The Raving Theist

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Ephiphany

September 21, 2005 | 104 Comments

Submitted by Hannah:

What would have to happen for you to believe in God?

Comments

104 Responses to “Ephiphany”

  1. Tomek
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 2:02 am

    Not really sure. A good start would be to see a reasonable answer and rosolution to all of the internal contradictions of any God. If we are talking about the Christian God.. well I just say resolve all the contradictions and dilemmas before anyone starts taking him/her/it/shit seriously

  2. dof
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 4:52 am

    God offering me the job while he takes a leave of absence.

    But I guess I then would believe in myself, so to speak, so not much difference there.

  3. Mijae
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 4:53 am

    If God really exists, He should know Himself what it would take for me to believe. He’d even know if there were any cheap emotional-based shortcuts or something, to save him the work of my extensive tests I can think up right now. He hasn’t seen fit to bring this about.

    The god or gods in question would have to first get my attention with something that couldn’t really be just coincidence, or the work of innovative, powerful, and bored aliens with nothing better to do than mess with me. Something that would also prove that the god behind this was truly privy to omniscient information. For instance: A burning bush that changed its flames into the shapes of letters that spelled out everything I was consciously thinking from moment to moment.

    So, once He had my attention, God would need to let ME in on some of that classified information. I’d suspect now that something big and powerful was out there, but I’d still not understand how any kind of god could exist without being contradictory. God would have to make this and any other relevant trade secrets known to me.

    He’d then have to wait for the peer review to make sure I wasn’t just hallucinating. He’d have to allow some other varied people (including at least one mental health professional) to get in on the signs and knowledge too, so they could back me up.

    …extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, what can I say?

  4. eel_shepherd
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 7:46 am

    I’m somewhat easier to please than the last person, I guess. All
    I’d need would be for the god to explain/reveal why things couldn’t be
    just the way they already are without the need for any gods. i.e. why the world I look out on, which seems to function perfectly well just on its own terms would function any differently without the existence of the god or gods that are presumably necessary for that functioning.

  5. Anonymous
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 9:10 am

    What’s God?

  6. Rocketman
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 9:23 am

    It would have to rub it’s belly and tap the top of its head at the same time.

  7. George
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 9:26 am

    God might, by some miracle, get me to believe he exists, but he would never get me to like him or understand the violent and destructive way he behaves, especially toward the poor and underpriveliged he is supposed to love so much. No matter what he said to me, I would still try to punch him in the nose, something I have wanted to do for more than 50 years.

  8. leon
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 9:30 am

    If every politician, clergy-person, government contractor, and LAWYER (which includes RA) and I almost forgot, advertisers on the planet suddenly and permanently stopped lying (in every form), then I might (repeat might) consider the possibility.

  9. glenstonecottage
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 10:14 am

    What would it take for ME to believe in God?

    Very simple:

    Hurricane Rita touches down in Crawford, Texas and completely wipes it off the map… while sparing everywhere else.

    That’s the kind of Old Testament God I could really get behind.

    Then I’d pray, go to church every Sunday, hate homosexuals, the whole bit.

  10. Thorngod
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 11:33 am

    –Too late. But initially the same as for any true believer, a well-fortified “God module” in my frontal cortex. I realized over thirty years ago that there had to be a knot of cells somewhere in the human brain that protected one’s irrational but emotionally charged beliefs from all assaults. The neuro-scientists discovered it about a dozen years ago. They mistook it for a hardwired and exclusively religion-predisposing mechanism; thus the “God mod” label. They should have dubbed it the “B-S” module, since they will discover, if they haven’t already, that it protects all emotionally charged irrational beliefs. A few of us are fortunate enough to have been somehow spared its more striking effects. We should be understanding and forgiving of those who were not.

  11. Mijae
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 12:52 pm

    It would have to rub it’s belly and tap the top of its head at the same time.

    Hey, I can do that! Maybe I should start living up to the idea that atheists just worship themselves.

  12. a different tim
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 1:57 pm

    I’d like to get to stick my fingers through the holes in the resurrected body of Christ.
    It was good enough for doubting Thomas (the one sensible man in the Bible – he asked for evidence and he got it).

    Actually, a thought has just occurred to me on that subject that is probably too blasphemous and obscene even for me……

  13. Mookie
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 3:38 pm

    It to clean up its mess.

  14. wyote
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 4:22 pm

    I believe in my bathroom sink. It’s there when I’m happy or sad, drunk or sober. It’s there no matter how I feel about it. If someone said, “Hey, I don’t believe in your bathroom sink,” I’d say, come and look at it. I’d clean it up first to make sure she could tell it really was my bathroom sink. And she’d come and look, and be convinced. If she thought her eyes were fooling her, she could touch it or bang her head against it. We could even take it apart, put it back together, or call the manufacturer. We can do all kinds of shit to it becuase IT’S REALLY THERE.

    Now if God were really there, we should be able to notice and check him out and stuff like that. But as long as we’re all imagining things and taking stuff on authority… I won’t believe.

  15. a different tim
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 5:54 pm

    It’s OK, man, we know.
    You’re amongst friends here.

  16. Mijae
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 6:13 pm

    Nice one, wyote. It reminds me of a similar argument I made once when I heard a theist say “There HAS to be a higher power out there… there just HAS to be!” I find it so silly when even people who are active in church and base their lives around God as if He existed don’t even feel like they know God is there.

    I mean, compare this to when I’d talk to people about a long-distance boyfriend. If someone said to me, “Oh, you just can’t get a date, so you’re making this guy up. Long-distance, hah, how convenient.” Since this guy is real and I know him, I’d answer, “Well sure he exists, here’s his picture, and here’s one of us together… and he is coming to visit on such-and-such date, so maybe I could introduce you then, we’ll do a double-date…” etc. etc. If I answered “But… I HAVE to have a boyfriend! …I just HAVE to!” people would rightly think I was bonkers.

  17. Aeger
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 6:28 pm

    It’s never been a question of whether or not god exists for me. Actually, I don’t give a shit. So far I’ve seen no proof, so I’ll stick to that. But my point is that, even if God did exist, i wouldn’t worship him. He’s a total ass.

  18. Jason
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 7:01 pm

    What would have to happen? Well, personally I do believe in god. Yet there’s no reason to believe in god, and nobody should be forced to accept something that is beyond proof.

    Let me state, however, that I don’t believe in any of the gods man has invented.

    I accept a “higher power” out there, be it a cosmic force, or some advanced alien intelligence…it really doesn’t matter to me.

    If the question were, what would it take to believe in the christian god….i’d say that its not possible for me. Human sacrifice, whether of a Jesus nature, or a sorry bastard who’s about to have his heart removed to ensure next season’s corn crop, is barbaric and cruel.

  19. leon
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 7:18 pm

    Wow Jason, can you tell me what it looks like, what it does, where it is, and how you ‘know’ this ‘power’ exists if it is beyond proof? I guess if man didn’t invent it, a woman invented it, eh.

  20. are you just a marionette
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 7:26 pm

    It would take visual evidence, but, not a grilled cheese sandwich w/ the so called jesus’s face, all though a novel idea to fetch some money on ebay. If this was all true god would know that merely something that only a god could do in front of the world would make most people believe, not necessarily follow…. Wouldn’t you want to make an appearance if you were god? Why not, you’d be the coolest person on earth outside of mr. T.

  21. Erik
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 8:01 pm

    I guess the question first is: what is “believe”? If that means “accept the truth of a statement without evidence”, then nothing could make me believe in God. If a being were to present itself to me as god, and then I thought about moving Mt. Everest instantaneously to the middle of Kansas, and that actually occurred, I would believe that that entity is godly powerful. But I could never worship it.

  22. Anonymous
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 8:32 pm

    What would it take for a believer to STOP believing in God?

  23. are you just a marionette
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 9:00 pm

    What would it take for a believer to STOP believing in God?

    Perhaps read ALL of the bible?

  24. Sportin' Life
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 10:52 pm

    Hurricane Rita touches down in Crawford, Texas and completely wipes it off the map… while sparing everywhere else.

    LOL–Hey that was my answer!

  25. prayertulip
    September 22nd, 2005 @ 11:53 pm

    Some people will NEVER believe. The bible says that there will be weeping and nashing of the teeth by those who have not believed. Its like the people of Galvaston being wise enough to leave the coast. But, some people don’t believe there is a Hurricane or they think they are invincible enough to ride it out. I don’t know about you but I am getting on the bus!

  26. Lucy Muff
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 2:27 am

    For to believe in JESUS LORD all I needs is my faith, and guess whats? I gots it already! JESUS is here right now in me heart and I feel HIS LOVE as powerfully as me own breath so question is total moots.

    I pity fools what don’t have the able to see what is all around them alls the time.

    If you atheiust would stop being in big horse and allow opening of mind then you too can have everlasting life in HEAVEN with JESUS LORD and GOD. it be your own sadness to miss out, and I pity the fools what don’t see this

  27. Vince
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 3:51 am

    What would it take for me to believe in God?

    IF God exists, he (or it) is probably so intermingled with the fabric of Time and Space as to be imperceptible to the mere biological creatures crawling about on this pathetic flyspeck of a planet, in what amounts to the boondocks of the Universe. I don

  28. bill
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 4:22 am

    To Anon. I asked a raving lunatic the same question. apparently:

    “God is the creator of the universe and everything in it. He made you
    and I
    and everyone else to love and to serve Him. He is the God of the
    Bible.”

    Serving the King, Michael Marcavage

    REPENT AMERICA
    P.O. Box 30000
    Philadelphia, PA 19103
    Tel & Fax: 1-800-3-REPENT
    E-mail: repent@repentamerica.com

    Visit our bookstore: http://www.RABookstore.com

    “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the
    Father but by me.” -Jesus Christ (John 14:6)

    So, there you have it… God’s just an omnipotent ego-maniac.
    Credit where credit’s due, he did answer.

  29. ChrisDavis
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 5:27 am

    Any suitable demonstration that defies the rules of physics conclusively. A repeat of one of the Old Testament crowd-pleasers would be fine.

    And the opportunity to ask the Big Question: If you exist, why are you trying so damn hard to convince anyone with a shred of logic that you don’t?

    CD

  30. Prayertulip
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 7:04 am

    There ya go, the above responses? I call that “nashing” of the teeth or grinding of the teeth in anger. God said it. You guys have already proved a small part of the bible. My dentist told me never to grind my teeth. It’s time to get your anger under control if you want pretty teeth. I just wonder how this beautiful place we live in came to be if there is as you say no intelligent designer? Try not to get tooo angry in your answer…..you want pretty teeth now don’t ya.

  31. Anonymous
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 7:27 am

    Prayertulip, are you a bible-believer?

  32. Alex
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 7:48 am

    … I dont Believe in god and never will… Even disscussing this question is a waste of time, like > “Vince” now thats a waste of time… Go write a book or something for fuck sake i’ll be suprised if 1 in 10 people botherd reading half of that shit.

    Fuck this question, submitted by some bible bashing whore wanting more people to fall into the pathetic traps of religion / people will always believe and some people never will accept that…

    For me to even give a reason what would ‘change me’ would almost make me feel although i beleive, but am not too convinced yet… so fuck that and fuck youuuuuu

  33. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 8:35 am

    What would have to happen for you to believe in God?

    Mental Illness

  34. Rob
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 8:59 am

    Are you asking the right questions, PT? I’d ask why we percieve certain things as beautiful and others as ugly. My hypothesis is that its how we are able to percieve healthy environments, people, animals, and objects. We tend to percieve visually things with smoothness and symmetry as beautiful. Evolution naturally results in smoothness and symmetry since smooth and symmetrical animals are more efficient than jagged assymmetrical ones, but it doesn’t just fit evolution. Theres a tendency for symmetry from the forces of the universe. The most chaotic systems tend to find pockets of order.

  35. Kooz
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 9:21 am

    What would have to happen for you to believe in God?

    I’d have to come down with a raging case of temporal lobe epilepsy.

  36. jahrta
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 10:09 am

    Vince

    The vast majority of what you wrote about how we’re all just pathetic, stupid, insignificant motes of dust in his grasp (theist and atheist alike) just serves to further the atheist’s point that religion is inhumane and completely counter-productive to society in general. How are we ever to rise above it all and become what we’re supposed to if we’re constantly forced to acknowledge and pander to the lunatic ravings of people who think that their lunatic ravings are deserving of credence and clout simply because there are so many people who repeat and reinforce those lunatic ravings? We don’t have to look too far to see religion’s destructive force at work (i.e., women should never have abortions, people shouldn’t use condoms because we’re meant to have control over reproduction, we shouldn’t use stem cells to banish help all of mankind, and let’s not forget my personal favorite: “god hates fags”)

    What would have to happen to prove to me that god(s) existed? Have you seen that Looney Toons where Daffy drank nitroglycerine while wearing a devil costume then swallowed a match and exploded? That would be a really good start.

  37. a different tim
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:01 am

    >women should never have abortions, people shouldn’t use condoms because we’re meant to have control over reproduction, we shouldn’t use stem cells to banish help all of mankind, and let’s not forget my personal favorite: “god hates fags”

    not to mention that we apparently shouldn’t use brain cells to actually question recieved theistic “wisdom” about the universe.

  38. Thorngod
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:19 am

    You’re whistling in the wind. If Yahweh had told his children that two plus two make five, there is no demonstration you could perform that would persuade them otherwise. It’s a chancre in the brain that commands utter obedience and rejects all assaults by reason.

  39. Flash
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:08 pm

    Like it’s been said, who or what is God? He, she or it, for a start.

    What would have to happen? I’d have to develop a serious mental illness.

  40. sibanye
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:41 pm

    All the guns on earth would suddenly disappear and peace (which includes no natural disasters) and prosperity would be given to every single man, woman and child on this earth. Violence, greed, ignorance and deprivation rule the earth.

  41. Thorngod
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:56 pm

    Sibanye, you’d be bored to your uttermost parts. Imagine Mother Teresa’s plight if she’d suddenly confronted the pretty world you describe. She’d have been deliriously happy for about ten mnutes… until she realized there was nothing left in the world for her to do.
    Evolution has not prepared us for Heaven!

  42. Dr. K. E. Taylor
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 8:39 pm

    What would it take for me to believe in a god? Simple, I want to see the following headline in every major newspaper, around the globe, on the same day:

    “Doctors baffled as childrens wards have nothing but empty beds. Childrens Hospitals prepairing to shutdown due to lack of clients.”

    And then, when I’d go to read to my kids on my weekly visit, I find out, it’s true.

    That, would get my attention. To bad their is no god big enough, or strong enough to make it happen.

  43. Chris Hallquist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:22 pm

    If God were so kind as to send Moses back to Earth today, get the stick-to-snake schitck on camera, it would be a start. Of course, that power could be from a different source, but it’s a hell of an improvement over having it in what seems to be in a tribal oral history.

  44. Sportin' Life
    September 24th, 2005 @ 1:48 am

    How about if all evangelical christians suddenly and mysteriously vanished without a trace, never to be seen again, as we are told is going to happen someday soon by Tim LaHaye?

    That would certainly impress me.

  45. wyote
    September 24th, 2005 @ 4:02 am

    But Sportin’ Life, the Ev Xians themselves think that a lot of them will be left behind. Only the true Xians will be taken.

    Kinda gives ‘em the willies.

  46. prayertulip
    September 24th, 2005 @ 11:02 am

    Now, now Alex……I know you probably have decided to stop commenting in this particular stupid question of the day because you have said you are wasting your time in this. So I do not expect you to read this, but in case you do…….be careful, your teeth are getting jagged.

    By the way, how do you get a bird from an alligator? and do you think this website would automatically run itself without an owner or a moderator? I am a nurse. My child is dying. He is 20y/o. He is in the hospital right now. In fact, I have lived at the hospital for the last month. Do I have an answer as to why he is so sick? Or why little children get sick? No. I do know that on the other side, all of our questions will be answered. No room for bitterness or anger. Only trusting in a God who holds me close to Him and will never let me or my son go. Yes, we will all live forever, somewhere. Blameing God will only make your teeth jagged and waste your time.

  47. prayertulip
    September 24th, 2005 @ 11:06 am

    Love and a sound mind is a gift from God.

  48. Tracy
    September 24th, 2005 @ 3:24 pm

    “It” would have to stand in front of me and kneel so I could kick it in the teeth for being such a DICK throughout history. After it proved it was god first. IF it can prove it’s god! Yah, ya, that’s the ticket!

  49. Tracy
    September 24th, 2005 @ 3:24 pm

    “It” would have to stand in front of me and kneel so I could kick it in the teeth for being such a DICK throughout history. After it proved it was god first. IF it can prove it’s god! Yah, ya, that’s the ticket!

  50. anonymous
    September 24th, 2005 @ 3:32 pm

    What Vince wrote is some of the most insightful stuff I have ever read in my life.

    The guy who bashed Vince is a fucking moron.

    You’re even worse than the religious zealots. You show the utmost contempt to anyone who dares questions ideas outside atheism.

  51. anonymous
    September 24th, 2005 @ 3:35 pm

    “The vast majority of what you wrote about how we’re all just pathetic, stupid, insignificant motes of dust in his grasp (theist and atheist alike) just serves to further the atheist’s point that religion is inhumane and completely counter-productive to society in general. How are we ever to rise above it all and become what we’re supposed to if we’re constantly forced to acknowledge and pander to the lunatic ravings of people who think that their lunatic ravings are deserving of credence and clout simply because there are so many people who repeat and reinforce those lunatic ravings? We don’t have to look too far to see religion’s destructive force at work (i.e., women should never have abortions, people shouldn’t use condoms because we’re meant to have control over reproduction, we shouldn’t use stem cells to banish help all of mankind, and let’s not forget my personal favorite: “god hates fags”)”

    jarta what the hell??

    maybe this is why the other guy insulted vince.

    Dudes try and reread Vince’s post. He is hypothetically describing the meaning of our lives if God really did exist. When did he ever suggest
    God even does exist. I dont believe in a God, but his ideas regarding our insignificance next to an all-powerful being are completely true. IF A GOD REALLY DID EXIST, we really would be just like and ant to the architect of that building.

    Jesus christ (lol), for christ sake he wasnt saying god exists.

  52. omfglol
    September 24th, 2005 @ 3:38 pm

    Hey it’s me, the guy who posted the last two comments.

    You guys are fucking high or something. Even the end of Vince’s comment regards religious people as hypocritical or zealots. Man you guys even attack other atheists. At least the religious zealots only attack people of other faiths.

  53. Anonymous
    September 24th, 2005 @ 5:32 pm

    omfglol said:
    “At least the religious zealots only attack people of other faiths.”

    They only attack people of other faiths? I think this stance may lower your credibility, as it is inarguably untrue.

    Another problem in the argument is that athiests only necessarily share the view that there is no god. Why should it follow that athiests would agree on every other issue, or that some atheists wouldn’t use extreme arguments or language, and others subtle questions to combat what they might perceive as possibly incorrect, or even dangerous ignorance, no matter where it appears? Isn’t argumentative conflict the best way to ascertain the soundest views?

    I read jahrta’s post, and it doesn’t seem to take the stance that Vince was espousing Vince’s actual views, it simply remarks upon the comments themselves. jarhta’s comment doesn’t seem to imply anything about Vince, does it?

    Alex’s post seems to be an indictment of the length of Vince’s post on what Alex regards to be a waste of time, i.e. the question of the day.

    omfglol also said:
    “IF A GOD REALLY DID EXIST, we really would be just like and ant to the architect of that building”

    I’m not sure I follow this. What kind of a god are you positing? In some myths, mortal humans are able to slay gods.

  54. hellobuddy
    September 24th, 2005 @ 5:50 pm

    Tongue in cheek? It should be obvious we are talking about the Christian god.

    I guess I shouldnt have said religious people only attack people of other faiths. That was wrong.

    However I disagree with your assessment that jartha is innocent. Oooh no. He is a godless heathen and should be thrown into the depths of hell. =) Not because he doesnt believe in gawd, but because I really think he unfairly and ineptly criticized Vince.

    What Vince was talking about falls into the philosophical realm. He is talking hypothetically about what our relationship with gawd would be like if we were in his presence. There is absolutely no wrong or right answer when we muse about our philosophical thoughts. If god really does exist, there are several viewpoints as to how exactly we would be approached by him, and how limited we are in our ability to receive him.

    Jartha certainly has a right to disagree with Vince’s views. But jartha makes an extremely illogical comment.

    He says that because the hypothetical relationship between us and gawd (a supremely powerful omnipotent being whose intellect and nature is far too complex for any of us to understand, and whom maybe too great and detached from humans to understand/care about them) seems inhumane, religion is bullshit.

    Now come on.

    If anything, religion is inhumane because of the way humans themselves have used it. To kill, to proselytize, to brainwash.

    But the hypothetical nature between god and humans that was explained by Vince is anything but inhumane. It is a brilliant analysis of our intellectual limits, of our ability to attain knowledge. If god really did exist and we could not communicate with him on account of our limited intellect, then that’s just the way things are. It’s not inhumane, any more than our relationship with ants is inhumane, especially since ants aren’t even human. =)

  55. Anonymous
    September 24th, 2005 @ 6:07 pm

    hellobuddy said:
    “He says that because the hypothetical relationship between us and gawd (a supremely powerful omnipotent being whose intellect and nature is far too complex for any of us to understand, and whom maybe too great and detached from humans to understand/care about them) seems inhumane, religion is bullshit.”

    It sounds like he disagrees with Vince, but I wasn’t judging the actual truth of either argument. I just didn’t see jahrta as actually making an attack on Vince, just his argument regarding theism.

    Possibly that same person, hellobuddy, said:
    “I dont believe in a God, but his ideas regarding our insignificance next to an all-powerful being are completely true.”

    I don’t think this is an attack by you on jahrta, just because it might disagree with his comment, is it?

  56. Chris
    September 24th, 2005 @ 6:13 pm

    Like I said RA – it doesn’t matter whether you are reasonable, logical or can provide definitive proof of your position.
    If people aren’t willing to listen, then it really doesn’t matter, does it?

    This collection of comments pretty much demonstrates that objectively and truthfully.

    It’s just blatant hypocrisy to say one is open to definitive proof, while still holding a bagful of pre-suppositions.
    That’s not open or truthful.

    Ultimately, it comes down to a question of choice.
    You can play all the semantical games you want, but you can’t avoid it.

    It’s absolutely pure, choice is an essential difference.
    A singularity is no choice.
    And that isn’t happening.
    Ignoring, or declining to chose is still a choice-albeit negative.

    To be open, one must embrace truth, real absolute truth, without presuppositions.

    You cannot remove God from life, and still be truthful and rational.
    You end up denying yourself.

    And to me that sounds like suicide.

  57. Anonymous
    September 24th, 2005 @ 6:18 pm

    “Tongue in cheek? It should be obvious we are talking about the Christian god.”

    I almost missed this.

    As I said, in some myths mortal humans are able to slay gods. Even Christian gods.

  58. Jason Malloy
    September 24th, 2005 @ 6:40 pm

    “What would have to happen for you to believe in God?”

    I would have to be given a logical explanation of the concept, followed by sufficient scientific evidence that this thing is factual.

    But there’s also the GW Bush model, which is equally good: “Oh me oh my, I’m a miserable 40 year old alcoholic failure and my wife is going to leave me, take the kids and demand alimony – no, wait, I’m magically transformed in the Blud of Jeeesusss. Now I’m Leader of Earth!”

  59. hellobuddy
    September 24th, 2005 @ 7:13 pm

    hey Christ, i mean, Chris, was that directed at me? I dont think I made any presuppositions. Or Vince for that matter. It’s just all fun hypothetical talk.

  60. Rob
    September 24th, 2005 @ 7:25 pm

    I don’t think you made any presuppositions, but I’m pretty sure that Chris has. Theres no way of knowing that there even is a real absolute truth, and its not clear why such a “truth” must be connected with a god.

    As for me, I’m trying to figure out how god can prove himself to be god and not some alien with advanced technology.. Maybe I’ve watched too much SG-1. The current storyline involves an alien race with a very Judeo-Christianesque scam going on.

  61. DHR
    September 24th, 2005 @ 7:36 pm

    [qs]To be open, one must embrace truth, real absolute truth, without presuppositions.

    You cannot remove God from life, and still be truthful and rational.
    You end up denying yourself.[/qs]

    God is a supposition.

  62. hellobuddy
    September 24th, 2005 @ 8:45 pm

    omg lol I really have to start reading my posts more carefully. I thought Chris was a nontheist.

  63. PaladinOfChrist
    September 25th, 2005 @ 4:54 pm

    “[qs]To be open, one must embrace truth, real absolute truth, without presuppositions.

    You cannot remove God from life, and still be truthful and rational.
    You end up denying yourself.[/qs]

    God is a supposition.”

    According to some ATHEISTS existance is a suppostion so what’s your point?

  64. Steven
    September 25th, 2005 @ 10:32 pm

    All of the AFLAC commercials would have to suddenly stop. In place of the talking duck would be a burning bush (not that Bush, although the thought of him burning is very comforting.) The bush would speak to everyone in the world at once, in all languages, and it would explain to us why, if it was so damn powerful, it only managed to have one son.

  65. MattH
    September 26th, 2005 @ 2:49 am

    It sounds like Vince’s god would be Rick Moranis’ character in Honey I Shrunk The Kids. Peering down on the ant-sized children, full of love, and taking extraordinary pains not to crush them. ;D

  66. Anonymous
    September 26th, 2005 @ 7:14 am

    “According to some ATHEISTS existance is a suppostion so what’s your point?”

    Straw man alert.

  67. dj357
    September 26th, 2005 @ 8:46 am

    hmm……serious brain damage to the logic centre of my brain, is what I’m guessing. It’d have to be something that serious to warrant such a serious error in judgement.

  68. mark
    September 26th, 2005 @ 10:44 am

    Proof, tangible proof.

  69. prayertulip
    September 26th, 2005 @ 11:27 am

    Mark-ask God to show you tangible proof. HE will.

  70. God
    September 26th, 2005 @ 11:29 am

    Hey! “a different tim”,

    The only reason you will not ask me to save you, is your rebellion, not proof of my existence!

  71. Rocketman
    September 26th, 2005 @ 1:14 pm

    If there were another five commandments

    Thou shalt not litter.

    Thou shalt not force our beliefs on those who don’t have any use for them

    Thou shalt not profit off of the misery of others

    Thou shalt not take the bible as the literal truth but as a metaphor

    Thous shalt take from y religion what you seek from it, to make you good and moral people, and then stop beleiving in silly divine fantasies and get on with living the one life you have.

    Or something like that.

  72. a different tim
    September 26th, 2005 @ 2:35 pm

    God said: “Hey! “a different tim”,

    The only reason you will not ask me to save you, is your rebellion, not proof of my existence!”

    Damn! I knew there was a catch somewhere.

  73. whitey
    September 26th, 2005 @ 7:01 pm

    This is a question for non-theists, not atheists. …”for you to believe in God?”, implies the existence of a God that we just simply do not believe in for one reason or another because we might be ignorant, or dense, or dumb. Atheism is the concept that there is simply no god to worry about believing in. Its a non-issue. Whats the point?

  74. olly
    September 26th, 2005 @ 8:49 pm

    Whitey, you’re talking crap. Atheism (more specifically weak atheism) is the stance that you don’t believe God exists. Just because you believe something, that doesn’t make it true – hence what evidence would have to be presented to you to to change your belief from not believing in god to believing in god? For me, it would have to be something like him/her/whatever actually appearing before me – maybe making a prediction that something would happen that is both extremely unlikely, and unknowable except to god e.g. if he had appeared before me and said what the next weeks lotto numbers would be and then them actually being the numbers the next week. I would also write them down at the time and post them to myself so they would be postmarked the day he told me so I would not think myself delusional in the future (or just pick them – then I would know I wasn’te delusional cos of all the cash :-) SOmething liek that – but that of course would still not completely rule out the possibility of super advanced aliens, or the matrix or something

  75. bill
    September 27th, 2005 @ 9:07 am

    Anyone still confused after whitey’s post?
    It’s the only answer.
    It’s up to ‘them’ to provide a damned good, in fact INFALLIBLE reason why anyone should give up their life for a load of horse feathers.
    There is no debating to be had – just baiting. >: )

  76. mlotus
    September 27th, 2005 @ 9:57 am

    What would it take to make me believe? “God” herself or himself coming to me and begging me to be pious would not do it. A personal guide to the universe at the speed of light would not do it. Granting me the power to see and know and experience anything that has ever happened and everything that has never happened would not do it.

    Why?

    Because if I knew I was in the presence of a transcendent power, that’s what I would know and nothing more. At that point, “belief” would be an absurdity. Belief is what you do when you don’t know. It’s what you do BECAUSE you don’t know. Apparently, some folks don’t like the feeling of uncertainty. Others, like myself, find it enjoyable.

    There’s no need to get dogmatic about it — or anything else — because dog knows we’ve all been spectacularly wrong about a lot of things and maybe this too.

    If I knew there was a Creator and Source of All, that would be okay. It’s logical to me that there would be. But to believe anything is stupid, especially because it blocks the way of new understanding emerging.

    So, I don’t believe in the non existence of something. That is a “tearer downer” mindset. To be a debunker is to be wilfully blind. Debunkers’ basic position is: “no matter what you say, I’m going to find a way to refute it”. Is the blindness obvious? Is that lack of openness obvious?

    To be a believer is to have thrown in the towel on the possibility of even knowing. That’s sad. To be a bunker is to close your mind against something, probably something that you feel hurt you in some way. That’s sad too.

    Debunkers and believers. Twins.

    What’s left? Knowing what you know. Even knowing that some of what you know may and probably will be wrong. And, staying open and observing. Most particularly, if you are interested in really knowing, watching your own mind. Seeing your reflexive habits of mind. They are not indicators of truth but of prejudice.

    By nature we are knowers or not knowers. We are consciousnesses. We define ourselves by what we are aware of. So the battle over who’s right about this and that…and the battle to dominate another by vociferously arguing one or another position…psychologically, they are very revealing.

  77. Bill
    September 27th, 2005 @ 11:32 am

    mlotus,
    To sit on the fence is not an intelligent position (especially a picket fence – Ouch!).
    As I say above, in agreeing with whitey, as far as I’m concerned there’s nothing to prove.
    I figured it out by the age of ten. What’s everyone else’s excuse?
    The reason for the vociferousness of some atheists’ rejection of religion is a result of the realisation of the massive scale of the indoctrination, brainwashing and other attempts to control what people do and think, excerised by all religions.
    Sit back smugly if you like but they’ll creep up behind you, smack you over the head and drag you off to a “smug pseudo-intellectuals who don’t love the baby jesus” court and string you up while singing to the lord and saviour to save your soul.
    Belief in the-big-man-with-the-beard requires that an individual jettisons all reason and embraces faith. Once that’s done you are allowed to do anything in the name of the lord.
    All major religious texts were compliled by the ruling elite of the time to control their ever-increasing populations and provide ‘divine’ affirmation of their right to rule.
    There’s no basis for any of it, so no argument to be had (So, in reality, no fence. Ouch! Did you hurt your bum when you landed?)
    >:)

  78. Mark
    September 27th, 2005 @ 12:09 pm

    Prayertulip,
    Nothing happened and I asked nicely. God still remains unknown.

  79. mlotus
    September 27th, 2005 @ 5:06 pm

    Hi Bill:

    There’s something inherently suspicious about “absolute statements”. They seem to reveal doubt being suppressed. Since you have invested so much in your identity as the unbullshittable, ya can’t fool me atheist, listen for it when someone is being absolutist in another domain.

    It’s unmistakeable.

    You wouldn’t want, apparently, to be caught on any picket fence. But have you ever been absolutely wrong about what you were so sure about? You don’t have to tell me, just tell yourself.

    Belief is the middle ground. The life preserver. The crutch. Belief in God or belief in the impossibility of God. In both cases, some serious clinging is going on.

    You say I’m sitting on a fence. Maybe it’s you! Maybe you can’t stand to be open minded about what you don’t know for sure. Maybe that’s why you have to adopt such a strong position. Looking at the absurdity of religious beliefs, you REACTED against them. Which of course ties you by the hip to the credulous you feel so superior to. Heck, if you didn’t have them to make fun of, who would you be?

    If you’re not on a fence, maybe you’re in a leghold trap. Or a mind-hold trap. Your dismissals of the credulous may be simply projections from your own psych that has inverted the religious impulse. (If you are as aware as you portray yourself to be, you won’t simply have a knee jerk reaction to this. You’ll examine it. Do you dare?)

    You say “I figured it out by the age of ten.”

    Ah, I see. One of those “I’m the smartest kid in the world” types. How many years ago was that? I guess that would explain why you are holding on so tight. You really grabbed hold of something that was essential to your identity. Heck, you wouldn’t want to put to the lie your mythology about your young self, would you?

    My best advice is “let go”.

    I think you have a good point about religions. It’s a big power grab. But why are you so upset about it? Can’t you just laugh it off and go about your business? Or is there a big nostril flaring moral aspect to this?

    “Sit back smugly if you like but they’ll creep up behind you, smack you over the head and drag you off to a “smug pseudo-intellectuals who don’t love the baby jesus” court and string you up while singing to the lord and saviour to save your soul.”

    They don’t stand a chance with me. With you, on the other hand, I’m not so sure. You may not be able to resist painting yourself even deeper into your kneejerk absolutist corner.

    Yours in good fun.

    mlotus

  80. Nunya Bidness
    September 27th, 2005 @ 6:52 pm

    Bill is teh winnah! Only correct answer.

  81. Nunya Bidness
    September 27th, 2005 @ 7:04 pm

    Hey mlotus, what would it take to get you to believe that there’s a leprechaun riding invisible pink unicorn
    in my garage? Now be careful not to get all absolutist on us. We’re both athiests, I just believe in one
    fewer god than you. Think about why you don’t believe in other gods and you might get some insight
    into why I don’t believe in yours.

  82. mlotus
    September 28th, 2005 @ 8:32 am

    Hey Nunya:

    I’m guessing that some religious folks visit your site from time to time and you bait them. I bet that’s fun for you.

    Next time read what a person wrote and bait them based on what they wrote if baiting is your thing.

    Your little screed is a complete non sequiteur.

    mlotus

  83. a different tim
    September 28th, 2005 @ 12:47 pm

    She did respond to what you said. I’ve made this argument myself (only I generally prefer to use an invisible Rhino). The point is that the proposition “there is a God” and “there is not a God” are not logically equivalent, as you imply they are. The logically neutral position is not in between the two, but to disbelieve until some proof is offered.

  84. mlotus
    September 28th, 2005 @ 6:04 pm

    Let me see if I can straighten out this tangled knot.

    I said, “Belief is the problem”, not “Belief In” or “DisBelief In” any particular thing. Both are forms of belief. I’ll define belief in a moment.

    I don’t happen to believe in God and I don’t believe in Atheism, which, judging by the way it is discussed here, seems to be a Belief.

    I was accused of fence sitting, and I responded by characterizing Nunya’s statements as sounding like those of a Believer.

    I define belief as something that people decide to “hold to be true”, whether they know it for sure or not. In the case of things that cannot be absolutely known, I say there’s no point in believing, especially because belief by it’s nature blocks new information from being assimilated and understood. And if you do know something, then it’s absurd to believe it.

    But of course you can only know something that can be known. If you believe something and say “I know it”, you don’t, of course, you only believe it. You “hold” that it is true.

    The absolutism with which the conclusion that there is no god is conveyed sounds a lot like the absolutism by which some claim the bible to be the “word of god”.

    I am looking at the psychological reflex that underpins True Believers, including Atheists.

    Apparently, not grokking the distinction between a True Believer and someone bringing forth a different distinction, Nunya accused me of believing in God, whereupon I said his or her conclusion was a non sequitur.

    You say, a different tim, that I am implying a logical equivalency between there being or not being a god. Let me give you an analogy for the problem I perceive with Atheism.

    There are certain cactus plants that bloom once in a great while, for a short time, and only at night. So, a person who “lives there their whole life” could be forgiven for not believing that certain plants ever blossom.

    Not believing in the blossom would be a logical conclusion. Hearing that they do blossom once every 28 years and only in the middle of the night and only for a few hours….would strain credulity. But, ultimately, it is not something to be believed but to be observed.

    You know it or you don’t.

    Unfortunately in one way and fortunately in another, this phenomenon exists at the very fringes of observability. But, anyone who observes it can know with certainty that in fact these plants do exist.

    Stay with me because there is a point to this and perhaps not the one you think.

    This analogy does NOT tell me that there IS a god and I only have to stand in the desert overnight every night for 28 years to finally know it. It merely illustrates that our span of life and our limited perception can easily lead us to false suppositions.

    There are things within observability. And there are things beyond observability. These desert cacti illustrate a profound point…that there’s so much that we cannot possibly know with any certainty. There are many unlikely things we will dismiss because they don’t conform to what we think should be.

    What do people do about the unknown? That is the question that religion and atheism are two different answers for.

    My answer is to dispense with belief. To know what can be known and to acknowledge what cannot be known. And to always be open to learning more and better than before. Someone says that’s fence sitting…oh really? Nunya, are you of the “ya gotta believe in something school?”

    I’m not. You don’t have to believe anything. Being an Atheist is a couple of bricks short of a lifestyle (or anything much) you have to admit.

    How the universe came into being cannot be known absolutely by a human mind. Or if it can, I will readily admit that I have not done it and I don’t know anyone who has.

    A person can feel things and want certain things to be true, because it is psychologically satisfying for them to “hold on to” or believe one or another conclusion which can be drawn from the observable facts. One person says, “I decided when I was ten”. Well, we can clearly see why that person would cling to the belief in there not being a God. It would destroy a certral myth that that person depends on for psychological sustenance to stop being an Atheist.

    So, they mobilize their logic to defeat the point of someone who, for their own (possibly very childish) reasons wants to defend their belief in god.

    I have observed my whole life (and at one time with SHOCK) that people don’t really want to know the truth. Religious people who assemble around a story and so get some great community vibes, etc., they don’t care, deep inside, if the cosmology of their group is a childish fable.

    To conclude that religion is silly is easy. The ancients said that religion is for spiritual children. Athiests seem to portray themselves as “tough minded realists”, but you have so little reality to work with in making your grand statements which you then so rigidly DEFEND. As though something sacred was being questioned…

    What do you KNOW about the origins of the universe? Not much more than a creationist does. They have their childish story. And you have yours. Or tell me, please, what you are so certain about? What do you know for sure about the origins of life and the nature of consciousness?

    If you desire certainty, and find it in laughing at the childish beliefs of others — who adopt these beliefs because it is uncomfortable not to know — then don’t you see that you crave it too. And your huddling together and making fun of a certain silliness while exhibiting another kind of silliness is not exactly the most brilliant position that has ever been taken?

    So, different tim, I do see an equivalency. I daresay there IS an equivalency. I know it! I have directly experienced it….

  85. Valmordae
    September 29th, 2005 @ 12:24 am

    He’s just going to have to show up.

    Not only that, but he’s going to have to successfully disprove evolution!

    Ohhhhhhh snap!

    Can even god disprove truth? Paradox in the purest of forms. :]

  86. a different tim
    September 29th, 2005 @ 7:59 am

    Ok mlotus – The way we see it is this:
    I refer you to Bertrand Russell’s parable of the blue china teapot (the rest bear with me if you’ve heard it before). This says that if you are to declare yourself an agnostic about God (which I understand you are essentially doing) you should also declare yourself an agnostic about other things which are concievable but for which there is no observable evidence. The example he picked was that of a blue china teapot orbiting the sun.
    Now it is true that we get a bit more passionately anti religious than anti blue china teapotist. But then noone is proposing we teach blue china teapotism as a counter to secular astronomy in our schools, or basing their foreign policy on a blue china teapotist crusade, etc. TRAs blog is about how religious devotion trivialises American law and politics.
    The logical difference is between making a truth claim about the world (“God created it; God intervenes in it etc”) without evidence to back it up and the position that you should not believe stuff without such evidence. The cactus proposotion (that your cactus exists) will generate a test – hang around enough (or set up a camera) and you eventually will see the cactus bloom. It even suggests a timescale. It makes a very precise prediction which can be experimentally tested. The God proposition does no such thing.

    Observability may not catch all true things, but it is the only way of generating reliable knowledge. My position is that stuff which is really there will ultimately be amenable to observation. “Real” comes from Latin res, a thing, and means “thing like”. We can observe things.
    Something that by the admission of its own adherents is outside the realm of reliable knowledge is not worth believing in.

    The atheist stance, by contrast, is in principle falsifiable as a second coming etc would disprove it. It is therefore testable. The value of this thread is that it allows atheists to state their tests – mine is that I will abandon atheism in the face of a bona fide miracle, a divine manifestation, or a clear logical argument that starts from observables and leads to God. Until then I will continue to actively deny God’s existence in the same way as I would deny a blue china teapot orbits the sun.

  87. a different tim
    September 29th, 2005 @ 12:53 pm

    I should clarify: by “we” in “the way we see it” I mean…er…me. And a couple of others presumably including Nunya.

    The Raving Atheist is an atheist for entirely different reasons: he believes he can show that the whole concept of God is logically contradictory and therefore absurd (look at the basic assumptions for a precis of this). You might call this the strong atheist stance.

    I take what you might call the “weak atheist” or “atheist by default” stance, but since I am a hardcore empiricist and believe that beliefs which do not lend themselves to testability are pretty much meaningless, the “weak atheist” stance is actually quite strong as well.

  88. Rob
    September 29th, 2005 @ 2:08 pm

    “mine is that I will abandon atheism in the face of a bona fide miracle, a divine manifestation, or a clear logical argument that starts from observables and leads to God.”

    I think only the last one can do it for me. The other 2 leads to the famous quote by Arthur C. Clarke:

    “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

    So I’m not so sure that the belief that there are no gods is falsifiable. On the other hand, it hasn’t been even seriously tested, either.

  89. mlotus
    September 29th, 2005 @ 2:09 pm

    Thanks for an intelligent and thoughtful answer, a different tim. I was concerned for a second there that I had stumbled into an echo chamber in which the knee-jerk responses aren

  90. leon
    September 29th, 2005 @ 2:09 pm

    DEFINE “GOD”.

  91. nurf herder
    September 29th, 2005 @ 3:56 pm

    “What would have to happen for you to believe in god?”

    I lost my father several weeks ago suddenly and without notice to a massive stroke. He died within a day. He was a middle age man who was enjoying life and who cared for his family and friends deeply. We were particularly close and I idolized him for most of my life.

    I was an atheist before and I am an atheist now. If there was anything in my life that was going to make me redress my worldview it would have been my father

  92. a different tim
    September 29th, 2005 @ 4:54 pm

    I’ll have to be brief. I’m off the air for a couple of days as I’m moving house this weekend. You have, I think, a fresh and well thought out argument. I don’t buy it is all, and here’s why:

    The attack on Russell is ad hominem, as you know full well. And I don’t use him as a benchmark of rationality but because I believe his argument is sound. Also ad hominem is your defence of religion on the grounds that many people, some of whom are geniuses, believe in it. Just because a lot of people believe something doesn’t mean it’s true. Just because some of them are intelligent doesn’t mean it’s true either. The logic of their arguments is all that counts. As TRA has pointed out, many people, many of them intelligent, have believed in Zeus, Ahura Mazda etc. Are we to be agnostic about Zeus as well? If not, why not? The fact that he isn’t much worshipped these days does not really make any logical difference.

    Russell’s argument was not seriously intended, I think, as an attempt to put blue china teapotism on the same basis as Christianity, but it does make the point that the difference is one of degree. To believe by default leads to the reductio ad absurdum of believing in invisible pink unicorns, orbiting teapots etc. Agnosticism by default leads to the equally absurd (to me) position that we must also be agnostic about invisible pink unicorns etc which is why I think Nunya was in fact answering your point (rather more succinctly than I am). Unless you can show that the argument for the existence of God differs in kind, not in degree, from the argument for the existence of the blue china teapot, the reductio ad absurdum is sound.

    You touch on the question of origins but there are other explanations available that do not require a whole different supernatural realm of being. This has been extensively covered in a huge debate we had about the big bang but the main two – and perfectly viable – materialist explanations are the Hawking no boundary condition (“there is no boundary so there is no need to specify the behaviour at the boundary”) which seems like sophistry but works beautifully mathematically, and quantum fluctuations (“something can, after all, emerge from nothing”) which seems impossible until you consider that quantum fluctuations do in fact happen. They may not satisfy those who seek a higher power, they may not even be right, but at least they don’t posit an infinite, untestable, unreachable realm beyond our own. To assume that “God did” anything we don’t know is nothing more than the old “God of the gaps” fallacy.
    I am aware that this uses Ockham’s razor, which is a rule of inference not an absolute truth, but any attempt to formulate an alternative logic based on a different rule seems to lead to absurdity. You could, for example, create a consistent logic in which instead of adopting the theory with the least number of logical entities we adopted the one which, when formulated in English, had the most instances of the letters “G”, “O”, and “D”. Unfortunately this would require us to believe in Godzilla as well as God. And also Godzuki. I don’t mean to be frivolous (well, maybe a little) but I do think that any alternative formulation will lead to something like this.

    You call me a debunker and I am to the extent that I require extraordinary claims to have extraordinary evidence (to quote a cliche). The truth may indeed only require to be known but the problem is how to obtain that knowledge and how to be sure it is reliable. Hence I am interested in reliable knowledge. Popper’s falsification principle, which religion manifestly fails to meet, is the surest (and only) way I know to obtain reliable knowledge. I’m not sure we can in any sense of the word “know” absolute truth, so our beliefs have to be provisional and we have to state under what circumstances we would be willing to change them. I have done this with respect to religion.

    It is of course possible that there will be true things which are not testable in the lifetime of the human species but my point is that we have no way of knowing whether such possibilities are stupid or sensible. When I use the invisible rhino (another Russell analogy, I’m afraid) as an argument someone usually calls it stupid but millions of animists might disagree. Hence my requirement for reliable knowledge, preferably obtained by controlled experiment, before I will believe stuff.

  93. a different tim
    September 29th, 2005 @ 4:55 pm

    Actually…that wasn’t brief at all, was it?

  94. a different tim
    September 29th, 2005 @ 5:08 pm

    And finally…on the “stuff I have known since I was ten”, “open mind” etc. I was about 14. I’m a Brit. In England we do have prayer in schools (a”compulsory act of worship” no less) and I kept bothering the chaplain with “how do we know this stuff is true” questions which he had no way of answering. I felt like a bad person for having doubts about that stuff. Imagine how liberating it was to look at science textbooks, and read the New Scientist magazine, and realise I DIDN’T HAVE TO BELIEVE IN RELIGION. That there were other explanations. That intelligent men and women could talk about the origin of the universe, and life, and stuff and check their theories and didn’t have to mention God.

    That, to me, was when my mind was “opened”.

    Nothing like religious schools to turn people into atheists, I reckon.

  95. Percy
    September 29th, 2005 @ 10:55 pm

    “Nothing like religious schools to turn people into atheists, I reckon.”

    I agree. The greatest cause of atheism today, sadly, is Christianity. Reading the gospel and attending church frequently give me two different feelings – the former is good, inspiring, and full of good lessons; the second is lifeless, carbon-copied, and generally shallow. I think a church can quite easily turn someone into an atheist. But I think life can easily turn someone into a believer.

  96. mlotus
    September 30th, 2005 @ 10:45 am

    Thanks for taking the time, a different tim, despite house moving, to clarify. It helps me to understand what a sincere atheist is or could be.

    First off, Bertrand Russell. He did take some pretty nutty positions in my opinion. Is it ad hominem to point out that what he espoused made no sense? He was a

  97. qedpro
    September 30th, 2005 @ 11:49 pm

    He’s God, he knows that it will take for me to believe in him. I mean he made me an atheist didn’t he.

  98. Percy
    October 1st, 2005 @ 1:28 am

    “But if to be an atheist is simply to be one who says,

  99. Alex
    October 1st, 2005 @ 11:46 am

    prayertulip: the chances of you recieiving this are low, due to me not being on this for some time.

    I undestand your situation, and feel very sorry for you and hope for the best… But dude/dude-et, i dont beleive religion is nessicarily the answer, its better then most people, because you need faith and you want the best and yes the idea of religion is just that, to get everyone in all aspect of life to fall into it.

    But yeah hope and faith can be good, but also acceptance, just like in the wild, natural selection etc, some are ‘blessed’ some are not, just like an albeno rabbit easily seen and hunted down (killed), your child was un-lucky enough to come down with something, not that i know the situation tho…

    Usually i’m very cynical in all aspects of life, but i do feel sympathy for you and do hope for the best, just as i said religion in my eyes isn’t the only answer … Good luck

  100. a different tim
    October 1st, 2005 @ 4:56 pm

    I’m back!!!!!!

    But still too busy to go through all of mlotus’s post point by point, I’m afraid, but I’ll try. Most of my objections to his position come down to:

    1) Yes, it is ad hominem to bring Russell’s political ideas to bear on the argument for atheism. The logic of that argument stands on it’s own metaphorical feet.

    2) You have not demonstrated a logical difference in kind.

    3) The science stuff differs from the religious stuff in being empirically deduced from observation and being mathematised. Crudely, it isn;’t real if we can’t measure it. You’ll have to believe me for now that this is way less glib a statement than it appears. Quantum fluctuations have been seen in the lab, and the mathematics of them is well understood. The meaning of quantum physics is not since if you try to discuss it in English (or the verbal language of your choice) it seems to stop making sense quite fast. “Meaning” almost always means discussing something in natural language. there is room for at least one PhD thesis on what we mean by “meaning” anyway. If the maths works we can do stuff with it. It’s called quantum mechanics (not quantum philosophy) for a reason…..

    4) My view of belief makes perfect sense if you consider that I think the problem is not “what is true” but “how do we know what is true”. When I say “believe” I mean “here’s what I reckon, here are my arguments, if you have an observation or some logic that contradicts me get back to me”. This is consistent with Popper and is what scientists mean by belief, as in “we believe that a cat 4 hurricane that will strike the gulf coast”. I can believe anything as long as I admit that, even if I believe something 100%, I might be dead wrong. You have to separate your no doubt sincere beliefs from the possibility of your own human error.
    What theists seem to mean by “believe” is “This is true, there is no possibility that I am in error, if logic and experiment contradict me so much the worse for them”. HOW DO THEY KNOW?????
    I find the theistic style of “belief” to be, frankly, arrogant and intellectually dishonest.

    5) I think I do object to transcendence in any religious sense of the term, until some kind of religious realm is demonstrated. This is because first, I’ve met too many people who use words like”spiritual” and “transcendent” to mean “I don’t know what I’m talking about so I’m going to make something up and try to impose it on you like it was worth something”. I have little time for “intuition” and “insight” used in the mystical sense – the theory of relativity is a quality insight, “deep down inside I realise I’m me” isn’t.

    Second. Maybe I should put this in caps, as I think it is probably the crux of it all: I really don’t buy the (current in intellectual circles) idea that religious knowledge is of a different type and in a separate realm. Religious people, I repeat, make physical truth claims about the actual world, like “God made it and He wants you all to hate gay people”. Why should these claims be less rigorously scrutinised that the claims of a scientist? If they have a way of obtaining reliable knowledge I want to see the methodology or hear the divine word for myself. But I’ll settle for a peer reviewed paper in a respectable science journal detailing how they found the word of God.

    Thanks for argument and compliments. And I still think you were unfair to Nunya…..

  101. mlotus
    October 2nd, 2005 @ 12:35 pm

    Oh crap.

    I posted a detailed response to a different tim, and now I see that it didn’t take. Okay, I’ll try again later.

    mlotus

  102. a different tim
    October 2nd, 2005 @ 2:07 pm

    That happens sometimes. Tip from anonymous: copy the long ones before trying to post.

  103. a different tim
    October 2nd, 2005 @ 2:08 pm

    That happens sometimes. Tip from anonymous: copy the long ones before trying to post.

  104. mlotus
    October 2nd, 2005 @ 4:40 pm

    I think we are at the

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