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The Existence of God

Is there really a God? Or did everything just poof?

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    Jun 8 2013: Poof is an understatement. but yes there is no god . I would argue that god is a human construction to answer the question we couldn't and still can answer such as why everything is here.
  • Jun 3 2013: God's existence simply cannot be proven nor dis-proven, everyone calming to have a prove of the existence or non existence of God is a liar. In case God really existed, every single piece of matter in the universe would be part of it, so we won't have a way to separate God from the rest of the universe, which would leave us unable to sample, measure or count God's essence, and because of that, unable to design an experiment to prove its existence. On the other hand if God wouldn't exist any attempt to find evidence in favor or against its existence would yield nothing. As you may see, in either case, trying to find evidence of the existence of God is a waste of time, which leads us to the only reasonable conclusion: God's existence is a matter of faith and not science.
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      • Jun 3 2013: Well... I only know 1 definition: Omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent... In my humble opinion, whatever that does not fit that definition is just a superior being, but never can be classified as God.

        I understand you point however you may agree that when people asks about the existence of God and mention the word "proof" they really mean "scientific proof"... a thing that is impossible by definition (the definition of science I mean)... so again, the existence of God is a matter of faith and not science.
      • Jun 4 2013: Interesting idea, however "infinity" is just a "mathematical crutch" to represent an unreachable number, so infinity=unreachable=undefinable, so: 1/0=unreachable & undefinable. Would that mean God is unreachable and undefinable?... something to think about... but if it is, then I'm right and human kind will never solve the mystery (by scientific means).
      • Jun 4 2013: I agree with most of what you say, however I do not discard the possibility of God revealing itself to an individual or a group of individuals. That can be a perfectly valid and indisputable proof, I will not discuss that, my point is that such a thing would be extremely difficult if not impossible to repeat in laboratory conditions.

        You can find mathematical evidence to prove God is possible, I won't discuss that either, my point is not that, my point is: You won't be able to translate that into a series of experiments repeatable for anyone, simply because God is omnipresent, and even if you can, remember Einstein: "A thousand experiments can prove me right, but only one can prove me wrong"... so again, human kind will never be able to know for sure (100% accuracy) whether if God exists or not. This is my point and no other.
      • Jun 4 2013: You are welcome. Just a final remark, just like you said, the individual proof is the most important, the problem arises when certain individuals challenge science to prove or dis-prove God's existence, which from my point of view is absurd.

        Nice to talk to you Lamar, hope to talk to you again soon.
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  • Jun 10 2013: In short - yes, there is!
    My "proof"? I can't produce God out of a bottle, nor can anyone disprove His existence. What I can do is put the question of God's existence into a hypothesis: If God really did exist, what observable and verifiable data is there to either prove or disprove His existence?
    I submit you only have to talk to born-again followers of Christ and listen to their own testimonies to see the evidence! A testimony is a person's account of how they came to faith in Christ, their experience of the God of the Bible and the life-changing experiences that accompany such a regeneration. Millions and millions (including myself) have testified to having been guilty before Him, believing on the Lord Jesus for forgiveness and experienced such a peace of conscience that it really does transcend any other experience you've had. True, it is subjective. But it is backed up by an objective reality: the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a real-life historical fact.
    All the millions of testimonies have a remarkable consistency: feelings of guilt, inadequate sense of purpose in the world, misery then a transformation of soul that gives the person assurance of God's love, peace of conscience, a joy, and perseverance with a confidence this life is but the prelude to something bigger: eternity. "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature" 2 Corinthians 5:17.
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      Jun 10 2013: I respect your belief as your belief Tom, and it is amazing to me that a belief in a god usually includes guilt, inadequate sense of purpose, and misery, as you insightfully point out.

      I do not believe that a god would put us here on this beautiful earth for the purpose of feeling guilty, inadequate, miserable and dependant on a "transformation" to experience peace and joy. If we are constantly struggling to experience a transformation, it uses a lot of time and energy we could use for genuinely living the life experience. I believe that is why we are experience and now.
      • Jun 10 2013: Thanks Colleen for your comments! If I may, what does "experience life mean"? Eat and drink for tomorrow we die? How does a "living here in the now" moment address topics such as death and suffering in the world? How does a philosophy help a person who is on the verge of death and scared of it?

        A belief in God (in and of itself) does not automatically generate feelings of guilt, etc. That only comes when you understand who God is - His nature, character and person as a whole. "God" is a spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. He has three "persons" - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

        God's central quality? Holiness. The Bible is God's revelation to mankind. Written by men, yes. But inspired by the Spirit to think the words God wanted the men to write. The Bible is unique. Written across a 1500 year span, across 3 different continents, in different languages, different places and times and yet it achieves a remarkable consistency. Being unique of course does not prove it's true but it is something to certainly factor in.

        The Bible teaches mankind was created in an "unfallen" state - perfect in degree, but susceptible to change, but man rebelled against God in spite of God's warning that disobedience produces "death" - that is to say, spiritual death and natural death. We all come from our first parents, Adam and Eve, and thus all mankind are sinners. Sin is spiritual rebellion. And we rebel against God' Moral Law - the 10 commandments. Ever stolen something? Yep. Ever told a lie? Yep. Ever been greedy? Yep. When a person comes to acknowledge faith in Christ, your eyes are opened up to true guilt. That you've broken his commandments and need forgiving.

        The "problem" with debates like this, is we all have our own presuppositions i.e. our starting point in our thinking. What is that built on? Our own reasoning/feeligns or the Bible?
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          Jun 10 2013: Hi Tom,
          Experiencing life, to me, means being fully present and aware with each life experience.

          For me, the topic of death was experienced with my own near death from an accident. I also volunteered in a terminal care facility for a couple years, sitting with many people who were dying, as well as helping with hospice care for two friends and two relatives.

          For me, the "suffering in the world" topic has been addressed by volunteering in a shelter, family center, co-facilitating "cognitive self change" sessions with incarcerated offenders, guest lecturing at the univ. on the topic of "violence and abuse in relationshipe".....etc. etc. etc., for many years.

          I do not live simply by "philosophy" Tom, I live by practicing and applying information:>)

          I've heard the same things you are preaching many times Tom, starting with 12 years of catholic school and bible study. I also studied, researched and practiced a variety of religious and philosophical beliefs throughout my 60+ years of life.

          The "problem" with these discussions, in my humble perception, is that some folks need to try to convince others that their belief is "right".

          As I said in my first comment to you...
          "I respect your belief as your belief Tom".
      • Jun 10 2013: Of course - the things you have done are exemplary! What I'm getting at is the reason why there is death and suffering in the world i.e. it's origins. A Biblical worldview gives those answers. Because of sin, this world is cursed. Our own reasoning (as a framework) does not yield all the answers.

        With respect, I would say practicing and applying information is a type of philosophy in the sense you genuinely hold to it, that it's weighty and substantial, and attains a certain level of cogency, seriousness and importance in your life.

        Well... A debate is all about expressing one another's beliefs with the aim of persuading another to see their side of the argument. I don't make a point of forcing what the Bible has to say on anybody but I like to use an opportunity to share what has happened in my life and the lives of others I know :)
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          Jun 10 2013: Thank you Tom,

          What I am getting at, is that the life/death cycle and all it entails is the human life experience.

          You are welcome to believe in the "biblical worldview", "sin" and that "this world is cursed" if you wish. Those are not my perceptions or beliefs regarding the life experience.

          I respect YOUR beliefs as YOUR beliefs, as I said in my first comment to you:>)
          No Tom, I am not expressing my beliefs with the aim of persuading you of anything. I addressed your questions. Why do you need to try to convince me that you are right?
      • Jun 10 2013: As a Christian, I am exhorted to share something of the gospel. And if that means gently challenging a person's perception of things, then so be it. It's about opening up the things of the Bible and to share what it has to say on matters. It's not what I think. It's what God has to say. I'm simply stating what the Bible says.

        ... And is it so bad that I do want to persuade you? ;-)

        Thanks for your comments all the way through, by the way. It's good to talk!
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          Jun 10 2013: Tom,
          If you are "exhorted to share something of the gospel", so be it. I respect YOUR beliefs as YOUR beliefs.

          So, now you "gently challenged my perception of things". How long are you going to keep doing that? I don't think this discussion thread is meant to be a bible study.

          Some folks keep saying ...."it's not what I think. It's what God has to say".

          If a god has something to say to us, I sure wish he/she/it would pop in here and say it!!!:>)
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      Jun 12 2013: What you have is no compelling evidence to believe in a born again Christian dogma any more than any similar invisible creator type god or goddess.

      Believing and practicing any religion, god or goddess or related supernatural spiritual concepts can change your life profoundly. Believing in a personal god watching you, maybe even talking to this concept, building it through repetition as a cognitive construct, attributing events to this construct without evidence, spiritual feelings, connection, love, social reinforcement, repeated reading of scriptures, imprint, reinforce etc you can get from any similar approach. Its probably pschology and biology etc. It doesn't even have to be religion that changes someones life. It might be a car accident or reading something or finding a cause leading to focus and profound change.

      Regarding religious experience, this seems to be universal. Hindus experience it. Jehovahs witnesses. Muslims. Buddhists. Followers of Bacchus, Maduk, El, Isis etc I guess did in the past. No reason to assume its not just our flawed cognition and natural psychology. I note if these experiences are not socially accepted or within some norms or themes we consider people delusional or mentally ill.

      People still have similar beliefs in evil spirits, ancestor ghosts, nature spirits, black magic etc

      So basically your argument is this type of belief changes lives, people have subjective religious type experience that could all be natural, that people believe the claims in religious texts without evidence.

      Its all pretty circular, subjective, speculative and comes back to no actual evidence for any particular being worthy of the name god or goddess, but not being able to disprove their existence.

      We can't disprove Zeus is not living in a distant galaxy or in another dimension.

      Not being able to disprove something must be about the worst reason to believe in something.
      • Jun 12 2013: ... and to follow on...

        I don't believe in God because I can't disprove his existence. I believe in a God because I think it is perfectly rational to. As a Christian, I believe the Bible reveals who this God is, what he's about, what He has to say about this world. The Bible is God speaking.

        A belief in something in and of itself doesn't change anything. The object of my belief is Jesus Christ. And it is that belief in who He is and what He has done for me in my life that causes me to believe. I can tell you from experience, my encounter with Christ is not natural - as a perfectly sane, rational being, I can ascribe it as a supernatural experience. A work of the Spirit working faith in me, enlightening my eyes and bringing me into a relationship with Christ. And it is through my own what the Bible calls "regeneration" I see God working. I therefore have no doubt in his existence.

        My own experience is supported by an objective reality: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is that fact which gives ultimate credence for my faith in Christ. I have personally taken the time to investigate, read books about His resurrection and I believe it to be true.
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          Jun 12 2013: We may have different definitions or understandings of what is rational.

          Belief in invisible agency seems very natural.

          The flimsy evidence and subjective interpretations you rely on seems somewhat irrational.

          Its the same sort of thinking that leads a muslim to believe in Allah.

          OR a mormon to believe in the mormon gods.

          OR a buddhist to believe in buddhist dogma etc

          If you were born in a muslim country wouldn't you be saying the same sort of thing about Allah.

          I suggest the resurrection is not a proven fact just because it is in the bible and ancient people believed it, just as people have believed in other religions and gurus and scriptures and miracles. IF Buddhist scriptures said Buddha did some miracles would you believe that. OR the miracles in the Koran or book of mormon etc.

          Also even if unexplained things actually happened (and again there is no good reason to think they did any more than any other religion) such as a couple of ressurections, it does not automatically follow that everything written in the bible is true, or that Jesus is a god, or that there is a god. You just have a mystery. There is just as much evidence that Jesus was a sophisticated robot sent by aliens then he was a god.

          I suggest Vijay feels just as strongly as you do about his god interpretation and cognative experiences. I'm not sure how Christians can claim the Resurrection is an objective reality and that if it happened it is proves your interpretation of the bible with a straight face, when it is clearly an act of faith to believe it happened, and that the life of jesus was recorded accurately and the the teaching afterwards were all inspired by god, and that the bible is actually as the creator of the universe intended, and that this book is upposed to convince us and that the god in the bible makes sense and is worthy of worship etc.
  • Jun 17 2013: Dear Natasha, I can't remember where I read it, but if you Google "Why St Thomas Aquinas stopped writing" you'll find that he had a vision of heaven some months before he died and stopped writing, telling his secretary, "All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me." So, after a lifetime of writing ABOUT God, the great theologian is silenced by one EXPERIENCE OF God. In Life & Holiness, Thomas Merton writes, ...the kingdom of heaven is open to those who beg, by prayer, to enter it." But he also notes, "Yet the question arises: is modern man, confused and exhausted by a multitude of words, opinions, doctrines and slogans, psychologically capable of the clarity and confidence necessary for valid prayers? Is he not so frustrated and deafened by conflicting propagandas that he has lost his capacity of deep simple trust?" And in these few sentences - with the sweet simplicity of GOD - lies the answer to Cheyennes question: 1.The Kingdom of God IS open 2. By suppliant prayer 3. To those who have a deep and simple trust.
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    Jun 15 2013: To live a worthwhile and moral life does not require that one believe in a particular conception of God or of any for that matter. The Buddha (who was a man not a God) said that faith or belief in his teachings was not necessary. He told his students to test out Dharma principals in their own life to see if they worked. If yes, then continue the experiment. If not, then not. Goethe's' lovely statement about proactive commitment, in which he says in essence to begin a course of creative action with something like faith, posits that some universal law will create a supportive response from unforeseen sources. This can seem like divine aid but what does the ultimate source matter? The proverbial "attitude of gratitude" tends to make any circumstance more bearable and can help us sustain our efforts so that some level of success is much more likely. Many people see little conflict between spirituality and science. It is when someone insists that a particular religion has all the truth and has the only road map to heaven or salvation or enlightenment that trouble arises. Usually they want you to pay in one way or another for their version of the map. Or they want to convert you in order to reassure their own doubts. In recent years it seems some hope to get enough people on the bandwagon to jump start some sort of final Apocalypse.
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      Jun 15 2013: I agree Chad, that how we live our life is the important piece.

      I was taught by a devout Catholic mother, and later in life, I realized that many of the beliefs I embraced were more connected with Buddhism than with any other traditional belief. This was a little confusing for could I have been taught by a devout Catholic and embrace Buddhist beliefs?

      One day, I discovered something the Dalai Lama said.....If we are a good christian, we are a good buddhist.
      I interpret this to mean if we are a good person, and live life with integrity, it does not matter which religion or philosophical belief we align with. This simply feels "right" to me:>)
    • Jun 15 2013: Very nice and powerful argument, fully agree. Cheers!
  • Jun 12 2013: ...continuing on...
    When people say "science disproves God" I never know what they mean by that. How do you define "science"? For me there's two types. One is operational science i.e. the things that are observable, repeatable, capable of sensory assessment - good observation makes good science and all that; then "origin science" where scientists take a uniform assumption that because things develop in a certain way in a certain time then it must have always been like that. Evolution and Creationism are explanatory models at best, of course. We can't observe creation nor can we observe macro-evolution happening, either. For the Christian, he has in a way a "time machine" - because he believes God created everything which has been recorded in Scripture. That is MY starting point in thinking and it allows me to interpret facts. Facts are not neutral - it's how you interpret them.

    Your starting point is the Bible is a myth. And being a myth it cannot be tested legitimately by operational science (which of course a myth can't because its fiction) therefore a God must be a myth so you cannot accept a Creationist argument. Your starting point is altogether different from mine. But is the Bible a myth? The Bible has endured for centuries, is unique, contains historical facts, etc. It's stood the test of time. It paints mankind in a state of sin - (who would write that about their own kind?) and points to salvation outside of man's reach. Hardly the work of men really.

    God is not a magic being. He is a spirit. And He revealed himself to mankind in the real life person of Jesus Christ. His existence is backed up by historical sources, not just the Bible.
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      Jun 12 2013: Thanks for the help, i was getting lonely.
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        Jun 12 2013: So now Jonathan, I have a question for you if it's not too invasive?

        Why did you feel lonely, and why do you think you needed help?
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          Jun 12 2013: Yesterday, I embarked on this debate, although it was enlightening, it was very taxing on my mind trying to retort to the more hard core opposition debaters. I think that I was the only person voicing my view on God's existence and I was releaved to see someone else on my side of the debate. Although I had the utmost faith that God gave me the answers He did, but i am only human and as such, loved the company.
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        Jun 13 2013: Hope you don't feel like we are ganging up.

        Wouldn't be much of a discussion or debate if we all thought the same thing.

        There are many other theists, deists and pantheists around, but most have seen this question many times.

        This is the sort of site where you can scroll through a conversation and see all sorts of ideas and arguments that might take ages to come across elsewhere. Great to test and refine your own or dump them and steal others if they make more sense.

        Not sure how you can tell the difference between thinking of answers yourself and god helping you. I have heard some arguments for god that took me a while to unpack. Others times totally ridiculous arguments that even theists might cringe. I guess god is busy sometimes.

        Its a bit like prayer. If what you prayed for happens then god did it. If it doesn't happen it was gods will. Cognitive bias. Agency assumption. I wonder if this belief of god being with you uses the same cognitive processes as children's imaginary friends. I note people with other beliefs sense or assume other invisible agents with them or around them, ancestor spirits, demons, nature spirits etc.
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          Jun 13 2013: Ganging up on is such a harsh way to put it, but it works. Although, i welcome it. I am not one to back down too easily when it comes to my own knowledge. On concrete ideas that i have been wrong on, i am man enough to admit when i am wrong. On matters of faith, such as this, I can only "argue" what i know to be true in my heart. God is not a child who does malicious things to his creation. He is a Good Father. What is said about Him in the bible IS something I model my life around because I am learning how to be a good father such as He Is.
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        Jun 13 2013: And I hope you and others and myself will always have the option to choose to believe and follow your chosen religion.

        Can I assume you don't believe in hell as per some Christian doctrines. Or that God flooded the planet in a global genocide etc. Otherwise I'm not sure how Jealous god = good father.

        Having said that there are some positive things in the New Testament IMO.
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          Jun 13 2013: I do believe in hell. I do believe that God flooded the planet. He flooded the planet to get rid of the wicked humans, He saved Noah, He had His reasons. He promised not to do that again. I don't see the jealousy in that, just "good housekeeping". Ha Ha Ha. Genocide does not take into account the morals of the culture trying to be wiped out, just that they are that group of people, i.e. jews, christians, ethiopians, cambodians, etc...
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          Jun 14 2013: Hi Jonathan.
          You can't say things like that to Obey; you'll set him off :) . I'm with you. There is ample evidence of the flood in the worldwide fossil bearing layers; but some folks just don't see it.
          We all die, & those in the flood just died a bit earlier. I have no problem with God deciding that to let folks live & spread their disease causes more grief than to retrieve his gift of life from them.
          If you are a Christian, you will get heavy weather, but remember "He who is in you ..........etc"

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        Jun 14 2013: Wow.

        I rarely get emotional on TED, but something about this comment made me a little upset.

        You believe your god committed mass murder of men, pregnant women and children and you called it house keeping with a laugh.

        I don't believe there is sufficient evidence for it happening,but can imagine the fear and horror of an evil act such as this.

        Surely your moral compass indicates drowning children is evil?

        What wickedness could the worst of the humans have committed that is worse than drowning nearly every man, woman and child?

        What wickedness did the babies commit? Or the animals. Surely you don't support drowning animals to punish wrong doers?

        Are you suggesting there are sometimes valid reasons for genocide? You know that includes the children.

        What mental and moral gymnastics are required to assert a supernatural being that takes sides with one tribe, destroys cities, sends plagues, accepts human sacrifices, orders witches and homosexuals and adulterers and unruly children and sabbath breakers to be killed, orders millions to be killed, commits near global genocide is remotely moral, let alone all loving.

        How is Genocide all loving?

        How is requiring obedience and worship all loving?

        Is sending people to eternal torture all loving because they were born in the wrong place or time or used their brains.

        Just by definition a jealous god can not be all loving.

        Surely your moral compass indicates torturing people is evil?

        The god described in the bible is often one of the worst monsters imagined. I challenge you to name one other human, god or goddesses that does something worse than tormenting some of its creations for eternity. That is worse than Hitler.

        I'm not anti all aspects of religion but this sort of thinking is what I object to. If god does it or says it is okay or obeying god is good no matter what the orders is okay. Basically assuming god is outside any moral boundaries.

        If you changed Yahweh to Zeus I guess you would agree with me.
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          Jun 14 2013: God etch-a-sketched existence, save for Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark. He looked and could not find any other human being following His rules. And before Abraham, the rules were to be moral and just to everyone. The world of man had descended into chaos and moral corruption. They weren't tortured or using their brains. They were very "humanistic." Yes, torture is wrong. God is not the worse monster in the bible. There are many other examples of that. The Pharaoh of Egypt cast all the first born males of the Hebrews in the Nile river to be devoured by the animals there, that i call a monster. Sacrificing children to a man made god is monstrous, which God specifically talked against this practice. He is a jealous God, he does not want man to worship any other images because man perverts this practice to satisfy his own will. I ask you, what is so wrong with living your life the way Jesus commanded? Man created the Pantheon of gods, how do I know this, because all man made gods eventually became perverted, not the God of the bible. Not everyone who died in the flood went to hell.
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        Jun 15 2013: I have no issue with the golden rule, helping the poor etc.

        I have issues with the apocalyptic mindset
        I have problems with how you live you life being less important than what you believe.
        With the sexism.
        I have problems that you believe in a god that endorsed slavery, ordered killing homosexuals etc
        With the tribalism it reinforces sometimes
        I have a problem with homophobia and trying to cure it
        I have problems with how believing you know gods will exacerbates extreme behaviours and forcing your beliefs on other people without relying on evidence.
        I have problems with the assumption that the morality outlined in the bible, is absolute. That you have the answers.
        I have issues with Good news clubs indoctrinating children that they must obey an iron age god and that we are all sinners
        I have a problem with the concept of original sin. It is immoral to punish others for the crimes of their ancestors.
        I have an issue that when god does something evil or orders something evil you just accept it.
        With the divine command mentality that stops people using their brains.
        With trying to undermine the secular state and science education.
        With the roots of Christianity in an ignorant iron age barbaric tribal god.
        With believing the bible is true with no good reaso
        With a religion that uses threats of hell and fear to ensure compliance
        With Christians glossing over - The LORD is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and wrath. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and furiously destroys his enemies!

        And then claiming their god is the essence of love and arbiter of what is good.

        Other than that if people worship their gods without impacting the rights of others, no problem.

        So we agree killing children is bad. You still don't seem to accept that it is also bad when Yahweh does it.

        The excuses, the refusal to see the evil in this book and the god it describes. You god is a divine dictator. If a human did half of what he did you would call him a monster as per pharaoh
        • Jun 15 2013: This line of thinking is based on the assumption mankind is INNOCENT. Man is created, at the behest of this creator god who then, out of the blue, decides to rain fire and brimstone, orders genocide because he wants to, and basically wants to brainwash people.

          Thus: God is a cruel tyrant and horrible taskmaster who is evil and loves to play with his creatures as though they were ants.

          This is rubbish.

          The Bible teaches God created this world and universe out of nothing by the power of His Word, in the space of 6 days and all very good. It was perfect creation. No death. No suffering. Man was created in the image of God - that is to say, a living soul, in knowledge of God, righteousness, and holiness with dominion over the creatures.

          He entered into a Covenant with man forbidding him to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death, as a test of probation to Man.

          Man rebelled. He disobeyed God's Covenant and violated it. The Covenant was made not just with Adam but his whole posterity. All mankind, descending from our First Parents, by ordinary generation. Therefore we're all treated as having sinned in Adam and fallen in Adam because God reckons that judgment to ALL by virtue of the Covenant he made with Adam.

          We are all rooted in Adam (we come from Adam who rebelled), so God in his righteous judgement regards mankind as EVIL... We're treated as oathbreakers; violaters.

          So... coming to the flood, mankind was full of evil. The whole world was filled with violence: "And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth" (Genesis 6:12). "The imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" - Genesis 6:5.

          God send the flood to destroy the wickedness of man. It wasn't "housekeeping" - like some trivial bits of dust. Man was evil, so God destroyed man, save for Noah and his family.
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          Jun 16 2013: i am sorry that this is your vision of christianity. the truth is as different as day and night. Christians that say they are doing evil things in God's name are wrong and it is not doctrine. your sense of christianity comes from that. mine comes from the bible.
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        Jun 15 2013: God also ordered children killed and drowned them in the flood.

        1 Samuel 15:3 God commands the death of helpless "suckling" infants. This literally means that the children god killed were still nursing.

        Psalms 135:8 & 136:10 Here god is praised for slaughtering little babies.

        Psalms 137:9 Here god commands that infants should be “dashed upon the rocks”.

        So why is it okay when your god kills and not when others do.

        This is a huge blind spot many Christians have.

        Now on top of calling global genocide good house keeping you say God etch-a-sketched existence.

        I am dumbfounded.

        I really am.

        How easy it is to make concessions for your god and align mass murder with clearing a screen. If someone said Hitler did housekeeping on the Jews and Gypsies wouldn't you be stunned.

        I really don't understand how you can not see what is wrong with this way of thinking.

        You really can not defend this on any sound moral basis. At best you might say you don't understand. Or you don't like it but it is the way it is. But you seem to be endorsing and defending genocide and murder when God does it.

        This is similar mindset to accepting jihad and the subjugation of women and persecution of homosexuals being a virtue as it is following gods commandments.

        Religion seems to have the power to make good people accept dumb things.
        • Jun 15 2013: To refute: 1 Samuel 15:3: - The Amalekites, a nomadic people of the desert were already marked people because of their unjustified attack of on Israel in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. As a result, the Amelekites were doomed to annihiliation by God (Exodus 17:14; Deuteronomy 25:19) but it would not be immediate. Here God commanded Saul to destroy them as a severe judgment on those who would destroy His own people.

          Psalm 135:8 - The Lord killed the Egyptian first born because the Egyptians, years earlier, had issued a holocaust (effectively) as a way of keeping the Jewish population down. Pharoah ordered the firstborn of the Jews to be destroyed with sword. God executed divine vengeance against the Egyptian firstborn,

          Psalm 137 - Babylon had carried the Jewish people away into slavery. Again, God was going to act for His people.

          This isnt a huge blind spot. The blind spot on your part is not knowing the context of these verses.

          Jihad is totally man made and man driven with no authority from God on high. Jihad is performed in the belief killing will result in eternal salvation.

          The Bible teaches no such thing.

          Christianity does not make people "accept dumb things" - because personally I cannot rejoice in what my mind rejects.

          Christ commanded us to love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your MIND" - Matt 22:37. When he said exercise faith, it was not a "blind faith" that causes "people to accept dumb things" but rather an "intelligent faith". Paul said, "I know whom I have believed" (2 Tim 1:12)

          Faith in Christianity is based on evidence. It is a reasonable faith. Faith in the Christian sense goes beyond reason but never against it.

          The evidence? Consider the claims of Christ.
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      Jun 12 2013: Some more interesting comments.

      More feedback later, but science doesn't disprove all gods, it kind of makes them irrelevant or unnecessary in explaining nature once we have a decent grasp of how Something works. So no need for gods to explain floods, disease, drought, earthquakes, lightening, but Zeus may still exist. We can not disprove he is having a glass of wine in another dimension or on planet kolob.

      But again not being able to disprove a magical concept is not a good reason to believe.
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      Jun 12 2013: Actually I was a born again Christian, speaking in tongues, cast out demons, or so I thought.

      So my starting point was the bible was true, literally. Just the more I examined this, the more I realised there was no good reason to believe this just as there is no good reason to believe the Koran or other religions.

      These days I try to start with an open mind, and look for compelling evidence to back up claims. Some of my comments do reflect conclusions from looking at the evidence. Other times I'm simply not accepting supernatural claims without having sufficient evidence or drawing parallels with similar beliefs to yours that you don't believe.

      Doesn't nearly every religion and every religionist have their own rationale why their beliefs are special?

      Being an old book, mentioning some historical places, does not make the bible infallible. It takes faith to believe that. Just like faith in any supernatural type belief.

      The bible is unique, but so is the koran. There is nothing unique in the sense that sets it apart from all other religious texts, based on my examination and understanding.

      What is spirit? How did god make the universe and get around the laws of nature to perform miracles. How is it different from magic?
      • Jun 15 2013: I wonder what it was that made you think otherwise?
        I agree... being unique does not prove the Bible is true. But it is VERY UNLIKE the Koran.
        The Bible was written over a 1600 year span, over 60 generations, by 40 plus authors from every walk of life including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, scholars etc. Written in different places (Moses in the wilderness, Paul inside prison walls, John on the isle of Patmos), at different times, different moods, written across 3 continents - Africa, Asia, Europe.
        The Bible, at first sight appears to be a collection of literature - mainly Jewish. But I can tell you... enquire further and the writers wrote in various lands, and were separated from each other by hundreds of years and miles, belonging to the most diverse walks of life. Written in 2 different languages, by people that included - as I said, kings, herdsmen, soldiers, legislators, fishermen, statesmen, courtiers, priests and prophets, a tentmaking rabbi, a physician (Luke)... For all that, the Bible is not simply an anthology - there is a unity that binds the whole together. An anthology is compiled by an anthologist, but no anthologist compiled the Bible. What is this unity? This unfolding story that progresses as the books progress? God's redemption of man.

        Take just 10 authors, all from one walk of life, one generation, one place, one time, one mood, one continent, one language and one controversial subject... would all the authors agree?
      • Jun 15 2013: It's unique in its survival and persecution... Take Voltaire, the noted French critic who died in 1778... he said that in 100 years from his time Christianity would be swept away from existence and passed into history. But what has happened? Voltaire has passed into history, and only 50 years after his death the Geneva Bible Society used his press and house to produce stacks of Bibles! Ironic...

        No other book has been so chopped, knifed, sifted, scrutinised, vilified, hated. What book on philosophy or science has been subject to such a mass attack as the Bible? with such scepticism and venom? and yet... the Bible is still loved by millions, studied by millions and read by millions...

        Muhammed never once pointed to any prophecies of the coming of Muhammed hundreds of years before his birth.

        If I can quote Philip Schaff (the Person of Christ)... "This Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Ceasar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without science and learning, he shed more light on things human and divine that all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools he spoke such words of life never spoken before or since... He set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times..."

        Think of the effect the Bible has had on secular literature... evoked a HUGE volume of literature.. my own opinion is if you are intelligent, IF you are searching for the truth, read the book that has drawn more attention than any other.

        True, doesn't prove it's THE TRUTH. But you'd seriously consider its weight and the claims its makes
    • Jun 12 2013: I am sorry Tom, but creationists don't get to divide science in a way they better like in order to dismiss the parts they don't like. There's no boundary between the sciences that we use to gather information about the cosmos and stars and planets and galaxies that we might never touch, those used to figure out the history of our own planet, and those that we use for current and nearby events. When Newton figured out gravitation and its role in shaping the orbits of the planets it was spectacular because it joined the cosmos with our everyday life. It made it possible to show that the same forces that shaped the trajectory of a cannonball were involved in the shape of the orbits of the planets. Therefore we were shown to be, no doubt, part of that very same cosmos. Everyday connected to far away. Today there's much more showing this connection, and we have no reason to doubt that those connections from here to far away are the same as those connecting today with the long past. Even better because it is not an isolated piece of evidence, but multiple sources of evidence that do either connections, today with the long past, and here to far away. So, no, it's not a simple matter of presuppositions, but a matter of wishful thinking versus acceptance that if reality includes gods, then we should not find evidence contradicting what is said to be done / have been done by such gods. That we find multiple sources of evidence that our planet is billions of years old means that it indeed is billions of years old. That we find multiple sources of evidence that evolution is real means that evolution is real. If the facts contradicts the gods, then those gods are false. No amount of presuppositions can defy reality.
    • Jun 12 2013: My experience is similar to Obey's by the way. When I started understanding science, I started doubting the first god I believed (the Christian no-evolution, 6000 year old earth, god). My version of god "evolved," until I noticed that no amount of movement would rescue this god from being imaginary. Once evidence is understandable, it becomes precarious and, frankly, silly, to keep trying to accommodate the evidence to the belief, and/or to deny the evidence as mere artifacts. The truth is that the evidence is way too convincing. That there's no tricking, and that when we try and fix it by allowing for changes in how nature worked in the past, is just feels like way too curious that all works well without those changes with such things as the age of our planet, and evolution of life, all makes sense, while changing the laws feels artificial and still does not fix the problem that the evidence won't fit the Bible anyway. The most that happens when changing the way nature worked in the past to try and accommodate the Bible is that evolution would run much faster, or isotopes decay much faster without exploding, and other weird stuff.

      I know this will not convince you. But I could not resist making the comment. The rhetoric behind the presupposition argument sounds convincing enough that some might be misguided by it and truly think that just changing one bit of what you think would truly change everything. No such luck ladies and gentlemen. Unless you prefer to think nonsensically. Then anything goes.
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        Jun 13 2013: Excellent point, because almost all atheists/agnostics are born into religion, and it is just childhood abusive that religion is implemented into minds before anything scientific. Atheists in america are rated on par just as untrustworthy as rapists. Agnosticism is okay, but atheism is just taboo to humanity so it appears. Evidence is clear and it shows that there just is no reason at all for a god, and that something really can come from nothing.

        There's an unarguable trend of atheism being related to education...
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      Jun 13 2013: Science does not make god impossible, it just makes him improbable.
      • Jun 13 2013: depends on the gods in question.
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          Jun 13 2013: christianity god isnt necessarily impossible. yet.
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      Jun 13 2013: For me personally when I looked at what I believed and why I believed it I figured out there wasn't a really good reason. It was just a combination of weak positions.

      E.g. I believed in the resurrection because it was in the bible and the bible talked about eye witnesses. People must have believed it was real etc.

      But I believed in the bible because of the resurrection. Its kind of circular.

      If I turned water into wine and raised someone from the dead after 4 days would you believed I was a being capable of creating the universe? Even if I died and came alive again, that is not in the same league as creating a universe from nothing.

      And the feelings, the so called connection to the holy spirit when you let go of your inhibitions, sway with the music, raise your hands or pray intensely or whatever, it could just be your mind. There is no evidence this feeling is a person etc. In fact I get more amazing brain states when I meditate. People with other beliefs get similar feelings. People on drugs get even more intense feelings.

      The dodgy prophecies, which even if true don't make the whole bible true.

      Then the arguments about the uncaused cause. Totally fallacious. etc etc

      I could go on about every reason I had to believe and it was all suspect.

      Now with some distance and much better informed when I look back on Christianity or on Islam or buddhism and there are aspects that you can unpack, and the whole thing just looks so man made. It is entirely compatible with being manmade relying on so called revelations and feelings and interpretations of these feelings informed by old books. So the creator of the universe relied on books. Plain old paper and ink. No verse carved large enough to read on the moon, or a magic indestructible floating crystal that answers your questions.

      And when you read the bible it is bizarre. One minute god is walking around, later Jesus and this spirit thing.

      No real evidence or valid reason to believe, just a whole web of beliefs.
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      Jun 13 2013: I won't go on much longer.

      But frankly in some ways Islam is more reliable. One author. Less contradictory, although there are the pagan bits, or satanic verses. Although even the bible in parts hints there are other gods. Archealogical evidence points to Hebrews also worshiping fertility gods apparently. You shall have no other gods before me is one of the commandments. It doesn't say false gods or I am the only god in the commandments. It seems to imply there are other gods.

      Anyway, the koran is more coherent. 1 author. Surely it is as speculative or less to claim an angel informed the prophet then to assume magical intervention with dozens of authors over hundreds of years.

      Frankly if the old testament god is the same guy as the new testament he is almost schizophrenic,

      But Christians always come back to the resurrection. Have you heard Muslims rip apart this argument or the argument that Jesus was god. They do a better job than most atheists.

      Yes but there were witnesses and peopled died because they believed. Well there are many old miraculous claims in old texts that mention witnesses. Like writings about one of the Pharaohs killing hundreds in battle by is own hand and allowing his forces to retreat, witnessed by an entire army, And people dying for all sorts of religious beliefs or accepting persecution, including those who know the founders in person.

      I could go on about how immoral the god of the old testament is. Or how wicked it is to suggest a creator might eternally torture its creations in a lake of fire.

      If you read the bible with an open mind it is so ludicrous in places. My favourite:

      The LORD was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron.

      All powerful indeed.

      Anyway at least you might accept that some of those who don't believe the bible do so for reasonable reasons. Similar to why you don't believe Islam.
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        Jun 13 2013: In all the time I have been on TED, this is the first time that I truly understand you Obey.
        Thank you for this wonderful long response.

        You make some very insightful observations.
        I, for one appreciated your that even a word?

        Anyways, thank you so much.
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          Jun 13 2013: It is a word now, but may not make it into a dictionary.

          Sorry to any offended if I come across as harsh.

          I often rush my comments and leave out the softening phrases etc
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    Jun 11 2013: Cheyenne, your answer lies within a book, "The Holy Bible." If you read it from cover to cover, objectively, you will find your answer. P.S. archaeologists have proven the historical significance of the bible and have dated many of the books contained within to be true accounts of history.
    John V. it is not impossible for me, a very faithful and believing christian, to understand why it may be impossible for you to not believe in God. He is not here to give you any evidence of His existence that can be scrutinized by someone you would deem worthy and believable. Thomas was the same way, after the resurrection, until Jesus showed up. Thomas still refused to believe it was Jesus until he was allowed to touch His wounds and reach inside them. There have been many letters from those days that account for Jesus' resurrection, even from the Ceasar of that time period.
    That is why we as christians are asked to have faith in Him, because the Bible was written by Him through men by Holy guidance and inspiration. I was as cynical as you once, that is why i can say that i know where you are coming from, "No proof means No existence." But I allowed myself to experience Him, I went in to the whole thing thinking i was going to disprove Him and not experience anything, but i did. I experienced the truth. I challenge you to do the same, or not, it won't hurt my salvation either way.
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      Jun 12 2013: Jonathan,

      I suggest many have believed in may other gods or goddesses with supporting evidence just as good as Christians have.

      I have read the old and new testaments cover to cover, although I must admit to speeding through the genealogies etc. It just looks like a collection of Jewish mythology and unreliable;e histories in the first part. And a collection of letters and oral stories of the legendary Jesus figure recorded decades after his death in the second. Frankly I was shocked at the brutality of Yahweh and his chosen people. Some nice help the poor stuff in the NT, but then we have a brutal blood sacrifice and threats of eternal punishment. Overall not really a god worth worshiping in my view, unless in fear. You can call Yahweh all loving if you want but he is not by any reasonable standard.

      Seems you have a lot of faith in the claims the bible makes with little compelling evidence. About as much as the writings of other religions. Perhaps more so than Islam where the writing and compilation of the Koran was more orderly than the bible.

      I suggest it takes a lot of faith to believe the claims in the bible as there is no compelling evidence for many of them from the sun standing still, to donkeys talking to water changing into wine, and especially the resurrection. That anyone can believe this just based essentially on the bible claims confounds me.

      Funny that Jesus never wrote anything down as far as we know and we have to get it all second hand or worse decades after. How do you know the gospels didn't largely build on the earliest one? How do you know it is all historically accurate in key details. You don't really.

      Resurrection and rebirth stories were nothing new in that region. Even if it did occur it is a huge leap to assume everything in the bible is correct and that Jesus is a god.

      I expect if people applied the same skepticism to Christianity as they do to other beliefs they might be more aligned to my position.
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        Jun 12 2013: Hi Obey,
        I can believe in the possibility of the so called miracles, because there is probably some rational explanation, that we are not aware of. After all, I'm alive, when that was not supposed to be the case according to the medical model:>)

        What confounds me the most, is the contradiction and hypocracy. Most religions start out with the golden rule, love thy neighbor as thyself, etc.

        The dogma of most religions, however, continues to divide and seperate people as we see with a recent comment on this thread..."Everyone else's interpretation and guidelines and everything else that they made up is false".

        I don't understand why some folks cannot accept each other. This is the biggest thing that pushed me away from a religious belief, and it keeps reinforcing my belief that many religious groups and individuals are hypocritical, contradictory and not accepting of other people.
    • Jun 12 2013: Curious because I have read the bible objectively and found it to be stories written by primitive cultures. Some fantasies are quite imaginative, sometimes there's good insight into people's psychologists, but that's the highest points that could be made about it, and none is impossible for normal people to arrive at. There's also lots of brutality and tons over tons of nonsense. That some stuff might have coincidences with historical events is no more surprising than Harry Potter having some good descriptions of London, which is a real city. London in Harry Potter does not make magic a reality. The bible is a mixture of evolving cultures. It reflects the good, the bad and the ugly of those cultures, and it is far from being divine.
    • Jun 13 2013: What about those prophecies Jonathan? Did you check the books of Daniel, and the historical facts yourself, or were you told that all was fine and perfectly "predicted" by someone else whose word you took for granted? Did you check how much eisegesis was necessary to make the Bible fit the facts, or how much twisting of facts was necessary to make them fit the Bible? Did you check for any ambiguities that could have meant anything else, yet were interpreted after-the-fact in ways similar to reading the sunday horoscopes?

      Reading objectively means reading objectively. being willing to change historical records, dates, kings, queens, et cetera to fit a book is not objective. It is not objective either to ignore all kinds of mistakes and contradictions to turn around and rely on a few things that could look somewhat legit, like London being the name of a real city, to claim that the whole of Harry Potter is real and divine.
  • Jun 10 2013: Why would god have us argue this issue? If you exist, for gods sake, show yourself so we can be finally rid of this problem.
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      Jun 10 2013: Makes sense to me Craig!
      There is a life to live here and now. Why would a god(s) put us all here on earth to continually debate god/no god.......funny!!!

      It just occured to me.....perhaps the gods are out there somewhere having the same discussion about humans??? LOL:>)
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      Jun 10 2013: God Almighty was not the form of human beings. It was magnanimous primordial cosmic energy, size of half a thumb... collective power of all souls’ atmans in cosmos in their pure form! As per scriptures of Hinduism God Almighty always acted as a Dhrishta (onlooker)... never interfering with creation of his! Everything in cosmic system was governed by inscrutable laws of karma and evolution. As our karma... accordingly shaped our destiny!

      Anything relating to God Almighty can only be understood by undertaking spiritual journey. If God could be known that easily... why would God Almighty ordain a long journey of 1.1 million manifestations in human form to reach God?

      Mahavira (24th Tirthankara of Jainism... preceptor), Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ and prophet Mohammed... all practiced spirituality of the highest order to reach God in their lifetime. There was no shortcut on path of pure spirituality yet; by practicing absolute celibacy for a minimum period of 12 years in continuation... one can awaken kundalini energy fully. Full kundalini awakening results in opening of Sahasra Pushpa (thousand petalled Lotus) existing in our brain behind forehead. One immediately reaches stage of an enlightened one... becomes a bodhi, a Jina... a Mahavira forever!

      Normal human beings used their brain one percent, 99% always lying dormant! Albert Einstein, the famous physicist used his brain 4%. Albert Einstein indulged in Bhagavad Gita in the later stages of his life... a fact, he all the time regretted! He just wished he could have indulged in Bhagavad Gita in the early stages of life.

      Enlightened beings used their brain hundred percent. To reach stage of enlightenment Jesus Christ stowed on a boat to India to learn intricacies of spiritual life. The missing years in the life of Jesus Christ (14 to 29 years of age) says it all. During these years Jesus Christ indulged in teachings of Vedas (Hinduism revelations), Upanishads (independent treatises) and Bhagavad Gita.
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        Jun 10 2013: I respect YOUR belief as YOUR belief. It is not everyone's belief Vijay:>)

        I agree that humans sometimes do not use their/our brains as much as we could. That is why I like to think and feel for myself.

        That is an interesting theory I never heard before....."Jesus Christ stowed on a boat to India" to learn Hinduism.....the plot thickens!

        Chad, I cannot get a reply anywhere near your comment in any other way!

        I actually did read something about the missing years of JC years ago, and was not curious enough to pursue it. I know there was/is speculation, and I don't think I ever heard the theory about going to India to study.
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          Jun 15 2013: Colleen the theory of the "missing years" of Christs' life wherein he was on sabbatical in India has been around since at least the Theosophical society of the 1890s. I have always liked Mark Twains' observation that apparently "Man has created God in his own image". We all live within the boundaries of our experience and to expand our comprehension beyond that takes more than a leap of faith. In the end each of us are like the three blind men describing the elephant in the Sufi story in terms of what they could touch, A tree (leg) a Python (trunk) and a rope (tail).
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        Jun 11 2013: Jesus states that the only way to reach the Father is through Him, paraphrased John 14:6. Just to know and state that Jesus was a prophet is a horrible phars. He stated that he WAS and IS the Son of God. You may have reached enlightenment, and the tree metaphor is revealing, but what the bible says is just what i said, and the historical documents contained within, e.g. the different books of the whole bible, all prophesy of His coming was fulfilled by He that came in the form of Jesus Christ.
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          Jun 12 2013: Here we have the crux of religions.

          One interpretation without sufficient evidence that could be entirely man made making claims that contradict the claims of another equally without evidence to support it s core claims.

          As if the writers of the new testament couldn't make the Jesus story fit the prophecies.

          Both these and many others are equally plausible and implausible in many respects. And from an outsiders perspective they seem equally primitive.

          This reflects why we have had so many different contradictory religious beliefs. They are based on the subjective so called revelations and speculations and involve illusive beings or untestable claims.

          They tend to ignore or dispute claims that conflict with science.
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      Jun 11 2013: even if He did show Himself, you would still not believe it is Him.
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        Jun 11 2013: Johathan,
        With all due respect for you and YOUR belief, you do not know what another person may or may not believe.
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          Jun 11 2013: there is ample evidence of His existence in the Bible, a historical document, and people still didn't believe back then, or now when the Bible is so readily available for anyone to read for themselves. And yes, i do know, Jesus Himself said that they wouldn't.
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        Jun 12 2013: Jonathan,
        With all due respect, I accept YOUR beliefs as YOUR beliefs. The bible was written by humans, and I agree that it is an historical document.
        • Jun 12 2013: An historical document in the improper sense of the word. :)
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          Jun 12 2013: Thank you Colleen, but its not that my beliefs are my beliefs. I have read the bible, I have experienced the truth. I have even watched as science and archaeology have proven the historical accounts of the bible, old testament and new. The bible was written by humans, yes, but divinely inspired by The Holy Spirit.
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        Jun 12 2013: I have also read the bible Jonathan, (12 years of catholic school and bible study),and my truth is different from your see? The bible tells a story, it is not proof of a god. If you want to believe it be it. That is your choice and I respect your choice....I do not agree.

        Again Chad, I cannot get a reply anywhere near your comment.

        I think most people who believe in a certain god, or particular religious tradition, generally use their holy book for proof, which it no doubt is to them.

        I agree with you that we must each follow our own path, and each of us may focus on different things along that journey. A big part of my journey is acceptance, so, I totally accept other people's preferences as long as the belief and practice does not adversly impact other people.
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          Jun 15 2013: Colleen I recently encountered another true believer who felt that the Bible was self evident proof, perfect and with only one possible interpretation. I asked her if that was so why are there more than 38,000 Christian sects? Why were there several even before the death of the last of Christs' disciples? To me it is apparent that free will requires that Deity does not force faith on anyone. We must each follow our own path on our spiritual journey. The debate about correct translations usually focuses on Hebrew and Aramaic and Greek but this is secondary to me. The first stage is from Deity to human and since there is free will, we can not be forced to comprehend as seems apparent in the book of Revelation. If Prophets were perfect puppets then "the true religion" would have been established and a church militant would have conquered the world long ago.
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        Jun 12 2013: If a smart god wanted to prove its existence it could figure out a way.

        If there was sufficient evidence I would believe in whatever.

        The books in the bible were written and collated sometime back in history. They include references to historical people and places, even letters. However, this does not mean it is historically accurate or that all there is sufficient evidence to believe all the claims.

        There is not that much evidence that a person called Jesus existed, but perhaps enough for the mundane claim that a Jewish guru existed an apocalyptic Jewish offshoot cult developed from this.

        No compelling evidence or resurrections, talking donkeys, the sun stopping in the sky, the parting of the red sea or whether Moses or Abraham or Adam ever existed as described any more than Gilgamesh.

        Just like a man now called Buddha probably existed but there is no proof of reincarnation or that his mother was impregnated by a ray of light and he was born out a sit in her side. I have heard similar stories about miracles surrounding the birth of Kim ll Sung.

        (what is it with religions and magical births)
      • Jun 12 2013: If god appeared before me, l would need comformation from someone else who had seen the same thing. Otherwise, i could consider one of the following possibilities-
        1. God appeared before
        2. I'm hallucinating (drug induced)
        3. I'm insane

        If i where not under the influence of drugs i could rule out number 2.
        Of the two options left, would consider that i was insane, based on the fact that i know insanity exists.
        A good analogy would be if i saw a unicorn, i would assume it to be a horse with a horn, because horses exist.
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      Jun 12 2013: OK Entropy.....what do you call it? How about historical novel? I do believe it depicts some historical events of the time. I just don't think it can be used as proof of a god.
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    Jun 6 2013: Obey. Reality may just be nothing more than illusion. If you can pinpoint to me reality I can pinpoint to you Illusion. which is the one that exists??
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      Jun 6 2013: You are not real, you do not exist! This message isn't being written by a human, it's all in your head, I mean your code because in reality you have no head, you are nothing more then a simulation in a simulation made by our ancient ancestors.

      *error error, information leakage*


      You could take the approach that:
      -You think and therefore you are. (you exist)
      -At least some correct information can be derived from your senses. (You have a way of collecting evidence)

      Therefrom you can derive most of science.
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      Jun 6 2013: It may be an illusion.

      Still this life feels real. I'm not going to jump off a cliff. Are you.?

      There seems to other people and stuff we agree seems real. While it may be an illusion, we might as well assume it is real, right?
    • Jun 7 2013: that's a familiar line of thought. i think that's from the greek philosophers, sir sergi :)
  • Jun 5 2013: I think you have a false dichotomy here. There's many options besides gods other than poof. For example, I did not poof. I am the result of some biological processes.

    Anyway, gods. Nope. no such things other than in our imaginations. How did everything begin? Scientists seem inclined to the Big Bang, but I am too ignorant to have an opinion other than knowing that physicists are still very busy with this idea. But having no knowledge about something does not mean "therefore gods." Once, when humanity did not know what volcanoes were, they were assumed to be gods. Same for thunder and all sorts of other things. Therefore, not knowing something does not make gods any more real.
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    Jun 4 2013: Hi Cheyenne.
    One aspect that hasn't been mentioned refers to the Christian God. Jesus Christ claims to be the one & only God, & creator of the universe. Now Jesus is a historical figure, and, as such, is just as open to study as any other historical figure. So he can be examined in the same way as Alexander the Great, the Pharaohs, or any other historical character.
    In addition we have the 66 books of the bible. They are stacked full of information, historical, archeological, & even scientific. So the Judeo Christian God at least is open to scientific scrutiny, & many come to know him by this route.

    • Jun 4 2013: That in contrast to other religions like buddhism and the Islam....??

      Theres also no scientific finding anywhere in the bible.

      There is a lot of historical information in the Bible.... almost exactly the same historical information that is also in the Islam.
      And I'm not sure what the distinction is between archeological and historical information.... isn't all of archeological information included in historical information?

      What's your point?
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        Jun 5 2013: Hi Richard.

        My point is merely that not all belief systems require blind faith as is often assumed.

        • Jun 5 2013: So if I would get a book on history.... and write on top of the 1st page "In the beginning there was nothing. Then I created the universe.". You would believe that?

          Trust me you need blind faith to believe...
          There is no real evidence for the existence of any God. If you think that the Bible is evidence that there is a God then you're just too guillable.
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        Jun 5 2013: Well, what do you believe ?
        " In the beginning there was nothing; it exploded for no reason, & created the universe"

        I think I'll just stay gullible if you don't mind.

        • Jun 5 2013: I don't mind you being guillable.... I mind you claiming that you're not!

          If anyone can point me to something I can verify the existence of God with... I would verify it and then put my faith in Him.
          As I myself already pointed out this is a contradiction... but it's how I feel about it.

          What science does is that it points me to something I can verify. I can (somewhat) understand nature through the efforts of many great minds who did work in sciences before our time. I can verify their findings and see for myself that that is how the world works.

          Next to that my personal view... (this might be a shock)... is that there was no beginning with nothing.
          "something" has "always" been. And that "something" is probably that nature has the ability to split nothing into 2 particles which would cancel eachother out when they meet again.

          There are many different ways in which this is possible... yet none of the ways is fully understood while remaining to be consistent with nature itself.
          But I do think that we'll be able to find a solution to the problem.

          Rather than saying "something" has "always" been I would be more inclined to say that our mis-perception of time is one of the main foundations of our failing to grasp the true nature of nature :)

          But it's complicated to explain etc... and I know that you're either going to argue about how non-complete my views are and how God must exist etc. (blabla)
          So I won't fully explain as to why I have those views.... I just do :D

          Just like I'm fine with you saying that you believe because you think it is correct. Just don't say others that it must be correct because "......".
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        Jun 5 2013: Hi Richard.
        Well at least we agree on the unlikelyhood of the Big Bang scenario.
        I too am fascinated by nature. It is at the same time beautify & complex; very complex. I don't think it's unreasonable to argue that such complexity is more likely than not to have originated with an intelligent source.
        It's good that we are both searching.

        • Jun 5 2013: I don't think that the likelyhood of the Big Bang is that small...... As the evidence for it is fairly substancial (not conclusive though).
          I just think that most people have a strange view as to what happened.

          For instance a LOT of people seem to think that "There was nothing and then BOOM!"

          Which then raises the question "But how can nothing go BOOM!?".

          So imo it is fair to assume that there was something before the boom... but we can't tell because there is no way for us to verify anything pre-bang.
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        Jun 6 2013: The main evidence for the BB seems to be the Red Shift, which is interpreted as an expanding universe. If we reverse engineer then we get a pinpoint.
        There are other explanations for the RS.
        Maybe our universe was smaller & is merely getting a bit bigger?
        Let's assume all this speculation is accurate & nothing 'proofed' into something all by itself. We then get into better understood territory.
        We were told that great clouds of hydrogen were produced & that they clumped together under gravitational force to finally ignite as new stars.
        After a while people started asking why gas should clump together, when the gas laws state that it will expand to fill any space available. Sensible question.
        Oh, maybe a supernova exploded close by, forcing the molecules together.
        Nah! That would just blow it away.
        Then two supernovae may have exploded simultaneously with the gas cloud between them.
        I am gullible, as we have agreed; but not that gullible. There are trillions of stars out there.
        Between that & 95% of the universe supposedly consisting of totally undetectable Dark Stuff, I'm afraid I've moved from the almost persuaded camp to the very sceptical camp. Someone is spinning a yarn, rather than just admitting ignorance. I guess yarns attract more funding than ignorance.

        • Jun 6 2013: That you understand that science hasn't answered all questions yet is a good thing!

          I'll just explain the 1 fundamental difference between science and religion.

          Science: We observe fact1, fact2, fact3................. (which are observable phenomena)...... fact10000........ etc.
          And from these observations we conclude that the following holds true (or is a good approximation for, or is consistent within our measurement error etc.).

          God: I made everything you see. That's it, case closed.

          That you think that some findings are wrong / contradictory / whatever is all great. And we debate that stuff all the time (it's called science).

          I don't mind religious scientists. I think that they are just as well equiped at understanding the universe as non-religious scientists. But what I do mind is that "because science has been wrong* about things" (* or it is incomplete, or whatever argument you have against science). That that stops your thinking and somehow makes you 'favor religion'.

          I think that a mythical creature creating a universe with mankind on one of it's planets is way less likely than a natural process taking place which eventually lead to this.

          For instance we can't deny that gravity / electromagnetism are real. And we can use those 2 things to explain a lot of observations (pretty much everything we observe on earth itself is covered by these laws... when we look at huge distances and use the same calculations they are often not completely accurate).

          So then you end up with "God created gravity and electromagnetism"... which is, to me, a lot less likely than "gravity and electromagnetism are natural forces which have always existed".

          The mindset/philosophical stance is the difference... not the actual findings.
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        Jun 6 2013: "The mindset/philosophical stance is the difference... not the actual findings"
        I totally agree, we all have a worldview which is a distillation of learning and experience. Even when evidence points to the contrary view, folks usually cling to their more comfortable worldview.

        Science doesn't come up with facts. It comes up with a best guess or 'theory'; which can be tested & reinforced or found wanting. Gravity is a 'theory'. So far it has stood up to tests & reinforced, but the day may come when it is replaced. If a theory is sufficiently accepted, it may be called a Law.

        As explained above, the theory of star formation goes directly against the well established gas laws. The general theory of universe creation runs contrary to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The BB itself runs totally contrary to the First Law of Thermodynamics. Science is now putting it's own preferred worldview against it's own, long established, Laws & Theories.

        Fact. Up until fairly recently it was widely believed in scientific circles that the universe was eternal, without beginning or end. Only recently has science changed it's mind.
        Fact. The bible has always said that the universe had a beginning and an end.

        You won't find much support for natural forces having always existed. It looks as if natural forces were created at the same time as the universe; as indeed was time itself.

        • Jun 6 2013: Gravity isn't a theory it's an observation.
          There is an observable force between 2 objects with mass, which we call gravity!
          How and why it works is theoretical but that it's there is a fact.

          The "Laws" in science are all pre-Popper (Karl Popper's falsification theory).
          That we still call them "Laws" is just a linguistic thing.... Before Popper science was kind of a mess and everyone had their own "laws" rather than testable theories.
          After the falsification theory there have pretty much only been theories. (which is mainly a linguistic thing. Which does carry with it that a 'theory' has many more things it must satisfy than a 'law' (which I know is counter intuitive, but it wouldn't hurt you to learn about it))
          Example: The theory of relativity is a lot more precise and more broadly accepted than "Newtons law of gravity".

          Also your examples of "how crap science is" and that it is (according to you) inconsistent tells me that you really don't understand my previous post.... I'm not even arguing that science might be wrong (althoug in the case that you mention it is clear that you don't understand the laws of thermodynamics at all). So your points are already useless in this argument as I'm not claiming that science has all the answers.

          Your facts are completely random.... I can at least give you 1 that is historically accurate.
          Fact: The church presured and silenced people who claimed that the earth was round and orbited the sun.

          "You won't find much support for natural forces having always existed. It looks as if natural forces were created at the same time as the universe; as indeed was time itself."
          WHAT!? Come again?
          Reprahse that like 20 times and perhaps 1 of the 20 will make sense to me.
          (btw I do know that 'time' is relative so don't give that as one of the examples)
    • Jun 7 2013: oh yes. i read some books in the bible. and i treated jesus christ as mahatma gandhi or someone else who's inspiring and very motivating. jesus christ is another person who brings in philosophies that are to be reflected on and be transcended into application in our daily lives.

      jesus did not even invent christianity. only after his death were people creating the belief of jesus as god.
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      Jun 7 2013: Most people (today) are not claiming Alexander and the Pharaohs are gods.
      They may have been considered gods in the past, but I'm not aware of claims they created the universe.

      Your argument is the human being Jesus probably existed. After he died, people wrote about him and some say he is a god, part of a triune god that created the universe.

      The bible mentions Jerusalem etc real places.

      Therefore everything in the bible must be true?

      Buddha is a historical figure and people wrote about him and his miracles. Muhammad is a historical figure and he actually had stuff written down before he died including real places. Joesph Smith is a historical figure and he wrote stuff down himself too. Your Jesus never took the time to write anything down himself. We might have more confidence in knowing what he believed and said if he had bothered to write it down. Maybe the creator of the universe was illiterate. We don't even know if Jesus thought he was a god.
  • Jun 4 2013: Is there really a God? Or did everything just poof?

    According to the bible both.... according to science only half.

    Bible: " In the beginning God said poof and there was poof! "
    Science: " poof happened and heres how it works " (we don't know all details yet).

    Choice is up to you :)
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      • Jun 7 2013: I'm not saying you can't? (I can't though :p)

        But I can't cover each and every individual God... So that I pick the bible is a limitation on my post.

        If I said that according to all religions both of the questions happened, then that would imply that I know each and every religion/God.... which is insane because there are too many.

        In short... I don't see what's wrong with my post :)
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    Jun 4 2013: I am a Christian. I believe. I go to Church. I consider myself a person of faith. I also have a high level of training is Science. And, I am accountable before both my Church AND the discipline of science. Here is something I wrote as an experiment in that. Ultimately, I believe that if God judges me on anything, the quality of my scientific inquiry will matter as much as the quality of my character. For that is my spirit.

    1. No supernatural phenomena will ever be discovered or validated by science.

    2. There will always be more that is unknown than known.

    3. Our initial experience at birth includes elements of both the Unknown & Faith. And that comes from a newborn infant's healthy primal scream(s) of both unmet need(s) and total helplessness.

    4. Religion is the original DNA of Civilization. The goal is to minimize the screaming by maximizing the needs met.

    4 postulates of God (restated) or why Science isn't God

    1. Science doesn't do supernatural (non-omnipotent).

    2. Science doesn't know it all (and never will, not everything) (non-omniscient).

    3. Science knows that helpless babies grow up. (developmental Ψ)

    4. Science, like Religion, requires a long term record. (anthropology)
    • Jun 4 2013: i like number 2. made me reflect. thank you. :)
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        Jun 4 2013: I never. I am not building a foundation for anything. The Fact is, none of those so-called postulates says anything about the existence or non-existence of God. Nothing. Those four postulates say more about Science and human nature as seen through the eyes of developmental psychology, philosophy, anthropology and even archaeology. THAT was my intent in writing these postulates. And that much, is all they are good for! But that's enough.

        I hope that God gets a chuckle out of the fact that I ascribe "4 Great Postulates" to Him/Her. It's a bit pretentious of me, don't you think?

        So if your observation is that my foundation has many problems and it is too weak . . . that's OK. I am comfortable in my faith. And I am comfortable in the 4 Postulates I offer as observations upon Science and human experience.

        To quote a smart man I met once: he said: "It's all about process and experience with you, isn't it?" And I had to agree with him. There is a lot of science behind that which makes it all true. There also is a great deal of both faith and theology in that -- such that even the most hard-shell Southern Baptist Preacher would have to agree with me on some very fundamental (fundamentalist) issues.

        As I see it, everything is about authority, accountability, and responsibility. I am voluntarily a man under authority, I am accountable to both God/faith and Science; and I am responsible for my own actions and those over whom I have charge (Which this week is just my dog Lucky & he's sick. He's 15 this month.)
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      Jun 7 2013: I'm not clear what you mean by 3. primal screams etc
      4. I would disagree that religion is the original DNA of civilization. It was an important part of early civilisation and perhaps entwined with law and political systems but not a stand alone. Agriculture, domestication of animals and crops, language, access to fertile land and many other factors are at least as important.
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        Jun 8 2013: Hi Obey . . .
        Postulate #3 of the 4, is all bound up in what we know about developmental psychology. Newborns are totally helpless. Their only means of communicating need (any need) is a good healthy scream. That & the hope that Mother will soon be in attendance. Our very first experience of another human being on this Earth, even before we are consciously aware of ourselves, is a good image of how religious people (me included) describe our ideal relationship w/God.

        As we develop, we experience a phenomena called, "Theory of Mind." It's all kind of complex. But our idea of "God" & our insatiable desire to find God is all bound up in our psychological development. A psychologist named Piaget did the foundational work in that field. It takes some reading to see it. But it's there. Science seems to give the Atheists/Agnostics this point. But then comes postulate #4.

        DNA is a molecule that obeys quantum physics and retains information. DNA is a molecule that carries a 3.5 billion year record of life & DNA actually is the record of Darwin's Natural selection in the evolution of all life. Some of our DNA reflects directly the content of that 3.5 billion year record. The rest records the history of every mutation that makes us human.

        I'll have to continue this, but w/the advent of language/writing it is religion that creates the written record of civilization. Some of the earliest instructions we have as to agriculture, animal husbandry, access to fertile land etc. are recorded in the Bible. Not just the 'record' of that, but "instructions" about that which allegedly came to us from God. Without regard for the existence of God, it is the authority of God which retains 'credit for' & 'record of' & 'rules for' & the 'authority for' all the things you allude to in your last sentence. No ancient civilization arose w/o religion. We still wonder why. Here's why. This is why. It had to be that way. That's the development of it in history. So beit
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    • Jun 4 2013: so you're for God, sir don?
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        • Jun 4 2013: i see. well, that's good to hear. :)

          okay, i'll drop it. but it feels really awkward to not call you with a respectful title because you're older than me. in our culture, we call our elders kuya (for boys) and ate (for girls) and since i am in the international community, i just called you sir. but if you insist. :)
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        • Jun 4 2013: uh, i said that what you said about god and your faith is a good thing for me to hear -- well, in that case, to know because i didn't actually hear you say them. :)
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    Jun 3 2013: I don't believe there is a god because we see billions of life-forms on earth that are very transient, they live say 70 years and then die, a blink of the eye in the life of the universe, and they are very limited in the amount of power they have, they can only do small limited things. So you're going to tell me billions of creatures like this exist, but then there is one creature that is radically exceptional, lives forever and has unlimited power. I don't think so.
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        Jun 4 2013: What mess specifically, Don, and who is "we," the United States?
    • Jun 4 2013: in my opinion, i see god as someone who is powerful, in the sense that we want him to control us. we think he answers our problems but it really is our own efforts that the problem was solved; we only pray to him so we can be mentally calm about our problems and that we expect help from an all-powerful being. that way, we become optimistic enough to start on creating a solution to our own problems, thinking that god is doing that.

      ^that way, we all have that god-thought that makes us feel optimistic and secure.
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        Jun 12 2013: That's possible. One thing I notice about religion is that most religions have a human being at their heart. For example, Christianity has Jesus, Islam has Mohammed, Judaism has Moses. Even though people talk about getting strength from God, I wonder if they're really getting strength from these fabulous human beings, such as Jesus and Mohammed. Also, these religions mostly have pastors and modern-day leaders who I think give a lot of strength to the members of their church. Also I think the members of church groups get a lot of strength and help from each other. My point is, that even though they are talking about God, they are getting a lot of help from human beings, either human beings who lived before them in history, or human beings who are living now.

        I wish I understood religion. Even though I think the ideas of religion are silly, I can't deny that the followers of religion do many great things in the world, it's hard for me to understand that, logically I would think the followers of religion would be failure because in my mind they are following false beliefs.
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    • Jun 4 2013: hmmm. though this is out of the topic, your second to the last line brings me back to plato's philosophy on forms.
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        • Jun 4 2013: i love philosophy, yes. but i can't seem to understand how some of the philosophers think. like hegel and sartre. they're too complex. and i've only read "sophie's world".

          thank you, sir alexander :)
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        • Jun 4 2013: oooh. but are they not greek? i thought they were called the existensialist philosophers.

          yes. not really a musician but i love music. :)

          haha. nah, you don't write bad songs, you just have your own genre. :)
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        • Jun 4 2013: so i think i should read my philosophy book again.

          okay :)
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        • Jun 4 2013: sure thing! and by the way, it's still the afternoon here. but anyway, good night. and you're welcome :)

          will comment on your vids on youtube.
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    Jun 17 2013: Hi Cheyenne,

    What sort of god do you mean? Do you mean a deistic or theistic god? An omnipresent, non-intervening essence or an angry, conflicted overseer? Do you mean manifestations of inner human hunger for meaning and ways to organise it by making up deities?

    When it comes to poofing - there's an interesting debate on youtube between Dawkins and Krauss, here's the link:

    Best wishes.
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      Jun 17 2013: While the question may present a false dichotomy, I suggest a refinement to the wording - the universe went poof via some natural process, or a creator(s) made it poof into existence.

      Poof either way.

      Actually poof is probably not how the prevailing scientific model would describe it.poof is probably more applicable to some religious creation stories.
  • Jun 16 2013: I'm so SORRY! Thank you for correcting me! New to TED. Saint Thomas Aquinas quit writing after he had an EXPERIENCE of GOD that made everything he had written seem irrelevant to him. I still propose to Cheyenne that her question is actually (scientifically if you like!) better pursued in prayer (yes, even a "blind" experiment) than in debate. So you see, I can not take part in this conversation without "proselytizing" and I will therefore gracefully bow out before you eject me from the planet!
    • Jun 17 2013: Hi, Fiona !
      You wrote :Saint Thomas Aquinas quit writing after he had an EXPERIENCE of GOD that made everything he had written seem irrelevant to him.
      That's very profound ! I've googled a bit, but failed to find anything on this particular issue. Could you please provide me with links, if any ?
      Thank you !
      And here is a quote from Anthony de Mello :
      " The final barrier to our attaining God is the word and concept "God "
      Hope you'll enjoy it :)
  • Jun 15 2013: Science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is LIMITED to explaining the natural world through natural causes. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Whether God exists or not is a question about which science must be neutral. You cannot "prove" God's existence by natural testable, verifiable and falsifiable established methods of natural science because, God, by very definition is someone who is supernatural!

    One can hypothesise about God's existence: If God does in fact exist the proof will lie in the consistency of what is hypothesized with human experience and observation. The consistency? The millions and millions of testimonies of men and women from all walks of life demonstrate the unity of Christian experience. While each one embraces a different background, profession or culture, each points to the SAME OBJECT as the source of new power for transformed lives - Jesus Christ. Multiply these testimonies by the hundreds and thousands and you begin to approach something like the impact Christ has had on the world in the past 2000 years.

    So... what is the objective reality or basis for the subjective experiences - a changed, utterly transformed life? Answer: the person of Christ and his resurrection.

    How many others have had this same subjective experience? Well... the evidence is overwhelming. Truly MILLIONS from all backgrounds, nationalities, professions, cultures have seen their own lives elevated to new levels of peace and joy by turning their lives over to Christ.

    To say that it is a delusion, then.. Wow!!! what a powerful delusion!
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      Jun 15 2013: Yes a very powerful delusion most likely. Just like all the other religions worshiping in excess of something like 3000 different gods and goddesses that we know of, with their own similar religious type experiences. There are people who use these same type of subjective experiences to reinforce other religious or spiritual type beliefs.

      As to unity, I know of 3 different popes, Coptic, Orthodox and Roman, and how many different denominations with different interpretations. Some take the bible literally others don't. And then all the other variants - JW, LDS, Swedenborgians etc. But I acknowledge it is popular these days.

      Popularity does not make it true.

      Go back 2000 years and the Yahweh religion was not that popular anyway.

      I'm not sure why I am stating the obvious.

      I guess Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism etc also have millions of followers as equally convinced as you.
    • Jun 15 2013: Sorry if I'm misunderstanding something, but from my perspective you seem to contradict yourself.

      First you say science cannot proof God's existence, which is absolutely true and of course I do fully agree. The definitions of God and science are mutually exclusionary, therefore it is impossible to proof God's existence or non existence by scientific methods. Until this point I have no problem, however then you start an argument in which you seem to try to convince your opponents you point of view is "scientifically valid", which of course sounds contradictory. I must say that I do respect your believes and your point of view and of course I would never dare to question whatever proof you have of God's existence, unless you claim (or imply) it is a scientific proof.
  • Jun 14 2013: God or not, everything did indeed just poof. From the science point of view, the Universe is the product of the Big Bang and is still, to this date, expanding as a result. In Christian mythology, it's not the Universe, but God that poofs out of nowhere. Now, is there really a God ? I'm a firm believer that no, there's not, unless the Universe itself can be considered a god-like organism. The one certain thing, however, is that the Christian God is, in fact, non-existent. Christianity is a religion born from other religions, borrowing heavily from Egyptian and Greek mythology and other pagan belief systems ,this is made more obvious once you look at religions that developed in other parts of the world, away from the Mediterranean sea. Not only that, but it also morphed heavily from what it used to be. This fact alone is just proof that it only exists out of a desperate need for spirituality, because today's Abrahamic religions are absolutely nothing like what they used to be. However, faith, by its very definition, blinds a lot of people to that fact and they stick to what they've been told, because it's safe and comfortable and the unknown is scary (the very reason religions were created to begin with, explain the unknown).
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        Jun 14 2013: "Wil, I will appreciate it if you can explain 'They know because they've accumulated enough experience of knowing to know what they know'?"

        Jaden, to answer your question with specificity would invite the kind of attention that I try to avoid, but let me address it generally.

        There are those among us who demonstrate--if not the fullness--a large part of humankind's potential, which for many is latent, but still there. The range is vast, and their abilities would astound if they were made known, but most choose to remain in the background working on behalf of humankind, as humankind has enemies seen and unseen.

        These people know, they're the cognoscente of the human race, possessing specialized knowledge of how all things fit together, and how those things might be manipulated, not by working with what is seen, but by appealing to what is not seen, which undergirds the seen.

        Because skeptics will remain skeptics no matter the "evidence," these adepts rarely reveal themselves to the world, knowing to do so invites more than human derision, but something worse.

        They know because over time their knowing has accumulated, one knowing on top of another until that knowing hardens into conviction, especially when that conviction is demonstrable.

        You should begin your day thanking these adepts, althought they don't need it--as they're the only ones standing between you and your enemies.

        And you more than likely won't believe me, and that's a good thing. Believe me, as the saying goes, sometimes "ignorance is bliss."
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          Jun 15 2013: Because skeptics will remain skeptics no matter the "evidence,"

          You seem to be suggesting those who don't find what you consider evidence sufficient or compelling must be stubbornly committed to a position of not believing.

          Is this how you justify your view in light of all those who don't find it sufficient.

          Not one person who thinks you don't have enough evidence who might shift if there were a little more evidence or a more sound argument?

          It actually looks like you are acting in a way similar to those you describe as inflexible in the face of evidence. It seems a binary view if you believe there is enough evidence and all the objections are not worthy of consideration. I suggest there may be people who disagree with you but are open to better arguments or evidence.

          Disagreement with your position does not automatically mean all those who disagree with you have no sound points or are entrenched in a position.

          But I suspect you may be bouncing up against the same objections by those who look for sound arguments and sufficient evidence - and find your position not sufficiently justified based on the flawed arguments and speculative assertions.

          Perhaps its not that they are entrenched against your position. They just are entrenched against believing anything that is not sufficiently demonstrated as per your position, or that Jesus was a god, or we reincarnate or go to Hades etc.
        • Jun 15 2013: Bigots are bigots, religious or skeptic. Opinions have to change and adapt to new information and evidence. The arguments that you presented make it seem like you're speaking of a cult like any other, pretending nobody would believe them to justify their own secrecy and beliefs, and that you would even mention it, if they're so important and bent on maintaining this secrecy, makes no sense at all. It looks like a call for attention, which you claim you desperately try to avoid. Now, with compelling evidence, this group you speak of would be accepted by a lot more people than you think. Ignorance is bliss, but so is lobotomy.
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        Jun 15 2013: "there is a probability,that an adept could convince a skeptic into a believer,tell me."

        Jaden, stranger things have happened.
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      Jun 15 2013: Is God not part of the collective everything?

      If there was nothing then there was nothing, including no gods.

      Bit of an internal paradox here.

      You may need to refine the wording
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      Jun 15 2013: "Now, with compelling evidence, this group you speak of would be accepted by a lot more people than you think. Ignorance is bliss, but so is lobotomy."

      I'll pass it on. I'm certain that they would love to know your view, that you feel that they should think their anonymity through more carefully than heretofore.

      "It looks like a call for attention, which you claim you desperately try to avoid."

      You've pigeonholed us. I hope we garner so much attention that we get lost in a forest of attention.

      Thanks for your concern, your encouragement, and your thoughfulness.
      • Jun 15 2013: Rereading my own post I saw I forgot to include something. I wasn't implying that it is a call for attention, but that's what it looks like. Besides, if a group of people would so happen to have unlocked this human potential (you're actually making me think of Shaolin Monks and the things they're able to do), I, for one, would think it's pretty darn awesome.
  • Jun 14 2013: God was created in man's image.
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      Jun 14 2013: "God was created in man's image."

      And still is. No two persons have the same idea of God, whether they're religious (believe in God) or atheist or agnostic. On this planet alone, we have more than 6 billion Gods, as that's the number of ideas of God in circulation.
  • Jun 13 2013: No one knows and no one can provide one piece of evidence for or against.
    This means both science and religion.

    However, it does appear that everything is about to, "poof" very soon.

    Both say there is more than the material, and on that both are probably correct.
    But neither side can actually prove anything because they cannot answer, "nothing".

    It all goes back to nothing, which no one can answer because it can't be proven.

    But it does appear that this came from nothing, in some way, shape or form, and might only be
    a virtual form not on the quantum level.

    In the realm of the universe however, we are so small that we are a quantum level. We are quanta.
    Every moment we have, is immediately gone and becomes the past as soon as it happens.

    This seems not unlike the virtual particles in photons (quarks?), popping in and out of existence.

    Nothing only has or holds one thing: potential
    The same that inhabits a photon.

    Though the Big Bang wasn't itself an actual explosion (it was an expansion),
    why isn't it possible that if there was a God (meaning a Creator), it was destroyed in this expansion?

    The more we learn that there is more than the material (and it is mind-boggling), and both religion and science tell us this, there must be some form of intelligence at play because humans cannot figure it out with theirs.
    The mathematical possibilities (the infinite potential) is so complex and yet works completely together throughout the entire universe (it's pretty big), that it defies any kind of coincidence one could possibly imagine.

    Einstein said the past, present and future are all here now. They all exist together.
    All mathematical possibilities currently exist right now, while all new mathematical possibilities (potentiality) are expanding exponentially at a speed maybe faster than light.

    Nothing is no thing.
    Only blackness.
    And black is the absorption of all light.
    Hence, it holds all things.

    Oh, the short answer? Sorry.
    I don't know.
  • Jun 12 2013: Are all presuppositions equal? Depends on what it is you're assuming, I guess. Some are more fanciful than others of course! As I said, a belief in God is (personally anyway) perfectly rational. I cannot accept the idea that in the beginning there was nothing, and nothing happened to the nothing to create some sort of bang/expansion and over billions of years we're all here. I think that is ludicrous.

    The Bible teaches God created original animal kinds. So there was a horse kind, wolf kind, bird kind, lion kind - you get the idea. Contained within each "kind" or family, was the potential for great diversification and variation. Thus, from the original wolf kind we get all sorts of dogs. The diversity and variation is amazing. As a Creationist, I believe in micro-evolution - that is to say, variation WITHIN a species. Macro-evolution requires a complete species change - i.e. dinosaur into bird; a dog evolving into a leopard, etc. So when one uses "evolution" yes, I believe in variation within a species, but not outside a species. Underneath a dog is really a wolf kind, albeit with great diversification. So in a sense yes there was an original "parent".

    Using the Bible as a basis, God created natural laws i.e. gravity. The physics of how things work, natural processes such as grass growing - of course that is natural because there is a natural law. I don't attribute its growth to some "magic being" making it grow. I would add God upholds those laws of nature.
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      Jun 12 2013: But you can accept something not having a cause capable of creating universes and existing in nothing.
      You do accept the universe coming from nothing, just with some agency to help it along rather than a natural process.


      I'm not saying you think magic is behind the things you accept have natural explanations, like a plant growing. But that is what your assumption about a magic being creating the universe or the animal kinds(whatever that is) looks to me.

      How do you decide what has a magical explanation and what doesn't. It sounds like its magic if the bible says so, or you can not grasp or accept how it might work naturally.

      Do you understand how a fertilised egg ends up a baby human. I don't fully. But by your approach if the bible said god made the babies I should believe some magic is involved not a complex natural process.

      I hope that is clearer. I'm drawing parallels between what you attribute to magic and don't , to point out how arbitrary it is attributing magic to things in nature based on ignorance and bible claims.
    • Jun 13 2013: Nobody said that dogs evolved into leopards.

      Can you identify the barrier that would stop separated populations from an original species changing so much that with time they would become completely different species? So far no scientist has found such barrier. Scientists keep witnessing populations diverging and diverging, and diverging, with no barrier stoping them so far. Some have become different species. Some with new anatomical features that allowed them to go from carnivores to herbivores, and such kind of things. No barriers. They keep diverging and looking less and less like each other.
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    • Jun 12 2013: i like what you said: god is an unthinkable entity. :)
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      Jun 12 2013: That is an interesting paradox. You are thinking and describing something as unthinkable and unknowable and claiming to know something about it.
    • Jun 12 2013: If He's unthinkable, how does he have the ability to map out our lives?

      What do yo mean by "religion"? I agree that pretty much every religion apart from what the Bible says is man-made. I personally think Christianity is not a religion. But a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
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          Jun 13 2013: So what you're saying is that god is unthinkable of yet we had to think of him to come up with the thought that he exists?
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          Jun 13 2013: I guess you mean we cannot know or comprehend gods nature

          If there are beings worthy of the name gods I tend to agree, because no one seems to be able to agree. But I suggest this is because there is no reliable evidence of their existence let alone there nature and whether they worry about what we wear or eat or got busy killing some animals and making some skin coats for Adam and Eve.

          The destiny aspect is interesting. You seem to be suggesting some agency or driving force.
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      Jun 12 2013: God interacts with humans through His emissary, The Holy Spirit. It is only by accepting Him into your life that you begin to actually feel His presence.
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        Jun 12 2013: Jonathan,
        I suggest that our thought process and feelings are so connected, that with any thought, idea or belief we choose to accept, we will "feel" it. What you, as an individual choose to "feel", does not necessarily mean that everyone will feel the same thing.
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          Jun 12 2013: Colleen,
          what did you feel? I only ask because of your Catholic upbringing and your near death experience.
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        Jun 12 2013: What did I feel about what Jonathan?
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          Jun 12 2013: I will put it another way, what was your experience with Christianity? If you do not feel that it is an invasive question?
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        Jun 12 2013: I do not feel it to be invasive Jonathan.....thanks for asking....I'll keep it simple, and I am glad to discuss more if you wish.

        I was born into a catholic family, and for the 19 years I studied and practiced that religion, I mostly felt that people within the group were not walking their talk. When I left my home of origin, I abandoned that religion because I felt that it was contradictory and hypocritical.

        Fast forward 23 years....
        I began exploring, researching, studying and practicing (at different times) various religious and philosophical beliefs, and I also revisited the catholic tradition as a study, not a practice.

        So, for about 40 years all together, I explored religions and philosophical beliefs in depth. I had a similar feeling with all of them.....the basic beliefs may have been good, and people within the organization were not walking their talk.

        The near death experience had nothing to do with religion or religious beliefs. I experienced my "self" as energy (no human characteristics), and observed the body on the bed in ICU. I believe that if the body died, which it was very close to, the energy that fueled the body would go back into the "universal grid" so the speak. I did not meet a god "out there".
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          Jun 12 2013: Thank you for sharing. I have had similar experiences with different Christian denoms. There was a lot of talk but not much walking. I just try to walk it as best i can with what i know. And of course to share about Him either when asked or in a "polite" discussion, such as here.
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        Jun 12 2013: You are welcome Jonathan. We all have many different life experiences, and what I shared is simply my experience. I am not attached to you or anyone believing it to be truth. It is only my truth, and it might be shared by some other folks.....or not.

        When you say things like everybody else's beliefs are false, it continues to divide and seperate, which seems to be a contradiction of the basics of religion, which tell us that we are all one.....interconnected....made in the image and likeness of god.

        I really believe that we are all interconnected, and I also believe that we all have different interpretations of everything. As I said in my first comment to you.....I respect your beliefs as your beliefs, AND I recognize our interconnedtedness. I respect the fact that we have different interpretations of information, and I accept that. I have no need to try to convince you that my interpretation and belief is "right". You see how we are a little different in that respect?
  • Jun 12 2013: Obey1, creationists and evolutionists, Christians and non-Christians all have the same evidence - the same facts. Think about it: we all have the same earth, fossil layers, the same animals and plants, the same stars and planets - the facts are the same. The difference is in the way we all interpret them! And we interpret facts differently because we all start with different assumptions. Those things we assume to be true but cannot actually prove them. Our presuppositions thus become the basis of our reasoning. We are both looking at the same evidence (.e.g the fossils, the world, etc) but looking at it through different glasses i.e. different starting points in our thinking. The Christian's immediate starting point is the Bible. The non-Christian's starting point is usually an evolutionary secular point: there is no such thing as miracles, God doesn't exist, and all religion is man-made (along similar sort of lines anyway) so therefore I interpret this world, its origins, its future with evolutionary-tinted spectacles on.

    The Bible never sets out to prove the existence of God. It's assumed. It never denies His existence. And I don't personally think that is an unreasonable assumption. As a Christian I believe the Bible gives me the foundation on which to build my thinking; how to interpret events around me; the meaning and purpose of my life and others. When I look at the stars, the shape of the earth (and the fact it's just hanging in the blackness of space), the moon, the planets - I simply cannot fathom how people think it came into existence by the operation of some sort of bang or whatever theory evolutionists ascribe to the universe's existence. In the same way I don't look at a house and think "My, what a wonderful piece of evolution!" I simply cannot apply the same reasoning to this universe. Therefore I cannot help but assume there is a God.
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      Jun 12 2013: I agree in part.

      Although some creationists refute evidence pointing to an old earth or universe. It is not so much interpretation.

      Also are all predispositions equal?

      I saw some new grass in the garden. An immaterial (whatever that means) god did it, or faeries, or aliens, or invisible creatures from another dimension. Or perhaps it was some natural process. Are predispositions to elusive supernatural beings really equally valid to a predisposition to natural processes backed by much evidence?

      I suggest the bible starting point is equal to the Koran and to Babylonian creation myths, to any religious creation myth you can think of involving elusive agency with the power to make everything look like it does. Or simply magic etc. And interpret the observations and scriptures or claims in a way that minimizes dissonance.

      Also supernatural causation has limited explanatory power and reproducability.
      Theists dive in and out of natural and supernatural processes and explanations depending on what the state of science is and what they choose to accept.

      Magic and the supernatural can superficially explain anything you want. Whereas natural explanations say in the areas you can fathom do proposal meaningful mechanisms consistent with evidence

      I could go on.

      Your inability to fathom how people seeing no evidence for gods and plenty for natural processes is not really evidence in support of Yahweh doing it is it?

      If you didn't understand germ theory you could blame Yahweh or the devil if you got sick.

      I guess you can tell the difference between a house and a tree. Do houses have DNA and sexually reproduce? Do trees require someone to build them? Or do they grow naturally? There is a difference between nature and the artifacts created by biological agents such as ourselves.

      The fact you can not accept the sun, moon and stars and life via natural processes is not really evidence that a god did it.

      If you could not accept the complexity of snowflakes, then god
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      Jun 12 2013: I waffle sometimes.

      So basically you assume a universe creator because you see the universe and no other explanation you understand makes sense to you?

      No evidence no mechanism. Just that you don't think it could happen without some magic being.

      Personally, that is just not a good enough reason for me.

      I can understand the sentiment. I recall a fellow student at high school some years back, hitting the desk saying it can not be made of atoms that are 99.99999% empty space or his hand would go through it.

      I suggest if you really think about it you will be able to fathom why some of us don't think incredulity or ignorance or the assumption of agency without evidence is sufficient reason to resort to the circular but comfortable reasoning that a universe needs a universe creator even if the universe creator is not explained. To me it is akin to saying its magic.

      Also I suggest the more you understand evolution, DNA mapping, the tree of life, the biological evidence consistent with common descent then you might at least accept that it fits the observations well and is not ridiculous, even if you disagree.

      One thing I do struggle with is how knowing about evolution and DNA and seeing shared biology and similarities with other apes, and other mammals, then other vertebrates - milk feeding young, skeletons, camera eyes, respiration, circulation, brains, immune systems, sexual reproduction etc that to some common descent is stilled deemed ludicrous.
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    Jun 11 2013: All answers are right:
    1. YES - I believe there is a god
    2. NO - I believe there is not a god
    3. I don't know - I don't believe
    So, it is a matter of belief.
    In General, the question of God's existence is meaningless because you can not test it logically nor empirically
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      Jun 11 2013: But which beliefs are closest to the truth?

      I suggest not all beliefs are equal in this regards.

      Some have reasonable evidence. Others are mere speculation.
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      Jun 12 2013: Truth is not decisive.
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      Jun 12 2013: Hi Renee,

      Your contribution made me think of something Leonard Susskind wrote:

      "If I were to flip a coin a million times, I'd be damn sure I wasn't going to get all heads. I'm not a betting man, but I'd be so sure that I'd bet my life or my soul on it...I'm absolutely certain that the laws of large numbers---probability theory--will work and protect me. All of science is based on it." And yet, he concluded, "I can't prove it, and I don't really know why it works."

      Here we see how he, one of the leading scientists in today's world, takes on faith one of the most basic precepts of his own field. It is true for us also. Many of us believe we are right, but our believe is really based on the fact that someone else believes the same thing. We did not arrive at our conclusions independent of others, but because of others.

      Sooner or later, we will all find out what is the truth regarding God.
      In the meantime, it's best to be educated about your choices and keep an open mind.
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        Jun 12 2013: This is going to sound really sarcastic, "20 Million Elvis fans can't be wrong!" There are people who thought that he either faked his death or it was exaggerated. And i HATED that class in college. I never could wrap my brain around probability theory. This post really has nothing to do with the subject, i just had a little laugh at the thought of that saying!!!!!
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          Jun 12 2013: Actually no, what you said doesn't sound sarcastic at all Jonathan.

          Isn't it amazing the way of brains make connections and then all kinds of information gets shared instantaneously with other individuals and we walk away with new perspectives?

          I was very impressed when I read that quote by Leonard Susskind.

          I have been enjoying your respectful tone, and the way you are sharing your beliefs with us.
          Thank you Jonathan.
  • Jun 10 2013: Why do we still need gods? They were created by men at least 5,000 years ago, we know their reasons, an we still need gods?
    We must learn to live understanding that there is no god, there is nothing beyond death, life purpose depends only of ourselves and none else, and we are lucky to be alive, or at least, many are lucky
  • Jun 9 2013: I think the origin of the universe is much more complicated than the big bang theory, or a god. I think many people use the word god as a name for the universe. You hear all the time that "god is everywhere", so I take that as giving matter a name. When people use the word "miracle" more time then not they are trying to describe an event that happened that they have no explanation for. There for a god that makes miracles could also mean an unknown reason for something great that happened in the universe.

    The big bang theory is about a good a guess as there being a god.

    I think the origin of the universe, or the universe in general is out of our spectrum of senses. Even with all of the technology and our little understanding of the universe (we do know much more than we could have imagined 100 years ago) we cannot truly understand it because we cannot sense it. I imagine it being like the scenario Plato had described when talking about the fire that allowed people in a cave to see the shadows on the wall but did not and could not truly understand where the shadows were coming from (people and animals walking past the fire creating the shadows)and there was no way they could know because they were confined by chains (or in our case our senses). Unlike the people in Plato's scenario we cannot break free of our chains and see what is really there because our biology only allows us to see the shadows.
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    Jun 9 2013: Tio be honest with you I always tell people to define (or describe) to the best of their ability what they mean when they say "God" or "Existence". You find this problem instantly when you talk to people who believe in God, considering they have slightly different perceptions of what "God" is.
    The problem I find with defining God as "omniscient omnipotent omni-benevolent" (or time-less, space-less) being is that the Greek Gods aren't Gods then. Considering many Gods have not had these attributes.
    Then the problem arises of can a "timeless, space-less being" truly exist? (Logically?)
    Yet defining (or describing) existence becomes even harder...
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      Jun 9 2013: Well, "There can be only one", oh no wait, that's from Highlander. "You shall have no other gods before me" I think is what God says. So the greek gods naturally weren't gods if you believe in the great all-mother. Father, I mean father, of course god has a penis, I sometimes get him confused with the mother Gaia because of how many people give them the same attributes.

      There are about a gazillion logical problems with the existence of any God as described by any theistic view.

      (And I do the definition thing on people all the time as well.)
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        Jun 9 2013: Good point!
        Yet then you have to (in my opinion) treat each God differently, if you can't find a suitable definition for all of them! Might be wrong though.
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          Jun 9 2013: In my opinion treating any God in any way is like being cruel to your imaginary friend. It only wastes your time and fills you with delusions.
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        Jun 9 2013: I'm not sure with the "It only wastes your time and fills you with delusions", seems I'v wasted 2 years of my life studying theology! (:P)
        How is questioning the imaginary friend being "cruel", I don't see this logic at all.
        However it is an amusing debate to be had! :P
        Personally I don't feel any "new" argument for the existence of God have come up in a while... (Just a thought). As always a "absence of evidence, is not a evidence of absence" (a weak argument I know, while it is intellectually honest). Personally I don't feel the burden of proof really matters if you want to find out how much "truth" there is to the claim. Yet I do feel that the person making the claim should provide some sound reason (or evidence) for his (or her) claim.
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          Jun 9 2013: What I meant was that it's the same as trying to be cruel TO an imaginary friend, it doesn't really do anything.

          Well, you got an inside understanding of how a part of religion works, that can be useful.

          The rest I agree with.
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    Jun 7 2013: Look, just because your elders and parents believe in something does not mean you have to. I learned this very early on. I could not accept the fact of an invisible man in the back of mind which is just myself talking to myself. If there is a god, biblical genesis is just a terrible way of assuming. Everything did not just "poof" either. It took 13.75 billion years to get where we are now. Don't just put your faith in something based on traditional standards, believe what you think is true. Not what you want to be true.
    • Jun 8 2013: when i was younger, i based it on tradition but when i got older, i started to stand on myself. people here even found it odd for me to have not believed in god like my grandmother.

      i started reading and reading different books, which was why i opened up and started questioning. it led me to my belief right now. :)
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        Jun 8 2013: It's good that you explored your options, i was the same way. Around 12, I started questioning how any of this could even be true if it's contradictory to science. And then i started exploring the internet and information in books which they try so hard to keep away from you at a young age. We've both ended up at about the same spot. I'm open to anything, but as Stephen Hawkins says, the universe does not even have a place for a deity anymore.
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        Jun 8 2013: Cheyenne and Brendan,
        I agree that exploration is good, rather than blindly accepting information that is given to us.
        I was 6 when I started questioning, because it was time to make my "first communion" in the catholic tradition, and one of the requirements was to go to confession because I was told I was born a sinner. WHAT? I'm only a little 6 year old kid....I'm not a sinner....I didn't do anything wrong.....what are you talking about? What kind of a god would send a little kid to this beautiful earth, and right away tell him/her that s/he would always be trying to get out from under the label of sinner? That didn't make any sense to me, so even though I had to practice that religion while living with my family, I was very open to questioning and learning, as I still am.
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    Jun 7 2013: To be honest there may be a God. I just don't know!
    I can conformable say it is very unlikely...
    • Jun 7 2013: there might be. hmmm. well, there actually is because we created him.
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        Jun 7 2013: Then it is equally right to say that there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster, we created that too, and unicorns and everything else that doesn't exist.
        Only we haven't created it we have thought it up, there's a vast difference.
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          Jun 7 2013: Cheyenne and Jimmy,
          Thoughts are our own creation.....are they not?
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        Jun 7 2013: Well.
        To answer that I need to know you definition (or description) of :
        "Existence" (or "real") and "God".
        I mean you could equally argue two things :
        1. "God" put this into us, to enter a relationship with us!
        2. It is our perception of "God".
        Though I personally don't believe this.
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        Jun 7 2013: Our thoughts exist in our minds yes. But they have no influence in the real world other then the carrier of those thoughts.

        So simply say that "God exists", without very clearly adding "only in our heads!" only strengthens the thoughts of those that already read what they wish to read.

        But your statement is true Colleen ^^
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          Jun 7 2013: I think thoughts DO have influence in the real world Jimmy, when combined with the thoughts of others....yes?

          The belief in a god, for example, fuels many religions in a way that causes a great deal of chaos in our god.....your god.....which one is the real god....we kill those who do not believe in our god.....those who don't believe in our god/my god are going to hell....those who do not believe in our god/my god are devils.............get the idea?

          So, I believe these thoughts, which manifest into actions which adversly impact lots of people do, in fact influence the real world.
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          Jun 7 2013: What would be outside of mind? I am not a Solipsist, at least not by the quick google search that I did, I still believe in "others" mind as well as the outside world I just can't get passed the idea of reality external to mind or observation. So let me see if I can explain it this way. Does a tree make a sound when it falls in the woods? For me if no mind was present that being a simple ants mind or my mind, we simply could not have the concept of tree or sound. So with an "absolute" no mind present for observation or reflection. Then even the idea of tree could not exist. Does this make sense? So therefore nothing can be outside of "mind"(think broad definition)

          And then of course I would love empirical proof you have seen a "tree"
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        Jun 7 2013: Cheyenne Archuleta ,
        You are walking your self right into the longest debate in i don't know infinity. Which came first the chicken or the egg?

        We did create god when man became self reflective. See 2 reptilian brain. However If god is light or energy or chemical or whatever would it/he/she been first?
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          Jun 7 2013: I agree Casey.......this debate could, and probably will, go on forever:>)

          The sad part about the god/no god debate is that it divides and seperates people, which is the opposite of what religions preach.

          Most religions started out with underlying teachings/beliefs that we are all one, interconnected, made in the image and likeness of a god, etc., Throughout history, however, we see how religions and a belief in a god becomes a destructive challenge in our world. That is why I perceive so many religious beliefs and religious people to contradict the very basis of their own beliefs and religions.....what do you think?
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        Jun 7 2013: I, wholeheartedly agree! That is the only absolute truth there has ever been, and will ever be. The problem has come in how do you explain it. The idea is very complex and what does that mean as far as the separation of object? One could go insane or even suicidal trying to wrap their head around this very simple and oddly fundamental idea with all of the implications that it implies. Because the ultimate struggle is taking on all the implications of infinity and what does that mean. Fortunately or unfortunately I believe I can explain from almost every implication possible, and the best part is they wouldn't be my answers they would be ours. The hard part is figuring out how to make it common sense to other. And that I am working on and struggling with, its easy to read my friends thought patterns so I can basically mirror them, I have been doing all of my life. It's hard to read a new acquaintance and its even harder to do it online.

        Within infinity everything is arbitrary. That is a hard reality to swallow when you are trying to figure out the meaning of life on some simple concept. Other than the one you already mentioned
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        Jun 7 2013: I'm not sure if you are saying we created a universe creating being so that it exists as something more than a concept, or whether we created the concept of gods and goddess (and nature spirits, and demons, and angels, faerie etc)
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        Jun 8 2013: Those rather arrogant '4 postulates of God' that I talk about here & elsewhere support that notion. "There is a God because we created Him." Science has described and is beginning to understand both the developmental psychology & the anthropology behind that. But that is not the whole story.

        God is a big part of how we deal with what we don't understand, what we don't control, and what we DO FEAR! God is a big part of how we deal with death and the end of our own unique consciousness. That shared experience -- even if it is only the fear that we all share; can be and is at the root of much hope.
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    Jun 6 2013: The title question really has changed a lot....
    • Jun 7 2013: a lot of debates have been conducted just for this question. tsk tsk tsk. but hey, it's new knowledge if "they" come up with some credible answer. :)
  • Jun 6 2013: yes
  • Jun 5 2013: Define God. If I say I believe in God most people in my country would think I mean Jesus Christ.
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      Jun 6 2013: That is a central part that many miss. There are a lot of different ways to look at god and I would probably go so far as to say that Pantheism ( The belief that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God,[1] or that the universe (or nature) is identical with divinity.[2] Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal or anthropomorphic god.) is many ways closer to atheism then say Christianities (meta)physical, human like God.

      For many god is a feeling not a well defined thought.
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      Jun 7 2013: If you are in the USA, most people where you live from 500 years ago would not have heard of Jesus let alone believed in him. A few thousand years ago Yahwah was a small tribal god in the Levant. 10,000 years ago yahweh hadn't been invented. 30,000 years ago the limited evidence we have points to belief in fertility or Mother Goddesses (or maybe the statues are just toys). 500,000 years ago no homo sapiens. etc.

      I'm not sure if the most popular gods or goddess concept at a particular time or place is any better than any other.
  • Jun 5 2013: God is infinite.

    Alpha and Omega

    omniscience, all-knowing

    omnipresence, all-present/all-seeing

    omnipotence, all-power

    And it's not possible to fully explain infinity, because it would take an infinite amount of time to do so.

    ‎"Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It's like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can't trust my own thinking, of course I can't trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God." —C.S. Lewis
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      Jun 6 2013: Well science has shown time and time again that you can't trust only your thinking, instead you should rely on evidence to support (or negate) your thinking. -Simple reasoning
      • Jun 6 2013: But don't you have to think about evidence to rely on it? How can you not trust your own thinking? If I think, "that other thought of mine was wrong" I am now trusting my current thought about my previous one being wrong. How can you distrust your current thought?
        And what is evidence? If I were to get shot by a nerf gun every time I heard a bell ring, I would think that the bell is evidence of being shot by a nerf gun (and I would start flinching at the sound of the bell in anticipation of being shot). Does that now "evidence" of my thinking mean all bells and nerf guns are related to each other?
        And what is reasoning without thought? How is "simple reasoning" possible without thought?
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          Jun 6 2013: You have to think about it and test it with evidence. Because you can think anything up and it will work as long as you give those thoughts the proper conditions (like you did with the Nerf gun), it is only when it is tested against reality that we can see if our hypothesis is still valid, if it is we think of more ways to test it and it becomes stronger every time it holds, that's why Einsteins theory of relativity is so strong, no tests have been able to prove it wrong.

          I would say that simple reasoning includes both thought and evidence.

          It all comes down to your epistemology view( the branch of philosophy that aims to understand knowledge)

          Here's a Youtube video describing my view on it (Don't be discouraged by the title).

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          Jun 7 2013: Surely you can see this line of thinking that you can either trust everything from your mind or you can not trust anything you think is a false dichotomy.

          Some of our thinking helps us build buildings, develop medicines and computers like the ones we are using to discuss this. These things work so we must be getting something right. Other times we think the tooth fairy is real and the sun rotates the earth.

          You can't really blame them for the sun thing. Just from sitting on the ground there are several options. It is moving or we are moving and it seems like we are not moving.

          So are you saying we can not be reasonably confident with the evidence we now have that the earth is rotating causing the day/night cycle because we sometimes get stuff wrong?
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          Jun 9 2013: Yes Don, you are blindfolded and it's probably not your fault... They lied to you as a kid and now you simply don't know any better.But take of the blindfold Don!
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    Jun 4 2013: Cheyenne. if you believe and you need God then, he exists. Faith is all you need.
    If you are just wondering then, keep wondering. This is the journey to enlightment.
    • Jun 4 2013: they said when you question, it means you're growing. :) and your statements are exactly right. thank you sir sergi :)
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      Jun 5 2013: I'm not sure believing in something makes it exist other than as an idea or mental construct.
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    Jun 3 2013: I believe in the existence of God, but I don't believe there's a mathematical proof for his existence. (That's why we call it faith).

    To me, all it takes to believe is to wander around with an open eye and no prerequisites of what we want to see.
    • Jun 4 2013: as i once said: we don't need religion; we just need faith :)

      thank you for your answer.
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        Jun 4 2013: Cheyenne, Religion is too deep to dwell on if you're still in doubt of God's existence.
        • Jun 4 2013: really? you need a god to dwell on religion?
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        Jun 4 2013: Oh, why would I treat such a beautiful world as a murder trial?!

        The world is full of uncertainty, and I'm not afraid of it.
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    Jun 3 2013: Hi Cheyenne ,
    I agree with Pat below. Nothing in science ever goes 'poof' all by itself. To believe that the universe did so, in all it's complexity, takes an awful lot of faith. So I go for God.
    I see from your bio that you like movies. Try this one for size...

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      Jun 3 2013: Hi Peter,

      Do you mean that it requires less faith to believe in God then to believe in the big bang?
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          Jun 3 2013: I found it very interesting that he said that "a poof" requires a great deal of faith so he chooses to view the faith in god as a smaller leap of faith...

          Don't you pride yourself in your measurement of faith, the bigger leap being Big Bang in this case should then seem a more reasonable explanation.

          And Don, I have only the written word here, and yes I consider myself a skeptic. What was your point with this comment?
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          Jun 5 2013: Don, what is wrong with being skeptical?
          What is wrong with looking for evidence before believing something?
          Seems very reasonable to me.

          Your skeptics inc comment is a bit sad. But glad there is more than one skeptic around or we'd still be believing all sorts of nonsense and living in the dark ages.
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          Jun 5 2013: How was that political?
          Please point me to how it was political in any way.
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          Jun 6 2013: Is this a political conversation?
          Seems like science, religion, theism etc
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        Jun 4 2013: Hi Jimmy,

    • Jun 4 2013: sir peter, thank you for the video. and i guess sometimes, when we can't anymore answer some things, we just have to think about God and let God. :)
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      Jun 5 2013: Maybe universes do go poof by themselves. I don't know.
      The origins of a universe is probably in a category all by itself.
      Most of science relates to what goes on in time and space with matter and energy.
      I note theists think some sort of being can exist outside or time and space without a cause.
      Not sure why, other than intuitively trying to explain a gap in our understanding.
      Once you open the the door to this sort of speculation with no evidence you can imagine many different explanations and imaginary dimensions, beings, and supernatural explanations.
  • Jun 3 2013: There might be some sort of divine entity, but a god in the classical sense seems absurd to me.
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    Jun 3 2013: Things don't just poof all by themselves.
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          Jun 5 2013: Why do you think it is BS?
          I personally don't know enough about the origin of the universe to say a lot, but it seems very circular to assume there is an unexplained, undetectable, unverifiable universe creator to explain how the universe came to be.
          Seems to me that people can't really know if this sort of thing can or does exist. It's just a big guess.
          There is just as much evidence that 10 billion beings from another dimension made our universe as a high school project.
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        Jun 4 2013: Well Don I am very serious about insouciance.
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    Jun 17 2013: Is Is?

    Looks to be so. But not not seems closer to reality.

    I cannot say about this "god" thing tho - it sounds like an empty word used for politics.

    Pry this god apart - whatever you find in that empty container is what was put there by manipulators and psychopaths.
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    Jun 16 2013: I believe in God so everything is meaningful for me.
    But as God have not been proven for me, I cant prove the existence of God for any others. Actually the existence of God is not provable. But Proving that God is not exist is as impossible as proving the existence of him. because not only the concept of God, before we believe in, is the proposal creature of the universe but also all of its rules. So we can use no formula about him. In the other words, proposal God would not be one of the components of the universe.
    If this without prove belief is very strange for you, just think that I have bet my life on it.
    If God is really a God, he can place faith in his believers' heart and remove any kinds of doubts from their souls and minds.
    I believe in God and everything is meaningful for me and I suggest others to believe in him so.
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    Jun 15 2013: It sounds like we almost completely agree on this subject. I think my explanation of it is a bit less refined then yours though. I was still using God and Energy interchangeably when I said we try to hold onto God for as long as we can. Like you I believe energy inevitably changes forms. Life forms seem to try and hold onto that energy, and they even evolve to make more efficient use of that energy. Eventually however that energy cant be contained any longer and it goes forth into time, infinitely.
    I'm still trying to refine this entire line of thought, and I'm glad to see someone else is thinking along the same lines. I probably need to rein in my ideas a bit and be more precise with my points, after looking back at what I've wrote it looks a little too whimsical.
  • Jun 15 2013: (Cont;d)... this is my last one..
    Christ claimed to reveal God, which means He obviously attested to His existence in the first place. If God became man, then you would expect him to:
    1. Have an unusual entrance into this life (i.e. the Virgin birth - read the early portions of Matt and Luke)
    2. Be without sin - John 8:46 and a whole host of other verses
    3. Manifest the supernatural in the form of miracles - which were recorded by eyewitnesses (i.e. the Gospels)
    4. Have an acute sense of difference - even the Koran refers to him as the greatest above all, even the prophet Mohammed
    5. Speak the greatest words ever spoken e.g. I am the way, the truth and the life; "never did a man speak the way this man speaks" (John 7:46)
    6. Have a lasting and universal influence - again, millions of people believe in God through Christ across the world
    7. Exercise power over death - He rose again from the dead. A true life historical fact.

    When someone seriously examines the evidence of Christ, and what he did and claimed, and the lasting impression he's had over 2000 years, the existence of God becomes a question that is immediately answered.
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      Jun 15 2013: I guess Jesus was a very charismatic and enlightened individual.

      Did he do and say everything attributed to him in the bible. I don't know.

      Did he resurrect. I don't know. I suggest it is far from a historical fact, just like we don't know if Adam, Eve, Noah or Abraham ever existed, or that a donkey talked, or that a man lived in a whale, or an angel ordered Hagar to go back to her slave owner and accept her mistreatment, I could go on and on.

      What I do know is that even if he did resurrect, we don't really know how. It also doesn't automatically follow he is a god. And a resurrection is not really evidence of universe creation or any other unsubstantiated claims.

      Not everyone assumes the bible or Koran or whatever is a reliable source of information in all regards.

      You obviously do, but I suggest there are parts that clash with science and others that we simply do not have sufficient information to verify one way or the other.

      I would normally ask why you believe the bible is true, but I probably can guess the answers and go over old ground refuting these.

      Its probably enough to point out that many see no rationale reason to believe the entire bible literally, and that asserting your conclusions on a premise many don't accept is a dead end.

      Does the bible says that Jesus said "I am God"? And even if he did, saying it, and even resurrecting doesn't make him God necessarily. He certainly never said he was an omni god. He could be a god, but we doubt have enough evidence to reasonably support this I suggest. I guess that is where faith comes in.
  • Jun 15 2013: (Cont'd)
    I challenge anyone to consider the person and claims of Christ. Not one recognised religious leader, not Moses, Paul, Buddha, Mohammed, have ever claimed to be God. That is, apart from Jesus Christ. Christ is the ONLY leader who has ever claimed to be deity and the only individual who has convinced a great proportion of the world that he is God.

    He claimed to be God, He received worship as God and accepted it (Matthew 8:2; John 9:35-39), was affirmed to be God by at least 400 people - including Paul, John the Baptist, Titus, Peter the apostle (and all of them in fact). He claimed he could forgive sins, to be immutable, to be "life eternal" (John 14:6), ascribed himself as Jehovah (which was the reason he was condemned and crucified by the Jews).

    Either Christ was telling the truth or he wans't. Either He knew his claims were false (in which case he was a liar, a hypocrite, a demon and a fool) or didn't know they were false (in which case he was sincerely deluded and a lunatic) or... His claims were true. Which leaves people with only 2 options: accept or reject them.
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      Jun 15 2013: Actually in addition to the options that Jesus was telling the truth, lying or deluded, he might also have been misunderstood, or the people who wrote the gospels decades after the evens may have gotten the details wrong, or they could have made stuff up to create a legend etc etc.

      Even if he made these claims that doesn't make them true. Resurrecting doesn't even prove he is a god that can create universes.

      Also you saying his claims were true does not make them true.
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    Jun 15 2013: Lets hope this god does not exist:

    I do believe in hell. I do believe that God flooded the planet. He flooded the planet to get rid of the wicked humans, He saved Noah, He had His reasons. He promised not to do that again. I don't see the jealousy in that, just "good housekeeping". Ha Ha Ha.
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    Jun 15 2013: Wil, re:

    I'll recant when science can show me incontrovertibly that it has sourced mind in brain and life in body. But, frankly, I'm not holding my breath.

    This is reminiscent of a classic fallacy. An argument from ignorance. You will believe what you want until science figures out the real explanation. Like god of the gaps.

    Your speculative view is not the only speculative view possible while we have a partial understanding.

    But I commend you in that you will at least revise your speculative beliefs in the face of evidence to the contrary. I would like to think I would do the same if we found compelling evidence of some spiritual realm or agency.

    Where we differ then is more just around whether your position is justified given our current state of knowledge.
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      Jun 15 2013: "You will believe what you want until science figures out the real explanation. Like god of the gaps."

      Are we really different in this regard? You're willing to accept science's incomplete explanation, which, from all I've read, is as speculative as how you regard my explanation.

      Yes, I will accept my knowledge of what is rather than wait for science to catch up to prove, or disprove, my claims.

      Even the "partial understanding" you accord science is as "magical" as any I've proposed, and is as redolent of the supernatural. If M-theory, which posits self-generating matter, and several dimensions of spacetime, doesn't fit that description, nothing does.

      "But I commend you in that you will at least revise your speculative beliefs in the face of evidence to the contrary."

      Yet, I'm assured that my knowledge of Life and of Mind, and my brief presentation here, which you've characterized as "speculative beliefs," aren't threatened by science.

      "Where we differ then is more just around whether your position is justified given our current state of knowledge."

      Where we differ is in how we interpret the evidence, and the "current state of knowledge" before us. There's nothing coming forth from theoretical physics which I would regard as sufficiently compelling to persuade me to jettison either my knowledge, my position, or my experience.

      From what I gather, theoretical physics, including quantum physics, is barking up my supposed "supernatural" tree, and is hunting in my "magical" fields. Just think: If the physical properties of the universe are so amazing, how amazing then are the properties of that which brought it all into existence?

      By the way, I have no problem with "your position." Given what little science knows about the totality of the universe, it's more than "justified."
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        Jun 15 2013: The origin of the universe is not an area where I have a good understanding of even the best science we currently have.

        I am aware certain parts of science are more speculative than others
        E.g my understanding is we don't have any comprehensive and established theories on the origin of life, whereas evolution is well established.

        And some things change as we learn more.

        It seems reasonable to provisionally accept what is well established and be aware that in some areas, frankly we don't know.

        I work in a research facility, so I'm aware of the practicalities. Its not really blind faith., although it seems to me that science is one of the best tools we have for understanding the universe, albeit imperfectly and with gaps etc.

        As stated before my position is we don't know if agency brought the universe into being. And if we assume for a second that some agency did, you have the same questions about the agency, and this is where theists often start making a special cause that there cause does not need a cause.

        I also acknowledge you may have it mostly right. I would guess though that your beliefs have refined over the years and are probably identical to what you might have believed in the past.

        And you are probably right about the interpretation of evidence thing. I don't know precisely what evidence you are referring to but there are many different revelations or subjective experience interpretations and they can not all be correct. But they could all be wrong in some way.

        Yes plenty of weird and wonderful stuff in the quantum world. I'm not aware of the science pointing to any agency. The material universe in all its glory and complexity is stranger than we could imagine in some ways.
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        Jun 17 2013: Truly, I just think that this response proves that religious people just don't understand science as thoroughly. Nor do they trust it.
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          Jun 17 2013: Brendan, I'm certain that I don't understand science as well as you, although I did excel in biology, geology (and can tell schist from Shinola), and chemistry, and read a college-level book on physics while in grade school.

          Further, I try really hard to keep up with new scientific breakthroughs, and I know the difference between a belief in God and a belief in the god particle (the theorized Higgs Bosan), which was recently detected using the Large Hadron Collider, a prediction of the standard model.

          And you're also right again about my "trust" of science. I don't trust it. What science giveth, it can also taketh away, providing a downside for every upside. For example, science provided nuclear energy--a source that can provide abundant energy, or "make our day."

          So I plead for a little understanding and a little slack. We can't all be scientific whizzes, or have science quotients to rival every top scientist in every scientific discipline.
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    Jun 14 2013: Entropy, I HAVE looked at text books all my life, well kindergarten through my BA in education anyway. The way the texts present science IS watered down according to the degree of understanding of the age group of the students the book is being presented to. This IS dangerous. I remember seeing a science book classifying human beings into different races and attributing achievable knowledge to the color of skin, and other physical features. This of course was wrong, but did its damage to a whole nation anyway. I surmise that evolution will be looked at the same way in the future.
    • Jun 14 2013: So your current standard is a racist book from late 19th century or maybe early 20th?

      I remember the textbooks used for science when I was a kid, through middle school and high-school, and, while watered down, they did not present anything as a final absolute answer. All of them had that cautious language that some of those snake-oil salesmen from creationism mock: "the current explanation ...", "the best scientific explanation so far ...", "the latest discoveries indicate ...". As per current textbooks, same thing. The caution of science is everywhere even if the materials are "watered down" according to the level of knowledge expected from the students. I know because I have had to check and choose textbooks for several basic courses at high-school and early undergrad levels.

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        Jun 16 2013: good, maybe you can take what you can from here and try to bridge a gap in your classroom
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        Jun 14 2013: Among all the references you presented here, i love this quote,
        " Attempts to present them in the same context can only lead to misunderstandings of both."
        It is so true. Unfortunately, K-12 "science" classes have to water down the concepts to a degree that makes the presentation of such concepts absolute and irrefutable. The same article even states that this is not so. If the "theory of evolution" were presented in such a way that states that it is the leading explanation of how things came to be, backed by the scientific process, and that it can at any time be replaced by another, (if evidence is found to be contradictory,) then perhaps the animosity would quiet down. but hard hardheadedness on both sides of the coin prevent this from happening.
        thank you for the references
        • Jun 14 2013: Of course we present scientific findings that very way. We don't say that the current findings are final and absolute. We do say that such is the current understanding.

          Check a few textbooks. But do it yourself. Creationists charlatans are well known for their tendency to deform and misquote.

          The animosity won't quiet down because some people have vested interests in keeping the population ignorant. Some other people are really just sincerely against anything that contradicts their beliefs. Then snake-oil salesmen see the opportunity of the combination of ignorance and belief to make loads of money out of the ignorant masses who don't like what science is finding.
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        Jun 15 2013: Some excellent references Jimmy. And not just because it backs up my views, but some promote a view where faith is gods can be compatible with science including evolution. And a reminder that not all religious views are fundamentalist and dangerous.

        Thank you

        - Evolution is science, however, and only science should be taught and learned in science classes.

        - Isn’t belief in evolution also a matter of faith?
        Acceptance of evolution is not the same as a religious belief. Scientists’ confidence about the occurrence of evolution is based on an overwhelming amount of supporting evidence gathered from many aspects of the natural world. To be accepted, scientific knowledge has to withstand the scrutiny of testing, retesting, and experimentation. Evolution is accepted within the scientific community because the concept has withstood extensive testing by many thousands of scientists for more than a century.

        “Evidence-based facts about the origins and evolution of the Earth and of life on this planet have been established by numerous observations and independently derived......
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    Jun 14 2013: How do you define everything.

    If a god is not part of everything then perhaps it is nothing, or non existent.
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    Jun 14 2013: wow, if memory serves me, all the fallacies you just stated were perpetrated and violently enforced by the Catholic hierarchy. Again, to base the Christian religion off of Catholic dogma is just wrong. And the existence of a global flood has been proven since the 80's, by scientists.
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      Jun 14 2013: A global flood is not mainstream science as far as I know.

      A scientist putting forward a dodgy thesis is not proof.

      Any reliable and reputable peer reviewed sources on your claim a global flood is proven? Or some documentary by Christians.
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        Jun 14 2013: I will "Google" it. And promise not to give you WIKIPEDIA as a reference. : )
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        Jun 14 2013: I tried hard to look for NON Christian based references to the flood. Here are some that i found:

        These all talk about a "local" flood, localized to the Mediterranean area.
        here is another, this guy actually wrote a book on it:

        Although he states in the interview, of the last reference, “If your world is small enough, all floods are global,” David Montgomery said.

        I also saw a History Channel special on this subject, about a localized ICE DAM breaking and a torrent of water flooding the whole existence of the Mediterranean world.

        Here are two compelling articles FOR my argument:

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          Jun 15 2013: most of these don't support a global flood. In fact one point you make is that a big flood may be interpreted as a global event even if it is not. I have no issues with ordinary floods that are above the average intensity, one in 100 year events etc.

          Answers in genesis is a christian creationist site and not mainstream science. It will help you reinforce your beliefs because it always assumes the bible is correct first.

          Can we agree that the global flood as described in the bible is not the current best scientific explanation accepted by scientists.

          I have no issue with the possibility of a big flood inspiring Babylonian myths that the Hebrews borrowed.
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        Jun 15 2013: "You seem to be suggesting those who don't find what you consider evidence sufficient or compelling must be stubbornly committed to a position of not believing."

        Others may choose to believe or not to believe. In that I have no preference. It changes nothing. All things stay the same with or without their believing.

        "Is this how you justify your view in light of all those who don't find it sufficient."

        I have no need to "justify [my] view." And they can find it "sufficient" or insufficient. Their choice.

        "Not one person who thinks you don't have enough evidence who might shift if there were a little more evidence or a more sound argument?"

        Evidence abounds. But it won't be seen as such as long as we choose not to see it as such. There's a gold vein of evidence, a mother lode of evidence, but for some it will still be so much fool's gold. I can't change that.

        "It actually looks like you are acting in a way similar to those you describe as inflexible in the face of evidence."

        That's because you presuppose knowledge of the height, breadth, and depth of my knowing, the foundation of which cannot be undermined by supposed evidence seeking to discredit, but is itself wanting.

        "Disagreement with your position does not automatically mean all those who disagree with you have no sound points or are entrenched in a position."

        That's my point: We all have "sound points," whether we say we're "entrenched" or not. And this may come as a shocker: Those who say that they have "sound points" aren't wrong, they're merely speaking their truth. I have no quarrel with your truth. It's your truth. It's your, I AM THAT. Why would I tell you that you're not THAT.

        "They just are entrenched against believing anything that is not sufficiently demonstrated as per your position, or that Jesus was a god, or we reincarnate or go to Hades etc."

        They can choose to react in the way of their choosing. I spoke my truth. They spoke their truth. This is how life is fashioned.
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          Jun 15 2013: Re: All things stay the same with or without their believing.

          I agree.

          It sounds like there is an overwhelming amount of evidence you haven't shared.

          I suggest you spoke what you believe is true. To speak of different conflicting truths is not helpful to work out what most accurately reflects reality. The contradictory beliefs of a muslim, buddhist or shaman can not all be true. The laws of identity and contradiction are a foundation of logic.

          You sound like a spiritual and thoughtful person. Perhaps some of the "evidence' you are alluding to has to do with subjective spiritual experiences and your interpretation of such. Not sure if it was you or someone else where we discussed OOBE.

          Anyway, people of all sorts of world views have similar and profound experiences that they interpret in different ways. I'm an atheist that meditates. Not claiming to be a guru or anything but I do experience other states of mind and feelings of connection or oneness. Physically this is just parts of my brain activating and endorphin etc. Anything more than this is subjective.

          I have heard of even more profound experiences where people have profound dreams or visions and some totem or angel teaches them about the universe or sacred truths. But they don't all necessarily agree, and I'm not sure how you distinguish a mundane dream which is just a product of our amazing minds with an encounter with some amazing entity that exists outside of our mind.

          I hear what you are saying about what people consider a sound argument or not. I guess most Muslims believe their views are sound. Same with Buddhists, Christians and people with more individual interpretations. I do suggest there are reasonable ways to discriminate and test claims. But you might not agree.

          And the personal experience argument may reflect deeply profound experiences. I've "seen"a couple of ghosts, one OOBE etc etc and they at least help you keep an open mind which hopefully balances the critical thinking.

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        Jun 15 2013: "It sounds like there is an overwhelming amount of evidence you haven't shared."

        True. I barely get a hearing now. Can you imagine how "certifiable" I would seem if I told you the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God?

        Further, it would be imprudent for me to share more than I've already shared. Caution is always the better part of valor in the world that I inhabit.

        "Physically this is just parts of my brain activating and endorphin etc. Anything more than this is subjective."

        Would your brain have released those "endorphin" without your mind first "experienc[ing] other states of mind and feelings of connection or oneness"?

        The brain is merely a reflector of the mind, although it can be stimulated to imitate what your mind set in motion, but the mind is not limited to the brain and, in the final analysis, is still the initiator, regardless of which seemingly came first, mind or brain.

        My experiences tell me that reality is always subjective and never objective. Nothing happens to you without you at some level giving your consent.

        "But they don't all necessarily agree."

        They shouldn't agree. All information is sifted through our beliefs, and is colored by who we are. There's no such thing as consensus, not in this world or any other. Given the same supposed set of facts, each person will view them differently no matter how objectively you might believe you have presented them, such is our nature.

        "I'm not sure how you distinguish a mundane dream which is just a product of our amazing minds with an encounter with some amazing entity that exists outside of our mind."

        You're supposing that something occurs outside of your mind. There's nothing occurring outside of you, experiences to the contrary.

        "I do suggest there are reasonable ways to discriminate and test claims. But you might not agree."

        Why? To prove them wrong? What would be the point of that? It's always more prudent to expand than to reduce, to grow rather than to stunt.
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          Jun 15 2013: I don't blame you.

          Personally I don't find your views any stranger than mainstream religion, just less familiar and popular.

          I'd like to grow by adding reasonably well founded views. Others are perhaps less cautious.

          Other than my interest in having a world view as consistent with reality as practical, I have no issue with beliefs that enrich peoples lives and do no harm.
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        Jun 15 2013: "And the personal experience argument may reflect deeply profound experiences. I've "seen"a couple of ghosts, one OOBE etc etc and they at least help you keep an open mind which hopefully balances the critical thinking."

        Keep that "open mind." If you close it, you'll close off more than your mind. In this world and the next, you get what you believe, no more, no less. You experience what you believe, no more, no less.

        Here's to your herenow and your hereafter.

        Thanks for the conversation.
    • Jun 14 2013: Are you talking to me Jonathan? If so, no, I am not talking about any Catholic anything. I am taking about my own reading of the Bible, about actual archeological work around finding manuscripts and such from the mythologies of the peoples who wrote the bible, et cetera.

      Are you seriously saying that local floods are equivalent to global floods? I have no doubt that Noah's story was in part based on some local floods. Local floods are frequent, and for most cultures they must have looked "global" (That's what that author meant by the sentence you quoted: "If your world is small enough, all floods are global.") So what? That does not mean that it was global at all.

      Your answers in genesis sources. I have read those charlatans. The "science" is bogus at best. Sorry, you would have to present actual evidence, not creationist wishful thinking combined with the used-car salesmanship of answers in genesis.
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        Jun 14 2013: Hold on Entropy, I would guess that the Catholic comment was to you. The two different ways to reply mess me up sometimes. Sorry for that. In a different comment, I gave different references to the flood theory supported two different ways, both from scientists stating different hypotheses. Of course for and against.
        • Jun 14 2013: There is not a single scientific hypothesis supporting Noah's flood. Not one.

          As per my comment above, I insist too that my reading of the Bible and knowledge about archeological studies does not come from catholics.
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    Jun 14 2013: Tom to summarise

    My starting point is not that the bible was a myth, but I am assessing the bible related claims based on the evidence and arguments.

    Actually I don't mean to claim that Christianity is false in its central claims, I don't know, but it sure looks similar to other religions and belief often seems to be based on web of flimsy foundations similar to other religions.
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      Jun 14 2013: "I guess we agree there is no physical evidence of gods existence in the way we can prove you and I exist."

      And this has been my perennial argument: Your "existence" is predicated on God's existence. God's not separate from that which She's created: She's your Life and your Mind, neither of which can be sourced in our physical body, not life in body nor mind in brain. You can't source what's not there.

      "Maybe you can define what god is, and if you say spirit, what is spirit and how do you know there is spirit."

      There's no definitive definition of God, as She can't be compressed within such a narrow box and still be infinite. Spirit is one of Her known attributes as well as Life and Mind, but there are others. Each night you lay yourself down to sleep you enter a spiritual world (realm), taking on a non-material body, and interacting with non-material things, including non-physical people.

      Because many dismiss their dreaming and dreams as a nighttime respite from their real world, and real-world activity, although most of us spend a third of our life asleep, they aren't considered highly important in our culture.

      Nevertheless, our dream world brings us closer to our natural environ, and our natural state of being, more so than our supposed non-dreaming state.

      "What is your best evidence any god exists."


      You're my "best evidence any god exists."
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        Jun 15 2013: Wil there are a few things going on in this comment,

        First you are using the word god for life and mind, the latter two I agree exist in reality, , then assuming a supernatural dimension to these.

        You assert life and mind can not be based in the physical alone. How do you know this?

        To me you are making a connection between consciousness that seems exist and some sort of spiritual supernatural stuff that is speculative.

        I seem to exist. I don't see any proof my mind and consciousness is evidence of a supernatural realm and is not a product of my brain. But open to new information.

        At what point do the less sophisticated brains of say a slug not include some supernatural spirit juice.

        You'll also need to support your premise that my existence is predicated on gods existence. Just a bold assertion I don't accept unless you can provide reason.

        A similar variant is when people say god is the universe or love. We reasonably know the universe exists and the abstract concept of love or expressions of love, but then they add a magic dimension with no evidence.

        What is spirit. How can I test if it exists. Other than fallacious reasoning like life proves spirit exists. Life proves life exists.
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          Jun 15 2013: "First you are using the word god for life and mind, the latter two I agree exist in reality, , then assuming a supernatural dimension to these."

          Actually, I don't see Life and Mind as "supernatural" but preeminently natural. Placing them in the supernatural realm is how you choose to perceive the nexus.

          I posit instead that Life and Mind has never existed within the body, but exist outside of physicality, which is why science has failed, and will continue to fail, to source them in the body.

          "To me you are making a connection between consciousness that seems exist and some sort of spiritual supernatural stuff that is speculative."

          Are you denying the existence "consciousness"? If this "spiritual supernatural stuff is speculative," as you contend, then your very existence is speculative, as life and mind are two of your attributes as well as attributes of divinity.

          "I seem to exist."

          Are you saying, too, that your very existence is as speculative as life and mind. If we can't agree that you exist, that you possess life and a mind, where do we have common ground for a discussion of this sort?

          "You'll also need to support your premise that my existence is predicated on gods existence. Just a bold assertion."

          I supported it. You just refuse to acknowledge my argument. Once more: "Your 'existence' is predicated on God's existence. God's not separate from that which She created: She's your Life and your Mind, neither of which can be sourced in our physical body, not life in body nor mind in brain. You can't source what's not there."

          "I don't see any proof my mind and consciousness is evidence of a supernatural realm and is not a product of my brain. But open to new information."

          For all of its physical intricacies, the brain can't house the mind. It can only allow consciousness to be expressed through the brain, and that not always fully.

          I'm running out of characters, but will continue below.
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          Jun 15 2013: TWO

          "What is spirit. How can I test if it exists. Other than fallacious reasoning like life proves spirit exists. Life proves life exists."

          I agree, "Life proves life exists," and God is Life.

          Since Spirit is as elusive as Life and Mind, all of which are attributes of God, they can't be tested, as God's not "testable."

          What kind of God would She be if She allowed Her infinitude to be studied using empiricism? Frankly, God can't be studied in the same way that one might study man, or other lifeforms.

          Even then, science is limited as to what it might learn from man, as the very essence of man, his life and his mind, eludes scientific inquiry, just as God eludes scientific inquiry.


          Well, we're back where we started: You can't test what does not exist in the material, physical realm--mind nor life, nor spirit (this universe's real substance).

          "What is spirit. How can I test if it exists."

          You test it in the same way that you test the existence of life and mind.

          Yet, you're as familiar with "spirit" as you are with life and mind. As I stated previously, you enter the spiritual, non-physical, realm frequently. We call it sleep.

          Now you may dismiss the sleep realm as insubstantial, but many an adept would aver that this realm--the physical realm--is the insubstantial one. You might dismiss mind and life as two attributes of the divine, as well as attributes of your own existence, but it won't make it less so.

          I'll recant when science can show me incontrovertibly that it has sourced mind in brain and life in body. But, frankly, I'm not holding my breath.
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          Jun 15 2013: "I guess there is no reason why a god would provide compelling evidence that would easily convince people using their brains and looking for sufficient evidence and reason to believe in them."

          What can be more "compelling evidence" than life and mind, and even that you dismiss? God's won't force you to believe in Her. Count on it. She will be to you, however, what you wish Her to be to you.

          If you say She doesn't exist, She'll give you ample evidence to support that claim. If you say that She exists, She'll give you ample evidence of that claim.

          "What is true is independent of what we believe."

          You think? We're continually updating what we believe, as our beliefs undergo alterations. Here's a truth: Science "can't handle the truth," literally. Truth resides outside of the physical realm, and, accept it or not, we're only seeing the outlines of the Truth, and shadows of the Real.

          "What is true is not a matter of opinion by my definition."

          A person's truth is not an "opinion," as you suggest, it's who they are. And who people say they are has held sway for millineum, for better or for worse, changing the course of history in some instances, and doing so, notwithstand the path of the sun, whether it revolves around the earth, or the earth the sun.
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        Jun 15 2013: No I'm not denying consciousness. I'm explicitly acknowledging mind and consciousness.

        As far as we reasonably know mind and brain seem intertwined. You damage the brain, you impact mind/cognitive function.

        You have not provided a compelling argument or rationale that life and the mind is anything more than natural biological processes.

        Its fallacious to claim either consciousness and some other dimensional magic spirit juice exist or there is no consciousness.

        Consciousness seems to be be an emergent property of brains. More sophisticated brains, more sophisticated consciousness and cognitive abilities. Humans have a neo cortex, slugs don't.

        You admit your assertions can not be tested. Case closed really. You could be right but no compelling evidence or reason.

        It seems you can not grasp the possibility of our mind and consciousness being the product of the brain. This is not evidence or a sound argument for your position.

        The existence of the conceptual realm of thought and mind, or feelings, or our basic senses which come back to detecting and processing external stimuli is all contingent on biological and physical foundations. You seem to be equating thought and consciousness as independent in some way from physical reality.

        We can come up with any number of speculative assertions with equal lack of evidence and fallacious arguments as your position, that can not be tested as per all the other belief systems with immaterial constructs that contradict yours.

        Spirit above and beyond any connections to the physical world or the conceptual world is not just elusive it is entirely speculative.

        Your last statement highlights the argument from ignorance fallacy of your position. We don't know everything about the mind. This is not evidence for your position.

        Two thousand years ago you could have said the same about disease.

        You could be right, but we seem to have no way of knowing.

        Perhaps consciousness and life baffles people so assume go
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          Jun 15 2013: "You damage the brain, you impact mind/cognitive function."

          I think we've had this conversation before. If you damage any receiver (which is what the brain is), whether it be a television receiver or a radio receiver, you impact the quality of the signal it receives, and therefore the quality of the sound and the picture.

          But in the instance of a television of radio receiver, we can source the television and radio signals, but we can't do the same with our brain, only observe certain portions of the brain light up when certain thoughts are thought.

          "You have not provided a compelling argument or rationale that life and the mind is anything more than natural biological processes."

          If it's as you say, then source this "natural biological process."

          "Consciousness seems to be be an emergent property of brains. More sophisticated brains, more sophisticated consciousness and cognitive abilities. Humans have a neo cortex, slugs don't."

          I could tell you how it works, but you'll merely discount It, as it won't dovetail into your worldview. Suffice to say mind isn't in brain, and it will never be found there, and life exists beyond the physical body.

          "It seems you can not grasp the possibility of our mind and consciousness being the product of the brain."

          I can grasp it, but that doesn't make the "possibility" a reality. The brain can no more generate a thought than the body can live on its own. And science will never prove me wrong. How's that for certitude?

          "You seem to be equating thought and consciousness with some supernatural connection that can not be confirmed."

          And you're "equating thought and consciousness with some ['biological and physical foundations'] that can not be confirmed."

          "You admit your assertions can not be tested. Case closed really. You could be right but no compelling evidence or reason."

          I admit this: Life, Mind, Spirit (All One) can't be tested. True. And what's supernatural about life and mind?
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        Jun 15 2013: Also I using natural in the scientific sense, ie the material world
        Matter, energy etc.

        Ideas, thoughts, mind consciousness are contingent on the this physical reality as far as we know.

        Someone might say that if god exists she is natural. If telekinesis exists it is natural. But the point is at this time there is no evidence for it or explanation that does not involve breaking the physical laws.

        The transcendent realm of thought exists. But I suspect you are conflating this to something more. An idea has no mass, but it is a product of my brain, at least in part I guess you agree? We just disagree about the speculative part.

        I'm thinking of an apple. Parts of my brain light up in an MRI - chemicals, energy etc.

        The thought exists in a way different to a physical apple.

        Matter, energy, logical absolutes, thoughts do not necessarily require a god. A god you assert while not being able to demonstrate or test.

        You could be right, we just have no way to know right now so it seems reasonable to withhold belief.

        A person who holds a belief in spite of compelling evidence is not the critical thinking skeptic I try to be. I try to look for compelling evidence or a good reason.

        You seem not to appreciate the flawed reasoning in this position, how you back up one assertion with another equally speculative etc etc. It seems acceptable to you and not to me. I'm not disagreeing because I don't want to. It would be nice perhaps if there was some benign guiding
        force. I'm disagreeing because your argument does not stack up and is not supported by evidence.

        Let me put it this way, perhaps due to our limited capabilities we can not tell the difference between a universe with some spirit force which you may be implying has some agency and a universe that is matter, energy, with biological life, some of which is self aware and thinks without any of this spirit realm and agency. So why believe.
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        Jun 15 2013: The way you describe god is perhaps like describing the feeling I too share when deeply contemplating life and the universe. What separates life from non life. What really is matter and energy. If the universe is expanding but finite what does the edge look like. What is time and space. etc etc

        It hurts my poor brain. There is stuff I struggle to comprehend. I guess while we have the greatest minds we confidently know exist in the universe (there may be unknown smarter aliens), our best current explanation is that we evolved living in groups and avoiding agents trying to kill us. Our brain developed to consider medium sized stuff. Our immune systems evolved to deal with the micro stuff and the quantum and cosmic is outside our day to day survival needs. But reasoning helped us survive and not just intuition, at a human scale. No surprise the complexity of the universe baffles us.

        But intuitive connections and speculative explanations leave us open to all sorts of conjecture. And I'm interested in believing what can be reasonably demonstrated. Not that a donkey talked as per the bible, or that buddha's mother was impregnated by a ray of light unless there is sufficient reason and evidence.

        I just don't wrap up that which is beyond my comprehension and personify it or attribute some spiritual essence to it. I don't accept a god or spirit plug without some critical thinking.

        One final point that may help you understand where I'm coming from:

        How do you know there is one spirit god and not billions?
        How do you know there are not billions of other dimensional universes completely different to ours?
        How do you know that the spirit realm if it exists other than a concept does not work in some profoundly different way to your belief?
        How do you know there are not 50 levels of spirit realms and realities, with many types of beings in each one?

        I reject these for the same reason I reject your view until there is compelling reason and evidence.
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        Jun 15 2013: Your definition of life is disconnected to the life we see around us re :Life and Mind has never existed within the body, but exist outside of physicality

        The life biologists talk about is the physical plants and animals that reproduce etc etc.

        You seem to be on about some sort of immaterial life force that can not be defined or tested and seems purely speculative.

        What can we reasonably confirm about what is outside physicality or emergent from the physical realm?
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        Jun 15 2013: Wil I understand that life and mind are amazing, as is matter and energy, or feeling love etc, they are not evidence for some immaterial agency or god.

        We seem stuck on this point. You see life and connect that to something you call god. You could be right I just don't know how you can conclude that with confidence.

        Someone could look at the stars and feel a god created this amazing universe. Its a feeling not evidence. Its an intuitive leap, not evidence.

        I don't recall asserting she does not exist. I'm saying so far I haven't heard or seen either a coherent description of what she is or sufficient evidence or reasoning to support a belief in what my best efforts to understand what you are calling god.

        Life exists, therefore god. No, unless you are using god as a synonym for what we reasonably know life to be.
        Mind exists, therefore god. No etc.

        God is an open question. From what you have said, god is also beyond definition and not detectable in a material sense.

        I think the "truth" you are referring to is not the logic related truth term I am referring to. Like fast can mean not eating or rapidly.
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        Jun 15 2013: Actually I'm staring to get Deja vous as well.

        You can tell me how you think it works.

        I'll ask how you know that, and what evidence you having other than it makes sense in your intuitive world view or specific knowledge revealed to you or you found in a book that yopu believe just like some Christians literally believe the bible and that God destroyed cities and ordered genocide (and got angry when they didn't kill the children) and homosexuals to be killed.

        If I can make that parallel, why is your belief more reliable than that of the Christians or any similar spiritual beliefs? Why is your revelation more reliable than any other?

        We will end up disagreeing because you won't have evidence Ï consider compelling and I won't accept mere speculation just because it makes sense to you or is reinforced by some spiritual experience or is written in a book you believe is true without sufficient reason IMO.

        I think we both see where this is going. Anyway it has been mentally stimulating. Thanks.
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          Jun 15 2013: "If I can make that parallel, why is your belief more reliable than that of the Christians or any similar spiritual beliefs? Why is your revelation more reliable than any other?"

          It's not more "reliable." I don't tell people what they should and shouldn't think, believe or not to believe. They can choose to think or believe as they wish. In that I have no preference.

          If what I say resonates more, or less, than what another might say on the subject so be it. I'm not here to persuade or to convince. Besides, I don't have that kind of power. No one does. We either choose to convince ourselves, or we don't.

          "We will end up disagreeing because you won't have evidence Ï consider compelling and I won't accept mere speculation just because it makes sense to you or is reinforced by some spiritual experience or is written in a book you believe is true without sufficient reason IMO."

          And that's your prerogative. I have no "evidence" that you will accept. And that, too, if fine. I have no need to persuade, with or without "compelling" evidence.

          You will find, as life continues, that it was all "speculation," that we're making it all up. You didn't believe that any of this is real did you?

          "I think we both see where this is going. Anyway it has been mentally stimulating. Thanks."

          I do. And it has been "stimulating," thanks to you.
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    Jun 14 2013: Thanks for commenting Colleen! I think what I mean by resistance is that even if humans didn't exist, that same energy that powers us would Life rises up to grab the energy as it flows by. It uses it as efficiently, and for as long as possible. In the end though, life cannot harness that energy forever, and it flows on down the path. So to make a long winded answer shorter, try as we might to hold onto God, in the end we can only resist it's eternal path for so long.

    I think this concept would have to apply to all matter as well.
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      Jun 14 2013: Thanks for your comment as well aj trip:>)

      I agree that even if humans did not exist, the same energy that powers us would continue to exist. In my perception, energy flows and changes form. Similar to electrical energy which comes into our home in one "line", and seperates to power lights, refrigerator, computer, etc.

      I believe the energy that powers the body is the "life". When the body dies, the energy leaves the body and changes form. We see this process in nature.......plants and trees are alive, and it is proven that energy runs through plant life. They die, the energy moves, the plants go back to earth and new plants start growing. I don't believe the human life cycle is much different. Like you say, the concept applies to all matter....looks like we agree on that part?

      I am not understanding your statement........."try as we might to hold onto God, in the end we can only resist it's eternal path for so long."
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    Jun 14 2013: Here are some interesting fact to read over.
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      Jun 14 2013: Last census Australia had about 22% no religion. Not necessarily having no god beliefs I guess.

      Growing a lot and the third largest group after Catholic 25 and protestant 33%

      Also growing fast while Protestantism is shrinking.

      In the 2001 census 70,000 put down Jedi as their religion. I'm not joking, but truely hilarious.
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    Jun 14 2013: Not an open-ended question for a change, and yes, there "really [is] a God," and yes, She created all that we see, and all that we don't see.

    My question, Cheyenne, why are you asking?

    For all the confidence that's placed in it, science will never answer the question satisfactorily using empiricism, as the Creator can't be seen, and creation occurs behind the scenes, as it were, with the physical universe resulting from a non-physical matrix.

    In a time/no time, the question of the existence of God will be answered for believer and skeptic alike. Until then both sides of the argument will continue to debate it ad infinitum, as there's nothing either can say or propose that will convince the other of what they choose not to believe.
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      Jun 14 2013: Actually over time some do change their minds. I did.
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        Jun 14 2013: YOU changed your mind. No one can do that for you, notwithstanding the cogency of their argument, or the persuasiveness of their presentation.

        I stand by my statement: "there's nothing either [side] can say or propose that will convince the other of what they choose not to believe."
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          Jun 14 2013: Sure, the way it is worded you are basically saying people believe what they choose to believe.

          One thing that comes to mind, not to be argumentative but you got me thinking, sometimes belief may not be 100% a choice. You might want to believe in something, but that might be at odds with the information you become aware of.

          That was kind of my experience. I guess there are people who would like to believe but can not deny what they perceive to actually be the truth. Others seem to be immune to evidence.

          Right now if I wanted to be a Christian I could go to a church and walk up at the end and mouth the words but I still would not actually believe. I couldn't trick myself even if it offered untold rewards.
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          Jun 14 2013: See that's the thing Obey. I am as certain as I can be that God exists, & that because of the evidence. I am your mirror image. We do believe what we want to believe, even when it comes to the evidence. We have both heard most of the arguments, & could refute each other 'til the cows come home, but not be changed.

          There are indeed many preachers who do not believe. Some know they don't believe, some don't.

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          Jun 14 2013: Wil, Obey and Peter,
          I wholeheartedly agree with the concept....""there's nothing either [side] can say or propose that will convince the other of what they choose not to believe." (Wil)

          "We have both heard most of the arguments, & could refute each other 'til the cows come home, but not be changed." (Peter)

          If you truly believe what you write Peter, why are you constantly trying to "save" us, "warn" us, etc?

          As I have said many times, I totally accept and respect YOUR belief as YOUR belief. It is not, however the one and only belief.
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          Jun 14 2013: Dear Colleen,

          "why are you constantly trying to "save" us, "warn" us, etc?"
          You have put this in just about all your posts to me. If I am guilty, I apologise. I do try not to go on about it as I know from experience it is counter productive. Most people of integrity are pretty immovable on their core beliefs; you & I have that in common. Common sense tells us that we cannot all be right.
          Let's have a truce. I will try not to save you ; you try not to mention it; & maybe something productive will emerge.

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          Jun 14 2013: I LOVE it Peter......YES.....YES.....YES......ABSOLUTELY:>)
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          Jun 14 2013: Peter I guess we have difference views on what counts as compelling evidence sufficient to support belief in an invisible imateriaterial being. Most Christians say god is spirit but no one can really describe or demonstrate spirit. they can't tell the difference between spirit being somewhere or everywhere and not being there.

          I guess we agree there is no physical evidence of gods existence in the way we can prove you and I exist.

          Most Christians say the ressurection is proof the bible is true and god exists. And they believe the resurrection happened as described becasuse they believe the bible is true. Circular.

          Peter if the ressurection did happen, how do you know a god did it? And if some being can heal a dead person, how does that prove they can create a universe. Creating a universe seems to be a bit more challenging. And if it did happen how does that make every word in the bible true.

          I suggest you nay have layer upon layer of assumptions not supported by sufficient evidence.

          Maybe you can define what god is, and if you say spirit, what is spirit and how do you know there is spirit.
          What is your best evidence any god exists

          How can I confirm this god exists and is not a mental construct.
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          Jun 14 2013: Peter I guess there are people believing in other gods and goddesses who are equally certain. They may have religious texts, personal experiences, feel stuff etc but in regads to a completely different god or goddess.

          Wil and I are going round in circles for a similar reason. The conclusions he has come to seem unfounded to me, like yours do, but he seems as certain as you, as did Vijay about conflicting god views.

          There seems to be a pattern where old writings, unanswered questions, a search for meaning, agency assumption and personal experience combine to output contradictory beliefs that people hold with equal fervour.
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          Jun 14 2013: Hi Obey,
          Sometimes I get the idea that you would like me to persuade you scientifically that God exists. More realistically I think you just like the banter. Whichever, you seem to be very interested in the subject. Trouble is I don't have the time to answer ALL the objections you have. I know if I start, you will come up with another list.
          For me; coming to this in mid life ; I soon had to admit that anything offering eternal bliss had to be worth the benefit of the doubt. So, as I researched the subject, I was very open to the possibility of the reality of God. You know what ? God came through, & I've never looked back. God honours those who honour Him. Should we really expect Him to honour those who use all their intellect to deny Him. If you don't want to know Him then He's cool with that. He went through agony to give you the opportunity, even He can do no more.

          I can answer your points one by one, & you can come up with more. However, if you were me, would you not be tempted to spend more time with those who really want to know ?

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          Jun 14 2013: I understand peter.

          I guess you can also see my point that it is a sort of subjective rather than evidence that would convince someone with a reasonably skeptical mind.

          I guess there is no reason why a god would provide compelling evidence that would easily convince people using their brains and looking for sufficient evidence and reason to believe in them.

          The approach I use is the same that leads me to the conclusion we don't yet have evidence to support a reasonable believe in the gods of any religion.

          However, the christian dogmas sometimes includes the threat of hell. It does seem perverse to me that a creator would not sufficiently indicate it exists and differentiate its message so it stands out in way that we know it is from a god.

          But there is no reason to assume a god is not perverse and cruel by human standards as Yahweh of the bible so obviously is.

          Again even if there is no evidence that does not disprove a being worthy of the name god exists. Just not being able to disprove something is not a good reason to believe in it IMO.

          I'm not using my intellect to disprove a god exists, I'm using it to see if there is sufficient evidence and reason to believe in any of them.

          If there is a god that created humans, it gave us the ability to rise above intuition and to use reason and critical thinking.

          I'm interested in knowing and believing more true things and less false things. So I don't accept flimsy evidence, fallacious arguments, etc about extraordinary claims.

          Anyway Christianity is not alone in this, Muslims have their own framework for justification,, I lived in a Buddhist country for years, spoke with believers and monks and they also have no compelling evidence many of their claims like reincarnation etc.

          I want to know if your god reasonably exists and not start building a construct in my mind and being cognitively bias interpreting feelings and events like most religious beliefs. How tell if god is not a cognitive construct?
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          Jun 15 2013: Hi Obey.
          We have a bird feeder outside our living room. Watching the birds feed is all the proof I need that God exists. You can dissect & analyse that bird, & come up with a tale of millions of years, but it doesn't wash. That bird is an engineering miracle, & just one of trillions.
          We live on different planes.
          You go on about slavery, child sacrifice, genocide, genital mutilation, etc., always blaming God. There are no positives, or interest in the reasons for the negatives. Sorry Obey, I can't help you. Wish I could.

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          Jun 15 2013: Peter I guess that highlights the difference.

          Obviously my understanding is based on science that indicates you are looking at the results of 3 billion years of evolution and descended from dinosaurs etc back to the earliest vertebrates, hence the similarities in biology and DNA.

          For me personally being the result of 3 billion years of evolution is at least as awesome as various creation myths like the garden.

          I do go on about the nasty aspects of the bible and the god it describes, don't I. Mainly to remind people this is also part of the god you are talking about and some claim is the arbiter of morality, and is the epitome of love etc. I keep putting it up because it really highlights the aspects of this religion people tend to gloss over, or not really come to terms with. From previous conversations I know you have.

          There are positives in some religious expression, and perhaps I should acknowledge that more. It's not all demonizing homosexuals and threatening kids with hell. I guess Christians donate more to charity, and if they focus on the positive teachings of Jesus, it can be more benign then some other religions. But there is that barbaric iron age aspect that really jars, all the city destroying and death, the angry Jealous god. There are other benefits, even if a god does not exist.

          I guess it is the not so nice bits that bother me, and being blind to them.

          People assert things that over time I've realised don't stand up. And its not just Christianity. There was some Hindu stuff the other day. And I've had a few run ins with Muslims and new age stuff etc.

          I really try to believe what has sufficient evidence and reason, not to believe what I would like to be true. It would be nice if there was a benevolent god and pleasant afterlife. That's obviously not your god or hell. but if demonstrable so be it.

          I actually helped myself some years ago by asking why do I believe certain things. I know you have had your own journey in the opposite direction
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          Jun 16 2013: Hi Obey.
          If we take Sodom as a 'for instance'. Forced homosexual gang rape of strangers was normal & legal. Chances are children would be placed alive onto red hot statues of Molek, etc. What future is there for that kind of society where folks live in the real fear of brutalisation? Humans being as they are, this sort of behaviour is bound to spread. Presumably it had, worldwide, at the time of the flood. What would you do if you were God?
          You make the assumption that this life is the main event. This decision is made with a brain that is the end result of chance & choice. What if this life is just the labour suite of the main event? I guess you pays your money & makes your choice.

      • W T

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        Jun 14 2013: "..if I wanted to be a Christian I could go to a church and walk up at the end and mouth the words but I still would not actually believe..."

        I have actually read interviews with religious LEADERS who feel this way......and yet they continue to TRY to shepherd a flock of believers.

        Appearances may be deceiving Obey.

        Some people live with a divided heart or a double heart all their lives, and fear keeps them acting one way or another. There may be few who have a 'pure' heart.

        There are believers, that for fear of what others will say, "appear agnostics or even atheists", and the are "agnostics or atheists" that for fear of what others say appear believers.

        What is fascinating is the fact that we will continue to act this way........we humans are very complex.
        [edited spelling]
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          Jun 14 2013: That must be tough Mary.

          I guess its all some religious leaders know how to do. And you still have to feed your family etc.
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        Jun 14 2013: Give it more thought: We're always at choice. We can choose to alter our worldview because of new information, or choose not to.

        Rationalization works well in these instances; it all depends on our predisposition.

        "Others seem to be immune to evidence."

        Evidence to one isn't necessarily evidence to another. It all depends on where you derive your evidence, and whether a preponderance exists sufficiently to shift a person's belief.

        As to the existence of God, for many it transcends belief, existing as an experience as profound as life itself, becoming a part of the very essence of their being.

        To ask believers to shift their belief regarding the existing of God is to ask them to give up life and to embrace death. Not many will fall on that sword.

        There are yet others who aren't believers but knowers. I fall in that category. Those who know, know that they know. They know because they've accumulated enough experience of knowing to know what they know.

        What I know, if it were your knowing, would literally blow your mind.

        "I couldn't trick myself even if it offered untold rewards."

        Now you understand what few do, the reason why some prayers go unanswered, why God reveals Herself to some and not to others, and why your life is the way it is: You are who you say you are. Biblically stated: I Am That I Am. Or, I Am Who I Am.

        In short, we can't lie to ourself. No one can. Our truth is the overriding force controlling our life and our experiences. For us to change our mind, we must first change our truth.
        • W T

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          Jun 14 2013: "What I know, if it were your knowing, would literally blow your mind"

          Perhaps this is the reason you chose an owl for your avatar?

          I really enjoyed reading your contributions.
          Thank you.

          Now, here is a say "to change our mind, we must first change our truth".
          Why not the other way around?
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          Jun 15 2013: Wil, thank you for your thorough reply to my questions.

          I must say, I had not thought of this.
          I saw things differently. But yes, I can see that what you say is reasonable.

          I will have to reread it, and then meditate on it for a bit.
          Should I have another question or thought I'll come back and add it.

          Thanks Again!!
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          Jun 15 2013: Sure people have different presuppositions, biases and different standards of evidence.

          I would say the scientific method tries to address this. In 400 years the output has been wonderful and terrible in terms of the technology and outcomes, severely cutting child mortality, reducing disease that no amount of praying and burnt offerings achieved.

          So in a sense science tends to be pretty reliable and non contradictory, consistent with the observations, repeatable etc.Although its use tapers off for what is not testable

          We can not test whether Zeus exists or Yahweh or Bacchus, or El, or MAduk, or Isis etc. So some claims in themselves will be problematic when it comes to evidence.

          Lower standards of evidence and intuitive or subjective personal experiences and revelation based beliefs seem to result in multiple contradictory beliefs that can not all be true.

          I suggest for all our human biases and weaknesses having a reasonable standard of evidence and not accepting g fallacies such as arguments from ignorance helps overcome our weaknesses.

          I suggest a higher bar rather than a lower one if interested in what is true about reality.
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        Jun 14 2013: Obey, I have heard many of them say the exact same thing....they must provide for the family.
        Do you think the sheep may be paying the price for being led by those who have no conviction, other than they need to provide for their family?

        So joining the cleric ranks is then more of a job?

        That is not the example we have in scripture for Christian elders. But I will stop here, because the rest will be off-topic.

        Thanks for the reply.
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          Jun 14 2013: Its a bit of a reversal of man not living by bread alone.
          Actually even if you believe you have some calling and figure out you were misguided you still need some bread.
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          Jun 14 2013: "Perhaps this is the reason you chose an owl for your avatar?"

          Precisely. Thanks for noting the connection.

          "I really enjoyed reading your contributions.
          Thank you."

          THANK YOU!

          "[Y]ou say 'to change our mind, we must first change our truth'.
          Why not the other way around."

          Our truth came into existence because of our mind cooperating with our senses, what we saw, what we heard--our external reality--coupled with our internal reality, our internal senses, how we felt, and feel about what our external senses have informed us, what resonates for us, after giving it the gut check.

          We've been told that the "gut" is always right, and indeed it is, as it's where our truth lies, OUR TRUTH, not another's. Once OUR TRUTH has formed, we set up the first half of the equation, I AM THAT, and it would take the movement of heaven and earth to change it. It's not impossible mind you, just difficult. It's difficult, because for the time we hold that truth, we become THAT, hence OUR TRUTH and our Ego (our Self, our I AM) become one, completing the equation: I AM THAT, I AM (EGO)

          In order for you to change your mind, then, it becomes paramount for you to change YOUR TRUTH, for the mind is more a servant of the I AM, and not its master.
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          Jun 14 2013: Will we seem to have different definitions of truth. I get you are talking about what we hold to be true consciously or unconsciously.

          I think this is different from is actually true.

          What is true is independent of what we believe.

          The earth rotates the sun whether or not we think this is true. If someone holds that the truth is that the sun rotates the earth, reality does not change to conform with this false belief, just their perception of reality.

          What is true is not a matter of opinion by my definition.

          What is true is not even restricted by our abilitity to conceptualise it.
    • Jun 14 2013: There is one thing that can (and should) convince people, and that's arguments that hold themselves together. We can't understand the Universe yet, and I fear that we never will, because the concept of infinity is so abstract that it's freaky. However, any earthly religion is just a produce of our own fears, insecurities, arrogance and hypocrisy, all hidden behind faith. We came up with religions to feel safe, to pretend we understand life, to control the masses, to give a name to evil, but most importantly, to feel important. With our consciousness comes a need to understand why we're alive, some people turn to the simplicity of religion and content themselves with what they're being told, other people keep asking the right questions and by doing so push our understanding of our existence further and further.
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        Jun 14 2013: "some people turn to the simplicity of religion and content themselves with what they're being told, other people keep asking the right questions and by doing so push our understanding of our existence further and further"

        Is it not possible to do both?

        Is it not possible to have a meager piece of cheese with a small glass of Schloss Johannisber Goldlack Riesling Trockenbeerenauslee?
        • Jun 14 2013: Not really. They're completely opposing ideas. The question science (I don't want to say science, but for lack of a better term...) tries to answer are the questions religion pretends to have all the answers to. Trying to do both of those things means that the person is on the fence about his religion, as faith alone is not enough for her. One will eventually take over the other.
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        Jun 14 2013: So, in your opinion, scientists cannot be believers, and believers cannot be scientists, because sooner or later one will take over the other?

        You speak very generally of science.

        There are so many branches of science.
        How can they all want to answer the questions that religion tries to answer?

        I'm sorry Etienne, I just do not feel you offer sound reasoning.

        Have you seen the talk by Clifford Stoll "The Call to Learn"?

        He ends it with a quote that is food for thought. Stoll is a bit whacky, but have patience, and watch it all if you can.

        Thank you for your reply, btw.
        • Jun 15 2013: I should've been more specific. A firm believer of Christian mythology couldn't be a compelling archeologist, or astrophysicist, because these two fields completely destroy the legitimacy of his religion. Someone can, however, maintain a belief in a God or Gods, creators of the Universe, and maintain consistency with both his faith and his research, but it simply can't be done with Abrahamic religions because they utterly oppose eachother. One would have to twist and bend either his discoveries or his faith to fit the other. Although I have no problems with someone bending a faith to his own interpretation to fit his research, it also goes against the idea of faith in the first place. And no I haven't seen the video, but I will probably check it out soon.
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        Jun 15 2013: I understand your point, and agree in part, but as Mary points out perhaps the outcome is not binary, not either or. There are many individual complex mixtures of what is supported by sufficient reason and evidence and that which is intuitive or speculative.

        There is a tension, and some make concessions in literal interpretations, in the face of evidence and others don't.

        It would be much easier perhaps to categorise people if there only fundamentalists and skeptics. But there is a diverse continuum of different variations.

        We are often somewhere between intuition-instinct and reason in most parts of life. If you see a person who fits a profile in your mind of a potential threat consciously or unconsciously we make assumptions that may or may not be correct. It might be a gentle person wearing a hoodie.

        I do support looking for evidence rather than relying on faith and intuition when trying to understand what is true. Intuition has a place, but needs to be tested.
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    Jun 13 2013: Cheyenne,

    Something to consider is how we as humans process information in order to form opinions.What the so-called "rational" decision-maker will do when faced with perfect information, including a complete and total knowledge of all possible outcomes with absolutely no uncertainty?In the real world, we know that the information available to us is rarely perfect or complete which will account for bad decisions yet there is another issue: most human behaviors is simply not rational,our subconscious tricks our brains to make decisions that we later find out are wrong. Take, for example, the idea of a self-serving bias, which enables humans to see themselves as much better than they are. If 80 percent of people rate themselves as "better-than-average" drivers, it's clear that a large number of us are fooling ourselves. Humans are also irrational in how they frame information, or fail to comprehend how the sources of this information may frame it to sway their opinions. For example, most people are much more likely to undergo an operation with a reported 80 percent success rate than one with a reported 20 percent risk of death, even though these numbers represent the same level of risk, we clearly fool ourselves at times and one of those ways is the God delusion. Faith based systems cocoons themselves into a "bubble of beliefs ignoring facts outside that perimeter.
    Or it may be that all of us live in a self-made "bubble" of beliefs that works for each individual , so my bubble is different from yours as we experience reality.
    Then enters the scientific method, it works outside the subjective "bubble" and systemically assembles a picture of reality. At which point God becomes subjective and irrelevant.

    "I am I plus my circumstances"
    Ortega y Gasset
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    Jun 13 2013: I see your point. However, the "story" goes that the Hebrew elite started changing the pronunciation marks over some of their characters so only they would know the true translation and to keep them from being translated by someone else. And guess what, this system was forgotten about over the years and was lost. If memory serves me correctly, it was around 500 a.d. So yes, I do recognize your idea of false translations. However, as history goes on to tell me, King James sent emissaries out to collect the different manuscripts used to make up the bible, he wanted an english translation instead of the latin translation that only the catholic preists and the elite could read and understand. His emissaries each went to different places to collect the different manuscripts and each came back with the same ones, the collection of what we now call "The King James Version." Since they all came back with the same manuscripts collected from different sources, he deemed them divinely inspired.
    If the bible IS uniquely choreographed to coincide with its own prophecies and how Jesus Christ fulfilled all these prophecies then a great big sheet of wool has been pulled over everyone's' eyes. (this of course i do not believe.!!!!)
    Are you really giving that much credit to dark ages technology and knowledge?
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      Jun 13 2013: It would not be too surprising to me if people wanting to deify Jesus wrote the gospels to align with the messiah prophecies. Less surprising than he was some sort of actual god.
    • Jun 13 2013: Do you really think that it would have been that hard to forge and tweak things as they translated the Bible? As they put it together? I have read studies showing evidence for different versions of many pieces of the bible, how hard would it be to choose the ones that make better sense with each other?

      Even then, the Bible has such contradictions with reality that it cannot be but fantasy. The global flood. At times a flat square Earth, at times a flat disc earth, at times the north is hanging, at times the planet is immobile and has foundations that keep it firm ... it is a collection of tales, fantasies, laws, rites, beliefs, and other cultural artifacts from the people's who wrote them. Nothing more. Nothing divine.

      Fulfilled prophesies in the Bible are no more impressive than fulfilled prophesies in The Lord of The Rings.
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    Jun 12 2013: I am sorry that you feel this way. Yes, i do agree that Catholicism's Dogma have severely hindered the message of Jesus Christ's true message. But the pure message is just that and if a person were to read the bible themselves, instead of being led by one person's interpretation, then that person will be shown the light of truth. Of course the Old Testament is taken from the Torah, it is the foundation of the religion. It chronicles God's chosen people and the course of their lives with Him at their side, even through the Babylon invasion and the rebuilding after. ONE, why would the Jewish people concoct a story about the Savior coming to Earth and then admitting crucify Him, makes no sense. TWO, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of letters documenting Christ being seen walking among the people after His crucifixion. THREE, i dont know what the Catholic church has done to get under your skin, but let it go. Their dogma makes for great movies, but there is not much truth in their procedures when it comes to biblical truth about Jesus Christ.
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        Jun 12 2013: The Roman Catholic Religion was put together so all the sects of christianity that formed back then would stop killing each other, like Al Qaeda on Tweek and Steroids. I agree that many atrocities have been made in the name of Christianity, and my heart weeps at this because of the fools that perpetrated the lie. Once again, look at the foundation of the Catholic church, Peter. Their foundation isn't with Christ but with a person whom they thought would be a rallying point. Like many of the other sects of Christianity that based their salvation on what a single human being has interpreted. And, All Christian religions originated from Christ and the Original 7 churches, not catholicism.
    • Jun 12 2013: that's why i prefer agnosticism because i don't have to listen to interpretations of people. and i do believe that it's only people's interpretations that build one religion. jesus christ did not invent christianity, his followers did.
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        Jun 12 2013: I must apologize for i am not well versed in the ins and outs of agnosticism. The only thing i know the is the most important revelation to take from the bible is that believing in Jesus Christ and his life, as accounted to us in the bible, is the one key to salvation and entrance into Heaven, when it happens.
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        Jun 12 2013: Everyone else's interpretation and guidelines and everything else that they made up is false.
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        Jun 12 2013: I agree Cheyenne, that there are many different interpretations of the same information.

        You say... "everyone else's interpretation and guidelines and everything else that they made up is false."

        Are you aware of how this idea continues to divide and seperate people in our world?
  • Jun 10 2013: If someone do not believe in god, bible, coran, and others, are just books written by men and inspired by men (exceptional men in some cases, but just men). However, atheists embrace what spirituality (which is just a brain/concious manifestation) and moral principles
  • Jun 10 2013: This is a never ended discussion, faith vs scientific evidence. They are simply, different paths that will never converge. So, discussion is pointless.
    For us, who follow the second option, god followers arguments are nonsense and for them is impossible to understand that someone do not believe in god.
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      Jun 12 2013: Suggest it is worth discussing for many reasons.

      Learning about the arguments helped me realise there was no good reason to belief in the religion I followed, or any for that matter if basing the decision on what we know and reason, rather than the utility of religious beliefs,

      This sorts of discussions helped me stop wasting my life believing in what I now consider lacking sufficient evidence.
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    Jun 10 2013: If you believe, you don't need proof - he does. If you don't - he doesn't. Simple as that. :)
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    Jun 10 2013: There is no doubt about Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism being more reliable than Bible. I shall explain how? Even before advent of Lord Krishna, Mahavira, Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammed... nothing we called religion existed on mother earth. Still humanity lived and survived. How? It was inherent Dharma (righteousness) in all living beings including human beings that made life worthy of living. Before advent of any religion existed, "Dharma" ... "Your right to do what is just and right and not what was destined"!

    As the tree of Dharma evolved further... it developed four segments and four primary Vedas of Hinduism (Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda) came into being. As Vedas were voluminous documents beyond reach of commoners, masses... with coming of Lord Krishna essence of all Vedas reached entire mankind in form of sacred Bhagavad Gita. After coming of Lord Krishna about thousand years later offshoots a branch and Mahavira (24th Tirthankara of Jainism... preceptor) came into being.

    Almost 77 years later to Mahavira another branch evolved and Gautama Buddha came into being. About 423 years later to Gautama Buddha another branch evolved and Jesus Christ came into being. A few centuries later came Prophet Mohammed. Every branch in the tree had its significance. As many main branches... as many different religions exist in world! All main branches segmented further into smaller branches. Most primary religions further segmented into smaller sects.

    Whatever is contained in Bhagavad Gita is absolute truth. Right from stage of big bang to dissolution of cosmos (termed Pralaya in Hinduism)... all was explicitly detailed in Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism. For human beings to reach God... travelling path of spirituality as detailed in Bhagavad Gita was an absolute must. One thing about sacred scriptures of Hinduism was apparent. None could assimilate teachings of Bhagavad Gita literally... it demands reading in between the lines!
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      Jun 10 2013: thanks Vijay for expanding on what you believe.

      I'm not sure we really know when and where the first religious type beliefs took hold. I guess people have had religious or spiritual beliefs well before any surviving religion started.

      I'm still not sure why you have confidence that this is all true.

      How can I confirm this is true? Or is it a faith position?
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        Jun 10 2013: Yes... it was absolute faith in God Almighty that I realized self... realized god in the wee hours of third of August 1993 at 37 years of age. This is my last manifestation on mother earth... 8.4 millionth manifestation, last in cosmic life cycle! Having reached end of cosmic life... nowhere else to go further, moment I leave my mortal frame... I shall but attain salvation moksha forever!

        When I started in search of God six years of age... I had no inkling what God Almighty was all about. By 13 years of age... my simple desire, wish turned to firm conviction... come whatever may, in this very life I shall see and meet God! 25 years of yoga meditation... I finally landed in laps of God Almighty! Moments before realizing self I did not know what I was about to achieve.

        The moment I realized God... God Almighty gave me a lengthy dictation for above two hours. Only then I realized what I had achieved on spiritual path. It was my firm belief in God Almighty that I reached God in present life. Having reached source of all wisdom contained in entire cosmos... sacred scriptures of different religions of world have become like ABCD to me.

        I have just started my commentary on Bhagavad Gita which is available at -

        Side by side I also plan to complete my commentary on nine principal Upanishads (independent treatises) within a span of 2 to 3 years.

        Whatever I say or write is with firm conviction. My karma having negated to zero... I have become a pure soul atman! I have waited for full 20 years before starting my commentary on Bhagavad Gita as I could not leave my family midway. Now that my family responsibilities are complete... I can indulge in Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads at my will.
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          Jun 12 2013: I guess anything I say in response to your firm conviction may sound predictable to those with a healthy skepticism or to those familiar with these issues as they relate to other faith positions.

          I wish you well in your spiritual journey and writings and respect that you have taken care of your families material needs. I note some apocalyptic traditions encourage people to leave their families to follow gods and gurus.
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    Jun 10 2013: The existence of God in cosmic system could never be denied. Why? The sermon of Bhagavad Gita was given by Lord Krishna to mankind above 3600 years before now (almost 1500 years before coming of Jesus Christ). As per sacred teachings of Bhagavad Gita... if we exist, so does souls atmans, the consciousness within! If souls' atmans exist... so does God Almighty.

    If an individual grain of sand was an independent soul atman... the whole mound God Almighty! If an individual piece of puzzle was an independent soul atman... the completed puzzle God Almighty! The collective power of all souls' atmans in cosmos in their purified form is what we called God Almighty in all its glory.

    As per Bhagavad Gita we were primarily a spirit, a consciousness on its cosmic life cycle of 8.4 million manifestations... that entailed an earthly sojourn of 96.4 million years! Reincarnation, rebirth was part of cosmic life! Manifestation after manifestation, body after body... journey of a soul atman continues unabated until it reaches 8.4 millionth manifestation, last in cosmic life cycle! This is the stage when human beings gained enlightenment (kaivalya jnana) forever.

    God Almighty was that singularity in the beginning of cosmos that scientists world over often pondered over. It was God Almighty, the size of half a thumb explosion of which results in big bang explosion. The sacred Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism is absolutely clear on this point. Prime reason why Albert Einstein, the famous physicist was totally exhilarated when reading through Bhagavad Gita! More on Bhagavad Gita here-
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      Jun 10 2013: Very interesting Vijay. I'm not that familiar with what I presume is bramin or Hindu beliefs.

      Are you implying the Bhagavad Gita is more reliable than Bible because it is older? I guess there are beliefs even older than this.

      Any reason why this revelation, writings and belief system is more reliable than any other major religious beliefs?

      Any evidence pointing to the key claims being correct?

      E.g. I'm not aware of any convincing proof of reincarnation or spiritual type souls for that matter.Not sure how the cosmic cycles align with 13.5 billion year old universe. Not sure how you would prove these.
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        Jun 10 2013: As per Bhagavad Gita moment God Almighty exploded self with a big bang... all pure souls atmans scattered all over cosmos at unimaginable speeds. In the melee, hurtling souls' atmans gathered impurities similar as a rolling ball gathers moss. To cleanse self of dross impurities within starts cosmic life cycle of every soul atman. It is through maze of 8.4 million bodies... every soul atman finally reached cosmic end of life when human beings gained enlightenment!

        As per doctrine of Maya (veil of illusion) propagated by Adi Shankaracharya... other than God Almighty (Brahman in Hinduism) nothing exists in cosmos. Only when perceived from senses point of view things appeared solid... in reality, all was gaseous formation. Everything in cosmos was made up of basic building block of cosmos... clusters of atoms and molecules.

        As per doctrine of Maya if we say present cosmos has a boundary... then what beyond? If we assume that present cosmos does not have a boundary... then it could only exist in thoughts of God Almighty! Spiritual precepts detailed in Bhagavad Gita were difficult to understand... prime reason why in last 150 years amongst 7 billion people existing world over only Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Maharishi Ramana finally reached god in their lifetime.

        As per Bhagavad Gita... concepts of spirituality could never be understood by limited power of senses! It was only absolute faith in God Almighty that made spiritual journey possible. Just as we could recognize presence of a flower by its fragrance... we also recognized presence of God Almighty in day-to-day affairs of life!

        Furthermore, entire lifespan of a soul atman consisting of 8.4 million manifestations was one single span of life... totally unbroken, uninterrupted! After death on mother earth... based on residual balance of karma of that moment the soul atman immediately manifested a new body. Death in cosmic system truly carried no meaning.
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          Jun 10 2013: thanks Vijay for expanding on what you believe.

          I'm still not sure why you have confidence that this is all true.

          How can I confirm this is true? Or is it a faith position?
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      Jun 9 2013: Translation: Don believes there is a god. The problem is which god, if any, does one place their belief in?
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          Jun 9 2013: You don't get to have your own facts, just your own beliefs.
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          Jun 9 2013: Yeah, I really don't think that you've wrapped your mind around the whole fact thing Don.

          If I'm part of the jury I decide that your argument is invalid.
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          Jun 9 2013: I accept YOUR beliefs as YOUR beliefs....they are not facts.
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    Jun 9 2013: I'd like to suggest that "God" as we refer to "him" is actually just the transfer of energy. In the beginning there was light, the light of the big bang. The point from which infinite nothing became infinite something. The big bang kicked into motion all things that are, were, or will be. Every planet, all life forms, and indeed any thought ever conceived by a human being is little more then blip on energy's never ending path into eternity.
    Most people who are religious but who practice different faiths tend to agree on some simple basic beliefs about the nature of God. One, God is all powerful, and all things are possible through him. Two, God has always existed, always will, and is omnipresent. And a third commonly held belief that is when one travels the path of God, one can exist with God, either in this life or the next. That being said, we should consider a couple basics about the nature of energy as well.
    Firstly, energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred from one form to another. Secondly energy itself is more than a lightning strike, heat from a fire, or wind across the landscape, it's actually the physical material that makes up all matter. Energy exists in a grain of sand as not only stored energy (think splitting atoms) and as potential energy(think erosion). With those basic ideas about energy one can reasonably come to a conclusion, that what we call "God" even with all the extra lure added to Religion over the centuries can also be explained simply by thinking of God as energy. It has existed from the start of time, and will forever. Indeed all things are possible through God, as energy shifts from one form to another over time we get all manner of physical outcomes. On a long enough time scale and by utilizing the energy of the universe we can indeed walk with God. With this line of thinking we can bring together both the faithful and the non-religious with some reasonable, agreeable facts and observations.
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      Jun 9 2013: But arguable the basis for religion stems from the fact that the brain creates agency for things such as the forces of nature. The concept for one god is hardly settled, as we still have many monotheist gods, and including the Hindu gods and goddesses.

      Granted, we may be heading in that general direction, but we're not there just yet.
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        aj trip

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        Jun 12 2013: Apologies Theodore, I didn't intend to suggest that there was only one God, rather that everyone has their own ideas about the meaning of "God". I tend to think they are all equally correct/incorrect in the grand scheme.
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      Jun 9 2013: My understanding is the post big bang universe is finite.
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        Jun 12 2013: I think it's still up for debate ObeyNo1 but my understanding of the big bang is that the expansion is slowing over time and may indeed collapse in on itself over a long enough time scale....this begs the assumption that the cycle of the big bang will start again, over and over. This would work with the thinking that energy cannot be destroyed and is infinite like "God"
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      Jun 9 2013: aj trip,
      I agree with your statement that "energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred from one form to another", and I believe our body is powered by energy. That being said, it seems like your belief is consistant with pantheism? I do not practice a religion, and I believe that the words god, spirit, soul may have been used to try to explain the energy that runs through the body.
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        Jun 12 2013: I'll have to admit at this point that I don't know enough about Pantheism to tell you if it's close to my beliefs or not. but I'll look into it to find out. I don't practice religion either, and I agree that we are powered by an energy, and that people struggle to define the undeniable feeling we mostly all have. Naturally we use words like spirit, God, and so on to put a common understanding around the feeling. But the way I see things in my mind's eye is that we as humans are just resistance to the eternal flow of energy that is "God". We rise up against it not unlike sunflowers, we absorb it, try to harness it, mimic it and even try to become it. We reach out into the universe like a sunflower reaches for the Sun to gain the energy it needs to hold on in a windblown lanscape. We use energy, store it, convert it, multiply it, divide it and so on, but in the end the energy flows right through our fingers and we lose our grip on our own windblown lanscapes. The energy we once had is not gone though, it exists both in our legacies as humans, and as potenial energy. The same energy we used to power our bodies will continue to travel through time meeting resistance along the way. At those points of resistance energy will flare and result in all mannor of eventualities, even concepts like reincarnation.
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          Jun 12 2013: Hi aj trip,
          I was not familier with Pantheism until someone brought it into a conversation here on TED awhile ago. So, I explored it a little bit. One of the beliefs (I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong), is that everything in the universe is god energy.

          You say..."we as humans are just resistance to the eternal flow of energy", and you also write..."We rise up against it not unlike sunflowers, we absorb it, try to harness it, mimic it and even try to become it. We reach out into the universe like a sunflower reaches for the Sun to gain the energy it needs to hold on in a windblown lanscape."

          Are you suggesting that simply by being in human form, we are resistance? Are you suggesting that we resist it at the same time as we are reaching out for it?

          I agree with you that the energy flows through us:>)
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    Jun 7 2013: What are you defining as God? Let there be light?

    Have you ever seen a tree? Then we need to talk about what is it that we are actually seeing and looking at? Or just its reflection? Have you ever really seen anything? Or is it just light? Thats all our eyes can see is light. Our eyes can't really see a tree just its light wave length. Can light die?

    However the hard reality to swallow is that everything is light, everything would be god. If all is then, nothing is. Thats the ultimate crux or joke of infinity. Within infinity everything would be arbitrary

    If everything is important, then nothing is." ― Patrick Lencioni
    • Jun 7 2013: Are you? Are you not?
      Or perhaps... Could you not be?
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      Jun 7 2013: Maybe god is a smell or a touch or a sound.
      We have a few other senses to imperfectly perceive our surroundings.

      Or maybe light is just plain old electromagnetic radiation, not a person.
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        Jun 10 2013: Now you are sounding and thinking like the egyptians, where everything is god/God. Out of that you have Abraham the founder of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Which is also the same idea that the egyptians had but for some reason with the egyptians that would mean god was is and will would always be "schizophrenic". And I know for a fact christianity definitely has a problem with this idea and yet they preach that god hears all men's prayers. Sounds like schizophrenia?

        This is also why atheism is right as well. If all things are god then nothing is god.
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      Jun 7 2013: He's being noble by declaring himself a student. As humans, we are always learning. You can't just expect to want to know the origin of everything and then find it the next day. It wasn't even until recent in history that we could because of suppression of science by the church. And watch it again, he gives very many points to evolution, he's devoted his whole life to it. He is an evolutionary biologist. To me, he is the king of the deck. We're open to faults, and creationism jumps to conclusions. We cannot prove anything at all. We cannot even prove that I am typing this message right now, nor could you convert someone who is convinced that the universe was created 2 seconds ago along with all of its history and our memories. Disproval is the only thing we have. I'm not trying to come off sounding like a stereotypical nonsense atheist. But, you can't prove that there is a god just as much as there is not one, and it just makes more sense to rationalize the inexistence of one.
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      Jun 7 2013: Prove Zeus doesn't exist. Or Athena. Or Bacchus. Or Maduk. Or El. You can not. So are we to believe them without any evidence because you can not absolutely prove they do not exist?

      The burden of proof is on those making the positive claim that this or that idea of a god or a goddess actually exists.You might start by defining what you think god is. Every believer see to have a slightly to dramatically different take on the nature of their god and what it wants and has done and how it did it.

      Some of us just haven't seen any compelling existence that any gods or goddesses exist as anything more than human constructs. That is why we don't have a belief in any of them but would if there was sufficient evidence for one of the many conflicting views of would a god is.
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      Jun 6 2013: How many others are convinced Don?
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          Jun 7 2013: No; those with open minds will consider their options and realize anything is possible. Dawkins even and many proclaimed atheists admit that there is some chance that there may be a god. How often however, do you hear a creationist say "Well, there might be a god." Never. They are ignorant and refuse to open their possibilities.

          Also, Wendy Wright is a crazy feminist who has been arrested at an anti-abortion rally for abuse and violence, so. I don't know if I'd choose her to represent my ideology.

          During the interview, she asks for transitional specie evidence for evolution and Dawkins gives her many, not just one, examples. She refuses these and surrounds her own bubble with a bigger bubble. She even went far enough to declare that they are just illustrations of things that don't actually exist. He is giving repeated examples and it is as if she doesn't even hear him.

          Dawkins did not lose, he just gave up on her hopelessness of rationalization.
        • Jun 7 2013: Ha! That she would not find a place for both to sit is not impressive in a good sense. It shows lack of respect, not wisdom. I don't know how you grew up Don, but where I grew up we invite people to sit so that we can talk comfortably.
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          Jun 7 2013: The transitional form argument is one you can never win against closed minds.
          When you present one you are left with 2 more gaps needing a transitional form.
          Frankly I wonder if having fossils of every form that ever lived would be sufficient because they would just say they died during Noah's flood - like the dinosaurs lived side by side with modern humans.
          Before they figured out the flood argument some argued that fossils were put there to test or deceive us.

          It is debatable whether Dawkins lost the debate. Depends if you include denying evidence of a view contrary to hers a victory. Even if you find 100 debates where a theist seems to have the upper hand, when you unpack the arguments there is still no compelling evidence of a god e.g.

          Some point to the resurrection of Jesus as proof. First no compelling evidence it and the zombie saints ever happened. Second if it did, it is another leap of faith to assume this mean Jesus is a god, or there is a god that created the universe.

          Its a bit like someone claiming George levitated so he must be the creator of the universe.
    • Jun 7 2013: Got any time at which Dawkins gets brought " tumbling and confessing! " ?
      The vid is a bit long (and extremely repetitive because, as I skipped through the vid, the woman seems to be denying evidence for an hour).

      It seems to me like she just refuses to realise the core fundaments of science (of which perhaps the most important ones are those from Karl Popper).
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        Jun 7 2013: In the evangelical mindset I suggest these mistakes are deemed enough to deny all the bits of science that conflict with their interpretation are suspect.

        Its a bit like me proving a particular interpretation of one bible verse is incorrect therefore everything I don't like in the bible is incorrect.
    • Jun 7 2013: My comment was deleted. I don't think that there was anything inappropriate about it. Wendy did say such completely illogical things. She did speak from a propagandist viewpoint. How on earth is it inappropriate to call a spade a spade I wonder?
    • Jun 8 2013: Don perhaps you missed my previous post,
      But could you tell me where in the video "Creationist Wendy Wright brings Dawkins tumbling and confessing!", because I don't have time to watch the whole thing :(
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    Jun 5 2013: To rephrase this question:

    Did everything just go poof or did someone/something/God make it go poof?

    Occhams razor would deem it way more likely to cut out the extra explanation (God) then to have it included.
    You don't answer any question about the big bang by saying god did it.
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    • Jun 6 2013: I truly would not know which of these two is the most boring speaker ever.
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          Jun 6 2013: Here's a better debate: Christopher Hitchens vs Tony Blair Debate: Is Religion A Force For Good In The World?

          Hitchens was one of the most famous and celebrated (and hated) atheist in the world.
          Tony Blair, former UK Prime minister and is labeled as one of Britain’s most influential Roman Catholics.

        • Jun 6 2013: Nah, none of them is among the most brilliant minds in the world. Lennox is incredibly boring. Dawkins is boring. For fun and wit Hitchens. For brilliance, Carl Sagan. Both were much better speakers than Dawkins, and almost anybody is a better speaker than Lennox.

          P.S. I should also have said that debates are not the best sources for figuring out anything. People should get off their asses and study the matters they want to know about rather than rely on who won some debate. It's worse, very often people think that their side won a debate no matter how bad they did. Even when someone wins a debate, it does not mean that they were right, only that they spoke more convincingly.
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        Jun 7 2013: I agree, Entropy Driven, that debates are not the best vehicle for figuring something out and that study in pursuit of actual understanding is typically much more valuable. The rhetoric in debates is often misleading and the format is biased against any possibly valid middle ground.
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          Jun 7 2013: Yes and they're all wrong and consider their beliefs to be so holy that they can not be debated without being offensive if you disagree.
    • Jun 7 2013: sometimes i think that i should leave god alone and that i'll just go anti against the church because i believe they have caused me to not believe in god. they have lots of flaws and i really think they should straighten themselves out.
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        Jun 7 2013: I agree Cheyenne, that some churches need to "straighten themselves out"!

        I believe that religions may have started with good information and intention....the golden rule and beneficial ideas like that.

        Somehow, inconsistant, contradictory, hypocritical dogma is introduced, which seems to overtake the very basic good ideas. That is what caused me to NOT believe in the existence of a god. After years of exploring, studying, researching and practicing various forms of religion, and philosophical beliefs, I decided that how I live my life HERE and NOW is the important thing.
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        Jun 7 2013: I am an atheist, but suggest whether you believe in some concept of a god/goddess or not should not depend on a bad experience with a human organisation or theist believers.

        Having said that, what you see does reinforce that they are simply human organisations and not particularly showing evidence of being infused with some divine power and love.

        It also points to good reasons not to treat these religious authorities with undue respect, blind faith in their dogma, and compliance. Child sex abuse cover ups, particularly by the Catholic church, is a big deal in Australia.
  • Jun 5 2013: No. There is no god.

    Hindi mo kailangan na maniwala sa isang diyos para maging isang mabuting tao.

    Maganda ung sinabi mo na ang tao ang gumawa sa diyos.
    • Jun 7 2013: yes, i think so too. i mean, this belief of some higher being was the result of our ancient ancestors' way of answering things that they found unanswerable. like for example: why does it rain? then they can't find a good explanation which leads them to some myth. they start believing that myth until it got carried on for generations.
  • Jun 4 2013: Hi Dear Cheyenne Archuleta,once i tried to discuss with people to prove:there isn't god in this world.But not anymore now.Now I would like to take it as a topic to discuss to know more from each other.For those people they deem God exists,I respect them,and vice verce.It doesn't matter to keep either...Now it reminds me of a book:The power of now.
    • Jun 4 2013: proving that there is no god can't be done.
      Because you can't ever test his existence as it's not defined.

      One can merely show that you do not "need a God" in order to explain things.

      The other extreme happens more often... that people are "convinced there is a God". This is at least as rediculous as trying to prove that he doesn't exist.
      For if you know that "there is a God" then you don't have faith. You have to be in doubt in order to have faith. If you don't doubt then it doesn't take faith to believe.
      Which in itself is a contradiction.
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    Jun 4 2013: why do people ask if there is a God ?
    maybe because they don't perceive nothing like what they think God is ; maybe there is nothing like what people think God is .......... however , if there is a God the people should perceive something that would make them believe in God . Isn't there anything that would make us believe in God ? The truth is that there is ; does it mean that God exists ? ........ the question is : can we know more than this ?
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    Jun 4 2013: Don,

    I never. I am not building a foundation for anything. The Fact is, none of those so-called postulates says anything about the existence or non-existence of God. Nothing. Those four postulates say more about Science and human nature as seen through the eyes of developmental psychology, philosophy, anthropology and even archaeology. THAT was my intent in writing these postulates. And that much, is all they are good for! But that's enough.

    I hope that God gets a chuckle out of the fact that I ascribe "4 Great Postulates" to Him/Her. It's a bit pretentious of me, don't you think?

    So if your observation is that my foundation has many problems and it is too weak . . . that's OK. I am comfortable in my faith. And I am comfortable in the 4 Postulates I offer as observations upon Science and human experience.

    To quote a smart man I met once: he said: "It's all about process and experience with you, isn't it?" And I had to agree with him. There is a lot of science behind that which makes it all true. There also is a great deal of both faith and theology in that -- such that even the most hard-shell Southern Baptist Preacher would have to agree with me on some very fundamental (fundamentalist) issues.

    As I see it, everything is about authority, accountability, and responsibility. I am voluntarily a man under authority, I am accountable to both God/faith and Science; and I am responsible for my own actions and those over whom I have charge (which this week is just my dog).
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    • Jun 4 2013: okay. :) thank you don.
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    Jun 4 2013: Hi Cheyenne

    I exist so does the God.

    God created Man or Man Created God?
    • Jun 4 2013: i think they co-exist? but i prefer 'man created god' :)
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        • Jun 4 2013: hmm. god created man?
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          Jun 7 2013: They both are causal potentially.

          The difference being we know humans exist and created most gods and goddesses.
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          Jun 7 2013: Are you referring to electromagnetism
          I think you will find the nuclear forces are also important to matter.

          Matter exists and is complex, you don't have all the answers, therefore god?

          What is god who created it?

          You have answered nothing, just introduced more complexity with no evidence.
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        Jun 5 2013: I suggest humans have invented many gods and goddesses.