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June 22nd, 2012
11:27 AM ET

Prominent atheist blogger converts to Catholicism

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – She went from atheist to Catholic in just over 1,000 words.

Leah Libresco, who’d been a prominent atheist blogger for the religion website Patheos, announced on her blog this week that after years of debating many “smart Christians,” she has decided to become one herself, and that she has begun the process of converting to Catholicism.

Libresco, who had long blogged under the banner “Unequally Yoked: A geeky atheist picks fights with her Catholic boyfriend,” said that at the heart of her decision were questions of morality and how one finds a moral compass.

“I had one thing that I was most certain of, which is that morality is something we have a duty to,” Libresco told CNN in an interview this week, a small cross dangling from her neck. “And it is external from us. And when push came to shove, that is the belief I wouldn’t let go of. And that is something I can’t prove.”

CNN's Belief Blog: the faith angles behind the big stories

According to a Patheos post she wrote on Monday, entitled “This is my last post for the Patheos Atheist Portal,” she began to see parts of Christianity and Catholicism that fit her moral system. Though she now identifies as a Catholic, Libresco questions certain aspects of Catholicism, including the church’s positions on homosexuality, contraception and some aspects of religious liberty.

“There was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth,” Libresco wrote about Catholicism in her conversion announcement post, which has been shared over 18,000 times on Facebook. “I asked my friend what he suggests we do now, and we prayed the night office of the Liturgy of the Hours together.”

At the end of the post, Libresco announces that she is in a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults class and is preparing for baptism. She will continue to blog for Patheos, but under the banner, “A geeky convert picks fights in good faith.”

According to Dan Welch, director of marketing for Patheos, Libresco’s post has received around 150,000 page views so far.

“Leah's blog has gotten steadily more popular since she arrived at Patheos, but a typical post on her blog is probably closer to the range of 5,000 page views,” Welch wrote in an email. “Even now, a few days later, her blog is probably getting 20-30 times its normal traffic.”

Libresco’s announcement has left some atheists scratching their heads.

“I think atheists were surprised that she went with Catholicism, which seems like a very specific choice,” Hemant Mehta, an atheist blogger at Patheos, told CNN. “I have a hard time believing how someone could jump from I don’t believe in God to a very specific church and a very specific God.”

Mehta says that Libresco’s conversion is a “one-off thing” and not something that signals any trend in atheism. “The trends are very clear, the conversions from Catholicism to atheism are much more likely to happen than the other way around,” he said.

But while atheists were puzzled by the conversion, others commended Libresco.

“I know I’ve prayed for her conversion several times, always thinking she would make a great Catholic,” wrote Brandon Vogt, a Catholic blogger. “And with this news, it looks like that will happen. Today heaven is roaring with joy.”

Thomas L. McDonald, a Catholic Patheos blogger, welcomed Libresco to the fold: “Welcome. I know this was hard, and will continue to be so. Don’t worry if the Catholics make it as for difficult for you as the atheists. We only do it to people we love.”

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Libresco says one of the most common questions she has received is how she'll deal with atheists now.

“The great thing about a lot of the atheist and skeptic community is that people talk more critically about ideas and want to see proof provided,” Libresco said. “That kind of analytical thinking is completely useful and the Catholic Church doesn’t need to and should not be afraid of because if you’ve got the facts on your side, you hope they win.”

Libresco is just switching the side she thinks the facts are on.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Catholic Church

soundoff (7,475 Responses)
  1. Bippy, the Lesser Atheist Blogger of Very Prominent Prominence

    Hi! I am Bippy, a very very very very prominent atheist blogger, one of America's TOP atheist bloggers (according to CNN's standards). My total number of hits is, well, it's about the same as Leah Libresco's (I get to count the times I check my own blog from another computer, right? That's a big part of my demographic). My blog can be found on the Better Homes And Squirrels website, if you click through two other blogs and an advertisement for The Abdominizer.

    Anyway, This is my last post as an atheist. I have long pondered the HyperDeconstructionary flatulent duality of Moral Law and it's ipso facto ramifications on Miracle Whip, and I suddenly relized that Moral Law unerringly had to be a blond caucasian hippy guy from a part of the Middle East that has no blond caucasian hippy guys. It's all so obvious! And I instantly realized as well that Southern Baptism was the purest, rightest, truthyest, most lucrative . . . uh, ignore that last one . . . path to Moral Law that could ever exist for an impoverished blogger who has his eye on a sleek Lamborghini. Jesus Lamboghini, that is. What would Jesus cruise 'round the ville in?

    So Christians, please help me viral myself into prominence so that I can share in the Good Lord's bounteous riches, like custom Armani suits like Joel Osteen and a Gulfstream jet like Kenneth Copeland and about 30 other ministries. Help me found my megachurch and television channel so that I can help others help myself.

    I'm ready for my interview and article now, CNN.

    June 26, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • One one

      And there is this cute little Christian chic who wants to show me the way to heavenly bliss. How can I refuse ?

      June 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  2. James Bordy

    Morality is a man-conceived concept, and has nothing to do with a "higher power". It is something that has evolved for the betterment of society. How in the world one can go from atheist to believing in an invisible man in the sky because of moral concerns is beyond the boundaries of logic. This is, without question, a prank....or, she's plain gone nuts.

    June 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • One one

      How ? To sell a book perhaps ?

      June 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Thinker

      More likely because her boyfriend is catholic. Catholics can't marry athiests you know.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  3. FajitaBob

    Same few whiney atheists insulting people who happen to have a differing opinion. Why are you people so bitter? If the only difference is Christians are happily deluded, and atheists are unhappily realistic, I'll take the former–why not? Judging by your posts, I would certainly not want to be as miserable as you sound. Good luck to ya, and God bless!

    June 26, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • JWT

      A lot of christians are no different.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • sam

      I love how ending the post with 'god bless' supposedly made it less of a bitchy, whiny post.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • One one

      When Christians say "god bless" to an atheist it really means F-you.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Cq

      FajitaBob
      Isn't it better than wishing people be tortured forever only because they have a differing opinion?

      June 26, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • philo66

      The old "argument from desire". I want it to be true, and it makes me happy to believe it, therefore it must be true.

      And, hey, Bob, reality not so bad! You have, after all, been living in it all this time.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Bet

      Those are not the only two options. All christians are not happy, and all atheists are not unhappy, nor are we all "bitter".

      I wasn't be happy when I was deluded by christianity.

      Believe whatever you wish. Just leave me alone about it, don't assume you know my level of intellect or happiness, and don't try to pass laws based on your religion.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Brian

      So I guess you would choose the blue pill? As an Atheist I get annoyed with this article, true. But I have a valid reason to be annoyed. She is offered up as "top atheist". Argument from authority and basically saying I should disregard my own critical thinking for her opinion. She claims religion has the facts on it's side. I'm OK with her having this ignorant view. I'm annoyed that CNN would write a story on her. CNN should have the sense to say this is silly. Otherwise, why not write about every persons view that is based on ignorance? No, you write about people who have an interesting point of view that is "worth" sharing. So it's not a baseless grumpiness. If religious people stuck to the "faith" argument and kept from trying to spread ignorance, atheists would be happy people too.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Lil

      Because we are sick of religion trying to shove IT down our throats that in the end they win, where's all the hoopla on the many priests, reverends and other church goers who turned Atheists when the light finally went off. We really don't give a $h!t what you do, but don't grasp at toothpicks to build your imaginary tree.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • IO

      don't miss the point Brian,
      judging from the billions of responses, CNN got it right on. they are not focusing on her really, just using the opportunity to show there is a very huge debate out there on this topic..... since we're all here chatting away guess it worked.

      plus we get to hear the many smart thoughts from people commenting.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Brian

      If CNN wants to illustrate that there is a debate out there it would not be hard to write an article related to views from some of the real top atheists and theists. Then the message board would have an easier and enjoyable time trying to support either side. Writing about a bottom feeding blogger who converts based on ignorance is a waste of time for everyone. I'm sure many of you message posters have watched very interesting debates and those debates make this subject matter so interesting. I watched a video from an ex minister who converted to atheism and he gave very interesting insight into his conversion and struggles and how he came to the realization he was an atheist. This article is not so valuable.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Brian

      Although maybe I'm wrong about one thing. I suppose the headline would also be interesting if she was famous. Even if she had nothing interesting to contribute as to why. So if famous, then you have a good headline, if interesting then you have a good article. With a blogger with 5000 hits and an argument from ignorance, this article falls short. So come on CNN, kick it up a notch.

      June 26, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Brian

      OK, so I decided to go check out her blog. I didn't spend too much time but it was obvious that she was well versed and intelligent. But here is the wierd part, she still came up with a falacious argument. She didn't like any of the natural explanations for morality so she concluded that it was a person. Once she realized that she had to find a religion that best aligned to her morality. So my only conclusion to this point is that she is confused. Maybe over thinking the issue and not sticking to basic critical thinking. One can be smart and still lack critical thinking. So maybe I will say she is interesting, but not in a study of religious conversion but more in a study of how intelligent people can become mislead when not being disciplined in their critical thinking. The leap from "I don't believe the natural explanation for morality" to "it's a person" was a clear argument from ignorance. The reason for thinking it was a person seemed more to come from a emotional sense. So it's not just an argument from ignorance but it's a "I can't understand the natural explanation so I will listen to my "gut", my "emotional sense", my "feelings". The funny thing is, she is right in one sense. Her morality isn't a person but did come from a person, herself.

      June 26, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      It's the written equivalent of the spoken out loud – after you've said something scathing about someone "Bless her Heart."

      June 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  4. martin

    She's clearly an air head and believes the Catholic church has the "facts". It's a case of pressure by her boyfriend. To call her a top athieist is absurd CNN. I can list the top ten and I've never heard of her.

    June 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Steve

      Surely Anthony Flew would be one, right???

      His name and stature are big. Whenever you hear people talk about atheists, Anthony Flew always comes up. Author of more than 37 text books on atheistic philosophy, of which his most popular have been studied for decades in colleges all over the world:

      Theology and Falsification (1950)

      God and Philosophy (1966)

      Evolutionary Ethics (1967)

      Body, Mind and Death (1973)

      Philosophy, an Introduction (1979)

      Darwinian Evolution (1984)

      God: A Critical Inquiry (1986)

      Did Jesus Rise From the Dead? The Resurrection Debate (1987)

      Does God Exist?: A Believer and an Atheist Debate (1991)

      Atheistic Humanism (1993)

      Dallas Morning News, December 15, 2004

      The most famous atheist in the academic world over the last half-century, Professor Antony Flew of England's University of Reading, now accepts the existence of God.

      Mr. Flew's best-known plaint for atheism, "Theology and Falsification," was delivered in 1950 to the Socratic Club, chaired by none other than C.S. Lewis. This paper went on to become the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last five decades and set the agenda for modern atheism.

      Now, in a remarkable reversal, Mr. Flew holds that the universe was brought into being by an infinite intelligence.

      "intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements together," he said. "The enormous complexity by which the results were achieved look to me like the work of intelligence."

      June 26, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      When people get older, the get senile. I wouldn't trust the claims of an elderly man who's facing his own impending doom on the rational.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Bet

      That's simply not true. My 93 year old friend is in a nursing home, and most of the people there are not senile. Sometimes it takes them a little longer to remember a detail or a name, that't all.

      Don't generalize just to make your point.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • philo66

      Hmm... Antony Flew says... So you believed Antony Flew when he said there is no God?

      Better to read the arguments and let each stand (or fall) on their own merits.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Lil

      ,,,So whatyathink....Is she reveling in the light of Jesus Christ and all his majesty, or Is she just so damn happy to finally not be the wallflower, the later me thinks. she's a phoney

      June 26, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Lil

      ......So whatdoyathink....Is she reveling in the light of Jesus Christ and all his majesty, or Is she just so freeking happy to finally not be the wallflower, the later me thinks. she's a phoney

      June 26, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Lil

      ......So whatdoyathink....Is she reveling in the light of Jesus Christ and all his majesty, or Is she just so freeking happy to finally NOT be the wallflower, the later me thinks. she's a fake.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • WWJD

      @Steve, but he did not become a christian. And bear in mind he suffered from dementia in his old-age.

      June 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • matt in nw

      @steve

      in 'his' book that he 'admits' there is a god, he had a co-writer ..and from what i gleaned, it sounds like a flock of holy rollers decended on the poor man as well......he was 87 and his mental awareness wasnt quite what it had been.

      June 26, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      She wasn't an unknown, though.

      David (Silverman) told me (when I asked) that he had never met her. But that he knew people who had.

      June 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  5. diane

    Let's not miss the point. It's the spirit that causes the biggest change in people, not the letter. Some people are reluctant to share what they feel, but more easily share the facts, which leaves out the biggest catalyst in their conversion.

    June 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Really? Some might say that it's entropy that causes the biggest change in people.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Steve

      GodFreeNow postulated, "Really? Some might say that it's entropy that causes the biggest change in people."

      Simple-minded, Steve replies, "Oh. You mean that Scientific Law that disproves the big bang and evolution?"

      June 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      I'm guessing that the spirit might have worked differently if her boyfriend had been Muslim or any other religion, as her heart was pushing her towards acceptance of the love in her life and to accept him she had to accept his faith and rationalize it.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • JWT

      Rum is the #1 spirit that a person can have in them.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I'm more of a Whiskey or Sake man myself.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Apatheist

      @Steve Entropy does not, in any way, disprove the Big Bang.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Apatheist

      @Steve And just so there is no confusion, entropy doesn't disprove evolution either... it's just that that is such a retarded statement that I decided to stick with the Big Bang. At least then you can say that entropy implies matter cannot be created nor destroyed, which is certainly valid, but only within a closed system...

      June 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Steve

      @Deb

      @steve, Steve, Steve....easy way out...declare someone MUST be on the devils side, then slaughter. Were the women and children, cattle, sheep, camels, and goats, even the infants doing the work of the devil, when God ordered their m@ssacre? Or does God just consider them collateral damage? Can't have it both ways, Steve.

      LOL. Afraid you're getting your laws mixed up!

      Conservation of Energy is the First Law of Thermodynamics.

      Entropy is the Second.

      The Law of Entropy states (proves) that order goes from a higher state to a lower one (not from lower to higher as it would without an external/God force)
      .
      Your feeble musings deny your own religion (science).

      June 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      I suspect @Steve is just a troll. I don't think someone would be that obtusely vocal about their misunderstanding of physics otherwise.

      June 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  6. Brian

    She blogs for a religious web site, her views went up from 5000 to 100,000-150,000 views, the director of marketing for the website contributed to the story, and her boyfriend is Catholic. oh, and she got a new necklace for converting. And she converted because the facts supported it? Come on! She felt their moral code was more aligned ter her morality when compared to freedom to choose your own moral standard? Come on!

    June 26, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Smurfette

      A new necklace? How nice. Pearl?

      June 26, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Smurfette

      *snerk*

      June 26, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Lil

      There ya are Smurfie, I've been waiting for you....you do good work....

      June 26, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Ben

      Right, there are no facts, that's why it is called "faith."

      June 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  7. biogreen2

    She should read the whole Bible. "God" endorses things that would curl your hair, such as slashing the bellies of pregnant women, and bashing children's heads against rocks.

    June 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Really Jersey

      Could you point out those passages in the New Testament. Catholics follow Christ's teaching in the New Testament. The Old Testament records the old covenant with God & the history of those times. The teachings of Christ are pacifistic. The New & everlasting covenant.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Really Jersey, Jesus told people to abandon their families and subjugation of women is widely promoted throughout the new testament. Are you in favor of those things?

      June 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • One one

      OT, NT, it's still the same god committing mass murder including unborn babies. Do you worship this "god" ?

      June 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Steve

      Ever hear of the Serpent Seed Doctrine? How about the Kennites? Or the nephilim?

      It is not God's own children whom He commanded to be brutalised. It's the children of Satan who He was talking about.

      You need to finish reading the book if you are going to codemn it!

      June 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • One one

      @steve. The children of Satan? This story gets better with every post. Are you saying that when Jesus flooded the entire planet everyone that was killed were children of Satan except Moses family?

      June 26, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      @one one & others: Trivia here, but it was Noah's family saved from the flood, not Moses (Moses came along much later).
      Secondly, When God kills humans, even innocent babies, it's not murder. Only a human can be charged with murder. All those laws were created by God for humans. God is above his law.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • One one

      @b4b. When god kills its not murder because god is above law?? Is it moral? Is god also above morality? Is he above common decency ?

      June 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Steve

      @One one "Are you saying that when Jesus flooded the entire planet everyone that was killed were children of Satan except Moses family?"

      Look it up. It's spelled "nephilim"

      June 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Is God moral? He is the souce of morality, but he doesn't "conform to" a moral system (as the online dictionary presents as one of the defs of morality).

      Common decency? What is your exact def(s) of that term? Common decency is somewhat tied to culture.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Deb

      @steve, Steve, Steve....easy way out...declare someone MUST be on the devils side, then slaughter. Were the women and children, cattle, sheep, camels, and goats, even the infants doing the work of the devil, when God ordered their m@ssacre? Or does God just consider them collateral damage? Can't have it both ways, Steve.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Deb

      ...same old same old....when cornered throw in the old said this but meant that trick...

      June 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @b4bigbang

      Then according to your belief, there is no objective morality, merely dictation from a diety that apparently doesn't even need to follow that morality.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Steve

      @Deb

      @steve, Steve, Steve....easy way out...declare someone MUST be on the devils side, then slaughter. Were the women and children, cattle, sheep, camels, and goats, even the infants doing the work of the devil, when God ordered their m@ssacre? Or does God just consider them collateral damage? Can't have it both ways, Steve.

      Can't have what both ways? What exactly did I ask to have both ways?

      You obviously grossly underestimate what the devil is doing.

      June 26, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      HawaiiGuest: "Then according to your belief, there is no objective morality, merely dictation from a diety that apparently doesn't even need to follow that morality."

      Are you asking a question or merely making a statement?
      What is your particular definition of "objective" as it relates to morality?
      The 2nd part of your statement "dictation from a diety that apparently doesn't even need to follow that morality" is one that i can agree with completely.

      June 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @b4bigbang

      To me, objective morality is something that is independent of anything. Something that is innately moral, kind of like how the three laws of logic are completely independent of anything, and are just true. I do not ascribe to objective morality, and I am merely summarizing your point when it comes to what I think of when I hear objective morality.
      If you are using a different definition of objective, to where you narrow the independence of something objective to humanity, then your statement would stand as sound.

      June 26, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      We know that morality exists, as it is generally regarded as a collection of rules of conduct governing a culture.
      Problem is there are many cultures, having differing rules.
      There are moral imperatives that are regarded as 'universal', eg injunctions against capital murder, but even this is not truly universal. I remember reading about an isolated tribe that regarded treachery eg, poisoning your guest, as a norm and a virtue.

      June 26, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  8. philo66

    Oh boy, an atheist turns theist! I can see how this is big news. I have no idea what "Top Atheist" is supposed to mean, though, as Libresco can barely put together coherent statements. She actually thinks morality is a "Person"? What on earth is that supposed to mean? I'm pretty sure that's not consistent with Catholic teaching either. I look forward to her upcoming deconversion. I hope she gets billing as "Top Theist" when that happens.

    June 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • philo66

      Correction "Prominent atheist blogger". I see CNN edited this since last time I read this article. I guess in the blogosphere "prominent" is a little squishy.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Know What

      It's still listed as "Top Atheist" on the header of the page here.

      It sort of reminds me of some braggart neighbors that I grew up with. They always knew (or were relatives of) the Top Guy or the Head Man at any company or club you'd ever mention.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • jc

      "I have no trouble believing there was a man named Jesus who once lived and died. But the story of his resurrection is greatly exaggerated."

      I think that most intelligent Christians would agree with you on that point. Maybe many of us would think "exaggerated" isn't quite the right word, but we would certainly agree that the resurrection is a story, just like many of the other stories in the Bible.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • motherearth

      @jc....you can Google it....Many do(umented cases of people pronounced dead only to awaken or move hours and days later It's not a miracle, it still happens today with all our technology, a baby was just pronounced dead and sent to the morgue only to be alive 10 hours later on ice. Believers just love picking their miracles as proof and ignoring those that won't support their cause.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  9. Ron

    Interesting. I have scrolled through as many pages of comments as I can, and I have yet (except for a bloggers ID) read any reference to Jesus, who is the central belief point for Christianity. So far the argument both for and against "Christianity" is whether we can prove that the universe was "created" or "happened". That is a very small-minded argument on both sides.

    If there is no Jesus, there is no "Christianity" – a term that is very muddled, by the way, because there are over 2,500 versions of Christianity, each designed by man to fit the teachings of Christ into the version they prefer. But the existence and teachings of Jesus, as dictated by oral history, are well recorded, both by secular AND non-secular sources. He WAS a living being, and not a tooth fairy, Santa Claus or leprechaun.

    Followers of Jesus Christ believe Him to be the Son of God, and there were many in His time that did not believe. There are many now who don't believe. And while He continues to reveal Himself to the world, He will not force any man into following Him. Nor should we. As a follower of Jesus Christ I will gladly present to anyone the story of His life and His works and teachings. If anyone chooses to have 'faith' and believe, I will gladly help you in any way possible. If you choose to not believe I will continue to pray for your conversion.

    June 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • jc

      So far the argument both for and against "Christianity" is whether we can prove that the universe was "created" or "happened". That is a very small-minded argument on both sides.

      There are many intelligent Christians (and atheists alike) who would take issue with your definition of "the argument." Part of the problem here is that each side wants to define the debate for the other. Christians aren't willing to accept that someone would want "evidence" for the existence of God, and atheists aren't willing to accept the notion that the kind of "evidence" they are searching for may not reasonably be expected.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • ME II

      "But the existence and teachings of Jesus, as dictated by oral history, are well recorded,..."
      Isn't this, by definition, a contradiction?
      Oral history, by definition, is not recorded history, let alone well recorded.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • jc

      ME II. That's just silliness.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • ME II

      @jc,
      "...and atheists aren't willing to accept the notion that the kind of 'evidence' they are searching for may not reasonably be expected."
      Interesting, but what "kind" of evidence can be expected? Or, are you hedging on the definition of "evidence"?

      June 26, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • ME II

      @jc,
      "That's just silliness."
      I'm sorry, what is silly about it. Stories passed down in oral tradition are not "well recorded", and are definitely not considered evidence of specific events. They are hearsay, aren't they?

      June 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • philo66

      If you're having trouble seeing the inconsistency of "oral history" and "well recorded" as a history prof.

      I have no trouble believing there was a man named Jesus who once lived and died. But the story of his resurrection is greatly exaggerated.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • jc

      @ ME II

      "Interesting, but what "kind" of evidence can be expected? Or, are you hedging on the definition of "evidence"?"

      Not at all - I see evidence all around me that God exists. It's atheists (and you, in particular) who seem to be demanding a certain kind of evidence, and are under the burden to provide a particular definition of the kind of evidence required.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • ME II

      @philo66,
      And I would agree that there is reason to think that a man called Jesus once lived and some aspects of his life may be in the Bible under the 'kernel of truth' concept but, I think "well recorded" is quite a stretch. Perhaps, well-recorded for the time. Or even well-recorded as oral histories go.
      But certainly it's not well-recorded enough to know that those specific events happened or that Jesus spoke those words or even to know for certain that Jesus even existed.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • philo66

      You mean like when you see the sun rise you see evidence of a majestic God - or a revolving earth. One of the two.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • jc

      @Philo

      "I have no trouble believing there was a man named Jesus who once lived and died. But the story of his resurrection is greatly exaggerated."

      I think that most intelligent Christians would agree with you on that point. Maybe many of us would think "exaggerated" isn't quite the right word, but we would certainly agree that the resurrection is a story, just like many of the other stories in the Bible.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • ME II

      @jc,
      I'm a bit confused. I thought "Christianity" was dependent upon the resurrection being true. Didn't someone say without it, Christianity is nothing?

      June 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • philo66

      @jc
      You sound a little ambivalent. I wonder what it would mean to be a "Christian" and not believe in the literal resurrection of Jesus. The teachings of Jesus are great, maybe? Some of them, sure. Not all of them, and certainly not all that is in NT.

      Earlier you said that evidence "may not reasonably be expected." But if not for the sake of reason, then what purpose is evidence? And without evidence, then what reason can we claim to be applying? Reason itself can be considered evidence. And if we have no evidence, then upon what does one "ground" a belief? The answer is "faith" - belief without reasoned justification. And as soon as one claims that you must have "faith" to believe X, they have thrown in the towel to any evidence or reason of X.

      Tell me again what reason I have to believe X? Faith? Oh, no reason then. Well, good enough. I choose not to believe X.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • jc

      @ ME II

      I'm not sure who said that Christianity is "nothing without" the resurrection, but it certainly depends on how one interprets the story of the resurrection. I don't think anybody intelligent (intelligent Christians included) believes that Christianity "depends" on a human being having the ability to die and then, physically, rise from the dead. I do believe that there is a very clear reading of the meaning of the resurrection story as something that a great many human beings experience in their life - a process of dying and rebirth - and that we see everywhere in nature, and that this story is one of those that serves to define our purpose in life. That's the best approximation I can come up with. I encourage you to read a book by
      John Shelby Spong called "Jesus for the Nonreligious," if you haven't already.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • ME II

      I honestly thought it was CS Lewis or the like, but I was wrong,
      "And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

      June 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • motherearth

      @Ron...do(umented yes, but after the fact, are there any do(umented facts written on the spot while the person witnessed it? I don't know of any. Most of the history of Jesus started about 95 years after his death. I believe there was a man named Jesus but true, I highly doubt it.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • jc

      @Philo66

      "And if we have no evidence, then upon what does one "ground" a belief? The answer is "faith" – belief without reasoned justification. And as soon as one claims that you must have "faith" to believe X, they have thrown in the towel to any evidence or reason of X."

      Your definition of "faith" is quite broad, perhaps broader than you would like it to be. If you know your philosophy, you are probably familiar with the efforts of the 20th century analytics to provide logical "foundations" for all of knowledge, including mathematics. You probably also know that such an effort is doomed to failure. Does this render all of our mathematical knowledge "faith"? I'm sure you wouldn't say that, but it is well-known that any logical system we devise necessarily contains true statements that cannot proven to be true. But I don't think that's what you mean when you talk about "faith." It remains, however, entirely reasonable to believe that statements about God and faith are not amenable, in principle, to the kind of evidence you seek.

      Faith, for me, is not something that occurs in the absence of reason, but is perfectly compatible with, and in fact, bolstered by reason. You are free, as you say, to *choose* not to believe in God because you believe that there is insufficient evidence of the kind you would like for God's existence. I'm totally cool with that, and happy that you acknowledge that your non-belief is a choice.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • jc

      @Philo66

      By the way, I'm not in any way judging or maligning your non-belief in God. I also believe that my faith is a choice, and am not so deluded as to think that there is either a valid, logical proof for the existence of God, or some kind of irrefutable physical evidence for God's existence.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • philo66

      @jc,
      I've read Spong's "New Christianity." I admire Bishop Spong. I think he's trying to get to reasonable truth. But since then I've read a lot more about atheism. Looking back I'd say his position is very confusing. Seems to be based on Tillich's existentialist "ground of being" god. A lot of Christians, Catholic apologists among them, would say that what Spong is describing can hardly be called "Christianity". In fact, it kinda stretches the term "theism". It's probably closer to deism, or pantheism, or such. Theism teaches of a God of providence, that is, a God that interacts in our daily lives. To be sure, Catholic teaching is firmly based on belief in the resurrection, not only of Jesus, but of all the faithful who have ever lived. I think it's interesting that you consider Catholics to not be "intelligent" Christians. I think most Catholics really don't think about it. From what I've read of Libresco, it does not seem she knows much about Catholic teaching.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • IamIsaid

      @jc...that is ridiculous to say you know God exists from what you see around you ?? I see many things, but not God. Why is (it) so unwilling to present proof to end the question, when he seemed damn well dancing and reveling a couple of thousands of years ago. A cloud is evaporated water, and that does nothing to suggest I MUST believe in a god) quite a weird way of thinking.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • philo66

      @jc
      You are seriously mischaracterizing reason. And I have no idea what you mean be "faith". If faith and reason are not distinct, then the past 500 years of tension between religion and science is a sham! And some would, of course, have us to believe just that. Reason has to be used to do more than just "explicate" what is believed to be true (as religions such as the RCC will do), reason must be used to *verify* what is believed to be true. And if it fails verification, throw it out. It's called "learning." There are Christians, you know, that believe that evolution never happened and that the earth is about 6,000 years old. They study science, but "adjust" it all to fit their immutable Truths.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • jc

      @Philo

      I am a Catholic, by baptism. There are many teachings of the Catholic church with which I disagree, but there are certainly many Catholics out there who share my understanding of the resurrection. Perhaps, as you say, we are not truly Catholics, or even theists, for that matter. However, I believe that Spong's interpretation (for instance) of many stories in the Bible will get you a pretty thick slice of the God that Christians know. I don't claim to have written down (or to be able to write down, in principle, all the answers), but choose to allow faith to fill in the gaps. What you and I can (hopefully) agree on is that there will always, in principle, be logical gaps in every corner of our knowledge.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • jc

      "If faith and reason are not distinct, then the past 500 years of tension between religion and science is a sham!"

      Disturbing, isn't it? (just kidding!) I'm not sure where you got the idea that I believe faith and reason are not distinct. I was, however, pointing out that your comment is evidence that you have a very incomplete understanding of reason. The fact is that even the "immutable Truths" of mathematics and physics necessarily rest on human foundations; that there are, and always will be, logical gaps in any theoretical edifice we ever hope to construct. Why should we expect faith to rest on anything more firm than human intuition?

      "Reason has to be used to do more than just "explicate" what is believed to be true (as religions such as the RCC will do), reason must be used to *verify* what is believed to be true. "

      You're expecting too much. See: Godel's incompleteness theorem.

      "There are Christians, you know, that believe that evolution never happened and that the earth is about 6,000 years old. They study science, but "adjust" it all to fit their immutable Truths."

      I know there are Christians like that - it makes me sad. I am in full agreement with you that they are crazy.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • ME II

      @jc,
      "Not at all – I see evidence all around me that God exists."
      What evidence would that be?

      "It's atheists (and you, in particular) who seem to be demanding a certain kind of evidence, and are under the burden to provide a particular definition of the kind of evidence required."
      Generally, the term "evidence" implies empirical evidence, however a logical proof would also work, I think.

      "...but choose to allow faith to fill in the gaps. What you and I can (hopefully) agree on is that there will always, in principle, be logical gaps in every corner of our knowledge."
      Though, not directed at me, this sounds like a God-of-the-gaps and isn't, I don't think, a reason for believing, but a rationalization of believing.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • philo66

      @jc
      I don't know what "gaps in logic" you are referring to. Normally one needs to look at a particular issue or claim and judge it based in its particular merits. "Proof" is an often misused or misunderstood term. Some would say that Hume "proved" that we have no reason to believe the Sun will rise tomorrow. That's nonsense and typical of the mischaracterization of reason and knowledge. I make no claim to absolute inerrant knowledge. Our faculties of reason are fallible. Sometimes we use reason and still we are wrong. If that is what you mean by "gaps", then sure, we have them. The thing is, though, when we find a gap, reason tells us to be skeptical, not to just say "oh, well, others make mistakes too. I guess I'll just go right ahead and believe anyway."

      June 26, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      As I've stated before, my requirements before I worship any god are:

      – they visit Earth and have lunch with (I'll travel anywhere, pay my costs and pay for lunch – for "god" too) and

      – while we are having lunch, "god" permanently erradicates child hunger.

      If anyone can do the above, I'm willing to be a sheep...

      June 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • jc

      @jc,
      "Not at all – I see evidence all around me that God exists."
      What evidence would that be?

      "It's atheists (and you, in particular) who seem to be demanding a certain kind of evidence, and are under the burden to provide a particular definition of the kind of evidence required."
      Generally, the term "evidence" implies empirical evidence, however a logical proof would also work, I think.
      @ ME II

      "...but choose to allow faith to fill in the gaps. What you and I can (hopefully) agree on is that there will always, in principle, be logical gaps in every corner of our knowledge."
      "Though, not directed at me, this sounds like a God-of-the-gaps and isn't, I don't think, a reason for believing, but a rationalization of believing."

      I suppose that, since the word "gaps" appears in both of our statements, I can acknowledge that there is some connection between what I said, and what you're claiming I said.

      This is not the old "God-of-the-gaps" rationalization - if you read my post again, you'll get it. What I said is that there are *essential* logical gaps in any mathematical, logical, or scientific edifice we hope to construct in order to understand the world, to understand ourselves. You might not know this fact, but it has been proven that any logical system is necessarily incomplete: that there necessarily exist true statements in any logical system that cannot be proven to be true. Even in any logical system. Why is it reasonable to expect, demand that there are proofs for the existence of God?

      June 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • philo66

      @jc,
      First, for the record, I never claimed math and science to have "immutable Truths". "Immutable Truth" is the stuff of religion. "Certain Knowledge" or "Absolute Truth" is the first red flag of a sham.

      What I demand for a "proof" of God is nothing more or less than I claim for "proof" of a heliocentric solar system. Empirical data and a model that is consistent with it. The reason we have 189 million version of Christianity (or something like that) is because there is no such system of verification. Say "faith", then say whatever you like. Since reason does not apply, anything goes. "Ground of being" is staunchly rejected by your very own Catholic Magesterium. You should know that. If you reject that the Magesterium's teaching on the very nature of a "personal" God, then why on earth even call yourself Catholic? Are you the believer of the "real" Catholic teachings? Who decides? How?

      And "Ground of Being" is no more coherent than "Three persons in one God". All you really need to do to be an adherent is repeat the verbal formulation. IOW, just utter the appropriate sounds in the appropriate order. You need not understand anything. In fact, the RCC will tell you the mystery of the Holy Trinity simply cannot be understood! Now there's a "gap" for you. If a scientist claims a theory and then claims that it must be true even though it cannot be understood, the scientist's "theory" is rejected.

      I do not see how anyone can claim the "gaps" of math and science to be equivalent to the "gaps" in religion.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • ME II

      @jc,
      "...that there necessarily exist true statements in any logical system that cannot be proven to be true."

      If you are referring to Godel's Incompleteness Theorem, I would remind you that 1) it's not "any logical system", it is referring to a very spcific thing, i.e. a formal logical theory that is both consistent and complete and how such a thing is logically impossible. 2) the 'property of being true but unprovable' is not arbitrary, i.e. you don't get to chose which 'truth' is unprovable, but it is inherent within the statement. The classic example, I think, is the liar's paradox of, "This statment is false," in that proving it true makes it false. And, 3) I don't think anyone is asking for a logical proof of the existence of God, just some empirical evidence would be a start.

      June 27, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  10. jc

    For a position that is a "non-position" and thus requires no argument or evidence, I see a whole lot of arguments here being trotted out for atheism!

    June 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • WWJD

      They're not for atheism – they're looking for a factual basis for theism.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Cq

      They're counter-arguments against theist arguments. If a theist argues that God alone provides a moral compass we counter-argue why that belief does not work. See?

      June 26, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  11. george busch

    I smell a book del and greed at the root of this one. If you decided you wanted to become a christian why on earth would you pick Catholic? Oh sure, the drinking is fine and the part about confessions and being forgiven your sins helps, and let's not forget worshipping idols in the form of saints and popes. So I guess now she can be pregnant most ofthe time, because the pope bans birth control and she does have a catholic boyfriend.

    Honestly, if you are looking for your "moral compass" you don't need to run it through a bible to get it to work. Just treat others as you would like to be treated and all is well.

    June 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • ME II

      Personally, I don't want others to let me get away with weak logic.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • jc

      @ ME II

      Despite your best efforts at it, I'm sure. 🙂

      June 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • ME II

      @jc,
      And apparently, you are not willing to treat me that way. 🙂

      June 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      We don't worship saints or popes. We venerate saints. The difference is real and important. When a Catholic prays to a saint, they are asking for the prayers of that saint. When they pray to God, they are asking directly. By joining the saints prayers with our own we are fulfilling the Words of Jesus who said "where two or three gather in my name, there am I in their midst".

      June 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @MarylandBill, I understand that this structure seems quite natural to you. However, if you want to see what your words sound like to an atheist, please read the following rewriting of your post:

      "We don't worship faeries or leprechauns. We venerate faeries. The difference is real and important. When a Greek prays to a faery, they are asking for the prayers of that faery. When they pray to Zeus, they are asking directly. By joining the faeries prayers with our own we are fulfilling the Words of Hercules who said "where two or three gather in my name, there am I in their midst".

      June 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Bobs

      "Book Deal", like how C.S. Lewis' career skyrocketed after he went back to being a Christian?

      June 26, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  12. jc

    "Just because both positions lack the evidence to conclusively show it's correct doesn't mean they have equal merit. The believers position has equal merit as one that states that the Tooth Fairy is real. Would you consider that a valid position?"

    Right, the old "Tooth fairy" argument. Empty ad hominem.

    June 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Both the tooth fairy and god have the same amount of evidence for the existence of that thing. That being absolutely none.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • jc

      Hawaii, you miss the point being made entirely.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • ME II

      I don't think that's an ad hominem fallacy. The argument is that there is no evidence.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • jc

      By the way, there are many, many compelling arguments out there for the existence of God (if an argument is what you require). Do you mean you have refuted every single one?

      June 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • ME II

      Now @Kenja's statement below is an ad hominem...

      June 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • jc

      What kind of evidence are you looking for, ME II?

      June 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • philo66

      Ad hominem against who, the Tooth Fairy?

      June 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @jc

      Well if you have an argument that I haven't heard before and has not been rufeted, then I'd like to hear it (TAG and Kalam have been thoroughly torn apart for years as a heads up).

      In terms of the original post, you are actually miscategorizing the argument. It is not an ad hominem, since an ad hominem would attack the person making the claim on their actual character. An example would be saying that Darwin was a se.xist, and therefore we can discount his model of evolution.
      The Tooth Fairy analogy is an attempt to illustrate a special exemption in the standards of evidence for the existence of your god in comparisson with the standards of evidence you use for the existence of the Tooth Fairy.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • ME II

      @jc,
      "What kind of evidence are you looking for, ME II?"
      I was just pointing out what the argument was.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Kenja

      @ME II. maybe, but more so against CNN who actually did edit her Harry P comment out.

      She did say that "One thing that kind of happened is I thought it was a lot more plausible but not necessarily true, in the same way that I’m a big Harry Potter nerd and I can see how the whole world works and think about the dynamics of that world without thinking it’s true. That’s kind of how I came to see Christianity, a really well thought out interesting system that a lot of smart people had worked on but I didn’t think it was actually a true system."

      That's what they edited out which was at the start of the video.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • jc

      "In terms of the original post, you are actually miscategorizing the argument. It is not an ad hominem, since an ad hominem would attack the person making the claim on their actual character. "

      It is an ad hominem. It characterizes those who believe in God as being as intellectually irresponsible as someone who would believe in the tooth fairy, and structure their moral fabric around such a belief. It's ad hominem nonsense.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @jc

      Try reading the rest of my post instead of latching onto a single part that you think that you can read enough into to make a point.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • ME II

      @Kenja,
      Didn't mean to pick on you, just saying that your comment was addressing the person, not their argument, is all. However, since your argument was against CNN, I retract that statement.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • jc

      @ Hawaii

      I read your entire post, and characterized the problems with the "tooth fairy" argument. Disagree? You'll need to provide something more substantial than the rest of your original post. We all know how the argument goes, and it amounts to nothing more than an empty insult. Ad hominem.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @jc

      Well since you seem unable to actually get it in its current format, let me make a series of posts to try and illustrate that point to you.

      What religion do you identify as? I'd like to assume Christian, but I don't want to assume what you are.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • ME II

      @jc,
      You may take it as an insult, but I would suggest that what you are pointing out is actually a weak analogy fallacy, i.e. the comparison between the evidence for Jesus, et al and the evidence for the tooth fairy is not a valid comparison.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • LinCA

      @ME II

      You said, "You may take it as an insult, but I would suggest that what you are pointing out is actually a weak analogy fallacy, i.e. the comparison between the evidence for Jesus, et al and the evidence for the tooth fairy is not a valid comparison."
      But in the original comment, I wasn't comparing the evidence for Jesus with that for the Tooth Fairy, but the evidence for gods.

      Whether Jesus existed, and whether he was special in any way, is really a different discussion.

      URL to original comment: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/22/prominent-atheist-blogger-converts-to-catholicism/comment-page-86/#comment-1477442

      June 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • jc

      @ ME II

      No insult taken, of course. "Weak analogy fallacy" is a fair enough way to characterize the "tooth fairy" argument.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • jc

      The point, anyway, is not what kind of fallacy the "tooth fairy" argument for atheism is, but rather:

      1. That most atheists demand "evidence" for the existence of God without understanding or defining what kind of evidence they seek, or what kind of "evidence" would be appropriate to bolster claims about one's faith.

      2. That many Christians reject that the kind of "evidence" an atheist demands for the existence of God is necessary, and that it is perfectly reasonable to do so.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • ME II

      @LinCA,
      Point taken. And I don't necessarily disagree, I'm just saying that @jc's point would be more arguable, perhaps, as a weak analogy fallacy rather that the ad hominem s/he chose, since the crux of the argument is the comparison, not the person making the argument.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @jc, I would also like to draw your attention to something that others have suggested in the past. That you feel an attack on god is an attack on you, is a symptom of making god a part of your personal identi.ty. Paraphrasing what you said, it is the questioning the intellectual integrity of someone who believes in god. I don't want to burden this post with all of the psychology behind that statement, but you should find a way to get used to that because claims of faith are always under assault of reality.

      Turn the tables and try to compare people who believe in gravity is caused by the mass of 2 objects to believing fairies are holding are feet to the earth. Because the theory of gravity is an claim supported by evidence, I doubt anyone here would feel you were attacking us personally for believing in the science.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • LinCA

      @jc

      You said, "1. That most atheists demand "evidence" for the existence of God without understanding or defining what kind of evidence they seek, or what kind of "evidence" would be appropriate to bolster claims about one's faith."
      There really is only one kind of evidence. Unless it established a fact, it (whatever "it" is) doesn't rise to the level of evidence. But even if it is evidence, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is evidence in favor of the claim.

      For instance, the fact that life evolved in our universe, is often claimed to be evidence for a god. The observation that there is life in our universe is evidence of something, just not of any gods. The existence of gods does not logically flow from the existence of life.

      You said, "2. That many Christians reject that the kind of "evidence" an atheist demands for the existence of God is necessary, and that it is perfectly reasonable to do so."
      I wouldn't call it reasonable, as it has very little to do with "reason". For believers it is clearly acceptable to do so, but they do so on faith alone.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Cq

      jc
      There are tons of beings that people consider fictional or mythical, and thousands of gods too. The point is that there is no rational reason to think that one god happens to be real while all the others do not. If this were anything else, like claims of harnessing cold fusion, where all other attempts were utter failures wouldn't you want proof that they actually found what they claim? Believers claim to have the only real god out of thousands of fakes. It's up to them to provide proof not us to provide the disproof.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • LinCA

      @ME II

      I tend to avoid lumping Jesus in with the Tooth Fairy, Pink Unicorns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, as there is at least some evidence the dude actually existed. He fits in better with the Loch Ness Monster, Santa Claus and the Abominable Snowman. Tall tales but little substance.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @jc

      My evidence for god would be incredibly simple. Stupidly simple really. I big booming voice from the sky would do. Pillar of fire, frogs raining from the sky, nile turning to blood or a wooden staff turning into a serpent seemed pretty easy for god to do. This god in the bible is supposedly all powerful so it should be easy to prove it right?

      June 26, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • jc

      "There really is only one kind of evidence. Unless it established a fact, it (whatever "it" is) doesn't rise to the level of evidence. But even if it is evidence, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is evidence in favor of the claim."

      You're wrong. There are many kinds of evidence. I do believe that all humans, along with all living things, share a common ancestor - there is a great deal of biological evidence to support this claim. I also believe that every Initial Value Problem (satisfying appropriate conditions) has a unique, continuous solution - the evidence to support this claim is a mathematical proof. Biological evidence supports one claim, and a mathematical proof supports the other. What kind of evidence do you require for the existence of God?
      The other point that should be acknowledged is the nature of evidence itself. I could sit down at a desk, and write down a proof, from first principles, of the mathematical claim above. Does that mean that you would accept it as evidence of the claim I made? Not unless you could understand it completely from beginning to end, which you probably wouldn't. However, anyone with enough mathematical knowledge would find it perfectly acceptable, and understand that the "first principles" from which the proof was derived ultimately rest on human intuition.

      "I wouldn't call it reasonable, as it has very little to do with "reason". For believers it is clearly acceptable to do so, but they do so on faith alone."

      You can choose to call it whatever you like, just as you choose not to believe in God because there is no evidence of the kind you seek. You make one choice, and those who believe in God make another. You are correct that our choices, ultimately, are independent of reason.

      June 26, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • jc

      "My evidence for god would be incredibly simple. Stupidly simple really. I big booming voice from the sky would do. Pillar of fire, frogs raining from the sky, nile turning to blood or a wooden staff turning into a serpent seemed pretty easy for god to do."

      Sounds good. Tell you what - you wait around for that evidence, and the rest of us will continue the discussion. Do let us all know when it happens!! 🙂

      June 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @jc

      What god specifically do you believe in?

      June 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • jc

      @ Hawaii

      I am a Christian, particularly a Catholic, by baptism. However, I do not believe in precisely the God of the Christian Bible (never really have) - I do not believe, for instance, that God is an old man in the sky who intervenes in our daily lives, and gives us things just because we ask for it. I do, however, believe in God.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @jc

      So you believe that god does not intervene in the affairs of the world? What exactly do you believe god does or has done?

      June 26, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @jc –

      Sounds like you're a deist, certainly not a Catholic.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @jc

      I answered your question, the fact that you find it as ridiculous as I do should probably tell you something, considering these examples actually "happened" in the bible, is it really that crazy for a christian? Shouldn't be.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @jc

      I'm not putting any sarcasm or attack into my questions, in case it seemed that way, I am merely trying to understand what it is that you believe and why.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • LinCA

      @jc

      There are many kinds of evidence.

      You said, "I also believe that every Initial Value Problem (satisfying appropriate conditions) has a unique, continuous solution"
      The important part of that statement is "satisfying appropriate conditions", meaning that your initial value problem may only have a unique and continuous solution in a very narrow window around the initial value.

      You said, "What kind of evidence do you require for the existence of God?"
      Anything that can be uniquely identified as having been caused by a god.

      You said, "The other point that should be acknowledged is the nature of evidence itself. I could sit down at a desk, and write down a proof, from first principles, of the mathematical claim above. Does that mean that you would accept it as evidence of the claim I made? Not unless you could understand it completely from beginning to end, which you probably wouldn't."
      How about you try? Why would you assume that I wouldn't understand it? Even if I don't understand it, there must be thousands of others that would. If you have the mathematical proof that there is a god, you would be next in line for the Nobel prize, probably even more than one.

      You said, "However, anyone with enough mathematical knowledge would find it perfectly acceptable, and understand that the "first principles" from which the proof was derived ultimately rest on human intuition."
      In short, you are saying that if you start with the assumption that there is a god, you could mathematically prove that there is. Why am I not surprised that a believer brings a circular argument?

      You said, "You are correct that our choices, ultimately, are independent of reason."
      I don't think I said that and if by "our" you mean yours and mine, I'd have to disagree. If you mean yours and your fellow believers', I'll accept that, but my choices are based on reason, whenever possible.

      June 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • jc

      @ LinCA

      "The important part of that statement is "satisfying appropriate conditions", meaning that your initial value problem may only have a unique and continuous solution in a very narrow window around the initial value."

      This statement makes it clear enough that you would not understand the proof, if you were wondering.

      June 26, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • jc

      @LinCA

      "In short, you are saying that if you start with the assumption that there is a god, you could mathematically prove that there is. Why am I not surprised that a believer brings a circular argument?"

      You really don't understand what I'm talking about, I'm afraid.

      June 26, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • LinCA

      @jc

      You said, "This statement makes it clear enough that you would not understand the proof, if you were wondering.", and you said, "You really don't understand what I'm talking about, I'm afraid.".
      You keep saying that, but unless you provide your "proof", we'll never know. I never claimed I would understand it, but I'm confident we'll find someone to tear it to shreds.

      Considering that you keep making assumptions about whether I would understand it, without actually providing any of the "proof" you claim you can come up with, I'm starting to think that you being "very happy and productive part" of the scientific world, just means you are an administrative assistant who knows how to copy and paste.

      It may be time for you to put up or shut up. If you have anything, anything at all, that would make your case for gods any more believable, I suggest you produce it. Otherwise you've got nothing but an imaginary friend. But of course, both you and I already know that you've got nothing, because there is nothing. All you have is your infantile beliefs. All you have is the religion that your parents indoctrinated you in. All you have is irrational faith.

      I have faith that, if you ever produce it, your "proof" won't amount to anything. My faith is based on an unbroken record of thousands of years of failures by believers to produce anything of substance in the way of evidence for their gods. But by all means, go ahead and make your case. Who knows, maybe you are on to something.

      June 27, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  13. Kenja

    Methinks she takes Harry Potter a bit too seriously. (Oh! Now they edited that part out!)

    June 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  14. jc

    "all position that aren't proven by evidence are equal. Some are supported by the lack of evidence. "

    I'm sorry Lin, but this is pure nonsense.

    June 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • LinCA

      @jc

      It's easy to claim nonsense by taking quotes out of context.

      Here is the entire paragraph (with the quoted part emphasized):
      "In effect, Me acknowledges that the believer's position is unsupported. That, of course, isn't news, but it doesn't mean that all position that aren't proven by evidence are equal. Some are supported by the lack of evidence. The atheist position is the default position. Without evidence in support of gods, the default position is that there aren't any."

      URL to the complete post: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/22/prominent-atheist-blogger-converts-to-catholicism/comment-page-86/#comment-1477596

      June 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  15. Star Performer

    SINCE I'M READY WILLING & ABLE ...
    If you're fully owned lock, stock & barrel by the taxpayer, then the Devil just lost his claim on you!
    All World governments are owned lock, stock & barrel by the taxpayer & THE DEVIL JUST LOST HIS CLAIM!
    THIS BLOWS THE DEVIL AWAY! THIS BLOWS SATAN AWAY! THIS BLOWS LUCIFER AWAY!
    TAXPAYER HEAVEN IS COMING – WHICH MEANS YOU NEVER WILL BE ABLE TWIST ANYONE'S WORDS EVER AGAIN!
    Now say a polite goodbye to the Devil/Satan/Lucifer!

    BRING IT ON TAXPAYER HEAVEN!

    June 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • The Corrector

      IT'S LOOKING VERY GLORIOUS FOR TAXPAYER HEAVEN !!!!
      Amen at last!

      June 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • atheist@heart

      This has very serious ramifications for Illuminati & Bilderberg!
      I want to throw up so badly!

      June 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • philo66

      Star, your caps key is stuck.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Bobs

      philo66
      It's pretty common with Christian posters. Maybe something sticky ends up on their keyboards? Makes you wonder what kinds of sites they spend the rest of their time on, eh? 🙂

      June 26, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  16. motherearth

    Rising from the dead, healing the sick, hearing voices, pregnant girl claiming, "she's doesn't know how it happened ! It's always been around even today, so why are you picking and choosing which ones are MIRACLES?

    June 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  17. Lena

    I've heard of many more people who have gone in the opposite direction. Most people don't like being told exactly what they MUST think.

    June 26, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      So true. Most people want to make up their own set of rules and call it subjective morality

      June 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • ME II

      @Bill Deacon,
      Actually, it seems to me that many people want to make up their own set of rules and call it absolute morality, hence religion.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  18. carey moore

    what surprises me is she says she has the real facts now. the real facts are what create atheists who use reason and not emotion to develop their beliefs.

    June 26, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  19. Movies

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site so i got here to go back the desire?.I am trying to find things to improve my web site!I suppose its good enough to make use of a few of your concepts!!

    June 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  20. Me

    In my opinion atheism is just as arrogant as any religion. You.Just.Don't.Know. Leave it at that.

    June 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Me

      You said, "In my opinion atheism is just as arrogant as any religion."
      Opinions are very much like assholes, aren't they?

      You said, "You.Just.Don't.Know. Leave it at that."
      True. So why do believers feel that making shit up is the way to go?

      Your typical atheists on this comment board will readily acknowledge that he/she doesn't know with 100% certainty whether there are any gods. But because there is absolutely no evidence to suggest there are any, it's pretty moronic to just assume that there are.

      Just because both positions lack the evidence to conclusively show it's correct doesn't mean they have equal merit. The believers position has equal merit as one that states that the Tooth Fairy is real. Would you consider that a valid position?

      June 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Atheists encompass the group of all non-believers, regardless whether they are strong atheists, which I believe you're referring to - the "I know there is no god" group, which includes almost no one - event Richard Dawkins isn't in that group - all the way to weak atheists, otherwise known as agnostics who don't believe that there is a god, simply because there is no proof yet.

      Believers, who feel they magically know the unknowable, are so happy pinning the "arrogant" label on non-believers, as if that settles the issue. Complete rubbish. Anyone who claims to have the truth on this matter is wrong, and any of them who insist on their version is arrogant.

      June 26, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @LinCA

      I'm a person who goes a little further than agnostic atheist, and state that certain gods or characterizations of god do not exist, but this is for reasons of that characterization is self-contradictory, and really impossible as stated in doctrine.

      June 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I agree with your angle on the issue HawaiiGuest. I was referring to the belief or non-belief in the deity himself. Obviously, the specific deity claimed to exist in Biblical texts is disproved automatically by the contradictions in the dogma.

      A deity which both loves you, and is yet fully willing to punish you for eternity for not believing in him, is an impossible contradiction, and rules out that specific being without any further consideration.

      June 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Cal

      Athiesm can not display arrogance as it is an idea and not a person. If you mean athiests without adding any terms like "some" "most" or a specific percentage implies "all" or 100%. Happy stereotyping.

      June 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      LinCA – What Me is saying is that while both sides feel they are right both sides have their extremist that put forth the image of open arrogance to anyone who does not share their views. There are some Atheist who insult and ridicule anyone who chooses to have and accept Faith. Often times their excuse is because someone of Faith attacked them in the past. Its not all Atheist but the same as not all Faithful are Rev Terry Jones from Westburo Baptist.

      June 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • LinCA

      @HawaiiGuest

      You said, "I'm a person who goes a little further than agnostic atheist, and state that certain gods or characterizations of god do not exist, but this is for reasons of that characterization is self-contradictory, and really impossible as stated in doctrine."
      Of course, I agree wholeheartedly.

      I was trying to be careful to not specifically address any god in particular. But it goes without saying that gods that are said to have contradictory traits can be dismissed without further consideration.

      In his/her post, Me wasn't referring to any specific god. I try to avoid making assumptions about other people's positions and therefor kept my response limited to gods in general. If Me had proclaimed a belief in, say, Mithra, my response might have been different.

      June 26, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @LinCA

      I was very careful not to mention any specific gods either, merely giving a general criteria on what kind of god I would take a gnostic atheist stance on.

      June 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Mark From Middle River

      You said, "What Me is saying is that while both sides feel they are right both sides have their extremist that put forth the image of open arrogance to anyone who does not share their views."
      While that would be a nice spin on things, I doubt that was really the gist of Me's post. I read it as an attempt to direct the discussion by claiming that both positions are equal. I read it as grasping at straws. After seeing that the believer's position is failing miserably on the account of lack of any credible evidence, Me appears to attempt to "level the playing field" by claiming that the other side is also unsupported.

      In effect, Me acknowledges that the believer's position is unsupported. That, of course, isn't news, but it doesn't mean that all position that aren't proven by evidence are equal. Some are supported by the lack of evidence. The atheist position is the default position. Without evidence in support of gods, the default position is that there aren't any.

      You said, "There are some Atheist who insult and ridicule anyone who chooses to have and accept Faith. Often times their excuse is because someone of Faith attacked them in the past."
      While that is true, in some cases, Me's post doesn't reflect that at all. Me's post was a blanket condemnation of atheism.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • LinCA

      @HawaiiGuest

      I think we are in agreement.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Well then you must be right!

      June 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • motherearth

      @lINCA...HEY how did you sneek in the little terrible dirty words? LOL

      June 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • jc

      @LinCA

      "But it goes without saying that gods that are said to have contradictory traits can be dismissed without further consideration."

      Why does this go without saying? I can replace a few words...

      It goes without saying that scientific theories that are said to have contradictory traits can be dismissed without further consideration.

      You would say the statement above is true, no? I would, except for the fact that we would, according to this principle, have to dispose of essentially all of modern physics! The scientific world (of which I am a very happy and productive part) is willing to accept apparent contradictions in its theoretical framework, because the current edifice is the best set of explanations that we currently have. The goal of scientific research is to attempt to resolve contradictions by developing richer and more sophisticated theories - and this is entirely and perfectly consistent with the development of any intelligent person's belief about God. Why isn't your belief system commensurately flexible?

      What you're talking about seems to be your own limitations, rather than those of any religion.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @LinCA

      Fun times.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • LinCA

      @jc

      You said, "Why does this go without saying?"
      Anything that is said to have contradictory traits, otherwise knows as mutually exclusive traits, is impossible to exist.

      You said, "It goes without saying that scientific theories that are said to have contradictory traits can be dismissed without further consideration."
      That's a straw man argument.

      You said, "You would say the statement above is true, no? I would, except for the fact that we would, according to this principle, have to dispose of essentially all of modern physics!"
      You clearly don't, or pretend not to, understand physics.

      You said, "The scientific world (of which I am a very happy and productive part) is willing to accept apparent contradictions in its theoretical framework, because the current edifice is the best set of explanations that we currently have."
      The part of any theory that produces contradictory results must be either incomplete or incorrect to some extend. That doesn't mean that it needs to be dismissed in it's entirety. As long as we recognise its limitations, the parts that describe nature accurately are extremely useful. Major scientific breakthroughs are made when someone reaches the end of the usability of a particular theory and finds a better one.

      Just because Newton's laws have since been sown to be limited in their use doesn't mean that within the realm of classical physics they are useless. You don't need to know quantum physics to build a perfectly serviceable car, for instance.

      You said, "The goal of scientific research is to attempt to resolve contradictions by developing richer and more sophisticated theories – and this is entirely and perfectly consistent with the development of any intelligent person's belief about God."
      The problem with personal beliefs about gods, and the big differentiation from science, is that they are entirely devoid of any substantiation. They are solely based on hearsay and indoctrination. Attributes assigned to gods aren't based on verifiable facts. They are based on ancient fairy tales.

      You said, "Why isn't your belief system commensurately flexible?"
      It is. As soon as there is the slightest shred of evidence that hints at the existence of gods, I'll adjust my theories about them. Until there is, it is unreasonable to believe in them.

      You said, "What you're talking about seems to be your own limitations, rather than those of any religion."
      What is the difference between your beliefs and the beliefs of a five year old in the Tooth Fairy? The only difference is that we are typically told that the Tooth Fairy isn't real after we run out of baby teeth to trade.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA
      “What is the difference between your beliefs and the beliefs of a five year old in the Tooth Fairy? The only difference is that we are typically told that the Tooth Fairy isn't real after we run out of baby teeth to trade.”

      =>no, the Tooth Fairy is proven to not exist. You can conduct a controlled experiment by placing lost teeth under a pillow as many times as you like (whatever number floats your statistical boat). The results prove there is no Tooth Fairy as represented and those results and conclusions meet your “scientific methods”.
      God cannot be proven or disproven by scientific method thus there is a significant difference.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "no, the Tooth Fairy is proven to not exist."
      Not any more or less than your god.

      You said, "You can conduct a controlled experiment by placing lost teeth under a pillow as many times as you like (whatever number floats your statistical boat)."
      Same experiment can be done with your god, with the exact same result. You can pray to your god for some sign. You'll get the same results, proving that it doesn't exist to the same degree as your proof against the Tooth Fairy.

      You said, "The results prove there is no Tooth Fairy as represented and those results and conclusions meet your “scientific methods”."
      If you accept that as proof that the Tooth Fairy exists, you should also accept that your god doesn't exist.

      You said, "God cannot be proven or disproven by scientific method thus there is a significant difference."
      It is proven not to exist to the same extend as the Tooth Fairy is proven to not exist.

      June 26, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • jc

      @LinCA

      "You can pray to your god for some sign. You'll get the same results, proving that it doesn't exist to the same degree as your proof against the Tooth Fairy."

      In short, you claim that if a god exists, then it must be a fairy-tale god of your own concoction. You then concoct an arbitrary test for the existence of this fairy tale to which nobody would agree, and use it to conclude that no god exists. Sounds rigorous!

      June 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA
      The difference is that we have physical evidence that can be shown to remain (the tooth) that provides physical evidence that the Tooth Fairy does not exhibit the behavior expected. We could also set up cameras and take testimony from those pretending to be the Tooth Fairy and prove they were just silly parents. Either way we have physical, verifiable proof that Tooth Fairy does not exist.
      With God you wish to test the results of prayer. Prayer is communication with God and the scientific community does not have the technology to test how God responds. The scientific tools available to date can only evaluate that which is of the natural world. All our efforts can only show what we already know in that God is of the supernatural. We could save ourselves a lot of effort by reading the verse that says God is not of this world. As to prayer we also know (from that same Bible) that God is sovereign (variable that cannot be quantified for test results). Man cannot prove when God answers or does not answer prayer. In short God cannot be proven not to exist based on prayer results.

      June 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • LinCA

      @jc

      You said, "In short, you claim that if a god exists, then it must be a fairy-tale god of your own concoction. You then concoct an arbitrary test for the existence of this fairy tale to which nobody would agree, and use it to conclude that no god exists. Sounds rigorous!"
      So you admit that prayer doesn't change anything. So it's simply a monologue with an imaginary friend.

      Anyway, the whole thing is irrelevant as in thousands of years of searching, not a shred of evidence has ever been recorded that shows there are any gods. By fred's definition, they don't exist.

      June 27, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "The difference is that we have physical evidence that can be shown to remain (the tooth) that provides physical evidence that the Tooth Fairy does not exhibit the behavior expected. [...] Either way we have physical, verifiable proof that Tooth Fairy does not exist."
      Irrespective of whether I agree with your method or conclusions, I agree that the Tooth Fairy doesn't exist. I'm actually convinced it doesn't. It is just as likely to exist as gods.

      You said, "With God you wish to test the results of prayer. [...] In short God cannot be proven not to exist based on prayer results."
      It is abundantly clear that there is no evidence for gods. That's been my point all along. I'm glad you finally agree. But the complete and utter lack of any evidence for the existence of these gods makes believing in them kind of silly.

      June 27, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • fred

      LinCa
      It is actually a very big difference because we can prove the Tooth Fairy does not exist. This is because the Tooth Fairy was manmade and from the natural. Paul ran into the same manmade gods of the Greeks at the beginning of Christianity. Paul simply pointed out the living God verses the manmade (made of gold, silver, wood and carried about i.e. physical) gods. Your Tooth Fairy exchanged two physical objects booth of man (tooth and coin). The glory of the living God was evident from transformed lives, the creation of life all around, the awe and wonder of the heavens and the resurrection of Christ (most had heard of this). Non believers today don’t go for the gods of old and most target the living God. There are many justifications for no God needed to transform lives, origin of life, fine tuning of the heavens and 500 witnesses of Christ resurrection. But, there are no proofs that rule out the work of Holy Spirit to this day that transforms lives, supernatural causation of our existence or the resurrection. This first force is outside of our natural world and senses. This is why God cannot be pictured in physical form no matter how hard one tries. Moses could not even look at God. At a minimum we know God was not manmade because we cannot even begin to picture the awe and wonder of our creator.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "It is actually a very big difference because we can prove the Tooth Fairy does not exist. This is because the Tooth Fairy was manmade and from the natural."
      So was your god. Your god was invented to provide answers to questions that primitive men couldn't answer.

      You said, "Non believers today don’t go for the gods of old and most target the living God."
      There are very few people that still believe in the Roman and Greek gods. Even fewer post on the CNN Belief Blog. But their gods are equally unlikely as the Tooth Fairy and your god.

      You said, "At a minimum we know God was not manmade because we cannot even begin to picture the awe and wonder of our creator."
      At a minimum YOU can't comprehend your god not being real. Please don't lump me in with believers.

      June 27, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA
      “Your god was invented to provide answers to questions that primitive men couldn't answer.”
      =>sorry, but 52% of the scientists that are not into life sciences (biology researchers etc) believe in a supernatural force are you suggesting they are primitive men?

      “At a minimum YOU can't comprehend your god not being real. Please don't lump me in with believers.”
      =>nit picking but God is not of the physical comprehendible world or in our time space dimension. Considering a supernatural force as first cause in creation of all we know and see requires a force outside of our dimension. That force is very real. If you are speaking of that force as real then yes I cannot comprehend God any other way. If you are speaking of that force as some Zeus like characterization then NO I also do not believe in such.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "sorry, but 52% of the scientists that are not into life sciences (biology researchers etc) believe in a supernatural force are you suggesting they are primitive men?"
      No. They weren't the ones who invented the dude. Primitive desert dwellers, a few thousand years ago,did. As for the scientists, being indoctrinated in the bullshit doesn't necessarily mean that they are primitive, probably just gullible.

      If they mix that nonsense into their work, they seize to be scientists.

      You said, "nit picking but God is not of the physical comprehendible world or in our time space dimension."
      True. He is merely a figment of someone's imagination.

      You said, "Considering a supernatural force as first cause in creation of all we know and see requires a force outside of our dimension."
      That should really say "Assuming a supernatural force as first cause [...]". Your assumption doesn't make it real.

      You said, "That force is very real."
      You don't have a single shred of evidence to back up that statement. It is merely an assumption on your part.

      You said, "If you are speaking of that force as some Zeus like characterization then NO I also do not believe in such."
      You appear to be strongly atheistic towards all but one god. If you have a rational argument to not believe in all the other gods (pretty much anything other than "they're not mine"), I suggest you take that reasoning and apply it uniformly to all gods, including yours.

      June 28, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA
      “As for the scientists, being indoctrinated in the bullsh-it doesn't necessarily mean that they are primitive, probably just gullible.”
      =>I said supernatural force not my God. Even Stephen Hawking had to escape into the possibility of multiverse theory (unproven with no evidence) to escape painting himself into a corner with regard to the fine tuning in Dark Matter. Sounds to me your faith demands that you grasp onto unproven theories rather than accept what other scientists know based on actual evidence.

      “Your as-sumption doesn't make it real.”
      =>and your assumptions are far worse because you use the hope of discovery in multiverse whereas the scientific community uses known available evidence.

      “You don't have a single shred of evidence to back up that statement. It is merely an as-sumption on your part.”
      =>evidence is in the fine tuning of Dark Matter which when proven forced Hawking. See: Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological ConstantLisa Dyson, Matthew Kleban and Leonard Susskind
      All confirmed by Hawking reply see: Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design (New York: Bantam Books, 2010), 161–62

      June 28, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "I said supernatural force not my God."
      I know, but we both know what you were talking about, don't we?

      You said, "Even Stephen Hawking had to escape into the possibility of multiverse theory (unproven with no evidence) to escape painting himself into a corner with regard to the fine tuning in Dark Matter. Sounds to me your faith demands that you grasp onto unproven theories rather than accept what other scientists know based on actual evidence."
      You must have misunderstood. Leaving the possibilities open isn't the same as accepting them as the only possible option.

      You said, "and your assumptions are far worse because you use the hope of discovery in multiverse whereas the scientific community uses known available evidence."
      I never assumed anything like that. I consider it infinitely more likely that any god-theory, but I never claimed that to be the case. I consider the likelihood that we will ever be able to discover anything outside our universe to be extremely small.

      You said, "evidence is in the fine tuning of Dark Matter which when proven forced Hawking. See: Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological ConstantLisa Dyson, Matthew Kleban and Leonard Susskind"
      That doesn't prove there is a god. It is merely a requirement for the existence of life. Had it been any different, we wouldn't have been around to notice.

      You said, "All confirmed by Hawking reply see: Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design (New York: Bantam Books, 2010), 161–62"
      In your reference, the authors write, "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." (emphasis mine).

      Please don't ever bring up Hawking as a witness for your side again. He really, really isn't.

      June 28, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @LinCA

      fred has been trying that line of attack for a month or so now, and has been shown that it doesn't support his premise. I would give up on fred if I were you, since he merely twists and turns and avoids everything he can't address and uses multiple fallacies for everything else.

      June 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Holy crap! Fred is Chad. Fred is Chad. Soylent Green is people!

      June 28, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...oh, and obviously, Chad is Fred. Right?

      June 28, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Really-O

      Nah I don't think fred is Chad. Chad is way more dishonest and full of jackas.sery (hurrah for non words, just don't use irregardless I hate that one).

      June 28, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Have to agree. Chad is far more dishonest than fred.

      June 28, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @HawaiiGuest [

      I'll trust you. It's just that the "==>" is suspi'cious. But, come to think of it, you're right – Chad is way more dishonest.

      Cheers

      June 28, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...sorry Fred...sincerely.

      June 28, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • LinCA

      @HawaiiGuest

      You said, "fred has been trying that line of attack for a month or so now, and has been shown that it doesn't support his premise."
      I know. But then again, nothing really does.

      You said, "I would give up on fred if I were you, since he merely twists and turns and avoids everything he can't address and uses multiple fallacies for everything else."
      As believers go, fred is pretty harmless. I don't think he'll ever give up his faith, but he remains friendly. I find that somewhat surprising as I don't mince any words when it comes to his beliefs.

      I sometimes feel compelled to dispel the nonsense and reply (sometimes I just don't give a rats ass).

      Cheers

      June 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA
      ““You said, "I said supernatural force not my God."
      I know, but we both know what you were talking about, don't we?”
      =>Stephen Hawking has an issue with a personal God as do many of those that acknowledge the necessity of a supernatural force behind known evidence related to fine tuning (including fine tuning of Dark Energy allowing for the existence of life). I am not aware of any scientist that would argue against the evidence of amazing design in our universe. We not only have design but fine tuning in many areas from carbon based life to position of earth itself. Stephen Hawking is grasping onto M theory (no evidence whatsoever) to avoid getting backed into a God corner where he will not go regardless of the evidence presented. Many scientists and the majority of those in the life sciences fear that God corner.
      In short no, I was not referring to God however, the necessity of supernatural force moves us from a scientific debate into theology since science does not address what is not of the natural and thus measurable.

      “I never assumed anything like that. I consider it infinitely more likely that any god-theory, but I never claimed that to be the case. I consider the likelihood that we will ever be able to discover anything outside our universe to be extremely small.”
      =>yes, because you choose to limit your thought within the 4 dimensions of our universe ignoring all the new evidence for God. The evidence for supernatural force is overwhelming while the evidence for spontaneous multiverse is non-existent. Support for string theory and the other 6 necessary dimensions allowing for an expanding universe is greater than that of spontaneous matter. You are holding onto a tread not a rope.

      “ Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant…….That doesn't prove there is a god. It is merely a requirement for the existence of life. Had it been any different, we wouldn't have been around to notice.”
      =>Well if you read the entire conclusion you will note that even these 3 atheists used the world miracle to describe the fine tuning of Dark Energy. You are correct in that it does not prove God only supernatural. The proof of God can only be heard once a scientist realizes the discussion has moved on to theology and philosophy as evidence of supernatural can only be found there.

      “You said, "All confirmed by Hawking reply see: Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design (New York: Bantam Books, 2010), 161–62"
      In your reference, the authors write, "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." (emphasis mine).”
      =>again, Hawking has a personal problem with a personal God. The possibility of spontaneous creation does not address the problem of supernatural force or design for that matter. It is simply a scientific way to explain the force behind singularity without using the word supernatural. Whatever it is cannot be measured or known thus clearly not of the natural.

      “Please don't ever bring up Hawking as a witness for your side again. He really, really isn't.”
      =>oh, but he is an excellent witness for the extent one will go to in order to explain away the possibility of a personal God.

      June 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      Changing the name from "god" to "supernatural force" doesn't change that fact that you have no evidence for it. Hawkins' theory, while not proving that there is no god, or supernatural force, makes it even less probable.

      So, you still have no rational case for your side, but by quoting Hawkins, you are actually undermining it even more. Face it, you're grasping at straws.

      June 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Cq

      LinCA
      It's like creationists switching God for "intelligent designer", when they have no other candidate for that intelligent designer than God.

      June 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • fred

      LicCA
      Evidence for God is different than evidence that points towards causation outside of our known world. I think our problem is that you refuse to accept an end boundary of science. If you cannot accept an end boundary then you cannot accept evidence related to that which is not natural. There is "causality" beyond our ability to apply science or human reason and I am continually amazed that the thought of divine causality in view of know quantum mechanics escapes you.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "Evidence for God is different than evidence that points towards causation outside of our known world."
      Evidence establishes a fact. If it, whatever "it" is, doesn't establish a fact, it isn't evidence.

      You said, "I think our problem is that you refuse to accept an end boundary of science."
      I fully accept that there is a boundary to what science can tell us. I know there is stuff we don't know yet, and some that we will never know, and even stuff that we can't know. But just because we don't know, means we get to make shit up and pass it off as the truth.

      The problem is that you expect me to follow your particular notion outside the boundaries of science. Just because you believe that nonsense, doesn't mean it's real. You are free to believe that horseshit, just don't expect anyone else to do the same.

      You said, "If you cannot accept an end boundary then you cannot accept evidence related to that which is not natural."
      But I do accept the boundary. Outside those boundaries, all you have is speculation and conjecture. While that doesn't prove it to be untrue, there is absolutely no reason to accept it as real.

      If there is evidence, it's "natural". If there isn't any evidence it's conjecture.

      You said, "There is "causality" beyond our ability to apply science or human reason and I am continually amazed that the thought of divine causality in view of know quantum mechanics escapes you."
      The assumption of divine causality for anything isn't any different than the assumption that you'll find a gift on christmas morning if you behave all year.

      While there is a slim chance there is such a thing as divine causality, assuming it to be real without any evidence for it is moronic.

      June 30, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • fred

      “”You said, "Evidence for God is different than evidence that points towards causation outside of our known world."
      Evidence establishes a fact. If it, whatever "it" is, doesn't establish a fact, it isn't evidence.”
      =>If I understand you correctly you do acknowledge that we have evidence to establish the fact that we have supernatural causation outside of our 4 dimensional world we call “natural yes?

      “If there is evidence, it's "natural". If there isn't any evidence it's conjecture.”
      =>evidence for supernatural causation is falsifiable (existence of dark energy, expanding universe, and dimensions beyond the 4 natural) whereas spontaneous creation is not. How can you possibly say you lean towards a theory that has no evidence (spontaneous creation) over one with current evidence?

      July 2, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "If I understand you correctly you do acknowledge that we have evidence to establish the fact that we have supernatural causation outside of our 4 dimensional world we call “natural yes?"
      I don't see how you could possibly reach the conclusion that I think we have evidence of supernatural causation. We don't. All we have is speculation. For rational people, speculation doesn't mean we have evidence.

      You said, "evidence for supernatural causation is falsifiable (existence of dark energy, expanding universe, and dimensions beyond the 4 natural) whereas spontaneous creation is not. How can you possibly say you lean towards a theory that has no evidence (spontaneous creation) over one with current evidence?"
      Again, and as usual you claim observations to be evidence for your pet theory without establishing a causal relation between the two. Just because you would like dark energy, etc., to be evidence for supernatural causes, doesn't make them so.

      You, not I, claim spontaneous creation. You claim there to be a god that did it all, without establishing where that god came from. But any theory that doesn't invoke PFM is better than one that does.

      July 2, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • fred

      LinCA
      Ok, I am not a physicist or mathematician so I really do not know how they established the odds of fine tuning of Dark Energy (exact amount of force that produced a rapid enough expansion at the point of singularity to avoid gravitational collapse of our universe yet accelerate the expansion again resulting in our universe) to be 10 to the power of 97! That fine tuning discovery is what caused the 3 atheist astrophysicists I mentioned earlier to acknowledge supernatural force behind fine tuning. It also caused Hawking to adopt spontaneous creation (not me) as an alternative to God (or god) and or use multiverse as a fallback position. At this point in time we have proof of supernatural force and if we later discover a natural causation then we can all join your camp. You and Hawking can continue in faith that a natural causation will be found some day but until that time it is supernatural (by definition).
      I just came across a site by a Dr. Ross and if some day he is in your area I have been told he does excellent debates on university campus with those opposed to God. Not being a science type and biased by my faith it sounds very believable.
      http://www.reasons.org/about/our-creation-model-approach

      July 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      Again, fine tuning of our universe is merely a prerequisite for life to evolve. Had it been any different, we would not have been around to know about it. While I don't know how it came about, it doesn't in any way establish that there must have been a design behind it. It may simply have been the trillionth attempt, getting it just right. It may also be an intrinsic feature of all universes, or even have been designed that way. My point is that it doesn't prove anything.

      You said, "I just came across a site by a Dr. Ross and if some day he is in your area I have been told he does excellent debates on university campus with those opposed to God. Not being a science type and biased by my faith it sounds very believable.
      http://www.reasons.org/about/our-creation-model-approach
      "
      That site contains your typical christian creationist drivel. Even in their "foundational beliefs" are complete bullshit. They claim to believe that the bible is error free (belief 1), which in and of itself is utterly ridiculous, but also that it follows basic chronology (belief 2) and that it is merely a summary (belief 5). Beliefs 2 and 5 represent errors (and therefor invalidate belief 1) of misrepresentation and omission.

      Without a preconceived notion of a god creating the whole thing, you can't logically get there.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA
      “Without a preconceived notion of a god creating the whole thing, you can't logically get there”
      Ok, agreed.
      Given it is the answer and not the question which sets the limits on knowledge of what is natural vs. supernatural you have intentionally limited your understanding of our existence. This is why even biologists that have the tools to understand a simple cell cannot explain the origin of life. On this website I am often called a moron because I simply do not understand evolution sufficiently to understand “no god needed”. To the contrary I understand that biologists generally agree that evolution does not answer the question of the origin of life. In the hard sciences Hawkings M theory or multiverse theory cannot answer the question of the origin of life (this includes his reference to spontaneous creation).
      This is why even you ask then who made God. When you intentionally limit your understanding to the questions you can ask the answer beyond the natural cannot be understood. Your faith is very strong indeed and I hope my faith remains as strong because with faith we can move mountains (obstacles’ to our spiritual growth and understanding). Hebrews 11:3 gives a simple answer for Christians; “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”

      July 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      In reply to me saying, “Without a preconceived notion of a god creating the whole thing, you can't logically get there”, you said, "Ok, agreed."
      I may have to frame that one. I'm sure I'll quote you on it. Often.

      You said, "Given it is the answer and not the question which sets the limits on knowledge of what is natural vs. supernatural you have intentionally limited your understanding of our existence."
      Our understanding ends at the answers. Beyond the answers lies only speculation and conjecture.

      You said, "On this website I am often called a moron because I simply do not understand evolution sufficiently to understand “no god needed”."
      I don't think you're being called a moron because you don't fully understand evolution. I suspect it is because you insist on inserting your god into it without a shred of support in evidence for it.

      You seem to think that to reject your "theory" someone has to provide an ironclad alternative. That simply isn't the case. The god-theories fall flat all on their own because of the lack of evidence in support. While the theory of evolution shows, compellingly, how life the life forms as we know them got to be the way they are, it isn't a "theory of everything".

      You said, "To the contrary I understand that biologists generally agree that evolution does not answer the question of the origin of life."
      It doesn't. But just because it doesn't answer the question of the origin of life, doesn't mean that your particular theory is valid, or even rational.

      To give you an example, imagine a shoe box on a table. All you see is the box. You can walk around it and, based on your experience, estimate it's dimensions. On your experience you can also set an upper limit on the weight (it is, after all, help up by the table). Now, even without knowing what's in the box, you can say with almost absolute certainty, that the box will not contain certain things. It will, for instance, not contain a full size car. So, even though I don't know what's in the box, if you claim it contains your 1955 Corvette, I'll know it won't be the full size, road worthy version of it. If you insist it is, I'll ask for evidence.

      You said, "This is why even you ask then who made God. When you intentionally limit your understanding to the questions you can ask the answer beyond the natural cannot be understood."
      See above. You don't have understanding, all you have is speculation.

      You said, "Your faith is very strong indeed and I hope my faith remains as strong because with faith we can move mountains (obstacles’ to our spiritual growth and understanding)."
      Mine isn't faith, it's the absence of faith.

      July 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA
      I like your shoe box it reminds me of the ark which the Hebrews dragged about through the desert. In the ark was a jar of manna, the commandments, Aaron’s rod, and perhaps some key scrolls. This box had great power attributed to God and or the box. Your reason and logic demands evidence regarding the supernatural power of that box and being none you would say there is no God. Truth is it does not matter if the power was of God or of mans delusion of God at the time because the result we know would be same from where we stand today. This is the way of that which is not of the natural verifiable world. Our opinion and our thoughts do not work in that area often referred to as the things of God. We cannot deny the power of the box or the causality of that power nor can we hope to measure it.

      July 3, 2012 at 2:24 am |
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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.