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
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
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
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.