Living without God for a Year

112


Discussion by: QuestioningKat

I've recently read how former pastor, Ryan J. Bell, has decided to "Live for a Year Without God." This brought back memories from my former Church's 2006 (maybe 2007) Christmas Volunteer Luncheon when my minister made a comment that correctly led me to believe that the church was having financial problems. I realized I needed to wean myself from the church in order to leave and decided that I would start skipping services during the upcoming year. Realizing that my life was not progressing as much as I wanted, I started to look towards other alternatives that could guide me out of the maze of questions about certain views that were being taugh. Turning to atheists seemed like a good approach – afterall, I was an atheist at 18 and I recall how my life was propelled forward. (I deconverted from two religions with two different views of God.) It seems as if the former pastor is considering a similar path. My guess is that there are plenty of individuals that have decided to do the same during this new year.

To make my long story short, the church eventually split and collapsed into two churches. Eventually, I started to attend the new church about a year later, but the seeds of agnosticism were already growing. By Christmas 2009, I realized that I was an atheist and decided even though I liked the church and the people, it was time to move on. The years from Christmas 2006 to 2009 were difficult, but I came out the other end with a better sense of truth and clearer sense of myself in the world as it is.

Bell commented:

>“I will read atheist ‘sacred texts’ — from Hobbes and Spinoza to Russell and Nietzsche to the trinity of New Atheists, Hitchens, Dawkins and Dennett. I will explore the various ways of being atheist, from naturalism (Voltaire, Dewey, et al) to the new ‘religious atheists’ (Alain de Botton and Ronald Dworkin).”

Adopting "atheism" for a year may or may not be realistic depending on your current views. Frequently, deconversion takes time since many years of indoctrination builds up many layers of misperception. I am writing this discussion as an attempt to reach out to anyone who is currently searching for answers or a sense of direction. Perhaps you have read some of the atheist 'sacred texts' above and have a few questions. Perhaps you have other concerns that may seem naive and always wanted to ask someone – anonymously. Here I am. I promise to treat you respectfully if you do the same. Hopefully others will respond respectfully. I ask that if you are an atheist, please curtail any impulse to respond for the sake of posting. If no theists respond, that's OK, this discussion will simply remain empty.

 

 

 

112 COMMENTS

  1. Bell commented:

    “I will read atheist ‘sacred texts’ — from Hobbes and Spinoza to Russell and Nietzsche to the trinity of New Atheists, Hitchens, Dawkins and Dennett. I will explore the various ways of being atheist, from naturalism (Voltaire, Dewey, et al) to the new ‘religious atheists’ (Alain de Botton and Ronald Dworkin).”

    I think it is the wrong order to start with the distant past, or with diverse complex philosophical arguments.

    I would suggest starting with The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True – by Richard Dawkins

    and then move on to The God Delusion – by Richard Dawkins

    Time enough for the diverse philosophical viewpoints after understanding the basics.

    • In reply to #1 by Alan4discussion:

      I would suggest starting with The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True – by Richard Dawkins

      Hi Alan. I bought TMOR (hardcover, of course) to round out my RD set while donating in November to take advantage of the Appignani matching funds drive. It finally arrived Jan 2 & I’ve read it for the first time – more readings later of this lovely & recommended book….

      I agree that the ‘simple’ basics of rational thinking & evidence are important before embarking on all the more complex & challenging topics – especially for those whose thinking methods have been distorted & restricted by indoctrination, threats, fear & mental / physical abuses…. Mac.

  2. What’s the point? What’s the question? We are all living without god – some of us know it – many don’t. The nice thing about atheism is that one does not need to play the mind games that this post refers to; there are no sacred atheist texts to study. Books and articles by respected intellectuals are not considered sacred. The use of churchy phraseology has no meaning in an atheist discussion.

    “I came out the other end with a better sense of truth and clearer sense of myself in the world as it is.” Truth or a clearer sense of self would not be recognized if it did come out the other end.

    As far as who should respond or not – once you hit the submit button – comments are open to clarification, additions, praise or ridicule by other readers – as deserved.

  3. Maybe also a good thing to read for such person is Kenneth W Daniels Why I believed: Reflections of a former missionary. The whole book is free online or very cheap from Amazon. Even though my background is Australian Catholic rather than US Evangelical Protestant I thought it was a fascinating read.

    I also wouldn’t bother with all the old philosophical stuff. I never did and it didn’t stop me being an atheist. But whatever works I guess. There aren’t any rules. That is sort of the point.

    Michael

  4. I do like the idea of an area on this site where people with genuine questions (i.e not trolls) can ask them and get a reply rather than a savaging. It would need moderation though not least to get rid of the trolls who think they are gaining points in heaven by coming here.

    Michael

  5. I ask that if you are an atheist, please curtail any impulse to respond for the sake of posting. If no theists respond, that’s OK, this discussion will simply remain empty.

    ONG! A bunch of atheists responding….figures

    As far as who should respond or not – once you hit the submit button – comments are open to clarification, additions, praise or ridicule by other readers – as deserved.

    IBPhree, get over yourself.

    “I came out the other end with a better sense of truth and clearer sense of myself in the world as it is.” Truth or a clearer sense of self would not be recognized if it did come out the other end.

    How dare you slam me personally. You belittle yourself.

    I do like the idea of an area on this site where people with genuine questions (i.e not trolls) can ask them and get a reply rather than a savaging.

    My intention exactly.

    Moderator, please do me a favor and delete this entire topic. It was a well-intentioned attempt but as I suspected completely worthless waste of time. I suspect more assholes like IBPhree will post – nitpicking at their little petty views of the details of this post and completely ignore the bigger picture and intention of this post.

  6. How can a Christian live without God for a year? Or even a second? I mean, God is allegedly omniscient, omnipresent, and omnieverything… That seems to suggest you can’t get away from that nasty bugger regardless of how hard you try.

  7. A bunch of atheists responding….figures

    I think the atheists have been told to keep quiet for long enough, many millennia at the last count, so frankly having found some small part of the Internet dedicated to my belief I am a little resentful at being asked to keep quiet again.

    Personally my sacred texts generally revolve around YouTube videos of RD and Christopher Hitchens doing battle with the theists. I did stumble across some site where the format was a phone in show usually with a couple of talking heads simply belittling the callers but I quickly got tired of them as they were more interested in making the theist callers look stupid than trying any reasoned arguments.

    • In reply to #11 by naskew:

      I did stumble across some site where the format was a phone in show usually with a couple of talking heads simply belittling the callers but I quickly got tired of them as they were more interested in making the theist callers look stupid than trying any reasoned arguments.

      If you’re talking about the Atheist Experience, 99% of the time, the caller doesn’t need their help for looking stupid. And yes, there are soooo many queuing up. But you do get the odd interesting theist caller once in a while.

      • In reply to #12 by obzen:

        If you’re talking about the Atheist Experience, 99% of the time, the caller doesn’t need their help for looking stupid. And yes, there are soooo many queuing up. But you do get the odd interesting theist caller once in a while.

        Yes, I think that was the site I meant. There are plenty of dumb people with lots of different shades of belief. It might be amusing and slightly self congratulatory to laud it over some idiot who is from the other side of the argument. My point was, that for me, that show’s format got old really quickly.

        It was actually the browbeating Christians that helped me decide my belief and not the main stream Christians that are welcoming and accepting. Had I not be told to believe that dead unchristened babies go into limbo (a practice that God has apparently abolished in the light of popular protest) or that I would go to hell and burn forever for not believing, then just possibly I would have been more accepting of them. Likewise we atheists should make time for those that are beginning to take our point of view seriously and, I’m sorry, but, regardless of how we perceive the callers, the atheist experience does not portray atheists in a good light.

  8. Here I am. I promise to treat you respectfully if you do the same. Hopefully others will respond respectfully. I ask that if you are an atheist, please curtail any impulse to respond for the sake of posting. If no theists respond, that’s OK, this discussion will simply remain empty.

    Hey QuesntioningKat, I am not an atheist and I asked you a question nicely. Where is my I answer? If you answer at this speed, I am afraid the thread will remain open for many years. Speed up. You can’t do this to me after arousing my curiosity. That’s morally immoral.

    • In reply to #14 by rizvoid:

      Here I am. I promise to treat you respectfully if you do the same. Hopefully others will respond respectfully. I ask that if you are an atheist, please curtail any impulse to respond for the sake of posting. If no theists respond, that’s OK, this discussion will simply remain empty.

      Hey Quesntionin…

      Some people work outside of the home all day (and live in different timezones.)
      Read the OP, your answer is in the last paragraph.

      As far as I’m concerned, I’ve already abandoned this topic. I’ll chalk one up for stupid ideas of 2014.

      • In reply to #15 by QuestioningKat:

        In reply to #14 by rizvoid:

        Some people work outside of the home all day (and live in different timezones.) Read the OP, your answer is in the last paragraph.

        Sorry, but I still can’t find the answer. Maybe that’s why I asked you.

        But that’s OK, since you have decided to abandon the topic…

        • In reply to #16 by rizvoid:

          In reply to #15 by QuestioningKat:

          In reply to #14 by rizvoid:

          Some people work outside of the home all day (and live in different timezones.) Read the OP, your answer is in the last paragraph.

          Sorry, but I still can’t find the answer. Maybe that’s why I asked you.

          But that’s OK, since you have…

          As this is clearly important to you, rizvoid, and QuestioningKat has given up the ghost, perhaps I can be of help. What exactly is it you want to know? It isn’t clear to me.

          • In reply to #17 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #14 by rizvoid:

            As this is clearly important to you, rizvoid, and QuestioningKat has given up the ghost, perhaps I can be of help. What exactly is it you want to know? It isn’t clear to me.

            OK.

            QuestioningKat said in post # 8:

            ” I suspect more [people] like IBPhree will post – nitpicking at their little petty views of the details of this post and completely ignore the bigger picture and intention of this post.”

            I want to know what is the bigger picture this post presents. I also want to know what is the larger intention of this post is. Is in intended to help those who are deciding to leave religions, but are unsure about joining atheism?

            Thanks.

          • In reply to #18 by rizvoid:

            Is in intended to help those who are deciding to leave religions, but are unsure about joining atheism?

            I didn’t know that atheism was a club you can join. If you do not believe their is some kind of supernatural deity then you are an atheist. It’s not like walking up to the mosque and asking if you can join in.

          • In reply to #19 by naskew:

            In reply to #18 by rizvoid:

            Is in intended to help those who are deciding to leave religions, but are unsure about joining atheism?

            I didn’t know that atheism was a club you can join. If you do not believe their is some kind of supernatural deity then you are an atheist. It’s not like walking up…

            Just a figure of speech.

          • Technical point: some of the posts mentioned below do not appear in my thread and I have a different 14 ie not rizvoid’s. Is this the result of moderator’s actions (deletions?) or – maybe – something ‘technical’ eg due to my browser-computer combo (Safari-MacBook)?

            In reply to #17 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #16 by rizvoid:

            In reply to #15 by QuestioningKat:

            In reply to #14 by rizvoid:

            Some people work outside of the home all day (and live in different timezones.) Read the OP, your answer is in the last paragraph.

            Sorry, but I still can’t find the answer. Maybe that’s why I asked you.

            B…

          • In reply to #22 by steve_hopker:

            Technical point: some of the posts mentioned below do not appear in my thread and I have a different 14 ie not rizvoid’s. Is this the result of moderator’s actions (deletions?) or – maybe – something ‘technical’ eg due to my browser-computer combo (Safari-MacBook)?

            Yeah. It looks like a few messages have been deleted……

  9. Moderators’ message

    A reminder – another reminder – that this site is intended for thoughtful, rational, civil discussion.

    The OP has been selected for publication, so is considered by the RD.net team to be a reasonable topic for discussion, as presented. If anyone prefers not to take part in it, no one is forcing them.

    Please avoid snideness and backbiting. They contribute nothing to the discussion and simply create an unpleasant atmosphere on the site.

    Thank you.

    The mods

  10. It seems to me that this pastor fellow is going to “ignore a god he knows is there” in order to “live like an atheist”…. That is not what is occurring in the atheist’s world view. If i were simply angry with a god thing or ignoring a god thing or too full of hubris to need a god thing (that is there), i would not, in fact be an atheist. I’d be an idiot.

    So, this pastor is going to “live like an idiot” for a year, then declare the god way is “better” for him and assert that this somehow proves a god thing???

    As an atheist, i do not think there is any god thing to ignore, despise, be mad at etc….

    His posture here is silly and disingenuous. I applaud the willingness to read the writings, ANY writings…. I simply think that this is the illusion of “open mindedness”.

    Here’s the deal, what you “believe” is part of who you are. You can lie to many many people and some folks lie to themselves for very very long periods of time. However, somewhere in your psyche is the truth. Not some universal truth or cosmic reality, but rather, your actual real convictions and feelings about the subject. You know what you think.

    Now, that knowledge may be very pliable in some and open to change or very concrete in others and unlikely to even waiver. But, you simply cannot “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”…. It just does not work that way.

    My advice is to tell the truth to yourself, even if you do not broadcast it to anyone else. You owe it to yourself to live a meaningful life.

    • In reply to #24 by crookedshoes:

      It seems to me that this pastor fellow is going to “ignore a god he knows is there” in order to “live like an atheist”…. That is not what is occurring in the atheist’s world view.

      Your comment makes perfect sense, in that a Christian pastor trying to live without God makes no sense – unless he has actually either lost faith or has reached a conclusion that no god exists. You also rightly point out that someone being angry at a god they don’t believe in is idiocy. I agree with you that a person’s worldview is something that comes from deep within them. For this reason I, as a Christian, often wonder whether any faith that former believers are supposed to have had true depth. (Sorry to anyone who has left Christianity and feels this is insulting to their integrity – it’s not meant to be. After all, I don’t exclude myself from the need to be real and live according to my own worldview.)

      With regard to the comment at the end of your post, however, I wonder how someone can live a truly meaningful life with an atheist’s worldview. Of course, there are things in life we love: family, work, friendships, etc. But if the atheist’s worldview was truly correct, then we are all here by accident and there is no intrinsic purpose in life. The things we enjoy, we can enjoy for only a time, then we’re gone. Where is the purpose of a life once lived – even enjoyed – but now forgotten? And what does it profit a person if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?

      This pastor who wants to live without God for a year is, as you rightly indicate, conducting a false experiment. Unless he genuinely loses his faith (which I hope does not happen), he will not really know what it’s like to live without God. It’s a pointless exercise.

      Have a great day

      • With regard to the comment at the end of your post, however, I wonder how someone can live a truly meaningful life with an atheist’s worldview. Of course, there are things in life we love: family, work, friendships, etc. But if the atheist’s worldview was truly correct, then we are all here by accident and there is no intrinsic purpose in life.

        This is such a repeated and echoed response from believers when answering the type of question we are discussing, that I think it must come down to a fundamental difference in the way our brains are hardwired. I need no cosmic reasons. I have personal ones. It is like a stereotypical answer that folks who believe trot out to try to make a point (that doesn’t exist).

        “Intrinsic value to life” is what you make it, not a pre-made, predetermined value. IMO, you seek an “external locus” of “value to life”. I possess an “intrinsic locus” of “value of life”.

        BTW, if i am wrong, i still valued life (and so did you), but if you are wrong, your valuation was aberrant and wrong. If there is no god, I lived an awesome life, to the fullest. Got maximum output. If there is no god, you have lived stupidly. If there is a god, i have lived an awesome life, to the fullest. If there is a god, you have lived your life to please this god, but have no idea if what you have done is actually pleasing (you have to trust other people to guide you to what is “pleasing” to this unknowable entity.)

        How about this? I live awesome. I live full. I live morally. I live for me. And at the end, if i am judged by a god thing, I’ll stand there and hold up MY LIFE and be judged. And if I am not judged, i will have gotten every drop of reality, knowledge, and LIFE out of this strange situation we call existence.

        Would you stand with the same conviction? What if the god thing is actually Allah? Would you be okay with being judged by that god? Would you measure up? What if Jehovah did the judging? What if the Rastafarnians are correct? Would you make it into your heaven if you chanted the wrong chants? Ate the wrong communion? Is penance a sacrament or not? What if you were circumsized? Uncircumsized?

        Does divorce disqualify you? Adultery? Blasphemy? Who do you abide by? Who do you listen to?

        If YOU are going to be judged, I suggest YOU start to realize that YOU will be responsible for what YOU have done/ not done. I am at peace with who i am and what I do and have done and will do.

        It is clear to me that there is zero proof of any god and yet, I live with purpose. That, in itself, disqualifies your main thesis. But, a god with any of the qualities that most Christians attribute to a god would (IMO) welcome me for living at 100% over most “believers” who don’t have a clue about the actual world that they claim their god created.

        How dare they exist on earth for 80+ years and not understand photosynthesis, cell respiration, DNA, transcription, translation, evolution, chemical phenomena, physics, etc???? If there is a written school like test given in order for you to get into paradise, are you going to pass it? remember, your god thing MUST be the ultimate scientist. Do you think you will get to the “pearly gates” and gain access because you memorized the Apostles’ creed?

        ANd, as a close to an awfully long post, I love that you see the silliness of the Pastor’s proposed “experiment”. We are completely on the same page, there.
        Peace.

        In reply to #25 by Lonevoice:

        In reply to #24 by crookedshoes:

        It seems to me that this pastor fellow is going to “ignore a god he knows is there” in order to “live like an atheist”…. That is not what is occurring in the atheist’s world view.

        Your comment makes perfect sense, in that a Christian pastor trying to live withou…

        • In reply to #26 by crookedshoes:

          Thanks for responding. There’s always a temptation to get “off-topic” when different parts of various posts get replied to, so I hope I’m not straying too far. . .

          I’m glad you’re living awesomely; and you’re right to say that if there is actually no God, then I, as a believer in that God, would be living stupidly. There is no doubt that we can live the life we choose and make the best of it – and get the best we can out of it, irrespective of whether a given individual believes in God. I’m sorry if you feel believers “trot out” the same old arguments – but then, our faith is based on documents that are thousands of years old, so I’m unlikely to come up with anything ‘new’ that will be any more convincing than what is already available.

          I note much of your response to my comment is value-based (you’re right/I’m wrong, kind of thing). The question I have is: if the atheist worldview is the true one and there is no God, then on what basis is one person’s opinion better than that of another? The fact that you seek to live life to the full is evidence that you are more than an evolved bunch of chemicals. Yes, you can explain it that way within your worldview, but if we were merely evolved bunches of chemicals, why would anyone seek meaning over and above basic survival. Your reference to how you and I are ‘hardwired’ differently really hits the nail on the head but, if each individual is effectively bound to act and think in accordance with how these chemicals react with one another, how can any of us be right or wrong, better or worse: we would simply be being what we are, without any free will. And if we have no free will, how could I change my mind and turn to your way of thinking? So why say anything to me. No, the fact that you think you can influence me proves that you think I have free will – and that suggests that deep down you know there IS a Creator who has made us in His image.

          You have said you’re a moral person – and I don’t doubt that for a moment. But in an effort to keep “on topic”, this pastor who wants to live without God for a year – in order to be totally consisent with that, he would have to throw off all constraints of any belief in a Supreme Judge, and do whatever he wants – no holds barred! I bet he won’t do that, and I bet you don’t live like that either. It could be argued that we have evolved as societal creatures who have learned how best to get along with one another, but why would we ever evolve that way – why not just eat people we don’t get on with so that only the strongest and best survive? If there were truly no Creator and judge who wrote on our hearts a basic ability to know right from wrong, nothing would be prohibited in our psyche, we wouldn’t need to worry about the good of society or care for the vulnerable, and no-one would worry if people died in the race for individual survival?

          So, I have evidence that there is a God: You!

          When it comes to some of the things about my faith that you have questioned, Christianity teaches that I can never get past those pearly gates on my own merit, as you have suggested. That’s why it teaches that Jesus died take the punishment for all our shortcomings, as measured against the standard of perfection, which none of us could achieve. I know you’ve heard this before and have rejected it, but I just wanted to clarify that I don’t have to live exactly in the way you have described it.

          Best regards,

          • how could I change my mind and turn to your way of thinking? So why say anything to me. No, the fact that you think you can influence me proves that you think I have free will

            You need to brush up on what “proof” actually is. Your sentence proves nothing. Absolutely nothing. You do not know if you are witnessing an elaborate scam or, more likely, an elaborate illusion. Just because you claim something proves something else does NOT make it true. Proof requires verification, rigorous examination, statistical analysis, the removal of prejudice and bias…. in short, you have constructed a sentence that you are pleased with and as such, deemed it proof. This is textbook straw man rhetoric.

            Let’s examine, for a second. Have you ever NOT changed your mind? The fact that I cannot change your mind shows, in fact , that you (although living in the delusion that you could change you mind), in fact, CANNOT. There, no god. —- This is the “proof” that you have proffered, turned on it’s ear. See how stupid it is? Your “proof” deals in a world of “could” —– I “could” change your mind. Have I? If you say “no” then what, exactly have you “proven”?

            The question I have is: if the atheist worldview is the true one and there is no God, then on what basis is one person’s opinion better than that of another?

            This is a question that I cannot believe a person who purports to be seeking truths needs to ask. Do you seek counsel with a “learned holy man”? A priest friend or clergy of any type when it comes to your own questions about spiritual matters? Do you value his (HAHAHAHAH it HAS to be a man, of course) viewpoint, advice, and OPINION more than a homeless man’s? or a jew’s? or a muslim’s? Do you go to a butcher for medical advice? No? Then, you understand the answer to your own question, before you even pose it. I do not have an opinion, I have reached a (tentative, for sure) conclusion.

            The reason my CONCLUSION holds more water than another conclusion, is because I base mine on evidence, facts, and reality without giving a shit about offending anyone or anything…. or burning in a pretend place for “eternity”…. HAHAHAHAHAAH “eternity” any idea what that even means???

            Do me a favor, explain “infinity”. If you decide to reply (and I sincerely hope you do) do me the honor of explaining eternity — infinity to me. I’d love love love to hear your take on it.

            In reply to #31 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #26 by crookedshoes:

            Thanks for responding. There’s always a temptation to get “off-topic” when different parts of various posts get replied to, so I hope I’m not straying too far. . .

            I’m glad you’re living awesomely; and you’re right to say that if there is actually no God, then I, a…

          • In reply to #32 by crookedshoes:

            You need to brush up on what “proof” actually is. Your sentence proves nothing. Absolutely nothing. You do not know if y…

            Has my post made you angry? It was certainly not intentional. Unfortunately, your comments appear to have been rattled off rather quickly and I regret that I do not follow some of the points you’ve presented. Sorry. I’m not happy with any sentence I’ve written if it hasn’t clearly conveyed what I intended it to.

            I was careful not to use the word ‘proof’. I think we all recognise that you cannot prove God’s existence or his non-existence in any water-tight or forensic way: a measure of faith in what we see from the evidence before us is required on both sides – and what we see from the evidence is naturally filtered through our worldview.

            With regard to changing my mind, my point was that we can change our minds as an act of free will, which indicates an alternative view to the one of involuntary (evolved) chemical reactions that I was referring to. To explain further, as the Bible teaches that God created us in His own image (who can think, decide, act etc. . .), then the fact that we can do these things also is at least consistent with a belief in God – even if you personally don’t see it as proof of his existence. Conversely, our tendency to act with purpose and direction in every area of life and society appears (to me at least) inconsistent with the view that the universe is not moral and has come about by undirected processes.

            I too have reached a conclusion but the fact that I do not change my mind about this does not disprove God at all: it simply means that I am sticking with my decision. However, there was a time when I did not actively believe in God, so I have changed my mind about this in the past. Similarly, many contributors to this site claim to have believed in the past but now do not: again, showing that people change their minds. The issue of having free will in this respect is not about whether an individual changes their mind on a particular topic: it’s about us having free will at all! I was seeking to point out that we all know (and act on the knowledge) that people have the capacity and ability to exercise free will – which suggests that we are not the result undirected, evolved chemical brain activity. My point is not disproved by my example.

            Regarding infinity: what do you want me to explain? We could go on forever!

            Again I’m mindful that we’re not to go too far off topic on these discussions.

            Anyway, how can you be sure that it’s not you who is deceived by some great scam? Just a thought?

            Regards,

          • Hey lonevoice, I am not angry in the least (this is a feeling that many folks seem to walk away with after exchanges with me)…. perhaps it is a character flaw on my part that I cannot hide; I don’t know. But, i assure you, no anger. As a matter of fact, i am enjoying our discourse.

            I was careful not to use the word ‘proof’.

            Here you say this.

            So, I have evidence that there is a God: You!

            So, perhaps, you did not use the word “proof’ and I applaud that, but you certainly are saying that you are using the evidence you see to reach a conclusion. That is kind of the definition of proof…. so…. well, I guess that is splitting hairs….

            You hit my first point dead on when you say

            I think we all recognise that you cannot prove God’s existence or his non-existence in any water-tight or forensic way:

            So, you have faith and I do not. That is the difference (I think we are more alike than different). But, this difference sets up certain oppositional ideas.

            The biggest oppositional idea is that of “eternity”. Are you a math type person??? Take the number of years you will be alive and put it on the top of a fraction. Put infinity on the bottom. Then tell me about “the significance” of our life. And the “meaning” of our life.

            I wanna talk about infinity with you! I also want a very clear answer to the paradox of god knowing the future and you having free will.

            And, to reiterate, no anger, no mad, nothing but typing my own silly opinions into an electrical machine!!!!

            Peace.

            In reply to #33 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #32 by crookedshoes:

            You need to brush up on what “proof” actually is. Your sentence proves nothing. Absolutely nothing. You do not know if y…

            Has my post made you angry? It was certainly not intentional. Unfortunately, your comments appear to have been rattled off rather quickly…

          • Hey lonevoice,
            I want to turn the tables on you for just a moment.

            I love my wife. I mean I LOVE my wife. There is nothing I would not do for her. NOTHING. I surmise that you love someone as well. Would you give up your eternity for the one you love? Give. up. eternity???

            If No, then I am going to assert that you do not REALLY feel love. Not love like I do. You cannot feel real love because your god thing gets in the way.

            In reply to #33 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #32 by crookedshoes:

            You need to brush up on what “proof” actually is. Your sentence proves nothing. Absolutely nothing. You do not know if y…

            Has my post made you angry? It was certainly not intentional. Unfortunately, your comments appear to have been rattled off rather quickly…

          • In reply to #35 by crookedshoes:

            Hey lonevoice,
            I want to turn the tables on you for just a moment.

            I love my wife. I mean I LOVE my wife. There is nothing I would not do for her. NOTHING. I surmise that you love someone as well. Would you give up your eternity for the one you love? Give. up. eternity???

            Hi, Crookedshoes

            We’re way off topic now, so I hope the Moderators will permit this post. We can only touch on massive questions here and will undoubtedly seem incomplete, but I’ll do my best.

            There is no doubt that you have posed a very tricky question: the one regarding love. It’s one of those questions that, whichever way I answer, I would fall into a trap of some kind. If I say “Yes, I would give up my eternity for love of my wife,” then my faith can’t mean that much. If I say “No, I wouldn’t,” you could accuse me of loving some imaginary friend more than my spouse. And I don’t want to get into a “I love my wife more than you love yours” kind of discussion.

            The kind of love you refer to is what is cited by the New Testament as agape love (Greek αγαπη) and is the kind of love that God has for us as his creatures. This is a totally selfless love which expresses itself in self-sacrifice for the sake of another person. As an individual, I am challenged by the biblical call to live up to this standard – not just for my wife, but for anyone. I’m not saying that I succeed in this, but that is the standard. I’m not dodging your question: indeed I am challenged by it in respect of my adherence to that call.

            It’s interesting that when writing to members of a church in Rome, the Apostle Paul used similar language to yours in respect of his love for his fellow Jews when considering that they were not “saved” because they had rejected Jesus Christ, the only Saviour. He wrote “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart, for I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my Countrymen. So, while the standard of love presented in your question is challenging to me as an individual, it is not an alien concept within the Christian faith. Elsewhere in the New Testament, we are called to be prepared to lay down our lives for our wives if necessary.

            I have to say that I don’t agree with your position that evidence equates to proof, as all evidence needs to be interpreted to reach a conclusion. Therefore, I feel I can safely say that the fact that you as an atheist can have this αγαπη love for your wife suggests further evidence that you were made in our Creator’s image. This is not proof, because you do not accept that interpretation – but the fact is the same, whichever way you or I see it.

            With regard to eternity, I can’t present it in mathematical terms, but I can say that eternity is outside of time, in the sense that time did not exist until God commenced the Creation. The earth turns on its axis, orbits the sun and there are lunar cycles in order that we may measure time – so time could not exist before the earth and the sun existed. It’s remarkable that these events take days, months and years, which is so conducive to life that it is no wonder people have viewed this as a design feature of the cosmos. Furthermore, the earth’s movement around the sun somewhat compensates for the fact that actual days are only 23hrs 56 mins and 4 secs, meaning that daylight hours do not get radically out of sequence too quickly – further suggesting intricate design to the eye which sees it: although, it is there for ALL to see if they would but do so.

            On the matter of God knowing everything and me have free will: you have hit on a well-known conundrum that theologians have wrestled with for centuries. I have no degree in theology, and Christians hold different opinions some on matters – and this is one of them. The variation in opinion, however, does not disprove anything and it does not disqualify me from presenting my understanding of what I have learned over the years.

            The free will I was referring to was that which we clearly see in our everyday lives, and I was presenting this as an alternative to the atheist view that we are merely the result of undirected biological processes. Where this fits in to God’s over-ruling and knowing everything is not easily definable. The Bible presents God as having an overall plan, which history is moving towards. However, what I do in the next 10 minutes is entirely up to me. That may have cosmic consequences, but if I don’t stick to his plan for my life, then He will simply find someone else who will carry out His purposes so his will still gets done. Within that, still, He knows every intimate detail about you.

            There is another aspect to this, which stems from his eternal nature: as he is outside time, he can see the end from the beginning – he does not move us around like robots (i.e. not like the Islamic ‘Will of Allah’). Therefore, in a sense, he can see the future and knows what people will choose – and then acts within history with that in view. I doubt that I can adequately explain this in a way that would make sense to you, as my (and your) finite mind cannot fully grasp infinite concepts. And that’s not an insult to your intelligence, but logically, the finite is lesser than the infinite.

            I’m going to be busy over the next few days so this Discussion is likely to close before any further word on this thread but I hope our paths will cross again.

            Best regards,

          • In reply to #40 by Lonevoice:

            he does not move us around like robots (i.e. not like the Islamic ‘Will of Allah’).

            How do you know this? Many Christians think otherwise.

          • Hey lonevoice,
            I do not think we are off topic whatsoever. Our first interaction was you telling me that you cannot fathom the emptiness of the atheists world because it MUST be meaningless and all that. (I could go back and do the copy paste thing, but, I think we can all scroll through and look).

            Anyway, I have done the same exact thing back to you. I cannot imagine what love feels like to you because in my opinion, you’ve never felt it unencumbered.

            That is why i posed the question, because as much of a “trap” as you seem to view it (based on reading your last post) and as much as you cannot answer one way or another, and then run and hide in antiquated quotations, that is the position you put me in from the start.

            Now, i think your question and perspective are perfectly valid, however, there is not a real shared ground or shared language we can engage in for me to tell you why/how my life has meaning without a god thing. Seeing that you have to resort to quoting the Apostle Paul (who almost certainly could not have possibly written the words you have attributed to him, nor were there scribes following him around at the time) and then falling into the new testament and words in other languages and such, really makes me feel like you truly have no actual thoughts on this and would rather keep your intellectual distance from it and you insulate yourself from the reality of my
            very very personal question.

            What do YOU think? Not Paul or the Torah or aquinas or the pope. YOU.

            See what you did there? I confront reality head on and live it. You do not.

            In reply to #40 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #35 by crookedshoes:

            Hey lonevoice,
            I want to turn the tables on you for just a moment.

            I love my wife. I mean I LOVE my wife. There is nothing I would not do for her. NOTHING. I surmise that you love someone as well. Would you give up your eternity for the one you love? Give. up…

          • In reply to #42 by crookedshoes:
            “What do YOU think? Not Paul or the Torah or aquinas or the pope. YOU.”

            I did tell you what I think – but like anyone else, what I think is influenced and informed by what I have read, heard and studied. Just because I cite some references that have contributed to the formulation of my thinking does not mean I do not have my own thoughts.

            Best regards,

          • I see. Most people say what they think and then cite sources. I do not see any “original” lonevoice opinion, but, rather a whole bunch of other folks’ thoughts and a whole lot of evading what should be an answerable question. AND, i am kind of sensing that you do, in fact, have an answer that your heart and gut tells you. But you are stifled from actually committing to it due to your need to stay in the good graces of your god thing. I have a secret for you, if the god thing is what you purport, you may as well verbalize your gut feeling, because, the god thing KNOWS.

            So, tell me, eternity?

            In reply to #44 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #42 by crookedshoes:
            “What do YOU think? Not Paul or the Torah or aquinas or the pope. YOU.”

            I did tell you what I think – but like anyone else, what I think is influenced and informed by what I have read, heard and studied. Just because I cite some references that have contributed to t…

          • The earth turns on its axis, orbits the sun and there are lunar cycles in order that we may measure time – so time could not exist before the earth and the sun existed.

            The earth is only 4.54 billion years, a little younger than the sun. But there are stars over 13 billion years old, so how come if time didn’t exist before the earth? Perhaps what you mean is that our (humans) measurement of time being conveniently based on the rotation of the earth could not be made before the earth existed, or indeed before we existed.

            It’s remarkable that these events take days, months and years, which is so conducive to life that it is no wonder people have viewed this as a design feature of the cosmos.

            “This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.” Douglas Adams

            In reply to #40 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #35 by crookedshoes:

            Hey lonevoice,
            I want to turn the tables on you for just a moment.

            I love my wife. I mean I LOVE my wife. There is nothing I would not do for her. NOTHING. I surmise that you love someone as well. Would you give up your eternity for the one you love? Give. up…

          • In reply to #40 by Lonevoice:

            This is just a “god-did-it” answer demonstrating the lack of physics and astronomy so common in theist cretionists.
            >

            The earth turns on its axis, orbits the sun and there are lunar cycles in order that we may measure time –

            These are variables not fixed measures. The rotation of the Earth slows down over time because of gravitational drag, while the length Moon’s orbit in both time and distance, has become much longer than when the Earth-Moon system first formed .

            so time could not exist before the earth and the sun existed.

            Time existed (from the big-bang 13.798 ± 0.037 billion years ago) – for billions of years before the Earth formed, (4.54 ± 0.05 billion years ago) and for billions of years before the Sun or the Solar-System formed.

            Chronology of the universe
            Illustration of evolution of the universe from the Big Bang (left). In this diagram, the universe is represented in two dimensions and the third (horizontal) dimension is time, increasing to the right.

            The Earth is formed of heavy elements which formed in earlier stars which exploded after burning for millions of years, generating gas-clouds which later re-formed into stars and planets.

            It’s remarkable that these events take days, months and years, which is so conducive to life that it is no wonder people have viewed this as a design feature of the cosmos. Furthermore, the earth’s movement around the sun somewhat compensates for the fact that actual days are only 23hrs 56 mins and 4 secs, meaning that daylight hours do not get radically out of sequence too quickly –

            The length and time of the Earth’s orbit is not fixed. They change over time due to gravitational interactions.
            Days, months, and years have all been radically different lengths in the past, as they will be in the future, so life will have to adapt to these changes or go extinct as much of it has done in the past.

            further suggesting intricate design to the eye which sees it: although, it is there for ALL to see if they would but do so.

            Creationism is only seen in the “god-did-it-by-magic” answers of those who have no idea what they are looking at, or what they are talking about, or how the physics or mathematics works.

          • In reply to #48 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #40 by Lonevoice:

            This is just a “god-did-it” answer demonstrating the lack of physics and astronomy so common in theist cretionists.

            The earth turns on its axis, orbits the sun and there are lunar cycles in order that we may measure time –

            These are variables not fixed measures. The…

            Creation does not deny these variables..

            Your comments about physics are well known. However, analysing the ingredients of a cake does not demonstrate that it baked itself.

          • In reply to #49 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #48 by Alan4discussion:

            @40 -The earth turns on its axis, orbits the sun and there are lunar cycles in order that we may measure time –

            These are variables not fixed measures. The rotation of the Earth slows down over time because of gravitational drag, while the length Moon’s orbit in both time and distance, has become much longer than when the Earth-Moon system first formed .

            @40 – so time could not exist before the earth and the sun existed.

            Time existed (from the big-bang 13.798 ± 0.037 billion years ago) – for billions of years before the Earth formed, (4.54 ± 0.05 billion years ago) and for billions of years before the Sun or the Solar-System formed.

            Creation does not deny these variables..

            Nor does it offer any credible alternative explanations or show any capability to do so in its adherents.

            Your comments about physics are well known.

            They are well known to astronomers and cosmologists.

            The point illustrated in your post, was that they were clearly not known to you at the time of posting.

            Your whole claim @40 showed that using “faith” to look at the Solar System and the Universe, resulted in a view riddled with numerous very basic errors.

            However, analysing the ingredients of a cake does not demonstrate that it baked itself.

            If we are playing with weak analogies, -

            I thought the big bang and the nuclear physics of stars, WAS the baking process! – A process which has NOTHING to do with Biblical claims or supposed Biblical explanations.

            It is unlikely that anyone who does not know the “recipe” or the length of the “baking process”, has much useful advice to offer on the nature of the “baking process”!

          • In reply to #50 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #49 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #48 by Alan4discussion:

            @I thought the big bang and the nuclear physics of stars, WAS the baking process! – A process which has NOTHING to do with Biblical claims or supposed Biblical explanations.. . .

            You’re assuming this. My analogy is not weak: it illustrates that people who view the world through naturalism and uniformitarianism cannot see any alternative possibilities. However, that doesn’t mean that there ARE no other possibilities – all you’ve done is prove my point.

            You cannot state that the process ‘has’ nothing to do with biblical claims, as you weren’t there. And the people whose work you rely on for knowledge about the origin of the universe weren’t there either. Unless you have the capacity and opportunity to verify every single evolutionary claim, whenever you accept a given explanation, you are doing so with a measure of faith.

            In your other post to me, you made a distinction between people who look at the world objectively (i.e. presumably meaning atheists) and people with religious views being spoon-fed (presumably meaning that they never think about anything.) This arbitrary distinction is no more than a sweeping generalisation that seeks to demean people who think differently from you and disqualify others from holding an alternative point of view. You cannot state (as if indisputable fact) that the biblical claims are untrue, unless you are well over 6000 years old. What is indisputable, however, is that you don’t believe the biblical claims – but that’s not the same thing at all.

            Regards

          • In reply to #51 by Lonevoice:

            Do you distinguish between “faith” as a means for gaining information only for practical reasons and “faith” as a means of gaining information in principle? Do you see a continuum of “faith”, from “reasonable induction based on a huge quantity of evidence” to “total guess”, or is all of it the same? And with regards to gaining knowledge, do you regard ignorance and epistemological limitations as impediments or as aids, even benefits in some way?

          • In reply to #51 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #50 by Alan4discussion:

            I thought the big bang and the nuclear physics of stars, WAS the baking process! – A process which has NOTHING to do with Biblical claims or supposed Biblical explanations.. . .

            You’re assuming this. My analogy is not weak:

            Arguments by analogy are by their very nature weak! – Particularly when there is no explanation of how the situation is supposed to be analogous. Having produced an analogous side-track, you also seem to be ignoring your earlier errors, and making no attempt to correct them!

            it illustrates that people who view the world through naturalism and uniformitarianism cannot see any alternative possibilities. However, that doesn’t mean that there ARE no other possibilities -

            You mistakenly assume that those who use evidence and reason as a basis for forming views, are unable to understand other views which they recognise as errors or fiction. It is a common projection among those who use wish-thinking in place of evidenced reasoning. Understanding and accepting, are not the same. Understanding god-mythology and its origins, is frequently the reason for rejecting it as fiction.

            all you’ve done is prove my point.

            Er no! I have pointed out your factual errors which arise from flawed thinking processes involving “faith” in making unevidenced assumptions and circular arguments.

            You cannot state that the process ‘has’ nothing to do with biblical claims,

            The Biblical texts are there for examination and comparison with other available evidence, archaeological, historical and scientific evidence, (Including the editing and translations of those texts.) The main issue is that fundamentalist believers ONLY look at the ONE book and ignore (or dispute) everything else. The Biblical claims bear no resemblance to the scientific evidence of events.

            as you weren’t there.

            OH dear! Not that old nonsense about “you weren’t there”! – As if personal observation was the only form of evidence in existence!

            (You can’t state the first world war happened because you weren’t there! Antarctica did not exist last year because “you weren’t there” to see it! – SPOT THE FALLACY!!!! )

            And the people whose work you rely on for knowledge about the origin of the universe weren’t there either.

            No – they have mathematics and scientific measuring devices, which your comments on time would indicate you have never heard of, and have no concept of how they work, or how science critically cross checks such information multiple times.

            Unless you have the capacity and opportunity to verify every single evolutionary claim, whenever you accept a given explanation,

            Unlike “faith”, Scientific methodology has multiple cross-checking and repeat testing built into it to establish laws and theories.

            A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on knowledge that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation.

            In most of these basic features high levels of confidence in the probabilities are fully justified. I don’t need to see every falling object on Earth to understand gravity works. The suggestion that personal observations of every individual event are required, is just more fallacious wishful denial of science.

            you are doing so with a measure of faith.

            You are confusing evidence-based confidence with blind faith. The two are quite different. As different as your confused claims about time and the Solar-System @40 and the figures and scientific data I quoted – which are readily available with a little basic research.

            In your other post to me, you made a distinction between people who look at the world objectively (i.e. presumably meaning atheists)

            Actually “meaning scientists”, but understanding science does tend to pick out the errors in religious claims, so can lead to atheism.

            and people with religious views being spoon-fed (presumably meaning that they never think about anything.) This arbitrary distinction is no more than a sweeping generalisation that seeks to demean people who think differently from you and disqualify others from holding an alternative point of view.

            Not in the least. It is not at all “arbitrary”! – It simply separates those who identify and use reliable data, as a basis for reasoned views, and those who uncritically accept dogma which is fed to them as the basis of a particular religion. The differences in the processes should be easily understood.

            You cannot state (as if indisputable fact) that the biblical claims are untrue, unless you are well over 6000 years old.

            The onus of proof is on those making claims of truth. I have already debunked the “You were not there fallacy” and explained the use of indirect measuring techniques!

            What is indisputable, however, is that you don’t believe the biblical claims – but that’s not the same thing at all.

            That is simply a reversed projection of you own uncritical “belief” thought patterns. There may be scraps of fact buried in the mythology, BUT: many of the stories are self contradictory, many are copied revamped versions of earlier myths, and others are debunked by scientific evidence – as for example the Genesis stories are debunked by the Big-Bang theory and by the scientific basis for the formation of the Earth, and its colonisation by life. I have looked at many available sources of information.

            You have made abundantly clear that you have no idea of the time-scales or sequences of these events, but are disputing them or trying to cast doubt on their credibility, purely because they contradict and debunk stories you have accepted on blind-faith and built into your personal philosophy.
            That is the difference between science and faith. Science corrects its errors and up-dates its views, while faith doggedly defends its misconceptions. – Even those from millennia back – employing cherry-picking tunnel vision, to see only what fits the dogmas and chosen myths.

          • Alan4,
            Ask Lonevoice about giving up eternity. That seems to have either rendered him/her speechless or been conveniently overlooked or “forgotten” on this thread.

            Lonevoice seems to be compelled to interact with the folks here, but only when the questions adhere to his/her preset answers. There is no learning. Since i am a huge fan of the topic that you are explaining to lonevoice, i am reading with delight…. I gotta say, you are one hell of a teacher. I have taken so much away from your last few posts and look forward to your future posts.

            Lonevoice, you continually assert things as true because you say so. i wonder if (like my “always angry” character flaw) if you should work on that?? True means verifiable and/or reliably reproducible. Nothing you have said so far fits either bill. I do wish you’d start saying things with language that is more exact. Here, I’ll show you: “when there is no evidence for something, if you assert that it is TRUE, then you need to supply the reason why it is true. And, “because i want it to be” is not acceptable.

            your analogy is weak. ALL analogies are weak. Saying “no it isn’t” doesn’t change it magically to “strong”. You are quite overmatched and every error that is pointed out (even rudimentary math errors) you shirk all responsibility and continue to try to elevate your “belief” above provable, verifiable logic. You are wrong.

            In reply to #53 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #51 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #50 by Alan4discussion:

            I thought the big bang and the nuclear physics of stars, WAS the baking process! – A process which has NOTHING to do with Biblical claims or supposed Biblical explanations.. . .

            You’re assuming this. My analogy is not weak:

            Argume…

          • In reply to #54 by crookedshoes:

            Alan4,
            Ask Lonevoice about giving up eternity. That seems to have either rendered him/her speechless or been conveniently overlooked or “forgotten” on this thread.

            I think understanding the basics of time, comes before the possibility of evaluating concepts of “eternity”, (Relativity, space/time, heat-death of the Universe etc.) Without an understanding of “time” and “Relativity”, “eternity” is just a meaningless semantic woo-word, copied from dogma.
            Of course, the stock universal answer to everything – “god-did-it-by-magic”, and “the bible means whatever I want it to mean”, requires no understanding of any of these issues!

            @40 – so time could not exist before the earth and the sun existed.

            @48 Time existed (from the big-bang 13.798 ± 0.037 billion years ago) – for billions of years before the Earth formed, (4.54 ± 0.05 billion years ago) and for billions of years before the Sun or the Solar-System formed.

          • Why try to understand anything? Why, that might fill your life with meaning. And, we don’t want that!

            In reply to #55 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #54 by crookedshoes:

            Alan4,
            Ask Lonevoice about giving up eternity. That seems to have either rendered him/her speechless or been conveniently overlooked or “forgotten” on this thread.

            I think understanding the basics of time, comes before the possibility of evaluating concepts of “et…

          • In reply to #54 by crookedshoes:

            Alan4,
            Ask Lonevoice about giving up eternity. That seems to have either rendered him/her speechless or been conveniently overlooked or “forgotten” on this thread.

            Lonevoice seems to be compelled to interact with th folks here, but only when the questions adhere to his/her preset answers.. .

            Hi crookedshoes, me again. I hope you are well.

            I’m sorry to say that there are several assumptions about me and my reasons for feeling compelled to interact with folks here. Firstly, I accept that all analogies are imperfect, but you knew what I meant with my cake illustration. You would be mistaken if you thought I believe the use of analogies proved my position: I don’t, but they can be useful for ‘illustrating’. If that’s not you preferred method of communication, then I apologise. Secondly, I am aware that I often fail to clearly communicate what sits behind the things I post. The reason for this is two-fold:

            1. I might just be useless at communicating.

            b. we are speaking different languages and you seem to be unable to understand or accept that anyone could ever have a rational reason for faith.

            and d, many of the comments by people who post on this site make unfair and unkind generalisations about people of faith and appear to write them all off as deluded.

            Now, on that final point, my main purpose in seeking to interact with folks here is to point out that such sweeping generalisations are always unkind and often very inaccurate. For example, you have suggested that I assert things are true simply because I think they are. That’s illogical in anyone’s book. God did not create the universe because I think he did: there is a fact at stake, irrespective of what you or I think about it. It either happened or it didn’t. I didn’t make the idea up – it’s been around since the dawn of time and only in recent centuries has it been disputed by atheistic people in the scientific community. Those discoveries, by the way are no more verifiable, testable or repeatable, that my fairy-tale creation story – and yet you believe them as solid fact. So, what you level at me comes right back to you too. And the people who make these bold assertions about the origins of the universe are only human themselves and cannot possibly know everything. There is no proof for your position either, yet you do not seem to accept that.

            The insults and derision that are aimed at people who have a reason for confidence in there being a Creator imply that atheists think the issue has been settled beyond doubt – and it hasn’t. Therefore, we are left with our own views: you with yours and me with mine – informed by what we have each learned, as I have said – and that’s no reason to write people off just because they hold a different view. As I said previously, all evidence has to be interpreted – especially when it is from the distant past – and it will be interpreted through the lens of the individual’s worldview.

            As for me only commenting on these posts when I have a preset response, that’s unfair. You have somehow come to the conclusion that a Christian who presents a Christian view on a topic is simply regurgitating something he’s learned by rote (at least that’s how I see your comment) and has no opinion of his own (ref. our earlier discourse). You would not expect anyone to comment on every topic, would you? Why is it unreasonable for me to only contribute where I feel I wish to do so? Going back to the original post, this was about some pastor who thinks he can live without God for a year – and I agreed with you that his plan is flawed. As a Christian, I feel I have just as much to contribute to that topic as any atheist – even on an atheist website. I’m not surprised when people on this site disagree with me, but I am constantly astonished at the ease with which you (plural) are so dismissive of the Christian worldview – again, just because it’s different from yours (plural).

            Oh yes, I almost forgot: the reason I am rendered speechless about giving up eternity is because it’s a wrong question. I have been unable to think of a circumstance in which I would be asked to give up eternity. For me to give up eternity (i.e. the eternal life you know I believe in) means I would have to turn my back on my faith in Jesus Christ. I guess you probably think would be a good thing, so your question was at least loaded. As it turns out, my wife and I both have this faith, so I can’t see how I would ever be asked to give up eternity for her sake. If I recall, I have already referred to the need to lay down one’s life for the sake of another person (a profoundly biblical concept), but that’s not the same thing. So, I’m sorry but I can’t see that it’s the killer question you thought it was. Sorry to disappoint you – or maybe I haven’t: maybe I’ve proved you right yet again. Who knows?

            This is all said with the very best of intentions, I can assure you. Very best wishes to you and yours,

          • In reply to #59 by Lonevoice:

            d, many of the comments by people who post on this site make unfair and unkind generalisations about people of faith

            Many believers assume that their religion and god is a default position. – It is not. In making brief comments they can indeed be appear more general than intended, or generally applicable but not to the specific beliefs of an individual.

            and appear to write them all off as deluded.

            Belief without evidence could reasonable considered a form of delusion. It is interesting how believers often quite happily dismiss rival religions as deluded beliefs without seeing the irony.

            Now, on that final point, my main purpose in seeking to interact with folks here is to point out that such sweeping generalisations are always unkind and often very inaccurate.

            This is a science site where accuracy of claims is a priority. With all the conflicting religious views in the world, some people are bound to be offended by those conflicting with their own.

            For example, you have suggested that I assert things are true simply because I think they are. That’s illogical in anyone’s book.

            Unless you can have supporting evidence that is the reason.

            God did not create the universe because I think he did: there is a fact at stake, irrespective of what you or I think about it. It either happened or it didn’t.

            Some make up their own versions, others copy them with varying degrees of accuracy, from those in their communities.

            I didn’t make the idea up – it’s been around since the dawn of time.

            The problem is that IT is not an “it” but a THEY.
            List of deities

            Names of God

            and only in recent centuries has it been disputed by atheistic people in the scientific community.

            Theists have been disputing each other’s gods since time immemorial. Atheists just dispute one more than the rest, and use actual evidence to do so.

            Those discoveries, by the way are no more verifiable, testable or repeatable,

            The theories of science as far back as the big-bang are testable, falsifiable, and verifiable. Faith-claims by definition, are not.

            than my fairy-tale creation story -

            Your creation myth is just one of many!

            List of creation myths – Creation myths are the most common form of myth, usually developing first in oral traditions, and are found throughout human culture.

            and yet you believe them as solid fact.

            Repeatable observations are fact – explanations are testable theory – most creation myths have most of their details refuted by modern science.

            So, what you level at me comes right back to you too.

            Mythology and science are not equivalent in confirmed evidenced testability or logical reasoning.

            And the people who make these bold assertions about the origins of the universe are only human themselves and cannot possibly know everything.

            Not knowing everything does not in anyway diminish what we do know.

            There is no proof for your position either, yet you do not seem to accept that.

            There is substantial confirmed evidence for the scientific claims of the evolution of the universe, much of which conflicts with creation myths. Nobody knows unknowns, so no claims are valid about these.

            There is nothing to indicate ANY mythology has much more credibility than other conflicting myths, or that the myths resemble credible scientific observations. They have simply been copied and passed down from more ignorant times in cultural folklaw.

            The insults and derision that are aimed at people who have a reason for confidence in there being a Creator

            Anyone claiming the validity of any one of these myths, would have to produce some evidence to justify their “confidence” if it is to have a reasoned credible basis. Anyone claiming to know the unknown should not expect to have such views taken seriously, so “confidence” in claiming to know the unknown, can rightly be considered a delusion.

            imply that atheists think the issue has been settled beyond doubt – and it hasn’t.

            Which myth may be correct has certainly not been settled, and each set of believers promotes, or has promoted, their own.

            Until one group of them produces some testable evidence which stands up to scientific testing and scrutiny, atheists will take the normal default position for unsupported claims:- such as:- fairies, leprechauns, invisible dragons etc. Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence.

          • In reply to #60 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #59 by Lonevoice:

            “They have simply been copied and passed down from more ignorant times in cultural folklaw.. . .”

            This is an evolutionary assumption. There is plenty of evidence to show that man was not ignorant in former times. Some of the mysterious ancient buildings around the world show that man had techniques or technology that baffles us today. Yet, because we now ‘know’ evolution definitely occurred, they were thick by comparison. I disagree.

            “Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence.”

            This is a lie, and if used against you in a court, you would be defenceless against the logic, even if the accusation against you were untrue.

            Regarding evidence for me having confidence, you win your argument by dismissing the evidence.

            I have said, and I will say again, all this evidence for evolution is interpreted through the lens of the interpreter’s own worldview.

            As as for your comment that this is a science site, I disagree with that too. If this is about science, why are there so marny articles about religion? This is an atheist site.

          • In reply to #61 by Lonevoice:

            This is an evolutionary assumption. There is plenty of evidence to show that man was not ignorant in former times. Some of the mysterious ancient buildings around the world show that man had techniques or technology that baffles us today. Yet, because we now ‘know’ evolution definitely occurred, they were thick by comparison. I disagree.

            Evolution during the period that humans have been constructing buildings (10,000 years maybe ? ) would be minimal. So improvements in knowledge and intellectual ability (decreasing “thickness”) would not be the result of evolution but cultural. Have you got examples of ancient technology that baffles us today?

            As as for your comment that this is a science site, I disagree with that too. If this is about science, why are there so marny articles about religion? This is an atheist site.

            Following the About Us link is a good idea:

            Our mission is to support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and human suffering.

            This website walks and chews gum at the same time.

            Michael

          • In reply to #61 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #60 by Alan4discussion:

            “They have simply been copied and passed down from more ignorant times in cultural folklaw.. . .”

            This is an evolutionary assumption.

            No! It is a matter of historical record with substantial supporting evidence, – documentation archaeology etc.

            There is plenty of evidence to show that man was not ignorant in former times.

            There is no evidence of the range of modern technology or knowledge in any ancient cultures. All of them were lacking most of it.

            (No steel ships, no aircraft, no steel reinforced concrete, very little glass, no powered motors, no electricity, no radio or TV, no global maps, or satellites.)

            Some of the mysterious ancient buildings around the world show that man had techniques or technology that baffles us today.

            No archaeologists studies I have seen, have found ancient buildings which modern engineers do not understand. What is sometimes unknown is what particular ancient technology was used in their construction, but that does not mean engineers don’t know what could have been used.

            Yet, because we now ‘know’ evolution definitely occurred, they were thick by comparison. I disagree.

            This is a strawman claim. Modern scientists and historians do not claim people in ancient civilisations were “thick” or unintelligent – merely that they were ignorant of modern science, modern investigation methodologies, modern high-speed communications, and modern technologies: so were unable to acquire or communicate modern knowledge of the world and the universe.

            Members of modern remote tribes are often ignorant of these, but learn quickly once they are given the opportunity.

            “Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence.”

            This is a lie, and if used against you in a court, you would be defenceless against the logic, even if the accusation against you were untrue.

            Really??? – You have it backwards.

            The defendant is charged with XXXXX.

            “Will the prosecution present the evidence for their case.” -

            Prosecutor: – “There isn’t any mi lud!”

            • _ “Guilty as charged”???_ -

            NO evidence? – “Case dismissed!”

            Regarding evidence for me having confidence, you win your argument by dismissing the evidence.

            No! Atheism wins the argument, because you don’t have any evidence to dismiss, – Theists often try to redefine faith-claims as evidence, but all they have is a personal version of some ancient hearsay story, which has been morphing as it has been passed down for centuries. – As I pointed out:- one story from the conflicting thousands, supported by the implied claim: “It must be right because its MY belief – all those conflicting stories from other cultures are wrong because I say so”.

            I have said, and I will say again, all this evidence for evolution is interpreted through the lens of the interpreter’s own worldview.

            .. . . By thousands of independent scientists all over the world – many from numerous religions and none, using modern scientific investigation techniques to enhance their depth of vision. 150 years + of research all confirming the age of the Earth, and the past and on-going evolution of life, while the scientifically uneducated simply sit in denial chanting “I can’t understand it ,so must be magic”!

            As as for your comment that this is a science site, I disagree with that too. If this is about science, why are there so marny articles about religion? This is an atheist site.

            Michael has pointed out the mission statement. Scientists investigate or look it up. – Others just close their eyes and make it up.

          • In reply to #63 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #61 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #60 by Alan4discussion:

            “Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence.”

            This is a lie, and if used against you in a court, you would be defenceless against the logic, even if the accusation against you were untrue.

            Really??? – You have it backwards

            Okay, here’s my point:

            I leave the office after work and get assaulted by a man with a knife. In self-defence, I fight him off, the knife drops out of his hand behind a trash can. I deliver a blow that leaves him bleeding and I escape safely. Two weeks later I receive a summons to appear in court for assault. My defence is that I was first attacked with a knife.

            A colleague of mine saw some of the incident through the window and agrees to testify in my defence, however, she only looked out of the window after she heard the scuffle. She therefore she missed the initial attack and the knife had already dropped before she saw anything. When the lawyer asks her, “did you see the knife?”, as she is under oath, she has to say no.

            There, absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence.

          • In reply to #66 by Lonevoice:

            There, absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence.

            In the situation you describe there is an abundance of evidence that you were guilty, including that you assaulted the other person. There was even an eye witness. You were convicted on the weight of the evidence against you. The often touted line that the atheists should prove there is no god and the the rebuttal that the theists should prove there is one is a fallacy. Neither side can win. The theists can only hope their god lights another bonfire or reveals himself in some credible way. The atheists can never prove god does not exist and for the most part we do not try.

            It is, however, good to know that you are not one of those that simply says, “Well we cannot explain it so God did it.”.

          • In reply to #66 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #63 by Alan4discussion:

            “Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence.”

            This is a lie, and if used against you in a court, you would be defenceless against the logic, even if the accusation against you were untrue.

            Really??? – You have it backwards

            Okay, here’s my point:

            I leave the office after work and get assaulted by a man with a knife. In self-defence, I fight him off, the knife drops out of his hand behind a trash can. I deliver a blow that leaves him bleeding and I escape safely. Two weeks later I receive a summons to appear in court for assault. My defence is that I was first attacked with a knife.

            You seem to presenting a special case where you did not collect the knife as evidence and did not report the incident to the police at the time.

            As a result, the case appears to be your word against that of the assailant.

            The evidence for the knife is absent because you did not look for it.

            While not conclusive, as explained on the link, absence of evidence is evidence of absence, where there should be evidence but there is none when you do look. (ie If gods were active doing miracles all over the place there should be some evidence of these activities.) It does not say that any indiscriminate absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

            If someone claims a robber ran off across a snowy field and 10 minutes later there are no tracks, (in the absence of drifting or further snow), the absence of tracks is evidence of the absence of the robber running across the field.

            It would be interesting to hear your take on the other linked information @60 on the diversity of gods and mythology, and why any particular version should be chosen rather than others.

            @65 -So it is with the theistic worldview. It is not only Dr Dawkins who has an Appetite for Wonder: a theist can reasonably be amazed at the wonderful design in nature and credit it to a Creator.

            Many theists do not see that as a reason to deny the scientific evidence of evolution:-

            The (Catholic) Church has deferred to scientists on matters such as the age of the earth and the authenticity of the fossil record. (International Theological Commission in a July 2004 statement)

            While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5–4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth,

          • In reply to #69 by Alan4discussion:

            If gods were active doing miracles all over the place there should be some evidence of these activities

            The problem is that the theists genuinely believe that God is so super duper at hiding his tracks that actually knows when we are going to perform a statistical analysis of ‘his miraculous works’ and then skews the results so they are meaningless either way.

            The classic from the God Delusion was the people being prayed for (who knew they were being prayed for) actually doing worse than the control group and the group being prayed for without knowledge (who showed no statistical differences). Apparently God hates the idea of being unmasked so much that he would rather kill off some of his own believers in an attempt to make it look like he does not exist. This means all that waffle about God being a reformed character since the old testament day’s is just that, he is still as vindictive today only know he is prepared to kill of his own people just to prove a point.

            Statistics also show that crime is much higher in those cities with a higher proportion of Christians. Now this can only mean that God, far from protecting his own followers, is actually going out of his way to put them in harms way. Presumably this is all just to throw off the statisticians. Of course a more plausible explanation might be that actually the Muslims have it right and that the Christians are following the wrong religion so the deity is quietly exacting his revenge.

            However I have to say, I do not feel that the atheists are never going to be able to prove the absence of a deity. All the religions seems to have it kind of sewn up that their God will not reveal himself so the fact that he is not visible is just not evidence of anything. For me the reason I am not a theist is simply that the arguments are completely unconvincing. We do not need a god to get to where we are.

            Perhaps the nail in the coffin for me is the realisation that the Church is constantly having to adapt to modern times or risk becoming irrelevant, however that very adaptation tells me that there must have been serious flaws in the Bible (God’s word) such that if a modern Christian went back in time two thousand years most of them would be stoned at the hands of ‘real’ Christians appalled at their future believers lax attitude to keeping women under control, ignoring the Sabbath, and tolerating homosexuals.

          • In reply to #70 by naskew:

            Statistics also show that crime is much higher in those cities with a higher proportion of Christians.

            It’s not just only in cities!

            http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/18197-survey-reveals-only-02-of-prisoners-identify-as-atheists

            The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons released an April 2013 survey of 218,167 prisoners that reports 0.02% of prisoners are atheists.

            You read that right. Not 2%, or even 0.2 percent, but 0.02% of American prisoners are atheists.
            Hemant Mehta first reported the statistic on his popular blog, The Friendly Atheist. Check out his blog post on the new statistic here. Mehta wanted to corroborate the often quoted, but now dated, statistic that 0.7% of prisoners are atheists.

            His open records request to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons proves that an even smaller percentage of American prisoners, 0.02%, identify as atheists. Because 2.4% of the general population of Americans are “atheists,” according to a 2012 Pew study, atheists make up a disproportionately small percentage of prisoners. The Pew study, however, found that one in five adults identifies as “nonreligious.”

            This goes a long way to debunk the myth that a person can’t be good without a god. -

            Holy books condemn and vilify atheists as terrible people, but 99.98% of U.S. federal prisoners committing crimes and going to prison are not atheists. -

            I do not feel that the atheists are never going to be able to prove the absence of a deity.

            Proving an absence of an undefined entity with properties approximating to nothing is near impossible.

            However the physicists may well prove the absence of any evidence of a deity participating in the formation or operation of the universe, in the same way such mythical creatures have been pretty well eliminated from being required in the physical laws currently running the Earth.

          • *In reply to #70 by naskew:

            The problem is that the theists genuinely believe that God is so super duper at hiding his tracks that actually knows when we are going to perform a statistical analysis of ‘his miraculous works’ and then skews the results so they are meaningless either way.

            There can be little doubt, that once the god-spots in heavily indoctrinated believers brains establish the circular wiring, leading back to consistency with self referencing core dogmas, their presence will be effectively covered up by the filtered, blinkered, vision, denying all outside inputs which conflict with these – or contesting the egotistical delusion of “king-of-kings – master of the universe”.
            The illusory “master of the universe” is merely the “master of censorship”, of each compliant believer’s brain.

          • In reply to #69 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #66 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #63 by Alan4discussion:

            “Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence.”

            This is a lie, and if used against you in a court, you would be defenceless against the logic, even if the accusation against you were untrue.

            Really??? – You have it backwards

            Okay,…

            Yep! I hold my hands up to the fact that I forgot to mention any other way of obtaining proving the knife was there. My bad! My purpose was to show that the eyewitness couldn’t say she had seen the knife, and some in that courtroom might think that proves there wasn’t one – but it doesn’t. (This was not a real situation, as I’m sure you realise. I’ve never assaulted anyone.)

            As a theist, I don’t believe that God has covered his tracks: the universe screams “Design”, which naturally indicates that there is a Designer. It’s an old argument and we won’t go round and round on it. As God lives outside of the natural order (logically, He would have to if He created it in the first place), a Spiritual person can conceive of this; whereas, a person who looks only to the natural order for all of his evidence could (and frequently does) conclude that there is nothing outside the natural order. Just because you can’t see it with your physical eyes, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there – and it’s unreasonable, therefore, for atheists to be so derisory.

            The book “so riddled with errors” is an inaccurate statement, but one that is widely believed and accepted. There are many things we don’t instantly understand as we read, however, answers to many of these accusations aganist the accuracy of the Bible were addressed hunderds of years ago, but still opponents (for that is all they are) keep banging on about them. They don’t want to understand. I think that’s a very sad state to be in.

          • In reply to #72 by Lonevoice:

            As a theist, I don’t believe that God has covered his tracks: the universe screams “Design”, which naturally indicates that there is a Designer.

            That statement is simply what I said rehashed. So we are in agreement, the theist approach is simply that they have no idea how the universe came about so they conclude an invisible designer. You are still ignoring the fact that such a designer must himself be designed and his designer must also have a designer. “It’s just turtles all the way down.”

            It’s an old argument and we won’t go round and round on it.

            No you simply won’t address it, because addressing it means facing the fallacies of the theist approach. So let me put a question to you. Just one question. Where did your deity come from?

          • In reply to #72 by Lonevoice:

            The book “so riddled with errors” is an inaccurate statement, but one that is widely believed and accepted.

            Let’s just take a few examples where your book has it wrong. The age of the earth, it’s not just a few thousand years old, even the catholic church agrees they might have miscalculated. Now given that your book mentions creation happening a few thousand years ago I’d call that an error. The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming and so either your deity is playing tricks on us trying to cover his tracks or the earth really is billions of years old.

            There was no global flood. There is some evidence for a localised flood coincidentally in the area round where Christianity began but certainly not globally. Another falsehood in your book.

            Given that the catholic church now accepts that evolution did happen we can conclude that perhaps (just perhaps) your god kick started the process. Given that this is the case you cannot say that man was made in the image of God. You certainly cannot say (assuming you really understand evolution) that there was an Adam and an Eve. So again the book is wrong! And while on the subject if Adam and Eve did not exist, who exactly is supposed to have perpetrated the original sin that led to have some bloke to be nailed to a cross for?

            The list of errors in the book goes on and on and on. You certainly cannot say that it is an accurate document by any standards.

          • In reply to #74 by naskew:

            In reply to #72 by Lonevoice:

            The book “so riddled with errors” is an inaccurate statement, but one that is widely believed and accepted.

            The list of errors in the book goes on and on and on. You certainly cannot say that it is an accurate document by any standards.

            Ah! but you (naskew) – like the researchers linked below, actually looked at it, rather than simply accepting assurances of its accuracy from preachers, on “faith”!
            With a little research anyone can compare the conflicting passages, and cite the references.

            A List of Biblical Contradictions

            Bible Contradictions

            Biblical Contradictions

          • In reply to #81 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #74 by naskew:

            In reply to #72 by Lonevoice:

            The book “so riddled with errors” is an inaccurate statement, but one that is widely believed and accepted.
            The list of errors in the book goes on and on and on. You certainly cannot say that it is an accurate document by any standards….

            Whoa, whoa whoa, everybody. Not all at once, please.

            I’ll try to respond to the comments that have been levelled against me, but I’ll work from memory of what’s been said in the latest posts. .

            History does actually confirm that the documents of the New Testament were NOT written hundreds of years after the events they recount. Those we call the Early Church Fathers (from the earliest days and during first couple of hundred years after Christ) referred extensively to these writings; suggesting that there were already in existence and widely known. The so-called rival gospels were refuted by those same early fathers – or at least those who took the trouble to specifically write against them. Irenaeus was one of the very early Christian writers. He served under Polycarp who in turn had been a close associate of the Apostle John – so we’re talking very early. The fact that others did not write against these false gospels does not suggest that they agreed with them. Other so-called gospels (and forgive me but I can’t specifically remember which ones off hand) have been demonstrated to have been written hundreds of years later and are therefore clearly false – and were known to be at the time..

            The early church was beset with troublemakers who changed the teaching of the first apostles. These Gnostics, as they were called, twisted the teaching about the person of Jesus Christ and several letters in the New Testament specifically address the false doctrines that were being circulated. These New Testament letters were written to PRESERVE the teaching of Christ and the Apostles.

            There are something in the order of 25000 documents and fragments of documents for the New Testament – of course, parchment, papyrus or vellum doesn’t physically last for thousands of years, so obviously it’s not unreasonable to see later documents. But it’s not reasonable to conclude that there were no earlier documents and the evidence of various written works from the earliest times do provide evidence that documents from what we call the New Testament were known to have existed beforehand. Given the volume of documents – and their closeness in time to the events they describe, the New Testament is regarded as the best attested of any ancient documents.

            Similarly, the Old Testament is not the result of squabbles between Canaanites and whatever else was said in the above post. Hebrew Scholars have valued the writings of Moses and the prophets from the earliest times. Scribes have treated the documents as divinely inspired all down the ages and with the utmost respect and reverence. The Masoretic scribes who copied the later physical documents treated them with such respect that they copied them with the utmost care and attention to detail. There were strict rules on the number of columns, words and characters in those columns. When a copy was completed, the supervising scribe would count the letters and check that the new document was an exact copy of the previous one. Indeed, they regarded the new document as of equal validity as the one it was copied from. We don’t think like that these days, as we doubt the authenticity of copies – we prefer the original. But that was the level of confidence the Hebrew scribes had in there scriptures that had been handed down and we have them today.

            As a believer, I have allegedly been spoon-fed this indoctrination, yet you have apparently not been spoon-fed the drivel that pours scorn on the authenticity of scripture.

            I would throw in here something else that you will all hate: given that the God of the Bible is described a judge over us all – those who do not want to be subject to Him have a vested interest in denying it. This includes individuals, scholars and scientists alike – for we are all human. After all,the Bible teaches that we are all fallen and I think the evidence of human behaviour – and inventiveness in justifying ourselves bears that out. What is interesting is that you choose to believe the doubters and doubt the believers. You have come to the conclusion that the doubters are better at telling the truth than believers. I happen to disagree.

            So, the Catholic Church has deferred to science. Hmm! More fool them, if the scientists they defer to have that unbelieving agenda that I have just referred to. Actually, you’ve probably gathered that I’m not a Catholic, so their teaching is irrelevant to me. I stand with Martin Luther who called the office of the papacy, antichrist. Not that I think the pope is THE anti-christ that end-timers talk about: but the office of a Vicar of Christ on earth is ‘instead’ or in place of Christ, whereas, the New Testament states that there is one mediator between God and man: Jesus Christ. So we do not need a pope.

            What is ironic between us, is that you think I’m blind and closed-minded, and I think the same about you. I’m under no illusion that anything I write in defence of the Gospel will cut any ice with any of you – but that’s not why I contribute to this site. I have already explained that it’s a worldview thing and all evidence is interpreted according to what makes most sense to the interpreter. One contributor (naskew, I think) referred to Dr Dawkins saying that we cannot prove or disprove the existence of God. I accept that and am careful not to use the word ‘proof’. However, some contributors reject God because there is no proof. That’s a one-sided argument. The fact that I can’t PROVE you’re wrong and you can’t PROVE there is no God, demonstrates even more strongly that the derisory, derogatory, dismissive attitude towards Christians (and anyone with faith) so prevalent on this site are unreasonable, irrational and unfair. So you disagree! That’s a fact of life, but why do you (atheists collectively/generally) have to be so insulting – and never let any believers to be seen to have ever done or said anything that might remotely be considered reasonable?

            Oh, and this is an atheist site, rather than a science site, although it clearly has loads of science stuff. Irrespective of what the mission statement might say, however, the headline at the top of this page says “Innovating for a secular world”. That’s not science: that’s a philosophy! It suggests that there is a deliberate agenda to silence people of any faith. Obviously, some people can’t live in a world with people who disagree with them, and atheists are not excluded from that flaw. The reason I post here is because I want the nasty generalisations that so frequently appear to stop.

            The imperfections referred to by nmurray are explained in biblical terms as results of the change in the created order following man’s disobedience. This is something else I know you won’t accept, but that’s the biblical answer. So firing faulty design arguments at me doesn’t prove that there is no designer (or that my Designer can’t be very good): I never believed that this world as perfect in its current state. The bible teaches that it once was perfect, now is not, but will be again.

            As for my answers on other creation myths: it would be inconsistent of me to believe the biblical account and yet, at the same time, give these other stories any credence. The existence of other cultures’ myths does not disqualify the biblical account. In understand how it does in your view, however. I don’t know what more I can say: I’m not going to try to defend them.

            Best regards,

          • In reply to #82 by Lonevoice:

            History does actually confirm that the documents of the New Testament were NOT written hundreds of years after the events they recount.

            Really?? I thought historical scholars had dated many of them and established that they were not written by the claimed authors or in contemporary times.

            Those we call the Early Church Fathers (from the earliest days and during first couple of hundred years after Christ) referred extensively to these writings; suggesting that there were already in existence and widely known. The so-called rival gospels were refuted by those same early fathers – or at least those who took the trouble to specifically write against them.

            That is the point about the contradictions, There was no one “early church”. There seems to have been a whole lot of different sects each attributing their own versions of stories to particular disciples whose names they attached to these to add weight to their claims.

            Irenaeus was one of the very early Christian writers. He served under Polycarp who in turn had been a close associate of the Apostle John – so we’re talking very early. The fact that others did not write against these false gospels does not suggest that they agreed with them.

            They would not even know the details the jealously guarded texts of geographically separated cults.

            Other so-called gospels (and forgive me but I can’t specifically remember which ones off hand) have been demonstrated to have been written hundreds of years later and are therefore clearly false – and were known to be at the time..

            None of them were written within decades of supposed events, and that includes the four which were chosen by the Romans for Constantine 300 years later.

            The early church was beset with troublemakers who changed the teaching of the first apostles. These Gnostics, as they were called, twisted the teaching about the person of Jesus Christ and several letters in the New Testament specifically address the false doctrines that were being circulated.

            That is the conflict I pointed out. ALL the sects were disputing each others stories and claiming they were false. The Romans just picked the ones which suited them.

            These New Testament letters were written to PRESERVE the teaching of Christ and the Apostles.

            Would those be the letter made up by Paul to promote his particular sect???

            Given the volume of documents – and their closeness in time to the events they describe, the New Testament is regarded as the best attested of any ancient documents.

            Could you quote dated authenticated documents like the links I provided for you, as research historians using evidence seem to think otherwise.

            Similarly, the Old Testament is not the result of squabbles between Canaanites and whatever else was said in the above post.

            Really?? There are even accounts of the attack on priests of Baal etc in the Bible.

            and whatever else was said in the above post.

            This comment does not suggest you paid much attention to the links or the post!

            The Masoretic scribes who copied the later physical documents treated them with such respect that they copied them with the utmost care and attention to detail.

            I was talking about the pre-history of these documents, -the Canaanite religions from which Judaism evolved – not the later production of copies.

            I would throw in here something else that you will all hate: given that the God of the Bible is described a judge over us all – those who do not want to be subject to Him have a vested interest in denying it. This includes individuals, scholars and scientists alike – for we are all human.

            This is simply a reversal of your own fixation on your chosen god. Atheists have no “hatred” of any particular god. How could they hate something when they are reasonably certain it does not exist! – Do you hate Zeus? Thor? Ra? Aphrodite? Think about it.

            This includes individuals, scholars and scientists alike – for we are all human.

            Do you really think Japanese scientists who are Shintoists or Indian scientists who are Buddhists, care about what the Bible says?
            You are simply applying your god-bias-thinking to everyone else. Science goes to great lengths to eliminate personal biases from its conclusions.

            What is interesting is that you choose to believe the doubters and doubt the believers. You have come to the conclusion that the doubters are better at telling the truth than believers. I happen to disagree.

            That is the difference. You CHOOSE TO BELIEVE. I look to see what is supported by evidence and regard it as conjecture if it is not.

            The 5th and 6th centuries was the ‘golden age’ of Christian forgery. In a moment of shocking candour, the Manichean bishop (and opponent of Augustine) Faustus said:

            “Many things have been inserted by our ancestors in the speeches of our Lord which, though put forth under his name, agree not with his faith; especially since – as already it has been often proved – these things were written not by Christ, nor [by] his apostles, but a long while after their assumption, by I know not what sort of half Jews, not even agreeing with themselves, who made up their tale out of reports and opinions merely, and yet, fathering the whole upon the names of the apostles of the Lord or on those who were supposed to follow the apostles, they maliciously pretended that they had written their lies and conceits according to them.”

            Once the Church had grabbed mastery of much of Europe and the middle-east, its forgery engine went into overdrive.

            ‘The Church forgery mill did not limit itself to mere writings but for centuries cranked out thousands of phony “relics” of its “Lord,” “Apostles” and “Saints” … There were at least 26 ‘authentic’ burial shrouds scattered throughout the abbeys of Europe, of which the Shroud of Turin is just one … At one point, a number of churches claimed the one foreskin of Jesus, and there were enough splinters of the “True Cross” that Calvin said the amount of wood would make “a full load for a good ship.” ‘

            – Acharya S, The Christ Conspiracy.

            There are indeed historical documents, but the stories they tell do not support your claims.

            So, the Catholic Church has deferred to science. Hmm! More fool them, if the scientists they defer to have that unbelieving agenda that I have just referred to.

            That is your problem! You have no regard for evidence, and just believe whatever you choose, while wrongly claiming others do likewise.

            Actually, you’ve probably gathered that I’m not a Catholic, so their teaching is irrelevant to me. I stand with Martin Luther who called the office of the papacy, antichrist.

            Ah the bigoted anti-semitic Luther as a source of information???!

            “What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church … a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.”

            Martin Luther (Cited by his secretary, in a letter in Max Lenz, ed., Briefwechsel Landgraf Phillips des Grossmüthigen von Hessen mit Bucer, vol. I.)

            The existence of other cultures’ myths does not disqualify the biblical account. In understand how it does in your view, however. I don’t know what more I can say: I’m not going to try to defend them.

            Why not? Their followers are just as convinced in their validity as the people you choose to believe.

          • In reply to #82 by Lonevoice:

            … but why do you (atheists collectively/generally) have to be so insulting – and never let any believers to be seen to have ever done or said anything that might remotely be considered reasonable? …

            Dear Lonevoice,

            You still do not get it. If you assert something, you need to back it up with evidence, if you want others to take it seriously. It is of no use to say, for example, that there exists a god who created the cosmos if you cannot produce evidence in support of that statement. If you keep asserting it instead of producing evidence for it, you are making a fool of yourself and deserve to be mocked.

            I must hasten to add that citing the Bible as evidence of your assertions will not do, for the Bible is part of the belief-system that you are asserting. You need to produce real evidence for your assertions, independent of your religious belief-system (Bible included), if you still wish your assertions to be treated as worthy of respectful consideration. Here I am not referring to the collection of ancient writings that constitute the Bible and are examined by historians to establish their date, authorship, location, purpose, cultural context and significance, recipients, and so on, but to the Bible as a volume of writings through which Christians believe the god they believe in to have made known its will for humans.

            The problem with all your posts in this thread has been your failure to cite any genuine evidence. Though you have gone on about evidence here and there, you have referred to none in support of your own assertions about God and the like.

            All any of us here need from you is evidence, not yet another rant or sermon about what you believe.

            Evidence, please.

          • In reply to #82 by Lonevoice:

            It suggests that there is a deliberate agenda to silence people of any faith.

            How does it suggest that ? Have you got any of that pesky evidence stuff ? You won’t get get moderated here for being a theist unless you fall back to just quoting scripture, which you aren’t doing. You will get some robust responses and probably more than you have time to cope with but that’s sort of inevitable.

            Obviously, some people can’t live in a world with people who disagree with them, and atheists are not excluded from that flaw.

            You must be joking ? Atheist are very used to living in a world where people disagree with them.

            The reason I post here is because I want the nasty generalisations that so frequently appear to stop.

            Excellent. Point them out when they happen and back them up with evidence. Nobody can complain about that.

            The imperfections referred to by nmurray are explained in biblical terms as results of the change in the created order following man’s disobedience. This is something else I know you won’t accept, but that’s the biblical answer.

            Ah The Fall.

            So firing faulty design arguments at me doesn’t prove that there is no designer (or that my Designer can’t be very good): I never believed that this world as perfect in its current state. The bible teaches that it once was perfect, now is not, but will be again.

            I see. So when you said ** “the universe screams “Design”, which naturally indicates that there is a Designer”.** you meant that if we could see the universe as it was before The Fall it would scream Design. Not quite the same thing is it ?

            Michael

          • Mike,
            I go out of my way to illustrate the illusion of design and then clearly delineate why, in fact, it is an illusion. Some fall prey to the illusion; some see it. Your post is excellent; the rebuttal is an exercise is horseshit.
            Jim

            In reply to #85 by mmurray:

            In reply to #82 by Lonevoice:

            It suggests that there is a deliberate agenda to silence people of any faith.

            How does it suggest that ? Have you got any of that pesky evidence stuff ? You won’t get get moderated here for being a theist unless you fall back to just quoting scripture, which you are…

          • In reply to #86 by crookedshoes:

            Mike,
            I go out of my way to illustrate the illusion of design and then clearly delineate why, in fact, it is an illusion. Some fall prey to the illusion; some see it. Your post is excellent; the rebuttal is an exercise is horseshit.
            Jim

            Thanks. Of course the short answer is “bollocks”. Then when they look offended you can explain about the testicles outside the body and the route of vas deferens.

            Michael

          • In reply to #82 by Lonevoice:

            I asked you one question and it is very telling that you did not answer.

            Where did your deity come from?

            The reason you did not answer is simple, you cannot explain, you have no theory whatsoever to explain the magical man in the sky. Instead you tried to sideline us into believing your documents are genuine. Well it does not matter, if you had a picture taken by some time traveller to the past doing a selfie with Jesus and a first edition bible I really would not care. You see the authenticity of the book (which has been called into question) is not the point. The point is that it is so full of provable falsehoods that you cannot possibly say that the author had any special insight. If large chunks were inspired by the word of God then clearly God had forgotten an awful lot before he told us.

            I note also that you did not address any of the falsehoods I offered you to explain away. Instead you claim that the Catholic church appears to be fools lead by some false egotist. Well at least we can agree on something, however sadly for you, your views of the falsehood of evolution are clearly in the minority amongst churches globally.

            It suggests that there is a deliberate agenda to silence people of any faith.

            Actually it’s not so much the people of faith we wish would shut up as the people that indoctrinate them with clearly, demonstrably false ideas. What does ‘faith’ mean? Well Miriam Webster defines it as “firm belief in something for which there is no proof”. In as much as there is no proof there is no god then I am a man of faith too. However my mind is not closed and if something were to come along that proves that Zeus does exist then I would gladly consider that evidence. You have been spoon fed false information (possibly along side good information) during all the years of you faith. Well shame on those people who did that to you and did not allow you to personally examine the evidence. Instead you come down to another of those theist arguments, “My book says it’s true so that must make it true”.

            Again I will state it, your book is riddled with errors but you are blind to them.

          • In reply to #82 by Lonevoice:

            Oh, and this is an atheist site, rather than a science site.

            I’m not sure if we are supposed to be insulted. Frankly to me this site is what it is, but quoting the headline “Innovating for a secular society” as if this proves this is an atheist site does kind of suggest that you do not know what secular means. What some atheists would like to see is that all churches close their doors, pack up, and go. Frankly what I want is a little different and I’ll give you an analogy.

            One of my biggest gripes, yes even worse than religion, has been the presence of smokers who insist on their rights to pursue their stinking habit wherever they please. Luckily for me we have managed to force them out of the workplace, off the trains, out of most restaurants and bars. This is important to me for two reasons, firstly I hated coming home stinking of fag smoke (I’m British I can call it that) and now, more crucially, it is not seen as normal in society so I hope that my daughter will not grow up to become a smoker. However the campaign, for me, against smokers is now at an end, I’d like to see the legal age raised but otherwise I have no more axe to grind, they do not affect me any more.

            For me it is the same with religion. I was educated in a Methodist school and was taught all about Jesus and how lovely he was. Luckily for me I started to question things. For example there were several gay pupils at the school. How did the school square their beliefs with these homosexuals? Well they looked the other way, just so long as Mummy and Daddy were able to pay the fees they would accept anyone. How dare they, these people were an abomination in the site of God and should be stoned, I know it says so in the book. Likewise they appeared to tolerate filthy people of other religions with their false beliefs. And then it got really bad, the school started accepting girls.

            Ding! Suddenly a light bulb came on, if all these people, the homosexuals, the Jews, the Muslims, and the women, were so acceptable then perhaps the Bible is wrong. Of course once we learned about a load of stuff that kind of suggested that the Bible was not correct (although the biology teacher went out of his way to refuse to teach evolution, that was a step too far). Religion became irrelevant and I do not for one moment look back.

            What I want for society is to lead my life free from religion, no more laws dictated because God says so. No more hatred along the lines of religious denominated (I notice you bile towards the Catholics for example). No longer to be told that being gay is an offence to God. It is not that I want you to stop believing, I don’t care what you believe any more than I care what my gay friends get up to in their own homes. What I want is for you to stop affecting my life even to the tiniest extent. Go outside and have your fag break.

          • This is excellent. Well stated, well written. You nailed my sentiments, almost exactly.

            In reply to #89 by naskew:

            In reply to #82 by Lonevoice:

            Oh, and this is an atheist site, rather than a science site.

            I’m not sure if we are supposed to be insulted. Frankly to me this site is what it is, but quoting the headline “Innovating for a secular society” as if this proves this is an atheist site does kind of sugge…

          • In reply to #82 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #81 by Alan4discussion:

            So, the Catholic Church has deferred to science. Hmm! More fool them, if the scientists they defer to have that unbelieving agenda that I have just referred to. Actually, you’ve probably gathered that I’m not a Catholic, so their teaching is irrelevant to me. I stand with Martin Luther who called the office of the papacy, antichrist.

            That is what is so telling about your thinking which appears to try to determine “truth” by referring back to your uncritically accepted opinions.

            The Catholic Church are considered “fools” by you, not for sitting in denial for 150 years, but for eventually accepting overwhelming scientific evidence of evolution and the age of the universe.

            However, centuries earlier when the same Roman church accepted a whole load of myths made up by its leaders, you consider these to be “undeniable truths” and simply describe any historians who challenge these with documented evidence, as “doubters”, who you CHOOSE to dismiss! I am interested in what thought process you use to make these decisions.

            What is ironic between us, is that you think I’m blind and closed-minded, and I think the same about you.

            I explained the difference between open minded scientific methodology and testing, and assumptions arising from “faith-thinking”. It is therefore irrational to simply project your own thought processes on to other people, whose evidenced reasoning processes are quite different to you own.

            I’m under no illusion that anything I write in defence of the Gospel will cut any ice with any of you

            There is no reason why it should not, IF you produce original evidence (not some unsupported personal opinion formed long after events) to support the claims. (For example, in my previous post I quoted a document written by a bishop pointing out the forging of biblical myths and relics in the early church.)

            but that’s not why I contribute to this site. I have already explained that it’s a worldview thing and all evidence is interpreted according to what makes most sense to the interpreter.

            Many here understand the psychology of cognitive biases and why people read what they want to find, into investigations or documents. – Especially those who do not use scientific methodology to guard against such errors, but use “knee-jerk feelings” instead.

            Diligent scientific research has produced numerous expert consensuses on the workings of nature, which can be re-confirmed by anyone with skills to use the scientific tools. It is reasonable to rate these much more highly than unresearched uncritically accepted personal opinions.

            Many conflicts between science and religion are due to cognitive biases preventing people from coming to the same conclusions with the same evidence. Cognitive bias is intrinsic to human thought, and therefore any systematic system of acquiring knowledge that attempts to describe reality must include mechanisms to control for bias or it is inherently invalid.

            The best known system for vetting and limiting the consequences of cognitive bias is the scientific method, as it places evidence and methodology behind the idea under open scrutiny. By this, many opinions and separate analyses can be used to compensate for the bias of any one individual. It is important to remember, however, that in every day life, just knowing about these biases doesn’t necessarily free you from them.

            @82 – however, the headline at the top of this page says “Innovating for a secular world”. That’s not science: that’s a philosophy!

            Once again you have it backwards. Science is objective and independent of any religion.

            http://www.thefreedictionary.com/secular

            secular (ˈsɛkjʊlə) – adj

            1. of or relating to worldly as opposed to sacred things; temporal
            2. not concerned with or related to religion
            3. not within the control of the Church
            4. (Education) (of an education, etc)
              a. having no particular religious affinities
              b. not including compulsory religious studies or services

            “Secular” means free of ties to any particular religion – treating all equally on their merits.

            It suggests that there is a deliberate agenda to silence people of any faith.

            It means the very opposite! It means that people of ONE faith, will not be allowed to dominate and silence all others.

            Obviously, some people can’t live in a world with people who disagree with them,

            Which is why state laws should be secular, rather than theocracies like Saudi Arabia, Iran, or The Vatican, – dominated by one religion to the exclusion of all other views.

          • I am interested in what thought process you use to make these decisions.

            I would guess he was fully indoctrinated from a young age and he fell in love with the world view and the God described by the Christian mythologies. Confirmation bias has then led him to Christian apologetics ideas to help him cope with the contradictions to his beliefs from modern science. One of the most important of these ideas is that scientific facts have to be interpreted correctly – if they seem to contradict the bible, that is because they are being interpreted from the atheistic science world view.

            One of Lonevoice’s resources may well be Answers in Genesis – his posts contain very similar phrases. From the “About Us” link on AiG:

            AiG teaches that “facts” don’t speak for themselves, but must be interpreted. That is, there aren’t separate sets of “evidences” for evolution and creation—we all deal with the same evidence (we all live on the same earth, have the same fossils, observe the same animals, etc.). The difference lies in how we interpret what we study. The Bible—the “history book of the universe”—provides a reliable, eye-witness account of the beginning of all things, and can be trusted to tell the truth in all areas it touches on. Therefore, we are able to use it to help us make sense of this present world. When properly understood, the “evidence” confirms the biblical account.

            Here is an extract from Ken Ham’s “Dinosaurs and the Bible”.

            Although the Bible does not tell us exactly how long ago it was that God made the world and its creatures, we can make a good estimate of the date of creation by reading through the Bible and noting some interesting passages…

            As you add up all of the dates, and accepting that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to Earth almost 2000 years ago, we come to the conclusion that the creation of the Earth and animals (including the dinosaurs) occurred only thousands of years ago (perhaps only 6000!), not millions of years. Thus, if the Bible is right (and it is!), dinosaurs must have lived within the past thousands of years.

            That last sentence perfectly sums up Lonevoice’s epistemology. “If the bible is right (and it is!) ……”.

            In reply to #90 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #82 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #81 by Alan4discussion:

            So, the Catholic Church has deferred to science. Hmm! More fool them, if the scientists they defer to have that unbelieving agenda that I have just referred to. Actually, you’ve probably gathered that I’m not a Catholic, so their te…

          • In reply to #82 by Lonevoice:

            God of the Bible is described a judge over us all – those who do not want to be subject to Him have a vested interest in denying it. This includes individuals, scholars and scientists alike.

            What arrogance. You seem to make the assumption that everyone that finds something that gnaws away at your deity is somehow doing it for the sake of disproving him so they can get away with some sin or other. Sure there are some people (Dawkins, Hitchens to name two) who made a decent living out of getting theists all riled up, but for the most part that is not true of most scientists.

            Most scientists are simply in search of the truth of how the universe works and if that search reveals truths that just happen to conflict with the delusions of those that prefer to read books that are two millennia old then that is not a problem for them, it is a problem for those that believe.

          • In reply to #72 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #69 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #66 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #63 by Alan4discussion:

            “Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence.”

            This is a lie, and if used against you in a court, you would be defenceless against the logic, even if the accusation against you were untrue.

            Real…

            Hi Lonevoice. Thanks for coming on here – its good to argue with someone you disagree with rather than quibble with someone you do. I wish more theists would come on here.
            You are right absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.but I think you miss the point. The value of scepticism is that you only accept a premise that has strong evidence to support it. The evidence is what counts – not the claim.

            The other thing is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs . So a jury might accept that an assailant had a knife even if the evidence was weak – but they probably wouldn’t accept that the assailant had demonic strength because they were possessed.

            Also I think you should justify your claim that the “universe screams “Design” . If you are going to go Paley’s Watch on us please do so in order that we can rebuff your logic. You don’t get a free pass on sites like this – simply asserting things are true without justifying your statements.

            Also re your argument that faith is rational could please state the logical steps that demonstrate it is rational to believe something that has no evidence to support it?

            Oxford Dictionary definition of faith “strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof:”

          • In reply to #72 by Lonevoice:

            the universe screams “Design”, which naturally indicates that there is a Designer.

            Let’s ignore the fact that design doesn’t require designer and have a look at the quality of the actual design. Take the human body:

            (1) Breathing and eating through one opening causing great risk of death by choking.

            (2) Testicles hang outside the body very vulnerable to injury.

            (3) Head too big for birth canal.

            (4) Crazy route of vas deferens

            (5) Ectopic pregnancies

            (6) Descent of testes causes hernia risk

            (7) Appendix — not useful but infection can cause death

            (8) Lower back

            (9) Retina inside out

            (10) Teeth, sinuses, wisdom teeth are a mess

            That will do. You can look the rest up here.

            Michael

          • In reply to #76 by mmurray:

            Let’s ignore the fact that design doesn’t require designer and have a look at the quality of the actual design. Take the human body:

            (7) Appendix — not useful but infection can cause death

            I think that is out-of-date. The human appendix probably still plays an important function in the immune system.

          • In reply to #72 by Lonevoice:

            Yep! I hold my hands up to the fact that I forgot to mention any other way of obtaining proving the knife was there. My bad! My purpose was to show that the eyewitness couldn’t say she had seen the knife,

            This is the similar flawed claim of fundamentalists re evolution – ” I didn’t look so no one else could have looked, observed, or understood.”

            and some in that courtroom might think that proves there wasn’t one – but it doesn’t. (This was not a real situation, as I’m sure you realise. I’ve never assaulted anyone.)

            Seriously??? A witness was not looking at the time and nobody looked for the evidence – “proves something”?

            As a theist, I don’t believe that God has covered his tracks: the universe screams “Design”, which naturally indicates that there is a Designer.

            That kind of begs the question, particularly if you have not studied the biology or the physics of the items in question and don’t understand the mechanisms which modify them over time. .

            It’s an old argument and we won’t go round and round on it.

            Creation is an old argument which has no supporting evidence – so it must be magic rather than science so the repeated assertions go round and round!

            As God lives outside of the natural order (logically, He would have to if He created it in the first place),

            This is less credible than some other natural order triggering a particular natural feature such as the big-bang. Personified magic fairies or aliens must be a poor explanation of the unknown – particularly as it is just a revamping of earlier refuted creation myths.

            (BTW: I see no reply on the topic of alternative linked creation myths.)

            a Spiritual person can conceive of this; whereas, a person who looks only to the natural order for all of his evidence could (and frequently does) conclude that there is nothing outside the natural order.

            Not at all! Recognising the simplistic and anthropomorphic nature of personified “father-figure” magic gods, in no way implies a lack of understanding of the believer’s psychological need for a simple personified magic god as a way of pretending to know answers to complex or unknown issues.

            Just because you can’t see it with your physical eyes, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there – and it’s unreasonable, therefore, for atheists to be so derisory.

            Theists not seeing because they won’t look, and deciding to make it up, is not the same as looking diligently with a whole range of scientific perception enhancing tools, and finding nothing there.

            The book “so riddled with errors” is an inaccurate statement, but one that is widely believed and accepted.

            It is accepted by those who have looked at the evidence of self-contradictions, contradictory versions of events in rival “gospels”, The absence of confirmations in historical documents or artefacts, and the contradictions of science.

            There are many things we don’t instantly understand as we read, however, answers to many of these accusations aganist the accuracy of the Bible were addressed hunderds of years ago,

            No they weren’t Confirmations of some stories and contradictions of others, were made up by people hundreds of years after supposed events, to ASSERT particular mythologies over others.

            but still opponents (for that is all they are) keep banging on about them.

            Project much? Fundamentalists keep banging on without evidence and ignoring history.

            They don’t want to understand. I think that’s a very sad state to be in.

            ..and claim “superior understanding” of things they can’t possibly know, while historians backed by scientific methodology work at establishing what we can and do know.

            [The Gospel of Mary is a collection of writings attributed to Jesus as told through and for Mary of Magdala. As with most Gospels, it is unlikely she wrote it herself; it is more likely that followers of her Church wrote it.

            Along with the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Mary is part of the Gnostic tradition, which holds that Jesus passed along secret traditions to his disciples for finding Union with God.](http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Mary)

            Gospel of Peter

            Gospel of Philip

            The Gospel of Thomas – The three fragments of Thomas found at Oxyrhynchus apparently date to between 130 – 250 CE,

            Of course the edited version of the NT bible for Constantine’s Rome was compiled about 300 years after supposed events to meet Roman Empire agendas.

            The OT is of course derived from the squabbles among early Canaanite tribes over whose god(s) would dominate. – Leading to the Canaanite god of war “El/Yahweh” becoming the montheistic “god-of peace” – after his followers killed off the priests and tribes following other the gods.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List-of-Canaanite-deities

          • In reply to #61 by Lonevoice:

            I have said, and I will say again, all this evidence for evolution is interpreted through the lens of the interpreter’s own worldview.

            The evidence for evolution is far greater than the evidence of any kind of deity. As you a probably aware, most theist arguments run along the lines of “We don’t know how that happened so God must have done it.”, the alternative argument goes “Despite all the evidence to the contrary our holy book says God did it so God must have done it.”.

            This is an evolutionary assumption. There is plenty of evidence to show that man was not ignorant in former times.

            Indeed they may have been ignorant of evolution but there is evidence of agriculture going back 11,000 years (oops somewhat before the earth was actually created). The early farmers appear to have engaged in selective breeding of crops and later they used the same techniques for selectively breeding animals that gave better yields.

            Do I really need to point out what selective breeding is? They may not have called in evolution but by only breeding the best yielding crops or the best yielding animals they were certainly harnessing evolution. It is just as well your deity designed every living thing to be able mutate slightly with each generation otherwise those farmers would have been wasting their time.

            So if you ask me, ignorance of evolution is something that has only really taken hold in the last two thousand years.

          • In reply to #64 by naskew:

            In reply to #61 by Lonevoice:

            I have said, and I will say again, all this evidence for evolution is interpreted through the lens of the interpreter’s own worldview.

            The evidence for evolution is far greater than the evidence of any kind of deity. As you a probably aware, most theist arguments run…

            You have completely missed the point I made. It’s not about whether you have more evidence than I do. We live on the same planet, so the “evidence” is the same. I stand by the comment that all evidence is interpreted through one’s own lens.

            “. . . .We don’t know how that happened so God must have done it. . . . ” Your conclusion is oversimplistic and too easily dismissive of the theistic worldview. Now, I accept that some people have used God as a explanation to fill in the gaps in their knowledge, but you are mistaken if you think that all theists do this. Let me illustrate with one of my notoriously weak analogies:

            Say I paint a very complex and intricate painting, with sensitive use of colour and light: the proportions of the figures are painstakingly crafted. A child with no knowledge of art may look in wonder and ask, “who painted that?” But just because an experienced art critic can evaluate the number and direction of brushstrokes, analyse the colours and even calculate how many tubes of paint were used, this does not take away the fact that I painted it. And the art critic may well praise the painter for his brilliant work. He will not conclude that his evaluation and calculations mean that the painting must have painted itself.

            So it is with the theistic worldview. It is not only Dr Dawkins who has an Appetite for Wonder: a theist can reasonably be amazed at the wonderful design in nature and credit it to a Creator. A thinking theist (yes, and there are many!) can sense the awe at God’s amazing handiwork and will not use God to fill in the gaps in our understanding. In fact, the more science finds out about the intricasies of life, the more we realise and recognise how amazing God’s handiwork is. Unless, of course, you believe there is no God. So, again, back to the worldview.

          • In reply to #65 by Lonevoice:

            A child with no knowledge of art may look in wonder and ask, “who painted that?”

            Indeed we come full circle. Are you saying that evolution is fact but that a god invented it? Your parable of the child and the painting still comes down to “We don’t know who did it so it must be God”. In other words the theist world view is that creation is marvellous so it must have had a designer but let’s not ask the awkward elephant in the room question of “If creation is so marvellous to not have a creator then who created the creator?”.

            Regardless of how you believe the animal kingdom, the planet, and the universe originated it all comes back to “well God did it.” and the reason theists believe this is because a book (so riddled with errors) written a few thousand years ago says it is so.

          • In reply to #65 by Lonevoice:

            You have completely missed the point I made. It’s not about whether you have more evidence than I do. We live on the same planet, so the “evidence” is the same. I stand by the comment that all evidence is interpreted through one’s own lens.

            Ah! – The cognitive-bias interpretation blinkers of “faith-thinking”, substituting preconceptions for testable confirmable evidence and reasoned conclusions.

            It seems to exhibit itself with the preconceived dogmatic notions of minds closed even to the most sound evidence.

            It reminds me of this comment on the “Superior Interpretation of evidence” by the deluded:-

            This was just before the launch of the first artificial satellite, and when satellite images taken from outer space showed the Earth as a sphere rather than flat, the society was undaunted; Shenton remarked: “It’s easy to see how a photograph like that could fool the untrained eye.

            Flat Earth Society

            The society also took the position that the Apollo Moon landings were a hoax staged by Hollywood, a position also held by others not connected to the Flat Earth Society.”interpretation”:

      • In reply to #25 by Lonevoice:

        With regard to the comment at the end of your post, however, I wonder how someone can live a truly meaningful life with an atheist’s worldview. Of course, there are things in life we love: family, work, friendships, etc. But if the atheist’s worldview was truly correct, then we are all here by accident and there is no intrinsic purpose in life. The things we enjoy, we can enjoy for only a time, then we’re gone. Where is the purpose of a life once lived – even enjoyed – but now forgotten? And what does it profit a person if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?

        But if it’s true then it’s true and all the pretending otherwise is just a waste of time. The evidence for me is overwhelmingly in support of this being true. There is no cosmic, intrinsic, purpose of any kind, let alone any gods.

        Michael

      • In reply to #25 by Lonevoice:

        But if the atheist’s worldview was truly correct, then we are all here by accident and there is no intrinsic purpose in life. The things we enjoy, we can enjoy for only a time, then we’re gone. Where is the purpose of a life once lived – even enjoyed – but now forgotten?

        I don’t see why that should be the case at all. I think what is really going on is that you have been so conditioned to believe that there is heaven and eternal life that you naturally feel life wouldn’t be worth living without them. If you think about it in normal life people do and enjoy things all the time that are temporary and fleeting. Otherwise there would be no market for condoms.

        I appreciate many of the things that people usually associate with a “meaningful life”. Friendship, love, dedication to causes, enjoying art and music. I actually love to visit cathedrals like Notre Dame because of the way they make me feel and the thoughts I have while in them. I almost yelled at a tourist once who was flashing his camera all over the place in Notre Dame even though photography is prohibited but luckily my girlfriend reminded me that getting into a fight in a cathedral wasn’t how she wanted to spend her vacation.

        If anything I think you can make a case that atheists appreciate beauty and such things even more because we know that they and we ARE temporary so we better experience as much as we can while we can.

      • In reply to #25 by Lonevoice:

        . For this reason I, as a Christian, often wonder whether any faith that former believers are supposed to have had true depth

        Therein lies the rub. You see faith as a worthy ideal and we (atheists) see it as being intellectually dishonest, or fooling yourself. Those with religious convictions place value on faith. And the rest of us place no value on faith. I suspect that there will be no meeting of minds on this point.

        Crookedshoes has proposed that he would be more than willing to swap his place in eternity for the love of his wife and you are probably filled with horror at the suggestion. I’d go even further and willingly forgo eternity because the prospect of eternity is of no interest or value to me at all. ( another hundred years or so might be nice, but eternity? Nah!)

      • In reply to #25 by Lonevoice:
        >

        I wonder how someone can live a truly meaningful life with an atheist’s worldview. Of course, there are things in life we love: family, work, friendships, etc. But if the atheist’s worldview was truly correct, then we are all here by accident and there is no intrinsic purpose in life.

        There are only the purposes we choose for ourselves. Atheists choose their own (although some may take on ideologies), while theists are usually spoon-fed their by indoctrination, but consciously or subconsciously choose them just the same. (That is why there is such diversity of conflicting purposes around the world.)

        The things we enjoy, we can enjoy for only a time, then we’re gone.

        That is the nature of life and mortality – regardless of who believes it. What people believe has no effect on the nature of mortality any more than it has on the nature of gravity. .

        Where is the purpose of a life once lived – even enjoyed – but now forgotten? And what does it profit a person if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?

        No one profits beyond their deaths, but their communities may gain or lose by their passing. I never had a soul to lose, so I shall neither know nor care about the mythology when I am dead.

        This pastor who wants to live without God for a year is, as you rightly indicate, conducting a false experiment. Unless he genuinely loses his faith (which I hope does not happen), he will not really know what it’s like to live without God. It’s a pointless exercise.

        Its a bit like a cheese addict living without cheese for a year.
        He is unlikely to gain much understanding of the diverse philosophies of non-cheese eaters, any more than he is likely to gain an understanding of the philosophies of all the non-stamp-collectors in the world.

        Religions tend to be god-specific, so giving up one god may open eyes to wider horizons, but is unlikely to give insight into the thinking of other religions or of those who are free of gods. Those subjects need objective study.
        Dispensing with the blinkers and tunnel-vision is only one small step, although according to reports, some of the religious nastiness he is being subjected to, will give him a push away from the rosy-spectacle-view that particular flock.

  11. I see Lonevoice is getting plenty of replies to the “meaningless life” trope we so often hear. There is vast literature on that subject, even going into the meaning of “meaningless.” It might be good to link to some of our earlier threads on this subject. I will just add a simple idea: if you base “meaning” on following the dictates of a purported supernatural being, then at best only a minority of people find that kind of “meaning” because a majority of people are following mutually exclusive visions of said being (or beings). It’s just a numerical fact that, even if some religious people are right, most religious people are wrong about religion, and lacking evidence, it is a small step for us non-believers to see them all as wrong. If you are going to argue that your deity brings “meaning” then you are going to have to present evidence to support that position.

    Got evidence?

    • In reply to #37 by rizvoid:

      I think entirety here doesn’t mean living for endless number of years. I think eternity means no time, or living without time. No future, no past. Just the present.

      I’m glad that you qualified it, because my interpretation of eternity as endless years sounds quite awful. Ugh! Who would want that? I’m really not au fait with the exact notions that religious folk have, so I tend to impose my own interpretations. I expect that you also imagine this state to be on of infinite bliss…one in which the body is flooded with endorphins? Once again, I imagine that to be a state I wouldn’t really want for all time. I’m happy enough with the knowledge that the end will be the end.

      • In reply to #38 by Nitya:

        In reply to #37 by rizvoid:

        I’m glad that you qualified it, because my interpretation of eternity as endless years sounds quite awful. Ugh! Who would want that? I’m really not au fait with the exact notions that religious folk have, so I tend to impose my own interpretations. I expect that you also imagine this state to be on of infinite bliss…one in which the body is flooded with endorphins? Once again, I imagine that to be a state I wouldn’t really want for all time. I’m happy enough with the knowledge that the end will be the end.

        Prof David Bohm had some interesting things to say on this topic. He talks about this concept in his interviews and dialogues, some of which are available on YouTube. I also vaguely remember Brian Greene the physicist talking about how time could come to a complete standstill in one of his documentaries, which is also on YouTube, though I can’t remember the name.

        I think it is not really a concept confined to the domain of religious folks.

  12. I’m new to atheism this year, new to this discussion board, and new to this website. Over the past 6 months I have started to question, analyze, and truly think for myself since moving out of my parents house. Coming from a devoutly Christian household, it was difficult to raise my doubts; however, I felt that I must for my own peace of mind. For my own sanity I had to explore and question. I was brought up my whole life to believe and have faith in the unknown. But, since challenging my own assumptions, beliefs, and ideas with difficult questions…the evidence speaks for itself. The utterly ridiculous restraints and limits that have been placed on my way of thinking and life since being brought up with religion is frustrating to me. I feel like I need to play catch-up, or make up for lost time. Just last night I watched ‘The God Delusion’ documentary and felt a newfound sense of curiosity and amazement. To approach Christianity, or any religion, with a scrutinizing eye for weight of evidence and logic, the theme becomes clear: it is folly to place such ‘faith’ in the unknown simply for the sake of having an answer. I look forward to gaining some insight and guidance, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    • In reply to #57 by hanzo:

      I’m new to atheism this year, new to this discussion board, and new to this website. Over the past 6 months I have started to question, analyze, and truly think for myself since moving out of my parents house.

      Welcome to the site.

      I am sure you will find much of interest and new insights reading or participating in discussions.

  13. Believers believe no matter what. Lonevoice is a believer.

    I think of it this way….. Imagine a murder trial. the accused is guilty as hell, I mean slam dunk, smoking gun kind of evidence— a murder weapon, a video, a confession, a motive, an opportunity….. you get the picture.

    Now, put the accused person’s mother on the stand. She stands there and says “there is no way my son/daughter did this” There is an absolute denial of every thing that is right in front of her. She keeps saying “my son/daughter is simply not capable of hurting someone”….. “I did not raise him/her to hurt people”…..

    This is the exercise the believer is engaged in. please remember that they not only think that there is a god, but their belief extends to them LOVING this being and the being LOVING them back. It is a deep deep psychological issue and opening their eyes to the world is just about impossible — from an external locus. The only real way for eyes to be opened is if it is an internal awakening and realization.

    For some it will be triggered by something they learn and know to be true being in direct contradiction to what they have been taught or what they believe. For some, it will be a death in the family or loss of a loved one that is so so so unfair that they become disenchanted with the notion of a loving god and it will snowball from there. i would imagine there are tons of other ways that it could occur.

    BUT, make no mistake, someone like lonevoice will NEVER come off of their stance, no matter what is shown/proven/demonstrated because they are in LOVE with their construction of god. I use the word construction deliberately because that’s exactly what it is—- every believer believes in their own personal construction of this nebulus god type thing. That’s why they kill each other over it.

  14. What is ironic between us, is that you think I’m blind and closed-minded, and I think the same about you. I’m under no illusion that anything I write in defence of the Gospel will cut any ice with any of you – but that’s not why I contribute to this site. I have already explained that it’s a worldview thing and all evidence is interpreted according to what makes most sense to the interpreter.

    Um, that’s not what evidence is. Not from a scientific standpoint.

    One person may have an entirely different interpretation of evidence than someone else. The thing they may be positing could in fact not be evidence. It could be a mistake on the part of the individual. So in science, you have peer review and in most related institutions you have methods of verifying findings that are more than merely what one or two viewers think. The evidence has to stand up to scrutiny and be demonstrable repeatedly.

    This is not what you are presenting. You are offering a single definition based on your own standards of what is or is not true or what is or is not evidence. Except that isn’t evidence, it’s opinion. Now, you can have an opinion on something and it may be informed, but that doesn’t mean it is true. Scientists go through a process of eliminating the things that may sound feasible but ultimately are not true. What evidence do you have that the books of the bible are written by the people that are credited, or even that they existed? What evidence do you have that the universe has a single whiff of design? Saying it seems that way is at best an opinion.

    And many of the questions you have not addressed go a long way to whittle down the statements you’ve made. But in order to get to the truth of the claims, you have to be willing to accept you may in fact be wrong about your position. I find myself learning a great deal from a lot of people on this site with unique expertise and observation. I hope that even if nothing is ultimately resolved that at least you can take some of the information and follow up on it.

    You’ve made some interesting assertions about what atheists think and how we feel, which I think is a bit disingenuous. We are not all one people thinking in one way. Atheist become atheists for a multitude of reasons and not all of them even consider the science or factual nature of a given claim. So let’s not generalize quite so much. You’ve even mentioned that this is an atheist site, and not a science site. This is the site of Richard Dawkins, who is a scientist that is also an atheist. That actually means a better way to describe it would be a secular site that promotes evidence based thinking. And that is the one thing you have not provided. Evidence.

  15. This thread is chock full of awesome. The folks who have commented here have left it all on the table and made it pretty obvious to see where the answers actually are. Of course, we all know shit from shinola. I found myself liking so many comments that I’d rather post an overall “LIKE” than go through and hit everyone’s comments.

    Lonevoice, you may have a different worldview (and I thank you for sharing it) but I will tell you this, you have managed to bring out the best in many folks here. Well done!

    • In reply to #94 by crookedshoes:

      Of course, we all know shit from shinola.

      I agree, this has been a fun thread to follow. I just wanted to thank you for shaking the cobwebs from my brain with that saying. I hadn’t heard it in a long time. You must be in or near the Midwest. :)

      Mike, faith-free

      (Back to lurking)

  16. Maybe off topic, but a brief reply would be appreciated.

    I have a few questions: Is it true that all of what we regard as living is made from the same stuff…carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen and some trace elements? Is there anything living that does not have any one of these elements? Don’t the fruit flies that keep showing up in my kitchen have the same ingredients I have?

    I’m thinking that if a god of any stripe made life wouldn’t science discover some special ingredient/element in humans? I don’t know of any. Is this on the right track for a solid argument?

  17. In reply to NUMBER 40 by Lonevoice: “God does not move us around like robots.” According to scripture, the idea of “free will” is a theological misnomer. For example: If God had not been at work in Judas, Herod and Pilate, then he could not have been absolutely certain that Christ would have been crucified. And if that pivotal event had been uncertain, then all the Old Testament prophecies pointing to it would have been placed on a mere probabilistic and precarious basis. Judas could not have chosen any other alternative than what he did choose, for God had already predetermined Judas to be the unfailing agent of the divine plan to bring Christ to the cross.

    • In reply to #101 by Bob Springsteen:

      If God had not been at work in Judas, Herod and Pilate, then he could not have been absolutely certain that Christ would have been crucified.

      . . . . . . . . According to the stories in the Canonical gospels chosen by the Romans about 300 years after supposed events.

      The Gospel of Peter. says Pontius Pilate was not involved.

      A major focus of the surviving fragment of the Gospel of Peter is the passion narrative, which is notable for ascribing responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus to Herod Antipas rather than to Pontius Pilate.
      And if that pivotal event had been uncertain, then all the Old Testament prophecies pointing to it would have been placed on a mere probabilistic and precarious basis.

      The Gospel of Judas also tells a rather different story, so the whole lot is best regarded as uncertain mythology made up in line with the earlier prophesies to add credibility to the claims of various sects.

      In contrast to the canonical gospels which paint Judas as a betrayer of Christ who delivered him up to the authorities for crucifixion in exchange for money, the Gospel of Judas portrays Judas’s actions as done in obedience to instructions given by Christ. This portrayal seems to conform to a notion current in some forms of Gnosticism, that the human form is a spiritual prison, and that two kinds of human beings exist:

    • In reply to #103 by Lonevoice:

      Oh, I get it now. I’m the only one who has a bias.

      We are all biased, it’s just that some of us are biased in the right direction. :-)

      The last point I made about the scientists was intended to sound overly angry but it was to point out a simple flaw in your argument. We do not try to undermine religion so that we can get away with anything. We do it purely as a consequence of our search for the truth of the universe.

      As I have passed the middle of my life I sometimes reflect on how wonderful it would be to know that life carries on after death. However that would be purely wishful thinking and I do not let it get me down. I actually found it a relief to know that my Father’s suffering ended at the moment of his death. But imagine the torment I would have to live in if I were a believer knowing that my Father might be judged an unrepentant sinner by some evil sky fairy. Likewise, if I judge the actions of the majority of modern Christians by biblical standards I’d say very few are getting into heaven so you had all better have your asbestos pants ready.

      • In reply to #105 by naskew:

        In reply to #103 by Lonevoice:

        Oh, I get it now. I’m the only one who has a bias.

        We are all biased, it’s just that some of us are biased in the right direction. :-)

        I like the humour. It was not lost on me.

        Regarding your comment about the search for the truth of the universe: this is one of the areas of obvious disagreement between our respective ways of looking at the universe. As I’ve posted elsewhere, it’s not about who has the best evidence: we all live on the same planet with the same evidence, but what differs is how each side sees that evidence. One side sees only natural processes, while the other sees the hand of a designer/creator. Bear with me while I illustrate my take on the “natural processes only” position.

        Here in the UK a few years ago, there was a big crisis with investments that were taken out to pay off the capital of mortgages at the end of the term but, as investment returns took a nose-dive, many failed to achieve this objective. A huge number of customers were left unable to fully repay their mortgages and many many complaints about the sales of these investments arose: I was involved in calculating compensation for the shortfalls. An accurate calculation required that we had details of all of the customer’s mortgage history, including dates of any changes of rates/lenders/amounts/house moves etc. Now, where a customer had never changed lenders, the calculation was easy and we knew it correctly reflected what had actually happened. Other customers had changed lenders and so these changes had to be factored into the calculations. If a customer could provide dates of changes, again we would know the compensation calculation would be reflect the truth. However, where the customer could not remember the dates of any changes, we had to use assumptions. For example, where no other details were provided, we might assume that they had not changed lenders at all: or we might assume that they had always been with their current lender – neither of which was actually the case, but there was no evidence on which to build any other model. Therefore, the calculations did not reflect the truth. To be fair to the customers, our letters always spelled out what those assumptions were, which allowed them to challenge them if other information came to light.

        Now, back to the evidence thing: it is all very well exptrapolating backwards what we know today about natural biological,cosmological and geological processes, but it does not necessarily mean that this is what actually happened. Alternatively, to be fair to the general public regarding, say, the age of the earth, the assumptions that go into getting the results of millions of years should be made known.

        Regarding your personal feelings about your stage in life and looking forward etc and in particular, your comments about your father, we do not know each other and for me to say anything on this would be inadequate. It would be very difficult to cover the issues senstively from a distance and a public forum like this is definitely not the appropriate place for that either. This is not a cop out, as some observers may say, but a sincere desire not to give shallow, irrelevant and insensitve responses to deeply personal issues – or to allow others to chip in with their views on me or your personal situation.

        Your closing remarks about the actions/behaviour of modern Christians – I couldn’t agree with you more, except that it’s easy to generalise and apply that to every Christian, which would be inaccurate! And I include myself in that. There are many who profess a faith in Jesus Christ but you have to wonder how real that it – especially in the West. So, as you’ve raised a matter of faith, I will respond as such. The New Testament teaches that none of us can earn a place in heaven by our own behaviour alone. The thinking behind this is that God is perfect and no-one else is – so imperfect people can’t attain a place in heaven by their own effort because they’ll never get perfect. It is having faith in what Jesus did (by dying to take our penalty) that enables him to grant us a place there. That’s not to say subsequent behaviour of a believer isn’t important: it is! But we don’t earn favour on our own merit. In a sense, Jesus IS our asbestos pants, so to speak.

        • In reply to #107 by Lonevoice:

          Now, back to the evidence thing: it is all very well exptrapolating backwards what we know today about natural biological,cosmological and geological processes, but it does not necessarily mean that this is what actually happened. Alternatively, to be fair to the general public regarding, say, the age of the earth, the assumptions that go into getting the results of millions of years should be made known.

          To use your own scenario, the churches, actually that’s not fair, some churches stance on young earth theory is more like one of your customers turning up with all the paper work showing when they changed lenders and then you turning round and stating that all the paper work must be faked because according to your records the policy history was quite different. Worse that that, your records were not actually kept at the time but recorded some time later by someone who was not around at the time of the policy changes but had heard from someone who heard from someone who was around.

          There is plenty of scientific evidence for old earth (let me name a few that I know, radio carbon dating, sedimentary records, tectonic shift observations, fossil records) and absolutely none for young earth. Wait that’s not fair, you have a book. A book that contradicts itself time and time again, a book that is filled within horrific tales of a jealous god, a book that was at best written hundreds of years after the events are supposed to have taken place.

          If you want to simply ignore scientific evidence then you are free to do so. You can say that the evidence suggests one thing but your book says another but that means ultimately that either we are right in ageing the earth or your deity has faked the records in some bizarre attempt to trip us up.

          Oh and it’s not millions of years, it’s billions.

          • In reply to #108 by naskew:

            In reply to #107 by Lonevoice:

            Hello, naskew,

            I’ve just seen your reply and I feel that must refer again to my previous posting that explained how we know the biblical documents that form the Old and New Testaments were not written up hundreds of years after the events they describe. I’m really sorry that you didn’t accept the details I put in comment #82 about this. I would really urge you to approach this matter again. In your search for truth, what if you find these documents are not the fakes you thought they were?

            Again, I have to say that the disagreement between you and me is not about the evidence itself. I could refer you to articles and papers written by people with PhDs who contend that the evidence you cite (carbon dating, fossils etc) can reasonably be viewed and explained as being consistent with an earth that is neither millions nor billions of years old.

            I appreciate your earnest desire to be fair in your last post by referring to ‘some churches’ rather than all churches, however, I don’t feel you exercised the same fairness when saying that I (probably meaning biblical creationists in general) reject scientific evidence. As far as I recall from what I have heard, read etc, the idea of millions of years for the age of the earth was first put forward based on a uniformitarian (very slow) view of geological events. Charles Lyell was a key proponent of this view and his work greatly influenced Darwin’s thinking*, which, in turn, greatly influenced how he saw the world.

            A biblical creationist would not hold Lyell’s view; not least because they would accept the biblical account of Noah’s flood. (Please don’t get hung-up on my mention of this – I know you’re unlikely to agree with it: so let’s not get side-tracked.) The point is that this uniformitarian starting place for these long ages was the premise behind my illustration of modelling a calculation without changes, even though changes actually took place.

            I would make a further point, however, in that the uniformitarian view is no longer widely accepted in scientific circles, as far as I know, and multiple catastrophes are now widely considered to be a key part of the earth’s history. To me, this sounds like a variation on the biblical flood view, whilst still rejecting the biblical account and maintaining the millions of years stance. The flood itself, of course, would have been described as a catastrophe in anyone’s book.

            Looking back at the 200+ years of ‘millions of years’ thinking, I note that the estimated ages have become longer, not shorter, despite the expectation that catastrophes would shorten the time required to form the earth into its current condition. We no longer need Lyell’s uniformitarian viewpoint to explain things. Catastrophes would lead to more rapid deposition (i.e. more layers laid down faster) than his original very slow, model, yet the millions of years view remains.

            When it comes to our origins, you and I cannot get away from the fact that neither of us was there (unlike the customers in my illustration who kept a record of every change to their mortgage), and so, whichever way we each interpret the evidence before us today, we base our respective views of that evidence on a belief about the past; not on first-hand observation. My position is based on an acceptance of the bible as being the word of God, as it claims to be, but I fully understand that many people do not accept that. Therefore, I’m prepared to accept that God speaks the truth (which incidentally means that there can’t be actual contradictions: only human misunderstandings which require education and explanation). Have you ever known a man to always tell the truth – no matter how qualified he may be? No: me neither.

            I sincerely urge you to consider these things with an open mind. And that’s not meant in any unkind way at all, I can assure you.

            Best regards,

            Lonevoice.

            *Interestingly, and I say this as sensitively as I can, Darwin was also greatly affected by the death of his 10-year old daughter (Who wouldn’t be? I can’t imagine the pain that some parents go through when losing a child of any age). Certain notes in his paperwork suggest anger towards God over her death. I’m not going to be dogmatic about this, but is it possible – just possible – that this personal tragedy also influenced the way he saw the world: a world without the need for God? Ultimately, underlying the worldview that determines our interpretation of the world around us, is the matter of the heart.

          • In reply to #109 by Lonevoice:

            Again, I have to say that the disagreement between you and me is not about the evidence itself. I could refer you to articles and papers written by people with PhDs who contend that the evidence you cite (carbon dating, fossils etc) can reasonably be viewed and explained as being consistent with an earth that is neither millions nor billions of years old.

            No it can’t. The claim is nonsense!
            It does not matter what degrees they may have. They have zero credibility because their supposed “evidence” is rubbish, and no expert scientific bodies regard them as anything but deluded incompetents who may also be dishonest in the presentation of their proposals. Virtually the whole of modern science proves them wrong.

            I would make a further point, however, in that the uniformitarian view is no longer widely accepted in scientific circles,

            Quoting other refuted and discarded ideas adds no weight to the refuted discarded ideas of Bishop Ussher.

            as far as I know, and multiple catastrophes are now widely considered to be a key part of the earth’s history.

            There are real records in the planet of other catastrophic events. The details are well documented but YEC believers make no attempt to understand them.

            To me, this sounds like a variation on the biblical flood view, whilst still rejecting the biblical account and maintaining the millions of years stance.

            But that is only because you have no idea about these events or the methods used to identify them.

            The flood itself, of course, would have been described as a catastrophe in anyone’s book.

            The floods were catastrophic in various books and in the geological record. River floods, tsunamis, coastal floods from sea-level changes, the breaking of glacial ice dams releasing lakes, the collapse of volcanic dams, The Black Sea basin flood 7,460 years ago.

            There is evidence for these, but none of them were global – even if the locals thought that perticular flood had obliterated their world at the time.

          • *Interestingly, and I say this as sensitively as I can, Darwin was also greatly affected by the death of his 10-year old daughter (Who wouldn’t be? I can’t imagine the pain that some parents go through when losing a child of any age). Certain notes in his paperwork suggest anger towards God over her death.

            Can you elaborate – what were these notes?

            I’m not going to be dogmatic about this, but is it possible – just possible – that this personal tragedy also influenced the way he saw the world: a world without the need for God?

            So you think he spent 20 years constructing his theory and backing it up with evidence, and all to spite God for letting his daughter die? How do you explain the fact that most of that work was done before the death of his daughter? And why did he wait 8 years after her death before publishing his theory? And how do you explain the fact of evolution and the fact that over 150 years later Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is the most important scientific theory in biology.

            Ultimately, underlying the worldview that determines our interpretation of the world around us, is the matter of the heart.

            NO IT IS NOT. At least not for most of us. It may be for you because, despite what you said above, you are dogmatic in your beliefs. You also said:

            My position is based on an acceptance of the bible as being the word of God, as it claims to be, but I fully understand that many people do not accept that. Therefore, I’m prepared to accept that God speaks the truth (which incidentally means that there can’t be actual contradictions: only human misunderstandings which require education and explanation).

            Because you dogmatically believe that the bible is the word of God, and cannot be contradicted, you cannot accept the theory of evolution. So you have to come up with some explanation as to why the theory is wrong, despite all the evidence. Even if that explanation involves the sort of insensitive comments you made above.

            In reply to #109 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #108 by naskew:

            In reply to #107 by Lonevoice:

            Hello, naskew,

            I’ve just seen your reply and I feel that must refer again to my previous posting that explained how we know the biblical documents that form the Old and New Testaments were not written up hundreds of years after the events…

  18. Some of this is just nonsense… you can not opt out of religion for a year,.. or atheism for that matter, it’s not something that can be turned off and on… it’s a belief. Sure you may not go to a church for a year or pray for a year… but your still a christian…. It’s like a white guy saying “I’m not white any more I’m gonna be black for a year”… it’s nonsense!!!

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