Why is it okay to believe in a God?

44


Discussion by: Liam91
If I said to someone that I believe in Father Christmas or the tooth fairy for example, any right-minded person would laugh in my face. However if someone said that they believe in a God, we are told to respect their beliefs. My question is why is it okay to believe in a God or a religion, when it has caused much trouble in the past?

44 COMMENTS

  1. It is okay because it is not okay to legislate what what other people can believe even when we know they are wrong, because we do not want a similar conviction on their part imposed on us. Unfortunately some of the very beneficiaries of the enlightened thinking of our founders suffer from distorted thinking and prejudicial beliefs that do not embrace the same attitude. One convenient and self-serving error of thought is not understanding or acknowledging that the First Amendment also provides for freedom from religion.

    When someone insists that their beliefs and way of life should be imposed on others, that attitude and the dogma supporting it do not strike me as worthy of respect or tolerance.

  2. It is okay to believe in a god if you make clear what you mean by that word, and can produce evidence to justify such a belief. The problem with God, the supposed supreme being at the basis of the Abrahamic religions, is an entirely unknown entity whose existence is posited as an explanation of the existence of the cosmos and the supposed moral destiny of the human race. But an unknown entity cannot in any way be an explanation for anything, because (as is obvious) explanations can only be based on what is known.

    There is no comparison between believing in a god and believing in Father Christmas or the Tooth Fairy. These latter are like characters in fairy tales, part of the imaginative world that every child’s mind should be enlivened and enriched with in young childhood. A god is a being who, one believes, has authority and power over oneself, so that one bases one’s life on what one believes is that god’s will. The potential for people’s lives to be screwed up by unfounded beliefs is, I think, pretty obvious here.

  3. It is not ok to believe in gods any more than Father Christmas – actually rather less so, since I saw Father Christmas several times just a couple of months ago. But challenging people about their religious views cuts too deep for most people. Therefore it’s not done in polite society and this gives the impression that god bothering is acceptable.

    I would love to find a way to have a go at my ultra religious sister and her husband and their 4 brainwashed kids, but I can’t. Because they believe something without evidence, which everyone (even the religious) would consider ridiculous in every other context, the religious argument turns to ridicule in 1 minute. It’s just too high stakes, so I have to let it go. Grrrrr, mutter, mumble.

  4. Yes you should respect believers and not deride them unless of course they are bullish with you. Religion has being devisive in the past as we all know , it is insidious in respect to creating slaves of people and bestowing unwarranted power on its leaders. But religion also represents hope , it is intensely personal for many people and to senselessly attack this cuts to the very core of a person. People should aspire to be what ever they want as long as it does not infringe upon civil liberties and ethics.

  5. Are you talking of God the Creator or God the manipulator? I do not believe for one minute She has contacted us. If she wanted sheep She could have created them. No, I think, probably, in my opinion, that She has given us free will and Prime Numbers .At some time she will decide if we have passed the interview. Your,e dead right about the trouble and I can’t see it getting better.

  6. There is a difference between Okay and respectable. There is nothing bad about believing in the Tooth Fairy, but it isn’t respectable in an adult. Depending on how it affects their actions some religious beliefs are not bad, but they can never be respectable if you think truth and justice are important.

    Religious belief gets a pass because it is indoctrinated into people as children.

  7. Everyone has the right to believe whatever they wish; however, they have no right to expect their believes will be respected.

    God believers should be ridiculed at every opportunity. They should be informed that their beliefs are nothing but ancient barbaric superstitions, that they are superstitionists, that no one ever walked on water or talked to a burning bush. To believe such nonsense is absurd.

    Believers hate the word superstition. They have no response. To believe in things supernatural defines superstition and God nuts have no choice but to face the fact that they are superstionists.

  8. Because it helps many cope with life’s uncertainties and also death. The problem, the religious would argue, is that science has started to cause many people to have real doubts about the truth of religion, offering little in return. True, for religions like Islam, the savings in time and energy (worship etc.) are substantial but for most other religions, science takes away more than it gives back, especially for the nominally-but-sufficiently “religious”. So à la Pascal’s Wager, it is better for these to believe in God than otherwise (everything to gain, nothing to lose).

    Then there are others who are simply incapable of understanding science and logic to a degree that can truly free them from religion and these are as unstable and dangerous as half-treated patients. They are depressed and nihilistic. So this is why some would say it is okay if people want to believe in a god (presumably as long as it does no harm to others).

  9. Liam 91
    To compare Father Christmas or the tooth fairy to God is oversimplifying the problem. If they had been believed since back in the days when humans first started to become sedentary then they would have the same status has God does now. The problem I see here is that by marginalizing a persons belief in God all you do is make it that much easier for them to dig their feet in. You have to be more subtle and show similarities between you and them and then you’ll see they will be more open to what you have to say and THAT is when you place the seed of doubt.

  10. I think a better question is why do we not challenge other people’s religious belief’s when we feel free to challenge their beliefs on politics, economics, and other issues. I think the answer is that people have learned that religious people are crazy and challenging them on their kooky beliefs can lead to broken bones or worse. Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t challenge. Of course, the wackiest who do not want to be challenged feel very free to ask and tell.

  11. First of all, religions of all sorts have done enormous good in this world along with all the trouble they have caused. This is a fact that the participants of this site are loathed to admit.

    Second, the tooth fairy does not have hundreds of millions of people over many millennia believe in her/him. Millions upon millions of believers (like myself) both past and present have a vibrant relationship with God and experience irrefutable proof of His existence and working in our lives. Father Christmas does not enjoy such a devout following. (Comparing the belief in God with the belief in fiarytales is such as strawman argument) You can continue to causally dismiss our beliefs as delusional, tricfks of firing nuerons or a result of our upbringing, but in our private circles of conversations, my friends and I never seriously consider all of your philosophical and scientific reasoning against the existence of God because they fall miserably short of the realities we experience everyday. Ironically, atheism has an aluring appeal to me, but the majority of it just makes no sense to me when applied to my own reality.

    Over the past couple of years of being a member of this site, I have honestly tried to see the world from your perspective, but it does not square with the reality I experience each day. I know the members here find this fact infuriating, but all of the committed Christians I know find atheism impoverished and false. You trot out all sorts of resources, assertions and inferences without ever truly examining the believer’s side of reality with any objectivity. With religious fervor (pardon then irony), you must try to stamp out all traces of God as if your very lives depended upon His memory being completely extinguished from the human psyche. With a dismissive wave of the hand, you ignore all scientists and science that opens the door to the existence of God and the soul, and all believers are just lumped together as greedy fanatics, delusion simpletons, or scientifically illiterate ignoramuses.

    The fact of the matter is that 5 billion people on this planet believe in God, and millions of them for very compeling reasons; that’s why it’s OK.

  12. First of all, religions of all sorts have done enormous good in this world along with all the trouble they have caused. This is a fact that the participants of this site are loathed to admit.

    I’m not at all sure this is true. It would seem impossible to quantify good done by religion with good done outside of religion. In general, people do good, religion does evil. But even if you can find a causal connection (and from reading the rest of your post you appear able to find a causal connection in practically every circumstance) the evil certainly outweighs the good.

    in our private circles of conversations, my friends and I never seriously consider all of your philosophical and scientific reasoning against the existence of God because they fall miserably short of the realities we experience everyday.

    Wonder what Freud would say about that: “never seriously consider.” You are braggin about this? The everyday experience of “realities” that connect you with god is a classic example of confirmation bias. When something good happens in your life, goddidit. When something bad happens, you pray for god’s help. Are you too blind to see the disconnect here?

    I know the members here find this fact infuriating, but all of the committed Christians I know find atheism impoverished and false.

    And this is supposed to impress me, surprise me, or what? (first argumentum ad populem)

    With a dismissive wave of the hand, you ignore all scientists and science that opens the door to the existence of God and the soul.

    And that evidence would be exactly what? I have never seen one iota of scientific evidence of the existence of god–and neither have you.

    The fact of the matter is that 5 billion people on this planet believe in God.

    Figure is probably way off, but the real problem here is that this is your second argument ad populem in only one post.

    No, Mr. Nordic, you did not come upon this site for an objective look at anything. You came to confirm your bias. No amount of evidence to the contrary would shake your faith, because by your own admission, you “never seriously consider” reasoning, prefering to bury your head in the sand–afraid to let go of the umbilical cord that you think will grant you happiness and eternal life. My advice to you would be to let go–you won’t fall. Just get up off your knees and say, “I can’t find any evidence for god (except that which I manufacture during my daily life, as everywhere I look I see evidence for god–because I look so hard!) so I must be strong enough to deny the hypothesis.” See what happens. Maybe god will strike you with lightning, or you will get the flu, or something will happen so that you can misinterpret it as god interacting with you.

  13. In reply to #24 by JHJEFFERY:

    First of all, religions of all sorts have done enormous good in this world along with all the trouble they have caused. This is a fact that the participants of this site are loathed to admit.I’m not at all sure this is true. It would seem impossible to quantify good done by religion with good done outside of religion. In general, people do good, religion does evil. But even if you can find a causal connection (and from reading the rest of your post you appear able to find a causal connection in practically every circumstance) the evil certainly outweighs the good.in our private circles of conversations, my friends and I never seriously consider all of your philosophical and scientific reasoning against the existence of God because they fall miserably short of the realities we experience everyday.Wonder what Freud would say about that: “never seriously consider.” You are braggin about this? The everyday experience of “realities” that connect you with god is a classic example of confirmation bias. When something good happens in your life, goddidit. When something bad happens, you pray for god’s help. Are you too blind to see the disconnect here?I know the members here find this fact infuriating, but all of the committed Christians I know find atheism impoverished and false.And this is supposed to impress me, surprise me, or what? (first argumentum ad populem)With a dismissive wave of the hand, you ignore all scientists and science that opens the door to the existence of God and the soul.And that evidence would be exactly what? I have never seen one iota of scientific evidence of the existence of god–and neither have you.The fact of the matter is that 5 billion people on this planet believe in God.Figure is probably way off, but the real problem here is that this is your second argument ad populem in only one post.No, Mr. Nordic, you did not come upon this site for an objective look at anything. You came to confirm your bias. No amount of evidence to the contrary would shake your faith, because by your own admission, you “never seriously consider” reasoning, prefering to bury your head in the sand–afraid to let go of the umbilical cord that you think will grant you happiness and eternal life. My advice to you would be to let go–you won’t fall. Just get up off your knees and say, “I can’t find any evidence for god (except that which I manufacture during my daily life, as everywhere I look I see evidence for god–because I look so hard!) so I must be strong enough to deny the hypothesis.” See what happens. Maybe god will strike you with lightning, or you will get the flu, or something will happen so that you can misinterpret it as god interacting with you.

    Well, JHJeffery,

    So many fallacies and so little time. Oh well. Let me give you the scientific evidence I heard about the existence of the soul just this morning. Log on to the NPR website and listen to the Fresh Air interview with Dr. Sam Parnia. He’s got a new book entitled Erasing Death coming out next week, which I look forward to reading. He’s a non-religious scientist investigating after death experiences, the existence of an afterlife, and the theory that the soul is not rooted in the brain.

    Give a listen and let me know what you think. By the way, I think the rest of what you wrote is pure crap, but I’m sure the feeling is mutual, and there’s no reason we can’t be friendly about our clashing world views. Perhaps we can duke out some of those issues another time.

    Cheers!

  14. I think the OP is asking why, if the two beliefs have the same epistemic status, they are nevertheless treated differently by people. Liam91, is that correct?

    This isn’t something that can be answered comprehensively, as part of the answer revolves around the origin of religion in general, and it’s unconfirmed how religion originally arose. However, it can be summed up this way: people have emotional investments in one belief’s implications rather than the other’s, and belief in santa claus doesn’t have the same cosmological implications as belief in God does. For instance, belief in a god who personally creates things for some grander purpose appeals to our tendency to make sense of things in terms of purpose, appeals to our anthropomorphizing imaginations, and appeals to our personal vanity.

    People can believe things if they seem intuitively appealing in some fashion, and this often involves attaching strong feelings to a belief if it conforms to one’s inherent biases of attitude and behaviour. This makes certain beliefs not a matter of true-or-false, but a matter of having a personal stake in the belief. “It must be true, because bad things will happen if it isn’t (e.g. I’ll look foolish, unreliable, and incompetent), and it seems true so why not?” When these followers formed an organized group, they began to claim power and authority for their dogmas, and the rest is literally history.

    The result is that non-believers have to navigate the strong emotions and authority associated with belief in God, which means they resort to deferential and appeasing behaviours, helped along by a dose of self-deception to make their concessions look more convincing. So basically, people pussyfoot around God because someone will raise a fuss and can invoke societal and political clout and authority to back them up, whereas they need not pussyfoot around santa because no one has the same personal and emotional investment, and therefore will not make an equivalent fuss.

  15. In reply to #24 by JHJEFFERY:

    First of all, religions of all sorts have done enormous good in this world along with all the trouble they have caused. This is a fact that the participants of this site are loathed to admit.I’m not at all sure this is true. It would seem impossible to quantify good done by religion with good done outside of religion. In general, people do good, religion does evil. But even if you can find a causal connection (and from reading the rest of your post you appear able to find a causal connection in practically every circumstance) the evil certainly outweighs the good.in our private circles of conversations, my friends and I never seriously consider all of your philosophical and scientific reasoning against the existence of God because they fall miserably short of the realities we experience everyday.Wonder what Freud would say about that: “never seriously consider.” You are braggin about this? The everyday experience of “realities” that connect you with god is a classic example of confirmation bias. When something good happens in your life, goddidit. When something bad happens, you pray for god’s help. Are you too blind to see the disconnect here?I know the members here find this fact infuriating, but all of the committed Christians I know find atheism impoverished and false.And this is supposed to impress me, surprise me, or what? (first argumentum ad populem)With a dismissive wave of the hand, you ignore all scientists and science that opens the door to the existence of God and the soul.And that evidence would be exactly what? I have never seen one iota of scientific evidence of the existence of god–and neither have you.The fact of the matter is that 5 billion people on this planet believe in God.Figure is probably way off, but the real problem here is that this is your second argument ad populem in only one post.No, Mr. Nordic, you did not come upon this site for an objective look at anything. You came to confirm your bias. No amount of evidence to the contrary would shake your faith, because by your own admission, you “never seriously consider” reasoning, prefering to bury your head in the sand–afraid to let go of the umbilical cord that you think will grant you happiness and eternal life. My advice to you would be to let go–you won’t fall. Just get up off your knees and say, “I can’t find any evidence for god (except that which I manufacture during my daily life, as everywhere I look I see evidence for god–because I look so hard!) so I must be strong enough to deny the hypothesis.” See what happens. Maybe god will strike you with lightning, or you will get the flu, or something will happen so that you can misinterpret it as god interacting with you.

    Hi JHJefferry,

    So many fallacies and so little time. Oh well. Let me share with you scientific evidence I heard about the existence of the soul just this morning. Log onto the NPR website and listen to the Freshair interview with Dr. Sam Parnia. He is the leading scientists on cardiac resuscitation and after death experiences. He is non-religious and provides scientific evidence for the afterlife and the existence of the soul/ mind beyond the brain. Give a listen. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    By the way, I think the rest of your assertions and inferences were pure crap, but I’m certain the feeling is mutual. Still. there’s no reason for us to cross swords with rancor; we can still be friendly and duke it out on some of these other issues another time.

    Cheers!

    (By the way, sorry if this comment comes up twice, but my first comment did not take).

  16. It’s strange to me that god won’t even whisper in my ear once but he’ll have vibrant relationships with other people. What’s the trick?
    In reply to #23 by Nordic11:

    Millions upon millions of believers (like myself) both past and present have a vibrant relationship with God and experience irrefutable proof of His existence and working in our lives.

  17. In reply to #28 by rrh1306:

    It’s strange to me that god won’t even whisper in my ear once but he’ll have vibrant relationships with other people. What’s the trick? In reply to #23 by Nordic11:Millions upon millions of believers (like myself) both past and present have a vibrant relationship with God and experience irrefutable proof of His existence and working in our lives.

    Listen more carefully.

  18. In reply to #24 by JHJEFFERY:

    First of all, religions of all sorts have done enormous good in this world along with all the trouble they have caused. This is a fact that the participants of this site are loathed to admit.I’m not at all sure this is true. It would seem impossible to quantify good done by religion with good done outside of religion. In general, people do good, religion does evil. But even if you can find a causal connection (and from reading the rest of your post you appear able to find a causal connection in practically every circumstance) the evil certainly outweighs the good.in our private circles of conversations, my friends and I never seriously consider all of your philosophical and scientific reasoning against the existence of God because they fall miserably short of the realities we experience everyday.Wonder what Freud would say about that: “never seriously consider.” You are braggin about this? The everyday experience of “realities” that connect you with god is a classic example of confirmation bias. When something good happens in your life, goddidit. When something bad happens, you pray for god’s help. Are you too blind to see the disconnect here?I know the members here find this fact infuriating, but all of the committed Christians I know find atheism impoverished and false.And this is supposed to impress me, surprise me, or what? (first argumentum ad populem)With a dismissive wave of the hand, you ignore all scientists and science that opens the door to the existence of God and the soul.And that evidence would be exactly what? I have never seen one iota of scientific evidence of the existence of god–and neither have you.The fact of the matter is that 5 billion people on this planet believe in God.Figure is probably way off, but the real problem here is that this is your second argument ad populem in only one post.No, Mr. Nordic, you did not come upon this site for an objective look at anything. You came to confirm your bias. No amount of evidence to the contrary would shake your faith, because by your own admission, you “never seriously consider” reasoning, prefering to bury your head in the sand–afraid to let go of the umbilical cord that you think will grant you happiness and eternal life. My advice to you would be to let go–you won’t fall. Just get up off your knees and say, “I can’t find any evidence for god (except that which I manufacture during my daily life, as everywhere I look I see evidence for god–because I look so hard!) so I must be strong enough to deny the hypothesis.” See what happens. Maybe god will strike you with lightning, or you will get the flu, or something will happen so that you can misinterpret it as god interacting with you.

    I’m not certain if my responses are being flagged by the moderators or what, but I’ve responded to you twice JHJeffery and neither response has made it through.

    Sorry about that!

  19. In reply to #29 by Nordic11:

    In reply to #28 by rrh1306:

    It’s strange to me that god won’t even whisper in my ear once but he’ll have vibrant relationships with other people. What’s the trick? In reply to #23 by Nordic11:Millions upon millions of believers (like myself) both past and present have a vibrant relationship with God and experience irrefutable proof of His existence and working in our lives.

    Listen more carefully.

    How do you confirm that the resulting voice is not coming from your own imagination?

  20. I’ve listened quite carefully many times, middle of the night, tv off, dark room but still nothing. You mentioned in a previous post that Atheist are loathed to admit that religion has done lots of good but I’ve noticed something that most religious people are loathed to admit and it’s that somebody can legitimately reach out to god on multiple occasion and nothing happen. When I tell the religious that I usually get the standard response that I’m not doing it right, or I’m not listening hard enough, or I’m not doing it seriously, or my personal favorite, I need to believe first and then god will talk to me. I’ve given it a try but there’s only the sound of silence.

    In reply to #29 by Nordic11:

    In reply to #28 by rrh1306:

    It’s strange to me that god won’t even whisper in my ear once but he’ll have vibrant relationships with other people. What’s the trick? In reply to #23 by Nordic11:Millions upon millions of believers (like myself) both past and present have a vibrant relationship with God and experience irrefutable proof of His existence and working in our lives.

    Listen more carefully.

  21. Off Topic – sorry – although you could say I’ve had a revelation, increasing my faith.

    I noticed yesterday that you can click to see the User Likers now …. I’m so happy. Not for the numbers, but for new names, and the philosophical insight into our Community. My mental holograms of our Users get a little clearer and more 3D. I’ve been quite free with my Likes – – – – and just sometimes I wish for a Dislike button…. 8-b

    Thanks again to The Team who do all the cool magic stuff for us – the list is getting short, eh….

    Mac, in snowy -5c North Toronto.

  22. @Nordic11 comment 23

    JHJ dealt with most of your post with his usual clarity and precision. Argument ad populum is demonstrably erroneous thinking and it would be a good idea if you just stopped using that one. It`s practically an admission that you have nothing. So please stop. It never worked. It will never work. There are very good reasons to dismiss it.

    Over the past couple of years of being a member of this site, I have honestly tried to see the world from your perspective

    My perspective is simple. I won’t speak for anyone else here. I don’t believe in the stories you believe in. I don’t believe in them because they look, walk and quack like all those other myths about deities. Humans do love their deities and their stories about deities. There is nothing special about Yahweh or Jesus. Nothing. Forget about the lack of evidence for any deity whatsoever. It’s become obvious that evidence is not as important to you as your feely stuff, so let’s just pretend that it’s perfectly OK to assert the existence of a deity without a speck of evidence, even though it isn’t.

    Your Jesus deity doesn’t stand out in the crowd. There is nothing particularly special about him. He’s just another cult story that took root by a combination of historical circumstances and a whole lot of violence until it became so culturally entrenched that all it took was repetition and button-pushing from generation to generation. Sound like any other stories you know? There are plenty of them to compare yours with.

    my friends and I never seriously consider all of your philosophical and scientific reasoning against the existence of God because they fall miserably short of the realities we experience everyday

    The Jesus explanation falls miserably short of the extraordinary reality we observe, which, like it or not, is not all about us. To suggest that it is and that this justifies your emotional commitment to Jesus is intellectually and morally dishonest. You might as well just say, “It makes me feel good.” That’s all you’ve ever provided in any of these discussions. The fact that that’s good enough for anyone is always a source of astonishment and disappointment for me.

    does not square with the reality I experience each day.I know the members here find this fact infuriating,

    No. Just not worthy of respect. Mundane, really. Humans are prone to place their emotional desires above facts and to ignore or distort facts to reinforce their emotional positions. We can do better but that takes a lot of work and a willingness to scrutinize our own biases. Most christians I know perceive biased emotional commitment as a virtue. At least when it comes to their particular choice in Jesus story.

    all of the committed Christians I know find atheism impoverished and false.

    So what? They are “committed Christians that you know”. They and you reinforce a position for each other that resists any calls for evidence and reason. Devoted muslims find christianity impoverished and false.

    I can’t imagine a more impoverished view when I walk through the woods than the myopic, distorted, oblivious perspectives that human religions and ideologies offer to explain the extraordinary details of the history of this planet and all the life on it, let alone the vastness and tininess and just plain weirdness of the physical constraints that shape it all. Saul of Tarsus, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, priests and conmen throughout history, hallucinogenic-induced shamen. They were all just guessing. Lying to themselves sincerely or to others willfully or some combination of both.

    False? What do you mean that atheism is false? I don’t believe your story. That’s what atheism means. I don’t believe what you claim is true. It’s a ridiculous story from where I sit. You haven’t produced a speck of evidence to support your position. Just talked about your “experiences” as though yours are somehow more powerful and legitimate than everyone else’s. If I made that claim, I think it would be fair to of you to say that it smacked of at least a little bit of delusion and a whole lot of hubris. We need to agree on some fair rules Nordic, or we’ll never get anywhere.

    you must try to stamp out all traces of God as if your very lives depended upon His memory being completely extinguished from the human psyche.

    No. Just asking “Him” to take a seat in the waiting room with all the other deities that you don’t believe in. There are tens of thousands of them. You don’t even believe in the same deity that all kinds of other christians do. All those christian deities should get together and sort through the imposters until the real one is chosen and then “He” can sit in the waiting room with all the other deities until “He” can demonstrate that “He” actually exists and that the tens of thousands of other deities that humans believed/believe in just as strongly don’t.

    all believers are just lumped together as greedy fanatics, delusion simpletons, or scientifically illiterate ignoramuses.

    I have never made those claims. Some here have and I don’t like it because it’s not true. I wish they wouldn’t but I can’t do anything about that. You would have a case except that I have participated in and observed many discussions with you here in which people have treated you as a potentially reasonable individual with the best intentions and you have evaded engaging in the actual discussion, ignoring their requests for evidence and showing no sign of investigating the links they’ve provided or pondering the probes they make. JHJeffery, for instance in this thread. You only go so far and when you come back, you hit the reset button, pretending the conversations never took place. If you prefer to focus on the “creatard” comments, that’s your choice. But you’ve been provided with better choices than that and ultimately choose to ignore them on the particular subject of your brand of Jesusdeity.

    You trot out all sorts of resources, assertions and inferences without ever truly examining the believer’s side of reality with any objectivity.

    There are too many people here who came from the inside for that to wash here. You are dealing with many ex-believers. I’ve looked at life from both sides now and all. You have seen ample evidence of people examiing the believers’ side because many of them are ex-believers and we are all too familiar with that old canard. What would objectivity and “truly” examiing look like? If you mean accepting that it makes you feel really good, then no. Don’t pretend that there aren’t many people here who have made genuine efforts to examine what they might have missed. The fact is all you’ve ever provided is this concept of “experiencing irrefutable proof”, whatever that means. Do you want to get objective and do some true examining or not?

    5 billion people on this planet believe in God, and millions of them for very compeling reasons; that’s why it’s OK.

    And here we go again.

  23. In reply to #34 by susanlatimer:

    @Nordic11 comment 23

    5 billion people on this planet believe in God, and millions of them for very compeling reasons; that’s why it’s OK.

    SL: And here we go again.

    Hi Susan. I Like your whole Reply. After months of Lurking, my first RDFRS comment, on Apr 18, 2011, was in response to Nordic11, and it was the same things then – it really does get old…. Mac.

  24. Thank you Canuck Mac.

    I think I was there for that. It does get tired. I went on a little long because of the history.

    This accusation that the onlly reason I don’t accept Nordic’s interpretation of things is because I am hand-waving is ridiculous. He has consistently evaded the real discussion for years now when people have respectfully tried to engage.

    On his behalf, I am glad he’s still here. And on other subjects less close to home, he has demonstrated some thoughtfulness. Separation of church and state and such.

    But when it comes to discussing the validity of the Jesusdeity, he uses the same tricks that would not pass muster in any discussion of anything and then avoids respectful calls for reason and evidence on the subject, disappears and turns up eventually as though those discussions never took place, and pretends that everyone who won’t accept his position is philosophically biased against the Jesusdeity because we are narrow-minded. That’s a whole lot of evidence ignoring and strawmanning and it’s a few years old now.

    Thanks again to The Team who do all the cool magic stuff for us – the list is getting short, eh….

    Spoken like a true Canadian. And I agree completely.

    Mac, in snowy -5c North Toronto.

    It’s just above zero here which is a lot warmer than yesterday. I’m probably just a little bit (not much) southeast of you.

  25. Because Father Christmas and the tooth fairy would presumably be created beings that nobody has ever seen, so there is no other reason to say that they should exist. God however, is supposed to be the reason that every created being is seen, the idea that there is a Creator who got everything else started, someone who was here first and created gravity, for instance, for everything Steven Hawking says is a result of gravity to come to pass after that. It is fanciful to start imagining that other created beings exist which nobody has ever seen, but less fanciful to think that everything we see has a prior cause. We are used to things having prior causes and asking why. If we see a car, we wonder about a car maker. But just because we see a car, doesn’t mean there must be a turtle somewhere in the world also.

    Not only do we seek prior causes for things we see, but also prior causes and justifications for what we feel and think. If we think it is wrong to murder and steal from someone else what they have, but we see no practical reason not to murder and steal anyway, then we wonder what is in us that makes us not want to act that way. If it is just our genes, then there is still no objective reason not to act on those impulses, so we think there may be a standard outside of ourselves that we are picking up on from earth. Father Christmas and the tooth fairy are not likely candidates for the origin of moral standards, since they would be subject to them, not originators of them.

    When we seek forgiveness, we don’t want to just know that a particular person has forgiven us of certain things we have done against that person, but that we are forgiven for everything, and will not be judged or condemned at all. We want total freedom, so we seek a supreme omnipotent, all-wise and all-loving being who can declare us forgiven for everything and set us free once and for all. Likewise, we don’t want to die, and the tooth fairy / Father Christmas can’t stop death. It is rational to not want to die, and we live with more peace and purpose when we sense we will live forever, so we respect those who live well and believe in eternal life more than we respect those who believe in the tooth fairy or Father Christmas who offer no hope of eternal life or purpose. We see the lives that certain people live differently because of belief in God, for the good of others, and with love that makes no demands and isn’t based on what someone deserves, but we don’t see that with Father Christmas and the tooth fairy. Need I continue?

  26. Because Father Christmas and the tooth fairy would presumably be created beings that nobody has ever seen

    Who ever said they were created beings? Who created them?

    It is fanciful to start imagining that other created beings exist which nobody has ever seen, but less fanciful to think that everything we see has a prior cause.

    Maybe. Maybe not. It really depends on what you mean by “prior cause”. And when you say “God”, which god are you talking about? And how would we know that she doesn’t have a prior cause? How many turtles are enough turtles?

    If we think it is wrong to murder and steal from someone else what they have, but we see no practical reason not to murder and steal anyway, then we wonder what is in us that makes us not want to act that way.

    You need practical reasons not to murder and steal? Fair enough, I guess. But what do you mean by practical? It’s always fair to wonder. There’s a huge difference between wondering and making things up so you don’t have to wonder any more. This is one of the problems I have with “God” with a capital “G”. . She”d rather freeze your brain than answer your questions. Why don’t wolves murder and steal from one another? Some of them do but most of them don’t. It’s not practical. They would die if they murdered all the other wolves. Is that what you mean by practical? There’s also the idea that there is an emotional bond among the pack, individual to individual and that most wolves will risk their lives for the weakest members of the pack but will turn on the violent and/or weak cleptomaniacal ones. You’d better watch your step if you’re lupine or human.

    If it is just our genes, then there is still no objective reason not to act on those impulses

    I have learned to mentally delete “just” which is a sneaky, editorial term from all posts unless it has previously justified itself. And I have also learned that “objective” is a slippery word that isn’t tossed around lightly in philosophy and is not taken seriously at all in science without great big gobs of evidence. I don’t know much but that much seems clear enough to me unless I’m wrong. I’m happy to be corrected. Please explain what you mean.

    When we seek forgiveness, we don’t want to just know that a particular person has forgiven us of certain things we have done against that person, but that we are forgiven for everything, and will not be judged or condemned at all.

    Speak for yourself. If I seek forgiveness, I seek it from the individual. The only way I can expect that it’s useful is if I understand the harm I have caused,that if retribution is possible, that I can take my best stab at retribution and that I can pass on what I’ve learned so that it doesn’t happen again. It’s fairly simple but we can make progress. What “I want” when I seek forgiveness seems to undermine the whole point of forgiveness.

    we live with more peace and purpose when we sense we will live forever,

    Definitions and examples please. I don’t see the connection.

    so we respect those who live well and believe in eternal life more than we respect those who believe in the tooth fairy or Father Christmas who offer no hope of eternal life or purpose

    Again, what do you mean we paleface?

    That entire post seems to be based on what we (you) want.

    Need I continue?

    Not continue so much as back up, define, provide evidence and justify your reasoning.

  27. Hi Susan, Jeffery and others,

    I’m not certain what is happening on this thread, but only one of the four comments I’ve posted have come through. I don’t think I’ve said anyting that the moderators should flag, but my responses are not getting through.

    Sorry about that. I really am trying to respond.

    Nordic

  28. Hi Nordic

    No, we haven’t removed any of your comments. Will alert the admin team to the problem you’ve been having.

    The mods.

    In reply to #40 by Nordic11:

    Hi Susan, Jeffery and others,

    I’m not certain what is happening on this thread, but only one of the four comments I’ve posted have come through. I don’t think I’ve said anyting that the moderators should flag, but my responses are not getting through.

    Sorry about that. I really am trying to respond.

    Nordic

  29. In reply to #40 by Nordic11:

    Hi Susan, Jeffery and others,

    I’m not certain what is happening on this thread, but only one of the four comments I’ve posted have come through. I don’t think I’ve said anyting that the moderators should flag, but my responses are not getting through.

    Sorry about that. I really am trying to respond.

    Nordic

    This proves that god had something to do with it, and therefore he exists.

  30. Hi Susan, Jeffery and others,

    I’m not certain what is happening on this thread, but only one of the four comments I’ve posted have come through. I don’t think I’ve said anyting that the moderators should flag, but my responses are not getting through.

    Sorry about that. I really am trying to respond.

    Nordic

    Take your time, Nordic. I’m sorry you’ve had technical difficulties and I’m sure the Mods have made every effort to resolve them. But when you come back, please don’t start all over again as though the discussion never happened.

    by JH Jeffery

    This proves that god had something to do with it, and therefore he exists.

    No. If God had any ovaries at all, she’d make short work of our little human questions and reveal herself through her responses instead of disguising herself as something that merely makes Nordic11 and his true christian friends feel good about things when she knows all the evidence leans on the side of her only existing in our limited brains and that there is no evidence that suggests otherwise despite centuries of trying to find evidence for her.

    Imagine all the atheists she could convince with her limitless powers on RD.net.

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