October 16th, 2013
03:20 PM ET
What Oprah gets wrong about atheism
(CNN) - To some, Oprah Winfrey appears to have an almost godlike status. Her talents are well recognized, and her endorsement can turn almost any product into an overnight bestseller.
This godlike perception is fitting, since in recent years Winfrey’s work has increasingly emphasized spirituality, including programs like her own "Super Soul Sunday."
But what happens when an atheist enters the mix?
A few days ago Winfrey interviewed long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad on Super Soul Sunday. Nyad identified herself as an atheist who experiences awe and wonder at the natural world and humanity.
Nyad, 64, who swam from Cuba to Key West last month, said “I can stand at the beach’s edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity — all the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt.”
Winfrey responded, “Well I don’t call you an atheist then.”
Winfrey went on, “I think if you believe in the awe and the wonder and the mystery then that is what God is… It’s not a bearded guy in the sky.”
Nyad clarified that she doesn’t use the word God because it implies a “presence… a creator or an overseer.”
Winfrey’s response may have been well intended, but it erased Nyad’s atheist identity and suggested something entirely untrue and, to many atheists like me, offensive: that atheists don’t experience awe and wonder.
MORE ON CNN: Diana Nyad completes historic Cuba-to-Florida swim
The exchange between Winfrey and Nyad reminds me of a conversation I once had with a Catholic scholar.
The professor once asked me: “When I talk about God, I mean love and justice and reconciliation, not a man in the sky. You talk about love and justice and reconciliation. Why can’t you just call that God?”
I replied: “Why must you call that God? Why not just call it what it is: love and justice and reconciliation?”
Though we started off with this disagreement, we came to better understand one another’s points of view through patient, honest dialogue.
Conversations like that are greatly needed today, as atheists are broadly misunderstood.
MORE ON CNN: Behold, the six types of atheists
When I visit college and university campuses around the United States, I frequently ask students what words are commonly associated with atheists. Their responses nearly always include words like “negative,” “selfish,” “nihilistic” and “closed-minded.”
When I ask how many of them actually have a relationship with an atheist, few raise their hands.
Relationships can be transformative. The Pew Research Center found that among the 14% of Americans who changed their mind from opposing same-sex marriage to supporting it in the last decade, the top reason given was having “friends, family, acquaintances who are gay/lesbian.”
Knowing someone of a different identity can increase understanding. This has been true for me as a queer person and as an atheist. I have met people who initially think I can’t actually be an atheist when they learn that I experience awe and am committed to service and social justice.
But when I explain that atheism is central to my worldview — that I am in awe of the natural world and that I believe it is up to human beings, instead of a divine force, to strive to address our problems — they often better understand my views, even if we don’t agree.
While theists can learn by listening to atheists more, atheists themselves can foster greater understanding by not just emphasizing the “no” of atheism — our disagreement over the existence of any gods — but also the “yes” of atheism and secular humanism, which recognizes the amazing potential within human beings.
Carl Sagan, the agnostic astronomer and author, would have agreed with Nyad’s claim that you can be an atheist, agnostic or nonreligious person and consider yourself “spiritual.”
As Sagan wrote in "The Demon-Haunted World,":
"When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.”
Nyad told Winfrey that she feels a similar sense of awe:
“I think you can be an atheist who doesn’t believe in an overarching being who created all of this and sees over it,” she said. “But there’s spirituality because we human beings, and we animals, and maybe even we plants, but certainly the ocean and the moon and the stars, we all live with something that is cherished and we feel the treasure of it.”
MORE ON CNN: 'Atheist' isn’t a dirty word, congresswoman
I experience that same awe when I see people of different beliefs coming together across lines of religious difference to recognize that we are all human — that we all love and hurt.
Perhaps Winfrey, who could use her influence to shatter stereotypes about atheists rather than reinforce them, would have benefited from listening to Nyad just a bit more closely and from talking to more atheists about awe and wonder.
I know many who would be up to the task.
Chris Stedman is the assistant humanist chaplain at Harvard University, coordinator of humanist life for the Yale Humanist Community and author of Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious.
About this blog
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.
So you think you're an atheist? Go read Thomas Aquinas' 3 proofs of the existence of God. Or you might try Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and perhaps Kant. Then come back and tell me you're really an atheist.
read them all and I'm now even more of an atheist.
3 proofs for the existence of god ... what a joke. there is no proof for the existence of god.
Read them all in five minutes did ya?
Or another plausible explanation: He's just generally well educated and has already read them.
A very nice, restrained reply, Rebecca. Thank you.
(I had to bite my fingers to keep from lambasting him)
He offered no counters to the 3 proofs, just the claim that he read them. No better than a theist. Expecting others just to believe that something happened without evidence.
Sounds to me you don't know what an atheist is.
last time i checked it meant "the absence of belief in deity(deities)" as in God. You got a different definition?
Like all religious fundamentalists she gets everything wrong.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.
Quoting the bable like this means nothing to those of us who have seen the light of its fallacy. Where is the biblical love and justice here in 1 Kings.
Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down.
And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty...
Elisha and the Two Bears (2 Kings 2:23-25)
“Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” 24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.
Oprah is an example of an average or below average person who is promoted way beyond their intelligence. She was created by Joe Ahern. He needed a person who could relate to the average American idiot.
I thought that was Ted Cruz?
Points to ponder: What would happen if there were no street lights? Why all over the world, no matter how incommunicated people were adoring God? What would happen if Planet Earth were a few miles closer to the Sun?
If there were no street lights it would be chaos. Some Natural Power (all over the world) induced people to adore Supreme Being. If Planet Earth were a few miles closer to the Sun, there would not be life on Earth. If we cannot demonstrate the existence of God. Atheist cannot demonstrate the nonexistence of God either. Just look what atheistic Communism did to the Soviet Union and its satellites states.
Yes lets ignore are the war, death and human suffering caused by religion.
Yes lets ignore all the war, death and human suffering caused by religion...is what I meant
I would really like to respond intelligently to your post, but I can't for the life of me understand what you are trying to say.
The distance from the Earth to the Sun varies by 3 million miles during it's orbit. So being closer by a few miles probably wouldn't have much of an effect.
Street lights are relatively new.
we've become a nation of whiners, my god! now an atheist is offended? what in the world is going on in society today? get the F over yourselves and quit trying to be victims! you dont believe in god, so effen what??!! many people dont so there is no reason to be offended. next time instead of wasting the time to write this article how about donating time to your local food kitchen and actually help with something?
Pot meet kettle! When christians stop imposing themselves in every aspect of society, we'll stop speaking out but until then we're not going to stop. Instead of whining about us having a say, how about you be a good little christian and go help in a soup kitchen or a hostel. Atheist do lots to help out...Red Cross; UNICEF; Doctors Without Borders...do your research next time.
You call it whining, I call it standing up for yourself and fighting back.
Ring ring. The pot is calling.
So no one can make any intelligent commentary on how their spiritual group is treated in the media, even when they are the only spiritual group that it is still politically correct to criticize on a very personal level? It's would not be okay to question the patriotism of an American Muslim but it is definitely okay to criticize the morality of atheists, and atheists are supposed to ignore this and go on volunteering at soup kitchens (which my family already does, along with the SPCA and Homefront).
How about, instead of being nasty to writers who are only trying to raise awareness about a common misconception in the media, YOU go better your community?
The author sounded rational. You sound angry.
What you call "whining" is what actually has changed the world. Speaking out against ignorance and prejudice is what got women the vote, brought us civil rights and made my marriage legal. It is also what will one day allow good people of diverse ontological beliefs to have the respect and rights they deserve as valued members of our society.
Oh, very well said Sara. I believe hope for humanity lies in thorough education and knowledge.
I find it interesting that while some religions truly hate other religions all seem to hate the non-believers the most. I am reminded of fans of team sports...each team despises the other team for playing the same game.
It seems to me like Atheists should be regarded as neutral refs as we have no stake in the game. But I guess we represent a threat because we have no fear of unseen monsters.
Yeah, it is interesting that a lot (I don't know about all) religions seem to feel more negatively towards atheists. I think there are a few things perhaps going on. One is that atheism is at least perceived to be further from their own view and so is more threatening. Another is that because religions usually combine ethics and ontology many religious people believe that without a similar ontology we can't have ethics.
It's interesting to see the common "moral authority" argument coming from those who forget about geographic cultural/ontological differences. Ran into one of those today somewhere.
One culture's Sabbath is Saturday, the others Sunday. Sabbath law is a good example of internal "Moral Authority" inconsistencies with similar doctrines that are not as likely to raise defenses as citing slavery or chattel marriage.
If you are "Spiritual" then you feel that there is something transcendent to "facts" what you observe..Psychology Today states that "Research shows that even skeptics can't stifle the sense that there is something greater than the concrete world we see." So what exactly does Oprah get wrong?
"Spirituality" is a really broadly defined term that basically means that some things are given significance above ordinary things, and that those things or ideas become worthy of veneration. However, spirituality does not mean you have to believe in a god (or gods).
As an atheist, I do not believe in any gods. However, this doesn't mean that I don't ascribe significance to things that are greater than myself, such as the amazing variety in the natural world or the unimaginable hugeness of this universe. I just don't personally need a god to make these things significant to me. Other people do.
When the woman Oprah described her spirituality, Oprah interpreted this to mean that she cant be an atheist. Oprah, like many others, misinterprets atheism to mean a lack of belief in ANYTHING, as opposed to a lack of belief in god.
You nailed it, Rebecca.
In the psychology field "spiritual" just refers to the way in which one makes meaning of the world and one's life and place in the universe.
Nice article. When I read "atheist" I just assumed the article would be derogatory and/or condescending towards believers. But right on the mark. Creationism is itself less awe-inspiring, IMO, than a big-bang view because it places man at the center of the universe, which completely ignores how tiny and insignificant humans really are in the grand scheme of things (which is both awe inspiring and disturbing).
As a believer, I too was pleasantly surprised at the tone of the article. I am very aware, however, of how minuscule man is in the vast universe. I think David realized that when he asked God, "what is man that you are mindful of him?" Sadly, I have not experienced the awe of humanity lately like the gentleman in the article mentioned. That probably comes from reading too much news:)
Buddhists don't have "God" concept.
Oprah is an average idiot laced with American ignorance and arrogance.
All this "Atheism" talk is old news in many parts of the world like India that has openly accepted and let people be Atheists for thousands of years. This talk is only valid in western worlds that follow Abrahmic religions (Christianity and Islam) because they don't accept any belief/thought/faith/religion other than their own. That is why these two are the only two religions that proselytize, nobody else does it. And you guys will never hear the end of this. They just won't let Atheists live their lives.
he is real and waits for you to seek his face with your whole life. all your strength, your mind, everything you are and he will be found. don't believe it? neither did i.
don't believe. just do it.
you will be surprised by unspeakable joy like hundreds of millions before you and millions to come
So apparently belief is a form of self-hypnosis?
Great article. I think it's more amazing to look at the world through an Atheist's eyes, rather than just assume "god made it".
It's the same difference between just accepting a magician's tricks as being "magic" and doing some research in how they actually create their illusions.
Just curious, do atheists believe that upon death the switch is turned off and there is nothing more?
I believe just that.
Yes. Impossible to prove either way, but usually the simplest explanation is correct.
I think it depends on the atheist. I do think that, but Ill expand on the idea a bit:
Nearly every atom that makes up my body was fused together in long-dead star that scattered those atoms across the universe when they became supernovas. When I was forming in my mother's body, she gathered those atoms up from the earth by eating plants and animals, and they became my body. When I die, my atoms will return to the earth to become plants and animals again, and long from now, when our star becomes a supernova, my atoms will again scatter into the universe until gravity pulls them again into a new star.
So while my consciousness may cease, I take joy in the idea that I will become a part of this amazing cosmic cycle.
The day I thought all of this out, I became an atheist. I realized very suddenly that the amazing cycles of the natural world, described as only science could have every described them, were more beautiful to me than anything I had ever heard in church.
You can indeed live forever -if you have children and grandchildren.
The most beautiful concept.
Now go and educate your little ones. If you do a good job, they'll remember you.
Atheism is just one's belief about the existence or non-existence of gods. Some atheists, such as some atheistic Buddhists, may believe in a continuation of consciousness after death or in an idealism or panexperientialism of which humans are just a part. It depends on the atheist.
As an atheist, the misconception that frustrates me most is the idea that without god, we cannot have morality. I grew up in the Episcopal Church and have studied the bible. It provides, especially int he New Testaments, a lot of guidance for how to live a moral life, one in which you value, celebrate, and care for other creatures because you know they have intrinsic value. I guess what I don't understand is why it would be impossible to feel this responsibility to the world and to humanity unless you believe in god. Humanism has evolutionary value and is intrinsic, not something that can only be imparted by a god or a church. My stepdaughter, raised completely outside of any religious community, stands up to bullies at her school, volunteers at the local SPCA, and is one of the kindest, most empathetic teenagers I know. She says she is an atheist, though her father and I have never pushed that ideology on her. Why shouldn't she be judged by her actions instead of how she spiritually identifies herself? Why can't she a moral individual without a belief in god?
who cares if you have morality? get over it. our best is as filthy rags to him. it is not that we are not good. it is his absolute purity which shines brighter than the noonday sun that sets the standard and no one except christ met that challenge. no one.
So, if I read you correctly, you assert that we are all immoral when viewed through the eyes of your god, who is perfection.
This would mean that those who judge me are equal to me in their immorality, just by virtue of being "not god".
So then why am I and my family so often judged?
Of course she can, and evidently is.
The issue here in this article is with believers (in this case Oprah) essentially telling atheists what atheists believe, though the prism of belief in God(s).
I know, just ranting. But Oprah's assertion (by feeling the need to reinterpret as spiritual atheist as a theist) is that if you are an atheist, you can't have any wonder at the universe at all, as if trust in science is a cold, antiseptic world without any meaning.
I just wish there was a way to raise awareness about what atheists really DO think and feel about "life, the universe, and everything" without the kind of negativity that puts theists off and makes them feel judged (while I personally like Hitchens, he never won any PR points for atheists). Why can't everyone, on both sides, have an honest discussion about spirituality without atheists calling theists morons and theists calling atheists immoral?
Yes, it is troubling that the face of atheism is that of the anti-theist. It is a vicious circle – even if people like Dawkins choose to soft-peddle the message, they will be backed into a corner by the creationists.
This was inevitable of course, since it is the anti-theists who will evangelize rather than those people who prefer to live and let live.
In terms of getting out the message I think we just need to reiterate that atheism is not necessarily about destroying religion or having a positive belief in non-existence.
Really? Students describe atheists as "nihilistic?" Pretty sure nine out of ten college students have absolutely no idea what nihilistic means.
Ummm, I'm pretty sure a lot of them do. That age group (and that specific demographic) is the one most likely to be impressed by Nietzsche's philosophy.
Most students at more rigorous four year colleges will know what the word means, but if you've ever taken classes at or worked at schools with fairly open admissions (second or third tier state schools or many struggling small private or for-profit colleges) you'll see a whole other group of students who would also not be able to tell you who Nietzsche was. Heck, I've seen students at a top tier state school who couldn't calculate percents, write readable sentences or locate India on a map (yes, all real examples). I watched an interview with Harvard grads who couldn't get a lightbulb to light with a battery and some wire and couldn't tell you why it is colder in winter than summer.
There are some agnostic people commenting here today that don't seem to understand atheists very well. They assume that most atheists consider the no god hypothesis as a fact. That is not a good assumption. Personally, I consider myself an atheist. I believe there is no god(s), but I also know that no one can prove that yet. My belief is not based on faith, it's based on an ever growing mountain of scientific evidence that remains consistent with the no god hypothesis. While the god hypothesis is not in conflict with science yet, creation myths of all religions are.
"While the god hypothesis is not in conflict with science yet, creation myths of all religions are."
That's why I call myself an agnostic and an atheist. I'm not certain that no gods exist anywhere in the universe, but I'm completely unimpressed by all claims of gods actually being real. It's exactly like lake monster reports. Nessy and the others could be real, but none of the reported sightings are compelling enough for me to let myself believe that they actually do exist.
Same here, well stated.
We have a terminology problem, and it's not just a pedantic and semantic one.
Believer and non-believer (in a God or higher power) is much more effective that the words we are using like atheist and agnostic.
The only way you will find the proof you seek, is by seeking God on an individual and personal level. With all your heart, that is where He will be found. And He will reveal Himself to you just as He has so many others.
My husband sums up his atheist philosophy like this: "Is there a god? Probably not, but I don't really know, and you don't either!"
Sounds like you two would get along. 🙂
Add to that" "... and I don't care, and it doesn't affect me in the least".
somewhere it is written: It is easy for a camel to go thru the letter O than for a rich woman to enter the gate of heaven. 😉
Oh, Jesus and his camel jokes!
Only for the eyes of Oprah who I hear reads this blog everyday: (apparently she missed the first edition)
The Apostles' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
(references used are available upon request
So, if its only for Oprah, why did you bother the rest of us with it?
Because I don't have Oprah's private email address or phone number.
Until Oprah can prove the existence of God, Oprah is an atheist.
So – until you can prove God doesn't exist you're a deist?
I'm not an atheist because I know God is real.
You and me will have this same conversation about God when we pass into the next world..I guarantee it! 😀
If we are eternal, I will have a lot of amends to make.
How do you know God is real? Did you see him? Did you touch him? Why aren't prayers ever answered?
Seek humility, honesty open-mindedness and willingness and you might find God. God always answers my prayers.
You believe God is real. You can't know that he's real until you can prove it to everyone. God might just be a delusion of your mind if you can't prove it.
I have led other people to God.
You believe God is real. You can't know that he's real until you can prove it to everyone. God might just be a delusion of your mind if you can't prove it.
You believe God is real. You can't know that he's real until you can prove it to everyone. God might just be a delusion of your mind if you can't prove it.
That is a ridiculous argument, that ‘if you can't prove something to everyone, then it does not exist and must be delusion.’
My apologies, but as I said in a previous post...
Here is a short list of things that based upon the Atheist ideology they must believe do not exist because the Atheist can't prove to anyone else that they do exist for them, personally.
1. Feeling good
3. Enjoy life
5. A sense of self worth
6. That thought is a function or product of the fact that we have a brain, not a soul
7. That you are smarter than I am
8. That there is something wrong with knowing God exists
9. That there is only "faith" and no true knowledge of God or interaction with God
10. Most importantly, you cannot prove that there is death of self-awareness, spirit, soul simply because the body dies
When your body dies, you are going to realize that you still exist. That is going to contradict all that you have believed, and you can only believe that your spirit dies, not know it while in corporeal form, because you cannot prove that your sense of existing dies with the body. The fact that many Atheists think existing after biological death would be hell is a self-fulfilling "prophecy." So, according to your assertion, that if you cannot prove it to everyone then it does not exist, then all of us are eternal in spirit because you cannot prove there is death of self or self awareness simply because the body dies.
Many religious texts have words that indicate 'mind' is the same as soul or spirit, or psyche is the same as soul or spirit. Yet "modern day" psychology (one of the "sciences") focuses almost exclusively on thought and behavior patterns and rarely if ever delves into whether there is a spiritual reason that is influencing the thoughts and behaviors. It really isn't the study of the mind anymore and while they do help in many, many different situations, some of the psychobabble clearly misses the mark and even rises to the level of reckless generalizations. Many derogatory terms they assign to behaviors make assumptions about those behaviors that they have not proven. However, this is a discussion for another day...
I wonder if Atheists are willing to think the following. “I don’t believe god exists. I am humble enough to know that I cannot be certain. So, surprise me, make yourself known to me if you truly exist.” Might work wonders! 😉
See, God is a powerful spiritual being that created the Heavens and the earth. So naturally the creator can make it so that you cannot prove directly his existence. However, that is God's main point. God wants to test the faith of all his creations. Those who still maintain faith in him despite everything and follow his word are given the gift of eternal life.
So says you. Despite his power to do so, God himself has never told me what you claim in your post. I have only ever heard other humans tell each other these kinds of things. God simply exists in their minds.
If God exists and is all powerful, why didn't He create all humans as believers?
Nope! People can believe in whatever they want to without proof, but that's a habit that makes you an easy mark for con artists and the like.
Until you can prove the death of conscious self awareness when the body dies you cannot believe in one of the primary tenets of many, many Atheists. So it's good enough for Atheists to BELIEVE your mind/soul/spirit dies too, but it is ludicrous for those who BELIEVE they live on to seek God. Good luck! You'll need it!
Red Sox fan: "The Red Sox are the greatest"
Yankees fan: "The Yankees are the greatest"
Red Sox fan: "No, Red Sox"
Yankees fan: "You are wrong, it's the Yankees"
(and the rest of us say we can't stand either of those 2 teams).
Yes. And they have so much in common.
That's when you ask for proof of people's reasoning. Are they judging it on the basis of most World Series wins, or just a subjective opinion on whose team is "better" than the other?
I used the word 'greatest' to illustrate that these are just the fans opinions, so, yes, subjective, as is belief.
Yes, there is scientific evidence that suggests there is no God, but frankly, none of us know.
It is fine to discuss whether there may be a God or not, but for many on here, they seem to think it is a fact. Thus the Red Sox-Yankees fans arguing over, essentially, who they 'think' is 'greatest' in their own mind. Kinda pointless, isn't it.
Well said! Great article! Cudos to the author!
Well I believe in reason and the Scientific method to explore the world around us and inside us and the more facts you know things get even more interesting the more you know about them. I think in the 21st century to believe in ancient myth is pretty ignorant.
In the same way that emperical testing can prove the existence of human consciousness... 😉
The truth is, reality that can only be defined by subjectivity is still reality.
If we are saying then that the existence of God is subjective, can science prove the existence of other subjective ideas that are unanimously regarded as being true, such as the human consciousness? Evidence to its existence can be seen by observing processes in the brain, but can it really be proven, since the human “mind” is subjective? At what point do we separate the physical existence of a brain from the non-physical existence of the mind?
It is beyond question that human consciousness exists, even though we see it as a subjective reality, it is nonetheless real. Atheists have become stuck in the “left side” of their brain where objectivity, rationality, and logic reside, but they cannot deny the existence of the “right side” of their brain where subjectivity, feeling, and intuition reside… No scientific test can prove the existence of “feeling” or “intuition” within the human consciousness, but no one would deny that they exist.
It is a mistake to limit reality only to the realm of what can be objectivity proven. The definition of reality includes everything that is and has been whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. Love is real, but it is not objectively proven. Scientists may be able to point to certain chemicals in our brain that are involved in the process of us feeling the emotion of love, but if we were to take all of those chemicals and dump them into a bowl, can I now say that the bowl loves me? Are we not more than just the sum of our physical parts?
"Are we not more than just the sum of our physical parts?"
No we are not.
We have evolved from other forms of life to be what we currently are ......erect bipedal humans.
We no more have a soul or superior conciousness than does a dog or a snail....we simply have bigger brains and choose to do stupid things with it ....like create gods.
I'm not sure of your defintion of subjective. Subjective means it only exists as a concept in the human mind. These exist in a symbolic sense but don't have any objective reality. True we can only experience objective reality subjectively, but so far science has been the best tool for finding the closest description to objective reality we are able to comprehend.
Likewise, just because a scientific test cannot be devised to test for and prove the existence of God, evidences abound that God is nonetheless real. (See Romans 1:18-32)
• Something exists.
• You do not get something from nothing.
• Therefore a necessary and eternal “something” exists.
• The only two options are an eternal universe or an eternal Creator.
• Science and philosophy have disproven the concept of an eternal universe.
• Therefore, an eternal Creator exists.
And who or what created your mythical creator?
What happens when matter comes in contact with a anti matter?
"Science and philosophy have disproven the concept of an eternal universe."
No, they have not. They have shown that our universe could not have always existed in its current form, but that does not mean it could not be eternal in some form or another.
Try as you might Larry, there is no logical explanation for a universal creator being.
“Let me say that I don’t see any conflict between science and religion. I go to church as many other scientists do. I share with most religious people a sense of mystery and wonder at the universe and I want to participate in religious ritual and practices because they’re something that all humans can share.”
–Sir Martin Rees, the British cosmologist and astrophysicist who has been Astronomer Royal since 1995 and was the president of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010. Rees is the winner of the Crafoord Prize (which is the most prestigious award in astronomy), amongst many other awards.
Lot's of conflict between your creation myth and science. There is also conflict between the morals laid out in the bible and our moral base in the US.
“A Creator must exist. The Big Bang ripples and subsequent scientific findings are clearly pointing to an ex nihilo creation consistent with the first few verses of the book of Genesis.”
–Quantum chemist Henry F. Schaefer III, five time nominee for the Nobel Prize, as above.
I know scientists that disagree with you.
I didn't say anything about a creator (or not). I said every creation myth of every religion conflicts with science.
The Genesis origin story, for me, deals with the relationship between people like me, creatures, and the creator, God. It is a story. Not a science manual. It doesn't conflict with science, because it is a myth. It reveals a truth that science does not.
It may reveal some philosophical truth, but the bible account of creation is in conflict with science. You can say that doesn't matter to you and that is fair, but it is in conflict.
Where do you say it is in conflict? There is a lot that science has yet to say about the origin of the universe. Our best theories about the origin of the universe today will probably be seen as silly in 200 years when we have better technology and understandings.
Didn't get an answer from LofA maybe from you! When matter and anti matter collide they annihilate each other, something becoming nothing? Could the reverse not be true? Of course the energy released in matter anti matter collisions produces a different kind of particle energy, there is still so much we don't know but knowledge is the greatest enemy of the gods, ask Thor.
Knowledge is not the enemy.
We've been through this so many times. The bible is explicit in a sequence of creation events (e.g. the earth is created before light and stars, birds and whales before reptiles and insects, and flowering plants before any animals). The bible also classifies bats as birds rather than mammal, there are lots of errors. Again, that may not matter to you as you may not regard the bible as the perfect word of god.
I've not been through this with you. I never have said the Bible is the perfect word of God.
Lame answer. Most of the gods created by man from Ra to Dionysus have fallen to the wayside because of the knowledge gained by man, this will be the same with all the gods that men worship now. Knowledge is a the future of mankind and the death of the gods.
That's ok with me. If the bible is not the perfect word of god, then errors don't really matter. You can take the parts you resonate with and ignore the rest. Enjoy!
Yet Jesus Christ still lives.
The Bible points to God. But it is not God.
God is better than any perfect book.
I say again, knowledge is the future of mankind but is the death of the present day gods, just as the old gods died off. BTW you ignored the matter anti matter statement, why?
-BTW you ignored the matter anti matter statement, why?
I don't know why you jumped in the middle of the conversation. And I don't know who "LofA" is, yet you seem to think I do?
What point are you trying to make with your anti-matter statement? I don't know a whole lot about that subject.
LofA is of course Lawrence of Arabia. I jumped into the thread because you were using quotes from physicists about creation, since you do not seem to know anything about the subject I as$ume you were just quote mining. If you read my previous posts you should have inferred what I was saying something becomes nothing why not the opposite, far to simplistic but I think you may get the thought process.
I took the time to look up, H. F. Schaefer III, what a hoot, a prominent defender of "intelligent design", why am I not surprised you would quote him.
Something becomes nothing, but why not the opposite? Sure. Why not the opposite?
I am not familiar with LofA, still. I was using examples of elite scientists who believe in God.
You don't think there was intelligence behind the design of life?
Obtuse or just not dealing with reality. Lawrence of Arabia, LofA has posted directly above. Since you have completely decided to not answer my proposition and want to talk about the absurdity of intelligent design, I will simply refer you to the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster the greatest refutation of IT ever written.
not IT but ID.
Yea, FSM, that is a good parody. It doesn't offend what I believe.
What is your point? Where have I said nothing becomes something so something can't become nothing?
The whole thread was about creation myths nice deflection, but you really have nothing to offer other than Christian apologetics, lame. Learn something about the bright new world of particle physics and get back to me. Search, CERN.
"I share with most religious people a sense of mystery and wonder at the universe "
Yes but do you seriously believe a person can be brought back from being dead?.
Yes, I believe in miracles.