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existence of god (why religion is the answer)

today i had a conversation with a friend about religion ,god,quantum physics and forbidden archaeology .
the real question was ,does god exist ,if yes then why he created the universe ,was he bored ? religion can not give us satisfactory answer !
also religion is some thing very new , comparing it with human existence (forbidden archaeology) .
who created the universe ? is it better to believe that god created it instead of no one .(if we say god created it then the question is ,with what ?)

sorry for my english :(
one more thing ,please do some research on forbidden archaeology before replaying .

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    Gail . 50+

    • +6
    Oct 1 2012: If you look at what quanatum mechanics is suggesting, it appears that there is an energy field. It is not "a" being, but it is "being". It's not a person. It's an energy field, called the quantum field, the morphic field, and the unified field. It appears that this energy field is aware.

    This awarized energy does not make the energy a being. It has no power OVER you, but it is the power that you do use as you manifest your reality according to your desires. (So many around the globe have learned how to do this deliberately (consciously)

    I believe that the energy field is all that is, and as all that is, of which I am an integral part, as are you, we chose to manifest ourselves as all that appears.

    The three big religions ask you to close your mind to this new information. The would have you deny your own immense power to manipulate your own reality. Religion, like politics, are about money and power. The more they can disempower you, the more power they have over you - including the power to take your money under false pretenses.

    There are other quasi religions that do know this. Pantheism, Panentheism, Wicca, and a few others encourage you to know yourself. When you know yourself, you will find your power, and you will learn how to depend on it, rather than a scary god.
    • Oct 1 2012: Very good answer, nicely explained and just what I would have said only better.....
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      Oct 5 2012: That is all very interesting and great answer but I do have one question that I'm not sure if you touched upon:

      why couldn't your answer remain a scientific one instead of being construed to ultimately become one of religion?

      Spooky physics is interesting and from what I know about it, transcends Newtonian laws of physics. Nonetheless the queerness of quantum mechanics (such as the assertion that sub-atomic particles are fundamentally not physical, therefore their is not such thing as materialism) is what gives way to religious propositions..

      I'm not saying your incorrect or anything but was just curious as to why spooky physics can become a matter of both religion and science, instead of just science?
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        Gail . 50+

        • +1
        Oct 6 2012: I surely don't endorse religions. I endorse learning.

        Until everything that can be known is known, anything can become a religion if you choose to make it so; but to keep an open mind and keep looking for rational answers is the realm of science alone.

        The spookiness of quantum physics, that Einstein called spookiness at a distance, certainly does throw traditional understanding of life out the window, but too much has been proven legitimate to discard it. The question then becomes how to offer a rational explanation for how so many inconsistencies can occur at the same time.

        quantum physicists, after having found what appears to be an energy field, spurred study into "mind". There is now evidence that our electromagentic thoughts (or feelings) extend from our bodies measurable up to 9 (feet or meters? can't remember). There is evidence that if two people in distant well-sealed rooms wear a halo that allows them to experience themselves at the same frequency, that one can know things happening in the reality of the other. There is evidence that we are psychic, but don't realize it.

        there is so much happening, not only in Q Physics, but in study of the mind - that it is impossible for me to ignore it. It is also impossible for me to fill in the gaps with a "god". Thus, I do not endorse gods to explain that which we will one day be able to explain if we keep an open mind.
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    Oct 4 2012: There is no evidence that we need to accept the hypothesis of a creator -let alone a conscious creator- of the universe.

    The best answer we have, given the current knowledge we have, is that we don't know how the universe came to be.

    A quick google search on "forbidden archaeology " makes my pseudo-science sensors go wild... You should be very skeptical with the theories proposed by mr Cremo.
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    Oct 1 2012: Fazeel,
    This question seems destined to go on.....and on.....and on.....perhaps forever! I do not believe in a god, so the rest of your questions...why he created the universe...was he/she/it bored...are not relevant to me.

    I do not believe "religion is the answer" to anything. Religions were/are created and promoted by humans. Religions are actually seperate from the question of god/no god, except religions have chosen to adopt a god(s) as something to honor and adore.

    The book, "Forbidden Archeology", written by Michael A. Cremo, has been called "antievolutionary", Cremo has identified himself as a "Hindu creationist", or "Vedic creationist", and his arguments are similar to christian creationists. His ideas have been criticized by many mainstream scholars for his unorthodox views on archeology. While his theories may be offered a little differently, what he proposes does not seem to be new information.

    People spend a LOT of time and energy speculating whether or not there is a god(s). I prefer to spend the time and energy wholeheartedly living my life while I am here on this earth. To me, it does not matter. I respect those who choose to believe in a god.... IF.... their beliefs and actions DO NOT adversly impact others. I think being HERE, NOW is the important part of the earth life experience.

    I agree with TED Lover, that there is an energy field, and "god" is one term used to try to describe the energy field, which connects everything that is.
  • Oct 4 2012: There are too many things that don't make sense regarding the existence of God. If he did indeed create mankind and the planet on which we live, why would he make the universe so very large? To create billions of galaxies each with billions of stars, for the sake of mankind and Earth, it makes little sense. And why create all of the other exo-planets are discovering around distant stars? Why would he create an energy source such as the Sun with a finite lifespan?

    Surely God is aware that most people on Earth question his existence, so why doesn't he simply provide proof of his own existence? If God were to simply pay us a brief visit, we'd be able to clear up the whole "this religion" vs "that religion" nonsense, allowing everyone to focus on the one single God (whoever he might be).

    "God" is hope that mankind has when we question our own mortality. It would be nice to think that "God" has a place for us when we die, but the more we learn about the cosmos and how everything is constructed, I think it is unlikely.

    Anyone with undeniable proof as to the existence of God can contact me for a $50 reward.
  • Oct 1 2012: Separately from the answers regarding the presence or absence of god, is the issue that religion is a man made social construct. It provides rituals of passage, relief from uncertainty, social cohesion and sanctified norming. However, it is often a terrible influence as people sue it to control populations and enhance political ambitions.

    I am always careful to differentiate clearly between religion and spirituality. Humans need spirituality, we appear to be hard wired for it, however, religion we can do without.
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      Oct 2 2012: Can you point to a reference to support a claim that we appeared "hard wired" for it?
      There was recent research that pointed to an analytic brain rejecting the notion of a religion even in devour believers:

      The study, published April 12, 2012 in the journal Science, finds that thinking analytically increases disbelief among believers and skeptics alike, shedding important new light on the psychology of religious belief. "Our goal was to explore the fundamental question of why people believe in a God to different degrees," says lead author Will Gervais, a PhD student in UBC's Dept. of Psychology. "A combination of complex factors influence matters of personal spirituality, and these new findings suggest that the cognitive system related to analytic thoughts is one factor that can influence disbelief."

      Read more at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-04-analytic-decrease-religious-belief.html#jCp

      Even spirituality causes some mental gymnastics: where does this spirit interface with our physical being? Spirit is often confused with mind and consciousness but I have reservations about any concept that provides for us to retain an identity shaped in this material realm.
      • Oct 2 2012: I was looking for a good link other than Andrew Newberg, but right now I cannot put my finger on the name of the books about our "god" part of our brain that responds to mediation and the experiments that show when certain parts of our brain are stimulated we think we have had a contact with a higher power.

        Apparently humans feel better when they do this series of actions that tend to surround religion (repetative chanting, prostration, rituals etc) regardless of the belief system to which they subscribe. The sense of having connected to the larger universe is important in people's well being and is physically good for them. Hence the focus on developing spirituality rather than religion.

        One of the better introductions is on a Morgan Freeman Through the Wormhole Show
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          Oct 3 2012: Ok, have you listened to the TEDTalk by the neuroscientist Jill Taylor Bolt? She discusses a first hand account of what happens to the left and right hemispheres during a stoke, and how the consciousness of the right hemisphere seems to be the spiritual side, I underline "seems".
          http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

          But, this sensation is also disputed by V S Ramachandran, who speaks about cases where the corpus callosum is severed,creating a split brain.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFJPtVRlI64

          VS Ramachandran explains the case of split-brain patients with one hemisphere without a belief in a god, and the other with a belief in a god. (Clip taken from talk at 2006 Beyond Belief Conference, link below)

          Link to Ramachandran's full talk (about 39 minutes into the video):
          http://thesciencenetwork.org/programs/beyond-belief-science-religion-reason-a...
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          Oct 7 2012: Don't you mean parts of our brain are active when we think that we are in contact with some supernatural realm?

          We can not tell if there is actual contact.

          I note when people dreams or children have imaginary friends we don't assume these to be real in the physical sense even though the brain is actively imagining these things.

          Something is going on it our brain when I meditate and I'm an atheist. The benefits or experience may be real, but the interpretations are often very subjective.
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          Oct 10 2012: Sharon,
          The following link describes the distinction between how the right hemisphere of the brain differs from the left, how the two relate, and what has happened in recent times. Hope this is of help.
          www.ted.com/talks/iain_mcgilchrist_the_divided_brain.html
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      Oct 4 2012: I dont need supernatural superstitious spirituality. Both religion and individual spirituality are subjective with unverifiable beliefs at heart.
      • Oct 7 2012: Exactly. What I mean is that the parts of our brain that are active when we mediate (or engage in the rituals that are often related to spiritual actvities tend to relate to the loss of our sense of our physical place in the universe. Most people report a sense of oneness with the larger universe. HOw this is interpreted in entirely individual.
  • Oct 1 2012: If God created the universe (which I believe He did), then there must be a purpose and our role as His creation in fufilling that purpose.

    As a christian, The Bible (James 1:27) tells us the purpose of true religion. The Bible tells us about the purpose of humanity, which is: to be in the image and likeness of God. Our creativity and intelligence are God-given endowments. But with such endowments comes responsibilities. We must use our intelligence and abilities in line with God's will.
    That is why God gave us His word; because without it humanity will not submit to God's higher purpose, and may use God-given abilities to hurt each other; just as a loaded gun in the hand of a child.
    Bible teachings are also guidelines for human relationships. If our relationship with God and with fellow human beings is not right, then we would not be able to fulfil our purpose.

    God's word is meant to answer certain questions about life here on earth and about humanity and about God.
    The Bible is not a physics/geography/chemistry/space science/archaeology textbook.

    That is why God gave us our brain. We have to seek knowledge; but science wont answer all our questions; just as God did not write everything there is to know in the Bible.
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      Oct 1 2012: Hi Feyisayo

      As always, great wisdom.

      Your well versed in the Book of Revelation? Do you think this is an apt interpretation of our future organic selves?

      A higher evolved/transformed sexless human,synced with everyone around him/it,timeless/immortal, complete from when God split us in two, linked to him through Christ?
      • Oct 2 2012: I believe that the book of Revelation is trying to describe with human words things that can not be fully comprehended by our brain. The imagination that is born of the words could be inadequate, but the idea is that the righteous will be like the resurrected Jesus, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and evil will be seperated from good, the righteous seperated from the unrighteous.
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          Oct 3 2012: That's one way of looking at it but i'm not a christian,i stepped back knowing the contract can only be signed knowing full well all there is in it,all the fine print, so i'm still reading it and trying to see it through many different eye's and what i've found is the old churches are stuck in a feudal type system with a business side to it,it's leaders drape themselves in fine clothes of office threaded with gold and walk in false humble piety as if they walked clothed in sackcloth,i'm still looking for the poorest of the 7 and the closest one that i have found that is logical and tries to follow the book is the Jehovahs Witnesses.It's strange how christianity has so many different views and interpretations.I personally believe it also challenges you to read between the lines and that which you can't figure out will be answered when Christ returns which he said he will reveal.
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        Oct 5 2012: Hi Ken, could I introduce you to a spiritual interpretation of the Book of Revelation?

        Just as Swedenborg explained the internal, or spiritual, sense of Genesis and Exodus (word for word) he also did that in this set of books about Revelation. It is not just consistent and understandable, it is very applicable to the life of each and every individual human being. I also very much agree with everything Feyisayo says.

        This link is to volume one and see what you think while, as you say, it shows what "reading between the lines" means.
        http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/Apocalypse_revealed_01.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1
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      Oct 1 2012: Quote: "If God created the universe (which I believe He did), then there must be a purpose and our role as His creation in fufilling that purpose."

      Question: Who is he?

      If he is not you, he must be apart from you, separated. If so, he isn't all compassing because then you would be part of his being.

      If one created everything than everything is one.

      Bible stories reveal such things in ways you would do when you address little children but today even little children understand abstractions and have no need for projecting plots. Don't be caught into duality where there is none.
    • Oct 1 2012: The biggest issue i have with this line of thinking is how you pecieve God as a being. Is he omniscient? Is he omnipotent? and is he all-loving? so the problem for a theist is that if he is all three then how do "bad things happen" or how does "evil" exist, and if he is only two then he is not God or atleast the God we think he is. I think this is a common debate, Im not the first one to say it, but its definitely one that should be discussed in this dialogue.
      • Oct 1 2012: God created beings that have the power of choice. Now, having such power also brings the possibility of abusing it. Just as democracy and freedom is also abused by some people. Nature has its ills, no doubt about that. But human beings inflict pain on each other by the abuse of their freedom and by seeking pleasure in perverted forms.

        In a democratic society, someone may decide to be a law-abiding citizen; while another choses to abuse his or her freedom. In life; we either choose to be God-like, by doing His will; OR to become that representative of the devil or evil, by adding to human misery.
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          Oct 2 2012: What you have written is belief and therefore conjecture.
          Richard Dawkins recently said this about the belief in God, "It's a little unfair to say it's like the tooth fairy. I think a particular god like Zeus or Jehovah is as unlikely (to exist) as the tooth fairy, but the idea of some kind of creative intelligence is not quite so ridiculous."
          In response to a question regarding Pascal's wager, the 17th century philosopher who argued that it was smarter bet to believe in God, Dawkins also adds, "(W)hat if we choose the wrong god to believe in? And even if you pick the right god, why should he be so obsessive about you believing in him?

          Morality is not the sole domain of the believers.
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        Oct 2 2012: You're refering to Abraham's God aren't you Gabriel? There are 4000 and something religions that have been documented to exist on the planet.When it comes to God/s then we have to clarify which one we are refering to otherwise we could come away more confused than what we first asked for.
        • Oct 2 2012: I wasn't replying to the original question, my question was regarding Feyisayo's comment. It is pretty obvious what God we are referring to.
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        Oct 2 2012: So you've read the book? because that is all we have to go on,even for myself i haven't read all of it or can comprehend all of it,sometimes i forget or recall things wrong.
  • Oct 15 2012: It seems to take as much "faith" to believe there is a "god/God/gawd" as it takes to be atheist. To have a solid opinion on this issue, in either direction, one must have strong convictions. I think that it is alright to say "I don't know."

    I heard of a funny bumper sticker: the militant agnostic says "I don't know and neither do you!"
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      Oct 16 2012: Great bumper sticker.

      The militant agnostic is taking a gnostic position in claiming to know that others dont know.

      How does it take more faith to not believe in gods given there is no evidence to support their existence.

      I'm not talking about absolute certainty, just with holding belief.

      Does it take the same faith not to believe in the tooth fairy as it does to believe?

      We don't know much with absolute certainty, but I suggest not believing in bogus unverifiable claims is a more sound position than believing in them.
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        Oct 17 2012: Obey, the key is not to force our beliefs or disbeliefs concerning unverifiable claims on others, but exchange of ideas is always great :).

        Would you agree that "I exist" or "reality is real" are unverifiable claims? Do you believe these claims? Why don't you require evidence for them? Why don't you require definition for "time" to understand what it is?

        How about human rights declared as "self-evident" in the Declaration of Independence? Do you believe in those? The Declaration gives no evidence or reasoning for these "rights" - they exist in our mind only. Why is that claim not challenged?

        Again, I'd like to make a disclaimer that I do not attempt to prove existence of God. This post has a purpose of showing that we believe many things without evidence - there is nothing wrong with that.
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          Oct 18 2012: I agree on the exchange of ideas, not forcing. I'm not forcing anyone to quit their religion. Just pointing out supernatural religious claims are subjective and unsubstantiated.

          the claim that you exist is mundane and I guess there is sufficient evidence to prove yes or no. The claim to know details about the existence and nature of the creator of the universe and all sorts of supernatural claims is an extraordinary claim. You Would expect reasonable proof, yet there is less evidence for gods existing then there is fr you and I existing.

          All claims are not equal if you are interested n the truth. And mutua
          Lay exclusive beliefs can not be true. That's afoundation of logic. Contradiction. Earth can not be both 6000 and 4 billion years old. If the muslims Correct the Buddhists, Christians, Hindu and myself have it wrong.
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        Oct 18 2012: Obey, you over estimate human intelligence and reasoning abilities. Reason, science, logic - all have limits. Circular concepts are incomprehensible. Yet, they are all around us. If you look at something and you don't see a circular process of some kind, most likely, you don't see the whole thing. But where it starts and how it ends is beyond understanding. And there are cycles forming cycles forming cycles, expanding like fractals. You can zoom in or zoom out indefinitely, but you still see the same conformal patterns. Conflict and contradiction is at the core of progress. When experience contradicts a theory, science makes progress. Cognitive dissonance changes our behavior and beliefs. Self-contradiction is at the core of this process. Yin-yang, life through death, etc. - all the same thing. Self-contradiction is circular. Simply get used to it. There is nothing wrong with it, really. Just because it does not fit nicely into your logical mind does not make it right or wrong. It's just there. Take it as is, as any other reality.

        Re: "the claim that you exist is mundane and I guess there is sufficient evidence to prove yes or no."

        You guess. But try. You will see that it is trivial, but defies all logic and reason. You simply believe that you exist, without much evidence, just because of the fact that you believe it. "Cogito ergo sum". Read Descartes, then read Hume, then other philosophers. The question "How do we know that we exist" has been debated for millenia.

        The most mundane things are the most difficult to explain or define. Define time, for example. Why do you believe time exists? All you see is present. There is no future and there is no past. "Past" and "future" only exist in our heads. We are so used to this concept that we never think what it means. We think, we understand what it is, but we don't.
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          Oct 18 2012: Let me assure you I don't overestimate humans ability to reason or even comprehend the quantum or cosmic scales etc.

          Your argument seems to be we can not prove anything absolutely. I agree. But practically can reasonably know things. I don't know the sun will come up tomorrow but it is reasonable to assume it does. Again are those cars outside your house real. Are you real. You don't know if you are just a cosmic dream, but you still won't walk in front of speeding cars. You will go to work to feed your family. You believe in a reality or act as you do. And within that framework you can discern some claims are more justified than others.

          The claim your car is real can be better demonstrated than any god, ghost, demon, astrology etc.

          Sure you can wonder what is matter. Does anything really exist. But that does not mean all claims are equal in a practical way. Would you agree that we have ways to reasonably demonstrate claims about reality even if we absolutely can not be certain of anything.

          I may be a brain living in a vat. Or a computer programme. But we practically choose to assume the physical universe is real enough that we modify our behaviour accordingly. Life may be a dream, but I'm still not going to leap off the balcony and within the constraints our our senses and technology some things have evidence and some don't.
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        Oct 18 2012: Obey, I agree with you on most counts. I do not advocate solipsism. I just wanted to point out that solipsism is self-consistent. It's impossible to prove with logic or evidence that it is wrong. It's unfalsifiable. Unfalsifiable ideas are not scientific.

        I don't advocate solipsism. But, perhaps, we both can agree that belief that "reality is real" is a belief without evidence. It's just a practical belief that we "sense" without understanding, like concepts of space and time. God or "free will" are other concepts that resist reason. Therefore, beliefs about God and free will should be chosen by their usefulness, not by their truthfulness which is impossible to rationalize or prove through evidence. That's all. :)
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          Oct 19 2012: Hi Arkady, I kind of agree in regards to the first half of your comment.

          I partially agree with your final point, that beliefs in gods should be considered in terms of usefulness. If you are going to believe some completely subjective probably false gods and associated dogma at least make it a positive one.

          I still suggest a better foundation for life is basing it on what is more reasonably correct in a practical sense rather than any of the millions of conflicting religious beliefs.

          You are basically suggest picking out what is useful. Well we might leave the killing of homosexuals and rules for slavery and focus on the few bits that make sense independent of religious scripture and authority.

          I suggest it is better to drop the most likely false religious window dressing and certainty and dogma and just focus on what improves the human condition. Dogma free.

          If you are interested in truth, then usefulness is a different question.

          If you are interested in truth, then faith in conflicting unverifiable probably man made religions is not a great starting point.

          You might find some truths or usefulness in religion, but if their foundation is conflicting falsehoods and unverifiable claims and dogma, we can do better. Surely our best guess is a better starting point that unverifiable conflicting iron age and new age frameworks?

          And then there is still the argument for pursuing the best approximation of truth and understanding for its own benefits.
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        Oct 19 2012: Re: "You are basically suggest picking out what is useful. Well we might leave the killing of homosexuals and rules for slavery and focus on the few bits that make sense independent of religious scripture and authority."

        Nobody kills homosexuals, sabbath breakers, and adulterers any more. From my experience, most of the church activity is focused on personal psychological and relational issues and charitable activity. I think, religion is already going in the direction you suggest. There have been huge changes in religion even in the past few decades. It is completely incorrect that religion remains unchanged for centuries.

        Re: "If you are interested in truth..." There is no "truth" in moral beliefs. How do you determine "truth" in questions like human rights or female suffrage? Moral beliefs are not based on facts or reason. Moral beliefs are always based on passions. Read Hume.

        Re: "If you are interested in truth, then faith in conflicting unverifiable probably man made religions is not a great starting point." When it comes to moral beliefs, conflicting and self-contradictory statements are a great starting point. "Do to others as you would have them do to you" is an unverifiable circular statement. "Don't do unto others as you would have them do to you - they might not like it." (the opposite) is also true. We find the right answer in any particular situation by weighing these contradicting and opposing propositions in our mind. Moral problems always involve internal conflict. They cannot be resolved by reason.
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    Oct 14 2012: I have a saying I like to live by. "You can believe in one hand and learn in the other. See which one gets filled first." Believing represents religion and learning represents science.
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    Oct 14 2012: Why is the hypothesis that God exists and created everything seen and unseen treated as a scientific hypothesis? Karl Popper said that scientific hypotheses must be falsifiable. Can anyone propose an experiment to falsify this hypothesis? Doesn't it show a lack of knowledge of what science can do?

    Why do people of faith try to come up with evidence for their beliefs? Doesn't it show a lack of faith?

    Why using science to prove or disprove religious beliefs is considered more rational than using religion to prove or disprove scientific theories?

    "God created universe" or "the universe appeared by itself from nothing" seem like equally absurd statements. Nobody can tell what "God" or "nothing" are. Both statements cannot be proved. How do I use my reason to chose between two absurdities without evidence? Where should I draw the line between knowledge and belief?

    Those who know don't tell; and those who tell don't know :-)
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      Oct 14 2012: Hi Arkady, I am very curious as to what your reaction would be to my two posts, way down below, on Oct 5.

      About knowledge and belief.. One definition of faith is "a personal, internal (mental) acknowledgement of truth." There also is not one person who has exactly the same faith or belief as another. It is only when there are enough similarities that an organized religion would make sense. Until the religion takes over and changes the interpretation for its own sake, that is when truth goes out the door.

      I strongly believe we can only have some idea about God through Divine Revelation and its interpretation. But I do not want to start a whole new page.
      Please let me know what you think..
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        Oct 15 2012: So called Revelation doesn't seem to offer any objective truth. As evidenced by all the conflicting revelations. In fact we have no way of verifying whether there is some spiritual realm or whether personal religious experience is just Natural cognitive experience like trances, dreams, hallucinations that are interpreted as something more than they probably are - product of our physical minds.
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          Oct 15 2012: Brain is physical. Mind is not. Nobody knows what mind or consciousness is. Equating mind with brain activity is like equating book contents to characters on paper or computer software to electrical impulses. Ideas are separate from things they represent. What I say does not imply physical existence of any mystical things like souls or spirits. However, as ideas, in metaphorical sense, they, certainly, exist.

          I agree that there might be a neurological basis for religious experience - trances, dreams, hallucinations, etc. As for interpretations, we always see more than there is in everything. E.g. money are just pieces of paper, but what they represent can make a subject of a book.

          Here is what Julian Jaynes wrote about reason: "Reasoning and logic are to each other as health is to medicine, or — better — as conduct is to morality. Reasoning refers to a gamut of natural thought processes in the everyday world. Logic is how we ought to think if objective truth is our goal — and the everyday world is very little concerned with objective truth. Logic is the science of the justification of conclusions we have reached by natural reasoning. My point here is that, for such natural reasoning to occur, consciousness is not necessary. The very reason we need logic at all is because most reasoning is not conscious at all."

          And I love Mark Meijer's maxim from a different thread: "what is useful and what is true are two entirely different considerations."
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          Oct 15 2012: Obey you seem to be stuck in the box of time and space, and loving it. You can mention the word "evidence" for the next thousand times, but you cannot pull God into your box.

          Until we can put love in a jar or paint wisdom a color, we have to recognize the fact that they are in a spiritual realm. They are not nothing and they are not physical either but many times more important. In fact they are the cause of things.

          See if you can find an opeing in the box.
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        Oct 15 2012: Adriaan, Thank you for replying to my post.

        The purpose of it, essentially, is to show the emptiness of the debates regarding the existence of God. I don't think that existence of God can be proven through scientific method. It is as unreasonable to ask for such "evidence" or "proof" as to try finding it. People on both sides of this activity seem to know not what they are doing.

        I agree with your definition of faith. My beliefs about beliefs are based on the writings of David Hume, William James, Julian Jaynes, and others. According to Hume, we believe things that make a strong impression on us. The reason why we believe something is purely emotional. Repeated experiences simply increase the "vivacity" of the impression, thus, strengthening our beliefs. However, we all may have strong emotions about things and believe regardless of our physical experience.

        Julian Jaynes mentions that people reach most conclusions subconsciously. Reason is used to justify these conclusions afterwards. Think, for instance, how scientific method works. A scientist comes up with a hypothesis, designs tests to verify it, then hypothesis is tested and accepted or rejected based on the results. How he comes up with the hypothesis is a mystery - perhaps, by associations and subconscious reasoning, a.k.a. intuition.

        All our language is metaphorical, if you "see" what I mean. What I understand by "divine revelation" is a strong emotional belief, reached subconsciously, perhaps with strong connections to physical or emotional experiences, which we accept as true, even though there is no evidence for it. Jaynes also links such "revelations" with brain neurology and has a theory why ancient people experienced them on a regular basis.

        What I say here has no implications on the existence of God. To me, it makes total sense to say things like "God revealed to me" or "I was moved by the Holy Spirit to do XYZ". I think, I understand what it means.
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          Oct 15 2012: Thank you, Arkady, for your thoughtful response, and I totally agree with what you say. The names you mentioned might also indicate that we have something in common.
          In fact if there was some issue this post would be longer :)

          There normally is a perfect 'connection' between the mind and the brain which gives us total responsibility for what we dwell on and wish for. What throws off so many people is that our mind itself has a balance, a freewill (which make us human), and any decision we make regarding life is manifested in parts of the brain, the receiver of the body.
          This, for many, means that the brain does it all, which is totally wrong and limiting.

          It is very unfortunate that humanity, at least on this Continent, seems to have divided into two sides. One is the literal interpretation of life and the other the literal interpretation of the Bible. If only they could unite on a higher level.
          Thanks again for your great thoughts.
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          Oct 17 2012: So basically you have defined god as love and wisdom but also a being also a perfect person.

          How do you know these things are true? You can not convincingly prove any of this.

          Having evidence does not remove free will. It let's you make an informed choice. there is good reason to believe I might go to jail if I break the law, but it is still my choice.

          Having no proof, just relying on feelings fits with there actually being no gods. what a sad joke if one particular religious view actually has it right but we can not differentiate between that and other claims.

          I love how the assumptions are made to excuse the lack of evidence. Apologetics....

          Love how defining something arbitrarily is supposed to make it a fact.

          Often these definitions are contradictory. You can not be all merciful and perfectly just at the same time. All loving yet send people to hell or let them experience crappy lives.

          There is no need for a physical universe if there is a spiritual realm. Seems like it was just invented with millions of different interpretations as a fill in for things we did not understand. Like disease. God sent the plagues before we had germ theory.
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          Oct 17 2012: Hi Obey, you said:
          "So basically you have defined god as love and wisdom but also a being also a perfect person."
          How can one that is infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient not be perfect?? God is the only true Human Being. We are just, well we've been through this before..

          Just as there is no animal that knows what it means to be human, so there is no human who knows what it means to be God.

          The closest we can come is to recognize Revelation (because it makes sense), and believe it as truth and live by it. That's the way it has been from the very beginning.

          I'd rather follow something that has a purpose explaining life, than follow something that is dead as matter and sees no purpose in life.
          A belief in a higher power has always existed

          "You can not be all merciful and perfectly just at the same time. All loving yet send people to hell or let them experience crappy lives."
          I am not saying I am :)
          Where is the evidence about sending anyone to hell? Does this also mean you believe hell actually exists?? Well, that's good, I suppose one has to start somewhere :)

          This all loving God allows people to go to hell because they would be miserable in heaven. Which would you prefer?
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        Oct 15 2012: "Literal interpretation" is a figure of speech. :)

        Our whole language is metaphoric. Here is another quote from Julian Jaynes: "It is by metaphor that language grows. The common reply to the question “what is it?” is, when the reply is difficult or the experience unique, “well, it is like —.” In laboratory studies, both children and adults describing nonsense objects (or metaphrands) to others who cannot see them use extended metaphiers that with repetition become contracted into labels. This is the major way in which the vocabulary of language is formed. The grand and vigorous function of metaphor is the generation of new language as it is needed, as human culture becomes more and more complex."..."Understanding a thing is to arrive at a metaphor for that thing by substituting something more familiar to us. And the feeling of familiarity is the feeling of understanding."

        People use words like "mind", "soul", "spirit" to describe the real world, just like all other words.

        Those who insist on literal interpretation of the Bible might be able to explain why they don't cut off their limbs or pluck their eyes according to Mark 9:43-47 and why they don't "make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven" according to Matthew 19:12. Those who think they always interpret physical reality in a literal and meaningful way might be able to answer, "Where does the light go when it goes out?" :)
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          Oct 16 2012: "Our whole language is metaphoric" and so it is. Some languages call what we sit on a chair, others call it a 'siton' :)
          What Swedenborg wrote about the levels of meaning in Scripture is that there are several levels. Also, most certainly, to make the literal text applicable to different levels of 'development' over the thousands, maybe millions of years humanity has existed.

          It is possible that so many years ago, to portray a spiritual situation or condition, people used stories to express and pass on the information.

          This is what Swedenborg wrote about the Creation Story. Which is indeed just a story, but that is used to, in this case, portray 6 stages of spiritual development and has nothing to do with this physical world. If it did, who'd care what was done on day one or day four, etc.??
          http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/source/The%20Real%20Creation%20Story.pdf?attredirects=0

          "Where does the light go when it goes out?" Who knows, maybe it did not go out, but we closed our eyes. :)
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        Oct 16 2012: Hi Adriaan

        Interesting to see how the theist mind works.

        Do you consider claims about the existence and nature of a being(s) that created the universe the same sort of question as the existence and nature of love and wisdom?

        Can we define love and wisdom and actually identify evidence that a person exhibits these traits? Yes we can.

        You are basically saying that the existence of the entity of god is the same sort of thing as human traits or feelings.

        I thought god was supposed to be a being, an intelligence, an entity, not just a definition of an abstract feeling or trait.

        So god is just an abstract idea. I agree.

        I keep coming back to evidence because how else do we discern what is true in regards to claims about the existence of a being and its nature.

        When you don't rely on compelling evidence, when you rely on the foibles of human intuition and imagination you end up with billions of conflicting claims that can not all be true, and are probably all false.

        No wonder you equate the existence of god with feelings and other abstract concepts because there is no physical evidence for any of the claims. In fact science indicates religious experience is probably natural cognitive processes such as the assumption of agency misfiring or being misinterpreted.
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          Oct 16 2012: "Do you consider claims about the existence and nature of a being(s) that created the universe the same sort of question as the existence and nature of love and wisdom?"
          "You are basically saying that the existence of the entity of god is the same sort of thing as human traits or feelings."

          I am wondering what made you ask that.. We have been created in His image and likeness. Because God is Love itself and Wisdom itself, and since we are all in His image (and can progress toward a likeness) we have loves that drive us (a will) and wisdom to guide us (an understanding).
          But we can throw that all out the window, listen to the serpent in us, and go our own route.

          "I thought god was supposed to be a being, an intelligence, an entity,.. "
          What makes you think He isn't?? He is, and was, the only and perfectly Human Being and we are just images of that. It was not until 2000 years ago that He needed a body to better connect with humanity and save it (on its own ground).

          "I keep coming back to evidence because how else do we discern what is true in regards to claims about the existence of a being and its nature."
          I keep saying that convincing evidence takes your freewill away to think the way you are thinking now. If there were convincing evidence, why even be born here? We could all be put in heaven or hell and not have a free choice at all.
          As humans, and images of God, we DO have a choice. To make that choice (what to love) is the very reason for creation and us being here. The ball is in our court.

          On our side the same thing, we try everything possible to make a child determine his or her own future, in freedom. The more we force them, the less likely they will be happy.

          BTW you keep coming back to the many different gods and what nots. There is one God, but there are as many conceptions of God as there are people on this planet. None are 100% identical.
          That's why the definition of Faith is a mental acceptance of what we see as truth. What makes sense to us..
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      Oct 15 2012: Most atheists I know suggest we don't know everything about how the universe came about.

      Just that believing different gods or goddesses exist and had a role in the origin of the universe without any compelling evidence is not a great approach.

      We don't know is probably the most appropriate position.

      Claiming there is an invisible intangible god is not a scientific claim as it can not be tested. Just as saying I have a spiritual potato in my garage is not testible.

      However saying the universe is 6000 years old or that the earth rests on the back of a giant elephant is tesible and shown to be false. Although a solution for theists for the former is to saY their gods just made the universe to look older than it is. Which goes back to being speculative and untestible.
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        Oct 15 2012: Obey No1kinobe, I would never argue for existence of God. However, I'd like to make a few points.

        To me, it's OK when someone says, "I believe that the universe appeared from nothing on its own" or "I believe that God created universe" as long as the person realizes that this is not a factual truth. However, I've met people who think that there is *scientific evidence* that the universe appeared from nothing or that God does not exist. Well, that I would argue with.

        I agree that "God did it" does not explain much. We still need to figure out, "how he did it". But proving or disproving that "God did it" is beyond science.

        "We don't know" is the appropriate answer, but I don't think it is unreasonable to have emotional beliefs one way or the other.

        I would not compare God to spiritual potato, orbiting teapot, flying spaghetti monster, dragon in someone's garage, invisible pink unicorn, or a tooth fairy. This faulty technique is known as a "straw man argument". William James in his essay "Ethics of Belief" classifies hypothesis (as propositions for belief) as "live" and "dead". A "live" hypothesis is a proposition which has potential to affect someone's behavior, rise interest. Existence of God is a live hypothesis for many people. Existence of spiritual potatoes is a dead hypothesis. Nobody cares about spiritual potatoes. I would repeat again that I do not argue that God exists. I have no evidence or reasonable arguments for that. Again, I just point out the absurdity and fallacies of this argument on both sides.

        I would never make a religious argument on a scientific question, such as the age of the Earth. However, a lot of things in the Genesis book have deep metaphorical meaning for me and many other people.
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          Oct 16 2012: We actually agree in a lot of ways.

          Science can not disprove any of the thousands or millions of interchangeable spiritual type gods proposed by humans. Likewise none of the theists can prove their interpretation is correct.

          Suggest you might look for evidence that the god exists and its nature before you move on to how it did something. When people ponder these things it is just speculation built on speculation.

          So a key difference between the flying spaghetti monster and Mormonism or Scientology or Vishnu or Yahweh or Zeus is that some humans take/took the latter examples seriously. So if you can dupe some people, does that make the claims any more valid?

          Simple logic suggests if the Jews are right then Jesus is not god. If the Mayans were right everyone else was wrong.

          I think you get the point though. That you have all these conflicting supernatural claims and mine about a spiritual potato god has just as much evidence.

          Popularity doesn't make a belief true or any more valid than my spiritual potato.

          Are the key claims of Christians true. Or the Muslims. Or the Hindus. Or the Buddhists. These are the most popular belief systems and at best 1 billion people have it kind of right and 6 billion are wrong. Have you any way to differentiate between the claims of the existence of Yahweh or Allah or the Triune Christian or Vishnu or Mormon God?

          People care about scientology. I don't think that makes the story of Xenu or thetans any more reliable than a story I made up. They are faith based beliefs. Supernatural unverifiable claims.

          People finding meaning in contradictory scriptures and mythology also does not make the key supernatural claims correct.

          Can you see the absurdity of treating all these baseless speculative conflicting god claims as something approaching truth? I'm all for freedom of religion, but when you look at them, at their history, and try and determine which if any of them have a sound basis for their key claims you get nowhere.
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      Oct 16 2012: Do you have any evidence of mind without it being related to something physical like a brain?

      If a brain gets damaged does this often impair cognitive function?

      I'm not saying there may not be something more. I'm okay saying we don't know everything.

      But I suggest there is plenty of evidence to support the hypothesis that human minds seems to be a product of the brain. I can not prove spirits don't exist. But NoOne has proven the spirit realm exists. Being unverifiable does not make for a strong claim. In fact it makes any subjective nonsense just as likely as any other. Did you know god is a giant duck. Did you know our are brains in a test tube. The matrix is real. Can't disprove it.

      I Suggest what we can demonstrate is pointing to the mind being a product of the brain. Whereas there is nothing to consistently indicate the spirit realm exists or its nature. Its just another argument from ignorance. We don't know so magic is a possibility.

      Everything web have developed a demonstrated understanding off , from earthquakes, to disease, to lightening, has not needed magic or gods of spirit.

      If gods and spirit do exist they might as well not because we can't tell if they exist, we can not tell anything about them, we can't tell if they interact with us etc. In fact the dragon god living in my lounge is just as unverifiable than any traditional gods.
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        Oct 16 2012: Re: "Do you have any evidence of mind without it being related to something physical like a brain?"

        Let's see. I can "blow one's mind", "wrap my mind around" things, things can "cross my mind", I can "keep things in my mind" or "put things in others' mind", I can "give you a piece of my mind" (just need to watch that I don't run "out of my mind"), or "give you a peace of your mind", I can "change my mind" (cannot change my brain), "make up my mind", I can "have two minds", "read one's mind", "close my mind", "open my mind", have a "frame of mind", "lose my mind", etc... "Have evidence of mind" is not in the dictionary... What does an evidence of mind look like?

        I know that people can be "out of their minds" and there are things that "have mind of their own": "A machine or other object can be said to have a mind of its own if it seems to be controlling the way it behaves or moves, independently of the person using it." -- http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/have-a-mind-of-its-own.

        Does it make any sense? Aren't there better topics to discuss? This discussion will go nowhere, don't you think? Why do we say all these things about minds? How come that all this nonsense "makes sense"? Do I still "have a mind" when I'm asleep? I don't even know. I'm not self-aware, so, perhaps, not. Where does it go when I fall asleep? How can we meaningfully discuss a concept that does not even have a clear representation in reality?

        These are all metaphoric idioms. We understand them not with reason and logic, but simply because we heard them many times and we think we understand what they mean, but, really, we don't. It's all nonsense. We cannot use reason to understand nonsense. Why bother?
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          Oct 16 2012: So the answer is no.

          You just have some figures of speech.
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        Oct 16 2012: Obey No1kinobe,

        What does it mean to have a meaningful discussion? In my definition, a meaningful discussion is a discussion without circular reasoning or infinite regress. To have a meaningful discussion, we need to accept some concepts without definition (like axioms in geometry). In your definition, "mind" means "brain activity". If we accept this definition, then, yes, there is no mind without a brain. However, we disagree on the definition of "mind". You might say, "OK, what's your definition?" And my answer is that I cannot define "mind" without circular reasoning. "Mind" is synonymous to "self". "Self" is the very concept of circularity. I cannot define "self" without circularity. It means that "self" does not have meaning, according to my definition, and, if you question my definition of a meaningful discussion, we will go into circular arguments. Does it mean that "self" does not exist? Ask yourself "do I exist?" What does it mean "to have meaning"? (another circularity).

        Some things like "self" or "meaning" people accept without definition. If we question these two concepts, we question our own existence and we question the meaning of everything. Figuratively speaking, we cannot "make sense" - we either "have sense" or not. Sorry, I cannot explain it better.

        The question "does God exist?" is closely related to the question "do I exist?" It cannot be rationalized. It's circular at the core. One can either believe it or not. In fact, you cannot say "I am" (I exist) without saying the name of the Lord, because "I am" IS the name of the Lord, if you read Exodus. What does it practically mean? It means whatever meaning we can find in it. "It is as you say". If you don't see any meaning in it, then there is none. There is not much we can discuss. To me, it's fairly simple and there is nothing mystical in it.
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          Oct 17 2012: If you can not define something we really can not discuss it can we.

          If you can not define it there is no way to work out whether it is a reasonably valid claim or not.

          You can go down the we don't know anything absolutely even whether we exist or you can take a practical approach and consider what can be reasonably demonstrated.

          we can be reasonably confident we exist, that other people exist, that this computer exists.we can consistently and repeatibly test evidence for the existence of these things.

          Not absolutely certain. But it is not all or nothing. Not all claims are equal.

          Or do you consider all claims are equal. Maybe that car does not exist so you should walk in front of it. Practically you assume there is some reality. There is evidence for the car and you. No compelling evidence for the spiritual realm. That is why humans imagine all sorts of different spiritual realms. If it does exist we have no reliable way of knowing anything about it.

          For you is the claim that Mormon god lives on a hidden planet the same as claiming Barack Obama exists. If you choose not to differentiate between practical reality and subjective conjecture that is your choice.
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        Oct 16 2012: Circular questions cannot be answered in a logical way. Most basic questions are circular: "Who am I?" "Is reason reasonable?" "Is reality real?" "Is meaning meaningful?" "Can I understand what is understanding?" "How do I know that I know something?", "If God created everything, who created God?", "Can the all-powerful God create a rock too heavy for him to lift up?", Epicurean paradox, etc. ad infinitum. All these questions do not have an answer. They do not mean that "I do not exist" or that "reality is not real" (solipsism) or that reason is useless or that God does not exist. When I see a circular question, I just recognize that it is circular and move on with my life. I've thought about these questions enough to be very familiar and comfortable with them and to know that they do not deserve much anxiety or arguments. As Julian Jaynes wrote, feeling of familiarity is the feeling of understanding.

        What makes us more intelligent than hamsters is our ability to stop running and get out of the hamster wheel.

        So , this "divine revelation" of which Adriaan speaks is the same mental process by which we believe that "I exist", that "reality is real", etc. It's not reason and it's not experience - that much I know.
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        Oct 17 2012: --"Do you have any evidence of mind without it being related to something physical like a brain?"--

        Since you only seem to believe what science can proof, how would you describe or 'explain' a Near Death Experience where the scientifically 'dead' person later describes the deathbed scenario, in your 'only matter matters' approach??
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          Oct 17 2012: Well, Adriaan, there are studies showing that at death, endorphins are released into the bloodstream as pain killers. This makes sense from evolutionary point of view, because it helps injured animals who suffer pain from loss of function of some organs escape from danger and then recover, if they can. So, it is possible that a brain during an NDE is hallucinating. Again, this may explain "how", but no more than that.
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        Oct 17 2012: Arkady, how is it possible that endorphines could have 'restore the sight' of a blind person on e.g. the operating table who was just pronounced as dead? When at some point this person sees from the ceiling!! what is happening around his/her body??

        Obviously we have always a way out. Even if God were to stand next to us, we'd wonder if this was because of what we ate or drank.

        We are free human beings with a tremendously addaptive mind. We can justify any and all actions within 3 seconds flat. Whether it is letting someone go first at the check-out or firing a gun into a crowd.

        BTW Just a thought, did you ever hear about a connection between William James and Swedenborg?
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    Oct 5 2012: How are we to understand comments such as this?
    "It is pretty obvious what God we are referring to."

    Yes indeed, we are all discussing the one true god, but we're not all sure which one that is, there have been so many.

    All religions think their god is the one true god. This goes without saying, but they all can't be right. My suggestion is that you can work that out amongst yourselves first, as to who is right, before asking everyone to join in.

    Let me add that I do see religions as useful and positive belief systems, but they have become misinformed about their own teaching, in most cases.

    Many with a belief in a God are rioting and advocating killing over a cartoon or a video. There are real dangers in these distorted points of view, and while they are an extreme example, it serves as a demonstration of how those with such beliefs seek to ignore the "truth" found in their own religions.
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      Oct 7 2012: Hi Theodore. I do support your first few points, but disagree in regards to the negative outcomes of religion simply due to misinterpreting or being misinformed. This may be the case sometimes. But in other cases the religious foundation is simply negative.

      What is there to misinterpret when you read Yahweh or its prophets commanding homosexuals, witches, adulterers etc to be killed? When women are treated as chattel etc?

      Some religions have promoted animal or human sacrifice. This was core to the beliefs not misinterpretations.

      I don't think all the bad associated with religion is misinterpretation. Some of it is just bad.
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        Oct 7 2012: The misinformation is about the Bible itself. Often the Bible is viewed as the literal word of God.
        But the bible does not stand up to the historical facts of the day.
        Jesus and Pilate never spoke together without a translator in the room.
        There was no tax that require Joseph to travel to Bethlehem with a pregnant wife.
        The Story of King Herot is off by a decade.
        These are all elements in a story that have been distorted and mashed together to filled the prediction the prophets made,
        The worst part is that there are Gospels left out of the bible that Christianity doesn't explain. And they matter to the entire story
        If the whole story was presented for what it is. church would no longer be about to exercise control over people, or requirement people to fund the churches riches.

        See"The Unauthorized Version" by Robin Fox Lane
        .
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          Oct 8 2012: I agree Theodore. The bible is not particularly reliable.

          How do you tell the distortions from the truth?

          As opposed to what is positive and useful versus negative and harmful.

          Suggest we start with seeking the truth, not utility.
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    Oct 3 2012: We don't seem to have a reliable way to know anything about gods or goddesses.
    Whether they exist.
    What they do or want.
    What are they.
    How they do stuff.
    Not one ounce of evidence that they exist, their form, intent etc.

    Because of this humans seem to imagine up millions of conflicting subjective supernatural religious or spiritual god related beliefs.

    If there are gods or goddesses we don't seem to have a reliable way to know anything about them?

    Typically intangible, unknowable, not material, outside of time and space. They might as well not exist. How do you distinguish between a god that exists and one that doesn't.

    You can not.

    Instead people rely on subjective personal experiences that could be entirely a product of their brain/mind, similar to childhood imaginary friends.

    I could say my dog made the universe when he was in a spiritual incarnation and this is just as plausible as any other god claim in principle. We may not know everything about the universe but saying it was magic or gods are the answer for every gap is pretty weak. Human, but weak.
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    Oct 1 2012: God, Brahma or whatever terms one use to call the highest (primeval) being is that what is - and there's no outside to it.
    Being that what is - any separate being reflects in it - to see itself from its point of focus and evolves through this proces of interaction.
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    Oct 29 2012: Where does the belief that God created the universe come from?
    What is the earliest references to this concept?
  • Oct 25 2012: What god? Do You think that You elected the correct religion? The other 4 too. Hindus have thousands of gods. :)
  • Oct 19 2012: I am still struck by how many ungodly things are done in the name of "god/God."

    Maybe it matters less if there is or is not a "god/God" and matters more that people can learn to live with respect, peace and compassion in their interactions with each other. Outside of religion ... If "goodness" is manifested as a result of a persons belief in "God/god" or without such a belief, does it matter?

    I have known compassionate Atheists and cruel Theists (and vice versa.)In my experience of people the degree in which they are religious or non-religious does not seem to have any affect on their capacity to be kind, generous, ethical.

    I do think that there are times when people use religion to justify a world view (or political agenda) that sometimes seems completely inconsistent with their professed religion.

    For example: There are people here in the United States who profess very strong religious beliefs but do not support a system that could provide affordable medical care to those who need it.This baffles me. I wonder if these people feel that Jesus should have charged a fee for healing services?

    Jesus: "Hey lady, if you dare touch my robe, I am going to bill you for all medical services rendered."

    As far as Forbidden Archeology .... Please tell us more Fazeel Tahi about your views on this book and concept.
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      Oct 18 2012: Can you see the difference between me claiming I am am god and you not being to disprove that.

      The burden of proof is surely on the person claiming some thing exists rather than having to disprove 3000 different invisible intangible virtually non existent unverifiable gods and goddesses.
      • Oct 19 2012: I beg to differ, in the scientific community a theory is accepted if it cannot be proved wrong after there is evidence it may be correct. If it cannot be proven wrong then it is accepted as a current theory. I'm not saying that we should therefore accept the existence of a God because nobody can disprove it however you cannot say that it is entirely one party's responsibility to provide evidence. We accept the current model of the atom not because we can see it and all its components, it just hasn't ever been proven to be incorrect. A quote by Einstein was "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong"

        The point I'm trying to get across is that neither one side can say "you can't prove you're right therefore you're wrong". The day when one side can prove the other wrong I'll stop being agnostic.
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          Oct 22 2012: I'm not sure you are completely correct re science.

          In science you both try and prove and disprove the hypothesis.

          Its not enough to say angels are responsible for gravity, you can not disprove so that becomes a valid theory.

          Atomic theory makes predictions and these are consistently correct.

          Yes science is only our best approximation of reality.

          I take your point that we know nothing absolutely.

          However if you can not distinguish scientific knowledge and its practical application in technology that works with mutually exclusive conflicting and unverifiable religious claims by Buddhists, Mormons, Catholics, evangelicals, jainists, Muslims, and past and present believes of thousands of different gods with associated dogmas, creation stories, moral codes, and mythology, then you may be missing my point.

          Believing something doesn't make it real and some beliefs are supported by more evidence than others, if the Jews are correct all the other religions are false and misleading. Maybe the Mayans had it right and everyone alive today is wrong.
        • Oct 22 2012: A scientific theory must firstly be falsifiable. That means that if the theory is false, an observation can be made that will show it to be false.
          Atomic theory has been tested many times and proven false and the theory refined again and again. When I was in public school, it was a minature solar system. Now its a little more complicated.
          If you are claiming god exists, then what is the experiment or observation that will prove it false. If you declare that none can exists because god exists on faith, then it is not a valid scientific theory.
          The correct phrase is then "you can't prove your wrong, so you are wrong"
          Isn't the universe wonderful. I wouldn't live anywhere else.
      • Oct 22 2012: You've picked a rather extreme example there, you've also missed the point of my comment. I'm not saying that if you can't disprove something then it must be true, I specifically said that there must be evidence that it may be true. (although you've picket gravity, nobody has any idea of why that force occurs)

        Above you said it must be the responsibility of those who believe in whatever God(s) they have to prove that they exist, I'm saying this is not the case. I'm not saying either side is completely responsible for providing all the evidence, yes we have proven a great number of things to such a degree as they should be accepted as fact, many of which conflicts with a great many religious beliefs, creationist ones especially. However, this does not disprove the existence of a God does it? A great many people who believe in God also accept scientific theory such as evolution, the fact of the matter is that some things remain uncertain and they choose to believe in God to explain it. They also provide a reason behind that belief which is a close to evidence as you're going get when it comes to questions such as how the first life actually began or why the universe began in the first place. (assuming you accept the Big Bang as the current theory)
        • Oct 22 2012: Almost.
          If you claim that god exists you must have some evidence to back it up. There is no getting around that.
          You must also have additional ways, or there must be theoretical (and practical) ways to show that some observation (or experiment, whatever) requires this same god to exist.
          Furthermore, if you design this experiment to show that your god exists and it fails (falsability) then you must adjust your theory to accomidate the new result.
          Your choice of evolution as an example is interesting since it is a scientific theory that has held against the test of time and may challanges and was proposed long before any creationist ideas.
          The creationist are the ones on the hook to say why their hypothesis should be taken seriously and they need to come up with an experiment or observation that evolution cannot explain that their ideas can and if that experiment goes against them, be prepared to modify their ideas to account for the result.
          I assure you, they are not ready to do that and therefore are not welcome at the scientific theory table.
          I`ve never like the phrase big bang. I prefer ``Horrendous Space Kablooie``
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    Oct 15 2012: ...is the answer to what question?????
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    Oct 15 2012: Hi Fazeel,
    Science shows us that belief is a system of categorisation.
    It can be demonstrated that perception is exactly equal to belief.
    Our sense and perception fields are finite - the universe is infinite.
    This means that there will always be things we cannot percieve.
    But for belief, that leaves an enormous hole - out of which come things we cannot predict.
    It is useful to call that hole "god".
    It is not useful to allow the word "god" (or "creator" to prevent our perception penetrating that hole.
    Argueing the existence or non-existence of "god" is a futile pastime becuase the nature of teh unknown is that it is unknown.
    Whilever our perception(belief) is finite, it can never encompas the infinite.
    This was never the function of perception.
    The function of perception is entirely purposed to maintain life - not to comprehend infinity.
    It is just a sortation system - the "magic" of it is that it is adaptive. That adaptation allows perception(belief) to evolve.
    The problem with religions is that they attempt to stop evolution of belief.
    If a religion were formulated to allow for adaptation and evolution of perception, then it would have great benefit.
    The great prophets knew this and tried to free us from the dogma that imprisoned us, and yet we lock them into the very dogma they fought.
    Sure - have "god", but for the sake of reality and our inate adaptability - don't call it "creator" call it what it is: "unknown".
  • Oct 12 2012: And religion isn't the answer.

    It's the cause.
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    Oct 10 2012: as we all know that there are many religions and each has a different cult .i think religion is like a company it has its disciplines and its motto .and we are all impacted by them ,and we trust and we are prond of it and we are the cells of it .
    it gives us direction and leading us to the bright and better life ,
  • Oct 9 2012: After reading all the comments ,i have a simple question should i live my life in a enjoyable way or should i start thinking about after life (if there is one ) and start praying to God?
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      Oct 11 2012: False dichotomy fazeel. You can enjoy sometimes and also think about life other times.

      And you don't need to involve imaginary gods to think about life, the universe' meaning, purpose, how to live a good life etc.
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        Oct 11 2012: god is a person that people imange which can reduce our pain .it says if we do good we will go to the heaven after we die .god bless you
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    Oct 9 2012: The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life study, released Tuesday, 10/9/12, found that about 20 percent of Americans say they have no religious affiliation, an increase from 15 percent in the last five years.

    Researchers have been struggling for decades to find a definitive reason for the steady rise in those with no religion.' The spread of secularism in Western Europe was often viewed as a byproduct of growing wealth in the region. Yet among industrialized nations, the United States stood out for its deep religiosity in the face of increasing wealth.
    Now, religion scholars say the decreased religiosity in the United States could reflect a change in how Americans describe their religious lives. In 2007, 60 percent of people who said they seldom or never attend religious services still identified themselves as part of a particular religious tradition. In 2012, that statistic fell to 50 percent, according to the Pew report.
    One-third of adults under age 30 have no religious affiliation, compared to 9 percent of people 65 and older.

    By RACHEL ZOLL | Associated Press
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      Oct 11 2012: I suggest more people are simply realising there is no compelling evidence for the existence of gods and goddesses. That the central claims of religions are unsubstantiated.

      Also some who state they have no religion may have non traditional spiritual views.
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        Oct 11 2012: i dont agree with you .that you say "people who state they have no religion may hae non tradition spiritual views ."
        i think religion is just a Soul reposing .when we feel pain ,and we have no courage to live .we think of god ,it teaches us people born suffering ,and we should do good to human beings .it reduce our except of live .and we can have a spiritual to live .
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          Oct 12 2012: Most of us are culturally indoctrinated about particular gods and goddesses depending on where and when we live.

          While I expect many religions include reflection on the human condition and provide rules and regulations, it does not make any of their Conflicting superntural claims true.

          I'm not sure if you are saying religions and imagining some divine purpose or life after death or religious teachings that help us accept life are useful.

          That does not prove any gods exist. It does not make the observations from god or the rules divinely inspired.

          In fact you don't need religion or imagined gods and goddesses to get through life.

          And just because something may have useful aspects does not make it all true.
  • Oct 8 2012: "the real question was ,does god exist ,if yes then why he created the universe ,was he bored ?"
    This is a question that i feel we give too much thought to at times. If we assume that God does exist why would we question why he made the universe.
    Common assumptions about God are that he has reached a higher existence than us, to that effect it answers the question for us, in our everyday lives the mojority of us set out to achieve a greater understanding of a topic or master a new topic. even during infancy we have a natural desire to create and make things. Is it not a fair assumption that it would have been a "what will happen if i do this?" whim that created us.
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      Oct 9 2012: Dennis, we have no idea if there are gods. And if there are we have no idea what they are, what their intentions are, or anything much positive of definite about them.

      Why would it be a fair assumption to assume anything about them.

      It is all just baseless speculation, and in your example a slightly anthropomorphic projection.
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      Oct 9 2012: Dennis, why is that anthropomorphic assumption any better than any other guess?

      Any evidence? OR just speculation like all the other claims or guesses.
      • Oct 9 2012: Maybe i should have chosen my wording better, I was only meaning to give my opinion and felt as the question related to god and if he exists then I would use what little I know of a few religions which imply he created us and that we are similar to him in that there are some who claim to have communicated with him, which in part has been through the use of words.
        My main reason for replying was because if god does exist I can think of several other questions I would ask before I would get round to asking why he creatd the universe, and that would be based on my assumption of him.
        Unless someone comes on here with clear proof that god does exist then I feel the whole thread will be based upon speculation. I think that is why the question leads with "does god exist, if yes"
        ,
        I found this site only a short while ago and while and think it is amazing. I am not as clever as most of the people on here but i really enjoy learning new things (I had to google "anthropomorphic projection so I apoligise if I used it wrong) I did not mean to offend or provide a concise answer, I just found a thread that I thought only required my view point rather than extensive knowledge so enjoyed the chance to contribute in some way.
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          Oct 11 2012: Fair enough. Hope my terse comment didn't come across as rude. Typing on phone is a pain, so I often drop the niceties.

          Hope you enjoy the site as much as I do.

          Being exposed to new ideas makes us all better informed.probably half of appearing smart is borrowing ideas from others that make sense.
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    Oct 6 2012: One item that is is overlooked in this discussion is why a perfect God, one that all all-powerful needed to create so many proto-types before he creating Homo sapien: Home erectus, Homo heidelbergenis, and Neandertal man.
    This is of course a tongue in cheek comment but it is meant to illustrate that there is a great deal about the evolution of humans that religion, especial the Christian traditions, choice to ignore, perhaps some 600,000 years worth.
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      Oct 9 2012: How would anyone know if god was perfect? Or that there is just one let alone any?

      I guess if a theist assumes a powerful mysterious god they can fit the facts to their beliefs, or ignore the parts of our scientific understanding that clash with their faith based beliefs.

      Example for a young earth creationist responding to our understanding that the light from some galaxies has taken billions of year to reach us. Responses:
      - God created the universe with the light already on the way
      - God created the galaxies closer and then moved them further away with the light in transit
      - The estimation of distance and time are wrong
      etc
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    Oct 5 2012: @ Adriaan Braam's replies

    Is any of this meant to address my original question?
    "How does one arrive it the question, "who created the universe" and does not instead ask, "What created the universe?"

    "He?" Who is the he? This is mythology not science. Nothing here explains where the "soul or spirit is found within a human. Are we to conclude that it is no more real than Freud's Ego and Id.

    re: Swedonborg: " ...he eventually began to experience dreams and visions beginning on Easter weekend April 6, 1744. This culminated in a spiritual awakening, whereupon he claimed he was appointed by the Lord to write a heavenly doctrine to reform Christianity. He claimed that the Lord had opened his spiritual eyes, so that from then on he could freely visit heaven and hell, and talk with angels, demons and other spirits.

    Really? How is this not conjecture? It's not scientific proof certainly. Perhaps back in the 1700s others were more accepting that the Lord spoke to a chosen few directly.

    But let us ponder this. Why is it the Lord was made available to so few people through the history of mankind? Certainly there are 7 billion people alive now and only faction of these know any thing on your god, andthis excludes all the others through history. This defines logic.

    At its roots, religion is an attempt to explain the unexplainable. These explanations are, for the most part, imparted to us at an early age, when we are the most susceptible to forming such irrational beliefs about the world. Jesus, and the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus, are, at a point, all the same to a child. It is only because we continue to institutionalize religion within society that it does not become understood to be a myth.
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      Oct 5 2012: "Nothing here explains where the soul or spirit is found within a human."

      I call this "HOMUNCULUS UNBOUND". The concept of the little man, preformationism, and "to think before thought". I wrote a short story and screenplay by the same title and the issue is hotly debated. Organized religions have gone out of their way to hide or destroy all evidence of past religions and "forbidden archaeology". In a nutshell: the masses will decide these truths, right or wrong.
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      Oct 7 2012: I agree. Swedenborg and any other revelations based on personal interpretation or dreams are not much use if you are interested in the truth.

      Subjective. Contradictory. No way to verify. No way to demonstrate the claims, or having to rely supernatural claims to avoid conflicting reality..

      Who said religion and supernatural spiritual beliefs are meant to be logical or rational? They can be nearly anything if you include an invisible realm, with powerful beings.

      An ounce of skepticism is all it takes to indicate there are a lot of people claiming to know things they really don't.
  • Oct 5 2012: Most religions are organized and well structured systems.
    Even for some religious people I know of would have hard time to believe in their gods if there's no one who can support their belief and convince them to keep believing in the gods.
    I love to see some good religious people do lots of good activities(such as helping others or teaching kids or donating their money…etc.) and support one another—peacefully(hopefully). But they can still believe there's a God without doubt even if the religious groups they belong to can’t give them certain, clear answers all the time. Having that kind of faith has fairly been individualized to them, I suspect.
    Religion is not always the answer.
    I believe we will find a way to prove the existence of god someday. I think pious religious people are able to believe in…no matter how hard it is to prove the existence of their own gods.
    And it’s not just because religion is the only answer.
    What bothers me is that sometimes whether it's religious one or atheist, people set a huge border between two groups and get too narrow-minded.
    By being that way, both parties lose their own integrity--so to speak--and view the issue of existence of god as just a matter of black and white issue.
    Perhaps it’s time for them to stop merely criticizing each other and pursue the truth—according to their own way.
    Mere formality isn’t enough.
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    Oct 4 2012: Fazeel,
    I think that Ted lover said it well. At the age of nine, I had a spiritual experience concerning God that would eventually lead me to quantum physics. Quantum physics began answering all the questions that had arisen from this experience.

    I would like to add the following;
    God is not a "who". God is pure being (or pure existence), the source from which all things come and back to where they go. Everything in nature can be broken down to a common denominator - quantum fields; they are everywhere and they are invisible.
    The word God is derived from an earlier Proto-Indo-European word that meant "to call" or "to invoke" (taken from Wikipedia). I refer to this because when we hear the word "God", we assume it is what religion ascribes to it. The mystics have all warned not to ascribe any characteristics, form, or preconceived ideas to God. It was even at one time considered blasphemous to do such a thing.

    Regardless, religions personified God and ascribed characteristics, names, personality traits, and forms as they saw fit. It is all based on right-brain associations (the right brain sees the forces of creation as "a creator"). Today, religious fundamentalists defend their concept of God, some even to the point of death, all to the detriment of what religion was meant to foster; the quest on the spiritual path.

    If you want to believe in God, you must first throw off all preconceived ideas of what God is and start from "what is doing the creating?". The universe has unfolded along a creative path, but not by what religion says.
    What did God create with; itself. Everything that exists is a part of God.
    Now the problem becomes what do we do with our God-like essence? Do we play "King of the hill", or do we learn to participate in creation in pursuit of heaven? Those who have learned creative expression with mutual cooperation in mind, have brought the greatest gifts into the world. They are the ones to whom Jesus would say "I and the father are one".
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    Oct 3 2012: Hi,

    I suggest one way to frame the question is there evidence that indicates the existence of any gods or goddesses. I suggest no one has reasonably demonstrated any gods or goddesses.

    If gods or goddesses do exist, if there is a supernatural realm, then no one seems to be able to point out anything about these reliably. We have all these conflicting views which could indicate we can imagine anything we like if you do not rely on evidence, if you can not demonstrate anything about these gods, afterlifes etc. Its completely subjective.

    The question about how the universe came to be as it is, is a separate question. You might say we don't know. Is not knowing how it came about evidence for gods or goddesses. I suggest no. I suggest gods are part of an infinite group of gap fillers. Basically saying gods or goddesses made the universe is like saying it is magic.

    Technically this is an argument from ignorance. It is a fallacy to say I don't know therefore Vishnu and Shiva or any other interpretation of gods made the universe.

    It answers nothing anyway. You assign agency without explaining what the agency is, how it came to exist, how it did it. You can make up what you like because there is no concrete evidence on any specifics.

    Usually theists or deists follow this up with another fallacy, special pleading, that the gods are eternal. So the universe could not have a natural eternal state, but gods can.

    Gods are not a good answer to things we don't know. Lightning, disease, earthquakes use to be explained by gods.
    Also I'm not sure why you assume one god and a he. There is just as much evidence for multiple gods as there is for one.
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    Oct 2 2012: How does one arrive it the question, "who created the universe" and does not instead ask, "What created the universe?"

    Since humans have been on this planet we have never developed any evidence of god(s), but we have had many different beliefs about them. So the "if yes...." is purely speculative.
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      Oct 2 2012: god indeed existed ..Religion is the form of people want to build .
      so god equals religion.
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        Oct 2 2012: A god's existence is limited to the mind of humans. But there are many gods to chose from.
        You wrote, "god existed." Which god?
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          Oct 3 2012: my god is my ideas about god .so you can also have one .
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          Oct 6 2012: Chen i suggest imagining something does not make exist as anything more than ai mind construct anxdoes not it real in the way you and i are real.
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      Oct 5 2012: Hi Theodore, this is a link to a book called Creation and it is based on a spiritual interpretation of the Bible and what Swedenborg wrote regarding the subject of Creation.
      http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/source/Creation_Odhner.pdf?attredirects=0

      Another important item you brought up is how the soul, or spirit, interacts with the body and that's what this link is about
      http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/interaction_of_soul_and_body.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

      When you said: "god's existence is limited to the mind of humans" it made me think that maybe you see us humans as the creators of this universe :)
      This is what we 'know' about the human mind
      http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/source/TheHumanMind.pdf?attredirects=0

      Then there is the Science of Correspondence, a study all on its own. How the spiritual and material worlds interact.
      • Oct 5 2012: The paper you site about the soul was written when neuroscience was is in its infancy, this is way back when Hubel and Wiesel found grandmother neurons and believed the brain could be completely understood with a purely reductionist method. The brain and body are not separated they work together giving and receiving input. For instance in depression your overgrown cortex(which is entangled with your limbic system) has the ability to regulate your hypothalamus which plays a massive role in bodily function, which is why you see actual biological changes in response to being depressed. It goes the other way as well, there is no separation between the brain, or mind and body. If there is a soul, where is it? How does it work?
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          Oct 9 2012: Hi Brian, Sorry for the late reply, we just had our long Thanksgiving weekend.

          "The paper you site about the soul was written when neuroscience was is in its infancy"
          That is so, but that does not take away the spiritual side of life. OK, science in general has evolved but so has the spiritual side of life and the understanding of it. One has not eliminated the other because spirit IS life and science is not. Science can see and measure the effect of life but cannot created life (from nothing? :) )

          The brain is indeed part of the body but the mind is not. The mind is in the spiritual world which is another realm altogether. That's why science can measure that we think, but not what we think 'word for word.'

          Science has determined that the male and female body, down to the smallest particles, are different. Only spiritual information can tell us why that is the case, and also that those two on the spiritual level are very different indeed. Some call it opposites. I prefer to call it complementary. Is that because one is from Venus and the other from Mars? :)

          To see the big picture this book The Spiritual World may help to put the mind in perspective of life. http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/documents/TheSpiritualWorld.pdf

          When you change your mind, does your mind change the brain, or could the brain change itself?? Is there any physical organ on this planet that can change itself??
          Also, when you change your mind because of an ideat that 'popped' into your mind, where do you suppose that idea came from?
      • Oct 10 2012: "The brain is indeed part of the body but the mind is not. The mind is in the spiritual world which is another realm altogether. That's why science can measure that we think, but not what we think 'word for word.'" Why is this in a spiritual world? this is just an argument from ignorance. Science can't explain it, well it must be magic. What realm is this can you provide me any concrete answer to this question, if not it might as well not exist.

        "Only spiritual information can tell us why that is the case, and also that those two on the spiritual level are very different indeed." What does that mean? what is spiritual information?

        Does your mind change the brain, well for starters there is absolutely no proof for the existence of a mind as something separate from the body. So to answer your question no the brain does it all, your thoughts are a product of your brain. For instance thought patterns and behavior change upon stimulation of certain areas of the brain. Phineus Gage is a classic and often cited case where damage to the brain causes damage to the "mind" or personality. How is it possible to damage the brain and not the mind? what cases are you aware of that demonstrate this to be true?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Gage

        As far as where do thoughts come from well the answer is the brain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience_of_free_will

        Is there any organ that can change itself, I wish I knew what you meant by that, change what their biology?

        Evolution changes the biology...
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          Oct 10 2012: At the link to "Neuroscience_of_free_will" it says:

          "In many senses the field remains highly controversial and there is no consensus among researchers about the significance of findings, their meaning, or what conclusions may be drawn."
          And it should be realized that nothing spiritual can be proven physically. Absolutely nothing!
          That is to protect our freewill, the item that makes us human. Even to the point that after death (if we deny a life after death) we believe we still live in this world. Swedenborg did meet at least one person in the spiritual world who denied he had died. Until he asked him, how come you're 'standing' 3 feet off the ground?

          I do not wish this to happen to you but maybe a Near Death Experience might be the best thing that could happen to you, to make you think outside the box you locked yourself in.

          --"How is it possible to damage the brain and not the mind? what cases are you aware of that demonstrate this to be true?"--
          This is what I meant with an organ, like the brain, not changing itself.. Has it never happened that a part of the brain is damaged and the mind communicates with the body through another part of the brain?
          This BTW has nothing to do with evolution because that is a change in the natural world e.g. in humans, because of adaption to a change in the physical environment. Evolution is a process of change, not the creation of life (out of nothing).

          The link to Mr. Gage also says:
          "A survey of published accounts of Gage, including scientific ones, has found that they are almost always severely distorted—exaggerating the known facts when not directly contradicting them."
          Humans can and will use whatever means to set, use and change information to their own convenience. We change our house (if we own it :) to the way we want it, we do the same with our spiritual environment.

          So I agree with you, yes, "Evolution changes the biology..." but it does not create it and when the spirit goes out of it, it decomposes, flower or man
      • Oct 10 2012: "Humans can and will use whatever means to set, use and change information to their own convenience. " I agree.....

        Is someone who hallucinates while on DMT any different than having a near death experience, take the time and watch this and tell me if you think brain chemistry has a role.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4T5LduZ9vg
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          Oct 11 2012: WOW Brian that is quite a show. I completely forgot you mentioned a possible similarity between DMT and NDE's, and while watching it that idea did very much come up with me.

          The experiences with DMT do seem to me very close indeed to what has often be described as a NDE. I know nothing about the similarities and consistencies with DMT as they exist with NDE's. Could make it even more interesting.

          DMT also seems to connect our mind with the realm the mind is really in, is a part of, just like NDE.
          You called it hallucinating, but did any of those that were part of the experiment express the idea that they felt they were hallucinating? Or did they regard it as an actual experience? They did describe things they saw, and that the concept of time was gone.

          This last item is what Swedenborg described too. Time and space only exist in this world, not in the spiritual world.
          In this book, chapter 19, Swedenborg writes about time in heaven. Chapter 23 is about space in heaven.
          http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/documents/Heaven%20and%20Hell.pdf
          Thanks again. Not that I need DMT :) but it is very interesting
  • Oct 1 2012: Feyisayo Anjorin ,i still didn't get the answer .why god will spend time on us in afterlife by sending us in hell or heaven .
    again why he created the universe ,was he bored ? why it is better to believe that god created it instead of no one?
    personally i do believe in god ,,,,,but still these questions are unanswered .
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      Oct 4 2012: No one knows but plenty of people pretend to know but their belifs conflict. I guess because there probably are no gods or goddesses interacting with humans in an understandable way. Or they dont exist. Maybe we just imagined them all.
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      Oct 5 2012: Fazeel, I'm thrilled to read you believe in a God! Great news indeed.
      I have learned some answers from the writings of Swedenborg. You can Google him and see a 'first impression.' I must clearly state that what I am about to say may do a disservice to his books because I do have a very limited education.
      But this is Life and the creation of the universe in less than 2000 characters :)

      God is Love itself and Wisdom itself. In order for God to love anything, it has to be outside of Himself and 'detached' or He would be loving Himself. Loving self is the beginning and reason of all evil.
      So God created the universe etc. by separating His love and wisdom from Himself, making it finite and thus less and less God. This continued to the final point of the existence of matter. But as you know, matter is still kind of cloudy, nothing is really solid. With a strong enough microscope we can still look through things. There is a 'system' holding particles together and giving all different materials their own, different character.
      But just as matter has different levels from e.g. stone to gas, so living organisms have a basic but also very high level of knowledge or life pattern with reason. From cells and smaller, to humans.

      Everything that exists has a relationship with everything else that exists. What brings those parallels to light or expresses that is how the Bible is written.
      It also has very different levels of meaning and thus application. The literal text could be seen as historical but is very contradictory and is often difficult to understand. The letter is the basis of the spirit. It is the spirit that gives life to the letter, not the other way. Just as we are not our body but very much our spirit. This is to the extreme that the first 10.5 chapters of Genesis are made-up history, copied by Mozes from earlier Revelations.
      The first level of meaning of the text is the growth and development of belief systems. Adam was not a guy but the first 'Church' etc.
      see next
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      Oct 5 2012: So it going to be a bit more than 2000 :)
      The next level of the Bible's revelation is on our personal level as individuals. That's what the Creation Story is really all about. How we can (if we so choose) change from a materialistic person to a spiritual person. And the second creation story is to grow from a spiritual to a celestial person.

      Also as individuals we have the Mozes and Pharaoh in us to get through life's issues. Materialists are like the slaves, stuck in Egypt. To grow spiritually is to 'travel' from Egypt to Canaan. Each important figure on that journey is some aspect of our own spirit that can either win or loose. The bigger the fight, the bigger our issue is. But at some point we may make the right decision in a temptation, helped by the use of 5 smooth stones and we become an angel. IOW have heaven within us.
      Even when still here, that can happen. We will never become angels based on what we've owned or which pew we sat on. We can only be angels when we love God and love the good (God) in our neighbour.

      We are what we love. That is the way before, and the way after our body dies. We, or God, do not change what we love after death because that's who we are. We love God and others we go to heaven. If we love ourselves and the world we go to hell. Both destinations are very much our own choice and if we were evil we'd hate to live in heaven.

      God, as a God of love would very much love to see us go to heaven so He can make us even happier to eternity. But love can only exist in freedom and within reason. We cannot love something or someone when we are forced to.

      So this whole universe is our womb where we can grow spiritually, and the death of our body is the birth of our spirit into the next, and eternal stage. But in that stage or state (without time) we keep learning and developing into better angels.

      Here is what I base this on:
      http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/DLW_DP.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1