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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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  • Apr 9 2011: Which God are you referring to? We have many religions in the world and spiritual movements and ideologies. =)

    Interestingly, people usually believe in such God as their tribes, organizations and societies believe. If you were born in a certain part of world's region you would have certain probability of believing in the same God of that region. Also, born in different times in history would present you with different choices of Gods.
    • Apr 10 2011: @ Vasil. Yes, It does prove their existence. Why would there be a story about people who did exist, but there experiences, observations and interactions are completely false? Does not the fact that humans exist prove the fact that evolution is true (I believe that it is true and that it is guided by God.)?

      @ Harald. There is evidence. There have been thousands of people who have had spiritual experiences (or "observations"). Are you going to discount them because science is too limited to verify them?

      @ Zdenek. I am Catholic. Yes, that is true. However, I do not see how that helps your position. Man did not create the ideal of God or discover HIm. He revealed himself to us. You talk about living in different times...if you lived before Abraham, you woulnd not know God. Simply, because God choose to reveal himself to Abraham. If you lived, in say, New Zealand two thousand years ago, you would not know God. That is why, after the death of Christ, his disciples went throughout the lands to spread the Word of God, because He wants us to spread His good news. Christianity continues to do that to this day.
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        Apr 10 2011: Like I said, OK... it proves their existence. Fine. Jesus existed. But that doesn't mean he did all things the bible says he did. Troy existed, yet that doesn't mean all events in Troy happened as Homer described them. Maybe the Trojan Horse story happened, maybe Helen was indeed the prettiest woman warriors ever saw (no wonder...), maybe there was a great warrior called Achilles, but that doesn't mean Achilles was immortal and could not be hurt on any part other than his heel, does it?

        If you take that as true (in the same way you take the bible being true based on the existence of Jesus), then this means the Greek Gods who gave Achilles his near-immortality are actually also true. If you don't take them as true, you'll have to explain on what further evidence do you think Jesus' miracles happened as described while the Troy story didn't happened as described. As far as I'm concerned, both stories are exaggerated until proven otherwise.

        "Why would there be a story about people who did exist, but there experiences, observations and interactions are completely false?"
        Why would anyone mix facts (like someone's existence) with lies or exaggerations (like said people's experiences) indeed... I don't know... to maintain a cult of followers maybe? Just maybe... no factual claims here. Other than the number of followers and the exact stories, what's really the difference between Christians, Muslims, Jews, Mormons and cults based on Jesus? All are based on facts mixed with lies or exaggerations... well, you might say that's only the case for all but your religion, but there's no evidence for your religion being any more true than the other ones. You have as much blind faith (i.e. without evidence) in your religion as the followers of other religions have in theirs.

        "Does not the fact that humans exist prove the fact that evolution is true."
        No. If it did, we wouldn't conceive of the idea that maybe God created humans.
      • Apr 11 2011: @Colby "if you lived before Abraham, you woulnd not know God. Simply, because God choose to reveal himself to Abraham"

        What about Gods that reveal themselves to people believing in Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, Native Americans, Greeks, Jehova Witnesses, Buddhism and many others we don't even know about?
        • Apr 12 2011: In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behavior: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being.

          Only the Catholic Church existed in the tenth century, in the fifth century, and in the first century, faithfully teaching the doctrines given by Christ to the apostles, omitting nothing. The line of popes can be traced back, in unbroken succession, to Peter himself. This is unequaled by any institution in history. Even the oldest government is new compared to the papacy, and the churches that send out door-to-door missionaries are young compared to the Catholic Church. Many of these churches began as recently as the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. Some even began during your own lifetime. None of them can claim to be the Church Jesus established. The Catholic Church has existed for nearly 2,000 years, despite constant opposition from the world. This is testimony to the Church’s divine origin. It must be more than a merely human organization, especially considering that its human members— even some of its leaders—have been unwise, corrupt, or prone to heresy. Any merely human organization with such members would have collapsed early on. The Catholic Church is today the most vigorous church in the world (and the largest, with a billion members: one sixth of the human race).
        • Apr 13 2011: Colby,

          >The Catholic Church has existed for nearly 2,000 years, despite constant opposition from the world. This is testimony to the Church’s divine origin. <

          I’m a pagan, (Pantheist to be precise.) Paganism is the first & oldest theology. I win.
        • Apr 13 2011: No you don't, because paganism is very general. It is a blanket term. You could be pagan for believing in the Roman gods or the Norse gods. You could apply paganism to anything.
        • Apr 13 2011: Hi Colby,

          >No you don't, because paganism is very general. It is a blanket term. You could be pagan for believing in the Roman gods or the Norse gods. You could apply paganism to anything.<

          Okay, let’s be specific. Norse paganism predates the Catholic Church and is practiced today. For that matter, Judaism predates the Catholic Church too.
        • Apr 13 2011: Hey,

          Yeah, and Catholicism is the fullfillment of Judaism. God keeping his promise to man. You are right Norse paganism does predate the Catholic Church...what is your point?
        • Apr 13 2011: My Point? My point is; if being around for a long time means a theology is divine, than various pagan sects are divine as well.

          I think the Jews would argue with you about Catholicism being a fulfillment of Judaism.
        • Apr 14 2011: Okay...fine. I am wrong on this point. It is an ad populum argument, anyway. I do not want to hear from anyone that I am a fundamentalist and that I am not open to changing my mind.
      • Apr 13 2011: @Colby
        "The Catholic Church has existed for nearly 2,000 years, despite constant opposition from the world. This is testimony to the Church’s divine origin."

        I disagree with your conclusion. Would you say that any religion that will continue to exist for at least 2,000 years is automatically divine? Islam and others will be so in a few hundred years. If a religion becomes most populous, can they automatically claim that it has to be because they are divine?

        "Any merely human organization with such members would have collapsed early on"
        I see this only as a speculation. Certain empires lasted for centuries.

        "Even the oldest government is new compared to the papacy"
        Democracy institutions existed since times of Greeks and perhaps even before. Again, how longevity of something proves its connection with divinity?
        • Apr 13 2011: You missed the point. When Islam becomes 2,000 years old, Catholicism will be 2,600 years old. The point is that you cannot ignore longevity. While that itself does not prove that "it must be true", it cannot be discounted at the same time. Let me turn the question on you. How can you assume that you guys (atheists) are the only "free-thinkers" on the planet?

          It is not speculation. Can you show otherwise? Name an organization/government that has lasted as long. Also, there is a large different between saying the "oldest government"s and the oldest form of government.
      • Apr 13 2011: "When Islam becomes 2,000 years old, Catholicism will be 2,600 years old. "
        That is true but I thought that you claim that because Catholicism is 2000 years old it means it is divine. I didn't realize that you claim that ONLY the oldest religion is divine? Again, sorry but I don't see that being a proof.

        "While that itself does not prove that "it must be true", it cannot be discounted at the same time."
        We cannot have a claim to be invalid and valid at the same time. For now, we can just say it is a speculation but not a scientific claim =)

        "How can you assume that you guys (atheists) are the only "free-thinkers" on the planet?"
        I never said that?
    • Apr 10 2011: Yeah, Troy probably did exist and in all likelyhood the Trojan War did happen. Heck, the Trojan Horse probably was real, too. However, how many people died for the Iliad because they firmly believed in the gods that it chronicled?

      Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire and the Jews for their faith from the time of Jesus and continued for about three centuries, until Constatine became emperor and converted. Interesting side note, how does the Roamn Emperor (especially, since all of his predecessors hated Christianity) convert to the persecuted religion? Do you think he did it to "maintain a cult"? Of the twelve apostles, chosen by Jesus, only one died of natural causes (except for Judas who killed himself for betraying Jesus). Persecution Christians were burned, murdered crucified and feed to hungry lions. I can go into great detail about these persections if you want me to. People died for Him, who were within living experience of HIm. How does someone die for something they are not certain is true? WAS ALL THIS JUST TO "MAINTAIN A CULT"?

      Islam was founded about 600 AD. The Church of Latter Day Saints founded in the 1800s. Christianity is the fullfillment of Judaism (that is another debate). Christianity was founded immediately after the death of Jesus. FACT.
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        Apr 10 2011: The fact people died in the name of a religion doesn't make its claims true. Otherwise, Bin Laden's radical Islam cult is the most proven kind of religion nowadays (or is going to be... if the trend continues). Are you saying Bin Laden is right? People don't die for something they aren't certain is true... which is why atheists like Richard Dawkins call it "The God Delusion". You think it's true, you're certain of it, but it's not true - delusion.

        "Interesting side note, how does the Roamn Emperor (especially, since all of his predecessors hated Christianity) convert to the persecuted religion? Do you think he did it to "maintain a cult"?"
        He did it for the same reason my country long ago converted from a pagan nation with multiple Gods to a Christian nation - to establish piece between all neighboring countries that were otherwise willing to attack anyone who believes in another religion. The guy who converted us (Boris) was for the most part a pacifist (didn't wanted war, preferred focusing on the people within), which also kind of explains why it was around the same time Cyrillic was accepted as a new alphabet - he wanted to have something else which the people will identify their culture with in compensation for the religion change. Since Cyrillic was a local invention, it fitted the role perfectly.

        "Christianity was founded immediately after the death of Jesus."
        +40 years if by "founded" you mean the first new testament bible, but OK...
        • Apr 10 2011: I cannot believe you just said that. They did not fly a Boeing into buildings killing innocent people. The Christian were killed. They did not kill anyone. Dawkins really does not have any credibility, because he is irrational hostile towards religion and he only portrayed the bad side of religion. He did not engage in a unbiased intellectual argument.

          Why is Dawkins so hostile to religion, specifically Christianity?

          "The shrill, aggressive rhetoric of his God Delusion masks a deep insecurity about the public credibility of atheism. The God Delusion seems more designed to reassure atheists whose faith is faltering than to engage fairly or rigorously with religious believers, and others seeking for truth." -Alister McGrath

          Which makes sense, considering 76.8% of the U.S. are Christian, vice the 4% who do not claim a religion (CIA world factbook). In comparison to the world, most of the world believes in the God of Abraham. So, I guess Dawkins thinks he is smarter than all these people combined? Or I guess it is because we all infected with a virus. Does that sound rational to you?

          Also, Dawkins embarrassed his fellow atheists with his clear arrongance. As the atheist philosopher Michael Ruse commented: "The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist."

          And no you are dead wrong. If you knew anything about history, you would know why Constantine converted. It was not to establish peace (although that is a good intention). His mother was a christian. That was his first exposure to it. Then he ended up praying to God because he was convinced he needed divine assistance to win in the Battle of Milvian Bridge. He received a vision from God and he converted.
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        Apr 10 2011: Fair enough... Constantine converted the nation because he himself was deluded and needed to motivate the people for upcoming wars in some way, finding God to be such a good motivator... good point.

        And OK... I misread "people dying because of their religion" for "people dying in the name of their religion" (which BTW is sort of what they do if Christ is a war motivator).

        But even so, even if they died because of their religion, that doesn't make their claims true. It only means that everyone else was sure their god(s) were true, and were willing to kill because of this.

        The Catholic church later killed Galileo in the name of Christianity... that alone didn't made Galileo right (if we assume the one who dies because of his views is right). It was the evidence for his claims. Well, technically, we know he wasn't exactly right (the sun is not the center of the universe), but he did started the paradigm shift away from geocentric views.
        • Apr 10 2011: Vasil,

          I am not going to despite with you the fact that, yes, the men in charge of the Church back then did some really bad things. Bad things happened during the Crusades, the killing of Galileo or whatever. That is not God's fault or the Church's fault. It is the fault of those corrupt men. Men who had free will to make those decisions, as wrong as they are. On the slip side, look at the Soviet Union, an atheistic state. The U.S.S.R was responsible for deaths in the hundreds of thousands, way more than any Church persecution. The harsh reality is that religious and non-religious groups and people have done bad things. That will continue. As can be seen with the U.S.S.R (show I even meantion Nazi Germany?), religion is not the cause for violence. Corrupt men are.

          I have also noticed that you have turned a blind eye to all the good that the Church has done, which out weighs the bad by a lot.
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        Apr 10 2011: My point was not so much to condemn the Catholic church as to give an example of how killing someone because of their views doesn't make them right. Galileo was later proven to be wrong in his heliocentric view - he wasn't infallible and the only difference between him and the bible was that Galileo never claimed to be infallible. He only claimed that's the thing the evidence leads him towards.

        If I have turned a blind eye to all the good that the Church has done, you've also turned a blind eye to all the good non believers of all kinds do. All non-religious related charities are good stuff that happened without the need for the Church to be there. There are people in these charities who are atheists. I'm turning a blind eye on the good the Church has done, because the Church is not a requirement for goodness to happen. It's also not a requirement for evil to happen, as demonstrated by Stalin and Gaddafi, but either way - that doesn't make its claims true, which is all that atheists are arguing.
        • Apr 11 2011: Let me apologize...I did not mean to attack the integrity and character of atheists. I am not one of those people who believes that if you are an atheist then you are an immoral person. That is not me. I want to get that straight.

          Let me ask you what I asked Harold earlier. Atheists are always talking about evidence. Well, there is evidence. There have been thousands and thousands of people who have had spiritual or religious experiences (or "observations"). How can anyone discount them, just because they were not present to the same occurance? Are you going to discount them because science is too limited to verify them?
        • Apr 11 2011: How can we prove that what people experience are religious experiences? People's brains are able to have all kinds of experiences that do not reflect the real world. For example, using various medications, drugs, from exhaustion, lack of vitamins or through various mental inefficiencies people can experience flying, feeling weird or super happy, feeling like out of body and so on.

          From my point of view, brain is like a complex computer. If you mix a few bits or introduce noise into its circuits, you get atypical results or unexpected behavior.
        • Apr 11 2011: You are right, we can't prove that these experiences are truly religious experiences, it all comes down to faith. :-)
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          Apr 12 2011: Vasil/Colby
          You are both missing an important point.
          The earliest christians did not die for their faith, they died for a FACT.
          They claimed that they had witnessed the resurrection of Jesus. They were not telling folk they believed he was raised, they were telling folk that they SAW that he was raised. Very different scenario. Muslim extremists die for what they believe, not for what they know to be a fact that they have witnessed.
          What sort of nut would allow himself to be tortured & killed for something he knew for a fact was not true ? These folk had seen something so amazing that they died rather than denying what they had seen. Hey Harald; doesn't that look live evidence ?

        • Apr 12 2011: Yes,

          Thank you, Peter. I tried explaining that in one of my previous posts.
        • Apr 12 2011: @ Zdenek. I agree with you that you cannot prove PERSONAL religious/spiritual experiences. However, there are many public examples that can be confirmed by many other people. I will spare you from an avalanche of evidence. I will keep it within the modern era for you. I will like to mention the Miracle of the Sun, which took place on October 17th 1917. It was estimated that anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 people witness this event in Fatima, Portugal. The event was attributed by believers to Our Lady of Fátima, an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three young shepherd children. The children reported that the Lady had promised them that she would on 13 October reveal her identity to them and provide a miracle "so that all may believe." The miracle was what some described as the sun "zig-zagging" or "dancing" across the shy. This miracle was even witnessed by people who did not travel to the field to see it (it was seen miles and miles away). The crowd was filled with believers and skeptics. So, the argument that people were "drugged or halucinating or seeing what they want" will not work. In addition, the Blessed Virgin predicted that there would be a great sign in the night, which would preced a World War. There was a 1938 aurora that was seen as far south as North Africa, Bermuda and California. A month after this aurora Hitler seized Austria.
        • Apr 13 2011: @Colby I wish you could give an example of some recent event that happened in the last 10 years. However, in case of the Miracle of the Sun, there are a few straight forward explanations to the phenomena given at:

          What I noticed about conspiracy theories is that just because some people do not understand how event X happened due to their lack of knowledge (like collapse of Twin Towers or Landing on the Moon), they cannot conclude the reason to be Y. Lack of proper observations and recordings does let us make a conclusion that makes common sense to people or is given by majority. In the case of Miracle of the Sun I think similar approach applies?

          My question is why there was never a documented case of someone who had amputated arm or leg and by Miracle his/her hand or leg re-appeared? =)
        • Apr 13 2011: Hello Birdia, =)

          What is important to know about a scientific claim is that the claim can be confirmed by repeated tests and observations and that it is never guaranteed to be the final truth as our understanding of the reality continues to improve.

          Btw, I just watched an amazing talk about Universe and life:

          From that it seems that we are only a small part of a long chain of events in the history of the Universe. Human history seems insignificant in that regard?
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        Apr 13 2011: @Richard Dawson
        Err... perhaps I've misread the definition (quotes from Wikipedia article on "Heliocentric model")
        "Heliocentrism, or heliocentricism, is the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around a stationary Sun at the center of the solar system"

        I thought this inherently means that the sun was claimed to be the center of the universe, since Galileo lived before 1920s, when
        "With the observations of William Herschel, astronomers realized that the sun was not the center of the universe and by the 1920s Edwin Hubble had shown that it was part of a galaxy that was only one of many billions."
        but if the sun being the center of the universe was not part of Galileo's claims, I suppose you're right.

        You do realize Birdia was sarcastic, right?

        @Colby McGrevey
        Believing something because someone (or multiple people) claim its true doesn't make it true. If that was the case, than tabloids never write lies... many people say [insert tabloid claims]. Many more believe that [insert tabloid claims] is true (partly because of the people that say [insert tabloid claims] is true). That must make it true, right? Including the parts that [victim of tabloid claim] later claims explicitly to be false, some with proof for it?!?

        For something to be evidence, it must be a repeatable test(s) you could potentially perform or be something you could observe and/or interpret yourself, potentially in a different way from what you're being told. Historical documents are evidence because they exist, and when multiple independent sources agree on something and the time for it, we can conclude something of the sort happened at the time, not necessarily, though possibly, as described. Historical artifacts are often further physical evidence for something having happened as described by the sources.

        Science doesn't prove negatives. We can't say "Jesus did not performed miracles", but must instead elaborate by saying "If anything, he possibly performed tricks".
        • Apr 13 2011: Oh come on Vasil, how can you make the comparison? People do not actually beleive the tabloids. People read them because it excites their curiosity. I, myself, have read a tabloid out of curiousity. The people who write the tabloids do not believe it to be true. They are just trying to make money. Have you ever watched TMZ?

          Take at a look at this one...http://www2.wspa.com/lifestyles/2009/apr/23/medical_miracles-ar-17589/
        • Apr 13 2011: Yes I do =)
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        Apr 13 2011: "People do not actually beleive the tabloids."
        Oh yes they do... and I have evidence for that too, though it's in Bulgarian, because it is related to the Bulgarian tabloids (locally referred to as "Yellow press") and their readers. Every person I've ever asked about the topic, every person I've ever seen anywhere (including on TV) talking about the topic... every single one knows at least one person who believes in this (and so do I - my grandmother believes everything, and my mother believes stuff if it's also on Facebook). Every celebrity featured in a tabloid has reported having friends and relatives ask if what was written is true, and further having to defend the fact the tabloid lies. Maybe that's just the Bulgarian yellow press... maybe we're just more gullible when it comes to gossip than people from other countries are (I don't have evidence for other countries)... but the point is people have a tendency to believe something which is not true only because someone says its true (with no evidence to support the claim).

        People can lie about or misinterpret their own experiences or those of someone else. Someone believing something doesn't make said something true. You believing there's an invisible unicorn in your room doesn't make it true. Many people saying there is an invisible unicorn in your room also doesn't make it true.

        As for medical miracles... (medical) science being unable to explain something doesn't mean the explanation is God. It could be anything... like a positive side effect of a treatment that appeared when the medicine was stopped... or his immune system being strengthened by the state a mind (as evidenced) that he enters when being relaxed as when he prays and which atheists would enter by alternative means like thinking how much they love their family or imagining themselves merging with the earth after the imminent death (FYI, if Earth could be thought of as a big organism, I'd find this beautiful) ... or something else altogether.
        • Apr 14 2011: I do not know about Bulgaria. But, in the U.S. it is different. It just makes for a good story, which is why people pay attention to it. My aunt prescribes to the tabloids. But, she gets it for entertainment. She equates it to reading a good fiction novel, where the characters happen to be real. I do believe with your statement, "people have a tendency to believe something which is not true only because someone says its true (with no evidence to support the claim)". People think they may have evidence. Case in point, the whole landings on the moon, bogus. However, my stance does have historical and archeological evidence (even though you would claim that everyone is deluded).

          You can only use that argument, in regards to medical miracles, for so long. How long can you continue to ues it? We might never find a cure for cancer. When a professional in the field says it is a miracle, I am inclined to side with him. It is not like he was given some treatment and the cancer slowly was defeated, like any disease. IT SIMPLY AND INEXPLICABLY DISAPPEARED! Vanished without a trace or trail left behind.

          Here is something else for you should look at:
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        Apr 13 2011: @Richard Dawson
        OK, can you help me out here then in thinking of another example where someone died for claims that were later proven wrong? While we know by way of logic that a person dying for his beliefs doesn't make his beliefs true, as we've seen, to quote Edward Current, "Logic doesn't work on Christians"... examples do though.
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        Apr 13 2011: I don't think this will work, seeing the standard argument for theists is "You can't prove God does not exist", or in this case "You can't prove the God they believed in does not exist".

        (and even if Colby confirms to see this point, I'd still like to get a more concrete example, for future arguments' sake)
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        Apr 14 2011: @Colby McGrevey
        And all other deceases that people in the past sometimes "miraculously" recovered from? Were they all God too?

        And I mean all of those for which nowadays we do have cures, and for some of which science can now explain what happened (the typical evidence being the immune system triggered because of non pharmaceutical ingredient, like a certain herb, or more rarely, that there is some sort of a previously unknown separate repair mechanism, like in wounds)? The reason those are no longer considered "miracles" by experts is exactly because now we do have cures for those and understand at least to a degree what are their chances should they not take their medicine.

        Heck, in ancient times, even a flu could be fatal... but some people recovered... "It's a miracle!!!".

        All of those are evidence of God not being it back then, and based on this evidence, we can say that God is likely not it for today's incurable deceases either.

        "She equates it to reading a good fiction novel, where the characters happen to be real."
        Which is precisely how atheists think when reading/hearing the bible, since there's no evidence for it being anything more than that. Your aunt may be wise enough to be atabloidist (i.e. not buying tabloid claims without verifiable evidence), but like atheists vs. theists, she is most likely part of the less in number group of readers... and she's on the right side despite that.

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