I am an atheist who, for the most part, never debates or argues with Christians that I know about their beliefs. I don’t have an issue with mainstream or moderate Christians. I can fully appreciate how their beliefs provide comfort on matters such as death and give meaning to their lives. My personal experience and reason however have brought me to a different conclusion about these matters.I draw the line however on fundamentalist Christians. Fundamentalists want to undermine the foundations of science and reason in order to fit their literalistic interpretation of the bible. No one who cherishes science and reason should sit idly by and let fundamentalists pry creationism into schools and teach children that the world and universe are only 5,000 years old. Fundamentalists need to be fought at every turn!Keep up the good work John.
It is not possible to separate God from religion. God may or may not exist. Religion definitely exists. Things that exist must be talked about. Religion must be talked about. You cannot talk about religion without talking about God, therefore you should not stop talking about God.
I’ll toss in the ‘ol comment. I have mentioned before the value of having men like Loftus and Barker articulate the problems Christians face, trying to fulfill their role as “drone” in the happy Jesus movement. My guess, is that the years spent in a fundamentalist movement do something to your head. Blogging, writing, and debating might be a way of self therapy. I remember how militant I was in devotion to our church leadership. The lost years, the unnecessary groveling, and the control given to others…will downright piss you off. Hartung’s article kind of serves as a meter as to the impact of the Gospel of Reason! You see, people don’t like it when the brainless comfort of our white, suburban, christian cultural structure is questioned. Why all the hubbub? Can my fellow Seattle clown really think “New Atheism” can compare to the orgy of christian media and literature in volume? No, I say it’s a worthy fight. The voice of reason should have equal time. Keep talking about god :-)
I often hear that it's "impossible" to change a believers mind, but I know it isn't true since I was once a fundamentalist, born-again believer. I do admit that although many atheists use good arguments for atheism and against particular religions, their view of religion is that of an outsider's, and because they lack the experience of really believing the stuff, their arguments don't always hit home. That doesn't mean they don't have very good points, it's just that "natural" atheists and Christians don't reach their worldviews in the same way. I live in Sweden, which I'm sure you know is one of the most non-religous countries in the world, but paradoxically a lot of people here don't understand the point in attacking religous dogma. It's because they never had to deal with religion in their own lives, the confusion and dissonance and all the warped ideals that come from it. This naivety in turn leaves our society vulnerable to islamism. So I think we all need to press on and keep pushing back religion into the corner where it belongs. Some of us push for the positive values of humanism, or the need for a secular society, but I don't think we can get past the core question of "god". Just like the columnist said, this debate has been going on for 2000 years, and that is why it needs to keep going! When it comes to the tenets of actual religions, the debate is not insolvable. I am positive a lot of people can change their minds, and do.I think attacking religion will indeed radicalize the faithful, and in the end that is a good thing. That will make them more marginalized by society in general, and the sharp contrast between the religous and the non-religious will encourage doubters like me to step out of religion and reclaim their lives.My 2 öre.
Well said James B.I was raised a Catholic in a rather liberal area for which, in hind sight, I am very grateful. In my adult life I have witnessed acquaintances and a very dear friend of mine tormented in the occult that is fundamentalist Christianity. I truly feel bad for the people and children who grow up under this suffocating belief system. In the future humanity will wonder how people could still believe in these silly things in the 21st century.
"If they simply don't believe in God, why devote so much effort in attempting to show that God does not exist?""Why are so many atheists seemingly obsessed with formulating arguments against the existence of God? Why are they so infatuated with the non-existence of God? Is nothing sacred to them?"Surely this columnist must be asserting that folks faith beliefs actually have absolutely no effect on other people not willingly still involved in them.From this false assertion it seems he then tries suggesting there then is absolutely no good reason why people should have need to continue discussing such matters.The man maybe is oblivious to many things still happening in this world today still revolving around religion and faith beliefs.Such as this http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2009/07/16/hearstmagfamily322632.DTLKeeping in mind also things that DID happen in the past such as this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JonestownThe fact that this guy doesnt see any problem with faith beliefs,is good reason these things need to still be discussed much further yet.Man the more these people seem so uncaring of such matters the more i realize how morally bankrupt the faith system in general really is.
But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.- Paul And thereupon I concluded, as for Christianity being discussed today in the public spheres, for good or for bad, so many people are coming to Christ and for that, I rejoice.You do not see such kind of a thing (intense discussion about God) where Christianity is dead, as is the case in Europe. You see that kind of a thing in US, where Christianity is a hot cake and a country which is blessed by God to serve as the largest base in the world for international Christian missions to spread the gospel.While it is apparent that so many Christians have lost their faith, but I'm convinced also that Christianity has added in its side so many atheists as consequences of these debates.
I can respect Kris's point of view, which is as he said, one way of looking at it. I'm fine with people believing in a god, such as a deist one, where there is no belief that God ever communicated or revealed himself to man. Such a belief along with agnosticism and other non-theistic or liberal theistic positions would help to decrease the need to argue or debunk certain views about God. Views that brings forth hatred against another man, woman, church, religion, country, etc., all because of what they think God revealed to them.We are also mere human beings who are ignorant of our own existence, life, and this complex brain/mind we have. Most of us are being taught things from childhood about God and religion that the teacher is not aware they are ignorant and wrong about. This happens generation after generation, and will happen in the next. Only few will come out of the ignorance, but when they do, some will be disown, killed, called the devil, disliked, and looked down on.That alleged statement from Einstein “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”, can be use against theists also (depending on context) in that they pray "over and over again and expecting different results". In any case, atheist and non-theist cannot stop talking about God until all the dangerous belief that comes with it is at least at it's minimum.
Why would atheists and anti-theists continue to use the same methods when debating with theists, without ever suspecting that belief in God is not the type of thing that requires any evidence?Aha, the same boring methods as "give me the evidence of Zeus and I'll give you the evidence of God". And the asinine one "the onus of proof is for those who say God exist" but the stupidest is that religion is a roadblock to scientific achievements and so on and so forth.But isn't God without even one evidence? In fact there are plenty of them and some of the clever skeptics understand this and that's why these kind of skeptics usually subscribe to Deism. When I get to meet any skeptic or an atheist who staunchly deny the existance of God altogether, immediately I suspect he/she has got a very low IQ or a wussy. Stupid is an understatement to these kind of people.And to the evidence of Christian God: Christianity teaches that God is of spiritual essences. God is Love, Power, Peace, Life, Intellect, Wisdom, Prsence, etc,. By reading the bible you'll know what God is and what God isn't. Dear skeptics, these essences of God - or God - cannot be detected or proven scientifically. There are two ways of proving or detecting the presence of God. One is to see the product of these essences of God, e.g. the product of God's Intellect in creation or God's Power when parting the Red Sea. The second way of detecting and understanding God is when ALL these essences of God are ALL incarnated in human form and thus to know who God is really is. If by chance you happen to meet a guy walking on top of the water, raising the dead, loving his enemies, solving impossible puzzles and having peace in stormy times, you bet this guy is a product of God or Son of God.
Edson said, "When I get to meet any skeptic or an atheist who staunchly deny the existance of God altogether, immediately I suspect he/she has got a very low IQ or a wussy. Stupid is an understatement to these kind of people."So if that is the case, how can God blame them for not believing in him? In addition to what I was saying, I personally would like to stop talking about God, but people keep talking to me about him. Why don't you believe God? Why aren't you a Christian anymore? Aren't you afraid of hell? And my favorite, what happen!? Did something tragic happen in your life? If people would leave me alone that would help.Also I really hate that belief in and about God causes so much unnecessary segregation.Edson, I noticed on the thread "Advice to people who leave the fold", you referred to the gentleman's fear of telling his family about his doubts as "unnecessary paranoia." Obviously you haven't experience or understand what is like to be frowned upon when you tell some people you no longer believe in Jesus. Most of my extended family has no clue of my beliefs, partly b/c they would not understand and partly for fear of conflict and disappointments. Another reason why we have to talk about God is to educate and help people who need it. I'm currently reading Jesus Interrupted by Bart Ehrman, (Great book, highly recommended) in which he talks about all the stuff that scholars have known now for centuries that is not preached at the pulpit. Most believers have no knowledge of these things, and I think it should be made known to them. And these are the same people that I have to deal with in my day to day life, that thinks they know about God and the bible.It's because of so much ignorance and nonsense coming from these God revealed religion why we are talking about him still. And it will continue as people are still sending there kids to church where their minds get confused with all sorts of beliefs. Then they grow up telling others about God, that their God said this and that, and if you don't believe this and that, then this is what will happen to you. This of course will give non-believers something to talk about.
There will always be believers who make their decisions and base their actions on their belief in their god. This becomes a problem when those decisions and actions influence and affect other human beings, as all too often happens. Just because there is not, and may never be a concensus conclusion about the existence of a god, does not mean that, objectively, such a being exists or not. By ignoring the topic, you are only giving up the pursuit of truth, which, in my opinion, is the noblest pursuit of all.
edson,Why is it asinine to require evidence for a positive claim? This is true for all areas of life, including religion. If a theist/deist makes the claim their deity exists, they must provide evidence what they say is true.I'm a little confused when you say the following:Dear skeptics, these essences of God - or God - cannot be detected or proven scientifically.Followed by:There are two ways of proving or detecting the presence of God.If you can detect the presence of a god, why can't the scientific method? After all, all science is is observation, prediction, evidence, review, testing and the best explanation for the occurrence.
ccubeman,Sorry, I do realize now that I confused you when I wrote that the essences of God cannot be proved scientifically and yet say that there are some methods of which these can be detected. Again, I'm really sorry.What I really wanted to put forward is that while currently there are no standard scientific equipment or method to evaluate a separate abstract attribute such as, say, Love, but it does not mean that Love does not exist. The only way you can understand Love is when a person incarnated with Love shows the character of love, and you know it well that all human beings have some amount of love for your familly loves you, you love your spouse, etc. But God is absolute Love as is absolute Life as is absolute Intellect as is...read the Bible. But how do we know it? We cannot detect or know them when they are out of human form, but guess what, if it happens for a human to posses absolute Life, perfect Love, incomprehensible Intellect, or anything desirabe but superior in the absolute sense - that one will not be only a human but also God. There have been one human in history with these descriptions and for me this is the single most important evidence of the existance of God. And for anyone who trust in the Bible as to be the historical document, for that matter. I hope I have tried to explain as unequivocally as I can to remove the confusion.
ccubeman,After you have read my reply above, I'd love now answer your question of why I find it asinine for anyone to ask a clear thing as for the existance of God.I find it asinine because to say that God does not exist is equivalent as to say nothing exist, which is not. So if anyone says boldly "God does not exist" he/she is a jerky fool. Period.I'll not call anyone a fool if he/she says a Christian God does not exist. It's just that a person has yet to be revealed of this and as far as I'm concerned there is no hurry about this. If anyone is not privileged to know Christ in this life, at the renewal of all things he/she will know him.
I think the author of the article overstated the extent to which athiests are voicing their opposition to belief in God. To some extent, perhpas it is a clever tactic by a theist to silence the opposition. If indeed the author is an atheist, then he should advocate an empirical study rather than his opinion on what he thinks the outcome of these efforts are. Like the author of this article, Edson's claim that the debate is creating more theists is equally andecdotal, rather than an empirically derived conclusion. I would advocate a study that has both a control and expirimental group, where the sample is randomly selected and assigned, where the individuals are asked to participate in a series of classes that debate and/or study these various theological and philisophical issues. Testing could be completed pre and post intervention and outcomes determined and compared with the control.
edson says..."And to the evidence of Christian God: Christianity teaches that God is of spiritual essences. God is Love, Power, Peace, Life, Intellect, Wisdom, Prsence, etc,. By reading the bible you'll know what God is and what God isn't. Dear skeptics, these essences of God - or God - cannot be detected or proven scientifically."Maybe you could go tell all the likes of the jonestown people who actually read the same bible.And all the other christian bible reading people worldwide that strangely somehow have managed to get this so easy to understand bible that you suggest,so easily wrong.Causing so much hurt and nasty outcomes in the process.These people read the bible themselves also,but your suggestion is a very false one because this obviously didnt actually happen to them "By reading the bible you'll know what God is and what God isn't"Trouble is edson while you conveniently highlight all the lovely parts like love power peace and light etc,you quite conveniently turn a blind eye to the bad parts as well.The harsh parts that obviously do end up leading some of these christian bible readers to do some of the nasty things they (actually do end up doing). Maybe you might personally feel many people committing suicide in jonestown is wisdom,but many others of us dont
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