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John Moonstroller

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How do you feel about God, as a creator of the universe, the world, and man?

When I was a child, growing up in the United States, I was surrounded by Christian ideals. It was in the schools, in my neighborhood and in my family. Saying the prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep...”, gave me much comfort and helped to suppress my fears of the monsters that inhabit the imagination of all children.

As I grew older, I observed that the idealism of Christianity was hard for most people to incorporated into their day to day lives but most people tried, in varying degrees ,to accomplish it anyway. I also noticed that other Religions were allowed but suppressed and not allowed to be practiced in school.

Eventually it became a big issue with all the Citizens of my country After much debate, the ability of Religion to reach out to all Citizens of my country and shape the minds of it's inhabitants was removed from schools and it's influence is slowly being removed from all venues closely associated with our government.

The debate about Religion has not died down, however. It follows every path of communication created by technology. In some countries, it is intensely intertwined with the government and serves as the model for their citizens to find resolution in their day to day lives.

Religion is a big issue to many people and while many claim to be spiritual, not all believe in a God, a creator of the world and man.

If you could state concisely how you feel about your Religion in just two or three sentences, without mentioning anything about any other religion, what would you say to help others understand your belief that God exists while avoiding the temptation to preach about it.

I would like to avoid debate on the issue and that is why I ask a question instead of a debate.

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Closing Statement from John Moonstroller

God is a symbol of the unknowable to those without direct experience of God, but to those who have come into contact with God, God is very real.

I have a simply hypothesis concerning reality:

Nothing can come from nothing, e.g if in the beginning there was nothing, there would be nothing still.
Therefore, something has always existed, this thing we call reality. If it has always existed, then it has to be eternal and infinite. There is no other explanation.

Some say that God does not exist because science implies this fact. Science can only describe the knowable. When the knowable become unknowable, science is at the end of it’s application.

Many people don’t believe in miracles (things that defy explanation by scientific principles) because they have never personally experienced them Yet, well in the past, people have written down events that took place that match the description of a miracle. We weren’t there so we can’t disprove these events. But, we are here and the fact we, or anything exists is a miracle.

People alive to day also make claims they experienced miracles. I have seen a type of miracle myself not once but twice and an NDE experience also. It’s hard for me to say these things did not happen, in fact, it’s impossible for me to deny them. So, I am stuck with this knowledge whether anyone believes me or not.

I am stuck here: how can something come from nothing? My conclusion is that there never was a time when nothing existed. Something has always existed and will continue to do so because if eternity is a continuum without beginning or end, it is the state of nothingness that never existed. And still, science as we know it is preserved.

I’ve enjoyed the comments.

John Moonstroller

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  • Sep 7 2012: I've got nothing against the idea of God. In fact, I'm from a family that is both Jewish and two separate sects of Christianity (Roman Catholic and Lutheran). In terms of religion, I've had my falling out with the organized stuff because I started noticing the contradictions of those with power from what the actual holy book(s) say. I mean, hell, I was baptized Lutheran and one of the things that I heard on occasion while going to a Roman Catholic grade school was that I was the wrong kind of Christian, as though any one form of Christianity is any more right or wrong than another.

    However, I am still spiritual and am open to prayer. This doesn't mean that I'd be heartbroken if it was revealed that even basic spirituality was proven to pretty much just be false. The lack of spirits or god(s) wouldn't change the fact that we should try to live a good life, especially if we want to be remembered in a favorable light.
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      Sep 7 2012: Thank you Johathan for your enlightened comment. I agree, the truth is the truth no matter the form it takes.
  • Sep 6 2012: Have you considered the possibility that you are God? That perhaps it is this awareness of one's true self that is the ultimate goal/plan and answer to the mysteries of our universe and existence? That just maybe, this is what Jesus actually revealed to us and religion and science have unknowingly proven? The past, present, and future all exist within this infinite moment you occupy. You ARE infinite, and everything including the body of flesh through which you experience the world, all exists within you . The greatest power is your imagination and unconditional love of all things you have effortlessly created. So effortlessly, you don't even know you're doing it. The world is only a giant flashcard that serves to remind you of the truth forgotton. And who created God?? You did :)
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      Sep 6 2012: I've entertained a lot of Ideas about God, existence, etc.

      One notion was that we are each alone in the Universe and, while it may look like we have an impact on others, we are actually only affecting the virtual illusion of others in our single, special reality.

      This would place full responsibility for our actions on us and not on others or a God, if it were. In other words, while it may appear in our version of reality that some babies are not properly cared for, it may just be an illusion (perhaps influenced by a Super alien being), in order to test us on some level. Further, it could be that Daniel Wilson doesn't really exist in my reality ; he is a creature of the Matrix.

      I think I saw a Twilight Zone movie about this. :)
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      Sep 7 2012: I have indeed thought of this concept Daniel. In fact....that's what we were taught with catholic schooling for 12 years....we are made in the image and likeness of god....all one.....etc. HOWEVER, the SAME religion that taught oneness and told us we were all god-beings, also seperated us from everyone else who did not believe in the same god, and those poor folks were going to hell! I LOVE what you wrote so exquisitely:>)
      • Sep 7 2012: Oneness is NOT something we can become, or choose to be, it is what we ARE. There is NOTHING seperate from you. This IS truth, and it is your choice to accept it, or not / to believe, or not to believe. Truth can NOT be refused, only resisted. When you resist truth, you are then falsely identifying yourself as something seperate from that which is whole (your true self). Suddenly the world can feel as though it is against you and you against the world. Sadly, it is in fact a battle of you against yourself. It is in this delusion of isolation that a person comits any sin or wrongful act and risks being lossed in chaos for eternity. However, it is NEVER too late to accept truth. How could it be? It is with you always, you ARE truth :) Everything - Religion, science, nature, good and evil, fact or fiction, all serve ONE purpose. To awaken, enlighten, and pave way to the awareness of your true self - GOD
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          Sep 7 2012: Daniel, I enjoyed reading most of what you had to say. It seemed a little abrasive in an eastern way. In no attempt to digress or debate, I would say that Truth and Self is, for lack of a better term, below what the most learned identify with words like "God". Everybody seems to identify with things possibly detrimental to their enlightenment of Self. Can there be a way to bring enlightenment through the modes of identification with/without religious leanings? I like to think there have been people throughout history that have done this.
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          Sep 7 2012: Dear Daniel,
          I enjoyed your first comment very much. Your next one, however, seems like Preaching, which our facilitator clearly asks us not to do on this thread.....

          "what would you say to help others understand your belief that God exists while avoiding the temptation to preach about it"....did you notice that statement in the introduction?

          BTW, I totally believe in oneness, which we naturally ARE....I believe in choices....I am not resisting truth....nor do I falsely identify with something seperate...I have never felt like the world is against me, nor do I battle against myself, nor am I delusional....I am not a sinner, nor do I feel a risk of being lost in chaos for eternity.

          Sounds like you may be preaching to the choir!!!
      • Sep 9 2012: Colleen,
        I did not mean to preach, nor intend you to feel as though I was attacking you in any way, but I understand why you may feel I have done both. I'm so sorry, please accept my most sincere apology.
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    Sep 5 2012: Hi John.
    I believe that the bible is the word of God. I believe this God created the universe, & came to earth as the man Jesus. I believe that mankind is the offspring of this God & that He loves us & yearns for our company. I believe I will spend eternity with Jesus in bliss with my fellow humans who make that choice. I believe our natural instinct is to rebel against our creator & we need His help in overcoming this hurdle. That's what I believe; I hope that's not a sermon.

    God Bless

    :-)
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      Sep 5 2012: Peter, eternity is a long time. In the end you've nothing to talk about.

      Are you sure you want that?
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        Sep 5 2012: Hi Frans.
        I've nearly finished with this life, & still talk plenty :) I guess a few hundred years would be enough here, but flying about exploring universes will be an entirely different experience. May even get to create a few, that would be neat.
        Seriously though; none of us has the option of not existing. We will all exist. It's the quality of that existence that is up for grabs.

        :-)
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        Sep 5 2012: Frans, I was hoping this could be a free forum for anyone to state their feelings without interference or questioning remarks from others. You need to post how you feel and let it lie. Examine yourself then tell us how you feel about a creator, without stepping on others toes. If you can't do that then please find another question. I won't feel offended.

        Thank you Frans.
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      Sep 5 2012: I don't' feel sermonized at all Peter. You revealed your heart and I appreciate that. Well said and thank you for your comment.
  • Sep 5 2012: I believe in God, in Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
    God is the maker and source of all wisdom.
    Anyone who genuinely seeks God will find Him; but God does not force anyone to love Him or accept Him. God gave us to power to be creative, to reason, and to have dominion on earth. If we reject him, we are not harming him in any way. We are just saying that for all the opportunity we have to share his godliness, we have chosen to be his enemy.

    And it is a sad thing to be the enemy of our maker.
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      Sep 5 2012: We cannot be an "enemy" to something or someone we do not believe in.
      • Sep 5 2012: Unfortunately not all facts and realities depend on our belief or unbelief.
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          Sep 5 2012: Feyisayo,
          I agree....facts and realities do not "depend" on anything....they simply are what they are....it is what it is.

          Your statement says..."If we reject him, we are not harming him in any way. We are just saying that for all the opportunity we have to share his godliness, we have chosen to be his enemy".

          You say that by rejecting him, we have chosen to be his enemy. That apparently is YOUR reality. It is not MY reality. Making "him" our enemy is a choice, as you have clearly stated, and I don't know how we can make something we do not believe in an enemy!

          In my perception and reality, I do not believe in a god, therefore I cannot make "him" an enemy. I've never heard this before....that by rejecting "him" we are making him the enemy.....your idea?

          I've certainly heard enough times that by rejecting "him" we're going to hell. Is this related to your suggestion that we become his enemy?
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      Sep 5 2012: Thank you FeyisaIyo Anjorin, I feel like I understand your commitment. Well said.
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      Sep 5 2012: Seeing as a lot of this discussion has to do with how "we" believe things are, consider this. If science tomorrow announced that they had found what created the universe and that in fact, there is more than one and that there was a perfectly factual and visible answer to how something come from nothing. Would that change your beliefs? If alien contact was made tomorrow and the alien said there is no creator, we have proof. Would your beliefs change?
      I think that your would not. I think that the creator theory has totally removed any other explanation out of the believers minds as to be told "its not true" definitively would take away your existence.
      In essence, me writing this makes me greater than a God as I have more than one explanation, I can take two sides and reason. I can make a point and show it you. I can answer a question and be questioned.
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      Sep 5 2012: Very concisely put Don. So, in three sentences or less, could you state why you believe in a God creator of mankind? From your comment I get the impression you were forced to be Religious for the sake of survival.
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    Sep 8 2012: Hi John, I'll try to state concisely how I feel about my Religion in just two or three paragraphs. :)

    To me life makes sense as explained by Emanuel Swedenborg. We are spirits in a body, as a driver in a car, and how we 'drive' and regard other 'drivers' (whatever car they choose to drive) determines our route and final destination.

    God is another word for "love and wisdom" and He created the universe because Love needs to love others outside of itself, try to be one with them and make them happy. We as "spirit" can be an image and/or likeness of that Love on our level, depending on how we conduit His Love, how we create the environment around us. We are what we love.
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    Sep 8 2012: I'm just not a fan... If I thought he/she/it was real... I probably wouldn't get on well with the bloke... Seems a bit narcissistic to me.
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      Sep 8 2012: I understand David. God, as presented by many religious books is full of him/her/it's-self.
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    Sep 6 2012: GOD is a great feeling that comes from inside. We can't see GOD but we can feel GOD. It totally depends upon person to person that how they feel it. Some like to pray in bad times only and some also in good time. GOD is around us. God is something to which we want to give all credits of what we have and sometime blame for some bad. So its depends upon habit. But i strongly believe in GOD and without him life is not possible.
    One beautiful saying is... "all People used to call GOD in bad times and no one in good time. But if they call him in good also then there may not be any bad..."
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      Sep 6 2012: You bring up a good point Sam. We can't see ultraviolet light with our eyes but it exists. We can't see infrared radiation but we can feel it. Some people say the voices (that no one else heard) told them to do it. Joan of Arc was such a person. Not everyone who heard voices in their minds or in their hearts committed atrociousness. Some did wonderful things.

      Thanks for sharing. Sam.
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        Sep 7 2012: I love to talk about GOD... Thanks for the wonderful question...
        Actually if you see the funny part then we can say that this 3 letter word GOD sometimes gives the answer of many questions and also reason for many situations... So GOD gives us the feeling to feel free by just taking his name.....
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          Sep 7 2012: God did it. Simple and it makes you feel great. Cool.
          Thank you Sam Rock.
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        Sep 10 2012: No one can feel great about this but then also people used to say it and i mentioned there that its a funny part... Here it is for very small small problems...
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    . . 100+

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    Sep 5 2012: Thankful.
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      Sep 6 2012: Short but says so much about a genuine feeling.

      Thank you for your reply Juliette Zahn.
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    Sep 5 2012: A valiant effort sir, but unlikely to get what you want. The problem is many contributors, for whatever reasons, will not limit themselves to stating how they feel about God. These folks will volunteer their critiques and criticisms of the personal beliefs of others who have honored your request for candor and brevity. You did not ask for arguments and you specifically requested that debate be avoided. But, alas, you see what is happening just a few hours into the month-long conversation. To avoid being deleted I must offer even more material for these free-lance philosopher/ critics to challenge, ridicule and defile, so here goes: It is perfect that the God of the Holy Bible is the Creator, Sustainer, and Giver of all life. All of his ways are perfect. He is Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable in his wisdom, being and power. All the universe obeys his command.
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      Sep 5 2012: I don't know? It sounds pretty much in line with stating your belief. There is no mistaking your belief in God and your firmness in it's pursuit.

      Until the Computer, the world of communication was limited to those who spoke perfect grammar and managed to stay on the right side of the publisher. Those days are declining. An individual with an idea can now bring it to the world table and perhaps see it rise to top of the world.

      But now, a religious or nonreligious person can reach a host of people at one time. It' pretty cool actually but still evolving. Yes, everyone is deviating from my guidelines, including me, but, just like the statements in all the bibles in the world, it was meant to be a guideline, not the Word of God. :)

      So the new guideline is be respectful and careful of who you insult because we all get a flat tire on the highway of life every now and then and discover we don't have a spare in the trunk.

      Who's going to say,
      "I'm sorry but I don't accept help from Atheists or Buddhists. Please be about your own business."?
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    Sep 5 2012: Two or three sentences...The word God does no justice to what I like to deem an entity of emergent transcendence. Any universe and any thought of manifestation also exist mutually with this entity no matter of attributes. Man is an individual self-conscious manifestation of transcension capable of any propensity in a given environment with realizations of Self to varying degrees.
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      Sep 5 2012: I dont' know what to say. Does this understanding have a name?
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        Sep 5 2012: I don't know proto-neo-spirotheolism. Lol. I only hope I gave a good answer. I'm empathetic to any faith and atheism.
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          Sep 5 2012: You know, now that I'm really looking deep into the comment, It sounds like your saying that the, "entity of emergent transcendence" is unnameable, is omnipresent, and gave men free will to entertain all possibilities in their mind and we do so gaining awareness of ourselves as we go along.

          So, your Jewish right? :)
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        Sep 5 2012: I went to a Church of Christ when I was young. I went to public schools. Self taught the rest. I've had friends who are Jewish.
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    Sep 5 2012: John, Religion is a belief system (includes many components not the least being culture).

    My religion is my belief system. I do not ask that you believe as I do ... please do not ask me to change to yours. Instead lets us rejoice that each of us have a system that works for us.

    If we respect each others system of belief and each other as people we have become part of the solution and will no longer be part of the problem.

    All the best. Bob.
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    Sep 5 2012: Hi John,
    With the information I have at this time, I do not believe there is a god. I was born into a catholic family and practiced that tradition for 19 years, with 12 years of catholic schooling. From the time I was a child, I questioned the teachings because to me, they did not make sense, were hypocritical and contradictory. (Love thy neighbor only if s/he is catholic...everyone who is catholic is going to heaven, everyone else to hell....for example). I perceived many people pretending to practice the religion, and not walking their talk. The one exception was my mother, who LIVED her religion. She did not lecture or preach. She knew the bible from cover to cover, and she lived with integrity.

    When I left my home of origin at age 19, I abandoned any religious practice. 23 years later, I had a near death experience, and when I recovered, I researched, studied and even practiced various religions and philosophical beliefs quite extensively, in an attempt to understand the NDE/OBE and the life experience. I did not meet a god "out there" in the spirit/energy form, nor did I see any evidence of heaven or hell. So, as I say, with the information I have at this time, I do not believe there is a god.

    I believe that the words "god", "spirit", "soul" were adopted to try to explain the energy that powers the body. My very strong belief is that it does not matter if one believes in a god or not. The important thing is how one lives his/her life HERE and NOW. We are all more the same than different, we share this earth, and religions have served to disconnect people throughout history.

    Sorry I exceeded your request for two or three sentences. Those who believe in a god often accuse us (those who do not believe in a god) of not caring, not understanding, being immoral, or not fully exploring. I have done some extensive homework, and I want that to be known.
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      Sep 5 2012: Thanks for sharing with us colleen. I think the accusations run in both directions and some are already taking liberties with this question. It's sad really.

      Perhaps the problem with people is not religious vs non-religious but something else.

      Thank your for trying at least.
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        Sep 5 2012: John,
        If you feel that some are taking liberties, and not staying on topic, flag the comments.....including mine if you believe it to be off topic.

        I wholeheartedly support facilitators of conversations and the ted terms of use.

        Regarding your statement....perhaps the problem is something else. Yes John, I believe the "something else" is a need by some insecure people to be "right'.
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          Sep 5 2012: Okay. I wasn't aware you could do that. Flag I will.

          I don't want to insult anyone. I was hoping to collect a list of opinions that reflected how people truly feel about their religion in in the hopes of revealing to others Their geniality.

          I didn't want to set them up as targets for others.

          Religious conversation is taboo in our family. We can pray at dinner we just can't talk about why we pray. I don't think that it should be that way.
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        Sep 5 2012: Yes Dear John,
        See the little tiny flag in the bottom right corner of each comment? We all have the ability to flag inappropriate comments....whether off topic or otherwise inappropriate.

        We all accept the "terms of use" when we become a member of the TED community. I do not perceive it to be "insulting"....it is part of the process of interacting in a respectful way, and some folks simply are not going to learn until they have 100s of comments removed for being preachy and inappropriate!!!

        I LOVE talks about religion and god, and participate regularly with many friend of different faiths and beliefs. The thing that some folks need to learn, is how to do it with respect.
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          Sep 5 2012: I found it and I used it.

          I'm being genuine when I say I'm agnostic. While I don't believe in a God, sometimes in a lightening storm, if I feel particularly exposed, I tend to self-analysis myself and my belief, if you know what I mean.

          We had a saying in Vietnam, there are no atheists in foxholes when the rounds are exploding all around you.
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        Sep 5 2012: Thankfully, I've never been in a foxhole, John, and my heart goes out to all those who have had that experience.....I cannot even imagine how frightening that must be. No problem with hedging our bet now and then huh?
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          Sep 5 2012: Yes, that's the whole point, is hedging our bet an admission to a belief or just a wager that we can't go wrong with covering all the bases?
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        Sep 5 2012: I like the idea of possibly covering all the bases.....can't imagine that I would do that, but lots of people do. It is common for people to make "deals" with god on their deathbed, whether or not they believed in a god before death was at the door. There is actually a sociology term for this concept, and I cannot remember what it is called.....I'll see if I can find it after dinner:>)
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        Sep 6 2012: John,
        I said I'd get back to you with this information....it's very logically called:

        BARGAINING: You are willing now to compromise. No use denying it, anger comes and goes so perhaps you can make a deal with God! You are willing to promise to do or not to do specific things if only you can be given more time. It can be based on an upcoming event that is important to you. You can be suffering from insecurities regarding a member of your family or a loved one who you feel is yet dependent on you. There can be a rift that has never been eliminated that needs to be further addressed. You are not free to go until these reasons can be alleviated once and for all. You are hoping yet and eager to deal!

        The five stages of dying
        http://oldfashionedliving.com/dying.html

        Edit:
        Found a better link
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model
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          Sep 6 2012: We had to study the different stages of dying in SPC.

          I remember the old movie where the guy was going to do away with himself by swimming out into the ocean. After he tired, he changed his mind but managed to swim a long distance, making swimming back a daunting, maybe impossible task. So at that point he was afraid of dying.

          He began to "Bargain" with God. "God help me. I'll change, I'll be a different man , I'll give 80 percent of all my wages to the church, just help me make it back to shore.l"

          Of course as he swam closer to shore, the weight of the bargain started to change, a bit more in his favor and less in God's, "You can trust me Lord, I'll give up smoking. I'll give 75 % of all my wages to the church Lord, just help me make it to shore..."

          In the end he made it all the way and was finally cursing God, asking God who he was to demand that he give ten percent of his hard earned wages to the church and why should he change for a God that doesn't even reply when he asks for help.

          I can't remember the Actors name but he played in "Smokey and the Bandit".
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        Sep 6 2012: That's a good example of "bargaining" John!

        I learned about the stages of dying when guest lecturing about the NDE/OBE at the university in a sociology class called “Death, Dying and Bereavement”. The primary text book used, was “Dying, Death & Bereavement” by Michael R. Leming & George E. Dickinson. In the beginning, I went in for a couple days during the semester, talked with the students and facilitated discussion groups. After participating in that way for a couple years, I decided to take the class for the whole semester, and it was really very interesting.

        We had discussions with leaders of different faiths….priest, minister, rabbi, etc. and discussed various religious traditions. We visited a crematorium and funeral home, and had discussions with the people who operated both. We visited a terminal care facility, and after that visit, I volunteered there for a couple years.

        The professor, whose class I spoke in, had worked with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. who was a psychiatrist and pioneer in Near-death studies and the author of the book “On Death and Dying” (1969), so we had some GREAT classroom discussions....with mostly traditional (young) students.

        Part of the class requirement was to keep a journal/workbook titled “Life Before Death”. It was another GREAT learning experience, which took place in 1994, and I still like to go back and review the materials at times for reminders:>)
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          Sep 6 2012: Colleen, I'm sure it would be inspiring. I think everyone should keep a diary or personal journal. I have problems with memory so I have to write things down and keep a data base of ideas and thoughts so I won't build the same thing twice in my workshop or recreate the same experiment I'm doing to answer some sort of question I may have about physics, Chemistry or biology. My biggest problem, of course, is forgetting where I put the journal.

          I think you know how I feel about death and dying so I won't go into that.

          Thank you for your information.
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    Sep 5 2012: Evolution is just too eloquent, the deeper you look into it the deeper it gets. im a believer of evolution it makes complete sense to me. but if someone "great" were managing us, they would be fired.
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      Sep 5 2012: Thank you Julius Newman for your take on Evolution. Firing our Managers. Good idea. Because of the way you spoke about evolution I edited my comment to reflect a better take on my feelings about Evolution. Please take another look and edit your comment if you feel it is necessary.
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      Sep 7 2012: Hi Julius.
      ""but if someone "great" were managing us, they would be fired""

      That's just soooo beautiful. That is, in a nutshell, exactly what has happened. You got it !

      :-))
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    Oct 4 2012: The debate is closing soon. I hope the trolls don't attack, but they will. They always do.
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    Oct 4 2012: The idea of one god seems relatively recent in most places. Less than 4 hundred years in the Americas. Multiple gods seems to have been more popular until the Christian and Muslim forces carved out empires and took the lands of others.

    Although some forms of Christianity have three in one concept at odds with the Jews and Muslims. And the Catholics have all their saints.

    My ex religion, well I almost feel embarrassed I didn't come to my senses sooner, but its not always easy to escape. Also there is a social cost to leaving religion.

    If there are gods or goddesses, we seem to have no way of reliably knowing anything about them or anything indicating their existence at all.

    The separation of church and state along with freedom of and from religion is actually beneficial for all religions and sub sects.
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      Oct 4 2012: Obey states.

      1. The idea of one god seems relatively recent in most places.

      The one god concept goes all the way back to Abraham and is inferred in Genesis in the Garden of Eden story, if you don't include the snake. It's a pretty old concept.

      2. If there are gods or goddesses, we seem to have no way of reliably knowing anything about them or anything indicating their existence at all.

      There are many people who exist I am totally unaware of and probably will never meet them. This does not imply they don't exist.
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        Oct 4 2012: The Hebrew god may have started out as one of the Canaanite pantheon created by el.

        The bible indicates the early Jews kept worshiping other gods so they must have thought they were real. Archeology supports this, particularly fertility gods.

        Also if you read the bible some sections give the impression that they thought other gods were real. But that might just be my interpretation.

        So I have no idea when it crystallised into pure monotheism.

        Anyway, this one god who evolved in Jewish society over hundreds or thousands of years impacted what proportion of people on the planet? Not many before the Christians and Muslims spent nearly 2000 years gradually spreading over 2/5 of the planet.

        One Egyptian pharaoh made the sun the one god, but they went back to polytheism after he died.

        So my point stands, especially when you consider the entire world, not Palestine, and when you consider homo sapiends have been around 100000 years.
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          Oct 4 2012: Your point may stand Obey but I can't see it so you should stand it a little closer perhaps?


          True or not, there are many people who exist I am totally unaware of and probably will never meet them. This does not imply they don't exist. I'm not saying that what we don' know is unknowable I'm just saying that it is unknown at this time.
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        Oct 5 2012: Also if you choose not to differentiate between physical human beings that can be verified as existing and claims of invisible intangible untestable gods and fairies and demons, well that may be at the root of our different views.
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          Oct 5 2012: What! you don't believe in Ghosts?????

          What kind of a weirdo are you :)
  • Oct 3 2012: If God created mankind and the planet on which we live, then what I would like to know is why he would need to create a universe as large as it is. It doesn't make any sense that a God would go to the effort of creating billions of galaxies each with billions of stars? More importantly, what has he been up to since creation?
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      Oct 3 2012: He's been busy.... Come back tomorrow.
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      Oct 5 2012: Building a Universe is easy. First you build one proton and one electron. Make multiple copies of the atom. Put them in a giant compressor and compress the atoms until they reach an infinitely hot temperature.

      After the compression stage, release the pressure switch and stand back. The result will be an entire Universe after some time has past by.

      Do not do this at home. Creating a Universe requires some expertise, not normally found in the average human being.

      The reason most Universes are so large is because they are easy to make and making them can be fun.
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      Sep 13 2012: If you are a christian your hell is a burning fire for all eternity. That is what your God and his son and his spirit say. You are already on the road so it's a bit too late to change your path. If you change your path, you deny the truth of what you preach and make it null; you deny the words of your God.

      To which book do you claim to be the word of God; C.S Lewis, Timothy Kelller or the Bible of the Christians who claim it is the irrevocable world of God?

      You can't have your cake and eat it too. :)
      In all a good report on the Christian version of hell or the updated version. Which is it?
  • Sep 13 2012: I apologize in advance for going well over your sentence limit but I explained it as best I could:
    I believe that the creator of the universe is the triune God of the Bible - the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each member of the trinity has been existing eternally in a relationship of self-giving love with the other two. Each member lives to glorify the other two members. So before creating anything God was fully satisfied.
    When the universe was created it was not to fulfill some need in God, it was an expansion of his glory. Human beings were created in the image of God. We were given the ability to love and were originally meant to join in on this relationship with God. However, the first created man and woman disobeyed the one rule that God gave them, and essentially chose to please themselves rather than join in on this relationship with God. Because of their actions, sin entered humanity and has infected every human to ever live. We've all chosen to please ourselves instead of God. This is a problem because God warned mankind that the wages of sin is death. He promised to one day destroy all evil and injustice and bring peace to his creation. The problem is if God destroys everything that's evil, this will include us because we've all had evil thoughts before.
    God knew this was a problem and had a plan to fix it even before creating anything. He planned to enter humanity as a man, live a life without sin, and willingly die facing the punishment that his creatures deserve. Jesus lived a sinless life but died as a criminal. When he died he was separated from the Father and took God's wrath for our sin. What did he have to gain from dying? Absolutely nothing. He already had a perfect community of love with the Father and the Holy Spirit. When Jesus died it was God serving us, even though we've chosen to rebel against him. Jesus' death is the ultimate gift from God, and through faith we can restore our relationship with our Creator.
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      Sep 13 2012: Excellent report Corey Hodge.

      I have heard it said that God is so perfect, so loving and merciful that it is not his/her/it's intention to cast anyone in hell, having the power to control the Universe in ways we cannot imagine to assure this doesn't' happen.

      Thank you.
      • Sep 13 2012: Hey John,

        The Bible does in fact say that it is not God's will for anyone to go to hell. However he has given humans a choice to love him or disregard him. We can accept forgiveness through Christ or deny it. Without the option to not love we would never be able to truly love God and have a relationship with him. We would have been robots basically. I'd like to leave you some things to think about.

        C.S. Lewis describes hell like this in "The Great Divorce":
        “Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others…but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God “sending us” to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE HELL unless it is nipped in the bud.”

        And this comes from Timothy Keller's book, "The Reason for God" -
        "The Bible says that God is the source of all joy, love, wisdom, and every good thing. We were originally created to be in his presence. If we were to lose his presence totally, that would be hell. We would have lost our capability for giving or receiving love or joy.
        A common image of hell in the Bible is that of fire. Fire disintegrates. Even in this life we can see the kind of soul disintegration that self-centeredness creates. We know how selfishness and self-absorption leads to bitterness, envy, anxiety, paranoid thoughts, and all the mental denials and distortions that come with them.
        Now if when we die we do not end, but rather spiritually extend on into eternity, then hell is the trajectory of a soul, living a self-absorbed, self-centered life, going on and on forever."
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    Sep 11 2012: It is an interesting thought. They just discovered that the 80% of the human Genome that they thought was junk is in fact very active.

    DNA is a set of code to produce creatures of life.

    The idea of creating a code that will cause machinery to move in a prescribed fashion is an intelligent creature idea.

    Very interesting thought.
  • Sep 10 2012: I am not a religious person but i feel that the whole " God created man in his image" is more true now that it was 50 years ago we have made synthetic life, and i think that is much more likely than god making us look like him.
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    Sep 6 2012: John,

    I was a born again Christian for some years. That experience helps me understand how sticky religion is, how much religion leverages our cognitive processes such as agency detection, in group tribalism etc.

    I recall the difficult journey gradually shifting away from religious belief, learning more, opening my mind, growing sceptical and losing many friends. But I am glad to free from trying to live like I believed in something I eventually did not believe.

    While this discussion is probably targeted to believers, I feel my religious experience helps me understand the other side, but was largely wasted years. I’m embarrassed I believed so fervently for so long in an imaginary friend and a particular literal bible interpretation. Yet most believers probably believe their particular interpretation have merit despite the odds.

    Anyway, it’s part of my life journey and at least I saw the light.

    These days I get similar transcendent feelings when meditating, but without the religious overlay.

    My wife still believes in some vaguely Christian god. We have agreed not to debate the topic. I go with her to church when she wants. It’s an odd thing watching the show from the outside. Still I would hate to be responsible for my wife losing her faith, or anyone else. Would just like people of faith to put that in context.

    Partially in response to Edward, TED is a place for debate and discussion, for the contest of ideas that hopefully leads to better understanding. Those who assert they have the truth on a forum like this should be challenged.

    Perhaps pretending all beliefs are equal is not the same as respecting the person with these beliefs.

    It is a strange balancing act empathising with various believers, trying to respect them and yet pursuing truth as best we can.

    So anyway, mixed feelings about my religious past. Perhaps having been on both sides of the religious divide gives you more perspective.
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      Sep 6 2012: The Universe is a vast place, for the most part, unvisited by the mind of man.

      Perhaps being on both sides of the Religious divide just halves your perspective on the whole. I posed the Question to get more insight into the minds of others. It is a question and not a debate. You have answered it well, in your usual manner, with great introspection. Thank you for your answer Obey No1kinobe.
  • Sep 6 2012: I feel that our existence along with the universe is evidence of a first-cause creator. Something cannot form out of nothing, therefore; something has always existed having the intelligence and great power to bring about the world we live in. I believe that the wisdom and beauty found in the world and man reflects a god of love that wants us to be happy.
    Of course, these few sentences do leave questions about his will and desires for man because of the evils and sufferings that exist. But I do feel strongly that the latter statements are irrefutable.
  • Sep 6 2012: I feel that our existence along with the universe is evidence of a first-cause creator. Something cannot form out of nothing, therefore; something has always existed having the intelligence and great power to bring about the world we live in. I believe that the wisdom and beauty found in the world and man reflects a god of love that wants us to be happy.
    Of course, these few sentences do leave questions about his will and desires for man because of the evils and sufferings that exist. But I do feel strongly that the latter statements are irrefutable.
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      Sep 6 2012: Thank you Jason for your answer. Nothing can come from nothing therefore something has always existed. Interesting.
  • Sep 6 2012: I have been observant, and as far as I can tell, God feels nothing toward me. I feel nothing toward God..
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      Sep 6 2012: Would you say you are an Atheist, Agnostic, Spiritual in any way or form?
  • Sep 6 2012: I cannot effectively or state concisely how I feel about my Religion because it's within me and I believe within everything.
    What can I say to help others understand my belief that God exists? Real knowledge...when scientists and Dr.s come to a point where their understanding and knowledge stop and they have to reach farther than their own understanding. These are just my quick thoughts at the moment.
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      Sep 6 2012: Have you ever seen an organized religious order that closely resembles your ideas about God or Religion?
      • Sep 6 2012: No, I haven't really looked. My views are a culmination of life experiences, observations, attending different churches, reading (alot), curiosity, logic, science and just being. I do like the idea of fellowship and learning from others. Not specifically from a group of like minds but group of all minds. I found what I was looking for in life and my only desire is to enjoy family and extended family and of course.....save the world....after I do the laundry.
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          Sep 6 2012: Yes, I've often considered the idea of what would the world really be like if we didn't have to give part of our precious time and energy, doing the Laundry.

          I once read a book that dealt with the idea of what the world might be like if there was no war and those who were killed by it lived a full life. I think it was titled "How many times have we killed Albert Einstein?" or something like that.
          Thank you for your answer. Antoeenette, Carvajal.