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Thanks God!

Posted Friday, December 3, 2010, at 2:29 AM

(Photo)
I think it would be impossible to go through an entire day as an over-the-road truck driver and not give thanks to God for this great country.

Thank you Lord for Utah. Mountains and canyons, and rivers, and Monument Valley, and lakes and wonderful people.

Thank you Lord for a fantastic couple in tiny Pomeroy Washington that own a small cafe. A few weeks ago, I pulled into Pomeroy, population about 500 I think, and let me tell ya, I was dog tired. I was desperate to find a place to park and sleep. Up ahead I saw a spot next to a cafe that had just closed. I stopped and knocked on the cafe door to ask if I could park next to their cafe and sleep a bit.

These folks were something else. The lady insisted on fixing me some home made ham and bean soup. Best damn soup I think I have ever had. They were so kind to me, and my dogs, and they encouraged me to sleep as long as I needed to. The next morning they made sure I had plenty of fresh coffee and carrot cake before I drove onward, and I had to practically force them to take some money. As I left the cafe, I noticed a sign above the door. It said: "Do a kind thing every day". I am sure this couple does just that. Thank you Lord.

Oh, and thanks God for the Black Hills, for smooth roads, for wonderful sunsets and the Columbia River Gorge. Wow!

During the years my wife traveled with me, (she stays home now and does the grandma thing) she would say "Wow!" several times a day. This is such a beautiful country. Travel through Western Montana, or Northern Arizona, and you'll say "Wow!"

Donner Pass, the Grand Tetons and Corpus Christi are all sensational, and I think I have seen almost every one of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes. (Well, maybe I haven't seen all ten thousand, but I've seen a bunch!)

Thanks Lord for Lake of The Woods Minnesota. A major "Wow!" And I think the Mojave desert is awesome. So is Mobile Alabama. If you haven't ever been there, as you travel East to West on Interstate 10, you'll cross Mobile Bay, then travel underneath downtown Mobile and come out on the other side. Very nice.

Ever been through Dallas or Chicago at three in the morning? These giants are incredible when they sleep.

Hardly time to mention the Grand Coulee Damn, or Devils Tower, or Nashville, or the pleasant folks in Del Rio Texas. And I could write for hours about all the wonders of Idaho. Craters of the Moon National Park, or the Clearwater River. This river was correctly named. You travel along side the Clearwater, and you'll see that the water IS so clear, you can see the bottom of the river, and the fish in the river, as you drive through phenomenal canyons and forests.

Thanks God!

Then there was Ben from New Jersey. An older black truck driver who stopped to help me one day when I really needed help. I had stalled my truck in a bad way, blocking traffic in Southern California. Ben stopped, risking his own rig, and, with a certain joy in his hard face, pulled me to safety and helped me restart my truck. I tried to give him money...Ben would only take a handshake. Thanks God for Ben.

And a big "Thanks" Lord for never having to go to New York City! Or Boston for that matter. I leave those two cities for the truly brave at heart.

Oh sure, there is some unpleasantness on the road, the Bureaucrats in the DOT, bad drivers, blizzards and breakdowns, but there is something special about driving a fine rig through magnificent country.

My friend Orville has taken thousands of photos of this country as he has traveled about, and I am hopeful one day, he'll be able to get all these remarkable pictures to where folks can see them. He calls these amazing photos "Views from my cubicle".

Just this past October, I had the opportunity to drive through the Colorado Rockies several times, and with the snow-capped peaks, and colorful trees, I had to call my wife several times to tell her what I was witnessing. Thanks God.

I know I gripe allot about our current political situation, and about our current leadership etc., however, it is still a privilege to live and work in this remarkable country.

Have you traveled through Virginia in the Spring? Or Pennsylvania when all the trees turn a brilliant red? It will stir you, and I haven't even mentioned the oceans or the American wildernesses.

We do have wilderness country in the USA. Northern Nevada has 400 miles of "outback". New Mexico has wilderness galore, and then there is Texas. 260,000 square miles of Texas, and much of it wilderness.

I love all the different cultures in America. Each part of the country has their own special uniqueness, and I feel honored to share in that unique culture when I visit the South, or Seattle, or even Nebraska.

God help me, I love traveling this country. Why would anyone spend big bucks to travel abroad when there is so much to see in the USA?

Thanks God!


Comments
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Sam -- I agree. There's much in the United States to be grateful for. Here's an analysis of our current government that I think you will appreciate:

"....Except that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, government employment has fallen, not risen, since January 2008. And since January 2009, when Mr. Obama actually did take office, government employment has fallen by more than 300,000 as hard-pressed state and local governments have been forced to lay off teachers, police officers, firefighters and other workers.

So how did the notion of a surge in government payrolls under Mr. Obama take hold?

It turns out that last spring there was, in fact, a bulge in government employment. And both politicians and researchers at humbug factories -- I mean, conservative think tanks -- quickly seized on this bulge as evidence of an exploding public sector. Over the summer, articles and speeches began to appear highlighting the rise in government employment and issuing dire warnings about what it portended for America's future.

But anyone paying attention knew why public employment had risen -- and it had nothing to do with Big Government. It was, instead, the fact that the federal government had to hire a lot of temporary workers to carry out the 2010 Census -- workers who have almost all left the payroll now that the Census is done."

You can read the rest of the article at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/24/opinio...

Merry Christmas!

Res Just

-- Posted by Resilient Justice on Sat, Dec 25, 2010, at 12:55 PM

@SirD I admit, while it may lessen the "power" of some of the arguments. I think their reactions can be used as excellent illustrations of some of the points I'm trying to make.

I do use Wikipedia. If you look though, at the bottom of the wiki links they have their sources listed. If you don't believe the particular entry is accurate, check the sources listed for it.

I ask though, do you think that at least trying to provide links is better than the blind listing of opinions? I'm not sure why other posters assume their words should be taken without question. I don't believe mine should. I post links to try and show people how I came to my conclusions.

It would be great if others would post links of how they arrived at theirs. Book notations would be fine as well. Actually any kind of notation would be nice.

-- Posted by Damu on Fri, Dec 24, 2010, at 1:20 AM

@Damu Of course, but after admitting to shading your posts to "prod" people that don't share your faith system just for your enjoyment, some of your arguments ring hollow. Especially as many of your links are from Wikipedia.

-- Posted by Sir Didymus on Fri, Dec 24, 2010, at 1:01 AM

both should be all :(

-- Posted by Damu on Fri, Dec 24, 2010, at 12:37 AM

@SirD Shouldn't we have activity from all sides of a discussion for other people to be able to take information from both sides and form their own opinion?

-- Posted by Damu on Fri, Dec 24, 2010, at 12:36 AM

I'm curious Damu, why do you try and espouse your own faith system while arguing against other peoples? Isn't that part of what you rail against on this papers comment section?

-- Posted by Sir Didymus on Thu, Dec 23, 2010, at 11:36 PM

@CPB Sorry, that isn't me. That person is much better at speaking than I am.

I've actually been going through all of sams blogs reading all the comments. This allows me to better understand all of your positions.

I wish the gazette would change their position of deleting all the comments of a poster when they are banned. It makes following the discussion somewhat difficult.

-- Posted by Damu on Thu, Dec 23, 2010, at 6:06 PM

Welcome back, jhat.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Thu, Dec 23, 2010, at 3:04 PM

@MICKEL I found this interesting post on these same blogs from a while ago. That puts a lot of this into perspective. I'm wondering why you didn't comment on this?

"I feel that I am unqualified to defend the idea of evolution by natural selection, not being a biologist/geologist/paleontologists/etc. But I will endeavor to provide an adequate defense. I fear that this will be an exhaustively long comment. So for those of you who do not wish to read it, I hold no grudge.

The theory of evolution is undoubtedly a contentious one. It's very existence has incited a schism in society. A schism between those of faith, and those of science. The controversial theory has been the target of misrepresentation, misconceptions, and outright hostility since it gained widespread acceptance in the scientific community. I hope that I will be able to adequately explain these, as well as share my opinion on the matter in a well-written manner.

First, I will address one of the most prominent misconceptions regarding evolution (and science in general). The use of the word "theory". In our common vernacular, the word theory connotes a "guess" or "conjecture". As in, "I have a theory that it was the butler that committed this heinous crime". Once we have determined with evidence that the butler is indeed the culprit, we consider it a 'fact' that the butler committed the crime, no longer a theory. This is strikingly different from scientific vernacular.

In scientific circles, a theory is a coherent group of propositions used to explain phenomena. Theories incorporate scientific laws, observations, testable results, and other types of evidence to explain phenomena. A scientific theory is not a "guess" or "conjecture", but an explanation. To rewrite our previous analogy in scientific terms, "I have a hypothesis that the butler committed this heinous crime". A hypothesis is a proposition asserted as conjecture to explain phenomena. A hypothesis must be testable. Once we test our 'hypothesis' by examining the evidence, we can conclude that the butler is the culprit. A scientific theory, in this case, would explain the entire phenomena of the murder. The killer. The motive. The modus operandi. The discovered evidence. Etc.

A common misconception is that a scientific theory is conjecture that "graduates" to a scientific law when proven to be true. This is also incorrect. Both scientific theories and scientific laws are typically well-supported by evidence and observations. A scientific law refers to a rule for how nature behaves under certain conditions, while a theory is a more comprehensive explanation of HOW nature works, and why it is the way it is.

For instance, the general theory of relativity describes the phenomena of gravitation. It incorporates (and in some places supersedes) Newton's "Law of Universal Gravitation". And despite the fact that we have produced testable results that verify the general theory of relativity, it remains a scientific theory. It is not the law of relativity.

This misconception is usually presented by anti-evolution advocates to bolster their argument that we don't have conclusive proof for evolution (we do). It doesn't help matters that scientists are frequently not careful enough with their words when explaining scientific ideas/principals to the general public. Some things are lost in the translation between "science-speak" and the way most of us talk.

You see, I've just barely started and my comment is already too long! Don't worry if you want to bail out now, I still won't hold it against you.

Another misconception is that science is inherently atheistic. Or that science intentionally promotes atheism. While some scientists, such as Richard Dawkins, are proponents of atheism, and there is undoubtedly a higher prevalence of atheism in the scientific community, science does not promote the disbelief in gods.

Science simply attempts to explain the world using logical thinking, repeatable experimentation, observation, and well-supported explanations. Most people would admit that it's not possible to test for god. God is, by most definitions, outside of our observable reality, and cannot be accounted for by science. Similarly, his purported works our claimed to be outside the capability of our understanding. Creating the universe from nothing, creating man from dirt, etc. These are all things that most believers would claim that we can never understand. They are, for lack of a better word, magic.

This is why science is mute on the topic of god. It doesn't purport that he exists, or that he does not exist. Because the very question is unscientific. The "god hypothesis" can never be tested. God cannot be observed. So science has nothing to say about it. Until a 'god' is defined, and testable hypotheses are proposed about his existence, science is simply silent about god.

I will add a caveat. Certain scientists, like the aforementioned professor Dawkins, have taken on the mantle "proponent of atheism". And other scientists have proposed certain experiments to test for design, but science in GENERAL is silent and uncaring about questions that are claimed to be unanswerable.

Yes, many scientists ARE atheists. Certainly there is a higher prevalence of atheism in the scientific community than the general populace. It's likely due to the manner of thinking that scientists are used to. Belief in a deity requires faith, belief without evidence. (after all, if god offered proof of his existence, faith would be unnecessary) This is contrary to the way science works. Any fact must be supported by evidence and observations. It's simply contrary to their general state of mind. However, many scientists ARE believers. There are thousands of scientists who profess a belief in god, while also accepting scientific facts like evolution. A prominent example being Francis Collins, an accomplished scientist and Christian that President Obama recently appointed to head the NIH. Many Christians are able to reconcile their beliefs with the evidence and observations of modern science.

Which brings me to the next misconception I'd like to discuss, the idea that evolution is inherently atheistic, or that it promotes an atheistic worldview. Actually, I do have a tenuous agreement with this proposition, in the following respect. Historically, belief in deities has been used to explain the inexplicable. Thor was responsible for lighting, Poseidon was responsible for the waves, Ra lorded over the sun. God created the world and everything in it. It becomes easier and easier to not believe in these deities when we explain the world. Lightning is the buildup of electricity in the atmosphere, waves are a result of tides and other gravitational forces, the sun is a burning ball of hydrogen 8 light minutes away. All of these things allow us to cast off supernatural beliefs we have about natural phenomena. Similarly, the theory of evolution provides us a natural understanding of the plethora of life on this planet, supplanting the supernatural view that it was created spontaneously. In this way, it allows us to be intellectually fulfilled atheists. It doesn't support atheism, but it does make it easier (for lack of a better word) to be an atheist when we have a natural understanding of phenomena. The more we know about our natural world, the easier it is for us to doubt that the unknown is supernatural.

Certainly, atheism existed before the theory of evolution, but atheists of that era had no explanation for the diversity of life on earth. They just didn't believe that god was responsible. They simply didn't know how to explain it, and chose to accept that. We find ourselves in a similar position today, with questions about the origins of life, and the origins of the universe. The fear that many religious people hold is that should we discover the answers to these questions, that there will not be any room left for god. And that society will abandon the proposition of a deity. But I would point again to scientists who believe in both evolution AND god. Even the Catholic church recognizes evolution). Any increase in our knowledge of the natural world removes the need for supernatural interference. This is as true with any other scientific explanation as it is with evolution. But this does not mean that we cannot believe in god and science simultaneously.

If you've made it this far, congratulations. This is an exceptionally long-winded comment. Apologies.

Now, to address the perceived lack of debate between mainstream science (evolutionists, as you would call them) and intelligent design proponents. I would point out, that there have been debates. Admittedly, there have been few. But I think the number of debates is appropriate, for several reasons.

Firstly, only a very small percentage of scientists are Intelligent Design (ID) proponents. All major well-respected national and international scientific organizations support the theory of evolution. Of course, the Discovery Institute stands out. The Discovery Institute was founded to promote ID, among other things, and it was their website that Sam linked in his post. Allow me to link another

http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/...

As of 2007, the Discovery Institute listed over 700 scientists worldwide who are skeptical about the current Theory of Evolution. Note that this is not a list of scientists who support ID, but are skeptical of evolution. And there have even been scientists who claim their names are on the list in error (e.g. Stan Salthe). Lists like this abound in the pro-ID world, and are intended to fool the public into believing there is an actual heated debate going on in the scientific community, and that evolution is a "theory in crisis".

But let's assume that all 700 of them are actually ID proponents, and that none are on that list in error. Enter Project Steve. Project Steve is a "tongue-in-cheek" satire of the Discovery Institute's list. It is a list of scientists that support the theory of evolution. The stipulations for being on the list are simple:

1) You must be a scientist.

2) You must be named Steve (or some derivative of Steve: Steffanie, Stephen, etc).

It's estimated that only about 1% of scientists are named Steve, yet Project Steve's list currently sits at well over 1,000 scientists (about half of which are biologists). Of course, scientific consensus doesn't make something true, evidence does. But it's certainly a counter to the argument that a large number of scientists support ID.

The issue is that there are astoundingly few scientists who promote ID. Just as there are very few who believe in astrology, or the hollow earth hypothesis, or alchemy. But the ID proponents have been handed a political microphone from which to profess their ideas

Additionally, there have hardly been ANY pro-ID articles printed in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Now, you could claim that's because they are being purposefully kept out of the journals, but I don't think that's the case. Solid peer-reviewed evidence falsifying evolution, or proving ID, would be groundbreaking. It would probably be Nobel Prize winning work.

Interestingly, the article that Sam linked is one of the first (if not the first) pro-Intelligent Design argument published in a peer reviewed journal, 'Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington'.

http://www.discovery.org/a/2177

But I would point out that there was quite a controversy about how this article was published. The editor who approved its publication, Richard Sternberg, has been accused by the journal of not following proper editorial procedure in publishing the article. The article was published in the last issue he was scheduled to publish. Sternberg is an ID proponent, and acted as one of the peer reviewers for the article, and did not seek review from an associate editor. He claims that the article was reviewed by four other well-qualified biologists, but refuses to release their names. The journal has actually issued a repudiation of the article because proper peer-review procedures were not followed, calling the paper "inappropriate" for the journal.

Lastly, I'd like to point out that the 'left' is not 'anti-god'. How could it be? The numbers don't add up. By most polls/surveys, self-described atheists make up a tiny percentage of our country's population. According to Pew, less than 2%. Even add in agnostics and the percentage is about 4%. Certainly the 'left' is quite a bit bigger than 4% of our population. Depending on how you define it, it must be quite a bit bigger. Most of the left is made up of Christians, just like the right.

I could go on and on. But should probably stop. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. Looking back on this, it seems to be way too long for a comment. It's practically a blog post unto itself. But seeing as I don't have a blog, I guess I'll just have to hope people read the comments here.

Cheers."

Jhat

-- Posted by Damu on Thu, Dec 23, 2010, at 12:36 AM

@MICKEL Your first statement is incorrect. There is no outside being to be held accountable to. I'm still accountable to myself. I have to deal with how my actions make me feel. The last portion of your statement doesn't make a lot of sense either. There are many people who have accepted god in Africa, among other starving nations. Do you think it's because those nations don't believe enough so they starve while we eat like kings?

I'm familiar with irreducible complexity. In fact I touched on it briefly above in response to keda above. This if one of the main arguments from Behe correct? Behe believed that a a system is irreducibly complex if its function is lost when a part is removed. Ala your mouse trap example above. The problem is that nearly a century ago, these exact systems were predicted, described, and explained by the Nobel prize-winning geneticist H. J. Muller using evolutionary theory.

Let me see if I have this right;

(1)Direct, gradual evolution proceeds only by stepwise addition of parts.

(2)By definition, an irreducibly complex system lacking a part is nonfunctional.

(3)Therefore, all possible direct gradual evolutionary precursors to an irreducibly complex system must be nonfunctional.

The argument above is of course false since gradual evolution can do much more than just add parts. For instance, evolution can also change or remove parts. One only has to look at the vestigial organs in humans to see this. If your interested in further reading, check out the Mullerian Two-Step.

Actually Mickel, I would argue your position as considerably more arrogant than mine. I think that we are a product of blind luck. With GOD however you are the only reason the universe exists. God built the entire universe for you, all the animals and resources for you. The universe exists solely to test the human race for it's entrance to heaven. Please, explain how my position is even comparable to the arrogance involved in that?

My kids aren't grown up yet. My job is yet to be finished. I don't believe you can claim the words "love,joy, and hope" either. Humans created these words to describe feelings they already had. Christianity didn't invent these terms, nor did they create the actions associated with them. They have existed long before christ came unto the scene.

On a side note, why do you not call the christian god by his/her actually name, Yaweh.

P.S. Sorry for the delay in my response, things always get busy before the solstice!

Regards,

Damu

-- Posted by Damu on Wed, Dec 22, 2010, at 12:37 PM

Damu - Your refutation of free will sounds similar to an argument of avoiding accountability. If there is no thing or no body to be held accountable - then there is no reason to guard or guide our actions. Freewill is not frivolity nor is it fallible. For example - you made the freewill choice of partnering with the mother of your children. Once your children were conceived you became accountable to their lives, their safety and their development. If this is not so, then the morality you speak of has no meaning; regardless of whether there is a creator or not. You made the choice (freewill) to act procreatively; morality now bids that you be accountable to your choice. In the case of freewill and how it relates to a relationship with God; same thing. You make the choice to have a relationship with God, or you chose to NOT have one. There is no sitting on the fence on this one. Once you have made your choice, you are accountable for it. You will either reap the blessings or the consequences for your choice. Pretty simple really.

You then talk about moral absolutes. If I subscribed to your line of thinking; my argument would be against absolutes of any kind. If we are here by random acts of development, then there is no moral equivication; all postitive behavior is a nicety and not a necessity and positive and negative behavior is only distinguishable by the personal perspective of any given individual. If there is no moral law giver, then moral law is subjective, and at any given moment may be interpreted by 7 billion people in 7 billion different ways. Hence your moral absolute with no creator argument falls flat on its face. No wonder you take offense to absolute morality and freewill. If you should actually need to be accountable for your actions to an authority, then there may be some trouble ahead.

I grasp evolution and have spent hours in the discussion of it with experts in their various fields (I'm speaking about proponents of evolution as well as contrarians). There is no reason to argue evolution when the tools used to shore up evolution are unreliable and the theory itself is untestable and unobservable. There is no definitive evidence that observed "changes" in touted species are actually evolutionary changes vs. natural changes. Let's say you observe over a course of days that a strand develops into a mass and that mass develops into a complex animal. Have you observed evolution or normal growth? In the example I just gave you (a sponge) you have witnessed incredible normal growth. But the sponge is still a sponge. Much as a larvae can become a fly, you have witnessed growth anc change, but can hardly call it evolution.

Darwin himself admitted that his published theory was contingent on many articles of faith. Sounds like religion to me.

As far as dealing with infinite God - you are trying to wrap your mind around the concept of an eternal spirit with a 3 dimensional understanding. If you have never explored intelligent design, I would encourage you to at least get up to speed with the precepts. ID argues that all life is made up of building blocks that are irreducible in complexity. This means that when you take a complex machine or being down to its fundamental parts, you get to a point that cannot be further reduced. A mousetrap is a good example. Take your standard Victor mousetrap and remove any of its components. You now have something that is reduced but is no longer a mousetrap. Oh and by the way, the mousetrap is now worthless. The ID argument furthers that irreducibility stems from design and not happenstance. When you examine amino acids, you begin to understand the logic behind this. Even DNA cannot be constructed without amino acids, and the likelihood of amino acids, so diverse in their function and structure, being random is even more mathematically akin to zero than the formation of this planet in its current position.

The fact that you insist on denying a creator and relying completely on intellect for the answers concerning existance smacks of human pride and arrogance. You have a hard time "buying" the flood saga but readily tout questionable science fueled by questionable motives as truth. If yourself is the sum of yourself then you have completed your mission here. You procreated, there is no more meaning for you. To say otherwise is not only illogical but tantamount to atheistic heresy. If you start to rattle off words like "love, joy, and hope" as reasons for continued existance; then you must know that these are Christian principles codified as fruits of the spirit. If you insist on refuting Christian principles, then please quit borrowing them to shore up atheistic point of view.

I appreciate your amicability in this matter.

-- Posted by Mickel on Tue, Dec 21, 2010, at 1:35 PM

Lord, I thank you for everything that has ever happened in my life, good and bad. I thank your for all the choices and the consequences I have had to face in my life. I thank you for giving me life. I thank you for all the beauty on this planet Earth. I thank you for giving me the senses to enjoy them.

I thank you Lord, for our instruction manual, the Holy Bible, and it's powerful message of faith. I especially thank you for the Book of Genesis, for which I fully believe as fact, I have no reason to doubt, and I can go about my day doing your work here on Earth and not worry about my origins.

Amen.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Mon, Dec 20, 2010, at 10:05 PM

Sorry provided the incorrect link, should be:

http://www.bigquestionsonline.com/blogs/...

-- Posted by Damu on Sun, Dec 19, 2010, at 9:45 PM

@Mickel You can argue man was created without sin. Although, this was of course an inevitability that man would attain sin. Since God already knew what was going to happen. Free will doesn't change that, GOD ALREADY KNEW WHAT ADAM'S ACTIONS WOULD BE. God knew what would happen when he created the angel that would later become satan ect ect ect. In my opinion, in these instances using the thoughts of free will is quite fallible. If God knows the future, and he has freewill, his course of actions would have to be chosen directly as he foresaw them being chosen.

Moralities purpose is fairly simple to explain. Honestly, I thought I had alluded to it enough above to get the idea. Morality is necessary for animals to live together. Social life is impossible unless the pursuit of self-interest is mitigated by respect and compassion for others. The right and wrong are subjective terms but all the same under these subjective terms we believe in certain absolutes. We all share a common sphere of ethical beliefs; we prefer kindness to cruelty and harmony to strife; we admire courage and respect justice. The people who don't have those feelings, we consider them as psychopaths or some derangements of brain. We can't help but to think or speak human questions with ingrained ethical values.

I'm not sure if you have a full grasp of how evolution works. I'm taking this verbatim from another site that has some other really good information if your interested. "First, a comment about "why did this evolve?" questions. Even among sophisticated evolutionary biologists, there's a tendency to forget the differences between evolved and engineered things. It's easy to overlook the difference. "Evolution" and "Joe" are both nouns. Even though the processes by which functional mechanisms are produced by them are radically different from each other, we slip into using them interchangeably. "Evolution designed this," slips off the tongue as readily as "Joe designed this," and sounds like it means the same thing.It doesn't." Thats just the intro, you can read the rest for yourself here. I'm not a scientist, and don't claim to be. I'll let them handle it: (http://www.merinews.com/article/why-do-we-need-morality-in-our-life/15772865.shtml)

I admit, I had to look the word sophistry up. It wasn't a term I was familiar with. You are correct that the labeling I used previously does lend to a finite universe. Although, one has to keep in mind that by estimates the Sun is one of around 200 billion stars just in the Milky Way galaxy alone. There are on the order of 100,000,000,000 (one hundred billion) galaxies in the universe, as far as current telescopes can detect. Some of these galaxies may hold up to 100,000,000,000 stars, but most galaxies probably contain at least 10,000,000,000 stars. Young galaxies under 2,000,000,000 years old may not have formed many solar systems yet, while very old galaxies more than 10,000,000,000 years old may have very few galaxies left. For the galaxies of middle age, as many as 1/4 of the stars may possess solar systems. These are nearly unfathomable numbers to the human mind. I use the term near infinite to make things a bit easier to digest.

Based on your conjecture with the mathematical probability of zero for the formation of the universe from happenstance, I'm curious what your calculations tell you about an infinite being creating everything? Since, based on your own argument "For something to appear would first require the presence of something" something would have to exist to create god, before god could be. I always find this interesting in theists, the big bang is difficult to handle, but GOD coming from nothing and creating everything somehow makes logical sense.

Evolution has been proven. Their is no doubt about that. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment) Although evolution doesn't actually tell us how life began. The actual origins of life are left to a branch of science called Abiogenesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis)

Now, since we both enjoy employing logic to argue our case. I'm sure you are aware that invoking the bible as a source is a very blatant exercise in circular reasoning. I admit you are a fairly eloquent speaker, and you appear to be rather intelligent. I ask again, please put sources to backup your thoughts.

Regards,

Damu

-- Posted by Damu on Sun, Dec 19, 2010, at 3:39 PM

eddy - I am familiar with the Book of Mormon but consider it a wonderful piece of fiction. I won't defend the book or any claims made therein.

Hope that helps.

-- Posted by Mickel on Sun, Dec 19, 2010, at 2:34 PM

Damu - I already dealt with the question concerning the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and I already dealt with the question of original sin. You made an error by saying God created man with original sin. Adam was created innocent, however was given freewill. That is something we still have today - and it is either your choice to deny God or embrace God. You have made your choice, I have made mine.

You argue that morality is a human trait developed over infinite time by a series of evolutional changes, where I contend that morality is given by our Creator. You state your opinion but never answered my question as to why morality is even necessary for human beings to live let alone evolve? If we exist merely to propigate and then die, can you explain how morality is a desirable or necessary genetic trait? Why would single cells need to become complex? Amoebas do quite nicely without toes, eyeballs or morality. Why would complex organisms need morality? It doesn't seem to be needed in the crocodile family. If we are an accident of the cosmos and have indeed evolved, why is joy necessary? Why is anger necessary? Why do we enjoy music? If we were evolved to make more of our own kind...why is there such a propensity for abortion, and the need to defend it?

You believe that "boom" everything around us is an accident, I believe everything was created out of purpose. You stated time is infinite. Infinity by definition cannot be measured, hence your statement is pure sophistry. You said there was a near infinite number of solar systems. That statement itself is an oxymoron. To say something is near infinite makes that something finite. A finite state of being is infinitely apart from an infinite state of being. If we are to take your statement about "infinite time" literally, then my statement about the odds of our existence being mathematically zero is dead on. Even without "infinite time" the odds of complex existance due to happenstance is still mathematically zero. Anytime you multiply nothing by time you still get nothing. For something to appear would first require the presence of something. Again, you are exercising an argument of proving a false negative. Try this...prove heat.

-- Posted by Mickel on Sun, Dec 19, 2010, at 2:32 PM

@Nick What your feeling is called empathy. It is a fairly well known feeling. Numerous other higher social animals exhibit the same types of behavior. It really isn't mind boggling in the least. Caring for other members of your species in this way helps to ensure the survival of other members, benefiting the "herd" if you will as a whole.

@Mickel Okay, since you argue that Christianity is a lone monotheistic religion. Then, based on the scripture itself. God created man with original sin. Then impregnated a human with himself. When he was born he sacrificed himself to himself. To save us from the sin he initially condemned us with. I'm curious, how does this make any sense whatsoever?

I'm curious where you got got the figure of zero for the possibility that we came from a sequence of random events? When time is infinite and you have a near infinite number of solar systems. I would argue the odds a planet would fall into the Goldilocks zone, with a magnetic shield, and the components for life are very good. I would love to read your source for this if you would be willing to put it up.

Adam was created without sin. He was also not given the knowledge of good and evil. The only way he would garner this knowledge was from eating from the tree of knowledge. God knew that Adam would eventually eat from the tree (being omnipotent and whatnot) don't you think instilling the knowledge of consequences might have been a reasonable thing to do in this instance?

The figures I have seen put the Code of Hammurabi at least a few hundred years before Deuteronomy. If you have sources that prove otherwise, please share.

Do you believe those texts were written while Jesus was alive? The majority of my research alludes to everything being written after his death. Please, provide some sources that back your opinion. I'm always open to new information.

I would argue there are several laws humanity as a whole can agree on. Your example of people in a room with a thermostat is nice, but misses some of the main points. The temperature in the room doesn't deal with life and death. In the real world, the majority of humans can agree that killing is wrong. I think we can also agree, that doing harm to another human in any fashion is also wrong.

Morals and morality are natural to all humans. They exist separately from religious belief. If you suddenly lost your religion, do you think you would start killing and raping? If morals were truly dictated by religion then slavery, the stoning of adulterers, homosexuals, misbehaving children, and many of the other atrocities condoned by the Bible would not be considered atrocities at all -- they would be perfectly 'moral' things to do. Morality is better described as being an inevitable result of the Zeitgeist (from the German phrase meaning 'the spirit of the times'), the changing social understanding that we all share that which determines what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior within every society.

We have made considerable moral progress over the years, and we didn't make this progress by reading the Bible or the Koran more closely.In both these books the practice of slavery is condoned and yet every civilized human being now recognizes that slavery is an abomination. Whatever is good in scripture, like the golden rule, can be valued for its ethical wisdom without requiring us to believe that it was handed down to us by the creator of the universe.

I'm curious why you believe it is naivety ( Did you mean to star out part of the word above? I'm curious why?) that leads me to this path. Rational thought and questioning have gotten me to where I am today.

We can certainly go back to the beginning. I apologize. I occasionally think I have add or some similar disorder based on the way my brain jumps around sometimes. I don't get it checked out though, do to a combination of cost factors, and my dislike of amphetamines.

@Eddy I'm fairly versed in the Morman belief system. If anyone commenting is curious, que up the South Park that dealt with it. Based on my viewing of it, then the subsequent lucky Mormon visit thereafter it is true to life (lol the comment by one of them in regard to my extensive knowledge of their religion was classic.)

-- Posted by Damu on Sun, Dec 19, 2010, at 12:29 PM

eddy - that's a dead horse you're beating out there, I guess.

Nick - I agree with your statement alluding to an indwelt conscience guiding behavior, as opposed to mere parental guidance alone. If the sum of our personalities were built by guidance and environment, I would forward a theory that our world would be in worse shape than it currently is. Man (meaning mankind or persons, if you will) is physiologically built to propogate then degenerate. If that was the sole purpose of our existence; how can people account for art, music, medicine, reading, writing, mathematics, etc? Why would these things be present when they are not necessary for our prime purpose of reproduction before death? In an evoutionary sense, it would be entirely more proficient and effecient if humans (or all life, for that matter) was hermaphroditic. To take it one step further, there is no more efficient way to reproduce and then die than that of a single dividing cell. Why would any life form evolve out of that?

These are the questions that cannot be answered by the atheists and agnostics. They cannot possibly recreate the mindset of a dividing cell as to why it would develop brunette hair, or claws, or eyeballs, or tastebuds. I assert it takes more faith to believe in happenstance mimicking design than to believe in preeminant design.

-- Posted by Mickel on Sat, Dec 18, 2010, at 1:51 PM

Mickel,

You truely made a lot of sense there. I've never considered that there was no God, my childhood introduced me to religion but not to the point that I was truely educated on faith issues. I do remember back to when I was as young as 5 that I knew there was more than just the notion of God. I was compelled to NOT mis-treat others. Perhaps my parents made it clear in my mind that I was to behave but when I didn't, I wasn't just fearful of the reprecussions from my parents, there was a true feeling of remorse. I don't believe that in an existance created through random chance one could have such strong feelings of sorrow.

Nice posting Mickel.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Thu, Dec 16, 2010, at 3:41 PM

Damu -- I don't believe you could feasibly argue polytheistic Christianity or Judaism. Biblical claims aside, the Jewish faith in ancient history was unique in the fact that the Jews were monotheistic. This is a sharp contrast to the Babylonians, the Assyrians, and the Egyptians who all held genuine polytheistic beliefs. I still struggle with your assertion that the sum of the universe and humanity in that universe is a collection of random happenings. You DO realize that the mathematical possibility of this being our origin is ZERO?

You said that Judaism or the Old Testament never mentions hell, and in the regard of the original writings, you are technically correct. It was after the New Testament was translated into German that the term "hell" was found. Adam wasn't initially instructed about consequences of sin, as he was created without sin; but soon was well versed about the consequences of his sin as God cursed both mankind and the world in which they lived in. (Genesis 3) However, I suspect you've heard of "Sheol" which is found in numerous places in the OT and refers to the place after life.

You have admitted by inference that you believe Jesus Christ was an actual person and that He indeed walked the earth. By this admission you must now make the decision of whether or not Christ was indeed who He said He was. It should be noted that the birth, the life, the death and the resurrection of Christ fulfills every Biblical prophesy made concerning Messiah. The odds of this are greater than the number of known bodies in the universe. From a pure scholar viewpoint -- there are over 24,000 documented manuscripts of just the New Testament alone. From a historiography viewpoint, that is many times more than the next best documented ancient text commonly known as the Iliad with a total of 643 authoritative manuscripts. The four gospels as well as the book of Acts in the New Testament well document eye-witness accounts of the birth, the life, the death and the resurrection of Christ.

You may rest your entire theological perspective on the classic definition of 'religion'. However, I do not; and quite frankly, most Christians that I know (not having had a "let's define religion conversation" with all Christians I know) classify their faith as a relationship with Jesus Christ. This includes the acts of speaking, listening, following, responding, etc. involved with most relationships. You may disagree, but this is one area where personal experience defines the parameters, and logic simply fails. This would be similar to trying to describe "yellow" to someone who only sees black and white. Incidentally, the book of Deuteronomy pre-exists that Code of Hammurabi; so the "Golden Rule" actually appears in the Bible first.

The reason I asked you about laws is because truth matters, and in the realm of law you are dealing with truth. You are dealing with black and white when you are dealing with the law not a myriad of shades that run from off-white to dark-grey. If truth did NOT matter, then there would be no purpose for the law. If truth did NOT matter, then everyone's opinion would be the law and with 7 billion people on the planet each holding a claim on the interpretation of the law in one venue, you could see that anarchy would indeed exist. Humanity does not have the capacity to agree even on the value of life, let alone absolute moral law. A rudimentary example of this would be the optimal room temperature between five people who vary in gender, age, weight, and activity. The most active person in the room would most likely say the room was a little warm. The oldest would most likely say the room was a little cool. If these opinions were law they would not be laws at all. Hence laws do not come from some inner guide of humanity. If you were to say that there is evil in the world, you would need to accept that there is a moral law in which to differentiate good from the evil. If you accept that there is a moral law then you would need to accept that there is a moral law giver; as I've already demonstrated how moral law cannot come from humanity. The fact that you value your family stems from a moral standard or code. You do not hold the branches of a tree in the same esteem as you hold your family, yet they are both forms of life that inherently hold value.

I realize that there is too rich a mix in our discussion of tenets of life when we should still be debating origins. I don't truly believe that you are na*ve enough to side with true atheism. Just my opinion. My apologies for the length of time between posts, as I do not have a bevy of free time to devote to blogging. I do appreciate your patience and your willingness for this discussion.

-- Posted by Mickel on Wed, Dec 15, 2010, at 4:02 PM

@CPB Then do you not agree that the people you spoke of were not the actual authors of the books that carry their names? Did these books also not get written over a hundred years after Jesus's alleged life?

My families value to me is sentimental. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching my kids grow up, and sharing both rough and fun times with my fiance. I don't need god or any indication of afterlife as a reason to love my family. I find it kind of odd that you think that god needs to be in the equation for this to happen.

My last statement was somewhat of a jab at you Chunky. I don't actually know you, therefore anything I postulated about you in this regard would be pure speculation.

regards,

Damu

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Dec 14, 2010, at 2:18 PM

I see we are at a total impasse with the subject of Christianity. I will not waste another moment of my time trying to persuade you.

I do have a question of your perception of a families "value"? Do you see your family strictly as a monetary value? Value as a property? Possessions?

Please explain the last 2 words of your post, "probably not". Are you suggesting that I would not value the life of your family as much as my own? Where would you possibly get this? A previous post? An assumption? Your perception of a Christian?

Please explain.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Tue, Dec 14, 2010, at 1:21 PM

@CPB We know absolutely nothing of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, apart from what is said of them in the Gospels. Also, the Gospels themselves do not claim to have been written by these men.

There is absolutely nothing to show that these Gospels--the only sources of authority as to the existence of Christ--were written until a hundred and fifty years after the events they pretend to describe. Walter R. Cassels the learned author of "Supernatural Religion," said "After having exhausted the literature and the testimony bearing on the point, we have not found a single distinct trace of any of those Gospels during the first century and a half after the death of Christ." How can Gospels which were not written until a hundred and fifty years after Christ is supposed to have died, and which do not rest on any trustworthy testimony, have the slightest value as evidence that he really lived?

Humans are animals chunky. We still have many of the primal sections in our brain from our evolution. Our brains however have developed checks for the primal urges over time. We can still see however instances where the primal portion of the brain takes over. The fight or Flight response is a fairly well known one.

Actually cpd. My fiance grew up with an overly religious mom. You know, the type who speak in tongues, think that Harry Potter is satan incarnate ect ect. I think she may despise it more than I do.

Perhaps I should have been a bit more pointed with my statement chunky. My family has value to *me* because I believe they do. Do they have value to you, they should have at least a little, being human. Do you value them as much as your own family, probably not.

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Dec 14, 2010, at 10:55 AM

As for the history of Jesus Christ, there were the four witnesses Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Need more;

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08375a.h...

Now show me proof man would be anything but another wild animal is not for God.

"My family has value because I believe they do" Are you God? Looks more like someone in your family values God, and they reflect that. Wife perhaps?

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Mon, Dec 13, 2010, at 11:24 PM

@Mickel I'm aware of the three persona's of god throughout the bible. I am also aware that they are regarded as the same. Although, I believe it could feasibly be argued that even though you are worshiping the same central figure, the multiples makes it appear like a polytheistic religion.

I looked up the reference you stated in regard to living outside the presence of god. It does not mention hell. If hell is so horrible, why didn't GOD mention it to Adam and Eve, Cain, Moses, ect ect. In fact the roots of hell itself appear to come from pagan origins. As Many nations surrounding Israel in the Old Testament believed in Hell-like punishment in the afterlife, for they served bloodthirsty and evil "gods," while Israel simply taught the grave.If Hell is real, why was the revelation of it first given to pagan nations, instead of God's covenant people? Did God expect Israel to learn about the afterlife from the Pagan Gentiles? If so, why did He repeatedly warn Israel to not learn of their ways?

I'm well aware of the so called Goldilocks zone surrounding planets. I however am also aware of the shear number of stars and planets in the universe. Of course it appears to us that the universe has to be a fine tuned machine we have evolved into it. If the conditions weren't correct for us to evolve, we wouldn't exist. The Anthropic principle explains this nicely.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle)

Also, the vast expanses of the universe are inhospitable to human life. The universe isn't fine tuned to our lives or to our existence. It sometimes seems that way because life is in the process of fine tuning to our environment through evolution.

As for the historicity of jesus. I'm not really convinced. Biblical scholar L. Michael White, not himself a Jesus-myth theorist, writes that, so far as is known, Jesus did not write anything, nor did anyone who had personal knowledge of him. There is no archaeological evidence of his existence. There are no contemporaneous accounts of his life or death: no eyewitness accounts, or any other kind of first-hand record. All the accounts of Jesus come from decades or centuries later; the gospels themselves all come from later times, though they may contain earlier sources or oral traditions. White writes that the earliest writings that survive are the letters of Paul of Tarsus, and they were written 20--30 years after the dates given for Jesus's death. Paul was not a companion of Jesus; nor does he ever claim to have seen Jesus.

The bible itself is pretty suspect to me. As are all the dates that are celebrated now within christianity. Since, all these things were put together years after Jesus's life. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecumenical_... Shouldn't the majority of that already have been done by then?

Christianity is by definition a religion.A Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of life and the universe. Did you look at the links I provided above? Prayer has no noticeable effect on anything. Jesus says numerous times throughout the bible that with the power of prayer and a little belief you can receive whatever you ask for. Superficially this works well for diseases, tumors, ect. Well, as long as the people are also getting care from doctors and scientists. It kind of seems that amputees are getting the short end of the stick here. This site does a good job of explaining that and the general rationalizations people use to explain it. (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/god5.htm)

The golden rule is not initially biblical. It's simply another facet of other religions christianity "borrowed". Allusions to the Golden rule can be found in the Code of Hammurabi from as far back as 1780 BCE. There is no need for biblical context, the golden rule is really how society should be.

Love and the reasoning behind it can be easily explained. This Wikipedia article explains the chemical at reasonable lenght. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxytocin) Why would such a thing evolve is pretty easy as well. Affection, empathy and peer bonding increase social cohesion and lead to higher survival chances for offspring. Increasing the chances of survival for the given species.

I do celebrate the winter solstice. Just as you do. As I've stated before, during the Ecumenical councils they chose these dates. Christmas doesn't coincide with the biblical descriptions of Jesus's birth. The council chose that date to help assimilate non-abrahamic or "pagan" religions into christianity. Easter is the same way. Don't you ever wonder about the odd customs on easter? Eggs, rabbits ect? The timing of the event? (http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org/tracts/tract1.html)

My family has value because I believe they do. The same as anything else in the world. Through a series of chemical reactions within our body we are driven to love and nurture our families. The goal of which is continued propagation of our species. Animals don't have the cognitive skills to create god or other deities, nor according to the bible do they go to heaven. Yet, they display many of the same characteristics, why?

We need laws in society so that society can regulate and work properly. They are designed to protect us and our property and to ensure that everyone in society behaves the way that the community expects them too. Without laws there would be complete anarchy. In our present form of government we the people give the power to our elected officials to create and enforce rules for the good of society (Well in most cases).

Regards,

Damu

-- Posted by Damu on Mon, Dec 13, 2010, at 7:59 PM

Damu - reading over a couple of other posts you made a bit earlier...you talked about Christianity being a religion. This is where you are mistaken.

Christianity is a relationship. That relationship is between a person and their creator. Having prayer time with God is meaningful and relevant; and is something that human beings are actually designed for. Your assertion that prayer to a milk jug is the same as praying to God is not only ridiculous but is also highly inaccurate.

You claimed that you have two children, and that you teach them "the golden rule". Be careful, because the "golden rule" is actually Biblical. My question, is why you would teach them a Biblical principle if Christianity is devoid of truth and value such as you assert?

The other question is why you would love your children when love is clearly stated in the Bible as a fruit of the Spirit? Isn't this in conflict with your "we were created accidentally" claim?

Do you celebrate Christmas? If so, why do you celebrate a Christian holiday? Do you observe Easter, another Christian holiday? If mankind has no purpose, then why does your spouse or children have any value? How can they have value?

Why does society have laws and where do these laws and the authority for these laws come from? Your answers will prove enlightening.

-- Posted by Mickel on Sun, Dec 12, 2010, at 6:21 PM

Damu -- I appreciate your response and your questions.

As I read your post, my first impulse is to begin from the top and respond as I work my way down. However, after pondering the paragraph where you wonder how the death of Christ was actually a sacrifice; I believe that this is where my response should begin.

You stated that "this is one of the pillars of Christianity." I would assert that the birth, the life, the death and the resurrection of Christ is not only the central pillar of Christianity; but also one of the primary focuses of the entire Bible. Much of the Bible prophesies the appearance and life of Christ; the gospels recount the life and ministry of Christ, while the epistles comprise a primer for the newly formed Christian church.

There is some basic understanding one must acquire in order to encompass and process the sacrifice made by Christ. First of all, God is triune with three different and distinct persons in one Godhead, (There is scriptural corroboration for this which I can provide if necessary.) the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus was born of an earthly mother and a spiritual father. This makes Christ unique as scripture can attest that Jesus was fully man and fully God. The sacrifice was Christ being born free of sin, (sin being passed down through mankind because of the sins of the father) living the perfect life, (free of sin, not free of temptation) and offering Himself voluntarily to die on the cross, forever taking on the sins of all mankind to die with Him. As remarkable as this was, it was the resurrection which comprised the final step to secure the salvation of mankind. The sacrifice was innocent blood shed to cover your sin and mine.

You talked about the "alleged punishment in Christianity" being eternal damnation in hell. What you need to understand is that mankind was created and given freewill. We have the choice to either embrace God or to refute God. By embracing God, persons live their life in an effort to continually renew that relationship and to grow in it. The reward for accepting Christ as your savior and fashioning your life response to serving Christ, is living in the presence of God for eternity. Conversely, mankind may also choose to refute God. This decision is made by freewill, however the scripture is clear that the decision of living your life without God results in an eternal life of living outside the presence of God. The old testament does indeed have a reference to living outside of the presence of God in Daniel 12:2. NIV. Believing in God or not does not negate the truth. This is where I believe Atheism steps on its own chin. No belief can be shored by a universal negative such as the "there is no God" claim that Atheism makes. To legitimately make this claim one would need to possess omniscience and omnipresence. Since man does not and cannot possess these qualities, the "there is no God" claim, in truth, is a logical fallacy.

You asked about why I consider the creation story to be correct. It starts with the concept of truth. It follows with the person of Jesus Christ and the fact that I believe that Jesus Christ was actually who He said He was. There is a wealth of historical evidence to support not only Christ, but also much of the rest of the account of the Bible. If Christ IS Lord, then all things were created through Him (John 1) and the Biblical account of creation is true. The Biblical account being true automatically refutes all other accounts, as there can only be ONE truth.

Moving on to your assertion of science explaining creation. I agree that science does in fact back up the Biblical accounts of creation and glorifies God in the scientific disciplines of astronomy, biology, ecology, geology, and oceanology, to name several; as well as the disciplines of mathematics, chemistry, music and art, poetry and writings, storytelling and literature, and philosophy. However, I disagree that creation via sudden expansion of dense heavy matter adequately allows for anything other than gravitational pull. You must realize that our earth is so precisely located in proximity to our sun, to other planets in our solar system, and in our galaxy that to move the earth incrementally would actually destroy our planet and all life upon it. In essence our position is not only unique for the propagation of life but also for the continuation of it. That is not nearly the result of "accident", but of purposeful design. You yourself stated that the science concerning aspects of our universe, our planet and the life upon it has room for doubt. That doubt is not only healthy, but accurate. Just as global warming is inaccurate, so is the big bang theory, radio carbon dating, evolution and the notion that we have been "seeded" by an alien race.

My next question to you: Do you believe that Jesus Christ actually lived and died? Was Jesus Christ who He said He was?

-- Posted by Mickel on Sun, Dec 12, 2010, at 5:56 PM

@Keda Isn't Behe's argument a simple rehashing of the watchmaker argument advanced by William Paley?

I'm not sure how familiar you are with chaos thoery, but it does a really good job of explaining how things came to be. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory) I also found an interesting link explaining why Paley's argument, and by extension Behe's is kind of silly. (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/ICsilly.html)

I don't have to imagine days with god in them. I was of Christian denomination in my younger years. Actually reading through the bible and questioning the things it says are what lead me on the path to science.

Thanks for taking the time to watch and listen to what I posted. I get the feeling many people don't.

Regards,

Damu

-- Posted by Damu on Sun, Dec 12, 2010, at 4:06 PM

I'm very aware of who Lawrence Krauss & Richard Dawkins are, and their nemesis Michael Behe, whom I'm sure they consider an outcast.

I did take the time to listen to the links you posted, and found them interesting. The enigmatic complexity of the big bang theory or the designed theory leaves me with only one thought, and that is I can not imagine a day without the faith of God in it. As I'm sure you can't imagine a day with God in it.

-- Posted by Keda46 on Sun, Dec 12, 2010, at 3:32 PM

@keda You are using science there, but your kind of making abstract correlations where there really are none. The particular attributes you are giving your god are done the same in all religions. Your using science to rationalize how God could feasibly exist.

There are a couple things wrong with this. The biggest one, is the fact that prayer does nothing. You can actually pray to a milk jug and you will get the exact consistency in prayer to a milk jug as you will with god.

http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/...

The link aboves goes over a couple different studies they have done on prayer.

Now, the big bang theory is a scientific idea of how the universe came to be. The Big Bang theory is not a theory for how existence came into being. The Big Bang theory is specifically an explanation of the development and the condition that developed into an expanding universe.

If we delve even into the first portions of the bibles rendition of the very beginnings of the universe, there are a number of things that jump out right away. Within even the first book of the bible there are a number of accounts of conflicting information.

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra...

If this book were written, or dictated to man from a god. Don't you think they would have the order correct in how things were created?

Not to mention the fact that genesis specifically says that god had to rest, after creating everything. A timeless omnipotent being needs to take a day off? Does that make any kind of sense whatsoever?

I do however like your last comparison of god and a circle. I hope that the irony of the statement doesn't miss you. The points you've made above are all based on circular logic. The bible says x so I can manipulate y to be true.

This video is an excellent explanation for the big bang. If your not a Richard Dawkins fan skip through the first couple minutes to the point that the scientist is talking. Actually, I'll just do it for you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PL...

Regards,

Damu

-- Posted by Damu on Sun, Dec 12, 2010, at 12:07 PM

Wow, that sounds scientific AND religious all at once. It will take some time to wrap my head around that one.

Thanks 46.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sat, Dec 11, 2010, at 9:47 PM

It states that God is eternal. This does not mean that he 'has been around for all time' and 'will be around for all time'. 'Eternal' actually means 'existing outside of time', i.e. God existing outside of our experience of time. This explains why prayers to God do not 'stack up' in a waiting list; it explains why, at Creation (or the 'Big bang' as scientists have called it) time also needed to be created (as confirmed by Einstein's Special Relativity Theory, and by Stephen Hawking); it explains why miracles can happen as God is not constrained by the laws of cause and effect as we are. In fact, His eternality explains a great deal about God!

Now this idea of 'being outside of time' is not unscientific. Einstein, through his Special Theory of Relativity, predicted (correctly, incidentally as this has been proved since) that, as objects approach the speed of light, time for them actually slows down. At the speed of light, time stops. So, if you were able to ride a light beam (fat chance!) then time would be meaningless to you - you would exist outside of time and be eternal. So light is eternal. So are gamma rays, radio waves, X rays, Infra Red waves, Ultra Violet waves, Micro waves and so on as all these belong to the same electromagnetic spectrum and all travel at the speed of light. Therefore, the concept of eternality - being outside of time - is common in the scientific world. WNote, however, that whilst a light beam is outside time, it can still interact with us who are 'in' time, just as God can interact with us through prayer and worship.

Therefore, if God is eternal, and outside time, he has no beginning nor end, and to ask as such is like saying 'where is the beginning to a circle' - a circle is a figure that goes round and round without an end or a beginning. Just like Eternal God.

-- Posted by Keda46 on Sat, Dec 11, 2010, at 9:16 PM

Religion is static yes... but at that, we would be comparing apples to oranges.... Science and History. Sure, the stories may vary from one source to another, but as history goes... the base of it remains unchanged, or static.. What's done is done, that's why it's called history.

I don't pretend to know all the answers... I don't know how things came to be. I do know that it is human to wish to be in control and science enjoys the freedom to explain things and by extension, knowledge is power and even if we can't control the black holes and solar flares, the knowledge of them give us (humans) the illusion that we are in control. So as it has been said earlier on, and I paraphrase, People turn to religion to make them feel warm and cozy knowing they will be experiencing an afterlife, I guess the same warm and cozy feeling might be derived from those illusions of understanding the universe. I suspect that you and I both will have a lot of unanswered questions until we can reach some form of ultimate enlightenment... something that God will provide for me if my beliefs are correct. If your beliefs are correct, then when you cease to exist... there will be nothing............................................................................................................. you get my point. No enlightenment.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sat, Dec 11, 2010, at 4:38 PM

@Nick The theories I laid out above are our best guess at things. Based on the current evidence we have available. If new evidence comes along that dispute the current models, they can be adjusted. Does this sometimes shake science up a bit, sure.

That is the best part about science though. It isn't static and unchanging. As new information becomes available currently held views can be altered to take any new information into account.

Religion however is static. The set of rules was laid out thousands of years ago. There is no new information coming. Things don't change this way.

I understand your point in regard to science changing so much. I would however counter with, look how religion has changed in the course of human time. Starting out with mostly polytheistic religions. Finally settling on a set of monotheistic (I believe I could successfully argue that Christianity is somewhat polytheistic as well, but thats for another day.)

Correct me if I'm wrong. In Christianity though, as long as you believe Jesus was the son of god, and ask for forgiveness you get to go to heaven. I realize that many Christians believe your actions determine the different hierarchal level in heaven you get. The main thing though is you believe in Jesus and ask for forgiveness you don't get banished to hell.

If god created the universe, then what created god? Science isn't perfect. I will admit that, I personally think though it gives us the best picture we have so far of the universe, and of life as we know it.

You will get no argument out of me about todays youth. Just because someone has religion however doesn't make them teach their children respect. That whole issue can be put back squarely on the parents. I have two kids myself. I teach them just as I was, being courteous, and respectful to other people. The golden rule as it were. However, my kids don't have any preconceived notions about homosexuality, or people of other religions. That I see many parents of christ pass on to their kids.

-- Posted by Damu on Sat, Dec 11, 2010, at 3:41 PM

Damu,

A common misconseption is that "if you believe in God, you will reside in Heaven forever". That get out of jail free card doesn't exist. The 10 Commandments are a list of rules that one must live by, for the most part, it is a goal to be sure, as todays society, and I mean in America among others, people have become jade to that which is morally unacceptable, in fact the morally has become the norm.... Take a look at the population between the ages of 15 to 28. And that is being conservative. Respect has become somewhat of a weakness in the eyes of much of todays youth. (Luckily I see less disrespect in this part of the country than in others).

There is no get out of jail free card.... It takes work and what most people believe to be "generally good" can still have adverse effects. So at least in the Christian religions, the rules or commandments are spelled out specifically so there is less Gray Area and more Black & White. Just believing isn't the trick.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sat, Dec 11, 2010, at 2:32 PM

damu,

Actually, Darwin stole the ideas of Alfred Russel Wallace for his work On the Origin of Species. He (Darwin) DID publish first from what I understand. When confronted about it I believe he admitted taking the basis from Wallace but expanded on them.

All the "facts" about the universe that we think we have a handle on today will be rebutted tomorrow. "Everything we thought we knew about the universe was wrong." That is a quote from Janna Levin's book: How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space.

Pick up any scientific periodical and you are likely to find one scientist that is arguing another scientists opinion. At best, the information that you provided was speculation in the way of theories. So how can you propose to rebut Christianity by using as your leverage, information that is rebutted daily itself? Furthermore, what is to say that the universe itself wasn't created by God?

Hebrews 11:3 (New International Version, 2010)

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Some food for thought.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sat, Dec 11, 2010, at 1:08 PM

@Mickel In definition that I believe that no deities exist. Yes, I am an Atheist.

Mankind's entrance to the world at large was by chance. Starting in the beginning with the big bang roughly 13.7 billion years ago. Which formed all matter in the universe. Through billions of years of stars dying (This is how heavy elements came to be). The planets began to form. Our particular planet has an iron core. Our planet also happens to rotate. This generates a magnetic field around the earth.

The star in the center of our galaxy is undergoing nuclear fusion. This generates considerable energy in many spectra. Earths position within our solar system allows us to receive a considerable amount of energy from this star. The magnetic field around the Earth protects it from the more harmful rays.

Over the course of millions of years little strands of nucleic acids began to form. Through Darwinian evolution these strands formed DNA and then proteins. Through millions of years of evolution man came to be.

Purpose is a purely human cultural concept. With that in mind, purpose is really what an individual makes of it. At this particular point in time I believe that mankind's purpose is to survive, and continue flourishing.

I believe truth to be an important facet of everyone's lives. The power of information is nearly limitless in what it can do. In short, yes I believe in truth.

A few questions for you. Why do you consider the version of life's beginnings in the bible to be correct? There are numerous other religious ideas on how life as we know it came to be, why are they incorrect? An even better question would be, how can any of them be correct? Science presently shows us that these versions of events cannot be. Evidence supporting the big bang theory, evolution, planet and star formation, ect.. has come to the point where it is overwhelmingly doubtful any version of creationism could have taken place.

In christianity Jesus sacrificed himself for man's sins. Based on general consensus, Jesus and God are one and the same. Would this not mean that Jesus is Omnipotent? Meaning, he already knew that he was immortal. In what way was this a sacrifice? I ask, as I see this as one of the pillars of christianity. Humanity in general being born into sin, and having it cast off in this way seems fairly pivotal to me. I'm curious what actual sacrifice was made?

The alleged punishment in christianity, for a bevy of "sins" is eternal damnation in hell. This goes all the way from following other gods, to killing another man. Under the condition that one does not believe in God. If one does believe they receive a get out of jail free card regardless of past transgressions. My question with this large narrative is, if hell appears to be such a horrible punishment, why is there no mention of it in the old testament? Why does the concept of hell and eternal punishment only make its appearance, with Jesus coming onto the scene?

These are but a few of the questions I have. I feel as I've written enough to get this started. I look forward to your answers, and our continued discussion.

Regards,

Damu

-- Posted by Damu on Fri, Dec 10, 2010, at 11:59 AM

Biblical slavery was not limited to the usurpation of one man's freedom by another for a lifetime of indentured service.

Many of the 'slaves' were either volunteer slaves, or required slaves to pay off a debt that they could not meet with timely incremental payments.

I appreciate Damu pointing out in Ephesians that Christians are called to serve others as they serve Christ. As Nick said - doin' the Lords work!

Damu - you equating yourself with God neither elevates you to godship, nor elevates or relegates other people to a level pre-conceived by you.

I don't know why you have taken it upon yourself to hi-jack this thread; but if you are truly interested in a conversation about Christian apologetics...I'll bite.

That being said, there is really no point to ensuing a discussion until we understand the parameters. I am a person in a relationship with Christ who believes in the Biblical accounts of creation and the Gospels. I believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God, and I believe it to be relevant and revealing. This is not out of some sort of brainwashing or blind faith. My belief has been edified immensely over the years out of study of both the scientific and the spiritual.

You may feel free to ask me about my beliefs and how I came to them. You may ask me any legitimate question concerning scripture and how I believe they are relevant or revealing. You may test, question and rebut. However, if you begin to sling personal insults, or venture into a rant of destruction with neither purpose, relevance, nor substantiation; the discussion is over. I will respect the same.

Now I must ask so that I am aware of how to proceed...are you, indeed an atheist? If so, could you define what you believe it means to be an atheist? What is your belief concerning the appearance, existence, and purpose of mankind? And finally, do you believe in truth?

Thank you. I look forward to this discussion.

-- Posted by Mickel on Thu, Dec 9, 2010, at 10:32 PM

And there you have it, as proven by Nick. Christianity is about transformations. Entire nations and societies, transformed one person at a time. Hat tip Nick Mercy!

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Thu, Dec 9, 2010, at 9:51 PM

Leviticus 25:39 (New Living Translation)

"If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and is forced to sell himself to you, do not treat him as a slave."

Ephesians 6:9

"Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don't threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites."

As I read in Leviticus, I came to understand that the slavery referred to is that which came about by necessity. To me it's saying that if one is impoverished, and needs to seek help from others, then one is to treat those that take them in as they would treat Christ. It looks as though this would be that same as modern day employment.

Deuteronomy 24:14 "Never take advantage of poor and destitute laborers, whether they are fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns.

damu..... you are doing God's work! I sat down and began to study the Bible tonight. Strange that path one takes.... in your efforts to prove that God doesn't exist, you have effectively managed to cause others to turn to the Bible. Good Work!

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Thu, Dec 9, 2010, at 7:53 PM

@CPB Fine after your forcing me to look it up I read through it. Now from what I gather, Paul doesn't actually condemn slavery. I also noted that they didn't mention slaves who weren't Christian "brothers". Seems to me the bible is still pretty cool with it. Please, if you think the text proves different, enlighten me.

-- Posted by Damu on Thu, Dec 9, 2010, at 7:29 PM

@CPB I read nothing, I don't recollect you providing me a link.

-- Posted by Damu on Thu, Dec 9, 2010, at 7:18 PM

So I take it you a) did not read the Book of Philemon, b) read it but did not understand it's meaning, or c) read it, but choose to continue your inane argument.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Thu, Dec 9, 2010, at 4:32 PM

"However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way." (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

and...

"When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment." (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

"When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property." (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

my favorite...

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ." (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

-- Posted by Damu on Thu, Dec 9, 2010, at 1:36 PM

Damu,

"Let my people go". That doesn't sound like slavery was desired. Ramisis (sp?) Sure seemed to like it but he didn't believe in my God.

Save me a minute and give a passage which shows that God was good with slavery.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Thu, Dec 9, 2010, at 1:07 PM

I don't know if the Bible is okay with slavery, but parts of Sudan, India, Pakistan and Haiti is okay with it. According to Anti Slavery International there is currently 20 million people in bondage.

-- Posted by Keda46 on Thu, Dec 9, 2010, at 12:35 AM

Actually, the beginning of the end of slavery began with Onesimus. It's in the Bible.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Wed, Dec 8, 2010, at 5:13 PM

@Chunky The bible seemed pretty okay with slavery?

-- Posted by Damu on Wed, Dec 8, 2010, at 8:14 AM

Those "tales", are in fact true accounts of what happens when we sin. Yes, the innocent suffer when we sin. The innocent suffer when we choose to do nothing. Jesus did not walk the earth teaching us to be idle, teaching that the quest for knowledge some how supersedes action. Even slavery exists because of sin, the sins of greed and the sins of apathy.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 10:21 PM

@SWN Righteous play my friend. I admit that I do enjoy prodding the likes of MrsSmith, its not all that I gain entertainment from though.

I enjoyed tossing out some examples for you as well. I like when people actually look at sources and research what they are talking about.

I will disagree though, even the bible has many tales of wonton destruction. Not to mention the excessive rape and pillaging of innocents. We could also take the dark ages for example.

You've proven yourself an excellent opponent. I look forward to our future debates.

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 4:19 PM

Damu,

I'm sorry for not including the history in my last post. I guess since you cited abortion clinics that is what you wantedto discuss. Do you have anything to justify your claim that the Christian history is mostly about violence other than your opinion and personal intepretation of events?

"You are correct that all those things have been lobbied in the name of killing others. Currently though, our discussion has to do with god not capitalism or any of the other ideals people kill one another over."

So it seems then that this discussion is just your attempt to upset the religious right such as MrsSmith. I do not separate the reasons people choose to justify thier actions. I try to look at all things equally and have determined that people are capable of almost anything without an outside force, such as religion, compelling them to do so. In short my argument is God doesn't urge people to kill people, people try to use God as justification for why they felt the urge to kill people.

On the topic of your research. I am somewhat amused that I called your source so accurately.

Check out this one:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/texas....

Although those laws may still be on the books they are unenforceable, rather like laws which prohibit too many Indians to be seen in public together in some areas. Do you have any other examples of the nation wide persecution?

-- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 1:42 PM

@SWN I have done research on it:

http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/StateC...

I believe your taking my argument somewhat out of context there. My initial claim was Christian History= Violence. I didn't say the majority were for it now. Only provided some examples of alleged christian violence now.

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 12:21 PM

Damu,

I think you need to do a little more research before you repeat what I assume is something you heard some other atheists say. But it is illegal for a state to bar an atheist from public office.

I do not dispute that there are many people who claim to be Christians that do not follow the teachings, I was merely pointing out that your Christianity=violence argument is specious and trite. So changing the argument here does nothing to support your previous claim.

-- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 12:04 PM

@SWN I personally find a fairly high level of persecution in the fact that in many states atheists can't hold public office. I also recently saw a court case where a child was given to the mother based solely on the grounds the father was an atheist. There are actually a number of these.

http://dakotabeacon.com/site/entry/carol...

The abortion clinics was simply an example for this day and age. Parroting against gay rights would be another anti-christian, christian activity.

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 10:50 AM

Damu,

"Not to mention the fact that we (Atheists) are the most persecuted group in America."

Wow, you're starting to pick up the victim mantra that Mike uses. How are Athiests the most persecuted group in America?

"Christian history is mostly about violence. You have to be blind to not see it. In fact you can still see it without effort. Simply look to any recent abortion clinic bombing."

This is really pretty sad and telling about how your hatred of Christianity blinds you. I'm not even very religious but I think this is a ridiculous argument. When you think of Christians you immediately jump to a few isolated examples and try to apply that to the whole. I just did a quick search and estimate there have been less than 200 attacks at abortion clinics resulting in personal or significant propery damage in the last 30 years. Is this your example of a history of violence? In making this argument you also conveniently ignore any good works Christians might do. Perhaps you don't remember any of the works people did in Haiti, I'm pretty sure there were more than 200 this year alone.

-- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 10:13 AM

@SWN You are correct that all those things have been lobbied in the name of killing others. Currently though, our discussion has to do with god not capitalism or any of the other ideals people kill one another over.

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 10:06 AM

Damu,

Like I said, I get it, you hate religion. However, religious principles haven't killed and tortured people, rather people have killed in the name of religion. This falls under, in my view, the realm of people killing people. If they don't do it in the name of religion, they do it in the name of something else. Unless you are also going to blame: capitalism, socialism, tribalism, resource needs, political ideals, etc. All of these things, and more, are why people kill each other, to single out religion is a specious argument thrust forward by the closed-minded or non-thinking.

-- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 10:00 AM

@Nick Thank you, I believe my initial thoughts were correct. You are a fairly level headed individual. I would also note, that I thoroughly enjoyed your response. I would be curious what led your nephew to change his path if he does indeed reveal it to you.

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 9:59 AM

@Mickel You missed one very important point. This also makes all other people equal to myself.

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 9:47 AM

@Swnebr GM hasn't actively participated in trying to wipe ford out through vicious killing and torture that I'm aware of?

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 9:42 AM

@MrsSmith You are correct the last 100 years or so of the church have a lot of nice things going on. The past 1500 however are another story. I suppose if Atheists were presently killing people who didn't agree with us, we could make short order of the number of "believers" ;).

I checked out the book you referenced then did some googling on it. It appears it was published back in 06 with data from prior to 2000. I would personally be interested in something a bit newer to sink my teeth into, but may check it out all the same.

"In order to cause His children to grow and develop, He did give us pain, suffering, free will and the ability to know and choose evil because God is not pleased with robots or mental infants. Without His gifts, no human would ever become unselfish."

This intrigues me greatly. If that were the case, what was up with flooding the Earth for my homeboy noah? Did god make a mistake the first time? He can't though, he is God of course.

Are you in SWNEBR MrsSmith? I'm not sure if your aware of the demographics of the area. Liberals and atheistic people make up the minority here. I would gauge based on the gazette website comments, by a large margin. Not to mention the fact that we (Atheists) are the most persecuted group in America. Depending on the years that this happened, coming out as a known atheist could in many ways be far worse than coming out of the closet.

Those that ignore the hypocrisy of religion. Are only lying to themselves. I understand that though, when you have such beliefs you have to rationalize things that don't really make sense.

You completely ignored my question in regard to the churches MrsSmith. I understand having a place to gather, I never said I didn't. My question had to do with the gaudiness of these buildings.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2292/2371...

Is that really necessary? In fact doesn't that basically go against the teachings of christ anyway?

Christian history is mostly about violence. You have to be blind to not see it. In fact you can still see it without effort. Simply look to any recent abortion clinic bombing. I will admit though this era is much more tame than previous generations, where you had people being tortured to death for disbelief.

Previously you mentioned the fact hat we live in an ordered world proof of god. The bbc did a pretty amazing video series awhile back on how chaos works.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HACkykFlI...

The whole Teleological argument is flawed in many ways anyway. You can find some of them here. If you desire you can look around there are many other sources.

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

In closing, if you are correct and the Christians are more giving than other people. Which, don't get me wrong, you may be. I would wonder if subconsciously that's simply to try to make up for the past years indiscretions. As they are many, it will take many years to pay them back.

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 9:41 AM

"Religion as a whole is the cause of much death within the world."

So are transportation accidents but I don't see you railing against GM.

Actually I've been over this before with other posters, religion is kinda like guns, they don't kill people but sometimes people using them to justify their own ends kill people.

-- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 9:01 AM

@ Damu,

Of course it's along the lines of humanity. Humanity is, after all, God's project! God's Word makes clear that He is pleased by humanity that gives greatly to others, even to the point of loving people like you! :-)

In order to cause His children to grow and develop, He did give us pain, suffering, free will and the ability to know and choose evil because God is not pleased with robots or mental infants. Without His gifts, no human would ever become unselfish.

====================

As evidenced by many, many studies, quite a few quoted in the book "Who Really Cares," Christians give a larger percentage of their income than any other group, while liberals give the smallest percentage of their income.

As for their churches, it is good both to have a place to meet to worship and teach our children...and a shelter available for any in need during times of emergency and disaster. A couple years ago, we had some major flooding problems in our area. Many of our local churches were instantly opened up to shelter those that needed help. Everything from beds to meals were provided for both the displaced and the church groups that came from all over the country to help with clean-up, repair and rebuilding.

Strangely enough, during that entire time of need, we have no atheist groups, no liberal college groups, no liberal anything groups helping. There were no offers of money, shelter, food, or assistance from any of our liberal neighbors. Not one single dollar from Gates, Buffet, Soros or any other liberal millionaire. What a shock, huh?

===============================

Those that look to religion for hypocrisy must close their eyes to much of the truth. As humans, even true Christians are less than perfect, but every accurate study shows they are more caring and giving than those that talk diversity while expecting Uncle Sam to support the needy by taking from "the rich." Christians, on the other hand, give from their own pockets, not their "rich" neighbor's pocket.

Christian history is largely made up of giving, hospitals, schools, orphanages, shelters, food pantries, crisis pregnancy centers, etc. etc. A person claiming the Christian history is all about violence must ignore 95% of the acts of the Church.

-- Posted by MrsSmith on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 8:10 AM

Actually, that's not true, just trying to spice it up a bit. The truth is that as he was doing his research, specificly mind you, to argue that God didn't exsist, he found something that caused him to think. He's a proud man and because of his pride he never really divulged what it was that he ran across that turned the tide for him, but because of his research, going so far as to speak to clergy, he changed his view.

What I'm getting at is that sometimes in one's efforts to avoid fate, he meets it head long on the path he took to side-step it.

Whatever the case, keep up the research that you do as will I. No one can knock you for expanding your realm of knowledge.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Mon, Dec 6, 2010, at 8:59 PM

Damu,

You ask for proof that God exists, not just statments of faith. I have to say that the Church doesn't just pull things out of a hat to gain a following. They are quite discriminating in regard to claims of divinity.

The Church doesn't label things "Miracles" haphazardly...... They don't often recognize an oil stain in a resurant that resembles Jesus as a sign. Often times they don't make a determination of a miracle for decades. If the Church was just out to "prove" that God existed, they could arguably come up with the "Miracle of the Day" program. They don't. They are by contrast, very speculative about what they consider to be signs and true apparitions and they have to pass quite a stringent check list prior to even be considered. This is NOT characteristic of a fly by night organization.

My nephew was much like you, he educated himself in the line of religion, specificly Christianity. He did it so he could intellegently argue faith with those that wish to do so with him. I believed he actually enjoyed it. Then one day he was struck by lightning and died.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Mon, Dec 6, 2010, at 8:44 PM

So...Damu. Believing that God is manipulative, selfish and irrational; you shift the 'selfishness', 'irrational', and 'manipulation' from Gods shoulders to your own; hence, in effect; making yourself God in your own universe.

I get it.

-- Posted by Mickel on Mon, Dec 6, 2010, at 7:12 PM

Actually this illustrates the point nicely.

God is all knowing. He knows what people will choose to do, before they do it, as he does with all his creations.

So follow me here for a minute.

God created Lucifer. He did this knowing Lucifer would fall from grace and create hell.

God knew when he created man that Lucifer would be too proud to kneel before his creation, but God asked Lucifer to put aside his pride anyway.

Lucifer then became Satan. God knew that not only would this happen but that Satan would then make it his life's work to tempt, torture and destroy man kind.

God created the Devil, knowing the Devil would cause Adam and Eve to be expelled from the garden, and curse all of man kind with original sin.

And yet God did it anyway.

Now he wants us to ask forgiveness from him, and devote our lives to worshiping him, because of this.

This is all far too manipulative, selfish and irrational to be the work of anything other than men. If this is all true, the God is nothing more than selfish creature who devised a scheme to force billions and billions of people to worship him.

-- Posted by Damu on Mon, Dec 6, 2010, at 4:22 PM

@SWNEB This wasn't in my adult years. This was in my youth. After going to church for many years I began to question the hypocrisy of the church. During the course of this I started researching deeper into christianity, among other religions. After doing this for a few years I logically came to my conclusions.

Religion as a whole is the cause of much death within the world. That the human species must cast off the shackles of religion, or in the end it will more than likely destroy us all.

-- Posted by Damu on Mon, Dec 6, 2010, at 3:19 PM

Damu,

When you were "indoctrinated" were you as an adult a true believer?

-- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Mon, Dec 6, 2010, at 2:51 PM

@SWN Actually, you'll find that religious peoples minds can be changed. You have to remember that pretty much everyone was indoctrinated by someone at some stage or their life. Even yours truly.

-- Posted by Damu on Mon, Dec 6, 2010, at 1:46 PM

Damu,

We get it, you are zealous athiest, and you hate religion. Nothing can change your mind about religion anymore than it can Sam's what is the point of arguing about it with these religious types, can't you all just agree to disagree?

On to your chart, I don't think it shows what you think it shows. If any assumptions should be made about generosity from your chart, it is that the states with highest poverty level seem to be the least generous, which makes sense.

-- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Mon, Dec 6, 2010, at 1:23 PM

@MrsSmith Wouldn't that be more along the lines of humanity. Why does humanity have to be god inspired for you to believe in it?

If what your saying was true. Then why is it the churches believe they need such large extravagant facilities to worship in? Wouldn't that money be better spent in the hands of the poor than creating these large buildings in "gods" name.

Your claim of Christians being more generous than non believers is pretty suspect as well. The data appears to indicate the opposite is true.

http://politicn.co.tv/states-ranked-by-r...

Not to mention the fact that some very prominent atheists will be giving large volumes of their fortunes to charity. Namely bill gates and Warren buffet.

The fact that there are rules is definitely not indicative of some super being writing them. Does it not make sense that the rules would have to be so before we could evolve into a world at all?

Why does god want us to grow up? Does god himself need to grow up as well? Since he has created us in his image allegedly? Please, give me some scientific data to support your argument. So far you haven't given me any. Just wishy washy feel good talk.

-- Posted by Damu on Mon, Dec 6, 2010, at 12:02 PM

Thanks God, for the dim bulbs, so we may appreciate the truly bright ones.

I don't have the mileage you do, Sam...but many of the areas you cited I have visited...along with some other fairly remote highways. AZ, NM, NV, CA, UT, and CO highways in particular. I've done a lot of work in those states and mostly in remote areas. If only a man could have multiple lifetimes to explore and reside in these jaw-dropping places.

-- Posted by Mickel on Mon, Dec 6, 2010, at 11:32 AM

Why does God allow suffering? One of His goals is to cause mankind to "grow up," to lose selfishness and care about others. Without suffering, we not only remain totally self-involved, but we also, as a whole, do not "evolve."

Think about it...from fire to MRI machines, how much have we done specifically to reduce suffering?

What would mankind be if we did not have suffering?

By that same token, why is obesity a major problem in the developed world, while starvation kills people in Africa? Because so many people are so good at ignoring the suffering of others! If everyone gave to the point of actual sacrifice, as many Christians do, there would be no starvation. If everyone supported missions, orphanges, and schools in place like Africa, the way Christians do, the people would not only not starve, they would learn how to develop their own countries. If every person in the developed world was a True Christian, suffering could be hugely reduced.

===================================

Damu, eddy, when was the last time you did without cable, internet, extra food, new clothes and a new vehicle in order to send sacrificially to those that starve?

How can you complain about what God does when you have the ability to help, yet choose to hoard instead of give?

============================================

The basic and obvious fact that we live in a rational world is one of the most rational arguments for the existance of God. If the world had truly been formed completely at random, by chance and evolution, why would it be rational instead of completely chaotic? The fact that there are underlying "rules" shouts out the fact of the rule-writer.

Why do Christians believe in God? Because we look at the whole picture instead of carefully focusing on only the portion that supports random change.

-- Posted by MrsSmith on Mon, Dec 6, 2010, at 8:05 AM

@Nick In this regard eddy and I are of the same mind. I'm making an assumption here, but I assume that you are Christian. You would share this with the westboro baptist church. We may have common grounds here, but in many other aspects we differ.

For instance, I am a single individual, while I'm pretty sure eddy is at least two possibly three here. You can see similarities between the writing style of a few posters on the site from ones from the past.

I can find those sites, and have looked through many of them. I've also read an amazing amount about the history of the church, actually about the history of religion in general. It's all pretty much the same story, for the entire history of human civilization.

It's okay, I understand the draw of religion. It's very easy to be taken over by it. All one has to do is look at Scientology to get an idea of what an individual can be made to believe. I assume we are on the same page with this at least. Here is where we differ though, I can look at something like that and laugh it off as a blatant logical fallacy. There are examples from every other religion that make as much sense as this which allow me to do the same.

The human mind is an amazing thing though. We can rationalize reasons for why our odd behavior is okay, while theirs make no sense. The group collective makes us want to belong and eventually we have the same beliefs as the group we are with.Kind of cool if you think about it, in the olden days you were tortured to help you and others believe.

Group collective thinking like this works especially well with children. Santa Clause is an excellent example. How vehemently do children believe in Santa? The answer is completely. We can apply the same thing to religion. Except, make the draw even more powerful by instead of your particular deity bringing presents, they are responsible for good things that happen to you, and bad. Bad stuff is okay though, its just them teaching you a lesson. You know it's all in "his" plan. This makes absolutely no sense by the way. I guess it sounds okay here in the US where your problem may be as serious as getting into a wreck. In Africa and other nations, where it's children starving to death it rings a bit hollow I would think.

I'll leave you with another quote. Sam was pretty harsh on Mr. Sagan. An individual who was an amazing man all the way around. I thought about invoking Voltaire (Another amazing man) here but we'll see what he thinks of Mr. Barker I suppose.

"Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down. down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it."

-Dan Barker

-- Posted by Damu on Mon, Dec 6, 2010, at 1:36 AM

Damu,

I hate to see you have common grounds with eddy. To begin with, although we don't agree on religion, I do find you to be of intellect. Your research on a topic that you don't believe in at least shows that you have a mind learn. Eddy on the other hand simply spews words, and I don't mean sometimes, it is invariably babble that he lays out there, often times his comments have nothing to do with the toppic matter. Secondly, you are good at referring to web sites that denounce God, attempt to disprove his existance, but I'm sure that you could be equally effective, if you so desired, at finding pro-God sites. It's a bit like looking at a comparison list between say Ford & Chevy that was devised by Ford. The list will be compiled of all the pro-Ford features making it look like Ford is the vehicle to purchase but is doesn't mention all of Chevy's plus marks. If given the task, I'm sure that YOU could find some evidence of God's exsistance...... I know you have the mantality for it. eddy on the other hand, well, I think he is generally half asleep when he comments.

Just saying that I hate to see you side with him, he doesn't appear to be a very good partner if intellect.

Sam,

Quite inspiring, and you are correct. I don't do much traveling outside a three state territory but in my usual travels, I have seen the same highways and even county roads look as different as night and day depending on the lighting of the season, the clouds in the sky or even my own mood that day..... There IS plenty to give thanks for and I try to thank God daily for my blessings. I'd like to see some photos of your travels.... The sights sound outstanding!

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Mon, Dec 6, 2010, at 12:23 AM

@Sam depends on what theater your talking about. I would say though that both of them argued for the same thing in the end. Equal rights.

I would however love for you to list some examples of what you call "The evidence of God, the proof that God is and always has been, is so massive, that one almost has to intentionally be blind to miss it."

So let me guess this straight would you say that you don't believe the Earth is billions of years old sam? Do you take a literal interpretation of genesis?

I leave you with a few links from the logical side Sam..

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

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

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

-- Posted by Damu on Sun, Dec 5, 2010, at 10:14 PM

Damu - who would you consider to be more credible? Martin Luther King or Carl Sagan?

-- Posted by sameldridge on Sun, Dec 5, 2010, at 9:15 PM

Dead Eddy - what death panels are you blathering about? The death panels in Obama's destroy health care in America bill?

-- Posted by sameldridge on Sun, Dec 5, 2010, at 8:12 PM

Carl Sagan was one of those guys that fell victim to his intellect. He was not the first, nor will he be the last. Man's wisdom has caused the deaths of untold millions of people over the centuries. Yet, stubbornly, mankind rejects what is obvious, so that a few who are misled, will cheer their alledged brilliance.

When you quote Carl Sagan, I wonder how many lives were destroyed due to his arrogance. I'm not sure if this arrogance was intentional arrogance, like Barack Obama displays, but arrogance nonetheless.

Carl Sagan is most likely in Hell, there because he wanted to go. In Hell with the untold numbers of innocents he deceived, and I suspect Sagan is not liking the experience.

Be careful Damu, I would hate to think that you are betting your eternal soul on the words of a mere man. A man like Sagan, who postulated the theory that someone could throw a stick of dynamite into a printing shop, and after the explosion, find the Declaration of Independence in the rubble.

It is possible that Sagan could have "come to reason" moments before his death, but a man who lives for the adulation of others, seldom repents.

There are those, Damu, that have so much hatred of God, that they gladly aim for Hell and try and take as many people with them as possible.

The evidence of God, the proof that God is and always has been, is so massive, that one almost has to intentionally be blind to miss it.

In the Sagan quote you provided, he flat lies through his teeth. There is overwhelming evidence of God, but for temporary fame, and temporary fortune, Sagan chose to elevate himself rather than the Truth. The price for such arrogance is harsh.

There is no such thing as an atheist. There is no proof that atheists actually exist. People like Sagan, and Bill Maher for that matter, chose the path of hate and self promotion.

Margaret Thacher once said that the problem with Capitolism is SOME Capitolists. The problem with Socialism is Socialism.

The same could be said for Christianity and alledged atheism.

Actually, Sagan's quote above is pathetic in its silliness. "...pretty stories for which there is little good evidence..."

Hilarious really. What would you call Darwinism? Or the "billions and billions of years" quote Sagan would spew to explain the gaps in his alledged theories.

I sense that God is making an attempt to cut through your spiritual fog. Don't blow it, that is unless you want to spend enternity with an egomaniac like Sagan, or eternity with a loving and Holy God.

-- Posted by sameldridge on Sun, Dec 5, 2010, at 8:05 PM

"I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides."

-Carl Sagan

-- Posted by Damu on Sun, Dec 5, 2010, at 12:32 PM

Damu - I am disappointed in you. I don't know of any real Christian that would say that Christ was white. Your comment was a cheap shot, and I wonder what is the basis of your anger.

God is colorblind is his affection and love. I don't think you are. Martin Luther King was a dedicated Christian, and a man who believed deeply in the Constitution of the United States.

Are you telling me that Martin Luther King was an idiot? He would have to be an idiot if he drew his power and authority to work for the betterment of mankind based upon a myth.

As I have explained to you before, God can take a rape baby and turn that child into a Saint, doing good and helping people. It is your folks on the left, in their pagan hearts, that allow an innocent child to be murdered because their father was a criminal.

Damu - please don't lower yourself to the mordant level of guys like dead eddy. I think you are better than that.

Read Ephesians instead of the Huffing and Puffington Post.

Strive to find truth. Remember it was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who said: "One word of truth outweighs the entire world."

Truth corresponds to reality, it is not subject to the whims of mankind. When we allow sophistry, superstition and sensationalism into our hearts, our view of reality is seriously affected.

Don't be that person Damu, that stares into the face of truth and fails to realize its identity.

Oh, least I forget, God loves you, and there is nothing you can do about it.

-- Posted by sameldridge on Sun, Dec 5, 2010, at 4:48 AM

Furthermore Deaddy - from The Christadelphia in the UK, I will give you this, although I doubt that you, in your advanced state of brainwashing, will gain much from it:

Man lives in a universe of cause and effect and the consequences of certain causes are inescapable. Fire burns, water drowns, disease germs destroy. These facts have moral implications. Men live in a universe in which the consequences of what they do are inescapable. Without this burden of 'natural law' man could do as he liked with impunity, and there would be no responsibility. God made the universe this way because He is a moral God who makes men responsible beings with freewill to choose how they will act.

Man's neglect and misuse of his own life has corrupted the stream of human life itself, and left evils which fall on succeeding generations. These, again as part of natural law, may manifest themselves as hereditary weaknesses and tendencies to disease.

Furthermore, using something as simple as a game of football as example, let me offer this. How could anyone experience true joy, without knowing true sadness? When the Saints won the Super Bowl last year, the joy of the Saints' fans was made greater because of the sadness experienced through the years the Saints were awful.

Thus, men strive to accomplish. It is the liberal mind that wishes to end accomplishments by ensuring what you would consider to be an acceptable outcome for all.

Most people who accomplish great things, went through some suffering, and that suffering motivated them to achieve.

Also, it was the mighty prophet, Pink Floyd, who sang: "So, so you think you can tell. Heaven from hell, blue skies from pain."

I don't think you could tell a cow pie from a bar of gold. All I hear from you is truculent flap doodle.

-- Posted by sameldridge on Sun, Dec 5, 2010, at 4:22 AM

Hey Deaddy - you act like you're ten years old.

But to answer your question: And it is an easy one to answer, I just pray that your hard heart and hard head can accept simple truth.

God allows suffering for the same reason that He allows you to be a moron. Do you suppose that a loving God would create pre programmed robots? Now that is what your god - government - would wish upon us all, but that is not love. Do you wish to be puppet, with some cosmic puppeteer pulling your strings?

Perhaps you would, because you let dead in the head liberal thought pull your strings. You, who would believe that everything evolved from nothing.

Could you, even with your limited capacity to think, agree that without choice, love would be meaningless?

Or perhaps the God that you would prefer would be some kind of religious rapist. A Creator that would force love against your will.

The fact is, there is suffering in the world mainly because you and I allow it. We could end most suffering, but for selfishness, greed, arrogance and stupidity.

In a universe where you and I are but specks in all of Creation, folks like you stand and shake your fists at a fantastic God, and dare to think that you have all the answers, when you know so very little.

-- Posted by sameldridge on Sun, Dec 5, 2010, at 3:52 AM

I'll second that emotion, Sam (to steal a phrase from and old song)!! I've traveled many of the same roads when I was trucking as well. We ARE truly blessed by an all powerful God to have such a beautiful country. Whatever the current administration tries to do to us, they can't take that away!!!

-- Posted by marcus elvis erogenous on Sat, Dec 4, 2010, at 12:55 PM

@Eddie Come on Man or Woman Jesus only cares if your white, look at the photos of the man. Snow white in a sea of brown!

-- Posted by Damu on Sat, Dec 4, 2010, at 10:00 AM

God Bless America!!!

-- Posted by orville on Fri, Dec 3, 2010, at 5:47 PM

Stop Thief, Stop Thief, Brian just stole my whole vocabulary. All I have left are my waving arms, and a big grin on my mug. Thanks for the implied complement, Brian.

Sam, you dood it again, reminded me of how many wonderful events and sights I have experienced and seen, over the years, but how little, compared to your travels, in this beautiful creation, God held back until after 1500. I sometimes feel we are trespassing on His private Garden, but Israel owns that one.

The first time my family and I were headed into Canada, to sight-see, and camp our way West, to where we could drop South to see the our families, before going on back to California for another tour of duty there; We stopped on top of the bluff (mistake number one), began enjoying the thrill of the sight, that extra clear day, and made mistake number two: we let the cat out of the car, to go do her thing. We then enjoyed the view for over two hours, waiting for the cat to re-find us, after what I presume to have been a very exciting, sight seeing tour of it's own. We didn't mind too much, (but!!).

Keep the shiny side pointing at the sun, at noon.

And, keep Thanking God. We all need do that more.

-- Posted by Navyblue on Fri, Dec 3, 2010, at 5:20 PM

Amen to all you have pointed out. Friends and I take off each summer on our motorcycles and see different parts of the country. We are truly blessed to be surrounded my such beauty.

-- Posted by Keda46 on Fri, Dec 3, 2010, at 3:21 PM

Very nice post. Thanks for sharing.

-- Posted by BuffRoam on Fri, Dec 3, 2010, at 2:04 PM

Good article Sam!!!

-- Posted by Geezer on Fri, Dec 3, 2010, at 1:26 PM

Love this, Dad - thanks for the positive words and for reminding us how truly blessed we are to live in such a beautiful country.

-- Posted by joyfulone01 on Fri, Dec 3, 2010, at 11:47 AM

AMEN!! :-)

-- Posted by MrsSmith on Fri, Dec 3, 2010, at 8:25 AM

Before Arley get's started...

Yeee-Haaa!!! and AMEN Lord Jesus.

Wonderful blog Sam.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Fri, Dec 3, 2010, at 8:03 AM

Thanks, Sam

"And God saw that it was good."

-- Posted by newdawn on Fri, Dec 3, 2010, at 6:25 AM


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