Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Existence of God


Philosophers, theologians, scientists and others have proposed arguments for and against the existence of God for thousands of years.  Still, this cannot be proved and acceptance is a personal choice. (1)

Belief Systems

Every human being has a belief system to make sense of the world. There are wide varieties of belief systems, which can be categorized, as metaphysical, logical, empirical, or subjective. (2) All belief systems are based on either evidence or faith. 

Science considers that the world is ultimately understandable through observation, experiment, and extrapolation.  It recognizes that humans have beliefs that may be biased and attempts to moderate such bias by requiring that evidence must be capable of independent verification. By strict adherence to verified procedure, it assures that conclusions are objective. Something that operates outside those rules is rejected as being unscientific.  

Faith-based belief systems are mental constructs that lack evidence. Indeed, scientific confirmation may be impossible.  This defines the important difference between faith-based and science-based beliefs. Faith cannot be introduced into an evidence-based system any more than one can demand evidence of a faith-based system.  Religion is a faith-based belief system.

Religion provides a sense of meaning and comfort for believers, and studies show that such beliefs intensify during threatening situations. Now research suggests that some people's faith in science may serve the same role. It may be that belief itself, regardless of its content, helps people deal with adverse situations. (3)

God Views

About 70-80% of the worlds almost 7 billion people profess belief in God. About a third are Christian, a fifth are Muslim, a sixth are Agnostic or Atheist, and another sixth are Hindu. (4)

Christians believe in the teachings of Jesus, who was born 2,100 years ago. He was Jewish and left no writings, but many people wrote about him. Today, there are more than 2 billion Christians.

Islam originated in the Middle East about 600 AD. Muslims worship the same God as Christians do. Their prophet Mohammed claimed to have been inspired by God to write the Koran, which they consider the Holy Scripture. Today there are about 1.5 billion Muslims.

Almost 1 billion Hindus believe that Brahman, a supreme being, created the universe and has many forms and pervades the whole of creation. Other religions, such as Buddhism, do not concern themselves with the existence of gods. Agnostics claim they don't know and cannot know if there is a God. 

There are over 1 billion people who profess Atheism. They believe there is no God and view arguments for the existence of God as insufficient, mistaken or weighing less in comparison to arguments against. 

Belief in God

There are many different arguments for the existence of God, based on history, science, personal experience, and philosophy. Each supports a certain conception of God, and represents the base of a specific religion. Together, these arguments claim to prove the existence of a perfect, necessary, transcendent being that created the universe, has authority over it, and takes an interest in humanity. (5)

The First-Cause Argument assumes that every event must have a cause, and that cause in turn must have a cause, and on and on and on. But an infinite series of causes and events doesn't make sense. There's got to be something — some kind of first cause, which requires some kind of "supreme" being. The philosophers call this God. (6)

The Design Argument suggests we live in an orderly Universe that surely had to be designed. The existence of the universe and various phenomena within it indicates the presence of an even greater intelligence, namely God.

Atheism

A significant argument against God’s existence is the problem of evil. Of all the atheistic arguments, this is the one that has been around the longest. The traditional conception of God implies the ability to prevent all suffering. Suffering, though, is a familiar part of the world around us; it has not been prevented. Therefore, there is no God. (7)

Other atheistic arguments claim that there are logical problems and several related paradoxes. Can God create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it? A being that is not omnipotent is not God, and therefore, does not exist.

One of the most common arguments for atheism is the view that religious belief is mere wishful thinking, just an emotional crutch for those who are unable to deal with the reality of life without God.

Another objection is that those who believe in God ought to be tolerant of those of other faiths and of those of no faith. Many religions are intolerant and indeed have been the cause of wars against non-believers. This is an argument against the objective existence of God – it makes no sense to talk of absolute religious truths because all religious truth is relative. (8)

Personal Views

For this blog, I considered it important not to just write generalities, but to make it personal. I have several friends who are Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim. Their views about God are widely available – here are some references for those who wish to review further. (9)

Here’s an interesting fact: The US Congress does not include a single admitted atheist. A 2012 survey found that 50% of Americans believe atheism is "threatening" to them. (10)

Atheist Views

In a spirit of agreement, I invited two of my closest friends, who are avowed atheists, to present their views in this blog.

Stan Lieberman

A technologist, philosopher and professed atheist, my good friend Stan Lieberman sent me this summary of the reasons he believes that God does not exist:

Since the universe exists, and the universe is everything, then something must have created the universe.  If the universe was created by the Big Bang, they something must have created the Big Bang.  That is, there must have been a First Cause.  We will call this First Cause "God."  (This is a standard Aristotelian argument.)  And since God created the universe, he created all that is in it including human beings.

My response is: what caused the First Cause?  I do not need to know how the universe began since I believe the universe has always existed in some form.

I find no reason to believe in something that is not rational but must be accepted by faith.  In addition, every religion defines God differently, and since the definitions are contradictory, this is further proof that one can only believe in God based upon faith.  There can never be a rational proof of God.

Merle Borg

My long-term friend, Merle Borg, is one of the nicest people I have ever known. We have had lunch together every week for as long as I can remember. Merle is an avowed atheist. He wrote a significant response to my blog, “Religions and Faith-based Beliefs”. Essentially what Merle says is: “God did not create Man - Man created God!”

Merle wrote:

A few hundred thousand years ago, on the plains and jungles of Africa, this world’s most fearsome predator emerged. Homo sapiens. Our supremacy was not based on speed or size or stealth. We evolved language and intelligence, and the ability to imagine and create tools.

Compellingly dominant, we covered the globe and adapted to nearly every environment. Accompanying our intelligence, however, was the disturbing understanding and anticipation of our own death.

There was a fix. With our ability to imagine things, we simply decided that anyone as clever as us could live forever. We began burying tools and provisions with our leaders and loved ones. Comforting, yes, but from that time on, the “here and now” have been materially diminished.  

As recently as a few thousand years ago we mastered agriculture in ways that made civilizations possible. These civilizations were more efficient and they quickly swallowed up tribal peoples and became the norm. To mobilize and control the large diverse populations, and to indulge our yearnings for eternity, these civilizations adopted more sophisticated religions. Some survive to this day.  

The more enterprising of these beliefs are pyramid schemes. Followers are encouraged to have large families and to convert others. The beliefs compete and are at the root of much of our over-crowding and poverty… and most of our butchery. Nothing inspires bloodlust like the promise of forever.

Organized murder, however, occurs on a relatively small scale. The truly colossal waste is this magnificent, oblivious mass of humanity living the only life it will ever live while believing this is not the real thing… that what is important is yet to come.  

The over-crowding and the butchery and the delusions are tragic, but the waste is self-inflicted. Our other failings are less forgivable. Blessed with relatively long lives and perched safely at the top of the food chain, we humans own this beautiful blue marble. You might think we would enjoy and take care of our paradise… and work to pass our blessings along. Unfortunately, with eyes firmly fixed on the heavens, our kind considers this world to be temporary and we treat it with little regard for tomorrow, or for the tomorrows of any living thing. 

With the elixir of eternity on the table, decency gets pushed aside. As the Gods watch the comic tragedy, they must question the wisdom of producing a species clever enough to imagine forever… and just clever enough to believe in it.”

Jim Pinto View

I was born and brought up a Catholic. Now I am not religious, but spiritual.

I marvel at the beauty, intricacy and interdependence, and just “worship” the universe as the result at this point in time – our very small fraction of Time and Space. 

Here is my own view: There is a Transcendent God, the spirit of all Space and Time, the creator who initiated the Big Bang. And there is also an Immanent God – something which is here and now, in me writing this and you thinking about what I’m saying and responding. 

I invite you to read my blog: “Creation Allegory”. (11) 

If you don’t wish to use the word “god”, that’s all right with me. I have no need for the word. It confuses the issue, because too many people have too many interpretations for that word.

Let’s Engage

Please share our discussion by responding to these questions directly via the blog. If you prefer, send me an email and I’ll insert your comments.

  1. Do you believe in God?
  2. What is your religion?     a. Christian       b. Islam      c. Atheist                                                     d. Hindu     e. Buddhist    f. Other
  1. Are you a devout believer? Explain why you believe?
  2. Are you an Atheist? Explain why.
  3. Do you often think about this stuff? Or, not really too much?
  4. Please comment on Stan Lieberman’s proofs of why there is no God.
  5. Please comment on Merle Borg’s view, “God did not create Man - Man created God!”
  6. Please comment on Jim Pinto’s understanding of God.
References

  1. Existence of God: http://goo.gl/wLhbpw
  2. Science, Faith, And Belief Systems: http://goo.gl/2gFCtI
  3. How Science Mimics Faith: http://goo.gl/LL6cI5
  4. Religions and Faith-based Beliefs: http://goo.gl/8WMKgo
  5. Arguments for God's Existence: http://goo.gl/3ZOzhi
  6. 7 Philosophical Arguments for the Existence of God: http://goo.gl/Zz1q1m
  7. Arguments Against God: http://goo.gl/rZIGfb
  8. Arguments for and against the Existence of God: http://goo.gl/Hfm9ao
  9. Major religious groups: https://goo.gl/3aIdWy
  10. Why All of the Atheists in Congress are Closeted: http://goo.gl/jwQMIA
  11. Jim Pinto: Creation Allegory: http://goo.gl/ixhf02
Jim Pinto
Carlsbad, CA. USA
11 November 2015

59 comments:

  1. 1. Yes, I believe (actually I know) that there is a God.
    2. I'm a Christian. Jesus Christ was God in a form that could be understood by man.
    3. Yes, I am devout but still sin (I am committed to continuous improvement). Why? I have asked for guidance and have received it. I have a purpose in life because of God and when in doubt, I ask for direction. Sometimes you are asked to go where you don't want to go.
    4. No I am not atheist. The world is too beautiful. It had a great designer.
    5. Yes, I think about it daily.
    6. Ask and you shall receive. Sometimes you will get more than you ask for. Energy can not be created or destroyed. It only can change form. God has always existed and the universe was only a matter of changing from one form to another. God gave man Jesus so that we could relate to a person. He was God on Earth.
    7. Wow, sucks to be Merle. A fatalist view of the mess that is life. I will pray for him but suggest that he contemplate why bad things happen and ask for some guidance on his own.
    8. There is but 1 God. As a Christian, I believe that the laws of God were delivered by Moses and that Jesus Christ was placed on earth as the Son of God (God on Earth) in order to insure that God's message was communicated to all people of the earth. A work in process...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unknown,

      Actually, it doesn't suck to be Merle, but I have gotten a bit jaded. Beheadings and elections tend to have that effect. Occasionally I have to rant.

      Delete
    2. Actually Merle sounds like a sober, sensible guy. I'll bet he has thought long and hard about his religious options, and has chosen the sane one.

      Delete
  2. Yes I believe in God and consider myself a Christian, but don't feel that being a Christian is really important, and don't believe in God the way I was brought up to as a Catholic. I believe that "doing the right thing" matters. It matters if there is a hereafter, and it matters in what kind of a world we make.

    When people thank God for things going well, I ask them if they curse Him (She It) when things go wrong. They say "God works in strange ways". For me this is ridiculous. Believing in God is a leap of faith, but what happens in this world has to be logically consistent. The only way I know to explain why bad things happen to good people, given that I believe in God, is to believe that God gave man (and the world free will). Free will is not possible if God interferes in anything, so He (She, IT) doesn't. What this means to me is that God does not deal the hands. Chance, "Mother Nature", the decisions of others deal the hands, not God. God is there to help give us the courage to play the hands we are dealt and, for this help, we can pray. But to pray to be kept safe, to be healed, to be successful, or to make a touchdown is a waste of time because God would have to violate free will to answer our prayers. So bad things happening to good people does not mean there is no God, just that to be logically consistent, a God that grants beings free will cannot interfere with what happens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too was born and brought up as a Catholic. You might like to read my Creation Allegory blog at:
      http://jimpintoblog.blogspot.com/2014/10/creation-allegory.html
      Although it is just a story, it explains why God decided to allow free-will, and how God became part of everyone and everything.

      This remains the best explanation for the Big Bang and Creation.

      Delete
    2. The mental gymnastics that people use to justify their submission to an imaginary being never cease to amaze me.

      ALL these 'god' discussions start from the acceptance that there is such an entity. And unless there is such an entity (as indicated by facts, not fears and acceptance of sheep herder stories) all these discussions are moot.

      It HAS to start with facts. Otherwise we might as well discuss the color of the cheese that the center of the moon is made of.

      Delete
  3. I am a Hindu and I believe in God. For me God is a power or focus which guides us. When we are in cross roads of life or situations, we end up taking one path. internally we evaluate both path, eg: one will be looking easy, rewarding exciting... but looks not principally good. Other path could be tough, not so rewarding but looks right in principal. then the path that we take is based on what is taught to us, what values we are brought up with.
    The regilion thus teach us the right path and helps us to decide. imagine a world with no religion or fear of God.
    Fear here is not that Fear, but fear abainst taking wrong path, wrong decision, hurting others etc.
    Different religions give shape or character to the God which in my opinion is to help the innocents, Children to understand better.
    Nature itslef is a God which controls the creation, distruction etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What **I** fear is a world where religious people act properly ONLY because they fear their god. What happens if one day they stop believing? Do they go on murderous rampages?

      Morals and religion seem to have a mostly negative correlation.

      I'd admit that there are many believers that live exemplary lives. I submit that those people would be just as wonderful if they shed their religious yokes.

      Delete
    2. I was born and brought up a Catholic and I empathize much with Hindu beliefs - Brahman the Creator and Brahma the spirit of God.

      Yes, I agree, "different religions give shape or character to God". And "Nature itself is God".

      Delete
  4. 1. Do you believe in God?
    Yes , but in my own way.

    2. What is your religion?
    a. Christian b. Islam c. Atheist d. Hindu e. Buddhist f.Other
    Other

    3. Are you a devout believer?
    No, I do not frequent a church

    4. Are you an Atheist?
    No

    5. Do you often think about this stuff?
    Yes I do.

    Additionally , I' d like to share with you this question I ask myself frequently: what about if we discover life in any other planet? For example, suppose we find intelligent life in Mars; we engage in understandable communication with them and they tell us they all do not believe in God? Are we going to say they are under developed? That they were not blessed with our God's mercy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing your question: What if we meet intelligent life on other planets? I have often wondered about that too. There have been many science-fiction movies on that subject.

      My own wonderings:
      What if we meet intelligent life on other planets?
      What if they are more intelligent and advanced that humans?
      Would they have any "God"? How would their ideas compare with ours?
      What if they were atheist? How would that affect our beliefs?

      Delete
  5. 'GOD' IS A HYPOTHESIS by humankind. And like any good hypothesis, it should stand the test of time - and trials and tribulations.

    In Somerset Maugham's words - in his quasi autobiographical novel 'Razors edge' that I read about 3 decades back - "No religion and God hypothesis has tied all loose ends better than Hinduism."

    Unsurprisingly, Hinduism from the Vedas, Upanishads, Srutis and Smritis - encompass all shades of opinions including healthy atheism and fervent mono-theism (this should surprise you coming from a religion with a million gods)!!!!

    Now, Hinduism, from its finest postulates, thinks of GOD AS A TOOL and NOT AS AN END.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Soundar,

      Thank you for your comments about Hinduism.

      I have read Somerset Maugham's "Razor's Edge" (and seen the movie). It was a significant influence in my own life.

      I trust you have read my blog, "Religions & Faith-based Beliefs":
      http://goo.gl/eMmZ1r

      Here's the conclusion:

      I remember a guru (teacher) in India who gave me this thought:

      People think Hindus have thousands and millions of Gods and describe him differently (several arms because he does many things at the same time, several legs if he is agile, a blur if he moves very fast, etc.) Each of us has his own picture to draw. Here is mine: and then he simply marked a dot.

      So, you draw your picture or mark your dot for yourself. I’ll draw my own dot.

      Delete
  6. As a confirmed atheists, I'm somewhat reluctant to write down my feelings about religious people, as it could come off as an attack on religious people. I avoid doing that, given the many friends I have who attend church and mention a god, prayer, etc in some of their casual discourse. And the less fervent they are, the more sensible they seem to be - and vice versa.

    Deep social discussions about religion seldom occur, even though I'd welcome them - perhaps too eagerly. It appears to me, (and I know there may be other explanations), that believers do not want to enter into such a discussion because they really don't feel that having their faith questioned via simple questions places them in the difficult position of not having a sensible answer. And when their simple answers meet with another existential question, friction occurs and 'persecution' is claimed. It's a weak faith that cannot stand even basic examination.

    Prayer, for instance, has many times been shown to be beneficial only to the one who prays, and in fact, if the subject being prayed over is aware of such, it can have detrimental effects on him/her - although not due to any 'god' influence. (Pew studies).

    My criticism is not so much directed to believers, who I see as hapless brainwashed victims, as it is to the organized religions, and their top brass who manipulate to gain influence.

    In the US, there is a real desire on the part of those organizers to exploit the gullibility of the believers, and essentially establish a theocracy that serves all but the general population. As a wanna-be theocracy, the US stands alone in the developed world. That such is seen as an desirable example of American Exceptionalism is a cold chill that runs up the spine of the rest of the world.

    Religions, all of them, play the control game for their own nefarious purposes. It baffles me how otherwise intelligent people can fall for their machinations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said and true. It's curious that the human race has developed as far as it has while clinging to its superstitions; yet many if not most of the accomplished people throughout history have been religious? Religion apparently does not decrease our creativity; it just plays havoc with the rest of our interactions.

      Religious people are happier people though. There are legitimate surveys that show this. This need to believe is undeniable. If all organized religions were somehow removed, and all memories of them were somehow erased, we would invent new ones quite quickly. It makes no sense, and yet it’s hard to see how things could happen any other way.

      If we do succeed in making this planet unfit for human life, the process will no doubt start all over and it will probably take the same course. You can't have intelligence and creativity without imagination... and once an organism can imagine eternity, it will eventually believe it can get there. More likely, someone will figure out how to successfully market the product.

      The first rule of sales is to tell someone what they want to hear. What salesman couldn’t sell eternity? It’s something everyone wants… the upside is unlimited… and the payout can never be disproved. These new religions would have to compete with other’s selling the same thing… so the race would be on to build massive armies… and magnificent temples… and beautiful art and music… all promoting lavish promises of eternal bliss. Some religions would have rigid rules… some would have expensive dues… and for some, the only requirement would be that you believe… at least at the entry level.


      It makes no sense and yet it makes perfect sense. The competition between the new religions would inevitably result in poverty, overpopulation, and holy wars. The religions would produce the same believers willing to die for their beliefs, and unfortunately, willing to kill. What is even sadder is that once a believer’s eyes are fixed on eternity, the here and now will lose all importance. Their world and their lives will no longer be enough. They will want more and they will want it forever. The one life they have will be spent following rules that they are sure will beat the grim reaper… the ultimate belief of entitlement producing the ultimate act of waste.

      Delete
    2. Merle:

      Your insights are indeed significant!

      If belief in God was eliminated, then humans would "invent" God all over again and develop religions to compete between the different beliefs.

      Delete
    3. Another thought occurred to me in this direction:

      In response to another blog comment these were my own wonderings:
      What if we meet intelligent life on other planets?
      What if they are more intelligent and advanced that humans?
      Would they have any "God"? How would their ideas compare with ours?
      What if they were atheist? How would that affect our beliefs?

      Extending Merle's point: Those intelligent beings on other planets might "invent" God for the same reasons.

      Delete
    4. It is interesting to read Helen Keller's thoughts about God. She always knew He was there. I don't subscribe to the belief that we are alone and that our creation was an accident. That is why I can never be an atheist.

      Delete
  7. 1.Do you believe in God? Yes

    2. What is your religion? Christian

    3. Are you a devout believer? Explain why you believe?
    Yes, just because I choose to--because it feels right

    4. Are you an Atheist? No

    5. Do you often think about this stuff?
    Yes, quite a lot, because there is no "proof",
    and I sometimes get disappointed.

    ReplyDelete
  8. In the introduction to this blog, the statement is made that “all belief systems are based on either evidence or faith. Biblical faith is based on evidence, either from nature, scripture, or both. As a retired physicist, my faith in the existence of God is based squarely on evidence.

    I’m well aware that whenever a man says, “I don’t believe in the existence of God,” he likely may be viewing me as a spooky, hocus-pocus, superstitious individual, groping in the dark, head-buried in the sand, oblivious to the real world, in short, a person who cannot deal with the facts. If he knows that I’ve spent my adult life studying and teaching the Bible, he may expect me to stand in clerical garb with my hands folded, saying, “My little children, we all ought to believe in God,” or “God will show you he’s there someday.”

    So, I want to begin by assuring you that I won’t use the Bible, as it would be a waste of time. I will use scientific facts to prove that God must exist. I want you to expect me to use only facts. I’m not going to be dealing in philosophies or opinions, or what I think the facts should be. By the time I conclude my proof, I’ll show you that a man who does not believe in God either 1) has not dealt with the facts, or 2) he cannot deal with the facts, or 3) he can deal with the facts but will not, and therefore is intellectually dishonest.

    Please read my brief essay at:
    http://sgdpress.com/Existence_of_God.html
    and feel free to respond.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are making leaps that a kangaroo would envy.

      First "... So, I want to begin by assuring you that I won’t use the Bible,"... check again: you are quoting from the bible. (Rom 1.20)

      Playing your game with your "facts":

      "Fact #1: Either Something Exists, or Nothing Exists"
      Playing with words... I'd offer "Either something exists, or it does not exist." Something else can of course exist. And things can change their shape and their state. Note that the law of thermodynamics support that. The law of thermodynamics does not support 'creating something from nothing' - even by your eternal non-physical magician.


      "Fact #2: Something Has Always Existed, or Something Came From Nothing"
      Nope, something can come from something else that had perhaps another form.


      "Fact #3: That Which Has Always Existed is Either Physical, or Non-Physical"
      You have somehow concluded that something has always existed. Your high school logic is falling apart here.
      "... an eternal non-physical entity is responsible for the physical creation." If an eternal non-physical entity can exist, why could a physical entity not be eternal? I submit that your rules are carefully chosen to support your preconceived ideas.
      And in the context of the age of the universe, can 'time' and 'eternity' be considered as being the simplistic movement of a clock?

      Mature minds have no problem admitting that we don't know everything. We think we know a lot, but the totality of 'the truth' may still escape us. To capitulate and claim 'god must have done it' is intellectual cowardice.

      Finally: all your hocus pocus about thermodynamics and feeble leaps of logic do not prove that there is a god who created it all. It only illustrates the desire to believe 'something'. That is exactly what humans have been doing for eons: we don't understand, therefore it must have been a 'god'. And so, every known civilization created their version of god or gods, and some of them have been more successful in being 'sticky' for centuries.




      Delete
    2. Reply to Anonymous:

      You’re right about my use of Romans 1.20. I should have said that “I won’t use the Bible to prove God’s existence,” because I didn’t use it for that purpose and you know I didn’t. I mentioned it simply to point out that even the Bible teaches that man should use the facts of nature to deduce God’s existence. You would agree with that, wouldn’t you? That we should use facts as we find them in nature? Thanks for pointing out my mistake. However, it doesn’t begin to touch my argument, as all will realize.

      On my Fact #1, you might offer some other statement, but you didn’t respond to my statement. Don’t you agree that either something exists or nothing exists? Why not deal with my argument, instead of changing it to something else?

      You’re also right that the 2nd law doesn’t support something coming from nothing, but the 2nd law only deals with the physical universe, and I didn’t apply it outside that realm.

      On my Fact #2, your contention that “something can come from something else,” isn’t denied by anyone, but it’s not my argument.

      On my Fact #3, you say I have somehow concluded that something has always existed? You agree with that.. However, you believe that something physical has always existed, and you can’t do it without denying the most generalizations from all of science. You don’t have a scintilla f evidence for that. I don’t have as much faith as you do, and yours isn’t based on any fact known to men. You’re not dealing with the facts. If it’s high school logic, why can’t you deal with it instead of changing the issue to something no one in their right mind would deny?

      As to your concluding paragraph, I didn’t argue anything about the personality, will, character, or anything else of this eternal non-physical entity/entities that pre-existed the physical universe. I have no factual basis for that.

      Also, Anonymous, you’ll also notice I didn’t refer to your efforts here as feeble, high school logic, hocus pocus, etc., and I agreed with you on my statement about the Bible. I appreciate that correction.

      Thanks for your response.

      Sam

      Delete
    3. Reply to Anonymous:

      You’re right about my use of Romans 1.20. I should have said that “I won’t use the Bible to prove God’s existence,” because I didn’t use it for that purpose and you know I didn’t. I mentioned it simply to point out that even the Bible teaches that man should use the facts of nature to deduce God’s existence. You would agree with that, wouldn’t you? That we should use facts as we find them in nature? Thanks for pointing out my mistake. However, it doesn’t begin to touch my argument, as all will realize.

      On my Fact #1, you might offer some other statement, but you didn’t respond to my statement. Don’t you agree that either something exists or nothing exists? Why not deal with my argument, instead of changing it to something else?

      You’re also right that the 2nd law doesn’t support something coming from nothing, but the 2nd law only deals with the physical universe, and I didn’t apply it outside that realm.

      On my Fact #2, your contention that “something can come from something else,” isn’t denied by anyone, but it’s not my argument.

      On my Fact #3, you say I have somehow concluded that something has always existed? You agree with that.. However, you believe that something physical has always existed, and you can’t do it without denying the most generalizations from all of science. You don’t have a scintilla f evidence for that. I don’t have as much faith as you do, and yours isn’t based on any fact known to men. You’re not dealing with the facts. If it’s high school logic, why can’t you deal with it instead of changing the issue to something no one in their right mind would deny?

      As to your concluding paragraph, I didn’t argue anything about the personality, will, character, or anything else of this eternal non-physical entity/entities that pre-existed the physical universe. I have no factual basis for that.

      Also, Anonymous, you’ll also notice I didn’t refer to your efforts here as feeble, high school logic, hocus pocus, etc., and I agreed with you on my statement about the Bible. I appreciate that correction.

      Thanks for your response.

      Sam

      Delete
  9. Samuel,

    As I read it, you are saying that something non-physical that has existed forever has created something physical... well, where did this non-physical thing come from... and how did he/she/it do it? That would very interesting.

    I don't pretend to know how the world came into existence but I am quite anxious to learn from someone who does.

    Merle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Where did this eternal non-physical thing come from? Nowhere. It wasn't created, and it's non-physical, that's all I know

      Thank for responding,

      Sam Dawson.

      Delete
    2. Sam,

      Maybe you have us confused with some Sunday morning TV audience... but just saying that something is non-physical doesn't really cut it for me.

      Actually, I think the devout believers I know prefer to not have any proof of the existence of God. It's part of the beautiful mystery... the magic of it all. Some people enjoy that. Others of us are a bit more boring.

      Merle

      Delete
    3. I'm not sure what you mean that saying that something is non-physical doesn't cut it for you.

      Do you mean that you don’t believe anything non-physical exists?

      Whether you believe it or not, or even if nothing non-physical exists, isn't my Fact #3, that something that has always existed is either physical or non-physical true? I said in the beginning that if you can think of a third alternative, you’ve destroyed my argument.

      As to whether your acquaintances prefer not to have any proof of the existence of God, I doubt that many people’s faith isn’t based on evidence, as Bible faith is.

      Thanks for your response,

      Sam

      Delete
  10. As a child I was raised in the Episcopal church and believed as I was being taught. Other children were being raised in other churches and believed what they were being taught. Oftentimes there were small differences in the various interpretations from one church to another, which could be taken quite seriously by members of churches with differing interpretations.

    I have come to believe that “GOD” exists, but it is not understood what exactly God really IS. The Bible speaks of God as a man. Some think "he" should be a “she”. Some concede that it is neither man or woman but a spirit. Perhaps God is simply everything which we do NOT fully understand about the universe and about what happens to us after death. For example how does one explain ghosts, which I have personally encountered.

    The biggest problem that I have had about the existence of God, was what happened to millions of Jews during the Holocaust from 1941 to 1945 where more than six million Jews were murdered. You must all know that for sure every one of them had been praying all the horrific while for their lives to be saved. So if they were God’s chosen people, then why did God not save them from torture and death?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Abbie:

      I empathize with your acknowledgement that your belief was shaped by the religion in which you were raised.

      In my view, God does not need to be either a Man or a Woman - that is simply giving God human traits. I agree with you that God is "simply everything".

      I too share your horror about the Holocaust. How could God allow/condone that?

      Delete
  11. Hi Jim, this is not a philosophical question (Kant aside) but an existential question. You can do all manner of arguing from various logical positions.

    It comes down to experience versus denial of experience.

    I have experienced. As Carl Jung said toward the end of his life after many years of exploration when asked if he believed in God, "Believe, no, I don't believe, I know."

    Now an attitude has been taught in English departments for many years that denies experience. They have been teaching that everything is culturally influenced and that you cannot know absolutes (how they get away with that absolutist statement has been asked by many).

    I know. But that is only part of the question. The other is "now what?" That means I try to live a with-God life free in the Spirit to serve.

    People try to make things so complicated. Logic will take you down any path. A better path is experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gary :

      You're right - "Logic will take you down ANY path". Clearly, each person has to exercise and develop their own logic.

      An incident that happened long ago has molded my own beliefs: I was visiting India (where I was born) after many years away. I went into a Hindu temple and the bookstore next to it to, just to experience it. I met an old friend In the bookstore (he was much older than I). He knew I was a Christian and asked me what I was doing there, in a Hindu bookstore. I told him, "I'm looking for God." His response has helped me throughout my life: "Jimmy, with your goodwill, God will find you!"

      Delete
  12. I've thought about your erudite and obviously intelligent bloggers who are too smart to waste any belief in God. Yes, there is no scientific proof of any God or Heaven, and they may turn out to be right, but what if they're not? Eternity is a long time to have been wrong.

    What is so bad about believing in something that provides one with peace and hope? In this often terrible world, this can be the only comfort that is available to all. Then they might argue, what kind of a God would permit such suffering and unjustified behavior that exists all around us? The answer is - simply because we are born with the freedom of choice - free to do good or ill, and a belief in God and adherence to good is often all that separates us from evil.

    Contemplate this: if no one had a moral compass that is usually fostered by religion, what kind of terrible world would this be? Now no religion is perfect, as are the far from perfect adherents. But imagine a world with no religion and no laws based primarily on Judeo-Christian principles. It clearly would be even worse than the one we have.

    I can picture someone like your Atheist friends on their death bed in their lucid moments, and I doubt that their thoughts would center around the absence of God; I suspect that they might well be thinking some thoughts of regret and contrition -- just in case. If they don't, they were likely among those foolish people who in the past refused to buy insurance of one kind or another.

    Jim, I agree that terrible things have been done in the name of religion, but even with its faults and lack of certainty it's one of the few forces available to us that has maintained some semblance of peace and love and anything else that's good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sam and John,

      This need for a “moral compass” has been somewhat provided to us by nature. We are a clan or tribal species. Social animals evolve differently than singular animals. Their genes are of course just trying to get into the next generation but these genes need the group to survive as well as themselves. Social animals are prompted to do things that benefit the group. If group members are hostile to each other, the group fails and they along with it. Therefore we humans evolved naturally compassionate and caring to members that we identify as “us”. When a plane goes down, we Americans listen to see if there were any Americans aboard. The French and the English do the same. When we watch a football game, we poo-poo the unflagged fouls by our team and we get enraged by the unflagged fouls committed by the opposing team.

      We have a great natural moral compass… as long as we can identify others as “we”. We are unfortunately not naturally compassionate to those we identify as “others”. Thus tribalism, nationalism and racism are also quite human.

      Religions seem to be more divisive than inclusive as they compete for the same souls and generally consider their God the "one true God".

      Merle

      Delete
    2. In reply to John Antypas: ..."Yes, there is no scientific proof of any God or Heaven, and they may turn out to be right, but what if they're not? Eternity is a long time to have been wrong..."

      That is the essence of "Pascal's Wager."
      Countless essays have been written to refute that concept.
      Feel free to look it up.

      Delete
  13. There’s another angle on the existence of God – if there’s no God, there’s no such thing as right or wrong – and the terrible effects such a realization has on atheists.

    Here’s a link to a short essay of mine on the subject:
    If There’s No God, There’s No Such Thing as Right and Wrong
    Atheism & Evolution versus Morality
    http://sgdpress.com/Morality_Without_God.html

    I welcome your feedback.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sam, I don’t agree with your hypothesis – that God brings the expectation of right and wrong, and without God there are terrible effects.

      My friend (for decades) Merle Borg (who has contributed to this blog) is a good example: Merle is an avowed atheist and is one of the best people I know in every respect (good, kind, respect for others – and a whole host of adjectives). I also know many, many more good people who are atheists, and many, many church-going people who are really quite bad.

      How do you explain this?

      Delete
    2. To Sam Dawson: ... "There’s another angle on the existence of God – if there’s no God, there’s no such thing as right or wrong – and the terrible effects such a realization has on atheists."
      - - -
      "..if there’s no God, there’s no such thing as right or wrong..." is more flawed reasoning. You are blinded to facts by your faith, and that kind of logic-deprived, blind faith is the very reason for much of the religion fuelled bad things that are going on in Paris and the rest of the world.

      People are quite capable of knowing right from wrong, regardless of which religion, or NO religion, they choose to submit themselves to. The scary part of your assertion is the implication that, in the absence of religion, people will act in despicable ways. It is pretty clear that religion offers no guarantee of morals, and absence of religion offers no guarantee of immoral behavior.

      As has been said by others, "Good people will do good things, bad people will do bad things, but to get good people to do bad things takes religion."

      Now, for the "terrible effects such a realization has on atheists" - closer to the truth is the terrible attributes you try to ascribe to atheists, in a transparent attempt to paint religion as the saviour of everything. I personally know many religious people and non-religious people, and except for the religious ones spending some kumbaya time on Sunday morning, there is little difference: some are good, others not so good.

      The bare and inconvenient truth is that atheists do not have anybody but themselves to blame if they misbehave, whereas religious people can always blame the devil or get absolution from their club leader. That tends to engender more introspection by atheists, since they more readily accept responsibility for their actions.

      Your " If there is no God, who is man accountable to in morality?.." can be answered easily: man is accountable to himself, his family, and his tribe. No guy in the sky necessary.

      For those who believe without a single doubt, here's a thought:
      IT'S NOT THE THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW THAT GET YOU IN TROUBLE.
      IT'S THE THINGS YOU FIGURED YOU KNEW FOR SURE.

      So, maybe it's time to revisit that unwavering faith and ask some sober questions. Go ahead, it's refreshing to lose the yoke.

      Delete
  14. Thanks, Jim for your comment about my contention that if there’s no God, there’s no such thing as right and wrong.

    Please clarify for me what you mean when you say, “that God brings the expectation of right and wrong.” I’m not arguing with you, I just want to understand what this phrase means. Do you mean that there is a standard of right and wrong even if there is no God? If this is what you mean, where did this standard come from? If there is no God, who is man accountable to in morality?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sam, yes human society develops the expectation of right and wrong. Inserting "what God expects" into the mix confuses, and sometimes even corrupts the definition of what is right.

      Since God does not speak directly, except through interpretations through priests and prophets, humans are expected to follow those interpretations - which are sometimes very misguided.

      Witness the many different interpretations of the Bible. And many other holy texts, also considered the "word of God", and interpreted very differently by various different sects. This causes splintering and often violence and war. Examples: Protestant and Catholics wars in Ireland; the crusades in the Middle Ages; the terrorism that is causing major damage today - all in the name of God. This has happened throughout the course of history.

      Which brings us to your question: "If there is no God, to whom is man accountable in morality?" In my view, belief in God had caused has caused and is still causing a LOT of trouble. Humans have a "moral compass" that guides them to understanding clearly what is right or wrong. And human society as it develops keeps developing and improving. We (you and I) should have more faith in the human compass - human conscience.

      Delete
    2. Many thanks for your clarification on your statements about morality.

      First, concerning your friend Merle, the “good atheist,” I’m sure your estimate of him is correct. I too, know many atheists that are better people than many professing Christians I know.

      Merle is a good atheist because he’s borrowing from my creed. If there is no God, then as the famous atheist Robert Ingersoll said, “morality doesn’t come from the clouds.”

      Actually I now understand that this is where Joe’s coming from. Morality comes from humans.

      But which ones? I appreciate Joe’s (and Merle’s) moral sense, but they cannot bind their standard on others. Sartre, Darwin, Marx, Hitler, Engels, Lenin, Ingersoll, Rockefeller, Tolstoy, and Aldous Huxley didn’t buy into any of it, and they’ve influenced many millions more than Joe and Merle have. As I demonstrated in my essay, countless millions perished for it. They recognized that if there’s no divine moral standard, then anything goes.

      The Bible teaches in Romans 1 that all men (including Merle and Joe) are hard-wired morally, with quite a sophisticated moral law. For me, this is the moral compass that several have referred to. If we’re all here by the accident of a spark in an ammonia cloud and are going nowhere with no purpose, where did our moral sense come from? Non-moral matter, like our consciousness from non-conscious matter, our rationality from non-rational matter, and our biological life from non-living matter? Gasp! I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist!

      Thanks for reading, and considering,

      Sam

      Delete
    3. Just read Sam Dawson's "...Merle is a good atheist because he’s borrowing from my creed."
      - - -
      That sentence perfectly exemplifies the kind of patriarchal, obnoxious cloak that religions try to wrap themselves in, attempting to appear as owning the higher moral ground.

      I can only imagine Merge rolling his eyes and smiling at being promoted to "GOOD" atheist, thanks to "borrowing" from religion.

      And "Gasp! I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist!" is another attempt to rise above the mere mortal fray. It takes no "faith" at all to be an atheists. It just takes honest questioning of fairy tales. Why stop an Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? Question more! Faith gets in the way of discovering truth.

      Delete
  15. Being an atheist, I very much appreciated Merle's arguments. I agree with him 100 percent. And I was quite impressed with Jim Pinto's last statement. I would like to expand upon Merle's and Jim Pinto's comments (in two parts):
    Different religions believe in a variety of teachings. Because the teachings come from God, directly or indirectly, there is no way that the followers of one religion can critique any God-given belief from another religion. At best, one can say that someone else's God-given belief is different from his or her own God-given belief. But there is no rational ground to say that someone else's God-given belief is wrong. If someone professes that the belief was given to him or her by God, there is no way to refute the person. A God-given belief, that is, a faith-based belief is such that no rational argument can prove whether it is true or false. By definition, it is outside the realm of rational argument.
    And herein lies the problem (made more important by the slaughter of innocent people in France).
    The knowledge that one's belief is given by God, whether directly or indirectly, is a very powerful concept. It implies that one's beliefs are beyond error, are" Truth" with a capital T, are beyond argument or discussion. It further implies that those that hold other beliefs are in error. Since one's belief, given by God, cannot be wrong, all other beliefs are wrong. The critical question at that point is what does the believer do about it?
    History has shown that the adherents of most religions, when they had sufficient strength in numbers and in political power, used force against other religious groups to destroy them or have the adherents of these other religions change their religion. If the adherents of these other religions resisted changing, they were slaughtered.
    There are several thousand years of examples available. Here are three well-known ones:
    1. God promised the Israelites the Land of Canaan and the book of Joshua (6:21) describes the conquest of Canaan: "And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword."
    2. The Inquisition by the Catholic Church lasted almost 1000 years. On being considered a heretic, the following took place: "When a suspect was convicted of unrepentant heresy, the inquisitorial tribunal was required by law to hand the person over to the secular authorities for final sentencing, at which point a magistrate would determine the penalty, which was usually burning at the stake although the penalty varied based on local law." (Wikipedia)
    3. European Wars of Religion, 1520-1648, were largely wars between Protestants and Catholics, and between liberal versus orthodox denominations. The death rate during these wars were staggering. Historians have place the death rate at over 5 million. (Steven Pinker, "The Better Angels of Our Nature")

    ReplyDelete
  16. We now find ourselves in another war where radical Islamists, who are following their beliefs, are killing all that they consider to be heretics. ISIS (also known as ISIL) follows an "extreme interpretation" of Islam, promotes religious violence, and regards those who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels or apostates. Not very different from the examples noted above. And its extreme interpretation is as valid an interpretation as any other. For on what basis can one critique someone's beliefs that are God-given?
    Because there is no strong case against a given set of God-given beliefs, the effort to fight against ISIS has largely been ineffective, similar to our fight against the Taliban, another radical Islamic sect with a their own set of God-given beliefs.
    Furthermore, there has been no lack of new adherents to these religion groups. Recruitment has not been difficult. For when one accepts a certain set of religious beliefs, the mind is open to accepting another set that may be more appealing. And there is no philosophical basis that one can argue that this more appealing set is wrong. What faith-based religion one chooses to believe in is a personal choice based upon what set of God-given beliefs you believe in. Whether the religion allows other religions to exist side by side, or considers all other religions as heretical, is completely based on what the followers of any religion believe their God has told them.
    Thus, anyone that professes to believe in God and the teachings of their God cannot rationally condemn anyone else who follows another set of God-given beliefs. They can consider their religion the one "True" religion and all other religions in error. At that point, they can declare a war against other religions or choose to co-exist. However, the more orthodox one's religion is, the less is coexistence an alternative.
    Ultimately, religion can only be fought by declaring that all faith-based beliefs are in error, regardless of how worthy or evil they are. And declaring that no individual or group can use religion as a reason for using force against anyone else.
    Even more important, if religion gradually lost its position in the world as necessary for mankind, and needed as the basis of a moral code, or essential for civilization to exist, its attraction for young people would diminish. And the mind-set needed to become converted to radical Islam would diminish. If religion lost it importance and people stopped going to mosques, the radical religious leaders that preach in these mosques would be preaching to an empty building.
    Astrology used to be major force in effecting people's lives and influencing their actions. Over the centuries, its influence had decreased and thus it no longer has the power to convince someone to start a war. Hopefully, religion will also lose its influence and wars will no longer be fought in the name of religion or for any faith-based belief.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stan,
      Well said. The people who are urging young men to plant or strap on bombs are just as convinced that they are making the world a better place as those who are collecting money for orphans or are running any religion. They believe they are doing God’s work, and are doing good, and will one day be rewarded for it. There are a few charlatans in the business… some of our televangelists I expect are not actually sincere, but for the most part religious people and religious leaders believe they are in the right and are doing the right thing.

      It’s a strange world that we live in, but it’s wholly ours. We rule it, so we get pretty much what we deserve.

      Merle
      ( I doubt if I would be so cavalier if I lived in Syria or Iraq).

      Delete
    2. Stan
      Your logic, devoid if non-factual religious faith, makes much more sense than blind belief in irrational things.

      To diminish and, eventually, eradicate the negative effects of mindless religious devotion, I propose that the following are a starting point:

      EDUCATION to replace brain washing. When children are taught and allowed to think for themselves, without the mandatory 'but above all, you must believe this...', fantasy based nonsense can only shrink. In a world so full of natural wonders, mankind does not need its children to be sent on an imaginary path.

      TRUTH IN ADVERTISING. We all welcome the mandated 'small print' on pill bottles and the exculpatory statements (read however fast) at the end of big pharma's TV spots. ("This product may cause serious side effects, including death..."). A similar code of ethics is required for all manner of statements, including political (!) and, yes, religious broadcasts. If you can't substantiate it, you cannot state it as fact, and its questioned assumptions need to be exposed to the listener.
      And NO, the George principle ("Jerry, it's not a lie if you believe it") cannot be invoked.

      CREATIONISM: this nonsense cannot be allowed to continue, even in Kentucky.

      EXTRICATE RELIGION FROM POLITICS. "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States". However it is clear that dark forces have manipulated the situation to practically suppress the election chances of anybody who does not boast of submitting to the 'master politician in the sky'. It's a farce, and the purpose is to keep the farce going. It's time that this was exposed for what it is.
      As it stands, a Catholic, Jew, Mennonite, or Protestant could be elected. But an atheists (and perhaps a Muslim) cannot, although "there is no religious test"...

      OH, DEAR GOD. In theory I'm all for having religions serve a unifying, social role. In practice, I'm afraid that organized belief in an unprovable deity is a recipe for history repeating itself with crusades, witch burnings, inquisitions, and suicide vests.
      There are crazies everywhere, and radicals exist on the fringes of most religions. While Muslim extremism tends to make headlines, religious terrorism is by no means unique to Islam. Look it up. Gods are pretty harmless inventions, until humans give them super powers, and they start acting out their delusions.

      Delete
  17. Merle:
    I appreciate your feedback. Yes, we get exactly what we deserve. ISIS is just the final result of a long line of irrational thinking by our theologians and philosophers. Between faith on one hand and post-modernism on the other hand, you obtain the present world.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous:
    Thank you for your comments. I find your ideas interesting and open for many hours of discussion. I think education is the key area. Most of our schools are government schools teaching what the government wants taught. This is the area that needs major changes. The first would be to start offering vouchers for all parents to take their kids to private schools. And gradually start eliminating the government schools (institutions). Much more can be written on this subject...

    ReplyDelete
  19. Is there any tangible proven scientific evidence of the Evolution theory!?

    I do not accept any hypothesis of something were developed the last 500 million years, as for me, it's a belief in theory more than a scientific evidence.

    I need something could be watched, monitored, and examined in the laps, does anyone has a proof of how the universe created?

    If not, then any atheist is a believer, but he exchanges his belief in God to Darwin theory and other hypothesis which has no evidence??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From one anonymous to another: you are confusing atheism ("being without a god") with views on the origins of the universe.

      The two are not really related. Now you know, and you can inform your priest too - although I suspect he already knows...

      Delete
  20. 1. Do you believe in God?
    Yes, I am life long Christian

    2. What is your religion?
    a. Christian b. Islam c. Atheist d. Hindu e. Buddhist f.Other
    Christian

    3. Are you a devout believer?
    Yes, I attend church and church activities 2 or more times per week

    4. Are you an Atheist?
    No

    5. Do you often think about this stuff?

    Yes I do. I believe my very existance and purpose to bring glory to God by obeying Him and telling the world about his love for mankind and his mighty deeds. I consider the words God and preaching of Jesus Christ and his Apostles to be the very "Words of LIfe."

    ReplyDelete
  21. Stephan Maritz - from S. AfricaNovember 19, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    1. Do you believe in God

    No I do not believe in a God or their existence.

    2. What is your religion?
    a. Christian b. Islam c. Atheist d. Hindu e. Buddhist f.Other

    None

    3. Are you a devout believer? Explain why you believe?

    None

    4. Are you an Atheist? Explain why.

    I see myself as an atheist because I do not belief in the existence of Gods.

    5. Do you often think about this stuff? Or, not really too much?

    When I were younger I tried to make sense of it all but eventually decided that it was not worth the effort.

    I grew up in a Christian environment and had to endure some hardship when I made it public that I do not belief in a God.

    6. Please comment on Stan Lieberman’s proofs of why there is no God.

    That is one way to look at it but two things caused my total disbelief in Gods. The first incident was an aunt who got Alzheimer and the way her brain function (and belief system) changed up to her death. The second was another aunt who got serious brain damage in a vehicle accident. Before the accident she was a devout Christian but after the accident when she eventually recovered she lost all her inhibitions and changed into a completely different person, and this person will most definitely not go to any heaven.

    I do not care about the creation of the universe. What is of importance is that I'm part of it and must make the best of it while here.

    7. Please comment on Merle Borg’s view,
    “God did not create Man - Man created God!”

    Yes that is definitely true. All belief systems brainwash their children from birth to belief in their God's existence.

    8. Please comment on Jim Pinto’s view of God.

    I disagree wherever the term "God" is used in whatever form. I do belief that something else exist to warn us and maybe protect us if we listen to our "sixth sense". But this "something" is definitely not a "Godly" something because if it was then it would not have worked for the non-believers.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Stephan Maritz - from S. AfricaNovember 19, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    Some other info:

    My father was a farmer and an alcoholic when I were young. Eventually he stopped drinking and became religious. During this time we only attended church for weddings, burials and twice a year for holy communion.

    I attended boarding school from the age of 11 and found Christianity to be an excuse for people to have something to blame for when they've made the wrong decision (The Devil make me do it!) and a crutch when things went wrong in their lives. Mostly through their own doing. I only went home during school holiday and was forced to attend church twice on Sundays which I passionately hated. During my boarding school years I've learned to totally distrust people, especially self-imposed Christians.

    My experiences of the churches are that, in general, their ultimate drive is to generate enough income to allow the preacher to live a lavish life while totally ignoring their Gods biblical order to preach the Gospel to everyone and not only to the "rich", and also to look after the poor. I belief that if any one of the faith systems found irrefutable proof that their belief system is a farce, that they will do anything and everything in their power to have this evidence destroyed.

    When I was nine years old I had to go to the toilet during the service and after taking up of collection. I could not find the toilets and opened a side door at the church and was absolutely amazed at what I encountered. In the room were two men standing next to a table big enough to seat at least 4 people per side. This table was literally overflowing with money. That was the most money I ever saw. Sadly my parents refused to belief me and the preacher denied it when my father asked him.

    When I was twelve years we visited my mothers brother who was studying to be a preacher. His mother-in-law had Alzheimer and she was locked up in a room next to their garage about 200m from the house. They totally ignored her screams and fed her twice a day. Till today I can hear her screams when I think back to that visit.

    Two decades ago my nephew, his wife and daughter was gruesomely murdered by a friend of theirs. He also in the process shot four policeman, killing three of them and was killed by the fourth policeman. That happened in the evening and the next morning on my way to my aunt something strange happened. While driving I saw a bird hurtling down straight into my car and getting killed on impact. This happened three times. Years later I read about an Indian tribe in America believing that a persons soul moves into a bird when killed. Can imagine why the birds preferred suicide if this story have any truth in it, but why my vehicle?

    We had a youth preacher/teacher staying at the boarding school. Years later I realised that he was a pedophile and that my then ingrained distrust regarding Christians most probably saved me from him.

    While doing military service at the South-west (now Namibia) border I had a near death experience: The food was very poor and one day while lying in the tent my heart gave three very hard pumps and then stopped. I could not detect a pulse. Took some time to convince the Captain that my heart stopped and by that time I had a tingling feeling creeping up from my fingertips and my toes losing all feeling as this tingling moved up. I was taken to the medics and on arrival could not walk. Shortly afterwards I lost consciousness. Just before I lost consciousness I experienced the most peaceful feeling ever. Somewhere during the night I woke up and then went to sleep. When I arrived home about a year later my mother asked me what happened because she saw me standing in front of her on that day.

    ReplyDelete
  23. To Jim Pinto: your opening remark is:
    - - -
    “The more I study science, the more I believe in God.”
    –Albert Einstein
    - - -
    It appears that you are invoking one of the brightest minds in history to affirm that he believed in a God, and I find that to be a bit tasteless without putting the sentence into a well known CONTEXT, which is that he was impressed by the complexity of nature or the universe.

    Here is what he said SPECIFICALLY about religion:

    ..."It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. "

    Just wanted to remove any doubt in the minds of faithful readers who tend to be predisposed to accept the soundbite and translate it to support their existing beliefs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right! I have removed that opening comment.

      Thank you for clarifying the reference!

      Delete
  24. 6. Please comment on Stan Lieberman’s proofs of why there is no God.

    Here Stan Lieberman wants to assert that there is no God. The question as to whether there is a God or not can only be answered properly when we will be able to settle the matter regarding the age of our universe. Either our universe is infinitely old, in which case we will have to assume that it was always there. Or we will have to assume that it is not so old; rather it began to exist merely 13.8 billion tears ago. There is a good scientific reason as to why the universe cannot be infinitely old; this scientific reason is entropy. Entropy means disorder. With time entropy increases. If the universe were infinitely old, then its entropy would have reached its maximum. All its stars would have exhausted their fuels, and the universe also would have reached its dead end. But the universe is still alive. Billions of stars are still burning, and there is also life in at least one planet. That means our universe cannot be past-eternal, but that it has a beginning in the past.

    As the universe has a beginning, so therefore we can now ask only two questions here:
    a) Did it originate from something? Or,
    b) Did it originate from nothing?

    So our query as to whether there is a God or not has ultimately brought us here: Now we will have to seek an answer to the question as to what was there in the beginning. Nothing? Or, something? Now let us suppose that initially there was nothing. Now what is nothing? Nothing means non-existence of everything. If nothing is non-existence of everything, then we can further ask the following question: Can non-existence of everything have any existence? If we say yes, then in that case nothing will not be proper nothing. This is because we have already seen that nothing means non-existence of everything. But if non-existence of everything exists, then in that case at least one thing will exist, namely non-existence of everything. If at least one thing exists, then how can it be proper nothing, because we already know that nothing is non-existence of everything? So for nothing to be proper nothing, this non-existence of everything must not have any existence. That means nothing can only be proper nothing by not existing at all. That will further mean that only something can exist, not nothing. So we arrive at the conclusion that initially there was something, and not nothing, from which our universe has originated. If the universe has originated from something, then that will mean that before the origin of the universe there was nothing else other than that something; no space, no time, no matter and no energy. Space, time, matter and energy came into being only after the origin of the universe from that something. That means the initial something was neither in any space nor in any time. Being neither in space nor in time it will thus be spaceless and timeless. Being spaceless and timeless it will also be changeless, immortal, all-pervading, one, unborn, uncreated, without any beginning, without an end, everlasting and non-composite. Whether one will call this something God or not is purely his/her discretion. But one thing we should remember here: We have arrived at this conclusion simply because we have found that our universe cannot be infinitely old.

    ReplyDelete
  25. 1. Yes
    2. I am Catholic Apostolic Roman
    3. As a catholic from a catholic family, I trust on the sacred scriptures therefore God exist, read the Bible and you will learn and have the same conclusion. Although the sacred scripture was written many centuries ago, the words are alive and valid for every day and situation that you find yourself. If you get the smartest people in the world and ask them to write a manual of salvation for the humanity in all aspects and tell them that this manual will be used for eternity do you think that they could predict the future and how the humanity will behave in 100 or maybe 1000 years from now ? Have you researched what is the oldest religion in the earth ? All the others religions were created by men. When God became man and came to the earth as Jesus Christ he did not come to write anything, he came to act and show us that we should do the same for our salvation, to serve not being served and the most important he lived what he preached. For me the most important prove of God and resurrection was the life of Jesus's disciples. All of them gave their lives preaching what Jesus taught them, if God was lying or does not exist, Do you think that they would sacrifice their lives preaching what Jesus taught them ? How about the saints ? All of them saw God in every human, independently of their beliefs and religions, they help them, they suffered. For that reason the symbol of all Christian is a cross. Jesus loves all of us. And every day we are having the opportunity to meet Jesus.
    4. I am not. But lets say that God does not exist and in my entire life I believed in God, what Am I losing ? Nothing. But also lets say that God does exist and in my entire life I did not believe. What I lost ? Everything.
    5. Everyday
    6. See item 4. For those Atheists, I respect their opinion and pray for them because they will have their personal experience with God still.
    7. I respect Merle's point of view. But I can say that there are too many information in the world and our lives are too short. Interesting, that many many times we believe in things said by a human being and do not believe in what God is telling us.
    8. I am convinced that we will never understand God's in his totality and I am also convinced that there are many things happening in this world which we are not ready or prepared to understand. Is the same thing to trying to explain Fourier's series to a kindergarten class. There are years ahead and preparation in the school and the right course if these kids want to learn about Fourier's series. And I truly believe in what you have written "And there is also an Immanent God – something which is here and now, in me writing this and you thinking about what I’m saying and responding" as I prayed before to post my comments. May God bless us all.

    ReplyDelete
  26. It has been said about God that he is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. It has also been said about this God that he is spaceless, timeless, changeless, immortal, all-pervading, one, unborn, uncreated, without any beginning, without an end, everlasting and non-composite.
    Now let us suppose that atheists are correct in their assertion that God does not exist. If God does not exist, then in this universe there is no one about whom it can be said that he is omnipotent, omniscient, spaceless, timeless, changeless, immortal etc. and etc. God does not exist will then mean no one is timeless in this universe. If no one is timeless, then why was it at all necessary for science to show how anything could be timeless? This is because in special theory of relativity it has been shown that at the speed of light time totally stops. If God does not exist, then who or what is timeless in this universe that required an explanation from science? Whenever I have put this question to any atheist or to any atheistic scientist, he has temporarily become deaf, dumb and blind. He is blind, so he cannot read my question. He is deaf, so he cannot hear my question. So he cannot answer my question, because neither has he read it nor has he heard about it. So my question remained unanswered all the time.
    At least two years back I have put this same question in the facebook page of the famed scientist Sean Carroll also, but neither from there have I received any answer up till now.
    If atheists know with certainty that God does not exist, then why do they become totally dumb whenever I have approached them with the above-mentioned question? What is the mystery here?

    ReplyDelete
  27. 1. Yes
    2. I am Catholic Apostolic Roman
    3. As a catholic from a catholic family, I trust on the sacred scriptures therefore God exist, read the Bible and you will learn and have the same conclusion. Although the sacred scripture was written many centuries ago, the words are alive and valid for every day and situation that you find yourself. If you get the smartest people in the world and ask them to write a manual of salvation for the humanity in all aspects and tell them that this manual will be used for eternity do you think that they could predict the future and how the humanity will behave in 100 or maybe 1000 years from now ? Have you researched what is the oldest religion in the earth ? All the others religions were created by men. When God became man and came to the earth as Jesus Christ he did not come to write things, he came to act and show us that we should do the same for our salvation, to serve not being served and the most important he lived what he preached. For me the most important prove of God and resurrection was the life of Jesus's disciples. All of them gave their lives preaching what Jesus taught them, if God was lying or does not exist, Do you think that they would sacrifice their lives preaching what Jesus taught them ? How about the saints ? All of them saw God in every human, independently of their beliefs and religions, they help them, they suffered. For that reason the symbol of all Christian is a cross. Jesus loves all of us. And every day we are having the opportunity to meet Jesus.
    4. I am not. But lets say that God does not exist and in my entire life I believed in God, what Am I losing ? Nothing. But also lets say that God does exist and in my entire life I did not believe. What I lost ? Everything.
    5. Everyday
    6. See item 4. For those Atheists, I respect their opinion and pray for them because they will have their personal experience with God still.
    7. I respect Merle's point of view. But I can say that there are too many information in the world and our lives are too short. Interesting, that many many times we believe in things said by a human being and do not believe in what God is telling us.
    8. I am convinced that we will never understand God's in his totality and I am also convinced that there are many things happening in this world which we are not ready or prepared to understand. Is the same thing to try to explain Fourier's series to a kindergarten class. There are years ahead and preparation in the school and the right course if these kids want to learn about Fourier's series. And I truly believe in what you have written "And there is also an Immanent God – something which is here and now, in me writing this and you thinking about what I’m saying and responding" as I prayed before to post my comments. May God bless us all.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Scientist Paul Davies in an article “Is the Universe a Free Lunch?” (Independent, Sunday 23 October,2011) has explained very nicely as to why our universe cannot be infinitely old and that why it should have had a beginning:

    “Some people dislike the notion that the Universe had a beginning. Why can't it have existed for ever? The answer is simple. There are many physical processes that are irreversible; if the Universe were infinitely old, these processes would all have run their course. The Universe would already have reached its final state.
    “An example will make this clear. The Sun cannot keep burning for ever. After a few billion years it will run out of fuel and die. So, too, will all stars. Though new stars are still forming, the stock of raw material is finite, and eventually it will be exhausted. So if the present state of the Universe cannot endure for eternity, it cannot have existed for eternity.”
    (Link: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/is-the-universe-a-free-lunch-1340153.html)

    In that article he has shown that the universe can actually originate from nothing and that therefore the universe is ultimately a free lunch. But I have also shown that existence of nothing is self-contradictory and that therefore it cannot exist at all, because by existing it will no longer remain nothing. If there cannot be any nothing at all, then there can neither be any question of the universe coming from nothing.
    That means that the universe can come from something only and this something is God.

    ReplyDelete