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Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion
December 20th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The Christmas season is revealing a growing rift among American atheists when it comes to the question of how to deal with religion.

Some atheist activists are trying to seize the holidays as a time to build bridges with faith groups, while other active unbelievers increasingly see Christmas as a central front in the war on religious faith. With the dramatic growth of the nonreligious in the last few decades, more atheist leaders are emerging as spokespeople for atheism, but the Christmas rift speaks to growing disagreement over how atheists should treat religion.

On the religion-bashing side, there’s David Silverman, president of the group American Atheists, which raised one of its provocative trademark billboards in New York’s Times Square last week. “Keep the MERRY!” it says. “Dump the MYTH!”
The sign features a picture of a jolly Santa Clause and another of Jesus dying on the cross – a not-so-subtle attack on Christianity.

“Christianity stole Christmas in the first place and they don’t own the season, they don’t own the Christmas season,” Silverman said, pointing to pagan winter solstice celebrations that predated Jesus Christ. “When they say keep Christ in Christmas, they are actually saying put Christ back in Christmas.”

The New York billboard, which will be up until early January and is costing the group at least $25,000, is the latest in a long line of provocative American Atheists signs, which attacked then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s religion during this year’s presidential campaign.

It’s not the only way Silverman is using Christmas to attack Christianity. In a recent TV interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, he said the American Atheist office be open on Christmas Day and called for an end to Christmas as a federal holiday.

O’Reilly, in turn, called Silverman a fascist.

Despite Silverman’s knack for making headlines, however, other prominent atheists are putting a softer face on the movement, including during Christmastime.

“I just think the whole war on Christmas story is bizarre” said Greg Epstein, the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, who has emerged as another spokesman for the burgeoning atheist movement. “I think that any atheist or humanist that is participating in that story needs to find better things to do with their time.”

From his point of view, atheism and religion can happily coexist, including at the holidays.

At the chaplaincy, Epstein has reached out to local religious groups, packaging holiday meals and breaking bread with believers to discuss their similarities and differences.

Sponsored by the Humanist Community at Harvard, evangelical Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Zoroastrians, along with a number of atheists, were among those represented at a recent meal packaging event for hungry kids in the Boston area. Around 250 people participated and over $10,000 was raised – including donations from local Lutheran and Methodist churches.
Epstein calls this sort of inter-religious dialogue “healthy.”

“We as a community need to be about the positive and we have so much positive to offer,” he said. “I think that we really can provide a positive alternative to religious holidays that are not meaningful because of their religious content.”
Silverman, for his part, is more than comfortable being negative when it comes to religion.

“We should look at the results - people are listening to us because we are shouting,” he said. “They don’t hear you unless you shout. … Sometimes you have to put political correctness aside. We need to get louder. I believe we are seeing the fruits of that volume.”

As proof, American Atheists points to the way their donations skyrocket after every billboard campaign. “We get donations and memberships because we are taking the stand that we do,” said Silverman, who would not give specific numbers on fundraising. “The donations are flowing in right now. People are loving it specifically because of the billboard.”

Epstein would rather see more emphasis on volunteerism, though he acknowledges that some atheists are drawn to Silverman’s vocal model. Both men said they appeal to different parts of the atheist movement.

“We are GOP and Dem, man and women, black and white – the only thing that holds us together is atheism,” Silverman said. “A movement like ours needs all sides. It needs people who are working to be conciliatory and it needs people who are willing to raise their voices.”

Religious “nones” – a combination of atheists, agnostics and the religiously unaffiliated, have been growing their ranks in recent years. According to a Pew Research study released this year, the fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all as one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.

The survey found that the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans. According to the poll, 34% of “younger millennials” - those born between 1990 and 1994 - are religiously unaffiliated.

Though not monolithic, younger atheists, according to Jesse Galef, communications director of the Secular Student Alliance, are more prone to celebrate a secular version of Christmas than to ignore the holiday.

“I am very much in favor of celebrating the secular Christmas,” Galef said. “It is a celebration of the spirit of giving and I think religious divisiveness goes against that effort.”

Other atheists celebrate Festivus, a December 23 holiday meant for atheists looking to celebrate during the winter without participating in a Christian holiday. The holiday, which entered into popular culture through the television show “Seinfeld” in 1997, has gained popularity in recent years.

At the Secular Student Alliance office in Columbus, Ohio, the staff will play Secret Sagan, a nod to the famed scientist, instead of Secret Santa. And instead of Christmas decorations, they put up a Winter Solstice Tree with ornaments from the movie “When the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“We celebrate the holiday season, just not the religious holiday,” Galef said.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Christmas

soundoff (4,367 Responses)
  1. WASP

    you know what would be really funny?
    if the "god" all these christians, jews, mormons, etc etc etc was actually their "devil"
    think about it he has commited horrible actions against humans without remorse, refuses to name himself to us "simple creatures, threatens pain and suffering if not obeyed.
    to me that is evil, not good.
    i seriously think all christians have been tricked by their "devil" into believeing that he is "god".
    point of reference "god" stopped talking to man over 2000 years ago, lot of time for his polar opposite to sneak in and trick the hell out of all of you..............................just something to chew on.

    December 24, 2012 at 7:13 am |
  2. the AnViL

    the best proponents for the enemies of reason are literally uneducated, bumbling, stumbling, incoherent street evangelists.

    it's supremely funny watching these delusional types attempt to match wits with atheists and anti-theists who possess critical thinking skills, sound unbeatable logic – and superior understanding of biblical scribblings.

    how utterly humiliating it must be for them.

    ---

    tolerance of religious idiocy has to end – and it is.

    December 24, 2012 at 2:32 am |
  3. Moby Schtick

    What's the difference between something invisible and undetectable and something that does not exist?

    I claim that god is so invisible and beyond detection that it makes no difference whether or not he exists, but like the Loch Ness monster, it just saves a lot of time to say that he does not exist.

    December 24, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Ken

      Gods might exist, but so might a lot of other things like the Loch monster. They are a possibility or a speculation, but nothing more until the day when one actually shows up and the evidence confirms the rumour.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • Chester

      But do keep Pascal's Wager in mind, hey Kenny.

      December 24, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  4. Chad

    Excellent summary of the "atheism of the gaps" fallacy.

    When theists point out something that materialism (which Dawkins often mis-labels as "science") can't explain, the atheist often replies, "Ah, that's just a God-of-the-gaps argument – one day, science will explain that – and then your God will no longer be needed to explain it!"

    This is a circular argument. It as.sumes, in advance and without proof, that materialism is true and can somehow account for everything. It a.ssumes that the gaps can actually be closed.

    If materialism isn't true, then there will be things that materialism can't explain. "Gaps", if you like, in materialism's explanatory capabilities. The village atheist's error when he makes this cheap rejoinder, is in failing to distinguish between "gaps" which are of the "I don't understand X, and therefore X cannot be understood" type, and gaps which are of the "we understand X very well, and there is a demonstrable disconnect between X and the explanatory possibilities of the model we're discussing" type. The former do not necessarily prove anything; the latter are significant.

    Materialism cannot explain the origin of matter or of life or of the coded information in the genome. That's not just because we don't know how these things can happen. It's because all the scientific knowledge we have positively accu.mulated testifies that these things do not "just happen". The village atheist crowd are guilty of using "atheism-of-the-gaps" arguments when they say, as Dawkins in the above article, that "science is working on it". "Science" has been working on it, and the work done shows that materialism doesn't cut it as an explanation. The evidence points to intelligent intervention, a.k.a.supernaturalism. - David Anderson

    December 24, 2012 at 12:10 am |

    • ( David Anderson – missionary working with and accountable to the other members of Brotherhood Baptist Church, PO Box 9241, 30100 Eldoret, Kenya )

      December 24, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Reality

      think about the logic (or lack thereof).
      “I believe the Bible is inspired.” “Why?” “Because it says so.” Would anyone let that logic pass if it came from the followers of any other book
      or person? “I believe x is inspired because x says so.” Fill in the blanks:

      x=Pat Robertson
      x=the ayatollah Sistani
      x=David Koresh
      x=the Koran
      x= Chad

      more “logic”?

      “I believe there is One God Jehovah because He is revealed in the infallible
      Bible. I believe the Bible is infallible because it is the Word of the One God Jehovah.”

      December 24, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Another "pretty" argument from ignorance from Chad. How can anything point to something "supernatural" when something "supernatural" has never been demonstrated?

      Chad's arguments in a nutshell. William Lane Craigs Kalam fallacy followed by the "empty tomb" non sequitur.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:33 am |

    • Give an apologist a few minutes and they can come up with a new logic fallacy that meets the needs of whatever just popped into their silly little heads.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      There is no factual, independent, verifiable or object evidence to support supernaturalism. The lack of a scientific answer is not evidence for supernaturalism. Why is this so hard for believers to understand? Is this lack of logical thought further evidence of their mental illness, or are they lying to carry on the business of their cult?

      December 24, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Ken

      Chad
      It assumes that the gaps will likely be filled because so many gaps have been filled already. Every new discovery, every new thing learned, fills a gap that was once just a "God did it" hole in our knowledge. I doubt that we will learn the truth about everything, but I am confident that we will learn a lot more in the decades to come, and the growing trend is definitely away from any ancient understanding of the universe. Sorry, but that's just the way it is.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      "Gaps" = mystery (we don't know)

      I think that there will always be mystery, and the honest answer and the ONLY answer is "we don't know." That's what "mystery" means. To say "God did it," or "big invisible sky wizard with magic spellz" is complete lunacy.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • Ken

      And what is so wrong with admitting when you don't know the answer to something? I'll be the first to say that science doesn't know the answer to a lot of things ... yet, but it has already solved a great many mysteries and appears destined to solve a great many more. So, isn't it better to take the wise course, the mature course, and admit that we just don't know the actual answer to certain questions yet instead of just grabbing at ANY OLD speculation and calling that "the answer" when it hasn't been proven to be? Until God can be proven to be the answer to anything it isn't, it's just a speculation.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      As they teach in Sales 101, where there's mystery, there's margin. No reason to believe this does not apply to the business of religion.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • Chad

      There are areas that are still under investigation and deservedly so because that particular area shows past and future promise.

      There are areas such as turning lead to gold, where investigation has stopped, for a reason.

      "atheism of the gaps" is a fallacious attempt to ignore the reality that a particular avenue of investigation has come to an end, because the alternative is unacceptable the the anti-theist who presupposes God does not exist.

      December 24, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      Most of us atheists have already shown the ability to change our minds when presented with new and better information and evidence because most of us were indoctrinated into belief of a Christian god. You, however have already said no information would change you mind because our very existence to you "proves" a god and then you mentally contort yourself into explaining it is "your" god.....so don't even attempt to claim we are more close minded than you.

      December 24, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Streetapologetis

      Chad
      Get away from the keyboard ang go out in the street to do your trolling, you cheap hustler.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      The biggest issue you are ignoring is simple. Why the heck should I ever close an avenue of study and declare it a gap with no filler? The quest for knowledge shouldn't stop simply because it's tough and there's a gap that's hard to fill. Now, if we adhere to natural laws (which we all do) there are some courses of study that lead to uselessness, Alchemy for instance. It is impossible to turn lead into gold. However, if that were to ever happen, would you just say, "wow! Miracle! Thank you god!" or would you want to study the how and why?

      Chad, as.sumption that there is an answer to a question isn't bad, or wrong nor is it a fallacy, the fallacy comes when you look at a problem and not only assume there's an answer, but the answer is "god" without any evidence to back it up.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Really??

      Chuckles
      It IS possible to change lead from gold. We have done it. The problem is the method is costly and it doesn't yeild enough to make it cost effective.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  5. Chad

    It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning - Alexander Vilenkin (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

    December 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      1. The inner cosmology of the atomized realms. Are these realms not the first realms conceived in the grand schemes of cosmology?

      2. The outer cosmology of the celestial realms. Did not this realm become conceived only after the inner cosmological realm was nearing finalization a completion?

      3. The cellular cosmology of the living realms. Did this living realm of cosmological matter come about by sheer coincidence or was there a cosmological order for the living realms of cellular cosmology to become an ever evolving realm ending upon these celestial shores as being mankind?

      December 24, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • How William Lane Craig misrepresents Alexander Vilenkin, part 1

      Does the BGV Theorem really prove that the universe began to exist? And if it does, does it imply that universe requires an external cause? That's certainly what William Lane Craig, and many other theists, would have you believe. But I want to take a look at the original literature and see for myself.

      First, let's take a look at the paper generally cited by Craig, ent itled Inflationary Spacetimes are not Past-Complete. The abstract is as follows:

      Many inflating spacetimes are likely to violate the weak energy condition, a key assumption of singularity theorems. Here we offer a simple kinematical argument, requiring no energy condition, that a cosmological model which is inflating - or just expanding sufficiently fast - must be incomplete in null and timelike past directions. Specifically, we obtain a bound on the integral of the Hubble parameter over a past-directed timelike or null geodesic. Thus inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime.

      The key phrase here is the last sentence:

      Thus inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime.

      I'm going to lay the cards on the table: what the BGV Theorem is saying is not "the universe had a beginning", but that inflationary models cannot go infinitely into the past, and require physics other than inflationary models to describe the boundary condition. This paper is a direct response to physicists who attempt to use inflationary models to describe an eternal universe. In case that's not completely clear, the authors elaborate in the paper itself:

      What can lie beyond this boundary? Several possibilities have been discussed, one being that the boundary of the inflating region corresponds to the beginning of the Universe in a quantum nucleation event [12]. The boundary is then a closed spacelike hypersurface which can be determined from the appropriate instanton.

      Whatever the possibilities for the boundary, it is clear that unless the averaged expansion condition can somehow be avoided for all past-directed geodesics, inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the Universe, and some new physics is necessary in order to determine the correct conditions at the boundary [20]. This is the chief result of our paper.

      How has Craig made the leap from "inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the universe" to suggesting that the BGV Theorem has proved "the universe began to exist"? Even Borde, Guth and Vilenkin clearly suggest that a "beginning" is merely one possibility that might correspond to the boundary condition.

      In Many Worlds in One, Vilenkin talks a bit about a quantum tunneling model that consti tutes these "new physics". He compares and contrasts his approach with that of Stephen Hawking, known as the Hartle-Hawking No Boundary Proposal. There are many other options, and I believe Sean Carroll makes a valid point by stating:

      The definition of “singularity in the past” is not really the same as “had a beginning” — it means that some geodesics must eventually come to an end. (Others might not.) Most importantly, I don’t think that any result dealing with classical spacetimes can teach us anything definitive about the beginning of the universe. The moment of the Big Bang is, if anything is, a place where quantum gravity is supremely important. The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin results are simply not about quantum gravity.

      The point ought to be clear: the BGV Theorem does not say that the universe began to exist; it says that inflationary models are past-incomplete, and require new physics to describe the boundary condition.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      Why do you ignore what he also said on the very same page?

      "Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God … So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist."

      I always find it interesting (dishonest) when Christian apologists such as yourself refer to science only when it suits your argument but then reject it when it doesn't. You guys are professional quote minor's.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "Pay no attention to the second page. It completely destroys my point" – chad

      AHAHAHAHAHHA

      December 24, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Quite simply, Chad is a liar. He lies for his faith as if that makes it okay. One wonders why he is so afraid of simple truth.

      The Big Bang model simply "stops" working at a certain spot. We can't see any further back. (It's similar to how the light horizon limits our view of the universe).

      "Beyond our current model of physics" does not equate to "the universe had a beginning." Chad, you fvckwad liar.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Chad

      @Cheesemakers "Why do you ignore what he also said on the very same page?
      "Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, ....not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist."

      @Chad "Do you know what Vilenkin is talking about there?
      You really need to understand that to know why I am comfortable with his assertion that the BGV doesnt give any advantage to the theist.

      now, if you are just scanning the page looking for something to post, you wont understand that.

      Hint: Do a little research and find out what the "paradox" is that Vilenkin is referring to. Then you'll know why.

      December 24, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      I don't need to, because I don't care. I was pointing out your dishonesty and pointing out that you quote mine to find something that sounds like it supports your argument completely when it doesn't. The intelligent Design argument is built on that premise and you do it all the time to the point you are just a liar.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Chad

      "Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God … So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist." - Alexandre Vilenkin

      @Cheesemakers "I don't need to, because I don't care. I was pointing out your dishonesty and pointing out that you quote mine to find something that sounds like it supports your argument completely when it doesn't. The intelligent Design argument is built on that premise and you do it all the time to the point you are just a liar"

      @Chad "thank you for several things demonstrated in your response:
      1. You dont know, nor do you think you NEED to know, the reason that Vilenkin said the theory does not give much advantage to the theologian (namely the paradox he mentions)

      2. You dont care that you dont understand why he said it. Which is amazing, because with out understanding it, you have NO IDEA if it supports your claim or not (hint.. it doesnt).

      3. Despite that lack of understanding if what you are claiming supports your position or not, you accuse quote mining and lying. Now this is kind of amazing, and demonstrates your lack of intellectual honesty.

      Right?

      no other way to put it, right? Accusing someone of lying, when you have no clue if they are or they arent, and have admitted that you have no interest in understanding the reality..

      well :-)

      December 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I don't care what his theory said in the context of the point I was making. You have a long history on here of claiming a "first cause" proves god. You were using this quote to claim the universe had a beginning, which it doesn't prove. I don't know why you go around making all these dishonest arguments when your proof boils down to "well, we are here aren't we". Yes I accuse you of dishonestly quote mining, you posted that quote in an attempt to state simply that the universe had a beginning as if that is evidence of your position. It's not.

      December 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cheesemakers "I don't care what his theory said in the context of the point I was making."
      @Chad "the point you were making was that I was cherry picking his argument, demonstrated by providing a quote of his from a later page:

      "Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God … So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist."

      Now, how can you not care about what he was saying, when the entire point of your post was that what he was saying refuted my point?

      =======
      @Cheese "Yes I accuse you of dishonestly quote mining, you posted that quote in an attempt to state simply that the universe had a beginning as if that is evidence of your position."
      @Chad "You dont consider the universe having a beginning as supporting the theistic claim? :-)
      really?

      now, just imagine what demonstrating that the universe DIDNT have a beginning, would do to the theistic claim that it did :-)

      December 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Chad, the fvckwad liar

      1. We don't know whether or not the universe "had a beginning." There's simply a point beyond which we cannot observe. If our universe had a beginning for sure, it could very well be part of a larger structure. You're lying, again, and you're always a fvckwad.

      2. Science discovering that our universe did not have a beginning would do NOTHING to the theistic claim. After all, science has proved that the universe was not created in six days, not in the order put forth by the bible, not in any way as the bible claims, and bible believers get around that just fine. For the faithful, nothing trumps blind assertions.

      December 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Chad

      Moby:
      A. You need to seek therapy, you need it. The level of anger you express here is unhealthy to say the least.
      B. Our universe did have a beginning, see Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin's Past-Finite Universe theorem.
      C. You have not once that I can recall, ever cited any leading cosmologist supporting your "theory" on the beginning of the universe.
      D. It is not "lying" to state that our universe had a beginning. Do you accuse Alexandre Vilenkin of lying?
      pretty silly dont you think? Give it a rest.

      December 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Now, how can you not care about what he was saying, when the entire point of your post was that what he was saying refuted my point?"

      It is obvious that he was NOT claiming what you were implying he was claiming, was he? Yes or no? Was he making the SAME claim of the universe coming from absolute nothingness that you claim? Yes or no? If the answer is "no he was not making that claim" and yet you use it to justify your position your ARE dishonest.

      "You don't consider the universe having a beginning as supporting the theistic claim?"

      No, not in the least, you are STILL applying causation without foundation.

      And I don't think if it was ever proven the universe always existed it would change your belief one bit. You would just move on to the next gap and you have stated as much before.

      December 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Our universe did have a beginning, see Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin's Past-Finite Universe theorem."

      That is a theorem, that IS NOT proof. Einstein mathmatically showed black holes to be possible. He did not believe they necessarily existed and at one point thought the possibility was remote. They were not PROVEN until they were demonstrated.

      December 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • mama k

      I found this interesting. It is from: http://debunkingwlc.wordpress.com/

      [

      Whenever William Lane Craig is forced to retreat from his use of the Standard Big Bang model, he will often cite a paper by Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin:

      …three leading cosmologists, Arvin Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin, were able to prove that any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a past space-time boundary.

      -W.L Craig “Contemporary Cosmology and the Beginning of the Universe”

      The 2003 Borde-Guth-Vilenkin paper shows that “almost all” inflationary models of the universe (as opposed to Dr. Craig’s “any universe”) will reach a boundary in the past – meaning our universe probably doesn’t exist infinitely into the past.

      Dr. Craig seems to interpret this information as “the universe definitely began to exist” although that is a bit presumptuous. For example, this theorem doesn’t rule out Stephen Hawking’s no-boundary proposal which states that time may be finite without any real boundary (just like a sphere is finite in surface area while it has no “beginning”).

      Furthermore, the author of the Arizona Atheist blog asked Vilenkin if his theorem with Guth and Borde proves that the universe had a beginning, and Vilenkin responded:

      [I]f someone asks me whether or not the theorem I proved with Borde and Guth implies that the universe had a beginning, I would say that the short answer is “yes”. If you are willing to get into subtleties, then the answer is “No, but…” So, there are ways to get around having a beginning, but then you are forced to have something nearly as special as a beginning.

      However, Craig’s main problem is that a beginning of the universe can still be described in scientific terms. Nothing in the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin paper suggests a beginning from “absolute nothingness” (as Craig often claims). In fact, the opposite is true. The authors write,

      What can lie beyond the boundary? Several possibilities have been discussed, one being that the boundary of the inflating region corresponds to the beginning of the Universe in a quantum nucleation event.

      This “quantum nucleation event” refers to a paper Vilenkin wrote in 1982 which discusses the universe coming into being through quantum mechanics. Interestingly, many theists use Vilenkin’s paper as evidence that the universe came from “literally nothing” but Craig has already criticized this work.

      Oddly, I’ve been unable to find any article of Craig’s (scholarly or otherwise) which actually quotes from the 2003 Borde-Guth-Vilenkin paper. Instead he almost exclusively quotes a paragraph from Vilenkin’s 2006 book Many Worlds in One which discusses the 2003 paper:

      It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning (pg. 176).

      Now that’s a pretty straight forward quote which at least seems to favor Craig’s argument, but on the very same page Vilenkin writes,

      Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God … So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist.

      Vilenkin then concludes this statement by suggesting that cosmic origins could be described in “purely scientific terms” – a task which he attempts in the chapter which follows.

      ]

      December 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • mama k

      Even if was proven that the universe had a cosmic beginning, that alone still would not prove a deity unless the same data that proves the cosmic beginning also demonstrably happens to also prove a deity. Well, we know nothing so far has come forth that proves either one of these notions, so I have to wonder – why are you hanging on to these, Chad?

      December 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • mama k

      ( Even if it was proven . . . )

      December 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad where did you go? Why no response?

      December 25, 2012 at 2:06 am |

    • the Chad must be genuflecting (his mind) at this hour

      December 25, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Chad

      @Cheesemakers "It is obvious that he was NOT claiming what you were implying he was claiming, was he? Yes or no? Was he making the SAME claim of the universe coming from absolute nothingness that you claim? "
      @Chad "actually I guess you misunderstood what I explicitly said, namely that "The universe had a beginning, that is what BGV proves"

      it says nothing about what existed "before", it merely says that all of our universe came into being. That is what it explicitly says.

      right?

      December 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Chad, the imbicile

      Did you even read what Mama k wrote?! Do you even care about the truth? Wait, what am I saying? Of course you don't. All you care about is you, whether or not reality confirms what you already believe is irrelevant to you.

      1. We don't know whether or not the universe "had a beginning." There's simply a point beyond which we cannot observe. If our universe had a beginning for sure, it could very well be part of a larger structure. You're lying, again, and you're always a fvckwad.

      2. Science discovering that our universe did not have a beginning would do NOTHING to the theistic claim. After all, science has proved that the universe was not created in six days, not in the order put forth by the bible, not in any way as the bible claims, and bible believers get around that just fine. For the faithful, nothing trumps blind assertions.

      December 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "it says nothing about what existed "before"".

      YOUR argument is that there was NOTHING before and using this Theorem to support your argument is dishonest. Rain does not exist until it forms in the atmosphere, that does not mean the material is not already in existence. The same with the universe and yet you argue that at one time absolutely NOTHING existed....that is NOT the argument they were making and now you are back-peddling trying to get out of your quandry.

      December 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick “We don't know whether or not the universe "had a beginning." There's simply a point beyond which we cannot observe. If our universe had a beginning for sure, it could very well be part of a larger structure.”
      @Chad “look, it is very simple:
      1. you have yet to cite any cosmologist that supports your personal theory.
      2. I have cited numerous, BGV specifically states that our universe had a beginning. End of story. Take a deep breath and do some reading.

      ===========
      @Cheesemakers “YOUR argument is that there was NOTHING before and using this Theorem to support your argument is dishonest.”
      @Chad “no, if you’ll actually read what I post, you will notice that my claim is:
      1. our universe had a beginning, at that beginning, all of our universe, time and space and matter, came into existence. That is what the claim is, that is what BGV proves, that is fact.
      2. the BGV proof says nothing about the existence or nature of any super-natural entity that may have existed “prior” that may or may not have had causal relationship with our current universe. Examples of super-natural enties are the God of Israel, multi-verses, whatever you want to posit. The only requirement is that it MUST exist outside and independent of our current universe.
      3. get it? The fact that our universe had a beginning and it not infinite in the past supports the theistic claim that God created the universe. That’s why you guys hate it so much :-)

      Imagine how gleefully you would be crowing if it was proved that the universe had always existed :-)

      December 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Chad

      FWIW, I dont think either of you is lying, you just dont read posts before responding and you simply havent done any investigation on cosmology.

      December 26, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      The idea that our universe had a start point does in no way support theism. A multiverse is not super-natural. You certainly do claim that "something came from nothing", "first cause", both of which are unsupported. The theorem does not support this view and you know it. I asked you you whither it did support your first cause argument and you dodged the question, are you going to answer now? I don't hate that our universe came to be as we understand it at some point, I hate that you dishonestly argue that means "god did it".

      December 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cheesemakers "The idea that our universe had a start point does in no way support theism."
      @Chad "incorrect, prior to big bang atheists gleefully pointed to an eternal universe refuting theistic claims of a beginning"

      @Cheesemakers "A multiverse is not super-natural"
      @Chad "incorrect, see definition:
      supernatural Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.
      science studies our universe, a multi-verse exists outside our universe, it can not be tested it is therefor not scientific. It is therefor supernatural.

      Criticism of multi-verse as not scientific:
      For a start, how is the existence of the other universes to be tested? To be sure, all cosmologists accept that there are some regions of the universe that lie beyond the reach of our telescopes, but somewhere on the slippery slope between that and the idea that there are an infinite number of universes, credibility reaches a limit. As one slips down that slope, more and more must be accepted on faith, and less and less is open to scientific verification. Extreme multiverse explanations are therefore reminiscent of theological discussions. Indeed, invoking an infinity of unseen universes to explain the unusual features of the one we do see is just as ad hoc as invoking an unseen Creator. The multiverse theory may be dressed up in scientific language, but in essence it requires the same leap of faith.

      — Paul Davies, A Brief History of the Multiverse

      =====
      @Cheesemakers " You certainly do claim that "something came from nothing", "first cause", both of which are unsupported"
      @Chad "I argue that BGV proves our universe had a beginning.
      that is consistent with the theistic claim.

      Kalam (first cause) is an argument that I have not advanced here.
      -Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
      -The Universe began to exist.
      -Therefore, the Universe had a cause.

      so, please pay attention, this is the argument:
      - BGV proves our universe had a beginning, a point that it came into existence prior to which it did not exist.
      - using Kalam, it can be demonstrated that anything that had a beginning must have a causal agent.
      - that causal agent must be eternal and timeless, as there can not be an infinite regression of causes.

      December 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • mama k

      Yes, Chad. It is a ridiculous leap to assume the God if Israel is the answer, even if the universe had a finite beginning. It is still quite obvious, though, that the BVG theorem has been misused by Craig and others. Even on Craig's site, James Sinclair admits that the theorem does not specify nor intended to prove that that the universe had a beginning, but, that, in his opinion, he would concur with Vilenkin's later opinion that it probably did. That's hardly a proof for our universe, and it seems there were quite a number of caveats to this theorem – I don't see any of the people involved nor their contemporaries committing to the notion that the theorem proved the universe had a beginning.

      I also found this video helpful:

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrxW0-dTRSU&w=640&h=390]

      as well as this post by antybu86 in 2011:

      =============================

      As you might know, Craig now heavily relies on the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem to prove that the universe began at a singularity (and thus began to exist from "literally nothing"). Victor Stenger, in his new book The Fallacy of Fine Tuning talks about it in detail and even contacts other physicists:

      The conclusion that Borde and collaborators had proved that the universe had to have a beginning was disputed the same year by University of California-Santa Cruz physicist Anthony Aguirre and Cambridge astronomer Steven Gratton in a paper that Craig ignores. Being good scholars, Borde et al. refer to Aguirre and Gratton in their own paper.

      I contacted Aguirre and VIlenkin, the latter whom I have known professionally for many years. I greatly admire the work of each, which will be referred to often on these pages. I first asked Vilenkin if Craig's statement is accurate. Vilenkin replied:

      I would say this is basically correct, except the words "absolute beginning" do raise some red flags. The theorem says that if the universe is everywhere expanding (on average), then the histories of most particles cannot be extended to the infinite past. In other words, if we follow the trajectory of some particle to the past, we inevitably come to a point where the assumption of the theorem breaks down – that is, where the universe is no longer expanding. This is true for all particles, except perhaps a set of measure zero. In other words, there may be some (infinitely rare) particles whose histories are infinitely long.

      I sent this to Aguirre, who commented that the "infinitely rare" particles have worldlines [trajectories in space-time] that extend infinitely into "the past," and can prevent there being a "time" at which the universe is not expanding/inflating. The fact that they are infinitely rare does not make them unimportant, because they nonetheless thread an infinite physical volume.

      I then asked Vilenkin, "Does your theorem prove that the universe must have had a beginning?" He immediately replied.

      No. But it proves that the expansion of the universe must have had a beginning. You can evade the theorem by postulating that the universe was contracting prior to some time.

      Vilenkin further explained,

      For example, Anthony in his work with Gratton, and Carroll and Chen, proposed that the universe could be contracting before it started expanding. The boundary then corresponds to the moment (that Anthony referred to as t=0) between the contraction and expansion phases, when the universe was momentarily static. They postulated in addition that the arrow of time in the contracting part of space-time runs in the opposite way, so that entropy grows in both time directions from t=0.

      It goes on from there. Stenger gives comments from other physicists, Sean Carroll and more from Vilenkin and Aguirre (I don't want to write-out the entire thing), but I thought you might be interested.

      =======================

      December 26, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • mama k

      (better marking of text showing who said what)
      Bold: Victor Stenger
      Italic: Vilenkin
      =============================

      As you might know, Craig now heavily relies on the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem to prove that the universe began at a singularity (and thus began to exist from "literally nothing"). Victor Stenger, in his new book The Fallacy of Fine Tuning talks about it in detail and even contacts other physicists:

      The conclusion that Borde and collaborators had proved that the universe had to have a beginning was disputed the same year by University of California-Santa Cruz physicist Anthony Aguirre and Cambridge astronomer Steven Gratton in a paper that Craig ignores. Being good scholars, Borde et al. refer to Aguirre and Gratton in their own paper.

      I contacted Aguirre and VIlenkin, the latter whom I have known professionally for many years. I greatly admire the work of each, which will be referred to often on these pages. I first asked Vilenkin if Craig's statement is accurate. Vilenkin replied:

      I would say this is basically correct, except the words "absolute beginning" do raise some red flags. The theorem says that if the universe is everywhere expanding (on average), then the histories of most particles cannot be extended to the infinite past. In other words, if we follow the trajectory of some particle to the past, we inevitably come to a point where the assumption of the theorem breaks down – that is, where the universe is no longer expanding. This is true for all particles, except perhaps a set of measure zero. In other words, there may be some (infinitely rare) particles whose histories are infinitely long.

      I sent this to Aguirre, who commented that the "infinitely rare" particles have worldlines [trajectories in space-time] that extend infinitely into "the past," and can prevent there being a "time" at which the universe is not expanding/inflating. The fact that they are infinitely rare does not make them unimportant, because they nonetheless thread an infinite physical volume.

      I then asked Vilenkin, "Does your theorem prove that the universe must have had a beginning?" He immediately replied.

      No. But it proves that the expansion of the universe must have had a beginning. You can evade the theorem by postulating that the universe was contracting prior to some time.

      Vilenkin further explained,

      For example, Anthony in his work with Gratton, and Carroll and Chen, proposed that the universe could be contracting before it started expanding. The boundary then corresponds to the moment (that Anthony referred to as t=0) between the contraction and expansion phases, when the universe was momentarily static. They postulated in addition that the arrow of time in the contracting part of space-time runs in the opposite way, so that entropy grows in both time directions from t=0.

      It goes on from there. Stenger gives comments from other physicists, Sean Carroll and more from Vilenkin and Aguirre (I don't want to write-out the entire thing), but I thought you might be interested.

      =======================

      December 26, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "incorrect, prior to big bang atheists gleefully pointed to an eternal universe refuting theistic claims of a beginning"

      So what? That does not make the opposite therefore true. You still have to be able to demonstrat your claim before it should be accepted as true, Refer to my post on Einstein and Black Holes earlier in this thread.

      "supernatural Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.
      science studies our universe, a multi-verse exists outside our universe, it can not be tested it is therefor not scientific. It is therefor supernatural."

      A multiverse, should it be true, would NOT be beyond the laws of nature, only our UNDERSTANDING of the laws of nature...that is not the same thing and NOT supernatural, whether it can be tested or not makes no difference as to it being supernatural.

      - BGV proves our universe had a beginning, a point that it came into existence prior to which it did not exist.

      It does not prove that ithe universe CAME from absolute nothing, which would be a minimum requiement for theism to be true..

      -using Kalam, it can be demonstrated that anything that had a beginning must have a causal agent.

      Once again, that does not demonstrat theism, a causel agent does not have to come frome an intelligence

      - that causal agent must be eternal and timeless, as there can not be an infinite regression of causes.

      The crux of the fallacy. Why couldn't there be infinite regression as a possibility or a first cause that had nothing to do with an intelligence. That is something you keep saying but do not support.

      December 26, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cheese:
      1. it isnt my claim, its the BGV theorum
      2. Multi-verse is supernatural (external to our universe), you dont understand what the term means..
      3. laws of nature apply only to our universe.
      4. it is not a requirement of theism that our universe "came from nothing", indeed God existed prior to the universe having it's beginning, so there was at a minimum Him in existence. It IS a requirement that it began, and that none of that which began, existed prior to that beginning (that it was an act of creation), which BGV proves.
      5. there can be no infinite regression of causes, this is well established. The infinite doesnt exist in nature.

      December 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      1. When I say 'support your claim" I am refering to the claim that "because the universe had a beginning, the cause was god". You don't support THAT claim.

      2. I do understand what the term means. Are you therefore claiming anything beyond our scientific understanding is therefore automatically supernatural? I hope not because that isn't true. If a mutiverse is true than it is therefore a PART of nature and the laws of nature and NOT supernatural.

      3. You are making a claim you have no support for, the laws may be different in another universe but that would not make the unnatural or supernatural.

      4. Theism would require that there would be nothing prior to your god existing, if material always existed your god could not have made it and your god would not therefore be necessary, a precondition for Kalam.

      5. Having not observed infinity is not the samething thing as saying it is not or could not be true. It is at this point unknown..

      December 26, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cheesemakers "When I say 'support your claim" I am refering to the claim that "because the universe had a beginning, the cause was god". You don't support THAT claim."
      @Chad "uh.. that's because I dont make that claim.
      The claim is this:
      1. the universe had a beginning
      2..everything that began must have a cause
      3. that cause must be external to our universe.

      I further state that this supports the theistic claim that the universe had a beginning. Think how the atheists would crow if it were proven that the universe had always existed!
      but, it wasnt always here, it had a beginning.

      =========
      @Cheese "I do understand what the term means. Are you therefore claiming anything beyond our scientific understanding is therefore automatically supernatural? I hope not because that isn't true. If a mutiverse is true than it is therefore a PART of nature and the laws of nature and NOT supernatural."
      @Chad "you need to do some reading, because you dont understand either:
      first: on what "supernatural" is.
      second: on what the multi-verse claim is.

      ========
      @Cheese "Theism would require that there would be nothing prior to your god existing, if material always existed your god could not have made it and your god would not therefore be necessary, a precondition for Kalam."
      @Chad "The matter of our universe didnt always exist, our universe had a beginning.
      You seem to be having a HUGE amount of difficulty understanding that.

      ======
      @Cheese "Having not observed infinity is not the samething thing as saying it is not or could not be true. It is at this point unknown.."
      @Chad "no..
      do some reading.. actually infinities dont exist in the natural world.

      December 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  6. Salero21

    Like the Idolaters of old, the fuzzyheaded atheists now believe the Universe has existed forever. Ascribing in the process divine attributes to the Universe. Like brutes the atheists is saying that the material Universe being Eternal is a god. Just like the Idolaters of old who worshipped the sun and the moon as gods. Are these atheists dense or what?

    December 23, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Observer

      Speaking of dense, it's not atheists who believe in talking serpents and unicorns or that the ratio pi is equal to 3.0.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • === o ===

      Slobero: "the fuzzyheaded atheists now believe the Universe has existed forever."

      Wrong. Guess who's dense now? Perhaps the person who thinks they know something about atheism. Most atheists don't make claims about things that are not yet known. That is a theist specialty.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "Like the Idolaters of old, the fuzzyheaded atheists now believe the Universe has existed forever. Ascribing in the process divine attributes to the Universe"

      Well if the natural universe did exist forever, then it wouldnt be devine, because it would be natural. So that pretty throws out that theory. NEXT

      December 23, 2012 at 11:07 pm |

    • Salero21 is a special needs disciple of a special needs God. Let him mumble to himself. There's really no help for him, poor guy.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Salero can't seem to comprehend that it is possible for a person to consider options and not actually claim the possibility is a fact. He is a dishonest religious asshat.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • My goodness but you're stupid

      " atheists now believe the Universe has existed forever."
      You just don't get it, ATHEISTS DON'T BELIEVE. That's the whole point of atheism

      December 23, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Indeed, I am fuzzyheaded, but I have no idea if the universe is part of some eternal process or not. The god of the bible is too stupid to be believed in, though, and not even consistent enough from chapter to chapter and book to book to be considered as a reliable character worthy of the question "Does he exist?" In order to even ask the question, "Does this character exist," you have to present a character that's internally consistent--something god believers never can seem to do-–and especially not the folks who "believe" in the god of the bible by ignoring whole descriptions and aspects of his nature that are contradictory and mind-numbingly stupid.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Many folks who believe in an afterlife need their roots for believing planted somewhere. Since atheists have no afterlife roots to plant, they dare dig up others planted roots but for what goodness is such ilk? Whose roots that are firmly planted will never be uprooted! I have found the kingdom of God's domains and cannot be uprooted by the sheering stocks of many lack-lustered people wanting to make shameful derogatory blemishes upon their own heart's displeasures! God in Godly ways, does take in all strays!

      December 23, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      salero: i see you are still talking trash like a mouthy little b1tch. jesus is waiting. show some ballz go meet him

      December 24, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  7. kd5fcj

    I don't mind atheists or atheism. I'm a christian, myself, only I no longer go to any particular church. I, myself, feel that God exists because out of chaos there is life and out of life there is beauty. Witness the sunrise and sunset, a plant flowering, a newborn child and the innocence and beauty ofyoung life.
    Yes, the Catholic Church shanghied the Yule season as a way to interest the Pagans, but the listened to those people, and learned things from them. Christmas and Easter are tied together, and is summed in John 3:16. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
    I believe that we can co-exist in our beliefs. I do believe that "in our face" prostheletizing about how wrong we are in our faith is nothing more than basic bullying. God bless us everyone.

    December 23, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Athy

      A pretty sunset or flower is no proof for god.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Ken

      Athy
      If they are, then so is the hurricane and disease, assuming that God is expressed in all of nature and not just in the pretty parts.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:17 am |
  8. Salero21

    So fuzzyheaded atheists are now talking about gods or many gods! Well then, an atheist may well be an idolater ashamed of his many gods after all. From some sort of ape like creature, to a chemical cosmic soup, to an earthworm like critter, or a primitive cell, and now finally to what I've always thought they really were; Ashamed idolaters. Their gods/idols, fail them time and again because they were not gods at all but a delusion of their feeble minds. They waited on their gods like they waited on Satan Claus and their god/idol did not show up. Now like rabid baboons they mock, scorn and spill venom like children of the Serpent.

    December 23, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Did someone squeeze your head?

      December 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm |

    • Do I get a special tattoo for being a child of the Serpent?

      December 23, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I'd recommend jist leaving be the comments that are clearly from mentally ill people. If you aren't sure you recognize them there are sample's online.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • === o ===

      OK – Saraswati – this answers the question I posed to you below.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • === = ===

      Ooops. I almost forgot that I don't want to make direct eye contact, either.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      This guy doesnt know that there are thousands of gods atheists dont beleive in.

      This guy also doesnt know that there are thousands of gods that HE doesnt beleive in.

      Its like arguing with a 2 year old. LOL

      December 23, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @BS, Read my post above. Then read it again. Then stop and think before you post anything. Do you get it now? Seriously, did you kick the Down Syndrome kids in gym class so they'd run faster or did you just not know what was up and think you were an olympian because you could outrun them?

      December 23, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "I'd recommend jist leaving be the comments that are clearly from mentally ill people. If you aren't sure you recognize them there are sample's online."

      Thats the only thing you wrote above. Im not sure why you wanted me to read it again.

      And you are comparing religius people to the mentally handicapped, and im the jerk? Oh please, tell me more!

      LOL. You're also ducking my question about what ive said that is inaccurate!

      December 23, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I think the vast majority of religious pele are not mentally ill. The important point is being able to tell those who are from those who aren't, just as with non religious folk.

      To your other point, I think you're referring to a separate conversation. I don't mix topics between threads if it can be helped. I have answered you in the pther thread.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Saraswati,

      I respect you and your opinion but people get what they give on here. I will give respect to those that deserve it but I have no problem calling out those that don't deserve respect.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "I think the vast majority of religious pele are not mentally ill. The important point is being able to tell those who are from those who aren't, just as with non religious folk."

      And how do you tell which ones are on the internet? Please share so I can know too.

      "To your other point, I think you're referring to a separate conversation. I don't mix topics between threads if it can be helped. I have answered you in the pther thread."
      Nice!!!!!!! Ive only asked you one question and you refuse to answer it because you cant, so you make an excuse that it is from a different conversation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      December 23, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • My goodness but you're stupid

      "atheist may well be an idolater ashamed of his many gods"
      You just don't get it, atheism is all about NOT BELIEVEING IN ANY GODS.
      If your god existed he would be so ashamed of you.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @BS, I think you are confused as to how online discussions work. You were addressing an issue raised in our other conversation. This isn't just a private conversation between 2 people. Others read what we are saying and may contribute, so mixing topics from multiple conversations is confusing. I will revisit that other thread though I believe I answered you.

      As for recognizing mental illness that's something you gain from experience and, yes, it can be conspi'cuos online. Jared Loughner's writing offers a classic example for comparison and you can find lots of analyses that break it down.

      @Cheese, I was only commmenting in that first reply in case you hadn't picked up on the signs.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      So there are many ways, but you wont name them? You are still making invalid points.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Saraswati,

      I agree it is better to not respond to those types...there are regular posters I do not respond to. In Salero's case I just think he is a jackhole and not mental, but I could change my mind.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Cheese, I disagree , but good luck.

      @BS, You are using the term invalid incorrectly.

      December 24, 2012 at 6:25 am |
  9. ReligionIsBS

    That moment when you know yu're talking to an idiot.

    "I asked you if you beleive in god, not any brand of god."

    As if there anent thousands of brands of gods. I litterally have a book on my shelf thats called "Encyclopedia of gods, over 2,500 dieties of the world."

    December 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  10. ReligionIsBS

    Ive answered every question mutual respect has asked, yet he has refused to answe any of mine. Hmmmmm, I wonder which one of us is wrong?

    December 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      God is mutable even to theists. Mutual will leave for a bit in order to adjust God and return with arguments that he hopes will support it. It's fun to watch evolution at work.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Observer

      Believers love to preach, but not so often to practice. (See the Golden Rule). It's normal for them to try to tell you how to run your life, but be afraid to answer questions about what they said.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Exactly!

      "Do what I say!"

      why?

      "No Questions!"

      Gee, I wonder where they get that from?

      December 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  11. Observer

    Even if it could ever be proved that there was an intelligent design to the universe, that does NOT NECESSARILY PROVE (as usual) that God exists. The universe could have been created by Zeus or Moe, Larry and Curley before they came to earth or a committee of zombies.

    December 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Ssssssshhhhhhhh. Theists dont know this yet. They think creator means jesus. Not any of the other 3000 gods that have been invented by man.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • mutual respect

      Whatever caused the universe, existed before the universe. Since the universe had a beginning in time, and since matter and energy do not spontaneously change and arrange themselves into something new, then the best explanation for the cause of the universe is an action that was a decision.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • === o ===

      mutual: "and since matter and energy do not spontaneously change and arrange themselves into something new"

      Just what I warned you about. You're trying to apply/limit/rationalize apparent laws of the current universe in a part of space and time that we don't know about. Too many assumptions.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Mutual,

      You keep claiming the universe had a beginning and when it is pointed out to you that you are missing the possibility that the universe ALWAYS existed, you ignore the point, and then later, in another post keep repeating the same fallacy that the universe had a beginning as if that is a FACT. I can respect you as a person but I am losing respect for your argument and your dishonest way of omitting that your point has been refuted mutiple times.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      The cellular cosmologies within living realms of atomic matters are from the treasuries inside the atomized realities of inner cosmologies relevancies as are likewise the celestial cosmologies of all outer space realms. Our celestial realm we view as being a singular universe is but one of many within a solitary cosmos of unknowable amounts of cosmos plural.

      The gods dare not reside with our relative humanities physicality but lives deeply inside all mannerisms of celestial life upon the cellular atomized realms of all living varieties of all celestial life found anywhere upon our unknowable perspectives of terra firma planets found anywhere feasible within all the vast reaches of outer space.

      The time differentials regarding the atomized realms and the celestial realms is though up for debates. Living upon an atomized cloister, ones time goes by more swiftly then our living out life in timeliness fashion does dare ensue. A thousand years goes by for those beings living upon the atomized realms where only a day goes by upon our celestial realms. Such beings living upon the atomized realms may well live a half million years their time but only a year our time.

      They may well perceive themselves being immortal, yet when our physical body dies, such finite beings of extreme atomized sizes will need to find safe harborage before their residential homes, (our bodies) are cremated turning to ashes their long lived homes. According to some of the gospels verses is my basis for these thoughts. The rest of the gospels is mere historical conjectures meant to confuse ones emotionalisms leaving many feeling awe and wonderments with little to no mental foundations to formulate wisdoms of right minded faith.

      The gods and goddesses may well live billions of years their time but only a generation our time. They will either die due our body no longer consuming food for their needs when we die or they will more likely move to another celestial life of our still living generations.

      Am I truly deluded for having such views that I take seriously? Who else among us has a clearer view of rational cosmological sanctions then the words I have so written these past few months here?

      December 23, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • psyche ward staff

      Uh oh – someone threw up their word salad again. Clean up on page 30!

      December 23, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      LOL! You cant pretend to know what your talking about by saying cosmologies three times inone sentence. And you surely cant explain cosmologies by stating that cosmologies are cosmologies!!!!!!! Please keep posting that nonsene, it only helps the atheists argument.

      "Cosmologies are cosmologies of cosmologies" LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      December 23, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Per Wikipedia

      Cosmologies – religious cosmoligies (or mythical cosmology) is........

      AHAHAHAHHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      December 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      THE THREE COSMOLOGIES OF TRIUNE MANIFESTATION

      1. The inner cosmology of the atomized realms. Are these realms not the first realms conceived in the grand schemes of cosmology?

      2. The outer cosmology of the celestial realms. Did not this realm become conceived only after the inner cosmological realm near finalization was made nearing a completion?

      3. The cellular cosmology of the living realms. Did this living realm of cosmological matter come about by sheer coincidence or was there a cosmological order for the living realms of cellular cosmology to become an ever evolving realm ending upon these celestial shores as being mankind?

      December 23, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      How does any of that prove Jesus?

      Cosmologies.......therefore GOD!

      LOL

      December 23, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Athy

      What about the cosmoligism of the cosmologist? Is the cosmos unrevealed to the cosmic cosmoligist's cosmo cosmic cosmospasm? Is cosmospam any less cosmic than cosmospasm? Is cosmolocosm to be totally cosmoscluded because it's cosmictulated? Isn't cosmapulated bullshit less than cosmaticism? You're simply not cosmocastulating to the cosmo limit of cosmaticulationisticism. Cosmosticate this and you may cosmate. Merry cosmotink.

      December 25, 2012 at 4:58 am |
  12. felix navidad

    What is the difference between an atheist and a rotting bag of manure?

    December 23, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Akira

      Are you going to put this on every page, thinking it's clever?

      December 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Observer

      felix navidad,

      Asking that question only demonstrates your level of intelligence. Sad.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • felix navidad

      It is. You are not. The only difference is that the manure has a use.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • === o ===

      The difference is, most manure is found in the Bible belt, and most atheists are elsewhere.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Felix,
      Atheists dont have a use? You mean other than making you look brain dead on internet forums? LOL

      Did you really think that joke was going to prove your god exists? Keep trying.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • felix navidad

      Nothing convinces a fool to turn from its folly. Best to accurately depict an atheist as useless in the event an innocent happens by.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      If all the atheists left the USA, it would lose 93% of the National Academy of Sciences but less than 1% of the prison population. So that pretty much makes you an idiot. Thanks for playing!

      December 23, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      And I think you meant to say incident. Apparently you dont find being able to express your opinions correctly as usefull. Atheists do.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Your religion and a rotting bag of manure have a lot in common.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Wow, between manure guy here and the simpleton using the ID ReligionisBS I guess we know there are idiot extremists out on both sides tonight.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      saraswati,

      Simpleton? LOL. Way to add so much to this conversation! Please explain.

      You know you dont want any. Ill just assume you leave without posing anything more.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @ReligionisBS, i guess if you're simple enough to think "ReligionisBS" ads meaningful content, is respectful of builds any kind of bridges for discourse you're simple enough to assume a lot of things you know nothing about

      December 23, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Oh, so you dont have anything to offer in terms of the conversation, you just want to comment about my tag name? Ok. God is real everyone, because my name is offensive to someone that doesnt have an opinion on the article!

      December 23, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "to assume a lot of things you know nothing about.".....said the person making an assumption about someone they dont know. Or what they know. Or where they studied religion.

      LOL

      You didnt honelty just write that, did you?

      December 23, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • The theists are running out of ammunition

      Childish insults? This is the best you can do to champion your god? It's a good thing your god doesn't exist because he would be terribly embarrassed by you

      December 23, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @BS, I've already made several comments on this article. I don't believe in god. I do believe people like you are dangerous fools and need to know that most of us you think are on your side wish you'd keep quiet until you know what you"re talking about.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "@BS, I've already made several comments on this article. I don't believe in god. I do believe people like you are dangerous fools and need to know that most of us you think are on your side wish you'd keep quiet until you know what you"re talking about"

      What did I say that was incorrect? Please dont be a coward and ignore. Tell me what I said incorrect.

      Also, I dumped my religion after I researched what i thought I beleived in. And the reason I researched it was because mean atheists were challenging me on the internet, in a forum like this. This is also the reason that many atheists I know are the way they are. So your point is invalid.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @BS, a fundamentalist atheist is no better than a fundamentalist Christian. You know what, I've done it both ways, and I've persuaded people both ways. But the quality of who you persuade and what level of thought you persuade them to is radically different depending on technique. The fact thatnyou were persuaded by agressive and obnoxious tactics does not make my point invalid unless a) those tactics do in fact win more people over than they drive away, b) the tactics win more than the alternate tactics and c) you are correct in believing that you are accuratly replicating the tactics that worked on you.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "The fact thatnyou were persuaded by agressive and obnoxious tactics does not make my point invalid unless a) those tactics do in fact win more people over than they drive away, b) the tactics win more than the alternate tactics and c) you are correct in believing that you are accuratly replicating the tactics that worked on you."

      Hey, welcome to the conversation! I agree with all of those. However, you are the one that came on here and told me I was doing it wrong. So if you want to be logical, ask yourself the same questions. Is your way more effective? Do you have proof it is? If you have proof, can I see it? If not, then why are you telling me im doing it wrong? How would you possible know?

      Also,you're still ducking my question on my misinformation.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      So let me recap

      I was doing something. You said I was doing it wrong. Then you asked me to provide you with an explanation of why what I was doing was right? Even though you were the one claiming I was doing it wrong?

      AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      December 23, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "a fundamentalist atheist is no better than a fundamentalist Christian."

      Saraswati,

      I very much disagree with this statement. A fundemental atheist (I am not even sure what that is) does not kill people because they feel atheism has been disrespected. There are atheists that think religion should be outlawed and I will fight against those idiots as much as any theist that wants their religious beliefs legislated for.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Modes of behavior should be outlawed, not modes of thought. If your philosophy is that it would be better if everyone were killed in a horrible death, but yet you never act detrimentally towards others, then there's nothing to outlaw.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Cheese, I agee that there are some dangerou elements to some religions out there, but most do not execute on the grounds you cite...the god belief must be moxed with a lot of other beliefs to reach the point of justiifying murder. Likewise with atheism, many countries have seen wifespread murser and revolution driven by atheist belief. In each case it comes in many forms.

      when imrefer to fundamentalist atheism I mean those who are sure they are right about the non-existence of gods, are naive materialists, and insist on toeing the line with regard to the terminology and arguments of the "leaders" of the movement.

      December 24, 2012 at 6:58 am |
    • Jim

      i would say the manure smells better just for kicks

      December 24, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Ken

      Saraswati
      Are you "sure" about the nonexistence of other gods, or do you think that Thor, Zeus, Isis and the rest could have been real once upon a time, or could be sharing power with God right now? I'm willing to stay on the weak atheist position that all of these gods, goddesses and God himself could have been, or are currently real. How about you?

      December 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  13. ReligionIsBS

    mutual respect, full of statements and lies, empty on explanations.

    December 23, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • mutual respect

      Do you lack in belief of God? Help me understand YOUR belief in and/or against God.

      Regarding existence... how do you account for your existence? or that of the universe?

      December 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "Do you lack in belief of God? Help me understand YOUR belief in and/or against God." Yes, I lack a beleif in god. If this is so hard to understand, please use this as an example. You kow how you dont beleive in Mithra, Vishnu and ALL of the hindu gods? Its exactly like that for me, but throw in christianity too.

      "Regarding existence... how do you account for your existence? or that of the universe?" I dont know and I dont pretend to. Why do you think I am supposed to have all the answers. But if you are actually interested in knowing about the existence of the universe, you should look into signing up for some science classes at your local comminity college. You would be amazed at all of the information and facts that they have on the origins of the universe and how those facts help support there theories

      December 23, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      There is a continuum of things we lack belief in and a comfortably finite number of things we do believe in. Why include something as fanciful as God?

      December 23, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Do you ever feel embarresed that I always answer your questions and you never answer mine?

      Sorry, that was a question, you probably wont answer.

      Still laughing at your copy and paste job that included the words "as the video shows." Im guessing youtube.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • mutual respect

      I asked you about God. Not a brand of God.

      So do you lack an intellectual position?

      December 23, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "Yes, I lack a beleif in god."

      The absolute first thing I wrote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

      December 23, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • mutual respect

      Whatever caused the universe... existed before the universe. Since the universe had a beginning in time and since matter and energy do not spontaneously change and arrange themselves into something new, then the best explanation for the cause of the universe is an action that was a decision.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "I asked you about God. Not a brand of God."

      WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE ANYWAY?

      Are you denying that other gods were offered as options beforfe yours was mentioned? If you are a christian, YOU BELEIVE IN A BRAND OF GOD. You probably have no idea what im talking about so Ill explain it for you. Your brand of gods name us Yahweh.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      When it comes to the origin of the universe, I'll take the likes of Krauss, Hawking and Dawkins over The Babble, desert dwelling goat herders, Pope-a-Dope, or modern day delusional (mentally ill) believers every time.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      You are begging, mutual. Begging that someone will agree that the Universe has a beginning such that it requires a cause, and further that the cause is a humaniform intelligence that wants to have a personal relationship with us. No one needs to accept any of the premises that you imagine lead unavoidably to the conclusion that your God exists.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "Whatever caused the universe... existed before the universe." prove it. For someone who doesnt even beleive in science, thats an awefully big scientific claim. How do you know something existed before the universe? You are going to say that the universe cant create itself, then you are going to claim that god can create himself, which makes absolutely no sense. Also, how can anything exist before the universe, if before is a measurement of time and time cant exist without a universe. Thats like asking what is north of the north pole.

      Stop embarressing yourself dude. Go look at the last few pages of this blog and ask yourself if you're helping your position.

      Since the universe had a beginning in time and since matter and energy do not spontaneously change and arrange themselves into something new, then the best explanation for the cause of the universe is an action that was a decision.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • === o ===

      mutual: "and since matter and energy do not spontaneously change and arrange themselves into something new"

      Just what I warned you about. You're trying to apply/limit/rationalize apparent laws of the current universe in a part of space and time that we don't know about. Too many assumptions.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Since the universe had a beginning in time and since matter and energy do not spontaneously change and arrange themselves into something new (Yes they do! Did you not go to school?), then the best explanation for the cause of the universe is an action that was a decision ("I dont know, therefore god").

      December 23, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Ken

      mutual respect
      "Whatever caused the universe... existed before the universe."

      Then, whatever created the thing that created the universe must have existed before it did, and whatever created that must have existed before ... and so on, and so on into infinity.

      I know, the old "special pleading for God" defence, but is there any reason to just assume that this was the case? With this, you're asking people to believe in magic, right?

      December 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  14. ReligionIsBS

    He disappeared. Thats weird!

    December 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • mutual respect

      1.) The word atheism comes from the negative a which means ‘no,’ and theos which means ‘god.’ Hence, atheism in the most basic terms means ‘no god.’ Basically, atheism is the lack of belief in a god, and/or the belief that there is no god. By contrast, theism is the belief that there is a God, that he is knowable, and that he is involved in the world. Most atheists do not consider themselves anti-theists, but simply non-theists.
      I've encountered many atheists who claim that atheism is not a belief system, while others say it is. Since there is no official atheist organization, nailing down which description of atheism to use can be difficult. Nevertheless, the following are some definitions offered by atheists. Whichever definition you accept, atheism denies God.
      • "An atheist is someone who believes and/or knows there is no god."
      • "An atheist lacks belief in a god."
      • "An atheist exercises no faith in the concept of god at all."
      • "An atheist is someone who is free from religious oppression and bigotry."
      • "An atheist is someone who is a free-thinker, free from religion and its ideas."
      2.) Okay, so we exist. That's obvious. And though atheists like to tout the evolutionary flag, evolution isn't the issue here… Instead, we need to go way back and ask, where did the universe come from? You see, whatever has come into existence was caused to come into existence by something else. The universe came into existence. So, what caused it to come into existence?

      When answering this question, there are only two possibilities to account for the cause of the universe: an impersonal cause and a personal cause. This is an antonymic pair that exhausts all possibilities. It is either one or the other. There is no third option. Let’s first look at the atheist option to explain the universe, an impersonal cause.

      If the atheist were to say that the universe brought itself into existence, then that would be illogical since something that does not exist has no nature and with no nature, there are no attributes, and with no attributes, actions can’t be performed such as bringing itself into existence. So, that doesn’t work.

      If the atheist said the universe has always existed, that doesn’t work either because that would mean the universe was infinitely old. If it is infinitely old then why hasn’t it run out of useable energy by now as the 2nd law of thermodynamics would state. Also, in order to get to the present in an infinitely old universe, an infinite amount of time would have to be crossed. But, it is impossible to cross an infinite amount of time to get to now. These problems would also mean that there could not be an infinite amount of past cycles of the universe where it expands and contracts forever. So, those explanations can’t work.

      If the atheist says that matter and/or energy have somehow eternally existed before the universe, just in different forms, then the same issue of crossing an infinite amount of time to get to now would negate that idea. But, this explanation would pose yet another problem. If the necessary conditions for the cause of the universe have always existed within the pre-existent matter and energy, then the effect of the universe being formed is a necessary result of that matter and energy, and the universe would have been formed an infinitely long time ago. But this can’t work since it would mean the universe would have already run out of useable energy by now (entropy problem again), not to mention the perpetual problem of crossing an infinite amount of time to get to now. So, that explanation doesn’t work either.

      Okay, so the universe, which is comprised of matter and energy, cannot be infinitely old, in its present form or any other form. So, how did it, and ultimately we get here? Atheism can’t help us here. So, let’s turn our attention to the other option: a personal cause. If there is a personal influence, which means a personal being that acted upon the universe, then we have an explanation for the cause of the universe. Let me explain.

      A rock doesn't suddenly change from being a rock into say an axe head unless acted upon by something else. For matter and energy to change and form something new, they must be acted upon from the outside. So we must ask what acted upon matter and energy and caused the universe to exist?

      Whatever caused the universe, existed before the universe. Since the universe had a beginning in time, and since matter and energy do not spontaneously change and arrange themselves into something new, then the best explanation for the cause of the universe is an action that was a decision.

      In other words, a decision to act at a specific time in the past is the best explanation of the existence of the universe. Of course, we Christians would say this decision was made by a personal being who we call God.

      You see? The atheists have nothing to offer us with the important issue of explaining how we got here. Atheism can’t answer one of the most important philosophical questions pertaining to our own existence. It is deficient and lacking and at best can offer us only ignorance and guesses.

      Okay, finally, even though it isn’t necessary in this video, I’ll deal with one of the standard objections atheists have when this topic comes up. What brought God into existence?
      The answer is simple… Nothing brought him into existence. He has always existed. He is the uncaused cause. Think about it… You cannot have an infinite regression of causes. It’s like having an infinite line of dominos falling one after another. If you go back infinitely in time to try and find the first domino that started it all, you’d never find it because you’d have to cross an infinite amount of time to get to it which is impossible to do. This would also mean that there you can’t have an infinite regression of causes. Furthermore, this would mean there would never be a first cause. If there is no first cause, then there can’t be a second, or a third, and so on and you wouldn’t have any of them falling at all. But since they are falling, there had to be a first cause, that itself was uncaused that started the whole thing moving at a specific time in the past. So too with the universe. It was caused to exist at a specific point in time. The uncaused cause is God, who decided to create the universe and who, as the Bible says in Psalm 90:2, “is from everlasting to everlasting.”

      December 23, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      LOL. Did you really think a copy and paste of a wall of junk was going to prove yuor god? You dont get to define what atheism is. Go look in any dictionary, its the same in every one. A lack of beleif in a god or a gods. You seem to think that it means a person who knows that there isnt a god and has all of the answers that humanuty is seeking. LOL

      Stop avoiding the questions.

      1. Please answer my first question, that you keep ducking. Where is there a positive claim being made in the definition of atheism? If you ignore it again, everyone will just as.sume you were lying...which you obviously were.

      2. "its lack of ability to account for our own existence." What do you even mean by this? I gaurentee you dont even know.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      3. Is Islam the way to get into heaven?

      December 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • === o ===

      ????????????

      "even though it isn’t necessary in this video . . ."

      ????????????

      December 23, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • === o ===

      What the fffff is that – cut and paste apologetics?

      December 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "The atheists have nothing to offer us with the important issue of explaining how we got here." Ding! Ding! Ding! Now your getting it! Atheism is a lack of beleif in a god or gods. It doesnt have answers. Scientist have plenty of answers on the origins of the universe. If you dont like them, you should be complaining to them....or the voices in your head.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      If mutual respects god does exist, he surely is sending him to hell for being so bad at defending him. He didnt even read what he cut and pasted!

      December 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Chad

      According to atheists themselves, there are two categories of atheistic belief.

      strong atheists make an explicit claim that God does not exist.
      weak theists merely assert that they do not believe God exists.

      from http://atheism.wikia.com/wiki/Weak_atheism

      http://atheism.wikia.com/wiki/Strong_atheism

      weak atheism Weak atheism or Negative Atheism refers to the belief that because there is no evidence that god exists, we may assume that he does not exist. Weak atheists hold that there is also no evidence for existence of the god Thor, the Incredible Hulk Santa Claus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster and that as a consequence most of the earth's population do not believe in their existence.

      strong atheism Strong atheism makes the explicit claim that no gods exist and that there are ways or reasoning that support their contention

      December 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Akira

      It sounds as if mutual respect is questioning his own beliefs.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Then I would agree, strong atheists are idiots too. However, I know hundered of atheists, and none of them has never made a claim that there is proof that god doesnt exist. That doesnt even make sense.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • === o ===

      You will forever get into trouble "mutual" when you say things like "there are only two possibilities" when discussing things like the very beginning of the universe. You are making too many assumptions about things that are only discussed as theory among the most brilliant minds on earth.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Ive never met a positive atheist. However, I have met thousands of positive theists who think that they have evidence, but dont. Which are you chad, a regular theist, or a positive theist?

      December 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • === o ===

      mutual: "The atheists have nothing to offer us with the important issue of explaining how we got here. Atheism can’t answer one of the most important philosophical questions pertaining to our own existence. It is deficient and lacking and at best can offer us only ignorance and guesses."

      "I don't know" is sometimes the best answer to a question if you honestly don't know and want to convey that honesty to your audience.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      This guy actually thinks you are supposed to make something up if you dont know the answer. Or just say god did it. LOL

      December 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      @ReligionIsBS
      Hey, just skimming a few posts and saw that you have never met someone like me. I am a strong atheist. I am one of those who can prove, to those with a good grounding in physics and reasoning ability, that there is no god of any sort that exists here in this space-time continuum.
      There are no gods, not even one.
      Now you can say you've met one.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      *Opps!
      Now you can say you've met a "strong atheist", not a god. Oops.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Ken

      Chad
      Even weak atheists live as though God doesn't actually exist, just like we live as though vampires, zombies, and other monsters don't actually exist. We may be proven wrong one of those days but, as things stand now, there just isn't any good reason to be afraid of these things, see?

      December 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Just the facts mam

      Time is either part of the universe or it is transcendent. If it is transcendent then time existed prior to the universe and the universe did not come from nothing . If it is part of the universe, then talking about something existing before time just does not make sense.

      January 3, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  15. ReligionIsBS

    mutual respect

    Is Islam the way to get in to heaven?

    December 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  16. ReligionIsBS

    LOL at what mutual respect must be thinking right now! "Hmmmmm, better make some more stuff up, maybe they wont catch it this time!"

    December 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • mutual respect

      Atheists are not logical.
      Atheist: There is no God.
      This is not a logical position to hold, since to know there is no God means the person would have to know all things to know there is no God. Since he cannot know all things (if he did he would be God), then he cannot logically say there is no God.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Didnt we just go over this?

      atheism – disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

      Since you ducked the question last time, can you please give it a go this time? Where is a claim being made? Where does it say people are claiming that no gods exist? Oh i get it, you're lying for jesus.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • the AnViL

      mutual respect – your grasp on logic is extremely weak. that isn't hyperbole... it is a fact.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • mutual respect

      As a worldview, atheism is intellectually bankrupt and is wrought with philosophical problems. One of the biggest is its lack of ability to account for our own existence.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      1. Please answer my first question, that you keep ducking. Where is there a positive claim being made in the definition of atheism? If you ignore it again, everyone will just as.sume you were lying...which you obviously were.

      2. "its lack of ability to account for our own existence." What do you even mean by this? I gaurentee you dont even know.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "As a worldview, atheism is intellectually bankrupt and is wrought with philosophical problems"
      Is that why less than 1% of the prison population is atheist and 99% of prisoners beleive in god?
      What philosophical problems. List any of them, I will debunk everything you say. Its not hard to debink a lier, You might be better at this if you didnt lie so much.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Mutual,

      Why is "accounting for our existence" so wonderful when the "accounting" of our existence is nothing but conjecture that has not been demonstrated as being actually true? It is more honest to say "I don't know" than to claim knowledge that you DON'T HAVE. That is intellectually bankrupt.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  17. mutual respect

    Sometimes atheist will assert that there is no proof God exists. The only problem is that an atheist cannot logically make that claim.
    To state there is no proof for God's existence, the atheist would have to know all alleged proofs that exist in order to then state that there is no proof for God's existence. But, since he cannot know all things, he cannot logically state there is no proof for God's existence.
    At best, an atheist can only state that of all the alleged proofs he has seen thus far, none have worked. He could even say he believes there are no proofs for God's existence. But then, this means there is the possibility that there is a proof or proofs out there, and that he simply has not yet encountered one.
    Nevertheless, if there was a proof that truly did prove God's existence, would the atheist be able to accept it, given that his presuppositions are in opposition to the existence of God? In other words, given that the atheist has a presuppositional base that there is no God, in order for him to accept a proof for God's existence, he would have to change his presuppositional base. This is not easy to do, and would involve a major paradigm shift in the belief structure of the atheist. Therefore, an atheist is presuppositionally hostile to any proofs for God's existence, and is less likely to be objective about such attempted proofs.

    December 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Take what you just babbled and replace "god" with "zombies".

      December 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • the AnViL

      argumentum ad ignorantiam.

      fail

      December 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      mutual respects philosophy on life. "I dont know, therefore, god"

      December 23, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • === o ===

      Which god are you talking about? Can we assume a particular one?

      December 23, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Of course he is talking about his god. If he used that "argument" for any other god, he would realize it doesnt make any sense.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Belief in an afterlife is what many people dare want to believe because many of life do not have a very fruitful life's living. Being a faith-filled individual while having little material needs is why there are many people clinging to a faith of one kind or another. To make blasphemies against the trodden down folks of little material goods is not only shameful it is a humane abomination! If you are an atheist and do not believe in an afterlife, please do not make condemnations against faithful believers and likewise the faithful believers of there being an afterlife should not condemn those who dare not believe in an afterlife. I for one believe in an afterlife! I know beyond any doubt as to the generalities of my afterlife whereabouts and I have written about it and posted it here on many occasions. God, in God's many ways, takes in all life’s strays!

      December 23, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • logicalhuman

      Mutual.... We can all see you are looking for answers. I believe you are aware of how silly your arguments sound. Asking Athiests what proof is needed to believe your fairytale. Come on your better than that. Humans are smart enough to understand the universe and planet they live on.. At least some of us are. We don't add any supernatural mumbo jumbo to our reality. When YOU make a claim that doesn't fit our reality please try and back it up. If you are asking a question, do so directly, and we will answer it for you. Please understand, YOU are making a claim about a supernatural being that YOU "feel" exists...

      Lamb... When you can stop your fellow believers from enforcing policy and laws onto others then I will stop calling you an idiot. But untill then your and idiot that gives credit to religion and by doing so encourages those people "and you" to behave like your in the right when clearly you are wrong.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Mutual respect, do you agree that there is a non-zero probability that god, or your god, does not exist? If no, why not? And yes, I acknowledge that there is a non-zero probability that some god exists.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  18. mutual respect

    Atheism is a faith that denies the existence of any supernatural deity. The Oxford Dictionary provides the following definition: “To believe nothing of a designing Principle or Mind, nor any Cause, Measure, or Rule of things, but chance . . . is to be a perfect atheist.”
    The first and foremost problem that arises from the word “atheist” is the type of truth claim being made. Dr. Mortimer Adler describes the difficulty in this manner: “An affirmative existential proposition can be proved, but a negative existential proposition – one that denies the existence of something – cannot be proved.”
    Recognizing their predicament, atheists like Richard Dawkins counter such an argument by saying that, while they cannot prove a flying purple monkey does not exist, it is highly improbable such a thing actually exists, so the wiser intellectual position to hold is one that says such a thing does not exist.
    However, such an argument commits two errors. First, comparing God with a flying purple monkey commits the logical error of faulty analogy. Second, just because something is improbable does not rule out its existence. For example, all scientists admit that humanity’s very existence is inordinately improbable. Scientific scholars acknowledge that it is against all mathematical odds that all of the universe’s cosmic constants and biological mechanisms necessary for life would come to be. Yet they have, and humanity does exist

    December 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      LOL. You dont know what atheism means.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • mutual respect

      Atheism simply cannot meet the test for evidence for the seriousness of the truth claim it makes. Instead, using a supposed argument from silence, the atheist and those whom he convinces of his position slide into death with their fingers crossed hoping they do not face the unpleasant reality that eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • === o ===

      Agreed, RBS.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • === o ===

      Again, mutual, try defining it correctly first. Then you'll find the rest of what you wrote doesn't make sense.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Athy

      It doesn't matter how unlikely it was that life started. It started, and we're here to observe that it did. If it hadn't started, we would not be here to observe that it didn't. Look up anthropic principle.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "Atheism simply cannot meet the test for evidence for the seriousness of the truth claim it makes"

      Atheism doesnt make any claims. Thats why I was lauging at you, because you dont know what it means. Its a rebuttal against your claim that god exists. Atheism means a lack of beleif in a god or gods. Thats all it means. nothing more, nothing less. You are the one making the claim, not me. There wouldnt even be a need for the word atheism if there werent religious people inventing gods.

      " Instead, using a supposed argument from silence, the atheist and those whom he convinces of his position slide into death with their fingers crossed hoping they do not face the unpleasant reality that eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong."
      Silence? These forums dont look like silence to me. It looks like a battlefield of dead christian logic. If you ask me if i beleive in god, and i say no, how is that silence? And you are also sitting with your fingers crossed hoping you dont face the unpleasant reality that eternity is an awfully long to be wrong about allah, zues,thor, mithra, Ra, Horus and all of the other 3000 gods that have been presented to humans. Hope you guessed the right god!

      December 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      I just went to Oxfords dictionary online and look what it says

      atheism – disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

      Did you really think nobody was going to call you out on that? LOL. Keep lying for jesus, he would be so proud!

      December 23, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      mutual respect, can you please show me where the claim being made in that definition is? Or were you just lying for jesus?

      December 23, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • the AnViL

      if not for cut/copy/paste... it is very highly doubtful that "mutual respect" could ever post anything intelligent. even with cut/copy/paste... it's all sheer stupidity.

      how very xian

      December 23, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      To those atheist brats,

      Belief in an afterlife is what many people dare want to believe because many of life do not have a very fruitful life's living. Being a faith-filled individual while having little material needs is why there are many people clinging to a faith of one kind or another. To make blasphemies against the trodden down folks of little material goods is not only shameful it is a humane abomination! If you are an atheist and do not believe in an afterlife, please do not make condemnations against faithful believers and likewise the faithful believers of there being an afterlife should not condemn those who dare not believe in an afterlife. I for one believe in an afterlife! I know beyond any doubt as to the generalities of my afterlife whereabouts and I have written about it and posted it here on many occasions. God, in God's many ways, takes in all life’s strays!

      December 23, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Ken

      and likewise the faithful believers of there being an afterlife should not condemn those who dare not believe in an afterlife."

      "Dare not believe"? Yup, no condemnation there.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  19. Salero21

    So atheists, some of whom point out that christians are divided are indeed themselves divided. Some claim to descend from some sort of ape like "creature". Really they need to stop using the word creature. Others claim to descend from some earth worm like critter of sorts. Others believe they descend from some sort of chemical or mixed elements Cosmic Soup like substance, and so on and on. Then they refuse Jesus but are ready and willing, to go wild over Satan Claus. A fictional character created by some paid artists in the XIX c. for the pleasure of American businessmen.

    Really, really the '"faith"'of the atheists is greater than that of those who just believe in God!!

    December 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      LOL. You dont know what faith means.

      Its funny that many of those that claim to have faith, dont even know what it means.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • the AnViL

      you seem angry and confused.

      it is our understanding that all great apes evolved from a common ancestor.

      what's the matter, salero21?

      why are you so hostile, son?

      why do you dislike atheists so much?

      December 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Ken

      We never had a plan to be united, so who cares if we're divided?

      December 24, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • lol??

      ""divided"
      occurs 69 times in 66 verses in the KJV"

      December 24, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • Ken

      lol??
      I like the number 69, but I'm not much of a 66 fan. Maybe you are? :-)

      December 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  20. Salero21

    So the atheists, as the fuzzy fools they are deny and refuse Jesus. But then willingly accept and embrace Satan Claus who clearly is an invention of some American businessmen of the XIX c. because it gives them a reason for some "merriments". Even if that means that they'll have to descend to levels below the apes or even below the earth worms.

    December 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • === o ===

      Let me guess. You started off with one long sentence, and then attempted to break it up evenly. My you are dense. Get me my apple fritter and small coffee and then get your ass back to work.

      December 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Salero21

      OMG the Internet GRAMMAR GESTAPO has arrive in the form of an earth worm like creature ===o=== :-(

      December 23, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • === o ===

      Poor Salero21,

      I'm afraid it looks like God lost out at the recent Intelligence Squared debates:

      http://intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/upcoming-debates/item/728-science-refutes-god

      Poor Dinesh D'Souza; poor Ian Hutchinson

      Better luck next time, Salero21 . . .

      December 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Athy

      Salero, it's earthworm, not earth worm. Man, you are dense.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • .

      " So the atheists, as the fuzzy fools they are deny and refuse Jesus. But then willingly accept and embrace Satan Claus"
      There is a world of difference between "accept and embrace" and "believe is real" I accept that jesus is the mythical icon of christianity just like I accept that Santa Clause is the mythical icon of christmas

      December 23, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Salero21

      So of course Athy is earthworm, you have to know your ancestry better than me. It must be hard work to be a GRAMMAR GESTAPO.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Another great example of idiots on both sides. This fool posts one of the dumbest posts ever and what amounts to a spelling issue is brought into question? Get some priorities people.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • === o ===

      Why did you say "dumbest", Saraswati? That certainly doesn't say much. What are your priorities?

      December 23, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I said one of the dumbest. In fairness Satan Claus is up there with Repugs and all the other cutesy little derogatory terms people use when they're too lazy to actually string together a whole sentence of criticism.

      December 23, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • === o ===

      So do you really think you have a chance at building a bridge with "Salero21", Sara?

      December 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @===o===
      No, but I think from your other comment that's understood.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Ken

      Salero21 is The Church Lady :-)

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62Qfbrc1jdo&w=640&h=390]

      December 24, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • lol??

      "Mat 12:26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?"

      December 24, 2012 at 6:43 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.