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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 here....to experience life....here 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 awhile.....how 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.
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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.
      • W T 100+

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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 forthcomingness......is that even a word?

        Anyways, thank you so much.
        Mary
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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!!!

      P.S,
      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!


        EDIT
        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 truth.....you see? The bible tells a story, it is not proof of a god. If you want to believe it is....so be it. That is your choice and I respect your choice....I do not agree.


        EDIT:
        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??
    Cheers.
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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*

      OR

      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.
        Etc..etc..
        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:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUe0_4rdj0U

    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: I will add it,that religions are suggesting or pivoting what will happen after this life.
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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: Your answer surely invites my curiosity.As someone suggests to keep an open mind,but this time my open mind stays with a truth that there is someone who says there are adepts in the world,I won't chase further down.

          My request is if one day you know there is a probability,that an adept could convince a skeptic into a believer,tell me.
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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.

      Right?

      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 prefer the existence of god without the involvement of religion.So far,people's arguments over the existence of god are based on religion,or started by religious perspective.

    I hope,and probably there is a god,but has no interaction with man or the creature,no prophets,no heaven and hell.But a god that determine our life before our birth,everyone has a unique path of life which is determined by god,that's what I call,destiny.You may think during our life,we move up and down,but these are all destined.You may think we make choices,mistakes,win and lose,but these are in codes and scripts of an application,where we are heading to,what we are going to acquire are definite.

    I am convinced that a god is an unthinkable entity,who prints our destiny,period.
    • 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: I mean if there is a god ,that god is unthinkable for man's capability,we can not think about god doesn't have to mean god can't mapping our life.

        I mean Christianity,Islam,Buddhism,etc. are religions.So what are Islam and Buddhism in your eyes?
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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 mean what unthinkable about god is god's shape,age,gender,whereabout,ect. But through our destiny we posit god exists.

        I want point out that I don't know personally god exists or not,I want to explain my point of view beyond the argument between atheist and theist,religion and nonreligion.
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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 story....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.
    • W T 100+

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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.