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Drew B
  • Drew B
  • New York, NY
  • United States

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Why don't people believe in God?

if it were even the slightest possible chance that there is a hell and its a place of everlasting torment and hate wouldnt you want to make sure there isnt one by checking every possible source of information and proof that God does not exist or does?

And why do most people who ask themselves this question and go search for answers come back a christian?

yeah the whole idea can be denied with logical reasoning but you got to look at where this idea came from and how much we can trust this information. When you search for those facts they cant be denied and once you experience what God does in your life you will know its real. If you dont believe in it you should have proof andt the strongest possible evidence of everything that cant be denied.

I want to look at what you guys think and why you guys don't. Please dont attack other peoples ideas and thought and be open with every ounce of reasoning you can come up with.

Topics: religion
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    Mar 30 2011: 0 I will attack ideas, Drew. As I think there are stupid ideas and wrong ideas and dangerous ideas. If a person feels offended by it: that is not my intention, but might be collateral damage.
    [I know letting go of ideas is hard, and adopting new ones might be hard as well; and I can get emotional in debates,... but I will try and be kind to the person, even when i think his/her ideas are -in my opinion- dead-wrong]
    that said:

    1) I assume you mean by God the Judeo-christian one (JHWH or EL or Allah)
    => I do think one can prove this god does not exist, as it is inconsistent.
    The argument is easy (following the Belgian Philosopher Etienne Vermeersch):
    The Judeo Christian God is considered to be "all powerful" "all good" and "knows everything"
    Given our earth, there is human misery, disease, random death, loss, depression, war,.... So he is either not all powerful, not all good or not all knowing. Ergo no such God exists

    2) If you have another God image in mind: please inform us.

    3) concerning "Pascal's Wager"
    => you can turn this around.
    - Lets assume that my estimate that God exists is 0
    - in probability theory, "surprise value" is 1/x where x is the probability of an event/something
    - So, if I die, I don't expect to meet anything like a god, or heaven or hell...
    - If that does happen, then I would be (1/0 = infinite) Infinitely surprised
    - I consider surprise as a happy emotion
    - Even If I would go to hell, I'll be surprised for eternity
    => I don't need to worry about hell

    (You might infer that I define god as the ultimate surprise, which I must admit, is correct... meaning I still don't think it does exist)
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      Drew B

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      Mar 30 2011: yes for people like you who undestand the accepting of new ideas and stuff that is fine. I mainly said that to stop people form saying someone is blaintly an idiot for believing in something when i am sure that person has reason to. In no way to I want to start a conversation as a cuss fest and a huge hateful debate.

      1) I believe in a God and his son. I do not believe in other denominations of putting Mary as a higher being and other stuff but I follow God's word, The Bible. And your reasoning makes no sense to me. Not because of you but I'm only a teen and what the heck is Belgian Philospher Etienne Vermeersch? And how could God not be all powerful, all good, and know everything.

      Hypothetical:
      If my mom said she is going to lose her job and we wont have a home and we would have to eat off the land instead of being spoiled with going to the supermarket, I would be surprised greatly but that does not make anything better. Surpeise can be a happy emotion but not always.

      And i dont understand why you wouldnt want to worry about Hell. I t would be the worst thing you can imagine. Dont listen to those false things of Hell being a fireplace and we have to do labor for eternity cause thats not as bad as its going to be. If there wasnt a Hell I would want to make sure there is no possible evidence towards there being a Hell and be able to deny every evidence there is.
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        Mar 31 2011: "but I follow God's word, The Bible."
        Really? You support slavery [1]? Stoning people to death for collecting sticks on the wrong day [2]? Not shaving the corners of your beard [3]?

        I believe you're better than that. I believe you're actually a Moralist Christian [4] meaning that you've picked and choose bible passages selectively based on whether or not they contradict with the golden rule. The only thing missing is you explicitly start identifying yourself as such.

        And on Pascal's wager, I like Edward Current's take on it best [5]. Basically, if one religion's threat about "what if it's true" is a reason for you, then you need to take precautions just in case other religions are true too, because the chances of them being correct are the same. If you can live what Edward Current shows to be living, then I guess you'll have a point.

        BTW,
        "Not because of you but I'm only a teen and what the heck is Belgian Philospher Etienne Vermeersch?"
        Not "what" but "who" [6]. "Belgian" means someone from the country "Belgium", "Philosopher", similarly to most English words ending with "er" is a profession. In this case, someone who practices/teaches the discipline "Philosophy". And the other two words are his name.

        [1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ojj5Trzw_G0
        [2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEqkyTHJUUc
        [3] http://www.ted.com/talks/a_j_jacobs_year_of_living_biblically.html (4:44)
        [4] http://www.ted.com/conversations/901/atheists_you_need_to_rethink.html
        [5] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqJpZOljjG8
        [6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etienne_Vermeersch
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          Drew B

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          Mar 31 2011: The Bible does not support slavery, stoning people to death for collectign sticks on the wrong day, and not shaving shaving the corners of your beard. You need to read the Bible much more intensely if you going to make those assumptions.

          And yes other religions make valid points but i dont believe in what I believe because it might be true because it is true to my belief.

          And yes I realized it was a person I dont know why I put what but I am saying I have no idea who that guy is and thanks for the links.
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          Drew B

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          Mar 31 2011: also on Exodus 21. This was Old testament and how the town should have run in its day. But the New Testament is where Jesus fulfilled the old law (Ten Commandments) and made new ones. No longer did we have to sacrifice a lamb or a sheep or whatever it was.
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        Mar 31 2011: "You need to read the Bible much more intensely if you going to make those assumptions."
        I could say the same for you.

        The quotes in the slavery video were from Exodus 21, the King James Version [1], Old testament, yes, but there are also quotes from Ephesians 6 (they don't say which translation, but regardless...) [2], which is New testament. I searched other translations, and they're just as disturbing. If you doubt the linked online material for being wrong or misleading, open up your paper copy bible, and see for yourself if the same chapters are just as disturbing - that's the reason the exact passages are cited - for verification by anyone who doubts the message. All translations that don't say "slave", use the word "servant" instead.

        I don't have a paper copy of any bible with me for the same reason you don't have a Quran with you. But that doesn't mean I haven't read any bible passages.

        "This was Old testament and how the town should have run in its day."
        You know... if you extend this notion to include all holy scriptures with no exceptions, I think you might be right.

        "And yes other religions make valid points but i dont believe in what I believe because it might be true because it is true to my belief."
        So... you'd prefer to be deluded because you're deluded? You believe in the bible stories because they're true to the (non bible?) stories you believe in? You'd prefer to believe in unicorns because it's true to your belief that there may be unicorns?

        If I'm misunderstand you... Exactly what is your definition of "belief"? Morality set? You can have it without the Christian label and related fairy tales.

        You should definitely watch all videos before commenting further. The author of the slavery video addresses all of the defenses you made thus far, coincidently, in the same order too.

        [1] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%2021&version=KJV
        [2] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%206&version=NIV
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        Mar 31 2011: @ Vasil: nice response (though maybe a bit sarcastic I daresay)

        @ Drew:
        I suggest you buy a copy of Julia Sweeney's "Letting Go of God" Monologue.
        It might be a bit hard for you to listen to it completely while trying not to be disgusted about it... but maybe you are up for the challenge...
        (here is the link if you want to listen to it for free http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qixXRkCNrtE)
        [edit: oh, it is among your favorite talks: please listen to the whole monologue]

        I've read the bible, I have a copy, and there are plenty of questionable passages in the new testament too.

        Concerning the "why can't something be all good, powerful and knowing?" I'll let you ponder on it yourself... Take the time and energy to figure out where I might think the problems may be... If you guess it correctly I will continue to discuss with you!

        Good luck!
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          Drew B

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          Apr 23 2011: already listened to it
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          May 3 2011: God is all good,all powerful, and all knowing. He is also a God of perfect justice. This world is rough because of the fall of man. Because of this perfect justice, He must punish our sin. How can he be an all good and loving God if he allows this world to decay? He fulfills this charactersitic by sending Jesus Christ as an atonement for our sins.
        • May 3 2011: I'd like to respond to Christophe's initial response.

          "1. I assume you mean..."
          -> You're making the assumption that an all-good, all-powerful God does not have the capability to create a separate entity that /does/ have the capacity for imperfection, and therefore evil and harm. If He is truly all-powerful then He should indeed have this ability, correct? Direct creation of evil is different than indirectly allowing for evil acts to occur.

          No comment on 2, and I agree on 3.
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          May 7 2011: @Austin
          Yes, but he'd also have the power to stop the evil once it occurs. Allegedly, we are the separate entities capable of evil, and if we extend that further to include natural things, we could say Zeus/Lightning is an entity that is capable of evil (in that it kills, or at best, fries, those who are touched by it). God should be able to stop it, just as much he should have been able to "flick Hitler's head off" or other bad entities, including corrupted religious servants.

          And if God has delegated the ruling of our universe to a separate semi-God figure... why aren't we worshiping the semi-God figure instead? If your support calls (read: prayers) go to [insert support staff], why do we suck up to the boss who is never hearing those calls?
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          May 13 2011: @ Austin..."Direct creation of evil is different than indirectly allowing for evil acts to occur."
          If you believe god created everything, then you must believe that god also created evil.
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        Mar 31 2011: Drew, what would it take to convince you that there ain't any God ?
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      Mar 30 2011: @Christophe: "- If that does happen, then I would be (1/0 = infinite) Infinitely surprised"
      I have not laughed that hard in a long time!
    • Apr 18 2011: @ Christophe. GIven free will, it is logically impossible for God to create a world with no evil.
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        Apr 18 2011: False.

        1) Free will is an assumption, (Ihttp://www.ted.com/conversations/1107/there_is_no_such_thing_as_free.html?c=208747)
        But, lets assume free will exists.

        2) God did not create the world.
        But let's assume he did.

        3) If God could not create a world without evil and with a free will, he is blatantly stupid. I can imagine worlds where there is free will and no evil...

        => I assume your god-image implies that he is unimaginative and stupid?
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          Apr 18 2011: "I can imagine worlds where there is free will and no evil..."
          And you aren't even a God. WOW! You must be the true new messiah! I'm becoming more and more confused now...

          "...he is blatantly stupid."
          OK, let's put this a little more politely (and coincidently, a step further)... If God can't do that, he is not "all powerful", therefore he is not really a God per the classical monotheistic definition of an "all powerful supernatural being".
        • Apr 18 2011: Free Will does exist. We can debate that if you like, as well.

          Going by your assumptions:
          1) Free Will does exist.
          2) God did create the universe.

          When I say logically impossible, I am referring to impossibilities such as; a square-circle or a married bachelor.

          Two Propositions:
          1) all-powerful, all-loving God exists
          2) evil exists

          When you made that claim you are making two assumptions:
          3) If God is all-powerful, he can prevent evil.
          4) If God is all-loving, he would prevent all evil.

          Here you are assuming, that if God does exist, we would be living in a world where everyone would make the right moral choices (freely) and that God would prevent all natural disasters, making the world free of suffering.

          However, if creatures have free will, then yor assumptions are not necessarily true. It is logically impossible to make someone freely do something (i.e. always make the right moral choices). Natural disasters could be the work of demons (since, they too have free will). Even though God is all-loving he might have morally adequate reasons for allowing suffering in the world (think back to when your parents punished you as a child).

          Also, there is an inconsistency between God and the quality and quantity of evil int he world. People enjoy life. People rather live than die. This is because life is worth living (i.e. there is more good in the world than evil).

          5th premise:
          God could not have created a world that had as much good as the actual world, both in terms of quality and quantity, but had less evil. Moreover, God has morally sufficient reasons for permitting evil.

          This is logically possible. So, premise one and two can coexist.

          In this proof, the burden of proof lies wth you, since you are the one claiming that it is impossible for God and evil to coexist. I do not have to present a plausible or likely solution, only a possible solution.
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          Sky F

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          Apr 21 2011: Nice^

          What about this one:
          All-Powerful is inherently illogical. If one is all powerful it means they are capable of creating an immovable object. If one is all powerful it means the are capable of moving an immovable object.

          It's a classic one, but true nonetheless.
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          May 3 2011: Free will is the only way that true love can be real. How can we really choose to love God if we are programmed to love Him? We would be like computers. If I programmed my computer to say "I love you", would I as the creator of the program truly be satisfied by this?

          @Sky
          Why would God have to lift an immovable object? God is not of this physical world.
        • May 7 2011: "It is logically impossible to make someone freely do something (i.e. always make the right moral choices). "

          So God isn't all-powerful? An all-powerful being could do this, no problem!

          So because there MIGHT be a reason for all the suffering of the world, there MUST be reason? This is your logic? I sure hope the child militants in Darfur know that God has a reason for the all the murder, violence, rape, torture and starvation that they have to witness regularly.

          While you might hold that this child slavery, torture and abuse is a part of God's plan (akin to punishing a child) I continue to contend that these are horrid acts which serve NO PURPOSE and should be stopped. NOTHING good comes from these things and you saying otherwise shows how twisted your belief is.
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        Apr 19 2011: "It is logically impossible to make someone freely do something (i.e. always make the right moral choices)."
        Only if you assume there's always only one moral choice with all else being immoral.

        For many situations though, there are multiple morally right things to do, just as there are multiple morally wrong things to do. Ever had a moral dilemma? Yeah, those situations... all options are morally right in a way (if they weren't, there wouldn't be a dilemma; every sane person would do the morally right thing), and yet none feels the best.

        Therefore, if God as in "all powerful and loving being" exists, he'll have the power to make a world with free will limited to all morally right things, i.e. a world with no evil. What moral reason could an "all loving" being possibly have by permitting evil? "So that we may know good"? No need for that if all is good.
        • Apr 19 2011: In response to your last point:

          Have you ever heard the expression: "It takes two to tango?"

          Similarly, to have a genuine love relationship it takes the free cooperation of two persons. It is logically impossible to make someone do something freely. If you make the person do it, then that person didn't do it freely because it wasn't up to him; but if that person does it freely, then it's not up to you whether he did it. We need only add that genuine love must be freely given. (Think of the story of Pinocchio: Giapetto could have made his puppet move its mouth and say "Father, I love you," but Giapetto wanted a real boy, not a mere puppet, even though that entailed the risk of rebellion.) So a genuine love relationship entails the freedom of both parties to give and receive love. Even omnipotence cannot do the logically impossible. God could produce certain chemical reactions in our brains that would issue in what we'd normally describe as loving behavior toward Him, but it would be a sham, a puppet-like response. To have a genuine love relationship with us, God must put up with the possibility of rebellion. Of course, that doesn't mean that the lover is impotent to woo his beloved and so elicit a free response of love. A serious lover isn't passive but tries to think of ways to win his beloved's affection. He may try to learn her "love language" along with her likes and dislikes and to act accordingly. In effect, he'll contemplate the truth of various subjunctive conditionals, like "If I were to do x, then she would respond by doing y." He'll try to bring about the circumstances in which his beloved will freely give her love to him.
        • Apr 19 2011: God cannot make you love Him, but He may be able to do something even greater, namely, arrange the circumstances in which you would freely respond to His love. In a nutshell, the answer is that it may not be within God's power to create a world of free persons (without generating overriding disadvantages) in which everyone freely comes to love God. It's not enough that there be circumstances in which each individual would come to freely love God; these circumstances must be compossible, and that just may not be the case. God still extends sufficient grace to every person He creates to come into a loving relationship with Him, but some people may be implacable and reject Him.

          So in God's case, too, it still takes two to tango.
        • Apr 19 2011: In response to your initial point:

          I agree with you about the moral dilemmas. However, I never made such an assumption about only being one correct moral choice. I said "It is logically impossible to make someone freely do something" (i.e. always make THE RIGHT MORAL CHOICES). No where in this sentance is such an assumption made.
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        Apr 19 2011: @Colby
        "n this proof, the burden of proof lies wth you, since you are the one claiming that it is impossible for God and evil to coexist. I do not have to present a plausible or likely solution, only a possible solution."

        Colby: how dare you: You make the assumption of a god in the first place... So the burden of proof lies with you...

        I simply state that I can imagine a world where there is free will, but no harm or evil. It is a place that gives the living creatures ever growing feelings of fulfillment, joy and choice of what to discover first and imagine next.

        I simply point out that EVEN when your assumptions are not questioned, your logic is flawed, and the conclusions don't follow from the premises...
        like:
        * you are adding demons to the equation now
        * you assume free will implies free will of moral choice
        * you assume that freely choosing the right thing all time is impossible
        * ...

        P.s. I will not further reply on your further comments. I let it to the reader can judge whether your arguments are valid or not.

        @Vasil:
        I'm human, and prone to flattery, so don't say such things too much or I'll start to believe it.
        • Apr 19 2011: Well Chris, that is you free choice to make. No one is going to make you respond. However, I am going to make the free choice to respond.

          The burden of proof always lies on the person making a claim. This was not about whether God exists, where the burden of proof would be with me. It is about whether it is possible for God (if he exists) to create a world with no evil. This was your claim, not mine. Therefore, the burden of proof lies with you.

          "I can imagine a world where there is free will, but no harm or evil."
          How can there be FREEDOM OF CHOICE (in other words, the ability to choose whatever you want) and no evil? I would like to hear your explanation. In a world of humans, who have free will, there will always be the option to murder an innocent person (for example).

          Choosing the right thing all the time is impossible for humans. We are not perfect beings. We have flaws in us.
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        Apr 19 2011: "Even omnipotence cannot do the logically impossible."
        Interesting... and a baby being born out of a virgin mother and dying so that his father may forgive sins he could've forgiven anyway is logically possible... interesting. And other events that happened in contrast to any logic and laws of nature (a.k.a. miracles) are out of omnipotence's scope despite being logically impossible... so... are you saying SOME logically impossible things are out of omnipotence's scope? Under what premise does one logically impossible concept qualify over another?

        "@Vasil:
        I'm human, and prone to flattery, so don't say such things too much or I'll start to believe it."
        ROFL
        • Apr 19 2011: As far as the material world is concerned (i.e. the universe), God can do whatever he wants. He created it. The laws of nature are not binding to Him as they are to us, since He created them and He is outside of time ans space.

          You must not have read what I meant by logical impossibilities. When I say, or anyone for that matter, that God cannot do logical impossiblities that means that God cannot contradict Himself. If He contradicted Himself, He would not be perfect. A logical impossibility would be a square-circle, for example. A shape cannot have four corners and no corners at the same time.
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          Apr 19 2011: Colby,

          If god cannot be explained or defined or understood your whole argument becomes invalid think about it god can contradict himself because he is god you just limited god.

          this is why I like to say God is love because love is a force that could lead the human race together ultimately, not irrational depictions of something that goes beyond thought itself.

          stop arguing now, there are miles of logic that disprove any religious based god. but almost none that could disprove god being chance. Believing chance exist and placing it into the equation allows unlimited possibilities.

          Consider the following, if you were born with a mental handicap, bare with me, you now can barely feed yourself, you cannot conclude that 2+2=4, simple common sense does not apply to you. How could you now find room enough in your mind to consider god as anything? god would be as small as the food you eat. My point is, due to intelligence we are allowed to create ideas that go beyond comprehensible notions, but it doesn't make them correct it makes them an idea.

          Stop arguing with people who have made it a point that they cannot be converted into the ideas of god being the answer or greater anything and this goes for you to Drew B, go on a search engine and type in "does god exist?" "proof of god" "do people need god?" "who invented god?" any other question, but question. Don't stop questioning ever and i promise you the idea of god will become nothing in comparison to what is fact and real that humans have established in thousands of years of thinking. And if you do not find such, I know for a fact you didn't ask enough questions.
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        Apr 19 2011: @Colby McGrevey
        "As far as the material world is concerned (i.e. the universe), God can do whatever he wants."
        OK. Point taken.

        But our morals have an effect on the material world. And he can affect it any way he likes. Therefore, he could have a material/natural law that doesn't let us commit evil in the material world, but still gives us free will to make choices between the morally good things to do in this material world... sort of what he had in the garden of Eden... minus the fruit (a material object that gives access to non-material thing he doesn't want us to have... he has the power to not put it in the material world in the first place... why did he left it then?).
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          Apr 20 2011: Hi Vasil

          "still gives us free will to make choices between the morally good things to do in this material world... sort of what he had in the garden of Eden."

          You got it ! That will be the eternal state, evil will be impossible. First you've got to get a crowd of people together who totally reject evil & agree to be ruled by God. Christians make that choice; ie a choice to have their choice restricted. Free choice in both instances. Think carefully before you make yours.

          :-)
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        Apr 20 2011: "You got it ! That will be the eternal state, evil will be impossible."
        Does that mean that God is imperfect because he made the mistake of putting the fruit there? That is, he made the mistake of putting an evil thing in an otherwise good world WITH free will?

        If having evil in a material world was some sort of a non-material requirement he couldn't have broken, then he could've made evil unreachable by putting it deeply into the ground or something ("-1st floor, worms; -2nd floor, oil; -3rd floor, evil; -infinite floor, hell;").

        "First you've got to get a crowd of people together who totally reject evil & agree to be ruled by God."
        Adam and Eve weren't "ruled" by God, were they? They were just created in the garden, allowed to do anything they please. Since they didn't had the knowledge of good and evil yet, they were not ruled by anyone. It was a state of anarchy without the evil parts (like in Japan, but pretty).

        I therefore see no point in being ruled by God if I can reject evil and go back to that eternal state without him.
        • Apr 20 2011: Peter is right. That is the idea. The eternal state is heaven, where there is no evil. We will freely live forever.

          No, God did not make a mistake, because He gave Adam and Eve a commandment and they disobeyed the commandment. They disobeyed God and were punished, accordingly.
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          Apr 20 2011: Colby!!! STOP IT.

          you said you were no fundamentalist! that is nothing but!

          believe in god as the ultimate answer fine, but do not restrict answers to one book, one religion, and one ideology. Keep god as free as possible. Then no one can deny that God exist if you are never limiting the idea of God.
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          Apr 21 2011: Hi Vasil
          The tree in the garden was not an evil thing. It contained the 'knowledge' of good & evil. Evil is only evil if we know it is evil, otherwise we are innocent. Adam & Eve had the choice of whether to obey or not. As with most bad choices it had bad results, they lost their innocence, & died as a result. They had the choice of being ruled by God, but chose not to be. I have made the choice to be ruled again, & will be.

          You cannot go back to the innocent state any more than I can. Only God has that kind of clout.


          :-)
        • Apr 21 2011: why you say evil not exist?
          God created Adam and Eve and said:
          "O Adam! dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and enjoy (its good things) as ye wish: but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression." Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them, bringing openly before their minds all their shame that was hidden from them (before): he said: "Your Lord only forbade you this tree, lest ye should become angels or such beings as live for ever."
          http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.qaribullah/7:19

          also:
          We said: "O Adam! dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when) ye will; but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression." [٢:٣٥]
          http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.qaribullah/2:35
        • May 7 2011: It was unfair to punish Adam and Eve because they didn't understand good and evil prior to eating the fruit. They didn't understand what they were doing was "wrong" because they didn't have the concept! Seems mighty unfair to punish someone without first giving them the knowledge.
        • May 8 2011: there was no good and evil but Adame and Eve disobeyed God:
          "but never approach this tree "
          actually good is nothing but obeying God and evil is nothing but disobeying God.

          and from other view of point that was the scenario of God to humans can know God in earth and made such scenario to human come in earth and know God.
          God can not be known in a all good medium (Heaven).
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          May 13 2011: @Birdia...."Nobody in history has ever sinned over eating a piece of fruit, Peter. That is senseless talk"
          BEST ARGUMENT EVER!!!! I'm not joking. I think this is my all time favorite statement! you rock!
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        Apr 20 2011: Yes. Adding to what Nicholas said, all that Etienne Vermeersch's logic, along with all others we've presented suggests, is that the Judeo-Christian God does not exist AS DESCRIBED. It does not speak of "God" in general or of "Judeo-Christian God, but not exactly as described". If you unshackle God from the bible or other holy scriptures, none of our arguments so far are applicable.

        But if you want to go on the fundamentalist road further, here's one more thing...
        "No, God did not make a mistake, because He gave Adam and Eve a commandment and they disobeyed the commandment. They disobeyed God and were punished, accordingly."
        God is our creator, right? Our divine father. Am I right? Well... does that mean that when a child commits a bad deed, it's the child's responsibility? Or if God is our shepherd... does that mean that when a sheep commits a bad deed, it's the sheep's responsibility? In both cases, doesn't the authority figure (father, shepherd) take the blame? Blaming "our" mistake on us as opposed to God is like taking a kid to jail as opposed to the parent. And if the only reason it's our mistake is because God says so, then that's like a father who makes his kid feel miserable... and we still call this father "all loving"?
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        Apr 21 2011: "You cannot go back to the innocent state any more than I can. Only God has that kind of clout."
        Sounds like one more reason not to be ruled by God then. I mean what's the point if there's no way I could go back to that innocent state? Be closer to that state? I can go closer without the Christian God. And if that state is heaven, I should be going there whether I believe in God or not, as long as I'm trying to be as close to that state. If God does not accept good people who don't believe in him, he's not "all loving".

        "Evil is only evil if we know it is evil, otherwise we are innocent."
        They didn't knew disobeying God was evil (if we still follow the literal bible interpretation and take it as true...) => they were innocent when disobeying him. God was not innocent (he knew what was good & evil) and he did not make them aware that disobeying him was evil => he is imperfect.

        "It contained the 'knowledge' of good & evil."
        Same deal. God could've hidden the knowledge of good & evil deep underground or something, locked into a material form. Same way he did it with the tree, but unreachable by Adam and Eve.

        If he didn't, he was a bad parent/shepherd for not taking precautions in regards to his innocent children/sheep, therefore imperfect. Our mistake being that he didn't take precautions and we didn't know better doesn't make it our fault. Imagine the following scenario:

        A parent tells his kid not to drink a bottle that is on the table, and that it contains poison that will kill it, but the bottle is still reachable by the kid. The parent leaves the kid to do whatever it wants while the parent does something else (also never clarified: If God is all knowing, why did he not overheard the snake conversation and just intervened, reminding Eve she should actually follow his one and only rule?). The child drinks the bottle, and after some time dies. Are you saying the parent is not responsible? Jail-free? Not even by "murder by carelessness" sentence?
    • Apr 21 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,
      "The Judeo Christian God is considered to be "all powerful" "all good" and "knows everything"
      Given our earth, there is human misery, disease, random death, loss, depression, war,.... So he is either not all powerful, not all good or not all knowing. Ergo no such God exists"

      yes, God has unlimited power and knowledge. much more than we need in earth. but God not want to clear misery, disease, random death, loss, depression, war in earth.
      God made world in such situation knowingly, purposely, wittingly.
      God purposely wants war in world:
      http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.qaribullah/2:36

      you have power to cut your hand, but you do NOT want to cut your hand. this means you do not have power to cut your hand?

      sorry for that Belgian Philosopher.

      if here is war in world, its for human option.
      humans are not like animals. human can decide to do good or bad.
      if there is no option, so human would be like animal and it is not intend of God for creating human.

      life of world is mixed with problems.
      it is impossible any human live in earth and not have problems.
      life at earth is for testing that which humans has better manner.
      http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.qaribullah/11:7
      http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.qaribullah/67:2
    • Apr 28 2011: Dear Christopher:
      To your first point: Look up this vid :) http://vimeo.com/13122183
    • May 7 2011: "1) I assume you mean by God the Judeo-christian one (JHWH or EL or Allah)"
      your define has conflict:
      Judeo-christian=Judeo+christian and not Islam.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judeo-Christian

      "JHWH or EL or Allah"
      JHWH=God in the Hebrew language
      EL= God in Northwest Semitic language
      Allah= God in Arabic language

      Allah is Arabic name of God not only in Islam:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allah
      and has many attributes that only 99 of them has mentioned in Koran:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/99_Names_of_God

      please clarify your definition of God.

      "3) concerning "Pascal's Wager""
      he was very clever. but had a mistake:
      if y=1/x then the type of y will be the same as type of x. the "surprise value" you defined is independent of time and shows the value, not the time. if you want to describe this value in time it should be in two dimension that the y scale is surprise value and x value is time. like this:
      http://goo.gl/WwQs0
      and after some hours/days/weeks/months/years finally the "surprise value" will decade from infinite and then the "pain value" starts to increase like this:
      http://goo.gl/JprLT
      (the time x=0 the death time)

      => I and you Need to worry about hell
      • Comment deleted

        • Jun 16 2011: Dear Iqbal.
          according to Christopher argument if Hell exist after death the surprise value will be infinite and this cause we do not sense pain of Hell.
          but I said yes it will be infinite but not for always. after some time the surprise value will decline and our pain sense starts working and so will sense pain.
          this is like when you hear a surprise news. the surprise value does not remain in a high value and decline after some time.
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          Jun 19 2011: If you can show me how surprise behaves in hell, and suffering and pain for the same matter, we can start to discuss the mathematics.
          until then, one can also assume infinite surprise might be so strong that it would actually mean heaven to me...
        • Jun 20 2011: "If you can show me how surprise behaves in hell"
          its like this world but more. but not infinite. infinite is for life time of humans.
          for example the pain and enjoy in that other universe is 10 times more than enjoy and pain in this world.
          that universe is like current universe but higher in quality of enjoy and enjoys are with no work or pain or worry. and higher in pain sense.
          and also endless.
          also the body in that other universe is similar to this body but with sense 10 times more and also all who enter Heaven will become a human at age of 40.
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          Jun 20 2011: You seem to have a lot of declarative knowledge about heaven and hell...
          Sure the factor is only 10? not 100? why not ever increasing? why 40 year old body? why not 25? (rhetorical questions, no need to respond)

          I suppose you base yourself on some scriptures written in the 7th century?
          That would truly be a source of scientific knowledge I'm ready to accept!

          (sorry for my sarcasm S.R., but such truth-claims are totally nonsensical to me, and I can't distinguish them from truth-claims made by madmen)
        • Jun 21 2011: "You seem to have a lot of declarative knowledge about heaven and hell..."
          I say from Koran and from sayings of prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
          if I say some thing from myself it is lie and lie is Great sin.

          religion has 3 pest:
          1- evildoer spirituality
          2-cruel leader
          3- ignorant saint

          "I suppose you base yourself on some scriptures written in the 7th century? "
          firstly I based myself on wisdom and rational and then found Koran not from any human and then accepted it as truth.

          "That would truly be a source of scientific knowledge I'm ready to accept!"
          this is correct. Koran is also a source of science. medicine, chemistry and ...

          please do not say anything about Koran before you be sure.

          "(sorry for my sarcasm S.R., but such truth-claims are totally nonsensical to me, and I can't distinguish them from truth-claims made by madmen)"
          any wise human should say this.
          I ask you research more about Koran. if you could prove any kind of error in Koran I doubt Koran. using: rational argument/certain accepted science/logic/mathematics or any other valid way. but not hypothesis.

          the only difference of me and you is Koran.
          please reconsider about Koran and do not give it up quickly according what you hear.
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    Apr 10 2011: "yeah the whole idea can be denied with logical reasoning but "

    o_O
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      Apr 10 2011: And there's the answer for "why do most people who ask themselves this question and go search for answers come back a christian?" right in the above statement. Because logic doesn't work on most Christians.
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        Drew B

        • 0
        Apr 11 2011: It's like this, prove there was a George Washington?
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          Apr 13 2011: The first US constitution, still a present document, along with other historical documents (previous versions of most, if not all, laws, logs and notes) and artifacts (3rd parties' books, portraits, etc.) are all evidence for George Washington's existence and accomplishments (being a president is still a human accomplishment... for example if I claimed I've won a tournament, having a Cup is a good evidence, and the only better evidence is to ask the tournament organizer for confirmation).

          If Washington claimed to be (the son of) God, those wouldn't be enough to say Washington was indeed (the son of) God. If Washington claimed to be... let's say a black person (I'm just making stuff up)... portraits of him, along with notes that say he's white would be evidence for this not being the case.

          "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" - Carl Sagan.
      • Apr 28 2011: Become a Christion is the most logical thing you can do. Why? You will no longer fear death, you will be sure that your life has a purpose, even though you are not rich as Bill Gates or wise as Albert Einstein. You will get rid of insecurities in your life. When you become Christian, you believe in pure love, forgiveness, human's good, eternal life and in God who is almighty, fair, good and eternal.

        And it's not like you're trying to fool your mind. It's just a lifestyle - the best one you can possibly have.

        I know this sounds subjectively and it also is subjective. But I think I can't lose anything, I can only gain.
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      Apr 10 2011: I think we're done here. QED.
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        Drew B

        • +2
        Apr 16 2011: Vasil,
        Exactly, you are accepting documentation of George Washington. When there is just as much documentation of the Bible. Dead Sea Scrolls for example. You know there is way more evidence that the Bible is real and truth telling than the Roman Empire.
        Also, "The crucifixion was recorded by the Roman historian Tacitus, who wrote less than a hundred years after Christ. Writing about the Roman Emperors from Nero to Trajan, Tacitus mentions the Great Fire of Rome in A.D. 64 and Nero's attempt to place the blame for it on the Christians.

        Tacitus then wrote that "Christus [the Latin spelling of Christ], from whom the name [Christians] had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty [crucifixion] during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition [referring to Christianity], thus checked for the moment, again broke out only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome..." (Annals, XV, 44).

        Here is historical evidence Jesus Lived! This was not a Christian writing, but a Roman historian who abhorred things Christian! Tacitus had access to the records. He had the proof Jesus was crucified!

        Suetonius, another Roman historian and a contemporary of Tacitus, tells us that about A.D. 49 the Emperor Claudius banished all Jews from the city of Rome (an incident also mentioned in Acts 18:2): "He expelled the Jews from Rome, on account of the riots in which they were constantly indulging, at the instigation of Chrestus [generally understood as a misspelling of the name of Chirst]" (The Lives of the Caesars, Book V, 25).

        Reference to Jesus is also made by the Jewish historian, priest and general Flavius Josephus, who was born about A.D. 37. Writing about the death, in Jerusalem, of James, Josephus casually speaks of him as "the brother of Jesus who was called Christ" Antiquities of the Jews, XX: 9,1)."
        http://www.towards-success.com/dejnarde_files/evidence_of_jesus.htm
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          Apr 16 2011: Read the rest of your own topic:
          http://www.ted.com/conversations/1602/why_don_t_people_believe_in_go.html?c=223647

          I already said that the fact Jesus existed and was crucified doesn't prove he's the son of God (and inherently, God's existence), and neither does the count of his followers. Even Tacitus, per the note you quote calls it "mischievous superstition". They treated Jesus the same way we'd deal today with cult leaders (well... minus the death penalty)... so where's the evidence that makes Jesus right and everyone else (including the roman Gods because of which they crucified Jesus) wrong?
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        Drew B

        • 0
        Apr 17 2011: Those writers didnt want to believe that Jesus was the Son of God. Thats why the bible is full of people writing about Jesus and why they believe. They didnt believe it so they wrote it from a diffrent standpoint. Even the Roman Gods, Scientist have studied the way it was brought up and have concluded that they made it up. But Our God has been here since the beginning of time not made up on the spot, and the bible is documentation for that.
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          Apr 17 2011: "Those writers didnt want to believe that Jesus was the Son of God."
          And we don't want to believe in Bin Laden or Scientology... does that mean we're wrong and they're right?

          "They didnt believe it so they wrote it from a diffrent standpoint."
          Again, we do the same thing towards other religions today. Does that make us wrong and them right?

          "But Our God has been here since the beginning of time not made up on the spot,"
          According to the claim. But there's no evidence of that.

          "and the bible is documentation for that."
          No, it's not. It's a documentation of someone's claims. That doesn't make the claims true. It only means there were such claims.

          In the case of the old testament, it's a documentation of the writer's claims on what is the word of the being they claim to have aided them in writing the documentation.
          In the case of the new testament, it's a documentation of the claims of a person who claimed to be the son of said claimed being.

          The bible in both testaments is a thesis, not evidence. Me writing out something in a book that I persuade people to believe in without evidence doesn't make anything I write true.
          "I'm the true son of God. Jesus was just a trickster. I was born out of a virgin mother."
          There. I'll publish that in a book, and I'll persuade people who don't know better to believe me without evidence. There's no evidence of Jesus being such while I'm not. There's also no verifiable evidence of my mother giving me birth while not being virgin. You can't prove me wrong. Am I the son of God, the true messiah? Or... let's say it's not me, it's a friend of mine who you don't know. Is he the son of God?
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        Drew B

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        Apr 17 2011: Yet did you perform miracles and have many people write about it? Yes I can prove that your not because you said you didnt believe in God in earlier statements.
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          Apr 17 2011: Like I said, let's say it's not me. It's this friend of mine who you don't know. And yes, he claims he performed miracles, and I'm going to write about them, because I too claim he performed miracles, or rather, I believe he performed miracles. Me writing about them is going to cause others to write about them. He also claims he is the true son of God. Is he the son of God just because I believe him and I'll make others believe in him as well?

          You might say I've spoken against such things in the past. Well, I claim I've changed.
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          Apr 17 2011: Drew,

          My biggest problem is if Jesus is so right and the rest is so wrong, why is he in only one set of stories in one book?

          Why did no historians write about Jesus outside of Christianity?

          I do not dislike the idea of God as love, or Jesus as a prophet (I hate the rich just as much, and think we should all help one another constantly) but I cannot accept a library of stories of having any fact in it, it is impossible. If Christians used the bible as a story book for preaching great ideas of love and togetherness, boy would anyone have a rough time bashing Christians, but that is not the case. Prime example lies with the Vatican City.
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          Apr 17 2011: People wrote about what the overlord Xenu was up to trillions of years ago, it's an official religion (scientology). By Drew's logic it MUST be true!

          If I've learned anything from Uri Geller it's that people are so easily fooled in believing extraordiary lies.
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        Drew B

        • +1
        Apr 23 2011: Many people saw Jesus' miracles. Many people saw them and if jesus was just another cult leader then why has every cult died out except this one. People died for Jesus. I dont know about you but i would only give up my life if I truly believed.
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          Apr 23 2011: Not every other cult has died out. Look at Muslims for example. The same thing you said can be applied for them, and they'll be just as wrong as you are:

          Many people saw Mohamed's miracles. Many people saw them and if Mohamed was just another cult leader then why has every cult died out except this one. People died for Mohamed. I dont know about you but i would only give up my life if I truly believed.

          The same thing can also be said for pretty much every other of today's religions by simply using the name of the prophet.

          The fact they truly believed the claims doesn't make the claims true. I truly believe there's an invisible pink unicorn right now behind you, and I'll persuade many people to just "have faith" that there is an invisible pink unicorn behind you. I could die for this claim if someone decides to kill me for it (though I'm not willing to kill myself for it), but I still believe it... does that mean there is an invisible pink unicorn behind you?

          The fact they gave up their life because of the claims doesn't make them true. Otherwise, Bin Laden's cult is right and everyone else is wrong.
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          Apr 23 2011: What about Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, scientologists and all the regional smaller cults of the world? And since when is the survival of a cult an argument for its veracity?

          People have given up their lives for many causes, true or otherwise. I think Vasil's example of Osama Bin Laden's followers is a perfect example of that. That's what religious certainty does to you, makes you think you're justified into running planes into buildings for the glory of a God. That's not something to be proud of.
        • Apr 23 2011: Dear Matthieu Miossec,
          survival of a cult is not an argument for its veracity. maybe child follow theirs fathers with no think.

          do you consider Osama Bin Laden religious? why? how you know him?
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          Apr 23 2011: Are you serious? Is this a serious question? Are you really asking us how we know Osama Bin Laden is religious? That's like asking me if the pope is religious! I don't know either of these guys but its pretty damn obvious as religion is what they use to justify their actions.

          "maybe child follow theirs fathers with no think." Funny you should say that, that's exactly what I think religious people do. It's interesting how people of a particular religion hold on to that particular religion so much, to that particular denomination. I bet your family is Muslim and Drew's family is Christian.
        • Apr 23 2011: Dear Matthieu Miossec,
          I mean how much you are sure your image of osama is true?
          not any one with a long beard and Arabian clothing you see just in TV is really Muslim.
          anything any TV channel show is truth? who is at the back of most large media?
          TV not say any lie?
          please research who has given fighter air plains to Osman to bombard Afghanistan people?
          osama is like Mubarak and Ghazafi supported by US
          Muslim has definitions and terms.

          not all child following his father has not researched religion.
          but most follow father's beliefs with no research including Muslim countries.
          few human really research religions and select best of them.
          God says:
          "Who listen to speech and follow the best of it. Those are the ones Allah has guided, and those are people of understanding."
          http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/39:18
          (saying is better translation than speech)

          have you listened this speech?:
          http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/lesley_hazelton_on_reading_the_koran.html
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          Apr 23 2011: Dam Drew you are easy to convince then.

          BTW 2012 is real, end of the world, do some drugs.
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          Sky F

          • 0
          Apr 23 2011: Matthieu, ever consider that Osama exploits Muslim's religion to pursue his own agenda? I believe that many of his followers are religious, but I don't believe he himself is actually doing what he is doing out of religion. It's a facade to gain followers.
        • Apr 25 2011: Dear Nicholas Lukowiak,
          what Hollywood makes is a Imagination fiction to fear people.
          when people are afraid they are easy to control.
          ufo, star war, alliance, osama, Islamophobia,... all is for people be always afraid.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamophobia
          what is evidence and proof behind 2012?
          if you remember the same story was about 2000.
          Maya calendar! what a valid reference!
          have you seen "loose change"?
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          Apr 25 2011: Nicholas doesn't believe in 2012, it was sarcasm.
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          Apr 26 2011: I got to say S.R before you added a picture of yourself I imagined a college kid.

          But yeah, you need to read more English websites, books, and articles.

          Sarcasm is something of it's own lesson.

          And no, I haven't watched "loose change" yet. If you like those movies check out "The one percent"
  • Comment deleted

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      Drew B

      • 0
      Mar 30 2011: Because it brings people happiness and thats all we want right?
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        Mar 30 2011: what if i am happy with my self?
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          Drew B

          • 0
          Mar 30 2011: Well i cant tell you that you arnt happy but I think if you are goign to believe what you are you should make sure my option is 100% percent wrong and no chance of being right because if you have not you may be robbing yourself of eternal life and happiness
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          Mar 30 2011: Is it possible to be truly happy in the state our world is in?
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          Drew B

          • 0
          Mar 30 2011: yes, cause i know i am most of the time but not fully but then again if you dont believe in God, positive thinking will increase your outlook on life greatly
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          Mar 30 2011: @ Drew.. I am a very spiritual person, accepting, understanding of what true love is, and the only people I hate are those who put materials over people.

          I'm a skeptic so maybe their is a god-like being who started life on our planet; however I believe (and from my understanding of history, humanities, and present day religions) any god created in any religion is childish and destructive to the progress of human thought.

          @ Sargis - good question, if people understood WORLD issues rather than national issues, no i don't believe people could be truly happy if they knew how much evil was created from man-made ideologies. I personally feel a sick feeling in the back of my throat every time I hear someone say America is the greatest nation in the world. Although we are responsible for so much death. We cry over our soldiers being killed in a war that is over resources not freedom. No one on any news station HAS EVER stated the number we have killed the ratio is probably 1 to 1000. Indeed it is in ignorance that allows many people to live happily while the world slowly dies.

          But I believe religion is a root of such ignorance. Religion through the tradition of people passing down their faiths to their children instead of teaching their kids to be open-minded allowed only a single minded experience of life to happen.
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          Mar 30 2011: Whether I am religious or not, I find it impossible to be truly happy in this world unless I forget about all that is going on around me. It didn't take me long to realize that the only way I could really smile is by helping and making a difference. Otherwise, I'm smiling over all the pain in the world, almost as if to ignore what's going on as you said Nicholas. I find my happiness by making others happy and I think that that's the only true way to be fully happy. To serve, share and care. This is what lasts. This experience. The rest just wares off in time. Everything else just doesn't matter.

          And regarding religions. Any religion that promotes killing instead of love is biased. End of story. And I believe that all spirituality and true happiness in this world revolves around helping each other. I have yet to taste happiness greater than the happiness that is born out of helping and serving.
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          Mar 30 2011: That stuff makes you feel good and happy for a small amount of time but can you call that true happiness? Temporary doses of happiness isn't what I'm talking about.
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          Mar 30 2011: Well drew, the thing about "us" it that it is not up to us to prove that something that you have failed to prove is false... if there is no proof of god, that should be proof enough that there is no hell...

          Edit: Happiness is very possible without god, perhaps you should try it!
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          Mar 30 2011: "What has your God done for you that you couldn't have done for yourself?"
          As Birdia said, we don't need God to be happy, we simply need to do things that make us happy.
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          Drew B

          • 0
          Mar 30 2011: God has created you to do stuff to make you happy. He wants to see us happy because it brings happiness to him.

          @Jimmy: There is plenty of proof there is a God
          @Nicholas: The God I believe in was not created by man and our ideas. We got this idea from Jesus coming down from heaven and spreading the word and we have the bible. We didnt create God. God created us. And my parents did teach me to be open minded and thats why i am having this discussion. They let me decide if following God waswwhat i wanted to do.
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          Mar 31 2011: @Drew. so in other words, God is an egoist, right ? He created his toys (humans) just to play and make HIM happy.
        • Apr 8 2011: No Harald...God is not an egoist. He created us because he wanted to share his love with us.

          And Debra, please cite the source that you got that information (about Christians not being as happy) from...how do I know you are not just making that up?
        • May 7 2011: "Happiness is very possible without god, perhaps you should try it!"
          it is short term happiness. max possible is as long as your short life of world.
          60 or 70 or 100 years is very short time to be happy.
          real happiness is infinite happiness with no pain even pain of labor of eating food.
          why you should try to elevate food to your moth? this is not real happiness.
          and food after becoming full has no happiness. so it is limited happiness.
          unlimited happiness is better. for example happiness of leaning knowledge is not limited.
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        Mar 31 2011: Drew- a sincere question,
        How can you say that believing in God brings happiness when Christians are on anti-depressants at the same or greater rate than nonbelievers, have the same divorce rate, have similar rates of home foreclosure etc.?
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          Mar 31 2011: excellent question! I too would like the answer to that...
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          Mar 31 2011: I think one step to understanding true happiness is to realize what isn't true happiness.

          Let's start with money. I disagree with the notion that money is happiness or is what makes you happy because I've seen so many people with loads of money who weren't, yet they had everything they needed. Why weren't they happy? Because money is a tool, not a destination. Money can help you in the process of becoming happy or sort out problems you are facing but money is not happiness per se, especially when you realize that the monetary system is nothing but modern, 21st Century slavery.

          Next is materialism. Not happiness in my opinion. Again, these are just tools and objects. They can help along the way but they are temporary doses of happiness because if you take them away, you just go back to being sad. Which is why materialism isn't supposed to come first, otherwise it governs you and decides whether you are happy or not based on what you have, which is bullocks. In reality, you don't have ANY of that. It all wares off in due time. Materialism is a very powerful illusion that can throw you into a state of feeling like you are truly happy but pull the plug and all the fancy lights go off...

          Healthy activities. Makes your body feel good and opens your mind. It is a preparatory medium, preparing you for your journey ahead, but to make it your focal point of happiness, above everything else, won't work because what happens if you fall and break a leg? No more running, no more long healthy activities. Does that mean you can't be happy anymore? Nope. I've seen true happiness a number of times in my life and what's interesting is that it came from people who had disadvantages on many occasions. Ironic isn't it? They didn't have half of what we do and yet they were so many times happier. This immediately makes you question what true happiness is. They didn't have lots of money, they didn't have lots of material items, they couldn't do most activities but there they were..happy.
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          Mar 31 2011: So when we realize that everything mentioned above is temporary doses of happiness that simply contribute in the long run, where does true happiness come from? In my opinion it comes from the following...

          1. Putting emphasis on the more important aspects and values of life that automatically overshadow the materialism (especially money), which in one way or another makes us sad because we all know that it doesn't last forever. The fact that everything material constantly approaches an end, creates a temporary veil of happiness for us but a much longer lasting fear, which on many occasions we don't even realize. That is how powerful materialism is. It truly is the greatest drug.

          2. Have a positive or important goal/objective in life, preferably bigger than you. I've realized from my own experience that people who don't have a goal just kinda feel lost, doing one thing or another, constantly changing. This is a problem because it becomes very easy to fall off of balance and just go on an emotional roller coaster which can be very dangerous. As George Harrison put it, "if you don't know where you're going, any road can take you there." This is actually one of the reasons why religion is so appealing. It creates a long term goal which is crystal clear. People don't like feeling lost! When they do? They usually do stupid, random things.

          3. Look at how far you have come, not how far you are going. See problems as obstacles and lessons, not curses. A positive outlook on life makes all the difference.

          So in the end, happiness isn't really one thing, it's a combination of many things but the focal point I believe needs to be higher than whatever is temporary because at the end of the day, it's our life experiences that we take with us, nothing more. I think that humans are very connected to each other and very emotional. They NEED to care about, share, and help each other, instead of just putting themselves first. This leads to true happiness and materialism just fades.
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          Drew B

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          Mar 31 2011: O they do now? Actually i think thats a false statistic but even if it wasnt, It's not God who creates that. It's us who has created divorces, and all these other bad things. We are tested to go to Heaven and I'm not saying Christians are better than any other person and because they are christian everything is just magically going to be ponies and rainbows for the rest of their lives, because stuff does happen and it does hurt you and its going to come down to how we handle it. and yes look at Sargis B's response.
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        May 14 2011: Do I have to be happy if I believe in God?
        Because I've found being unhappy useful at times. Some of the best times in my life has been when I've struggled with something.
        I couldn't handle being satisfied all the time.
  • Jul 24 2011: Why not believe?

    Easy:

    1. Which god(s)?
    2. Which hell or punishment might have the slightest possibility to exist?
    3. Where did you get the idea that most people examining the idea come back as Christian? I seriously doubt it.

    You comment already assumes one god and one god only, but there's plenty of gods, even in Christianity there are plenty of versions of "God." So, if you truly want to understand why people don't believe in "God" you should actually start with why people don't believe in gods. If you ask the latter, it will become easier for you to understand why not. There are plenty of gods not to believe. Plenty of possible punishments for not believing. If we then look at your version of Pascal's wager, then there are plenty of "truth claims" to investigate, because most of these gods demand exclusivity, thus nobody can play it safe. You would be also at risk of eternal torment because you chose the wrong god (if there's any).

    Of course there are many more reasons not to believe. Most god(s) are irrational, contradictory to both reality and their own doctrines. Most just fill-in for things we still have no answers for. It is very easy to learn and understand how these superstitions arise across cultures, and thus no reason to think that any gods believed today are any different, or any more real, than those gods nobody believes any more but were believed by older cultures. We can even trace the evolution of the descriptions and ways of believing those gods believed today. The more the reason to think they are imaginary. Again, just as imaginary as any other.

    I refuse to answer any questions about "God" without first explaining that it is nothing personal: atheists don't believe in any gods. It is not just yours, and that yours looks exactly as any other.

    There you have it.
  • Jun 12 2011: If you can understand--without contradiction--why you do not believe in Islam, then you will understand why people do not believe in your God.
  • May 3 2011: okay, I'm not going to pretend that I am as intelligent as any of you people, so I'm going to present my case as coming from a basically raw brain that has not been in this world for very long and am hoping you will find my simplistic view of this topic refreshing.
    I'm going to say that it is more morally justifiable to argue and attempt to convert others to the Christian view of eternity rather than the atheist view.
    just think about it. yeah, you've been learning all this crap about theology and whatnot and you think that it is illogical that God exists. whatever, that's your business not mine. but when you die, is it really going to matter what you think is logical? (if we're saying that there are two choices: you pass into the afterlife, or your body just dies and you cease to exist) If the atheists are right and there is no afterlife, it doesn't really matter becuase I'm dead anyway and I'm not going to know the difference. But if the Christians are right, and those who didn't choose to follow God go to hell for all eternity, sucks for you becuase you didn't listen to us. I really really don't want anyone to have to go to hell and if you think it will be fun to burn for all eternity becuase at least you will be 'surprised', no offense but that is the most ignorant thing I have ever heard. and if you do end up there, don't blame me for not trying to convince you, becuase I wrote you a very lengthy comment on ted.com and you ignored it. just stop being 'intellectual' for a minute and think about what is really important. becuase what in the world are you going to gain by convincing poor Drew that his God doesn't exist. just the satisfaction that you've torn apart someone's entire life so that they can be what you call 'enlightened'. and people say Christians are closed-minded
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      May 3 2011: Oh no... you're right!

      But hey... I believe S.R. Ahmadi would say the same thing about Islam... it would suck to be you if he and all Muslims are right, and all Christians are wrong, huh?

      Which doctrine is the right one for a place in heaven? Hmm... decisions, decisions...

      Oh and... if you're good, why would it matter to God if you're a Christian or not? If he sends people to hell for the sole reason of not believing in him... you want all people to worship a monster (ala Stalin/Hitler/Sadam, but supernatural) who's very existence is not proven?

      See also
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqJpZOljjG8
      oh, and
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urlTBBKTO68

      Sort of a side note... I think the Eastern Orthodox Christian church has contributed to the higher non-believers rates in Europe (or at least in my country for sure)... the very logic you're presenting, they analyze by saying "God views all of us equally, and judges us only by our deeds". This eliminates any fear one might have from dropping God, even though it still holds people hostage to the thought that "religion = morality" which is simply false, but it's useful in keeping Christians a statistical majority. If you had asked me a year ago about my religion, I would've said "Christian" because of that mind trick. To realize I'm actually an atheist, you would've had to explicitly ask me "do you believe there is a God?", to which even back then I would've said "I don't believe there is a God".
      • May 4 2011: I'm in the position you describe at the bottom of your final paragraph. But I will continue to call myself a Christian because I'd rather live life with hope for something greater, than no hope at all. Also friends and family are Christian, so I'd rather not rock the boat.

        Though I think religious principles are good at a fundamental level, so they do dictate universal morality to an extent.
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          May 4 2011: "But I will continue to call myself a Christian because I'd rather live life with hope for something greater, than no hope at all."
          What's stopping you from having this hope while being an agnostic or atheist? Like I said (well... like the Eastern Orthodox priests imply), God should be sending you to heaven regardless of what you call yourself, as long as you're a good person, which I'm sure you are and will continue to be regardless of any labels. Of course, that's just our (non-divine) judgment, not God's, but that's why it's "hope" I guess.

          Also, who says atheists and/or agnostics don't have hope for something greater? It's just that this hope is fully targeted at this world, not another one. Although I don't believe there'll be heaven on earth by the time I'm on my death bed, I do hope me and the rest of humanity can contribute greatly towards that dream, also keeping in mind that if this was the only world and no hell, this also means that there won't be a reason for sadness (which isn't true in the heaven&hell scenario; knowing there's hell would make you sad for those there, or if God forces you not to be, it would be like being on drugs).

          "Also friends and family are Christian, so I'd rather not rock the boat."
          So... peer pressure... which in turn creates peer pressure towards your peers, existing and new... it seems like for all you know, many of your friends and family might already be not-really Christians. I think you might have a good discussion topic with them here, even while wearing your Christian hat on and therefore not rocking the boat.

          "Though I think religious principles are good at a fundamental level"
          Oh nou nou nou... the fundamental level is where it becomes bad. Whether it's hatred towards Jews and gays, being offended when the truthfulness of something holy is being questioned or something else... the fundamental level is the bad level. It's the basic level about religions that's good, that being the golden rule.
      • May 4 2011: Thank you for the suggestions.

        "fundamental" is another word for "basic". And, yes, these basic/fundamental principles don't hate Jews and gays, in my opinion. I agree with you.
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    Apr 4 2011: To know truth, I need not only to hear it, but to experience it.Example: Preparing for a test on “the EKG changes with heart attack.”I can study the information for the test & retain it for the test & a few weeks.BUT I won't know the information until I apply it in treating a heart patient, then teach it to someone else.Thus the adage in medical training, see one, do one, teach one.AND truth is relative to the person: for the test just mentioned, truth has to be what your teacher said it is [if I want to pass the test].I think this insight about truth applies to the truth we speak of: the reality of God.Comparing the creation story with evolution theory: I believe The Creation Story because I have experienced that God is truth in my life.God is the most credible being out there.I believe in evolution because it works in practice.It allows me to understand embryology of humans, the differences between the species, etc.Evolution allows folk like me to understand science--the way humans get how this physical world works. My experience has shown me the truth of God.Cummulnation of many things I experenced that were paradoxical was: when I finished my medical training, I thought I knew everything about diagnosing and treating human illness.When folk who, according to science, should die, did not, and those who should live, died, I learned there was something beyond the physical and mental to consider in diagnosing and treating humans.I searched until I found Paul Tournier's explanation: “there are two diagnoses in every illness, the scientific and the meaning of the illness for the individual.”Later I understood that science only gives half.God is about the meaning for us of life.To learn, I started putting God in my life, just as I acted as if my EKG teacher knew what she was talking about so that I could pass her tests.To be good at finding God-whose-only-son-is-Jesus, I studied God's textbook, The Bible, applied & reflected upon it as I experience my life.It works!!
    • Apr 5 2011: Well said, Bill. I completely agree.
  • Apr 3 2011: I don't think that the "there isn't any proof" argument makes much sense. I used to use it. I stood behind it, mostly because I think it was easy. It's easy to use science and numbers to prove things wrong. What I didn't understand was how people could believe in some invisible entity. How can you see something that you cannot see? ha! It took me a while to realize how unfair of question that is...
    What I believe doesn't come from numbers, science, or "experts." What I ultimately came to understand was the fact that I can't prove "God" or Christianity (where my faith lies) wrong. Is the absence of proof enough to falsify?And a better question (with no intent of persecution), why choose to neglect something you can't prove wrong? Especially when the "supposed" consequences of not believing are so severe?
    I'm going to share an excerpt from a book written by a man that set out to prove God wrong and ended up being one heck of an apologetic:
    "If the whole Universe has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe, and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning" C.S. Lewis.

    This is where my faith grew from. Ever since it has been pretty awesome :)
    • Apr 3 2011: Well you believe because you have faith, which is why the ‘no proof’ argument doesn’t make sense to you. You don’t require objective data to believe or disbelieve something. I’m not like you.

      There is also no proof I will be hit by a car tomorrow. I believe this to be a distinctly higher probability than going to hell. Would you call me reckless if I do not let this risk prevent me from going to work?

      I agree numbers and science often make it easy to prove things wrong. Numbers and science also facilitate proving things right. I appreciate this, but that’s just me.

      The question was, ‘Why don't people believe in God?’ I just though I’d give my answer. (It's below someplace)
      • Apr 3 2011: That's the thing though. I WAS like you. It's weird to think about now, actually. I respect your reasoning though. When you reason within the world as we know it, the "logical" answer is "No God." If the only difference between us is faith, where do you get faith? That's the question I asked all of my Christian friends. They told me to ask God instead. So I threw all caution to the wind and did. Along with my question to Him and a few books of people experiencing this same debacle, I slowly learned that I couldn't deny.
        As for for your "Original Sin" question, It reminded me of a story I read in one of those books. It's too long to post on here though. Again, it's not something to prove, but it definitely helps make "sense" of it. If you're interested, I can send it to you.
        • Apr 3 2011: That is the thing. When I exam the people (& things?) I do have faith in for whatever reason, it’s not blind faith. They, or we, have worked on, or solved something, or come through for each other, in some way shape or form, in a time of need in the past. It’s not blind faith.

          I can imagine a belief in God can be come about the same way. That is if one were in need for some reason, concrete or abstract, and found solace in a belief in God that relieved one of their stress, then one could have faith in God. For them it would not be blind faith. As I haven’t had such an experience with God, I don’t have faith and don’t believe. It’s not something one could take someone else’s word for. At least I can’t.

          (I didn’t buy original sin, or the rest of the catechism, in the first grade. And I went to Catholic school!)
        • Apr 3 2011: I totally agree with you, Ben! C.S. Lewis has been the greatest source of inspiration concerning my faith. I especially like 'Mere Christianity'.
      • Apr 4 2011: I understand. Christians talk about accepting God as a fulfillment. If your cup is already full, what's the reason in looking for something to fill it up? I've just found that "overflowing" feels better. That's all I can say.

        (And that's funny, because a lot of my non-believer friends seem to have gone to catholic school too. What do they teach in there!!? Pounding religion into kids doesn't seem very useful haha)

        Austin: Yeah I really enjoy his stuff. If you want a really good read, pick up Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. And there's never enough C.S. Lewis to read.
        • Apr 4 2011: >(And that's funny, because a lot of my non-believer friends seem to have gone to catholic school too. What do they teach in there!!? . . .<

          For me, fear. Although that wasn't the reason for my disbelief of God. I couldn't resolve why God would create man so man could experience joy and happiness believing in God. That's the reason we were fed. Why would an omnipotent, omnipresent being need 'fans'?
      • Apr 4 2011: In scripture, it is stated our God is a jealous God (TED probably isn't the best place to quote the bible...sorry) I believe that he gave us choice (to be 'fans') because, in a universal understanding, what better feeling is there than being chosen over something else? Especially when something as heavy as 'life' is on the line.

        As far as experiencing joy and happiness, I believe something that might be a little "out there." I believe that we yearn for these happy and joyous moments. One would call these moments "timeless" moments, right? We strive for joy and happiness because it is timeless. This tells me that maybe we weren't made for a universe where time and matter coexist. Maybe we desire something that's not quantifiable... We were made to someday, be with God where time does not exist; Heaven.

        Just my belief, powered by faith. Please don't bash me for it. Yeah, you'll be able to find a lot of holes in my "reasoning" and say it's wrong. But where do you get the idea of right and wrong?...just and unjust?
        My two cents.
        • Apr 4 2011: Oh gosh Ben, I hope you don’t perceive me as ‘bashing’ you. That is not my intent. I’m just trying explain my perspective (because Drew asked), and perhaps contrast it with what I think the faithful have for believing in God. I’ve not meant any harm, if I have, I am sorry.

          If God is jealous, he’s/she’s (it’s?) not perfect. Why would a perfect being need to be chosen over something else?

          I yearn for “these happy and joyous moments” as well and have had them, I just don’t need a belief in God to have them.

          As far as accusing believers of being wrong, not from my lips. I'll say they're not logical, not rational, not scientific, sure. And if rationality is what I require, well that’s just one of the things that makes me, me. Whatever floats your boat is okay with me, so long as you don’t tell me how to float mine, force it on others, or cause me & others to suffer the consequences of believer’s irrational actions. As far as I’m concerned people can live anyway they want so long as they don’t step on anyone else’s toes.

          That’s basically my idea of right and wrong, and I don’t know where it comes from, but it doesn’t require a belief in God to have it.
      • Apr 5 2011: Oh no, not you Vincine. Just if anybody that read my post and felt the need to "bash."
        When I say that God is a "Jealous God," I'm quoting OT scripture. When the book of Exodus was written (which is where this verse is found) the words "jealous" and "zealous" went hand in hand. This translation holds true through the rest of the bible as well. So God is zealous: eager about protecting what is precious to Him. I think the gap between the meanings of "jealous" and "zealous" has grown since those times haha.

        I agree with not stepping on anyone else's toes as well. Choosing God is must be done by the individual. And that's it. You can't coerce or force people to believe. I think that many of the problems we've encountered here on earth have come from people that don't understand that concept...
  • Apr 3 2011: There are many contradictions in Christianity, but this is to my mind the most blatant: God is (supposedly) omnipotent... created EVERYTHING. Therefore he created Satan and allows his continued existence. If this is true, god is responsible for unending suffering of humans in this life and the next. Evil!

    If God is incapable of destroying Satan, he is NOT omnipotent, therefore why worship him? If he's not omnipotent, is he also non-omniscient? Not a great lover of mankind? Perhaps we should be worshipping Satan, eh?
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      Drew B

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      Apr 4 2011: He created the angels and out of fairness and love he gave even the angels the ability of free will and able to choose for themselves just like us. Therefore God let Satan and his demons choose against him because he gave them free will.

      We were not made to spend our lives on Earth. We are made to spend our lives in Heaven with God but Earth is our test to see if we love God back or not. God does not cause all this pain and suffering. He allows the devil to tempt you as a test.
  • Jun 25 2011: @ Drew

    I don't prescribe to any religion because
    a) I was raised in an atheistic household and community. Everyone I knew was an atheist or agnostic, I never had to question it.
    b) I believe religious institutions were created by people, and people are flawed, and so I cannot take threats of eternal hellfire seriously.
    c) I have done a lot of work in the LGBTQ community, and have seen first-hand the suffering that some religious institutions have brought upon my brothers and sisters. That is not to say that religion and queerness are necessarily incompatible, but I have seen a few to many broken families and abominable discrimination to forget it easily.
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    Jun 23 2011: Why don't people believe in evolution?
    • Jun 23 2011: peple think evolution has conflict with religion.
      but they do not know religion.
      what religion says is this:
      1- some humans (some references say 7 generation) existed before Adam and Eve and all extincted (with no detail).
      2- near 7000 years ago two human Adam and Eve came to earth by God. and they had no sin. it was decision of God.
      3- all humans after Adam and Eve age children of those two.
      4- during history some famous prophet sent by God to humans like Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad (peace upon them)

      revolution says:
      1- species adapt to environment in long time. (natural selection) (accepted by science)
      2- all species have common ancestor (hypothesis with no evidence)
      3-a specie can transform to other specie (hypothesis with no evidence)
      4- the transform from one specie to other species is done by a random process (hypothesis with no evidence) (please note not about one species. this is about one specie to another. and natural selection is changes in one specie)
      5- no idea about how first life started.

      now please say where is the conflict?
      evolution is a useful tool for knowing nature and life.

      even if all hypothesis of evolution theory become true still there is no conflict with religion and God because religion only speaks about current generation of human that backs to Adam and Eve near 7000 yars ago. and this has no conflict with existing humans before them.

      I think elocution is like other parts of science and there is no need to believe or disbelieve it. to you believe in chemistry?
      science is about knowing how nature works.
      religion is about what is out of nature and why we are here and where we go after death.

      Indeed religion and CERTAIN knowledge should have no conflict.
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        Jun 23 2011: Our shared ancestry is validated by the fact that we all share a genetic code with much overlap from one species to another. Instances of speciation have been observed in nature and speciation has been induced in the laboratory artificially. It is frankly not hard to extrapolate simply from natural selection that speciation will sometimes occur anyway. Your 4th point is utter rubbish. The transformation of one species to another happens through the same process of natural selection for what leads to new species is the same process that leads to variation within a species with the difference that two populations of a same species may be separated in different ways and therefore evolve in different ways (eventually leading to an impossibility for two individuals of different populations to breed [although that's not a requirement for two populations to be considered different species as tiger and lions can bread sterile offspring]). Evolution is not about how life started so it is natural for it to make no claims about it.

        You can try and dispute what I've just said, but I must warn you, as a bioinformatician, this is one of my areas of expertise.

        Now is there a conflict? I don't see one per se, except in the case where certain passages of the old testament are taken to literally. This includes, I'm sorry to say, the passage about Adam and Eve. Your 1st point is fine I guess. Your 2nd and 3rd point are problematic for the following reasons: Homo Sapiens are dated to have originated 200 000 years ago and not 7 000. Homo Sapiens is the species of human we belong to by the way. Also, it is absolutely impossible for a whole species to originate from two people as this would lead to all sorts of genetic diseases because of inbreeding. There's a reason why it's ill-advised to breed with close kin. That is why kings and queens of Europe were often plagued with all sorts of illnesses (they all would marry their cousins).
        • Jun 23 2011: "Instances of speciation have been observed in nature and speciation has been induced in the laboratory artificially."
          agree. for example a cow with 2 head of 5 leg. but they quickly disappear in next generations and can not be considered "other specie".

          "Your 4th point is utter rubbish. The transformation of one species to another happens through the same process of natural selection "
          evidence? it is near 300 years of evolution research. have you heard a dog transform to a wolf or did a fossil found 50% wolf and 50% dog? or a fossil 50% human 50% ape?
          evidence?

          "Homo Sapiens are dated to have originated 200 000 years ago and not 7 000. "
          I only said the opinion of religion. there is no conflict. because possibly some similar humans existed before Adam and Eve. religion says God sent Adam and Eve to earth near 7000 years ago. this not mean no human existed before Adam.

          "Also, it is absolutely impossible for a whole species to originate from two people as this would lead to all sorts of genetic diseases because of inbreeding. "
          there is lots of text about life of Adam and Eve. at least as long as one book.
          some religious references say God created a woman for son of Adam to not marriage with his sister. this saying is recorded in old religious books. marriage of sister and brother is banned in religion and Adam was the first prophet. earth is never empty of representative of God. if only two human exist on earth Indeed one of them is representative of God.
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        Jun 24 2011: A cow with two heads remains a cow. This is not an instance od speciation. I'm talking about real speciation where two populations split to make up their own species.

        There is no such evidence because that's not what evolution says, arrrrg Jesus Christ I'm going to tear my eyes out!!!! Why would a dog transform into a wolf? Evolution isn't just a random dipping of a species into another. Species are borne out from an ancestral species through events of speciation where the two separated populations go on to become modern animals. No ancestor of a modern animal lives today. A lot of transitional phases and intermediaries can be found in the fossil record. As for human and apes, humans are part of the great ape family. What I think you mean is chimpanzee. That's not how evolution works. Let me illustrate it for you:

        What you seem to think:
        -------------- chimp ----------- humans

        What evolution says:
        common ancestor: Not a friggin chimp___________ chimp
        |________________________________________humans

        But if you want some more archaic form of man, you make look at Homo Neanderthalis, Homo Erectus...right down to the Australopithecii which are considered to be our ancestors and yet are not classified as humans.

        I'll concede your next point.

        Also it doesn't matter if you give Adam a wife. If the population all have Adam and Eve as some very close kin, deleterious mutations will flourish and humans will collapse in a few generations. Diversity is important for survival of a species.

        Ok so you can somehow try and fit your religious views with evolution. It's much better in my view than being a Creationist so I respect that. I do hope you get the difference between being descended from a chimp and sharing a common ancestor. Peace...for now.

        Watch this, it's short: http://youtu.be/wh0F4FBLJRE
        • Jun 24 2011: "I'm talking about real speciation where two populations split to make up their own species."
          sorry, please explain this.

          "Why would a dog transform into a wolf?"
          I mean any evidence that show one species transformed to other species. if all species have one common ancestor so the species should transform to other specie. is there any evidence in this change? for example a fossil in middle stage between two specie. or any observed case in past 300 years of evolution research.

          'No ancestor of a modern animal lives today. "
          but fossils exist and a fossil between human and non-human ancestors of human should be found.

          "A lot of transitional phases and intermediaries can be found in the fossil record."
          is there any fossil proving such transitional phase between human and any non-human ancestor existed?

          "Australopithecii which are considered to be our ancestors and yet are not classified as humans."
          i mean any evidence (like fossil) at transitional phase. you say they are not human.
          I mean a fossil between for example Australopithecii and human.

          "Also it doesn't matter if you give Adam a wife.'
          I not give its in Koran.

          'If the population all have Adam and Eve as some very close kin, deleterious mutations will flourish and humans will collapse in a few generations.'
          why?

          "Diversity is important for survival of a species."
          what you mean by Diversity? and is necessary for survival? if yes why?
          can different ethnics considered Diversity?

          "Ok so you can somehow try and fit your religious views with evolution."
          to be honest I am not fitting. Koran and sayings of prophet are from 1400 years ago. how I can change Koran to fit something? can you show any evidence from Koran showing other thing than what I said?
          this is what Koran says. Koran speaks about people after Adam and never said before them no human existed.
          also Koran says all thing are created by God but Adam and Eve came to earth near 7000 years ago. evolution can be method of God for creation.
        • Jun 30 2011: Dear Jim,
          I am reading link http://www.talkorigins.org/
          its very interesting and useful. but only sometimes it is biased specially about Koran. they do not know Koran and disprove it by few false claims.
          I had studies about Evolution before mostly from wikipedia.
          but this is link is very good for evolution.
          yes knowledge about evolution was little and now I know more.
          so I should change my comment:
          what religion says is this:
          1- some humans (some references say 7 generation) existed before Adam and Eve and extincted (with no detail).
          2- near 7000 years ago two special human (wisdom/free will/representative of God in earth/having prophet) Adam and Eve created by God. and they had no sin. it was decision of God.
          3- humans after Adam and Eve are children of Adam.
          4- during history some famous prophet sent by God to humans like Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad (peace upon them)
          5- all species are created from water then some walk on belly, some walk on two leg and some walk on four leg.

          revolution says:
          1- species adapt to environment in long time. (natural selection) (accepted by science)
          2- all species have common ancestor (still hypothesis but high probable but can have exceptions like Adam and Jesus (PBUH))
          3-a specie can transform to other specie (accepted)
          4- the transform from one specie to other species is done by a random process (natural selection )
          5- no idea about how first life started.
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        Jun 24 2011: S.R I don't get you. You quote me as saying something and ask me a question about it and then in the next paragraph you quote I answer your question. Do you not read the whole message before quotig parts of it or do you have some sort of ultra-short memory?

        Australopithecii come right before the Homo genus (Homo). If you're looking for evidence of beings that are not quite Men yet, then the Australopithecii are what you're looking for (why would we call them men if they're not completely human?)

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_human_evolution_fossils go fish.
        • Jun 30 2011: "Do you not read the whole message before quotig parts of it or do you have some sort of ultra-short memory?"
          some times no. sorry some times I am busy.

          thanks for your link. I had been seen it before. but my knowledge about evolution was little.
          I was considering Evolution as a theory with low certainty but I could understand it has developed and has high certainty.
          I should admit you converted me to evolutionist by teaching me evolution.
          evolution have developed very fast in past decades.

          prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
          "who taught me a word made me servant."
    • Jun 25 2011: Exactly....Why dont people believe in evolution?

      As someone said recently, almost anywhere else in the world except the bible belt in USA if someone said they did not believe in evolution they would be regarded as deluded idiots.

      The odd thing is that if you are so inclined to be religious - evolution does not even conflict with a liberal belief in god. What it conflicts with is a literal simple minded childish belief in the bible.

      But so many people prefer to fall back on what they think is a literal belief in the bible - not understanding that sophisticated religious adherents elsewhere do not regard it literally.

      And in fact if they stopped to think about it neither do they. I'll bet that 100% of people who regard themselves as christian fundamentalists pick and choose which tracts to take literally - they just choose not the think about the others. How can one literallly believe such an error ridden book. Its logically impossible

      Here is one list of biblical contradictions..............................

      http://www.evilbible.com/Biblical%20Contradictions.htm

      and another of errors

      http://atheism.about.com/od/biblecontradictionserror/tp/Scientific-Historical-Errors-Mistakes-Bible.htm

      I do not believe that this will change the mind of one "God -botherer" (as we call them in Australia ). Instead they will rationalise this away too.

      As I have said elsewhere in this thread, never try to pursuade asomeone with religious mania by logic. It does not work because logic is not what they believe nor is it what drives them.

      Blind belief in the face of logic is what buys them brownie points for a place in heaven and throwing logic at them only locks them more and more strongly into their own illogic. None of this proves or disproves the existence of god - although i myself am distinctly on he agnostic side. But there are millions of liberal religious people in the world who accept religious books only as man made documents that seeks some kind of divinity.
      • Jun 30 2011: because people do not know what is evolution and think believing evolution means disbelieving God.
        people prefer to believe God.
        but in fact there is no conflict between God and evolution.
        people have two big mistake:
        1- people do not know true God and true creation
        2- people do not know true evolution

        if people learn both well then people believe both.
        the main problem is religious leaders like church wanting control people and want keep their power even if by feeding false beliefs to people.

        I believe both in evolution and God and do not see any conflict between them.
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    Jun 21 2011: Its possible, i think, to believe in God, but the problem are all the attributes we've been told about who God is, what He wants, needs, likes, dislikes, looks like, were He resides, what He prefers to hear, who and what He prefers to love, who He helps.. a God who gets angry, jealous and can be vengeful if the need arises.. lots of stuff for a believer to grapple with. Makes it quite hard if not impossible, for a discerning and inquisitive mind to grasp.

    Hence the perfect exit clause- Man cannot understand God- which works especially well for those blessed with something called blind faith. There's a reason why is called "blind", and you know, i heard it said somewhere that if a blind man leads another blind man, the two are undoubtedly headed for a pit. And there are fellows who, even when you throw them a rope to pull them out of the pit, would prefer to stay down there, lest they be eaten by a lion out here.. but i deviate.

    It's just as possible not to believe in God. After all, the fellow who prolaimed that "God Is Dead" wasn't struck down by a bolt, so perhaps he wasn't that mad after all. The question remains, why don't people allow others the right to believe or not to believe in God? Why do I have to force you to believe in "MY God"? I certainly won't take it kindly if you tried to cram your version of God down my protesting throat, so perhaps my being mindful of my brother/sister requires that I also allow them the right to face their own God, what ever or who ever they choose him/her/it/they to be, when that time comes, if, indeed, it ever will. Live, and let live.

    Oh, I have another observation: If this conversation was a measure of our tolerance levels of other's opinions, I wonder how we'd all have scored?
  • Jun 13 2011: Never try to argue with logic to a religious person. It is a different language to them.

    They believe what they believe not because it is logical, but rather because as someone here said they see it "with the heart's eye." ie because they WANT it to be true.

    No amount of evidence, rational arguement, appeals to common sense or pointing out of inconsistencies in their belief will work. The most devout will take pride in NOT responding to logic - seeing it as evidence of their own holiness and blindness to "satan" (or whatever).

    To the rest of us it is poppycock - especially the pronouncements of avid religionists who cleave to one "true" religion and all its associated dogmas - The proselytising religions whose members think there is only one true way, be it christian. islam or something else. Those of us outside the fold see all of this as being akin to the tooth fairy, the easter bunny or santa claus. Fairy stories for children. (Sorry but you asked!)

    Apart from all of this, is there a God? I do not know - which makes me agnostic rather than atheist. As a rational person I cannot TOTALLY discount the possibility. But if there is (and that seems to me to be a long-shot), I am betting he, she or it is not a Christian, a Moslem, a Buddhist or anything else specifically.

    And so I think the best philosophy is simply to just get on with life and be the best person you can be by making your unique contibution to the world and by upholding universal principles of decency and morality in the manner in which you treat others (and I am not referring to sexual morality here, but thats an entire other story!)

    You see, morality is not something that only the pious have. Others like me have it too and in fact I have met many many good decent agnostics and atheists who are totally committed to making this world a better place. But then thats by the by as to many religious types making THIS world a better place is not what its about, is it
    • Jun 13 2011: you made a new religion. by your God and your morality.
      also if there is any God then does that God accept such religion after death?
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        • Jun 18 2011: Dear Jim,
          "It is inconceivable to me that an infinitely wise being would make his laws known to us through such ambiguous and suspect means, and that his laws would be so inconsistent with respect to our modern notions of ethics and morality, and then punish people so extremely for disobeying these laws."
          I disagree.
          I consider laws of God are in Koran.
          can you show some inconsistent ?
          also modern people always have some errors.
          modern nation is old when you look it 100 years later. but God has absolute knowledge.

          "On the other hand, when you look at humanity as a whole through the lens of evolutionary biology, anthropology, sociology, psychology and neuroscience, it is entirely reasonable to conclude that Hell (and the God of Abraham) are the inventions of man, and have no bearing in reality."
          what is the relation? I do not understand your argument.
          if so then Koran should be made by human. so please:
          http://www.ted.com/conversations/2328/is_koran_scientifically_a_mira.html?c=243619
      • Jun 14 2011: SR Ahmadi. I have not made a new religion or made a god, you are missing my point - which is that there is most likely no god and that therefore religions are deluded. But of course, religions are deluded on other grounds too. If by chance there is a god, I doubt very much that god is christian, moslem, buddhist or anything else associated with any human religion and all their dogmas. This belief that too many people have that their religion (whatever it happens to be) is the only way to think baout the universe is so problematic and arrogant that I cannot even comprehend it.

        In any event I have said the last thing I really wish to say on this topic. When a rational humanist tries to talk to religious people I find its rather like trying to talk to another species. We are not only speaking different languages, but our world view is so different that there is no common ground for rational debate even if we had a common language.
        • Jun 18 2011: "I have not made a new religion"
          when you make your own definition of morality and God you are making a religion?
          what is define of religion?

          "If by chance there is a god, I doubt very much that god is christian, moslem, buddhist or anything else associated with any human religion and all their dogmas."
          OK. so this is your doubt. doubt is not necessarily true. perhaps your doubt is false. so please do enough research before your death.

          "When a rational humanist tries to talk to religious people I find its rather like trying to talk to another species."
          also when a religious wants to speak to who not want to not want to research about God.

          the common ground is wisdom.
      • Jun 18 2011: thanks for your video,
        very useful.
        know I understand agnostic well.

        God is knowable but not 100%.
        we can know God as we try.
        God has 4 zone of knowledge about himself.
        no one can enter the zone 1,2,3 and only zone 4 is possible for humans to enter (know God)
        we can see the creatures of God in nature and we can know power and knowledge of God according to creatures of God and also we can know God using revelation but max we can know God in zone 4.
        the ways of knowing God:
        1- wisdom (rational, philosophy, think)
        2- thinking to nature
        3- science (knowing God by knowing the power of God by creating such advanced creatures. for example our body. this is not random and who made such body has high level of knowledge and power)
        4- revelation (today the only original and not deviated source is Koran).
        5- divine knowledge. like valid and not deviated sayings of prophets and true successors of prophets.like: http://www.al-islam.org/nahj/
        6- Intuition by soul and communicating with "face" ( وجه الله) of God (a special spiritual (not material) tool for communication between God and human) . something like seeing in dream of sleep (only for who fear and obey God and are friends of God like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruhollah_Khomeini)
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      Jun 14 2011: They're not all lost causes. I used to be one of them. So have some that I've come into contact with.
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    May 18 2011: A young man once told me that there was no way that a human being could be 'better' than 'God' and that even he knew that it was wrong to kill and wipe out entire villages of men, women, children and livestock for believing differently than he did as was done in the Old Testament of the bible. No one claiming to be a legitimate God could think that was right. That was the end of his faith.
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    May 11 2011: People are starving to death, innocent children are raped and killed while others are ripped from their families and homes and forced to rape and kill. While some people sit on piles of money and lounge around in hot-tubs thinking how nice it will be when they get to heaven others live in hell ringing their hands at the sky begging for help, for a little relief, but it never comes. If there is a god, and I ever get the chance, I will come at him swinging with intent to kill. If there is a god, and he allows the injustice in this world to continue, to let us kill each other, demoralize, and dehumanize each other, then he is no god at all. I would rather spend eternity in hell than bow down before a god that would allow humanities' atrocious sufferings to go on. There is no Justice, no Truth, and no Divine Will, worth all the pain and suffering in this world.
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      May 11 2011: I feel your pain meher. We live in such a fallen unfair world. Our difference in opinion occurs at the very nature of the question "Why would God allow suffering?"

      I believe that this world is such an evil place not because God does not care, but because our society as a whole has rejected God. We live in a God-less society. Why does the suffering and evil get worse as the years go by? There is hope though. God will be back in the end, to take us away from this mess. We don't deserve it, but by the grace of Jesus we will be saved if we do believe.
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        May 11 2011: And while we wait around for The End of Times, for god to come down in all his narcissistic ego maniacal, self important glory to save those who stuck by his side against all odds saved not by their riotousness but rather their blind loyalty, the innocent will continue to be mowed down by gunfire, children will continue to beg in the streets as affluent Christian passersby offer only the word of god when what these poor creatures need is not scripture for their souls but food for their bellies. Faith allows people to abdicate their responsibility and suggests that it doesn't matter how you behave in this world as long as you stick by that great eye in the sky. but those who live with real kindness and live act with compassion will still be sent to that fiery pit of Tartar. Your book says that people such as Mahatmas Gandhi and Nelson Mandela and all the sanyasi, monks, and holy people of other faiths will suffer for eternity regardless of their great deeds in this life, for the only thing one needs to access the fields of Elysium is enduring, unwavering, unquestioning faith in the one true god; a god whose justification for permitting such injustice as the raping of children with broken glass bottles is that Adam and Eve stuck their hands in the cookie jar. What kind of god would hold such a grudge that every generation of humanity, trillions of people, must be made to suffer for the benign curiosity of two people tricked by an evil force so great, cunning, and powerful that they couldn't even conceive that such a thing could exist and didn't stand a chance to withstand such temptation? No, there is not a single justification for the wickedness of gods inaction.
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        May 11 2011: "I believe that this world is such an evil place not because God does not care, but because our society as a whole has rejected God. We live in a God-less society."

        Actually society as a whole still believe. Atheists are a very small minority in this world. and we did not turn our backs on god, he turned his back on us. if he is so benevolent he should grow up and be the bigger man.
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          May 12 2011: And yet this life will be just a vapor when we depart to be with our Heavenly Father. He will then take away all of our pain and wipe away all of our tears.

          I can see your point about faith and how people abdicate their responsiblity. I assure you that most of the modern Christian Church today is an abomination to God. There is basically no difference between how the world lives and how the church lives these days. Becoming a true Christian is not a free pass to live a sinful life. With the gift of the Holy Spirit, true Christians naturally set out to live a holy Life. When a Christian really believes in Christ, they also put their life into Christ.
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        May 12 2011: "I assure you that most of the modern Christian Church today is an abomination to God."

        but of course your one of the "good ones" that knows what true Christianity is all about right ; )

        well aren't we all? don't we all like to think we're right?
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          May 12 2011: I assure you meher that I am not one of the good ones. This is good though because I realize how desperately I need Christ.

          In a world where God would compensate for people’s evil actions through supernatural intervention 100% of the time, God would be like a bad parent who enables a wayward child’s destructive behavior. There would be no consequences for one’s actions, and as a result no one would learn integrity, purity, honor, responsibility, or self-control. There would be no “good consequences” for right behavior, no “bad consequences” for wrong behavior. What would people become except more deviant and sinful?

          Another choice would be for God to judge and remove those who choose to commit evil acts. The problem with this possibility is that there would be no one left, for God would have to remove us all. We all sin and commit evil acts. While some people are more evil than others, where would God draw the line? Ultimately, all evil causes harm to others. Instead of these or other options, God has chosen to create a “real” world in which real choices have real consequences. In this real world of ours, our actions affect others.
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        May 12 2011: "Why does the suffering and evil get worse as the years go by?"
        Because it doesn't:
        http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence.html

        And with that, the rest of your observations are also negated (if you keep an open mind).
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          May 12 2011: Very Interesting Vasil.Mr. Steven Pinker spoke about violence which is one dynamic of evil. This violence he is talking about is primarly war. Is there not many different aspects of evil besides violence?
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        May 13 2011: "There would be no consequences for one’s actions, and as a result no one would learn integrity, purity, honor, responsibility, or self-control. There would be no “good consequences” for right behavior, no “bad consequences” for wrong behavior. What would people become except more deviant and sinful?"

        Fear of punishment and expectation of reward is about the worst reason in the world as far as i'm concerned to be a good person. you say you want your kids to love you, and that you want them to make that choice based on their own free will, but do you think they are really free to choose if you make them think that if they don't love you they will spend eternity in damnation?
        do you really think the only reasons to be a good and decent person is out of fear of hell and the expectation of reward?
        Can I not be a good person if i reject god?
        Your fear inhibits you from even the possibility of exerting free will. YOU, don't have a choice because you are to afraid to make one.
        take a look at our dear friend S.R. Ahmadi, do you think there is a difference between your choice and his? You were both born into a culture that handed you an ideology, and you both believe fervently in the purity of your respective ideologies, and yet one of you must be wrong, because each of you thinks the other is going to hell for worshiping a false religion. Your rhetorics are practically identical and yet, neither of you will even question your rightness for fear of the consequences. That is not free will.
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          May 13 2011: Between Ahmaidi and myself, one of us is wrong.

          Choosing God just to avoid hell is simply an escape clause. This is not a genuine belief but an insurance policy. I am not a good person for a reward. My reward of Heaven is waiting for me regardless of the good I do. I do good because I love God. Doing good to earn one's way into heaven is a false doctrine.

          People without question can be a good person even if they reject god. If py that you mean people can do good things. Please define "good person" though I think we all think of ourselves as good people. What is the measure that defines us as a good person? The reality is that we all screw up. We all wrong others at one time or another.
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        May 13 2011: " Between Ahmaidi and myself, one of us is wrong."
        Hahahahahaha, and I'll wager you don't think its you...Naw, couldn't be.
        " What is the measure that defines us as a good person?"
        I have spent many many many hours trying to answer this question, I will refrain from offering a catalogue of my conclusions, but it boils down to actions, our actions define us. By what measure is contextual.
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          May 14 2011: So how many good things compared to bad things does one have to display to be labeled as a good person? And what about the dirty little thoughts that one ponders within an internal monologue? Does that count for a step in the wrong direction?
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        May 14 2011: "So how many good things compared to bad things does one have to display to be labeled as a good person? And what about the dirty little thoughts that one ponders within an internal monologue? Does that count for a step in the wrong direction?"

        I don't believe in a priori anything, there are no absolutes, no rights or wrongs, those things are relative. I don't think anyone really wants me to describe the process of my morality but i will just say it is ontological and existential in formulation. Nor do I care what thoughts a person harbors, for it is not whats in a person's mind that matters but what's in their deeds.
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          May 14 2011: "for it is not whats in a person's mind that matters but what's in their deeds."
          Sounds like the word of God :-P . Let's get it on a book and call it the holy bibly or something of the sort. It will get a mass of worsh... I mean readers...

          @Chris Nahrwold
          "Is there not many different aspects of evil besides violence?"
          There are many kinds of different evil actions besides violent ones, but if by "different aspects" you mean "evil thoughts", I think no. As long as those thoughts don't lead you into actually doing an evil action, evaluating the thought and the consequences of it is a good thing.

          "So how many good things compared to bad things does one have to display to be labeled as a good person?"
          Does the bible specify a count?

          I'd simply put it as "as much of good things and possible, and as few bad things as possible, where the count is less important than the impact of each action".

          For example, one kill is worse than a few lies that have little to no implication on society. On the other hand, one lie that has dramatic negative consequences on society (such as inspiring people to kill many because they believe the lie) is worse than a single kill (hence, the people who killed Osama are heroes, not evil doers, despite violating the commandment for not killing).
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          May 15 2011: At Vasil

          A) "There are many kinds of different evil actions besides violent ones".
          Agreed

          B) "Does the bible specify a count"?
          No it does not. The bible does not claim that Christians are good people. The opposite is taught. The bible teaches us that no one is worthy in the eyes of God. That is the point of needing a Savior.
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      May 12 2011: Meher : you did a good point , a very good point from an unfaithful perspective like yours, I think . But you suppose something and this is your mistake , you suppose that God would want to intervene to stop the evil now but HE DON'T WANT IT NOW. The story of the bible is very simple and very very logic and rational, He have done it , He had intervened , HE HAD DEAFETED THE EVIL , we haven't been making it and for it we will be judged for nothing else but it . The fact that the evil exist now on the earth come down to us not to God .............the problem of pain of the evil from the christian perspective is very simple because the evil is deafeted at a universal scale at least , by it's nature the evil is defeated.
      What you described there aren't christians , that people only call themseleves christians , their actions contradict them. (you are just supposing when you condemn the Bible , you say only what you heard about it ,what you saw in your life : this is from what you said ) if you will wanna research a bit you'll find the answers .
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        May 12 2011: Not only have i read the bible, and keep a copy of it on my book shelf next to all my other supposed holy books, but I have translated quite a bit of it from the Latin Vulgate. I am also very familiar with the history of your religion and have read many dozens of theological essays, treatises, and cannons from many prominent theologians. If one of us is deficient in knowledge about your religion i doubt it is me. I once called myself a Christian, it was one of those more experimental times in my life, I did the prayer meetings, bible studies, Sunday services, youth groups, and spoke in tongues to fit in etc. So don't accuse me of not understanding your perspective. I have walked in the shoes of belief and gave it my best shot. I wanted to believe, desperately, but its just not within my constitution to be willfully blind.

        "you suppose something and this is your mistake , you suppose that God would want to intervene to stop the evil"
        I suppose no such thing. This is my point. I don't care what god wants, if his wants are not to help us in every way he can, even if that means sacrificing his arrogant pride to step in and mitigate the horrible crimes that are perpetrated against INNOCENT creatures that are never even afforded the opportunity to hear about your savior. I have seen enough pain in this world to know that there is nothing omnipotent looking out for us, so we must look out for each other. If god does exist, he is not worth our worship and does not deserve our prayers. If there is a creator, he's a dead beat dad that left his children to starve while he went out to get drunk on his own self importance.
        The most rational era of your faith came from the doctrines of John Calvin which articulated the ideas of the Protestant Reformation, the rationalization of Christianity. Go and read his writings and see how divergent and inconsistent your own particular ideology is when compared to the intentional rationalizing of it and then compare it to its catholic roots
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          May 13 2011: I don't know anything about your experiences , that's right, but what you said made me to tell you that you don't understand my persective or the christian one.
          Hey man , how can you not suppose this if you talk against a God who don't intervene? " If god does exist, he is not worth our worship and does not deserve our prayers" why M P ? because you suppose that if He is God He should intervene (perhaps this is your point) , don't you ? and i said you something very simple : He don't want to intervene now , because He have done it in the past, and perhaps someone here will see the problem but not what you said that God let us starving , in pain and so on.
          "I don't care what god wants" you don't care what God wants but you talk against Him , you don't make too much sense so.
          About your last sentences , you don't know also what I know or not , in my mind there is consistency and there is convergent ideas , if you see the inconsistency share it .............it's not a problem for me.
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        May 12 2011: "you suppose that God would want to intervene to stop the evil now but HE DON'T WANT IT NOW."

        And also, I am not the one supposing anything about god, I don't know, nor do I care what is in the mind of god or if there is a god for if there is a god, he apparently wont make himself known and therefor we have no way to interact and react to his constantly changing demands (morphology of religious beliefs based on cultural changes and reinterpretations of that infallible book of yours), but you on the other hand are making a pretty radical assumption about what god wants or does not want :)
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          May 13 2011: Yes, perhaps I'm making a radical 'assumption' about what God wants or does not want , but I've need to explain rational somehow about His attitude.
          "I am not the one supposing anything about god, I don't know" but you wrote also :"he apparently wont make himself known and therefor we have no way to interact and react to his constantly changing demands" what are these ? some truths?............ 'apparently' ...........what usually follow after this world : only assumptions .
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        May 13 2011: yes, you are correct, I am also making some assumptions and I'm sorry for saying that I have not, I apologize for the error.
        Though I think it would be good for many reasons for people to question their beliefs, I also recognize the value of faith on a particular persons ability to cope with the human condition. I can understand why people turn to it and try not to hold it against them because ultimately if it makes you a happier, healthier, more productive person and endows you with compassion and love, then so be it.
        I lost sight of the conversation and got caught up in trying to reconcile the rational with the irrational. don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that religious belief is stupid or unintelligent, only that it is a type of thought dependent on faith instead of knowledge, you do not need to know, you only need to believe and so there is no rational or logical argument that could convince you otherwise, and that is not my intention anyways, I just wanted show that there are very good reasons not to believe. I favor a would of rational thought because it is adaptable to changing circumstances, whereas faith can lead to grave errors in policy due to its unwillingness to amend in the face of new facts and information. religious based civil morality often becomes stagnant and operates to the detriment of society due to its increasing irrelevance to modern issues. Moral codes codified as irremovable edicts for all time are dangerous for what should be an obvious reason, the world changes but the codes stay the same. sometimes this leads to cherry picking beliefs in which you take the relevant and do away with the outdated, but many claim this to bastardize their religions and if your going to pick and choose, why not choose something new and even more relevant rather than always trying seeking to reform the old to fit the new.
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        May 13 2011: The logical inconsistencies of Christian faiths have led me to reject those beliefs. and the fallacies of all types of religion have led me to reject religion as a whole, and the lack of practicality and revulsion for injustice which no matter how you cut it falls on the shoulders of god has led me to reject god/s.
        On "gods intervention" as I stated below, "if god created everything, then it follows that he also created evil" I assume the creation of evil to be inconsistent with a loving god.
        • May 13 2011: M P,
          I have found no definitive logical inconsistencies with the Christian faith, please intrigue me. I have heard of many misconceptions that lead people to believe that these logical inconsistencies exist though. I am partly agnostic because of the lack of evidence for it, not because of the evidence against it.
          And I disagree with the premise that religion is based solely on faith. For me, it's a combination of deductive reasoning + logic + experience + faith.
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          May 15 2011: @Austin
          Here's a video summarizing a few inconsistencies:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB3g6mXLEKk
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          May 16 2011: The first example in this video talks about the anger of God and the so called contradiction. I have been addressing these so called "contradictions" for years, and I would be happy to address each one in the video of you really want me to.

          Micah 7:18 is a prayer addressed to God who forgives sins, who is compassionate. By confessing sins to God, a person obtains a total reversal (does not retain) of the intended situation which is punishment (forever anger). While in Jeremiah 17:4, this is an oracle about idolatry, which explains that sin and virtue are much more than mere external rejection or conformity to rules - they are the expressions of the very heart. This stigmatizes the profound and permanent (forever) reality of sin.

          Yes, there are difficult passages. Yes, there are verses that appear to contradict each other. We must remember that the Bible was written by approximately 40 different authors over a period of around 1500 years. Each writer wrote with a different style, from a different perspective, to a different audience, for a different purpose. We should expect some minor differences. However, a difference is not a contradiction. It is only an error if there is absolutely no conceivable way the verses or passages can be reconciled. Even if an answer is not available right now, that does not mean an answer does not exist. Many have found a supposed error in the Bible in relation to history or geography only to find out that the Bible is correct once further archaeological evidence is discovered.
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        May 14 2011: does not an all knowing god, one with foreknowledge of whats to come not also presuppose predestination? determinism? for how can one know whats to come unless it is determined? Is not predestination in direct contradiction with free will? If god is all powerful, and knows what is to come, does he not know everything that is to come, every detail of your life and mine, every "choice" is known before you were even a twinkle in your fathers eye, and so you have no influence over god to sway his all powerful will, which means that you have none. It used to be that one could burn incense, pay a little money, and say a few supplicating prayers one could buy indulgences, catholicism was and still is a very superstitious religion that believes one can alter the will of god to affect ones fate. for 2,000 years Christians were a very superstitious bunch. But then John Calvin, Martin Luther and a few others came along to set things right with the protestant reformation around 1530something or there abouts. While many differences are evident between Catholicism and Protestantism the real clincher for the reformers was FREE WILL, when weighed against what was "known" about god it just didn't fit in. this was the hinge that swung wide the gates of religious civil war, and oh boy what a mess y'all made of each other, there were the peasant wars, and in France Huguenots killed catholics, catholics killed protestants it was madness (edit, also the 30 years war). (sorry for the history lesson but I am just mentioning this stuff so you might take enough interest in your religion to actually go and read about it) anyways so all this bloodshed over free will, why? because to the superstitious catholics it was the foundation of redemption, but to the rationalists such as Calvin and Luther it was inconsistent with what is known about god......continued....
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          May 14 2011: You don't understand what means free will from the human perspective , God isn't so fool to say that we have free will , actually we don't have and God have never said that we have , I don't know in what christian faith you have heard and was proved to you that we have free will , it's a bit complicated this subject but not so complicated , look in the absolute meaning of free will which is the only true meaning we don't have it , it's imposible for us to have free will but we have something which I muyself call 'humanistic free will' , I won't explain too much what I want to say but in our limits we have somehow 'free will' and so can be very well explained your logical 'inconsistencies' between a alimgthy God and us , M P don't critisize something before to think as much as you can at it .
          You do something very 'fool' here (sorry for my this language ) you criticize the people who call themselves christians instead of critisizing the Bible ,why ? , if you are so well informed about what says the Bible , what it ask us to do you will have known that what ask us the bible to do is as imposibility , we don't are chritians in the full means of the word only a man have ever was a christian and that man was Jesus Christ , critisize Him, the only christian because in rest you are talking only rubbish .
          Again God didn't create the evil and I really don't know why do you think that if it said that God created everything He would have to create the evil , there are thousands of possibilities of explaining it , really have you thought much enough to know what are you talking about ? (because this arguments have been said here by others are and you one from many like "the many" ? , it's nothing new and these are very weak arguments).
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        May 14 2011: I would rather you read their arguments as they made many very fine essays out of them that completely changed the world, and are worth looking at. But essentially protestants left behind the concept of free will in favor of the more logical predestination when confronted with an all powerful god. Calvinism, and Lutheranism diverged a bit but for the most part all early protestants at least had that one thing in common, NO FREE WILL. Calvinism was the most influential type of new protestantism and spread all throughout Europe as it became increasingly clear as ever more theologians came to the realization that free will cannot coexist with an almighty. Predestination was the new Free will but it to had a problem: If everything is already determined, that means that those who will go to heaven are already chosen, as well as for those who wont? How is one to tell if one is one of the chosen ones? this gave rise to the "prosperity as proof" of holiness movement (read: Max Weber's the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, also read most everything by Weber, he was a great sociologist that made very complete studies of the Christian morphologies). So while Protestantism started out on humanistic terms seeking to free Christians from the hypocrisy of superstition and political corruption, they quickly became militant and austere in practice. Everyone got real consistent in the methods of "proof" as being chosen. Humanism took a nose dive, because if the chosen ones are already chosen, then to help those who weren't chosen would be to aid and abed evil, helping your fellow man became suspect as helping the devil? people began hording their money, but because all things of this earth were deemed evil as being of the flesh and not of the soul everyone piled up cash but didn't spend it and instead lived in true monkish minimalism....continued
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        May 14 2011: Oh, hell, there are better sources for the history of Christian contradiction than me. Essentially what i'm trying to explain is that Christianity has taken many fundamental twists and turns, the very foundations of the religion have been shaken up so often that its mind boggling, One Christian thinks this another thinks the complete opposite and then everyone claims that the whole thing makes perfect sense and cites the bible to support their beliefs. Y'all think that silly book is written in stone with perfect logic and that its, scribes, interpreters, and preachers are inspired by god to deliver a perfect truth, and then you turn around and say well, it is perfect truth but its been corrupted. so what is it, perfect or corrupt? and how in the hell are all these sheep supposed to discern whats right from wrong and what deserves attention and what doesn't? Huge things such as Mary being a VIRGIN, propagated into the faith due to a major translation error. My translation doesn't read Mary the virgin but rather Mary the Maiden, to understand this translation one must know centuries worth of religious, cultural, and linguistic context . But millions or billions of people latch on to that crap as if its truth but is most likely just a miscommunication that got repetitively propagated into the meme pool. essential you get out of a bible exactly what you put into it, it can say whatever suits your needs and can be used to justify almost any belief, but there are many many many logical fallacies in it. I know it doesn't seem like I answered your question, but thats because a non believer can never answer this question for a believer, it wouldn't matter what I say. take a stroll through all the conversations on this site or any other and see if you find anybody convincing anybody else. theres a great example between Richard and Ahmadi which shows how clear it is that faith is such an obviously blinding force, willfully resistant and blind to every logical argument.
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        May 14 2011: oh yeah, I forgot to mention that protestantism diverged so many times that much of it has now come back around full circle and most of the hundreds of bickering denominations now believe once again in the inconsistency of free will.
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        May 14 2011: Now, please don't tell me that there isn't any inconsistency in the Christan faith, take a look at how inconsistent it as been throughout history, don't take my word for it, read a few books, learn your religions history its really an amazing past, start from its roots long before Christ, work your way up the early church, study the dark ages, the renaissance, hell, read a little Milton or Thomas more, study the theological, the poetical, the beauty and ugliness of the Christian histories, absolutely read Calvin and Luther (for they will be best to point out obvious fallacies) and check out some of the commentators, historians, sociologists, etc. once you have wholesome understanding of Christianity, it becomes pretty tough to hold on to concepts of infallibility.
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        May 14 2011: "I have found no definitive logical inconsistencies with the Christian faith, please intrigue me."
        though I know I haven't pointed out anything except circumstantial inconstancies, I hope you are "intrigued" enough to open up to the possibility.
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        May 14 2011: 1: God didn't create the evil and I really don't know why do you think that if it said that God created everything He would have to create the evil

        This is a logical inconsistency, if god created everything, it follows that god created evil.

        2:You don't understand what means free will from the human perspective , God isn't so fool to say that we have free will , actually we don't have and God have never said that we have , I don't know in what christian faith you have heard and was proved to you that we have free will

        Rather than talk to me about Free will I suggest you speak with Chris about it as he is a Christian whose faith is built around Free will. You are both Christians reading from the same bible (effectually) but one of you must be wrong? and in that silly error it follows that one of you must burn :)

        3: "critisize the Bible"
        I did, but if you would like me to repeat myself:
        Y'all think that silly book is written in stone with perfect logic and that its, scribes, interpreters, and preachers are inspired by god to deliver a perfect truth, and then you turn around and say well, it is perfect truth but its been corrupted. so what is it, perfect or corrupt? and how in the hell are all these sheep supposed to discern whats right from wrong and what deserves attention and what doesn't? Huge things such as Mary being a VIRGIN, propagated into the faith due to a major translation error. My translation doesn't read Mary the virgin but rather Mary the Maiden, to understand this translation one must know centuries worth of religious, cultural, and linguistic context .

        I have one pet peeve, please don't call me stupid or refer to me as such. It may be a little much to ask but because of circumstances that I don't care to explain, these types of references set me off in a very bad way. You may not agree with me or my views, but I assure you that I have put a lot of thought into my world view and continue to do so. But it would seem you are stuck.
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          E G 10+

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          May 14 2011: M P:
          "This is a logical inconsistency, if god created everything, it follows that god created evil" don't judge only in black and white .
          "it is perfect truth but its been corrupted" did I say myself it? I don't think so , in my opinion it isn't corrupted at all I will say you only one reason : it have consistency in what it says according to my understanding . I don't know why for you and for others matter how this book had been wrote or something like , look at what says the Bible and critisize it this is more more important , that's what I meant to say . We can talk about some interpretations of the Bible and we will never reach at the same point both perhaps , but it doesn't matter in my opinion , what matter is only the process of being saved, this is very clear and accurate presented in the Bible (the stuff with Mary ............. you can neglect it until a point in the future ) , and what have you talk else against what says the Bible ? ........... you haven't talk anything yet , but you can do it, you can talk only about what is in the Bible , how you understand what is said there and about the incosistencies you see there but not about what said Luther or others , if you don't agree with them ,negelct them , ignore them ........ read you the Bible and think at it and try to understand it and if you can't, you with others or we can talk about that things which are so illogical .
          Sorry for my alludes to you ......... I didn't intend to offend you but only to make you to see my perspective better.
          "and in that silly error it follows that one of you must burn :)" no man , if that person do what says the Bible according to our understanding (which doesn't depend on us totally) none of us will burn in hell .
    • May 15 2011: This is the brilliance of God though. the gift of free will. To choose and make decisions is the extreme love of God. without the ability to choose write or wrong he would have just made a bunch of robots. God Created man and gave him ways to respect and love him. He did everything out of love, god gave people the opportunity to disown him and to rebel and to choose evil in which he himself created. you sit and complain about people suffering, but in reality everyone has opportuninty to achieve happiness and see the joy in everyday life THROUGH god. complaining about rape and murder isnt helping anybody.
      and if evolution were to be true then the best of all human people would be those who rape and kill to produce more offspring and abandon their young. those who produce the most babies and kill off the other weaker people are those better fit to survive. yet love and compassion has been a huge trait in human society and our own evolvation from barbaric times to now.

      I believe that most Atheists and those who do not choose to believe in God either do not see the enormous truth in all the facts and truth or have been extremely misguided by the theory of evolution. It is not that hard to look up at the night sky and realize that no explosion created such a perfectly fine tuned universe. the beauty in everyday life cannot just be created by vertical evolution and natural selection.


      Although the first law of thermodynamics clearly states that all matter in the universe remains constant, the second law of thermodynamics states that over time all matter moves from a state of order to a state of disorder. Atheistic evolutionists cling to the theory that some 15-20 billion years ago an unexplained large explosion from an infinitesimal subatomic particle defied not only the first law and the second law, but every law of science and logic, and created a perfectly ordered solar system and planet earth, intricately well suited for life of the highest order.

      look around.
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    Apr 16 2011: Its interesting to see how people who believe and people who dont believe in God respond in the same emotional way. Here is an interesting thought ... Scientific research is limited—restricted to what humans can actually observe or study. Otherwise it is mere theory or guesswork. Scientist Vincent Wigglesworth of Cambridge University observed that the scientific method itself is “a religious approach.” How so? “It rests upon an unquestioning faith that natural phenomena conform to ‘laws of nature.’” So when someone rejects belief in God, is he not simply exchanging one type of faith for another?
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      Apr 16 2011: I strongly disagree on your 'interesting' thought.
      And I disagree with Wigglesworth too. I think he doesn't know what science is. (Although he is a scientist, no debate about that... but a car driver doesn't necessarily know how a car works)

      Science rests upon no such assumption...
      We can however see and measure, time and again, that the "laws" we found describe reality on a very accurate level.

      You might want to explain to me why a "default" assumption has the same value as a belief.

      A belief is thinking something is true, without minding whether it is actually true.

      So for some, science can be a belief...
      Others understand that science is also different from a belief.

      I hope you can understand this nuance.
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        Apr 16 2011: Christophe I agree with you that true science rests upon making no default assumptions otherwise it would just be a belief, however, you made a comment recently saying "I would not ask people to "believe" evolution. I would point out that not accepting the theory of evolution would be ignoring a lot about what is known about reality." Permit me please ...

        The simplest known self-reproducing organism (H39 strain of Mycoplasma) has 625 proteins averaging 400 amino acids each. However, some contend that, theoretically, one might get by with 124 such proteins. What are the chances of one of these proteins of 400 “left-handed” amino acids forming from a mixture of both “right-” and “left-handed” ones? One chance in 10120 (1 followed by 120 zeros). However, for this nonexistent cell 124 proteins are needed.
        What are the chances of spontaneously forming that many, all from “left-handed” molecules? One chance in 1014,880. But these amino acids cannot be tied together just indiscriminately; they must be in the right sequence. To get these 124 proteins, averaging 400 “left-handed” amino acids each, with the acids in the correct sequence, the chances are 1 in 1079,360. If we wrote out this last number in full (1 followed by 79,360 zeros)! Dr. Emil Borel, an authority on probabilities, said that if there is less than a 1 in 1050 chance for something to happen, it will never happen, no matter how much time is allowed. And that number could be written in less than two of these lines.

        It is also particularly pertinent to point out that the eminent theoretical physicist, Eugene P. Wigner, gave an elegant and rigorous proof from group theory, that the probability for spontaneous existence of a self-reproducing unit of any kind is zero.”

        So my response would be "I would ask people to "believe" evolution as a default assumption if they want to. I would point out that accepting the theory of evolution would be ignoring a lot about what is known about probability."
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          Apr 16 2011: That theory can be debunked because it assumes spontenous organization in evolution occurs without thermodynamic stability. If changes in the DNA provide even an increment of stability in a given structure then that structure is naturally perpetuated and the probability of an organized structure forming increases expontentially.
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          Apr 16 2011: I agree with Budimir here

          You may respond whatever you like of course, and I might want to refer to another topic on evolution for further discussion on that.
          But I can be brief:
          * http://www.youtube.com/user/QualiaSoup#p/a/u/0/As1HlmYeh7Q
          * Evolution theory says nothing about abiogenesis... which you are referring to...

          As a Statistician and a probability teacher, I tend to have the arrogance to say I do understand probability theory on a quite high level.
          I might want to agree with Emil Borel, but even so, It won't win you the argument, see Budimir for that.
    • Apr 16 2011: Yes, Justine, I've noticed that in previous conversations. Believers and atheists are so much alike :)

      Science discovers the laws of nature that help to describe the natural phenomenon,it's great, but who can tell, why the laws of nature are the way they are? How everything came from nothing? -It's the realm of belief. "There will always be truth that lies beyond." and it's the beauty of science ! It's job forever, science has no chance to be perfect.
  • Apr 13 2011: I have a question: why some people do not believe in God even thou they sincerely want to? Isn't that a paradox?
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    Apr 13 2011: Before I can comment on this thread, I want the instigator of this question to answer this simple one: Which God? Given you're from New Yok I'm probably correct in guessing you mean the Christian God. What about the other ones? Why don't you believe in them given all the reasons you've given to worry about a God?

    Also I am not going to let you get away with:
    "And why do most people who ask themselves this question and go search for answers come back a christian?"

    Please back it up with some meaningful evidence. Some statistics maybe on the trends of religious belief in given countries or the world perhaps. Looking at the data I have found Islam and non-belief to be the largest growing opinions accross the world. What's more interesting is that non-belief doesn't seem to be tied to any particular geographical location, increasing in all places. I'm not going to make this an argument however, I concede it's an ad populum. The amount of people who believe a religion doesn't justify its accuracy. History has shown it many times, what we all believed at one time, nobody believes now.

    Or this:
    "When you search for those facts they cant be denied and once you experience what God does in your life you will know its real."

    You need to back this statement up too. If those searchable facts can't be denied, a good way to make this question interesting would be for you to share these facts with us. Surely if they can't be denied than we will all be converts before long. I'd be interested to see what you can throw at me I haven't already encountered. The second part of this statement seems to work on people who are already convinced there is a God which makes me think its self-deception.

    Or this:
    "If you dont believe in it you should have proof andt the strongest possible evidence of everything that cant be denied."

    You are the one making a strong claim with limited evidence. God is not the starting point, the onus is on you to show he exists, not on us to show otherwise.
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    Apr 5 2011: Why don't people believe in God?

    I think that depends on how you define God.

    If you define God as some old guy with a beard who sits up on a throne in the clouds, then I think most people would not believe in that God. If you define God as everything (pantheism), then I don't see why people wouldn't believe in that God.

    But most people's definition is somewhere in between those two extremes. And based on the definition you'll have varying levels of probability in belief.

    Personally Gods defined as writers of books, voices to politicians to wage wars and supporters of one nation over another, I have my doubts about.

    Drew, I'm making a bit of an assumption here, but:

    Why don't you believe in Zeus?
    • Apr 8 2011: Again, someone else making a comment without the facts. The majority of the world's population does believe in God. According to the CIA world factbook, of the world's population, there are 33.32% Christions, 21.01% Muslims and 0.23% Jews (according to 2007 statistics). This comes to 54.56%, while there are only 2.32% of you guys.
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        Apr 13 2011: You lost me there Colby. What is your point?
        • Apr 13 2011: How about you read your above comment?

          "If you define God as some old guy with a beard who sits up on a throne in the clouds, then I think most people would not believe in that God."

          You said that mockingly. I know you meant the God of Abraham.
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          Apr 13 2011: We have many people, even here at TED Conversations, that define themselves as Christians or Muslims, and yet when you ask them what's their definition of God, you find it's not the biblical kind of God... it's adjusted to match whatever makes sense to the individual.

          http://www.ted.com/conversations/1599/who_is_god.html
      • Apr 13 2011: Colby, I am curious as to what would happen if those percentages will change due to birth rates? Do numbers matter at all?
        • Apr 13 2011: No, they don't. I was just challenging Tim's incorrect statement, as I mentioned above.
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          Apr 14 2011: Colby: I didn't realize that Abraham defined God as "some old guy with a beard who sits up on a throne in the clouds". I was thinking more of Zeus.

          My point was that there is a wide spectrum of how people define God. And depending on the definition, more or less people would agree with the existence of THAT God. So what is the incorrect statement you are referring to?
        • Apr 14 2011: Did not realize you were referring to Zeus. I thought you were mocking.
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    Apr 4 2011: Somewhere in this conversation someone asks "Why does God need fans ?"
    My take on that is that God does not "need" anything but because God is love God wants to share Love.
    Love is never non-giving and self-contained. I am going to use a mataphore.....I see God as a Divine Flame and I am a spark from that Divine Flame. You can see where you can go with that ! Right ?
    • Apr 5 2011: >Somewhere in this conversation someone asks "Why does God need fans ?"<
      That was me, and that was how the catechism sounded to me in the first grade. I don’t think the nuns were particularly interested in debating the finer points of theology with a six year old.

      As far a God being a Divine Flame, or Love, sharing Love, or whatever, that's just word games. Certainly I’ve been fortunate to experience selfless love, both as a giver & receiver. And it is real to me, if not objectively measurable or scientifically provable to others.

      I also experience sense of the Divine; at sunsets, storms, children’s giggles, butterflies, the changing seasons, etc. (deer ticks, not so much). And I feel awe and/or wonder for; Mobius strips, (well prepared) Italian food, a rolling laboratory & radio station wandering around Mars taking pictures, Samuel Barber, and good hair days.

      None of which require a belief in a conscience supernatural entity for me to appreciate and be thankful for the experience.
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        Apr 5 2011: V I am glad that your life is so filled with goodness and beauty. Consider my views as word games if you wish, I was using a metaphore to explain and I really don't understand why you say, with such seeming certainty, that my views are nothing but word games. I also experience the Divine as you do. BTW I have an aversion to deer ticks, etc. I don't quite understand your last sentence. Conscience is to me a noun and I don't know what you mean by "conscience supernatural entity". (:>)
        • Apr 5 2011: I believe he meant conscious.
        • Apr 5 2011: My life filled with goodness & beauty? Ha! I wish! It’s not always and not now, but fortunately often enough.

          If God means love, then yes I believe in God. If God means a conscious creator, then no. (Thank you, Ryan.)

          If God can mean whatever you want it to mean, then why people believe, or don’t believe, in God, will depend on what you mean by God. You clearly said you were using a metaphor, so perhaps ‘Word Games’ was the wrong way to state this. I’m sorry if I offended.

          I read Drew’s question as making an argument that one has a chance of going to hell if one didn’t believe in God and one would be happier if one did believed in him. Perhaps we should ask Drew what he means by God.

          (PS, Ryan, I’m a she, not a he.)
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        Apr 5 2011: Vi............................I personally do not believe that "God" has any kind of hell prepared for humans. Although I would no longer describe myself as Roman Catholic...I do think that Pope John Paul did have some good notions, such as when he said Hell is not a place. To me heaven or hell is something one creates for themselves and certainly it exists only in this world. It is a state of mind....Icannot comprehend the essence of God...that I think is beyond anyone's ken. I don't believe in atonement rather I think in terms of at-one-ment Love is the one thing that can satisfy me...therefore I reject any other synonem for God. I really think Drew has not experienced the freedom of Love. And yes, if Drew has a description of God then I would reject that.
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    Apr 2 2011: Drew, I asked you this question further down, but I think it disappeared somewhere in the mass of other posts. Here I ask again:
    What would it take to convince you that there ain't any God ?
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      Apr 2 2011: I second this.

      Please though. What will it take anyone who believes in any form of God or Gods to 1. start, 2. consider, and/or 3. be convinced without question there is no God or Gods? What type of evidence?

      I am personally on the border of two beliefs: 1. There is a supreme entity but it ONLY exist as the emotion of love (God is love, the sixth sense), or 2. We as a human race are just one big accident of an existence. (chance)

      Edited: Thank you Austin Rogers, please resubmit answer.
      • Apr 2 2011: It would take proof, Nicholas.

        Edit: A finding that concretely contradicts something in the Bible. (The Christian Bible, in my case.)
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          Apr 3 2011: WHAT KIND? *dying a bit inside*
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          Apr 3 2011: @Austin The one in every hotel room in America? The most up to date Bible? Okay,

          http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra

          http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html

          but feel free to google more contradictions yourself.

          Austin, you are young you do not need to follow the trend of religion, believing is God is one thing, but to limit thought in terms of literature is not how a person should live life. God is in everyone because everyone is a God. All those laws or commandments are important because you wouldn't want to be treated like that, consider the golden rule (the foundation of all religion). Follow the teachings instead of the master, you will want to understand more teachings. If you follow the master you rely on the master. Rely on yourself first, you are the most important person but at the same time realize others are just as important as you are. 1.Yourself + Others. 2. All the rest. That is God.

          This question is over, no religious person is insane enough to genuinely answer it with full intent.
        • Apr 8 2011: The Catholic Bible has not changed, since the Nincene counsel. The ones that you are referring to are protestant bibles that were altered from the preotestant revolution.
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          Apr 13 2011: I asked which bible he said Christian, both Catholic and Protestant are Christian. And yes the Catholic Bible has changed since the Nincene counsel in the form of editing and translating
        • Apr 13 2011: Nicholas, I want to make something clear. Whenever I am making an argument about the Bible, I am always referring to the Catholic Bible. Protestant Bibles have changed. They were changed after the revolution and they changed them to fit their views. It is a well known fact. The King James Verison has many differences in it that were changed to fit the views of the Church of England, just for an example. However, that is not the case for the Catholic Bible.

          Yes, I am well aware that Catholicism and Protestantism both fall under the umbrella of Christianity. Obviously, words do not match up exactly from language to language. In Greek, there are several different words that refer to different levels of love. Wheras, the only word in english is the word "love". When a Bible is translated, it is always translated from the orignial language. Yes, it has been edited. But, the only editing that was done was to make thes entances more comprehendable. Concepts about God the Church or any main issue were not altered. If I was to show you a manuscript (say the Dead Sea Scrolls which is dated at around 200 B.C. to 70 A.D. or the p 52 which is dated at around 125 A.D.) you would see that a current Catholic Bible matches (with the exceptions to the ones listed above) exactly. No myth or exaggerations added.
      • Apr 3 2011: I'm plenty familiar with these 'contradictions'. The two primary reasons these show up are because they are taken out of context and/or they are twisted by constant updating the translation.

        Nicholas, we are both the same age... there is no you to talk down to me because I'm 'young'. Secondly, I'm fully aware I don't need to follow the trend of religion. In fact, I don't follow the 'trend' in many respects... I could list the ways, but I doubt you care. Lastly, please let the respect flow both ways. I respect and tolerate your beliefs. Your condescending diction, while discussing religion, bothers me. You must realize I understand my view is one built on /faith/ not /fact/. I'm not unreasonable nor insane. I chose to believe in Jesus as an act of faith, not based upon factual evidence that He exists.

        Let's just agree to disagree. I understand where you are coming from, I just think even if there is the tiniest chance of eternal salvation that I should have faith. This doesn't mean I should follow flawed religious dogma like discrimination against homosexuality and shoving beliefs down people's throats. There is nothing wrong nor unintelligent about wanting to have faith while still respecting everyone else's views.
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          Apr 4 2011: "I just think even if there is the tiniest chance of eternal salvation that I should have faith."

          This statement gives me faith you will one day see through your own. Chance is no reason to base a world of thought on. However I agree with you in terms of acceptance, but I stand by my advice to you, understand the teachings of many and do not rely on one master.

          Austin, believe me you are among a handful of people to elegantly explain their position to me without referencing the Bible or loose ideals of God and this is highly commendable. I could continue the debate of God with you, but it also seems you are not willing to do that.

          Jesus, is a good character to live by, but also take into consideration those in history who were Jesus-like they allow you to understand more fully what it takes to be a genuinely loving person in a world where love is privatized so often.
      • Apr 4 2011: The only reason I said "agree to disagree" was in response to "This question is over, no religious person is insane enough to genuinely answer it with full intent." I would love to continue debating the subject with you, we misunderstood each other.
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          Apr 4 2011: Well Austin, a religious person would have to be insane to answer "What type of evidence would it take for you to disbelieve in god?" because 1. there is already evidence it just resides in the realms of thought and not physical evidence and 2. it would ultimately lead them to contradict themselves in respect to their own beliefs.
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      Drew B

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      Apr 4 2011: more proof and logical understanding that there isn't a god than the proof that there i9s a God. And I have not found sufficient proof against God.
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        Apr 4 2011: Christophe Cop gave you a logical proof against the biblical God earlier. That's not proof for neo definitions of god, but at least it disproves the abrahamic gods. Your response was "And how could God not be all powerful, all good, and know everything."

        Well, it is in the logical statement itself. It follows from all bad things we have in our world which were not man made like viruses and natural disasters. The only way for God to fit into them is for him not being AT LEAST one of the three things he is said to be - not all powerful (i.e. he doesn't have the power to stop those) OR not all loving (he intents for us to have those; punishes us for something he doesn't explicitly tell us; is being a douchebag basically) OR not all knowing (can stop them and would, but doesn't do so because he doesn't know).
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        Apr 5 2011: So sufficient proof based on personal standards?

        That is difficult because I am not you drew.
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        Apr 5 2011: "And I have not found sufficient proof against God."
        Drew, did you find any proof against the tooth fairy and unicorns ?
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    Mar 31 2011: Hi Drew

    As I understand the bible, the human race is in rebellion against god. This is similar to children growing up & rebelling against their parents. God is seen as an authority figure who wants to impose all sorts of rules & regulations on our lives, & we reckon we don't need that & want to steer our own ship.
    In addition there is the spiritual realm. Initially God created spiritual beings called angels who were to minister to us. One third of them rebelled under the leadership of Satan, who is one of the senior angels.
    So we end up with two types of ministering spirits; pro-God & anti-God. We are more inclined to listen to the anti brigade. This planet is at the moment largely under the control of the anti's, but this is temporary. Sorry if this sounds a bit complex.

    Think about blaspheming.

    Commandment number 3 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain."

    Most folks when they hit their thumb with a hammer will utter such phrases as 'Jesus Christ. ; 'For God's/Christ's sake', or similar. Can you think of any rational explanation for why this should be ? Unbelievers cursing the very God they don't believe in. And why should God make such a commandment unless he knew full well that this would be the case. We curse God because we are in rebellion. We have to rationalise this, so we persuade ourselves that God doesn't exist, by concocting fables like evolution, Big Bang etc. Nobody will convince me that Richard Dawkins doesn't believe in God in some part of his subconscious, you just don't get that animated over nothing. God foresaw this as well, it's all in the book. Amazing stuff !

    :-)
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      Mar 31 2011: Peter, you know, I think Nietzsche was right after all when he said "First Man created God (in his image) and then God created Man (in his image)". You and I already had many talks about this topic and I know that you are a hardcore beliefer, so I don't even try to convince you anymore.But think about Nietzsche's statement.As to your phrases not everybody utters "Jesus Christ" when hitting his thumb with a hammer. As a matter of fact, I know more people uttering (if not outright screaming) F*** !! So, following your logic, what should we conclude ?
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        Apr 1 2011: Hi Harald
        Good to hear from you, still on the wrong side I see.

        I think the point is that when the thumb is hit, the next word uttered is going to be a swear word. If it was always "Christ" then maybe the argument could be made that it was not a curse but a salutation. However as most of the words used are a curse, then it follows that God's name is in fact being used as a curse in that context. And, you have to admit, it is a veeery common occurrence..

        Watching the horrors of Japan recently I was struck by how much the word "God" was used in exclamations of disbelief by these poor folks witnessing the carnage. This is not a theoretical practice, it is commonplace. What is your explanation ?
        :-)
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          Apr 2 2011: "This is not a theoretical practice": sure it is, even I use the expression......I guess I do so because it's practical. "God" is just a short word ;-)
          That doesn't mean I believe in a God, but use it as an expression, just as in your example of disbelief.
          I think you are interpreting a bit too much into what people utter.
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      Drew B

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      Apr 1 2011: thanks peter very helpful :)
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    Mar 31 2011: There is a lot of talk about proof here... I state this:

    I am your God!

    prove me wrong?

    Edit: I know that it's unbelievably wrong of me to say this... still i felt it had to be stated...
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      Drew B

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      Mar 31 2011: You have refused to spread your name and have refused any belief in Jesus christ and God. Therfore I know your not. easy enough. next
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        Mar 31 2011: I don't understand Drew, how have i refused to spread my name, there are few things that i try to do more.
        I Believe in Jesus (as a historic person) and just stated that I believe in God (myself)...
        I find your argument invalid, care to elaborate?

        Edit: Even if you know, prove it! ;)

        Edit2: You do know that Jesus only exists as a religious figure in few minds compared to the number that believe in God, don't you?

        Edit3: Take your God as an example: did you actually know that it is the same God that Jews and Muslims have, did you truly?
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          Drew B

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          Apr 1 2011: If you were God you would be spreading the word and saying you are God instead of arguing against his existence. By using past comments i can rule out your false testimony.

          @edit: i just did

          @edit2: what?

          @edit3: yes, why?
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        Apr 1 2011: Well, I'm testing you right now! How can you not believe in me just cause I give contradicting answers and are testing peoples faith?

        @1: we have very different opinions about proof.

        @2:don't get the idea of God mixed up with Jesus!

        @3:Just wondering...
    • Apr 8 2011: You are not infallible. Proof you are not God.
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    Mar 30 2011: Having experienced dozens and dozens of God-incidences in my life, I know God is real. I will be glad to share truth as I have learned it from God in my life with anyone who is interested.
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      Mar 30 2011: Having experienced the scientific method hundreds and hundreds of times in my life, I know science is real. I will be glad to share the truth i have learned about science with anyone who is interested..
      Also i will supply evidence.
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        Mar 30 2011: I too am a scientist with a BS in Biology and MD. There is absolutely no contradiction between science and faith as I know them both.
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          Mar 31 2011: @Bill: I know them both as well, I only believe in one though...
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          Mar 31 2011: Bill I suppose it depends what your religion is. If yo have a biology background and you are a christian, you should find that there are contradiction between current scientific views and religious views (e.g. abiogenesis, how long humans are around, age of the universe, creation vs. evolutionary biology, etc.)
          How do you handle these different views ?
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          Mar 31 2011: @Harald: I think the answer will be that those are not problems since he does not believe in THAT part of the holy scriptures... that usually is the answer when i ask such things...
          @Bill: Please say that I am wrong!
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          Mar 31 2011: Jimmy, I know that this is the standard answer and it's easy, because the scriptures give a lot of room for interpretation anyway. However, that makes the scriptures even more questionable.
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          Apr 1 2011: Harald, I fully agree!
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        Drew B

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        Mar 30 2011: I agree with science but science explains reality and God further explains reality to a deeper understanding and explains what happens after reality
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          Mar 31 2011: What happens after reality? Dam, I missed that philosophy class.

          No, science can and will explain EVERYTHING.

          God (in the Abrahamic religion explanation), if he exist, proves that their are beings of super natural abilities. Like Men in Black at the end with the marbles.

          HISTORIC LITERATURE DOES NOT HAVE ANY ANSWERS; BUT MORAL STORIES.
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          Mar 31 2011: @Nicholas: I thought that "what happens after reality" was a cheap shot so I didn't want to ask it... Still I'm glad you did!
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          Mar 31 2011: @ Jimmy, I am all up for god being love, even made a conversation about it. But most people are really making god into an existing being in the universe and not an abstract philosophy of positive morals.
    • Mar 30 2011: Bill and Jimmy you are both right! Science doesn't contradict to the idea of God, science is the empirical observation what believers call God's creation.
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          Mar 30 2011: I am sorry Natasha but I think that Birdias statement is more accurate...
        • Mar 30 2011: Birdia and Jimmy, I believe it is that simple- science and sacred tradition are different, but not separate, it's divergent paths to the same summit. It's searching for truth,ultimate truth and itis one, by definition. The methods, tools are differnt, but the aim is the same- to comprehend the whole.
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          Mar 31 2011: @Natasha: Tradition is one thing, religion or the belief in god another... I always ask myself: what do they base it on? Cause surely it can't be the bible...
        • Mar 31 2011: Hi, jimmy, I ask myself too ''what do they base it on?" I think it's part of our human necessity to be animated by some sense of common purpose , of shared meaning, we need the story that bound us together. Without it we find it hard to experience enthusiasm in the true sense of its original meaning - being "en" /in/ theos/God/ And nothing is apart, everything linked, religion and sacred traditions is a deep insight into the knowing our minds cannot penetrate. A mystery. Think how the old myths of creation tell their story. The Bible says it like this: In the begining ... the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the faceof the waters. And the creation myth of the Maoris of New Zeland like this;Io dwelt without the breathing space of immensity: the universe was in darkness, with water everwhere. Those two creation stories appeared so far apart, in cultures which had no contact with each other and yet so similar. Science has its own creation story, it says that everything came from nothing, which is also true. But as for me I really don't know.
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        Mar 30 2011: There is no contradiction between science and God's Good News through Jesus, as you say. Science is theory. God's Good News through Jesus is reality. I know this personally to be true.
        • Mar 30 2011: Sorry, Bill, It is not exactly what I ment, I don't practise any religion, that allows me to respect all human beliefs, and I view sacred traditions as noble attempts through rituals and intuition to catch the glimps of truth, I was not specific.
        • Jul 6 2011: Bill what a load of ignorant tosh is spoken by religious adherents.

          Firstly science is not just a theory (although it is made up of many many very powerful individual "theories" that explain how the physical world works).

          Second, do you even have a glimmer of an understanding of what a scientific theory is is? Its not just an IDEA that someone thought up and cannot be substantiated - thats what religion is. Religion is based on faith and an awful lot of superstition that we know cannot possibly be true because the evidence tells us that.

          To be called a scientific theory a theory must

          (a) explain all known characteristics of the phenomenom its trying to explain and

          B) be contradicted by none of those characteristics. Nor can it be contradicted by the evidence.

          A scientific theory has to be able to be tested against the evidence using very careful tests and then the facts / evidence must be published in the key journals of the relevant branch of science where it is open to anyone who has better evidence to knock it down. A scientific theory is something VERY VERY rigorous indeed and every year many theories are thrown in the waste bin because the facts do not support them.

          By your definition the theory of gravity is only a theory and is not worth believing. Perhaps this is how fundamentalist christians plan on being raptured up to heaven - by disbelieving the theory of gravity.

          Look, if you are going to criticise science at least make an attempt to understand what you are criticising. It is becasue of science that you can hop in your car and drive to church or go on the interent to make claims about religion. It is because of science that TV and radio can publish information including info about your god and its because of science that many people alive today have food on their tables. If we relied on religion we would still be burning witches and believing in demons that cause illness. Perhaps you still do. If not, then thank science.
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    Mar 30 2011: "what has your God done for you that you couldn't have done for yourself?"
    I think this one of the answers for your question, Drew.
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      Drew B

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      Mar 30 2011: he has helped me on a lot of personal matters and has given me many talents and has picked me up when I am the lowest scum but im just a teen and there are more things to come.
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        Apr 1 2011: Ok, this is why I don't believe in God: my friends and my family have helped me on a lot of personal matters and they always pick me up when I am not fine.Oh, and I've worked a lot to developed my talents! And just like you, I'm just a teen and there are more things to come! God???
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          Drew B

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          Apr 4 2011: Who gave you your parents? o thats right GOD! Glad you have worked on your talents. Read the parable of the talents.
          Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

          After a long time, the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.”

          His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

          The man with the two talents also came. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.”

          His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

          Then the man who had received the one talent came. “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”

          His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

          “Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

          - Matthew 25:14-30 (NIV)
  • Jul 24 2011: @ Drew

    You said: "yeah the whole idea can be denied with logical reasoning but you got to look at where this idea came from and how much we can trust this information. "


    If I am interpreting your sentence correctly, "whole idea" and "this idea" appear to refer to the existence of God. In an earlier posting in this conversation Kyle McCall gave a nice explanation of where the idea of God came from.

    Your phrase "... how much we can trust this information." appears to refer to the claim that God exists. I think the answer is, we can't trust it very much. All theist scriptures, including the Christian Bible, claim the existence of one or more gods. But should we accept the existence of Vishnu because he is discussed in the Rigveda?

    You said "When you search for those facts they cant be denied and once you experience what God does in your life you will know its real."

    I'm not sure what facts you are alluding to, so of course I can't deny them. But if you would state some facts I would be happy to consider them on their merits.

    I'm having trouble understanding the following sentence:

    "If you dont believe in it you should have proof andt the strongest possible evidence of everything that cant be denied."

    You appear to be saying that the burden of proof is on the people who don't believe in the existence of God. Of course that is backward. The burden of proof is always on the person who makes a claim. You seem to be making the claim that there is a god, and furthermore it is the Christian God. I don't claim that there is no God, I simply think that the probability is so low that it is not worth considering. Of course if Zeus or Yahweh or Vishnu were to show up on the PBS Newshour I might reassess the probabilities.
  • Jul 24 2011: @ Drew

    You said "And why do most people who ask themselves this question [Does God exist?] and go search for answers come back a christian?"

    It is not apparent to me that most people who ask whether God exists choose to adopt Christianity. Do you have any facts you can offer to back up this assertion? (Note that Christians are not in the majority in the world.)
  • Jul 24 2011: @ Drew

    You said " if it were even the slightest possible chance that there is a hell and its a place of everlasting torment and hate wouldnt you want to make sure there isnt one by checking every possible source of information and proof that God does not exist or does? "

    So the possibility that hell exists should motivate people to check every possible source of information concerning the existence of God? That information would of course include the scriptures of every religion, past and present, as well as the writings of philosophers, theologians, and scientists. Naturally you cannot prove the nonexistence of hell or God, but I suppose it would be possible for Zeus to appear on the PBS Newshour one day, prove his divine existence to everyone's satisfaction by performing supernatural feats, and then offer tours of Hades. Has the possibility of this happening motivated you to study everything you can find relating to Zeus and Hades?

    The human mind deals with the uncertainties of the world by assessing "probabilities", not just "possibilities". There is a possibility that due to Brownian motion all the air molecules will accumulate in one corner of the room, but the probability of that is so small that I don't worry about that possibility. And I think the probability is about the same that 3000 or so years ago some Bronze Age tribe in the Middle East got the straight scoop from a deity named Yahweh.
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    Jul 15 2011: For me, religiosity is the easy way out of finding meaning in our existence.