The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

God Squad Review CLIV

January 8, 2006 | 23 Comments

A 49 year old woman has lost her job to corporate downsizing, and feels that God has abandoned her because her prayers for help have remained unanswered. The Squad offers its usual, useless spin:

You may have been abandoned by your employer, but you have not been abandoned by God. God does not find us jobs. God gives us courage to face unemployment with a positive plan to find work again.

In case she wasn’t depressed enough about the job loss, the Squad also frightens her with the spectre of other hardships to come:

God does not promise us all a life of health. God promises us courage to walk through even the valley of the shadow of death. God is always there for you. God always loves you, and God always believes in your gifts, which God gave you in a measure that no other person can duplicate.

I bet the person who got her job can duplicate her gifts, else she wouldn’t have been fired. Or maybe not –because as the Squad notes, there’s no justice in the world:

Also, we feel certain that God is not punishing you for your sins. If that were the case, Osama bin Laden would be dead.

And six million Jews would be alive. But there’s a phrase for that:

What you’re experiencing is what Jewish tradition calls “sufferings of love.” These are sufferings that deepen our wisdom and teach us we are stronger and more resilient than we ever believed.

Unless they just make us weaker and kill us. Time to rub this point in a little:

We understand your panic and fear. Even Jesus on the cross asked, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Sometimes, our faith is tested. In the book of Job, we read how a devout, wealthy, influential man lost almost everything. Job’s friends said it must be his fault, but somehow he wouldn’t accept that criticism and labored in isolation with a vision that God would not punish him needlessly.

So the worst that could happen is that the lady might be stricken with the sort of pain, panic and fear that even a God couldn’t stand. That’s real comforting. It also makes me wonder why Jesus didn’t take solace in Job’s story during his faith-test, or, being God, consider how well things turned out for Him in the New Testament.

Note also that the Squad has retreated from its certainty, a few lines back, that God is not punishing the woman. Now, as with Job, He’s just not punishing her needlessly.

* * *

real people with real problems. On Wednesday, I’ll have very special post about the refreshing candor and honesty they bring to each and every column.

Comments

23 Responses to “God Squad Review CLIV”

  1. Pascal's Wager
    January 9th, 2006 @ 2:19 am

    I enjoyed the reading and the posts, unfortunately, I agree with few to none of them. So why did I read them, well, because I enjoyed them. But I couldn’t help but sense the antagonism and hopelessness. I have a quote from an atheist I found interesting. Bertrand Russell says “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.” I see a lot of energy being spent to convince of and promote the idea of, or lack thereof, of a God or “higher being.” What is so threatening about God that he must be “proven” to be non-existent? Regarding your comments about Job and Jesus, finish reading Job, and find out his life finished significantly better than it was before the suffering. God was faithful. Marine boot camp isn’t a barrel full of jelly either, but the military does it for the betterment of the soldier. The pain and suffering is deliberately caused, but yet we know it is for a reason. I’ll let those reading draw the comparison. Secondly, why care what Jesus did or didn’t do if you don’t believe in him. Sounds like a little bit of acknowledgement of his existence creeping in when you state that things didn’t go to well for him in the new testiment. But my bad, I must be reading into it. Well, the best thing about the Christian vs. Atheist debate is that eventually we will all know the answer and who was right. There will be a day when you, me, and everyone reading this will take their last breath (i.e. die.) Then who will be right. Until that day though, I will continue living with an excitement and hope of knowing for sure where I am going after I die, a joy and excitement about my future, the pleasure of sharing this freedom with those I love, and the peace that I have knowing that even though I have made a ton of mistakes, because I am so very far from perfect, I am forgiven through the fact that-even though Jesus did consider how “well” things were going to turn out for him (notice the paraphrase from your blog) he still loved me (and everyone else) enough to die for me. So I go to my grave with (in your eyes) an idealistic, unrealistic, simple-minded, false hope and, currently unbenounced to me, realize I was wrong- who cares it will all be nothing anyway. But after the years of trying to convince me, those reading, and maybe even a little bit, yourself, that Jesus or God doesn’t exist and currently unbenounced to you that you are wrong- well, like I said earlier, the answer is only a last breath away. We don’t know when we will die, we only know we will- and then we will all through sound scientific methodology be able to determine who was right.
    Until then- the wait is on.

  2. Pascal's Wager
    January 9th, 2006 @ 2:19 am

    I enjoyed the reading and the posts, unfortunately, I agree with few to none of them. So why did I read them, well, because I enjoyed them. But I couldn’t help but sense the antagonism and hopelessness. I have a quote from an atheist I found interesting. Bertrand Russell says “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.” I see a lot of energy being spent to convince of and promote the idea of, or lack thereof, of a God or “higher being.” What is so threatening about God that he must be “proven” to be non-existent? Regarding your comments about Job and Jesus, finish reading Job, and find out his life finished significantly better than it was before the suffering. God was faithful. Marine boot camp isn’t a barrel full of jelly either, but the military does it for the betterment of the soldier. The pain and suffering is deliberately caused, but yet we know it is for a reason. I’ll let those reading draw the comparison. Secondly, why care what Jesus did or didn’t do if you don’t believe in him. Sounds like a little bit of acknowledgement of his existence creeping in when you state that things didn’t go to well for him in the new testiment. But my bad, I must be reading into it. Well, the best thing about the Christian vs. Atheist debate is that eventually we will all know the answer and who was right. There will be a day when you, me, and everyone reading this will take their last breath (i.e. die.) Then who will be right. Until that day though, I will continue living with an excitement and hope of knowing for sure where I am going after I die, a joy and excitement about my future, the pleasure of sharing this freedom with those I love, and the peace that I have knowing that even though I have made a ton of mistakes, because I am so very far from perfect, I am forgiven through the fact that-even though Jesus did consider how “well” things were going to turn out for him (notice the paraphrase from your blog) he still loved me (and everyone else) enough to die for me. So I go to my grave with (in your eyes) an idealistic, unrealistic, simple-minded, false hope and, currently unbenounced to me, realize I was wrong- who cares it will all be nothing anyway. But after the years of trying to convince me, those reading, and maybe even a little bit, yourself, that Jesus or God doesn’t exist and currently unbenounced to you that you are wrong- well, like I said earlier, the answer is only a last breath away. We don’t know when we will die, we only know we will- and then we will all through sound scientific methodology be able to determine who was right.
    Until then- the wait is on.

  3. Pascal's Wager
    January 9th, 2006 @ 2:19 am

    I enjoyed the reading and the posts, unfortunately, I agree with few to none of them. So why did I read them, well, because I enjoyed them. But I couldn’t help but sense the antagonism and hopelessness. I have a quote from an atheist I found interesting. Bertrand Russell says “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.” I see a lot of energy being spent to convince of and promote the idea of, or lack thereof, of a God or “higher being.” What is so threatening about God that he must be “proven” to be non-existent? Regarding your comments about Job and Jesus, finish reading Job, and find out his life finished significantly better than it was before the suffering. God was faithful. Marine boot camp isn’t a barrel full of jelly either, but the military does it for the betterment of the soldier. The pain and suffering is deliberately caused, but yet we know it is for a reason. I’ll let those reading draw the comparison. Secondly, why care what Jesus did or didn’t do if you don’t believe in him. Sounds like a little bit of acknowledgement of his existence creeping in when you state that things didn’t go to well for him in the new testiment. But my bad, I must be reading into it. Well, the best thing about the Christian vs. Atheist debate is that eventually we will all know the answer and who was right. There will be a day when you, me, and everyone reading this will take their last breath (i.e. die.) Then who will be right. Until that day though, I will continue living with an excitement and hope of knowing for sure where I am going after I die, a joy and excitement about my future, the pleasure of sharing this freedom with those I love, and the peace that I have knowing that even though I have made a ton of mistakes, because I am so very far from perfect, I am forgiven through the fact that-even though Jesus did consider how “well” things were going to turn out for him (notice the paraphrase from your blog) he still loved me (and everyone else) enough to die for me. So I go to my grave with (in your eyes) an idealistic, unrealistic, simple-minded, false hope and, currently unbenounced to me, realize I was wrong- who cares it will all be nothing anyway. But after the years of trying to convince me, those reading, and maybe even a little bit, yourself, that Jesus or God doesn’t exist and currently unbenounced to you that you are wrong- well, like I said earlier, the answer is only a last breath away. We don’t know when we will die, we only know we will- and then we will all through sound scientific methodology be able to determine who was right.
    Until then- the wait is on.

  4. Pascal's Wager
    January 9th, 2006 @ 2:19 am

    I enjoyed the reading and the posts, unfortunately, I agree with few to none of them. So why did I read them, well, because I enjoyed them. But I couldn’t help but sense the antagonism and hopelessness. I have a quote from an atheist I found interesting. Bertrand Russell says “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.” I see a lot of energy being spent to convince of and promote the idea of, or lack thereof, of a God or “higher being.” What is so threatening about God that he must be “proven” to be non-existent? Regarding your comments about Job and Jesus, finish reading Job, and find out his life finished significantly better than it was before the suffering. God was faithful. Marine boot camp isn’t a barrel full of jelly either, but the military does it for the betterment of the soldier. The pain and suffering is deliberately caused, but yet we know it is for a reason. I’ll let those reading draw the comparison. Secondly, why care what Jesus did or didn’t do if you don’t believe in him. Sounds like a little bit of acknowledgement of his existence creeping in when you state that things didn’t go to well for him in the new testiment. But my bad, I must be reading into it. Well, the best thing about the Christian vs. Atheist debate is that eventually we will all know the answer and who was right. There will be a day when you, me, and everyone reading this will take their last breath (i.e. die.) Then who will be right. Until that day though, I will continue living with an excitement and hope of knowing for sure where I am going after I die, a joy and excitement about my future, the pleasure of sharing this freedom with those I love, and the peace that I have knowing that even though I have made a ton of mistakes, because I am so very far from perfect, I am forgiven through the fact that-even though Jesus did consider how “well” things were going to turn out for him (notice the paraphrase from your blog) he still loved me (and everyone else) enough to die for me. So I go to my grave with (in your eyes) an idealistic, unrealistic, simple-minded, false hope and, currently unbenounced to me, realize I was wrong- who cares it will all be nothing anyway. But after the years of trying to convince me, those reading, and maybe even a little bit, yourself, that Jesus or God doesn’t exist and currently unbenounced to you that you are wrong- well, like I said earlier, the answer is only a last breath away. We don’t know when we will die, we only know we will- and then we will all through sound scientific methodology be able to determine who was right.
    Until then- the wait is on.

  5. sternwallow
    January 9th, 2006 @ 7:30 am

    Pascal’s Wager, I take it from your name that you think God respects people who believe in him only as a matter of hedging their bet with no sincerity. I have never been able to figure out how one without faith can acquire it through an act of will. Not saying it is impossible, I just don’t know of a way.

    You misunderstand Bertrand Russell. “meaning” in life is unrelated to hope or antagonism. It has to do with an ultimate purpose imposed from outside ourselves, like our patriotic duty to preserve the nation. We can have plenty of hope without a god to conjure an arbitrary ultimate goal for our lives. It is especially telling that God’s meaning for our lives is for us to go to heaven and spend eternity praising Him. That is not a very lofty goal compared to some other less selfish ones.

    It is curious that God needs for us to suffer in order to learn what any half-way decent teacher could convey by other means. It can’t be that God tests us since He has “known our heart” since before He made mountains. Job was not made to suffer in order to learn. He was already a good and righteous man. He was made to suffer as a stupid, base, sadistic and, did I mention stupid, wager. Oh, Job received back twice what he lost? Let us suppose you have two children. Let us also suppose that I (unaccountable to anyone for my acts) stab them both to death before your eyes. I let you wallow in your grief for a while (some parents would be on the verge of suicide) then I drop off four new children at your front door. There, you are amply compensated.

    Statements in context like “King Arthur should have stuck a knife into Sir Lancelot at their first meeting” in no way admit the existence or former existence of either Arthur or Lancelot. Similarly, saying that Jesus cannot be God because he lost faith in God, is a logical statement which is independent of the existence of Jesus. I’m sure you would accuse us of OCD if every statement about Jesus or God or Satan or Mary or Joseph… was followed by “(if he/it/it/she/he existed at all)”.

    What freedom is there in having to believe that which is not manifest? You say we all must wait for death to find out what is the truth. Besides it being just a little too late, you will have spent enormous amounts of time and effort performing and observing the duties of your religion instead of living the best life you can. That is the true cost of Pascal’s Wager. The failure of Pascal’s Wager, of course is if God is really some other bloke who hates it when people revere YHVH then you are still screwed (metaphorically). You can’t possibly believe in all of the conflicting Christian gods (some 5000 at recent count) nor in all pagan gods nor in all historical gods (well over 30,000 by conservative estimates).

    I have no interest in converting you. Heck, I don’t even know you. You, on the other hand, have a mandate to teach me about the good news. I admit I don’t know everything so I am open to reasoned instruction. I welcome the opportunity to learn from you anything that can expand my understanding of reality. This note contains a small number of reasons why I am unable to accept the specific teachings in your earlier note. I am glad if you have happy dreams to live by and are satisfied by your efforts on behalf of a God who shouldn’t (in my view) need them. I only ask that you (theists in general) not attempt to impose your version of how we should live on anyone else. To make it more concrete, my grocery store cannot sell beer before noon on Sunday. This not a hardship for me, but it is an unacceptable imposition of a particular religion.

  6. Pascal's Wager
    January 9th, 2006 @ 10:10 am

    I’ll respond to your comments to the best I can understand them, if I misconstrue your questions or comments, my apologies. God respects everyone, but it is a choice to chose to respect him or not. God claims to control our eternity based on whether we trust in his son or not. It is a gamble to not beleive him, just as it would be for me to question whether a terrorist is going to blow my house up, if I don’t come out of it. Do I come out or call his bluff. In not trusting Jesus, one is calling God’s bluff. If the terrorist was bluffing, he wasn’t a terrorist and will walk away, just as if God doesn’t exist, his notion will be defeated. But if the terrorist has a bomb, or if God exists, that is quite a wager. Next, faith can be acquired through an act or will anyday and everyday. When you fly in an airplane you have faith that the engineers did their job, that it will stay up. When you turn on a light, you are having faith that the light will turn on, if your didn’t have faith it’d turn on, it’d be illogical to waste the time flicking the switch. A child is born without the faith that electricity works, but gains faith that when the light switch is flipped, the light will turn on. Faith can be gained and acquired, even by those initially without it. Wll, God doesn’t “need” us to suffer, just as it is no benefit to a parent to not allow their child to, say, not go to a party where there will be drugs and alcohol. If my child has never touched a joint or alcohol, and I know there will be that there, they may (just a we humans do occassionally) feel punished for something we didn’t do wrong. First of all, life isn’t fair, and secondly I, as a parent, I know whats best. Once again, see the parallel. Yes, it would be terrible to have my children be murdered, and then get four children in reture. But, there are those everyday in overseas countries or Christians in China, who feel that exact risk is worth wagering for a relationship with Jesus. Either that is insanity by a significant percent of the world’s population, or there is something to the Christian “fairytale” once someone truly experiences it. Humans are not all knowing, as much as we wished we were, we can’t even guarantee the next minute of our lives. You are right, granted it would appear odd to continually say ….. if God existed when discussing him. But how many times do you hear or see the countless hours and days by numerous people attempting to refute the existence of King Arthur. We all know he didn’t exist so why worry about it. If you believe that God doesn’t exist, why is it such a pressing issue by atheist’s to disprove him, why not put similar energy into proving King Arthur doesn’t exist. Why does God pose a threat but not King Arthur? I feel it’s because there is a question of whether he exists or not and atheists may be trying to convince themselves. You ask “What freedom is there in having to believe that which is not manifest?” I ask, what freedom is there in having to find reason to not believe what you shouldn’t care if I believe in or not? It’s no skin off of your nose if I am a bumbling idiot who believes in a non-existent God. Yes, we must wait until death to find out, you have as much of a difficult time proving God doesn’t exist as you say I do in proving his existence. Without getting into too much detail, let’s say I give you the fact that we came from a primordial soup or a cosmic blast, well if energy cannot be created nor destroyed but only transferred, where did the intial energy come from? If matter cannot be created nor destroyed, where did the initial matter arrive from? I believe in one God, but even if you still say there are many “christian gods” the basis of Christianity is the Jesus is the son of God and that He came to die for our/my sins. He is the only way to Heaven. In your concluding statement you ask that I (or Christians) “I only ask that you (theists in general) not attempt to impose your version of how we should live on anyone else.” Please inform athiest Michael Newdow to stop attempting to take “In God We Trust” off our/my money. That motto was placed there by our government, not our church. The Bible says to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” So we should both be satisfied because “Caesar” put it there let him keep it there. Our country is not run by Christian values, but it is influenced by them, one of the primary reasons we declared our independence. But that is another can of worms. Like I said earlier, I will continue being not only excited for this life, but what is coming after. Just like the lady who died and had a fork put in her casket with her. Her daughter said, that mom always knew that desert was after the meal, so she always kept her fork. So if I am enjoying this life, how much better will “desert” be. I too, am willing to listen, and I don’t share because I want brownie points with God, I feel I am sharing because I am living the most fullfilled life I could imagine, and want others to share in my excitement. If life can’t get absolutely any better for you, and you don’t need anything more, well maybe you don’t need to listen, but if something is missing, and are looking for more fullfillment, take what I say, and at least think about it. I have nothing to lose by believing what I do, and everything to gain. What am I giving up by believing in a God, my marriage is great, I have 2 1/2 wonderful children, my wife is pregnant, I’m not rich, but pay my bills, have peace and don’t worry about death, I don’t look forward to it because I love my life and family, but when my number is called, I’m heading home.

  7. Pascal's Wager
    January 9th, 2006 @ 10:10 am

    I’ll respond to your comments to the best I can understand them, if I misconstrue your questions or comments, my apologies. God respects everyone, but it is a choice to chose to respect him or not. God claims to control our eternity based on whether we trust in his son or not. It is a gamble to not beleive him, just as it would be for me to question whether a terrorist is going to blow my house up, if I don’t come out of it. Do I come out or call his bluff. In not trusting Jesus, one is calling God’s bluff. If the terrorist was bluffing, he wasn’t a terrorist and will walk away, just as if God doesn’t exist, his notion will be defeated. But if the terrorist has a bomb, or if God exists, that is quite a wager. Next, faith can be acquired through an act or will anyday and everyday. When you fly in an airplane you have faith that the engineers did their job, that it will stay up. When you turn on a light, you are having faith that the light will turn on, if your didn’t have faith it’d turn on, it’d be illogical to waste the time flicking the switch. A child is born without the faith that electricity works, but gains faith that when the light switch is flipped, the light will turn on. Faith can be gained and acquired, even by those initially without it. Wll, God doesn’t “need” us to suffer, just as it is no benefit to a parent to not allow their child to, say, not go to a party where there will be drugs and alcohol. If my child has never touched a joint or alcohol, and I know there will be that there, they may (just a we humans do occassionally) feel punished for something we didn’t do wrong. First of all, life isn’t fair, and secondly I, as a parent, I know whats best. Once again, see the parallel. Yes, it would be terrible to have my children be murdered, and then get four children in reture. But, there are those everyday in overseas countries or Christians in China, who feel that exact risk is worth wagering for a relationship with Jesus. Either that is insanity by a significant percent of the world’s population, or there is something to the Christian “fairytale” once someone truly experiences it. Humans are not all knowing, as much as we wished we were, we can’t even guarantee the next minute of our lives. You are right, granted it would appear odd to continually say ….. if God existed when discussing him. But how many times do you hear or see the countless hours and days by numerous people attempting to refute the existence of King Arthur. We all know he didn’t exist so why worry about it. If you believe that God doesn’t exist, why is it such a pressing issue by atheist’s to disprove him, why not put similar energy into proving King Arthur doesn’t exist. Why does God pose a threat but not King Arthur? I feel it’s because there is a question of whether he exists or not and atheists may be trying to convince themselves. You ask “What freedom is there in having to believe that which is not manifest?” I ask, what freedom is there in having to find reason to not believe what you shouldn’t care if I believe in or not? It’s no skin off of your nose if I am a bumbling idiot who believes in a non-existent God. Yes, we must wait until death to find out, you have as much of a difficult time proving God doesn’t exist as you say I do in proving his existence. Without getting into too much detail, let’s say I give you the fact that we came from a primordial soup or a cosmic blast, well if energy cannot be created nor destroyed but only transferred, where did the intial energy come from? If matter cannot be created nor destroyed, where did the initial matter arrive from? I believe in one God, but even if you still say there are many “christian gods” the basis of Christianity is the Jesus is the son of God and that He came to die for our/my sins. He is the only way to Heaven. In your concluding statement you ask that I (or Christians) “I only ask that you (theists in general) not attempt to impose your version of how we should live on anyone else.” Please inform athiest Michael Newdow to stop attempting to take “In God We Trust” off our/my money. That motto was placed there by our government, not our church. The Bible says to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” So we should both be satisfied because “Caesar” put it there let him keep it there. Our country is not run by Christian values, but it is influenced by them, one of the primary reasons we declared our independence. But that is another can of worms. Like I said earlier, I will continue being not only excited for this life, but what is coming after. Just like the lady who died and had a fork put in her casket with her. Her daughter said, that mom always knew that desert was after the meal, so she always kept her fork. So if I am enjoying this life, how much better will “desert” be. I too, am willing to listen, and I don’t share because I want brownie points with God, I feel I am sharing because I am living the most fullfilled life I could imagine, and want others to share in my excitement. If life can’t get absolutely any better for you, and you don’t need anything more, well maybe you don’t need to listen, but if something is missing, and are looking for more fullfillment, take what I say, and at least think about it. I have nothing to lose by believing what I do, and everything to gain. What am I giving up by believing in a God, my marriage is great, I have 2 1/2 wonderful children, my wife is pregnant, I’m not rich, but pay my bills, have peace and don’t worry about death, I don’t look forward to it because I love my life and family, but when my number is called, I’m heading home.

  8. Pascal's Wager
    January 9th, 2006 @ 10:10 am

    I’ll respond to your comments to the best I can understand them, if I misconstrue your questions or comments, my apologies. God respects everyone, but it is a choice to chose to respect him or not. God claims to control our eternity based on whether we trust in his son or not. It is a gamble to not beleive him, just as it would be for me to question whether a terrorist is going to blow my house up, if I don’t come out of it. Do I come out or call his bluff. In not trusting Jesus, one is calling God’s bluff. If the terrorist was bluffing, he wasn’t a terrorist and will walk away, just as if God doesn’t exist, his notion will be defeated. But if the terrorist has a bomb, or if God exists, that is quite a wager. Next, faith can be acquired through an act or will anyday and everyday. When you fly in an airplane you have faith that the engineers did their job, that it will stay up. When you turn on a light, you are having faith that the light will turn on, if your didn’t have faith it’d turn on, it’d be illogical to waste the time flicking the switch. A child is born without the faith that electricity works, but gains faith that when the light switch is flipped, the light will turn on. Faith can be gained and acquired, even by those initially without it. Wll, God doesn’t “need” us to suffer, just as it is no benefit to a parent to not allow their child to, say, not go to a party where there will be drugs and alcohol. If my child has never touched a joint or alcohol, and I know there will be that there, they may (just a we humans do occassionally) feel punished for something we didn’t do wrong. First of all, life isn’t fair, and secondly I, as a parent, I know whats best. Once again, see the parallel. Yes, it would be terrible to have my children be murdered, and then get four children in reture. But, there are those everyday in overseas countries or Christians in China, who feel that exact risk is worth wagering for a relationship with Jesus. Either that is insanity by a significant percent of the world’s population, or there is something to the Christian “fairytale” once someone truly experiences it. Humans are not all knowing, as much as we wished we were, we can’t even guarantee the next minute of our lives. You are right, granted it would appear odd to continually say ….. if God existed when discussing him. But how many times do you hear or see the countless hours and days by numerous people attempting to refute the existence of King Arthur. We all know he didn’t exist so why worry about it. If you believe that God doesn’t exist, why is it such a pressing issue by atheist’s to disprove him, why not put similar energy into proving King Arthur doesn’t exist. Why does God pose a threat but not King Arthur? I feel it’s because there is a question of whether he exists or not and atheists may be trying to convince themselves. You ask “What freedom is there in having to believe that which is not manifest?” I ask, what freedom is there in having to find reason to not believe what you shouldn’t care if I believe in or not? It’s no skin off of your nose if I am a bumbling idiot who believes in a non-existent God. Yes, we must wait until death to find out, you have as much of a difficult time proving God doesn’t exist as you say I do in proving his existence. Without getting into too much detail, let’s say I give you the fact that we came from a primordial soup or a cosmic blast, well if energy cannot be created nor destroyed but only transferred, where did the intial energy come from? If matter cannot be created nor destroyed, where did the initial matter arrive from? I believe in one God, but even if you still say there are many “christian gods” the basis of Christianity is the Jesus is the son of God and that He came to die for our/my sins. He is the only way to Heaven. In your concluding statement you ask that I (or Christians) “I only ask that you (theists in general) not attempt to impose your version of how we should live on anyone else.” Please inform athiest Michael Newdow to stop attempting to take “In God We Trust” off our/my money. That motto was placed there by our government, not our church. The Bible says to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” So we should both be satisfied because “Caesar” put it there let him keep it there. Our country is not run by Christian values, but it is influenced by them, one of the primary reasons we declared our independence. But that is another can of worms. Like I said earlier, I will continue being not only excited for this life, but what is coming after. Just like the lady who died and had a fork put in her casket with her. Her daughter said, that mom always knew that desert was after the meal, so she always kept her fork. So if I am enjoying this life, how much better will “desert” be. I too, am willing to listen, and I don’t share because I want brownie points with God, I feel I am sharing because I am living the most fullfilled life I could imagine, and want others to share in my excitement. If life can’t get absolutely any better for you, and you don’t need anything more, well maybe you don’t need to listen, but if something is missing, and are looking for more fullfillment, take what I say, and at least think about it. I have nothing to lose by believing what I do, and everything to gain. What am I giving up by believing in a God, my marriage is great, I have 2 1/2 wonderful children, my wife is pregnant, I’m not rich, but pay my bills, have peace and don’t worry about death, I don’t look forward to it because I love my life and family, but when my number is called, I’m heading home.

  9. Pascal's Wager
    January 9th, 2006 @ 10:10 am

    I’ll respond to your comments to the best I can understand them, if I misconstrue your questions or comments, my apologies. God respects everyone, but it is a choice to chose to respect him or not. God claims to control our eternity based on whether we trust in his son or not. It is a gamble to not beleive him, just as it would be for me to question whether a terrorist is going to blow my house up, if I don’t come out of it. Do I come out or call his bluff. In not trusting Jesus, one is calling God’s bluff. If the terrorist was bluffing, he wasn’t a terrorist and will walk away, just as if God doesn’t exist, his notion will be defeated. But if the terrorist has a bomb, or if God exists, that is quite a wager. Next, faith can be acquired through an act or will anyday and everyday. When you fly in an airplane you have faith that the engineers did their job, that it will stay up. When you turn on a light, you are having faith that the light will turn on, if your didn’t have faith it’d turn on, it’d be illogical to waste the time flicking the switch. A child is born without the faith that electricity works, but gains faith that when the light switch is flipped, the light will turn on. Faith can be gained and acquired, even by those initially without it. Wll, God doesn’t “need” us to suffer, just as it is no benefit to a parent to not allow their child to, say, not go to a party where there will be drugs and alcohol. If my child has never touched a joint or alcohol, and I know there will be that there, they may (just a we humans do occassionally) feel punished for something we didn’t do wrong. First of all, life isn’t fair, and secondly I, as a parent, I know whats best. Once again, see the parallel. Yes, it would be terrible to have my children be murdered, and then get four children in reture. But, there are those everyday in overseas countries or Christians in China, who feel that exact risk is worth wagering for a relationship with Jesus. Either that is insanity by a significant percent of the world’s population, or there is something to the Christian “fairytale” once someone truly experiences it. Humans are not all knowing, as much as we wished we were, we can’t even guarantee the next minute of our lives. You are right, granted it would appear odd to continually say ….. if God existed when discussing him. But how many times do you hear or see the countless hours and days by numerous people attempting to refute the existence of King Arthur. We all know he didn’t exist so why worry about it. If you believe that God doesn’t exist, why is it such a pressing issue by atheist’s to disprove him, why not put similar energy into proving King Arthur doesn’t exist. Why does God pose a threat but not King Arthur? I feel it’s because there is a question of whether he exists or not and atheists may be trying to convince themselves. You ask “What freedom is there in having to believe that which is not manifest?” I ask, what freedom is there in having to find reason to not believe what you shouldn’t care if I believe in or not? It’s no skin off of your nose if I am a bumbling idiot who believes in a non-existent God. Yes, we must wait until death to find out, you have as much of a difficult time proving God doesn’t exist as you say I do in proving his existence. Without getting into too much detail, let’s say I give you the fact that we came from a primordial soup or a cosmic blast, well if energy cannot be created nor destroyed but only transferred, where did the intial energy come from? If matter cannot be created nor destroyed, where did the initial matter arrive from? I believe in one God, but even if you still say there are many “christian gods” the basis of Christianity is the Jesus is the son of God and that He came to die for our/my sins. He is the only way to Heaven. In your concluding statement you ask that I (or Christians) “I only ask that you (theists in general) not attempt to impose your version of how we should live on anyone else.” Please inform athiest Michael Newdow to stop attempting to take “In God We Trust” off our/my money. That motto was placed there by our government, not our church. The Bible says to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” So we should both be satisfied because “Caesar” put it there let him keep it there. Our country is not run by Christian values, but it is influenced by them, one of the primary reasons we declared our independence. But that is another can of worms. Like I said earlier, I will continue being not only excited for this life, but what is coming after. Just like the lady who died and had a fork put in her casket with her. Her daughter said, that mom always knew that desert was after the meal, so she always kept her fork. So if I am enjoying this life, how much better will “desert” be. I too, am willing to listen, and I don’t share because I want brownie points with God, I feel I am sharing because I am living the most fullfilled life I could imagine, and want others to share in my excitement. If life can’t get absolutely any better for you, and you don’t need anything more, well maybe you don’t need to listen, but if something is missing, and are looking for more fullfillment, take what I say, and at least think about it. I have nothing to lose by believing what I do, and everything to gain. What am I giving up by believing in a God, my marriage is great, I have 2 1/2 wonderful children, my wife is pregnant, I’m not rich, but pay my bills, have peace and don’t worry about death, I don’t look forward to it because I love my life and family, but when my number is called, I’m heading home.

  10. hermesten
    January 9th, 2006 @ 10:23 am

    The answer is really quite simple: God is a pro-management Republican. Downsizing is good for management and hence, good for God. And this is essentially what the squad means when they speak of facing unemployment with a positive plan to find work again. By God’s law of supply and demand, lots of unemployed people help keep wages down and thus help make businesses more profitable. More business profits mean more contributions to the Republican party –which is the same as giving money to God Himself– and more support for God’s president.

    Now, when God starts letting down wealthly Bush supporters, then we’ll have something to worry about.

  11. Tomek
    January 9th, 2006 @ 10:53 am

    I can’t help but feel that suffering is a good thing after reading the God Squad replies. Interestingly, there is no mention of why God would want us to suffer so that he can give us courage. Mysterious ways indeed. Like smashing someone in the head with a baseball bat and then offering them an icepack and counselling to get through it.

    If this is what God stands for then perhaps her really is sending Jesus down to earth (over and over again) but we unknowingly keep jailing or executing him.

  12. calden
    January 9th, 2006 @ 11:50 am

    Hey, I got to say one interesting Blog, but I’m kind of unclear as to what you are trying to accomplish with it. It seems your quest is to stand at the highest possible point with a big bright sign that tries to inform every Jesus follower to wake up and be released of there inner prison. Maybe you think religion is a vise of some sort like a cocaine addiction and people with this addiction must be treated. I don’t know, but what I do know is claiming to be atheist just means you spiritually lazy and self absorbed. To simply deny God is to deny your self. I recommend you sit down with a bunch of close friends and drop a few hits of acid. Because you my friend believe it or not are part of a larger something, you feel that, you know that because you’re conscious. Simply denying it will just be your muse for self-destruction.

    I’m not a Bible thumper because I don’t believe the Bible is all factual. The biggest problem with it is it claims that God is all loving but he is willing to create a being, give it free will, then destroy it or worst yet condemn it for all eternity if it fails to follow a set of rules. That’s Religions biggest downfall and lie, “believe it or perish”. Guess what humans are free to do what ever they want, so embrace your apathy and be happy with it without feeling guilty because it doesn’t matter. God will not punish you because God needs you, wants you, your the eyes and ears and memories of life.

    However that being said you are still part of a system and there is a center to that system. So don’t close your mind because a dogmatic institution pisses you off with their ideals. It will just make you a shallow shell without purpose. God is everywhere he is you, he is me, he is the air you breathe. The best convincer to someone like you that there is order in the universe is simply sit down and do some Math, start with some Calculus and you’ll start believing. Life is designed, yes I believe Darwin’s theory, and it’s blatantly obvious just like God.

  13. hermesten
    January 9th, 2006 @ 12:31 pm

    “The best convincer to someone like you that there is order in the universe is simply sit down and do some Math, start with some Calculus and you’ll start believing.”

    So then, your explanation for the fact that people who know calculus well, like physicists, are more atheistic than the general population, is what?

    Maybe if you sat down and learned some math yourself, instead of just talking about it, you wouldn’t confuse the appearance of “order in the universe” with “God.”

  14. Reeves
    January 9th, 2006 @ 1:52 pm

    Calden,

    I did the math and it turns out you are retarded.

    How exactly do you decide which parts of the bible to believe and which to leave out?

    I would rather be spiritually lazy than intellectually impotent.

    You are a pathetic simpleton and you will hopefully get Cancer, so you can really feel God’s love.

  15. Choobus
    January 9th, 2006 @ 2:27 pm

    Dear Miss Calden,

    I have been doing mathematics for years (including advanced calculus) but I still haven’t seen god anywhere. I plan to return my large collection of books and demand either a religious experience or a refund. Thanks for the tip. Normally I would not take your word that god is in themathematics, but since you assured us that you are not a bible thumper your theory has the ring of troof.

    See ya at the rapture

    Choobus

  16. Tom
    January 9th, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

    Pascal’s Wager: “I have a quote from an atheist I found interesting. Bertrand Russell says “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.”

    The operative word in that sentence is “question.” The _question_ of life’s purpose is meaningless, since there is nothing present to answer that question.

    Pascal: “Secondly, why care what Jesus did or didn’t do if you don’t believe in him. Sounds like a little bit of acknowledgement of his existence creeping in when you state that things didn’t go to well for him in the new testiment.”

    I can’t speak for RA, but for me it’s acknowledgement of a lack of internal narrative logic and poor plotting and characterization.

  17. Jenna
    January 9th, 2006 @ 3:31 pm

    “Maybe you think religion is a vise of some sort like a cocaine addiction and people with this addiction must be treated.”

    It’s a psychological addiction. People feel like they need it because it offers them safety, comfort, (invisible) companionship, familliarity, community. While those things are important in a human’s life, they are not necessarily a good thing when viewed from a faith-based standpoint because faith-based standpoints are divergent from reality. An example is, as always, the irrational Christian standpoint that everyone else on planet earth should believe as he/she believes, regardless of where they are (the Amazon jungle) or from what environment (natives, aboriginals, etc.)

    “I don’t know, but what I do know is claiming to be atheist just means you spiritually lazy and self absorbed.”

    When I’m self-absorbed, I understand my psychology, my reasoning, and my knowledge much better than if I had paid myself no attention at all. When I’m self-absorbed I’m achieving my goals to be a productive human being, to live life, as I usually say. When I’m self-absorbed I’m also self-improving because I believe that stasis in the self is dangerous and detrimental to life. When I’m self-absorbed I realize reality more and more, and try to aim my thinking and my life not in opposition against reality, but in convergence with it. I think it’s more real to face up front who I am (an organic, conscious creature), than to describe self-identity with some supernatural idea. To me, self-absorbed doesn’t mean a willful ignorance of reality. To live means to think, first of all for oneself. I can see how, in an irrational viewpoint, this would be called “self absorbed”. It’s irrational because it implies that being self-absorbed is bad, when it’s really life-affirming. Why is it bad?

    I’ve found that it does help to know reality in order to live in reality. To me, subscribing to a collectivistic, supernatural phenomena is ignorant of reality. I “claim” to be atheist. “Spiritually lazy” has no meaning for me in terms of faith. I’ve already covered “self-absorbed”. So your claim here falls apart because it is stemmed from your subjective viewpoint– and that viewpoint has nothing to do with the real world.

    “To simply deny God is to deny your self.”

    With all the critical faculties I possess, I’ve found that to deny God and any other mystical habits of mind is to re-affirm myself. I am a human being– I am not “God”. To say that “God” is in me is just plain crazy… what evidence have you to say what’s in my body?

    “I recommend you sit down with a bunch of close friends and drop a few hits of acid. Because you my friend believe it or not are part of a larger something, you feel that, you know that because you’re conscious. Simply denying it will just be your muse for self-destruction.”

    I have done this several times. The only thing I felt that was shared was the sense of being f* up because of hallucinogenic reactions due to an ingested chemical. Hallucinations take many forms, and in my case it was: breathing walls, moving swirls of color on a colorless ceiling, voices, blood splatters, paranoia, a sense of floating, objects blending together. None of this proves any hint of supernatural phenomena. It just proves that chemicals can mess up the brain, and since the brain is the tool we use for perception, knowledge, and concpet– it’s no wonder these things get messed up as well. Plus, just because I feel something doesn’t mean it’s true in reality.

    Denying the validity of hallucinations is life-affirming. See previous paragraph. This is about nderstanding brain chemistry and what’s actually real. Believing in hallucinations is self-destructive: whether it is emotionally and physically grinding oneself to the ground in pursuit of good standing in a non-evidenced (so therefore hallucinatory) afterlife, haranguing and pressuring otheres to believe as you believe because “you’ve experienced God”, or chronically feeling guilt for presupposed “sins”. One of my friends told me this very scary first-hand experience of his: a man, who was most probably on hallucinogenic material, suddenly detaches from the crowd surrounding a bonfire, and jumps into the fire. He died. Maybe he saw “God” as a “Burning Bush” and decided to “join him”. If this is not an example of self-destruction based on hallucination, then I’m Mao Tse-tung.

    “I’m not a Bible thumper because I don’t believe the Bible is all factual. The biggest problem with it is it claims that God is all loving but he is willing to create a being, give it free will, then destroy it or worst yet condemn it for all eternity if it fails to follow a set of rules. That’s Religions biggest downfall and lie, “believe it or perish”.”

    True. If I actively keep thinking along this route, eventually I’ll come to the point where some supernatural concept is pointless.

    “Guess what humans are free to do what ever they want, so embrace your apathy and be happy with it without feeling guilty because it doesn’t matter. God will not punish you because God needs you, wants you, your the eyes and ears and memories of life.”

    I am free to do whatever I want, within reasonable attention to my goals in life. However, I am not apathetic. You assume that atheists are apathetic. I can say that I’m most definitely not apathetic, that I have a vested interest in my life and living it. I will not say that all atheists are not apathetic though– because then I would be assuming what you assumed, except in opposition. I realize that in the real world, there might be apathetic atheists, as well as apathetic Christians, Muslins, Hindus, etc. The second sentence has no meaning to me; I do not believe an external force is out there to “punish” me or not, nor that I am valuable or not to any supernatural, external force. This has no meaning, therefore it doesn’t matter to me.

    “However that being said you are still part of a system and there is a center to that system.”

    So all systems have centers? What about the internet? Is that a system? Where’s the absolute center to the internet? How about the definition of system, which states: (1) A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole. (2) A functionally related group of elements. Dictionary.com never states that a system must have a center. While some do (the solar system, in which the “center” is the sun) there is no evidence that suggests that “God” even exists, much less is the center of anything.

    “So don’t close your mind because a dogmatic institution pisses you off with their ideals. It will just make you a shallow shell without purpose.”

    So I should be open-minded about their ideals and their efforts to force me to subscribe to their ideals via laws, social pressures, media, marketing, etc.? That sounds like a self-destructive course of action. If I am open-minded about their ideals, then I am in danger of being a shallow shell without purpose because I have give the purpose of my life to mysticism, which is based on… what evidence? I prefer to keep my judgement, which is based on knowledge, perception, and concepts that I have actively pursued in my life. My judgement is that (1) dogmatism is dangerous to the self and (2) dogmatism is dangerous to everything else (see suicide bomber).

    “God is everywhere he is you, he is me, he is the air you breathe.”

    Replace “God” with Flying Spaghetti Monster and the sentence makes just as much… nonsense. Truth is not truth because a sentence states it, and truth is definitely not true because someone states a sentence that ends up being meaningless. Besides hallucinations (subjective), emotions (subjective), or psychological need (unevaluated emotions), what makes you so sure that “God” exists objectively?

    “The best convincer to someone like you that there is order in the universe is simply sit down and do some Math, start with some Calculus and you’ll start believing.”

    I did 3 quarters of calculus and stopped short after differential equations. It did not make me believe in any supernatural phenomena; the only “belief” (here, “judgement” would be the best word) that I retained from math is that I’m not the best person to do it. While a lot of math is conceptual, it has its base in reality. If not, I’m be hard pressed to understand how math can possibly make anything NASA does possible. P.S. Math history doesn’t involve “God”; most hardcore math geeks are agnostic at least, if not atheist. How would you mathematically prove the existence of God? C’mon, spit out the equations.

    “Life is designed, yes I believe Darwin’s theory, and it’s blatantly obvious just like God.”

    Darwin did not make a theory. Rigorous testing, retesting, falsifiability, challenges, critical thinking amongst many, many minds, and application suggest a theory. Theory in science may be widely acceptable, but even then there is a chance that someone out there may do good and honest science that upsets the theory. Darwin wrote down what he saw, and what that knowledge might suggest. And there has been considerable work *since* Darwin, and the best resources are any evolutionary biologists at a university who can “do good and honest science”. I say this as a caveat in regards to certain scientists out there who have displayed dishonesty in the process of science. Yes, there are scientists out there who apply their personal (subjective) feelings towards a field that is based on an objective process.

    How is “God”, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster for that matter, obvious? What are the observations? Do you have a hypothesis to test this? Can the results be changed later on if you get a certain result? Is your hypothesis open to vigorous testing (philosophical, metaphysical, empirical) by anyone with a discerning mind? If it’s blatantly obvious, why is it that I have good points in this “debate”? What happens if these questions are answered honestly and with integrity?

  18. Jenna
    January 9th, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

    “Maybe you think religion is a vise of some sort like a cocaine addiction and people with this addiction must be treated.”

    It’s a psychological addiction. People feel like they need it because it offers them safety, comfort, (invisible) companionship, familliarity, community. While those things are important in a human’s life, they are not necessarily a good thing when viewed from a faith-based standpoint because faith-based standpoints are divergent from reality. An example is, as always, the irrational Christian standpoint that everyone else on planet earth should believe as he/she believes, regardless of where they are (the Amazon jungle) or from what environment (natives, aboriginals, etc.)

    “I don’t know, but what I do know is claiming to be atheist just means you spiritually lazy and self absorbed.”

    When I’m self-absorbed, I understand my psychology, my reasoning, and my knowledge much better than if I had paid myself no attention at all. When I’m self-absorbed I’m achieving my goals to be a productive human being, to live life, as I usually say. When I’m self-absorbed I’m also self-improving because I believe that stasis in the self is dangerous and detrimental to life. When I’m self-absorbed I realize reality more and more, and try to aim my thinking and my life not in opposition against reality, but in convergence with it. I think it’s more real to face up front who I am (an organic, conscious creature), than to describe self-identity with some supernatural idea. To me, self-absorbed doesn’t mean a willful ignorance of reality. To live means to think, first of all for oneself. I can see how, in an irrational viewpoint, this would be called “self absorbed”. It’s irrational because it implies that being self-absorbed is bad, when it’s really life-affirming. Why is it bad?

    I’ve found that it does help to know reality in order to live in reality. To me, subscribing to a collectivistic, supernatural phenomena is ignorant of reality. I “claim” to be atheist. “Spiritually lazy” has no meaning for me in terms of faith. I’ve already covered “self-absorbed”. So your claim here falls apart because it is stemmed from your subjective viewpoint– and that viewpoint has nothing to do with the real world.

    “To simply deny God is to deny your self.”

    With all the critical faculties I possess, I’ve found that to deny God and any other mystical habits of mind is to re-affirm myself. I am a human being– I am not “God”. To say that “God” is in me is just plain crazy… what evidence have you to say what’s in my body?

    “I recommend you sit down with a bunch of close friends and drop a few hits of acid. Because you my friend believe it or not are part of a larger something, you feel that, you know that because you’re conscious. Simply denying it will just be your muse for self-destruction.”

    I have done this several times. The only thing I felt that was shared was the sense of being f* up because of hallucinogenic reactions due to an ingested chemical. Hallucinations take many forms, and in my case it was: breathing walls, moving swirls of color on a colorless ceiling, voices, blood splatters, paranoia, a sense of floating, objects blending together. None of this proves any hint of supernatural phenomena. It just proves that chemicals can mess up the brain, and since the brain is the tool we use for perception, knowledge, and concpet– it’s no wonder these things get messed up as well. Plus, just because I feel something doesn’t mean it’s true in reality.

    Denying the validity of hallucinations is life-affirming. See previous paragraph. This is about nderstanding brain chemistry and what’s actually real. Believing in hallucinations is self-destructive: whether it is emotionally and physically grinding oneself to the ground in pursuit of good standing in a non-evidenced (so therefore hallucinatory) afterlife, haranguing and pressuring otheres to believe as you believe because “you’ve experienced God”, or chronically feeling guilt for presupposed “sins”. One of my friends told me this very scary first-hand experience of his: a man, who was most probably on hallucinogenic material, suddenly detaches from the crowd surrounding a bonfire, and jumps into the fire. He died. Maybe he saw “God” as a “Burning Bush” and decided to “join him”. If this is not an example of self-destruction based on hallucination, then I’m Mao Tse-tung.

    “I’m not a Bible thumper because I don’t believe the Bible is all factual. The biggest problem with it is it claims that God is all loving but he is willing to create a being, give it free will, then destroy it or worst yet condemn it for all eternity if it fails to follow a set of rules. That’s Religions biggest downfall and lie, “believe it or perish”.”

    True. If I actively keep thinking along this route, eventually I’ll come to the point where some supernatural concept is pointless.

    “Guess what humans are free to do what ever they want, so embrace your apathy and be happy with it without feeling guilty because it doesn’t matter. God will not punish you because God needs you, wants you, your the eyes and ears and memories of life.”

    I am free to do whatever I want, within reasonable attention to my goals in life. However, I am not apathetic. You assume that atheists are apathetic. I can say that I’m most definitely not apathetic, that I have a vested interest in my life and living it. I will not say that all atheists are not apathetic though– because then I would be assuming what you assumed, except in opposition. I realize that in the real world, there might be apathetic atheists, as well as apathetic Christians, Muslins, Hindus, etc. The second sentence has no meaning to me; I do not believe an external force is out there to “punish” me or not, nor that I am valuable or not to any supernatural, external force. This has no meaning, therefore it doesn’t matter to me.

    “However that being said you are still part of a system and there is a center to that system.”

    So all systems have centers? What about the internet? Is that a system? Where’s the absolute center to the internet? How about the definition of system, which states: (1) A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole. (2) A functionally related group of elements. Dictionary.com never states that a system must have a center. While some do (the solar system, in which the “center” is the sun) there is no evidence that suggests that “God” even exists, much less is the center of anything.

    “So don’t close your mind because a dogmatic institution pisses you off with their ideals. It will just make you a shallow shell without purpose.”

    So I should be open-minded about their ideals and their efforts to force me to subscribe to their ideals via laws, social pressures, media, marketing, etc.? That sounds like a self-destructive course of action. If I am open-minded about their ideals, then I am in danger of being a shallow shell without purpose because I have give the purpose of my life to mysticism, which is based on… what evidence? I prefer to keep my judgement, which is based on knowledge, perception, and concepts that I have actively pursued in my life. My judgement is that (1) dogmatism is dangerous to the self and (2) dogmatism is dangerous to everything else (see suicide bomber).

    “God is everywhere he is you, he is me, he is the air you breathe.”

    Replace “God” with Flying Spaghetti Monster and the sentence makes just as much… nonsense. Truth is not truth because a sentence states it, and truth is definitely not true because someone states a sentence that ends up being meaningless. Besides hallucinations (subjective), emotions (subjective), or psychological need (unevaluated emotions), what makes you so sure that “God” exists objectively?

    “The best convincer to someone like you that there is order in the universe is simply sit down and do some Math, start with some Calculus and you’ll start believing.”

    I did 3 quarters of calculus and stopped short after differential equations. It did not make me believe in any supernatural phenomena; the only “belief” (here, “judgement” would be the best word) that I retained from math is that I’m not the best person to do it. While a lot of math is conceptual, it has its base in reality. If not, I’m be hard pressed to understand how math can possibly make anything NASA does possible. P.S. Math history doesn’t involve “God”; most hardcore math geeks are agnostic at least, if not atheist. How would you mathematically prove the existence of God? C’mon, spit out the equations.

    “Life is designed, yes I believe Darwin’s theory, and it’s blatantly obvious just like God.”

    Darwin did not make a theory. Rigorous testing, retesting, falsifiability, challenges, critical thinking amongst many, many minds, and application suggest a theory. Theory in science may be widely acceptable, but even then there is a chance that someone out there may do good and honest science that upsets the theory. Darwin wrote down what he saw, and what that knowledge might suggest. And there has been considerable work *since* Darwin, and the best resources are any evolutionary biologists at a university who can “do good and honest science”. I say this as a caveat in regards to certain scientists out there who have displayed dishonesty in the process of science. Yes, there are scientists out there who apply their personal (subjective) feelings towards a field that is based on an objective process.

    How is “God”, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster for that matter, obvious? What are the observations? Do you have a hypothesis to test this? Can the results be changed later on if you get a certain result? Is your hypothesis open to vigorous testing (philosophical, metaphysical, empirical) by anyone with a discerning mind? If it’s blatantly obvious, why is it that I have good points in this “debate”? What happens if these questions are answered honestly and with integrity?

  19. Tom
    January 9th, 2006 @ 4:12 pm

    calden: “I do know claiming to be atheist just means you are spiritually lazy and self absorbed […] you are part of a larger something […] God needs you, wants you, your the eyes and ears and memories of life […] God is everywhere he is you, he is me […]”

    First, you rendered the negative connotation of the term “self-absorbed” utterly meaningless by explaining how central we (and you) are to the cosmos. Second, explain to me how someone who doesn’t believe in “God” is more “spiritually lazy” than the person who simply filches the capital-G creator-god from the Judeo-Christian religion and then calls himself in-tune with the cosmos.

  20. Atheiststatic
    January 9th, 2006 @ 10:11 pm

    pascal,

    Folowing that line of logic, wouldn’t you have to belive in Allah, Zeus, Ra, and all the of the other gods, because they might be true? Secondly, you say it takes faith when I turn on the lights and such. Well, If I’ve turned on the lights, 100 times, it is not faith to belive they won’t come on 101 times, but past expirience. What I’m talking about is using empirical data to predict a future result. Faith, in a god is nothing but hopes. Because what is faith, but belive without proof?

  21. allonym
    January 9th, 2006 @ 10:46 pm

    A lot of what is written by Pascal’s Wager in this thread, I cannot agree with but will not comment on. There is one thing that I can’t let go unanswered, though.

    Pascal’s Wager said:
    “When you turn on a light, you are having faith that the light will turn on, if your didn’t have faith it’d turn on, it’d be illogical to waste the time flicking the switch. A child is born without the faith that electricity works, but gains faith that when the light switch is flipped, the light will turn on.”

    This is either dishonest or foolish. Here’s how dictionary.com defines the word faith:

    1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
    2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief. See Synonyms at trust.
    3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one’s supporters.
    4. often Faith (Christianity). The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.
    5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
    6. A set of principles or beliefs.

    Experience tells me that when I flip a lightswitch, the light will turn on. Basic knowledge of electricity and common electrical systems tells me that when I flip a lightswitch, the light will turn on, and leads me to reasonable assumptions of cause should the light fail to turn on (wrong switch; power out; blown fuse, etc). If my experience and knowledge lead me to any “faith” in the result of flipping a lightswitch, it is a faith that most closely resembles definition 1. This has nothing to do with the kind of faith (definition 4) to which sternwallow was clearly referring.

  22. Jenna
    January 10th, 2006 @ 10:35 pm

    Sorry I posted so many times! The damn thing kept freezing up, and I kept clicking “stop” and resubmitting. I won’t do that in the future.

  23. Thorngod
    January 16th, 2006 @ 11:48 am

    P’sW & calden: “Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect.” -George Santayana. Think about it–hard!

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