Thursday, October 18, 2007

Is every belief a form of faith?

There has been some discussion in our comments, instigated by believers, over whether belief and faith are the same thing. I contend they are not. A belief is any idea or concept held by an individual. Faith is a method by which some people hold a belief. For the Christian, faith is the method by which he comes to hold his beliefs. And this is where some confusion then arises.

Because the Christian holds a belief on the basis of faith he often calls his belief “my faith.” Because he comes to his beliefs by the method of faith, and then calls those beliefs faith, he also concludes, wrongly, that all beliefs must be matters of faith. He has, in essence, defined reason out of existence.

Beliefs can also be obtained on the basis of evidence as well. I believe that the night will end and day will begin because I have thousands of such experiences. [And sure enough it was night when I wrote this essay and is now day when I proof-read it. My belief was again verified as I suspect is most likely to happen over the next 24 hours one again, as well.]

This process of day/night is something I can define and everyone knows what I mean. It is verifiable by others and repeatable. It is not something that I alone experience or claim to experience. We can film it, record it, describe it in great detail. There is reams of evidence to support it. That conclusion is not a faith even though it is a belief.

Let us consider some examples of non-theists beliefs regarding that can be faith based or reason based.

We have all meet people who are crooks and people who are honest. On the occasion of a first meeting with someone I may invite them into my home. Is this an act of faith? It would appear to be on the surface. After all I know nothing about this individual and yet I invite them into my home. In reality it is a reason based action. Based on past experience I know most people aren’t going to steal from me but I also know that quite a few will. I am taking a risk based on the cumulative evidence of previous incidents.

If the guest departs and my wallet departs with him what trust I exhibited in him is gone. I have evidence that showed that I was wrong about this guest. I now assume the person is a crook and I have changed my position. Many a mother, however, has held faith regarding her criminally-inclined progeny in spite of overwhelming, conclusive evidence to the contrary. That is not playing the odds that is faith. The mother may well have known her son or daughter to have done horrendous things on a repeated basis and yet, once again, denies the possibility that they committed the latest atrocity. That is truly faith in action.

Many things we do are based on beliefs which most clearly are not faith. The theist loves to intentionally confuse the two as a means of trying to justify his faith conclusions. To do this he defines reason out of existence. Any belief to him is a faith. Yet reason and faith are very different means to come to a conclusion or a belief. By redefining all beliefs as deriving from faith they attempt to win the debate by pretending there is nothing to debate. In essence they define the opposition out of existence.

Most examples they give as evidence are beliefs derived through reason and logic. You do not believe a chair will hold you based on faith. It is derived from experiences that provide you with actual evidence that chairs do tend to support the weight of the people sitting upon them. The chair does not hold you up because you have faith in it and you do not sit down because you have faith. Long before you yourself voluntarily sit in a chair you have accumulated evidence that they work. As an infant you see people sitting in chairs even if you are incapable of doing so voluntarily yourself. Your first chair experience is likely to be a highchair with a tray to eat from where you are placed by others whether you want it or not. You accumulate evidence possible from the day you are born. You may be lying with you mother in the hospital bed with visitors sitting in nearby chairs.

Recently I had the unfortunate experience of one of those occasions where the chair actually failed. It was a Sunday afternoon and my host, where I am a guest, had two friends over for dinner in the garden. Four lawn chairs made of bamboo were around the table. The two guests were seated in the their chairs. The host and I were in the kitchen. I brought something out to put on the table and then sat on the chair which, in the wet weather had weakened substantially. It, and I, went crashing to the ground. The chair did not hold. It wasn’t that I had lost any faith in it. It just was rotten.

I got up and brought out a sturdy dinning room chair to use instead. The host came out and was surprised, she hadn’t realized the chairs had rotted. So she sat down carefully in her chair and went crashing to the ground anyway. To say the least the two guests were terrified to move in their chairs.

My belief is that chairs will hold me up. But in reality it has always been a qualified belief. I assume it will hold me up because most of the time it will. I don’t assume it will do so 100% of the time but it is close enough to 100% that I give it no thought when I sit down. If I lived in a world where the chairs crashed to the ground far more frequently I might not draw the same conclusion. I might push on a chair several times, testing it before using it. My belief regarding chairs is evidence based not faith based. With sufficient evidence to the contrary I change my beliefs and my behavior.

But if I believed, as a matter of faith, that the chair would hold me up then experiences with failed chairs, no matter how numerous, would have no impact whatsoever on my belief. I would continue to sit down and continue to crash to the ground on a fairly regular basis. I might invent reasons as to why the chair failed. I might say that it was my own fault and that my faith was weak. I might say my faith was being tested much the way Job was being tested. I might conclude that I crash to the ground repeatedly because it a way to see if I will hold my faith in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. This is critical. A faith based belief is one that an individual holds even if the evidence is to the contrary.

Advocates of “faith healing” are a prime example. You are supposed to claim the healing from God even when the evidence shows you are still ill. I’ve been to enough of the major faith healing crusades to tell you that this quite common. Even if the pain is still present, or the tests show the virus is still in the system and ravaging it, the truly faith based individual will tell himself that it is a delusion and that he is healed. You get this in the charismatic Christians and a similar, but different, form in the Christian Scientists (who my theology professors enjoyed saying were neither Christians nor scientists.)

A person who has faith the Bible is infallible and inerrant will believe this regardless of any evidence. The Bible says that god is a spirit and that no man has ever seen god. It also says that Moses saw god -- yet Moses was a man. If Moses saw god then a man saw god and the claim that no man has ever seen god can’t be true. Christians who are not into the infallible idea of the Bible just find it one of those parts that are wrong. Fundamentalists simply can’t accept that idea since their faith tells them the Bible is infallible. They will go to great lengths to try to explain it away, or just ignore it, so that the book is infallible.

Some I’ve met had no answer but still insisted it was infallible and not a contradiction. Two missionary types who stopped into my business intent on converting someone had no reply. I showed them the verses in question and asked them about this. The reply was: “It’s not a contradiction.” I couldn’t see why it wasn’t a contradiction and asked them to explain to me why this was not contradictory. “Because it isn’t” It was like one of those small children who answers every question with “Because.”

In reality they clearly had no idea. They couldn’t be honest enough to say: “We don’t know, let us research it.” Instead they simply stubbornly insisted that it was not a contradiction “because” it couldn’t be a contradiction. It couldn’t be a contradiction because it’s in the Bible which has no contradictions. And round and round the circle they go. They had a belief but it was not based on evidence and reason. It was based on faith. As such reason can’t challenge it.

One reason that I find real debate with believers useless is that you are on two different planes. You come in speaking about evidence but they don’t need evidence. As the New Testament puts it, faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” One theologian, an evangelical, says that while faith is illustrated in the Bible this is the only place it is defined.

It is a belief held on the basis of hope where having no evidence is seen to be evidence. St. Augustine put it this way: “I believe, because it is absurd. I believe, because it is impossible.” Church father Tertullian, in De Carne Christi wrote: “And the Son of God died; it is whole credible because it is ridiculous. And, buried, He rose again: it is certain, because impossible.”

Now there are people in this world to whom I would trust my very life. This is not because I have faith in them but because I have an evidence-based belief. Over and over they have proven themselves to be good and decent people who have stood by me in the sunshine and the storms.

There are other people which circumstances and less evidence require I put trust in them. For instance a physician may not not have proven himself to me. But I assume that because he is a physician he has training in his field and is likely to do less harm to me than the problem I want addressed. Were doctors to fail as frequently as government I might not exhibit the same amount of trust.

This brings us to another important difference between faith and reason, one already alluded to. Beliefs that are reason based are continually open to change. They can be modified or abandoned depending on the nature of the new evidence. Science is a reason based system of beliefs. That is why it is constantly modified or adjusted as new evidence is found.

The faith-driven think that proves that science is false. You see this among the silly creationists who argue that evolution is clearly false because it keeps being adjusted. All reason based beliefs are subject to such evidence driven adjustments. Faith statements are not. If Darwinian evolution were a faith, as some religionists contend, then the Darwinist would not adjust his beliefs according to new evidence but would stubbornly cling to the old beliefs much the way the fundamentalists do to their religion.

The Christian may argue, as many have, that they know their faith is justified because their belief has “changed my life” in some meaningful way. I’ve heard the same thing from Muslims about Allah and from Objectivists about Atlas Shrugged. But if I were to point out to the Christian that the lives of others were also changed by beliefs that were not Christian they will dismiss that as worthless as far as evidence goes. The others are wrong even if their beliefs changed their lives.

They are saying that the change in their life caused them to believe: because they believed they changed. And it is readily apparent that myriad and contradictory beliefs, of almost any kind, if held strongly enough, can bring about such changes. This only shows that people can change not that the specific belief is true.

I’ve heard the claim that some people have died for their faith in Jesus and that this is proof the belief is true. Others have died for the religion of communism (and I do think it is inherently religious). There are people who died defending the beliefs of Hitler. Such martyrs don’t prove that Marx or Hitler were correct. Clearly there are plenty of people willing to die for Allah. And by current counts more Muslims will die for their faith than Christians -- does that mean Islam is more true? Obviously not.

Similarly some Christians argue that believers do good things which prove that the faith is true. No one disputes that. So do atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Scientologists, Mormons, etc. Point this out and their conclusion doesn’t change. The evidence they offered was never the actual reason for the faith. In each case, if you strip away the unique nature of the justification for believing, they still believe in spite of the evidence. It is as the Apostle Paul said the substance of things hoped for.

And you can do this over and over again with the evidence that they offer and in the end they are still clinging to their beliefs. The explanation for this behavior is not hard to understand. Faith is inherently not based on evidence. It is not reasonable beliefs logically deduced from facts. It is belief held in spite of facts, or even in the face of facts which disprove it.

There is some question over whether the tomb of Jesus was found or not. Some cultural Christians, with little or no faith, might find it disturbing and rethink their belief. But even if the evidence was overwhelming that Jesus had been buried here and did not raise from the dead, it will have almost no impact on the faith of most fundamentalists. Evidence is not needed, not particularly wanted and, if contrary to the conclusions they hold, strenuously resisted or ignored.

Many theories that are held are based on a preponderance of the evidence and others are based on overwhelming evidence. It would be a rare thing to have absolute certainty. That is another thing the faith driven jump upon. They assume that a belief that is not 100% certain is likely to be false. In fact I tend to think absolutely certain beliefs are the ones most likely to be false. Reality is not as neat as most of us like to believe.

I believe, based on the empirical evidence, that societies based on a market system, with the rule of law and non-obtrusive states are more prosperous with better living conditions for most people. I believe a market order leads to a system of feedback loops where people are better able to solve problems. I do not believe it offers utopia. I don’t not believe it will present a perfect society where no social problems exist and where every person is happy, healthy or wealthy. I also believe that anyone who claims their political or economic system will offer such perfection is preaching a faith not offering a reasonable way for obtaining such things.

It is entirely possible that some good people might get screwed over in a free society. I would hope not. On the other hand I know good people get screwed over all the time in non-free societies. And the less freedom, the higher the percentage of the population who gets screwed. If you were to present a social problem and ask me if I were absolutely certain that freedom would solve it I would have to say no. I might have some confidence it would and could explain why but I don’t have absolute certainty. Even in cases where I know freedom solves that problem time after time there may be other factors involved that means that one in 50 times, or one in 100, that it will not lead to the optimal results. Has it been disproved? No. Just as a medicine that cures most patients, may not work in some cases, isn’t proof that the medicine is faulty. It merely proves that reality is messy and good solutions sometimes fail under some conditions -- like the chairs in the garden. The belief is still justified because the evidence is good that in most cases it is correct.

Religious beliefs are not like this. The faith driven will point to someone who allegedly had cancer and who got slapped on the head by some tonques-talking, white-suited, toupe-wearing evangelist. They will inform us that the person was truly and genuinely healed. And they will ignore the 999 who got equally slapped on the forehead, had their wallets relieved of a financial burden, but who did not get healed. If a medicine worked 1 in 1000 times you would ignore it for something with better odds. And if the healing ability were that low for the medicine, you may well assume that the one actual case that appeared healed, had another reason for it other than the treatment. This is not how faith driven operate. For then faith determines the evidence, the evidence doesn’t determine the faith.

Labels: ,

68 Comments:

Blogger patrick said...

Don't really know why you'd write all this, but I'll have my say so.

All my life I've thought God is a load of tripe. Why pray to a false deity and believe a 2000 year old book written by common drunks who thought it'd be funny if they called themselves Saints? Christians are morons along with pretty much all the other naive monotheists out there. So, recently I thought I'd browse for a religion. One without Gods but things I not only believed in, but could not be told false.

First I saw Paganism. I knew it was Polytheistic but the ethics were generally there. I started looking more and had a scan at the religions under Neo-paganism. First druidism, the ethics there but it just didn't seem that all right; then I managed to get three quarters of the way with Wicca. Perfect ethics except for rituals and Gods. I found the perfect belief but found it was duotheistic. So, what was wrong with getting rid of a couple of ethics from the religion? Bugger all, I found out.

So, just find a religion you like and just get rid of the deities so long as it's not strictly based upon them.

October 19, 2007

 
Blogger NWH said...

Wow, this article made my head ache while I was reading it. It was very well written and thought provoking. I’m not really sure the best way to respond, since it was 6-pages when I printed it off. Anyway, here goes my attempt:

Ok, I was wrong about faith and belief being the same. I like your definitions far better than the ones I had previously posted, or thought. You said, “A belief is any idea or concept held by an individual. Faith is a method by which some people hold a belief.” You have stated, that beliefs can be obtained by emprical evidence. You have also stated that, I, a believer, define reason by existence, rather than defining reason on the basis of fact. First, mustn’t you have “existence” in order to find any such “facts.” I might have misunderstood your statement. You believe in the “process of day/night” because you deduct it from “experience.” Would that not be reason from the existence of a thing that occurs? But, you too place hope in things unseen, faith. With this reasoning you conclude that day/night will always occur because since you’ve been able to gather this empirical evidence, or from birth, you’ve seen it, then you conclude it is fact that it will continue to occur. I would also concur, but I still hope in the unseen of tomorrow that the data does not change, beucase like you said in your closing statements, data can be changed based on new data, but until then you hope in the unseen of tomorrow. You also have faith, yes based on reason and logic, but faith none the less that this is still true. You will say NO, I conclude based off of the evidence. Yes you are right, but (conjuctions suck don’t they) you conclude that your evidence is suffient, all the while having faith in the facts. Before you can commit to a quantifiable amount of data being sufficient you must reason that it is so, based on reason yes, but a faith in that reason.

In your example about inviting someone into your home after just meeting them you explained that you did so, based on the experience that most people will not steal from you but you also know that some will. So, yes it is a risk, but it is based on “cumulative evidence.” Fine, but before you had “enough evidence” you had to have faith in one or the other. Then, after you made some decisions based on faith you were allotted the life experience needed to gather such data to support or contradict the hope of what you had yet seen, or experienced. But you said, in regards to the person actually steaing that if “I have evidence that showed that I was wrong about this guest. I now assume the person is a crook and I have changed my position.” Then, you trust no one, not even yourself, because if we were honest, we have all done things like that. You gave an example of a mother denying her son’s/daughter’s crimminally inclined nature after repeated evidence to the contrary. That is not faith, but simply denial. Faith would admit the the “horrendous things” that were done, and diciple their butts, and while this was going on the “mother” would have faith that their child would some day encounter change. And yes, I would use proven methods of dicipline, based on reseach and experience, and then have faith in those methods to produce change in behavior. But, my greater hope would not be to modify outward behanior, but hope in the not yet seen change of heart. Because we cannot ever change a person’s motive, but we can change their behavior without ever really affecting true change.

“My belief regarding chairs is evidence based not faith based. With sufficient evidence to the contrary I change my beliefs and my behavior.” I too believe that a chair will hold me up, because all around the world that is what they are built to do. The chair does not stand or fall based on the amount of faith I have. I do not give myself that much credit, nor would I hope that anyone else does. The evidence would suggest that the chair will hold, but from your example sometimes it does not. So, you hope in the future it does, or you have faith, because it seems that at times your facts fail.


You have written that, “This brings us to another important difference between faith and reason, one already alluded to. Beliefs that are reason based are continually open to change. They can be modified or abandoned depending on the nature of the new evidence. Science is a reason based system of beliefs. That is why it is constantly modified or adjusted as new evidence is found.” You also said that, “The faith-driven think that proves that science is false.” Nope, not at all. The truth never changes, reality is not contingent on you or I. People once believed that the earth was flat, which does not change the fact that it wasn’t, nor has it ever been. The reality has always been that the that the earth is round, but we only knew part of the truth. Picture a panting that was completely covered in sand, the picture being reality. Science, or whatever else you want to put in its place helps us wipe off some of the sand revealing a fragment of the picture. We claim that the fragment of color is now what we believe in based on the evidence, of the human eye. As science progresses we wipe away more sand and more sand, which allows us to see more of the painting. The painting has always been there, but we are just now discovering new parts. Reality doesn’t change, it is the advancement of knowledge that changes, which allows us to see more clearly. So, not being able to ever full know,to the point of 100%,we must have faith in what we are convinced of.

If you ever find “overwhelming” evidence that Jesus is not who he said he was, or that he did not raise from the dead, then I shall recant my faith on your blog!!! I will put it in big bold letters that JESUS IS DEAD!

You said that, “Even in cases where I know freedom solves that problem time after time there may be other factors involved that means that one in 50 times, or one in 100, that it will not lead to the optimal results. Has it been disproved? No. Just as a medicine that cures most patients, may not work in some cases, isn’t proof that the medicine is faulty. It merely proves that reality is messy and good solutions sometimes fail under some conditions -- like the chairs in the garden. The belief is still justified because the evidence is good that in most cases it is correct.” Nope, you cannot be 100 percent sure, so you have faith in the unseen maefestation of your facts, you have hope in the unseen!

Your last paragraph about that stated, “The faith driven will point to someone who allegedly had cancer and who got slapped on the head by some tonques-talking, white-suited, toupe-wearing evangelist. They will inform us that the person was truly and genuinely healed. And they will ignore the 999 who got equally slapped on the forehead, had their wallets relieved of a financial burden, but who did not get healed. If a medicine worked 1 in 1000 times you would ignore it for something with better odds.” HaHa! I would join you in mocking such crap. God does heal, but he may heal 1 out of 1000, even better he may heal 1 out of 1 million, but He never claimed he would. The greatest of the apostle, Paul, begged God to heal him from the torment of a demon. God said, NOPE! It is better for you to suffer than to grow proud, because I do not hear the proud, but humble. Seems as though God allows even his greatest to suffer, because in the end it will result in His mercy. Those who believe that God only wants health, weath, and prosperity have never read much of the Bible. They have chosen to ignore Job, King David, the apostle Paul, and even Jesus, the one who they claim to be promoting. Jesus even said that there will be pleanty of people who say they do things in his name, but He did not know them.

Finally you wrote “St. Augustine put it this way: “I believe, because it is absurd. I believe, because it is impossible.” Church father Tertullian, in De Carne Christi wrote: “And the Son of God died; it is whole credible because it is ridiculous. And, buried, He rose again: it is certain, because impossible.” I will assume, unless you can provide the context for me, b/c I don’t know what you read this from. But in the context of the Gospel, which these men are reffering to, then yes;it is absured. I believe D.A. Carson says it best, “The God the Bible portrays as resolved to intervene and save is also the God portrayed as full of wrath because of our sustained idolatry. As much as he intervenes to save us, he stands over against us as Judge, an offended Judge with fearsome jealousy.” It is absurd, the Gospel that is, because of the state of who we are in relation to God. None the less God loved us, while we were in our sin.

October 20, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

Good article NGZ. I truly enjoyed reading it. How you been doing so far?

Robert

October 25, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Thanks, Robert. I've been doing relatively well and just trying to decide where to go and what to do for the next few years.

October 25, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

I disagree with NWH on most of what was written. To me, God is the ultimate narcissist.

He is cruel and enjoys death. I shall respond more later.

Robert.

October 25, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

To be precise Robert it is the Christian concept of Old Testament concept of god you are describing. God has no more attributes than Santa Clause since neither exists.

October 25, 2007

 
Blogger NWH said...

It seems rather silly to spend so much time and effort mocking and arguing then, doesn’t it? Why don’t you just create a blog that disproves over and over the case for Santa? I know what you don’t believe in, but what do you believe in? Seriously, why spend so much time on something that you believe doesn’t exist?

October 25, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Simple answer: No one is mentally abused in the name of Santa. No uses Sanata as an excuse to kill or to harass or to attack. No one grabbed a sleigh and some reindeer and drove them into a building killing thousands of people in he name of Santa.

There was no inquisition in the name of Santa. No one is trying to teach flying reindeer to school kids. The difference is that the believers in god have been dangerous, disrespect the rights of others, are often driven to authoritarian measures, etc.

And I note that one doesn't have to believe in communism in order to oppose it and expose it. One doesn't have to believe in Nazism to oppose it and expose it.

October 26, 2007

 
Blogger NWH said...

“The difference is that the believers in god have been dangerous, disrespect the rights of others, are often driven to authoritarian measures, etc.”

You speak of the religious fanatics, which is a minimal percentage, in this world. You’re intelligent enough to know that just because a group claims to do things under a certain name doesn’t make it legitimate. So, you are going to save the world from evil by disproving a belief in a personal god. You seem to negate all the good that people who believe do in the name of a personal God as well. You seem to forget all of those who give their lives in loving service to provide in different ways for their family, neighbor, and world. You seem to focus on this small sect of fanatics that do horrendous acts in the name of their god, which no orthodox person of that faith would subscribe to. You conveniently forget all those, the majority, who give of their time, money, and love to help those in need. You war to disprove the existence of a god, but what do you aim to replace it with? What are you giving people to believe? What are you saving people to? What are you going to use to war with the evil of this world?

“And I note that one doesn't have to believe in communism in order to oppose it and expose it. One doesn't have to believe in Nazism to oppose it and expose it.”

Sure one doesn’t have to believe in them, but they know that they exist, or have existed previously. You war with something that you don’t even believe exists.

October 28, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

"Sure one doesn’t have to believe in them, but they know that they exist, or have existed previously. You war with something that you don’t even believe exists."

Not really.

I cannot war with something tht does not exist. However, I can war with religious people that impose their viewpoints aginst my will by having the state enforce their ideas upon people that are not religious.

This is easily displayed every time I turn on the television in Jesusland USA and see a minister or talk personality wanting to turn the USA into a christian socitety by force.

Most of the believers that do good deeds moslty do it because out of fear of their god sending them to hell. I live in a bible belt state and I know this to be the case.

I was told by my former friends that I was an dishonest athiest because I question the bible instead of living my life. I do live peacefully and I do question things in the bible like "Slaves, obey your master".

Robert

October 29, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

NWH: Excuse the delay. I was in London from Friday evening until Sunday night and didn’t have much access to the internet due to meetings and visiting with friends the rest of the time. So I wasn’t ignoring you.

No, I don’t just speak of religious fanatics at all. I speak of the many religious people who are unable to resist imposing their religious beliefs on others through the power of the state. It might be a minority who openly campaign against equality for gay people, for instance, but serious Christians vote in very high percentages for anti-equality measures. When public opinion surveys were done on the US using torture people who were deeply religious were more favorable to torturing others than were others. When various studies are done of people who are very religious they show higher levels of intolerance, greater degrees of bigotry toward other races, religions or beliefs, etc. Are these all flaws others have? Yes, but the religious seem to turn them into an art form.

Why? Because faith is inherently irrational and so is bigotry. Once you open up wide areas of life to conclusions based purely on the desire to believe you are open to all sorts of other errors. Many of the dangers are self-directed. But there is this widespread tendency to launch into movements that are geared toward denying others life, liberty or property in the name of the irrational belief.

We all know that some religious people do some good deeds which is similar to the fact that many secular people do good deeds as well. In my life the people who have been most charitable have not been religious by the way -- in fact they were often the worst people I encountered. The good that some religious people do is not much different from the good that non-religious people do. I don’t see that as unique.

I will point out that you are historically inaccurate. When the Christians took power in Rome they put to death others who didn’t accept christianity. They used the power of the state to stifle philosophy, science and all sects and creeds other than their own. They plunged Europe into the Dark Ages for centuries. Throughout the history of Christian Europe they spent centuries murdering and torturing one another in the name of Jesus. Virtually no one of the time advocated tolerance. Even with the Reformation they were opposed to tolerance. All the major Reformationists were intolerant and supported using the bloody sword on others. It took a couple more centuries of religious genocide and the rise of Enlightenment philosophy before people started rethinking what God wanted them to do.

All those people considered themselves orthodox christians and the Tolerants were the non-orthodox, and non-believing. At every stage in human history the great movements to free people were opposed by the religious. The more secular North was antislavery while the fundamentalist, orthodox South defended slavery. When women sought the vote the secularists and “liberals” were for women’s rights and the orthodox religious were opposed. When the civil rights movement came along it was non-believers, Jews, and non-orthodox religionists who championed the cause of equality for black people. The orthodox, bible-believing were in opposition. Who leads the campaign to deny gay people today, the same equality before the law? Orthodox Christians.

I do not want to disprove the existence of a god. You can’t disprove the existence of anything. You still don’t get that basic concept of logic. And I don’t need fantasies and imaginary friends to condemn evil. Evil is evil because of what it does not because some Divine Stalin dictates it.

Yes, you can believe that Nazis exists but not that their beliefs are true. In the same way I know that Christians exist but that their beliefs are not true. I don’t war with something I don’t think exists (a god) but with something that does exists (religionists). An elementary distinction that ought to be obvious.

October 29, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

"Yes, you can believe that Nazis exists but not that their beliefs are true. In the same way I know that Christians exist but that their beliefs are not true. I don’t war with something I don’t think exists (a god) but with something that does exists (religionists). An elementary distinction that ought to be obvious."

I totally agree with you NGZ. I do know that faith is irrational and I wanted to ask you something. When someone says to you that you are a dishonest athiest because you question the bible or when someone says to you that this type of person is more athiest than you, what is your response? I just wish to hear your opinion.

Robert

October 29, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Robert. I’m not sure what you mean. An atheist would question any claim of the supernatural I would think so I’m not sure how that is dishonest.

Nor do I see how anyone can be less or more of an atheist. It is basically an on/off type situation. If you do not hold a belief in a theist you are an atheist. If you do hold a belief in theos you are not an atheist. There may be atheists who argue that that they have no reason to believe in a god and others who argue that there can be no god. But those are forms of argumentation reaching a conclusion. Atheism is determined, not by the method by which the conclusion is reached, but by the conclusion itself. And by conclusion I mean the belief on the topic. For instance a person who has never heard of a deity and never thought of one is an atheist even if they never reached that through a logical process but merely via the lack of any thought on the topic whatsoever.

Atheism is not an attribute like height where someone can be taller or shorter. You can’t be more atheist or less atheist.

October 29, 2007

 
Blogger NWH said...

Anything that can be used to gain power will. Religion has been employed and used by many leaders in this world’s history to do immoral and corrupt things. What better way than to take the message that a mass number of people claim and twist it to fit your end, or goal. Most people, believers and non-believers, have never truly been challenged to think for themselves, so they simply follow suite. Of the masses who claim to believe in Jesus don’t have a single clue what that means. Of the masses who claim to be atheist or whatever else your claim, still have no clue what they truly believe. Most people would rather be mindless monkeys if it allowed them to not think about what they claim to believe in, whether by logic or faith, whichever your stance. I really don’t think these issues have anything to do with religion, instead mindless people desiring to be apart of something. Good intentioned people lead astray by someone with a plan to use them as a pawn in their game.

You are the first atheist that has cleared that up for me. Every person I have read or talked to has always tried to ferociously attack the existence of a god. You’re the first person to say I attack the religionists, seems you might want to inform your team of such an elementary distinction.

I’ve come to the conclusion that you will always see faith as an irrational moronic mode to belief, and I will always see being completely reason-based as a slightly arrogant mirage leading you into your belief.

You and I do agree that religion is dangerous. I also am no advocate of religion, but until someone explains/shows me a better way than the Passion of Jesus Christ to find life, than I shall continue to follow him with all the logic and faith that I was given. I will continue to dig into what I believe using both my brain and heart. One thing that we all can agree on is that we will one day die….and on that day we shall know who was right, you…me…or neither…until then I will trust in the saving grace of the Gospel! I know…I know… you think I am a fool to believe such a thing…and I think you are a fool for not accepting such a thing. Still curious though, what do you believe in? What would you say that you are fighting for? What is your greatest hope?

Robert-
I do “good” not out of a fear for hell, rather out of gratitude for His mercy. Of course you question a verse like that…I would question anything that I just randomly plucked out of its context. You act like people are trying to convert you all the time, crap I just want to know what you believe and why. You have to look at it from a believer’s standpoint. If you knew something that you believed would save another person’s life, would you tell them? OF COURSE YOU WOULD…that is all that people are doing. They believe that the Gospel will save you, so they tell you about it. It isn’t because they want you to think like them…it is because they think with out it you will be damned for eternity. You of course may think that I and others are stupid, but that is the motive none the less.

October 29, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

NWH: I will try to reply briefly as it is 4 am and I have to be up early. Can any message be used to get people to act in the ways you discuss? No. Try getting people to understand the message “think for yourself” while telling them to obey and do immoral things.

Here is the problem. Religion claims to have a revelation which is from god thus something that is not really comprehensible. It doesn’t have to make sense it has to be accepted. It should not be questions but believed. It requires obedience and faith. It actively discourages thinking and actively encourages obedience to those in authority. That is a recipe for dictatorship.

Second, every religionists argues that when people point out that religion has lead to bad things that the bad things are the result of false religions not true religions. Even if the people doing the nasty things were in your own church you would argue this. Even if your minister who, up until he did something you didn’t like, was someone you considered a good believer. It is a cop out.

One can attack the concept or the belief in a god but not the god. You can’t attack a non-entity but you can attack a belief. Most atheists seem aware of this and I think it is clear that what they are attacking is the belief itself which is held by others. It is the belief that is the problem not the god.

To show how you just don’t get it. If I am right and there is no god when you die you won’t know you were wrong at all. You won’t be there to know it.

This is a blog about religion not about ethics. I believe in individual rights, reason, human freedom, respect for the lives of others. I most believe that the greatest thing we can experience in our life is to love another person and to be loved in return. (and unlike Christians I believe that is beautiful and wonderful regardless if the couples are of the same sex). I believe in living today as if it is all we have as it is all we have. Each life is precious because life is rare and not eternal. All value is derived by the demand and the supply. An eternal supply of life would devalue the life we do have. I value this life. I want people to be able to pursue their own values as best they can, provided they don’t violate the rights of others. Leave everyone else alone and love those who you are lucky to have in your life. Try to be fair and justice to others, respect yourself and try to live without harming others needlessly or intentionally.

I do note that you tell Robert that the gospel is about love but that you are “damned for eternity” by the god who supposedly loves you. A very odd god. He creates people who he knows will sin because he gives them a mind but then tells them not to use it. He wants to forgive them but can only do so by torturing someone who was innocent of sin to death in a horrific way. Why? Was he not capable of forgiving without killing? If not, why not? Is there a power higher than him or does he just like torturing? I can forgive you without having to torture Robert for your sins. I can choose to forgive without inflicting pain or suffering on others. If god could not fogive with doing this then he is omnipotent. If he could forgive with inflicting torture but prefers to engage in torture then he is not all loving.

Of course, I refer to your concept of god not to an actual deity. The problem is that the god you worship is one that was invented by people centuries ago and which evolved as different people invented stories about him. They tried to combine those contradictory traits into a coherent hole which is not possible. So you have a god who is both a genocidal monster, one who demanded his own son be tortured to death, who promises that the bulk of humanity will go to hell (since only a minority believe the Christian bull) were they will be eternally tormented by god’s own choice. And, at the same time you have to pretend that is loving.

October 29, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

Thank you for your response NGZ. Your viewpoint helped me find some answers to my question.

Robert

October 30, 2007

 
Blogger palzo33 said...

So let me guess. You’re a homosexual who was treated with disdain at the private school you attended. As a kid, you couldn’t put it together in your head, logically, how all these “Christian” kids were treating you like an outcast by saying and doing “nasty” things to you. You feel as though you were born this way and that no God would treat his child like this or force him to endure such insults. You then chose to conclude that God wasn’t real, although buried in your spirit somewhere was the truth of His grace and redeeming power. You fought back with your best eye for an eye tactics possible by claiming with your life that God doesn’t really exist. You spend so much time educating yourself so you can become “successful” and look back at all those nasty classmates with a big “How do you like me now!” You’ve spent so much time “showing them” that you actually believe what you’re saying because if you didn’t it would mean that they won. So now, you’re willing to stay up all hours of the night just to answer those who would remind you of the wounds never healed. You are unwilling to open yourself up to the love of Christ because you don’t feel worthy of it because of your sexual orientation and your venomous words attacking Christians. You could be a modern day Paul or you can continue on this path and choose your own path to destruction. But make no mistake- it is your choice my friend to choose hell. It is not God’s desire for you to be separated from Him for eternity, but His perfect holiness demands justice.
He is the standard and you, me, and everyone else fails to meet that standard. What perplexes thinkers like you is you. You get in your own way of understanding God owes us nothing. If He wants to create a world where many burn and few are saved then He can do whatever He wants- He’s God. Why are we not more thankful that He found a way for us to spend eternity with Him? Because it’s so easy! And thinkers and doers (overachievers) always want to perform. They hate not being the hero. God is and always will be the hero.

October 30, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

You are very wrong pazon33. I am not a homosexual and I am happy in a relationship with a wonderful woman. I don't know if I should take you very seriously after accusing me of something that I am not and on top of that. You dont even know me.

When you say that it is not God's desire for me to be in hell, that is an inaccurate statement because you cannot possibly know your deity desires and since he creates people with sinful ideas and then chooses to torture them, but then again, torture is a christian tradition. So I understand why you like torture and telling people that they are going to hell because you think that a "god" is telling you so.

Also, you violated a part of scirpture when you judge me and you don't even know a thing about me. I cannot take you seriously palzo33.

Robert

October 30, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

Also, why do christians always feel like they being attack and yet, they want to impose christians ideas in public schools by the force of the state?

I am tired of these people keep on coming on tv in the U.S. and telling me that I am a sinner and that they always need money.

Robert

October 30, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

God's revelation no doubt. As accurate as usual. Bad psychologizing based on the premise that the only reason someone would reject the utter nonsense these people believe is because of some traumatic event.

And palzo33 has certainly made it clear that his loving god is a nastier version of Stalin or Pol Pot who can torture people at whim simply because it pleases him. What a crock of shit.

October 30, 2007

 
Blogger palzo33 said...

Robert,
I wasn't talking to you. I was simply guessing as to why NGZ is so hostile towards christians.
And I can know my God's desires because He has revealed it to me and you in the Bible.
As far as scipture goes it doesn't say not to judge, but not to judge without looking at yourself first. This is the reason I can simply state my guess. I realize I may be right or I may be wrong. It's just what I gather from conversations and deletions from the past.
You can guess as to why I believe or even assume I'm trying to convert you or want your money, but at the end of the day it's just your assumption and I give you that. More power to you.
The difference between you and me is that Iam willing to give my testimony about why I believe what I believe and leave no room for assumption.
You two guys would rather hide behind your anger and silly false accusations concerning people who claim to be christians. You know the ones who are wolves in disguise.
Jesus warned of these people who would claim his name for their own cause long before you started using it as your only excuse.
It's a tired argument.

October 30, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

I am against all assertions of knowledge based on faith. Faith is nothing, no evidence, just a belief that one holds because one wishes to hold it -- usually due to either an inability to think or an unwillingess. This includes ESP, psychics, Islams, Judaism, Christianity, spiritualism, etc. In essence I am opposed to irrationalism in any form because I believe reason is the tool by which humans attain the good, not through invented "knowledge".

I focus on the Christian irrationalism because it is the dominant form of irrationalism and the one that most directly threatens the United States.

In reality I had no major traumatic experiences when I attended Christian schools or Bible college and I became an atheist after I decided that such a central claim as that of a deity required rational thought not merely accepting it. I concluded it was irrational. That was 30 years ago.

I have been an atheist for 30 years. A couple of years ago I realized how dangerous fundamentalist Christians were -- including how cruel, vicious, inhumane they could be when operating under the delusion that they are doing a god's will. And so I started the blog.

If Christians were leaving people alone in America and psychics were the one's trying to gain political domination I would spend more time on psychics. So I think it best to keep cheap psychologizing to yourself. In addition present rational arguments please, don't just preach. Give verifiable facts and arguments -- personal testimony is worthless.

It is worthless because we caqn find people who have such testimonies via Mormonism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Scientology, crystals, etc. Anything people want to believe can do it regardless of how false it is. No doubt the Mayans felt good after they offered up a beating heart to their gods. And I can point to people who can talk about how atheism improved their lives. Personal testimonies are valueless in any field.

They are invalid to prove "miracle weight loss" programs, faith healings or psychic powers. They don't mean much when it comes to political beliefs, philosophical one, or Jesus.

October 30, 2007

 
Blogger palzo33 said...

That was well stated my friend.
Point taken. It takes me awhile sometimes.
I do strongly disagree with "testimony is worthless" and will think about how to state my opinion without what you call preaching.It's hard to get around sometimes because I am simply stating truth.
I understand you think it's rubbish.

October 30, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

Palzo33: I did not assume that you are not trying to convert someone for money, I said this to the average minister on the television.

I became an athiest because deep inside myself, I never could not accept the idea of a hell or that a personal diety. I have friends that would say that they dont beleive in the bible at all and just believe in a deity, like NGZ, atheism have improved my life very well.

Reason works well in my life and I live life peacefully. I saw a debate between Christor Hitchens and Dinesh D’Sousza on Hannity and Colmes and I got the impression that christians feel that they are being attack by what Mr. D'Sousza call "the new atheists".

Robert

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Robert: I think you are correct in that Christians today are playhing the victim card for all it is worth. They have embraced one of the tactics of the Left with a vengence including inventing imaginary campaigns to ban Christmas.

Some years ago I wrote a column about some nutty fundies at the local university and they wanted to see the editor -- basically demanding that anyone who opposes them be silenced (as usual). She asked if I wanted to be there and I told her to let them know that everything I had to say to them was in my column. I told her that she is free to do what she wanted but that they would become more and more aggressive and offensive with her intentionally. Jesus allegedly said that they would be persecuted for his sake. They aren't.

So they act in manner that eventually invites people to ask them to bugger off. She didn't believe me until she had the meeting with them. She listened to what they had to say and when she wasn't willing to censor they got more and more abusive and unpleasant until she finally asked them to leave her office, which is precisely what they were aiming for.

In similar ways they distort, lie or exaggerate facts in order to prove they are being persecuted. Persecution, to them, is whenever they don't get the right to impose, by force, their views on others. If they can't teach creationist nonsense in a science class it is persecution even though they are absolutely free to teach it in their schools or homes anytime they want. If they can't get govt. schools to have prayer they are persecuted even though they are free themselves -- but they want to be able to get others to pray.

If they can't use tax funded property to spread their beliefs they claim it is persecution. It used to be persecution when force was used against them to stop the spread of the silliness -- now they say it is persecution when they can't use force against others.

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger Brent said...

I dont understand what the argument is about here. That God doesnt exist or that some people are bad? All I keep reading is that "christians" like every christian is a bad person and therefore christianity itself is bad. I dont see how you can say godlessone what other peoples intentions are. Yes there are people out there christians and non-christians who do things that are not respectable, so stop the people not the belief that they hide behind.

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

The problem is indeed the belief that they hide behind off Brent.


Robert

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger Brent said...

Im saying that people are not what you look for when deciding if there is a God or not. If you cant make the point of a changed life as evidence that there is a God than you cant use people who do bad things to prove that there is not a God or not the one they say they believe in. Now if you tell me that the God of the bible says to distort, lie or exaggerate facts in order to prove to yourself that your being persecuted than I could see your argument. As it is though all you are saying is that this one person or isolated events which go against the words of the God of the bible prove your point and I just dont think that is a good argument.

But I am with you when you say that wrong beliefs are wrong. You say these bad people who claim to be christian have a wrong belief and I would agree with you. I would say they have fallen and believe things that are contrary to what God says.

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Brent: I don't think my position is unclear so I won't restate it. If you think that all I'm saying that bad people prove there is no god that is absurd. I quite clearly said that is not the case.

You say that you are with me that wrong beliefs are wrong. Well, that says nothing. Everyone would say that. How do you know a belief is wrong? If you say you know through reason then reason is the final arbitrator in regards to theistic claims. If you say faith determines what is true -- it is true because one believes it is -- then I point you to the original essay and contend that you have proven nothing.

If reason is the final judge then even god must be judged by it. Now you refer to bad Christians acting contrary to what god says. The problem is that god was pretty damn obtuse and unclear about a whole lot of things (if you believe in the god of the Bible). He said you shouldn't kill but he also told people to kill witches, heretics, disobedient children, entire communities of people, people who work on the sabbath and countless others. You in fact must say that there is no actual code of morality at all but god's will and he can change his will as he has done in the past.

It is only wrong to kill when he says don't kill and then it is wrong not to kill when he says it is. Your entire code of morality must come down to obedience -- the theological equivalent of Stalin. You must obey any order and there is no objective good but that which your theos tell you.

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger Brent said...

what is your take on right and wrong? is there a standard? i know this is a blog about religion and not ethics but since were talking about justifying Gods actions then i think its relevant to the subject.

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

It isn't that this is just a blog about religion but that it is a topic that has been covered here numerous times before. And truthfully each new batch of Christian visitors, out to save my soul, bring up the same things time after time but in different posts.

A quick reply: What is the standard for nailing in nails? How do you know to use a hammer or similar object performing that option as opposed to pouring water on it? Why don't you pray it into place? God never said anything about hammering techniques.

Why do some "flying machines" work well and others fail? Is it because the good ones follow what the Bible says about aerodynamics? Why don't you eat plates full of arsenic for dinner? Is it because god told said '"thou shall not eat arsenic"?

If you answer those questions for yourself, if you figure out how it is that you have discovered all the other "right" ways of acting in other areas, all without divine revelation, you will be on the right track.

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger Brent said...

You should feel loved if all these christians are trying to save your soul. Regardless of whether or not you believe it to be true you should at least see the compassion of someone who believes and tries to help show you the way. I mean if christians believed what they believe and didnt tell you dont you think that would be pretty selfish? Now, christians who try to force it on you or come about it in a holy than thou art way dont know what they speak. In response to the questions of common sense (the nails and arsenic) If there is a God could He have not created these senses and our capacity for knowledge to help us understand right from wrong which in itself would be divine revelation?

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

You have got to be kidding. It's more annoying than anything else. I don't assume that because someone wants to rescue me that they love me. Communists want to save me from capitalism, Nazis want to save me from Jews, Muslims want to save me from Christians. Politicians want to save me from myself. If you really respected people you would leave them alone -- which by the way, is one reason I don't go to Christian web sites and push my beliefs there.

I find your comments here among the silliest you have made. It is not selfish to leave other people alone just because you are under the delusion that you have some "truth" that is special to you. If I wanted to I could find a fundamentalist church and rush off to be saved -- hell, I've been there, done that and got over it. I might have trouble finding one in Europe since they are mercifully rare however.

And if you think I was talking about something called "common sense" you are wrong. That is a rather undefined phrase. I am refering to reason which allows us to comprehend the facts and draw conclusions based on them.

You only offer a typical, unsupported assertion. Here you argue common sense is just divine revelation. Then why is god such a prick about it? Why does he give people in Islamic countries reveleations about an Islamic god but in Christian countries about a Christian god? Why is it that his revelations vary not only from country to country and faith to faith, but from sect to sect within christianity itself?

The reason why is because the world is full of people who fantasize that they have some revelation from god when what they have is their own vain imaginations. And since what they have is just their own fantasies and there is no god wshispering truths in their ears they all come to radically different conclusions. And each of them makes the same claim you make -- that it comes from god. Your answer, is no different from the rest of the people, you think their version has to be wrong because god picked you out for special treatment.

What an incredibly funny delusion.

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger NWH said...

NGZ: It can be a can be a recipe of disaster, but seeing as you and I hope for the same things, then it couldn’t be so bad. I also hope for: individual rights, reason, human freedom, and respect for the lives of other. I believe in living today as all we have as well, because I’m a steward of this life and for now it is all I have. An eternal demand does not devalue this life, because all the responsibility you carry, I still carry, but not just for today. I believe, as you well know, that I will give an account for my actions and deeds in the afterlife. Then, the demands are increased, because I will have to supply an account for every single thing that I have done, which includes the secrets that I thought I had.

I also wish for people to pursue their own values and desires. I’m fine with that, and so is the God that I believe in. If you want to say screw him, well, go for it. If you want to say you don’t believe in such foolishness, then go for it. You are free to do so. I have never protested an atheist’s right to speak, nor have I tried to savitage your blog. I simply sought you out to engage in conversation, with no other motive than to learn what you believe and why. I don’t feel persecuted because you think I’m not rational, logical, or unintelligent. I have actually come to respect atheists more now that I have gotten to communicate with you via your blog. I disagree of course with what you say, but it is at least believed, I can respect that a man/woman who truly believes in something and has reasons as to why.

Oh, and all this crap about Christians trying to save you…I’m not here to save you, but rather to engage in dialogue with someone who would believe the direct opposite as myself. I have actually learned quite a lot in the short amount of time I’ve spent here. If this blog isn’t for Christians to come to then, what is it for? You are trying to detour those who believe in a deity to save them from foolishness and our naïve tendency to trust delusion, or do you just want little guys to pat you on the back and say “I AGREE NGZ.” I believe you to be far more competent than the latter. Save all your crap about trying to be saved!

I do not have to pretend that God is loving, the God of the Bible, well you know the silly concept that I believe in through this dumb blind faith that contains no reason. If God accepted everyone to go to heaven He would cease to be just, righteous, and holy. That would cause a big contradiction, something that you would be very opposed to. So, He simply circumvented that obstacle by sending a willing holy sacrifice in “our” place to take the wrath of “our” punishment. He then remains both just and loving. You act as though God is sooooooo cruel, but he gave you the ability to spit on him… and still he lets you…seems rather merciful to me. At least give the concept a thought…because it works…God remains just and loving by doing such. So, you are appeased because He does not contradict himself, as I am, because if He did He would cease to be God. Why do you desire something that you can fully comprehend?

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

It’s the middle of the night here -- around 3 am. And you have made numerous arguments and claims in this rather long reply. I will pick some to respond to and just have to ignore the rest. That is what happens when too many issues are dragged into a comment and it is allowed to go so far astray from the article the comments are supposed to be about.

What you believe about God is not an issue nor something that interests me directly. What objective evidence you have does interest me. To go on about what you believe tells me nothing about why I should accept your conclusions as valid.

What is the purpose of this blog? It is to communicate to those interested about the dangers of faith and how faith is tied to use the of force in politics. Reason relies on persuasion and faith relies on force ultimately -- either the force of the believers now on earth or the force they imagine their god will use on others after they die. Anyone is welcome to come here but they need to remember they choose to do so and that I don’t go looking for them. I am not trying to save you from your beliefs. I am trying to explain to people who are atheists why faith is wrong and what theism is dangerous. If in the process some believer begins to question his own beliefs that is fine with me but not my goal.

If it were my goal I would go to their sites and try to solicit them to come to my site. I don’t do that.

You say that loving god who forgives sin wouldn’t be just. In that case there should be no forgiveness whatsoever. Murdering and torturing Jesus to death is not an act of justice at all but injustice. If I killed you so I could forgive someone else it would injustice on the grand scale. It is not loving to torture an innocent man. And the only person who can pay for the crimes you commit is yourself. If you murder me it is you who should pay not some innocent man. And to call condemning the innocent “justice” is a perversion of the term.
Now I have an essay to finish for another project and need to get to sleep.

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger NWH said...

I did reply with comments that were directly related to your blog, and still I wait for a response...wait….wait….wait! I want to remind you that you were the one who brought up the Scriptures and used it to argue with my little “silly” beliefs. You were not the guy I thought you were. You want atheists to come to your blog so that they can become informed, WOW! You were the guy who wanted pats on the back from your little friends like Robert, who say very little about what they believe and instead just say things like great job NGZ…I AGREE!!!

Seems rather funny that the” God comments” are so disinteresting to you and still those seem to be the things that you, not I, go back to every time. I tried to be very to the point of your article and your reason and logic, but you seem to like the God stuff. You would get bored having your little piggyback riddin buddies hitchin a ride everyday.

A loving God that forgives sins is unjust unless someone takes the wrath and pays the penalty for those sins. You are right it was unjust to murder and torture Jesus. Yet he bore our sins, so that you and I would not incur the full wrath of a just, holy, and righteous God. It seems peculiar to me that you are so concerned about paying the price for your own sins and then wonder how a loving and just God could send you to hell. You get the pray you pray my friend. You want justice…great you will get it. You want to pay for your sins…you will have your day…rather you will have all of eternity to do just as you wish. You act as though God would be to blame for people going to hell, simply put, you can thank your pride and arrogance. It seems awful scary to ask for justice and act like you should pay for every wrong you have committed, or is that just me? I’ll take grace any day!!! I have acted and made illogical and irrational decisions in the heat of the moment. I have made premeditated decisions that I would be ashamed to confess. I have done plenty of things that I regret doing and given the opportunity I might screw it up again and again and again. Justice is needed, but I won’t go begging for it.

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

My, my what a nasty turn you took there. Your comments were not related to the post, though they were related to the blog as an entirety. I try to keep comments to the actual specific article to which they were attached which in this case was an answer to me being asked what my views on nature of faith, as belief, were.

I said I write primarily to my fellow atheists. That seems to upset you. If it helps I also write copiously on lots of topics as a form of thinking out loud -- in a sense. Whether they convince believers or not is of little concern to me. You seem upset that is the case. You say: “You were the guy who wanted pats on the backs from your little friends like Robert...” Of course referring to someone as “your little friend” is meant to demean them. What did Robert do to you that you are demeaning him with that remark. Later you resort to demeaning everyone who reads the blog as “little piggyback riddin buddies hitchin a ride everyday”. Well, maybe I should say I assume it is demeaning as I actually have no idea what point you think you were making there.

I have never met Robert except for his comments here so I’ don’t know if that makes him my friend. And being unfamiliar with his height I don’t know if he is little or not. But I do know that I never did anything to indicate that I was soliciting pats on the back. If you have some evidence for that accusation please present it.

It isn’t that “god comments” are disinteresting but that were being inserted into a different topic. There are dozens of essays here that it would be better suited for as it would be on topic. You said that you stayed on topic and that I diverted the topic to god issues versus the nature of faith. At the beginning of your first post you were on topic. Then you went into a little thing demanding I prove Jesus didn’t rise from the dead (indicating you missed the very point made in the blog post in question.) next you went into what God allows, what God wants, what God said type of comments. This is the first time such comments were introduced to the this post and you were clearly the one who introduced them. And you closed it with a little sermon about your god loving us. Yet you claim that you were the one who stayed on the topic of whether or not faith, in any form, is the same as belief and you who said that I like “the God stuff” and introduced it. I find it dishonest of you to then claim that the first such comments were made by me since I only responded to the comments you actually made of that nature. NWH: were you lying when you said this or did you honestly not look at what you wrote in the very second comment posted on this topic and your very first comment here?

Apparently then to prove you aren’t the one bringing that topic up here repeatedly you then launch into a sermon about Jesus being tortured to death by a loving god and how such torture is just and kind and wonderful. I hope you never treat your son the way your god supposedly treated his. He ought to be arrested for abusing his own children.

You are so full of silly contradictions it is almost impossible to deal with them all and still cover the non sequiturs and bad logic. You say I send myself to hell. Really? God doesn’t judge me and send me there. He didn’t create this hell. He didn’t make it a place of torture for eternity (in your theology, actually I think he is a figment of the imagination of very warped minds). What a clown you worship, what a lying deceiver and fraud.

He supposedly tells the world that they must believe in him or suffer the torture he intends to inflict on them. Then he makes the actual evidence for his existence so absurd that the smartest people around dismiss the idea as silly. If that isn’t enough he produces fraudulent evidence that evolution is true in order to deceive people into believing the evidence instead of his word. And he gives them minds to interpret that evidence and then plays a divine game of “got’cha” if they use their mind and draw conclusions he doesn’t like. Then he supposedly tortures them forever because he has to other wise he wouldn’t be loving and just.

What odd logic. What a monstrous deity you have concocted and how appropriate that you post this image of your deity on halloween. A true monster if there ever was one. Thankfully he like most monsters is just the imaginary concocting of the minds of children. As for me when I became a man I put away childish things. So Jesus and Jehovah and miracles and Holy Ghosts and such got put in the toy chest along with Santa Claus and the Loch Ness monster and the Easter bunny.

October 31, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

I noticed NGZ that all the talk about Jesus loves you is really someone that wants to control and rule over people.

I read the archives of this site a while back when just as the same as NWH, heather simpson displayed the same lashing out behavior towards you and in NWH case, myself.

I agree with you a lot because I understand your viewpoints in your aritcles. I do think for myself and I do follow reason and logic.

Yes, it is true that you and I never met NGZ. I hope someday that we do and I understand that friendship is earned. I hope that someday, I can earn your friendship.

Robert

November 01, 2007

 
Blogger palzo33 said...

You stated testimony is worthless. I contend a person's testimony is only worthless if you consider the person's integrity worhtless. If I live day in and day out a great life to your standards and mine then when I speak or give my testimony I would assume it would not be worthless, but relevant and possibly even life-saving. Testimony is used everyday in the court of law and the opposition's greatest defense tactic is to discredit the person's testimony by discrediting the person.
Unfortunately, here on the net we have no "proof" that we are who we say we are. Maybe it's why Jesus says "GO!" If I claim to believe anything over and over again and never live it out I would assume my testimony is worthless.
As far as faith goes I've never heard of anyone dying for gospel of psychics. Someone is right. You can't prove God doesn't exist and I can't prove He does(yet). So I have to gather as much data as possible and try to determine the most likely cause, rationale, or whatever you want to call it and draw a conclusion. Personally,when I look at a sunset, a star, or the veins on a leaf I think Creator because time and time again I've seen a product and it was made by someone or something. Maybe you have, but I've never seen something come from nothing- not even any of your unorignal thoughts on this subject. When I see guys who were scared to death in one moment and willing to die the next after seeing Jesus ressurected, it's impossible(rationally) to dismiss it as coincidence or happenstance. It's irrational for me to read accounts of Jewish historians who admit Jesus' body wasn't in the tomb and have no explanation other than the scared disciples stole it. When you take all the evidence it seems absurd to believe this is all just a big hoax. Impoosible!- unless of course a person has been deceived to believing they are smarter than anyone else and have a grip on this thing called life. Like science could even begin to answer all the magnificent questions that plague those who resist the Truth.
In closing, I find it odd you project so much falsity about a subject you obviosly know little about. How is it that you consider yourself such an expert on the subject by talking down to people because you attened a Bible school and tried church a couple of times? If I studied all about trees and mountains- even drove by them once or twice- could I claim to have experinced them? I don't think so. When I spend weeks in the wilderness, the wilderness becomes a living thing and it moves me and I learn more in those weeks than a lifetime of study. Most people don't have the courage to brave the paths less traveled and they become skeptics because they hear about how wonderful the wilderness is but since they've never experienced it they adopt a disdain for it and question those who would take a step of faith onto a path that is dangerous.
One thing about God(maybe 2 or 3) is that He is dangerous and will never be contained by any of our meaningless thoughts. He is wild, but He is fair.
NGZ, that's just what I think. I do enjoy conversing with you and not to save you. I, like nwh, have learned alot from you and even changed my mind on a few things. I appreciate your time to respond back to people who see things totally different from you.

November 01, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Palzo33: Testimonies as proof are worthless. For instance, just because people say that homeopathy works doesn’t mean it actually works. Aliens aren’t conducting anal probes merely because testify they are.

And you confuse legal testimony which is about what a person witnessed with personal testimonies about what a person feels. No one could testify that they “feel” the defendant is guilty. What they have to report is verifiable evidence -- he was seen at a particular place holding a weapon. Not that it was revealed to the witness, during prayer, that the defendant had a gun.

Because the same word is used does not make it the same thing here. There are legal parameters to testifying which are not followed by religious “testimonies”. Nor are personal testimonials verifiable scientifically. I’m not saying the person is lying. A person can say that they got religion and it changed their life and I am perfectly willing to believe it. That doesn’t make the religion true only that the person’s life changed for some reason -- including self-induced reasons.

Are you saying that Islam is true because Muslims claim it changed their life? Is Scientology true merely because Tom Cruise said it changed his life? Since all these sects contradict one another completely all of them can’t be true, yet for each it is easy to find people willing to sincerely testify that the ideas changed their lives.

Again I am surprised that any believe still uses the irrational argument “you can’t prove God doesn’t exist”. It is not incumbent on me to do so. He who makes the assertion is required to prove the case. You assert he does exist so the burden of proof rests on you. But you say “I can’t prove He does”. We are not on equal ground at all in that since one can never prove a negative only a positive. I can’t prove I’m not a genocidal maniac but then I don’t have to -- whoever says I am has to prove it. If you want to assert beliefs then the burden of proof lies with you not with the skeptic no matter what is being asserted.

Your ignorance of history is also astounding. First, there is no reliable history of the early church. The gospels were written decades to centuries later. None of the early manuscripts exist only copies several generations removed and third the manuscripts that do exist don’t correspond with each other. There are differences in all of them. Scholars say there are more differences between the manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament. No Jewish historian has said that the body was not in the tomb. No Jewish historian looked into the tomb.

All historians of the day did was report on the stories that Christians spread or, in many cases, said nothing at all. Many of the reports were doctored centuries later by Christians with additions added to the manuscript to “prove” the Jesus myth. Early copies of the manuscripts don’t say such things. Those dishonest forgeries, which Christians engaged in for centuries, are well documented and have been discussed here. But since Christians tend to come here, read one post and then start up the same old debates, they are unaware that the forgeries they quote have already been dealt with.

And that is a bit exasperating. Some of those essays took hours and hours of research and lay out the case and then people who haven’t read them bring up the same issues and I either have to do it all over again or appear to be 1.) rude in not replying or 2.) unable to reply. What I urge you to do is before you make such assertions look up the literature on them. If you say a Jewish historian said something look up what the scholars say about the quote and see if it is widely known to be bogus -- except in fundy circles where the honesty of a quote is not an issue with them. But the evidence is there. There is no verifiable record dating from the time of Christ that supports any of what the New Testament says. Even basic information is wrong. We know that the N.T. record of the birth of Jesus claims that specific rulers were in power when history shows that they were not in power anywhere near the time of Christ -- somebody goofed when they either wrote the Gospel or when it was copied by a scribe for transmission.

What have you changed your mind about? I’d be curious to know.

November 01, 2007

 
Blogger Brent said...

NGZ were can i find your article about the authenticity of the gospels? I was looking through some of your archives but do you know what month specifically?

What i find hard to reason away is that the apostles believed that Jesus was the Son of God, and if they really didnt see Him ressurected from the dead and knew their belief was wrong how they would be willing to die for such a lie. I mean muslims, scientologist etc. all believe in something and would die for that belief. But if they actually knew that their belief was wrong would they still die or be passionate about it? I dont think so. I mean if I saw that Jesus didnt raise from the dead I certainly wouldnt go on believing it.

November 01, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Remember that there is a google search option exclusive to the blog in the upper left hand corner of the page. Here are some pertinent blogs.

http://nogodzone.blogspot.com/2006/12/which-nativity-story.html

http://nogodzone.blogspot.com/2006/05/plenty-of-missing-pieces.html

http://nogodzone.blogspot.com/2006/05/bumpy-bible-ride-for-believers.html

http://nogodzone.blogspot.com/2006/03/he-knows-bible-too-well-to-believe-it.html

Those are a few places to start. The easiest thing to do is do a search on a specific document that one thinks is verifying the Gospels and read what the scholars say about it. Read widely. I always read Christian sites and scholarly sites. But I note many Christians (obviously not all) tend to read narrowly and only “faith-enhancing” documents.

November 01, 2007

 
Blogger palzo33 said...

I'll begin with your question. You helped clear up for me something I should have already known which is faith and belief are two different things. I've always used the faith in the sun rising, alarm clocks and all that stuff. I was wrong in doing so. Also , and please tell me if I'm wrong, but the "atheists" I converse with are probably agnostic because they really don't care either way and certainly couldn't make an argument other than the stereotypical few. It seems, and I could very wrong, that if you're an atheist, you would know why and not only be able to articulate it with at least a little confidence.
Furthermore, it's simply been a positive experience being challenged by someone who competes at your level. So many people are indifferent and it drives me nuts. I appreciate your fervor.
As far as your response goes, I'm at an ends. you read one thing, I read another, maybe we both read the same thing. You will interpret it one way and me another. I could send you to this document or that one and you would discredit it and I could as many people alot smarter than me to discredit yours. At this point, I guess someone believes and someone has faith- depending on who is really right- which neither one of us know for certain. I mean, if the disciples could be lying or whoever you think wrote the gospels, then I could say whoever you read is lying. It does us no good.
I can take the Bible as a whole and apply it, wish others would apply it and trust the world would be better for it. You, think we would all be raping, murdering and whatever else if we heard the mystery voice from god and obeyed our awful dictator.
My problem is I can't get past this thought- Of all that's nunderstood and accomplished by science in just the past 100 years, how I ever be so arrogant to be sure there is no God, no Creator. I don't have to understand all the why's or even agree or like what I read in Bible to have a humility and rationale that it's likely we were created. I don't understand why that's such a silly thought when we argue belief and faith. Something coming from nothing is silly faith and someone creating something for a reason is belief- so I believe Someone much greater than my comprhension made all this and continues to have complete power and authority over it all, whether I agree with it or not.
How are you so sure your right? Simply based on whatever you decide to give authority to that could be as wrong as another document I trust for whatever reason. I don't know if the earth is tilted at 23 degrees and this is what gives us our seasons or if the crust of the earth were just 10 feet thicker, there would be no oxygen, and all plant life would die just because some scientist said so, but I do know if that is true, then it wreaks more a Creator than an accident. My belief- your faith.

November 02, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Palzo33: I think you have it wrong. You write: “It seems, and I could very wrong, that if you're an atheist, you would know why and not only be able to articulate it with at least a little confidence.”

An atheist is merely someone who hold no positive belief in a deity. They may know why they don’t hold that belief or they may not know why. The term only describes the belief not the ability to defend the belief. Most theists are what I call theists by osmosis. They merely absorb the belief from their culture -- hence the reason why Americans tend to be Christians but Iranians tend to be Muslim. Very few Christians can actually defend their belief either -- and those who try tend to defend it in ways that sound nice only to people who already hold their conclusion.

In my experience most publications on atheism written by Christians are not meant to persuade atheists. They are written for Christians by Christians. They are meant to make Christians feel good not persuade non-believers.

To clarify. I don’t know if the disciples were lying because neither of know what the disciples thought. I am saying the New Testament is not reliable history even if we exclude the claims to the supernatural. We simply don’t know what they said, or what Jesus said. We know what came down to us two thousand years later after it went through the hands of hundreds of fallible scribes. We know that it was changed repeatedly as the manuscripts exist which show the different versions.

We know that additions were inserted, often hundreds of years later, and passages were edited out or changed. We don’t know what the original manuscripts said since none of them survive. And we don’t know if they actually correspond with anything that happened or not? We aren’t even sure who wrote much of it. And then after all those problems it gets translated from one language to another and then from that second language to another.

Please don’t put words in my mouth. I never said that “we would all be raping, murdering and whatever else” if people were Christians. If you think I did please point to the place where I said it. I don’t believe that.

I did say that Christians are no more moral than others, that atheists are no less moral than Christians. I did say that Christians have higher crime rates (and they do) but that doesn’t mean that they are all criminals. And the reason they have higher crime rates is intelligence. Less intelligent people are more prone to crime, more prone to social problems like drug usage, teen pregnancy, poverty, etc. And as intelligence drops the level of “faith” increases. There is a direct inverse relationship between IQ and religion. Dozens and dozens of studies show that to be the case.

People with an IQ of 90 tend to be significantly more religious than people of an IQ of 135. That is simply a fact. And people with low IQs tend to have more social problems than people with high IQs and crime is one of those problems.

It doesn’t take arrogance to be skeptical of claims for which there is no evidence. But it does take arrogance to assert that for which there is none.

You assume something came from nothing. Existence exists and always has. How is that any different from what you assert? You claim a deity who has always existed. Your deity cannot solve the problem of infinite regression. If everything that exists must have a cause, and if god exists, then god must have a cause. At the least the Mormons try to get around that with an infinite number of gods each one creating new gods. Of course eventually you get back to the first god and have the same problem.

The difference between my saying that existence has always existed (though it may change forms and evolve) and you saying that god exists and always existed is that I can define existence. I can point to it. We can touch it. We can see it. We can test it using rational, scientific methods. We have reams and reams of data proving that existence exists. It is not a faith statement at all but a conclusion built on massive mountains of evidence -- more evidence than could possibly be accumulated.

But others have a god which they say can’t be defined, which is too great to be understood by our feeble minds, which is beyond the physical laws of existence so it can’t be tested. It is something that can’t be studied the way we would study any other aspect of existence and it is something which is understood by faith not through the mind. That was the point of my essay. In other words it is something for which there is scant evidence in the normal sense of the word.

November 02, 2007

 
Blogger NWH said...

You have plenty of God comments in your article. So, when I speak of God I am simply correcting the false assertions you make about the Bible and the God I believe in. You bring up quotes of Augustine and use them out of context to argue your points, which I stated in my first response to this article. During my first response to your article I quoted you, and at the same time I went paragraph by paragraph responding to your post-that was my comment.

I also write to think out load. It does frustrate me that people would write they disagree with my comments and then never state their position, which is not directed toward you. All the scripture that you have used thus far has been misused. I have then stated a correct interpretation based on the context, which you have never refuted.

“What you believe about God is not an issue nor something that interests me directly. What objective evidence you have does interest me. To go on about what you believe tells me nothing about why I should accept your conclusions as valid.” I am not here to preach to you, but if you misrepresent the God of the Bible I feel it is valid that I defend such, as it is my belief. You freely use scripture and quote Christians but I have never seen you use them in their proper context, so I feel like it is okay for me to correct such comments. After all, I am a Christian so I know a little more about my beliefs than someone who doesn’t. It isn’t that I’m trying to construct a sermon, rather I am stating my beliefs which is seemingly impossible without bringing up such things, after all, they are my beliefs.

I don’t think I missed the “very point made in the blog post in question,” because the section that you were referring to was the tiniest part of my response. It seems that you, not I, made it the point of my first response. The majority of my response contained your quotes followed directly by my rebuttal.

It seems rather presumptuous to suppose that the “smartest people around dismiss the idea as silly”- the idea of a loving and just God being justified in sending those who use the very life he gives to defame his name and mock his people. You act as though there are no intelligent Christians, there are plenty of Christians and non-Christians smarter than both you and I.

You call the God I worship a lying deceiving fraud, and then you act like you don’t choose hell. If there is a God, and I fully know that you don’t believe in one, and you use your entire life that he has given you to defame, dethrone, and demean him, do you not deserve hell? You use the very “voice” that he upholds to refute a faith in Him, and you feel justified in asking for, what???

And as for being a liar, sure I am one. I don’t feel like I lied here, but I have plenty of times. Are you not one as well? Surely you would consider yourself a liar like the rest of mankind. If you do, then you are guilty, as I am.

November 02, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

NWH: You need to look at the facts in the essay. I was writing about faith not about god. To illustrate my points about faith I quoted people that are under the god delusion. That they refer to a god in their comments is not me commenting about god or making arguments on that subject. It illustrates what they think about faith and how they view it. It is not a discourse on a theos of any kind from me. Try to keep straight who said what. You are saying that because the quote I used by guys on your side of the debate mentions a deity that I am therefore writing about a deity when clearly my essay was not about that topic but about the differences between faith and belief -- a position which you say you now accept.

You say all the scripture I used has been misused. In fact one verse was used and it was the only definition of faith offered in the N.T. After I quoted it I then quoted prominent Christian figures, Augustine and Tertullian who illustrate the interpretation I find it -- one I heard in seminary myself and one which has been repeated to me by Christians countless times over. The problem I have when a Christian says that someone “misinterprets” Scripture is that what they really mean is that the only infallible interpretations of Scripture are the ones they hold. Over and over you Christians insist that the other Christians don’t know what they are talking about. I suspect you are all right and none of you know what you are talking about.

Claims of biblical infallibility come down to individuals claiming infallibility for themselves even if they would deny that is the case. For they always insist that the interpretation they hold is the correct one and others are wrong. How do you know you haven’t misinterpreted it? In the end what standard do you have to determine the correct interpretation? Which of the thousands of Christian sects got it right?

I note the same claim of infallibility is inherent in your statement that I “misrepresent” god while you represent god. How droll! No doubt you know more about your beliefs than I do but that doesn’t mean you know more about Christian beliefs than I do. The difference is that you think your beliefs are Christian beliefs and Christians who disagree with you have the wrong beliefs. If the idea of Papal infallibility is funny the fundamentalist view is hysterical since they end up with millions of different interpretations of the same Scripture and each one claiming they have the right interpretation and others are wrong.

This is the problem with discussing anything with Christians and one reason I don’t go out trying to argue with them. Each of them has their own infallible interpretation. If I quote a prominent theologian to substantiate what I am saying they insist that that interpretation is wrong and that their personal one is correct. In essence that means there are millions of combinations of doctrines that all purport to be Christian. Admittedly some are on minor issues but the combinations still exist.

I don’t say there are no intelligent Christians. I was clear so distorting my view is not helpful. I said that the percentage of atheists rises in direct proportion to a rise in IQ. I didn’t say that everyone over a certain IQ is an atheist. But most people who have IQs at the top of the scale do not believe in any sort of personal god. And most with substandard IQs do. The word most does not mean all and switching the words is not fair.

I don’t call the god you worship “a lying, deceiving fraud”. Again you inventing phrases for me. He can’t be lying, deceiving or a fraud anymore than the Easter Bunny can be. The idea is false. You may be wrong, confused, irrational, etc., but he doesn’t exist. He is nothing. I attribute nothing to a god since I don’t believe there are any. If is the believers who have deceived themselves or been deceived by other believers. God has all the attributes of every fictional being -- which is to say, none at all.

Please note that it may not be possible to continue such lengthy dialogue as I have other writing assignments that are upon me in other areas.

November 02, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

I defiently agree with you NGZ. I do think that NWH is under the god delusion.

Most christians do not believe in evidence no matter how much is is evident to them and NWH only proves my point that he dismisses evidence, logic, and reason.

Robert

November 02, 2007

 
Blogger palzo33 said...

About the something from nothing argument; I assumed you to understand that when I claim never before has something come from nothing and over and over again this is true of our earth, science and experience, then one must conclude that it would not be natural for anything to do so. Especially if we are talking galaxies, stars, the earth, and even the intricacies of the human body. Therefore, I must conclude that this is supernatural.
The supernatural can't be explained, even by the smartest natural person who ever lived or will live. So unless you are supernatural, then all your talk is nothing but toxic gas adding to "global warming." This is a simple concept. One that high IQs often have difficulty grasping because they outthink themselves in an effort to be intelligent.

This may be picky, but you misunderstood my murdering and raping quote. You conveniently overlooked the word "if" which makes all the difference. You have posted here and in others that christians must do nasty things IF their deity tells them too. I was not putting words in your mouth.

About the many interpretations, I agree there are differences. "Studies show" that if 4 people witness a car accident more times than not, police will hear 4 different versions all the while saying the same basic things. The gospels being a little different and not word for word the same give credibility to their authenticity. Christians may think another Christian is wrong about election or whatever, but Christians agree that Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. If they disagree on that then someone is wrong and someone right as in every interpretation. We certainly, as the human race, can't agree on the interpretation of the law, my history book, or any documents you claim are right. We fail miserably- all of us.
If you can't see it with what's right in front of you because your ego and arrogance get in the way, then you receive only what you ask for.

Again, I trust you are a busy man and have much better things to do than argue with me, so I thank you for your time.

November 02, 2007

 
Blogger NWH said...

NGZ: I know you said you were busy so I just wanted to thank you for the time you have spent responding thus far. I was rather curious about the beliefs of an atheist and I feel I have received a pretty good education from you, so thanks. For your sake I hope that I am delusional and irrational. I hope I have created such a fictional character and I live in the imagination of my mind, because if I am right you are doomed, unless one day you would accept the only means of escape, Jesus Christ! Thanks again.

Robert: Come on man, please say something besides NWH is wrong and you agree with NGZ. I prove your point?!?!?! You never ever have a point! You simply jump on NGZ’s back and say that I dismiss evidence, logic, and reason. Wow, great job. You bring all kinds of criticism, but you never contribute. If you brought one valid argument to the table I might take you seriously…

November 02, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

NWH: Do I really need to bring up a valid argument to you since you dismiss evidence, logic, and reason?

What is the point in doing so if you are going to just ignore the basis and just rely on faith?

Robert

November 03, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Palzo33: To be precise your argument is not that something can’t from nothing. Your argument is that something can’t come from nothing unless we call that something god. If the intracies of the universe are too complex to have evolved from an always existing matter then the intricacies of god are even greater and thus more in need of a creator that what we can actually see.

I did post that Christian have done nasty things if they believe their deity told them to do it. Why? Because history is filled with genocidal examples of that very thing. And the Old Testament (which I suspect is false in many areas of history) claims the same thing for the believers.

The gospels have a certain unity but most scholars think this is because of them being copied from similar sources. But they are also in conflict on key details. Second, the claim of human witnesses conflicting can’t be used if you are claiming divine inspiration. The god factor ought to make the accounts unique not just human beings writing about what they heard using a common manuscript to write. Your entire argument rests on the Bible being divinely inspired. To then equate it to nothing more than human testimony strips it of the very essence that gives it the special claim it makes.

I also note that the witnesses in this case wrote accounts decades later, copies of their “testimony” that exist are copies several generations removed from the originals with no chain of custody. We don’t know who the main witnesses are as most scholars outside the fundamentalist world say the authors are not the names ascribed to the gospels. And the main author we do know about, Paul, never meet Jesus.

NWH; You’re welcome. It is just a busy few days here. We are trying to save a particular business from closing that several of us want to see revived and I’m in the process of writing a major report that I need to finish by tomorrow since we need to have it to the press by Monday. And we are off to a restaurant opening for lunch.

As for the doomed statement, I’m not worried. But if Islam is right you are doomed. Think about it.

November 03, 2007

 
Blogger palzo33 said...

No, I'm not saying or arguing that if something comes from nothing then it must be called god. I'm saying that nothing natural comes from nothing. Science deals with natural (matter) and has theories you and I ascribe to, but when we all face the something coming from nothing argument, no matter what you call it or Him, the it or Him is SUPERnatural. Somehow, supernaturally, the earth and the billions of stars and such came into being. But it didn't happen naturally as we know it. If Someone or something is supernatural, then it could never be fully comprehended by the natural. Being so, all your attempts to explain away the SUPERnatural with laws of nature that only apply to the natural are futile and will always make sense to some because it sounds smart or logical to those that need answers to every question because they think faith is silly. Funny how little bitty insignificant people who are but a vapor- here one day and gone the next- feel they can explain away the awesomeness of life, space, and purpose. Absurd and arrogant beyond extreme.

You pulled another punch with the don't put words in mouth statement. Come on, man. You stated that people do nasty things because they believe god tells them to. I stated you think we would be murderers and rapist IF again IF we heard the mystery voice of god teeling us to and we obeyed it. You are clever in your diversions and I can't even begin to name them all nor do I care to because I believe you know the difference already.

You know, in the effort not to preach or get a post deleted, I give you too much credit and leeway to interpret and twist. God's word is infallible. Because of His enormity, uniqueness and omnipotence I realize He may speak in one way to me another to someone else. He may reveal something different to me than to you. If He is God then He can get the message to whoever he wants by any means He wants. He's supernatural and will always defy human logic- no matter how badly some want it to be different and suited to just them.

Your accounts of the Bible and epecially Paul are lies. Lies, lies, lies. You could call me a liar. So what? You just throw stuff out there with an arrogance that guys like Robert take hook line and sinker because of the delivery. Your voice and the delivery of your message is brilliant if your goal is to persuade. Props to you, but my message has to be experinced not studied. Yours will always end where the natural ends. Mine will shout and sing truth into eternity.

November 03, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Palzo33: I don’t know if you aren’t reading what I write carefully, incapable of comprehending it or distorting it. But you are so wrong. I never said that you were saying that if “something comes from nothing then it must be called god.” I never even came remotely close to saying that.

What I said is that you do believe that god is something and that he came from nothing. He had no source in your mind. That is quite different than the interpretation you gave to what I said.

What evidence do you have for something that is supernatural -- beyond nature? Even the very term is nonsense. If it is exist it exists within nature and is natural. Everything that exists must have a nature. Saying something is beyond nature is to say nothing at all. It’s merely an excuse to justify believing whatever you want in spite of the lack of evidence.

No one “explained away the awesomeness of life, space and purpose” (the latter is an odd thing to include since that is self created not part of the physical world but part of our psychological motivations). Life and space is awesome. And it is so awesome that I don’t need an imaginary creator to make it. The people who work in the sciences with nature are the most awed by it and the least likely to invent a theos to explain it.

There is a difference between saying that some believers do nasty things because they invent a deity and saying that all believers do nasty things because of it. I am saying that nasty people who have an imaginary friend easily justify their nastiness by saying god exists and god is telling them what to do. And you enable them to do it.

God’s word doesn’t exist. Man’s word does and it is fallible and since the Bible is man’s word it is full of bullshit and contradictions and monstrous evils. That you think a god “reveals something different” to you merely means you are either self-deluded or mentally ill. And when you claim he reveals to you there are millions of other entertaining the selfsame fantasy who argue god is revealing to them as well and their revelation says your revelation is false and a lie. That is the problem of the deluded not the sane. You guys work it out. I just think it shows you are all off the deep end. I am glad you say what you believe defies “human logic” -- it is precisely my conclusion as well.

If you think I’m a liar then I really have no reason to carry on the conversation with you. There you attack my character in the typical loving fashion I have come to expect from believers -- if you fail to persuade then smear and attack. That is so typical of “loving Christians”. As for your message -- when you are dead you’ll be dead. Of course in being dead you will never know that you spent your life pushing bullshit on people and propagating ideas that harm many people.

Finally, both you and NWH have implied or stated that I called your liars. I did not. At not point did I use the word lie or liar in any context that implied you were being intentionally dishonest. I did not call you a liar though you clearly called me one. And once that happens I end discussion no matter where I am or the topic. But so often I find that this is how Christians respond (I saw this even when I was a Christian). Many act all loving and caring until someone still is not persuaded by their claims. If the person continues to reject Chrsitian claims many, many Christians eventually become abusive and angry. I consider that a sign of insecurity. One reason people don’t tolerate others rejecting their belief is that rejection of it makes them feel insecure. I think it is partly based on a fear that the belief could all be wrong. Since it might be wrong it shouldn’t be challenged or worse, disbelieved. The non-believer makes the believer feel insecure.

November 03, 2007

 
Blogger palzo33 said...

Man, I truly did not mean to offend you although I don't appologize for doing so. My intention was not to push a button or make you mad. I feel like I have to walk on eggshells with you because you're so sensitive. Your insecurity drips from my screen. I have been called alot of things worse than insecure and deserved it, but insecure I'm not. You could call me anything, though, and I really wouldn't care. I really don't care if you called me a murdering thief that lies and steals babies because it's just more of the same.

I'm trying my best to argue points. I said your points are lies, not you. You obviously just want to pick fights and be condescending. Well, I'm your guy cause I can take it without getting all angry. You call what I say bullshit. Are you not calling me a liar. You say all I believe in is stupid and senseless. What are we talking about here. You're so quick to go below the belt when I make solid points. You don't like the message so you attack the messenger.

We thank you constantly so as not to offend you and you give nothing in return. You know what? That's exactly what I expect from people like you because you think if you ever give in then your entire house of cards comes tumbling down. I don't care nor am I offended.

The conversation ended a long time ago when you started twisting everything we said. It's a conversation about a sensitive topic and it takes courage to compete. Your problem, and the problem you have with God, is you can't take not playing by your rules.

Of all that I've said on here, I promise you I am not trying to push buttons for the fun of it. That is not my desire at all. I respect your willingness to continue speaking so much. I know you're busy and have better things to do. I just thought those points were lies- maybe someone's lies you're pushing, but I didn't call you a liar anymore than you did me. And again, so what if we do.

This is the problem. If you take a sentence or two from all that I've said and make it the big picture- we all lose.
I ask you please to take my words and overall demeanor and judge fairly whether or not I'm trying to do right by this conversation. It's why I believe Grace is so neccesary.

November 03, 2007

 
Blogger NWH said...

NGZ: You are absolutely right; if anything else is right besides Jesus being Savior and Lord then I have lived a lie. If Islam is right, if Mormonism is right, if Hindu is right, if relativism is right, and on and on I could go, but I am convinced that He is both! One day we will know, or we will not, the test of life will show a result sooner or later. Hope the business deal goes well. Thanks again.

Robert: HAHA!!! Oh, you are so right; I’m an idiot because I have a belief fueled by faith. While you on the other hand have a belief fueled by…evidence, logic, and reason…the only problem is….it is not your evidence, logic, or reason...because you never really say anything but….You are wrong! Wow, that was easy…you are wrong…I’ll try that from now on...it will save me the trouble of thinking!

November 03, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

NWH: Actually one day we won't know which would prove I was right but then we wouldn't be here to know it. If life ends completely at death then there is no one after death to know who was right. If Islam is right you'll find out. If I'm right nobody finds out.

I suspect that had you been born in Iran you would be arguing just as strongly, and pretty much the same arguments, that Allah is god and Mohammed is his profit.

I hope this deal goes well also, mainly because this is something I'd like to see stay in existence. None of us involved are really wanting to make killer profits (though they would be nice). We'd just like to see it stay afloat and cover costs. We value what it does. Latest reports today look fairly good but we need firm numbers from the other side. But they don't want the corpse, so to speak, picked to the bones, and neither do we. But if they don't come to the party there is nothing else we can do. At that point we sit down and consider. But decades of accumulated value will be lost if that has to happen.

November 03, 2007

 
Blogger Brent said...

Hey NGZ i dont know if this is the right place to ask this question or if there is another thread i should post it on, but i was reading one of the articles you put up about the validity of the gospels and had a quick question. If the roman uprising was in 70A.D. wouldnt it have been mentioned in the gospels since it would have fufilled what jesus said when he said "not one stone will be left standing"

Also, shouldnt there be one thing that could totally discredit the gospels and be unrefuttable? But everytime I hear an argument against the gospels there is always some fact that comes up that can argue against it. Anyways just wondering about the first question

November 04, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Brent: There are numerous essays on similar topics here, some of which I linked to in a previous reply. Most any of them would be appropriate locations. I will add an entry today that says misc. Post questions of this sort there for the time being. But regardless of where you post them I will normally see them as I usually get email notification when a new comment is added.

November 04, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 04, 2007

 
Blogger palzo33 said...

"Your argument is that something can’t come from nothing unless we call that something god." A direct quote from your post.

"I don’t know if you aren’t reading what I write carefully, incapable of comprehending it or distorting it. But you are so wrong. I never said that you were saying that if “something comes from nothing then it must be called god.” I never even came remotely close to saying that." Another quote from your post.

You're right if this isn't saying the same thing. But if it's the same, then you're wrong.

Otherwise, I'm tired of treating you like a woman unless you are a woman, and in that case, I apologize sincerely and fully understand your sensitivity.

It's obvious when someone has deep issues when they throw out the insecurity card on someone after all that's been said. You may not be a liar, just a coward, hiding behind attacks and other falsities. Something I've learned to expect from "intelligent atheist."

I'm sick of atheist using the"you're supposed to be so loving" card and play on the tenderness of trying people. Why does it surprise you when we stand up for ourselves? Why are you so afraid? Is it really the gay rights stuff or abortion? I don't think so. And I definitely don't think so coming from a person who claims to have been a christian.

November 04, 2007

 
Blogger NWH said...

"One day we will know, or we will not, the test of life will show a result sooner or later." That is exactly why I wrote "or we will not." That one was for you.


As for believing in Islam you make a valid argument. It would be highly probable that I would. I do believe that we are highly influenced by the culture and society that we grow up in. I have attended Islamic seminars discussing the key tenants of the Islamic faith, and left rather challenged. I had a great conversation with a couple of Mormons yesterday and asked them to explain to me the key tenants of their beliefs and why they were convinced of such things. I am not scared to know any belief. Knowing the tendency of man to be conditioned by those who surround them, I seek to know the opposite as well. I will forever be a seeker of the Truth. I am willing to be wrong, but I haven’t been convinced yet that I am.

Glad to know the deal seems off to a good start!

November 04, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

The problem is that you simply miss the context of a comment. And then you get into debates that become more and more complicated. I will outline the debate on what was said about something coming from nothing.

You said that something can’t come from nothing.

I responded and said you don’t actually believe that because you assert that god exists but the comes from nothing.

That is is pretty easy to understand.

But you didn’t understand it. You changed what was said into having me assert that “if something comes from nothing then it must be called god.” That is not what I said. Nor is that what I attributed to you. You completely misread it for whatever reason. What I am clearly saying is that you claim a thing you call god does exist and that it came from nothing-- it has no source yet it exists. But that contradicts the assertion that something can’t come from nothing. So while you are given a “direct quote” you are killing the context in order to make your point. And the context is critical to understand what is being said.

I also think anyone who writes “I’m tired of treating you like a woman unless you are a women” is an ass. While that is meant to be demeaning to me it is, in fact, just demeaning to women. So after calling me a liar you now degrade women in general. That is then followed up by calling me a coward for “hiding behind attacks and other falsities”. That is just a nonsense sentence. I make my arguments and offer them up. You call that attack. Thus the only way not to attack you is to agree with you with -- how authoritarian of you. And how does one hide behind it? You also state that any disagreement or attack is false since you refer to “other falsities”. The word “other” in this context can only refer back to the attack or disagreement.

Continue your cheap pyschologizing if you want. It makes as much sense as your literalist theology and comes from the same intellect. But my decision is that all conversation with you has ended. As I said your comments have become more and more personal. Instead of disputing my arguments you resort to attacking my character. That is the sign of intolerance and intolerance everywhere is fear. Your fundamentalist faith is on the wane in America and I for one am thankful that the turning point has arrived.

Your kind has so disgusted the young people of the US that more and more of them are rejecting religion entirely. I won’t be responding to what you have to say from this point on (nor will you be posting) just because you have crossed the line several times and been asked not to resort to attacks on the person but to stick to the argument. In addition you seem unable to comprehend the actual arguments I make and I spend a lot of time trying to untwist the knots you put into them as you misinterpret them. NWH and Brent have not done that I shall respond to them as I am able. Palzlo33 you are welcome to read things if you want but don’t waste your time (or mine) posting.

November 04, 2007

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

NWH. Almost every believer assumes that they were just lucky enough to have been born in the right place with the right faith. I assume this is because people tend to assume that what ever faith they were taught has to be right because it is too uncomfortable to assume otherwise. Even those who convert tend to convert from one version of the same faith to another version of it -- less common is the conversion to a completely different religion.

Mormons are interesting to me because their religion is recent enough to disprove easily. Better to make claims about what happened 2000 years ago than 150 years ago. Better yet pick a culture where many people were illiterate and there was no press to speak of and few writers. In spite of history showing Mormonism to be a bunch of nonsense (the book of Abraham story is thoroughly disproven) Mormons still believe.

This is why I have no great desire to convert believers. It is basically impossible to do because they want to believe and most have immunized themselve against facts to the contrary. Mormons do it, Scientologists do it and I say Christians do it as well.

As for Brent's question I will do a separate post on that question and I am working on it.

November 04, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

Robert: HAHA!!! Oh, you are so right; I’m an idiot because I have a belief fueled by faith. While you on the other hand have a belief fueled by…evidence, logic, and reason…the only problem is….it is not your evidence, logic, or reason...because you never really say anything but….You are wrong! Wow, that was easy…you are wrong…I’ll try that from now on...it will save me the trouble of thinking!

First and furmost. I have never called you an idiot. I do say many things and my point is and from your response, you just lash out and from your statement, it will save you the trouble of thinking, the problem is with you is that you hardly think at all and I understand becuase after all, you believe in the whole jesus thing.

So, since you insult me, you only prove to me that you are insecure about your belifs. Thank you. :)


Robert

November 05, 2007

 
Blogger palzo33 said...

Okie Dokie!!!

November 05, 2007

 
Blogger NWH said...

Robert, Robert, Robert….you were the first to insist of my wrong ways and as always you offer no rebuttal…and still you offer nothing. Again and again you worry about being “lashed out at.” You are quite a funny guy because somewhere in your head you actually believe the nothing that you say. I have yet to read a response of your s that offers a logically laid out explanation. You just claim that I am insecure about my beliefs…that must be why I explain what I believe here for the world to see….it must be my insecurity…what a diagnosis.

You are so right I must not think because I believe in Jesus, what presumption. There must not be any real thinkers that follow Jesus…..funny. I just think you are funny Robert! I know I can count on you to provide another amusing response….

November 05, 2007

 
Blogger Ethereal said...

Just as what I expected from you NWH. From reading your response to me, it is ture that you are lashing out at me.

Why should I offer you a rebuttal when you are only going to ignore it?

NGZ is correct about how faith is impervious to reason. This is true on many aspects and I do stand by my clam that you are insecure about your beliefs.

Robert

November 06, 2007

 
Blogger Wikkid said...

Beliefs are nothing more than excuses to have faith in arrogant opinions that cannot be verified as the truth.

We can use hope and faith in some circumstances we have no direct or indirect control or influence in. But using them as an excuse to not do anything or let "God" handle it, while blindly allowing someone else to pull the strings is only asking for trouble.

An example is believing in the Armageddon prophecies which is often told wiht tones of war, violence and belligerence, while allowing our President (like Bush) conduct a (holy) crusade in the name of God (as he called it) against a holy jihad (war) in the name of Allah, while goign to war in the wrong country looking for WMD that was sold to Iraq by the US in the 90's and never finding this alleged responsible person for 9/11. Let's not forget, Bush also inspired his supporting voters during his 2nd election to attack Kerry voters and gays/lesbians. This does not sound like a loving, compassionate man transformed by the loving grace of god.

Love is the only moral we need to base our virtues on (compassion, empathy, forgiveness, understanding, etc). Making mistakes is a choice and forgiving is a choice. The afterlife does not matter. What matters is now.

May 05, 2009

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

 

Web Counters Religion Blog Top Sites