Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Burden of Proof

The first step in refuting both the afterlife and god arguments, is the burden of proof. The burden of proof means that the one who asserts a positive statement, like "there is an afterlife," is the one who must support the statement. The asserter is "burdened" to prove the assertion.

Carl Sagan once said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Well, the claim of an entire new realm; an entire new dimension; indeed, an entire other life (after-life), is certainly extraordinary. So where is the extraordinary evidence? And I'm not talking about testimony. Testimony isn't even evidence, much less extraordinary. Do you believe everyone that swears that they were abducted by aliens? Or everyone that swears they saw Elvis? I contend that the claim of a life-after-your-life-ends is more extraordinary than the claim that one was abducted by an alien in this life, or saw Elvis in this life.

No, I want something tangible. I want something that I can quantify, measure, and understand the mechanics of to some degree. We have none of this with regards to the afterlife. In fact, we have tangible, quantifiable, and measurable evidence against the afterlife, but that's another blog entry.

However, if anyone here thinks that they have evidence for the existence of an afterlife, they are more than welcome to let me know in the comments sections on this blog. And of course don't forget to pick up your million bucks from The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge. The organization says that proof of "The Existence of Ghosts" will get you the cash, and last time I checked, "ghosts" are people who are "alive" after "death."

The first blog entry for this blog entitled "Kill The Afterlife," appropriately, represents the first test that the "afterlife" must pass, and that test is the burden of proof. The extraordinary nature of afterlife claims only increases the "burden" that they feel, as Carl Sagan has stated. The afterlife concept does not meet that burden.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here is the problem. Of course the concept of the afterlife is rampant among almost all theistic ideologies...

So, the attack is the ground floor, not the after thoughts....

Attack the ground floor and all principles within it, will tumble...

But you are on the right track....

See ya.

Aaron Kinney said...

Thank you anonymous! You popped my blog comments cherry! :)

Hellbound Alleee said...

I don`t know. Peel away their beliefs like an onion. Attacking God-Belief is only good if they are smart enough to understand. But people leave theism piece by piece. If their theology is peeled away, and only God-Belief is left, if they see no reason for this god, they`re done.

Aaron Kinney said...

Its a bummer I think that even if you defeat a theist in a conversation, they wont just switch beliefs. It takes years, if it happens at all. It took me two years to deconvert, and I think that was relatively QUICK LOL

thanx for the insightful comment, Hellbound Alleee!

Carmen R. Weitzel said...
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Carmen R. Weitzel said...
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Ry said...

Also the belief that you will live forever takes value away from your life in the hear and now. Rather than fixing problem one might be fine with just letting them be.

Don't forget those who go to war not thinking it will matter if they are killed since they go to magic happy land.

Anonymous said...

here's proof that there's an afterlife. people are 99.999% dark matter and lest than 0.01% atoms. atoms are what enable "life" or anything to exist in a physical state. in fact even atoms are made of pure energy. therefore our concept of life is based on our collective and subjective perspectives as well as our limited intelligence and sensory systems. we can't possibly grasp the complexity of existance. but we do know that we were made to experiance it and have adapted to whatever the conditions in order to exist today. we are just so dehumanized by pop-culture and the material world to appreciate whats mundane and "real". the topic is why too broad and doesn't aknowledge the billions of other questions to our existance at all since 99.9% of life on earth has already been killed off. basically what im saying is to answer this question trithfully you first need to spend a billion lifetimes opening your mind :) i believe the fact we can dream and be subjectively and so increadibly physically engaged in 3D worlds projected by our innermost thoughts and dillusions. dude theres is no life after life.. its all life and runs so much deeper than our physical appetites and personal wants and egos. life is beyond us but we are unarguably apart of it and its amazing and extraordinary existance at all!!!

Anonymous said...

The way allee and francois "handled" matt slick in show (was it 49?) 49 made me grimace. I dunno if you're qualified to give tips on confronting theists alleee, not until you can do another show with matt slick and ter him to shreds.

Aaron Kinney said...

I once handled Slick in an email correspondence. Wish I saved those!

Actually, Franc and Alison did hand him his ass. But Slick has more of a professional sounding speaking tone and style. And I had follow up posts on the show at Goosing the Antithesis where I pointed out a few critical errors on Slicks part that werent pointed out during the audio broadcast.

David Routledge said...

Hello Aaron

Think of a famous person

Do not say this aloud

Just keep thinking the name

Now tell me who you were thinking about



Are you sure that is who you were thinking of?

It wasn't just some trick of your mind?


Are you absolutely 100% certain that is who you were thinking about?



And it was a real event in your experience that actually happened?



Okay


Prove it!



God bless
Dave

JT said...

I can see a theist's motivation for converting an atheist, but what is an atheist's motivation for "deconverting" a theist?

LJ said...

Dave seems to miss the qualifier. As stated in the post, it is "extraordinary" claims that require extraordinary evidence. Dave's example is one of little significance, as there is no consequence to not accepting the veracity of Aaron's memory. This is not the case according to what I remember of x-tian pretentions to knowledge.

Unless, Dave, you are trying to say that your faith in God is as trivial a matter as whether or not Dave can prove his memory.

Likely, Dave meant that some things require different kinds of proof, or are perhaps even beyond proof. Of course, this is a convenient escape hatch for religious types and one they use only for their own religious claims, but denounce when other religions use. (Special Plead much?)

However, I still contend, along with C. Hutchins, that claims asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

As for motivation to "deconvert" theists, how about truth for starters? How about freeing children from epistemic oppression and the psychologically crippling effects of religion? How about attempting to defuse religious war, and to mediate between competing faith claims? How about concern for the planet here and now rather than abrogating responsibility onto the hereafter?

Jt's myopia is troubling.

JT said...

First let me say that apparently I am one of the deluded, psychologically crippled theists. Secondly, I merely asked the question. I didn't say there were not motivations for "deconverting theists", nor did I say that I was unaware of some of the reasons given by non-theists. I apologize if my seemingly myopic views offended your intelligence. I am just here to chat, really. Last visit to the site was my first, actually.

I am all for investigation of truth and mediating between conmpeting faith claims.

I am also concerned for the here and now. The fact that I am a theist does not allow me to abrogate the responsibility to my community or world at large. I would say that most humanitarian aid comes from religious groups. I have never heard of an atheist group sending representatives to victims of any tragedy (though I do not discount the possibility that it has happened.) That's a bit ironic, though, isn't it? The champions of humanism do less to help humans than the theists? I would say that for the most part, your charge that theists do not care for the planet or the people in it in the "here and now" is by and large a false charge.

Dave Routledge said...

Here! Here!
But can you prove it?
You know they won't believe you unless you can.

Anonymous said...

If a thiest could prove God's existence, would an atheist then believe it? I contend that only some would, the rest would not no matter how extraordinary the proof.

And who can blame them, really? Think about it. To believe in the existance of a totally sovereign and perfect being that created everything in existance would mean having to admit that being alone is worthy to be served, is ruler of all, is in charge, gets to make all the rules, is to be worshipped, is to be totally obeyed, and that being's truth is total and complete, etc.

What human wants to admit to that? Wouldn't we rather serve ourselves? Be in charge of ourselves? Make up our own truths as we go along? Elevate ourselves. See ourselves as in possession of the ultimate in knowlege and wisdom.

That's just so much easier, isn't it? Truly.

LJ said...

Guess I hit a nerve here... Let me push a little harder then...

Rather than dealing with hypotheticals and ruling the world through your unfalsifiable myths, what do you say we concentrate on epistemic standards that all can employ and verify. I do not pretend that reason is infallible, nor do I say that humanists are perfect, but I find nothing near as practical, universal, and objective as rationality.

For the record, please recognize that ratiocination is not a rule we sceptics made up, nor are we denying or elevating or whatever red herring you want to throw up to avoid looking at your bankrupt worldview. It's not a matter of admitting the possibility of Invisible Pink Unicorns, Yahweh, Jesus, Poseidon or whatever myth you want to posit. It's a matter of differentiating between these competing faith claims.

I make no apologies for seeking an objective measure. It's a mode of observation and the best mode of seeking truth known to man. If your claims can't meet this standard, don't blame me, blame yourself or your pastor or your god who makes you live in a universe that is hostile to your beliefs.

Remember, even those who profess to not need proof conveniently employ it whenever it pleases them, but allow this standard to slip when it serves their pet theology. I have yet to hear anything approaching a cogent response to this charge.

I know x-tians think they've got the truth, and that's fine as long as it's kept on a personal level and don't infringe upon the rights of the defenseless and impressionable among us. But in a world that is growing smaller by the minute, we cannot afford to allow dangerous myths the free pass they once enjoyed.

In sum, I would like someone to tell me why x-tians should not have to hold to the same epistemic standards that every one else in the world does. Why the special pleading?

You tell me which is easier: growing up and leaving the bigotry behind or stubbornly wallowing in denial?

David Routledge said...

LJ

Please correct me if I am wrong, but you seem to be arguing that Christians should be singled out( discriminated against)and not allowed the right of free speech, lest they do damage to what you call the "defenceless and immpressionable people amongst us".The Christian message is one of love and is motivated soley by a desire to save all people from eternal hell. Pilate could not see that Jesus had done anything wrong, and posed no threat( except a political headache to an occupying Roman power) when he himself came to bring that news. What is it you are afraid of ? Why do you think the defenceles or impressionable need your protection and, furthermore protection from what?You might be interested to know thatC.S. Lewis was himself an atheist and possessor of one of the brightset,most logical minds the world has known, was touched by God and his need for "proof" was removed

God is NOT answerable to us. He owes us nothing. As for scientific proof, does not the sheer vastness and balance of the universe, the minute and delicate workings of nature, sugest to you that a it has been designed by someone? Perhaps THE supreme scientist. And when whatever you might choose to call your soul is stirred by a piece of music or a stunning , breathtaking,landscape,do you not give even the slightest notion that it may be the work of a supreme artist?

I find it difficult to accept that you believe that unless what you have to say can somehow be proved then you should not be allowed to say it. Incidentally It is not just Christians that fail to meet your epistemic standards, presumably this applies to All religiuos belief, politicians, spitirtualists, people who believe in aliens, telling your children that Santa Clause exists etc etc

Please tell me I have misundrestood you.

God bless
Dave

JT said...

I am not against proof. I think it's important. I do think, though, that it is extremely difficult to prove most things beyond a shadow of a doubt. I think it's much more practical (and existentially livable) to defer to the most likely explanation of things considering the evidence. (That's not good wording, but for example, I sit down in my computer chair every day without demanding absolute proof that it will, in fact, not collapse.)

I think someone hit on this argument earlier, when talking about truth claims. There was a difference made between extraordinary claims and ordinary claims, I think. I'm not sure it is consistent to demand proof for extraordinary claims, but not for "ordinary" ones. Or how even to qualify what is ordinary and extraordinary, really, outside of our experience. Some would say that I love my wife is ordinary. Some would say that if I have no soul and live in a purely random, naturalistic universe, it is quite an extraordinary claim that I love her rather than eat her. (And I think one would have a difficult time agreeing on objective standards that prove that one loves anything.)

LJ said...

"Incidentally It is not just Christians that fail to meet your epistemic standards, presumably this applies to All religiuos belief, politicians, spitirtualists, people who believe in aliens, telling your children that Santa Clause exists etc etc"

Please tell me I have misundrestood you."

I think you are getting my point. Sceptics appropriately place the foregoing list of myths in the same scrap heap.

I have many opinions on facets of your post, but will attempt to stay on topic here:

The question is why does your myth deserve special treatment that you will not grant to other myths?

Why are you intolerant of followers of Shiva or Cuchulain yet expect your story to be received with hushed attention?

Do you not see your special pleading?

Dave Routledge said...

lj

Because no one else in history has made the claims that Jesus did and no ne else has risen from the grave.

I cannot prove to your satisfaction, that what Jesus said about himself is true,namely that he is the ONLY hope of avoiding eternal damnation. If that claim is false, then Jesus and therefore the whole of Christianity, is of no significance whatsoever. If however He is who he says He is, then there is nothing of greater importance.

Unless you can disprove his claims then there remains the possibility they are true and therefore you are at risk of something terrible beyond comprehension.

I would really like to know what your first name is, as I am currently praying that God will reveal his truth to you.

I would also be intersted to hear your views on the other facets of my post
God bless
Dave

LJ said...

I asked why you believed your myth over others and you respond with tired claims:

"Because no one else in history has made the claims that Jesus did and no ne else has risen from the grave."

Correction: many "gods" have been reported to have risen from the dead, and many so-called gods have made claims. You select one of the many and ascribe it truth value.

Not only do you seem oblivious of your relation to your socially constructed truth, you ignore the PR group responsible for collating and distributing your favorite sacred book. This vested interest, at least, provided justifiable grounds for scepticism.

Please recognize: you have not answered the charge of special pleading.

Further, you attempt to sweeten the pot:

"Unless you can disprove his claims then there remains the possibility they are true and therefore you are at risk of something terrible beyond comprehension."

It is not for me to disprove; it is for the x-tian or that deity, if actual, to prove your view of reality correct. A just punisher, as you describe your god, would make the options evident and provide unmistakeable evidence so that one could make a decision as freely as possible, far from ignorance and coercion.

All you have demonstrated is that I better believe or else. Fear is not the same as belief.

But even if the foregoing were not so, you still have to convince me why I should believe in your fearful story of death. There are many other stories much more attractive and convincing. I fail to see how such an angry, brutal god and story is the one you resonate to.

Maybe you've got the problem, and you are the one that is "at risk of something terrible beyond comprehension." Indeed, I would say that you are living your hell right here and now.

Please keep your book of death and evil deity to yourself. Please do not poison others with your myth and impose your lack of imagination and hope on the rest of us.

You are a religious terrorist.

Dave Routledge said...

LJ

Please accept my apology if you feel I have not answered you question. Let me attempt to do so.

I do not recall saying that Christians have a special plea to be able to say what they want without proof.I have no objections whatsoever to ANY religeous group expressing their view. I believe in democracy.

I would be very interested if you could tell me the name of anyone eles who claimed to have risen from the dead, and as a point of interest why they are not as widely known and have not affected the lives of millions of people or had their words printed in the worlds best selling book of all time.

Your discription of the Bible is a clear demonstration that you have not actually read it or at the very least have a gross misunderstanding of it.

As for the burden of proof:I can not prove to you the existence of God ( clear )? But that does not mean He does not exist!

You, as I was, are left with an inescapable truth. Either disprove God and the claims of Jesus or you are left with the possibility that the Bible is true, and, if that is so, then the consequence of your doctrine is eternal hell. At least have the courage of your conviction to recognise that!

Your discription of me as a religious terrorist, is repugnant, not to say libelous,especially given the recent bombings.

LJ.Please understand that I say the things I do out a love for people.If you actually knew me you would probably run an inch, stop, and realise that a more accurate discription would be "compassionate".

I too was once an atheist and could not reconcile the state of this world with a loving God;if there was ever a time when my thoughts were the product of social conditioning it was then.

I suspect you are young or have been hurt. I will continue to pray for you,in love.

Please tell me your Christian name ( pun intended )
God bless
Dave

LJ said...

I will not tell you my given name, and I will not recant my position on your terrific activities. I am glad you believe in democracy, and I would encourage you to discover where such a concept arises, and then to keep in this rational tradition at all times, and not drop it when it serves your sectarian interests.

Now to your post (and you offer nothing new, btw)

If you expect to get away with messing with people's minds and claiming that your version of the deity really is the truth and that if others don't follow your interpretation of selected letters, myths, prophecies, incantations, poems, (and whatever you want to call Revelation), then they will be punished for eternity, you've got another think coming.

To begin, you need to broaden your concept of what it means to terrorize people. It goes far beyond the merely physical, though that is reason enough to place your claims in the dangerous category

Here is terrorism:
You posit a angry deity. You say that disbelief must be surrendered or ELSE. If do not understand how that is designed to terrorize people, you are a moron.

Here is terrorism:
Consider the many who have died because of theistic claims. Crusades. Slavery. Misogyny. Holocaust. Faith-healing. How about the millions of children who have been beaten because to spare the rod is to spoil the child?

But beyond the physical terror invoked in the name of god, from which you rightly recoil, there is the psychological and emotional terror that has much farther reaching consequences.

Here is terrorism:
Unexamined faith claims hamper personal growth and promote group-thinking. People are bound in faith communities and cults for fear of displeasing the deity who supposedly intended whatever is claimed as his dictates just as it is interpreted by that crowd.

Once indoctrinated, few can really objectively see their emperor is naked. Few have this option because their families and friends would ostracize them.

Here is terrorism:
Some families are kept in poverty because their beliefs prohibit certain amenities, while others are forbidden to work on certain days, thus making employment tenuous.

Here is terrorism:
Some have trusted these people only to be tossed out in the cold whenever contrary questions threatened their sanity and status quo.

Here is terrorism:
Some are forbidden their sexual identity because they are told that God would be scandallized.

Here is terrorism:
Children forbidden to play with other children or not allowed to sing christmas carols nor partake in valentine's day or halloween celebrations because of pagan origins, all out of fear of displeasing the deity.

The list goes on...

You can say that all of the preceding were not true christians, but of course these practitioners would disagree with you. If your religion can't protect us from these excesses, what good is it? What safeguard do you offer against these you claim to be extremists (though they would call you an apostate for not holding to the letter of the scriptures--there is no objective measure to differentiate between religious moderate or religious extremist truth claims).

In short, you protect the physical terrorists by endorsing even a small amount of irrationality, and promote far worse when you condone the proposition that god is somehow an angry bloodthirsty being who will torment them if your story is not accepted. If you persist in such psychological warfare, you are a terrorist.

As for other rising gods, you need to do your homework. You will find there precious little that is original about your religion. Here is a short list of other resurrected deities:

Baal
Melquart
Adonis
Osiris
Corn God (Native American)

For others consult Frazer's Golden Bough, Joseph Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces
or even C.S. Lewis's writings on the subject.

There is virtually no end to the legends of characters who have gone to death and returned; Orpheus and Hercules are the first two that come to mind.

Now, as to why Jesus has maintained his celebrity status, a simple understanding of the political forces at work will shed much light on the propagation of your favorite myth.

Consider how history is composed and by whom. Consider how much we don't know of what happened even in a story a week ago let alone one that occurred 2000 years ago.

Consider the selected (and contradictory) narratives you have of the life of Jesus. Do you notice anything missing? Like perhaps EVERYTHING normal to a daily human life? What you have, even if a tale of an actual person, has been massaged, edited, collated, translated, and promoted by the powerful theocratic center of Western civilization.

Now, do you expect me to naively accept your story as handed to me without question? Maybe you behave this way, but I don't.

Actually, I know you don't behave this way normally; rather, you drop your healthy scepticism in this one area of your life. This is the disengenuous nature of christianity and why it is beneath contempt, and why I have no patience for the fearmongers like you who will not engage with their own tradition as sceptically as they do others.

To recap:

1) Terrorism is much more than just bombing a building, though even your seeming moderate endorsement of theistic claims shields and emboldens those types of terrorists.

2) If you are objective and honest you will find your religion is actually an amalgamation of many myths and legends. Note that this does not render it useless, except for those who make absolute and divisive claims (read: you).

In closing, the main point not to be missed is that all of the foregoing behaviors exhibited by theists are motivated by a desire to not displease their deity. You repeatedly attempt to motivate my with this fear tactic and I am surprised you find it effective. I will not be rule by fear and I would encourage you to love yourself enough to come out of the shadow.

Though I deny your false dilemma of my inescapable choice (demonstrating both your lack of imagination and ignorance of your own scriptures), I will not mince words any longer: if this deity you posit is the real deal, then I want nothing to do with that petty, capricious monster. He can eat me anyway, so I will not lick his boots to postpone the inevitable.

So please stop wasting your time praying for me.

Dave Routledge said...

Hello LJ
Thank you for your reply.
As you did not specify it can I now assume you accept that I am not claiming a "special plea"?

Could you please tell me what my other "think" will be and when it is coming?

It seems I may have given you the wrong impression of how I see God. Let me correct that now.

I do not posit an evil deity. I proclaim a Holy God who, because of his perfect and just nature cannot tolerate sin, a God who so loves the us that he sent his one and only son to die on a cross so that our sins could be placed on his shoulders, thus taking the punishment that we ourselves deserved, and enabling all those who call on his name to be forgiven and be restored to God.

I agree with you that some terrible atrocities have been carried out in the name of Christianity and I am deeply sorry if you yourself have been a victim. You seem angry and hurt and restless. You are right when you say that no true Christian would carry out such appalling acts and miscarriages of justice.

I do not expect you to take my word for it. Go and read the Gospels for youself and see if there is anything in there which leads you to the conclusion that God is evil.

Here is a quote which discribes the nature of the Holy Spirit.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love,joy,peace,patience,kindness,goodness and self-control. Against such things there is no law". (Galatians 5 22-23)

Does that sound like the character of an angry deity to you?

As to your denial of what you call "my false dilemma". I will leave you with a quotation from C.S.Lewis

"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.He would either be insane or else he would be the Devil of Hell.You must make your choice,either Jesus was, and is the son of God or else he was insane.It seems obvious that he was neither a lunatic or a fiend;and consequently,however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that he was and is God. God has landed on this enemy occupied world in human form".

I will continue to pray for you as it is my time I am not wasting.I challenge you to pray fpr yourself and ask God to "prove" himself to you.

God bless
Dave

LJ said...

I wish you would learn to read, because I have yet to see you do anything BUT require special treatment for your myths.

You totally sidestepped my point on terrorism. As I mentioned, you, by perpetuating the division and fear x-tianity needs to survive, are a religious terrorist.

Here's something you wrote that evidntly makes sense to you:

"I proclaim a Holy God who, because of his perfect and just nature cannot tolerate sin, a God who so loves the us that he sent his one and only son to die on a cross so that our sins could be placed on his shoulders, thus taking the punishment that we ourselves deserved, and enabling all those who call on his name to be forgiven and be restored to God."

This is a monster you describe. Here is a being that is not satisified with anything less torture and blood, and from his one and only son no less.

Why should you believe that you deserve punishment, especially of the eternal variety? The only reason you believe this is because your pastor tells you so. Because he pointed out a few passages in a book (ignoring many others in the process), you accept this story as ultimate truth.

But on what grounds? You have nothing but a collection of letters and myths to refer to. Why not another set of stories? (This is where the special pleading comes in--and this is where you remain terrorized by your book of death).

What kind of god is hampered by reality in such a way as he can find no other solution but to sacrifice an innocent? This sounds more like a vestige of a society of goat herders.

Come to think of it, if your god has no choice (see the problem here?) why did this god create such a system in the first place?

In short, your postulation of reality is boring, irrational, and not supported by any evidence you or I have seen. If you must live your life out of stories, I've got some much more pleasant ones. I can even show you how to read your own book in a much more positive, universalist way.

Again, why read your book one way as opposed to another? Why focus on only one version of events as opposed to any other collection of stories? You continue in your special pleading and you are terrorized by your own book.

I feel sorry for those bound by faith.

Dave Routledge said...

P.S.

Could you please tell me which portion of scripture I am in ignorance of?

LJ said...

How about these for starters:

Romans 5:18
Romans 11:32
1 Corinthinians 15:22
Colossians 1:20
1 John 2:2

Before we get into why one interpretation of these scriptures is chosen over another, I'll assume you have conceded the rest of my argument as you do not offer a reason why you reject all other myths in preference for yours.

Dave Routledge said...

Hi LJ. Larry John?

I thought I had answered (no one else rose from the dead and claimed to be the son of God and died for my sins etc...; but okay here is some of my story.

I was an atheist sitting in a church listening to a Christian preacher,when God suddenly intellectually mugged me, replacing my own view that all mankind should have the right to be "free",
with his biblical truth, that true freedom is only found in Christ.Galatians 5:1.

YES thats right! God actually communicated with me right there, right then. The reason I do not accept any other religion or myth is because none of them have had the grace to send me a personal invitation to do so.

I assume you are going to give me an alternative interpretation of the verses you have listed, as they seem relatively srtaightforward to me, and appear to be in line with what I previously stated about the need for jesus to die on the cross......so go on then enlighten me.

P.S. It is nice to see you have decided to drop the insults "moron" and sarcasm "learn to read". I am begining to like you.

God bless
Dave.

LJ said...

Still waiting for your objective measure to differentiate between competing faith claims....oh well

To your post:

(Just what was a good atheist boy like you doing in a church anyway? Doesn't sound so atheistic to me...perhaps a latent theist waiting for the right encouragment and acceptance?)

I wish you'd like yourself enough to realize that just because you had an experience in no way requires you to check your mind at the door; your subjective experience in no way solves your problem of determining objective truths.

Nor am I particularly surprised you had a christian-approved and christian-identified psychological experience. You have been raised and coached in a Judeo-Christian bubble. But I do doubt you had an experience that verified the Edenic myth, or the Noahian myth, or the Easter myth, or the Exodus myth. Likely you had an experience that was vague enough to apply to the theological context at hand and likely one that you sometimes wonder whether you imagined or have trumped up.

Remember, believers of a different stripe can recount much the same story, as can those who formerly believed as fervently as you do in the christian myth, but who find it less than compelling now. What do you make of these competing absolute claims? (Not too much, I'd warrant.)

Be that as it may, that is your problem, not mine.

I do not mind if individuals have personal beliefs; I do mind if they extrapolate and universalize those beliefs. The honest position would be to say you have had an experience, and that's it, because you have no criteria by which you can honestly guage it as the Truth that applies to all. What you are doing is expressing a preference, not some objective measure.

Claiming you know your experience squares with an ultimate reality and applies to everyone else on this planet is an arrogant and dangerous position. I thought christians cared about bearing true witness. If you do, you must throttle back your absolutist and terrific rhetoric and quit perpetuating the division and war in this world.

As for the scriptures I posted, did you notice the word "all" in them? This points to the possibility of universal reconciliation, not the eternal gulag you think god wants to send us to. What a depraved imagination and sense of justice you have. (Whoops, there I go again with those pejoratives!)

But all of this discussion of possible interpretation is ultimately pointless, as your favorite collection of holy sayings is countered by another collection of holy sayings, replete with reported miracles and prophetic import, blah, blah, blah....

The only way to know is to have been there. Maybe Abraham really did talk to God, or maybe he didn't. Maybe Moses really did part the Reed Sea, or maybe he didn't. You and I have no way of knowing if those or any biblical events really happened. There is no objective way to disceern which tale is metaphoric and which is literal, just as there is no way to discern between competing sacred texts.

From my vantage point, they all seem a bit screwy and like nothing in my experience.

BTW, when I called you those oh-so-horrible insults, they were only intended with the love of christ, believe me--but seriously, if you don't see the terrible nature of the specter you posit as god, you will never understand why someone like me will never assent to your version of reality. Your god really is monstrous.

Dave Routledge said...

Hello LJ. Luke James?

I hope you are well. I am begining to take you to my heart. Thank you for the softer tone in you writings, and at last some humour!I can now picture your face with a smile on it.

You ask

"(Just what was a good atheist boy like you doing in a church anyway? Doesn't sound so atheistic to me...perhaps a latent theist waiting for the right encouragment and acceptance?)".



I went to what are now my parents in law's church,they used to invite me and I went because i liked to poke fun at all those deluded tongue speaking Christians, who were having "vague" psychological experiences and were bound up in faith.you know,thw ones you so patronisingly feel sorry for.

As for your explanations of my experience, well, as you rightly say abouit Moses and the Red Sea, I guess you just had to be there iside my head to really give an objective view.

Whilst I, like most Christians I know, sometimes wonder where God is and why certain things are allowed to happen. I have NEVER doubted my experience to be anything other than an encounter with God.

I do wonder LJ.(Lazarus Jacob?),even if you had witnessed first hand the parting of the Red Sea or the miracles of Jesus, if you would have believed?

As to the scriptures you listed ( by the way how come a nice atheist boy like you has so much Bible knowledge )? You surprise me,I thought you were going to come up with some wacky interpretation, but yes, you are right, God does want ALL men to be saved. 1 Timothy 2:4.Including you my friend.

I am glad you are now admitting that the Bible could possibly be true

" Maybe Abraham really did talk to God, or maybe he didn't. Maybe Moses really did part the Reed Sea, or maybe he didn't".

Why do you not accept as fact that if you are wrong you are at risk of eternal damnation?

God loves you LJ and he wants you to inherit His eternal glorious Kingdom.

I do love myself, and I will continue to look for the good in the beloved (that's you)

God bless
Dave

LJ said...

Until you address your special pleading, this discussion will go no further.

Pointedly:

Why do you ascribe universal truth to your set of myths, yet deny the same to other, equally unverifiable narratives? Or, again, what objective measure do you present for us to differentiate between these warring religious claims?

Christian hypocrisy here disables our ability to respect you.

Dave Routledge said...

HI LJ

I hope you are well.

"Why do you ascribe universal truth to your set of myths, yet deny the same to other, equally unverifiable narratives?"

I ascribe universal truth to Christianity, because I believe the Bible to be true. I cannot prove that it is true to a scientific standard that would make it scientifically beyond question.

I do not ascribe universal truth to any other belief system, because to do so would be to refute the claims made in the Bible. Namely the first two of the Ten Commandments. Therefore if I ascribe truth to one, I cannot logically ascribe truth to another.


"what objective measure do you present to us to differentiate between these warring religious claims".

In order for me to do this could you please define for me what you mean by "objective measure".

Could you also spell out exactly what you mean by the phrase "warring religious claims".

"Christian hypocrisy here disables our ability to respect you".


Where on earth is the hypocrisy?

I know plenty of atheists and agnostics, and I have the respect of ALL of them. What is it with you? What are you so afraid of?

God bless
Dave

JT said...

LJ,
In the discussion between theists and atheists regarding the origin of the universe, do you think there is a "special pleading" on the part of the theist?

Dave believes that God created the universe. You deny that there is a God. What do you believe is the cause of the universe?

LJ said...

Dave sez:

I ascribe universal truth to Christianity, because I believe the Bible to be true. I cannot prove that it is true to a scientific standard that would make it scientifically beyond question.

I do not ascribe universal truth to any other belief system, because to do so would be to refute the claims made in the Bible. Namely the first two of the Ten Commandments. Therefore if I ascribe truth to one, I cannot logically ascribe truth to another.

So you admit you are predisposed to ignore other claims contrary to yours . . . this conversation is effectively over then.


Dave asks:

"could you please define for me what you mean by "objective measure".

Oh, you know, something that we can all agree on, like we do when we decide something is aerodynamically sound, or when we measure distance, or when you require proof your wife is cheating on you; you know—not subjective.

Dave asks:

Could you also spell out exactly what you mean by the phrase "warring religious claims".

Religious claims, by definition, are at war. Religious claims divide our world into god’s favorites and the infidels; the elect and the reprobate. These claims, by definition, are mutually exclusive and exclusionary—as such, they are acts of epistemic violence.

Dave asks:

"Where on earth is the hypocrisy?"

When you claim to know the infallible truth, yet will not admit your fallibility you are demonstrating hypocrisy. When you claim to pursue truth, but deny certain avenues of questions, you are being hypocritical.

When you critique and scrutinize competing religious claims, yet subsume all problems with your own pet theology in a fog of faith, you are engaging in self-serving and hypocritical behavior.


Dave sez:

I know plenty of atheists and agnostics, and I have the respect of ALL of them. What is it with you? What are you so afraid of?

I have difficulty respecting those who traffic in absolutes and insist on divisive tactics as Christians do, yet who will not take their heads out of their book of death and treat the rest of the world humanely.

I’ll say it again: unexamined and un-revisable religious claims are a form of terrorism, leading to and lending authority to the worst violence the world has ever known.

I am afraid of the Armageddon you religious nuts promise us. I have no reason to expect we will survive the dreams your dead prophets impose upon us. (You, perversely, yearn for the destruction of this earth and the return of your Savior—this is what it means to be a Christian).

Furthermore, I am afraid for the millions of children who are indoctrinated daily to fear other religions, and to trust their religion unquestioningly. I am afraid for the death of reason and a return to barbarism. Goya’s maxim serves well here: The death of reason produces monsters


JT sez:

In the discussion between theists and atheists regarding the origin of the universe, do you think there is a "special pleading" on the part of the theist?

Dave believes that God created the universe. You deny that there is a God. What do you believe is the cause of the universe?

I am not sure. But I don’t see how it needs a cause, especially if you are prepared to say God is uncaused. Whatever the case, I am ready and willing to change my position; x-tians are not. They are obscurantist and hypocritical.

However, my charge of special pleading is much more specific than mere theism. In fact, the general claim of special creation is objectively measurable: we see evidence of this belief or intuition in all cultures and eras. So to claim a creator does not rise to the level of special pleading, as virtually all religions are in accord here. It does not hurt the world to believe the universe was always here; however, it
does hurt our world to insist that Yahweh as opposed to Allah was the Prime Mover.

The over-specificity of religious claims is what I maintain is disingenuous, divisive, and dangerous. The privileging of one set of myths over another is the special pleading to which I refer, and to which I have yet heard a cogent response. I am not surprised, as there is no objective way to justify such irrationality.

JT said...

The problem of believing that the universe is uncaused is that the universe had a beginning. We see evidence of this (red shift, the second law of thermodynamics, etc.) Anything that began to exist cannot be uncaused, unless one believes that "something" can come from absolutely nothing, which is a pretty big "leap of faith."

Dave Routledge said...

Hi LJ

I have just returned from my local town centre ( Enfield, London ), where I have been actively engaged in spreading The Gospel. By your definition LJ, an act of terrorism. you will not be surprised to learn that given recent events in London the Police are keeping an eye out for terrorists. They even have the power to arrest them and hold them for 28 days without having to bring a charge against them. Thats right no questions asked, just whisked away to a local Police station and interrogated. Well guess what! I am still a free man. Therefore by the definition laid down by the democratically elected government of this Nation, I am NOT a terrorist.

Why, when you refer to Christians do you NEVER once mention the millions of humane and selfless acts of kindness carried out each and every day by them?

To hold an atheistic viewpoint, is to live in an intellectually free zone, JT's point about the absurd statement that the universe being uncaused is one example.

Consider this:

George Gallup, the famous statistician said, "I could prove God statistically; take the human body alone; the chance that all the functions of the individual would just happen, is a statistical monstosity."

Albert Einstein said, "Everyone who is seriously interested in the pursuit of science becomes copnvinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe - a spirit vastly superior to man, and one in the face of which our modest powers must feel humble."

The simple fact that you cannot prove that God does not exist, makes the position of an atheist an intellectually bankrupt one.

You may not like God, you may be angry with him, but you cannot deny the possibility of His exitence.

Therefore at best you are an Agnostic.


You have a considerable knowledge of the Bible, even to the point of making reference to a Calvinistic view of pre-destination and reprobation, ( one I do not share , for the scriptural reasons you yourself listed ).

If you have been hurt by Christians in the past I am deeply, deeply sorry for that. But do not let that experince so cloud your judgement, that you place yourself in danger of the Armaggedon you so rightly fear.

I am for you LJ, in fact I love you and will continue to pray for your salvation.

God bless
Dave

JT said...

LJ?

No response?

JT said...

No matter what one believes, at some point one has to find a reasonable explanation for the beginning of the universe. "In the beginning there was_________ (fill in the blank)"

Given that the universe had a beginning, one pretty much has to believe something (the universe) came from nothing or that something (the universe) came from something.

Many "atheists" are actually agnostics. An atheist (despite how people want to change the definition nowadays) means that one posits that there is no God. That, of course, puts them in the unenviable position of having to prove the claim that no God exists.

Atheists don't like to admit it, because in order to posit a negative claim as such, one has to have absolute knowledge.

More often than not, they are agnostics rather than atheists. When one claims ignorance (not in the "stupid" sense- in the "I don't know" sense), one doesn't have to prove anything.

Anonymous said...

Dave,
Gallop made the same mistake that so many people make. He was looking at the present product of the human body. It seems dramatic when you look at the present products of complex organisms until you consider that all life forms developed gradually over a long period of time of billions or hundreds of millions of years through genetic mutations and natural selection.

Not all scientists are so impressed with nature that they believe a god must be behind it. In fact, most leading scientists do not believe in God.

Anonymous said...

Dave,
Why do you believe in the Bible but not the Koran? Is it because you were born in the western world which happens to be predominantly Christian? If you were born in the middle east, I'm sure you would be Muslim.

You call atheism intellectually bankrupt because we can't disprove God's existence. It is not up to us to disprove his existence. It is up to those who make the claims, to prove the claims. If somebody tells me there are unicorns, is it my responsibility to disprove that unicorns exist or does he have the burden of proof to prove their existence before I will believe him?

There may have been a Big Bang which was the beginning of this Universe, but there are various theories of how this may not be the only universe in time and space. Perhaps this process has been going on through infinity. If universes have been going on for infinity, there would not have needed to have been a god to create them. How can a being without a brain and hands create anything anyway?

Anonymous said...

Dave,
How can you love, worship, and honor a god that would send people to eternal damnation just because they didn't accept a certain belief on faith? What is the virtue in accepting things on faith?

As far as glossalalia is concerned, linguists have studied it and found that different people have their own styles of speaking in tongues, having their own unique sounds. They also found that glossalalia resembles no known language in the some sounds are repeated together. Anomalistic psychologists believe it to be a subconcious experience brought on through an alternate state of conciousness and nervous enthusiasm.

JT said...

Atheism, by definition, claims that there is no God. It is very difficult (if not impossible) to prove a negative statement like that.

Where one was born has no effect on the truth. Even if I were born in a country where I was taught that 2+2=5 and I believed it because that is what my parents and society told me, that would not change the fact that 2+2 does not equal 5.

Everything that has a beginning has a cause. There must be a first cause. To me, infinite regress of universes does not make better sense of reality than theistic claims. (It's kind of the equivalent of the whole world on the back of a series of turtles argument.) At least, it would seem to require the same amount of "faith" to believe that there has been an infinite series of universes as it does to believe there is an all-powerful creator.

JT said...

LJ says:
I do not mind if individuals have personal beliefs; I do mind if they extrapolate and universalize those beliefs.


Do you believe this should be universally true?


LJ says:
Claiming you know your experience squares with an ultimate reality and applies to everyone else on this planet is an arrogant and dangerous position.


Aren't you also claiming that your experience squares with an ultimate reality (namely, that there is no God)?

Dave Routledge said...

Hello Anonymous

( why do people withold their names.....L.J. J.T. Anonymous )

I will assume you are the same Anonymous for all three posts ).

Thank you for your comments.I will attempt to respond to all your points.

Your comment about Gallup assumes that the THEORY of evolution is correct.It is, as far as I know, still a theory.


"Species that were once thought to have turned into others have been found to overlap in time with these alleged descendants. In fact, the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another." (Stanley, S.M., The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species, 1981, p. 95)


If the human body is not a result of a process of evolution, then, as you say, it is at the very least "dramatic".


Your point about most leading scientists not believing in God may or may not be true, I suspect it is; but this would apply to most leading "anything" in the world . I was simply quoting Eistien's perspective on the matter.

Bible v Koran
You may well have opened up a whole new avenue to this debate here. I agree with you that it is probable had I grown up in a Muslim state that I would have taken hold of Koran teachings, as it would have been difficult to get hold of a bible let alone practice as a Christian. It is not so, however, in non muslim states,(Britain for example ), where access to both books is freely available.It is not my cultural background that has determined my faith; it is the person of Jesus Christ who attracts me.

Conversions from Islam to Christianity seem to me to be far more common than from Christianity to Islam (if any). This is probably because there is something attractive about the characteristics of Mercy, Grace and Forgiveness.

As to intellectual integrity of Atheism I will say this:

An Atheist posits that there is no God. That is a POSITIVE statement which cannot possibly be proven, and therefore does not have credibility as an intellectual position.

A Christian posits that based on his her experience/evidence they BELEIVE in The person of Jesus Christ and therefore that mankind was created by God.

As to your comment about the big bang; I have a question. Where did all the matter involved in the explosion come from?

"How can a being without a brain and hands create anything anyway?"

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis.1:27.

It would seem then that God does have both brain and arms.


"Dave,
How can you love, worship, and honor a god that would send people to eternal damnation just because they didn't accept a certain belief on faith? What is the virtue in accepting things on faith?"

This does seem harsh on the face of it but I believe that God is a perfect judge, and on judgement day everyone will be treated fairly, so that none can complain if hell is where they end up.As to faith having no virtue,let me put this to you.

Suppose someone you love dearly was charged with the murder and sexual assualt of a child and all the evidence pointed to thier guilt. your loved one simply says please belive I am innoncent, I need you to have faith in me, and suppose you did put your faith in them, which meant that you were cut off from all your friends who belived all the seeming evidence. Suppose you received death threats and came under unbearable hate. Yet you knew in your heart, dispite your doubts, that your loved one could not possibly have committed such a dreadful act;and so you stood, side by side wiTh them. would that not be a virtuous thing to do?

God bless
Dave

Dave Routledge said...

Have I won then?

Anonymous said...

Just came across this. Seems to me you are overblowing the significance of 'burdens of proof'. If (by your standards) the after-lifers don't have enough evidence to meet an 'extraordinary' burden of proof, you victory is no more meaningful than the victory O.J. Simpson enjoyed when a criminal jury found the evidence against him insufficient to prove he committed murder. (I am emphatically not equating anyone here with O.J. Simpson.)

Or put it this way. Maybe industrial emissions are causing catastrophic global warming. Maybe they aren't. I am confident there is an objectively correct answer to the question. That answer will be correct whether or not anyone finds the evidence to prove it, or whether that evidence is strong enough to be 'extraordinary.' Indeed the history of science is full of instances where hypotheses were at first rejected as not supported by the evidence at hand, but then adopted as more evidence came to light. This illustrates that we should not be too dogmatic about the conclusions of contemporary science, which are bound to be revised in future centuries; and also that the answer to most questions is "we don't know for sure right now."

Finally, in a post focused on rigorous, rational proof, I am puzzled by the argument that we should reject belief in an afterlife, on the grounds that such belief devalues the one life we are given to live. It seems to me that claims of an afterlife are either true or untrue, without regard to whether the truth fits aesthetically with your notions of human dignity. (As an aside, I can see that a belief in reincarnation might devalue the importance of the present life. But Christian teaching seems to me to place crucial importance on how we spend this one life on earth -- even more than agnostics of the Cabaret school who would argue that, we're all going to die, so why not eat, drink and do what we please without worrying about 'right' and 'wrong.')

Mark G in the Midwest
(A theist; although I don't see why an atheist could not share most of my thoughts here.)

Aaron Kinney said...

Hey Dave!

Wow I havent seen this comments section in awhile and look at all thats happened! Well to get back to Daves reply to my last one:

David Routledge said...

Think of a famous person
Do not say this aloud
Just keep thinking the name
Now tell me who you were thinking about


Catherine Zeta Jones. She's hot.

Are you sure that is who you were thinking of?

Pretty sure.

It wasn't just some trick of your mind?

I dont think so.

Are you absolutely 100% certain that is who you were thinking about?

No. More like 99.975% sure. I rounded that up btw ;)

And it was a real event in your experience that actually happened?

Im *almost* 100% sure.

Okay
Prove it!


I would love to Dave. Give me access to the same technology that allows scientists to detect the part of the brain that detects sarcasm, and I will detect my Zeta Jones thought.

God bless
Dave


What do you mean by "God"? ;)

Francis Juan said...

Fallability lies in conviction to dedicate ones self to a belief, whether it be Atheism or Religious commitment. From a standpoint, it relies in the evidence that life itself must mean black or white when in actuality it is nowhere near either side.

I could go on with countless debates and theories on philosophy and life itself, for there you would find more answers in the irony of theoritical debates than actual burden of proof, but in the end the path at the end of your road is the one you choose as a part of life and learning. The time is now and no after life is going to change that, if there is one.

In summary, I will gladly state myself as an agnostic. Life's greatest answer is to not yet decide, because we often find ourselves forcing the reasons and meanings, but rarely ever live them first.

Francis Juan

Francis Juan said...

It's so vain to think we'll live forever, but it takes a true soul to let it all go and know there is an end. The story goes on with someone else, while your page has turned, for you really couldn't say, "I thought, therefore I was"

The greatest achievement is to be remembered, even if just for a moment, otherwise did you really ever exist? No one has ever lived without regrets, or we wouldn't be human.

Anonymous said...

Your premise of a proof of god and/or afterlife is rooted in a fallacy to begin with. Science is an intellectual creation of our limited human mind as a way to explain the "how" of the world around us. Spirituality is the way we explain the "why" we exist. The two are mutually exclusive. Science can always explain how the universe works, but never can explain why. Spirituality can always explain why we all know we exist, love, care about others, and have a "soul",but it never explains how anything works. Once you understand this dichotomy, then you can clearly see how science and spirituality can exist, side by side, without the need for a proof. The proof of a greater world than the scientific exists inyour knowledge of your own existence

Κοιλάκανθος said...

Now its a little hard for me to believe that from pure anorganic rock material we had a natural evolution so complicated and efficient that gave rise to this debate here.I believe that Humans simply don't have the knowledge yet to say that afterlife does not exist. There are billions of people amongst all cultures since the birth of humans that claim to have experienced the other side....are all these billions of people crazy?? I believe in personal research and personal experience..One can not say that afterlife exists but he also can not say that afterlife doesn't exist...Personaly I lean towards the second scenario due to personal experience and to personal research....

Anonymous said...

You forget that you have got akso the burden of extradonary proof that there is no afterlife. Can you proof there is no afterlife?

A blunt Non-Thiest said...

If I may be so bold, I think everyone here has it wrong.

You see, for the dead, there actually is an afterlife of sorts - an "afterlife" of rotting in the ground and being consumed by worms, bacteria and mould.

Then, after a time, one is "reincarnated" into grass blades, tree leaves, carbon dioxide, etc, which in turn are consumed by other sundry life forms.

This inevitably occurs unless one is cremated, which, I suppose, may be comparable with the "fires of hell", so to speak.

Other than that, it is obvious to anyone who thinks that death is oblivion, period.

Get over it and live this life, for the dead can take care of themselves quite well in the fashion described above.

Aaron Kinney said...

Anonymous,

Anonymous said...
You forget that you have got akso the burden of extradonary proof that there is no afterlife. Can you proof there is no afterlife?


Bullshit. The burden lies on the positive claim (afterlife), not the negation (no afterlife).

If I have to prove that there is no afterlife, then YOU have to prove to me that there is no after-after-life or whatever else I want to randomly claim exists.

Anonymous said...

Here is a scenario:

Lets say that a highly respected religious figure full of "compassion" and "love" receives brain damage from a car accident. This individual now is a raving lunatic. Spitting, biting, foaming at the mouth etc. They are now threatening violence, attempting suicide, telling their mother to go F**k herself, ranting about demonic sick references and trying to take a bite out of there own arm. Before the accident the person was 100 percent different. This proves that the brain determines who we are. Our so called "conscious" is just impulses of the brain. If the soul did exist I doubt that physical damage could change a person completely???!!! Someone let me know what they think about that please...!!!

N-Radz

Anonymous said...

How can we possibly explain "afterlife," let alone prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, when we don't understand "life?"

I don’t think humans will ever get to remotely understand the big picture of how this “thing” works!

Anonymous said...

I would like to Address David, or Dave. the third reply to LJ's Post should not have taken place. Your own bible states to present Christ to the individual and that if they do not accept it, then dust your feet off and walk away. All you have done is gratified LJ and let him twist you up with all of his beliefs in the here and now, and this has done nothing for you, or for the promotion of the word of God. Therefore, you youreself have deviated from the intent written in the letters of your bible. Therefore, it would be advised that you reprent for intertaining this drawn out discussion, and actaully partook in the quagmire that LJ set out to ensnare people like yourself in. I myself beleive in God, and in Heaven, I read the bible, and pray. However, the interpriation that I find, in RED letters mind you, is that you dont have to loose your identity, nor do you have to enslave yourself to the teachings of a "preacher" or a "church" but rather just believe that the price was paid. But i choose to beleive this... not all the hate, and elitism that most churchs and preachers would have you believe, but in the fact that merely because i believe in God that I am saved, and this would show us that God truly is a God of love. And the underlying message of the bible cleary states the moronic view that some people will carry and then cause the untimely deaths of many because of their repungent ways. The bible was written by man, yes you will say inspired by God. Yet, it, alone has helped MANY greedy men, to control others. I clearly do not think this was What the bible was intended for. So ask yourself a plain and simple question, Dave. For you to bible thump LJ, is that what God wants? You lost LJ's Interest on your first post because you did not address his one true question. So let me address it LJ...

I cannot prove God exists, and I cannot prove you are wrong scientifically. However, I choose to believe in a LOVING God. And I have a tough enough time living my own life, therefore I will not judge you because you choose NOT to believe. I have NEVER heard God speak to me in an audible voice, I have not seen a burst of light, or an angel. I have not experence a person risen from the dead, nor do i claim to. I have read the bible front to back 4 times, I have also read the Q'ran, writings of Buddah and the talmut (sp). And of all of these, i still cannot provide irreputible evidence that God exists. But yet i believe. Why you may ask? Because it is how i cope with how Screwed up this earth is. Because if I can instill into my children that it is not okay to Kill, Steal or pillage (without using a Rod btw.. and my kids are spoiled only because i buy them whatever they want, not because i dont spank them) Then i see nothing wrong with using it. And at the end of the day, if i can find peace in knowing that MAYBE someone created this F'd up place and that maybe they know that you, dave and myself like many others have been through enough in this life, then maybe, must maybe, he (God) will give us .. all a place ofpeace. Even if that means that Dying is the end. It is still peace.

Will it matter anyway?

as for the topic of Hell? I cannot believe Hell would be a place where God would send someone to for just "not believing" there are too many REAL evils in this world for me to believe a Just God would throw a decent person who has never molested a child, killed a person, raped a person or the likes, to hell just because he doubts the existance of God, yet a convicted mutiple offending child molestor, or murder who just so happens to find God, would be allowed into heaven. Where is the justice in that dave?

I hope each of you have a GREAT day.

Joe

Aaron Kinney said...

Anonymous/Joe,

I cannot prove God exists, and I cannot prove you are wrong scientifically. However, I choose to believe in a LOVING God.

Why?

Why you may ask? Because it is how i cope with how Screwed up this earth is.

So the evil in the world is the reason that you believe? To cope with said evil? And the idea that some conscious force might have deliberately created this evil comforts you in some way? Thats rather interesting...

Anonymous said...

Aaron,

I am not here to get into a quagmire with you. I can only hope that God does exist. Because the reality is this place is pretty F'd up. if he doesnt, then fine too. What i am saying is that you, and Dave, and most fanatics on both sides are showing just exactly how feeble your mind is. Is it really worth the effort? If You are right then none of this matters, if dave is right, then we are gonna have a really nice roasting. This is a pointless discussion with a dimwitted person. Because at the end of the day, the only thing that matters to you is what you beleive, and to me, what i believe. Therefore with that said, stupid is as stupid does. You wont change my opinion, i wont change yours. So your futile sarcasm will not draw me into a verbal quagmire with you. I have to many other things to wast my brain cells on, and would really rather do something to augment my IQ, rather than become entangled into a pointless discussion with a deviant such as your self.

have fun choosing to not believe, and I hope this set rather unsettling with you.

Anonymous/Joe

Aaron Kinney said...

Anonymous/Joe,

I am not here to get into a quagmire with you. I can only hope that God does exist. Because the reality is this place is pretty F'd up. if he doesnt, then fine too.

Since this place is so fucked up, wouldnt it be better if there WASNT a God who made it?

What i am saying is that you, and Dave, and most fanatics on both sides are showing just exactly how feeble your mind is.

How exactly is a moderateness or agnostic position not feeble minded, but a confident and consistent "extreme" position is?

If You are right then none of this matters, if dave is right, then we are gonna have a really nice roasting.

If Im right, then it matters more! Cause if im right then this is the only life you got so you better spend every second wisely!

This is a pointless discussion with a dimwitted person.

Are you referring to me or you?

Because at the end of the day, the only thing that matters to you is what you beleive, and to me, what i believe. Therefore with that said, stupid is as stupid does. You wont change my opinion, i wont change yours. So your futile sarcasm will not draw me into a verbal quagmire with you. I have to many other things to wast my brain cells on, and would really rather do something to augment my IQ, rather than become entangled into a pointless discussion with a deviant such as your self.

Deviant? Quit projecting. You want God to be real and you want to deny the obviousness of the temporal nature of your consciousness.

Anonymous said...

To deny something so emphatically, you must first have had to have struggled to have believed. This is the irony of things. Then yin and the yang so to speak. for you to say there is no God, is for you to have accepted the fact that there could actually be a God that exists. Therefore you feel you must project your own belief out to make your self feel good about your posistion. A true athiest would not be so emphatic, as to feel the need to disprove believers. A true athiest would live his live not choosing to believe either way. There for you fall close to an agnostic. The burden of proof does not lie with you, nor does it lie with the Christain, or Muslim or Hindi. What does matter is, what ever gets you by. If you Aaron, can find peace with your self in saying there is no God, then this should be done in a manner that is not "projecting" as you state, in your own way. However, i must commend you, for taking your stance and sticking too it. Unlike other posters whom choose to post on here that take a middle of the road approach. However, i do find it still humorous that you and most others on here take an approach that trys to "project" yourselves as "Scholars" or "Intelligent" to this subject. every athiest that acts this way has a little believer in him, and every believe that acts this way, has a little athiest in him as well. A tiny little one that usuall resembles him but speaks in a high pitch voice... none the less. But in reality, lets face it.. a true believe wouldnt feel the need to fight about his believes, just like a true athiest wouldnt feel the need to fight about his. They would just live with their beliefs and move on.

So. everyone just needs to quit questioning what they beleive, leave everyone else alone and let people live their own lives. Religion, and Unbelief have taken too many lives already. Just move on.


-- Hector DeVille-Angel y Mendoza

Aaron Kinney said...

Re: Anonymous,

To deny something so emphatically, you must first have had to have struggled to have believed. This is the irony of things. Then yin and the yang so to speak. for you to say there is no God, is for you to have accepted the fact that there could actually be a God that exists.

Technically, I used to believe in God, because I used to be a Christian. But not anymore. I grew up and wised up. And the reason that I spend so much time and energy arguing against God and the afterlife is because of my firsthand experience with the delusion itself, and I know how much of a negative affect it has on society.

I want to make the world a better place, and in my eyes, one of the most important things we can do to make this world better is to recognize what is truth and what is fiction. I want people to realize that God and the afterlife are fictional things.

Therefore you feel you must project your own belief out to make your self feel good about your posistion.

Um, no.What Im actually doing is addressing the claims that are being made by religious types. If it werent for religious propaganda and evangelism, I wouldnt have to do advocate atheism.

A true athiest would not be so emphatic, as to feel the need to disprove believers.

Where do you get this assumption from? And isnt it logical that an atheist would only have to be as "emphatic" about their beliefs as the religious are "emphatic" about theirs?

A true athiest would live his live not choosing to believe either way.

Even if their freedoms and lives are being molested by the religious? At what point does the atheist have to start defending their way of life? When gays are persecuted? When oaths to God are compulsory? When atheists cannot be elected into government positions?

There for you fall close to an agnostic.

No, I am a strong atheist.

The burden of proof does not lie with you, nor does it lie with the Christain, or Muslim or Hindi.

This is flat out incorrect. The burden of proof lies with the one who asserts the positive. In other words, the BoP lies with the THEIST.

What does matter is, what ever gets you by. If you Aaron, can find peace with your self in saying there is no God, then this should be done in a manner that is not "projecting" as you state, in your own way. However, i must commend you, for taking your stance and sticking too it. Unlike other posters whom choose to post on here that take a middle of the road approach. However, i do find it still humorous that you and most others on here take an approach that trys to "project" yourselves as "Scholars" or "Intelligent" to this subject.

I never claimed to be anything more than an amateur atheist advocate.

every athiest that acts this way has a little believer in him, and every believe that acts this way, has a little athiest in him as well. A tiny little one that usuall resembles him but speaks in a high pitch voice... none the less. But in reality, lets face it.. a true believe wouldnt feel the need to fight about his believes, just like a true athiest wouldnt feel the need to fight about his. They would just live with their beliefs and move on.

If only! What about when the theist's religion demands that they evangelize, or tax the infidels, or condemn gays, etc? The true theist needs to act on these things as their invisible space dad commands them to.

So. everyone just needs to quit questioning what they beleive, leave everyone else alone and let people live their own lives. Religion, and Unbelief have taken too many lives already. Just move on.

If the Abrahamic God did exist, he would probably disagree with that statement.

Anonymous said...

Aaron,

I do agree with you on the point you say, in regards to when your rights are encroached upon by anyone. What Christianity fails to realize is that their own doctrine does not advocate the idealism to take away rights from anyone. They doctrine they so adomently follow states that it hates taxers, condemns the idea of politics within religion and they fail to realise that the anchor of their bleif went as far to say as to Love one another uncoditionally. Even Gays... even others that choose not to believe. Your advocation of Athiesm again, is just as strong as a Christian's need for evangelism. It puts you on the exact same level. Fiction or Not. You are antagonistic, and are quick to fight for your beliefs. That is good.. and Bad. Im for anyone that stands up and doesnt wavier on their beleifs, but on the same token, it should never been done with an antagonistic approach. but then, that is your choice.

And for you to say "if" in regards to God... tells me you have some what of a struggle with that. YOu can deny that. You can state what you want. but you still have a little bit of a struggle within yourself which is why you are so emphatic about your stance.

Have fun!

Mendoza...

My Stance: I believe in the hear and now. This moment is our only chance to make a diffence in the world. its what you do with the time you have here on this planet that makes the difference, after that.. nothing else matters.

Aaron Kinney said...

Re: Anonymous

I do agree with you on the point you say, in regards to when your rights are encroached upon by anyone. What Christianity fails to realize is that their own doctrine does not advocate the idealism to take away rights from anyone.

I disagree about the Christianity claim you just made. Consider Luke 19:22-27, for example.

They doctrine they so adomently follow states that it hates taxers, condemns the idea of politics within religion and they fail to realise that the anchor of their bleif went as far to say as to Love one another uncoditionally. Even Gays... even others that choose not to believe. Your advocation of Athiesm again, is just as strong as a Christian's need for evangelism. It puts you on the exact same level. Fiction or Not. You are antagonistic, and are quick to fight for your beliefs. That is good.. and Bad. Im for anyone that stands up and doesnt wavier on their beleifs, but on the same token, it should never been done with an antagonistic approach. but then, that is your choice.

Ideologies that demand--and do not earn--respect, deserve ridicule. Being somewhat antagonistic is not wrong per se.

And for you to say "if" in regards to God... tells me you have some what of a struggle with that. YOu can deny that. You can state what you want. but you still have a little bit of a struggle within yourself which is why you are so emphatic about your stance.

I am emphatic about my stance because I feel that my life (and the lives of everyone else) is being negatively affected by these theists. I have not forgotten my time spent as an active Christian, nor do I forget what our goals and objectives were.

Once you switch from evil to good, do you stop fighting? I dont think so ;)

Anonymous said...

Let me start by saying I am not here to fight or debate with anyone for the simple fact that everyone is entitled to what they believe and who is anyone else to judge. I myself am a Christian and quite proud of it, but I do NOT judge those who do not believe as I do wheither it be atheist, wicca, scientology.. etc.
Now, with that said... I would like to clear something up for those who have never been a believer of God or for those who were once a child of God and turned their back. Never, by The Bible or by a Minister, has any Christian ever been told there would be an eternal PHYSICAL life which is what some people are trying to use as their leverage for a religion rebute. We as Christians are taught and promised an eternal SPIRITUAL life.
Our physical bodies are merely a shell while we are alive. Do I believe in afterlife? Of course I do.. I am a Christian. Do I believe in ghosts? You better believe it. Even though I am a Christian, having been brought up in a Bible belt home all of my childhood and even as I got older, I have had my skeptical experiences. So what did I do about it? I researched. Thats all you can do. People are quick to dismiss a spiritual realm after death because they haven't experienced it yet...none of the living have.
As an atheist or skeptic there should be no Biblical issue with studying on clairvoyants and mediums. I have several websites you might enjoy checking out. You cannot dismiss contact with the afterlife by saying "it was just a figment of what their minds wanted to hear or see". That would be cancelled out by the fact that most "research" where clairvoyants and mediums were used. I don't mean by an individual using one of these sources to commmunicate with a dead loved one of theirs. I am talking about scientific studies where they have contacted people that were dead centuries ago. People they probably never read about in a school text book or even heard their name uttered.
Then lets talk about near-death experiences (NDEs) and the testimonys people have brought forth from them. Science is quick to say it happens as a result of anethesia or drugs... or that they saw what they had visioned in their mind as a result of "flat lining" for a few seconds. You want to use that excuse? Fine. If thats the case, the how do you explain the people who have died for anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 days and suddenly revived? Whats the explanation for that? Their entire bodly was clinically dead. The brain starts to slowly die after 1 minute without oxygen. So how, after 15 minutes up to 3 days of being 'dead' did these individuals see figments of their imagination? There is NO WAY that they could have.
Even if you don't believe in God as the creator and saver of souls.. that is fine.. I don't have to answer for your beliefs..BUT..there is as much evidence that the soul/spirit manifests in some sort of spiritual realm for everyone to at least believe that. Which realm it goes to is all up to you.

Thanks for your time... Jennifer~

john said...

Alright, like Jennifer, I really don't care what you guys believe or whatever, I just want to clear a few things up. I really don't care too much whether or not there is a god(at the risk of being sacreligious), Im just not too chummy with the idea of having a few decades and then its like nothing ever happened. Alright First, heres your evidence...
http://victorzammit.com
or alternately
http://lifeafterdeath.tk
secondly, search astral traveling on google. Find a method, and stick to it until you get an OBE. While many dismiss them as mere lucid dreams, they have yet to explain why people astral travel and then come back with information they COULD NOT POSSIBLY KNOW or having 2 people meet up and then transcripts taken of their conversation and the transcripts matching exactly. Now where is the burden of proof? on the extincionist of course. As for the altering of consciousness with the damaging of the brain? The brain channels the consciousness into this plane of existence. If the brain is damaged, you can't exspect the soul to be able to still interact with this existence in the same way. As for sleep and the turning off of the consciousness, significant studies have shown you astral travel while in deep sleep, you are not truly unconscious. This has been shown by people being woken up during their Deep sleep cycle and having them recall events they had been experiencing immediatelly prior to awakening that correspond with events in real world...most research done by canterbury institute. I just disproved all the evidence against the afterlife and established your "extraordinary" evidence. AFterlife or not? You make the choice.
want to contact me? email is
maf5693@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Theist or Atheist, you will never convince the other that you're right and they are wrong. This argument stopped being about finding the truth a loooong time ago. Now it's devolved into showing who has intellectually superior arguments and who's presentation is better. Go eat a cheese burger (or tofu if thats your thing) have a cup of coffee and enjoy life, however you choose to live it. i believe that Jesus Christ is the only way by which mankind can have access to God, but thats my belief. You don't have to subscribe to it and I don't care if you do or not. I also believe in an afterlife and could cite all manner or quantum evidence that would back me up...then you could refute...than I could counter...then you counter...

I'd rather have a beer and watch some football.

Have fun with your smart-guy contest, because in the end, thats all this is.

Cheers,
K

A.K.Satsangi said...

According to His Holiness Maharaj Sahab (1861-1907), the 3rd Spiritual Head of Radha Soami Faith, “during satyayuga,………..in consequence of their greater spirituality and of the high purity of their heart, had no difficulty in getting access at times into the astral planes and holding communion with the departed spirits.” (Source: Discourses on Radhasoami Faith). Greater Spirituality as mentioned above is linked to the size of pineal gland. In Satyauga pineal gland was highly developed but in Kaliyuga the pineal gland is a rudimentary (undeveloped) organ. This is downward evolution of humankind. We should ascertain the period taken from highly developed pineal gland to undeveloped pineal gland. This will determine the Age of Human Existence on this Earth Planet. Other arguments, as I think, will not help much.
In Bhagavad-Gita Lord SriKrishna says to Arjuna:
“I taught this immortal Yoga to Vivasvan (sun-god), Vivasvan conveyed it to Manu(his son), and Manu imparted it to (his son) Iksvaku. Thus transmitted to succession from father to son, Arjuna, this Yoga remained known to the Rajarisis (royal sages). It has however long since disappeared from this earth. The same ancient Yoga has this day been imparted to you by Me, because you are My devotee and friend, and also because this is a supreme secret”.
At this Arjuna said: You are of recent origin while the birth of Vivasvan dates back to remote antiquity. How, then, I am to believe that you taught this Yoga at the beginning of creation? Lord SriKrishna said: Arjuna, you and I have passed through many births. I remember them all, you do not remember.
1. Radha Soami Faith was founded by His Holiness Param Purush Puran Dhani Huzur Soamiji Maharaj on the prayer of His Holiness Huzur Maharaj who later on became second Spiritual Head of Radha Soami Faith. The prime object of the Radha Soami Faith is the emancipation of all Jeevas (Souls) i.e. to take the entire force of consciousness to its original abode. There is a tradition of succession of Gurus or Spiritual Adepts in Radha Soami Faith. I am one of them as is evident from the following facts or ….
“My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state.
HE told me, “Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho” (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab. Sarkar Sahab later on became Fourth Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith.
Since I don’t have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of ‘Infinite’ (Agam Geet yeh gawan chahoon tumhri mauj nihara, mauj hoi to satguru soami karoon supanth vichara) but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.”

tatsuya said...

Just because I don't believe in YOUR god doesn't mean I'm an atheist. I'm agnostic, but I only say this because when I say that I'm an atheist everyone says "Dude, what the hell is your problem?" Or "You shouldn't hate God for no reason." Really, I don't think atheists should be seen that way. They're choosing their own lifestyle, so if you believe they're going to Hell, so be it, but you can't confirm that they WILL just because you want them to. The existence of the afterlife may not be dependent on the religious beliefs you had as a child, or as an adult. We don't know. And that's the problem, we don't know. Skeptics have their own arguments: there needs to be more evidence, etc, and the believers are more likely to conjure up images of what they believe there is: different planes of negative and positive, Heaven/Paradise/Nirvana, Hell, Purgatory, and what have you. I can't say I'll believe in a god as readily as I would marry the first person I'd meet after walking out my door. Beleiving in anything, not just a deity, takes time and effort. Don't force us to conform. We all have minds of our own.

Anonymous said...

Would there be a God/god if apes didn't evolve into Humans?

Anonymous said...

If the afterlife exists with ghosts and spirits, you would think every single person would be in direct contact with their dearly departed. Why is it the only ones in contact are the ones doing tv or writing books making money off it. These people are fake, fake, fake.