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.

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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

          • +1
          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 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.
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      • 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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          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.
      • Comment deleted

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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.
  • Jul 6 2011: The Truth is that the answers to life's questions are Spiritual because we are spiritual beings. We can only answer these questions in the spirit realm. God is a Spirit and the problem is that people try to understand God with their "natural" minds and try to see evidence with a natural eye. The natural mind/eye and the physical world is limited to what we can see/taste/touch/smell/hear in this dimension. The Truth of God is ALWAYS revealed. It can be spoken to others through witnessing (which merely means standing as an eye-witness to the works of God) about the evidence of the spiritual realm (which always manifests itself in the natural realm). The substances of this world (Earth, stars....) are made from a Spritual World (GOD). So, the bottom line is this. Stop trying to rationalize God. It's like trying measure the height of Mount Everest with a graduated cyliner or even a 12 inch ruler at best. It's NOT possible. And the fact that people refuse to accept that their graduated cylinder/ruler is not good enough is evidence of PRIDE which will result in spiritual blindness. Pride is the confession that "you" are your own god and God won't even try to compete with you. He just won't. God won't force you to love Him. But He will plead with you to open your heart to the Truth so that He will reveal it to you.
  • Jun 24 2011: I reject god(s)/religion of 1) due to a lack of verifiable evidence and 2) the fact that the pattern of religious beliefs matches temporal, cultural, political and geographical trends.

    1. Lack of verifiable evidence

    A super majority of advancements are due to sustained scientific research. While Mr. Ahmadi has been kind enough to provided his beliefs in this discussion, from my perspective they are assertions based on his anecdotal experience. I respect his experience as a fellow human, but I require a high standard of evidence (scientific) for beleif. I echo Christophe Cop's point regarding the "god-experience." Someone telling me they "felt" god is not enough proof.

    2. Temporal, cultural, political and demographic patterns:

    Predicting religious beleif is extremely easy. Provided a profile (age, country of birth and/or residence, education level, parent's religion, etc.) we could make rather accurate predictions of what religion (if any) they believe in. One example is that living in northern Africa makes a person more likely to be Muslim while living in southern Africa makes them more likely to be Christian. Another is that few people believe in the Greek Pantheon today, but they had a heck of a following when the Greek empire was under Athenian rule in the 5th and 4th century BC. Dominant modern religions are widespread because their cultures are powerful, not because their deities are real.

    Religion moves like language does: by migration, subjugation, and assimilation. European conquerors from Spain took South America by deadly force and early American settlers moved west across Indian territory. Conquered South American natives quickly pick up Spanish and Catholicism. African slaves replaced their tribal culture with English and Christianity. As the structure society changes, so does religion. If your parents speak English; what do you speak?

    I encourage everyone to investigate secular humanism as a means for rational & moral coexistence!
  • Jun 20 2011: Anyone who is naive enough to believe that the Christian bible is the literal "word of god" and therefor must be followed on pain of damnation - simply does not understand its history. Read for example about the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. The council determined what the bible would include and what would be left out of the bible. (So much for the literal word of god!) That which was left out was declared to be "heretical" and was suppressed - often by the most cruelly violent means. Read about the Inquisition which slaughtered people freely because they held beliefs that Rome had declared to be heretical based on the Council's decisions.

    It was the Council incidentally which decided - by vote - that Jesus was "of the substance of god." Something that the early church never held (to early christians, Jesus was a teacher and a messiah but not a god.)

    Apart from my own rational belief in science and evidence rather than religion and faith, its hard to treat religion (certainly christian religion and dogma) as being in the least bit credible in anything it says when one reads its history in detail. Of the way in which jesus the historical figure was changed by human processes (often using the most brutal force) into jesus the god figure. When you add to that the brutal and quite evil treatment of women, jews and others, by a religion that professes to be about love, one has to regard it with the deepest possible scepticism.

    But sadly its not limited to christianity. Other religions have the same failings. Most notably a predeliction to threats and violence against those who believe differently.

    BTW if you think the "inquisition" no longer exists, think again. It only changed its name. The present pope was Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the "Sacred Congregaton of the Holy Office," ......the historical Inquisition. (quoted from wikipedia entry on the pope.) its methods may be less vrulent but its aims aren't.
    • Jun 20 2011: "Other religions have the same failings."
      can you show some proof?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religions_and_spiritual_traditions
      • Jun 20 2011: Why should you demand proof when you cant offer proof that god exists. But I suppose if you must have some me form of proof then I can say one can get it simply by looking at the news. For example there was the infamous news image I saw of a woman wearing a birkah and holding a sign that says "Behead those who say Islam is not tolerant."

        With an ounce of irony I might add. And what about the violence offered by nations with a christian heritage against your co-religionists (I am sure you would at least agree with that!)
        • Jun 21 2011: "Why should you demand proof when you cant offer proof that god exists. "
          are you sure?
          why our universe has laws of physics?
          http://www.ted.com/conversations/2142/why_our_universe_has_laws_of_p.html

          also please read:
          http://www.al-islam.org/mufaddal/

          about birkah (covering face) please note Islam says when a woman should make herself beautiful for his husband but when go to public she should cover her body unless face and hands from stranger people. but birkah is not necessary in Islam but some women prefer to wear it.

          "With an ounce of irony I might add."
          sorry what means this?

          'I am sure you would at least agree with that!"
          agree with what?
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    Jun 18 2011: This question and the followup statements make religion sound like an insurance plan. I think that is exactly what it amounts to for many. I did for a time buy that "insurance" until I realized there was no need for it. Now the best insurance I can find that will get me into the afterlife is to refuse to play mind games and live a life that I think has purpose and meaning.
  • Jun 15 2011: Just an observation about some comments made in this thread to the effect that judaism, christianity and islam are all similar. Whilst true in some respects its very untrue in others. I am essentially not religious and am agnostic but if I were religious I have to say I find judaism (out of this particular subset of the world's many many religions) a better model for life.....

    The other religions DEMAND belief on pain of eternal damnation or with the offering of reward in some other life. As I understand it, judaism does not. It basically says. ....To be a good person you should behave in a certain way.

    The focus is on making this world a better place, not on seeking reward or avoiding punishment in some other life. In fact I think the official position in judaism is more along the lines that we cannot know what happens after death so its best not to inquire too deeply about it. Instead one must focus on being a better human being in this life as thats all we know for sure and all we can control.

    Pretty intelligent really! It does not demand or require belief, it only asks for good behaviour. its about practice, not belief. (Neurologist Oliver Sacks said as much of his parents - that judaism is not big on belief and his parents were practicing jews, not believing jews). Much more acceptable and sensible!

    I cannot possibly see how any religion can say "believe this and you will be rewarded - otherwise you will be punished" and retain its moral authority. You cannot compel belief - only a pretense of belief. And this is the problem I have with the notion of a god. If I understand this about human nature then I think its a pretty safe bet that an all-knowing god would. So I must be agnostic.
  • May 19 2011: There are plenty of possibilities. Infinite possibilities, actually. As Richard Dawkins said in his talk on militant atheism (which you should certainly watch if you have not already) the burden of proof is not on me as a nonbeliever, it is on the believers. It is absurd to expect everyone to believe in every possibility unless they can absolutely rule it out. Sure, I could burn in hell for not being a good Christian. Or maybe all the Christians will be captured by a giant nematode-like creature and put on a hostile planet in a distant galaxy where Nickelback is played constantly everywhere and all surfaces are covered in thumbtacks. As far as I'm concerned, these two possibilities are equally likely.
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    May 17 2011: In regards to the original question of why don't people believe in God... here's a good analogy that quite correctly shows how atheists think of religious claims:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oymv19jyeY8
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    May 12 2011: I BELIEVE each religion is a parallel of another, whether monotheistic or polytheistic (just divide a single divine body into smaller ones, each displaying a different aspect of the almighty one's nature, or add them back up again), and each of them serve a purpose to provide an outlet where people can lay their faiths, blame their troubles and find comfort.
    In history, such an outlet was well respected. It explained phenomena that man could not. It consoled us when our crops failed, giving us the option to argue that, no it was not our fault because we sowed the crops too early, but the god must be unhappy. But as modern scientific discoveries have progressed, we have been given reasons for our downfalls, explanations for what used to be deemed as 'an act of God', and with such discoveries we become more knowledgeable on how to avoid such happenings.
    To sum it up: we don't believe in religion TO THE SAME EXTENT AS WE USED TO (sorry for the capsiness, just want to highlight that I'm not saying we've abandoned it) because we simply don't need to anymore.

    As for me, I'm an agnostic atheist. I'll believe in a divine body when someone proves it exists with empirical data.
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    May 12 2011: Here is my problem with the common concept of God: The perfect creator created flawed beings and it is up to the flawed beings to correct the flaw by following the creator's plan.
    God created all of heaven and earth with perfect precision, everything down to sub-atomic level with the ultimate perfection in perfect balance with all of creation, except for us. God created all but us perfectly and God made this flaw our responsibility to correct.
    The argument can be made that God did create us as perfect beings but that we were corrupted through another agent or by ourseleves. If that were so then God does not have perfect control over Creation.
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      May 12 2011: It had to be this way. God knew that we would fail. This is His story and His plan. We are not in the center of this universe but He is. We were created to love Him. True love only comes when we choose to love no matter what. Anything else is forced love. This flaw is not our responsibility to fix, because it is way too big to fix ourselves. God seeks His children, waiting for that child to open their heart to the message of truth.
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        May 12 2011: ...!? We're purposefully created flawed by God so that we can learn unconditional love of God?
        That really sounds narcissistic to me. Maybe we should all chip in and get God a mirror. (C'mon, God like that joke the first time it was told.)
        The perfect creator does not create the flawed being, there would be no reason to do it.
        But I'm with you on the concept that we would have to choose, that anything else is forced, and that is the inviolate pact with God. But that would destroy the common concept of God because it would be God recognizing something greater than itself.
        Here is the question that no true believer should ask: At what alter does God worship? Or said another way; What are the things that God holds sacred, inviolate, or absolute? I'm not talking the Ten Commandments, that's for us. What lines won't God cross?
        And then the way you see whole concept changes.
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          May 12 2011: I am not saying that God purposefully created us to be flawed, but he made us with the potential to become flawed. Without the potential to become flawed we would be programmed to love God, and we would not have the choice to love God. As a family man I love it when my children come to me and tell me that they love me. Would it be true love if I forced them to say it? God though in his infinite power and knowledge knew such a creation would fail. However He did not want to give up on the idea of his creation,.The solution to the problem was Christ. Christ put the wrongs of the world on HIs shoulders, and because of this atonement God again sees us as unflawed and acceptable for eternal life in HIs presence.
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    May 7 2011: Why GOD never sent a universal religion at the same time in every corner of the world where there was a presence of human being ?
    Why concept of GOD is so varied ?
    Why GOD needs to punish or reward people which is actually a human concept ?
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      E G

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      May 7 2011: Seems to me that you think that a god has sent his religion to some people ..........this didn't happen
      God is infinite we are limited people .........do you expect to understand what's infinite through our reason ? it's absurd.
      I don't see very well what you mean when you say that God needs to punish and reward people , how is the idea of punishment for example a human concept?
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        May 11 2011: It's not me , but all religions claimed & claiming so ......

        With what you called "absurd" , religious people always using that creating absurd kind of fight. Even whoever is in belief in GOD also is finite , so how come they hold that infinity with their finite belief system?

        Well , Heaven & Hell is the concept of Reward & Fear (Punishment) & I agree with Austin , this concept is also visible in other species of animal kingdom. Why infinite GOD became finite with that kind of concept of animal kingdom?
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          May 12 2011: oups..............according to what I know the true religious people don't claim anything about what you said but they give some very rational answers to it.
    • May 7 2011: Salim,

      "Why GOD never sent a universal religion at the same time in every corner of the world where there was a presence of human being ?"

      Let's say, hypothetically, that God did create a universal religion all over the world. Let's say God did this in 1000 B.C. Over time this religion would be subject to corruption and differences in opinion which would cause certain aspects of the religion to change. By 500 B.C. there would probably already be numerous denominations that develop from that original universal religion. Human culture usually diffuses and diversifies over time due to gradual changes in demographics and lifestyles. Given this logic, how can we be certain that God didn't originally create a universal religion? It seems probable considering all of the similarities found in different religions around the world.

      Why concept of GOD is so varied ?

      The variance of the concept of God is primarily due to misconception, flawed dogma, and cultural diffusion that has occurred throughout history.

      "Why GOD needs to punish or reward people which is actually a human concept ?"

      Why are these human concepts? Punishment and reward are concepts relating to intelligent entities, not necessarily humans alone.
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        May 7 2011: It's almost like you're retelling Assassin's Creed story all of a sudden... you know, the idea of someone who came before* having created us, and their story being misunderstood and abused over time... quite frankly, I find that idea more plausible (and thrilling too) than any religious story I've heard. It's not claimed as true, and I wouldn't have bought it if it did... but it's something to get one on the edge of their seat :-D .

        "The variance of the concept of God is primarily due to misconception, flawed dogma, and cultural diffusion that has occurred throughout history."
        If there is a God who indeed created one religion, why doesn't he explicitly himself re-hash it for us (or just point at it if it's preserved properly)? At least NOW we have videos and everything, and can make permanent recording and multiple copies... he or his agents should know this.

        * http://assassinscreed.wikia.com/wiki/Those_Who_Came_Before
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          May 8 2011: Hi Vasil

          "why doesn't he explicitly himself re-hash it "
          That's what the Old Testament & New Testament are all about. The OT foretold the coming of the NT, & the NT confirmed the validity of the OT. How many do you need ?

          On Spirits: I guess you are being sarcastic, but where do you think the concept of spirits came from ? God is a spirit, angels are spirits, demons are spirits, we are spirits. How else could we be eternal ?

          :-)
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        May 10 2011: "On Spirits: I guess you are being sarcastic, but where do you think the concept of spirits came from ? God is a spirit, angels are spirits, demons are spirits, we are spirits. How else could we be eternal ?"

        It's the other way around... the concept of "spirits" is older than the concept of "Gods" which is older than the concept of "God" - spirits served as the basis on which the concepts of "Gods" emerged, and the "Gods" were the basis on which "God" emerged.

        It's just that the concept of "spirits" was limited in power, whereas they then morphed into "Gods" which had ultimate power over their dominion (the sun God would have full dominion over where the sun shines, whereas a sun spirit would still be a creature that one could manipulate with the spirit of water or something of the sort).

        Monotheistic religions it seems to me came when people started desiring easier control over people. Having a war god is nice, but if the war god doesn't serve the reason you're at war, it doesn't help that he'll help you win. Having a sea/wind god is nice when traveling, but if you think the lightning god hates you, you're needlessly afraid to go into the sea. In contrast, if you think there's one God, you'd better do whatever is asked of you to please it, or you'd be afraid to do anything, and you'd be brave for anything if you think its on your side.

        It's basically like humans wanted their deities to mirror their social structure... spirits are for anarchy, polytheistic gods are for democracy (well... patriarchy, when you consider there's typically a main god involved) and monotheistic gods are for socialism (one God decides everything).
        • May 10 2011: It's the other way around... the concept of "spirits" is older than the concept of "Gods" which is older than the concept of "God" - spirits served as the basis on which the concepts of "Gods" emerged, and the "Gods" were the basis on which "God" emerged.

          How do you know this? Are these assumptions or facts?
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        May 10 2011: Well, yes, there is evidence that the ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian and even Norse gods are older than the monotheistic religions, even in the holy scriptures themselves (Moses freeing the people from Egypt; Egypt having existed before this event and having Gods...).

        And whether Gods inspired spirits or spirits inspired Gods... OK, I'm personally not too familiar with all evidence to suggest this is so... I can only quote Wikipedia on spirituality here:
        '
        Cultural historian and yogi William Irwin Thompson states, "Religion is not identical with spirituality; rather religion is the form spirituality takes in civilization."
        '

        Based on that, seeing that there were first individuals, and then tribes and civilization forming, it's logical to suggest that most likely spirituality came first, and then polytheistic religions.

        (and about religions mirroring the social structure... that's just a personal observation)
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          May 11 2011: My anthropology text books suggest that your intuition about spirits predating gods is correct. Animism is thought to be the origins of religion.
        • May 11 2011: Interesting. I'll have to look more into the subject.
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        May 11 2011: Austin
        Your hypothesis can be true for INTRA religion differences but what about Inter Religion differences. With the advent of a new religion , new all the time said the old one was wrong vice versa.
        I would rather agree with your point of cultural impact on the concept of GOD, is not that other way proves that the concept is varried. All the time one religion pointing finger to the other that all other has misconception about GOD.

        I agree it is better to say Animal Concept rather saying Human Concept. But why is that?

        Also agree with observation of Vasil " about religions mirroring the social structure"
        • May 12 2011: "Your hypothesis can be true for INTRA religion differences but what about Inter Religion differences. With the advent of a new religion , new all the time said the old one was wrong vice versa."

          Ah, true. I agree this would only explain internal differences within a given religion.
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          May 12 2011: Salim/Austin

          Take the Abrahamic religions. We have the Jewish religion, based on the Old Testament. Then the Christian religion came along with the New Testament; while still accepting the Old Testament. then we have the Muslims coming along. They accept the Old & New Testament, but add on the Koran. as it is more up to date. You can follow similar principals with the Hindu's also, with the one god being accessible in lots of different ways.
          The root of most religions is based on the same sort of ideas, which suggested to me (during my search. I became a Christian) that there was an underlying truth there which had been corrupted. This to me is much more plausible than all the religions just popping up for no apparent reason.

          :-)
        • May 12 2011: I never said an underlying religion doesn't exist, in fact I think an underlying religion is plausible. I was agreeing about how differences in denominations may occur, I was not denying any alternate possibilities.
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        May 14 2011: Hi Peter
        Agree Juadism, Christianity & Islam all hold the same Abrahamic heritage and have similar inner tone but why they have so many fights then ? Possibly they fought most of the fights so far.

        Another point Hinduism, Budhdhism, Zeinism, Confucianism etc hold similar inner tone again. So I see a clear impact of regionality in thoughts of god ( I am not really focusing the rituals only).

        That's the reason of my question , why concept of God don't have an universal tone so asked Why God didn't send an universal religion everywhere in the world ?
  • May 4 2011: first of all I checked under every possible stone near my house and couldn't find any sign of God. god is the creation of mankind. I belive that, "God is the super-hero of aduts".

    When we were 5, we believed that actually super-heros lived somewhere in our planet. Saving us from huge problems (compared to our age) , threats and questions we couldn't answer. Eventually we grew, went to school, watched some educational things and our parents; whom had same way of thinking as we have today, told us that they actually didn't exist. First we denied the truth, then eventually we understood and accepted that our tiny, little problems and questions could be solved with science.

    As we grew up we had new questions and problems. But now they were major ones. OR we thought that they were. So once again we couldn't answer the question marks in our head or couldn't solve disasters we had. We had to blame or hope for a supernatural power just as we did when we were 5. So, mankind created God. Someone who is there whenever, wherever we need. Who has the power to solve everything, and give response to any unreasonable question we had.

    So I believe that, we are still kids who is in need of superheros. We are still kids which are not educated ENOUGHT to answer to some questions. But one day we will find an answer to 21st century's disasters but still seek an answer to some other questions. That's why we rely on a being with supernatural powers which is actually created by us.

    Regards.
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    May 1 2011: There is more evidence that Creation exists than an actual Creator existing. We and all that we aware of is creation and that in itself is proof. We should ask if a Creator created us or have we created the 'idea' of a God.

    People often placed a power to a Deity leaving them powerless and irrational enough to discover if their is a God. Our current understanding of God is that we were given laws and tests and probable outcomes. As you pointed out 'Hell' which could be treated as a probable outcome, should we not comply to those laws or follow the belief that taught it. If God had written those codes of conduct then it would have been an inherent mechanism in all individuals as red blood cells are to the body. We would not then have required separate individuals, as messengers, to instill these codes. As if to say a last minute update to an incomplete program that assists our consciousness. The idea that other personages have to deliver these codes is, in my opinion, not the wisest move on God's part. Evidently we end up killing our teachers or we begin to deify them. Because of this, and the many messengers divided followers, our chances for reaching 'Hell' is inevitable. In fact Earth is Hell and we, through a lack of discernment, maintain this ill domain.

    As we grow more aware of this reality we maintain, we drift from the religious God and grow closer towards spirituality. There is a huge disparity between religion and spirituality. The one spells submitting ones will to an institution and the other is consciously utilizing free will. Can we create a heaven on earth? Yes, if we really want it bad enough. We have the choice, the free will, to accomplish this especially since our institutionalized faiths cannot achieve this therefore suffice to say we have outgrown religion almost a 1000yrs ago.
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    Apr 30 2011: Congrats Drew B

    Breaking/being the first to 500 comments for the most non-critical thought-based conversation on TED conversations thus far!

    You got people really annoyed! You even sourced related talks disproving fundamentalism as being of value! Crazy meter is going crazy! Pascal Wager; the double down of the ages!

    Did you learn anything from this thread? I want to know.

    I mean, there are at least 3/4 of these comments saying fundamentalism is as crazy as it is stupid. Yet, I bet you still say that the 3/4 of it is misguided or unaware.

    Let me tell you something Drew, and something similar I said to Austin Rogers.

    You are too young to believe such non-sense based on 0 factual evidence. Faith is beautiful, but it is more beautiful, beneficial, progressive, positive, and valuable when it accepts change. The change? God isn't a dude in the sky making judgments because we miss(ed) use(d) "free will". Now, God is reality; infinitely omnipotent and the intelligence behind cause and effect.

    The 'Now' God says scientist are helping the world for the better, because that is f***ing common sense, ever pick up a history text book? The bow and arrow changed the world more than the Bible did, trust me. A newspaper from today is more knowledge than an average person during the Bronze Age would have known in their life time. To believe God flooded the world because he was upset with humanity is a story when taking literally is fundamentalism; a plague on human development. Science still strives in existence with these stories, why? Because the want for knowledge is in our nature, and fundamental God(s) kill that urge for discovery, it is too easy. Our population numbers are due to science.

    Last argument: If Christians were really "Christ-like" throughout history and today; the world would of already been closer to being united. Yet Christianity was in correlation to the causes that either A. prevented unification and/or B. delayed scientific progress

    Kudos!
  • Apr 26 2011: what a long conversion! still reading (loading....... 15%)
    my God! when you was missing to now be found?
    who read this will find God:
    http://www.al-islam.org/sahifa/kamila.html
  • Apr 26 2011: I think for me it all comes down to hope. I haven't really decided myself whether or not there is or is not a God. Yet I see good Christians, not the fire and damnation Christians people are so easily to assume represent all Christians, and I see and feel this incredible sense of hope and faith in something that I can't see in myself or in non-Christians. I think it's healthy and right to believe in something greater than yourself and to have a moral standard in which to strive for that would greatly improve this world if everyone accepted. I'm not saying God is real or God is not, I'm simply saying that I feel that there have been times in my own life where I truly wished I was more certain of God's existence in order to own that hope and faith that many Christians have. It's uplifting to see people so enthralled in love for one another that it almost makes it worth it even if God is not real.
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      Apr 26 2011: Hi Brandon
      You are correct; it's fantastic. Check it out, the truth will set you free. I doubt it would work if it wasn't true. We're in a catch 22; we want everybody to know 'cause we love them, but they get upset when we try to tell them. Go figure !

      :-)
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        May 14 2011: "We're in a catch 22; we want everybody to know 'cause we love them, but they get upset when we try to tell them. Go figure !"

        Hmmmmm..... quit funny isn't it, that most everybody here shares a similar sentiment?
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    E G

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    Apr 23 2011: Could someone explain me what means this expresion :"tooth-fairy atheism" ?
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    Apr 22 2011: I think people don't believe in god for mostly a few different reasons or a combination of them:

    1. they don't want to. either they're too prideful to believe in a god or they're happy with the way their life is and thinking about God would just complicate things.

    2. they've been taught not to. it's very sheik now-a-days to look down on God-fearing individuals as somewhat childish. if they were to convert, how would their friends view them? as a childish hypocrite.

    3. they choose not to believe what they can't see. they put their trust in man's feeble reasoning and man by necessity can't prove God therefore he must not exist.

    4. they're bitter. some people have really hard lives. I mean really hard. I can't blame them really for making the conclusion that God doesn't exist.

    5. the options of different Gods to believe in have never appealed to them. they don't like the god of the classical theists because that god has no body parts or passions. or maybe they don't like the God of hellfire preachers cuz that god is rude. or maybe they haven't been introduced to the true revealed knowledge of God and his attributes so they are at a loss and figure they'll just deal with the whole problem when they die.

    6. they're bias. some people - even people who pride themselves on thinking critically - can become bias against religion in general by hearing about tales of holy wars, polygamy, terrorists and the like.

    In the end people that don't believe in God have Chosen to postpone thinking about it till later or have chosen to dismiss it all as somewhat fabulous fiction. there are evidences for suspicion and doubt but those same evidences can be interpreted in favor of faith. In this universe of equilibrium and balance we find ourselves choosing to believe what we really want to believe for whatever reason.

    Therefore, What we choose to believe and embrace, what we choose to be responsive to, is the purest reflection and expression of who we are and what we love.
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      Apr 22 2011: 4 and 6 are my favorite, haha lol seriously?
      • Comment deleted

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          Apr 22 2011: I'll admit I speak only from my from experience and my experience has been 2 year ministry in the Midwest, not the middle east
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      Apr 22 2011: Everyone is born atheist, a-santa-clausiest, a-unicornists - we lack belief in Gods and other concepts that haven't been introduced to.

      It is only later when introduced to the concept that we become believers, suspend conclusion or reject it.

      The one to make any claims out of this default "nothing" state is to provide evidence in any form. With critical thinking not developed in young kids, it should be clear how indoctrination in any religion happens.

      If we were only introduced to the concept "God" after acquiring critical thinking, we'd know to demand evidence instead of taking it as a fact, suspend conclusion until we're given the evidence, and consider ourselves "agnostics" to the concept in the mean time. More importantly, we'd always keep in mind the possibility of something being wrong if there was further evidence that suggests so, so we'd take nothing as "infallible".

      In the case of many traditional (mostly Abraham) religions, there is tons of evidence that contradicts various claims, and no evidence to support the remaining ones. In the case of "no evidence to support the claims", that actually applies to all religions by definition.

      I don't see many things, but there is evidence for them being True. Atoms, quarks, radiation, evolution, big bang, etc.
      For all I'm able to actually "see" with my bare eye, those might be false. At least I admit they might be, even with the evidence at hand, whereas believers claim something to be true even without evidence. How is that not arrogant?

      I am an atheist because I refuse to let an unproven concept rule over my life. Religious are the ones that make the claim (remember the default state is with no religion). it is therefore their burden to prove it, not my burden to disprove it.
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        Apr 22 2011: believers have faith. faith is not the end goal but a vehicle to further light and truth. for instance as a child is was full of suspicion and doubt concerning the God my parents "indoctrinated" me with. yet after exercising some faith to do experiments on God's word was provided with the evidence I needed to be converted.
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          Apr 22 2011: Can you elaborate more on that please? Both for the faith being a vehicle to further light and truth (BTW, what's science then?) and doing "experiments on God's word"?
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        Apr 22 2011: @ Vasil
        Kudos. Good job. Can't thumbs you up.
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        Apr 23 2011: Vasil asked me to elaborate more on what I had said about faith.

        first of all, go with me on this; lets assume that God does exist. If we take that as our hypothesis we can experiment by doing what he has said to do - for example talk to him - and see if we get a reply. he has said "ask and ye shall receive if ye ask in faith."

        once you receive a reply it is obvious what the truth is. in other words: you've used your faith as a vehicle to perfect knowledge.

        What I'm suggesting has a very scientific procedure to it. but there is one catch. it has be sincere. the seeker can't be cold, distant or uncaring.
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          Sky F

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          Apr 23 2011: When designing scientific experiments, though, one must completely define, as clear as day, predicted results. What exactly is "receiving a reply"? You can't really define it.

          Say we define "Receiving a Reply" as "Suddenly knowing what we must do after asking God's advice."

          and say we do 'receive a reply'. This still isn't sufficient enough to prove causation. It is still faith to believe that your reply came from a divine being and wasn't simply the result of believing one was humbling themselves in front of something they believed was much greater than them. Perhaps this act of humbling allows our brain to loosen up and passively think of other options, thus resulting in a 'reply'.

          The point is is that there are still many variables that exist and that such an experiment is only valuable to people who ignore other possibilities because of faith in favor of a particular possibility. This is not in line with a scientific experiment, it only seems like it is.

          (Edit: Hey! Jordan! I live by your college! Small world.)
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          Apr 23 2011: "once you receive a reply it is obvious what the truth is. in other words: you've used your faith as a vehicle to perfect knowledge."
          Err... No... that's you receiving the thing you asked for in faith and using faith as a tool for receiving things. Unless you explicitly asked for some sort of knowledge, knowledge isn't perfected by this.

          And I also see the problem with this thinking of only counting the successes. A statistical experiment is not valid if it doesn't cover the failures.

          Let's assume you have faith, you've prayed in faith, and you do get a reply. Let's say it's for knowledge... that you have an actual scientific hypothesis, pray for evidence, and find it. "Prayer works" you say on this day... not only that, but you can officially use your evidence as a basis for your hypothesis turning into a theory.... knowledge for the whole world is more perfected than the day before.... but if later evidence comes out that doesn't work with your theory, and a new theory comes up, what does that mean? That God didn't answered you? But he did! That's what the experiment concluded, didn't it? Conclusion - experiment is invalid.

          Or do you mean perfecting personal general knowledge? Even assuming that was the case, why not share this knowledge with the world? Why not search for further evidence to share this knowledge with the world in a fashion even deluded atheists can accept? Humanity will hinder if knowledge was not preserved for future generations.

          Or do you mean "every-day" personal knowledge? Like "Oh God, help me find out if this girl likes me" and the next day she asks you out and/or insults you. Well... this doesn't prove anything because the moment she addresses the question in any way, you've gotten a reply... with or without prayer with faith.
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          Apr 23 2011: Hi Jordan

          I don't think these guys will get it. If biology doesn't make them think, then prayer wont. Stuff happens to me all the time; I'll give one instance recently.

          For many years now I have been sending a birthday card to a person in difficult circumstances. Just a way of letting them know someone cared. This year I felt maybe I shouldn't, don't know why. Prayed about it the night before I had to send the card; was terrified it would be sent back & our tenuous relationship severed.

          Never mentioned it to a soul. I went into work next morning & at a break one of the ladies shared how she had sent a birthday card to her son; with cash; & it had been sent back 'refused'. She was gutted, I didn't send the card. I'm sure I'll find out why someday.

          My whole life is full of these sort of things, they are reassuring, but you know what; they have nothing to do with my faith. They are the cherry on the cake.

          I know God is there. If I am wrong then I have gained a life full of hope & love, & I lose nothing. And you know what; the science stacks up perfectly, whether folks chose to believe it or not.

          :-)
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        Apr 24 2011: you're right peter. there is a subjective component to this that is missing in a true science experiment. it has to be done by every individual themselves. you're parents can't do this for you, and you can't outsource this to India. this is adult spirituality, you've got to take responsibility for yourself if you want to know God.

        But that's human nature. God invited all the children of Israel to come up to the mountain and see him with Moses. and what did they do? they refused, they wanted to outsource their spiritual responsibilities to one prophet. Nowadays forget the prophet, if science (the art of objective speculation, not subjective discovery) can't discover it it must not exist.

        God will speak to each individual. He of course can do whatever he likes but in order to preserve our right to choose what we believe and what we will seek in this life he reveals himself only to those that come to him. "draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you, seek me diligently and ye shall find me."

        (Sky Fenton: Thats Awesome! so do I, I can walk to it.)
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    E G

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    Apr 21 2011: the people who do not believe in God have very good reasons for doing it , not necessarily because they are more clever than others (maybe it are , it doesn't matter so much) but for taking a position like this you have to think .................... but however the atheism is a very easy and fragile position , I never found an solid argument which will prove the inexistence of God ......... if someone know one I would like to find it , thank you.
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      Apr 21 2011: I don't know whether you have heard Richard Dawkins mention "tooth-fairy atheism"
      You cannot prove the tooth-fairy doesn't exist, but we don't believe in it... (most of us)... so technically one should say I'm agnostic about tooth-fairies... and for red/green striped dragons on the back end of the moon,...
      So technically, one cannot prove something to not exist

      But, if you look it from the probabilistic side, and need to estimate whether something exist, given the data, then the likelihood of in-existing things drops to zero...
      this means that asymptotically you "prove" God is inexistent (or tooth fairies or teapots circling around Pluto)

      Check Russel's viewpoint (as atheist-inclined agnostic)
      http://theschooloflife.typepad.com/the_school_of_life/2011/04/bertrand-russell-and-socrates-on-being-agnostic.html

      So I call myself an atheist, as a close to zero probability gets rounded down to zero, but technically I admit I'm actually an agnostic (i.e. 1 = believer, 0= atheist, and all things in between is agnost -from .0001 to .9999-)

      So atheism is in a very strong position, as all evidence points towards the "no god" hypothesis
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        Apr 22 2011: I haven't heard about so far Richard Dawkins mention about "tooth-fairy atheism" , I will try to find out more and after it I will try an answer anyway thank you for the answers and especially thanks to Matthieu
      • May 3 2011: Logically as well as epistemologically, agnosticism is the only viewpoint we may safely couch as 'strong'.

        Both ardent theists and this new (I argue pretty grim) breed of militant atheists such as Dawkins both make supreme philosophical mistakes in their arguments.

        The most serious of these I argue is his mistaking epistemological statements about God (both for and against) for metaphysical predicates. Whether or not God is real (metaphysics), we can have no knowledge beyond our epistemological set up. In other words, even if God did exist, as a being outside of experience, as God is in itself, we would have no recourse to knowledge about God except through physical means (which would provide no epistemological grounds for predicating things ABOUT God as it 'really' is). Even if Moses did see a burning, talking bush, all he really underwent was an impression as of a bush burning and an impression as of a voice speaking. He could draw no conclusions beyond these experiences as whatever he wished to posit, beyond the physical experience, would be something we have no access to.

        Dawkins and others have good explanations and theories on the physical world. Evolution is a sound and exceedingly likely posit. We can leave it at that. Anything more and we enter into the realms of spurious and transcendent metaphysics about which we may make no statements that have any meaning.

        And this answers the OPs question too: belief or non-belief in God is meaningless. These will and must, necessarily and by definition be beliefs without useful referants. They are not beliefs with any content.
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          E G

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          May 4 2011: It isn't a so strong viewpoint because this: -doesn't offer you anything
          - is only about us (what we understand , what we know, and what we know isn't at all too much ............is too little and fragile ).
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      Apr 21 2011: Well of course you haven't heard a good argument against the existence of God, you deny the half of science that doesn't fit your Creationist views. Evolution? Oh no can't have that, it's too unholy.

      God is but one out of an infinity of possibility behind our universe's origin, why should it get any special treatment from anyone. Which God should get the metaphorical axe first? Since when is the onus on the person who hasn't made the claim to disprove his fellow's claim? Why do you assume the existence of God as a default?
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        Apr 22 2011: suppose that I accept that the earth is billions of years old , what I said about God doesn't fit with the sciecne?
        • Apr 28 2011: I don't have much knowledge in this, but as far as I know, it does, yes. Even John Paul II. didnt deny evolution. He said that science and faith are like two paddles on the boat. Each on the opposite side. And when you're paddling only with one, you're just spinning the boat around. And btw, tell me one verse from Bible that denies evolution. :)

          PS: As for Genesis, you know it speaks methaphoricaly :)
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          Apr 29 2011: Hi Robert

          Where do you get the idea that Genesis is metaphoric ?

          I have encountered quite a few atheists on this site who were raised as catholics. I can understand their reasoning. Even Atheists know that evolution & the bible are polar opposites. Never mind metaphoric, just read Genesis.

          :-)
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          May 1 2011: Once you have accepted evolution, then what you say about God will be fine. Until then, your literal interpretation will be at odds with science.

          Evolution and the Bible need not be in contradiction if one is ready to accept that Genesis is symbolical rather than THE truth. Having said that, evolution is a strange way for a creator to go about doing things.
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          May 2 2011: This is the Jewish year 5771 (from creation). The Jews take their bible literally; they have been it's custodians for millennia. If Genesis is symbolic then is the rest of history symbolic too ?

          Evolution is certainly a strange way for God to behave. I for one, would not serve such a God. Somebody is wrong, simple as that.

          ;-)
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          May 2 2011: Somebody is wrong indeed. Could it be that side that denies evolution (amongst other sciences) in the face of glaring evidence?
      • Apr 28 2011: Hello, if I may add one short point to your idea. Who told you that Church denies evolution? :) I suppose you have wrong information. Church was denying Darvin's theory only because at first he denied God's existance, and not because of evolution theory itself ...
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          E G

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          Apr 28 2011: you may add anything .................. but do you think that the evolution theory is something which fit what says the Bible about the creation?
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        Apr 29 2011: Hi Robert .............. I think it's very clear the beginning of the Bible, maybe we can interpret it agreeing that the earth is billions of years old but about evolution is too difficult to do that .............I think it's imposible.
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        May 1 2011: yet so many christians (should I type the inverted commas?) do it , I agree .................


        I think that something what is true now, will be also true in the future.
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          May 2 2011: Many mainstreamers go along with evolution because many of their leaders do. This in turn stems from the bible colleges who try to appear modern & scientific. However Atheists have no problem in seeing the clear contradiction between evolution & the bible. These are the very folks that the mainstreamers are trying to impress & so they just look foolish.

          If anyone should know about the way to read the Old Testament it should be the Jews, their calendar gives today's date (Mon, 2 May 2011) as 28th of Nisan, 5771 (from creation). This ties in better with the literal interpretation than the trendy ones.

          :-)
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          May 2 2011: I assure you, your denialism makes you look so much more foolish to us.
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          May 3 2011: Hey Peter. Love your posts! Wish you lived in the States, so we could grab a beer. Peter how do you know that the Jewish people started their calendar from the creation of the Earth versus the creation of their calendar? If people were around from the very beginning there would be no logical way to track such things. It took time for them to figure out what consists of a day, a month, and a year.
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          May 5 2011: Hi Chris

          Beer sounds good. A day would be obvious; day/night. Don't know the detail, wasn't there. This guy seems pretty sure.
          http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_o/bl_simmons_calendarstart.htm

          :-)
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        May 2 2011: Hi Peter, I think also that at least the beginning of genesis is imposible to be take symbolical but yet we have to somehow agree with the scientific facts .
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          May 2 2011: See Ed,

          This is how I know you aren't absorbing anything people are saying.

          THERE IS NO SCIENCE IN SCRIPTURE.

          Here is a Catholic Priest DICTATING THIS:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReV0nCuObcs
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          May 5 2011: Hi Eduard

          Haven't come across any scientific facts that would disagree with the bible. Plenty scientific opinion; but that's a different thing.

          :-)
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          May 5 2011: @Peter Law
          "Haven't come across any scientific facts that would disagree with the bible."
          And earth being a circle [1] and unmovable one too [2]? Or that the moon is light [3]?

          The scientific claims on those definitely and wholeheartedly disagree with the bible - the earth is a oblate spheroid (though if the bible was to be true, it would've at least said, to quote Eddie Izzard, "It's ROUND. It looks flat, but it's round."), it's not the center of the universe and the moon isn't a light source, but only reflects sunlight.

          Let me guess... those scripture passages are all metaphors, and so is everything that's in contradiction with scientific facts, right?

          [1] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+40:22&version=KJ21
          [2] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalms%2093:1-93:1&version=KJV
          [3] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%201:16&version=KJ21
        • May 5 2011: If a scripture is in contradiction to scientific fact and has the capability to be metaphorical, then it would be most logical for a Christian to assume such verses are metaphorical. I agree that these 3 verses are likely metaphorical to an extent.
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          May 6 2011: Dear Vasil

          I seldom bother with these, as you could tie me down for evermore. There's something about four angels coming from the four corners; which of course proves the earth is a flat square. Or the foundations of the earth, which of course proves it's like a table. How many nits do you want to pick. Ok; just for you.....

          1. God is standing on the circle of the earth. This could also have been translated the orbit, but never mind. It just means that god is not constrained as we are, He is above us, & we are small, like grasshoppers.

          2. The earth is established, it is unmovable, it will remain. My marriage is established & unmovable, it doesn't mean that the wife & I can't get out the house. All that is being said is that the earth will endure until God decides otherwise.

          3. We have no problem accepting that a torch produces light. But what actually produces it? Is it the batteries, the bulb, the filament, the reflector, the wiring ? At night the light comes from the moon, the fact that it started it's journey at the sun is of little importance.

          Try reading with a positive outlook & things are clearer.

          :-)
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        May 2 2011: I agree Nick , the bible isn't a science book but have scientific references (read again)...... it is about God.
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          May 2 2011: No, if science was ever to relate to God, it is that science through God wants us to progress as much as possible.

          God says science is the key to becoming closer to being with God
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          May 2 2011: Saying that something has scientific references is vague...care to elaborate?
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        May 3 2011: Yes Matthieu I can , I meant to say that in some books from the Bible are presented (not in details: how something work , why it work so ...........not so ) some scientific facts which was (as much as is possible) proved true .
        You shared me some times ago that verse from Isaiah in which is said that the earth is circle if we take it literally, there isn't presented a scientific fact (I think is only the Isaiah' opinion there.......but it doesn't matter) .
        I don't know to be in the Bible a detailed explanation as we meet in science ...............in the Bible is just said something about the reality (and sometimes what is said is influenced by the writer capabilities of understanding)..............there are references in the Bible I think only in this sense of presenting something when it comes about science, I think the Bible share us only the image, not how the image had came to life , not why this image is so ...............
        In my opinion the Bible is only about God and about how can we have a relation with Him.
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          May 3 2011: Oh, so you meant to say the Bible has claims about reality not organized (i.e. not proven) in a scientific way? If so... yeah, I can agree with that.
        • May 3 2011: data information science knowledge truth each are different of other.
          science is about facts of nature.
          and knowledge is about truth.
          holey books do not mention science by detail. they just mention generally and secret and by sign and mention. but by deep reading and research and mixing different verses scientific facts can be discovered from holy books.
          do you want best knowledge?
          the secret of catching knowledge is fearing from God:
          http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/2:282
          "And fear Allah. And Allah teaches you. And Allah is Knowing of all things. "

          without fear of God, just some experimental data can be collected and memorized in human. and that human is nothing more than a flash memory.
          the real knowledge is for God and God teaches it to who fear him, some times with no need to classroom and book. fearing God is to not disobey him.
          nature facts are signs for knowing God knowledge and power.
          this is how Persian scientists like Avecina could catch knowledge with no university or laboratory.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avecina
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        May 3 2011: Vasil , yes the Bible do not present many claims about reality in a scientific way (as is understand the scientific method today, I personally have and another understanding of what mean for something to be scientific) the Bible have its own way, and the Bible talk the most as I said about God , if someone want to criticize the Bible is free to do it but the most normal and rational thing is to do it about God .
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        May 5 2011: Hi Peter .................. yes sometimes the 'scientific' opinion is different from the scientific facts.
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      Apr 21 2011: I haven't seen any verifiable evidence for the existence of God either.

      Without evidence supporting it, we can all agree to be agnostic about it - we don't know, but it could be true if there was evidence.

      An atheist is simply someone who takes the lack of supporting evidence as a reason to stop considering God as an explanation for anything until there is actually evidence for it, unlike agnostics who still consider God a possible explanation to unexplainable things, even if not very likely.

      And the motivation for going atheist, as Christophe Cop mentioned is in the stats. Evidence against God - growing throughout history, despite not being "solid" yet (and it won't be until science was to know everything, which it's not clear would ever happen). Evidence supporting God - none ever (holy scriptures are thesis, not evidence; having any number of people who believe and/or claim they've contacted God is not evidence unless we agree that all other gods, tooth fairies, unicorns, demons, ghosts etc. are all real because they once had a lot of believers; we're talking about verifiable evidence).

      BTW, I'd like to expand on Christophe's numerical description a little:
      x = 1 - fundamentalist and wackos
      .9 < x < 1 - harmful theists
      .09 < x =< .9 - harmless theists
      .009 < x =< .09 - neo-theists
      0 < x =< .009 - agnostics
      0 =< x =< .009 - atheists
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        Apr 21 2011: True there isn't any evidence against a God in the broad sense, it's just a matter of almost infinite improbability. However, the God of Eduard is a God that created the Universe some 6 000 years ago with all animals in their present state. Now that science has a lot to say about! That sort of God has a mountain of evidence against it. If factual claims are made about the natural world, science has something to say. Only of course Eduard rejects those claims which obviously leads him to believe his God is untouchable.
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          Apr 22 2011: good point! there is a lot of literature/art in history that suggest one creator or many gods.


          However consider two possibilities aliens or a system of gods; gods above gods and so on to infinite or finite numbers. To the management and the influence upon the human species. Imagine such an alien species/a god of a low level starting us up as an experiment (single cell organism) to understand life and even what would happen if you gave a primate a burning torch. These get cooler with super powers, which with superior intellects + crazy chemicals just may = super powers, a natural nuclear reaction from a near by star as the planet evolves.
        • Apr 24 2011: dear Matthieu Miossec,
          "Please have the decency of reading people's threads! Seriously...

          In fact a lot of your points are addressed already! Geez..."

          you are right,sorry,OK, I am new to TED. forgive me. I will do.
          thanks for your point. you are like a mirror showing my dirt.
          I not understand Geez...
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          Apr 25 2011: "I not understand Geez..."
          Huh... well, that's especially funny when coming from atheists... the statement is just a short for "Jesus", you know, like when you shout something in surprise and/or frustration like "Oh my God!", "Jesus!", "Damn!"... in this case shortened to "Geez" or sometimes "Gee".

          In the western world, whether we like it or not, it's undeniable that for better or worse, Christianity has influenced not just conventions (like the calendar), but also language. In fact, I remember I once saw Richard Dawkins on a talk show saying "Kids shouldn't learn their morals from holy scripture and God knows we don't want them to learn from holy scripture"... it's funny because if there was a God, that's exactly what he'd want us to do, and yet even theists agreed we don't want kids learning about all the violence and stuff in the Bible or Quran.
        • Apr 25 2011: Dear Vasil Rangelov,
          thanks for explain. I learned it.
          I agree Richard Dawkins saying. also Koran agree this:
          http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/21:52
          each human should find his way using wisdom of himself.
          the difference of human and animal is wisdom.
          violence exist in world with or without Bible or Quran. many countries do not have any religion for example commonest countries but their history is full of war.
          violence is not result of Bible or Quran.

          please do not judge about Koran according your mental image.
          first research and think and then decide best way.
      • Apr 22 2011: not seeing evidence not mean not existing of evidence. it mean not enough research.
        if you want to a answer, first you should ask a question and then search for answer.
        searcher is finder.
        An atheist does not have enough research and think about God.
        An atheist is An atheist because like to be An atheist.
        being An atheist is easier and has less responsibilities.
        no pain, no gain.

        how many of atheist people have done travel in earth like Darwin to find the true evidence of God?
        Darwin spent his life an health in travel in earth for research and finding Origin of Life.

        An atheist is satisfied to limited life or world and forget death.

        do you accept this as a evidence of God?:
        http://www.ted.com/conversations/2142/why_our_universe_has_laws_of_p.html

        if some one like Eduard has known God mistaken, it not mean God not exist. it just mean Eduard has mistake in knowing true God.

        there is just One God and if there were more than one God, Indeed their messengers would come to you and there was wars between Gods and our universe was not working such calm.
        the earth had not nuclear reaction foe Billions of years and it is not by accident and random.
        earth is a safe place for human. some one is protecting earth and us.
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          Apr 22 2011: S.R did you even read this entire thread? lol
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          Apr 22 2011: That's exactly what I said S.R., Eduard's God is incompatible with science, I made no such statement for God in a general sense (and I explicitely say it). Please have the decency of reading people's threads! Seriously...

          In fact a lot of your points are addressed already! Geez...
  • Apr 18 2011: No historian at the supposed time that jesus was alive wrote about him. Christians still refer to Heaven as "up there". The problems with Christianity are enormous.
    If one starts to think as hard as he can about the vastness of the Universe and realises how insignificant our planet is, the question arises " what is the point of creating all of that?" If we calculated the volume of the Universe and compared it to the volume of the earth, we could could claim the earth to be negligible. But we still hold onto the idea that the Universe was made especially for us.
    The thing is Drew that "god" can't be dis proven if we leave it at that. But once we give "god" attributes, "god" becomes testable. Anything that emits a force is detectable, and we detect no god. Therefore we are left with only one possible version of "god". A "god" who created a Universe and hasn't intervened since.
    The reason we can deny "god" is because we know if one exists he has not given us rules, because no holy book stands the test of reality. Then we ask ourselves how much harm are we doing in the life we KNOW we have, and come to the conclusion that it is better to put observable reality at the forefront for our decision making.

    My question for people do believe in these gods is

    "How can a person believe there is a being powerful enough to create a Universe, yet unable to write a book without enlisting the help of mortal men?"

    I wonder if anyone can make an objective and thoughtful claim as to why that idea is not preposterous.
  • Apr 15 2011: I'll start this by saying up front that I'm an atheist (I used to be Catholic) and I'm quite solid in my belief (or lack thereof) and I know this because a good friend of mine died a month back and it hasn't shaken my beliefs (although I think it'd be great if there was an afterlife but I find the odds of that being so too be so low as to be negligible, same goes for a god). And in response to you first question, I don't base my beliefs on whether or not it's good for me (good in this case being not going to hell if there is a god), I base my beliefs on what I am sure, with high confidence (>90%), is correct.

    Also I have look at the evidence out there and the evidence for a god is circumferential AT BEST. As for your second question, while I'm tempted to say because people are stupid (which actually isn't generally the case) it's because that's not true. In respect to both assumptions your question made, as neither of us has done sufficient research to actually state the answer to the question (note: anecdotal evidence by a few people isn't research) and even if most people who ask themselves that question came back religious, odds are they would be Christian, they'd probably be whatever religion is dominant where they live (which isn't Christianity for most people).

    The problem that you are having is that you came upon this question with bias preloaded in your mind, you were already sure of the question before you asked it so your search was probably a lot of what those of us who have study psychology like to call confirmation bias. Anyway, I think you should try reading some material that has an opposite opinion than you to test your faith (ex: God Delusion) because if you faith is as strong as you think, it shouldn't affect your faith but might help you answer these questions. Also take a look at Michael Shermer's talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer_the_pattern_behind_self_deception.html

    I'd love to debate you all day but there's science to do...
  • 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:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_the_Sun

          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:
          http://www.ted.com/talks/david_christian_big_history.html

          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.

        @Zdenek
        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:
          http://www.mindpowernews.com/ScienceVsMiracles.htm
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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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    Apr 8 2011: pascal's wager:
    1.one does not know whether god exists
    2.not believing in god is bad for one's eternal soul if god does exist
    3.believing in god is of no consequence if god does not exist
    4.therefore it is in one's interest to believe in god
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      Apr 9 2011: The question is... which god (if any) is the right one?

      The only way to be safe by pascal's wager is to believe and worship all gods... like this dude:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqJpZOljjG8
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        Apr 9 2011: Pascal apparently assumed that one either believes in God or one didn't
        but id say that it would be better to choose the one that the community ur in is most into
        religion is not just a spiritual wellness its also a social experience that interacts with the people around you with that have the same beliefs
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          Apr 9 2011: Yeah, but if you meet Allah as opposed to Yahweh or vice-versa, your eternal soul will be sent to hell because over the course of your life you've broken the first commandment of having no other god.

          Pascal's wager doesn't account for social experiences... it only accounts for afterlife experiences.

          But OK, if you count social experience as a reason... well, I'm sure you've heard it before for other purposes, but it goes on here too - "If everybody jumped off a cliff, would you?". Besides, many people believing in something doesn't make said something true. If that was the case, then all of today's gods are real... one more reason to worship them all. Don't go just to your local church. Go to the nearest mosque too. And the nearest Mormon church or... wherever Mormons go to. There are great social experiences at all of those places.
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          Apr 9 2011: Hi Vasil
          You've only broken Yahweh's first commandment. :-)
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          Apr 12 2011: OOPS!
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        Apr 10 2011: "If everybody jumped off a cliff, would you?"
        no, but i'd defiantly go look

        scrolling through these weeks of debating reading through them and reading the question again i find i'm not asking whether there is a god or not or if i should be skeptic and believe in every religion . because, there are discoveries that are congruent with the bible and theories that disprove it, and the lists of angles to argue from never ends(like a word and a meaning, or science, or history......etc) and everyone just ends up frustrated and going nowhere

        No, i find i benefit so much more in life when i do believe in a religion then when i don't as for whether i'm choosing the right religion or not? well i trust god
  • Apr 2 2011: I don’t know about ‘people’, but here is why I don’t.

    Because there is no proof. Proof is measurable. It is quantifiable, qualifiable, observable, or recordable in some way shape or form. I believe gravity exists because things like apples fall to the ground from trees. I believe dinosaurs existed because I’ve seen the bones.

    Show me original sin. Show me hell (actual, not allegorical). Show me God.

    (As an aside, I’d like to see the survey, and the results, that shows “most people who ask themselves this question and go search for answers come back a christian?”)
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      Drew B

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      Apr 4 2011: I dont technically believe in original sin but there is sin all aaround you. As you already know hell cannot be seen why we are living on Earth. God is in our hearts
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    Mar 31 2011: Drew, you pose this question in terms of risk management and suggest a possible solution as a way to manage this risk. For most people, managing risk in the way you suggest would lead to paralysis. If I changed my behavior every time I thought there was the "slightest possible chance" of harm or death, I would never drive a car, get in a plane, or really do anything. And it's not the best way to decide upon a faith. For instance, do you plan on having a coin placed under your tongue when die to get Charon to ferry you across the river Styx? Even if there's the slightest possibility that the ancient Greeks were right? Why not? Probably because you don't believe in ancient mythology and so the risk management calculations won't change your belief. By not believing in ancient mythology, you don't believe the punishment is a risk at all in much the same way that atheist doesn't believe hell is a risk. If people picked a faith with risk avoidance, they would research the religion with the most horrible punishment and believe in it. It's the only rational choice. Have you compared Jahannam and Hell to make sure converting to Islam isn't a better risk-management strategy for you?

    If you want to have any hope of convincing people, you are better off focusing on the good rather than preaching fire and brimstone. Be the example instead of the proselytizer.
  • Mar 31 2011: 1. People tend to be insular and think that those that are different from them are abnormal. Heaven and hell are mythological places.

    2. Selection bias. "Most people" as in those who live in [the poor eastern part of] Kentucky... If you really think that Christianity is so obvious, then you need to travel the world more. You are Christian mainly because your family is.

    3. So you agree that religion is not logical. Let's nail this down here. Logic comes from left-brain analytical processing. If religion is not logical, then it must come from right-brain intuitive processing. Religion will never be compatible with science because both are based in different hemispheres of the brain. However the moment you are able to describe your intuition, it no longer sits exclusively in the right brain, and it CAN be analyzed. This is where things become interesting... science HAS already replicated the intuitive and spiritual experiences felt by right-brain cognition. Now either what's happening is that our neural networks are able to act as a meta-sensory organ to sense phenomena beyond our universe (ESP) OR it can be (and has been) explained with simple chemical processes. The conclusion is... most "spiritual" experiences come from the way our brain works are the result of natural phenomena.

    4. I once believed I was born again and was probably more of a diehard fundamentalist than you. But the Holy Spirit's future predictions failed. But what really tipped the balance was when I saw how Christianity throughout its history has repeatedly behaved in ways that were completely opposite of the way Jesus himself lived, even to this day.

    Let me throw your question back at you, what if there is no afterlife and you wasted this one on a false promise?
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      Drew B

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      Mar 31 2011: Thats why I have looked at proof and made sure I am right because a lot of science has actually proven what the Bible says is true
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        Apr 1 2011: The good thing (or the bad, depending on one's point of view) is that the bible is very "elastic" to interpretation.
        In addition, you need to define what you mean when talking about the bible. The NT or the OT or both ?
        If you look especially at the OT, virtually nothing can be taken literally. Just look at Genesis, if taken literally it would amount to utter nonsense in the face of science.
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      Drew B

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      Mar 31 2011: First of all, I dont live there. I do not feel its right to give my address out on the Internet. I actually have morals and dont want anything to happen and dont make any assumptions about me that arnt true. see now look up my address
      • Apr 1 2011: There's scientific proof in the bible, REALLY? Please cite verses.

        A lie? Apparently you didn't read John 3:19-21 (yes there's actually something AFTER 16). As I look around, you're the only one hiding who you are. Here it is straight out of Jesus' own mouth:

        19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.


        According to the old testament, God HAS submitted to tests to strengthen people's belief (1 Kings 18:36-38). So why won't he do it now when we're better at recognizing stagecraft magic?

        36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.


        Science rips itself apart to find the truth. It doesn't tolerate lies and it always strives to burn them away. Scientists go through great pains to make sure that when they talk about science, every word that comes out is true. Science sets the bar of skepticism extremely high and the only thing that is usually strong enough to overcome it is the truth itself, not great personalities or popular ideas.

        The reason why science and religion will never get along can be found in the trial of Galileo. American Protestants are repeating the same mistakes all over again with Darwin.
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          Apr 1 2011: Well put Phil

          Often, who am I kidding, the majority of people do not realize, not only are there a lot of different bibles, but the most accepted bible of today was put together over and over again and again constantly through times. There are miles of scripture that are in the Vatican Archives that are not used in religious teachings. The link that follows explains it better.

          In reality the bible may be the ultimate hand guild to being a loyal potato. (In my opinion)

          http://freethought.mbdojo.com/canon.html
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          Drew B

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          Apr 1 2011: okay read Lee Strobels, The Case For Christ. and yes i know those scriptures? what about them? what are you sayign with them?

          Also how is God not testing you right now? There is SO much pornography in the world that that has to be a test because so many people fall into that addiction. We put materialized crap in front of God and for some people, they dont even believe he exists
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          Apr 1 2011: The fact is the message of god is not in gods hands, they are in man's hands.

          I know God isn't testing me, because at the moment I am not testing myself, consider this, you are mentally challenged. (Bare with me) You have to be taken care of, fed, changed, and so forth. You cannot even understand the story of Santa as a child. Now, who is god? How can god be this great huge being if you cannot create a big enough thought to put god in?

          The mind is the work shop in which god exist. And, pornography in the world is the perfect example of much god doesn't overcome human instinct. We like to have sex, so anything saying you can't do what your body naturally wants is contradicting human nature.
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          Drew B

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          Apr 1 2011: God is in our soul and yes god made this gift of sex to have it in the boundaries of marriage because look at all the people who regret it
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          Apr 1 2011: Didn't answer me, please expand.

          Oh, monogamy, the idea of two people one another and having a commitment to one another.

          So, does that mean swinger-couples are the devil? People who love one another but love sex so much they will share one another? How about a women who sells her body for money? I mind you prostitution is one of the oldest trades known to man. Also consider this it is widely accepted America is about 70 + percent christian based. Now,more than 50 percent of marriages fail in divorce.

          Your god seems to be limiting human nature. That is pretty evil.
        • Apr 8 2011: Nicholas,

          No it means that every man has commited sin. We are not perfect. We make mistakes all the time. Also, citations please. I really dislike random fact throwing without credible sources to back the staements up.
      • Apr 1 2011: Drew I see that you still refuse to reveal the truth about who you are (if that's your real name). To quote from Jesus, you are still hiding in darkness because you are afraid to reveal to everyone else what god already knows.

        Science shines a spotlight on its actions and will go to great pains to make sure that there isn't a glimmer of darkness anywhere. Religion covers up with "have faith", god works in "mysterious ways," "god is testing you," etc. Don't turn this back on me or anyone else. If god is real, then god should prove it. If god sees that we've strayed from his path, why does he/she/it continue to rely on such a poor source to deliver his/her/it's truth? Of course when all else fails, it's simply easier to kill those that ask hard questions, imprison them (i.e.: Galileo), or set up theocracies that suppress people's voice.

        Do you know why Galileo's trial was such a landmark event for western civilization? Because THE church got the most basic and natural fact of the "heavens" wrong and they knew it, but most importantly was how they handled being upstaged. Galileo wasn't a philosopher who invented heliocentrism or did it to spite the church. He simply found incontrovertible evidence and instead of the church pursuing the truth, it pursued a path of power and tried to suppress the truth.

        Why did you bring up sex? What does that have to do with the search for the truth?
        • Apr 8 2011: That does not mean the church or christianity is wrong. Look at who was running the show....IMMORAL MEN! When was the last time something like that happened?
  • Jul 15 2011: Looking at human history, we have evidence that people buried their dead and respected all life around them. We call this animalism, and a common perception is that many "primitive" civilizations had similar beliefs throughout much of history. Early "civilized" people (the Greeks and Romans) thought that there were many gods, all of which were controlled by the Fates. The Abrahamic religions which seem so ancient to us are so young that Bishop Ussher claimed that the date of creation was 4004 B.C. based on the genealogies from the Old Testament. An alien observer who watched our beliefs grow and change over the past 10,000 years would conclude that we did not have all of the answers, and he would note that there is obvious human influence on all of our beliefs that we have at different periods taken as sacred. Judging religion based on its merits and evolution over the years, it is difficult to conclude that we have the one right answer. People look to God for answers, they look to get closer to nature and become spiritually one with our world, they seek something that will solve their problems. I believe that we ultimately have control over our own lives, and the religious concept of free will allows this. Everyone is free to believe what they will. You look to your God for answers, and maybe they are there. For me, I can only find solace in the empathy of another human, in that bond which we all share and develop as we grow. We can achieve great things and solve our own problems by working together, human nature be damned. I prefer to take responsibility for my own life, and I believe that this will help me achieve everything I can hope to be. Humanity is where I find my meaning, and I prefer to believe that life on this earth has more importance beyond being a gateway to the afterlife.
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      Jul 16 2011: I like the point about an alien observer noting that all our beliefs have a human influence, and how can there not be. How can you imagine and come to understand of something which doesn't lie in the realm of our own reality. If god is so awesome, how could we be so vein in thinking that we could possibly understand gods true nature when all our beliefs are constricted to human influence. The one thing we can be sure of is change; things change, beliefs change. What seemed absolute in romane civilization of of there being many different gods, for love, war, music, festivals, Water and so on, seems pretty silly these days. But what is to say that in a thousand years we will look back at our limited veiw about or current ideas of god and think how primitive they where?

      It is our free will to believe what we want, religion just seems to be a bit of a scape goat. I won't murder, rape, steal or hurt. I will love and be kind because that is what god told me to do. It seems to be excuses to do things, a reason to be moral. I respect that you have the attitude to take responsibility for your own life, we don't need a reason to help others, be kind and love one another. We look at ourselves as so separated from everything and everyone, but all humans have more in common and are more alike than another thing on this word, we are all just searching for the same thing, to find a life full of happiness, love, and free of pain, we just go about searching in different ways. Believe in your self and others, I like the point that life on earth should be more than a gateway to the after life, which seems to be a major point in most religions.
      Thank you
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        Jul 17 2011: "If god is so awesome, how could we be so vein in thinking that we could possibly understand gods true nature when all our beliefs are constricted to human influence".

        I've struggled with this concept ever since my first philosophy class two years ago. Even though I've grown up in a Christian home for 19 years, this concept rang true to me and it has constantly rocked the religious foundation I've been brought up on. I've come to believe that most religions want to tell "lost souls" that this particular religion has ALL the answers to all of life's puzzling questions. No one, I believe, has all the answers. Really strong Christians will say that the Bible has all the answers and though I believe that universal truths can be found in the Bible, I also believe that they are putting way too much time into a book and may wind up making things up about God that aren't really true based on human understanding, thus forgetting that God transcends human knowledge.

        I personally do believe in one God. In my mind, It's impossible for there not to be some sort of divine creator. I believe that he reveals his truth to anyone and everyone, and because he has made us all individuals, we see him how we are meant to see him. This is why religion bothers me...it takes away the intimate relationship we as individuals are supposed to have with him through searching, meditating, and loving the people around us.

        When a religious group claims to have all the answers, I feel like they start making things up or twisting meanings of religious passages to fit their standards. It is hard for me to trust any religious authority these days. I do however, trust in God - not to be my scape goat, not to be my ticket to Heaven, but to be there ALWAYS when people let me down, when no one comes to my rescue, when there's no one to talk to, no one to discipline me, no one to guide me. I believe this not cuz someone told me to, but because this is the truth I have experienced in MY life.
        Thanks :)
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          Jul 17 2011: It’s really great to hear that people are looking outside the box, especially when you hear about scientists admitting that there may be more than reductionism to explain the universe, and contemplating the possibility of there being something more to life beyond science; and when religious people start to question the things they learn rather just accepting everything with blind faith.
          This concept seems quite obvious, even to someone like me who is not a religious person and hasn't really ever believed in the power of the god referred to by Christians. It doesn't add up that people who have faith in god have not pondered this concept. I am to believe that Christians look up to god as an almighty spirit, and wouldn't consider them to be anywhere near his almightiness, so why do they think they can comprehend it with their limited little human minds?
          I believe that religion can be a good thing to guide people in the right moral direction, and tell them it’s going to be alright when they ‘miss the mark’; the world is filled with a lot of delusions. The harm occurs when people take too much trust in a religion and start to believe it as an absolute and defend it as if it were part of them, especially when those people are lost souls, and have a limited view of the whole picture and are defending something they themselves don't understand.
          That is a really beautiful way of looking at it, that you will see god in your own individual way, it make sense as well. I agree about religion taking the intimacy out of it, that is one of my own dislikes about religion, as it seems like if you are part of a certain religion, it takes away your right to think freely, and you have to follow a collective of other peoples beliefs and ideas; and they are all just ideas, because as you said that you believe “no one has all the answers”. If there was a single absolute truth, you would think that we wouldn't still be here having this conversation.
          Thanks T.
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        Jul 17 2011: I also like to see people stepping outside the box, it's exciting! Thank you for your positivity and not making me feel small for what I believe. It's great that two people can can have a civil conversation and learn from the other without being dogmatic and rude!
    • Jul 24 2011: Well said Kyle. I agree with you, and I wish I could say it that well.
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    Jul 15 2011: Back to the question of why don't people believe in god? Well why would you? How can you 100% believe in anything. Even through our everyday immediate experience we don't see the truth, let alone believing in multiverses, aliens, unicorns, deities, and gods. The chair I sit on isn’t even real, proven to be 99.9 empty space; our on perception of reality is a lie. So what is the absolute truth? Something we can experience and then prove is true? We have already ruled that out as experience is only a perception through our senses which do not give us accurate data about our surroundings.
    How can anyone say a belief is right or wrong, how can you really know? Science is great for finding out truths about things, but this only related to physical things. What about the truth when it comes to soul, spirit, god, and consciousness? The only solid proof we have is through direct experience, but how do we know the person who had the experienced isn’t just making up stories or that the experience its self inst just an illusion or delusion? If you don't eat for long enough, take certain drugs, have certain mental illnesses your sense of reality will be different. How do we know that the higher spirits that speak to people aren’t really the same voice a supposably crazy person hears in their head? But instead of the voice telling them insane out of these world ‘hellish’ things, the voice tells them insane out of these world ‘heavenly’ things.
    There are experts out there who can debate just about anything and the only side which sounds more compelling and true to you, is the side that you already lean towards, or have been conditioned to believe.
    My view is to read heaps, be open to everything, and try and understand as best you can. You do not have to agree or believe in something to understand it. In saying that don't believe anything 100% ether, question it of it doesn't sound right.
    Thanks T.
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    Jul 15 2011: Why are we here, what is our purpose?
    Why do you need one? You are made from the same stuff as everything else in the universe, for all we know we are god, and i don’t mean god as in the guy who sits in the clouds and judges you for whom you are. I use the word god in the sense that god is everything and nothing; god is everywhere and nowhere, if you can try for a second to grasp that idea. If we are god or a part of him then wouldn’t it be a good idea to stop living a life controlled by factors and beliefs (some of which seem totally contradictory? Being gay is a sin and wrong. Why would i want to go to a heaven and spend eternity around people who are so ignorant and judgmental) and start loving life and living free.
    Relate these ideas (that you are god and god is everything) to some of the quotes in the bible; it starts to make sense on a deeper level.
    The kingdom of God is within you: speaks for its self
    Except ye become as little children, ye will not enter the
    Kingdom of Heaven: until you can become like a child, who does not judge, is able to feel the way they feel and not afraid to show their emotions, and can live free and find life beautiful and interesting, you will not be free within your self
    God is with you in all that you do: you are god, so there for you are with yourself
    I will give you peace and quietness: look inside yourself (meditate) and you will find peace and quietness.
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    Jul 15 2011: Sorry in advance for the length.
    I think one of the main reasons why people don’t believe in god is that it just doesn’t seem logical, it just doesn’t make sense. How did god create everything in 6 days, where is heaven, how did Jesus walk on water and turn water into wine, let alone die and come back to life? These ideas are not easily believable, i have heard many answers to the questions stated, and i have to give credit, because almost all the answers have been creative and interesting. But it takes conditioning or (as well as) a lot of faith to follow these ideas, especially when you have science to explain a lot of phenomena, and back it up with evidence.
    The word God seems to be massively misinterpreted and limited, god has been made out as an Anthropomorphic being, god has been given a sex, an image, likes and dislikes, a location, and an ego. People have made their god part of their identity, just like they have made what they do for work, how much money they earn and what kind of possessions they have, a part of themselves, Its is all part of their ego. If you say you don't believe in their god they get offended, if you where ever to talk badly of their God, watch out!!! I’m sorry, but didn't God create the universe? I’m pretty sure he doesn't need your defence.
    You may accept this idea or not, but if you are getting angry well look again at your own reaction, as it only proves the point. Try asking a Christian what is different between his God and the Muslim God; they are both call then God don't they? Their goals are exactly the same aren’t they? The end goal for all religion or belief is the same, if it be heaven, Jannah or enlightenment. They all end in eternal peace free of pain and suffering, but how they get there is different.
    Why do we need to believe in a god, or a higher being? Are humans that weak that we need to hold on to a belief of eternal being and happiness just so we can get through this life of suffering we have to endure on earth?
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    Jul 13 2011: There are too many reasons why i dont believe in god. The first reason is that there is so much scientific proof for evolution that the idea of a god that created the world in 6 days is just rediculous. There is also much scientific proof that the earth doenst exist for 6000 years but for more then 4 bilion years. Also the idea that homosexuals choose for their sexuals orientation is scientific wrong. Every scientist know that the sexual orientation of people begins when they arent born yet.

    Also a reason for me to not believe in god is that the normal American believes for like 95 % in god but the top of their scientist just for 7% and in the UK even less, 3%. Intelligence correlates positives with less dogmatich believe in god.

    For people who still in doubt, read the book from Richard dawkins god's delusion. He describes so many reasons why the existence of god is not very likely.

    Cheers,

    Niek
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    Jul 10 2011: Matthieu, you sure have people of faith pegged: full of fluff without content to their old dumb mantra; thoughtless as to the effect of our words on the faithless; can't handle life with people different from ourselves; and certainly I, in particular, don't know a thing about science and accept only people of faith into my "family." You must have thought long and hard about the existence, or non-existence of God. Which is so much better than many who have never gotten out of their little box of self, not seeing beyond their arm's length to any other possible understandings of life on earth, To stereotype THEM --those people of faith so, reveals your closed mind.

    To open your mind to really consider people of faith in your "heterogeneous" world, I offer: 1] I spend my spare time helping the homeless, mentally ill, birth defective children, foster children & folks pursuing a worldview where love rules. I do this because I love God. How do you make this world better with your activities of choice? 2] Science brings this world technological & material progress. However, without spiritual wisdom, relying on our own strength, not a Higher Authority, we are in danger of being destroyed by this progress even as we benefit from it in so many ways, Would you depend upon the wisdom and power of those in charge of the technology and wealth to prevent tragedy in the use of it? This is such an overwhelming problem, some people of faith turn to God, the ultimate authority, to harness the good brought by technology and material progress for the safety of all. There are circumstances which are beyond us mortals to understand and deal with. You won't find that God is trustworthy to handle such unless you have personally tried it as I, and many people of faith, have.

    Thank you for considering what I have said. I look forward to further dialogue with you on this subject
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    Jul 7 2011: You express faith in science instead of faith in God.The "LAW of gravity" you mentioned proved to be THEORY in light of the THEORY of relativity. All "laws" of humans are the best imperfect humans can come up with using present information. There is an all-knowing God who is in control of the universe. Wish your scientific method were able to always find perfect truth? 50 years ago I believed absolutely in the science. Having bachelor & doctorate degrees in science, I trusted in them to live and to practice my profession. But actual results of adhering to science proved not applicable in all cases. Something beyond science was needed to understand why patients that by all "laws of science" should die, did not, and those who should not die, did. One thing unaccounted for by science was HOPE. In many cases hope in God sustained persons through scientifically impossible events. Whereas, some died simply because they lacked hope, and gave up. Example of the latter is the classic death by fright of a person bitten by a non-venomous snake which they believed to be poisonous. Hope is in the realm of "religion" as you say, the "spiritual" as I say. If you discount spiritual, you not best informed, You are living trusting in humankind's "laws." You will be disappointed. You will not be able to understand and explain life's events without spiritual understanding too. Yes, in the name of religion folks do some unjust things but science without faith in God is doing some horrible things, like developing weapons of mass destruction and the internet. Both do not harm unless humans intent on evil use them to do harm. Faith in God results in good, not evil, and can make secure the weapons & the internet through the actions of these good people. The ultimate hope of our world is God, not science. Now, I don't know many, many things, so my life is lived based upon the soundest theory I can find. Outcomes of my way of living prove the soundness of my choices.
  • Jun 25 2011: To begin with, I believe in a god. Or supreme being. Even though I only believe that he exists in everything and everyone around us, and is in every thought and action. Some might say the god I believe in is energy, but if he is all knowing and everything, then I would like to believe that he is in everything.

    Now, my opinion for the Christian religion, and most religions for that matter that follow this plot, is a bad one. I think that any religion that is based on the childish thought that you should be rewarded or punished for doing things disgusts me. It's your parents when you're little. Supposedly God when you die. Why can't we just live together in harmony, accept each others ideas as being right for them even if they aren't for me or you and share ideas and grow off of each others ideas? Why does one religion have to be right, when it seems they all started from the same point and words and stories got messed up along the way. You can't even say the same word 30 times when playing "Telephone" in class, so why would the same story and names and everything be the same after years of being passed on verbally, which most stories and names and thoughts were for a long time.

    Anyone noticed how Abrahamic religjons believe in the same god but may have different readings because they were tought by different people, so they came up with different names for gods? And yet they hate each other so much. Muslims even fight amonst themselves over who should have taken over after the prophet (I can't spell his name right so I won't butcher it) died. His family, or his pupils? Let's fight bloody battles over it!

    Personally, I find it time for humans to evolve past stories and base morals off of what each other feels is right and do unto others as you would like done to you, after all that's the main point most religions try to make. Let's just do the right thing because it's good and we care about each other, not because if we don't we'll go to hell. That's silly. I think
  • Jun 25 2011: To begin with, I believe in a god. Or supreme being. Even though I only believe that he exists in everything and everyone around us, and is in every thought and action. Some might say the god I believe in is energy, but if he is all knowing and everything, then I would like to believe that he is in everything.

    Now, my opinion for the Christian religion, and most religions for that matter that follow this plot, is a bad one. I think that any religion that is based on the childish thought that you should be rewarded or punished for doing things disgusts me. It's your parents when you're little. Supposedly God when you die. Why can't we just live together in harmony, accept each others ideas as being right for them even if they aren't for me or you and share ideas and grow off of each others ideas? Why does one religion have to be right, when it seems they all started from the same point and words and stories got messed up along the way. You can't even say the same word 30 times when playing "Telephone" in class, so why would the same story and names and everything be the same after years of being passed on verbally, which most stories and names and thoughts were for a long time.

    Anyone noticed how Abrahamic religjons believe in the same god but may have different readings because they were tought by different people, so they came up with different names for gods? And yet they hate each other so much. Muslims even fight amonst themselves over who should have taken over after the prophet (I can't spell his name right so I won't butcher it) died. His family, or his pupils? Let's fight bloody battles over it!

    Personally, I find it time for humans to evolve past stories and base morals off of what each other feels is right and do unto others as you would like done to you, after all that's the main point most religions try to make. Let's just do the right thing because it's good and we care about each other, not because if we don't we'll go to hell. That's silly. I think
    • Jun 25 2011: Muslims don't fight each other......one sect attacks and oppresses another.......the Wahhabi sect attacks the Shia sect.....we want Islamic unity.....we want human brotherhood.....

      we believe that after the prophets death he had 12 known infallible successors (first of them being Ali Bin Abi Talib) who were appointed by God but they were usurped of that right.......we never killed anyone.....they killed us....Islam is peace.....we don't kill anyone for nothing....the Shia sect- the followers of Ali- has been oppressed for more than 1400 years....Islam is freedom.....Islam is standing up against tyranny and dictatorship......Just like our 3rd Imam- the grandson of the Holy Prophet- stood up against tyrants and he and his whole family and companions were slaughtered.......

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Husayn_ibn_Ali

      You believe that God is in everything.....you believe......what is your proof...??

      Muslims base everything they say on philosophical proof which supports the Quran.....the Quran is there as a reminder........it does not go against logic.......they deny everything else based on proof also......

      everything I believe on God is because of philosophical proof......not because the Quran says so......I follow the Quran because it is the truth....not because I was born into a Muslim family.....
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    Jun 24 2011: Short and simple, because the existence of God, does not make sense.
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    Jun 24 2011: right well this debate has been exhausted. Could do with a time-limit.
    • Jun 24 2011: you can not participate.
      why other not participate?
  • Jun 23 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,
    thread was too long.

    "Could you pick out 1 proof out of the Koran (preferably the one that you think is the best) for its validity? We can then discuss about it (maybe in another topic?) and see if it holds and under what assumptions."
    Please continue here:
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/3789/proving_koran.html


    "in-existing things"
    non-material things is better.

    "but I just don't accept anything for which no evidence is found; and I refute claims that are proven to be wrong."
    Do not you consider so much religion and billions of people believing in God and history of religion as evidence?
    At least do not neglect Koran.

    "Soul: the one claiming a soul exists needs to prove it's existence"
    the "Intend" can not be explained by material body.

    "Dreams: no evidence suggests dreams are other than brain-reactions. "
    For example seeing future in sleep. almost people have had such experience. Material can not go to future. Déjà vu is a evidence with no explain in science.

    "None of them seem to me more than mythological stories"
    Indeed you have not read Koran well.

    "I don't consider them valuable from a scientific point of view. "
    I am sure you do not know Koran.

    "If you can give me one passage of the Koran that explains how to measure a god, we can discuss that as well"
    I do not now Koran have such passage. But Koran invites to know God by think ing to nature and by wisdom.

    "So either way: Koran is either in conflict with science (at least partly)"
    I disagree even one word. I hope you can prove one case.

    Dear J Ali,
    I ask you pick a proof of God and write it here simple.
    I love to know more about Islamic philosophy but it has many complicated terms.
    I think People on ted want ready text and are not interested to study books.
  • Jun 22 2011: God definitely Exists..philosophy has proven this time and time again...people who don't even understand philosophy will go on and on about how God doesn't exist..........And whoever does not believe in him will be punished.....not because God cares about people who don't worship him.....But because we as humans need God....in everything......and whoever believes he doesn't will lose out.....and it will hurt him a lot.....in hell...the person who doesn't believe in God is paving the way for his own destruction and loss...........

    These arguments are so pointless........because it is so clear God exists......but he is not a body.....or anything like we know.......There is absolutely nothing like him.... He is the Lord of the heavens and the earth.........as I said, If you study philosophy really well.....you will understand that God must exist.....it is a necessity.....He is the necessary being...

    look into yourselves......know who you are....know what you can reach......realize your reality.......you are in need of God....you are in need of an eternal....

    The more we argue, the more you will doubt....because argument is on something which should be argued.....God is not arguable.......

    You will one day know this better than any philosopher or thinker knew in this world......just wait for death......it is coming for you..

    ''Their messengers said: Can there be doubt concerning Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth? He calleth you that He may forgive you your sins and reprieve you unto an appointed term. They said: Ye are but mortals like us, who would fain turn us away from what our fathers used to worship. Then bring some clear warrant.''

    14:10

    ''And the stupor of death cometh in truth: This is that which thou wast wont to shun.''

    leave these worldly pleasures....for they will end.....you will leave this life with nothing in your hands......who will then help you? what will you do? think of death a lot...think of after death....You need The One...
    • Jun 23 2011: Dear J Ali,
      but all of them are your beliefs.
      its clear for you. but not for people.
      people do not consider it anything but claims and myths.
      please show one clear philosophical proof in simple language?
      • Jun 23 2011: I have explained why I will not.....because we will never reach a conclusion.....that is why I told Christophe to read some of the philosophers books...people should read philosophical books...study them...are the books of Avicenna and Mulla Sadra studied in universities in the west?! maybe if they were there would be fewer self-proclaimed philosopher atheists... I can't just bring up the argument...it needs a very long time to explain which will be just like giving philosophy lessons ...if we argue here.....everyone will think they have won......if we were all philosophers I would have argued......then we can understand each other better......plus I do not want to write 10's of comments which no one will read and understand and which will just be taking up space.....simple means many many pages of explanation.....The Hawza is always very very open to arguments.....but not arguments which are not constructive...

        As you say, people are not looking for the truth.....

        ''And they say: "There is nothing but our life of this world, we die and we live and nothing destroys us except Ad-Dahr (time). And they have no knowledge of it: they only conjecture.''

        45:24

        ''Or say they: There is madness in him? Nay, but he brought them the truth, but most of them are averse to the truth.''

        23:70
  • Jun 21 2011: For crying out loud, please close this circular and pointless debate down.

    As if we are going to convince those who are patently suffering from religious mania that god does not exist (we cannot even get most of them to admit that evolution is real despite all of the supporting evidence). And to an enlightened mind this concept does not necessarily even contradict the existence of a god -the two ideas are not mutually exclusive. And yet they are too rigidly locked into a pattern of thought that prevents them from countenancing the idea.) Instead we are supposed to believe that the world was created with all species intact in 4004 BC on the afternoon of August 4th (or some such tosh) based on Bishop Usher of Ireland counting backwards and using all of the "begats" in the bible. OK I might be able to believe this - but only after losing about 75 IQ points.

    Or as if they are suddenly going to get all of us to have the equivalent of a fontal lobotomy and start believing that everything in the bible is the literal truth - i.e. literal truth that trumps all of science's discoveries over the past 2000 years....

    It aint gunna happen!

    Logic does not work with them as they are speaking an entirely different language based on a set of entirely different assumptions about the world. Every time we present compelling evidence the response is "You prove it" (As if that is not what one just did!)

    Honestly its like trying to discuss the works of Proust or Paul Dirac with a cat!
    • Jun 22 2011: "Instead we are supposed to believe that the world was created with all species intact in 4004 BC on the afternoon of August 4th "
      really he said it?!

      "Or as if they are suddenly going to get all of us to have the equivalent of a fontal lobotomy and start believing that everything in the bible is the literal truth "
      which version of Bible you mean and which is the same Bible God sent to Jesus (PBUH)?

      "Honestly its like trying to discuss the works of Proust or Paul Dirac with a cat! "
      agree.
  • Jun 20 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,

    can I know your idea about this book?
    can this make people believe God?

    http://www.al-islam.org/mufaddal/

    its from Imam Sadiq (PBUH)
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      Jun 20 2011: Probably not. I see it is written in 1100 AH (that's 1722?)... I guess the author did not have access to current knowledge.
      Neither did the pagan he described...

      I stopped reading somewhere in chapter 2... Too much ad hominem towards non-believers doesn't make it fun to read... (I deduce the author is heavily biased).
      Furthermore, I claim evolutionary theory has both more elegance in it's simplicity as more predictability.
      • Jun 21 2011: not anything old is false.
        2+2=4 is old also.

        can you show at least one rational error in that book?

        please know that I love you and as a friend or at least a human I recommend you read it more. it is not a usual book. also note that it is for 1722 and please consider the scientific facts of 1722 and compare them to sayings of this book. this book is sent from God. and is not from ay human although said trough a human. but it is not at the level of Koran.

        "(I deduce the author is heavily biased)"
        biased does not mean being false. are not yourself biased about religion?

        simple is not always the truth. although evolution is a useful theory but not all its internal parts are necessarily truth. specially random species and transform of a specie into another specie. but some parts like natural selection are clearly truth. any case of transform from one specie to other is found yet? for example during 300 years of revolution research does a dog transformed to fox?
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          Jun 21 2011: True, age is not by definition a sign of wrong... but let us not confuse mathematics with predictions about reality and the deeper understanding of it.

          I'll show you one rational error.

          second paragraph chapter 1, after teeth and beard:
          "Can you imagine the manner in which man, through these different stages, is led and perfected, can take place without a Designer and a Creator?"

          My answer would be: yes I can.
          It follows with:
          "Do you think if the menstrual flow had not been diverted to it while an embryo in the womb, would it not have been dried up just like the plants deprived of water?"
          Now that is not the only alternative, and seduces the listener that the answer should be 'no'.
          The logical error is that a refutation of the argument of a creator implies that all other descriptions are to be refuted as well.... Which is clearly a logical error.
          (he then makes the same mistake a dozen of times in the following paragraphs)

          I'll do one more:
          "If abiogenesis (spontaneous creation without specific design) can be admitted under such conditions of regularity, then purposeful generation and definitely balanced creation can be the result of error ad perplexity, since these two are opposed to abiogenesis."
          Here the error of ambiguity is made.
          The generation does not need to be purposeful as a final purpose, but in order to survive, it can be considered as purposefull...
          of course creation is opposed to abiogenesis, but balanced results are not...

          I hope you see that these are clearly errors, and the list can go on and on...
          I will not resume reading it... unless you read "freedom evolves" from Daniel Dennet first, deal?

          Concerning the fox: I don't know about your question specifically (I thought dogs are more related to wolves though), but when they tried to breed tame foxes, they started to look more and more like dogs (short explanation: the morphological genes are close to the tame-genes)

          Tip for next time: try to limit your questions to 1
      • Jun 22 2011: "My answer would be: yes I can."
        I could not find rational error in your answer. its your answer with no rational argument.

        "Now that is not the only alternative, "
        what is other alternate?
        please note: "if the menstrual flow had not been diverted to it ".
        there is only two option: flow diverts or not diverts.

        "The logical error is that a refutation of the argument of a creator implies that all other descriptions are to be refuted as well"
        I do not understand what is other description. there is only two option for nature/universe/existance:
        1- with creator
        2- without creator

        "The generation does not need to be purposeful as a final purpose, but in order to survive, it can be considered as purposefull... "
        agree. but it said and definitely balanced creation. if it was only purposeful generation OK.

        "I will not resume reading it... unless you read "freedom evolves" from Daniel Dennet first, deal?"
        OK agree. I try read it ASAP.

        "Concerning the fox:"
        fox was only an example. I mean 300 years of research with recording and observation can be considered long time and at least one case of random transfer of one specie to another specie should be observed during 300 years.
        although two different specie can be very similar still they are two different specie.

        "Tip for next time: try to limit your questions to 1 "
        OK and appreciate.
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          Jun 22 2011: Ok, Logic 1.01

          assumptions:
          A
          if A then B

          exercise 1:
          A.
          logical conclusion: B

          exercise 2:
          not A
          logical conclusion: B or not B

          => disproving A does not make B untrue...

          in this example, it is more:
          A, B, C, D, E, F
          and the author suggest there are only 2 possible relations between those statements. if you cannot see there are more possible ways to connect different claims, you can indeed not see that by discarding one of the claims does not discard all the claims.
        • Jun 22 2011: Christophe, I have read the book in Arabic.....the translation is very very poor.......just stop reading it....if you want I will translate the points which seem to be obviously wrong.......the translation is just bad......sorry about that......

          if you base your arguments on the reading of the translation......then your arguments are correct.......but if you read the arabic version........which is the original, and is quite different...... then your arguments are not in place........

          the guy probably put the Arabic in google language or something...lol...it is unclear and vague and does not even match the Arabic.......

          again I'm sorry about that.......I always get angry when I see poor translations.......S.R, did you translate that? :P just joking......

          Don't forget to read my comments after your comment :

          ''You're answers are clever, but you keep asking questions and more info...........''
      • Jun 23 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,
        "in this example, it is more:
        A, B, C, D, E, F"
        the text is about if the nature has creator and designer or not.
        so there is only two option.
        I can not Imagine any other possible option.
        is it possible nature has 50% creator and 50% without creator?
        please explain what you mean by more than two option about designer and creator.

        Dear J Ali,
        some sayings of Imam Ali (PBUH) is available here in English:
        http://www.al-islam.org/nahj/
        you can show your philosophical arguments about God if you want to reference to Imam Ali (PBUH)
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          Jun 23 2011: I was referring to "Do you think if the menstrual flow had not been diverted to it while an embryo in the womb, would it not have been dried up just like the plants deprived of water?"
          => There are a lot of reasons why and how a woman bears a child without needing a god.
          I was not saying part was created and part was not.

          I tried to make clear that the argument to accept a god was not good, as 'not created' does not imply the drying up of the menstrual flow.
      • Jun 24 2011: it means there is an intelligence behind of designing the body of woman to menstrual flow be diverted to it and without an intelligent design it was impossible. can evolution explain why woman womb is in this form? [only one question as you said]

        there is only two option:
        there is a designer.
        there is no designer.

        the second option can have many reasons but all should have no designer for example random.
        how billions of atoms and electrons can make such designed body.
        please look to nature at atom and electron level and how they shaped nature. it is impossible without design and control and law.
        it is enough only electrons change their directions around nuclear and go out of atom. then no nature.
        I do not understand how there is no designer.
  • Jun 14 2011: There is no evidence for god. There is just as much evidence for the christian god as there is for greek gods or mayan gods. Now, most christian say the bible, well what about all those mayan books about gods? Or all those people in roman times who talked with the gods.

    Instead i see a world that makes perfect sense with out a god. the laws of physics are such that this world/ universe can exists with out a divine intervention. I would love to believe in god but i can't because he isn't real.

    believing in god is just like believing in Santa. We read books about Santa, we hear stories, but in the end, its just a story your other people told you. Well, go back and read that sentence again this time with god in place of Santa.

    I don't believe in santa
    I don't believe in zeus, or any other greek gods
    I don't believe in god.

    i do believe in physics
    i do believe in ethics and morals.
    and i don't need god to make me happy.
    • Jun 16 2011: this deleting problem instead of solving it.
      [when you dies you will believe everything.]
  • Jun 14 2011: God. What is your definition of God? Is God "That Which Is"? Is God a single all powerful entity who reads all the minds of all the people on the planet and decides every move made in the cosmos? Is God undefinable? Is God a human invention? Is God No Thing? Is God Oneness With All? Is God within each of us? Is God beyond the Universe? Dare you to define God? If you define God do you make God into an idol? Will God strike you dead? Does God give a damn?
    • Jun 18 2011: God created definition and has no definition.
      God is bigger that can be difined and that our mind can underestand it.
      but we can know God SOME but signs of God and knowing attributes of God.

      "Is God a single all powerful entity who reads all the minds of all the people on the planet "
      yes

      "and decides every move made in the cosmos?"
      yes. by setting laws of nature. like law of gravity.
      but about human. human has free will and human decides independent. but moves by power of God.

      'Is God undefinable?"
      yes. but can be known only as we can. like this: how much you can drink from an ocean?

      "Is God a human invention?"
      no. human is God's invention.

      "Is God No Thing?"
      no. God is a thing. but is not human and is not material and can not be seen by eye of head. but can bees seen by think to nature.

      "Is God Oneness With All? "
      God created all things (unless itself). God is first of all first and end of all end. God is separate of you while created you and your existence depends on God and God is everywhere and see and hear you and is nearer to you than your vessel of neck.
      http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/50:16

      "Is God within each of us?"
      yes.

      "? Is God beyond the Universe? '
      God is everywhere. God created every where. God created place. place is for material. we are material and it is hard for us to Imagine universe out of material but God has no limit in place. when you are at dream of sleep you are out of time and place.

      "Dare you to define God?"
      God is undefinable. but I wrote some about God to we know it some.

      "If you define God do you make God into an idol?"
      yes.
      if you define God you have limited it. and God is not limited.
      http://www.al-islam.org/nahj/1.htm

      "Will God strike you dead? "
      yes God makes dead soul into alive human and kills human by death.
      http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/2:28

      "Does God give a damn?"
      yes. God loves who obey him and hates who disobey and damn some.
      http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/38:78
  • Jun 12 2011: Religion is just something that helped us early in our evolutionary history (an idea that Richard Dawkins hates as much as fundamentalists.)

    We are social animals and we evolved in small groups. If you accept that living in groups / tribes helped us survive and thrive then you must accept that anything that helped the group - e.g. built solidarity, helped our survival as a species. Religion was one such thing. It helped small groups work together internally by enforcing a common set of beliefs about the world and how it worked. Survival of the fittest applies to ideas as much as to our physical survival.

    If you believed in "divine right of kings" as societies did as they grew, religion would add to social order and stop internal strife and dissention. Of course it also potentially added aggression against other tribes who were different - those who believed differently for example. But if those who believed in (one) religion killed the others (or absorbed them and inter bred) it meant that those with the predeliction to believe became dominant in our species.

    Religion was about social order. If you look at the great cathedrals of Europe or the pyramids - the drive to build them came from religion - as did the social order needed to make it happen.

    Some geneticists believe there is a "god gene" - a gene that predisposes some people to "believe". If true (and I for one think it likely) this is strong evidence for the above.

    Does this mean religion is essential to society today? Thats debatable. We have many atavistic characteristics from our our evolutionary history - our aggression for example. And were certainly do not regard that as being an unmitigated good.

    I put religion in the same category - the world is far too small, diverse and complex. We no longer live in small tribes and in a small complex world, religion now divides, not unites.

    So god is just an idea that served us to evolve in societies and some of us clearly lack the gene!
    • Jun 18 2011: "So god is just an idea that served us to evolve in societies and some of us clearly lack the gene! "
      so who is writer of Koran?
  • Jun 7 2011: I have not seen any proof that there is God. I have not seen any proof that there is not God. That some people say I will go to hell for not believing in their god defiantly makes me less likely to believe in 'God'. I believe in compassion and respect for people and planet but God or any religion do not have a monopoly on these basic ideas.
  • May 22 2011: Many religions have made God in the image of man, and not vice versa. This has made it easier for many people to imagine "God's" existence. For them to hold on to something while they pray, while they wonder why a certain something is happening to them and so forth.

    Why some people don't believe in this God is because there is no proof. Religions have a certain set of rules that you are expected to follow, otherwise you will be punished. You will face the wrath of God. Now this sounds pretty hilarious. Earlier, the more educated men tried instilling good habits in the lesser educated by using the "fear of god". But it no longer works, because all of us now have grown mentally and knowledge wise, and so we begin to question.

    A simple example: when you walk under a ladder, and you see that nothing bad has happened to you, you cease to believe in the superstition, and because it is God who is apparently punishing you, you automatically extend this loss of belief to God.
    But ever thought why it might be bad luck? for a simple reason that the thing might fall on you! or if someone were up there, they might drop something on your head! :D
    I can give many more examples to explain simple reasons behind certain etiquette followed in a particular religion. They all aim at the human psychology, they are all metaphors. Unfortunately, the real meaning has been lost down the generations, and when you ask your grandma why something is so, she says, cuz my mother told me so. And you just get annoyed and cease to believe since there is no apparent reason to believe.
    Apart from the loss of the true meaning, there have been so many religious leaders in history who have tampered with the true sense of the religion, which are truly meaningless. This further reduces the strength of the belief in God.

    The problem is religion is equated to God, but this is not so. When this difference is established, i think there will be more believers.
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    May 18 2011: I remember watching A.J. Jacob's "year of living biblically" and I found it fascinating and promptly moved on. What it demonstrates is that not only do thoughts control behavior, but also behavior control thoughts.

    For the past few weeks I've had an explosion of learning and curiosity partly why I started posting and watching more TED-talks after a few years of silence.

    I've decided to go to church, as an experiment. I went to a wedding that inspired it- I have never seen two people so in love and I've never been so confident in a strong, loving and lasting union. It left me with the question, "what am I missing?" I'm a humanist, a naturalist, and I don't anticipate this will change my skeptical view regarding a higher power... but I'm curious. I'm going to pray, sing and rejoice in a god I don't believe in and see where it takes me.

    If I come back a Christian... is that so bad? Unless it changes my politics, I'm okay with that.
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    May 14 2011: Drew you've said "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"

    And all I can say is that I'm not out there to prove anyone wrong, however, if for an illusory comfort I have to choose the death of my brain I'd rather choose life, here and now, with all its "discomfort". And by saying this, I am not implying that whoever believes in God is brain dead, so please don't twist it around. I'm just explaining what it would represent for me, personally, to actually believe in a God.

    I do not believe in God and I still continue to live a happy and fulfilled life free from the constraints of the fear of an uncertain future.
  • May 10 2011: I am a pantheist, apparently.

    I experience a sense of the Divine witnessing the world and the universe. I feel it equally whether I’m experiencing a work of nature (except goldenrod, and maybe lima beans) or humankind (as if humans themselves, and thus their products, aren’t also a work of nature).

    It doesn’t matter to me whether there actually is something divine or not. Whether there is, or there isn’t, a ‘God’, is irrelevant to my experiencing it.

    I’ve never understood why it is so important to many people who believe in God, or not, that others believe in God, or not, too. And more so, their particular flavor of God. (Are there different flavors of atheism?)
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    May 7 2011: You know... based on all arguments I've heard across TED Conversations, I'm starting to think Christians and Muslims are wrong, and that spirits are actually the real deal:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzC3h2fKzec

    I have yet to see an argument that's not included in the above video (well... I've seen others that try to discredit science, but those in support for God are those)... by all logic presented, spirits must be true. The ultimate truth in fact, since they explain stuff even better than God.
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    May 7 2011: I think there is some preliminary evidence that makes one think. This in no way demonstrates the existence of God but it is interesting. This includes research on near death experience and the power of prayer in healthcare. I think the historical evidence of Jesus Christ is compelling as well as the fulfilled prophecy from the Old Testament

    http://www.reasons.org/fulfilled-prophecy-evidence-reliability-bible
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    May 3 2011: A God [Monotheism] (without or being) all of matter is the only option. In order for the Judo-Christian God to be real, he has to bend, create, and/or affect/effect nature in anyways which is all matter. That God to care/be aware/influence us would be so tiny. http://htwins.net/scale/index.html

    An alien even. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1952867/British-Government-releases-UFO-files.html

    God with matter is mythology.

    Mythology is traceable, dated, recorded, and/or used as stories.

    Matter creates everything. If God has matter to him and can bend it, why does he care about one species? If I was God I wouldn't care, I mean survival of the fittest right? Well that's because we believe in these stories that it becomes acceptable into the debate. When i mean debate that's very mildly put. Wars? Crusades? Renaissance? Yet,God is all loving? Seems he missed out a few lessons in his Holy Book. My list would of been more similar to the Sumerians and/or Egyptians. They include more actual crimes.

    Once you source a piece of literature as fact, you are wrong. If you source your personal emotions and/or values based on speculations/perspectives in the world then you have a better argument than the fundamentalist. When you say "God talked to us/me through this and that event/occurrence.." I have those feelings too, except mine come from obese people living large and skinny people living under nutritional recommendations. So maybe my God is smarter than your God, because if 4 billion people believe in my God there would be "almost peace". Instead of a world divided into over 400 countries striving for 'cultural superiority'. That only prolongs the inedible togetherness (no matter the means); whether it is a war for the world or the understandings that bring us together.

    When you source historic documents the facts add up against fundamentalist, 99.15 percent of the time.

    WATCH: The God Who Wasn't There, Zeitgeist (the first 45 minutes), Religious, read: http://tecnoscience.squarespace.com/journal/2011/3/1/pale-blue-dot.html
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    May 2 2011: First of all, I would like to clarify that when it comes to religion and god - I am agnostic i.e. a doubter. This is after years of being an atheist. But my passion of philosophy and mythology made me revise the concept of why religion (and God) exists or atleast why people believe them to be.

    Most of us believe or want to believe in idea of God because it gives the world around us a sense of order and purpose. But does God really exist? And how important is it for us to find out? As you put it in your open line 'if it were even the slightest....that God does not exist or does?'. Personally I believe that even if you do you will be going to hell (or something similar) - atleast according to the religions that you didn't follow. Each religion or faith ultimately prescribes a way of living that they believe is the right or optimum way. And who is to say which one got it right or wrong? Perhaps in this process of thinking, I realized that the best way is to keep an open mind about all this...
    • May 7 2011: Dear Anupriy Kanti,
      "Each religion or faith ultimately prescribes a way of living that they believe is the right or optimum way. And who is to say which one got it right or wrong?"

      this is duty of yourself by your wisdom and research.
      http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/39:18
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    May 1 2011: I am atheist and the simple answer to your question is that 1) I can't see evidence for his existence and it just doesn't make sense for his existence and 2) it is not relevant to believe or not to believe in a God, as long as live according to the golden rule (treat thy neighbour as theyself). If a God and heaven and hell exist afterall, you should be fine. I don't believe in a God that will good people to hell, despite not having believed in him
    • May 7 2011: Dear John Chan,
      "I can't see evidence for his existence"
      did you look enough?
      what is your idea about this?:
      http://www.ted.com/conversations/2142/why_our_universe_has_laws_of_p.html

      "I don't believe in a God that will good people to hell, despite not having believed in him"
      this is a small evidence:
      God created all humans. but send them cancer, earthquake, tsunami, conflagration, car accident and other disaster.
      this enough to believe God do not love all humans equal.
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    May 1 2011: a small thought; You will never be able to proof to me you were dreaming about New York last night. Should I bug you to try and should you spent time trying?
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      Apr 29 2011: "The day you prove God exists, you destroy the very core of Christianity."
      You mean you destroy the "spirituality" part of it? That even if God (in any form) is false, God is "psychologically true" and useful.

      Why can't we have spirituality with no God? There's no need for you to think you're in heaven or that "god is running through you" if you're trying to meditate (you just need to relax and think of "nice and calm" things by your definition*), there's no reason to stop enjoying rainbows and landscapes like a fool if God is not involved (you're enjoying those because they're pretty, not because they were allegedly designed). There is no reason to ditch compassion without God involved for it (quite the opposite I'd argue).

      So... what are you getting at? What would happen if we knew for sure God existed (what kind of God BTW; old testament, new testament, Quran; If mish-mash, clarify the ingredients)?

      And what would happen if we knew for sure God in any form did not existed?

      * No, I'm not doing meditations of any sort, so yes, that is not to be taken as a factual statement... but meditation is a spiritual-like activity that I don't have anything against, as long as it's not God connected, which is most often the case. Add to that the fact that this activity is similar to prayer in its effects.
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    Apr 24 2011: So 'tooth-fairy atheism' or 'teapots atheism' is a kind of agnosticism which actually reduce the possibilities(the likelyhood) of the existence of God to zero .................... it is very interesting but also it is very hypocrite and I'll say you why . First of all I have to say that I am agnostic in terms of believing that we can't through our possiblities to know the objective reality , to know God, but what's seems to me very hypocrite at this view is the fact that it doesn't consider the all possibilities , it is just about us: we knowing God(the objective reality) through our means , it doesn't say anything about the possibility of us knowing (the objective reality) God through His/its means , of knowing the objective reality vice versa from it to us , why?............this seems for me very hypocrite , very suitable with the human nature (and don't forget I am a human being also) but I still think that I'm not so selfish to wanna be an hypocrite.
    I would like to know more your view Christophe and your view Birdia , if both of you want
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        Apr 24 2011: You know Birdia , I think Richard Dawkins was serious when he talk about 'tooth-fairy atheism' and what made me to take it very serious is someones idea that tooth-fairy atheism is somehow a proof for the atheistic cause .............. you know I'm very curious to know why the people call themselves atheists, you are one of them perhaps , why? and I disagree a bit with you , I think that for what we believe we should take stance in every context , I do not think that we should have this atitude of 'that's all': I quote Richard Dawkins :"Let's all stop being so damn respectful".
        So I would like to find out as many as possible arguments for atheism , if someone want to tell me...............
        I'm not worried , I just want to know............thank you and I hope that you enjoy your day too.
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        Apr 24 2011: ok .................yes you answered me , thank you. You made me to laugh................ and by the way,I don't consider anyone to be my online 'foe' ;).
        you know, I've agreed very much with the Bush's politics even though I'm not american ( I have some relatives there).
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        Apr 25 2011: I've liked Bush for his rough way of making politics even though it created mess.....anyway we now suffer the consequences, that's right .
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        Apr 25 2011: the reality have always a sad part (which is predominant in my opinion)................ but i can't contradict your emotions because you are somehow right ;) ................... sorry
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      Apr 25 2011: I for myself think that the probability is close to 0 because there is no evidence whatsoever... as there are infinite other things that have a near 0 probability estimation.
      According a hypothesis given no data a near 0 probability is actually very fair, and logically valid.

      How do you know the "means" of your god? what are those means and how can we observe them? how do they influence us? Tell us if you know and why you claim to know that.
      I wonder if you believe because you believed the first theory you learned and stopped wondering since... ;-)

      I grew up believing as a child, became agnostic and finally shifted to atheism, as it all made a lot more sense...
      I did celebrate easter though, but as a family gathering, not the ressurection of Christ.
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        Apr 27 2011: Will you believe me if now I will say you that I know what are the means through which God work? I'm very sure that you will not(becasue I've said you that I'm also an agnostic ) but the fact that I do not know because I do not know doesn't means that He do not work, all what I've said is that is very hypocritical to not consider this option for obvious reasons ................... but really Christophe where do you have from the impresion that I've calimed to know that? please quote me .
        " wonder if you believe because you believed the first theory you learned and stopped wondering since... ;-) ".............why do you think that I've done it ?.................. I did not man , and I'm open for any ideas (for example Matthieu have had right in his own way even though I've contradicted him)............... but in my opinion the atheism is very irrational and doesn't make too much sense and still I want to hear the arguments for atheism.
  • Apr 24 2011: dear Matthieu Miossec,
    "Please have the decency of reading people's threads! Seriously...
    In fact a lot of your points are addressed already! Geez... "

    you are right,sorry,OK, I am new to TED. forgive me. I will do.
    thanks for your point. you are like a mirror showing my dirt.
    I not understand Geez...
  • Apr 22 2011: Dear Friends,
    how can I notify when some one post a reply for me?
    I should check and refresh this page every time?
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      Apr 25 2011: Best way is to look at "my conversations", then click "my comments", and then go through your comments, clicking on them.
      • May 4 2011: what about when you have lots of recent comments? if TED has email notification it would be better.
        also some times an old comment receives reply.
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    Apr 22 2011: Harald........I noticed in one of your posts you were glad to meet another Austrian..Hello...My father immigrated from Czarna, Austria, in 1913. My maiden name was Mazan.
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    Apr 21 2011: I cannot believe this conversation is going strong! Yet no thumbs up, craziness award to you Drew B.
  • Apr 21 2011: because people do not know true God.

    God is alone and single and has no mother and no child.
    God is not human
    God is not material
    God can not be seen by eye of head. but can be seen by eye of heart
    God is first of all first and end of all end
    God is always alive and not need any help
    God can not be defined and can not be described. but as there is no way to say meaning we should use words about God.
    God has no composition
    God created place and has no place
    God is not inside anything and is not on anything
    God did not become powerful after creating all things and was not unable before creating all things.
    not similar to any thing can be said. and not similar to anything can be in mind.
    God was not separate of power before creating and after going creatures will not lose power
    God was Lord before creating and is Lord after creating
    time is a creature of God
    God has not place and quality and description and limit and can not be known by describing him similar to nothing
    how much exists never become old
    God not fear anything, but all things fear God
    God is alive without existed living or describable existing or limited modality or a place God stand in it or a place God is near it.
    but God is alive known by its affects and is a Lord that always has power and kingdom.
    what God wants immediately become exist.
    not limited
    not have parts
    never decade
    God is start of existence without any modality and is end of existence without place.
    all things are vanity but God
    creating and regulation is in his hands
    full of mercy developer of universes
    minds can not catch him
    imaginations can not reach him
    God never become astray
    nothing can reach beside him
    nothing happen for him
    is not responsible for anything
    and never penitent
    never sleep or nap
    all things in universe and sky and on earth and under land is for him.
    God created human and created world for testing human.
    God created human to human know God.

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/1599/who_is_god.html
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      Apr 21 2011: if I'm not mistaken, your god can not be measured in any way.
      There are no clear cut signs in this world that necessitate to assume your god-image as part of a worldvieuw.

      Oh, there is a measure:
      "the hearts eye"
      I assume this is spoken metaphorically?

      I would like you to elaborate on that: What do you mean by the heart's eye?
      • Apr 21 2011: Hello Dear Christophe Cop,
        happy to know you. I think I could find some one understand me and ask me a question.

        yes God can not be measured. God is not material to be measured. not measuring not mean not exist. logic can not be measured but exist. if logic not exist so no mathematics should exist.
        all attributes of God are unlimited.
        God created measurement for human.
        God created whole this world (earth with human life) and whole universe and all 7 sky (our universe is just first sky)
        our mind can not understand the entity of God. you can go where just has at least a way, when there is no way you can not go there. there is no way for human to know entity of God, also entity of soul, soul of human is from soul of God. but we can know God little by its affects and creatures and signs and attributes of God. all nature is signs of God. your body is sign of God.

        hearts of eye means: thinking and wisdom and logic and also eye of your soul. that is the eye you see dreams at sleep while your eyes of head are closed.
        also eye of heart can not see God's entity, but can see just face of God.
        God has 4 zone. the zone 1, 2, 3 is just for itself alone and no one has anyway to those 3 zones. but just some humans (close friends of God) can enter zone 4 and visit and see God there.(not physically, but spiritually, something like dream at sleep, but an aware dream, its called intuition. intuition is seeing by eye of heart)

        just humans by strong soul can have aware intuition by their soul.
        all humans can be close friend of God. but it is not easy and is step by step. and first step is to kill yourself (not by knife, it means killing your wishes and your loves like love of food, sleep, money,being boss, loving yourself, loving to people respect you or any other love but love of God. when no "I" exist, like I want to... and all is God want...).


        sorry, I do not know when you send me a reply. better to TED have an email alert when we receive a reply. like Faceboo
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          Apr 22 2011: Needless to say I completely disagree with most of your viewpoints dear S.R.

          I won't be replying on everything you say, but I highly recommend you think about what other people have posted here. Think about it, try to see why we hold different viewpoints, and understand that some people think that revelation is a hoax

          1) Concerning logic: you measure logic by letting people solve logical questions... logic can be seen as a language, and as any information needs a carrier, the carrier can be clearly
          observed (a book explaining logic, or your active brain applying or understanding it)
          something that cannot be measured (i.e. observed in any way, in principle) can be supposed not to exist.

          2) Concerning signs: You need to define and explain why something is a sign of god, and why it is a better explanation than current hypotheses...
          If you think that your god is Panentheistic, then that God is a redundant assumption... In which case I bring out Occam's Razor.

          3) Concerning the heart:
          * A metaphor is bad science (no explanatory value, but can give you some kind of understanding).
          * intuition is "thinking something is true, but not knowing why". If you claim that something is true because your intuition says so, you have made a big fallacy.

          So in short:
          => I think you believe in some kind of God, and that gives you a sense of meaning.
          Allas for your arguments: you are not clearly indicating how i need to conclude a god exists upon any logical or factual basis over the hypothesis that there is no god.

          The burden of proof lies with you, and as I gather you rely on intuition and revelation (both fallible and often unreliable sources of knowledge) it is going to be difficult to continue a discussion.

          P.s.: I can have experiences that give me god-experiences, or I can do prayer rituals, directing myself to a loving god... that doesn't mean it exists... but that I can feel it as if it exists... A BIG Difference
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          Apr 24 2011: @Chris

          2000 characters = wasted.

          Life goes on.

          I wonder if there are even philosophy books disproving God in Arabic. I wouldn't know the proper channels to discover them perhaps you do and could send them to S.R. His English to Arabic translator cannot be that epic to understand half of what people have been trying to say to him. Suggestions?
      • Apr 21 2011: there is no curtain between you and God but yourself.
        if you delete yourself, you see God.
        • Jun 22 2011: Nicholas, Life goes on.....you will one day die.....have you ever thought of death?

          Have you read philosophical proofs given by the likes of Avicenna, which were inspired from the Quran?? do you think he wasted his life for nothing? you think he just believed in God, because it was possible? or is it that he had complete certainty that God existed.......

          If God exists, and he does, how will that change your life? There is an eternal, absolute being...that you owe everything in your life to.....you are only existing every second...because of that being.....read the proofs.......maybe you chose to not believe because it would give you a chance to have ''fun'' in this life... What fun?! what Happiness?!

          do you know what it means for you to be existing now?

          Do you think you are just a coincidence? material things do not know and they cannot think.....why can you? you are, as you believe as an atheist, just a body....know who you are before you begin trying to know God.....

          '' Do you suppose that you are but a small piece of mass, while the reality is: the whole universe is contained in you. Your remedy is from you, but you cannot see it?!......your remedy is in you, but you do not feel it?!''

          - Ali Bin Abi Talib

          ''Woe to man! What hath made him reject Allah.''

          The Quran, 80:17

          Don't waste your life.........there is more to come after this life.....what is coming up is what you were created for.....

          ''Except him on whom your Lord has bestowed His Mercy, and for that did He create them.''

          11:119

          I could give you many philosophical proofs......and you could reply to me with ridiculous replies.....as with other atheists....thats why I leave it to you....

          Instead, I want you to think of yourself....think of life and death.....forget the Holy scriptures...because they only come as a wake up call.....if you want to reach God.....the best way is through yourself.....

          ''whoever knows himself.....knows his Lord''

          -Ali Bin Abi Talib
      • Apr 21 2011: God created measurement and learned measurement to human. for example by creating moon.
        God can not be measured.
        God is unlimited.
        logic can not be measured.
      • May 6 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,
        I accepted your recommend and have read and think all comments here.
        firs there was a misunderstanding. my definition of measure was counting properties of material like weight, length, speed,... this is first time I see using of "measure" about non-material things.
        lets accept this wider definition of measure (including a book explaining logic, or your active brain applying or understanding it).

        "why something is a sign of god"
        all things we see have two aspect: one material properties (physics, chemistry,...) and the second any thing we see in nature is speaking us:"I have a creator". if some one can look to nature beyond material and can hear this message (I have a perfect creator) by his wisdom then he have seen one sign of God in nature. any thing in nature is a sign of God. just needs looking beyond material.
        God is speaking us by Nature and is sending the message through Nature. but some people (materialists) just see material and some other see the creator behind Nature.
        for example if you see a very advanced digital camera with no brand and mark. you say with yourself: Indeed this camera has a perfect manufacturer. now please look at your eye. it is more advanced or digital camera? do you believe some explosive (big bang) and some spontaneous organization (evolution) that all are guess and not truth (hypothesis) can make such advanced camera in your head? I can not believe. this is meaning of sign if God.

        "and why it is a better explanation than current hypotheses..."
        at least current hypotheses have many debates and critics with no explain. and at least considering God no question remains with no reply. this is min advantage.

        "Occam's Razor"
        I do not understand what is its relation here. please explain.
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          May 18 2011: Mr SR

          1) I don't hear anything (except religious humans) speak "I have a creator".
          Let's stop being metaphorical and try some sound reasoning upon things we can agree... (If not, there is no interest for me in debating with you, as my estimated obtained new information is now already near 0)

          2) you again make the argument that a complex thing needs a creator. This is wrong. complexity can arise from fairly simple principles (see Stephen Wolfram http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/stephen_wolfram_computing_a_theory_of_everything.html for example). I also refer to http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/welcome.html for more insight for you to obtain. Or read Darwin! (I must admit it can be a bit boring with all the endless examples he uses to build his case, but have courage!)

          3) Yeah if all answers are 'god', then it's easy... no more thinking, no further knowledge to obtain... hurray for universal void answers!
          Sadly, you need to explain how 'god' works in order to make predictions or to make it count as a real explanation though...

          4) http://lmgtfy.com/?q=occam%27s+razor&l=1
      • May 6 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,
        "eye of heart"
        it is not metaphor. it is an eye every human has it. but it is different of eye of head. a little example of eye of heart is that when you see dreams in sleep and your eye of head is closed, how you see that dreams? (please do not say sleep is reflect of what we see in day. science still has no clear explain for sleep and all they say is just some guess. see:http://www.parapsych.org/)

        "intuition "
        I disagree your idea about intuition. it is not what you say. first: intuition is just personal experience and can not be said to others as a proof. 2: before you yourself have an experience of intuition you will not understand what is it. example: a child only play and not go to school and just enjoy play. his father say him you should go to school to reach knowledge and can earn money and get married and have wife. the enjoy of knowledge and wife is much more then enjoy of play. then child reply:
        you "think" enjoy of knowledge and wife is better but not knowing why. If you claim that something is true because your intuition says so, you have made a big fallacy.
        then what can that father say? the only way is to that child himself experience that enjoy. is there any way to that father can understand to that small child what is real enjoy of knowledge and wife?
        this is the meaning of Intuition. Intuition is seeing God by eye of yourself and sensing by all of your senses and all of your soul and all of your entity with no doubt and it is very hard to endurance that situation and it is like you want to explode from inside. at that situation you speak direct to God and God speak direct to you a real talk not in sleep but in 100% awake but not in world material some thing like seeing a dream in sleep (dream is a very very small level example of Intuition) Intuition is in 100% consciousness and even higher than consciousness.
        generally there is two way for finding God:rational (philosophy) and seeing God (Intuition). when you see, no doubt.
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          May 18 2011: it is clearly a metaphor as
          - the heart has no eye
          - what you see in your dreams are the result of brain activity, not of heart activity (except for the blood being pumped in your brains, allowing it to function properly of course)

          Concerning sleep:
          - please refrain from pointing to pseudoscience.
          - dreams are caused by activations of the brain. It helps restructuring and strengthening pathways.
          - If you say we don't know exactly what sleep is, you see that as an opportunity to fill in that blank with anything you can come up with that suits you? (so it appears to me)... that is a major fallacy... (that end's up in the retreating god-image some hold: god is all the things we don't know... hence getting smaller each day)

          on "intuition"
          Let's keep it that way (disagreeing). Let the reader decide for themselves what the most plausible interpretation is.

          Anyway, as I mentioned already, I'll try and refrain to respond to your comments, S.R... It's no use.
      • May 6 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,
        "you are not clearly indicating how i need to conclude a god exists upon any logical or factual basis over the hypothesis that there is no god. "
        this is just one clearly indicating how you need to conclude a god exists upon any logical basis:
        http://www.ted.com/conversations/2142/why_our_universe_has_laws_of_p.html

        "The burden of proof lies with you, and as I gather you rely on intuition and revelation"
        I not want to prove you God based on intuition. I recommend you see God by intuition instead of finding it rational.
        revelation is not a proof. why you think that? Koran is a proof because it is a miracle. not because it is revelation:
        http://www.ted.com/conversations/2328/is_koran_scientifically_a_mira.html

        "I can have experiences that give me god-experiences, or I can do prayer rituals, directing myself to a loving god... that doesn't mean it exists."
        yo do not know what is Intuition.
        some say there is many diamond in Pluto planet. there is 2 way to prove existence of diamond there:
        1) analyzing waves coming to earth from Pluto by advanced and still not perfect instruments that has error and can not be 100% correct.
        2) you yourself go there and see diamond by eye of yourself and test it and make sure with no doubt there exist diamond. this is Intuition. but when you come back to earth you can not prove to other people diamond exit on Pluto. people say many doubts to you and even do not want to accept there exist diamond. and people say you:
        "... that doesn't mean it exists... but that I can feel it as if it exists... A BIG Difference"
        and then you say people:
        OK, not important for me you accept me or not. but when you yourself go there you will find there exist diamond. but when you go there you can not come back to earth to sell your diamonds and then your diamonds will have no value in far universe.
      • May 6 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,
        So in short:
        ways of understanding God exist:
        1) seeing signs of God in nature. every one according to his proficiency can see one or more sign. who know cell very well see God through cell and also atom or a Carling with a spinner machine see sun and moon and stars a sign of God and say: my spinner does not work without me and so stars does not work without God. the ways of knowing God is the same as the number of Humans.

        2) many rational ways. for example:
        http://www.ted.com/conversations/2142/why_our_universe_has_laws_of_p.html

        3) by tying to have ability of Intuition for yourself and seeing truth by eye of yourself instead of rational.

        and simplest way of knowing God is by knowing yourself. your body and your "self".
        http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/41:53
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        Drew B

        • 0
        May 6 2011: if it doesnt make since Chris, that makes since in itself, because if we knew everything about God he wouldnt be God, thats the whole point.
        • May 6 2011: If God is unknowable, how did you come to that understanding of God?

          Why do you suppose there is something other than non-material (i.e. phantasmal, ethereal, spiritual)? Furthermore, how are you CERTAIN that it is there?

          I love this question also.

          If your God is omnipotent, you admit to the possibility that he is simply deceiving you into believing he is good, when he is actually evil. There is absolutely no way to get out of this admission if you assume omnipotence. Just saying, "He is also perfectly benevolent, I can feel it, scripture proves it etc.." doesn't solve the problem because as an omnipotent being, he would have no trouble AT ALL deceiving us so that we believe he is good.

          Another one, a lot of people claim that God altered their lives or put them through hardship in order to bring them to Him (I only use the proper pronoun to denote difference in subject). So God can put you through horrible things in order to alter your attitude just so he can bring you to him? How do you have free will in this scenario? Your facing an omnipotent being here! He knows exactly what to do to get you to believe ANYTHING!
        • May 7 2011: Dear Brent Beach,
          why you say "If God is unknowable"?
          God is not unknowable 100%. each human know God how much can.

          "Why do you suppose there is something other than non-material"
          first you should know what is material exact. and what are limitations of material.
          we every day are seeing non-material things but as we do not know what is material consider them as material. like a fish asking:what is water? prove me water exist!
          the dream and sleep is best proof for existing non-material things. if you know material well and know material is limited in time and place and know sleep well then you understand when you see a dream in sleep when your eye of head is closed, you are out of material universe at dream of sleep and that prove there are some universes out of material. this is one sample. other: the logic is a non-material thing. where is place of logic in brain? please consider logic of computer and compare it by human logic.
          "when he is actually evil"
          yes, you are right. very clever. some times in Intuition the Satan show some fake spiritual Images and some special lumine objects to human and try to cheat human to follow Satan. but it can be distinguished and avoided. but some people can not distinguish. like you can distinguish between good and evil in this universe. you can distinguish between what you see from God or Satan in Intuition. no worry. God always helps believers. God said: if you come to me one pace, I come to you 100 pace. this include also Intuition.
          http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/2:257

          "So God can put you through horrible things in order to alter your attitude just so he can bring you to him?"
          yes, right. this is one of laws of God:
          http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/32:21
          but many people still do not open their eyes after that and love to be in sleep.
          "How do you have free will in this scenario? "
          this is a reminder from a lover to his beloved to return.
          we have not 100% free will. did you select to be born? did you select where born?
        • May 7 2011: Dear Brent Beach,
          "Your facing an omnipotent being here! He knows exactly what to do to get you to believe ANYTHING!"
          yes, right. but knowing not mean you have not free will. example:
          now human can predict the weather in tomorrow. but not 100%. consider in 500 years later human can predict weather 100%. knowing the tomorrow weather means human control weather? and human decide to how be tomorrow weather? when God know what will be the option of a human has no conflict with the free will of that human.
          God know what you will select while you have free will.
          if you know your friend very well you can predict his options and still he has free will.
          http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/2:24
          http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/66:6
        • May 7 2011: Brent,

          "If God is unknowable, how did you come to that understanding of God?"

          Indeed, a finite being cannot fully comprehend an infinite being. But, we can understand it, in principle. We may not be able to understand how dark energy works, but we understand it does work.

          "Why do you suppose there is something other than non-material ...?"

          I believe such an entity could possibly exist because of the second law of thermodynamics, as well as the laws of causality. I am not certain He exists... who is? If we could be certain, faith and diversity of religious ideology would not need to exist, would they?

          "If your God is omnipotent [...] deceiving us so that we believe he is good."

          Your hypothetical situation implodes on itself. You claim that we cannot be certain of ANYTHING since He is omnipotent. Which means we cannot even be certain that we cannot be certain! There is no basis to which we can actually make a rational hypothesis in this scenario.
          But, let's say I accept your argument at a fundamental level... You claim He could be tricking us? Even if He is an infinite being, that does not mean His actions are all incomprehensible and infinite as well (as proven by our existence and the existence of Earth, the solar system, and the Universe in general). Benevolence is a comprehendible term. We understand that fundamental aspects of benevolence as opposed to harm and evil. It's not something you "feel", it is a logical conclusion.

          "Another one, [...] to believe ANYTHING!"

          Valid point. I don't believe in an intervening God. That is not a universal view among theists.
        • May 7 2011: "If God is unknowable, how did you come to that understanding of God?"
          consider an infinite table of food in front of you and you are allowed to eat how much you want. you can not eat all, but this not mean you leave all.
          there is a Persian poem by this meaning:
          if we can not drink all water of ocean.............so should drink as much as thirst
        • May 7 2011: "consider an infinite table of food in front of you and you are allowed to eat how much you want. you can not eat all, but this not mean you leave all."

          Good point, S.R.
        • May 7 2011: I'm very glad people are still discussing this, I was afraid I'd come too late.

          "the dream and sleep is best proof for existing non-material things. if you know material well and know material is limited in time and place and know sleep well then you understand when you see a dream in sleep when your eye of head is closed, you are out of material universe at dream of sleep and that prove there are some universes out of material. this is one sample. other: the logic is a non-material thing. where is place of logic in brain? please consider logic of computer and compare it by human logic."

          Dreams and sleep can (and have been) shown to be the results of physical processes in the brain. Additionally, sleep functions as a time when the majority of your short term memory is transferred into long term memory. Drugs such as DMT, psilocybin and LSD have known hallucinatory effects akin to dreaming. In fact, DMT is a chemical produced in the brain which is theorized to be the source of dream hallucinations, given that DMT produces a hallucination indistinguishable from dreaming. Because these things alter our minds chemically, we can assume that our mind in general function on a chemical basis. All the things you described can be explained in this way.

          "some times in Intuition the Satan show some fake spiritual Images and some special lumine objects to human and try to cheat human to follow Satan. but it can be distinguished and avoided."

          No, it can't. An omnipotent evil being would successfully deceive you into believing he is good 100% of the time. You have no chance of distinguishing.

          "yes, right. but knowing not mean you have not free will."

          It does when the god intervenes in your life. There is no uncertainty for it, it knows the exact result of its influence. You WILL do what it wants you to do.
        • May 7 2011: "I believe such an entity could possibly exist because of the second law of thermodynamics, as well as the laws of causality. "

          I mean there is no reason to believe anything other than universe exists other than because you want to. The two things you say CAN make sense if you want it to, but that IS NOT what these laws imply, that is what you've implied based off the laws and if they WERE actually implied by those laws, they would say it. It wouldn't be an inference. Your twisting these things to apply to a belief you likely already considered true.

          "Your hypothetical situation implodes on itself. You claim that we cannot be certain of ANYTHING since He is omnipotent."

          Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. An omnipotent being would successfully deceive you 100% of the time.

          "There is no basis to which we can actually make a rational hypothesis in this scenario."

          Ahhh, now you're starting to get it.

          "But, let's say I accept your argument at a fundamental level... You claim He could be tricking us? Even if He is an infinite being, that does not mean His actions are all incomprehensible and infinite as well (as proven by our existence and the existence of Earth, the solar system, and the Universe in general). Benevolence is a comprehendible term. We understand that fundamental aspects of benevolence as opposed to harm and evil. It's not something you "feel", it is a logical conclusion."

          God can control how you comprehend things, he's omnipotent. God could control how your brain processes information, he's all-powerful, omnipotent.
        • May 7 2011: "consider an infinite table of food in front of you and you are allowed to eat how much you want. you can not eat all, but this not mean you leave all."

          I think a more appropriate analogy would be you are standing in front of a wall and you TELL me there is an infinite table of food behind the wall. You tell me that we cannot really comprehend the table with our limited minds, being finite beings as we are, we have no hope of truly understanding it. You then proceed to tell me what items are on the table and what the table looks like. Suddenly, your understanding of the table doesn't seem quite as limited as you say it should be.

          Frankly, I just don't see any reason to think the table is there. Nobody has ever told me it was anywhere but behind a wall. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
        • May 8 2011: Dear Brent Beach,
          the meaning of table of food is knowledge available about God.
          for example Koran is a source for knowing God. have you read it first? it is behind wall? it is in front of you:
          www.tanzil.net
          also many other sources. the table of food is ready. the eater does not enter to eat. there is not wall.

          there are 3 main type of sleep dream. only one type can be considered as results of physical processes in the brain. also processes in the brain does not any cause? brain is just a material (not important how much complex) and material itself alone can not Intend to start a process. do you know such material (even most advanced computers and robots) that itself with no use of human Intend start any work or processes.
          what Intends and then brain start its processes is soul.
          also what you say about seeing future in dream?
          still science has no clear and certain explain about sleep dream. please show if there is any. (not guess and hypothesis and maybe dream is ...)
          yes, some factors like drug can cause some unmoral process in brain and soul interpret them as dream. usually eye send messages to brain and brain processes them and send them to soul and soul Interpret and understand them. actually you are your soul and the body is only a tool in hand of soul for detecting and communication and control material world. drug make some false pulse in brain like unwanted waves in microphone wire that make noise in load speaker and soul Interpret them as enjoy.

          "No, it can't. An omnipotent evil being would successfully deceive you into believing he is good 100% of the time. You have no chance of distinguishing."
          do not worry. God is near you and if you love him, he helps you when you need him. do not you consider any role or power or help for God? you go to him and he helps you.
          please read this promise of God:
          http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/2:257
        • May 8 2011: "It does when the god intervenes in your life. There is no uncertainty for it, it knows the exact result of its influence. You WILL do what it wants you to do."

          yes, God some times intervenes.
          but consider God is merciful and not cruel.
          if there is any intervenes it always in favor of human and has benefit for human and has no loss for human. God never doe any intervenes in human life resulting loss for human. God loves human and wants to all human enter Heaven and some times reminds (intervenes) them what they have forgotten it (God and heaven).
          God never wants people go to Hell. but people themselves insist to go to Hell. God does not prevent them. God sent them messengers, sent them books, guided them, gifted them wisdom, made many many signs in Nature for them, sent them messages in dream, and did any help and Guide. but still people still insist to go to Hell for ever. OK, no problem let them go.
          http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/2:119
        • May 8 2011: Dear Brent Beach,
          the meaning of table of food is knowledge available about God.
          for example Koran is a source for knowing God. have you read it first? it is behind wall? it is in front of you:
          www.tanzil.net
          also many other sources. the table of food is ready. the eater does not enter to eat. there is not wall.

          The Koran is but writing upon the wall. There is no table to be actually seen, only descriptions of that table. I'm afraid you are merely seeing that which you desire to see.

          "there are 3 main type of sleep dream. only one type can be considered as results of physical processes in the brain."

          All of them are the result of physical processes.

          also processes in the brain does not any cause? brain is just a material (not important how much complex) and material itself alone can not Intend to start a process.

          It absolutely does matter how complex it is. Look at other mammals who have distinctly similar brains to our. These creatures are less intelligent BECAUSE their brains are smaller/less efficient and far less evolved. Yet these creatures also show distinct signs of personality differences, neuroticism and empathy (especially in the case of dogs). The things you describe are not unique to humans as we have known for many years that animals such as dogs dream.

          "also what you say about seeing future in dream?"

          It does not happen. I have higher standards of proof than you do. I would need direct experience to believe it.

          "still science has no clear and certain explain about sleep dream. please show if there is any. (not guess and hypothesis and maybe dream is ...)"

          And why is it you don't apply these same standards of proof to your own theories? Your theories have far less evidence backing them up than current popular scientific ones.

          "do you know such material (even most advanced computers and robots) that itself with no use of human Intend start any work or processes."

          I don't see the relevance.
        • May 8 2011: "yes, some factors like drug can cause some unmoral process in brain and soul interpret them as dream. usually eye send messages to brain and brain processes them and send them to soul and soul Interpret and understand them. actually you are your soul and the body is only a tool in hand of soul for detecting and communication and control material world. drug make some false pulse in brain like unwanted waves in microphone wire that make noise in load speaker and soul Interpret them as enjoy."

          Do you have any proof that you brain sends this information to the soul for interpretation?

          I don't think it's right to comment on these drug-induced experiences without having experienced the falsity of it personally. It is a far different experience than what you could imagine. People (including your ancestors) have been making use of these substances for millenia prior to their demonization in modern culture.

          "do not worry. God is near you and if you love him, he helps you when you need him. do not you consider any role or power or help for God? you go to him and he helps you.
          please read this promise of God:
          http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/2:257"

          See how easily you are deceived into thinking he is good? He is truly a perfect deceiver.

          "God never wants people go to Hell. but people themselves insist to go to Hell. God does not prevent them. God sent them messengers, sent them books, guided them, gifted them wisdom, made many many signs in Nature for them, sent them messages in dream, and did any help and Guide. but still people still insist to go to Hell for ever."

          For some of us, a book will NEVER be enough. NEVER. God knows this, God knows what it would REALLY take for me to believe. If he falls short of that and still insists on sending me into the fiery depths, then he is truly malevolent. My demands are not unreasonable, if he desires so much that I live by his creed, and desires so little that I go to hell, then my standards of proof are not unreasonable.
        • May 8 2011: The simple fact is that if God really was omnipotent, omnipresent, etc. he wouldn't care whether people chose to believe in him or not. This god would understand why you do the things you do, and would not blame you for them. This god would forgive regardless of whether the person acknowledged his existence and would never require it in order to receive his love.
        • May 9 2011: "Do you have any proof that you brain sends this information to the soul for interpretation?"
          not scientific. but rational yes:
          brain is all material (not important how much complex) and material has ability of process, but not have ability of Interpretation. for example can an computer Interpret what show on its monitor? does computer itself rally understand what is showing? or just process some 0,1?

          "It is a far different experience than what you could imagine"
          its not by Imagination. its rational according to properties and limitations of material (time, place, dimension, weight, ...) first we should understand what is really material and then we know what aspect of human is from material and what can not be from material.

          "People (including your ancestors) have been making use of these substances for millenia prior to their demonization in modern culture."
          whats meaning? this include them also.

          "See how easily you are deceived into thinking he is good?"
          its not so easy. it depends on understanding that if Koran is all truth or not?

          " a book will NEVER be enough."
          sure, also for me. but Koran is not only a book.

          "God knows what it would REALLY take for me to believe. "
          yes, God knows past and future and all things. but at the same time you have free will. God rewards and punishes because of Wisdom and free will. there is no conflict between knowing what you will do and your responsibility for your deeds. for example if your mother know you well and can predict your deeds, then you are not responsible?
          or human can predict weather, then it means human controls weather?
          while you have wisdom and free will you are not like animals and you will be responsible at Judgement day.
          http://www.ted.com/conversations/815/the_end_of_the_world.html

          "and would not blame you for them. "
          why? you have free will and wisdom. blame is for your free will and wisdom and no conflict with understand of God.
          wisdom is what God is prayed by it and heaven reached by it.
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        Drew B

        • 0
        May 8 2011: For every creation, there is a creator.
        • May 9 2011: Aye, but what if the creator is also a creation himself? Then he, too, needs a creator. Your argument repeats into infinity. There is no rational point to stop assuming a creator, so I place my vote in the one thing that I can actually see; the universe. I don't see why the universe needs a creator to exist, as it very clearly exists but it certainly isn't obvious that it's a creation is it?

          If you find god's initials under a boulder or something I'll give you some credit.
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          May 9 2011: Hi Brent
          If God was eternal (No beginning or end), spiritual (No molecules) then when was he created & of what was he created ?

          The universe is matter, it had a beginning; it will have an end, so it must be created, but God could not have been created.

          Simple huh!
          :-)
        • May 9 2011: "The universe is matter, it had a beginning; it will have an end, so it must be created, but God could not have been created."

          Well either everything needs a creator (in which case, so does God) or not everything needs a creator (in which case, it might as well be the universe).

          Why do you assume there is something other than the universe?

          It's a paradox to say "The universe began" as it implies time existed prior to the existence of the universe, which it did not. Furthermore, I don't see how you're making the leap from "It exists" to "It must have a creator." There is no evidence for this.
        • May 9 2011: Also, how do you know there isn't a higher level of existence above God's? A kind of super-spiritual plane in which God's creator (and master) exists? If you're just going to keep assuming higher levels of existence, there is no rational point to stop.
        • May 9 2011: infinite chain of creators is impossible rationally and philosophically. finally there is a final creator.
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          May 10 2011: Hi Brent
          "Well either everything needs a creator (in which case, so does God) or not everything needs a creator (in which case, it might as well be the universe)."
          There is a law of cause & effect, the universe is an effect, therefore it must have a cause. Or maybe our science is wrong.
          God is not an effect, He has no substance & he lives outside of time. Science can only deal with our dimension which is matter within time. God & the universe are totally different.

          "Why do you assume there is something other than the universe?"
          Mostly from the bible, but think about it.. Love & hate are immaterial, they are spiritual, as are loads of other things. Most folk understand there is a spiritual dimension where atoms don't exist.

          "Also, how do you know there isn't a higher level of existence above God's?"
          There may well be, but my goal is to overcome death first; I'll worry about the rest later when my mind will be a little clearer.

          :-)
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          May 10 2011: "the universe is an effect"
          That's another unsafe assumption. The universe we see today is the effect of a cause, and that cause was an effect of another cause, and we can go back to a certain point. But we can't philosophically say for sure what that point is.

          Science treats this point as the Big Bang - the first thing of the universe which was allegedly without cause, in the same fashion that you might claim that God was allegedly the thing without cause.

          There are other scientific hypothesis about what might have been before the Big Bang if it had a cause, so even if the Big Bang had a cause, God is not necessarily it (possibly, yes, but not necessarily).

          '
          "Why do you assume there is something other than the universe?"
          Mostly from the bible
          '
          Yes, the same reason I assume (not just hypothesize... assume!) there is another world called "the real world" and we are living in the matrix... mostly from the movie.

          "Love & hate are immaterial"
          Another unsafe assumption...
          Love and hate are emotions, emotions are based on chemical reactions in your brain. There's no evidence of any emotion being immaterial. Lack of evidence doesn't make it so.

          "Most folk understand there is a spiritual dimension where atoms don't exist."
          Yeah, and most folk are not atheists and most folk believe [insert ridiculous claims]... that doesn't make the [insert ridiculous claims] true.

          '
          "Also, how do you know there isn't a higher level of existence above God's?"
          There may well be, but my goal is to overcome death first;
          '
          Wait, so... if there is a God, and a super-super-natural plane... your goal would be to remain in the natural plane despite that? I'd think that if the super-natural plane is better, you'd rather go there than try to overcome it.
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          Jun 23 2011: Mr. Peter Law,

          "...but my goal is to overcome death first; I'll worry about the rest later when my mind will be a little clearer."

          Please elaborate.
      • Jun 7 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,
        "- the heart has no eye"
        In the field of knowing truth and in tuition heart means soul.

        "what you see in your dreams are the result of brain activity"
        yes. but not all kinds of sleep. Only one of tree type of sleep are from brain and reflect of day activities. Do you know déjà vu? Or some sleeps different of usual sleeps as you are aware at sleep.

        "- please refrain from pointing to pseudoscience."
        I not to offer a explain of sleep. I only want to prove human is not only material. This is enough.

        "dreams are caused by activations of the brain."
        yes. but what cases the brain? I see in http://parapsych.org/ that dream is unknown still.

        "opportunity to fill in that blank with anything you can come up with that suits you?"
        No, I only want to prove human has some non material aspects [soul]. Only this. Also science could not still proved soul not exist because has no clear explain for hypnotism/telepathy/séance/dream/déjà vu ,...
        Also what you say about Intention? Can material have intention? [if human and brain are only material].
        Also finally if I can not prove soul exist by scientific methods it is risky to believe unproven statements of scientists.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal's_Wager
        And it is rational to consider possibility of Hell.

        "god is all the things we don't know."
        no. we know God by we know. Not by what we do not know. It is deity that is used to justify human fear and fill the unknowns of human. [I consider the Big Bang and Evolution as useful scientific theories. But materialists abused them as a deity to justify disbelieving God.]. [Also I ask you strongly please do not prejudice about me based on your Images about God/religion/Islam. You do not know what is my religion].

        "respond to your comments, S.R"
        I hope you leave prejudice. [And please know prophet Muhammad (peace on him) said: after me my people (Muslims) will become 72 cult and only one are saved from fire of Hell.]
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          Jun 7 2011: Dear S.R.

          I suggest you take some courses in neuroscience.

          Assuming immaterial-ism above the known materialism is in violation with Occam's Razor.
          (Thats like over-parametrization in (statistical) modelling)
      • Jun 7 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,
        "1) I don't hear anything (except religious"
        Sorry I thought you do not intend to reply me so I did not check this topic any more. Sorry for late reply. OK Let's stop being metaphorical and try some sound reasoning upon things we can agree. I agree. Please warn me when I violated this agreement. (unintentionally).


        "you again make the argument that a complex thing needs a creator. This is wrong."
        when I said? Even simple things need creator. All things are made of atoms and nothing is simple even electron.

        About /stephen_wolfram_computing:
        nice advertise for software!
        mathematica and wolfram are only advances in mathematics and computing and not have replies about main questions of universe (for example why universe has such rules?) the simple principles are laws of nature. We only are trying to know them better in physics and science. But why simple principles exist in our universe?
        Its like a fish in tank knowing water but never ask why here is water?
        Even we do not know simple principles of nature perfect yet.

        About origin and evolution I do not see conflict between them and I believe both. Evolution is creation.

        "no more thinking"
        NO, believing in God with no think is not for humans and is blind following. But please do not prejudice about God I mean according to your Image of God.
        "no further knowledge to obtain"
        Why? Relevance? God rewards in further knowledge.
        http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/35:28
        There are tons of sayings about value of knowledge and science by prophet.
        Believing with no knowledge has no value.
        Why you think believing God means no more thinking, no further knowledge to obtain?!

        "Occam's razor"
        not applicable every where and sometimes is some kind of laziness in science that leads to not finding truth in complicated answers or finding truth very late.
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          Jun 7 2011: "Occam's razor"
          not applicable every where and sometimes is some kind of laziness in science that leads to not finding truth in complicated answers or finding truth very late.

          Applicable everywhere.
          It means: If you have two explanations that have the same power of prediction (or the same truth value), chose the shortest (i.e. the one with the least assumptions)

          Although Occam was the first to state it, in cybernetics, this is also grounded in information theory and expressible in bits of information and (even) in terms of (Hartley)entropy

          But as all things: yes you can misuse arguments.
      • Jun 7 2011: "It means: If you have two explanations "
        OK, this is useful for finding the true explanation (natural law) in scientific research more quick. this is like a tool used in research for saving time and researches. but this not mean leaving other explains absolutely. specially when the shorter explanations is not accepted certainly by community and yet has disability to reply many questions.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor#Controversial_aspects_of_the_razor
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor#Anti-razors
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_plenitude

        "(or the same truth value)"
        how we can measure the truth value of some opposed explanations without knowing which is truth and while research is not finished for any them.
        if we know the truth then no research is needed. we only use truth.

        Occam's razor does not mean shorter explanation is necessarily truth.
        it only means shorter explanation is only shorter
        and perhaps after reaching the end of research (perhaps ten or even hundreds of years) on shorter explanation we will find the shorter explanation was false. and we should start over the longer explanation.

        this is not misuse. I am only warning about possibles dangers of Occam's razor when using it about truth and philosophical problems rather than scientific research.
      • Jun 8 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,

        "I suggest you take some courses in neuroscience."
        I had a mp3 study about it. but can you say clear what you want to say? you want to say human is all material and soul does not exist?
        materialism is as old as human history.
        if yes please explain some facts like Intention in human.
        and please look:
        http://www.parapsych.org/articles/36/55/what_is_the_stateoftheevidence.aspx
        http://www.parapsych.org/articles/36/54/what_is_the_stateofthetheory.aspx


        "Assuming immaterial-ism above the known materialism is in violation with Occam's Razor.
        (Thats like over-parametrization in (statistical) modelling)"
        what is problem of violation with Occam's Razor?
        do you think truth always has no violation with Occam's Razor?
        perhaps truth is longer explanation!
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          Jun 9 2011: 1) I checked the parapsych website: utter nonsense and pseudoscience. As a skeptic, I would recommend you to stop letting yourself brainwashed by such false thinking and fake science.
          (I even would claim it is inconsistent with the Koran)

          2) Like Einstein said (in agreement with occam): make things as simple as possible, but not too simple (not the exact quote, but it's something like that)...
          The principle of shortest valid explanation is always a good thing in science... If one can find a more elegant method to describe the same phenomenon, one has found that the true complexity is lower than the previously thought....
          In Cybernetics, this is called "approachable from the upper-side" (bad translation maybe): It means: you don't know (ever) what the shortest way to describe a phenomenon (or group of phenomena), but once you've got a description (fitting a phenomena), you can always try and find a shorter (better) way to describe them. As such it is getting rid of access assumptions.
          Hence Occam's razor in contemporary philosophy of science...

          You start from many assumptions (too many) and start to narrow it down. In my thinking and view of the cosmos and life, I did abandon the concept of any god, as it seemed redundant, and did not give me any extra explication power. If (and only if) research and facts point to me that this reduction of complexity was false (hitherto unproven), I am willing (and even feel obliged) to change my point(s) of view...

          By all means, your way of asking questions and stating (what I think are) dogma's are not contributing to what I think is valuable or possible to change my current belief system.

          i suggested you to follow neuroscience because you might find out that materialism truly can explain all the questions you still have (except those who are yet unanswered, but even so, it is not inconsistent with the observed phenomena).
      • Jun 10 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,
        about parapsych website I do not believe any thing it says. only I wanted to show somethings immaterial-ism above the known materialism exist.
        did you read "What is the Parapsychological Association?"
        The Parapsychological Association, Inc. (PA) is the international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of ‘psi’ (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition.

        As of the year 2002, there are approximately 300 PA members from all over the world.
        http://www.parapsych.org/articles/1/1/what_is_the_parapsychological.aspx

        you mean those 300 expert all are stupid?
        I not say all they say is correct. I want to show some immaterial-ism above the known materialism exist the science has no clear explain for them.

        what is your explain for telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition?

        I agree occam razor is very useful i scientific research. but in philosophical arguments or about God it may not be useful or even risky.

        "I did abandon the concept of any god, as it seemed redundant"
        did you think to such questions?:
        why our world exist?
        why our universe has material?
        what happens after death?
        does soul exist?
        what caused the Big Bang?
        and so on.
        such questions can be explained by God.

        "If (and only if) research and facts point to me that this reduction of complexity was false (hitherto unproven), I am willing (and even feel obliged) to change my point(s) of view..."
        please note science is Empirical and only study material phenomena. but claims about God and afterlife are not material at all. science does not accept anything non-material. but I think about facts, some facts can be found. also what about rational argument? can be accepted?
        can you explain more what kinds of fact can be accepted?

        about dogma's you are right. please advice me to leave it.
        I will study neuroscience more (if God wanted
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          Jun 14 2011: Everything that has an effect in this world is measurable. All things that can be measured can be seen as material.
          If something is immeasurable, it has no effect. Something that exists without any effect can be considered in-existent.

          "what is your explain for telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition?"
          => They don't exist: nobody could ever prove it did... (Remember Randy's million).

          The questions you add are nonsensical and have no answer.
          (What is north of the north-pole, what color has Monday)
          So: no why questions, after death: game over, no soul, no idea about the big bang (I have no information)...
          Same argument: no reasons (clues, measures,...) that give any hint that needs me to assume a god. Furthermore, God is no explanation, as God needs to be explained too, or we don't have an explanation. (Replace 'god' with 'don't know' and 'don't know' is the explanation for everything... nice play of words, but very deceiving)

          As you say: all claims of god and afterlife are immaterial: so no reason for me to assume the validity. I can't know anything about it and I certainly don't believe old books or religious people they do, as they don't have any grain of evidence (i.e. not material).

          So I accept explanations based on gathered information coming from critical thinking, concordance with established facts, and laws of nature

          I advise you to leave dogma's, as well as try and think why revelation is a problem for a skeptic
      • Jun 16 2011: "Everything that has an effect in this world is measurable."
        Agreed.

        "All things that can be measured can be seen as material."
        agreed.

        "If something is immeasurable, it has no effect. "
        Can be false but not important.

        "Something that exists without any effect can be considered in-existent."

        "telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition"
        I do not know what are them. Or even exist or not. I wanted to speak you at your own western language. OK leave them.

        "Remember Randy's million"
        Even if until one billion years later no one win it, it not mean nothing non-material exist.

        Remember Khomeini's million

        "The questions you add are nonsensical and have no answer."
        No answer not mean not exist. And risk of afterlife still exist.

        "what color has Monday"
        This is irrational question.
        My questions are not from this type.

        "(I have no information)"
        This is better.

        "no reasons (clues, measures,...) that give any hint that needs me to assume a god."
        The reason is possible risk of afterlife. Because no one proved Hell not exist.
        This is like this:
        no reasons that give any hint that needs me to make expensive home in a place that never had any earthquake.
        Did you check this:?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal's_Wager

        "God is no explanation, as God needs to be explained too, or we don't have an explanation. "
        explain of God is in Koran.
        No one but Allah (in Koran) has claimed in history that is writer of Koran.
        Muhammad(PBUH) is writer?
        1- Muhammad (peace on him) was uneducated and could not and did not write any thing in all his life.
        2-at that time in all the Arabia peninsula including 3 main Territory only near 30 person had the ability of simple writing. but not Muhammad (peace on him)
        3-Muhammad (peace on him) was complete uneducated and did not write any thing.
        4-he was shepherd and some time trading and had a donkey. with no ability of writing.
        5- at age of 40 amazingly he started saying some sayings (Koran)
        6- people wh
      • Jun 16 2011: 6- people who could write collected his sayings and wrote Koran. now himself
        7- before 40 he did not say such amazing sayings
        8- he had not any book
        9- Internet was not invented 1400 years ago
        10- travel was not by airplane and was by camel and donkey and very slow.
        11- computer was invented
        12- no paper or book existed in Arabia and few writings was on skin and bone of animals.
        13- he had many wars with Arab political powers of 1400 years ago because of his sayings:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_career_of_Muhammad
        and other facts...

        Also he never claimed is writer of Koran.

        "Replace 'god' with 'don't know' and 'don't know' is the explanation for everything... nice play of words, but very deceiving"
        And possibly end if this game is Hell.
        some ideas about game:
        http://tanzil.net/#search/quran/%D9%8A%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%A8%D9%88%D9%86

        "so no reason for me to assume the validity. "
        Reason=risk of afterlife.
        Please reconsider about dream of sleep and its types. Not all types are reflection of day activities.


        "So I accept explanations based on gathered information coming from critical thinking, concordance with established facts, and laws of nature"
        What if no natural fact but rational reason?

        "why revelation is a problem for a skeptic"
        What's that?
        Its wiki page is full of empty.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_skepticism
        I not consider today deviated and human made bible as revelation.
        Please show some references about what skepticism says about Koran.
        some honest and fair source. not biased and interested as Koran says:
        http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/3:7

        *** skepticism is good bridge. but is not good domicile ***
        Ali (PBUH)
      • Jun 16 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,
        "It is a bit sad you did not read my refutation of pascal's wager in this thread... "
        you really consider that argument (I'll be surprised for eternity) a rational argument?

        It is not a bit sad you did not read my comment on that refutation of pascal's wager in this thread...

        http://www.ted.com/conversations/1602/why_don_t_people_believe_in_go.html?c=216825
        ("3) concerning "Pascal's Wager""
        he was very clever. but had a mistake:
        if y=1/x .....)
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          Jun 19 2011: Of course I do.

          Of course the argument is based on certain assumptions, but the logic is clear. the core is the reversal of an infinite punishment to an infinite reward on one hand, but more deeply it points out that posing an infinite bet on something non-existent does not mean it exists...
      • Jun 20 2011: "infinite punishment to an infinite reward"
        please note that the claimed punishment an reward are not infinite in value of enjoy or pain. but the life is infinite in Heaven or Hell. it means there is no death or exit. and who enters Heaven never exit.
        but our life in this world is not infinite. we enter one day (birth) and exit one day (death).
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          Jun 20 2011: You have no idea how my feelings can behave in hell.... anyway, I'm not going to go any further in this hypothetical thinking.... feels a bit like discussing how many angels can stand on the tip of a needle...
      • Jun 21 2011: "You have no idea how my feelings can behave in hell"
        I say according to Koran and sayings of prophet.
        please note you tried to disprove Hell by making your logical argument about Hell.
        Hell is claimed by religion. so if you want to disprove it you should use the claims of religion.
        not you make a Imaginary Hell based on your own defaults then disprove it. in that case what you disprove is your own Image and your own defaults.

        "I'm not going to go any further in this hypothetical thinking"
        OK. but any way this is a critic to your argument about Hell and Pascal's Wager.


        Dear Iqbal,
        "S.R. Ahmadi, what you mean by "if y = 1/x"? "
        our friend Christophe in his argument about Hell and Pascal's Wager said:
        "in probability theory, "surprise value" is 1/x where x is the probability of an event/something"
        so in my y=1/x the x is the probability of an event/something and y is surprise value.
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          Jun 21 2011: S.R.
          I say Koran and Prophet have 0 validity. I simply don't accept arguments by authority (alone). They need to be proven or I could believe any book of fiction... nor the rantings of a madmen.

          The Hell of your faith is imagined, just as its laws are. It does not change the facts. It does not even begin to refute the inversion of Pascal's Wager.

          I further need to point out that any religious truth claim can be measured with science (i.e. probability theory -including deductive and inductive logic-; observations and facts).
          I only try to use those in discussions.
          I don't need revelation as an argument, and I don't buy it.
          If your refutation comes to "But Koran (or Prophet) says so", then you can think that is a critic, and any reader can decide for himself if he agrees to the validity of it.

          I do not believe in hell, but if I follow Pascal's logic (he only uses logic! so you might aply your critic to Pascal in the first place), then I have an answer (a logical one).

          I must admit I admire your way of reasoning and thinking. You truly try and be reasonable. And if I would assume a god to exist, I might think it is wise and very neat thinking.
          If you can show me how to measure god (excluding all other hypothesis, including the naturalistic one), I would try and measure to verify. Only when the conclusion point towards a possibility of him existing (let's say above 1%), then I'll take that possibility into account.
          (It would decrease my surprise value from infinity to 20)
      • Jun 22 2011: Dear Christophe Cop,
        "I say Koran and Prophet have 0 validity. I simply don't accept arguments by authority (alone)."
        this shows you are a rational human with wisdom. also I don't accept.

        "They need to be proven or I could believe any book of fiction... nor the rantings of a madmen."
        agree. please suggest a way for proving it.

        "It does not even begin to refute the inversion of Pascal's Wager."
        Pascal's Wager is a only rational argument and is independent of religion or holy book or prophet.
        there is some facts:
        no one could prove no soul exist.
        no one could prove no afterlife exist.
        so it is rational to consider its possibility and risk and have a min. readiness for its happening. (like earthquake or car accident.)
        simple!

        "I further need to point out that any religious truth claim can be measured with science"
        OK. so can you measure the claim of afterlife.

        "If your refutation comes to "But Koran (or Prophet) says so", then you can think that is a critic, and any reader can decide for himself if he agrees to the validity of it."
        agree. but Koran has many proofs for its validity.

        "but if I follow Pascal's logic"
        perhaps it has some errors. but basically considering possibility of a risk is logical. are you sure 100% no soul exist and are you sure 100% no afterlife exist? are you sure 100% sleep dream is only and only some reactions in brain?

        "I must admit I admire your way of reasoning and thinking. "
        my evils are more than my goods.

        "And if I would assume a god to exist, I might think it is wise and very neat thinking. "
        a not wise thing is not God.

        "If you can show me how to measure god (excluding all other hypothesis, including the naturalistic one), I would try and measure to verify. "
        for start please try Koran. (only note there is many lies about Koran and please ask me before accepting any claim about Koran with no enough research and please clear any Image about religion/God/Islam)

        the distance between truth and lie is only for finger (eye to ear).
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          Jun 22 2011: You're answers are clever, but you keep asking questions and more info... Your questioning is insatiable... I highly recommend you to try and find the answers yourself first, before asking them to me. If we are to continue the discussion that is...

          That said.
          A way of proving: experiments, or references to public results of decent experiments.
          You can start to derive hypothesis from claims made in the Koran, and then trying to falsify them.

          Could you pick out 1 proof out of the Koran (preferably the one that you think is the best) for its validity? We can then discuss about it (maybe in another topic?) and see if it holds and under what assumptions.

          On uncertainty of in-existing things:
          apparently you don't grasp probabilistic thinking... I don't claim to know anything for 100% certain (you do), but I just don't accept anything for which no evidence is found; and I refute claims that are proven to be wrong.
          Soul: the one claiming a soul exists needs to prove it's existence
          Dreams: no evidence suggests dreams are other than brain-reactions. The claim exterior processes contribute to dreams also have the burden of proof.

          I have read some passages of the Koran already, I read the Bible, the Bagavad Ghita, Tao Te Tsjing, and other religious scripts. None of them seem to me more than mythological stories, providing ad-hoc explanations and some lessons about life. I consider them highly from historical and influential point of view. I don't consider them valuable from a scientific point of view.
          If you can give me one passage of the Koran that explains how to measure a god, we can discuss that as well
        • Jun 22 2011: Christophe. It seems you haven't read on Islamic philosophy and how a lot of the philosophical proofs which Muslim philosophers have used come from the Quran....on God (not just his existence but everything else).....for example...read Al Shifa' by Avicenna.....and read Al Asfar by Mulla Sadra......they use proofs which are in light of what the Quran says........

          What Avicenna, Averroes,Mulla Sadra and all of the other Muslim philosophers believed on God was exactly what the Quran said on him........they spent there lives giving brilliant philosophical and logical proofs....The Quran doesn't tell you how to measure a God...because there is only one..there can be only one...It tells you who God is....which philosophers of Islam have proven time and time again......

          ''
          1, Say: He, Allah, is One.
          2. Allah is He on Whom all depend.
          3. He begets not, nor is He begotten.
          4. And none is like Him. ''

          Al Ikhlas, Chapter 112

          Now this chapter is so small......yet you see the Greatest of philosophers like Avicenna and all Muslim philosophers writing pages and pages with top philosophical proofs on every one of these four verses.......

          That was one example....

          As I have been studying Islamic philosophy, I can discuss the many arguments given by the Philosophers. But from past experience, when I give these arguments to people they do not understand them because they are very complex and logical.....as in you'd need some insight into Islamic philosophy before I can discuss them with you........


          Contd.
        • Jun 22 2011: The wonderful and brilliant Burhan of Imkan and Wujub (necessary and contingent beings) by Avicenna is mentioned in these Quranic statements...(and more)

          35:15
          47:38
          52:35

          I think these kind of verses show that Islam and The Quran support logical thinking and philosophical proofs......and do not just say anything which philosophical proofs deny outright.....for e.g Jesus being a God and Human...which Islam strongly denies.....

          On that there can only be one Lord ( i.e. controller of the Universe after its creation)

          The Quran states in many verses which include..

          21:22
          23:91
          13:33

          These verses may seem illogical at first sight..but that first sight will only be from people who don't know anything on philosophy....but if you read Islamic Philosophers books, they give proofs which are based on these two (and more) verses......

          On that God is immaterial and that there is nothing in existence which is, or can be like him..The Quran says:


          ''..There is nothing like him....''

          42:11

          Nothing..which again...Muslim philosophers have proven.......


          there are so many great philosophical verses in the Quran.....which Muslim philosophers studied and through that gave some of the greatest philosophical arguments such as those by Avicenna....

          Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (Peace be upon him) has very very great words on God which are of very high rank philosophically.....I'm not sure they are on the internet in english...I think if you search for them you will find them.......but because they are so complex I find it difficult to translate in a philosophically clear way......

          I recommend you read: Shi'ite Islam by Allama Mohammed Hussain Tabatabai (English translation).. which talks and explains the beliefs of Shi'ite Islam and contains some great
          philosophical proofs from narrations from the Prophet and his Family (PBUT) and from the Quran...

          Islamic beliefs on God are of such high status that it would be quite funny to begin to compare it's view on God with other religions..
        • Jun 22 2011: contd...

          And that is why you find such great philosophers who were all Muslims..and scientists too.......Islam always supports thinking and proofs...Anything which science proves with certainty then Islam and Muslims are not scared to accept.....you find in Christian history a sort of battle between religion and science while you never find that in early Islam and in the Golden Age of Islamic science....I study in an Islamic seminar and the first Ideas we discuss are non-Islamic beliefs....we argue them logically and philosophically......You still have great ,Islamic, schools of philosophy today....the best being Hikmat al Mutailiyah whose founder was Mulla Sadra.....

          The first thing Muslim scholars must study is Logic......logic is studied first and whoever doesn't take logic in Islamic Seminars is considered an ignorant person......it is really important in Islamic Seminars....

          I have said this many times before......If you want to really know about Islam then read the books of great Muslim scholars....study Islamic philosophy.....

          To understand the Quran in a good way.....What we do in the Islamic (Shia) seminars here in Qom is study many subjects..all Philosophy (Islamic and non-Islamic) , Jurisprudential science, Usul Al Fiqh, Logic, Economy, Arabic Grammar, Sarf, rhetoric, Sociology, history, Islamic History, Science, Kalam, and many more subjects......

          not everyone will be a master at all of these or most......but the people who do are called -in Shia Islam- Mujtahids.....these people are great Masters of Islamic faith and there books are what I highly recommend to read......unfortunately not a lot are translated.......after all of that...you can then begin to try to understand the Quran......understanding it needs all of those sciences.....

          from this, you see why I get annoyed when just anyone comes and interprets the Quran....or gives ideas on the Quran........Understanding the Quran is not for anyone.....just like any other science.......

          Contd..
        • Jun 22 2011: That is why I ask you to read the books of modern and old Islamic scholars (preferably of the Shi'a sect which is more logical and philosophical) who have spent their whole lives studying every bit of The Quran, every bit of Islam.....and were also great philosophers.... such as Mohammed Baqir al Sadr, Allama Tabatabi, Mohammed Hussain Fadlallah, Mulla Sadra, and even Khomeini, which may sound surprising to you, but he was actually a really great philosopher and Muslim scholar.....but read with an open mind :P......

          so you can see why I wouldn't like to argue with you.....because it would be a kind of hate game......everyone wanting to win......and we would never reach a conclusion, which I do not really like... : )

          Instead of everyone wanting to win these tiring and pointless hate arguments.......you can read books on Islam, from Muslim scholars and try beating yourself....you will be free from arguing anyone....it will just be you and a book...just keep an open mind before you do read their books.....

          One last thing, I obviously do not recommend you read books on Islam by people who hate Islam, it would be like asking Venezuela or North Korea to give a talk on America and then taking their every word with acceptance.....only read books from Muslim scholars......and only open-minded Muslim scholars who do not preach the killing of children and who love dialogue........you wouldn't want to read books by people like Ibn-Baz who thought the earth is flat even after it was proven not to be.....

          My human equal...I wish you the best of luck.....

          ''Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.''

          The Holy Quran, 60:8
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          Jun 22 2011: J. Ali

          This is way too long (there is a reason for the 2000 character limit: try and be poignant!)

          If you could pick 1 example out of the entire Muslim philosophy, based on the Koran and with the philosophical remarks around it, we could build a case.

          I assume there are statements in the Koran that are not in conflict with our current state of knowledge (the one scientifically acquired, by religious and a-religious people alike). I also assume that there are statements who clearly are in conflict.
          If you then say one need not take those parts literally, one needs to advocate why the other parts should be taken literally. At that point, you are into hermeneutics and exegesis, where the interpretation is convened by leaders of the faith (or are up to the reader to decide). As such it becomes entirely unreliable, as the criteria for interpretation are not clearly stated.

          So either way: Koran is either in conflict with science (at least partly); or (as it is not literary true) unreliable as a source of knowledge.

          I think Koran scholars must have debated this, and I do think they already formulated some answers (who are open for debate). If not, one could always compare Koran with science and see what holds and what does not.
        • Jun 22 2011: Haha....sorry, but the reason I made it long was because I don't really want to argue....and because I hoped you would read all of my comments and understand why......again, sorry..

          I mentioned verses.......Muslim Philosophers have mentioned these verses in their books......thats why I am asking you to read them.....especially read Mulla Sadra's ''Asfar'' which is full of Quranic verses and narrations, you can't miss them.........because I am kind of lazy....and would not like to argue for ever and ever with no conclusion......I am leaving it to you...and I explained why in my previous comments (which look long but can be read quickly :P)

          '' I also assume that there are statements who clearly are in conflict.''

          If you read my comments, I explained that its not anyones job to come and explain what the Quran is saying......when anyone states a verse which he thinks is scientifically incorrect..Muslim scholars will tell him that he has probably read a poor translation...and doesn't even understand what the Quran said.....they will get insulted because they have been studying the Quran all their lives and then someone who only encountered the Quran a few days earlier is trying to explain it...just like any scientist would get annoyed if someone who knows nothing about science tries to explain science or refute scientific claims....if you ask open minded Muslim scholars who's profession is science....they will tell you that there is no conflict in the Quran with scientific fact.....LITERALLY...without interpretation..

          read the list of subjects I mentioned which must be studied....the Quran is the best piece of Arabic literature....that is why it must be explained by people who have a very good understanding of Arabic...but not only that..they are scholars of the Quran.....their life is the Quran.....just like scientists like Einstein with regards to science.....

          and if you haven't read my comments, please do....that is, if you want. I won't be arguing with you....
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          Jun 23 2011: Dear J Ali
          If you do not wish to discuss and be lazy (which you indicate), there is no need for me to argue either, nor read anything you suggest.
        • Jun 23 2011: your choice.....discussion which leads to nothing is not what I would like to do.....I only get lazy on Ted debates which are not going to end..............that is why I suggested what you should do if you are interested in knowing more on Islam.........there is no need for you to argue, correct. But why not read anything I suggest? if you choose to do so...and have any questions..then I am willing to answer.....
      • Jun 24 2011: Dear Iqbal nazir,
        "Hindu Vedas and its philosophy (it is so vast unlike peanut Koran and its bogus "
        please do not say what you do not know.
        thousands of philosophical books are written based on Koran.
        there are many Islamic philosophers.

        "I understand that Muslims in the past i.e, Koran era were copiers and translators. They took (stole) the knowledge of India, Greece, Egypt etc.. and translated into Arabic so nothing original in them. the bad part is they destroyed the original works. "
        nice scenario. but do you have any proof for this claims?

        "Avicenna was of Persian descent"
        he is famous. but there are thousands like him.

        "did the Muslims forced him or his parents to follow their religion?"
        nice joke. he was not so stupid.

        ""[1, Say: He, Allah, is One. 2. Allah is He on Whom all depend.
        3. He begets not, nor is He begotten. 4. And none is like Him.] ''"
        it is one of the most complicated and short chapters of Koran and prophet said it is for people of future. no wonder you do not understand it. it is very hard to translate even to Arabic.



        Dear J Ali,
        can you show one good philosophical proofs of existence of God in simple words and short?
        prophet said:
        نحن معاشر الانبيا نکلم الناس علي قدر عقولهم
        we, group of prophets talk to people at the level of their wisdom.
        its your art to make philosophy simple.
        • Jun 25 2011: SR........do you want me to explain to people like Iqbal? If he was respecting and knowledgeable I certainly would have.....

          ''Avicenna may or may not be stupid''

          this shows how stupid you are.....you do not deserve a reply......I dare you to say that in front of a philosopher, disgraceful.......we didn't say Islam is true because of Avicenna........Islam is true because it is true....

          Read Avicennas proofs and philosophy books......Islamic philosophy is based on only logic......The Quranic beliefs of God have been proven time and time again by Muslim Philosophers basing them on logic.....Hindu philosophy just explains what it believes......no proofs.....its hilarious....kind of like Bollywood.....I think Bollywood writers are the best philosophers by your standard......I respect your books, and they have been praised by some......but it does not stand a chance against Islamic philosophy..there might be points of agreement but many points which we do not believe in are in your philosophies.....I will not argue as it will take a long time....the Bhagavad is beautiful....but not everything beautiful is true..... I can make up something beautiful but not true......it needs philosophical evidence......

          The verses I gave you..... ''Say. He, Allah is one......''

          read Avicennas book Al Shifa' ..and see how many pages he can write on each verse....you won't understand it.....because it is not Bollywood.....it is serious complex logic....with brilliant and sophisticated proofs..He was a very devout Muslim...maybe that is why great minds see him as one of the greatest minds in history........unlike your hindu philosophy of thousands of Gods..or God manifesting him self....In Islam, Cows are not Goddesses......
      • Jun 26 2011: Dear J Ali,
        I meant write one proof of God in simple words for Christoph.
        not for Iqbal.

        if it is not possible simple then OK. people can decide read or not read books you said.
  • Apr 17 2011: if people don't believe in GOD it's because they don't have eyes to see the nature......who create this whole univers ,and who create the first human being ? look at sky suspended in the air without pillars who's hanging it? If you wanna know why people believe in god .....just read the CORAN (book of allah) ,it is so true, and it's full of miracles
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      Apr 17 2011: Please tell me you're joking. Please! Especially about the pillars bit... I can't believe you're serious about that one. Next you'll tell me the Earth is flat and "the tides come in, the tides come out, never a miscommunication".

      edit: @Nicholas
      Acceptance is the reason I started with making sure to check if he's joking or being metaphorical or something... otherwise, I would've started giving evidence to Mehdi and see his position on it.
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        Apr 17 2011: Relax Vasil we been over this. Acceptance is key to finding common ground.

        "I'm far from being well-read on all the world's major religions (or even just one of them), but it's a goal of mine to continue to learn about them for the rest of my life. Even though I don't find any validity in the supernatural beliefs of religions, it would be stupid to ignore the fact that they have a massive impact on humanity at nearly every level. Given that, it makes sense to understand them as much as I can."
        - Michael Aranda (some random person from the internet)

        Edited: Acceptance in the form of "Please tell me you're joking. Please!" come now Vasil lol. The entire comment is dictating fundamentalism. It is obvious.
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      Apr 17 2011: Now Mehdi ..... what is nature?

      Stars, organisms, and planets are all apart of nature. Nature is the unstoppable force in the universe that if understood and worked with would benefit exponentially without question. Natural evolution gave human beings a gift/result that is unmeasurable in it's ability for conquest. No other animal on this planet has this type of intelligence that goes beyond surviving. The more we understand nature in relation to the world is how the human race began science. Science is not merely biology, chemistry, and/or anatomy. It is everything.

      Science is the process of eliminating the unlikely to make the likely more likely. So when people say morals can be made by science they are right and wrong because morals developed science and science developed morals. True or false, it is easier to work with one another than against one another? Obvious, so science says work together because it is more beneficial than not.

      Religion came to be to an answer when trying to figure out what is the meaning or purpose of life? Instead of agreeing on helping one another to go beyond surviving, some people decided to answer with abstraction beyond logic and reason. There is no meaning to life beside what you make of life, but wouldn't life be better with everyone being your friend than a few select individuals?

      Science says for us to work together so no one is unhappy in life, and after that everything is extra. Get high, have fun, make love, be in love, explore, be the best at something, but live life.

      So what is nature? Survival of the fittest for animals. Except intelligence allows us to go beyond just surviving and be able to explore and create. The better question is "Can intelligence alter nature?" or "Does nature alter intelligence?" What is nature? A force that involved on the subatomic to the cosmic broad spectrum of reality.
      • May 7 2011: Dear Nicholas Lukowiak,

        "wouldn't life be better with everyone being your friend.."
        yes, but not all humans have such idea. some say: "You are either with us or against us"

        "So what is nature?"
        Nature is all material around you including yourself.

        "Can intelligence alter nature?"
        yes, look at global warming and ozone hole.

        "Does nature alter intelligence?"
        No, Intelligence is an attribute of human and is independent of Nature.

        "What is nature? A force that involved on the subatomic to the cosmic broad spectrum of reality."
        force is only a concept invented by physics scientists. it is material. tree is included in nature. you mean a tree is a force? Nature is not force. but force exist in nature. scientists just know how this force work. but do not know why this force exist in Nature and what is source of that force.

        "A force that involved on the subatomic to the cosmic broad spectrum of reality"
        this is from power of God.

        "pillars"
        perhaps the meaning of pillar is gravity in universe. that maintain objects like stars in their place and they do not fall.
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      Apr 17 2011: I am all of sudden reminded of Poe's law...
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    Apr 16 2011: @Helen

    That is a tough question because our very notions of the concept of space changes depending on whether we are describing it in language or math. From the straight forward approach that I am familiar with, thermodynamics, space itself is the universal boundary, there is no event that can occur outside of space because the ending of space marks the end of the universe as a system. Now this is a highly language dependent approach to describing space. According to highly abstract and mathematical notions of space which unfortunately I am unfamiliar with, space is a fabric and it can be torn. The idea is incomprehensible in common language or even in the common sense understanding of space but it is mathematically consistent.
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    Apr 15 2011: I just would like to state that one of the most "not completely thought through" questions on TED is one of the most popular. Interesting.
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    Apr 15 2011: Why do we learn physics, math, chemistry and philosophy at school, instead of religion subjects like creationism?
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      Apr 15 2011: You learned philosophy? lucky.

      Expand your question it is confusing me Lucas.

      Are you asking why we do not teach subtopics within religions?
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        Apr 15 2011: Yes, we have philosophy classes since grade 10, I love it.
        Well, if religion theories were correct, shouldn't we be learning them? Like creationism, for example. We here in Brazil learn the chemical and biological theories, we don't even have crationism in our books. Why don't we learn that Earth is a flat planet? Because science proved it is not (actualy it can be proven by simply looking at the moon during an eclipse).I think that one of the reasons people don't believe in God is because they need rational and logical explanations, right? And that's why we have subjects like biology, chemistry, math, instead of religious theories.
        "yeah the whole idea can be denied with logical reasoning" - see?
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          Apr 15 2011: Oh a sarcastic question! Sorry. Ha! Exactly.

          I went to Catholic School and our religion teacher did indeed tell us there are two choices, creationism or evolutionism (intelligent design while maintaining belief in god of course!).

          I was the only one asking what if we were here by mistake? Best answer: "If we were here by chance then we are all going to hell"

          lol.
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    Apr 14 2011: Harald Quoting You "faith is not bound by reason" Please explain Are conventional wisdom and logic the same ?
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      Apr 15 2011: Helen, not sure what you want me to explain.
      One of the definitions for faith "Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true ". So, does that require reason ?
      Here another definition, more specific to the issue of God: "Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof."
      Again, no proof required, hence no reason required either.

      Answering your question: wisdom and logic are not the same. A computer acts logical, but lacks wisdom as far as I can tell. Also, logic and reason are not the same.
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        Apr 15 2011: Harald.....Maybe we are having a battle of words...For me to believe, for instance, in the existence of "God" I have to have a reason and that reason is that I believe that "God" is Love. I experience love by receiving and giving love. Now faith and paranoia are the same but one exists in a climate of love and the other in a climate of hate. As I have said before I have no proof that God exists other than that I believe love exists. (:>)
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          Apr 15 2011: Hi Helen, so, according to your view, people who don't believe in a God are not able to love. Is that what you are telling me ?
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        Apr 16 2011: Harald...............I verbalized it badly.Sorry................I should say that Love is God Of course people who do not believe in a specific God (Abrahamic, Dao, Ra, Baal, etc.) can love. . At least I did not mean to mislead anyone. God to me is whatever is most important in your life. For some people this might be money, power, control, even another person. If so, these things are idols. Love is not a thing and if you love then that is what you have as a first principle. I regret that I might have implied otherwise. I do attend a church service but I see people who are there in the pews who have no idea of unconditional love. They are very legalistic and would probably brand me as a Heretic if they knew what my beliefs were. Peace
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          Apr 16 2011: Hi Helen, a question for you:
          If somebody would provide you with irrefutable proof that God doesn't exist, how would that impact your life ?
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        Apr 16 2011: Harald...............I doubt that that would ever come to be, but if someone could provide me with irrefutable proof (and at present I don't see how that is possible) anyway to answer your question...............It would not impact my life in a negative way. What would destroy my world would be proof that Love does not exist. Social justice, etc.do not exist. I would continue to love because I do not love because I am obedient to any deity to save my soul. I love because I want to share who I am and what I have. (:>)
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          Apr 16 2011: Helen, that's exactly what I thought. So why they need for religion or God ? As you admit, your life would be the same even without God.
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        Apr 16 2011: Hi there H................You and I are talking about a different concept of God. I do not speak of God as a Being. That is testable and can be found as untrue. I speak of an Incomprehensible
        God and I cannot offer any explanation or description that you could test. Can you scientifically disprove or prove that love is ? What would happen if humans were to throw out love as a way of life ? Would you object ?
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          Apr 16 2011: Love is a feeling, an emotion.....you can associate love with release of chemicals in your brain....so, love is something that evidently exists although it means different things to different people.
          If for you, God=love, then we really talk about different things, but in this case I would have to ask why you need the term God in the first place ?

          In other words, I'm confused as to what you mean ;-)
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        Apr 17 2011: Harald......I have to ask what starts the neurons firing when you are feeling love (read that as respect, care, understanding and knowledge) Why do we FEEL LOVE.? Oh sure there are different kinds of love feelings....if I see a good looking, attractive hunk, I feel an attraction..maybe you can call that love. I have three children but that is a different feeling...I have good friends for whom I have special feelings...I am an only child so I don't know about feelings for siblings. I do not like the way some people act on Ted but I have never walked in their shoes so I do not judge them but I still have respect and care and good wishes for them. Is that what love is and nothing else ? Why do we know love ?Please don't tell me it just is.........its that God shaped (love shaped) hole in us that longs for fulfillment. I believe that was Jean Paul Sarte's description. Since I understand much, I love much.......Call it empathy and compassion. I was a cradle RC and for sixty years I did not know love. I was raised by a maternal grandmother who saw it as her duty to raise me as a "good" RC. Let me tell you that every day from toddler on I was told what an awful child I was. I was a mess of neurotic guilt...nothing was ever good enough. I could find no peace anywhere and believe me I looked in lots of faces and places. I was nobody's child until I finally met my life coach. I guess you would call this person a psychologist. This person helped me turn my thinking and my life around. Today I am grateful I am alive. That was not always so.. I see God as a force that energizes all there is. I will concede to call this force anything you might feel is proper nomenclature as God seems to be such a loaded word and I do believe that is maybe what is causing our confusion. The essence of "G" I cannot describe but the energie of G is love. I don't express myself very well, please bear with me.
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          Apr 18 2011: Hi Helen, thanks for your patience. I don't think it's a problem of you not expressing yourself properly, but I´m just nott getting why there is a need of God (or "G", or any other term).
          The way I see it there are 2 parts to our whole universe.
          Part 1: everything that we understand, that we can observe and measure, etc
          Part 2: everything for which we don't have explanations yet. Extrapolating from the past, humanities knowledge increases exponentially. a few hundred years ago people were barely able to observe our own solar system. Today, we have the means to look at the beginning of space and time. Why ? Because humans are inherently curious and thirsty for knowledge. They find this knowledge through scientific approach, which means observation, measurement and interpretation of nature.
          All our progress as a race, comes from this scientific approach. Beliefs and faith in something supernatural, is just a kind of self help for people who want quick answers to life's eternal question. If science has no answer, than a God can quickly fill in providing an answer (even if this answer eventually turns out wrong) and so providing an immediate satisfaction.
          Example: based on science, we have no clue what will happen once we die. This might be a not very satisfactory situation for many people, so the invoke God, who tells them that good people go to heaven and bad to hell. Problem solved, and people have the answer they were looking for and even got guidelines how to live their life.
          Other example: somebody lives in poverty, but is deeply religious believing that his life is the life God wanted form him. Since it is God's will, this live of poverty might be easier to endure for this believer.
          As I wrote in another post, belief in a God is like crutches that help to walk through life.
          As with real crutches, there are people who need them and other don't.
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        Apr 19 2011: Harald.....I get what you are saying ......People do use their ideas of G and religion as a crutch. When they don't have anything else....don't begrudge them some consolation.You view everything in life as strictly knowable (even tho we have not yet arrived at full knowledge) I DO NOT. Perhaps after death, who knows what faculties we might have and like Paul the Apostle says "What we shall be has not yet been revealed" I don't proselytize for I have nothing to prove and nothing to defend. I think it is dreadful that someone would try to convert another to his views. I am OK with your beliefs and I hope you are okay with mine.Peace Oh and yes "real crutches..............the disabled need them." I hope that you do not put me in a mentally disabled category because of what I believe.(:>) And don't be fooled into thinking empirical science is our only source of knowledge. I can think of many scientists who at one time or another have been led down the rose strewn path !
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          Apr 20 2011: Hi Helen, I'm perfectly fine with anybody who believes in whatever he believes. Most people who believe in something, apparently get something out of their faith. At the end, it really doesn't matter if what they believe in is true or not. It's similar to placebos. If it helps go for it.
          Where we clearly don't agree is about whether or not science eventually will be able to explain the universe and everything in or beyond it. I don't see any reason why science shouldn't be able to provide these answers eventually.
          What is your reason of believing that science cannot give us all answers ? (not today but eventually). Look at quantum theory for example. The quantum world completely defies reality as we know it. Perhaps we get answers from this direction ? Who knows. There are still so many pieces missing in the puzzle.
          And, no, I don't put you in the "mentally disabled" category ;-)
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      Apr 15 2011: Helen,

      Conventional wisdom is something that is considered true by the masses and can still be wrong in reality. 2.1 billion people say Abraham's god is one and only god. Conventional wisdom is subjective so no it is not the same as logic.
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        Apr 15 2011: Nick.................That is the explanation I was looking for . Thank you
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    Apr 13 2011: To Harald..........Thank you for your reply. I wasn't thinking of boundaries in terms of walls. Sure I can define a certain amount of space by some kind of marker. In terms of the cosmos I have to think in terms of space/time.Did space/time just appear? I have heard "God" referred to as "the ground of being" and the" horizon of all there is". That is as close as I can come tovoicing the incomprehensible.
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    Apr 12 2011: The main reason why people do not believe in GOD is not the lack of evidences but lack of desire
    why should I constrain my self by rules while I can fully enjoy life
    and they forget what made life enjoyable in the first place and they deny it will be horrible after death for non believers
    but let us wait to see who was the right and who was wrong
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    Apr 12 2011: @ Lucas Avelleda
    "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. "
    This statement has no relation between the reason and the result
    like because of the traffic light the cars does exists
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    Drew B

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    Apr 11 2011: It's like this, prove there was a George Washington?
  • Apr 11 2011: Atheists are a very diverse group, so I can't speak for all of us, but the general idea as far as I can tell is that there's no more reason to even ask the question "does God exist?" than the question "does Zeus exist?", none the less even go into details.
    Religious people I've encountered think atheists need to disprove God, which goes against scientific thinking. They've also not been open to respecting this thought style, and push for an answer to the God question in any case. So this is what religious people sound like to most atheists: "prove to me that flying tiger monkeys from space aren't on their way to destroy Earth". Patently absurd, but when in the context of the God question, somehow valid?
    So far as Pascal's wager, well it just goes to show religion is bull. "Hey, just pretend to believe so you can get in!" If it was God that indeed created everything, and he plans to send me to hell, even though I'm a moral person, just because I don't believe in Him, then so be it. I'll be right there along with all the people who lived in remote locations and never even heard of God. Or do they get a pass?
    If we can eliminate religion (through generations of social change, I'm not talking taking away rights or killing people or something) I believe we will be better suited to reach our potential as human beings. And from watching Ted talks, you can see we have much potential. Religious thought poisons this potential, by allowing people to entertain nonsense. Science is what advances societies and human potential, not praying.
    So far as the benefits of religion not directly related to the God question (teaching morals, the cultural support system, personal happiness, etc), these are all things that can be done just the same, but within a context that is consistent with reality. For instance, I study martial arts. It teaches me perfection of mind, body and spirit, in an environment where we all treat each other with respect and like family.
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    Apr 7 2011: Because people have a choice (free will).

    Because people are designed that way (DNA).

    Because people are brought up that way (Nurture).

    Because if there were definite proof of God or everybody automatically knew God, faith would lose its power to sustain.

    Because it doesn't make a convenient fit with their lifestyle.
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    Apr 7 2011: Today, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a gunman opened fire inside a public school, killing 11 students and shooting another 13 before taking his own life. In a letter, he said he hopes God will forgive him and that he'll "live again". Religion was not his main motivation, however, it certainly influenced him. Throughout history, religion has been the reason for many wars and conflicts.People still kill others and themselves because they think they're going to a "better place" and God will appreciate or forgive their actions.. We need to stand for peace, for equality. Believing in God will not lead us this way. Please, think about it!
    • Apr 8 2011: For crying out loud...there are plenty of people who kill who do not believe in God. "religion has been the reason for many wars and conflicts"...all I can think of is the crudsades. How can you possibly justify that statement. This is typical jargon that people love to say, who, for whatever reson do not want to believe in a higher power. You are saying the church is guilty just because some nut job associates himself with it. It is like saying guns kill people, when in reality, people kill people. PLEASE BACK UP YOUR STATEMENTS WITH FACT AND NOT FALSE CONJECTURE!
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        Apr 8 2011: Colby, good evening.
        First of all, I'm not talking about one specific religion (since you mentioned "church"), I'm talking about all of them. So I'm sorry if I didn't make it clear.
        Well, not only crusades. Let's think about today, for example. Think about Middle East, Israel X Palestine, a lot of people have been killed there, and the reason is religion. Think about some conflicts in Africa too. Throughout history: crusades, as you mentioned.The Thirty Years War, the French Wars of Religion,the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Civil War in Sudan, on which Muslims, Christians and Animists played a role. There are also recent conflicts in India, East Timor... A lot of them, don't you agree? What about 9/11? Terrorists killed more than 2000 people believing that God was approving that and that they were going to paradise. We see people exploding themselves on the news almost everyday (if not), killing other people, and believing that God likes that.
        And there's more, didn't catholic church kill a lot of people who were against them? Galileo was close to it, and he was right about what he was stating. We both know that religion causes conflict. It's complicated.
        And I did not say that people who don't believe in God don't kill, that is not true. I'm saying that in order to live in a more peaceful world, religions must disappear. Or start to respect other religions, but as we see, that's impossible.


         
        • Apr 8 2011: The history of human warfare goes back to the beginning of recorded history (and, no doubt, well before that). A recent comprehensive compilation of the history of human warfare, "Encyclopedia of Wars" by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod documents 1763 wars, of which 123 have been classified to involve a religious conflict. So, "most" really amounts to less than 7% of all wars.

          Also, who is exploding themselves? It is those of the Islamic faith. I am not a fan of Islam and I am not defending it. I am talking about Christianity.

          http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/war_and_religion.html
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    Apr 6 2011: "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist." "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." Stephen Hawking

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/02/stephen-hawking-big-bang-creator
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      Apr 6 2011: SH has been wrong before.
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      Apr 6 2011: Am I correct in assuming that you are saying that gravity existed before the cosmos ?
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        Apr 7 2011: Yes, you are! Actually, Stephen Hawking said that, but I believe he's right, he has studied a lot and he's a great scientist, just like Galileo and Newton. Thankfully scientists are not killed anymore for stating explanations and predictions about nature events that contradict religious explanations, right?
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          Apr 8 2011: Hi Lucas.....I would love to see your description of this "god" that you don't believe in.Please oblige me and I will be very grateful. I am not a hostile person. Peace
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        Apr 9 2011: Hi Helen!
        God, in my opinion, is a mechanism used by people to explain and justify events that can't be explained or jusitified. A long time ago God was the explanation for natural events such as rain and eclipses, for example, but now science can explain them by logical and ratinoal statements. There are still some events that science can't explain, like the origin of the Universe, but I think it will someday. God is also a mechanism for people to feel more confortable about death and, in some religions, to control people.
        I respect your point of view, Helen, and I'm also glad that we're having this conversation in such a good way, I'm not a hostile person too, I'm just trying to understand God, religions and etc.
        Now, what is your description of God?
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          Apr 9 2011: Lucas...............Thank you so much for your reply. The God you describe is anthropomorphic and I could not believe in such a God either. My God, I see as a force
          that energizes whatever there is. My God is a creator but not a law-giver. To me the only "law" is that of love. The Golden Rule expresses it well. The capacity is built into every living, conscious creation. Because there is a food chain, the fact that we must eat to survive has nothing to do with the desire of the "heart" Man does not live by bread alone, I think. Along with the evolution of species there has been an evolution of the spirit. Both have brought us to this point in time.. I don't think we will ever be able to understand God and be able to have a scientific picture of God But we have come a long way from the single cell to the human brain/mind and I don't believe we are at the pinnacle of creation. Do you ? Peace.
    • Apr 8 2011: Then what created gravity? Was it always there?
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        Apr 8 2011: Then what created God?
        • Apr 8 2011: That is the point...he is infinite. Don't try to pretend like you understand infinitety. No one does, although they might claim otherwise.

          Is it easier to believe that a force like grvaity just magically came about vice it being created by an all-powerful being?
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          Apr 8 2011: Hi Lucas.....Is gravity another name for "God".? Why is SH so certain that gravity pre-existed the cosmos?
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          Apr 8 2011: @ Colby

          Then why is God necessary? Why can't the universe be infinite instead of God?
        • Apr 8 2011: Hawking's theory, M-theory, proposes multiple dimensions. This is the theory that Hawking used to make the proclamation that there is no God. Also, M-theory is a composite of multiple theories. So, Hawking wants us to believe that multiple theories, which cannot be confirmed, and says that an infinite amount of universes exist. So, basically there is no physical proof for M-theory either. Which is incrediblly hypocritical on you part, because would that not make it a belief on your part that M-theory might be correct?

          Besides most scientists agree that there was a Big Bang and that it happened around 15 billion years ago.
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          Apr 8 2011: Lets get something straight, we are not discussing what's hypothetical or factual here. Don't feel that you are in some way entitled of a less hypothetical explanation when you believe a iving thing which is infinite somewhere outside of time and space created everything. That my friend sounds not just hypothetical but utterly fictional because it breaks all observable laws of biology and physics.

          So lets drop fact for now and discuss a few hypothetical situations. Here are a few theories: The universe could've been created by a big crunch prior to the big bang or there could've been three dimensional sheets colliding in 4 d space. These are credible theories as well, so why should there be a God if these explanations are sufficient?
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          Drew B

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          Apr 11 2011: In God's world there is no creation. He is the alpha and omega. the beginning and end
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          Apr 12 2011: Hello Budimir..................Does space have boundaries ? Is space created or was it always there ? Maybe I am asking stupid questions but I would like somebody else's take on this subject ?

















          does space have boundaries
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          Apr 13 2011: Helen, depends what space you are looking at. Does the space of your living room have boundaries ? I'd suppose so.
          Does the space in the universe have boundaries ? What kind of boundaries do you have in mind ? A wall ? Then, I'd say, the space of our universe has no boundaries.
          Space and time, based on what we know was not always here. If the big bang theory that everything came into existence from a singularity holds true, then space and time came into being with the birth of our universe.
          Does that answer all our questions ? No, it doesn't, because we still don't know where the content of the singularity came from, nor do we know where the singularity was contained in .....just to name a few issues.
          All this only shows us that we still have a lot of holes in the fabric of our knowledge. However, I'm optimistic that science eventually will figure out the answers to these questions. Most definitely, I wouldn't expect to get any answers from an fictitious entity such as a God.
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        Apr 8 2011: Note that all these explanations are mathematically consistent with all observable scientific laws.
        • Apr 8 2011: I thought this whole discussion is about whats factual and whats not.

          M-theory is just that a theory...untestable nil proof. All I am doing is calling attention to the fact that you are placing faith in the fact that M-theory is correct. When it has not even been proven. Is that not correct?

          Which theory is it? Sounds like you are not even sure...since you said either one COULD be right.
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        Apr 8 2011: If we are discussing fact then God has no place in this discussion, why are you even bringing Him in?
        • Apr 8 2011: Let me ask you this:

          Do you believe that there is a cause and an effect for everything? That is a main tenant of atheism, that there is a cause and an effect for everything, right?
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        Apr 8 2011: Why are you placing faith in God if it has not been proven?
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        Apr 8 2011: Yeah there is cause and effect for everything.
        • Apr 8 2011: Okay...so how can the universe be infinite if it had no cause? Is that not a direct violation of atheism?
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          Apr 13 2011: Budimir.........Yes, I too believe that everything that we can prove is due to cause and effect. I am glad that you admit that causality is a BELIEF. I will never be able to prove the existence of God. I can experience love and so since it is my BELIEF that Love is God I believe that I can experience God. (:>) I think that Love is its own excuse for being.
          BTW since everthing is caused...how do we get to the first cause ?
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        Apr 8 2011: Neither has God been proven. Are you gonna start using logic any time soon?
        • Apr 8 2011: Can you answer my question? At least I am not contradicting my beliefs. You are...blatantly.
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        Apr 8 2011: No, because in order for me to start answering a question you need to have a consistent thesis yourself which you don't. Because you ultimately use the argument of causality to prove that there is a God and then you eventually contradict yourself by saying "well God didn't have a cause."

        You place the whole burden of proof on atheists when you don't have a rational thesis yourself.
        • Apr 8 2011: I never said I believe that everything has a cause and effect. I asked you, since that is a main tenant of atheism.
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      Apr 8 2011: A giant organism that can create planets.....ever taken biology 101?
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      Apr 8 2011: So wait you are using the utterly common sense and logical approach of cause and effect to prove your point even though you don't believe that method can be used as proof?

      So how are you using the tenant of cause and effect to prove anything if you think it's not valid yourself?

      I can easily describe an infinite universe with an infinite series of causes, that's what all these theories that I mentioned do.
      • Apr 8 2011: Okay, we have managed to keep it civil up to this point. Let us not resort to personal attacks. I respect your views. All I ask is that you respect mine. Otherwise, we cannot have this debate.

        Read my messages. I used it because you believe in it. I was showing you that you were contradicting your set of beliefs. It does not apply to me, because I do not believe in it and I was not applying it to my beliefs. I was applying it to yours.

        Time began at the Big Bang. God does not have a cause because "cause and effect" imply time. Since God created the universe, He is outside of time. It does not apply to Him. Also, you cannot arbitrarily assign infinitly to the universe, when there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that suggests that there was a an initial Big Bang and much less evidence of the universe being cyclic.
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          Apr 8 2011: I wasn't sure what you were getting at before. I wasn't attempting to attack your views I was trying to see what your argument was.

          So here is what you are attempting to demonstrate with causality, you are saying the idea of absolute causality is absurd. You are not proving the existence of God with this however you are just refuting my belief. See there is a fine line with proving God and refuting causality and that's where you had me mixed up before.

          So here is why I think causality is a very necessary concept. Think of a world without causation. Things just arbitrarily spring into existence, would even be able to provide a reasonable explanation for the existence of objects and things. Why is the world this way and not any other way? Why can't I cut my head off and still walk around? Why am I mortal?Without causality there is no means by which you can begin to define the properties of the world, things become non-entities, and thus without causality you would not be able to define the properties of God. You would say God is all knowing and wise because........no causality no explanation. In fact our logical axioms and "self-evident" truths face similar problems. You are saying I am arbitrarily assigning infinity to the universe but you are doing the same thing and but you are calling it God. The only difference is that your brand of "infinity" is more complex and not evident, while what I am suggesting is simple and evident.

          Here is another problem with what you are suggesting you are suggeting God set the Big Bang and all the events in the universe in motion outside of time. But change cannot occur outside of time, you even said that yourself in the previous post "cause and effect" require time. So how did God cause all of this outside of time?
      • Apr 8 2011: Hi Budimir,
        I think you're misunderstanding Colby's stance on causality. When did he refute the idea of causality in our Universe? He simply stated that because God is not restricted by time and the nature of the Universe that He is not subjected to causality. Just because God doesn't have a cause doesn't mean that we must disregard the observable nature of the Universe.
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          Apr 8 2011: Once again Austin, how is creation possible without time?

          How does something exist without being restricted by nature?

          Is God a being? Then he is restricted by the very nature of being which is subject to the three laws of thought. I don't know how you can even talk about God reasonably without restricting Him to the nature of language and logic. Which both of you have been doing this whole time. Just like you have been talking about his "creation" or "causation" of the universe with reference to time, since it's impossible to talk about these concepts without time.
        • Apr 9 2011: That is the thing time started at the moment of creation. God created nature. The creator cannot be restricted by his creation. The word "being" is restrictive. Words are restrictive, they have limts. But, it is the best we can do to describe a perfect infinite being.
      • Apr 8 2011: Yes, thank you Austin.
        • Apr 9 2011: "How does something exist without being restricted by nature?"

          No assumption can be made about what exists beyond the Universe and observable nature, so I cannot answer that.
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      Apr 9 2011: So what I'm getting out of both of you is that something exists beyond human perception and understanding. Something we can't describe with words, logic or mathematics due to our natural limitations.

      I agree with that, but I don't think you can come to the conclusion that it is God or anything for that matte if you cannot comprehend it. Could be anything. Until you are able to grasp it, explain it with language and observe it with your own eyes it can't be fact, it can't be theory and it can't even enter the realm of epistemiology.
      • Apr 9 2011: What about Dark Energy?

        "More is unknown than is known. We know how much dark energy there is because we know how it affects the Universe's expansion. Other than that, it is a complete mystery."

        http://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/focus-areas/what-is-dark-energy/
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          Apr 9 2011: As Budimir said it, yes, it's unknown... it's a mystery... but that doesn't mean it's God.

          The sun was once mysterious and so you had Ra; Lighting was once mysterious, you had Zeus; etc.

          You don't think Ra and Zeus exist, do you? Nowadays, you know the things that once upon a time were mysterious. It's the same with Dark Energy today. It being mysterious doesn't mean it is God.
      • Apr 9 2011: Vasil,

        I have no idea where you see in my message that I said it was God. Scientists know Dark Energy is there. It has to be. But, it cannot be quantified, observed, mesaured, explained or whatever.

        How can science make the exception for dark energy and not God? Is that not contradictory?
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          Apr 9 2011: God is an explanation, not a phenomenon. Dark Energy is a phenomenon, not an explanation.

          For a scientist (as well as for a critical thinker), for every one phenomenon, there could be multiple explanations. Each of those explanations has three possible values - True, False, Unknown. The default status for every explanation is Unknown. If there's evidence for an explanation, it becomes True. A new explanation, again with initial status of Unknown can arrive at any point, and if the evidence goes True for all explanations (including the new one), then all True explanations are reset to Unknown. When there's further evidence that only makes certain explanations True, the Unknown explanations turn into False, and if there is more than one explanation left that is True, all are reset to Unknown. Even after there's only one True explanation left, new Unknown explanations can still arrive, challenging the True explanation further. No explanation is infinitively infallible (unlike religious explanations), and to claim otherwise is considered arrogance.

          God is claimed to be True explanation to certain phenomenon. When there is no evidence, for a scientist (as well as for a critical thinker), the explanation is Unknown. There are other explanations, also with Unknown status. The reason scientists don't typically pursue God is because the explanation of God is not testable (yet... if you can think of a test, I'm sure someone will try to perform it), therefore, no evidence could be gathered for it. Therefore, it can't become True.
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          Apr 9 2011: Hi Vasil
          The bible claims to be the evidence for the Christian God. It is stuffed with history, archeology, science, & prophecy. It can certainly be tested. It has been many times, & millions believe it has passed.

          :-)
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          Apr 9 2011: If the bible is evidence for the bible (and inherently, God is evidence for God), then "The Origin of Species" is evidence for "The Origin of Species" (and inherently, evolution is evidence for evolution).
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          Apr 9 2011: Vasil

          Compare the bible with other history books, real science, real archeology. Then compare it with itself; it is 66 separate books, by 40 authors, over 1500 years.
          Simple huh !

          :-)
      • Apr 9 2011: There are outside sources (non-religious sources) that verify the Bible's authenticity. That is why Peter cited history and archeology. So, you are right. Somethiing cannot be evidence for itself. History and archeology are not the Bible.

        Dark Energy is not a phenomenon. According to WIkipedia and doctionary.com a phenomenon is something that can be observed. Dark Energy cannot be observed. Since Dark Energy is neither an explanation or a phenomenon, answer my question as to how scientists can justify making an exception for Dark Energy and not God?
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          Apr 9 2011: Yes, Dark Energy can't be observed currently, which is why it's currently a hypothetical form of energy and not a theoretical one.

          It's a hypothetical phenomenon. Something which if being observed (not necessarily in a visual way, ala radiation; not necessarily while it's happening ala evolution) will be evidence for this hypothesis (Unknown) to become a theory (True). The lack of evidence doesn't make it True or False. Dark Energy is qualified as a hypothesis because it is testable - if the energy exists, it's somewhere at the place where the hypothesis claims. We just need to find a way to check if the Dark Energy is at that place. God doesn't qualify as a hypothesis, because it is allegedly supernatural, therefore untestable.

          The "Earth is round" theory didn't became a fact until we were able to send men into outer space, but it was considered True because of the evidence, which didn't applied to the "Earth is flat" theory that was therefore proven False.

          If God is said to be in a certain place within the universe or unconditionally exercising his will at a certain point, it will become a hypothesis, along with all other hypothesis that science can come up with as alternative ones to God. If there's evidence supporting God and other hypothesis, both of them will turn into theories, but will retain their Unknown status since neither is proven over the other. As soon as there's evidence supporting only one theory, the other will become False.

          Neo definitions of God basically do just that - without making God testable, they put God as a hypothetical phenomenon around currently under explored stuff, making God equivalent to Dark Energy or something of the sort... that's not the God from the bible, the creator of all life and everything, even assuming he existed.

          As for historical evidence... that may prove the existence of the people (e.g. Jesus) but not necessarily their claims. Otherwise, Darwin's existence proves evolution is true.
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          Apr 9 2011: Colby, as Vasil already tried to explain, comparing the God concept to dark energy is comparing apples to oranges.
          Scientists came up with the conclusion that, observing the universe the mass and energy they can measure out there doesn't coincide with what calculations predicted. Since this energy cannot be measured nor the mass be seen, the call it "dark". Can they be wrong with this concept ? Sure they can and eventually science can come up with a completely different explanation for this difference.
          However, the key difference between that and the God concept is, that science comes to conclusions based on observation and measurements of our surroundings, which lead to theories, which can eventually be proven right or wrong.
          In the case of God, there is no evidence at all, which is why science doesn't even involve itself with proving or disproving God. If there is no evidence for something, then we have to call it speculation.
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      Apr 10 2011: Wow this went a long way. But yeah I am with Harald and Vasil.

      Dark energy is not like God, it is currently detectable but unexplainable. God is the opposite, he is fully explainable (by holy scriptures) but never detectable. If you wanna believe in God that's fine with me, but science has very precise standards. It can only accept a theory that can be tested with experiments. Archeology, may give lots of evidence of saints churches and writings, and even Jesus I am not saying these things never existed. What is disputed however is the existence of God and heaven, as well as the stories that took place in the Bible.

      We have many clever and moral myths from past civilization. Myths about Troy for instance or Hercules. These people and places might have existed but does that mean we can claim that the myths which are based on them are accurate. We can say these myths have left a legacy on cultural development and they are very meaningful to us. But we can still appreciate this meaning without concretely accepting the myth as a fact. This is how people grew to appreciate Greek myth which has inspired lots of significant philosophy and literature.
      • Apr 10 2011: Budimir, going back to what you stated concerning the concept of God being unable to even enter the realm of epistemiology. Why is that? Intelligent creation is as feasible as all other hypothetical phenomenon or explanation. And considering the widespread belief towards a creator, an open-minded individual should include it in the realm of epistemiology, in my opinion.

        Vasil, I would agree with you in regards to the contrast between dark energy and God.


        Personally, I choose to believe in the Christian God as an act of faith. I am a strong advocate of Pascal's wager, as Martin Chen pointed out earlier.
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          Apr 10 2011: Austin, the way I see it, it comes down to probability. I would be very careful with any absolute statements, including a statement such as "there is no God". However, we have to ask, based on evidence, how high is the probability that there is a God.
          Pascal, in some sense was right if one looks at it from a pragmatic point of view. However, there is a little detail to it, which Pascal himself acknowledged as well: you can't just press a button and suddenly you have faith. Somehow, one would have to acquire faith. Personally, I find that difficult, considering that I have no evidence on which I could found this faith. For me it would be identical to faith in "the lord of the rings" being a true story.
        • Apr 10 2011: Harald,

          That was a terrible analogy. Tolkien was a devout Catholic. Lord of the RIngs have many symbolic references to Christianity.

          "The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like 'religion', to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism."
          -Tolkien

          Interesting enough Tolkien converted C.S. Lewis, who was an atheist, to Christianity.
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          Apr 10 2011: I am not saying the concept of God is not subject to epistemiology, if you completely take God out of epistemiology then he is not part of it. That's what many Christians do when they say he is not restricted by nature or time. They are putting God at the center of existence but at the same time they are seperating him from existence. For instance Colby might say God is the creator of all being. But God is a being and at the same time he is the creation of all being. So see how the very eccentric elements of the structure begin to undermine their own "center."
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          Apr 12 2011: Colby, so, are to trying to tell me that we should believe in "the lord of the rings" as a true story ? ;-)
          If not, then what was wrong with the analogy ?
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          Apr 12 2011: Hi Richard......welcome back ! ;-)
          As far as I understand Pascal's wager, he was only talking about the afterlife. In which case if you wager on God you can win, but not lose.
          However, I agree with you, that having faith in a God also has implications in the real life. People usually, invest resources in their faith, whether they are material or time. So if we include real life in the consideration, then yes, losing is actually a more likely outcome than winning.
        • Apr 12 2011: @ Harald. Well, for starters the fact that it is fiction, because it was created by a Catholic. A Catholic who developed the story, with Christian symbology, to further the faith. Zero fact...no history or archeology to back it up.
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          Apr 12 2011: Hey Richard, I'm around and actually quiet active here on TED.
          Feel free to start a discussion about global warming if that is what you like to discuss, but here, please stay with the topic at hand......just as a reminder: it's about God and not global warming.....unless you believe global warming was introduced by God.
      • Apr 10 2011: You make good points Harald, I admit I should be cautious when speaking in absolutes. I think I sort of understand where you're coming from. I agree that one needs a reason to have faith.

        In case you're interested, the primary reason that I have faith is because of causality. I believe that there cannot be an infinite regress of natural and finite causes nor spontaneous creation, which leaves a creator as the only remaining option.

        (I didn't like the analogy!)
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          Apr 12 2011: Hey Austin, why should a creator be necessary to bring the universe into existence ?
          True, we don't have all the answers (yet) but that doesn't mean we have to despair and create deities as the source for our being.
          Lacking a scientific answer to a question only means we have to keep on looking.
          Coming up with artificial constructs such as God only prevents people from searching and researching further, hence strongly limiting them in their progress.
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          Apr 12 2011: Hi Harald
          The theory goes something like this.
          Matter cannot create matter, so some immaterial entity is necessary to create the matter (universe).
          Time cannot create itself, so some entity outside of time is necessary to create time.
          The God of the bible has been around since well before we came to the above conclusions. He has always claimed to be outside of time, immaterial, & the creator of the universe. So where is the logical flaw in considering him a candidate. Have you a better one ?

          :-)
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          Apr 12 2011: Hi Peter, you remember a few months ago, when I suggested to read up a bit on the history of the universe, physics and cosmology ?
          Well, I'm disappointed to see that we are still at the same point in this discussion.
          You are repeating doctrine without actually understanding the meaning.
          You say, the God of the bible is outside of time ? What does that mean ? Do you have any concept of being outside of time ? What is an "immaterial creator" ? He claimed all that ? Who is "he" ? If you call God a "he", you apparently believe God is a man. So, what is an immaterial man outside of time ? Wow, Peter, come on ! ;-)
          You say, God created matter and time. If you know that, then you should be able to explain the mechanism behind that.
        • Apr 12 2011: Harald,

          If God dwells within time, then He is subject to its restraints. You and I both know that a creator cannot be governed by what he has created. Therefore, he is not bound by time. So, we say God is "outside of time". Time as we know it is not constant, anyway. The truth is that time varies even within our own solar system. A "year" means something different on the sun then on earth. Black holes are areas of intense gravity in which time ceases or becomes completely frozen. If you could get inside one of the black holes, you would never be able to get out again (not only because of gravity but also because there would be no "time". This helps us to see that "timelessness" is not such an odd thing and even powerful telescopes can locate it.

          "It is impossible that matter should exist in God. First, because matter is in potentiality. Secondly, because everything composed of matter and form owes its perfection and goodness to its form; therefore its goodness is participated, inasmuch as matter participates the form. Thirdly, because every agent acts by its form; hence the manner in which it has its form is the manner in which it is an agent."- St. Thomas Aquinas

          As for the gender thing...as I told Nicholas, words are limiting. Jesus came into this world as a man. Other than that, it is just convention. It is like saying "man" or "mankind". Does that mean just men? No, it is convention.
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          Apr 14 2011: Colby, all you say is pure speculation. There are no limits what one can make up. You could as well say there are 5 gods instead of just one. The good (or bad) thing of faith is that it is not bound by reason. Hence using reason against faith never will lead anywhere.
          Concluding the topic from my end, I think, as long as you don't come knocking on my door, trying to convince me of your beliefs, you are free to believe whatever you want. If it helps you going through life, then even better. It doesn't really matter whether it's an illusion or not, as long as it is useful for you.
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          Apr 15 2011: Hi Harald
          I agree with `Colby. Big bang advocates speculate about a pinhead exploding; not a lot of science there. Or abiogenesis; the science says it's impossible. Fossilization is an extremely rare occurrence requiring special circumstances, but we assume that it was going on for millions of years. That's not reasonable either.

          The bible has always said that the universe had a beginning and an end, while for most of history we believed it was eternal. It also tells us that God is eternal; it's only a matter of science catching up.

          :-)
      • Apr 12 2011: I don't see why belief in God would necessarily prevent people from searching further. How do you come to this conclusion?
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          Apr 12 2011: Because, if people for example believe that the universe was created by God, then there really isn't any reason for them to search for other explanations. If you have an (perceived) answer to a question, why would you keep searching for an answer ?
        • Apr 12 2011: That answers the who and the why...Who created the universe and why He create the universe. That does not answer the how (the universe works the way it does).
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          Apr 15 2011: Hi Harald

          The earlier scientists nearly all believed in god. How did that limit their work ?

          I believe in god & it is no barrier to my interest in how things work. Knowing the fact that Harley made my bike doesn't quench my interest in how it works. If you could show me a solid scientific fact in favour of macro evolution I would be very interested.

          :-)
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    Apr 6 2011: Yeah, and if there is such thing as hell and heaven, I'll regret not having believed in God. But the belief would change my life a lot right now, and I don't think it's worth it for a "slighest possible chance", as you said.
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    Apr 6 2011: Drew, my opinion is that we can't really prove if God exists or not. From that point on, each person has their own beliefs, their own matters of logic or faith to believe or not in God.
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    Apr 5 2011: There willl never be any proof that God exists or doesn't exist. People like to think that when they die they will not be completely gone, but moving onto something better. We like to be able to give comfort to oursleves and others when we lose someone by saying that it was "God's will", or it was "their time", instead of thinking that the world is full of really horrible things and really horrible people. I think that if someone has a true unwavering faith in the belief that God truly does exist, they are very lucky. The will be able to live their life in a completely different way than people who believe in nothing bigger than themselves and the world itslef.
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      Apr 5 2011: Stacey, I found that one way you prove to yourself--"your truth to live by"--God exists is to jump into something so far over your head you could not possibly do it on your own, looking to God for help. Don't jump randomly but after a thing weights heavy on your heart seemingly forever. When you swim, and not sink, remember that you did not do it alone: thank God. After years of doing this myself, I find myself living in miracles of God's provision almost all the time. Now I've proved to myself that God exists and that God exists only desiring an relationship with me [& everyone else who seeks God]. The purpose of our existence is to join God, moving this world toward God's Plan for it. You can be "lucky" too.
  • Apr 4 2011: My other question is this, why is god not talking to his beleivers like he did the those that wrote the books of the bible? And maybe he is, have you seen the guys walking down the street talking to themselves we dismiss as crazie. Well maybe they are the new apostles? Why are they crazie what if they are having a divine moment. Or maybe they are crazie, and what if maybe just maybe all those years ago before we understood mental disorders these people that god spoke to and wrote the bilble were also crazy, they just didn't know it? IF you are willing to beleive that a man a few thousand years ago was talked to by god but call people today who say that they killed for god crazy, what is the difference?
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    Apr 4 2011: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_evidence
    The lack of "disproof" (there is no such thing) is not the proof that what you can not prove exists. (did i say it right?)

    Do you believe in M-theory for example? (you probably don't)
    • Apr 4 2011: I think that we as humans have this crazy desire to figure out what's out there. And for some, to figure out what isn't out there. I don't go to the lengths of conjuring up hypothetical elements to make sense of things (my elementary understanding of M-theory). But again, that's the argument against believers. That God was conjured up by humans. Science can't PROVE either, just as the absence of proof cannot prove either. Ultimately, it comes down to what Vincine and I agreed upon, the difference between us is faith.
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        Apr 4 2011: Science can't prove it you are right, however science has helped.

        You see the original cave drawings were of this magical being in the sky, our ancestors has no idea what is was and why it was replaced by something else at night. The sun and moon were the first gods.

        Than man was able to communicate better and began to be more and more farm-like as time went on, now their original god is still up there, but they need water to grow crops. Maybe if they prayed? Sacrificed? They would get water. Some people made many gods, some sacrificed to an all powerful one.

        Then literature came to be, stories about how the world was made and shaped, however the original stories lacked geographic knowings. Hell was to the far south the land of monster was to the far eat and so on. Even from these times before paper; stories of folds, the planet being set on fire, and even children born of virgins.

        Now, literature as evolved with man's lack of understanding of the universe. I think I made my point. With lack of understanding came impossible ideas. Today, no one would believe the son of God was being born without a lot of videos on youtube of him healing the sick, turning water in wine, or whatever.

        The fact the story of Jesus and God, came from the Bronze age and has no solid evidence today says all it has to for me, it is just a story. I mean the Hebrews/Jews were smart enough to write every thing they did down in history and it matches up with other histories! But even as far to how much of their prophecies came true I am going to bet only a few to none happened.

        Ben, the reason there are so many who believe today is not because of the evidence it is because of the crusades, armies conquering places who did not believe in God and Jesus. I would like to think if the Romans did not take control of Egypt we would have been better off as a world, they were hundreds of years ahead of the Romans, but the Romans had armies and God which beats thought and reason.
        • Apr 5 2011: Can you put yourself in the mind of our ancestors to make these assumptions? Isn't the human mind what makes all of this so illusive?
          I agree, the Romans screwed things up pretty bad. And unfortunately, history tends to repeat itself...
          I think that some humans, usually those in "leadership" roles, create their own version of God to get what they want. I see this a lot in history. People are self interested, right? I believe the True God to be separate from those distorted versions.
          Jesus changed a lot of things in the New Testament... Unfortunately, His way is not the easy way in the slightest. Try leading a nation under the notion of uncompromising love and compassion. Probably won't last very long...
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        Apr 5 2011: I can through the art they left behind. The human mind is the problem as well as the problem-solvers.

        The rest I agree with the rest, except the last part.

        "Try leading a nation under the notion of uncompromising love and compassion. Probably won't last very long..."

        Name an example of society ran under the ideals of love and compassion.
        • Apr 5 2011: Sorry, we were lost in translation because of the way I worded it...
          I meant to say, it has NOT happened because it isn't seen as "possible." Those in leadership roles seldom sacrifice their power... which is what this notion would require. I wasn't saying that it has been attempted and it has failed. It has never happened...
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        Apr 6 2011: Why do we need Jesus to preach the ideals of love and compassion?

        Why can't their be a party of people who genuinely care about people above all else, why do the notions of love and compassion have to be a separate topic from anything else that involves humans. From the perspective of nature, specifically human nature and law of species. It seems god isn't putting peoples best interest first he is putting his own agenda. Gos this, God that, Jesus this, Jesus that, just consider the possibility you are wrong, so what? I'm wrong all the time about my ideas so I make them better, not cover them up or get angry.

        Law of species is easy to comprehend. We are the human race we should work together to survive life not compete.

        Abrahamic Religions do not reflect the law of species nor human nature, fundamentalist contradict this, and people who separate the positively motivate ideologies (the golden rule) from how we should run politics are the biggest sinners (misdeed'ers) of all time. There separate, it's okay as a whole to do negative actions but not responsible as individuals. Religion without thought creates control. The control is not direct, it is sneaky, it is evil.

        When a politician stands up in front of a camera saying vote for me, while you have the knowledge of his faith and it impacts your decision. that is control. You didn't do research on him, you didn't do back ground checks read articles, watched videos on them, did you? You know what I didn't either. I'm no better, but I don't vote, because the control is already built in, that's how good it is/was, my birth right in this country is try to take back a government ran secretly on profit (power).

        The best supporter of this system is religion, because their separated. Now before you say look at the countries who don't separate look at their control, your right. Just wanted to let you think about that also. System (politics) + positive morals + logical analyst = good government'ing.
    • Apr 4 2011: I happen to agree with you Jimmy, the burden of proof does lie with whom needs to be convinced. One of my favorite cartoons is a four panle short in one a person says I have a ball, the other says prove it, the first shows him a ball, and the second says why yes you do. Then it show the same thing guy says I have a ball, second guy says prove, the first yells at the second " YOU CAN'T PROVE THAT I DON'T" well thats the problem. I don't have to show you proof. I'm an atheis and I don't feel the need to disprove god, I did that for a while and frankly, I got tired of it.My father is a minister and trust me he's done everything short of mind control to convince and it hasn't worked yet. Every convo I have with him starts out intelegent then goes down hill until it's the same answer over and over, well thats what the bible says and the bible is gods word. Well that's waht harry potter says and it's Rowling's word.
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      Apr 6 2011: If you mean "membranes", well I think that idea needs more "thinking" but it looks like a promising theory to me. I do think there are other universes and because I do believe in a "Higher Power" all I can say is how awesome !!!!
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    Apr 1 2011: Okay let's assume that the idea of God was even a valid arguement.

    Tell me, TEDders: Which is a more beutiful world:

    World A
    In this world every single choice made is made by one person and one person alone. This person may love you, but he or she doesn't allow you to speak for yourself, allow you to celebrate your victories, allow you to spread ideas without being condemed. But he or she loves you!

    World B
    In this world every single choice made is made by one person and one person alone. This person is you. You are allowed to take on any challenge, allowed to express your opinions with your equals, allowed to learn your own talents, allowed to fix your own problems, allowed to celebrate your own victories, allowed to live. And nothing matters in this world for you.

    The beauty of it is, you can live in either world in your mind.
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      Drew B

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      Apr 4 2011: World B is the life God made for us. He lets you take on your own challenges and express your ideas and every thought. You have many, too much, misconceptions about this religion
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        Apr 5 2011: Drew, let's assume you are right and God made this world (only this world or the universe ?).
        What do you think was his ultimate goal in doing so ? What purpose does it serve ?
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          Apr 5 2011: To make Friday's Pizza Day at public schools.
        • Apr 8 2011: The church does not teach that aliens cannot exist. They have never said that. It is left up to the individual to decided on that matter.
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      Apr 5 2011: Hi Tyler
      "This person may love you, but he or she doesn't allow you to speak for yourself,"

      Come on Tyler, he allowed us to torture & kill him. If that isn't liberal enough I don't know what is.

      :-)
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    Apr 1 2011: I am not dogmatic nor doctrinal but I do believe in the Absolute. I do not have an image of this Absolute. The Bible is a collection of myths and they sometimes say a lot to us but we must read with an open mind and not take it literally. I will let Karen Armstrong speak for me in her book "A History of God" which can be viewed on TED.
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    Apr 1 2011: i think asking around reasons to something such as this is a waste of random and planned creation.
  • Apr 1 2011: I don’t believe in God because I don’t need to.

    When I was asked to give a sermon at my UU congregation, I chose to speak about compassion. When I did some homework, I found lots of stuff on compassion. The Evangelical Christians were unique in that they perceived and promoted compassion as something you should feel toward those who had not been ‘saved’, because they would not have everlasting life in heaven. Nothing much was mentioned on the Evangelical Christian sites under compassion about helping your fellow man, advocating for peace, or any of the earthbound humanistic concerns. Their primary concern seemed to be getting into heaven and avoiding eternity in hell.

    It leads me to believe Evangelical Christians have such a fear of death that they are incapable of accepting the reality of their mortality and the finality of death, thus the appeal of everlasting life and the fear of everlasting hell. Because this is their reality, at least as displayed on a variety of websites, I postulate they cannot conceive of others NOT having this fear of death or acceptance of mortality.

    I can’t speak for anybody else, but I don’t believe in God because I don’t need to. I’m adjusted to my mortality. (What does bug me is getting older, not pretty.)
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      Apr 1 2011: The God concept is like crutches for some people. As with crutches, some just need it because they can't manage to walk through life on their own and others simply do just fine without it, facing the challenges of life without any divine intervention.
      The issue of death is probably a good example, because it's an inevitable and final event and many people just need to believe there is something coming after the physical death.
      I think belief is ok, as long as it is private and as long as it helps the faithful to cope with whatever they need to cope. If somebody believes the tooth fairy will do him some good and it works, then fine. In this case the end justifies the means ;-)
      Religion is a different pair of shoes though, because religion, directly or indirectly intervenes even in the lives of people who don't want to know anything about it. And that's where it starts getting ugly.
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        Apr 1 2011: Harald, that is a burn and I appreciate the simplicity.

        Indeed religion has become a traditionalized method of teaching faith. "make sure to teach your kids right away before they are able to hear anyone else side of the story" It is in the long scope of reality evil, because it is as you put a mental crutch.
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    Mar 31 2011: Why don't people believe in God?
    Because they no longer need to.
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      Drew B

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      Mar 31 2011: why dont they need to?
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        Mar 31 2011: They don't need to because belief is a placeholder for knowledge. The more we know, the less we have to believe.

        P.S. belief in the sense of having faith
  • Mar 31 2011: People believe in God because they need to. People don't believe in God because they don't need to. Everyone's needs are not the same. I'm more concerned with risk avoidance in the world actually I live in. None of the above has any impact on being kind in my life. I try to be good for goodness sake.
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      Apr 7 2011: V..........If I said "goodness" is your god, would I be wrong ?
      • Apr 7 2011: H . . . I’ve been thinking about your question and I think so. I would call ‘goodness’ my ethos. I still think calling one thing something else is semantics. If you call ‘X’ God, then how do you distinguish ‘X’ from God?
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          Apr 8 2011: Oh dear Vincine, God is such a loaded word. There are many definitions that we people have for God. I guess it is what is utmost in our lives. To me I call God, love. There are persons whose purpose is control, money to describe what is utmost in their lives. Really there is no good description for God God is beyond our ability to comprehend Thanks for your post.
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    Mar 31 2011: I believe in a power higher than Humankind, but I refuse to take hell seriously or accept organised religion. I use a belief in God to fuel my fascination with the universe and it's workings and innumerable processes. When I learn about physics, what goes on in my head is not so much 'How does this work?' but rather 'How was this made to work?' Like the first step in reverse-engineering...
    Another reason why I have accepted a modest amount of faith and religion into my life as I cannot see the prevailing atheist view of foundations based upon logic, reason, and evidence alone. Faith and emotion are what make us human. Logic and reason are needed to set us above animals. Am I alone in this line of thinking?
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    Mar 31 2011: A question for those who believe in both science and God: What is god, scientifically speaking?
    And for you Drew, you stated that you believe in God and his son and that Jesus came down from heaven... just how did he do this, in a scientific matter?

    Edit: Any hypothesis, anyone?
    • Apr 8 2011: God created everything that is known as science, today. Hence, science cannot describe God. That would mean that we can describe Him, which we cannot. He is infinite and we are finite.
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    Mar 30 2011: I would like to take the title of your question and take away the not, it seems like just as reasonable a question as yours...
    "Why do people believe in god?"

    Edit: I did not see your question there Birdia, but since it is so good i will leave it!
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      Drew B

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      Mar 30 2011: simply, I already know why people believe in God. I would not ask a question, i know an answer on. thats a good wuestion for yourself though. I asked the opposite because i dont know why
    • Mar 30 2011: The question of why people believe in God is very complex. I know extremely intelligent, highly rational people who are absolutely convinced down to the lowest fiber of their being that God exists, he is the only true God, he is all-powerful, and bad things that happen are his way of testing mankind. I also know equally intelligent people who believe the whole concept of "God" is man-made and just a natural desire to find some higher authority to look up to, to worship, and to blame when things go wrong. What it particularly interesting is how people who are believers are CONVINCED of their correctness, whether they are Christian, fundamentalist Christian ("my grandpappy played with dinosaurs"), Muslim, or whatever. I wonder what the psychology is that makes people that sure about something nobody can either prove or disprove.
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        Mar 30 2011: What makes a person certain about God are personal experiences of God in their life [for one thing]. I can tell you about my experiences. They can not be proven wrong because no one else had my perspective on the events. It is my truth. I wish that everyone would seek God's input in their lives so they could have the certainty I have been blessed to have!
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          Mar 31 2011: Bill, "They can not be proven wrong because no one else had my perspective on the events." the thing about "proof" is that it is not up to people to prove things wrong but to prove them!
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    Mar 30 2011: i believe, 100%, the life we live now is fully caplable of eternal life and happiness, and to squander that ablity with worries of death is hell in of itself, and in my opinion disregarding what a true benevolent god would want. eternal life and happiness after death is probably obtained after death with this realization. i delclare this as fact? nope. do i believe in god? yes. do i pretend to know what God may think, nope.
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    Mar 29 2011: I would like to know were you got that statistic in the second paragraph stating that "And why do most people who ask themselves this question and go search for answers come back a christian?" Does not one to follow a religion have to show a blind eye to much contradictory evidence?
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      Drew B

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      Mar 30 2011: I got that statistic from countless stories of people I know, and many books I have read. One famous one is Lee Strobel. (http://www.leestrobel.com/). and no wouldnt i dont turn a blind I. I stand firm in my faith for I know anything anybody throws at me I can find scripture against. Did you know we have more evidence and proof in the Bible than we do of the Romans and the civilizations during that time.
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        Mar 31 2011: Did you also know that the New Testament was written after Constantine made Catholicism the official religion of Rome, and is known to have many influences from the prev