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Just to lighten the mood:

 

 

Why God Never Received Tenure at any University

 

 

1. He had only one major publication.

 

2. It was in Hebrew.

 

3. It had no references.

 

4. It wasn't published in a refereed journal.

 

5. Some even doubt he wrote it himself.

 

6. It may be true that he created the world, but what has he done since then?

 

7. His cooperative efforts have been quite limited.

 

8. The scientific community has had a hard time replicating his results.

 

9. He never applied to the Ethics Board for permission to use human subjects.

 

10. When one experiment went awry he tried to cover it up by drowning the subjects. (I love this one!)

 

11. When subjects didn't behave as predicted, he deleted them from the sample .

 

12. He rarely came to class, just told students to read the Book.

 

13. Some say he had his son teach the class.

 

14. He expelled his first two students for learning. ( :o )

 

15. Although there were only ten requirements, most students failed his tests.

 

16. His office hours were infrequent and usually held on a mountaintop.

 

:)

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Christains are told that God helps those who help themselves. You get into heaven by your works. Yes God is there to support you but if you don't get off your ass you are not going to get anything handed to you.

 

That is very not true: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Eph 2:8-9

I realize many of you may not believe what the bible says, but Christians sure do so the above statement is clearly false.

 

Finally, the Bible was first written 2000 years ago. Don't you think by now the Christian church would have omitted some parts that would embarras them and embellish, or even lie about some parts to make as if Christianity was oh so good?

 

I have yet to meet a man who believes in God who would be willing to malign His word. That's just a rediculous statement.

 

PS - What happened to people sharing their views and concerns openly?? This thread has become a forum to attack each others viewpoints. Let's stop the flaming of each others opinions please.. I can respect your point of view (heck, I was not a believer for the first 20+ years of my life), maybe you could also respect mine?

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Ok my last post was frivolous, this one is not.

 

I have to agree with Wizz, this topic has gotten flamey and insulting. Discussions of religion tend to always get emotional; everyone comes into the discussion with armor on and guns drawn.

 

As an agnostic myself I how one can feel resentment toward a believer, when there is often, sometimes unspoken, judgement that you are condemned for not accepting "the word" or what have you.

 

More grudgingly I have come to understand the believers resentment when faced with the equally distasteful judgement of being illogical or gullible.

 

My own story is kind of the opposite of Wizz's. Wizz says he spent 20 odd years of his life as an unbeliever, whereas I had faith up until about the age of 17 or 18. Ironically enough, it was actually reading a large portion of the bible that ended mine. While this may show that many professed believers really don't understand what it is they believe in, I want to bring up a different point, one it took me a long time to realize. You see, Wizz experienced something I never did, and I hope I can explain it to some of the other agnostics/atheists reading this thread.

As Blackat said, she has never seen god, and neither did I. I had faith, but I never felt god, I have never had a spiritual experience. This left me with access to god through a book and I really didn't like a lot that that book was saying.

 

But WizzKidd has.

 

For those of us who have never felt it, it is hard to comprehend, but I say to you now, WizzKidd feels the presence of God probably everyday of his life. And it is not wishful thinking or self-delusion or any thing like that: God is something that he has encountered, and it is as tangible to him as a sidewalk under his feet. This knowledge of God (and yes, I am going to call it knowledge) probably came to him unexpectedly, he probably struggled with it somewhat, maybe tried to explain it away, but in the end it was something he simply could not deny. I don't think Wizz will ever be able to really describe how he knows God is in his life (and I am not going to qualify this with any "knows" crap, he does not experience God in quotation marks). What he has is an incredibly personal thing; it is not amenable to sharing.

 

Why do I say he knows? Belief in this thread has been used in contrast to knowledge. When Conavar says belief, he means, "this is what I think". This is NOT what Wizz experiences. When Wizz says, "he believes in God" he means that a significant portion of his life makes no sense if God is absent. In other words, God simply has to be. Wizz of course does not think of it quit like this, because all of this is blatantly obvious to him from experience, and that is how he knows. Wizz does not need to go seeking God, ever; God simply is there for him.

 

For those of you who are more scientifically minded let me give you an analogy. From what I understand of astrophysics, black holes started out as basically a mathematical or theoretical necessity. To explain certain phenomena, they simply had to be there, long before we had ever actually observed them. Well in Wizz's life, there are many things that simply require that God be there. God is, so to speak, theoretically required. Now I have seen the word ‘theory’ used in a dismissive sense here, and this is incorrect. A theory groups together a set of facts and provides an explanatory framework: it is not guesswork. Gravitation is a theory; objects still fall to earth like it says they will. So with Wizz's experience: it all simply exemplifies the theory that explains it.

 

This rather long winded bit of phenomenology being said, I think I have reached the point where the question for me is not "does god exist", but rather "does god deserve our faith". And i think, even if I felt what Wizz feels, my answer would still be ....no, he does not. I may get around to babbling about that sometime too

Edited by anthropologist

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Why do I say he knows? Belief in this thread has been used in contrast to knowledge. When Conavar says belief, he means, "this is what I think". This is NOT what Wizz experiences. When Wizz says, "he believes in God" he means that a significant portion of his life makes no sense if God is absent. In other words, God simply has to be. Wizz of course does not think of it quit like this, because all of this is blatantly obvious to him from experience, and that is how he knows. Wizz does not need to go seeking God, ever; God simply is there for him.

 

 

 

 

Correct me if im wrong but what you are saying is : He simply believes in a God with no knowledge to back it up ,he cant explain it he just knows theres a God

 

If thats the case then the same goes for 100% of other Reglious ppl : Belief without Knowledge .I dony mean knowledge from the bible ( for maybe it can be proved to have been written but cannot be proved to be true....... )

 

And yes i must agree the post has got a bit flaming was never the purpose of this thread to prove or disprove God/s or to knock anyones beliefs of any religion.It was for ppl to say why or why not the believe in god/s .. when conducted properly without the flame makes an interesting debate.

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No I think you have misunderstood. I am saying he does have knowlege, but it is a very personal sort.

 

Think of it like this: you cannot prove that you are in love, and you cannot adequately describe it to someone else, but it is there and you know it.

 

The only difference I would contend is that while love is something which you know comes from within, this type of knowledge of god does not feel that way: it is not your mind or emotions telling you "this is so", it is more like the entire World is screaming it at you, it is coming from outside you and you have to recognize it.

 

 

And yeah, it can't be described and it can't be proven to another person, but it is there and you know it.

 

I would kinda of like to know why you wanted to have this discussion Conavar. Is it just out of interest?

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Just goes to prove, atheists spend more time thinking about god than anyone else.

 

Aside from that, i really appreciate what anthropologist has been saying about persoanl experience being one of the most important aspects to think about here.

 

Life after death? The concious mind carrying on after the brain has died? Heres why i ''know'' from personal experience that ''something'' may carry on after death.

 

From an early age i saw what can loosely be defined as ghosts, spirits. I still do from time to time.

 

How does this tie in with a belief in god? Put it this way, there are realms, dimensions, realitys that exist outside and yet entwined with this one. The one you wake up to everyday, until you die of course.

 

Seriously, with my hand on my heart i can swear that there are other realitys, other planes of existence that for the most part we cannot fathom. Our lives and the world we are braught up into condition us to completely ignore these other realms. With terms like ''theyve got an over active imagination'' you can see why people shut down to these other places.

 

Hmm ok i'm going to briefly ( if i can ) tell you about an experience i had when i was 14. I stayed at a friends house who i hadnt seen for a long time. His parents were away for the night so it was just us in the house. He told me about things that had happened since i'd last been. His father seeing a woman in the hallway who looked like she was holding an old fashioned phone, but there was no phone. She turned to look at him and just faded away slowly. His mother saw the same woman in another room. Again she looked directly into his mothers eyes and then faded away.

 

That night was crazy, absolutely crazy. We were going to sleep so he turned the TV off. The TV came back on. I told him to stop winding me up. He said he hadnt done it. So i took the remote control off him and placed it ontop of the TV. It switched back on again. I stood up and turned it off. Got back into my sleeping bag and a couple of minutes later the TV remote hit my arm. HARD. I had put that remote on the TV myself. Now it had hit me. Minutes later a picture frame that had been on one side of the room smashed against the other side of the room breaking into pieces. I said to my friend ''right im not happy about this , its getting a bit much''. I said if one more thing happens im leaving i dont care what time it is. Anyway after turning the lights off again we tried to sleep. There was TREMENDOUS banging noises coming from the kitchen it sounded like all hell was breaking loose down there. The furniture being dragged across the floor, the cupboard doors opening and SLAMMING shut. This went on for a few minutes and then i told my friend to turn the lights on please. He did so and the moment the lights went on. SILENCE. The noises in the kitchen stopped. Then there was the sound of heavy footsteps coming up the stairs. Really slow. THUD.......THUD......THUD......and they stopped at the top of the stairs and then his bathroom door slammed shut. We both looked at each other as if to say '' it's upstairs ''. Fear had now taken over, my friend and i were scared man, genuinely frightened. Its the first time i had ever encountered fear when something like this was happening. Anyway the bathroom door made a noise like it had flung open and the footsteps moved slowly across the hall towards his bedroom...THUD.....THUD.....THUD. They stopped right outside his door and the door flew open. Now he used to put door wedges under his door so that no one could come in and catch us doing anything bad like smoking funny cigarettes. Those door wedges FLEW out from under that door and hit the opposite side of the room , they flew right infront of me as i was laying on the floor in my sleeping bag. I looked towards the door and this deep booming voice said ''TURN THAT LIGHT OFF !!!'' and the lights went out. Now when the lights went out, in the doorway was stood a very tall, very stocky man. He was almost transparent , with a sort of blue light to him that got brighter round his edges. He was wearing a top hat and a long coat that went to his ankles. I was frozen with terror, stood in that doorway was one hell of a scary looking man. And he wasnt even real. He started to fade. Slowly. Then he was gone.

 

We didnt sleep that night, we went downstairs to the kitchen and nothing had moved, not a thing. All that noise and everything was where it should be.

 

What im trying to say here is that this ''ghost'' had a mind of its own, it was making concious decisions and it could interact with the physical world as we know it. It could recognise there was a light on. It could turn it off. It was MAKING DECISIONS. That experence has shown me it is VERY possible for conciousness to continue after so called death. And what you ask does that say to me about the existence of a god?

 

Well put it this way, if there are realitys side by side with our own, if there are other dimensions that we cannot see in this physical world yet that share the same space as us. You can rest assured there is a very good chance of there being a higher power. There is a very good chance that there is something that we humans have to call ''god'' out there somewhere.

 

I dont think it's really a choice we humans have to decide if there is a god or not. We could talk around in circles trying to pick holes in each others beliefs until the day we died ourselves. You choose what you want to believe. But deep down, i think you all know theres something bigger than us. Whatever you choose to call it is up to you. But its there.

 

 

aTeh

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Just goes to prove, atheists spend more time thinking about god than anyone else.

 

Come on man, that's a crazy statement. Tehologians spend their entire life studying God. The bible tells believers that they are to "pray without ceasing". Do you really think someone who does not believe in God spends more time thinking about him than someone who is purposely devoting his entire being to him? I actually believe that because Jesus died for me, he wants me to live for him. Caring for people and loving on them as he did. This requires A LOT of prayer and thoughtfulness about the character of God. So, to me the above statement just seems WAY off base.

 

I would like to thank Anthropologist for so masterfully describing my situation. While I wont say he is 100% correct, I don't think I could convey it any more clearly either. Thanks Bro, you truely are one of a kind!

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Would it be right to say everyone has their own opinions on whether God exists or not - and it is not for us to force our opinions on others? If he exists for one person or one group of people, then fine, God exists for them. They may say that God exists, full stop, but to atheists/those who believe that there is no God, to them, there is no God.

 

To the believers, any miraculous event will be by God. Anything of the same to the non-believers (and I'm not saying this in an insulting way) will be regarded as a one-off and damn lucky or unlucky.

 

However, I have had some people at church, when asked the question "Tell me about God.", tell me that "God exists, full stop." The sentence "God exists" tells me nothing about God. I know that we define God, whether we believe in him or not, as a supremely perfect being. But can existence be a predicate (a feature)? Can we describe something is?

 

IMO, no.

 

But I still believe in God anyway :)

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I would kinda of like to know why you wanted to have this discussion Conavar. Is it just out of interest?

 

No worries.As you have proberly come to understand now im an Aethist but that doesnt make my views right.As a non-believer,heritic whatever you would like to call me lol (j/k) I have had many interesting conversations with work collegues/freinds etc who do have beliefs of one kind or another and I just thought it would be a nice off-topic subject to talk about and to give people a forum to air there views.

Im not looking for salvation/redemption or even God and I very much doudt unless im struck by lightning and hear a booming voice I will ever be a Believer but that is my choice and any one with faith in any god i take my hat of to,I believe that is there choice as well and who am I to say they are wrong.

 

When I started this post I hoped it wouldnt get flamey or Preachy I just wanted ppl to tell why they beleived one way or the other from a personel view point with out the bible bashing or flame from aethists.As others have written many have found god but aslo some have lost faith and its interesting to her both accounts.

 

To be honest this post has been more popular than i thought it would be and thanx to everyone for that,its nice sometimes to be able to have a serious debate about things not game related and to get ppl views from around the world.

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ummm the comment about atheists spending more time thinking about god than anyone else was actually a quote, i forget who first said it.

 

it really wasn't a dig at anyone man.

 

anyway i'd just like to say i dont think any religion is any more right than the other, simply because your are a product of your environment and if you were born in another part of the world you would see the idea of a creator very differently.

 

The following IS NOT meant to flame anybody or offend anybody, they are just facts relating to one of the most talked about religions in this topic. I notice other religions haven't been mentioned much.

 

 

buddha - born to a virgin, healed a blind man, had a disciple walk on water, at his birth received gold, frankincense and myrrh

 

dionysus - born to a virgin on the 25th december, turned water into wine,was a sacred king killed and eaten in an eucharistic ritual, rose from the dead on March 25

 

mithra - born to a virgin on the 25th december - shepherds braught him gifts , was thaught to have died for the sins of the people, had 12 companions or disciples, His religion had a eucharist,the Vatican itself is built upon the papacy of Mithra, and the Christian hierarchy is nearly identical to the Mithraic version it replaced --- virtually all of the elements of the Catholic ritual, from miter to wafer to altar, are directly taken from earlier Pagan mystery religions

 

krishna - born to a virgin on the 25th december, saviour of his people for sins,earthly father was a carpenter,worked miracles and wonders, raising the dead and healing lepers, the deaf and the blind, Krishna is to return to judge the dead, riding on a white horse, and to do battle with the Prince of Evil

 

Hmmm. Worth thinking about.........I would also direct people to note that what were dealing here with here is sun worship. yes the sun , the celestial sun . Not a son. Go look into it. It's very interesting.

 

 

Can i just say one last thing, surely God/Gods/Goddess/Goddess' have got a sense of humour? after all they made humans didnt they and what a bunch of freaks we are !

 

aTeh x

Edited by Ateh

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Hi Mora here!

 

Just thinking, If Jesus is who he says He is, (and I believe He is who He says He is). The search for truth should begin there with Him. All you need do is disprove who He says He is then all of christianity falls flat on its face . If you want to say there is a god or not, you can do so by seaching out the truth about Jesus. By the way, He said, He is God. (refrence book of John 8th chapter I Am!)

 

I have faith borne of trusting in him some 40 years now, throught the study of Him, and my own life experience, and the unexplainable things that I believe were done through Him for me and those I love . This is not not just some blind faith I started believing because some one said it is true. I can not have faith for anyone but myself. I have learned this over many years of talking with people about faith. I try to share my faith when I can, when some one is willing to listen. But it is for each of us to start or not start upon the journey for the truth if you so desire. I believe in a loving God who has a gift for us to receive. IT is a free gift, one that you can not work for, nor can you buy, Or one you struggle your whole life wondering if I have more good things then bad on my account, and am I good enought to make it to heaven to be with God. None of these things count for anything, but just believing and receiving a free gift for any and all who might want to receive it. It is the gift from God his Son Christ Jesus through faith and not of yourself, eternal life with him forever. I could go on and debate this but it isn't in my heart to debate with anyone. Its kinda like a beggar telling others who are in need where they might find bread. Good luck with your journey if you want to pursue it friends, and start with Jesus and seek out if He is who He says he is. :)

 

Mora Out!!

Edited by morabelon

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Thanks for keeping it simple Morabelon. And a good point you make.. if you want to know if God is real or not, investigating Jesus seems like the logical place to start to me too. After all, he is quoted as saying "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

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-- really wish i hadnt seen this topic its probably going to get me disliked by alot of people --

 

Ok firstly can i say i fogot to mention in my last post that all the other just as credible saviours of mankind listed there all pre date the story of JC's life in the new testament.

 

I think its really important to have a good understanding of where your belief systems come from. I think its also important to understand exactly what has been done in the name of your belief system.

 

Therefore id say that to look into the life of your saviour by refering to a book written about him by nobody knows who, and a book written at least 200 years after the actual events, would really fall short in any attempt to gain an understanding of who this person was and what they wanted.

 

I'd say if you really wanted to come to an understanding of god/gods goddesses and various other beings that required us to worship them, your better off going as far back as you possibly can.

 

Try to remember when your talking about ''god'' that you are talking about a concept that far outlives any story in the old or new testament.

 

Saying that the only way to God is through the bible is like saying the only way to read a book is by reading the last page.

 

There are many ways to the centre of the circle.

 

Other people and other cultures have differant viewpoints. They need as much respect as any you may have.

 

Im very sorry if i appeared to have flamed or insulted anyone but i dont hear the church apologising for much worse things its done.

 

''Genocide is foremost an international crime for which individuals, no matter how high in authority, may be indicted, tried, and punished by the International Criminal Court (ICC). According to Article 6 of the ICC Statute, This crime involves, "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group''

Edited by Ateh

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Finally have time to come back to this topic. Let me just state my own personal belief and story before adding my scattered thoughts on the subjects discussed so far. I realise that some of my words may be offensive to certain people. Please understand that occasionally I may use words to provoke a reaction. My main objective at all times is to get people to think more, and one of the best ways to do that is to make them irritated. I don't really like to do it very often, but I do feel that a lot of people are too complacent or treat religion too lightly, so I'm deliberately stirring up some controversy as a way of getting people to think seriously about the subject. :)

 

I was raised in a Christian family in a decidedly non-Christian country (Malaysia, which is an Islamic state with strong Buddhist and Hindu populations as well). I have Buddhist family members, was raised by a Hindu babysitter, and have Muslim schoolmates and neighbours. I've also met and chatted with a couple of Sikhs, have people in the neighbourhood who believe in witchcraft, and know plenty of agnostics. I have never met a Zoroastrian or pagan in real life, and very few atheists. In any case, this actually gives me a rather unique perspective, as the tenets of each religion becomes very clear-cut and it's easier to separate what each religion says from the rest, as well as from the general non-religious "let's all just behave good and we'll all go to Heaven" mentality.

 

(By the way, Ateh, where on earth did you get those stories about Buddha, Mithra and Krishna? In all my talks with my Buddhist and Hindu friends, don't think I've ever heard those before.)

 

To be honest, I think it's only when you face difficulty or social persecution for believing what you believe that you find out whether you really believe it or not. It's very different from the "post-Christian" mentality of a lot of North American or European countries, where Christianity is seen as part of "the establishment" and it's considered cool or independent to go against it and explore other alternative religions. In a sense, people in North America or Europe are only seeing the bad effects of Christianity and the nice face of all the other major religions (except perhaps Islam, after the 911 attacks). Try living in a country where all four have held sway for a long time, and you won't be so fast to embrace the others. And likewise, try living in a Communist country for a while to understand what atheism endorsed by an entire society can do. :) Don't knock the Christian church for its mistakes when you haven't seen the mistakes made by the other religious bodies and the ANTI-religious bodies. Humanity has misused the name of religion as well as atheism to do a lot of damage to its members. (No one has misused agnosticism, as far as I know, but agnostics don't stand for anything anyway. :hug: You can't really do anything to others in the name of "I don't know and I can never know.")

 

Even though I was raised in a Christian family, I didn't really accept Christ as my own personal Lord and Saviour until I was 15 or so. At that time, I was struggling in a losing battle against an addiction to pornography, and it was the presence of God and the salvation He offered that made Christianity come alive to me. Since then, God has surprised me in so many different ways and shown more and more of Himself and His nature to me. I love my Lord and my Father. I don't completely understand Him yet, or why He does the things He does, but I'm trying to learn.

 

In short, I'm an evangelical, charismatic, non-denominational Christian.

 

 

So, having said that, let's move on to what's been discussed so far:

 

Anthropologist explains the idea of faith and belief in the presence of God very nicely. :) I do agree that most believers feel that God is a theological/theoretical necessity to explain otherwise unexplicable phenomenon in life. Of course, this basic faith is then supposed to develop into an actual relationship with God, which perhaps is a different and superior thing altogether.

 

To extend the "love" analogy, knowing that God exists is like knowing you're in love. But moving on from that, committing yourself to one system of belief (i.e. religion) is like making a marriage commitment. Don't take it lightly, and make sure you know enough about your partner during the courtship stage. Likewise, however, there are plenty of people who are married without being in love, just as there are many people who profess a religion without experiencing the presence of God in their lives.

 

Can the experiences of those who are married without love prove that love does not exist? (i.e. "I was a Christian, but I never saw/knew/experienced God in my life, thus God does not exist.")

 

Could the lack of love in a relationship be the cause of violations of the marital code of conduct like adultery? (i.e. "I've seen plenty of people who call themselves Christian, but who behave like sinners", or "The church is full of corrupt hypocrites")

 

Does that mean then that the behaviour of these loveless individuals trapped in marriage shows that love itself, or marriage itself, is WRONG? (i.e. "Does the behaviour of people who call themselves Christian but have never experienced God in their lives show that Christianity itself, or God Himself, is wrong?")

 

(Yes, I know I'm using rhetoric. Forgive me. :omg:)

 

The point I'm trying to make is this: the behaviour of individuals who profess something doesn't necessarily invalidate the belief system itself. Christianity (and a lot of other religions as well) openly admits that its members are human and can make mistakes. That's why we don't look to humanity to solve our moral dilemma or set ethical standards. We look to God instead. We don't trust humans enough to think that we are wise enough to know what is good and strong enough to act upon it. We need an objective viewpoint that is superior to ours.

 

A second and different point to make is to urge you also to look at the opposite case scenarios. Why do we point out those that have failed while leaving out those who have excelled? The Methodist church led the fight to abolish slavery in England. The Catholic church was the only thing that kept scholasticism alive in Europe during the Dark Ages. Missionaries around the world have planted schools, hospitals, orphanages, relief centres and other welfare organizations that have helped raise the standard of living and brought aid to innumerable people who were suffering. If you want to bring up the Crusades, the Salem Witch Hunts, and the Spanish Inquisition, please also allow the Christians to bring up Mother Teresa, William Wilberforce, the Salvation Army and the stories of every saint and missionary who have given their lives to the service of the poor, the hungry and the needy. I think we'd win the argument about the net positive/negative effects of the church in the world.

 

Not that that's important or anything. :o

 

 

One of the main issues that the debate over Christianity has been about what constitutes necessary proof before God can be accepted as a reality. So far, it's been largely the atheists and agnostics on the offence and Christians on the defence. If you don't mind, I'd like to try the opposite for a change. I've seen the following arguments said for why God does not exist:

 

1) If God were to exist, He should appear before me in a flash of lightning / speak out of thin air to me (or some similar special-effects-loaded supernatural manifestation). He has not done so, therefore I do not believe that He exists.

 

2) If God were to exist, He should have made the world a better place for me/us/the human race to live in instead of the mess we have now. Since the world is in such a huge mess, and God is supposed to be in charge, God either does not exist or doesn't care about us, thus there is no point in believing in Him.

 

3) We cannot know whether God exists or not because the only thing that tells us God exists is an old book which seems to be written by humans, and whose truthfulness / historical validity is doubtful.

 

I won't have time to cover them all, so let me just do the third point.

 

You realise, of course, that the authorship of Bible and its validity rests a lot on the initial assumption you have about the existence of God. In other words, if you assume that God exists and is actively trying to communicate, then it makes logical sense for Him to preserve His Words in written form for us to read. On the other hand, if you assume that God does not exist, then whatever is written in the Bible must be of human hands and thus subject to human fallacies.

 

Let me just point out a few things to think about. If God does not exist, and there is no Higher Power guiding us, then the highest moral/ethical standard we have is that set by humanity. Regardless of its historical validity, the Bible IS clearly regarded as one of the top books on ethics and morals written by humanity. Thousands who have listened to and obeyed its teachings have gone on to live exemplar lives. (The saints, missionaries and whatnots I mentioned earlier). As such, would it do much harm to live according to the things the Bible teaches? (And please don't start quoting Old Testament sacrificial laws at me. You and I both know better to take things at face value. Likewise, don't be so quick to assume you know what the Bible is teaching after just a cursory read. You don't mess with something like your life without at least reading advice carefully.)

 

A second assumption to point out is that all humans have traditionally relied on authority to tell them things that they do not know about. To ask people to "think for themselves" is a dangerous task. 99% of what we "know" about the world around us is taught to us through the media, the school, and various people. Only 1% comes from direct experience. (And even that is suspect, according to some philosophers :P) We have scientists to tell us about science, geographers to tell us about geography, art critics to tell us about art... who is to tell us about the existence of God? Is it not people who have spent their lives studying the subject - theologians and priests? We accept the existence of black holes, the el nino effect and the Surrealist movement, because experts tell us so. Why are we so reluctant to accept the existence of God?

 

Could it be because - unlike black holes, the el nino effect and the Surrealist movement - the existence of God may pose a threat to the way we live our lives? If God exists, He may not approve of the way we are living now. The three classic ways that humans deal with disapproval or guilt is to either deny it exists, seek for other approving sources to counter the disapproval, or face it and try to rectify the problem. Likewise, if there is a God who judges us guilty, we can either deny He exists, look for other gods who have less demanding standards, or face Him and try to obtain salvation.

 

This is my personal charge against atheists and even agnostics. I have found that many people tend to embrace these two views NOT because they are looking for 'proof', but because they are looking for validation of their way of life. In other words, there are plenty of insincere, hypocritical atheists and agnostics too. They want to continue the way they have been living, do not wish for a morally-righteous God who can pass judgement on them, so deny He exists and use "the lack of proof" as a defence for not subscribing to a religion, rather than admitting their fear that He might change them. My first question to all the atheists and agnostics is: Are you really looking for proof? Or are you just running away from guilt? This isn't really a flame, but it's a serious issue I want people to think about. Very often, atheists accuse religious people of "being too afraid to face the truth that we are alone in the world." I just want to show that the opposite is also possible: religious people can also accuse the atheists of "being too afraid to face the truth that there will be a God to judge us." Don't take double-standards. If you want the argument to be fair, make sure you apply it to yourself as well. I'm perfectly willing to talk with a serious, committed atheist or agnostic. But a different approach is needed for someone who is just running away from religion.

 

The second issue deals with moral relativists. The belief that "It's my life, and I have the right to live it my way" is so ingrained into their culture that no one ever questions it. Are you sure that's the right belief to have? Up until the 1600s or so, most people did not believe that. And even after the 1600s, it was largely only the people in Europe who believed that. What makes you so sure that's the right way to live - that no one has the right to pass judgement on the way other people live their lives?

 

You see, if Person A believes that 'no one has the right to impose their beliefs or pass judgement on other people', Person A must live according to what they believe in. However, if Person B believes that 'I have the right to impose my belief and pass judgement on other people', then Person A cannot stop him, since that would be against Person A's principles. However, Person B is freely able to preach to and judge Person A, since that is consistent with Person B's principles. To stop Person B and tell him to shut up, Person A would need to violate his own principles and be willing to impose his beliefs onto Person B. The only way to spread the principle of non-imposition of beliefs is to break it.

 

(To put it bluntly, you can't argue for everyone just living according to what they believe in and not trying to convince anyone else without being untrue to your own sayings. You need to convince me to stop convincing you.)

 

The argument for everyone living their own way doesn't seem to be able to stand. So we are down to a battle of ideologies or beliefs. There are beliefs with opposing viewpoints. ("There is a God" vs. "There isn't a God"). One of them must be right, and the other must be wrong. And this must be true for all humanity/reality. The question is which one?

 

 

I don't have time to write more, but let me sum up the purpose of me writing this post. What I wanted to do was point out some of the hidden assumptions that people were making, and some things that they were leaving out. Most of it was spent 'balancing' - pointing out the opposite cases to things mentioned previously, like the good effects of the church and the charge against atheism. And lastly, I pointed out how moral relativism (everyone lives their own way) gets you nowhere, and it really comes back to the battle of beliefs. Other writers can take it from here. If you want more of this kind of stuff, though, I highly recommend listening to or reading Ravi Zacharias, a well-known Christian apologist who was born in India and lived in Canada. He often gives talks and lectures defending the Christian faith at universities like Harvard, Oxford and Princeton. His homepage is at http://www.rzim.org

 

-Lyn-

Edited by Lyanna

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I understand what has been said, but I want to argue a few points...

to be fair, I'll start with my own belief as well. I was raised in a Christian family. possibly regardable as non-practising, since we didn't go to church regularly, etc, but still taught to say prayers when we went to bed. I have an issue here, which I will come back to later.

when I was older, I found that I was wondering about it all, as most people do, and looking for answers... what I felt right was pretty much that there was no supreme being, nature is about as high (and large) as it goes. later, I found that this and other things I felt matched reasonably well with pagan beliefs. since then, I've probably been a non-practising pagan.

To be honest, I think it's only when you face difficulty or social persecution for believing what you believe that you find out whether you really believe it or not.
I'd also say it shows in how you act... as an example, all the fuss from some members of the church when the da vinci code came out... some people claimed it was terrible because it put the church in a bad light, based on things not true (even though most reasonable people would know it's fiction). on the other side, there were some people who said that interest in the church and its history wasn't a bad thing, anyone who has strong faith won't be swayed, and more people might become believers if they think about it or look into the facts.

in my opinion, the first group aren't strong believers, because they're scared of what can happen outside of their own control.

this goes further into my objection against people going overboard promoting their religion. it seems to me as if they have to convert people in order to justify their belief. I don't see much validity in this. if you're the only person in the world with a certain religious belief, is it any more or less valid to you than if it were held by anyone?

those willing to talk about their faith calmly, willing to accept criticism (it's fine to argue it based on reason, but not yell and stream 'heresy!'), and don't base their belief on what people uninvolved with them think... those are the ones showing strength of faith

I didn't really accept Christ as my own personal Lord and Saviour until I was 15 or so.
we'll go back to my issue in the intro here. the age of majority (ie when you're an adult) varies from place to place, and religions are free to set a certain one, but I don't think allowing someone to be a member of a certain religion at a young age is right.

in your case, you had the up bringing to be aware of other religions. so it's not so bad. but all too common is children being brought up with the belief of their parents (after all, marriage and the idea of a family consisting of only direct relatives was developed as a religious push, as opposed to the extended-family/clan living arrangements before that... only two parental figures means a better chance to indoctrinate their children into the religion).

that goes to one of the things I liked when I was reading about pagan religions (paganism is actually more an umbrella over a range of other religions, just as christianity is an umbrella over catholic, protestant, etc, so there are a huge number of pagans in the world)... that children might not be allowed to attend religious meetings/etc until being the age of an adult... or sometimes a few years before in some situations.

even in the immediate family, children would often be raised with the knowledge of other religions... and not just "oh, and there are these people who believe this, which we don't" that some christians may claim is religion studies

I do agree that most believers feel that God is a theological/theoretical necessity to explain otherwise unexplicable phenomenon in life. Of course, this basic faith is then supposed to develop into an actual relationship with God, which perhaps is a different and superior thing altogether.
the meaning-of-life is one of the two things that religion, in general, is about to me. the other is the imposition of a moral code.

in both cases, some people don't need it, but many do, to varying degrees.

as long as people believe, the church will have a better chance of controlling people than the state... because the consequences the church talks about are far longer lasting (even if not that much more painful, as back in the day the state often used far worse punishment for criminals than today).

i.e. "I was a Christian, but I never saw/knew/experienced God in my life, thus God does not exist."
I'd say yes. because god(s) isn't so much a definite as a concept. and, by definition of what many religions say, humans won't ever be able to fully comprehend their god(s)). thus, like religion, god(s) is something different to each person (or should be, the pushing of a standard commoditised religion on people who believe something similar is another objection I have). if their view of what god(s) is/should be isn't held up to them, then their view of god(s) doesn't exist. of course, we go back to what I said earlier... that should have no impact on anyone else's belief (unless they want it to).
The point I'm trying to make is this: the behaviour of individuals who profess something doesn't necessarily invalidate the belief system itself.
granted, but they do a heck of a lot of damage to the reputation of the religion they claim to support/ uphold when they break that religion's own laws (such as the sin of murder in the name of god (I think the worst possible punishment for them is if their belief is true and they are held accountable for murder by their god... ironic though it may be))
That's why we don't look to humanity to solve our moral dilemma or set ethical standards.
but we do. even if the priest is closer to understanding the will of god(s) than the common person, they are still a human, trying to resolve dilemmas and impose standards. so much in today's world has changed, technologically, socially, etc, from the days of the bible (or other holy book of your choice) that it has to be, at the very least, interpreted in view of the current situations
A second and different point to make is to urge you also to look at the opposite case scenarios.
quite valid, which is why I say that organised religions have done both a lot of good and a lot of bad over the years
The Catholic church was the only thing that kept scholasticism alive in Europe during the Dark Ages.
I'd argue here, about whether there would have been a need for this had there not been religions in the position of power they had, working with the monarchy to keep people in their station... had people had the chance to learn more than the farm and hunting, would they have? many would, even if it wasn't as centralised and organised as the church
please also allow the Christians to bring up Mother Teresa, William Wilberforce, the Salvation Army and the stories of every saint and missionary who have given their lives to the service of the poor, the hungry and the needy.
certainly, but don't forget a lot of people have done similar without it being a religious impetus... would these people have the compassion and will to help people without the church?

was the church both cause and supporter, or only supporter, giving them the tools and resources to help?

if the latter, would enough of these people have banded together and gotten support to be able to accomplish their tasks anyway? given the success of non-religious charities today(when morality is as much a societal issue as it is religious, same as before organised religion came up (hence morality isn't a product only of religion)), I'd say there's a fair chance. it might have happened less, it might have happened more.

I think we'd win the argument about the net positive/negative effects of the church in the world.
except that you're talking about what the people who believe in it do and say... whether religion is a cause or excuse... my point is to ask how many people would still have done what they did without the church (or, alternatively, if other people had stepped up to do similar instead of them)

 

the next part is going to be rather controversial, and hence hidden text... don't select&read if it you don't accept the warning.

 

For one of the most extreme cases (and I'm deliberately pointing out that it's an extreme, without comparison to any other person, to avoid a godwin)... the holocaust was largely a religious activity. this is probably about the worst case of religion being used as a reason or excuse to commit sin.

had hitler not risen to power and been able to do this, would the holocaust have been prevented? I'd say possibly not. in the vein of command&conquer:red alert, I think someone else would have stepped up. humanity (or society) needed the example and lessons that came from it all (and, of course, people are free to believe that the lessons they learn come from their god(s)

 

One of the main issues that the debate over Christianity has been about what constitutes necessary proof before God can be accepted as a reality
myeh, no. if god(s) is proven, then there's no need for faith in his/er existence anymore. faith is one of the keys to religion. almost by definition, in the monotheistic religions I know of, proving god(s) would destroy the religion.
<snip>I won't have time to cover them all, so let me just do the third point.
okay, I'll make your second point for you. just to be fair :blink:

make the world a better place? whatever for? if we live an ideal life, we don't learn much (in the moral/spiritual/etc sense)

and I've sorta made your case on the first point, above, as well, on proof.

it makes logical sense for Him to preserve His Words in written form for us to read.
one problem here is that the words today aren't the same as they were when written. this is since the language has changed... and even with a perfect translator (which we don't have), the languages themselves won't exactly match. of course, you also have the problems of inaccuracies, and the need to interpret.
And please don't start quoting Old Testament sacrificial laws at me. You and I both know better to take things at face value.
ahh, but there are problems here. one in that some people will take it at face value, and live their life by the letter of the law of god(s) as people have written it. and to live by the spirit/intent of the law means interpretation.

the second issue I can quickly see is that those things weren't so bad back then... a lot of what's in a religious text may be valid today, but a lot also isn't, because it was all written long, long ago... either there's a divine intent to hold to the spirit of the law (and, again, we have to interpret what's available and seems applicable to the current choice) or there isn't and it's not so valid these days (which isn't to say that the writings were correct by god(s) at the time, just that god(s) may have seen reason not to control the development)

This is my personal charge against atheists and even agnostics. I have found that many people tend to embrace these two views NOT because they are looking for 'proof', but because they are looking for validation of their way of life. In other words, there are plenty of insincere, hypocritical atheists and agnostics too. They want to continue the way they have been living, do not wish for a morally-righteous God who can pass judgement on them, so deny He exists and use "the lack of proof" as a defence for not subscribing to a religion, rather than admitting their fear that He might change them.
well, I don't believe in a guiding power (nature has its laws, and operates in a certain way, but I wouldn't say there's an intelligence behind it all), so I'll answer.

You're right. but not always.

I try to do what I think is right. what that is doesn't always match with society or any group or religion (which I consider more of a plus than a minus, in that I've considered it personally, and society at large is capable of some pretty bad things).

I don't believe there is a god(s). but if there is, and he/she/they is/are just, then I'll probably be alright anyway.

it goes back to the issue of needing a moral structure imposed upon someone.

The argument for everyone living their own way doesn't seem to be able to stand
it can. many religions accept that different people have different beliefs. and many of the remaining will have something about a belief in free will (hence coercion or threat or force to change someone else's religion is against the will of their god(s)).

Even without either of the above, the forcing of someone else to do something against their will/belief should be something people see as wrong. not all moralities will accept that, or may only to limited degree (and of course there are limitations. forcing a criminal to spend time in jail is one easy one). but the number of people remaining should not be large enough or powerful enough that they can convert people by force/threat... it then becomes the fault of the person accepting if they accept; the person forcing, or the silent majority who the forcing power relies upon.

belief by force is no true belief at all.

 

(note: this was split into two posts to get the quoting to work right. grr.)

Edited by ttlanhil

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(By the way, Ateh, where on earth did you get those stories about Buddha, Mithra and Krishna? In all my talks with my Buddhist and Hindu friends, don't think I've ever heard those before.)

 

 

pretty easy in this day and age, you dont even need a library card. go into any internet search engine and type '' comparison between jesus and buddha/mithra/krishna''. although this informaion is available from numerous sources and actually i'd say its better to read it from a book because i fear the age of books is dying and thats awful. also off topic.

 

 

hey presto the research of thousands of years of historical studies at your fingertips

 

im making this my last post here as the truth is we are all experiencng what we need to and believing what we need to. thats cool , if the world didnt have a passion for the spiritual side of things we'd be screwed.

 

peace

 

aTeh :blink:

Edited by Ateh

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This is my personal charge against atheists and even agnostics. I have found that many people tend to embrace these two views NOT because they are looking for 'proof', but because they are looking for validation of their way of life. In other words, there are plenty of insincere, hypocritical atheists and agnostics too. They want to continue the way they have been living, do not wish for a morally-righteous God who can pass judgement on them, so deny He exists and use "the lack of proof" as a defence for not subscribing to a religion, rather than admitting their fear that He might change them.

 

Lmao Talk about slander everyone who doesnt believe in a God .

 

You can say I dont believe so I can continue living my immoral life, where as I can say you believe because you are a sheep, to scared to live you own life, your own way without the crutch of religion.

 

You may have noticed out of all this discussion this is the only point ive taking issues with and has got my back up.

 

Holyness does not equal moral-righteousness.There have been countless HOLY people who have commited unmoral acts and plenty of aethist who have lived there life better than most religious people.

I think if we took a close look at both our life's , I can guarantee that you have not lived your life better because of your holyness.

Morals come from upbringing, If you do not know what is right or wrong without a book telling you then you have had a pretty poor upbringing.

 

Honestly with one paragraph you have ridiculed all the good work done by aethists in hospitals,Charities etc.

 

The only differance in how the majority of aethist and Believers live is that we dont judge people .Old saying " people in glass houses shouldnt throw stones ".

 

Im an aesthist why ermm dont know just have never felt God in any shape or form but that is my choice,same as it is your choice to believe in Religion. Doesnt in no way make you a better person

 

 

Anyway I better shut up before it gets to flamey :) ( and ive got a virgin to sacrafice :D )

Edited by conavar

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(By the way, Ateh, where on earth did you get those stories about Buddha, Mithra and Krishna? In all my talks with my Buddhist and Hindu friends, don't think I've ever heard those before.)

 

 

pretty easy in this day and age, you dont even need a library card. go into any internet search engine and type '' comparison between jesus and buddha/mithra/krishna''. although this informaion is available from numerous sources and actually i'd say its better to read it from a book because i fear the age of books is dying and thats awful. also off topic.

 

 

hey presto the research of thousands of years of historical studies at your fingertips

 

You have to be careful believing everything you read on the internet. Talk about your un-qualified sources! You could happen upon the site of some Crazy person on a soap box.. you just never know.

 

The above is not to say that there is not a lot of great info out there.. you just have to be sure to back it up with reliable sources.

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(By the way, Ateh, where on earth did you get those stories about Buddha, Mithra and Krishna? In all my talks with my Buddhist and Hindu friends, don't think I've ever heard those before.)

 

 

pretty easy in this day and age, you dont even need a library card. go into any internet search engine and type '' comparison between jesus and buddha/mithra/krishna''. although this informaion is available from numerous sources and actually i'd say its better to read it from a book because i fear the age of books is dying and thats awful. also off topic.

 

 

hey presto the research of thousands of years of historical studies at your fingertips

 

You have to be careful believing everything you read on the internet. Talk about your un-qualified sources! You could happen upon the site of some Crazy person on a soap box.. you just never know.

 

The above is not to say that there is not a lot of great info out there.. you just have to be sure to back it up with reliable sources.

 

 

Ok , i shall list some better sources :confused:

 

And instead of being quick to ridicule me for saying search the internet please be aware that personally i was aware of these facts long before i went looking for anything on the internet. Hence my statement '' i would suggest finding this information in books''

 

Books :

 

1. The Hiram Key by Christpher Knight and Robert Lomas

2. The Jesus Mysteries by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

3. The Robots Rebellion by David Icke ( laugh at him all you want Icke is awake )

4. Any of the work by Jordan Maxwell

 

Websites : 1 & 3 are videos , enjoy

 

1. http://opposingdigits.com/vlog/?p=353

2. http://www.resist.com/positions/Religion.html

3. http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2006/08/naked-truth.html

4. http://www.freedomdomain.com/relig.htm

 

 

have fun opening your mind ( or not )

Edited by Ateh

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2) If God were to exist, He should have made the world a better place for me/us/the human race to live in instead of the mess we have now. Since the world is in such a huge mess, and God is supposed to be in charge, God either does not exist or doesn't care about us, thus there is no point in believing in Him.

 

 

(In a Rickie Ricardo voice) " yahweh, joo got some splaining to do"

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Hi Mora Here!! :)

 

Food for thought. God being who He is could have made everything rosey and bright. After all He is God and thus He can do anything He wants. However He chose to make us as we are to choose who we love or not. God is love and thus He made us to choose if we are to love Him or not. If He made robots that all loved Him how would that feel? Is that truly love freely given? No not really at all. He made us to have a personal relationship with Him as so as we could be truly gratefull, and truly return His love to Him ourselfs. So He also would receive our love in reality as well, not as some machine that is programed to function in a absolute. Wouldn't you want that as well also?

 

The other part about why everything is so messed up can go in so many directions that if you really are sincere about wanting to know if God is real or not. I suggest you start with Jesus. He said He is, God (John chapter 8, I Am, ) and all of the christian faith falls upon Him. So why bother with so many rabbit trails when all needs to be done is to see if Jesus is telling the truth or not. That is the begining of finding your own answers, and not believing what I say, or any others say, when you can come to your own conclusions if you yourself look for the answer yourself. I pray you would take the time to ernestly check it out for yourself and find your own truth not just something you hear and take up its call.

 

Y'all have a great day and Godbless

 

Mora out!! ;)

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The other part about why everything is so messed up can go in so many directions that if you really are sincere about wanting to know if God is real or not. I suggest you start with Jesus. He said He is, God (John chapter 8, I Am, ) and all of the christian faith falls upon Him. So why bother with so many rabbit trails when all needs to be done is to see if Jesus is telling the truth or not. That is the begining of finding your own answers, and not believing what I say, or any others say, when you can come to your own conclusions if you yourself look for the answer yourself. I pray you would take the time to ernestly check it out for yourself and find your own truth not just something you hear and take up its call.

 

Y'all have a great day and Godbless

 

Mora out!! :D

 

 

Maybe the worlds all messed up because we are all sinners who have already died and this is HELL ;)

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Food for thought. God being who He is could have made everything rosey and bright. After all He is God and thus He can do anything He wants. However He chose to make us as we are to choose who we love or not. God is love and thus He made us to choose if we are to love Him or not. If He made robots that all loved Him how would that feel? Is that truly love freely given? No not really at all. He made us to have a personal relationship with Him as so as we could be truly gratefull, and truly return His love to Him ourselfs. So He also would receive our love in reality as well, not as some machine that is programed to function in a absolute. Wouldn't you want that as well also?

 

This argument would be fine if not for the apparent consequences of choosing wrong. Look at this closely: God, as an act of love, gives us free will and the ability to choose, but if we choose not to follow him we are denied salvation. Now as far as I know the christian afterlife is merely dualistic, you get heaven or you get hell (does anyone believe in purgatory anymore?). So we exercise our love-granted free will, and receive eternal damnation? This is not a free choice, essentially its "Do as I say and you get heaven, don't and well...you know." We are bribed and blackmailed in the same damn sentence.

 

As to what it would feel like if we simply were given no choice in the matter...Well...we would never know any differently. I imagine if this was the case we would be discussing the horrors of free will and saying "what do you think it would feel like to experience doubt or, and this is really unthinkable, being able to reject god? What a horrible thought!"

 

Of course it is argued that love with no choice is not really love at all, and that good without the possibility of evil is not good. But is this not the state that we were intended to be in? Is this not what Adam and Eve lost in the garden of eden? Or is that story really about God manipulating them with a temptation he knew they could not resist so that he could work toward this more moral and intellectual love?

 

The argument you have used shows up in a lot of responses to the problem of evil, but for it to have merit, you must abandon several key tenets of Christianity, and the possibility of damnation is the first. The biblical solution to this is of course what revelations is about, where evil is defeated and the faithful are taken to a new heaven and new earth. But this story involves the utterly horrifying sacrifice of NEARLY THE WHOLE OF HUMANITY. Remeber, only 144 000 are among the saved, which currently leaves over 6 billion for Michael and his winged friends to toss into the pitt.

 

Now if getting to know jesus didn't involve getting to know the above scenario, your argument would be potent, but this is a part of the christian faith and it is not a small part of it. I used to joke that if christianity was made into a horror movie, Satan would play Dracula and God would play a piece of garlic. The focus of many peoples faith involves a lot of running away from the devil and avoiding damnation. Now you can argue that these people don't have true faith or true love, but that eliminates a huge portion of the faithful. Is this a love more freely given, or have we just replaced being a robot with a metaphysical gun at our temple?

 

I am being polemic about this cause I want to hear responces, but really my agnosticism stems from this.

 

Get posting guys.

Edited by anthropologist

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