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Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Testimony

One of my readers, CJB, asked a very good and legitimate question in response to my last post. It was : "I cannot help wondering, though, how different would it have been if God had not been watching over you or if, perhaps, there was no God? The corollary is: how would you know the difference?"

As it turns out, I can actually answer this question in detail.

The most shameful thing I ever did was when I was 23 years old. That was the yaer when, in pain and rage after a particular hurtful event, I told God that if He was going to keep doing that stuff to me that I wanted him to butt out off my life. What followed was a formative experience for me.

The following year, with no external changes, was spent in depresion, alcoholism, and general debauchery. My anger level instantly jumped. I turned to many things for comfort, and none worked. The whole time I could physically feel an emptiness at my core that I did not recognize. All of this was completely new to me, having become a born again Christian at a very young age. The change was instantaneous, as in the very next morning.

I spent an entire year like this. 8 months in God began to call me back, I could feel it in my motivation, if that makes any sense. I got this urge that I had never had before to start reading my Bible in an intensive manner, and actually read the whole thing from cover to cover, a feat I had never even been interested in attempting before. I starting going to church again, and even joined a Bible study group for young adults. I hadn't bothered with Wednesday Bible study one time in my adult life until this point.

As I read and pondered God's Word I was granted an understanding that was deeper than I had ever known before. It was as if the Word had only been partially open to my understanding before. After about 4 months of this, like the prodigal son, I realized just how far gone I was, how lost I had become, and came running back to my God. I have never looked back since.

I'm sure that someone standing on the outside can, and will rationalize these events in some way that does not require the involvement of God. The deep internal happenings are hard to describe, and require the personal experience to fully apreciate. What I have said here, despite the details, is actualy more of a brief synopsis than a detailed telling. I can say with absolute certainty and authority that there is not one thing in my life that remained the same when I told God to leave me alone. Let me assure that all of what I have written here is true.

That year was a formative experience that, in hindsight, I am actually very grateful for. It showed me exactly what Jesus has done to free me from sin in my own life. It showed me that what is good in my life is not of my own will and effort, but a gift from God Himself. I know because none of it existed without Him. Take it for what you will.

49 Comments:

  • I read this post with interest, Daniel, though it was tinged with dismay. You appear to be saying that you believe in God for no other reason than it provides emotional comfort.

    The most shameful thing I ever did was when I was 23 years old. That was the yaer when, in pain and rage after a particular hurtful event, I told God that if He was going to keep doing that stuff to me that I wanted him to butt out off my life..

    You now consider your actions shameful. Was that possibly in the back of your mind then as well? You were emotionally hurt and you defied God. Could that have lead to feelings of guilt and then to depression?

    The following year, with no external changes, was spent in depresion, alcoholism, and general debauchery. My anger level instantly jumped.

    Notice that you say “with no external changes”. Could it be that this is all in your head?

    God began to call me back, I could feel it in my motivation, if that makes any sense. I got this urge…

    I’m guessing God didn’t actually walk up to you on the street, in front of witnesses, and say, “Listen buddy, it’s time to straighten up and fly right.” Isn’t this just in your imagination?

    I realized just how far gone I was, how lost I had become, and came running back to my God

    I don’t think you could have any idea how dismayed I feel when I read these words. Can you not see any possible alternative to giving up and running back to God?

    The deep internal happenings are hard to describe, and require the personal experience to fully apreciate.

    I can say with absolute certainty and authority that there is not one thing in my life that remained the same when I told God to leave me alone. Let me assure that all of what I have written here is true.


    I’m quite sure that what you’ve written is truly how you feel. But can’t you see that what you have written is just a personal anecdote? It appears to be simply a testimonial that you need the emotional support that the thought of God provides.

    It showed me that what is good in my life is not of my own will and effort, but a gift from God Himself. I know because none of it existed without Him.

    Why must anything good in your life be a gift from God? Are you incapable of doing good or creating good yourself? Similarly, is everything bad in your life the will of God or do you bear some responsibility for those things?

    So you still haven’t answered my questions. What I’m asking is how actual, real-world events beyond your control would have been different if there was no God. I’m not asking about your personal feelings. All you have told us is how things were different when you defied God in your own mind. I’m guessing you never even considered for a moment that there was no God.

    In your previous post you catalogued your woes:

    You’re losing your job.
    You’ve spent all your savings with nothing to show for it but emotional distress.
    Your father is dying.
    Your cousin is dead.
    Your mother is losing her business.
    You are in constant pain.
    You were unfairly dealt with by the law.
    Your work colleagues are hostile and the Army has it in for you.

    I’m asking whether these events would have been different if there was no God and how you would know that for sure? Actually, I would have thought it would be more comforting to think that there is no God and that you have struck a random cluster of bad events. If there is a God controlling events, then what conclusion can you draw from how he is treating you?

    By Anonymous cjb, at 2:30 PM  

  • Have a great New Year Daniel!

    By Blogger ABFreedom, at 3:32 PM  

  • Ah, CJB. You still don't get it. Here's a Bible quote, I forget the exact verse: "All is done for the good of those who believe."

    Looking back on my life, both the good and the bad, There is nothing I truly regret or would change because it has all be formative in some way or another. On top of that, the most important thing in life is my God, all else is second. My life, difficulties and all has given me the strength of faith and character to face what storms may come and do it well. Jesus never promised an easy life to those who believe, He actually promised hardship and persecution in this life, followed by eternal life at His side in the next.

    How would things be different if there wa sno God? In all likelihood little or none of this would have happened. I do everything I can to do right at all times, and yet these woes have come upon me while I watch unspiritual persons who live for sin have it easy. It is obviously the Satanic attacks that are promised to those who believe. If Satan had no reason to try to destroy me or my faith he would leave me alone. That is how it would be different.

    As far the whole anecdotal thing you have mentioned, it is an anecdote to you, but it is real-life experience and part of my life to me. You can take it for what you will, and you can rationalize it however you want. The fact is that God HAS revealed Himself to me, just not in the way you want Him to. I do not expect someone who denies the existence of the spiritual world to understand this. I do hope that one day God will choose to reveal Himself to you, but rest assured that what will follow, should you choose to believe, will by no means be easy. In fact, there will be times you wished you never believd, and those will the times that ruly show the strength of your faith, should you ever believe. An excellent example of this is the parable of the sower. If you are unfamiliar with it just ask Matt ( I'm assuming this is someone from UTI) to explain it to you. If my assumtion is wrong just let me know and I will be happy to post word for word from the New King James Bible for you, comlete with Jesus' own explanation of it.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 8:34 PM  

  • Here's a Bible quote, I forget the exact verse: "All is done for the good of those who believe."

    You know, quotation marks mean that the words inside are exactly as they appear in the original. If they aren’t exactly as they appear in the original, then don’t use quotation marks. Instead, say, “I think it is something like this, but on the other hand, I could be just making the whole thing up.” I can’t find this or anything like it in the Bible. Are you sure you’re not just making it up?

    On top of that, the most important thing in life is my God, all else is second.

    I see. So your wife, your children (when you have some), your family, your job and your country all mean less to you than your imaginary friend? What would you think of me if I said, “The most important thing in life is Santa Claus; all else is second”, and I actually meant it?

    It is obviously the Satanic attacks that are promised to those who believe.

    Oh, obviously. Just listen to yourself. Does any of what you say about your belief sound rational or reasonable?

    The fact is that God HAS revealed Himself to me, just not in the way you want Him to.

    No, actually, that is an illusion. It is just your imagination. You may think he has revealed himself to you, but it’s all in your mind. I know that for a fact because there is no way you will ever be able to produce any real evidence of this revelation. All you will ever be able to use to justify yourself is feelings, anecdotes and assumptions. Why? Because there can be no evidence for something that doesn’t exist.

    I do not expect someone who denies the existence of the spiritual world to understand this.

    Why would anyone actually believe in a fantasy world unless it was for emotional comfort? Belief in fantasies is a denial of reality.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 12:02 AM  

  • cjb,

    While I disagree with Dan'l on most things, you seem unnecessarily harsh on this point. You say:

    "I know that for a fact [that god is an illusion] because there is no way you will ever be able to produce any real evidence..."

    But you should also know that you can't know an unknown for a fact. You may possibly say correctly that a person can't prove the existence of God, but not being able to prove the existence of a thing is not in itself a proof of a thing's non-existence.

    Some of us take God for a reality because it makes sense to us, or because the teachings of Jesus make sense to us, or because the world around us seems impossibly complex without a creator.

    That isn't science. But neither is saying you know for a fact that there is no God.

    What it is, is faith. And it is a comfort and it is a challenge and, taken in the correct doses, it is a blessing to the world.

    So back off a bit and let's work for a more peaceful world in this new year.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 12:42 AM  

  • Dan,

    I admit that I’m being a little harsh, but I think you misunderstood my point. I’m not saying that I know for a fact that God doesn’t exist (though that is the way to bet). I’m saying that I know for a fact that Daniel will not be able to produce evidence of his revelation. I was responding to Daniel’s remark that it was a fact that God had revealed himself to Daniel rather than that it was just an illusion.

    not being able to prove the existence of a thing is not in itself a proof of a thing's non-existence.

    Perfectly true. However, given the eternal total lack of evidence supporting God’s existence (or anything else supernatural, for that matter) and ample evidence to suggest that we are on our own in the world, a reasonable person would assume the non-existence of something until evidence is found to support its existence. The best you can say is that the question is undecided, though even that is being a little too charitable.

    What it is, is faith. And it is a comfort and it is a challenge and, taken in the correct doses, it is a blessing to the world.

    Ah yes, faith—belief without logical proof or material evidence. For religious faith to be a blessing to the world, the correct dose would have to be zero.

    This could be a more peaceful world in this new year if the religious intolerance, hatred and violence were reduced.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 1:40 AM  

  • No doubt religious hatred leads to all sorts of misery. But I'd suggest that hatred of any kind leads to all sorts of misery. The good side of religion (and what most religion actually teach, their followers notwithstanding) is love for fellow humans. Compassion. Reaching out to assist those in need.

    Hospitals and medical societies were often started by religious groups, as were poverty relief groups.

    I say don't throw out the baby with the bath.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 6:16 AM  

  • One further thought, cj. I think that Intelligent Design as science is a crock. It's not measurable, nor testable.

    However, as a philosophy and an exercise in logic, ID makes a great deal of sense to me (and when I say, "ID" I mean the notion - I'm not all that up on what some are calling Intelligent Design - but the notion that it takes a watchmaker to make a watch, with all its intricacies and design).

    I'm not especially up-to-date on my science training, but I do consider myself a logical person and I value reason highly. It is in this regard that, as I look out my window this morning and see a complex, beautiful world outside, that I see an argument for God.

    Not a provable argument, but reason enough for me.

    Add to that the beautiful teachings of Jesus and so many other godly people through the ages that I, for one, am a believer in God, whether I can fit God in a beaker or not.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 6:35 AM  

  • CJB, when I said I forget the exact verse I wasn't saying my quote wasn't exect, I was saying I don't remember the exact location of the verse by book, chapter, and NUMBERED verse. Your response syays that you lack any knowledge of the Bible and the terminology used to describe it.

    If God were imaginary then it would be a bad idea ti put Him first above all else including friends and family. But, He is the omnipotent Creator ans king of the universe, and He demands to be put first, so it is right.

    You deride teh idea od f Satanic attacks on believers, but you canot ratinally or hinestly look at the world and history without coming to the conclusion that this is a fact of life. Remember that, worldwide, th e2 most persecuted groups of people throughout all of history and in the modern days are Jews and Christians. Do you never wonder how this has been such a consistently true thing?

    You call the spiritual realm a fantasy, and yet you offer no measurable proof to support this idea. Stick in a beaker and wrap it in math before you decide to belive it so heartily, otherwise this belief of yours is nothing but blind faith, a thing you have nothing but scorn for when it results in belief in the supernatural. You DO se the double-standard you are presenting, right?

    I agree with Dan T on most heartily on a point he has made. It is not RELIGIOUS bigotry and hatred that needs to go, it is ALL hatred and bigotry. A great deal of hatred and bigotry, most of it actualy, either has nothing to do with religion, is a bastardization of religion, or is directed at religion rather than coming from religion.

    Here is a nifty scientific experiment for you to try to run, Darwin tried to address this in terms of evolution, but failed to provide anything remotely resembling proof and the entire book was reduced to a philosophical argument.
    What is the internal mechanism that has caused all of human society to c reate religion in the lack of an existing religion? Why is it that every society throughout history has had a God or gods that they worship, or things in nature hat they elevated to the status of gods? What internal motivator exists to cause mankind to do such a thing, and why does it exist at all? It is fascinating subject, unfortunatley, no scientists has been able to definitively define this, philosophers have been arguing in circles about it for centuries, and nothng i s yet proven about it. Th efact we are hard-wired for religious devotion is VERY compelling phenomenon.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 10:28 AM  

  • "I agree with Dan T"

    Can I quote you on that?

    And there you have it, cjb. Proof positive - only the existence of a God could persuade the two of us to agree on anything!

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 10:55 AM  

  • When life becomes all snarled up, offer it to our Lord and let Him untie the knots.
    A BOOK OF DAYS FOR CHRISTIANS

    The Ranando Report

    By Blogger Ranando, at 1:41 PM  

  • Dan: No doubt religious hatred leads to all sorts of misery. But I'd suggest that hatred of any kind leads to all sorts of misery.

    Daniel: It is not RELIGIOUS bigotry and hatred that needs to go, it is ALL hatred and bigotry. A great deal of hatred and bigotry, most of it actualy, either has nothing to do with religion, is a bastardization of religion, or is directed at religion rather than coming from religion.

    You both agree that hatred of any kind, all hatred, needs to go. I wholeheartedly concur. But just to be clear here, the term ‘all hatred’ does include religious hatred, correct? So religious hatred should be done away with. How would you suggest we do that if religion still exists? The very nature of monotheistic religions is to be intolerant of anyone who doesn’t believe in that religion. You will find plenty of examples of this intolerance throughout their teachings in the Bible and the Qur’an. And, Daniel, if some hatred is a bastardisation of religion or directed at religion then religion is certainly involved in its cause.

    Dan: Hospitals and medical societies were often started by religious groups, as were poverty relief groups.

    Some were and some weren’t. I think you will find that the most effective of these groups are non-religious; The Red Cross and Medicin Sans Frontieres are two examples. I think the underlying point you are trying to make is that while religion may cause bad things to happen, it also causes good things to happen so let’s not be too hasty in calling for its demise. Is this a reasonable assessment of your position? If so, then let me ask you what good things could only have been caused by religion? That is, they could not possibly have occurred without religion being involved. For instance, hospitals, medical societies and relief groups do not require religion for their existence as I’ve just shown. If none of these good things require religion for their existence then they cannot be used as an argument for the retention of religion.

    Dan: Not a provable argument, but reason enough for me.

    Here you are simply admitting that you are a lazy thinker. Yes, there are many complex things in the world and it is difficult to explain them, but this is no reason to give up thinking and say ‘God did it’, yet this is what religion teaches. An implicit commandment, the prime commandment of the main religions is, ‘Thou shalt not question’. In this sense, religion is a cult of ignorance.

    You missed my point on quotes, Daniel. I wasn’t complaining that you couldn’t give the book, chapter and verse of the quotation; I was complaining that I could not find those words in that order anywhere in the Bible. The closest I could find was Galations 6:10 and 1 Timothy 4:10. So until you can show me that your quote actually appears in the Bible, I’m assuming that it is you who lacks knowledge.

    Daniel: But, He is the omnipotent Creator ans king of the universe, and He demands to be put first, so it is right.

    Unless you have sound evidence to corroborate this statement, it is nothing more than an assumption on your part.

    Daniel: You deride teh idea od f Satanic attacks on believers, but you canot ratinally or hinestly look at the world and history without coming to the conclusion that this is a fact of life.

    I certainly can. Yes, bad things happen, but there is no more reason to assume these are the actions of some malevolent supernatural being than there is to assume that Santa Claus exists.

    Daniel: Remember that, worldwide, th e2 most persecuted groups of people throughout all of history and in the modern days are Jews and Christians. Do you never wonder how this has been such a consistently true thing?

    Let me guess. Is it because they believe in irrational fantasies?

    Daniel: Stick in a beaker and wrap it in math before you decide to belive it so heartily, otherwise this belief of yours is nothing but blind faith, a thing you have nothing but scorn for when it results in belief in the supernatural. You DO se the double-standard you are presenting, right?

    What belief, what blind faith? What are you babbling about? I have no belief or blind faith in God. I do not believe in fantasies. Are you asking me to provide evidence of my non-belief? There is no double standard here. You are the one who believes. You are the one making ludicrous positive claims of the existence of supernatural beings. You are the one who must provide evidence to support those claims or they can be dismissed simply as delusions.

    Daniel: What is the internal mechanism that has caused all of human society to c reate religion in the lack of an existing religion?

    Fear. Fear of the unknown, the ultimate expression of which is fear of death. Evolution endowed us with intelligence and a consequence of that is that we seek answers. If we don’t find the answers, we grow fearful that we may come to harm from something we don’t know. I’m guessing it’s a survival instinct. Religions arose to quell those fears. Religion provides a simple answer to all unanswered questions: God did it. Oh, and don’t worry about dying because all the major religions teach that you will never really die.

    As far as I’m concerned, religion is an unnecessary evil.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 2:11 PM  

  • "So religious hatred should be done away with. How would you suggest we do that if religion still exists?"

    I'd also suggest that racial hatred should be done away with but NOT by getting rid of all races.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 3:04 PM  

  • Daniel's quote, I believe, is from Romans 8:28, "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."

    Not an exact quote in this Revised translation, but it sounds like the one he might be thinking of.

    That seems to be a small point, but there you go.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 3:09 PM  

  • Back to what out host originally posted, it makes me think of what CS Lewis wrote in his book The Great Divorce. He said, and I have found this to be true, that even the worst times in our lives take on the taste of Heaven as Heaven fills us up and remakes us. He used the phrase, "It is the opposite of an mirage; what appeared to be a desert was in fact a well watered valley." As I look back at the worst times in my life I can now see God where I couldn't Him before as I was going through it.

    As far as Atheism being rational, some of the most irrational people I know are atheists. I have heard arguments like if God spoke to man He would have set up a socialist society rather than a church, or if God exists I'm going to Hell and I refuse to believe that. Irrationality exists on both sides of the discussion because it goes to the core of who and what we are and that cannot be discussed objectively because our own nature will not allow us to.

    We cannot conclusively prove God exists, but all the circumstanstial evidence that I can see says He does. But that would take a small book, not the response to a posting.

    By Blogger shoprat, at 3:24 PM  

  • It is remarkably easy to construct a rational framework for the non-existence of God. You can build it all the way from the weak anthropic principle of cosmology at the big bang, through the evolution of sentience. Jean Paul Sartre rationalized the non-existence of God in existential atheism. He was decidedly miserable with the result; although he did believe it. Aristotelian logic is the basis for western math and science and it has a glorious history of analytical success, applied to the physical and mathematical word. However, it should be kept in mind, that it still is only a subset of human philosophy.

    A rational framework, denying God, does not answer people's fears of mortality. It does not sate their hunger for purpose. It does not soothe their despair over hardship events they have no control over. All it gives them is the plausible deniability of a supreme being.

    People will always have existential and consequence driven questions that have no answers. For that, many have their spirituality. Until we can ask animals how they feel about their purpose in this universe, we know only people are spiritual in nature. If this is a Darwinian mechanism, a fear moderating relic of our evolution, than maybe religion is a necessary facet of life, used to fill a need. If secular atheism is such a strong and compelling argument for the dismissal of spirituality, why do people like John Walker Lindh, unable to fill that need, seek it elsewhere? Possibly in ugly venues? There is little evidence that removing religion, will remove people's desire to provide those comforting spiritual answers by other means, such as the alien worship self-sacrifice of the Heaven's gate cult.

    Suppose you are an agnostic or atheist (I am the former) and you are not killed instantly, by accident. Instead, you are slowly approaching the cliff of your mortality, by inches. Is it really intellectually honest to say that you are going to pinch your nose and shout "Here I go into oblivion!" as you step over?

    I had the opposite view, when reading Daniel's Testimony. I did not see despair. I found it comforting. If his belief in God provides only emotional comfort, in the eyes of a few, why can't it be left at that?

    I just do not see how apathetic celebration of the random probabilistic hostility of the universe provides any more comfort than blaming your troubles on faltering faith. If the latter motivates you to improve yourself, perhaps it is a benefit. Faith is the private emotional possession of its owner.

    There really is little statistical evidence that religion itself is responsible for the ugly things people are capable of. Religion can be used as a tool for evil, just like any other tool. A hammer can be used to build. A hammer can be used to destroy. If we compare the human death and despair on the secular side of religious abolishment, such as Mao, Stalin, Hitler against the Crusades, the Taliban and other acts in the name of God, the argument that religion itself is responsible for the ills of mankind is quite inconclusive. Bad people use any tool to do bad things. Conversely, there is strong correlation between people of faith and charitable giving, through private (non-taxed) means.

    Is there a a final goal here, intended to make Daniel's life better, by rationalizing the non-existence of God, or decoupling God's hypothetical coordination of the events in Daniel's life?

    He could be medicating his despair with drugs, violence, self-humiliation, self-immolation or any number of selfish, evil steam relief valves we see in our society. He has chosen another path. He doesn't seem to be dismayed by it. I am not particularly religious, but I do respect the faith of religious friends.

    By Blogger Insolublog, at 4:52 PM  

  • dan: I'd also suggest that racial hatred should be done away with but NOT by getting rid of all races.

    I’m glad you brought this up, dan, because it highlights the problem with using analogies. The problem is that the things being compared in an analogy should be as similar as possible otherwise the analogy is false and should not be used as an argument. Can you see the problem with this particular analogy?

    You are comparing race with religion as though they are equivalent when, clearly, they are not.

    Your race is due to incredibly minor differences in your genetic makeup; so minor, in fact, as to be almost undetectable. However, minor though this difference may be, there is nothing an individual can do about it. They are what they are and they cannot change it. It really makes no difference to how they think and behave and they should be judged on that rather than the colour of their skin or some other minor difference.

    Now compare that with a person’s religion. This is something that they can and do change. Their religion has a direct bearing on how they think and behave. Religious hatred is caused almost entirely by the teachings of their religion. When someone is indoctrinated into a monotheistic religion they are actually learning to be intolerant of other religions, which, taken to extremes as it so often is, leads to religious hatred and violence. Eliminate religion and you eliminate religious hatred, without necessarily having to eliminate people.

    dan: That seems to be a small point, but there you go.

    Thank you, dan, that quote is closer than those I found. And you’re right; it is a small point, but an important one nonetheless. If Daniel or I or anyone else is going to quote someone then they should take the trouble to make sure the quote is accurate and conveys the original meaning. Otherwise, you are putting words in their mouth and giving an impression of that person that may not be correct. I’ve found that it is a common tactic of creationists to distort quotations or take them out of context so that they seem to say something different from (sometimes the total opposite of) the original meaning. Now, don’t take this the wrong way; I am in no way accusing Daniel of this practice. I just want us all to be careful not to misrepresent opinions or facts.

    shoprat: As far as Atheism being rational, some of the most irrational people I know are atheists.

    And some of the most irrational people I know are true believers; which proves nothing. The question is not whether some individuals are rational or irrational, but whether atheism is irrational or belief in the supernatural is irrational. Atheism, being a lack of belief in something for which there is no sound evidence, can hardly be considered irrational, whereas belief in the supernatural without logical proof or material evidence is the very definition of irrational.

    shoprat: We cannot conclusively prove God exists, but all the circumstanstial evidence that I can see says He does.

    Name one piece of circumstantial evidence for which the existence of God is the only possible explanation. If there is another more mundane explanation, then go with that. If there is no explanation, then reserve your judgment. Try to live with the fact there are some things as yet unexplained.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 5:19 PM  

  • cjb said:
    "Can you see the problem with this particular analogy [racism]?"

    Fair enough. Then let's make the analogy politics. You said:
    "So religious hatred should be done away with. How would you suggest we do that if religion still exists?"

    Shall we do away with political hatred by doing away with politics?

    That better?

    Like it or not, some folk will always find comfort in religion. To talk of "getting rid" of religion only invites more violence.

    Religion has unfortunately contributed an awful lot of bad stuff in this world, but it alone is not the problem. We need to work on the violence problem, says I, and part of that work might be working on the violence in religion problem, but abolishing religion is not.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 6:06 PM  

  • isolublog: There is little evidence that removing religion, will remove people's desire to provide those comforting spiritual answers by other means, such as the alien worship self-sacrifice of the Heaven's gate cult.

    I am and have always been an atheist. I do not seek comforting spiritual answers by any other means.

    insolublog: Is it really intellectually honest to say that you are going to pinch your nose and shout "Here I go into oblivion!" as you step over?

    Yes it is. I’m well aware of my own inevitable death and the fact that it means I will simply cease to be. That is why I live this life to the full and don’t waste my time hoping for another.

    insolublog: If his belief in God provides only emotional comfort, in the eyes of a few, why can't it be left at that?

    That’s a good question. If only it could be left at that. But history shows us that belief in God is rarely left at individual emotional comfort. There are those willing to take it to extremes who bring hatred and violence to others.

    insolublog: If we compare the human death and despair on the secular side of religious abolishment, such as Mao, Stalin, Hitler against the Crusades, the Taliban and other acts in the name of God, the argument that religion itself is responsible for the ills of mankind is quite inconclusive.

    First, let me be clear that I am not calling for the forcible abolition of religion. As you say, that will simply cause further problems. Rather I am hoping that people will, through education, come to see that religion is irrational and harmful and an unnecessary hangover from our evolutionary past.

    Second, it is difficult to deny that religion causes problems in the world. Just look at the current troubles in the world for examples. There is religious conflict between Ireland and Northern Ireland, India and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine and Islam and Christianity. I don’t think that a handful of Islamic terrorists screaming, “God is great”, as they fly a planeload of people into the World Trade Centre was about land or money or power. I think it was motivated by religion.

    insolublog: Is there a a final goal here, intended to make Daniel's life better, by rationalizing the non-existence of God, or decoupling God's hypothetical coordination of the events in Daniel's life?

    The goal is to make Daniel’s life better by showing him that he can give up these irrational fantasies without his world falling apart. There are plenty of atheists out there who live calm, contented lives without raping, murdering, killing babies or living their life in despair through a perceived lack of meaning or purpose. I know this is possible because I’m one of them. Keep in mind here that we are dealing with someone who really wants to be President of the United States. Do you really want someone for President who believes that supernatural beings such as God and Satan actually exist and that God is always watching over him? Look at how well that’s working out right now.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 6:11 PM  

  • dan: Shall we do away with political hatred by doing away with politics?

    Yes, dan, that’s a much better analogy. And the answer to your question is, yes, if we could do away with politics, the world would probably be a better place. This is another realm where a fair amount of irrationality prevails. And again, I think this could be improved with better education. Whether this will ever happen is another matter.

    Once again, let me say that I’m not calling for the abolition of religion. Certainly, I’m saying that the world would be better off without it, but I’m hoping that can be achieved one day through people deciding for themselves that they just don’t need it anymore. However, I’m sad to say that I think that day will be a long time coming because most people find it difficult to overcome their fears.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 6:30 PM  

  • cjb: I am and have always been an atheist. I do not seek comforting spiritual answers by any other means.


    That is good for you. How does this answer contravene the assertion that others may not share your particular condition of low spiritual need? History is rife with attempts at general social solutions, intended to benefit everyone, only to fail the test of social application.


    cjb: I’m well aware of my own inevitable death and the fact that it means I will simply cease to be. That is why I live this life to the full and don’t waste my time hoping for another.



    IMHO, I do not believe anyone can answer that definitively, until the moment arrives. I do not mean to doubt your courage of conviction here, but I would be dishonest to you, if I didn't. We will never know, because even if you do ask the question, briefly and silently, I will never be able to prove you did.


    But history shows us that belief in God is rarely left at individual emotional comfort. There are those willing to take it to extremes who bring hatred and violence to others.


    Yes, just as as much as state sanctioned secular extremists used violence to kill Jews, Christians, Buddhists etc. People can be extreme. Prove to me that it is the exclusivity of the concept of religion, and not just evil people using religion as an extreme weapon. If people are inherently spiritual, that weapon will still be available sans religion. My example would be the Kamikaze. The Japanese military was able to instill a spiritual vector to the national Imperium, which was used as an effective weapon to drive airborne suicide bombers. It did not have to be a mainstream religion. If there is a vaccum, you can fill it with anything.

    Since you chose to use your singular atheism, to argue your comfort in spiritual answers, I choose to use Daniel as a singular example of a person comforted by his faith. Without it, he despaired. With it, he was relieved.


    cjb: Rather I am hoping that people will, through education, come to see that religion is irrational and harmful and an unnecessary hangover from our evolutionary past.



    I reject this premise, in the absence of irrefutable proof. You can also reject my argument, as I have no proof. Stalemate.


    cjb: It is difficult to deny that religion causes problems in the world. Just look at the current troubles in the world for examples...


    It is difficult to deny that any serious clash of cultural mores will produce problems. I can site territorialism, paternalism, etc. I can argue that the male population of many Islamic nations feel that the threat of western culture is destroying their paternal domination of women. They turn to the religion to excuse their violence, using it as a tool. Many Muslims live in this country, able to blend into the culture, able to still exercise their faith in peace.



    cjb: The goal is to make Daniel’s life better by showing him that he can give up these irrational fantasies without his world falling apart. There are plenty of atheists out there who live calm, contented lives without raping, murdering, killing babies or living their life in despair through a perceived lack of meaning or purpose. I know this is possible because I’m one of them.


    I am sorry CJB, but can you not see that if I took your argument and placed it in the mouth of a converting crusader, that there is not much difference in the strength of conviction? Just replace 'athiests' with 'Christians'.

    The US has had many Presidents with religious convictions, who have historically committed those convictions to speeches and rhetoric. As long as they respect the Constitution, I feel completely comfortable with it.

    By Blogger Insolublog, at 7:03 PM  

  • insolublog: How does this answer contravene the assertion that others may not share your particular condition of low spiritual need?

    You are correct, not everyone will be able to overcome his or her fears. I was offering myself as evidence that this desire for spiritual comfort is not universal.

    insolublog: IMHO, I do not believe anyone can answer that definitively, until the moment arrives.

    You are probably correct here also. I’m saying simply that I will have lived my entire life up until that last moment without the need for spiritual comfort.

    insolublog: Prove to me that it is the exclusivity of the concept of religion, and not just evil people using religion as an extreme weapon.

    I didn’t say it was exclusive to religion and I’m not saying religion is the only cause of trouble in the world. I’m saying religion is one cause of trouble. Isn’t it better to reduce the number of causes? And I think you would find it difficult to prove your assumption that something else will fill the void if religion wasn’t there.

    insolublog: I reject this premise, in the absence of irrefutable proof.

    Which premise do you reject? Do you dispute that religion is irrational? This would difficult to reject since it is implicit in the definition of religion. Do you dispute that religion is harmful? I think there is enough evidence for anyone to see that religion causes harm. Do you dispute that religion is an unnecessary hangover from our evolutionary past? Fair enough; that one is speculation on my part and I’ll remove if it makes you feel better.

    insolublog: It is difficult to deny that any serious clash of cultural mores will produce problems. I can site territorialism, paternalism, etc.

    Yes, yes, there are many causes of trouble, but do you actually deny that religion causes trouble as well? Do you think that religion is totally innocuous: as pure as the driven snow? This is the second time you’ve used this tu quoque argument in your response. The fact that there are other problems in the world does not negate the argument that religion also causes problems.

    insolublog: I am sorry CJB, but can you not see that if I took your argument and placed it in the mouth of a converting crusader, that there is not much difference in the strength of conviction? Just replace 'athiests' with 'Christians'.

    That’s very good, insolublog. I admit that I ventured into the rhetorical. I’ll try not to do that again. I’m trying to achieve that goal by (I hope) offering rational explanations to questions and comments posed here. Could a converting crusader offer rational explanations?

    By Anonymous cjb, at 8:11 PM  

  • CJB,
    First, thank you for the interesting discussion.


    cjb: I'm saying religion is one cause of trouble. Isn't it better to reduce the number of causes? And I think you would find it difficult to prove your assumption that something else will fill the void if religion wasn't there.


    Perhaps I have been unable to properly communicate my point. I am still unconvinced that religion is a rational cause, in and of itself, of the problems in this world. Just because you observe the use of religion as a tool of evil people, does not mean the tool is the guilty party.

    Consider this. I declare myself a fervent and extreme supporter of Darwinian principle. I am somehow able to secure a position of grand Dictator over a large number of people. I implement a policy to educate religion out of the society. I declare that because 'survival of the fittest' is a great natural law, I convince everyone, who is the recipient of this education, on the need to forge ahead with a policy of blanket euthanasia. We will expunge all people with mental and genetic defects (Nazi Germany). This will improve the quality of the population. It will reduce medical expenses and so on. I also manage to convince people that marriage is unnecessary, and people must pair off to facilitate a program of social eugenics. This will reduce social caste conflicts etc.

    It is obvious to me, however, that this result is morally and ethically reprehensible.

    So, would I be correct to blame the rational Darwin and his secular bible for this scenario? Should I march forth and try to convince as many as possible to reject the teachings of evolution, on the basis that we have some tangible historical evidence (Nazis) of eugenics, used on people?

    I blame the evil use of Darwin's principle for evil purposes, by evil people. Those purposes could be power aquisition, subjugation of classes of individuals, the assertion of control, removal of liberty in the name of social engineering, or the preservation of control.


    Which premise do you reject?


    I reject the assertion that religion itself is harmful, since I can argue that evil people can use it, just like they can use a hammer, or fertilizer, as a weapon. I am not going to advocate the elimination of hammers and fertilizer. People find far more benefit from them, than harm. See above.


    Could a converting crusader offer rational explanations?


    Does he have to? As I mentioned before rationality, as powerful as it is, is only a single facet of western philosophy. I might so bold as to suggest a reading of the allegory of the cave, in Plato's Republic, before dismissing peoples religion and faith as evil and worthless. Often what we observe, on the surface, does not reveal the underlying truth.

    I personally do not have any answers for educating evil out of people. I am not convinced that trying to educate spirituality out of them is a path to glory, since I can demonstrate that a sensitive, extreme person, with secular upbringing, is just as vulnerable to manipulation, no matter what you do. As the Constitution guarantees that religious expression will be respected and unimpeded by the government, I respect it as well.

    By Blogger Insolublog, at 6:54 AM  

  • CJB,

    I must admit that your repeated demands for anything scientific that indicates or proves the exisence of God has me tempted to tip my hand, thereby ruining a portion of my upcoming series on evolution. I shall, howevever, exercicise reastraint for now.

    I will address some of your arguments though.

    "Eliminate religion and you eliminate religious hatred, without necessarily having to eliminate people."

    An honest review of history proves beyond all doubt that people do not need religion to be hateful. It wil actually show that the nation sthat have engaged in the worst atrocities of all time are ones that have had religion stripped from them. I am talking, of course, about Communist countries. With no religion to speak of the leareds of those countries have been so barbaric they make the Nazis look kind by comparison. Some of thee crimes include: 1- Murdering over 100,000,000 people in less than a century. 2- Forced abortions and sterilizations. 3- Infanticide and euthanasia. 4- Unspeakable tortures. 5- The active persecution of all dissenters. I could go on, but this should be enough to illustrate my point. Now, if I were to use this as a model of what happens when Atheism becomes the law then I would argue that Atheism is utterly evil and should be wiped out entirely much the same way you are making that very argument about religion. It is NOT the religion (most of the time, there are some few exceptions) that is responsible for the evils that are commited, but rather it is evil people using it as a tool to engage in evil. An honest study of world religions, and even cults, will reveal that nearly all modern faiths are diametrically opposed to nearly every man can concoct. This means those who actually FOLLOW the core teachings of their faith will tend to be very good people. Of course, without a God thesse core values lack any true eternal authority that would keep them true for all time and may be changed on a whim, much the way some of our laws are being monkeyed around withright now as a result of the Seperation of Church and State movement.

    "I’m saying simply that I will have lived my entire life up until that last moment without the need for spiritual comfort."

    This statement reminds me of a story I read called "The Land of the Blind". In it a man who can see stumbles across a land where all of the inhabitans have been born blind for generations, and they don't even know what sight is. The got along just fine being blind, but due to their blindness they had various very basic things mixed up. They though the mn who could seee was absolutely insane with all of his talk about things like "light" and "dark" and "color". They blamed his eyes for ths affliction and atempted to put them out of his head.

    They didn't NEED eyes. They got along just fine ihout them. However, thie world vast vastly narrowed as a result of their blindness, and their understanding was equally crippled.

    "Are you asking me to provide evidence of my non-belief? "

    Duh, yeah. I am saying to provide empirical evidence, not the philosophical stuff you constantly use, to measure exactly how much of God exists and prove that the answer is Zero. You will never be able to do this, and that makes your Atheism just as much a faith os my Christianity. As far you calling religion a fantasy, I consider Atheism to be a delusion. I also think that science points straight at God while not actually grasping Him. The Bible teaches that God reveals Himself in nature, and science proves this to me true. I will hold off my supporting evidence until I put it in my upcoming series on evolution.

    "The goal is to make Daniel’s life better by showing him that he can give up these irrational fantasies without his world falling apart."

    And just what is it exactly, about life being so poinrtless and futile that is supposed to make anyone's life better in any way?

    "I’m saying religion is one cause of trouble. Isn’t it better to reduce the number of causes?"

    Again, an honest study of history will demonstrate the simple fact that people will ALWAYS find some excuse to cause trouble, with or without religion.

    "Do you dispute that religion is irrational?"

    I'm with C.S. Lewis on this one. "You cannot be intellectually honest and be an Atheist." Do try to bear in min that this is a man who desperately wanted ther to NOT be a God, but the great scientific wonder of the universe convinced that there only logical conclusion was that God not only exists, but is in control of it all.

    "Do you dispute that religion is harmful?"

    Of course I do. I find Atheism to be far more harmful than religion. Refer to my comments on communism above.

    "Yes, yes, there are many causes of trouble, but do you actually deny that religion causes trouble as well?"

    Can you deny that Atheism causes the same trouble, only on a far vaster scale as proven by every Communist nation the world has ever seen?

    "Could a converting crusader offer rational explanations?"

    Yes. It happens all the time. That is the majority of what apologetics is all about.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 10:25 AM  

  • Insolublog and Dan T.

    I just wanted to thank you guys for your thoughtful comments here in defense of religion.

    That said, thanks.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 10:27 AM  

  • Thanks for this engaging New Year post, Dan.

    I would venture even further off my patio block of passive tolerance, to posit further. When people fill the spiritual vacuum in their lives with a peaceful and tolerant religious faith, they actually are safer, more productive and more stable in society. The reasoning follows that a person, flailing about with extreme passion and ignorance, unable to answer the metaphysical questions in life, might be far more likely to attach themselves to a violent or unproductive cause, than one with the community kinship and support that most of the main stream religions provide, to their vast majority of tolerant and peaceful practitioners. I might also add that education is only something that will be absorbed voluntarily.

    This, of course, does not mean people cannot be productive and peaceful atheists.

    Much of the debate here was about extremists and extremism. CJB and I may not agree on whether religion is a growth medium for bad behavior, or a merely a convenient propagation medium. I doubt we will. But that is what opinion is all about.

    By Blogger Insolublog, at 11:46 AM  

  • isolublog: I declare myself a fervent and extreme supporter of Darwinian principle. I am somehow able to secure a position of grand Dictator over a large number of people.

    Expounding a hypothetical scenario is pointless. It isn’t evidence for anything. It is a very long bow to draw to try to say that Nazism arose through adherence to the theory of evolution or atheism. In fact, it’s ludicrous to suggest such a thing.

    It is just as ludicrous for either of you to suggest that communism was founded on atheism. The communist leaders’ suppression of religions was just part of their program to suppress anything that people could look to other than the state. Secular academe was also suppressed, with many academics being sent to gulags in Siberia. Any voice that opposed the state was dealt with ruthlessly. I doubt that any of the atrocities was due to a lack of religion; they were the result of a ruthless and powerful state trying to maintain control. Communism has many hallmarks of a religion itself—the strict doctrine, the suppression of questioning or dissent, the intolerance towards those who follow a different ideology, the lies and deception—it’s all there.

    Daniel: An honest study of world religions, and even cults, will reveal that nearly all modern faiths are diametrically opposed to nearly every [evil] man can concoct. This means those who actually FOLLOW the core teachings of their faith will tend to be very good people.

    This depends upon your personal interpretation of core teachings. However, if you look at the injustice, the intolerance and the cruelty and violence in the Bible (and the Qur’an is no better), you will see that religion does teach people to cause harm. It isn’t just evil people using religion as a tool or an excuse; religion actually teaches them to behave that way.

    Your parable of the blind is just another example of Christian apologetics, Daniel. You need to show me that there is such a thing as God, heaven or life after death for it to carry any weight.

    Daniel: Duh, yeah. I am saying to provide empirical evidence, not the philosophical stuff you constantly use, to measure exactly how much of God exists and prove that the answer is Zero. You will never be able to do this, and that makes your Atheism just as much a faith os my Christianity. As far you calling religion a fantasy, I consider Atheism to be a delusion.

    This is the classic illogic of a true believer. Have you studied any logic? If not, them let me point out that it is practically impossible to prove the non-existence of some entity or thing—something that has provided great comfort to believers for a long time, I don’t doubt. The problem is, it is up to the person making the positive assertion (that God exists) to provide evidence supporting that assertion. I’m making no positive assertions. I simply lack belief that God exists. That’s what atheism is, a lack of belief. It is not based on faith. Faith is belief without logical proof or material evidence. If you think atheism is a delusion, then consider this; I believe that God exists as much as you believe that Santa Claus actually exists (unless you do actually believe that Santa Claus exists, in which case we need to postpone this discussion until after you have received professional help). Once you examine your reasons for your lack of belief in Santa Claus, you will understand why I lack belief in God.

    Daniel: And just what is it exactly, about life being so poinrtless and futile that is supposed to make anyone's life better in any way?

    What is the point of your life? Why is your life not futile? Any explanation that doesn’t involve God applies equally to me. Any explanation that does involve God is based on a lack of evidence.

    Daniel: I'm with C.S. Lewis on this one.

    So you are going to fall back on testimonials and opinion on this one. If you think belief in God is rational then you need to look up the definition of the word (I particularly like the definition from Stedman’s Medical Dictionary).

    Daniel: Can you deny that Atheism causes the same trouble, only on a far vaster scale as proven by every Communist nation the world has ever seen?

    Yes I can and I have above. But that isn’t the point. Saying that atheism also causes trouble does not mean that religion doesn’t. It is a schoolyard ad hominem tu quoque fallacy. This is basic logic, which seems to be a weak point with believers. Most creationist and apologetic arguments are riddled with logical fallacies, which we will no doubt see in your upcoming series on evolution.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 2:04 PM  

  • "Most creationist and apologetic arguments are riddled with logical fallacies, which we will no doubt see in your upcoming series on evolution."

    I look forward to proving you very wrong on this point.

    To go just a bit further, it is pure hyppocrisy for you say in previous comments that God cannot exist according to science, only to ignore the scienctific points that indicate nothing at all would exist wothout Him. You ask me to prove to you that God exists, I ask you to prove He does not. Neither one of us is ever likely to do this to the other's satisfaction, and to suggest that you are immune to needing to prove your point is both lazy and ignorant. Using pure ogic, as you wish for me to do, all unproven points are equally invalid. Therfore, If I cannot prove to you that God exists my assertion that He does is invalid. HOWEVER, your inability to prove that He does not exist proves your assertion equally invalid. The logical problem the arises from this situation is that it is logically impossible impossible for both of these points to be equally incorrect. Logic has many great uses, but it is more riddled with internal conflicts and contradictions that any religion I have yet studied.

    This said, does that mean that logic itself is an invalid and futile enterprise? A study of logic and philosophy has shown that great thinkers throughout history have been batting forth differing views with equal logic and fine arguments for all of recorded history. What has all of this actually solved? Little to nothing. It is so baad that , I believe it was Descartes, but my memory is hazy, who came to the ultimate conclusion of "Cogito ergo sum". "I think therefore I am". He expounded on this idea to state that nothing is provable beyond what you can prove to yourself, and that the only thing you can prove to yourself is your own existence based on your own conscious thoughts. All else is improvable. Given this bit revered philosophical wisdom, any debate is quite pointless since we cannot even prove that the world that we percieve exists at all.

    Like I said. Human wisdom is filled woth far more contradictions than any religion. The problem being because human wisdom does not ave foundation in any universal truth. Such a universal truth can only be provided by a being that is greater than we are who makes the rules. This being is none other than God Himself.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 4:27 PM  

  • cjb:Expounding a hypothetical scenario is pointless. It isn’t evidence for anything. It is a very long bow to draw to try to say that Nazism arose through adherence to the theory of evolution or atheism. In fact, it’s ludicrous to suggest such a thing.

    How the hell did you project what I said, into a conclusion, that I was presenting a theory behind the rise of the entire Nazi movement? Did I suggest this thing?

    Please don't demean your own position with this sort of sloppy invective. Human eugenics and euthanasia were both practiced by the Nazis. They are both concepts which are decidedly non-religious. The hypothetical Darwin part of the scenario had a definite, sharp point on it. I refuse to re-state it.

    Are you claiming with this ludicrous and dismissive criticism that you did not understand what I meant?


    Are we now changing the rules of this debate over metaphysics, to exclude argumentum ad judicem? This is not a court of law.

    Can I now dismiss any claim by atheist science, that expounding a hypothetical scenario of the quantum conditions of the big bang singularity, facilitating a universe capable of supporting life, as pointless, and evidence of nothing? No. It is an exercise to make you think.

    cjb: I see. So your wife, your children (when you have some), your family, your job and your country all mean less to you than your imaginary friend? What would you think of me if I said, “The most important thing in life is Santa Claus; all else is second”, and I actually meant it?

    How about that. A schoolyard ad hominem stab at Daniel's cherished belief in God, followed by a pointless hypothetical.

    The fact is, you still have not provided any convincing argument, thus far, that rationality is even a relevant and necessary factor for a healthy spiritual state of being. You keep on harping on its absence in religious faith as some fatal flaw, that extends beyond just your own personal dissatisfaction.

    By Blogger Insolublog, at 6:12 PM  

  • Daniel: I look forward to proving you very wrong on this point.

    I look forward to your attempt.

    Daniel: only to ignore the scienctific points that indicate nothing at all would exist wothout Him

    What scientific points? I don’t recall any being raised in this thread. If you mean those yet to be raised in your evolution thread, then I’m willing to wait until then.

    Daniel: Using pure ogic, as you wish for me to do, all unproven points are equally invalid.

    Utterly false, Daniel. This may come as a shock to you, but nothing in science is ever proven. However, many things are supported by such large volumes of evidence that they are taken to be facts, though never proven. This may sound contradictory to you, but that’s the way science works. So not all unproven points are equally invalid. Some are supported by evidence and others are not.

    Daniel: Therfore, If I cannot prove to you that God exists my assertion that He does is invalid.

    You don’t have to prove it to me, but you do have to provide at least one shred of sound evidence before I will entertain the notion. Again, if you are going to do this in your upcoming thread on evolution, then I’ll wait. But let me point out that even if you utterly shatter the theory of evolution (unlikely, but you never know) this counts for absolutely nothing in proving that God exists. Even if the theory of evolution had never existed, it would not support your case that God exists. It is a false dichotomy to think that a negative argument against evolution supports your case that God exists. To support your case, you must provide positive evidence and it had better be something more than an argument from ignorance or from design.

    Daniel: HOWEVER, your inability to prove that He does not exist proves your assertion equally invalid.

    I am not the one making an assertion. I am not saying that God does not exist. I’m saying that without a shred of sound evidence to show that he does, the default position is to assume that he doesn’t. Otherwise you must assume that absolutely anything imaginable exists until disproven. Do you believe that Santa Claus exists because I cannot prove otherwise? How about unicorns, fairies, leprechauns, ghosts, goblins, vampires, Zeus or any one of the myriad other gods? Do you believe they exist because I cannot prove they don’t? You are the one making an assertion that God exits. The burden of proof is on you.

    Daniel: Given this bit revered philosophical wisdom, any debate is quite pointless since we cannot even prove that the world that we percieve exists at all.

    Please, Daniel, don’t do this. If you are going to retreat into solipsism as a defence then I will lose what remaining respect I have for your intelligence.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 6:47 PM  

  • Everyone has their own interpretation of G-d, or the non-existance there of.

    I respect someone who believes in a higher power and follows their beliefs, even if I disagree. That is what I like about this country.

    Ridiculing someone's beliefs or forcing a change is not acceptable. Great post Dan, you always get great debate and responses.

    Keep up the good work.

    By Blogger Rick's Corner, at 7:32 PM  

  • CJB,

    I will lay out the scientific signs that point to God in the final installments of my upcoming series on evolution. I look forward to the debate at that time.

    Now for a few immediate things.

    "Daniel: Using pure ogic, as you wish for me to do, all unproven points are equally invalid.

    Utterly false, Daniel. This may come as a shock to you, but nothing in science is ever proven. However, many things are supported by such large volumes of evidence that they are taken to be facts, though never proven. This may sound contradictory to you, but that’s the way science works. So not all unproven points are equally invalid. Some are supported by evidence and others are not.

    Daniel: Given this bit revered philosophical wisdom, any debate is quite pointless since we cannot even prove that the world that we percieve exists at all.

    Please, Daniel, don’t do this. If you are going to retreat into solipsism as a defence then I will lose what remaining respect I have for your intelligence. "

    My point, as you have so eloquently missed, is that your dependence on philosophical logic and trying to marry that with science creates logical contradictions. You have also displayed a slight hole in your own knowledge of science itself. For the vast majority of what science helps us understand you are absolutely correct. HOWEVER, you have ignored the parts of science that are called law. Everything is science is only an as yet to be disproven theory until it is proven so well that it achieves the status of law and is considered truly proven. Very litle in science has achieved this status. The only science tha comes to mind are the laws of physics, law of gravity, and the more recently elevated law of relaivity. These are all considered scientifically proven fact that is beyond reproach. Quantum physics has managed to reopen the debate on prtions of the laws of physics, but has not called them heavily enough into question to demote them to the staus of theory.

    You have also dismissed my textbook use of logic and reasoning as silly without offering one shred of logical proof that it is wrong. You should be careful not to be so sloppy with your arguments no matter how frustrated you are with what you are attempting to rebut. I have encountered this entirely too often with people who asume that I must be some kind of ignoramus because I believe in a spiritual world they cannot comprehend. Many times this frustration comes from their simple underestimating of me. do try avoid degenerating into illogical ad-hominem attacks that you do not back up as I have so many others do before. It is unbecoming of someone who claims that they rely on logic as heavily you do. For what it's worth, I have frustrated philosophy professors in college by pointing out flaws in the practice of philosophy itself as it it has been, in my estimation, millenia of circular argument and countr-argument that has solved nothing, but has taught us how to reason very well. This assertion nearly always gets the goat of serious students of philosphy, which logic is a discipline thereof.

    You have also mixed up the relationship between philosophical logic and the scientific process. You brought up philosophical logic to support your assertions, and I used philosophical logic to prove your folly. Science had nothing to do with it. If you wish to keep this dicussion purely in the realm of science then I sufggest you provide scientific prof to back up your assertions the way you demand I do the same. If you wish to debate philosophically the science must take a supporting role as we discuss logic, which I have proven will only frustrate the conversation as it is a highly contradictory process.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 8:47 PM  

  • insolublog: How the hell did you project what I said, into a conclusion, that I was presenting a theory behind the rise of the entire Nazi movement? Did I suggest this thing?

    You appeared to. You mentioned Nazis twice in connection with adhering to Darwinian principles. You couch your posts in such turgid prose it is difficult sometimes to determine your meaning.

    insolublog: Can I now dismiss any claim by atheist science, that expounding a hypothetical scenario of the quantum conditions of the big bang singularity, facilitating a universe capable of supporting life, as pointless, and evidence of nothing?

    Short answer, yes. A hypothetical scenario is not evidence. But wait, again I find it difficult to glean your meaning. What is this atheist science? Is it a branch of science with which I am unfamiliar or are you saying that all science is atheist and using the term as some sort of pejorative? Science is not atheist; it is neutral. Science ignores the supernatural because as soon as you admit to the supernatural, science is impossible. However, the fact that science works can almost be taken as evidence that there is no God or, if there is, he plays no part in the universe.

    Science trusts that the universe is dealing fairly with us; that there is no omnipotent, supernatural being manipulating the results of experiments or changing observations. If you pick up a stone and drop it, under normal conditions it will fall to the ground. You can be sure that it will continue to do this no matter how many times you repeat the experiment or there will be some natural explanation for why it doesn’t. One thing you can be certain of is that it will not hover in the air, float away or disappear because some supernatural being willed it to or someone prayed for it to happen. If it did, then we could never trust the result of any experiment. The fact that science continues to work as we expect shows that there probably is no God or, if there is, he is utterly impotent.

    insolublog: How about that. A schoolyard ad hominem stab at Daniel's cherished belief in God, followed by a pointless hypothetical.

    I think you misunderstand the meaning of ad hominem.

    insolublog: The fact is, you still have not provided any convincing argument, thus far, that rationality is even a relevant and necessary factor for a healthy spiritual state of being. You keep on harping on its absence in religious faith as some fatal flaw, that extends beyond just your own personal dissatisfaction.

    This is a fair point, almost. I think you should change “spiritual state of being” to ‘emotional state’ or ‘mental state’, but that’s just semantics. I’m guessing your argument goes along the lines of: if it makes someone feel better and it isn’t hurting anyone, then why not let them have their beliefs? Is this a fair assessment? That’s a nice sentiment, but it doesn’t work in the real world. The problem is, it is hurting people. If you can’t see that by now or you choose to ignore it, then you are just part of the problem.

    It would be wonderful if all good religious people could go to their place of worship every so often and be filled with comforting, mindless platitudes and the spirit of goodwill towards others then go home to their families full of joy and contentment. It would be wonderful if that were as far as it went. But that is never as far as it goes. There will always be those willing to take the teachings literally or distort them and go to extremes. If they thought about the teachings rationally, they would see that it is all fairy tales and lies and they wouldn’t be so eager to follow them to extremes. The fact that they don’t think rationally about the teachings or the consequences is why we have Islamic suicide bombers killing people because of their religion and for no other discernible reason. It is why we have Christian fundamentalists opposing the teaching of evolution in US schools to the detriment of their children’s education for no other reason than it threatens their religion.

    The first step along the path to preventing these problems is to try to educate people to think rationally and employ critical thinking when presented with new ideas and information.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 8:47 PM  

  • CJB,

    "Short answer, yes. A hypothetical scenario is not evidence. But wait, again I find it difficult to glean your meaning. What is this atheist science?"

    I believe he is referring to the fact that the Big Bang Theory requires matter to exist before it can be possible. Given that it is considered scientific law that matter cannot be created or destroyed, and that energy and matter are codependent for their existence, there MUST be a Creator being who started the whole process.

    It is a very common assertion. One that a growing number of scientists are starting to buy into as there is no better explanation offered by science.

    Surely you didn't actually miss this point?

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 12:11 AM  

  • Daniel,

    Sorry, I almost overlooked your last post. It appeared at the same time as mine.

    You seem to have a slightly muddled view of scientific terms. Let’s agree on some definitions before you begin your assault on evolution.

    A hypothesis is preliminary assumption based on a limited amount of evidence that explains some observed facts or feature of the natural world. Hypotheses are nascent theories.

    A theory is an explanation of observed facts that is well supported by empirical evidence. It must be testable and falsifiable. It can be used to make predictions that can also be tested and verified. To elevate a hypothesis to a theory, it is usually tested and verified many times in many ways and has never been falsified. Theories are not something less than laws and do not become laws; they are two different things.

    A law is a description (usually as a mathematical relationship) of some group of observed facts or feature of the natural world. It is known to be invariable under specified conditions.

    So a law is a description of a feature of the natural world and a theory is an explanation of that law. I’m sure we will explore this in more detail in your series on evolution.

    Daniel: You have also dismissed my textbook use of logic and reasoning as silly without offering one shred of logical proof that it is wrong.

    Okay, I’m sorry I missed the significance of the words “pure logic” in your comment. I thought we were still discussing the scientific points you mentioned in the beginning of the paragraph.

    Daniel: If you wish to keep this dicussion purely in the realm of science then I sufggest you provide scientific prof to back up your assertions the way you demand I do the same.

    Could you please explain what assertions I’ve made concerning the existence of God. I keep saying that I’m not making any assertions. You assert that he exists. I’m asking you to show me some evidence to back it up; that’s all.

    Daniel: Given that it is considered scientific law that matter cannot be created or destroyed, and that energy and matter are codependent for their existence, there MUST be a Creator being who started the whole process.

    Thank you, Daniel. That is a much more lucid explanation. Maybe I have some sort of mental block against insolublog’s wording. I did actually miss this point. However, your assumption that there must be a creator is another God-of-the-gaps argument based on a false dichotomy. What makes you think there can be no other option? This same argument has been used many times in the past only to fail when new information is discovered. Why can’t you just reserve your judgment until we know more about it? Why can’t you accept that some things may never be explained?

    By Anonymous cjb, at 1:44 AM  

  • CJB,

    "Could you please explain what assertions I’ve made concerning the existence of God. I keep saying that I’m not making any assertions."

    You have made it very clear that your position in this matter is that God does not exist. That would be an assertion. You follow it with demands for proof to the contrary, but you have repeatedly asserted that God does not exist. I am calling on you to prove this point of view to be valid. You cannot do it.

    "Why can’t you accept that some things may never be explained?"

    You mean like God, or the way He chooses to work in the universe? Don't ask me to blindly accept your position that matter must be creatable from absolute nothingnes, which is the ONLY option in the absence of God. Especially when you call firsthand experience with God nothing but an anecdote. I repeat, it is only an anecdote to you, but it is anmempirical observation to those who have experienced Him.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 5:50 AM  

  • In Latin argumentum ad hominem refers to an argument "aimed at the person".

    I misread your pretentious rant about how you think Daniel's religious faith is a figment of his imagination as a criticism of Daniel. I suppose, technically, I could call you delusional, and you might not take it personally. Sorry.

    He saw God. That bothers you. You are imposing your discomfort on him, in the form of a psychological analysis. You have no more proof than he does. You are the one imposing the criticism.

    You just do not seem to understand that terms like rationality and evidence, quite useful to science, are constraints that you insist on application to the faith argument.

    Since you cannot answer the metaphysical questions of existence, and you are the one insisting evidence is crucial, where is your tangible, non-theoretical, non-hypothetical evidence for the meaning of life?

    On the atheist science point, it looks like Daniel got my meaning, with fair accuracy, without all the puffy indignant wrangling over prose and semantics. I was referring to the weak anthropic principle of cosmology. Specifically, I refer to the assertions made by Hawking, that wave function probabilities can justify a universe with people in it.


    I ‘m guessing your argument goes along the lines of: if it makes someone feel better and it isn’t hurting anyone, then why not let them have their beliefs? Is this a fair assessment?


    It is a precisely correct assessment.


    The problem is, it is hurting people.


    Of course, I continue to reject this part.

    You keep blending the behavior of extremists with the entire population, as if I did not read this point you made in prior comments.

    I have pointed out situations where extremism exists, detached from world religions. You have failed to prove that taking that religion away, will abolish or diminish violent extremism. Take religion away and extreme people will create cults, state religions, or any other spiritual vehicles for their extremism.

    You cannot just educate it out of everybody; since you cannot use rationality and provide evidence that answers all those unanswered metaphysical questions. The answers you think you have, will not satisfy everyone, specifically extremists.

    This is my final word on the subject.

    By Blogger Insolublog, at 7:03 AM  

  • I have not read all of the novellas that make up the comments on this post, but I have read enough to know feel comfortable in making the following points:

    I will not be quoting directly.

    cjb:"If you believe in it, you have to prove it. I as a non-believer, don't have to prove anything."

    Really? And who wrote this law?

    Face it cjb. If you want people to hop over the fence with you then you're going to have to do better than that. I, as a believer, don't have to PROVE anything to you: it's called FAITH.

    cjb:"Remove religious hatred and you remove hatred."

    Bullshit. The French Revolution? The guillotine? Was there any less hatred then? Any less violence?

    Religion/spirituality does one thing that atheism does not: hold people accountable. If I'm worried about my eternal resting place I might be a tad more moral than if I'm not. If the only thing you have to answer to are the laws of man--and we ALL know about the laws of man--then you may not be as encouraged to live a clean life.

    And yes, people distort religion. They distort education, politics, their job--if you want to eliminate all the institutions that fuel hatred and bigotry then you will have anarchy, i.e. more hatred and bigotry where people are not held the least bit accountable.

    cjb:"I believe in God as much as you believe in Santa Claus (and if you believe in Santa Claus then you need to seek help)."

    SANTA IS REAL!

    By Blogger Son of Lilith, at 3:26 PM  

  • I’m sorry this is so long winded. This is the first chance I’ve had to reply and I’m replying to three comments. My cable connection went down after an electrical storm. (It must have been the wrath of God.)

    Daniel: You have made it very clear that your position in this matter is that God does not exist. That would be an assertion.

    No, I’m not making a positive assertion that God does not exist. I’m saying it is a reasonable assumption that he doesn’t exist, given the lack of evidence, but I’m not claiming it as a fact. You, on the other hand, seem to be claiming his existence as a fact and I would like to know what incontrovertible evidence led you to that conclusion. Was there any real world, sound evidence or was your conclusion based merely on assumptions and feelings?

    Daniel: Don't ask me to blindly accept your position that matter must be creatable from absolute nothingnes, which is the ONLY option in the absence of God.

    I’m not asking you to accept that. I’m saying we don’t yet know the answer and that you should resist jumping to conclusions until you have some positive evidence one way or another.

    Daniel: I repeat, it is only an anecdote to you, but it is anmempirical observation to those who have experienced Him.

    What form did this first hand experience take? What was this empirical observation? Was he standing right there in front of you? Were there witnesses? Or was it just an assumption you made or a feeling you had? You probably think that it is unreasonable for me to ask you such things, but why should these claims of yours be treated any differently from other claims of an equally dubious nature? If I said that I had been visited by aliens would you simply take my word for it or would you ask me to back up my claim with evidence?

    insolublog: In Latin argumentum ad hominem refers to an argument "aimed at the person".

    Taken literally, yes, but that isn’t the only characteristic of an ad hominem argument and I think you know that. An ad hominem argument attacks the person rather than his or her argument and expects this to prove that the person’s argument is false. I wasn’t making an ad hominem argument against Daniel. I was paraphrasing what he said and asking for clarification.

    insolublog: I misread your pretentious rant about how you think Daniel's religious faith is a figment of his imagination as a criticism of Daniel. I suppose, technically, I could call you delusional, and you might not take it personally

    Thank you, insolublog, you’re too kind.

    insolublog: You have no more proof than he does.

    I’m glad to see that at least one other person sees that Daniel has no proof.

    insolublog: You just do not seem to understand that terms like rationality and evidence, quite useful to science, are constraints that you insist on application to the faith argument.

    Of course I insist that rationality and evidence are applied to the faith argument. Why shouldn’t they be? I insist that they are applied to any argument. I you don’t apply them then you can end up believing in fairy tales.

    insolublog: where is your tangible, non-theoretical, non-hypothetical evidence for the meaning of life?

    Does life have a meaning other than the meaning we each give our own lives?

    insolublog: without all the puffy indignant wrangling over prose and semantics

    Thank you again, insolublog. I know it doesn’t add anything to the argument, but I really appreciate these little compliments.

    insolublog: This is my final word on the subject.

    Thank God for that.

    m. brandon robbins: I will not be quoting directly.

    Then don’t put your interpretation of things in quotes as though people actually said them. Apparently my comment on quoting was one of those you chose not to read before giving us your opinion.

    m. brandon robbins: Really? And who wrote this law?

    It is commonly accepted that the person making the positive claim is the one who must provide evidence to support that claim. Otherwise we would have to believe that everything imaginable exists until disproven. I mentioned this in a previous comment as well. Perhaps it was another you chose not to read before responding.

    m. brandon robbins: I, as a believer, don't have to PROVE anything to you: it's called FAITH.

    It’s called many other things as well.

    m. brandon robbins: cjb:"Remove religious hatred and you remove hatred."

    Bullshit.


    What’s bullshit is that I said anything like this or even implied it. Do not put something in quotes if it is not exactly what the person said. To do so is rude and deceptive.

    m. brandon robbins: If the only thing you have to answer to are the laws of man--and we ALL know about the laws of man--then you may not be as encouraged to live a clean life.

    And if you know that you will go to heaven as long as you believe (Acts 16:31), then you may not be as encouraged to live a clean life. Atheists behave morally because it is the socially responsible thing to do, of course. Are you seriously saying that the only thing holding Christians back from orgies of raping and killing is the fear of hell; that they have no sense of social responsibility?

    m. brandon robbins: if you want to eliminate all the institutions that fuel hatred and bigotry then you will have anarchy

    Hmmm. I don’t recall saying that I wanted to eliminate all institutions that fuel hatred and bigotry.

    m. brandon robbins: cjb:"I believe in God as much as you believe in Santa Claus (and if you believe in Santa Claus then you need to seek help)."

    This is another distorted quote. Do not put something in quotes if it is not exactly what the person said.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 4:26 AM  

  • CJB,

    "No, I’m not making a positive assertion that God does not exist. I’m saying it is a reasonable assumption that he doesn’t exist, given the lack of evidence, but I’m not claiming it as a fact."

    Do you not call yourself an Atheist? Here is the dictionary definition of Atheist. "The belief that there is no God." Now for theism: "The belief that there is a God." hmm, both are stating a definitive belief. How utterly similar.

    "What form did this first hand experience take? What was this empirical observation? Was he standing right there in front of you? Were there witnesses? Or was it just an assumption you made or a feeling you had?"

    You will dismis any answr that s given to you as being a either a delusion, hallucination, or lie, just like you are already doing to every recorded firsthand situation where people, even groups of people, have witnessed God, starting with what is recorded in the Bible, and finishing with incredible miracles that happen today that I have previously mentione dto you and you dismissed as mere anecdotes. You have made it very clear that the only proof acceptable to you is if God wlks up to you in person, introduces Himself to you, and then performed some incredible miracle just to prove who He is. Of course, if he did do that all of your Atheist friends would just call you delusional.

    "I’m glad to see that at least one other person sees that Daniel has no proof."

    Wrong. The correct answer is that I have no proof that you will accept because you have made the decision not to accept it under any circumstances other than the situation stated above.

    "Of course I insist that rationality and evidence are applied to the faith argument. Why shouldn’t they be? I insist that they are applied to any argument. I you don’t apply them then you can end up believing in fairy tales."

    I actualy agree with you wholeheartedly on this one. The problem is that while many people, after applying logic and reasoning to isues of faith, come to the conclusion that God is real, there are others who come to the opposite conclusion. If you didn't refuse to read the writings of great Christian thinkers you would already know this. However, while you seem to enjoy humanistic philosophy, you instantly shrink away from religious philosophy and reasoning the way certain creatures run from the light. Having studied extensively myself I have come to the conclusion that the only rational conclusion is not only that God exists, but that the God that exists is the God of the Bible.

    But you will never read the philosphers I suggest, as you have stated in a previous response to another posting, so you will never know just how incredibly logical and rational this conclusion is.

    "It is commonly accepted that the person making the positive claim is the one who must provide evidence to support that claim."

    Quit copping out. This is a lazy thinker's response that is used when someone knows he cannot back up his claims. "You prove it, it's not my responsibility" is considered to be a phrase of surrender in logic and philophy. Thi sdiscussion has been primarily logic and philosophy as neither side has chosen to delve into the sciences much. To cap it off I can simply rephrase my own basic assertion to turn my own position into a negative position and nullify your argument on this point entirely. How about "There cannot NOT be a God"? Bad grammar with that double negative, but it is a common phrase. Or would you prefer "The assetion or belief that there is no god is false"? Either one of these turns around and slaps you with you with the full burden of proof under the rule you keep stating. Try not to take such easily crushable positions. It makes me question your ability to reason.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 6:21 AM  

  • Oh for the love of God! cjb if you're stuck a stickler for proper use of punctuation in an informal setting you need not browse the blogosphere.

    You may not have said, word for word, what I put in quotes, but you implied it if nothing else.

    But instead of responding to me you just picked apart my grammar.

    Logical fallacy?

    By Blogger Son of Lilith, at 9:41 AM  

  • cjb:

    Do you believe in love? Happiness? Grief?

    These are emotions. We cannot prove they EXIST in the tangible sense. Maybe they are hallucinations, delusions, defense mechanisms.

    Forgive me for being a smartass but I tend to answer hostility with hostility.

    And social responsibility is a large part of the Christian life, believe it or not.

    By Blogger Son of Lilith, at 9:49 AM  

  • Daniel,

    I don’t doubt that you are intelligent and well read. I think that you know that dictionaries also define atheism as a lack of belief in God.

    However, let me repeat that my belief that God doesn’t exist is the same as your belief that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. Examine why you believe that Santa Claus doesn’t exist and you will see how I feel about the existence of God. I might also point out (to use another old atheist saw) that you are an atheist when it comes to all gods other than your own. Examine why you believe that Allah, Brahman, Vishnu or Shiva don’t exist.

    (Let me paraphrase your argument.) Millions of people claim that they exist. Will you dismiss any answer that is given to you as being a delusion, hallucination or lie? Will you dismiss as mere anecdotes every recorded first hand situation where people, even groups of people, have witnessed Allah, starting with what is recorded in the Qur’an and finishing with incredible miracles that people claim happen today. The problem is that many people, after applying logic and reasoning to issues of faith, come to the conclusion that Allah is real. How can you deny the existence of Allah?

    Perhaps you don’t deny the existence of all theses gods. Perhaps you think that these are all just different interpretations of the same universal supernatural force or being. In a way, I think they are. I think they are just emotional expressions of the need most people have to quell their fears.

    m. brandon robbins,

    I’m not complaining about your punctuation or grammar; they seem reasonable enough. I’m complaining about your attributing to people things they didn’t say. Are you saying that because this conversation is in an informal setting, it is okay to be sloppy in your depiction of other people’s thoughts and ideas?

    m. brandon robbins: cjb:“Remove religious hatred and you remove hatred.”

    m. brandon robbins: You may not have said, word for word, what I put in quotes, but you implied it if nothing else.

    Correct, I did not say this word for word. It was just your inference or interpretation of what I said, so please do not put it in quotes as though I actually said it. And I don’t think I did imply it; I think you merely inferred it. Let’s examine your interpretation of what I said. By saying “remove hatred” and not “remove some hatred” or remove one form of hatred” you are implying that I said that removing religious hatred will remove all hatred and that is not what I said or implied. In fact, I was careful to differentiate between all hatred and religious hatred by saying that ‘all hatred’ includes ‘religious hatred’ as one part. If you are going to give an interpretation of what people say, that’s fine; just leave out the quotes. That’s all I’m asking.

    Yes, love happiness and grief are emotions that do not exist in the tangible sense. They are not physical entities. They certainly control the way we behave, but they only exist in our minds. Oh wait, I think I see what you are saying. Are you saying that God does not exist as a physical entity and that he only exists in our minds; he’s just a feeling or emotion? You know, I think you’re right.

    If Christians can use social responsibility as a moral guide (as do atheists), then why do they need all those fairy tales as well?

    By Anonymous cjb, at 1:04 PM  

  • I know I am breaking the final word barrier. This is not on the subject of religion. It is about the long wounded discussion of exact quotation.

    m. brandon,

    You used this sentence, on your very first post.

    I will not be quoting directly.

    As I read the remainder of your post, it became clear to me that
    you intended to not use the exact words of the author. Since you began with a written disclaimer of argument structure, the issue should have ended there.

    By Blogger Insolublog, at 2:02 PM  

  • "Examine why you believe that Allah, Brahman, Vishnu or Shiva don’t exist."

    Did I say they don't?

    There are 2 schools of Christian thought regarding other gods. the first denies that they exist at all in any form. The second declares them not be gods, but rather demons masquerading as gods in order to confuse the people of thep people of the world. I belong to the second school of thought. Name any diety besides my own and I will say he or she is a demon, not a god.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 6:10 PM  

  • Okay, Daniel, this is not good. I feel like we are going backwards here. Now you tell me that you believe that all the other gods—pardon me, demons—also exist. Wow, there must be hundreds of them. There are all the Greek gods, the Roman gods, Egyptian gods, Norse gods, Hindu, Mayan, Aztec, Inca… The list just goes on. Never mind, I guess we can just work our way through them. Let’s start with Allah, the second most popular mythical being.

    What evidence convinced you that Allah exists? Was it the Qur’an? Do you believe the Qur’an?

    By Anonymous cjb, at 9:56 PM  

  • CJB,

    What has me convinved regarding the demons who pretend to be gods is the fact that the Bible warns us that Satan is a deciever who seeks to destroy all of mankind by any means possible. We are also warned that he is jealous of God and wants all human worship for himself. Name any god other than my own and I will declare him/her/it to be not a god, but a demon in the service of Satan who has been tasked with the job of drawing worship away from the one true God.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 10:43 PM  

  • Daniel,

    So you believe that all other gods actually physically exist (as demons). However, it seems that the only reason you have for believing this is because it says so in the Bible, a book of fairy tales riddled with contradictions and absurdities. This is far from being logical and reasonable; nor is it rational. I don’t see how any further progress can be made on this topic.

    Bring on your evolution series and we’ll see how well your logic and reasoning applies to science and if there you can be rational.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 12:10 AM  

  • "it seems that the only reason you have for believing this is because it says so in the Bible"

    Yep. Do remember that I have specifically chosen the Christian faith as my religion. This religion, like all others, comes with certain teachings, pretexts, and guidelines. If I did not follow them my faith would be false and I would be a hyppocrite.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 6:09 AM  

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