Reasons why people want to believe in God.


By michaelsch   Follow   Mon, 22 Oct 2012, 5:35pm   12,964 views   144 comments
In South Pasadena CA 91030   Watch (1)   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

I'm teaching a religion class in a Sunday school.

Last Sunday I tried to give my pupils (10-12 y.o)an assignment to find out why some people want to believe in God. I asked them to write about it from both perspective: of those who think they do believe and those who think they don't.

Their reaction was:

--but how will we find out?
me--Ask your friends.
--Where?
me--Ask other kids at your school, i'm sure you'll find some atheist there.
They shouting (5 or six at once)
--IT IS FORBIDDEN TO TALK ABOUT RELIGION IN SCHOOL!!!!

The rest of the conversation is not very important, but it boils down to the fact that there is no way to openly talk about this in American society.

So, I want to ask you here to tell what are possible reasons people want to believe in God. Any opinion would be very valuable. Religious atheists are more than welcome!

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  1. Dan8267


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    105   10:10pm Tue 30 Oct 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    michaelsch says

    Socially unjust systems may become today way more efficient than socially just ones. What's wrong about them? Assuming you have a chance to get into a social elite, why would you oppose such a system?

    1. As socially unjust systems are typically so because they trade off society's long-term interests for an individual's short-term interests, they are almost by definition inefficient.

    2. What's wrong with socially unjust systems is that they harm many individuals. In fact, they do more harm to their victims than they benefit their benefactors. The total happiness displacement is always heavily negative.

    3. I often support changes that aren't in my person self-interest but are in the better long-term interest of the world. For example, I support a carbon tax to reduce carbon emissions and pay for either carbon sequestering or clean energy technology. Doing so is clearly not in my selfish interests as I will pay more for gas and electricity, but I'm unlikely to see the real benefits in my lifetime. However, I still support such a tax because it will benefit future generations not yet even born. I like the idea of leaving the world a better place than I found it, but hey, that's just me.

  2. Dan8267


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    106   10:20pm Tue 30 Oct 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    gracer says

    there are forces of the universe at work that make hell a certainty for an unbeliever in Christ, unless that person becomes immunized by faith in Christ.

    Nothing about the Christian afterlife myth makes sense and there is no way to square that circle. God is just but whether or not you burn for all eternity is determined by whether or not you accept Jesus as your savior, which in turn is determined almost completely by what society you are born into. If you were born to Christian parents, you'll probably go to heaven. But if you were born Muslim or Hindu, you're fucked. An accident of birth determines whether or not you will suffer for all eternity, and the Christian god is supposed to be just?

    A man and a woman gets married. The man dies. Later the woman marries another man. Eventually they both die. Isn't that going to be awkward in the afterlife? Even Jesus pussied away from addressing this dilemma. The inescapable conclusion is that human beings simply cannot experience permanent bliss because we have conflicting interests. Take away those interests, and we are no longer who we are. Sorry, but the human mind simply cannot handle paradise. The Matrix proved that.

  3. Dan8267


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    107   10:27pm Tue 30 Oct 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    michaelsch says

    Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

    Which is why anyone who actually believed in the alleged teachings of Christ would not have wanted Osama bin Laden killed or prosecuted for 9/11. A true Christian would have forgiven Osama and offered an olive branch, or in the least, accepted the olive branch Osama offered after 9/11. Hell, I'm an atheist and I think the wiser path would have been to make peace with Osama, admit both sides did evil things, bury the hatchet, and work together to end violence. It would have made the world a much safer place than simply killing him. However, the vast majority of Christians disagree with me and Christ.

  4. michaelsch


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    108   3:00am Wed 31 Oct 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Dan8267 says

    In any case, by choosing not to push the button, you have chosen to allow the Holocaust to happen.

    Dan,
    1. all your questions are based on the assumption one knows the exact outcome of ones actions. It is a wrong assumption;
    2. by introducing such a button you change the world and nothing would happen in the same way it happened in the history we live in;
    3. you use a token word of Holocaust as an absolute evil, however it was created after WW2 by the winners and with the purpose to justify their own crimes. Just imagine Hitler winning WW2, we probably would call Holocaust the persecution and murder of millions of Russians and Ukrainians by the Jewish communists.

    Dan8267 says

    would not have wanted Osama bin Laden killed or prosecuted for 9/11. A true Christian would have forgiven Osama and offered an olive branch,

    Forgiving Osama bin Laden as a person does not exclude a need to persecute him for his crime. But we also need to remember that he was a creature of CIA and his murder looks more like a cover up operation than an attempt to persecute him. Maybe I'm wrong, but until I see all materials published and all officials investigated for their role in 9/11, especially members of the Bush administration, I have no reason for changing my opinion.

    Dan8267 says

    michaelsch says

    your argument is intellectually dishonest

    Disagree with me all you want, but if you call me dishonest you're either a liar or a fool.

    Hey, don't you see a difference between calling ones argument intellectually dishonest and and calling a person dishonest?
    Dan8267 says

    Nothing about the Christian afterlife myth makes sense and there is no way to square that circle. God is just but whether or not you burn for all eternity is determined by whether or not you accept Jesus as your savior, which in turn is determined almost completely by what society you are born into.

    Frankly I'm getting tired of your arguments. You beat a straw man to death and think you hit Christian believes. Christianity does not have any afterlife myth. It is about eternal life, not the "after"- or "before"-life.

  5. marcus


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    109   7:04am Wed 31 Oct 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Maybe heaven and hell only allude to the quality of life you will have have here in this life. THe rewards for being a good person are subtle and hard to explain to a child or to the typical ignorant person. So this idea of heaven and hell is there for those who can't understand how their actions, behavior, and attitude can make their lives a heaven or a hell.

    And maybe in some different way of comprehending time, this life is an eternity.

    gracer says

    God saw a need to save mankind from hell

    Unlike Dan, I have absolutely no way of knowing whether the current state of the world would be better or worse if Christianity had never existed. But I think it's safe to say it would be different.

    Jesus' crucifixion did impact the actual existence of Christianity, regardless of whether your interpretation of why he was crucified is met.

  6. michaelsch


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    110   10:54am Wed 31 Oct 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    gracer says

    if there is no hell or separation from God in the afterlife,

    gracer, Christian crede says:

    "I look for the resurection of the dead and the life of the new world (or sometimes translated as the age to come)."

    st. John the Teologian calls it "New heaven and new earth." I think it's obvious we talk about the new space and new time here.

    "Afterlife" you use is quite misleading.

    As of the hell, there is an ancient parable about it:

    Hell is like a room with a long table with all kind of good food. People are sitting at that table and try to get the food but can't bend their arms. They are struggling and starving there.

    So, what is Heaven?
    Heaven is like a room with a long table with all kind of good food. People are sitting at that table and can't bend their arms...

    So they feed one another.

  7. michaelsch


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    111   11:45am Wed 31 Oct 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

  8. Dan8267


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    112   9:36pm Fri 2 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    michaelsch says

    all your questions are based on the assumption one knows the exact outcome of ones actions. It is a wrong assumption;

    The questions about the thought experiment may do so because that is the premise of the thought experiment. A thought experiment does not have to reflect the complexities of realities in order to gain insight on the subject of the experiment.

    Don't let that stop you from attempting to answer the questions as best you can. The mere exercise of attempting to address the dilemmas will reveal more about the nature of morality than any holy book.

    michaelsch says

    Forgiving Osama bin Laden as a person does not exclude a need to persecute him for his crime.

    One cannot take vengeance or punish a person after forgiving him, by definition. To do so is to not forgive the person.

    Who ever said forgiving was supposed to be easy? But if you really believe in the alleged teachings of Jesus Christ, it's a no-brainer. Osama bin Laden should not have been killed or prosecuted, but rather unconditionally forgiven.

    I understand that the Christian right want to have it both ways, but its a contradiction. You can't satisfy blood lust and follow Jesus's teachings. Clearly, most Christians are just into the mythology and authoritarianism, not the real morality.

    michaelsch says

    Hey, don't you see a difference between calling ones argument intellectually dishonest and and calling a person dishonest?

    To make a dishonest argument is to be dishonest. Lying to yourself is still lying.

    Of course, some people disagree with me on this one.

    michaelsch says

    You beat a straw man to death and think you hit Christian believes. Christianity does not have any afterlife myth. It is about eternal life, not the "after"- or "before"-life

    You think I'm making a Straw Man argument because Christian religions teach there is "eternal" life instead of an "after" life? Well, that's some semantic gymnastics you're doing.

    Hey, I may be an atheist now, but I spent 18 years going to a Christian church, attending Christian schools, being taught by nuns and Christian brothers. I know Christian mythology.

    Call it what you want, Christian mythology is that after you die, you go to heaven or hell (or purgatory in some sects, or limbo in Catholicism until recently). And after purgatory/limbo, you eventually end in heaven. So you live in heaven or hell for all eternity after death. It's pretty clear on that. In fact, the fear of hell and the carrot of heaven is pretty much the entire motive to stay in line and obey the church, which speaks for god.

    Now if you don't want to call that an afterlife, fine. I don't care about nomenclature. But the bottom line is that neither heaven nor hell makes jack shit sense. There is nothing a human being can possibly do to deserve an eternity of suffering. Nor is there any way human beings could have perfect bliss for all eternity and still be the person they are now. Eternal bliss would be like a fake, crack high.

  9. curious2


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    113   1:08am Sat 3 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    michaelsch says

    So they feed one another.

    When I first heard that story, it was attributed to Viet Namese mythology. Christianity has tended to adopt stories and holidays from other traditions, and philosophies from other sources, and then pass them off as if invented by Christianity. Morality and moral philosophy seem an ironic focus for Christianity, which claims credit for a largely unnatural morality that it did not invent. A comment in another thread interested me though and has got me reading more about Nietzsche, who blamed Christianity for popularizing a secondary morality based on intentions in contrast to primary morality based on consequences.

  10. michaelsch


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    114   2:01pm Tue 27 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    curious2 says

    michaelsch says

    So they feed one another.

    When I first heard that story, it was attributed to Viet Namese mythology. Christianity has tended to adopt stories and holidays from other traditions, and philosophies from other sources, and then pass them off as if invented by Christianity. Morality and moral philosophy seem an ironic focus for Christianity, which claims credit for a largely unnatural morality that it did not invent. A comment in another thread interested me though and has got me reading more about Nietzsche, who blamed Christianity for popularizing a secondary morality based on intentions in contrast to primary morality based on consequences.

    When I first heard it it was attributed to the eastern Nestorian tradition, later on I read that is is a known Tibetian parable. BTW, this is not neccessary a contradiction, since there were many cross-relations between them. I did not say it is a Christian parable in my post. All I've said there is an ancient parable. It indeed reflects the Orthodox believe that there is no inherent difference between the Hell and Heaven, but only the difference in how people interact with the Real world of the New Earth.

    Also, I don't see anything wrong with the ability to adopt good things from other traditions. Such an ability would be very beneficial to our Western arrogance, both Christian and Atheist.

  11. curious2


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    115   2:09pm Tue 27 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    michaelsch says

    I don't see anything wrong with the ability to adopt good things from other traditions. Such an ability would be very beneficial to our Western arrogance....

    I agree, and I happily acknowledge learning from some of your comments, and Dan's too. If the tone of my earlier post sounded peeved, that was based on a history of certain Christians claiming credit for things they did not invent and do not own exclusively, e.g. morality, and their tendency to re-write their own history in order to take over events (e.g. Christmas) and present the revision as literal history even though it isn't. It would be perfectly honest to say, the Pagans had a winter solstice festival and that seemed like a nice time for a holiday, and Christians didn't have a specific birthday for Jesus, so it was decided to set that holiday to coincide cooperatively with the earlier Pagan tradition. Alas a great many were converted by the sword, and their history buried deliberately with them, which wasn't so agreeable.

  12. leo707


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    116   5:45pm Tue 27 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    gracer says

    ok, where is the scientific proof of a God? there is no physical proof.

    Correct.

    gracer says

    you want to see proof of something before you believe in it.

    Yes.

    gracer says

    the proof will be what you know in your own soul when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.

    Faith = belief

    I can't get this "proof" without belief and I can not believe that the Christian bible is true without proof.

    I remain unconvinced.

  13. michaelsch


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    117   3:52pm Thu 29 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    curious2 says

    their tendency to re-write their own history in order to take over events (e.g. Christmas) and present the revision as literal history even though it isn't.

    Well, I think it's misrepresented. The Church never claims it knew when Jesus was born. First of all, in ancient time people paid no attention to such a nuisanse as a baby birth, birthday celebration is a relatively new phenomenon. The history of fixing the Nativity of Christ date in Europe is well known.

    I maybe forgot some details but it happened in Europe, where there was an old winter feast period called Yule or similarly. It happened around the winter solstice. There was an ancient Christian celebration of the Theophany/Epiphany/Baptism of Jesus celebrated on Jan 6th. So the Church tried to "chistianize" the Yule celebration by extending its own feast. Initially it was all twelve days of celebrations of Theophany = appearance of God. (Therefore the 12 days of Christmas)
    Later on Western Church somehow made the Dec 25th its main Holyday and pretty much forgot about the origins of this. Armenians, for example, still have a single celebration, which fall on Jan. 19th of Gregorian calender (our common one) and it is Jan 6th Julian calendar.
    There was an additional development in Europe, which incorporated st. Nikolas -- a bysantine saint known for giving to the poor in the celebration. (He used to be commemorated in December). Together with the wise men from the East it created the gifts tradition.
    The next development happened in the USA, when the preparation and fasting period prior to Christmas was completely forgotten and replaced with a constant festival before Christmas.
    Finally, in the USA and now it spreads thru the world we got back an old pagan Holyday with only commercial meaning.

    Even better the process may be illustrated by the Halloween, which was an old Celtic thing. Western Church tried to make an all saints day out of it and now it's back to what it used to be. Well maybe still without some cruel Celtic rituals.

    All this has nothing to do with re-writing any history, since there was never any history related to the date of birth of Jesus. It definitely is an attempt to incorporate other traditions. Why not? BTW, it's very American approach. :)

    Also an interesting question is about what year Jesus was born. Based on the fact that it had to be during last years of Herod the Great it could only happen no later than 4bc. The most common estimate is between 7bc and 4bc.

  14. michaelsch


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    118   4:03pm Thu 29 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    BTW, Christmas tree came from the same Northern Europe tradition. For example, it was unknown in Russia till the 18th century.

    However I think it is beautiful.

  15. curious2


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    119   4:04pm Thu 29 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    michaelsch says

    The Church never claims it knew when Jesus was born.

    Thank you for the very interesting history synopsis but I must ask, Which Christian church never claims it knew when Jesus was born? I remember the Christmas carols, for example, "our Savior was born upon this day." (Checking online, I find "Christ, our Saviour Was born on Christmas day.") And of course the nativity scenes that are the subject of endless political quarrels when a "moral majority" faction takes over city hall and turns it into a theater of three kings with spices and whatnot. (Somehow the presenters never get around to giving out any actual spices, only revisionist history lessons.)

    One good reason I will offer for why people want to believe in a God, it can help with civility, especially online. If people make a sincere effort to see each person as having been created in the unique image and likeness of God, and consider that God is watching them as they type, it can help promote civility in personal relationships and even online. Otherwise the Internet becomes a virtual Tower of Babel, which seems nearer the literal reality.

  16. michaelsch


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    120   1:21pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    curious2 says

    I remember the Christmas carols, for example, "our Savior was born upon this day."

    Come on, can't you separate poetry from historic claims? Celebrations usually associate themselves with the event they celebrate. Personally, I may celebrate the Nativity of Christ on Dec 25th, or on Jan 7th, or on any date that I attend a service of this celebration, which may be any day between Dec 25th and Jan 18th, depends on the calender of a particular community. For each one of them singing "our Savior was born upon this day." or anything similar would be perfectly valid even if in reality Jesus was born on May 14th of the 5th year BC.

  17. michaelsch


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    121   1:29pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    curious2 says

    (Somehow the presenters never get around to giving out any actual spices, only revisionist history lessons.)

    LOL, they also should give out some gold.

  18. michaelsch


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    122   1:40pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    curious2 says

    One good reason I will offer for why people want to believe in a God, it can help with civility, especially online. If people make a sincere effort to see each person as having been created in the unique image and likeness of God, and consider that God is watching them as they type, it can help promote civility in personal relationships and even online. Otherwise the Internet becomes a virtual Tower of Babel, which seems nearer the literal reality.

    Well, one thing is "to see each person as having been created in the unique image and likeness of God" and as the result to treat each one you would like to be treated.
    But "consider that God is watching them as they type" may be interpreted as feeling a policeman constantly watching you. That would be the lowest possible sort of a discipline. I don't know, maybe sometimes better than nothing, but I do not like this approach.

    Besides, it makes valid the argument I cited in another thread:

    I: But you should agree, dear A, it would be horrible would there be nothing above all this (they both agree that the human race is in very bad state).
    A: Dear I, it would be even more horrible would there be someone on top of all this. ( = it is so horrible, that assuming there is someone who controls all of it makes it even worse)

    The argument goes on forever.

  19. curious2


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    123   2:27pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    michaelsch says

    LOL, they also should give out some gold - both from their followers' tithes and from the municipal treasury.

    Ah, but their purpose is to collect the gold.

    In Brooklyn, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson used to give out $1 bills. His followers insisted he was the Messiah, so they wouldn't spend the $1 bills that he had touched. He kept saying to spend them, to no avail. Anyway, he died at age 92, and hasn't yet been resurrected as far as I know. Maybe he's waiting for his followers to finish spending all the $1 bills he gave them.

  20. Peter P


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    124   2:36pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Pascal's Wager. Enough said. It is irrational to be an atheist.

    BTW, religion is not about God. It is about control of people by people.

  21. Dan8267


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    125   2:42pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    Peter P says

    Pascal's Wager. Enough said. It is irrational to be an atheist.

    Pascal's Wager assumes there is no cost to believing in a god. As the Middle East has painfully demonstrated, this is clearly not so.

    One could even argue that a god would be far more pissed off at a person worshiping a false god or a false image of him, then not believing in his existence. As such, it is much more rational not to believe in a god.

    What if Thor is the one true god? He'll be mighty pissed that you've been worshiping some dumb ass carpenter.

  22. Peter P


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    126   2:47pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Dan8267 says

    Pascal's Wager assumes there is no cost to believing in a god. As the Middle East has painfully demonstrated, this is clearly not so.

    There is no cost in believing in a god. There is high cost in believing in a man-made RELIGION.

  23. Peter P


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    127   2:47pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    You cannot receive God's grace if you reject Him.

  24. Peter P


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    128   2:48pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Dan8267 says

    What if Thor is the one true god? He'll be mighty pissed that you've been worshiping some dumb ass carpenter.

    But I watched The Avengers. He would be fine if I worship the Iron Man instead.

  25. Peter P


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    129   2:57pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    And since there is only one God, any god you worship is the true god, just with different names.

  26. thunderlips11


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    130   2:58pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Peter P says

    There is no cost in believing in a god. There is high cost in believing in a man-made RELIGION.

    Christianity is a religion:

    Has Dogma (even the lone statement of "Whomsoever believes upon me..." is enough to qualify as Dogma)

    To say nothing of having a Holy Book, that almost all have a place of worship (even if it's a gathering in a home), etc.

  27. Peter P


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    131   3:07pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    thunderlips11 says

    Christianity is a religion

    Of course.

  28. Dan8267


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    132   3:15pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Peter P says

    There is no cost in believing in a god. There is high cost in believing in a man-made RELIGION.

    Acting on any false information has a cost. For example, if one really did accept the Christian afterlife myth, one would be morally obligated to kill babies. By killing babies, you ensure that their unblemished souls go to heaven. Any baby that lives and grows up enough to sin risks losing eternal bliss and enduring eternal torture. Therefore, it is a moral duty to save these babies' souls by killing the baby before it can sin. There is nothing in a finite life that can justify risking eternal damnation or the loss of eternal bliss.

    Of course, you and I don't believe in killing babies because deep down we know the whole heaven myth is bullshit. Our actions show our true beliefs. But believing in a god that rights all wrongs in the afterlife most certainly has negative effects. It removes the motivation to strive for social justice in this life. How many peasants toiled away in misery for unjust lords during the Middle Ages just because they had the false belief that they would be rewarded in the afterlife.

    Peter P says

    You cannot receive God's grace if you reject Him.

    Then your god is evil. A moral god would not require unquestioning faith in him, especially when that faith is first and foremost determined by what culture you are born into. All native Americans before 1492 most certainly worshiped non-Christian gods. Today, almost a billion Hindu people worship various non-Christian gods. Only an immoral dickwad would send them all to hell for being born to the wrong parents.

    I would make a far better god than your fictitious god. For one thing, I wouldn't screw people's chances for eternal bliss or risk eternal damnation simply because of being unlucky enough to be born in the wrong time or place. That's fucking sadistic.

    Of course, maybe you're right and the one true god does insist you worship him and no other god or you burn in hell, but maybe that god is Asgaya Gigagei, in which case you're fucked. At least I can plead ignorance. You're the one worshiping a false competitor of his and downright disrespecting him.

    Peter P says

    And since there is only one God, any god you worship is the true god, just with different names.

    Tell that to all the pagans like Hindus and Native Americans.

  29. Peter P


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    133   3:19pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Dan8267 says

    Then your god is evil. A moral god would not require unquestioning faith in him, especially when that faith is first and foremost determined by what culture you are born into.

    God is beyond good and evil. But faith is all about YOU.

  30. APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch


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    134   9:49pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    People need god because it would be otherwise be futile to pray to no god to inflict a long. painful and debilitating cancer on the RealtorĀ® who destroyed his life.

  31. BayArea


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  32. michaelsch


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    136   11:08am Thu 6 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Today, Dec 6th used to be the st. Nicholas day.

    Here is a Polish cartoon I think it's funny.

    She says something like: "Which (st.) Nicholas do you (try to) depict, an idiot (you)!"

  33. Dan8267


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    137   12:21pm Thu 6 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Peter P says

    God is beyond good and evil.

    No sentient being would be beyond good and evil. Any sentient being claiming such a thing is likely evil. If your god raped babies and clubbed old ladies, then your god would be evil.

  34. thunderlips11


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    138   12:24pm Thu 6 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike   Protected  

    ... Or told people to kill all the women and children, except the virgins.
    ... or asked that a dude go through all the motions of sacrificing his son, just to stop him a the last minute.

    I never got the last one. If God is omniscient, then he knows Abraham's loyalty without testing it. Job too.

  35. Dan8267


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    139   1:04pm Thu 6 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    ... Or told people to kill all the women and children, except the virgins.
    ... or asked that a dude go through all the motions of sacrificing his son, just to stop him a the last minute.

    ... or advocated slavery. That Christian god is such an asshole. He's not only for the Roots kind of slavery, he's also for sexual slavery of minors. Yep, the Christian god, according to the Bible, is in favor of pedo-rape.

    Exodus 21:7-10
    21:7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.
    21:8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.
    21:9 And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.
    21:10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

  36. thunderlips11


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    140   1:32pm Thu 6 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike   Protected  

    Yep, your post also reveals the non-universal nature of the OT; "Strange Nation". I also loved the women and child killing on God's orders.

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/num/31.html

    What is interesting is that the Hebrew fighters spared most of the conquered people, but God and Moses were Wroth, having given clear instructions to kill everyone but the young virgins.

    Some mercy!

    Slavery is not condemned in the NT, either, as the Confederates pointed out to various Yankee "Mainstream" Religious groups who tried to couch their anti-slavery in the Bible and Exodus.

    One of Jesus' parables is about obedient slaves working in their Master's interest when he is away. Paul also lectures slaves on obedience.

    BTW, now that I read the Bible with adult eyes and the benefit of reading non-"History Channel BS" archeology of ancient Israel, I notice all the careful points about tithing and sharing the booty with the Priests therein.

  37. curious2


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    141   2:03pm Thu 6 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    BTW, now that I read the Bible with adult eyes and the benefit of reading non-"History Channel BS" archeology of ancient Israel, I notice all the careful points about tithing and sharing the booty with the Priests therein.

    Yes, human nature remains constant; religion was largely about money and faith healing all along. Read the story of Bethesda, for example. Human frailty is universal, and faith healers have always exploited it. People want to believe their condition will improve, and they will pay to hear what they want. PhRMA is only occasionally better: the goal is to make $, any benefit to patients is merely incidental. Reading both the OT and the NT is a bit like reading the history of the 20th century as told by Jim Jones, Pat Robertson, and Raymond Gilmartin.

  38. KgK one


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    142   6:43pm Thu 6 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I hear that Christanity is heavily influenced by Buddhism, which in turn is heavily influenced by Hinduism. Buddhist monks traveled up to Italy to spread the word. Also there are articles showing christ visiting India and hanging out with indian monks . Its only 800 miles (couple of months walk or boat time) where he was

  39. Peter P


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    143   7:40pm Thu 6 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Why do people confuse God with some man-made religions?

  40. curious2


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    144   8:10pm Thu 6 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Peter P says

    Why do people confuse God with some man-made religions?

    That's a good question. The answer is because organized religions, almost by definition, purport to tell you what "God wants." The obvious contradiction is, if an omnipotent god wanted you to know something, you would know it; an omnipotent god wouldn't need preachers to "spread the word." As a former priest explained to me, and this took me years to understand fully, "Organized religion is fundamentally about the denial of God." As soon as man puts one stone atop another to build a church, man puts himself above God, deciding what God wants, and building something that obviously no omnipotent god had wanted to build. No omnipotent god can ever need your help, but organized religion depends on preventing donors from realizing that tautological fact.

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