Friday, December 14, 2007

Comment from Heather

I thought this comment needed its own post. And, I just want to say that if everyone asked questions with, what seems like, this sort of genuine curiosity...I'd answer these questions a hundred times.
Heather Nardell said...
I'm a Seventh Day Adventist. People might
wander why I read this blog and other atheist blog people. I don't know why I
do.

Hi Heather,
Welcome to the blog! I don't think people will wonder why you read here. There are several theists who read and enjoy the conversations here. You don't need a reason to be appreciated.

I don't agree with you for sure.

That's cool. Odds are - I won't see eye to eye with everyone in any number of topics/subjects.

I mean how can you think there is no God? I don't even remember a
time when I might not have believed in our wonderful father in heaven.

How can you think there is no Tooth Fairy? How can you think there is no Zeus? How can you think there is no Allah? It really *is* the same sort of question. Just because you believe in something and want it to exist does not automatically make it real. And, conversely, just because I *don't* believe doesn't make it unreal. What we want (or don't want) doesn't really change reality unless we allow what we want to trump what is true/provable. I can believe that you're very sincere in your claim that you can't remember ever NOT believing in a God. That's pretty standard. If you've been raised in a particular faith, then it's not surprising that you follow that faith and leave it unquestioned. I mean, unless there was some impetus to change or desire to investigate, what would be the motivation for not believing in what everyone, especially as a child, had to say? There's comfort in holding onto the status quo and staying with what you know. Unfortunately, what I found, was that it was a very stagnant existence. There's merit in investigating any claim(s) you hold dear.

Were you not instructed in Him? Have you prayed to receive God in your
heart?

I actually was "instructed in Him". Perhaps you've not gone back far enough, nor listened to the podcasts, where I talk about my childhood? I don't want to let this get too verbose, but I would recommend that you go back to the archives and read about my Catholic up-bringing. :) The short answer is: I went to religious education and mass quite often between the ages of 5 and 18. And, I never prayed to receive God because I believed he was already there. And, especially as a Catholic, you're taught to receive God during the eucharist...not in prayer.

The atheists I know want to make Him tangible so they can reject
Him. I understand that.

Really? I'm not sure you do. For, you see, atheists don't want to make God tangible. Our will has no effect on what is...or, in this case, what isn't. If two hundred Christians sat in a room and insisted there was a unicorn, so they could deny the existence of the unicorn, then I'd find their pursuit to be pointless. In the same way, you won't find an atheist who builds up a god just to deny it. We deny a deity because there's no reason to believe there is a God. And, most of us see no proof or evidence to support the existence of a deity (let alone the Christian version of God). I reject the idea promoted by Christians because they bring nothing but subjective tales and unverifiable claims to the table. *thinks* So... I suspect that you haven't really asked any of your atheist buddies how they feel about their atheism. Because, if you had, then I wouldn't have expected to see you claim.

But what if He is beyond you or your perception?
I'm not sure I understand what you're asking.
If a God is "beyond" a human, then that deity is already in opposition to your position that that same God can be "of" a human. And, I will honestly say that my perceptions don't define reality. But...neither do yours. Furthermore, what would be the point of a deity, who is fond of rules, being beyond the perception of any human?

High frequency sounds are beyond my perception...but, I can watch a dog and see that they respond to sounds I can't hear. I can read about sound waves and perform some simple experiments to show that, although I can't hear the frequence, it is occuring. There are multiple ways to verify this phenomena that's beyond my ability to perceive. Does that make sense? Basically, if a deity really existed, but was operating just beyond our perception, we should STILL see some sort of scientific or emperical evidence of that deity's existence.

Do you believe in only things you see or touch?

No. I believe that it's likely that there's a crab in the Bering Sea despite the fact that I can neither see nor touch it. I believe that you exist, despite the fact that I can neither see nor touch you. I even believe that your church (the building) exists despite the fact that I can neither see nor touch it. The problem with the deity proposal is that we can't even rely on the testimony of others to help us verify that the deity exists because there's nothing tangible they can bring back that would hold up to scientific or critical scrutiny. Do you have a picture of God? Not a painting of someone's INTERPRETATION, but...an actual snap shot? Do you have his phone number, not a prayer line or a priest, where I can call God and verify his existence? Do you even have a number of someone who has this kind of evidence that you know of? Has God ever done anything in this world that can't be explained by other causes? Are their truly miracles that can't possibly, ever, ever, ever be explained by natural law or verifiable data? And, most importantly, why do you not demand some sort of evidence from God that he/she/it is doing all of the things you believe it to be doing? Why not demand the return of Madeleine McCann and, just so we know it's God, the delivery of her to her parents upon the backs of a creature so different from the creatures we know on this earth that it would have to be sent by something OUTSIDE this realm? Why not demand that God grow back an amputated leg? Certainly, for an all-powerful and all-knowing deity, these would be very simple things to do. Yet,...it doesn't happen.

How does this happen?

How does what happen? Atheism? Well, generally, someone with a belief that was passed on to them by the parents or culture starts to ask for evidence (see above). They start to apply the same critical thinking and logical judgement to ALL things: including religion. And, in some cases, a person comes upon some sort of evidence that the story just doesn't add up. It's not a disease or a mental illness. Atheism isn't a punishment or a reward.

You seem very angry about catholicism and cynical about God. I think you have cause to be mad at catholics.

I am very angry about some things done by people in the Catholic Church. I'm angry that children are taught to see a priets or a pope as something more than human. I'm angry that the sustainability of the "Church" takes precedence over the constraints of morality and responsibility to humanity. I'm angry that people want to give the organization a pass. Also, I'm not sure if you understand the true meaning of cynicism. Cynics don't believe in things like altruism, human value, or sincerity. To the contrary, I embrace these qualities. Ironically, the Catholic Church, and many other churches, act cynically more than most atheists. Think about how they question how altruism or good will could exists without a deity. If that's not cynicism towards humanity, then I don't know what is.

I'm not mad or trying to be judgemental because I think you are a good
mom and good person. I don't know how you can not believe I guess.

Well, maybe the above answers will help you move towards understanding.

Why are you so cynical about the kids who do Bible based science
projects? I don't understand your motivation. Does it matter what they
do?

I'm not cynical (see above)...I'm skeptical. The Bible is not science. It is, arguably, art. It is literature. Because it's art/literature, it can make claims without backing them up with evidence and it can operate from a point of suspended reality. Science can't do that. Scientists can't do that. And, ironically, I would have absolutely no problem with someone who used the Bible as the basis for a question or hypothesis. My irritation emerges when they operate in reverse mode...trying to find science that fits their theology and ignoring everything else. If you go into an experiment, even a child's science fair project, with the knowledge that, whatever the outcome, there is one and only cause for the outcome, then you're screwed. You have to be open to all possibilities. Too many theists that I've seen in these science fair projects start with the presumption that the Bible already has all the answers and it's their job to jam the puzzle pieces in until it fits...AND, unlike real scientists, they believe that they're above logical explanations or criticism regarding their outcomes, methods, or ideas. If the child had wanted to do a study about what woods would make the most sturdy vessel, given the demands of the biblical tale, then that would be an experiment. If they wanted to study the physics and load capabilities of a particular ship shape, then that's great, too. Do you see the difference?

Do you think it's impossible to be smart if you believe?

No. But, I think it's near impossible to call yourself an objective and unbiased learner if you believe. I think it's hard for some theists to accept the fact that there aren't always easy answers.

That is what turns me off of atheists and I want to like you.

What turns you off atheists? Your idea that we think we're better or smarter? That's, frankly, not an atheist issue - it's yours. It's YOUR perception and all I can do is continue to operate from a position of honesty and sincerity. I hope you like me, but it's not required that you do so. It's also not required that we agree on everything to have a friendship.

I'm an expatriot living in Australia. I have read Sean's blog and found
you. Sean does not have children it seems, so I wanted to ask you these
things.Don't you believe your children are blessings?

Do I believe my children are blessings? Hrm.... *thinks*. I do, but probably not in the way you're thinking. Something good (a "blessing") doesn't need a supernatural cause to be something desirable or good or even awesome. I'm very happy that my children are the people they are and that they have qualities that endear them to me. I'm very happy that I was lucky enough to have four (of seven) pregnancies that pushed through the rigors of conception, implantation, development, and birth. I have my miscarriages and still birth to make me appreciate just how fragile we all once were. But, at the same time, I take comfort in knowing that the majority of children on this earth exist because they were genetically strong enough to pass through all of those hurdles. So...am I blessed? Absolutely. I'm blessed by genetics. I'm blessed by circumstance. I'm blessed by the connections that I have with friends and family. I'm blessed by a lot of things...but, God isn't one of them.

Do you feel bad for taking credit away from God for them?

Huh? There's no God to take credit away from. If I believed, would I get to blame God for the fact that my eldest was born with a potentially fatal kidney disease that necessitated multiple surgeries before her fifth birthday? Or, would genetics, or environment, get the blame? Would my son's heart condition be considered a gift from God? If so, then that's kind of screwed up. Science gave me more time with my children. It gave them their life back. I don't thank God that they lived...I thank the ingenuity of surgeons and scientists who decided that they had power to do something when God would not. They found that they had the power to heal. Surely, if your God existed, he would have a better survival rate than an electrophysio surgery to diminish the death toll of Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome or bilateral hydronephrosis with grace V reflux. But, history doesn't bare that out. If it weren't for science...if I only depended on God, my eldest two children would be dead. Where was your deity fifty years ago...when these MEDICAL and SCIENTIFIC solutions didn't exist?
They are wonderful children by all evidence. You don't think God
had something to do with that?Sincerely in friendship,Heather

No. I don't.

Thanks for your comments, Heather. I hope you come back and post some more.

43 comments:

Mark said...

"The atheists I know want to make Him tangible so they can reject
Him."

Either Heather doesn't actually know any atheists or the ones she knows are making fun of her.

"I understand that."

It makes sense that we should want God to be real in order to reject him? Personally I would be horrified if he turned out to be real, because then I'd have this terrible fear of an omnipotent, omnipresent sociopath looming over us.

phewd said...

"The atheists I know want to make Him tangible so they can reject
Him."


Heather should read George H. Smith's "Atheism: The Case Against God." to see why this is not the case.

The Music Won't Stop said...

Looks like Heather was fed the same kind of uninformed dribble I was given when I was a wee Baptist trying to understand the evil non-believers.

I believed in god because I was raised to believe in god. I was told not to question what I was taught. You don't question your elders, your pastor, or your Bible. I was told that it was a sin to explore other ideas, other religions, that if I did I would become "tainted". I was raised to believe that all opposing ideas were the work of the devil. I was very naive.

I prayed to him every day and night. I was "saved". I, unlike many Christians, read my entire Bible cover-to-cover, not once, not twice, but three times in a row, and studied it in Church, with my family (we held weekly Bible studies), and on my own time, for many, many years.

Believe it or not, it was the Baptist church itself, my own pastor, who turned me away from organized religion, and after many years of struggling with myself and my beliefs, I became agnostic. I am now happy to say I am an atheist.

"The atheists I know want to make Him tangible so they can reject Him. I understand that."

No you don't. How can we reject something that does not exist? This is a common misconception and lie that theists use as a weak arguement against atheist beliefs (or non-beliefs, as it were). By saying atheist "reject" god, they can cry persecution and use it as an excuse to reject and hate those who do not share their beliefs.

"I don't know how you can not believe I guess."

When I was still clinging to my religion, I met my husband, who was and is an atheist. When you believe in something with all your heart, when you build your entire existance and reality around this thing, it is very hard to step away from your comfortable little bubble and see the world from someone else's perspective. But you really should try. Walk a mile in my shoes, as they say, and maybe you'll find it a little easier to understand where we're coming from.

I am also a mother of two children. I do not and have never considered them "blessings". They are beautiful and wonderful and I love them more than anything, but they are the product of sperm meeting egg, just like every other animal on this planet. I do not consider a feat that every species has mastered over millions of years a "miracle", and I certainly won't credit a god for it.

PipesUp said...

Hi Heather. Hope that PMomma doesn't mind if I add my own comments on my atheism to her own, very thorough post.

You write: I mean how can you think there is no God? I don't even remember a time when I might not have believed in our wonderful father in heaven.

For me, the idea of gods - any gods - existing evaporated when I realised just one fact: Over the thousands of years of our history, scores of actions that were once attributed to a god (thunder, plagues, leprosy, the annual seasons, pregnancy, earthquakes, the phases of the Moon etc) were all eventually found to have perfectly natural and explainable causes. However, in all that time, not a single scientific explanation, backed up by research and observation, has ever been supplanted by proof of it being the work of a god. In other words, the more we learn for ourselves, the less we have to fall back on wild unpredictability of the supernatural.

Can you even imagine how silly I'd look if I were to stand on a street corner and claim that electricity (for example) was actually God's Little Tingle, harnessed for the good of his flock, to run their blessed clock radios? Maybe two- or three-hundred years ago, I could have persuaded the ignorant, but in the 21st Century? I'd be scheduled by the authorities and put away for observation! ;-)

It seems silly *now* because we have enough experience to know what electricity really is, and how it works. We no longer need a god to explain it.

When people tell me that they "know" that their god really exists, what I actually hear is "I like the comfort of thinking I have the answers, rather than admitting we don't know the facts yet".

Speaking as myself, and not for any other atheists, I don't presume to judge anyone as less clever than me because they prefer comfort over fact, but I do itch to ask them: "Which god would that be? Jullunggul? Baki? Ah Chuy Kak? Legba? Tekkeitsertok?"

Though that list is just a small handful of the gods that people have made up to explain the workings of the world, most Christians would claim those gods aren't real... that they're "false". But if someone else's god -- usually a magic man in the sky who hears the thoughts of humans and does mysterious things for his own reasons (Sound familiar?) -- doesn't exist to you, how can I take seriously the existence of your god?

Heather, thanks for being broadminded enough to read even those blogs and ideas that seem repellent to you. I think it's a proud human trait to want to know the facts.

Best regards,

PipesUp

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Hi Heather,

Are you close to my location. I would be only too happy to let you see in person how one Atheist conducts their lives, or answer any questions.

Anonomouse said...

Why do they want to give God all the credit when something good happens? When something bad occurs, its all just a "test".

Russ said...

Heather asked: I mean how can you think there is no God?

The other commenters here have made so many good points that I have little to offer aside from some observations which for me make rejecting belief in a god fully justified.

One is the Problem of Evil. Here's a link to an article about it.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil). If there was a god that cared at all for its children, as claimed in the Bible, my brothers and sisters in the human community would not be dying by the tens of thousands per day from war, disease, starvation, dehydration, etc. A great many are children who are in these circumstances through no fault of their own. In the vast slums of the world where millions and millions of the least fortunate can be found, gods are a no-show. By itself the Problem of Evil is sufficient reason for a thinking person to reject theism.

Another sufficient reason for rejecting theism is the fact that people the world over say the same things about meditation and prayer. This tells the thinking person that the experiences the religious describe are not related in any way to religion-specific claims like Jesus being divine or holy books being written by deities. The consistency of their experiences throughout the human community while they attribute them to differing entities, clearly tells us that what they describe results from normal human neurology, not deities, prophets, ghosts or demons.

Rejecting theism is also very easy if one simply takes an honest look at the state of affairs in the world. Not one of the more than 1000 gods actively worshipped today is influencing mankind for the better. Most notably, none of those gods is doing anything for those who believe in them. Comparing the lives of believers with those of non-believers shows us that belief or faith or religious practice does not make a person more loving, caring, concerned, or compassionate; and, believers do not have better health, higher incomes, more education, or any indicator whatsoever that something exists that both hears and responds to their prayers.

SecularEarth.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ShadesOfGrey said...

This post, and the comments, remind me of why I love your blog (and am bummed to be too busy to read it all the time).

I think it'd be great if you could compile all of it - posts and comments - and have it published as book (has someone already asked about that?). Armed with that and The God Delusion, I may be able to fend off pushy theist relatives.

Atheists rock!!

Russ said...

Hi again, Heather,
I thought of you as I read this post by a scholar, John Loftus, who abandoned Christianity and theism after much honest intellectual effort to reconcile his doubts.

I hope this is helpful.

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2007/12/summary-of-my-case-against-christianity.html

Heather said...

Oh man. I didn't expect the response I got. Thank you for putting that kind of time in.
How can you think there is no Tooth Fairy? etcetera
I don't think it's the same thing. Do you really think it is? The tooth fairy is just a silly fantasy. I have never laid eyes on a two thousand year old book about the tooth fairy. Zeus has to be wrong because of the more than one god. Allah might be the same as the Christian god, no?
If you've been raised in a particular faith, then it's not surprising that you follow that faith and leave it unquestioned.
I have questioned my faith. I ask questions and study my Bible. Faith isn't what we know by learning, it's what we believe even when it may sound impossible.
Do you understand me?

There's comfort in holding onto the status quo and staying with what you know. Unfortunately, what I found, was that it was a very stagnant existence. There's merit in investigating any claim(s) you hold dear.

No it's not stagnant because we can grow in the presense of Christ our Lord. It seems to me like atheists gave up on God because if they read the Bible then how could they leave it? It's beauty and purpose are not things I'd choose to leave behind even if it were boring like you say. The "status quo", as you say, is not always bad. No?

Perhaps you've not gone back far enough, nor listened to the podcasts, where I talk about my childhood?
I will have do that.

I went to religious education almost every day of my life from the age of four to fourteen. And, I never prayed to receive God because I believed he was already there.
Do you believe that you maybe didn't ask God to come to your heart and that's why you're an atheist? I'm sure if you invited him in he would come.

If two hundred Christians sat in a room and insisted there was a unicorn, so they could deny the existence of the unicorn, then I'd find their pursuit to be pointless.
Ok but what if the unicorn really was there but blended in to the room so good you couldn't see it. The unicorn is there but you want to ignore it. It wouldn't be "pointless" for me to describe the unicorn so you could learn to see it. That's what we are supposed to do to people we love in Christ.

I reject the idea promoted by Christians because they bring nothing but subjective tales and unverifiable claims to the table.
I think this is rude. I bring myself to the table and that's something. My claims are verifiable because you can ask everyone in my church if they believe the same thing. Are you saying their claim doesn't count?

I can see God in the miracles around me.

If a God is "beyond" a human, then that deity is already in opposition to your position that that same God can be "of" a human.
No I don't think so. God is everything. He's beyond and near and big and small and obvious and hidden. He is boundless. God isn't like us.

Why not demand the return of Madeleine McCann and, just so we know it's God, the delivery of her to her parents upon the backs of a creature so different from the creatures we know on this earth that it would have to be sent by something OUTSIDE this realm?
That would be a bad use of his power. He has other things more important like making little Madeleine feel comfort in her afterlife and being with her parents. He gives us challenges to help us learn and grow in Him, to trust in him. It's we that owe him not him that owes us a proof.

Why not demand that God grow back an amputated leg?
I believe God gives us trials to help us grow in his trust.

They start to apply the same critical thinking and logical judgement to ALL things: including religion.
Do you judge all people by one person's behavior? Why is it bad to have different ways of judging?

Think about how they question how altruism or good will could exists without a deity. If that's not cynicism towards humanity, then I don't know what is.

We should be cynical about people because people are imperfect. God is perfect.

The Bible is not science.
Its not a science book but it is the word of God and since God is the creator why shouldn't we look to the Bible for guidance on science?

My irritation emerges when they operate in reverse mode...trying to find science that fits their theology and ignoring everything else. If you go into an experiment, even a child's science fair project, with the knowledge that, whatever the outcome, there is one and only cause for the outcome, then you're screwed.
Scientists look for their experiments to build up their conclusion all the time! If you don't start with an idea of what you want to happen then why would you do a test. Say you want to solve cancer. Why would you do resarech on airplanes if you want to cure cancer? I see your words as eletist. There are lots of christians who are scientists - are they all wrong?

No. But, I think it's near impossible to call yourself an objective and unbiased learner if you believe. I think it's hard for some theists to accept the fact that there aren't always easy answers.

This is snobby.

What turns you off atheists?
All of this. You think you are smarter. Atheists act like the people around them are to stupid to make choices or do progressive things. The atheists I know act like religion is something old and unneeded by modern man. I feel that they see religious people as cavemen. I get angry to see atheists talk about all the bad things christians do and ignoring what good we do.

I'm blessed by a lot of things...but, God isn't one of them.

Why are you so stubborn about not giving God some credit?

Would my son's heart condition be considered a gift from God?
Yes, it's not screwed up at all. God knew you were a good mom and could handle your sick babies. Should he have given them to a woman who wouldn't take care of them or you? He has to put sick people in the world to make us learn health and sacrifice. Since he has to do it, he gives to those who can shoulder it with dignity. The pain of your children served a purpose to teach doctors and give them experience. It's all part of a plan.

john said...

I don't think it's the same thing. Do you really think it is?
its not the same. p-momma is trying to equate the power and glory of god with a tooth fairy because she has to use stupid claims like that to try to confuse you. it is satan operating through her to trip you up. be strong.

No it's not stagnant because we can grow in the presense of Christ our Lord.
AMEN. the people here are stuck in a muddy pool of lies and deception. they don't want to grow in the savior they want to test HIM.

watch out heather. calling pmomma snobby gets you a visit from authorities. i would leave now while you have a chance.

God is everything. He's beyond and near and big and small and obvious and hidden. He is boundless. God isn't like us.

isn't it amazing? too bad pmomma and her band of atheists will forever be denied his glory due to the sin in their heart.

Fishwood Loach said...

It seems your old friend has returned.

The polite conversation was nice while it lasted.

Poodles said...

Heather said:

"No it's not stagnant because we can grow in the presense of Christ our Lord. It seems to me like atheists gave up on God because if they read the Bible then how could they leave it?"

Just speaking for myself, but from reading others coming out stories, I would venture to guess many atheists have the same experience, my journey to atheism began by reading the bible, and not just the parts my church told me to. I became an atheist by trying to become a better catholic.

James said...

Its not a science book but it is the word of God and since God is the creator why shouldn't we look to the Bible for guidance on science?

If this were true, then we would be able to reproduce what the Bible says in real life. We'd be able to do it again elsewhere.

And this is not even close to covering the contradictions that the Bible is full of.


All of this. You think you are smarter. Atheists act like the people around them are to stupid to make choices or do progressive things. The atheists I know act like religion is something old and unneeded by modern man. I feel that they see religious people as cavemen. I get angry to see atheists talk about all the bad things christians do and ignoring what good we do.

You do have to admit something, though. Atheists never killed anybody in the name of their god or gods. Religion, and to be specific, Christianity and Islam for example, has been used as an excuse to kill millions of people throughout time.

You're right in that religious people do good things, but for most, it is because they feel they are directed to do so by their religious leader(pastor, preist, pope, etc.) or because they read it in the Bible or Koran or whatever material they use. If I or any other Atheist were to do good things, they would be doing it because they wanted to, not because they were directed to.

Jack said...

Heather wrote:
"How can you think there is no Tooth Fairy? etcetera
I don't think it's the same thing. Do you really think it is? The tooth fairy is just a silly fantasy."

There is just as much evidence for the tooth fairy as there is for any of the thousands of gods that men have invented.

"I have never laid eyes on a two thousand year old book about the tooth fairy."

What does this have to do with the existence or non-existence of the tooth fairy?

"Zeus has to be wrong because of the more than one god."

Could you please elaborate on this claim?

While you're elaborating, could you please define exactly what you mean by the term "god" and provide any objective evidence for the existence of such an entity? I am an atheist, in part, because no one has ever answered either of these questions with a non-contradictory definition or any objective evidence whatsoever.

I do hope you have the time to reply. I'm genuinely interested in your response.

Jack

aimee said...

James, and everyone else, you might be interested in this video by a guy called "Skeptic Antidote" on what he calls "Atheist Atrocities", there is a three part series in response to it by an Athesit. It is a little long, but has some good points. If nothing else, watch the video in part 1.

http://fpffressminds.blogspot.com/

Berlzebub said...

How can you think there is no Tooth Fairy? etcetera
I don't think it's the same thing. Do you really think it is? The tooth fairy is just a silly fantasy. I have never laid eyes on a two thousand year old book about the tooth fairy. Zeus has to be wrong because of the more than one god. Allah might be the same as the Christian god, no?

The only difference between the Tooth Fairy and God/Jesus, is that someone wrote it down 2,000+ years ago. Actually, the Bible, as you know it, wasn't compiled until over 300 years later. They also edited it to not include some gospels. So, the Bible you read, and study, may not contain everything that it should.

My irritation emerges when they operate in reverse mode...trying to find science that fits their theology and ignoring everything else. If you go into an experiment, even a child's science fair project, with the knowledge that, whatever the outcome, there is one and only cause for the outcome, then you're screwed.
Scientists look for their experiments to build up their conclusion all the time! If you don't start with an idea of what you want to happen then why would you do a test. Say you want to solve cancer. Why would you do resarech on airplanes if you want to cure cancer? I see your words as eletist. There are lots of christians who are scientists - are they all wrong?

The words aren't elitist, Heather. They are only honest. The reason you wouldn't study airplanes to cure cancer is airplanes have nothing to do with biology. In order to find a cure for cancer, you'd have to study cancer.

However, and this is what you seem to misunderstand, you can't start with expecting the results of an experiment to go one way or another. This is what they call confirmation bias.

Taking what you know, you form a hypothesis. Then, you figure out how to test that hypothesis. Here's the thing that most people don't understand. Instead of making an experiment that will prove you right, you make one that can prove you wrong. So, if the results of the experiment come out proving your hypothesis incorrect, you toss out the hypothesis, and come up with a new one. If the results come out supporting your hypothesis, then other scientists will take your experiment and try to reproduce it. Eventually, if enough other scientists get the same results, the hypothesis becomes a theory. However, if another scientist finds a problem with your theory that you can't refute, then you have to start over.

This is a simplified explanation, but this is how science works. All theories are reproducable, falsifiable, and predictive. If it fails to meet any of those criteria, then it cannot be a theory.

A scientist can be religious, and not just a Christian. They just have to realize that the results they may come up with might not support their beliefs.

No. But, I think it's near impossible to call yourself an objective and unbiased learner if you believe. I think it's hard for some theists to accept the fact that there aren't always easy answers.

This is snobby.

Again, not snobby (or elitist), only honest. Sometimes, the answers aren't what we want them to be. I consider it dishonest, or snobby, to ignore any evidence that doesn't support what you want reality to be. (See section (D) 6 here.)

What turns you off atheists?
All of this. You think you are smarter. Atheists act like the people around them are to stupid to make choices or do progressive things. The atheists I know act like religion is something old and unneeded by modern man. I feel that they see religious people as cavemen. I get angry to see atheists talk about all the bad things christians do and ignoring what good we do.

And I get angry at theists lumping all atheists together, and calling us elitist, snobby, etc. You apparently don't know very many atheists. My wife is actually Roman Catholic. So, if all atheists were that way, how could I still be married.

I don't see the religious as cavemen (or cavewomen). At most, the religious remind me of those from the dark ages, when there were few if any advances to health, science, or civilization.

I also know that there are many good things that religion does. However, I don't agree with its restrictions. If the religious helped everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, or religion, then I could agree more with what they do. However, that a group of people care more about what two consenting adults, of the same gender, want to do in the bedroom, than other much more troubling issues, such as the homeless, etc., is why I have no respect for religion.

I'm blessed by a lot of things...but, God isn't one of them.

Why are you so stubborn about not giving God some credit?

Give credit where credit is due, Heather.

She's not being stubbor, Heather. Like the rest of us, she doesn't believe in a deity to give credit to. The world around me works exactly as I would expect it to if there was/were no god(s). So, I'll give credit to those who deserve it. The doctors who save lives, the scientists who work on finding cures and innoculations against disease, and the other people who help those in need.

One thing I've noticed, through all of this, is that you've never mentioned having any atheist friends. Ironically, nearly everyone, if not everyone, who visits this blog probably has religious friends. If our lives were as miserable, as you seem to want to think, or we were so hard to get along with, there would very few people for us to talk to. At first, I thought, like P-Momma apparently did, that you were actually interested in talking to, and trying to understand, those of non-belief. However, your responses, and insults, seem to point out otherwise.

I'm very sorry that you are either unwilling or unable to have an intelligent conversation with us about our non-belief. If you were, you might actually be able to talk to people about the viewpoints of your atheist friends.

Paul said...

My claims are verifiable because you can ask everyone in my church if they believe the same thing. Are you saying their claim doesn't count?

Correct. Claims without evidence do not count. Otherwise why should we believe in your God and not Zeus or Shiva or Xenu?

You can't go through life believing every claim you hear. You'd be broke from purchasing products advertised on infomercials for a start ;).

Regarding "the miracles around [you]," I have never seen a miracle. I'd like to, as they sound rather impressive.

Do you believe that you maybe didn't ask God to come to your heart and that's why you're an atheist? I'm sure if you invited him in he would come.

I've tried, back when I was a believer. I felt like I was the only one in the church who couldn't feel his love. It hurt to feel so alone, and I wanted very badly to understand what everyone else was talking about, but it never came to me. Did I not pray hard enough? Was God angry at me?

I'm sorry you see the equation of your god with the tooth fairy as snobby or elitist, but it really is the same to most of us. Explaining it in those terms is often the easiest way to get our point across. Sometimes softening the wording can hurt your message.

FSMismyhero said...

Re: Paul

Heather: "Do you believe that you maybe didn't ask God to come to your heart and that's why you're an atheist? I'm sure if you invited him in he would come."

"I've tried, back when I was a believer. I felt like I was the only one in the church who couldn't feel his love. It hurt to feel so alone, and I wanted very badly to understand what everyone else was talking about, but it never came to me. Did I not pray hard enough? Was God angry at me?"


Paul, I actually had the exact opposite experience when I was a believer. I accepted christ and felt "god's love". I understood what all the other people were talking about. (of course I was a child at the time) As I entered adolescence, I began to realize that I was highly suggestible. As in if someone said.."ohh I feel the presence of the holy spirit in this room", then I suddenly felt it too. Once I realized that, I paid much more attention to when and where I felt "god's love" and quickly stopped feeling it at all. It wasn't difficult to come to the conclusion that he was never there at all, it was just my mind fabricating the experience. I'm guessing that the reason you never felt anything when you were a believer is because you are more honest with, and aware of yourself than most people. I find it extremely interesting that although we both had very different experiences as believers, we came to the same conclusion. :)

Thranil said...

Hi Heather,

I have questioned my faith. I ask questions and study my Bible. Faith isn't what we know by learning, it's what we believe even when it may sound impossible.
Do you understand me?


That's not exactly what is meant by "questioning your faith". Let me give you an example of the difference:

When I was a born-again evangelical christian, I studied the bible constantly and spent much of my time at church. I was constantly seeking to be closer to god... but the closer that I tried to be to god, the further away he felt to me. Eventually things started going badly for me in my life and I felt like I couldn't talk to anyone at church about it because when I did they would say that I just needed to be closer to god. Maybe you can imagine how discouraging this would have felt? I finally had to abandon my church/community and start working on fixing the problems in my life using more conventional tools (i.e. therapy).

It wasn't until the birth of my third child when my sister-in-law came to help out when I started to REALLY question my beliefs. I knew that christianity didn't work for me before, but here was my SIL trying to convince me to come back to the fold. This motivated me enough to finally investigate the claims of christianity/the bible.

I spent MONTHS pouring over all of the material I could find regarding the accuracy of biblical claims, apologetics, counter-apologetics, etc. I took in all arguments from both sides, and I took them very seriously. I knew that if Christianity was true, then I needed to find a way to reconcile my previous negative experience so that I could come back to god.

The kicker is that through investigating the claims, I not only left christianity for good, but I embraced atheism. It's like Stephen Roberts said:

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

I already disbelieved in all the other gods people worship, so when I let go of the christian god, it was just the next logical step to become an Atheist.

Now how does tie in to the original statement you made? Well, I gather from your post that the only type of 'questioning' that you have done is akin to the 'questioning' that I did when I was studying the bible and attending church regularly. The 'questioning' that I, as an atheist, ask for you to engage in is more akin to the 'questioning' that I did when I thoroughly investigated the claims of christianity and the bible. Of course, to truthfully engage in this type of questioning, you must be willing to let go of your god if your investigation sufficiently proves to you that your god does not exist.

But hey, think of it this way: What better faith builder can there be than to truly investigate the bible and the claims of christianity? As you learn you will need mountains of faith to continue being a christian... either that or you will no longer want to continue holding onto your faith and discard it. You can't lose!

The Music Won't Stop said...

"The tooth fairy is just a silly fantasy. I have never laid eyes on a two thousand year old book about the tooth fairy. Zeus has to be wrong because of the more than one god."

How typical. The tooth faery is a fantasy. God is a fantasy. All gods are fantasies. Your god has a book. Other gods have books. And churches. And temples. There are many religions whose proof existed long before yours. What makes yours so special? And any mention of the Bible, the Truth, or the One True God invalidates your answer. Your fuzzy feelings are not proof.


"Faith isn't what we know by learning, it's what we believe even when it may sound impossible."

Blind faith is ignorance at best. If you're not looking to other sources and willing to open yourself to opposing points of view, you are questioning nothing, and finding only the answers you WANT to find.


"It seems to me like atheists gave up on God because if they read the Bible then how could they leave it?"

I did read the Bible. I lived by it for the first 20 years of my life. I asked God to come into my heart, and I believed he was there. I "felt" the Lord around me when I prayed. I gave him cedit for all the good things that happened in my life. You'll find that many, many, many atheists come from religious backgrounds, and some of them were exactly as you are now.


"My claims are verifiable because you can ask everyone in my church if they believe the same thing. Are you saying their claim doesn't count?"

My claims are verifiable because you can ask everyone in my book club if they think God is a faery tale, and they'll all say he is. Are you saying their claim doesn't count?


"Its not a science book but it is the word of God and since God is the creator why shouldn't we look to the Bible for guidance on science?"

Because it's been proven to be incorrect on a great many things.


"Why are you so stubborn about not giving God some credit?"

BECAUSE HE DOESN'T EXIST.


Why is that when someone gives you an answer you don't want to hear, you label them snobby, rude, and elitist?

Saurian200 said...

I don't think it's the same thing. Do you really think it is? The tooth fairy is just a silly fantasy.

Speaking as an atheist, yes, I do think it’s the same thing. I think that for one very specific reason, they are both unsupported. Hence, I reject your claim that a god exists for the same reason that I reject the idea that the tooth fairy exists.

I have never laid eyes on a two thousand year old book about the tooth fairy.

So, what? The age of a belief has no relevance as to whether it is true or not.

You are committing an error called the argumentum ad antiquitatem. Consider that there are religious texts and ideas much older then those of your religion. Yet, you completely reject them. So, why do you bring up the fact that the tooth fairy idea isn’t as old. It has no relevance and it doesn’t rebut the claim that the two ideas are similar.

Zeus has to be wrong because of the more than one god.

Non Sequitur. Why can’t there be more than one god? There is nothing I am aware of about the concept of a god that requires there to only be one.

Allah might be the same as the Christian god, no?

For an outsider like me, the differences between the Christian and Islamic gods are minor, but to many believers the differences are major.

For example, Muslims reject the idea of a trinity. They believe that accepting the trinity is akin to worshipping a false god. Many Christians however, believe that if you reject the trinity then you are worshipping a false god.

Take from that what you will.

I have questioned my faith. I ask questions and study my Bible.

Interesting, what kind of questions? How do you go about studying your bible?

Faith isn't what we know by learning, it's what we believe even when it may sound impossible.
Do you understand me?


I both understand and agree. That is one of the many reasons I reject faith as a viable tool for learning or gathering information. If it sounds impossible, then why believe it? If you have valid reasons, you don’t need faith.

Faith gives us no tools for separating false beliefs from true believes. It is quite literally, “anything goes”.

To be blunt, faith is just wishful thinking, nothing more.

No it's not stagnant because we can grow in the presense of Christ our Lord.

Sounds pretty, but does it actually mean anything?

It seems to me like atheists gave up on God because if they read the Bible then how could they leave it?

And how many atheists have you met? How many have you talked this over with? I could be wrong, but I sincerely doubt it was enough to make this kind of statement. In which case you have committed a Hasty Generalization.

Furthermore you are also committing an Appeal to Motive. Even if atheists have bad motives for what they believe that doesn’t mean they are wrong. To get anywhere in a discussion it is important to focus on the claims being made not the person or people making them.

The "status quo", as you say, is not always bad. No?

True, however, it is not always good either and it shouldn’t be held just because it is the status quo. It is important to know when to move on and more importantly to be willing to do so.

I will have do that.

You should. It would have probably answered the next question.

Do you believe that you maybe didn't ask God to come to your heart and that's why you're an atheist? I'm sure if you invited him in he would come.

She did. I did. Virtually all the atheists I have ever talked to have tried it. Sure there are plenty who haven’t. The point though is, that there are many who have tried it and nothing happened.

Remember, there are a lot of atheists who were religious before losing faith. There are many who have tried Christianity (and numerous other religions) but simply haven’t been convinced. Yes, a few just haven’t tried it, but only a few.

Ok but what if the unicorn really was there but blended in to the room so good you couldn't see it.

There are many other ways to detect an animal as large as a horse other than seeing it. We can touch it (or bump into it), we can smell it (if it’s not a very clean unicorn), we can hear it moving around and breathing, or we can see the effects of the animal like the sudden appearance of hose droppings. We can also run tests for the animal, like having a line of people stretching across the room and moving from one side of the room to the other to see if they run into anything. We can leave food for the unicorn and watch it to see if the food is eaten. We can coat the floor of the room in powder and see if we can find hoof prints. We can scan the room with an IR camera to try and pick up the unicorn’s body heat. There are many more tests we could use to verify whether there is unicorn there or not.

Now, assume we run those tests but we still can’t find any unicorn, but you keep insisting that one is there? Why should we believe you when there is nothing to support it? That is the real situation we’re in here. You keep insisting that unicorn is there but can’t find any support and then you go and complain that we don’t agree with you.

Sure, that unicorn might be there but on what are you basing that belief. Just because something is possible, that isn’t a good enough reason to believe that it is true. There are many things that seemed possible but later turned out to be false. That is the whole point of criminal trials. It may be possible that the defendant committed the crime but just that possibility isn’t enough to convict them. The prosecutor needs to provide evidence that the defendant DID commit the crime not just that it’s possible that the defendant did.

If we keep asking for support and you are either unable or unwilling to provide it then I can only base my belief on the information I have. There might be support for the claim out there but I can’t make decisions on information I don’t have. For another example of why your argument is doesn’t work you might want to read Carl Sagan’s The Dragon In my Garage.

The unicorn is there but you want to ignore it.

That’s a pretty serious accusation there. I suggest you either support it or retract it.

In reality of course, most of us recognize that what we want has no bearing on whether it is likely to be true or not. I’d love to know what made you think we believed otherwise.

It wouldn't be "pointless" for me to describe the unicorn so you could learn to see it. That's what we are supposed to do to people we love in Christ.

But what if you describe the unicorn and we still can’t see it? That’s the situation most of us are in. Believers like you continually tell us what you believe but you never give us support. We already know that you believe you can see a unicorn, why should we believe it as well?

I think this is rude.

Why? If you found that rude then you seem to have very thin skin.

More importantly, even if it is rude, it doesn’t matter. Just because something is rude that doesn’t make it wrong. If you meant that as an argument against what she said then it was an Ad Hominem argument. Whether or not a person is rude has no relevance to whether or not there argument is valid.

I bring myself to the table and that's something.

So does everyone else. You might as well pat yourself on the back for breathing. What P-Momma, meant is that the only arguments believers offer are subjective tales and unverifiable claims.

My claims are verifiable because you can ask everyone in my church if they believe the same thing. Are you saying their claim doesn't count?

Bingo! There claims are just that, claims. Not support.

If you’re suggesting they are support then you are committing the Argument Ad Populum. The problem with this argument is pretty much the same as many of the other arguments you’ve made, irrelevance. The number of people who believe something says nothing about whether it is true or not. Remember at one point everyone believe that the world was flat. They were wrong, all of them.

I can see God in the miracles around me.

Until you start giving details about what those miracles are or how they count as miracles, this statement doesn’t mean much.

No I don't think so. God is everything. He's beyond and near and big and small and obvious and hidden. He is boundless. God isn't like us.

That’s great but without support I have no more reason to believe that then I do to believe than in any other god concept and there are a whole lot to choose from. Why yours? Or, for that matter why any at all?

That would be a bad use of his power. He has other things more important like making little Madeleine feel comfort in her afterlife and being with her parents.

If God is omnipotent, as most believers claim then he can do that for Madeleine and do those “more important” things AT THE SAME TIME. The idea that an all powerful god would need to make time allotments is contradictory. Either he chose not to help Madeleine even though he could which means his character is questionable or he was unable to do so which means he is not all powerful. If that’s the case then some would argue that it might not be a god. Why should I believe on over the other or either?

He gives us challenges to help us learn and grow in Him, to trust in him.

He seems to give out these challenges disproportionately. There are many people who seem to suffer a great deal despite already believing in what you do.

It's we that owe him not him that owes us a proof.

If he doesn’t exist we owe him nothing. Even if a god does exist that doesn’t necessarily mean we owe said god anything.

If a god does exist and wants us to believe in him (or her, or it) then it makes no sense not to give us evidence. If said god is going to punish us for not believing as many western religions claim then yes, said god does owe us evidence. To not do so would be hideously immoral and such a god would be a monster.

I believe God gives us trials to help us grow in his trust.

We know. Again, why should we agree with you?

Do you judge all people by one person's behavior? Why is it bad to have different ways of judging?

No she’s judging some believers based on the near constant stream of them that come through here and other atheist sites that act in that way. I admit she could have made that more clear, but I can guarantee that she is not in anyway basing that opinion on one person or applying that to all people.

We should be cynical about people because people are imperfect. God is perfect.

Say’s you. Why should we believe you? Furthermore how cynical should we be towards people?

Its not a science book but it is the word of God and since God is the creator why shouldn't we look to the Bible for guidance on science?

Again, why should we believe that? According to Muslims the Qaran is the word of God, according to Christians it’s not but the Christian New Testament is. According to Jews they’re both wrong and only the Jewish bible (Christian old testament) is the word of God. They can’t all be right. So, why should I believe your claim about which book to follow but not to the Jews or Muslims or any of the other countless religions out there?

Of course, even though they can’t all be right, they can all be wrong.

Scientists look for their experiments to build up their conclusion all the time! If you don't start with an idea of what you want to happen then why would you do a test. Say you want to solve cancer. Why would you do resarech on airplanes if you want to cure cancer?

Be careful about trying to compare things to science. Few people outside of scientific fields seem to actually understand it. You included. You also don’t seem to understand what P-Momma was saying.

She was referring to believers who try to find tests and experiments that would seem to support their beliefs but ignore tests that may refute their beliefs. Your plane analogy doesn’t address that. A better analogy would be a doctor trying to cure cancer by using a new drug they have created and accepting as valid any test which seems to suggest the drug works and rejecting out of hand any test which suggests it doesn’t.

The difference between serious scientists and “true believers” is that when a scientist tests their idea and the test doesn’t support their idea, the scientist will reconsider the validity of the idea. If many tests give the same result and no flaw is found in the tests a scientist will either change or abandon the idea. Believers will often reject the test instead of the belief and start searching for a new test that will give them the result they wanted to begin with.

I see your words as eletist.

How so? I don’t see anything elitist about it.

There are lots of christians who are scientists - are they all wrong?

Quite possibly, yes. Most scientists specialize in specific fields. When scientists venture outside of their fields of study they don’t necessarily know anything more than the average person. Just being a scientist doesn’t mean that everything you believe is true, to suggest otherwise would be a Fallacious Appeal to Authority.

This is snobby.

Even if it is, that doesn’t mean it is wrong. This is another Ad Hominem.

All of this. You think you are smarter. Atheists act like the people around them are to stupid to make choices or do progressive things.

And you based this on what, exactly? The atheists you claimed to know, the few atheists you’ve talked to here? If you had used qualifiers like, “some atheists think,” or, “the atheists I met,” I might be more sympathetic. But, as it is, it’s just another Hasty Generalization.

Atheists are pretty diverse lot. Some do think that, some don’t. There are members of every group who think that they are better than others just for being part of the group. Rather then complain about them, it is more productive to try to demonstrate why they might be wrong.

The atheists I know act like religion is something old and unneeded by modern man.

At least you used a qualifier this time, still the reason many atheists act like this is because they believe that it is true. Rather then complain about it like you have done here, how about you try to demonstrate that it isn’t true.

Also, I think I should point out that most atheists, at least the ones that debate about religion, are more concerned about whether religion is true rather than if it is needed or how old it is.

I get angry to see atheists talk about all the bad things christians do and ignoring what good we do.

They don’t always. I tried to link to an episode of The Atheist Experience about some of the good things to come from religion but I can’t find the episode. Maybe one of the people involved in the show who frequent this blog could help me here.

While many atheists do focus on the negatives side of religion there are two main reasons why we do that. One is that there are MANY other people out there who focus on the positives we feel that side of the story is already being covered so there isn’t much point in joining in. Conversely, there aren’t too many people outside of atheism who focus on the negatives of religion so we do believe there is good reason to focus on the negatives more than the positives.

Second, many atheists feel that many if not all of the positives of religion can be achieved outside of religion as well, but there are many problems that come with religion that can be avoided outside of religion.

Why are you so stubborn about not giving God some credit?

Because she doesn’t believe in God. It really is that simple.

Yes, it's not screwed up at all.

I find it disturbing that you would say so. How exactly is a heart condition a gift?

God knew you were a good mom and could handle your sick babies. Should he have given them to a woman who wouldn't take care of them or you?

No, he could have just made both women’s children healthy. Which brings us to…

He has to put sick people in the world to make us learn health and sacrifice. Since he has to do it, he gives to those who can shoulder it with dignity.

If he exists he didn’t HAVE to do anything. Again, most believers of western religions claim that their god is omnipotent which means he is capable of doing anything. So, he could have found or created a method of teaching us these things without suffering. If he exists then he chose not to do so.

The pain of your children served a purpose to teach doctors and give them experience. It's all part of a plan.

God could have done so in a different way. I suggest that if your god exists then he should rethink his plan. It’s got some flaws.

On another note, I have attempted to point out many of the logical errors that you have been making. I haven’t done this to make you feel stupid or anything like that but to point out to you that your critical thinking skills could use some work. This is important because those skills are very important when it comes to being able to judge how valid a claim is. I think you would understand us better if your critical thinking skills were sharpened up a bit.

steelcobra said...

Do you believe that you maybe didn't ask God to come to your heart and that's why you're an atheist? I'm sure if you invited him in he would come.

When I was a kid, I thought I believed in God. I never experienced any kind of "joy" in "his presence", or "feeling him in my heart" or anything like that though. I only thought I did because everyone around me told me he existed and that was what it was like. I read the bible, but it was just stories, there weren't any "life-changing verses" that grabbed me, because for the most part, especially for a kid who, at age 8 was reading Stephen King, the bible is a very disjointed, poorly written book with no real narrative or even any real point to it.

Then as I got older, I just started realizing that there wasn't really anything there that I believed in like the people around me, and I realized I didn't really enjoy being there, listening to what was said.

And so, around age 15 or so, I finally realized that I was an Atheist all the time. I just had been ignoring it. And looking back now, I realize what truly had me hooked: singing, hanging out with other kids, and the doughnuts. That, and I'm still thinking up fantastic storylines I need to eventually write down much better than any ancient book has. (There are some really original ones bouncing around up there, it's just that committing fiction to paper causes acute procrastinitis)

And besides, do we really need a twisted father figure who "loves" you but will send you to a place filled with infinite torture and pain if you disobey him, but is really bad at handling money?

Heather said...

James --> If this were true, then we would be able to reproduce what the Bible says in real life. We'd be able to do it again elsewhere.

Since we can't reproduce life from nothing doesn't that give a point to GOD? There are many passages in the Bible that are recreatable.

And this is not even close to covering the contradictions that the Bible is full of.

There are no contradictions in the Bible. It is the full word of God. All of the differences between gospels are because God uses the prophet in ways that HE knows they will best understand. The contradictions are only there because the people who wrote it may have not understood Gods plan and GOD can change the rules when he wants to.

You do have to admit something, though. Atheists never killed anybody in the name of their god or gods. Religion, and to be specific, Christianity and Islam for example, has been used as an excuse to kill millions of people throughout time.

What about Hitler or Stalin?

If I or any other Atheist were to do good things, they would be doing it because they wanted to, not because they were directed to.

That may be true but what does it mean to be good if you respect no law higher than man?

JACK --->
There is just as much evidence for the tooth fairy as there is for any of the thousands of gods that men have invented.
Oh come on. Is the tooth fairy known in all languages and countries? Have people pledged a life to the tooth fairy? It is not the same can't you see.

Could you please elaborate on this claim?

It's right there in the ten. Thou shall have no other gods before me.

While you're elaborating, could you please define exactly what you mean by the term "god" and provide any objective evidence for the existence of such an entity?
GOD is the creator of life and the world. HE is the ultimate authority in our lives and gave us a son for our salvation. HE is the love of all love and the father of all fathers. HE provides us morals. HE is the master of all in his creation.

Bezelbub --->
However, that a group of people care more about what two consenting adults, of the same gender, want to do in the bedroom, than other much more troubling issues, such as the homeless, etc., is why I have no respect for religion.
Do all atheists stand behind homosexuality? No. The Bible is clear on this issue - marriage is a covenant between man and woman.

A scientist can be religious, and not just a Christian. They just have to realize that the results they may come up with might not support their beliefs.

If the answer is contrary to God I'd guess they need to redo their experiment. Humans make mistakes.
NASA made mistakes and blew up three space shuttles. If NASA can make mistakes and be subject to the will of God it's safe to assume that all scientists could. Evolutionists are misguided. I guess they want to find things that eliminate GOD because if they left it to GOD they wouldn't have jobs.

Sometimes, the answers aren't what we want them to be.
Right. Like GOD exists even if you don't want him to exists and stuff.

I consider it dishonest, or snobby, to ignore any evidence that doesn't support what you want reality to be.
It requires faith. I know it's hard but the rewards are worth it. Don't you want to spend your life in a perfect place with happiness and love?

She's not being stubbor, Heather. Like the rest of us, she doesn't believe in a deity to give credit to.
She is stuborn and so are you. If God tapped her on the shoulder like I know he has tapped you and all the other atheists, it isn't "logical" to deny him.

I want to go to do things with my children. I don't have time to answer every question here.

FSMismyhero said...

"What about Hitler or Stalin?"

Ok Heather, I can no longer respect anything you say because it is abundantly clear that you are just reciting what you have heard from other theists. I'm sure others on this blog will explain the falseness of your statement, so I’ll leave that bit of fun for them. 1 tip for commenting on Atheist blogs, Do Your Research Before Posting!!! Most of these people are educated and will call you out on false assumptions.

http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/hitlerstalin.html (two seconds to Google!!! And the page even references its sources )

Bwian said...

"It's right there in the ten. Thou shall have no other gods before me."

So, because the Bible explicitly says that there are other gods, anyone who says there are other gods is being silly? Did I miss a step there?

You speak of arrogance, but assume that everyone here is just too stupid to want what every child wants. We do want that; it would be monumentally cool on so many different levels. But just because we want it doesn't mean we can have it. Figuring that out is part of growing up.

Berlzebub said...

@ Heather:

Bezelbub --->
However, that a group of people care more about what two consenting adults, of the same gender, want to do in the bedroom, than other much more troubling issues, such as the homeless, etc., is why I have no respect for religion.
Do all atheists stand behind homosexuality? No. The Bible is clear on this issue - marriage is a covenant between man and woman.

You are confusing "stand behind" with "give a damn". No, I can't speak for all atheists. However, anyone who tries to tell two consenting people that what they do together is wrong, when it has no bearing on anyone outside of that couple.

I don't use a book to figure out what is right and wrong. I have my own measure of right and wrong, and it doesn't involve a book that hasn't been updated, except through translations, for nearly seventeen hundred years.

A scientist can be religious, and not just a Christian. They just have to realize that the results they may come up with might not support their beliefs.

If the answer is contrary to God I'd guess they need to redo their experiment. Humans make mistakes.
NASA made mistakes and blew up three space shuttles. If NASA can make mistakes and be subject to the will of God it's safe to assume that all scientists could. Evolutionists are misguided. I guess they want to find things that eliminate GOD because if they left it to GOD they wouldn't have jobs.

Yes, people make mistakes, but attributing all occurences, good or bad, to God is just laziness and not accepting responsibility. We don't have to eliminate God. I don't believe he exists, and the world operates exactly the way I would expect it to if he didn't. Therefore, I have cause to not believe in him. If people make mistakes, accidents happen. Saying that "it was God's will" is not only irresponsible, but you won't learn anything from your mistakes.

Sometimes, the answers aren't what we want them to be.
Right. Like GOD exists even if you don't want him to exists and stuff.

As I pointed out above, I have many reasons for believing he does not exist. You seem to want him to exist to excuse yourself from the responsibility of thinking for yourself, making decisions, and accepting the outcomes of those decisions.

I consider it dishonest, or snobby, to ignore any evidence that doesn't support what you want reality to be.
It requires faith. I know it's hard but the rewards are worth it. Don't you want to spend your life in a perfect place with happiness and love?

That's a little something called Pascal's Wager. I covered why that argument doesn't hold water, in the same post.

She's not being stubbor, Heather. Like the rest of us, she doesn't believe in a deity to give credit to.
She is stuborn and so are you. If God tapped her on the shoulder like I know he has tapped you and all the other atheists, it isn't "logical" to deny him.

If your deity had tapped us on the shoulder, we wouldn't be atheists. You can't deny what can physically affect he environment, such as your shoulder. However, I have never had anyone other than a human being perform such an action. Other peoples can fool themselves into thinking they have, but it's just a delusion. The feeling you're talking about sounds similar to what I would witness in church, growing up. However, I began to question the validity of that feeling, when the same thing happened at high school football games. It's a group mentality, Heather. Nothing more, nothing less.

I want to go to do things with my children. I don't have time to answer every question here.
Well, when you do decide to answer questions, talk with us and not at us, and actually listen to what we say instead of berating us for not believing the unbelievable, please feel free to continue.

The Music Won't Stop said...

Heather's last response only proves that she has no desire to learn or converse, and she's just going to spew the same tired old arguments that every other closed-minded theist spews. Too bad.

Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

I am of the belief that Heather is the classic concern troll. This was nothing but an excuse for her to come and show how concerned about all us poor atheists she is. There was no desire for learning and in fact she lied about it from the get go.

What's that about bearing false witness again.....

Jack said...

Heather wrote:
There is just as much evidence for the tooth fairy as there is for any of the thousands of gods that men have invented.
Oh come on. Is the tooth fairy known in all languages and countries? Have people pledged a life to the tooth fairy? It is not the same can't you see.
Can't you see that you have provided no objective evidence of your god? It is in that sense that the tooth fairy is completely equivalent.

Could you please elaborate on this claim?
It's right there in the ten. Thou shall have no other gods before me.
That is not an explanation for why there must be one and only one god. In fact, it suggests that other gods were thought to exist when that commandment was written.

Please rationally explain why you don't believe in Zeus but do believe in another god.

While you're elaborating, could you please define exactly what you mean by the term "god" and provide any objective evidence for the existence of such an entity?
GOD is the creator of life and the world. HE is the ultimate authority in our lives and gave us a son for our salvation. HE is the love of all love and the father of all fathers. HE provides us morals. HE is the master of all in his creation.
You are making some claims about what this entity does or has done, but you haven't described god's characteristics. You have also completely failed to provide any evidence that such an entity exists.

Jack

Natasha Yar-Routh said...

Heather, yes Stalin was an atheist and a murderous madman. Hitler on the other hand was a catholic and proud of it. He was also a murderous madman. Good and bad people come in all flavors and religions, or lack there of.

Steve in MI said...

Do all atheists stand behind homosexuality?

Oh, ye of little imagination... :-)

Natasha Yar-Routh said...

Heather on the whole marriage is only between a man and a women. I would ask you about those of us who are trans gender but I think I already know the answer to that one so I'll ask about intersexed people. You know people who are born with both male and female physical characteristics? I know one intersexed person and have corresponded with a few others. Where do they fit into your gods plans on marrige?

Paul said...

[silentsanta, NZ]

Heather, I'm going to try and cut through to the core argument here.

1. We atheists do not believe in God, (single or multiple).
2. We atheists do not believe the Bible is written by -or inspired by- God.

Therefore, you cannot quote from the Bible (ten commandments) and expect to convince us of anything.
Perhaps you should first explain why the Bible is so accurate and special that we should pay it attention instead of, say, the Koran, or the Bhagavad Gita.

You have two propositions (1. God exists, 2. the authenticity of the Bible) that may be mutually supporting each other, but neither is supported by anything outside.

To us atheists, it seems like you're proposing that Santa exists, in his magic sleigh, and both are invisible. We ask you to prove the existance of Santa, and you say "Well who else would ride the invisible flying sleigh?", and so we ask you to prove the existence of the sleigh, and you say "How else would the invisible Santa get around?"*

You have to draw on more sources than your 2 propositions, then argue rationally (and without emotional appeals) if you wish to persuade us of anything.



* please excuse me for having a fondness for Santa.

TonyInBatavia said...

Move on. Move on. There's nothing to see here except for the generic thoughtless theist who thinks she has atheists all figured out. While she started out appearing to be genuinely curious -- which makes it all the more difficult to root out the truly curious -- Heather has clearly exposed herself to be just another run-of-the-mill, hardheaded know-it-all that could not care less about our souls. If she cared, she'd actually try to provide actual evidence, she'd not commit her brutal logical fallacies, and she'd cop to the idea that perhaps, just perhaps, she might be wrong.

You gotta say this for Those Who Shall Not Be Named: At least they're interesting in a car-wreck-sorta-way way. Trolls like Heather are just boring.

P-Momma, you obviously don't need it from me, but here-goes anyway: I hereby give you permission to ignore this concern troll (with props to Rev. BigDumbChimp for the designation "concern troll"). She provides zero value to the discussion. (Though, damn, I'd love to read your response.)

heather said...

Is this how you treat people who are curious about atheists?

I wanted to know how you ticked that's all. There is no need to be mean.

Jack said...

Heather wrote:
Is this how you treat people who are curious about atheists?

This is how people respond to unfounded claims -- we ask for evidence.

I wanted to know how you ticked that's all. There is no need to be mean.

This isn't mean. Several people here have paid attention to what you've said and are attempting to engage you in productive discussions. That demonstrates a great deal of respect. Respect that you have failed to return, by the way.

So, I ask again, how exactly do you define "god" and what objective evidence do you have for the existence of such an entity?

Jack

Poodles said...

Apparently once again...
christian=victim

Bwian said...

"Is this how you treat people who are curious about atheists?

I wanted to know how you ticked that's all. There is no need to be mean."

Mean? You claim we are too stupid to know what every child knows, but we are the mean ones.

But yes, this is how we treat people who are "curious" about atheists. We present arguments (which are dismissed as silly). We ask for evidence (and are ignored). We provide testimonials of past religious experience (ignored or dismissed, depending on the denomination of experience in question). None of this would be considered mean, if we were dealing with hobbies, taxes, casinos: anything except religion.

Thranil said...

Do all atheists stand behind homosexuality?

I'm pretty sure not all do... someone has to stand in front of it or to the side... I mean we can't all fit behind it, right?

steelcobra said...

Do all atheists stand behind homosexuality?

Just like any other religious group, about 10% stand in front of it, bent over.

Berlzebub said...

@ Heather:

Is this how you treat people who are curious about atheists?

I wanted to know how you ticked that's all. There is no need to be mean.


No, it's not. The first comments, in answer to yours, are how we treat people genuinely curious about atheists. And, believe it or not, I wasn't being mean. Even when you called P-Momma "elitist" and "mean", I wasn't being mean in my response. I was just being honest.

Here's some news for you, that you probably won't hear in Sunday School. Atheists are human, too.

In your email to her, you spoke of "the atheists [you] know". I honestly don't think you know one atheist. You may know of some people who are, but you don't associate with them. If you did, you'd have a better understanding of why we're being "mean" to you.

Still don't understand? Well, here's a hint. If you insult someone we care about, such as P-Momma, we're going to take offense. In your first comment, you called her elitist and snobby. You insulted her, gave the basic cookie-cutter responses to everything she said, and apparently didn't even bother to open up a dictionary (let alone a science book in high school).

You don't want to understand atheists, Heather. You come into it with the belief that you do, but you haven't listened to a thing we've said that negates what you've thought before. As I said before, when your ready to actually talk, or better yet listen, then please feel free. However, if all of your responses are going to include "God is real" without any proof, "the Bible is accurate" without any proof, and "the atheists I know" without any proof, then you should probably move on. Because, then, you're not interested in learning about atheists. Your only concern is trying to make yourself feel "elitist" and "snobby".