Why do “at&theists” continue to argue science vs. philosophy?

Doug says:

dear the atheist,
“i am so like totally lost” ;D in regards to all of this.
i am confused about how to go about all of these things.
i hope this works.
before i forget mr/s the atheist you sound like a very nice person.

okay here blows.

why is it that at&theist insist upon arguing science vs. philosophy?
definition of at&theist: “reach out and touch someone” an old at&t campaign ad ;D
at&theist force science against God in order to reinforce their own refusal to believe that YES GOD IS !
a good scientific argument would be :
intelligent design
or
global warming
a good philosophical argument would be:
reincarnation

at&theists continue to argue matter vs. faith to put it another way.

when you call someone you Believe someones out there.
when you pray you Believe God is out there.

i have read many entries on different lines or blogs and/or whatever. almost everyone out there to a [wo]man ;) sounds very intelligent some with their own sites, books pending,etc. mind you i’m not a mental midget, but once more almost to a [wo]man on both sides people seem to enjoy hearing themselves talk. you want 15 minutes of fame go shoot your post[wo]man :D personally i am a minimalist. there is too much over thinking on here. too many references to books [yawn].
as for myself i believe in kiss [not the band ;) keep it short &simple stupid. to do anything but that is once more enjoying the sound of your fingers on the keys.

so once more:

why do at&theists continue to argue science vs. philosophy?

best wishes & God bless you,
doug

258 Responses to Why do “at&theists” continue to argue science vs. philosophy?

  1. doug says:

    dear the atheist,
    thank you for posting this thread.
    at&theist….science vs. faith should be a man made train of thought for any at&theist such as yourself.
    i look forward to reading from you;)

    best wishes & god bless you,
    doug

    p.s.: do you have a name i could call you by the atheist as anything outside of a name is rather cold and impersonal. you do not even have to use your own name even though it would have to be from the bible.

    once more.

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

  2. The Atheist says:

    doug,

    Before I consider your question, should I accept your definition:,”definition of at&theist: “reach out and touch someone” an old at&t campaign ad,” as one that describes atheists or atheism? If not, then I won’t have much to say from the atheist perspective. If so, why should I accept it?

  3. doug says:

    dear the atheist,
    almost every atheist web site i have visited declares that God does not exist because they cannot see Him, hear Him, etc. this is the reason for the pronoun at&theist.

    if i am wrong then i apologize.

    from now on i will simply use the term atheist.

    if i am mistaken then please tell me.

    i am more than willing to listen and learn.

    i look forward to your response.

    best wishes and God bless you,
    doug

    p.s.: honestly please give me a name i could respond to you with. thank you.

    doug

  4. doug says:

    time zone:

    dear the atheist,
    i am truly curious to know from what time zone you originate from.
    thank you.
    best wishes and God bless you,
    doug

  5. doug says:

    dear the atheist,
    you are a busy person and i appreciate that.
    a couple of things:
    i asked you to give me a name which i could address you by because regardless of whom may be on here to go by something other that a name seems impersonal.
    i asked for a jewish name because i read on here where you were born a jew, thus i expected a biblical name.

    once more i respect the fact that you are a busy person,
    however
    the name of this site, domain and/or whatever is ‘ask an atheist’.
    i am doing just that.
    by not receiving a reply the title ‘ask an atheist’ seems misleading.
    i look forward to your response.

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

  6. J.D. says:

    oops sorry I almost took the time to reply to Doug’s ignorance. It would appear that Doug uses the Circular Logic that most “believers accuse Atheists of using, I think you are not reading enough into Atheism to comment. I hereby revoke your ability to post until further notice. As for addressing me, if you wish: My Christian parents gave me a biblical name, but you can refer to me as “Opossum Bill.”

  7. doug says:

    dear opossum bill,
    i suppose i am ignorant in regards to atheists.

    please teach me.

    that you revoke my right to post any further is somewhat depressing, for i wish to learn about atheists mind set.

    if this reaches you please do help me to understand.

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

  8. doug says:

    1st amendment

    dear bill,
    thank you for the name.
    i am appreciative.

    revoke my right to post?

    does this mean that only atheist have a right to post?

    i am only trying to learn more about atheists.

    oh yes the debate between science vs. philosophy i thought would be a greater place on your site………..makes no no matter, as i said i am only trying to learn.

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

  9. J.D. says:

    Doug,

    Just some playful sarcasm with revoking of your ability to post.

    Posing in forums and comments, I would think, are not rights. This is because you have to adhere to user terms and agreements, if you breach that contract you can lose your ability to post. But I digress.

    Don’t just read about what Atheists believe, study it. Gain an understanding.

    First of all, ID is not science, therefor it is not a good scientific argument against anything.

    Reincarnation is not a philosophy. It is part a religious belief system,
    Philosophy is the study of/ enactment of “wisdom” or study of understanding.

    when you call someone you Believe someones out there.

    When I call someone, I know they are there. I know they exist, otherwise I would not call them.

    The reference you are using is made up of two different definitions of believe.

    The Atheist augment, or at least an intelligent Atheist argument would be that we do not know one way or the other that god does or does not exist. I cannot prove he doesn’t, you cannot prove he does.

    My inability to prove the nonexistence of god does not mean there is a god. Just as your inability to prove he exists does not mean there is no god.

    However(the catch) there is much more evidence supporting my argument than yours.

    do you understand what I am trying to say??

  10. doug says:

    dear j.d. / opossum bill,
    i like both names. i will use j.d. that is personal.

    thank you for your response

    i look forward to a pleasant discussion.

    why is a debate between intelligent design and evolution not a scientific debate they are both “THEORIES”.

    why can “THEORIES” not be debated?…….after all they are both “THEORIES” !!!

    when i call someone i KNOW they are out there.

    they are friends, acquaintancs, or family.
    i have ‘seen’ them. i have met them. i have heard them. i have shook their hand or hugged them. i have smelled them…………these are our God given sinces. with some i have some tasted them…..french kiss, etc.

    so yes i know they are out there.

    however:

    when i pray to God i ‘know’ He is out there.
    you do not need your senses to ‘know’ He is out there.

    let us keep this discussion not to our beliefs but that God is.

    i know that if you are ‘open’ mind to the possibility that God is i am certain that i can help you to question your ‘more evidence’ that God is not.

    i talk from my heart, from my soul.

    despite your ‘open’ mindedness that perhaps God is you speak using science, logic and reason………..your five senses whether you want to admit it or not.

    you capitalize atheist.
    this says to me that your mind is made up and that you will not search your heart, your soul.
    something you cannot do with do with your mind.

    your emotions love, hate, compassion…….you CANNOT see.

    however you can DEMONSTRATE them.

    one’s love of God cannot be ‘SEEN’……after all love, devotion, faith cannot be seen,
    but they can be DEMONSTRATED!

    i do not doubt that for atheists that yes there is more evidence to believe that God does not exist, because once more atheists need to ‘reach out and touch someone’.

    as we discuss this i hope and pray that you will open your mind and especially your heart and soul that yes God is!

    i believe that i can show you a bit of evidence that yes God is.

    you will have to be TRULY ‘open minded’ and also open hearted.

    remember i am speaking from my heart from my soul.

    best wishes & God bless you j.d.,
    doug

  11. doug says:

    dear j.d. / opossum bill,
    i like both names. i will use j.d. that is personal.

    thank you for your response

    i look forward to a pleasant discussion.

    why is a debate between intelligent design and evolution not a scientific debate they are both “THEORIES”.

    why can “THEORIES” not be debated?…….after all they are both “THEORIES” !!!

    when i call someone i KNOW they are out there.

    they are friends, acquaintancs, or family.
    i have ‘seen’ them. i have met them. i have heard them. i have shook their hand or hugged them. i have smelled them…………these are our God given sinces. with some i have some tasted them…..french kiss, etc.

    so yes i know they are out there.

    however:

    when i pray to God i ‘know’ He is out there.
    you do not need your senses to ‘know’ He is out there.

    let us keep this discussion not to our beliefs but that God is.

    i know that if you are ‘open’ mind to the possibility that God is i am certain that i can help you to question your ‘more evidence’ that God is not.

    i talk from my heart, from my soul.

    despite your ‘open’ mindedness that perhaps God is you speak using science, logic and reason………..your five senses whether you want to admit it or not.

    you capitalize atheist.
    this says to me that your mind is made up and that you will not search your heart, your soul.
    something you cannot do with do with your mind.

    your emotions love, hate, compassion…….you CANNOT see.

    however you can DEMONSTRATE them.

    one’s love of God cannot be ‘SEEN’……after all love, devotion, faith cannot be seen,
    but they can be DEMONSTRATED!

    i do not doubt that for atheists that yes there is more evidence to believe that God does not exist, because once more atheists need to ‘reach out and touch someone’.

    as we discuss this i hope and pray that you will open your mind and especially your heart and soul that yes God is!

    i believe that i can show you a bit of evidence that yes God is.

    you will have to be TRULY ‘open minded’ and also open hearted.

    remember i am speaking from my heart from my soul.

    best wishes & God bless you j.d.,
    doug

  12. doug says:

    dear j.d./ opossum bill,
    thank you for a name. i was talking primarily to people who do not use a name. i like j.d., so i will use it.

    why is intelligent design vs. evolution not a scientific debate?

    after all neither has been proved. they are simply THEORIES !

    you contradict yourself in saying that reincarnation is a belief.

    after all belief, faith that God is also a belief?

    when we call someone we ‘believe’ they are there because we have SEEN them. we have HEARD them. we have TOUCHED them shaking their hands or hugging them. we have SMELLED them. we have TASTED some french kiss, etc.

    “reach out and touch someone”.

    when i pray to God i have faith and belief that God is.

    we each have emotions………..love, sympathy, compassion.

    we cannot SEE them. we can only DEMONSTRATE them.

    when i pray to God i cannot SEE my faith, conviction, or belief in Him i can only DEMONSTRATE them.

    obviously you consider yourself an ‘intelligent’ atheist because you say that ‘we’
    do not know whether God exist or not………..thus an ‘intelligent atheist’? :D

    you consider yourself ‘open minded’ because because you do not or “cannot prove one way or the other that” God exists.

    you capitalize the word atheist so obviously you are ‘closed’ to the idea that YES GOD IS !

    you say that there is more evidence that God is not.

    maybe.

    i have an argument that yes God is.

    i discuss these things from my heart from my soul.

    you must be willing to open you heart, your soul and yes your mind that yes God is!

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

    p.s.: please you as a devout atheist help me to better understand atheists.

  13. The Atheist says:

    doug,

    why is intelligent design vs. evolution not a scientific debate?

    Fair question!

    I should first point out that evolution is a fact and not a theory. That is, evolution is something that we observe directly: genes mutate and living things speciate. Natural selection, on the other hand, is the theory that explains how and under what conditions evolution occurs. The fossil record is a rich encyclopedia of evidence that supports the theory.

    Some of ID is indeed scientific and useful for debate. For example, Michael Behe theorized that it was not possible that bacterial flagella evolved since of its components did not have any use outside of the complex movement of the entire flagellum, which bacteria used for locomotion. This is a falsifiable theory since it could be proven false by showing how the components of the flagellum evolved independently (and in fact, there are models to show how the components evolved independently, and in doing so, they refute the theory that bacterial flagella are irreducibly complex).

    However, by and large, ID claims are not proposed as theories which are falsifiable. As such, they are not scientific by definition. One might look at the distinction as a quibble or a mere technicality, but it is not: science is founded upon the ability to verity (by falsification) theories. The ability is why the scientific process is dependable.

    you contradict yourself in saying that reincarnation is a belief.

    How is that a contradiction?

    when i pray to God i cannot SEE my faith, conviction, or belief in Him i can only DEMONSTRATE them.

    I don’t think anyone is calling into question whether faith exists or whether you have faith. The question is whether God exists. I don’t know of any good reason to believe that He does.

    you must be willing to open you heart, your soul and yes your mind that yes God is!

    I am willing – show me that “yes God is!”

    Conversely, are you willing to honestly consider reasons for doubting the existence of God?

  14. J.D. says:

    Doug,

    I.D.is creationism in disguise. An attempt to use a verbal loophole to teach nonsense in the classroom.

    A theory is an educated guess based on observations and research to an extent that is is dreamed as the most probable answer because is has more supporting evidence than any other hypothesis.

    An extremely well-substantiated explanation of some aspects of the natural world that incorporates facts, laws, predictions, and tested hypotheses. (Eg, Einstein’s Theory of Gravitation, 1916)

    a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena

    An explanation for some phenomenon that is based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning.

    A set of propositions which summarise, organise, and explain a variety of known facts, eg Darwin’s theory of evolution. Theories are intended to logically summarise information and to give a framework for the generation of new tests and ideas on the topic.

    A hypothesis is an explanation that accounts for a set of facts and that can be tested by further investigation

    A tentative explanation of a given set of data that is expected to remain valid after future observation and experimentation.

    the above clearly shows that ID/creationism is clearly not a scientific theory or hypothesis. It has no supporting evidence(other than a book thousands of years old that contradicts itself numerous times, and has been translated more times than anyone can count. Its most widely accepted version, The KJV, is the work of an earthly king, who in his day, what he said goes. oh, and he left a lot of stuff out. )

    ALSO, there are many other things accepted as truth in the bible that have been proven otherwise, E.G. the great flood.

    Intelligent design is the assertion that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection”. It is a modern form of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, modified to avoid specifying the nature or identity of the designer to avoid a court ruling prohibiting the teaching of creationism as science.Advocates of intelligent design claim it is a scientific theory, and seek to fundamentally redefine science to accept supernatural explanations.

    Pseudoscience is defined as a body of knowledge, methodology, belief, or practice that is claimed to be scientific or made to appear scientific, but does not adhere to the scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, or otherwise lacks scientific status. The term comes from the Greek root pseudo- (false or pretending) and “science” (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”)Pseudosciences have been characterized by the use of vague, exaggerated or untestable claims, over-reliance on confirmation rather than refutation, lack of openness to testing by other experts, and a lack of progress in theory development.

    The senses are, to my knowledge, completely or at least almost entirely understood within the scientific community. how they work, why we have them, and why some creatures have a more or less highly developed set of senses.

    Emotions, yes they can be demonstrated. We also understand about how these emotions can trigger or are caused by physical/chemical changes withing the body. We know that little children love their pets with the same capacity that they love their parents. We also know that love can be displaced(e.g. the widowed “cat lady”, and that is and all other emotions are almost entirely a psychological complex.
    We also know that emotions are not exclusive to humans, and that beings capable of intensional compassion are also capable of intentional cruelty.

    The only reason I choose to to argue with creationism/I.D/ Theistic religions is because theistic religions wish conform everybody they can by any means to their beliefs. They are a tool of the government and vice versa.

    I have given you example after example where I base by belief. Show me something. something tangible. explain god to me. what makes you believe your fairy tail.

    As for Atheism, it is very broad, what would like to know more about. Did you know that there atheistic religions? I just realized it my self. I should have known it, but it didn’t click until just this past weekend. Atheists have different stances on all the big issues, that is the best part about not being the pawn of an imaginary being or carrying out the will of those who say they are the highest authority on it.

  15. J.D. says:

    and how did i contradict my self by calling reincarnation a belief? try to get as much of what you want to say into one message, I had to keep going over your posts.

  16. J.D. says:

    In my honest opinion, I think you only seek to convert others, This is why you visit Atheists site. You want to find something that you can use to dicredit what we believe. However, until “God” parts the heavens and says something to the point of “Here’s Johnny,” you cannot. We on the other hand can pick apart religion bit by bit.

  17. doug says:

    dear the atheist,

    please give me a name to address you by……..any name.
    i understand that this is your site, page &/or whatever thus the monicer [sp].
    still would you please give me a name…….any name

    once more i have noticed a discrepancy in times of posted materials, so once more what time zone does this originate from?

    i am not at the top of my game because of my medicine which has kicked in

    also i am not at the top of my game because i have been working outside in the direct heat which is not good for me.

    i see where you declare evolution as a fact.

    if this is so then WHY! is it called the ‘”the THEORY of evolution”?

    despite the possibility of evolution it is still called the “THEORY of evolution and not the”FACT of evolution???

    how is belief in reincarnation vs. belief that God is a contradiction?

    very simple………they are both beliefs!

    prove that YES GOD IS.

    you took offense of my stating that atheists wish to ‘reach out and touch someone’.

    you said i was wrong.

    thus

    tell me why you believe that God is not.

    i remain weary.
    my medicine is beginning to wear off.
    i am not at the top of my game, but i do look forward to your reply.

    once more would you please give me a name.
    once more would you give me a time zone?

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

  18. J.D. says:

    your meds must be pretty strong, because they are twisting your entire view of thing. All the answers to your questions are in the above posts. You really should stop posting.

  19. doug says:

    oops
    i ended up posting the same response twice and then a similar response afterwards.

    dear the atheist,
    you stated that when j.d.spoke of reincarnation as a belief system and i pointed out that belief in God is was a contradicted.

    you simply dismissed this by stating:

    ‘how is that a contradiction?’

    i expected more of you………why did you dismiss this without giving a reason as to how it was a contradiction?……….i expected more from you.

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

    p.s.: what time zone does this originate from?

  20. The Atheist says:

    doug,

    you simply dismissed this by stating: ‘how is that a contradiction?’

    How is asking for clarification a dismissal of your claim?

  21. doug says:

    reincarnation
    dear j.d.,
    you are the one who stated “reincarnation in not a philosophy. it is part of a belief system”. stated something o the effect that belief that God is was a philosophy it also is part of a “belief system”something which you and your buddy the atheist dismissed without reason. i expected more from you

    SHAME ON YOU !
    at the beginning you said something to the effect that you could get me bumped off of this website………i stated to the effect that it was a unfortunate. you later stated that it was ‘playful sarcasm’.
    i was ok with that.

    to state that my medications must be strong because they mus t be strong because they were twisting my concepts or ideas was not just sarcastic, but down right MEAN! shame on you!

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

    my rebutal of your claims comes next.

  22. doug says:

    dear j.d.,
    you stated that a theory is an “educated GUESS”.
    GUESS!………
    you said it not me.

    to begin with a theory is first based upon a hypothesis.

    a hypothesis being:

    a premise.

    a postulation.

    natural selection

    i used to have a dog, a bitch, when she was in heat there was a line of 6+ dogs waiting to copulate with her……there was no fight….they all knew that they would get their chance. natural selection or maybe just horny.
    speaking of animals…..pig breeders [pigs are the 4th smatrest animal] place the scent of a female on a metal bench and the hog gets his rocks off………natural selection? maybe just horny.
    deer, lions, etc. fight over a female in heat. natural selection or just whos the horniest.
    dogs will sometimes rush up to a human and begin to hump their leg. natural selection or just down right horny.

    natural selection and humans:

    if natural selection is so, then why are we not all blonde haired blue eyed and aryan? after all according to adolf hitler believed that the aryan race was superior.
    why are we not all the same race?

    why do people marry handicapped people?

    for humans it is love.

    for animals it is lust.

    yes animals have emotions, however desire &/or horny also is one of those and they’ll hump :D on it at any chance.

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

    p.s.: i could go on about your other comments such as ‘propositions about’. proposition? no! postulations yes.

  23. doug says:

    end of inning number 1:

    doug 1
    j.d. 0

    dear j.d.,
    i noticed where you went out to find other reasons to believe that God is not.

    obviously reach out and touch someone was not enough.

    thus:

    doug: 1
    j.d.: 0

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

  24. doug says:

    p.s.: other reason

    to all,
    i know of other reasons to not believe that God is. to be an atheist

    i am willing to answer those reasons also.

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

  25. doug says:

    dear the atheist,
    asking for clarification?

    that is your dodging the question.

    i explained.

    clarify yourself. do not simply dismiss me.

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

  26. doug says:

    dear the atheist,

    i realize that there are other reasons for being an atheist than ‘reach out and touch someone’.

    i asked you to first explain to me why God is not.

    please do so.

    open your heart?:

    i have very serious doubts that you will.

    why:

    ‘ask an atheist’ is your website’

    the atheist is your monicor.

    people define themselves by what they do………plumber, lawyer, etc.

    thus

    there is a %99.999 that you will not open your heart.

    me ‘open my mind’:

    this is a big part of the reason i have come to your site……….your site almost exclusive………..do we have an exclusive relationship? please dear may it be…i’ll try not to cheat on you again :D

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

  27. The Atheist says:

    doug,

    asking for clarification? that is your dodging the question.

    Why do you feel that asking for clarification is dodging the question?

    i asked you to first explain to me why God is not. please do so.

    I can’t explain why there is no God, I can only explain why I don’t believe that God exists. The reason I don’t believe in God is due to the lack of compelling evidence that he exists.

  28. J.D. says:

    Dear The Atheist, & Doug

    Atheist,I’m not real sure this guy understands half of what he is saying.

    Doug
    We were not trying to doge your question in anyway. We simply want to know what we said that made you think it was a contradiction so that we can answer you. OK, I will be an AT&Ttheist for a moment:show me what i said to contradict myself.
    I said reincarnation was not a philosophy, I never said anything about a belief in godbeing a philosophy. Where did I say a belief in god is a philosophy?
    “I never i could get you bumped off here either. I said “Posting in forums and comments, I would think, are not rights. This is because you have to adhere to user terms and agreements, if you breach that contract you can lose your ability to post. But I digress.”How is that me saying I could get you bumped off??

    About the Theory, try reading the whole thing. The ENTIRE paragraph below explains what a theory is:

    “A theory is an educated guess based on observations and research to an extent that is is deamed as the most probable answer because is has more supporting evidence than any other hypothesis. An extremely well-substantiated explanation of some aspects of the natural world that incorporates facts, laws, predictions, and tested hypotheses. (Eg, Einstein’s Theory of Gravitation, 1916) a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena An explanation for some phenomenon that is based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning. A set of propositions which summarize, organize, and explain a variety of known facts, eg Darwin’s theory of evolution. Theories are intended to logically summarize information and to give a framework for the generation of new tests and ideas on the topic.”

    I offer my apologies for your ignorance:

    if natural selection is so, then why are we not all blonde haired blue eyed and aryan? after all according to adolf hitler believed that the aryan race was superior.
    why are we not all the same race?

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who think this. Why? because they are that race. You do not understand natural selection you need not comment. our races are not in direct completion. The further back you go, the fewer races there were. From what we have learned the first humanoid race was probably a very dark tone. As people spread out, their bodies adapted to their climates over millions of years. A mutation here, a cross there, BAMM a different race. There are relatively very few “pure” race individuals. HOWEVER there are more people of Caucasian decent than any other minority.

    Why do you see more black pro athletes in the US than whites?? Arent Blacks a minority in this country. There are more black athletes because they are descendants from a group(slaves) that were bred to be the strongest. Read a history book. Are they all great athletes? no? not all are descendants from slaves, and some of those are not descendants from slaves that were able to be bread.

    “dear j.d.,
    i noticed where you went out to find other reasons to believe that God is not.
    obviously reach out and touch someone was not enough.”

    What part were you referring to?

    i used to have a dog, a bitch, when she was in heat there was a line of 6+ dogs waiting to copulate with her……there was no fight….they all knew that they would get their chance. natural selection or maybe just horny.

    obviously the pecking order had already been established. Just like in a pride of lions. Lioness makes the kill(most of the time) but big daddy is ALWAYS the first to eat, then the matriarch, then lesser males and females on down to the cubs who get last dibs. Politeness or natural selection. There is not always a fight at meal time, this is because at some point in the past of that particular pride, dominance had been established.

    As for the comment about the meds READ IT.

    your meds must be pretty strong, because they are twisting your entire view of thing.
    TAKE IS LITERALLY, your view, your vision. You must not be seeing the points we had answered your questions. It was not a comment about your delusional views of the world, I don’t think that has anything to do with your meds.

    why do people marry handicapped people?for humans it is love.for animals it is lust.

    In animals, VERY RARLEY do females mate with a lesser(handicapped) male. I don’t think choosing the stronger male who won the competition over a lesser male is lust(or love). especially when the two males are more or less identical from a visual standpoint. I think it is more or less the instinct to make the heard stronger. And more often than not a handicapped individual will omit himself from the mating rituals.
    However, there are animals in which compassion is visually demonstrated. Apes have been observed helping other wounded or less capable apes in their “tribe.”

    As for opening up my mind. I came from a religious background. I and my entire family was/is very active in their church. My dad, and grandfather are both deacons. I have two cousins that are preachers. I went on countless “mission trips” all over the country reaching out to those in need and witnessing along with other community outreach programs all over the US. I grew up in the church, “gave my life to christ” at a very young age and did “the lords work” up until i opened my mind. I did not lose faith because of some catastrophic event in my life. There was no “why me” you could have done something god” moment. I just studied my religion, my bible, and other religions and their equivalent. Been there done that.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still do a lot of work with community outreach. I still donate money to charitable causes. I do it of my own accord. I don’t do it for a reward. I don’t do it out of fear of ridicule. I do it because I believe that we should help others of our kind. A few summers back there was an old couple who lives near by and the husband had died. I didn’t know them, I just knew who they were and they knew who I was. Well as far as I could tell they had no family that lived near by so one day I gathered up my stuff went over to the widows house and took care of her lawn. A couple of weeks went by before she said a word to me, and she offered me some tea. Over the next few months we had grew a friend ship and I continued to help her with things that she couldn’t do That her husband use to help her with. a year and a half later she died of a heart attack, believe it or not, in church. That last part didn’t have anything to do with me though. My point is, I was a religious person who did a lot of nice things, now I am the same person with out religion. So I have been in your shoes. I have to admit i never had an argument with an atheist. I don’t seem to recall having a problem making myself clean though.

    Another thing that is starting to erk me, why are you so intent on the name thing?

    as of the time of this post in my location it is 1:16AM EST US

  29. J.D. says:

    Looks like it is Europe or however far east in this continent you can go.

  30. doug says:

    re-title: science vs. faith

    dear the atheist & J.D.,

    The title ” science vs. philosophy” was a poor choice of words. i simply thought that as an atheist you would view belief in God a philosophy.

    I started doing something which i hate which is ‘nitpicking’ …..being in the U.K. you may not be familiar with the term. It means taking small comments and such and ‘picking’ at them even when the thought is understood……….I’ll do my best to refrain from that. I ask that you all do likewise.

    Dear the atheist you stated, “….I can only explain why I don’t believe God exists”.
    Please expound.

    In my opening statement I stated that a scientific argument would be:
    “evolution vs. intelligent design”.

    I was wrong.

    A debate would be on a single subject……..its pros & cons.

    I ask that we keep this discussion civil without sarcasm or name calling.
    As for myself I shall make every effort.

    The atheist should it apply I wish you a Happy Mothers Day.

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

  31. doug says:

    “People are basically good”.

    Dear J.D.,
    You proved my lifelong belief that “People are basically good”. God bless you for the work you did for a neighbor you did not even know.
    I live on disability for my Epilepsy and alimony from my former wife. We divorced last summer. When I went to see ny eye Doctor for my Glaucoma he had learned that I had no insurance. It is a $200 test. He charged me nothing. This once again proved my long held belief that, “People are basically good”. His office and that of my Neurologist both set up out reach programs for my medicines, thus allowing me to receive my medicines at no cost to me. Except for one which is inexpensive. Every morning I pray that those who do Gods work might see the “Fruits of their labor”. I sent them each a thank you letter.

    As to my medications I became epileptic when I was six years old and busted my head against the fireplace. I have been taking medicine for 49 years now.
    I rarely take any other medications because I hate them so.
    Last month I pulled a thigh muscle. I still do not know if that is what happened. The pain was excrucitsiating. I was on crutches and could not find a comfortable position to sleep in. I live by myself and decided not to go to a doctor. I “John Wayned” it as I like to say. I lived with the pain. Not until the third day did I decide to take some Ibuprofin and even then just a little. Not enough to make a difference.

    My medications have not effected my I.Q.. I will only say that it is above the norm and leave it at that. Other known Epileptics are Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon. It is not limited to world conquerors though. Van Gogh, Alfred Nobel, and Mariel Hemingway also had or do have Epilepsy. 1% of the populatiion has it..

    My adult life has been one of abject poverty, despite my education.
    I have been unemployed and walked down the sidewalk looking for change. I have checked soda machines for change or a soda, You catch the drift.

    I would not wish those 30 years of my life off on anyone.

    As I reflect back I can see that my Father and of course everyone elses has has always been with me.
    I have always had the essentials of life clothing, shelter, food [though a modicum of it] and yes my medicines.

    As to my medicines warping my view of life, I think not.
    My Intelligence Quotient [IQ] is above the norm. I will leave it at that.
    As to my view of reality, I believe I have demonstrated that my view of reality is better than others.
    Your view of reality may differ from mine.

    A bitter person who holds onto his guns and religion. Not. Not me I wake up with a smile on my face. I am not bitter although I have every reason to be.

    I erred when I said that a scientific debate would be Evolution vs. Intelligent Design.
    A debate is on a single topic, its pros and cons.

    I envy you for having been able to travel the country. You witnessed something which you no longer believe.

    Let us keep this discussion civil without sarcasm or name calling.
    I will make every effort to do so. I know that you can do so also.

    best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

    As I reflect back I can see where the Lord has always been with me. I have always had food, clothing, shelter and yes my medications.
    I have been unemployed and walking down sidewalks looking for change that people might have dropped. chechking every soda machine for change. You catch the drift.

    I would not wish those 30 years on anyone.

  32. J.D. says:

    so what you are telling me is that since you have no answer you fish for sympathy.

  33. doug says:

    Restart

    dear J.D.,

    In NASCAR racing when ther is a wreck they have a yellow flag which places the cars back in order and they they have a restart.
    This is what I seek only under a more clearly designed format.

    I am not seeking sympathy or pity.

    I only wish to point out that I have a sense of reality.
    One which many do not.
    Your idea of “reality” may well differ from mine.

    J.D.,
    Part of the reason I came to an atheist website was to better understand the atheist reason for not believing in God.

    J.D. I asked the atheist to explain to me why God is not.

    The atheist replied:
    “I can’t explain I don’t believe God exists. The reason I don’t believe in God is due to the lack of compelling evidence that He exists”

    I have asked the atheist to expound on this.

    Forgetting the theory of natural selection and evolution I am curious to know why you don not believe God exists.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    doug

  34. Monica says:

    Hi,
    Sorry if I’m intruding here but if you will allow me to introduce myself, my name is Monica and I believe in God or a Creator. I am in no way an educated apologist or anything like that. I’m just someone who has a long held belief in God. I also believe that there is nothing I can do to change the mind of an atheist. It would take God to do that.

    The reason I am visting this website is because not only do I want to learn about the beliefs of atheists but I am also intrigued that an atheist can come to the conclusion that something came from nothing. It makes more sense to me that there is an incomprehensible Intelligent Being who formed this Universe. I believe it takes more faith to be an atheist than to believe in God.

    J.D.,
    I read your story that you came from a religious background. I am curious to know what denomination you came from?

  35. J.D. says:

    Monica,

    Ah, fresh meat(rubs hands together) jk.

    I was raised Southern Bapt my entire life. The generation before mine was raised mostly Protestant after my GPs switched from Catholicism. Beyond that it is shady as those generations have passed. finally, the entire family (before my time) became Bapt.

    I just want to say I am not into apologetics. I couldn’t stand fence sitters as a “Christian” I still can’t stand them as an Atheist. either stand for something or keep your mouth shut. I would rather hang out with doug than an agnostic.
    ———————————————————————————-

    Before this argument gets headed somewhere that would just waste time I am gonna pull out (my version of) the All Mighty Invisible Pink Unicorn. She is a supreme being who, in her infinite wisdom, decided to make an entire universe from a poppy seed that had always been in existence because it and AMIPU are one but separate. Because you cannot prove she does not exist this means she must exist, correct? Correct.
    Do you believe that the AMIPU exists? It’s safe to say probably not. Does it take faith for you to believe that she does not exist, no. Point made, point taken?

    I also stated in another discussion that I have created my own “theory,” It is not a real theory until it seems more logical based on science and research that current arguments are less likely to be true and yet none can be proven. Go to start a new post, it is the only one I have made in that jumble of info. so I do not necessarily believe wholeheartedly in the big bang theory. That is until I can check my “theory” with research. I believe it for now, since it at current the best possible explanation.

    In my understanding of the bible, didn’t god (an invisible being that no sane person has held a conversation with) take nothing and make it into something? What makes the big bang theory any more or less ludicrous?

  36. J.D. says:

    Monica,

    Ah, fresh meat(rubs hands together) jk.

    I was raised Southern Bapt my entire life. The generation before mine was raised mostly Protestant after my GPs switched from Catholicism. Beyond that it is shady as those generations have passed. finally, the entire family (before my time) became Bapt.

    I just want to say I am not into apologetics. I couldn’t stand fence sitters as a “Christian” I still can’t stand them as an Atheist. either stand for something or keep your mouth shut. I would rather hang out with doug than an agnostic.
    ———————————————————————————-

    Before this argument gets headed somewhere that would just waste time I am gonna pull out (my version of) the All Mighty Invisible Pink Unicorn. She is a supreme being who, in her infinite wisdom, decided to make an entire universe from a poppy seed that had always been in existence because it and AMIPU are one but separate. Because you cannot prove she does not exist this means she must exist, correct? Correct.
    Do you believe that the AMIPU exists? It’s safe to say probably not. Does it take faith for you to believe that she does not exist, no. Point made, point taken?

    I also stated in another discussion that I have created my own “theory,” It is not a real theory until it seems more logical based on science and research that current arguments are less likely to be true and yet none can be proven. Go to start a new post, it is the only one I have made in that jumble of info. so I do not necessarily believe wholeheartedly in the big bang theory. That is until I can check my “theory” with research. I believe it for now, since it at current the best possible explanation.

    In my understanding of the bible, didn’t god (an invisible being that no sane person has held a conversation with) take nothing and make it into something? What makes the big bang theory any more or less ludicrous?

  37. Monica says:

    The Bible says God spoke things into existence. As far as how God came into existence my answer is simply that He is not bound by our laws of science. He has no beginning or end. His time is outside of ours. That’s why an atheist can’t find a naturalistic explanation for God’s existence. They think they can bound God by our laws of physics. The scientifical evidence for God is right in front of their faces. The science of creation is proof of His existence. He’s the one who has organized the world/universe to function as it is and to create what it has. Even if there was a Big Bang or some kind of naturalistic event that ocurred during the creation of the universe that still doesn’t change that God is the one behind the scenes. Maybe science explains how God did it. What do you think this organized system, which was created by God, develop next?

  38. The Atheist says:

    doug,

    The title ”science vs. philosophy” was a poor choice of words. i simply thought that as an atheist you would view belief in God a philosophy.

    I view believing in God as something we do, but philosophy is what we think about what we do. So we have the philosophy of religion. While science deals with discovery about the natural world, philosophy of science is thinking about what science means to society and how it operates. Of course philosophy per se is much broader than the philosophies of sciencen and religion; ther are philosiphies of knowlege (epistimology), beauty (aesthetics), morality (ethics), etc.

    So we can discuss any of those things as long as we are each willing to have a meaningful dialog – asking an answering questions, as well as thoughtfully reflecting on each others views.

    Dear the atheist you stated, “….I can only explain why I don’t believe God exists”.
    Please expound.

    Personally, I don’t find any of the religions I know of to be compelling. If there is a God, religions (again, I can only talk about the ones I’m familiar with) don’t seem to describe him in a satisfactory or believable way. That should not be surprising since world religions are based on ancient thought that is not privy to the 1000’s of years of subsequent knowlege and discovery that we have gained since. Religions notwithstanding, I don’t find the idea of God in general to be a good explanation for the things that we (humanity) don’t understand. It’s at least as satisfying to say that some things seem unknowable in principle, and other things will be knowable as we make new discoveries in the future.

    In my opening statement I stated that a scientific argument would be:
    “evolution vs. intelligent design”. I was wrong. A debate would be on a single subject……..its pros & cons.

    We should decide what we mean by pros and cons. Do we mean for example that a particular belief is pro if it makes us happier, or do we mean that a particular belief is pro if it is the most consistant with our observable world? For example, we might say that a pro for ID is that we feel better believing that we have a purpose. On the other hand, we might say that a pro for evolution is that it best fits our observed world. I think we could have a good discussion in either case, as long as we know how we will judge the pros and cons.

    Personally, I would consider the pro to be whatever best fits our observations and the con to be whetever least fits.

    What single subject would you suggest?

  39. doug says:

    WELCOME MONICA !!!

    Dear J.D.,

    You proved my profile to be correct. You are from the south…at one time and though I was uncertain of the denomination I figured it to be something such as or close to Baptist. I also figure that you are 40 give or take a few years and the black sheep of your family, for reasons aforementioned by you.

    Monica,
    As far as I am concerned welcome to the blog.

    J.D.,
    Thank you for rather “Hanging out with Doug”.
    To a small degree I am flattered.

    J.D.,
    I am still looking forward to the atheist statement:

    “i can’t explain why I don’t believe God exists. The reason I don’t believe in God is due to lack of compelling evidence that He exists”.

    J.D.,

    I am still looking forward to your answer to the same question.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  40. doug says:

    Whooom?

    Dear the atheist,

    Hello!

    You stated that “God I do not believe in God is due to a lack of compeling evidence that He does exists”.

    What in your mind is a “…lack of compelling evidence that He exists”.

    I look forward to your answer.

    Did it rain today?

    Please give me a name to address you by.
    J.D. & Monica have been unafraid to give me a name.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  41. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    You are not intruding at all – welcome to the discussion! I hope you will post often.

    Correct me if I’ve misunderstood you but you seem to be saying that God must have created the universe because we don’t know how it could have come into existence. Here are a few reasons why that doesn’t make sense to me:

    If you follow the history of scientific discovery, and how it relates to belief about God, you will notice that people tend to attribute anything they can’t understand to God – the Sun was God’s chariot, God caused thunder, God created man from clay, etc. As humans became more adept at science and as the tools of science got better, we discovered what the Sun is and why it appears to move. We know what makes thunder. We know how humans and other animals evolved. But there are things we still don’t know today – and people still have the same tendency to attribute those things to God. History teaches us that it is wrong to presume that God is the cause for what we don’t understand, as we can see by the examples of ancient Sun Gods, thunder Gods, etc. A proper reason to believe that God exists would be positive evidence of God, not simply our lack of understanding about how nature works.

    The discovery of the origin of the universe is very new relatively speaking. The Big Bang theory is less than 100 years old, it’s no surprise that we still have a lot to learn. M-theory (a branch of superstring theory) is even more recent – only a few decades old, and it shows promise as the replacement of the Big Bang theory, the same way Einstein’s theory of relativity was a replacement for Newtonian physics: it didn’t prove Newton’s theory wrong, it expanded and refined it. M-theory predicts that there are 11 dimensions of space time: 1 of time, 10 of space. The 10 dimensions of space consist of the 3 that we are familiar with, plus 7 more that are very small (on the order of Plank’s constant). M-theory predicts that as 3 dimensions expand, the other 7 contract – but they can’t contract smaller than Plank’s constant. Once they reach the limit of contraction, the 7 stop contracting and the 3 stop expanding – which causes the 3 to begin contracting and another 3 (from the tiny 7) to begin expanding. The explosive expansion of the new 3 is a big bang. The fabric of space-time (the 11 dimensions) always existed.

    It seems meaningless to say that God lives outside of time. If he lives outside of time, how long did he think about creating the universe “before” he created the it? “How long” did it take him to create it? Why is it more easy to believe that God always existed then to believe that the fabric of the universe always existed?

    I hope that gives you a bit of an idea about why it doesn’t take much faith at all not to believe that the only way for the universe to come into existence is for God to create it. The idea that there must be a God who created the universe creates more questions than it answers.

    Any thoughts?

  42. doug says:

    HI ANONYMOUS !!!

    Dear Anna Nonymous & J.D.,

    Can you wrap you mind around infinity ??

    This is difficult for near anyone to do !

    Our concept of time pretty much begins with when we were born.
    Our parents history.
    Our grandparents history.

    We all have a calendar.
    A watch.
    We remember “When I was a kid”.

    Infinity.
    A very difficult concept to comprehend !!!!!

    Big Bang….M thingy ma bob.
    They can never be proved.
    Who picked the number 11 ?

    They require faith.

    God requires faith.

    They are both alike in that regard.

    Anna Nonymous,
    Thank you for calling this a discussion rather than a argument and welcoming other comments outside of my own.

    J.D.,
    My profile cont.
    I believe that you are caucsasion, college educated, and live in the suburbs. Also a white collar worker and unmarried.

    J.D. & Anna Nonymous,
    I “Look forward with great anticipation” your answers as to “I don’t believe inGod due to a lack of compelling evidence that He exists”.

    Best wishes & God bless yawl,
    Doug

  43. J.D. says:

    “i can’t explain why I don’t believe God exists. The reason I don’t believe in God is due to lack of compelling evidence that He exists”.

    I think that is more of an agnostic statement, more for a fence sitter.
    ——————————————————————————–

    Since you wish to have a name for The Atheist, I wish to have a name for god, so that when I am referring to the god of Isaac and Abraham i will not have to distinguish him from other gods in future reference. So I will call him Jason from this point forward.

    As I mentioned before I was once a believer. A wholehearted believer. I did Jason’s work and professed his good news to many. I “comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable” so to speak. I was in all aspects pretty evangelical. Like I said, I was raised in the church.

    I didn’t need proof “I knew” god existed. Well, then I read the bible, and the Koran(Qur’an), and the Book of Mormon, and many other religious texts. When you read these books in their entirety you can see how similar many of them are*except maybe the BOM, I think it is COMPLETELY made up)* as well as all of their self contradictions. I think this is why they teach priests how to preach. so that they don’t screw up and show people one verse then show them another that complete bisects the other.

    In summery, the proof is in the puddin’. Jason is so powerfull and “knew you before you were born” then didn’t he know that making this place was going be his third big screw up. Jason was loving and forgiving, yet he ordered the genocide of many nations, in THEIR own land. If the bible is in fact inspired by some god, then it is the same god that the Muslims believe in the same god the jews believe in and the same god Hindus believe in. This is because they all have the same or similar stories, one step further is that they have found writing and pictographs that predate the bible and other texts that also include those stories.

    I do not believe in Jason because the text in which my belief was grounded is faulty. don’t even get me started on Jason’s “morals”

    simple enough?
    ———————————————————————————–

    “The Bible says God spoke things into existence. As far as how God came into existence my answer is simply that He is not bound by our laws of science. He has no beginning or end. His time is outside of ours. That’s why an atheist can’t find a naturalistic explanation for God’s existence. They think they can bound God by our laws of physics”

    Typical argument: Jason is because the book of Jason says he is and so forth. When a believer cannot come up with an answer they make one up. Reminds me of the AiG folks and Ken Ham(I think is his name).

    ———————————————————————————–

    The scientifical evidence for God is right in front of their faces. The science of creation is proof of His existence.

    A: Creationism is not science, made that clear earlier. It is an insult to science to put creationism in the same category.

    B:OK. what proof?

    ————————————————————————————–

    “He’s the one who has organized the world/universe to function as it is and to create what it has.”

    The universe is chaotic at best. The sheer number of planets, stars, etc, allow for odds alone to create a planet such as earth. I am almost completely sure there are other planets with intelligent life, or some stage of life. Maybe one not so different than our own. The beginning of life is sheer chance, once life begins, so does natural selection, and so on.

    ————————————————————————————

    “Even if there was a Big Bang or some kind of naturalistic event that ocurred during the creation of the universe that still doesn’t change that God is the one behind the scenes.”

    Apologetics, c’mon Monica, you heard what I said. Also I should have explained this after your other post. The big bang there does not state that all of this came from nothing. The big bang is all the matter in the universe condensed in to one relatively small location. It exploded and expanded. This leads to other theories about how it came to that single point. to put it simple the “yo-yo universe” and the expanding into nothingness universe. It is believed that at the current moment the universe is still expanding.

    ———————————————————————————

    ” Maybe science explains how God did it. ”

    Yeah, I thought that too at one point. But I am gonna have to go with a no on that.
    Like I said the book is faulty. Science admits and fixes it’s mistakes. Jason does not. Jason and his followers will not admit when they are wrong on the subject of the existence of Jason. They use the circular logic of “it is/I am” because the book says so.

    ————————————————————————————

    “What do you think this organized system, which was created by God, develop next?”

    Well there are still species that are evolving, some past genes resurface in more evolved species.

    As for humans, I think we are creating an environment, conducive to our own evolution. What I mean, is we are at our peak we should not evolve further. BUT because of changes we have made to the world the human species (along with other peak species) may have no choice to evolve to survive. Albeit some ways will be more subtle than others.

    Bad example, but think of Kevin Costner in WaterWorld.

    ———————————————————————————–

    Doug,

    Rain in our forecast for tomorrow evening.

    I am THE Black Sheep of my family lol. Both for my political(family is religious right, and bush supporter and all that goes with) views, I am Jefferson Constitutionalist. I have been called an Anarchist from time to time. What can I say, We need a revolution. Religiously, My family is a bunch of thumpers(as I once was) I am an Atheist.

    From Oklahoma, the Midwest. South of the Mason Dixon, so Yeah in the South I guess. Bible Belt USA.

    I am twenty-one as of 3/13/2008.

  44. doug says:

    Doug profile continued

    Dear J..D.,

    In my profile you not an only child.

    I have yet to decide whether or not you ar the eldest child, but that you are likely theelling evidence”. first to to graduate from college or at least one of the first,

    Perhaps you could inform me.

    Best wishes & God bless you J.D.,
    Doug

    P.S.:
    I look forwarf to your answer to :
    “The reason I don’t believe in God is due to a lack of comprelling evidence”.

    Best wishes & God bless you J.D.
    Doug

  45. J.D. says:

    Eldest of 2

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call my self a collage dropout as much as a collage didn’t quit start. I went for a bout 3 weeks once school started. I was there all summer between Sr and Fr year for Football Americana. I was there on scholorship. It was an Indian/Religious school no less.

    ————————————————————

    I told you why I don’t believe in Jason a.k.a. the xstian god of the bible.

    “I do not believe in Jason because the text in which my belief was grounded is faulty.”

  46. J.D. says:

    sorry there is a typo in there.

  47. Monica says:

    The Atheist,
    Thank you for welcoming me and for the lengthy information. I enjoyed learning something new from it.
    “Correct me if I misunderstood you but you seem to be saying that God must have created the universe because we don’t know how it could have come into existence.”
    The stories in the Bible answer many questions about creation and the nature of God so it makes sense to me. I can see how you and others like you would take it as a lack of honesty because in your eyes you guys still see God as something that cannot be explained. Because you believe that He cannot be explained we are dishonest in saying that He exist.

    The explanation that evolution gives still doesn’t answer the question that, “Whatever existed prior to the universe what created that thing?” Also known as the uncaused cause. You guys admit that you don’t know the answer and we believe that God exists and created life or the universe. No matter how small science can go with creation it doesn’t logically answer how we got here. For me God is the best explanation.
    I have to go so I’ll continue this conversation later.

  48. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    The stories in the Bible answer many questions about creation and the nature of God so it makes sense to me.

    The stories in the Bible are simple enough, and I understand the appeal of simple explanations to complicated questions. But if we take Genesis as a literal account, then there are many places where Genesis contradicts what we observe in our world. If instead you take Genesis as metaphor, then there seems little reason to think that creation happened the way Genesis describes it (the purpose of the metaphor would not be to convey historical accuracy but rather a spiritual truth).

    Before I go into detail about why I don’t think Genesis offers compelling answers to creation, could you give me an idea of the extent to which you take it literally or metaphorically?

    I can see how you and others like you would take it as a lack of honesty because in your eyes you guys still see God as something that cannot be explained. Because you believe that He cannot be explained we are dishonest in saying that He exist.

    I feel that some apologists are dishonest to be sure, but I certainly wouldn’t make the blanket accusation that anyone who believes in God is dishonest. I have spoken with believers who I respect who simply admit that they can’t explain the reason for some of the beliefs that they hold. I disagree with them, and they with me, but we respect and understand each other’s position and neither thinks the other is dishonest.

  49. Monica says:

    J.D.,
    “Creationism is not science”
    Science is used to affirm creation whether God is the Ceator of it or we came about by sheer chance. Creation exist so what or who started it? We believe that God is the anwer to creation so there is a beginning for us. An atheist admits that he doesn’t exactly know what created life or the possibility of sheer chance and I don’t understand how that answer would satisfy someone.
    We are born with the knowledge of good and evil and with the natural tendency to do bad things. What or Who can the complexities of nature be attributed to? Don’t you think it is worthy of acknowledment and praise? Also, the scriptures that can literally be applied have proven themselves to be true, so why wouldn’t everything else be true? Where did such wisdom come from? Where did emotions come from? Does the what or Who have emotions? The Bible explains how these things came about but unbelievers have no answers. Just something to think about. I’m not being dishonest it just makes sense to me which then becomes believable.

  50. doug says:

    Agnostic Anna Nonymous

    HI !

    Your statement:

    “I can’t explain why I don’t believe God exists. The reason I don’t believe in God is due to a lack of compelling evidence that He does”.

    J.D. said:

    “I think that is more of an agnostic statement, more for a fence sitter”

    Anna Nonymous:

    How does it feel to be called an agnostic on your website……..”ask an atheist”.

    Especially when your monicor is “the atheist”? ? ?

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  51. doug says:

    Anna Nonymous & D.J.

    HI !

    This is an atheist website thus you obviously have reasons for being an atheist.

    Do you have reasons outside of “reach out and touch someone” ?

    Everyone loves a list. please give me a list.

    Best wishes & God bless you Anna Nonymous,
    Doug

  52. doug says:

    Anna Nonymous

    Whoops

    Dear Anna Nonymous,

    I almost forgot that you asked for a topic to debate the pros & cons of that subject is:

    God !

    Best wishes & God bless you Anna Nonymous,
    Doug

  53. The Atheist says:

    doug,

    How does it feel to be called an agnostic on your website……..”ask an atheist”.

    I’ve been called much worse ;)

    Some people feel that atheists must be certain that God does not exist (often referred to as “hard atheism”) to be considered atheist. I am a “hard atheist” relative to Gods of religions of which I am familiar. On the other hand, it is also possible for example that there is a God who does not want us to know that he exists and is capable of insuring that we never find out. In that case, it would be possible for God to exist that we could not know. But I see no reason to believe something like that merely because it is possible (more accurately, because it cannot be proven impossible). I believe that is not the case – I believe that there is not a God, even one that doesn’t want us to know that he exists, because such a belief would be baseless. That belief that there is no God makes me an atheist.

  54. doug says:

    Anna Nonymous

    List

    Dear Anna Nonymous,

    I suppose we have all of us have ” been called much worse”………..however by a fellow atheist?

    Would you be so kind as to give me a LIST as to why you are an atheist?

    Please KISS…………short & simple.

    Best wishes & God bless you Anna Nonymous,
    Doug

  55. doug says:

    Monica
    Unity

    Dear Monica,

    Your name is definatley one of my favorite names.

    You and I should unify.

    Let us take one issue at a time.

    For now I suggest that we concentrate on the reasons one has become an atheist.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

    Let’s not muddy the waters with more than one issue.

  56. Monica says:

    The Atheist,
    How so does Genesis contradict how the world began? When God said “let there be light and there was light.” I don’t think it was that simple but rather more complex to us. To God it was simple but to us I think not. So I guess I take it pretty literally with the understanding that God’s ways are not ours. For an example, the Bible explains that a day to the Lord can be a thousand days to Him. Do you see how that can get complicated for us?

  57. J.D. says:

    Monica

    What “The Atheist” was referring to was that in Genesis, there are multiple versions of the beginning. Part of it says it happened in this order, another verse says it happened in a different order. Read through it and pay attention.

    Another part of the bible says (paraphrased J.D. version)that “the sinful pay for their sins and the innocent are to be rewarded”. still another verse says “the sins of the father shall not pass to the son.” However according to Genesis we are all cursed for the sins of A&E.

    I have had a long day, I am usually up later so I will reply more in the morning. Good night to you all.

  58. The Atheist says:

    doug,

    I suppose we have all of us have ” been called much worse”………..however by a fellow atheist?

    Why would you expect that all atheists agree with each other, or even like each other? I don’t sense any tension at all between J.D. and myself, but for the sake of argument, what if there were? I don’t see that as a comment on atheism or atheistic beliefs in any way. Do you?

    Would you be so kind as to give me a LIST as to why you are an atheist?

    Certainly – I am an atheist because:

    1) I don’t believe that God exists.

    I’ve mentioned a few reasons for not believing in God on this thread. Do you take issue with any one of them in particular or do you agree that they are acceptable reasons?

  59. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    J.D. was pretty much right about what I meant – that the accounts of creation in Genesis contradict each other if taken literally. Besides that, I also meant that the accounts of creation in Genesis (again when taken literally) contradict what we can observe about our universe. Let me start with on example of how the 2 stories in Genesis contradict each other:

    In Genesis 1:25-26, God creates animals before he creates man:

    And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    However in Genesis 2:18-19, God creates man before he creates animals:

    And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

    There are other contradictions, this is just an example to show you what I mean.

    The creation stories in Genesis also contradicts what we know about our world. In the 1st creation story (Gen 1), God makes the heaven and Earth before there are stars. We know that planets form out of the debris that revolves around a star, after the star has already formed. Next, God makes light before he makes light sources (stars). He created “day” and “night” before creating the sun (our star) – and we know that the sun’s light on the rotating Earth’s is the cause of night and day.

    There are more examples of this too – I included a few here to give you an idea of what I’m talking about.

  60. J.D. says:

    This is another problem I had when I was a believer and still have with religion. People pick and choose which parts to take literally and which to take figuratively. Because the only clear place in the where it should be taken figuratively are in the interpretations of dreams and parables. It is clearly defined that those are not to be taken literally and mean something else. so if you believe the bible, then all other sections should be taken literally.

    however this creates problems for believers when it comes to sin and punishment. Then you find people in all ranges of the literal/figurative beliefs. This is where you get your fundies and moderates. This is also something that shows that people, religious or otherwise, don’t (or maybe SHOULDN’T)get their morals from the bible.

  61. doug says:

    Anna Nonymous

    HI!

    Name:
    I read elsewhere that you are a Jew. I asked you for a Biblical name. None came so I began to address you as Anna Nonymous. I could think of no gender neutral defining names in the Bible.
    Anna Nonymous is still impersonal so I have decided to refer to you as Samson, after all he turned from God yet in the end returned to God.

    Agnostic/atheist:
    I also sense no tension between you and J.D.
    Atheists like Christians are like family’s. They may differ on which teams they like or what each others politics are, but in the end they are still family.
    Just busting your chops dear.

    AT&Theist:

    I asked for a list of reasons you do not believe in God.
    You told me to search your previous posts.
    I did.
    Here is what I found:
    1) “I don’t know of any good reason to believe He does”.

    2) “Evolution is a fact not a theory”.

    3) “Religions are based on ancient thoughts.”

    4) You need a “…Positive evidence of God”.

    5) “It seems meaningless to say that God lives. If He lives outside of time, how long did He spend thinking about creating the universe?”

    One at a time:
    1) “I don’t know of any good reason He does”.
    Answer: Sorry but once more you prove to be an AT&Theist. You need to see Him, hear Him, touch Him, feel Him & taste Him.

    2) “Evolution is a fact not a theory”.
    Answer: Oh really? If this is so why is there such a great difference between Man and apes? Do you believe in big foot?
    I could not agree more that Charles Darwin was a great thinker, however everything he postulated is still a THEORY not a fact.

    3) “Religions are based on ancient thoughts”.
    Answer: My lifelong firm belief that “People are basically good” was handed down from my parents to me. Being older than makes this an “Ancient thought”, nevertheless I still believe it.
    Does ancient mean stupider?

    4) You need a “positive evidence of God”.
    Answer: Dear, dear, dear. Once more you prove yourself to be an AT&Thesiest. Obviously you need to “reach out and touch someone”. Someone being God.” Positive evidence of God”, is all around you, as the old song goes .”The birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees and a moon up above and a thing called love”.
    Would “positive evidence “be being able to see, hear, feel, touch and taste God?

    5) “It seems meaningless to say that God lives. If He lives outside of time, how long did He spend thinking about creating the universe”?
    Answer: INFINITY! The concept of infinity is difficult if not impossible for people to comprehend.

    “It seems meaningless to say that God lives”.
    Your inference is that you need to “reach out and touch” Him. To use your five senses.

    “I f He lives outside of time, how long did He spend thinking about creating the universe”?

    Gracious me whoever said that God, “lives outside of time”?
    For us there is an alpha and omega,,,,,,,,,,we are born….we die.
    There is no alpha and omega with God.
    You are trying to place Him in a box.

    I speak from my heart. From my soul.

    Please close your mind for a moment and open your heart..open Your soul ……..please.

    Best wishes & God bless you Samson,
    Doug

  62. The Atheist says:

    doug,

    1) “I don’t know of any good reason He does”.
    Answer: Sorry but once more you prove to be an AT&Theist. You need to see Him, hear Him, touch Him, feel Him & taste Him.

    That’s a fairly close summary of one of my reasons: I don’t know of any compelling reasons to believe in God. Perceiving God through my 5 senses would be compelling enough, but I would consider other compelling evidence as well.

    2) “Evolution is a fact not a theory”.
    Answer: Oh really? If this is so why is there such a great difference between Man and apes? Do you believe in big foot?
    I could not agree more that Charles Darwin was a great thinker, however everything he postulated is still a THEORY not a fact.

    That’s not a good summary of my position about evolution so I’ll state it more clearly for you here: evolution is a fact, and evolution is a theory. The fact of evolution is that species have evolved into other different species. The theory of evolution explains how evolution comes about. I’m not sure why you would view the fact that different species are different (Man and “Ape” in your example) is evidence that could discredits evolution. Could you explain?

    3) “Religions are based on ancient thoughts”.
    Answer: My lifelong firm belief that “People are basically good” was handed down from my parents to me. Being older than makes this an “Ancient thought”, nevertheless I still believe it.
    Does ancient mean stupider?

    That is a pretty good summary of my position but it leaves out an important point: the important point is ancient thought that could not take into account facts that are available to modern thinkers. For example, ancient thinkers we unaware that the Earth is a body that revolves around the Sun. Without this crucial knowledge, ancient thinkers could be forgiven for concluding incorrectly that the Sun crossing the sky was God riding in a chariot of fire.

    To answer your question, “ancient” does not mean “stupid,” though in many cases, it may mean “ignorant,” as in ignorance about the solar system in my example.

    4) You need a “positive evidence of God”.
    Answer: Dear, dear, dear. Once more you prove yourself to be an AT&Thesiest. Obviously you need to “reach out and touch someone”. Someone being God.” Positive evidence of God”, is all around you, as the old song goes .”The birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees and a moon up above and a thing called love”.
    Would “positive evidence “be being able to see, hear, feel, touch and taste God?

    That is a very good summary. Well done. However, I would not limit the evidence to perception through my 5 senses.

    5) “It seems meaningless to say that God lives. If He lives outside of time, how long did He spend thinking about creating the universe”?
    Answer: INFINITY! The concept of infinity is difficult if not impossible for people to comprehend.

    I don’t think that it would be meaningless to say that “God lives,” so that’s not a statement I could clarify for you. I do think it is meaningless to say that “God lives outside of time.” Your answer, “infinity,” doesn’t provide any additional meaning to me. But your admission that infinity might be impossible for people to comprehend might give you pause when you offer “infinity” as an explanation.

    There is no alpha and omega with God.

    So I’m not sure if you are alluding to the Bible here but, according to the Bible, God is the alpha and the omega. If that’s not what you meant, could you explain?

  63. The Reverend says:

    Hello to all,

    If I may:
    Anyone who doesn’t believe in evolution hasn’t studied the history of religion. According to archaeologists, man has accredited world events and phenomena and worshipped some form of deity for, approximately, 60,000 years. As man learned more about his surroundings and how the natural world worked, the number of gods and their respective areas of expertise gradually dwindled to the small number of belief systems we see today.
    The ‘One True God’ of modern religions did not exist before the last 5,000 years, ergo, I cannot believe that the Judaic/Christian/Islamic concept of god is based on any reality. It is simply a way to explain the unexplainable and, for me, that just won’t cut it. Science may not have all the answers, yet, but I am more inclined to trust in someone who will admit he doesn’t have the answers than someone who claims to have them all.

    That’ll be 2 cents, please.

  64. The Reverend says:

    Oops!
    Forgot to add:
    If any readers live in the Wisconsin area, Wisconsin Public Television will be airing ‘A Rough History of Disbelief’ by Jonathan Miller.
    This is an excellent documentary on the subject of atheism which had been broadcast on the BBC.
    They will be running the complete 3 hour series in one block.

    Air time: May 25th, 7:00AM-10:00AM Central Daylight Time

    http://wpt.org/

  65. Monica says:

    J.D.,
    What scriptures are you referring to in regards the sinful paying for their sins and the innocent being rewarded? In a general sense yes we are all born into the curse of sin. In an individual sense God judges a person according to what they have done. Oh yeah, when I said I took the Bible literally I was talking about the book of Genesis. There are some books that are not to be read literally but rather figuratively.

    The Atheist,
    I did some research and some believe that when God created Adam and Eve in Ch.2 that that could’ve been a second creation because in Ch. 3:23 it says that the Lord God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. That’s a start but I have to leave right now and I’ll be back. Bye

  66. doug says:

    The atheist/ Anna Nonymous/ now Samson

    Dear Samson,

    HI !
    I hope you are happy and in good health.

    The title of this thread is “Why do AT&Thesist argue science vs. philosophy”?

    I then asked that it be “Why do AT&Thesist argue science vs. faith”.

    You stated that you had several reasons outside of your 5 senses to believe in atheism.
    You told me to go back and check your other posts.
    All those to me I did.
    I only quoted you and gave my answers as best I could.
    Speaking from my heart and soul may not be enough for you, however I believe that it has proven sufficient thus far.

    1) If you could see God you could then believe in God.

    Answer: What do you expect God to be? Do you need to be able and have tea and crumpets with Him?
    Queen Elizabeth II yes! However she is but a Queen, she is human no better or worse than we. She is NOT GOD ! ! !
    Has the Queen ever created anything? Sorry, but no.

    “Science vs. faith”.

    OK here is where you argue “science vs. faith”.
    The thread.

    2) “Evolution is a fact not a theory”.

    Dear this was a direct quote from you.
    You now say that it is both a fact and a theory. You then went on to “clarify” your
    position. It cannot be both……it either is or is not.

    From apes to Man.
    If we are evolved apes, why are there still apes?
    If we evolved from apes, then why is there not a species between Man and apes?

    3) “Religions are based on ancient thoughts”

    Yes we now know that the moon is not a hole in the sky and that Thor is not the god of thunder. Many societies explained what they could not understand by inventing gods. These were multi-theistic thoughts.
    Belief in God is mono-theistic.
    It dates back to the times when Pharoah was considered to be god. Yet even he died.
    Jews believed only in God.
    He parted the Red Sea. He rained down manna, etc.
    All things which could be seen though they never saw the face of God.
    He showed them miracles so that they would believe.
    After Jesus there were no more miracles.
    Either you believed or you did not.
    Faith was then up to you………no more miracles.
    These “Ancient thoughts” about God have withstood the test of time.
    Faith is now up to you.

    4) You “Need positive evidence of God”

    You stated, “I would not limit the evidence of God to my 5 senses”.

    Then what are you looking for a burning bush?

    5) “…God lives outside of time…”.

    Gracious I never said that, you did.
    Infinity.
    Infinity of time.
    Infinity of God.

    “…Give you pause when you offer ‘infinity’ as an explanation”
    I have wrapped my mind around around infinity, but have you tried? Take time to think about it.

    “There is no alpha and omega with God”.

    I am not alluding to the Bible I am stating what I believe about God.

    I look forward to hearing from you. I still would still like to hear reasons other than “Reach out and touch someone.”
    Evolution is a scientific argument……..a poor excuse for not believing in God.

    best wishes & God bless you Samson,
    Doug

    2)

  67. The Atheist says:

    The Reverend,

    Very well said… and I’m disappointed that I won’t get to see the BBS broadcast again. I saw it once before and it was a great series.

    Welcome to the blog!

  68. The Reverend says:

    The aforementioned documentary is available for viewing at: http://www.veoh.com/search.html?type=&searchId=9139962170640358400&search=A+Rough+History+of+Disbelief

    They also have ‘The Atheism Tapes.’

    Happy viewing.

  69. The Reverend says:

    Thank you, by the way.

  70. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    …when God created Adam and Eve in Ch.2 that that could’ve been a second creation because in Ch. 3:23 it says that the Lord God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken…

    “from which he had been taken” is a reference to Genesis 2:7 where he forms Adam from the dust of the ground – now Adam is to work the ground from which he was made.

    Some apologists don’t hesitate to make up stories (like a second creation) in order to solve problems like the one we’re talking about now (and many others!). But you will not find a “second creation” anywhere in the Bible, or even in the writing of the Church Fathers – it is a new idea that fundamentalist apologists made up to account for contradictions in the Genesis story. Apologists lose all credibility when they are willing to believe the stories that they themselves made up.

    On the other hand, there is a very good reason why there are contradictions in the Genesis story. It is because Genesis 1 and 2 are actually 2 similar but distinct creation stories that were later folded into a single story (see the Documentary Hypothesis). Most all Bible scholars including non-Christians and Christians (except for fundamentalist Christians who insist that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God despite the preponderance of evidence that it is not) accept the Documentary Hypothesis in one form or another (there is some disagreement about some of the technical details, but not about the basic theory).

  71. The Atheist says:

    doug,

    Answer: What do you expect God to be? Do you need to be able and have tea and crumpets with Him?

    That would be nice – and it would be sufficient for me to believe that he exists – but not necessary for me to believe.

    You now say that [evolution] is both a fact and a theory…It cannot be both……it either is or is not.

    That evolution occurs is a fact; evolution theory describes the mechanisms that govern evolution.

    If we are evolved apes, why are there still apes?
    If we evolved from apes, then why is there not a species between Man and apes?

    We humans are in fact great apes (hominins) as are chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans. First, you should understand that when one species evolves from a parent species, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the parent species will become extinct. However, it so happens that the common ancestor of humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas did become extinct some 6 to 9 million years ago. So in our case, there are still apes because early apes evolved into modern apes.

    Belief in God is mono-theistic.

    Many religious systems believe in more than one God (including those who believe that “the Father” and Jesus are both Gods).

    It dates back to the times when Pharoah was considered to be god. Yet even he died.
    AkhenatenJews believed only in God.

    Akhenaten was the only pharaoh that was a monotheist, and he believed in a different God than the Jews believed in (he believed in Aten, the sun disk). The early Israelites (Canaanite) believed in a pantheon of which El and YHVH (Jehovah) were members. Monotheism grew out of this polytheism.

    After Jesus there were no more miracles.

    According to the Book of Acts, there were miracles after Jesus. Also, Jesus promised that the disciples would work miracles than his.

    These “Ancient thoughts” about God have withstood the test of time.

    The ancient thoughts have persisted among some people, so in that regard they have stood the test of time. But time has not been kind to them – as time goes on, more and more people realize that those stories are not true.

    Faith is now up to you.

    Why is it important that I have faith?

    Then what are you looking for a burning bush?

    I’ve seen bushes burn – they weren’t compelling evidence that God exists. ;)

  72. The Atheist says:

    The Reverend,

    Thanks for posting the links! I hope others who read this blog will watch too.

  73. The Reverend says:

    I’m afraid I have a problem with biblical literalists.
    In my view, you either take the bible, as a complete work, literally or you don’t. Picking and choosing what is literal and what is figurative would leave a rather large door open for misinterpretation.
    To say that the genesis story is literal but the story of the great flood isn’t would be hypocritical, to say the least. Which stories are parables and which are true? Is the trial of Job true but Jonah and the fish a parable or is it the other way around?
    And what of the inconsistencies? Which is to be believed, Joseph and Mary were from Nazareth and went to Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-7) or they were from Bethlehem and then moved to Nazareth (Matthew 2:1-22)?
    As far as being scientifically verifiable, the bible is wide of the mark.
    AiG, YEC’s, DI and whatever other initials you’d care to string together are doing their peculiar brand of science backwards. They have an end result, the bible, and try to skew the data to fit that result. Which gives us dinosaurs living in Eden with Adam and Eve, and not eating them.
    They have constrained themselves to a particular time frame, 6,000 to 10,000 years, and try to fit millions of years of real time occurances into that paltry space.
    I have listened to and read some of the papers from the likes of Ken Ham, Michael Behe and others, but in the arena of real science the only christians I can relate to are people like Kenneth Miller and Francis Collins.
    It is my opinion, and my opinion only, that one of the biggest problems in the debate between the bible and science is that not enough people are willing to do the hard work; i.e., study both sides of the issue. And I mean ‘study.’ I have read the bible, several versions, read books, journals and papers on original scriptures and the gospels. I have books on biology, paleontology, cosmology and archaeology, to give myself frames of reference. It’s not always easy, I work full-time and we have two sports-minded teenagers, but it can be done.
    You don’t need a college degree or even have to read peer reviewed papers. Pick up a copy of Carl Sagan’s ‘The Dragons of Eden’, for starters, or borrow a high school biology textbook (which will probably be co-written by Kenneth Miller). If you’re on the other side of the issue then get some bibles along with any works from Answers in Genesis or any number of books in the defense of the biblical story. Books are all over the internet and almost every town has a library.

    Uh…..OK, I’m starting to rant. Sorry.

  74. J.D. says:

    Reverend,

    Nice to meet someone who thinks so much like I do. At some other time I would love to compare thoughts on other subjects with you. Some of your post seem to paraphrase mine or carry on with the subject. But our thought on the this particular train are the same . Happy to have you aboard.

    thanks for the link on the special.
    ——————————————————————————-

    Monica,

    Here is the one about the innocent, like I said, I was paraphrasing I could not remember completely off hand.

    Ezekiel 18:20 (New International Version)
    20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.

    the contradicting verse:

    Exodus 20:5 (New International Version)
    5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    on the documentation hypothesis,

    and I cannot remember the names but the man of god has this really hot wife. they go to Egypt, she is so hot they know that other men would kill HIM to have her. Solution: they pretend to be brother and sister. Well she shacks up with the leader, husband becomes well off through his wife. Jason(god, for those of you just joining us) doesn’t like this, sends plague, leader gets the low down on the couple and kicks them out of town.

    Later on: same two people, same story, different location. I will look this up to verify when I get done, but you get the point.

    ———————————————————————————–

    Doug,

    No offense but you are starting to ramble. At least Monica admits that she does not understand a lot of the discussion here. We have given more than enough to fill the pallets of several believers, and like other “hardcore-ists” you try to plat word games.
    you are trying to get us to stumble, but it almost seems like desperation to me.
    The Reverend joining our discussion has only reiterated the points that The Atheist and I have already made.

    ———————————————————————————–

    There are a lot of good teachings in religion, but the harm done by religion far outweighs the good. What good that has come from religion is good which we could has easily known for ourselves. That good was probably evident before the texts, but once it was written then it was portrayed as it’s origin.

    Proverbs always was and always will be my favorite book of the bible.

    Proverbs 1:22-26

    20 Wisdom calls aloud in the street,
    she raises her voice in the public squares;

    21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out,
    in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:

    22 “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?
    How long will mockers delight in mockery
    and fools hate knowledge?

    23 If you had responded to my rebuke,
    I would have poured out my heart to you
    and made my thoughts known to you.

    24 But since you rejected me when I called
    and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand,

    25 since you ignored all my advice
    and would not accept my rebuke,

    26 I in turn will laugh at your disaster;

    ——————————————————————

    I am tired of this repetition, is there another angle we can speak from.

  75. J.D. says:

    Oh Here is one, what about unfulfilled prophecy, I will start the thread. Please Join.

  76. J.D. says:

    A thought that just popped into my head,

    Doug you talk about Christianity being a monotheistic religion. But Catholicism(largest branch of Christianity), to me anyway, seems to be more polytheistic than most others. How many hundreds of “patron saints” are there? Let us not forget Mother Mary, Catholics to pray to her also.

  77. The Atheist says:

    The Reverend,

    I agree with your all or nothing position regarding Christians picking and choosing which parts of the Bible are “really” to be taken literally. The reasons they give for taking it literally leave them little latitude for admitting that any part of the Bible is not inspired. And of course, the inability to admit that some parts are not inspired, even when it contradicts other parts of the Bible or when it contradicts proven history or proven science, leads to some pretty wield apologetics.

    All,

    I’ve never heard Christians making this apology, so let me play the devil’s advocate for a bit: what if I claimed, as many fundamentalist Christians do, that only the autographs are inerrant? But what if I then went a step further and said that not only have the autographs been corrupted over time (as most everyone, even most fundamentalists admit), text passages and even entire uninspired books have been added to the cannon along with the (mostly) inspired Books? Would that give them the right to pick and choose? Would it allow contradictions in the Bible while preserving the theory that God’s word is inspired?

    Here are some problems I see right out of the gate (and maybe someone else could play the devil’s advocate to defend): if God inspired some of the authors to write his Word for all humanity to have from that point forward, why didn’t he also inspire the scribes who copied the texts, and the canonizers and compilers of the Bible in order to preserve it? There seems no point in giving humanity the inerrant word if it will be allowed to be corrupted within the very same century it was written.

    The other obvious problem is that, if some of the Bible is inspired, and some is not, how do we know which parts are inspired? Any defenses?

    Maybe we atheists can come up with the next big apologetic theory that fundamentalists will promote!

  78. The Atheist says:

    J.D.

    I cannot remember the names but the man of god has this really hot wife. they go to Egypt,

    Abraham and Sarah?

  79. J.D. says:

    Oh! I know! I know! I know! We know which parts to accept in a symbolic matter because science and history has proven them otherwise. So we take to symbolically so that we can preserve our faith. Stupid scientists, they think they know everything!

  80. J.D. says:

    I will check the names, sounds correct though.

  81. Monica says:

    The Atheist,
    Here are a few beliefs about the first two chapters in Genesis. Some people believe that Genesis gives us an account of both creation and recreation. Some believe that chapter two is a retellling of the story but not in chronological order. Perhaps by the same author or one of the author’s descendents. Sort of like what you said. Some believe that Genesis chapter two was talking specifically about the creation of the Garden of Eden. As of right now I’m not satisfied with any of those answers. That’s why I love talking to you guys because you guys give me something to study

  82. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    You sound like a thinker, and I like that. Whatever you decide makes sense to you, the important thing is that you thought about it and decided for yourself, and you’re always willing to rethink it when new evidence presents itself. I try to be like that as well. Personally, as you might guess, I don’t find those answers very satisfying either.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to immediately jettison all faith in the Bible. Most of the world’s Christians believe that the Bible’s authors were inspired, but they wrote what they understood as best they could. That means they could be wrong about details, but their writings could still reflect their inspiration. Fundamentalist evangelicals believe that the authors were inspired, but their idea of “inspired” means that God guided them in some mysterious way so that every word was what God wanted it to be. That means they could never be wrong. There are quite a few problems with that view, but that’s a discussion for another day.

    Here is another (very) brief explanation of the Documentary Hypothesis from ReligiousTolerance.org.: http://www.religioustolerance.org/jepd_gen.htm. I thought this article was particularly apropos to our conversation since they use the Genesis 1 – 10 as their illustration. Notice the 2 different sources for the 2 different creation stories. What was your take on the Documentary Hypothesis page on Wikipedia? I can recommend some books that go into much greater detail if you are interested in exploring it further.

  83. doug says:

    The Terminator:
    “I’m baaaack”

    To All:

    My phone connection went out so I have not been able to contact you for a couple of days, but “I’m baaaack”

    I have gone back to catch up on things& I have a fair idea of what’s going on.

    I shall try to address these issues seperately.

    Beginning with my next post.

    Best wishes & God bless you each and everyone,
    Doug

  84. doug says:

    NASCAR:
    “Gentlemen start your engines”……revvv
    I shall call you Red,
    We may have have met via Austin “International man of mystery” Austin.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

    P.S.: wish to give me another name? I am ameniable to that.

    Oh yeah welcome to our discussion.

  85. doug says:

    ALL:
    Evolution

    HI!
    I hope that everyone is happy a and in good health.
    When you wake up in the morning you have the choice of being:
    Mad or glad.
    Sad or mad.

    OK now on to evolution:

    We do not have all of the same species that this world which God created had in the beginning.
    The gnu, saber toothed tiger, etc have all died off.

    However:

    Species have adapted to their environment or died.
    Neanderthals did not adapt, thus they died off.
    Homoerectus adapted, therefore they survived.

    Did unicorns become horses? Did dragons become crocodiles? Did gargoyles become Rosie O’Donald {well I’ll grant you that one}….;D

    NO !!!

    If via evolution you mean adapting to ones environment sure.
    Making new species I think not.
    Breeding a beagle with a dochsund [sp] to make a basset hound if you consider that evolution, then you have a convoluted mind.
    Man’s growing straighter and taller is adapting to his environment, not evolution to my way of thought.

    Adaptation to one’s environment is entirely different, than evolution to my way of thinking………….if you think its evolution thats fine with me to, simply not creating new species

    One down and I’m not sure how many to go.

    Best wishes & God bless each and every one of you,
    Doug

  86. doug says:

    The Doug-inator:
    “I’M baaaack”

    HI ! ! !

    I hope everyone is happy & healthy.

    As I stated before I have been off line for a couple of days.
    However :
    I have gone back several days to catch up on the current discussions.
    ——————————————————————
    Moncia,
    I have been unable to discover any reasons beyond evolution and “reach out and touch someone” [God] that atheists are indeeed ATT&Theists.
    ——————————————————————-

    “Big Bang Theory”:

    Oh this is rich :D

    Magnetism, energy, etc. concentrated into a pee hole ;) then exploded thus forming the universe as we now know it.

    When one enters a dark room they turn on a light switch and then there is light.
    YOU turned on the light switch.

    Can you imagine a total void?

    Total nothingness?

    I didn’t think so.

    Without God or a supernatural power there would be a complete vacuum, a void nothing at all. No magnetism, no energy, no nothing!!!!!
    Thus:
    If you believe in the Big Bang Theory where did all of this magnetism, etc. come from.
    Some power had to create it!
    Someone had to turn the light switch on!!!!!

    Another run for the Doug-inator!

    Best wishes & God bless each & every one of you,
    Doug

  87. doug says:

    The Doug-inator
    M-11

    Dear Samson,
    This one is for you, because you introduced me to this nonsense.
    M-11……sound like a weapon……..M-16 or some such other thing.

    A few years ago I heard that the universe was shrinking, a year or two later I heard where the universe was expanding,

    Oh deary me :(

    Get real !

    Makes no no matter if the universe is expanding or shrinking the question is:

    WHAT BORDERS &/or is OUTSIDE of the universe? ? ?

    Riddle me that ?

    Best wishes & God bless you Samson,
    Doug

    Oh yeah another run for the Doug-inator

  88. The Reverend says:

    Hello Doug,

    The gnu still exists, also called wildebeest; a ‘species’ of antelope.

    Saber-toothed cats may no longer exist but they shared a common ancestory with the various species of large cats in existence today.

    There are many species of primates that have not survived the climb up the evolutionary tree but they, too, shared common ancestory, along with man.

    There is no evidence to suggest that unicorns, dragons, incubi or succubi have ever existed.

    This may help you understand evolution: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

    Good luck.

    The Reverend

  89. doug says:

    The Doug-inator:
    “Man has peaked”

    HI J.D.,
    Goodness gracious.
    Do you really think so?

    Is Man going to need gills and fins in order to survive?

    For anyone to think that global warming is going to place us all under water is absurd!

    That man can influence natures natural cycles is prepostorous.
    In fact it is VAIN!

    Michael Crichton wrote a book about this a few years ago which had 19 pages of footnotes debunking this vanity.

    Man has not peaked.

    Best wishes & God bless you J.D.,
    Doug

    P.S.: Another run for the Doug-inator

  90. doug says:

    The Doug-inator:
    I’m baaack

    HI ALL!

    It’s getting late, so I’ll get back to you on the morrow.

    Best wishes & God bless each & everyone of you,
    Doug

  91. The Atheist says:

    Doug,

    Adaptation to one’s environment is entirely different, than evolution to my way of thinking

    By “evolution,” I mean the “transmutation” of a species. Many species have the ability to adapt to their environment – they can recognize and eat new food sources that they’d never seen before, or they can recognize and avoid new dangers that they’d never seen before, etc. But this ability is not “evolution” or “transmutation”.

    Transmutation occurs in a species when accumulated genetic changes propagate from ancestor to progeny, and the accumulated changes in the progeny precludes them from interbreeding with the original ancestral form. The original (ancestral) form might continue to exists along with the new (transmuted) form, or the ancestral form may die out, or the transmuted form may die out, or both forms may die out. The occurrence of transmutation does not depend on the ancestor’s or the progeny’s continued survival.

    One mechanism of transmutation is a species’ adaptation to its environment. Thus natural selection is one cause of the genetic change that underlies the adaptation. Artificial selection, as in your example of dog breeding, is another cause of genetic change. Regardless of what causes the genetic changes, genetic change is required for transmutation. Drosophila melanogaster (a dragonfly) is an example of artificial selection (in a laboratory in this case) leading to a new species (transmutation). The rest of non-man-made life on earth are examples of natural selection leading to new species.

  92. The Atheist says:

    Doug,

    Without God or a supernatural power there would be a complete vacuum, a void nothing at all. No magnetism, no energy, no nothing!!!!!

    I presume you mean that nothing can exist without a creator. Yet if I understand you correctly, you believe that God can indeed exist without a creator. Could you explain how you reconcile the inconsistency?

    WHAT BORDERS &/or is OUTSIDE of the universe? ? ?

    I don’t know. Do you?

    If you believe in the Big Bang Theory where did all of this magnetism, etc. come from.
    Some power had to create it!

    Who is the creator of the power that created magnetism, etc.?

    Just to clarify, at the moment of the Bang, there was no differentiation between the fundamental forces (the weak force, the strong force, magnetic force, and the force of gravity).

    Also to clarify, M-theory (from superstring theory) predicts that the fabric of space-time always exists, and the Bang is actually the expansion of 3 of the 10 spacial dimensions – our 3 familiar dimensions expand to the size of the universe as 3 other dimensions contract to a size on the order of Planck’s constant.

  93. The Reverend says:

    Unfortunately, my grasp of physics is sorely lacking. However, I am always trying to educate myself. Not only are the realms of the sciences interesting, most of it is flat-out cool.

    Here’s something I found concerning string theory by physicist Brian Greene:

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/251

  94. The Atheist says:

    Wow! What an awesome find! Brian Green is one of my favorite physics authors but I’d never seen him or heard him speak before seeing this video. Thanks for posting it!

    If you’re in the market for a great explanation of superstring theory, check out his book, Elegant Universe – it’s one of my personal all-time favorites. Green explains this incredibly complicated subject in a way that makes it quite easy to grasp. He also discusses M-theory in the book which has profound implications regarding the origin of the universe. It’s an absolutely fascinating read.

  95. doug says:

    Samson:
    Huh?
    Also:
    I’m sorry.

    Dear Samson,

    Two things:

    Under “Recent comments” my icon had a color other than sky blue…..why is this?

    More importantly. I wish to apologize for my sarcasm in regards to you.
    I do find the both the Big Bang theory and M–11 to be over thinking.

    Best wishes & God bless you Samson,
    Doug

    P.S.:
    Once more please accept my apologizes for any sarcasm towards you or anyone else. Asi I stated before I wish to keep this discussion civil and via use of sarcasm and name calling that is transgressing the bounds of civility. Please accept my apologizes.

  96. doug says:

    The Doug-inator:
    Milk.
    Samson.

    Dear Samson,
    My former wife [x- is so impersonal to my eyes after all you chose them out of love…..not natural selection:D ]……..believed that when the best by date hit that at the crack of midnight it was automatically sour.
    Milk does not sour at any specific time. As you stated it occurs over a period of time, however that genes modify or change over a period of time I have doubts about.
    Biology……I hated it, however as I recall there are 46 genes in a chromosone [no doubt that I may be wrong about the chromosone word, but one does have 46 genesI believe I got that noun right].
    The genes did not change!
    The body hanged!
    The behavior changed out of the desire to live!

    Best wihes & God bless you Samson,
    Doug

  97. doug says:

    The Doug-inator
    Samson
    Creator of God.
    Universes borders.

    Dear Samson,
    If God needed a creator He would not be God.

    I asked what lies outside of the univere and you dismissed the question without reason.
    I ask once more : if the universe is expanding then what lies outside of the universe?

    Be back in a moment.

    Best wishes & God bless you Samson,
    Doug

    P.S.:
    Another run for the Doug-inator

  98. doug says:

    The Doug-inator
    BB Gun theory.
    M-10 theory.

    HI!
    I wish all good health, happiness and prosperity.

    The BB gun theory and the M-theory both do not explain how all matter, magnetism, energy, etc. came to be it only takes for granted that it was already there.

    How did it come to be? Even Richard Dawking, the grand poo bah of atheistic thought admits that a supernatural force or being had to start things rollin….turn on the light switch.

    If he can admit this then why can’t you?

    Best wishes & God bless you each and everyone,
    Doug

    Oh yeah another run for the Doug-inator

    Without a super natural power it could not be. Even

  99. The Atheist says:

    doug,

    I ask once more : if the universe is expanding then what lies outside of the universe?

    I don’t know. Do you?

    If God needed a creator He would not be God.

    Zeus is a God but he had a creator, so it is possible to conceive of a God who has a creator.

    Why do you feel that all things must have an origin? And if you feel that all things must have an origin, how do you reconcile your belief that the creator of the universe had no origin. Also, do you believe that there are multiple creators of multiple universes?

  100. doug says:

    Happy Century Mark.

    HI ALL !
    Happy post date to us all ! !

    With this post we will have reached the century mark on posts. 100 ! ! !
    In exactly three weeks we have reached the century mark!
    Unbelievable!
    I have too much time on my hand for I went back and counted how many posts to each person.
    Here goes:
    Doug: 44
    Samson: 21
    J.D.: 21
    Red: 7
    Monica: 7

    Happy Post Date to us all !

    Best wishes & God bless you.
    Doug

  101. doug says:

    Catholicism……multi-theism.

    HI ALL !
    I hope everyone is happy and healthy.

    I stated that belief in God was mono-theistic.
    J.D. stated that Catholicism was multi-theistic…….because of the granting of Sainthood to humans.
    I know next to nothing regarding Catholicism having grown up and living here in upper east Tn. where the number of Catholic church’s is negligible. I do understand the granting of Saint to humans. The granting of Sainthood to a person is akin to giving a soldier the Congressional Medal of Honor. This soldier demonstrated extreme valor in battle. A person granted Sainthood demonstrated unusual valor in their belief in God.

    To pray for a blessing from St. Christopher escapes my sense of perception.

    Multi-theistic I still do not think so. These Saints fought the good fight for God, just as the Congressional Medal of Honor recipients fought the good fight for their country.
    In the end both fought for one thing. Their country or their God. Sometimes both.

    Best wishe & God bless you each & everyone,
    Doug

  102. doug says:

    Great Flood.

    HI ALL !
    Internal peace and tranquility to you all.

    It was Red who made comments regarding the Great Flood.
    The search for the Arc in Turkey is a waste of time and money. There are stories of great floods in societies around the globe. There is scientific evidence of a Great Flood in the Mideast.
    This being so then the Mideast was the world to the Jews and all others at that time.
    Even were there no Great Flood it is a story of how God separated believers from nonbelievers. The righteous from the sinful nonbelievers.
    Even if the story of the Great Flood is false remember that you are saved by faith as is stated throughout the books of the Prophets and in the New Testament also.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  103. doug says:

    Why you should have faith.

    HI ALL !
    I wish each and everyone peace, happiness and good health.

    I once stated to Samson that “Faith is now up to you”.
    Samson responded , “Why is it important that I have faith”?
    Here is why.

    Throughout the books of the prophets a constant theme is that you are saved by faith.
    Even if one has led a sinful life if in their final days or even hours they come to believe and have faith they will be saved.
    The best example of this comes from Jesus mouth Himself.
    New Century Version. Luke 23: 39-43
    One of the criminals on a cross began to shout insults at Jesus: “Aren’t you the Christ? Then save yourself and us.”
    But the other criminal stopped him and said, “You should fear God! You are getting the same punishment He is. We are punished justly, getting what we deserve for what He did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said,” Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
    Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

    THIS is why you should have faith !

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  104. doug says:

    Beliefs.

    HI ALL !
    I wish all the best to each of you.
    Your beliefs.
    Samson. J.D. I know that each of you used to be believers in God. Each day I pray to our Father that those who do His work might see the fruits of their labor, for I can understand how one could lose their faith in God. Obviously each of you have lost your faith in God. You have hardened your haarts to Him. You have turned your back to Him.

    Your faith has shifted from God to man.
    You can see, hear, touch, smell, taste man. You cannot with God.
    Thus your AT&Theism.
    You can relate to what a HUMAN says about physics and such.
    You believe in something you cannot see .Other dimensions outside of our 3 yet you do not believe in God .
    You cannot see, hear, feel, taste or hear God so you do not believe in Him.

    You believe in the numbers and letters of man because once more of your 5 senses.
    You believe in what man cannot see….theory’s.
    You do not believe in what man cannot see….God.

    You believe in mans invisible things.
    You do not believe in Gods visible things………..each other……”The birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees and the moon up above and a thing called love.”

    Think about it.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

    You believe in man over God because you can have tea and crumpets with man.

  105. doug says:

    Atheists sites.

    HI ALL !
    Atheist sites seem to be a place where you can pat each other on the back. Reinforce your belief against God. To put it another way……where to put it in terms you will better understand………….like apes grooming each other ;D

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  106. Monica says:

    Hi you guys,
    Sorry for not posting lately. I haven’t been feeling good. I have some cathching up to do.

    J.D.,
    I don’t know if you’re still out there but I’d like to discuss the scriptures you brought up in Exodus 20:4-6 also repeated in Deuteronomy 5:8-10 and the other scripture Ezekiel 18:20. Lets start with Exodus and Deuteronomy
    “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a Jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” NIV translation.
    Here we have established that children get punished from their father’s sin to the third fourth generation of those who hate me. It could be that the fathers who have hated God naturally performed bad behavior which would then influence the behavior of their children. In the book of Proverbs we see instructions to train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart. I’m sure that the fathers who hated God did not train their children to love Him but rather to commit sinful acts as they did. We can see how generations would be punished for the sins of the fathers.
    Here’s another view on that portion of scripture. If you want to take it literally perhaps the third and fourth generation was during the time of Ezekiel when he was prophesying to the Israelites what was to come. The Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt and time after time they rebelled against God. If you read the beginning of Ezekiel 18:2-4
    “What do people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel. The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son-both alike belong to me/ The soul who sins is the one who will die.”
    Here we see that the children were effected by their fathers sin and no longer will He deal with the Israelites like that but individually. God confirms that in Ezekiel 18:14
    “But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them and does not do such things.”
    Skip to Ezekiel 18:17-20 “He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. But his father will die for his own sin because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people. Yet you ask, “Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?” Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. The soul who sins is the one that will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.”
    In regards to Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden. Sin entered into the world because of his sin. If he had not sinned we would not possess a sin nature or have the knowledge of good and evil. So what I conclude is that we are cursed with the sin nature and charged for every act of wrong doing we do against God. That’s why Jesus was sent to justify those who believe in Him by being the sacrafice or crucified on the cross. He paid the cost of Adams sin for those who believe. He then imparts to us His power not let sinful acts rule us. But as we all know just because you’re a Christian with the power not to sin doesn’t mean you’ll be an angel. We are all a work in progress. I hope that answers you question.

  107. Monica says:

    The Atheist,
    Thanks for the compliment. I want to be an honest Christian not the type of Christian who believes in something because they grew up in a Christian home or they feel happy in church. I want to know what I believe and why. I want to have solid anwers for anyone who asks about the faith. That’s why I wasn’t so much satisfied with the creation views. I have yet to discover a solid explanation.
    I tried to pull up the article on my computer and it’s not letting me. I’ll try again later.

  108. J.D. says:

    Doug,

    the gill thing, was only an example. If you read my post about that, It had nothing to do with changing the climate cycle, it had to do with altering the environment: and last time I checked, man altered the environment at Chernobyl and caused dead zones in the oceans via dumping waste.
    ————————————————————————————-

    Doug,

    One thing I missed on your profile of me,
    I AM married, with 2 going on 3 children. I sell advertising and build websites. avid outdoorsman, hunter, fisherman etc. 21 years old. raised baptist, small government conservative believe STRONGLY in individual rights. And I don’t live anywhere near the burbs or a large city. I live in redneck county Oklahoma(not actual county).

    —————————————————————

    Doug,

    That crap on the cross:

    He could have told the guy anything. There would be no proof for anyone. A load of crap.
    So are you telling me there aren’t a bunch Arabs deflowering virgins in paradise right now?

    ———————————————————————————-

    Doug,

    Do you know why there are stories of a great flood in many cultures? Because they found the shells of ocean dwelling creatures where there is no water. I can go out in the my backyard where a creak was washed away ground over hundreds of years and there are shells embedded in the stones shells of creatures that are not even native to the lakes in Oklahoma, also all lakes in Oklahoma are man made.

    ———————————————————————————
    Doug,

    Catholicism is a polytheistic religion weather you think it or not. They prey to multiple deities for blessing protection etc. Praying to those people is no different than praying to Jesus. Even Muslims acknowledge Jesus as a prophet.

    —————————————————————————–

    Doug,

    Yes we do like to reinforce our belief there is no god, we also talk about how ignorant people are so bend on believing achiest superstitions. Kind of like how people like to watch videos of people doing ignorant things, Bad example:Johnny Knoxville in JackAss.

    We would be in danger of being bombed or shot by some fundamentalist if we held “conferences” and “retreats” like religious folk do so often .
    ———————————————————————————-

    Doug,

    All Dawkins said was that something had to trigger it. E.G. the universe collapsing to the point the pressure was to great.

    You people always try to fill the void with god and then thats seems to be final. We try to figure out what happened.

    ———————————————————————————–
    Doug,

    On the dog bit:

    As I said before you do not understand evolution or natural selection. you really should quit bring those topics up.
    ———————————————————————————–

    Doug,

    Like the government you believe that repeating a lie enough times it will become believed and accepted as fact.

    ————————————————————————————
    Monica,

    Thank you for trying to present an intelligent discussion.

    ————————————————————————————

    Rev & Atheist,

    I has come to the conclusion that Doug, like “god,” is no longer worth my time. So I will no longer be acknowledging that he is in this room. The ignorance is more than I can take. Reminds me of my mother. (inside joke between me and my wife, don’t expect you to understand)

  109. J.D. says:

    Monica,

    Please don’t think I am writing you off, you Re’ed the versus while I was typing. so in the next post I will answer.

  110. Monica says:

    Hey Doug,
    You can change the number to my postings if you’d like or maybe keep a chart. (I’m just teasing) So what kind of sizures do you have? What medication have you been taking? (I’m saying this in a concerned manner) Sometimes it’s hard to understand what people are trying to get across to us because we can’t hear eachother.

  111. Monica says:

    Oops I spelled seizures wrong. You mentioned you had epilepsy.

  112. J.D. says:

    Monica,

    Like I said, I know you are trying to present an intelligent discussion, but you only supported what I was trying to say albeit not in the manner I would have used.

    You went back to the whole literal/figurative mix we spoke about earlier.

    By sinful acts you mean sin as the bible defines it, correct? We do not need god in order to do good, we do not need “Satan” to lead us astray from “God’s will.”

    So, since Eve broke the law of “God”(not Adam) and led Adam into sin(not Satan). We are damned to hell, death, however you interpret it, from birth. Then what about the age of accountably issue? Children are innocent until they understand right and wrong.
    With that, apparently, A&E had to learn what good and evil was. So they could have done evil and not known it, because to them there was no such thing as good or evil. There was just doing. To be crude, A could have been porking E in the rear until he figured out which one was working. Sodomy, of course is later stated as a sin. But It wouldn’t have mattered because they wouldn’t have known. If they were perfect and knew what pieces went where then they know that it would have been wrong to insert bolt A into nut C instead of B. And that Kills the tree of G&E theory.

    Which brings me to another thought. If children have to learn “good and evil”
    Depending on what part of the world they are born into, the good and evil they are taught will be different from the good and evil an Christian is taught by Christian families. EVEN then, the legal age of consent is different from state to state in the US, some countries don’t even have a term for it in their legal system.

    Good and evil does not come from god, it comes from man. Laws are made by man not god. Countries are built by man, not god.

    I know where I stand. The burden of proof does not stand with, Rev, Atheist, or myself. It stands with religion.

    If religious people would live and let live, I would not even bother to argue these points. My problem with religion now, is that people try to legislate it upon others.
    Forcing people to believe the way they do under penalty of law.

    One video I saw on abortion was a guy asking anti-abortionist what they thought.
    The most common answer was that abortion was murder and should be against the law.
    the next question was, “if abortion was against the law, what should happen to the women who get abortions?” none could give a logical answer. They said the women needed counseling. Now, last time I checked when someone murdered another the criminal get years in prison, not counseling and sent on his/her way.
    Yet one man shoots a Dr. who preforms abortions, gets the death penalty and religious folks, himself included say he is innocent. He calls himself a martyr.

    religion is a load, that I am sure of.

  113. doug says:

    Universe.
    Expanding.
    Contracting.

    HI ALL !
    I wish all health & happiness.

    Samson, aka the atheist, introduced me to a new theory regarding the universe. This theory postulates that the universe can expand and contract. I have asked her TWICE what is outside of the universe.
    Samsons reply has been:
    “I don’t know do you.”

    Might I suggest Heaven.

    You may well reject this because you believe in a mans “reach out and touch someone”, numbers, mans letters, mans equations, mans postulations, mans hypothesis.

    You have turned your back on God.
    You have hardened your heart to Him.
    Take a moment to consider not just the M-theory, but ALSO the existence of God.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  114. The Atheist says:

    doug,

    [W]hat is outside of the universe…Might I suggest Heaven.

    You certainly may. And I will be duly impressed if you show me how you know that heaven lies outside of the universe.

  115. doug says:

    Punishment of Gods chosen people.

    HI ALL !

    A “stubborn people”. This is how God refered to his chosen people, the Jews time after time for they turned from Him time after time. Having seen Gods miracles in Egypt they still turned on Him in the desert. They had eaten the mannah the birds and drunk from the water provided for them by God.
    When in the promised land they turned on God countless times and He forgave them countless times until His patience ran out. This is when He told them that they would be scattered to the four corners of the earth and hated everywhere they went. Obviously fulfilled.

    In The New Century version of the Bible Zechariah 13: 8 states:
    “The Lord says,”teo-thirds of the people will die. They will be gone, and one-third will be left. The third that is left I will test with fire, purifying them like silver, testing them like gold. Then they will call on Me, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘you are my people’ and they will say,the ‘Lord is our God'”.

    For me this is fulfillment of prophesy expecially after the holocaust.
    This was NOT written after the holocaust.

    Zechariah 14: 19-11
    “All the land south of Jerusalem from Geba to Rimmon will be turned into a plain. Jerusalem will be raised up, but it will stay in the same place. The city will reach from the Benjamin Gate and to the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses. People will live there and it will never be destroyed again. Jerusalem will be safe.”

    “Jerusalem has been raised up”…….in the same place.
    Jerusalem has been raised up and it has stayed in the same place.

    “People will live there and it will never be destroyed again”
    God’s chosen people do live there and despite radical Palestinian attacks still stands.

    “Jerusalem will be safe”
    Well not yet.
    However if the rest of the prophesy has come true why will the last, “Jerusalem will be safe”, not also come to be?
    “it will never be destroyed again.

  116. doug says:

    My epilepsy.
    Seizure Disorder.

    Dear Monica,
    God bless you.
    My seizures began when I was 6 and fell and struck my head against the stone fire place.
    This was 49 years ago. At that time doctors knew little about epilepsy and placed me on Dilantin…..an adult dosage. My lips puffed up and I mumbled. I grew up in the racist south [at that time] and because my lips swelled up they pushed my lips out and I was called “n-lips”. The medicine made me sleepy and I would fall asleep in class….the teachers thought I was Mentally Retarded my mother would come and pick me up from school [God bless her] . Dilantin made me slow and so I was laughed at when trying to play baseball.
    I have grand mal seizures. As a child I would have a seizure wet my bed and my mother would wash my sheets as I waited or slept waiting on them.
    I have always been up front with people and possible employers about my seizure disorder. When I went in for a second interview with the vice-president of the company [if you were to see the vp you had the job]. I remembered that in the first interview I had not mentioned my seizure disorder so while waiting with the companys introductory or middle man I mentioned this to him. Instead of seeing the veep all of a sudden I was seeing human relations which meant no job. This would have been a six figure salary withing three years, however because of my up front honesty I did not get the job.
    Take me as I am or not at all.
    What was my primary medication, Keppra, became cost prohibitive after my divorce. I was on her insurace what with my recieving disability. I can no longer afford it and have switched from Keppra to Mysoline. Not quiet as good but it still works decently.
    I hope that this explains my seizures to you.
    Julius Caesar had epilepsy and some even say that Saul/Paul had them….I think not
    One percent of the population has epilepsy.
    God bless you for asking and your concern.

    Best wishes & God bless you Monica
    Doug

  117. doug says:

    My Seizure Disorder.

    Dear Monica,
    HI! I hope all things are going well for you……..I wish this of everyone, but once more thank you for your concern. I am touched.
    A Seizure Disorder has undergone many name changes….fit’sand floppsy’s just to name a couple. Once when I had a seizure in public people prayed over me. Well intentioned, but insulting. 1% of the worlds population have epilepsy. Thats a pretty good chunk of change.
    IF:
    You ever see a person having a seizure:
    1] Cradle their head to one side so that the saliva will drool out the side of their mouth. [You can drown on a thimble full of water].
    2] Do NOT let them hit their heads on anything hot, hard or sharp.
    3] You may wish to stay with them for a little while. We will sleep the sleep of the dead for we have just expended a great deal of physical energy, strength and need time to recoup some of that.
    4] There is no need to call an ambulance. We can either sleep it off there or in a hospital.
    5] I have lived most of my adult life in poverty because I have always been honest about my Epilepsy to everyone….people and possible employers alike. I lost a six figure job before my second interview when I was to meet the veep and had forgotten to tell them in my first interview of my epilepsy. Suddenly I was not to meet the veep, but rather sluffed off to Human Relations which meant of course you don’t get the job. For this reason I have lost several jobs and supported myself off of general flunky jobs either accept me as I am or not at all, else you would not be a good employer or more importantly a good friend.
    Moral of the story: calling an ambulance is just another bill…..an expensive bill.
    6] Do not stick a spoon into ones mouth. They have the strength to bite threw stainless steel.
    7] Auto-pilot. I have taught my body to wake up soon after a seizure and go onto auto-pilot until I get home and am able to flop down and sleep the sleep of the dead.
    8] Treat us no differently than any of your other friends. To be tip toed around is insulting. We have no desire to be pitied.

    Famous Epileptics: Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon. We are not just limited to world conquerors :D The Dutch painter Van Gogh. The Norwegian inventor and founder of the Nobel Prizes, Alfred Nobel. More recently the super-model Murial Hemingway.

    My personal history:
    I became an Epileptic when I was 6 and struck my head against the stone fireplace [one of the causes of Epilepsy]. My body responded with a seizure.
    At that time little of nothing was known about Epilepsy and I was placed on Dilantin. This was an adult dosage [Doctors knew no better then. This had several effects on me:
    1] I grew sleepy during schoold and my mother would have to come and pick me up at school.
    2] I was groggy and sleepy and slow. When I played little league baseball I could not catch a ball and was laughed at.
    3] My teachers thought that I was Mentally Retarded.
    4] My gums swelled up thus pushing my lips out. I mumbled. To this day I remember my daddy telling me to stop mumbling and how to talk.
    5] I grew up in the segregated south. Because of the Dilantin swelling my gums thus pushing my lips out I was called [and please do forgive the expression], n-lips. I was rejected by all of the neighbor kids, my brother included and called this name. Of course it was very hurtful, but no one was aware of or understood the side effects of Dilantin. It still hurts and I am still rejected by a few people most likely. Once again they would not make a good friend.
    6] “You can’t do that you might have a seizure!” No one can count the number of times I heard these nine words as a child and teenager. I hated them the first time I heard them. I became introverted and lived my life in the self imposed prison of my bedroom with with no other company than my comic books.
    7] I grew up knowing that I was different than all others. A freak! Of course this was not a positive effect on my feeling o self worth and in High School I would not ask any girls out because I could not drive and what self respecting young man wants his parents to chauffeur him and his date around. Some girls were interested yes, but I had my pride.
    8] Depression. Suicide. Epileptics are the most prone to Depression than all other sub-groups. I cannot count the number of times I have thought about suicide. How to commit suicide. Only a few years ago I said to my then step-son that if I lived to be 53 then I would live to be a 100. I am 55. I will live to be a 100.
    9] My Epilepsy has obviously been a large part of my life. Actually dictated it. I now live on Disability and alimony.

    Meds:
    I have been on a wide variety of medications. I was part of a drug study for Keppra and was even referred to as the ‘poster boy’ for it. It has now been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration. After my divorce I am of course no longer on my wifes insurance. Keppra costs here between $384-$650/ month. There is no generic. I have had to switch to Mysoline because Keppra is cost prohibitive. Mysoline is not as effective.
    I was on Depakene later named Depakote and I am convinced that it erased parts of my memory or at the very least effected it in a negative fashion. I brought this up to my Neurologist several times, but I was a Medi-Caid patient and thus over looked. i expressed my concern to him that I was unable to think of words, even little words such as “to” during a conversation. He dismissed it. I was on the maximum dosage for 10 years. I am certain it did damage.

    Causes:
    There are three causes for my seizures:

    1] If I forget to take my medicines. I take my medications twice a day. I had a seizure last night because I had taken it only once in three set times. With Keppra this may well not have occured…it is that strong..that good.
    2] Anxiety. If I grow highly anxious over something or rather someone causes me to be anxious I may have a seizure. I have lost jobs because of this.
    3]Heat. I have had seizures because of fevers. More frequently is if I am out in the sun working. I can sit out in the sun and be ok it is the exertion of energy…sweating that causes these seizures….even last year. A good neighbor saw this. Recently he was me working outside in the heat and told me to wear a wet cloth. I pace myself now.

    My gratitude to you.
    If you have made it all the way through this thank you.
    I have been long winded,but obviously my Epilepsy is very personal and close to me. I only wish for people to better understand us and perhaps our mind sets.

    Thank you for your concern. I am truly touched.

    Sincerest best wishes & God bless you,
    Douglas

  118. doug says:

    Changing icons.

    HI ALL !
    Best wishes, health and happines to each of you.
    We have been undergoing changing icons and I love it. Samson aka the atheist icon has remained the same and I finally looked close enough to figure out that it is an encircled question mark. Ain’t it great!

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  119. doug says:

    My emotions

    Dear ALL,
    Tears welled up in my eyes as I told you of my Epilepsy. It is obviouusly near and dear to me. Something I take very personally.
    Congratulations if you slogged your way through it.
    I t was long. I do not appologize for that.
    Tears welled up in my eyes in my eyes.
    Most people misunderstand Epilepsy.
    I thank you for taking the time to reading my post,
    Sincerely & may God bless you,
    Douglas

    i

  120. J.D. says:

    Doug,

    You are a sick sick person. Sympathizing with the Jews genocidal religious beliefs. They are trying to full fill scripture themselves and have killed millions in the process(since the beginning of the Zionist movement. There was a time in the not so distant past when Palestinians, along with other Arabs, lived in harmony with the Jews. Then the Jews began trying to full fill this ancient BS and they started the killing. The US has completely supported Israel in their war crimes. Why, because they believe a book that has no proof to back any of it’s claims what so ever. Hizbu’llah and Lebanon are right in attacking Israeli soldiers. Israel invaded Lebanon some 20 years ago, was driven out and has been attacking Lebanon ever since. They are and have been at war with each other since the beginning of the Zionist movement as well. Because of the fact there are so many ignorant fools who believe in the gibberish of the bible, they refuse to see Israel as a war criminal. The American government is an accomplice to millions of murders, by supplying Israel financially and with military supplies. Israel has displaced thousands of Palestinians just recently, forcibly removing them from their homes and bulldozing them into rubble. Yet, the Palistianians are a “violent” people and Hizbu’llah is a terrorist organization.

  121. J.D. says:

    Continued…………………….

    This is why the world hates America and Hates Israel. They can’t leave well enough alone, and America is right behind them patting their back because they are doing “such a good job”. Both governments leaders should be tried as war criminals. I’m not even gonna get started on Viet Nam, I mean Iraq. I was in the military, I know what kind BS goes down. You wanna see a police state, look at how they treat anyone who questions reasons why we are being sent illegally into a country to “liberate” a people who want nothing to do with us. There are still people in Afghanistan being tried by their government for blasphemy against Allah. The Taliban is not in control anymore. This is the government we helped put in place. This is what is going to happen in this country so long as people continue to preach your idiocracy. I joined, I took an oath to defend the constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. We are supposed to carry out the orders of those appointed above us(including the commander and chief). One of the “most important” principles in the military is Honor. They tell you that when a superior orders you to do something illegal or immoral that you are not to comply and will not be held liable for disobeying said order. What the Bush regime has done is break hundreds of US and international laws. But if you say so in the military and in the general public as well you are dissenter and unpatriotic.
    If you are an Atheist in America at all you very well will become the subject of violence, ridicule, and rejection. If you don’t believe what the Jews are doing is their “divine right” you are a “Nazi.” Morals of the bible?HA! Look at what those morals have done to innocent women and children, noncombatants. From all of the things I have read and see, not one of the soldiers in this war who has committed a “real crime” claimed to be an Atheist. The one who fragged his sergeants in their tent, Muslim convert. The chief Warrant Officer who killed an Iraqi general via torture was raised Catholic. Yet none of these events are seen as wrong by their respective religions because the killed infidels.

    You are a sad excuse for a human being.

  122. J.D. says:

    I will be gone till sunday and will not be reposting untill then.

  123. doug says:

    J.D.,
    I hope you have a safe trip

    Once more I SALUTE YOU for the work you did for the neighbor you did not know.

    Few people would have done that.

    Shown that act of kindness.

    Once more my hat off to you.

    Doug

    P.S.:
    I am definately a lousy profiler.
    What was your scholarship for. Just curious.

  124. doug says:

    Nicknames.
    Zeus.

    HI ALL !
    I have decided against using nicknames for you. It is discourteous and I appologize. You chose the name under which you wish to go so who am I to change it.

    Zeus did indeed have creators. I am truly reaching back on my knowledge of mythology…..roughly 40 yrs. As I recall Zeus was made by the giants.

    However!

    Zeus conquored his creators thus becoming omnipotent and living on Mt. Olympus.

    A couple of footnotes. The Gregorian calendar which we use is filled with mythological names or months and days. The months also contain Heroic names and months preficed with numbers.
    Days: I know that thursday was named after Thor…Thorsday. Friday was named after his girl friend, name of which I do not know.
    Months: January…Janos. June…Juno
    July…Julius Caesar….August…August Caesar.
    Numbers: September, October, December……..The new calendar misplaced these months obviously.

    Why the Roman Catholic church named days and months after gods I do not know. I can only surmise that they were already in use, particularly the months. I do not know what influence if any the Vikings had on the Roman Empire or just heresay.

    Once again ig God was created by others He apparently conquored them and became omnipotent like Zeus,

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  125. doug says:

    Evolution clarification.

    HI ALL !

    We have reached the point in genetic research where in the not too distant future people will be able to decide what attributes their child shall have. As I recall the 2nd & 3rd genes define hair color and eye color. The 43rd gene determines a tendency toward epilepsy…of course I would know that.
    How could these genes mutate over time?

    I admit that they were likely unimportant.

    However.

    If genes mutate then why are the spotted owl and vulture on the endangered species list.
    Perhaps because of man.
    perhaps because their genes did not mutate to new environs.

    Two skeletons from 10,000 yrs ago indicate different human features. They are both roughly 10 ft tall. Leaky’s son in Africa found one with a giant footprint a skeleton pretty much in tact. Of the two skeletons skulls were present. One had a flat face, the other a rounded face. Obviously their genes did not mutate to their surrounding environment.

    Neanderthals and Homo-erectus lived during the same time period. Neanderthals of which we more than likely have a smidgen of their genetic material due to the likely of interbreeding.
    Anywhoose though Neanderthals had ample time for their genes to mutate to the cold climates they preferred they did not thus they died off.
    One or both of the giants must have died off. Perhaps they too mutated into Neanderthatls and homo-erectus, but to shrink so quickly in such a period of time is dubious.
    Perhaps current Man and animals genes mutated over a period of time. I am undecided.
    I am confident that God put things into motion however.
    I hope that this clarifies my position.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

    BIG P.S.;
    There is good evidence that man lived 10,000 Yrs. ago.
    Off the south coast of Japan undersea has been found the ruins of a city.. rooms included. Many archaelogist refuse to research this site because their time frame for man goes back only 6,000 yrs and that is set in stone with them.
    Giants and humans existing at the same time?

  126. Monica says:

    Doug,
    I hope you don’t think that I was being rude. Okay I’ll be vulnerable here. The reason I asked is because I have it too. I have temporal lobe seizures. They are not serious ones like the grand-mal seizures. They are more like the petite-mal seizures. I’ve tried about 7 different medications and they still haven’t controlled them so I’m eventually going to have surgery. So I was just curious to find out what your situation was like. I don’t expect you to answer if it’s too hard to talk about but I just wanted to let you know that I wasn’t trying to be rude.

  127. The Atheist says:

    doug,

    How could these genes mutate over time?

    Keep in mind that genetic mutations are random. Most mutations have no effect on the organism. Of the mutations that affect the organism, most are harmful. Beneficial mutations are much more rare.

    If genes mutate then why are the spotted owl and vulture on the endangered species list. Perhaps because of man. perhaps because their genes did not mutate to new environs.

    Genes have no intention or purpose (they are molecules), so they don’t mutate for the purpose of sparing a species. A mutation happens to the DNA quite by accident and the mutations are random; DNA can’t decide to mutate.

    Man may have played a part in changing the owl’s environment. In fact, from a biological perspective, man is simply part of the environment. If man made the owl’s habitat less hospitable, then the only owls (if any) who will continue to thrive are those that happen to possess the genes that makes survival possible in the new environment. The owl’s can’t mutate to survive. Instead, some of the owls may happen to survive if they already possess favorable genetics. The owl’s who do survive propagate the favorable genetics to their progeny. The owl’s who do not survive long enough to bear any young do not propagate their genes which were not favorable.

    The same goes for humans and other animals.

    There is good evidence that man lived 10,000 Yrs. ago.

    The oldest human (homo sapien) fossil to date is 195,000 years old: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/02/0216_050216_omo.html

  128. The Atheist says:

    doug,

    I just came across this article this morning and it reminded me if a question you were asking earlier. The primary subject of the article is the direction of time in our universe, but as part of the discussion, it talks about what may lie outside of our universe. Since you had asked that question earlier, I thought you might find the article interesting. These educated guesses, about what might lie outside, are based on the observations that our universe as a whole must obey the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-cosmic-origins-of-times-arrow

  129. The Atheist says:

    doug and J.D.,

    I just found 2 posts from each of you in my “awaiting moderation” file. I just now posted them this morning – sorry for the delay.

    WordPress automatically puts posts into this file if it suspects they might be spam. It usually does a great job (you wouldn’t believe the amount of spam this site gets!) but occasionally, it spams a few good posts (like yours) or it lets actual span through. I guess it’s just one of those things we have to live with.

  130. Monica says:

    Doug,
    I just read your response after my last post. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot. I’m amazed that after having been through so much you still have faith in God. Through my years of epilepsy, although it’s been hard and scary, I still have joy and a hope to look forward to. I have a lot to be grateful for. I hope you feel the same way. I know that God works things out for good. Atleast I feel like He has in my situation. I’ve become a better person because of it. With who I’ve become, I hope that I can do something purposeful and meaningful for God. It seems like you’ve done that.

    I pray for joy and good health for you.

    Sincerely,
    Monica

  131. doug says:

    WOW.
    Thanks.
    & I Forgot.

    Dear the atheist,
    Thank you for the article!
    I read in Popular Science 3 or 4 yrs ago about the migration of man from Africa to other parts of the world and it gave it in 10,000s of years.
    Research in Europe has narrowed down to the current population 2 different couples.
    As I recall the first migrations were to Europe & the Mideast. There may have been something about what was it called poli-something or other as being part of the migration. Perhaps that is where the Indians came from….the sub continent.
    Thank you for the information about DNA mutation and the proper names….cromosones i believe you said………I hated biology. I only had to take 1 course in High School and 1 course in college and thats all I took…….the modicum.
    I appreciate any information you can give me……any education I can recieve I welcome with open arms.
    The giants of 10,000 yrs. ago I am rather certain of…..I could be wrong…I am human :D
    Perhaps archaelogists trying to place us in a 6,00y.o period is urban humans.
    I once heard or read that the wheel was invented by traders from Europe to Asia…thos traders likely being gypsys which would pretty much make them Romanian.
    As I recall there are two different, theory if you like, about human brain development. The only one that comes to mind is planning ahead, perhaps what you are going to have for supper or perhaps more to the point what you are going to say next.
    I National Geographic newsletter……I love anthropology.
    I once took a test that I should be either a physician, geologist or clown :D
    I never became any of those.
    I know some about Monica & J.D. would you please tell me a little bit about you?

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  132. doug says:

    Our shared Seizure Disorders.

    Dear Monica,
    Yes I have been through a lot.
    I once told J.D. that I would not wish my life off on anyone.
    On the other hand I would not trade it for anyones.
    A couple of examples:
    I used to walk down the sidewalk look ing for lost change.
    Our Father was always with me….I never lacked for food, shelter, clothing or my meds.
    I remember the first time I was able to buy 2-ply toilet paper I felt I was rich.
    I remember going to KFC at night with $1.00 to buy a chicken thigh for my daily meal and how they more often than not gave me several…..they knew my conditions.
    God was with me.
    I DISTINCTLY REMEMBER on friday evening when I was walking down the sidewalk. It was 4:50 P.M. I had not a penny to my name. I looked to my left and there was the Food Stamp office. I was brought up in a very, very conservative family, parents and grandparents. You just did not take welfare!!! It was wrong! I swallowed my pride and walked up those concrete steps. Here it is ten till five….everyone leaves work early on fridays. A couple of people were there. They gave me $10.00 emergency Food Stamps and asked “Why haven’t you come in before now”?. Come back monday. I was rich!!!
    When I was in my early 20’s I was married, working and going to school full time. We would have a bullion cube for supper………..we lived off of macaroni and cheese 5/$1.00…………
    When I was doing volunteer work for the govt. I recieved $202.00/mo. I persuaded the state of Oregon to give us Food Stamps……….I lived on Ramen noodles….6/1.00
    To this date I have not eaten either………ok I had mac&ch once 5 yrs ago. Once in 35 yrs………..I have not had Ramen noodles at all in the last 28yrs.
    I would rather eat Turtle Wax.
    I have had 4 girlfriends…..3 of which I married…….you lady folk terrify me! My 2nd wife and I were driving down the rd. I told her I had some big news [we had been living together for 2 yrs……..even tho I knew it was wrong……she told me that she also had some big news for me…………being the Southern gentleman I am I said “Ladies first”.
    She told me she was pregnant………I was going to tell her that I thought it was time we parted ways. When she asked me what my big news was I said, “I don’t remember it must not have been important”. I ended up paying for an abortion…$375.00
    She told me afterwards, “Don’t ever let me do that again”. Three months later she was pregnant again and asked me what we should do. I reminded her of what she had said…She didn’t remember it. We had a beautiful boy, Nicholas. We separated after 8 mos. or so. Nicholas was murdered at 17 months. He was shaken brain dead one day, the next I had to agree over the phone to let them pull the plugs and donate his body parts to the Chicago Childrens Hospital……..His first word was Dada.
    I have no children.

    A hard life?Harder than most? I suppose so. Except for Nicholas I think that I might not trade it for love nor money.
    Why?
    Because it has shown me how God, our Father has always been with me. I have always had food, clothing shelter and my meds. He has been with me every step of the way. I had grandiose plans of becoming a lawyer and eventually a judge.
    God had His own plans for me and they have made me a better man, a Christian man.

    Sincerest best wishes & God bless you and yes I did cry during part of this,
    Douglas

  133. doug says:

    WHEW :(

    Dear the atheist,
    Please don’t do that to me again. Please don’t put me through that kind of torture again………of course I am speaking of the Scientific American article.
    Next time please just give me the short andd skinny of it.
    I did not slog through it . Towards the end I did take a few notes.
    “The temperature of the universe is not quiet zero”.
    Did they use an oral or rectal thermometer?
    As for myself I never gave it much thought. I always figured cold as a cucumber, but then I thought isn’t it asteroids, meteors or some such thing that is composed basically of ice?……..Then again how could they remain ice if the temperature of the universe is” …not quiet zero.”
    Minor point. Just interesting to speculate about. I don’t remember where do meteors, and asteroids emit from……..my memory fails me. No doubt once you tell me I’ll be going “Oh yeah I knew that”.
    “14 billion years of cosmic evolution”. Duh?
    OK I understand carbon dating. What do you use to date the universe? Carbon? Kryptonite…..well when the planet Krypton exploded with superbaby hurtling towards earth with some kryptonite, it was his weakness……Kryptonite dating was a poor excuse for a joke.
    Think about it though.
    How do they measure the age of the universe?
    Numbers and letters?
    Dark energy around the universe…..a hypothesis. Right? Right. A guess? Yes.
    If there are borders or boundaries around the universe I could just as easily conjecture that it is Jello…….Well maybe not Jello because man made Jello, but we are agreed that man did not create the universe.
    If there are borders around the universe I vote for “empty space”, but that is to place borders on the universe…….How about Heaven? Better than “empty space”, which, “…the tendency of empty space is to just sit there, unchanging”.
    As I stated previously without a supernatural being there would be nothing, “empty space”. Even Mr. Hawkins admits that. Do you disagree with him?
    A line from the second paragraph stuck in my mind, so I went back to so I could quote it. “Nevertheless over the years we have developed a strong INTUITION for what counts as natural and the universe does not qualify”.
    Sorry but intuition?
    I s what we consider natural right?
    Do we misunderstand or have a misconception of what is natural?
    A misconception perhaps.
    We spend too much time trying to fit everything into a box.
    Some spend too much time trying to fit God into a box.
    Baby universes?
    This was interesting. Possible? They made it sound so, but wouldn’t that be roughly akin to forming a baby inside a baby?
    It reminded me of my high school days [class of ’71] when we used to discuss such things, although we put it in more understandable terms. “What if we are part of something and that part of something is part of something,etc.”.
    Thats what baby universes made me think of . How can it be a baby universe if it is formed on the outer edge of the universe. Would it not be part of an “expanding universe”? Oh I forgot that, “The tendency of empty space is to just sit there, unchanging”.
    Dark energy? Sorry I cannot recall a thing about this….I am drawing a blank…..perhaps I got weighted down in the article.
    BB gun theory :D [sorry I just like the term]. The same amount of matter, energy, gravity, et.al. is the same now as it was then. I can understand this. In fact i do not doubt its probability.
    The arrow of time. As I recall and there is a decent chance that I did not get this one entirely right if at all. I only took 4 different notes…..all toward the end. Was it that the future can shoot into the past? Help me with this. I believe I got this one all wrong. Could you paraphrase it for me

    I do not disagree that the Big Bang may have happened. Surprised :) ?
    Here is the 64 lb question. HOW was all of this matter, anti-matter, energy, gravity, blah, blah, blah created. It could not have come from nothing!!!
    There is a saying that perhaps you have heard on your side of the pond, “Everybody answers to somebody”. I know thats true…in the end it is usually mom or the wife-mate.
    However.
    In the beginning there was but One. Someone or even as Mr. Hawkins admits some supernatural power had to get the ball rolling. What made everything inside of the whachamacallit which exploded and formed the universe. Someone had to make “The heavens and the earth”.
    HOW was all this made?…….Without God or a supernatural power there would be nothing but “….empty space which has a tendency to just sit there , unchanging”.
    This is the point that I have been trying to make. “Empty space” is what there would be without God. I asked you to imagine a total void. A total vacuum. This is what there would be without a supernatural power.
    Sorry.
    I did not mean to be as long as the Scientific American article, however I believe that this tome is more understandable.
    Oh yeah I forgot about inflation. Makes no no matter.
    Regardless long and drooling as it was thank you for the article.

    Best wishes and God bless you, the atheist,
    Doug

  134. doug says:

    Dear Monica,
    Thank you for your prayer for joy and good health. It means a lot to me.
    Best wishes and God bless you,
    Douglas

  135. doug says:

    Notes to myself.

    Dear Doug,
    It is getting late so I am making notes to myself re: topics I wish to address.
    J.D. served in the armed forces thank him.
    J.D. mentioned a Zionist movement to fulfill Old Testament prophecy…address this.
    Anti-semitism in Europe, ask The Atheist about this, and the aforementioned.Monica, thank her and tell her how I am amazed she went so far back into the posts to find this.
    My icon. Why are everyones icon the same on the ‘recent comments the same, but mine.I like the tin star better than the tv screen with an unending eyebrow and scowl….I am a happy person.
    Monica, you do not have to be rich to be happy.
    J.D. research his comments.

    Best wishes & may God bless me

  136. doug says:

    More notes to self.
    Hi Me!
    LindA p ARKS

  137. doug says:

    More notes to me…me being Doug.
    Coincidence, fate-no such thing.
    Gods hand with Linda

    Invitation to God.

    Icons..everyones the same under ‘recent comments’ and posts except mine…..could I have the badge in stead of the tv screen with the unending eyebrows and scowl….I am a happy man.

    4 so far under comments,,,,,,,,I love it,

  138. doug says:

    Thanx to Monica for going back so far to discover my epilepsy and life…….34 different kinds……narcolepsy,

  139. doug says:

    Coincidence.
    Fate.

    HI ALL !
    Personally I do not believe in either fate or coincidence.
    I do believe in the hand of God.
    Three examples.
    1] You may have read earlier about when I was walking down the sidewalk dead broke when I looked up I saw the Food Stamp office………was that coincidence or Gods hand. I think Gods hand.
    2] I do not get out of the house often…even less when I was married. One of the few times I would go out and pick up some money from the bank and then go to Wal-Mart [“where America shops” :D ]. I had $400- in my change purse…I dropped it unknowingly. It is black. The Parking lot was asphalt…black……a kindly woman spotted it as we were about to leave and turned it in……remember we were leaving…it was night time and we were leaving……She turned it in and my name was called. it was returned to me and as much as I insisted she refused a reward.
    Fate.
    Coincidence,
    I think not.
    Gods hand……..I think so.
    3] Maybe not so strong an argument. I was calling my pharmacist, dialed the wrong number and found a Christian woman. We talked for twenty minutes. She told me of how periodically she and some Christian friends got together. She invited me. That was three weeks ago. I thought that perhaps she had forgotten me so wednesday I tried to call her. I could not find her ! Yesterday she called me inviting me to a get together monday, Memorial Day.
    Coincidence.
    Fate.
    I think not. Hand of God I think so.

    Think about it. Dismiss fate and coincidence from your mind as you think about it. Do not try to rationalize it.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  140. J.D. says:

    Okay folks. I am back. I am going to read over the comments posted in my absence and will respond tomorrow, I tis almost 1Am here.

  141. The Reverend says:

    Welcome back J.D.

  142. doug says:

    Sick, sick person.

    Welcome back! I hope that your trip was everything you hoped for and more.
    Thank you for your service to our country. You have my thanks and respect for that.
    I hope you got a good nights sleep.

    “Jews genocidal religious beliefs”.
    Who would want to believe in their own genocide?
    These prophosys [sp] were made in the b.c. That the Jews were to be scattered to the 4 corners of the world and hated everywhere they went has held true. Not just the holocaust, but also the Spanish Inquisition. Are these just coincidences or are they fulfillment of prophecy?

    “Jews and Arabs living together”.
    You are right Jews and Arabs/Muslims used to live together in harmony. Yes in the early 1900’s they did. Jews started moving to the ‘promised Land’. The Jews established irrigation for gardens. They offered this to their Arab/Muslim neighbors [they were friends after all]. their friends refused it.
    They made houses and communities and offered this technology to their friends, the Arabs/Muslims. They said no thank you.
    The Jews established electricity and radio. They offered this to their Arab/Muslim neighbors. They refused.
    The Arabs/Muslims/ Palestinians were stuck in the 6& 700’s.
    The Jews were offering.
    The Arabs/Muslims/Palestinians were mired in the past and unwilling to move into the 20th century.

    Zionist movement?
    Really?
    Europe currently has a greater anti-Semantic than before WWII. The number of Muslims living in Europe is great. Remember the Paris riots? Remember the bombing of the Israeli Olympic team in Berlin? Remember the cartoon in Dutch &/or Danish newspaper and the paper apologising for it? Remember the biographical movie in Europe that was never aired because of political correctness to the Muslim population? Remember the bombing of the Spanish train station in Spain which changed the Spanish backing of U.S and allied troops? What about the tv show 24 which placed an apology to Muslims about a show?
    Zionist movement?
    I think not. A Muslim bending over and grabing your ankles movement? Yes!

    I have no clue as to what inner demons are in control of you or took control of you, but I pray that they will leave you.
    Invite the Lord, our Father into your heart, your soul, your home.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  143. doug says:

    P.S.

    Dear The Atheist, J.D., & The Reverend [grown],
    I WANT MORE ATHEISTS !
    Bring them on!

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

    P.S.S.:
    Monica where are you?
    I miss you because I can empathise with you.

  144. Monica says:

    Hi Doug,
    I just checked in right now but I have to go to a dentist appointment right now so I’ll talk to you later.

    P.S. You never asked about my situation but nonetheless your situation humbles me big time.

  145. doug says:

    Dear Monica,
    Sorry I meant to ask you about your situation.
    If you have petit mal seizures why do you need surgery?
    How long have you been having seizures?
    How do they hinder your everyday life?
    How regular are they?
    1,000 apologies for not having asked. Perhaps I was waiting on you to tell me. Definately try Keppra. It works for grand mal seizures [the wonder drug], I do not know if it would also work for petit mal seizures.
    I hopr the dentist visit went well. I don’t know how someone can stare down peoples mouths 8 hours a day. Dentist are roundly despised and have the highest suicide rate of any other profession.
    Me I like my dentist.
    Sorry again.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  146. doug says:

    My favorite Physicist.
    Quotes.
    Be BRAVE read all of them

    HI ALL !
    “Is everybody happy”…I hope so.

    On either May 18 or 19 The Atheist said, Brian “Green is one of my favorite physicist.”

    Well heres mine, You may have heard of him. He was named ‘Man of the Century’ by Time magazine in 2000. His name is Albert Einstein.

    Some of his quotes:
    1] “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

    2] “I want to know Gods thoughts; the rest are details.”

    3] “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

    * 4] “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

    5] “A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”

    6] “I am convinced that He [Fod] does not play dice.”

    7] “God is subtle,but He is not malicious.”

    *8] “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.”

    *9] “Science with religion is lame, religion with science is blind.”

    10] “Sometimes one pays most for the things he gets for free.”

    *11] “God does not care for our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically.”

    12] “The whole of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.”

    13] ” Technological progress is like an ax in the hands of a pathological killer.”

    14] “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; I’m not sure about the universe.”

    15] “Whoever undertakes to set himself as judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”

    **16] “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand in rapt awe, is as good as dead his eyes are closed.”

    17] “The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not live through the fear of life and the fear of death and blind faith, through striving after rational thought.”

    18] “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing.People like us who believe in physics, know know that the distinction of past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistence of illusion.”

    19] “…one of the strongest motives that lead man to art and science to from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, for the fetters of one’ ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought.”

    ** 20] “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds.”

    ** 21] “Great spirits have always found opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not submit to hereditary prejudices, but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.”

    ** 22] The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity…never lose a holy curiosity.”

    Your thoughts on these quotes are both welcome and encouraged.

    Best wishes and God bless you,
    Doug

  147. The Reverend says:

    “… The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

    Albert Einstein, in a letter to Eric Gutkind, January 1954

  148. Monica says:

    Doug,
    I had bacterial meningitis when I was 8 months old. The meningitis scarred ny brain and as a result I have epilepsy. The seizures started when I was about 5. I am now 25 years old so I’ve had them for 20 years. There’s still a long road ahead of me but so far I haven’t gone through nearly as much as you have.

    I grew up in a non-Christian home. My father was verbally abusive. My mom was a good mom but neither one of them took the time to understand epilepsy or atleast look up the side effects of the medicines that I was taking. When I was in fourth grade I was taking Tegretol and Lamictal together. Both of them made me drowsy. Getting 12 hours of sleep made me feel normal. I was doing bad in school and because my dad didn’t understand the side effects of the medicines he’d spank me for my bad grades. He had the same expectations on me as he did with my brother. That was one good thing my dad gave me. He never treated me like I was sick or disabled.

    When I was in 7th grade I was taking 500mg of Tegretol 3 times a day. I started to feel depressed and tired. My family life was hurtful too. It was too much for me to bear at the time so I overdosed on Tegretol one night. I took 8 pills that night and slept for 16 hours till the next day. I couldn’t hold my neck up. When my parents found out what I did they took me to the emergency room. I’ll never forget what my dad said to me on the way there. He said, “There goes $25.00 down the drain because you tried to kill yourself.” The doctors gave me some liquid charcoal to drink. It’s supposed to absorb the medicine.

    About a month later I started going to church with a friend. I came to faith in Jesus Christ and got baptized. I wasn’t serious with God until I was a senior, though. When I was a senior I found a church that felt like family. I met my husband there. I knew before he did that he was going to be my husband. He asked me to marry him 2 weeks after we got together. He had no idea what he was getting himself into. I am so thankful we got married because the seizures were worsening. I know God was watching out for me.

    After 2 years of being married I was having 14 sezures per month. I also became pregnant during this time. I was taking 500 mg of Tegretol 3 times daily during the first trimester of pregnancy. Then my doctor weaned me off Tegretol onto Keppra. I was taking 500 mg twice daily of Keppra and I was still having seizures. At the end of pregnancy I was taking 3000 mg of Keppra twice a day. It was really scary but we had a lot of people praying for us and surely enough my son came out completely healthy. Praise God!

    We moved in with my parents and they helped me raise my son while I was still having seizures. Later I was evaluated for surgery because none of the different medicines I have tried were working. I qualified for 2 different surgeries but before making a decision he decided to add Lamictal to Keppra. It controlled them for 1 year and 10 months. I also became pregnant. This time I had double the risk for growth problems but no seizures were involved. Praise God again because she turned out healthy also.

    I am now taking 2,000 mg of Keppra and 100 mg of Lamictal twice a day. My seizures still aren’t completely controlled. I’m having about 4 seizures per month and about 10 auras per month. I’m a stay at home mom taking care of two children so you can see why it’s so important for me to get them under control. I am so fortunate that I have my in-laws and my parents nearby. They help us so much. I can’t put that burden on them and I can’t put my children at risk so I have to do something. I’m running out of options but were praying for God’s guidance. So surgery is just a phone call away or I believe God can do the impossible. Who knows what will happen?

    P.S. Sorry that this is so long. I hope I wrote it clear enough.

  149. The Reverend says:

    Doug,
    Apparently you missed my last post. See above.

    The Atheist,
    More from the cosmos: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7440217.stm

    I’ll be back.

    The Reverend (fully grown)

  150. The Reverend says:

    Doug,
    Apparently you missed my last post. See above.

    The Atheist,
    More news from the cosmos: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7440217.stm

    I’ll be back.

    The Reverend (fully grown)

  151. J.D. says:

    Hey guys,

    Sorry for the laspe.

    Doug,

    Once again I find my self unable to avoid your lack of comprehension. If you had bothered to read my entire post and not skim over it as I am sure you did do to your critique; then you would have understood that I was not referring to how the Jews had been handled in the past, but to the commencement of genocide BY the Jews. Please, when you check your “facts” consider the source.

    Here is a great website, that has nothing to do with Atheism or religion. It has do to with who the real terrorists are. http://www.ifamericansknew.org.

    Aw yes, those deamons, don’t you just hate those pesky little suckers. I kept using raid, but the bastards just kept coming back, they are like roaches ya know. Thankfully deamons have not bothered me for some time. You see, you have to get rid of them at the source: misguided imagination. I wish you the best of luck in taking care of this “christ” deamon of yours. You and King George(W) but be the best of friends, talking to god and all. I guess guilty but association does apply to everyone.

    Now I will continue to do my best to ignore you. It’s just that a person can only keep still for so long.

    The Atheist and Reverend,

    Atheist, since you are the admin I would think you have access to this information; With the Reverends permission, of course, I would like to exchange contact info with him/her and you in private so as not to be bombarded by spam.

    Reverend, I hope you accept this offer. I think there are many things that the 3 of us could benefit from in our exchange of knowledge. As a youth I will be the first to admit, that what I do know is limited(those much more expansive than most) but I have a thirst for knowledge that I cannot quench. Not just theology but many many other aspects of life.

    To One and All,

    I do want everyone to understand that I am a VERY spiritual person. No deity involved.,I do not need that crutch. I am feel the connection that exist between my self and the world around me. Maybe it is because depend on this earth for substance at the most basic of levels, and that I give back to the earth as much as can so that I can maintain my way of life that the connection feels so strong. As long as I have been able to understand and control my actions I have been this way. before and after “god” this has not changed. I now have more time and energy to devote to this and other parts of my life that were left neglected when I was trying to expand on my relationship with my subconscious(god, the still small voice, etc).

    Doug & Monica,

    I THINK I believe(about 90%) Monica’s story about her seizures, doubt is there only because of the anonymous void we call the internet. This is only reason I am offering an apology for my statement about Dougs meds having ill effects on him.
    I do not believe his story fully(about 25%) because of the timing of which he divulged his information. To me, it just seemed like an attempt to divert attention away from the subject matter. If you really do have a problem, then I hope you can accept my apology. If this is a facade then you are much sicker in a different way and if you chose to carry on with said facade then shame on you. You are the only one on here who knows for sure. So if you truly had reason to be offended then I am sorry, if not; I hope something happens to you that gives you epilepsy so that you can truly feel the pain you drama you have described to us. I do not wish to hear either of your comments on my apology one way or the other, I just want you to know that it has been offered.
    As for sharing the details of your medical records, please save that for the appropriate support groups and doctors. I wish you the best in your medical endeavor(s). There are several places where you can find information on natural cures for epilepsy and many many other ailments. I can post a few if you wish. Other than that I will not refer to either of your ailments from this point forward.

  152. The Atheist says:

    The Reverend

    Great link! Thanks for posting it. I wonder what (if any) implications the theory has on the the m-brane theory we’d mentioned earlier…

    J.D.

    Great link as well! Wow. American’s can’t even begin to have a real discussion about it as long as we’re talking about “The Promised Land.”

  153. doug says:

    Congrats!
    Happy 150th

    ALL !
    For some reason each of your posts from May 9 to today June 9 has not appeared on my p.c. I have no clue as to why. I was in hopes that you had reconsidered your beliefs or non-belief.
    I apologise for having sunk to sarcasm. The atheist has been a great example in civility and I will try to follow his/her example.
    I am happy that each of you has returned in that you have not opened your heart to God, our Father.
    Best wishes & God bless each of you,
    Doug

    P.S.: I am reading the suggested websites and taking notes, so I may be a while responding to each of you. I am currently exhausted. I hope to get back tonight.

  154. Monica says:

    J.D.
    I was just joking about the literal interpretation of the fourth generation being during the time of Ezekiel. But you’re right there is figurative and literal ways of interpreting the Bible and not everyone interprets it in its correct context. There are some authors who think that the book of Revelation is supposed to physically happen. Meaning that there really are going to be lion faced flying beasts roaming the earth. I think it’s silly

    Yes, Eve was the one who ate the apple but Adam is also head held responsible because he is the head of his household. For an example, my husband works and I stay home. As the leader of our household he needs to make sure that I’m taking care of my responsibilities. This is especially important if a man plans to be a pastor. It’s called having your house in order.

    About the whole accountability thing with children I’ve been having a debate with my husband on that. It’s complicated to explain.

    If you don’t have the Bible then where do you draw the line for right and wrong? What do you think this world would look like if the Bible never existed? The world would be far worse then what it is now. We wouldn’t have the The Ten Commandments which the United Staes forefathers founded this country on. Why do you think the United States is one of the most powerful and prosperous nations in the world?

    Just by curiosity why did you walk away from God. You said you had a Baptist upbringing. Just about every atheist I’ve come in contact with have had Baptist upbringings. I’m just wondering if there is something wrong with Baptists. Well I do have to mention that “The Atheist” has been more welcoming to me than some educated Baptists.

  155. J.D. says:

    Monica.

    “I was just joking about the literal interpretation of the fourth generation being during the time of Ezekiel. But you’re right there is figurative and literal ways of interpreting the Bible and not everyone interprets it in its correct context.”

    Then what determines the correct context?

    “Yes, Eve was the one who ate the apple but Adam is also head held responsible because he is the head of his household.”

    Man = head of house hold, this is the same in most theistic religions, not all but most. Does this make Native Americans wrong, because many bands let the women decide what was in the best interests of the tribe? This also brings forth more reason to believe that the bible(among others) is not of holy inspiration. The later authors may have held some sort of contempt against the “lesser” gender for causing
    the “fall of man” Obviously in todays world, man is not the only breadwinner and there is also a rising number of stay at home dads. Are these people less moral, even out of necessity?

    “About the whole accountability thing with children I’ve been having a debate with my husband on that. It’s complicated to explain.”

    Is the debate with your husband complicated? Because I think it (child accountability)can be pretty easily explained as an observation of man by man as I stated earlier.

    “If you don’t have the Bible then where do you draw the line for right and wrong?”

    Try reading the bible, there is a horrendous amount of examples of things the bible says are “okay”, that we would never dream of being “right.” Some of which, people are outraged about as they still occur the world over. “George Bush was not elected by the popular majority, he was put in place by GOD.”??? Really? I guess so: genocide, a war against Islam(crusade), distortion of truth…..need I continue? He talks to GOD on a daily basis.

    What do you think this world would look like if the Bible never existed?

    Probably not much different. The teachings in the bible predate the bible by thousands of years.

    “We wouldn’t have the The Ten Commandments which the United States forefathers founded this country on. Why do you think the United States is one of the most powerful and prosperous nations in the world?

    Obviously you are not a history major. The founding fathers were openly secular and no where in the constitution do you find the 10 commandments. “Thall shall not kill” I would argue that people have known it is wrong till kill(those who benefit the tribe or that particular individual) since close to the dawn of man. if not and we were just killing anyone who got in our way(we do it now in Iraq) then man would not survive.

    “Why do you think the United States is one of the most powerful and prosperous nations in the world?”

    Are we really? Are you sure we are talking about the same America? We are almost completely dependent on the middle east for oil, the oriental region for our non-food goods. We treat our elderly like crap, poison our children with vaccines, and have no concern for the educational system. The majority of the technology we have used to “get ahead” was not even developed by us. We allow the government to steal our rights because a guy in a cave on the other side of the world doesn’t like us(which is our fault to begin with). The people take information for granted and like sheep with a Shepard we do what our leaders say with out question(possibly because of the “I said so” religious reasoning). We allow an entire cult of pedophiles to operate within out borders from the very beginning of the country and not one has done jail time. We allow our leaders to commit genocide, and/or help other countries commit genocide(E.G.Israel). We do not punish those who can do favors for our country even when we know they are wrong, and kill those who are innocent. Is America really that great. We are only powerful(and losing that power) because other countries fear out military might. We are no more powerful now than was Atillah in his day. Power means not having to threaten others to get what you want. America is not powerful.

    “Just by curiosity why did you walk away from God.”

    I studied the bible, it gave me enough reason to believe it was not of holy inspiration or the direct word of god. That coupled with the fact our pastor did a series on other faiths and how to reach them. Being the military buff that I am, I had already read “The Art of War” and applied the “know your enemy” line of thought and began to study other holy books so as get a better understanding of their way of thinking. To put it simply, the proof is in the pudding.

    “Just about every atheist I’ve come in contact with have had Baptist upbringings. I’m just wondering if there is something wrong with Baptists.”

    From a theistic point of view, there must be(as a fundamentalist, i thought most were wishy washy). From an atheistic point of view, they are more willing think about what is actually being shown, and consider what “what if there is no god” and still maintain the belief that there is. Maybe Baptist are a more intellectual group of people. Maybe most of the atheist you meet are baptists because of your geographical location. something that could definitely be a number of things.

    “Well I do have to mention that “The Atheist” has been more welcoming to me than some educated Baptists.”

    Case-by case- I have no doubt everything can go by that is some form or another.
    But I am willing to say that without religious bias, people are more welcoming to others. when I meet someone I try to give them the benefit of a doubt. once that person has made a comment, I go from there. If I do not speak first, I can VERY easily be seen as a complete and utter ass. Then there are those days that I don’t give a damn you can imagine what that is like. lol

  156. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    If you don’t have the Bible then where do you draw the line for right and wrong?

    We both agree that the Bible contains many good ethical concepts, though I’ll suggest (and you might well agree) that it also touts ideals that we would consider unethical. Then there are two points: the first is that if the Bible is in fact not divine but only human in origin, then the ethics that we would expect to find in the Bible would be the ethics of humans just like us. Just as you and I feel that it is wrong to murder and steal (and we know that without benefit of the Bible), the authors of the Bible also felt that it was wrong to murder and steal, and they recorded those ethics. So if the Bible were of human origin, then we would expect it to contain good ethics. If the Bible were of divine origin, we would expect it to contain good ethics. Then good ethics in the Bible is not an indicator of divine origin since we would expect it to contain good ethics in either case.

    My second point is that if the Bible were of human origin, we would expect the ethics to be imperfect. However, if the Bible were divine, we would expect that the ethics to be perfect. Since we find imperfect ethics in the Bible (God commanding to murder children as just one of many examples), then we should doubt that the ethics are divine.

    Now with that perspective, I think the world would be the same with or without the Bible. There are other volumes that contain ethical ideals by which we can live. And since those other volumes are of human origin as well, they are very similar to Biblical ethics. In fact, some of the volumes predate the Bible and the Bible borrows from them. Jainism might serve as one example of and ethical world without the Bible.

    “The Atheist” has been more welcoming to me than some educated Baptists.

    You are definitely most welcome here and I hope you will continue to share your insights! Also, thanks for the kind words.

  157. Monica says:

    The Atheist,

    “So if the Bible were of human origin, then we would expect it to contain good ethics.”

    Where did good come from if the Bible was written from human origin? I wish that we were all perfectly good but as we see this is not so in our world. According to the Bible we are incapable of any good because we are all spiritually dead. God told Adam and Eve that the day you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall surely die. They didn’t die physically right there and then but they died spiritually which meant separation from God and the curse is passed down to us. So because we are dead spiritually any good thing we do is not really good to God because we do it for ourselves. When you believe in God and He brings you back to spiritual life then you do good to glorify Him or atleast we should. When you view God as a loving Father then it should come natural to glorify Him or please Him.

    “If the Bible were of divine origin, we would expect it to contain good ethics.”

    From a Christian perspective our ethics are based on scripture. Scripture draws the line of right and wrong for us speaking of the Ten Commandments. But there are a lot of hard scriptures to accept because what we think is right and wrong may not be to God. Scripture says that God’s ways are not our ways. And believe me they are not my ways. One view to take into consideration though, is that there is such a thing as greater goods. It is so hard to see it when it comes and to accept it when it hurts. For an example, I hate spanking my children but it’s an effective tool for teaching them what is right and wrong, teaching them obedience, preventing them from running into danger, and many other reasons. Am I wrong for spanking them and causing them temporary pain or am I right for helping them to become better people in the future. Do you see a greater good in this? I think God often times works like that. I don’t always understand why God does things that seem cruel and mean to me. He knows the reason and it’s for His purpose why He does it. One speaker said it this way that “God is God-centered.” That is hard to accept and sometimes it makes me angry but who am I to answer back to God. The way I look at it is that if He is the Creator then He has the right to do what He wants with His creation. But as of right now I do see Him more as a Creator than a loving Father but that still doesn’t change my faith in His existence. I’m sure that someday I’ll see Him as a loving Father again. He always proves me to be wrong.

  158. Monica says:

    The Atheist,
    I saw that Damian complimented you too for your patience with people. You should get an award for that.

  159. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    Where did good come from if the Bible was written from human origin?

    Human’s are basically good (so are other animals) if by “good,” we mean loving, fair, loyal, and altruistic, those qualities embodied for example in the “golden rule” and in other ideals expressed in the Bible (and in other sacred and ethical texts). Empathy, love, and other social emotions and behaviors are innate in us and in our animal cousins. Societies that don’t honor or recognize the Bible are just as good as those who do.

    I wish that we were all perfectly good but as we see this is not so in our world.

    We are basically good, but definitely not perfectly good, and we value goodness. On the other hand, the ethics in the Bible don’t seem perfectly good either; they appear human.

    what we think is right and wrong may not be to God.

    If we are not competent to know what is right or wrong, then by extension we are not competent to say that the Bible is right or that what the Bible teaches is right. That is also true of the greater good you spoke of – we also by extension are not competent to say what the greater good is.

    Of course, I think we are indeed qualified to say what is good and I do understand your point about the greater good. But the end (the greater good) does not always justify the means (cruelty for example). For example, God’s ordering the killing of all Canaanite women and children could not possibly be justified by any greater good that came of it. Keep in mind that if God is almighty, then he is capable of bringing about the course of events that he desires in a fair, humane and loving way. There was no greater good for the Canaanite women and children.

    That is hard to accept and sometimes it makes me angry but who am I to answer back to God.

    If I believed in God, I would agree with you that I have no place in telling God what is right or wrong.

    But if the divine quality of the Bible is the reason to believe in God in the first place, then we have to judge by some criteria whether or not the Bible seems devine. If, as you say, we are incompetent to say what is right or wrong, then we are incompetent to say that the Bible’s ethics are right and therefore devine. But if we are competent to say what is right or wrong, we can look at parts of the Bible and recognize that genoside, for example, is wrong and therefore the Bible does not perfectly right and so it does not seem divine. In either case, we cannot say that good ethics in the Bible is any reason to believe that it is divine and thus a reason to believe in God.

  160. Monica says:

    I understand that we possess good qualities if that’s what you mean. We are capable of showing love, affection, concern, compassion, etc. What I’m trying to point out is that when you get to the intent of why we do all those things it becomes something bad. That’s why I think that even the most self sacraficial act we do is still something bad. For an example, I can’t stop thinking about those who only live off crumbs so I love to give to charities that support starving children. What is my motive? I enjoy giving. I want to feed the hungry. I get joy out of their joy. It makes me feel good about my character. Although my act is beneficial to others the intent of it is primarily centered on my pleasure. Does that make sense? So I guess I see ourselves as self-centered beings. Is that a good thing? I guess that all depends on how you view it.

    The Bible explains what is right and wrong. It’s by faith that I can say that. Eventhough I hate for innocent people to die I know that God has a purpose behind it. Do I know the purposes He has. Not all of them. Do I like the way He does things. No. But does it matter if you’re not in charge? One reason for the genoside with the canaanites was to prevent them from intermingling with the israelites. The canaanites didn’t serve God and would probably lead the Israelites astray from God. Some say this is an act of love in the sense that God prepared a group of chosen people for the coming of His son which would then bring salvation to the world. Do I think that was nice? Absolutely not. Do I know all the reasons behind it? No. That’s where faith comes in. Based on the little knowledge I do have on God I have to trust Him with the things that I don’t know.

    My brother went to the war in Iraq. My dad was panicking and wanted to lie to get him out of it. I was scared too and just praying that he would come back. He did, thankfully. It is not something I would recommend to people to do. On the other hand, my husband and his family is extremely patriotic. It drives me crazy that they could support eachother to join the military without fighting for them to stay. My husband has one sister in the Air Force and another sister is in the process of joining the Navy. They see it as an honor to serve their country. They see it as a greater cause. In other words if we didn’t have soldiers to fight for our freedom we’d live in bondage to whoever overpowers us. I’d rather die together than without eachother. Is going off to war with the chance of innocent people getting killed the right thing to do, or staying at home enjoying our freedom while they are out there fighting? Is there a greater good involved with them going off to war? Personally, I’d rather stay at home and be extremely grateful for their service. If everyone stopped fighting in the war for our freedom I’d rather die together then without my loved ones. I don’t know, maybe I’m just too cowardly and selfish.

    I believe that the Bible has been written by divine inspiration and that it has the answer to right and wrong. The things that seem wrong to me that God does in the Bible I study to find out if there is a greater purpose behind it and if I can’t find one then I just have to trust that He’s operating as the person He says He is. So truth isn’t determined by what I think is right or wrong but what the scriptures say and trusting that God is who He says He is. More than anything I just revere Him to the extent that He’s in control not me.

    About the Bible being written by divine inspiration I haven’t studied that far into the old writings. One thing that I do believe is that everything happens for a reason or that there are no coincedences for believers. If the Bible did have errors in it I think that it has been put together exactly how God wanted it to be. It amazes me how many different religions and denominations spring forth from it and only God knows why.

  161. Monica says:

    Oops, my post before this one was for “The Atheist”

  162. J.D. says:

    Monica,

    All religion aside, I bit into that whole war on terror line of crap too. That is why I joined the army. I planned on making a career out of it. Then once I was there I found out much crap we had been fed by the government. I disputed the naysayers, and got into a fisticuff in defense of the war at one point in time. Still an extremely patriotic person, however, my patriotism is now focused in the correct direction. We had no reason to go to war with Iraq other than oil. Read the 911 report. NO CONNECTION TO SADAM AND 911, NO CONNECTION TO SADAM AND TALI BAN, NO CONNECTION TO SADAM AND BIN LADIN. There were ZERO Iraqis on those planes that went down on that day. To modify Forrest Gump; “Sheeple is as Sheeple does.” Maybe you don’t think for your self as much as you do.

    I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see..
    I will be looking for you guys at the Ron Paul National Convention.

  163. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    when you get to the intent of why we do all those things it becomes something bad.

    I think you are saying that people ultimately do whatever they do (including helping others) because it pleases them to do so, and therefore people are always out to please themselves. And I agree for the most part (sometimes, actions are based on instinct rather than pleasure). But you also seem to be saying that such self-serving motivation makes people fundamentally bad because the reason they help others is to please themselves. There I would disagree. I would think that the type of person that is pleased only by personal gain, even at the expense of fairness to others, is bad. But a person who is pleased by respect for others and helping others is good.

    Do you believe that it pleases God that everyone should have eternal life? Wouldn’t the reason for the sacrifice on the cross ultimately be that God is pleased when others are forgiven and receive eternal life? If you feel that the ultimate motivation of personal pleasure is bad, then God is also bad by that same measure.

    Note that in this discussion about what is good or bad, we are both explaining what we feel is good and what is bad. In doing so, we are both presuming that we are competent to recognize what good and bad is. You feel that motivation by personal pleasure is bad and I feel that pleasure derived from helping others is good. But in either case, we are both presuming that we can recognize good and bad. More about that just below.

    The Bible explains what is right and wrong. It’s by faith that I can say that.

    Here you seem to be saying that whatever the Bible says is right, even if it seems wrong to us. In other words, you seem to be saying now that we are not competent to recognize right from wrong because the Bible is right even if it seems wrong to us. But immediately above, you explain that everyone is fundamentally bad and you describe what makes them fundamentally bad. To say that, you have to believe that you are competent to recognize good and bad. Those two positions, about whether we are competent to recognize right from wrong or good from bad seem at odds. Could you explain how you can reconcile them?

    I was also wondering what you thought about my earlier comment: that either we are competent to recognize right from wrong (and the Bible doesn’t seem perfectly right) or we are not competent to recognize right from wrong so we can’t say that the Bible is right. In either of these two cases, we can’t say that the Bible seems divine based on rightness or wrongness.

    One reason for the genoside with the canaanites was to prevent them from intermingling with the israelites.

    Would any means (genocide for example) justify the means (isolation of the Israelites for example)? God could have used more human means to achieve the same ends. He could have reserved unoccupied land for Israelites. He could have made the Sinai desert habitable and fertile. He could have transported the Canaanites to a different land (rather than massacring them all). Where is the good for the Canaanites in this act? The heinous act (genocide of Canaanites) doesn’t seem necessary to bring about the good (isolation of the Israelites).

    If God’s fear that the Israelite’s intermingling with Canaanites would cause the Israelites to fall away from the “true faith,” then why did God allow the exiles? The Israelites spent years during the exiles intermingling with a culture that worshiped other gods. If the isolation of the Israelites is the greater good, then God forcing them to intermingle with other cultures during the exiles was not good.

    But you say that you believe by faith that these acts of God are right. Could you give me an idea of what the basis of your faith is if not the goodness or rightness of the Bible itself? I ask because you seem to be saying again that we are not competent to recognize the Bible to be right or wrong (you presume it is right even if it seems wrong). Then the rightness of the Bible couldn’t be the basis for your faith.

    What is the “little knowledge” that you mentioned that you base your faith on?

    …the war…

    I’m not sure what you mean by this story but I’m guessing it’s an example of a greater good. Or maybe it was an example of how different people can disagree on what is good. Please let me know if I missed your point.

    I believe that the Bible has been written by divine inspiration and that it has the answer to right and wrong … truth isn’t determined by what I think is right or wrong but what the scriptures say

    But here’s the key question: why would you believe that? You seem to be saying that you are not competent to recognize right or wrong (so you can’t recognize that the Bible is right). Why should I, for example, believe that the Bible is right if I, like you, am not competent to recognize right or wrong?

    You mentioned that you do research to discover what the greater good might be. In our example of the Canaanite genocide, you pointed out that the good that comes of the genocide is that the Israelites aren’t tempted by the Canaanites to fall away from the “true faith.” I understand that good can come of things like genocide, but how is it a greater good (note again that saying that something is a greater good requires recognition of what is good)? How is that different from saying that the holocaust has a greater good – that some Jewish families escaped to other countries and have become prosperous in their new homes? Certainly some good came of the holocaust, but was that good greater than the millions of Jews who were murdered?

    If the Bible did have errors in it I think that it has been put together exactly how God wanted it to be.

    You are saying that (please correct me if I misunderstood): if the Bible has errors, then it is divine. If the Bible does not have errors, then it is divine. It sounds to me that the type of faith you are describing is “blind faith” – maintaining a belief in the absence of evidence or even when the evidence conflicts. Is your faith a blind faith, or could you explain how your faith is different from blind faith?

  164. doug says:

    Catching up.

    HI ALL!

    Believe it or not I ‘AGREE’ with each of the atheists as to what the world would look like without the Bible. There would be no utopia. ‘Peace on earth good will to men’ would still not exist.
    Jesus said that” there will always be the poor.” There would always be” war and rumors of war.” Remember God gave us choice from the beginning. Do not eat from this tree. Eve chose to anyway. That was choice! Was Adam head of the household responsible for it? NO. Have you ever heard of a seductress? She can wrap a man around her little finger. Have you ever dressed up sexily to seduce your husband?

    Ancient cultures held the basic tenents of the 10 Commandments just as they recognized the same constellations.

    Monica sorry for leaving you out here floundering among these sharks. I won’t do it again. This is my missionary work. The reason I came to an atheist website was to take on those whose hearts were hardened to God. As Jesus said when defending His presence when dining with the tax collectors and their ilk “They need my help more.”

    What about Ezekials generation?
    Does it really matter?

    Revelation Chariots & Clouds:
    “Do not worry about tomorrow will take care of itself.”
    If you were a king you would have a grand enterence repleat with maroon carpet, rose petals, trumpets and the such.” A small version of the Academy Awards.
    Would you expect God the maker of the heavens and the earth to have no less? What it will be like it will be grand, grander than any human could ever imagine!

    Back to Adam & Eve. There had to be other people on the planet ouside of Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel after all God marked Cain so that others would recognize his evil. Eden was for God and God alone perhaps. The people whom Cain went out to may have been created then so that Cain would be seen as marked for his evil. Eden is difficult to comprehend.

    Belief in God is NOT a playground, but rather a battleground! It is easier to condemn that to condone. It is harder to have convictions than not. Why do Presidential elections only draw roughly 25% vote? Most people would rather sit at home and complain or not care at all.

    Atheists insist in seeing God and having a burger and fries with Him. They CANNOT however they know that phsicists and such are fellow humans whom they can see and have a burger and fries with. Which is easier for them?

    “Well I have to admit that The Atheist has been more welcoming to me than some educated Baptists”
    S/he is civil and kind. I too appreciate that.
    Have I not been the same towards you? I believe in God s/he does not. Does this make them better than me?
    Some people make it through life simply on charm.
    Remember you can attract more bees with honey than vinegar.
    Protestantism. Their are many different off shoots of Protestanism, Baptists, Lutherans, Methods, Presbyterians just to name a few, They each have their own take on the proper interpretation of the Bible, HOWEVER they each share one thing in common….They all BELIEVE in God! Baptists have the most severe take on the Bible.

    “More of a Creator than of a loving God”
    Ever stop to think that He is seperating the wheat from the chaff? The TRUE believers from those who question HIM? God does NOT grade on a curve!

    Well I will close for now and do some more catching up later on things such as genocide.

    Best wishes & God bless each & every one of you,
    Doug

  165. Monica says:

    Doug,
    Are you an educated Baptist? I was not refering to you at all. You’ve been very wonderful to me. I can very much relate to you and empathize with you. Thanks for sharing your testimony earlier. You were the one that caught my attention when I was viewing this website. I saw that you had mentioned your epilepsy and I was thinking to myself, “Wow, there’s someone else out there like me.” I really apologize if you felt left out.

    P.S. I have more to talk about but I’ll have to wait till tomorrow. Tomorrow is my 25th birthday and I’m not excited about aging. I still look younger for my age, though, and that’s exciting. Well I”ll get back to you guys later. Bye!

  166. The Atheist says:

    Happy birthday! :)

  167. Monica says:

    Thank you “The Atheist.”

    J.D.,

    I thimk Bush seized the opportunity to take down Sadaam. Sadaam did deserve to be taken down but not necessarily by us. For Sadaam to be the focus of our war doesn’t completely make sense. You’d think the focus of our war would be with the Taliban. Sadaam was supposedly supporting terrorist with nuclear weapons. If that were true then that would make Sadaam one of the sources of our problem. But who knows what the government is up to. They can get away with so much without us even knowing it.

  168. Monica says:

    The Atheist,

    I think the focus of what we do is geared towards self. I don’t think that sometimes we mean it to be that way but when you get to the root of our actions it’s what we want or choose to do. We hold the power of our actions. I think this quote by Blaise Pascal exolains it well.

    “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.”

    The reason I point this out to show you that we are born into a sin nature.

    It would please God that His children (those who believe) would enter into Heaven. As far as those who don’t it would please God to bring forth His justice. Just like we would be pleased when a criminal is punished for his crime. I think there is also heart ache for God that people would turn from Him. But God will not go against His word and be the person He says He is. God says He is a God of justice.

    When you said that God is also bad. By our standards it would seem as though He is. But when you look at it from the stand point that He is sovereign then He has the right do what He wants, especially that He is the Creator of the Universe. In other words He makes the rules of what is right and wrong. Maybe there is good in all He does but we are not able to see the big picture. Maybe Him being the highest authority is a good thing because He is all knowing. Maybe He makes everything centered for His son. Maybe it’s all about Him but He has right because He is the Creator. If someone has ownership of something do you think it is right for them to have the right to do what they want with it?

    My sister’s-in-law are taking me out in a little bit so I have to go. I have more to talk about but I can’t right now. Love you guys. Bye

  169. doug says:

    Dear Monica,

    HAPPY BIRTH DATE ! ! !

    We only have one birthday…think about it. How does it feel to be a quarter of a century old? I hope you had a blast. Any good gifts?

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  170. Monica says:

    Doug,
    Thank you for the birthday wish! I feel really old only because my husband acts older for his age then he really is. No offense to those older than me. My husband loves those old hymns and old country music. His type of country music goes back to Hank Williams. It is weird.

    All my gifts were wonderful, especially that my friends and family picked them out. I didn’t tell them what I wanted because it’s more special when they pick it out. I still have this birthday card my youngest sister-in-law made me when she was eleven years old. It is so cute and neat to see how much she’s grown.

    P.S. I hope you’re feeling good today, Doug.

  171. Monica says:

    The Atheist,

    We are all born with the knowledge of good and evil and the knowledge of God’s existence or Intellegent Design. Some choose to supress that knowledge or God gives them over to depraved minds. The book of Romans speaks of it. For me it’s not about what I feel is good. It’s that I choose to believe that knowledge. Feelings come and go, therefore they are not trustworthy. For an example, there are times when I feel fearful. I could believe the feeling of fear or I could read a scripture that says “I didn’t give you a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2Timothy 1:7. Because of this scripture I can say, I am not going to allow myself to believe this feeling of fear because God didn’t give me a spirit to fear.

    I don’t think that we ever really sit down to think about the root of our actions. We make choices every day on what actions we are going to take, even those things that we don’t like to do. We hold the power to choose, though. Is it self-focussed when we use our power of choice? Ultimately what we desire is what we are going to do even if it means that we can get punished for our choice. It’s still my choice. Are we self-focussed beings because the choice is in our power? I think that this just points to our sin nature.

    There are things in the Bible that are applicable to us, things that are applicable to God, and things that are applicable to specific people in the Bible. It’s a matter of context. That may clear things up a bit. In the things that are applicable to God I see it as His sovereignty even if it seems wrong to me. It seems right to me that the Creator has the right to do what He wants with His creation. I do think to myself sometimes that why did He do things this way but who am I to tell Him what He should’ve done or how He should’ve done it. He is all-knowing and more intelligent than me, obviously.

    When someone is brought back to spiritual life then they are capable of good because they now have faith. The Bible says that works without faith are dead. In other words everything we do without faith is not good to God. There is another scripture that says it is impossible to please God without faith. I think because God sees it as that we do it for our benefit and satisfaction instead of pleasing Him.

    I still have more to talk about but I’m trying to find time.

  172. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    You seem to be missing my point. I don’t feel that you are deliberately avoiding it since you have already shown willingness to face hard issues. For example when we were talking about contradictions between the first 2 chapters of Genesis in an earlier discussion, you said that you did not find any of the standard apologetics compelling. I know that those kinds of questions are difficult to face head-on and most of all, I appreciate your willingness to think and decide for yourself what makes sense to you – regardless of whether we happen to agree on what makes sense.

    And it’s probably my fault for not being more clear about which point I was actually trying to make, so let me try to clarify. On one hand, you say that humans are bad because there is a selfish motive that lies at the root of all that humans do. So in essence, you are saying that doing something for selfish reasons is bad. In order for you to make that statement, that doing something for selfish reasons is bad, you must either believe that you are not competent to recognize good and bad (in which case you put aside your own feeling about good and bad and simply accept the Bible’s notion of good and bad), or you must believe that you are indeed competent to recognize good and bad (in which case, you recognize on your own that selfish motives are bad). The point is not whether humans are good or bad, the point is: how do you know if they are good or bad?

    In the first case, if you believe that we are not competent to recognize good and bad so you accept the Bible’s notion of good and bad, then you can’t say that the Bible appears divine because it’s concept of good and bad seem perfect. The reason you can’t say that is because you already concede that we are not competent to recognize good and bad. Saying that we should accept the Bible as divine because it seems to embody the perfect good would put us in the position of recognizing that the Bible is good, but you’ve conceded that we are not competent to do that.

    In the second case, if you believe that we are indeed competent to recognize good and bad, then you could say that we should consider the Bible to be divine because it seems to embody the perfect good. However, if we are competent to recognize good and bad, and we see ideals in the Bible that we recognize as bad, then we have to admit that the Bible doesn’t appear divine since it doesn’t seem to embody the perfect good.

    In the first case, we have to start with a belief that the Bible is divine (since we are not competent to judge it). Then what is the reason we should start with the belief that the Bible is divine? In the second case, we decide for ourselves if the Bible is divine based on evidence (the Bible’s contents). Why should we conclude that the Bible is divine if it appears flawed?

    So the discussion isn’t about whether humans are good or bad (that’s secondary to this point). The important thing is: how we know? Do we know because the Bible says so (but why should start out with the belief that the Bible is divine)? Or do we know because we are competent to recognize good and bad and we recognize the human motive as bad (then why should we conclude that the Bible is divine)?

    Sorry this was so long! I just didn’t know how to distill it down any further. I’ll respond to your other post separately so it doesn’t get even longer.

    Hope you had a great birthday celebration with your sisters-in-law!

  173. doug says:

    Dear Monica,
    What is an ‘educated Baptist’?

    Best wishes & God bless you
    Doug

  174. doug says:

    cognizance of good and bad

    HI!
    I’m Back!

    Dear Monica & the Atheist,
    Either you forgot or did not read my post about good & bad.
    Societys since human history was recorded have all identified the same constellations.
    ALSO they have also had the same beliefs in right and wrong , good and bad.
    Thus when Monica says that we are all born with an innate since of good and bad she is right!!!
    Samson this should also answer your question as to “How do we know if humans are good or bad?”
    The Atheist aka Samson
    You stated, Why should we conclude that the Bible is divine if it appears flawed?”

    Riddle me this, “Why should we NOT accept that the Bible is divine?

    Contradictions? Yes! BUT one thing is constant throughout the scriptures and that is that we are saved by FAITH!!!!!

    What are these flaws you speak of?

    We are all self centered! We have had to be in order to survive throughout time.

    HOWEVER! When God introduced Himself to Abraham we began to place God 1st. Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son Issac because God told him to. Abraham placed God 1st!!! We still remained and still do self centered. When we ask God for His help we are being self centered. It is only natural that we be so, after all who else can be in our head at the same time except for God?

    Is the Bible divine? I think so.
    You are cynical so YOU CANNOT except the fact that YES the Bible is divine.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  175. Damian says:

    Societys since human history was recorded have all identified the same constellations.

    Wrong.

    ALSO they have also had the same beliefs in right and wrong, good and bad.

    Wrong.

    Do a bit of research into the constellations of the Chinese, Australian Aboriginals and just about every other race on earth. And then go and look into the history of human and animal sacrifice as well as slavery.

  176. J.D. says:

    Sorry guys, I have been out a while. I have started some more IT classes. so time is extremely limited. Not to mention I am also studying more my CCNA on my own time.

    However, this was send to me by one of my friends and I thought I would share this with you. It gave me quite the chuckle.
    ————————————————————————————-
    The only debate on Intelligent Design that is worthy of its subject ::: 08.11.2005, 10:38
    []
    Moderator: We’re here today to debate the hot new topic, evolution versus Intelligent Des—

    (Scientist pulls out baseball baat.)

    Moderator: Hey, what are you doing?

    (Scientist breaks Intelligent Design advocate’s kneecap.)

    Intelligent Design advocate: YEAAARRRRGGGHHHH! YOU BROKE MY KNEECAP!

    Scientist: Perhaps it only appears that I broke your kneecap. Certainly, all the evidence points to the hypothesis I broke your kneecap. For example, your kneecap is broken; it appears to be a fresh wound; and I am holding a baseball bat, which is spattered with your blood. However, a mere preponderance of evidence doesn’t mean anything. Perhaps your kneecap was designed that way. Certainly, there are some features of the current situation that are inexplicable according to the “naturalistic” explanation you have just advanced, such as the exact contours of the excruciating pain that you are experiencing right now.

    Intelligent Design advocate: AAAAH! THE PAIN!

    Scientist: Frankly, I personally find it completely implausible that the random actions of a scientist such as myself could cause pain of this particular kind. I have no precise explanation for why I find this hypothesis implausible — it just is. Your knee must have been designed that way!

    Intelligent Design advocate: YOU BASTARD! YOU KNOW YOU DID IT!

    Scientist: I surely do not. How can we know anything for certain? Frankly, I think we should expose people to all points of view. Furthermore, you should really re-examine whether your hypothesis is scientific at all: the breaking of your kneecap happened in the past, so we can’t rewind and run it over again, like a laboratory experiment. Even if we could, it wouldn’t prove that I broke your kneecap the previous time. Plus, let’s not even get into the fact that the entire universe might have just popped into existence right before I said this sentence, with all the evidence of my alleged kneecap-breaking already pre-formed.

    Intelligent Design advocate: That’s a load of bullshit sophistry! Get me a doctor and a lawyer, not necessarily in that order, and we’ll see how that plays in court!

    Scientist (turning to audience): And so we see, ladies and gentlemen, when push comes to shove, advocates of Intelligent Design do not actually believe any of the arguments that they profess to believe. When it comes to matters that hit home, they prefer evidence, the scientific method, testable hypotheses, and naturalistic explanations. In fact, they strongly privilege naturalistic explanations over supernatural hocus-pocus or metaphysical wankery. It is only within the reality-distortion field of their ideological crusade that they give credence to the flimsy, ridiculous arguments which we so commonly see on display. I must confess, it kind of felt good, for once, to be the one spouting free-form bullshit; it’s so terribly easy and relaxing, compared to marshaling rigorous arguments backed up by empirical evidence. But I fear that if I were to continue, then it would be habit-forming, and bad for my soul. Therefore, I bid you adieu.

  177. The Atheist says:

    J.D.,

    Welcome back and thanks for that chuckle!! Have you seen this one on Intelligent Falling vs. gravity?

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/39512

    CCNA, huh? Have you ever heard of Freesco (see http://www.freesco.org/)? You can turn an old, has-been PC (or even a virtual machine – see http://www.virtualbox.org/) into a Cisco clone. All for free.

    Are you taking systems or CS classes?

  178. doug says:

    Constellations

    Dear Damian,
    I knew when I typed that all societys in history had recognized the same constellations that I was wrong.
    HOWEVER
    You knit pick. Sure some societys did not recognize the same constellations, but the majority of them DID.

    Just as almost all societys recognized the same constellations almost all societys held the same beliefs of right and wrong…..good and evil.

    If knit picking is your best defense then it is a rather poor one.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  179. doug says:

    Prof. Dawkins,

    Dear All,
    Have any of you watched the film Expelled No Intelligence Allowed?

    If you have you will have heard Prof. Dawkins ADMIT that there thad to be a supernatural power in the begining. To form all of the magnetism and energy to start with. SOMETHING DOES NOT COME FROM NOTHING !

    I found it saddening that universitys dismissed professors simply because they held or suggested a view different from evolution. THIS is closed minded. University and all schools of learning are SUPPOSED to be arenas for open discussion….varying points of view and yet these instructors were dismissed because they held a view other than evolution. Sad…CLOSED MINDED.

    The same holds true for global warming. If you do not fall into lock step with the theory of global warming you as a scientist are dismissed and said to be wrong despite evidence to the contrary. Open discussion is NOT ALLOWED !

    Another point for Doug.

    Best wishes & God bless yawl,
    Doug

  180. doug says:

    Nature/Science website

    The Reverend you have been re-named for me NASCAR. I use this because the abbreviation for Reverend is Rev. and in NASCAR when they say ‘Gentlemen start your engines!’ you hear revvvv thus NASCAR.

    I never did read the nature website you suggested, so I went back and read it just now.

    You know what? I agreed. The arrow of time? Bullhockey. Infinity retches in both directions not just one. Possibility of a universe before the big bang? maybe, but remember that what they found they said they BELIEVED were the seeds of whatever. The catch word which should not be ignored is ‘believed. I can believe that Jello surrounds the universe because as the old ad went, “Theres always room for Jello”. Believing it does not make it so.

    So you see infinity stretching in both directions proves Gods existence for after all when Moses asked God who to tell the Jews had sent him God said I AM.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  181. J.D. says:

    T.A.

    No, I haven’t seen that. I will check it out. Thanks for the link.

    Yeah, I love the onion! cracks me up. Did you see that they are putting out a movie?!? I can’t wait.

  182. J.D. says:

    T.A.,
    I got the books from my friend that I am using to study is for the old test that was replaced in ’02. However, One of my buddies from school who just took the new test said that the information you needed was the same. The test itself is not that different. He said they focus more “real life” problem solving on a simulator. I can’t wait to check it out.

    In the military I was a signal support specialist a jack of all trades if you will. We were taught the very basic bottom line info needed to set up a network. Our big deal was being able to set up operate and maintain communications equipment. Lot of fun, but it focused mostly on tactical command, more that than anything else because of the shortage of that MOS. We were the ones who, as privates, would be able run a platoon because we were in short supply and answered more or less only to officers. We still had to obey ranking/C.O.C. But as a private or even a specialist we would be over some Sgts and Capt. because of our knowledge.

  183. doug says:

    Miscellaneous notes
    Saddam Hussein
    Ron Paul
    2000 election
    Majority of vote
    State of Franklin

    Regardless of whether Bringing down Saddam Hussein was right or wrong by doing so we saved 5,000 Muslems/yr from death. He killed more Muslims per year than anyone , anyone else. He killed Iraqs soccer team when they did not win a soccer game. Right or wrong we have save 5,000 Muslims per year.

    Bush did not win by a majority of the vote. Nor did Clinton BOTH times he was elected.

    The State of Franklin is where I live. It is mid and upper east TN We tried to secede from the Confederacy but were not allowed. Just a bunch of poor dirt farmers here at that time.
    Al Gore did not need to win FL to win in 2000 all he needed to do was win his own state, TN.
    I voted for him for Senator. He ran as a conservative and when he got to D.C. showed his true colors. The State of Franklin is conservative, thus we voted for Bush therefore Gore lost his own state, TN

    Ron Paul had a lot of support here. The only reason McCain won was that he was the only liberal among a flock of conservatives. Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney were my first choices.
    This is an election of the best of two evils. McCain gets my vote.

    Anyway as I said miscellaneous notes none of which has to do with God. Just thought you might be interested.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  184. doug says:

    Dear NASCAR,
    You did not answer my question, “Have you watched the movie Expeled No Intelligence Allowed.”
    Until you do I will not reply to your suggested website.
    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  185. doug says:

    Dear NASCAR,
    One final comment. You dodged my question by offering a website.
    If you are “Open Minded” you will watch the film.
    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  186. J.D. says:

    Biology prof expelled from screening of ‘Expelled’
    by Chris Hewitt, TwinCities.com
    Thanks to Glen Davidson for the link.

    Reposted from:
    http://www.twincities.com/allheadlines/ci_8653837?nclick_check=1

    A list of all blogs writing about this:
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/03/pz_myers_expelled_gains_sainth.php

    It’s almost too perfect: P.Z. Myers tried to see the movie, “Expelled,” at the Mall of America Thursday.

    But he was expelled.

    “Expelled,” subtitled “No Intelligence Allowed,” is the controversial film that argues schools should be teaching creationism as an alternative to evolution. Myers, an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota-Morris — and, more to the point, a prominent atheist — was interviewed for “Expelled” last April, although he says he was told the film was an evenhanded look at the intersection of science and religion and was to be called “Crossroads.”

    Myers was in the Twin Cities this week for the American Atheists Conference 2008 in Minneapolis and, coincidentally, he learned there was to be a free screening of “Expelled” at the Mall of America Thursday night. So he registered to attend with his wife, Mary, along with what Myers called “a whole parade of atheists,” including internationally famous science writer, Richard Dawkins, whose books include “The God Delusion.”

    They all got in, but Myers did not.

    “The filmmakers had been advertising it. They’d been sending out e-mails to people who subscribed to their Web site and all you had to do to go was click on the site and tell how many guests you were going to bring,” said Myers, who did just that. “I wanted to be completely above-board. I signed under my own name and I didn’t think they would object because, after all, I am in the movie.”

    At about 7:15 p.m., 15 minutes before showtime, Myers was informed that “Expelled” was expelling him. Myers believes Mark Mathis, who interviewed him for the film “under false pretenses,” and who was in attendance at the Mall of America, recognized his name and barred him from attending (attendees had to show identification before being admitted).
    “It shows off the hypocrisy of these people, as well as their outright incompetence,” said Myers, who reports that his blog — http://www.scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/ — had an all-time high-traffic day Friday. “I could not imagine a better result for this. They’ve shown themselves to be completely dishonest and that they’re trying to hide the truth about their movie, which is to my advantage. And they’ve shown themselves to be such flaming idiots.”

    Ironically, Mathis did not recognize Dawkins, who also is in the film and who says Mathis “tricked” him into an interview.

    “What surprised me is it is a really lousy film, even if you happen to agree with it,” said Dawkins, who took advantage of a question-and-answer session after the screening to ask why Myers wasn’t allowed in. “P.Z. is in the film extensively. If anyone had a right to see the film, it was him. The incompetence, on a public relations level, is beyond belief.”

    Although he hasn’t seen the movie, Myers said his wife confirmed what he has heard about it: “She said they would have a biologist talking about evolution and they would intercut that with lots of shots of the Nazi Holocaust, so it’s a blatant appeal to emotions. It’s propaganda, and it’s trying to associate us with acts that, obviously, neither Richard Dawkins nor I would call good or would associate with science.”

    Representatives of Motive Marketing, a specialist in marketing such faith-based films as “The Passion of the Christ” and “The Chronicles of Narnia,” did not return phone calls about Myer’s claims and about his barring from the film (they had previously attempted to bar Orlando film critic Roger Moore from a screening, but he got in, anyway). In any case, Myers will probably have to wait to see himself on-screen until the movie opens April 18, nationwide.

    In the meantime, Myers is entertained by this irony: “Expelled’s” closing credits include a thank-you to him. So he knows the filmmakers are grateful for the couple of hours he gave them last year. Just not grateful enough to let him see their movie.

    Chris Hewitt can be reached at chewitt@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5552.

  187. J.D. says:

    Open Letter to a victim of Ben Stein’s lying propaganda
    by Richard Dawkins
    On 18th April, the day Ben Stein’s infamous film was released, Michael Shermer received the following letter from a Jew (referencing a past article that Shermer had written debunking the Holocaust deniers) whose identity I shall conceal as “David J”.

    Now I truly understand who you atheists and darwinists really are! You people believe that it was okay for my great-grandparents to die in the Holocaust! How disgusting. Your past article about the Holocaust was just window dressing. We Jews will fight to keep people like you out of the United States!

    Shermer wrote to Mr J to ask if he had by any chance just seen Expelled, and he received this reply:

    Yes I have. You know, I respect you as a human being and you have done great work exposing psychics and frauds, but this is a very touchy issue that affects me and family emotionally. Our family business was affected because of Auschwitz because now, our family has nothing. It is gone. Things began to make sense once I saw the movie and I am just appalled. I have learned a lot from Ben Stein, a Jewish brother, who has opened my eyes up a bit.

    It seemed to me that Ben Stein and his lying crew were more to blame than Mr J himself for his revolting letter. I therefore decided to write him a personal letter and try to explain a few things to him. It then occurred to me (indeed, Michael Shermer suggested as much) that there are probably many others like him, whose minds have been twisted in this evil way by the man Stein, and that it would be a good idea to publish the letter. I decided to wait 24 hours to see if he would reply, although I didn’t expect him to. I am now publishing my letter to him, exactly as I sent it to him except that I have removed his name.

    Richard

    Dear Mr J

    Michael Shermer forwarded me a letter from you which suggests that you have unfortunately been taken in by Ben Stein’s mendacious and/or ignorant suggestion that Darwin is somehow to blame for Hitler. I hope you will not mind if I write to you and try to undo this grievous error.

    1. I deeply sympathize with you for the loss of your relatives in the Holocaust. Nevertheless, I don’t think that could really be said to justify the tone of your letter to Michael Shermer, who is a kind and decent man, as even you seemed to concede in your second letter to him, and the very antithesis of a Nazi sympathizer.

    Now I truly understand who you atheists and darwinists really are! You people believe that it was okay for my great-grandparents to die in the Holocaust! How disgusting. Your past article about the Holocaust was just window dressing. We Jews will fight to keep people like you out of the United States!

    Just look at those words of yours. Probably you regret them by now. I certainly hope so, but I’ll continue to write my letter to you, on the assumption that you still feel at least a part of what you wrote.

    2. Hitler’s horrible opinions were not all that unusual for his time, not just in Germany but throughout Europe, including my own country of Britain, by the way. What singled Hitler out was the fact that he somehow managed to come to power in one of Europe’s leading nations, which was also one of the world’s most technologically advanced nations. Hitler had a lot of support in Germany. His horrible bidding was done by millions of ordinary German footsoldiers, and the great majority of them were Christians. Many were Lutheran, and many (like Hitler himself) were Roman Catholic. Very few were atheists, and whatever else Hitler was he most certainly was not an atheist. It is sometimes said that Hitler only pretended to be Catholic, in order to win the Church’s support for his regime. In this he was very largely successful. So, whether or not Hitler was himself a true Catholic (as he often claimed) the Church bears a heavy responsibility for what happened. And Hitler himself used religion to justify his anti-Semitism. For example, here is a typical quotation, from the end of Chapter 2 of Mein Kampf.

    Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.

    Hitler’s obscene anti-Semitism was able to hold sway in Germany because there was a deeply embedded history of anti-Semitism in Germany, and indeed in Europe generally.

    3. Going further back in history, where do we think the toxic anti-Semitism of Hitler, and of the many Germans whose support gave him power, came from? You can’t seriously think it came from Darwin. Anti-Semitism has been rife in Europe for many many centuries, positively encouraged by most Christian churches, including especially the two that dominate Germany. The Roman Catholic Church has notoriously persecuted Jews as “Christ-killers”. While, as for the Lutherans, Martin Luther himself wrote a book called On the Jews and their Lies from which Hitler quoted. And Luther publicly said that “All Jews should be driven from Germany.” By the way, do you hear an echo of those words in your own letter to Michael Shermer, “We Jews will fight to keep people like you out of the United States.” Don’t you feel just a twinge of shame at those truly horrible words of yours? Don’t you feel that, as a Jew, you should feel especially regretful that you used those words?

    4. Now, to the matter of Darwin. The first thing to say is that natural selection is a scientific theory about the way evolution works in fact. It is either true or it is not, and whether or not we like it politically or morally is irrelevant. Scientific theories are not prescriptions for how we should behave. I have many times written (for example in the first chapter of A Devil’s Chaplain) that I am a passionate Darwinian when it comes to the science of how life has actually evolved, but a passionate ANTI-Darwinian when it comes to the politics of how humans ought to behave. I have several times said that a society based on Darwinian principles would be a very unpleasant society in which to live. I have several times said, starting at the beginning of my very first book, The Selfish Gene, that we should learn to understand natural selection, so that we can oppose any tendency to apply it to human politics. Darwin himself said the same thing, in various different ways. So did his great friend and champion Thomas Henry Huxley.

    5. Darwinism gives NO support to racism of any kind. Quite the contrary. It is emphatically NOT about natural selection between races. It is about natural selection between individuals. It is true that the subtitle of The Origin of Species is “Or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life” but Darwin was using the word “race” in a very different sense from ours. It is totaly clear, if you read past the title to the book itself, that a “favoured race” meant something like ‘that set of individuals who possess a certain favoured genetic mutation” (although Darwin would not have used that language because he did not have our modern concept of a genetic mutation).

    6. There is no mention of Darwin in Mein Kampf. Not one single, solitary mention, not one mention in any of the 27 chapters of this long and tedious book. Don’t you think that, if Hitler was truly influenced by Darwin, he would have given him at least one teeny weeny mention in his book? Was he, perhaps, INDIRECTLY influenced by some of Darwin’s ideas, without knowing it? Only if you completely misunderstand Darwin’s ideas, as some have definitely done: the so-called Social Darwinists such as Herbert Spencer and John D Rockefeller. Hitler could fairly be described as a Social Darwinist, but all modern evolutionists, almost literally without exception, have been vocal in their condemnation of Social Darwinism. This of course includes Michael Shermer and me and PZ Myers and all the other evolutionary scientists whom Ben Stein and his team tricked into taking part in his film by lying to us about their true intentions.

    7. Hitler did attempt eugenic breeding of humans, and this is sometimes misrepresented as an attempt to apply Darwinian principles to humans. But this interpretation gets it historically backwards, as PZ Myers has pointed out. Darwin’s great achievement was to look at the familiar practice of domestic livestock breeding by artificial selection, and realise that the same principle might apply in NATURE, thereby explaining the evolution of the whole of life: “natural selection”, the “survival of the fittest”. Hitler didn’t apply NATURAL selection to humans. He was probably even more ignorant of natural selection than Ben Stein evidiently is. Hitler tried to apply ARTIFICIAL selection to humans, and there is nothing specifically Darwinian about artificial selection. It has been familiar to farmers, gardeners, horse trainers, dog breeders, pigeon fanciers and many others for centuries, even millennia. Everybody knew about artificial selection, and Hitler was no exception. What was unique about Darwin was his idea of NATURAL selection; and Hitler’s eugenic policies had nothing to do with natural selection.

    8. Mr J, you have been cruelly duped by Ben Stein and his unscrupulous colleagues. It is a wicked, evil thing they have done to you, and potentially to many others. I do not know whether they knowingly and wantonly perpetrated the falsehood that fooled you. Perhaps they genuinely and sincerely believed it, although other actions by them, which you can read about all over the Internet, persuade me that they are fully capable of deliberate and calculated deception. You are perhaps not to be blamed for swallowing the film’s falsehoods, because you probably assumed that nobody would have the gall to make a whole film like that without checking their facts first. Perhaps even you will need a little more convincing that they were wrong, in which case I urge you to read it up and study the matter in detail — something that Ben Stein and his crew manifestly and lamentably failed to do.

    With my good wishes, and sympathy for the losses your family suffered in the Holocaust.

    Yours sincerely

    Richard Dawkins

  188. J.D. says:

    WARNING!! ANOTHER LONG POST..

    RICHARD DAWKINGS REVIEW OF EXSPELLED!

    ying for Jesus?
    by Richard Dawkins
    The blogs are ringing with ridicule. Mark Mathis, duplicitous producer of the much hyped film Expelled, shot himself in the foot so spectacularly that the phrase might have been invented for him. Goals don’t come more own than this. How is it possible that a man who makes his living from partisan propaganda could hand so stunning a propaganda coup to his opponents? Hand it to them on a plate, so ignominiously and so UNNECESSARILY.

    In writing this for RichardDawkins.net, I have assumed that our readers will already be familiar with the facts of the case, from Pharyngula and the more than 40 other blogs that have picked up the story and are listed at
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/03/pz_myers_expelled_gains_sainth.php
    For the same reason, I shall not discuss the main message of the film — that American creationist scientists are being victimized for their views — except to say that it was very much NOT its main message when the film was called Crossroads, and when I, together with PZ Myers, Eugenie Scott and others, were conned into taking part.

    Now, to the Good Friday Fiasco itself, Mathis’ extraordinary and costly lapse of judgment. Just think about it. His entire film is devoted to the notion that American scientists are being hounded and expelled from their jobs because of opinions that they hold. The film works hard at pressing (no, belabouring with a sledgehammer) all the favourite hot buttons of free speech, freedom of thought, the right of dissent, the right to be heard, the right to discuss issues rather than suppress argument. These are the topics that the film sets out to raise, with particular reference to evolution and ‘intelligent design’ (wittily described by someone as creationism in a cheap tuxedo). In the course of this film, Mathis tricked a number of scientists, including PZ Myers and me, into taking prominent parts in the film, and both of us are handsomely thanked in the closing credits.

    Seemingly oblivious to the irony, Mathis instructed some uniformed goon to evict Myers while he was standing in line with his family to enter the theatre, and threaten him with arrest if he didn’t immediately leave the premises. Did it not occur to Mathis — what would occur any normally polite and reasonable person — that Myers, having played a leading role in the film, might have been welcomed as an honoured guest to watch it? Or, more cynically, did he not know that PZ is one of the country’s most popular bloggers, with a notoriously caustic wit, perfectly placed to set the whole internet roaring with delighted and mocking laughter? I long ago realised that Mathis was deceitful. I didn’t know he was a bungling incompetent.

    Not just incompetent at public relations, incompetent in his chosen profession of film-making, for the film itself, as I discovered when I saw it on Friday (and this genuinely surprised me) is dull, artless, amateurish, too long, poorly constructed and utterly devoid of any style, wit or subtlety. It bears all the hallmarks of a film-maker who knows nothing about the craft of making films. I’ll come to that in a moment.

    But first, I should deal with some questions that have arisen over the Good Friday Massacre of Mark Mathis’ reputation (some commentators are publicly wondering whether the film will ever be released, speculating that its financial backers will pull out for fear of being tarnished with some of the ridicule?)

    In a desperate effort to scrape some of the egg off their faces, the creationist wingnuts are spinning the story to make it look as though PZ and I were ‘gatecrashers’. The ill-named ‘Discovery’ Institute heads its web article, “Richard Dawkins, World Famous Darwinist, Stoops to Gate-crashing Expelled.” The article says that I “apparently acknowledged that I was not invited”. Mark Mathis himself said something similar about PZ in the Q & A after the showing, when I publicly challenged him to explain why he had expelled him, claiming that this performance was by invitation only, and PZ had not been invited. But, as many commentators have pointed out, this was most certainly not an invitation-only affair. The way to get into this showing of the film was simply to go on the Internet and apply. This was exactly what PZ did. He went on the Web and put his name down for a place at the showing, just like everybody else, including several others from the American Atheists annual conference in Minneapolis. Not a man to hide behind a false name or false beard, PZ openly sported his own. Like many other people, including his daughter and Kristine Harley (see her Amused Muse website), PZ took advantage of the generous offer to let him book guests in as well, and then kindly invited me to be one of them. There was no request to give the names of guests, and no machinery to do so, which was why my name did not appear on the list.

    Many people have wondered why, if PZ was expelled, I managed to get in. This has been adduced as further evidence of Mathis’ bungling incompetence, but I think that is unfair. It was easy for Mathis to spot PZ Myers’ name on the list of those registering in advance. Like all guests, my name was not on any list, and therefore Mathis didn’t spot me. So I think he can be absolved of stupidity in not spotting me. But convicted of extreme stupidity in expelling PZ when he spotted him. What was he afraid of? What did he think PZ would do, open fire with a Kalashnikov? Now that I think about it, that would have been all-of-a-piece with the overblown paranoia displayed throughout the film itself.

    The whole tone of the film is whiny, paranoid — pathetic really. The narrator is somebody called Ben Stein. I had not heard of him, but apparently he is well known to Americans, for it is hard to see why else he would have been chosen to front the film. He certainly can’t have been chosen for his knowledge of science, nor his powers of logical reasoning, nor his box office appeal (heavens, no), and his speaking voice is an irritating, nasal drawl, innocent of charm and of consonants. I suppose that makes it a good voice for conveying the whingeing paranoia that I referred to, so maybe that was qualification enough.

    Now, to the film itself. What a shoddy, second-rate piece of work. A favourite joke among the film-making community is the ‘Lord Privy Seal’. Amateurs and novices in the making of documentaries can’t resist illustrating every significant word in the commentary by cutting to a picture of it. The Lord Privy Seal is an antiquated title in Britain’s heraldic tradition. The joke imagines a low-grade film director who illustrates it by cutting to a picture of a Lord, then a privy, and then a seal. Mathis’ film is positively barking with Lord Privy Seals. We get an otherwise pointless cut to Nikita Krushchev hammering the table (to illustrate something like ’emotional outburst’). There are similarly clunking and artless cuts to a guillotine, fist fights, and above all to the Berlin wall and Nazi gas chambers and concentration camps.

    The alleged association between Darwinism and Nazism is harped on for what seems like hours, and it is quite simply an outrage. We are supposed to believe that Hitler was influenced by Darwin. Hitler was ignorant and bonkers enough for his hideous mind to have imbibed some sort of garbled misunderstanding of Darwin (along with his very ungarbled understanding of the anti-semitism of Martin Luther, and of his own never-renounced Roman Catholic religion) but it is hardly Darwin’s fault if he did. My own view, frequently expressed (for example in the The Selfish Gene and especially in the title chapter of A Devil’s Chaplain) is that there are two reasons why we need to take Darwinian natural selection seriously. Firstly, it is the most important element in the explanation for our own existence and that of all life. Secondly, natural selection is a good object lesson in how NOT to organize a society. As I have often said before, as a scientist I am a passionate Darwinian. But as a citizen and a human being, I want to construct a society which is about as un-Darwinian as we can make it. I approve of looking after the poor (very un-Darwinian). I approve of universal medical care (very un-Darwinian). It is one of the classic philosophical fallacies to derive an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’. Stein (or whoever wrote his script for him) is implying that Hitler committed that fallacy with respect to Darwinism. If we look at more recent history, the closest representatives you’ll find to Darwinian politics are uncompassionate conservatives like Margaret Thatcher, George W Bush, or Ben Stein’s own hero, Richard Nixon. Maybe all these people, along with the Social Darwinists from Herbert Spencer to John D Rockefeller, committed the is/ought fallacy and justified their unpleasant social views by invoking garbled Darwinism. Anyone who thinks that has any bearing whatsoever on the truth or falsity of Darwin’s theory of evolution is either an unreasoning fool or a cynical manipulator of unreasoning fools. I will not speculate as to which category includes Ben Stein and Mark Mathis.

    Stein has no talent for comedy, as he demonstrates in a weird joke about scratching his back, which falls completely flat. But his attempt to do tragedy is even worse. He visits Dachau and, when informed by the guide that lots of Jews had been killed there, he buries his face in his hands as though this is the first time he has heard of it. Obviously it was not his intention, but I thought his rotten acting was an insult to the memory of the victims.

    More sinister than the artless Lord Privy Seals, and the self-indulgent and wholly illicit playing of the Nazi trump card, the film goes shamelessly for cheap laughs at the expense of scientists and scholars who are making honest attempts to explain difficult points. Cheap laughs that could only be raised in an audience of scientific ignoramuses (and here Mathis’ propaganda instincts cannot be faulted: he certainly knows his target audience). One example is the treatment of the philosopher Michael Ruse: a decent man, bluff, bearded, articulate, and with a genuine and sincere desire to explain difficult ideas clearly. Stein asked Ruse how life originated. Ruse’s immediate impulse (as mine would have been) was to launch into an honest effort to explain a difficult scientific idea. He began by saying that he doesn’t know how life originated, and nor does anybody else. At this point in his interview, Ruse probably had no notion that his interlocuter had a completely different agenda to promote, with no hint of sincerity to balance his own. Ruse patiently explained that the origin of life (nothing to do with the Darwinian theory itself but the necessary precursor of Darwinian evolution) is an interesting and unsolved mystery, one that scientists are actively working on. By way of example, Ruse could have chosen any of a number of current theories. He chose just one (it would have taken too long to explain them all) purely as an illustration of the kind of properties such a theory must have. He happened to choose the theory proposed by the Scottish chemist Graham Cairns-Smith, that organic life was preceded by a strange and intriguing world of replicating patterns on the surfaces of crystals in inorganic clays. At no time did Ruse say he believed the Cairns-Smith theory, only that it was the KIND of theory that scientists are actively examining, as a CANDIDATE for the origin of evolution. Stein just loved it. Mud! MUD! The sarcasm in his grating, nasal voice was palpable. Maybe this was when Ruse realised that he had been had. Certainly it was at this point that he started to show signs of exasperation, although he may still have thought that Stein was merely stupid, rather than pursuing a malevolent and clandestine agenda. Stein kept returning, throughout the film, to the phrase “on the backs of crystals”, and the sycophantic audience in the Minneapolis cinema dutifully tittered every time.

    Another example. Toward the end of his interview with me, Stein asked whether I could think of any circumstances whatsoever under which intelligent design might have occurred. It’s the kind of challenge I relish, and I set myself the task of imagining the most plausible scenario I could. I wanted to give ID its best shot, however poor that best shot might be. I must have been feeling magnanimous that day, because I was aware that the leading advocates of Intelligent Design are very fond of protesting that they are not talking about God as the designer, but about some unnamed and unspecified intelligence, which might even be an alien from another planet. Indeed, this is the only way they differentiate themselves from fundamentalist creationists, and they do it only when they need to, in order to weasel their way around church/state separation laws. So, bending over backwards to accommodate the IDiots (“oh NOOOOO, of course we aren’t talking about God, this is SCIENCE”) and bending over backwards to make the best case I could for intelligent design, I constructed a science fiction scenario. Like Michael Ruse (as I surmise) I still hadn’t rumbled Stein, and I was charitable enough to think he was an honestly stupid man, sincerely seeking enlightenment from a scientist. I patiently explained to him that life could conceivably have been seeded on Earth by an alien intelligence from another planet (Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel suggested something similar — semi tongue-in-cheek). The conclusion I was heading towards was that, even in the highly unlikely event that some such ‘Directed Panspermia’ was responsible for designing life on this planet, the alien beings would THEMSELVES have to have evolved, if not by Darwinian selection, by some equivalent ‘crane’ (to quote Dan Dennett). My point here was that design can never be an ULTIMATE explanation for organized complexity. Even if life on Earth was seeded by intelligent designers on another planet, and even if the alien life form was itself seeded four billion years earlier, the regress must ultimately be terminated (and we have only some 13 billion years to play with because of the finite age of the universe). Organized complexity cannot just spontaneously happen. That, for goodness sake, is the creationists’ whole point, when they bang on about eyes and bacterial flagella! Evolution by natural selection is the only known process whereby organized complexity can ultimately come into being. Organized complexity — and that includes everything capable of designing anything intelligently — comes LATE into the universe. It cannot exist at the beginning, as I have explained again and again in my writings.

    This ‘Ultimate 747′ argument, as I called it in The God Delusion, may or may not persuade you. That is not my concern here. My concern here is that my science fiction thought experiment — however implausible — was designed to illustrate intelligent design’s closest approach to being plausible. I was most emphaticaly NOT saying that I believed the thought experiment. Quite the contrary. I do not believe it (and I don’t think Francis Crick believed it either). I was bending over backwards to make the best case I could for a form of intelligent design. And my clear implication was that the best case I could make was a very implausible case indeed. In other words, I was using the thought experiment as a way of demonstrating strong opposition to all theories of intelligent design.

    Well, you will have guessed how Mathis/Stein handled this. I won’t get the exact words right (we were forbidden to bring in recording devices on pain of a $250,000 fine, chillingly announced by some unnamed Gauleiter before the film began), but Stein said something like this. “What? Richard Dawkins BELIEVES IN INTELLIGENT DESIGN.” “Richard Dawkins BELIEVES IN ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE.” I can’t remember whether this was the moment in the film where we were regaled with another Lord Privy Seal cut to an old science fiction movie with some kind of android figure – that may have been used in the service of trying to ridicule Francis Crick (again, dutiful titters from the partisan audience).

    Enough on the film itself. Quite apart from anything else, it is drearily boring, the tedium exacerbated by the grating monotony of Stein’s voice. At the end, Mathis came on the stage to answer questions. He had of course taken the precaution of removing the one individual whom he apparently saw as a likely source of knowledgeable questions, Professor Myers. He must have been surprised when I stood up and asked him to explain why he had expelled PZ, given that the film was an attack on such expulsions, and given that the film’s acknowledgments had thanked PZ for his role in the film. Mathis trotted out the lie that Myers had been excluded because he was not invited. This seemed to satisfy the loyal audience, even though they presumably knew perfectly well that they hadn’t been invited either, and that they, like PZ, had simply booked their seats on the Internet. I pursued the matter until the audience’s hostile demeanour persuaded me that there was no point in continuing. The point was made to all whose minds were not completely blinded by religious zeal.

    The New York Times picked up the story, and caught Mathis in the act of perpetrating yet another piece of dubious spin-doctoring.

    Mark Mathis, a producer of the film who attended the screening, said that “of course” he had recognized Dr. Dawkins, but allowed him to attend because “he has handled himself fairly honorably, he is a guest in our country and I had to presume he had flown a long way to see the film.”

    As I said before, Mathis almost certainly detected Myers’ name on the list of those who signed up on the Internet. Since my name was not on that list, it is highly likely that Mathis didn’t spot me until the moment I stood up in the Question session, when it was too late to expel me. So all that stuff about allowing me to attend because I have handled myself fairly honourably is almost certainly dishonourable spinning. As for the implication that I might have flown all the way from England to see his disreputable film, the very idea is as ludicrous as the film itself. Like PZ Myers, I was in Minneapolis for the conference of the American Atheists.

    Josh Timonen and Kristine Harley took up the cudgels. Josh drew attention to the digraceful victimization of scientists espousing the Stork Theory of reproduction, by hardline members of the ‘Sex Theory’ establishment. And Kristine asked Mathis to explain what had become of a film called Crossroads which had mysteriously morphed itself into Expelled. The import of her question was the widely known fact, which I have already mentioned, that PZ and I had been tricked into participating in Crossroads without ever being told that the true purpose of the film was the one conveyed by the later title Expelled — the alleged expulsion of creationists from universities. Mathis said that it was common practice for films under production to have working titles, which later change in the final version. That is indeed true. However, yet again, Mathis shows himself up as a wilfull deceiver. As Kristine herself said on her blog (http://amused-muse.blogspot.com/):

    It would appear that Expelled’s producer Mark Mathis was not being truthful when he told me tonight that Crossroads was a ‘working title’ for the film Expelled. As Wesley Elsberry points out, the domain for Expelled was purchased before most, if not all, of the interviews were conducted — and yet Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott, PZ Myers, and others were told they were being interviewed for a film called Crossroads.

    Mr. Mark Mathis, do you want to come here and explain yourself?

    Could Mathis have been sincere when he originally told PZ and me the film was an honest attempt to examine evolution and intelligent design? The evidence that they had already purchased the Expelled domain name argues against this. Certainly Mathis’ friendly demeanour disarmed me into cooperating with him — indeed, I went out of my way to HELP him on his visit to Britain — in a way that I never would have if I had had the slightest suspicion that his outfit was in fact a creationist front. I may have misremembered the details of our exchanges, by eMail and by telephone, but I vividly remember his reassuring me, over the telephone, that he was on the side of science, and he made no attempt to distance himself from my sarcastic jokes about ‘Intelligent Design’. I am reluctantly driven to wonder whether he is an inveterate liar, as well as a dreadful film-maker. Yet another example of Lying for Jesus?

  189. J.D. says:

    ANOTHER LONG POST

    REVIEW OF EXSPELLED!

  190. J.D. says:

    Document Expelled Overview
    by Josh Timonen, RichardDawkins.net
    Since I was one of the group who watched Expelled at the Mall of America last week with Richard Dawkins and (not!) PZ Myers, I thought I should do my part to expose the movie for what it is. Richard and PZ Myers have written responses, a conversation between them about their experience is now online, and over one hundred blog posts have appeared on the subject. I think the best contribution I can make to all of this is to give you as detailed an account of the actual film as I can, so that you don’t have to give Mark Mathis any money in order to know what Expelled is all about.

    Expelled is said to be opening in 1,000 theaters nationwide on April 18th. Please don’t give them any of your money to see it. If it tanks in the theaters, and you have the stomach for such garbage, I’m sure you’ll be able to see it soon by other means that don’t involve supporting Creationists.

    Before the film
    Mathis came out before the film and told everyone that the showing was being projected from a laptop, and that on previous screenings this had caused the film to appear dark. He assured us that this had been corrected this time, and that he thought they had it looking pretty good. When the film started, it looked really dark. So dark, that you couldn’t even really see the scenes in some shots. Stein’s voiceover audio was also distorted (too much gain). It really was an unprofessional showing, and a terribly unprofessional film, aside from the content.

    Music
    First off: Either Expelled has a disproportionately-large music budget (for how bad of a film it is), or they are using songs they haven’t paid for in their Director’s Cut private screenings (that may be changed before the official nationwide release). John Lennon’s “Imagine” is played (original version) over B&W scenes of what looked like communist China, with a parade of soldiers. The lyrics to the song were subtitled on the bottom of the screen. I think I remember a shot of Stalin saluting somewhere in here as well. The part of the song played was of course “…and no religion too…”, implying that no religion equals communist China. Does Yoko know about this? I doubt she’d be pleased.

    The Killers’ song “All These Things That I’ve Done” was used at the end of the film. The part of the song used was the bridge with the lyrics “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier”. I’m guessing that wasn’t cheap, and I’m surprised that a fairly popular band like The Killers would want their reputation tarnished by being in a Creationist film – especially since this is THE song that the film ends with, very prominently. Maybe The Killers don’t know about this, and someone should tell them?

    “The Wall”
    The film opens with scenes of the Berlin wall being built, brick by brick. The footage and title cards are affected to look old, like a 50’s educational film. The effect doesn’t look professional, and by this point I was already starting to question the technical quality of the film. They’re really trying to push this in national theatres? Don’t they have someone sympathetic to this nonsense that knows how to make a film?

    “Big Science”
    We see clips of PZ Myers, Dawkins, Dennett, etc. criticizing ID. No surprise here, but we can be fairly certain that the filmmakers know their audience, and it isn’t anyone on the fence. The only people who will find these statements to be negative are those who have bought into Mathis’ “Big Science” Conspiracy.

    We see Ben Stein preparing to speak in a college auditorium. It really felt like they were trying to emulate Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

    USA #1!
    Ben Stein is the narrator, and is as terrible as you can imagine. He gives a monologue about how freedom is what makes America great, over images of flags around the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Stein walking by the mirror pond, and so on. Stein and Mathis of course want you to think that freedom should also extend to the classroom, as in “teaching the controversy”. He says “Why should we allow freedom in all other areas, but not in science?”

    Eugenie Scott
    Expelled even tries to make Eugenie Scott look like a villain, which is absurd. Eugenie Scott works for NCSE, which is a non-profit group working to keep Evolution in science education. She shows them a map with colored pins in it, where problems have come up in teaching evolution.

    “Intellectual Terrorists”
    Stein goes to meet a couple of people who claim to have lost their jobs due to mentioning ID in some way connected to a University. Big Science is squashing all the little guys who don’t toe the pro-Darwin line, obviously. Eugenie Scott and NCSE are collecting information on debunking these stories. They are building their response page at http://www.expelledexposed.com/

    Here’s a brief explanation from NCSE:

    Expelled Exposed is a new National Center for Science Education website that counters the Ben Stein/Premise Media anti-evolution movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. It is available at http://www.expelledexposed.com. Currently in a preliminary stage, Expelled Exposed consists of a collection of links containing the most basic and important resources for teachers, scientists, reporters, and members of the public who seek information now to respond to this movie. On April 16, days before the movie Expelled is premiered on April 18, NCSE will launch the full version of the website. In its final form, Expelled Exposed will examine claims made in the movie and explain, neatly and concisely, why each is an exaggeration, a misrepresentation, or a fabrication. NCSE encourages all interested parties to bookmark the site, and pass the link on to friends and family, so that by the time the creationist movie is released, http://www.expelledexposed.com will be the most popular Expelled site on the internet!

    The Discovery Institute
    We see Stein walking the streets of Seattle trying to be funny “I don’t know where we are… Is this third street? Where are we?” I know it doesn’t sound funny written out, and it wasn’t funny on-screen, but you could tell from his strained delivery that Stein was TRYING to be funny. The sympathetic audience did laugh, which was even sadder. Stein asks people on the street how to get to the Discovery institute, and no one he meets has even heard of it. I guess the point is to make you think that The Discovery Institute isn’t very big or influential. “It must be this whole building” Stein says when they arrive, and acts shocked when he finds out it is only half a floor in the building, with a staff of about 30. See? The Discovery Institute is just a harmless little group on half a floor! They all look so friendly! A very friendly interview follows with someone from the Institute, and the implication is that they are the struggling underdogs.

    We see a second attempt at comedy when Stein is in a boardroom meeting (I think it was at the Discovery Institute) and starts to look bored, pulls out an expandable pointing device, and proceeds to scratch his back with it. It doesn’t sound funny, and it wasn’t funny. But you could once again tell he was trying to be funny. I guess that was enough to get the sympathetic audience in Minneapolis to laugh once again.

    Michael Shermer
    Stein goes to speak with Michael Shermer (Skeptic.com), and asks him what he would think about people losing their jobs for publishing about ID. Michael Shermer had this to say about this experience with the Expelled team:

    My take on Mathis is that he’s an opportunist. He says and does whatever he thinks necessary to get his film made and now promoted. My guess on the latest flap about tossing PZ out of the screening but not Dawkins was PZ’s original assumption that they just didn’t notice Dawkins there, and only after the fact rationalizing the whole affair with plausible (and ever changing) reasons.

    For my part, the moment I sat down with Stein (with Mathis there) and he asked me that question about firing people for expressing dissenting views a dozen times, I realized that I was being manipulated to give certain answers they were looking for me to give. I asked them both, several times, if they had anything else to ask me about evolutionary theory or Intelligent Design. In frustration I finally said something like “Do you have any other questions to ask me or do you keep asking me this question in hopes that I’ll give a different answer?”

    That’s when Stein finally changed the subject and asked about social Darwinism. We got into a lengthy discussion about Adam Smith, which he seemed surprised to learn that I seemed to know more about the great economist than he did! For example, he didn’t seem to even realize that Smith’s first book was “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”, and that Smith didn’t trust businessmen any more than he trusted government bureaucrats, and that we need a mix of enlightened self-interest and strictly enforced rules of trade. But as I noted in my review of the film for Scientific American, Stein was especially displeased with my linkage of Smith and Darwin, that Darwin read Smith as an undergraduate at Edinburgh, etc. I also pointed out to him that Darwin has been used and abused by ideologues of all stripes, and that in any case that is all separate from whether the science is good or not. That seemed to tax his thinking too much, because shortly after he announced that he had to take a rest break and he just got up and went out to his car for about 20 minutes! Seriously, he just went out to the street next to our office and sat in the rent car they had! I couldn’t believe it. We had only been going for about 30 minutes and he was tired? And this was in the late morning. I joked with Mathis that, this being Hollywood and all, I wondered if Stein was out doing a line of cocaine…. Mathis assured me that Stein doesn’t do drugs, but I found the whole thing to be quite odd. Then Stein came back in and that’s when we walked around the office with the handheld camera to get some B-Roll footage, and they showed him asking me about my books, and that’s where I told him I thought ID was much closer to pseudoscience than science. Then he asked me AGAIN if I thought people should be fired….

    The whole experience was a bit surreal, and I found Stein to be a somewhat disagreeable man. He tried to come off like he was a star and that I should have been star-struck, and when I wasn’t that seemed to get under his skin a bit. For example, when he came back into the office from resting in his car, I said something like “gentlemen, I’ve got work to do so I’d like to wrap this thing up now,” he looked at me like “hey, don’t you realize who I am and that you should be grateful to be talking to me?” I let him off the hook a bit in my review about his questionable comment about blacks, but I suspect he has some racist tendencies.

    PZ Myers (of Pharyngula-fame)
    PZ comes across as very likable in the film, and says he would like to see religion become more of a hobby for people, like knitting.

    Sympathizers
    There are other scientists interviewed, and I can’t remember them all. There are other ID sympathizers who reinforce the ‘Big Science’ Conspiracy.

    Crystals!?
    They interview someone else about evolution, who mentions that science doesn’t know how life began. So the film shifts to discussing the origin of life on earth. Philosopher Michael Ruse mentions the theory that organic life piggybacked on crystalline structures (Richard writes more about this in his review). Stein takes the opportunity to ridicule the idea: “Crystals!? On the backs of CRYSTALS!?” The film cuts to B&W video of creepy fortunetellers hunching over crystal balls. Stein’s only desire is to oversimplify the theory and make fun of it.

    The Dover Trial
    The trial in Dover, PA is mentioned, but the film tries to spin the crushing defeat (Watch NOVA’s piece on the trial here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/ ). Stein says something like “I thought science was decided by evidence, not the courts.”

    Panspermia
    Panspermia (the idea of life originally being seeded by an alien source) is also ridiculed, with a black and white video montage of 1950’s aliens, robots, and flying saucers. You’d have to be pretty stupid to think that Panspermia is the same as a 1950’s flying saucer movie, but once again, Stein and Mathis know their audience. It also made me think that Mathis was really trying to emulate Michael Moore, who does similar “ridicule” cuts to old black and white footage for laughs. I can just imagine Mathis and his group sitting around saying “what we need to do is rip off as much of An Inconvenient Truth and Michael Moore documentaries as we can, so that we look like a real documentary.” I know that is just blind speculation, but that’s the feeling I had while watching the film. I just thought I’d share.

    Where it all began…
    Stein says “It was time for me to go to where it all began,” referring to Evolution. Maybe Stein will go to the Galapagos, and describe some of Darwin’s early encounters with divergent species? Maybe we will see giant tortoises or finches? No, we just see shots of Down House, where Darwin did most of his writing and microscope work ( http://williamcalvin.com/bookshelf/down_hse.htm ). We see shots of Darwin’s books, eyeglasses, microscopes, things like that. The implication seemed to be ‘this was just where Darwin thought up all of his crazy ideas, out of thin air’. There is no mention of science, or how Darwin built the Theory of Evolution, just shots of his house. As if this were some ‘holy place, for all of those people who worship Darwin as their god’.

    Science is just a bunch of old films shown in school
    We see a video, which is meant to show the audience the current theory of the origin of life. It shows lightning striking the ocean as a possible trigger for the beginning of life. The film is in color, but it is one of those school films with rounded corners, dirt and scratches through the film. They are presenting this to the audience as if it is the best explanation that science has to offer. The theme of this movie seems to be that science is just a bunch of old dusty films you saw in science class. Whenever they speak of evolution or the origin of life, we don’t see anything that isn’t at least 30 years old. But of course when they come to ID, we see a state-of-the-art computer animation of the inner workings of a cell.

    The film mentions the Miller-Urey experiments (I’m pretty sure these were the experiments referred to in the film) done on the mixture of elements likely to have been around at the dawn of life. Stein’s voiceover merely states that these experiments were done to replicate the origin of life, and that “Nothing happened” (there is more to this story, of course). Boy, those stupid scientists should have known then and there that they were way off track!

    Chance
    There is a short cartoon comparing the origin of life to a row of slot machines, claiming that the origin of life would have been like hitting the jackpot on 200 separate machines, all in a row. Someone says “How are you doing over there Richard?” of course meaning Richard Dawkins. They cut to a cartoon version of Richard kicking a slot machine and cursing at it, apparently because it can’t hit the jackpot 200 times in a row. They also apparently couldn’t get anyone with a real British accent to do his voice.

    Boooooring…….
    There are a lot of things that happen through the middle of the film that are just so boring I can’t recall them. Mostly we see interviews with people from universities who are complaining about the lack of support for Intelligent Design. Of course NO ONE provides any evidence for ID, other than what Richard calls “The Argument from Personal Incredulity.”

    The ID All-Stars
    It’s kind of pathetic to see “Fart-noise” Dembski dragged out as the ID All-Star, but he’s brought into the film to describe “Irreducible Complexity”, better known as “god-did-it” theory. I think there is a mention of Behe, but he doesn’t appear in the film.

    Computer Animation
    As previously mentioned, we see a computer-animated video of the inner-workings of a cell, which looks suspiciously like a certain Harvard animation. Since I can’t go back and compare them side by side, I’ll just say that they looked very similar, and had three elements that I remembered from the Harvard video, which I’d seen online: 1. Something “walking” along a rope-like structure, 2. a tube being “peeled” apart, and 3. Something un-coiling rapidly. If this isn’t the Harvard film, it looks almost identical. Regardless if it is or isn’t the same as the Harvard animation, it is certainly intended to make the cell look like machinery. I’m sure they’re hoping for the viewer to feel overwhelmed with the complexity, and conclude that it was designed.

    “Is” Doesn’t Imply “Ought”: The Holocaust
    Richard has written about this in more detail, but I’ll try and give a quick run-down. The film moves on to claim that Darwinism was “necessary” for Hitler, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. Stein says something like “Darwinism may not only be wrong, but it may also be dangerous.” Up to this point the film has been fairly dull with poor attempts at humor, but now they’re laying on emotional appeal. We see B&W footage of people opening up concentration camp ovens with bodies still inside, emaciated Jews in the camps, and so on. It is of course all very horrible to see, but the premise is so rotten it made me doubly angry. They want you to think that teaching evolution will lead to another Holocaust, basically. We see shots of Ben Stein attempting to look as if he’d just learned of the horrors of the Holocaust on-camera. Way to exploit, Ben.

    Eugenics & Planned Parenthood?!
    Eugenics is mentioned as an “extension” of Darwinism, and they even tar Planned Parenthood as being founded by a woman who was somehow associated with Eugenics (I can’t remember the name). It’s another disgusting, underhanded swipe, which could only be accepted so quickly in an extremely uninformed and sympathetic audience.

    The Great Richard Dawkins, Evil Lord of the Evolutionist Big Science Conspiracy
    Richard is really the star of this film, and if he had not been duped into his interviews (read elsewhere about the Crossroads film that many were told the interviews were for), I can’t imagine who or what would have taken his place. They really portray him as the evil leader that must be stopped.

    Stein says it’s time to confront the head of the Evolutionists, Richard Dawkins. It’s all very dramatic and overdone, making it out to be some kind of quest to slay the dragon. We see Stein slowly stepping out of his car outside the museum, about to confront Richard. They cut to Richard waiting inside the museum, with someone putting makeup (or powder, as they say) on his face in front of the camera. Once again, this was done in Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” repeatedly, and that’s all I could think when I saw it. Furthermore, this was NOT one of Richard’s people adding makeup; this was the crew from Expelled! They must have wanted to put makeup on him, so that they could get that shot. Furthermore, they messed with his hair to make him look like a mad scientist — so he has makeup, but terribly messy hair. Of course the implication is that Richard needs to be prepped before being seen by the public, as the Evil Lord of Big Science. Add to this a dark room with harsh lighting, and you’ll start to get the picture. We even get a nice full-screen shot of just Richard’s nose and mouth. Why? I’ve been filming Richard for the last 2 years, and we don’t put makeup on him. This is just another underhanded attempt to make Richard look bad.

    Richard’s Interview
    We see Richard reading “The God of The Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction” section of the book, which the audience didn’t find as funny as I did. Stein asks Richard to put a number on how certain he is that there is no god. Richard says 99%. Stein asks “Why not 97? Or why not 47?” Richard replies “Well you asked me to put a number on it, so I did”. This is apparently meant to make Richard look like he has no reason to say god is very, very unlikely — since he doesn’t have a reason to say 99% over 97%. The sympathetic audience laughed at this. Richard describes how Panspermia is the only way that ID would even be science (since whoever seeded life would have evolved through something like Natural Selection), but Stein just wants to use this to say, “Richard Dawkins believes in Intelligent Design, so long as it doesn’t mention god!” He’s OK with aliens, but not god! ‘How ridiculous,’ we are all expected to think.

    Intelligent Design means Created by God
    Let me draw attention to this: This film in no way attempts to distinguish God from Intelligent Design. They have apparently abandoned that tactic, and are now only targeting their religious base with this Big Science Conspiracy Theory. They move effortlessly from phrases about “an Intelligent Designer” to “God” or “a creator”.

    Big Science = Nazi Army
    Stein says something like “I can’t go up against Big Science all by myself!” over images of what looked like Nazi tanks and troops protecting a building, driving home the alleged connection between scientists and Nazis. We see B&W images of armed fortresses with barbed wire. Science looks really scary!

    Evil Darwin Statue
    Stein goes to a museum with a statue of Darwin, which he stands in front of during a monologue. We see a straight on shot of the grey Darwin statue in very little light, with Darwin’s eye cavities completely black. Darwin sure looks evil, like some sort of dark god. Yes, the evil god of the scientists.

    The Wall Must Come Down!
    The closing metaphor of the film is that the wall Big Science has put up to keep ID out must come down. We see scenes of people breaking down the Berlin wall, of people running to freedom, climbing over the wall, etc. The Killers song is played, with some Stein monologue, and we go to credits.

    Thanks!
    PZ and Richard are thanked in the end credits.

    Extended Trailer Online
    I noticed that several scenes from the extended trailer weren’t even in the film. The whole segment with Stein saying “I always thought everything was created by a loving god, including rocks, trees….” was nowhere to be found. The clip with Richard in the trailer wasn’t in the film, either.

    Concluding Thoughts
    Expelled seems to mark a shift in the Creationists’ tactics. Everything they’ve tried to do so far has failed, so now they’re trying to claim it’s a conspiracy. ‘Big Science is trying to keep God out of the classroom, and you’d better do something about it fast or we’re going to have another Holocaust!’ Of course, god-did-it is not science, but I don’t think this matters to the film’s target audience. Expelled is simply a rallying call to religious Americans. It will probably be shown in church basements, and will further insulate those who fear the seed of doubt. The film’s message is so appalling (teaching evolution = the Holocaust) and is presented so crudely that any sane person will see it for the propaganda it is. There was virtually no real scientific content, and I felt stupider for having sat through it.

    Please, don’t pay to go see it. Let it die a quiet theatrical death. If you really want to see it, wait for a free opportunity that won’t line Mathis’ pockets.

  191. JD says:

    A SHORT Excerpt from another long article. Link to article included.

    http://richarddawkins.net/article,2766,Science-is-not-philosophy,John-Moore-National-Post
    ————————————————————————————–

    The denial of the imprimatur of science on ID is the source of its proponents’ assumed victimhood and the wellspring from which most of Ben Stein’s movie draws its inspiration. We’re introduced to a half-dozen individuals whom he contends were “destroyed” for promoting ID. A deeper probe into their cases reveals that far from wide-eyed innocents most of them set out to stir up trouble.

    Professor Richard Sternberg is famous for having ensured the first ever publication of an Intelligent Design paper in a scientific journal. He claims he was fired and defamed in retaliation. The evidence reveals Sternberg is an active promoter of ID, the paper had no business being in the journal and he was never fired. He and other proponents of ID did get a lot of nasty e-mail. Welcome to the modern world. Mother Theresa got hate mail.

    Journalist Pamela Winnick tells Stein, “If you give any credence to Intelligent Design, you are finished as a journalist.” Winnick says she was sacked from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette over a news item that gave favourable treatment to ID in 2000. In fact she continued to publish in the Gazette and is found in the pages of respected newspapers to this day. She also wrote and had published a book titled, A Jealous God: Science’s Crusade Against Religion.

  192. JD says:

    The Late Great George Carlin…On Religion.

  193. JD says:

    Am I flaming yet, lol. Or am I contributing to the convo, as long as we are on expelled.

  194. The Atheist says:

    Heck no! Your comments are always welcome.

    George was great – I miss him already…

  195. J.D. says:

    T.A,

    Feel free to move my comments to their own thread I know some are off topic, I am just trying to make room for some more thoughts and Ideas.

    ——————————————————

    Long Post,

    Religion

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Today there is a large debate in the West over the role of the church when it comes to the governance of the state. Many people believe that we cannot have a legal system and a civil society without the integration of religious principles. History is a wonderful thing as we can learn so much about our present by reflecting on the past. I would like us to turn our attention to the tale of two cities.

    By the 6th century BCE there were two cities, Athens and Jerusalem. Athens was based in Western Europe and Jerusalem in the Middle East. Both enjoyed the fact that they had access to the Mediterranean and even though the Greeks in the 6th century BCE were religious, the legal system in Athens was based on secular reasoning and logic. Jerusalem on the other hand was undergoing a series of reforms under King Hezekiah and reinstituting the Mosaic legal system. These laws were said to have been passed on by God himself. Life in Athens was based on Reason whilst life in Jerusalem was based on Religion.

    So let’s examine what life would have been like in each respective city:

    Government

    In Athens the Monarchy was replaced by a social democracy. Many consider this to be the birth of democracy. Even though the Greeks were a religious society, under Plato’s laws, the Athenian priests were only to direct sacrifices and the role of religion was limited to tradition and pleasing the gods.

    In Jerusalem the Monarchy was upheld and even considered to be supported by God. The Jewish priesthood was deeply integrated into the ruling elite in Jerusalem and acted as official counsel to the king. Likewise it was the king’s role to implement religious laws, build temples and punish all those who participated in idolatry.

    Legal system

    In Athens the concept of trial by Jury was invented. This provided fair trials for all citizens and the punishment for a crime had to be on par with the crime itself.

    In Jerusalem people were executed by the elders in their community and the punishment was often not on par with the crime itself. For instance, children were legally executed for being disobedient to their parents and and Jewish citizens were stoned for marrying someone from a different race.

    Property laws

    In Athens the social reform allowed for Individual Property law which meant that you and your property were protected under the law. This included the criminalisation of murder and theft.

    In Jerusalem theft and murder was illegal because of religious law, however if someone took from you or murdered one of you own, then you could take from him or murder one of his own. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

    Social laws

    In Athens you could live as you pleased as long as you didn’t impede on someone else’s person or property. Thucydides states it best: “And not only in our public life are we free and open, but a sense of freedom regulates our day-to-day life with each other. We do not flare up in anger at our neighbour if he does what he likes.”

    In Jerusalem as series of social laws existed which if not adhered to, resulted in public execution. This included marrying a foreigner (Num 25:6-9), committing a homosexual act (Lev 18:22), blasphemy (Lev 24:10-23), not being a virgin on your wedding night (Deut 22:20-21), following another religion (Deut 17:2-5), approaching the tabernacle (Num 1:48-51) or working on a Saturday(Ex 35:2-3).

    Slavery

    Even though slavery existed in Athens, it became illegal to sell yourself or your family into slavery if you became bankrupt. Many historians believe this is one of the first movements by a government to move away from a system of slavery.

    In Jerusalem various slavery laws are enforced (Lev 25:44-46) and female slaves are to be treated exceptionally harshly (Ex 21:7-11)

    Foreign Policy

    Athens sought to work with their neighbours in improving their living conditions. Thucydides wisely stated that their democracy was to be an example for other nations to follow and that they had hoped that their freedom and prosperity would inspire other nations to live like they did.

    Israel was instructed by their God to invade and destroy it’s neighbouring countries, pillaging, raping and murdering those citizens that opposed them (Num 31:7-18). Foreigners were forced to pay interest on loans and all foreign slaves were treated much harsher than the locals. If anyone married a foreigner then they could both be stoned.

    In Conclusion

    In comparing these two cities during this period we have to acknowledge that Athens still had it’s own problems. Slavery was still practiced and Athens later went through a period of invading and colonising their neighbouring areas. Internal disputes and political infighting weakened the state further. They were a young democracy and you can argue that they existed in a time when the world was not ready for it yet. However their successes and advancements in regards to social justice, democracy and equality still live on today.

    Finally, in order to give us an insight into the ideas created by a secular society, we turn to Thucydides who gives the following speech at Pericles’ funeral:

    Our city is thrown open to the world; we never expel a foreigner…. We are free to live exactly as we please, and yet, we are always ready to face any danger…. We love beauty without indulging in fancies, and although we try to improve our intellect. this does not weaken our will…. To admit one’s poverty is no disgrace with us; but we consider it disgraceful not to make an effort to avoid it. An Athenian citizen does not neglect public affairs when attending to his private business…. We consider a man who takes no interest in the state not as harmless, but as useless; and although only a few may originate a policy, we are all able to judge it. We do not look upon discussion as a stumbling block in the way of political action, but as an indispensable preliminary to acting wisely….

  196. J.D. says:

    The Above was taken from another site I had found. It offers some very interesting and painfully truthful annotations.

  197. doug says:

    Hit a nerve?

    HI !
    Its late, but I just thought I would check things out. It appears that I hit a nerve with expelled No Intelligence Allowed.

    You are all ‘open minded’ aren’t you?
    I mean if you are you would have gone to see the film otherwise you ARE OBVIOUSLY close minded.

    Perhaps you only read second hand reviews.

    Well I can’t keep my eyes open I’ll slog through everything tomorrow.

    Best wishes & God bless each of you,
    Doug

  198. JD says:

    From ME;

    Actuluay, Yeah I saw it. They played it in my home town. It was not, however, projected from a laptop. Picture and sound quality was fine. It was pretty droll though, and slow moving. It was bad even for a documentary, and I have seen my share. I enjoy watching docs. I am a huge history buff, I enjoy learning, but it religion aside, it was pretty hard to sit through. If it was on TV, it might be something I would listen to while I was drawing. Definitely something that would not be able to hold my full attention outside of the cinema.

    I will admit I enjoyed watching Ben Stein’s game show, “Win Ben Steins Money” while it was on(Kimmel was pretty funny) but it was probably because it was a chance for me to learn something new.

    I will admit, he is a very intelligent person, But now I think he is also a very dishonest person. It is one thing to debunk what is thought to be truth with facts and replacing myth with the truth. But he and Mathis out right lied! No wonder Stein is welcome on the Glen Beck show, just more spin. The No Spin Zone over on the O’Reily Factor looks about like the inside of my washing mashing when it’s running. He tries to intimidate his guests, steps around issues, and does not let them explain their reasons behind what they think. When someone who shares his views is on, they praise each other and bash the opposing view. Maybe Mathis and Stein should go work for FOX.

    I guess you can be very intelligent and be completely stupid. How that is possible, I don’t know. Maybe god made it that way, since as of right now science has not tried to explain human stupidity(yet). As far as I can tell from biblical logic, he must have.

    ***Side note***
    I just laughed inside, biblical logic, that is right up there with government intelligence and jumbo shrimp.

  199. The Atheist says:

    J.D.

    Re: A Tale of Two Cities – interesting parallel, good insight!

  200. Monica says:

    Hi Doug,
    Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. I hope you are doing good. Yesterday I had to go to my mother-in-laws house because I had a seizure in the morning. When I have one my heart is racing like a hundred miles an hour so after I have one my heart feels sore. Whenever I’m active it adds to the soreness. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried this but ice packs have been helping my seizures to be more controlled. My chiroprator said that if you leave an ice pack on your neck for more than 15 minutes it numbs the nerve. I’ve been sleeping on one just about every night. It seems to help.

    With the whole educated Baptist thing, I was referring to some Baptist blogs that I’ve been on. I’ve come to learn how much education is required for them to be in pastoral positions. They are so educated that some of them don’t want to waist their time on people like me. It amazes me how superficial people can be. I hate it that when people ask you how you’re doing that most of the time they really don’t want to know. It’s just a casual thing to say when you run into people. If I ask someone that question I really want to know how they are doing. I don’t care how awful or delightful their situation may be I just want them to know that someone cares.

    I skimmed through your conversations and saw that you brought up the movie “Expelled”. Would you believe that I never heard of that movie until you brought it up? We don’t have channels on our t.v. so we just watch movies on our t.v. We really don’t want t.v. because there’s so much garbage on it anyways. My husband likes to read and I’m too busy with the kids so we really don’t have time for it. The only time we get to watch t.v. is when we’re at my parents house. That movie sounds like an interesting topic, though.

  201. Monica says:

    The Atheist,

    I wasn’t too excited about the apologetic arguements for Genesis because you’d think there would be a more clear purpose and explanation for it.

    If the story of Adam and Eve is true, which I believe that it is, then we are competent to aknowledge good and evil because they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The problem is not in the knowing of good and evil but that we are slaves to sin. Through their sin sin has been passed down to all mankind. It’s faith in Jesus that makes our good works good to God. It’s impossible to please God without faith. Now for me I love nice people whether they believe in God or not but that’s what the Bible teaches.

    It takes faith on my part to believe that I am competent to knowing good and evil based on what the Bible says and seeing scripture tested in my life. You’re in the same boat as I am in the sense that it takes faith to believe what you believe. So I guess you can say that we are equal in the risk taking but based upon reason and logic which is the most sensible road to take?

    You ask how do we know that the Bible is divine. Sorry I don’t have a compelling response to that question. I don’t believe such wisdom could have come from man. Also, it’s the power of faith that allows you to believe that the Bible is divine. If you believe scripture it says that “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2Timothy 3:16. I believe that there are divine writings indeed but as far as which ones are them that I don’t know. I haven’t done a study on early writings yet. It’s interesting to me that the Catholic Bible includes the book of Macabees and the Christian Bible doesn’t. I wonder how Christian Bible scholars came to their conclusion and how Catholic scholars came to theirs. That would be interesting to find out. I have to leave for now and cook dinner. Talk to you guys later.

  202. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    One thing I notice that you like many Christians do, is that you seem to base your beliefs on what the Bible says. Yet you (and others) say that you don’t know of compelling reasons to believe that the Bible is from God (or that it is even true). Then what puzzles me is why you would base your beliefs on what the Bible says. Wouldn’t it make more sense if it were the other way around? Here’s what I mean: wouldn’t it make more sense to say “Here’s what I believe to be true, and here’s why I think those things are true.” Then, if you look at the Bible (as well as other sacred texts from other religions) and you see that the Bible alone best reflects what you already know to be true, then I think it would make sense to conclude that the Bible is true.

    As an example of what I mean, you say that the Adam and Eve story doesn’t seem to make good sense. Yet you believe that it is a true story because it is in the Bible. Yet you don’t have a compelling reason why the Bible is true. So it follows that you also don’t have a compelling reason why the Adam and Eve story is true. Do you see the problem I have? I was wondering if you could help me understands how this can make sense to Christians.

    You’re in the same boat as I am in the sense that it takes faith to believe what you believe.

    We may not actually be in the same boat when it comes to belief. For example, I have a belief that evolution occurs and that all life has evolved from simpler life. You have a belief that God created all life pretty much as it is. Here is the fundamental difference: my belief is “reasoned belief” and your belief seems to be “blind faith” (from what I can see in your explanations). There are certainly similarities in reasoned belief and blind faith: you and I both accept our beliefs as knowledge – by that I mean that I feel I know that evolution occurs and you feel you know that God created life. But there is a key difference between reasoned belief and blind faith; let me explain.

    Reasoned beliefs are formed by considering all of the evidence that is available, and trying to make sense of all of the evidence. That means that when I am presented with evidence that contradicts some belief I have, I weigh the new evidence against the rest of the evidence, and I change my belief if the new evidence warrants it. Blind faith is different in an important way. Blind faith is believing something because you were taught to believe it by someone you feel is an authority. For example, as a child you were taught that God exists and the Bible is true (what do you think you would believe if you grew up in a Muslim family?). Or maybe you were told to believe the Bible as an adult by someone who you accept as an authority. To maintain the faith, you are willing reinterpreting the evidence (or even discount it) to make it fit into a preconceived set of beliefs. You don’t feel that your beliefs are subject to change even when the evidence suggests that it should.

    it’s the power of faith that allows you to believe that the Bible is divine.

    Then how would someone like me get that faith in the first place? In other words, if I don’t start out with faith the the Bible is divine, then on what would I base my faith that the Bible is divine?

    If you believe scripture it says that “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2Timothy 3:16.

    But why should I believe that 2 Tim 3:16 is true?

    It’s interesting to me that the Catholic Bible includes the book of Maccabees and the Christian Bible doesn’t. I wonder how Christian Bible scholars came to their conclusion and how Catholic scholars came to theirs.

    The history of canonization of the Bible is absolutely fascinating! Many Christians seem to think that the true Bible was formed at one point, and any changes to it after that was simply heresy. In fact, the canonization of the Bible is a fluid process that began with the 5 books of Moses. There was initially the Jahwist source (the oldest source written in Judah) and the Elohist source (written shortly thereafter in Israel). Then there was the Deuteronomist who is the major source of Deuteronomy, and the Priestly source who was the major source of Leviticus. Finally, there was the Redactor who combined these earlier sources into the volume that we know as the 5 Books of Moses (or the Torah).

    At the other end of the spectrum, Athanasius (296ce), Origen (185ce), Iranaeus (130ce), and Marcion (85ce) had different canons. For example, Marcion’s canon, the earliest New Testament Cannon, contained only 1 Gospel (Luke’s), and only 10 epistles. Athanasius’s Cannon looks like the Bible that most Protestant sects accept today. But canonization didn’t stop with Athanasius’s canon – and Athanasius’s canon was not the only accepted canon.

    This is another reason, by the way, to doubt the divinity of the Bible. If we look at the history of canonization, we see that canonization decisions were made sometimes by popular vote, but usually through power struggles – along with all of the deceit and violence that you would expect to accompany the struggles.

    If you’re interest in reading the history of canonization, I can recommend some really good books. Let me know.

  203. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    Oops!! I let myself get distracted from my main point! Sorry.

    Getting back to it, you say that you are competent to recognize good and bad (and I agree that you are). You also said earlier that you recognize that some of the ideals in the Bible (like genocide, etc.) to be bad. Then why not conclude that those parts of the Bible are not divine?

    Note that if you say that you just trust God or simply have faith in the Bible, then you would be saying that you are not competent to recognize good and evil after all since you take what the Bible says is good or bad over what you recognize to be good or bad.

    But shouldn’t we defer our understanding of good and bad to what God tells us is good and bad? Sure – if you know that the Bible is divine and that those ideals really come from God. But how do you know that the Bible is divine? By faith. What is the basis of the faith?

    Starting to sound like we’re going around in circles? :) That’s an indication of circular reasoning – you believe that the Bible is divine. Why? Because the Bible comes from God. How do you know that the Bible comes from God? Because the Bible says it comes from God (2Tim 3:16). Why should we believe the Bible when it says that it is divine? Since the Bible is divine, we should believe what it says.

    Why is circular reasoning bad? Because if you don’t recognize the reasoning as circular, then you are tricked into believing something that may not be true. Here’s an example:

    Buy a box of crayons (the large one with all the colors). Separate all the ones that you would consider read and put them in a paper bag. Now I come along and say and look inside the bag. I say – “Hey, what about this crayon, I think this one is green.” You say, “No, it’s not.” I ask, “How do you know?” You say, “Because it is in the bag.”

    The problem with this reasoning is even more obvious if we suppose that you are wrong about the colors – if you are colorblind for example. I say “That crayon is green!” You say, “No, it’s red”. “How do you know?” “Because it is in the bag.”

    The reasoning goes: the crayon is in the bag, because it is red, because it is in the bag, because it is red… and so on.

    How do you break the cycle of circular reasoning? You look for reasons outside of the cycle. In the crayon example, we might say that we will define red as colors that fall between certain color shades on a color wheel. Then if someone asks how you know a crayon is red, you don’t have to say “because it’s in the bad.” That would be circular – since you put it in the bag in the first place because you arbitrarily decided it was red, there is no guarantee that being in the bag assures that it is red. To break the cycle, you can say: here’s the test – we match the crayon color with colors on the color wheel. If it falls within these 2 shades, we define it as red and put it in the bag. Anyone can perform the same test on the crayon and decide for themselves and agree that it does or does not belong in the bag.

    One last thought: it doesn’t matter how big the cycle is or how many cycles are combined – the reasoning is still circular. Using our discussion as an illustration:

    Cycle 1:
    ——–
    * The Bible is divine
    ? How do we know?
    * Because the Bible embodies the perfect “good”
    ? Not everything in the Bible seems good to me.
    * You should defer to the Bible’s definition of good, not your own.
    ? Why
    * Because the Bible is divine

    Cycle 2:
    ——–
    * The Bible is divine
    ? How do we know?
    * Because 2Tim 3:16 says that all scripture is divine
    ? Why should we believe 2Tim 3:16?
    * Because 2Tim 3:16 is in the Bible
    ? Why should we believe what the Bible says?
    * Because the Bible is divine

    To break the cycles, we should look for reasons to believe that the Bible is divine that do not stem from the preconceived belief that the Bible is divine.

    Make sense?

  204. J.D. says:

    Wow, great post TA. Had my head spinning there for a sec trying to keep up. But it REALY is a great post.

  205. J.D. says:

    After all of the go-rounds we’ve had on the subject, I think I finaly found the answer to
    “why is it that at&theist insist upon arguing science vs. philosophy?” on badastronomy.com

    The reason why is because of people who think like this:

    I sometimes wonder just how messed up some people’s logic can be.

    The answer, in many cases, is none. None more messed up.

    I present to you one Rob Hood, commentator on The Conservative Voice. He has written a remarkably logic-free screed saying that the Mars Phoenix Lander is a waste of taxpayer’s money. Why?

    Because searching for conditions supporting life on Mars is silly. We already know where life came from. Can you guess? Bueller? Bueller?

    Mars is a desert planet and perhaps there is ice and maybe even water there. So what? Who cares? It’s water! That doesn’t mean a thing. Life originated on Earth when God spoke it into existence and there is no need in wasting billions of dollars of taxpayer money searching for an answer that is based upon faulty evolutionary ideas.

    Ignoring the fact that we’ve known about water ice on Mars for decades, and that Phoenix didn’t cost billions, and that lots of people care about exploring the real universe around us, and that evolution is a fact, there is still a pretty big hole in his logic.

    Applying his (heh) reasoning, I guess there’s no reason for, say, research into malaria. If God created it, why cure it? It’s part of God’s plan. Same goes with cancer, smallpox, lupus, Down’s syndrome, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, glaucoma, pertussis, and oh, say, one million other ailments. After all, as he points out in the case of astrobiology, all our medical research — all of it — is based on “faulty evolutionary ideas”.

    Not to mention trying to predict earthquakes, or tornadoes, or floods, or hurricanes, or meteor impacts, or solar flares, or heat waves, or ice storms, and thus potentially saving millions of lives. After all, this science is based on the same principles that show that the Earth is older than 6000 years, and that clearly can’t be correct, right?

    What’s funny is that he actually contradicts himself here in his own essay:

    The same billions of dollars that goes into these hopeless projects to look for water on Mars or other places could be better spent. We people of Earth need new bridges, new highways, new dams. We could use the money to feed people, fight disease, rebuild our infrastructure, research cancer (ethically, of course), and to help those who have little or no clothing, shelter, food, etc.

    Ignoring this same tired false dichotomy trotted out by everyone who doesn’t understand anything about space exploration, I find it very funny that he uses God to deny funding to us understanding the Universe, but then invokes God to fund what is essentially the very same thing.

    Sorry, dude. You don’t get to pick and choose what aspects of science you’re willing to believe in and what you’re not. Reality is a package deal. If we can use science to develop the engineering to build dams, to develop the medical knowledge to cure cancer, and to develop the agricultural methods necessary to feed the hungry, then we also have to acknowledge that science works.

    It does. So you may wail and rant about reality-based scientists exploring Mars all you want, but you’ll be wrong. And while Phoenix buries its scoop into the Martian sand, you keep right on burying your own head in the sand here on Earth. I myself, and millions of others, prefer to look upward and outward.

  206. J.D. says:

    Amazon’s reviews of the King James Bible.

    1. “Excellent Special FX throughout”
    2. “The best fantasy epic since Lord of the Rings”
    3. “There aren’t enough good fights”
    4. “Three stars, because the paper was too thin”
    5. “One of the most disjointed novels I’ve read in a long while”
    6. “Almost preachy in tone”
    7. “Good ending”
    8. “The Lord hath no scorn like the scorn reserved for one-star reviewers”
    9. “Who wrote this thing, Michael Moore?”
    10. “Definitely not his best work”

  207. Monica says:

    The Atheist,
    You ask how do I know that the Bible is divine and I ask how do you explain life existing out of no beginning?

  208. Monica says:

    The Atheist,
    If you’d like to send me any material to read I’d be glad to. It’s only fair as long as you’re willing to be fair.

  209. The Atheist says:

    J.D,

    Excellent point about curing malaria! I never thought of that. How about the attempt to cure polio – there was a campaign to actually eradicate the polio virus from the face of the earth, i.e., killing one of God’s creations.

    Loved the Amazon Bible review :))

  210. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    You ask how do I know that the Bible is divine and I ask how do you explain life existing out of no beginning?

    Should I understand this as your way of saying that you don’t have an answer to how you know that the Bible is divine?

    In any case, let me try to answer the question you asked me. I don’t think that life exits from no beginning – I think life had a beginning. Exactly how life began is a topic of some pretty exciting research that’s currently going on. For example, we have known for some time how amino acids (the basic building block of DNA) can form spontaneously under the right conditions (for example, the conditions that existed on the primordial earth) – see the Miller-Urey experiment). Other more recent work shows that a basic component of the cell membranes (phospholipids) can automatically form under the right conditions. Scientists are very close to being able to create life from scratch (see http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20249628/). That brings us another big step forward in filling some of the gaps in our knowledge of the origin of life on Earth.

    So why should I (and you) prefer the scientific explanation over the Biblical one?

    On one hand:

    There is the biblical claim of how life began – but no one can give me a compelling reason why I should consider the biblical claim to be true. People believe it is true, but they seem to believe it without a good reason. There are also other sacred books that tell different stories of how life began. People believe those other stories too. I think you and I would share the same reason for doubting the other stories about how life came to be, because you and I would agree that there is no good reason to believe them. Given your response above, we may now be agreeing that there is no good reason to believe the Bible’s story either. If I wanted to accept a sacred account of how life began, how should I chose which sacred book to believe if none of them, including the Bible, seem divine?

    On the other hand:

    There are repeatable experiments that show how key components of protocells (early, primitive cells) form spontaneously. These components of protocells have been shown to form without any divine intervention; all they need are conditions that were found on the primordial Earth. So currently, the gap in our knowledge is how complete protocells form out of these key components that we do know about. Once the complete protocells have formed, then how they evolved into various life forms is a much easier question to answer (evolutionary theory answers that in great detail – more on that if you’re interested).

    But what if we didn’t know anything at all about how life began? Would that mean that we should believe that God created life? That might make sense if we knew that God existed, but we don’t. If we look at history, we find that presuming that God is responsible for something because man doesn’t understand it yet has been a big mistake that we repeat over and over. Before we understood what the Sun was, we thought that it was God’s chariot that he drove across the sky. Before we understood what thunder and lightning was, we thought it came from God. Before we knew anything about how life formed, we presumed that God just made it.

    The size of the gap in our knowledge has shrunk tremendously and continues to shrink. We know now how our Sun was formed and we know that nothing pulls it across the sky. We know that thunder and lighting are caused from the static electricity which is produced when 2 weather systems come in contact. We know that the key elements of protocells are formed by natural means. Once protocells formed (we don’t know how yet), we know how they evolved. You might say, aha!, since we don’t know how protocells formed, then God must have formed them! But that would be a mistake since we know that we have a history of incorrectly attributing the unknown to God.

    If you’d like to send me any material to read I’d be glad to. It’s only fair as long as you’re willing to be fair.

    If by “fair,” you mean that you will read my recommendations if I read yours, then I’m always eager to read alternative points of view. I typically prefer reading scholarly works by competent thinkers (including competent theologians and Biblical scholars, as well as scientists and philosophers). So I would be eager to get any recommendations you would like to share.

    Regarding my recommendation for you, I have several good books about the formation of the Jewish and Christian canons but they were all scattered around on different bookshelves in different rooms. So tracking them all down took a little doing, but it was kind of a fun walk down memory lane. Anyway, I finally found the one I was looking for, it’s one that focuses mainly on early Christianity in the first few centuries c.e.:

    “When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity during the Last Days of Rome” by Richard E. Rubenstein.

  211. doug says:

    Name calling

    Dear Samson,
    Sorry for the name calling, Shameful and hypocrite, but I call a spade a spade and the words Shame and Hypocrite were totally correct.
    You know what I am not sorry for tthe adjective and pronoun.
    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  212. doug says:

    Eden

    HI ALL!
    Sorry I have not been absent for so long. Miss me?

    The Torah [1st 5 books of the Bible]
    The Torah was written by Moses.
    Moses was IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD !
    Each time he came down his face glowed so that he had to cover it. Remember?

    Even should the story of The Garden of Eden not be true remember that it was prophesied that Jesus would teach in parables?

    Be this a parable it teaches us that by Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit God gave us choice. For instance the choice to be an atheist.

    The story of The Garden of Eden also teaches us what happens when you do not obey God.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  213. doug says:

    Genocide

    HI ALL !
    Genocide of nations back in the way back whens seems to be a problem with each of you even you Monica.

    Why?

    God promised His people the Promised Land. Other nations lived there at the time. For God to keep His promise genocide was required.

    so whats your problem with it?

    Best wishes & God bless yawl,
    Doug

  214. doug says:

    Amazon’s review of the King James Version

    HI ALL!

    What is Amazon’s qualifications for review of the KJV?
    Is it maybe just maybe that the review of the KJV is prejudiced?

    Kind of like the media being 90% liberal.

    Kind of like Intelligent Design not being allowed to be taught. It is a theory just as evolution is a theory.

    Hmmmm Kind of like those who disagree with global warming being regarded as wrong or mindless. Kind of sounds like Intelligent Design being denied any place in school.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

    P.S.: HAPPY 200th POST !

  215. J.D. says:

    Doug,

    About Moses: An article I found.

    We have no historical record outside of the Old Testament for a man called Moses leading a large group of Israelites out of Egypt.

    This is particularly odd considering the fact that the Egyptians would generally have recorded such a mass exodus of slaves which would have impeded their building efforts. Some Christian apologetics argue that the Egyptians would not have recorded such an event because they would have been embarrassed by this diplomatic defeat. This is highly unlikely considering the fact that there would have been 2.5 – 3 million Israelites leaving Egypt at once based on an extrapolation of Numbers 1:46. During this period there were only 3.5 – 4 million Egyptians in Egypt. Surely such an exodus would have left a huge gap in their economy? They would have had to account for this in some way even if they muddled the facts to make it appear more favourable to their Pharaoh.

    In addition as Moses was in essence an Egyptian prince, he would have been mentioned in their royal records. So where did this story come from? According to Hebrew scholars the first five books of the Bible were produced by a scribe (possibly Ezra) around the 5th century BCE. The were redacted from earlier sources which probably dated back to the 7th century BCE. See Richard Friedman’s “Who Wrote the Bible” for more information on this. Thus the story of Moses was first written as it is today following Israel’s enslavement in Babylon which lasted three generations. This is important as we have to account for a certain amount of Babylonian influence on the Israeli culture during this time.

    There are two possible sources for the story of Moses and the most probable explanation is a combination of the two:

    King Sargon and Moses
    Most of us are familiar with the story of Moses’ birth. Moses was born during a time when all the first born males were being killed by Pharaoh’s men to prevent a Jewish revolt. Moses’ mother makes a basket made out of bulrushes as sealed it with bitumen and pitch. She then places the baby in the basket and hides him in the river amongst the reeds. Later the Pharaoh’s daughter finds Moses and adopts him.

    Archaeologists have found cuneiform tablets dating back to 1000 BCE which describes the story of neo-Babylonian King Sargon who lived around the third millennium BCE. These tablets also tell the story of how this mighty ruler was saved as a baby when his mother made a basket out of “rushes and sealed it with tar”. He was also placed in a river and found by a princess who later raised him. Thus we have situation where the Israelites enslaved in Babylon adopted this story and possibly merged it to an even earlier legend that we will address later.

    It’s worth noting that the cuneiform tablets from Babylon also contained the Epic of Gilgamesh which was an earlier version of Noah’s flood and the Code of Hammurabi which was a prototype of Moses’ law. It even included the famous “eye for an eye” quote. The fact that these Babylonian folk tales are much older than their Hebrew counterparts and the fact that we find no evidence for these stories in Hebrew literature before the Babylonian enslavement, are indications that the Hebrews “borrowed” them from the Babylonians. You can find more information on these tablets here, here and here.

    Ah-mose and the Hyksos
    Now that we have established that the birth and law of Moses was adopted from earlier Babylonian sources we have to look at how the actual exodus out of Egypt. The actual exodus is discussed here, however we do need to look at Moses’ role in this story.

    As we have already stated, there is no evidence for Israelite enslavement in Egypt or any mass exodus out of Egypt. So where did this legend come from?

    When leading archaeologists discovered evidence for a large group of people fleeing Egypt through the Sinai desert, they were surprised to find that these were not Israelis crossing the desert, but a group of people called the Hyksos. They were a group of Asiatic and Semitic people who occupied Egypt during the 17th and 16th centuries BCE. An Egyptian leader by the name of Ah-mose (also known as Amosis) was the founder of the Eighteenth Dynasty in 1550 BCE.

    When he came to power he managed to expel the Hyksos from Egypt and thus liberated the entire Egypt. His men then chased the Hyksos through the Sinai desert and through Canaan. It’s worth noting that archaeologists have found evidence for this large migration by the Hyksos as well as the wanderings of small nomadic groups through the Sinai desert, but no evidence has been found that would support an exodus by the Israelites consisting of 2.5 – 3 million people over a period of 40 years.

    Finally Ahmose reasserted Egyptian rule over areas such as Canaan and Nubia to ensure that such an occupation by the Hyksos would never occur again. This enforcement included the setting up of Egyptian military outposts which could be reached within one day in any direction in the Sinai desert. This is interesting considering that the Israelites were supposed to have wandered this small desert for 40 years, however they never stumbled on to these Egyptian military outposts.

    This story of Ahmose became legendary and by the time that the Jewish history was written a thousand years later, the story of Ahmose expelling the Hyksos out Egypt and establishing his rule in Canaan was changed to Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and conquering Canaan. This could have resulted from some of the the fleeing Hyksos settling in Canaan. Some Christian Apologetics use the story of the Hyksos as evidence of the Exodus and claim that the Hyksos were in fact the Israelites, however we have shown how the Hyksos could not have been the Israelites here.

    Conclusion
    So in conclusion our historical and archaeological records show no trace of a Moses character ever existing or leading the nation of Israel out of Egypt. Instead, all of the evidence outside of the Old Testament points to the expulsion of the Hyksos by Ahmose as well as the additional neo-Babylonian folk stories developing into a composite mythical character. This character helped give Israel a new national identity after their enslavement in Babylon.

  216. J.D. says:

    Is there any evidence for the Israelites being slaves in Egypt?

    We have no evidence that the Israelites were ever enslaved in Egypt. In the book the Bible Unearthed, Israel Finkelstein and Neal Asher Silberman state the following:

    We have no clue, not even a single word, about the early Israelites in Egypt: neither in monumental inscriptions on the walls of temples, nor in tomb inscriptions, nor in papyri. Israel is absent – as a possible foe of Egypt, as a friend, or as an enslaved nation.

    We have an Egyptian monument from 1208 BCE which states that “Israel is laid to waste”, however this simply confirm the existence of Israelites living in Canaan and does not mention the enslavement or the exodus out of Egypt. Finally, Josephus the 1st century Jewish historian wrote that the exodus was connected to the expulsion of the Hyskos out of Egypt. Some Christians use this quote to prove that the Israelites were indeed in Egypt however it is much more likely that the early Canaanites adopted the Hyksos story as their own. You can find more information on why the Hyksos were not the Israelites here.

  217. J.D. says:

    Is the Bible inspired by God?

    If you were to take a hypothetical position and say that God exists and inspired the original copies of the Bible, then that would not mean that the Bible is inspired as we have no idea what the original copies looked like.

    The copies we have today have been copied from other copies, which had been copied from other older copies. Mistakes, small changes and additional text found it’s way into the books of the Bible as time went by. As such, if God existed and if he inspired the Bible, then that version which he inspired is lost to us today.

    You could turn this around and ask if a supernatural being as powerful and intelligent as the Biblical god is described to be, would in fact use both Hebrew and Greek, papyrus and manual methods of copying to convey the most important message in the world to his creation. Even delivering message via DHL is more reliable than the transmission of Biblical texts and you can determine the value a message has to it’s sender by the format and process in which he sends it. The value of the message found on a post card or a post-it note will by it’s very nature be different from the value of a message delivered by registered mail or in person.

    If a god existed and he wanted to transmit a life saving message to his believers, then he certainly would not have used the process used in the creation of the Bible.

  218. J.D. says:

    A Biblical interpolation is an additional piece of text which has been inserted into to the original text of the Bible. This could also include text which have been changed from it’s original form.

    Scribes or copiers making copies of the earliest manuscripts would form time to time add or change text in order to make the text easier to understand or to make it mean something completely different. Other interpolations found their way into the Bible by accident due to spelling mistakes or notes in the margin made by scribes being including by later copiers. The vast majority of these changes have no bearing on Christian doctrines, however there are some that do affect some of the more central doctrines such as Jesus’ divinity, the trinity and the virgin birth.

  219. J.D. says:

    Old Testament and Moses:

    Were the first five books of the Old Testament written by Moses?

    The first five books of the Old Testament, also called the Pentateuch, Tanakh or Torah were written by at least four different authors between 800 BCE and 600 BCE and were based on older oral traditions. In addition a fifth author acted as the redactor and compiled the work of these authors into what is known today as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. This theory is called the Documentary Hypothesis or the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis and it’s the most widely accepted view within the Biblical scholarship community.

    The authors are generally referred to as JEDP. J stands for Jahwist, worshipped Yahweh and came from the southern kingdom of Judah. E stands for Elohist, worshipped El or Elohim and lived in the northern kingdom of Israel. D represents the Deuteronomist and wrote Deuteronomy and most of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. The same, unique literary style is used for all these books and all of them have the same political and religious agenda which was support the southern kingdom of Judah as well as centralised worship. Richard Friedman, who is generally seen as the authority on ancient Hebrew literature has identified either Jeremiah (or his scribe) as the Deuteronomist. The P was the Priestly author was primarily responsible for Leviticus and parts of Genesis. This author contributed sections on genealogies, worship and the priesthood.

    Each author wrote from his own perspective and we find that J, E and P generally had similar stories interwoven by the redactor. Thus we often find duplicate or triplicate stories especially in Genesis. The evidence for these different authors is quite persuasive and ranges from internal references which relate to each one’s culture, locality and political view to the unique linguistic styles used.

    Lastly a redactor or editor collected all these variants and edited them into the five books as late as the 5th century BCE. Many scholars today believe that this redactor was Ezra the Aaronid priest. Ezra is described to have “set his heart on seeking out the Lord’s Torah” in Ezra 7:10 and finally “finding” the Torah in the book of Nehemiah when the nation was in desperate need for religious guidance following their Babylonian exile. In the 2nd century CE Jewish literature identified Ezra as the author of the Torah and even Jerome mentioned that there was no objection from within the Jewish community in regards to this claim in the 4th century CE. The redactor is also responsible for editing some the content in these books, adding and possibly removing texts where he saw fit.

  220. J.D. says:

    Did the flood really take place?

    It is very important to note that there is no evidence for a global flood ever taking place on earth. A global flood would have left evidence of changes to the ice cores in Greenland, destroyed the polar ice caps, left traces on the sea floor and we would not have had tree records dating back to more than 10 000 years. Please see here for more information on this. In addition, for all the land mass to be covered by water, we would need three times as much water as there currently resides on earth, including all the oceans and the polar caps.

    In order to get around this problem, Christian and Jewish apologetics argue that it was not a global flood but a local flood. If it was a local flood, then surely there has to be some geological or archaeological evidence for such a catastrophic event. So how much evidence is there for this event?

    Firstly the Bible dates the flood to 1300 before the building of the first temple. The first temple was build around 950 BCE and as such the flood had to take place around 2500 BCE. The first thing we notice about this event is that none of Israel’s neighbours recorded a flood at this time even though they were producing vast amounts of literature. The pyramids themselves were being built 300 hundred years before the flood took place. There is no evidence for a reduction in the amount of animals or even the human populations in this are at this stage. In fact there is no archaeological evidence at all for this event taking place in this region at this time outside of the Bible.

    Norman Cohn in his book “Noah’s Flood: The Genesis story in Western thought” states that over 300 cultures have records of a major flood. The most well known of these is the Epic of Gilgamesh which came from Babylon. In this story Ut-Napishtim is chosen by the Babylonian god Ea (the Babylonian version of El) to build an ark in order to save a select group of humans and animals. There are over twenty similarities between these two stories and they can be viewed here. It is worth noting that it the Epic of Gilgamesh is generally considered to be the first work of literature. It also provides a date between 2500 and 1700 BCE for this flood and it has been proposed that the Israelites adopted this Babylonian story when they were slaves in Babylon in the 6th century BCE. Because there are so many similar flood stories in this region, there must be some origin for this story.

    William Ryan and Walter Pitman, both senior scientists at Columbia University, have developed a theory that Noah’s flood was actually based on a catastrophic even in 5600 BCE. They found that the banks of the Black Sea burst and 60 000 square miles of land were covered in water in less than a year. They state that the force of the rushing water would have been 200 times that of the Niagra falls and this would have looked like the wrath of an angry god to the local people. Their theory is further supported by the National Geographic Society who discovered well preserved human artefacts at the bottom of the Black Sea as well as further findings by the Assemblage – Noah Project and Mark Siddall.

    They also theorize that the local inhabitants fled the area and went on to settle in various neighbouring regions including Eastern and Western Europe, Egypt and Central Asia, taking with them the story of the flood and an angry god. A few thousand years later this story had been passed on from generation to generation, growing and changing until it became the Epic of Gilgamesh later adopted by the Hebrews in when their religious texts were written between the 8th and 6th BCE.

    It’s also worth noting that that it’s not uncommon for flooding to occur and people in the past to have invented religious explanations for natural phenomena. People still do it today. If you take earthquakes for example, we have records of mythical beliefs related to earthquakes dating back thousands of years. These records come from India, South America, East and West Africa, Romania, Scandinavia and New Zealand. Does this mean that there was a single giant earthquake that shook the entire planet? Of course not.

    These records include the belief that a giant fish carries a stone on his back. A cow is standing on the stone whilst balancing the planet Earth on one of his horns. After a while the cow’s neck begins to ache and he tosses Earth from one horn to the other and it’s this tossing which causes and earthquake to occur.

    This is of course ridiculous, but why is it any more ridiculous than believing that a god instructed a man to build an gigantic boat to save all the animal species on the planet, while it rained so much that the entire planet was under water for forty days and forty nights…

  221. doug says:

    Moses & the exodus

    HI ALL :D
    First off I notice abbreviations other than B.C & A.D Could you explain these to me. They may be one of those things where I say ‘Oh yeah I knew that.’

    You forget that Moses name was eliminated from all monuments and documents.

    Egypt was a proud nation do you think that they would ever admit the exodus of the Jew?
    I think not.

    Exodus of Hy whatever. You mention Semanites. Are these not Jews? Antisemitism. Note the suffix.

    Replacement of the Jewish slaves. I believe that the black nation to the south of Egypt could well have replaced the Jews.

    One days ride from Egypt. Do you honestly think that anyplace in the Sinai desert was one days ride from Egypt? One yes. Any others? No.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

    P.S.: On to your next post.

  222. doug says:

    The Bible Unearthed

    HI yawl :D

    The Bible Unearthed. The title itself tells you of their bias.

  223. doug says:

    Editing of the Bible

    HI All :D
    Did it occur to you that the canonization and possible editing of the Bible were inspired by God?

    Like all other atheists you over think instead of accept on faith the word of God.

    Remember the one theme throughout the Bible is that you are saved by faith.

    Onto the next post.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  224. doug says:

    Interpolation

    HI yawl ;D

    See above.

    Onto the next post.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  225. J.D. says:

    Doug,

    Even when we do completely rule out the possibility of a god, there will be(if it does not happen in our time) people like you who still refuse to believe what will have been proven.

    ——————————————————————————————
    BCE(Before the Common Era)=BC, CE(Common Era)=AD
    The only difference is the name, The time measurement is the same.
    ——————————————————————————————

    Science/archeology/psychology are/is not bias. Thats just not how we/they do things. This is information derived from physical evidence that we have found.

    —————————————————————————————
    “Egypt was a proud nation do you think that they would ever admit the exodus of the Jew?
    I think not.”

    This is particularly odd considering the fact that the Egyptians would generally have recorded such a mass exodus of slaves which would have impeded their building efforts. Some Christian apologetics argue that the Egyptians would not have recorded such an event because they would have been embarrassed by this diplomatic defeat. This is highly unlikely considering the fact that there would have been 2.5 – 3 million Israelites leaving Egypt at once based on an extrapolation of Numbers 1:46. During this period there were only 3.5 – 4 million Egyptians in Egypt. Surely such an exodus would have left a huge gap in their economy? They would have had to account for this in some way even if they muddled the facts to make it appear more favorable to their Pharaoh.
    —————————————————————————————–
    The following is a list of ancient Semitic peoples.
    Please note that the word Semantic has to do with language.
    Today we anti-semantic is commonly used to decribe something Anit-Jewish.
    But it could more or less be anything anti-Arabic.

    * Akkadians — migrated into Mesopotamia in the late 4th millennium BC and amalgamate with non-Semitic Mesopotamian (Sumerian) populations into the Assyrians and Babylonians of the Late Bronze Age.[2][3]
    * Eblaites — 23rd century BC
    * Aramaeans — 16th to 8th century BC[4][5] / Akhlames 14th century BC[6]
    * Ugarites, 14th to 12th centuries BC
    * Canaanite language speaking nations of the early Iron Age:
    o Amorites
    o Ammonites
    o Edomites
    o Hebrews — founded the kingdom of Israel and Judah, the remnants of which became the Jews
    o Moabites
    o Phoenicians — founded Mediterranean colonies including Carthage
    * Old South Arabian speaking peoples
    o Sabaeans of Yemen — 9th to 1st c. BC
    * Ethio-Semitic speaking peoples
    o Aksumites — 4th c. BC to 7th c. AD
    * Arabs, Old North Arabian speaking Bedouins
    o Gindibu’s Arabs 9th c. BC
    o Lihyanites — 6th to 1st c. BC
    o Thamud people — 2nd to 5th c. AD
    o Ghassanids — 3rd to 7th c. AD
    o Nabataeans — adopted Arabic in the 4th century AD

    Yes Hebrews are in the list, so if we had no evidence to the contrary then yes, we could say that it was Hebrews. However we have found artifacts and evidence at these sites, none of which indicate that the Hebrew nation of Israel was present.

    ——————————————————————————————

    More to come

  226. J.D. says:

    Doug,

    “Like all other atheists you over think instead of accept on faith the word of God.
    Remember the one theme throughout the Bible is that you are saved by faith.”

    You see, here is the problem, you and people like you refuse to think. It won’t matter when we do find out the exact origin of the universe, people of your ilk would still not believe. People like you, who have gained positions of power are the ones who have and are limiting the the possibilities as to what the human race can accomplish. There are people and countries who will never work together to achieve anything because they are so stubbornly devout to their superstitions regardless what is proven.

    It doesn’t matter how much proof we have, you refuse to accept it You will come up with some excuse “the bible says this” or ” the bible says that,” except that we KNOW that the bible is only derived from the folklore of other peoples that predate the Hebrew version, most of which by a minimum of 1000 years.

    I had doubts that you were even a real person, I almost sent an email to TA to ask if you were a character that he created to post as to help generate traffic. Why? Because I just can’t wrap my mind around how ignorant or blindly stubborn you are. When there is evidence contrary to what you believe that it is bias. When we have shown you facts you try to make excuses for an imaginary being.

    It’s not faith, it is outright stupidity

    Just like the people here in America who think government and politicians have their best interest in mind. I have to admit that America has got to be in the top 10% of ignorant nations. And to top it off they are arrogant, because they are Americans, not because they have accomplished anything, JUST because they are Americans.
    America is not part of the enlightened world and because of the ignorance of these people countless lives have been lost. It is this blind faith of yours that is causing this. You people who wont think and won’t question make this world a worse place than what it could be. The enlightened are often ridiculed weather it be about religion, medicine, government etc. Why? Because we pose a threat to those in power who use the peoples ignorance against them.
    In the past few weeks I have been organizing various outlets to help change this nation before we do go to war with Iran or before we let Israel attack Iran. I have had it with the stagnant “patriotism” of the people. I have had it with this and other theocracies. I can no longer allow people do go about their “lives” taking everything for granted. We are fixing to run in all out info war against the US Government. Everything will be challenged. My children will not be poisoned, I will not be dependent upon the corporate market. We will show the people that there is another way.

    I don’t know weather to pity you and yours or wash my hands of your blood.

    —————————————————————————————

  227. J.D. says:

    TA,

    I have two comments awaiting moderation.

  228. doug says:

    Samson aka ta

    Dear Samson,
    I notice that when I called you out on your shameful hypocracy that you have not responded. You have had weeks to respond to my remarks yet my comments and questions are obviously been to strong for you to respond.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

    P.S.: I said last week that I would slog through your posts on Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed and I will do that before responding to your latest comments from me and my ‘ilk’.

  229. doug says:

    Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

    6-23…..2:49
    eal e
    HI ALL ;D !

    Original title Crossroads.
    So what if the name was changed. Names of movies are often times changed just as Hollywood stars and Starlets often change their names…….Even John Wayne did and that was decades ago.

    Meyers was refused to see the film:
    Ironic… Highly ironic that Meyers was refused entrance into the movie theater and yet the Grand POOH Bah of atheism was allowed in…….Hillarious!!! lol real loud !!!!!

    Richard Dawkins review, opinion, of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed:
    After admitting that a supernatural power had to begin everything on film do you really think that he would own up to it, or try to cover his ass?
    He obviously recognizes that you can’t make something out of nothing.
    Obviously being the leader of the atheists movement he would deny it.
    Its called CYA [Cover Your Ass].

    Genocide of the Jews
    I never gave this much thought although I knew that Hitler believed that the Aryan race [ blond haired, blue eyed Germans]. I don’t know that he wanted to conquer the world and breed only blond haired, blue eyed Aryans. I doubt it.
    I remember in the Bible that the Jews would be scattered to the 4 corners of the ezrth and hated everywhere they went and they were. I also remember that God said that they would have to be purified before they could return to their Promised Land.
    This has happened.
    Islamo Fascists
    If you do not believe the teachings of Muhammed then you are an infidel and must be eliminated.
    Genocide lives on.

    Enough for now. As you yourself said it is long so I will come back later to give my take or rather the take of my ilk :D

    Best wishes & God bless yawl,
    Doug

  230. doug says:

    ATHEIST APOLOGIST Prof. Richard Dawkins
    6-23 2:53

    Dear ALL ;D
    I promised J.D. that I would slog through all of his posts.
    J.D. they are so long I will likely stop with this one.
    This is my 3rd attempt. The 1st somehow got erased y’day even after I had written it and was going to comment on how I had slogged through it.
    This time a Moxzilla update or something popped up erasing what I had typed. I hope that the 3rd time is a charm.

    Richard Dawkins letter to Mr. J.

    1] I agree with Prof. Dawkins.

    2] “Hitler managed to come to power in one of Europe’s leading nations…”
    OH REALLY
    After the War to End All Wars, The Great War, GERMANY WAS DEVOSTATED !

    When Hitler came to power late 20’s or early 30’s I believe the first thing he had to do was rebuild the infrastructure. His MINORITY PARTY did bring back German’s pride in their country.

    Hitler reflected the rampant anti-semitism in Europe.
    Remember that our Father, our Lord told the Jews that He would scatter them to the 4 corners of the ezrth and they would be hated everywhere they went.

    2] Hitler said that he was a Catholic many times.
    Albert Gore [did you know he invented the internet. He told us countless times].
    Sorry I digress. When Al Gore was running for Senate here in TN he cloaked himself in conservatism. When he got to D.C. he revealed his true colors blue…liberal. And to think I even voted for him.
    Remember HITLER WAS A POLITICIAN ! ! !

    If Al Gore could succeed in his deception of Tennesseans why could Hitler not do the same.

    Remember when Hitler started to run the Nazi Party was a minority party. His lies and carisma brought him to power.

    3] Hitler quoting from the Bible and from Martin Luther:
    My grandfather was an accountant and he used to say, “Liars figure and figures lie.”
    Nuff said except for:
    Third verse same as the first. Check on how the Jews would be hated. Yes even by Lutherans and Catholics……Check #1

    4] ATHEIST APOLOGIST RICHARD DAWKINS
    “Now in the matter of Darwin. The first thing is that Natural Selection is a THEORY…” Catch the word THEORY !

    5]Darwin, “Or the preservation of favored races in the struggle for life” ATHEIST APOLOGIST RIChARD DAWKINS, “But Darwin was using the word race in a different sense from ours.”
    So Darwin was a RACIST ! ! !
    DARWIN APOLOGIST DAWKINS is simply trying to smooth over Darwins racism.
    Perhaps trying to make atheism more palatable, more acceptable.

    6] “There is no mention of Darwin in Mein Kamph.”

    Yeah So What?

    Remember Al Gore? He and Hitler were/are both politicians.

    7] Darwin meant survival of the fittest in animals not humans.
    2nd verse same as the 5th.

    “Hitler did attempt eugenic breedings of humans…”

    Darwin, “Or the preservation of favored races in the struggle for life.”

    Did Hitler not believe in the superiority of the Aryan race?

    Please ATHEIST APOLOGIST PROF. DAWKIN’S MAKE UP YOUR MIND ! ! !

    8] Prof. Dawkin’s was somewhat condesending, but I believe well intentioned towards Mr. J.
    His criticism of Ben Stein was to be expected since he had been caught on film saying that yes a supernatural power got things rolling.
    ATHEISTS APOLOGIST Prof. Richard Dawkin’s is simply trying to recapture his status at the Grand POOH Bah of atheist.

    Best wishes & GOD bless you,
    Doug

  231. Monica says:

    Happy 4th of July to everyone it applies to!

    The Atheist,
    I couldn’t access those articles through my computer. My computer is old and retarded. But I can probably access them at my parents or my in-laws. I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t forgot about you. Also there’s this website that you might be interested in if you want intelligent answers to these questions. Check out monergism.com. I’ll talk to you guys later.

    Hi Doug and J.D.

  232. Monica says:

    The Atheist,
    I just saw that I could type in that website you left and access it. I’ll check it out when I have the time

  233. The Atheist says:

    Monica

    Happy 4th! (belated – we were out last night)

    Sorry you had trouble with the links I posted – I hope you end up ordering the book. I think you would enjoy it, and you would gain good insight into the history of and the process of canonization.

    I’m looking now at the site you referenced. In particular, I’m looking at the What is Monergism page. This page uses biblical verses as the sole basis for supporting their assertions (as do all pages I’ve looked at so far on this site). To accept any of the assertions, I would have to already believe that the Bible is authoritative; that is, I would already believe that it is divine. But I can’t find where the site gives me any reason to believe that the Bible is divine in the first place. Am I starting on the wrong page?

  234. J.D. says:

    Body Count: Deaths caused by theists or atheists.

    I took this from another site, But it really puts things into perspective. (deaths by theists does not include those cited in the bible, as it is not an accurate historical document}

    ================================================================
    In the comments on my previous, brilliant post, an anonymous commentator politely observed that there is (supposedly) a rather wide disparity in the body count between atheists and theists in the 20th century. So, in his honor, I am going to tell you who wins and who loses the body count in history.

    Spoiler alert: theism wins the body count game. And by “wins” I mean they’ve killed way, way, way, way, way more people than atheism. The differential is catastrophic.

    Firstly, a note on methodology. Where deaths from theism are concerned, I have normally low-balled the estimates as a favor because the differential is so staggering and theism needs all the bones it can have tossed in its direction. For atheism, I go with the highest possible estimates.

    Secondly, I am not going to split hairs over “things done in the name of atheism” and “things done in the name of theism” versus “things done by atheists or theists.” I am going with theists versus atheists, because as soon as we parse up the theists (‘but which theists were SINCERE’ or ‘but MY theism is more peaceful than THEIRS’), we will have to parse up the atheists (‘but Pol Pot was a totalitarian scumbag, which most atheists aren’t’), and then things will just get confusing. Brace yourself, anonymous, your shit is about to get rocked.

    Theism
    So, let us begin with the crimes of theists. They are extensive, so I have parsed them up according to eras of history.

    Pre-Modern:

    * The An Shi rebellion, lead by the son of a sorceress who shows every indication of subscribing to socially normal contemporary religion, cost 36 million lives.
    * The Greco-Persian war, lead by the theocratic Persians against the more subtly theocratic Greeks, cost a conservative 500,000 lives.
    * Pre-modern conquests by the theocratic, undeniably Muslim Arab empire can be conservatively estimated at 10 million.
    * Total pre-modern human sacrifices, the vast majority of which were perpetrated by the theocratic Aztec empire, can be estimated as high as 6 million, but I will put the count at 1 million for now.
    * The Mughal conquest of North India (which is categorically distinct from the expansion of the Arab Empire), which was explicitly religious in nature and which pitted a Muslim theocracy against a Hindu one, cost 100,000 lives, conservatively.

    Middle Ages:

    * Genghis Khan, an avowedly religious person (and, like many of his co-religionists, a homophobe of the highest Levitical quality), ground up about 40 million lives in the expansion of his empire throughout the 13th century.
    * The emperor of Japan, a routinely avowed theist who has been throughout history considered himself somewhat divine, on ordering an invasion of Korea in the 16th century, end up causing about a million casualties. Further competition among the shoguns around that period for the favor of the divine theocrat cannot be calculated due to lack of records, so I will conservatively estimate 500,000.
    * The Holy Roman Empire’s various ideological squabbles, mostly from the Peasants’ War, can be conservatively estimated to have caused about 100,000 deaths.
    * Total violence between Protestants and Catholics over disputes of religious ideology in the Middle Ages have been conservatively estimated at 14 million.
    * The Crusades, the old and boring example that gets trotted out routinely, have been estimated as causing around 9 million casualties total, between Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

    Early Modern:

    * The unabashed holocaust perpetrated against the aboriginal inhabitants of the North America is far and away the most lethal item on this list. Between the militant Catholic fundamentalists known as Conquistadors, and the deaths caused by militant Protestant fundamentalists known as Puritans using biological warfare in the form of smallpox-infected blankets against natives, the total desolation across the continent exceeded 100 million even before the American nation swept most of the rest from the continent by force.
    * The Spanish Inquisition is an oft-cited example, but its real death toll is insignificant. Perhaps 1,000 or less.
    * The witch trials of North America (Salem and Connecticut being the only two famous, but far from the only, examples) are also oft-cited examples, but they too are utterly insignificant as measures of the depravity of the average theist. 100 or less.

    Modern:

    * The early 20th century’s Armenian Genocide (and yes, it was a genocide), carried out by a vassal state of the theocratic Ottoman empire, cost 1.5 million lives.
    * Hitler, an avowed Catholic, Mussolini, who had the good sense to be non-religious in his youth but who later converted to Catholicism in 1927, and Hirohito, an avowed participant of the state religion of Japan, launched the Second World War in 1939 (or was that 1941?). The total deaths from this war have been calculated at about 72 million, including the Holocaust. The largely atheistic citizens of the Soviet Union were the biggest victims of this war of theistic expansionism. This does not include
    * the Nanking massacre, which modern historians estimate took about 500,000 lives, almost entirely Chinese.
    * The 1948 Arab-Israeli War has been reliably tallied at almost exactly 20,000 casualties.
    * The Six-Day War has been reliably tallied at almost exactly 22,000 casualties.
    * The First Sudanese Civil War (which is not the Darfur crisis), which was explicitly religious in nature, cost about 500,000 lives. The Second Sudanese Civil War (which is also not the Darfur crisis) cost about 2 million.
    * “Operation Searchlight,” the pogroms carried out by the megalomaniacal theists in charge of Bangladesh in the early 1970s, cost 3 million lives.
    * Conservative estimates of the Hindu extremist group known colloquially as the Tamil Tigers place the ongoing death toll at 215,000.
    * Other forms of modern Hindu violence against other religions or lapsed Hindus (almost entirely in the form of Hindu-on-Muslim violence) can be veeeery conservatively estimated at 25,000.
    * Late 20th century violence by the Islamic Ba’ath party of Iraq (a nation so religious that it had the phrase Allahu Akbar scrawled across its flag and which once hosted one of the largest mosques in the region built by Saddam Hussein) against ethnic Kurds cost about 150,000 lives.
    * The 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, also known in Iran as the Holy War, cost about 750,000 lives, conservatively.
    * The 1994 Rwandan genocide, not religious in nature but certainly caused by theists, resulted in about 1 million deaths.
    * The Ustasa regime’s mass murders, which would have been impossible had not the regime been propped up by the Catholic Church (whose fingerprints can be found in nearly every example of 20th century fascism; see “God Is Not Great” by award-winning journalist Christopher Hitchens), tally up to “hundreds of thousands.” Lets call it 200,000.
    * The 2001 attack on the World Trade Center by Muslim fundamentalists who all came into extremist Islam in adult life after coming out of good educations and good backgrounds in countries that had never known any measure of oppression by the United States cost almost 3,000 lives.
    * The 2003 invasion of Iraq by the avowed theocrat George W. Bush who said that the war was waged on instructions from God, launched against the (above-mentioned) theocratic Ba’ath Party of Iraq, has, between insurgents, Americans, Iraqi security, Iraqi civilians, foreign military officers, and foreign civilians, cost about 1 million lives, mostly caused by Muslim fundamentalist extremists.

    Deaths from theism whose full tallies are impossible to calculate:

    * Routine violence, starvation, economic attrition against, denial of medical services to, and criminal negligence of India’s dalits over the millennia have probably cost hundreds of thousands or millions of lives.
    * Religion’s endless war on vaccines has caused and will cause the resurgence of old diseases and the ravaging of current populations, mainly in Africa, since it takes only a few unvaccinated people to allow a virus to mutate into a strain that resists vaccination. The death toll from this encouragement of disease-related deaths by religion will undoubtedly skyrocket in the coming century.
    * The Vatican’s and Muslim leaders’ routine opposition to safe-sex practices, especially through the murderous criminals known as “missionaries” in Africa, has exasperated the HIV problem considerably and there is no way to know how many hundreds of thousands of people have died slow, agonizing deaths at the hands of HIV as a result, and how many will continue to suffer in the future.
    * The death toll from those who refuse to seek medical attention because of religious beliefs, Jehovah’s Witnesses who refuse blood transfusions, Christian scientists who refuse all treatment, those who subscribe to the undeniably religious pseudoscientific New Age beliefs that prefer bullshit to real medical therapies, etc., is impossible to calculate. I do not doubt that it is thousands every year.
    * Honor killings in Muslim societies. Probably hundreds every year.
    * The deaths that will be caused by the inevitable famine in the fundamentalist Confucian state of North Korea will be staggering but difficult to precisely calculate.

    Disputed theist deaths:

    * A 3rd-century compendium of ancient Semitic fairy tales and military procedures known as the Bible records a number of deaths, mainly at the hands of a genocidal maniac worshiped as a patriarch named Moses. I doubt most of these, so I will not include their tens of thousands in the final tally.

    Negligible sources of theism-related deaths:

    * Botched circumcision, Waco, various Mormon atrocities in the 19th century, UFO cult suicides, and genuinely bizarro psychos like Andrea Yeats, or other oddities like this have not been included. Theism doesn’t need the help.

    Final tally for theism: 2,229,074,100

    And now for Atheism:

    * The French Revolution, built on Enlightenment principles, probably cost somewhere from 1-2 million lives.
    * Maoism in China, indisputably atheist, was indirectly responsible for the starvation of 20-40 million Chinese citizens during the “Great Leap Forward” and the “Cultural Revolution” combined.
    * Even though I could find no evidence that Pol Pot was an atheist, his regime was anti-most religion, so I will include the tally of his regime, whose very tip-top highest estimates place the death toll at 3 million.

    Disputed atheist:

    *

    Stalin: recently-unearthed secret documents indicate that Stalin may have been made a deist who “made his peace with God” and who brought priests back into favor and who encouraged religious icons to be paraded around Leningrad for good luck during the siege. He had “complex” relations with religious institutions in the Soviet Union, notes Hector Avalos, and so there is every indication that Stalin might have been a closet atheist turned closet diest, or even Orthodox Christian, who kept his faith very private. You’re welcome I didn’t include the 50 million victims of his pogroms under the theism casualties, because the new, very modern evidence against Stalin’s post-1940 atheism is pretty damn good.

    Highest possible atheism death toll without Stalin: 45,000,000.
    Highest possible atheism death toll with Stalin: 95,000,000.

    So, at its very highest, atheists have caused almost a whopping 100 million deaths throughout world history. This is about 1/20th the casualties caused by the morally depraved theists who have dominated history. Given that statistically about 16% of the world is non-religious but only about 5% of total world military/genocidal violence has been caused by atheism, we can safely add one more piece of evidence that theists have proven themselves to be far and away more morally depraved, violent, aggressive, brutally selfish, and downright nasty to each other than us infidels.

    And to think that the theists say that we atheists can’t know right from wrong.

  235. Monica says:

    The Atheist,
    I was able to access the article from http://www.msnbc.msn.com That’s a really cool, pretty picture, and fascinating article. But I can’t get past the fact that the creation of life had to come from something or Someone.

    If those cells have the capability to multiply and create life we still don’t know what or Who created that cell or the environment for it. And if we say that the cell didn’t need a Creator then don’t you think that that cell would need to possess supernatural capabilities or characteristics in order to begin life since scientist can’t formulate an answer?

    Since scientists can’t explain the beginning of creation then maybe there is a supernatural explanation for it. Maybe God is the missing piece to the puzzle. But some scientist don’t accept God or even the supernatural as the answer because they don’t have a formula for either one. The Bible describes God as being the Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end the first and the last. Basically He is not bound to our rules of science whereas that cell would be unless you gave it supernatural capabilities or characteristics. It would have to have those capabilities or characteristics in order to begin itself. What do you think? Do you think life began with those cells? Do you think that cells would need supernatural capabilities or characteristics in order to bring life into existence? Is scientist’s solution ultimately lead to the uncaused cause?

    On monergism.com under the category Bible I went to Bible research. There are 13 topics in this category including the formation of Christian canons.

  236. J.D. says:

    I can’t wait for the day that they do prove that existence was caused by something natural, and not by a “god.” Then the world as a whole can move past petty religious differences, at least most of the world anyway. Even then there will be those idiots out there who still deny truth.

    My personal theory is that there has always been matter in one form or another(excluding any idea of god of course), and that existence as we know it has been just a tiny part in a repetitive cycle. We are not the first(or the only for that matter) humanoid creatures that there is/was. It is not so far fetched considering we know how chaotic and vast the modern universe is,

    Religiouse people say it all has to come from somewhere, and the cycle itself would have to start somewhere, their answer of course is “god.” But then god has to come from somewhere by that logic, and he did, the minds of men.

    in all honestly it is pointless to carry on the argument of creation of the universe because no one was around, and obviously god has not been around since, or it would have been news.

    However on the topic of the beginning of earth, we do know how, when, and where. WHY though? There is not a definitive answer to the why other than chance. As I said, just by the size of the known universe we are not the only humanoids, just because of numbers.

    Just a few of the thoughts I had hanging in my head this evening.

  237. The Atheist says:

    Monica

    I thought the article was pretty fascinating too. Think how far our knowledge had evolved – from the first viewing of the cells through a microscope (Hooke and Leeuwenhoek in the 1600s), to the discovery that all plants and animals are actually made of cells (Schleiden and Schwann in the 1800s), and later the discovery of the various cellular bodies and DNA itself. Soon we will be able to actually create life from scratch. Besides the obvious medical potential, our ability to create artificial life will help us to close the final gap in our knowledge about how life began. From the article: “Creating protocells has the potential to shed new life on our place in the universe,” Bedau said. “This will remove one of the few fundamental mysteries about creation in the universe and our role.”

    …if we say that the cell didn’t need a Creator then don’t you think that that cell would need to possess supernatural capabilities or characteristics in order to begin life since scientist can’t formulate an answer?…It would have to have those capabilities or characteristics in order to begin itself.

    I don’t think so. I think that learning to create life will be a key step along the way to understanding how natural life on Earth formed. I don’t think we will learn that the cells had any supernatural ability since we already know how key components of cells that make up life on Earth have formed quite naturally (see the Miller-Urey experiment for just one example).

    Since scientists can’t explain the beginning of creation then maybe there is a supernatural explanation for it. Maybe God is the missing piece to the puzzle.

    Maybe. But if you follow the history of scientific discovery, and how it relates to belief about God, you will notice that people tend to attribute anything they can’t understand to God – the Sun was God’s chariot, God caused thunder, God created man from clay, etc. As humans became more adept at science and as the tools of science got better, we discovered what the Sun is and why it appears to move. We know what makes thunder. We know how humans and other animals evolved. But there are things we still don’t know today – and people still have the same tendency to attribute those things to God. History teaches us that it is wrong to presume that God is the cause for what we don’t understand, as we can see by the examples of ancient Sun Gods, thunder Gods, etc. A proper reason to believe that God exists would be positive evidence of God, not simply our lack of understanding about how nature works.

    What do you think? Do you think life began with those cells? Do you think that cells would need supernatural capabilities or characteristics in order to bring life into existence?

    I don’t think that life began with the artificial cells that the article talks about. Neither did life begin with natural cells as we know them today, but rather with protocells which were much cruder molecular structures that formed randomly as experiments show. Because these structures formed randomly, there were countless molecular configurations. Because of their molecular make up, some of these configurations would attract other particles in the environment, some of which would pass through the crude protocell membrane. As more particles entered the protocell, the protocell became engorged and the membrane could no longer contain the contents. This caused the protocell to rupture, taking with it some of the content of the cell and some of the outer membrane. The result is two smaller protocells that formed out of the original one that ruptured. Since the two smaller protocells formed out of the contents of the original parent protocell, they also had roughly the same chemical properties that would cause them to attract ambient particles, which would make them grow to the bursting point as well. This process happened countless times.

    Some protocell configurations happened to attract more ambient particles than other configurations. These would be engorged faster than protocell configurations that were less effective at attracting ambient particles. Because they would become engorged faster, they would rupture more frequently, thus forming new protocells more frequently. As a result, they would replace less adept cells by multiplying faster and consuming more of the ambient nutrients.

    As these protocells multiplied in this haphazard way, some of the daughter protocells would happen to be even more adept at consuming nutrients than the parent cell and would divide even faster (just as others would happen to be less adept). These better adept protocells would out perform (that is, out consume and out divide) other protocells. This natural process of random improvements continued for billions of years and was the process that eventually produced modern cell structures.

    Is scientist’s solution ultimately lead to the uncaused cause?

    I think the answer with respect to how life began is “no” since we are very close to experimentally proving the actual mechanisms that caused life to arise from non-life. On the other hand, isn’t God an uncaused cause (as J.D. also points out in his response just above)?

    On monergism.com under the category Bible I went to Bible research. There are 13 topics in this category including the formation of Christian canons.

    Based on the research you did, what is your understanding of how the Christian cannons formed? How were some of the decisions made about which books to include and which to exclude? What role to you think Constantine played in the formation of the cannon? Do you think divine inspiration played a role and if so, what is the evidence that it did?

  238. doug says:

    Can you read me?

    Dear all,

    Roughly a month or so ago I went 10 days without seeing any posts.
    In the past week or so I have received no responses to me posts which leads me to wonder if they are appearing or not.
    Please let me know.

    Thanks & God bless you,
    Doug

  239. JD says:

    Doug,

    Last post I saw:
    doug Says:
    July 1, 2008 at 7:37 pm

  240. doug says:

    Thank You J. D.

    I thought B.C.E. meant B.C. I only did not know that the C.E. meant common era.

    I respect you most on here outside of Monica.
    It is your passion. For then against the War against Terrorism.
    Your passion for God and now your passion against Him.
    Of course I hope that you will return to your belief and faith in God.

    In that your work is with computers, I.T. could you explain why my posts have not appeared since July 1st.

    I look forward to your reply.

    Best wishes & God Bless you,
    Doug

  241. JD says:

    Could be several things, I cannot tell you for sure

    1 TA has not had the chance to add them. I think he can set it to automatically add them though. But I doubt that is the problem. Because it would tell that it was awaiting moderation.

    2. just a glitch in the wordpress software itself(likely) will probably be fixed before to long by wordpress Techs.

    3. something on your end (likely) because everyone elses seem to be posting. I know that about a week ago I was trying to make posts and when I submitted it was taking me to a blank page that just said”you comment has been discarded” what that means other than the face value? I don’t know. I had not seen that before.

  242. doug says:

    Dear J.D.,
    Thanks for the information on my posts.
    My posts show up on my computer so why wouldn’t they show up on this thread?
    Any further information you can give me would be appreciated. By the way I have VISTA.
    I look forward to any further information you can give me.

    Best wishes & God bless you,
    Doug

  243. Monica says:

    The Atheist,
    I’m sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I am just overloaded with responsibility.

    I have a book on the Canon of Scripture and there are so many resources on the monergism.com website. I just haven’t read through all of them or found resources elsewhere. I wonder why the emperors before Constantine were so against Christianity. If it weren’t for Constantine we probably wouldn’t have the Bible. But from a Christian perspective we know that if God wanted something to be accomplished He would have done it exactly how He planned. Maybe He planned for Constatine.

    Eusibeus seems to play a big role into the picture too. I guess he was one of Constantime’s advisors. Eusibeus had put together some writings that he thought were inspirational and Constatine supposedly wanted fifty copies made. You know the interesting thing though is that they didn’t have the traveling and communicationg capabilities like we do so I wonder if it was hard for them to copy eachothers writings. In other words make counterfeits. But one thing I do find is that it requires faith to believe that the Bible is perfectly written. As I was reading through the tons of processes it’s gone through I was thimkimg to myself “what, that’s too much work” But as Christians walk by faith and not by sight, although, I definitely want to seek after strong reasons for believing what I believe. I still have a long ways to go with that.

    You guys walk by facts you can physically see. Which makes me wonder what you think about the wind? It reminds of God in the sense that you can feel Him at times but not see Him but only through the work of creation. Hmm, just a thought

  244. Monica says:

    Hi Doug,
    I hope you’ve been feeling good. I’ve been thinking about that surgery that will implant a device between the bone and the brain. It works like a pace maker. I’m concerned about my children’s safety and I hate burdening our family to take care of us. With insurance my medicine cost close to $300.00 because of Keppra. The thing that really sucks about the surgery is that they would have to cut my hair. I have long straight black hair. I know I’m in God’s hands and I’m sure that there’s a purpose for my health. I’ve heard people say that your ministry comes out of your pain. I can understand how you and I can empathize and sympathize with people who have gone through health problems. Well I hope you feel good.

  245. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    I’ve been busy too so I totally understand. Anyway, welcome back!

    I have a book on the Canon of Scripture and there are so many resources on the monergism.com website.

    It really is a fascinating subject which I personally love reading about. Which book(s) do you have? I’m glad you’re getting interested in it too.

    I wonder why the emperors before Constantine were so against Christianity

    Bear in mind that in early Antiquity, there were many sects of Judaism; the early Christian sects were considered (even by the Christians) as just sects of Judaism. And Judaism had a violent history with Rome – including the various Jewish revolts in response to the Roman takeover of Judea. So initially, Rome had a dim view of Jews (including the Christians), because they were rebells against Rome.

    As Christianity later began to redefine itself as something different than Judaism, the Romans viewed it as just one of many new foreign cults that were contaminating the “true” religion of Rome. Christians were accused of civil disobedience because of their secret meetings and irreverence of the Emperor (which was against Roman law). Even so, there was only a brief and sporadic persecution by Nero (who was clinically insane) in the first century. Then later there was a persecution in earnest by Marcus Aurelius in the latter half of the 2nd century, then much later by Diocletian in the 1st part of the 4th century.

    If you read only apologetic versions of Christian history, you may get the (wrong) impression, as your question suggests, that the early Christians were constantly and violently persecuted by the emperors throughout history. I put together a list of Roman Emperors from the beginning of the Roman Empire through Constantine and I highlighted and underlined the emperors that persecuted Christians (see below). Notice how though persecution did occur, and that persecution would have been a defining event in church history, it is wrong to think that Christianity arose out of constant persecution. If you had the wrong idea about Rome and the persecution of early Christians because you are limiting yourself exclusively to apologetic material, then you might want consider to broadening your research a bit to include more realistic accounts of history.

    If you believe, as you say, that everything goes according to God’s plan, then you would have to absolutely believe (not maybe) that Constantine (as well as Hitler) was part of God’s plan too. Then you would have to consider what kind of loving God would devise a plan that included such cruelty.

    You also mentioned Eusibius as being instrumental in the formation of canon – and I agree that he had a role to play in canonization. He was quite an interesting character in his own right in the sense that he was associated with the Arians (see Athanasius & Arian) – who were the arch enemy of Athanasius… who ended up (partly through violence and deceit) wresting Constantine’s favor from the Arians and thus securing his view of scripture as what would later be considered the orthodox view.

    they didn’t have the traveling and communicationg capabilities like we do so I wonder if it was hard for them to copy eachothers writings.

    It certainly was hard! There are literally thousands of early copies of scriptures that show that the text that we have today in the Bible was not what the original manuscripts actually said. Some of the discrepancies were simple misspellings, or omitted or misspelled words. But other discrepancies are more troubling – like the deliberate changing of passages by scribes who felt that the copy he received was wrong, or that it might be misused by a rival Christan cult. So the scribes changed their copies to say what they thought it ought to say.

    But one thing I do find is that it requires faith to believe that the Bible is perfectly written.

    That’s an important realization! The reason that it requires faith because there is no good evidence that the Bible is perfectly written. In fact, there is good evidence (some of which we are discussing here) to believe that it is not perfectly written. So if there is no good evidence to believe that it is perfectly written, then why would a reasonable person, like you are, believe that it is?

    I definitely want to seek after strong reasons for believing what I believe.

    That admission is just as important as the preceding one! You are realizing that what you believe is without reason (since you are currently looking for the reasons). In any other aspect of your life, you believe what you believe because of some reason to believe it. Now ask yourself: why would be believe something before you have any reason to believe it?

    You guys walk by facts you can physically see. Which makes me wonder what you think about the wind? It reminds of God in the sense that you can feel Him at times but not see Him but only through the work of creation. Hmm, just a thought

    I think this reflects a basic misunderstanding of how “we guys” walk ;) There are many ways to know something exists and seeing with the naked eye is only one of those ways. We can’t see galaxies with the naked eye, but we can see them with the aid of strong telescopes – so we know that they exist. We can’t see the cells that make up our bodies with the naked eye, but we can see them with microscopes so we know that they exist. We can’t see gravity, but we have other ways of detecting it so we know that it exists. We can’t see magnetic waves but we have other ways to detect those too.

    You claim that you detect God by the effect he has on the universe (e.g., as its creator)… but can you? When we detects things in our universe that can’t be seen with the naked eye, it’s always with a tool that is well understood. How lenses in a telescope or a microscope refract light is well understood. Therefore, when we observe something using either of those tools, then we have confidence that what we observe is a representation of the physical universe – even when we can’t see that aspect of the universe with the naked eye. When we detect magnetic waves, the relationship between magnetism and electrical current is well understood, so when magnetism is measured by its effect on an electric current, then we know that we are observing something that exists in the physical universe, even though we can’t see it with the naked eye. How do you know that you are detecting the presence of God when you observe the physical universe? The answer is that you don’t. You can only imagine that what you see is the result of God’s creation but I challenge you to “detect” God or his creative force with a well-understood tool, as we do with magnetic waves in my example, or as we do with wind in your example. So even though “the wind vs. God” might seem like an appealing contradiction at face value, it’s not that appealing at all if you give it a little thought.

    —-

    Here is the list of all of the Roman Emperors up through Constantine – the Emperors who persecuted Christians are highlighted:

    Dates
    Name

    31-14
    Augustus

    14-37
    Tiberius

    37-41
    Gaius (Caligula)

    41-54
    Claudius

    54-68
    Nero

    68
    C. Iulius Vindex

    68
    L. Clodius Macer

    68-69
    Galba

    68-69
    C. Nymphidius Sabinus

    69
    Otho

    69
    Vitellius

    69-79
    Vespasian

    79-81
    Titus

    81-96
    Domitian

    89
    L. Antonius Saturninus

    96-98
    Nerva

    98-117
    Trajan

    117-138
    Hadrian

    138-161
    Antoninus Pius

    161-180
    Marcus Aurelius

    175
    Avidius Cassius

    161-166
    L. Verus

    180-192
    Commodus

    192-193
    Pertinax

    193
    Didius Julianus

    193-211
    Septimius Severus

    193-194
    Pescennius Niger

    193-197
    Clodius Albinus

    211-217
    Antoninus (Caracalla)

    211
    Geta

    217-218
    Macrinus

    218
    Diadumenianus

    218-22
    Elagabalus

    218-22
    Seleucus

    218-22
    Uranius

    218-22
    Gellius Maximus

    218-22
    Verus

    222-235
    Severus Alexander

    225-227
    L. Seius Sallustius

    222-235
    Taurinus

    235-238
    Maximinus Thrax

    235-238
    Magnus

    235-238
    Quartinus

    238
    Gordian I

    238
    Gordian II

    238
    Pupienus (Maximus)

    238
    Balbinus

    238-244
    Gordian III

    240
    Sabinianus

    244-249
    Philip the Arab

    248
    Pacatianus

    248
    Iotapianus

    244-249
    Silbannacus

    244-249
    Sponsianus

    247-249
    Philip Iunior

    249-251
    Decius

    250
    T. Julius Priscus

    250
    Iulius Valens Licinianus

    251
    Herennius Etruscus

    251
    Hostilian

    251-253
    Trebonianus Gallus

    251-253
    Volusianus

    253
    Uranius Antoninus

    253
    Aemilius Aemilianus

    253-260
    Valerian

    253-260
    Mareades

    253-268
    Gallienus

    260
    Ingenuus

    260
    Regalianus

    260-261
    Macrianus Senior

    260-261
    Macrianus Iunior

    260-261
    Quietus

    261
    Piso

    261
    Valens

    261
    Ballista

    261
    Mussius Aemilianus

    262
    Memor

    262, 268
    Aureolus

    253-268
    Celsus

    253-268
    Saturninus

    268-270
    Claudius II Gothicus

    268-270
    Censorinus

    268-270
    270 Quintillus

    270-275
    Aurelian

    271-272
    Domitianus

    271-272
    Urbanus

    271-272
    Septimius

    273
    Firmus

    270-271?
    Felicissimus

    272
    Vaballathus

    260-269
    Postumus

    269
    Laelianus

    269
    Marius

    269-270
    Victorinus

    271-274
    Tetricus I

    273?-274
    Tetricus II

    274
    Faustinus

    275-276
    Tacitus

    276
    Florianus

    276-282
    Probus

    280
    Bonosus

    280-281
    Proculus

    281
    Saturninus

    282-283
    Carus

    283-284
    Numerianus

    283-285
    Carinus

    284-305
    Diocletian

    297(296?)
    L. Domitius Domitianus

    297-298?
    Aurelius Achilleus

    303?
    Eugenius

    285-ca.310
    Maximianus Herculius

    285 or 286
    Amandus

    285 or 286
    Aelianus

    ca 286-293
    Iulianus

    286/7-293
    Carausius

    293-296/7
    Allectus

    293-306
    Constantius I Chlorus

    293-311
    Galerius

    305-313
    Maximinus Daia

    305-307
    Severus II

    306-312
    Maxentius

    308-309
    L. Domitius Alexander

    308-324
    Licinius

    314(316?)
    Valens

    324
    Martinianus

    306-337
    Constantine I

  246. The Atheist says:

    Well, the highlighting idea didn’t work on WordPress.

    In any case the point of the list is that out of this entire list, only 3 emperors persecuted Christians: Nero (and the only sporadically), Marcus Aurelius, and Diocletian. The other emperors were tolerant. If apologists are leaving you with the impression that there is some special spiritual reason why the early church was under constant persecution, than the apologists are being dishonest by leaving you with that impression – even if they don’t make the statement explicitly.

    A more honest picture of history is that Rome by and large was tolerant of foreign religions, including Christianity. But Rome was very intolerant of rebellion and civil disobedience which is what lead in a few cases to the mistrust of Christians and ultimately to persecution by 3 Roman emperors.

  247. Monica says:

    The Atheist,
    Right now I’m reading “The Canon of Scripture” by F.F. Bruce. I’ve only read the introduction. My daughter’s been teething and it’s not fun staying up late or waking up at anytime in the night. I do want to see the opposing view of the apologetic arguments eventually. That’s what’s fun about truth.

    Do you know anything about Calvinism vs Armeneanism or the difference between the two? The Calvinist believes that God gives you the faith in order to be saved. They use Ephesians 2:8 to back their belief up. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And it’s not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” There are other scriptures but this is the main one. The problem with this belief is that when you get down to the nature of God you have an all sovereign Creator including everything like evil, our sinful state, Christ death on the cross, genocide etc.

    An Armeneast believes that it’s God’s desire that no one should perish but have eternal life and that it’s our choice as to where we want to go after death. I can’t find the scripture for God desiring that no one should perish. This is one for choice and I can’t find it right now either but it’s in there. “Choose this day whom you will serve”. This belief paints the picture of a loving Father who wants us to choose Him but He knows that some won’t. There are a lot of scriptures that support both views. I’m really stuck in the middle between the two. My husband is all for Calvinism but I’m not really. He is so frustated with me. So when you bring up that it was God’s plan for Constatine as well as Hitler you’re right in the Calvinists’ eyes and wrong in the Armeneans’ eyes. Calvinists will say that God planned Hitler for His glory or sovereign purposes. Armeneans will say that God gave Hitler free will to choose to do what he did. As far as who’s right I’m rooting for the Armeneans.

    I believe in God because life makes sense to me and gives me purpose. I have heaven to look forward to. If there were no God atleast I played it safe rather than sorry. I’ve seen some miraculous things in my life and my families’lives. I have so much to be thankful for that came through a relationship with God. I knew who my husband was going to be. You’d probably think I’m crazy if I told you how, so I won’t go there. Without him I’d be screwed. I just found out yesterday that without insurance my medication cost $1752.57. That is just flat out wrong they should be arrested. I thank God so much for my husband. I don’t know what I’d do without him. That means I have to be nice to him. Ah man. Just kidding, he really is a good man. Anyways.

    There are many processes that the books of the Bible went through and if there were to be a defect of some sort I believe that it was ordained to be that way.

    The thing I’ve noticed about how God reveals Himself to people or draws them to Him is by His irresistable grace. A lot of times people are going through troubles and when a person comes to faith in Christ the burden is lifted. The burden is not as hard to deal with as it would be if you were on your own. When troubles do come you have scripture, prayer, peace, and strength to pesevere through it. People become so grateful and fall in love with God. Often times you see scripture operating in people’s lives as well as your own so I think that is one reason why people believe in God.

  248. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    I’m glad you are becoming open to the idea of reading other material outside of apologetics (which, by its very definition, presumes that the Christian story is true and then looks for ways to support the belief – rather than looking at all evidence to see where the evidence points). In the mean time, Bruce is a classic author of apologetics so I’d say you made a good selection.

    Regarding Arminianism and Calvinism, I think there are problems with either view. Calvinism teaches that salvation was for a select few. That is at odds with Joh 3:16 – Joh 3:16 states that whoever believes is saved, not just the select few. Other verses, like 2Co 5:15, say explicitly that Jesus died for all and (1Ti 2:4) wants all to be saved. Indeed 1Ti 4:10 says explicitly that God is the savior of all. See also 2Pe 3:9, Joh 3:16, Act 17:28.

    Arminianism teaches that eternal life can be lost if one stops believing. Interestingly enough, that is also at odds with the Joh 3:16. Accoreding to Joh 3:16 (see also Joh 6:47, Act 16:31, 1Jo 5:12-13), if you believe, then you have (right now) eternal life. If you can lose your salvation when you stop believing, then “eternal life” was never eternal at all since it can be lost. Another problem with Arminianism is that it teaches that God never interfears with free will, but God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart” in Exodus and Jesus spoke in parables to prevent the Pharisees from believing and being saved (Mat 13:10-15).

    There is also a problem with conditional election: if God knows the future (he’s omniscient), and he knew before he created the earth who would end up being saved, then he knew at the moment of creation who would be saved. Since he is omnipotent, he could have created the universe any way he wanted. When he chose to create the universe the way that he did, he was fully aware of the consequences of his choices, including who would end up accepting him and who would end up rejecting him. So he is responsible for deciding who would later comes to accept him because he made those choices and foresaw the results at creation.

    It’s good that you recognize that both views, Arminianism and Calvinism, are supported in the Bible. Yet the two views are contradictory. That means that the supporting verses in the Bible are also contradictory. Regarding Hitler’s free will, I think you are right that the Arminianist view is less problematic. But it does not address other evils that humans suffer that does not involve free will – natural disasters like tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, disease, drought, famine, etc. It also doesn’t explain the evils that are commanded by God in the Old Testament. And verses like Pro 16:4 remain problematic: “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”

    I don’t think you are “playing it safe” by believing as you might suppose that you are. You are considering that either there is no God, or that there is God as understood by Christianity. But what if there is a God and he is the God that is understood by Orthodox Judaism who considers belief in other Gods (including Jesus) to be blasphemy. Then you would have to reject Jesus and believe only in the God of the Hebrew Bible to have eternal life.

    Sorry to hear about your meds. That really blows big time.

    Just curious: you mentioned that even if the Bible indeed has defects, you would still believe that it is divine. Then what is it about the Bible (defects and all) that makes you think it is divine?

    I think you’re right when you describe how religion can be comforting in stressful times. That seems to be true with all religions (Islam, Buddhism, etc.), wouldn’t you agree?

  249. J.D. says:

    just a note on the meds and Docs in gen, If they know that it will be payed through insurance they up the price. They usually have a set price for both.

    Just a personal suggestion, I would try a more homeopathic route. I forgot what the meds were for. Let me know and I will try to dig out my book and let you know so you can try it.

    It says to let your doc know that you are using the homeopathic meds. HE will probably discourage it because he will not be making any money on you once you find out it works.

    I will go so far that 90% of the medical industry is a sham. Unless you are getting emergency treatment, you probably didn’t need it. The placebo effect if you will. also consider that most meds cause more harm than good, IMO, job security.

  250. Monica says:

    Hi J.D.,

    That’s really thoughtful of you J.D. to show concern. Thank you! I appreciate it. I am taking Keppra and Lamictal for epilepsy or seizures. I’ve been on medication periodically since I was five so I am so totally anti-medication if I could avoid it. I’d be excited to reading what you have found.

    Do doctors really make money off of the medicines they prescribe you? It wouldn’t suprise me if my doctor’s making money for the Keppra he prescribed me because it’s a fairly new medicine. I’m guessing like eight years old. My docotr is a really nice person, though. My doctor is so nice that He’ll do phone appointments with me because we live like two hours away from him. That’s cool.

    There is actually another study that I could take part in. I would have to add another medicine to my dose. Great! I had no idea that people could take that much medication. My doctor said that he has a patient on four medicines. That’s psycho. I wonder how they even function. If I take part in this study it requires me to drink lots of water and I won’t know of course if it;s a placebo or not. Atleast the doctor’s will find out how honest I am unless the placebo is making me sicker. That would be interesting.

    That is so retarded that medicines will pacify health conditions but later cause other problems and doctors aren’t big on nutrition or natural cures. Have you seen those commercials that come up with a new medicine and list all of the different side effects it can cause. That’s right you can pacify one problem and create a new one. No thanks. So yeah, I do like finding healthy ways of making health conditions better. Thanks again for being concerned.

  251. Monica says:

    The Atheist,

    I find it very fascinating to see what other people believe.. Not that I’d change my belief but I like finding out what other people believe. Do you believe in supernatural events or miracles? I think you can find evidence for them. If you could find evidence for a miracle what would be your thoughts?

    Now about Calvinism vs Armeneanism do you think it’s arrogant for the Calvinist to believe that salvation was only for a select few? So far the Calvinist I’ve come across have been really nice. We just started attending this Christian Reformed Church. It was my husbands idea. They are all Calvinists and so far they’ve been nice. It is so boring though and there are a lot of old people. I don’t know if you have ever been in a church before but it’s like a Catholic service. It’s small which means I have to get mushy and gushy with them. The reason I have to go is because my husband and I made an ageement that he’d go to my church on Saturdays and I’d go to his on Sundays.

    We were going to an Assemblies of God church and that’s the one I consider my church. They are Armeneans. Yes! The church has about 3,000 members which makes it hard to be mushy and gushy with people. The music is like a live concert and the pastor is hilarious. It’s fun but I think my husband thinks you’re not supposed to have fun at church.

    I saw a document about the Calvinist faith. It caught my attention when this guy had explained why the authors used words like all, whosoever, world, etc. He said that it was used figuratively. That’s weird.

    With John 3:16 How it says something like For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth shall not perish but have everlasting life. Calvinist will say that God gave the faith to certain people so whoever ends up believing are those that God gave the faith to.

    With Armeneans losing their salvation some will way that they were never really saved to begin with if they walk away from God. There’s a scripture in the book of Luke that says (I’m paraphrasing) Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Lord did we not cast out demons in Your name. Depart from Me you evil doers, I never knew you. So not everyone is truly saved. Also in I think the chapter before that it talks about the parable of the sower. Basically the Word of God is preached. Some receive it, some don’t and some do for a little while but the enemy takes it away.

    I guess the Calvinist worries about truly being saved and the Armenean worries about losing their salvation.

    God did harden pharoahs heart. The Calvinist will say that God is all sovereign and does things for His own purpose and glory. The Armenean will say that God foreknew that pharoah wasn’t going to choose Him and hardened his heart.

    From a Calvinist perspective I see a Creator who has created everything to be as it is for His pleasure. From an Armenean perspective I see a loving Father who’s sovereign will was to give mankind a free will because who wants a bunch of robots loving you. I don’t know.

    Calvinists and armeneast believe in the Trinity. Father (God(. Son (Jesus), , Holy Spirit
    (Spirit) all in one. The best analogy that I’ve heard of is water. Liquid, ice, steam all are water.

    I believe that God inspired men to put it together as we see it today whether it’s accurately translated or perfectly written because I see purpose in it.

  252. J.D. says:

    I will see what I can did up on seizures and get back to you.

    I would NEVER participate in medical studies.

    the side effects of prescription drugs has become the #4 killer in America.

    PS if any of you know any one with cancer, tell them to start supplementing their diet with calcium. chemo only makes you sicker, kills good cells with the bad. Cancerous tissue cannot survive in an alkaline state. Increase your calcium intake, kill the cancer.
    gma had only a few months to live, had started taking some supplements, dropped the chemo because she “would rather feel fine and die than be sick and in pain from chemo.” 6 moths later scan showed nothing. still supplementing. almost 2 years has passed is doing better than she was years before she ever got sick, does not even nap during the day anymore, “just not tired.”

  253. Monica says:

    Hi J.D.
    You know what’s really sad? My parent’s neighbor just died from cancer last week. She was still smoking even though she had it. She was only 35 years old. I’m sure a healthy diet and supplements would have helped her live longer but I can understand if she suffered so much that she just wanted to leave this life as soon as possible and didn’t take care of herself. I’m so sad for her husband.

    My mother-in-law’s x-ray showed that she had breast cancer. Of course we prayed for her and she doesn’t have it anymore. Maybe the doctor’s made a mistake or God healed her. I’m not sure if she was supplementing. I’ll have to ask. I’m glad it worked out for gna. I guess she made a wise choice.

    P.S. J.D. if you don’t mind me asking, what was your Baptist upbringing like? My whole side of the family are pretty much all non-christians, including my parents. I have no idea how I became one. I’m just interested in knowing what it’s like having a christian family and not believing what they believe.

  254. Monica says:

    The Atheist,
    I’m apologize for writing so sloppy in my last post. I didn’t even go over it to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. I was in a hurry because my kids needed my attention. Let me know if I need to clarify anything.

  255. The Atheist says:

    Hi, Monica. No problem that you wrote in a hurry – it came accros just fine. :)

    Not that I’d change my belief but I like finding out what other people believe.

    Wow! I’m impressed! You would venture that you won’t change your mind, even before you know what the other views are? Personally, I would never say that I refuse to change my mind. Since I’m always willing to understand and consider views other than my own, I always put myself in the position to learn. I would have to be either omniscient or reckless to claim certainty that no one else’s beliefs could possibly make more sense than the beliefs that I currently hold today! My hat’s off to you ;)

    Do you believe in supernatural events or miracles? I think you can find evidence for them. If you could find evidence for a miracle what would be your thoughts?

    I would love to find evidence for them but I haven’t yet. If I were convinced of a miracle, then I would reconsider my position on naturalism. If the miracle were shown to be performed by a god, then I would reconsider my position on theism. And if the miracle were shown to be performed by the God of the Bible, then I would reconsider my position on Christianity.

    do you think it’s arrogant for the Calvinist to believe that salvation was only for a select few

    I can see why you might consider the idea to be arrogant, and maybe it is – I’m not sure. Maybe the idea simply arose from the observation that it’s really tough to convince a rational person that the Christian story is true, and thereby bring them to salvation. It may be a rationalization that evolved to explain why everyone is not led to salvation by God’s Spirit.

    the authors used words like all, whosoever, world, etc. He said that it was used figuratively. That’s weird.

    That is definitely weird!

    On the other hand, there are lots of verses in the Bible that most all sects of Christianity have to reinterpret in order to maintain their beliefs. Take the Trinity for example. I could list literally dozens of verses that show that Jesus and the Father are separate beings and cannot be aspects of the same being; verses that show that Jesus and the Father cannot be different forms of the same substance (like water and ice to use your example).

    With Armeneans losing their salvation some will way that they were never really saved to begin with if they walk away from God…the Armenean worries about losing their salvation.

    That may actually be just as problematic as predeterminism. If you believe that anyone who falls away was never saved in the first place, then no one can ever really know if they are saved now because one can know if he will change his beliefs down the road. Certainly those Christians who have fallen away from the faith would have never have imagined that it could possibly happen to them (at least not before they began to question). It means that you can’t know for sure right now that you are saved.

    The Armenean will say that God foreknew that pharoah wasn’t going to choose Him and hardened his heart.

    If God already knew that Pharaoh would harden his own heart (not “choose Him” as you say), then there would be no reason for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart. Yet Exodus says explicitly that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. The only way hardening Pharaoh’s heart can make sense (at least from a literalist viewpoint – there is a way that it makes perfect sense from a textual criticism viewpoint!) is that God’s actions compromised Pharaoh’s free will. This may be another one of those examples where the verse must be reinterpreted in order not to contradict the belief that God does not interfere with free will.

    I believe that God inspired men to put it together as we see it today whether it’s accurately translated or perfectly written because I see purpose in it.

    When you say “inspired”, do you mean that God told the scribes exactly how copy the original text, and he told the translators how to translate the corrupted copies, and he also told the church leaders which books to put in the Bible together? If not, what exactly to you mean by “inspired”? Also, what is the purpose that you say you see in it?

    If one believes that the original authors were inspired to write down exactly what they wrote (word for word), then why would God inspire others (the scribes who copied the originals, and later the translators) to change those words? Keep in mind that there are literally hundreds of thousands of variations to the original text (some estimate the number as high as 300,000 variations). Also, if the selection of books that went into the Bible was inspired, then why was it decided by debate and deceit? I know those are tough questions but I think they are important ones to consider.

  256. Monica says:

    The Atheist,
    Hi, how are you doing? Me, I’m exhausted.

    The reason or reasons why I would not change my mind about believing in God is because evolution doesn’t answer the origin the of life. Logic would tell you that has to be a cause and then an effect. As far as changing my mind with other religious beliefs the Bible is the only source of truth we have and any practice or religious belief that agrees with it is the one I’d prefer to follow. If you value the Bible as truth then you can’t go wrong being in a church that teaches it accurately. A calvinist would say that I have no choice in the matter on whether to believe in God or the Bible. He’s given me the faith. Sounds kind of funny. Also I’ve been in the faith too long to deny that it’s real. My life is headed in a direction that I have no say in. So not only does it make sense that God or a Creator began this life, I’m also in a position that wouldn’t direct my life any other way. It’s kind of neat but scary too.

    Now about miracles. Have you ever seen one? How about demonic activity or maybe ghost? Have you heard about any encounters with stuff like that? What do naturalist say about it?

    Calvinist have a hard time convinving Armenians that God gives you the faith to be saved. Armenians have a hard time believing that view because it distorts their view of a loving Father. That message says that not everyone has the opportunity to be saved which feels unfair. I’ve heard someone say that Armenians want to believe that it’s in their ability to choose or reject God. Also, the calvinist message really rips out the joy of sharing the gospel with people. There is nothing an Armenian can say or do to convince a person to folllow Jesus. There is nothing an unbeliever can do to earn salvation because God has already made up His mind who He’s going to show mercy to. But I guess if an unbeliever had a desire for God He’s probably dtawing them to Him. If God has a soveriegn purpose then won’t He bring everyone He has chosen to faith all on His own? Then why should Christians try to convince people to live for God? There are a group of people that believe like this. They are called the hyper-calvinist. They don’t believe in ministering to people because God will do it on His own.

    The Armenian appeals more to the will and emphasizes how a loving Father sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for the sins that we’ve committed. God’s righteous judgement would be sending us to hell but Jesus paid the price because He loves you. If you were to come to faith can you see how that could make you feel important and loved. The Calvinist does believe that this message is true but they also believe that it is all for God’s glory and pleasure. So in other words it sounds like an alterior motive.

    What are the verses you know of that would separate the Trinity. John chapter 17 explains the union of the Pather and the Son and how a believer relates with the two. John chapter 14:10 says “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” In scripture Jesus says that the Holy spirit dwells in the heart of a believer. 2 Corinthians chapter 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” As a believer, just as His Spirit would dwell in me I guess that it is how it would be in the Trinity. That reminds me of “The Lion King” movie, how the monkey tells Simba that he knows Simba’s father, “He lives in you.”

    I guess you’re right when you say that no one may know if they are truly saved. That’s why the calvinist worries if they are truly saved, especially when they do bad things and the Armenian worries if they will lose God if they do something bad.

    When I was in High School my mom was so frustrated with me because I wasn’t interested in parties or I didn’t have this spunky personality that she always wanted. She kept telling to go out. She even took me and my friends cruising one time. That’s where guys and girls hooked up. I was too mature for my age and I read my Bible all the time. So one day I wanted my parents to see what I could be like without God in my life and then maybe they would want my real self back. I went to raves, parties, and ended up with guys. One day when I was at a rave I felt so out of place and a deep hunger that I couldn’t quench. The depression came back. I was scared and I was drawn back to my faith in God. I tried to walk away from God and it didn’t work. Maybe I am truly saved or maybe God’s not done using me while I’m thinking I’m saved. Who knows?

    From an Armenian view point I’m assuming that pharoah hadn’t hardened his heart yet and God just hardened before pharoah was going to make that choice. From a Calvinist perspective I’m assuming that God controls everything and therefore can do what He wants.

    I believe that God inspired writings. However, we as the imperfect beings we are make errors. So maybe people messed up on the way to completing the Bible.

    I see pupose in it in the sense that different religious groups have come out of it. The Bible prophesies about the end times. Such things as there will be false prophets, people who will only hear what their itching ears want to hear, some who deny the faith, and so on. We live in New Testament times. The Old Testament was paving the way for the coming of the Messiah (Jesus) just as the New Testament will pave the way for the second coming of Christ. Now I am in no way one of those radical Christians who get afraid that Jesus is coming real soon so people watch out. I am quite the contrary. I don’t see how God could be satisfied with 2,008 years after Christ’s death. I keep in mind that one day is like a thousand days to God. The Bible just foretells the second coming of Christ at a time that we don’t know.

    I can understand why a group of people would debate over which books to choose. To use trickery and deceit I think it’s just human weakness. If the groups were of different beliefs I can see why they would debate and deceive eachother. They probably wanted to include the books that said what they wanted to hear. That behavior really does show how serious people took putting the Bible together. I don’t think that God encouraged their behavior. I just think that human weakness gets in the way but God still uses it for His purposes. There are leaders who fight over the Bible all the time. That is really stupid. You’d think it would be quite the opposite. That’s just so weird that people of the same religious groups can fight with eachother, even to the point of damage. But yeah, there could be many reasons on why deceit and debate could’ve taken place but not because God led it

  257. The Atheist says:

    Monica,

    Actually, I’m exhausted too. I’ve had a LOT of work lately and it’s been keeping me really busy – so I know how you feel! Reading through your response, one thing that strikes me is that you always take the time to think about the questions I ask and you try your best to answer – and then you ask me questions. That is so normal in most discussions but so many times in discussions about religion, for some reason the Christians (and other theists) just ignore the questions (or they try other ways to evade them) and then go off on other tangents. So thanks for making this a good discussion!

    The reason or reasons why I would not change my mind about believing in God is because evolution doesn’t answer the origin the of life.

    I have to say, that’s not a very good reason on 2 counts. First, evolution doesn’t seek to answer questions about life’s orgins; it seeks to answer questions about how one life form evolve from an earlier life form. The field of abiogenesis seeks to answer the question of how life originated from non-living material. If you’re looking to evolution for an explanation of how life began, you’re looking in the wrong place! Please don’t take the following as any kind of personal criticism because I don’t meant it to be – but simply take it as an observation by someone who knows more about a particular subject than you do (as I’m certain you know more than I do about many other subjects): if you think evolution is about the origin of life, then you don’t understand the very basics of evolution theory (or abiogenesis for that matter). So you don’t really know enough about it to make a good decision about whether it makes sense to you or not – I recommend some further inquiry. Here’s an excellent book on abiogenesis and the various sciences that contribute to the field: http://www.amazon.com/Lifes-Origin-Beginnings-Biological-Evolution/dp/0520233913/ref=pd_bbs_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217425333&sr=8-5 It covers the topic with a broad brush and is both an easy and delightful read.

    Second, if you did understand the basics about evolution (really abiogenesis – see above) and you felt that it doesn’t adequately answer the questions of life’s origins, then why do you feel that God does answer the question more adequately? It seems that belief in God only generates an even more difficult question: where did God come from? If God is a life form, how did he come from nothing? Or if he always existed, then why couldn’t the fabric of space and time have always existed? Given the fabric of space and time, science offers a compelling account of how the universe began, and how life began from the stuff of the universe, and how we humans evolved from the first life.

    As far as changing my mind with other religious beliefs the Bible is the only source of truth we have and any practice or religious belief that agrees with it is the one I’d prefer to follow.

    I think I missed something: you know that “the Bible is the only source of truth we have” how? In fact, how do you know that the Bible is true at all? What do you think about archaeological evidence, for example, that proves that Jericho was uninhabited (and the walls around the city were already collapsed) at the time that Joshua was purported to blow the horn such that “the walls came a-tumblin’ down”?

    Now about miracles. Have you ever seen one? How about demonic activity or maybe ghost? Have you heard about any encounters with stuff like that? What do naturalist say about it?

    I’ve seen “ghosts” before – but being ever the skeptic, I’ve always walked right up to them, only to discover that it was just a funny shadow, or a shirt on the bedpost in the dark, etc. I’ve also heard “ghosts” but was always able to find the real origin of the spooky noise. I have heard of those accounts, but I’ve also heard interviews with many people who thought they have seen ghosts and not a single account holds up to scrutiny. I think most of the people who say they have seen ghosts really believe it, they simply haven’t examined their own experience with a critical eye.

    Of course naturalists would say that any accounts with ghosts that they know of either turned out to be inconclusive, or they have turned out to have natural origins. If they ever encountered a ghost story that they believed was true, they would by definition no longer be naturalists. ;)

    What are the verses you know of that would separate the Trinity. John chapter 17 explains the union of the Pather and the Son…

    Regarding John 17, the chapter is absolutely chock full with verses that show that Jesus and the Father are separate beings. For one thing, it starts off with Jesus praying to the Father – is he really praying to himself? Here are just a few examples of how even this chapter indicates different beings:

    Joh 17:2 “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” – the Father gives power to Jesus – therefore the Father is not Jesus

    Joh 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” – the Father sent Jesus, therefore the Father is not Jesus

    Joh 17:4 “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” – the Father gave to Jesus, therefore the Father is not Jesus.

    Here are just a few (from a very large list) from other books:

    1Th 1:10, Gal_1:1 – God, the Father, raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus was dead, God was alive.

    Phi 2:6 – “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal [Strong’s: similar] with God” (therefore he wasn’t actually the Father – just similar to him)

    Phi 2:9 – God exalted Jesus (did God exalt himself? How much more exalted can the Father get?)

    Gal 1:3-4 – Jesus died according to the Father’s will (not his own)

    John chapter 14:10 says “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”…2 Corinthians chapter 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

    Those are excellent examples. If we look at both Joh 14:10 and 2Co 6:19-20, we see that the term “in” as in “in you” or “in me” doesn’t mean that the entities are the same being. For example “the Holy Spirit, who is in you” doesn’t mean that you and the Holy Spirit are the same being. In the same way, “I am in the Father and the Father in Me” doesn’t mean the the Father and Jesus are the same being.

    Also, when Jesus says “I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me”, he is stating point blank that his authority and the Father’s authority is not the same authority – then the Father and Jesus cannot be the same person.

    From an Armenian view point I’m assuming that pharoah hadn’t hardened his heart yet and God just hardened before pharoah was going to make that choice.

    What do you think about free will vs. God’s manipulation of Pharaoh’s decision?

    I believe that God inspired writings.

    Which writings to you believe are inspired and why? And to what extent – word-for-word dictation? How do the contradictions in the Bible effect your belief about its inspiration?

    The Bible just foretells the second coming of Christ at a time that we don’t know.

    About the 2nd coming, what do you make of these verses that seem to indicate that the 2nd coming was scheduled for about 2000 years ago?

    Mat 16:28 “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”

    Luk 9:27 “But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”

    That behavior really does show how serious people took putting the Bible together. I don’t think that God encouraged their behavior. I just think that human weakness gets in the way but God still uses it for His purposes.

    Then if God didn’t encourage their behavior, then their behavior (that is, the canonization process) wasn’t inspired. Right?

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