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July 2nd, 2014
08:50 AM ET

The new American dream: Searching for spirituality

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - To discover one’s self. To find enlightenment. To take a spiritual journey.

What does this language mean? Are these pursuits, these aspirations, really possible? And if they are, what do the results look like?

I can’t pretend to have the answers. What I do know is that I went to India this year on a journalism fellowship to write about religion and spirituality. I landed in a place called Rishikesh, a holy spot for Hindus and magnet for Westerners seeking inner peace.

For two weeks, I set judgment aside and dove in to see what this place was all about. What I found touched me more than I anticipated and left me feeling somewhat transformed. I chronicled all of this in "Indian Awakenings" last month.

Since then, I've had a different sort of awakening.

The flood of responses, including hundreds of long and thoughtful e-mails from readers around the world, made it clear: People are hungry for stories of spiritual discoveries – and for mainstream platforms willing to explore them.

No surprise there, said Lisa Miller, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University, Teachers College, and director of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute.

“This is part of a huge cultural shift,” said Miller, who'd barely heard about spirituality in academia when she started out 20 years ago. “We’re evolving – as a collective – and finding something deeper, more true and more permanent.”

The story from India “stimulated not only my intellect but also awakened my soul,” wrote one of the readers.

“It inspired me to live my life with a more open heart,” said another.

“An energy forced me to read your article,” wrote a third. “While reading, I cried, reflected on my life, felt the wounds of my daughters, exclaimed pain from my sister’s suicide, gave thanks to my parents and even sent advice to a guy I just met. I’m not sure where this will all lead.”

Miller attributes this opening up, at least in part, to a loss of security, a response to challenges. Financial downturns and, for some, implosions. Natural disasters. School shootings. Domestic terrorism. Pick your pain.

“People who’ve never suffered aren’t very deep,” she said. “In this country, there’s been a shattering of the golden calf. Idolatry of the material side of the American dream is fading, and we need to come up with a new American dream.”

The letters, however, came from countries far and wide. People weighed in from all different faith backgrounds – Hindu, Catholic, Muslim, Protestant, Mormon, Buddhist, Jewish, atheist and agnostic.

Most shared enthusiasm about peering outside their normal perspective and learning about others' views.  But the ones who were least willing to bend or be open seemed to fit into two distinct categories, firmly set on opposite ends of the spiritual spectrum: those who believe the Bible is the literal word of God, and those who don't believe in God at all.

If sitting in front of idols and not sticking to the Bible wasn’t going to be the end of me, the literalists seemed to say, the devout atheists thought my gullibility and being a sucker would.

Those diametrically opposed criticisms made sense to Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist who helped pioneer a field called “neurotheology,” or the neurological study of religious and spiritual experiences.

A person’s reactions come down to how the brain is wired, said Newberg, the co-author of books including “How God Changes Your Brain.” Those who can look outside their own views will do so. Those who are firmly wired may not be capable of challenging the information they hold dear.

“Our brains are belief-making machines, so we gravitate to different beliefs,” whether we find them in science, religion or art, he said. “Each of our brains is doing its best job to figure out the world.”

How we are raised, our genetics, even infections we had as children help shape how our brains work and how necessary it is for us to lock into a specific sort of mindset, Newberg said.

When we engage in rituals, we strengthen our connections to a belief. And this doesn’t just apply to religion. It plays out, too, in our politics and morals - even where we get our news.

“The connections that make sense to us or comfort us, we keep feeding them,” he said.

We are, as a result, drawn to the people and ideas that support our wiring, Newberg said. For those who may seem less flexible on either end of the spectrum, it can generate prejudice.

But for those who believe in a loving, non-punishing God, he says, the benefits of spiritual practice and prayer are real.  This sort of mindset, even just 12 minutes of meditation a day, can slow the aging process, scale back anxiety, reduce depression and increase compassion, security and feelings of love. He says the brain scans he's studied prove it.

I didn’t find my guru in India, nor did I develop a consistent yoga or meditation practice. But I returned feeling like something had shifted inside of me.

This recent Father’s Day, unlike previous ones since my dad died, didn’t wreck me. I’ve slept better. I’m in the healthiest relationship I’ve ever known. I don’t feel like I've failed because I didn't have children, nor do I have those days at work when I think, “I suck.”

And I like to think that my being open to possibilities, my looking at the world and people with wonder instead of judgment, helped bring me there. Whether I technically found myself or got enlightened, I can’t say. All I know is I’m in a better place.

Gauging from readers’ reactions, no matter where they come from, it appears many of them want to get there, too.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Faith • India • Spirituality

soundoff (514 Responses)
  1. ninap2014

    I am reminded of the statement " Everything you came here looking for, you came here looking with". Once we realize that, life becomes infinitely more exciting. We begin to realize the more we know, how little we really know and that sets us free allowing us to embrace knowledge and spirituality.
    Sufi poet Rumi said it best: "Out Beyone Ideas of Right Doing and Wrong Doing ... There is a Field ... I'll Meet You There"

    July 26, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
  2. sealchan

    Per Joseph Campbell (probably best described as an atheist who profoundly appreciates the literary and psychological qualities of myth) a myth (religion or communal spirituality) provides four services: inspirational encounter with mystery and power of the universe, relationship to the nature of the cosmos, relationship to a social order and ethics, attunement of personal character in meaningful relationship to the world. Today's religious powers set in as their respective cultures changed from an oral to a literate culture. Prior to that oral story telling was the creative medium for myth and rituals were humanities way of participating in those stories. Stories and rituals and social groups are still the medium but the old religions may not be capable of evolving. Science and scholarship keep recasting the certainties of the past into more conditional truth statements. Modern story-tellers such as our great film directors make millions with fantasy, science fiction and traditional myths retold. Virtual reality promises to provide us with a rich stage of media in which we can immerse ourselves. Ideas, stories and even game/rituals are being created in ever greater numbers. This is the context in which we experience our myth today, where choice is God and our transcendence comes from finding our own path in tune with the paths of everyone else.

    July 11, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
  3. orbitaltoaster

    If by "New" they mean since the 1960's, then yes, it's new.
    We're biologically programmed to search for meaning – like seeing faces in the clouds. Patterns = meaning. It follows that we have a tendency to look for THE meaning. Some of us are content to see everything as random; i.e., that there is no "ultimate meaning" to Life, The Universe, or Anything (to misquote one of my favorite authors). Others find that ultimate meaning in a collection of ancient manuscripts of dubious authorship. Still others find it in Transcendental Meditation or a belief in aliens.
    But I've wandered off topic. Imho, anything that moves people away from organized religion can't be all bad. Is more of that happening these days? Statistics seem to say so. We can only pray. Irony intended.

    July 7, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
  4. Mars

    Haven't these people learnt anything? Throughout history G-d has been lovingly telling them to follow the one true G-d. Instead, they run around after false gods and seek after false sense of fulfillment.

    It was almost 40 days since Moses was up at Mt. Sinai, the people were getting impatient and thought Moses had died, they wanted to make for themselves an image of god. They managed to convince Aaron to build a golden calf that they could worship. Aaron did exactly what the people wanted, instead of obeying the first commandment given to them by G-d(wrong move) and ultimately paid the price for his disobedience against the one true G-d.

    Sigh..fast forward ~4000 years later, it's the same nonsense being played by these people, they constantly reject the ONE true GOD and go after false promises and false gods.

    Having been given all the blessings and promises they forsake that which they have and go in search of false promises/gods. Have they not learnt their lesson from the Tanakh, Nevi'im, Ketuvim & NT?

    July 7, 2014 at 8:58 am |
    • igaftr

      There are over 400 "one true gods"
      There are over 100 "creator" gods
      There are thousands upon thousands of other gods.

      Probably best to stop making up gods and then believing in them, since none have ever been shown to exist.

      July 7, 2014 at 9:03 am |
    • igaftr

      By the way...no one has ever "learnt" anything, though many have learned.

      July 7, 2014 at 9:08 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Don't you find it odd that "The One True God" didn't chose to make His presence evident to humanity until 4,000 years ago and even then, only to a few small, itinerant desert tribes?

      If the One True Deity, shaper of The Universe, wishes their words to be transmitted and adhered to, they should have been a bit less ambiguous. Expecting people to select The Truth out of limitless possibilities on faith alone seems a sloppy way to run things – especially if the punishment for a wrong choice is eternal torment.

      July 7, 2014 at 10:09 am |
      • Joeseph Eclaire

        As expected the subject matter at hand got twisted up in religion. Religion is not Spirituality !
        Religion/doctrine is built upon a set of rules much like Science/laws is.

        Spirituality seeks to distance itself from the preconceived and search out the understanding as it relates on a 'personal level, i.e. as an individual.

        July 7, 2014 at 10:21 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Spirituality, or supernaturalism, isn't required to seek meaning on a personal level.
          A naturalistic perspective is just as valid in seeking to understand one's role in the grand scheme of things.

          Spirituality/reilgion is concerned with the search for "Ultimate Truth" whereas naturalism seeks to understand and describe proximate truth.

          July 7, 2014 at 10:27 am |
        • Joeseph Eclaire

          Don't get involved in the slick words, 'supernaturalism'. Those ideas/words come from charlatans promoting a book or their own agenda.

          July 7, 2014 at 10:47 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Spirits, souls etc. are supernatural.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • Doris

          Doc: "Spirits, souls etc. are supernatural."

          True. Unless, of course, we are talking about sharing some cool gin and tonics and some Aretha Franklin in the shade on a lazy summer afternoon...

          July 7, 2014 at 11:20 am |
        • evidencenot

          @joe ..."Don't get involved in the slick words, 'supernaturalism'. Those ideas/words come from charlatans"

          Kinda like "creationism"

          July 8, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
    • Quentin

      Have they not learnt their lesson from the Tanakh, Nevi'im, Ketuvim & NT?

      –Apparently, NOT!

      July 7, 2014 at 11:26 am |
      • Quentin

        Well, could they have wiser for all the experiences of their forefathers? Sure, sure they could....

        Valuable lesson from the people in the wilderness

        Valuable lesson from repeatedly going after pagan gods.

        Valuable lesson from the blunder of King Solomon by marrying into pagan religions

        Valuable lesson from ...the list goes on and on in the OT.

        Their hearts are hardened and they are blinded by their own follies.

        July 7, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • Quentin

          /Well, could they have been wiser for all the experiences their forefathers had? Sure, they could have become wiser.What must have taken them two weeks, took them forty long years, yet they did not become any wiser.

          Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
          Psalm 86:11

          July 7, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • Quentin

          Forty long years is not the issue, it's just that , in disobeying God, most of them missed out on the promise!

          Wise up! — Proverbs 13:20

          July 7, 2014 at 11:55 am |
      • Joeseph Eclaire

        Yeah, and some thousands years later took the League of Nations to fulfill it as a token gift for the suffering of the holocaust.
        Perhaps why there will never be peace in the Middle East.

        July 7, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • G to the T

          As I understand it, the Jewish people were offered Madagascar by the British govt before the war and they turned it down...

          July 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
  5. MidwestKen

    Ah, so it's not religion in general that you disagree with, just certain kinds of religion, is that it? Depending on the definition, of course.

    July 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
  6. billbl

    As long as it is only the spirit in individuals this sounds very positive as opposed to supernatural spirits. This is a step away from the adherents to the greatest hoax in history that people actually live after they die for which there is no evidence. This was an easy sell because people have a natural fear of death and really want to think that they continue on. Of course, the place where they are to be sent was either a reward or a punishment for how they lived on Earth. Today we see people wanting to reach heaven by strapping on bombs and exploding them among innocent people. Most probably the world would be much more peaceful with exposing that hoax.

    July 6, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
  7. wdrown

    great personal follow up piece, Jessica! I believe that whether a person has had an easy life or a tough life, they can choose to awaken to God, in whatever form this means to them, and help transform the world through transforming themselves. This series is fantastic, and I hope you get to do another on another location-faith-people, because your personal analysis and reflection on how the experience affects you, is written so well, that it affects the rest of us who read it with an open mind. Keep up the good work! – Love, Wes

    July 6, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
  8. wilburw7

    Did Jesus lie? The very thing you hate about Jesus is that he represents honesty and righteousness. The very thing you have disbelieve to dismiss his warning about going to hell when you die. Betting against Jesus Christ's honestly is the worst bet you could make.

    July 6, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      False dicotomy. Just because someone doesn't lie does not therefore mean they spoke the truth.

      Not to mention there is no reason to believe statements attributed to Jesus are accurate. He didn't write anything himself.

      July 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
    • observer

      wilburw7,

      Speaking of betting, God's bet with Satan about Job was one of the LOWEST points of the Bible and portrayed God as a HEARTLESS jerk.

      July 6, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
    • igaftr

      You cannot tell from the bible if Jesus lied or not, since you only have things he ALLEGEDLY said. No one knows if he actually said anything that was attributed to him.

      There is the famous story from the bible where god lied, so why not Jesus?

      July 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
    • Science Works

      Hey wilbur – it is a rehash with different ti-tle eh ?

      Finding wholeness in a holy place
      By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

      July 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • Reality

      Again some added details about this Jesus fellow:

      (as previously noted)

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah/Argentine white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      July 6, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
    • G to the T

      "Betting against Jesus Christ's honestly is the worst bet you could make."

      I don't necessarily question his honestly. I just don't necessarily believe we know what he actually said.

      July 7, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
  9. Dalahäst

    I think there is only one place where the term religion is used positively in the Bible:

    "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27 “my life for you” > “my life for me”

    The greatest spiritual act is helping someone in need. And letting them help you, too. Learning that we are all equals is spirituality in its truest form, in my experience.

    July 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • blessed137

      Just because you believe in God and Jesus doesnt mean you are "religious" according to the world's definition of what religion is. Im appreciative of your posted scripture about God's definition of religious. Serving others. Its not about the traditions of men and how they want others to conform to their practices of worship. "You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips,but their hearts are far from me.Their worship is a farce,for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.” Matthew 15:7-9
      Religious practices put a burden on God's worshippers that Jesus set us free from. I dont have a religion, I have a relationship.

      July 6, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Right. Religious people hated Jesus in His time. It still happens today.

        July 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • blessed137

          The religious hated Jesus because he made God so accessible to those they considered more of a sinner then themselves. That is still the case. Organized religion makes God inaccessible by trying to convince those who are seeking the truth they must do this and that or they cant be close to God and He wont forgive them. When the truth is it is our faith in Jesus, His righteousness that make us right with God.

          July 6, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • igaftr

          137
          "When the truth is it is our faith in Jesus"

          That is what you believe to be the truth, one possible truth among an infinite number of possible truths.
          The real truth is that you do not know what the truth is.

          July 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That faith, or trust and confidence, in Jesus is what protects us from the poison of religion, I believe. We aren't trying to earn or obey our way into God's favor, just merely accepting the gift He has given us. Grace. Right?

          July 6, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
        • blessed137

          Right, 100% pure grace.

          July 6, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
        • blessed137

          "One possible truth". So then do you believe that it is possible that God exist? And Jesus might be a savior?

          July 6, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
        • colin31714

          Blessed137 – It is no more possible than any other supernatural beings – fairies, pixies, gods, ghosts, goblins. I don't know why a believer thinks they get anywhere when an atheist acknowledges that they cannot positively disprove the Judeo-Christian god. All that is is an acknowledgement that it is often impossible to prove a negative. Prove Santa Claus does not exist.

          July 6, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Blessed

          That grace turned me from an agnostic/atheist into a believer.

          July 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "And Jesus might be a savior?"

          Only in the sense that a mob boss "saves" a person he chooses not to kill or torture.

          July 6, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
        • blessed137

          How can you say it is not possible when you just said you cant dissprove God's existence? Since you brought it up give me the latest scientific evidence that God does not exist and your right and im wrong. There can only be one truth. Not infinite number of possibilites because those possibilities dont agree. As for "Santa Clause" he did exist, St Nicholas then he died. They santa of the day is based on St Nicholas charitable contribution to help the needy.

          July 6, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          You are more than a believer, you are a knower.

          July 6, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
        • bostontola

          blessed,
          I don't know any atheists that have certainty. I do know many religious people that have certainty. The weird thing is, they are of different religions with different 'knowledge'. False certainty is a conceit and can be dangerous. It founded events from the Crusades through the Holocaust.

          July 6, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
        • blessed137

          Dala, you to, I was also an atheist. Blessed, Jesus was not a crime boss. Why are you comparing Jesus with that?

          July 6, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
        • blessed137

          Bost, I agree with you that atheist have no certainity. Yes there are many religions that claim they know theirs is the right one. Being a former atheist I can certainly understand the confusion and why one would question or doubt the existence of God. However their is only one truth. Their either is a God or no God.

          July 6, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
        • bostontola

          blessed,
          Do you know there is God? Do you know God has a relationship with humans? Do you know that Jesus is the one true God?

          July 6, 2014 at 6:10 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          *There* could be a god...but IF that was the case....*There* is no reason to think it would be your god,

          July 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Blessed, Jesus was not a crime boss."

          In you mythology what is Jesus saving us from? God's judgement....Who was Jesus? God.

          Therefore god is saving us from himself. And what is requried? Our belief.

          So god is like a mob boss who points a gun at your head and proclaims "Pay up or die...it is you choice and you will have no one to blame but yourself."

          That is not the actions of a loving god.

          July 6, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
        • blessed137

          I know God. I know that Im human and he loves me. I know that Jesus loves me enough to take my place. I know that Jesus has changed me from the inside out. After I met God Im not the same nasty person I used to be. I was a real miserable shrew. I know the new desires I have now that I never had before. I know the love for others I never had before. I know that God IS love. I know that Jesus is the image of God. I know the power from God that flows through me giving me the power to be as he is. LOVE. I know that there is one God, one truth, and one way.

          July 6, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
        • blessed137

          bost, do u question a human relationship with God? Like He wouldnt want one.

          July 6, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • blessed137

          blessed, what is your definition of a loving God? and what would you want a god to be like? What should be his standard of what is right and wrong? And what should he do with those who did what was wrong? What would be his character?

          July 6, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          bostontola,

          I do have knowledge of God. If I didn't I would identify as an agnostic or an atheist.

          blessed,

          God loved me even when I was an atheist. How about you?

          July 6, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • blessed137

          Blessed, So my god is wrong for having a moral standard. For putting people to death for violating his moral standard who refuse to turn from doing wrong? For being Just? My God is Just. He must punish those who do evil in his sight. Jesus took that just punishment for you. No crime boss would do that.

          July 6, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
        • blessed137

          Dala, most absolutely. At the time i didnt realize it, but now when I look back on it he was there every minute of every day. I was in a very dark place. I hated people because most people were very cruel to me for no reason. I was always picked on and haressed in school. But there was always a certain person that was especially kind and loving to me for no reason. I believe that God works through people to be the love that is lost from most. Not to mention the miracles in my life that had no rational explaination.

          July 6, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          People who pick on others and harass others are usually hurting themselves. I'm glad that situation didn't get the best of you. Hopefully you can help those in similar situations today. Thanks for sharing.

          July 6, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Blessed, So my god is wrong for having a moral standard."

          Infinate punishment fr finite crimes is not moral.

          For putting people to death for violating his moral standard who refuse to turn from doing wrong?

          Belief or non-belief is not a moral issue.

          "For being Just?"

          That is not just.

          "Jesus took that just punishment for you. No crime boss would do that."

          Jesus had a bad weekend...not that impressive.

          July 6, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
        • blessed137

          There are two standards of good and evil. God's and Man's. It is not unbelief in His standard of good, it is doing what is evil that is evil to Him. Your soul is eternal and since you cant be with him as he is holy and will not look upon evil, that only leaves one other option. We can dance about this all night blessed. There is no god and absolute morality its all in your head. Yes there is. No there isnt, prove it. Yes there is, prove He isnt. There is only one truth blessed: 1)There is a god. 2)There is no god.

          July 6, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          False dicotomy,

          Even if there is a god there is no reason to think it is your god. And yes you can dance all you want. The bottom line of Christianity is not about being or doing good...it is about belief in that specific god. Unbelief is the only unforgivable sin...everything else is negotiable. That is not a system of morality...that is a system of obedience. Being obedient is by definition an amoral system.

          July 6, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
        • blessed137

          The bottom line in Christianity is about putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sin. Unbelief in God, and/or the sinful nature prohibits your obedience to uphold his moral standard. The sin nature is rebellious. Toward Gods laws and man's laws. His standard is perfect and good. The opposite of this standard is evil. Its this evil that he justly condemns. Its your unbelief in His Son that prohibits you from receiving forgiveness. Or belief allows us to receive his promises, ask for forgiveness and receive it. You can choose for yourself you have free will, to believe in a just moral God, believe in no god, or a god that fits into your ideal of what a god should be. Considering the fact that you have a problem with a just moral god, by My God's definition of what is just and moral, then what is just to you? What is moral? Do you believe in absolute morality? You never answered my questions about what your ideal god would be like.

          July 7, 2014 at 9:07 am |
        • igaftr

          "Unbelief in God, and/or the sinful nature prohibits your obedience to uphold his moral standard."

          Men wrote your bible, men said god said this and that. Men said god did this and that, but just like the other thousands of gods...no one can show any exist.
          It is highly likely that gods only exist in your imagination.

          July 7, 2014 at 9:19 am |
        • blessed137

          Men also write books saying their is no god because there is no visible evidence. There is also no evidence he doesnt exist. So its in your imagination that there is no god because you cant see. Prove that an invisible, immortal, eternal God is not. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 corinthians 4:18

          July 7, 2014 at 9:42 am |
        • igaftr

          137
          Men create gods...thousands of them. They are created to answer mans own ignorance. Yours appears to be no different.
          There is not only no visible evidence, thee is also no invisible evidence of your god, but there is a great deal of evidence showing men made up the whole thing.

          You ar3e the one who has chosen to see what is not there. You are the one who has chosen to believe a baselesss story.

          July 7, 2014 at 9:50 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Blessed
          Ever hear of Russell's Teapot?

          “If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and ent.itle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.”

          ― Bertrand Russell

          July 7, 2014 at 9:50 am |
        • blessed137

          Yes there are many gods that men have created. Because of this is understand the doubt it causes. If I kept looking at the notion of mans many gods and hypocritical christians I would still be an atheist. But I had revelation of eternity and that there is a god. And my faith developed from there. What evidence is there that the books of the bible are made up? That Jesus never died for my sins? And what is the invisible evidence?

          July 7, 2014 at 10:03 am |
        • blessed137

          What about love? Love is invisible but we can see the fruits of love. In the same way I see the fruits of God. It is written God is love.

          July 7, 2014 at 10:08 am |
        • Dalahäst

          blessed,
          Love is something that can be known, even though we can't see it. And experience leads to that knowledge. If somebody doesn't want to know love, I can't force it on them. They can point to imaginary teapots and chemical reactions in the brain. They can call me names and insist I'm delusional for believing in love because I can't prove it to them. But I know love exists. I don't lose sleep over their inability to see love. I share what I know and let them make their own decisions.

          July 7, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          God's primary characteristic isn't love – it is jealousy.
          But regardless – "love" as such is no longer invisible.
          We now have a pretty solid understanding of the neurological and chemical mechanisms of human pair bonding.

          July 7, 2014 at 10:12 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          137,
          "... what your ideal god would be like."

          It would know when I'm nice and bring gifts at the end of each year as a reward.

          July 7, 2014 at 10:17 am |
        • blessed137

          Dalahast, i agree with you. We cant shove god down their throats. All we can do is share our knowledge of him, experiences, and the love that he offers. They have the freewill to choose. Actually the love that I had from non religious christians that showed me what true love is really had a powerful effect in my life. Love has nothing to do with feelings, its an action. Love is the unconditional commitment to set aside the self and serve another. To meet their needs in everyway possible. Regardless of whether you think they deserve it or not.

          July 7, 2014 at 10:43 am |
        • Dalahäst

          How do you handle people who try to shove their atheism down your throat? Luckily most atheists do not do such a thing. But it would be tough to deny that there is a vocal minority that does such things.

          July 7, 2014 at 10:55 am |
        • ausphor

          Dala
          How do you handle someone that constantly brings up/berates people for posting comments on a blog all day long when the person criticizing does the exact same thing?

          July 7, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I can't deny that I post a lot on this religion blog dedicated on faith and belief. I love to talk about God. I try to just share what I know, and not push my views on other people. But sometimes I fail at that. I don't like when they do that to me. So it is important I don't do it to others. It is tempting to do it. I can see why others do it.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • blessed137

          When people try to force their faith on me I respecfully share my beliefs and knowledge. If they dont want to believe after they had the chance to hear what I shared I just pray for them. Im not opposed to a respectful debate, but I dont want to continue beating a dead horse with a hammer. Its supprising that when I post a main comment they reply then want to keep going on on. I dont ever reply to them as most are regulars and they know what I believe and have already heard what I have to say. I think that your catching on that ive been dragged down the same road of me repeating myself and I should let it go.LOL.Right? Jesus help me.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:09 am |
        • ausphor

          truthpervails
          So you should have figured out by now that the 5 billion people that reject your version of god are not swayed by your argument and ever will be, a futile pursuit but enjoy yourself if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • ausphor

          meant for blessed137 but could apply to all the proselytizers on here.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Did you mean that even for the atheist proselytizers?

          July 7, 2014 at 11:24 am |
        • midwest rail

          " I can't deny that I post a lot on this religion blog dedicated on faith and belief..."
          Nor can I. It is just as important to me that certain faith viewpoints be challenged as it is for the one who shares that viewpoint.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Exactly. It is just as important to me that certain atheist viewpoints be challenged as it is for the one who shares that viewpoint.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • midwest rail

          Exactly – that's why I try not to question how often someone posts here. It is irrelevant.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:31 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I question that viewpoint. It can be relevant.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • midwest rail

          IF it ie relevant, then it is relevant for all, or relevant for no one.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Dalahäst

          When people push their viewpoints on me, it is relevant to question them. Yes, for all of them.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • blessed137

          Dala. Its very tempting to want to shove your views down ones throat. Not that we do it out of arrogance but because we care about them and want everyone to come to saving knowledge of Jesus. However it doesnt do any good. We cant sway people with our arguments. Only God can talk to a person's heart. We can only share what we believe. I have to go to work. Would like to talk to you later. Have a blessed day. Peace and Love, Blessed137

          July 7, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I look at the evidence that people produce. Whether they are atheist or theist – what they do speaks louder than what they say. Thanks for sharing. Peace be with you.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • midwest rail

          Then it is relevant for everyone who posts here.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes. It is relevant to whoever is trying to push their viewpoints on me. Whether they are Atheist, Deist, Christian, agnostic, Jewish, Humanist, naturalist – whatever.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • blessed137

          oops, meant to say our views, not your views. this was not to be directed to you dala. Just generally speaking.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          dala
          "... I post a lot on this religion blog dedicated on faith and belief. I love to talk about God. I try to just share what I know, and not push my views on other people."
          Except that you don't know that there is a god, you believe in a god. If you actually knew, there would be objective evidence which would convince all non-believers and all believers in others gods. You have never provided that.
          Yet when posters push back on that you say that is "atheist proselytizers" "...shoving their atheism down your throat".

          July 7, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • Dalahäst

          In Santa We Trust,

          There are only a handful of people on here that seem upset that I know there is a God.

          Just because you don't believe or have that knowledge does not prove God does not exist. You can make that claim for yourself. But I can't. I have evidence from God.

          When posters comment or disagree with me I generally don't think of them as “atheist proselytizers”. It is just the very vocal minority of atheists that do such a thing.

          I have experience with “atheist proselytizers” and "religious proselytizers” and they generally share a similar mindset.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          You don't know god and, although I can't speak for others, your delusion does not upset me.

          As has been pointed out multiple times, you do not believe in leprechauns, elves, etc. because there is no objective evidence, yet your threshold of "evidence" lowers when it pertains to your belief.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          In Santa We Trust

          Yes, you have dictated that multiple times. And you keep speculating that you are absolutely right about it. But that is just speculation.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • midwest rail

          You cannot have it both ways. There are many stories and opinion pieces published here that are of interest to everyone, not just Christians. The question of relevance either applies to everyone who posts here, or it applies to no one. Not just the posters that try to "push" their viewpoints on you.

          July 7, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Sorry if I was suggesting that. It wasn't my point. There are people who actually do push their viewpoints on me. I'm addressing them.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • bostontola

          I accept that Dalahast and others 'know' that their God is real and relates to them. Just like many Muslims 'know' that Allah is real and that Jesus is not God but is a prophet. Just like John Nash 'knew' Charles was real, or some Wiccans 'know' their spells are real.

          I doubt they are using the epistemological know, it is the 'know' that comes from subjective certainty. It is an unreliable certainty as must be because people 'know' things that are mutually exclusive. But that's ok, if they want to feel like they 'know', I don't care.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          bostontola

          Unfortunately there is no objective evidence to back your opinions on this matter – to please you (I don't believe you when you say you don't care) would require me to abandon evidence that disagrees with your philosophical musings.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • colin31714

          Yes Bostonola, many Christians "know" God and Jesus are real and that they have been saved by Jesus; many Muslims "know" Allah is real and that the Prophet Mohammed communicates with them and shows them the way to Allah; many Hindus "know" that the Lord Brahma is real; many Australian Aboriginals "know" that the ancestor spirits are real and communicate with them.

          John Hinkley "knew" that he was Holden Caufield and that shooting Ronald Reagan would ipress Jodi foster, many people "know" of other voices in their head, of demons that haunt them and of aliens who have abducted them.

          The line between the completely delusional psychopath and the mildly delusional believer can be thin indeed. Thinking that the creator of the Universe (God/Allah/Jesus/Brahma etc.) somehow has a personal interest in you and/or directs your life or "saves" you is a form of mental delusion, albeit a common one. "The God Delusion" was a great ti.tle for Dawkin's bestseller.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Remember Colin bragging that he "knows" the warmth produced when he "knows" he is right is based in intelligence, not arrogance.

          Ever try to hold Colin to the same standard he judges others by? Talk abut delusions.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • colin31714

          Calling a delusion a delusion is not intelligent or arrogant. It is a simple observation.

          July 7, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Right. And you suffer from your own delusions. It is hypocrisy when you point to others as having delusions and imagine you don't. It is arrogant when you resort to ridicule and insults to support your personal observations.

          July 7, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • colin31714

          I do not resort to ridicule and insults. I find the belief in gods a (mild and common) form of delusion. Saying so is hardly an insult. If you are so thin-skinned that you are offended by that on a blog such as this, I suggest you find another forum, because disagreements over and criticisms of religious views is what this blog tends to be all about. Your views, which you see fit to share publicly, are fair game for scrutiny, as are mine.

          July 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          You must be more than just mildly delusional if you imagine you don't resort to ridicule and insults. I'm not offended by your opinions. I can see them for what they are. As can most reasonable adults. If you are so thin-skinned your are offended by me pointing out your delusions, logical fallacies and arrogance than perhaps you should find another forum. I can't help but observe the extreme hypocrisy in your message. How do you rationalize to yourself that that is ok? Is that "warmth" you boast about you "know" you are right contribute to that?

          July 7, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          I stated 2 things, one factual one opinion.

          Fact. People think they know things that are mutually exclusive to things that others know. Do you dispute that?

          Opinion. People who think they know these things are not using epistemological know. Why do I need evidence for a postulated hypothesis? That doesn't violate any principle I live by. If I represented it as fact it would.

          I don't care what you think you know. It does bother me that you think I would falsely state that, I thought we had a relationship of mutual respect.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          bostontola

          It bothers me when you take things I say out of context. When you constantly question me, yet seemingly ignore your fellow atheists making the same types of comments. You've become kind of a know-it-all attempting to fix me any chance you get. Problem is you've got your own glaring flaws and defects. I wish you would work on those first.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          Wow.

          It bothers me when you take things I say out of context. When you constantly question me, yet seemingly ignore your fellow atheists making the same types of comments. You've become kind of a know-it-all attempting to fix me any chance you get.
          ==> I ask questions of many people not just you. This is a discussion forum, that's its purpose. Why would I want to 'fix' anyone? I am engaging in discussions. People make points, I sometimes question them for clarification, sometimes I argue against their comments. I have challenged other atheists. Your response sounds like you feel personally targeted. I have considered you a reasonable person, I have enjoyed our discussions. I'm sorry you feel attacked.

          Problem is you've got your own glaring flaws and defects. I wish you would work on those first.
          ==> The number of my flaws is quite large. I don't feel that I have to be perfect before I am qualified to engage in discussion in this forum.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Bostontola,

          Imagine having a group of people continuously suggest you are delusional, mentally ill or childish for holding a view point that differs from theirs. They provide no objective evidence to support this claim. If you disagree or mistaken – they call you a liar.

          I'm sorry if I am associating you with that group. Sometimes it is tough to tell the difference between an reasonable atheist and an unreasonable atheist when the first is calling me names and attempting to make me feel inferior and the reasonable atheist ignores it, but takes issue with the fact that logic doesn't lead everyone to atheism.

          July 7, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          blessed137,

          None of that statement contradicted my point that the central issue of Christianity is "belief". It is not attempting to do good, or love and respect of others. And none of that addressed my issue of how and why "belief" is a moral issue. All you do is state that it "just is". How does belief make someone a better person worthy of being "saved"?

          As far as what my "ideal" god would be like....I have no idea why that would be relevant to the discussion. I can say that if you could prove that the Christian god existed I would "believe"...but I would consider that god a monster unworthy of my respect. I would view it more as a child who takes enjoyment for burning ants. Immature, petty, vain and self centered.

          July 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          I don't have to work very hard to imagine that. Salero, finisher, etc. say atheism is a lie, atheism is idiocy, etc. Others assert things as fact like Evolution is false. They use fallacious arguments and misrepresent the scientific position.

          Bottom line, it doesn't bother me at all for the people that are dogmatic. I consider the source before my reaction is formulated. If my father criticizes me, it hurts and I am forced to look inward. If it is a dolt on line, it's water off a duck's rump.

          July 7, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I was actually thinking that too many of the people I engage in conversation are basically an atheist version of Salero, finisher, etc. Except I sometimes have up to 10 of them posting at the same time to me in the same manner that Salero, finisher, etc. do. They, too, use fallacious arguments and misrepresent the scientific position. Plus they somehow imagine science and logic are on their side, which is absurd. True, if it is a dolt on line, it's water off a duck's rump.

          It doesn't bother me. But I am a human, so it does effect me. Sorry if I grouped you within the salero, etc./absurd atheist group. That wasn't fair.

          July 7, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          It must be my bias, but I don't find atheists on this blog like Salero, etc. While some are very pointed and even rude, they usually proffer an argument for their position. Salero, etc. offer nothing but unsubstantiated assertions and insults. I don't think insults are warranted from any position, but free speech and human nature makes that a choice.

          July 7, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yea. It probably is your bias. That is what I figured, too.

          July 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          bostontola

          There are Christians who profess love and acceptance, that don't actually carry that out.

          Just like there are atheists who profess logic and reason, who don't actually carry that out.

          I see evidence of that all the time. If your biases are blinding you to that evidence, you may want to find a different way of approaching life. Do you ever think you may not be as logical and reasonable as you imagine?

          I ask this because I once was a prey to that kind of mindset. I would describe it as cognitive dissonance. Maybe your beliefs don't match up with reality and that makes you feel uncomfortable? Some people use structured arguments to try and mask that feeling to make themselves feel better.

          July 7, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "I ask this because I once was a prey to that kind of mindset. I would describe it as cognitive dissonance. Maybe your beliefs don't match up with reality and that makes you feel uncomfortable? Some people use structured arguments to try and mask that feeling to make themselves feel better."

          That describes what I felt and was doing prior to letting go of Christianity as a valid world view.

          July 7, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Exactly. That mindset can effect Christians and atheists in similar manners.

          July 7, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          All humans have bias. Bias isn't bad, if a person had no bias, they wouldn't fit in and they would be severely disadvantaged in society. I recognize I have bias. The scientific method recognizes human bias and is designed to minimize the negative effects. Religion on the other hand makes no such recognition. It exploits bias. I would not subscribe to that methodology.

          July 7, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I never said bias was bad. But your bias could be blinding you to realities. Just recognizing we have biases won't protect your from that. Not even the scientific method will protect you from that. You can believe the scientific method can "recognize" your bias and "minimize" the negative effects. But that doesn't mean it is actually doing that for you. It certainly won't protect you from what you imagine that religion would do to you – like exploit bias. There is no evidence of you handling bias that well. Whatever methodology you are subscribing to might as well be that religion you declare you are free of.

          July 8, 2014 at 9:25 am |
        • blessed137

          "But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." James 2:18-24.
          Unbelief causes rebellion. When you rebel against God you are calling Him a liar. Since God is not a liar, that makes you a liar. Lying is sin. When you rebel against God you set yourself up as god, you are breaking his first commandment Thou shall have no other gods before me. Having other gods before him is a sin. Unbelief that Jesus is Lord prohibits forgiveness of sins. That is the immorality of unbelief.
          Christianity is very much about doing good, loving, and serving others. God expects this from us as His children.

          July 7, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Unbelief causes rebellion."

          blessed137, that is quite possibly one of the worst circular arguments I have ever read. Do you know how I can tell that is complete and utter garbage for a reason to belief in the Christian god and the assertion that unbelief in such god is immoral? It could be used for any and every religion ever conceived by man and as such is basically the logic any cult would use. Thank you for proving my point and confirming why I threw away my faith in Jesus like a dirty rag.

          One cannot rebel against something that one does not believe to be true or real...

          Your lack of being able to morally justify that position with such dreck makes my skin crawl.

          July 7, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
        • evidencenot

          "The bottom line in Christianity is about putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sin. Unbelief in God, and/or the sinful nature prohibits your obedience to uphold his moral standard"

          A Big load of crap and you bought it hook line and sinker!!!

          and FYI..... you are making a claim about god, you must provide the evidence to back up that claim... not the other way around. ........... ignorant religious word twisters...

          July 8, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
        • blessed137

          Scriptures Regarding Unbelief and Rebellion:
          Take heed, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. Hebrews

          Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadeshbarnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then you REBELLED against the commandment of the LORD your God, and you BELIEVED HIM NOT, nor listened to his voice. Deut 9:23.

          You are rebelling against him right now in your unbelief that He doesnt exist. This will not be an excuse.

          For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.…Romans 1:18-20

          As for you leaving the faith:
          They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. 1 John 2:19

          July 8, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          blessed137,

          All you have done is describe why the Christian faith and Christian concept of god is an immoral cult. I don't belong...fine I have no problem.

          I have a question for you. I would not punish or treat my worst enemy the way you think your "loving" god will treat me because I don't believe it exists. Doesn't that make me more moral, empathetic and loving than your god?

          July 8, 2014 at 11:55 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Oh and blessed,

          You might as well quote "Horton hears a who" instead of scripture. Dr. Suess holds more sway with me than the bible.

          Repeating what the bible says does not answer my question as to the morality of unbelief. All you are doing is quoting what the cult you believe in says. You need to answer the question on a broader scale. You need to EXPLAIN why belief is a moral issue. If all you can do is regurgitate your religious belief you are essentually no better than a recording.

          July 9, 2014 at 12:04 am |
      • Reality

        blessed137, you might want to th-ump a different passage as Matt 15: 7-9 fails rigorous historic testing. See http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb056.html and Professor Gerd Ludemann's conclusions in his book Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 46-49.

        July 6, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
    • Science Works

      Hey Dala the facts eh ?

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/06/upshot/when-beliefs-and-facts-collide.html?_r=0

      July 7, 2014 at 11:40 am |
      • Dalahäst

        Science, eh?

        http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-plato-can-save-your-life/201106/the-scientific-atheism-fallacy-how-science-declares-god-is-

        July 7, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • Science Works

          And then there was light right dala ?

          Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). "Small, but plentiful: How the faintest galaxies illuminated the early universe." ScienceDaily. , 7 July 2014. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140707092450.htm

          July 7, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalahast,
          Interesting but, I think, incorrect article.
          First, science does not deal in "proof" as the good doctor indicates but evidence, i.e. inductive reasoning. In other words, while science won't "prove" God does not exist it can build up a large amount of evidence that God is not necessary to explain the how the universe works. This type of reasoning is what is behind Dawkins' description of his own atheism, which the article does not cover, as being 6.9 out of 7 certainty (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9102164/Richard-Dawkins-6.9-out-of-seven-sure-that-God-does-not-exist.html).
          Second, the article's so-called proof of God's existence, by way of Aquinas, fails to explain where "something" like God came from if "'something' (i.e., us, the universe) can't arise from 'nothingness,'" unless, of course, it uses the fallacy of special pleading.

          July 7, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I didn't read that article. But thanks for the book review. "Science Works" posts off-topic and irrelevant links at me about 3 to 4 times a day. So I return the favor.

          July 8, 2014 at 9:35 am |
        • Science Works

          Hey Dala – come on now are you from one of these states ?

          http://www.salon.com/2014/07/02/5_states_trying_to_make_their_kids_scientifically_illiterate_partner/

          July 8, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I am from all those states. At the same time.

          July 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • Science Works

          wow dala is supernatural ?

          July 8, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes I am. And my parents bussed and flew me to school in those states so I could have the most un-scientific education ever. They were non-scientist atheists like you, and just thought it would be funny.

          July 8, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
        • Science Works

          Yeah dala – But you ,Scalia – and Louie have it figured out – go figure -too funny

          http://www.salon.com/2014/07/11/tea_party_darling_louie_gohmert_proves_god_is_for_real/

          July 12, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I have no idea who that guy is. People in the tea party generally express dislike for me. They kind of treat me like you do.

          July 12, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • Science Works

          Have a nice day dala.

          http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/07/02/why-you-shouldnt-put-religion-on-your-resume/#comments

          July 9, 2014 at 11:46 am |
  10. weedouthate

    Within each an everyone of us exists a pre-programmed war of emotions between our superficial hateful instincts and our embedded spiritual connection between God and Nature. To the extent we are able to root out our inner weeds, we feel the deeper spiritual connections, that much greater. If you ask for the purpose of hatred in the grand scheme of things, you might as well as for why God created Weeds. The answer: So that we develop the urge to root them out, compost them and transform them into spiritual fuel. for supercharging and reflecting this spirituality all around us. At the end of the day the Creator gives us the choice either to remain captive our evil inclination that He implanted within us or to transform to power our way back to him.

    July 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
    • igaftr

      There is no evidence of any such "god" so your entire post is moot.

      July 6, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Or you could just be a good person without the supernatural crutch. I am. For the record, it's really not that hard.

      July 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        It is not that hard to call yourself a good person. Anyone can do that.

        It is hard to demonstrate it. Not everyone does that.

        July 6, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
  11. damman45631

    sounds like rich spoiled brats who need to get a job

    July 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
  12. drtodp

    Personally, I think if God exists in the ways written in "so called" holy books, then why has it not done anything since the time of the writing of these books. Why does he not speak to all of us in our minds with the exact same message..."treat everyone as you wish to be treated yourself" or "stop killing each other and love each other". For a God as written in these holy books, this would be a very simple task to perform. Religions have a way of hand waving these questions with, "God works in mysterious ways"....hogwash. A being with the immense power as defined in the holy books would easily be able to stop all war, stop all greed, stop all hate, and turn this world around so everyone is happy. The corporations we call religion are doing quite well with all of the world turmoil, lots of donations (as the clergy rub their hands together in glee).

    July 6, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      That is why I follow Jesus. Not a religion.

      July 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
      • EdSed

        Bullsh!t. That is just another dodge by our slippery liar Dalahast.

        You follow a sub-sect of the Christian religion. Stop lying.

        July 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I might be wrong. But that doesn't make me a liar if I don't fit your personal preferences of what is and isn't. Calm down. I know you can express an opinion without acting childish. Come on.

          How do you know for certain I follow a sub-sect of the Christian religion?

          July 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          By definition, a christian is a follower of Jesus. From what you say your church is more liberal than many but ultimately one can only be introduced to Jesus directly or indirectly from the bible.

          July 6, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          There are ways to know Jesus outside of reading about him in a book.

          July 6, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • igaftr

          "There are ways to know Jesus outside of reading about him in a book.'

          By hearing about him from people who read the book.
          Otherwise, none.

          July 6, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No, there are ways to know Jesus outside of what we read and what other people tell us about Him.

          July 6, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • igaftr

          in the same way you can "know" Zeus, or Odin.
          In the same way you can "know" the great pumpkin.

          Otherwise think of this...a group of people live and die on a deserted island. No one has ever heard of this Jesus of yours....you believe they can still know Jesus, even though no one can show he was anything more than a man...or are you saying that they can still "know" a god, even though the concept never occurred to them, they do not "worship" anything...and this "god" they "know" is your Jesus by default, and not one of the other thousands of gods, or on of an infinite number of gods that no one kknows exist, or some other logical explaination,,,, it must be YOUR god?

          Don't bother to explain as you are clearly mixing belief with truth again, and I am certain this is the point where you start using your own definitions of words.

          July 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No, you can know Jesus and it doesn't have to be the same way you "know" Odin or "know" the great pumpkin.

          July 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • igaftr

          How is you "knowing" jesus any different than someone else "knowing" any of the other gods? Or The Tooth Fairy for that matter.

          Don't try your "no one believes them" garbage since that is a completely false argument, let's assume you tried, it, it got shot down once again, and now you are trying to come up with a logical argument ( figure that'll save some time).

          July 6, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I can say for myself knowing Jesus is different from knowing other gods or The Tooth Fairy. I can't decide that for other people. That starts getting in the range of arrogance, which I want to avoid.

          Apparently you have no problem deciding for other people what they should and shouldn't know? Why not focus on what you know? Why do you always preach at me your views as if they are superior? And again, your views are nothing new or revolutionary. It is great they are important to you. But I don't want them shoved down my throat while you insult me and childishly try to tell me what I can and can't do or answer.

          July 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • igaftr

          Just trying to save time dala, since that argument you so often used was shot down so many times yet you kept using it.

          I figure it is just YOUR definition of knowledge, which for you appears to have a very low bar as to what you "know". The rest of the world has a different defintion of"know"

          I know you do not know, which by your argument, you do not know what I know, so you cannot dispute it.
          That is where your version of logic gets us.

          July 6, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No, the argument you present really isn't that sound. You just keep saying it is. It is a common argument used by anti-theists on religion blogs. I'm not surprised that you and the 4 to 5 other posters like you keep insisting you've proved yourself completely righ. Anyway, I've heard people preach what you preach. Sometimes almost word for word what you say. I'm not buying it.

          July 6, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • bostontola

          Knowing Jesus with complete certainty in no way guarantees that Jesus is currently an interacting being.

          July 6, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • igaftr

          no dala
          I never claimed to have it figured out.
          You claim to "know" Jesus.
          I have asked you many questions that should have shown you that you cannot be sure, so you do not know.
          You continued to claim that you know.
          Then I can claim I know you do not know.
          You claim I cannot know what you know, so I turned that argument back on you...you cannot know what I know, so you cannot refute that I know you do not know.

          It is your "logic" that runs us in circles dala...I simply went to your tactic to show you how it is circular logic, so not logic at all.

          Is it my use of your tactics that has you so vexed?

          The other tactic you have of using different definitions of words....I'm not going to bother with that one as it leads to confusion, which is why everyone keeps asking you to exaplin your comments.

          July 6, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm really not vexed by your tactics. I'm getting a kick out of your imagination – especially when you said you have asked me many questions that should have shown me that I cannot be sure. Uh, no. That just shows me you can't be sure. I'm fine with that. But I can't say that for myself. Sorry.

          I'm just sharing what I know. You can insist you know better than I. But that just appears like arrogance to me. It certainly doesn't demonstrate logic.

          July 6, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          dala, How can you know of Jesus without the bible or the christian religion? You either got that knowledge from one or both or you got it from someone who got it from one or both.

          July 6, 2014 at 9:08 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The Holy Spirit.

          July 6, 2014 at 11:10 pm |
        • colin31714

          Santa, this is how delusional Dalahast is. He believes in the Judeo-Christian god, Jesus (in the sense of a man who survived his own physical death and is the way to heaven etc.) and the holy spirit, but then claims he does not follow religion or is "not a Christian."

          A bit like believing in the three little pigs but claiming to disavowing children's literature. The depth of cognitive dissonance in the childish, simple-minded believer never ceases to amaze me.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:24 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Colin

          You obviously didn't read into the context in which I was posting that. And I have no idea what you mean by the "not a Christian" quote. It seems ironic that you post about the childishness and simple mindedness about "believers", with a very childish and simple minded explanation of your own.

          And speaking about cognitive dissonace, don't you follow Humanism which is a lot like a religion? Your Humanism group is receiving the the same tax deductions that organized religious groups receive. It is run just like an organized religion. It even makes a statement in the Humanist Manifestos about what they have faith in.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:59 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Since you love posting questionable analogies so much:

          " The corporations we call religion are doing quite well with all of the world turmoil, lots of donations (as the clergy rub their hands together in glee)."

          " The corporation we call the American Humanist Association is doing quite well with all of the world turmoil, lots of donations (as the leaders rub their hands together in tax-free glee).

          July 7, 2014 at 1:06 am |
        • observer

          Dalahäst

          "Your Humanism group is receiving the the same tax deductions that organized religious groups receive."

          NO COMPARISON at all to what churches take in and what we all subsidize for them.

          July 7, 2014 at 1:20 am |
        • Dalahäst

          There is a comparison. Secular Humanists openly admitted that Humanism was a religion in the past. Read some of their original manifestos. And today members of Humanist organizations don't all agree as to whether Humanism is or is not a religion. Some say it should now be considered as a "life stance". You pretty much can just cherry pick whatever you want and call it whatever you imagine.

          July 7, 2014 at 2:17 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          dala
          "You pretty much can just cherry pick whatever you want and call it whatever you imagine."

          So not unlike your relationship with the christian religion and its texts.

          July 7, 2014 at 10:22 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Right. That is a human condition. Atheists, Humanists, agnostics are guilty of such things, too. And when they point it out in others and pretend they don't have it, that is demonstrating hypocrisy. Hypocrisy, another condition that both Christians and atheists, Humanists, agnostics have all been guilty of.

          July 7, 2014 at 10:30 am |
        • EdSed

          No, Dalahast. Calm down. You were not merely wrong. You were dishonest. You were lying, and you have been caught.

          July 8, 2014 at 10:54 am |
        • Dalahäst

          He said: NOTHING (no one single thing) indicates ANY purpose.

          He said: If there was a purpose (but there is not) that would mean that some "thing" means for us to do something. And there is NOTHING indicating that at all.

          It seemed safe to assume he was saying there is no purpose to life. You can call that a lie. I know better.

          July 8, 2014 at 11:22 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          @dala: " he was saying there is no purpose to life."

          there is a purpose to life and it has nothing to do with any god or demi-god.

          life doesn't exist because it has to, it exists because it can. life is simply that, we are meant to live and attempt to survive as a species.

          any sharp change in in climate would have the ability to make humans go extinct or at the least limit our numbers enough to remove us from the top of the food chain.

          July 8, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • igaftr

          dala
          Ed is correct.
          I caught you lying and you have been backpeddling since.

          I never said what you claim I did...I stated my position very clearly and no it was clearly not safe for you to twist what I said into what you claimed I said.

          I know you won't admit the lie, but a lie is what it was. You completely misrepresented what I said....plain and simple and got called out for it.
          I'm sure you will rationalize it so to you it is not a lie, but is is a lie. You've rationalized your belief into "knowledge" so not a big surprise that you don't think mis-stating someones statement, changing the entire meaning is lying...but is absolutely is.

          July 8, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • Dalahäst

          If you say there is no indication of a purpose to life – how can you say there is a purpose to life?

          If there is no indication – what do you use to find the purpose of life. Indication mean – a sign or piece of information that indicates something.

          Can you see how I misunderstand you? Not lying. I was trying to figure out what you were talking about.

          July 8, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • ausphor

          Dealing with Dala reminds me of trout fishing. You may catch a fine looking fish, even beautiful, but when you touch it you know it is going to be slimy. Of course Dala can never be wrong his knowledge is supreme even when caught in an obvious lie. I love the way he says you can know his jesus when never having heard of the myth, pure delusion.

          July 8, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • igaftr

          dala
          Once again. I'll type slowly for you so you can keep up.

          If I saw there is no indication, no evidence of something...like "god"...it is not the same as saying god does not exist.

          Seriously, they covered English from the time you went to kindergarten.

          July 8, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • Dalahäst

          ausphor

          I am often wrong. And I make mistakes. And I learn from being wrong. And making mistakes. And that is ok.

          But when somebody tries to dictate to me what I know and don't know I have no problem standing up to their prejudices about me. Even if they decide to call me a liar or delusional. Or twist what I say to fit their preconceived notions about me.

          Sometimes you act like you can never be wrong about your knowledge, and that your knowledge is supreme. So don't pretend like you are any better.

          July 8, 2014 at 11:58 am |
        • igaftr

          dala

          If I say there are no signs of life...do you assume that it is dead?

          No indication of life, no signs of life means exactly that...no detectable life signs. That does not mean it is not alive, since we have no way of detecting life itself.

          You completely misrepresented what I said, changed what I said and claimed I said it...that is a lie.

          July 8, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          igaftr

          Cute insult with that slow typing thing. A pretty old joke. I used to use it, too.

          We were talking about purpose. Not God.

          You said: Why do you think there is a purpose?

          You said: Nothing indicates any "purpose". A purpose would mean that some "thing" means for us to do something. There is nothing indicating that at all.

          You asked me why I think there is a purpose (which suggests you think there is no purpose). You TOLD me NOTHING indicates any purpose.

          I assumed you meant there is no purpose. I misunderstood or was wrong. But was not lying.

          July 8, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          - If I say there are no signs of life...do you assume that it is dead?

          No.

          – No indication of life, no signs of life means exactly that...no detectable life signs. That does not mean it is not alive, since we have no way of detecting life itself.

          But if other people detect life signs I'll consider what they have to offer. I won't consider you an authority on the matter. Especially when you have failed to provide me any credentials that demonstrate you are qualified to know what you are talking about.

          July 8, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • ausphor

          Dala
          Oh no, say it isn't so that I nave descended to you level of deceit. So the Holy Spirit goes around chatting up people that have never heard of jesus or the Christian bible and presto they know about jesus, really. Wonder why they, the trinity, never thought about using that tactic with the Aztecs, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. when it could have made a difference; Dala you are delusional.

          July 8, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • evidencenot

          Dalah is the belief blog's chief spin doctor........ backpedaling and twisting all the way!

          July 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • EdSed

          No, Dalahast. Nice try at flipping in a different subject. You are a slippery one. You were caught lying, again.

          Now how is that presentable evidence that you lied about having coming along...

          July 10, 2014 at 8:21 am |
      • MidwestKen

        @Dalahast,
        Don't you technically follow what a religious doctrine, i.e. the bible, claims to portray as the message of Jesus? Perhaps you don't consider that a religion, but you follow the products of religion do you not?

        July 6, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That depends on what your definition of a religion is. I don't follow a corporation profiting off of world turmoil with leaders who rub their hands in glee at the presence of large donations, like the OP suggests. I can't find anything that Jesus talks about that would support such a religion.

          July 6, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          I'm simply pointing out that organized belief, what some would call religion, has produced and/or maintained the very information, e.g. the Bible, that you claim allows you to not follow organized belief. Is that not correct?

          July 6, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          An organized belief does sound better than an unorganized belief. If The Bible was designed to encourage me to follow a religion, it would probably be wise to remove a lot of the content that suggests otherwise.

          July 6, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Equivocation. A tool of religion.

          What your interpretation of the Bible leads you to believe is up to you, but without religious organizations would you even have a Bible to interpret?

          July 6, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't know. I'm not sure if all the organizations that have kept the Bible published/available were doing so the promote a religion.

          July 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          You seem to have an interesting definition of religion if an organization disseminating the doctrine of a system of belief can be something else. Unless, of course, their motive was just money, but that would seem ant.ithetical to your own belief would it not.

          July 6, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          What is your definition of a religion? I'll tell you if I follow such a thing. Are there rules I have to follow? Laws? Does some person hold an authority over me? Do I take a vow to follow the religion?

          What the OP suggested as his understanding of a religion is not what I follow, is basically my point.

          July 6, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Ah, so it's not religion in general that you disagree with, just certain kinds of religion, is that it? Depending on the definition, of course.

          July 6, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I guess so. What James 1:27, which I posted above, defines as religion I agree with. A lot of time religion distorts God's will as I've experienced it.

          July 6, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Fair enough. Thanks for the clarification.

          July 6, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
  13. colin31714

    You’ll find that most (ex-Christian) atheists don’t believe for one or more of the following reasons:

    The concept of an immortal being makes no sense to us.

    The concept of an all-powerful being makes no sense to us.

    The concept of an all-knowing being makes no sense to us.

    Throwing the three together into one being effectively cubes its already dispositive implausibility.

    We tend to have a basic working knowledge of the age, size and history of the Universe. The idea that a being would create the entire thing – with 400,000,000,000 galaxies, EACH with 100, 000,000,000 starts and even more planets, strains credibility. Not only that, but it then sits back and waits 13,720,000,000 years for human beings to evolve on one planet so he can “love them” and send his son to Earth to talk to a nomadic group of Jews in Greco Roman Palestine about sheep and goats (while ignoring the rest of the 200 million people then alive). This makes no sense to us. We can’t help but ask ourselves, “did God make the Jews or did the Jews make God?”

    The common argument, “well, what caused the Big Bang?” with the implication that, because we have only theories and no iron clad explanation for the Big Bang yet, the Judeo-Christian god must have caused it – does not make sense to us. The Universe may well be infinitely old without a "cause," there may be an infinite number of universes or time itself may have began in the Big Bang. We simply do not know. BUT “I don’t know” does not equal “god” to us, much less the Judeo-Christian god. We feel the answers to such a question are much more likely to be found in Einstein’s equations, quantum physics, large particle accelerators and radio telescopes than in Genesis Chapters 1 through 20. We’re crazy aren’t we?

    Similarly, “you can’t prove God doesn’t exist” is not a convincing argument to us, or even a relevant point, because an inability to disprove something is a far cry from it being true. We cannot prove that the Hindu gods Shiva or Vishnu do not exist either, nor Santa Claus for that matter, but that is hardly a reason to believe in them. It is not even evidence for their existence. It is impossible to prove a negative in this context.

    The answers usually proffered for what we see as basic logical flaws in Christianity – “you have been blinded by your lack of faith” “God moves in mysterious ways” “God is outside the Universe” or “our minds are too small to understand the greatness of God” are never satisfying to us. We see a retreat to mysticism as the first refuge of the cornered fool.

    We do not see miracles in things like tornadoes missing a certain trailer in a trailer park, cancer going into remission or Tim Tebow winning a football game.

    We understand that Christianity is one of many, many religions in the World, and we don’t think that we were lucky enough to have been born in the one part of the World that “got it right”. Likewise, we know how all faiths evolve, morph and change over time and do not think we were lucky enough to have been born in the one generation that “got it right.”

    We tend to have a basic knowledge of history and know that there is nothing magical or special about the supposed history of the Jews, gospels, letters, apocalyptic story (Revelations) and other materials that found their way into the Bible, in that they are largely indistinguishable from the other mythology and religious writings of the Greco-Roman Mediterranean. For example, many of the myths about Jesus, including his birth around the Winter Solstice, his being betrayed and executed, his virgin birth and his rising from the dead after three days are straight out of earlier myths about Horus and Apollonius of Tyana.

    Human beings are terrified of their own deaths and we see the various religious beliefs that try to “wish it away,” such as reincarnation, living happily ever after in Heaven with Jesus, having your own Mormon planet etc. as nothing more than childish stories for the more naïve, timid minds among us.

    We do not see morality as predicated upon a belief in the supernatural. We accept that one can be moral without believing in the supernatural and that doing so is no guaranty that one will conform to the norms of society that people call “morality”. We sure as hell will not be cowered into accepting absurd beliefs out of a silly threat that it is “wrong” to question or doubt cherished or deeply held religious beliefs. That just gives them a place to hide and avoid scrutiny.

    When one looks at the various Christian beliefs that were once firmly believed – Adam and Eve, Noah’s flood, people living to be 700 or 900 years old, the Red Sea splitting, water turning into wine, a talking snake, a man living in a whale’s belly, people rising from the dead, Jesus driving demons out of people and into pigs – but which are now acknowledged by most thinking people to be mere mythology, it is pretty hard to give a lot of credibility to what’s left.

    It is hard not to consider Christianity as based on circular reasoning. Most Christians believe in God because the Bible says so, then turn around and say they believe the Bible because it is the word of God. To draw an analogy, “I believe Mao Zedong was a great man because The Little Red Book says so, and the reason I believe The Little Red Book is that it was written by Mao Zedong, who was a great man.” Do you even have the slightest idea of how your Bible was written and compiled over the centuries or who decided what to include and what to exclude and on what grounds? Can you even name one of hundred plus authors who contributed to it? One of the many people who decided what got in and what didn’t?

    To be bluntly honest, the more one comes to understand mother nature, the less reason there is to believe in a god and the more one understands human nature, the more one sees why so many of us still do.

    So, before you next proudly proclaim you know the secrets to life, death, the origins of life on Earth and the origins of the Universe, simply because your parents or priest taught you some comforting stories from Greco-Roman Palestine as a child, you might like to reflect upon the overwhelming enormity of the claims you are about to make and the complete paucity of evidence that underwrites those claims.

    July 6, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • observer

      colin31714

      "You’ll find that most (ex-Christian) atheists don’t believe for one or more of the following reasons:"

      You appear to have left out a key one: They have read the Bible

      July 6, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • colin31714

        I sort of mention that when I talk about how woefully ignorant 99% of Christians are about the holy book, who wrote it, how it was compiled and how it was changed over the centuries.

        July 6, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • damman45631

          you spend most of your time talking about something that does not exist and you call him/her ignorant. How many different meds are you on?

          July 6, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • colin31714

          No, I spend my time talking about the billion odd who believe in something that does not exist.

          July 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • tallulah131

        I never did read the bible. I tried, but it was just too boring. But I don't need a bible to know that gods are man-made. I just read a lot of history instead.

        July 6, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • drtodp

      You sound like me.....I wish more people would critically analyze the books they read. I read the bible a long time ago and I think of it as a history book, a poorly written one for sure. I found that many of the stories were edited by the kings and royals of the day to ensure obedience of their slaves.

      July 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • damman45631

      5: we spend most of our time talking about something that does not exist

      July 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        Believers exist. What they believe is a different story.

        July 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
    • billking949

      I don't believe in any religion. However I am not an atheist, nor was Einstein. The idea of an all powerful being may not make sense, but neither does the universe going on forever. Yet simple logic tells us it has to go on forever, because there is no alternative. The idea that life itself sprung up out of nothing, makes no sense, yet here we are. The idea that life evolves from a microbe to a human being makes no sense, yet here we are. Sure there is the Darwinian theory that explains survival of the fittest, but fails when trying to explain how our bodies developed lungs in the first place and somehow turned into a creature that breaths air, yet drowns in the very same water it emerged from. Then you have all the crazy laws of the universe like quantum leaps and time dilation that are nothing short of miracles, based on how we see nature with the naked eye. I think religion is a good thing, if it gives people comfort and keeps others from wrongdoing, but it does seem strange that most wars and killing through history was and still is based on religion.

      July 6, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
      • igaftr

        " The idea that life evolves from a microbe to a human being makes no sense,"

        Just because you do not have an understanding of it, does not mean it doesn't make sense. I makes perfect sense.

        July 6, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          An explanation of how it happened makes sense scientifically.

          But for why it happens or for what purpose?

          July 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • igaftr

          Why do you think there is a purpose?

          July 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Logic.

          July 6, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • igaftr

          What "logic" is there that indicates a purpose?
          By all means, explain...show your work, since I really want to see the "logic" trail that indicates a purpose.

          July 6, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The fact that logic exists suggests to me there is a purpose to life. That is not the only thing that exists that points me to that conclusion. But I certainly can use logic to arrive at that conclusion.

          Are you saying your life has no purpose?

          July 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
        • lotusprins

          Of course life has purpose! Nothing on earth exists without a purpose and at random.

          July 6, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
        • igaftr

          dala
          Nothing indicates any "purpose". A purpose would mean that some "thing" means for us to do something. There is nothing indicating that at all.
          Just more of your wishful thinking, like your "knowing" a god, where everyone knows you cannot know.
          you like to project what you want to be, onto your perception of what is, but are simply wrong.

          July 7, 2014 at 8:11 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Nothing indicates to you any "purpose". You can only make that claim for yourself.

          You seem to say everyone "knows" you cannot "know" God.

          Here is some hypocrisy: You yourself seem to like to project what you want to be, onto your perception of what is, and imagine you are right.

          July 7, 2014 at 9:57 am |
        • bostontola

          "The fact that logic exists suggests to me there is a purpose to life. "

          Dalahast,
          That is a fascination conclusion. Can you provide more on how the existence of logic leads you to a purpose to life? Does 2+2=4 suggest a purpose to life?

          July 7, 2014 at 10:20 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Logic is one of those realities that leads me to believe that there is an intelligence greater than I at play in the universe. And that intelligence is not an atheist who posts on religion blogs all day long! (It appears some imagine they are God).

          July 7, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          A higher intelligence is not the same as purpose. Is it a gut feeling that connects logic to purpose for you, or is there a structured argument?

          Do you have an argument that explains why a higher intelligence has a relationship with lower intelligence human individuals?

          July 7, 2014 at 10:54 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Is it a gut feeling that tells you that?

          July 7, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          Perhaps I miscommunicated. I don't know if it is a gut feeling you have or a structured argument, that's why I asked. Since I don't know, I have no feeling or argument about it. I use gut feeling often, I don't consider that a negative, I'm just trying to gauge your conclusion.

          So, your conclusion that logic suggests purpose to you, is it a gut feeling or is there a structured argument?

          July 7, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Are those the only 2 options?

          I'm still trying to figure out why you stated that a higher intelligence is not the same as purpose. Did I suggest that it is?

          July 7, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • bostontola

          Are those the only 2 options?
          ==> Not at all. If it is something else, please let me know and explain if you would so I can understand.

          I'm still trying to figure out why you stated that a higher intelligence is not the same as purpose. Did I suggest that it is?
          ==> In a way you did. You stated that the existence of logic suggests purpose. I asked you to explain. Your response used higher intelligence instead of purpose, I never brought up higher intelligence. You answered a question regarding purpose with higher intelligence.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I was in conversation with igaftr who told me there is no purpose to life. This person has tried to convince me multiple times that if something can not be explained scientifically it is not valid. Which is basically scientism, which can't even be explained adequately for me using science. It presupposes to much about science for me.

          When you popped into the conversation you changed the context. If you want to tell me your life has no purpose that is fine. Share away. Or if it does have purpose maybe you can tell igaftr about it.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • igaftr

          "I was in conversation with igaftr who told me there is no purpose to life. "

          Flat out lie. I said no such thing.
          I asked you why you thought there was a purpose, and pointed out there is no evidence of any such purpose.
          Don't lie about me dala.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • bostontola

          I didn't realize this was a private conversation.

          My questions to you didn't require a context. You made a statement, and I asked a question regarding it. I didn't challenge the statement, I asked a question.

          Regarding purpose, of course we have purpose. The question is whether that purpose is physical or metaphysical. I believe it is physical.

          Regarding whether things are valid if there is no scientific explanation. It is absurd to think science brings validity to reality, science explains phenomena.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          igaftr

          I might be wrong or misunderstood you. That doesn't mean I'm lying. You said:

          "Nothing indicates any "purpose". A purpose would mean that some "thing" means for us to do something. There is nothing indicating that at all."

          You said there is nothing indicating any purpose. Nothing. If there was a purpose to life, wouldn't something have to indicate there is a purpose?

          It is not that far of a stretch to suggest you said there is no purpose, when you said there is NO indication to purpose?

          July 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Bostontola

          I don't believe our purpose is based solely on the physical. There is not enough evidence to support such a mindset for me. I'm glad you've found something that works for you.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Dala,

          Someone can correct me if I am wrong but I think the disconnect is whether "pupose" is something that is external or internal. There is no evidence "purpose" is something that comes to people from outside of ourselves. Purpose is defined by the individual for himself/herself. You seem to imply it is external and there is no reason to think it is.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • igaftr

          no dala, it was a lie. I stated my position quite clearly...you incorrectly inferred the rest, which completely misrepresented my point.

          There is no indication that there is any purpose to life. Life may be its own purpose.
          I NEVER said there was not a purpose, but rather correctly pointed out there is no indication of any.
          Just like with gods...I never said there are no gods, simply no indication that any exist outside of anyones imagination.

          You yourself claim to "know" god, but in one interaction with you, you also said you could have been decieved, which means you do not know.

          You misrepresent your own arguments, not surprising you misrepresent others' as well.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          igaftr

          I may have been wrong. I wasn't lying. I have no reason or desire to lie about you. What you were saying wasn't that clear to me. You insisting and dictating to me that it was clear isn't helpful.

          July 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,

          All objective evidence supports physical origins of purpose, no objective evidence supports any other origin. The only evidence for some supernatural origin of purpose is subjective. That situation is not a wobbly one for physical origin of purpose.

          Some one celled organisms swim vigorously up a glucose gradient. Their purpose is both external and physical, the purpose of that swimming action is to feed. Many animals have elaborate mating ritual, purpose is to reproduce. Animals that have strong drive for those purposes have a higher likelihood of passing on their genes. There are many more purposes, they have thus far had physical origin.

          July 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
        • igaftr

          no dala...it was a lie. I know you use different definitions of words, but re-read the exchange...especially this "It is not that far of a stretch to suggest you said there is no purpose, when you said there is NO indication to purpose?"

          Thus, by your own words stretching what I said to something I did not say, hence a lie. You purposefully "stretched" my words into something I did not say...now you are trying to tap dance out of it.

          Saying there is a purpose and saying there is no indication of purpose...is the distinction so difficult for you?

          I would guess that the distinction is difficult for you since you cannot distinguish belief in god and knowledge of god ( even when you admitted you could have been decieved.)

          July 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          bostontola,

          Thank you for sharing your views on the matter. There is more purpose to life for me than that. I can use the tool you used to reach that viewpoint, too. But I don't have to stop there if more compelling evidence suggests there is more to life than that.

          July 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          igaftr

          You "know" I use different defintion of words? Just like all people do? Even you?

          I'm sorry I misunderstood you. If that makes me a liar by your "definition of words", so be it.

          July 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          igaftr

          Cute insult with that slow typing thing. A pretty old joke. I used to use it, too.

          We were talking about purpose. Not God.

          You said: Why do you think there is a purpose?

          You said: Nothing indicates any "purpose". A purpose would mean that some "thing" means for us to do something. There is nothing indicating that at all.

          You asked me why I think there is a purpose (which suggests you think there is no purpose). You TOLD me NOTHING indicates any purpose.

          I assumed you meant there is no purpose. I misunderstood or was wrong. But was not lying.

          July 8, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • ausphor

          Dala
          You have been called out numerous times for putting a definition to words, twisting the meaning, to suit you purpose and lying, you should be used to it by now. It is what you do.

          July 8, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • G to the T

          " But I don't have to stop there if more compelling evidence suggests there is more to life than that."

          Indeed. But I wonder why it is you never seem to share that evidence? All I ever hear from you is what your beliefs aren't, never what they actually are.

          July 8, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • evidencenot

          Shhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! dalah's beliefs are a secret!

          July 8, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I've been called out by the same 5 to 7 people for doing that. They also do the same thing themselves and ignore that. I don't care what hypocrites like that say.

          July 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
  14. basehitter

    Wondering about the mysteries of life and the universe is just normal curiosity.

    But once "spiritualism" adopts beliefs in magic, the supernatural, etc. it crosses the line into an adventure into La La Land that exists only in the mind.

    July 6, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • evidencenot

      Correct..... it's amazing how many of these people live in comic book land.

      July 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
  15. billbl

    As long as it is the spirit in individuals this sounds very positive. This is a step away from the adherents to the greatest hoax in history that people actually live after they die for which there is no evidence. This was an easy sell because people have a natural fear of death and really want to think that they continue on. Of course, the place where they are to be sent was either a reward or a punishment for how they lived on Earth. Today we see people wanting to reach heaven by strapping on bombs and exploding them among innocent people. Most probably the world would be much more peaceful with exposing that hoax.

    July 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.