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COMMENTARY: My Journey To Becoming An Atheist

FROM DISBELIEF IN MIRACLES, SANTA CLAUS TO BAPTISM TO BOREDOM TO SHEDDING ‘UNNECESSARY BAGGAGE’

Posted: February 10, 2013 at 1:57 a.m.

The world is changing, and the changes have everything to do with religion. Increased knowledge is driving a trend away from traditional religious worldviews. Fourteen percent of all people now claim to be “nonreligious.” The trend is stronger in industrialized nations. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reported last year “The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public — and a third of adults under 30 — are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever.” As one example of this secularizing trend, my experience might be enlightening for others.

This story is only available from our archives.

Opinion, Pages 11 on 02/10/2013

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I much admire Prof. Hobson for making public his beliefs and their genesis in his life experiences.
+++
In terms of a prior discussion on these threads, I am not sure I would call him an "atheist" in terms of the online distinction between a positive atheist and negative atheist.
The "positive atheist" denies the possibility of any God or gods and often actively promotes this disbelief as a 'New Atheist.' It is a strong position. The "negative atheist" simply doesn't believe in any religions or finds them beside the point.

Posted by: Coralie

February 10, 2013 at 4:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

A few years ago I read books by three of the New Atheists. Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris.
I was turned off by the anti-Islamic prejudice in the books by Hitchens and especially Harris.
Also by the use of selected instances, exaggeration, and over-simplification to make their points.
Dawkins' book was better than the other two.

Posted by: Coralie

February 10, 2013 at 4:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Well, Art, you never need God until you need Him real bad. By then, if you haven't acknowledged Him, then He probably won't acknowledge You. So in the end You reject God, He rejects You and both of You and He are even. You played the cards as you see fit and in the end, if you are right, you lose and if you are wrong, you lose.

Posted by: JailBird

February 10, 2013 at 5:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Coralie: "The "positive atheist" denies the possibility of any God or gods and often actively promotes this disbelief as a 'New Atheist.' It is a strong position.">>

I hate to quibble about semantics and labels, so many like to understand them differently and see overlaps in different places. But I think you've put it far too strongly here Coralie. I am sure neither Dawkins, Hitchens or Harris would allow that definition apply to them. Dawkins for instance takes care to specifically say the existence of a god is possible, just highly improbable. He goes into some detail about this in this article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard...

I don't know of any even slightly philosophically sophisticated atheist that would go along with this definition of strong atheism you give. I mention this because it's a common caricature.

The word atheist simply means, literally, (a) "not" or "without", theist. Some state it stronger than others, some people (and even dictionaries not so long ago) like to ascribe all sorts of baggage to the term like "wicked" or "evil." But it's a very limited word. It just does one thing. It informs that a person is not one thing: not a theist. And no one needs to know there isn't a god, or prove there isn't a god, or know everything in the universe to simply lack a belief in a God or gods.

ART says: "As the Fayetteville Freethinkers... put it, “Believe less, think more.”>>

A subtle difference but I know Art meant to say here: "Think More, Believe Less."

One tends to lead to the other....

D.
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http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos...

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 10, 2013 at 10:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Whoever came up with atheistism certainly did so without intelligent design.---ME

Posted by: JailBird

February 11, 2013 at 1:23 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

"God created man in His image and we have more than returned the favor." --Betty Bowers

Posted by: cdawg

February 11, 2013 at 3:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

I am a thinker - the more I think, the more I believe in God. What makes the difference in people? I guess it is what they are looking for in the beginning. You will find what you look for.

Posted by: mycentworth

February 11, 2013 at 8:49 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

My: "the more I think, the more I believe in God.">>

That's called believing. It's a form of thinking but not so useful for determining what it is true. That is, if it is your goal to believe what is true. For most it isn't.

My: "What makes the difference in people?">>

Some have taken the time and effort to study and learn skills of discernment in order to guard against falling for standard human cognitive biases and believing things that are plainly false. It's not foolproof, but it helps. See:

"The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational" http://tinyurl.com/cbe86kc

We all fall prey to these, but it's useful to be aware of them and try not be tricked by them. It's easy to see you are constantly tricked by them but it's also easy to see you are completely unaware of this.

My: "You will find what you look for.">>

Some people go to great difficulty to only to find what they are looking for. They don't want to accidentally find what they aren't looking for, even if what that is might be an uncomforting truth. See "confirmation bias," example number one given above.

D.
------------------
"For ages, a deadly conflict has been waged between a few brave men and women of thought and genius upon the one side, and the great ignorant religious mass on the other. This is the war between Science and Faith. The few have appealed to reason, to honor, to law, to freedom, to the known, and to happiness here in this world. The many have appealed to prejudice, to fear, to miracle, to slavery, to the unknown, and to misery hereafter. The few have said "Think" The many have said "Believe!" --Ingersoll, Gods pg. 52

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 11, 2013 at 11:16 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFt - So your thinking is better than my thinking? Pretty arrogant.

Posted by: mycentworth

February 11, 2013 at 11:54 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

I still feel that there are a lot of diverse positions that aren't covered by the current definitions.
"The word atheist simply means....that a person is not one thing: not a theist."
===
According to Wikipedia, theism has two meanings:
"Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists. In a more specific sense, theism is a monotheistic doctrine .... Theism, in this specific sense, conceives of God as personal, present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe. As such theism describes the classical conception of God that is found in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and some forms of Hinduism. The use of the word theism to indicate this classical form of monotheism began during the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century in order to distinguish it from the then-emerging deism which contended that God, though transcendent and supreme, did not intervene in the natural world and could be known rationally but not via revelation."
This limited definition of theism does not apply to Deists, Buddhists, Neo-Animists, or the mystical traditions of the 'theistic' religions mentioned here.

Posted by: Coralie

February 11, 2013 at 12:11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

A commenter on another thread said he was an "apatheist" and this seems like a good term to describe many secular people for whom these religious questions are pointless.
Worldwide, the third largest" religion" after Christianity and Isam is made up of people who do not identify with any religion.

Posted by: Coralie

February 11, 2013 at 12:17 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

mycentworth, I believe free is referring to Critical Thinking, which is a body of knowledge about how to improve one's ability to think rationally and to overcome certain inborn biases.
The CT skills have been developed over 2,500 years.
Any of us could profit from improving our thinking skills. These skills could support one's religious beliefs or not.

Posted by: Coralie

February 11, 2013 at 12:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Thanks for your effort to clarify and I don't have any problem with what you say. Creation itself makes one "think" alot. "A fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt. Psalm 14:1

Psalm 19:1 - The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament shows His handiwork.

We are all free to chose what we believe. Just don't put down those that do believe in a creator.

Posted by: mycentworth

February 11, 2013 at 1:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

RE "FFt - So your thinking is better than my thinking? Pretty arrogant." and "Just don't put down those that do believe in a creator."
Belief and critical thought are two entirely different things. fft simply pointed out that his thinking on religion, being critical, is better than your thinking on religion. He did not put you down personally; in fact, I believe that he at one time pointed out that your belief might well be better than his belief.

Posted by: AlphaCat

February 11, 2013 at 2:13 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I do think I do question when something does not seem right. FFT seems to think that if we don't come up with the same answer as him, we are not being critical enough.

I will admit that we are talking of the super-natural and if you do not believe that, I guess it would be hard to understand those that do.

Posted by: mycentworth

February 11, 2013 at 3:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The professor asks himself a question: “But Art,” you say, “surely you need God to give your life meaning?”
.
By not believing that you need God "to give your life meaning", you are free to discover it for yourself... I would propose that by deciding for yourself what your life will mean that you have taken "ownership" of it... Surely this is better than your life being determined FOR you..???

Posted by: aimee

February 11, 2013 at 3:31 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

What is it, God needs us to give Himself meaning? Hear about the Morman who was also an atheist? Yah, he gave out blank Bibles.

Mycentworth, that misunderstanding is called blindness. You have saw the Light that passes all understanding and they have not and can not. You should pity them and not chastize them. They are just trying to justify their blindness and science is the easy way to do it.

Posted by: JailBird

February 11, 2013 at 4:54 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

MM, I'm not trying to chastize them. I just want them to have the hope that comes with believing in a better place than this cruel, crazy, hurtful world.

Someone said that this is heaven right here. No thank you. Every neighbor I have has got problems. That is not heaven.

I look at life as battlefield for the soul. In Christ there is peace through it all.

Posted by: mycentworth

February 11, 2013 at 5:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

To each their own. I am deeply grateful to be living in a nation with a constitution that guarantees each of us freedom of religion...which naturally includes freedom *from* religion. Coexist, people. And stop judging others who don't think or believe about God or religion the same way as yourself. We'll find a lot more peace that way.

Posted by: SPA

February 11, 2013 at 9:44 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Thank you for you insight SPA. You are gray light that comes in the east on a dark morning of cold and wet camping on the western plains.

Posted by: JailBird

February 11, 2013 at 11:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

RE-

"If there is a heaven, it’s here on Earth, and it’s now."

What a sad "belief". There is something much greater for those that wish to accept it.

Posted by: Tankersley101

February 12, 2013 at 1 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mycent: "FFt - So your thinking is better than my thinking?">>

Not all methods of thinking are equal. Some produce observably superior results. Some produce nonsense. Some methods are really good at separating what is true, from what is false, and some suck. If you use a method that consistently gives patently false answers, like the following, you might consider getting an upgrade:

There was a world flood and Noah saved the world's species on a boat, or

The planet is about 10,000 years old, or

The earth is flat, or

Humans are cursed because a rib woman ate a fruit, or

The curse was undone because a man was nailed to a stake, or

The Bible is a good source for morality, or

Faith is a good reason to believe a claim, or

Tradition is a good reason to believe a claim, or

Authority or the popularity of a belief is a good reason to believe a claim, or

Quoting a verse from the Bible is an argument or reason to believe,... then, your method of "thinking" may just be a method of believing because it isn't any good at producing accurate, true, results.

In contrast, the methods of rigorous scientific skepticism, scrutiny and critical thinking have been found to be very good at producing accurate, true, results.. For instance, they have produced, in just a short while:

Your phone, that works. Your computer, that works. A 28 year increase in your life expectancy within one century. Eradicated small pox, polio, diphtheria, plague, many cancers and hosts of other diseases that previously killed hundreds of millions of people. Landed robots on Mars, allow deaf children to hear,...

and lets just say, a few other benefits.

Not all methods of thinking provide equally accurate results. With a great deal of testing over the years, humanity has discovered that some methods are just really bad. If you don't have skills of discernment and instead rely upon faith based and wishful thinking, you can end up with no end of absurdity and bizarre examples of religious fervor. Want to see faith in action, hardcore style? See below.

D.
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"Devotees turn mosque floor red during mass flagellation to mourn Shiite martyr"
http://tinyurl.com/9wpd7u7

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 12, 2013 at 1:54 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT - yada, yada, yada

Posted by: mycentworth

February 12, 2013 at 7:29 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

It amazes me to find an intelligent person who fights against something which he does not at all believe exists. --Mohandas Gandhi

Nobody talks so constantly about God as those who insist that there is no God. -- Heywood Broun

Mycentworth: No one dies an atheist. Unfortunately, at that point, it is too late. I have been in ministry for a long time and I have heard many staunch atheist cry out to God on their death bed. Like I said, NO ONE dies an atheist. They will believe. One way or another.

Posted by: shorenuff

February 12, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Freeby, you've been busy: Let's go back to Bible 101 and see what we can review.

A large part of the Bible is an allegory.
"Allegory is a form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political sigfnificance, and characters are often personifications of abstract ideas as charity, greed, or envy. Thus an allegory is a story with two meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning."---tnellen

"Symbol is using an object or action that means something more than its literal meaning."---tnellen

"Metaphors are used to help us understand the unknown, because we use what we know in comparison with something we don't know to get a better understanding of the unknown."---tnellen

I know is is difficult, if not impossible, for you to grasp a deeper meaning for a number of reasons: You know nothing about writing, or the deeper meanings of Scripture, your insight into these has been blinded, you resent others who do see, and then fall back on science and worldly reason (which is constantly changing) to put down those who do see a whole wonderful world that you have missed. Second star to the right.

Posted by: JailBird

February 12, 2013 at 8:35 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

It's sad that people who do not have a personal relationship with God can stand and denounce those who do. It's biblical, though. There are always going to be those who do this, and our job, as Christians, is to pray for their salvation.

Posted by: ChristianChick

February 12, 2013 at 8:38 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

"Nobody talks so constantly about God as those who insist that there is no God". -- Heywood Broun

I like that. I pray you are right, shorenuff.

mm - You are a great writer. Did you see the beautiful sunrise this frosty morning? Birds singing. God's presence was abundant. That was after I read FFT's post. To me it was God saying "I'm here"

Posted by: mycentworth

February 12, 2013 at 9:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Shore: [quote] "It amazes me to find an intelligent person who fights against something which he does not at all believe exists." --Gandhi >>

I've known Art Hobson for a couple decades now. I didn't know he was an atheist. So apparently he doesn't spend too much time "fighting against" that which he does not at all believe exists.

If people would read carefully, and of course they do not, they might notice that it is the believers that are constantly bringing up the issue of atheism, not those who don't believe in God. It's some kind of fetish for them. An itch they can't resist scratching. We've had these two recent articles on the topic, so this has brought it up, but aside from these, it is invariably the theists that are obsessed with the notion that some people don't believe their God assertions.

Using Gandhi's comment as shorenuff has is a distortion. Atheists don't fight against God anymore than someone who doesn't believe in Mother Goose fights against her. One doesn't fight against mythical beings they don't believe exist. But it seems God has a lot of very noisy emissaries that have been assigned to do all of His glorious tasks, meddle in politics, try to get government to fund and support their superstitions etc.,. If you think about it for a minute, you might be able to see that it is in fact this people that some folks have an issue with. Not the sky God.

And remember, attacking or responding to a belief or claim, is not attacking a person, and it's not attacking a God. It's attacking a belief/claim. There is a difference. The two are not the same.

Incidentally, Gandhi, while he talked about God a lot, it was all pretty vague. He used to say "God is Truth" but later change this to "Truth is God." This is something an atheist and freethinker would prefer. Interestingly Gandhi also said he was "a super-atheist." See the interview here:

http://www.positiveatheism.org/india/...

D.
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http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos...

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 12, 2013 at 10:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Shorenuff: "No one dies an atheist.">>

This old whopper again. For some reason, for centuries, Christians have amused themselves with this projected belief that if they were atheists, they would be cowards and at the last minute they would buckle and change their entire worldview, just in case, just to be on the safe side. Actually, that might be true. They might be that cowardly. But those that have the courage to not believe during their life? Not so much.

There's hardly a famous freethinker, atheist, skeptic that hasn't been lied about in this way over the years. Here are 92 historic examples of skeptics who religious folks just like Shorenuff have been passing around fibs about, regarding death bed conversions:

http://www.infidels.org/library/histo...

Shorenuff: "I have heard many staunch atheist cry out to God on their death bed.">>

Sure you have. They actually do cry out to God in bed sometimes, but it's when they're having sex. On the death bed, not so much.

Shore: "NO ONE dies an atheist. They will believe.">>

Love it. Very entertaining. Some Xtians just can't stand that some people don't and won't believe their stories about spooks. And mostly they can't stand the fact that they never will. So they simply assert otherwise. Hey, works in church!

D.
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http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos...

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 12, 2013 at 11:10 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

MM: "Let's go back to Bible 101...">>

You might need to begin with Bible 101, because you've shown you clearly don't know diddly about the Bible. I was doing Bible 101, around 1975.

MM: "A large part of the Bible is an allegory.">>

That's nice. You might tell your friend you spend so much time playing patty cake with that much of the Bible is "an allegory" (he'll be so surprised!).

D.
------------
Mycent: "mm - You are a great writer.">>

For some reason I found that extremely amusing. Made my day. Really.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 12, 2013 at 11:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Money says "God needs us to give Himself meaning?"
Believe it or not, there are followers of some Eastern religions who believe this.

Posted by: Coralie

February 12, 2013 at 2:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Money also says "A large part of the Bible is [in the form of] allegory [and symbols and metaphors]."
Yes that is all true.
But a lot of problems arise from people not knowing what an allegory or metaphor is, and thinking they are reading the Bible "literally."

Posted by: Coralie

February 12, 2013 at 2:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

My two cents,...
I am a Christian, but I read every bit of what FFT writes on this site. He has really challenged the way I think and beleive. I don't think that is a bad thing, especially if you are a Christian. I have not changed my religious belief (and I don't think that is FFT's intention), but understand why he thinks what he does.

Not to be mean, but more of FFT and less of Coralie and Alpha,....

Posted by: hogheaven77

February 12, 2013 at 4:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Thank you, mycentworth, but I am not a great writer. Steinbeck, Twain, and Dickens were great writers. I never claimed to be even a good writer, just better than Freeby.

Coralie, you are right, a literal interpretation of the Bible will lead to a wrong interpretation of the Bible. And, you are right, there are many in pulpits that think an allegory is part of the large intestine.

Jesus said that all will see Him, even those who pierced Him. Guess there were some atheists among those, who knows. I think that if Freeby wants to assume room temperature without believing, that is his right.

Freeby, that not attacking a person, was that just another one of your broken New Year's resolutions?

Posted by: JailBird

February 12, 2013 at 4:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I guess I assume too much. As I assumed everyone knew SOME passages and stories in the Bible are allegories. One can tell the difference when you read the Bible; such as the use of the talents, and the lost son.

Posted by: mycentworth

February 12, 2013 at 6:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

MM: "Jesus said that...">>

Since there is no record that Jesus ever wrote anything (other than some scribble in the sand that was never revealed), and no one who ever met him wrote anything that we know of, whenever anyone pretends to know what "Jesus said," it's always a rather tentative claim. He may have (and probably did) say some of the things attributed to him. Or not.

MM: "Jesus said that all will see Him, even those who pierced Him.">>

Oh really? Where did he say that? (hint: Rev. 1:7 was written about 60 years after Jesus died).

MM: "another one of your broken New Year's resolutions?">>

I've never made a New Year's resolution. Before you make comments you might consider thinking about whether they are true. It's a good habit and one you should, for a change, consider adopting.

D.
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And Jesus said unto them, "And whom do you say that I am?"

They replied,"You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the ontological foundation of the context of our very selfhood revealed."

And Jesus replied, "What?
--anon

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 12, 2013 at 8:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I am sure mm will answer you FFT. But Revelation was written by John, the apostle, who was one of Jesus' disciples that was near Christ during the transfiguration along with his brother, James and Peter. It doesn't matter when Rev. was written,but by whom.

In one of your posts, you said that none of the disciples knew Jesus. That is a false statement, a lie.
A couple of warnings that we should heed are:

Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall arise and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

Romans 16: 17,18 Now I beseech you brother, mark them that cause division and offenses contrary to the doctrine you have learned; and avoid them. (18) For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ but by their own body, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (innocent).

Believers have the Holy Spirit as their witness, which others cannot understand. So, arguing is pointless.

Posted by: mycentworth

February 13, 2013 at 5:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Revelation, the very first sentance; "The revelation from Jesus Christ,". Go then down to 1:7 and in quotes "Look, he is coming with the clouds," and "every eye shall see him, even those who pierced him". Said by Jesus through the angel Jesus sent to John.

Revelation was written sometime around AD 95, therefore was very posible the Apostile John could have written it. At that time it was generally accepted that John wrote it. I accept that viewpoint, others don't, but its nothing to get into an argument about.

To make the claim that none that knew Jesus ever wrote anything that was published in the Scriptures is possible. Because of the numbers of written languages at that time, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, a scribe was usually employed for writing. A scribe would translate the spoken words or written words from Aramaic to Greek or Latin. Therefore it would be possible that the actual writers of the Gospels never saw Jesus, but the one that scribe was translating and writing for sure did. Even Paul used a scribe: "I Paul, am writing this greeting with my own hand"---2 Thessalonians 3:17

Posted by: JailBird

February 13, 2013 at 7:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

mm - I did not dispute the claim about the writings of Jesus. That can be true, as far as I know. FFT made the claim in an earlier post that none of the disciples knew Christ. That was not true. It has bugged me and that is why I brought it up.

Posted by: mycentworth

February 13, 2013 at 7:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT wrote on "Subject of Story Contradictory":

"3. The gospels were not written by anyone who knew Jesus personally"

That is a lie - John, James and Peter were with him.

Posted by: mycentworth

February 13, 2013 at 8:08 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

That the disciples did not know Jesus is a claim so rediculous that not even Freeby believes that. Scholars are mostly in agreement that James and Peter at the time they were with Jesus did not know how to read and write. Most people in that time did not especially fishermen. They used scribes to write for them. Luke and John probably could read and write, but likely used scribes to take their dictation and write the Gospels. This was common practice in those days. Paul ceretainly could write, but also used a scribe. It took a specialized person to know and write in all those languages.

Posted by: JailBird

February 13, 2013 at 8:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Is there a God

This question has been around since the beginning of time. It seems that everyone tries to show proof, evidence, knowledge of the existence/nonexistence of God for their side of the issue. No one to my knowledge has ever actually used facts concerning this issue.

Fact # 1. There is no evidence that God exists
Fact # 2. There is no evidence that God does not exists.
Fact # 3. There is no evidence that anyone has knowledge of the existence of God.
Fact # 4. There is no evidence that anyone has knowledge of the nonexistence of God.

Please, let's define the words: Fact, Know/Knowledge, Evidence and Proof.

It is not my intentions to offend or to question the intellect of anyone by stating these definitions. It just seems that every time I hear this question discussed/debated people throw these words around very loosely as if they do not understand their meaning.

Definitions from Dictionary.com

Fact:
1. Something that actually exists; reality; truth: Your fears have no basis in fact.
2. Something known to exist or to have happened: Space travel is now a fact.
3. A truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true: Scientists gather facts about plant growth.

Know:
1. To perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty: I know the situation fully.
2. To have established or fixed in the mind or memory: to know a poem by heart; Do you know the way to the park from here?
3. To be cognizant or aware of: I know it.
4. Be acquainted with (a thing, place, person, etc.), as by sight, experience, or report: to know the mayor.
5. To understand from experience or attainment (usually followed by how before an infinitive): to know how to make gingerbread.
Verb (used without object)
8. To have knowledge or clear and certain perception, as of fact or truth.
9. To be cognizant or aware, as of some fact, circumstance, or occurrence; have information, as about something.

Evidence:
1. That which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
2. Something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.

Proof:
1. Evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth.
2. Anything serving as such evidence: What proof do you have?
3. The act of testing or making trial of anything; test; trial: to put a thing to the proof.
4. The establishment of the truth of anything; demonstration.

By these definitions how do you "know" God exist or how do you "know" God does not exist. Feelings, emotions, and theory are not evidence of fact or knowledge of anyone's immediate future, extended future, or life after death. (continued)

Posted by: woodw

February 13, 2013 at 8:25 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

I am so fed up hearing these people ask every time after a tragedy why God allows such a terrible thing to happen. The answers I hear seem to always try to show proof that God exists and it is someone's fault. This always seems to be the question from those who choose not to believe in the existence of God. This always seems to be the answers coming from those who choose to believe in the existence of God. Neither question nor answer is relevant concerning this issue.
The people asking the question are trying to confirm their decision to believe there is no God and the people answering the question are trying to prove there is a God. Neither of which has happened nor is going to happen.

The very idea of one questioning why God would allow such tragedies to happen is in total contradiction to the belief of the one doing the questioning, there is no God. If you do not believe there is a God why are you questioning the reason God would allow such a tragedy to happen. That in itself makes absolutely no sense.

The answer is very simple. God did not allow and does not allow any tragedy of any sort to happen. Tragedies happen because Human Beings make them happen. Tragedies happen because Human Beings cause them to happen. There are thousands of reasons people decide to do bad things or cause horrific tragedies to happen. God is not one of them.

No one "knows" there is a God. No one "knows" there is not a God. It is a choice. Because of the fact the question exists, every individual is forced to choose between believing in the existence of God or the nonexistence of God. There are many, logical, sensible, very good reasons to choose to believe in the existence of God. There are no, good, logical, sensible reasons to choose to believe in the nonexistence of God. There are however, two undisputable facts concerning the existence of God.

Fact #1. Every living individual has died in the past or is going to die in the future.
Fact #2. After passing from this life, every living individual will find out if God exists or if God does not exist.

If you choose to live your life believing there is no God and find out you are wrong after you pass from this life. If you find out that all the things are true about God you have lost everything. If you choose to live your life believing there is a God and find out you are wrong after you pass from this life. If you find out that all the things are not true about God you have lost nothing. (continued)

Posted by: woodw

February 13, 2013 at 8:27 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

When making decisions about issues with unclear results that will be good or bad depending on which way the decision goes, no intelligent person will choose to error on the side of the bad result. Recently, a school had five bomb threat calls in a 48-hour period. Four hours were spent each time evacuating students and checking the school. The Superintendent remarked they were going to error on the side of safety regardless of how many calls they received. It is very clear which error is on the side of safety concerning the existence/nonexistence of God. Why would anyone having any ability of reasoning choose not to error on the side of safety?

To reemphasize; the question of the existence/nonexistence of God is a 50/50 issue. Whatever you choose to believe concerning eternal rewards, eternal punishment, or nothing after death is a 50/50 issue.

Before any of you Believers/Nonbelievers tell me you are more than 50% sure God exist or does not exist, be prepared to tell me and I do not mean "Predict", "Guess" I mean "Know" exactly, in intricate detail, what the Stock Market is going to do three weeks from Friday and be ready to take my money and get the highest return or personally guarantee double my money back. Feelings, emotions, and theory are not evidence of fact and knowledge of anyone's immediate future, extended future, or life after death.

Bottom line: time wise eternity is in comprehensible by the human mind. It is very foolish for anyone to take a 50/50 chance on their life after death. A quote from the Bible, King James Version "THE FOOL HATH SAID IN HIS HEART, THERE IS NO GOD".

Posted by: woodw

February 13, 2013 at 8:28 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

woodw - You are absolutely right in the fact that no one can prove there is a God or not a God. Some theories are accepted by some as fact, and has mislead many. But they are still theories.

I do believe, and I state again 'believe' - no fact involved, that the Holy Spirit is real and that makes the whole difference. As you said,and I have quoted myself, "The fool has said in his heart there is no God". Creation could not have just happened by chance. That is the closest you can get to proof, in my opinion.

I am to the point, and will heed the advice of the Bible, to avoid such contentions - as hard as it may be.

Posted by: mycentworth

February 13, 2013 at 8:45 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Its not really important if I know God or not, but I am deeply concerned about Him knowing me.

"Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in you name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you.'----Mathew 7:22-23

I see most evidence of God in the footprints he leaves behind which are the miracles shown by the changed lives of men and women. Look for the signs that indicate He has been here. If He has been there, chances are He still is.

Good post, woodw, well done and intellegent.

Posted by: JailBird

February 13, 2013 at 9:40 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

MM - Isn't that the truth!

Posted by: mycentworth

February 13, 2013 at 9:45 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mycent: "you said that none of the disciples knew Jesus.">>

No, I never said that.

Mycent: "FFT made the claim... that none of the disciples knew Christ. That was not true.">>

Again, I never said that. Third time's a charm, now you bother to get the quote:

Mycent: [quote] "3. The gospels were not written by anyone who knew Jesus personally">>

Bingo. That's what I said. And it's correct. You should go to the library and look at standard mainstream Christian scholarship some time. Or I can do it for you:

The Cambridge Companion to the Bible, as standard scholarly reference has regarding Matthew (pp. 502-3):

"This Gospel is anonymous, like the others. When the church in the second century sought to lend authority to the Gospels, it assigned each of them to an apostle or an associate of an apostle. About 130, Papias attributed this Gospel to Matthew...and claimed that he wrote it in Hebrew [he was wrong --FFT]."

Biblical scholar [and evangelical Christian] Bruce Metzger:
"The text itself of each Gospel is anonymous and its title represents what later tradition had to say about the identity of the author” (_The New Testament_, 96)

None of the gospels even claim to identify their authors and we know the names were added later by people guessing because we have early church fathers referring to these works and they didn't know who wrote them.

Your Bible is written by people who did not know Jesus personally. You have no eyewitness accounts. Not one. Paul who wrote most of it, never met Jesus. These writers are passing along second hand stories they've heard from others. If you were even to read your Bible carefully, you might notice that almost with exception, they are rather honest in revealing this fact.

D.
--------
"You forgot to mention which gospels are from a "genuine witness." Luke tells us that his is not. Tradition from the earliest church fathers maintain the the writer of Mark wasn't either. He got his story from Peter many years later in Rome. That leaves Matthew and John. It is well known that most of Matthew was copied from Mark, as was much of Luke as well. That leaves only John, the latest gospel of them all, which was probably written sometime in the 90s, sixty years after the alleged events. So how could that writer have been an eyewitness?
--R. Nielsen

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 13, 2013 at 10:32 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

MM: "Revelation, the very first sentance;">>

We don't know who wrote Revelation, but we know it wasn't Jesus. There are lots of comments attributed to Jesus in the Christian New Testament but the comment at Revelation 1:7 is not one of them.

MM: "it would be possible that the actual writers of the Gospels never saw Jesus,">>

If you were to read the gospels carefully, something you haven't apparently bothered to do, you might notice that the writers don't even claim to be dealing with Jesus directly. They admit they are passing along stories they have heard. And we don't know who these authors were. The names were added later. We have very good, well understood reasons for understanding this. Unfortunately, this information is not typically revealed at evangelical fundamentalist churches (and the circles Mycent moves in). It's not good for attendance.

Incidentally, while we don't have any authentic writings from apostles, we don't even know who "the 12 apostles" were, the Bible has various lists of them but they all contradict each other.

D.
----------
From "Who Wrote the New Testament? --Burton Mack, 1995, Harper Collins.

"The Gospel of Mark. As for the author, we know only that we do not know who he was. The Mark to whom the gospel was attributed is a legendary figure of the second century. Papias...(ca. 130), named Mark as the author of the gospel...

The Gospel of Matthew. I will refer to the author of this gospel as Matthew, in keeping with the gospel's later attribution to one of the named disciples. In fact, however, all we know about the person who wrote this gospel is that he thought of himself as a "scribe trained for the kingdom" (Matt 13:52). (page 162)

The Gospel According to Luke. ...around the year 120 C.E....[Luke]...appeared.... As with the other narrative gospels, we do not know anything about the author except what can be inferred form the writing itself. Later in the second century, the work was attributed to Luke...just as other anonymous literature from earlier times was attributed to either the apostles or their companions in order to validate their truth. It has become customary to refer to the author as Luke, even though the Luke mentioned by Paul cannot have been the one who wrote this work." (page 167)

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 13, 2013 at 10:46 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Woo: "If you choose to live your life believing there is no God and find out you are wrong...">>

This is Paschal's Wager. Sophisticated Christians don't appeal to it because it doesn't work, for several reasons. Here are five of them:

http://fayfreethinkers.com/tracts/pas...

Woo: "A quote from the Bible,... "THE FOOL HATH SAID IN HIS HEART, THERE IS NO GOD".">>

Thanks for the screaming all caps. I prefer the secular version:

"The fool saith in his heart, 'There is no god,' the wise man saith it out loud." --Ps. 14:1 RSV (Revised Secular Version)

D.
-----------
I have a dictionary of God's. It has over 1,500 of them and is very incomplete. I know of another one which has 2,500 gods but that isn't complete either. The Christian God is listed, as it should be, along with Abaasy, Azi, Calliope, Daikoku, gyges, Kishimo-jin, Pereplut, Pinga Qaholom, Wakan-Tanka, Baal, Allah, Vishnu, Shiva, Loki, Quetzalcoatl, Zeus, Odin, Apollo, Osiris, Krishna and all the rest.

It doesn't take any "faith" to *not* believe in any these gods, and I am sure you don't have any trouble not believing in them and are an atheist with regard to all of them except for the one your parents told you about. As the saying goes, an atheist is simply someone who believes in one less god than you do.

D.
--------------
"YAHWEH--Semite
Storm god. By all accounts, he is an extremely jealous god who cannot tolerate the presence of other divinities. This is a source of great puzzlement to many of them as, when Yahweh was a member of the Grand Council of the Gods presided over by El of Ugarit, relations between Yahweh and the rest of the council members were always most cordial."
--Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, p. 195

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 13, 2013 at 10:54 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Moneymyst, thank you for your comment. Changed lives as you say is not "Evidence" of God. It's evidence that they have been convinced by someone that they need to change and the benefits of the change which can be good or bad. Someone convinced the terrorist to change to serving the God that promotes killing people. Jim Jones convinced 1500 people to drink the Cool Aid and die. Faith does not coexist with evidence and knowledge. God is about faith if you choose to believe in the God of the Bible. Without Faith it is impossible to please him. They that come to him must first Believe that he is. Not know that he is. This is where I believe the people have confused "Faith" and "Opinion" in all the different church denominations of today. The Church, people attend is not their "Faith" as they say. It is they opinion or what they have been convinced the Bible means. Once they are convinced they know it is what they believe but is not evidence or fact that God is there. This is why I believe the Atheists who are fighting a God they do not believe in (which makes absolutely no sense) have gotten such a foot hold in this society.

Posted by: woodw

February 13, 2013 at 11:13 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mr Freethinker. Are you telling me you are more than 50 percent sure there is no God? Are you ready to put your money where your mouth is and take my challenge.

Posted by: woodw

February 13, 2013 at 1:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

What challenge?
What money?
Your "bet" makes no sense.
+++
Before anybody decides to believe or not believe in "God" it might be a good idea to define what you are talking about..
Just Christian, just monotheistic?
Some people believe in a personal God and others in a formless, unknowable force/entity.

Posted by: Coralie

February 13, 2013 at 1:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

What's a god? Be specific. What god are you talking about? What are its attributes? How do you know about them? I am interested in following where the evidence leads and after some study I've not found any god arguments to be persuasive. And most of them are absurd. Especially the local ones. There may be a god but there probably isn't. There's not much use going on about it until some evidence comes forward. If you've got some evidence for a specific god, let's see it.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 13, 2013 at 1:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Money says "God needs us to give Himself meaning?"
For more specific answer:
The spiritual teacher (followers believe he was avatar) Meher Baba said that Creation (evolution of the Universe) is the by-product of God seeking to know his own identity -- first by experiencing all he was not and then by Realization of his true Divinity in God-realization.

Posted by: Coralie

February 13, 2013 at 2:20 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mr FreeThinker,
At the first of my comment, I said.
Fact # 1. There is no evidence that God exists
Fact # 2. There is no evidence that God does not exists.
Fact # 3. There is no evidence that anyone has knowledge of the existence of God.
Fact # 4. There is no evidence that anyone has knowledge of the nonexistence of God.
I guess you missed that.

Then I stated two facts:
Fact #1. Every living individual has died in the past or is going to die in the future.
Fact #2. After passing from this life, every living individual will find out if God exists or if God does not exist.
Are you going to disagree with these two facts. Are you more than 50 percent sure?
Does not matter "What Kind Of God" or "What God we are talking about". Christians have the God they believe in (They say they "Know" but they do not "Know"). Muslims have the God they believe in. Buddhist have the God they believe in. Your dictionary has 1500 of them. All through history, people have believed in Gods. Must all believe in some eternal reward or punishment after death depending if you believe or not. My question to you is, are you more than 50 percent sure you are not going to die and there will not be a God of some kind out there waiting for you? Are you more than 50 percent sure you are not going to live for eternity with some kind of eternal reward or punishment depending on whether you believe or not? If you are more than 50 percent sure are you ready to put your money where you month is and take my challenge?

Posted by: woodw

February 13, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Here is my challenge in case you missed it in my initial comment.
Before any of you Believers/Nonbelievers tell me you are more than 50% sure God exist or does not exist, be prepared to tell me and I do not mean "Predict", "Guess" I mean "Know" exactly, in intricate detail, what the Stock Market is going to do three weeks from Friday and be ready to take my money and get the highest return or personally guarantee double my money back. Feelings, emotions, and theory are not evidence of fact and knowledge of anyone's immediate future, extended future, or life after death.

Posted by: woodw

February 13, 2013 at 2:50 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

How does that prove or disprove a God? Fortune telling is now proof?

Posted by: AngieM

February 13, 2013 at 3:25 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Notice Mr. Wood didn't respond to my questions, but he would like me to respond to his. Okay.

Woo: " I said.
Fact # 1. There is no evidence that God exists">>

Excellent. So according to you, the evidence for God is on par with the evidence for werewolves, Mother Goose and the fairy Godmother. So why are you babbling about something you admit you don't have a drop of evidence for?

Woo: "Fact # 2. There is no evidence that God does not exists.">>

That's nice. And there also isn't any evidence that leprechauns and gnomes don't exist but that doesn't mean anyone should be concerned about them just because someone can't possible provide evidence for a universal negative. There may be a teapot in space orbiting the sun, but just because no one can prove there isn't, is not an argument in favor of believing there is.

Same with your God claims.

Woo: "Then I stated two facts:
Fact #1. Every living individual has died in the past or is going to die in the future.">>

No, that does't follow (see the problem of induction). Just because something has happened in the past it doesn't follow that it always will in the future.
But I'll accept your first premise as provisionally (and historically) true.

Woo: "Fact #2. After passing from this life, every living individual will find out if God exists or if God does not exist.">>

No, that's not true. (Maybe you ought to label these things assertions rather than facts).

If we go with what the Bible says about the condition of the dead, then there is no thinking or awareness after death. I agree with this. So if what we understand about death is correct (even according to the Bible), there is no awareness and thus no awareness of this God question, after death.

Woo: "Are you going to disagree with these two facts.">>

Yes. Just did.

Woo: "Are you more than 50 percent sure?">>

I'm not 100% sure you're not a werewolf, but I'm pretty sure. Let me put it this way, I think it's more likely that you *are* a werewolf than that any of the God's I have heard described thus far, exist.

Woo: "Does not matter "What Kind Of God" or "What God we are talking about". ">>

Yes. Because some of them can be disqualified due to their proponents ascribing contradictory attributes to their Gods. Bunches of them, including some of your favorites.

What's the use of having a God if you can't, or don't, know anything whatsoever about it?

Woo: "Buddhist have the God they believe in.">>

No they don't. Buddhists are non-theists.

Woo: "are you ready to put your money where you month is and take my challenge?">>

Your stock market prediction challenge is silly and has no relation to the God question. I'll be glad to put my money where my mouth is, and give you very favorable odds. The Bible God shouldn't have a problem with this since he (as the story goes) participated in many such tests in the past. I'll give some examples below...

cont...

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 13, 2013 at 4:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

God tests...

When Thomas doubted he said, let's do a test, lets see these wounds then I'll believe. Then, as the story goes, Jesus participated in the test and evidence was provided.

At Malachi 3:10 Yahweh says test me:

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."

1 John 1:4 says test God's spirits to make sure they are legit:
"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

At 1 Kings 18, Elijah, does a classic test any bronze age goat herder can understand:

"I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God...

Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.”

What happens? The LORD participates in the test:

"Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!”

So here's a challenge. Let's make two piles of wood (I have lots). If, within one hour, fire comes down from the heaven and lights your pile, I'll give you $10,000 on the spot.

In contrast, I'll be using the science as provided by the Bic lighter company to light mine. If, within one hour my pile catches on fire, AND yours, using sky God fireballs from heaven only, does not light, then you have to do two things:

1) Give me $100 for the trouble of wasting my time

2) Carefully stack your unburnt pile of wood back into my woodshed. Nice and neat so it doesn't fall over.

So, 100 to 1 odds in your favor. Care to put your money where your mouth is?

D.
----------
"An atheist doesn't have to be someone who thinks he has a proof that there can't be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the God question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question." --John McCarthy

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 13, 2013 at 4:39 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I hope that woodw is more willing to stand by a wager than MrD/kinggeorge is.

Posted by: AlphaCat

February 13, 2013 at 4:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

If it involves money, I'm going to have to OK this wager. The last time someone won me on a bet, they returned me after a week.

Posted by: JailBird

February 13, 2013 at 5:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mr Freethinker,
What question did I not respond to?
Let's leave the werewolves and Mother Goose out of this. We "know" what they are and have nothing to do with the existence or nonexistence of God.

Are you saying it is not a "Fact" you are going to die?

Now you are trying to quote the bible, which you don't believe, but it does give reference to very much awareness after death. However, we can only be 50 percent sure, it is true. But the fact is; if there is a God out there you will know. That also is a 50/50 issue. Either there is or there is not. Either you will or you will not.

Your Quote:
"I'm not 100% sure you're not a werewolf, but I'm pretty sure. Let me put it this way, I think it's more likely that you *are* a werewolf than that any of the God's I have heard described thus far, exist."

Now you are rambling. My question; are you more than 50 percent sure God does not exist?
You are also rambling about "What Kind Of God". No it does not matter. My question; are you more than 50 percent sure God does not exist? Your ramblings about a God test have nothing to do with this issue as we can only be 50 percent sure they actually happen. We are not talking about God showing you something. We are talking about are you more than 50 percent sure there is not a God.

Posted by: woodw

February 13, 2013 at 6:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

You hang in there Moneymyst. We're still trying to figure out how sure this guy is. He is avoiding the question.

Posted by: woodw

February 13, 2013 at 6:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

He does that all the time, woodw, quotes the Bible when he thinks it benefits his argument and puts you down when you quote the Bible. I think he is bipolar with schizophernic tendencies.

Posted by: JailBird

February 13, 2013 at 7:13 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Woo: "What question did I not respond to?">>

This one: "What's a god? Be specific."

And this one: "What god are you talking about?"

And this one: "What are its attributes?"

And this one: "How do you know about them?"

And this one: "...why are you babbling about something you admit you don't have a drop of evidence for?"

And this one: "Care to put your money where your mouth is?"

You'll know it's a question because it will have one of these: "?" at the end of the sentence.

Woo: "Let's leave the werewolves and Mother Goose out of this.">>

Okay, but Russell's Teapot stays. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell'...

Woo: "they have... nothing to do with the existence or nonexistence of God.">>

You've already admitted: "There is no evidence that God exists." So this makes the Goose and werewolves very similar to God in the evidence department.

Woo: "Are you saying it is not a "Fact" you are going to die?">>

No. That's a very good bet. I'd bet my life on it. But that's not what you claimed. You said:

"Every living individual has died in the past or is going to die in the future."

There are lifeforms that do not die. In the future, for humans, who knows....

You next "Fact 2" said everyone will know, after they die, whether there is a God. I showed how that is not necessarily true, from your Bible. You didn't respond.

Woo: "Now you are trying to quote the bible, which you don't believe,">>

I didn't try, I actually did quote it. Two points:

a) I believe lots of the Bible, but only the parts we have good reason to believe are true

b) One doesn't need to believe the Bible in order to quote it. In a discussion about Shakespeare it's appropriate to quote from the works of Shakespeare and there is no need to believe the comments quoted, are actually true.

cont...

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 13, 2013 at 9:46 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Woo: "[Bible] does give reference to very much awareness after death.">>

Well, except when it doesn't, which is quite often. Examples:

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10.

"Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." Psalm 146:3,4

"In that very day his thoughts perish" seems rather clear. People who's thoughts have perished are not in a position to know whether a God exists or not. This refutes your "Fact #2." If you believe the Bible (and with regard to this verse, I do).

Woo: "However, we can only be 50 percent sure, it is true.">>

Where on earth do you get this 50% claim? You've already admitted: "There is no evidence that God exists." In order to know the odds of something, you need to be able to calculate the available variables. But you've already admitted, in looking to calculate the variable providing evidence in favor of God existing, there is *none.*

This puts it in with Bertrand Russell's Tea Pot in space. There is no evidence in favor of there being a tea pot in space orbiting the sun, nor can we prove there isn't one. *Note,* it doesn't follow from this that the odds are 50% either way!

You really need to work on your "odds of God" theory a bit more.

Woo: "are you more than 50 percent sure God does not exist?">>

But you won't even say what a God is or what it's attributes are. Assuming you are referring to your favorite one, I thought saying it was more likely that you were a werewolf was clear enough. Apparently not. Answer: Yes. Bigtime with bells on and horns blaring.

Woo: "Your ramblings about a God test have nothing to do with this issue...">>

Apparently you aren't too confident about Him showing up eh? So now who's afraid to put their money where my mouth is? (no need to answer that one) And even with 100/1 odds in your favor. Okay, let's sweeten the pot. I'll throw in a house with approximate value of $70k and lower your contribution to $20.

That's 4,000 to 1 odds in your favor. And you still have to stack the wood back when your pile doesn't get zapped by Godly fireballs.

Legal documentation and confirmation of the house are provided here: http://fayfreethinkers.com/forums/vie...

D.
-----------
"God, whom we see not, is: and God, who is not, we see:
Fiddle, we know, is diddle: and diddle, we take it, is dee."
- Algernon Charles Swinburne (The Higher Pantheism in a Nutshell, 1880)

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 13, 2013 at 9:49 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I have to tell you woodw that your arguments do not make much sense. You say that it is not relevant to question the existence of a God because of the fact that terrible things are allowed to happen in the world. To me, this is an excellent question. Why indeed would an all-loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing God allow for the misery and suffering that many experience? What could be more relevant than that? The premise does not start with not believing in God as you presume, but in thinking that there IS one. The argument is that it is hard to believe that a loving God would allow so much hardship to continue and that fact starts to cause doubts.

Also, your argument that humans cause everything terrible is ludicrous. What about the untold numbers of people who are born with disorders and defects that makes their lives very difficult, or the people with genetic mutations that causes terrible things to happen to their bodies as they develop, sometimes leading to early, painful death? People did not cause this in themselves. So, think about what you think created the people in the first place....hmmm.

I think the reason that you are "so fed up" with "hearing these people" is because there is no good answer to the question of why God created so much misery and hardship.

woodw: "The answer is very simple. God did not allow and does not allow any tragedy of any sort to happen."

If God did not allow it to happen, it could not occur. God is meant to be all-knowing and all-powerful, so He certainly knows that tragedy is about occur and yet does nothing to stop it.

woodw: "Tragedies happen because Human Beings cause them to happen."

Since when are Human Beings more powerful than God? Maybe I'm not certain about the sort of God that you are talking about. Perhaps you are speaking of some sort of lesser god with limited powers. In that case, your argument might make sense, but it the case of the big G God, it does not hold water.

Posted by: taminatress

February 13, 2013 at 10:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mr Freethinker,
Let's go with the God of the Bible which says "Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me" If you believe that statement, How sure are you it is true/fact. 50% 60% 100%? If you don't believe it how sure are you it is not true/fact.50% 60% 100%. It is fact that either it is true/fact or it is not true/fact. That is 50/50. So taking the God of the bible how sure are you he does not exist and you are not going to meet him when you die 50% 60% 100%. It is fact that either it is true/fact or it is not true/fact. That is 50/50. I cannot believe you do not understand where I get the 50/50. When you claim you "Know" something you have to have some level of assurance it is fact.

Posted by: woodw

February 14, 2013 at 7:05 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

I know something, $70,000 ain't much of a house. Land it sits on could be worth that. Must be a dump, thats why Freeby is trying to get rid of it. Wonder if the fleas, lice, & bedbugs come with it.

Posted by: JailBird

February 14, 2013 at 7:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Miss Tami
God did not and does not allow all those bad things you mentioned to happen. God created a perfect world and then he gave man the right to choose. Either live by God's rules or not live by God's rules. Man chose the latter and sin entered into the world. The perfect nature God created then became the imperfect nature we have today, which gives us the imperfect humans you mentioned and the people that choose to make all these bad things happen. When you choose not to believe in God you are always looking for things to confirm your choice. And you will just keep looking unless you decide to believe in God and then your thought process will change.

Posted by: woodw

February 14, 2013 at 7:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Moneymyst, is Freeby trying to sell his house? Wonder if he knows how sure he is he wants to sell it?

Posted by: woodw

February 14, 2013 at 7:30 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

I don't think he wants to sell it, then He would not have anything of value to throw around as collateral on some of his fantasy bets. He would be 50% sure he wants to sell it 0% some of the time and 100% some of the time. You see his mind is like a ping pong ball in a tile bathroom; doesn't stop bouncing from here to there until it goes "kerplunk".

Posted by: JailBird

February 14, 2013 at 7:43 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Thanks Moneymyst you just made my day. If he ever gives me a straight answer I might need some help. I have another challenge for him.

Posted by: woodw

February 14, 2013 at 8:27 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

When I read Woodw's latest, I said to myself "oh my Gawd." Really did. Not joking. Wouldn't joke about that sort of thing.

Notice how Wood asks what questions he missed of mine, I provide six examples, and then he ducks them again. Amazing.

Woo: "the Bible which says "Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me">>

Well, the Bible says a lot of things. It's a good rule of thumb to not get to exercised about the literal truth of books that have talking animals in them (that's the definition of fable by the way, look it up).

W: "If you believe that statement,">>

I don't.

W: "How sure are you it is true/fact. 50% 60% 100%?">>

How true it is that one shouldn't have Gods before your favorite one? I don't think it really matters. I have a little bronze god with a gong I bought at a garage sale. But I don't pay much attention to it.

Woo: "either it is true/fact or it is not true/fact. That is 50/50.">>

No, that's not how it works. Let's try this again with some more examples.

If there is no evidence that Elvis Presley lives, and no one can prove that he isn't alive somewhere (which of course they can't). It doesn't follow that the chance of him being alive is 50/50.

If there is no evidence that there is a cowpie on the far side of Mars, and no one can prove there isn't one, it doesn't mean the odds are 50/50 that there is a cowpie on Mars.

Same with Russell's Teapot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell'...

If there is, as you've *already* admitted, no evidence that God exists, and no one can prove that he couldn't exist, then it doesn't mean there is a 50/50 chance that he exists.

This is pretty basic stuff Woodw, you just haven't thought about it.

Woo: "So taking the God of the bible how sure are you he does not exist...">>

100 percent. If I could go higher, I would. Can't.

Woo: "and you are not going to meet him when you die...">>

100%. I'll explain why in a minute.

Woo: "It is fact that either it is true/fact or it is not true/fact. That is 50/50.">>

It's a true/fact, or not, that you are a three headed werewolf. That doesn't mean the odds are 50/50 that you are a three headed werewolf.

Woo: "I cannot believe you do not understand where I get the 50/50.">>

Oh, I know where you got it from. And it's very dark and the sun doesn't shine there.

Woo: "When you claim you "Know" something you have to have some level of assurance it is fact.">>

No, apparently you don't. Because even you know you have no evidence for your God's existence, yet you think it's 50/50 that he exists. It isn't.

Okay, so now that Woo has revealed what everyone knew anyway, he is a fundamentalist Christian and all that entails, I'll explain why one can be quite certain his specific God does not, cannot exist, as opposed to a vague claim that there might be some unknown, undefined force behind our universe.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 14, 2013 at 10:04 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Some peanuts.

"$70,000 ain't much of a house.">>

Might be worth more like $100k. Hasn't been appraised in a while. Even a low watt, high amp troll can grasp that it's more than Woo's twenty bucks. (poor MM doesn't even know what a watt is)

"why FFT is trying to get rid of it.">>

Just seeing if Woo would like to put his money where his mouth is. Apparently he'd rather have $20 bucks than risk that his god be a no show. The odds are 50/50 you know. Either the fireball will strike his wood pile and he will win, or it won't. That means it's 50/50. (just kidding, it doesn't mean that)

Woo: "[is FFT] trying to sell his house?">>

No, I'm trying to give it away. Why won't you take it from me? Afraid to put your $20 where you mouth is? I've put eighty thousand dollars where mine is. Who isn't very confident of their claims now?

Woo: "Wonder if he knows how sure he is he wants to sell it?">>

I really really want to give it to you. Or to the charity of your choice. Why won't you take my challenge Woodw?

"[FFT] would not have anything of value to throw around as collateral"

That home is one of five. I referred to that one because I could quickly provide online legal documentation verifying it. If the pot needs to be sweetened, that can be arranged.

Where's your God of Lightening when you need him? Apparently he wasn't too happy about the Pope retiring the other day...

http://resources1.news.com.au/images/...

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 14, 2013 at 10:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Woo: "If he ever gives me a straight answer...">

Unlike you, I've answered all of your questions directly. If I missed one, simply point it out.

As to why one can be sure your particular configuration of a God does not and cannot exist.

If someone comes along, like Coralie perhaps, and says, you know, where the universe came from is a mystery, we really don't know if there might be something behind it all, but that energy/force whatever might be something so far beyond our ken that trying to grasp it might be like a pussy cat trying to understand algebra.

I think that is a very reasonable possibility. I would never say I am certain that that isn't possible. We don't know.

However, when someone comes along and says they have an invisible friend that is pink, round like a triangle, wet and dry and lives in darkness and light all at the same time (the Bible does say that btw), then we have a problem. We have a being, *(which Woo admits there isn't any evidence for) that cannot exist because the attributes ascribed to it are piles of bat to the face contradictions.

It's pretty clear that like most fundamentalists, Woo hasn't read his Bible very carefully, so these things will come as a surprise to him. Good. If he needs references, they will be provided.

Just quickly, before I step off to work, some examples... we are told his God of the Bible:

a) Is perfect, but he makes mistakes and has regrets

b) Is omnipresent but takes walks in the woods looking for a person

c) Is all knowing but, takes walks in the woods looking for a person

d) Is invisible and no one can see him and live, but has shown his backparts and has been repeatedly seen (and they all lived)

e) Is the foundation of perfect morality yet condones and engages in slavery, genocide, human sacrifice, polygamy and cannibalism, etc.

f) Is all powerful, isn't all powerful

g) Never tempts people, does temp people

h) Does not lie, cannot lie, yet lies.

i) Knows the hearts of all men, doesn't.

Etc. There are many many more. This being is a caricature, an insult to human thought. If language has any meaning, if the law of contradiction has any meaning, it doesn't exist.

D.
----------
"All that is necessary, as it seems to me, to convince any reasonable person that the Bible is simply and purely of human invention -- of barbarian invention -- is to read it. Read it as you would any other book; think of it as you would of any other; get the bandage of reverence from your eyes; drive from your heart the phantom of fear; push from the throne of your brain the coiled form of superstition -- then read the Holy Bible, and you will be amazed that you ever, for one moment, supposed a being of infinite wisdom, goodness and purity, to be the author of such ignorance and of such atrocity." --Robert Ingersoll, "The Gods"

Can be read here: "An honest God is the Noblest Work of Man." http://www.infidels.org/library/histo...

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 14, 2013 at 10:45 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

There is no "the" bible. They are all products of hiring a printer. To me, belief is emotion centered: I have witnessed the "miracle" of birth as my son was born and then really believed "yes there is a God." Today, you might consider me a fence rider as I call myself a Christian Agnostic. We have freedom of choice so there is really no need or reason to argue. Just reading the bible(s) and you know nothing. One must read about the various bibles and you begin to realize that a lot of the old testament is plagiarized from the Gilgamesh epic and ancient Sumerian text. You will find that most, if not all, of the world bibles are rooted in the ancient Sumerian. More modern happening, and you find that the Koran was not "revealed" to Mohammed until after he had read the Pentateuch. Coincidence? Hardly. New testament next. Meanwhile, I believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. Happy Valentine's day!

Posted by: Oldearkie

February 14, 2013 at 11:22 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Hearts and flowers to you too, Oldearkie.
+++
Now as for this from woody:
"more than 50% sure God exists or does not exist"
I am more than 50% sure that I don't WANT a God to exist if it is one who exhibits jealousy, wrath, and vengeance. These are qualities that I hope to overcome in myself, and I certainly don't need a bad model in the sky.

Posted by: Coralie

February 14, 2013 at 1:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Watt happened was that I talked to God yesterday and He said that due to global warming His aim on lighting bolts has been a little off. Well, you see, God is afraid that He might miss the pile of wood and hit Freeby, thus getting charged with justfiable homicide, but still a irritating inconventance. God said also the lighting bolts on wood has been out of fashion since He created matches. So God would like a somewhat different contest. God says that He turned Free into a goat Coralie will not live another 28 1/2 years. Oldearkie, God said to you that He is the way, the truth, the life, and the printer.

Posted by: JailBird

February 14, 2013 at 1:36 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

RE "God did not and does not allow all those bad things you mentioned to happen. God created a perfect world and then he gave man the right to choose."
So you agree with Pat Robertson that Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, the earthquake/tsumani near Japan and other natural disasters were caused by the choices of humans?

RE "If he ever gives me a straight answer I might need some help."
Aside from the facts that he has and you definitely do need help, here's a big ten-four on that, good buddy.

Posted by: AlphaCat

February 14, 2013 at 1:42 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mr. Freethinker, Okay I finally got a straight answer. Your explanations are just what they are "Explanations" with no basis of "Fact" or "Knowledge" just theory which does not prove anything except either it is true or it is not true which is 50/50 that you obviously just can't understand. However, now that you are 100 percent sure that means you are all knowing and have total foresight in intricate detail of the future and life after death. No way you can be 100 percent sure about anything in the future without knowing in intricate detail everything about the future. Now that we know you know you should have a problem taking my challenge. We can get filthy rich in six months. We can use my money and I will give you 50%. Oh, you don't understand 50%. That would half of what you are going to make for me with your all-knowing knowledge of the future. But, if you are wrong you have to give me double my money back. We need to work fast because as soon as Obama finds out about you all-knowing knowledge of the future he will have you by his side 24/7. So are ready to put your money where you month is or is this just "wind" coming from someone who doesn't understand 50/50.

Posted by: woodw

February 14, 2013 at 2 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

AlphaCat, Hurricanes and Storms are created by "Nature" and have nothing to do with God or people. Pull your head and let's discus apples and apples not apples and oranges. Just FYI I do not agree with Pat Robertson or any of those morons that claim to be servants of God. They do not have any more insight about God and the future than you or this freethinker does.

Posted by: woodw

February 14, 2013 at 2:08 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

RE "Hurricanes and Storms are created by 'Nature' and have nothing to do with God or people."
But isn't Nature just the name by which we know part of God's Creation? Or are you saying that God doesn't have dominion over everything after all? Are you saying that there's also a Nature god?

RE "Just FYI I do not agree with Pat Robertson"
Well, thank Veles for that.

"Veles (Cyrillic: Велес; Polish: Weles; Czech: Veles; Old Russian and Old Church Slavonic: Велесъ) also known as Volos (Russian: Волос) (listed as a Christian saint in Old Russian texts) is a major Slavic supernatural force of earth, waters and the underworld..." --Wikipedia

It's interesting that a Eastern Christian saint can take over for God in providing natural disasters.

Posted by: AlphaCat

February 14, 2013 at 2:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

>>That would half of what you are going to make for me with your all-knowing knowledge of the future.<

Where did FFT claim any knowledge of the future? '
Show us.

Posted by: cdawg

February 14, 2013 at 3:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Woo: "I finally got a straight answer.">>

I couldn't respond to your first variation of the God question because you refused to give any attributes. Once it became clear which God you were talking about, I responded promptly and directly to the question. You of course duck mine.

Woo: "it is true or it is not true which is 50/50">>

Good grief. You really didn't understand my Elvis, Teapot, cowpie analogies? Do you perhaps not know what the word "percentage" means?

The next time you see your mail carrier, they may pinch your arm painfully and kick you in the groin. (They especially would if they knew how bad your arguments were). We just don't know (in fact if Congress doesn't stop jacking them around, this may become routine). Does this mean that it is 50% likely that they will do this?

Do you think the likelihood of each god existing (there are thousands) is 50%, or does this just work for your favorite one?

Woo: "you are 100 percent sure that means you are all knowing and have total foresight">>

No, it doesn't mean that at all. One doesn't need to be all knowing *or* have foresight to know that (aside from your admitted complete lack of evidence for a God), logical contradictions, by definition, don't exist. That's how language works. Something can't be a perfect circle and a perfect triangle at the same time. If that happens then there is a problem with the definitions of the words "circle" and "triangle" because they are different. Likewise, a God can't be all loving and at the same time causing and endorsing parents eating and sacrificing their children, mass genocide and human sacrifice. That is incoherent. It doesn't make any sense. It is an abuse of language.

Woo: "No way you can be 100 percent sure about anything in the future...">>

But wait, just earlier in this thread *you* said:

"Fact #1. Every living individual has died in the past or is going to die in the future."

So apparently you don't believe your own claim. Which is it? You've contradicted yourself. When I say your God's attributes are logically contradictory, this requires no knowledge of the future. Your God claims make no sense, right now.

Woo: "you [shouldn't] have a problem taking my challenge.">>

Playing the stock market has nothing to do with your God claims which are logically contradictory and incoherent, right now, today.

Woo: "are [you] ready to put your money where you month is or is this just "wind">>

Since I have put up $80,000 to your $20, I think it is apparent to everyone reading this exactly who is breaking wind, and who is so confident of their position they'll put a good chunk of money where their mouth is.

Have you told your God how weak your faith in him is?

D.
-----------
"Few nations have been so poor as to have but one god. Gods were made so easily, and the raw material cost so little, that generally the god market was fairly glutted and heaven crammed with these phantoms." --Ingersoll

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 14, 2013 at 3:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Oh, come Lord Jesus come and shut us all up!
Amen.

Posted by: mycentworth

February 14, 2013 at 4:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Freeby knows everything, he is almost as smart as Singer and Singer has succesfully predicted the future. Freeby has predicted his own death. Ask Freeby, he will tell you.

Posted by: JailBird

February 14, 2013 at 4:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Woo: "God did not and does not allow all those bad things... to happen.">

Let's ask him:

"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." --Is 45:7

See some of his evil handiwork here: "Why your morals are better than the Bible’s" http://fayfreethinkers.com/tracts/mor...

Woo: "God created a perfect world... then gave man the right to choose.">

No, he created people that didn't know the difference between right and wrong and then holds them accountable, and curses all their children. Smart plan.

Woo: "Either live by God's rules or not...">>

Most of God's rules are unenforceable and illegal. Society tried them. They don't work.

Woo: "gives us... the people that choose to make all these bad things happen.">>

The problem of evil goes way beyond human action. I'll let Dawkins' explain:

"Nature is neither kind nor unkind. She is neither against suffering nor for it. Nature is not interested one way or the other in suffering, unless it affects the survival of DNA. It is easy to imagine a gene that, say, tranquilizes gazelles when they are about to suffer a killing bite. Would such a gene be favored by natural selection? Not unless the act of tranquilizing a gazelle improved that gene's chances of being propagated into future generations. It is hard to see why this should be so, and we may therefore guess that gazelles suffer horrible pain and fear when they are pursued to the death--as most of them eventually are. The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive; others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear; others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites; thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease. It must be so. If there is ever a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored.

...if the universe were just electrons and selfish genes, meaningless tragedies like the crashing of this bus [full of children from a Roman Catholic school and for no apparent reason but with wholesale loss of life] are exactly what we should expect, along with equally meaningless *good* fortune. Such a universe would be neither evil nor good in intention. It would manifest no intentions of any kind. In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference... DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music." --Richard Dawkins

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 14, 2013 at 4:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

That 50/50 fallacy is quite fascinating, and it gets repeated even after so many very patient attempts at explaining why it's a fallacy. Oh my. Here's a problem that we rationalists run into in cases like that: when we point out mistakes of elementary logic, we get accused of being arrogant. Sigh.

Posted by: ImUnarmed

February 14, 2013 at 5:12 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

OK little too graphic for you Freeby, Sum Dawkins and your post this way, "It Happens". What a waste of words in the simplicity of life.

Posted by: JailBird

February 14, 2013 at 6:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mr. Freethinker, anyone with any ability of common sense, logic and reasoning knows no one can be 100% sure what is going happen after death. I have stated the undisputable facts but you ignore the fact that they are facts and disputed them with numerous ramblings and explanations that have absolutely no basis of evidence of fact or knowledge. When the question is about what will happen after you die you have totally ignored the fact that no one knows and the only fact about the question is either there is or there is not. Been nice chatting with you. I am over and out.

Posted by: woodw

February 14, 2013 at 6:58 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Moneymyst, you crack me up.

Posted by: woodw

February 14, 2013 at 7:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

When Woodw's bluff gets called, he folds. Was it something I said?

Woo: "no one can be 100% sure what is going happen after death.">>

Now you're changing the subject from God, to life after death. We actually do have good science based reasons to think that Dualism (the notion that there is a you separate from your body/brain), is incorrect. This means the Bible is right when it says, "there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest," and the day you die "your thoughts perish." Jesus put it a little softer when he said they were "asleep."

If you would like to read about this interesting science showing our human experience is probably only a function of a material brain, this article gives a good summary:

"The Case Against Immortality" http://www.infidels.org/library/moder...

Woo: "I have stated the undisputable facts but you ignore the fact that they are facts...">>

Inserting the word "fact" four times in one sentence isn't going to change that it was rather easy to show that you mostly have baseless assertions that you clearly haven't thought about very much. I responded directly to your assertions and repeatedly showed how they don't hold up. Perhaps you should put your ideas in front of skeptics more often rather than less and this will allow you to winnow out the nonsense and see what can hold up to examination. In this case, it wasn't much.

Woo: "[regarding] what will happen after you die you have totally ignored the fact that no one knows...">>

You didn't ask about life after death but rather meeting a God after death. You may not be aware of this but we actually do have good reasons to think consciousness ceases with brain death. It's possible that it doesn't of course, but the evidence doesn't look good for what you are hoping, and it also isn't looking like anything near 50%.

Woo: "there is or there is not.">>

Just like with werewolves. They're either real, or they're not. But as with your God assertions, this doesn't mean their existence is 50% likely. I'm sure you agree it is considerably less than that.

W: "Been nice chatting with you.">>

Indeed. If you ever want to put your money where your mouth is, come on back. Based on the likelihood of you being right, you'll find I'll give you *very* favorable odds.

D.
---------
"God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills." --Robert Heinlein

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 14, 2013 at 8:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

"Christianity: Sending telepathic messages to a Jewish ghost letting him know that you will accept him as your master and to ask him to remove a magical curse that was passed down to you because an old woman that was made from the rib of her partner ate a magical fruit from a magical tree because a talking snake told her to." I don't know who wrote that, but it's a pretty fair summation.

Posted by: AngieM

February 15, 2013 at 8:37 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Woodw: Out of everyone on here, I think you are the most confused.
I hope this entire conversation has made you realize that God is either God of your entire life, or He is not. I do not agree with most of the people on this post but I do respect the fact that they are consistent with their beliefs. You, however, are wavering. DO NOT back down to people when you feel strongly. Have your basis for argument and stand firm. Throwing scripture out and then saying that God doesn't control the weather makes you seem uneducated and unsure of your stance of who He is. I do believe He controls all of it. He created it and controls it. Do I think He allows terrible things to happen. YEP! Do I understand it? NOPE! Do I always like it? NOPE! Does it shake my faith? NEVER!
To all the ones out there that don't believe as I do, I will not argue with you on here. I obviously do not have as much time as most of you do to be on here and I don't have the passion to do it. I feel like you have been presented the Gospel and know it well and if you choose to believe you will. If you don't, that is your choice. I will not shove it down your throat or beg you to believe as I do. We all make choices.
I just think if you are going to verbalize them, you better be able to back them up and be prepared to live with the consequences.

Posted by: shorenuff

February 15, 2013 at 8:53 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

"Nothing could be more reckless than to base one's moral philosophy on the latest pronouncements of science."---Edward Abbey

"Truth is merely common sense, say the naive realist. Really? Then where, precusely, is the location of--a rainbow? In the air? In the eye? In between? Or somewhere else?"---Edward Abbey

Posted by: JailBird

February 15, 2013 at 10:02 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mr shorenuff, What I have been commenting on here is just a small part of a much larger equation. I don't know if you read my initial comment but that is the first step in understanding the entire equation. I'm guessing based on your comment you are one those church members with a "Faith" based on what you can see, hear, smell, feel, taste, or touch which is not "Faith" it is "Knowledge" and the two can not coexist. That may be a little deep for you but this is not the venue to get into that. I have a "Faith" that is based on what you cannot see, hear, smell, feel, taste, or touch. Which actually is "Faith". Yep, that's pretty deep too. Thanks for your concern but I'm not confused. Paul said it best. I know whom I have BELIEVED in and am persuaded he is able (not know) he is able to keep that which I have commented to him. Without "Faith" it is impossible to please him. When you choose God by "Faith" you can understand no, he is not in the storms, tragedies, sickness, or healing. Confused? Ask him for "Wisdom" he'll give some.

Posted by: woodw

February 15, 2013 at 10:38 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Miss AngieM, Are you 100 percent sure you are not going to meet that "Magical Ghost" in the form God almighty after you die? Just asking...

Posted by: woodw

February 15, 2013 at 10:50 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Why is a man of faith so obsessed with percentages?

Posted by: AlphaCat

February 15, 2013 at 2:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

>>Been nice chatting with you. I am over and out.<

Who ya gonna BELIEVE these days?

Posted by: cdawg

February 15, 2013 at 3:20 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Well, cdawg, ya gotta point.

Posted by: JailBird

February 15, 2013 at 4:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT made one mistake with his wager to wood:

After putting up a house and 10k if wood's god could set a wood stack ablaze FFT should have added the caveat that wood gets the reward when he dies.

Isn't that how the christian scheme works? You pay your tithes to a preacher and church, live the straight and narrow life, then you die and get your reward which is 24 hrs a day of going to church "up" there somewhere.

Stupid scheme for foolish people. I'm with Art Hobson, heaven is here and now.

The last time someone offered me a percent proposition it was an orthopedic surgeon about 35 yrs ago. I had injured the cartilage in my knee and they recommended surgery with the caveat that I had a 50% chance of it being successful. I didn't have the surgery, did some home remedies on my knee and plenty of muscle building exercises and the knee hasn't presented a problem since.

Posted by: cdawg

February 15, 2013 at 7:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

You know it's funny. People talk about "choosing" not to believe in God, but I don't think that is entirely accurate. I think not believing in God is more of a default position than a choice. When a person is taught religious doctrine, he or she then chooses to believe if so desired or goes back to the initial default position. When we are children, everything unseen is unknown to us. The people around us tell us stories about things that exist beyond our senses, and, if we trust the people, we tend to believe them. However, if, for example, Santa Claus and the tooth fairy were never introduced, there would be no choice to believe, and no awareness that these entities existed, even conceptually. Therefore, a person makes a choice to believe in God and/or chooses to make that choice of belief for their child, but none of us had to choose to not believe in God because we were born without any concept of God.

Posted by: taminatress

February 15, 2013 at 9:33 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Wood: "Are you 100 percent sure you are not going to meet that "Magical Ghost" in the form God almighty after you die?">>

You're a bit of a one trick pony aren't you Wood?

The Muslims, all one billion or so of them, have a nice toasty hell for unbelievers like you to roast in:

"They who believe not shall have garments of fire fitted unto them; boiling water shall be poured on their heads; their bowels shall be dissolved thereby, and also their skins, and they shall be beaten with maces of iron." Koran, 22:19-21

The Hindu's have one for you too:

"Some of the sinful are cut with saws, like firewood, and others, thrown flat on the ground, are chopped into pieces with axes. Some, their bodies half buried in a pit, are pierced in the head with arrows. Others, fixed in the middle of a press, are squeezed like sugarcane. Some are surrounded close with blazing charcoal, enwrapped with torches, and smelted like a lump of ore. Some are plunged into heated butter, and others into heated oil, and like a cake thrown into the frying pan they are turned about. Some are thrown in the path of huge maddened elephants, and some... [anyway you get the idea]..." --Garuda Purana 3.49-71

So how worried are you about roasting in one of these hells? Does it keep you up at night? Based upon your reasoning, it should.

Because exactly like your little 50/50 odds God trick, there is not a drop of evidence for these Hell claims, and likewise, no one can possibly show they don't exist. Does that mean there is a 50% change they are real?

Pretty scary eh? Boo!

D.
------------
"Rewards and punishments are the lowest form of education." --Chuang-Tzu, philosopher (4th c. BCE)

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 15, 2013 at 9:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Tamin: "we were born without any concept of God.">>

Yep. We are all born atheists. Art Hobson too. He just went back to his roots, if he ever left them. Almost all physicists are atheists, certainly the really good ones. And Art is a good one. Interesting how those who have the most training and expertise in understanding how the world is put together, don't find it necessary to postulate a God. As Hawking famously put it:

"One can't prove that God doesn't exist, but science makes God unnecessary."

Tam: "Santa Claus and the tooth fairy were never introduced, there would be no choice to believe,...">>

Good point. My friend Ralph has a nice tract showing some similarities. See below.

D.
----------------
DO YOU BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS?

For many years millions of people have believed in Santa Claus. Today millions more believe in him. Why do so many claim Santa as their personal friend? Because they have found that the true way to know Santa is to believe in him. And the only way to receive his gifts is to become like little children and have complete faith in him.

Of course some people - agnostics, atheists, freethinkers, liberals, and secular humanists - claim that Santa Claus is a mythical being who was invented by humans. But these scoffers and doubters will never destroy people's faith in him, for as long as people believe in free gifts they will believe in Santa Claus.

Human gifts have to be made out of earthly materials; Santa creates his gifts out of nothing. Human gifts have to be paid for; Santa gives us his gifts for free. Some people think he needs to be reminded of what they would like, but Santa already knows what we need. All we have to know is that Santa Claus is alive and loves us. All we have to do is to make a personal commitment to believe in him. So won't you, too, accept Santa's offer of free gifts? Just kneel down, bow your head, close your eyes, and reverently say to yourself:

"Dear Santa Claus. I truly believe in you and want you for my personal friend. Let me humbly accept your gifts, not because I deserve them, but because it is your will that I should receive them. Let me not doubt, but increase my faith; for the harder I believe in you, the more real you become. Amen."

See this and his other tracts here: http://fayfreethinkers.com/bibleeduca...

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 15, 2013 at 9:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

"Dear President Obama, 'aka Santa Claus' I need an Obama phone, more food stamps, an increase in my unemployment check, a big flatscreen, my housing allowence, and my utilities paid. I know that human gifts have to be made out of earthly materials, but you Lord Obama, can create all these gifts out of nothing. If I get a job then I have to pay for them, but Santa Obama gives them to me for free and he already knows what we need, before we even know we need it. I want, today, to make a personal profession of faith in Obama and my tribute to you Mr. Obama Claus is my vote. Yes, I humbly accept Obama's offer of free gifts and will bow down before The Office of Human Concern and humbly ask for and with faith that I will get more of what I did not deserve and someone else worked for. I ask this in the name of the great benefactor, that increases my faith in government, President Santa Obama. Amen!"---ME and Freeby

Posted by: JailBird

February 16, 2013 at 8:53 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Money, do you have a similar prayer for corporations who get subsidies and tax breaks?

Posted by: Coralie

February 16, 2013 at 12:41 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Sure do Coralie, busy right now, but I'll write one for you today.

Posted by: JailBird

February 16, 2013 at 1:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Something isn't true or false based upon the number of people that believe it, but it is interesting to note that belief in a God is quite rare among physicists (like Art Hobson) and those who understand best how the universe is put together.

Here are the stats on it:

***
Leading Scientists Reject God Belief

The July 1998 "Nature" reports its new survey this year finding that 93% of what it categorizes as "great" scientists do not believe in a god.

The 1998 study follows up on the landmark 1914 survey by U.S. psychologist James H. Leuba, who found that 58% of 1,000 randomly selected U.S. scientists expressed disbelief or doubt in the existence of a god, and that this figure rose to nearly 70% among the 400 "greater" scientists within his sample. When Leuba repeated his survey some twenty years later, he found that these percentages had increased to 67% and 85%, respectively.

Nature replicated Leuba's initial 1914 study in 1996, reporting little change, with 60.7% of American scientists generally expressing disbelief or doubt. This year, it replicated the second prong of Leuba's study, studying "greater" scientists (criterion: membership in the National Academy of Sciences). Its survey found "near universal rejection of the transcendent by NAS natural scientists. . . We found the highest percentage of belief among NAS mathematicians (14.3% in God, 15.0% in immortality). Biological scientists had the lowest rate of belief (5.5% in God, 7.1% in immortality)."

Specifically Nature found only 7% of greater" scientists expressed belief in a personal god, compared to 27.7% in 1914 and 15% in 1933, while 72.2% expressed a "personal disbelief" and 20.8% a "doubt or agnosticism." Similar numbers disbelieved in immortality."

http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/n...

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 16, 2013 at 2 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

>> Amen!"---ME and Freeby

Freebie doesn't find it necessary for his sister to provide living quarters.

Posted by: cdawg

February 16, 2013 at 3:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Dear President Obama and George W. Bush, 'aka Santa Claus' we the corporations (GM, Chrysler, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, to name a few) in the United States need many biillions of dollars so that we might continue to exist in order to pay our corporate executives their high and exorbitant salaries. Even though we have exhibited gross mis-managment in the past, we repent in the name of Santa Claus, and vow to change our greedy ways if you will bring us a few billion that you will manufacture out of thin air. Obama Claus, you can do this for the good of our workers even though we at the top will get our fair share. We humbly ask for this gift in the name of out great benefactor, Santa Bush retired. We have placed all our faith and trust in our god, the Government and agree to follow our savior Obama into the babtism and subsiquent drowning ot the lowly taxpayer. This we ask for in the faith that you will give to us as we wished we could give to others, Amen"---ME

I promised, I delivered, Coralie

Posted by: JailBird

February 16, 2013 at 5 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Money, you may want to leech off of the government, but FFT pays for his own screens, utilities, housing, and food, and has never collected unemployment or any sort of government hand out. Crawl back into your troll hole and try to see if you can find any reality-based claims instead of pandering complete lies.

Posted by: taminatress

February 16, 2013 at 10:39 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Money, your corporation prayer is very limited.
"Eight Corporate Subsidies in the Fiscal Cliff Bill, From Goldman Sachs to Disney to NASCAR"
http://truth-out.org/news/item/13648-...
"the federal government continues to subsidize some of the biggest companies in America. Boeing, Xerox, IBM, Motorola, Dow Chemical, General Electric, and others [which] have received millions in taxpayer-funded benefits through programs like the Advanced Technology Program and the Export-Import Bank. In addition, the federal crop subsidy programs continue to fund the wealthiest farmers."
http://www.cato.org/publications/poli...
(note--Cato Institute is Libertarian, not liberal.)

Posted by: Coralie

February 17, 2013 at 3:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

It was the best I could do on the spur of the moment. I'm kinda involved right now what with starting my new book and planting trees.

Posted by: JailBird

February 17, 2013 at 4:47 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Here is a wonderfull and uplifting statement by the greatest scientists of all time:

"The most beautiful and the most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emo-tion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which is our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms of this knowledge, this feeling is at the centre of true religiousness."---Albert Einstein

I looked down at the rod, copper with a pistol grip and questioned; "What is this for, what does it do? The witch told me, "It is a dowsing rod, a magical device used to find water, rare metals, and lost items. You open the grip, place in it a sample of what you are looking for and the rod will find it." As I was always a mystical explorier, I picked up the rod, took a gold ring off my finger, placed it in the grip of the rod, and told the witch, "Now. I'm ready, what do I do?" He told me; "Start across this field, it looks like an old homeplace was in the middle of the field. Hold the rod straight out in front of you until something happens."

With the rod in my right hand, I walked to the old foundation, and to my amazment as I crossed to the middle of the ancient house, the rod, through no fault of mine, turned in my hand. I looked back at the witch. He was bringing up a electronic metal detector. "Now that you have found the gold, I'll use this to pinpoint the exact spot."

That rod turning, I've always thought of that as mystical. I can't even imagine how Einstein must have felt when he used the divining rod of pure science, opened up the cosmos, looked in, and saw the Face of God.

Posted by: JailBird

February 19, 2013 at 5:28 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Having given up on trying to make Einstein a theist, he's now going to try and smear some dowsing on him. Cute.

Einstein spoke of the sensation of awe many times, the following is an accurate quote, the unsourced one above may be a paraphrase:

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery-- even if mixed with fear -- that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds -- it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man." --Albert Einstein, The World as I See It

The experience of dowsing is a simple self-deception based upon the a ideomotor effect which we've known about for at least 160 years:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideomoto...

Dowsers like to pass around bogus quotes about Einstein saying and doing various things, but it is possible that he was fooled by it for a while. Knowledge is specialized and it appears he did say something nice about it in a letter or two:

"Dowsers quote Einstein in worthless appeal for legitimacy" http://doubtfulnews.com/2012/09/dowse...

The Fayetteville Freethinkers have tested a dowser (with a $1,000 reward offered) and we've offered to test many more. They failed, as all dowsers do when properly tested and blinded from seeing the target they are trying for.

The best short explanation is perhaps this excellent one written by James Randi, who has tested hundreds of dowers, and for over a decade offered $1 million to anyone who can do anything with it under proper testing conditions.

"The Matter of Dowsing" http://www.randi.org/library/dowsing/

D.
-----------------
"The Ideomotor Effect
We are witnessing here a very powerful psychological phenomenon known as the "ideomotor effect." This is defined as, "an involuntary body movement evoked by an idea or thought process rather than by sensory stimulation." The dowser is unknowingly moving the device of choice, exerting a small shaking, tilt or pressure to it, enough to disturb its state of balance. This has been shown any number of times to be true, but the demonstration has meant nothing to the dowsers, who will persist in their delusion no matter how many times it is shown to them that dowsing does not work." --ibid

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 19, 2013 at 9:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Money says "I'm kinda involved right now what with starting my new book and planting trees. "
Yet you find time to post and post and post.
??

Posted by: Coralie

February 19, 2013 at 12:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The rain, Coralie, remember, stopped the planting of trees. Remember the rain Monday. I know its hard at your age. But, now that I have the book started and the trees planted, I'll be able to devote more time to you and your ramblings, and thats bad news for you.

Freeby, I know its hard for you to do research with your limited IQ, but the quote was from The Universe and Dr. Einstien, by Lincoln Barnett.

I don't know where you got the idea I was a dowser, that is from my next book. The hero was in the middle of a con game. Finding fools gold that was planted, the dowsing rod eating up his gold ring to find the other gold. Took gold to assayer and realized he had been took. The search, the revenge, the gunplay, and a dead witch.

I have never discovered anything mystical, but I'm not Einstein. Bet a dowser could find you it he put a stupid rock inside the devineing rod.

Posted by: JailBird

February 19, 2013 at 1:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I had a friend in high school whose father, a geologist, was often asked to "dowse" for oil or water.by property owners. I believe he used a forked willow stick, but in any case, his high rate of success was due not to some mystical ability, but to his knowledge of the geology of the area.

Posted by: AlphaCat

February 19, 2013 at 2:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I think you are right about that, Cat I studied it quite a bit doing research for my book. I believe it to be a fake. To experiment I took two copper rods and walked out into the woods with nothing in mind and after a bit they crossed. I tried this again in another direction and they crossed again. I don't know why beacuse I wasn't looking for anything. I think maybe most anywhere you drill abound here one would find water so the dowser couldn't be wrong.

Posted by: JailBird

February 19, 2013 at 4:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

So, we have here two dowsing atheists.
I'm pretty agnostic myself, never having investigated the matter.
+++
I do not believe in zombies or vampires and am utterly uninterested in them.
Except maybe to try to figure out why young people are so fascinated with them.

Posted by: Coralie

February 21, 2013 at 12:11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I was interested why the rods crossed as I was looking for nothing. I dowsing works, I would be interested in the proof. Dowsing is how Joseph Smith found the golden plates leading to the Book of Morman. I bet the Mitt believes in dowsing.

Posted by: JailBird

February 21, 2013 at 2:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Just heard on NPR: new research finds that bees are able to find flowers in part by their electric fields.
+++
I can much sooner believe that dowsers can find underground water than that anyone can detect gold in that manner.

Posted by: Coralie

February 22, 2013 at 11:53 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: "I can much sooner believe that dowsers can find underground water than...">>

The notion that dowser might be able to detect water, rather than that they are just experiencing the very deceptive illusion of the ideomotor effect, is an interesting question and one worth testing. This has been done and this article gives a good overview of the most extensive test:

***
"Testing Dowsing: The Failure of the Munich Experiments"

Excerpt:

"...in the middle 1980s, the German government brought together a committee to consider how a proper study might be conducted to investigate the possibility that dowsing is a genuine skill. If dowsers can indeed detect (dangerous?) radiation, perhaps they might be able to contribute to research in public health issues.

The outcome of those deliberations was a grant of 400,000 German marks (about $250,000), in 1986, to university physicists in Munich. Generous funding assures a large-scale project, so that even weak effects might become evident; the reputation of university-based researchers for open-minded integrity means that their participation provides credibility that a project managed only by dowsers themselves would not have.

For an open-minded test of claimed extraordinary abilities, the claimants deserve a fair opportunity for success by providing conditions they regard as suitable, and in this regard, the Munich researchers seem to have bent over backward."

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/testing...

Bottomline for the casual reader:

The flowing water was located in the target area like this:

http://www.csicop.org/uploads/images/...

After throwing out all of the weakest dower attempts, the best guesses of the best dowsers looked like this:

http://www.csicop.org/uploads/images/...

Pretty straightforward.

D.
--------
"Conclusion
The Munich dowsing experiments represent the most extensive test ever conducted of the hypothesis that a genuine mysterious ability permits dowsers to detect hidden water sources. The research was conducted in a sympathetic atmosphere, on a highly selected group of candidates, with careful control of many relevant variables...
it is difficult to imagine a set of experimental results that would represent a more persuasive disproof of the ability of dowsers to do what they claim. The experiments thus can and should be considered a decisive failure by the dowsers." --ibid

Posted by: fayfreethinker

February 24, 2013 at 3:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )