Opinion by Frank Schaeffer, special to CNN
(CNN) - All the public debates between celebrity atheists and evangelical pastors are as meaningless as literary awards and Oscar night.
They are meaningless because participants lack the objectivity to admit that our beliefs have less to do with facts than with our personal needs and cultural backgrounds.
The words we use to label ourselves are just as empty.
What exactly is a “believer?” And for that matter what is an “atheist?” Who is the objective observer to define these terms?
Maybe we need a new category other than theism, atheism or agnosticism that takes paradox and unknowing into account.
Take me, I am an atheist who believes in God.
Let me explain.
I believe that life evolved by natural selection. I believe that evolutionary psychology explains away altruism and debunks love, and that brain chemistry undermines the illusion of free will and personhood.
I also believe that a spiritual reality hovering over, in and through me calls me to love, trust and hear the voice of my creator.
It seems to me that there is an offstage and an onstage quality to my existence. I live onstage, but I sense another crew working offstage. Sometimes I hear their voices “singing” in a way that’s as eerily beautiful as the offstage chorus in an opera.
My youngest grandchildren Lucy (5) and Jack (3) are still comfortable with this paradoxical way of seeing reality.
Most grownups don’t have the transparent humility to deal with the fact that unknowing is OK. But Lucy and Jack seem to accept that something may never have happened but can still be true.
For instance they take Bible stories we read at face value, and yet I see a flicker in their eyes that tells me that they already know the stories are not true in the same way boiling water is true and can be tested—it’s hot!
It's like that mind-bending discovery from quantum mechanics that tiny objects like electrons can actually be in two places at once and act simultaneously like a particle and a wave.
Maybe my grandchildren will embrace quantum theory, and won't look for ways to make the irrational rational by hiding behind words like “mystery” in order to sustain their faith in science or God.
Or maybe they'll embrace apophatic theology, the theology of not knowing.
Atheists in the Bible Belt: A survival guide
But it's not the easiest thing to do.
Our brains are not highly evolved enough to reconcile our hunger for both absolute certainty and transcendent, inexplicable experiences.
Nor can I reconcile these ideas: “I know that the only thing that exists is this material universe,” and “I know that my redeemer liveth.”
Depending on the day you ask me, both statements seem true. And I don't think I'm alone in that.
Behold, the six types of atheists
We’re all in the closet, so to speak. We barely come out to ourselves and never completely to others. I have met people who claim a label - evangelical or atheist - until you really get to know them.
Then, things get more complicated.
Many of us, even the devout, have many more questions than answers about God and religion.
In other words, people just like me: atheists who pray and eloquent preachers who secretly harbor doubts.
I believe that we’re all of at least two minds. We play a role and define that role as “me” because labels and membership in a tribe make the world feel a little safer.
When I was raising my children, I pretended to be grownup daddy. But alone with my thoughts, I was still just me. I’m older now, and some younger people may think I know something.
I do: I know how much I can never know.
Many Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Christians inherited their faith because of where they were born. If you are an atheist, you hold those beliefs because of a book or two you read, or who your parents were and the century in which you were born.
Don’t delude yourself: There are no ultimate reasons for anything, just circumstances.
If you want to be sure you have "the truth" about yourself and our universe, then prepare to go mad. Or prepare to turn off your brain and cling to some form or other of fundamentalism, whether religious or secular.
You will always be more than one person. You will always embody contradiction.
You—like some sort of quantum mechanicals physics experiment—will always be in two places at once.
Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His latest book is "Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God: How to give love, create beauty and find peace." The views expressed in this column belong to Schaeffer.
Ok, so not an atheist, just claiming to be one. I get it. No atheist will ever believe in any god.
I also believe that a spiritual reality hovering over, in and through me calls me to love, trust and hear the voice of my creator...
Totally zero....the guy is delusional or is making MONEY selling this crap!
He has no freewill. His consciousness is trapped in predetermined existence. So he didn't write this article, his underlying brain chemistry wrote this article.
Do you have freewill or are your actions 100% the result of external stimuli?
Totally crapo....the guy is delusional or is making MONEY selling this crap!
Meet the atheist ... who believes in God.......
DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE.... Atheism is the belief that there is NO GOD...period!
Most wise Euthyphro, I would learn from you when you say that GOD does not exist, I would know what you mean by "exist." I would perceive that some intelligence has posted a statement under the name "idiotusmaximus" but because you have said that GOD does not exist, I would like to know if "idiotusmaximus" exists or if I should be an a-idiotusmaximus?
Well idiotusmaximus does exist but not the 2300 gods that have come and gone...people create gods in their own image for a reason.....Love Aristotle who was supposed to have said......I THINK THAT IF HORSES HAD GODS THEY'D PROBABLY LOOK LIKE HORSES....that is gods in a nutshell....they're the go to answer for the ignorant and lazy.
The Buddha walked up to a hot dog vendor and said, "Make me one with everything."
The vendor handed him a loaded hot dog, and The Buddha paid him with a $10 bill. The vendor put the bill in the register and was moving on to the next customer when The Buddha said, 'What about my change?"
The hot dog vendor replied, "Change comes from within."
Mr Schaeffer is doing God a disseervice by claiming belief in HIm . God is not amused or impressed sir!
Alpa.... And just how do you know that? Been talking to god about this article?
It is amazing how many Christians think they know God well enough to speak for God. I would think there are many admonishments in the bible to not do that.
Bostonola....I'm constantly amazed at the incredible leaps that most Christians seem to make with virtually all aspects of their lives. This is small potatoes compared to some other statements I've read here. Most of these people are just nuts.
I would learn from you most wise, Euthyphro-
Do you agree with Frank Schaeffer that freewill is an illusion or do you believe that freewill exists?
Do you choose your belief (or disbelief) or is it predetermined by external stimuli?
Actually, if you read the Bible (regardless of your belief or disbelief) you would see that there is never any statement "by God" or "for God" that he was ever "amused" or "impressed."
So for a Christian to say that "God is not amused or impressed," whether you believe God is real or figment of imagination, is a fair assumption.
Odin is not amused by your belief in your pissant christian god...
For a man known for his eloquence of wit, and clever verbal barbs you'd think that Jesus could have shamed them as easily as he did the Pharisees without resort to such violence.
If it was a calculated move, than he was hoping to attract the Roman's attention, which pretty much makes him suicidal.
That Christians believe in the bible is more a tribute their gullibility than to the bible's credibility.
People suffering from delusion such as you cannot be reasoned with, as you have proven.
You do not know, you do not have enough info to know, and you cannot exclude all other possibilities.
To claim you do know, is in fact delusion. Good luck with that.
I wonder if reason is the real issue. You can have a completely reasoned discussion with a philosopher, and in the end, it will all be opinion. They always back up to a premise which is not proven. God is a philosophical question, it will reduce to opinion.
Religion is another matter. Religions have gone the extra step and have boldly doc.umented specific assertions of truth, some of which can be tested. There are many examples of failure which should lead people to be very skeptical of any of the thousands of religions/sects and their particular Gods.
That all said, reason doesn't solve everything because we don't factually know all the premises. I use hunches and gut feelings often to move forward.I still test the results, but suspending reason for intermediate steps is often effective. Suspending reason as the foundation of a world view is another matter. Religions ask their followers to do that, most must be wrong, all are probably wrong.
Moderators are reviewing comments again. This one was flagged:
I wonder if reason is the real issue. You can have a completely reasoned discussion with a philosopher, and in the end, it will all be opinion. They always back up to a premise which is not proven. God is a philosophical question, it will reduce to opinion.
Religion is another matter. Religions have gone the extra step and have boldly written specific assertions of truth, some of which can be tested. There are many examples of failure which should lead people to be very skeptical of any of the thousands of religions/sects and their particular Gods.
Igaftr....it's an outright act of belligerence, really. I think he is just being a d-ick now.
Yeah, on one post he claims definitve proof, then next he says he could have been decieved...clearly confused.
Igaftr.....conversing with him is incredibly exasperating. I've never seen anyone say so much without saying anything at all. I have just stopped talking to him completely. It is a monumental waste of time.
"faith": believing something without a single shred of proof.
it amazes me that religious folk see this word as a badge of honor while any logical thinking person sees it as a mark of foolishness or insanity.
quite a disconnect.
THE BURDEN OF PROOF LIES ON RELIGION…..
If you propose the existence of something such as a god, you must follow the scientific method in your defense of its existence, otherwise I have no reason to listen to you.
there may or may not be some force that created the universe ... we haven't figured that out yet ... but it is not this god of bronze age foolishness that is so concerned with what people do while na.ked and so concerned that we praise him all day long and tell him how wonderful he is and so concerned with suppressing science and so concerned with meting out punishment and so concerned with inanities like what you can eat and what days you can work on and what cloth you wear and who you can marry.
And yet Christians use that creation thing as an escape hatch. They preach all this bronze age foolishness and judge, judge, judge people based on their story book but as soon as it is shown to be scientifically and historically flawed foolishness they panic and dodge and throw out "then who created the universe?" as if that has anything to do with 99% of their infantile fairy story book.
"there may or may not be some force that created the universe ... we haven't figured that out yet"
=>So, you admit you don't know the truth about existence yet somehow feel real smart about saying so.
"it is not this god of bronze age foolishness that is so concerned with what people do while na.ked"
=>you are the one very trapped in the bondage of desire and yes it is the easiest of bondage to distract you from what is really important in life.
"so concerned that we praise him all day long and tell him how wonderful he is"
=>You failed to adjust for the language of time and peoples thousands of years ago. It is simply love. When you learn how to love you do praise the object of your love and hopefully express in words and deeds how wonderful he or she is.
"so concerned with suppressing science"
=>you confuse God and religion. It was man attempting to retain power or show false pride that led to suppression of what they did not understand.
"so concerned with meting out punishment"
=>no, God has only made a way that is very good for all concerned and any punishment is what you bring upon yourself because you do not like what God considers very good.
"concerned with inanities like...."
=>again all was meant for your salvation and to bring about very good. You have always been allowed to eat what you want (yes some within certain beliefs were limited for religious purposes but not onto God).
=>do you wear what you are told in the Bible or what the marketing MBA's have convinced you is cool.
=>ditto for work and cloth
=>"who you can marry." If you do not know how to love another and you could care less about the love of God as expressed what makes you think you know anything about real love vs desire. Yes that should concern anyone who might marry you, yet alone God.
oh the "logic" of a cult addled mind ...
Hey fred you love answersingenesis – so by chance are you Ken Ham or John Morris in real time/life ?
Only if the probability is the same as a chance in hell.
I believe God can create any construct of existence using known or unknown forms of matter or energy. I believe God can rearrange time and space at will to bring about a purpose onto God. I believe science only observes that which has been created or is derived from that which has been created. Current scientific consensus offers the best scientific view of creation and the creation process. Scientific facts change which is why we have a history of science as we continue to improve on our knowledge base. Looking back 200 years I can only imagine how foolish our advance knowledge of today will appear in 200 years.
We experience this physical existence in many ways and it is sad that some cannot embrace the full spectrum of existence which is enriched by the spiritual. What is overlooked so often is that the surrounding nations did not understand or know the God if Israel but they feared the Nation of Israel because God was with them. It is a living presence of some nature that Spinoza saw as existing in all things. This is the core of the relationship between man and God wrapped in faith resulting in hope. We have confused the nature of God by all the anthropomorphic attributes assigned to God because of our inability to express the substance of God which at best is coined spirit which does not give justice to the unknowable. A burning holiness of some nature where even seraphim cover their face and feet before God and we see only fullness and holiness that as Isaiah proclaimed filled the temple.
"to bring about a purpose onto God."
I've heard many religious persons say "Those without God have no purpose in life" but what i've never heard explained to any sort of satisfaction is "If there is a God, then what is our purpose?"
Is our "purpose" to go and be with him in heaven? Is it to live a few miniscule years on this tiny planet among the immense universe to then go join God and do nothing the rest of eternity? Or is it that you don't know and you are hoping some God being will eventually tell you what you are going to be doing for the rest of eternity. What if God simply needed stamp lickers for all his galactic correspondence? What is it that christians hope to find in heaven anyway? The priest and preachers keep saying God is a mystery and to just trust him but that seems like a pretty thin premise to place all your hopes and dreams on a mystery while telling everyone around you who doesn't believe in your God that they will wish they had, because oh boy, your Gods mystery is gonna be awesome, even though you have no idea what it is or what it will be like.
So please, explain what purpose we and the universe itself serves for yourGod. If he is eternal then he has spent an eternity without us, why does he need us all of a sudden? Was he not complete so he decided to create us for his amusement? Will we have to do little dances to please him? What is our purpose beyond being God slave? Or is that the end all of your hope?
"to bring about a purpose onto God."
=>"In the beginning God created" are the first words and from that it is self evident that all of creation is a purpose onto God. Back it up one word and in the beginning God. That is the Alpha and Omega beginning and end at the single point of God i.e. eternal state of presence.
=>Made in the image of God we posses creative capacity which opens an infinite array of expression (artistic, emotive, mechanical, etc) unique at the individual and corporate level. We have cognitive and emotive capacity to love, admire, appreciate all of which are sub sets of "worship". In short we were created with the ability to be thankful without limit for the wonder before us which is the eternal presence of God.
=>The Bible says there is way onto man which leads to death and a way onto God which leads to life. Jesus gave the complete model of "the way" and Jesus said very clearly "I am the way the truth and the life". The way is the same from the beginning. That way is embodied in love; love God love others as your self. God so loved the world he gave us Christ so that anyone who truly desires the way of God can find it.
=>The way is the inclination of your heart. Living in a state of thankfulness that comes about because you have that God given gift of appreciation for what God has done with anticipation wrapped in the hope of being in the presence of God.
=>In our time and space we look back 13 billion years to a vision of the beginning of creation, as we know it, to observe its unfolding like a flower with beauty and fragrance. This is the pattern of creation that is existence. As such we continue to unfold either in the way of man or the way of God. In the way of God we continue in the presence of God to flourish using our infinite creative capacity. In the way of man there is no presence of God now or after our physical expression has ended.
=>I don't know what your heaven or my heaven will look like anymore than my parents knew what I would look like. To Abraham it had to do with children and lots of them with great nations, Moses had the promised land of wheat and honey, Jesus had the Kingdom of God where he brought all those who heard his voice into the green pasture like sheep. These are all expressions of what God created that was very good and after creation rested. Your "heaven" will be very good reflecting your hearts desire to be with God continuing to unfold your God given wonder and fragrance. That is the purpose onto God.
Well what the hell fred – the god did it gang they are both there fred ?
Creation Ministries International began life as the Creation Science Foundation, in 1979, when Ham quit his job as a public school science teacher to begin speaking on creationism. In 1986 Ham left Australia to teach at the Insti-tute for Creation Research; by 1987 his absence was causing leadership problems, and in February he handed control over to Andrew Snelling. In 1993, after 7 years in the US, Ham decided to start, with the assistance of CSF, the Creation Science Ministry, which later became AiG-US. By 1995 the CSF had become the Australian arm of AiG. They initially shared board members, but AiG-Australia suffered a hilariously acrimonious schism from its now much larger partner in 2005 culminating in accusations of witchcraft and hurt feelings all round. They changed their name to Creation Ministries International as a result.
Much like AiG, CMI is an ardent promoter of young Earth creationist claptrap. However, CMI attempts to take a rather more "scholarly" tone than does AiG, if that term can possibly be applied to any creationist organization; it uses the presuppositionalist style of argument, which along with the scholarly veneer may help to explain why CMI doesn't have its own ignorance museum, complete with saddled Triceratops.
Fred and you know all creationists please visit the Hall of Human Origins you might learn something maybe !
You seem to be under the impression that Science has some how discredited the Word of God. Can you give me one example where you believe the Word of God has been discredited. I say Word of God rather than "Bible" in this case should you choose a verse that sensitive to Greek vs Hebrew translation.
Even Hawking says there is no such thing as a god and is not necessary to create this universe we live in.....since time and space were created with the big bang...logic dictates that before that there was no time or space where any god could create this universe.
Fred is your last name Flinstone ?
Oops Flintstone ?
Cleveland Museum of Natural History. "New horned dinosaur reveals unique wing-shaped headgear." ScienceDaily, 18 June 2014.
NO, Hawking has said someday a unified theory will demonstrate no god needed. The unified theory may not exist as it is just a possibility. Stephen Hawking has passionate hate for the thought of a personal God yet continues to fail in his attempts to prove no god needed. He actually was backed into a corner, having accepted the mathematical impossibility of intelligent life given demands of fine tuning, and had to claim multiverse with infinite universes to escape the supernatural necessity.
Your logic is backwards as to space and time and non scientific. Our dimension of time and space must come into existence from outside of that same time and space. This is true for the Big Bang and any other pre Big Bang cosmological speculations.
Take a close look at the pictures at the bottom of the page and again we see a man next to Mercuriceratops gemini . I am skeptical that they coexisted because the man is dressed as Indiana Jones.
Come on fred make up your mind eh – last time you said it was the Wal-Mart clothes .
But fossils work too !
Fossils, that's old news.
Hey fred – looks like the same RANTS you have here on this forum ?
Ken Ham’s Ignorance is Exposed (Again) in a Rant Against UK Schools Banning the Teaching of Creationism as Science
Hey fred – Now is this the truth ?
When Pilate heard the response of the Jews that demanded death from an innocent man the response of God he asked Jesus what is truth. Take a clue and Jesus what is truth.
Hey fred from your previous post to me this link really might be over your head – the truth .
take out dash in chic-ken
also have to take the dash out after if-ls – fred
I like Plutarch who said...the problem about the egg and the hen, which of them came first, began when the question was dragged into our talk.
It is like asking if God knew Eve would eat the apple then why did he plant the tree. However, there was another tree in the Garden if you read the Bible and that was the tree of life (i.e. salvation in Christ). It was there before Eve took a bite of ProtoTree.
There is no evidence that thought and awareness are attached to our physical presence. Most people can sense this and thus came the expression of soul. This soul (for lack of a better word) is what made mankind different as we have capacity to choose where we tether that soul. Some choose to tether soul onto the known physical of this world with others tether to an ideal not fixed to the physical of this world. In doing so you can avoid the possibility, however small, that soul does exist and seeks permanence or secure unity. Belief in God or Jesus serves that need and is available to any soul that desires it. Choose what you will but never tether to death (the world or anything physical in it) it may not be the peaceful rest or whatever you believe by faith to exist. Why is there something rather than nothing...look no further than the egg.
Why is there something rather than nothing…look no further than the egg.
What I get from science is that nothing over a vast period of time becomes unstable creating a nano-kink which instantly expanded into the big bang where inflation occurred expanding faster than light and bingo in a few millions of years the stars began forming and the rest is history...of course this is the simplified version.
Fred by chance did you learn that from what the talking donkey said or was it the talking snake ?
I assume that by nano-kink you imply what is commonly thought of as a quantum flux which perhaps 8 years ago was speculated to be that spontaneous creation moment. Even Lawrence Krauss has backed away from that given the implied mass of dark matter. "nothing" or an empty set does not exist in reality the moment "something" is present. Not only is that a philosophical conflict it is not a possibility based on current evidence. In the abstract even amplitude can never exhibit properties that are void of tensors (i.e. directional forces are always present) and as such "nothing" is never a possibility. Even the symmetries of the Riemann tensor would prohibit a conceived state of "nothing"
"Nothing" seems to be foundation of the faith of the atheist yet there is no such thing. Atheists need to find a new hat rack to hang their after life belief upon.
After life....what crap is that?
And PS the idea that ATHEIST have faith is a thing the religious like to use because everything they believe has be done with faith because none of it can be proven...
"Fred by chance did you learn that from what the talking donkey said or was it the talking snake ?"
=>you need to brush up on your theology as the talking donkey was attempting to bring light onto his masters path while the talking snake obscured the masters path.
It matters not if the donkey or snake were real of figurative as it was the word that enlightens or darkens reality. The word of the snake draws away from what is good towards what looks good. That which looks good to the eye (observable in the physical) is the illusion as it only looks good it is not actually good.
Hey fred – the mass that creates your ass foe the pew eh? No god(s) needed.
CERN Says LHC Really Found Higgs Boson, Will Restart In 2015
June 23, 2014
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As the LHC's upgrades near completion, a new study on the particle CERN discovered in 2012 shows it behaves just like the theoretical Higgs boson. Video provided by Newsy
for the pew......oops.
for all of you trying to convince the atheists to repent and believe:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
yes, there is a bunch of that self-affirming stuff in there...you would actually expect them to be honest and tell you that none of the supernatural claims can be verified and were likely simply over embellished stories, do you
Propoganda 101. Tell the people they have a disease (sin), then sell them the cure.
Wouldn't that counter what Jesus tasked His followers to do?
In that case, why proselytize at all?
That bit always seemed incongruous in the Sermon on the Mount...
The 5 or 6 preceding verses all talk about no judging people, then He goes ahead and refers to certain people as pigs?
Ha!... I never thought about that before but yes!....
Jesus doesn't tell us NOT to judge people. He tells us HOW to judge people. Jesus judged the religious rulers of the day along with various sinners, but he did it with with the right intentions.
The bible was authored by unknown men and compiled in the 300s by a group of men with a biased agenda. There is no non-biblical evidence to indicate that any of the miraculous events listed in the bible actually occurred. There is no reason to think that the bible is anything other than what it appears to be: The mythology of a specific Middle Eastern tribe combined with the legends surrounding one of the many messianic figures found in Rome during that time period.
But the Bible says it's not just a book, but revelation from God. If you adopt the view of the world where the bible isn't true, then what is truth in your worldview?
Apol....are you seriously saying that you can't see the circular logic of a book that tells you that it is not just a book but the word of god? If I write a book proclaiming that I am the second coming of Christ and said that it was the word of god, through what logic would you then believe me?
My head is dizzy from your circular logic!;) Seriously though, in order to tell me that the Bible isn't true, you have to have a standard of truth to measure something against.
Referring to the Bible is circular, since referring to a final authority is always circular. However, it's not a vicious circle since the laws of logic are still upheld within the argument. Your statement didn't say what your definition of truth is. It sounds like you believe that whatever corresponds to reality is your standard for truth.
the bible is true because it says so in the bible ... LOLOLOLOLOLOL
I think before one gets into the whats and whys of what this fictional Jesus said ...one should find empirical proof of this persons existences...which has never been done.....there is NO proof what so ever in 1600 years...the bible is not proof.
“The Bible: proof that gullible people will believe any dumbass thing that you tell them” ~LET
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs
That does seem to conflict with most other Christian thinking. Are there some people that are abandoned? Is there a class of people that are worthy and another that is not? That sounds more Jewish than Christian. Maybe Jesus' Jewishness was leaking out.
neither cast ye your pearls before swine
Don't you want to share your holy ideas with the unholy? Isn't that the best way to reclaim the unholy. I would think it is better to put your best foot forward, not hide the holy word.
Making an analogy to Mammon seems beneath Jesus. Matthew 6:24, You can’t serve both God and Mammon.
This passage is one of the best examples of biblical confusion. Is it self contradictory? Do most Christians simply not understand it and mis-use it?
"Do most Christians simply not understand it and mis-use it?"
If you had left off the "Do most" and the questions mark you could have been eligible for the understatement of the year award.
And you have empirical proof that this Mathieu you believe really existed......could you present it please...
Great MIRACLES have been discovered in the BIBLE.
It will change the World forever!
BIBLICAL EXCELLENT MIRACLES 1 & 2
Great mythology has been discovered in the babble...
Breaking your own rules...or does "Thou shalt not steal" meaning nothing to you?
To clarify, by posting that link to your junk website, you are stealing advertising.
As noted previously:
Give us a break!
Now for some 21st century reality:
“New Torah For Modern Minds
Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.
Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel – not one shard of pottery."
Richard Dawkins Isn’t Wrong to Call Religious Beliefs Childish
Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/06/13/richard-dawkins-isnt-wrong-to-call-religious-beliefs-childish/#ixzz34oGHy0nG
According to John14:15-21, Jesus said to his disciples: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer sees me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day, you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him."
Think of God as a parent, and we are his children. When we were young, God did not stand there to tell us to believe in him, instead, he asked us to keep his commandments, and he loves us unconditionally. With time, we learn to love, and as we love, or give, we reap rewards without expecting anything in return. We love and we discover God in the process. Then we learn to believe in him. Therefore, a belief in God is generated with time as trust is built. I suppose we could say that we are all atheists to start, some become theists, and some stay atheists. Perhaps, we need to learn to give, or love unconditionally to fathom God's love for us and to discover God in the process.
Or perhaps we should grow up and put aside the myths of our ancestors and be accountable for our own lives.
Except that the 1st four commandments demand idolatry or else. Then we have some, of what one could only hope to be, common sense things-do not murder; do not steal. We have do not covet your neighbor-thought crime, so not really a wrong. We add in adultery-not a crime anywhere in a Secular world and only pertains in divorce cases and while not right, Christians still commit it (the Holier Than Thou card doesn't wash here). Respect for your parents only goes so far if the parents have taught respect to begin with. Do not work on the Sabbath-seems there is not many people alive who haven't broken this one. All silly little rules to make you live in fear.
Christians should start following the Golden Rule-Do unto others as you'd have done unto you, instead of thinking they need to start telling others how to live.
If you need a bible to be a good person, you lack empathy not religion.
A much better and more sensible set of commandments to go by (none of which demand idolatry):
THE HUMANIST TEN COMMANDMENTS
1) Thou shalt strive to promote the greater good of humanity before all selfish desires.
2) Thou shalt be curious, for asking questions is the only way to find answers.
3) Harm to your fellow human is harm to humanity. Therefore, thou shalt not kill, rape, rob, or otherwise victimize anyone.
4) Thou shall treat all humans as equals, regardless of race, gender, age, creed, identity, orientation, physical ability, or status.
5) Thou shalt use reason as your guide. Science, knowledge, observation, and rational analysis are the best ways to determine any course of action.
6) Thou shalt not force your beliefs onto others, nor insist that yours be the only and correct way to live happily.
7) If thou dost govern, thou shalt govern with reason, not with superstition. Religion should have no place in any government which represents all people and beliefs.
8) Thou shalt act for the betterment of your fellow humans, and be, whenever possible, altruistic in your deeds.
9) Thou shalt be good to the Earth and its bounties, for without it, humankind is lost.
10) Thou shalt impart thy knowledge and wisdom gained in your lifetime to the next generation, so that with each passing century, humanity will grow wiser and more humane.
Have you ever watched the movie, Lord of the Flies? We really cannot assume that "Do not murder, do not steal" are common sense things of not to do. It takes lots of love of not to do evil to others. The ten commandments are simple yet very specific, with the first four commandments telling us of how to love God and to give glory to God, and the other six for us to deal with others. Who could think of "Honor your parents" a commandment, but many parents if not all on this earth would agree with God wholeheartedly. And, the one, "Thou shall not bear false witness." This commandment is a big deal and we would never understand it until we are in it to defend ourselves. In short, to love God with all our souls, minds and hearts is not hard, and to love others as ourselves is not hard either. We just have to try to see the power of love, and God will reveal himself to us the way we could feel His love and His energy. God knows our weaknesses, and he came up with a list that could not be better written regardless of time.
Have you ever watched the movie, Lord of the Flies?
>>Fictional movie...your point is???
We really cannot assume that “Do not murder, do not steal” are common sense things of not to do.
>>Yes we can. There is such thing as being able to weight the pros versus the cons.
It takes lots of love of not to do evil to others.
>>No, once again pros versus the cons...if it brings harm to another person or creature, you don't do it.
The ten commandments are simple yet very specific, with the first four commandments telling us of how to love God and to give glory to God, and the other six for us to deal with others.
>>Yes, idolatry...no other way to put it and your god is not the only god believed in (not proven but merely believed in). This in turn breaks the 'rule' of not having idols.
Who could think of “Honor your parents” a commandment, but many parents if not all on this earth would agree with God wholeheartedly.
>>I'm a parent and I'm sorry I do not agree with that. I have taught my child enough sense to know to respect those who merit it and I know plenty of parents who don't.
And, the one, “Thou shall not bear false witness.” This commandment is a big deal and we would never understand it until we are in it to defend ourselves.
>>So you need a guide to tell you to be honest?
In short, to love God with all our souls, minds and hearts is not hard, and to love others as ourselves is not hard either. We just have to try to see the power of love, and God will reveal himself to us the way we could feel His love and His energy. God knows our weaknesses, and he came up with a list that could not be better written regardless of time.
>>HE can't be shown to exist and we know there is no evidence that HE said anything. What we do know is that man wrote those words as a way to control the gullible masses. HE is only pertinent to your belief system, nothing more.
As previously stated, if you need those to get you by in this world you lack empathy, not religion. Not all are so weak!
Secular Morality is by far the better, more sensible way to go:
"The ten commandments are simple yet very specific, with the first four commandments telling us of how to love God and to give glory to God."
Which might make sense if god was real. Otherwise it's just a monster waste of time and a totally pointless exercise to worship something that doesn't exist. Star Trek has the Prime Directive which directs starship captains to avoid interfering in the development of primitive alien cultures and although it seems to make sense at first glance it's just a fairy tale until we actually find ourselves dealing with such a scenario.
Stupid. The mere fact your god worried more about adultery than 'Thou shalt not own other human beings' tells me all I need to know about your worthless deity.
Sent from my iPhone
What is striking to me is how much better these secularist commandments are than the biblical ten. Anyone can improve the biblical ten. I mean, simply add "Thou shalt not enslave people." Boom, Better. Done.
I would hope that Christians would do unto others as they would have done unto them. I once was told about Christ and I no longer am heading from eternal separation from God. I try to do that for others. The law was given to us as a mirror so we can see, not how bad we are, but how good we are not. The commandments show us how we can't get right with God alone. God came as Jesus to pay the price I, we all, should pay due to our sins. He was beaten and hung from the cross to pay for these sins and as a free gift for us. If you repent of your sins and put your trust in Him, you can also be under his grace. That is the point of the commandments.
Yes, I was raised in a church that taught similar ideas. It just never sounded believable to my no-good brain. It sounds like a crack-pot scheme made up by a not-so-wise human. That is what my no-good brain tells me. Maybe Satan has got a hold of me, but my no-good brain tells me he is also a fiction.
I envy you for having being raised in a Christian home. I didn't have that luxury and it was along time before I knew Christ. According to Romans 1 it isn't your brain, but your love of sin that is the problem. You suppress the truth because you want to continue worshipping a false idol. So your reason leads you to the conclusion that Christianity doesn't make any sense, how do you know your reasoning is valid?
Apol....I know my reasoning is valid because snakes can't talk, 600 year old men can't build a boat and float 2 of every animal on the planet around for a year, the Red Sea can't part, men can't rise from the dead, and a host of other nonsense that Christians believe just can't happen. I apply logic to all aspects of my life. I pity all those that do not do the same
Gull....you keep referring to knowledge, reason, logic, etc with a view of the world that can't justify these things. The Christian worldview can justify these. When you demand that I'm logical, you show that you know God exists. Logic is a reflection of the mind of God. You use the Christian world in trying to disprove it. The laws of logic are universal, unchanging, and immaterial. How do you justify the laws of logic with your worldview?
Apol....in no way do I believe there is a god. And, not your god in particular. The god of the bible is an ego-maniacal tyrant. I also don't believe you can put the words god and logic together at all. There are thousands of gods. How have you been able to exclude all other gods from your belief?
The Christian faith affirms logic. How can you justify logic, which is eternal, unchanging, and immaterial with a worldview without God?
Apol....how can you believe in anything with no proof of existence. That is not logical. I have no idea at all why you are trying to tie logic to your particular god. That is a total disconnect.
Your asking me to be logical but I don't see how your atheistic worldview can justify logic. How do you justify the eternal, unchanging, and immaterial laws of logic? My worldview accounts for this since God is eternal, unchanging, and immaterial. But how do you justify logic?
Apol....logic would exist with or without your particular god. The two are mutually exclusive. You still have not answered how you excluded all the other thousands of gods from your particular god?
Can you tell me how logic can exist without God? I don't see how.
Apol....you must be insane. It is logical to think that I will be going home today at 5:00. It is logical to think that my wife will be home when I get there. How exactly do I need god to form that logic path?
I'm not saying you can't use logic as an atheist. They laws of logic can be justified in my Christian worldview but not in yours. This shows the absurdity of your worldview in which you use logic to debate mine but can't justify it in yours. I'm asking how your atheist worldview can justify the laws of logic which are universal, unchanging, and immaterial?
Apol....and I'm asking you how that implies not only that there is a god, but your particular god?
It makes sense in my view because the attributes of God match the attributes of the laws of logic, immaterial, universal, unchanging. In a view of the world without God, how do you justify the laws of logic that have these attributes?
Apol.....making sense is a far cry from definitive proof. How have you excluded Zeus from your god delusion? You are making some kind of supernatural connection between the laws of gravity and some creator. We are not scientifically at that point as yet. Because we do not have all the answers yet does not mean we must resort to proclaiming 'some sky wizard must have done it'. That thinking is thousands of years old and pre-dates your god theory.
I have excluded Zeus by using the laws of logic which I can justify in my worldview. How do you justify the laws of logic in yours?
Apol....you keep saying the same thing....nothing. I justify logic with my worldview, which does not include god. That is really a nonsense question that deserves a nonsense answer.
Gull... You didn't say how, just that you do. You want to have a logical conversation, yet your atheist worldview can't justify it. It shows the absurdity of the atheist's world view. But you'll continue to blog and demand logical conversations. Each time you do, you validate the Christian worldview. Please reflect on this and I lovingly urge you to repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus.
Apol.....once again, and for the last time, I will tell you....we do not have all the answers yet. That does not mean I just get to proclaim 'some god did it'. I can not have logical conversations with creationists because they are, in fact, idiots of the highest nature. Christians are not much farther behind. To consistently reject biology, geology, archeology, physics, and all the other sciences for a musty 2000 year old book is lunacy. I do not need either god or Jesus, as my life is quite full, but thanks for the sentiment anyway. By the way....if you ever come upon real evidential proof that your god exists, please let me know and I will be happy to believe.
oh the infantile, fairy tale world you live in ...
It's true, I do love the sin. Particularly masturbation. Also, you are right, my reasoning may be faulty. I wonder where I can find an authority figure to tell me what to think.
Faith denies logic.
A supernatural proposition is illogical as it cannot be proven.
You religion is predicated on supernatural tenets that you must take on faith – meaning you must believe them despite a lack of evidence or in the face of evidence to the contrary.
LET's Religiosity Law #8 – If you routinely ignore physics, geology, astronomy, biology, etc., and are happy with “god did it” then you are mentally retarded.
Christians don't ignore science. Science presupposes induction, uniformity in nature, that the future will be like the past. Without induction, science couldn't be repeated and makes no sense. This uniformity is explained in Colossians 1:16, For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
In order to know God or to feel His energy, one really has to be humble, to know how love feels, to be pure, to keep His commandments, to love others, and to be ready to do His will. We cannot be arrogant and expect God to appear to show us whether He is God or not. God comes to us via many media, and if we are not prepared, then we would not be ready to receive. I suppose if you want to see God or feel God's energy, then think like a god. If you were a God of love, then would you appear to anyone who does not acknowledge that there is a god, and all you hear is negative comments, aggression, power play, challenges, etc....? Tell me, my friend, why God should waste time with us when we are not ready to receive Him, or when we do not acknowledge that there is a God? Are we here to search for the truth? Or, are we here to be satisfied with answers? And, how do you know which God to believe when there are so many out there? Are you expecting a showdown of all the Gods to prove to you of the Almighty?
Well, it is not going to happen because the real God does not take form, and seeing Him is a privilege. If you are lucky enough, then you might feel His energy through interacting with God.
Let me share with you the following excerpt from Jn 17:20-26, Lifting his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying "Holy Father, I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory that you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me, I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them."
Well, well let's see what a couple of these atheists said. One of them Kurt Vonnegut said that atheism is a religion. Douglas Adam, is an idolater who imagined a puddle creating itself. They all though and imagined all kinds of stuff about what they have not seen and don't know about. That's why I say that atheism is Absolute, Complete and Total NONSENSE. And atheists are extreme hypocrites and compulsive pathological LIARS. To such a degree is their hypocrisy and pathological Lying, that not even in Hollywood of all places they are listening to them.
Please don't feed the trolls!
hum... was that supposed to be a disprove or refutation of what I've been saying? Or is it another piece of Evidence/proof of what I've been saying all along?
See... this is why I must remind atheists that their Cult like "belief" system is Absolute, Complete and Total NONSENSE. Look, even in Hollywood of all places on earth, they're not listening to you. Men of reason and reasonable men are not listening to your chicaneries and shenanigans. I meant, we hear you, we see your tantrums, your bellyaching, we "hear" your whining and whinnies, but though we hear, we really are not paying attention to you, we don't Listen to you. So go ahead throw yourselves on the floor and bark, bleat, howls and squeal. Just like Jesus said you ought to be.
NO one has to refute anything you say, as you never once have made a ration argument. All you do is keep repeating your one-liner, with no evidence. That's all you know HOW to do.
Nonsense can be dismissed with no further attention.
All you post is nonsense.
So then... midwestken and unreal buckyball are one and the same. Or buckyball answers for midwest. Really... is this what atheists who are extreme hypocrites and compulsive Liars call "rational" arguments?
This is just one more piece of Evidence of the extreme hypocrisy and Compulsive pathological Lying of atheists and the reason atheism is Absolute, complete and Total NONSENSE. Just like the Bible say it is!!
Why would your bible's god allow the following:
Number of your god's creations who died horrible deaths from the following diseases:
1. 300,000,000 approx.
2. 200,000,000 ?
3. 100,000,000 approx.
Plague of Justinian
9. 12,000,000 ?
Third Pandemic of Bubonic Plague
12. 250,000 or more annually Seasonal influenza
September 24, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Reply
Reality # 2
And then there is this:
o WHERE WAS YOUR Bibel's GOD WHEN THE FOLLOWING TOOK PLACE:
The Twenty (or so) Worst Things GOD'S CREATURES Have Done to Each Other:
M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)
The Muslim Conquest of India
"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "
Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*
1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")
2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)
3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)
4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)
5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)
6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)
7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)
8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)
9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C
10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)
11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)
12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)
13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C
14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C
15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C
16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)
17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)
18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)
19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)
20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C
Hum... so unreal reality in his real and extreme hypocrisy wants me to believe that he/she really cares for those who died. He/she appears to have an attack of the living while waiting to die. See... this is what I call Extreme Hypocrisy on the part of atheists. And let's not forget all who are still to die because DEATH is a Fact of Life. Does the atheist care about the living? Not really! Can the atheist provide an answer to the living for the death? No. Care to explain why we die or why we live?
And of course since atheism is Absolute, Complete and Total NONSENSE, the atheists lacks the certainty in a Resurrection, in Eternal Rewards in Heaven and Eternal Punishment in the other Place that IS NOT Heaven.
A merciful god would have everyone either die peacefully in their sleep or go directly into his heaven. Obviously, he does not adding circ-umstantial evidence that said god does not exist.
Well Ken, it looks like someone took the bait. This is why this troll always returns using whatever name strikes it's fancy: Someone always feeds it.
I wonder what Douglas Adams would think being called an idolater.
He might agree to being labelled an Apple fanboy but he died before this term had currency.
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