Evidence for God

Posted by: Tim

Evidence for God - 08/16/06 09:34 PM

There is abounding evidence for a Creator God. If you're familiar with Geometry, an indirect proof is when you prove something by proving what it's not. To start this indirect proof, the given information I'm using is the universe and all it contains; I'm trying to prove that there's a God. First, I will assume temporarily that there is no God. So that means that there is no-one or nothing to create the universe and all it contains. But that conflicts the given that there is a universe. Therefore, there is a God that created the universe because there's not not a God.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 08/16/06 10:29 PM

Tim wrote:
"I'm trying to prove that there's a God."

There is. I have the proof. And god is an invisible purple rhinoceros.

Tim wrote:
"I will assume temporarily that there is no God. So that means that there is no-one or nothing to create the universe and all it contains. But that conflicts the given that there is a universe."

Wow you are really really smart. Let me try it now.

I will assume temporarily that there are no stupid people. So that means there are no stupid people from which stupid people can be created. But that conflicts with the given that there are stupid pepole in the universe.

Thanks. I feel better now.

(be gentle now moderators ... I didn't call any specific person stupid. Feel free to substitute the noun of your preference).

Faith is an absolutely marvelous tool. With faith there is no question too big for even the smallest mind.
~ Rev. Donald Morgan
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 08/16/06 10:33 PM

" But that conflicts the given that there is a universe."

We assume there's a creator, because their must have been a creator. That's not logic.
Posted by: dehammer

Re: Evidence for God - 08/17/06 07:55 AM

science cant explain what happened in the first few split seconds after the "big bang". our science is not good enough yet to theorize what happen at the zero instant. how can anyone claim they know what there was before that instant. some say it was a singularity. if so that means that the material for that singularity came from somewhere. If this highly speculative theory is correct, then that means there was a big crunch before that. which means there was a universe and all before that too. In other words, if this theory (and many others) are correct, there was no creation because the everything has existed before and will never be completely destroyed. If anyone of these theories is correct, there is no need for god as infinity is the time in which all possibilities can exist. this is just as likely as god creating the universe and everything in 6 days.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 08/17/06 04:30 PM

dehammer wrote:
"science cant explain what happened in the first few split seconds after the "big bang"

Actually we can. Our physics doesn't break down until one gets within a microscopic fraction of the first second.

"Physics allows us to trace the matter and radiation of the Big Bang back to about 10^-43 seconds before time zero, but no further."

Reference:
http://www.open2.net/science/finalfrontier/messages/geoff_booth.htm
Posted by: jjw

Re: Evidence for God - 08/18/06 12:25 AM

Tim:

Your assumed logic is faulty.
It reminds me of some scientific conclusions we find published. Some academic on the discovery channel has been given a grant and the opportunity to provide a tour of the great pyramid because some not so smart rich guy gave him a donation to enlighten the world on the subject. Our genius decides that the builders made three errors in their plans because they made three burial chambers before they settled on the kings chamber as a final choice. This is the same kind of genius that will argue against your views. You can not prevail with conclusions any more than they can. You must take it down to the basics. If you can not, then take a break.
jjw
Posted by: dehammer

Re: Evidence for God - 08/18/06 05:36 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by DA Morgan:
dehammer wrote:
"science cant explain what happened in the first few split seconds after the "big bang"

Actually we can. Our physics doesn't break down until one gets within a microscopic fraction of the first second.

"Physics allows us to trace the matter and radiation of the Big Bang back to about 10^-43 seconds before time zero, but no further."

Reference:
http://www.open2.net/science/finalfrontier/messages/geoff_booth.htm
that is the first few split seconds i was refering to. I was trying to keep everything as simple as possible, so therefore i did not use any numbers.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 08/29/06 05:15 PM

Do any of you know about indirect proofs like what I used in this thread. If you've never heard of it, I can show you.
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 08/29/06 05:26 PM

"Do any of you know about indirect proofs like what I used in this thread. If you've never heard of it, I can show you."

I have a master's in engineering math and computer science - and I've taken many extra math courses - total of maybe 45 credits in math and stats (not including all the physics, EE, and CS courses that used it). Almost half were at the graduate level. I also stay sharp because I tutor geometry every year at the high school level. So, yes, I think it's fair to say that I'm familiar with indirect proofs.
Posted by: dehammer

Re: Evidence for God - 08/29/06 06:59 PM

In order to prove something by proven what it is not, you have to disprove all possiblity of it being something else. so far all you have done is given an opinion that one thing does not exist, which does not preclude other things.

what about the possiblity that the universe had always existed, therefore did not need to be created.

if its possible that god has always existed, then its also possible that the universe has always existed, with new variations being recreated every so many billions or perhaps trillions of years. we already have two theories about that that i know of.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 08/29/06 07:23 PM

Tim wrote:
"Do any of you know about indirect proofs like what I used in this thread. If you've never heard of it, I can show you."

A bit of perspective here Tim. And again not to insult you but you are 16 years old and you are in email exchanges not with your peers but with people more than twice your age and at least one with a PhD, several with university degrees, and one that teaches at a university.

I think a bit of humility might be appropriate. Perhaps there are things we could teach you. Though having raised to 16 year olds myself (though the youngest is now 21) I expect you don't believe that is possible. She didn't either at the time. But here we are 5 years later and all of a sudden I am not the dumbest person on the planet. Go figure.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 08/30/06 04:54 PM

Yes, I admit that you would know more than me. I can tell by everyone on the forums' arguments against my religion. I went on this website to learn because that is what I like to do. I never said you were the dumbest person on the planet. But there is scientific evidence for a God. Now to dehammer; if you're talking about Hawking's theory on an infite universe, that couldn't be possible. I don't know if either of you are familiar with the kalam argument. It states that "Whatever begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist [evidence from the Big Bang]. Therefore the universe has a cause," as William Craig, Ph.D., THD said.
Our universe was created for a cause. Contrary to what atheist Quentin Smith said that, "The most reasonalbe belief is that we came from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing." There is evidence that the universe isn't eternal. Because an infite past would "involve an actually infinite number of events, then the past simply can't be infinite," as Craig said. The evidence of what scientists call the Big Bang is astounding; background radiation at the right temperature it would have been as a remnant of it, dating, etc. For more information on the kalam argument, read one of Craig's books or "The Case for a Creator," by Lee Strobel. That is solid evidence.
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 08/30/06 05:20 PM

Craig is not a scientist. He is a theologian.

Craig's argument is an argument from ignorance.

Religious "philosophy" is anathema to discovery.

Craig tells you what you want to hear. Many creationists dispute The Big Bang.

Craig's argument relies on a comic book understanding of The Big Bang.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 08/30/06 07:24 PM

Tim wrote:
"I went on this website to learn because that is what I like to do."

Then stop your preaching and use this forum to ask questions, share interesting science stories, and to learn.

So far I've seen a lot of evidence of you wanted to prosletyze. Little evidence of a desire to entertain a new idea or to consider that anything you think is correct ... perhaps isn't.
Posted by: dehammer

Re: Evidence for God - 08/30/06 07:42 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Tim:
Yes, I admit that you would know more than me. I can tell by everyone on the forums' arguments against my religion. I went on this website to learn because that is what I like to do. I never said you were the dumbest person on the planet. But there is scientific evidence for a God. Now to dehammer; if you're talking about Hawking's theory on an infite universe, that couldn't be possible. I don't know if either of you are familiar with the kalam argument. It states that "Whatever begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist [evidence from the Big Bang]. Therefore the universe has a cause," as William Craig, Ph.D., THD said.
Our universe was created for a cause. Contrary to what atheist Quentin Smith said that, "The most reasonalbe belief is that we came from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing." There is evidence that the universe isn't eternal. Because an infite past would "involve an actually infinite number of events, then the past simply can't be infinite," as Craig said. The evidence of what scientists call the Big Bang is astounding; background radiation at the right temperature it would have been as a remnant of it, dating, etc. For more information on the kalam argument, read one of Craig's books or "The Case for a Creator," by Lee Strobel. That is solid evidence.
actually ive not read Hawking's theory on an infite universe, but i have read of several theories on how the universe could be destroyed and recreated by its own laws, in according to the laws that have existed since before the universe did. I have also read of the kalam argument, but they have one assumption. that is that the universe was created out of nothing. Take away that assumption and the arguement falls to peices. there is no evidence of that assumption having any validity.

show me the evidence that the universe was created by for a cause.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 08/30/06 09:27 PM

Tim,

If you come here because you have an interest in science, then talk science. If you need to explore your faith then go to somewhere like www.godandscience.org and discuss issues there. You will not find an audience here and will only antagonize people.

Your above argument is absolutely worthless and is a form of logic chopping that is used by people who don't really understand logic. You are inviting people to rip you up by posting it here.

Don't embarrass yourself and your faith by trolling here amongst people who just wish to discuss science. No one has invited you here to discuss religion so why are you taking such a liberty in a science forum? I made the same mistake and regretted it - you should learn from other's mistakes.

It's scienceagogo not faithagogo.

Regards,

Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 08/30/06 09:55 PM

Or demonstrate any evidence that people are here for any purpose whatsoever: There is none.

I may choose to believe there is to help me get through my day if I am an unhappy sort who needs an excuse to do the right thing. But some of us are capable of not stealing and committing murder and coveting our neighbors wife without someone threatening us with eternal darnation.
Posted by: dehammer

Re: Evidence for God - 08/30/06 10:14 PM

Tim, i have to side with Blacknad here.
Posted by: Rigor O'Mortis

Re: Evidence for God - 09/13/06 08:43 AM

Tim,

What you tried to do here is a logical fallacy. It's called "missing hypothesis".

Your argument may stand as long as you admit that the Universe has been created. However, that is not the only possibility.

Translated, what you said was: "Let us presume that the cats were not born with the urge to eat mice. Yet, the cats eat mice, therefore they have been born with the urge to eat mice." It is not the only possibility. Perhaps cats only eat mice because they don't want to starve. Therefore they do not necessarily have an instinct to eat mice. (PS: this was a presumption for the sake of example)

Try to think over your arguments before posting them. Trust me, you're NOT the first NOR the last that attempts or has attempted to prove God. And it takes a lot more than a logical argument.

Let me give you a logical argument:
- omnipotence: the power to shape reality the way you want it, when you want it
- omniscience: the power to know all things that have been, are and will be

Is God omnipotent and omniscient at the same time? If he is omnipotent, then he has the capacity of shapind reality the way he wants to, thus denying the existence of a fixed future, therefore he cannot know the future, and is not omniscient. If he is omniscient, he knows what his actions are, and his future is already decided for himself too, by his power of omniscience. Therefore he has to follow a fixed path, and cannot do anything outside of it. Therefore he is not omnipotent.

So... logic that one out.
Posted by: eternauta

Re: Evidence for God - 10/25/06 02:19 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Tim:
It states that "Whatever begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist [evidence from the Big Bang]. Therefore the universe has a cause," as William Craig, Ph.D., THD said.
Our universe was created for a cause. Contrary to what atheist Quentin Smith said that, "The most
You are mixing things here:

"whatever begins to exist has a cause" IS NOT THE SAME as "our universe was created for a cause"

Completely different things that make your statement nonsensical.
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 10/25/06 02:28 AM

et (1091),
I like your analysis of the above statement.
I don't want to get into a discussion about creation, but I'd appreciate a similar critique of another thread on this forum, God & Science. Start on page one and follow through to the nit-picking parts about the word "fact."
I think many misunderstandings occur because of the way 'fact' is used in discussions about God, reality and science. Your input would be appreciated.
Thanks,
~samwik
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 10/25/06 03:45 AM

OK Tim. It looks as though you believe God started the whole thing off and then left the universe to get on with things. Is this correct?

From the short time I have spent with Muslims I see a logical problem for believers. The central idea of Islam is submission to the will of God. But if God already knows everything he knows in advance what is going to happen. Therefore everything we can possibly do is actually Allah's will. As a Muslim cleric said regarding the Twin Towers, "God did it". Can you see the logic in his statement?
Posted by: RicS

Re: Evidence for God - 10/25/06 05:41 PM

G'day Tim,

Belief in God is a faith. When I was 16 I had a friend who used maths to prove that God did not exist. It was extremely good maths and there wasn't anyone where we were at the time, and we were in a college with some very very good minds, that could dispute his maths. Was he right or was he just extremely good at maths?

Actually I think Mr Morgan, underestimated the number of graduates, PhDs and teachers here but that doesn't make your argument less likely to be correct. Funnily enough most of the greatest discoveries were made by people in their teens or early twenties. Einstein didn't do anything except some refinement on his basic ideas and some truly silly ideas after the age of 30. Experience isn't everything but it does mean you can often argue better, although not necessarily more politely. Actually age sometimes means that you have far less tolerance for ideas seen many times before.

How about this thought to let you ponder for a while. If you require proof that God exists then, by definition you lack faith in God. If you use your faith in God's existence in an attempt to prove his or her or its existence then you are starting from a position of extreme bias that may prevent you from ever agreeing that your "proofs" are not infallible. So which is it Tim? Do you have no faith in God and you therefore must require proof? Or do you have faith in God and therefore should require no proof?

I do hope you do learn on this website, even in this discussion where the topic is faith based. If you hold the position that God does not exist then really that is a faith in itself. Faith is after all a belief in the absence of absolute proof for that belief. The weight of evidence may or may not be with you in your belief but its still a belief in the end, not an absolute.

The Big Bang is a theory and one that does not fit all the current observations of this universe. It does fit a great deal of them so it is as good as science can get currently until something better comes along. I don't think arguing about the Big Bang really proves God because it is just a theory to explain the observations of the universe as we currently understand it. Since we don't understand all of it, the bit we don't understand, no matter how small provides a gap that anyone can exploit to argue God's existence or lack thereof, imho.

I personally do not accept that you can prove the existence of God by starting with the premises that he does not exist and because you cannot prove that, hey presto, he must exist. But others have already pointed this out.


Regards


Richard
Posted by: eternauta

Re: Evidence for God - 10/25/06 06:38 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by samwik:
I think many misunderstandings occur because of the way 'fact' is used in discussions about God, reality and science. Your input would be
Hi samwik. I went through that thread as far as I could, but these guys make me sick really. Any discussion about what "fact" means and how scientists use the word "fact" is a waste of time with people like trilobyte and tim because they are not being honest interlocutors.

I'm not a great writer so I won't be able to make a profound analysis fo the meaning of "fact" as good as yours, but I don't think it is necessary to go so deep. We all know what we mean for fact.

They consider something as a fact just because the bible says so, but for them to accept a fact from science, 10,000 millions of experiments are not enough.
Posted by: dehammer

Re: Evidence for God - 10/25/06 07:08 PM

that is unfortuantely what faith is all about. accepting something just because its part of the religious doctorine and refusal to accept anything that goes against it.

Ive always believed that an unquestioned faith is not worth the paper its not written on.
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 10/25/06 08:02 PM

~my wife's gonna kill me for "wasting" more time on here, but....

et, Cool!
Very good point about the small amount of evidence vs. a large amount of repeatable, independent, etc. evidence.

My focus on the 5th definition (which I contend scientists must use in reference to the fundamental, basic assumptions in ANY theory) is to point out that kind of "fact" is no different than "unquestioned faith." It is "presumed as" true; a speculative assumption (that works incredibly well). However, just because it works so well, there should not be a "refusal to accept anything that goes against it." -de
I'm not saying we should accept anything that "goes against it," just that if you don't want to accept it, one shouldn't be judgmental. In the end, who's to say who's right? Fortunately, before the end, science is a lot more fun and practical.

As you say "We all know what we mean for fact." -et
But, THEY don't know what we mean (sometimes) by "fact" def.#5. Clearing that up early will prevent a lot of misunderstandings and heated debate.
I'm like a dog witha bone, eh?
Thanks again,

~~Samwik
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 10/25/06 10:11 PM

did i lose a post?:
I meant to say I was copying my above reply (4:02PM) over onto the God & Science thread. Seems more on topic there and not here.

Please respond to the 4:02PM post over on God & sci.

Sorry,
~S
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 10/26/06 01:15 AM

Trilobye, you don't know anything about science. You keep posting stuff relevant to your wholly babble. No science. Just babble.
Posted by: eternauta

Re: Evidence for God - 10/26/06 03:15 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by TheFallibleFiend:
Trilobye, you don't know anything about science.
That's not too bad. What is VERY bad is that he doesn't want to know.
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 10/26/06 02:39 PM

"What is VERY bad is that he doesn't want to know."
Agreed.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 10/26/06 04:29 PM

Let me, if I may, take it one step further.

If one were to assume, for the sake of argument, that TB was correct. That there was a Judeo-Christian god as defined by theology. And that this deity had, in fact, created the universe in six days exactly as defined in Genesis.

Can you imagine how ugly would be TB's welcome at the pearly gates. He is not exactly living his life in the model of anyone that deity would wish to associate with. In fact given his willful and wanton violation of scripture he would likely find himself taking a very short trip to Hades.

Reminds me very much of a quote from William Penn.

"Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders, than from the arguments of it opposers."

If the Judeo-Chrisitan deity needs the likes of TB to defend him ... he is in a very sorry state.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 10/27/06 05:07 AM

DA. In spite of beliefs to the contrary it seems we cannot possibly know what type of person any deity would wish to associate with. It always makes me laugh when I hear a preacher say, "God doesn't want us to be (fill in this space)". How the F... would he know?
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 10/27/06 08:09 PM

I agree with you TNZ ... but TB thinks he does.
Posted by: alsy

Re: Evidence for God - 11/06/06 12:14 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Tim:
There is abounding evidence for a Creator God. If you're familiar with Geometry, an indirect proof is when you prove something by proving what it's not. To start this indirect proof, the given information I'm using is the universe and all it contains; I'm trying to prove that there's a God. First, I will assume temporarily that there is no God. So that means that there is no-one or nothing to create the universe and all it contains. But that conflicts the given that there is a universe. Therefore, there is a God that created the universe because there's not not a God.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 11/06/06 07:15 PM

Alsy what you quoted is without a doubt one of the most pathetic attempts at setting up a straw horse and knocking it over with self-deception I have ever seen.

Very simply put the fact that there is a universe is indicative only of the fact that there is a universe. It contains no value judgement as to what or how or when it did or did not begin to exist.
Posted by: paul

Re: Evidence for God - 12/28/06 04:43 AM

Tim

scientist only "believe" things after someone else proves that something is or isnt.

most are followers - not leaders.

most hide behind the known because its a safe place for them to be.

until leaders come along and use their brains thought capacity to think beyond what can be seen or felt or heard such as a simple atom for example and "prove" its existance the followers
continue to do the safe thing --> follow.

sad part is that many leaders devote their lives to the unseen and accomplish more than any or all of the followers only to be ridiculed by the followers until they have proven the unseen by seeing hearing or feeling it.

how many years passed between the time that atoms were just a theory. and now there are pictures taken of them.

ever heard of quarks ... ever seen one?

scientist believe they exist but where is the proof they ask of you?

in my own personal opinion and belief there is most certainly a GOD , although I cannot see him , I know he is there.

I suppose that when god has found a reason to let us see him then all will know he exist , until then it is the leaders like yourself that GOD reveals himself to in unseen ways.


Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 12/28/06 06:11 AM

Well Paul I've no doubt you are sincere in your belief. So let me refer you to a book I think you may enjoy. One that actually does a decent job of examining the foundation of your belief system in a reasonably scientific manner.

The author is Dr. Bart D. Ehrman. And lest you think him some rabid Dawkins-type religion basher ... he is chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. NCCH is part of America's so-called bible belt and hardly a hotbed for revisionist thinking. The book is titled "Misquoting Jesus" and is published by Harper (ISBN 978-0-06-073817-4).

After you have read it come on back to the "Not Quite Science" forum and lets examine how much you thought you knew ... you actually knew.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 12/28/06 07:41 AM

Paul wrote:

"I suppose that when god has found a reason to let us see him then all will know he exists."

It's unbelieveable that after all this time he is yet to show us he exists. I'm no Methusalah but I seem to remeber JC saying the people alive in his day would not pass away before he reappeared. Perhaps he did come back and introduce the kingdom of heaven. It's just that nobody noticed.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 12/28/06 06:50 PM

TNZ wrote:
"but I seem to remeber JC saying ...."

Read the book I reference above. It is essentially proven that he never actually said it. And that he never actually said much that is attributed to him.

Thus the book's title: "Misquoting Jesus."

It is a truly fascinating read.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 12/28/06 09:55 PM

Thanks DA. I'll try for it at local library. My friends would also be interested.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 12/29/06 07:35 AM

I've now read reviews and note committed Christians maintain he's biased (in spite of degree in theology) and the agnostic cheer. Nothing unusual in that. Presumably says not much I am not already aware of.

I've just finished "The Closing of the Western Mind" by Charles Freeman (ISBN 1-4000-4085-X). Like Edward Gibbon he regards the rise of Christianity to have been responsible for holding back the development of science. I've now moved back to a book "The Story of Civilization- man's own show" by a George A. Dorsey who I'd never heard of. Short biography at:

http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/information/biography/abcde/dorsey_george.html

The book was written in 1931, the year of his death. The first page of the bit I have come back to (p.455) contains the passage:

"That civilization reached its culmination with pagan Imperial Rome; with Christian Rome it went into a thousand years' sleep. No other event in human history worked such havoc with man's handiwork, such momentous change in his outlook."

The idea was obviously accepted by at least some people 75 years ago. How come we hear so little of it yet?
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 12/29/06 03:30 PM

The idea was actually rather commonly held by America's founding father's long before that. Here are a few short quotes to illustrate the point:

John Adams 2nd President of the United States:
labeled Christianity the "most bloody religion that ever existed." The Senate, during Adams presidency, ratified the Treaty of Tripoli that proclaimed, "the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."
~ John Adams, letter to F.A. Vander Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816.
~ Treaty of Tripoli, 1797, Article 11

Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States:
"I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshipped by many who think themselves Christians."
~ letter to Richard Price, Jan. 8, 1789

Jefferson also wrote:
"I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."

James Madison 4th President of the United States:
proclaimed Christianity to cause "pride and indolence in the
clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
~ "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785.

Ethan Allen stopped his own wedding until the presiding judge affirmed that "God" referred to the God of Nature and not to the God of the Bible.
~ Sense of History compiled by American Heritage Press Inc.,
p. 103 (1985, American Heritage Press)

James Monroe 5th President of the United States
"That diabolical, hell-conceived principle of persecution rages among some, and to their eternal infamy the clergy can furnish their quota of imps for such a business."
~ letter to William Bradford, January 24, 1774

Interestingly enough the two most prominent Christians in the pantheon of the US's founding fathers were George Washington and Alexander Hamilton: Both military men. Perhaps there is something about the type of mind that enjoys war that also requires a justification for the horror they so relish.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God *DELETED* - 12/29/06 03:31 PM

Post deleted by Amaranth Rose II
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 12/30/06 09:50 PM

Perhaps the country's history is not being properly taught in the US today? You may have hit on something with your idea:

"Perhaps there is something about the type of mind that enjoys war that also requires a justification for the horror they so relish."

That would certainly account for the attitude of Tony B-liar, Gorse W. Bush and John Coward.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 12/30/06 10:22 PM

TNZ wrote:
"Perhaps the country's history is not being properly taught in the US today?"

Perhaps? ROFLOL!

To the point that it should be considered a felony punishable by public whipping.

It is not coincidence that those leading these preposterous militaristic forays have never actually been in combat. This bunch thinks in terms of John Wayne movies.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 01/04/07 10:19 PM

More from my new acquaintance George Dorsey:

"Religion is a disease. It is born of fear; it compensates through hate in the guise of authority, revelation. Religion, enthroned in a powerful organization, can become incredibly sadistic. No religion has been more cruel than the Christian. Again and again it has raised its hands in protest against atrocities - but has it ever turned a hand to put an end to any one atrocity or social injustice? Has it diminished a crime, stayed a war; does it rate sincerity above hypocrisy, respect the conscientious objector, insist that treaties be kept in spirit and in truth, or hesitate to be the servile slave of any avaricious ruler or despotic power? To what church could a single oppressed minority today appeal for sympathy and understanding?"
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 01/09/07 12:09 AM

Why do you even need evidence of the existence of God,when all you need is faith and belief in His existence? You cannot prove either. If you have need of an invisible friend to help you on your way through life and scare you into reasonable behaviour so be it. I can accept your faith and belief in this entity. All I ask is that you allow me my unbelief. You cannot prove God exists-- neither can I prove he/she/it does not. I do know that however much good is done in the name of the particular supreme being that a person believes in it will be amply couterbalanced by the bad things also done in its name. This is particularly true as people try to prove the superiority of their particular invisible friend over that of another equally inscrutable invisible friend. Craziness indeed!

I am of course pointing out the vagaries of Religion, which is sometimes different to belief. Religion codifies belief- but both still need the invisible friend on side somewhere!!
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God *DELETED* *DELETED* - 01/09/07 12:09 AM

Post deleted by Amaranth Rose II
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/09/07 12:49 AM

Ellis wrote:
"If you have need of an invisible friend to help you on your way through life and scare you into reasonable behaviour so be it."

You know I once thought that way too: Then I got older, studied more of history, and realized how much horror and atrocity is committed by those who use religion as a tool to control the behaviour of others.

I've no objection to someone worshiping the invisible purple rhinoceros in the privacy of their own house so long as they don't harass me, as long as they don't ask me to subsidize their insanity with my tax dollars, and as long as they don't get involved in matters of state and science.

I can not think of a single religious group, save the Quakers and the Pennsylvania Dutch, that have ever done so.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 01/09/07 11:36 PM

Gods etc can only exist in the presence of faith and /or belief. There is no god if you do not believe in it and, in fact,it is very presumptous of you to ask for proof of his/ her/ its existence. The acceptance of gods is done as an act of blind faith - sometimes to ensure that he/she/it will reward you by giving you Eternal Life and possibly a few favours on the way. I do not believe in a Supreme Being-- and if I did my first question would be, 'Where have you you BEEN?"

Whilst I have no belief, I am interested in the welfare of others, helpful to the unfortunate and compassionate those who need it because I am a human being, not because I am racking up points for the hereafter or afraid of a lightning bolt from the sky! Living by the Golden Rule (the basis of all religions- do unto others as you would have them do unto you) will get you through most situations.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/10/07 12:05 AM

Ellis wrote:
"in fact,it is very presumptous of you to ask for proof of his/ her/ its existence."

Not at all. If that little entity truly exists it has gone to a tremendous amount of trouble to put me into the position where it is natural to ask. You don't give a cat a toy if you don't want it to play with it. In this case, if the presumption is that I am going to let some entity decide for me what is right and wrong, good and bad, the least it can do is sit down at Starbucks and let me buy it a latte'.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/10/07 12:16 AM

Ellis wrote:
"in fact,it is very presumptous of you to ask for proof of his/ her/ its existence."

Not at all. If that little entity truly exists it has gone to a tremendous amount of trouble to put me into the position where it is natural to ask the question. You don't give a cat a toy if you don't want it to play with it.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 01/11/07 12:01 AM

At least then you'd get a drinkable coffee at Starbucks-- truly a miracle!
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/11/07 10:07 PM

Drinkable at Starbucks is easy. Affordable? Now that would be a miracle.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 01/13/07 03:18 AM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
More from my new acquaintance George Dorsey:

"Religion is a disease. It is born of fear; it compensates through hate in the guise of authority, revelation. Religion, enthroned in a powerful organization, can become incredibly sadistic. No religion has been more cruel than the Christian. Again and again it has raised its hands in protest against atrocities - but has it ever turned a hand to put an end to any one atrocity or social injustice? Has it diminished a crime, stayed a war; does it rate sincerity above hypocrisy, respect the conscientious objector, insist that treaties be kept in spirit and in truth, or hesitate to be the servile slave of any avaricious ruler or despotic power? To what church could a single oppressed minority today appeal for sympathy and understanding?"



Terry,

I hope that as the scientific type you are, you will expect your new acquaintance to back up his assertions with some evidence, and not allow him to get away with making emotionally driven statements such as ?Religion is a disease?. In what sense is it a disease? And how does he demonstrate that with evidence?

My personal experience is that most Christians I know have some involvement in charitable work, or sustained and substantial charitable giving. Add to this the fact that it is something most Christians do privately, ?Do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing?, then I suspect that I have no idea of the true scale of such activity.

But don?t take my word for it ? what about bringing a little scientific research to the debate:

?The Church Connection

Finally, the single biggest predictor of whether someone will be charitable is their religious participation.

Religious people are more likely to give to charity, and when they give, they give more money: four times as much. And Arthur Brooks told me that giving goes beyond their own religious organization:

"Actually, the truth is that they're giving to more than their churches," he says. "The religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly non-religious charities."

See the full study here:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2682730&page=1


Here it is proved the idea that the non-religious care more about others is nothing but blind and unsupportable faith. When one actually applies science to the question and experiments to obtain real data, the empirical evidence clearly shows that the non-religious are twice as indifferent to others as the faithful.

How does this stack up with George Dorsey?s unbalanced contention that religion is [entirely] sadistic, hateful, cruel and unsympathetic?

At times, certainly, but does he approach the subject with any balance? Hardly.

If any philosophy is judged by its abuse, then by the same claims levelled against religion then even atheism will be found to be dangerous and problematic for humanity's future.

It?s also a question of what?s news-worthy. Millions of Christians doing good on a daily basis isn?t. Christian terrorists clearly ignoring Jesus? words is news-worthy. So guess which one you are going to be aware of.



I have posted the following before. It clearly shows that in the 20th century the non-religious dwarfed the religious in their blood letting, despite the fact that more than half the planets population were religious in one form or another.

?The worst blood lettings of the 20th century.

1. 55,000,000
Second World War (Some overlap w/Stalin. Includes Sino-Japanese War and Holocaust. Doesn't incl. post-war German expulsions) 1937/39-1945

2. 40,000,000 China: Mao Zedong's regime. (incl. famine) 1949-76

3. 20,000,000 USSR: Stalin's regime (incl. WW2-era atrocities) 1924-53

4. 15,000,000 First World War (incl. Armenian massacres) 1914-18

5. 8,800,000 Russian Civil War 1918-21

6. 4,000,000 China: Warlord & Nationalist Era 1917-37

7. 3,000,000 Congo Free State [n.1] (1900)-08

All SECULAR

For a Grand Total of 145,000,000 dead bodies chalked up to the non-religious, and I could go on. In 80 years non-religious managed to dwarf anything the religious had done in millennia.?

The religious are less to be feared than the irreligious. Most Christians will believe that if they commit an atrocity they will be accountable to God. There doesn't seem to be this check in place for Atheists like Stalin etc.

Christianity's Weakness

As for: ?Has it diminished a crime? Or hesitate to be the servile slave of any avaricious ruler or despotic power? Or To what church could a single oppressed minority today appeal for sympathy and understanding?

How about the 50,000 polish Christians that were executed for helping Jews during the war?

So 50 thousand Christians were executed in Poland for helping Jews, despite clearly knowing that the penalty for helping them was death.

Didn?t the Jews count as an oppressed minority? Was it not a crime against humanity that was diminished by hiding many Jews? Was the Church here the servile slave of a despotic power?

If you want me to trawl for more examples, I will. There are more than you could know. And obviously more than your acquaintance knows about.

But obviously that doesn?t stop him spouting his unsupported contentions in his book.

He asks, ??but has it ever turned a hand to put an end to any one atrocity or social injustice??

Two powerful examples:

?William Wilberforce was born in 1759. An evangelical Christian and Member of Parliament, he carried on a battle against slavery for many years and finally succeeded in having it abolished throughout the British Empire.?

?Lord Shaftsbury was another man of clear Christian conviction and conscience, who recognized that it was inherently wrong to send the children of the poor down mines when they were eight or nine years old and make them work there 12, 13 or 14 hours a day and started that whole social revolution that ensured a decent equality for all. It was all a product of Christian conscience in our culture.?

And now to the born of fear:

No Christian I know became one to escape Hell or Damnation. Not one. They were all attracted one way or another to the positive aspects of Christianity. More is made of this 'subjecting gullible people to the fear of God's wrath' than can be accounted for. It's largely in the mind of the Atheist.

And what does science say about religion and fear:

?Religiosity and the socioemotional adjustment of adolescent mothers and their children.Carothers SS, Borkowski JG, Lefever JB, Whitman TL.
J Fam Psychol. 2005 Jun;19(2):263-75.

This study assessed the impact of religiosity on the socioemotional and behavioral outcomes of 91 adolescent mothers and their offspring over 10 years. Religiosity was defined as involvement in church and contact with and dependence on church officials and members. Mothers classified as high in religious involvement had significantly higher self-esteem and lower depression scores, exhibited less child abuse potential, and had higher occupational and educational attainment than mothers classified as low in religious involvement; differences remained when multiple factors, such as stress and grandmother support, were held constant. Children with more religious mothers had fewer internalizing and externalizing problems at 10 years of age, with maternal adjustment mediating this relationship. Religiosity, through increased social support, served as a protective factor for teenaged mothers and their children.?

Does it sound as if fear has anything to do with these people?

See the full article (link below), and a scathing beating of Richard Dawkin's assertion that teaching children about religion is akin to child abuse ? another scientist who conveniently forgets science when he wants to spout his bigotry. He did exactly the same with his assertions about suicide terrorists, which were shot to bits by the science.

It's ironic and telling that someone who is responsible for the 'Public Understanding of Science', is more than willing to completely chuck science out of the window when he wants to rant about religion and assert all sorts of rubbish.

http://telicthoughts.com/?p=1104


I have read scientific studies that talk about the socio-economic gains of those who turn to religion, the health benefits and increased life expectancy ? lower incidence of schizophrenia (for those who spout the ?religious are delusional types? line).

But of course according to George and at least one member of SAGG, there is nothing positive about religion.

You are welcome to keep posting unsupportable statements about Christianity and I will look to the science, because it appears in many places to be in conflict with the widely held views of the anti-religious.

Blacknad.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 01/13/07 07:00 AM

Blacknad. My new aquaintance died in 1931. He was an anthropologist, very respected one at the time evidently but seems little known these days. I'm reading his book which I mentioned some time back on this thread. What makes the book particularly interesting is that it was obviously written before most of the events you list. Consequently he is fairly optimistic about the future. His book is actually about the development of Western thought so his comments mainly relate to the two thousand year old established church and its treatment of early scientists. Thanks for pointing those facts out though.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/13/07 06:08 PM

Blacknad ... You wrote:
"Finally, the single biggest predictor of whether someone will be charitable is their religious participation."

I want to take a "Jaws" sized bite out of much of what has been written about religious people and their generosity: So I will.

First lets separate the money "donated" to the church itself as that money, to a great extent, goes down a rathole to paying for buildings, utilities, clergy, employees, and other accouterments of the church. I'd like to see the value of those charitable donations that excludes money given to the church. Bet those numbers would change dramatically.

If one wishes to examine the vast majority of charitable giving in my country, the US, one quickly discovers that the primary motivator is income taxes and public adulation.

I've yet to see the news story about Bill Gates and Warren Buffet going to church.

And to quote Mr. Gates:
"Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning."
~ TIME magazine Vol. 149, No. 2 (13 January 1997)

You might want to check out this website.
http://atheism.about.com/b/a/257812.htm
with respect to Mr. Buffet and others.

In summary: I've heard the claim before. I don't believe it.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/13/07 06:31 PM

Addendum:

According to the Charitable Choices
http://www.charitablechoices.org/chargive.asp
Americans give a lot to charity: $260.3 billion in 2005.

They also state:
Individuals give away most of this money: $199 billion in 2005, or 76.5% of all giving.

Further down the page it says:
"People who give to churches and religious groups give more than other people, according to a 2002 survey done by Independent Sector. They give an average of $1391 to their religious institution and $958 to other charities. Those who give only to nonreligious charities contributed $623 on average."

So lets do the math:
86% (http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html) of the US's 217,800,000 contributes, on average $958 to non-religious institutions and $1391 to religious institutions.

0.86 * 217,800,000 * 1391 = 260,545,428,000
0.86 * 217,800,000 * 958 = 179,441,064,000
---------------
Total 439,986,492,000

But they stated total giving, religious and non-religious, was only 199,000,000,000. They are only off more than 221%. I guess that's close enough when one is trying to sell relgion.

After which we might, of course, ask how much of the money, donated to charity, is being used to patch up the lives of those destroyed by religious conflicts and religious intolerance.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 01/13/07 09:33 PM

Blacknad. I sincerely hope I have not offended you too much with Dorsey's comments about religion. To show what he's really getting at I quote more in relation to what he writes regarding the influence of religion:

"The one we inherited, I need not repeat, was a curious mixture of Oriental and Classical speculation. While both Mosaic and Classical cosmogonies contain some shrewd guesses and are not entirely unworthy of respect, they came to be barriers to further speculation or even to frank, open-eyed curiosity. After all, why should anyone be curious about the earth if it was made in a week and is not our home anyway?"

Regarding Wilberforce and Shaftsbury. I'll concede they were probably devout Christians but they fought the established Church for years before their ideas were more generally adopted. I'll leave DA to cover the matter of generosity.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 01/13/07 11:56 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan

"People who give to churches and religious groups give more than other people, according to a 2002 survey done by Independent Sector. They give an average of $1391 to their religious institution and $958 to other charities. Those who give only to nonreligious charities contributed $623 on average."


Dan,

You obviously didn?t read the full study. Or if you did you have no interest in the facts. I suggest you have another look.

As for the above quote, it seems quite simple, and concatenating stats from adherents.com to get an acceptable result is hardly playing cricket.

The facts from Charitable Choices (I presume as you linked there, you consider it a reliable source):

Those who give $1391 to religious institutions also give $958 to non-religious institutions.

Those who give only to non-religious institutions give $623 on average.


Isn?t this clear enough?

The religious give $335 more on average to non-religious causes.

PLUS they then give an extra $1391 to religious institutions (MANY OF WHICH ARE RELIGIOUS CHARITIES DOING, SAY, DISASTER RELIEF OR WORK WITH THE HOMELESS ETC.).


A massive percentage of the money given to our church goes to our work with Romanian orphans and other causes we are involved with in places like Botswana.

The rest goes to the upkeep of the building which is used as a community centre, a day-care centre for pensioners, a day-care centre for those with learning difficulties and so on? It also supports a full-time community worker who supports and represents those who live in a deprived area.

What is not factored in is volunteer work, which in the UK is more than likely to be done by Christians.

So it appears that the religious give in total $2349 on average.

The non-religious give $623.


So as the study said, the religious outgive by 4 times

It?s nice to have some facts to support a proposition that I have made before.

But of course, don?t let facts stand in the way of giving the religious a good rubbishing.

As for your assertion that religious giving is only to fix problems we have caused ? support the statement, and show that the religious have caused as much as, or more of societies problems than atheists.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 01/14/07 12:14 AM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Blacknad. I sincerely hope I have not offended you too much with Dorsey's comments about religion.


Terry,

Not at all. I enjoy a bit of spirited debate, as does Dan. And for the record Dan was recently over in the UK and bought my wife and I dinner and was the most charming company you could want to meet and has a great sense of humour that doesn't always come across on this medium.

I thought I'd use the opportunity to set the record straight, as he is sometimes critisized for coming across a touch sharp. (And maybe I can soften him up and make him take it easy on me when he responds to my last post) wink

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 01/14/07 12:20 AM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
You might want to check out this website.
http://atheism.about.com/b/a/257812.htm
with respect to Mr. Buffet and others.


Dan,

Surprised you linked to this meaningless straw-man argument. I never claimed that atheists don't do charity.

Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/14/07 01:22 AM

Blacknad wrote:
Isn?t this clear enough?

Perfectly clear. Surely you didn't think I could be caught so easily?

I took that into account. Take another look at what I wrote:

0.86 * 217,800,000 * 1391 = 260,545,428,000
0.86 * 217,800,000 * 958 = 179,441,064,000
---------------
Total 439,986,492,000

The first line is the $1391B, the second line the $958B, and the third the total. I then compared that total to the $199B claimed to be their total giving.

PS: The use of adherents.com was only for purposes of getting a rough idea of the percentage of Americans who report themselves as having a religious affiliation.

Want to take another shot at it? <g>
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/14/07 01:25 AM

If I wanted to rubbish religious giving I could easily do so. My purpose was only to point out, with published numbers from my country, that the claim of more non-religious giving by persons who self-identify with a religion is suspect.

How's your reading of "Misquoting Jesus" coming? Perhaps I should get Nadine a copy as a belated Christmas present. <g>
Posted by: paul

Re: Evidence for God - 01/14/07 02:32 PM

DA
ones belief in GOD should not be based on the words that men
have written.

I read your reply about the book you sudgested that I read in
order to gain knowledge about jesus.

if there were a room full of republican writters how many of these writters would write good things about democrats?

GOD gave man a brain to reason with and a heart to feel with
and eyes to see with.

It is each individual mans choice to believe in that which he believes in.

if he chooses wrongly then he has chosen wrongly.
if he is led to choose wrongly then he has still chosen wrongly.

if he questions his beliefs then he is using what GOD gave him to reason with , he is not simply following what others have written , he is reasoning what he feels in his heart to be correct.

no matter what men write about be it ufo's or the lock ness monster or quarks or why there are cosmic rays comming from all
directions in the universe any or all of them could be wrong.

it may be that GOD writes on the heart the things he wants you to know.
















Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/14/07 07:27 PM

Paul wrote:
"ones belief in GOD should not be based on the words that men
have written."

Assuming you are correct. Take away all of the words men have written. Heck even take away the one's women have written. You've nothing left.

Paul wrote:
"if there were a room full of republican writters how many of these writters would write good things about democrats?"

I would like to respond but I've not a clue what you are trying to say. Perhaps you could be less obscure.

If your assumption is that the person who wrote "Misquoting Jesus" is an agnostic or atheist you could not be further removed from reality. Here's the man's CV.
http://www.unc.edu/depts/rel_stud/faculty/BartDEhrman/BartCV.htm
I challenge you to find anyone more qualified to have written a credible book on the subject.

Paul wrote:
"GOD gave man a brain to reason with and a heart to feel with
and eyes to see with."

No he didn't. We received our hearts and eyes from the invisible purple rhinoceros. Something revealed to me by the big guy himself.

Paul wrote:
"it may be that GOD writes on the heart the things he wants you to know."

You mean like my knowledge that you have been brain-washed by a religious cult?
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 01/14/07 11:13 PM

Paul wrote:

"one's belief in GOD should not be based on the words that men
have written."

Unfortunately, Paul, research has shown the Bible itself is actually the words that men have written. So your own belief in God is too. It is doubtful that any of the Bible was written in anything like its present form until at least as recently as 1000 BC. It received a massive editing and rewrite during Josiah's rule, 639-609 BC. So even if God originally zapped a piece of rock his words have been completely mutilated by now.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 01/14/07 11:26 PM

I think that Paul said what I was trying to say. God only exists if you believe in him/her/it. You cannot be MADE to believe, possibly you can be brianwashed, but that is the imposition of someone else's belief, not your own. Your own vision of the supreme 'whatever' will be different to anyone else's. Religions attempt to rectify this and have all sorts of initiations to ensure exclusivity, and fight wars about it. Still do.

Reigions have little to do with faith and belief and all to do with power. On the other hand belief in gods exist in the presence of Faith--but are not present without it. That is why I feel it presumptuous to demand proof of the existence (or not) of the divine. It can't be done. Faith is untestable, illogical and (for some) worth dying for. It's impossible to argue against that fervour--but it does not prove the truth of anything.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/15/07 04:04 AM

Ellis wrote:
"God only exists if you believe in him/her/it."

Well then on that basis the invisible purple rhinoceros exists too.
He will be pleased to know that.

Ellis wrote:
"You cannot be MADE to believe"

Wholesale nonsense. I can make anyone believe anything I wish just like I can turn anything made of carbon into a diamond. It is just a matter of time and pressure.

Ellis wrote:
"Reigions have little to do with faith and belief and all to do with power."

On this ... we agree.
Posted by: paul

Re: Evidence for God - 01/15/07 06:22 AM

Paul wrote:
"ones belief in GOD should not be based on the words that men
have written."

I never sudgested that there were not writtings by men. did I?

if you place a child in an environment where only 1 of the many diverse religions are taught , then that child will most likely grow up to believe in that particular religion.

if at a later date he begins to reason with his teachings and finds that 1 of the other of the many religions seem to him to
be a more correct religion to him then he has used his reasoning
ability to choose a new religion for himself.

if he feels in his heart that the new religion is a more correct
religion then he is not simply following what he was originally taught as a child.

just as you chose to believe in the invisible purple rhinoceros
he has chosen to believe , not made to believe in any certain religion.










Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 01/15/07 07:37 AM

Paul wrote:

"If he feels in his heart that the new religion is a more correct religion then he is not simply following what he was originally taught as a child."

Perhaps not, but I would maintain his need to follow any sort of religion is a result of the conception of the universe he developed during his childhood.

Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 01/15/07 10:16 AM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
If your assumption is that the person who wrote "Misquoting Jesus" is an agnostic or atheist you could not be further removed from reality. Here's the man's CV.
http://www.unc.edu/depts/rel_stud/faculty/BartDEhrman/BartCV.htm
I challenge you to find anyone more qualified to have written a credible book on the subject.


Dan,

I remember you refusing to take on board what was said by the leading American expert on Egyptian manuscripts regarding the Gospel of Judas, because it didn't suit your existing notions.

So what makes someone qualified to write a book on a subject seems to be whether they are in agreement with you or not.

Here is a look at Bart Ehrman's book by Professor Ben Witherington:

http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2006/03/misanalyzing-text-criticism-bart.html

This is interesting for a fuller refutation of his work:

http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogs...g-jesus_31.html

I have seen many of the points Ehrman makes solidly challenged -
example (from comments):

"The claim that reading ORGISQEIS in Mark 1:41 radically changes the picture of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark doesn't stand up to close examination. Ehrman's project to deconstruct evangelicalism, starting with the doctrine of scripture, relies on exaggerations like this one.

The idea that evangelicals should be scandalized by ORGISQEIS in Mark 1:41 is without merit. Both Lane (Mark NICNT 1974) and France (Mark NIGTC 2002) argue for reading ORGISQEIS in Mark 1:41. No scandal here.

Ehrman has chosen as his target for attack, a very rigid form of fundamentalism which seeks mathematical certainty in matters of NT text. This sort of target is very easy to attack."

An aquaintance of his, Daniel B. Wallace , Th.M., Ph.D. has written a pretty devastating critique on both Ehrman's general approach and also on his specific points.

http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=4000


There always seem to be two views and both of them are subjective. So how does one choose.

"I think Bart is writing about his personal journey, about legitimate things that bother him," says Darrell Bock, research professor of New Testament studies at the Dallas Theological Seminary. Like many Christian scholars who have studied the ancient scrolls, Bock says his faith was strengthened by the same process that destroyed Ehrman's.

Bart was a part of Fundamentalist Christianity and he was enrolled in the Moody Bible Institute, "an austere interdenominational institution in Chicago that forbade students to go to movies, play cards, dance, or have physical contact with the opposite sex", and eventually became disenchanted with it (rightly so), and this disenchantment may have lead to him taking opposite views to people like Bock.

Anyway, I've read enough solid criticisms of Ehrman's work to be convinced that I won't be convinced, but I would expect someone holding your views would entertain no doubts about his book.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Evidence for God - 01/15/07 01:44 PM

http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/

Has anyone checked this out?
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/15/07 07:58 PM

Blacknad wrote:
"I remember you refusing to take on board what was said by the leading American expert on Egyptian manuscripts regarding the Gospel of Judas, because it didn't suit your existing notions."

I don't. I have no such recollection. Can you point me to the specifics?

Blacknad wrote:
"So what makes someone qualified to write a book on a subject seems to be whether they are in agreement with you or not."

I didn't say he was correct. I said he was an expert on the subject. And I didn't say I agreed with him once. Nor, of course, did I say I disagreed. Just that he is a subject matter expert.
Though you might note that a huge percentage of his lectures are for very conservative religious institutions at their request.

Blacknad wrote:
"but I would expect someone holding your views would entertain no doubts about his book."

Then you don't understand me well. See you in November. I'll try again to convince you I don't have 666 tattooed on my tail.

You really must stop assuming that just because I post something I agree with it. Really!
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/15/07 08:02 PM

Roadkillguam asks:
Has anyone checked this out: "http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/"

The US federal courts has. The decisions, to put it mildly, were scathing. Here's a reference to one of them.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/edwards-v-aguillard.html

The creationscience website is just the product of a cult with zero science content. It is the ethical equivalent of the tobacco industry trying to convince people smoking doesn't cause cancer.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 01/16/07 01:17 AM

Of course the invisible purple whatsit can exist as an objest of veneration if you wish it to. That is the nature of belief. There was a group of people convinced that they would be taken up by a flying saucer in the tail of a comet...and they died together ( and probably happy) to achieve their destiny. They had total faith in the veracity of their belief. Incidentally, often if you are brought up in a belief system it is possible to break from it. Converts to a cause are usually its most passionate believers not those raised in it.

You cannot make people believe unless they cooperate, and you never really know what people relly believe in.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/17/07 09:02 PM

To express my understanding of the concept of God, I use the symbol, G?D
I first used this symbol in 2005 in
http://brainmeta.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=16227
where I have been involved for some time.
I call the theology 'unitheism', similar to panentheism.
===========================================================
Although I have participated in other forums since 1997, this is my first post in this forum, so go easy on me, please!

Though I have some training in theology/philsophy/psychology and pneumatology--using an integrated approach--I prefer to take the child-like approach to knowledge. I am very curious, open-minded and willing to agree to disagree agreeably. I love exploring the claims of the New Physics--talk about having to have faith in the unknown--and other sciences. In my humble opinion--an expression I will use often using the acronym, IMHO--no one I know of is infallible.

Above all, I love it when we do not have take ourselves and our opinions too seriously. I love a good joke, even about religion.
I like the saying: We should not be so heavenly minded that we are of no heavenly good. smile

I will begin by saying that I was raised in a fairly open-minded kind of theist religion--The United Church of Canada--based on the Old and New Testaments and we were expected to believe, in a liberal (freedom-based) sort of way, in God as an almighty, all-knowing, everwhere-present and loving Heavenly Father who hears and answers our prayers.

As a child I was taught to speak to God, in prayer, as if he is a person. I have always found this a difficult concept to accept as a fact. For awhile in my youth, as I began the serious study of science am mathematics, I became an agnostic, if not almost an atheist.

I am still agnostic--I hope a very curious one--about many things, however, because, in my university years, I was encouraged to bring reason, science and faith in harmony with one another I began to explore the history of beliefs. The led me to new ways of theological thinking and I stopped trying to igagine that God is a three-dimensional and personal being separate and apart from the Cosmos--IMHO, the all that is physically, mentally and spiritually.

Inspired by the fact that Orthodox Jewism scholars, to avoid making God and objective being, write the divine name thus: G-d.
I devised the symbol, G ? D. I will parse it in a later post.

BTW, as you write to me in response to what I write, feel free to tell me where you stand, theologically. I respect all sincerely held beliefs, including agnosticsm and atheism. I will do my best to avoid attacking people, personally, and tell me if it appears that way. However, I hope you don't mind me challenging your beliefs.

I repeat: In all this, let us do our best to agree to disagree, agreeably--even lovingly. smile




Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/18/07 05:25 AM

Revlgking wrote:
"as you write to me in response to what I write, feel free to tell me where you stand, theologically."

You asked us to play nicely so I will respect your wish.

Which part of the name of this site, SCIENCEagogo.com do you think makes it acceptable to invite people to write about where they stand on matters of theology?

Surely there must be at least one website where you can engage in discussing religion and be a troll. One where you don't need to push the c?ntrivance d'jure.

I am glad you are here. I hope you stay and contribute. But if you are not discussing science ... the gloves come off.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 01/18/07 05:49 AM

Ah... but I think that there is a objective scientific point raised in Rev's post here. Is the belief in God (note the capitalisation) a suitable topic for scientific discussion? How do you propose to prove/disprove a belief? This topic has already strayed into the areas of philosophy, if not theology.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/18/07 03:33 PM

Good point, Ellis, thanks! If the "gloves are off", as suggested by DAM, perhaps it's now a wrestling match. How would you like to join my tag-team? :lol:

BTW, I think of theology and pneumatology as soft sciences--somewhat like psychology and sociology--and open to philosophical exploration--not a lot of hard evidence. Interestingly, 'pneumatology' is an archaic term for 'psychology' (World Book Dictionary).

IMO, there is no such a thing as ONE psychology, or ONE sociology. For example, there are several broad schools of psychology: There are the materialistic psychoanalysts (Freud, et al); the equally materialistic behaviourists (Watson), who eschew the analysts, and the more spiritually inclined analysts such as Jung and Rogers, the humanists (William James, Abraham Maslow) and the logo therapists (Victor Frankl). All, in their own way, have made valuable contributions to the understanding of human nature.

BTW 2, when I ask respondents to "feel free" to state their position, keep in mind that this is not a demand, just a suggestion. Currently, I think of myself as a unitheist/panentheist. It is similar to that advocated by the process theologians and philosophers such as Alfred North Whitehead.

ABOUT PANENTHEISM/UNITHEISM:

http://www.panentheism.com/
http://websyte.com/alan/pan.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panentheism
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/18/07 03:59 PM

BTW, Brain/Meta allows more space for signature: Here is what I use there: For me, G?D (Love) is the Cosmos (the order of things)--physically, mentally, and spiritually, past, present and future. I look for G?D in persons, including myself. The results: I express compassionate love to ALL that is, and to expect others to do likewise. Together, we will bring order out of chaos. http://www.flfcanada.comhttp://www.unitheist.org/whatis.html
Posted by: mcbanne

Re: Evidence for God - 01/18/07 05:30 PM

there are languages not created by man that man found to further its advance technologically: math, physics,biology and so on. Did men invent these languages? or were they already here used by some force to build our system of things?

to think that there is nothing behind our marvelous world and universe is to deny your own existence. Everything within it follows laws and languages that men have jus started to understand and some that we might never come to understand. We breath air, we see its force move things, we see it give life, yet we dont see it do we? does that mean it is not there?

Its funny because men "create" things in this world to survive in it, we dont simply live out of the nothingness, we must create our own food we must create our children we must create our tools to create our buildings.
To think life just simply appeared out of some chance is to be starving and waiting for food to simply pop out of knowhere in the same form. It is not plausable.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 01/18/07 07:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Revlgking
BTW, Brain/Meta allows more space for signature: Here is what I use there: For me, G?D (Love) is the Cosmos (the order of things)--physically, mentally, and spiritually, past, present and future. I look for G?D in persons, including myself. The results: I express compassionate love to ALL that is, and to expect others to do likewise. Together, we will bring order out of chaos. http://www.flfcanada.comhttp://www.unitheist.org/whatis.html


Sounds as if you have invented your own religion. If so, does it make sense that throughout human history no one has been able to understand the truth - that is until you came along?

Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/18/07 07:14 PM

Revlgking wrote:
"I think of theology and pneumatology as soft sciences"

You can think that if you wish. But you won't find support for that idea. Science is a well defined word. Trying to change the word's definition is an exercise in spin control ... not reality.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/18/07 07:18 PM

Blacknad wrote:
"Sounds as if you have invented your own religion. If so, does it make sense that throughout human history no one has been able to understand the truth - that is until you came along?"

I makes perfect sense to me. Religion has always been about humans claiming that the religion's founder had knowledge that others don't have.

It was that way with tribal medicine men/witch doctors/shamman
It was that way with Moses
It was that way with the apostles
The more things change the more they stay the same.

Heck I'm trying to get people to worship the one true god: The invisible purple rhinoceros. ;-)
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 01/18/07 11:01 PM

Nothing wrong with having your very own personal religion/belief. Going back to the dawn of time humans have attempted to explain ther own existence by inventing a god as their creator. Life as it is observable is obviously too complex for us to understand so, the argument goes,there something we cannot understand which has created it---that's the whole argument. I think it's rubbish but I can't prove it wrong..and you are right DA it works as well for the purple supreme being as it does for the Lord God of Hosts.

Accept we are the children of choas. There is no designer, life is what we make of it, if we can accept that we will not need to blame the Invisible Friend for misfortune. Instead we will take responsibility ourselves, stop wasting time with religious observance and cooperate with each other instead of fighting! Ah the simplicity.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God *DELETED* - 01/18/07 11:01 PM

Post deleted by Amaranth Rose II
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 01/18/07 11:04 PM

Now I am cross!! The display said that it couldn't find the page. So I hit the submit button again and there are 2 posts!! Now- even I do not think what I have to say needs to be repeated twice!!
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/19/07 05:28 AM

Ellis writes
Quote:
Accept (the fact that) we are the children of choas. There is no designer, life is what we make of it...
Ellis, I presume that by saying this you are telling us that you are a moral/ethical and positive atheist. Right? You admit that you cannot prove there is no god, therefore, you have the BELIEF/FAITH that there is no god.

Incidentally, I feel you are advocating what is called the Golden Rule. And yes, I accept it is possible for atheists to keep it.

Practically speaking, panentheism/unitheism--that is, process theology--is on the same track. However, process theology focusses on, believes in, and is willing to ACT on the positive possibility that the Cosmos, in its mysterious totality, is G?D. If we approach G?D, with faith, hope and love, we can create a Garden of Eden; if we appraoch it with cynicism, fear, doubt and despair, we make it a Hell.

IMHO, G?D stands for moral/GOODNESS, mathematical/ORDER and artistic/DESIGN. By the way, about evidence for G?D:

1. With the help of my physical senses, I am fairly certain that the physical Cosmos is there. Therefore, I have physical evidence for G?D.

2. With the help of the sciences, I am finding out more and more about the nature and function of the Cosmos, daily.Therefore, I have mental evidence for G?D.

3. Inspired by what Kant called, "the moral imperative" I have a strong feeling that, as St. Paul puts it in Romans 8: "G?D in and through all things works together for good". This gives me moral evidence for G?D.

I may not be free to DO all the good I ought to do, but I do have the power to make the choice to do them. And I have the feeling that, if I willingly make that choice, I will be given the power, from the Spirit of G?D within me. In others words, I will be given the power to choose to be loving--towards my world, my fellow human beings, and myself.

I NEED TO BE AWARE OF IDOLATRY
IMHO, I always need to be careful. Whether I create a god out of wood or stone, or with my imagination, it is still idolatry. G?D, for me, must not a personal or objective being which I can create, even with my mind. G?D in not one who exists in time and space. G?D, as total universal and all-encompassing, physical, mental and spiritual existence, itself, is the ineffable, the unimagineable.

BTW, I am not preaching a religion, or a dogma, here, which I expect others to accept without question, or else. I am simply proposing the free and open discussion of the philosophy/psychology, doctrines, rituals, and policies of all religions, including what I believe.

If your theism, or atheism, is helping you have faith, hope and love, and helping you bring some order (cosmos) out of the physical, moral and ethical chaos of life, well and good. This is what unitheism is doing for me.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/19/07 06:35 AM

Revlgking wrote:
"You have the BELIEF/FAITH that there is no god."

This is a science site or did you miss that fact somehow? Do you think it appropriate to walk into a conversation someone else is having and interrupt and talk about the fact that your dog has fleas? Your behavior is rude, your nonsense totally inappropriate and you have been fairly warned. Were I the moderator of this forum I would take blunt instrument to your hijacking of this thread. But alas I am not the moderator and as the moderators are willing to let this sickness fester ... here's what you've earned.

We do not BELIEVE that there is no god as a matter of faith. We know that there is no god because there is not a single byte of credible evidence supporting the proposition that one does exist and neither do you.

Do you need evidence to know you are not your own great great grandfather? Do you need evidence to know that there isn't a invisible purple rhinoceros under your bed? If you believe god gave you your brain ... however misguided ... at least do your creator the honor of using it.

You wrote: "BTW, I am not preaching a religion, or a dogma" and that is true. What you are doing is being a troll.

Please don't insult us with your condescending new age woo-wooism: It is not appreciated. Either talk science or have the courtesy of getting lost.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/19/07 04:59 PM

Ellis, thank you for your comment:
Quote:
Nothing wrong with having your very own personal religion/belief.
I concur. I am a great believer in the art of dialoguing untill some kind of understanding--not necessarily agreement--or even consesus is reached. IMHO, sincere differences are okay and can be enriching.

In my last post, which I addressed to YOU, as part of the dialogue I made a presumption and asked you a sincere question. I will leave it to YOU to decide whether or not you feel comfortable answering my question.

As I choose not to dialogue with posters, like DAM, who seem to prefer using rhetorical questions and argumentum ad hominems to cover up their apparent lack of substance, I will leave it YOU to tell me whether or not you want me to "get lost". If you say so, I am out of here.

Posted by: Amaranth Rose II

Re: Evidence for God - 01/19/07 05:28 PM

Revlgking
Your topic is not of science. I suggest you take it to some other forum where it might be more welcome. This board exists for the discussion of Science and Science-related topics, and your topic is neither.

Amaranth Rose
Moderator
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 01/19/07 08:53 PM

I have NO belief that there is no god. I know there isn't--just can't prove it!!! Ha1 Ha1
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/19/07 09:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Amaranth Rose II
Revlgking
Your topic is not of science....
My topic? This is not MY topic. It was started by Tim. And the vast majority of posts are not mine. IMHO, at 727 clicks it is a mighty popular one.

BTW 1, what constitutes a "Not-Quite-Science"?

I like to think that all science began as a philosophy and can become an art--the art of moral and ethical living.

BTW 2: Using the traditional word, God, I have a strong feeling that God and the total mysterious Cosmos are one and the same. This means that the "Evidence for God" is overwhelming.

Isaac Newton, Sir James Jeans, Einstein, A.N. Whithead, William James, Carl Jung, the Menningers of the famous clinic, Stephen Hawking, and many other brilliant scientists--certainly no atheists--held a similar concept. I use the special symbol simply in my signature to call attention to this--Goodness, Order and Design in all that is.

Maybe, with the number of brainy scientists, who believe that God is the One (unitheism), all discussion about theology should be in a hard-science section. smile
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/19/07 09:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Ellis
I have NO belief that there is no god. I know there isn't--just can't prove it!!! Ha1 Ha1
Ellis, if you have no proof, all you have in an opinion, which I respect, and having an opinion is not unlike having a belief, which is okay in that it does help us get to know, eventually.:)

BTW, Ellis, I always ask atheists: "When you hear me say, 'I know there is GOD'--and this IS what I say--what kind of god do you imagine that I have in mind?" If you will accept my right to define GOD as I understand GOD to be, I can prove that GOD is.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/19/07 10:20 PM

Revltroll wrote:
"I am a great believer in the art of dialoguing"

Dialoguing is NOT a word. It is just more new-age woo-woo imbecility. And what you are posting is not science.

Rose ... please kill this thread ... all of it ... without mercy. This isn't science. This isn't even "not-quite science." This is a malignant troll.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/19/07 11:01 PM

Excellent stuff follows, from Stephen Hawking:
Quote:
Larry King: Do you believe in God?

Stephen Hawking: Yes, if by God is meant the embodiment of the laws of the universe.
Larry King Live, December 25, 1999
What a great mind.
======================================================
I am not sure what to call the following. It sounds like a DAM rant, without any substance, calling for CENSORSHIP--In the Land of the Free?:
Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
Revltroll wrote:

"I am a great believer in the art of dialoguing"

Dialoguing is NOT a word. It is just more new-age woo-woo imbecility. And what you are posting is not science.

Rose ... please kill this thread ... all of it ... without mercy. This isn't science. This isn't even "not-quite science." This is a malignant troll.
Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
Revltroll wrote:
"I am a great believer in the art of dialoguing"

Dialoguing is NOT a word. It is just more new-age woo-woo imbecility. And what you are posting is not science.

Rose ... please kill this thread ... all of it ... without mercy.

This isn't science. This isn't even "not-quite science." This is a malignant troll.


Rose, I got the same kind of rant when I dared to write what I write, here, in a forum set up by "Christian Heritage" fundamentalists.

This should tell us something about human nature. Out of fear that they had to protect The "TRUTH", I was censored. Surely, brave agnostics and atheists do not fear dialogue.

I am interested in knowing: What kind of fearful fundamentalism do we have here?

WE NEED A POLL: WHO IS IN FAVOUR OF CENSORSHIP?
DAM it, Rose...please don't kill this thread, without giving a warning. At least not until I have had the opporunity to put the content of it into my file. I need a few "good" examples of the way extremists think and behave, for a book I plan to write. smile

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/20/07 01:03 AM

I am in favor of censoring people who are off-topic

I am in favor of censoring people who abuse this forum by having by not disucssing science.

I am in favor of censoring people who abuse this forum by hijacking it to discuss the fact that their dog has fleas or to discuss cookie recipes or to promote on imbecilic nonsense.

I am not in favor of censoring you. I am in favor of removing all off-topic postings and trolls. You have chosen to post things that have no relationship with science. You have chosen to be off-topic. You have chosen to be a troll. Please don't add hypocrisy to your other sins by whining about the fact that someone doesn't like the fact that you are rude and inconsiderate of others.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/20/07 02:41 AM

I repeat and, I feel, right on topic:
Quote:
Larry King: Do you believe in God?

Stephen Hawking: Yes, if by God is meant the embodiment of the laws of the universe. [Certainly, this is what I (RevLGK) mean when I write God, GOD, or G?D.]

Larry King Live, December 25, 1999

==========================================
How many, here, would vote to censor the great scientist, Stephen Hawking? Would you say that what he has to say about God/G?D is off topic, and non-scientific? If so, then I am wasting my time, here.

BTW, I came here out of curiosity, when someone in BrainMeta referred to it. If my comments are not welcome, I am humble enough to know when I it is time to leave.

I have much yet to write in other forums and other forums to visit. For example, I have been with BrainMeta.com since it started, nearly a decade ago.
http://brainmeta.com/forum/index.php?sho...=all&st=120

One thread, there, has over 22,000 clicks. It has hundreds of intelligent and non-censoring responses.

I also like what is happening in

http://www.pantheism.net/?gclid=COn7hfTC7YkCFSBTPgodaDcaJw
It is always a sad day when the ranters and the censors win. But if that meets the approval of the moderator, guided by the majority, so be it. We know what happens when the few are allowed to run things...

BTW, dialoguing IS a word. So says:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dialoguing smile
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/20/07 02:41 PM

THE GREAT INVENTOR AND GENIUS, NICLA TESLA
I forgot to mention the work of Nicola Tesla--the son of a Serbian Christian Orthodox priest.
http://www.pbs.org/tesla/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesla

He was a highly spiritual person, but not being a narrow Orthodox Christian, he struggled with the rather narrow idea of God as taught by his religion.

Keep in mind that polytheism, and later, monotheism, came about when even the wisest people believed the earth was a flat disc with heaven above and hell below. We need not blame them for this, if they really believed in a flat earth, but surely when the Christian monk, Copernicus brought new knowledge to the west he should have been honored, not censored and threatened with death by the knowledge Luddites? For over a hundred years knowledge was held back by the obscurants.

OBSCURANTISM
Ignorance is one thing, but willful ignorance, obscurantism--the active opposition to progress and and the spread of knowledge, is something else. It is, IMHO, a great evil.

COSMOTHEISM
Back to Tesla, interestingly, he finally came to the conclusion that what is needed is a combination of Christianity and Buddhism. Interestingly, Buddhists are non-theists. I think of them as cosmotheists. Yes, new ideas need new words.

BTW, Christianity is already a mixture of Judaism and Christianity. I would even add the positive forms of Islam, Sikhism and Brahmanism to the mix. IMHO, in all this orthopraxy is more important than orthodoxy.

JESUS ADVOCATED ORTHOPRAXY. That is he called us to loving actions, deeds not just creeds--follow me, he said. Perhaps this is why he never wrote a book. Books tend to make us fixed-position thinkers--" IT'S IN THE BOOK!!!! (BTW, I am not opposed to felxible creeds, nor books.)

He told stories, or parables, which are stories of actions. His parable of the Good Samaritan--who, BTW, was not a Jew--in Luke 10 is about orthopraxy. I love the last sentence of his teaching: "GO then, and DO the same!"

THAT ALL MAY BE ONE
The same kind of teaching is found in John 10 and 17:20-26. His basic prayer is that "all may be one"--he called on all humanity to act as one.

The over-all philosophical term for this approach is, pragmatism--the doing of that which is morally valuable and good--which was advocated by the great Christian philosopher/psychologist, William James of Harvard.

One final thought: "The secret of true unity is the love of variety." Does anyone know who said it?

Posted by: Amaranth Rose II

Re: Evidence for God - 01/20/07 08:54 PM

This is going farther and farther afield. Please bring your conversation to Science or a Science-related topic or face the consequences.

Amaranth Rose

Moderator
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/20/07 10:34 PM

Please, for all of us posters to this popular thread, define what the "field" is, and what is a "not-quite-science". Who makes this decision, anyway? I am very curious.

BTW, how much do you know about Nicola Tesla? Originally, an orthodox Christian, he was a great scientist who had a strong opinion about science and religion. Are you aware of this?

BTW, if I am expected to cater to a defined and certain "party line" I will be happy to be out of here. You will not need to fire me, I quit, willingly, if this is your wish.

Keep in mind that the WWW has many opportunites for the FREEDOM of expression. Thank G?D!

Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 01/20/07 11:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Revlgking
If you will accept my right to define GOD as I understand GOD to be, I can prove that GOD is.


This is the start of a common line of poor reasoning. The writer then defines God as a thing whose existence could hardly be questioned by anyone, and then goes on to suggest that this object which obviously exists has all of the qualities of a God that is defined in some other way.

There's another form of poor reasoning that goes: such and such was a famous scientist and he believed in God; therefore, God is a scientific concept.

There are many places on the net to promote religion, under the pretense of doing science or being scientific. The Net is a big place and there's room for everyone. Perhaps you would be happier over at a place like Uncommon Descent.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/21/07 12:13 AM

So, I give you the same opportunity: Give all of us your definition of God. What is it?

BTW, I am not a dogmatist--in any way, shape, or form. I love to dialogue. If you do too, I like your style. Okay?

Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 01/21/07 02:37 AM

All this silly stuff proves what I said at the beginning--this topic is not a scientific one --because it examines belief, which is based on faith and neither are capable of proof under examination. It's a shame, but any attempt to discuss this topic will always be hijacked by a fervent "believer" who will tell you that what they think is right and the only truth because God told them. There is no reasoning with them. They have heard their god and sometimes that takes them to war--in Iraq perhaps.

I was enjoying the earlier discussion too!
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 01/21/07 04:24 AM

i agree with you
but in my search for truth, i have found that Christianity is the only explainable answer to the phenomenon of life, and of the universe
for science comes from the latin word "scire" meaning "to know; to discern" which is as best as i could translate
so technically science is the act of someone trying to know; implying their own search for truth
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/21/07 05:19 AM

CHRISTIANITY. IS IT THE ONLY ANSWER?
Tim, first of all, I was raised a Christian and I have a great deal of respect for the teachings of Jesus as found in the Gospels.

I also love his teachings about the fact that we must act on what we say we believe. Otherwise, we are hyocrites. I especially like what John who says when he writes: "God is love."

As I write the following, please free to correct me, if I misquote and/or misunderstand you. In the light of what you wrote, may I ask:

1. Is it truly your opinion that Christianity is THE one and only true religion? If so, what do we do with all the other major religions--Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. Do we have to say that they are all false and that all followers of other sincere faiths are doomed to hell?

2. Do you reallhy believe that all non-Christians are doomed, even if they live moral and ethical lives while sincerely following their faith?

3. When you say "Christianity" which one of the many forms of it do you mean? Roman Catholicism? Old Catholics? The Anglo Catholics? Protestantism? And there are hundreds of different kinds of Protestants. Which of the Orthodoxies are the true ones?
It is a problem, right?

4. If science is all about knowing the truth, what do we really know about the nature and function of religion?

Personally speaking, I respect all sincere forms of religion as valid, which contribute to the public good. I even include the many good people who choose to be secularists--that is, the ones who live without any form of formal or organized religion.

Let us not forget that Jesus said: "Where two or more are gathered together..." He did not say that it had to be hundreds and more.



Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/21/07 05:22 AM

Tim wrote:
"but in my search for truth, i have found that Christianity is the only explainable answer to the phenomenon of life, and of the universe"

Really Tim ... tell us about your search for truth. And while you are at it why don't you explain to us you understanding of the following formula:

e^(i pi) = -1

BTW: If you can't explain it then maybe you would understand why someone might conclude you've insufficient information upon which to render an opinion on the subject.

Come on Kate and Rose and Rusty? What does it take to convince you that this is pure unadulterated and pathetic nonsense posted by religious trolls?
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 01/21/07 06:23 AM


God is a tuna. Tunas exist. Therefore God exists. Therefore all the other pseudointellectual baggage that people associate with God are also true characteristics of it.

Here's the biggest problem with religious people - despite anything they say, they're more interested in defining the truth than in discovering it.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 01/21/07 07:11 AM

Yes. A friend of mine in Australia used to say "God is just another name for all there is". We always used to ask him why he needed a name for that. Anyway, if in fact God is just another name for all there is Islam is the only sensible religion. Submission to God's will is the only option we have. Surely if God is all-knowing whatever we do will be his/her/its will.

DA. This is actually the not quite science forum. OK we might have moved further away than not quite.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/21/07 01:56 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan

...Come on Kate and Rose and Rusty? What does it take to convince you that this is pure unadulterated and pathetic nonsense posted by religious trolls?
And, while you are at it, Kate, Rusty and Rose, keep in mind that there is such a thing as PSYCHOLOGY of religion: The serious and objective study of what is it about human nature which makes the vast majority of us want to believe in something beyond the gods of materialism?

Then there is a certain few--very few, actually--who believe in the many gods--for example, money, power, sex and other unconscious drives--of materialism, as the ultimate power?

http://www.psywww.com/psyrelig/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology_of_religion

AND DON'T FORGET COMPARATIVE RELIGION, please
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_religion


Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 01/21/07 02:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Revlgking
1. Is it truly your opinion that Christianity is THE one and only true religion? If so, what do we do with all the other major religions--Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. Do we have to say that they are all false and that all followers of other sincere faiths are doomed to hell?


Revlking,

I'll explore one of your questions. As you used to be a Minister I would think you probably know about the mainstream stance on this issue.

Think about Heliocentrism. One group of people thought the sun revolved around the earth whilst others thought it was the other way round. Only ONE group was right. So we shouldn't have a problem believing that many can be mistaken and some can have truth.

Christians in the UK evangelical tradition, along with many others, believe that people who have never encoutered Christ will of course not be called to account on the basis of how they responded to him. So a Muslim who has never been given a realistic representation of Christ will be judged upon how they have responded to their conscience. This is the case with all Old Testament characters and with tribal peoples etc.

Regarding what is false - both sides on the Heliocentrism debate understood a fair amount of the truth. They understood that heavenly bodies revolved in defined ways etc. There is truth found in all faiths, and most thinking Christians would recognise that we have no basis for claiming absolute knowledge of truth. In the words of St. Paul - 'We see through a glass darkly. We know now in part - but then we shall know in full(upon death)'. Other faiths also see through a glass darkly. As does science when it turns its head to an examination of similar ideas. But even Sam Harris, America's Atheist Bulldog, has his share of truth.

There is much to be learnt from sincere people of different faiths.

It is incorrect to talk of Christians believing that anyone who does not pursue a dogged theological line will end up being rejected by God.

From http://geneva.rutgers.edu/src/christianity/heavenhell.html

" The standard Christian position is that anyone who rejects Christ will end up in hell. Does this mean that only Christians can be saved? The Catholic church and many Protestant churches don't think so. They believe it is possible that Christ can come to someone in an inward and spiritual way, even if they've never heard of Christ. Thus someone can be an "anonymous Christian." That is, they can know Christ spiritually without realizing it it Christ.

Most Christians also believe that God's judgement will take into account the sorts of opportunities a person had to learn the truth. A person who has never heard the Gospel can't be said to have rejected Christ. An even worse situation occurs when Christians have persecuted other groups. A person who sees Christ as a persecutor has hardly had a real exposure to the Gospel.

[Historical note: It's worth noting that two major classical Protestant writers thought it was possible for non-Christians to be saved: Zwingli and Wesley. Calvin did not.] "

Blacknad.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 01/21/07 09:40 PM

Revlgking wrote:

"And, while you are at it, Kate, Rusty and Rose, keep in mind that there is such a thing as PSYCHOLOGY of religion: The serious and objective study of what is it about human nature which makes the vast majority of us want to believe in something beyond the gods of materialism?"

There is the quite reasonable idea that selection led to the human need for a religion. It provided an evolutionary advantage to groups that had it. At some stage, and possibly mtEve's line has got something to do with it, it became an advantage to live in groups larger than simply the ape-type family group. Bands that developed a tribal conciousness out-competed those without. Therefore there is nothing inherently true about religion, it's just that it's been hard-wired into our instincts, whatever they are.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/21/07 10:21 PM

Blacknad, there is much wisdom in what you write.

It is always a pleasure to dialogue with posters who are gracious and polite.

Though I am retired from the active pastoral ministry (1953-1994), I still think of myself as being "in the ministry"--that is, ministering to people and the community, being of service in any way I can--physically, mentally and spiritually--to people who need and ask for help.

Because, currently, the only pills I take are vitamins, minerals, enzymes and structured/oxygenated water I may be around for a few years yet.

Many years ago, I spent to years at Boston University--founded by the Methodists--studying the lives of liberal thinkers such as Wesley. I did a series of studies and a thesis on, "The Story of Ideas". Very interesting.

BTW, Martin Luther King, a Baptist, graduated from BU, as a minister, just as I entered to do postgrad work. At the time, there were over 500 students in the School of Theology.

What issues are there, close to your heart, about which you would like to dailogue? And not just with me, okay?



Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/21/07 10:32 PM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Revlgking wrote:...There is the quite reasonable idea that selection led to the human need for a religion. It provided an evolutionary advantage to groups that had it. At some stage, and possibly mtEve's line has got something to do with it, it became an advantage to live in groups larger than simply the ape-type family group. Bands that developed a tribal conciousness out-competed those without....


Very valuable observation, TNZ.

Quote:
Therefore, there is nothing inherently true about religion, it's just that it's been hard-wired into our instincts, whatever they are.
Okay, let us assume that you have a point: Where do we go from here? Do you think that in order to dicuss this we need to start a new thread? I did start one called, COSMOTHEISM.... If you have a better idea, I'm easy, okay?

You're next.

BTW, I love discussing the philosophy and psychology of religions with anyone willing to do so--plural intended. The dogma of religions is something else such as....Well, where do we go from here?



Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/22/07 12:24 AM

Blacknad wrote:
" [Historical note: It's worth noting that two major classical Protestant writers thought it was possible for non-Christians to be saved: Zwingli and Wesley. Calvin did not.] "

Your post brings up an interesting fact that is rarely discussed.

The writings about what god intends to do with his flock of sheep has all been written by people that not only never met or heard Jesus Christ but also, for the most part, never once read an accurate account what what he said.

Essentially all Christian writings, like those you reference, are by people (however well meaning) appointing themselves to interpret something of which they have only third hand knowledge. Which is not different from those who presume to tell us what is really happening between in international affairs and they can't even get that right.

So why would anyone put any value on these opinions? At their root they are grounded in smoke and mirrors.

And speaking of the one true religion ... consider once again:
"Scriptures: the sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based."
~ Ambrose Bierce

And given my disgust with this thread which is as relevant to science as a bottle of American beer ... here's something equally relevant to this thread but far more enjoyable.

"The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy and drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears and to gather to your bosom his wives and daughters."
~ Genghis Khan, 1226
Posted by: Kate

Re: Evidence for God - 01/22/07 02:02 AM

This thread looks like it's in the right place - The Not Quite Science Forum. People wanting to discuss SCIENCE should flip on over to the General Science section or Physics or Whatever. Hope that clarifies things for those debating the worthiness of this thread.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 01/22/07 03:15 AM

Revlgking wrote:

"The dogma of religions is something else such as....Well, where do we go from here?"

I suspect it is the dogma of a religion that is the most important aspect of that religion. But it's the dogma of religions that is dangerous. Religious dogma is often used to gain support for imperialist expansions, not just in the distant past I might add. Presumably religious dogma has been used in tribal warfare since the idea of tribal warfare emerged. Members of other tribes would be regarded as inferior therefore it was doing the world a favour to get rid of them. I wonder if chimpanzees use the same justifications when they go to war with other tribes?

Anyway after twelve pages no-one has yet provided any evidence for God. Or evidence against I suppose.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/22/07 04:20 AM

Thanks for the clarification Kate. The gloves are off and the invisible purple rhino is set to charge into the fray.

Absolutely correct TNZ. Essentially all religions, especially Christianity, are primarily political movements intended to control the beliefs and behaviors of people based upon brainwashing children based on ritual and dogma. Of course, as always, accompanied by the threat that if you don't do what we say you are going to burn for eternity in hell.

Witness above, Black posting "Does this mean that only Christians can be saved?" which goes to the heart of the threat. We, not one of whom ever actually heard a single word spoken by god or Jesus Christ or the devil or the snake or Moses or Joe the Bartender, presume upon ourselves to determine who is and who is not going to make it into the mythical place of eternal damnation. Talk about self-delusion and self-aggrandizement.

What ever happened to living a decent life and that respect for oneself and from one's peers being sufficient? Well that doesn't give some minister appropriate control of his or her tribe.

And speaking of the tribal nature of self-righteous Christian clergymen here's a newsflash from my area. We have the leader of a congregation here who, in the name of his saviour Jesus Christ has decided to introduce a law to deprive some people of their lawfully granted civil rights. Read all about it:
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/222495_hutcherson02.html

Jesus could consort with the poor and prostitutes. But the good reverend can only consort with the wealthy and the neo-fascist.
I'll bet this guy is as twisted as a whirlpool.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 01/22/07 09:39 AM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan


1.Witness above, Black posting "Does this mean that only Christians can be saved?" which goes to the heart of the threat.

2. We have the leader of a congregation here who, in the name of his saviour Jesus Christ has decided to introduce a law to deprive some people of their lawfully granted civil rights. Read all about it:
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/222495_hutcherson02.html



Dan,

Point 1. The answer, clearly, amongst the majority of Christendom is that not everyone who rejects Christianity has in fact rejected God.

Not exactly 'Control and Command' here, and again is part of the mythical view of Christianity whereby its failures define its entirety. Which leads to your second point...

Point 2. There are 500,000 priests, minister, pastors in the USA. Amongst that lot will be some nuts, some people trying to escape their own personal failings (etc. Paedophiles), and even those who are simply in it for their own needs - personal recognition, use it as a career and so on. There are also many faithful people who are trying their hardest to live a good life and to do good in their community and further a field.

It comes as no surprise then that some of these half a million leaders will fall from grace because of their own personal issues or even fall prey to the temptations of power.

You are arguing from the specific to the general and it just doesn't wash with someone who is actually much closer to the church than you are, and has a much better view of what goes on 'on the ground'.

Your sample group is statistically unsound and in your normal scientific endeavours you would never dream of drawing conclusions based upon such flimsy evidence.

But this is something I see all the time. Rational scientists throwing out scientific discipline when they want to support their irrational dislike of religion. Sam Harris does it - Richard Dawkins does it - and here it is again.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/22/07 11:53 AM

Thank you Kate for writing
Originally Posted By: Kate
This thread looks like it's in the right place... Hope that clarifies things for those debating the worthiness of this thread.
Spoken like someone who knows what it means to be a 'moderator'--one who not only chairs, but who mediates. Moderators are not 'censors'.

Interestingly, even in physics there are moderators. For example, graphite can be used in a reactor to slow down nuclear fission.

BTW, the head of of the United Church of Canada--and other democratically-governed churches--is called The Moderator, and can be male or female. Moderators are not the infallible sources of truth.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/22/07 05:09 PM

Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
If you will accept my right to define GOD as I understand GOD to be, I can prove that GOD is.


"This is the start of a common line of poor reasoning..."

Poor reasoning, is it? Since when is it poor reasoning to try and establish and understand what it is that we are talking about. Have you ever heard the joke about the W.C.--the British short-form for water-closet, or toilette?

There is funny essay in which a writer uses this short-form to describe a public W.C. out in the country. Read this essay in front of Brits and Canadians and every sentence will probably get laughs. The biggest laugh usually comes at the end, when the reader announces that he is talking about a Wayside Chapel.

What scientist worth his test tubes and beakers would waste his time researching something if he had no idea of what it is he is looking for. A good theory, like a rational faith must be based on a concept, or an idea, of what could possibly be true.

By the way, I am not a traditional theist because I cannot accept what many theists presume to be true. For example, I do not believe that there is a God who is an objective and man-like being who exists separate and apart from us in some place called Heaven.

Quote:
The writer then defines God as a thing whose existence could hardly be questioned by anyone, and then goes on to suggest that this object which obviously exists has all of the qualities of a God that is defined in some other way.
Nonsense! I object when this kind of spin is put on my words.

This is not what I have in mind when I write GOD--GOD, for me, is not JUST the sum of all things, unless this includes that metaphysical, spiritual, something which interpenetrates and surrounds all things.

More spin
Quote:
There's another form of poor reasoning that goes: such and such was a famous scientist and he believed in God; therefore, God is a scientific concept.


Quote:
There are many places on the net to promote religion...
I am not interested in promoting any one kind of religion. I am calling for ongoing research as to the nature and function of religions, theologies, etc. If objective research finds that religion is of little or no value--some argue that all religions are evil--I am all in favour of finding out, one way or the other. Let the facts tell us what is socially valuable and useful.


Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 01/22/07 06:31 PM


Rev: "What scientist worth his test tubes and beakers would waste his time researching something if he had no idea of what it is he is looking for. A good theory, like a rational faith must be based on a concept, or an idea, of what could possibly be true."

1. God is not a subject that is subject to scientific investigation. Anyone who says otherwise is selling snake oil.

2. More to the point, the logical error is not in the defining - it's in the logically unjustifiable extension of properties that invariably follows.


Rev: "Nonsense! I object when this kind of spin is put on my words. "

If God is just the sum total of all physical laws (or some variant of that), then why use such a laden term like "god" to describe it.

"This is not what I have in mind when I write GOD--GOD, for me, is not JUST the sum of all things, unless this includes that metaphysical, spiritual, something which interpenetrates and surrounds all things."

Science can't do metaphysical or spiritual. Already you're putting more into your concept of God than what is warranted.


"I am not interested in promoting any one kind of religion."
I didn't say you were promoting any one kind of religion. I hinted that you were promoting "religion" and not "science." Full stop.

"I am calling for ongoing research as to the nature and function of religions, theologies, etc."
There is a branch of science that researches beliefs. It's called psychology. It studies, among other things, why people believe irrational things. However, no branch of science can study what is not a part of nature. Science doesn't do the supernatural. If, as you suggest, god is some spiritual thing, then God is beyond what science can handle. That why we have philosophers - for people who are not satisfied with science.

"If objective research finds that religion is of little or no value"
The question of whether religion has value is entirely different from the question of whether it is scientific or whether it is true.

"--some argue that all religions are evil--I am all in favour of finding out, one way or the other. Let the facts tell us what is socially valuable and useful."
Socially valuable is not the same thing as scientific.

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/22/07 07:29 PM

Revlgking you are truly an amazing creature. You attempt to engage in a discussion of a topic upon which you seem totally ignorant of either fact or theory.

You wrote:
"will accept my right to define GOD as I understand GOD to be, I can prove that GOD is."

And if you will accept my right to do so then I can prove that god is an invisible purple rhinoceros. Or that water ice doesn't melt at zero degrees celsius. Or that soccer is the most popular sport in the US. Or anything else I wish.

For you to propose that we use your definition demonstrates either a lack of critical thinking skills or a willful and wanton disregard for intellectual integrity. Which is it?
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/22/07 10:35 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
Revlgking you are truly an amazing creature.
Thank you! as is each creature of
G?D.

Quote:
You (LGK) attempt to engage in a discussion of a topic upon which you seem totally ignorant of either fact or theory.
I am unaware of ever having met you, or of ever having being your student. What makes you think that you really know well enough to be so...???? smile

Quote:
And if you will accept my (DAM) right to do so then I can prove that god is an invisible purple rhinoceros....
Of course you have the right to define your concept of god. I think you mentioned "His" name, even before I arrived. Now, have PR give me a call. Perhaps we will have a nice chat.

Quote:
For you (LGK) to propose that we use your definition demonstrates either a lack of critical thinking skills or a willful and wanton disregard for intellectual integrity.


I proposed no such nonsense. If you wish to judge my integrity, the choice is your. My definition is my definition. Yours is yours. If you get my drift.

BTW, if you wish to play the my-argument-ad-hominem is better than your AAH--I presume you know the meaning of the term--we are off topic, here.

To conclude this point, if you wish to start an AAH game, I am all in favour of it. We COULD have a little fun. Now open a new thread. But you will have to agree to tell us your life-story and I agree to do the same. I, for one, am very interested, and I have many questions. laugh laugh
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/22/07 10:43 PM

Revlgking wrote:
"My definition is my definition"

Wonderful. But my definition is an invisible purple rhinoceros so I am both as correct as you and as incorrect as you and thus nothing of substance is proven.

Now I realize the fact that this is a science forum, where people use critical thinking skills rather than just accepting the gibberish d'jour may be unusual for you, but please try to abide by the scientific method while here instead of pontification.

Here is the scientific method:
http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/phy_labs/AppendixE/AppendixE.html

Which part of what you just read allows you to have a personal definition?

If you want to discuss religion I'll gladly do so as Kate seems to be willing to tolerate such nonsense. But if you are going to use words like "prove" then I intend to hold you to a standard of integrity that likely is foreign to the pulpit.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/22/07 11:27 PM

DAM, having made a small revision to my last post, I move on after reading your last post.

BTW, after I was ordained, in 1953, my wife and I (both 23)spent some time in the north, Labrador. Then I got a scholarship to Boston University.

Having spent some time at Boston University, in the mid 1950's, doing some postgraduate studies in epistemology--dealing with the origins, nature and limits of knowledge--right up front I affirm my faith in the value of scientific enquiry: I am 100% in favour of the scientific method, whenever it can be appropriately applied.

Even back then, I came the same conclusion which is made in the Site which you give us--thanks, BTW--:
Quote:
VI. Conclusion

The scientific method is intricately associated with science, the process of human inquiry that pervades the modern era on many levels....
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 01/22/07 11:38 PM

I find myself continually irritated by the poor excuse for teaching for which my taxes are paying. One area that is particularly weak, IMO, is evolution education. Another is philosophy of science. However, last year during a visit to my (then) 7th grader's life science classroom, I saw printed in big letters a sign that read:

"Science isn't about what you can prove. It's about what you can disprove."

My gosh! A teacher who actually gets it. Furthermore, my eldest (now 17), has said she learnt the same thing in 7th grade. I have several issues with the science program at my kids' school. But generally, I think they're on track - much better than some of the other programs at the school.

Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 12:33 AM

Explain that, FF
i want to know what you mean by that,
because i seem to beleive it, but im not sure
that science is about what you can disprove
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 01:34 AM

I'm not sure I can agree with what IFF wrote but I do understand the point-of-view.

It is impossible to prove that the invisible purple rhinoceros doesn't exist. And I'm not sure I would want to prove that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius by proving that it doesn't boil at any other temperature between absolute zero and infinite.

Science, and proof, are about verifiability. Let me give you an example I've used here before.

Lets put an atheist, an agnostic, an animist, a Shia Moslem, a Sunni Moslem, a Buddhist, a Roman Catholic, a Lutheran, an Orthodox Jew, and a member of Scientology in a room (not to exclude any other theology).

Now can you get them to agree that Jesus Christ is part of a trinity? Not a prayer? How about that the Old Testament story of Noah is true? Not without a loaded firearm. How about that the universe was created in 7 days or that Jesus died on a cross? Zero, nada, zilch, nyet.

Can I get the same group to agree that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius? You betcha. And that is science!

One is objectively verifiable the other is mythology.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 01:39 AM

Tim. Science is about what we can't prove because it's nearly impossible to actually prove anything. People argue over whether it's possible to prove you're actually even here. Scientifically, therefore, it is really only possible for us to prove no such thing as a god exists, however we might define that.
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 03:30 AM

Science is about what you can disprove, not what you can prove.

In order for a general theory to be scientific, it must be amenable to the scientific method. This means that it must generate hypotheses which could hypothetically prove that the theory is false, IF IT TRULY IS FALSE.

Google the term falsificationism and popper and ignore any nonsense you find on a creationism or ID site, because they get it wrong. The evolutionists get it right, but ignore them too. Instead, try to get it from a philosophy of science site.
(And not some religious site masquerading as a science site.)

No amount of evidence can prove that a general theory is true - which is to say that no amount of evidence can prove induction. (Bear in mind that what you might have learned as "method of induction" in algebra really isn't induction - try not to get confused here. I know the terms are a little messed up.)

Example, no matter how many times you see a crow that turns out to be black, that does not disprove the existence of white crows. However, the existence of only black crows is not really a theory with a lot of predictive power. That theory is too specific.

However, there are theories that are pretty general. For example, the theory of gravity (not to be confused with the fact of gravity) is pretty general. We can easily generate hypotheses from this theory that might disprove it, if it weren't true.

Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 04:42 AM

G?D=ALL SCIENCE, ALL PHILOSOPHY AND ALL ART
Certain truths are self-evident
=============================================
G?D IN THE SCIENCES
Somatologically, that, is physically speaking, I am getting to know and experience God with every physical sense I possess. As we invent better and better technologies I will get to know God in physical nature, including space, better. I leave this in the hands of the many moral and ethical people of science. This is the physical universe which scientists, bless them all, explore daily. I experience God with every breath I take. No wonder our word 'spirit' in the languages of the Bible is the same as air, wind and breath.

G?D IN PHILOSOPHY
Philosophically and psychologically, that is mentally speaking, I know God with my mind, intellect and every thought I think. The older I grow, the more I learn, and the more I experience of God in this mental sense. I love philosophy and its children, pneumatology and psychology, especially in its humanistic form.

Theologians speak of God in the awe-filled imminent-being sense of the word--as acknowledged by great scientists like Newton, Einstein and Hawking, Tesla, Edison, Suzuki and many others--male and female.

G?D AS TRANSCENDENT BEING
Best of all, IMHO, I know God pneumatologically, spiritually--that is, God beyond measurement or proof. God, in this sense is ineffable.

As finite beings, even our top scientists admit that human beings can't measure the infinity of space, or the eternity of time--the cosmos, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, but we can have a strong feeling that it is there and, at the same time in every atom of our physical being.

Just as the universe is governed, physically, by physical laws, I believe that there are moral and ethical laws which govern us mentally and spiritually. Getting to know these laws and learning how to live by them will make all the difference whether or not the future will be a hell, or a heaven.

And by the way, I happen to believe that death is THE GREAT illusion, which true science will, eventually, help us to overcome. More on my opion of death, later.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 05:22 AM

Here's a thought: Anything that is self-evident and true can be rejected; but it cannot be denied without consequences.

For example, life itself. Stop breathing and the consequence is physical death; stop thinking and the mind will die; stop having faith and hope, and stop being loving, so will the spirit. The old addage is true: if you stop using it, you will lose it.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 07:22 AM

Revlgking wrote:

"Somatologically, that, is physically speaking, I am getting to know and experience God with every physical sense I possess."

Yes. I've smoked stuff that gives me that feeling as well.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 01:36 PM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Revlgking wrote:
...Yes. I've smoked stuff that gives me that feeling as well.
Dare I suggest it: If you're not joking, keep on smoking smile But watch out for the carbon monoxide, etc.

But seriously, some people can get high simply pondering the awesome nature of things.

BTW, this brings up the whole question of religion and addictions. To what extent is smoking, drinking, whatever, sins against God and humanity? Mormons even eschew, avoid, coffee and tea. I certainly agree that, psychologically, religion can be addictive.

Currently, I take a drink or two a day, not to get high, but the opposite: I take a drink--usually a gin, or a wine--to relax, to come down, as it were. If I ever find myself getting addicted to the point of having to have it, constantly, I pray that I will have the moral strength to kick the habit as I did pipe and cigar smoking.

NOW, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY ADDICTION
When I was growing up--in the thirties, and forties--smoking, at it worst, was just considered a dirty habit and manly habit. Non-smokers, mostly women, were rare. My sisters and mother didn't smoke. It was only considered a sin by certain of the smaller religions like the Salvation Army, the Mormons and the Pentecostals.

The mainline religions did not preach about "demon rum" or the sin of smoking, as long as it was done in moderation. Even some clergy in the mainline churches smoked and drank. Later, in life, I worked with a senior colleague who smoked the pipe, and he was raised in the Salvation Army. He told me, half serious: "I left it so I could smoke without sinning".

My father smoked the pipe, and all my older brothers smoked home-mades.

After all, even doctors and nurses smoked, especially in the movies. And the movie stars. Humphrey Bogart, in most of his movies, was never without a cigarette in his hand. The tobacco companies recruited actors, doctors, nurses and other scientifically trained professionals as part of their advertising programs.

Looking back, I am amazed that it wasn't until I was in my thirties that I actually took up the habit. Feeling the need to do something to relax me, I took up smoking the pipe, and cigars. I believed what I saw in the movies; I believed the advertising that smoking was the relaxing and cool thing to do. And, after all, the Bible did not condemn it, so it must be okay with God, right?

At the time, I had the idea that the tobacco industry was just another industry doing honest business. It never occurred to me that the owners of the tobacco industry--they are all probably all very addicted to wealth and power--who, even when they became aware of the dangers of smoking, were willing to sell poison, if necessary, in order to get wealth and power.

Boy! did I ever find out what a pack of lies it was that they told about the "relaxing" habit of smoking. Smoking did not relax me, it addicted me. As time went by I had a feeling that it was actually affecting my health.

It was around that time that certain serious, moral and ethical scientists began to blow the whistle on what tobacco smoke was actually doing to public health; and that it was killing people. They were condemned, at first, as alarmists given to preaching nonsense.

One of the things that really inspired me to look into the science of what inhaling smoke does to the lungs and the body was the way it affected my young daughter's health. Her doptors at Sick Childrens' Hospital daignosed that she was extremely allergic to tobacco smoke, among other things. It, and other things, almost killed her.

Quite a story about how she got well. Because of this, even though it wasn't easy for me, I decided to quit smoking. With the consent of my GP, on myself and my daughter, I used what I call PNEUMATHERAPY--a prayer-like form of self-hypnosis without the hocus pocus associated with the stage brand of hypnosis.

Looking back, I Thank GOD I did not get addicted to cigarettes, which addiction. I understand, is a most difficult addiction to quit.

So here is the point of my sermon: Even when serious scientists demonstrated the deadly effect that tobacco smoke has on all people who inhale it, the wealthy and powerful heads of the tobacco industry campaigned, with the help of their "scientists", against any ban on smoking.

They fervently preached that, in moderation, tobacco does no real harm and only provides many people with much pleasure. And look at the employment it creates, and the money we give to sports and the arts. So "what's the problem?" they pleaded. Let us get on with our honest business.

One final point here: In the light of this, if we have a problem believing in gods we need have no problem believing in devils--people who are willing to make, sell and do anything for personal gain, regardless of who gets hurt, or even killed.

Maybe we should think about this and--using the sciences--take as sharp look at many of the things we do to one another in our search for wealth and power.

For example, How about the looking, scientifically, into our food, energy transportation and WAR industries with the same kind of moral and ethical concern?

How many other human beings are we--the wealthy and powerful few of the world--willing to keep in poverty and bad health, and destroy in war, in order to maintain our wealth and power?

To paraphrase the Christian and Russian writer, Dostoevsky: http://people.brandeis.edu/~teuber/dostoevskybio.html
Food, health and wealth for myself is a physical question; but food, health and wealth for my fellow human beings in all the earth is a spiritual (religious) moral and ethical one.

Think about it.


Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 03:57 PM


This post is a personal testimony. It's not evidence of a God. Given that god possesses all of the physical qualities you ascribe to it, there is no reason whatever to believe that it possesses spiritual, or unworldly qualities.

Let me be clear: I acknowledge "spiritual" as an emotional state. That's not the same thing as acknowledging a "spiritual world."
Even though I acknowledge "spiritual" in the aforementioned sense, I do not like the term, because of the baggage that it carries.

'Even when serious scienctists demonstrated the deadly effect tobacco smoke has on all people who inhale it, the wealthy and powerful heads of the tobacco industry campaigned, with the help of their "scientists", against any ban on smoking. '

Yes, there are entities who abuse science. Thankfully, the entities you mention are mere corporations and not religious agencies. Otherwise, it would have taken far longer to extricate ourselves from the quagmire.

Here's the thing with science: it's not necessarily about "The Truth." That's not to say there isn't any truth in science. That is to say that for much of science, our knowledge is approximate. The central purpose of The Method and The Philosophy of Science is error-recovery. Eventually, the real science won out. And you may say, "BUT IT TOOK DECADES!" to which I reply, "Yes. It ONLY took decades!"

Man is essentially a creative animal. We are pattern-matchers and pattern discoverers and pattern creators. Creativity is an essential part of humanity - and an essential part of science. But it's not the ONLY part of science. We generate theories (and hypotheses) - and then we test them.

"Maybe we should think about this and--using the sciences--take as sharp look at many of the things we do to one another in our search for wealth and power."

With preordained conclusions? One of the things that good scientists need to do is not tint their findings by social concerns. By this I mean, they should not state their findings more powerfully than what is warranted by the evidence. That's not to say that science should ignore social concerns - or that there aren't already scientists who are doing a poor job: creating socially relevant, but essentially incorrect science. It just means that it's going to take us a lot longer to sort things out in the long run.

That is not to say, while I am an atheist, that I think an atheist world is a better one. That is not a question about science, though. I promote a non-theistic science, not an atheist world. In fact, non-theistic science is a redundancy.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 04:59 PM

Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend

Yes, there are entities who abuse science. Thankfully, the entities you mention are mere corporations and not religious agencies. Otherwise, it would have taken far longer to extricate ourselves from the quagmire.

With preordained conclusions? One of the things that good scientists need to do is not tint their findings by social concerns..


I used to think that scientists were impartial and would simply go where the evidence leads them. I placed them in direct contrast to politicians who will distort and bend the truth as it suits their needs. The 'scientific discipline', I thought, is a wonderful, logical, unemotional endeavor, and I admired it.

I have to say that the more I now read about science, the less I believe this.

Example:

"And if it is worse? Would junior scientists feel compelled to mute their findings, out of concern for their careers, if the research contradicts the climate change consensus?

"I can understand how a scientist without tenure can feel the community pressures," says environmental scientist Roger Pielke Jr., a colleague of Vranes' at the University of Colorado.

Pielke says he has felt pressure from his peers: A prominent scientist angrily accused him of being a skeptic, and a scientific journal editor asked him to "dampen" the message of a peer-reviewed paper to derail skeptics and business interests.

"The case for action on climate science, both for energy policy and adaptation, is overwhelming," Pielke says. "But if we oversell the science, our credibility is at stake."

Full story:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4487421.html

Blacknad.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 05:29 PM

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The following from today's THE GLOBE AND MAIL--Canada's national daily sums up the problem we are talking about, above:

"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. [I LGK presume that we could add: and the very bright.] They don't alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views, which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that need altering." -- Doctor Who, suggested by reader Yves Saint-Cyr
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/socialstudies
MKesterton@globeandmail.com

By the way, I happen to believe and am hopeful that moral, ethical, and loving scientists, in cooperation with rational and scientific philosophers and theologians, are capable of creating the kind of world we all need. I also have some suggestions.

Keep in mind that the root meaning of the word 'devil'--from it we get diabolic, diameter, divide--is, literally, that which splits and/or divides us from ourselves and from one another.

BTW 2: In reading all of the above we need to be careful not to over generalize. It tends to split us into opposing camps--we against them.

Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 06:06 PM

"I used to think that scientists were impartial "

I've never held that view. However, I've always believed - and still do - that good scientists do try to put their personal feelings on the back burner, but none of us fails to be influenced by the world around us. We do not cease to be human beings when we go about our jobs and daily lives. The fact that we are imperfect is no reason to throw out the attempt at integrity.

To move it to a different realm -
Just because some catholic priests rape children, doesn't mean they all do.

Just because Jimmy Swaggert and Jim Baker had affairs doesn't mean that faithfulness is not a virtue.

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 08:24 PM

Blacknad the fact that you can point to a handful of problems with humans behaving as humans is laughable from the standpoint of what you are trying to put forward as a postulate.

Now if one looks at politicians ... you might find the polar opposite ... a handful that are not deceitful.

I find it disingenuous for you to make the claim you did while using electricity, using the internet, taking antibiotics, drinking safe water, taking the train, and otherwise fully embracing the benefits that science brings.

The day you can show me an example of a religious organization curing a disease with prayer lets start with malaria or polio or AIDS please let me know.

Or the day you can discern whether lifeforms exist on Europa by reading scripture let me know that too.

Perhaps you would like a different scientific discipline. Can you use some methodology other than science to predict earthquakes? Monitor volcanoes? Predict hurricanes? Keep bacteria out of our food supply? Deliver babies with near 100% success? Keep the lights turned on? Build a bridge? Fly to Paris? The list is endless.

For you to write as you did "I used to think that scientists were impartial" strikes me as being intellectually dishonest as I know you are far too intelligent a person not to be able to distinguish a bad apple from the tree from which it fell.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 08:28 PM

Relgking wrote:
"By the way, I happen to believe and am hopeful that moral, ethical, and loving scientists, in cooperation with rational and scientific philosophers and theologians, are capable of creating the kind of world we all need. I also have some suggestions."

Well if you can find a rational theologian it might be possible. So far the history of theology demonstrates this creature to be extinct.

It is more likely that a polar bear, under an appropriate coordinate transformation, would become a rectangular bear than that you can demonstrate theology to be anything other than irrational.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 09:08 PM

DAM, Albert Schweitzer is dead, but I think there are many young doctors who still follow his model
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Schweitzer
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1952/schweitzer-bio.html

NORMAN COUSINS, who did a book on Schweitzer has also left us a wonderful legacy which he writes about in his book: HEAD FIRST--THE BIOLOGY OF HOPE (1989). The book is really about SPIRIT FIRST--the biology of faith hope and love.

ANATOMY ON AN ILLNESS--the book
Because of his own recovery--using the power of his mind--laughter and nutrients, not drugs--and spirit--though he was not an MD he was recruited by UCLA's great medical school as an adjunct professor. There he spent ten years teaching young doctors how to heal the whole person, not just be body mechanics. His book tells the story of those ten years.

http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/unitarians/cousins.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Cousins
http://www.npi.ucla.edu/center/cousins/index.html

BTW, DAM, where did you learn how to write in such an interesting and provocative style? Tell me, maybe I could go there and take a course. smile Did Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale go to that school too? Or did it come in your genes? laugh laugh
Seriously, gadflies do serve a purpose, I think!!! But it would be helpful if your criticisms were balanced, once in a while.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 11:08 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
...strikes me as being intellectually dishonest...


Dan,

I apologise for having doubts, but heck, you are the one that introduced me to doubt in the first place.

Reading my post again - it doesn't represent my thinking accurately. I know where we would be without science, and it ain't a pretty place.

But I have still been somewhat surprised to see how many times people find it hard to speak against the consensus and current paradigm (which may well be subject to change anyway).

Black -eyed- nad. (Go a bit easier on me)
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/23/07 11:50 PM

Blacknad wrote:
"But it would be helpful if your criticisms were balanced, once in a while."

I thought I did a remarkably good job when I stated what I believe to be the truth: "I know you are far too intelligent a person ...."

Now where did I learn to write this way? Next time I'm in B'ham I'll tell you. That is not a subject to the web.

But please do not blame scientists for being human. We are. We make the same mistakes. The same errors in judgement. And have the exact same weaknesses as do mortals.

What distinguishes us, I believe, is what distinguished the Founding Father's of America from those that came before. We believe in a system of checks-and-balances. We readily acknowledge the errors of Einstein, Bohr, Darwin, and others that some would like to put up in a Pantheon. We demand that authors subject themselves to peer review. Not even a Hawking or a Gell Mann or a Feynman can publish without being put into the cross-hairs. In short ... we do our best to be intellectually honest. And when we find someone like that biologist in Korea who faked his results ... we rather quickly catapult them into the moat. We're not perfect but we're not barristers or politicians or used car salesmen either.

Blacknad wrote:
"I apologise for having doubts, but heck, you are the one that introduced me to doubt in the first place."

No apology required. I'd rather have you doubt and question than accept at face value.

Blacknad wrote:
"Reading my post again - it doesn't represent my thinking accurately."

I had a pretty strong indication of that or I'd have never used the word "disingenuous." That is a word I don't use without carefully consideration. Oh heck then I just throw in a litre of petrol to make sure.

I wish you'd been at the AAS meeting here in Seattle. The number of times undergrads challenged the accepted norm was refreshing. Sure they will have their feet put to the fire and be expected to provide further proof. But when they do ... they will be honored ... not scorned.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/24/07 01:17 AM

DAM, no real harm done; but when you said
Quote:
Blacknad wrote:
"But it would be helpful if your criticisms were balanced, once in a while."
you were quoting me, LGK, not Blacknad. It is kinda nice to know that we can all be fallible, at times, eh?

You go on commenting and adding to your list of misplaced quotes
Quote:
I thought I did a remarkably good job when I stated what I believe to be the truth: "I know you are far too intelligent a person ...."

Now where did I learn to write this way? Next time I'm in B'ham I'll tell you. That is not a subject to the web.

But please do not blame scientists for being human. We are. We make the same mistakes. The same errors in judgement.
Now this is I will make a clear note of and file away for future use.
Quote:
And have the exact same weaknesses as do mortals.
You sound like an agnostic theologian. smile

And you go on, and on
Quote:
What distinguishes us, I believe, is what distinguished the Founding Father's of America from those that came before.

We believe in a system of checks-and-balances. We readily acknowledge the errors of Einstein, Bohr, Darwin, and others that some would like to put up in a Pantheon. We demand that authors subject themselves to peer review.
And are you implying that all philosophers and theologians do not? Oh, Come now!!! With two postgraduates degrees in theology, I demand a little more respect, here!! laugh laugh And please, leave the BSing to me. laugh


Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/24/07 01:38 AM

I think I know why the cynics and the nihilists love to dismiss and kill new ideas and new ways of doing things for the greater good of all of us. It is oh so easy!

It is takes energy, real effort, curiosity, intellgence, imagination and loving concern for anyone to take the time to grasp, really critique, to explore the new, and then take action.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/24/07 02:15 AM

BTW, I noticed that the work of the great work of the doctor, theologian and musician, Albert Schweitzer at al was totally ignored.

Schweitzer once said"It is supposed to be a professional secret, but I will tell you anyway. We doctors do little. We only help and encourage the doctor within."

http://www.allspiritual.com/MultiFaith.php3
http://www.slbmi.com/psychology_religion/psychology_religion_team.htm
http://www.healingmusic.org/Library/Articles/MusicAndSoundInHealingFromCancer.asp
http://www.aasianst.org/absts/1995abst/inter/inter54.htm
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 01/24/07 12:18 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
Blacknad wrote:
"But it would be helpful if your criticisms were balanced, once in a while."


Dan,

Just as Revlgking said - it wasn't me that said this. I know your criticisms are balanced more than 'once in a while'.

Thanks for your response though.

I have seen you do this before on a few occasions, (attribute a quote to the wrong person). Is it a peculiar form of dyslexia you have - weblexia? Or are you always in a hurry?

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God *DELETED* - 01/24/07 12:19 PM

Post deleted by Amaranth Rose II
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/24/07 02:33 PM

DIALOGUING TO COMMUNICATE
Correction: I should have written: I think I know why the cynics and the nihilists love to dismiss and kill most new ideas, and even new ways of doing things, which could be of value and for the greater good of all of us. It is oh so easy to knock!

It takes energy, real effort, curiosity, intelligence, imagination, faith, hope and loving concern for anyone to take the time to grasp, to really critique, to explore the new, and then take creative action--beginning with taking the time to understand another.

COMMUNICATING
For example, some atheists confuse PANTHEISM and PanENtheism. I asked one atheisT about PanENtheism and he answered:"There are different kinds of atheists and different approaches they take. My view is that I don't see the value of a pantheistic approach to god."

To clarify the important difference let me put the question this way to atheists: Are you aware of the work of the mathematician, Alfred North Whitehead? If so, are you aware of the difference between PANTHEISM AND panENtheism? Are you willing to find out?

Though I am easy, as you know, I like using the symbol G?D, rather than god, or God.

Why?

Because it helps me to think of the 'ground of all being'--a term for 'God' used by the great theologian, Paul Tillich--as more than a personal and Superbeing. How many have ever you heard of Paul Tillich?

If we are truly serious about the art of communication we MUST dialogue until we really understand what the other person is really saying--even if we end up disagreeing all the more.

THE CONVERSION OF A REAL ATHEIST
By the way, I once baptised a former atheist. He was my age--we were both in our twenties, at the time. Later, he actually became a successful minister.

In preparation for his baptism I asked him: What changed your mind?

But first, let me tell you how we met:

Interestingly HM's first greeting to me was: "Good to meet you, Rev. I am a devout agnostic, if not an atheist. Since you are running the only show in towm, and there is nothing else to do on Sunday, anyway, I will come and hear you...if you promise to keep me awake...." [Folowed by a loud laugh.] The rest is history.

His answer to my question, above, went something like this:

"As you know I have been coming to church for nearly six months. Needless to say, your sermons have kept me awake. Not only that, they have made me think.

And your wife's home-made bread is delicious. I should add: Your cutting my hair now and then is appreciated too. [BIG laugh!!! Before I started to cut HM's hair he had to travel to the Goosebay Air Base, seven miles up the road. He mentioned the home-made bread because we often had food and fellowship together, after church] Then he went on:

Because you gave me a definition of God which does not insult my intelligence and my imagination. I discovered that the male-like God I was raised and expected to believe in was too small.

What I was raised to believe in bordered on--more than that, it was, a mental form of idolatry. I was expected to create God in the image of my father.

Your definition of God as that which is in and through the Cosmos; as all that encompasses and inter-penetrates it, physically, mentally and spiritually...how can I deny that, and go on thinking that life has any kind of meaning?

I began to see materialism and its atheist atheology for what it is. The problem with atheism is that it is a faith in things as they appear to be. Therefore, it is without any kind of hopeful or eternal meaning. The best atheism has to offer is a good life for the fortunate few in the material now until death do us part. At the end of all our striving there is nothing but the hope of a quick and painless death when our soul-less bodies--together with all our works of engineering and art, mixed with detritus and other kinds glacial debris--will be dumped into the abyss of unconscious nothingness, there to remain, forever.

Your definition gave me the freedom to think bold new thoughts. I now see the earth, the planets, the galaxies--whatever is out there and in here (he pointed to his and brain and heart)--as truly AWE-full. [He was an avid reader of astronomy, and other things, I found out.]

I liked your sermon on what Paul wrote in Romans 8:28.
In God, all things can--I'll change that to WILL--work together for good...as we put into positive action our faith, our hope and our love".


Needless to say, the Rev. H.M. went on to become a colourful and dynamic minister. He served out his whole ministry way up in the sub-arctic north, which he loved.

When I met HM, he was a young manager with the Hudson Bay Company, the only store in Happy Valley-Goosebay, Labrador, at the time. IN 1953, there were 115 families, all squatters--living on Department of National Defense land.

As the leader of the only church in the shack town, with the help of the Church Council, I started the move to make the community into a regular municipality. This gave the people the right to own the land they lived on. They had already been up-rooted from their original shacks, which were too near the landing field. I was there when the Americans first became involved in the Viet Nam War. What a massive force of planes took of and flew over the arctic to Nam. It was a very historic moment. I had no idea, at time, of what a moment it was.

Today, there are about 9,000 people in the area. Things have changed. They even have their own radio station. Yes, the story of Happy Valley, yet to be fully documented show the role churches play in the development of communities. It also show that church people are interested is the social well-being of communities.

I do not wish to be snarky but may I ask: I wonder where the athiests were? Maybe some were among the silent adherents of my church, and were just afraid to speak up. If so, they had no need to fear; they were more than welcome.

Or were they coming to get caught up on their sleep? smile laugh




Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/24/07 06:35 PM

Revlgking wrote:
" And are you implying that all philosophers and theologians do not?"

Implying nothing. I am insisting, stating as fact, and putting it forward as a statement cast in osmiridium.

And if you think otherwise tell me the last time in which the leader of any Christian church submitted his theological doctrine to peer review. I want the name of the Imam and the Rabbi that conducted that review. Please don't descend into the depths of hypocrisy by claiming that the Pope submitting a statement to his Cardinals and Bishops is peer review.

Revlgking wrote:
"I think I know why the cynics and the nihilists love to dismiss and kill new ideas and new ways of doing things for the greater good of all of us. It is oh so easy!"

Actually you are clueless. We don't dismiss and kill new ideas. We thrive on new ideas. We embrace dark energy and axions and methane on Titan. There is difference between a "new idea" and repackaging fluff and using it to brainwash children.

Here's a quote that I think pretty much sums up my attitude toward the clergy:
"Ministers say that they teach charity.
That is natural.
They live on hand-outs.
All beggars teach that others should give."
~ Robert Ingersoll

So far you have yet to engage in a single sentence of science. What you have done is create a new meaningless spelling of the word god (G?D) as though the deity that created the entire universe would be impressed. You have linked to purely religious websites indicating an inability to converse at a science site in the language of science. You have referenced Albert Schweitzer as though using his name had some relevance to anything.: It does not.

As one of the founders of The Family Life Foundation dedicated to promoting goodness why don't you try promoting goodness here by not being an intellectually dishonest troll?

If poverty is the face of ignorance then, sir, I will send you a penny for more surely do you need one than almost anyone else on the planet.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/24/07 07:10 PM

Relgking wrote:
"DIALOGUING TO COMMUNICATE"

Dialoguing is not a word. Are you capable of communicating in English or must everything be new-age spin-doctored woo-woo off-topic trolling?

Relgking asks:
"I wonder where the athiests were"

Discovering antibiotics, learning to harness electricity, building the internet, exploring the universe, and paying the taxes to support tax-exempt self-righteous parasites.

How many dollars did you contribute to the fight against AIDS today?
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/24/07 08:31 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
Relgking,
...Dialoguing is not a word.


It isn't? Tell that to http://www.reference.com/search?db=web&q=dialoguing
and to the publishers of the World Book Two-Volume Dictionary.

It seems that my American counsins--and I have many--sometimes spell English in their own way. Do me a F A V O U R and the HONOUR of making a note of this, please.

BTW, this is the second time you pointed out my "mistake". I am getting concerned. And how about those misquotes?

How many dollars did I contribute to the fight against AIDS, etc?

The King family supports 20 charities. Thanks for the opportunity to boast. smile

ABOUT THE FAMILY LIFE FOUNDATION--http://www,flfcanada,com I head up this charity I helped found in 1974, run entirely by volunteers, of which I am the chair. One group that I attend meets weekly with several seniors we help.
ANYONE WANT TO HELP? WE ARE EASY TO FIND. BTW, I have even counseled with people using my PC.

Not too long ago, we in the FLF rescued a senior--a well-educated engineer, by the way, and totally non-addicted. He had been ripped off by non-caring family. He was living out of his car. Certain business leaders plotted and had him evicted and tried to sell his home from out under him.

Said they had a power-of-sale court order. They were lying, we found. He has been back in his home for over three years, now. His pension, which we helped him get, covers his costs.

BTW, DAM, I don't derive much pleasure d i a l o g u i n g with people who ... Well, I will leave it to you to fill in the blanks.
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 01/24/07 09:34 PM

Neither pantheism nor panentheism is susceptible to scientific understanding. That Whitehead was a panENtheist is no recommendation for it.

Not every thought that every scientist or mathematician had was scientific or mathematical.

I'm glad that you have devoted so much effort to making the world a better place. Thank you. I mean that sincerely.

None of it has one iota to do with science, but I'm happy to know of it nonetheless.

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/25/07 12:42 AM

Revlgking ... you aren't dialoguing or discussing or communicating anything other than your total contempt for science and the scientific method. Not once have you, since arriving uninvited upon our doorstep, even attempted to discuss science or shown any interest in the topic.

I do not share IFF's joy in your presence. You are incapable of engaging in a discussion of science and you are seemingly ignorant of the facts with respect to the religion to which you claim adherence. The only thing you have accomplished here is to demonstrate that even a person with a Doctor of Divinity (if you even have one because there is no evidence of it on your website) is capable of ignoring the tenants of his religion.

What would it take to get you to stop being a troll and engage in a discussion of science? Money? How much?
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 01/29/07 08:41 AM

I tried to put this little thought on the site a few days ago but everything went spastic and I couldn't even log out. Here goes another attempt.

No one here has yet even come up with a definition of "God" let alone offered any proof for the existence of such an entity. But I read a description of "religion" that said it is the personal beliefs we hold but cannot prove that we each use to give meaning to our lives. We all have them, even atheists.

I've mentioned on this thread that it is sort of impossible to actually prove anything. Did Newton really prove that every action always has an equal and opposite reaction? Many cultures were using the basic idea before his time: What is hateful to you do not do to others, karma, utu, consciousness and energy creates reality, yin and yang, as you sow so shall you reap, hubris, what goes round comes round, etc. There may be some point along this continuum beyond which we can have no proof. The belief then becomes religion.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/29/07 10:54 PM

I think there is a universally accepted definition of the word 'god' in monotheistic societies as they all are off-shoots of a single source of inspiration.

Whether you are talking about Judiasm, Islam, or Christianity you are talking about religions that claim to be the true authority on the religion founded by Abraham/Ibrahim.

There may be some dispute if one is trying to incorporate polytheistic beliefs but so far no one here has proselytized for any religion other than Christianity. Apparently Jews, Moslems, Buddhists, animists, etc. being more polite.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 01/30/07 02:02 AM

Hang on DA. I thought there was debate in the USA at the time of 9/11 as to whether the God of Islam was the same as the Christian one. Seems the citizens of USA can agree the Jewish one is the same. But I have certainly never seen any definition by any religion of what God actually is. Perhaps someone who believes he, she or it exists may be prepared to enlighten me? We would then have a sounder basis for looking for evidence for such an entity's existence.

Another point. When did Abraham live if, in fact, he lived at all?
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 01/30/07 07:30 PM

Not wanting to contaminate Kate's site with this let me direct you to: http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2005/06/in-defense-of-hatred.html and suggest you read the FireSign Theatre lyric posted under "What makes America great?"

Most Americans have forgotten who they were in the '60s. And now the planet suffers our hypocrisy and and conveniently short memory.

I've no doubt Abraham actually existed as the story has a ring of truth to it. If you don't want to kill your kid what better solution than to come back down off the mountain and claim god told you not to do it? And based on the following link it seems no one would dare to.

http://www.world-mysteries.com/gw_rellis10.htm

You might also want to read this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religion
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/31/07 09:21 PM

Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
Neither pantheism nor panentheism is susceptible to scientific understanding....

I'm glad that you have devoted so much effort to making the world a better place. Thank you. I mean that sincerely.

None of it has one iota to do with science, but I'm happy to know of it nonetheless.
My sincere thanks for your gracious attitude, and words, free from personal attacks, TFF. Now in the spirit of dialogue, How do you define science? Is it just about maths, electronics, chemistry and physics? Or what?

BTW, talking about electronics, has the discussion forum been hors de combat, for awhile? Or was it my 'puter.
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 01/31/07 11:33 PM

Science is not just about "sciences." Science is a method applied to a domain.

Neither the method nor the domain are are infinite in extent.

Karl Popper wrote a book called "Objective Knowledge" in which he outlined his solution to the problem of induction and simultaneously solved "the demarcation problem." That is, how do you distinguish what is a scientific theory from what is not?

A scientific theory must generate hypotheses which, if tested, could disprove the theory as a general principle, IF INDEED IT IS FALSE.

The domain of science is the natural world - nothing more or less. Science doesn't deny gods or spirits. It simply doesn't acknowledge them. If they exist, they are outside the purview of science. There's no logical reason to conclude "god did it" rather than "we just don't understand."

Posted by: Amaranth Rose II

Re: Evidence for God - 02/01/07 12:30 AM

Revlgking,
The forum was out of service for a couple of days, It is now in service again. Try not to break it.

Amaranth
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 02/01/07 12:48 AM

The definition of science:

http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/phy_labs/AppendixE/AppendixE.html

And thank you revlgking for actually demonstrating some interest in the topic. The polar opposite of science is faith whether expressed as religion, theology, new-age woo-woo brain-dead nonsense, or as described here:

http://insti.physics.sunysb.edu/~siegel/quack.html

I wonder if you are sincerely trying to join our community or just pandering. Time will tell.

BTW: Reverend ... where, exactly, did you earn your DD?
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/01/07 04:49 AM

As one who is found of the Golden Rule, I am more interested in dialogue than in I am in debate. smile

BTW, I am not a fan of blind, or irrational faith. Faith may go beyond reason, sometimes, but one that goes contrary to reason is not for me.

For those interested, my bio is found on my Website, http://www.flfcanada.com
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 02/01/07 08:46 AM

DA. A couple of good links. I especially enjoyed the one on faith. Have you followed the link in that one to "That's just contradiction, not an argument."? The Monty Python script. Ah, it was great reading that again. "You want to complain ... look at these shoes ... I've only had them three weeks and the heels are worn right through."

Re Abraham. Again interesting link but it raises the question yet again of what his God was. Perhaps it was Seth, or Amun, Ra? Seems too early to be Aten. Anyway, what were these gods? I believe we still need to define the subject before we can dialogue over "Evidence for God".

Revlgking. For that reason we don't need to define science on this thread. You're changing the subject.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/01/07 02:30 PM

TNZ, am I correct in saying that when you say to me, "You're changing the subject" that you are making me the subject?
Just Joe-king smile. BTW, my oldest brother's name was Joe. This year, had he lived he would be 101. I have the feeling that he doesn't mind me usuing his name, joe-kingly.

Okay, what is the subject?

IMHO--and it is an opinion--there is no direct, reductionistic, concrete evidence for a personal God--in the monotheist sense of the word; there is only indirect evidence as the result of faith and opinion. As I understand it, the God of theism is beyond existence, as we think of it. Therefore, He is, if anything, ineffable.
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 02/01/07 03:28 PM


"IMHO--and it is an opinion--there is no direct, reductionistic, concrete evidence for a personal God--in the monotheist sense of the word; there is only indirect evidence as the result of faith and opinion. As I understand it, the God of theism is beyond existence, as we think of it. Therefore, He is, if anything, ineffable."

1. I don't think this "indirect evidence" is evidence in the scientific sense at all.
2. What is the purpose in effing the ineffable?
3. The problem with pantheistic or panENtheistic views of god (from a scientific view, if not a philosophical one) is that invariably they end up associating a lot of extra baggage with whatever physical definition they apply to god. This is a situation that's bound to be confused when you start out using a baggage-laden term like "god" to describe something physical.

Science does not do God. I don't think I can state it any plainer than that.

Not everything, OTOH, has to be scientific. Lots of very important things are not scientific or science, per se. Moreover, science is not a panacea for solving all of our problems or making us happier. It's a tool with a specific purpose.

Technology helps and hurts. The world gets to be a better place when individuals step up to the plate, take some responsibility, and DO things - participate, help each other, get involved with their communities, etc. Science might provide some insight into how we might do this, but it's not actually a scientific problem, per se.

What science CAN do is give people a feel for what the problems are and how we might solve them. It can give people a sense of awe at the natural world. It can help us to understand that many problems are solvable. But the issue of getting people off their behinds? It's not science. It's altruism; it's good intentions; it's responsibility. Take your pick.

And sorry about your brother. I hope he had a long and good life.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 02/01/07 07:37 PM

TNZ the question about that god is, again, reasonably easy to answer as it is, without question, the god of the Judaic Old Testament and the Qran.

It is an entity that created the entire universe and all within it both good and evil.

It is an entity that has demonstrated the personality of a spoiled child with a habit of smashing things.

It is an entity that has a remarkably short memory as it contradicts itself.

And it is an entity that doesn't play fair with creatures it both created and can destroy in that it often sets them up with tests it knows they can not win and destroys them in the most painful ways inducing unnecessary suffering when none is required.

Lets get real here ... who was it who was being worshipped when Abraham went up the mountain with the kid? Why stop it then? Why not the day before? The week before? The year before? Why let it ever start? It is just a bad story gone horribly awry.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 02/01/07 07:39 PM

Revlgking ... why the pathological inability to discuss science on a science website?

Got the troll gene in your chromosomes or just plain rude?
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/01/07 09:32 PM

DAM, are you talking to yourself, again? And why are you so hard on yourself? And remember what the moderator said about this section of the forum; it is not about hard science, okay? laugh

Sorry, about that posters, forgive me. I promised myself that I would just dialogue, but I just couldn't resist! laugh laugh
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 02/01/07 11:35 PM

I agree it isn't about science. But would you be willing to accept that it is about some aspect of science? Would you be willing to accept that not once have you been on topic?

Hope so. Because I intend to bite at your heels all the way to heck if you can't contribute something with more substance than aerogel.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 02/02/07 12:19 AM

Revlgking wrote:

"Okay, what is the subject?"

At the top left of each posting is the heading for that thread. This one happens to be "Re: Evidence for God". We have a problem. Before we can find evidence for anything we have to have some idea of what we are looking for. DA's definition of God as being an entity responsible for a whole list of things is inadequate. Besides, to say we are looking for the God of Abraham opens a whole new can of worms. Was his God of Semitic, Egyptian or Mesopotamian origin? or a hybrid of all three, perhaps with others as well?

Possibly God is just an idea. An idea moreover that has been evolving along with humans for tens of thousands of years. We can certainly find evidence of the idea's evolution. But the thread is "Evidence for God" not "Evidence for God's Evolution".
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 02/02/07 12:32 AM

God is defined by His attributes. This may be an acceptable start point:

A) Eternal
B) Omnipresent
C) Omniscient
D) Omnipotent
E) Immutable
F) Sovereign

Blacknad

Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 02/02/07 12:47 AM

Not immutable, Blacknad. We know he evolves, like everything else.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 02/02/07 02:00 AM

Revlgking ... we discuss science here. Lets say, for example as with this thread, there is a reference to god. People interested in science ask for the terms to be defined. We do that ... you post fluff. People interested in science reference documents that supply verifiable information ... you post inaccurate quotes from an authorless book whose providence you can't support. People interested in science utilize critical thinking skills and consider the possibility that there is something they don't know ... You as the self-proclaimed moral compass slather us with woo-woo new-age feel-good proclamations that accomplish no more than did the woo-woo new-age feel-good Ramtha loving nonsense from a generation ago. Pay attention to Blacknad. Even when I don't agree with him ... which can be often if you check the archives ... he gives evidence of having gray matter between his ears and using it.

Blacknad's list is a good one though I would suggest that some people would waffle on the definition of these words too. If "D" then why not destroy the devil? Because you sanction evil? If "E" then ... heck I'm not sure what that means. It sure doesn't mean never changes its mind. And "F" perhaps that has some special meaning in a country with a sovereign but here in the States that word has no meaning as we have a kleptocrat.

Got to go with TNZ. There is nothing in the universe that doesn't evolve. Especially the god of Abraham who seems to have evolved rather suddenly about 2000 years ago.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/02/07 05:22 AM

---------------THE THEOLOGY OF ORTHODOX JUDAISM-----------------
Because Orthodox Jews want to avoid committing idolatry with the mind--that is, by objectifying divine mind in anyway--when Jewish theologians write about what Christian monototheists call 'God', they write it 'G-d'.

I think they have a point, and I respect it.

However, I have no such fear. Like pantheists, using my subjective mind, I am not afraid to objectify that part of divine mind which I experience, and know, with my senses. In this sense, I do not just believe there is divine mind, I know there is.

I know this in the same way that I know that I live on a global earth, made of minerals, water, air, whatever, even though I have only visited a small part of it.

However, like the poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), I believe there is a

-----------------THE HIGHER PANTHEISM--------------------

The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and the plains,-

Are not these, O Soul, the Vision of Him who reigns?

Is not the Vision He, tho' He be not that which He seems?

Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?

Earth, these solid stars, this weight of body and limb,

Are they not sign and symbol of thy division from Him?

Dark is the world to thee; thyself art the reason why,

For is He not all but thou, that hast power to feel "I am I"?

Glory about thee, without thee; and thou fulfillest thy doom,

Making Him broken gleams and a stifled splendour and gloom.

Speak to Him, thou, for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet-

Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.

God is law, say the wise; O soul, and let us rejoice,

For if He thunder by law the thunder is yet His voice.

Law is God, say some; no God at all, says the fool,

For all we have power to see is a straight staff bent in a pool;

And the ear of man cannot hear, and the eye of man cannot see;

But if we could see and hear, this Vision-were it not He?

--------------------------00000------------------------
The symbol I like to use to name divine mind is, G?D.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/02/07 06:05 AM

Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
"IMHO--and it is an opinion--there is no direct, reductionistic, concrete evidence for a personal God--in the monotheist sense of the word; there is only indirect evidence as the result of faith and opinion. As I understand it, the God of theism is beyond existence, as we think of it. Therefore, He is, if anything, ineffable."

1. I don't think this "indirect evidence" is evidence in the scientific sense at all.

BTW, I, too, have problems with traditional theism. This is why I prefer what the poet Tennyson called "Higher Pantheism". I also like the theological philosophy of Spinoza and Einstein.

Meanwhile, do not lay people have to take, on faith, much of what professional scientists tells us.

How much direct evidence, understandable by laity, do astronomers have when they tell us there are billions and billions of galaxies?

You say, "Science does not do God." I agree. And with much of what you say as follows:
Quote:
Not everything, OTOH, has to be scientific. Lots of very important things are not scientific or science, per se. Moreover, science is not a panacea for solving all of our problems or making us happier. It's a tool with a specific purpose.

Technology helps and hurts. The world gets to be a better place when individuals step up to the plate, take some responsibility, and DO things - participate, help each other, get involved with their communities, etc. Science might provide some insight into how we might do this, but it's not actually a scientific problem, per se.

What science CAN do is give people a feel for what the problems are and how we might solve them. It can give people a sense of awe at the natural world. It can help us to understand that many problems are solvable. But the issue of getting people off their behinds? It's not science. It's altruism; it's good intentions; it's responsibility. Take your pick.
Interestingly, the literal meaning of 'devil' is, that which divides, or splits, us.
The Greek is 'diabolos', slanderer. Slander destroys community. This is why I try to avoid it. From 'diabolos' we get diabolic, diameter, perhaps divide.

Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/02/07 07:40 AM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Revlgking wrote:

Before we can find evidence for anything we have to have some idea of what we are looking for....
Yah! I would like to know the kind of god atheists are NOT looking for, or trying to avoid. smile

Quote:
...Possibly God is just an idea....But the thread is "Evidence for God" not "Evidence for God's Evolution".
I agree. Each of us is entitled to have our idea of 'god', IMHO.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 02/02/07 01:14 PM

Revlgking wrote:
"I do not just believe there is divine mind, I know there is."

I do not believe there is an invisible purple rhinoceros. I know there is."

Revlgking wrote:
"The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and the plains,-
Are not these, O Soul, the Vision of Him who reigns?"

Well if that isn't on-topic science I don't know what is. No doubt your next great feat will be to cure malaria.

Revlgking wrote:
"The symbol I like to use to name divine mind is, G?D.

Because it is really kool. Really neato. Really new-age. And it is mine ... all mine. Bwaaahaaahaaa!.

Revlgking wrote:
"I also like the theological philosophy of Spinoza and Einstein."

Wonderful. God = Reality. Well that certainly ought to stop global warming, build a moon base, cure cancer, and take out the garbage. And, of course this supports your new-age nonsense that there is no difference between good and evil explaining why you feel justified in being a troll. Trolling is good. Going to a science forum and discussing science is evil. I've got it.

Thanks for, again, demonstrating your disdain and contempt for science.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/02/07 06:28 PM

IS THIS TOPIC ABOUT HARD SCIENCE?
If I understand things correctly, it is more about philosophy--and perhaps the art of communicating--than about science.

BTW, if it is about science, I would like to see the concrete evidence that I have, "disdain and contempt for science."

PHILOSOPHY, SCIENCE AND ART
I think it was Will R. Durant--of French-Canadian ancestry, by the way--who said.
Quote:
All science begins as a philosophy and ends as an art.
Ever since I read his Story of Philosophy, he has been one of my favourite philosophers and historians. Also, I frequently dip into his vast STORY OF CIVILIZATION, which, with the help of his beloved wife, Ariel, it took him fifty years to write.

For a wonderful outline of the story of his life check out the following essay by the editors of Wisdom Magazine:

http://www.willdurant.com/bio.htm

I especially like the way the essay ends:
Quote:
...He never once attempted to build his reputation at the expense of others; instead he sought to better understand the viewpoints of human beings, and to forgive them their foibles and human waywardness. When two burglars were apprehended by police after having broke into his Los Angeles home and stealing valuable jewelry and savings bonds ? Durant refused to press charges and insisted that they be set free. "Forgiveness," again, is the other half of philosophy.

Durant?s love for his wife Ariel only deepened with the passing of time. When he was admitted to hospital with heart problems in 1981 at the age of 96, his wife stopped eating; perhaps fearing that he would not be returning. When Durant learned of the death of his beloved wife, his own heart stopped beating. They are buried beside each other in a small Los Angeles cemetery, together for all eternity.

Unlike the cloistered academics who turned up their noses at Durant?s attempt to bring philosophy back to the common man, Durant was not content merely to write about such subjects, he actually did his best to put his ideas into effect. He had fought for equal wages, women?s suffrage and fairer working conditions for the American labor force. Durant had even drafted a "Declaration of Interdependence" in the early 1940s ? preceding the "Civil Rights Movement" by some two decades ? calling for, among many things:

Human dignity and decency, and to safeguard these without distinction of race or color or creed; to strive in concert with others to discourage animosities arising from these differences, and to unite all groups in the fair play of civilized life?Rooted in freedom, children of the same Divine Father, sharing everywhere a common human blood, we declare again that all men are brothers, and that mutual tolerance is the price of liberty.

He pursued this issue of racial equality so vigorously that this Declaration was introduced into the Congressional Record on October 1, 1945.

Over the years, Durant?s reputation as a philosopher and historian has grown; his writings, which have sold over 17 million copies, have been enjoyed by individuals from all walks of life. Among his most impassioned readers (and friends) were Mahatma Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw, Clarence Darrow and Bertrand Russell ? although it was always for the common man, rather than the scholastic or academic audience, that Durant wrote.

"We could do almost anything if time would slow up," he once said, adding "but it runs on, and we melt away trying to keep up with it." And yet even time never covered 110 centuries in fifty years.

By the editors of Wisdom magazine and John Little

Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/02/07 06:46 PM

I would also love to know more about the, "...invisible purple rhinoceros" Of which DAM writes, "I know there is." Facinating!

BTW, DAM, I hope you do keep your promise that you will...How did you put it? "keep on my heels". I find you are a worthy protagonist, so far, and, when you are on, your critique does help to stimulate thinking. I hope that we can encourage other posters, pro and con to get involved.

Lurkers, we encourge you to make comments and/or just ask questions.

BTW, pneumatology, epistimology, theology and the like, IMHO, are still pretty much at the philosophy stage.

Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 02/02/07 10:36 PM

Revlgking,

This topic is about Evidence for God. It has swayed well off the beaten track, but your posts seem to me to be about proselytising and little else. They also seem to be rather vague and fuzzy.

I have spent quite a bit of time on your web site and it seems that you have simply invented another cult without any real evidence to back it up.

At least Christianity has historical and textual evidence at its centre (of course their reliability and authenticity is entirely debatable, but at least there is something to debate and subject to a reasoned scrutiny). Your worldview seems to be something you have plucked from the ether that feels nice and warm for you ? something that Christianity certainly is not for me.

Your long posts are currently dominating this thread.

I would be interested to see this debate ask real questions about the ability to make falsifiable predictions about a universe that was created by a god.

I think it would be better to examine evidence for naturalism vs. supernaturalism.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Turner

Re: Evidence for God - 02/03/07 12:37 AM

Evidence for God?

Then, let those who believe in the god of theism, present their evidence.

On the other hand, let the atheists present their evidence, that there is no God.

Otherwise, as a new poster, what can I say?


In my opinion, the good Rev. has a point. What we need is: a better definition of the god-concept.

With this in mind, is it okay for me to set up a new thread to clarify what I feel this forum is all about? The communication of new ideas.

I you have no interest in this, I will go elsewhere.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 02/03/07 02:11 AM

Yes Revlgking ... to quote Blacknad about your posts ... "They also seem to be rather vague and fuzzy."

In fact I think it would take a drug induced stupor to be more vague, more fuzzy headed, and less capable of sentient thought.

Not once have I seen you evidence any critical thinking skills: Just contempt for science and the scientific method while rolling in the fruits of other's labors.

You are just the leader of another cult using new-age imbecilities to extract money from the gullible because you are, it would seem, too lazy to get a real job, do real work, and contribute anything of substance.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 02/03/07 02:20 AM

Turner wrote:
"On the other hand, let the atheists present their evidence, that there is no God."

That is not the way science works and you seem both old enough and intelligent enough to know that. Let me paraphrase what you wrote in a manner that may clarify it for you.

Statement 1:
"let those who believe in the invisible purple rhinoceros, present their evidence."

Statement 2:
"let those who don't believe present their evidence, that there is no in the invisible purple rhinoceros."

You can not prove the non-existence of something that does not exist. You can only state that there is no evidence for its existence which is the case with god. Let me show you why that is demonstratably true.

How would the universe in which we live be different if created by purely natural processes rather than by a sentient entity?

And since you can't answer that ... and neither can anyone else ... you have an absence of evidence for that deity's existence.

Turner writes:
"In my opinion, the good Rev. has a point. What we need is: a better definition of the god-concept."

He may well have a point about that. But this is a science forum and he should stop being a rude troll and go to theologyagogo.com and ask the question. Or he could actually go to a seminary and ask the question. Or he could stop prosletyzing and being a parasite on the gullible and ask that question.

Humans have had a concept of what god or gods is/are for more than 10,000 years. The phony reverend doesn't know a single thing that my cat doesn't know. The difference is that my cat has the good manners to not pretend otherwise.

I, personally, have a lot of interest in the topic or I wouldn't be here. I have no interest in parasite. I have no interest in people pushing out fuzzy concepts and pretending they have substance, and I have no tolerance for trolls.

Discuss the topic using your own thoughts, your own words, and the gray matter between your ears and your contributions will be appreciated. Which doesn't mean we will agree with you but we will respect you for being sentient.
Posted by: Turner

Re: Evidence for God - 02/03/07 03:16 AM

Turner writes: "In my opinion, the good Rev. has a point. What we need is: a better definition of the god-concept."

Morgan, you respond, "He may well have a point about that."

Morgan, thank you for conceding this point.

By the way, I am in my forties. And I am one of those many post-readers--how do you describe them, lurkers?--who has held back because I don't like being jumped on by, what I have heard referred to as "verbal bullies".

Mr. Morgan, keep; this in mind, will you, please?

You write: "But this is a science forum and he (the Rev) should stop being a rude troll and go to theologyagogo.com and ask the question."

May I be so bold as to suggest: You are wrong! This thread is not about hard science; it is about...well,ask Kate what she has already said it is.

Further, The Rev is not...how do you say it...prosletyzing and being a parasite on the gullible...

Give us ONE example where The Rev says: You must believe ME and follow what I tell you to follow.

Careful when you write:

"The phony reverend doesn't know a single thing that my cat doesn't know. The difference is that my cat has the good manners to not pretend otherwise."

Would you be prepared, in a court of law, to defend such libelous slander?

I await your answer, please.


Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 02/03/07 04:14 AM

The Reverend as he calls himself is not. He is a hypnotherapist who has self-annointed himself an expert on things no one alive understands.

Should I respect that? Should you? Should anyone older than 12? Are you a member of his cult? He is as likely to sue anyone as he is to have read the original text of Genesis.

And please don't make me laugh so hard by throwing out phrases such as "libelous slander." I have a few years of law school under my belt and know the law well enough to know where I stand when posting in an open public internet forum operated in Australia and responding to someone in Canada from the United States. No doubt he'll have no problem finding a court of original jurisdiction in Namibia. But before he does he might wish to read:

United States Supreme Court
Rosenbloom v. Metromedia
403 U.S. 29
Argued December 7-8, 1970
Decided June 7, 1971

It is the law of the land.
At least the one in which I live.
And that is the only one that matters.

ROFLOL!
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/03/07 05:20 AM

WHAT A FLURRY OF INTEREST
I have been away from my 'puter for awhile. Well, well!! What an interesting flury of activity there has been. Over 1,700 clicks! WOW!!! This topic has sure stirred up a lot of interest. I wonder why!

Turner, thanks for your input.

In addition, thanks for introducing a new thread title. IMHO, it solves one problem, at least: I will feel free to talk about the philosophy and art of religion without being overly concerned about the science factor. I repeat, thanks!

The new thread may slow things down somewhat, but that's okay with me. I am busy enough as it is with things going on in http://pathwayschurch.ca --a regularly constituted congregation of the national church--the United Church of Canada--to be very concerned about too many other things.

BTW, if at all possible, I like to deal with personhal conflicts on a moral and ethical level, not on a legal one. But thanks for your concern, anyway. I will leave the demeaning comments to those who are good at it.

BTW 2, I find it very difficult to speak badly about people, especially when I don't know what it is that make them feel so miserable that they feel that they have to lash out at others. Sad, isn't it?

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 02/03/07 03:16 PM

Miserable? Hardly!. And I do so love condescension from someone seemingly incapable of engaging in critical thinking on any subject other than how to find a larger flock to fleece while enjoying a tax-free lifestyle subsidized by one's hardworking fellow countrymen.

Still incapable of discussing science in a science forum eh?
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/03/07 10:57 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
...other than how to find a larger flock to fleece while enjoying a tax-free lifestyle subsidized by one's hardworking fellow countrymen.
"Larger flock"? What are you talking about? I use my mouth to--among other things--ask questions, not as a place to keep my feet.

For the record:

Both my wife and I--we are of the same age--have been retired from active duty since 1994. Thank G?D I had the good fortune to marry a successful teacher. It is her pension, not mine, which enables us to live in relative security. Our good health keeps us active helping others. And we are willing to share info on how this is done, too.

BTW, is it a crime to have a successful retirement? Or, because of our good fortune, should we turn ourselves in?

Meanwhile, because of our FAT pension we take the opportunity to do tons of volunteer work. If you would care to join us, we will be happy to tell you how you can do the same--in your area--okay?

Keep in mind: ON OUR INCOME, AND ON THE PROPERTY WHERE WE NOW LIVE, WE PAY ALL PROPER TAXES.

IS THIS CLEAR? IF NOT, LET ME KNOW!!!!!!!

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 02/04/07 01:38 AM

Last time I checked you were claiming to be a man of the cloth. A little research of course showed something different ... a self-anointed hypnotist. The religion I imagine being used to fleece that taxpayers by claiming tax exempt status and to fleece the gullible by leading them to believe you have a DD degree.

For years here at SAGG I have railed against the clergy for their hypocrisy. How I have been blessed to have an example to discuss for years to come.

And still no ability to discuss science, eh?
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 02/04/07 08:31 AM

Blacknad wrote:

"I think it would be better to examine evidence for naturalism vs. supernaturalism."

Not a bad idea, Blacknad. At least we might then know what we are supposed to be looking for. I would be the first to admit that certain things have happened to me that are hard to explain as just coincidence. But is this evidence of the supernatural, or perhaps the power of the human mind? (Sounds new age doesn't it, sorry DA).

By the way I don't actually think religion is necessarily all bad. It has served us well, probably for far longer than the 10,000 years DA Morgan suggests. I've also seen many people change their lives for the better through it. It's just that it occasionally leads to decisions that may not be in humanity's best interest, however we might define that. And of course it is usually used simply to justify politically expedient actions.

But any religion has to accomodate the facts as they are understood at the time. I've yet to hear of any religion that takes it as a given we have evolved over the last few million years from apes, and will continue evolving.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 02/04/07 05:30 PM

TNZ wrote:
"Sounds new age doesn't it, sorry DA)"

Yes but I actually agree with you. I think it is, in fact, the power of the human mind but not the power you may be thinking.

It has been proven, repeatedly, that human memories are not a tape recording of events that can be played back at will. They are easily constructed to match events as one wishes to believe them. Take, for example, the research done with a clown, or whatever, walking across the court during the middle of a basketball game or the law school exercise in which an event is staged in the class and students are asked to testify as to what happened. Those who wish to believe woo-woo feel-good fuzzy nonsense have no problem doing so. That is the way the mind is wired. And memories are constructed to match the predisposition.

I don't think belief systems are all bad but I do think that contemporary religion has far more to apologize for than to smile about. No matter what value it may have had in the past it now serves the purpose of picking pockets and to my feeling is best summed up by a oft repeated quote attributed to H.L. Mencken:

"I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to
mankind--that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking."

Not to mention genocide, war, and a bomb that murdered more than 120 people in Baghdad within the last 24 hours.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 02/05/07 04:07 AM

DA wrote:

"It has been proven, repeatedly, that human memories are not a tape recording of events that can be played back at will. They are easily constructed to match events as one wishes to believe them."

Yes. I was talking about fate with a friend some years ago. Of course it's only fate after the event. If some other option had materialised this option would now be regarded as fate. But where does that leave us in our search for evidence for God?
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 02/14/07 11:19 AM

I would say that the fact that our universe exists, or came into existence, is not necessarily evidence of a creator, or God. Science is science and spirit is spirit and, for me, never the twain shall meet; the spiritual is no way dependent upon scientific knowledge or historical data. I'm a theist, by the way.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/14/07 04:54 PM

Redewenur: You say your are a theist. As there are several kinds of theism, please be more specific. I hope we can have an interesting dialogue, have different opinions and still keep the basic Golden Rule, eh?

I state the GR this way: Because GOD is Spirit and Love; let us love and respect one another as we need to be loved.

Love is not just sentimentality or even friendship. It is the offerring of good will, to self and others, regardless of how we feel.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 02/14/07 10:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Redewenur: You say your are a theist. As there are several kinds of theism, please be more specific.

Please excuse me, Revlgking, for not expanding on my use of the word theist. I stated it simply in order to indicate that, for me, there's more to existence than physics can get a handle on. My theism may be called 'non-specific'. I don't 'belong' to any theistic group.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/15/07 12:22 AM

Originally Posted By: redewenur
[quote=Revlgking]Redewenur: You say your are a theist. As there are several kinds of theism, please be more specific.
Your response: "I don't 'belong' to any theistic group." indicates to me that you are very open to new ideas. So am I. It is always refreshing to meet people with open minds.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 02/15/07 01:13 AM

Well, Revlgking, I'm probably not as open minded as you might think. I don't fall into line with the billions who 'belong' to the worlds major religions. I think they are all wrong in one way or another. My evidence for *** (God, if you prefer), seems to be built into me. I have great respect for the views of people like Richard Dawkins - it seems that, for them, the evidence is not built in, and they refuse to commit intellectual (or spiritual) treason. Good for them.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/20/07 10:10 PM

Rede: Let me clarify that I do not mind anyone knowing that I am Lindsay G. King--anyone is free to google on my name. You will come up with some basic information about me: I am a retired--I prefer being called "re-directed"--minister of the United Church of Canada--more interested in deeds than creeds. I was born in 1930.

In 1953, I became an ordained minister. That is, I was ordained to be a servant, of people. Now, don't laugh! I am serious. Well, I will allow you to laugh, if you agree to explain to me, why?

Currently (since 1994), I am living off a BIG FAT pension equal to less than that of a school teacher, police officer, fireman, etc. During what is left of my life, I plan to enjoy myself writing, counseling (I am involved in three weekly programs) painting and whatever comes along. Let me know if I can be of help.

BTW, feel free to call me LGK, Rev, Linds, whatever.

Do I take it that you DO accept the category of spirituality?
Do you think of yourself as a "spiritual" being?
If so, what do you think, believe, hope will happen when you die, physically?

Meanwhile, keep in mind that when I use the symbol G?D, I am not thinking of G?D as a person, a persn like you and I. If you really want to know what I think, you will have to ask me.

Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 02/23/07 04:03 PM

Yes, I do have a personal, private concept of 'spirituality' and experience it as 'real'.
I do think of myself as a spiritual being, but not in any sense that distinguishes me from any other being in the universe.
One observes that bodies decompose after death. What happens to me after death is of no consequence whatever. My death will not subtract one iota from ***.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/23/07 04:32 PM

Red'E' when UR writes
Originally Posted By: redewenur
Yes,...'spirituality' and experience it as 'real'.
I do think of myself as a spiritual being...one observes that bodies decompose after death. What happens to me after death is of no consequence whatever. My death will not subtract one iota from ***.
What does this '***' symbolize?
It would be interesting to know the story of what led you to this not-very-specific kind of belief. It poses so many questions. For example, I would be interested in knowing what you really mean when you use the word 'spiritual'. How does being spiritual affect our moral and ethical behaviour?
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 02/23/07 04:40 PM

Rev, I think that you can best answer those questions based on your own intuitions.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/23/07 06:33 PM

I prefer chatting, not reading minds. smile
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 02/23/07 07:14 PM

I credit you with persistence, Rev, but it's an inner experience; it's not my mind that I ask you to read, but your own. That's where the answers lie.

In this case, telepathy would be useful but chatting will not.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/23/07 11:07 PM

Red 'E', I enjoy playing fun games, now and then, but I hasten to suggest that I feel that this thread, "Evidence for God", is not the place for such games. smile

G?D, properly defined
Meanwhile, compared with the evidence that there is NO G?D--properly defined--the evidence for G?D, properly defined, abounds.

LET OTHERS THINK FOR THEMSELVES, BUT FOR ME
I prove the reality of G?D for me, as I understand G?D, as follows:

LET THERE BE LIGHT
which Genesis tells us helped bring order out of chaos.
G?D is the light (of many colours); I experience light as a fact.
G?D is sound (many sounds). I feel and enjoy the positive effects of all that beautiful sounds.
G?D is all philosophy. This means that
G?D is all science (knowledge, wisdom and truth).
As such. I experience and enjoy all of them. Philosophy and science lead to
G?D as art.
Thus I enjoy all the creative arts, including the art of living.

Getting practical:
G?D is Spirit (breath), so I breathe.
G?D is the one, powerful and good idea, in which I live, move and have my being.
Thus I think positive and powerful thoughts.
G?D is Love, so I love.

Humbly, I ask atheists: What do you have to offer?
My senses are alert to receive your answers, really.

If you have NO-THING to offer, I admire your FAITH!!!

But I refuse to embrace your faith, until you come up with better evidence, and value, than you now have.

BTW, if your battle is against superstition, false religious faith, I agree to join you.

Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 02/24/07 03:58 AM


With no intention of being insulting ...
G?D is feces, so I defecate.
G?D is stupidity, so I ramble.
G?D is hate, so I hate.

G?D is everything that exists.
Why use a loaded term like G?D to describe what already has a name?
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/24/07 07:23 AM

Thanks for your insight. G?D is also in pain, suffering and crucifixion--redeeming them. Do you write as any kind of theist? Or an atheist? Perhaps you are an agnostic--a word coined by Julian Huxley.

Ask Orthodox Jews why they write G-d. I have. Their answer makes sense to me. The word I coined suits my purposes. I don't know of any law which prohibits this. Others are free to use, or not use it, as they wish. smile
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 02/24/07 07:33 AM

Revlgking said: "ReRed 'E', I enjoy playing fun games, now and then, but I hasten to suggest that I feel that this thread, "Evidence for God", is not the place for such games."

How offensive. Our dialogue is closed.
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 02/24/07 08:13 PM

G?d is everything that exists or G?d is everything that is good? Is everything good? Is this the best of all possible universes?

Do orthodox jews share your view that G?d is everything?

I'm not saying that you can't coin, borrow, or otherwise use whatever term you wish. What I don't understand is what is the value of it? Typically words are used to clarify communication and understanding. I do not see how G?D clarifies either.

I consider myself an agnostic of the atheist persuasion. I believe that the question of god's existence is unanswerable, EXCEPT BY DIRECT REVELATION from that god and even then the person to whom this knowledge is revealed cannot discern his knowledge from insanity. This is one of several reasons I think the entire concept of God is useless. In all my actions I assume there is no god, not because I'm trying to reject a god, but simply because I cannot do otherwise.

Neither my opinion nor yours is actually science.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/24/07 09:36 PM

Thanks TFF! Excellent comments for a dialogue as you ask
Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
G?D is everything that exists? Or G?D is everything that is good? Is everything good? Is this the best of all possible universes?
In my humble opinion (IMHO), yes, this IS the best of all possible universes. In addition, each one of us has a personal share in creating it. IMHO, collectively speaking, we are G?D

You ask, "Do orthodox jews share your view that G?D is everything?"

It is my understanding that Orthodox Jews think of G-d as ineffable--that is, beyond objectification. Orthodox Jews abhor mental idolatry--that is, thinking of G-d in any kind of mental form.

TFF, you ask, wisely
Quote:
I'm not saying that you can't coin, borrow, or otherwise use whatever term you wish. What I don't understand is what is the value of it?
It may not have value to you, yet. But if you have the patience to listen, the word 'G?D' has value to me.

"In what way?" you may ask. Because it expresses a new theological concept, which is as follows:

G?D, for me, symbolizes, and includes, ALL that is objective and subjective--total, universal and all-encompassing.

For me, G?D is not a super or personal being--one called God--separate and apart from persons and the cosmos. The physical cosmos, including us personal beings, has its being within G?D--the eternal and the infinite--which is beyond anything I can comprehend.

You write
Quote:
Typically, words are used to clarify communication and understanding. I do not see how G?D clarifies either.
If you are willing to keep an open mind, give me time to explain what I really mean.

Thanks for honestly stating
Quote:
I consider myself an agnostic, of the atheist persuasion. I believe that the question of god's existence is unanswerable, EXCEPT BY DIRECT REVELATION, from that god, and even then the person to whom this knowledge is revealed cannot discern his knowledge from insanity.

This is one of several reasons I think the entire concept of God is useless. In all my actions I assume there is no god--not because I'm trying to reject a god--but simply because I cannot do otherwise.

Neither my opinion nor yours is actually science.
I agree. However, I want to say more in answer to your sincere comments.

Keep in mind that I write as one who was an agnostic, if not an atheist. Also, keep in mind that I am not talking about A god, or even A god called God.

G?D is not a being of any kind
G?D is the symbol I use to designate all that we know and experience, with the help of philosophy, science, and the arts, in the now. I also use it to designate all that we hope to know as we process into the future. I do not believe in a God of dogma and ritual. I experience G?D in toto, now, in all that I morally and ethically do.

G?D is totally, and absolutely, beyond all forms of sectarianism.

As the Gospel of St. John puts it: God is Spirit; God is Love, NOW.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/24/07 11:09 PM

BTW, it is a pleasure to dialogue with an atheist who I perceive to be one who is moral, ethical, loving and more interested in finding that which is truly of social value than in being self-righteously correct.

Sure I want to be free to express what I believe, at this point. But Feel free to correct me if I try to impose my beliefs on you or others.
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 02/25/07 05:33 AM

G?d is all that we know and experience, but you seem to apply it to only the good things, e.g. "God is love." Is God also hate? Is god suffering?
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 02/25/07 08:03 AM

Lindsay you write:

"LET THERE BE LIGHT
which Genesis tells us helped bring order out of chaos."

Now this tells me that your theology is fundamentally Christian. Your God is Old testament. You may have studied other religions but you have trouble escaping your upbringing, as we all do.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/25/07 02:16 PM

Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
G?d is all that we know and experience, but you seem to apply it to only the good things, e.g. "God is love." Is God also hate? Is god suffering?
Think of a doughnut. Without the hole there is no doughnut; but I focus on the food, not the hole. smile

G?D in us, is that which enables us to transform the holes of hatred into loving food; that which helps us redeem suffering.

I prefer not to concretize the concept of G?D at all, by simply saying G?D is...whatever makes for good--from which we get our word God. My special word, G?D, helps me with this.

BTW, when we say "goodbye" it means, "God be with you". "Adieu" in French=to God. It is "adeo" in Italian, "adeos" in Spanish. The Spanish often say, "Via con Deos"=go with God.

Ask a fundamentalist Christian if he actually thinks of God as a white human-like being with human-like limbs and organs. Most will say, "No". Then they will go on to talk about the mystery of the personhood of God.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/25/07 06:20 PM

Quote:
Now this tells me that your theology is fundamentally Christian. Your God is Old testament. You may have studied other religions but you have trouble escaping your upbringing, as we all do." Terry
Terry, Genesis, is part of the Jewish scriptures. I respectfully use it as such. When I preached, regularly, I often quoted from outside the Bible. I make no conscious attempt to escape...I do make an attempt to grow. This is why I like using new terms, like G?D.
Posted by: Wolfman

Re: Evidence for God - 02/25/07 09:41 PM

Many years ago I saw Sufi Dervishes spinning in the Grand Bazaar in Tehran. I later learned that this was a form of meditation, that mild anoxia brought on by the physical exhaustion of the spinning caused them to have "visions". Intigued, I approached a cult of Sufis in a remote area of British Columbia. I filled in all the paperwork needed to join the cult, but was rejected. I clearly remember the Guru saying, "Sorry, Wolfman, but you just don't have enough Worldly Wealth" to renounce."
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 02/26/07 03:38 AM

Wolfman. I wonder if you have hit on something there?
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 02/26/07 08:30 PM

Revlgking, I've reconsidered your position, and can understand how it may occur that you take my posts for a foolish game. Since I cannot think of anything else to contribute that might not be misconstrued as game-playing, here's a quote from Freeman Dyson that comes as close as I can find to my own view. It may cast some light on my earlier comments:

"I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension..."

Freeman Dyson, May 16, 2000
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 02/27/07 03:00 AM

(Unable to edit the above, hence second post)

Revlgking, I choose my words carefully through respect for your advanced age, but please make an effort to temper your overbearing condescension and unsubtle self-glorification. Many of your posted remarks are incompatible with your implied claims of righteousness.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/27/07 01:45 PM

I find it difficult to understand why anyone would waste their time even wanting to dialogue with others who they feel are filled with "overbearing condescension and unsubtle self-glorification" and whose "posted remarks are incompatible with (their) implied claims of righteousness".

Because I choose never to offend people, deliberately, I am always more than willing to withdraw any "offensive" remarks, once I know what they are, and if there is a general consensus that such is the case--once they are pointed out to me.

Or, If there is general consensus that my presence is "offensive", I can always simply move on and dialogue with those who find my comments relatively okay. I am happily involved in other sites--I even do some moderating at Brainmeta. The Net is filled with such opportunities. I am easy smile smile .
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/27/07 01:57 PM

BTW, I just took a peak. Judging by the posts, 221 and the hits, 2821 This is a very popular thread. So is the one on "philosophy of Religion"--a theme which is very popular in other forums.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 02/28/07 09:22 AM

Rev. Let's get back to the topic: Evidence for God. The only evidence anyone has offered so far relies totally on the theory of negativity: The world could not have developed the complexity it displays if some sort of god hadn't created it.

As evidence against the existence of an omnipotent god we could point to the many conflicting ideas of what god actually is. In fact there are so many different ideas that wars are fought between groups of people who all believe they have the support of this god. If anyone had any actual evidence surely we wouldn't have that problem, unless god is one hell of a bloodthirsty critter and we are simply sacrificing to it.
Posted by: RicS

Re: Evidence for God - 02/28/07 01:35 PM

G'day Revigking,

I'm interested in why you think this is the best of all possible universes. From a human perspective, this universe is a cruel, terrible place.

Humans started out on earth having a brutal, short and painful life. Civilization started up with the end of the last glaciation and life really started to suck. Farming around the Mediterranean involved mind numbing, hard work for much more hours than a hunter gatherer needed to sustain life. Children worked just as hard and life was short and close to worthless. Most children didn't make it to adulthood and died of diseases that caused terrible pain and anguish for those that had to stand by and could do nothing much but provide opium, if it was available in their little patch.

As we "progressed", the vast majority of humans lived worst than slaves. Our idea of childhood and children actually didn't even start until a bit more than a 100 years ago. Children, where there to work or for sexual gratification when old enough. Woman were treated appallingly.

On top of all this we have religious obligations for the people, that imposed terrible conditions (and in some cases still do) and wars, the first recorded major being almost 5,000 years ago. Torture, rape, brutilisation was commonplace in all societies until quite recently for western civilisation and is still pretty bad for probably half the world.

You don't have to go back even in the US more than a few years, to find appalling conditions for a very large number of citizens, whether they be black, hispanic or poor white. But the conditions for black citizens has been appalling. I really wonder how the US can be so proud of a nation that treasures fairness, yet treated so many people so badly systematically.

Go back to the 60s in the US and the conditions for women were not at all good. Statistically if you were a woman you had a better than 24% chance of being raped and a much higher chance of being the subject to violence, with pretty much no chance of obtaining any justice or protection.

Go back 100 years and those that worked in the Industrial revolution lived so badly it is quite difficult to image. Minors that worked 14 hour days and died of lung diseases that killed you horribly. Women that carted the coal for their men while popping out babies, with a good chance of dying in childbirth or the child dying. Children that were put to work at six or seven and worked pretty much the whole time they were awake.

Even today four million or so people die each year from malaria, a preventable disease and untold millions more die agonising death from AIDs.

This is not to say that humans cannot show great compassion for others, love that transends the tragedies of life or that I don't believe that the average person is more good than bad, just that I couldn't in my wildest dreams suggest we live in the best possible of universes. It does seem to be improving, I must admit for humans but the chances that it will last, probably aren't all that high. At some point a glaciation is likely to occur or we will run out of natural resources or mass starvation is likely to occur simply because of the massively stupid explosion in population that is still going to bulge up to about 10 or 12 billion before the population even has a remote chance of plateauing.

Richard
Posted by: RicS

Re: Evidence for God *DELETED* - 02/28/07 01:35 PM

Post deleted by Amaranth Rose II
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/28/07 09:38 PM

Richard, to eliminate the double post--this software IS a bit nutty--just go back to edit and delete one of your posts. Okay? Try it, and see if works for you.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 02/28/07 10:10 PM

Richard, you make some very realistic and helpful comments.

Keep in mind that, while I admit that I could be wrong, I do not accept that there is an objective SUPER being called "God" who operates separate and from us who does things to and for us.

Here is what I meant by my comment:
Physically speaking, G?D is gravity, which acts in and through us--for good or ill.
Mentally speaking, G?D is information, knowledge, which, also, works for good or ill, in and through us.
Spiritually speaking, G?D is the power we have to will, or
to choose. It too works for good or ill.

On the whole, we have the world you describe because WE--collectively speaking--have chosen it.

If we want something different, it is up to US to make that choice.

G?D works, in and through US.
MORE ON THIS, LATER.


Posted by: Turner

Re: Evidence for God - 03/01/07 01:23 AM

This is my first contribution to this thread. Let me make it clear that my sister and I were raised by our parents take a critical analytical approach to all religion.

I hasten to add that they are still very much involved in the church. However, it is not the kind of church led by clergy who say: You must not ask questions; you are here to obey, pray and pay.

Let me see If I can understand what you are saying, RevLGK: I understand that you think of God--you say G?D--as having a physical, mental and spiritual components all rolled into one. I think you are on to something that makes sense to me. Please give us more details of your unique way of thinking.
Posted by: Wolfman

Re: Evidence for God - 03/01/07 02:39 AM

Hold it, Turner; there's something wrong with the good Reverend's Keyboard. He means to punch in "G$D".
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/01/07 12:01 PM

Good idea, Wolfman. could I use it when I write in the thread on economics? smile G?D is all about us having all the wealth we need. Remember, if you want to be a Sufi you will need enough to matter, right?
BTW, my only daughter-in-law is a Sufi Muslim.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 03/03/07 08:05 PM

RicS, a few comments ago, "From a human perspective, this universe is a cruel, terrible place."
I would agree with that, as well as his explanation that he wrote.
from the narrow view of man, life would seem unfair, and cruel. with the many evils in this world, our frequent failings and stumblings. this is because sin has entered this frail and desolate world. yet, through the midst of this storm, there is hope. light is available to those who seek it. and it is available to all who accept it. this can come through writing, playing golf, or anything one does that sustains him in his life. it might be his lively friends, or -in my case- religion. just know that though the skies are grey, the blue strokes have yet to be painted. excuse me for my tanget, looking at where my post has gone.
in that sense, religion could be good for an individual, just as science would help another. by saying that, i am somewhat of a universalist. but it is not for those who do not accept religion to condemn others who do. i yet again have tangented.
i go through my day thinking, "Wow, look at the handiwork of the Creator," or, "What a wonder this is, that of my existence!" while another says, "Wow, look at how our race has progressed through the ages!"
for that reason, i put my faith in a God. A loving, compassionate, omnipotent God, which is a beacon of light to me in this dark life.

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/03/07 11:22 PM

Tim wrote:
"this is because sin has entered this frail and desolate world"

Sin? What sin? There is no sin I've ever encountered.
Desolate? I don't see any desolation.

All I see is people making excuses and I'd suggest that they stop looking for excuses, stop looking for scapegoats, and stop looking for someone else to blame. Shoulder your share of the responsibility and do something about it.

Tim wrote:
i go through my day thinking, "Wow, look at the handiwork of the Creator"

"The Creat?r" gave you nipples. Expecting your to breast-feed children some day?

Funny though: I go through my day wondering how so many people, after so much education, and so many thousands of years of history, can still believe in the invisible purple rhin?cer?s.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/03/07 11:38 PM

KEEP IN MIND: My response is in the blue colour.
Originally Posted By: Tim
RicS, a few comments ago, "From a human perspective, this universe is a cruel, terrible place."

Thanks for joining the dialogue, Tim. My response will be in blue, okay. In my opinion, this is what it is, a dialogue, it is not a debate. I am not interested in proving you wrong; I simply want to understand you and your point of view, okay?

You go on to say: "I would agree with that, as well as his explanation that he wrote.

From the narrow view of man, life would seem unfair, and cruel. with the many evils in this world, our frequent failings and stumblings.

this is because sin has entered this frail and desolate world.

What do you mean by, SIN?

I presume that you believe that, from the beginning,"God" has been in control of all things, right? If so, does this mean that "He" allowed SIN to happen?


yet, through the midst of this storm, there is hope. Light is available to those who seek it. and it is available to all who accept it.

this can come through writing, playing golf, or anything one does that sustains him in his life. it might be his lively friends, or -in my case- religion.

Just know that though the skies are grey, the blue strokes have yet to be painted. excuse me for my tangent, looking at where my post has gone.

in that sense, religion could be good for an individual, just as science would help another. by saying that, i am somewhat of a universalist.

You are a universalist? WOW! So am I. INteresting. Let us expand on what this means, okay?

But it is not for those who do not accept religion to condemn others who do. i yet again have tangented.

What do you mean, RELIGION? Please explain.

Don't worry! So are we all often confused.


i go through my day thinking, "Wow, look at the handiwork of the Creator," or, "What a wonder this is, that of my existence!" while another says, "Wow, look at how our race has progressed through the ages!"


for that reason, i put my faith in a God. A loving, compassionate, omnipotent God, which is a beacon of light to me in this dark life.


Having read your valuable posts, which contain many ideas, I ask: In what way can we demonstrate to skeptics that "God" is truly omnipotent, loving, compassionate and a beacon of light in a dark world?

Keep in mind: About all this, I have many questions, okay? How do you feel about my signature?



Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 03/04/07 06:40 AM

'In what way can we demonstrate to skeptics that "God" is truly omnipotent, loving, compassionate and a beacon of light in a dark world? '

I see the chair; I have touched the chair; I have heard the chair as it slid across the room; I have smelt the varnish on it. I know this chair to exist. This chair I call G?D. This god-chair is omnipotent and compassionate.

The problem continues: you start with a feeble redefinition of a word that has a lot of baggage and then - without any reason other than it 'feels good' - you begin to borrow qualities of the more common definition of the word. You use the baggage.

That you claim that you do not believe in a personal god is utterly irrelevant to the point. That you don't believe in a god in a beard and sandals is irrelevant. That you reject other religions is irrelevant. What is relevant to the atheist, and what coincidentally is the reason a clear-thinking atheist will not be convinced by your argument, despite your best intentions, is that what you are saying is nonsensical.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/04/07 07:38 AM

TFF: I have told you the kind of concept of G?D in which I do believe and which gives meaning and purpose to my life--which, BTW is similar to that of Einstein, Sagan and many others.
BTW, I believe the G?D is personal, IN persons, not as a separate being all by "himself"--which is what Jesus meant in John 17:20 and following--when he said, "That all (people) may be one..." Do you own a Bible? John 10:34 is very interesting: Jesus said, "I have said you are gods..."

The infinite and eternal COSMOS is very real to me; and it makes a lot of sense, to me. We can all use our senses to experience it. Or do you deny that this is possible? If you are a nihilist just say so. That is your right.

Now, tell me the kind of god, God, whatever, in which you do NOT believe. What, for you, is the value, meaning and purpose of your life? For you, does all existence end with the end of your existence?

BTW, you have every right to be an atheist. If this helps you to be a happy, moral, ethical, of service to others and a law-abiding human being, good on you!
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 03/04/07 08:34 AM

Um ... I'm pretty sure Sagan was an atheist. It's also not clear to me that Einstein believed in any sort of God that you are advocating.

An eternal Cosmos makes a lot of sense to a lot of people - that's not what you're talking about. You're taking cosmos and imputing properties to it that there is no reason to believe it has. Moreover, btw, it's important to distinguish the idea of something being 'possible' from it being 'likely.'

Everyone, including me, has whatever purpose to their life that they ascribe to it. In short, I agree with Spinoza (a theist with whom Einstein agreed) who said, 'to be what we are and to become what we are capable of becoming is the only end of life.' It's a non sequitur to insinuate that I think the world ends with my existence. No idea how that popped into the discussion.

We're not talking about what rights people have. People have no control over what they believe. Only what they assert. The only question is whether a person professes those beliefs which he actually holds. So I'm not saying you don't have the right to believe that martian mole-men will revive me after I am dead and take me to Nirvana.

I'm answering a question that you asked, namely how can you convince atheists? The answer is - think clearly, write clearly and cogently, and make sense. "Well isn't that nice!" and "Love is wonderful!" aren't arguments.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/04/07 01:56 PM

Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
Um ... I'm pretty sure Sagan was an atheist. It's also not clear to me that Einstein believed in any sort of God that you are advocating.


It seems to me that real communication is always a challenge, isn't it. This is the value of sincere dialogue; it helps to create consensus.

PRAYER, FOR ME, BEGINS WITH AN INTERNAL DIALOGUE
IT IS A KIND OF PNEUMA-PSYCHO-CYBERNETIC ACTIVITY
I am continually involved in having an internal dialogue with the Spirit within myself.
It is the way I "pray".
I begin by asking myself questions.
Then I set goals as to what I need to do with my life;
the circumstanceS in which I find myself.
Then I visualize that which I would like to accomplish;
that which I would like to see happen;
that which helps the situation and harms no one.

Php Code:
An eternal Cosmos makes a lot of sense to a lot of people - that's not what you're talking about. 
How do you know what I am really thinking until you ask me?

Code:
You're taking cosmos and imputing properties to it that there is no reason to believe it has. Moreover, btw, it's important to distinguish the idea of something being 'possible' from it being 'likely.'
IMHO, the Cosmos has a lot of properties about which I am learning more and more each day. I have no problem with the term 'agnostic'. I am very agnostic about many things. It is possible that there are all kinds of God-like beings scattered throughout the billions of galaxies.
(BTW, I just not knowing how they looked, I just tried some of the features of the UBB code. Interesting.)

You write
Quote:
Everyone, including me, has whatever purpose to their life that they ascribe to it. In short, I agree with Spinoza (a theist with whom Einstein agreed) who said, 'to be what we are and to become what we are capable of becoming is the only end of life.'
I love much of the teachings of Spinoza, who, BTW, was condemned by his fellow Jews, in Amsterdam, as a heretic and atheist.

Quote:
It's a non sequitur to insinuate that I think the world ends with my existence. No idea how that popped into the discussion.
This illustrates a point I made above. I should have asked you questions. Now, do you believe that it is rational to think that life, in one form or another, is eternal?

Quote:
We're not talking about what rights people have. People have no control over what they believe.
I feel that I do have some control. I know that I have changed my beliefs, deliberately, over the decades. This is one of the reasons I have had to come up with new ways of writing them down.

G?D is not the same as god, or God
For example, when I write my special word for 'god' as G?D I can give it the baggage I imagine. Orthodox Jews do the same when they write G-d.

Quote:
Only what they assert. The only question is whether a person professes those beliefs which he actually holds. So I'm not saying you don't have the right to believe that martian mole-men will revive me after I am dead and take me to Nirvana.
Thank you for making this clear. Now you tell us what you would like to see happen, after you are dead.

Quote:
I'm answering a question that you asked, namely how can you convince atheists? The answer is - think clearly, write clearly and cogently, and make sense. "Well isn't that nice!" and "Love is wonderful!" aren't arguments.
Let me be clear: I do not want to convince atheists--and, I presume, not all atheists think alike--of
anything. I want to know what they believe, or don't believe. And certainly I want atheists to stop twisting the sincerely held beliefs of believers so as to ridicule them for their sincerely held beliefs. BTW, I have never believed in "Martian mole-men". smile
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 03/04/07 08:05 PM


"Now, do you believe that it is rational to think that life, in one form or another, is eternal?"

The question is ambiguous. Does it mean a single life, or life in general? The answer to both interpretations I immediately see is, "No."

" I feel that I do have some control. I know that I have changed my beliefs, deliberately, over the decades. This is one of the reasons I have had to come up with new ways of writing them down. "

I suspect you have not analyzed the situation correctly. What I think that you had a belief, but reality perhaps made you question that belief. The fact that you are curious made you more open to other ideas. But the fundamental act of changing your belief was not voluntary. The new belief either made sense to you or it did not.

If you don't believe in Martian mole-men, then I'll never make it to Nirvana.

I do not believe that I am twisting the sincerely held beliefs of believers. To some extent, I'm sure I do ridicule on occasion, but I don't think I've ridiculed you on here. I've teased you a little and I've prodded you.

Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/04/07 10:22 PM

With seven questions, GORDON SINCLAIR IN CHURCH, BUT DISBELIEF STILL FIRM This headline appeared in the TORONTO STAR, Monday, April 13, 1964.

In 1964, I was 34. That was 43 years ago. I am now 77. Imagine!!!. I find it hard to believe: I AM 77. WOW! 77. My mother died when she was just 55; my father when he was 64.
I wonder: Where are they now? Where are the deceased members of your family? Ever the philosopher, I wonder?

At the time, Gordon Sinclair was a well-known, journalist, broadcaster, skeptic and professed-non Christian. He was known across Canada.

Later, because of a pro-American editorial he did--well done, BTW--he became a well-known darling in the USA, for more that 15 minutes.

The following Wednesday, I wrote to Gordon. I offered him a positive criticism of his point of view. Because I did not attack him, he and I kept writing each other, for over a year. For me, it was a great learning experience in the art of dialogue.

We became friends. After this, he was instrumental in getting me on several media programs.

Sometime later, I was the member of a CTV (across Canada) panel with him which was broadcast, nationally.

On that program he said to me: "Rev. King, as I have told you in conversations with you: I believe that death is the end of life...That's it. After death, there is just nothing else for all members of the human race. When you're dead, you're dead, period!"

I responded as follows:

"Gordon, you know, If that is what you BELIEVE, you could be right. However, if you ARE right, you will never have the opportunity to kidd me about my belief.

However, If I am right, think of the fun I am going to have with you..." smile

Gordon got the point. Graciously, and broke out into loud laughter. So did the panel, and the audience. We all had fun.

If you are interested, in my next post I will reveal Gordon's
SEVEN QUESTIONS, okay?


Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 03/04/07 10:32 PM

I forgot, you wrote, "I do not want to convince atheists"

I was confused in this because previously you had written "In what way can we demonstrate to skeptics that "God" is truly omnipotent, loving, compassionate and a beacon of light in a dark world? "

Admittedly "demonstrate" and "convince" are not the same words, but as "demonstrate" can mean "show" or "prove" ... if you have a proof that the other side accepts as sound, you are will probably convince them. It's seems a bit like verbal trickery to cavil given the context.

Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 03/05/07 02:12 AM

Regarding Revlgking directed towards me:
SIN: Sin can refer to a broad category. It is both conscious and sub-conscious, I think. Suffering is brought forth by it. And all are under its spell. It is why we are imperfect beings. I will not say more due to moral and ethical debates that would open from my answer, for this, in fact, this is a scientific discussion.

Yes, I do believe that God is sovereign over His creation. He did allow sin, yes, although not in that definition. For His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts, as it says. There were two prominentpeople in history that tried to distance the Creator from His creation: John Milton, the writer of Paradise Lost, and Darwin (there are obviously others). In fact, Darwin brought aboard a copy of Paradise Lost aboard the HMS Beagle, on his journey to the Galapagos (Cornelius Hunter; Darwin?s God, I forget the page). They both picture a Creator independent of His creation, therefore not bringing the guilt of this degraded society upon Him; although in two different ways.
Again, my opinion is that He let sin enter, out of necessity. True love requires a choice. By giving them a temporary -this life is barely a blink on the geological clock- pain and suffering, they will eventually inherit an eternal world of blamelessness.

I said that I am somewhat of a universalist. In that different people would find different ways of peace. Now I would not agree w/ the Comparative Religions 101 teacher on this, but I am somewhat of one. Similar to C.S. Lewis, where in the Last Battle, he records Aslan coming to a man named Emereth (or is it Emeth, I forget exactly), who worshipped Tash, who was his culture?s god (Tash turned out to be similar to the Devil). Because Emerth never knew Aslan, but though that Tash was the true god, Aslan let him enter the doorway, into the ?heaven? of Narnia. Now do I think that all religions lead to God? No, but some people who aren?t Christians, as well as all denominations could. Through that, I am somewhat of a universalist, but not too much of one.

Religion; by that I mean people who believe that there is a God, and that He is in control of their lives. Right off the bat, I would consider some ?religions? religions. If those who believe in God do, then they should not be criticized of believing false information, and that ?there is no God!? (yes, I know that not all evolutionist are atheists, but for those who are). Most -but not all, mind you- religious people live moral and ethical lives. (Although you do hear of tele-evangelists living posh lifestyles, and priests accused of embalmment, but that is a select few, what you don?t hear about in the news is those who don?t, which far outnumber them). For me, religion sustains me, and without it, I would probably be living an immoral life; that is the truth, because I would have no basis for my life.

God is omnipotent, and omnipresent, and all-loving. There is probably no ?scientific? way to prove that. The only way I would think such a thing, is because
1. I find no other way (which in itself is not a valid argument)
2. That is what my heart tells me (again, not a valid argument)
3. I know that this world is but a temporal place
4. When I worship my God, I find comfort (again, not a rational argument)
5. He has been good to me, even given me the opportunity to share His actions to you
6. Morally, it would seem plausible.
7. It creates a natural order to this universe. He controls everything, form the ticking of the clock, to flight 93?s trajectory.
8. How else would I be here, without Someone to create me? For we know that every building has a builder, but the builder of all things is God (Hebrews 3, I think)
9. Through this, I know that my Redeemer lives
10. If the universe has no meaning, then why would we think that we could? (think hard about that; at first glance, that would seem to make no sense whatsoever)
11. What keeps every atom in line and in place?
12. Rationally, it is the only logical choice
I could probably name 100, but I have to write a Spanish essay right now, so I have to cut it short. My reasoning is of rationally and irrationaly, there would be a Creator.
Posted by: Thinker

Re: Evidence for God - 03/05/07 02:52 AM

Tim,


Some of those would put up that a good argument. One other i would like to add -or rather, put up as an idea- is, where did the idea of a God(s) come from?
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/05/07 03:29 AM

Thinker. My guess would be the idea of gods developed during the early Upper Paleoloithic as as the improved hunting technology spread and large animals died out. It became advantageous to combine into larger groups than just small family bands. In other words it helped organise society. Still used for that purpose, or to influence large elements in society to support particular political programs.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/05/07 04:14 AM

Tim wrote:
"Sin can refer to a broad category. It is both conscious and sub-conscious, I think. Suffering is brought forth by it. And all are under its spell. It is why we are imperfect beings."

To quote H.L. Mencken "Morality is the theory that every human act must either be right or wrong, and that 99% of them are wrong."

If you are an adult, or hope to soon be one, you need to get over blaming things on the devil, or evil, or the number 666, or your subconscious, or the inhalation of bad vapours.

To quote Hypatia: "Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child mind accepts and believes them, and only through great pain and perhaps tragedy
can he be in after years relieved of them. In fact, men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth --- often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you cannot get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable."

If you have personal demons see a psychologist or your family physician. If you are perfectly normal then it is time to give up the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/05/07 04:30 AM

Tim, DA M's post makes several good points. Think about them, deeply.

The following site has a lot of information about the origins of religion. Take a look:
http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_theory1.htm

The main page is at http://www.religioustolerance.org/aboutus.htm

BTW, simply doing a google using the topic "origin of religions" brings up a ton of information.

Good luck with your studies.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 03/05/07 05:00 AM

did i ever blame "the devil, or evil, or the number 666, or your subconscious, or the inhalation of bad vapours"? as DAM thinks I did? i must not have made myself clear.
what i was saying, was that it is each and every one of our faults. man cannot be expected to make right choices all the time. he fails. we all do; have you ever failed in your life? made a bad desiscion? thats what i thought. we are all under the curse, and are in a fallen -and sad- state. DA's quote by Mencken, i agree 100% with (or is it 99?).
i will take this chance, to ask all of you here:
1. DO YOU BELEIVE IN A GOD?
2. IF YOU DO, IS HE OMNIPOTENT? OMNIPRESENT? ETC.?
3. IF YOU DONT, THEN WHY?
4. IF YOU ARE NOT SURE, THEN WHAT WOULD CONVINCE YOU?
5. GOD LONGS FOR HIS CHILDREN TO COME BACK TO HIM, LAY DOWN THEIR PRIDE, AND BECOME HIS PRODIGAL SONS, AND TASTE OF HIS GOODNESS; FOR WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN CREATED FOR, IS TO WORSHIP HIM
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/05/07 05:39 AM

Tim ( know I should ignore this but here goes)

In answer to (1)....NO.

So the other questions not relevant.

Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/05/07 05:42 AM

Tim: Perhaps you have noticed? I write "G?D" as my translation of the Hebrew Elohim, which, BTW, is the plural form. The singular is Eloh (The highest Power). The Arabic form is Allah. The Greek form is Theos (the highest idea). Every language has it own form. Our word is related to the German, Gott.

Modern Orthodox Jews use G-d. It is my opinion that our word "God"--or as I prefer G?D--simply means the "highest good". For example, "goodbye" is Old English. It is a contraction of "God be with you". The French say adieu--to God. The Spanish say adeos--also via con deos, go with God.

Now, let me ask you: How do you conceive of God.
Do you think of God as an objective being?
Do you think of Him as a male, human-like being with eyes, ears, arms,legs and bodily organs like us human beings? One who lives in a certain place in outer space?

MY BELIEF, AS BEST AS I CAN STATE IT IS AS FOLLOWS
I believe in G?D as--the one, powerful and highest good idea, which is total, universal and all-encompassing, beyond my mind to conceive in any objective form. G?D, for me, is not confined to space, time or gravity. In my humble opinion, G?D IS space, time and gravity--physically speaking.

Like orthodox Jews, I refuse to objectify G?D, mentally, because that, for me, means making of G?D an idol, for bidden in Deuteronomy and Exodus. How do you respond to this comment?

Interestingly, the Hebrew word for "God" in Genesis 2:4, which we translate "Lord God" is not Elohim, it is Yahweh, which literally means, I AM WHO I AM AND WHO WILL BE. It is the essence of the verb "to Be"

To Orthodox Jews, it is a mysterious concept which they refuse to pronounce, to write and to concretize.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/05/07 08:29 AM

From the site on origins of religion mentioned by the Rev:

"However there is considerable historical evidence from ancient times that religions in the area from India to the Middle East shared many religious beliefs."

The reason for this is mind-numbingly obvious. Religions evolve like everything else. They are human constructs and ideas move around, just like genes. For example Buddha and Pythagoras were virtually contemporaries. The connection was presumably via the Persian Empire. They lived at opposite ends. That there are two completely different words for god in the Old Testament shows that the Hebrew religion was itself a hybrid.

Anyway, I stand by my posting earlier regarding the origin of religion in the early Upper Paleolithic. It evolved to explain the unknown and a priesthood that could make a comfortable living by hoodwinking the population was a natural development. Religions needn't have anything to do with reality. In fact usually the less so the better. All the easier for the priesthood to claim the single route of communication to whatever higher power they have convinced the population to believe in.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/05/07 01:39 PM

Terry, I presume that you and I can agree that people who philosophize about the nature and value of religion--include me in as one of them, and, I assume, you too--also evolve.

I like the cliches about the dougnut and the glass that is half full of water: Some of us evolve to pay attention to the delicious doughnut. We enjoy its taste treat and that we have a half glass of water to wash it down; others concentrate on the hole and the half-empty glass. What is the focus of your attention? smile

BTW, I just remembered another metaphor for G?D: THE SOURCE.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Source_(novel)
http://www.hobotraveler.com/103br_thesource.shtml
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/05/07 06:38 PM

Tim asks:
"did i ever blame "the devil, or evil, or the number 666, or your subconscious, or the inhalation of bad vapours"? as DAM thinks I did?"

Yes you did. You believe in things for which you've not a shred of supporting evidence. That is precisely the same thing.

Whether you cloak it as a deity or via some contrivance such as "?" it is still the same thing. They are all just forms of the invisible purple rhinoceros.

There is no such thing as evil.
There are only things you don't like.
Time to get over it and accept the universe as it is.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 03/06/07 03:19 AM

DAM writes, "There is no such thing as evil."
That is the farthest thing from the truth that i have ever heard!
Yes, there is such thing as evil: moral evil.
There are many philosophers who would agree with me, now of course there are many who dont, including Nietszhe (or however his name is spelt)
and of course i accept the universe as how it is: under the hand of the Creator and divine Watchmaker.
let me ask you this:
have you ever done something that you knew was wrong? but did it anyways? how did you feel after-wards? did you feel something telling you not to do it, but didnt listen? (like jimmity cricket). that is your conscious. why would you have such a thing if you are a far-distant relative to a rat? (very far off, but nevertheless related in some way, as evolutionists would beleive, unless that is they beleive in seperate macro-evolution trees, i can never keep up with such things)
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/06/07 04:02 AM

Tim, DA said, "There is no such thing as evil". In that sentence, the word 'evil' is a noun. I think, therefore, that DA denies the existence of evil - as a noun - in the sense it being a cosmic force (do correct me if I'm wrong, DA). The use of ?evil? as an adjective is, of course, merely synonymous with 'morally bad', 'wicked' or ?malicious?. I would suggest that the word does, however, tend to confer a religious context, and is probably used far more commonly by those who are religious than by those who aren't, the latter very often preferring to use an alternative word.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/06/07 04:57 AM

The existence of EVIL makes as much sense as going to war against an an emotion ie TERROR.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/06/07 04:00 PM

TIM, ABOUT NIETZSCHE
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Nietzsche
BTW, fellow posters, for the next 16 days, my wife an I will be on a vacation in sunny and warm (we hope) Florida. Today, it is sunny in Toronto, but would you believe the temperature was -32 C. That is below zero on the old F scale. For March, that is very low.

TREAT EACH OTHER WITH TLC WHILE I AM AWAY, OKAY? smile

TIM, you did not answer my question about how you conceptualize God. For example, how would you explain the concept of God to children who are still in the stage where they still believe that Santa Claus is a real person?

Interestingly, Nietzsche was the son of an Evangelical Christian minister. So were others of his family. For example, his grandparent and uncles.

Also, Charles Darwin took his only degree, in theology, from Cambridge. He actually intended to be a minister. He, too, came from a family with lots of clergy in it. His grandfather was a well respected minister and intellect.
I don't think that Darwin ever said that he was an atheist, but he sure came to quite a different view than the literal stories--there are two--in the Bible. He probably also had a different concept of God.

If God is in personal control of all things, why would he arrange things as just stated?

How come much of the world is under the control of those who are either stupid, or outright evil--greedy, oppressive and power hungry?

USING MY FREE WILL
Doing sincere experiments in prayer, I have asked God, more than once, "Reveal to me, O God, how you would like all believers, like me, to think of you?" I also used and still practice meditation.

I heard no real answer telling me to go back to the traditional way.

All I get is the intuition to search deeper and to be open to progressive possibilities such as are found in: http://www.progressivechristianity.ca/

It was after some deep meditation that I discovered progressinve thinkers like Bisop John Shelby Spong, former Dominican priest Matthew Fox, etc. We now have a church-- http://www.pathwayschurch.ca --
in my area.
It follows this progressive model.
My mediations also led me to speak of God as I do in my signature. How come?

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/06/07 10:29 PM

Philosophy is as useful to humanity as feathers on a fish. I personally enjoy philosophy as an intellectual exercise but is a discussion about nothing of substance. Were it otherwise ... one could test a correct philosophy from an incorrect one. And at least one philosophical issue would have been resolved completely as has been the melting point of water or the question of how far away the moon is.

Tim, Ellis is correct as is red, there is no such thing as evil: Let me prove it to you.

Is it evil to lie? Always?
Is it evil to kill someone? Always?
Is it evil to steal something? Always?

And the answer is clearly, unless you are younger than 13 or brainwashed, not always.

So what we lie about, who we kill, and when and what we steal is situational. Evil is truly ONLY in the eye of the beholder and thus, objectively, does not exist.

What is evil to me, Darfur, is clearly not evil to the rulers of the Sudan. What is evil to me, pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, is clearly not evil to Exxon Mobil. What is evil to me, self-serving arrogant condescending posters at SAGG, is clearly not evil to them. And what is evil to me, preachers and self-annointed religious zealots (of any persuasion) brainwashing children, is clearly not evil to the majority of people on this planet.

Again, Tim, evil does not exist.

So now, no doubt, you think me as evil as I think the people who have brain washed you about religion. Consider that for a moment.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/07/07 04:25 AM

Tim wrote:

"Yes, there is such thing as evil:"

Now, presuming you are refering to evil in the sense Redewenur suggested you were, we can actually easily find the origin of the concept. The idea there were two conflicting supernatural forces begins, as far as we know, with the Zoroastrians. They believed the forces "Good" (light and the truth) and "Evil" (darkness and the lie) were headed for a great final battle.
The idea was carried by King Cyrus into Babylon and from there was adopted by the Jews. It came into Christianity from them.

The Rev asked:

"how would you explain the concept of God to children who are still in the stage where they still believe that Santa Claus is a real person?"

I'm sure there are many people who have contributed to this thread who would suggest the two ideas are at the same level.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/07/07 07:02 PM

I agree TNZ. There is almost no difference between telling children stories about the Eastern Bunny or the Tooth Fairy and telling them about a god or gods.

The only difference is that the Eastern Bunny never drowned all of the children on the planet (except one family's). The Tooth Fairy never murdered every first-born child in an entire country. And Santa Claus never sat back and watched his son nailed to a cross.

There is no crime I can think of substantially worse than the child abuse of threatening children with eternal torture to gain their compliance. That crime has kept humanity from growing up and behaving in a mature manner for millenniums.

What is implicit in the brain washing Tim has been subjected to is that there is someone in his life who will tell him what is evil and what is not. What is important to the self-anointed is power and control.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/07/07 11:34 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
...there is no such thing as evil: Let me prove it to you.

Is it evil to lie? Always?
Is it evil to kill someone? Always?
Is it evil to steal something? Always?

And the answer is clearly, unless you are younger than 13 or brainwashed, not always.


Hi Dan.

Is it evil to be in sound mind and rape a two year old child? Always?

Blacknad
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/08/07 12:29 AM

Unfortunately Blacknad there are some who do not regard such a totally repugnant act as evil, so the answer to your question is no. Obviously this is an act which we can try to legislate against, but to the perpetrator it may not be not evil.

Good and Evil are not absolutes. They cannot exist without someone's opinion. As I asked Rev when he asked me if I ever joined a group to do good works, my reply was-good for whom? What one sees as good another may abhor, and similarly with evil.

In fact, if the human race were to vanish from the planet tomorrow there would be no good- or evil either because the concept of good/evil is a human construct.

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/08/07 12:34 AM

In my opinion no it is not. But, unfortunately from my perspective, there appear to be people that do not agree. And the jails should have room for them all.

Here's my personal feeling about it ... and thank you for using an extreme example as it is often the best way to illuminate a point.

I would personally condemn such a person to death and be willing to pull the switch were I 100% sure they were the perpetrator. Given my lack of certainty I will commute that sentence to life in prison without possibility of release.

But is it evil? I would have to say no. My personal opinion, and again it is only personal opinion, is that some two-legged semi-sentient entities on this planet are damaged goods. Some are damaged by being born with a birth defect and some damaged by virtue of having brains that function in a manner in which they commit acts inconsistent with civility and civilization. We can coexist with and help those with some forms of damage. We are not obligated to help those whose defects are so severe that they hurt others.

Civilization has a right to protect itself from child rapists, bombers, some politicians, and other bad actors. But we should be intellectually honest and acknowledge that this is someone that is (don't care why or how) damaged.

And let me now throw back your way a question equally intended to emphasize the extreme.

My country has a President, and yours a PM, who I believe have done far more damage to far more innocent children than all of the child rapists in your country combined. Why is it that we can all agree that child rape is a crime ... and blowing the arms and legs off a child, killing its parents, and burning its home and family to the ground, a matter where intelligent men might differ and not a single person has been put behind bars? Nor will any be.

So to return to your original question ... I would disagree with your assumption that child rapists, or my President, are of sound mind. Their actions, in and of themselves, indicate otherwise.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/08/07 03:44 AM

Blacknad asked:

"Is it evil to be in sound mind and rape a two year old child? Always?"

I think most of us would agree (and DA certainly seems to) it is impossible that anyone who would rape a two year old child could be in sound mind. They would have to have had a very strange upbringing. I used to know a person who was charged with molesting his child. I spoke to him shortly before his case came up and was absolutely stunned as he came up with all sorts of justifications for it. Turns out his family had always done it. I suppose we could say the family was evil but it's more likely they were just very strange.

By the way, good to hear from you again Blacky.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/08/07 05:18 AM

I wish I could agree that people who commit such ghastly acts are sub-normal and look weird. I can assure you that this is not so. There may be some aberrant behaviour, but think about it for a moment, is a small child going to trust a slavering monster or a friendly person who shows them concern and care? Luckily this is, in spite of the news media's hysterics, a very unusual crime, and I can only say that in my opinion such a dreadful act is probably not viewed as evil by the person who commits it. Do you remember seeing the awful footage on the CCTV of 2 boys leading a little toddler through a Shopping Centre as he trustingly held their hands. They then brutally murdered him, for a thrill. Maybe later they saw it as evil, but at the time they were seeking excitement and would have tried to justify their actions. terry is right, some people just don't think it's wrong.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/08/07 05:46 AM

Some people think Christianity is wrong ... others Islam ... other Judiasm. I think they are all wrong. But no matter your perspective it is all just a point-of-view.

Some people think what is happening to Shiites in Iraq is wrong. Some think what is happening to the Suni's wrong. I think it is all wrong. But no matter your perspective it is just a point-of-view.

I think dropping bombs on children as horrible as raping them. Apparently the President of my country disagrees. And I think his moronic rationalisations as value-less as those of a child-rapist claiming he was abused as a child. Does civilized society need either? Should it tolerate either?

What is the lesson of Nazi Germany: Is that "normal" people can commit extraordinarily horrible acts or that those who commit those acts are sick and twisted individuals?

I don't think it matters. I think society has the right and the responsibility to rid itself of the maggots. Using buzzwords like "evil" is no more valuable than using any other four-letter word. It is intended to replace reason and judgment with emotion.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/08/07 07:21 AM

Your post brings to mind Bush's 'axis of evil' remark, in which he combined the image of the Rome-Berlin Axis Powers of WWII with that of the devil as a way raising public support for his own warmongering ambitions. That man recognises that he is the leader of a broadly religious nation, and he is able and willing to exploit the fact.

It's grotesque that among the people from whom he manages to gain support for his death and destruction campaign are a very large number who claim to have evidence for God.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/08/07 06:15 PM

It is a fascinating, horrifying, and grotesque fact that those who are most religious are more easily able to rationalize what they have done.

In country after country, without regard to the prevailing religion, calls to commit or justify horrible acts are couched in the terms of god and nation.

To ask an atheist to do something horrible requires you to convince that person to override their personal moral compass. To ask a religious person to do so only requires that you convince them that what you are asking is god's will. And it isn't possible for them to ask that god if the interpretation is correct.

I think, also, there is a definite difference between religious people and non-religious people with respect to their willingness to challenge authority and to resist being led.

If you are one of those who goes to your Sunday morning seat to have someone tell you what is right, what is wrong, what is good, what is evil, and ask you to bow down and worship your lord (and lets not forget that words like lord and king and kingdom are not exactly neutral words) then you are far more likely to follow King George or King Tony or King Adolph.

Anarchy isn't a picnic and I am not advocating it. But blindly following the self-anointed is a proven recipe for war and destruction.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 12:11 AM

DA, i am somewhat confused when you said, "Anarchy isn't a picnic and I am not advocating it. But blindly following the self-anointed is a proven recipe for war and destruction. "
i dont get how that relates to anything you were saying before that....
well its good, at least, that youre not advocating anarchy.
redewener said, "It's grotesque that among the people from whom he [Bush] manages to gain support for his death and destruction campaign are a very large number who claim to have evidence for God."
yes, conservatives support the war effort because they support their country. now dont get me wrong, im not one to discuss politics, but you brought it up. we support a free world, apart from dictatorships, and equality for all people. it is necessary to end this threat, and we support our troops, and our country.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 01:00 AM

Tim asks:
"DA, i am somewhat confused when you said, "Anarchy isn't a picnic and I am not advocating it. But blindly following the self-anointed is a proven recipe for war and destruction. "
i dont get how that relates to anything you were saying before that...."

Sorry for the lack of clarity. I didn't want anyone to misinterpret my remarks to mean that there should be no authority, ie anarchy, because authority is a known evil. I think both authoritarianism and anarchy equally likely to lead to bad acts.

Tim wrote:
"yes, conservatives support the war effort because they support their country."

What you wrote is absolutely true and absolutely grotesque. You are essentially saying, as I did, that god and country is the way to inspire normal people to commit or support horrific acts.

Tim wrote:
"we support a free world, apart from dictatorships, and equality for all people."

We do not. That may be the operative line in public relations releases and propaganda but it is clearly and easily proven to be untrue. Here is just one example among many.

In the 1950's Iran, by democratic election, put into its presidency a gentleman by the name of Dr. Mohammad Mosadek. Do you know what happened to the leader of their democracy? The CIA did him in. That isn't political propaganda. The United States proudly announced and took credit for his demise. Who did the US replace him with? A totalitarian dictator. And why you might ask would the beacon of democracy have overthrown the elected leader of another democracy? He tried to give his impoverished people a larger share of oil revenues. I hope this gives you pause to think about why I revile blind nationalistic jingoism. It usually is intended to hide an ugly truth. We care more about oil company profits than equality or freedom and the rest.

There is no threat in Iraq other than the one we, ourselves, created. It is time for you to stop repeating empty public relations slogans and use those neurons between your ears.

Your first homework assignment is to answer this question:

Given that we overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran ... why should anyone in that region believe us when we say we are killing people to bring them democracy?

Start your education here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran/History
read the section following:
"United States and the Shah"
Then use google, yahoo, etc. to learn more of the truth.

You have been lied to. Plain and simple. If you accept the truth you can do something to change it and make the world a better place. If you mindlessly repeat the public relations slogan more bad things will happen and you will be guilty of supporting them.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 03:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Tim
now dont get me wrong, im not one to discuss politics, but you brought it up.

Unfortunately, politics has a way of creeping into most aspects of life. DA has answered your post so there's no point in repeating what he's said. I will add this, though -

My reasons for introducing politics to the subject:

(a) Its closely related to religion
(b) Its agendas and decisions are very often strongly influenced by the prevailing national religion
(c) Politicians can and do manipulate populations via their religions
(d) It has a direct bearing on the matter under discussion, i.e. 'Evidence for God'

To repeat my point: People who claim to believe in God - presumably because they have evidence, intuitive or otherwise - have found themselves supporting a war in which their countries (U.K. included) have slaughtered hundreds of thousands of men women and children, and maimed untold numbers of others.

Their leaders told them it was right. Does their God also tell them it was right?
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 04:18 AM

DA wrote:
To ask an atheist to do something horrible requires you to convince that person to override their personal moral compass. To ask a religious person to do so only requires that you convince them that what you are asking is god's will. And it isn't possible for them to ask that god if the interpretation is correct.


Well said. There is also the point suggested by that argument that the old excuse---"The devil made me do it " has to be personally valid if that person believes in the personification of evil in supernatural form, or indeed if they believe in Evil as a force in the world. This allows someone to distance themselves from the consequences of their actions in a way not possible to those who feel that deeds and actions are our own responsibilities.

The issue of punishment or such crimes should carry some thought of rehabilitation but this is often not possible. Whist I agree that people whose actions are so foul and disgusting that they need punishment should receive it, I cannot be sure that such punishment is always going to lead to repentance or redemption. In fact I feel that punishment is often imposed to allow the victim to feel valued by their society. Having said that I think that it may in fact be a very good reason and a valid argument for punishment. However sometimes the mores of a society will differ from our own personal ideals, and this is often difficult for religious people (or , to be fair anyone with rigid rules of conduct) to understand. The prospect of rehabilitation of such sociopaths mentioned in the previous posts is always unlikely but I think that the possibility of it happening for me, negates the use of capital punishment for anyone. Punishing someone for murder by 'killing them back' is just revenge I think.

As for the atrocities of war-- well that has always been OK as long as your side wins. The other side are barbarians and butchers, and eventually get tried for war crimes!

Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 04:26 AM

DA wrote:

"It is a fascinating, horrifying, and grotesque fact that those who are most religious are more easily able to rationalize what they have done."

I'd say they are more easily fooled. Some friends and I were discussing this some years ago and decided it's because they have to fool themselved every single day. They have to convince themselves that a god made them for some purpose.

Tim wrote:

"we support a free world, apart from dictatorships, and equality for all people. it is necessary to end this threat, and we support our troops, and our country."

When George W. Caesar originally announced he was invading Iraq to bring them "freedom and democracy" I had to chuckle. I knew at the time they were the last two things the Us administration wanted for them.

Redewenur. I'd start with (a) Politics is life, and adjust the others accordingly.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 04:39 AM

Ellis wrote:
"The issue of punishment or such crimes should carry some thought of rehabilitation but this is often not possible."

I believe in rehabilitation. And I believe in making a sincere effort toward it when it is reasonable and possible. But in many cases, for example someone that commits multiple offenses, it is just plain preposterous and delusional to think this person has any ability, or interest, in reforming.

And, in what way, is it a sign of civilization that we let these predators return, again and again, to hurt innocent people. If think at 5 felony convictions, for example, a line should be drawn in the sand.

Cross the line and you get a telephone and 30 days to find a country that wants you? Find one and you get a plane ticket. Don't find one and you get a parachute, a pocket knife, a box of matches, and a one-way flight to Baffin Island to match wits with the polar bears.
Posted by: glubrani

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 04:59 AM

There's only one true Freedom, all other freedoms stem from this one true Freedom.

It's not about having a religion, or being religious, or following this belief
or that one over there or none at all. It's about knowing the truth because
ultimately THAT is what sets people (and therefore, Nations) Free.

Here's a simple example of that truth I refer to that will set people and Nations free:

[From Wikipedia.com]
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions
for the development and functioning of living organisms.

That's an acceptable and simple scientific definition of DNA, is it not?

Can it be accepted here as clear and accurate? I say, why of coarse.
It's simple enough even for a child to understand.

ok then, here's the question:

who wrote the code for DNA? Who wrote the set of instructions?

It takes intellegence for man to write code. I'm most certain we will all readily
agree on that one. Yet it's obvious to all intellegent human beings that man
didn't write the DNA code. Yet someone had to - it's code and that takes an
intellegent being to create.

It's the truth, and so is this ... Jesus Christ wrote the code.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 05:13 AM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Redewenur. I'd start with (a) Politics is life, and adjust the others accordingly.

It sometimes seems that way, but I'm referring to the politics of governments, with particular reference to manipulation of populations. In this case, the politician was very aware of how to manipulate his population.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 05:17 AM

Originally Posted By: glubrani
it's obvious to all intellegent human beings that man didn't write the DNA code. Yet someone had to - it's code and that takes an intellegent being to create.

It's the truth, and so is this ... Jesus Christ wrote the code.

glubrani, would you call yourself a believer in 'Intelligent Design' or a Creationist?
Posted by: glubrani

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 07:37 AM

I would call myself a truth seeker. That there is a Creator is apparent to all, whether they will admit it or not. Don't believe that's true? ok, fair enough, here's the proof :

For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities ? his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.

read this part again:

" God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts."

Whose hearts? Every human who ever lived. That includes you and me.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 08:22 AM

Well, glubrani, if you say that's the way it is, who am I to argue? No point, really, is there?
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 12:03 PM


"Jesus Christ wrote the code"
Lots of things are obvious if you don't think about them too hard. Lots of very ignorant people are convinced of a lot of nonsensical things. Things are true just because someone says them. Things aren't true just because ancient scrolls claim they are true. Lots of ancient books claim to hold the truth. "Just believe" is not a proof.


"I would call myself a truth seeker."
I wouldn't call you a truth seeker.

Posted by: MrBiGG78

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 02:51 PM

Doesn't take any inteligence to write code
Just take a look at Microsoft, you can clearly see it's all trial and error...




/Everything that is, still is and always will be
/That is the truth of the eternal now

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 05:44 PM

glubrani wrote:
"I would call myself a truth seeker. That there is a Creator is apparent to all, whether they will admit it or not."

I would call you quite something else and the invisible purple rhinoceros thinks you full of horse feathers.

It isn't a question of admitting or not. It is a question of making decisions and reaching conclusions based on rational and critical thought processes.

You have not a single shred of information upon which to support the derivation of your conclusion. This is less information than my cat has when deciding I have access to an infinite source of cat food.

Well said MrBiGG.

glubrani wrote:
"For the truth about God is known to them instinctively."

Sure it is. That explains why it is that for millenniums those who "instinctively" believe in god have been murdering, torturing, and raping each other to demonstrate that they are the true believers.

This is scienceagogo ... not hardofthinkingreligionprosletyzersagogo. Get on topic. Last time I checked the help-wanted advertisements we hadn't listed a position for replacement troll.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 06:01 PM

You guys will make no headway here. glubrani 'knows' he's right. End of story.

- At least it would be, except that he wants to tell you he's right, and get you into a pointless dispute.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 06:10 PM

You are likely correct but I think he should be given a fair chance to either get on-topic, use a synapse or two, or find his way to the door.

If he can not then I think we should put "Project Troll" into effect yet again.

Lets give him a day or two to see whether he can use the brain he thinks his lord and master gave him.

Fair warning glubrani ... use it or lose it.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/09/07 11:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Ellis
DA wrote:
To ask an atheist to do something horrible requires you to convince that person to override their personal moral compass. To ask a religious person to do so only requires that you convince them that what you are asking is god's will. And it isn't possible for them to ask that god if the interpretation is correct.


Well said. There is also the point suggested by that argument that the old excuse---"The devil made me do it " has to be personally valid if that person believes in the personification of evil in supernatural form, or indeed if they believe in Evil as a force in the world. This allows someone to distance themselves from the consequences of their actions in a way not possible to those who feel that deeds and actions are our own responsibilities.


Dan,

It is exactly the same things. Atheists have always been convinced that horrible things need to be done for one reason or another. Hitler would never have got anywhere without people who were convinced they were doing horrible things for the right reasons.

If you were making a point then your distinction is invalid and meaningless.

Ellis,

'The Devil made me do it' is an incredibly clumsy over-simplification. I have never heard any Christian make such a claim (except in jest) and in fact Christianity clearly teaches us that we are solely responsible for our deeds, and able to rise above our more base actions. I think it's important to understand in more depth that which you want to comment upon. Also, we would not state that evil is in any sense a 'force', but is simply a departure from that which is good.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 12:35 AM

Originally Posted By: Ellis
Unfortunately Blacknad there are some who do not regard such a totally repugnant act as evil, so the answer to your question is no. Obviously this is an act which we can try to legislate against, but to the perpetrator it may not be not evil.


Ellis, are you saying we would define something as evil only if no one dissents? On the same basis, could we only say that the Nazi pogroms against the Jews were wrong only if all agreed? I met many people in Lebanon who thought it was a good act. Clearly it makes no sense to decide what is evil by a system of unanimous acceptance.

Originally Posted By: Ellis
Good and Evil are not absolutes. They cannot exist without someone's opinion. As I asked Rev when he asked me if I ever joined a group to do good works, my reply was-good for whom? What one sees as good another may abhor, and similarly with evil.


The problem with this argument is that in human experience we must therefore say that many things do not exist: beauty, justice, truth, good, mercy, love? the list goes on. They are all someone?s opinion and again, as per your first point we can not define something as beautiful if anyone dissents. Now I know I am using Argumentum ad Consequentium, but unless you are willing to say that all of the above qualities are non-existent or meaningless then why is evil different? Maybe you are (like Sarte) willing to go that far ? in which case your thinking is consistent, but I would disagree with you.
It also begs the question, ?If those things are entirely non-existent, why are they so useful or even essential for human understanding or discourse?? Because try your best, but you will never dispense with them.

Originally Posted By: Ellis
In fact, if the human race were to vanish from the planet tomorrow there would be no good- or evil either because the concept of good/evil is a human construct.


The concept of good/evil as a human construct is based upon your prior materialistic assumptions and is therefore open to debate.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 01:17 AM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan

But is it evil? I would have to say no. My personal opinion, and again it is only personal opinion, is that some two-legged semi-sentient entities on this planet are damaged goods.
Civilization has a right to protect itself from child rapists, bombers, some politicians, and other bad actors. But we should be intellectually honest and acknowledge that this is someone that is (don't care why or how) damaged.

Dan, this appears to be a somewhat self serving distinction. You are in effect saying (along with Dawkins) that when an action crosses over into the repugnant you can simply attribute it to a damaged mind and do not see a continuum of human behaviour along a scale of ever increasing departure from what we would consider acceptable. Where is the point where we suddenly stop being bad (and responsible) and suddenly become damaged (and not responsible)? Or would you go as far as Dawkins and say we are never responsible for our actions but we are simply broken and need fixing?

We are having a conversation about evil but I don?t know if anyone has previously defined what we mean by evil.

Some definitions from Wiki:

?morally objectionable aspects of the behaviour and reasoning of human beings?

?those which are deliberately void of conscience, and show a wanton penchant for destruction?

?the absence of a good which could and should be present?

?unprovoked hatred against and coupled with an aggressive impulse to cause harm to another person or group?

I am sure you would have no difficulty with some of those definitions of evil, but how would you define it for the purposes of this conversation?

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan

And let me now throw back your way a question equally intended to emphasize the extreme.

My country has a President, and yours a PM, who I believe have done far more damage to far more innocent children than all of the child rapists in your country combined. Why is it that we can all agree that child rape is a crime ... and blowing the arms and legs off a child, killing its parents, and burning its home and family to the ground, a matter where intelligent men might differ and not a single person has been put behind bars? Nor will any be.

So to return to your original question ... I would disagree with your assumption that child rapists, or my President, are of sound mind. Their actions, in and of themselves, indicate otherwise.

For Blair, whether I could define his actions as evil would depend on the definition of evil we are happy with. If it was ?unprovoked hatred against and coupled with an aggressive impulse to cause harm to another person or group? then I would not classify his actions as evil. It may appear that it sums his actions up very well, but I would not be convinced that he has an aggressive impulse to harm the Iraqi people. He is under the impression he is doing the right thing ? ?The Greater Good? and all that. I disagree with him and would be happy to see him in The Hague.

As for Bush ? He?s simply a breathtakingly ignorant buffoon and it should be the voters who are guilty for giving a chimp such power ? twice ? ?nuff said.

But you make a very interesting point about our cognitive dissonance. Raping = Evil / Blanket Bombing = Expedient.

Blacknad
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 01:54 AM

Blacknad wrote:
"It is exactly the same things. Atheists have always been convinced that horrible things need to be done for one reason or another. Hitler would never have got anywhere without people who were convinced they were doing horrible things for the right reasons."

You are absolutely correct. If you reread my post you will find that I repeated juxtapose "religion" and "nationalism" in these discussions. My doing so is not a coincidence.

Blacknad wrote:
"'The Devil made me do it' is an incredibly clumsy over-simplification. I have never heard any Christian make such a claim (except in jest)"

Stay in the UK then. I have heard it ... not in the exact words of comedian Eddie Murphy ... but in essence ... yes it is said.

If you subscribe the belief system that there evil is a noun ... then you are not totally responsible for your actions. If you subscribe to the belief that you were born with original sin then you are not totally responsible for your actions.

You can't have it both ways. You can't tell a young child that they are sinners who need to beg for forgiveness, even though they've truly done nothing wrong, and then expect them to accept responsibility for their own actions. Heck they were already guilty.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 01:58 AM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Blacknad asked:

"Is it evil to be in sound mind and rape a two year old child? Always?"

I think most of us would agree (and DA certainly seems to) it is impossible that anyone who would rape a two year old child could be in sound mind. They would have to have had a very strange upbringing. I used to know a person who was charged with molesting his child. I spoke to him shortly before his case came up and was absolutely stunned as he came up with all sorts of justifications for it. Turns out his family had always done it. I suppose we could say the family was evil but it's more likely they were just very strange.

Terry, I have kind of addressed this above.

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
By the way, good to hear from you again Blacky.


Terry, in just ten small words you have made me smile and feel good.

Synapses in your brain fired and made you decide what you wanted to say ? more synapses fired and electrical impulses travelled down your arm and contracted and relaxed muscles to enable you to type ? again electrical signals moved from keyboard to processor and now become binary ? eventually converted into electrical signal again and travel along copper wire to the exchange ? eventually converted into radio waves and bounced off satellite to my mobile provider ? back to electrical impulses ? then radio waves again ? sent to mast ? picked up by my mobile phone and back to electrical signals ? then binary ? then electrical signals to screen ? then converted to photons ? converted back to electrical signals by my eye ? along optic nerve to visual cortex ? then distributed to various parts of brain to produce endorphins (and warm glow) etc. ? electrical signals again to facial muscles to contract into smile ? also laid down as memory ? also more synapses firing to enable me to think ?that Terry?s a nice friendly guy? and so on?

I?ve probably just displayed my ignorance of everything from brain structure/chemistry/biology to telecommunications/physics, but how clever the illusion that I am a discreet entity when it would appear that I am really just a bundle of disparate chemical reactions. I have a problem with materialistic reductionism.

And also I am not back ? I never went ? I just now prefer to read and learn the science instead of wading in all the time with my own opinion. Also the ?Not quite science? has become tedious with all this baseless new age nonsense about G?D.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 02:07 AM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
Blacknad wrote:
"'The Devil made me do it' is an incredibly clumsy over-simplification. I have never heard any Christian make such a claim (except in jest)"

Stay in the UK then. I have heard it ... not in the exact words of comedian Eddie Murphy ... but in essence ... yes it is said.


My apologies to Ellis then. Always good to be set straight by you Dan. I need to always figure in the asinine qualities of what seems to be a large portion of US Christians.

Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 02:09 AM

Blacknad writes:
"You are in effect saying (along with Dawkins) that when an action crosses over into the repugnant you can simply attribute it to a damaged mind and do not see a continuum of human behaviour along a scale of ever increasing departure from what we would consider acceptable."

I would beg to differ.

Blacknad writes:
"Where is the point where we suddenly stop being bad (and responsible) and suddenly become damaged (and not responsible)? Or would you go as far as Dawkins and say we are never responsible for our actions but we are simply broken and need fixing?"

That is for society to decide. From my standpoint it would be where the actions are such that a jury of their peers conclude that the intent was to damage another entity.

You can't pull the wings off a butterfly and say you didn't know you were hurting it. You can't steal someone's wallet and say you were just trying to help them across the street by lightening their load. You can't strap a bomb to yourself and walk into a crowded shopping center and claim your intent was to aid and comfort the homeless. It really isn't all that ambiguous.

I would define evil as a label people attach to things when they want others to react emotionally rather than rationally. Evil is a word intimately entangled with religious and theological teachings. Great white sharks are not evil. A human that does the same thing is. To the victim it doesn't matter.

Blacknad wrote:
"For Blair, whether I could define his actions as evil would depend on the definition of evil we are happy with."

I don't think Blair is evil. I am absolutely sure that Blair has no problem waking up in the morning and looking at himself in the mirror. And no doubt is confused as to why there are so many misguided souls that would like to put him in the dock. He's not evil. He'd never pull the trigger himself. But I doubt he's ever once lost a nights sleep because of a 500 pound bomb dropped on a mud hut either.

I think you absolutely correct when you state: "He is under the impression he is doing the right thing ? ?The Greater Good? and all that."

Exactly. Nationalism and patriotism and god. How easy to justify bad acts when it is for the greater good and the glory.

Blacknad wrote:
"As for Bush ? He?s simply a breathtakingly ignorant buffoon"

Not simply. While he is definitely a world-class moron he is also damaged goods.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 03:07 AM

DA wrote:
You can't have it both ways. You can't tell a young child that they are sinners who need to beg for forgiveness, even though they've truly done nothing wrong, and then expect them to accept responsibility for their own actions. Heck they were already guilty.


A child brought up to believe that they were born in sin and made to confess to imagined sin, will easily adapt to the concept of evil hovering around them always. Such a person will need constant reassurance that they will reach Heaven/ Paradise for it really is hell for them on Earth. They may even feel that this gives them permission to kill, burn and wage war on the 'enemy' in the name of their god, because s/he is good, whilst their foes, and their god, are evil.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 03:07 AM

DA wrote:
You can't have it both ways. You can't tell a young child that they are sinners who need to beg for forgiveness, even though they've truly done nothing wrong, and then expect them to accept responsibility for their own actions. Heck they were already guilty.


A child brought up to believe that they were born in sin and made to confess to imagined sin, will easily adapt to the concept of evil hovering around them always. Such a person will need constant reassurance that they will reach Heaven/ Paradise for it really is hell for them on Earth. They may even feel that this gives them permission to kill, burn and wage war on the 'enemy' in the name of their god, because s/he is good, whilst their foes, and their god, are evil.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 07:07 AM

Originally Posted By: Blacknad
but how clever the illusion that I am a discreet entity when it would appear that I am really just a bundle of disparate chemical reactions. I have a problem with materialistic reductionism.

Inasmuch as the chemical reactions cannot be truly 'disparate' - all things being interconnected - there can be said to be only one discrete entity, i.e. the cosmos, with all it's dimensions, multiverses, energies and consciousness, subjective experiences and whatever. To wax artistic, it may turn out that music is being played on your (M)Strings as part of the one symphony of all existence.

OK. I built it. You demolish it.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 09:43 AM

Redewenur wrote:

"Inasmuch as the chemical reactions cannot be truly 'disparate' - all things being interconnected - there can be said to be only one discrete entity, i.e. the cosmos, with all it's dimensions, multiverses, energies and consciousness, subjective experiences and whatever."

That sounds like you are a Giordanista, a supporter of Giordano Bruno. He believed the universe is of infinite size, consists of many suns and many planets, it's all interconnected, there is just one universal soul and that space and time can only be conceived of in relation to fixed points. Of course he was tortured for many years and finally burned at the stake in 1600 AD.

And some contributers to this thread wonder why others of us mistrust religion so much.

Blacknad, I'm sure your version of religion is not as dangerous to the rest of the world as is that of the fundys. I also personally know many people who have become what I would consider to be much more reasonable human beings once converted to some religion. If that's what it takes for some people I'm all in favour actually. But any belief surely must take into account what science tells us about our origin. To me this seems inconsistent with any idea we are a special creation.

After 30 pages of contributions to this thread the best evidence for God anyone has come up with is to merely point out that we are here. They consider this proves there is a God. This is not sufficient evidence to convince me.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 11:53 AM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
That sounds like you are a Giordanista, a supporter of Giordano Bruno.

Well, 'Giordanista' does have a nice ring to it. Actually, I have to confess ignorance - I'd never heard of the wonderful, courageous fellow. My assumption about 'all things being interconnected? is based solely on my scientifically primitive evaluation of all that I can make head or tail of. For me, it's a view not inconsistent with our current knowledge, and I happen find it extraordinarily beautiful. It has nothing to do with 'Evidence for God', but then I'm not among those who seek it.
Posted by: MrBiGG78

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 02:00 PM

terrytnewzealand wrote:

"After 30 pages of contributions to this thread the best evidence for God anyone has come up with is to merely point out that we are here. They consider this proves there is a God. This is not sufficient evidence to convince me. "

Why would you need convincing? Do you feel a need to beleive in something supernatural?

I think this tendancy for humans to be pulled towards religion is purely a psychological one. We, as humans, tend to seek for reasoning in any situation. Even more in situations where science can't explain the situation. Religion is the result of a lack of scientific knowledge. Ages ago, there was no knowledge of gravitational forces so people made up Gods has an hypotisis to explain how stars and other celestial bodies hold in the sky. One hypotisis spreads out from one person to others, people start holding this hypotisis as truth.

It is a know fact that unanswered questions can cause an increase in stress on the mind. The more the stress lelvel is high the more readily someone will accept any answer as the truth. Stress, anxiety and depression, which are all somewhat related, is known by psychologists to make people more vulnerable to suggestions. This is even the basis of some religion or not most relegion. Scientology is probably the best example of a relegion using this to their advantage.

The process is quite simple... bombard someone with a ton of questions that can't be answered easily putting some level of doubt in his mind. This also increases the mind stress level trying to answer these questions. With proper questioning of a subject the stress can lead to anxiety and depression. When the subject is in such a state, fill him with answers and he will gladly accept these answers as the truth.

Relativism can also be viewed as a religion. Einstein made an hypotisis, or theory if you prefer, and people hold that theory as the one and only truth. Beilieving somthing to be true doesn't make it true and infallible.

On another hand, I have personnaly had an experience that could be described as religious and I did believe at one point that it was of religious nature. But that beliefs, just like any other beliefs was not backed by any empirical knowledge. It was only later when I started reading on brain functions and psychology that I found out about drug induced religious experience and the fact that naturaly produced drugs in the brain can cause such experiences. The artificial drug DMT and also the natural drug melantonin produced by the pineal gland are known to cause halucinations closely resembling a near death experience and this is due to misfiring neurons or a power surge in the brain if you prefer.

Here is a couple interesting reads:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology_of_religion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineal_gland
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melatonin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimethyltryptamine



//What was, still is, and always will be
//that is the truth of the eternal now
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 05:12 PM

Originally Posted By: redewenur
Inasmuch as the chemical reactions cannot be truly 'disparate' - all things being interconnected - there can be said to be only one discrete entity...


Hi Redwener,

I am really talking about the traditional understanding that a person has a seat of consciousness - an 'I' that somehow looks out from behind your eyes. Neuroscience has clearly scotched that myth. Thought processes, perceptions, feelings etc. occur in different parts of the brain and do not, it appears, feed into one central 'processing unit' that then responds and ponders upon what actions it will take. The super-connectedness that we feel about ourselves is simply an illusion. There are just separate parts of the brain, (operating in concert only where needed) that simply manage to do what is needed to help us survive.

Blacknad.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 06:26 PM

Consciousness is a wonderful enigma. I maintain that we still don't know what it is. Certainly, we can say that activity in a particular brain area corresponds to a particular mental phenomenon; however, that doesn't really answer the question to my satisfaction.

OK, we're off topic, but you have to admit that it's interesting.
_______

MrBiGG, you said:

"Relativism can also be viewed as a religion. Einstein made an hypotisis, or theory if you prefer, and people hold that theory as the one and only truth."

I disagree. If you think about it, you might change your mind. A relativist or scientist worthy of the title would hold GR as only a limited 'truth' - the kind of pragmatic truth that may one day be modified, as was Newton's. In science there can be no absolute truth.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 06:36 PM

Ellis your bring up an excellent point when you write:
"They may even feel that this gives them permission to kill, burn and wage war on the 'enemy' in the name of their god, because s/he is good, whilst their foes, and their god, are evil."

I don't mean for this example to be prejudicial with respect to Moslems as at a different time and place it would apply equally to all. But the reason many become suicide bombers is to go to heaven.

If they thought they were already going there ... could they be persuaded to blow themselves and innocents up in their quest for personal glory? I doubt it.

I think a prerequisite is that you get someone who believes that their only path to heaven is the horrific act they are being asked to commit. One chance to get there ... don't blow it.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/10/07 06:50 PM

This thread has morphed from a troll post with zero intellectual content into one of the most mentally stimulating we have had here at SAGG in a very long time. Congratulations all. Thank you blacknad, redewenur, ellis, MrBigg78, TNZ.

Well done!
=================================================================

Moving on ...

To prove that there is a god ... one would need to show how things would be different if no such entity existed. Would Pi equal 3.00000000? The Planck length be shorter? Cubes have 7 sides? Male mammals no longer have nipples?

I recently saw a mathematical calculation based on the number of species Noah would have had to put into his ark and the number he would have been required to save: two of each. Working 24 hours a day with forklifts he and his family could have loaded it in about 30 years.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 01:59 AM

Poor Noah...though maybe it was Mrs Noah who did the cleaning up.
-------------

DA wrote:
I don't mean for this example to be prejudicial with respect to Moslems as at a different time and place it would apply equally to all.

When I wrote the post was actually thinking about the absurd situation with the burning at the stake thing, where Christian burned Christian--- and in WW1 & WW2 where chaplains blessed their sides in the name of their God, and it was one and the same diety- What on earth was going on there? It's just absurd. And now, once again, we are finding out that inflexible dogma is as dangerous as bombs.

Posted by: Wolfman

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 04:33 AM

The Christian Bible tells us that God created Man. I believe that Man "created God" to fill in the gaps in his knowledge. If we can't explain, say Thunder for example, we dismiss it as "The Will of God". Or G$D. As we ourselves fill in those gaps in our knowledge, the concept of "God" or Kulkulkan or Ra or Thor or other dieties become less and less relevant. If only we can make it for another 300 years, I really think that we'll be alright.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 05:31 AM

Hi Blacknad.

Returning to your comments on counsciousness, this is from STEVEN PINKER, professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT; director of the McDonnell-Pew Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT:

"...we are learning more and more every day about the neural basis of consciousness?what goes on in the brain when you have a conscious experience?down to itty bitty details: why one thing looks redder or tastes saltier than another, and countless other details of perception, memory and emotion. The part that remains a mystery is why the purely subjective aspect of experience should exist at all...?
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 05:58 AM

rede--My very old mother (96) was doing well until about a year ago. One thing I have noticed recently is that what I think you mean by "subjective aspect of experience" has completely disappeared for her. It is as though someone has pressed the delete button and the whole experinence has vanished. It is most distressing to watch but she seems unaware of it unless her attention is drawn to it when she gets cross and argues it never hasppened. This is not the same as forgetting, it just wasn't there to remember. The odd part of it is that she enjoys life in the present, there seems to be participation and enjoyment---just NO recall whatsoever.


Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 07:10 AM

Ellis, I can empathise regarding the distress. My father underwent a similar process. Most commonly, memory for recent events becomes very poor, whereas events from one's earlier life can be recalled in detail. For your mother, the important thing is, of course, that she is able find enjoyment in the present. If she has the faculties to do so, then evidently her "subjective aspect of experience" is intact.

By "subjective aspect of experience", I take Professor Pinker to mean "the phenomena of awareness", including our emotional status, our perceptions arising from the senses and so on, rather than the coincident physics and chemistry.

Here's a possible analogy to think about (maybe you can think of a better one):

Q. What is consciousness?
A. It's the chemistry and physics of the brain.

is similar to

Q. What is light?
A. It's the chemistry and physics of a battery, a piece of wire and a filament.
Posted by: MrBiGG78

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 08:19 AM

I personally think memory actually plays a big role in the "subjective aspect of experience". Every new experience is compared to previous experiences stored in memory. Experiences are always better and more exciting the first time. The first jump off an airplane, the first ski ride, etc... But with time, the brain adapts through memory and knows what to expect of events to come. Thus the passage from thrills to a more serene life.

Don't you think the taste of chocolate would be better if you didn't remember tasting it ever before?
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 08:34 AM

So, MrBIGG, there's something to be said for amnesia after all! Seriously, though, you're right. Memory forms a major part of our subjective "here and now". The Pavlov's dog experiment was simple proof of that, and we know well enough that, for better or worse, we can "relive" experiences while either awake or asleep.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 08:55 AM

Wolfman wrote:

"The Christian Bible tells us that God created Man. I believe that Man "created God" to fill in the gaps in his knowledge."

I think I was still a teenager when I first heard the statement, "man created God in his own image." I still think it's very true. I mean what would a dog's image of its god look like?

You're right DA, this has turned into an interesting thread. I think some of us may be forgetting that all animals, espaecially mammals and birds, rely on memory for survival. If a bird forgot that a cat is dangerous it wouldn't survive long.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 12:13 PM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
After 30 pages of contributions to this thread the best evidence for God anyone has come up with is to merely point out that we are here. They consider this proves there is a God. This is not sufficient evidence to convince me.


I don?t expect people to plough through this so you may want to skip to the next poster.

The universe leads only to an agnostic position. When I say this I am actually saying, ?The scientific method simply does not have enough evidence to come to a decision one way or another?.

For our understanding and interpretation of the makeup of the universe is achieved through scientific methods. All else is philosophy, emotion and wishful thinking. It seems to me that theist and atheist alike use the last three to come to a conclusion and then view the scientific evidence in the light of that. Correct me if I am wrong, but is there an ?if a then not b? argument connected to the nature of the universe and god. ?If the speed of light = 299,792,458 m/s then God does not exist??

There appears to be nothing that would allow science to adjudicate on the question. So if the most rational process of decision making available to humanity is unable to answer the question, then what are we left with?

Subjective opinion.

The problem with subjective opinion is that it will use the facts available in any way it wants. An example being that in the UK we often see politicians arguing over a particular societal problem or incident. The Conservative will see it one way; the Labourite will see it differently. In fact, they will see the same thing and will describe it differently, attribute opposing causes and then want to apply wildly different solutions. Each supremely confident in their understanding of the issue. More than that, they will each see the issue as vindicating their political dogmas and will trace the cause of the problem back to the dogmas of their opponents.

Similar things can be said of the Global Warming debate. Both advocates and sceptics are viewing the same planet, the same effect, and have access to the same data. But in some cases their conclusions could not be further apart. An example being that I always thought there was going to be a price to pay for the rubbish we have been putting into the atmosphere ? so GW hits the scene and I grab onto it happily because it fits my preconceptions and then seems to be fairly robust when I examine it further. Others - anyone connected with Oil ? will view it differently.
Now something may come up that will make the GW position incontrovertible, but my point about subjective perception informing our view of the evidence is illustrated.

So in the end, theists will look at the universe?s fine tuning and say that it is exactly what they would expect to see in a universe resulting from design by a prior intelligence. Atheists will see the same thing and say, it could have been no other way, it simply occurred and does not need a prior intelligence to explain it, or it is explained neatly by the Multiverse, or even Peter Lynds ideas will lead us to an entirely naturalistic explanation.

The theist will say that God has revealed himself and is available for you to experience if you make yourself open to him. The atheist will say that of course I could experience God if I opened myself up to him, just as I experienced an imaginary childhood friend. The theist will say that it is a fallacious argument, because children grow out of experiencing imaginary friends but experience of God seems different, and also just because something can be explained in terms of one phenomena it does not necessarily follow that it is actually the same phenomena. The atheist will say that we don?t need to go any further than understanding the psychological mechanisms involved with producing dreams and other imaginary experiences.

And so on?

In my opinion, there can be no conclusive proof. All of the philosophical proofs such as Anselm?s and Plantinga?s ontological arguments are unconvincing. The Cosmological Arguments are better, and I find them more convincing especially the Kalam Cosmological Argument framed by William Lane Craig, but they obviously do not convince sceptics and are certainly not therefore incontrovertible proofs.

Likewise with disproofs, they will not convince the believer. Dan has posited the fact that ?this universe is exactly what we would expect to see if there was no creator? or something along those lines.
Again this is not convincing for two reasons:

1. There are no control universes to compare against that would allow us to define exactly what we should expect to see in a designed universe and an entirely naturalistic universe. The question could be asked, how do you know that a universe can actually occur at all without a first intelligent cause ? especially a universe so adept at producing consciousness from chemicals?

2. It is again a subjective belief. How can it be proved that any of the assumptions that are made to come to that conclusion are valid?

I find this particular argument interesting and would be happy to debate it further.

CONCLUSION

The reason there are no serious proofs after 30 pages is that there are no proofs that would be universally accepted ? there are no proofs for God?s existence, empirical or logical. The only proofs are experiential and have no value for anyone but the individual who experiences them for they cannot reliably be conveyed from one person to another.
Posted by: MrBiGG78

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 01:41 PM

I think a big part of the issue here is semantics...

Would we be talking about the existence of a God if human kind never would have used it's vast imagination to come up with concepts such as spirits, souls, fairies, ghosts, etc.... Ans all the other supernatural mombo jombo...

Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 01:57 PM

Originally Posted By: MrBiGG78
I think a big part of the issue here is semantics...

Would we be talking about the existence of a God if human kind never would have used it's vast imagination to come up with concepts such as spirits, souls, fairies, ghosts, etc.... Ans all the other supernatural mombo jombo...


Hi there MrBiGG,

Your tautological question presupposes the non-existence of God and uses a common mistake of putting belief in God within the same subset as belief in fairies or some other equally ridiculous idea - it's a sort of strawman effect. Belief in God is clearly not the same as believing in fairies, for all sorts of reasons.

You also discount any kind of historical/comtemporary accounts of God's interaction/revelation in human affairs which far outweighs (in both amount and sophistication) any evidence for the existence of fairies or the Invisible Pink Rhino.

Blacknad.
Posted by: MrBiGG78

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 02:22 PM

It isn't any better to assign physical and metaphysical qualities on an hypothetical God which is likely to be outside our universe and therefore cannot be observed from within the universe.

"You also discount any kind of historical/comtemporary accounts of God's interaction/revelation in human affairs which far outweighs (in both amount and sophistication) any evidence for the existence of fairies or the Invisible Pink Rhino."

Would these interaction/revelation still had been interpreted as a manifestation of God if these people didn't already have any predisposed belief/knowledge about this hypothetical God or would they have investigated further for other posibilities?

Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 05:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Blacknad
The reason there are no serious proofs after 30 pages is...

...the same reason there are no proofs after several millennia. The domain of science is the physical. The domain of the spiritual is the metaphysical. It's folly for either to attempt to trespass into the domain of the other. Unfortunately for scientists past and present, their domain has been constantly invaded.

Originally Posted By: Blacknad
The only proofs are experiential and have no value for anyone but the individual who experiences them for they cannot reliably be conveyed from one person to another.

I agree with that 100%. Well said.

A problem that religions tend to have is a heavy dependence on events in the physical world. There has to be concrete proof in the form of various artifacts and historical events such as a virgin birth. All this paraphernalia is likely, eventually, to be exposed as fictitious, and such exposure, as we know, has lead to the persecution of scientists. This would not occur if it were sufficient to say "I experience within me the God of Love - I should live accordingly".
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/11/07 07:07 PM

blacknad wrote:
"Belief in God is clearly not the same as believing in fairies, for all sorts of reasons."

A challenge if I may. Point-by-point ... state your reasons. They are far from obvious.

I suspect it will be extremely difficult and that the harder you think about it ... the more difficult it will become. In the end ... what we believe based upon faith is done because we can not believe in it due to objective evidence.

blacknad wrote:
"You also discount any kind of historical/comtemporary accounts of God's interaction/revelation in human affairs which far outweighs (in both amount and sophistication) any evidence for the existence of fairies or the Invisible Pink Rhino."

I don't think there truly is any historical accounts of any god's interaction with humans. STOP! I know you are going to point to anecdotal accounts. We all know them. There was Moses and the burning bush. There was Joan d'Arc. There are thousands others. But then there are also people who have worshiped the image of the Virgin Mary on stop signs and burnt toast. How do we objectively determine which are real and which are not? We can't even, objectively, determine whether Iran wants to make enriched uranium for weapons and we have a benefit or two when it comes to verification.

The best possible way to objectively falsify there being a god is to seriously consider the following quotes:

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do."
~ Stephen Roberts

"When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours."
~ Stephen Roberts

"God made man in his own image and man, being a gentleman, returned the favor."
~ anonymous

Scriptures: the sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.
~ Ambrose Bierce

The planet earth has approximately ~6.7 billion inhabitants and approximately ~4,200 separate religions.

Sources:
http://www.ibiblio.org/lunarbin/worldpop
http://www.theologicalstudies.org/classicalreligionlist.html

Of these the two with the largest number of adherents are Christianity and Islam with 2 billion and 1.3 billion believer's respectively. The remaining 3.4 billion people are divided among the other ~4,198 religions. Given that the Christians and Moslems agree on almost nothing of substance (Jesus Christ and Mohammed) ... we can conclude that either:

1. One of them is right and the other wrong
or
2. They are both wrong
because they can't both be right.

Which leaves us with a simple objective question:

If there was truly a deity that created the entire universe ... could it also be so inept as to create such staggering ambiguity with respect to its existence? Could it "design" something as complex as cellular biology and stub its toe on something as simple as a single declarative sentence? Or ... should we presume that part of that deity's plan is to be ambiguous and fuel warfare, hatred, rape, and the inevitability that the majority of mankind will be born in the wrong country, to the wrong family, with the wrong belief system, and go straight to hell.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/12/07 10:19 PM

Blacnad wrote:

"I don?t expect people to plough through this so you may want to skip to the next poster."

I'm sure you're pleased at the number of us who read the whole thing. You've inspired some interesting comments from it.

Redewenur wrote:

"Actually, I have to confess ignorance - I'd never heard of the wonderful, courageous fellow." So her's an introduction to said courageous fellow for those who don't already know him (and can't be bothered looking it up themselves). I think most of us on SAGG would be happy to be called Giordanistas.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giordano_Bruno

As a touch of humour. My 7 year old nephew mentioned to his father a book at school that talks about two worlds, one that had the dinosaurs and a more recent one God created for humans. Does anyone know of such a book? My nephew wondered who had made trees because they were around with the dinosaurs. He concluded that god's mum and dad must have made them. Any ideas as whether this is likely?
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/12/07 11:57 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
blacknad wrote:
"Belief in God is clearly not the same as believing in fairies, for all sorts of reasons."

A challenge if I may. Point-by-point ... state your reasons. They are far from obvious.


I will present a few reasons why belief in God is different from belief in fairies. That is the only point I will address. I am not here interested in whether God exists, or even if belief in God is justified. I am simply pointing out the differences. The differences would be more pronounced if I were to compare belief in God with belief in an IPR.

1. The amount of people who say they have experienced fairies is in keeping with the amount of people that we know are suffering from one or another form of mental illness. The subset of people who claim experience of fairies fits easily into the set of those who are certified delusional.
On the other hand those who claim to have experienced God or claim to have had any experience of the divine, far exceeds the delusional set. In fact those who claim to experience God are less likely to be included in the delusional set. For instance, studies have shown that Christians are psychologically healthier than those who have no belief. See the ?Handbook of Religion and Mental Health? by Harold G. Koenig and a wealth of other studies.


This is clearly a difference that sets apart belief in God from belief in fairies.

2. The accounts of the nation of Israel?s history are steeped in the experience of God. People hundreds of years apart wrote about encounters with God and despite often not having access to other?s writings, still managed to present a remarkably consistent account of God?s character and dealings.

Regardless of whether we believe the accounts or not, people writing about their experience of God from ancient history through to contemporary writings, far exceeds any supposedly factual accounts about fairies. There is far more anecdotal evidence for God?s existence than for fairies.

This volume of evidence does not validate God, but certainly places belief in God in a different league.

3. The Kalam Cosmological Argument and other cosmological arguments including arguments from fine tuning are certainly not proofs, but would be expected in a universe that is the result of design. This still would not point to Theism, but ties in with the existence of a god of some type far better than any facts would tie in with the existence of fairies.

There is a good summary of the KCA here:

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/billramey/kalam.htm

I would be interested to hear your thoughts.


Originally Posted By: DA Morgan

The best possible way to objectively falsify there being a god is to seriously consider the following quotes:

1. "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do."
~ Stephen Roberts

2. "When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours."
~ Stephen Roberts

3. "God made man in his own image and man, being a gentleman, returned the favor."
~ anonymous

4. Scriptures: the sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.
~ Ambrose Bierce


Dan, I don?t know what has happened to the standards you would apply to objectively falsify something, but apparently we can now chuck subjective quotes at something and thereby prove it false. Obviously science isn?t quite what it used to be. Einstein would turn in his grave (well he might but we would never know unless we opened his coffin and collapsed the wave function, bum bum).

Quotes 1 and 2. Presuppose there is no god. But, if there is a god then it is entirely reasonable to believe in one god and choose the one that seems most reasonable or has revealed its existence to you. If there is a god then at least one of the 4,200 religions is right. I could go further to tell you why I would see the Christian god as being the most reasonable, but I want to get to bed tonight.

Quote 3. Seriously not worth commenting upon. Certainly doesn?t objectively falsify anything.

Quote 4. Again, only good when we presuppose that there is no god and therefore no written revelation of him. So a nice quote for atheists but far too weak to be capable of impacting a believer. It is the logical equivalent of looking at two opposing scientific theories and saying that when you understand why you reject each other?s theory you will understand why I reject all of your competing theories.

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
The planet earth has approximately ~6.7 billion inhabitants and approximately ~4,200 separate religions.

Sources:
http://www.ibiblio.org/lunarbin/worldpop
http://www.theologicalstudies.org/classicalreligionlist.html

Of these the two with the largest number of adherents are Christianity and Islam with 2 billion and 1.3 billion believer's respectively. The remaining 3.4 billion people are divided among the other ~4,198 religions. Given that the Christians and Moslems agree on almost nothing of substance (Jesus Christ and Mohammed) ... we can conclude that either:

1. One of them is right and the other wrong
or
2. They are both wrong
because they can't both be right.

Which leaves us with a simple objective question:

If there was truly a deity that created the entire universe ... could it also be so inept as to create such staggering ambiguity with respect to its existence? Could it "design" something as complex as cellular biology and stub its toe on something as simple as a single declarative sentence? Or ... should we presume that part of that deity's plan is to be ambiguous and fuel warfare, hatred, rape, and the inevitability that the majority of mankind will be born in the wrong country, to the wrong family, with the wrong belief system, and go straight to hell.


If we go with the Christian understanding of life?

We are here to choose whether we want to co-exist with God or whether we want to reject him. It is therefore necessary that we live in a world that presents that opportunity to us. Most people on this planet are presented with the possibility of God and choose either to reject or to explore further and then go on to accept or reject.

If that is accomplished, by whatever means, then that is what God set out to do and many theologians believe that it is essential that we experience evil in some form so that we can know what we are making a choice for and against. Now most Christians I have talked to about this believe that this choice is accomplished, throughout world history, either by people accepting what Christ did, or where they have not known about him or have had an inaccurate picture, then they make the choice by listening to their conscience however it may express itself. So Muslims are not born in the wrong place or family and will not be rejected by God simply because they believed in their prevailing worldview ? they will be judged on their willingness to do what is right by their conscience (even if their conscience is culturally conditioned). Christians on the whole believe that other religions will be fairly judged, as will those who have been persecuted by Christians and therefore see Christ in the role of persecutor ? it would be entirely unfair to judge these people for rejecting what they rightfully should reject.

I know that you will rip the above apart, but it is an indication that in Christian theology it is not essential for God to be in your face, but can accomplish what he wants through subtle as well as draconian means. In fact, Christians believe that God?s pervasive presence is simply not enough to make people choose not to reject him, because the story of God travelling through the desert with the Jews whilst presenting a physical manifestation ended with half of them building idols and rejecting him.

Penicillin.
You have asked many times why God never revealed penicillin. The above hints at the answer. Christians believe that God expects a choice while we are on this earth. He is interested in the choice we make and whilst we may expect him to behave like a cuddly teddy-bear and make sure we don?t get hurt or experience any kind of suffering, we are simply here to make a choice. We cannot hold God up to some ideal standard that we have of what it means to be loving and expect him to be constrained by it and accuse him of failure when he doesn?t meet our standard. God?s love may be justifiably framed as a concern for our eternal welfare and not particularly for our temporal welfare. Theologists believe that God is love, but also engenders many other qualities at the same time, unlike humans who can only really exist in one emotional state at any given moment. This may mean that Love does not always trump other qualities such as? ? we just don?t really know. Which goes to answer quote 3 ? God is certainly not created in the image of man, but is largely recognised to be incomprehensible. Look at the Greek Gods, very comprehensible and very human in their aspirations. Anyone who says the God of Christianity is created in man?s image has a limited understanding of theology.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 12:05 AM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
I think most of us on SAGG would be happy to be called Giordanistas.


Well I certainly would as he was a man of science with a deep faith. And I am sure the church would have also put me to the stake for some of my beliefs.

Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 12:23 AM

Well backnad you've written a lot so I will respond in three sections hoping to keep some semblance of sanity to this.

Response 1:

Blacknad wrote:
"I don?t expect people to plough through this so you may want to skip to the next poster."

I wouldn't miss it for the world.

You write:
"?The scientific method simply does not have enough evidence to come to a decision one way or another?."

I think you are making a classic error here. We, fallible humans, don't know it all and don't pretend to know it all. That we haven't reached some ultimate destination with respect to wisdom and knowledge does not reflect on the methodology ... the methodology, scientific, is clearly filling in the gaps and an ever increasing pace. Which, as you can clearly see, is reducing the viability of belief systems.

and asks:
"Correct me if I am wrong, but is there an ?if a then not b? argument connected to the nature of the universe and god. ?If the speed of light = 299,792,458 m/s then God does not exist??"

You are incorrect. I could easily accept that some god or goddess made an arbitrary decision with respect to the speed of light if there were evidence that (A) a decision had been made, that (B) any entity existed that might have made that decision, and/or that (C) that had the decision not been made things would be different.

There is no evidence supporting the existence of a decision maker and no evidence that a decision was made.
Posted by: MrBiGG78

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 12:28 AM

I have yet to see any events not bound by the laws of physics and causality. And as far as I know, there is no fully recorded event where causality has been broken. Humans tend to make up stories to make life more colorfull. Same reason why so many people play phantasy role playing game. TO get out of the ordinary. There is no reason why the bible wouldn't be the same kind of fiction litterature. (can't wait till they make a big-screen adaptation of the whole bible) smile
Jesus, if he ever walked this earth, was nothing more then a good willed visionary.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 12:34 AM

Response 2:

blacknad writes:
"1. The amount of people who say they have experienced fairies is in keeping with the amount of people that we know are suffering from one or another form of mental illness."

I would disagree and challenge you to point to any double-blind independent study, anywhere, that confirms the statement. I've no doubt you believe it but a bit of research on my part indicates it to not be the case. On the other hand I can find you very substantial populations that believe in astrology, UFOs, bigfoot, and crop circles. Would you cart them off the the insane asylum?

By definition everyone that is not Christian considers visions of the Virgin Mary delusional. In short the vast majority of the population of the planet. By definition everyone not a Shiite Moslem would consider a pilgrimage to Karballa to ask for blessings an act of lunacy. In short the vast majority of the population of the planet.

I think you need to seriously reconsider your statement in light of the fact that, as a Christian, the other 2/3 of the inhabitants of this planet think you are deluded in one manner or another.

But we both know the existence of a delusion is not subject to popular vote. Now if you could demonstrate your point of view using a Nikon I might be persuaded.

Your second point was:
"2. The accounts of the nation of Israel?s history are steeped in the experience of God. People hundreds of years apart wrote about encounters with God and despite often not having access to other?s writings, still managed to present a remarkably consistent account of God?s character and dealings."

And again it is extremely weak. The history of Israel, if anything, demonstrates that god's chosen people would have been better off if he had chosen someone else. And if this is the best he can do for them ... they should seriously reconsider their decision.

You need to step back from your prejudice and look at the planet from a distance of 500,000km. What does it look like? Where are you going to land? Why?

Why do we find Moses, Jesus Christ, and Mohammed all walking on the same little postage stamp? Magic?

Why not China or India or Indonesia or Finland?

If you start from the point-of-view that X, Y, and Z are true you can always marshal evidence to support it. If you start from the position that all people on the planet are equal, all languages equal, all real estate equal. Then you have to start asking yourself what toxic substance is in the water in the middle east that leads these people to murder, mayhem, and religious delusions.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 12:42 AM

Response 3:

blacknad ... reread what I said about the 4 quotes ... you misunderstood my intent.

and to continue you write:
"We are here to choose whether we want to co-exist with God or whether we want to reject him."

You can't have it both ways blacknad. If we go with the Christian understanding it does, by definition, support the Christian belief system. Why is that any more credible than the Alawite belief system or the Jewish belief system or the Arapahoe belief system?

Is it believable that a god, a REAL god, would be so hopelessly muddled and incompetent that the best he could do is ambiguity and that the souls of those who "should believe" are left to the happenstance of which fallible human preacher shows up on their little island in Indonesia and tells them to change their belief system? That's a joke: Right? They go to hell because the nutcase that showed up to show them the way to redemption was unable to speak their language.

Do you truly believe that an entity ultimately able to create the entire universe couldn't have his son born, simultaneously, in every nation, town, and village, a member of every race, and speaking every language to spread what you believe is the single most important fact there is? Preposterous. Winston Churchill knew how to disseminate important information to his people. The Christian god, instead, chooses a one-shot approach in a country with a small and largely uneducated population. Even with a bottle of scotch in you you could do better.

I'm calling rotten on this one blacknad. You write:
"You have asked many times why God never revealed penicillin. The above hints at the answer. Christians believe that God expects a choice while we are on this earth."

Penicillin is most valuable in saving the lives of newborn infants and children. You are saying that your benevolent god put the cure to the suffering and death of innocent children out there where it would be hard to find and said ... "my children have been bad so their children can suffer horrible painful deaths for milleniums until they figure it out themselves."

Nonsense unless your god is a monster. Which brings us full circle. If your god is a monster ... then so be it. It explains why the Jews have been so blessed and penicillin was hidden from children. If your god is a loving, benevolent, and forgiving entity then you have painted yourself into a corner from which there is no escape. You can not claim to be nice and deny children penicillin because of the sins of their parents.

And Christians don't have an answer for that any more than do Jews or Moslems or anybody else. They just ... hey how about Manchester United. <g>
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 12:55 AM

MrBiGG78 wrote:
"Jesus, if he ever walked this earth, was nothing more then a good willed visionary."

I think there is very little doubt he walked on earth.

One of the best witnesses to this is the Q'ran which discusses both Jesus and his mother and spends more time discussing his mother than all of the original Christian writings combined.

Ultimately the saddest fact about Christianity is that there is not a single living person that has actually ever read the original manuscripts of Mark, Matthew, Luke, etc. but a huge amount of evidence that the texts that have made it to our current era are flawed by both accident and intent.

Thus there isn't a single Christian that can actually quote a single word ever actually spoken by Jesus Christ. It is all just make-believe. It is all just delusion.

I suggested some time back that those here in the forum read a book titled "Misquoting Jesus." It appears no one had the $10 required ... or was it just a lack of real interest. Hmmmmmm.

Here are the author's credentials if anyone is interested:
http://www.unc.edu/depts/rel_stud/faculty/BartDEhrman/BartCV.htm

There are an awful lot of far less knowledgeable and educated people making statements that are laughable when viewed in the context of what the experts say.
Posted by: Wolfman

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 01:25 AM

In 1972 I saw Man U at White Hart Lane playing the Tottenham Hotspurs. Georgie Best and Bobby Charlton were playing. Best was right at the height of his popularity, people called him "The Fifth Beatle". Charlton was at the twilight of his great career, but he made one play, a "donkey kick" delection of somebody else's shot that was incredible to watch. Man U was a team in disarry at the time. In 1974 they were relegated to the Second Division. And the Spurs were at the top of their game. They won the UEFA Cup that year. Martin Peters, the English World Cup Team Captain was on the team, as was Martin Chivers I played Football in School; I remember seeing the Spurs defenders sitting on the grass during play when Tottenham was on the attack. I couldn't believe it. Do that in American Football, you're history. The fans, the "Cockneys" of North London, used to sing some song about the Spurs that went to the tune of "Glory, Glory, Halleluyah." I could never make out the words. We, the fans, would STAND UP the entire game. Fist fights everywhere. I was twenty. Oh, those were some glorius Autumn afternoons! I haven't thought of that in years. Thanks, DA.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 01:33 AM

Dan,

'Misquoting Jesus' is a difficult one. Ehrman is one of a number of experts who take an extreme view that is certainly not mainstream to Biblical Critiscism. Professor Bock, who held his seat before him and was equally as brilliant, studied the same texts in similar fashion and came to an opposing position. Goes back to my illustration of politicians seeing the same thing and understanding it in contrary ways.

William Lane Craig had a very interesting debate with Ehrman. See here:

http://www.holycross.edu/departments/crec/website/resurrdebate.htm

You will read it and see merit in Ehrman's position - I read it and see merit in Craig's.

In the end, we make a subjective decision that suits us.

Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 03:38 AM

I've read multiple authors. I invite you to do the same.

When all you read is what you agree with ... well you'll likely end up feeling really good and learning little. And if you don't pursue something just because there is disagreement ... well you know what I'm going to say so I'll skip the lecture.

But my suspicion here is that you are making far more of the disagreements than is actually there. On many many points they all agree. And one point of agreement, clearly stated, is that there are indeed more versions (variations) of the Christian Bible than it contains words. They may argue with respect to what is or is not more or less authentic/original. But they do not disagree on most of what Ehrman writes.

I think a bit of intellectual honesty is required here ... wouldn't you would be shaken in many respects were Ehrman correct. Which makes me wonder how you reacted to this:
http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/tomb/tomb.html
And yes it too is controversial. And no the work done doesn't meet my criteria for real science. But it is still quite likely real.

Now about the clock ... my take on this is that you posted at around 3:00am your time. Isn't there something else you should be doing right now?
Posted by: Wolfman

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 03:54 AM






Thus there isn't a single Christian that can actually quote a single word ever actually spoken by Jesus Christ. It is all just make-believe. It is all just delusion.

I myself have never made it to the "Holy Land", but, over the years, I have met several people that have. One thing I find quite humorous is the fact that, if you take ten "Birthplace of Jesus" Tourist Trips in Bethlehem, you'll hit ten different sites. And these are Jews, Christians and Baha'i people I know.

These guys (Religous Zealots) don't know what they're talking about. Let's talk about Killer Asteroids or something.


Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 05:40 AM

You want to talk about killer asteroids come on over to the Physics ... we do astroPhysics forum and lets mix it up.

I, for one, think we are going to get a good bashing. I'm just not sure whether the asteroid will do as much damage as the hypocritical whining after-the-fact about why nothing was done to stop it.
Posted by: Wolfman

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 06:14 PM

What an "Act of God" THAT would be! Cool if it hit smack on Mecca.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 09:15 PM

Consider the following ethical dilemma.

Suppose every "true believer" were to pray that no asteroid hit the earth and one did. What would be the result.

1. They would all rationally realize prayer doesn't do it.

2. They would all get mad at their god for ignoring them.

3. They would all blame other people for not being as true a
believer as they are.

4. Some people would try to take advantage of the suffering and
misery by claiming they know why god did it.

Feel free to add to my list ... but rest assured the correct answer is not number 1.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 09:39 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
Now about the clock ... my take on this is that you posted at around 3:00am your time. Isn't there something else you should be doing right now?


Dear Dad,

Sorry for staying up past my bedtime but it was 1:30 and not 3:00 and I wasn't working until the afternoon. I won't do it again. Am I grounded now?

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 10:35 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
Nonsense unless your god is a monster. Which brings us full circle. If your god is a monster ... then so be it. It explains why the Jews have been so blessed and penicillin was hidden from children. If your god is a loving, benevolent, and forgiving entity then you have painted yourself into a corner from which there is no escape. You can not claim to be nice and deny children penicillin because of the sins of their parents.


I don't believe God is a monster. I believe that some of his acts appear monstrous from a human perspective.

The gulf in assumptions between a believer and atheist prevent any meaningful discussion on this topic.

I understand how an atheist will see the utterly blind, inconsistent irrationality of the believer on this issue.

I also see that with the believer's differing set of base assumptions about the nature of existence, suffering, and the short-term temporal nature of life in comparison to the eternal, then the conclusions will be starkly different, but entirely self-consistent within their worldview.

It is almost the same as two people speaking different languages. I say almost, because the theist can understand both the self-consistency of your position and why you may be horrified at their position. You, however, will always fail to see the self-consistency of the theist's position within their framework of assumptions.

Sorry - a bit convoluted there.

We need to understand that this conversation can never be resolved and that the real debate lies at the heart of the basic assumptions we have about the nature of the universe:

Materialism or Supernaturalism?

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/13/07 10:45 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
Consider the following ethical dilemma.

Suppose every "true believer" were to pray that no asteroid hit the earth and one did. What would be the result.

1. They would all rationally realize prayer doesn't do it.

2. They would all get mad at their god for ignoring them.

3. They would all blame other people for not being as true a
believer as they are.

4. Some people would try to take advantage of the suffering and
misery by claiming they know why god did it.

Feel free to add to my list ... but rest assured the correct answer is not number 1.


This is an ethical dilemma only if you believe that prayer works like a vending machine - you put your prayer in one slot and get your diverted asteroid out of another.

It only works if we posit a god that has no mind of its own and is simply at the beck and call of its followers, and could have no possible reason not to intervene when asked.

Blacknad.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/14/07 04:46 AM

Blacknad. I'm prepared to concede there are elements of our existence we cannot explain and there may be some intergalactic connection we could call God. But! I have a great deal of trouble imagining any such entity has anything in common with the Old Testament view of God. It makes no sense that such an entity would favour one group of humans simply because they happen to have ancestors that lived in a particular small region of the earth. I fail to see any distinction between a "chosen people" and a "master race". Besides, the group in question is indistinguishable genetically from their neighbours. Their only distinction is their religion.

Many stories in the Old Testament are obviously concocted to justify political perspectives dating back to about 600 to 700 BC. It's highly unlikely the stories of Abraham for example refer to anyone who lived as long ago as 2000 BC. There's no way he could have met Hittites, Philistines or Aramaeans that long ago. It's also highly unlikely the Israelites emerged from Egypt as a refugee group. Perhaps as a retreating Hyksos army though.

As for Noah's ark, the less said the better. Likewise Adam and Eve, the tower of Babel, the sun stopping still etc.

Any God is not the God of the Old testament.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/14/07 05:11 AM

Not grounded. But without mentioning names, or violating any confidences, I'm wondering how "someone" felt about you being in front of the computer at 1:30 in the morning.

Purely rhetorical ... so if you feel compelled to respond do it off-line. <g>
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/14/07 05:24 AM

blacknad wrote:
"I believe that some of his acts appear monstrous from a human perspective."

An interesting statement as it is the only perspective allowed to those of us that are.

blacknad wrote:
"I also see that with the believer's differing set of base assumptions about the nature of existence, suffering,"

I'll accept that with the caveat that not all monotheistic religions have made saints out of those that flog themselves. But if you think, from your perspective, that there is value in the suffering of newborn children I cannot argue with that being your belief system. Though it does bring to mind your statement that those who "believe" are not mentally ill. I can't think of any other life form on the planet that puts value in the suffering of children.

I'll accept your statement that the differences in our thinking are not resolvable unless one of us does at 180. But when you walk into that other bedroom at 10:00pm and look at that child sleeping peacefully. What would be your reaction if when you went to the chemist he refused to give you a prescription because he had a different perspective than your own? Would you say "well that's what god did for 100,000 years so it must be Ok and walk away?

I don't think so.

No matter how easily you may be able to rationalize the fact that "god's" acts seem monstrous to us but they are ok because god did them ... you have to be willing to accept:

1. Killing every man, woman, and child on the entire planet with the sole exception being members of a single family (Noah).

2. Killing every first-born son in an entire country (Exodus).

3. Creating and intentionally withholding information about penicillin, tetracycline, rabies vaccine, tetanus vaccine, and a cure for malaria until some imperfect human scientist figures it out by means that never once include picking up a bible or praying for divine guidance.

Can you really do that? I tried once upon a time. I was about 15 years old. I failed miserably. And I've never been able to rationalize it since.

Monstrous acts are committed by monsters.

And if he/she/it doesn't like that statement then he/she/it may chose to force me to my knees but I will no sooner bow voluntarily than I will pull the wings from a butterfly.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/14/07 05:43 AM

blacknad wrote:
"This is an ethical dilemma only if you believe that prayer works like a vending machine - you put your prayer in one slot and get your diverted asteroid out of another.

It only works if we posit a god that has no mind of its own and is simply at the beck and call of its followers, and could have no possible reason not to intervene when asked."

Lets take your perspective. Lets assume that prayer may or may not work. Ok ... why? Here are all the possible explanations assuming the one doing the praying is a devout true believer.

1. God listens occasionally (playing golf the rest of the time?)

2. God listens but uses a roll of the dice to determine when to respond to a prayer

3. God listens and has a firmly written set of rules that we humans, in 100,000+ years have failed to grasp but to which we are held accountable (sounds like the US's Homeland Security)

4. God has a sense of humor that involves letting churches and their congregations be burned, bombed, blown apart by tornadoes, or devastated by earthquakes.

Feel free to add to my list.

I am going, again, to challenge you to reconsider the basis upon which you believe what you believe. I am not offering you anything reassuring in exchange for stepping off the edge of the cliff. What I am offering is just a strong dose of reality.

Two people are walking across the street.
One gets hit by a car driven the a drunk driver.
The victim is as likely to be the priest as the sinner.

How, if there is a god, how if there is justice, how if "good things happen to good people," can it be shown again and again that it makes no difference to any aspect of objective reality.

Here's are the words from a song I used to sing back when I was young. I've never forgotten them and they should haunt you too.

Oh my name it ain't nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I was taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.

Oh the Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I was made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side.

Oh the First World War, boys
It came and it went
The reason for fighting
I never did get
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don't count the dead
When gods on your side.

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And then we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.

Ive learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war starts
Its them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on our side.

But now we've got weapons
Of chemical dust
If fire them were forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When gods on your side.

In many a dark hour
I've been thinkin' about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can't think for you
You'll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.

So now as Im leavin'
I'm weary as hell
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If god's on our side
He'll stop the next war.
~ Bob Dylan
Posted by: Wolfman

Re: Evidence for God - 03/14/07 05:35 PM

Belt buckles issued to German Soldiers during WWII carried the phrase, "God Is With Us".
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/14/07 09:46 PM

DA. This thread has suddenly become magnificent. Bob Dylan songs. That was one of the first of his I heard. It's probably because of him I am a fulltime musician and teacher these days.

Musician goes to heaven and sees a man with a long white beard strumming a guitar and singing badly. "Don't worry about him" says Saint Peter. "It's God. Thinks he's Bob Dylan".
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 03/16/07 01:31 AM

God is living. He lives amongst us. His glance pierces our inmost being. His rays of hope are caught upon our thirsting lips. His peace surpasses all understanding. His power is more than that of the water?s crushing waves. His voices speaks forth truth. Yet men reject Him and His words. Man who is so easily corruptible; swaying in the deep recesses of the ocean! Man whose glory is as the flower; fragrant for a season, and withering the next. His time on this green earth is but a blink of an eye. And yet he is prideful, and vain. Not knowing that he is but a temporal creature, under the watchful eyes of his Creator. O, vanity of man, casting aside all reason! Why must you abandon reason, and place unreason in its stead; and calling it such blasphemous names as reason, and progress! Man, know that you are but dust, withering away in the storm of life. All is vanity under this harsh sun, all grass withers. Turn now to your Maker, and He will give you that which is not perishable. He alone knows the inner workings of this universe, and He alone is the divine watchmaker, and He alone is our universal truth, and He alone is God. Those who would follow him will mount up on the wings of eagles, and the wings of the dawn. They will surely renew their strength, and not remain arrogant; for they know that their plight is but for a moment, and they remain humble. O, Man, follow your infinite Creator! Turn to Him, and confess your deeds; for He alone is worthy!

I wrote this poem, to my Creator and Lord, for I like poetry.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/16/07 01:39 AM

Tim. Nice poem and may be true. But how can we know how to "follow your infinite Creator! Turn to Him, and confess your deeds;"

There are so many groups who claim to know the true path how can we decide which is correct? They can't all be. Note my post at the top of the page (#18929 - March 14). For those reasons we can be sure the Creator you talk about is not the god of the Old Testament.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/16/07 01:39 AM

Tim. Nice poem and may be true. But how can we know how to "follow your infinite Creator! Turn to Him, and confess your deeds;"

There are so many groups who claim to know the true path how can we decide which is correct? They can't all be. Note my post at the top of the page (#18929 - March 14). For those reasons we can be sure the Creator you talk about is not the god of the Old Testament.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/16/07 02:51 AM

Tim wrote:
"God is living. He lives amongst us. His glance pierces our inmost being."

Tim ... on the chance that you are serious and over 15 years old please see your family physician. There is treatment available for people who see things that are not there. And yes I am being serious not sarcastic. You seem like a very troubled young man and with treatment modern medicine I've no doubt you can lead a normal life.

If your post is just another troll from a prosletyzer then please feel free to believe in the Tooth Fairy or the Invisible Purple Rhinoceros as that is your right and you are welcome to the self-deception of your choice. But if you are going to post at a science website statements that are irrational you will be treated as a troll.

While you are deciding whether you are a troubled young man or a troll ... and we will be awaiting your answer ... please humor us by explaining to us why male mammals have nipples. Thanks.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 03/17/07 04:57 AM

I am not a troulbed young man or a troll
and why wouldn?t male mammals have nipples?
y would it be irrational to beleive in God or a god?
on the contrary, beleiving that you just happened to exist due to millions of unexplained phenomenas that happened in just the right order is irrational
thinking that there is Something who created this frail existence is rational
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/17/07 05:42 AM

Tim Wrote:-

on the contrary, beleiving that you just happened to exist due to millions of unexplained phenomenas that happened in just the right order is irrational
**************************************
Why is it more irrational to believe that as a result of marvellous chaotic events this planet, indeed this universe, has become what it was, what it is and what it will be? What is rational about believing that some one or some thing did it all?

I find that much easier to believe in a random beginning than that anything could plan it all, if only because there is so much to be fixed up- if it had been planned it's not a good job.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/17/07 05:46 AM

PS... Tim.. Male mammals shouldn't have nipples because they don't need them. Nipples are for feeding babies, girls need them (the human race needs them to need them!) boys don't need them. It's part of the bad planning I was on about!
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/17/07 09:32 AM

Tim, you must be aware that a vast number of previously unexplained phenomena have been explained during the past few centuries. The number of unexplained phenomena continues to decrease with the accelerating advance of scientific knowledge. Science doesn't have all the answers, and it seems to me pretty certain that it never will - answers tend to open doors to new questions - but science moves forward continually. The proof of it's success is all around you. Historically, the response of the Christian church to scientific advancement has been, at best foot-dragging, at worst violent and hateful persecution of so-called heretics. I would ask you, in the friendliest way I can, please read about the scientific method. Argue about it if you like - that's one way to learn. If you can understand it well, then that's a first step through the door from ignorance to enlightenment.

Here's a sample from a very long list of links on the scientific method:

http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/phy_labs/AppendixE/AppendixE.html
http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Courses/bio104/sci_meth.htm
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/mentoring/project_scientific_method.shtml

Good Luck.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/17/07 03:35 PM

Males, in some circumstances can produce milk for their young and supplement that of the Mother's. Male lactation is well documented.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_lactation

Why should male nipples present a problem to the theist?

It probably presents a problem to 'Six Day Creationists', but then so does everything else.

As for Ellis statement:

..............................................................

"Why is it more irrational to believe that as a result of marvellous chaotic events this planet, indeed this universe, has become what it was, what it is and what it will be? What is rational about believing that some one or some thing did it all?"

...............................................................

It interests me that you include the word 'marvellous'. Try as materialists might, they cannot get away from invoking such words when they talk about the universe. It interests me that when talking about random, meaningless actions we can barely restrain ourselves from using words associated with meaning.

"marvellous: being or having the character of a miracle "

Because of the degree of fine tuning involved in the universe, we can easily ask the question, "has some form of intelligence ordered it in such an improbable way?"

Because as the Theoretical Physicist, Professor Paul Davis says, "it is as if the universe knew we were coming," then why should it be irrational to ask the question, "is there something that has set this all up?"

So the idea that there is some previously existing entity that has created and precisely ordered all of this to achieve the eventual rise of sentient creatures does not seem out of the bounds of possibility.

The alternative is that this universe appeared from nothing and fortuitously came about with just the right balance of fundamental forces etc. involving odds of 10-120 that when combined with the odds of other properties occurring, rockets up to astronomic proportions of improbability. We then have further chance occurrences that result in life appearing, and all the while the laws of the universe work in just such a way that we obtain mind from base chemicals and suddenly the universe has produced something that is able to examine the nature of itself and even re-order the universe for its own ends, and seemingly break free of determinism and exert itself on its surroundings by free-will.

The material universe produces minds of almost unfathomable complexity by accident.

Believe that if you want, but then don't call the religious irrational.

Surely the only intellectually honest position is agnostic - following in the footsteps of the great Atheist Professor Anthony Flew who, after decades of aggressive atheism, renounced it all and said that advances in the understanding of cosmology and genetics made it clear that there was AN OVERWHELMING ARGUMENT TO DESIGN.

It is clearly not irrational to believe in a creator. I would concede that this in no way leads us to the Christian God. But I feel it takes an equally giant step of faith to jump to Atheism.


Blacknad.

Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/17/07 04:58 PM

Hi, Blacknad. Some bones to pick with you:

You said:

"It interests me that you include the word 'marvellous'. Try as materialists might, they cannot get away from invoking such words when they talk about the universe"

and

"marvellous: being or having the character of a miracle "

I found three definitions of marvellous (below). It's no coincidence that you chose No.2 is it? - when it's quite obvious that Ellis chose No.1. I, also, am inclined to use such words from time to time with reference to the cosmos or, equally, to it's more miniscule contents. Is there a problem with that, or must such words be reserved for religious experience?

1 : causing wonder : astonishing
2 : miraculous, supernatural ?Gothic tales of the marvellous and the bizarre?
3 : of the highest kind or quality : notably superior ?has a marvellous way with children?

You said:

"...Atheist Professor Anthony Flew who, after decades of aggressive atheism, renounced it all and said that advances in the understanding of cosmology and genetics made it clear that there was AN OVERWHELMING ARGUMENT TO DESIGN"

Given an hour or so, I could give a long list of links to the views of other professors who make it clear that there is AN OVERWHELMING ARGUMENT AGAINST [intelligent] DESIGN.

As for rationality, Intelligent Design adherents might be harmless enough if they didn't propagate opposition to rational scientific research. Unfortunately that?s exactly what they do.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/17/07 06:28 PM

Tim and Blacknad with respect to male mammals having nipples ... lets get serious here.

If a perfect, all knowing, sentient entity created nipples on males it had to be for a reason: god's don't make mistakes do they?

So when was the last time you saw a male dog nursing pups? or a male horse a foal? or a male wombat? shall I continue or do you get the point? Male polar bears are not nursing pups. Get real.

What you are clinging to is an anachronism. A belief system that only exists because of your upbringing. Had you been born in a different country to different parents in a different culture your belief system would be different. You have a book that has no author, that was cobbled together for political reasons, and a faith that demands of you that you disavow reason, disavow evidence, disavow rationality and put your life into the hands of someone who it would appear drowned every living being on this planet save the members of one family.

I thought England made major progress with the Magna Carta and the implementation of Parliament and the rule of law. Is there really still a need to bow to and worship and pray for foregiveness at the feet of the lord of the manor?
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/17/07 06:42 PM

Redwenur,

You have jumped on the particular and you are right - I used a definition to suit me, but only because it illustrates my point - no dishonesty intended. I was, however, pointing to the general use of these types of words.

Evolutionists (for the record, I am one) cannot help but talk in terms of 'purpose' no matter how much they try.

Einstein talked of 'God not playing dice' - it has to be asked (as the philosopher Mary Midgley rightly does), why would such a great man find the need to use such words to describe a purely material phenomena? He would not have uttered them without choosing them carefully and would have been well aware of their connotations.

I concede that it is overall a weak point but it does interest me. We cannot describe objective existence without these words with their subjective overtones.

1. If we knocked over some tins of paint and it accidently formed a beautiful painting then we might be surprised.

2. When we look at a painting by one of the great masters we are awed and moved emotionally. This is more akin to the religious experience of worshipping the designer behind the design.

When we look at the universe we experience number 2. We think in hyperbolic terms.



As for the professors you mention - of course they would state in the strongest terms that there is no evidence of design. This is partially because of the war of paradigms. Why would they allow an inch of ground to be offered to the religious who would be all over it like a rash? But I do not see how they can objectify this yet. Can they really objectively rule out design behind the makeup of the universe?

How?

Anyway, that was not my point and I am not looking for a democratic vote on the subject - one side wins because it has more believers and therefore Anthony Flew is irrational by democratic decree.

Ellis asked - "What is rational about believing that some one or some thing did it all?"

I pointed to two rational Professors and could list many more, who either belive that there is design in the universe (and it therefore follows 'a designer'), or just accept that it looks very much like it could be the case.

I could list many many more.

I submit that it is clearly not irrational to believe in a designer.

Blacknad.

Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/17/07 08:04 PM

Dan,

You really need to drop the male nipple thing. It just shouts out an inability to think widely enough to get the fact that the reason the theist would give for there being male nipples is exactly the same as the evolutionist would give.

And it has nothing to do with poor design.

Scientists marvel at the incredible process of evolution, but then scoff that it's not good enough when someone posits an intelligent entity that kicked it into action by creating laws that would accomplish intelligent life.

The poor design accusations made by atheists as proof of the lack of a god fails logically.

It assumes that anything that this god does should appear perfect in our eyes.

It is logically consistent that a creator could create something that is far from perfect but is still fit for the creator's purposes. Proove otherwise.

Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/17/07 10:30 PM

Shame shame blacknad for writing:
"Evolutionists ... cannot help but talk in terms of 'purpose' no matter how much they try."

I don't try because it is unnecessary. There is no purpose to the universe. Not to the galaxies, the stars they contain, the molecules, atoms, force fields, planets, meteors, grains of sand, or those all so self-important two legged lifeforms on the third spinning rock orbiting Sol. If you are looking for purpose you need to find it inside of yourself.

blacknad asks:
"Einstein talked of 'God not playing dice' - it has to be asked (as the philosopher Mary Midgley rightly does), why would such a great man find the need to use such words to describe a purely material phenomena? He would not have uttered them without choosing them carefully and would have been well aware of their connotations."

Because he was (A) human and (B) raised in a Jewish family in accordance with Judiasm. Had he been raised a Hindu or in Japan with Shinto or in an animist society he'd have said something different. No physicist I have ever met has attributed meaning to that statement other than as a metaphor in the same way that many of us refer to the Higg's Boson as the 'God Particle'. Why don't you pray to the Higg's? Why doesn't anybody? Because the statement is harder to misconstrue.

blacknad wrote:
"I concede that it is overall a weak point but it does interest me."

good.

blacknad wrote:
"We cannot describe objective existence without these words with their subjective overtones."

Neither can we divorce ourselves from the cultures in which we were raised. When I suggest that someone "go to hell" I am most definitely not in doing so suggesting that such a place exists.

Blackad wrote:
"2. When we look at a painting by one of the great masters we are awed and moved emotionally. This is more akin to the religious experience of worshipping the designer behind the design."

Some react that way to Picasso. Some react that way to The Grateful Dead. I happen to like the works of the masters just as I like the work of J.S. Bach. But that says something about the artist ... not his inspiration. Van Gogh cut off his ear. He was a certifiable nut case. That doesn't affect how I react to his art. You are trying to paint the target after the arrow was shot.

blacknad wrote:
"I submit that it is clearly not irrational to believe in a designer."

Only if you posit that the designer was irrational. Male polar bears do not breast feed.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/17/07 10:43 PM

Blacknad.

Einstein and the dice is a popular argument, and it's not only a weak argument, it's no argument. What does it signify? At the very most it means that Einstein had a conception of God. Well? So, what? So, have you, right?

You said: "When we look at the universe we experience number 2. We think in hyperbolic terms"

Hyperbolic terms? No, just in straight forward terms; and the list of things that move us emotionally is practically endless, isn't it: a sunset, a newborn baby, a well acted drama...As you suggest, we can dispense with exclusivity for religious matters.

You said: "Evolutionists (for the record, I am one) cannot help but talk in terms of 'purpose' no matter how much they try."

What's amiss about the use of the word 'purpose'? It's commonplace is it not? For example, 'the purpose of my is pen is to enable writing', or, 'the purpose my fan is to keep me cool'. Can you clarify what you mean?

Correct me if I'm wrong:- you believe in a god that created the universe with all the requisite programming for evolutionary progression (as described in Darwinian evolution) built in. After which he left it to come to fruition of its own accord. Is that right?
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/18/07 12:48 AM

I actually looked up the definition of marvellous as I was a bit queasy (as in "causing or feeling anxiety or uneasiness") about using it. But I do not think that a disinterest in the supernatural should preclude anyone from experiencing wonder. I just do not then make the leap "I feel wonder-therefore there is a god". I just enjoy it (hedonist that I am).

I have no personal views on Einstein but why is something he said supposed to bring such gravitas to an argument, that a remark of his is used to affirm a point of view absolutely? He may have been wrong, and his point of view was almost certainly in some way influenced by his own experiences, as we all are.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/18/07 12:50 AM

I actually looked up the definition of marvellous as I was a bit queasy (as in "causing or feeling anxiety or uneasiness") about using it. But I do not think that a disinterest in the supernatural should preclude anyone from experiencing wonder. I just do not then make the leap "I feel wonder-therefore there is a god". I just enjoy it (hedonist that I am).

I have no personal views on Einstein but why is something he said supposed to bring such gravitas to an argument, that a remark of his is used to affirm a point of view absolutely? He may have been wrong, and his point of view was almost certainly in some way influenced by his own experiences, as we all are.

( I think this is going to double post--sorry!)
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 03/18/07 12:57 AM

That is such a nuisance---

However I also wanted to comment (but forgot to write!) that the fact that men can lactate only confirms my point of view that male nipples are even more of a mistake and sadder than I had thought.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/18/07 05:09 PM

Using Einstein as an argument related to theology is no different from using Paris Hilton as an argument for genetics.

Einstein was a mathematician and physicist ... not any more educated with respect to religion than many I can name. This is no different than Paris Hilton, an expert on self-promotion being asked about the genetic factors related to her abnormally small brain.

I find the argument related to marvelous or miraculous wholly disingenuous. I go to my telescope and turn it on the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and am left in total awe. At the beauty, at the distance, at the possibilities, and the thought that it is likely someone there is looking back toward me. And I would find it a real let down if I were to find out that we were nothing more than pawns in a bored and lonely entity's game of chess.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/19/07 04:33 AM

DA quoted blacknad:

"Evolutionists ... cannot help but talk in terms of 'purpose' no matter how much they try."

I guess that's true to some extent but it's because we're looking at the situation after the event. The giraffe appears to have grown a long neck for the purpose of reaching higher into the trees for it's food. (As a friend of mine says, "a liitle food goes a long way in a giraffe"). But that's not what really happened. Individuals with longer necks survived hard times better than those with shorter necks. Result? The genes for a longer neck survived and replaced other genes.

It's like fate. We only think something is a result of fate because we're looking at the situation in reverse.

Of course this doesn't provide us with evidence either for against the existence of a god.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/19/07 06:40 AM

Quoting Terry's example:

"The giraffe appears to have grown a long neck for the purpose of reaching higher into the trees for its food"

That sentence is adequate for anyone with an understanding of Darwinian evolution theory. To them, the use of the word 'purpose' is simply a convenient linguistic device. Languages contain many other examples.

For those who want to split linguistic hairs, however, here's an alternative without the word 'purpose':

"The process of evolution has resulted in the long neck of the giraffe, by virtue of the fact that it enables it to survive by reaching higher into the trees for its food."
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/19/07 10:02 AM

That's true Rede. We tend to get a little careless with terminology when we assume everyone knows what we are talking about. Maybe we at SAGG should be more careful when dealing with fundies because they fall into the category of "those who want to split linguistic hairs".
Posted by: MrBiGG78

Re: Evidence for God - 03/19/07 02:33 PM

The fact is there is no ideology worth killing for, eventhough, there might be some ideologies worth dying for.
If everyone would abide by this, there would be a lot less killing in the world.

When your surroundings disrupts freethought, that's where problem lies. Everyone has the right to believe in whatever they want to believe. But no one has the right to enforce their beliefs on others, even their own children. It is impossible for anyone to make a free choice without first having access to the full information at hand comming from both sides of the medal. There is no way to make any rational decision with parts of the information missing.

Keeping someone in the dark just so they will share the same beliefs and abide by your rules is a crime. Entraping someone's mind and not allowing it to make it's own decisions is a crime.

Freedom of thought and freedom of choice is probably the only thing worth dying for, but still not worth killing for.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/19/07 04:28 PM

A longer neck provides additional advantages to the giraffe. One being that it can see further and thus has an advantage looking for lions and predators.

It is not uncommon for other African animals to use giraffes as an early warning system.
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/kids/creature_feature/0111/giraffes2.html
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/19/07 05:05 PM

Originally Posted By: redewenur
Correct me if I'm wrong:- you believe in a god that created the universe with all the requisite programming for evolutionary progression (as described in Darwinian evolution) built in. After which he left it to come to fruition of its own accord. Is that right?


Hiya Red,

Something along those lines. I don't really know what I believe - it seems we need an incredible amount of information to come to a firm conclusion.

I have talked alot about the difficulty of knowing anything objectively and I certainly don't exclude myself from that.

I may appear to be dogmatic at times, but it is only for the sake of argument and is in a sense playing the devil's advocate.

I am simply not sure of many things and this is what leads me to be suspect of the materialist atheist (like Dan Morgan, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris). They simply do not have enough evidence as far as I can see for their dogmatic beliefs, and the fact that they appear to have all the zeal of a fundamentalist and non of the doubt, makes their motives for holding their views suspect.

Our beliefs are founded upon some very basic assumptions that are not subject to empirical falsification. This is the whole problem with science when it makes pronouncements upon what really are metaphysical issues. It cannot effectively examine the very assumptions that bring it to interpret evidence in a particular way.

In truth, I doubt God, and I also doubt materialism. I find them both equally hard to digest. I was not brought up religiously and started going to church with my mates when I was in my teens and we used to sit at the back and take the mick out of the 'religious freaks' and even used to laugh and heckle them when they preached their lunacy. Then I had a powerful experience of God. It was unasked for, unwelcome and unbelievable but has since been followed by more. I instantly saw an incredible change in my character and the inner workings of my mind. The experience I have found is common to many others, in ways that are so particular and counter intuitive, that for me, it precludes this being a phenomena associated only with the power of imagination.

What do I do with this? When all else is subjective and relies upon other people interpreting reality for me. If I want to know about apparent fine-tuning in the universe then I must listen to others, who either think that it is evidence for God, or will fall clearly into the anthropomorphic principle camp. If I want to know about whether it is reasonable for a material process to result in the seemingly miraculous process of creating mind, then there are people on both sides. If I want to know whether the gospels are reliable, then I have exceptionally intelligent and well informed people people on both sides.

In short if I want to know anything, there is someone there to tell me what they 'BELIEVE', including what I should do with my experience of God (delusion/reality).


I saw these definitions of life positions:

Quote:

1. Rigid Theism
2. Open-minded Theism
3. Open-minded Agnosticism
4. Open-minded Materialism
5. Rigid Materialism

Rigid Theism describes a theistic worldview that constrains the way the person views the empirical evidence. Creation Science advocates generally believe that Genesis chapters one and two in the Bible must be understood as a literal six twenty-four hour day history of the creation of the earth and life on it. Because of this understanding of what the writer of Genesis intended, the Bible gives controlling guidance as to how the scientific evidence must be understood.

Open-minded Theism describes a theistic worldview that does not constrain the way the person views the empirical evidence. The person believes that there is a God who is ultimately responsible for creating the world and life on it, but that God could have used macroevolutionary processes and mechanisms to do it and could have done it over millions of years. The person might have a very conservative view of Biblical authority, but does not believe that the Bible necessarily intends to convey that God created the world in six 24 hour days.

Open-minded Agnosticism describes a worldview in which the person is has no position on whether there is a God or not, and this worldview does not constrain the way the person views the empirical evidence.

Open-minded Materialism describes a materialistic/naturalistic worldview that does not constrain the way the person views the empirical evidence. Such a person will look for an explanation that comports with a materialistic framework, but will not assume that there necessarily must be a materialistic explanation. Such a person recognizes that science has not proven that there is no God or that there is no supernatural realm, so that it is presumptuous to assume that there must be a naturalistic explanation for all phenomena.

Rigid Materialism describes a materialistic/naturalistic worldview that constrains the way the person views the empirical evidence. If such a person encounters evidence that does not fit a materialistic explanation of nature, he will develop an explanation to make the evidence fit that framework. Only a naturalistic answer is acceptable, and all evidence must fit within these starting assumptions.


I sit somewhere between 2 & 3, but my approach to science definitely sits at 4. Dan and most others here sit at 5.

Red, I hope this explains my position (or lack of one) adequately, and I hope that when you see me defending Christianity you will not label me as a fundamentalist but will understand where I am smile

Blacknad.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/19/07 05:41 PM

Blacknad

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to explain your position. I do appreciate it. I've said elsewhere that I have a great respect for people like Richard Dawkin because they refuse to succumb to intellectual treason. By that, I don't mean that they therefore have to be right in every way. The point is, it's very important (to my way of thinking) that one examines carefully not only the available external data, but also one's own thinking and experiences. Differentiating between the 'concrete' and the 'abstract': young kids see reality in predominantly concrete terms; abstract concepts are difficult for them. When we reach adolescence we are well into the abstract side of things, and that's usually the time when we start to ask the related questions. If we've never considered the metaphysical before, it's most likely happen then. It happened to me.

I rarely talk about my own related experiences. It's almost always pointless, as they are entirely personal, their exact nature is known only to me, and so they can have value only to me. In discussion, they would be wide open to misunderstanding, misinterpretation ridicule and...well, you name it. So, my position is that, according to religions, I'm probably an atheist. I'm simply not prepared to hang labels on the related events of my inner experience.

Thanks again.
Posted by: MrBiGG78

Re: Evidence for God - 03/19/07 05:59 PM

Blacknad,

My question to you is why christianity?
Why not islam, budhism, taoism or even scientology?
Do you even know enough about other relegions to make a fair assessment?
Do you base your belief on your surrounding and social upbringing or on your own personal judgement?
What makes the christian god more believable then any others?

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/19/07 11:00 PM

blacknad wrote:
"I am simply not sure of many things and this is what leads me to be suspect of the materialist atheist (like Dan Morgan, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris). They simply do not have enough evidence as far as I can see for their dogmatic beliefs, and the fact that they appear to have all the zeal of a fundamentalist and non of the doubt, makes their motives for holding their views suspect."

I fear you have miscategorized me my friend. Materialist atheist? Ok I've got a 50ft boat and a Jaguar but I am hardly a materialist. Most of my worldly possessions, excluding the car would fit nicely in the boat and they don't include most of what most people spend money on. I guess I could use the books for additional ballast but what to do with the classical music CDs. <g>

"Our beliefs are founded upon some very basic assumptions that are not subject to empirical falsification. This is the whole problem with science when it makes pronouncements upon what really are metaphysical issues. It cannot effectively examine the very assumptions that bring it to interpret evidence in a particular way."

Not sure I can agree here either. Let me present the issue to you again. In a room put a devout Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, the Pope, an Anglican minister (you are English so I'm making allowances), both a Shiite and Sunni Imam, and a handful of believers in Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, and Animism for good effect. Oh heck lets add Tony Blair and Hillary Clinton to the mix too.

Now put a question to them ... any question. That to which they will all agree is objective. The temperature at which water freezes, the distance to the moon, the color of the sky, the depth of the Pacific Ocean, the length of a halibut.

Ask them questions about Paris Hilton, Jesus Christ, their favorite color, whether bacon tastes good. That is belief.

They are objectively and measurably different. And that is something I think you too will agree with making it universal.

"In truth, I doubt God, and I also doubt materialism."

So do I and I've little use for either. But there are more than two paths. Choose yours wisely.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/20/07 10:54 PM

Dan,

Not economic materialism but philosophical materialism. Nothing to do with consumerism etc.

Reductive Materialism, Physicalism, Methodological Materialism.

I would characterise you by all of the above, but probably Scientific Reductionism most effectively sums up your position.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 03/20/07 11:21 PM

(this is tangent to the conversation, but i will post this anyways)
it is rational to beleive in a God. First, tell me this: have u ever seen a building? i would imagine that most (all) of you said yes. have you ever thought of who made that building? was it just fashioned there without any purpose and any inspiration? of course not. you know as much as i that there was a designer of that building, and the building has a purpose (to give someone shelter, to give businesses room, etc.), and it has an inspiration behind it (to help a homeless community, to get money, to better society, etc.)
in the same way, our universe was created. there was a designer (God), and a purpose (to glorify Him, although that is shallowing on a religious argument, not scientific, and is besides the point, so dont use that as an excuse to start another argument), and had an inspiration behind it (to give a chance for man to live).
let me ask you this: do you think it is irrational to beleive in a designer?
was frank lloyd wright a person? or did his masterpieces just appear somehow without a creator, with no purpose, and no inspiration behind them? of course not
DA Morgon a few posts ago said, "There is no purpose to the universe" is that a rational statement or an irrational statement? i will let u decide for yourself.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/20/07 11:34 PM

Tim wrote:
"it is rational to beleive in a God. First, tell me this: have u ever seen a building?"

If your intent is to prove that application of synapses to conversation is not required you have succeeded.

For your statement is mindless parroting of what you were told as a child. Your second of even less value.

If you think there is a purpose ... go for it. But don't proselytize here. We have a way of dealing with trolls and those who think they can co-opt SAGG for their personal agenda selling their brand of religion.

One more post like the above and you will experience it first hand.
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/21/07 12:14 AM

Tim, you ask if it is rational to say that there is no purpose to the Universe. Of course it is, if you have no reason to believe otherwise. There is no empirical evidence that there is any purpose at all the Universe.

Is it rational to say that there IS a purpose to the Universe? Of course it is, if you have no reason to believe otherwise. There's no empirical evidence that there isn't one.

When you see a building, you only know that it was designed and built by somebody because you have been taught all your life that this is how buildings come into being. But what if you were a child raised by wolves and never saw civilization before? One day you come out of the forest for the first time and see a hut. You would probably think it was a big rock or a strangely shaped plant. That it is hollow and has somebody living in it isn't so surprising since lots of things live inside caves or hollow trees. Why would it even cross your mind that somebody made such a thing? It would be entirely rational to think it grew right where it was. And the same goes for all buildings. Until you have a reason to believe otherwise, there is no reason to assume a creator - of buildings or of Universes.

This is, in a nutshell, the difference between an atheist and a theist. An atheist sees the world and can't think of any reason there would have to be a God. A theist looks at it and can't think of any reason the wouldn't be a god. And each looks at the other with perplexity, unable to come to terms with such an alien though process.

Personally, I have reason to believe in God. I have had experiences that made it very clear that God exists and that faith can do amazing things. Some of these experiences could be easily explained away by an atheist as errant activations of the "god module" in my brain, but others cannot.

And a person who has never had such experiences will grow to believe whatever it is that they are most comfortable believing. I could tell such a person about all my experiences, and because they would doubt my motives in the telling, or my recollection of the events, or my interpretations of the outcomes, they would have no reason to change their beliefs. This is why I don't go around evangelizing. When a person wants to find God, they will find it wherever they look. When they don't want to, they won't look and won't see God even standing before them.

I have no problem with understanding atheists. The people I don't understand are the fundies. They can look at a black cat, and if there's something in the Bible about there not being any black cats, then they'll say it isn't black. Of course it's black! It's right in front you! "No, it isn't black. It's a test of my faith and I'm faithful so I know it isn't really black." They can't see that the point of the writings is to teach, not to rob us of learning. If the Bible said there are no black cats then it would clearly be a case of parable or hyperbole. But fundies prefer to allow themselves to be robbed of their intellectual capabilities.

The problem is this: A non-fundy Christian reads an article about evolution and thinks, "Hmmm. That's interesting. What else is in the paper today?" It has nothing to do with them, so they learn from it (or not) and move on. A fundy looks at the same article and sees it as a personal attack on their beliefs and so they take to the street en masse and make stickers to put on textbooks, and of course they call themselves Christians. Since the vast majority of Christians couldn't care less, and are remaining quiet, the public begins to assume that all Christians are unthinking idiots who can't see the evidence placed before them.

When I told my brother I was going to join the Catholic church, his first question was, "Will you be allowed to dance if you want to?" I was floored! He's an intelligent guy, but somehow the whacky rules that Christian cults have come up with have all been rolled up into one ball for him with the label "Christianity". If he thought that way, then so can anybody. And that's what ticks me off.

Christianity is in crisis, not because of rational atheists like Dan, et. al., but because of unthinking, non-discerning, led-by-the-nose, idiotic fundamentalists. Like George W. Bush, for instance. And I don't see it changing any time soon because the vast majority of Christians look on these morons and scoff, but do nothing about it because it's hard to get worked up about evolution, cosmology, quantum physics, or whatever unless you see them as an attack on you. And they simply aren't attacks. They are truth.

So rather than asking Dan if it's rational to think the universe has no purpose, ask a fundy if it's rational to think that God is a deceptive trickster with nothing better to do with his time than make a universe filled with logic if there is no need for that logic.

w
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/21/07 04:43 AM

Well said Z ... even though I disagree with some of what you said ... it is well said.

From my perspective it is not that there is not god but rather as in the beliefs of my country's founding fathers, who were deists, this is Judeo-Christian-Islamic style god.

A god that is sentient as depicted is a logical impossibility. One can not be all knowing and change one's mind ... that is logically impossible.

It is not possible to put together two imperfect beings, put them into a test (snake and apple) knowing that they can not pass and then punish them for their failure.

And throw out the logical impossibility of "free will" because if "free will" is renders us capable of making decisions unanticipated by that god then that god is not all powerful, not all knowing, etc.

Again ... logically impossible.

That does not preclude many other possible incarnations.
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/21/07 05:21 PM

"There is but one god."

There are lots and lots of ways in which to worship him/her/it/whatever, and to pay homage. Catholicism is the way I have chosen, Islam is the way some others have chosen, and blowing up buildings is the unfortunate way that some not very intelligent people have chosen. Pantheism is way chosen by lots of people in the past and a few people today. But, regardless, of our methods, the acknowledgment is there.

I'm not going to try to convert you Dan (even if that was possible, I think it would take a more eloquent locutor than I and you'd have to already want it which you don't seem to), but I'll ask you to indulge me for just a moment so that I can provide one possible way that your logical paradoxes might be resolved. I'm gonna get a little more metaphysicky than usual, but that's pretty hard to avoid in a discussion of this type.

In the Atemporal Universe thread I brought up the concept of an amazingly complex structure sitting on God's workbench. This structure contains within it every possible pathway through our self-contained universe. It is, in fact, our universe. Time is just another dimension, visible now as a direction since we are standing outside looking at it. Every particle in the universe is represented, and each one branches off every Planck length along the time axis into all the states it can exist in in the next Planck length.

You pick up a special tool from the workbench and look through it at the structure. Its lenses allow you to focus on one of the nearly infinite configurations and there you see a planet populated by people. The whole structure was built by the guy who is loaning you the lens, so he built this planet and the people on it. (Of course, he also built all the other planets and anything or anybody who might be living on those as well. Nothing special about this particular planet - only that it looks familiar and you realize, of course, that you are looking at Earth.)

Do you know what's going to happen to all these people? Of course you do: Everything that possibly can. You can use the lens to see any of it. Each of them will only experience that potion of it that they happen to travel down, but they are all traveling down all the paths - their very consciousnesses are splitting to follow them all. We (you and I, here inside the structure) only remember the path behind us even though we can see the many pathways approaching. When we hit a fork in the road we go both ways and split into another state for each of the ways we go, and each of those states will only remember the one behind them.

It took a lot of effort for the guy who built all this to put it together. He did it as a labor of love, and when he takes a look inside and sees all those creatures he wants the best for them. So he gives them a rich environment in which to live. There are paths they can take that he doesn't mess with at all so that they are free to go away from him, and there are paths where he has reached in and edited things to his liking. There are places where he has inserted his voice, and even one place (a place we remember as a little more than 2000 years ago) where he infused a bit of his own self so he could check out his creation from within for a few decades. He may have done that in lots of places, but we only know about one. (Two, if you're Mormon.)

He also built into these denizens of his giant ant farm the ability to recognize the times that he intervenes. And, in his wisdom, he knows that they couldn't understand an unchanging god because it would be too different from themselves, so he even built into this structure places where he gives different instructions. Without that, he might as well be an inscripted stone. He's not a stone, though, so he has what we might think to call a personality (though that's admittedly not a very apt word for it). Over time the creatures in his creation perceive him as having changed his mind, even though it's all still just part of the same big blueprint.

All of this, of course, is parable. I could say the same things calling him a gardener pruning an amazing Bonsai Tree. Or whatever. The visual is unimportant. The important thing is the concept of a designer able to create all possibilities and allowing us to take all those paths, and this designer having the desire to make himself known and to show his love for his creation and to not be known as an unchangeable rock.

Why do some people insist that prayer or mediations or mantras or repeated affirmtions or other focusing techniques work to bring about the things they want? I think it's because those things both come about and don't come about, and we happen to be living in the instance of time where they did come about and where they were prayed for (or meditated on, or whatever). Would they have come about anyway? Yes (and no). But, living in the time instance where they were prayed for, the one who did the praying feels rewarded for it. Now they have what they prayed for AND a feeling of reward. That's way better than only having what was prayed for.

I think free will is the ability to surf the probability wave and choose which paths we take. And I think that the focus that comes with prayer and meditation helps us increase that innate skill. So when we pray or meditate or do whatever else we do to give us focus on our desires, we are more likely to be able to choose the paths through the universe where those desires are realized.

So there it all is: My strange and unique blend of homogenized quantum physics and religion.

I could go on for days, and you no doubt feel like I already have, but that's the whole bit in a nutshell. I have no doubt you will find what seem to be contradictions and inconsistencies in the above summary, but if I tried to iron them all out then this already too-long post would be far too much longer. The wrinkles are what happens when you pack a full set of clothes in a shoebox.

(To tie this in more closely with Quantum Mechanics, I could also describe how the "Many Worlds" theory fits in, and how the discovery of a real tachyon particle would prove beyond a doubt to me the validity of Many Worlds and also strengthen all the stuff talked about above. But that's a whole 'nother essay.)

w
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/21/07 06:31 PM

I posted the above, and have even edited it a couple times, but the board still shows the last post to this thread as being the one before it. I'm hoping THIS post will update the timestamps...
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/21/07 07:18 PM

Like I've said ... Wayne I like the fact that you think ... even when I don't agree with the conclusion.

But here's where the analog breaks down.

Genesis: My recollection is that as an act of willful intent every person on the planet, save members of one family, were intentionally drowned. And this includes newborn children who had no guilt except that of their parents on their heads.

Exodus: My recollection is that as an act of willful intent every first born male child was murdered even though likely all but a handful had done nothing to deserve that fate.

How can you square what you wrote with the "historical" record?

No need to go on for days, and I've no doubt I'd enjoy meeting you, but I have been stuck since childhood awakened me to the fact that if there is a god ... penicillin was created and hidden. And hundreds of millions of newborn children perished for lack of it. I can not square that with a deity that gives a rip about its creations. And that is the PR message for the Judeo-Christian-Islamic monotheistic god.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/21/07 11:00 PM

Wayne wrote:

"He may have done that in lots of places, but we only know about one. (Two, if you're Mormon.)"

And an atheist might say in everyone of us. I remember you saying somewhere that religions are judged by the extremes of their public face. I realise I have been judging Christianity by the fundamentalists. Thanks.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 12:27 AM

I think the extremes are certainly the worst aspect of any thing. I don't want to be around extremists of any ilk.

But I also judge religions and other "ologies" on whether they ask people to suspend rational thinking.

On whether they are willing to be held accountable for their actions and their inactions.

On whether they can be found to have used phrases like "god is on our side" to justify atrocities against those whose belief system differs.

I'm still waiting for Turks to apologize to the Armenians.

Still waiting for the Catholics to apologize for their support of Nazi Germany.

Still waiting for an apology for Northern Ireland, and countless other examples.

Heck I'm still waiting for an apology to blacks for everything from the slave trade to slave keeping.

And yes I know there have been rare apologies such as the apology of the Pope for the treatment of Galileo. But that doesn't right the wrong until they guy sitting in the back rows also, sincerely, feels the same way.

I'm in for a very very long wait.
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 04:37 AM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
Genesis: My recollection is that as an act of willful intent every person on the planet, save members of one family, were intentionally drowned.


Uh, yeah. Right. And why is it, then, that there are animals today indigenous to specific parts of the world? They all got off the Ark in the same place, right? And how did the Ark fit all the insect specimens?

Obviously, the Great Flood is a parable and/or legend. There was an amazing flood when a giant lake emptied through a newly formed crack into a relatively flat area. (I'm sorry - I don't remember the specifics since it's been years since i read the article, but it was in a geographically appropriate place for biblical legends.) It is thought that this was where the legends of the flood may have originated. Surely anybody in the region would have thought the whole world flooded.

Only the hardcore fundamentalists believe that Moses saved all the animals by loading them two by two onto a boat. To dismiss Christianity because it has a few fanciful stories that you think all Christians believe literally is to misjudge the intelligence of a lot of Christians.

Quote:
And this includes newborn children who had no guilt except that of their parents on their heads.


Meh. We could argue for months on the concept of original sin, but I don't tend to blame baby deaths on God. People die. Animals die. Plants die. Sometimes those plants and animals and people are very young. Do you want a world with a zero infant fatality rate? You're the one talking in another thread about our population already being too big. Death is the price of living.

Quote:
Exodus: My recollection is that as an act of willful intent every first born male child was murdered even though likely all but a handful had done nothing to deserve that fate.


An act of a tyrannical human, not of God.

Quote:
if there is a god ... penicillin was created and hidden. And hundreds of millions of newborn children perished for lack of it.


Another human act. God didn't reach in and take away the Penicillin.

Quote:
I can not square that with a deity that gives a rip about its creations.


Do you have kids, Dan? Have you ever noticed that sometimes you have to go ahead and let them make mistakes? Does that mean you don't care about them?

w
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 04:52 AM

Wayne wrote:
"Uh, yeah. Right. And why is it, then, that there are animals today indigenous to specific parts of the world? They all got off the Ark in the same place, right? And how did the Ark fit all the insect specimens?"

Because it never happened. But that is the point. You can't have it both ways. Either it is all true, or it is not all true. If it partially or somewhat true then no one can tell which is which.

But I am somewhat puzzled by your statement about Exodus. The Old Testament clearly identifies the murders as being directly at the hand of the deity. It doesn't say a bunch of Jews with machetes went running around whacking people. So how can you excuse the deity?

God didn't need to take penicillin. God created it and hid it where it could only be found by godless scientists (ok a bit of hyperbole but you get my point I hope).
Posted by: quantum

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 01:02 PM

i just cut in and i admit i didn't read everything you wrote so don't yell at me if i ask question that has been already asked.
they teach us all our lifes that universe is eternal, infinite and that there was nothing before the Big Bang. true, there may be other theories i'm not familiar as much as this one, but things that bother me are:
...how can there be nothing? doesn't that contradicts physics?
...if Big Bang created universe what existed before?
...how did Big Bang occur if there was nothing before?
i'm on college now and still whomever i ask can't answer me becouse they have same questions as i have.
is there any link or book that explain existing theories without wakeing new questions in my mind?
Posted by: quantum

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 01:09 PM

at this moment i just can't accept any theory becouse (i admit) i don't understand them!!
maybe "understand" isn't the right word - they simply don't answer the questions i want them to answer.
but hey...if we knew all the answers...
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 03:25 PM

quantum.

"...how can there be nothing? doesn't that contradicts physics?"

Well, it does seem absurd, your dead right; but the Big Bang theory says that it was the beginning of the space-time continuum and all the stuff that physics deals with. Notice the term "space_TIME". It was the "biginning", with no before. Time itself started. It beats me, too. Don't ask me how it can be, but there it is.

Of, course, the Big Bang theory may prove to be incorrect in it's details, but there's very convincing evidence of which I'm sure your aware.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 03:27 PM

quantum wrote:
"they teach us all our lifes that universe is eternal, infinite and that there was nothing before the Big Bang. true,"

They may teach you that but it is not the current thinking in physics in many quarters.

"how can there be nothing? doesn't that contradicts physics?"

Not at all. We don't know what "something" is. But it is equally true that we don't know what nothing is nor is that what physics teaches. What physics teaches is that space did not exist. I know the distinction may be hard to fathom at first ... but it isn't about the creation of "stuff" it is about the creation of length, width, height, and time. Put everything into one point, mathematically possible and supported by Bose Einstein condensate and you eliminate all four. It is actually rather simple conceptually.

"...if Big Bang created universe what existed before?"

Nothing or something? We don't know. But try to understand that "before" and "after" are human constructs. The universe need not care.

"...how did Big Bang occur if there was nothing before"

See my previous answers; above. We don't know is the most honest answer. But the assumption that there was nothing is invalid.

What school?
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 04:09 PM

Quote:
You can't have it both ways. Either it is all true, or it is not all true. If it partially or somewhat true then no one can tell which is which.

It disheartens me when I hear very intelligent people thinking like fundamentalists and assuming that all the religious people in the world think the same way.

Imagine if David of biblical times was given another vision: "Yea, and the peoples did ride in the bellies of roaring monsters all to one great place where they were disgorged upon the ground. And though the meeting place was walled around, at their approach God did open the walls to them and, verily, the did enter without effort. A great stair appeared before them, and as they stood upon it God lifted them so they climbed towards Heaven without effort."

This, as you may have guessed, is a description from David's point of view if he was shown a bunch of people arriving in their cars at the shopping mall and using the automatic doors to walk in and then taking the escalator up to Sears. Does the fact that he didn't understand everything he saw mean that he didn't see it?

The bible was not written by God, as some people claim. Nor was it purely an invention of man. It was written by man with divine inspiration. It tells us stories of things that happened, but the narrators were not omniscient. An incredible deluge wiping out an amazing amount of land really did happen. And to anybody shown it, it would have seemed to have happened to the whole world. And so stories were told about it. And the stories with the most worthy lessons were retold and one eventually became the story of Noah and his ark. The fact that the entire world wasn't flooded and that his ark couldn't have fit all the animals doesn't negate the values in the story. The only way to negate the lessons shown in the story would be to take the entire thing as literal: If you assume that it is a literal accounting of the exact happenings of the time, then you are no longer obligated to examine the story for any meanings it might actually have. It's just a history book at that point.

Quote:
If it partially or somewhat true then no one can tell which is which.

Then it is your contention that the whole shebang should be thrown out because we don't have the intellectual wherewithal to ferret out the truths, be they couched in parable or literal account? Remind me to keep my baby out of your bathwater, Dan.

Quote:
But I am somewhat puzzled by your statement about Exodus. The Old Testament clearly identifies the murders as being directly at the hand of the deity.

Indeed. I was thinking of King Herod's slaughtering of all the children in Matthew 2:16-18.

In Exodus, we are told of a tyrannical ruler keeping a race of people as slaves and refusing to let them be free even under terrible threat. As punishment for his acts and as a sign of God's greatness, the first borns in his country (and only those under his rule) were killed. As a result, a people were liberated and celebrate it as a great day even now thousands of years later. George W. Bush has killed more people, and less discriminantly, and he's just a man with an ego problem - not a deity with a people to rescue. (Although that's exactly what GWB wishes he was.)

As for Penicillin, I thought you meant that when it was discovered somebody hid it away for some time. I hadn't heard about anything like that, but wasn't going to question it since I knew nothing of it. But now, if I understand correctly, you're saying God should have given the secrets of penicillin to the first people ever to be sick so that it would be with us for all time. There's so much wrong with that, I don't even know where to begin. He gave us a whole universe to discover. If all the beneficial parts are handed to us on a silver platter, then what's the point of exploration and learning? And let's say it WAS given to us thousands of years ago: All the things that are affected by antibiotics would have adapted and made it useless within a century and then we'd be REALLY screwed because it would just be another Bible story about a miraculous substance that seemingly doesn't exist anymore and we'd have no way to discover it now since it would no longer be effective even if we did rediscover it, so we'd never learn how to make new antibiotics at all. It's miraculous, to me, that it was discovered with such a perfect timing that we had just enough technology to be able to make new antibiotics to treat an even wider spectrum of illnesses and to be able to keep up with the adaptations of the bacteria they are effective against.

It sounds to me, Dan, like you are less of an atheist and more of a person so mad at God that he can't accept that He even exists. Your reasons for rejecting God boil down to this: He has done things you disagree with and hasn't done things you wish he had. So, he doesn't exist.

I have a strange curse upon me: Every new car I have ever bought has gotten in an accident (usually super-minor paint scratchers) within a week of me buying it. It's incredibly frustrating. I can't convey the level of frustration - it's astonishingly, amazingly, and all other superlatives-ly frustrating. Well, the one I had two cars ago got rearended as I was less than block from the delaership. There I was, stopped at a red light when some doofus rammed into the back of it at about 30 miles an hour doing some real, serious damage.

I got pissed. Oh boy, was I pissed. I very rarely lose my temper - I'm an incredibly laid back guy and very few people have ever seen me angry. But this guy was freaking out because I was so pissed. I was screaming at the top of my lungs, "You f***ing a*****le" and every obscenity I could think of. The guy came up to my window, thinking I was going to kill him, and said, "Dude, calm down a little." My response was to turn to him and tell him, "Shut up! I'm not talking to you! I'm yelling at God!" Oh yeah: Pissed at God and tellin' him so.

I got it out of my system and then calmly exchanged insurance info with the guy (who probably thought I was completely whacko) and we went our separate ways.

Maybe God has it out for my new cars and maybe I'm just incredibly unlucky with them. Regardless, the point is that it's okay to be mad at him. I'm sure (especially when you were a teenager) that you got mad at your parents, and you probably let them know it. It doesn't negate the fact that they are your parents. While you may not have agreed with their decisions and acts, they did them out of love for you.

Reject God on a scientific basis if you believe he cannot exist. Don't reject him just because you'd be mad at him if he can.

w




Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 04:09 PM

Quote:
don't yell at me if i ask question that has been already asked.

On a forum with this many discussions, that would require a lot of yelling at a lot of people. smile Welcome.

Quote:
they teach us all our lifes that universe is eternal, infinite and that there was nothing before the Big Bang.

Or that the universe isn't eternal, that it began with a bang and might end with a crunch. We aren't sure yet about the crunch, but the acceleration of its growth is starting to make it more likely that there won't be a crunch.
Quote:
...how can there be nothing?

By not having any space to put stuff in.
Quote:
doesn't that contradicts physics?

Nope. It is predicted by physics.
Quote:
...if Big Bang created universe what existed before?

If time began at the big bang, then what does "before" mean? Imagine a room full of marbles. You take out a marble every day. Eventually, you are down to your last marble. You take it out. The next day, there aren't any marbles left. Do you take one out anyway? You can't: There aren't any. So what is the room like after you take out another marble? The question makes no sense because it implies more marbles can be taken out. In the same way, "What was the universe like before time?" can make no sense because there wasn't any time to be before. (Or maybe I've just lot all my marbles.)

Quote:
...how did Big Bang occur if there was nothing before?

In any other thread in this forum, my response would be "We don't know that." I might even bring up Stephen Hawking's notion that the Grand Unified Theory is so compelling that it spontaneously brought itself into existence.

However, this is a thread called "Evidence for God" so I'm going to give myself a tiny bit of extra leeway and hope that Dan doesn't kill me for it. (I think he's reaching his limit of God tolerance.)

In my opinion, God set up the Grand Unified Theory and poured himself into it. All the energy of the universe came from one huge source, and I think that source was God. And by setting things up the way he did, with an exactitude that boggles the mind, he made it inevitable that we (and probably others all over the universe) would eventually come into existence and be able to commune with him.

But, even though this is the "Evidence for God" thread, it is also the "Science a GoGo" board, so I'll stop it there. wink

Quote:
i'm on college now and still whomever i ask can't answer me becouse they have same questions as i have.

That was my biggest disappointment as a freshman in college: I had been expecting to finally be at the place where everybody knows all the answers. Nope. But there are still some great resources there if you take the time to seek them out.

Quote:
is there any link or book that explain existing theories without waking new questions in my mind?

Any good book on the subject will raise far more questions than it answers. That's what makes it good. If it answered them all, it would be so large as to take several lifetimes to read. If it didn't answer them all, but didn't raise any new ones either, it would put you to sleep. I'll leave it to Dan and others who are more well-studied than myself to suggest books. Although, a quick trip to the library and a seach through the catalog on keywords like "Quantum Physics" and "Cosmology" would be helpful as long as you restrict yourself to books written this decade. (There are lots of great older books, but since many of them are outdated and in many cases flatly wrong, I would suggest reading those only when specifically recommended.)

Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 04:52 PM

Wayne.

"The bible...was written by man with divine inspiration"

You state that as a matter of fact. You are therefore certain that anyone who says otherwise is wrong. Does that fall into line with your knowledge of science and the scientific method?

If so, how do you know it to be true?

As much as I would like to comment on the rest of what you said, it looks very much like a classic and pointless dispute between two individuals on opposite sides of the religious divide. OK, in that case it's none of my business, I'll let you get on with it. A friendly word of warning, though: beware of rising hostility and antagonism. They have a tendency to develop very quickly amid these metaphysical contentions.
Posted by: quantum

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 05:16 PM

To redewenur: Thanks anyway wink

DA said: We don't know what "something" is. But it is equally true that we don't know what nothing is nor is that what physics teaches. What physics teaches is that space did not exist.

exactly my point. as a young, still not enough educated mind (at least considering physics) i find that rather deficient, i hope you can forgive me. but thank you.
you asked what school? Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (how ironic), department for Chemistry and Biology

Wayne: On a forum with this many discussions, that would require a lot of yelling at a lot of people. Welcome.

thanx for that.

Wayne: So what is the room like after you take out another marble? "What was the universe like before time?" can make no sense because there wasn't any time to be before.

that's what's bothering me! if there wasn't any time to be before, why is it before? what initiated the beggining...you'll say big bang...i'll read the books first then bother all of you again!

Wayne: That was my biggest disappointment as a freshman in college: I had been expecting to finally be at the place where everybody knows all the answers. Nope.

tell me about it!
well, i didn't expect them to know all of the answers, but few would be nice...yea right!
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 07:02 PM

Quote:
"The bible...was written by man with divine inspiration"
You state that as a matter of fact. You are therefore certain that anyone who says otherwise is wrong. Does that fall into line with your knowledge of science and the scientific method?
If so, how do you know it to be true?


Well, I know for a fact it was written by man. Because you see, there were these men, who were writing, and they said, "Hey, look what we wrote!" And they sent their writings around. My point in saying that biblical writings weren't written by God himself was that they are not infallible. They are, in fact, filled with hyperbole and parable and misinterpretation.

The thing is, they wrote of stuff that they couldn't have experienced and at least some of those things were true. Coincidence? Perhaps. I don't think so. I think they were inspired. You don't need to think so.

I think, also, you'll find I rarely state religious thoughts in terms of fact. When it seems from a single sentence that I do so, take the context of my writings into account. I frequently admit that these are matters of faith, and that I hold no ill will towards those who don't share it.

Quote:
Wayne: So what is the room like after you take out another marble? "What was the universe like before time?" can make no sense because there wasn't any time to be before.

that's what's bothering me! if there wasn't any time to be before, why is it before? what initiated the beggining...you'll say big bang


Okay, my marble metaphor was lacking. That's to be expected, I suppose, since I made it up as I went along. Here's another one I made up, but also illustrates the same thing. Maybe it will be more to your liking...

Imagine, if you will, a sentient bacteria living in a balloon. You talk to it and ask it about the universe. It tells you, "In the beginning, the creator breathed life into the universe at the great nipple. The universe expanded and expanded in all it's rubbery goodness. We call the Universe the Great Balloon."

You ask, "Well, what's outside the Great Balloon?"

"Outside the Great Balloon? What do you mean? There can be nothing outside the Great Balloon! Inside are all our laws of physics: Everything is under pressure! Outside the balloon would be no pressure. We can't even begin to imagine the world without pressure. It's beyond our imaginations and so nothing can be there."

"Okay," you respond, "How about before the Creator's Exhalation at the Great Nipple?"

"Before the Nipple? That would be outside the balloon! The universe, as we know it, came into existence at the Great Nipple. There is nothing before that!"


The point being, of course, that our minds are not equipped to imagine the world from outside of time, so we cannot imagine a "before" the Big Bang. Even seeing it, we would be unable to comprehend it. To the capabilities of our minds, there is no "it" to comprehend. What if no organism in the Universe had ever evolved eyes or any ability to sense any part of the spectrum? Would the color Purple still exist? It might as well not because we would be unable to comprehend it. People might talk about the existence of Purple. They might write whole books about it. Others would condemn them saying there is no proof of Purple. But they'd write about it anyway, and they would call it faith. Would they be right? I dunno.

So what existed before the big band and what exists outside the self-contained universe? Nothing, or God, or the color Purple. Choose the one most comfortable for you and know that while you can't be proven wrong, nor will you ever prove yourself right.

w
Posted by: quantum

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 07:21 PM

Wayne: So what existed before the big band and what exists outside the self-contained universe? Nothing, or God, or the color Purple. Choose the one most comfortable for you and know that while you can't be proven wrong, nor will you ever prove yourself right.

very nicely said Wayne. especially the last sentence. but i have to say that not knowing something, not knowing how to exactly explain it (i'm not refering to you, i'm refering to every scientist) and say that it WAS and it IS - SIMPLY LIKE THAT, doesn't sounds like science.
but as i already said, it is not my area and there's a lot of reading for me before i could talk and especially argue with you guys.
not that i'm arguing...just...asking wink
thanx
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 09:14 PM

Originally Posted By: quantum
not knowing something, not knowing how to exactly explain it (i'm not refering to you, i'm refering to every scientist) and say that it WAS and it IS - SIMPLY LIKE THAT, doesn't sounds like science.


And yet that is what science is based upon.

You have to define something arbitrarily before you can start to build a framework for your science.

What is a second? Nowadays it is defined as "the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom at rest in a temperature of 0K." That's pretty arbitrary.

Even before atomic clocks, it was still arbitrary: A second was defined as the duration of a single one-way swing of a one meter pendulum. Great. So what's a meter? Nowadays: "the distance traveled by light in absolute vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second."

Who picks these numbers? 9,192,631,770? 1/299,792,458? It's almost as though somebody had super-incredibly accurate measuring tools and used them to measure how long a second was and how long a meter was. Nope. They are both abstracts. Scientists took the estimates that existed before and replaced them with highly accurate numbers for the purpose of moving forward with more accurate language. A second could have just as easily been defined as 9,192,631,000 oscillations of that Cesium atom, in which case all calculations depending on that degree of accuracy would have just come up slightly different but with the same answers relative to everything else.

So why is a second that long, or a meter that length? "It is simply like that." And to say so isn't unscientific - it's a requirement for hanging the framework of science.

So what's outside the universe and what happened before the big bang? It's undefined. Why? It is simply like that. That's not unscientific - it's just realistic.

w
Posted by: quantum

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 09:27 PM

believe it or not, it actually helped!

i still dont like the idea that something is determined so accurately being based on something so abstract, but i understand it now.
once again - thank you
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 09:52 PM

Quote:
believe it or not, it actually helped!

Cool! I'm happy to hear it.

I thought of another one regarding what's "before" time: Imagine you are an ant on a piece of 2x4 plywood. One of your well-traveled friend ants comes you and says, I've been everywhere on this board! I walked to the edge a couple inches over there and then walked all the way around! And then I walked to the end of the board, and then all the way to the other end. I can tell you, it's made of wood everywhere you go. It's about four feet long and a little under 12 inches around. It's got this cool grain the whole way, and the ends are kinda bumpy so I had to wear my special hiking boots to avoid ant-splinters!"

"Great!" you reply, "And what's it like further out than that?"

"Huh? I'm telling you, it ends."

"Yeah, I understand it ends and all, but what is the board like AFTER it ends? What's this board like if you go twenty feet in THAT direction over there?"

"Well, it's not there. This board doesn't exist over there."

"Yeah, but what's it LIKE?"


As you can see, the well-traveled ant (and the well-learned physicist) have a hard time explaining that beyond the board, there is no board.

(I thought that one up while making a smoothie a few minutes ago and just had to share.) smile

w
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 09:56 PM

Wayne,

It's good to have you around - we have had some really nutty Christians in the past who have approached debate in the following terms:

"I'm right - Don't believe me eh? Then I'm happy to say you're going to Hell you filthy dog."

You appear to be able to think things through and I like your approach to faith issues.

Why not fill out your profile so we can know a bit more about you.

Cheers.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 10:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Blacknad
It's good to have you around

Thanks! I'm glad to have found the forum.

Quote:
- we have had some really nutty Christians in the past who have approached debate in the following terms:

"I'm right - Don't believe me eh? Then I'm happy to say you're going to Hell you filthy dog."

Well, here's the thing: I happen to think I'm right (in terms of religion, anyway). I also happen to know that not everybody agrees with me. Are they all going to hell? I dunno. I'm not God and I'm not privvy to the mind of God. I suspect that as long as they lead good lives and are good people who spread love in the world that they are probably fine. And even if they are all going to hell, who am I to judge them? It's the whole "Judge not lest thee be judged" thing. They already know that it's the opinion of a lot of people that the unfaithful will go to hell. If I said it, it wouldn't be news. It would just be another whacko Christian preaching at them.

Instead, I find great interest in the actual interface between science and religion. There is no divide there - the divide is created by misunderstandings on both sides. It's a continuum, and a smooth one at that. We're in a scientific golden age right now. But I think that within a few centuries we might begin to discover even more incredible things in that gray area. The grey area is dark right now because of the divide created by close-minded people. But as light is shed there, it will become gray and then golden. And THAT'S when we will have truly evolved - when we can harness the power of all the science behind us with the light of communion with God before us. (Oops, I accidentally got my preaching hat on there for a minute. I thought about deleting all that, but it seems it would be a shame to not leave it since it's all sincere.)

Quote:
You appear to be able to think things through and I like your approach to faith issues.

Again, thank you. There are more logic-minded faithful out there than you think. Most of them just aren't as vociferous as our fundie cousins.

Quote:
Why not fill out your profile so we can know a bit more about you.

The only place that really asks for anything at all insightful is the Interests/Hobbies question and it only gives 200 characters. I went ahead and filled it out, but if you want to get to know me then just keep prompting me to write stuff. wink

w
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/22/07 10:42 PM

Cheers Wayne.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/23/07 12:03 AM

A few quick comments:

Wayne wrote:
"It disheartens me when I hear very intelligent people thinking like fundamentalists and assuming that all the religious people in the world think the same way."

I agree. But I am trying to find out how you distinguish between what is real and what is allegorical. Where do you draw the line. What if the birth wasn't virgin? What if there was no snake in the garden? What if the walls didn't tumble? What if there was no crucifixion as reported by Islam? How are you walking through the maze.

If you were not both literate and intelligent, like Blacknad, I wouldn't be interested. But obviously you are both and thus I am trying to understand how you assemble the pieces of the puzzle.
It is a treat to have you both here. We are finally developing a community capable of sentient discourse and a methodology from sending the trolls scurrying back under the bridge. Yeah!
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/23/07 03:44 AM

Quantum asked:

"is there any link or book that explain existing theories without wakeing new questions in my mind?"

Now quantum. You are probably old enough already to know that each answer brings in a dozen more questions.

Wayne and Blacknad. I agree with Dan. It's great to be able to get your reasoned viewpoint. No meaningless quotes from some ancient book. I actually agree that many stories in the Bible have relevant lessons for us today.

But Wayne wrote:

"In Exodus, we are told of a tyrannical ruler keeping a race of people as slaves and refusing to let them be free even under terrible threat."

Have you ever considered the possibility that this is an account of a real event distorted to present a particular political perspective? The timing and some surrounding events fit reasonably well with the retreat of the Hyksos from Egypt. Even to the Pharaoh changing his mind after the peace agreement that let them retreat. After they had been kicked out many Egyptian Pharaohs had names "--moses". Not before. But the Hyksos were certainly not slaves, although they may have had some. They spoke a Semitic language and came from Canaan originally. It wasn't till Thuthmoses III the Egyptians finally defeated them at Megiddo. Any comments?
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/23/07 04:27 AM

That is probably very much what happened. In fact, I suspect that the Jews themselves may have revolted and killed the people (including the children) that were killed during the massacre. That doesn't make a good bedtime story to tell your Jewish grandchildren though, so it became an act of God.

"But wait!" you say, "You're saying that it was people and not God! You heathen!"

Nope. I'm saying that God acted through people. That without Him they would likely not have prevailed.

Quote:
I am trying to find out how you distinguish between what is real and what is allegorical. Where do you draw the line.

I draw the line by critical thinking. If you know a source book has a lot of good facts in it, and also has some allegorical information then you have to decide what to take literally. But here's the thing: Even if you take NONE of it as absolutely literal, the Bible (particularly the New Testament) teaches us a way to live that (if followed) improves our communities. The fact that much of it is based on historical accounts makes it all the more useful. If you believe that the writings in it are divinely inspired (as I do) then you also know that it is a manual for communing with God.

Quote:
What if the birth wasn't virgin?

This has actually been my most frequent source for crises of faith. It's central to my religion that Christ is the son of God. But what if Mary and Joseph got busy pre-maritally and got themselves in trouble? Contrary to popular belief, the hymen does not always break the first time a woman has intercourse. Mary's intact hymen would have been the proof to the clerics at the time that she was virginal. She and Joseph had a very strict Jewish upbringing, and would have known their religion well enough to really put one over on everybody if they noticed her hymen was still intact.

Thinking about that really does bother me. And it's my one major test of faith. There's no way it can ever be proven either way. When fundamentalists call fossils tests of faith I just kind of laugh about it because fossils are absolute proof that their faith lies in misinterpretation of evidence. But this one isn't a matter of proof either way. It's a matter of me believing. And that is hard sometimes for me when so much of the rest of my faith relies on science to back it up.

Quote:
What if there was no snake in the garden?

That's an easy one: There was no garden. Genesis itself gives two entirely separate and contradictory creation stories. When the book contradicts itself in it's very first book, it becomes obvious that you are reading allegory.

However, consider this: Somewhere, back in the mists of time, is a single male and female couple - probably great apes, but maybe even before the great apes - from which we are all descended. What set those two apart from their brothers and sisters and parents and uncles? Nothing. And yet they are the ones from which the entire human race sprung. Couldn't you call them Adam and Eve? They certainly became set apart, even if only posthumously, and that setting apart could be interpreted as leaving Eden.

Quote:
What if there was no crucifixion as reported by Islam?

The Crucifixion was witnessed by many people and historical accounts exist outside the Bible confirming it.

w


Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/23/07 04:41 AM

Wayne wrote:

"Somewhere, back in the mists of time, is a single male and female couple - probably great apes, but maybe even before the great apes - from which we are all descended."

No. There is no species that is descended from just one couple. Some may have gone through a population bottleneck but any species reduced to just a single female is almost certainly doomed to extinction. In fact the NZ black robin was rescued from just one female and four males but it took careful manipulation of the breeding to enable them to survive. There are also rumours of rabbit populations descending from a single pregnant female but I have my doubts.

The Hyksos didn't revolt. They had control of Lower Egypt for more than a hundred years. If anything it was the Upper Egyptians who revolted. They had the Hyksos penned up in their capital but agreed to let them retreat in orderly fashion. Then chased them. Sounds like treaties between the Native Americans and the US government.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/23/07 07:23 AM

Wayne wrote:
"Nope. I'm saying that God acted through people. That without Him they would likely not have prevailed."

But they might have. We just don't know. If your version is correct then god is reduced from being the actor, as portrayed in the book to serving in a capacity floating somewhere between irrelevant and vaguely influential.

Using a Catholic website as my source:
http://www.newadvent.org/bible/exo013.htm#15
I find this:
"13:15. For when Pharao was hardened, and would not let us go, the Lord slew every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of man to the firstborn of beasts:"

It seems you are unequivocally saying that this is not true. And yet, it would seem, it is the basis for your belief. Thus, you can understand, my puzzlement.

Wayne wrote:
"Contrary to popular belief, the hymen does not always break the first time a woman has intercourse. Mary's intact hymen would have been the proof to the clerics at the time that she was virginal. She and Joseph had a very strict Jewish upbringing, and would have known their religion well enough to really put one over on everybody if they noticed her hymen was still intact."

I'll grant everything you wrote true or probable ... but if that is what happened then it was nothing but a deception. Hardly the basis for the worship of the Virgin Mary or for the tremendous amount of attention given to her in the Q'ran. Thought the Islamic texts speak of her more than the Christian they never once refer to her as a virgin.

Wayne wrote:
"That's an easy one: There was no garden."

Actually, it seems, there actually was a real garden to which the story refers.
http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=1957&language=1
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-02-19-garden-of-eden_x.htm
But I too doubt the veracity of the biblical telling.

Wayne wrote:
"The Crucifixion was witnessed by many people and historical accounts exist outside the Bible confirming it."

And it is also discussed in the Q'ran where the story is told very differently. Why is one historical telling more accurate than the other? Especially given that we have an incredible amount of historical evidence that what you have read, in English, is highly modified from the original text?

In the Q'ran you will find Jesus referred to as Issa, John the Baptist as Yohanna, Mary as Marium ibnata ?Imran.

You will, I suspect, find this fascinating.
http://assyriatimes.com/engine/modules/news/article.php?storyid=3209
You too Blacknad.
Of course whether Arabic or Aramaic is a matter of some debate. And you won't find many people supporting the authors POV.

But you still seem to be artfully dodging the intent of my questions which is HOW do YOU distinguish? And thus is it possible that those things you think "real" today you might think "allegorical" tomorrow?
Posted by: quantum

Re: Evidence for God - 03/23/07 04:56 PM

to Wayne: nice one wink

terry: Now quantum. You are probably old enough already to know that each answer brings in a dozen more questions.

yes, i know... i hate that!

and i finish there (for now) becouse even the smart ones are not able to answer the questions about the Bible.
i feel that religion is faith, faith is individual, and that individuality makes conditional upon belief. (not sure if i used the right words but you know what i mean - please feel free to correct my grammar anytime!)
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/23/07 07:23 PM

Originally Posted By: quantum
(not sure if i used the right words but you know what i mean - please feel free to correct my grammar anytime!)


Quantum,

I wouldn't be so presumtious as to correct your grammar. If English is not your first language then I am very impressed with your use of it.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/23/07 08:38 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan


Did you read the whole article, or just the beginning? The article says:
Quote:
"But contrary to the Hadith interpretation of the Qur?anic verse, and contrary to the translation mentioned above, and to the erroneous interpretation rendered by Abdullah Yussuf Ali, the Qur?an does not deny the death and Crucifixion of Jesus, the Messiah. In fact the Aramaic language of the Qur?an is identical to the story of Crucifixion mentioned in the New Testament."


So, yes: Confirmed in the Qur'an.

Quote:
Butt you still seem to be artfully dodging the intent of my questions which is HOW do YOU distinguish? And thus is it possible that those things you think "real" today you might think "allegorical" tomorrow?


I've tried to explain that you distinguish by erring on the side of learning. If the writings of the Bible guide you to leading a better life, more loving of your community, more supporting of your peers, more compassionate for those less fortunate, and more in tune with the world around you - then why does it matter which parts are allegorical and which parts are factual? Written by men who were subject to political forces of their time and subject to their own lack of knowledge of some things, it will contain factual errors. Inspired by divinity, it will not contain spiritual errors. It is a manual for life, not a history book.

Quote:
God is reduced from being the actor, as portrayed in the book to serving in a capacity floating somewhere between irrelevant and vaguely influential.


No. God is portrayed as having created the whole thing from scratch, and embedding in it the narratives of our lives. Embedding within it all that happens. Allowing logical progressions throughout, and including his own acts within. When an author writes a book, most of it flows logically from one page to the next. That's what allows us to read the book and comprehend its contents. However, he is free (if he wants) to have a chapter where a character inexplicably can turn water to wine. By exerting this ability in only one chapter, is the author reduced to irrelevance or vague influence? No. He is the one without whom the whole story would not exist.

And, I might add, the characters who aren't in the book at the very beginning might ask, in character, "Why did it take so long for me to be added to the story?" The answer would be, "Because other parts of the story came first."

Quote:
I find this:
"13:15. For when Pharao was hardened, and would not let us go, the Lord slew every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of man to the firstborn of beasts:"

It seems you are unequivocally saying that this is not true. And yet, it would seem, it is the basis for your belief. Thus, you can understand, my puzzlement.


Your puzzlement stems from putting words in my mouth. I never said the passage was unequivocally untrue. I offered an alternative explanation to show that there are different ways to interpret the passage. Did God slay each of the slain himself? Perhaps. To return to my previous analogy, if the author writes a chapter where every firstborn dies, did the author do the killing? Yes. Even if the story shows it being done by other characters? Yes.

Quote:
I'll grant everything you wrote true or probable ... but if that is what happened then it was nothing but a deception. Hardly the basis for the worship of the Virgin Mary or for the tremendous amount of attention given to her in the Q'ran.


I think you may have missed my meaning. I didn't say that Mary and Joseph committed this act of deception. I don't believe they did. I believe in the virginal birth. However, I can acknowledge the possibility of a deception there. And that is a source of great consternation for me. That is the one pillar of my religion that must not fall. If it was somehow proven that Mary deceived the people around her and that the identity of Christ was a hoax, then it all comes crumbling down. Whether it is fortunate or unfortunate, that can never be proven either way. It is truly a matter of faith. And, like any Christian, I occasionally experience crises of faith. When I do, more often than not it is centered around that very question. It is a very frightening "What if" that I obsess on from time to time.

(How often do you hear a theist reveal to you his weakest point? When I signed up for a membership on this board, it was for the express purpose of discussing science. I didn't intend to being up religion at all. In one thread, I felt I should do so purely in the name of full disclosure when I was explaining one of my thoughts about QM, and somehow that exploded into me explaining a lot of things in great detail that I didn't think anybody here would be interested in. But, when the conversation began to focus on my peculiar brand of theism I promised myself to be completely honest about it. And so I have been. More honest, I think, than most people would have been. That said, I really would be more comfortable if this line of conversation ended soon. I'm here for the science. All the scientists seem to want me here for the theism. And before somebody cleverly points out that I wouldn't be uncomfortable if I "really" believed, let me just invite whoever would say that to first tell us all about their innermost feelings and beliefs and to reveal to us the things that make them most doubt themselves.)

w


Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/23/07 08:48 PM

Wayne asks:
"Did you read the whole article, or just the beginning? The article says:"

Of course I did. Thus my comment that the author's attempt to claim it as Aramaic, rather than Arabic, is a POV (Point Of View) not held by many scholars. The vast majority of Islamic scholars hold that there was no crucifixion. I'd have found you one of their writings were it in English and as I don't ONLY post things I agree with I posted the link with what I thought the appropriate caveat.

Using the more obscure "Aramaic" rewrite may be comforting but it should not be. There are hardly any scholars that buy the argument.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/23/07 10:40 PM

BTW, my wife and I just got back from Treasure Island, near St. Petersburgh, Florida. It was a wonderful winter break of two weeks and more.

Checking in at SAGG I was pleased to read the following:
Quote:
This thread has morphed from a troll post with zero intellectual content into one of the most mentally stimulating we have had here at SAGG in a very long time. Congratulations all.... Well done.
Good point, DA.

It is always pleasing to see how well people with differing points of view can communictate with one another when we are spiritually mature enough to respond to others, with whom we may differ, with respect.

A wise person--I think it was Winston Churchill-- once said in a debate: "I disagree, strongly, with what my worthy opponent just said. However, I am prepared to fight and to die for his right to say it." smile
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/24/07 11:46 AM

I think it should be made clear that Dan made the comment about the thread when we had moved away from discussing the baseless notions about G?D.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/24/07 04:47 PM

Quote:
"I think it should be made clear that Dan made the comment about the thread when we had moved away from discussing the baseless notions about G?D." Blacknad.


I assume the above is said with respect, right?
While you are are at it, what do you mean by "baseless notions", Blacknad?
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/24/07 11:06 PM

Wayne Zeller writes:
Quote:
"There are lots and lots of ways in which to worship him/her/it/whatever, and to pay homage. Catholicism is the way I have chosen....
Very Catholic, Wayne...Very Catholic, indeed. You go on to write:
Quote:
Christianity is in crisis, not because of rational atheists like Dan, et. al., but because of unthinking, non-discerning, led-by-the-nose, idiotic fundamentalists. Like George W. Bush, for instance....
May I add that there is such a thing as, Catholic, Protestant, and Humanist fundamentalists?
You go on to say:
Quote:

Obviously, the Great Flood is a parable and/or a legend....Only the hardcore fundamentalists believe that Moses [you mean Noah., right?] saved all the animals by loading them two by two onto a boat. To dismiss Christianity because it has a few fanciful stories that you think all Christians believe literally is to misjudge the intelligence of a lot of Christians." Wayne Zeller.
Wayne, I hope that I quoted you in context. Did I? If so, I very much approve of your very rational approach to undestanding Christianity.

With the above in mind, and with respect, I ask the following questions: On matters of faith and morals does the present pope, Pope Benedict, have the ear of God?

If so, can you tell us: To what definitive questions does he have the definitive answers?
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/25/07 01:40 AM

Quote:
May I add that there is such a thing as, Catholic, Protestant, and Humanist fundamentalists?


Indeed. And that is why I usually use a lowercase F in the word "fundamentalist" (though I sometimes get lazy with the grammatical distinction).

"Fundamentalist" (capital F) usually refers to a particular sect of Christianity that teaches the absolute literal word of the Bible. These are the guys with the Young Earth theory, and the ones building a giant terrarium where they plan to raise lizards in a high-oxygen environment (like they say existed a few thousand years ago when the Earth was made) and expect the lizards to turn into dinosaurs thereby proving that dinosaurs are just what lizards were when there was more oxygen. Yeah. They really are building that.

The fundamentalists of other religions typically take the beliefs of their church to an extreme that was never intended. I should note that "Catholic Fundamentalist" is little but of a misnomer since once you become one you aren't Catholic anymore. If you put a Catholic Fundamentalist in a room with the Pope, they would grow very exasperated with one another since they would agree on very little.

Quote:
On matters of faith and morals does the present pope, Pope Benedict, have the ear of God?

The Pope, like every other member of clergy, is a man. He was appointed by mortals and is as human and mortal and normal as you and me. Does he have the ear of God? Sure. So do you and I, even if you don't believe it.

Usually, this question is related to a misunderstanding of Papal Infallibility. If that's not where you were going, I apologize for this tangent I'm about to hit. A lot of people think that Catholics believe the Pope is infallible. That's a misconception. He's human, he's mortal, and he sins. (He even has a confessor to whom he confesses every week.) Infallibility is not some divine power granted by God. It is an authority granted by mortals allowing the Pope (in the case of Papal Infallibility) or an Ecumenical Council like Vatican II (in the case of Ecumenical Infallibility) to define the teachings of the church.

It is rarely invoked. The last time was 57 years ago. In 1950 the Pope declared that the assumption of Mary into heaven is an article of faith. The result of that invocation of the authority of Papal Infallibility is that this is now an official teaching of the church, and anybody teaching anything else is not doing so as part of the church.

We grant the legislative branch of our government the right to make laws. Once they are made, everybody needs to follow them or be punished if caught. This is exactly the same kind of authority granted through Papal Infallibility.

Quote:
To what definitive questions does he have the definitive answers?


From the above, the answer should now be clear: He can definitively tell you what the church teaches. If you ask him questions on any other topic, related to God or not, his responses are as fallible as any other highly educated person.

w
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/25/07 11:03 PM

Quote:
Wayne Zeller answers: "From the above, the answer should now be clear: He can definitively tell you what the church teaches.

If you ask him questions on any other topic, related to God or not, his responses are as fallible as any other highly educated person."
"What the church teaches?"

Now tell me: What then is "the church" and "what the church teaches"? And, what is it that "the church" does NOT teach about?

I have always assumed that the church's God-like teachings cover all the things of life--from the cradle to the grave...and beyond."

IS THE POPE INFALLIBLE, OR NOT?
If, as you indicate, the Pope is NOT infallible about most things, of what value is papal infallibility?

Believe me, I am not being cynical, here. I am just being truly curious.
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/26/07 12:13 AM

"The Church" is the Catholic Church and all it's various Rites. (Rites are mostly geographic divisions of the Church, each with it's own customs and practices. Some Catholic Rites even have married priests, and so forth. In today's globalized society it has less to do with geography - there are Scottish Rite Catholic Chruches and Greek Orthodox Catholic churches all over the place.)

The Pope determines what the Catholic Church does and does not consider official teachings.

Christ died and was buried, and three days later rose in fulfillment of the scripture, ascended into Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. That's a teaching of the church.

Mary, mother of God, also ascended into heaven. That's a teaching of the church too, but until 1950 it wasn't "official".

Noah took two of every animal on his ark. That's a story in the bible, and there are valuable lessons in the story about God and his relationship with people. But if a Catholic priest tells his congregation that this is allegory, he's not going to be excommunicated because the church has no official position on that.

Your question about the value of papal infallibility indicates a misunderstanding of the term. A Pope can exercise Papal Infallibility by declaring a writing of his to be infallible. If Pope Benedict wanted to, he could declare infallible a writing of his saying that birds can't fly. Anybody saying that they've seen birds fly would be excommunicated until they changed their mind. However, he wouldn't do that because it would tear the church apart.

The right of infallibility is rarely exercised because of the effect it has on the church when it is.

Infallibility's value is the same as the value of the ability of legislature to pass laws. The Pope (and various ecumenical councils) are the source of the church's laws.

w


Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/26/07 07:02 AM

Here's a closer-to-home example: The Pope could write and declare infallible an opinion that evolution is a bunch of bunk and the world came into existence just a few thousand years ago.

The majority of Catholics wouldn't accept that, and would leave the church. Most would probably migrate to the Episcopal church since that's about as close to Catholic as you can get without being there. There would also be bishops and cardinals who resign in disgust and they would probably found a new church that is everything Catholicism is today, minus that new ruling. They would recruit priests from the Catholic church in order to maintain the lineage of the clergy. Once organized, they'd start trying to bring back all the parishioners that went to the Episcopalians and other churches. And the Roman Cathlic church would probably never recover.

Now, if you were the Pope, and you believed that evolution was a bunch of bunk and the world was created a few thousand years ago, what would you do?

You certainly wouldn't declare it as infallible and lose half you church, would you? Instead, you would simply state it as your opinion. Lots of people would agree with you and lots wouldn't. But the fact that they are allowed to disagree with you but remain in the church means that it won't tear the church apart.

As you can see, declaring a teaching as infallible runs a very big risk. If everything out of the Pope's mouth was to be considered infallible, he'd have to never appear in public for fear of accidentally saying something that destroys all the church stands for.

(Incidentally, neither Paul II nor Benedict believe that. They have both shown support for evolution, but not just blind random evolution. They support the view that evolution was guided by God. In my own explanations of how I think God made us, I've said that it was set up at the time of the Big Bang that we would evolve to our present state and to whatever state we continue into. As I see it, that's the same exact thing as guided evolution. They see it as an ongoing guiding, but I believe the universe is atemporal so an ongoing anything is the same as a time dimension set up when the whole system is built.)

As for a real example of fallibility in the past, you've got Pope Pius the XII, who sat quietly by and allowed the genocide of the Jews to proceed at the hands of Hitler. Pope John Paul II made a public apology for that, acknowledging that it was a terrible error by Pius, but also pointed out that it was the sin of a man and not a sin of the church. It was a mistake made by a man - not the church as a whole sitting idly by. In fact, many Catholics were actively involved in protecting Jews. But the church itself had no policy one way or the other because such a policy would have had to come from the Pope. Unfortunately, he screwed up. But he didn't pass an infallible decree saying that the church shall stand idly by. Had he done so, then the church would have splintered. It would have been good for him to pass an infallible decree that Catholics must help our Jewish brethren in that time of extreme need, but it is not the church's fault as a whole that he didn't.

If a Pope's every word and deed were infallible then John Paul II could not have apologized for Pius XII's actions (or lack thereof, actually).

w
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/26/07 03:19 PM

In my humble opinion, your informative comments above, Wayne, raise numerous questions: For example, what is the Church doing about the enormous misunderstanding most people, including Catholics, have regarding what "papal infallibility" is all about?

What do you think of the writings of atheist writers like Richard Dawkins? http://richarddawkins.net/
http://richarddawkins.net/article,542,Atheist-Richard-Dawkins-on-The-God-Delusion,Terrence-McNally-AlterNet-Richard-Dawkins

Atheists writer's are making quite a splash currently. I wonder how they would respond to your frank comments above?

I can imagine RD asking: Does the Pope really have the ear of God? If so why does he not get, from God, the truth about the important issues and tell all of us what it is?

Or, is religion what I say it is, an illusion? Can we take any god seriously if he holds back on the truth?

Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/26/07 05:03 PM

Richard Dawkins and his ilk are having their day in the sun because our country was foolish enough to elect a fundamentalist as its leader and is now reaping the rewards for that. People look at our current theocracy and all the mistakes it is making and decide that these mistakes must be an indicator that religion isn't all it's cracked up to be. The real message should be: Non-thinking fundamentalism and hypocrisy isn't all they are cracked up to be.

Once the shrub is out of office and we get a real leader in their (oh, God, please) the current popularity of anti-Christian writers will fade. (One thing atheistic scientists can thank G.W.Bush for is making Christians look like idiots in the minds of the world. He's done more for the advancement of atheism than any other religious person in history, methinks.)

Nothing Dawkins says is any more or less valid than the points brought up by thousands of atheists before him. When he speaks about the ridiculous claims about Young Earth and things like that, I'm right there with him. When he says that there is no reason to suspect God exists at all, I'm flummoxed as to how somebody could think it. (Believe in God or not, as you choose, but to say that there is NO reason to even SUSPECT he exists is overstating the case and there are millions who agree.)

As for what the Church is doing to about all these misunderstandings (and there are A LOT of things popularly misconceived about Catholicism), it's doing what it can. But if people are already predisposed to not listening, what can you do? There are books like, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Catholicism". That book actually does a pretty good job of clearing up a lot of misconceptions. But who is going to read it? Probably almost exclusively two groups: Catholics who don't need it and people with anti-Catholic agendas who won't read it objectively but instead will just use it to try to find more leverage.

A television campaign might be an effective way to go. Seventh Day Adventists have sure done well with that. I can picture a series of spots, each explaining in lay terms the reasons behind a different aspect of the church that is commonly misunderstood. But, contrary to popular belief (and you'll probably lambaste me for this thinking it's got to be completely wrong, but I assure you it is not), the church doesn't have much money to spend on things like that. The Catholic church is admittedly VERY land-rich, but it is also very cash-poor. Selling land means closing churches, so liquidity is a major problem. The kind of campaign they would need to wage to make serious headway in clearing up many of the most common misunderstandings would be very expensive and they just don't have the resources.

I'm not sure I'm understanding your point about the Pope having the ear of God. When I picture a Pope having the ear of God I picture a guy with a pointy hat saying, "Hey, God! That Irwin Schlasterhack guy is a real jerk. Don't let him in when he comes knockin'!" and God's reply, "Yeah, okay Vinnie! I'll send him down the street to Satan's place."

God doesn't follow our orders. He might grant our requests (or might say no), but he's not at our beck and call. And the Pope is just one of us.

As for your other question, he DID give us the truth about all the important issues. First, he summed it all up on a pair of tablets and had Moses deliver it to the people. Later, people were still screwed up, so he came down in person to show us how to get straightened out. We nailed him to a tree for his efforts. Then he helped people write an amazing manual for life, teaching us how to live, and it's called the Bible. And still people say, "Well, if he exists, why doesn't he just tell us what he wants?"

This reminds me of a modern parable. You may have heard it:

There was a terrible storm, and flood waters were rising in a town near the sea. People did what they could to save their homes, but soon water was up to the roof lines. People who could get out did, but many were stuck. Boats were brought in and lots of people were rescued. One boat pulled up to t a house with a man sitting on his roof and the boat pilot invited him in. "No," the man responded, "God will save me."

The water continued to rise. About the time it got to the peak of the roof, another boat came by. The man, up to his ankles in rising flood water once again refused the help of the mere mortals insisting, "God will save me!"

Soon, the water was up to his chin and he was washed away from the roof. While he was treading water a helicopter came and tried to rescue him. "NO! God will save me!"

Needless to say, he drowned shortly thereafter. Upon meeting God he said, "Lord, why didn't you save me?"

"What are you talking about? I sent you two boats and a helicopter!"


w
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/26/07 05:38 PM

Wayne wrote:
"The real message should be: Non-thinking fundamentalism and hypocrisy isn't all they are cracked up to be."

Except that we are as likely to hear main-stream Christian churches denounce them as we are likely to hear main-stream Islam denounce their fundamentalism as we are to hear main-stream Judaism denounce their fanatical elements.

Yes there are in each group a few voices in the wilderness spitting into the wind. But the vast majority, the silent majority, acquiesces.

It is what it is and happy thoughts and best wishes are not going to change the reality. The silent majority is the gutless majority and by their silence they sow the seeds later reaped.
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/26/07 07:47 PM

At least I've gotten you to admit that the the vociferous minority doesn't represent the majority.

Here's the problem: When somebody like myself stands up and starts talking sense, they are shot down not only by the same people shooting down the fundies, but also by the fundies themselves.

The current climate is so incredibly hostile to anybody with a thinking religion that their voices are drowned out before they even leave their mouths. A person with a thinking religion is the only kind of person that a Fundamentalist and an Atheist will team up against. I find that sad.

w

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/26/07 08:23 PM

Getting me to acknowledge (not admit) objective truth is rarely difficult. <g>

I am sympathetic which is why I continue to offer an olive branch. I know how extremely difficult it must be. Been there before I moved here.

But those of us that have moved on have done so because we applied intense analytical skills to the study of history. We have agonized over the implications of what were considering. And we have decided that integrity, and a desire to avoid hypocrisy, require it.

It is very difficult at times to be out here. Reviled by the fundamentalists and yet not able to completely embrace those such as yourself. We each have our cross to bear.

It is not my intention to challenge your belief system. It is yours and you are entitled to it. But it is my intent to never let people forget that those promoting religion as a solution have been doing so for more than 10,000 years (since Ur) and that they have little, if anything, to show for it. The advances we see today are the result of science. Our electricity, our medicines, our food, our water, etc.

When religion recognized trichinosis it created the Kosher laws and claimed God forbid eating pork. When science recognized it the result was pork chops.

If people had tithed for science and put as much money into university research departments as churches we'd have beaten cancer into submission and have people colonizing Mars. That difference is not lost on me and shouldn't be on you.

Believe what you want ... but put your energy into what works.
Posted by: Wayne Zeller

Re: Evidence for God - 03/26/07 08:58 PM

Quote:
Believe what you want ... but put your energy into what works.


God works. And without him, there wouldn't be any science to begin with.

That's what works for me.

I think that will need to be my final word here on the matter of religion.

You're too angry with God at the moment to really absorb any truth about him. Your olive branch is nothing more than a willing extension of the microphone to people you can't hear anyway.

Let's get back to science. That's what we both came here for, right?

w
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/26/07 09:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Wayne Zeller
At least I've gotten you (DA Morgan) to admit that the the vociferous minority doesn't represent the majority.

...The current climate is so incredibly hostile to anybody with a thinking religion that their voices are drowned out before they even leave their mouths.

A person with a thinking religion is the only kind of person that a Fundamentalist and an Atheist will team up against. I find that sad.


Wayne, thank you for your advocacy of a RATIONAL AND THINKING APPROACH to religion, including Christianity--one in which we can agree to disagree agreeably, and not be judgemntal of one another. How divisive such an approach is, eh?

My wife and I belong to a new congregation called PATHWAYS--It is, BTW, part of the United Church of Canada. It is also made up of people who want to belong to a congreation of people dedicated to a kind of Christianity which encourages progressive and constructive thinking.

For your information, the following item is from the Pathways Forum:

http://www.pathwayschurch.ca/forum/showthread.php?tid=71


James Jensen from via the Internet writes to one of our mentors, The Episcopalian Bishop, John Selby Spong, who answers JJ:

"My name is James Jensen. I read of you through UU World and recently read Sins of Scripture (excellent book, by the way).

Today I ran across an article on Wired entitled "The Church of Non-Believers." The author talks about a so-called New Atheism pioneered by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennet that is quite militant about their non-belief. They accuse moderate and liberal believers of being essentially accessories in the harm done by the fundamentalists and radicals.

They make a few good arguments, essentially mentioning the fact that no politician in this country has declared himself or herself an atheist because it wouldn't be politically safe to do so.

I can also sympathize with the idea that moderate and liberal believers aren't doing enough to oppose the fundamentalists, who strike me as not unlike the Nation of Islam in their approach to freedom and justice. It seems likely to me that this means there is going to be a new consciousness (as you term it) breaking through soon enough, but I am left wondering whether this will be more of a breakthrough in Christian thinking or in atheist thinking. In other words, is this the end of religion, or of atheism? What's your opinion on the matter?

Personally, I am no longer sure what to believe and while I sympathize with atheism, it seems to me that without some basis in faith for proclaiming that life is not only good but right, crackpots are going to start thinking they can "fix"human nature, just like people have thought nature needs to be "fixed"and made more orderly ? resulting, of course, in environmental destruction.

After all, both the experience-affirming Carl Rogers and the utopian-behaviorist B.F. Skinner were chosen Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association"

Dear James,

Thank you for your letter. Religion is for many a vital and confusing subject and it justifies most of the criticism it receives. If religion were really about what the Religious Right proclaims, I would want no part of it. If my only choice was to be a Christian like the Falwells or the Robertsons, I would find atheism a compelling alternative. I believe that Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are expressing exactly that.

ABOUT DAWKINS
I met Richard Dawkins when I did some lectures at New College, Oxford University, several years ago. Just that day I had been reading Dawkins' book, "The Selfish Gene" at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. I found it fascinating. It was even more fascinating to discover that we were seated that night side by side at the High Table. I found the man personable and charming. Every theologian in England wants to debate him. Few come out unscathed.

There is much irrationality in our God thinking and Dawkins loves to point it out. Does that mean that there is no reality in the human search for God? I do not think so. Does it mean that human definitions of God are always doomed to die? Because they are human creation I am convinced that they will. The God Richard Dawkins rejects is the one I also reject. What is in doubt is whether the God to whom I am drawn is real, whether the human yeaning for the 'Transcendent,' the 'Other' is real and whether Richard Dawkins' search for truth and my search for God are in fact the same search, but by different names. That is not so easy to answer.

I have never met Sam Harris. I have read him, read reviews about him and watched him at great length talk about his book and answer questions on C-Span. I think his work has articulated what many people feel. It is difficult for religious people to admit they might be wrong so when Sam Harris points out the flaws he finds in religious understanding, he elicits great hostility. Religious threat always produces religious anger.

I found him to be dead set against the abuses he observes in Christianity. He sees no alternative to those abuses than to attack and rid the world of Christianity. I think a better alternative is to attack and to rid the world of that abusive Christianity, which suggests that ultimate truth has been captured in creedal forms, that God is an angry parent figure in the sky who wants to punish us but relents and punishes the Divine Son instead, and that followers of Jesus have the right to hate anyone who disagrees with them. I have no need or respect for such a religious system or for that abusive deity. That is also not the God that I believe I engage as a Christian when I worship.

So I welcome the Dawkins, the Harrises and the Dennets of the world and believe the Christian Church must be willing to listen to them, to hear their criticisms and to respond to them with the respect that their criticisms deserve. When we do that, I believe we will discover that Christianity can still be a vital and alive force in the 21st century.

My best,

-- John Shelby Spong

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/26/07 10:28 PM

Wayne wrote:
"You're too angry with God at the moment to really absorb any truth about him."

Angry with god? Hardly. I can't find any evidence of god having a hand in anything on this planet. I am angry at what humans have done under cover of citing his name and while claiming him as the authority for what they have done.

If you think otherwise you putting incredible energy into a belief system (not religious, but about those of us that are not) based on a very big misunderstanding.

Note to Tr?ll: Please go start your own thread or go away.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/26/07 10:40 PM

Hey. It seems Dan Morgan and Revlgking agree on something. DA wrote:

"Except that we are as likely to hear main-stream Christian churches denounce them as we are likely to hear main-stream Islam denounce their fundamentalism as we are to hear main-stream Judaism denounce their fanatical elements."

The Rev's latest post seems to agree. OK guys, maybe we should stop arguing over whether some form of indeterminate god exists and get stuck into fundies of all religions, not just the three above I might add. Unfortunately, as people feel threatened they withdraw into their own circle, which on a wider view includes those fundies.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/26/07 10:51 PM

Wayne, I have a feeling that we have someone in our midst, who believes in, and fears, tr?lls.

My World Book Dictionary defines a troll (in Scandinavian myth) "as an ugly dwarf or giant, with supernatual (God-like powers?) powers living underground or in caves." :lol:

If I believed in trolls I, too, would be fearful. Who believes in trolls, anyone? Anyone? Step up and declare yourself!!!



Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/29/07 12:12 PM

Wikipedia have a more relevant definition of trolls.

They:

"often contribute no useful information to the thread"

"concentrate almost exclusively on facts irrelevant to the point of the conversation"



I would add to the definition.

They:

"are here to proselytize and will use every opportunity to inappropriately advertise their pet philosophy. This may include constantly linking to (and promoting) their favourite websites."


In this case, it will be helpful for you to understand that bringing unsubstantiated New Age thinking (that is so woolly and pliable that it defies clear and rational definition or examination) to a site devoted to scientific and rational discourse will inevitably be seen as TROLLING.

It also seems clear to us that your only interest in science is when it can be used to justify your warm, cuddly nothingness about God.

I have seen your website and one of your key points is that the search for knowledge is more important than finding the knowledge - the journey, more important than the destination.

If scientists thought this way we would have no chance of eliminating cancer, because science requires concrete results.

You may want to stop wasting bandwidth here and find a more receptive audience somewhere else, because until you show an interest in rational debate, you will find little response here and even less respect.

Sorry for being so direct, but you are annoying a number of people here with your long, pointless posts (like 1000+ words on the 'Church of the Godless').

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 03/29/07 12:17 PM

Some useful advice for spotting and dealing with Trolls.

http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/troll-tactics.html


  • ignore postings that you suspect may be from trolls.
  • if you must respond to a troll posting, don't get involved in the argument; limit it to pointing out that the posting may be considered as trollish, for the benefit of other list members.


Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 03/29/07 01:48 PM

Thank you Blacknad for reminding everyone that the best way to deal with a tr?ll like revlgking is:

"ignore postings that you suspect may be from trolls."

Now lets do it!

He has demonstrated repeatedly that he is arrogant, contemptuous of us, revels in his self-anointed superior, and has no interest in science but rather is using (and abusing) this forum to promote his own personal brand of koolaid.

I know it is an incredible temptation to respond to his intentional provocations and feigned protestations of innocence. But he is what he is ... and that is an unrepentant tr?ll.

No need to explain it to him ... he knows it ... he doesn't care.

If he posts ... no matter what he posts ... please do not respond.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/29/07 03:21 PM

What is the point of the bitter diatribe, by DA Morgan and Blacknad, that appears above?

What does it have to do with EVIDENCE FOR GOD? Perhaps maybe it may have a place in the thread I started on KNOCK THE REVS AND RELIGIONS...but not here. Maybe I need to start a thread on EVIDENCE FOR DEMONOLOGY, EVIL AND THE LIKE...?

....To keep things on topic, I will move what I say here to the Knock the Revs...thread.

To Kate: If anything I write needs to be changed or improved on, feel to correct and instruct me. I welcome all contructive criticisms.
============
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/29/07 06:16 PM

"The Rev's latest post seems to agree. OK guys, maybe we should stop arguing over whether some form of indeterminate god exists and get stuck into fundies of all religions, not just the three above I might add. Unfortunately, as people feel threatened they withdraw into their own circle, which on a wider view includes those fundies." TerryNZ

Terry, I am not quite sure what you mean, here. What do you mean by "the fundies of all religion"?

BTW, I do agree that Reformed Jews do have much in common with Liberal Christians than they do with Ultra Orthodox Jews. The same is true of Liberal Christians. We have little in common with Ultra Orthodox Christians. Liberalism is more of an attitude than it is a set of specific doctrines. Is this what you are trying to say?

Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 03/30/07 03:02 AM

OK. I'll explain. As people feel threatened they often retreat into a more extreme version of their beliefs rather than adjust those beliefs to fit the facts as demonstrated. They sort of close ranks and support one another. The extremists can become the dominant personalities in those groups (the squeeky door gets the oil). As science shows more and more that ancient Holy Books are no more than political propaganda from their period many people become defensive. They move towards more fundamentalist intepretations of those books.

All 'mentalists are a problem for others. I doubt if anyone at SAGG would doubt that 'mentalist Muslims are a threat to stability in the world. Most might agree that 'mentalist Christians have also become a threat through manipulation by some politicians in "the West". That 'mentalist Jews are as much a cause of problems in the Middle east as are 'mentalist Muslims and 'mentalist Christians is less often conceded. In India 'mentalist Hindus often cause trouble. I'm not aware of Buddhists being a problem anywhere but I'd be surprised if they weren't.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 03/30/07 03:48 AM

Sounds good to me, Terry. Refresh my memory: Where on the spectrum do you stand, theologically?
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/05/07 09:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Sounds good to me, Terry. Refresh my memory: Where on the spectrum do you stand, theologically?


BTW, Terry, I am sure that you are aware that there are certain things which are true by virtue of self-evidence, agreed?

For example, you do not have to prove to me that fresh air is good for me. By personal experience, I soon learn that I--Can any creature?--cannot survive, physically, without it. Can anyone?

Also, it is my sincere opinion that G?D is self-evident.

As St. John put it: G?D is Spirit. Note that John did not write that G?D is "A spirit".

It seems to me that John meant to speak of G?D is as real as the very air we breathe, physically, mentally and spiritually. It is not surprising, then that John also wrote that G?D is love--the basic spiritually-based human emotion.

I challenge atheists to prove and demonstrate to us, here, that it is possible for any creature to survive, physically, without breath. And what truly human being can happily survive, mentally, spiritually, without the love of others?

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/05/07 10:10 PM

I challenge atheists, agnostics, deists, true-believers, and other sentient and semi-sentient entities to not respond to this intentional tr?ll.

Thank you.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/05/07 10:48 PM

DA Morgan, you just did!!! Thanks for the bite. laugh
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/06/07 10:42 AM

Evidence for God?

"The most amazing thing to me is existence itself. How is it that inanimate matter can organize itself to contemplate itself?"



Paul Davies has moved from promoting atheism to conceding that "the laws [of physics] ... seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design." (Superforce, p. 243) He further testifies, "[There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all ... it seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature's numbers to make the Universe ... The impression of design is overwhelming." (The Cosmic Blueprint, p. 203)

Paul Davies
Superforce, p. 243
The Cosmic Blueprint, p. 203


?The more I examine the universe and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming.?

Freeman Dyson
Disturbing the Universe
New York: Harper & Row, 1979, p. 250


"The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation ... His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection."
Albert Einstein


?The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron ?. The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.?

Stephen Hawking


"A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question."

Sir Fred Hoyle


"For the scientist who has lived by faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."

Robert Jastrow
God and the Astronomers


?On Earth, a long sequence of improbable events transpired in just the right way to bring forth our existence, as if we had won a million-dollar lottery a million times in a row. Contrary to the prevailing belief, maybe we are special ?. It seems prudent to conclude that we are alone in a vast cosmic ocean, that in one important sense, we ourselves are special in that we go against the Copernican grain.?

Robert Naeye
?OK, Where Are They??
Astronomy, July 1996, p.36


"We can't understand the universe in any clear way without the supernatural."

Allan Sandage (former PHD student of Edwin Hubble)


?Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant to me ? I should like to find a genuine loophole.?

Arthur Eddington
?The End of the World: From the Standpoint of Mathematical Physics?
Nature, vol. 127 (1931) p. 450


Einstein tried to avoid such a beginning by creating and holding onto his cosmological ?fudge factor? in his equations until 1931, when Hubble?s astronomical observations caused him to grudgingly accept ?the necessity for a beginning.?

A. Vibert Douglas
?Forty Minutes With Einstein?
Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
Vol. 50 (1956), p. 100

Einstein quote cited in

Fred Heeren
Show Me God: What the Message from Space Is Telling Us About God
Day Star Publications, 2000, pp. 107-108


?The big bang theory requires a recent origin of the Universe that openly invites the concept of creation.?

Fred Hoyle
The Intelligent Universe
New York: Holt, Rinehard, and Winston, 1983), p. 13


?If we accept the big bang theory, and most cosmologists now do, then a ?creation? of some sort is forced upon us.?

Barry Parker
Creation?the Story of the Origin and Evolution of the Universe
New York & London: Plenum Press, 1988, p. 202


Compared to the alternative of supposing that matter and energy somehow always existed, British physicist Edmund Whittaker says, ?It is simpler to postulate creation ex nihilo?Divine will constituting Nature from nothingness.?

Edmund Whittaker cited in

Fred Heeren
Show Me God: What the Message from Space Is Telling Us About God
Day Star Publications, 2000, pp. 121


?We do, of course, have an alternative. We could say that there was no creation, and that the universe has always been here. But this is even more difficult to accept than creation.?

Barry Parker
Creation?the Story of the Origin and Evolution of the Universe
New York & London: Plenum Press, 1988, pp. 201-202


Einstein later chided himself for introducing his famous fudge factor in order to make his theory fit. He called the addition of his cosmological constant ?the greatest blunder of my life.? (cited by Richard Morris, The Fate of the Universe, New York: Playboy Press, 1982, p. 28) He wrote: ?The mathematician Friedmann found a way out of the dilemma. His results then found a surprising confirmation by Hubble?s discovery of the expansion (of the universe).? (cited by Barry Parker, Creation?the Story of the Origin and Evolution of the Universe, New York & London: Plenum Press, 1988, pp. 53-54). After this Einstein wrote not only of the necessity for a beginning, but of his desire ?to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thought, the rest are details.? (cited by Nick Herbert, Quantum Reality?Beyond the New Physics, Garden City, New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1985, p. 177).

Fred Heeren
Show Me God: What the Message from Space Is Telling Us About God
Day Star Publications, 2000, pp. 135


?There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.?

George Smoot - 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics


?Until the late 1910?s humans were as ignorant of cosmic origins as they had ever been. Those who didn?t take Genesis literally had no reason to believe there had been a beginning.?

George Smoot and Keay Davidson
Wrinkles in Time
New York: William Morrow and Company, 1993, p.30


?There is no explanation in the Big Bang theory for the seemingly fortuitous fact that the density of matter has just the right value for the evolution of a benign, life supporting universe.?

Robert Jastrow
God and the Astronomers, second edition
New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992, p. 93


?The Hubble Law is one of the great discoveries in science; it is one of the main supports of the scientific story of Genesis.?

Robert Jastrow
God and the Astronomers, second edition
New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992, p. 53


?Certainly there was something that set it all off. Certainly, if you are religious, I can?t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis.?

Robert Wilson
An interview with Fred Heeren
Show Me God: What the Message from Space Is Telling Us About God
Day Star Publications, 2000, p. 157


?If you?re religious, it?s like looking at God.?

Milton Rothman
?What Went Before??
Free Inquiry, vol. 13, no. 1 (Winter, 1992/93), p.12

Context: George Smoot commenting on the discovery by the COBE Science Working Group of the expected ?ripples? in the microwave background radiation. He called these fluctuations ?the fingerprints from the Maker.? Smoot draws attention not only to the fact that his team had provided more evidence for the creation event, but for a ?finely orchestrated? creation event. Stephen Hawking was so impressed with this finding that he called it ?the most important discovery of the century, if not of all time.?

Fred Heeren
Show Me God: What the Message from Space Is Telling Us About God
Day Star Publications, 2000, p. 177


?How is it that common elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen happened to have just the kind of atomic structure that they needed to combine to make the molecules upon which life depends? It is almost as though the universe had been consciously designed??

Richard Morris
The Fate of the Universe
New York: Playboy Press, 1982, p. 28


?In order to make a universe as big and wonderful as it is, lasting as long as it is?we?re talking fifteen billion years and we?re talking huge distances here?in order for it to be that big, you have to make it perfectly. Otherwise, imperfections would mount up and the universe would either collapse on itself or fly apart, and so it?s actually quite a precise job. And I don?t know if you?ve had discussions with people about how critical it is that the density of the universe come out so close to the density that decides whether it?s going to keep expanding forever or collapse back, but we know it?s within one percent.?

George Smoot in an interview with Fred Heeren
Show Me God: What the Message from Space Is Telling Us About God
Day Star Publications, 2000, pp. 168


?The big bang, the most cataclysmic event we can imagine, on closer inspection appears finely orchestrated.?

George Smoot and Keay Davidson
Wrinkles in Time
New York: William Morrow and Company, 1993, p.135


?The question of ?the beginning? is as inescapable for cosmologists as it is for theologians.?

George Smoot and Keay Davidson
Wrinkles in Time
New York: William Morrow and Company, 1993, p.189


?the essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.?

Robert Jastrow
God and the Astronomers, second edition
New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992, p. 14


Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking mentions the ratio between the masses of the proton and the electron as one of the many fundamental numbers in nature, and comments, ?The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.?

Stephen W. Hawking
A Brief History of Time?From the Big Bang to Black Holes
New York: Bantam Books, 1988, p. 125


"Every one of these forces must have just the right strength if there is to be any possibility of life. For example, if electrical forces were much stronger than they are, then no element heavier than hydrogen could form ... But electrical repulsion cannot be too weak. if it were, protons would combine too easily, and the sun ...(assuming that it had somehow managed to exist up to now) would explode like a thermonuclear bomb."

Richard Morris
The Fate of the Universe
New York: Playboy Press, 1982, p. 153


"If the strong nuclear force were slightly weaker, multi-proton nuclei would not hold together. Hydrogen would be the only element in the universe."

Hugh Ross
The Fingerprint of God, second edition
Orange, CA: Promise Publishing Co.
1989, 1991, pp. 121-122


"Stronger (nuclear) forces would cause all of the primordial hydrogen -- not just 25% of it -- to be synthesized into helium early in the history of the universe. And without hydrogen, the stars could never begin to shine."

Richard Morris
The Fate of the Universe
New York: Playboy Press, 1982, p. 153


?To make sense of this view (design as opposed to accident), one must accept the idea of transcendence: that the Designer exists in a totally different order of reality or being, not restrained within the bounds of the Universe itself.?

George F. R. Ellis
Before the Beginning ? Cosmology Explained
London and New York: Boyars/Bowerdean, 1993, 1994, p. 97




?? what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God?s invisible qualities ? His eternal power and divine nature ? have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.?

Paul
Letter to the Romans 1:19:20


Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/06/07 12:55 PM

I would be more surprised by the lack of existence than I am by existence itself.

There has never been an instant in time when there was non-existence.

And, if you think about it (a bit whimsically perhaps), there has never been a moment in your life when you have seen evidence of life not existing. You've no evidence of it being any other way and you never will.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/06/07 02:55 PM

But surely there there has only been existence for 15 billion years.

As time and existence are inextricably bound then it doesn't mean anything to say, "There has never been an instant in time when there was non-existence."

Other than the last 15 billion years there was a state of non-existence. Not that we can really consider it a state.

Anyway, in terms of the first quote, it is essentially talking about mind and not just the existence of matter, energy etc.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/06/07 04:38 PM

THE FOLLOWING IS OFFERED IN THE SPIRIT OF DIALOGUE, NOT DEBATE.
IN MY OPINION:
G--stands for all the goodness there is
?--stands for all the laws and order that there are
D--stands for all the discipline and design (beauty) that there is

You quote F.R. Ellis, Blacknad:
?To make sense of this view (design as opposed to accident), one must accept the idea of transcendence: that the Designer exists in a totally different order of reality or being, not restrained within the bounds of the Universe itself.?

Before the Beginning ? Cosmology Explained
London and New York: Boyars/Bowerdean, 1993, 1994, p. 97
========================================================
Then you quote ROMAN'S 1:19-32, where PAUL WRITES TO THE GENTILE WORLD. He writes about the nature of idolatry and how it can affect how we live our lives, morally and ethically. He also writes about THE SELF-EVIDENT NATURE OF G?D:

?? what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God?s invisible qualities ? His eternal power and divine nature ? have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.?

THE PHILLIPS TRANSLATION
CHECK OUT http://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CP06Romans.htm
AND http://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/JBPhillips.htm

I like the clear way The Rev J.B. Phillips translates Paul's words. Here is the full section:

The righteousness of God and the sin of man

1:18-21 - Now the holy anger of God is disclosed from Heaven against the godlessness and evil of those men who render truth dumb and inoperative by their wickedness. It is not that they do not know the truth about God; indeed he has made it quite plain to them. For since the beginning of the world the invisible attributes of God, e.g. his eternal power and divinity, have been plainly discernible through things which he has made and which are commonly seen and known, thus leaving these men without a rag of excuse. They knew all the time that there is a God, yet they refused to acknowledge him as such, or to thank him for what he is or does. Thus they became fatuous in their argumentations, and plunged their silly minds still further into the dark.

1:22-23 - Behind a facade of "wisdom" they became just fools, fools who would exchange the glory of the eternal God for an imitation image of a mortal man, or of creatures that run or fly or crawl.

1:24 - They gave up God: and therefore God gave them up - to be the playthings of their own foul desires in dishonouring their own bodies.

The fearful consequence of deliberate atheism

BTW, I would like to dialogue with Paul about what he really means here. I am not one of those who say it is impossible for sincere atheists to be moral and ethical. In my opinion, not all theists are automatically paragons of virtue.

1:25-27 - These men deliberately forfeited the truth of God and accepted a lie, paying homage and giving service to the creature instead of to the Creator, who alone is worthy to be worshipped for ever and ever, amen. God therefore handed them over to disgraceful passions. Their women exchanged the normal practices of sexual intercourse for something which is abnormal and unnatural. Similarly the men, turning from natural intercourse with women, were swept into lustful passions for one another. Men with men performed these shameful horrors, receiving, of course, in their own personalities the consequences of sexual perversity.

1:28-32 - Moreover, since they considered themselves too high and mighty to acknowledge God, he allowed them to become the slaves of their degenerate minds, and to perform unmentionable deeds. They became filled with wickedness, rottenness, greed and malice; their minds became steeped in envy, murder, quarrelsomeness, deceitfulness and spite. They became whisperers-behind-doors, stabbers-in-the-back, God-haters; they overflowed with insolent pride and boastfulness, and their minds teemed with diabolical invention. They scoffed at duty to parents, they mocked at learning, recognised no obligations of honour, lost all natural affection, and had no use for mercy. More than this - being well aware of God's pronouncement that all who do these things deserve to die, they not only continued their own practices, but did not hesitate to give their thorough approval to others who did the same.
==================

Interestingly, scholars have long since known that the ancient Greeks, for example, Seneca--active in the time of Paul--had developed the "argument from design". The Greek term 'gnoston' can mean 'what is known' as well as, 'what can be known'.

NB: 2:14-15 - When the Gentiles, who have no knowledge of the Law, act in accordance with it by the light of nature, they show that they have a law in themselves, for they demonstrate the effect of a law operating in their own hearts. Their own consciences endorse the existence of such a law, for there is something which condemns or commends their actions.

2:16 - We may be sure that all this will be taken into account in the day of true judgment, when God will judge men's secret lives by Jesus Christ, as my Gospel plainly states.
=============================================

The character of G?D in creation is spoken of, frequently, in the Hebrew scriptures as being reflected in nature. Psalm 19:1 exclaims: "How clearly the sky reveals God's glory."
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/07/07 10:35 PM

Posters and lurkers: I am amazed at the number of clicks on this thread. What is it, over 5,000? Shortly after Tim started it, it seemed doomed to being dumped.

Lurkers, what are you afraid of? There are thousands of clicks on this thread...get involved, for, against, or bored. No matter what your opinion, it will receive respect from this quarter, okay? If you wish, you can remain anonymous.

Terry and Tim: Are you gone to your final rest? smile
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 04/08/07 12:04 AM

hiya, yeah, been busy, but im back a little. wow, 5000 clicks! cool! let me ask DA why he would call me a troll? What is it to you if i have a set belief which sustains me throughout my days? And how are yall back at SAGG?
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/08/07 04:35 AM

Welcome back, Tim. Good to see you are not afraid of being flamed. I suspect that many lurkers have this fear, thus, they keep away. Sad! If I knew you well enough I may differ in opinion from you, but I refuse to stoop to flaming, too judgmental. Feel free to express your beliefs and opinions. As you know, I am a minister. Do you know any other clergy who would like to get involved?

If you would like to read some controversial stuff about what is going on between Christianity and Islam check out this item from the NEW YORKER, April 8:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/04/02/070402fa_fact_kramer?currentPage=1
======================================================
BTW, look at the clicks on the whole section. They are approaching 7000. Obviously people do like to read more than hard science, not that hard science is unimportant.

What is your opinion regarding hard science. How open are you when it comes to the theory of evolution versus creation? Have you heard of emanation?

THE FOLLOWING IS MOSTLY PHILOSOPHY AT THIS POINT, AN OPINION, NOT HARD SCIENCE; BUT INTERESTING. In my opinion it sounds rational to me, but still an opinion. smile
====================
The word "Emanation" comes from the Latin e-manare, "to flow forth". The cosmos and finite beings are all seen as having emerged out of the Absolute Reality through a sort of "out-flowing".

Metaphors are with the ocean (the Absolute) and the waves (the Universe); the Sun (the Absolute) and the Light that shines from it (the Universe); a fountain (the Absolute) which overflows (the universe); and so on.

According to Emanationism, Creation occurs by a process of emanation - "out-flowing". The entire cosmos, and even all the Gods and Godheads beyond the Cosmos, has come about through emanation.
===============
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanationism
http://www.kheper.net/topics/cosmology/emanation.htm

http://www.alibris.com/search/search.cfm...FTG5LgWCM2RRrSQ
Posted by: Warren

Re: Evidence for God - 04/08/07 08:13 AM

Rev, that New Yorker article was quite a read-- long and challenging but worthwhile. Made me realize how little I knew about Catholicism. While I was under the impression-- I guess correctly-- that the last Pope was more "ecumenical" than the present one, I hadn't realized that the later was considered "...the first prominent theologian to sit on Peter?s throne since the eighteenth century." I can certainly begin to see why the world's faiths are so far apart on even the cosmic issues that should unite them.

Evidence for God... I don't even think the question "Does God (or a god) exist" is even relevant. The divine, if one uses that term, is simply whatever is ultimate, or ultimate reality, in their life. As far as evidence for a being-like God or god, I don't think there is any. If there was, scientists would be developing theories about God, just like they do about black holes or the space/time continuum.

(BTW this is my first post-- I'm an online friend of Rev. King's and a fellow unitheist.)
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/08/07 10:16 AM

Blacknad. One of your quotes said, "I can?t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis.?

Now that's a big jump don't you think? Six days, humans created miraculously on the sixth day? It took a long time for God to decide one small group of people, in no way different to their neighbours, would be his chosen ones. I see no similarity with Genesis at all.

Rev. You earlier asked me to remind you where in the theological spectrum I sat. It is very easy for you to research it yourself. My first post on this thread was made on page two. The only post I would now perhaps prefer to withdraw was one where I quoted a writer who seemed as frustrated with 'mentalist religiosists as I was at the time. I'm sure you'll realise which post it was.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/08/07 11:05 AM

Terry,

Six day creation was not always such a strong belief in the church. It is partly a reaction to losing ground to science generally. A kind of intellectual siege mentality by the church.

?St. Augustine was a kind of evolutionist, although hardly a Darwinist. In his second commentary on Genesis, written around the year 410, he speculated that God had planted "rational seeds" in nature which eventually fructified into plants and animals. This would be evolution in the strict meaning of the word, an unfolding of what is already there, like an acorn turning into an oak. Being directed and purposeful, however, St. Augustine's version of evolution is utterly non-Darwinian: it is, rather, creation on the instalment plan.?

This was not an uncommon view. They understood the text better and believed that it was talking about long periods of time and not days ? it is certainly possible to understand the word ?yowm? not as a day, but as a period of time.

See:

http://www.accuracyingenesis.com/day.html

I think the context of the quote was about a creative act. The steady state universe didn?t allow for it. The quote is about Creation Ex Nihilo ? which fits equally with Genesis?s reading and with current cosmological knowledge.

Blacknad.


Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/08/07 10:12 PM

Terry, you write: "It's unbelieveable that after all this time he is yet to show us he exists...."

Terry, in my humble opinion, it will never happen. Here is why: God, even for theism, is NOT a being who exists like you and I do. To indicate this is why I created the special word, G?D, that I use in my signature.

Keep in mind that only very unsophisticated theists--no disrespect meant--think of God as a being who exists in the same way that you and I exist.

Knowledgeable theists do not think of God as a subjective/objective human-like being with a physical body. Do you I make myself clear? Or is there still some confusion?

G?D, even God, is that which includes all other conceivable things. Therefore, in my humble opinion, as I experience all that IS, I am experiencing God, or G?D.

I ask all atheists: What do you call all that is? How do you define it? Let's dialogue about the nature and function of self-evident existence, okay?


Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/08/07 10:22 PM

Revlgking wrote:
"I ask all atheists: What do you call all that is? How do you define it? Let's dialogue about the nature and function of self-evident existence, okay?"

Well as long as everyone wishes to play this preposterous tr?ll game so be it.

We call it reality. Objective reality. Not the fairy tale whoo-whoo synapse-free zone created by pathetic old men to make themselves seem important.

"To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today."
~ Isaac Asimov

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge:
it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who
so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
~ Charles Darwin

"Faith is an absolutely marvelous tool. With faith there is no question too big for even the smallest mind."
~ Rev. Donald Morgan
Posted by: scpg02

Re: Evidence for God - 04/09/07 02:18 AM

What mortal man can know the mind of a being that is infinite? Who can know the plan of someone who operates on a scale of millennia? Consider the butterfly effect on time and human existence.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 04/09/07 02:24 AM

Awe, couldnt agree more, scpg, about how we cannot know the way an infinite mind works. how infinately vast is His ways, how vast indeed! yes, the problem with us temporal beings, is that we see but a pinprick in this vast (excuse my poeticness) stage. o, how faint a whisper we hear of him. this is why Job said, that he sees but the outer fringes of His Creator's works. God has manifested Himself to us, yet we barely see His handiwork in this vast ocean (again, the poeticness). Science will, I optimistacly think, lead to God. At the present, we have just reached the surface in this vast sea of knowledge. And the wonderful part is, that God makes Himself known to us!
Posted by: scpg02

Re: Evidence for God - 04/09/07 02:45 AM

Quote:
(excuse my poeticness)


Appreciated and enjoyed.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/09/07 03:17 AM

"We call it (that is, all that is)reality. Objective reality." DM writes.

Sounds similar to what any kind of theist, including this unitheist can say. Realism is very important to me.

And I can say this without having to add, "Not the fairy tale whoo-whoo synapse-free zone created by pathetic young, or old, atheists to make themselves seem important." smile

Tim and scpgo2: I appreciate the poetic approach to God by both of you. I consider that my thoughts, without neglecting the probing by the sciences, are congruent with that approach. In the poetic spirit I offer the following:

THE HIGHEST GOOD OF ALL
There's God-like power in every tiny atom;
I feel that power in galaxies above.
But best of all, that power is deep within me,
And manifests as faith and hope and love.

Then sing of love, the highest good of all,
For God is love, the power of love;
Then sing of love, the highest good of all;
For God is love, faith, hope and love.

GOD in nature.
One of the things that intrigues me about nature is the immense diversity there is in all it facets.

We have all heard that no two snow flakes are exactly alike. I read somewhere that this is also true of the grains of sand. It is probably also true of every atom, molecule and galaxie. Awesome to contemplate.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/09/07 09:44 AM

Blacknad, you wrote:

"Six day creation was not always such a strong belief in the church. It is partly a reaction to losing ground to science generally. A kind of intellectual siege mentality by the church."

This is very much in agreement with what I wrote a few weeks ago:

"As people feel threatened they often retreat into a more extreme version of their beliefs rather than adjust those beliefs to fit the facts as demonstrated."

It seems to me any argument that the six days are not to be taken literally ignores the fact that this is almost certainly what the originators of the myth intended. God was so powerful he could make the whole universe in just six days, literally from dawn to dusk.

I certainly don't wish to annoy you Blacky but I have a gripe with people who use arguments to prove to their own satisfaction there is some sort of God then, with no evidence whatsoever, make the completely unjustified leap to saying this God is the one represented in the Old Testament. Even Revlgking, who claims to have a liberal view of who or what God is, makes this leap of faith. His beliefs are totally grounded in Judeo-Christian cosmology. The God of the Old Testament is a really nasty old [censored], completely inappropriate for anyone to worship these days. I have no argument with the God of the New Testament but this God is totally different to that of the OT, although he still seems to want to punish harshly anyone who doesn't follow him.

A mass of evidence shows us the OT is simply a series of writings collected around 600 BC to justify the Jerusalem temple's right to collect donations from surrounding groups. There is not the slightest bit of evidence that anything before this time is other than myth. This includes stories about Adam and Eve, Noah, the tower of Babel, Abraham, Moses and even King Solomon. It's possible the legends around David developed from a real person, but a person who was little more than a hill country bandit at the time the Philistines were Egyptian mercenaries.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/09/07 06:17 PM

scpg02 wrote:
"What mortal man can know the mind of a being that is infinite?"

None. But that sure doesn't stop a lot of them from claiming that they, and they alone, can and do.

Revlgking wrote:
"Realism is very important to me."

Which, of course, explains your need to play make believe by putting ? in the middle of a perfectly good word. It makes such a huge difference. god doesn't exist but g?d does. God is dead but G?D is not. A contrived affectation is so important for achieving the appearance of realism.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 04/09/07 06:28 PM

I would disagree with Terry, when he said that the God of the OT is different from that of the New Testament.
Let me ask you this: have you read the old testament? the whole way through? have you read the whole new testament?
there is a common theme throughout the whole Bible, an underlying concept taught by the many different authors in different time perios. And that is, that there is a God, and you must turn to Him, who in fact created you and loves you, no matter what you do.
And DA, we do not know the ways of God, an infinite, omniscient being. But we do know that He Is, by the world surrounding us. We do not know exactly His ways, but we do know that He has ways. Ways that are not masked to us, namely creating the universe and this beautiful earth. It alone testifies of His greatness!
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God *DELETED* - 04/09/07 06:28 PM

Post deleted by Amaranth Rose II
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/09/07 07:25 PM

Tim, I presume that you know that you can get rid of the double postings by using the edit function.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/09/07 07:42 PM

Terry,

Please don't worry about offending me. Feel free to call it as you see it.

I'll respond to your comments when I have a bit more time.

Suffice to ask where you have garnered your understanding about the historicity (or lack thereof) of the Old Testament.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/09/07 08:40 PM

DA writes: "Which (my concept of the divine mind), of course, explains your need to play make believe by putting ? in the middle of a perfectly good word. It makes such a huge difference. god doesn't exist but g?d does. God is dead but G?D is not. A contrived affectation is so important for achieving the appearance of realism."

Posters, even while disagreeing with me, I greatly appreciate it when readers make a sincere effort to understand what I write, and not add their own spin as to what they want it to mean.

In no way did I ever, or would I ever, write, "god, or God, doesn't exist but g?d, or G?D, does"

ORTHODOX JUDAISM AND G-d
'G?D' is not a noun for some divine subjective/objective anthropomorphic three-dimensional superbeing. It is an anagram, a short way of saying, goodness, order and design.

I use it, as I have said before, much in the same way that Orthodox Jewish writers use 'G-d'. They use it to avoid objectifying, making a mental idol out of the ineffable, the divine mind behind all things. I respect what Orthodox Jews are trying to say, not ridicule them and accuse them of playing games. For Jews, G-d is not a being subject to existing in a three-dimensional, like things and people.

BTW 1: If an Orthodox Jew were to write in this forum about his belief in G-d would atheists accuse him a being a troll playing make believe? Yes or no!

BTW 2: Atheists have every right to tell Orthodox Jews, theists, deists, and unitheists/protheists/panentheists such as Warren and me: "Look, I disagree with your theologies and, until you present me with concrete evidence, I cannot accept that the one you call God really exists."

But do atheists have the right to twist what others write and mock their sincerely held faith? Yes or no!

BTW 3: I readily acknowledge that the god-concept (unitheism) which Warren and I espouse--similar to that of Orthodox Judaism--is quite different from how people usually think, theologically. It is, like the poet wrote, "The Road Less Traveled". It is a road which we do not insist everyone must take. Most won't. Your choice is your choice and we will respect you for it, even when it happens to be atheism.

BTW 4: Do atheists have a kind of Golden Rule?
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/09/07 10:48 PM

Tim asked:

"have you read the old testament? the whole way through? have you read the whole new testament?"

Yes.

Tim further wrote:

"there is a common theme throughout the whole Bible, an underlying concept taught by the many different authors in different time periods."

But I pointed out that for most of that time the stories are purely myths.

Another point you raised:

"there is a God who in fact created you"

Exactly how long ago, and in what form, did he create humans, Tim?

Blacknad. Thanks for your encouragement. I have read a great deal on the history and prehistory of the whole Middle East. It's become possible to easily see how the connections and contradictions between the various histories arose. A good place to start is any books by Israel Finkelstein. Widely criticised in conservative circles of course.

Revlgking. There you go again with your Judeo-Christian cosmology. How do you know God is a Jew?
Posted by: Turner

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 12:20 AM

Things are getting interesting. I will keep reading, as long as you treat one another with respect. Stick to the facts. Too much flaming, without factual evidence, is boring, okay?
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 12:42 AM

Tim wrote:
" And that is, that there is a God, and you must turn to Him"

Because he is childish, immature, and loves blood and destruction? Yeah I got that message. I got the part about drowning everyone on the planet not a member of a single family. I got the part about murdering the first-born (innocent as well as guilty) in an entire country. I got the part about the end-of-time.

I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees but thanks for asking me to kow tow to a despot.

Tim wrote:
"we do not know the ways of God"

Sure we do. We know the story of Noah. The story of the Exodus. The story of Armageddon. What's not to know. Every Christian, Jew, and Moslem on the planet keeps flogging us with it.

Tim wrote:
"we do not know the ways of God, an infinite, omniscient being."

Perhaps you should look up the definitions of the two big words you just used. Because you clearly do not understand that you just contradicted yourself.

The truth is that you have no knowledge of his/her/its existence other than an authorless book both intentionally and accidentally mistranslated of which you have never, and will never, read any original manuscript.

But thank you for proving once again what Ambrose Bierce wrote:
"Scriptures: the sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based."
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 12:46 AM

Revlgking wrote:
"I greatly appreciate it when readers make a sincere effort to understand what I write"

You really should seek professional help.

I made a sincere effort to understand you more than a month ago. Now I just marvel at your inability to offer anything more substantive than condescension and contrived affectation.
Posted by: Wolfman

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 01:12 AM

I don't agree with everything you post here, DA, but I do agree that the Rev should seek professional help. But then so should anyone who puts blind faith in something like the Bible, the Talmud, the Qur'an, the Bhaggavadagiitta (SP?) or dried chicken bones tossed onto a blanket.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 02:52 AM

You see there you go getting it wrong again.

They aren't using bones they are using b?nes. The difference is substantial don't you know.

Bones are skeletal remains of fowl.
B?nes are the skeletal remains of foul.

PS: If you agreed with everything I said we would likely both agree that you'd need some serious counseling too. <g>
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 03:40 AM

Originally Posted By: Wolfman
...I do agree that the Rev should seek professional help. But then so should anyone who puts blind faith in something like the Bible, the Talmud, the Qur'an, the Bhaggavadagiitta (SP?) or dried chicken bones tossed onto a blanket.

Wolfman, quote one sentence of mine where I recommended that anyone should have BLIND faith in the Bible......

Find anything, yet? Perhaps your imagination causing you problems? smile

Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 10:33 AM

Science has a way of making a showing in even the most unlikely places. Have you noticed how this thread appears to be infinitely recursive. Mandlebrot might have saved himself many sleepless nights if he'd had the opportunity to study it.

Revlgking, I'd like to ask a compound question: What do you see as the central purpose of this thread (yes, I'm quite aware of the title)? What are it's other purposes, if any? Do you think it's succeeding in those purposes? Where do you see this thread going (do you see it moving forward and evolving, or simply moving in ever decreasing circles)?
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 05:20 PM

This thread was created with one and only one purpose in mind and it is serving it well.

It has provided a forum for a lonely old troll to be condescending, to promote a contrived affectation, and to provide a break from watching TV all day.

Intellectual content = 0

And if it dies because people ignore it he will just start another one. Welcome to the synapse-free zone.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 09:40 PM

Okay, I admit it: I am a troll--a Newfy troll--one who enjoys a good feed of brewis and whatever.

Here, I offer my personal thanks to the Rev. DA Morgan (see page one)--the one (hypocrite?) who asked all of you NOT to feed trolls--for providing me with lots of food.

Thanks DA, I find your guff (empty talk) delicious!!! laugh
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 09:58 PM

I am not surprised that we go to war. I am not surprised that we inflict all sorts of horrors upon one another.

The stakes are relatively low here, but there is still an incredible amount of conflict.

This site is dedicated to discussing science and is where you would expect to find mature, enlightened, articulate individuals who have a concern with understanding the universe, humanity and improving this world.

But what do we find but cat-fights, squabbles over inanities and disrespectful insults.

If people here cannot get along and show respect, how can we expect anyone to.

SAGG - the human race in Microcosm.

I may be losing hope and becoming more cynical.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 10:16 PM

Ready-when-you-are, thanks for your questions.

Such is the kind of food which Newfy trolls really enjoy. smile

You write: "Revlgking, I'd like to ask a compound question:

What do you see as the central purpose of this thread (yes, I'm quite aware of the title)?

A: This is a thread which was started by Tim. I respect his right to answer your question. Because, in my opinion, G?D is self-evident, I have all the proof that I need.

"What are it's other purposes, if any?

A: Again, I say, ask Tim.

"Do you think it's succeeding in those purposes?

A: I have no idea what you mean by 'succeeding". It is sure getting a lot of clicks, eh? smile

"Where do you see this thread going (do you see it moving forward and evolving, or simply moving in ever decreasing circles)?

A: Because I love to dialogue, not just debate, I love it when posters actually contribute something to the topic, not just waste time flaming and demeaning other posters.

BTW, in my opinion, flaming and demeaning other posters just drives potential and serious posters away. Some lurkers find it very difficult to put up with crappy guff. Thus they remain silent, like several of my friends who I have inted to join the frey. Invariably they say: I do not have any interested in being insulted by IDIOTS--their word, not mine.



Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 10:34 PM

Blacknab, you wirte: "This site is dedicated to discussing science..."

A: It is? My understanding is as follows: This section is about "not-quite-science..."

You go on: "...and is where you would expect to find mature, enlightened, articulate individuals who have a concern with understanding the universe, humanity and improving this world."

A: Okay, if you agree to join the team, we will have two, at least.

I will begin by asking:
What evidence, if any, do you have, for, or against, the existence of God?
Are you an atheist?
If yes, why?

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 11:10 PM

Relgking wrote:
It is? My understanding is as follows: This section is about "not-quite-science..."

There is a difference between not-quite and ZERO!
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 11:31 PM

Dan. In response to Tim's statement:

"we do not know the ways of God"

You wrote:

"Sure we do. We know the story of Noah. The story of the Exodus. The story of Armageddon."

What makes you accept that these had anything to do with any God? Especially as you give the impression you don't accept there is no God anyway? The Exodus and Noah almost certainly never even happened. There have been several battles fought at Megiddo and, because it is on a trade route between Mesopotamia and Egypt, there are likely to be more battles there.

From another perspective: Perhaps a motive for the invasion of Iraq by the 'mentalist Christians who control the USA at present was to destroy all the evidence in Mesopotamia that shows the God of the Old Testament had simply evolved from the Mesopotamian ones. Of course there was hybridization with Egyptian ones as well, and Zoroastrians. Perhaps that's why Persia is next on their list. Egypt will be after that.

By the way, I'm still waiting for someone who believes there is a God to tell me why this God should be Jewish.
Posted by: scpg02

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 11:35 PM

Quote:
I'm still waiting for someone who believes there is a God to tell me why this God should be Jewish.

He was circumcised.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 11:37 PM

TNZ asks:
"What makes you accept that these had anything to do with any God?"

Lets assume they do not. Lets assume that the Torah, New Testament, and Quran do not contain valid descriptions of a deity. Then what you are left with is that you have no description and no information. As weak as these sources are ... they are the only "authoritative" sources.

If you take them away you take away Judiasm, Christianity, and Islam ... the three most important monotheistic religions. Is there anything left? Essentially no.

If you wish to discuss gods (plural) that is quite another matter but the same logic holds. Either the texts are authoritative or we have essentially no information as everything we believe came to us, through culture and/or education, from these texts.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 11:41 PM

Wolfman wrote, "But then so should anyone who puts blind faith in something like the Bible, the Talmud, the Qur'an, the Bhaggavadagiitta (SP?) or dried chicken bones tossed onto a blanket."
to me, that is not a rational statement. of course i have faith, but faith is not blind. that is one misunderstanding agnostics (and atheists) have about Christians. our faith is not blind.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 11:49 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
[quote=DA Morgan]Relgking wrote:
It is? My understanding is as follows: This section is about "not-quite-science..."

There is a difference between not-quite and ZERO!

What is the difference? Elaborate, please!

Questions: Morgan, what are you trying to prove?
I agree that I am a troll, right?

Now, who are you? And what are you trying to prove?

I await your answer?
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/10/07 11:56 PM

Scpg02 wrote:

"He was circumcised."

Ah. So that explains why the only conception of God on this thread is the Jewish one.

Dan wrote:

"As weak as these sources are ... they are the only "authoritative" sources. If you take them away you take away Judiasm, Christianity, and Islam ... the three most important monotheistic religions. Is there anything left? Essentially no."

My point exactly. I maintain the Torah, New Testament, and Quran do not contain valid descriptions of a deity. In fact most of the stories are myth. And yet people criticise those who believe there are many gods. Why should there be only one? The assumption seems to be belief in one is somehow superior to belief in many.

You wrote:

"everything we believe came to us, through culture and/or education, from these texts."

We have been living a lie for years.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/11/07 02:12 AM

We are in agreement TNZ in the sense that I think they contain the only reliable and authoritative accounts of something that does not exist.

Similarly one might say that there is only one authoritative account of the life of Ulysses (Homer's Odyssey) or of Atlantis (Plato's).

TNZ wrote:
"We have been living a lie for years."

Worse yet there are still people ruling countries and growing wealthy pit-mining the myth.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/11/07 03:24 AM

Revlgking, thanks for your response to the questions.

Originally Posted By: Revlgking
You write...

What do you see as the central purpose of this thread (yes, I'm quite aware of the title)?

A: This is a thread which was started by Tim. I respect his right to answer your question. Because, in my opinion, G?D is self-evident, I have all the proof that I need.

It appears, then, that for you perhaps it has no purpose.

Originally Posted By: Revlgking

"Do you think it's succeeding in those purposes?

A: I have no idea what you mean by 'succeeding". It is sure getting a lot of clicks, eh? smile

That's reasonable, of course. If you could identify no purpose, then neither could you identify success. As for 'clicks', though, that's hardly an indicator of quality. I can imagine that the lowliest porn sites also get a lot of clicks. Not that I equate the two, but expect you see my point.
___________

Blacknad said: "I am not surprised that we go to war. I am not surprised that we inflict all sorts of horrors upon one another. The stakes are relatively low here, but there is still an incredible amount of conflict...SAGG - the human race in Microcosm"

I do agree that human nature has a track record that bodes ill for the future, but I disagree with "SAGG - the human race in Microcosm". I find that, in discussions throughout the internet, the level of freely expressed aggression is incredible - far more than it would be in a live group discussion. There are sure to be perfectly logical reasons for this, without falling into cynicism. I think some important reasons may be:

- The lack of non verbal communication - body posture, facial expression, voice tone etc.
- The absence of immediate social pressure to maintain ethical standards.
- Our impressions of other 'posters' are based solely upon the words they type.
- Sometimes, what appears to be aggression simply is not. In any debate, it can be a constructive tactic to employ a degree of provocation in order stimulate thought and search for the truth in an issue. This, especially bearing in mind the previous three points, can easily be misunderstood as a personal attack.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/11/07 05:05 AM

redewenur wrote:
"As for 'clicks', though, that's hardly an indicator of quality"

Sure it is. You just define the "quality" porn sites as the ones that get the most clicks.

I think you've made your point eloquently.

Now can we all just let this thread die?
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 04/11/07 05:25 AM

Tim-Wouldn't faith HAVE to be blind? The whole point of faith is that it is a blinding, dazzling, emotional experience. You must have this burning conviction in order to truly believe in God. Faith is irrational, unproveable and totally real to those who believe. The description of Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus is a wonderful description of someone overtaken by faith,the scales fell from his eyes! And like many in that situation he became a fanatical believer. This topic is now 24 pages long and we who do not believe cannot shake the conviction of those of you who do. Of course faith is blind, and those of us who do not share it are forced back into arguments that make no dents at all! Such stubborn conviction provokes admiration and perhaps a little envy.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/11/07 05:33 AM

The thread that won't die. <g>

Faith is a word used when people use rational arguments to question that being sold to them as true when there is nothing to support the seller's contention. For example:

"This is the best car on the market"
"Tide gets your clothes whiter than white"
"God works in mysterious ways"
"Vote for me I will fix everything wrong in the government"

As Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1758:
"The way to see by Faith is to shut the eyes of Reason."

Or to quote Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)
"Faith is believing something you know ain't true."
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/11/07 05:50 AM

Dan wrote:

"Similarly one might say that there is only one authoritative account of the life of Ulysses (Homer's Odyssey) or of Atlantis (Plato's)."

Interesting that the stories credited to Homer are similar in many ways to those of the OT. They also probably date to about the same time, the transition bronze/iron age. As you would probably be aware the name "Dan" appears in both myths. Some archeologists even believe the name refers to the same people. Connections have been made between the Sea People and other Israelite tribes such as Weshesh=Asher, Shekelesh=Isachar and Tjekker=Manasseh, the last on the grounds both groups are named as being in the same place at the same time. So, some Israelite tribes originated outside the region but not from Egypt, from the Mediterranean. There's no way all the tribes descend from someone called Abraham who lived 2000 BC. Another problem is that Benjamin is recorded from present day Syria about 2500 BC.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/11/07 07:08 PM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
There is not the slightest bit of evidence that anything before this time is other than myth. This includes stories about Adam and Eve, Noah, the tower of Babel, Abraham, Moses and even King Solomon.


Terry,

It's clear that you have been reading the Biblical Minimalists who are certainly on the fringes.

Unfortunately, what you say is just plain wrong.

Abraham and the people connected with him are almost certainly not mythical characters?

Just to swell this thread even more:

?ABRAHAM

When we continue examining those events and people which are mentioned in the Bible, we often run into the name of Abraham, the person whom the Bible tells us used to live in Ur of the Chaldeans, a metropolis of its time, and who later moved to the Promised Land.
The historicity of Abraham can?t be completely proved, but in any case there are good reasons to believe in it. Clay tablets have been found with the name "Abraham" inscribed in them. Other sources such as these following also provide evidence:

- Names in tablets in Chaldean. First of all, tablets dating to the year 2000 B.C, found from Ur of the Chaldeans (Abraham's hometown) refer to the historicity of Abraham. These tablets mention the name "Abraham" and also other biblical names such as Jacob, Terah, Sarai, Milcah and Laban - they are mentioned among the witnesses of an agreement. These names are not of course proof of Abraham?s relatives or of Abraham himself, but at least they indicate that similar names have been in common use at that time.

- In the tablets of Mari, which are dated to year 1700 B.C., such names as Peleg, Serug, Nahor, Terah and Haran have been seen. What is noticeable is that those same names also appear in the Bible.

- Also from the clay tablets of Ebla such names as Abramu (the name of Abraham was initially Abram.), Esaum, Saulum, Daudum, Mikail and Ismael-Ishmail and Israel-Ishrail have been found. These names are not necessarily people mentioned in the Bible, but at least they are an indication that similar names have been in use at that time.

- In the book "History of Israel" (John Bright, 5.p.1976. p.91p.) John Bright describes the historicity of the patriarch accounts of the Bible and so we have good reason to believe that they really had taken place:

The proofs that have been presented to us so far, give reason to believe that the patriarch accounts are firmly based on history ... We can confidently claim, that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were real historical people... it is clear that the patriarch accounts, not describing later times perfectly describe the conditions that existed during the period in question. (12)

- Abraham as a forefather. The fact that the Jews and Arabs regard Abraham as their forefather is in itself proof that he was a historic person. These people firmly believe that Abraham is their forefather and we have no reason to doubt this.

- (Gen 11:27-28) This is the account of Terah.
Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot.
28. While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth.

- (Ex. 3:5-6) "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."
6. Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

- (Joshua 24:2-4) Joshua said to all the people, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Long ago your forefathers, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River [a] and worshipped other gods.
3. But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the River and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac,
4. and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt.

- (Isa 51:2) look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one,
and I blessed him and made him many.

- (Ezek 33:24) "Son of man, the people living in those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, 'Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land. But we are many; surely the land has been given to us as our possession.'

- (Luke 1:72-73) to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant,
73. the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
- (Matt 3:9) And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

- (John 8:53) Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?"

- (Acts 7:2) To this he replied: "Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran.

- (2 Cor 11:22) Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I.

MOAB

One of Abraham's relations was Moab, who was the descendant of Lot, Abraham?s nephew. The Bible tells us, that he had many descendants and that there was a nation by that name - the kingdom of Moab, which was often a nuisance to Israel.
In addition to this, his name comes up in different historical sources, the stone of Moab being one of them. This stone also mentions Omri, who was the king of Israel:

"I am Mesha, the son of Chemosh ... the king of Moab, Dibonite... The king of Israel Omri... oppressed Moab for a long time, because Chemosh got angry with his country. And his son became the king in his place and said: 'I will oppress Moab... "

- (Gen 19:36-37) so both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father.
37. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today.

- (Deut 2:11) Like the Anakites, they too were considered Rephaites, but the Moabites called them Emites.

- (Ruth 2:2) And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor." Naomi said to her, "Go ahead, my daughter."

- (Isa 16:2) Like fluttering birds pushed from the nest, so are the women of Moab at the fords of the Arnon.

- (Jer 48:13) Then Moab will be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed when they trusted in Bethel.

ISRAEL

The name which is closely related to the Jews, is Israel, from whom this nation comes from. He, who was originally called Jacob, was the son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham.
Perhaps the most interesting finding connected to the name of Israel is the so called Israel-stone, which dates back to year 1200 B.C., and is a monument in honour of the pharaoh Merenptah. The significance of this monument lies in the fact that it is the earliest foreign source on the existence of Israel. It indicates, that the nation of Israel had already in the times of the judges established its location in the Middle-East.

- (Gen 32:27-28) The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered.
28. Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."

EDOM

The brother of Jacob was Esau, or Edom. Esau was his elder twin brother who had his own nation. The king Sargon of Assyria has preserved a statement about him. In this statement we also see other familiar names from the Bible, such as Judah and Moab:

"I conquered Ashdod, Gath. I moved inhabitants to them from eastern countries. I collected tax from Philistia, Judah, Edom and Moab."

- (Gen 25:30) He said to Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished!" That is why he was also called Edom.

- (Gen 36:1, 19) This is the account of Esau (that is, Edom).
19. These were the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these were their chiefs.

- (Num 20:23) At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom, the LORD said to Moses and Aaron,

- (Jer 9:26) Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the desert in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart."

- (2 Chronicles 28:17) The Edomites had again come and attacked Judah and carried away prisoners,

HITTITES

The existence of the Hittites has also been confirmed. This nation, which was not known in the beginning of the 19th century other than from the Bible, and whose existence was doubted for a long time, has now become well-known. Findings of them have been made in their own capital Hattusas. In addition to this, notes on them have been found from Egyptian and Syrian sources.
What describes this well is that when the "Encyclopedia Britannica" dedicated only 8 lines to this nation in its edition in 1860, the 1947 edition had 10 full pages with two columns on them because the information about this nation had increased. What had in the beginning only been well-known from the Bible, had thus got confirmation from archaeological sources.
For instance the next Bible verses refer to this nation (The Bible has all together almost 50 references to them):

- (Gen 10:15) Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites,

- (Judges 1:26) He then went to the land of the Hittites, where he built a city and called it Luz, which is its name to this day.

- (1 Kings 10:29) They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.

JACOB

Jacob is the same person as the before mentioned Israel.
In connection with him it is interesting to note that the monument of Pharaoh Thutmos lll, which is in the pylon of the temple of Karnak, includes references to such place names as Jacob-Er and Joseph-El. In addition to this, this monument mentiones other familiar places from the Bible such as Kadesh, Megiddo, Dothan, Damascus, Hazor, Carmel, Gath and Bethel.

- (Gen 25:26- 27) After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. [a] Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.
27. The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents.

- (Isa 27:6) In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.

- (John 4:5-6, 9-12) So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
6. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
9. The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10. Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
11."Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?
12. Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"

BENJAMIN

Benjamin was a "patriarch" and one of the twelve sons of Jacob, from whom one of the tribes of Israel descended from. A few references to Benjamites can be found in the clay tablets of Mari. One of these statements goes as follows:

"Inform this to my master on behalf of your servant Bannum: Yesterday I left from Mari and I spent the night in Zuruban. All Benjamites sent signs of fire. From Samamum to Ilum-Muluk, from Ilum-Muluk to Mishlam all Benjamin villages in the area of Terqua answered with signs of fire; I don't yet know, what these signs mean." (13)

- (Gen 35:17-18) And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, "Don't be afraid, for you have another son."
18. As she breathed her lastfor she was dyingshe named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.

- (Judges 19:16) That evening an old man from the hill country of Ephraim, who was living in Gibeah (the men of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields.

- (Romans 11:1) I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

ASHER

One of the sons of Jacob was Asher, from whom descended his own tribe. This tribe, which has his name, can be found in the pages of the Old Testament:

- (Gen 30:13) Then Leah said, "How happy I am! The women will call me happy." So she named him Asher.

- (Num 1:41) The number from the tribe of Asher was 41,500.

- (Luke 2:36) There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,

LEVI

Levi was also a son of Jacob, from which also descended a tribe bearing his name. His descendants had a responsible task according to the Bible; they took care of the temple service and other priestly tasks. The New Testament also mentions the descendants of Levi living in those days:

- (Ex. 6:16) These were the names of the sons of Levi according to their records: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. Levi lived 137 years.

- (John 1:19) Now this was Johns testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.

- (Acts 4:36) Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement),

RACHEL, LEAH AND PEREZ

Rachel and Leah, who appear in the next verses of the Bible, were the wives of Jacob. He went to get them from the eastern countries. Perez was the son of Leah's son Judah, from Tamar:

- (Gen 31:14) Then Rachel and Leah replied, "Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father's estate?

- (Gen 38:29) But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, "So this is how you have broken out!" And he was named Perez.

- (Ruth 4:11-12) Then the elders and all those at the gate said, "We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem.
12. Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah."

RACHELS TOMB

When Rachel, the favourite wife of Jacob died, we are told that she was buried by the road to Ephrath. However, what is interesting is that we can find a reference to the same tomb from the book of Samuel; it was obviously still commonly known at that time:

- (Gen 35:19) So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).

- (Gen 48:7) As I was returning from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath" (that is, Bethlehem).

- (1 Sam 10:1-2) Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, "Has not the LORD anointed you leader over his inheritance?
2. When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel's tomb, at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They will say to you, 'The donkeys you set out to look for have been found. And now your father has stopped thinking about them and is worried about you. He is asking, "What shall I do about my son?" '

JOSEPHS BONES

When we look at the references to Joseph, he was named "the prince among his brothers" (Gen 49:26), and he also served as the closest man to the pharaoh. However, he asked that his bones would be taken back to where he had lived before after his death:

- (Gen 50:25-26) And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, "God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place."
26. So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.

- (Joshua 24:32) And Joseph's bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph's descendants.?

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/11/07 07:13 PM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
There's no way all the tribes descend from someone called Abraham who lived 2000 BC.


http://www.aish.com/societyWork/sciencenature/Abrahams_Chromosomes$.asp

"Can recent genetic research give some indication of the existence of the historical Abraham?


Recent genetic studies of the Jewish people clearly indicate that the roots of the Jewish nation can be traced to the Middle East. This research confirms the geographical origin of the core of every major Jewish Diaspora community. (See: "Jewish Genes.")
Furthermore, the discovery of the "Cohen Gene" -- the genetic signature shared by the majority of Kohanim -- the Jewish priestly family worldwide, is an indication that this signature is that of the ancient Hebrews. (See:"The Cohanim - DNA Connection")
Based on the DNA of today's Kohanim, the geneticists have dated their "Most Common Recent Ancestor" to 106 generations ago, approximately 3,300 years before the present. This is in agreement with the Torah's written and oral tradition of the lifetime of Aaron, the original High Priest and founder of the Kohen lineage. Further genetic studies have found that the CMH-the Cohen Modal Haplotype-a haplotype of the MED (J) haplogroup-is not exclusive to Kohanim, and not unique to Jews. It is also found in significant percentages among other Middle Eastern populations, and to a lesser extent, among southern Mediterranean groups. A haplotype is a group of distinct DNA markers -- neutral nucleotide mutations, which when found together indicate a lineage. These particular markers were discovered on the Y-Chromosome, which is passed from father to son, without change, thus establishing a paternal lineage pattern.
All of the above is scientific fact, which has only become known in recent years. Using these findings as a basis, perhaps we can speculate and consider some implications of the findings.
If the CMH is the genetic signature of Aaron, the father of the Kohanim, it must also have been the genetic signature of Aaron's father, Amram, and that of his father, Kehat, and of his father, Levi. Levi's father was Jacob who also must have had the CMH as his Y-Chromosome genetic signature, as did his father, Isaac.
Thus we arrive at Abraham. Abraham was only seven generations removed from Aaron, a matter of a few hundred years. Genetic signatures change slightly only over many generations. Thus, it is very reasonable to assume that the CMH, the most common haplotype among Jewish males, is therefore also the genetic signature of the Patriarch Abraham."

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/11/07 07:40 PM

The last post is probably rubbish - sorry.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/11/07 08:59 PM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
redewenur wrote:
"As for 'clicks', though, that's hardly an indicator of quality"...Now can we all just let this thread die?
How many have noticed that even before I began to post here DA--anyone remember what he has contributed?--has called for the killing of this thread?

I wonder why.

DA, we who post here, of our own free will, do not require that you read what we post. If this thread bores you, you could start your own thread. If I find it interesting, I will join you, if you so desire. I promise not to campaign to silence you. All I ask is that you treat us with the same courtesy.

IMHO, any attempt to silence people is characteristic of a witch hunt. Speaking of which check out the following:

http://www.woodenboatvb.com/vbulletin/upload/showthread.php?t=63458

I got the above link courtesy the CBC--Canada's PBS--public radio and the Toronto Sun review.
==========================
CHARACTERISTICS OF A WITCH HUNT reprinted from Toronto Sun review)
=========

How to conduct a witch hunt:

1. Assume guilt at the moment of accusation.

2. Apply any pressures necessary, including torture, to get a confession and to accuse others.

3. Accept any incriminating evidence, no matter how dubious or vague.

4. Ignore testimony or evidence inconvenient to your version of the truth.

5. Create or employ false evidence if necessary to convict.

6. Threaten anyone speaking in favour of a defendant as a suspected accessory.

7. Treat the accused as if he has no human rights because he is so dangerous.

8. Accept secret accusations, to protect the accuser.

9. Take a tip-of-the-iceberg approach, assume there is more and search and expand the hunt for others.

10. Justify and excuse all errors by appeals to national security, the good of the state or the protection of society.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/11/07 09:21 PM

BTW, all of the above came into my purview as a result of hearing an interview, today, with Robert Rapely, a retired civil servant, regarding his new book: WITCH HUNTS:From Salem to Guantanamo Bay.

In his book, Rapely argues that to this day the 'witch' lives on in the 'terrorist' and that, in the wake of 9/11 and the passage of the Patriot Act, witch hunts are a part of present-day America.

It seems we all need someone to blame, even if they happen to be innocent.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/11/07 10:39 PM

Blacky. I'll cover as much as I can quickly.

"Abraham, the person whom the Bible tells us used to live in Ur of the Chaldeans". Ur was not Chadean until about 700 BC.

"What is noticeable is that those same names also appear in the Bible." I don't think anyone's claimed the OT was totally made up. This merely shows the personal names were widespread throughout Mesopotamia.

"The proofs that have been presented to us so far, give reason to believe that the patriarch accounts are firmly based on history". Yes. But that history is much more recent than 2000 BC. More like 1500 to 1200 BC.

"The fact that the Jews and Arabs regard Abraham as their forefather is in itself proof that he was a historic person". No. It shows they all believe the same myths.

"One of Abraham's relations was Moab". Like the Maori of NZ they invented common ancestors to cement political alliances. Often these alliances didn't hold up for very long of course. That's why the myths say Moab was born of an incestuous relationship. The Moab kingdom is much more recent than any time proposed for Abraham. In fact both Moab and Omri are comfortably within the period we would call history.

"Perhaps the most interesting finding connected to the name of Israel is the so called Israel-stone, which dates back to year 1200 B.C." Now 1200 BC is actually before the nation of Israel existed according to most chronologies. The word in this case probably refers to cities in the Jezreel (actually Yisre'el) valley. There is no doubt this region was important for a very long time. Judah later borrowed myths from there to justify their claim over the region.

"The existence of the Hittites has also been confirmed." And Abraham is recorded as meeting them. They didn't expand from their homeland until at least 1600 BC. See above.

"the pylon of the temple of Karnak, includes references to such place names as Jacob-Er and Joseph-El." Egyptian records show Semitic-speaking people were almost always widespread in the Delta region.

"A few references to Benjamites can be found in the clay tablets of Mari." Oops. These tablets date to 2500 BC so this guy Abraham certainly lived for a very long time.

"One of the sons of Jacob was Asher, from whom descended his own tribe" See previous post regarding Asher as probably being the Sea People tribe Weshesh. Asher was a coastal tribe.

I'll leave Levi and Rachel etc.

Now genes.

"Recent genetic studies of the Jewish people clearly indicate that the roots of the Jewish nation can be traced to the Middle East." Everyone else from there also has the same collection of genes. This is hardly an earth shattering statement.

"Furthermore, the discovery of the "Cohen Gene" -- the genetic signature shared by the majority of Kohanim -- the Jewish priestly family worldwide, is an indication that this signature is that of the ancient Hebrews." What most commentaries on the subject neglect to say is that particular Y-chromosome is common throughout Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. Again not surprising. Sorry, you later mention that.

"If the CMH is the genetic signature of Aaron, the father of the Kohanim, it must also have been the genetic signature of Aaron's father, Amram, and that of his father, Kehat, and of his father, Levi. Levi's father was Jacob who also must have had the CMH as his Y-Chromosome genetic signature, as did his father, Isaac.
Thus we arrive at Abraham." The trouble with that argument is that many Jews don't even have that Y-chromosome. Therefore they're not all descended from one male who lived 4000 years ago. Besides which the so-called Abraham Y-chromosome is widespread, even well beyond just people who claim descent from him.

Thanks for your interesting posts.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/11/07 10:45 PM

Oops. Forgot. I'd guess that the stories of Abraham and Moses represent the two main strands of belief that make up the OT. In other words Abraham is not Moses' ancestor but almost a contemporary. The stories were floating around the region orally long before they were finally written down though, and so a great deal of hybridizing between the stories had already occurred.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/12/07 12:45 AM

Originally Posted By: Blacknad
I am not surprised...that we inflict all sorts of horrors upon one another.The stakes are relatively low here, but there is still an incredible amount of conflict.

... mature, enlightened, articulate individuals who have a concern with understanding the universe, humanity and improving this world.

But what do we find but cat-fights, squabbles over inanities and disrespectful insults.

If people here cannot get along and show respect, how can we expect anyone to.

SAGG - the human race in Microcosm.

I may be losing hope and becoming more cynical.

Blacknad.
Good points, Blacknad. When anyone of us throws disrespectful insults do not be afraid to let us know. Good refereeing can make for a better game.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 04/12/07 12:51 AM

But Blacknad and Terry- Why do you so much need to "prove" all this? ( Very fascinating stuff though, I just spent far too long reading it!) If you have faith then it is real. Isn't that enough? Sometimes such "Blind Faith" leads to things like the discovery of Troy-which wasn't Troy but a nevertheless a good attempt!

To me it seems that there probably was a patriarchal society which had a very rich oral history, only later written down. The question surely is- were they really in touch with their divine God and did his divinity inspire their lives? For that leap you have to believe in the supernatural yourself, and we are back to faith.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/12/07 03:48 AM

Ellis asks:

"Why do you so much need to "prove" all this?"

Because, Ellis, the God of these stories is used to justify particular political perspectives today, just as he was used 2600 years ago.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/12/07 04:53 AM

TNZ is correct Ellis. This single story is at its foundation the bedrock used to justify and rationalize everything from stoning women to war. And to that purpose it is still used to this day.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 04/12/07 05:54 AM

But, since these stories were made up as part of an oral history in the first place why would assuming that they were god-inspired make any difference to the fact that they are the basis of our society. Surely in 2600 plus years the god bits are well and truly subsumed into the general framework of man-made laws. We are working on this area all the time. Not much of the original god bits could be left I would have thought, and as we do not have a form of Sharia law in Western societies, and indeed we try to keep church and state separate, I cannot see the relevance of needing to know god is hovering around then, or now. We are stuck with it, and mostly as modified over the millenia they seem to have served us reasonably well. Obviously we do not run a modern society on all the ancient rules of conduct, and surely no one seriously argues that we should in secular modern western governments.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/12/07 08:05 AM

Ellis wrote:

"surely no one seriously argues that we should in secular modern western governments."

There seems to be plenty of people in "the West" who claim we should do exactly that. We have what's been called an "anti-smacking bill" in Parliament at the moment. The main opposition to it is driven by the Christian belief "spare the rod and spoil the child". As for Sharia law. It's not really that long ago the Christian Church was burning people for disagreeing with it. I sometimes think extremists in the West believe we should still be doing it.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 04/12/07 11:56 PM

Yes, Terry, the Christian Chrch has done some really evil things but I don't think they burn people now. However it was only recently that Hindus burned some christian missonaries in India. Religion is very unforgiving. That is why there has to be separation of church and state. The smacking thing is having a brief flurry here. I think that anyone who thinks it is OK for a grown person to whack into a small child should do so in public, then we would see how much support there really is for what some people call "loving chastisement." It's silly rubbish and indicates failure on the part of the adult to adequately control themselves.

We will just have to be more watchful that we do not allow ourselves to disenfranchise people in the name of god, or "security"---but that is another topic. And I am off the topic of does god exist. I say it doesn't matter if he/she/it does!
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/13/07 02:15 AM

Ellis wrote:

"I say it doesn't matter if he/she/it does!"

You're right but we have people who claim to be acting with God on their side (as Dan reminded us with the Dylan song) and these people deserve to have the wind completely taken out of their sails. I totally agree that many good things are done in God's name and I'm prepared to support that. And I'm well aware of a huge problem that will arise if atheists become fundamentalists. Fortuantely there's not enough of us to be a problem yet.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 04/13/07 04:11 AM

Fundamental atheism??----Please explain!!
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/13/07 08:48 AM

Ellis. Good point. The other night during a debate on TV a Christian described Dawkins as a fundamentalist and I took up the expression without thinking. Of course we can't have atheist fundamentalists because there is no set text for atheists to rely on. On the other hand I suppose we've been misled by the expression religious fundamentalism. It's not fundamentalists that are the problem, it's extremists. Perhaps we should be refering to religious extremists rather than fundamentalists. Once we make that change we can certainly see the possibility of atheist extremists. When I think about it that's really the expression I should have used. Atheist extremists could become as dangerous as Muslim, Christian or Jewish extremists. How's that?
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/13/07 04:59 PM

A couple of thoughts:

Ellis asks:
"why would assuming that they were god-inspired make any difference to the fact that they are the basis of our society."

By claiming god was involved they are given a foundation that makes it harder for mere mortals to challenge their irrationality. This practice can be seen in many medieval writings with names like 'The Gospel of ....' where the person named had nothing to do with the writing but whose name was used to confer authenticity and importance on the text.

Ellis wrote:
"the Christian Chrch has done some really evil things but I don't think they burn people now."

I would respectfully disagree. I will grant you they are no longer so immune to public relations that they pile up wood and gather a crowd to watch the spectacle. But I recall pictures of Buddhists in Vietnam treated with napalm. And I'm not willing to consider the dropping of cluster bombs on certain brown-skinned people to be anything other than a refinement of the practice.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/13/07 05:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Ellis
Fundamental atheism??----Please explain!!


I'll ignore Dan accusing us of being slightly more civilized witch burners.

But Fundamentalist Atheist?

Dawkins fits the category nicely.

He admits to having had an epiphany experience when he read The Origin of Species. So there was his conversion.

Origin' allowed him to frame his understanding of reality, therefore he has his scripture. (The theory of evolution for him is his Dogma).

He is zealous in his anti-Religious evangelism.

He refers to the religious as 'Child Abusers' and calls them deluded. So he resorts to the classification of those he does not agree with just as a fundamentalist does. He uses the language of Fundamentalism.

He says that no evolutionist or scientist can possibly truly be religious. His view of this and his faith in his own understanding is unflinching.

He is a Fundamentalist Extremist Atheist in every possible sense of the word.

There are many of his peers who recognise this - not just the religious.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/13/07 05:39 PM

All good points, Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/13/07 09:25 PM

Blacknad wrote:
"I'll ignore Dan accusing us of being slightly more civilized witch burners."

I didn't say slightly more did I? <g>

How can one be an extremist atheist? If one simply states that the tooth fairy does not exist ... that is just a statement of fact. You can't become more extreme than the simple declarative sentence.

I suspect what you are actually responding to is that I don't much care for hypocrisy or acts of hate rationalized by appealing to a higher good. And to the cause of intellectual integrity I am fully committed.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/13/07 10:47 PM

Blacknad wrote:

"He is a Fundamentalist Extremist Atheist in every possible sense of the word."

Exactly Blacky. In some ways he is an example of what I was thinking. I even get the impression he would be prepared to burn religious people at the stake if he had the go-ahead.

Dan wrote:

"You can't become more extreme than the simple declarative sentence."

Yes you can.

I think most of us at SAGG, Chritian, Budhhist, Jew, atheist or Muslim, would agree we:

"don't much care for hypocrisy or acts of hate rationalized by appealing to a higher good."

Some of the above not on SAGG might not agree.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 01:08 AM

TNZ wrote:
"I even get the impression he would be prepared to burn religious people at the stake if he had the go-ahead."

When I had dinner with Blacknad and Whitenad in B'ham not even the dinner was burned.

I am perfectly happen to let people believe any fool nonsense they wish. I am willing to let people drink themselves into a stupor to inject themselves with the toxin d'jour.

I do think, however, it should be as illegal to brainwash a child as it is to give one a cigarette.

At age 18, if they wish, they are adults and again may make up their mind to do any fool thing they wish. The difference being that it would be their choice and not imposed by their parents.

Has no one noticed that the children of Jewish parents are almost always Jewish? If Shiite parents almost always Shia? etc. Do you think it an accident or genetic? I think it is brainwashing.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 01:58 AM

DA: "Has no one noticed that the children of Jewish parents are almost always Jewish? If Shiite parents almost always Shia? etc. Do you think it an accident or genetic? I think it is brainwashing."

Of course it is, and that's the divisive problem of religions which leads to so much conflict. Each has its own rule book, its own version of history, and its own interpretations of the significance of the real and imaginary events in that history - and the aggression and violence thus generated in the name of righteousness is unspeakable.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 03:43 AM

I find it amazing that so many, even here at SAGG, have never stopped to question that their belief system was essentially programmed into them in childhood when they had not rational ability to analyze what they were being told/sold.

Your loyalty to your country is no accident.
Your religious belief system is no accident.
Except accidents of birth.

Honest question deserving an honest answer from those of you who are parents. Why aren't you willing to let your child grow up with moral and ethical training, but not religious training, and let your child choose its own path? What are you afraid of? And why?
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 05:12 AM

Having become totally intrigued by the prospect of atheist fundamentalism I did the High School Debating thing and looked up the definition of fundamentalism. It is a belief in the literal truth of the bible (not applicable to atheists) and also 'a movement stressing strict adherence to a set of basic beliefs or principles, esp religion' and since the whole thing about athesism is a lack of belief (and possibly principles) that does not seem to fit either. It seems that it would be impossible to argue the case for atheist fundamentalism. So I am left with 'fundamental'. It simply states that fundamental means 'of central importance' and the fact that an atheist thinks there is no god is clearly of central importance, so maybe at entry level it is possible to be a fundamental atheist. However for greater flights of fancy I find that I agree with DA on this:

"You can't become more extreme than the simple declarative sentence."
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 08:00 AM

The appellation 'fundamentalist atheist' is a term of blatant abuse applied by a 'believer' to an atheist who stridently attacks certain aspects of theistic belief. Such atheists as Richard Dawkins have a very lucid and highly reasoned approach to their attack on those aspects of religious belief that are very well known for their destructive effects.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 08:33 AM

Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
Honest question deserving an honest answer from those of you who are parents. Why aren't you willing to let your child grow up with moral and ethical training, but not religious training, and let your child choose its own path? What are you afraid of? And why?


I grew up with no religious training.

At 16 I became a Christian after thinking they were mere objects of ridicule, because I had a powerful experience of God.

I spent my childhood often talking to an old Professor who lived in my street - he had slightly lost his marbles, but was an atheist par excellence. I was always fascinated by him and was always in awe of his knowledge on almost any subject you could mention. If I received any brain washing as a kid it was from him.

I also got in with hippy new age types at about the age of 15 - I used to get stoned with them and listen to their philosophy of life - reincarnation etc.

I was exposed to a few different things, but had a clear point where God revealed something of himself experientially.

No brain washing made me ready for this. I had rejected Christians as something to laugh at along with all of my mates who saw them as a way to get free camping holidays in Wales. We used to give them Hell and sit at the back of their meetings and just deride them and disrupt their stupid preaching. Not one of my friends became religious.


As for people growing up in the religion of their parents. Christianity has more ex Christians and atheists/agnostics brought up in Christian families than probably any other religion.

For instance, my daughter (nearly four) has been to church about eight times and I am very careful not to indoctrinate her. I want her to make a choice that is real - one way or another - and I will respect whatever that will be. I have to - I have to respect the autonomy and free will to choose that I believe God has given her. I will feel extremely uncomfortable if I have not given her room to think for herself, but luckily her completely secular education kindly provided by the state will do that for me.

Moderate Christianity does not brainwash. Fundamentalists of every type brainwash - they do it to help convince themselves of the truth of their position - they can brook no doubt.

Moderates know that doubt is a big part of their thinking.


What you need to know - because some of you live in America and experience a deep religious fundamentalism - is that moderate Christianity is a massive part of the religious landscape. Even in America it is huge - they are just not vocal so you don't see them. They are not a political force and do not cater to extremist views and are simply not interested in ramming their point of view down others throats. They simply try to 'love their neighbour' and show that there is an alternative way to live, other than being driven by the standard societal narratives which almost are always about being a good little consumer and striving to acquire material goods.

People here at SAGG talk often about the evil that religion has done. What about the massive good it does? What about all the Christians I know who?s lives are defined by wanting to serve the needs of those within their community, city or country? What about the millions who have modelled themselves upon Mother Teresa?

It is not scientific to have half a picture of anything - to only be prepared to see the aspects of religion that support a dislike and unease with it is hardly scientific and does not serve the truth.

Feel free to call us fools - Christ said you would. Feel free to call us deluded simpletons - it doesn?t matter. But please don?t always try and associate us with evil and ignore the good that is done in Christ?s name. Even the president of the American Humanist Association is prepared to admit that alongside the evils that have been done in its name, religion has been a force for good.

Now fundamentalists always see the negatives in those who are on the opposite sides of the spectrum of belief. Now let?s see who is going to respond purely in terms of negatives. I think I know who it will be wink

I have a very genuine respect and affection for you Dan and I am so glad I have had the privilege to get to know you and see you in person, but I do think that on this issue you also can brook no doubt and will not be prepared to accept that Christianity has done more good (often quietly, in the background) than it has done wrong. With two billion current adherents it does much good - how many of those two billion are involved in conflict today? How many are involved in burning or otherwise victimising others? The scientific way would be to try and get at the facts and work out the percentages.

But its easier to rely on quotes that are devoid of factual content or evidence to make a point.

Dan posts stuff like this all the time:

?Jefferson also wrote:
"I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."?

?James Monroe 5th President of the United States
"That diabolical, hell-conceived principle of persecution rages among some, and to their eternal infamy the clergy can furnish their quota of imps for such a business."
~ letter to William Bradford, January 24, 1774?

And this (not devoid of fact, but hardly a fair point):

?Interestingly enough the two most prominent Christians in the pantheon of the US's founding fathers were George Washington and Alexander Hamilton: Both military men. Perhaps there is something about the type of mind that enjoys war that also requires a justification for the horror they so relish.?
~ DA Morgan SAGG 29th December 2006

Dan, can you brook any doubt?

Blacknad.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 08:52 AM

Blacknad, do you consider humanists less 'good', and capable of doing less good, than Christians?

I'm not going to get into a war over this question. I'd just like your opinion. Thanks.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 10:16 AM

Redwener,

I try to go where the evidence leads me. It seems clear that humanists are capable of doing as much good and as much evil.

I would add though, that an overwhelming amount of the slaughter that went on in the 20th Century was at the hands of people driven by humanist ideologies - in the number of 200 million or so. I can provide facts and figures.

Some have called the 20th century 'The Great Secular Experiment' as religion has ceased to be the leading framework for most Nation States. In terms of an experiment it has not been an overwhelming success.

Science (often seen as the replacement to religion), has done an enourmous amount of good but it has not solved some of the basic problems we face. We may lead longer lives, but looking at suicide, depression and mental health stats, we are living longer but unhappier lives. The hordes of mental health experts and psuedo-science quacks making an amazing amount of money are testament to this.

I will also say that almost every Christians I personally know is driven to do some kind of service for those around them. For instance, they are a major contributor to voluntary work in the UK. I have so many church aquaintances that are abroad in crappy circumstances, serving communities in places like Bangladesh.

This is a matter of my personal opinion, but my non religious friends and work colleagues are not so often driven to the same extent. Most people I know 'work, go at weekends to get drunk and fill in the time in between watching TV and shopping for the next latest consumer item'. Sorry to use a broad paint brush - it is just what I see.

Obviously for those on this site who lead more meaningful, examined, intellectually satisfied lives...well you probably move in different circles where people are more interested in improving our lot - so it won't be your experience. But the circles I move in are more interested in Fashion, Big Brother Reality TV, doting on Self Help Feel Good about Yourselves Books and Celebrity Worship than making the planet a better place.

As Plato said, "The unexamined life is not worth living."
Many people I know lead an unexamined life.

Sorry, I know it sounds terrible to say it, but this is what I see.

I may have contradicted my first statement, but I do see the enormous amount of good and self sacrifice that is made by some non-religious people.

Blacknad.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 10:27 AM

Thanks for the reply, Blacknad. Your views are appreciated.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 11:15 AM

Red,

I also counter the above with the incredible harm that organised religion does.

The Catholic Church's ridiculous ban on using birth control, whilst not exactly an evil, is incredibly harmful and entirely irresponsible. I am glad to see that this may be shortly about to change with the new Pope, but the harm has already been done. Massively increased HIV being one of them.

The Church's unacceptable opposition to evolution (and at the core, an opposition to rational thought on this subject and denial of the evidence) is again not an evil in terms of proactively causing harm, but is a complete embarrassment.

Opposition to stem cell research is again harmful to society and certainly stands in the way of progress and the common good.

Of course, Christianity?s ability to generate people like George Bush is also responsible for a worsening of World security and much more.

I agree with Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Dawkins in their criticism of the extremist form of Christianity - I just think they go in too hard on the moderates.

I am almost entirely critical of most organised religion. Quakers and others like them seem to be able to buck the trend here.

I am also embarrassed at my own hypocrisy. I spend far too much time in self serving activities while there is a planet falling apart right outside my door. In my late teens and early twenties I was sexually promiscuous despite being a Christian and believing it was the wrong thing to do. I have no room to pronounce judgement upon other?s personal behaviour, and I do come from a religious tradition that takes seriously the verse, ?Don?t judge or you to will be judged?. So even if I was not at times an abject failure in terms of being a morally upstanding person, I still would not judge others.

One of my members of staff is gay, and overtly so. I certainly have the closest relationship with him than anyone in my team. We have so much in common and he is exceptionally hard working, considerate and just ?plain nice?. He does so much to keep up morale in the team with his sensitivity towards others. I am uninterested in his sexual orientation - it is between him and his maker. He is simply another human being trying to get by as best as he can in this difficult life - and a fine example of what it means to be truly human.

The Church is at its worst when it has a problem with such people. I will not defend that disgraceful behaviour.

Sorry for spilling my guts a bit, but I?m not a catholic so I don?t have ?Confession? - so I?ll do it at SAGG smile

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 11:31 AM

Originally Posted By: redewenur
The appellation 'fundamentalist atheist' is a term of blatant abuse applied by a 'believer' to an atheist who stridently attacks certain aspects of theistic belief. Such atheists as Richard Dawkins have a very lucid and highly reasoned approach to their attack on those aspects of religious belief that are very well known for their destructive effects.


Actually Dawkins has been criticized by his non-religious peers for his very limited understanding of what he is attacking and for his knowledge of theology. I will look out some example.

I cringe sometimes at some of the things he ignorantly says about religion. Sam Harris is exactly the same.

Dawkins also throws out any scientific methodology when he wants to back up his assertions.

Such as religious input in children?s lives being tantamount to child abuse. Real scientific studies have been done that clearly counter this, and children of religious families are actually more likely to be happy, stable and show less negative psychological traits than children from non religious families. I have posted a study on this before at SAGG.

Suicide terrorists (which he ignorantly places fully at the door of the religious) have been subject to real study. Robert Pape?s ?Dying to Win? was the result of an in depth study on the subject. From Wikipedia:

?Pape claims to have compiled the world?s first ?database of every suicide bombing and attack around the globe from 1980 through 2003 ? 315 attacks in all? (3). ?The data show that there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, or any one of the world?s religions. . . . Rather, what nearly all suicide terrorist attacks have in common is a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland? (4). It is important that Americans understand this growing phenomenon (4-7).?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dying_to_Win:_The_Strategic_Logic_of_Suicide_Terrorism

Dawkins should be sacked from his post of Simonyi Professorship of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, because he shows little regard for science and facts when he wants to rail against religion. What are the public to make of science when he makes all sorts of unverified assertions. He is bringing science into disrepute, and again, many of his peers have said this.

Blacknad.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 11:44 AM

Again, thanks for your views, Blacknad. Maybe you could write a book! smile
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 02:49 PM

Hehe. Funnily enough I am writing a novel. It's based upon my time as a counsellor working with schizophrenic teenagers. It's called 'Shitbeard'. One of the central characters is someone who used to actually fashion a beard from his own excrement on a regular basis.

I would rather do this in an attempt to raise awareness of the plight of a growing number of our young people, than get involved in Christian Apologetics.

But maybe having a few more years of Dan picking holes in my thinking and making me continually rethink my position may put me in the position to write something on religion. I think maybe something entitled, 'A Letter from a Moderate to a Fundamentalist'. Doesn't exactly roll of the tongue though. Would need to call it something more catchy.

But the point here is that if Dawkins and Harris want to demonise moderates then they lose a key ally that they could work with to combat extremism. The moderate is closer to the Fundies and has slightly more credibility with them than the atheists which allows them to enter into debate more easily.

All Dawkins is doing is making the moderates feel threatened and a little scared of a coming backlash in wider society. This may have the effect of making us retreat into a siege mentality and actually move closer to the Fundies as we become more and more defensive.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 03:23 PM

Blacknad writes about his Christian belief: "Feel free to call us fools - Christ said you would. Feel free to call us deluded simpletons - it doesn?t matter.

But please don?t always try and associate us with evil and ignore the good that is done in Christ?s name. Even the president of the American Humanist Association is prepared to admit that alongside the evils that have been done in its name, religion has been a force for good."

Replying in the positive: I heartily agree.

JESUS NEVER WROTE A BOOK, HE LIVED A LIFE
I always try to keep in mind: Jesus did not give us a set of dogmas to be believed, rituals to be performed and not even a set of fixed rules and regulations to be followed; he gave us the example of his life based on the principle of agape/love.

It is my opinion that if Jesus had any intention of forming an organized earth-bound religion he would have written a book giving details about how he wanted such a religion to operate.

BTW, all organized religions can be used for good, or ill. Corrupt people can corrupt anything, including philosophy and science.


Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 04:24 PM

Blacknad wrote:
"But the point here is that if Dawkins and Harris want to demonise moderates then they lose a key ally that they could work with to combat extremism."

Well put. The mistake the real extremists make is that they try to attack the problem like it is drug addiction by asking, no demanding, people go cold turkey. It is a losing strategy guaranteed to alienate, as you point out, more rational thinkers.

To me the place to start is by decreasing the severity of indoctrination of children. If they wish to make up their own, adult, minds to believe in the tooth fairy that is their right and privilege. But they should not be sold hell and damnation from birth.

It is pretty hard to tell someone that they have self-worth while simultaneously convincing them they were a sinner who must repent from the day they were born.

Can you ask a child repeat these words every night before falling asleep:
"If I should die before I wake,...."
and not know, too, the intent. It is no different from having children repeat a pledge of allegiance every day in class.

We don't talk about this in the US ... but the original salute to the US flag when children said the Pledge of Allegiance was the straight armed salute associated with the National Socialist Workers Party (Nazi).
Posted by: Wolfman

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 08:37 PM

Rev, just speculation here, but I'm sure you've given this some thought - How would you react to a World-Wide TV/Radio Transmission heard simultaneously on all band widths, all frequencies, in all the major languages of our world, from intelligent beings from a far away planet? Audio only.

By the way,,,do you happen to live in a van down by the river?
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/14/07 09:35 PM

What River? smile
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 04/15/07 04:29 AM

Blacknad I liked reading your defence of religion, because of course you are quite right. The majority of christians are not posting in places like this, defending their faith or having annoying atheists nit-picking their every utterance!

I want to tell you something that I found out which supports your idea that most christians are living quiet lives trying to follow the teachings of their Leader. A few years ago I wanted to help somehow in the awful mess growing daily in Africa, I looked for a non-christian sponsored way to do this. I thought that some humanist organisation would be established. Well maybe they are now, but then I could not find any. So I sponsored a child through World Vision. This was 16 years ago. The village she lived in was improved to such an extent that they withdrew because the living conditions were so much better. I now sponsor another girl in another part of Africa.

My point is that this a christian organisation, often first on the scene of disasters, inspired by their faith to do something we atheists don't usually do. That is - go and offer help when it is needed. Such inspiration has to be one of the good things about religion.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/15/07 01:36 PM

Ellis wrote:
"most christians are living quiet lives trying to follow the teachings of their Leader."

I will grant that too.

But are you willing to grant that so are most Jews, most Moslems, most Buddhists, most animists, etc.?

Most people, regardless of race, creed, religion, nationality, hair color, and shoe size, just want to be left alone to be decent people doing decent things.

Unfortunately that fact has not stopped them from being used as pawns by those who call upon their nationalist and religious spirit as a means of rationalizing horrors.

It was otherwise very decent people who built the ovens in Auschwitz and Treblinka.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/15/07 02:06 PM

Ellis, you mention how some of us are given to "nit-picking"--finding faults in a petty niggling manner.

But worse than that: Too many of us are prone to dissing and dishing out drive-by smears, without honour or substance, that are demeaning, disgusting, undignified and, as one journalist said recently "so much a part of the tenor of our times". And there is more...later.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/15/07 05:01 PM

But worse than that: Too many of us are prone to self-promotion and dishing out meaningless fluff that does nothing of substance to make the world a better place.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/15/07 10:56 PM

The CBC panel, to which I referred in my last post, gathered yesterday, to talk about the recent Don Imus affair. Check out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Imus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_slur

Don graciously apologized for his off-the-cuff words. He agreed that his remarks were cheap shots and nothing but mudslinging.

Good for him. Let us learn from him. As I understand it, his apology was accepted by those to whom they were aimed. Again I say, good for them.

BTW, if ever I offend anyone here, please let me know. Then offer an example of my offensive comments. I will, immediately, withdraw them and offer my apology, no strings attached.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/15/07 11:14 PM

Let the black community learn from him.

Don Imus learned those words from the black community and is no more, or less, guilty than some of that community's idols.

I applaud Don Imus.
I am glad he offended people.
I am glad he got fired.
I am glad he is paying the price.
Many more should join him including those who financially profit from the trade.

But I am equally glad he is shining a bright light on gansta rap and its misogynistic lyrics.

My nation tis in thee
Sweet land where niggardly
Cannot be said.

Land where all prose is trite,
Forced by the not too bright
Who're looking for every slight
Lit'racy is dead.
~ Lawrence Skain - The Economist

And this relates to the subject of this thread in what way?
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/16/07 03:55 AM

As in my signature: G?D is love...Spirit...In G?D we seek to understand: Sin...Good...Evil...Meaness...Greed...Repentance...Forgiveness...Human Relationships...Awareness...Life and the intention to live it, better!!! How many think of this as "self-promoting meaningless fluff?"

All are evidence of G?D. What more evidence do we need?
=========================
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 04/16/07 04:23 AM

Yes DA, I will allow that many people of various religions help others. That is not an exclusively christian virtue. But my main point actually was that the only people I could easily find in that largely internet-free time was a christian organisation. Perhaps if I lived in a muslim country I could have foung a muslim lot--or a jewish crowd in Israel, and I have no doubt they exist---because I was suggesting the conclusion that religious people seem to want to develop organisations that support others less fortunate than themselves. (So do Socialists but they are more intent on earning the rewards by armed struggle in this life not postponing it to the next). However all I could find was World Vision. I think they are amazing--apart from making me sign a very god-laden card for my sponsored child every Christmas! I still don't know of an atheist organisaion that helps at such a grass-roots level. Perhaps I should send money to Madonna and Angelina Jolie!
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/16/07 04:48 AM

relgking wrote:
"Sin...Good...Evil...Meaness...Greed...Repentance...Forgiveness...Human Relationships...Awareness...Life and the intention to live it, better!!! How many think of this as "self-promoting meaningless fluff?"

They are just words without any but situational definitions. What is sin to you is not to me. What is good to you is not to me. Until such time as you can get persons of each and every religion to sit down in a room with deists, agnostics, and atheists and agree on the definitions they are fluff.

Self promoting is you using SAGG to troll for financial donations to you on your website. Never do you post without a self-promoting link.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/16/07 04:51 AM

Ellis wrote:
"my main point actually was that the only people I could easily find in that largely internet-free time was a christian organisation."

Is that a surprise in a Christian country speaking a language whose speakers are almost all Christians?

Assume you spoke Cantonese or Farsi or Hindi. Bet your search results would be rather different.

What you find, and what you believe, are just an accident of your birth.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/16/07 05:36 AM

THE FAMILY LIFE FOUNDATION is a registered non-sectarian charity with a body, mind and spirit foundation. It is subject to public audit. We were audited in 2005-2006 and passed with many good compliments.

I am the volunteer manager of the FLF and I provide the space for it plus most of my volunteer-time. I consider my work for the counseling and service program of the FLF my ministry in re-directment. I do not like the word, retire. Perhaps I will give some examples of what the FLF does, later.

DA, if my posting a link to the FLF offends one other person besides you, I will remove it from my signature. Maybe we could ask the sponsor, or do a poll.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 12:42 AM

revlgking wrote:
"is a registered non-sectarian charity...."

Which in no way alters the fact that you are trolling for dollars.

Please do us the courtesy of promoting your website by some means other than posting links to it at SAGG.

Thank you.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 03:40 AM

Posters, doesn't the above sound like some control-freak troll is trolling for control? Shouldn't it be the prerogative of the host/moderator to call the shots?

TROLLING FOR DOLLARS? What a laugh!
BTW, either I must be very poor troller, or SAGGERs are very stingy, and/or too poor. Not one Lincoln penny has come our way, yet.

Over the years, we have raised some money which has gone mostly into education, community and family enrichment, and employing people who just can't make it in the regular market place. Check out one of our projects http://www.torontodollar.com approved by the Mayor and Council of Toronto.

Less than 5% has gone for expenses.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES
In view of today's tragic news--added to more and more of the same kind of news of brutal violence--foreign and domestic--from the recent past--something is drastically wrong with the way many of us are doing personal, famly and community enrichment.

It seems that the spirit of evil has split many of us into two extremes. As we become more and more a strictly secular or fanatically-religious society, our hospitals, jails, death rows, asylums and cemeteries are becoming fuller and fuller.

Interestingly, the root meaning of 'devil'--diabolos, in Greek, from which we get 'diabolic'--is: that which splits us and turns us against ourselves and others, incapable of seeing what moderates, balances and works for the common good.


Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 04:42 AM

revlgking wrote:
"doesn't the above sound like some control-freak"

No it doesn't. It sounds like someone tired of watching you abuse Kate's website to raise money for yourself.

If you would do us the courtesy of talking about science ...

Or even subjects related to science ...

And not do what no one else here does which is post the URL to their personal sites where they derive their income ...

That would be common courtesy. Something I would think would benefit everyone. Instead of trying to justify the troll ... just stop doing it.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 05:05 AM

This thread, by Tim, is about evidence for God.

Where is yours, DA?

From the beginning, even before I started to post, you have spent most of your time knocking others and trying to destroy the thread. Why?

This is divisive, diabolic.

As I said in my revised post above: "Posters, doesn't the above sound like some control-freak troll is trolling for control? Shouldn't it be the prerogative of the host/moderator to call the shots?
Posted by: reasonable

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 05:14 AM

Xcuse me for barging in. I'm new here and just could not resist.

Briefly: what are we discussing here? We can't discuss whether God exists or not unless we agree on a definition or sorts. Otherwise, it's a waste of time.

So, let me begin. What is God?

Once we agree on that, we can discuss whether it exists or not.

Capisce?
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 05:35 AM

Capisce - but I think you'll never obtain of a meaningful consensus regarding 'What is God?'.

Some derive their view by experiential means, others by 'logic', others by what they read and hear - and others by combination of each. One simply cannot see into the mind of another in order verify that they have the same understanding and experience.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 05:36 AM

BTW, I admit that I disagree with the way some theists, and deists, define 'God'. It is too narrow, for me, but I have a great deal of respect for the god-principle and I am willing to listen to their theology with respect, without personal attacks.

Speaking for myself, I can say that I am a panentheist; that I like process philosophy and theology and I can offer my philosophic reasons for that concept without saying more than that about those who believe otherwise.

I like dialogue, and I like experimental science, as I have said more than once.

I can also dialogue with atheists, without calling them blind fools--as, by the way, the Bible does.

I HAVE TALKED ABOUT SCIENCE
In the philosophy thread I have also given references to many scientific experiments, by scientists, regarding religion. prayer, meditation and the like. To say that I have not talked about science in this "not quite science" section is totally false. And I don't think I have cluttered up the hard science sections. I read, quietly.

Kate knows my position and has given her okay, so far. I think like most editors likes the readership numbers.

If she wants me to remove anything I have written, including my revised signature, all she has to do is send me a PM, or simply do it. I am very easy, it can be done, immediately. I presume and hope you respect any PM she sends to you, right?



Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 05:39 AM

Originally Posted By: reasonable
Xcuse me for barging in. I'm new here and just could not resist. Briefly: what are we discussing here?....
So, let me begin. What is God?
Once we agree on that, we can discuss whether it exists or not.
Capisce?

Good point! Wonderful question, Reasonable.

Have you read enough of my stuff to have some idea of how I define 'god'? We do not need to argue; just let's dialogue, okay?
I will begin by repeating: I do not believe in 'god' as a personal being with human-like features...but I am definitly not an atheist. Your go. How about you?
Posted by: reasonable

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 05:49 AM

Oh! So we are discussing here whether 'god' as you define it exists. Cool.

No, I have not read it yet (all 27 pages!) I only scaned them quickly and saw right away that the discussion is about something very private in participants' heads and not necessarily shared. One privately thinks of an apple and another of an organge. Which one exists? And then here comes another guy with a melon in his head. Must be fun.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 05:55 AM

BTW, Reasonable, I like what I find in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Process_theology
It is not always easy to keep track of who believes what.

It would be very helpful if posters gave a summary in their profiles. I also have it in my URL--which is NOT about making money for me, as inferred by those who refuse to think constructively. The FLF actually costs me money, and lots of time.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 05:58 AM

Originally Posted By: redewenur
One simply cannot see into the mind of another in order verify that they have the same understanding and experience.

But this is better:

Originally Posted By: reasonable
One privately thinks of an apple and another of an orange. Which one exists? And then here comes another guy with a melon in his head.

Posted by: reasonable

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 06:33 AM

well... iduno... I know what 'god' should mean in the western world, but. It used to be the supreme being. Nowadays it usually is an idea of sorts, an abstration of a "creative principle".

Then, of course, for some people, it is simply a reasurance that someone is in charge.

I recall one sage saying "God is the will of all". That idea of God I can relate to. Does it exist as an entity? Definetly not.

To me it seems (am I projecting?) that your idea of God is similar to mine, that it is the embodiment of everything that is. But once we adopt this definition, the topic of this thread becomes meaningless.

It is in vogue now to deny God as an entity. But God as an abstraction, no matter how nice souding, is both true and false.
God the creator cannot be separated from the Universe and can be found only as the universe itself. God the distinct entity in the Universe is not its God.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 08:40 PM

Originally Posted By: reasonable
well...
To me it seems (am I projecting?) that your (REVLGK) idea of God is similar to mine, that it is the embodiment of everything that is.
If you are referring to me, yes.

But keep in mind: I like to think of GØD as dynamic being in the eternal NOW--around, within and through all that is, including us. I repeat: GØD is not A being--separate and apart from us. We access GØD--this dynamic power and knowledge, everywhere present, through the active use of wisdom, faith, hope and love.

If we make this choice, it becomes obvious in everything we think, say and do, especially do.

THE PRICE OF BEING NEUTRAL
Neutrality is, by nature, sinful and the root cause of so much human suffering and pain. It gives the opportunity for evil to enter our lives. Holocausts come to us as a result of too much neutrality. So does all form of terrorism, including the recent killings in Virginia.

THE PRICE OF BEING DELIBERATELY EVIL
The outright rejection of the Love of GØD simply compounds the evil, the suffering and pain in the NOW, not in some future place called hell.

NO GOD, MESSIAH, OR RELIGION HAS THE KEYS TO HEAVEN AND HELL
==============================================================
I feel the same way about heaven. IMO, it is not just some place of salvation, way in the future, one to which only one so-called "true" religion has the keys and to which only the "faithful" to the "one true church"--ones who promise to pray, pay and pay, will go.

OPEN TO ALL MORAL, LOVING AND GOOD PEOPLE
=========================================
The abundant life of joyous adventure, justice, peace, beauty and truth must be real and experienced in the NOW, or not at all. And it can be in the NOW. All we need do, as free individuals, is make that choice to truly love one another.
==================000000000000000000000000000000=================
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 09:47 PM

reasonable wrote:
"that it is the embodiment of everything that is. But once we adopt this definition, the topic of this thread becomes meaningless."

The topic of this thread has been meaningless since its inception. There has not been a single byte of information provided, by anyone, that constituted evidence.

This thread has done nothing more than serve as a vehicle for trolling and fluff.

The reality is that if the definition of god is as you state: "embodiment of everything that is" and revlgking has gone on record agreeing with that definition.

Then we have a far better word that, by dictionary definition means "the embodiment of everything." That word is universe.

Redefining another word is not just anti-science it is intellectually dishonest.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 10:03 PM

The universe. Interesting.

Warren, as unitheists, you and I heartily agree, right?

Now why didn't we think of that?

Thanks for your contribution, DA smile. And I am serious. It fits into the concept that GØD and the universe, the cosmos--phyically, mentally and spiritually--are ONE.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 11:14 PM

It doesn't fit the concept of GØD because GØD is a shallow contrivance masquerading as something of substance.

I tire of this imbecilic nonsense. YOYO!
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 04/17/07 11:50 PM

DA, you say that God is a contrivance, or some device cleverly made up. That is not what God is; merely some invention of the human intellect. He is not dead, as Nietzshe (sp?) declared. The flowers blooming their fragrance. The waters meandering down from the mountain, reflecting the sun's rays. This beautiful, green planet, hurtling along an elliptical orbit. Man, conscious of his thoughts, and able to do as he wishes, and subjugate nature, and make creations of his own. All of this -this good Earth- is possible by our very Maker, who sustains our very breath. God, worthy of all praise, the very makeup of this universe.
(excuse my poeticness, anyone who while reading that, saw that literally those descriptions would not be so)
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/18/07 12:13 AM

GØD..."as something of substance." writes DA Morgan. Right on! DA, All the substance I know, and more, is GØD. What more can we ask?

Tim, you speak of, "God, worthy of all praise, the very makeup of this universe." I like your poetry. Your thread has been a great success. Keep on defending your sincerely held beliefs.

Tim, BTW, you mentioned Nietzsche. Check out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Nietzsche

Interestingly, his father was an Evangelical Lutheran minister.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/18/07 12:57 AM

Tim wrote:
"DA, you say that God is a contrivance"

I did not. I said GØD is a shallow contrivance masquerading as substance.

I have put a kill on this thread and will no longer respond so if you are truly interested in this contact me through the user-list or start a new thread.

BTW: If it doesn't relate to science, in some fashion, I will not respond.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 04/18/07 03:47 AM

my computer dictionary has the route for science. here it is, by definition: "[14th century. Via Old French from Latin scientia , from scient- , present participle stem of scire “to know,” ultimately “to discern,” from an Indo-European word meaning “to cut.”]
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
therefore, by definition, you are implying that if it doesnt relate to knowing or discerning, then you wont respond. am i right in deducing that? (oh wait, never mind, you cant respond, so thats a rhetorical question). today, it seems people have defined science so narrowly, that they forget what its very foundations are: and that is to know. to know what? the planets? why we are here? history of our planet? what are we? etc.
and i understand why you would no longer answer on this thread; my apologies.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 04/18/07 05:20 AM

God exists in the presence of belief and belief exists in the presence of faith. So if you believe then your god, however you imagine him/her/it then he/she/it exists.

As I have pointed out before--if you do not believe then god does not exist--like Tinkerbell, you have to believe in god for the entity/thing/universe you imagine as god to have existence.

So the anwer to "Does god exist?" is "Only inside your own imagination, but there the concept of god is unfettered."
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/18/07 08:19 PM

Ellis you write:
Quote:
God exists in the presence of belief and belief exists in the presence of faith. So if you believe then your god, however you imagine him/her/it then he/she/it exists.
I agree with you, Ellis. And I will add, here is how I imagine god: I imagine GØD--(Orthodox Jews use G-d)--as encompassing all that we call existence. I use my special symbol and the term 'panentheism, to make this point clear.

I do not insist that others have to believe as I do. I just find that it works for me.

BTW, I have no objection to those who prefer to use the traditional spelling, God. But let us be clear as to what we mean by the term.

How many theists actually think of God as a masculine, human-like and objective being somewhere out there looking down on us? I suspect only very few.

I also suspect that this is what atheists have in mind when they they say: "There is no evidence that there is a God. People who believe there is one are deluded."

Atheists may think of conscious existence as depressing, as being meaningless and absurd, and that non-existence is to be prefered. But I can't imagine any atheist ever saying: "There is no evidence for existence." Can you?

In my opinion: The fact of existence, for better or for worse, and my consciousness of it is all the evidence I need to say: I BELIEVE IN GØD. Existence is good (GØD), and we call all help to make it better until, eventually, it becomes the best. Like the old rhyme goes:

GOOD BETTER BEST, NEVER LET IT REST, 'TILL THE GOOD IS BETTER AND THE BETTER BEST.
================
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/19/07 01:57 AM

Revlgking wrote:

"But let us be clear as to what we mean by the term."

I have been trying to get someone to provide a meaningful definition since I first contributed to this thread. Saying, "God is another word for all there is" is not a meaningful definition. Is the God you believe in still basically just the Old Testament God expanded a bit? I've already shown you can't rely on anything in the OT to tell you what God is.
Posted by: Warren

Re: Evidence for God - 04/19/07 03:41 AM

I prefer to use the term divine over God and believe while it's not synonymous with the universe, the universe is permeated with the divine.

I characterize the divine as law, life, and love-- law being the physics of the universe, life the basis of awareness, and love our conscious creating, enjoying, and sharing.

Since this is ontological (in the sense of defining a concept into being), rather than requiring evidence of existence I would ask myself if this is a valid concept of the ultimate, at least vis-a-vis the human experience. If I postulate that life (awareness) is good, which I do, it works to my satisfaction.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/19/07 06:28 AM

Again a bit of integrity is required here.

No one alive, despite hubris to the contrary, knows for sure the answer in the scientific sense that we know the melting point of water from ice.

We all come to terms with this based upon culture, background, education, and intelligence.

This entire discussion MUST end up with no more substance than a discussion of favorite colours or favorite foods.

Personally I like Laotian food and the colour mauve.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 04/19/07 06:41 AM

In order for "divine" to have any verisimilitude there has to be belief in the concept of divinity. Gods are described as divine--so 'divine' is a characteristic of a god- like entity, or state of mind. But first there has to be belief. Warren- you will believe as you wish, your version of god has as much veracity as that of highest prelate on the planet. But it is not proof of god's existence. It is how you personally believe your god to manifest him/her/its self to you. How do you prove the truth of your belief?

I respect this belief of yours, but I do not share it as I believe there is no such thing as god in any of the possible manifestations described over time (and there have been lots).
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/19/07 07:48 AM

I suppose that, for an atheist, perhaps the nearest approach to the recognition of a deity could be the acknowledgement of 'intangibles' - such as love, joy, wonder etc. - as life enhancing principles experienced by sentient beings. Such a description doesn't require further evidence, belief is not required, a name is optional, and history is irrelevant (all of which happens to eliminate potential conflict).
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/19/07 07:56 AM

Ellis wrote:

"But first there has to be belief."

I see what you have been getting at. The belief defines God or Gods. Gods can therefore be anything we like them to be. Hence there are as many Gods as there are people who believe. Possibly more if people who believe in multiple gods outnumber those who don't believe in them at all.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/19/07 08:01 AM

Redewenur wrote:

"perhaps the nearest approach to the recognition of a deity could be the acknowledgement of life enhancing 'intangibles' - such as love, joy, wonder etc."

Those were amoung the Gods the Greeks accepted. But shouldn't we also include less desirable emotions in this expanded concept of God?
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/19/07 08:17 AM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
But shouldn't we also include less desirable emotions in this expanded concept of God?

No (at least, it doesn't fit my hypothetical description), because they aren't 'life enhancing principles', but merely the absence of same. It's analogous to saying that food is life enhancing, and 'anti-food' isn't - anti-food doesn't exist; it's a false concept. There's either food, or the lack of food.

I couldn't call it 'an expanded concept of God'. It's an unembellished concept in that it calls for neither religious belief nor evidence of supernatural causation.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 04/21/07 04:46 AM

Yeah!! terry---that's exactly what I'm getting at. God is whatever you as a person believe in. I cannot tell you it is wrong because it is what you have chosen to believe. You may adhere to some religious doctrine or you may believe that your god speaks to you personally at the same time each day- that's your business.

The problem then is that on discovering my lack of belief in the supernatural religious people will often want to share their belief with me, tell me what I believe REALLY ( as Rev did) or demand I convert to their way of thinking or change my behaviour to accommodate their belief.

I do not ask this of them---why do they ask it of me?

Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/21/07 09:27 AM

Revlgking wrote:

"Atheists may think of conscious existence as depressing, as being meaningless and absurd, and that non-existence is to be prefered."

What on earth did you mean by that? Can you name any athsists that think that way?

Redewenur wrote:

"because they aren't 'life enhancing principles'"

But surely what's life enhancing for the hawk is not so for the rabbit? Or does God only worry about humans? If the latter is so when during our evolution did God begin to confine his interest to us? In fact I'd like to hear Revlgking's answer to that one. Or anyone else who has an opinion on the matter.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/21/07 12:28 PM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Redewenur wrote:

"because they aren't 'life enhancing principles'"

But surely what's life enhancing for the hawk is not so for the rabbit? Or does God only worry about humans? If the latter is so when during our evolution did God begin to confine his interest to us? In fact I'd like to hear Revlgking's answer to that one. Or anyone else who has an opinion on the matter.

Terry, note that I never included God, or gods - that was your own auto-embellishment to my presentation of an atheistic viewpoint.

Maybe you'd like to read my posts again. There are only two. Come back to me if you think I wasn't clear about my meaning - it's been known to happen.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/21/07 12:33 PM

Ellis wrote:
"that's exactly what I'm getting at. God is whatever you as a person believe in."

Well I certainly can't argue with that statement. But it is no different from saying "a hot day" is whatever you believe is a hot day no one can argue with you. It is the stuff of polite conversation not science.

Ellis wrote:
"I do not ask this of them---why do they ask it of me?"

For several reasons. The first is brainwashing. Some are threatened with damnation and hell if they don't. They act out of fear for what will happen to them not a genuine interest in helping anyone else.

The second is that they truly don't believe what they are selling. I find that those I have met who were most comfortable with their belief system felt no compulsion to sell it to someone else as a way of justifying their own thinking.

TNZ ... what revlgking wrote is words strung together in a grammatically correct sentence but lacking a coherent thought. This is no different from the rest of what he has been promoting.

Some people try to equate "unintelligible" with "deep."

TNZ wrote:
"Or does God only worry about humans?"

And not just any humans. Those humans who are believers in a specific interpretation of a specific doctrine as interpreted by a specific contemporary interpreter. Have you noticed that no one ever points out the inconsistency between contemporary interpretation and that 50, 100, or 500 years ago? Ask why!
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/21/07 01:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Ellis
---that's exactly what I'm getting at. God is whatever you as a person believe in.


Absolutely True.

Unless God exists. Then God is what God is, whether people believe in God or not.

Belief is Useful even if you believe wrong things, as long as the fruit of that belief is good and it produces good actions. But I am not implying that anyone should persist in false belief, when better evidence leads to another belief (even if that new belief will produce wrong actions).

However, Belief is Correct only when it consistent with reality. If God exists as a small pixie in a bottle then only someone who believes in God as a small pixie in a bottle is right. All other belief about God is misleading and irrelevant and God is not '...whatever you as a person believe in'.

Originally Posted By: Ellis
I cannot tell you it is wrong because it is what you have chosen to believe.


True, on metaphysical issues you can only say what you believe and present some evidence why you believe it, but the belief is always subjective. Revlking believes in something without any evidence whatsoever - Christianity rests upon both historical evidence (however debatable - but at least open to rational examination) and the 'self informing' evidence of personal experience (not open to rational debate). Revlking's belief is purely based upon 'self informing' evidence and is not open to any kind of debate.

In fact it is so woolly that it matters not whether anyone believes in it or not. In my experience (where such profound matters are concerned) there is always a consequence of believing something that is true - so Rev's beliefs are irrelevant.

Blacknad.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/21/07 02:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Blacknad
Belief is Correct only when it consistent with reality.

There's a significant flaw there; there's still room for doubt.

Here's an alternative: Belief cannot be proven incorrect unless it's proven to be inconsistent with reality.

Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/21/07 04:41 PM

No but a belief system can be harmful even when it does correspond with reality. I offer up the Middle East as one example among many.

The Israelis have lots of historical evidence to support their belief system about their plight. The Palestinians, similarly, can point to very valid reasons supporting their belief system.

After how many generations, one might ask, will they discover that their belief systems are harmful to everyone.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/21/07 06:31 PM

Certainly. The simple fact that a particular belief system cannot be proven false doesn't endow it with virtuousity. That's not a logical consequence, and is entirely another matter.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/22/07 09:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Warren
I prefer to use the term divine over God and believe while it's not synonymous with the universe, the universe is permeated with the divine....
Warren, you and I are, obviously, on the same page and playing in the same key. And, as I understand it, neither of us is interested in imposing what we believe on others. I wonder why some posters want to believe that we do?

ABOUT BISHOP SPONG
By the way, neither is the author, the retired bishop (New Jersey) of the Episcopalian church, USA, and theologian John Shelby Spong--with whom I have chatted more than once. In a recent article, in the Toronto Star (Saturday, April 21), he is quoted as saying that the time has come for each of us to "rethink the meaning of being 'divine'.

JESUS WAS TRULY A HUMAN BEING. SO WE CAN ALL BE
Spong believes that Jesus was a real human being, like all of us are, or can be. Any human being who is willing to live without hate, prejudice or malice can be divine, Spong says.

Driving the point home, Spong said, "The way you become divine is to become wholly human." I couldn't agree more. What do you say, Warren?

I hope that all of us can be gracious enough to be fully human and live by the Golden Rule--common to all the great religions.

Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/23/07 09:31 AM

Dan wrote:

"The Israelis have lots of historical evidence to support their belief system about their plight. The Palestinians, similarly, can point to very valid reasons supporting their belief system."

They don't actually. Unless you consider their myths of genocide as they occupied Canaan record actual historical events. That is precisely the point of some of my comments on various threads. I suppose I could claim God has given me the southern half of Ireland as my rightful home and then go and take it over(if I could get powerful allies to support me). My ancestors left there much more recently than did the ancestors of many people who claim a right to live in ancient Canaan. However my claim would be no more justified than any other belief system based solely on myth. The Palestinians presumably descend at least partly from the Sea people, but so do the Israelites anyway. They are the same people separated by their myths.

I suggest the sooner we can wean the population of the region off these myths the better for all humanity.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/23/07 11:07 AM

I agree. There is no population alive today that hasn't been both perpetrator and victim at one time or another. Nor suprisingly, however, they always portray themselves as the victim and never acknowledge their role as perpetrator.

Perhaps we should establish something in international law equivalent to a statue of limitations. If it happened more than 150 years ago ... shut up and move on.

Well it wouldn't solve all of the problems in the Middle East. But it would be a start.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/23/07 09:33 PM

While I agree with the arguments made above, about limitations, I presume you agree that you are off topic? Which, BTW, because I believe in artistic creativity, is okay by me.

Talking about victim and victor: Take a look at the May edition of the National Geographic, about Jamestown, Virginia.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 01:54 AM

DA said, "Nor suprisingly, however, they always portray themselves as the victim and never acknowledge their role as perpetrator."
Wow, something that we both agree on, good job. But agreeing with Revlgking this discussion is going off-topic.
let me ask you all this: who are you? who am I? what is our purpose? what are we here for? what can science do for our plight or great conditions?
again, i think: Am I merely an ant in this cosmic vastness, destined for the grave whence I came? Or a being, endowed with unalienable rights? Am I a pawn of the gods, in a hideous far-reaching scheme? Am I nothing, just merely an economic name, and nothing beyond the physical realm? Do I serve some higher purpose?
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 02:12 AM

Revlgking wrote:

"I presume you agree that you are off topic?"

And Tim wrote:

"But agreeing with Revlgking this discussion is going off-topic."

I disagree with you both. My comments are completely on topic. Definitions of God given here seem to be based largely on the God of the Old Testament. Therefore we must be able to use the OT, by definition, in any discussion on "Evidence for God". Or does everyone agree that the God of the Old Testament simply didn't exist, was completely a figment of somebody's imagination.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 03:42 AM

Tim wrote:
"But agreeing with Revlgking this discussion is going off-topic."

revlgking wouldn't know "on-topic" if he fell off a ladder onto it.

The master of contrivance has not once even made even the slightest effort with respect to science. When he makes a contribution to the forum I will consider his opinion accordingly. And in this case, as TNZ says ... our comments are on-topic.

If one ignores the contrivance of substituting "Ø" or "o" which I would presume either a deity or a sentient human could manage to see through the only definition of the word, of any value to a discussion is the one from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition.

Lets have a modicum of integrity here. The concept of a monotheistic deity identified as "god" has been around for thousands of years. Anyone in 2007 who wishes to stand up and claim that everyone else in all of history misunderstood and wishes to redefine the term is going into the dustbin of history just like so many thousands before them: An empty hat.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 04:56 AM

Even a brief reading ot the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller, A History of God--The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, by Karen Armstrong, one of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs will convince anyone that the idea and conception of god, gods, and God, has been shaped and altered over the centuries. For example, most Jews do not take the conception of God, as depicted in much of what we call the Old Testament, literally.


BTW, I will gladly start a thread: There is no rational evidence for gods or God. But GØD is....

In her book, KA points out that, "the human idea of God has a history." God, in an important sense is, "a product of the human imagination."
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 05:21 AM

ABOUT KAREN ARMSTRONG--theologian, teacher, writer, communicator
http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_armstrong.html

BILL MOYERS: If you were God, would you do away with religion?

ARMSTRONG: Well, there are some forms of religion that must make God weep. There are some forms of religion that are bad, just as there's bad cooking or bad art or bad sex, you have bad religion too. Religion that has concentrated on egotism, that's concentrated on belligerence rather than compassion.

MOYERS: And so much of religion has been the experience of atrocity.

ARMSTRONG: But then you have to remember that this is what human beings do. Secularism has shown that it can be just as murderous, just as lethal, uh, as religion. Now I think one of the reasons why religion developed in the way that it did over the centuries was precisely to curb this murderous bent that we have as human beings.

MOYERS: You get September 11th ... you get the Crusades, you get ... do you remember the young Orthodox Jew who assassinated Itzhak Rabin? I can see him right now, looking into the camera, and he says, everything I did, I did for ...

ARMSTRONG: For God.

MOYERS: ... for the glory of God.

ARMSTRONG: Yes. Yes. Well, this is ... this is bad religion. Compassion is not a popular virtue. Very often when I talk to religious people, and mention how important it is that compassion is the key, that it's the sine-qua-non of religion, people look kind of balked, and stubborn sometimes, as much to say, what's the point of having religion if you can't disapprove of other people? And sometimes we use religion just to back up these unworthy hatreds, because we're frightened too.
[Read the whole interview]

http://www.powells.com/authors/armstrong.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Armstrong
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 05:52 AM

This probably isn't an original thought, but I ain't gonna read thru 58 pages. Sorry....

Seems to me that God is not the problem, but that Religion can (easily) be the problem. ...and this makes sense re: the above if you read "MOYERS: ... for the glory of God," to mean religion (with emphasis on the 'glory' part).

I guess glory is in the eyes of the beholder too.

~SA
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 08:10 AM

Ah. Gimme that ol' time religion. But wait. It seems God has evolved.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 08:15 AM

Revlgking wrote:

"For example, most Jews do not take the conception of God, as depicted in much of what we call the Old Testament, literally."

Hang on. I thought most of the ones in Israel used that same God to justify their right to live in the region. Are you going to tell them they are mistaken?
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 08:26 AM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Ah. Gimme that ol' time religion. But wait. It seems God has evolved.


Consistent with Dawkins' book, as people evolve, so too does God.

That's 'evolving' socially and psychologically, I suppose; and I must also mean our conception (or perception/experience) of God.

Is that consistent? I haven't read the book, but I saw a lecture he gave on the book.

~~SA
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 08:47 AM

Yes Samwik, that's pretty much it. Dawkins says he actually had a t-shirt with "atheists for Jesus" printed on it. I like the idea.

Unfortunately I can't seem to get anyone who believes there is a God intimately involved in human affairs to commit themselves as to when this God first decided to get involved. Was it when Australopithecus first made a tool and became Homo Habilis? Do you think we could push them for an answer? If we could sort that out I'm sure we will then be easily able to find any evidence for God.

By the way I think I've been putting a c in your name. Apologies.
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 09:11 AM

I guess it depends on how you define "intimately involved."
As transendent, God would be outside of time. It'd be easy to say all of life was just prepatory (by design) for our "arrival."

Sorry, much too late for me to know what I'm saying. Must sleep now. Have fun reading....

No problem....
~SA


Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 12:04 PM

TNZ wrote:
"Hang on. I thought most of the ones in Israel used that same God to justify their right to live in the region. Are you going to tell them they are mistaken?"

You got that one right. He's obviously in a self-induced hypnotic trance. And no one's around to snap their fingers.

It seems like the internet is many people's substitute for visiting a psychiatrist and asking for help with their depression or psychosis.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 03:11 PM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Revlgking wrote:

"Atheists may think of conscious existence as depressing, as being meaningless and absurd, and that non-existence is to be preferred."

What on earth did you mean by that?
Can you name any athsists that think that way?
Notice: I said "may" not "do". Jean Paul Sartre, writer and philosopher, was an existentialist atheist. He wrote of life as being an absurd process.I have a question: Are there some atheists who believe, think, or hope that there is life after death? Certain non-theists, like Buddhists, do. Or do they think of it as a delusion?
===================================================
Redewenur wrote:

"because they aren't 'life enhancing principles'"

But surely what's life enhancing for the hawk is not so for the rabbit?

Or does God only worry about humans?

If the latter is so, when during our evolution did God begin to confine his interest to us?
===========================================================
Terry asks:In fact I'd like to hear Revlgking's answer to that one.
Terry, the questions you raise above should be directed to theists and/or deists, not to unitheists, or panentheists. GØD for us is not a human-like person, male or female, who goes around doing people-like things, like worrying.

This is one of the reasons I am not comfortable with the old way of writing 'God' as the way of referring to "the ground of all being", or the ultimate reality, the ultimate meaning of all that IS. In my opinion, the only verb I can use in conjuction with GØD is the verb is. GØD simply is...What we do with this concept IS up to us.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 03:17 PM

Originally Posted By: samwik
[quote=terrytnewzealand]Ah. Gimme that ol' time religion. But wait. It seems God has evolved.

Years ago, when I was active in the pulpit, I preached a series of sermons: GIMME THE NEW TIME RELIGION. I actually wrote a song, using the same tune. If I can find it in my notes I will post them. The vast majority of my congregation responded positively to what I said.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 03:51 PM

Samwik wrote:
"Consistent with Dawkins' book, as people evolve, so too does God."

This is a very important consideration.

Within a single human lifetime there is the appearance that the belief system is constant and unchanging. That some eternal deity has always been viewed through the same lens and interpreted in the same manner but it is patently false.

All religions, except the most extreme conservative versions change their interpretations frequently so as to be relevant to those whose money and subservience they seek.

Does anyone really believe the Anglican Church of today is preaching what it preached 200 years ago? The Lutherans? The Catholics (when I was growing up it was a sin to eat meat on Friday ... now god apparently doesn't care)? Etc. It is a game of musical chairs played in a room with the lights out.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 07:42 PM

Good points people. Religion and God are defined by people and have to keep pace with society.

"It is a game of musical chairs played in a room with the lights out."

-another amusing Morganism to boot.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 10:39 PM

"All religions?" The following comment by DA Morgan is not only unfair, it is untrue:

"All religions, except the most extreme conservative versions change their interpretations frequently so as to be relevant to those whose money and subservience they seek."

Absolute nonsense, hardly worth rebutting! I am glad to belong to a religion which seeks just enough money to pay modest expenses. Should it go bankrupt and not pay others for services rendered?

BTW,1, I belong to a religion which encourages all its members to think for themselves.

BTW,2, Agnostics and atheists, who respect the rights of others, are all welcome. We treat those, who refuse to do so, as being sick and needing our help, not judgement.
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 10:45 PM

It's always (almost) easy to disprove some absolutist statement such as All religions....

But in general, the bigger and more entrenched the religion is, the more corrupt it seems to get.

As with all things organized. --(almost)

~~SA

p.s. So not "Absolute" nonsense?
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 04/24/07 11:34 PM

DA wrote, "All religions, except the most extreme conservative versions change their interpretations frequently so as to be relevant to those whose money and subservience they seek."
As with Revlgking, my denomination does not seek the congregants money, I can assure you that. But tell me this: has science changed its views over the past two hundred years (just as the Anglican church)?
The answer is yes: evolution hasnt been embraced by the scientists for too long, and its discoveries and views are constantly changing. So is that such a valid argument, DA? To me it would seem not, but i cannot change your opinion about it. how i have not made one single contribution to science on this discussion, i do not know. am i really a troll by having my beliefs? well i guess i sort of am, since its meaning comes from a french word troller, "to wander," most likely with germanic routes. and my beleifs show me that i am just a sojourner in this tent, on a voyage to the Land. So DA, i would agree with you in that. Finally something we both agree on. (you do think im a troll right?)
Posted by: Amaranth Rose II

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 12:18 AM

It appears the word "troll" has been misused here. It apparently has come to mean "anyone who disagrees with a certain person on this forum".

Let's all try to be a little more tolerant of divergent views. Just because someone disagrees with us doesn't automatically make them a troll. It makes them a person who disagrees with us. This forum is, or should be, open to all different views without malice or discrimination. As long as the forum rules are obeyed, especially the ones about being polite, there is no reason why anyone should be restrained from posting their opinions. It is those who disagree with us who make us think. Those who agree with us are merely mirrors, reflecting back our own ideas. Some narcissistic people like nothing better, but it is disagreement that makes us grow, challenges our thinking and expands our brains.

Vive la difference!
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 12:20 AM

Keep contributing, Tim, and you do not need to be "timid", pardon the pun.

I repeat and expand on my comment about what DA wrote. It is absolute nonsense, and hardly worth rebutting for anyone to suggest that all religions are power hungry and immoral, as DA suggested.

I am glad to belong to a religion which seeks just enough money to pay its modest expenses. Should it go bankrupt and not pay others for honest services rendered?

BTW, 1, I belong to a religion which encourages all its members to think for themselves.

BTW, 2, Agnostics and atheists, who respect the rights of others, are all welcome. We treat those who refuse to do so, as being sick. They need our help, not judgement.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 12:31 AM

Thank you, Amaranth Rose! BTW, what kind of rose are you? Are you, perhaps, an imaginary flower that never fades? Sounds theological, to me! smile
Posted by: Amaranth Rose II

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 05:09 AM

I'm a rose-colored Amaranth, an everlasting flower. The amaranth plant was used by the Aztecs for grain and edible leaves. The flowers can be preserved for long-lasting dried flower bouquets. Its common name is Love-Lies-Bleeding.

Amaranth Rose

(Yes, it's a pseudonym, we all gotta stay alive here.)
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 05:40 AM

Of course religions evolve, and with it the concept of the nature of a god, because the dogma they preach is founded on human faith and beliefs. This week there was a brilliant example of this with the Pope deciding that there was no such place as Limbo. Imagine how much heartache that dreadful idea must have created for faithful mothers who imagined their child locked out of Eternity and the love of their god forever because the child had not been baptised BY A HUMAN BEING into the church! It is a grotesque picture which in the dash of a pen is no longer a necessary belief for any member of that church.

Now that sanity has gone that far perhaps that church will allow the use of condoms between partners, one of whom is HIV positive.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 07:17 AM

Ellis: "This week there was a brilliant example of this with the Pope deciding that there was no such place as Limbo."

Yes, interesting. I've read in several sources that science and religion appear to be on convergent courses. I think this is misleading. Whilst religious belief is updated by science (eventually), science doesn't appear to be influenced by religion (in terms of belief).

Religious belief needs to be rational. It needs to acknowledge the scientific 'truths'. As it does so, it will become more universally acceptable. Ultimately, the divide must be that science deals exclusively with objective evidence/proof, whereas religious experience is a subjective reality. So, never the twain shall meet - but that doesn't mean that science and religious belief are mutually exclusive. They are no more so than the ability to compute and the ability to feel compassion.

OK, that's not evidence for God, either. Never mind. smile

Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 07:36 AM

"Religious belief needs to be rational. It needs to acknowledge the scientific 'truths'."

I disagree with this statement, but everything else you say hits the nail on the head.

They are completely different (ways of viewing 'reality'), but that does not mean they are mutually exclusive. Just as we can think in terms of Newtonian or Einsteinian perspectives (neither of which is 'right'), our brains can also comprehend reality in different modes (sci. or relig.).

A GOOD example is this dilemma, "Evidence for God."

Evidence is a scientific concept (or tool) and is materialistic in nature.

God is not materialistic, but transendent in nature.

ooops, guess I shoulda said ...transends nature.

~~SA
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 08:07 AM

Originally Posted By: samwik
"Religious belief needs to be rational. It needs to acknowledge the scientific 'truths'."

I disagree with this statement...

Do you disagree that it's important to acknowledge that the Earth is spheroid, not flat, and that it's rather older than the few thousand years claimed by some?

Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 08:23 AM

red,
You are also very correct in saying that science doesn't get influenced by religion. (maybe w/ some exceptions)
...and science is replacing religion for many; there is competition. I wish more people would realize it can be both, and not just see it as either/or.

But science is materialistic (and I'm not talking economic materialism), only concerned with material, physical world.

The same argument applies to metaphysics.
I always laugh when someone says that controlled tests were done and showed no evidence of supernatural, metaphysical, or psychic effects.

Why should it, these things are not (if they exist) controlled by the material world; how can you run a controlled experiment on it. How can you speak of scientific evidence for something not of science.

So, I wandered a bit....

~SA

Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 08:25 AM

Rose wrote:

"It is those who disagree with us who make us think. ...it is disagreement that makes us grow, challenges our thinking and expands our brains."

Right on Rose.
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 08:30 AM

red,
You are also very correct in saying that science doesn't get influenced by religion. (maybe w/ some exceptions)
...and science is replacing religion for many; there is competition. I wish more people would realize it can be both, and not just see it as either/or.

But science is materialistic (and I'm not talking economic materialism), only concerned with material, physical world.

The same argument applies to metaphysics.
I always laugh when someone says that controlled tests were done and showed no evidence of supernatural, metaphysical, or psychic effects.

Why should it, these things are not (if they exist) controlled by the material world; how can you run a controlled experiment on it. How can you speak of scientific evidence for something not of science.

So, I wandered a bit....

~SA
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 08:30 AM

Originally Posted By: samwik
How can you speak of scientific evidence for something not of science.

Quite - but hey, you didn't answer my question grin
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 08:31 AM

Samwik. You disagreed with the statement, "Religious belief needs to be rational." I'm afraid I disagree with you. It needs to be rational at least to some extent. As Rede said religion has had to "acknowledge that the Earth is spheroid, not flat" Once it acknowledges humans have evolved from ape-like creatures it will gain more credibility. But, as Dawkins says, this has implications most religions are not prepared to face. I've got to go for a while now but I'll come back with the quote.
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 08:33 AM

ooops sorry for the double post.

redewenur,

What about the 95% of your post that I agreed with?

My comment kinda addresses that other 5% also. They are different spheres: one rational by definition; and the other transcendent (irrational?) by definition.

~~SA?
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 08:40 AM

samwik: "What about the 95% of your post that I agreed with?"

Well, I'm gratified that we agree 95%. Now, come on, what about that other 5%? smile

Consider what Terry just said.

Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 08:40 AM

Terry,
Yes, religions have to be rational to the extent that they must function in the material world; but only to that extent. Some go to great lengths to renounce materialism and transcend.

...and this goes back to evolving religions. They must adjust as the material world changes (due to science). Boy, I'd be pissed to; I hate change (hey, who moved my cheese).

Even purple rhinos can be shown to be somewhat rational, can't they?

~~SA

P.S. I see we're posting over each other. Apologies for the misunderstandings (unread posts, responses out of order, etc.)
~S
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 09:09 AM

samwik, Re your reply to Terry:
Originally Posted By: samwik
religions have to be rational to the extent that they must function in the material world; but only to that extent...They must adjust as the material world changes (due to science).

It's important to remember that the material world doesn't actually change, no matter who says what about it. The changes are those in our knowledge and understanding, which in turn lead to changes in society, culture and so on. We need, more than ever before - owing to the accelerating pace of discovery - to be ready to modify our views and accommodate new knowledge. It amounts to more than just the ability to function in the material world. Conflicts arise from ignorance of objective reality; people suffer grievously through such ignorance. Science, through its objectivity, has the potential to unify humanity. Ignorance has the potential to destroy it.

Faith, belief in God, has no need of ignorance.
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 09:50 AM

Yep, gotta agree. Whenever subjective realities meet, there is conflict. Subjective realities are like snowflakes....

I think most people operate with both modes, viewing some things objectively and others subjectively. ooo..profound, huh?

Anyway, my point is to embrace the duality. Don't deny others their subjective reality, and that'll make it easier for them to accept objective reality as it slaps them in the face with ever increasing frequency.

It's kinda like "doublethink," from Orwell's 1984.
Generally not seen as a good thing, but in this case...?

~SA
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/25/07 10:16 AM

Redewenur wrote:

"The changes are those in our knowledge and understanding, which in turn lead to changes in society, culture and so on."

Agree totally, not just 95%.

Samwik. I think you would enjoy "The God Delusion". Bit more to it than just evolution of belief. The following quote is regarding absolute moral belief, esp euthanasia and abortion. He considers what would happen if, say, Australopithecus was still around. "But evolutionary continuity shows that there is no absolute distinction. Absolutist moral discrimination is devastatingly undermined by the fact of evolution. An uneasy awareness of this fact might, indeed, underlie one of the main motives creationists have for opposing evolution: they fear what they believe to be its moral consequences".

Ah. I've got that off my chest.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 04/26/07 10:39 PM

i do not quite understand what dawkins is saying in the quote " they [creationists] fear what they believe to be its moral consequences." would you all care to enlighten me of what he is implying? thanks
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/27/07 02:33 AM

Tim. Absolutes go out the window. Humans are no longer a special creation with special privileges and responsibilities. Quoting Dawkins again:

"Notice now that 'pro-life' doesn't exactly mean pro life at all. It means pro-human life. This granting of uniquely special rights to cells of the species Homo sapiens is hard to reconcile with the fact of evolution".

Can you give any reason why many religious people oppose the teaching of evolution?
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 04/27/07 03:22 AM

Maybe because having been made in the image of himself by god humans are the only living things that can achieve goodness and eternal life, hence the dubious moral consequence. Without the cachet of evolution (and the made in the image ..etc) we are all exposed as just animals. Thinking ones sure, but still animals. So if you have a problem with that and feel you are just a bit special you will have problems with evolution. Most people don't, certainly creationism doesn't get much of a go here.
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 04/27/07 08:11 AM

I was surprised to learn that smart creationist and ID'ers don't deny that evolution occurs (present tense). What they react strongly to is the conclusion that God didn't start evolution. They also have issues with the usual interpretations of evolution's past.

Evolution is so dramatically persuasive that many people use it (incorrectly) as evidence that God is not "needed" to explain the origin of life. But even Darwin referred to God when speaking about the Origin of life, as Einstein also did regarding the Origin of the universe.

Not-so-smart creationist and ID'ers have a knee-jerk reaction to that misperception (God not needed), and think it is a true representation of evolution theory (and science in general).

-i think this post needs some work (clarification, suppl.), but maybe later.....

~SA

p.s.
Just because I say it's "incorrect" that God is not needed, DOESN'T mean I'd say it's correct that God is needed.
IMHO evolution doesn't imply anything about God at all (maybe that's their problem).
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/27/07 09:15 AM

Hi Samwick,

This is probably a slight misrepresentation of the ID position.

They simply say that there appears to be evidence of design in the universe and especially in the [human] genome. They would say it is like a well written piece of software.

They would then go on to say that our cause and effect understanding of the universe is that wherever you find complex information there is an organizing or designing mind.

They simply say the evidence demonstrates some form of designer.

They do not think that you can really know anything of the nature of the designer except that 'it designs'.

This is why ID has some agnostic adherents.

Most creationists would see ID as being just as mistaken as straight forward evolutionary theory - and have a dogmatic objection to anything that supports or gives credence to evolution (which ID certainly does).

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/27/07 09:18 AM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Can you give any reason why many religious people oppose the teaching of evolution?


Probably quite true, but it must be remembered that in the UK 45% of people do not beleive in evolutionary theory.

We are a secular nation with a very small percentage of Christians.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/27/07 09:10 PM

In my opinion, GØD, is one with the eternal now, part and parcel of the whole process of evolution. This, IMHO, means that we need no longer be accidental victims of the evolutionary process; we have the potential, if we so choose to be one with GØD imaging and directing the process.
=============================
GØD, ONE WITH THE ETERNAL NOW
=============================
GØD'S one with knowledge, wisdom, life,
With goodness, order and design
As old as time, as young as youth,
GØD is within each cell of mine.

Now we are one with mother earth,
And one with water, ocean, sea.
We're also one with father sky,
And all-pervasive gravity.

Evolving within all space and time,
We're one with faith and hope and love,
We're one with GØD, the eternal now,
Around, within, below, above.

GØD'S Spirit's in each breath we take,
The root of justice and of peace,
Is one with health, with life and wealth,
Producing joys which ne'er will cease.
===============0000000000===============

I repeat: For me, GØD is not a human-like personal being--male or female--who goes around doing people-like things, to and for us. GØD is Spirit, within us, enabling us to evolve, if we so choose, to higher being.

WHY I USE THE SYMBOL GØD
Let others do as you choose, but one of the reasons I am not comfortable with the old way of writing the divine name is that it sets GØD apart as a kind of personal being separate and apart from us. I want to avoid this. If it doesn't matter to you, that is your choice.

BY THE WAY, I AM NOT THE FIRST ONE TO THINK THIS WAY
In the last century, theologian, Paul Tillich avoided personalizing the concept of deity by using the expression "the ground of all being", and "the ultimate reality"--meaning all that IS.

When I speak of GØD, the only verb I can use, comfortably, is the verb, 'to be'. Check out Exodus 3:14, where we have the Hebrew expression, YHWH, which is related the Hebrew verb, to be--Jehovah, in English, meaning "I am who I am...Or, I will be who I choose to be."

For me, GØD simply IS. Name anything that IS and, IMHO, it is in, and/or, related to GØD. In addition, GØD refers to that which is in and through all that is.

THE FREE-WILL BILL
By the way, I respect the right of atheists and agnostics, who choose not to be included. As human beings, we have the right to decide to be included, or not.

Do we all agree: Generally speakng, as human beings, we are free to choose to kill ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually, anytime.

I do.

However--in keeping with the Jewish salute, "l'hiem", TO LIFE!"--I prefer, LIFE!


Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/27/07 10:42 PM

Ellis wrote:

"certainly creationism doesn't get much of a go here."

Not at the moment. But when I first joined the site was infested with creationists and IDers. No doubt some will return.

Blacknad wrote:

"it must be remembered that in the UK 45% of people do not believe in evolutionary theory. We are a secular nation with a very small percentage of Christians."

That suggests that all Christians in the UK oppose evolutionary theory! The 45% must be made up of Muslims, Jews etc. But, Blacky, that still doesn't explain the philosophical objection to the theory in those sections of society.

I agree with Samwik that evolution does not prove or disprove the existence of God.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 04/27/07 11:22 PM

Yes, i would agree with that statement, too. That if evolution occured, it would not disprove the existence of God.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 04/28/07 01:56 AM

THE FOLLOWING IS AN INTERESTING STORY SENT TO ME BY A FRIEND:

One evening a wise grandfather told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people.

He said, "My son, the battle inside all of us is usually between two packs of animals.

One pack is evil. It is made up of animals called anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, apathy, cynicism, despair and ego.

The other is made up of animals called joy, justice, peace, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, and compassion, faith, hope, and love."

Then his grandfather asked: "Which pack do you think will win the battle?"

The grandson thought about it for a long minute.

Then the grandfather replied, "Take a guess."

The grandson responded: "I strongly suspect it would be the ones I choose to feed."

The grandfather was proud of his grandson's wisdom.
============================================================
And is it not up to us to make the decision which one we will feed?

Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/28/07 09:21 AM

Revlgking wrote:

"I strongly suspect it would be the ones I choose to feed."

Lot of truth in that Rev.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/28/07 03:51 PM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
That suggests that all Christians in the UK oppose evolutionary theory! The 45% must be made up of Muslims, Jews etc.


Terry,

I don't know what form of logic you used to get at that statement. You happen to be talking to a Christian who accepts evolutionary theory - if you think that by some freaky chance you are talking to the only Christian in the UK that accepts evolution then run out and buy a lotto ticket because you are obviously on a roll. I know probably about a thousand Christians and easily the majority accept evolution.

Blacknad.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/29/07 08:31 AM

Sorry Blacknad. I did assume it would be mostly religious people who doubted evolution. It seems there must be many atheist in the UK that don't accept it.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/29/07 02:26 PM

Cheers Terry,

IGNORE THIS IF YOU WANT - IT IS NOT ON SUBJECT AND IS MY PERSONAL RANT ABOUT STUFF.

I look over my words in my last post now and they sound a little harsh. It wasn't my intent - it just doesn't always come across as it is in your head in internet land. I'm sure you realize that I view you with a lot of respect - and although I feel a bit poncy for saying it, I think its important to let people know what you think of them.

I always think to myself that if I go to my grave (and I've hopefully got a good few decades yet, in my late 30s) and I never told people the good things and the positive effect they have had on me, then what was it all for? As you can probably tell, I'm a bit of a strange one with a real morbid streak - but harmless enough.

But I can tell from all your posts I have read that you are a good guy and as with others here I think 'I could get on with them in real life I'm sure'. There are others that I think, 'no, I probably wouldn't connect with that person'.

Just indulging myself now in a bit of meandering. Its a strange thing - but we find friendship where we can - even in the middle of a board on science. I enjoy the interactions I have and enjoy it when I connect with people here. I've been thinking about it for a while now - it is an entirely new form of social interaction. It is one where you really don't know the other people and conduct relationships without any of the normal queues such as knowing what they look like, seeing their physical expressions, knowing anything really about their lives - and I suppose not even knowing they are who they say they are. In reality I might be a very well written computer program (we will get to that real possibility in a few years).

And yet I get enjoyment from my interactions here. It may just be me and everyone else may be more sane and just see it as an interesting way to learn and debate and nothing more - while I am sitting here insanely believing that in some sense and for maybe just a time, I actually have made some friends here or acquaintances.

I suppose that we have always had some relationships that have been conducted over the telephone and as pen friends, but it was a very occasional thing. Now many people have contact with others through this almost anonymous electronic medium. It does mean I suppose that you can immediately meet up with others that share your interests, be it science, feminism, terrorism or a particular fetish. I can count on three fingers the amount of my friends who are really interested in the same types of issues as me and even here we have different flavors of interest, but the common theme is that we all have interest in using our grey matter to think deeply about things. And that, most of all, is what I enjoy.

I was going to become a monk and just get away from it all - I was going to commit to two years and see how it went. I think maybe I would have found it hard because I need to discuss things. Maybe I could do it now, but regularly access SAGG on my mobile after daily devotions smile

But I suppose I am thinking, what will it do to human development that we have this much greater interconnectivity with people almost anywhere in the world? What happens to different cultures when a Bedouin Tribesman can now chat to a teenage New Yorker? What about an Iraqi who finds that his American blogfriend has pretty much the same needs, fears and desires as he does? Will the net eventually connect people on a much deeper level that purely debating in science boards?

Should have posted this in Is Science the Answer?

Blacknad.
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 04/29/07 08:11 PM

Very nicely put, Blacky, if I may be so presumptious.

Just this morning, having about a half hour trouble with my modem, the "comunity" that I was eagerly (as I came to realize) trying to connect with, was more tangible than I take for granted. It was palpable, a bit of adrenaline rushing, as with face to face socializing.

I sure appreciate your thoughts here, and don't think they're on the wrong post (kinda just one big conversation, eh?).
After reading your post, and having what I related above percolate through, I thought, "Well, there is evidence for God right there!"

Thank you God, for screwing with my modem this morning.

~~Later - wink
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 04/30/07 08:22 AM

Cheers Samwik - much appreciated.

Blacknad.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 04/30/07 09:41 AM

Samwik wrote:

"Very nicely put, Blacky".

Totally agree.

Blacknad wrote:

"it just doesn't always come across as it is in your head in internet land."

The written word always lacks the subtle intonations of speech and certainly the gestures that accompany direct contact. No offence ever taken Blacky.

Another comment from you:

"I'm a bit of a strange one with a real morbid streak".

I must confess I have noticed your morbid streak at times. I was going to comment once but refrained. Perhaps I will draw your attention to it next time. I would rather like to have a beer or two with you one day Blacky. Who knows? The Arabic phrase "Insha'Allah" is perhaps appropriate on a thread called "Evidence for God". Except they frown on alcohol.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 05/05/07 03:40 AM

I wonder how come the Koran says nothing about the danger of tobacco, caffeine, transfats and the like? Neither does the Bible.

BTW, did you hear about ATHEISM INC.? It is registered as a not-for-prophets corporation. smile
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 05/05/07 06:30 AM

Hiya Rev.

I figured it was because I pulled an all-nighter (final exams!) that I kept giggling all day about "May the 4th be with you!"

But I really enjoy your 'BTW...not-for-prophets' on a whole 'nother level. Very funny, creative... and true!

But wait! Is it true? Why do you have to be religious to see the future? Hmmm, guess it's in the definition. If they're not religious, then they're called clairvoyient (wow, there's a word i don't know how to spell).

no sleep, can you tell?
~samwik - wink

p.s. Just saw Christopher Hitchens on Charlie Rose. He mentioned how coincidental it was that Religions offer just the kind of things that we crave the most (security, freedom, assuagement or soothing, etc.). Your point about "..says nothing about the danger of tobacco.." made me think about how religions only deal with what they know about.

Whereas science.... opposite...unknown.
:))

Chris acknowledged that sure, may be a god out there; but doesn't care about us or intervene.

Is that what people mean when they talk about a "personal God?"
I hear that phrase around, as in '~90% of AAAS don't believe in a personal god.' -cited from audience query, Religion & Culture Panel, CSPAN2....guess i been editing too much....

~SPunchy

...but seriously....
Is that what people mean when they talk about a "personal God?"
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 05/05/07 05:34 PM

Sam, You comment: "Chris Hitchins acknowledged that, ...'sure, there may be a god out there; but he doesn't care about us or intervene.'" This is the theology of deism. Check out

http://207.234.216.228/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

You ask: What do people mean when they talk about a "personal God?" This kind of question can only be answered by those who say they do. Mormons think of 'God' as a person. I think so do the Jehovah Witnesses.
http://www.watchtower.org/library/jt/index.htm

In my opinion, there is no separate being called God. For me, this is a form of mental idol making. Christians need to be reminded St. Augustine (354-430 CE, formerly AD) wrote of God as being "like a circle whose circumerfvence is everyswhere and whose centre is nowhere."--A kind of no thing in which things exist.

For me, this means that GØD is like the knowledge, wisdom and power originating in the human spirit, the pneuma. For me, it is the power to believe that, despite the reality of evil, it is possible to accept that there is goodness and truth--in the form of love. Similar to the way that light turns darkness into day, and the heat sun can turn the cold of winter into Spring and Summer, so love can turn despair into hope and fear into joy. I John 3:8 sums this up with the words: God is love.

BTW, keep in mind that too much light and too much heat can do much harm.

Atheists: Do you allow for any kind of spirituality? What is your concept of mind? Spirit, Soul? Ghost?

What do you believe about life following the death of the brain?
[And there are more questions.]

Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 05/05/07 06:55 PM

Originally Posted By: samwik
Is that what people mean when they talk about a "personal God?"


A 'Personal God' is simply about the difference in Theism and Deism.

Deists believe that an intelligence created the universe, but has no particular interest in it. I have heard it said that it is like a god that winds up the universe like a clock and then leaves it to wind down on its own.

Theists believe in a creative intelligence that is interested in the universe, all the way down to every individual the universe produces - e.g. the verse 'I knit you together in the womb'.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 05/05/07 09:02 PM

For me, and I do not choose to be dogmatic about this: GØD is personal in persons.

That is, GØD is in persons, persons who make the personal choice that this be so. I choose to relate to GØD, without being imposed upon by the hope of reward or fear of punishment. I call this theology, unitheism. Some call it panENtheism.

Unitheism, or panENtheism--thankful to the insights of both theism and deism--is a balance between both of them.

I see us as taking the opportunity to create ourselves and start living within a heaven, or a hell, in the eternal and infinite NOW.
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 05/05/07 09:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Blacknad
A 'Personal God' is simply about the difference in Theism and Deism.



Thanks Blacky,

And I suppose the 'personal God' is the Theistic side of the picture. They should more accurately say a "personalble God," I think.

So, an impersonal God would be Deistic; the clock winding down?

I always thought a 'personal God' meant the understanding of God that one achieves on a personal level. Y'know, my own idea of God, vs. someone else's idea of what God is.

Much as Revl.'s idea, "For me, this means that GØD is like...the pneuma." -whoops, sorry for using Notepad, Revl.
Or like my own ideas of extradimensionality (or any other transcending ideas), or St. Augustine's ideas.

That's why i was puzzled by the "'~90% of AAAS don't believe in a personal god.' -cited from audience query," statement that I heard.

So many of those 90% could be diests, I suppose.

I could argue either way on Theist/Deist, but Theism seems more human centered; hence more accessible and fun to talk about.

Revl., thanks for the circle/center quote!

It sounds just like a "description of the universe" that an astronomer once gave me when I asked 'In what direction was the Big Bang?'

Lightning! better log off.

Thanks,

~SA
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 05/05/07 10:01 PM

Theologically speaking, theism and deism--and I respect both their points of view--are not the only options, IMHO. Note the re-edit I did with my last posts. Thanks!
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 05/05/07 11:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Revlgking
I choose to relate to GØD, without being imposed upon by the hope of reward or fear of punishment.


Rev,

Then you needs to move squarely away from Christianity because on even the most liberal reading of it you cannot get away from reward and punishment.

And I don't really think it is about what you choose - it is about what is or is not.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 05/06/07 05:01 AM

So what happened to the Trinity which gives us God the Father (the creator of all things- omnipotent and all-encompassing), God the Son, (god made flesh, the part that enables us to be made in His image) and God the Holy Spirit (that part of God which is divine and supernatural)? It seems a nice tidy way to sum it all up, or do we no longer believe it this manifestation? If not how does the Son of God concept fit with the Deist theory, or even the Theist? Or are these last two theories not in fact concerned with Christianity?
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 05/06/07 07:05 AM

This trinity business has always confused me. Seems it confused the early Christians too. Christianity claims to be a monotheistic religion yet it immediately claims three gods. Not to mention the devil who, if he was part of any other belief system, would be called a god as well. At least Muslims keep it simple in that department. Sorry Blacky, I couldn't resist.

By the way Samwik. What subject was your exam?
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 05/06/07 09:01 AM

Hiya Terry, I see what I wrote, but...
Praise be to.....

It was not my final exam that had me up for 36 hrs.

You'd think that for a Master's class, they wouldn't wait until Wed. night to get their paper, due Friday, edited; especially if your ESL. Oh well, that's how we get the big bucks!

As for the Trinity, I wasn't raised any particular way, but always thought the 3-in-1 idea was a good way of breaking our preconceptions about "what God is."

I don't think that was the intent, and a lot of people probably focus on them separately (and maybe even unequally); but viewed just as a philosophical concept, it helps make God a bit less anthropomorphic.

...Not that there's anything wrong with that.... - wink

~~SA
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 05/06/07 09:27 PM

Blacknad, you quote me as saying
Quote:
I choose to relate to GØD, without being imposed upon by the hope of reward or fear of punishment.
Let me put it another way: I choose to relate to GØD in the same way as I relate to life and existence itself, positively, not out of a false hope or a negative fear.

BTW, generally speaking, this is the kind of relationship chosen by those who accept the approach known as panENtheism, which, as the following shows is not all that new an idea.
Quote:
This universal arrangement is not pantheism (all is God), but panentheism, a term devised by Karl C. F. Krause (1781-1832) to describe his thought. It is best known for its use by Charles Hartshorne and recently by Matthew Fox.

Panentheism says that all is in God, somewhat as if God were the ocean and we were fish. If one considers what is in God's body to be part of God, then we can say that God is all there is and then some. The universe is God's body, but God's awareness or personality is greater than the sum of all the parts of the universe. All the parts have some degree of freedom in co-creating with God.

At the start of its momentary career as a subject, an experience is God--as the divine initial aim. As the experience carries on its choosing process, it is a freely aiming reality that is not strictly God, since it departs from God's purpose to some degree. Yet everything is within God.
Posted by: Tim

Re: Evidence for God - 05/06/07 11:22 PM

Christianity is a monotheistic religion, with God having three parts (personalities?) of Him. There is one God, but He has three masks, if you will. I am not here to preach, but that is what my denominations has to say (unless I am mistaken) about the trinity, for clarification. Good job, Revlgking, I enjoyed your quote: "Let me put it another way: I choose to relate to GØD in the same way as I relate to life and existence itself, positively, not out of a false hope or a negative fear."
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 05/06/07 11:49 PM

The central belief of Christianity is that God "became flesh" and so there is sense in the idea that we are made in God's image, as asserted in Genesis. It is a central tenet of the Christian religion, also and to my mind it sits uneasily next to the modern trndy stuff --God as universal lifeforce. That is covered by the Trinity--it's God the Holy Spirit. Are we now seeing the Christian religion evolving?

Surely God would have no mask---God just is.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 05/07/07 07:49 PM

Thanks, Tim. Like you, without preaching, I can also say: GØD is, for me, the One, the Mono and wears all kinds of loving persons--from the Latin, persona; from which we get our word 'person'. It literally means that through which we make sounds. To my wife, I am her husband; to my children, I am their father; to my friends, I am their friend, and on, and on. But I remain the same person.

Interestingly, people ignorant of the language of Christian theology, including many Muslims, jump to the silly conclusion that the Trinity (Tri-unity) refers to three gods.

I can accept that one of the masks of GØD is the physical universe, "the flesh" as it were. As science, especially the science of physics, is beginning to discover: there is a lot behind that mask, and much of it is still a great mystery.
I can readily accept that all of creation, including religion and science, are in the process of evolving.
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 05/09/07 07:51 AM

"...the Latin, persona; from which we get our word 'person'. It literally means that through which we make sounds." -Revl.

Fascinating! ...but of course.

...kinda gives another new side to "In the beginning was the word..."

"I can accept that one of the masks of G0D is the physical universe..." -Revl.

That reminds me of the Hindu concept called (I think) Maya. Ever read/familiar with "The Tao of Physics?"

I liked your "Tri-unity" description also.

Thanks,
~Samwik
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 05/12/07 05:09 PM

This thread is entitled 'Evidence for God' and there has been precious little presented in 65 pages of comment.

One person who does think there is clear evidence for God is Professor Anthony Flew.

Flew has been an eminent atheist for decades and a strong apologist for the atheist cause, but over the last few years has moved to a deistic position.

Wikipedia says this about him:

"While an undergraduate, Flew attended the weekly meetings of C. S. Lewis's Socratic Club fairly regularly. Although he found Lewis to be "an eminently reasonable man" and "by far the most powerful of Christian apologists for the sixty or more years following his founding of that club," he was not persuaded by Lewis's argument from morality as found in Mere Christianity. Other philosophical proofs for God's existence also fail, according to Flew. The ontological argument in particular he considers false because it is based on the premise that the concept of Being can be derived from the concept of Goodness. Only the scientific forms of the teleological argument impress Flew as being decisive.[2]

In God and Philosophy (1966) and God, Freedom and Immortality: A Critical Analysis (1984) Flew argued that one should presuppose atheism until evidence of a God surfaces. He still stands behind this evidentialist approach,[3] though he has been persuaded in recent years that such evidence in fact exists.

In December 2004, an interview with Flew conducted by Flew's friend and philosophical adversary Gary Habermas was published in Biola University's Philosophia Christi, with the title Atheist Becomes Theist - Exclusive Interview with Former Atheist Antony Flew. Flew's conception of God is limited to the idea of God as a first cause.[4]

Professor Flew is a signatory of the Humanist Manifesto III."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antony_Flew


It is not quite true that Flew has become a Theist, although he is open to it - and is particularly impressed with the work of Gerald L. Schroeder who has written on the convergence of the creation account in Genesis with current cosmological knowledge (not talking about Genesis as understood by the Young Earth Creationists) in his book 'The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom' (New
York: Broadway Books, 1998)..

The interview with Dr. Gary Habermas is here:

http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/flew-interview.pdf


It is interesting that Flew dismisses every argument and supposed proof for God's existence except the scientific one.

I might add that except for the general belief in some form of designing intelligence, I am not pushing my own Christian views, and Flew is clearly not in support of them - although his understanding of the 'first cause' seems to be evolving.

On Flew - "The fact of the matter is: Flew hasn't really decided what to believe. He affirms that he is not a Christian--he is still quite certain that the Gods of Christianity or Islam do not exist, that there is no revealed religion, and definitely no afterlife of any kind (he stands by everything he argued in his 2001 book Merely Mortal: Can You Survive Your Own Death?). But he is increasingly persuaded that some sort of Deity brought about this universe, though it does not intervene in human affairs, nor does it provide any postmortem salvation. He says he has in mind something like the God of Aristotle, a distant, impersonal "prime mover." It might not even be conscious, but a mere force. In formal terms, he regards the existence of this minimal God as a hypothesis that, at present, is perhaps the best explanation for why a universe exists that can produce complex life. But he is still unsure."



Blacknad.

Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 05/12/07 06:22 PM

When all is said and done, Professor Flew appears to be another Descartes, albeit that his approach may be different. Scientific proof requires a scientific definition, and a defined 'God' who/that is presumably scientifically verifiable. It seems to come full circle to a matter of belief and personal interpretation.

If it's any consolation, my forum pages are longer so I have only 33 for this thread grin
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 05/13/07 04:01 AM

Blacknad writes:
Quote:
One person who does think there is clear evidence for God is Professor Anthony Flew.
Naturally, I agree with Flew. However, IMHO, I offer the following theory (god-given idea) of GØD:

God and GØD
There is a difference between God and GØD. Belief in God requires faith. But GØD can be understood through reason and patient research.

Let us compare the two:
====================
IN MY HUMBLE OPINION
====================
Here is what I understand--feel free to correct me--is how theists define God:

The God of theism is the one creator of heaven and earth. He knows and controls everything, past present and future.

He requires that we, his creatures give him full obedience and have unquestioning faith in Him and everything he chooses to reveal to us.

As an almighty and Heavenly Father, He--obviously a male-like heavenly father and superior being--preceded the universe, which He created out of nothing. He demands that we worship and obey him on pain of death and eternal damnation. If you are a Jew or a Christian, He is the is the author of the Bible, which is his Word.

According to the Bible, not long after the creation the earth and animal life, He created man, Adam. Then he created woman, Eve--out of man. Eve sinned and led Adam to sin. This led to the fall of all humanity. In his anger God destroyed all humanity in a flood and saved only the family of Noah. From that point on, the descendants of Noah kept waiting for a Messiah who would lead them back to the garden of Eden.

If you are a certain kind of Christian, you believe that the Messiah finally came in the form of Jesus, the one and only son of God, to begin the salvation of the world. About 2000 years ago, the Jews and others, who believed this, became Christians and made the attempt, which failed, to set up the Kingdom of God on earth.

Modern Jews--the descendants of those who refused to accept Jesus as The Messiah--are still waiting for the Messiah.

Meanwhile, Christians are waiting for Jesus to return and finish the work of salvation. Jews and Christians think of God as Lord and Master. He is to be worshipped and obeyed, without question. And here we are.

Muslims, on the other hand, while they accept much--though not all--of the basic story of the Bible, have added the Koran, to correct the mistakes in Bible, and as the final revelation from God.
=======================================================
I OFFER THE FOLLOWING IDEAS WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND DOGMA
=======================================================
MY DEFINITION OF GØD, at this point:

GØD, on the other hand, IMHO, is the One who is in and through, and at one with the cosmos--in full at-one-ment, spoken of by Jesus and his male and female disciples, including the Prophets. They, by their lives of service, did become one with GØD and paved the way for us.

That is, GØD is one with all creation as we are experiencing and exploring it, with the help of the sciences, in the now. GØD and the cosmos is all that is, always was, and always will be.

We are here, in cooperation with GØD, to create and perfect ourselves. GØD, as faith, hope, love, goodness, order, discipline and design in the cosmos, and personal in us, is here to help, not to be a dominating master. As Jesus put it in Luke, I am "among you as one who serves".
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 05/13/07 04:19 AM

"It is interesting that Flew dismisses every argument and supposed proof for God's existence except the scientific one."

- And since he doesn't have a scientific one, the supposed evidence is open to personal interpretation. Back to square one. (I've never heard the word 'evidentialist' before - that's a handy piece of rhetoric).
______________________

There are profound things in this universe that are commonly refered to as holy or divine, which can be known but which cannot be expressed in scientific form. They are real, yet cannot be touched. An athiest knows these things just as a theist does, yet they argue endlessly about what they are and from whence they come.

I've just finished listening to Bach's St. Matthew Passion. I don't feel inclined to ask what that 'beauty' is, why it should be so, etc. etc. That it is, is sufficient. Science will never provide a comprehensive answer because it cannot 'feel' the spiritual. Is it evidence for God? The question is meaningless to me. It is what it is.
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 05/13/07 09:10 AM

Originally Posted By: Blacknad
One person who does think there is clear evidence for God is Professor Anthony Flew. -
...sorry, I'm co-opting this box to recall things that led me to the post below....
[in April, I wrote]
"...A good example is this dilemma, "Evidence for God."
Evidence is a scientific concept (or tool) and is materialistic in nature.
God is not materialistic, but transendent in nature.
ooops, guess I shoulda said ...transends nature." -#20870

[the point being scientific evidence doesn't apply to God]
[& above]
"I can accept that one of the masks of G0D is the physical universe..." -Revl.

[where i then responded]
That reminds me of the Hindu concept called Maya. Ever read/familiar with "The Tao of Physics?" -21396
[..or... 'The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom']-


It sounds as if Flew is limiting himself to evidence from the material/physical world. So as a scientist, he is a methodoligical materialist. It sounds as if he is a philosophical materialist also, I think; although when science reaches the limits of Flew's comprehension, he thinks God "is perhaps the best explanation for why a universe exists that can produce complex life."

Hey! Entropy can explain the origin of life. Why not equate God and entropy?

If he can allow an "impersonal 'prime mover,'" why not a personable one either?

Because then he couldn't still be a philosophical materialist?

Revl, you wrote,
"As science, especially the science of physics, is beginning to discover: there is a lot behind that mask, and much of it is still a great mystery." -21344

This is an interesting point because as we learn more about reality, the material, physical world, it is revealed to be more transcendent in character (transcending spacetime, substance, and dimensions).

Now I'm not saying that because reality 'transcends' Nature, and God transcends Nature, that they are the same thing or science has evidence for God; but it opens up more possible perspectives.
...and when I say "reality 'transcends' Nature," I just mean that reality is much more complex than we are usually aware of.

The only evidence I've tried to offer was back in April, "Thank you God, for screwing with my modem this morning." -21073

~SA
wink

p.s. ~redewenur, I think you have the best summation here:

Science will never provide a comprehensive answer because it cannot 'feel' the spiritual. Is it evidence for God? The question is meaningless to me. It is what it is.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 05/13/07 12:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Blacknad writes:
Quote:
One person who does think there is clear evidence for God is Professor Anthony Flew.
Naturally, I agree with Flew. However, IMHO, I offer the following theory (god-given idea) of GØD:

God and GØD
There is a difference between God and GØD. Belief in God requires faith. But GØD can be understood through reason and patient research.


Rev,

You are off topic.

The difference between God and GØD is irrelevant to this thread topic.

And for a retired minister there is so much wrong with your understanding of mainstream Christian theology that it defies belief - however this is not the place to discuss it.

On a science forum, there can only be one interpretation of the title 'Evidence for God'. It is about whether there is anything that supports or points to a non-naturalistic explanation for the existence of the universe within our body of scientific knowledge.

For example, Flew has said that the complex design found in the human genome and certain aspects of cosmology 'presents an overwhelming argument to design'.

Now the questions are something like:

Is there any scientific evidence that would be accepted as evidence for a designer?

Is that evidence there?

Are we interpreting it in the right way?

And so on...

The argument is nothing to do with the nature of that God, and therefore presents no opportunity for evangelism, because a designer may be nothing more than an impersonal force or a deistic non-personal, non-involved intelligence. The argument leads to no definition of God.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 05/13/07 01:49 PM

Blacknad comments:"...this is not the place to discuss it (theology)." If you really feel this way, why do you do so?

Then you add: "...there is so much wrong with your understanding of mainstream Christian theology..."

Christian theology. Surely you mean theologies, don't you?

For example, the beliefs of liberal Christian theologians differ from conservative ones. In addition, liberal theologians differs so markedly from what fundamentalist theologians believe that one would think they come from different planets. While respecting the rights of all people to believe a wide variety of theology, I consider myself a liberal-thinking theologian--one with a deep respect for a rational and scientific approach. For me, theology is a science.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 05/13/07 02:02 PM

Originally Posted By: samwik
Hey! Entropy can explain the origin of life. Why not equate God and entropy?

Can it?

"entropy n. 1 Physics measure of the disorganization or degradation of the universe, resulting in a decrease in available energy. 2 Physics measure of the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work" - Pocket Oxford Dictionary.


It amazes me that life could ever have arisen in a universe seemingly dominated by entropy. There are clearly forces of nature at work that oppose entropy. It may appear to be a losing battle, but life forms, particularly intelligent life forms, are themselves a force that opposes entropy.

Originally Posted By: samwik
This is an interesting point because as we learn more about reality, the material, physical world, it is revealed to be more transcendent in character (transcending spacetime, substance, and dimensions).

...and when I say "reality 'transcends' Nature," I just mean that reality is much more complex than we are usually aware of.

Absolutely. It appears 'more transcendent' only because we are discovering further depths to nature that we find difficult to comprehend. It isn't literally trascendent at all - just very hard for the human mind to understand. Gone are the days of the elephant on the turtle's back - we now create new mythologies; but nature does not, by definition, transcend itself. God, of course, does (if you accept the God hypothesis). So, no matter how incomprehesible we find nature, it's entirely within the scope of science, whereas a transcendent God (personal or impersonal) is not.
Posted by: soilguy

Re: Evidence for God - 05/13/07 02:47 PM

Originally Posted By: redewenur
It amazes me that life could ever have arisen in a universe seemingly dominated by entropy. There are clearly forces of nature at work that oppose entropy. It may appear to be a losing battle, but life forms, particularly intelligent life forms, are themselves a force that opposes entropy.


Maybe the not quite science board isn't the place for this question, but I don't understand what people mean when they say things like "a universe... dominated by entropy," and "forces of nature at work that oppose entropy."

What force can possibly oppose entropy (which is not a force at all)?

Also, a universe dominated by entropy would be what, in reality? The predicted final state of the universe, perhaps, but we are quite a bit removed from that date. Our universe has no lack of useful energy.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 05/13/07 03:47 PM

Soilguy: "What force can possibly oppose entropy (which is not a force at all)?"

Yes, I'll have to watch my semantics. Force, as in 'impetus', soilguy, but perhaps it would be better to say 'process'. Sorry about that.

Soilguy: "Also, a universe dominated by entropy would be what, in reality? The predicted final state of the universe, perhaps, but we are quite a bit removed from that date. Our universe has no lack of useful energy."

As we may all know, the Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the universe tends toward high entropy. That's to say, there are processes in the universe that are converting various forms of energy into heat energy. Certainly, a 'heat death' of the universe would be in the unimaginably distant future, but in the meantime it's on its way, and the process of thermodynamic entropy does in fact dominate. What I find so remarkable about life (living things) is that it's so incredibly complex and organised, and runs counter to the process of entropy.

My understanding (such as it is) is that information and entropy are two sides of the same coin. The 'increase of entropy' is another way of saying the 'loss of information'. The advent of living organisms was, as I said, counter to the process of entropy. Living things are focal points of information. I can't say more, because beyond that I don't know what it means. Maybe someone could open a new thread and provide some info?

Please excuse the detour, but life is so complex that its origin is seen by many as "Evidence for God".
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 05/14/07 09:22 AM

I used to have this a my "signature."

"Life is Nature's way of turning light into heat."

This was based on the idea that 'turning light into heat' was an expression of maximum entropy...
...and that 'life' was the most efficient way to do that.

*A chemical reaction that is very unfavorable thermodynamically (?positive enthalpy?), can be made to happen if the entropy of the final products is large enough. [or words to that effect]

So "life,' even though very unlikely (thermodynamically), is virtually assured of originating (IMHO) because of the amazing entropy that living generates.

Birth and death balance out, but living processes create more entropy than anything I can think of (short of a supernova, -maybe).

~SA
wink
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 05/14/07 09:55 AM

I agree with Blacknad:

"This thread is entitled 'Evidence for God' and there has been precious little presented in 65 pages of comment."
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 05/14/07 11:42 AM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
I agree with Blacknad:

"This thread is entitled 'Evidence for God' and there has been precious little presented in 65 pages of comment."


Come now! Physicists tell us that "entrophy vanishes at absolute zeror". What is the direct evidence for this?

Though I am not a theist, I agree with them when they say that "the heavens" and all creation contains zillions of tons of indirect evidence for God.

As a unitheist, I KNOW and experience that there is an infinite variety of direct evidence for GØD.

By the way if God made up his mind--GØD is mind--not to believe in atheists, would they cease to exist? smile

And what is the direct evidence for black holes, even galaxies?

Seventy per cent, and more, of medical procedures have never been proved by double-bind studies, does this mean that medical science is a fraud?


Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 05/14/07 11:51 AM

Sam comments: "Yes, I'll have to watch my semantics. Force, as in 'impetus', soilguy, but perhaps it would be better to say 'process'..."

The great mathematician, Alfred North Whitehead, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/whitehead/
was a process philosopher and theologian. The idea of GØD fits well with "process philosophy and theology".

Ellis asks: "Are we now seeing the Christian religion evolving?"
YES!!!!!And there are as many species as there are Christians. Like snowflakes, cells, grains of sand, etc. no two are alike. What variety there is! smile Atheism is so unimaginative, boring and dull, and dead-end! Who can possibly be excited by the concept?
Posted by: soilguy

Re: Evidence for God - 05/14/07 05:36 PM

Originally Posted By: redewenur
As we may all know, the Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the universe tends toward high entropy. That's to say, there are processes in the universe that are converting various forms of energy into heat energy. Certainly, a 'heat death' of the universe would be in the unimaginably distant future, but in the meantime it's on its way, and the process of thermodynamic entropy does in fact dominate.


Well, entropy is always increasing or remaining the same in a closed system. If you want to call that a domination, OK.

Quote:
What I find so remarkable about life (living things) is that it's so incredibly complex and organised, and runs counter to the process of entropy.


That is not the case. Living things cannot and do not violate the laws of thermo.

There is nothing in the laws of thermodynamics that prevents taking useful energy from one place and transfering it to another place. This can happen in either a closed or opened system.

Quote:
My understanding (such as it is) is that information and entropy are two sides of the same coin. The 'increase of entropy' is another way of saying the 'loss of information'.


The entropy terms in information theories are not the same as the entropy term in thermodynamics. In fact, the entropy terms in different information theories are not the same (nor is the definition of 'information' the same in different theories).

Quote:
The advent of living organisms was, as I said, counter to the process of entropy. Living things are focal points of information. I can't say more, because beyond that I don't know what it means.


Damn! I was hoping you could explain what that means! wink

Quote:
Please excuse the detour, but life is so complex that its origin is seen by many as "Evidence for God".


This may be seen by many as evidence for God, but it's nothing more than God of the Gaps thinking, with a little argumentum ad populum thrown in for good measure.

We know life was far less complex in the geologic past. There is no reason for science to throw up its collective hands and conclude anything is so complex that a supernatural being stepped in to give things a nudge.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 05/14/07 07:35 PM

Yes, I thought that would get someone going. wink

Originally Posted By: soilguy
Well, entropy is always increasing or remaining the same in a closed system. If you want to call that a domination, OK.

Yes, I do (thanks).

Originally Posted By: soilguy
That is not the case. Living things cannot and do not violate the laws of thermo.

I'm not saying that they actually violate any laws, just that they stand out as an example of what I wouldn't expect as a result of the laws.

Originally Posted By: soilguy
There is nothing in the laws of thermodynamics that prevents taking useful energy from one place and transfering it to another place. This can happen in either a closed or opened system.

Obviously.

Originally Posted By: soilguy
Quote:
Living things are focal points of information. I can't say more, because beyond that I don't know what it means.

Damn! I was hoping you could explain what that means! wink

grin

- I'm waiting for an enlightening thread on information theory, and the meaning of the word 'entropy' in that context.

Originally Posted By: soilguy
This may be seen by many as evidence for God, but it's nothing more than God of the Gaps

Well said.
Posted by: soilguy

Re: Evidence for God - 05/14/07 09:33 PM

I looked into information theory a few years ago, when a creationist I was speaking with started talking about information, and the laws of information, etc. It's eye-glazing stuff for me, overall, but I was surprised to find that there was more than one school of thought, and that definitions for terms between them were not interchangeable.

As far as I can tell, information theory was dragged into the whole creation/evolution - believer/atheist furor because some of the terms were similar to thermodynamic terms, and that genes are "information."
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 05/15/07 03:13 AM

Revlgking wrote:

"Atheism is so unimaginative, boring and dull, and dead-end! Who can possibly be excited by the concept?"

I don't know about that. Have you tried it?


Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 05/15/07 07:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Revlgking
NOT Sam, but redewenur comments: "Yes, I'll have to watch my semantics. Force, as in 'impetus', soilguy, but perhaps it would be better to say 'process'..."

The great mathematician, Alfred North Whitehead, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/whitehead/
was a process philosopher and theologian. The idea of G0D fits well with "process philosophy and theology".

Ellis asks: "Are we now seeing the Christian religion evolving?"
YES!!!!!And there are as many species as there are Christians. Like snowflakes, cells, grains of sand, etc. no two are alike. What variety there is! smile Atheism is so unimaginative, boring and dull, and dead-end! Who can possibly be excited by the concept?

Hey Revl! You misquoted me (mis-attributed that to me). It was redewenur who you were quoting above!

-
It around 1980 that Whitehead's "Metaphysics" got me started on this path I now travel. Thanks for reminding me....

I was thinking there might be as many different kinds of Atheists as there are different kinds of Religions.

Anyway, I think it is a good point about depending on how one defines "God," evidence could possibly be found; but with some other definitions, evidence is "meaningless" or unrelated.

Revl. you said, "For me, theology is a science. "
Certainly the word (the-ology) is evidence that there is an attempt to study God scientifically (or should I say 'study religion scientifically?') (or both).

"Ellis asks: "Are we now seeing the Christian religion evolving?"
YES!!!!!" -Revl.

I used to see that religions evolved, and I took that fact to be evidence that religions bore little relation to God; but then again, depending on how you define God, it could go either way.

-
I also liked this point, "I'm not saying that they [Living things] actually violate any laws, just that they stand out as an example of what I wouldn't expect as a result of the laws." -rede

That was my point when I ~wrote, "So Life is virtually assured of originating because of the amazing entropy that [Living things] generate. -21543

...and also, "This was based on the idea that 'turning light into heat' was an expression of maximum entropy...
...and that 'life' was the most efficient way to do that."
-21543


Terry you wrote, "I agree with Blacknad: 'This thread is entitled 'Evidence for God' and there has been precious little presented....'"

Darn! As rede says, "...life is so complex that its origin is seen by many as "Evidence for God."
I knew (to be more 'on topic') I shoulda used my alternate tagline:

"Life is God's way of turning light into heat." -21543

~SA
wink
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 05/15/07 04:44 PM

Learned theists have always used metaphors such as air, wind, breath, fire, light and life as metaphors, and as indirect evidence, for God. Only the un-learned--sincere ignorance is not a crime--tend to concretize God and think of him in a human-like form.

This is why, as a unitheist/neo-theist theologian, I prefer to use the symbol GØD. I do it to make sure people will ask: What are you trying to get across by that symbol?

This gives me the opportunity to respond to people who ask me,
what I mean by GØD, as follows:

Because I value freedom of belief, you are free to believe what you want to believe, especially if it makes you a better person and does not impinge on my freedom. But my free choice is to get rid of all idols, especially those we are tempted to create with the mind. This frees me from the constraints of dogma and encourages me to think.

Once we can do this, all things are possible, as long as it makes sense. I read a brief item in the Globe and Mail, today: It said, ineffect, that intellect helps us to distinguish between the possible and the impossible; reason helps us distinguish between that whiich makes sense and that which does not. Process theology sure stretches my intellect; and because of its emphasis on life as an eternal and joyful journey, it sure makes a lot of sense, to me.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 05/15/07 07:09 PM

Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Revlgking wrote: "Atheism is so unimaginative, boring and dull, and dead-end! Who can possibly be excited by the concept?"

I don't know about that. Have you tried it?
Yes, for a short time. I think I was fifteen. It certainly felt like a dead-end street. Without eternal values life seemed without meaning.

Looking back, I now feel it is one of the reasons quite a few young people take their own lives. When they come to the conclusion that no one cares, not even a God who cares, they reach the point of despair and the feeling that life has no meaning.

It was the next year, at 16, that I decided to study for the ministry. I was in university at 17.

WHAT ABOUT SUICIDE LATE IN LIFE

And there is more than we will ever know.

I have met many people who dug their grave with their teeth. Look at the epedemic of obesity. I even took their funerals. Not to mention those who drugged themselves, in one way or another, to early graves.

Then there are those who suffer pain and loss, in old age. I write as one who was born in 1930. Loss of faith in GØD, and the eternal values of life, can cause some people to take their lives to get away from it all.

Ernest Hemmingway, in one of his war novels--I think it was Farewell to Arms--using the voice of the hero, wrote that "life is a dirty trick". When he came to a painful old age--and he was not that old, really--he killed himself.

BUT, EVEN IN THE MIDST OF PAIN, LIFE CAN BE MEANINGFUL
Dr. Victor Frankl, in his great book, Man's Search For Meaning, makes the point that when we find meaning and purpose in life such as that given by faith in, what I call GØD, we will find the way.

Interestingly, Frankl claims that his belief that life does have an ultimate meaning is what helped him survive the death-camp called Auschwitz. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl

and http://www.geocities.com/~webwinds/frankl/frankl.htm

Great stuff!!!

Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 05/15/07 09:27 PM

Rev,

Serious question. What evidence do you have for God's existence?

Blacknad.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 05/15/07 09:43 PM

Blacknad, I was just busy revising my last post, here.
In the spirit of dialoguing until we understand what is being said: To what are you referring when you say: "Serious question".

BTW, my serious evidence is in Nature--that which is all around me as well as in and through all that is. For short, I call it GØD. Notice that I capitalize "nature". While agreeing that I could be wrong, I consider Nature and GØD as doublets of the same idea.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 05/16/07 07:12 AM

Revlgking wrote:

"there are as many species as there are Christians."

Ah. Evolution in action. Christianiy has evolved into numerous subspecies. Of course it is part of a genus that includes Judaism and Islam. Perhaps we could call this genus "Judeo-Christ-Islam" That genus evolved from Canaanite beliefs hybridised with Egyptian and Mesopotamian beliefs with a more recent overlay of Zoroastrian. Perhaps someone will be able to come up with a name for that order.

It would be interesting to see if we could follow it back further. Female figurines were common in Canaan until the reforms of Hezekiah and so it's possible there may be continuity back to the Gravettian Venus figurines of northern and western Europe.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 05/16/07 08:40 AM

From day one in Christianity there has always been different interpretations. It has nothing to do with evolution.

Some die out - some remain - and new understandings of it arise. There is, however, no linear progression. They do not build upon each other with successive iterations. So no evolution in 2000 years of Christianity.

In the main, different denominations share the same core understandings and it is often in the detail that things differ. There are certainly not as many varieties of Christianity as there are Christians.

Blacknad.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 05/16/07 09:45 AM

Blacknad. I'll take the liberty of paraphrasing some of your comments.

"Some die out - some remain - and new versions of it arise." What is evolution then? "There is, however, no linear progression." Nor is there in biological evolution. "In the main, different subspecies share the same core genes and it is often in the detail that things differ." No comment necessary. "There are certainly not as many varieties of species as there are individuals." Evolution?
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 05/16/07 10:57 AM

I can think of some points against comparing evolution and religion; but I found many more points for a congruence. I've had fun with too many thoughts to write about on the pro side.

Like the commonalities between plants and animals (metabolic?), Eastern and Western religions still have things in common too.
or...Dissimilar, but related families and unrelated families with some parallels. Etc. Etc.

I can't believe I didn't include religion when I wrote,
'E.theory principles can be applied to other areas of human interest including politics, organizations, economics, chemistry, astronomy, families, psychology, art, and philosophy....' (post #21419)

...and to try staying on topic, I'll add:
Maybe commonalities across religions could be considered as evidence for something (God or Human Nature?).

Cheers,
~SA
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Evidence for God - 05/16/07 12:50 PM

Terry,

Do I misunderstand evolution? From single-celled bacteria through to humans. Hasn't there been a progression of complexity? How could you have humans if there was no history of lifeforms becoming ever more complex? Could it have been possible for humans to arise before single-celled life? No.

Surely evolution is subject to progression.

Christianity has done nothing like this, and because you can frame it in the same language as evolution does not mean it shares common characteristics.

Blacknad.
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 05/16/07 03:22 PM

Blacknad: "From single-celled bacteria through to humans. Hasn't there been a progression of complexity? How could you have humans if there was no history of lifeforms becoming ever more complex?"

Although the increasing complexity of life forms is a result of adaptation through Darwinian evolution, does it necessarily follow that the adaptation always requires increased complexity? Black moths can evolve into white moths and vice versa, without increased complexity. Bacteria, still extant after billions of years, adapt to changes in the chemical environment, but does that change require increased complexity? Perhaps it does (someone here might know), but if so, the increase must be, erm, microscopic grin

I think its true to say that a culture reflects its religion, and a religion reflects its culture. There's no doubt in my mind that Christianity, as an aspect of culture, does evolve and adapt. Am I wrong in thinking that even the papacy has been responsible for some adaptations? Christianity adapts to cultural changes and to new cultures. Incidentally, for that reason, taken as a world-wide whole, I think it does actually increase in complexity.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 05/17/07 02:17 AM

Blaknad wrote:
Surely evolution is subject to progression.

Not if you are a dragonfly. Haven't they been the same for millions of years?

Evolution is not linear is it? And sometimes lines stop or stagnate.

I am surprised at the ready acceptance of the idea of an evolving religion. How can the nature of God change since it represents perfection and is basically beyond human understanding unless there is faith? That is why God became man in the form of Jesus. And now we are back on the trinity thing and I know it was brushed off when I mentioned it before, but without it we do not have christianity, we have something else. A different religion, maybe not even christian. Without the death of Christ and the resurrection with its promise of eternal life through the sacrifice of God's own son, the religion almost becomes a code of conduct. A very good code of conduct, but many religions have similar rules, summed up in the Golden Rule- Treat others as you would have them treat you.




Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 05/17/07 03:16 AM

Ellis: "I am surprised at the ready acceptance of the idea of an evolving religion. How can the nature of God change since it represents perfection and is basically beyond human understanding unless there is faith?"

You seem to saying that religion = God; but you do raise an important point about the definition:

Microsoft® Encarta® 2006 has several:

"religion

1. beliefs and worship: people's beliefs and opinions concerning the existence, nature, and worship of a deity or deities, and divine involvement in the universe and human life
2. system: an institutionalized or personal system of beliefs and practices relating to the divine
3. personal beliefs or values: a set of strongly-held beliefs, values, and attitudes that somebody lives by
4. obsession: an object, practice, cause, or activity that somebody is completely devoted to or obsessed by
The danger is that you start to make fitness a religion.
5. christianity monk's or nun's life: life as a monk or a nun, especially in the Roman Catholic Church
"

In debating the evolution of religion (Christianity in particular), I refer to the first 3 definitions.

God is, of course, by definition, immutable; and it's no simple matter to determine if changes have occurred in personal concepts of God over the millennia; but changes in religious institutions are very apparent, as are attitudes and behaviours of believers.

"Social evolution, if taken as evolution of society, is exactly on a parallel to the biological evolution of new species, developing newer forms"

http://www.motherservice.org/Essays/Social%20Evolution.htm

Social evolution does occur, and it follows that religion, as a social structure, is also subject to evolution.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 05/17/07 04:01 AM

Ellis wrote:

"A different religion, maybe not even christian."

And what would be wrong with that I ask?

Our individual ideas about existence develop from the ideas we are exposed to as we grow up, they evolve. I presume you are of Christian background. Your view of the past is influenced by your upbringing, as is everybody's.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 05/17/07 05:50 AM

Religion is the system that delivers the recognition of the power/divinity/nature of the worship of the god. All religions have some recognition of totemic symbols. Christianity has one such main symbol, the risen Christ, whereas Hindus have many gods each representing a facet of divinity. Other religions have an affinity with Nature and imagine the divine all around them, as do the australian Aborigines with a form of animism. I think there has been a shift in the way that some who claim to be christians regard their god, because surely the whole point about god is that he/
she/it is immortal and unchanging however inconvenient that may be to us.

terry wrote:

A different religion, maybe not even christian."

And what would be wrong with that I ask?

Absolutely nothing--but it's not christianity. It may be an offshoot of it, but if the divivinity of Jesus as the son of God is not acknowedged he then becomes merely a prophet, and unable to offer eternal life. The message of life after death if you follow Jesus is the cornerstone of christianity, and until recently, when lives were very grim, it was an attractive promise.

I do not come from a religious background, but I realised early on, without any drama, that I had no belief in the christian religion or the supernatural. I have enjoyed exploring the beliefs and faiths of people generally, and I know that many people are inspired to do good things because of their beliefs in their god. It's all good! What I really dislike is that some of these people think that they have the right to insist that I should believe in their god/religion (the two are often seen as indivisible by such people.)

I hold no religious belief, but I think that I do have some understanding what I am rejecting. Luckily I live in Oz where we do not need to declare our religious faith and are not required to pray a lot in public!
Posted by: samwik

Re: Evidence for God - 05/17/07 11:08 PM

I ran across this site yesterday and thought it could be useful in this discussion.

http://www.iep.utm.edu/
the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Evidentialism:
There are competing ideas about which mental states count as evidence, different understandings of the notion of having evidence, various ways of understanding the crucial notion of support, and also various ways of relating these three central concepts....
Before turning to these issues, it is worth noting that evidentialism is also a prominent theory in the philosophy of religion. Evidentialism in the philosophy of religion has its own set of controversies, but this entry will not cover them. On evidentialism in the philosophy of religion, see Alvin Plantinga's classic article, "Reason and Belief in God." For a more extended discussion, see Plantinga's 'Warranted Christian Belief.'
...The sort of evidence that interests the evidentialist, however, is not just anything whatsoever that is relevant to the truth of the proposition in question. The evidentialist denies that such facts about mind-independent reality are evidence in the sense relevant to determining justification....
The standard view of evidentialism, however, is that at least beliefs and perceptual states are evidential states. Not only what you believe but also what you experience can provide you with reason to believe that something is the case. Yet one does not have to stop there. One, for example, might also count memories, apparent memories, or seemings-to-be-true as kinds of evidence. In the end, what sorts of states one takes to be evidential will depend both on one's intuitions about what sorts of things can provide one with genuine reason to believe and also on one's strategy for responding to objections.

...and on the same page:
Epistomology, Feminist:
Feminist epistemologies take seriously the ways in which knowers are enmeshed in social relations that are generally hierarchical while also being historically and culturally specific. In addition, feminist epistemologies assume that the ways in which knowers are constituted as particular subjects are significant to epistemological problems such as warrant, evidence, justification, and theory-construction, as well as to our understanding of terms like "objectivity," "rationality," "and "knowledge."

Overall good advice?
~samwik
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 05/18/07 03:47 AM

Blacknad wrote:

"Surely evolution is subject to progression."

As I've said elsewhere the confusion of biological evolution with progress is a hangover from its origin in Victorian England. The Industrial Revolution had convinced people that society was in a state of steady upward progress Of couse the ultimate product of progress was "Man", especially European if not specifically Englishman. Women seem to have missed out, which is surprising. For a start any human evolution is impossible without them.

Ellis, I think I misunderstood your point. I'm not sure I get it yet. Any subspecies of Christianity could be defined as accepting the resurrection. But some extinct subspecies such as Gnostics, Arians and Albigenses may not have. They can be regarded as an offshoot. Perhaps it's just our understanding of God that evolves rather than God Him/Her self. But God is almost certainly a human construct and so an evolving concept is the same as an evolving God.

I agree we're both lucky to live in a part of the world where religion is not important. My ancestors came from Ireland in the 1860s to escape the stupidity there. Great grandparents married in a Catholic Church and buried in an Anglican. Shows their commitment to The Faith.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 05/18/07 04:24 AM

Women used to be told that the terms 'man' and 'mankind ' included women. Unfortunately I think men sometimes were not also told that!

Terry-
My point is that there has to be some adherence to the tenets of a particular faith in order for you to claim that you are a member of it. The point about God being a human construct occurred to me too, and probably does dilute my argument, and certainly could lead to a constantly evolving God. I think I was claiming that the possibility would then be that the resulting divinity would not automatically be a christian god. It is the divinity of Jesus that allows him to be the conduit for souls. He would still be a powerful figure, a prophet like Mohammed or a divinity in his own right, without the backing of God the Father. In christianity however Jesus has his divinity BECAUSE he is the Son of God, not because he is Jesus, a very good, wise person.

samwik
I do not even begin to understand what on earth Feminist Epistomology is! However I am going to find out and will comment later!
Posted by: bgmark

Re: Evidence for God - 05/18/07 12:22 PM

Interesting thread yes evolution does not disprove God, in fact science adds to the fact that God exists. But some people have taken Darwins theories as evidence there is no God, When Darwin was concerned he might be tried for blaspepmy or face public ridicle and rejection becasue of what he proposed, he proposed them with a 'religous flavour'
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: Evidence for God - 05/18/07 09:49 PM

Bgmark. Sure, evolution does not disprove God. I fail to see how "science adds to the fact that God exists" though. Evolution certainly reduces God's role in running everything. For example if God is primarily concerned with human affairs at what stage in our evolution did he develop this concern? Was it as we changed from Australopithecus to Homo habilis? Or Homo habilis to Homo erectus? Perhaps way back when we changed from Ardipithecus to Australopithecus? Redewenur, take note. Is this why the "out of Africa" hypothesis has such appeal?
Posted by: redewenur

Re: Evidence for God - 05/19/07 12:16 AM

Perhaps, Terry, perhaps. I've just finshed viewing some videos of Richard Dawkins interviews and, bearing in mind our recent posts, I can even more fully appreciate why he's making so much effort to get his point across to the public.

Bgmark, I too don't see how science does, or can, provide any objective evidence of God's existence. I can tell you that I have a concept of God, but I don't use this forum to try to discuss that. Pointless. What I can say, though, quite apart from the 'evidence' aspect, is that science (and mathematics) reveals the nature of PHYSICAL reality. To the human mind, the insight that it provides can be a source of great joy, alongside the other joys which we experience. It's been recalled before, on SAGG, that Einstein mentioned God many times, and I can well imagine that it was, at least in part, due to his joy at the wonder and splendour of this awesome universe. It's quite interesting that Dawkins (a) does not deny the possibility that such a God exists (b) says that he understands how Einstein must have felt (c) believes that science may one day give a definitive answer to the question. Bgmark, I guess you would agree with Dawkins on the last point. I wouldn't, but then it depends on one's concept of God.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 08/17/09 12:39 AM

This topic has resurfaced again and I think this old debate could go around another time as there is some good stuff here.

Some of the stalwarts aren't here posting anymore-- DAM, Terry from NZ, Turner and blacknad for example.

I am amazed it went on for 35 pages- it may not be even NQS but It's certainly interesting!
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 08/17/09 04:28 AM

Thanks, Ellis! May we always agree to disagree, agreeably. And have fun doing so.

The thread title raises the question: Is there evidence for God as an objective being, or person, to whom one can point and say: There is a god called God?

I agree, atheism is right! Not even theism says that there is such a god. Check out:

http://www.iep.utm.edu/god-west/#H3

Western Concepts of God

Western concepts of God have ranged from the detached transcendent demiurge of Aristotle to the pantheism of Spinoza. Nevertheless, much of western thought about God has fallen within some broad form of theism.

Theism is the view that God is unlimited with regard to knowledge (omniscience), power (omnipotence), extension (omnipresence), and moral perfection; and is the creator and sustainer of the universe.

Though regarded as sexless, God has traditionally been referred to by the masculine pronoun. Concepts of God in philosophy are entwined with concepts of God in religion.

This is most obvious in figures like Augustine and Aquinas, who sought to bring more rigor and consistency to concepts found in religion.

Others, like Leibniz and Hegel, interacted constructively and deeply with religious concepts. Even those like Hume and Nietzsche, who criticized the concept of God, dealt with religious concepts. While Western philosophy has interfaced most obviously with Christianity, Judaism and Islam have had some influence.

The orthodox forms of all three religions have embraced theism, though each religion has also yielded a wide array of other views. Philosophy has shown a similar variety. For example, with regard to the initiating cause of the world, Plato and Aristotle held God to be the crafter of uncreated matter.

Plotinus regarded matter as emanating from God. Spinoza, departing from his judaistic roots, held God to be identical with the universe, while Hegel came to a similar view by reinterpreting Christianity.

Issues related to Western concepts of God include the nature of divine attributes and how they can be known, if or how that knowledge can be communicated, the relation between such knowledge and logic, the nature of divine causality, and the relation between the divine and the human will.
Table of Contents

1. Sources of Western Concepts of God

There is no evidence whatsoever. Belief in God and gods, as such, requires faith, and nothing but faith. Which is OK by me, if one is willing to go that route....

UNITHEISM
Me? As a unitheist, I'm with Spinoza and Hegel. For me G0D (Note the zero, 0)--an acronym, not a noun--is as real as existence--the universe as perceived by the senses. Here I include intuition and feelings. This is why I say: We need to redefine G0D. See www.redefinegod.com

Atheists, do you deny existence and the future of being? You are free to do so. But what benefit is this to you, or to anyone?

Meanwhile, as a unitheist, I say we, as one with G0D, are in the business of creating existence and the future.

If atheists are right, they will never have the fun of saying: See, we were right! But think of the fun unitheists will have. laugh
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 08/17/09 12:03 PM

Ellis, I repeat the following:
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Thanks, Ellis! May we always agree to disagree, agreeably. And have fun doing so.

The thread title raises the question: Is there evidence for God as an objective being, or person, to whom one can point and say: There is a god called God?

I agree, atheism is right! Not even theism says that there is such a god. Check out:

http://www.iep.utm.edu/god-west/#H3
and I will add: This thread was not started by me, it was started by Tim (Wed Aug 16 2006), who was then 16--a young conservative, if not fundamentalist Christian, at the time. I joined the thread--was it just before you?--in February, 2007.

BTW, because of the way I deal with the god hypothesis, I would not use "Evidence for God" as a title. In my opinion,as a student of process philosophy and theology I do not think of G0D as a subject, or object of scientific research. Science is about physicalism http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism/

In my opinion, science has no place, other than that of servant, in G0D, or GØD--the symbol I prefer to use when dialoguing with scientists. Ø, null, the no-thing from which all things emanate.

To scientists who say, "Scientists ought to be given the absolute power of the intellectual and social order of things." I have this to say: May GØD, as Love (agape), guide you. But be very, very careful of the power of arrogant pride.

BTW, are there really any scientists out there who would like to have this power?
There are some religionists who have claimed this power. And some are still with us.

Posted by: atoz

Re: Evidence for God - 08/19/09 04:42 PM

Why do you even try???????? Tihs is such a lame try. This is just another attempt at the anthrocentirc argument. Almost like Decart's "I think therefore I am." Which is actually misqupted as it is really "I think therefore I know I am." and thus a true statement. We are here because we are,some day we may know but ti is cause of the Flying Spagettie Monster. The concept of god is just a superstitios belief resulting from the trait in man to find cause and effect relatinshops. The problem with the idea of god is it is just a cop-out to really finding the true cause effect relationship.
But none of this matters to you, i.e. TIM, as your a true believe and just want to try to prove your eronious idealis in a world where it is crumbling every day.

Cheers
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 08/20/09 08:28 PM

Atoz, I think Tim has backed away from this forum. We have not heard from him for some time. Assuming this to be so, I am going to start a thread: My evidence that GOD/GØD IS
BTW, I have difficulty accessing this thread, directly. I get an error. I get around the problem by going indirectly, through the "watch lists" in My Stuff.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 08/20/09 08:40 PM

Just testing to see if this is still working. It doesn't consistently. Therefore, the new thread.
Posted by: Joe Duggins

Re: Evidence for God - 08/24/09 02:49 PM

Here's the problem with that logic.

Premise: There is a universe, It began.

Up to this point I agree.

Premise: Only God makes a universe......why would that be true? There's no set of particles that can do it...maybe a multi-verse physical principle?

You see, if you assume your conclusion backwards, you'll always be right.
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 08/25/09 12:22 AM

Joe D-- I'm possibly being a bit thick-- but what is your conclusion?
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 08/09/11 07:35 PM

TheFallibleFiend, noticing that you are now on line, I invite you--and anyone else who may be interested, to take a look at, even if just only for old times sake, the following thread from 2006--the first year I began to post at SAGGO. FF, you were an early respondent in this thread, which I just stumbled on in my bookmarks. It was started by Tim. I think he was a student at the time and very much a fundamentalist, I think. Let us see where it takes us. If not far, so be it!
Originally Posted By: Tim
There is abounding evidence for a Creator God.

If you're familiar with Geometry, an indirect proof is when you prove something by proving what it's not. To start this indirect proof, the given information I'm using is the universe and all it contains; I'm trying to prove that there's a God.

First, I will assume temporarily that there is no God. So that means that there is no-one or nothing to create the universe and all it contains. But that conflicts the given that there is a universe. Therefore, there is a God that created the universe because there's not not a God.
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Evidence for God - 08/09/11 09:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Tim
First, I will assume temporarily that there is no God. So that means that there is no-one or nothing to create the universe and all it contains. But that conflicts the given that there is a universe. Therefore, there is a God that created the universe because there's not not a God.


Okay. I looked at this for old-times sake and it's still nonsense. Poor reasoning is not generally a good method of establishing correct conclusions.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 08/09/11 10:22 PM

FF, thanks for you quick response.

BTW, SINCE I HAVE NEITHER FOUND: THE FOUNTAIN OF TRUTH, NOR OF THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH, I AM NOT HERE TO CONVERT ANYONE. ABOVE ALL, I DO NOT DEMAND THAT ANYONE FOLLOW ME.

WHY AM HERE? If anything, I am here to practice the art of writing and communicating. With YOUR gracious help and the help of this art my goal is to discover: WHO AM I?

PLEASE TELL ME: IS THIS CLEAR?

HOW I GOT INVOLVED WITH THIS SITE
when I heard about it, with an open mind, I entered the fray at scienceagogo on page 4, I think.

The fur started to fly on page 5, when D.A. Morgan--For fun, I called him DAM laugh --recommended to the hosts (internationally located) that I be banned, because my thread, he said--it was not my thread--had nothing to do with science.

BTW, the thread was actually started by a 16-year-old student by the name of Tim. Tim was, and perhaps still is, obviously a born-again Christian. I looked forward to having a respectful dialogue with him. He bowed out without a trace, later. I hope Tim will check in, now and then.
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 08/10/11 11:14 PM

FOR BETTER, OR FOR WORSE, I AM OBLIGED TO LIVE LIFE AS I FIND IT NOW--ALONE, WITH FAMILY MEMBERS AND WITH OTHERS. In other words, life in the NOW is the only time that I have to live. That, to the best of my ability, I choose and will to. [more on this, later.]
Posted by: Ellis

Re: Evidence for God - 08/14/11 06:18 AM

Rev- I think you are obviously living life as fully as is possible as, I suspect, you always have. You certainly have a tenacious point of view, and a rich, certain belief in the existence of God which none of us atheists have been able to shake, and maybe we even envy a bit.

Please keep typing away! (I wonder what happened to Tim).
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 08/14/11 02:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Ellis
... and a rich, certain belief in the existence of God which none of us atheists have been able to shake, and maybe we even envy a bit.

Please keep typing away! (I wonder what happened to Tim).
Thanks for your positive attitude, Ellis! You mentioned Tim--the 16 year old. It would be interesting to know. Maybe when he grew a little, he failed to find that 'god' to which both theists and atheists apply the term 'existence'. BTW, I was 16 when I applied and was accepted as a candidate for the minister. Here is where it all happened--Twelve miles from where I lived www.bellisland.net
http://gowerunited.ca/tp40/Default.asp?ID=111067

And what the "hell" happened to DAM? cry

BTW, all joking aside: Let's you and I have a communication experiment: When I use the acronyms GOD and G0d, what do you imagine that I have in mind?
Also, what does it mean to your imagination and mind?

Then we will take it from there, OK? All in good fun!
Posted by: Revlgking

Re: Evidence for God - 01/03/12 06:08 PM

FOR THOSE WHO MAY BE INTERESTED: The following is my first post to SAGOGO, in 2007. I wonder, is DAM--D.A. Morgan still in the land of the living?
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
To express my understanding of the concept of God, I use the symbol, G?D
I first used this symbol in 2005 in
http://brainmeta.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=16227
where I have been involved for some time.
I call the theology 'unitheism', similar to panentheism.
===========================================================
Although I have participated in other forums since 1997, this is my first post in this forum, so go easy on me, please!

Though I have some training in theology/philsophy/psychology and pneumatology--using an integrated approach--I prefer to take the child-like approach to knowledge. I am very curious, open-minded and willing to agree to disagree agreeably. I love exploring the claims of the New Physics--talk about having to have faith in the unknown--and other sciences. In my humble opinion--an expression I will use often using the acronym, IMHO--no one I know of is infallible.

Above all, I love it when we do not have take ourselves and our opinions too seriously. I love a good joke, even about religion.
I like the saying: We should not be so heavenly minded that we are of no heavenly good. smile

I will begin by saying that I was raised in a fairly open-minded kind of theist religion--The United Church of Canada--based on the Old and New Testaments and we were expected to believe, in a liberal (freedom-based) sort of way, in God as an almighty, all-knowing, everwhere-present and loving Heavenly Father who hears and answers our prayers.

As a child I was taught to speak to God, in prayer, as if he is a person. I have always found this a difficult concept to accept as a fact. For awhile in my youth, as I began the serious study of science am mathematics, I became an agnostic, if not almost an atheist.

I am still agnostic--I hope a very curious one--about many things, however, because, in my university years, I was encouraged to bring reason, science and faith in harmony with one another I began to explore the history of beliefs. The led me to new ways of theological thinking and I stopped trying to igagine that God is a three-dimensional and personal being separate and apart from the Cosmos--IMHO, the all that is physically, mentally and spiritually.

Inspired by the fact that Orthodox Jewism scholars, to avoid making God and objective being, write the divine name thus: G-d.
I devised the symbol, G ? D. I will parse it in a later post.

BTW, as you write to me in response to what I write, feel free to tell me where you stand, theologically. I respect all sincerely held beliefs, including agnosticsm and atheism. I will do my best to avoid attacking people, personally, and tell me if it appears that way. However, I hope you don't mind me challenging your beliefs.

I repeat: In all this, let us do our best to agree to disagree, agreeably--even lovingly.