into your link because it was just outrageous. I detest how easily people are lured in by snake-oil salesmanship, and can't recognize it for what it is. So I have very little patience towards it.
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        Sep 14 2012: Linda,
        Very interesting that some folks see this discussion as a "win". That means that s/he must also perceive a loser? HMMM.....I thought TED was about sharing ideas! I didn't know it was a contest!


        EDIT -
        Adriaan, regarding your recent comment below.
        Apparently your cheering squad does not share the same perspective.
        • Sep 14 2012: Fully agree with you Colleen. As I said above:
          "When I give my view and opinion it is purely on the bases of "take it or leave it", in fact I often compare it to feeding birds. I put it out, and that's it."

          It certainly is not about winning anything or saying "you are wrong and I am right" There is nothing more important in human life than freedom. It is the freedom to love, or believe, anything we want which makes us human.
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    Sep 11 2012: Because they see God as a being made in the image of man and totally false. God is love and the groungof being.
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    Sep 7 2012: I think the real question is why do people believe in gods or goddesses? Given there is no compelling evidence for the existence of any deities.

    In fact everything points to gods being man made cultural constructs that key into our imperfect super ape brains.

    I suggest homo sapiens evolved with a particular brain/mind functionality that is leveraged by religious and supernatural belief systems from nature spirits to gods to astrology to crystal healing. Gods are like Santa Claus or imaginary friends for adults, shaped by culture, when and where you are born.

    I understand the challenges of shifting away from a cultural or family religious tribe and indoctrination.

    Which theist belief is correct? They can't all be correct? But they can all be wrong. If you believe in a particular god the odds are overwhelming it is the wrong one. Even if some gods do exist we don't seem to be able to understand them or detect any intervention in a convincing way. They might as well not exist.

    I value the truth and there seems to be no compelling evidence that gods and goddesses exist. There may be billions of gods in the room with you now, but no evidence so why believe in them?

    Given there are probably no gods or goddesses, and no god given purpose to life, we can just face facts and get on with life, loving, living, making the most of our short lives.

    In fact if we are made by gods, any god given purpose seems arbitrary and just as meaningless to me, worse because is is probably misconstrued wishful thinking and cultural programming.

    The key thing we don't know about gods is whether they exist at all.

    So Theists, have you really examined your beliefs. Is there a good reason to belief your religious dogma is correct.
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      Sep 7 2012: " I think the real question is why do people believe in gods or goddesses? Given there is no compelling evidence for the existence of any deities."
      That's not the real question , firstly because as much as your words make sense they make mainly for you in other words there is no compelling evidence for you and secondly because even if we assume there is no evidence for god the believer can still ask you : why don't just believe in God ?

      "In fact everything points to gods being man made cultural constructs that key into our imperfect super ape brains."
      You're wrong , very few things (if there are any) points to gods being only man made cultural constructs . Example : there is no compelling evidence about gods do not necessarily point/suggest that gods are imaginary cultural constructs ; on the contrary knowing what the concept of god means it could suggest that gods exist . This pointing or suggesting depends so much on what we believe that it doesn't have a real value in the debate between atheists and theists .

      "Which theist belief is correct? They can't all be correct? But they can all be wrong."

      Usually this thing is said by the guys who don't really researched the issue of more beliefs therefore it isn't a reason to reject all beliefs .

      I guess you notice you didn't really answer the topic question .
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        Sep 9 2012: I don't have a belief in any of the millions of god views, from pantheist, deist to specific deities. I also don't have a belief in an afterlife or immortal spirits with or without gods.

        One version of the millions of beliefs could be true. Or perhaps no one yet has correctly interpreted the supernatural divine reality. Maybe someone did, but they died and the this belief system is now extinct.

        So I don't claim to know, I just don't believe in any of them due to lack of evidence or logical arguments.

        I know religion is sticky. It is often programmed while you are young and credulous etc. I believe a well informed logical examination with a healthy skepticism eventually may lead to a more reasonable position that we don't know if any gods exist, that religious experience is most likely pschological, that there is no compelling evidence in favour of any of the supernatural claims or dogmas etc.

        There are good scientific explanations for religious experience and behaviours.

        This does not mean there are no gods or goddesses. Just that we don't know if there is one or a million of them. We don't know if it trying to communicate with us. We don't know anything about it, where it came from, its nature. There are just millions of different guesses, often rooted in cultural traditions and dependent on when and where you were born.

        Have you found a religious belief that stands out, that has compelling evidence? What is it and what do you think makes it stand out from the other invisible and intangeable gods indistinguishable from imaginary friends?
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          Sep 9 2012: It sounds pretty rational , if you never come across with anything that smells of god , this combined with the fact that there are more views of god , none of them verified as true for you and many other things , then why to believe .

          I think you missed something , your two comments to Arthur McQueen confirmed this . They confirmed you have no idea what you're talking about when it comes about the message of the Bible . A person who follows your prescription , to examine the Bible with 'a well informed logical examination and with a healthy skepticism' just cannot understand what you described (mostly) of what the message of the Bible is .
          The message of the Bible may require faith sometimes but is also backed by strong evidence , more than this most of it is testable/verifiable so you can convince yourself of its accuracy . Search out after the people who tested it and analyze the results , test this message on yourself , I guarantee you you'll find compelling evidence to believe in it . This is the religious belief I found .

          Also , if you combine this with the fact , I repeat THE FACT that a supernatural world exist ( see all the phenomena regarding sorcery , magic and also many kind of spiritual experience that cannot be explained only psychologically , I recommend you the book of William James 'Varieties of religious experiences' ) you can get a strong indication that God exists . That phenomena I'm talking about can be verified , that are historical facts .

          Once a person have the basis the other things that may seem contradictory to the existence of God can be explained .
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        Sep 10 2012: Hi E.G,

        I agree people have religious or spiritual experiences. However, my understanding is the jury is still our on whether these are supernatural or just in peoples brain/mind.

        Big call to say these experiences may not have natural explanations.

        I might check the book out.

        I note about half of kids have imaginary friends. I note our dreams seem real. We have brains/minds that seem very susceptible to hallucinations. I note parts of the brain are active during praying.

        You might be surprised how much of the personal religious experience could have reasonable natural explanations.

        So my view is there may be a supernatural realm interacting with our brains, but it is at least as likely that it is just natural mind processes.

        I get a similar feeling meditating to what I did in the past praying and speaking in tongues in church.

        Our minds are very complex. It could be natural. It seems premature to close the door on religious experience.

        Do you think all dreams and childhood imaginary friends and hallucinations are spiritual experiences. How do you differentiate paranoid delusion from spiritual experiences. They seem to be related if you ask me. Also drugs can give you spiritual type experiences. Changing brain states and chemistry may be all that is required to have these spiritual experiences.

        Is the placebo effect a spiritual experience. Are trances and hypnosis spiritual. Are day dreams and night dreams? How do you differentiate between non supernatural and supernatural types experiences that are very similar?

        So perhaps we will agree to disagree on whether this could all be brain/mind. But perhaps we can agree on the interpretations of these profound experiences being highly subjective?
        One thing
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          Sep 10 2012: Yes , if you guide yourself after dreams , hallucinations , some kind of religious experiences , the effects of drugs then your view is something correct in my opinion . But what about a different type of religious experiences , for example the wonders , there are a lot of cases in the history of Christianity , I mean good cases not any trick ; what about negative spiritual experiences like the effects of a sorcery , like magic , there are good examples of these things too.
          I guess these things can be psychologically explained but sometimes this explanation isn't enough , in fact sometimes it explains nothing .

          Yes , we can agree that the most of these experiences are highly subjective , however their effects can be seen . What is your view on the things Jesus Christ did ? (by the way there are historical recordings that Jesus really existed ) , what about Apostle Paul ? Many of this things were verified , can't be anything bullshit .

          Also , do not forget what I told you about the message of the Bible . Look, there are some logical arguments to believe .

          "How do you differentiate between non supernatural and supernatural types experiences that are very similar?" If you give me examples of this kind of similar types I'll tell you . As you see I'm talking about a quite different thing than you thought .
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        Sep 11 2012: Hi EG, I was not quite clear on what you meant by strong verifiable evidence that supports the bible? Any examples? What logical arguments?

        I’m also not sure by what you mean by wonders, especially verifiable ones. I don’t think it reasonable to assume a global flood, parting of the red sea, the sun stopping in the sky, virgin births, walking on water, resurrection etc. Just like I don’t think it reasonable to assume Mithra was born of a virgin or Buddha’s mother was inseminated by a beam of light and born out of her side, or the Angel Gabriel revealed the Qur’an to Muhammad.

        I’m not sure why people think the claims in one holy book that cannot be verified including claims of eye witnesses are any more valid than claims by other religions.

        Also we know parts of the gospels were added later. The section about handling snakes and speaking in tongues etc is not in the earliest manuscripts.

        I think it reasonable to assume a man called Jesus existed. There is only the bible and a few mentions in other records (Josephus), all of which were recorded decades after he is supposed to have lived. Not what you would expect if Jesus was god incarnate and wanted to get an important message across. The Qur’an was handled much more effectively.

        Remember, people believe in all sorts of Gurus and whacky beliefs, cults. Look at the Mormon beliefs. Scientology and the space alien Xenu. Astrology. Crystal healing. Jim Jones followers all committed suicide etc. There is no end to what people will believe and do for their faith.

        I’m sure you will have an opinion on what has supernatural connections and what doesn’t. I’d be interested in how you prove the difference.

        Okay – the bliss from secular meditation, the sense of being connected to the universe, being one with everything, and the same feeling from religious praying or meditation trying to connect with a Jesus, Yahweh, Allah, Vishnu, the earth Mother.

        If the only difference is intent, that is not evidence.
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          Sep 11 2012: "...strong verifiable evidence that supports the bible? Any examples? "

          To the persons who believe and do what Bible says happens what Bible predicted . You can check this thing in the history of Christianity . Exact examples : the kind of life some very very bad persons had before just changes almost oppositely in a matter of days , e.g. Apostle Paul , Sadhu Sundar Singh , John Bunyan and many many others , I know many .
          I know trustworthy persons , I mean the most sincere persons I ever knew , you can check their sincerity , they have done wonders : healed ill persons with just a pray , got by wonders various things they needed..... These things happened , these things happen nowadays and if you really want to know I speak the truth just inform yourself about them and verify them .
          To this kind of wonders I was referring . They are the way the accuracy of the Bible is tested . What about these things ?

          I cannot prove the flood happened , I cannot prove Jesus was born from a virgin..... but what I said above are reasons to believe they happened .

          The bliss from the secular meditation , the sense of being connected to the universe are things the humans can experience , I did sometimes , you can verify this if you read and understand the books I read and understood , e.g. some of Einstein's books , some of Bernard Russell's books . I can give you the titles if you are interested . But that experience is not the same with the experiences you have when you connect with Jesus , some of this experiences are described in the Bible ( Moses , Apostle John ) . So you can check and not only trust me . This is one difference , they aren't similar .
          Another difference is that the connection with Jesus has different effects than the bliss from the secular meditation , better effects . You can check this by informing yourself of the cases and by understanding them . Or why not ? by living the both experiences .

          I hope I'm clear enough .
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        Sep 12 2012: Hi E.G. reading a self help book, seeing a therapist, dedicating time and energy to anything like this can change your life.

        I'm not aware of any scientific studies that show prayer works. I recall one done by a Christian organisation that actually showed people in the study fared worse if they knew they were being prayed for. This was put down to apprehension.

        Nothing fails like prayer. You pray for 1000 things and some will happen, most will fail. I guess the positive results won't be much better than placebo effects or natural remissions or from focusing or visualising something without god beliefs.

        I guess prayer fails more than it succeeds. I've never heard of healing things like amputated limbs or down syndrome. Just things that sometimes remarkably or normally heal themselves.

        I would suggest other gurus and religions have the similar claims.

        So this sort of stuff, now we have the scientific method, has not passed the test in my view.

        Thanks for expanding and clarifying. I understand your view better now.

        Still I guess we will just have to agree to disagree that any of this proves there is a god.

        Firstly I think most of this is just psychological or cognitive bias or placebo or etc

        Even if the miracles happened and were verifiable examples of the laws of nature being twisted, we would have a mystery, not an answer.

        Jesus could have walked on water and we still don't know how. We don't know that he is the son of god. We don't know if everything in the bible was said and done. We don't know if the claims are true even if actually made.

        Finally, I can see how religious believers can set up a belief systems that is a reasonable fit with their experiences. But much of it comes down to how you interpret things, rather than proofs.

        If you believe, you will interpret things a certain way and reinforce your beliefs. You will learn things and change behaviours that do not require divine help. Good stuff will be from god. Bad stuff from the devil or sin.
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          Sep 12 2012: G M :

          Most of your comment is not an answer to what I said :

          - nothing in the world (therapy .. ) changes your life in the way I described , so quickly with such amazing effects .
          - there aren't scientific studies made about the prayers and things I described , the rest of what you said doesn't matter .
          - the miracles that happen are not a placebo effect or a cognitive bias more than the fact that I'm writing something to you now .

          You just ignore what I told you . I'm sure you understood what I told you . However I'm not sure you do this ignoring intentionally .

          Now , the question , does what I said happened proves God exist ? At least it strongly suggest He does . I don't think your skepticism will resist if you see this things happening . Also , it strongly suggest Jesus is the son of God . It does't matter what you know because we just ask you to have faith and provide you with reasons why to (like the suggestion above) .
          There are times when a mystery is an answer , like now . Do you understand know why your ideas about the lack of proofs , about the more views on god not being true ..... have no importance from a logical theistic perspective ?
  • Sep 6 2012: There is no problem with God, it may or may not exist. Problem is with belief. E.g. Let say there is a Closed Box, and somebody come and say to you there a diamond in this box. And you start believing that there is diamond, then in your whole life you would really never know weather there was a diamond inside that box or not. So best way is to figure it out by yourself.
    Rather than getting involved in points about belief or disbelief. Believers will make there own points, dis believers will make there own point. But both will be really far away from reality. So rather than wasting time on proving weather it exist or not. Better way is to figure out. Some other types of belief created by some cowards saying you do not have capability to realize God.
    Go ahead, do meditations , prayers or whatever you feel. Figure out what is exactly God is. Once you know you can come back and tell to the world your experience. I would like to hear that experience of yours and that will be the truth(without any belief).
    I see your urge towards finding God, but do not kill it by any belief imposed by this world.
    Its very easy to die. Because belief has killed all the motivation of doing/figuring out anything. You believe and there is no search left. Once you have some task you would never think about death.
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    Sep 5 2012: For me, it's about accountability. I take responsibility for my actions and circumstance. People who believe in a god tend not to.

    For instance, stuff happens. Something bad happens and you can say, 'god is punishing me' or you can say, 'I really messed up that time.' Same thing for something good. 'Praise god!' or 'wow, I did great.' Actually, if you think about it, if it is because of god, there is not a darn thing I can do about it. If it is related to my actions, I can change them.

    Actually I understand both views of the world. I just prefer one over the other.
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      Sep 5 2012: Are you afraid that you'll tend to not take responsibility for your actions if you'd believe ? Otherwise why not believe if for you is only about accountability ?
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        Sep 5 2012: No, I just cannot fit both into some sort of compromise. Either god explains circumstance, or I do. Since I can explain a lot of circumstances as due to my actions, obviously god does not explain everything so it is discarded. God only explains what I cannot and is summarily a useless construct. That would stifle curiosity and initiative. There really is no reason or need or want or desire to believe in any god. Simple.
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          Sep 5 2012: You should can fit both of them , it's very easy .

          So you don't believe in god only because of the accountability , you don't believe because you don't want to, right ? And the thing with the accountability combined with your impotence to understand a very easy thing are some of the causes that determine you to don't want to believe .
          Why don't you just said it from the first time ?
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        Sep 5 2012: No, you are reading into what I posted. There is no reason or desire to make up a reason to belive in god. There is absolutely no reason to make both of them fit. To what end? It makes no sense whatsoever to believe in something that makes no sense. That's called pretending. It's what children and delusional adults do.

        Which one are you?

        Gives new meaning to the whole 'child of god' thing huh? Go ahead pretend. But do not call those of us who do not pretend impotent. I am more than happy to let you swirl around in your own little make-believe. I do not judge why you would even want to do that. Do not judge me because I don't play children's games. I am not pretending.
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          Sep 5 2012: Welcome to Eduard's world:>)
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          Sep 6 2012: Linda :

          "There is no reason or desire to make up a reason to belive in god."

          To say this or to say that you don't wanna believe in god is one and the same thing .Also ,you agreed you have reasons why to not believe in god , for example 'the accountability' or something new now 'god makes no sense ' .

          About impotence :

          - you claimed "I just cannot fit both into some sort of compromise." , isn't it impotence ?
          - now you say , you have no reason why to fit them both , but can you fit them both ? As I told you it's easy .

          So my conclusion remains the same : - you have no reason to believe in something that seems to not make any sense to you, this thing combined with your probable impotence to make some simple connections is a cause that determines you to not want to believe in god . Right ?

          I'm not pretending anything , since I was mature enough to think for myself I have always a rational understanding of what to be 'the child of god' means . Also , I never called you impotent because you do not pretend .

          But you made some claims without any backup : - why god doesn't make sense ? why to believe in god doesn't make sense ? what is wrong in being 'the child of god' (if you know what it means ) ?

          I put you this questions because these are actually included in the topic's question . I hope you already notice that thing about accountability is not an answer to this questions .
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        Sep 6 2012: Geepers you just don't get it. I clarify and you say I contradict. You really just do not understand what I write. Let me be as clear as I can.

        There is NO REASON to believe in god. It's not that I don't want to, it's not that I can't. THE CONCEPT OF GOD DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE! Which comes from the word SENSE. As in touching, seeing, smelling, hearing and tasting. There is no reason to believe it. you cannot even arrive at a reasonable conclusion that god exists with abstract logic.

        I do not understand why your response to that is the question why. You are very much like a child who asks why inappropriately.

        You have not presented any reason that makes any sense and then have the unmitigated gall to place the onus of proof on ME! There is only one answer to the question of why god does not make any sense. God does not make any sense to me because I do not live in your pretend fantasy world.
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          Sep 7 2012: You could say I didn't get what you said in the way you intended to but I understood what you said , I just followed my line of thinking with what you said . Anyway , now we have you clarified position .

          Maybe I didn't present any reason here , what happened here wasn't about me , it was about atheists , specifically about you --- why don't atheists believe , remember ? You are an atheist or you seem to be , what is so inappropriately to ask you why ?
          In fact , what is very inappropriately is to say I live in a pretend fantasy world , you just can't know this ---- if I think that for you is something inappropriate to justify your ideas then I understand why you imagine you know something about my world .

          About your clarified position :

          You said there is no reason to believe in god and maybe for you that's true but not for everybody , people believe and people do nothing without a reason to do so --- obviously there are reasons to believe , if for you they aren't valid , that's a different thing .
          By your senses and by your abstract logic you get no reasons to believe . It doesn't mean that the concept of god does not make any sense for everybody , that's why I asked you why , that's why I asked you to justify your opinion . If for you that's inappropriate ..... this is it .

          Just don't imagine you answered the topic question .
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          Sep 7 2012: What we're getting at here is the argument that attributing everything that occurs in life to 'the will of god' is an unappealing belief, and that instead attributing events to random chance, and our decisions to our own free will is much more believable (at least from a logical standpoint).

          " It makes no sense whatsoever to believe in something that makes no sense."
          Meaning it is senseless to believe in the existence of something that theoretically exists outside of our understanding.
          You may call this 'closed-minded', but its part of the fundamental problem religious followers ask for, this suspension of disbelief in regard to the existence of God, that one belief that relies only on 'blind faith' is where it becomes illogical to hold a belief in any God.
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          Sep 7 2012: Martin :

          what about if we attribute the events that occur in life both to the will of god and to random chance ?

          God may exist outside of our understanding , however that doesn't mean we can't have an understanding of God .

          It seems you understand by having 'blind faith' to have faith in God without knowing anything about God . From the things I just said above you can notice it is not the case with believers.
          (usually by blind faith is understood to have faith in God without having any proof about God ; notice that proofs are different of reasons , people have reasons to believe in God ) .

          what's the point of your comment more exactly ?
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        Sep 7 2012: @ EG It is precisely because 'the concept of god does not make any sense for everybody' that makes it unbelievable. You seem to think that some people thinking there is a god means that there has to be a god. But it does not work that way.

        There are a lot of people who believe alien life forms are monitoring our planet. But not everyone claims to have this experience. It might actually be happening but I do not have that experience. It does not make sense. And I do not believe that either. (A different pretend fantasy world)

        Also your point about accountability. Let me clarify again. God does not make sense. There is no reason (logic) to believe. And there is no desire to try to believe because I see many many believers defer accountability and attribute circumstance to god (it's gods will). And that is inconsistent with my values.

        That is about as clear as I can get it.
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          Sep 8 2012: Linda :

          You went too further with your ideas , you have no justification to say that the concept of god doesn't make sense for everybody . As I said maybe for you it doesn't make sense , your problem , but to say what you said is simple an assumption .
          No , I don't think that if some people think there is a god means that there has to be a god --- you seem to think this was one of my reason why I said that the concept of god does make sense , you're wrong again , it wasn't . When I check if something make sense or not I first look at what that something is , I look if that something is logical , not at what the people do with that something . I'd like you to do the same thing , it will be more logical . Remember you mentioned yourself abstract logic there when you suggested what you mean by 'making sense' ?

          You also seem to think that something doesn't make sense if you don't have any direct (through your sense) contact with that something . This because you have that quite weird understanding of what 'making sense' means . It would be more logical if you start using the common sense of the expression to defend your points . Why ? Because that something could make sense as a theoretical thing .

          You point about accountability already falls if you realize what I just said .
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        Sep 12 2012: Of course I have no justification to say that the concept of god doesn't make sense for everybody. You said that. You are now at the point of arguing with yourself. That is what happens with circular arguments. Enjoy.
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          Sep 12 2012: What about it : " t is precisely because 'the concept of god does not make any sense for everybody' that makes it unbelievable " ?

          Obviously , you have no idea what your talking about . I guess I enjoy this .
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        Sep 12 2012: Did you not see the quotes? I was quoting you. You even copied them! Here's another one.

        "Obviously , you have no idea what your talking about . I guess I enjoy this ."

        The final words of a loosing argument. Take your crayons and go home.
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          Sep 13 2012: For you i guess I'm going in circles . You don't know even yo quote a text .

          This is where you took the quote from : " By your senses and by your abstract logic you get no reasons to believe . It doesn't mean that the concept of god does not make any sense for everybody ..."

          How the hell could a rational person understand what you did ?

          It's obvious you have a profession to twist meanings .
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        Sep 13 2012: Oh I see. I switched keyboards and missed the shift key and I am the one that twists meanings. You blame everyone else and point out every little error consistently throughout most of your rebuttals. As if it were some fault they do not believe as you do. Even when you get caught in your own little circular argument.

        The crayon comment stands as written.
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    Sep 5 2012: Arthur, have you ever asked yourself the question why people would believe in god?

    And why some believe in one and some in another god?

    Wasn't it maybe because they were told to do so and were born in a particular place that venerated their special version of god.

    Almost the same question came by recently. You may look into it.

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/12180/why_have_people_atheists_cho.html
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    Sep 4 2012: There are plenty of threads existing already about this topic.
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      Sep 5 2012: So true Nicholas!!! Apparently, some folks still need to resolve this question in themselves?
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        Sep 5 2012: I've come to the point, that I believe, when someone dictates their lack of belief -or- belief in God (divine creator) is psychologically satisfying a natural instinct of 'knowing the metaphysical'.... The idea of God being an ancient concern to the human psyche, could perhaps have evolved into requiring this part of the mind to be active; no matter the nature of the activity.

        So while one denies and the other accepts this supernatural thought - both can potentially be feeling the same thing (or close to it). The difference of course is the practical knowledge. But the emotional insurance is no doubt similar. The new age atheist get very passionate over their debates - almost like they are all using the same arguments (religiously, lol).

        Both know they are correct, and depending on the individual - will also depend on how that person can be convinced or unconvinced.

        Perhaps if we looked at ourselves as being the 'defining link' between: ideas in words, the metaphysical and other people - we can begin to realize we have a lot more in common than not.
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          Sep 5 2012: Interesting point Nicholas......I think I agree, if I understand you correctly.

          If the concepts of god, or no god are beliefs, or feelings which we embrace, we could be feeling the same things? It's how we apply the information (the practical knowledge as you say) that is relevant?

          When you speak of "emotional insurance", you mean our belief that we are "right"? Is that the insurance?

          My observation is that the same arguments are used over and over again to often try to convince the other that they are "right", and these arguments seperate, more than bring people together.

          I agree that looking at ourselves honestly, may reveal more similarities, rather than differences.
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        Sep 5 2012: Nail on the head Colleen. You got me.

        Believing we are 'right' or in the 'known' (individual v. group thought) is important for our stability as a person. If we didn't think we were the center of the universe (anthropocentrism), what would be the point of surviving? We are animals with instincts that supervene our consciousness, constantly, we do not want to think this way because we think we are so damn special.

        Now an argument based on how the non-theist feels versus how the theist feels... Well there is some new playing ground for people..

        I don't feel a fundamentalist God is 'wrong' - I feel they just do not allow themselves to expand the idea enough. And I don't enjoy atheist because they do not realize how religious they are in their arguments, a lot of time.

        **Kind of off topic**
        Although, I think we need the atheism movement in order to have thoughts across the spectrum. At the same time, the trend proves to be culturally cancerous - unreflected worshiping of thoughts is fundamentalism. Example: consider the nonsense about science being the key to 'knowing' - which makes science to be something outside of an enterprise; a network involved with a great deal of culturally limited and supported - scientist and researchers.. just crazy.. but it is traditional in their arguments!!
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          Sep 5 2012: I agree Nicholas that sometimes humans believing they are "right" may create a sense of stability or security for themselves. Do you think that is one reason people have difficulty coming together? Does seperateness, on some level, cause people to believe they are better than everyone else? More enlightened? Smarter? More involved, intelligent or informed? I perceive these things sometimes in people's arguments.

          Do you think that some folks might feel that they lose their individuality or uniquness by recognizing the similarities that we share or our interconnectedness? In my perception, we can still be "special" AND part of the interconnected "whole".

          I actually was MORE open to the possibility of a god before I started to converse here on TED. I find that the atheists who enter discussions on TED are much more open minded than the religious enthusiasts/fundamentalists/extremists.
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        Sep 6 2012: Asking some tough questions here... lol, I'll try to answer them without getting into all of the things I have read this summer..

        **Do you think that is one reason people have difficulty coming together?

        Absolutely. If at any point our thoughts (usually related with larger groups) conflict with another individual/group... we are prone to get defensive therefore we do not want our understandings to be challenged in an unwelcoming manner. Consider social rejection... If your thoughts are shared actively in a group, someone disputes those thoughts, instantly they are ostracized. Groups can reject other groups, not just individuals.

        **Does seperateness, on some level, cause people to believe they are better than everyone else?

        It wouldn't be due to separation as much as associating yourself with others you identify with most strongly or with those whom benefit you for referencing them. If someone had no group or third party to rely on for assurance in argument and position... That person is less likely to try and create a superiority complex in debate. However, some people just naturally feel as if they are superior - or - are deluded in life to feel that way.

        **Do you think that some folks might feel that they lose their individuality or uniquness by recognizing the similarities that we share or our interconnectedness?

        I assume you mean, "do we lose ourselves when we associate with a larger group?" Absolutely not. In fact you are more of an individual for recognizing you are in fact part of a community (in thought, religion, etc). This recognition allows one to become more able to see the flaws, as well as benefits, of being assimilated into that group.

        ___

        I absolutely will never suggest one who claims atheism to be in anyway not open, however, when they whole heartily deny the fact they are being 'religious' in their behaviors, then I do insist they are being delusional; semisimilar to the religious folk they look down on themselves.

        Always fun Colleen
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          Sep 16 2012: It is indeed always fun and interesting to share ideas with you Nicholas because you always like to explore on many different levels.

          Very good points Nicholas......as usual:>)

          You write..."If... our thoughts... conflict with another individual/group... we are prone to get defensive therefore we do not want our understandings to be challenged in an unwelcoming manner".

          I suggest that some folks feel and act defensive even when arguments are presented in a respectful manner. Those who do this are generally not very secure in themselves.

          I agree...some people feel they are superior, and it certainly shows in debates/discussions here on TED. Although I've had indepth discussions about many topics all my life, I have never encountered these kinds of discussions where people need to prove they are "right". I guess I tend to hang around wih a lot of open minded, open hearted people, who have many different beliefs and practices, and accept that in each other. The one thing we share is respect for another person's beliefs. It feels kind of sad that there are folks who think they are so "right" they need to convert everybody.
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    Sep 4 2012: Same reason fleas don't believe in dogs. . . they have never honestly, without pre-suppositions, looked into the possibility of God being real. They mostly subscribe to what someone else says about God's being or non-being.
    • Sep 4 2012: Edward,

      You truly should not talk for others. Most atheists I know believed in "God" at some point in their lives.

      For most I know, it was after honestly examining the issue, and the presuppositions (what the heck does it mean "without presuppositions"? they have to be examined too), that the conclusion that such god did not exist came about. So, it was the opposite way to your claim. Most did not just subscribe to what someone else said or thought about god(s) existing or not. They made their own minds. Many did not want this to be so.
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        Sep 4 2012: Long time no Gabo. Hello friend!
        The question asked for my opinion. I speak for no one other than myself, and some fleas.
        I, too, have talked with many who claim to be Atheists and Agnostics and more than a few of them tell me they do not see the need to look seriously and candidly into the question. After all, look at the long, impressive list of all those who have gone before who saw no need for God in their lives, in fact they saw no probability for his existence anyway. I think there are people in both camps.
        Please examine thie following syllogism for me Gabo:
        Premise #1-Atheism's essential doctrine depends on a God concept. (No God= no need for Atheism)
        Premise #2-Atheism exists.
        Conclusion- Atheism contributes to the perpetuating of a God concept.
        Thanks, and allow for faith. Be well--Edward
        • Sep 5 2012: Hello my friend. I hope all is well with you. Here, loads and loads of work. Which is actually pretty good.

          Atheism exists because of a societal leaning towards believing that there's god(s). I don't think that atheism perpetuates the god(s) concept(s). I do not mind about the concept existing, actually. It is all right. Part of our historical and cultural background. Interesting and such. I do not mind people believing that such things actually exist. What I do mind is people thinking that they can impose their belief into others, or those who want to gain power and make societies into theocracies, or mess up the educational system by incorporating myths into science as if they had any validity. Such stuff. But perpetuating the concept. Fine by me. People believing? Again, fine by me.

          Be well!
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        Sep 5 2012: Edward,
        You say..."I speak for no one other than myself, and some fleas".

        Who are you speaking of with your statement...
        "they have never honestly, without pre-suppositions, looked into the possibility of God being real. They mostly subscribe to what someone else says about God's being or non-being."

        Who is the "they" you refer to? The fleas?
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          Sep 5 2012: Colleen,
          Thanks for the opportunity to correct my ambiguity. In my reply to Professor Moreno I mention the many folks with whom I have spoken about this issue over the years. It is from many members of this group that I have heard the quoted response. If I may add, it is the younger folks who trust more in the historic Atheistic position and are reluctant to "waste" the time looking into it for themselves. The fleas are just part of a joke.
          Prosper in peace-Edward
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        Sep 5 2012: You are welcome Edward:>)

        I read carefully what you said in your reply to Gabo (Professor Moreno), and that is precisely why I asked the question Edward.

        Your statement is: "Same reason fleas don't believe in dogs. . . they have never honestly, without pre-suppositions, looked into the possibility of God being real. They mostly subscribe to what someone else says about God's being or non-being".

        You are making a HUGE generalization, which is not true. Perhaps you HAVE talked with "many members of this group".....I assume you are speaking about atheists? Comparing people to fleas, is not very much of a joke Edward.

        Gabo, has provided more than enough information here on TED, which tells me that he has explored religions, and the possibility of a god extensively. I have provided information regarding my exploration about religions and god. And I am aware that you have participated in some of the same conversations with me and Gabo regarding this topic.

        How can you justify saying that we are like fleas,..."they have never honestly, without pre-suppositions, looked into the possibility of God being real. They mostly subscribe to what someone else says about God's being or non-being".

        Ok....even though a couple of us HAVE indeed explored god and religions extensively, you continue to say we never honestly looked into the possibility of god and subscribe to what someone else says about god?

        Who here is simply accepting what someone else says, rather than listening, hearing and accepting what WE say about ourselves and our beliefs? Telling me I'm like a flea, who simply follows along doesn't feel very good to me Edward, nor is it very accepting, which I presume your religious beliefs and your god tell you to be?
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          Sep 5 2012: :-( I am sorry my silly joke has caused offense. I did not intend to compare any human being to a flea. All humans are made in the image of God. You are correct that Jesus teaches his followers to love everyone, even (and perhaps especially) their enemies.The essence of the joke is comparing a person who says they do not believe there is a God to a flea on a dog saying he doubts there is a dog, I apologize Colleen and ask your forgiveness. I hope my deed has not risked our continuing dialog which I always find edifying and challenging. -- Edward.
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        Sep 20 2012: Ok Gabo. it's official. Both my brother say they are looking at dad when they see your photo. :)
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      Sep 5 2012: Edward,
      Just because we have differences of opinion regarding religion, god, or no god, does not mean we have to be "enemies". We are not enemies, in my perception. We are friends who have a difference of opinion and practices. Yes, I remember that teaching when I was young...."all humans are made in the image of god".

      Which is why I asked the question... why do you want, or need to compare some people (atheists) to a flea. You preach this idea often Edward.....we're all made in the image of god. Then when someone disagrees with you or your teachings, you often revert to conversation that is less than respectful. It feels like you are not walking your talk, and that is precisely why I chose to abandon a belief in religion or god a long time ago.

      It did not have anything to do with blindly following anyone else, as you have suggested on this thread and many other threads of the same topic. My beliefs were formed with extensive teachings in the church I was born into, observation of many people throughout my life, and EXTENSIVE study, research and practice.

      I have nothing to forgive you for Edward, because I do not blame you for anything. Your statements are a reflection of YOU, not of ME. You do not appear to be walking your talk regarding your religious or god beliefs, and that is exactly one of the major pieces of information I use to reject a god or religion. If people who say they sincerely believe in a god or religion do not follow even the very basic beliefs (all humans are made in the image of god, for example), what good is that belief in a religion and a god?
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        Sep 5 2012: My apology was prompted by your words: "how can you justify saying that we are like fleas? Either you were offended and I owed you an apology, or you were not offended and my apology was ill advised. Wouldn't you just know I chose the wrong one by interpreting your words to be indicating an offense had been taken. I really do not see how I could have interpreted your words any other way, but you say I don't owe you an apology and who knows better than you? I think it is best if I don't apologize for apologizing. I think my best contribution to our little off-topic repartee is to withdraw. As always--Edward.
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    Sep 4 2012: First off, I'm agnostic, not atheist. So I hope you don't mind my input.

    That said, I am forced to ask myself the question, "Why are their so many different religions in the first place? Which one SHOULD I believe in? Which God is the 'one and only'?"

    I don't discount the possiblity of a higher intelligence/being/something I can't comprehend as a mere mortal. But the teachings of most religions revolve around their own interpretations of what that "being" might be. Which one should I choose? They can't all be right, or we are back to our ancestors who had separate Gods for the Sun, Moon, Wind, Fire, and a host of other things.

    If there is a "God" and He/She is truly benevolent, AND is All Knowing, then He/She would be able to understand my confusion/concern about what is being taught about Him/Her. If I live my life "morally" with intent towards my fellow Man, then that should be what is used by the God to determine my "worth" once I die. To me, no benevolant God would judge me as "good" or "bad" just because I questioned His/Her existance in the first place. If it is a requirement that I live in FEAR of him, then I can't consider Him being benevolant.

    I'll trust that if I am wrong, and He/She is of a higher intelligence AND All Knowing, I will be judged fairly in the end. In the meantime, I will not live in FEAR of His/Her existance.
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      Sep 20 2012: Rick Ryan said: "Which one SHOULD I believe in? Which God is the 'one and only'?"

      I don't know is this helps Rick but all the real western religions are just version of the Jewish religion. Eastern religions appear to have had a big influence on Jewish religious thought, so you could go there. I think it goes back to the cave man days. :)

      Good luck.
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    Sep 21 2012: Don, I finished my closing statement on my Question
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/13616/we_are_all_mortal_we_all_grow.html

    Would you check it out and tell what you think?

    John.
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    Sep 21 2012: Gabo, let's examine this proposal.

    "Faith is the denial of observation so the belief can be preserved." ~Tim Mincin an artist/comedian

    I say it's nonsense because it create an idealism (faith) then prepossess to suggest it has some kind of distinctive power to observe and statistic evidence. Then reaches a similarly questionable conclusion that Faith and belief are related in a negating fashion.

    It's pure nonsense Gabo. Do you actually believe this statement?

    Belief substantiates the faith and the faith supplies the power to maintain the belief. They feed one another. (in religious speak).

    I think it's just a lead in to a joke. So you think it's some kind of philosophy?
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        Sep 21 2012: I think twice is enough Gabo. You seem dependent on me accepting your opinion. I'm sorry but I just can't do that. You'll just have to live with it. You can continue your campaign of smug comments towards me if you like. I understand that is part of the troll mentality, something they can't control.

        This in my email address. I give you full permission to take this out of the public arena where we can talk about it one to another. rexrino@moonstroller.com

        Here, in the privacy of our email, you can be as smug as you like. :)

        Looking at your 1800 or so posts. It appears all you do with your PhD, is instigate arguments and make smug retorts about the existence of God and other Religious subjects. The times associated with the posts are interesting also. Don't you ever take time to research some data or swish some test tubes around? Must be quiet a job where you don't have to work. I can't find any record of the person that fits your profile anywhere in Ontario.
        • Sep 21 2012: Then maybe I don't exist.
          You would be amazed at how much you can write between test tubes. That's the trick to be able to publish your research findings on time. You write, you get stuck, send a comment, say, twiit or ted. Continue writing the paper, oh, wait, let's read that article too, timer! ok, back to the test tubes, and so on. research gets you working all day. Thus you mix and match activities.
          see ya man. no need for you to agree with me on anything.
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          Sep 21 2012: Dear Gabo....that is SO funny!!! I just googled your name...Gabo Moreno - Montreal, Canada, and you popped up right away. Why would anyone say such a thing?
          http://www.wlu.ca/homepage.php?grp_id=602&f_id=4
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    Sep 20 2012: Don said: "Do not the confused ones create more confusion and hide the beauty of good design
    I ask of you John, lead us to the wisdom of great design..."

    It is the duty of the strong to help the weak or the village will be destroyed by outsiders. The weak may not be able to swing the sword but they can bind the wounds and sharpen the blade.

    We are the confused ones Don. All of us together. Together we must stand or one by one be picked off by the strangers.

    I don't have the answer Don. I am not the Leader. Like I said before.... if you want to follow me you better bring a sleeping bag and compass because we will get lost in the wilderness.
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    Sep 20 2012: Obey No1Kinobe said: "I agree i don't know."

    :0 me neither ;0

    So when are you going to join my forum?
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    Sep 20 2012: Don said: "In the dark of night I see his glorious design;
    With all its guiding tools.
    I look up.
    In the light of day, I see the human confusion,
    And that is the better time to sleep.
    And so in the day, I sleep and do most of my best,
    Uninterrupted reasoning.
    In the military, as I young officer
    I learned to move in the night, with the best prepared map.
    The enemy is asleep and I have covered myself with black.
    It is really cool."



    Cool it is Don. :)
    The fear is great at the edge of the cliff when you look down at the swirling waters.
    Wind and sand batter your mind and you wonder at the tranquility that lies just below.
    With so much work left to be done and so little energy inside, we stumble sometimes almost falling over the cliff.
    To be old
    To be so close the the end of the game
    It can be a frightening affair with the mocking young so close behind.
    We smile, pick ourselves up and trudge back to our cottages;
    We know they have much to learn.
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    Sep 20 2012: Colleen said: "I'm sure you know that "highjacking" a reply button is a common, sort of fun way people express the way the TED sequence is programmed? ... You are right...Don is well known for speaking in "metaphorics". He is also well know for speaking abusively when one does not agree with him. You are right, I know Don quite well....
    In my perception John, I have nothing to excuse. I actually like to calm things down whenever possible, which Robert acknowledged."

    Colleen.... I really don't know how to answer your response. You may find this hard to believe but when I saw you beating up on a senior citizen the way you did, with relish, and disdain, I actually had to back away from the computer, go smoke a Cig., get a glass of tea and sit on the deck listening to the frogs and crickets to compose my self. I am thinking of leaving TED, finding nothing more here than is everywhere else. I have my own forum where me and my son are trying to create a virtual world for my whole family. A place where our kids can visit with their friends and family and be safe from the internet monsters. It was going to be opened to everyone but Robert..... dear Robert..... has convinced me that no one outside my family can be trusted with secrets.

    I may look like nothing but a monkey to you Colleen but I saw you as a real human being as I do all of you.
    The issues that plague the human condition cannot be rectified and closed in the social media. We are fooling ourselves to believe such a thing is possible. We have to do this in the wind or reality.
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        Sep 20 2012: Have you ever heard of the social media remedy called "Ignore". It works. I'm an agnostic and Don doesn't call me those names. Don and I are on very friendly terms. I Like Don. He is very smart actually. He is a poet, a warrior, a family man, a successful business man, and an activist for social reform. He is not a dummy and definably not a coward.

        Yet, I see this side of you and he all the time. It gets real old. Have you noticed Don and I don't have these conversation problems you and he have? Do you actually read what others have to say and delve deeply into their idea, how earnestly they believe in their belief system? I do all the time. I even reread them from time to time, trying to draw a real picture of the personality I'm conversing with.

        I've read you post over and over again.

        TED was supposed to be about ideas and sharing, not flame wars and name calling. It failed. It didn't pass the social test. It's like a fake Mona Lisa.
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    Sep 20 2012: Brian said: "JJohn, in regards to my highjacking of the reply button, I hope your being facetious just as I was. Has TED discussions really been degraded to this? Are you really trying to chastise me for not waiting my turn?"

    Brian, this is not a verbal, real time discussion. Your turn happens when you hit the Return key. Don't use real world excuses for vurtual realities. It's like cussing.... sometime we all stumble with words in reality but to imply that when you wrte a cuss word that your fingers are somehow forcing you to sumble and write the word is prepostours to the reasonable mind. Being pretentious! no that is a something we can talk about in the vurtual world because most people preactice it everyday when they use the keyboard.

    In all things Brian....... you are what you do. Don't let your fingers do your talking. Use your brain. I appreciate the thumbs up you gave me and my argument was sound, I thought. If it's a problem for Steven Hawkins I'm positive it should be a problem for Brian Klink, unless, of course, you think you have the potential to yank him out of Newtons chair and take his place. Well.... Brian..... do ya? < just joking and being pretentious Brian.... :)
    I've been in the computer world since 1977. How long have you been around? You should join my forum. You have potential. my email is: rexrino@moonstroller.com





    Perhaps you need to get back into the real world before your mind melts in this virtual reality which is real for idea and information but unreal if your a human being.
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      Sep 20 2012: I totally agree with you John.....we are what we do. You also say..."use your brain". Don Wesley tells us that a person who is brain damaged, has no emotion. Again John....what do you think about this idea?
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        Sep 20 2012: TED is dead colleen. It always was... just an experiment.

        It failed. Look around you. Where are the experts, the professionals, who were to collude with us and help expand our knowledge? When was the last time you posted with one of those individuals? All there is is you, me and the others we blog with everyday. We get bored and we jump on one another. TED is just another bog with interesting eye candy.


        Where is TED in the schools? They don't allow outside interference with the school system. TED is considered by Conservative organizations as a Liberal haven and don't want their children exposed to it. Why?

        Because the Atheist demons abound there. For TED to be successful it will have to not allow conversations and blogs and become more like Wikipedia. If you go to Wikipedia, you can participate in the religious arguments with others, in a more private setting, where your personal opinion don't end up in a advertisement industry data base. You actually meet real people there and you can have an impact on the knowledge base that is being distributed to the world. It's a fun place. I'm just tired and thought I'd try TED to see what they offer.

        The only contribution I can offer to these themes is the words of Steven Hawkins. He said science can't prove, God is or God is not most of the other top Scientists agree with Hawkins.. End of story

        Of all the people you and I blog with everyday, who is so attuned they can disprove Hawkins and the other scientist?

        Not me. Not you. Not anyone I've conversed with so far. It's just not worth the hurt and damage it causes and we are having no affect at all.
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          Sep 21 2012: No need for despair John... If anything, consider this TED community like those long lost relatives that you get to see every few years at grandma's birthday, one or two of which are actually interesting characters.

          I always take what i call the "blue whale approach": those giants filter through hundreds and hundreds of tons of seawater to eat a creature smaller than the shrimp you and I eat in a seafood dish.

          And yet, they get to be not only the biggest creature in the sea, but the biggest animal, period.

          Yes, if only we had one millionth of that patience, we could end up growing a bit too.

          Read comments, write comments, smile, get polemical, and every now and then, we'll learn a bit or two and find one of those long lost relatives

          I assure you, it's worth the trip

          cheers man
    • Sep 20 2012: Your argument about free will is one I have voiced myself your constrained to make certain decisions based on the laws of cause and effect that limit your choices. Also decisions are not so much conscious as one would think, in all reality its just a mix of competing impulses that are battling in the subconscious. I think understanding this is an important step for a healthy society. For starters it should breed compassion for those that society deems thugs or criminals. It should also assist as a tool of liberation from the insane ideas of the monotheistic religions that claim you can be placed in hell forever for committing thought crimes, or sins, that were not and never were in your control. What kind of a psychopath would systematically plan your eternal torture and claim righteousness?
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        Sep 21 2012: I agree with your critique of the argument Brian. However it's contribution to building a healthy society is in question.

        I'm going to tell you something that was told to me at a business meeting when I suggested we go to the local college and recruit some new employees for the special type of project we were working on.

        You are different from the rest of the litter. You have a special perspective and ability to see through the fog that can't be learned in school. It's unique to your DNA, the way you were raise and what things you allowed your curiosity to explore.

        Your not like the other guys Brain You can't teach Brian in school and turn them out in packages or in bulk. So, trying teaching people these ideas can be a big wast of time, your time. Pick those who you think have the ability to understand and forget the rest.

        The ideas of religion is not an insane idea. It's a notion of the minds desire to symbolize things it doesn't understand. As a naturally curious individual, you will be confronted with this mind symbol the rest of your life. I have found it is better to establish some kind of dialog with religious folk and some degree of tolerance in order to not be heavily burdened by their organized belief system.

        Such as: how do you deal with a large population of Muslims who don't like the video that pokes fun at their religion? Simple...... don't make the video.

        This is just a hint to the wise. ;}
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      Sep 20 2012: That's pretty cool Don. I'm listening to it while I write this comment. I can hear each cord, feel the beat, move me feet, makes me wanna snatch up my guitar and play along. :)

      In fact......... I think I will.
      :)
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    Sep 19 2012: hello and hi Colleen
    i totally agree with you that never label yourself.

    i think we all should live a life of ourselves.

    i will tell a story of myself

    last year.when i came back to school .you know schoollife is not always happy .yes i have a new clssmate..and also we live in the same dormitory. we are different very much .i think i am a student of learning.i like reading books .see some news.and do something outdoors .while he is a person that a how to say maybe is 'nothing to do '' every day he gets up then play the computer game all day long. he just sit still ,never talk or say something and also he likes to play it very late .when we get sleep ,he then go to take a shower.and then he use his hair drier.you know it makes a lot of noise.i am very angry but i can say nothing .i fear we may break up ..day by day. finally i can not bear .i talk to him.but hopelessly he madenothing.he did it as ususl.
    finally we broke up.i know he has many friends .they like to play cards and drink..sometimes do some thing togther.while i am quiet..i like read myself .and do myself..so next something even horrorable happen .that my students think that it is my fault...they say something bad to me . you konw what a shock to me !these day i even do not trust myself sometimes i even think that all i do is not right .what he does is right ..so i just do as him every day very late to sleep.and do something bad.but you know it is not so easy to change from this state to that..so sometimes i do not know what i am doing ...classmates always say i am a female..and act like a deliration..these day i am hopeless and i think i am silly i label myself....very hurt.sometimes i just want to kill myself..because i can not see the future ..i can not go home to talk with my mother i can not say to my friend .they may joke me ...it is a mare
    thanks to a winter holliday i go back ..i may not face my students .i can think it over where is the problem .gradually i come back to
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      Sep 19 2012: Hi Chen,
      You are not hopeless....believe that. Remember what we were talking about on another thread? Know yourself, and it sounds like you are exploring what you want and need, so that is good. Hang in there my friend, and keep communicating here on TED....will you do that? You do not need to have all the answers for the future right now. Try taking one step at a time, and continue to communicate.....can you do that?
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        Sep 19 2012: of course !.now i am cofident.and i know what i should do .just back to normal.you know liferoad is not always smooth.
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          Sep 19 2012: I know Chen....the life road is not always smooth. There are hills and valleys. it's important to trust ourselves and know that we can continue the journey. I appreciate you my friend, and I'm looking forward to reading more of your comments.....thanks for being you, and sharing the gift with us:>)
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    • Sep 18 2012: Don, i watched professor Lakoff's interview and read an interesting article about his findings and I do not clearly understand what the relationship is to the existence of God. I find professor Lakoff's work to be incredibly insightful and brilliant, but what it demonstrates more than anything is the absolute non existence of free will.

      Yet if free will doesn't exist then how can god hold us responsible for sins we committed which were more a product of experience, brain structure, and genetics? If you believe what professor Lakoff claims to be true and i'm assuming you do based on your insistent promotion of his findings, then where does that leave theists? If God is to torture me in hell for not believing in his son, Jesus christ, and this was not a conscious choice then wouldn't this make God a cruel and sadistic being?
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        Sep 20 2012: I think Steven Hawkings was talking about this free will thing.

        When you reach an intersection in your life where you have to make a decision, somehow the state of the universe is such that you will make a decision that is available to you because of the state. There will be no other options so you don't really have free will, just the opportunity to choose a path to follow.
        The paths are already laid out with their own little nooks and crannies.

        What Stevens was trying to say, I guess, is that the decision you made is the one you would have made under the same circumstances. Your just following your destiny line or path in a universe which already knows which path you will take.

        Or something like that. :)
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      Sep 19 2012: Hi Don

      Sounds of Silence. Not sure what you get from the Lyrics. My best guess is its about our inability to communicate with each other. Not sure how this is pro theist.

      Lakkoff. Not sure how this is pro theist.

      Re the debate which arguments did you consider slam dunk? I've seen and heard many similar debates and never heard a compelling argument for the existence of god as anything more than a possibility, although the quality of debaters varies.
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        • Sep 20 2012: Don, I have had some prior education, Im sure obey has too and I still don't really get how lakoff's lecture correlates to the existence of God. I understand that emotion influences reason, but I would really like it if you could expand on this. Frank Turek's argument about the big bang only proves to make a God of the gaps argument. Just because science cant answer a current question does not mean God did it.
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          Sep 20 2012: Hi Don, I'm still not exactly sure of your argument or point.

          It seems you have latched onto some mind science or opinion to explain atheist views. I suggest the same applies to theists. Even with our human failings I suggest the question of whether there is sufficient reason or evidence to believe in any god claims is something we can muddle through.

          I've been on both sides and atheism seems the most sound position to me on whether believe in mostly invisible and intangible beings that no one can agree on because they are virtually non existent but are useful placeholders for addressing the unknown without actually answering any questions - god did it, but don't know how or even what god is, or how god got to exist etc etc. Argument from ignorance and special pleading.

          I don't know if there are gods or faeries. But I have not come across anything that reasonably indicates their existence, and especially their intervention in human affairs.

          I hope you can make a clearer argument. Until then have a Good day.
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        Sep 20 2012: I think there was some problem with the authors posting the question Obey. It definitely looks like a pro-theist question to me.

        Brian said: "Don, I have had some prior education, I'm sure obey has too."

        Gee obey. I didn't realize you and Brian were such mates...... and you have education too? :)

        You make some good arguments for the Atheist side of things. But deep down, you know there is no proof either way. A man lives in the Shara all his life and never sees rain Doesn't mean rain doesn't exist... just means he's never seen it.

        Speaking of.... how's the weather down under?
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          Sep 20 2012: I agree i dont know.

          But i have seen enough to realise ist is very unlikely that any specific religion the absolute truth.

          Best guess is religious experince is just in our minds but i dont know.

          That is why i dont belive. Part of it any way.

          I hope im not claiming to know things i dont have reasonable support for.

          I also think u can have a non supernatural trancendent life.
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          Sep 20 2012: Spring here. Best time. Not cold. Not hot. Days getting longer. Life is good.

          Hope u have a good day too jm
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    • Sep 16 2012: Don, that is the most pitiful reach for the moral high ground I have ever seen.

      Yes an individuals ability to accept certain premises is influenced by the subconscious. Your claim that the subconscious is unchanging and frozen in time just isn't true please look at synaptic plasticity. The human mind is an incredibly complex topic and cannot be explained through one sentence thats been pulled out of context. Your oversimplifying this to a point that is almost not worthy of a response.

      I wasnt helping Gabo I feel very confident that Gabo can respond just fine on his own. I jumped into the conversation because I was appalled at the absurdity of your argument.
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        • Sep 16 2012: Don, I really want you to think about what i'm saying here. I in no way meant to abuse you and i'm sorry if you felt that i did. You seem to be stuck on the idea that anybody who disagrees with you is abusing you, this is very convenient for it allows you to be the victim, thus exalting your opinion and demonizing all those opposed as abusive "children of rage". Don, please look inward and come to realize that people disagreeing with you is not an attack of your character, integrity, or intelligence.

          You may want to consider really looking at what you type as you tell me I have a chance to repent yet you have no words to withdraw, even though you call me a child of rage and a killer.
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        Sep 16 2012: Unbelievable!!!!!
        Hang in there Brian, I've also been called "a child of rage" by Don when I didn't agree with him, as well as all his other name calling. Projection....projection.....projection.....very sad man.
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        Sep 20 2012: Brian said: "Gabo, sorry to highjack your reply button but I have to jump in here. "

        Brian said: "I jumped into the conversation because I was appalled at the absurdity of your argument." You don't have to jump. Just wait your turn like everyone else.

        Looks like a highjack to me Brian. You can't be both right and wrong so which is it going to be.

        Don is well known for speaking in metaphorics. It takes someone with understanding to realize this. You do have understanding don't you Brian? I think you do.

        Colleen and Robert know don quite well and have no excuse. They just like to sitr things up. and I have to add, this is the first time I've seen this side of both of them. I'm very surprised. It changes the way I see them and trust their comments.

        We should all apologize for our lack of self control and for showing disrespect to the author's question. I'm going to apologize by deleting this off topic comment tomorrow when I wake up.
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          Sep 20 2012: John,
          I'm sure you know that "highjacking" a reply button is a common, sort of fun way people express the way the TED sequence is programmed?

          I'm sure you also know that as members of TED, which is an open, public forum, anyone is free to engage in conversation whenever s/he wants to? I do not perceive Brian as either "right" or "wrong". He participates in an open forum and made a little joke (which many of us understand) about "highjacking" the reply button.

          You are right...Don is well known for speaking in "metaphorics". He is also well know for speaking abusively when one does not agree with him. You are right, I know Don quite well.

          In my perception John, I have nothing to excuse. I actually like to calm things down whenever possible, which Robert acknowledged.

          The question, as posed, is ...
          "Atheism: why do people don't believe in God?My question to all atheists is that, why don't they believe in God?"

          I addressed the question from my perspective and I'm sorry if you feel the way I addressed it was/is disrespectful. We all have our own perceptions and choices regarding this topic.
        • Sep 20 2012: John, in regards to my highjacking of the reply button, I hope your being facetious just as I was. Has TED discussions really been degraded to this? Are you really trying to chastise me for not waiting my turn? Part of me believes your joking. I know Don from our conversations and I enjoy conversing with him, but in this forum I didn't particularly enjoy the insane accusations that have been thrown my way.
    • Sep 17 2012: I have not run out of ink Don. I noticed that the ink was being used to no avail, since you continued to answer to points I didn't make, and accusing me of deeds I did not perform, while growing in paranoid accusations that I truly have no idea where they come from. All of that while nether addressing, nor acknowledging any of the actual points I made. Would you continue a conversation with someone who does that to you?
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      Sep 16 2012: That breaks it down pretty well Don. If I may add that entertaining a debate like "what came first the chicken or the egg" ignores the relationship which probably did.
      • Sep 16 2012: That breaks it down pretty well? I don't think you read what we wrote. At the very least you did not read what I wrote.
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          Sep 16 2012: I read what I had to. Are you familiar with Aesop's fables? I feel that most people are like the Fox and the sour grapes. They can't find ways to empathize with each other's ways of thinking, so they view it as sour grapes. We should all find ways to remedy that.
      • Sep 17 2012: Justin,

        Of course. Because it must be my lack of empathy that justifies Don to draw conclusions, in grandiose terms, that have nothing to do with the points discussed and that run against the most basic logic as well as against reality.

        Nice logic. I will remember that. Next time something I say is challenged I will ignore every point made by the other party, conclude against, or in forms unrelated to, the discussion, and then justify my conclusions, as far from reality as they might be, by telling the other party about Aesop and the fox and the sour grapes. All topped up with their lack of empathy. That should do. Right?
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          Sep 17 2012: Thank you for the compliments Gabe. If you like that fable reference, use it where you deem appropriate. It's Free! We can spend much better time refining the idea with eachother's understandings than clouding the idea with steadfast dissent. Ethical discourse is a fine tool everyone involved can take away the benefit of resolution. Right?
      • Sep 20 2012: Well, if by ethical discussion you mean give fables as excuses for giving your kudos to somebody who did not pay any attention, and then became paranoid, then I do not know if anybody could take away any benefit at all.

        No need for the fables. I have read them all. But thanks.
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      Sep 16 2012: We don't know. We don't know.

      Which one?
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          Sep 17 2012: I will get my moral principles from reason, from ethical consideration of situations, leveraging thousands of years of ethical thought, enlightenment values etc..

          Not just from bronze or iron age men who wrote things down that are collated into one particular religious book.

          You realise the bible instructs adulters and direspectful child and people who work on the sabbath to be killed?

          I suggest my personal morality may be superior to much in the bible. I don't support slavery, or murder in gods name. I don't support treating women as chattel etc.

          Or do you pick and choose the parts of the bible that make sense to you?
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          Sep 19 2012: Morals emerge from people made from molecules.
          PEace back.
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        Sep 17 2012: Dear Obey....you are advised to come back when you are better qualified! Oh my!!!

        In my personal observation Obey, you are very qualified to share your own thoughts, feelings, ideas, perceptions and opinions:>)
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          Sep 19 2012: Thanks Colleen.

          I try to gloss over the ad hominem as evidence of poor arguments and human frailty.

          It's not so much having expert opinions on every subject but learning and testing ideas, and stealing better ones when you find them.
      • Sep 17 2012: OBN1K,
        I am not sure what kind of glasses and earplugs did Don use during the debate, because Chris Hitchens pretty much devastated the idea that morality could possibly come from the Christian god. Hitchens is lots of fun to listen and to learn from.

        Another nice video on morality (touching too on the gods) is here:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWNW-NXEudk

        Best!
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          Sep 19 2012: Agree. Miss the Hitch. What a master phrase turner.

          Good treatise on morality. Some similarities with Sam Harris.

          Shows that it is more complex than saying something is moral if my god says so. And all the different god given moralities are subjective.

          The thing that makes me sad is theists often say the options are (1) a god provides objective morality - which is completely arbitrary and subjective (which god morality) and if the god morality causes suffering, killing in gods name etc, its still moral....or (2) morality is completely relative if there is no interventionist god - anything goes.

          Such a lame false dichotomy. As if we can not use our brains to work out what improves the human condition.

          As if god saying so or contradicting himself is an explanation, defining god as morally perfect arbitrarily. Such a cop out. I also wonder how Bible based believers think god is good when he kills, orders killing, and all sorts of nasty stuff, topped off with eternal punishment etc.

          Defining god as good is just circular. God killing everyone but noah was good. Sending us to hell is good.

          Good stuff.
    • Sep 20 2012: I do not need a response. You just made it clearer that you wear some kind of glasses and earplugs, because TBS was very clear and thorough, no lightweight at all, while your answerer was incredibly shallow, obscure, and convolutely rhetorical, and pretentiously "declaratorial" (instead of answers or counter-arguments he provides mere assertions, all of which were anticipated and demonstrated to be wrong by the one you call a "lightweight thinker"). Clearly you don't see what you don't want to see. You don't hear what you don't want to hear.

      But I don't expect any coherence from you anymore. So, don't worry about answering.

      Ciao
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    • Sep 15 2012: Don,

      This was a very long and quite boring talk. Almost two hours. Even then, this was not neural sciences, but some kind of political science mixed with pseudo psychology mixed with what-have-you. Even then, not once did I hear anything about neural sciences indicating that "thinking is restrained; it is framed and those frames are prisons of thought frozen in time."

      As I said, such a thing is far from being a scientific conclusion. It is far from making any sense. Also, I suspect that you are mistaking a psychological metaphor for a neural science description about thoughts.

      Be well.
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        • Sep 16 2012: let me put this issue to rest...

          My original statement: "If one dubs himself an atheist then I assume that he/she simply rejects the ideas that theism has to offer as being credible or true. The entire world with an unrestrained chain of thought is what atheism has to offer."

          He then replied: "I watch daily, for news releases from Neural Science, and what it has to say about thinking. It says thinking is restrained; it is framed and those frames are prisons of thought frozen in time.
          Atheism is not creative thinking, nor even critical thinking. It is delusional thinking."

          Dons argument about thoughts being frozen in time literally has nothing to do with the point I was making, which is, that theism and any dedication to one religion(which you need if your going to call yourself a theist) makes it impossible to question not only your own religious beliefs and dogmas, but the beliefs of others. If I am a dedicated christian then I cant learn a thing from other religions because there essentially blasphemers that do not believe in christ (the only son of God). The same holds true for islam in regards to christianity or any and all of the religions. Theism limits ones ability to believe anything except what is dictated to them through their religious texts usually by threat of eternal torture. So thoughts being frozen in time or more likely non plastic synaptic and neuronal connections really just doesn't have anything to do with what I was talking about....
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        • Sep 16 2012: Did you even try and read what I said Don? To me this kind of nonsensical "answer" is "abusive" and "demeaning." Man, I tried so hard to explain only to have you browse shallowly and give me an improper answer.

          How on Earth am I evading? Didn't I give you any explanations? Didn't I try and explain why your comment was nonsensical? Did you even try to read that for understanding?

          How on Earth do I "demean" this guy if I say that cognitive sciences are not the same as neural sciences? How if I tell you that he was nowhere close to saying what you said about prisons for thoughts (or whatever) made of frames frozen in time?

          Keep him over me as much as you want. He still did not say such a thing, and if any cognitive scientists did, it would be a metaphor for something else but not about any physical nature of thought. I guess the issue to you is about whether I come from a place like Berkeley or Harvard, rather than whether you mistook a metaphor for a physical reality. (Maybe you didn't, maybe you were presenting a metaphor as a metaphor, but I guess I will never know.)

          But I should not be surprised anymore. I should not try and explain any more.

          Have it your way Don. No more explaining.
          Hasta luego. (I hope this closing was appropriate too).
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        • Sep 16 2012: Gabo, sorry to highjack your reply button but I have to jump in here.

          Don, you have cherry picked George Lakoffs lecture in a way that conveniently fits into your religious view that "Atheists" are somehow unconsciously closed off to the absolute existence of an external God. Is it true that some scientists are "closed off" in regards to certain ideas, yes, of course it is true, but the same argument you make can be made against you. So your argument doesn't prove that your sane and atheists are delusional, it doesn't prove God exists or that theism is true. In fact, its an argument with more holes than a slice of swiss cheese. Based on your argument, that Gabo cannot accept the ideas of theism as true because of his hidden subconscious, wouldn't you then be unable, based on your unknowable subconscious, to see that God is a cultural myth?

          Also the belief system of Atheism is non existent there is no belief system it is not a religion, nor is it science, it is the rejection of the theistic beliefs, dogmas, and supposed evidence. If you want to claim that atheists use similar arguments to refute theists, then sure, that has some truth to it, but there is no belief system, people who dub themselves atheists believe vastly different things.

          -Brian
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        Sep 16 2012: Gabo,
        You are accused of "cherry picking", "evading", "appealing to the audience", "removing salutations", "abuse", "coordinating private emails", "delivering the same old thinking [unchangeable]", claiming yourself to be "superior and logical", bringing " old narratives from your hidden and unknown to you unchangeable subconscious", having a closed, unaccepting mind, debasing everyone's reputation and deny everyone's truth "evading and denyng and never rebut the real issue", you "get away with using this evading tactic all the time", you "revealed your weakness". The accuser states..."You lose Gabo, and Professor George Lakoff's argument, is a winner for me". The accuser reminds YOU that "This is a debate" and accuses YOU of evading the topic???!!!

        Most of us know about the concept of projection, and I am very surprised TED allows this individual to continue. This is clearly in violation of the TED terms of use....again!
        • Sep 16 2012: I wish I could put my perplexity into words.
          8(
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        Sep 16 2012: Brian,
        I "highjacked" someone else's reply button to be able to write this, so I sincerely hope I do not get accused of "stealing" and "confession"!!! LOL!

        Regarding one person's comment..."As a psychologist still in training, are you falling behind on your homework. So I didn't catch you thinking after all; but you have confessed to stealing".

        My perception of your comments Brian, is that you carefully think and feel what you are writing, and in my humble perception, you have indeed done your homework. I'm sure you've heard about the concepts of projection? Leveling? I believe that is what we are seeing here, and it is too bad that TED allows it to continue. I have flagged the comments that are off topic, demeaning and accusing to, and about others.
        • Sep 16 2012: haha colleen, we are both sinners. Thank you Colleen, i try my best to think about what it is i'm writing before I do so. The comments about my understanding of psychology and me keeping up with my homework are ridiculous, but as they should, they provoke a feeling of compassion.

          Its to bad that a legitimate conversation about religion cant be carried out without baseless insults being thrown around. If one perceives everything as an attack there isn't much you can offer to shine light on your stance.

          -Brian
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        Sep 16 2012: Gabo,
        I am perplexed that TED allows it to continue. What are you perplexed about?
        • Sep 16 2012: I am perplexed that someone would feel insulted when confronted with his own bad thinking/wording. I am perplexed about all those atrocities that I apparently performed without even trying to perform (even coordinate private e-mails!). I am perplexed that I spent two hours listening to a boring video, not to give Don an inappropriate answer, and he could not spend a few minutes actually trying to understand what I was explaining to him. I am perplexed that his answers escalated in paranoia while having nothing to do with whatever I was saying. I am perplexed that there would be someone telling Don that his closing remarks "brake it down pretty well." I am perplexed that such a person then gives me Aesop's fables as an answer that implies that I lack empathy. I am perplexed that I did not realize much sooner that continuing the exchange was counterproductive. I am perplexed at too many things today.
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        Sep 16 2012: Brian,
        I'll meet you at the confessional........no.....probably not!
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        Sep 16 2012: Gabo,
        The fact that a person does not see himself, that he feels insulted because you disagree, the accusations toward you, that his answers escalated in paranoia, having nothing to do with the conversation/off topic...none of that is perplexing to me because it is a repeat performance. The perplexing thing for me is that TED did not interupt the exchange, as they have so many times in the past.
        • Sep 17 2012: Hi Colleen,

          Well, let's learn from our experience and let him be. I will just not exchange with him again. That's it.

          Best my friend and good night!
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        Sep 17 2012: Good Morning Gabo!
        I learned from the first couple conversations, and do not generally engage with him.
    • Sep 16 2012: Don my friend,

      I am still astounded that you would label my comments to you as abusive. But so be it. Your choice of interpretation. I repeat the main point though. Nowhere was this lecture stating that neural sciences revealed that "thinking is restrained; it is framed and those frames are prisons of thought frozen in time."

      Now, I have been thinking about how to explain why your frozen in time thing sounds so nonsensical. So here an attempt: thoughts are a result of lots of biochemical / electrical / biophysical events in the brain. They thus cannot be frozen in time. Physically speaking, nothing in the brain is paralyzed and still. Since neural scientists are much closer to the physical (biochemistry, cell / molecular biology) than to the humanities way of doing science, I can't imagine any of them describing thoughts as trapped in frames frozen in time. I can imagine a cognitive scientist or a psychologist, both closer to humanities way of doing science, using such a metaphor for lack of a better way to describe whatever she might be wanting to say (I would have to read / hear the context). Perhaps that once people think one way they hardly will change such a way, for example. But that's far from authentically thinking that, physically, thoughts are trapped in frames frozen in time.

      All of that leaving aside that this guy was never close to saying such a thing.

      What will you get from knowing where I studied? I try and leave credentials out unless absolutely necessary. Remember that it was you who brought my credentials into the discussion, not me. I consider the matter irrelevant.

      Finally, if I say be well, I mean be well, not get well. I do not think that you are sick.

      See ya (is this closing better?)
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        Sep 16 2012: Quite an interesting dialogue here gentlemen. I may offer some insight I believe into thinking and equating it to something understandable using old symbolism of a tree. The tree starts as a seed, as it's nourished it grows, and can live indefinitely as long as the nutrients are there to sustain it. Now let's say a thinking creature climbs the tree from the bottom and can traverse all the seperate branches of thought and can traverse the whole thing if it so chooses. What blocks it is its will to do so and resourcefulness.
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    Sep 13 2012: I guess you must be a creationist...............FIAT and it is done. I wonder what our perception of reality would be like.
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    Sep 13 2012: Well the house that Peter built is crumbling,she's a tired old girl,i don't think that she will last for much longer.
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        Sep 15 2012: Not the house inside you
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          Sep 16 2012: I agree Ken,
          Nobody can change the house inside us, and I believe that to give up accountability and responsibility for ourselves, in favor of a power presumed to be "out there" somewhere is amusing. Even more amusing, are the arguments used to support that belief!

          The topic question is: "Atheism: why do people don't believe in God?"

          My observation, is that religious extremists/enthusiasts/fundamentalists often depend on a god to "save" them no matter how they act here on this earth. They often do not walk their talk, while fighting, accusing, and trying to convince us that they are right.

          Although I have not believed in a god for a long time, I was a little more open to the possibility before hearing the persistant arguments of god fearing people here on TED.
          They seem to think their arguments may convert people? I personally am pushed further and further away.

          If there is a god, I believe he/she/it would prefer her/his human creations to behave a little more in tune with what they preach.
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    Sep 13 2012: Gabo............I know you did not but I did.
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    Sep 12 2012: (this is part 2, read the beginning in the comment below please)

    The point is this. If a person learns to do good and to practice good all his life... does it matter where he learned it? would it change your perspective now if i had said he was raised by a pair of devoted muslims? or by elderly buddhist monks? or by a pair of atheists? or by two women that loved each other enough to spend their lives together? And why is it that now that i make these suggestions, anybody's normal subconscious mind starts to construct completely different stories? and anybody's normal subconscious starts emitting moral judgements?

    I was raised catholic, and for many years the way i reconciled the good teachings people learned from the bible with the atrocities committed in the name of god, was by telling myself that in the second case it was the people, and not god, who was to blame.

    One day i turned the table around, and started wondering if the first case could be the same. Maybe it was the people too, and not god, who was to blame (or credit) for the good teachings learned from the bible. And something clicked. I started looking and found a multitude of examples of people who did good things, some of them in the name of god, others in the name of allah, others in the name of nothing but humanity. And i started looking at all those with the same respect.
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        Sep 13 2012: Hello Don, it is great to read you again (after my temporary absence from these forums). I thank you for your comment.

        Indeed my story attempts to be a case for an atheist's response to Arthur's question.

        "Why don't I believe in god?" Because without attributing any of them to god, i could still find all the good things that i treasure in this life: love for others, respect for the young and the elderly, a desire to share fortunes and alleviate misfortunes, a deep sense of awe and desire to understand at a deeper level every time i looked at nature around me

        I have many close friends who are devoted catholic, protestants, muslim, agnostics and atheists. I admire the great things that they do for other people, and certainly the world is a much better place (and I am a better person) thanks to them.

        You are a very good example of that power of the story contained in the bible to guide someone and provide with this (as you call it) moral framework of ethical behavior.

        I admire no less someone who can achieve an equally high standard and ethical behavior by reading the quran, or watching Carl Sagan's "cosmos" (I intersect in many ways with people from this last group, by the way) :-)

        Best to you as well

        Andres
    • Sep 13 2012: Hi Andres,
      If I may also answer your question.. "If a person learns to do good and to practice good all his life... does it matter where he learned it?"
      In my opinion, absolutely not.
      The motto I adhere to is based on my religion, If whatever you believe, makes you a better person, believe it!
      And wherever that believe comes from makes no difference.

      What I mean by a "better person" is a more loving, passionate and useful person to others and the world.
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    Sep 12 2012: Hi Arthur, first of all thank you for posing such difficult question in a respectful manner. I think the way you frame the question does speak a lot about your quality as a person.

    Let me use a story. In a small rural village, there was once a boy, Thomas, who was born deaf. His father had long gone to war and never returned, and his mother struggled to barely make ends meet. While Thomas was still an infant, his mother fell ill and died, so he was left in the care of his elderly grandparents, a couple of devoted christians. His grandparents could not read or write, and could not afford to send him to school, as he helped them with most of the daily chores. Thomas grew up in a loving house, and not surprisingly, became a loving person himself. He had genuine love for his neighbors and he loved the world around him, fascinated with things like birds that could fly, and fish that could live in the water without breathing, and all his life he marveled by all the things around him that he could not explain. One day, he grew old and died, and many people from the village came to pay their respects to such wonderful person and to celebrate the things he had given to them during his lifetime.

    Now, obviously, there is a point to this story, but first i must openly say that i chose to use a story because i know that the brain remembers things best when they are embedded in stories, and specially in stories with with we can feel emotionally attached or related. (i'll continue in a separate block, i can only type 2000 characters!)
  • Sep 12 2012: the way i view is religion and the belief in god is that people choose to believe it because it coinsides in they agree with. I'm atheist, and not believing in an all mighty being is my choice like you as followers have the choice to believe in it. I see a religion as a way to brain wash people with common ideologies. You can say I'm wrong in this all you want but your never gonna change my perspective just like I can't change yours. A lot with me being atheist I choose to stand on the side of science. Granted religion has been looking for answers to there being an almighty being or beings but science is doing the same but at a later start. The facts of science are far greater then that of a religion because with science, people have to prove it wrong so many times in order for to be correct or wrong. Theres no such thing as a Religious Scientist because they go against what both stand, in other words its an oxymoron.
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      • Sep 13 2012: If you read my statement above my first post, it was directed towards you. Thanks again for time sir. Much appreciated.
  • Sep 12 2012: "Can't they see His signs and can everything that happens on Earth happen by chance? "

    "If I don't believe in any God, then (I suppose) we are saying that everything that happens, happens by chance"

    Arthur, im assuming that you believe in a God that can interject and control the chaos that ensues on earth? If you believe this to be so wouldn't this make God evil? For all the hellacious and depraved acts that humans exact on our own and other species, who could really claim, that if God was in total control, he is just and loving?
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      • Sep 12 2012: Don, good to hear from you my friend. You are right if God controlled everything he would absolutely be a dictator, an especially evil one. Free will is an extremely debatable and relatively divisive issue that many people cherish. The idea that one has control over there behavior and actions seems pleasant, but doesn't hold water in my opinion. Control is what humans strive for, we yearn for it, yet control is another illusion aimed at keeping fear at bay.

        From my perspective humans naturally bamboozle themselves in order to replicate our genes and continue living as creatures who have gained a higher consciousness and an understanding of their imminent death.

        When the world does not make sense it causes great distress and anxiety. It is far easier to make up an answer to which we have no empirical evidence for than it is to relinquish our pride and show humility. I don't claim to know if we have free will or if God exists i do my best to objectively look at the evidence for both sides and when I do i find a literalist interpretation of religions to be asinine. When i step back and look for beautiful metaphor i can also find it alive and well in some religious texts.

        My point is that religion is not meant to be taken literally it is meant to be a guide in a world where many different roads leads to self destruction, unfortunately religion can be one of those roads if one gets lost in the mist of blind belief, superstition, and obsession.
        • Sep 15 2012: Brian I really like what you said. Especially about taking things literally, which usually means the end of it all. It does not take much for people to screw up the best things in life (or this world).

          Here is this part of a book that tries to explain how a God would work and keep things around us, and inside us, under control. There are a good number of questios here that you may be familiar with or feel as appropriate.

          Very much wonder what you think about it.
          http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/documents/Permission.pdf
    • Sep 12 2012: Well, actually, if there was an omnipotent and omniscient god, even if not in total control, given the magnitude of things that happen, this god would have to be from indifferent to callous to beyond sadistic.
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        Sep 12 2012: Hi Gabe....No dichotomy in God. Humans, yes
















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          Sep 12 2012: Oh that's right. God is not dichotomous. It is the Devil.
        • Sep 12 2012: Hi Helen,
          I did not say anything about dichotomies.
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    Sep 11 2012: Sorry to bombard the conversation.

    Just reread your opening comment.

    RE: "There are somethings that we don't know about God" - like whether one exists, its nature, origins etc.

    RE: without gods does "everything that happens, happens by chance." Some things by chance, somethings by conscious intent. No arbitrary divine purpose.

    RE: "What will be the purpose of living then?" Are you suggesting we can not lead meaningful lives if we are not created by some god? Do you think there is no value in making the most of our life experience if we evolved? Would you prefer to die if you figured out there is no way of knowing if gods exist, and they probably don't in any meaningful way?

    You also seem to be suggesting any belief in gods will do. It's not as cookie cutter simple if you don't believe in this or that theist approach. There are consolations to religious beliefs. But that does not make them true. And it is not that hard. at least for me and millions of other non theists to value our life and wish to improve the human condition without imaginary unverifiable god beliefs.
  • Sep 10 2012: I am more of a spiritualist than of religion.

    But belief in god does not give you purpose or direction, I never got why people say that.
    I choose not to believe in organized religion based on their track record of immense corruption, enslavement, destruction, war, etc. To me it is rediculous that people preaching about a peaceful god could have done such things, not to mention that such an interventionist god (in Christianity) would not stop it.

    I would ask you why do you think people should put their faith in a god that purposefully destroyed many of his own people by forcing them to walk through the desert?

    Also what happens, happens by chance and by human design. I also imagine many people would choose death, often the very nihilistic do (suicides) but many people who have the temptations don't because of fear of the unknown.
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    Sep 9 2012: Arthur, imagine there are no interventionist gods. Is the universe you see around you possibly consistent with that?
    Seems to me perfectly consistent.

    Then imagine there is a creator god who made the entire universe, billions of galaxies with billions of stars, but this god is just interested in the souls he created for one species, in fact the whole physical universe is just a trial run for an afterlife in some spiritual dimension. Yet, the god lets the universe cool down and form stars of mainly hydrogen, which create heavier elements via fission and explode and the gasses form into stars and planets. On one of these planets DNA based life develops and evolves into plants and animals. The animals survive by eating other living things. They are subject to bacteria and viruses, earthquakes, floods, radiation, and much of the planet is inhospitable to the special species that after 3.5 billion years evolves a brain that can support language and culture and question origins and meaning, while still subject to primal sexual drives, eating other animals, killing, etc.

    Now after waiting billions of years this god wants to give us a specific message, specific rules, or there will be consequences. It does this is a way no one can actually tell what is true. And there is no compelling evidence this being exists. The humans invent many gods, all of them wrong, and as there knowledge increases they realise gods are not responsible for weather and plagues. In fact the most reasonable of them figure out there is no evidence for or against the existence of god. Science also explains why humans are susceptible to religious ideas and behaviours, our agency detection and heirachical tendencies etc.

    And you ask why atheists don't believe.

    I don't know if gods exist. There is nothing I have come across that indicates gods exist or any need for them .If they do, they might as well not because we can not tell if they do.

    To believe you have to make all sort s of faith assumptions.
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      Sep 12 2012: I respectfully ask that if you had designed the universe what would be different ?
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        Sep 12 2012: That's a great question. Maybe you should post it as a discussion. Personally if I designed the universe, it would be a lot less chaotic.
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        Sep 13 2012: Hi Helen,

        I agree, could be an interesting conversation.

        If I was going to make spiritual beings I wouldn't worry about a material universe, wait billions of years for planets to form and life to evolve, and then a few billion more until they could think about me. I wouldn't make life so that animals survive by killing and eating other life forms.

        I wouldn't use the air hole for eating or the waste disposal with the reproduction bits.

        I wouldn't worry about the physical universe at all.

        Lets go straight to heaven.

        Do you think the universe looks as if created by an intelligence?

        PS: I'm a bit busy the next few weekends to create a universe with conscious beings to worship, love and fear me. Also, I'm not sure I want to create a hell. Seems a bit nasty to me. But I'm just a mortal.
  • Sep 8 2012: I thought this topic would be a little more than the fundamentals of logic. You have both discovered the nature of belief/Faith congrats. Now can you think of any interesting implications?
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    Sep 8 2012: God has provided us with his example. You can walk in that example or you can choose not too...that is your God given choice. If you think you know everything, that is your biggest mistake.
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      Sep 9 2012: Wade you believe a god has provided an example and you know who this example is.

      This is based on you growing up in a particular culture at a particular time. It is also based on faith in regards to a particular religious interpretation and it's claims.

      If you were born 500 years ago in the same place you would believe something else.

      If you were born 2100 years ago, no one in the entire world had beliefs the same as your current ones, because that belief system had not developed.

      If you think your faith based beliefs are any more valid than many others and that proof exists for the supernatural and dogmatic claims, that is probably a big mistake also.

      I guess you see things through the lens of your faith, through religious experiences perhaps that are real but open to interpretation and similar the those other humans have from other belief systems, or even meditating.

      You may even belief in god healing people, but have not seen one amputated limb healed, not one child with down syndrome cured.

      I understand your certainty, but suggest it is not warranted.
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    Sep 8 2012: I've had lengthy conversations with Atheist friends and we seem to hit a roadblock similar to a logic fail in the ablility to abstract meaning from things and give meaning to abstract things. If a guitar plays a song and the guitar breaks. The same sounds for the song may never be heard again. Does the song still exist and if so, where?
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      Sep 9 2012: Justin are you talking about the idea that if the concept of a god is created in our minds it exists in some sense.

      As opposed to there being a god and it has revealed itself perhaps to some humans and others are just mistaken?
    • Sep 9 2012: I do not see what could the relevance be to believing or not in god(s) if people get stuck in some abstractions.
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    Sep 7 2012: E G:

    The hypothetical 'what about if' is simply a choice of opinion, and to someone without faith the obvious choice is to disregard any event being due to will of god.

    The statement "God may exist outside of our understanding , however that doesn't mean we can't have an understanding of God ." itself is scientifically contradictory; any understanding of God you perceive to have would simply be the result of what others attempt to teach and indoctrinate, making the whole concept of 'understanding God' a Human made construct. As a scientific mind I must also doubt and scrutinize anything and everything people will try to claim.

    The term "blind faith" doesn't have to refer to the belief in God without proof, and trying to argue semantics gets no one anywhere; I used the term in a broad general sense and the terms themselves have their own meaning:

    Blind: 1.unable to see; lacking the sense of sight; sightless
    2.unwilling or unable to perceive or understand
    3.not having or based on reason or intelligence; absolute and unquestioning
    4.lacking all consciousness or awareness

    Faith: 1.confidence or trust in a person or thing
    2.belief that is not based on proof
    3.belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion
    4.belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.
    5.a system of religious belief

    The notion of having blind faith in something outside of our understanding (to me) is meaningless. Thus I am atheist, believing that your God's existence is false.
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      Sep 8 2012: Martin :

      What are you trying to do ? Do you have a definite purpose or you just say something ?

      "The hypothetical 'what about if' is simply a choice of opinion" ... it could be , so what's the point ? (think at how it all started and tell me what's the point of what you're saying ? because I don't see anyone ) .

      Your explanation why what I said " itself is scientifically contradictory " doesn't make any sense . Why ? Firstly because not any understanding of god is the result of the others indoctrination (it could be I have the understanding of god from god himself or from a spirit or it could be I learnt it from books scrutinizing and doubting everything) and secondly because even though you may consider my understanding of god a human made construct it doesn't mean it has nothing to do with god ( for example my construct could fit with what god is) . A human made construct could be part of a god made construct , why not ?
      See how you don't make any sense ?

      I didn't say the blind faith does have to refer to the belief in God without proof , you talk as if I did , that's misinterpretation . What I said was what the common understanding of that expression is and maybe I suggested you to use it .

      If you use in your last sentence the common sense of the expression 'blind faith' ( I'm too lazy right now to try to understand your broad general sense that anyway at an first look is not too different than the common sense ) then you aren't making too much sense again ---- translated what you said is : 'to have faith without proofs in something that by definition is outside of my understanding is meaningless for me ' .

      It could be meaningless for you but logically to have faith without proof in something that is outside your understanding is not meaningless at all , what else could you do anyway to such a thing (excepting ignoring it) ?
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        Sep 8 2012: E G:

        I'm trying to answer the main question in a way even people like you will understand.

        The choice of opinion regarding whether our lives revolve around god's will, or random chance, or both is just that, an opinion. No opinion is more correct than any other opinion. The point of this is you won't be able to convince me that anything claimed to be 'God's will' is in fact God's will, just as I can't refute the possibility either. I've made my choice and you have made yours, and the proof you require to change my mind doesn't exist.
        _____

        I (by default) doubt the claims people make, so if someone tells me they have an understanding of god from god himself, or from a spirit, or from books, then I assume they are either lying or have been misled by their teachings.

        " A human made construct could be part of a god made construct , why not ?"
        To me this is impossible because of my primary belief; your god does not exist. Thus, your understanding of god has only been created by humans, who themselves have either been lied to or have been misled.

        I feel you've understood my last sentence from previously. However...

        " logically to have faith without proof in something that is outside your understanding is not meaningless at all"
        How so? One may feel comforting emotion from imagining such a scenario, but otherwise I don't see what is so supposedly "logically meaningful" about this belief. Scientifically it accomplishes nothing.
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          Sep 9 2012: Martin :

          People like me to understand ? they don't have what to understand from you any more , you don't realize it ?

          You are entirely out of context , you were from the beginning out of context entirely . That's why you didn't get anything I said .

          Who the heck tries to convince you that our lives revolve around god's will ? I don't care if you find the belief that our lives revolve around god's will meaningless , I never cared , I don't care if the same belief is for you unappealing . The single thing I cared of so far was the logic . It's not about making choice , it's about logic .

          I don't care of what you assume (that they are lying or mislead), for the purpose of our talk I don't even care if what I said doesn't happen, I don't care if for you something is impossible or not , all I cared then was that your logic was faulty and I explained why showing you that there are more possibilities than you initially assumed .

          Your entire reasoning was like this , that's why you missed everything :

          - you took a sentence of mine and instead of understanding the idea I wanna transmit by the sentence you took separately any word or expression that compose the sentence and talk about them . At least if what you said about them would have been logically but .... not with you . That's why you are entirely out of context .
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      Sep 8 2012: As it seems so far you don't have a logical base to not believe in god .
      • Sep 9 2012: There is no need for a logical base not to believe in god(s). What's needed is a logical base to believe in it(them). Since there is no such, then it's easy not to believe. Simple. Remember you said so yourself, that believing in "God" is not through reason. So, then it's safe to conclude that it does not exist. The Christian one? We have been through it, and it is nonsensical, thus nonexistent. Simple.
        • Sep 10 2012: Aghh. Sorry Gabo, you're own argument concludes you're own solution as wrong. :S
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          Sep 10 2012: You know very well that 'believing through reason' is a quite vague expression . What does it mean ? That a person believe because have proofs about the existence of God , exact proofs , yes in this sense I said that believing in God is not through reason . But if it means that a person believe in God because has a lot of reasons to believe , because many things suggest that God exist then no , I didn't say that believing in God is not through reason .

          So , it's not that safe to conclude that God do not exist and there is a need for a logical base to not believe .
          The Christian God is not nonsensical , maybe your view of Him doesn't make sense , maybe i wasn't good enough then to show you that you view is wrong . So , it's not that simple .

          But what do you think of this type of indoctrinated atheists Martin Romaniuk represents ? He is indoctrinated with atheism otherwise he would have felt his words have no direction thus realizing he exposed he acted instinctively .
      • Sep 10 2012: Hey John,

        I can see where the confusion lies John. My mistake for being tempted to add the thing about the christian god and the no-reason thing to test what eduard would say. There is no problem with my idea, only the delivery makes it look contradictory. Should have finished at "Since there is no such, then it's easy not to believe. Simple."
      • Sep 10 2012: Eduard,

        You did indeed say that you don't get to believe in "God" through reason. You saids so about 100 times in a previous exchange we had. You know, by those times when you were less arrogant and less angry. But that is a distraction.

        Instead of going that way, the main thing is this, pay attention: there is no need for a logical basis not to believe. there is a need for a logical basis to believe. Absent such, I see no reason to believe. Got it? Of course, by playing semantics we could say that such is a logical basis not to believe, but I prefer the other connotation. That which does not mistake the burden of proof. It belongs with the positive assertion. To agree that something exists, needs proof that such something exists, not proof that such something does not exist. Got it?
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          Sep 10 2012: Gabo :

          I told you what I said when I said I don't believe in God through reason .

          Of course I got what you said --- basically it is (I put it in a way that favors my answer) : the burden of proof is on the side of the positive assertion , as long as the positive assertion isn't proved there is no need for a logical basis to not believe . The problem with this is that this doesn't happen with the kind of theists I belong to , we don't claim 'God exist' , period . We claim 'We believe God exist' , if we claim God exist we do it only in the context of our faith . This is our positive assertion 'We believe God exist' , I think you have enough proofs to realize we really do believe .
          If you ask us why to believe ? We can provide you with reasons thus creating a logical basis why to believe . That's why you still need a logical basis of the same kind to not believe .
          We don't ask you to agree something exist , period . We ask you to do it only in the context of faith and provide you with reasons why to do it , that's why it doesn't matter if there are proofs that such something does exist for the purpose of our talk .

          So you still need a logical basis why to not believe . We just ask you to believe , to have faith , that's the all point . It explains why I went that way .

          An intelligent arrogant guy few times gets angry . So , perhaps a lack of accurate perception .. ... because I'm arrogant a bit . But you ignored my question....... .
      • Sep 10 2012: Eduard,

        Even if you change the thing into you "believe in God," when you ask us to have a logical basis for not believing it becomes a change in the proper direction of the burden of proof. You ask for a logical reason not to believe. It can be given in two different ways: (1) We say that it does not make sense to believe without any proof, thus that's the logical basis; or, to avoid the perception of reversal of burden of proof, we can say that we don't need a logical basis not to believe, but rather a logical basis to believe. Since the logical basis to believe is not there, we just don't.

        Yes, they seem contradictory, but that's because it depends on whether we are trying to avoid a misperception for reversal of burden of proof, or we think we are talking to a honest creationist and we say that the logical basis is that the need is for a logical basis to believe.

        Clear?

        Why do you want me to criticize Martin? I think he is trying to say the same thing I am saying but lacks the experience, and thus the careful writing, proper for dealing with twisting creationists. At times you are a twisting one. At times you are a honest one as you were in your latest answer.
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          Sep 11 2012: Well Gabo , I don't like your answer .

          To fit the situation , you transformed the lack of proofs in a reason to not believe . But it doesn't matter because we just ask you to believe , to have faith , we don't ask you to realize that is the reality than only in the context of faith , you don't need any proof for this . If there are , the thing changes entirely and we go back to what you think my view was .
          In this 'new' situation the burden of proof in that old sense have no importance , atheism and theism are equal beliefs which need a logical basis=reasons to accept one of them . So there is still a need for a logical basis to not believe .

          Why do I want you to criticize Martin ? Because if he was a theists you would have been among the first to kindly criticize him . Do you realize what this means ? It means that what your public figure Richard Dawkins said is just bullshit , 'religion/the belief in God do not encourages critical thinking ' . As if atheism does . In the reality nothing changes except the belief .
      • Sep 11 2012: Ed,

        I would criticize atheists when they are wrong about something. I have. Ask Obey1. I have told Obey1 when I think something might be wrong. As for Martin, I told you what I think. I hope you read beyond the words "Why do you want me to criticize Martin?"

        Anyway this point seems to be insisting on semantics and I think I told you what I think, so that's it.

        Keep being well.
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          Sep 12 2012: Gabo :

          That's it and that makes your position to need a logical base .

          Have a nice time .
      • Sep 12 2012: Well, if you paid attention I did both: justify why we don't need a logical base for disbelief, and provide a logical base for disbelief. A question of focus. You know, glass half-full, half-empty.

        You too have a great time Eduard.
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          Sep 12 2012: I don't wanna be too insistent but I think I have to say this . I don't play semantics , my point is clear I hope , your logical basis is in such a way that has nothing to do with my faith , yours is not a response to my faith and to the logical basis why to have this faith .

          That's it , bye .
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    Sep 6 2012: Because there is no physical evidence he/she/it exists. There is lots of evidence that people murder, and treat women horribly in his/her/its name.

    So I'm ag'n it. Everything happens because of the choices we make as individuals. The purpose of life is to grow, evolve, and experience joy, and love. If you believe that you live in "such chaotic conditions, so isn't it better to die"... I don't mean to hurt your feelings... but that's exactly why Fcuk god. We gotta get this sh*t together ourselves... no one's helping. Love people who are different than you, and believe that the future will be better than the past

    "When you believe in things, that you don't understand, then you suffer... Superstition ain't the way" Stevie Wonder.
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    Sep 5 2012: I'm agnostic, but I would love that there'd be a God.
    But I intensely dislike what humans made of Him (if he exists), that is the church, which is responsible for so many millions of deaths throughout the centuries that it should cease to exist.

    And as an artist said: If God exists, why did he make me an atheist..?
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    Sep 5 2012: If I told you to drink a special wine that smells god-aweful that I've specially made out of who knows what and that this special concoction can improve your life tenfold, would you do it?

    My point with that question is that it's hard for people to believe in something that's so incredibly uncertain. There's nothing much else to it, people simply don't trust uncertainty, and what's more uncertain than the concept of God? There's no real proof that he exists or anything.

    What if I told you that I can singlehandedly make the next big successful company, because I know what's right and what's not right. Would someone hire me, a total stranger with no history in corporate life, and put me in charge?
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      Sep 5 2012: Well James....honestly.....I haven't met too many wines I did not like.....so..................I'm just kidding!

      Seriously.....good point!:>)
      You say it's hard for people to believe in something that's so incredibly uncertain....
      You're saying that people may NOT believe in the concept of God because it is uncertain?

      Your idea may work in the other direction as well?
      People MAKE it a certainty in their mind, so it feels more secure, or real for them as a belief which is the only belief....the "right" belief?

      Honestly James, it you tell me that you will create the next big successful company, I'd hire you in a minute and believe every word you say. You are an insightful young person....have I told you that yet???

      I'm out of thumbs for you darlin' :>)
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        Sep 7 2012: "You're saying that people may NOT believe in the concept of God because it is uncertain?"

        If the concept of God was certain, and there was really hard proof that he exists, then there would be less atheists.

        "Your idea may work in the other direction as well?"
        Indeed, very good insight :). And maybe that can be said with Atheists and science. They believe in science since it has been certainly consistent and logical, whereas the concept of God is something that can be illogical and perhaps inconsistent.

        "Honestly James, it you tell me that you will create the next big successful company, I'd hire you in a minute and believe every word you say. You are an insightful young person....have I told you that yet???"

        Thanks lol, but of course you've known me for a while now, whereas people who may hire me don't know me at all.

        Colleen, you're too flattering, don't spoil me too much :P
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          Sep 14 2012: I agree James,
          If the concept of god was certain, there would be fewer atheists. My understanding, from conversations with atheists, is that they simply want proof, which is a natural, normal request and desire.

          I flatter you because I want you to know how I feel. I LOVE to see young people (our future) discussing issues with open heart and open mind. It gives me hope:>)
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        Sep 14 2012: I'm out of thumbs, and I always appreciate your concideration :)
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    Sep 5 2012: Because they choose to,it's a choice that feels right for them,some need visual evidence because that is the way they are,it doesn't make them any different we're all human,i have christian beliefs but it doesn't interfere with treating everyone with respect except those that get stuck in the newly non smoker zealot class but they generally calm down once their revelation passes,we're multiplex beings,the hardest thing to do is step outside ourselves and look back.
    • Sep 6 2012: No Ken, it's not a choice. It's a conclusion. I cannot choose to believe that there's no gravity. I cannot choose to believe that cars fly. I cannot choose to believe that there is no monster under my bed.
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        Sep 6 2012: Isn't that still a choice? unless you want me to approach it from the scientific methodology process that produced said conclusion,then the choice is obvious,you're not telling me you were born with this innate knowledge and was self aware therefore didn't need to even be made aware of such a predicament existed?(That's a joke by the way)

        Gabo, you're a professional,is this what you mean "scientific methodology process that produced said conclusion" or did i get it wrong? if i know anything of this online aspect of yourself is that you will tell me whether I'am wrong or near enough.
    • Sep 6 2012: Hey Ken,

      No, I am not talking about a scientific methodology process that produced such conclusion (that would be over-simplistic). But I have to insist that I did not choose to stop believing. It was a conclusion. A conclusion is not something you choose, just like when you test something and you don't like the result. You can not just choose for the result to be different, can you?
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      Sep 7 2012: I agree with Gabo, that it is kind of strange to say you choose not to believe in something that has no good evidence for its existence.

      What you might choose to do is open your mind, to be more sceptical.
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        Sep 7 2012: Bud,reread what you and Gabo have just posted,ignore the fact that i have christian beliefs and annihilate any possible perceived impression that christianity and my profile pix means i'm secretly trying to convert you then zoom out and look back,if you still see the converter then the emotional investment is total.complete,neither left or right,which is not a bad thing,i kind of respect it but at the same time i know when i haven't conveyed properly what i wanted to convey. and trying to explain further is preaching,all i was talking about was choice and approach,from my stand point we actively choose what we are,what we believe,what we see every instant we are alive individually.
        • Sep 7 2012: But I have a big problem with that. If we chose each of those things, then we would all be denying that there is a reality. We would all be living in completely made-up fantasies. That seems quite on target for a huge bunch of Christians who are able to pick and chose which realities they will accept, and which fantasies will they mix with such realities even when contradictory, without feeling any cognitive dissonance.

          Anyway, it could be argued that at least one choice would be made: to either accept that there is a reality out there and thus listen, or else to deny such thing. I doubt though that we would actually choose even such. After all, reality has ways to letting us know it's there. Anyway, after that, everything would be just what it is. Not by choice, but by being.
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          Sep 10 2012: Hi Ken, I did not think you are trying to convert me.

          I'm not sure we are on the same wavelength.

          Maybe I'm not communicating clearly. If someone told me invisible angels are responsible for the force of gravity without any evidence, I don't believe it. It just goes against my understanding of the world.

          Now I might choose to belong to the group that proposes this. I might try to hide my disbelief. I might even try to address my disbelief, to find a rationale to support the whacky idea if I want to believe it for some reason. But it is not an easy thing to switch on and off.

          Perhaps there was enough to convince you. Perhaps you can deal with any dissonance between your spiritual beliefs and any reasonable doubts.

          The more I opened my mind to honestly examine my religious beliefs the more I realised they were bogus. For some time I continued to be part of the community, but at some stage I realised I no longer believed and decided to be true to myself and move on.

          When evolution makes more sense to you than creation, when you don't see any compelling evidence for a god or resurrection etc, you can not just believe in creation or god, even if you hope to. It's not simple to overwrite years of imagining talking to a god or seeing god behind all the good things etc, but your subconscious and conscious beliefs are not that easy to ignore either way.

          So I'm not having a go at your beliefs. Just that I don't believe the sun stood still in the sky. I do believe the sun will rise again tomorrow. And it is not a simple choice to try believe the contrary.

          You can choose to try and believe something, but your core world view does not necessarily change to accept dogma and supernatural claims overnight.

          E.g. I think slavery is bad. Killing homosexuals is bad. I think hell is evil. Requiring Blood sacrifice in order to forgive is barbaric. I can not reconcile this with a loving god. I can not just choose to accept it and suddenly my world view changes.
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        Sep 10 2012: Sorry,just the way the posts were structured made me think"Whoa"Relax man,no one has to state their reasons for anything,I like you guys,you're staunch in your beliefs but i also understand that these online aspects of ourselves are not the totallity of us,they are just fragments of the whole and this place we come to here on Ted is a great sandbox that i like because of the vast array of peculiar,strange individuals that haunt it's halls,each of us are so different we're almost alien lol I bet you think i'm alienesque with my out dated mode of beliefs which does not impinge on reality at all,how can they,they're just religious beliefs,reality,that's different.

        Look Bud,you don't know me or my core world view,i don't try to explain because there's no need to and plus it's well, tool long and rather flighty and boring and most people that have opposing beliefs don't really read what you're saying,they're scanning for artifacts of exposure to exploit in a response,i fall for that one all the time,so in a way we're aliens but the same aliens,lol

        Ok Obey,you and, i suppose Gabo and a few others are soldiers manning the great Bismarck "Athetensis" swinging around to line up her guns on another great Bismarck "Christiana" manned by Pete,Ed and a few others that is also lining up to get a bearing on her sister ship,the guns are the same,the ships is the same,the soldiers are the same,now you tell me,Do you guys get off on this?

        For such powerful minds as you guys have,it's such a waste of emotional energy,unless....unless it's a forge that refines and strengthens each others beliefs but also opens up new avenues of knowledge as the fire burns within?who knows, only the players know.

        Look,I'm a little bit out there,so don't take me to heart,i'm not a soldier.

        You know what i would like to hear from you guys? is what special thing that you guys have fought for and won on behalf of others or possibly mankind or even yourselves,it's these stories that are true gold.
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          Sep 10 2012: It's hard to pick up the tone in these sort of conversations. Especially when making terse and rushed comments.

          I guess it would take us both a few hours to explain our world views. I dont believe in gods but that is only a position on one question. Everything else is still up for discussion.

          Are you suggesting everyone who disagrees with others or has a different point view is wasting emotional energy, or just the atheists when discussing religious beliefs or lack thereof?

          I enjoy exploring and sharing ideas and the discussion and debate on lots of subjects. So I don't feel I'm wasting my time.

          My wife has religious beliefs but we don't debate. Some friends discuss. Others dont. I pick and choose the forums.

          Just a fellow traveller through life, with some different views.

          Good to have some different views. We might get bored if everyone thought the same.
  • Sep 5 2012: Science?

    I don't believe in unproven things. You don't believe in Santa anymore, right?

    There is as much evidence for the existence of Santa as there is for God. None.
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      Sep 5 2012: Hi Lucas,
      I don't believe there is a god either, and I am compelled to address your comment, because your reference to Santa, reminds me of something my mother used to say:>)

      The idea of Santa Clause/Christmas are feelings we can carry in our heart all year long. We try to pack love and giving into a day or a week, when in fact, we can have the feeling in our heart always...all ways:>)

      I suggest that it may be the same for some people and their belief in a god? Believing in something is a "feeling", is it not? I don't see any problem with people having a "feeling" or belief that is different than mine. What I DO object to sometimes, is those folks trying to convince me that they are "right" and I am going to hell, or even worse, when they use their "feeling" or belief in a destructive way.
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      Sep 5 2012: Lucas :

      Let's assume there is no proof for God , why don't you just believe in God ? You see , you didn't really answered the question .

      "I don't believe in unproven things."
      Really ? Randomly said : with proofs means science . We don't have science about anything that happens in our lives , in fact we don't have science for the biggest part of our lives . You don't believe , you only accept by proofs ? Then you are the poorest being in the world .
      What about extraterrestrial life ? How does it seem to you some actions of NASA ?

      To believe is an wonderful natural thing , it's part of life . Atheism for life : what a irony . Even only for this distortions atheism should be damned forever .
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        Sep 5 2012: Eduard,
        I do not believe Lucas is the "poorest being in the world" simply because he does not agree with you, and that is an unkind thing to say....don't you think?

        People respect your beliefs Eduard, and it might be helpful to respect other people's beliefs as well.
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          Sep 5 2012: I didn't say what I said simply because he doesn't agree with me and you know it I guess , you should .

          I don't respect the others wrongs , if you do that's your problem but don't ask me to do this ........ that would be 'unkind' .
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        Sep 5 2012: Eduard,
        I only know about you what you write in these comments. People's beliefs are not always "wrong" Eduard, simply because they do not agree with your beliefs.
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          Sep 5 2012: I explained or at least I tried to explain why his view is wrong regardless of the fact that I don't agree with him .
      • Sep 6 2012: Because believing in unproven things is stupid.

        I don't believe in Santa, if I did, I wouldn't get any presents.
        I don't believe in God, if I did, I would receive no guidance or whatever you guys believe it gets you.

        You don't believe in flying cars, time machines, wizards. They do not exist, so one does not believe in something that doesn't exist. It makes zero sense.

        There is NO proof God exists, no proof of his actions, no proof of him actually helping somebody, actually helping such as change things or circumstances not just via a placebo effect.

        Y'all are believing in the oldest lie of mankind.

        Which makes me kinda sad. To know grown people believe in lies and unproven things is just, sad...

        But it actually explains the current state of the world, too much naivety and stupidity.
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          Sep 6 2012: Lucas :

          You don't know what you're talking about , more than this you contradict yourself , any word you spelled is a contradiction .

          Example . You claimed 'believing in unproven things is stupid' , however you claimed unproven things like : 'there is no proof God exist' --- maybe there is and you don't know , maybe I know and I don't wanna tell you .
          " Y'all are believing in the oldest lie of mankind." can you prove it ? Nobody could so far . So who's doing something stupid here ?

          By the way I believe in flying cars , it's really cool believe me . I believe in time machines too , did you see the movie "The pursuit of happyness '' ? Maybe I'll invent one one day ... .

          What about NASA ? do you really think that guys are stupid ? Just think a bit MIT , Harvard ... .
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    Sep 5 2012: Mainly, because they are faulty people .

    Just some examples : - they think at gods as to fairies because they think they see one or more similarities between them . Even then it wouldn't be right to think at god as to fairies .
    - they don't understand the 'word of God' , many told me something like this about God (Christianity) : ' He starts as a vengeful One and ends by loving ' , what crazy !!!
    or : "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." (Dawkins , The God Delusion ) .

    - there are , there were and there will always be theists who are faulty , they think that this disqualifies somehow the belief in God . As if the belief makes the person not the person the belief .
    - the most of them don't understand too well the history of religion and the human nature . (example : religion killed Galileo .. ) .
    - there could be discrepancies between an understanding of the Bible ( I take the Bible as an example) and the scientific theories , this is a reason for them to ignore the belief in God . As if their understanding of some parts of the Bible has something to do with God .

    In order to be atheist and to make sense at the same time you need to be a strong , a powerful character , something like Nietzsche . The most of them just aren't like that , imagine what the result is . They are common persons who let themselves driven by the currents of ideas existing in this world , that's why they are atheists .
    • Sep 5 2012: Eduardito,

      You have no idea what you are talking about.
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        Sep 5 2012: What about you? Do you have any idea what you're talking about ? That's how atheism looks like to any decent outsider.

        By the way : what about your fellow atheists here , does they know what they're talking about ? I gues you'd say yes , otherwise how could make sense what you said to me ?
    • Sep 5 2012: I certainly know what I am talking about. I did not describe why you believe eduard. You tried to fit atheists into whatever idea you have about why they don't believe. I read what you said, and given my many atheist friends, and myself, you have no idea what you are talking about. You just made things up.

      My "fellow" atheists? I do not know if we are fellows because atheism is but one descriptor about them, not their whole set of lifestyles and views. I have not read what they say, but I am certain that if they tell why they don't believe, then they know what they are talking about. After all, they talk from their direct experience. If you told me why you believe, I would not question whether you know what you are talking about or not. But if I just invented a reason for your belief without actually listening to you, you would have all the right to tell me that I do not know what I am talking about. Right?
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        Sep 6 2012: Oh my Mr. Moreno. Mr. EG made things up? In the make-believe world he pretends surrounds him?

        He is consistent though.
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        Sep 6 2012: Gabo :

        I didn't make anything up , what I did was to rewrite with my own words the ideas of atheists I met discussing with them here on TED . If you don't believe me I can provide you quotes for any point I made.

        I took the first example from your post here . The second has quote from Dawkins book . You can check the third in the Linda Taylor's first comment here . The fourth is too much-used by atheists to say otherwise .

        Maybe you with your friends have different ideas, I can't know this but what happen here is what I'm talking about , what about you ?
    • Sep 7 2012: You just confirmed my diagnosis. I have not "think at gods as to fairies because they think they see one or more similarities between them." Other than both things being imaginary I have not claimed one to be the other (if that's what you meant). Even then, that is far from making me "faulty people."
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        Sep 7 2012: Sorry to disappoint , I didn't confime your diagnosis .

        By what I said I have not claimed 'one to be the other' , what I claimed was that on the matter of existence ( the existence being a similarity between fairies and gods according to you ) you think to gods as to fairies . It doesn't mean that you think god is a fairy .
        Faulty thinking because : god is different than a fairy , that's why the existence of god is different than the existence of fairies . You can't compare a fairy with the concept of god thus you can't compare the existence of god with that of fairies . The existence of something depends on what that something is .
    • Sep 8 2012: eduardito,

      My last one in this conversation with you because I know how faulty your logic can become and that you will not see this:

      Yes, you confirmed my diagnosis. Instead of trying to understand what I said, you invented your own twist to it. And here you tried to re-twist it to fit again your imaginary vision of why people don't believe in gods.

      1. It is not faulty to compare the existence of gods with the existence of fairies because both are imaginary. It does not matter how different they might be, they are all imaginary. In that sole sense is that I have compared them.

      2. It is faulty from you to use that as a faulty reason why I don't believe in god(s). Why? Because that is my conclusion, not my reason for disbelief. When I exchange god(s) to fairies in some example, it is not to show why I don't believe in god(s), but to show faulty reasoning using examples that will make a point clear. But I have not claimed that I do not believe in god(s) because they are like fairies.

      3. Even if my reasons were faulty, that would not make me "faulty people."

      4. I did not compare god(s) with fairies here anywhere before we started this exchange. Yet you said I did.

      Be well.
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        Sep 8 2012: Gabo :

        I understood what you said and I told what I meant by what I said , this is it . The twisting and re-twisting are imaginary things that live only in your mind . This time you failed , maybe that was your last comment , in my opinion you should justify your failure .

        4. You compered gods with fairies here : " The reason some people don't believe in god(s) is the same reason people don't believe in fairies, or in leprechauns, or in horoscopes, or in any imaginary thing you can think of " .

        Anyway , you claimed yourself that gods with fairies are imaginary things , what else is this than a comparison ?

        3. Come on , faulty thinking=faulty people . I was talking about thinking , including here reasons .

        2. Well , you just didn't get it ; maybe that is your conclusion but I didn't take your conclusion as reason for your atheism . Didn't you notice I said 'because they think they see some similarities " ?
        what I was arguing against was your thinking that eventually lead you to that conclusion . Your thinking that relies mainly on the similarities you imagine there are between gods and fairies .

        1. It is faulty to compare the existence of gods with the existence of fairies because gods are different than fairies , that's why the similarities between gods and fairies are not similarities ( one of the similarities being the imaginary character of both according to you).

        Did you get what I was talking about now ?--- you think you see some similarities between gods and fairies , this makes you to think at gods as to fairies on the matter of existence . There is no similarity between tooth-fairy or tea pots and gods .

        I have to recognize I assumed you see more similarities (excepting the nonexistence which is found in your conclusion) between gods and fairies . We talked before , we both know I was right to make that assumption.
        • Sep 8 2012: There's nothing to explain. You continue without even thinking the contradictions you are writing.
          Be well.
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        Sep 8 2012: You just started wrong from the beginning , maybe I wasn't that clear , now I hope I am . What's troubling at you is that you were too much convinced that what I said is wrong even before reading what I said . This kept you going.
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        Sep 9 2012: I don't think you are in the position to tell me what I did any more . I know what 'contradictions' are you talking about . You still keep thinking I confuse the reasons that lead you to that conclusion with the conclusion itself . You just didn't get it .

        Be well too .
  • Sep 5 2012: Arthur,

    While there has been lots of threads about this, even a whole video channel of TED called "is there a god?", I think I should point out a few logical problems with your question that you might like to think about.

    1. That there is not a god does not mean that everything happens by chance. No matter whether scientists have discovered a role for chance in nature, it simply does not follow that no gods means everything by chance. Got it? I do not know where believers get the connection, but it is simply a false dichotomy.

    2. That you can'f find a purpose on living if there's no god, that is just a question of preferences. For some the existence of gods would make the whole thing meaningless. I for one do not understand how things would be any more or less meaningful if there were god(s). Actually, I find it meaningless for the purpose of life to be whatever some god has decreed. Worse, I find it abhorrent. As you can see, this association to meaning is yours, and is another non sequitur as the one above.

    Finally, with no intention to hurt. The reason some people don't believe in god(s) is the same reason people don't believe in fairies, or in leprechauns, or in horoscopes, or in any imaginary thing you can think of. I changed it to "god(s) instead of "God" because it is not just yours atheists don't believe.

    Be well.
  • Sep 4 2012: Why is it that some people look at the marvelous universe we live in and see evidence of God in all things?

    Why is it that some people look at the marvelous universe we live in and see no evidence of God at all?

    What is the essential difference between these people?
    • Sep 5 2012: The former jump into unwarranted conclusions, the latter see what's there.
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      Sep 5 2012: Hi Barry!
      As thinking, feeling, evolving human beings, we have choices, based on information we have at any given time.
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      Sep 5 2012: What's the essential similarity between these people?
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        Sep 5 2012: Hi Julius! GREAT question!

        In my perception, we are more the same than different. We all experience many of the same thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs, and life goals. Most of us want to love and be loved....we all feel pain, happiness, saddness, joy, etc. Most of all, we are all humans, sharing the earth and the life experience.
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          Sep 5 2012: Despite our many similarities our differences, though minor, separate us.
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        Sep 5 2012: Hi again Julius,
        I think that whether we feel seperate or connected is a choice. I have MANY diverse friends and family with many different beliefs regarding religion, god/no god. We feel very connected, we interact with each other regularly with respect and acceptance. Why can't we ALL do that?
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        Sep 5 2012: Yeah Julius....that's the question.....why can't we all do that? Well, some of us CAN and DO, and it gives me a great deal of pleasure to do so:>)
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      Sep 5 2012: The difference stays in their psychological features .
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        Sep 5 2012: I agree with this Eduard (E G)....good point!

        What we choose to believe becomes part of our psychology, which means...

        "the science of mind and behavior; the mental or behavioral characteristics of an individual or group; the study of mind and behavior in relation to a particular field of knowledge or activity".
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      Sep 20 2012: Barry the symbol Pi is just a representation of the idea of the number of times the diameter of a circle will divide into the circumferences (a ratio). It is a symbol instead of a number because it is a never ending series, type of number.

      In our minds we want to say that it has to have some kind of terminating value because a circumferences does not go on forever, the ends have to connect; we just can't nail it down to a single number. The best we can do is estimate it. 3.xxx.

      In the mind of man, the word God symbolizes our understating of the reality we live in. We can't pin it down to a beginning or rationalize sufficiently how it will end. We call this never ending rationalization, GOD.

      If you want to talk about God with the big dogs, you better have a lot of math under your belt because those people are brilliant. Brilliant means a light that shines well beyond the brightness of most light sources.

      Notice I said "those people" which does not include me. :)

      Here's another example I created back in the 80's in the early BBS arguments.

      If in the beginning there was nothing, wouldn't there be nothing still, having nothing to alter this situation with? Ergo, something has always existed.

      I see this passed around many times in Religious circles and nobody has been able to show me some writer' who used if first.
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    Sep 4 2012: Ok this is easy.
    Let's take theism to start with
    1. I don't need a god to be moral, humans have been moral since we evolved and morality is observed in primates also.
    2. There is no reason at all to think that a god exists.
    3. If any of the books are true then this god would be evil, hence why I'm an anti-theist I don't want it to be true.
    4. You mentioned purpose/ direction. These are human constructs and you don't need them to live and simply all an atheist has to do is base their life on something else and they then have a direction.
    5. I don't want to live forever
    6. Science explains everything just fine without the supernatural.
    I'll add to the list if I think of more reasons, I'm sure I've left some out.

    And then Deism- easy enough to answer, once again there is no need for a god and so I don't think there is a deistic god.
    • Sep 4 2012: Dear Sir. A human without God is like a building without base. Nothing on Earth could've been made without any external power. And how can you take the purpose for living out from your mind? What is the reason for living in a chaotic place then? Don't you want to get out of a lion's den? I don't know about science but... can a chemical reaction make an entire human being, all his organs plus millions of different forms of species on Earth? I am not an expert on these topics but I just can't make up my mind towards atheism.

      Regards.
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        Sep 4 2012: Yes science really can make a human....more specifically embryology studies the local chemistry that is at play during our development.
        And the external power for earth would be the sun.
        And once again you don't need god as a base for humanity, this is shown in the fact that most religious texts are at most 6000 years old where as humans are 150,000 years old
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          Sep 5 2012: " Yes science really can make a human... and your explanation" , but who made the science then ? You'll reach a point when you'll can't say anything , what then ? can you still say then "And once again you don't need god as a base for humanity" ?
        • Sep 5 2012: Yes Eduard, we can always say that once again we don't need any imaginary beings as a base for humanity.

          We humans made science.
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          Sep 8 2012: Did you get what I said ?
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          Sep 20 2012: Stewart Science has yet to create an actual living cell independently with chemicals in the laboratory. You should reread the reports.

          Ergo Science cannot make a Human being.

          To Gabo. Imaginary yes, real no.
      • Sep 5 2012: Well, it is a fact that physical-chemical reactions make humans, all of our organs and all species on Earth. We witness so every day. Not once have we observed a god or a series of gods coming to build any baby, or any other living form. If you think they do, then you should ask them why they fail so miserably to build so many babies. Many die while being built, many die at birth, many fail to have some organs, and so on. Why is this so if god(s) are in charge?

        A human without god(s) is all there is. So, if you want to call yourself "without base" that's fine. But remember that such a thing is your opinion. You think that you have no base. You think that you have no meaning on your own. You think that everything is chaos without god(s). You have your views of what is a base and what is meaningful, others have different views. That's it.
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          Sep 20 2012: You are wrong Garbo :). It's a fact that physical-chemical reactions maintain humans. The seeds of humans come with instructions and we are no where near translating the whole manual.

          We are still stuck with who wrote the Manual?
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        Sep 9 2012: Which God Arthur?
        Will any imagined god do as the base?
        Why is a creator god necessary for us to have meaning and purpose in our lives, albiet not absolute ones.
        Seems people can create meaning from different religious beliefs or even with no gods.

        My life is meaningful to me without any belief in gods. In fact this life is even more important because it is the only one we know of for sure.

        Isn't it more meaningless and arbitrary if we were created for some gods purpose, in fact this brutal life is just a trial run for an afterlife. Why this physical universe, where 99.999999% of it will kill us instantly, where animals survive by eating other living things, where we rut, and defecate, and age and sicken?
        And no explanation for how god did all this or why things are this way or what god is or where he came from, not even any evidence for a god.

        Good point if you don't yet see how life could work naturally. But how does a god really answer this. Aren't you just answering a question with a mystery?
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      Sep 20 2012: ;) Easy for you Stewart.
      • Sep 20 2012: Why do you call yourself an agnostic? It's obvious that you are no such thing. You are a creationist through and through. You have read all the creationist rhetoric and use it al gusto.

        I am right :) Whether we have "translated" all the "instructions" is inconsequential because we understand how it came to be. That you don't know does not mean nobody does. That you don't understand and hold to creationist rhetorical questions and metaphors does not mean that such metaphors and rhetorics contain any truth. For scientific understanding I ask scientists. I study science. That's the rational thing to do.
  • Sep 4 2012: There are many dualities in life that humans become trapped in.
    They live lives constantly moving back and forth between them and ultimately will find this to be infuriating to the point of going insane.
    I see the duality of those who believe in God and those who do not as a similar duality.
    While a person's personal experience is real to them and they believe it is proof of a God, it isn't to anyone else.
    They cannot prove it and it cannot be dis-proven. I understand that one might really want it to mean it is proof but it isn't except to the person who has experienced it. And that person needs to be well aware of previous messages bound up in their psyche that might be misleading them to the wrong conclusions.

    Likewise, for one who doubts there is a God, they too have experiences that lead them to believe this. In each case, on both sides, neither can really prove their case. When we build a bridge, we use the best building theory there is. We take into consideration structural engineering, the Big G (gravity), and other factors in order to build it. But, when we cross it, we cross it in faith. To one who believes in God, they have faith it will not come down. To those who don't believe in God, they have faith in what they know, what's been proven and there is the difference.

    There is something more than the material. Religion says there is and so too does science.
    I prefer to get out of the duality of insanity. We cannot account for, without doubt, and with proof, our existence, the reason for it, how it really came about and in both cases eventually, both sides have made up stories to explain it all.

    And they still can't. It's possible that it has already been successfully uncovered, exposed and explained, but because new ideas are constantly coming in and replacing old ones, both sides have left the answer behind, without knowing it.

    I don't see signs of a loving, kind, all knowing God anywhere on earth. Maybe the books came from another planet.