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TM
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01 Mar 2012, 12:04 pm

Introduction.

The deistic god cannot be disproved, because the belief system generally holds that “There is a creator” it makes no attempt at explaining said creator or that said creator is anything except the guy who pushed the “On” switch. While this is not an entirely rational view anymore as it was during the time of Jefferson and Paine, it is a belief that cannot be proven to be conclusively wrong, just highly improbable.

The Theistic god on the other hand, where there are doctrines that describe said god, the actions performed by said god and the knowledge given to man by said god. Where we are told what constitutes moral behavior, where we are told said god intervenes in human life on a daily basis and much more, there is room for a refutation.

I base this on that if someone claims that they have a new piece of highly important factual information and their sources prove to be false or unreliable, then the information loses credibility. Even if they believe in the accuracy of said factual information, it cannot be viewed as objectively true until proven factual.
Furthermore, any claims made that are wholly based on said information will also be weakened by the unverifiable accuracy of the information. For instance, if special relativity was proven false, then the science based on special relativity would be invalid.

In the same way if one can prove that A: The Bible is not a reliable source, B: That the world as we know it is incompatible with God and C: That an entity such as described in the Bible cannot possibly exist, then God is invalid.

On definitions:

To make sure that the arguments within are understood correctly, I will disclose my definitions.
God when capitalized refers to the Judeo-Christian god. The Judeo-Christian God is defined as a maximally great being, in effect incorporating being all-powerful, all-knowing and always-perfect.
“god” when not capitalized refers to a supernatural being.

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”

Given the sheer amount of religions and gods that have been claimed to exist throughout history, quite a number eloquently written about by H.L Mencken in his “Where is the graveyard of dead gods?” One is left wondering, which is the most reasonable point of view? That they are all real, all fake or that just one of them is real?

After all, if they are all real and their doctrines equally accurate then there are a large number of potential afterlives not to mention an unmentionable number of rules and regulations governing human lives. In fact, if they are all real, then a ritual sacrifice of a virgin must be held as an equally morally right act as the Eucharist. This position cannot really be held, because it is clear by observing the universe that it is not consistent with such a position. Furthermore, that most of said religions and gods are mutually exclusive.

To hold the position that they are all false means one has to prove that the doctrine, religion and god are not consistent with the world.

The hardest would without a doubt be the position that only one out of thousands of gods throughout history is real. Because if one accepts them all one must argue for them all, if one accepts none, one can argue against them all. However, if one holds that only one is real, and then one must disprove every other god in addition to prove one’s own. Furthermore, one would have to demonstrate that the teachings of said religion and thus the doctrine of said god is consistent with the world.
Even if evidence existed in favor of a Deist god, this would not help the theistic god at all.

I’m a big fan of a Christopher Hitchens quote on the topic of evidence, “What can be asserted without proof, can be dismissed without proof.” However, I’ll present my case.

Arguments against the Christian God

The arguments against God are many and varied but I’m going to try and stick within philosophy and science which are my go-to disciplines in such an argument as this. All the information we have of god is from the Bible, without the Bible there is no Christianity and thus no Christian god.

What I seek to demonstrate in this philosophical part of the text is that a god with the characteristics described by Biblical scripture is logically impossible, because it leads to paradoxes or contradictions. An example is that if God is “Just” IE fair, then he would have to answer all prayers within the same context. For instance, if 1000 Christians with cancer prayed to have their cancer healed and he only fulfilled the prayer for 2 of them, then god is not just. However, we know that Christians die of cancer despite praying to be healed and we also know that a few have been cured of their cancer, so either god is not just or he is indifferent.

If we start by examining the claims about God that are presented in the Bible;

God is omnipotent (all powerful).
(Genesis 18:14; Luke 18:27; Revelation 19:6)

God is omniscient (all knowing).
(Psalm 139:2-6; Isaiah 40:13-14)

These make up 2 parts of the 3-O argument and establish God as a maximally great being. A “light-dark” example from earlier, John 1:5 says “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” In this case, one could argue that “Light” in this case is synonymous with “Good” and “Darkness” with “Evil”, John is then saying that there is no evil in God.

If there is no evil in God that means he must be all good, with the claims from earlier this constructs the triangle of the 3-O argument and proves that it is in fact based in scripture.
God exists and he is omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good. A perfectly good being would want to prevent all evil from happening. An omniscient being knows every way evil can come into existence. An omnipotent being who knows every way in which evil can come to exist has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence. A being who knows every way evil can come into existence, who can also prevent that evil from coming into existence and who wants to do so, would prevent the evil from existing.

If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good being, then no evil exists. Evil exists and thus a logical contradiction is born.

We can continue by stating that if God is omnipotent he should be able to create a being with free will, however if he is also omniscient he will also know everything such a being will be capable of, thus rendering them without free will. As these two arguments prove, the characteristics required from a maximally great being (God) cannot exist in one being, thus such a being cannot exist.
An omnipotent and omniscient being would be able to prevent all evil without losing a greater good or permitting bad or worse evil.

An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent every occurrence of intense suffer it could, unless it could not do so without losing a greater good or permitting something equally bad or worse. Therefore there exists no omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being.

The Paul Draper version is

1. Gratuitous evils exist.
2. The hypothesis of indifference, i.e., that if there are supernatural beings they are indifferent to gratuitous evils, is a better explanation for (1) than theism.
3. Therefore, evidence prefers that no god, as commonly understood by theists, exists.


There are a number of paradoxes associated with the different “omnis” as well.

If God is all knowing and all-powerful, then does God know what he’s going to do tomorrow and if he did could he change it? If he knows what will happen and does something else he’s not omniscient, if he knows and can’t change it he’s not omnipotent.

If God is all-powerful (omnipotent) could he make himself weak or ignorant?

This concludes the part of the argument based in philosophy.

The Science bit

Now the Bible makes a lot of scientific claims, from water to wine which is definitely a matter of chemistry to the earth being the center of the Universe which I dare say may raise some eyebrows if stated at an astronomy conference. The reason why I spend quite a bit of time on these is because a false claim from the Bible means that other claims in the Bible lose credibility. For instance, if we found a Tomb outside Jerusalem, rolled boulder away and found the corpse of a man that was then dated to about 2000 years ago, that had a crown of thorns shoved onto his head, had been horribly tortured, had a wound from a spear in his side and marks of nails going through his hands and feet, then Christianity would collapse since the resurrection story would be proven false.
On the same note, the Bible gets its authority from the Christian claim that it is the literal word and will of God as revealed to his followers. If the Bible makes a series of claims that can be proven not to be factual, then it creates doubt on the other claims it makes as well. If enough of the lesser claims in the Bible are proven false, then it increases the likelihood of the rest of it including the truly outlandish claims are false as well.

After all, if someone wrote a biography and half of the material were blatant falsehoods, and then it would be unreasonable to believe the rest. Furthermore, if said claims appear to be implausible given the observation of the world, then one must deem them unreasonable.

Scientific claims in the Bible:

- In genesis the order of creation claimed is Earth before light and stars, birds and whales before reptiles and insects and flowering plants before any animals. Science says the opposite.

- God creates light and separates light from darkness and day from night on the first day, but doesn't make the sun and stars (that produce light) until the 4th day.

- Plants were made before there was a sun to support photosynthesis.

- The Bible states that the moon is a light producing object, yet it only reflects the light of the sun. For a ruler of the night the moon spends a lot of time passing through the daytime sky.

- The Bible claims that the stars are attached to a “firmament”

- The Bible says god gave us all plants and herbs for food, yet quite a few are poisonous.

- God created a system of predator and prey where the only certainty is suffering and death of all his creatures.

- A river went out of Eden and split into 4, rivers do not split they converge.

I can keep going, because this is quite an extensive list.

The Creator

If the Bible is correct, then God is the creator of everything. If God is the creator of everything he is incompetent and here is why.
The human body is a train wreck in many respects, the male testicles are constantly exposed to danger, and the female reproductive organs are vulnerable to infections since they are too close to the “waste disposal area”.

Thousands of people are in life threatening choking incidents every year because there is nothing that prevents food from going down our windpipe.

70% of children suffer an ear infection before the age of 3, something that humans are prone to due to our auditory tubes that connect the back of the mouth to the middle ear are too narrow and long which means they are perfect for bacteria. Birds can regrow their ear cells, we do not.

On the same note, our liver can heal itself, but our heart cannot. You would think an intelligent designer would have picked up on that.

Our eyes are wired back to front which gives us sharp central vision but poor peripheral vision. Other animals have differently designed eyes that give them a much wider field of vision not to mention better vision at night.

Our necks are notoriously vulnerable to injury, yet it carries our head that holds our brain (our most important organ) and it carries vital nerve systems. The vertebrae in the neck are just not well put together.

The Creation story includes claims like how the first man came into existence, how the animals came into existence and these are claims linked to the origin and development of life on our planet which is within the realm of Biology in the sciences.

If we include medicine that would include the resurrection since it’s a claim that dead tissue can be reactivated and that a brain that has suffered 100% brain damage can still function at 100%.

The creation also brings about quite a few claims that enter the realm of physics, among them the creation itself. It brings up claims in the field of geology,

Turning water to wine is definitely a matter of chemistry. The virgin birth is definitely a medical/biological claim.

The funny bone, which is actually a nerve that runs from shoulder to the hand and as the only nerve in the body it’s exposed to outside damage.

Our knees are poorly designed compared to other animals; furthermore the cartilage that stops the bones from rubbing together does not regenerate well. Most other animals have better systems.

The mitochondria of cells burns sugars to gain energy to power the cells, however this process releases free radicals that can damage the DNA which is stored in the same cell. This has been compared with keeping the manual for a steam engine next to the furnace in said steam engine. Furthermore, on the note of DNA, every cell in our body that has mitochondria has the full length manual to your construction. It’s like building a skyscraper and putting a set of blueprints for said skyscraper in every room of it.

Our feet are not even ideal to walk on, since there is no tissue that absorbs impact in in them.

This lecture is quite good at explaining why a creator if it exists would be deemed incompetent http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_u4yEUv ... r_embedded .

When we add in that the world was supposedly created for us, yet we can only inhabit a small portion of it. 71% or something is water, and then there is desert, tundra, both poles and countless other places where humans are unable to live.

We can add that here on Earth 99% of organisms that have ever lived are now extinct.
A majority of the planets we know of cannot support life. This is not to say there aren’t countless planets out there that may be able to support life, but that if the Universe was designed for humans, it’s strange that we can’t live pretty much all over the place.

According to Lawrence Krauss 200 million stars have exploded since the Big Bang, destroying entire solar systems. Not to mention spreading around the required chemical compounds that we are made of. That’s one hell of a design, considering that it’s a completely redundant process considering that the being doing it just conjured the whole universe into existence. There could be life on the planets caught in the explosion as well.

According to my numbers (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12842379) 10.000.000 children die every year, that’s equal to about 27.000 per day or one roughly every 3 seconds. That’s sure a nice design and I’m certain something good will come from the deaths of all those children.

Then there is the uncomfortable truth that if the Universe has a beginning it will most likely have an end at least according to something I read in a book about entropy, which I suppose proves little else than that I once read a book I didn’t really understand.

The biggest problem posed by the creation of a creator is that one is left asking “who created the creator?” In this case there are 2 possible answers: “I don’t know” or “Nobody needs to create the creator he is eternal” in which case number 2 is a definite case of special pleading.
After writing the list above, the Universe does not strike me as a good design.

Scientifically measuring the supernatural

The argument is that even if God himself cannot be measured, his interactions that involve the laws of nature can be observed and measured.
When one attempts to find new planets, one does so by inference. For instance, if you were to try and find Planet B, but you could only observe planet A, you could infer planet B through the effect it has on planet A. A very simplified example would be if you observe a child kicking a ball, then the ball coming back to the child but you cannot see where the ball is coming back from. You could infer that something is causing the ball to come back to the child.

The reason it makes sense is that even if there was a creator that could bend and twist the laws of nature at will, there would be traces left. Meddling with the Earth’s rotation as the Judeo-Christian god does in the Bible for instance would as I’ve said be something that could be observed. A worldwide flood that was well over the highest mountain (Everest) as claimed in the Bible is also something that one would be able to find traces off even to this day.

As Stenger states in his book, God should be detectable by scientific means simply by the virtue of the fact that he supposed to play a central role in the operation of the universe and the lives of humans. This is supported by Theodore Drange’s argument from nonbelief and Schellenberg’s argument on divine hiddenness.

The thing about this world and Universe is that they are exactly as one would expect them to be if no intelligent creator laid hands on it. As Richard Dawkins says “The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds of dying of starvation, thirst and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference. “

The history of the Bible

The matter of refuting a theistic god isn’t always easy; it has to be a refutation by inference. In the case of the Christian God, its existence is documented in the Bible. From the creation of the Universe to the Fiery Revelations ending, it’s a tell all from the man himself. The Bible is the word of God as dictated to man. The word of God is always true. (Psalm 31:5; John 14:6; John 17:3; Titus 1:1-2), therefore the Bible is true. However, we know that the Bible has numerous errors in its claims; therefore the Bible cannot be the word of God. Or, alternatively large parts of the Bible are not the word of God.
If none of it is the word of God, then it follows that the authority behind every word is compromised as said authority is gained through the belief amongst many that it is in fact the word of God.
If some of it is the word of God, but other things are not, then it becomes of a question of what can be viewed as verified information and what cannot be viewed as verified information. Large parts of the exodus are questionable; estimates of the number of Israelites would have been about 2 million, at a time when the total population of Egypt is estimated at 3 million. Canaan could not have supported such a massive population either, given that the area at the time held 50.000 – 100.000 people.

There is the Council of Rome debacle where it was voted over which texts would be featured in the Bible. There are the additional texts, among them the Gnostic Gospels. There are the issues with not knowing the authors of much of the text, some of the Pauline epistles. If one cannot establish authorship of the texts, then it follows that we cannot know how the author obtained the information. The texts from the Apostles is more believable if it was observed by them, than if they were told by someone who claimed to have observed it. In the latter case it's hearsay.

Conclusions:

Given that my philosophical argumentation above, demonstrates that such a being that the Bible describes and calls “God” cannot exist without logical contradictions and paradoxes, the logical philosophical conclusion is that such a God does not exist.

Furthermore, per the scientific argumentation, one can assume that if God is the creator of the Universe he would know every single detail of his creation. If the Bible then is the dictated word of God to his followers, the information in regards to the world would be correct. However, as my examples demonstrate, the claims in the Bible in regards to the Universe are incorrect in every case I found.
Moreover, the propositions about the world presented in the Bible as facts directly from the lips of God, are consistent with the accepted world view of the Bronze and Iron Age peoples in the region where the Bible originated.

Therefore, the reasonable conclusion is that the texts were in fact written by people that were not given information from a supernatural source.
The end result being, that when the text in the Bible are claimed to be dictation by a perfect god and the text is anything but perfect. It follows that it was either written by an imperfect god (which is not consistent with the god described in the Bible) or it was written by men.

So, when the world and Universe are not consistent with the scientific claims within the doctrine of the Abrahamic religions and furthermore that such a being as described in the doctrine is logically impossible. It follows that the doctrine is not true and the being does not exist.

If the existence of such a being is incompatible with both science and logic, 2 disciplines dedicated to seeking out truth and built on the foundation of reason, then it follows that holding the belief that such a being exists is unreasonable.

I hope this argument was well written enough to make the reading of near 4000 words a bit more interesting.



fraac
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01 Mar 2012, 12:13 pm

Embarrassingly sophomoric.



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01 Mar 2012, 12:15 pm

fraac wrote:
Who mentioned priests? Simon, you keep wanting to argue with clueless Christians and I don't see any here.


I'm using priests in the generic sense of a communer or interpreter of the divine. Shamen. Witch-doctors. Guys with long beard who sit on mountain tops. Those who hear the voice of god and spirits every day. Mediums. Whatever.

Presumably you mean something by "genuinely religious" and presumably you mean they hear a special call, a special frequency. But as I said, they can be confused dogs themselves. You've invoked the matrix so nothing may be knowable. I see no reason to give them a special pass.



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01 Mar 2012, 12:29 pm

Then you're talking Buddhism, where all realities are equally imaginary, and you have to judge on results. The results are very good. The difference between Buddhism and genuine theism is semantic, in everyday practical terms. The results of theism in general are poor - I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with an inferior intellect.



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01 Mar 2012, 12:34 pm

TM wrote:
I hope this argument was well written enough to make the reading of near 4000 words a bit more interesting.


It was. Alas, no-one reading it needs to be told, and those that need to be told will not read it.

fraac wrote:
Embarrassingly sophomoric.


Come on, fraac. You could have posted an even shorter rebuttal than that.
Whatever. I'm bored of you now. You've repeatedly referred to us as dogs learning arithmetic as though we're unable to understand the concept (while tellingly not trying to explain your concept) - the thing is, you're the dog here. We understand the concept of a divine creator. We understand the concept of personal revelation. We understand not only that some people see God in everything, but the attraction this can have. You're watching a stage conjurer pull rabbits out of a hat and scorning us for thinking it's a trick.



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01 Mar 2012, 12:35 pm

Quote:
Then you're talking Buddhism, where all realities are equally imaginary, and you have to judge on results. The results are very good. The difference between Buddhism and genuine theism is semantic, in everyday practical terms. The results of theism in general are poor - I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with an inferior intellect.


What?

I'm out.



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01 Mar 2012, 12:58 pm

Thom, if you understand personal revelation why do you ask for evidence? TM refers to good and evil and fails to see the wood for the trees in a very beginner-autistic-setting-off-on-the-path-of-discovery style - I hope he continues his voyage rather than calcifying as so many do. I was atheist when I was young because it made sense. Then I learned more and other things made better sense. You can't reason your way to the truth starting from nothing and sitting in your room - the universe isn't built that way.



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01 Mar 2012, 12:59 pm

Thom_Fuleri wrote:
fraac wrote:
Embarrassingly sophomoric.


Come on, fraac. You could have posted an even shorter rebuttal than that.
Whatever. I'm bored of you now. You've repeatedly referred to us as dogs learning arithmetic as though we're unable to understand the concept (while tellingly not trying to explain your concept) - the thing is, you're the dog here. We understand the concept of a divine creator. We understand the concept of personal revelation. We understand not only that some people see God in everything, but the attraction this can have. You're watching a stage conjurer pull rabbits out of a hat and scorning us for thinking it's a trick.


Sam Harris put it in the best way I've heard here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwG9pDNSAXA

Personal revelation is worthless, I mean it was personally revealed to me by The Ancients that all gods are merely more advanced beings that are assumed to be gods by primitive people and that the primitive minds of such people cannot even pretend to know how great the Universe is and even less how powerful a true god would have to be. On the other hand, that may have been an episode of Stargate:Atlantis. There is no such thing as subjective truth, there is subjective perception but truth is always objective, at least according to how the word "truth" is defined in my dictionary.



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01 Mar 2012, 1:30 pm

fraac,

You keep attacking everyone else's viewpoints and saying they are clearly incapable of understanding your beliefs.

I think people would be more able to understand your viewpoint if they knew what it is.

We know you do not agree with the "doubting Thomases" of this thread who need to see proof before believing. You have repeated this loud and clear.

Please share your viewpoint on the reason contained within the viewpoint that there is a God.

I am only one of many who have now asked, but you haven't answered.

Why do you think that a belief in God is rational?

If we are dogs incapable of understanding then so be it, but there is no harm in showing a dog arithmetic, even if it won't understand.

Humour me and show this dog the arithmetic.



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01 Mar 2012, 1:52 pm

TM wrote:
Sam Harris put it in the best way I've heard here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwG9pDNSAXA


He says the problem is you'll get laughed at. Essentially he's saying the most powerful faction is right (because as a nonautistic his biology tells him that). The Jew won the argument.

Dizzy: I haven't made any claims, I'm just point out the logical flaws in arguments.



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01 Mar 2012, 2:21 pm

fraac wrote:
TM wrote:
Sam Harris put it in the best way I've heard here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwG9pDNSAXA


He says the problem is you'll get laughed at. Essentially he's saying the most powerful faction is right (because as a nonautistic his biology tells him that). The Jew won the argument.


He says that when making an argument that is entirely based upon a subjective experience of the world, one can add any metaphysical aspect to such an argument, however that does not make it a valid argument. In fact, given that the argument is absurd enough, it would be excluded from any other field than religion. In effect, arguments based on personal revelation are not valid.

fraac wrote:
Dizzy: I haven't made any claims, I'm just point out the logical flaws in arguments.


No, what you do has little to do with logic, what you do based on my observation of your post is to introduce your own definitions and entirely subjective claims into otherwise valid argumentation. Per that Sam Harris video, you're the dude that would chime in and go "But I met Kurt Cobain yesterday".



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01 Mar 2012, 2:29 pm

You agree then that it would be foolish for anyone who understands subjectivity to try to convince another person to share their beliefs?



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01 Mar 2012, 2:40 pm

fraac wrote:

Dizzy: I haven't made any claims, I'm just point out the logical flaws in arguments.


Fraac,
You made plenty of claims, for example the claim we don't agree because we can't understand.

Your logic seems very flawed in this particular argument, yet you fail to point to it.



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01 Mar 2012, 3:00 pm

fraac wrote:
You agree then that it would be foolish for anyone who understands subjectivity to try to convince another person to share their beliefs?


It would be foolish for anyone to view subjective opinion as the equal to objective truth. However, it would not be foolish to try and convince someone that they have a faulty subjective belief if it is possible to objectively prove that the subjective belief if false. There is also a need to separate different forms of subjective beliefs, a belief that chocolate is the best ice cream flavor is not the same as a belief that gravity does not exist.



Last edited by TM on 01 Mar 2012, 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

fraac
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01 Mar 2012, 3:04 pm

I don't think you know what words mean.



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01 Mar 2012, 3:10 pm

Oodain wrote:
fraac wrote:
simon: acknowledging that our perceptions are subjective isn't 'unmooring from reality'. It's letting go of the storyline. It's the best we can do.

Narcissus: I can't show you it, you're a dog! All you understand is doggy concerns: links, references, proofs written down. But in fact all one can possibly write down are stories - and stories are never real. When every genuinely religious person says the evidence is available but you have to get there yourself, maybe you should stop thinking you're smarter than them.


this is just aboutn the worst post i have read on wp to date.

in many ways.


I agree, its kind of sad that theists seem to jump towards this argument regularly: "God is too complicated!! Nobody can understand him using rational methods, you can only believe him unquestionably!"


_________________
Opportunities multiply as they are seized. -Sun Tzu
Nature creates few men brave, industry and training makes many -Machiavelli
You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do