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'Other-ness': What Obama and Romney have in common on religion, race
Mitt Romney delivered the commencement address at Liberty University in the midst of attacks on Mormonism.
May 22nd, 2012
05:13 PM ET

'Other-ness': What Obama and Romney have in common on religion, race

By Halimah Abdullah, CNN

Washington (CNN) - The uproar last week over a proposed campaign ad highlighting President Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, lit up political circles before organizers finally backed off the idea.

And Mitt Romney came under fire from evangelicals before his speech to Liberty University in Virginia earlier this month because some at the traditional Christian school still believe Mormonism is a cult.

Two very different candidates joined by similar, yet hollow, attacks on their faith illustrate the intense mix of identity politics simmering just beneath the surface of the presidential race.

When it comes to faith and race, there are some who want to paint both candidates as outside the mainstream, not members of the traditional American club. They want to paint them as "others."

Both Obama, the nation's first black president, and Romney, a Mormon, have found that their shared status as members of minority groups and political pioneers, in many ways, has also changed the rules of this presidential campaign cycle, said Nancy Wadsworth, co-editor of the anthology "Faith and Race in American Political Life."

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Belief • Christianity

soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. i23o1m6g5tbjy1irls

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  5. Mike Blackadder

    In my last comment I argued that Imposing a condition of measuring God, while appearing to be objective is actually not reasonable. This is completely the wrong sphere of thought for questioning the existence of an omnipotent creator.

    At the end of the day, the question is whether there remains any objective evidence of God? If no, then any other credible hypothesis should be considered equally likely to the God hypothesis and perhaps it is reasonable to just acknowledge that the answer can not be known, as opposed to just picking an answer to believe in.

    My argument (which I believe to be consistent with that of other believers) is that the existence of an omnipotent God as the origin of all things in existence is the only credible explanation for existence. This was the point that I was pushing with momoya, when I asked her to provide me with an alternative explanation. There are a couple of other factors which I will want to mention at the end of this comment.

    Before that I want to respond to each of momoya's criticisms.
    – Point 1: the method of inductive reasoning is obviously invalid because anyone could use the same method to prove THEIR god. Or could rephrase as saying Mike is being obtuse saying there are no alternate explanations when in fact there are thousands of interpretations of God.

    My response to this is that my argument about the existence of God is never meant to prove MY God. I'm not supposing any characteristics except that This God must be both omnipotent an non-finite. This leads to the next critique.

    -Point 2: if we admittedly have no evidence concerning say the origin of the universe (for example if science suggests origin in the Big Bang – what caused the Big Bang?) then presuming God as the origin just complicates the question. For example, questions about God's existence are more puzzling than questions about the universe, so we could say that this supposition does nothing to clarify the original question.

    I interpret this as an argument along the lines of occam's razor. You mentioned that there are other possibilities, theories about the origin of the universe, like the idea of a universe being one leaf on a tree with no awareness/possible contact with the greater body of the tree ( the analogy being existence of 2 dimensional object in three dimensional space). You argue that I am wrong to make assumptions about time being infinite in the Godless version of existence, because it is understood that time is relative, it is created along with the universe, etc.

    The main objection that I have to this argument is that you have modified the word that I originally used in my argument from existence to universe. When I speak of the origin of existence I mean the origin of everything. A discussion about the universe reduces the discussion to a possibly finite object (a possibly transient object) that is possibly caused by something else.

    Now you could argue that a discussion of the origin of the universe must be simpler than a discussion about all existence. If we don't have an answer to the origin of the universe, how can we presume to know the origin of creation?

    This line of thought seems to lead to the 'and on and on it goes' argument. In math we become comfortable with use of infinity. In the case of the universe, and other universes it is conceivable that what we observe is only a subset of something else (like the creation of a cell in a living body) and that larger body may also be a subset of a larger body, and on and on it goes. There is no reason to think that the larger body necessarily has intelligent awareness or particular control of the smaller body, let alone would the grandparent body have awareness of the much lesser body that resides inside it's child.

    For the mathematician or logician this can appear to be a reasonable and relatively elegant expression for existence despite the use of the 'and on and on it goes' mechanism common to mathematics.

    I do not know if I am right to infer this type of argument from momoya when she proposes alternate theories about the origin of the universe, or that by extension she would simply suggest that understanding the origin of ever more complex bodies is even more daunting and uncertain, so why pretend we know?

    The problem is that the 'on and on it goes' explanation actually is not an answer – unless we concede that this suggests infinite time and material existence as I suggested originally.

    Ironically it is simpler to consider the origin of all things, than it is the origin of any particular thing. There are limited general possibilities to explain reality regardless of the complexity of layers of causation or mechanisms of creation. I agree with momoya, that it is of little use to make suppositions about such mechanisms or sequences of causation without evidence. However, the deeper question of origin is simpler. We could say that existence began as a result of an omnipotent God, it came out of nothing or existence has always been simply due to the impossibility of nothingness.

    In my comment a couple of days ago I went through a thought experiment concerning the third possibility above and arrived at the following – if existence just is, then it was not created (either from God or out of nothingness) and therefore it has always been here (remember I'm talking about all of existence, not a conceivably lesser object like the universe). The necessary consequence is the absolute persistence of this substance of existence.

    Note: in response to momoya, I think you have confused some of my points or cited them out of context. I don't think that I suggested that 'infinite substance' is required (only that it always existed if there was no creation). Also I don't expect to be famous for 'my' theories about there being no beginning to material existence or possibly misstated 'infinite substances'. I am suggesting that these are necessary consequences of the theory that existence just is.

    I then suggested two further points about general existence. First, the supposition of material things only gets us so far, we also need to explain why it changes. For example, material existence remaining static for all time is conceivable (at least as conceivalbe as the prospect of an infinite God). It is more challenging to introduce infinitely persistent existence that is also dynamic. Without a 'change agent' this motion must also have also always existed just as the substance of existence always existed.. note:. Remember to try not to misinterpret what I'm saying based on applying it in a limited scope – I'm not saying that each object must exist for all time, so I'm not saying that we must assume the universe existed for all time any more than a particular apple tree must have existed for all time – I'm talking about the dynamic of the greatest/whole object of existence whatever that may happen to be. If part of that dynamic is the 'emergence' and eventual 'destruction' of universe objects then so be it, I'm not excluding such possibilities and I'm making no assumptions.

    The last point about motion or change being cyclical and/or dumb follows necessarily from the assumption of substance of existence and motion having always persistent ( which follows from the assumption of no creation event) and that the entire thing is not designed or intelligent. The following argument that a dumb motion cannot act differently than it did before and still persist forever isn't something that I pulled out of my azz (at least I don't remember doing so), but I agree it is abstract. The complication of permanent existence (and stability) of the whole body becomes a difficult condition in this thought experiment and it is from this that we must place limitations on its possible nature.

    momoya, I like your comments in 18-20 and I agree with you that these are interesting topics. My 'out' with the conclusion of this argument is that if it is true that all choice, thought and free will is actually an illusion, then we still can't say atheism is rational, because rationality doesn't exist. I know, this is a cheeky argument. Maybe someday you will enlighten me about these other theories you allude to in cognitive science.

    I can say that I hope this is not the case, I hope that life, thought and consciencness is not actually predetermined. I prefer to think that we are actually legitimate thinkers and not just an arbitrary alternative to not being here. Acceptance of such a theory for existence would have enormous, and I would venture to suggest catastrophic, consequences when it comes to social morality and philosophies of government.

    Rather I hope for the reality of God. The One Who Required nothing to come into being, who always existed and Who Knows Himself. When you think about this basic origin of existence the words that God spoke to identify Himself to Moses strike me 'I Am Who I Am', the One Who Knows Himself. How could the ultimate origin not Know Himself? Anything unknown would make Him contingent on something else, and so nothing more than a greater version of ourselves. This being could not be the origin of existence anymore than you or I could be. This is why God the origin of existence must not merely be intelligent, He must be omnipotent in order to be non-contingent.

    May 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  6. Mike Blackadder

    momoya, I know that I havnt answered YOUR question yet. Sorry I am getting to it, but have limited time as I'm sure you understand.

    May 25, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    May 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  8. Mike Blackadder

    I'm now convinced that I'm wasting m y time.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Sorry, comment was meant as a reply to comment below.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  9. momoya

    I posted this reply below, but I thought maybe someone else might want to jump in, so I reposted it here..
    .
    .
    .

    You're missing the point.. The issue is verifiability.. No believer can provide any verifiable method of determining that his god or dogma is correct.. That's the "disease.". The "symptom" of that disease is the many disparate religions, denominations, sects, dogmas, etc.. Of course some make more sense at this point in history, and other points in history other god explanations made more sense.. But we cannot determine that ANY ONE religion is more than a philosophy of thought–because there is no verification available.. If there were verification available and hypotheses about god could be tested according to some system, we could come to specific, emergent truths, just as we have done in math and chemistry and such.. We can KNOW that these methods work because we can test them.. We can predict how matter and energy will react when we apply them (such as the maths of angular momentum).

    There is no such mechanism available for any god offered for consideration.. We don't have any "falsifiable" hypotheses, so any god believer of any god can believe whatever he wants–making the god hypothesis equally irrelevant.. Unless there is something to test, measure, and draw conclusions from with the hard data obtained–it's mere philosophy.. The minute that any god believer can break the "philosophy barrier," and provide a mechanism to PROVE their god's existence or plan, each skeptic can perform the experiment and prove to himself that the mechanism works and therefore that god is extremely likely..

    The believers hurdle, then, is breaking the "philosophical barrier" (proving that their god can be measured and put forth as a reasonable idea).. And here's the kicker: Why would a good god allow soooooo much confusion about his nature and will?? Why does he hold himself above simple verification?. At the very least, it would seem that a good god would make his existence as known as gravity–so that all believed generally, and then maybe allow confusion throughout the ages and across the globe.. How many issues across the planet are as divisive as the god hypothesis?. Because most people feel comfortable excusing the lack of evidence for the god of their culture, they stick with it regardless of the fact that they have no solid, measurable data to conclude as both they and other believers of other gods do.. It's pretty easy to do; and so that's what you do to.. It's no special talent.

    Belief is not a choice, but rather a compulsion.. You can't choose to believe that you don't exist.. Or that a friend died.. Or that grass is green.. If you are positing the existence of something that can't be proved, you're being stupid.. Stop it.. If a thing can't be proved you don't even consider belief.. You have fun playing with various theories that all fit the phenomena you wish to explain or contend with–but belief is irrelevant..

    What does a belief in god DO, that it could not do unless it were more than mere philosophy?

    May 24, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • momoya

      We don't need to imagine a "god" to explain our existence, so why speculate?. The honest answer is the same as if we are asking about the existence of unicorns: If we don't know if they do or do not exist, we assume they don't (until proven) as the assumption that they do exist doesn't help us anywhere or solve any problems..

      Honesty on the existence of gods and unicorns and "why" there is existence: We don't know; therefore, critical reasoning demands that we NOT speculate without any evidence either way.

      Indeed, you connected the dots I intended.
      .
      .
      .
      Your argument is irrelevant because you are:
      1. Assuming the existence of a god in order to ask questions that don't matter if there isn't one.. "We don't know" is sometimes the most accurate answer we have.. There's no need to imagine unicorns.

      2. Your question-begging is in error, as I showed with the questions about unicorns.. Why are you holding your personal god hypothesis above logical approach?

      3. I remember you asking me no such question, so I apologize if I did not see it.. It's a stupid question, so I would have answered it adeptly.. (I was NOT playing coy, jackazz). <-this is the sort of assuming you are doing for your god, but it doesn't work when you're having a discussion with a live person who can correct your statements.

      4. What do you mean "alternative hypothesis?"?!?!? You don't have a valid hypothesis because it can't be tested for verification or falsification.. Why don't you start there, Mike?. Fix your hypothesis, first.. If you can't do that, then you're just fa r t ing in the wind like every other philosopher, but you're calling it fact.. It's stupid and dishonest..

      5. We don't even know how many "alternative hypotheses" there might be for existence.. If we don't even have the slightest idea how many hypotheses there are to approach and try to figure out how to test, why assume any hypothesis at all?

      6. If we don't know, and we can't do measurable test, that we admit that and say we do not know and rest in disbelief.. It's what you do in the case of unicorns, and it's the only logical thing to do with an unprovable god.. You're just too uncomfortable in giving up the idea.. (Your reasons might be anything).

      7. You really don't seem to have a good grasp on logic, and you seem to often fall back on IMPLICATIONS of the ad populum fallacy or others and use very poor argumentation that has been refuted by sound logic many, many times.. I don't get the feeling that you're being honest with yourself–and that evidences itself in your dodging of my various well-placed points to you.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • momoya

      @Mike

      Why do you do this every time?? You ask sensible questions, and I spend a large amount of time explaining, and you reply with a stupid "but.. but.. you're wrong and I'm right" answer that doesn't address any issue I raised.. Again, you're just begging the question by stating that god is the only logical hypothesis.. It's stupid.. Your hypothesis ISN'T EVEN VALID to begin with because IT CAN'T BE TESTED.. You're logic is basically this: because 5,368 + 335,322 = 340,690, that those are the only two integers that can be added together to get that number.. Whenever logic starts hitting to close to home, you run back to your question begging and bald assertion corner and start whining that pretty please, you just gotta be right because, because, because.. well.. just because..

      Unicorns, my existence, and god's existence:

      My existence can be verifiably proved through several thousand methods or so.
      The existence of unicorns cannot be verifiably proved by any methods we know about.
      The existence of god cannot be verifiably proved by any methods we know about.

      You're not being honest with yourself in this debate when you just abandon critical reasoning so that you don't have to examine your comfortable beliefs..

      By what method can you prove your god exists?. What should we measure to falsify or verify your claim?

      May 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Nelson Rose

      Momoya,

      I can sense your frustration with some of the answers here. As you can see by my posts that while I do believe that there is a God or Creative and Perpetual Source, I am not a fan of the religions that have been created by man to decipher the nature and concept of the Divine. (Yes, men created religions contrary to what anyone wants to believe). In fact, I truly believe that the dogmatic and oppressive doctines and histories of the various religions are probably the reasons we have so many skeptics and atheists. If you are interested in a very educated and philiosophical case on the topic may I suggest you read "Guide for the Perplexed" by Moses Maimonides. It was written centuries ago, but it is pretty amazing how he weaved the various teaching of Aristole, Plato, Socrates, the science of the time, and the Torah together. No one on this thread (myslef included) can compete with Maimonides. This is not an attempt at soul winning, just a suggestion for someone who seems willing to listen to an intelligent position on the subject.

      -Nelson (http://quest4light.net)

      May 25, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  10. momoya

    @IfNab's stupid "logic" (Not the idiot himself)

    If christians had gods, they'd be white gold plus signs on car key chains.

    May 23, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  11. momoya

    You have a choice: Vote for a guy who believes in talking snakes and donkeys and mass zombie outbreaks or a guy who wears magical underwear and thinks he and his multiple wives are going to populate outer space for eternity..

    How do you choose based on such stupid beliefs.. Easy, you have to ignore them.. Just like Mormons and Christians ignore logic when it comes to vetting their religious beliefs.. Exactly why they want this issue kept out of the debates.. If they were proud of their beliefs they'd WANT them exposed and out in the open and they'd gladly be talking about the beliefs at ever chance.

    May 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • If Nabateans had Gods ... their Gods would be blocks of stone

      @momoya- "How do you choose based on such stupid beliefs.."

      ~How do you choose..easy. You choose by who you think will run the nation the best based on his political leanings. It's so easy because we are voting for a Commander and Chief...not a Commander and Priest. I agree with you that we should just ignore the religious aspect mostly.

      May 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Unfortunately a lot of preachers tell their congregants to vote on faith.

      May 23, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • momoya

      @IfNab

      Are you daft?. You did see that directly after the question you quoted, I answered it almost exactly as you stated?!?!?. Don't be a moron.

      May 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      HawaiiGuest, I've never heard a Priest who even hinted at how he'd like his congregation to vote. Usually there is plenty of room for believers to see the good in either Democrat or Republican platforms from a Christian perspective. Admittedly, it's different when you find your church directly in a battle with one of the political parties.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • If Nabateans had Gods ... their Gods would be blocks of stone

      @momoya- "Are you daft?. You did see that directly after the question you quoted, I answered.."

      It's called agreeing with you. Quit being so defensive.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  12. shack

    After years of the GOP screaming this is a Christian nation, I am baffled by the fact that the GOP nominee is a Mormon. Mormons are not Christians. Can someone explain this to me?

    May 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Yeh, Shack, I'll take a whack at that one. Why don't we ask Paul? If Paul were here today, what church would he belong to? Paul actually answered that question in 1 Corinthians, " 10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
      11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
      12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
      13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
      14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, abut Crispus and Gaius;
      15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name."
      It is pretty obvious that Paul would not approve of the Lutheran church, or the Methodist, or the Baptist or any of the evangelical churches of the day. He said himself that he would only belong to the Church of Jesus Christ, and if he were alive today, he would belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Days. So, you see, Shack, the church you belong to isn't really Christian at all. It just says it is, but sayin it doesn't really make it so, does it? I invite you to learn more about the real church of Jesus Christ at mormon.org. Your salvation depends on it!

      May 23, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  13. catholic engineer

    If I hand an atheist a small pebble and tell him "this dumb stone doesn't care about you" he would smirk. If I show him a universe of dumb stone and pretty gasses, he'll wax wise and say "Yezzzz, we are so small compared to the vastness of the universe – totally insignificant." Actually, a two year old human can out thing everything astronomists have discovered "out there". A toddler is smarter than 100 trillion tons of space debris. Which makes humanity the smartest being of which science is aware. If the center of the universe is located according to intelligence, so far WE are the center.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      True enlightenment is far more than a simple infatuation with your own reflection. You will never discover the answers to the origins of our universe by staring at yourself in the mirror... But, good luck with that!

      May 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Nelson Rose

      I stand by my statement and you have not been able to refute it – Religions are manmade fantasy. You, did however miss a very importnat part of what I said because you implied I was an atheist, which I am not. I will repeat the sentence that followed the only one you apprently paid attention too:

      While I believe there is a supreme and perepetual source of life, I don’t believe any one particular religion has all the answers or that one has any moral authority over another.

      Prove to me that YOUR religion is superior to any others..

      May 23, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • If Nabateans had Gods ... their Gods would be blocks of stone

      Nelson Rose- "I stand by my statement and you have not been able to refute it – Religions are manmade fantasy."

      Prove your statement. To make it easy, just prove the largest current religion: Christinaity.

      May 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • jqent

      As i recall, William Jennings Bryan made the same argument. it sounded stupid when he said it, too. If a human toddler is wiser than a planet of stone, but there are probably billions of planets inhabited by sentient beings, how can anyone assert that we are the "center of the universe," or god's pet species?

      May 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Nelson Rose

      Christianity has no more proof than the Greek or Roman Pantheons. In fact it has less, there are actual temples that existed during the Greco-Roman Pantheonic Era still standing. Zero for Christianity.

      May 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • If Nabateans had Gods ... their Gods would be blocks of stone

      @Nelson Rose- "Christianity has no more proof than the Greek or Roman Pantheons. In fact it has less, there are actual temples that existed during the Greco-Roman Pantheonic Era still standing. Zero for Christianity."

      You failed to prove your statement. Evidence of temples ,or lack of them, does not mean that Christianity was a "manmade fantasy".

      Care to try again? Hint, you'll have to establish a historical founder of the faith. One that can be proven to have just "made" it up. Good luck.

      May 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Nelson Rose

      @Nabateans – I don't know what's more annoying your ignorance or your arrogance. Christianity started as sect of Judaism which was then paganized by Constantine into the state religion of the Roman Empire. The New Testament was added to the Jewish Cannon by various councils sponspored by Constantine. It then spread by the sword and the rack and other "holy" means. One only needs a history book or a few Google searches to see the countless atrocities the church is responsible for. The burden of proof that the Christian religion (which fails to pass it own standard of what a religion is – James 1:26-27) is somehow superior than any other religion is on you, not me.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • If Nabateans had Gods ... their Gods would be blocks of stone

      @Nelson Rose- "I don't know what's more annoying your ignorance or your arrogance."

      ~Typical and pointless insult. No points there.

      "Christianity started as sect of Judaism which was then paganized by Constantine into the state religion of the Roman Empire."

      ~Def started as a sect of Judaism. Eh on the whole paganizing of it part. Constantine had very little to do with the theology of the religion. Ausgustine had much more to do with that part.

      "The New Testament was added to the Jewish Cannon by various councils sponspored by Constantine."

      ~No. You are incorrect. The Canonization the Bible was going on before Constantine. It was an ongoing process and not a one time deal.

      "It then spread by the sword and the rack and other "holy" means."

      ~Sometimes it was...sometimes it wasn't. Regardless, this doesn't prove your statement still.

      "One only needs a history book or a few Google searches to see the countless atrocities the church is responsible for."

      ~Beware of google and it's results. Most hs kids would know that. Again, it doesn't support your original statment.

      "The burden of proof that the Christian religion is somehow superior than any other religion is on you, not me."

      ~Nice try at switching the topic. But you failed again. I never made the statement that any religion was superior to another. However, you said that Christianity was a "manmade fantasy". You have failed to prove this. That burden falls on you.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Nelson Rose

      @Nabateans – Paul/Saul of Tarsus. There is your answer. He changed the monotheistic, deeds based theology of the Jews into the faith-based, sactification by grace, and human sacrificial atonement theolgy of Christianity.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Nelson Rose

      @Nabateans and @Catholic Engineer.

      Just to be clear. Just because religions are manmade does not mean that I find no value in them or the characters that they teach about.

      Whether or not Jesus was an actual person doesn't mean nearly as much to me as the lessons of morality that were taught in the parables attributed to him. Which I peronally believe are a rule and guide for ALL to follow.

      If you read my blog, you'd know that already though 🙂

      May 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • If Nabateans had Gods ... their Gods would be blocks of stone

      @Nelson Rose- "Paul/Saul of Tarsus. There is your answer. He changed the monotheistic, deeds based theology of the Jews into the faith-based, sactification by grace, and human sacrificial atonement theolgy of Christianity."

      ~I see an answer..but one without evidence. Especially since Christianity seemed to pre-date Paul's conversion.
      Heck..are you saying that Paul was a historical figure? I've seen some atheists on here that would say you don't know what you are talking about.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • If Nabateans had Gods ... their Gods would be blocks of stone

      "Just because religions are manmade.."

      ~You still haven't really proven that...at least with Christianity.
      Lol...blogs and their bloggers are a dime a dozen.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • momoya

      @If Naba

      I'm guessing you're one of the regular posters here who is trying a new handle in an effort to distance yourself from prior, embarrassing behavior.. Just my guess.

      I don't know why any atheist should want to prove anything to you.. You're supposed to be proving your belief in god is the correct one.. What the fvck do we atheists care if you want to continue on in your absolute stupidity and intellectual blindness.. Go for it.. Have a nice trip.. How relaxing do you think it will be giving blow j o b s to the most horrific torturer/terrorist ever conceived in the mind of man?? It'll be a blast for you, and with your god, you'll enjoy the smoke of the torment of the damned that fills god's throne room forever and ever.. Congrats.. You're almost as disgusting as the god you worship.

      May 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • If Nabateans had Gods ... their Gods would be blocks of stone

      @momoya- "I'm guessing you're one of the regular posters here who is trying a new handle in an effort to distance yourself from prior, embarrassing behavior.. Just my guess."

      ~Bad guess...I am a regular poster that hasn't said anything embarrassing. Just stuff you don't like. My current handle is just making fun of the whole "if horses had gods.." foolishness. Obviously the Nabateans didn't fit into that thinking since they had gods that were blocks of cut stone.

      "I don't know why any atheist should want to prove anything to you.. You're supposed to be proving your belief in god is the correct one.."

      ~Lol...well well well...look who is the new CNN moderator on here. All high and mighty now eh? Actually, I don't believe that intellectually lazy atheists can get a free ride on here. If they make a statement that they consider fact...then shockingly I expect them to back it up with evidence. Isn't that what they expect out of others?

      "What the fvck do we atheists care if you want to continue on in your absolute stupidity and intellectual blindness.."

      ~More of that ego showing. Do you speak for all atheists? If you don't want to participate, don't comment. If you want to rant and rave like a child..plz continue.

      "How relaxing do you think it will be giving blow j o b s to the most horrific torturer/terrorist ever conceived in the mind of man??"

      ~If you feel God doesn't exist..then none of that matters now does it? Truth is, barring the natural calamities...you blame mankind for all the deaths and such in the world.

      "It'll be a blast for you, and with your god, you'll enjoy the smoke of the torment of the damned that fills god's throne room forever and ever.. Congrats.. You're almost as disgusting as the god you worship."

      ~Lol...I don't find any enjoyment out of any of that. But you seem to enjoy name calling, getting mad, throwing inaccurate accusations and other rather questionable morale behavior about. You are letting down your atheist flock.

      May 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • momoya

      @IfNab

      When you're ready to have a reasonable conversation and stop flinging p oo like the monkeys at zoo, let me know.

      p.s.

      1. And really, how the h e ll do you know the statues were "gods?"
      2. Those statues look exactly like a human analog to me, so if they were "gods" they looked exactly human.. You're making a mockery of your own position with such nonsense.. Or do you think christians worship wood or gold because of all the cross jewelry?.

      LOL!! If christians had gods, their gods would be basic platinum shapes dangling on chains.

      May 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Nelson Rose

      @Nabateans had Gods

      "“Just because religions are manmade..” ~You still haven’t really proven that…at least with Christianity."

      Religions do not PHYSICALLYexist. They are merely the THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS OF MEN that have been passed down through verbal and written traditions. Thus, they are manmade and you can not prove otherwise.

      "Lol…blogs and their bloggers are a dime a dozen." So are rambling pettifoggers like yourself.

      I've wasted enough time with you. For those who are interested in how reason and religion can be fused into one philosophical concept, come visit my blog – http://quest4light.net

      May 24, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • If Nabateans had Gods ... their Gods would be blocks of stone

      @momoya- "When you're ready to have a reasonable conversation and stop flinging p oo like the monkeys at zoo, let me know."

      ~Heal thyself hypocrite.

      "1. And really, how the h e ll do you know the statues were "gods?""

      ~Odd little thing called archaeology.

      "2. Those statues look exactly like a human analog to me, so if they were "gods" they looked exactly human.."

      ~Chances are you didn't see the one's I saw when I was on Petra.

      "LOL!! If christians had gods, their gods would be basic platinum shapes dangling on chains."

      ~Lol.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • If Nabateans had Gods ... their Gods would be blocks of stone

      @Nelson Rose- "Religions do not PHYSICALLYexist. They are merely the THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS OF MEN that have been passed down through verbal and written traditions. Thus, they are manmade and you can not prove otherwise."

      ~I am not the one that declared they were manmade..you were. You have yet to point out who created that "thought". You tried to say Paul but once that fell flat you are now trying to alter the criteria. Not very honest.

      "So are rambling pettifoggers like yourself."

      ~ Ad Hominem Tu Quoque....you do debate more than once in awhile right? You are making some very basic mistakes.

      "I've wasted enough time with you."

      ~Translation: I cannot win and prove my superiority so I am leaving...and taking my toys too...lol. Bloggers, why don't you just advertise your site and leave it at that.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • momoya

      @IfNab

      You are the person claiming that the medium used to express religious art IS the god of the worshipers.. Just because somebody carves a block of stone doesn't mean that he's worshiping stone.. EXACTLY as the case when christians make a cross ornament for behind the pulpit.. Would you want future archeologists concluding that christians worshiped wood as god because of the large, hollow wooden crosses behind the pulpits in church buildings?

      May 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Nelson

      I think you made the right call to break of fcommunication with IfNab.. The christian would say something about no longer throwing "pearls before swine," but I think it's just plain willful ignorance in this case..

      May 25, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  14. kolob

    Do a wiki search on Parley P. Pratt, Mitt Romney's great grandfather. Learn why he was murdered by a jealous husband. Oh yeah. He also had 12 wives.

    May 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      I think this adds to Mitt's appeal. Being one eighth badass rebel ladies man is just the right amount of spunk for the whitehouse. But being 80-90% rebel, ladies man (like Obama and Clinton, respectively) is going too far. Good reason to vote Republican.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  15. Reality

    A PowerPoint slide for your refrigerator doors:

    SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
    THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11.

    SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
    THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.

    SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
    ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

    Added details upon request.

    May 23, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  16. Nelson Rose

    ALL religions are cults by definition so why the stupidity of evangelicals. We have advanced so much in science and technology and still some people hold to mythical religious beliefs as actual events that happened. Religions are all fantasy. While I believe there is a supreme and perepetual source of life, I don't believe any one particular religion has all the answers or that one has any moral authority over another. At some point people need to get out of fairyland and grow up.

    Come visit my blog if you would like to read more on a more enlightened view of the Divine. http://quest4light.net

    May 23, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • catholic engineer

      "We have advanced so much in science and technology and still some people hold to mythical religious beliefs as actual events that happened. Religions are all fantasy." Science doesn't happen by itself, Nelson. Everything humanity does is subject to human nature. Wilkie Collins, Victorian author, witnesses the horrors of the Franco-Prussian war. He said " "I begin to believe in only one civilising influence – the discovery one of these days of a destructive agent so terrible that War shall mean annihilation and men's fears will force them to keep the peace." Scienctists, with the help of government and corportations, will be happy to deliver such things to us.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Nelson, simply claiming that you think all religions are fantasy hardly sounds like an enlightened point of view about the devine. If there is a Creator and He is good and cares about His creation doesn't it make sense that He might try to speak to us and save us if we are doing things wrong and we sre going to hurt ourselves snd others? I also think that we overemphasize differences among major religions and rarely consider what is common between all forms of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc. We all worship one God who asks us to live according to His commandments – about which there is little dispute (even among atheists it seems) ; except among individuals in all of these religions who pervert God's commandments to justify evil deeds.

      The idea that everyone is wrong except for you about God hardly seems like a solid argument for criticizing religion.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • momoya

      @Mike

      Nelson is taking the more logical stance than you.. If god wanted to clear up the confusion about who he is and what he wants, it's a pretty good bet he'd be somewhat successful at it, and he sure hasn't had any success so far seeing the state of religious affairs in the world throughout history.. (Maybe like how believers of all gods use the same math and chemistry because they MUST)

      The sheer number of different god beliefs without any way of verifying their stance as "the Truth" should cause any reasonable person to be skeptical.. Since none of the beliefs can provide any more proof than any other, it makes more sense to withhold belief–the atheist position.. Not a single god believer can provide one testable hypothesis, and no matter what reasoning you bring, they just find a way to excuse their god from that argument (mysterious ways, god is infinite and we're finite, we can't understand this or that)..

      The idea that everyone is wrong except for you about God hardly seems like a solid argument for criticizing another person's skepticism.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qahB7mYhLxs&w=640&h=360]

      May 24, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Mike Blackadder

      momoya, here's what I dont understand about your argument. If you take away the more significant point of contention about whether there is a God creator who cares about his creation, where do you see this great controversy about God among believers? Anyone who is a Christian believes many of the same things as Muslims about God and obviously similar to Judaism. It isn't really true that a person who believes in a Devine creator does not believe in the 'God' of these other religions. Rather the disagreement is more precisely about what events const-itute the word of God in history, and precisely how we ought to respond. This is not equivalent to the scenario that you and Nelson describe where all religion is evidently fantasy and every belief about God is highly contested among believers.

      In fact, I think that even atheists strive to live their lives in a similar way to the message of Christ and basically live according to the ten commandments. Being skeptical is nothing to be criticized, as virtually every believer is or ought to be skeptical, not only of things they are taught at church, but also of their personal spiritual/religious beliefs. Being skeptical therefore does not exclude someone from religion. Rather for an individual it is a matter of the best choice. I used to reject religion because of skepticism, but this is also a choice. A positive thing about religion is the practice of dwelling on others and on God (if you believe in God). Inventing your own religion is ego-centric, much more ego-centric than thinking that a particular church, religious life is good and representative of your beliefs.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • Nelson Rose

      @Mike – I am not an atheist. I just don't believe that one religion has absolute authority about the concept of the divine. Religion is a creation of man – not God. This is where the adherents of religion get lost – my view is that the Divine is unknowable and beyond our comprehension. The very source that evolutionist believe caused the Big Bang to me is the same source that implanted a moral compass within us.

      If this source insited on worship and wanted to be understood – we wouldn't be having this discussion.

      -Nelson (http://quest4light.net)

      May 24, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Mike Blackadder

      With regard to the argument that there is no evidence to support any religious belief over another; not true.

      Firstly, a belief in an infinite God – the One who knows Himself – is reasonable in itself, and is consistent with the reality of existence, unlike the alternative view of there being no transcendent force or a finite force behind existence.

      Secondly, there the gospels and other early writings of the Christian church are testimony to the doctrines of Catholicism and other Christian denominations – which is precisely why Catholic dogma consistently return to these sources as a basis for the faith. A scholarly approach to these ancient writings is not equivalent to a purely logical operation such as math, but doesn't mean that it is not objective. Moreover, while you and I may not find indisputable evidence to support the truth of gospels, many others would claim otherwise based on their personal experiences. For example, certain claims of apparitions of Mary are quite extraordinary – re the Lady of Fatima and medjugorje. Others would attest to miracles that have been attributed to canonized saints even in contemporary times and others would attest to personal revelations from God, myself included.

      You can of course view all of this with skepticism, and not believe the evidence that others present, but truly you can say the same thing about even scientific theories if you have a high enough level of skepticism. Your claim that a real God would necessarily remove all of your doubts isn't objective. I agree with you that the stance from a believer that God has reason to be coy is also not objective. You seem to argue that a God who judges us based on faith but gives little objective reason for faith is obviously cruel. This is a valid point. The question of what God expects from us in terms of faith and works is not as certain as some like to claim for the very reason given in your argument. Human beings are not blessed with gifts in life equally. We try our best, but ultimately we can't claim to know how God will judge us.

      In doubt I try to return to things of which I am more certain as a basis for my actions. Believing in God, believing God loves creation and believing that there is no way that an individual such as myself is central or necessary is a good basis for obedience to most Christian religious beliefs.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Nelson – 'Religion is a creation of man – not God. This is where the adherents of religion get lost – my view is that the Divine is unknowable and beyond our comprehension.'

      The first sentence is your opinion. You assume that this God has not passed his word onto us. The second point about incomprehensibility of God is held by virtually any believer. If God is infinite we can not know Him. Only God knows Himself. If God is truly infinite and above us how we then claim to know him completely. However, that's not to say that we can't understand something that He tells us, or that we can have an accurate impression of God through creation or through Jesus.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • momoya

      @Mike

      You're missing the point.. The issue is verifiability.. No believer can provide any verifiable method of determining that his god or dogma is correct.. That's the "disease.". The "symptom" of that disease is the many disparate religions, denominations, sects, dogmas, etc.. Of course some make more sense at this point in history, and other points in history other god explanations made more sense.. But we cannot determine that ANY ONE religion is more than a philosophy of thought–because there is no verification available.. If there were verification available and hypotheses about god could be tested according to some system, we could come to specific, emergent truths, just as we have done in math and chemistry and such.. We can KNOW that these methods work because we can test them.. We can predict how matter and energy will react when we apply them (such as the maths of angular momentum).

      There is no such mechanism available for any god offered for consideration.. We don't have any "falsifiable" hypotheses, so any god believer of any god can believe whatever he wants–making the god hypothesis equally irrelevant.. Unless there is something to test, measure, and draw conclusions from with the hard data obtained–it's mere philosophy.. The minute that any god believer can break the "philosophy barrier," and provide a mechanism to PROVE their god's existence or plan, each skeptic can perform the experiment and prove to himself that the mechanism works and therefore that god is extremely likely..

      The believers hurdle, then, is breaking the "philosophical barrier" (proving that their god can be measured and put forth as a reasonable idea).. And here's the kicker: Why would a good god allow soooooo much confusion about his nature and will?? Why does he hold himself above simple verification?. At the very least, it would seem that a good god would make his existence as known as gravity–so that all believed generally, and then maybe allow confusion throughout the ages and across the globe.. How many issues across the planet are as divisive as the god hypothesis?. Because most people feel comfortable excusing the lack of evidence for the god of their culture, they stick with it regardless of the fact that they have no solid, measurable data to conclude as both they and other believers of other gods do.. It's pretty easy to do; and so that's what you do to.. It's no special talent.

      Belief is not a choice, but rather a compulsion.. You can't choose to believe that you don't exist.. Or that a friend died.. Or that grass is green.. If you are positing the existence of something that can't be proved, you're being stupid.. Stop it.. If a thing can't be proved you don't even consider belief.. You have fun playing with various theories that all fit the phenomena you wish to explain or contend with–but belief is irrelevant..

      What does a belief in god DO, that it could not do unless it were more than mere philosophy?

      May 24, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  17. mormonsarechristian

    If there had been no Nicene Creed or Emperor Constantine, Evangelicals’ theology would be quite similar to Mitt Romney’s In fact, there would likely be no need for the Mormon Church to restore Jesus Christ’s church. Mormons’ theology is based on New Testament Christianity, not Fourth Century Creeds. For example, the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views on Baptism, Lay Ministry, the Trinity, Theosis, Grace vs. Works, the Divinity of Jesus Christ are closer to Early Christianity than any other denomination. And Mormon teenagers have been judged to “top the charts” in Christian Characteristics by a UNC-Chapel Hill study. Read about it here:

    http://MormonsAreChristian.blogspot.com/

    According to a 2012 Pew Forum poll of members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) 98 percent said they believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and 97 percent say their church is a Christian religion. They volunteer 7 times as many hours as does the general population, according to a 2012 University of Pennsylvania study. Mormons have a better understanding of Christianity than any other denomination, according to a 2010 Pew Forum poll:

    http://www.pewforum.org/Other-Beliefs-and-Practices/U-S-Religious-Knowledge-Survey.aspx

    11 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence (including several presidents) were non-Trinitarian Christians, as is Mitt Romney.

    Rev. Jeremiah Wright says “it is hard to tell” if Barack Obama converted from Islam to Christianity.

    May 23, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • kolob

      Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, was jailed on numerous occasions for stealing people's money. Does the average American know he was a con artist? This is not a church. It is a cult. Educate yourself. then tell your friends.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  18. kolob

    The second Mitt Romney tells America that he believes Jesus appeared in America, he is toast.

    May 22, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      He is already toast and that's why he's being allowed to go through the motions.
      The GOP isn't serious with a guy like Romney and it shows.
      You'll see it when they debate. Romney is an empty suit without a brain and blows lies everywhere. He's totally outclassed.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      And Obama's just the king of rhetoric. He was elected because of his strong oratory skills, yet we've found out that, policy wise, there was not much going on in that head of his. Still though, I would'nt vote for Romney.

      May 23, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  19. Reality

    What they do not have in common will give BO the election:

    To wit:

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Mitt Romney, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And the irony:

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

    The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.
    i

    May 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      As you suggest here, nobody is really in favor of abortions.

      I'm not sure that underuse of condoms or pills is the real cause of so many abortions and STDs. This is a may of minimizing the damage caused by the bigger problems. The bigger problems are in our perception that it is normal to have premarital s e x and to use others for pleasure in a recreational way. A model of se-xuality in marriage is a more welcoming circu-mstance for pregnancy and raising children. Similarly, problems with STDs are largely due to the practice of having inter-course with many partners.

      It's certainly easier to say that people should just use condoms more often. However, is there evidence that greater availability of condoms and birth control have diminished numbers of abortions and spreading of STDs, or are the benefits of such protection offset by the inadvertent promotion of recreational s e x and the notion that beyond pleasure s e x is to be inconsequential?

      May 23, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Reality

      "Facts on Contraceptive Use

      http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html
      January 2008 and June 2010

      "WHO NEEDS CONTRACEPTIVES?

      • 62 million U.S. women (and men?) are in their childbearing years (15–44).[1]

      • 43 million women (and men) of reproductive age, or 7 in 10, are se-xually active and do not want to become pregnant, but could become pregnant if they or their partners fail to use a con-traceptive method.[2]

      • The typical U.S. woman (man?) wants only 2 children. To achieve this goal, she (he?) must use cont-raceptives for roughly 3 decades.[3]

      WHO USES CON-TRACEPTIVES?

      • Virtually all women (98%) aged 15–44 who have ever had int-ercourse have used at least one con-traceptive method.[2](and men?)

      • Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using one.[2] (and men)

      • 31% of the 62 million women (and men?) do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had inte-rcourse; or are not se-xually active.[2]

      • Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk of unwanted pregnancy but are not using con-traceptives.[2] (and men?)

      • Among the 42 million fertile, s-exually active women who do not want to become pregnant, 89% are practicing con-traception.[2] (and men?)

      WHICH METHODS DO WOMEN (men?) USE?

      • 64% of reproductive-age women who practice con-traception use reversible methods, such as oral con-traceptives or condoms. The remaining women rely on female or male sterilization.[2]

      FIRST-YEAR CON-TRACEPTIVE FAILURE RATES – Guttmacher Inst-itute

      Percentage of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)
      Some examples
      Method……………..Typical

      Pill (combined)……… 8.7
      Tubal sterilization ……0.7
      Male condom ……….17.4
      Vasectomy…………… 0.2
      Implant…………………1.0
      IUD (Copper-T)……….1.0
      (Masturbation mono or dual)………. 0

      No method 85.0" (important to women and men wanting to get pregnant)

      The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":

      1a. (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
      1b. (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)

      Followed by:

      One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
      Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
      The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
      Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
      IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

      More facts about contraceptives from

      guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

      "CON-TRACEPTIVE METHOD CHOICE

      Cont-raceptive method use among U.S. women who practice con-traception, 2002

      Method No. of users (in 000s) % of users

      Pill………….. 11,661……………. 30.6
      Male condom 6,841……………… 18.0 "

      i.e.
      The pill fails to protect women 8.7% during the first year of use (from the same reference previously shown).

      i.e. 0.087 (failure rate)
      x 62 million (# child bearing women)
      x 0.62 ( % of these women using contraception )
      x 0.306 ( % of these using the pill) =

      1,020,000 unplanned pregnancies
      during the first year of pill use.

      For male condoms (failure rate of 17.4 and 18% use level)

      1,200,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of male condom use.

      The Gut-tmacher Inst-itute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate
      (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).

      o Conclusion: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the pill or condoms properly and/or use other methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Thanks for that Reality. Its impressive that you do such s thorough job of explaining your point with all of these facts and I admit that I do not have such figures to justify my argument. However, this doesn't seem to answer either of the points that I was making. The first point being that underuse of contraceptives is not the root cause of STDs or abortions. Rather a society of permanent monogamous relationships (marriage) as a basis for s e x is a better cure. Secondly, I question wheth greater availability of contraceptives has improved abortion rates or STD rates. None of your data seems to address these points. However, your data does support the argument that given se-xual tendencies in society as they exist today that there is evidence that contraceptive use does not meet expectations and this suggests they are not being used or are used incorrectly.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Reality

      The reality of se-x, contraception and STD control: – from a guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-

      Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...

      The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

      : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill ( 8.7% actual failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% actual failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

      Added information before making your next move:

      from the CDC-2006

      "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

      And from:

      Consumer Reports, January, 2012

      "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

      Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

      "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

      Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

      The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":

      1a. (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
      1b. (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)

      Followed by:

      One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
      Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
      The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
      Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
      IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

      Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).

      May 24, 2012 at 7:24 am |
  20. Kindness

    thought to consider without a typical ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Let go and let god".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    Your all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome .

    May 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "You're all smart people . I tell the truth."

      LMAO You're all smart people . I tell the truth.= EGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That makes your whole post moot!

      May 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for those who think out the "bible bun":

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      May 22, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • just sayin

      Ego Kindness...you have the biggest ego of all.

      May 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Reality, Christians know of all the 1949 speeches in LA, bashing Christianity so a new rule can take it's place.

      May 22, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Mary

      Thank you for posting this!!

      May 23, 2012 at 1:39 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      There can be no ego when one accepts the true vastness and complexity of the universe and the infinitesmal role we as individuals play in the grand cosmic ballet.
      To me, the height of arrogance is to believe that the One God – Omnipotent Shaper and Ruler of all Creation – is both anthropomorphic and anthropocentric. To think that everything exists simply to have us in it and that The Creator demands our obsequious submission lest he become petulant is not only absurd to the Nth degree, it is also pure egoism.

      May 23, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • momoya

      Thank you so much, Doc!!!!!!!! There's another billboard candidate..

      May 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Kindness, thanks for your post. Believers and non-believers should ponder this.

      Doc, if God created humanity then doesn't He define what we are meant to be? Doesn't it make sense that by submitting to His will this would result in us fulfilling our humanity rather than compromising our humanity? As Kindness argued, our ego promises happiness and praise, but it is false. So why do we serve our egos? How good are we at knowing how to make ourselves happy? These are the questions to ask before considering whether God's way is a burden or actually a fulfillment in our lives.

      May 23, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • momoya

      @Mike

      Because you can't just assume your premise in order to assert it.. If no one can prove god, then all the following issues, questions, and assertions you wish to consider are meaningless.. What if unicorns exist?. If they do, does that mean we should ride horses more often or less?. Should we whinny and neigh at each hour on the hour or just at noon and midnight?. Should we honor unicorns more in art and music or respect their "holiness" and not blaspheme by talking about them at all?

      Irrelevant bullsh!t.. Just like your questions about god.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Mike
      The great problem with the God hypothesis is that He doesn't really give direct intructions as to His will.
      For some reason, it's always some Shaman who claims to have had direct contact with the deity who communicates The Word, which then passed down through the generations in a game of Chinese whispers.
      God hasn't been very demonstrative since he last flamboyantly parted the seas.
      Some of the Christian God's commands, like " be fruitful and multiply" are actual dangerous for or species to follow in the modern age. With a global population of 7 billion, we are sitting on the cusp of drowning in our own effluence. Breeding more consumers will simply hasten the inevitable reckoning we'll face when waste production dwarfs food production and a significant percentage of humanity dies off.
      If the One True Deity, wishes Their words to be transmitted and adhered to, They should have been a bit less ambiguous. Expecting people to select The Truth out of limitless possibilities on faith alone seems a sloppy way to run things – especially if the punishment for a wrong choice is eternal torment.

      May 24, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Mike Blackadder

      momoya, we don't need unicorns to explain our existence so why speculate? And you say that my argument is irrelevant?

      Last time I got into this argument with you you played coy an didn't want to decide whether it is possible to explain your existence without God. If every alternate hypothesis is impossible then God must exist. This is a simple tenet of logic.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • momoya

      @Mike

      We don't need to imagine a "god" to explain our existence, so why speculate?. The honest answer is the same as if we are asking about the existence of unicorns: If we don't know if they do or do not exist, we assume they don't (until proven) as the assumption that they do exist doesn't help us anywhere or solve any problems..

      Honesty on the existence of gods and unicorns and "why" there is existence: We don't know; therefore, critical reasoning demands that we NOT speculate without any evidence either way.

      Indeed, you connected the dots I intended.
      .
      .
      .
      Your argument is irrelevant because you are:
      1. Assuming the existence of a god in order to ask questions that don't matter if there isn't one.. "We don't know" is sometimes the most accurate answer we have.. There's no need to imagine unicorns.

      2. Your question-begging is in error, as I showed with the questions about unicorns.. Why are you holding your personal god hypothesis above logical approach?

      3. I remember you asking me no such question, so I apologize if I did not see it.. It's a stupid question, so I would have answered it adeptly.. (I was NOT playing coy, jackazz). <-this is the sort of assuming you are doing for your god, but it doesn't work when you're having a discussion with a live person who can correct your statements.

      4. What do you mean "alternative hypothesis?"?!?!? You don't have a valid hypothesis because it can't be tested for verification or falsification.. Why don't you start there, Mike?. Fix your hypothesis, first.. If you can't do that, then you're just fa r t ing in the wind like every other philosopher, but you're calling it fact.. It's stupid and dishonest..

      5. We don't even know how many "alternative hypotheses" there might be for existence.. If we don't even have the slightest idea how many hypotheses there are to approach and try to figure out how to test, why assume any hypothesis at all?

      6. If we don't know, and we can't do measurable test, that we admit that and say we do not know and rest in disbelief.. It's what you do in the case of unicorns, and it's the only logical thing to do with an unprovable god.. You're just too uncomfortable in giving up the idea.. (Your reasons might be anything).

      7. You really don't seem to have a good grasp on logic, and you seem to often fall back on IMPLICATIONS of the ad populum fallacy or others and use very poor argumentation that has been refuted by sound logic many, many times.. I don't get the feeling that you're being honest with yourself–and that evidences itself in your dodging of my various well-placed points to you.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Mike Blackadder

      momoya, give me a credible explanation for your existence. Then maybe I'll accept your argument that this is equivalent to believing in unicorns.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Doc,

      You say that any real God would not be so ambiguous, therefore there is no God. I agree with the main thrust of this argument that the Loving God described in Christianity would not expect specific beliefs from each person based upon ambiguous/contradictory messages from Him.

      The scope of the counter argument is huge so I don't expect to convince you in a paragraph. I will say this:

      – Apparent ambiguity/contradiction does not disprove God because this is not necessarily due to God (except that we are created with free will).
      – The whole argument about sin is that it is harmful. It is exactly due to limitation of humans as sinners that the truth is veiled from us.
      – God is capable of breaking through this veil. He dominates the will of human beings easily (and is the theological explanation for the life of Mary and other Saints). To say that He ought to do this to all humans is synonymous with claiming that He should do away with free will.
      – Hell is understood in Catholicism to be existence without God. Yet God gives us a claim to Him through the sacrifice of Christ.
      – We sometimes claim certain things as the word of God without good reason. For example, quoting scripture 'bear fruit and multiply' can be a perversion if we don't interpret scripture in context. If God is perfect and always right then there are two explanations for why his commandment could appear wrong or unreasonable. 1) we. Misinterpret His commandment. 2) we don't yet see the wisdom in His commandment and the fault in our own judgement.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      momoya as I pointed out your point 4 is wrong. An omnipotent being is a credible explanation for existence. The fact that there are no other credible explanations is proof of God. This is basic logic. Ironically the same kind of logic which is the basis of math and all forms of science.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • momoya

      @Mike

      Why do you do this every time?? You ask sensible questions, and I spend a large amount of time explaining, and you reply with a stupid "but.. but.. you're wrong and I'm right" answer that doesn't address any issue I raised.. Again, you're just begging the question by stating that god is the only logical hypothesis.. It's stupid.. Your hypothesis ISN'T EVEN VALID to begin with because IT CAN'T BE TESTED.. You're logic is basically this: because 5,368 + 335,322 = 340,690, that those are the only two integers that can be added together to get that number.. Whenever logic starts hitting to close to home, you run back to your question begging and bald assertion corner and start whining that pretty please, you just gotta be right because, because, because.. well.. just because..

      Unicorns, my existence, and god's existence:

      My existence can be verifiably proved through several thousand methods or so.
      The existence of unicorns cannot be verifiably proved by any methods we know about.
      The existence of god cannot be verifiably proved by any methods we know about.

      You're not being honest with yourself in this debate when you just abandon critical reasoning so that you don't have to examine your comfortable beliefs..

      By what method can you prove your god exists?. What should we measure to falsify or verify your claim?

      May 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      momoya are you familiar with inductive reasoning? Are you strong in mathematics? Am I wasting my time here?

      May 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      You do not present an alternative explanation. Therefore you have no reason to question the only credible explanation.

      This is so basic it really shouldn't have to be explained.

      May 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Obviously I'm wasting my time.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • momoya

      @Mike

      You must really struggle with logical thinking.. Your hypothesis is irrelevant if we can't test it to verify it true or false.. What can we measure in order to verify or falsify your claim that god exists?.

      And stop dodging the questions.. It's immature of you to behave that way if you want a serious discussion.. Especially if you wish to convince others of the soundness of your position.. Your behavior on these boards is a HUGE problem considering you're the claimant who wants to convince others to view the situation as you do.. Maybe you don't see it, but it's pathetic.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • momoya

      @Mike

      Yes, you are wasting your time.. You claim that you have reasons for your hypothesis, but none of them are sensible.. I don't care about convincing you to see my viewpoint.. You can run home with your tail between your legs at any time..

      If you want to be taken seriously, then deal with the logic.. Why won't you do that?. Every time you post I am more convinced that my position is right because you don't even attempt to address the issues that need to be overcome to consider your claim..

      May 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • momoya

      @Mike

      Here's your reasoning:

      In ancient times.

      The sun MUST be a god drawn across a dome of sky in a fiery chariot!! There's no alternative idea to explain it.. You do not present an alternative explanation.. Therefore you have no reason to question the only credible explanation.

      You see, Mike, CLAIMING that your hypothesis is the only credible explanation doesn't mean that it is.. This is the exact reason I ask you how we might objectively verify or falsify your claim.. Exactly as we would ask the ancient Egyptian about the "Sun god."

      May 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      momoya I'm sorry but you are confused. Empirical evidence of a hypothesis is not the same thing as logic. These are two separate facets which form a basis for science. You don't need to perform a test to verify that 1+ 4=5.

      An alternate hypothesis to The sun being a fiery chariot is that it is a ball of gas in outer space around which the earth orbits.

      You suggest there are thousands of explanations for your existence that do not require God. Yet you can not suggest one that you think is possible or credible.

      If you don't understand this argument and you are still convinced that I'm being unreasonable then let's just agree that we think the other does not h sve a firm grasp of logic. Just don't suggest that I'm a liar for suggesting that I've given reason for believing in God. Rather suggest that you think I am confused. Thanks momoya.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Mike

      Inductive logic doesn't work because all religions and god believers of all gods can use the same reasoning in the same way for their belief; thus, we must ask for deductive reasoning to "break the thousand-way-tie.". You have none.. It's your cross to bear.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Mike
      "You say that any real God would not be so ambiguous, therefore there is no God."
      That isn't what I said at all. What I said is that if the Creator of teh Universe has eternal, immutable rules that They wish to be communicated and followed, They should have been a bit more clear and specific.
      That there have been tens of thousands of religions throughout history and indeed thousands of denominations of what is supposed to be "His" religion (Christianity) strongly suggests Shamanic chicanery as the source of God's written word (a la Book of Mormon) as opposed to Divine mandate.
      " The whole argument about sin is that it is harmful." – EXACTLY. Sin lies only in harming others unnecessarily. All other sin is invented nonsense with "blasphemy" and "heresy" fighting it out for the ti.tle of most absurd.
      "God is capable of breaking through this veil. He dominates the will of human beings easily."
      There have been innumerable people who claim to have been overtaken by the "Holy Spirit" – just see the Baptists who speak in tongues. God speaks to people all the time.
      In 2008, He told Boyce Singleton Jr. to shoot and stab his pregnant girlfriend.
      Deanna Laney heard God direct her to bludgeon her three sons, aged 9, 6 and 15 months. Only the youngest survived.
      Blair Donnelly received instructions to stab to death his 16 year old daughter, Stephanie.
      Christopher Varian was slaughtered with a cheese knife after God spoke with one of his employees.
      God told Jennifer Cisowski to dash her infant's head on the rocks, so ""Just like Jesus raised Lazarus, I threw the baby on the stones by the pool."
      Khandi Busby got a direct message from God advising her that the only way to save her 6 and 8 year old boys was to toss them off a bridge in Dallas. Fortunately, they survived.
      Angel Rico says he received a divine command to strangle his 4 year old son, so he did just that and left him at the side of the highway.
      Lashaun Harris threw her 3 kids – aged 6, 2 years and 16 months, into the San Francisco Bay after God let her know that He wanted a human sacrifice.
      As an outsider not privy to psychic, celestial conversations there is no way for anyone to know if it was God who spoke with those people, Moses, Joseph Smith, David Koresh etc ad nauseum or if it was mental illness.
      The courts, at least, deemed the modern examples of Divine Inspiration as insantiy.
      As for misinterpretation – some statements in the Bible are unambiguous – like the command to go forth and breed as much as possible. Up until about 150 years ago, that was sound advice given infant mortality rates, the need for hands out in the family fields and other such considerations. That simply isn't so anymore which means that the Bible isn't the innerrant Word of God and those rules are meant for an ancient culture should be taken with a grain of salt today.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • momoya

      @Mike

      Yep, there's countless explanations for the sun that are all equally absurd until we can perform tests to determine which views might be more accurate.. Same thing for god.. There's countless alternative explanations that have not been ruled out AND we can't perform tests to know if the god hypothesis is correct.. I keep asking you for such a test and your unwillingness to provide one demonstrates that you have none.

      There are plenty of alternative ideas that could account for anything you attribute to god.. Until you can test the various ideas, it's stupid to conclude the equivalent of the Egyptian's claim..

      I could NEVER read the content of your posts and conclude that you understand how logic works.. You don't understand the fundamental principles, as I've just evidenced.. Either you are holding god above your logic, or you don't know logic.. I have no idea which is the case.

      I don't recall every calling you a liar, but you are stupid on several issues.. Logic, falsifiability, hypothesis construction, faith vs testability, possible number of answers to questions we do not have the science to fully explore (as in ancient Egypt with the sun god).

      Good luck to you, Mike.. I appreciate the conversation even though your posts can be quite immature and ignore fundamental principles that you would have to address to convince any critical thinker.. For the most part, you just ignore my questions.. I think if you answered them honestly and humbly and to the best of your ability you'd realize that you'd still have just as much faith although your arguments would shift considerably towards the "reasonable" column.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • If Nabateans had Gods ... their Gods would be blocks of stone

      Enjoying the debate you two.

      May 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      momoya, you've switched to another question. We were talking about whether or not there is a God – an omnipotent creator. You have switched to arguing about who has the correct interpretation or belief system around such a God. This is a whole other debate. This is where you get into actual evidence of God's message. For me the next step is to the word as evident through Jesus. No point in moving onto that if we don't think that there is a God. Moreover, if there is a God then you see many tenets of faith make sense and are consistent.

      Doc, if you want an example of why God might have trouble communicating with us, take the example of my discussion with momoya as evidence of the challenge before God. And there are psycho people of every stripe. This tells u s nothing.

      May 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      One final point. The evidence supporting the hypothesis of God is existence. The alternative is nothingness which is falsified by existence – anything and everything is objective evidence against a reality of nothingness. If we can not trust existence as evidence that contradicts nothingness, then we can not claim anything objectively. Any other scientific observation must also be unreliable.

      I said this at the beginning, but figure that in later posts you are looking for

      May 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Continued – looking for some other evidence for existence of God.

      May 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Doc, sorry but I meant to reply also about your last point. I agree with what you say, this is exactly what I mean about taking into account context.

      May 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • momoya

      @Mike (problems with the filter/ sorry)

      No, I haven't switched to another question.. (You're not answering my questions anyway) I am not asking about "who has the correct interpretation or belief system around such a God.". I'm saying that indu ctive logic can get you the "god hypothesis," but it can't verify that hypothesis BECAUSE that same logical process (Induction) can get you any god whatsoever so long as it is a "universe creator.". And that's superfluous anyway, since you're not providing a hypothesis that can be verified or falsified.. You keep dodging the crucial questions I ask you, and as long as you do this you're simply demonstrating your refusal to critical reason with concepts you've convinced yourself are "holy" and beyond the scope of logical reasoning.. That's your cross to bear, not mine.

      May 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • momoya

      In a nutshell: (Help, get me out of this nutshell!!)

      The sort of logic you use to produce your god hypothesis can be used by any other believer of any other god.. Sure, you can use it, but you're left with a v a g ue and useless statement, similar to: "The universe exists.". Well duh.. I'm saying that there's no use saying: The universe exists because of a universe creator.. Because, obviously, you can say, the universe exists because it's here.. Assuming what you want me to believe (god) isn't adding any useful information.. Whereas I say that I don't know what "caused" the universe, you say that it was "caused" by a universe creator.. But with that statement we now have to deal with an unnecessary hypothesis.. We know the universe exists, why clutter up the mystery by adding another element to it that we can't even test or measure?

      I really wish you would go through and carefully answer my questions, instead of just picking out what you think is the "weak spot" and attacking it–because it's clear when you do this that you have no idea what is or what isn't a "weak spot.". You're being v a gue and ridiculously selective instead of actually concerning yourself with the plain, rational discourse.. It's intellectually dishonest, but I don't blame you for it.. I too used to be a believer and had given my mind over to a similar meme (brain virus), so I understand how difficult this sort of conversation can be for believers.. It is difficult for many god believers to both grok the actual argument presented and to critically engage without bias.. It's dam near impossible, but plenty of people have accomplished it..

      May 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • momoya

      The "nutshell" post was also for you, Mike.

      May 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Mike's "One final point."

      No, existence does not prove god.. That's stupid.. Existence proves existence, and you're talking out of your azz if you claim to know what happens after we die or if there are other modes of existence than what we currently enjoy.. It makes no sense to even consider "nothingness" as evidence for anything, since, by definition, nothingness can do nothing and express nothing.

      So there's two problems with your claim:

      1. Existence does not point to any reason for existence–it just is.. The question of why existence instead of nothingness is fine, but there's no automatic answers just because most people have been brainwashed into the religion/god of their culture.
      2. Even if existence did point to a thinking originator, so far it does not point to any qualities of that originator.. It could be a mechanism much different than any sort of "god" any human might conjure up.

      May 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Gotta love it when the atheists cover all the bases.
      There is no originator but then to say the very next that just in case there is, it's nothing like what man may think of as one. Priceless.

      May 24, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • momoya

      @Uncouth Swain

      Either you aren't comprehending what I've written, or you're lying.. Let me know if you need help figuring out which was the case.

      May 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Third option: You are just a sorry ignorant pis_sant.

      May 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • momoya

      I prefer that someone of your character believe so.

      May 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Ok momoya, you've suggested an alternate hypothesis to God which is what I asked.  In the midst of other arguments you suggest that existence just is.  The other point that you make and wish for me to address is that even if we are convinced of a creator, this tells us nothing about the qualities of the creator and so it is essentially of no substance to simply acknowledge a creator.

      If there is reasonable doubt about God, then is it not reasonable to withhold judgement about whether or not there is a God and take the atheist/agnostic position?

      Let me consider for a moment the possibility of there being no omnipotent being as a basis for existence.  It follows from this that there was no creation event, no beginning to existence.  If there was no beginning then we'd have to explain how it is here now.  The only explanation is that time and physical existence must be infinite.  There is no beginning to the physical universe (ie. matter/energy – insert unifying theory here).  How do we interpret substance whose existence has necessarily always existed (that has actually existed through infinite time) and unlike everything else observable to us, required no cause? To be consistent with the a-ssumption that this infinite substance is not God we would argue that this substance while existing infinitely is not intelligent.  The next requirement for this theory is a change agent.  Saying that existence was always here does not account for events, for example  a trigger for a Big Bang that changed the universe into what it is today.  Similar to the case of perpetual existence without intelligence, it is non-trivial to account for change. ..

      May 25, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Mike Blackadder

      ...One theory might be that the universe has existed in motion and will always remain in motion.  Remember again, that in order for this to hold we must say that such motion could not have been caused externally (we are talking about the very basis for existence here) and so such motion (eg. Perpetual expanding/contracting universe) must also have existed for eternity.

      The substance of existence, and it's mechanism for motion must necessarily have always existed as it is and unlike everything else observable must be absolutely persistent.  In other words, unlike a stone that eventually wears away or a universe that eventually reaches an end limit of entropy this base substance remains unto itself necessarily unblemished and indestructible regardless of infinite time or circu-mstance.  Similarly, unlike a pendulum whose motion eventually ends unless external force is perpetually applied, the motion (change agent) for this substance never diminishes and is necessarily cyclical to have persisted infinitely, regardless of time or circu-mstance.

      May 25, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Mike Blackadder

      For this unintelligent substance to remain in perfect cyclical motion perpetually it is impossible that there would ever be a difference from one cycle to the next(and no possible cause for change) Therefore, in this version of existence there is no possibility for an unexpected change in the motion of existence.  Therefore, in this moment everything, including the thoughts in your head and the things that you do must necessarily be completely outside of your control and completely predetermined by the pedantic and purposeless meandering of existence.

      Given this reality, we choose nothing, and so certainly it is irrelevant to contemplate, to even have consciousness, and certainly it is not more rational to choose atheism than to believe in religion, because reason is clearly an illusion.

      May 25, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Mike Blackadder
      momoya, I know that I havnt answered YOUR question yet. Sorry I am getting to it, but have limited time as I'm sure you understand.

      May 25, 2012 at 1:32 am | Report abuse | Reply

      May 25, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • momoya

      @Mike

      Again, you don't seem to be grasping the crucial logic.. The "god hypothesis" has as much possibility as any other possibility you might suppose because of the lack of evidence for any possibility.. Assuming a god hypothesis doesn't do us any good unless we can begin to query the universe about that hypothesis by measurement (testing smaller, supporting hypotheses and performing experiments).

      Doubt is a reasonable stance if no evidence can be shown to affect the hypothesis one way or the other.. When it comes to the gods presented by various believers, atheism AND agnosticism (the two go together, usually as they are not mutually exclusive positions–a grandmother can also be a wife) is the most sensible stance until proof can be evaluated.. You should be an agnostic atheist concerning gods for the same reason that you would doubt a homeless man who claims to be able to sell you the deed to New York city.. (I can go over this further if you wish)

      Your logic is completely fvcked when you say this: "consider for a moment the possibility of there being no omnipotent being as a basis for existence. It follows from this that there was no creation event, no beginning to existence."
      .
      We know that the universe is here because it's obvious.. We don't do experiments to determine if gravity exists; we do experiments to try to EXPLAIN HOW the force of gravity does what it does.. Same with the universe.. You're saying "goddidit," and I'm saying "we don't know, yet.". Your explanation of "goddidit" only ADDS one more unknown.. We already have an unknown: "How did the universe come to be?". If you answer "goddidit," now we have two unkowns: "How did god make the universe come to be?" AND, "How did god come to be?". And then we have a whole other group of questions about god's nature and will and all his other possible desires (Interestingly they all seem to involve human emotions and desires when we consider them even though we are infinitesimally irrelevant considering the size, scope, and functions of the universe itself).

      You're making some very wrong assumptions, Mike, so I'll go through them quickly and you can ask me about any of them that you wish:

      1. No, if there was no beginning then we don't have to explain how it is here now.. "Now" is a slippery word anyway, but it's as obvious as gravity so we do experiments on HOW we have arrived at "now" (although that's not really a huge concern in hard science and is better dealt with by mathematical theory.

      2. No, we do not have to conclude that time and physical existence must be infinite.. The universe produces it's own "time" as Einstein proved and as future scientists have demonstrated.. If there are trillions of other "universes" they each have their own "time" within themselves.. And since the universe may have come from a larger mechanism that we cannot observe, we just don't know enough to make the sort of conclusions you insist we must.. There's a lot of mystery there, and again, considering any "god" only adds more questions that aren't necessary to consider at this point with the evidence we have now.

      3. We have no idea if "There is no beginning to the physical universe (ie. matter/energy – insert unifying theory here).". If you know of a way to test your theory, contact the top scientists.. You're about to be more famous than you ever imagined..

      4. Questions that use these sorts of slippery v a g u e terminology aren't real questions because the terms aren't scientific expressions.. You'd have drastically rephrase whatever you intend to discuss: "How do we interpret substance whose existence has necessarily always existed (that has actually existed through infinite time) and unlike everything else observable to us, required no cause?". We would need to assume WAY, WAY, WAY too many unknowns to even begin to approach the most basic parts of your "question.". This query is the sort of question asked by those who are convinced of factors not yet evidenced..

      5. We have absolutely NO IDEA whether or not their is an "infinite substance.". If you can figure out a method of testing whether there is, please contact the most prestigious scientists you can find.. You're going to be extremely famous in a matter of weeks or months.

      6. There is no logical reason to assume that there is any "infinite substance," "god," or "higher intelligence.". In almost every query, you beg the question.. That is why I say you have a poor understanding of logic.. It's is very wrong to a ssume the answer you wish to have in order to ask the question you ask.. (Do you understand what "question begging" is? Do you realize how often you do this?)

      7. There's no reason to a ssume a god, so there's no reason to assume that something is or is not "of god.". Exactly like there is no reason to a sssume an "infinite substance," or "higher intelligence.". (I happen to believe that it is very likely that there are lots of "higher intelligence" out there, but until I have evidence I am skeptical and "atheistic" (if you prefer) concerning higher intelligence.

      8. Why a ssume god to a ssert an "infinite one?". Why would a "god" have to be "infinite?". You're just begging the question for both statements..

      9. I don't know why you a ssume god for asking any other question, anyway, but why insist that it is or isn't "intelligent?". Again, you're begging the question..

      10. Saying that a "change agent" is required is presumptive.. You're ADDING to the problem by a ssuming facts not in evidence (change agent).. We know that change occurs so, like with gravity, we study HOW things change.. The word "agent" isn't helpful until we discover one or fifty or a trillion, billion.

      11. "Trigger" is a sloppy word because of its connotation.. You'd have to ground that term in science in order to consider its usefulness in your hypothesis.

      12. The "Big Bang" is still occurring.. If you can think of any experiments to prove a "change agent," "trigger," or "perpetual, intelligent existence" contact every prominent scientist you can think of.. You're about to be famous.
      .
      .
      .
      On your nest post:

      13. Theories are fun to think about.. Any valid hypotheses to test for verifiable/falsifiable status?

      14. A perpetual cosmos does not require any "expansion/retraction" mechanism within our visible universe.. Science currently IMPLIES that our universe is one "leaf" on a "tree.". From within our universe (LEAF) we can't observe the branch or the trunk or the interior or anything outside of our "leaf.". Our universe could be part of an eternal process without our universe being eternal.. We have pretty good mathematical models that insinuate that this is a decent probability.. If anybody starts making a religion of it, or starts telling you to live a certain way because of it, treat them and the religion as I treat you and christianity..

      15. Expansion and contraction would be evidence for expansion and contraction, but wouldn't definitively state that this was an eternal process..
      .
      .
      .
      On your next post:

      16. Nobody has any way of knowing if "For this unintelligent substance to remain in perfect cyclical motion perpetually it is impossible that there would ever be a difference from one cycle to the next(and no possible cause for change).". In essence, it's just "talking out of one's azz" to make such a claim.. If you can think of any experiments to verify or falsify your a ssertion, contact all the prominent scientists you can.. You're about to be more famous than Einstein.

      17. Absolutely not! (When you state that "Therefore, in this version of existence there is no possibility for an unexpected change in the motion of existence.") In fact, several scientific models describe the opposite of that a ssumption as the universe continues to cool and expand.. As of yet there are no experiments to determine either way, but the laws of physics as we currently understand them allow for the universe to change unexpectedly and "go off in a 'new' direction" –so to speak.. But we just don't yet know and we probably never will in our lifetimes.

      18. Absolutely not! (When you state that "Therefore, in this moment everything, including the thoughts in your head and the things that you do must necessarily be completely outside of your control and completely predetermined by the pedantic and purposeless meandering of existence.". Certainly that is ONE way to interpret the current data, and I happen to think it is very likely that your statement is correct (I am a "believer" in my own mind of this statement), but it is not an automatic a ssumption and there are several scientific and philosophical papers that describe viable mechanisms that would overturn that a ssumption.

      19. Absolutely not! Maybe all of "choice" is illusion, but if it is, we seem to be pretty convinced that it isn't in our practical, day-to-day lives.. So I see no need to tell people how they should or shouldn't behave based on the idea that we may not have the free-will we a ssume.. This question and you a ssumption concerning it begin to take us into philosophy, and pondering philosophy is endless fun and a fantastic exercise of thought for most people.. (But it doesn't mean anyone "MUST" behave a certain way–we are pretty dumb animals who make tons of mistakes, so... )

      19. Reality does seem to be an illusion for all sorts of reasons.. (We could discuss this for a hundred pages).. But so what? If we are just programs running in a computer game, then it's a cool game: Let's play it to the best of our ability.
      .
      .
      .
      Note: Very interesting points, Mike!. I really enjoyed reading what you wrote and thinking about the logic involved and how critical reasoning approaches your ideas.. Thanks a lot!

      May 25, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • momoya

      @Mike

      Just FYI.. I have a contract that's getting a little sticky, so I probably won't have much time in the coming days.. Please don't thin that I don't care about this discussion and your questions.. Just hit me up next time you see me posting, and I might be able to check back in with this thread some–I just don't know yet.

      Thanks again for the great discussion!! Great fun!. I appreciate your attentiveness, and I hope to have many more cool conversations with you.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Mike Blackadder

      No worries momoya and thank you too for the interesting discussion – especially the long comment you posted today. You're definitely making me think, which is always good. I still owe you a reply.

      May 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      momoya, I ought to provide a direct answer to the second part of your question before continuing to address the first part: 'By what method can you prove your god exists?. What should we measure to falsify or verify your claim?'

      The first answer that I provided is 'anything and everything'; existence itself verified through consciousness of existence, which must be considered valid if we want to consider the verifiability of anything. Let's just set that answer aside for a moment since you have raised objections and ask – is there anything more specific that can be measured to prove the existence of God? The short answer to this question is that there is nothing that can be measured to verify the existence of the infinite and omnipotent God. This is necessarily true because I am finite and any means at my disposal are finite and I can only measure something finite. For example, imagine if a new discovery in physics (like a secret coherent message from God embedded in the structure of human DNA and other life forms) were to provide evidence of an intelligent creator, this would not actually prove the existence of the omnipotent God. Even if this were very convincing evidence of a creator, it can not prove that the creator or cause of this measured thing was not also finite. The same can be said of the burning bush, or God who walks up to me and talks to me. According to this standard of measurement, He cannot prove to any of us that He is the origin of all things.

      Now back to my question begging...When we impose a condition that an infinite God must be measurable otherwise we will withhold belief of His existence, then does this condition not invoke the outcome? It is often argued by atheists that if God exists He would somehow prove it to us in the way that we can prove a theory in chemistry. If we are being objectives we should admit that we know perfectly well that He cannot satisfy this condition that we impose. Therefore, it is an invalid condition. It follows that this factor of the unmeasureability of God does not justify the agnostic position. Arguing that the agnostic position is the most sensible doesn't acknowledge the consequence of this non-decision. It is particularly true for the atheist/agnostic there is the real consequence of abandoning possible portions of our humanity that are pulled to God and require God (eg. The spirit).

      Still, if we leave it at this the position of the believer is equally unjustified, which is why I want to return to the argument of the infinite omnipotent God's existence being self evident (in my next comment).

      The coyness of God even to make Himself known in finite form for everyone to see is also admittedly unsatisfying, and this is a burden of any believer (ie. we are all like Thomas in some way), and the best defense that I can propose is to say that it is consistent with the 2nd commandment 'You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them'. We can say that God places evidence of Himself in all things and he reveals Himself in Christ, but he maintains His independence and nature of being greater than any of these things that we can observe. Clearly in the 2nd commandment he states that He does not want to be worshipped as less than what He is.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Momoya, I made another comment at the top of this page, meant to reply here but didn't.

      May 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.