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Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 17 Nov 2011 12:43 am

The truth about gods

This quote explains how an intelligent person would approach the idea of a “god” or gods:

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. [ref]

The only approach is to live a good life. Since there is no evidence for a god or gods, an intelligent person assumes that they do not exist. Living a good life is the right path no matter what.

What’s funny is that Christians believe in an unjust God – the worst-case-scenario of the three options presented. They worship a god who they know to be unworthy of worship.

98 Responses to “The truth about gods”

  1. on 17 Nov 2011 at 2:25 am 1.Anonymous said …

    “They worship a god who they know to be unworthy of worship.”

    Why would anyone do that?

  2. on 17 Nov 2011 at 3:02 pm 2.BrianE said …

    I really like this – it’s a secular version of Pascal’s Wager. Keep up the good work!

  3. on 17 Nov 2011 at 3:45 pm 3.DPK said …

    2.BrianE said …

    “I really like this – it’s a secular version of Pascal’s Wager. Keep up the good work!”

    In a way it is, except unlike Pascal’s wager, it doesn’t hinge on the chance that you actually pick the “correct” god to believe in (given the number of available options, the odds of you being right are rather slim) and it also doesn’t hinge on the assumption that a supreme being would find more merit in someone who “chooses” belief for purely self serving (to win eternal reward) reasons over someone who lives morally without promise of a reward, other than a life well lived.
    So, yeah, it’s just like Pascal’s… except for pretty much everything. Duh.

  4. on 17 Nov 2011 at 8:29 pm 4.Observer said …

    #2 BrianE There is no comparison to Pascal’s Wager. The salient point is secularist: “Live honorably for its own sake.” Pascal’s wager is intended for cowards and simpletons. Leading a decent and noble life does not require something supernatural.

    BrianE epitomizes the revolting worldview of theists, namely that they are only “good” because they have to be or else the uber-faerie in the sky will punish them. They are like children flummoxed before a cookie jar they have been told to keep their hands out of, yet desire.

    The only compelling argument for religion in society is that there are many low-caliber people who are incapable of living a decent life without the fear of retribution either real or supernatural. AND given the intelligence and honesty shown by theists on this blog, perhaps it is a good thing if religion persists society to keep these intrinsically bad people under control, as well as provide a relatively benign profession for con-artists and charlatans in the clergy.

  5. on 17 Nov 2011 at 8:30 pm 5.Observer said …

    #1 Anonymous Because they are cretins who only excel at feeding and breeding.

  6. on 17 Nov 2011 at 9:12 pm 6.Pryor said …

    “Live a good life”
    Question, what is good? Hanging out with the squatters on wall street raping, stealing and attacking cops?

    “If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been…”
    Conjecture, opinion and irrelevant. Just in whose eyes? He is so arrogant as to believe he knows what God would think. Yes, I’m sure God would be happy with jack-legs who make light of His existence. Pure stupidity.

    “If there are gods, but unjust”
    Question. How can an atheist deem anything unjust? His opinion? Pointless rhetoric with no basis.

    “But will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

    Your loved will be dead then what? If your loved ones also squat on wall street with the other putrid vagrants who live in the squalor, then you do have some wonderful memories to look back on.

    Pascal is rolling over in his grave laughing at the insinuation that his genius is compared with such s

  7. on 17 Nov 2011 at 9:15 pm 7.Pryor said …

    that was “smau”.

    Oh, now I see. Brain is attempting to promote his other business. Marketing to the weak minded should be illegal Brain.

  8. on 17 Nov 2011 at 10:14 pm 8.Lou (DFW) said …

    7.Pryor (AKA Hor) said …

    “Marketing to the weak minded should be illegal Brain.”

    EXACTLY! Let’s make religion and belief in god illegal.

    Thanks, Hor.

    P.S. Why are you obsessed with “the squatters on wall street?” How are they relevant to the topic?

  9. on 17 Nov 2011 at 11:15 pm 9.n said …

    Herein is the problem with not cross checking your sources to see if the person you are quoting, actually said what you’re attributing to them. Even a quick Google search will turn up the fact that the quote is uncertain in origin, and only mistakenly attributed to Marcus Aurelius.

    The quote is a pretty stupid one with regards to atheism. If you are an atheist are you not doing exactly what the quote asks already? Do what is right in your own eyes? Pryor above makes very good arguments.

  10. on 18 Nov 2011 at 1:24 am 10.Anonymous said …

    Observer, it seems that the theists are intent on making your point for you.

    What I find strange is that anyone, and I mean anyone, would actually be so unaware of the world to think that morality comes from the bible. Are they than insular and unaware of the world?

    Leaving aside the fact that the bible espouses violence, rape, misogyny, genocide, intolerance and hate, 2/3rds of the world population isn’t even Christian. So how they feel that their book of fairy tales is somehow necessary to be good is kind of scary, not to mention illogical.

    It really does seem that some theists actually need to be threatened with punishment before they are able to treat others with common decency and respect. That’s sad, but that’s what religion teaches them.

  11. on 18 Nov 2011 at 2:06 am 11.40 year Atheist said …

    “Secular reasoning” as a source of anything meaningful at all is the most absurd premise that can be made. Secular reasoning eschews any absolutes, so it has to base its premise support either on infinite regressions of subpremises, or on circular regression back to itself. Either way it cannot provide any firm grounding for… well, for any valid thought whatsoever, much less a guide for moral human behavior. This is the world in which the secular philosopher moralists live, a world which they make up and then want us to believe is real. For them maybe it is real, but I doubt it, because they do not actually live in the world they pretend is real.

    And that is a true dichotomy: to make up rules and reality and then either (a) to live in it, or (b) not to live in it. If one asserts rules and reality, but chooses (b), then he might be hypocritical or maybe insane.

    An example is the idea that “compassion” must become a human trait if one is to be a secular moralist. But then the real idea comes to the fore: it is not compassion but confiscation of other people’s wealth to be spread around. The compassion comes not from personal sacrifice but from sacrificing the Other on the altar of secularism. Sacrificing the Other is a large part of secular thought, so it must be moral according to the seculars.

    Anyone who values “secular thought” as a way toward morality is suspect. In fact, as Massimo Pigliucci recently demonstrated quite adequately, secular thought is compartmentalized into sects, each of which condemns the other secular thought sects as dealing in “mental masturbation”. They are partly right; it’s just that ALL secular thought is mental masturbation. And atheist right in the middle of all that. Why is atheism “Good”? Because they says so. What is “Good”? It’s whatever they say it is… today. That’s the process of atheist thought.

    Science provides only contingent inductive factoids, from which deductive tests can be made, which show merely that no falsification has yet occurred. No matter how many tests are done, science never ever provides Truth. Scientists might presume a factoid to be valid for purposes of subsequent tests, but they do not declare Truth if they understand the basis for science.

    One never knows just what it is that their morality of the day will find offensive. Or acceptable, for that matter. You just can’t know what to expect from an Atheist, so as the old Boswell quote goes, “when he leaves, we should count the silverware”.

  12. on 18 Nov 2011 at 2:21 am 12.Anonymous said …

    Ah, more verbal diarrhea from 40YA. Nice examples of circular thinking, baseless assertions, and total nonsense. Still waiting for you to, you know, actually prove that your god exists. And, saying that it can’t be proved, proves that you’re nothing but worthless hot air and Humpty Dumpty sentences.

  13. on 18 Nov 2011 at 3:49 am 13.Lou (DFW) said …

    11.40 year Atheist said …

    “You just can’t know what to expect from an Atheist…”

    But we know EXACTLY what to expect from the theists on this site – no evidence for their imaginary god, irrational and illogical reasoning, and outright lies.

  14. on 18 Nov 2011 at 5:23 am 14.Anonymous said …

    But we know EXACTLY what to expect from the theists on this site – no evidence for their imaginary god, irrational and illogical reasoning, and outright lies.

    And his first lie is that he ever was a non-believer. This guy has way too much hate in him to have been a convert. His “logic” is so absolutely out to lunch that he, also, can’t have been a clear thinker. He’s full of metaphysical crap, that’s the escape hatch for theism and pseudosciences. I suppose he feels that he gains some authority via his pretense but, really, it’s so much nonsense that it’s embarrassing to watch.

  15. on 18 Nov 2011 at 5:33 am 15.DPK said …

    “You just can’t know what to expect from an Atheist, so as the old Boswell quote goes, “when he leaves, we should count the silverware”.

    Which is I supposed better then hiding your children when the priest comes to visit. Yeah, morality can only come from an invisible sky-man. Problem is, and 5 year old could write a better guide to morality than what you’ll find in the bible.

  16. on 18 Nov 2011 at 6:47 pm 16.Observer said …

    #11 40 YA How idiotic can anyone be? Now citing, although without reference or even a coherent point, the destroyer of Young Earth creationists and out-of-the-closet atheist Massimo Pigliacci as denouncing all secular points of view except presumably his own. 40YA is so wacked out, it is just bizarre. Someone commented that he had likely done way too much acid in the 60s, or sometime. It is like there is not really anyone there. Freakish stuff.

  17. on 18 Nov 2011 at 6:51 pm 17.Observer said …

    #10 Anon Yeah. I keep coming back to this website, but frankly, it is really starting to creep me out. This 40YA character is just creepy. He is evening news material; the sort that is running a dungeon or something. Who are these people?

  18. on 19 Nov 2011 at 2:55 am 18.Joel said …

    @#11

    “This is the world in which the secular philosopher moralists live, a world which they make up and then want us to believe is real.”

    40YA
    This is obviously why atheists are not trusted. Attempts to justify rather than deal with this real issue. Many adopt the moral absolutes of the Judeo-Christian heritage or other groups but many deny this obvious hijacking. Some may adopt admirable qualities but since they are relative nobody knows when things might go bad. Whatever works best in their minds. Darwin has shown only the strong survive therefore always assume an atheist is looking for the upper hand.

  19. on 19 Nov 2011 at 5:20 am 19.Anonymous said …

    This is obviously why atheists are not trusted.

    As opposed to trusting theist priests who go around raping little boys and forcing them to give those dirty old men blowjobs?

    As opposed to moral people like the Bakkers, Camping, and Hinn, who preach your morals as a road to self-enrichment?

    As opposed to Teresa of Calcutta, who caused people to endure needless suffering and be deprived of appropriate care, all in the name of your Christ?

    And we haven’t even mentioned the pope!

    Your values and morality seem a little off base to me.

  20. on 21 Nov 2011 at 11:01 pm 20.Xenon said …

    You got me. The title of the thread lead me to believe a new truth had been uprooted. Oh well.

  21. on 22 Nov 2011 at 2:33 pm 21.Lou (DFW) said …

    20.Xenon (AKA Hor)said …

    “You got me. The title of the thread lead me to believe a new truth had been uprooted. Oh well.”

    As opposed to believing that someone provided evidence for god?

  22. on 28 Nov 2011 at 7:58 am 22.Truth said …

    When reading about the reasons for “God not
    existing” I was surprised to find that the
    experiments that were observed were only
    pertaining to God’s interaction with man. However,
    In the bible it clearly states that God is not to
    be tempted. This truth abolishes any studies that one can do on prayer; in addition to that, if we could prove God’s existence by studies there would be no need for faith, which is mentioned quite a bit in the bible. It is my personal belief that if one wants to say that they have proven the existence or nonexistence of God, said person may want to consider reading about what he wants to try and disprove before making a website stating it as truth.

    Furthermore, unlike most people who leave comments saying you are wrong because I am right. I will provide you with irrefutable evidence on why your experimentation is flawed.

    First, when one does a study like the one proposed in “50 reasons god does not exist,” they negate the fact that if God were to exist, as it says in the bible, he would have free will thus allowing him to choose his own path. The idea is really simple, if God is real, he knows everything, therefore calculates everything and does not make mistakes. The assumption of prayer making a difference is a common misconception. The reason people say “His will be done” is because they are acknowledging that Gods will really matters more than whatever they are praying about. In regards to the study, If God were to exist, would it make any sense for him to take orders from something as imperfect as a person, especially a person who does not care about his law? The law I am talking about states: he can only be found through faith. Honestly, I have searched many atheist websites and I have yet to find a shred of conclusive evidence that disproves God’s existence.

  23. on 28 Nov 2011 at 9:39 am 23.Anonymous said …

    Truth, Why won’t god heal amputees?

  24. on 28 Nov 2011 at 1:49 pm 24.DPK said …

    Truth, if god know everything, how can he have free will to “choose his own path”?
    If god knows that tomorrow an earthquake will destroy San Francisco, can he decide to stop it?
    D

  25. on 28 Nov 2011 at 4:09 pm 25.DPK said …

    “Honestly, I have searched many atheist websites and I have yet to find a shred of conclusive evidence that disproves God’s existence.”

    And you won’t. Because you have defined god to be a moving target that by definition cannot be dis-proven, anymore than you can find a shred of conclusive evidence that garden gnomes and fairies do not exist. The fact that you cannot prove fairies do not exist does not therefore mean that they then do exist.

    Listen to yourself. You just said that god answers prayers, but doesn’t answer prayers.. ?? What does that even mean?

    “If God were to exist, would it make any sense for him to take orders from something as imperfect as a person…?”

    No, it would not, so why claim that god answers prayers? You are saying that god only answers prayers for things that are going to happen anyway….. That’s not “answering” that’s just an illusion, and has been demonstrated, you can get the same result praying to a jug of milk. If it’s going to happen, the milk jug will answer your prayer, if it isn’t, well… that’s the breaks.

  26. on 28 Nov 2011 at 5:13 pm 26.Lou (DFW) said …

    22.Truth said …

    “The idea is really simple, if God is real, he knows everything, therefore calculates everything and does not make mistakes.”

    Really?! Then why did god supposedly flood the world in order to rid it of his “mistakes?”

  27. on 28 Nov 2011 at 5:51 pm 27.DPK said …

    “Really?! Then why did god supposedly flood the world in order to rid it of his “mistakes?”

    And then “regret it” afterward and make a promise, memorialized by the rainbow, never to do it again.
    If god “does not make mistakes” then why does he get “angry” at events and actions of mankind? The bible is full of stories where god became angry and jealous at man and lashed out… but wasn’t everything ultimately his doing, his plan?

    Mr. “Truth”… you simply don’t make any sense at all.

  28. on 12 Dec 2011 at 3:44 am 28.Interested Theist said …

    A few things are worth note here. First, who decides what is good? The quote implies that there is some sort of underlying moral law that God or the gods would expect people to conform to. Where does it come from?

    In a similar vein, who decides which gods are just and which aren’t? There must be some standard of justice that they either conform to or deviate from. What is it?

    The whole quote implies an overarching moral law. I would argue that God is the source of that law.

  29. on 12 Dec 2011 at 5:12 am 29.Anonymous said …

    “The whole quote implies an overarching moral law. I would argue that God is the source of that law.”

    Then you’d be somewhat small minded and ignorant, but feel free to offer proof of the existence of this god of yours. So far everyone runs away when challenged to provide actual proof of their imaginary friend in the sky. How fast can you run IT?

  30. on 12 Dec 2011 at 5:30 am 30.DPK said …

    Is the god you contend the source of all morality the same one who commanded this?

    1 The LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When anyone among you brings an offering to the LORD, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.
    3 “‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the LORD. 4 You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you. 5 You are to slaughter the young bull before the LORD, and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 6 You are to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces. 7 The sons of Aaron the priest are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 8 Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar. 9 You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

    10 “‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the flock, from either the sheep or the goats, you are to offer a male without defect. 11 You are to slaughter it at the north side of the altar before the LORD, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar. 12 You are to cut it into pieces, and the priest shall arrange them, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar. 13 You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to bring all of them and burn them on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

    14 “‘If the offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, you are to offer a dove or a young pigeon. 15 The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off the head and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar. 16 He is to remove the crop and the feathers[a] and throw them down east of the altar where the ashes are. 17 He shall tear it open by the wings, not dividing it completely, and then the priest shall burn it on the wood that is burning on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

    Seriously? THIS is what you attribute the source of all morality? Why is it that most modern ideas abut morality, like the evil of slavery, equal rights for women, humane punishments for crimes, even humane treatment of prisoners of war… are not found in the bible AT ALL? Where did they come from? And if god is the source of morality, why is it necessary to cherry pick which parts of the bible to follow, and which parts to ignore, like instructions on how to correctly acquire and beat your slaves, sell your daughters into prostitution, or stone homosexuals to death?
    The very idea is so laughable I’m surprised believers still dare to bring it up. Morality indeed. A 2nd grader could write a better guide to morality that the bible or the koran…….. please.

  31. on 12 Dec 2011 at 8:42 am 31.Obvious said …

    28.Interested Theist said …

    > First, who decides what is good?

    It is obvious:

    On Ethics and rational moral codes

  32. on 12 Dec 2011 at 3:23 pm 32.Anonymous said …

    It probably says a lot about their violent and hate-filled religion that some Christians think it’s not possible to treat other people with respect and dignity without the threat of punishment or torture.

    It’s also utterly bizarre that they are prepared to think that their god waited hundreds of thousands of years before revealing himself to an exclusive and small number of inhabitants or that they suddenly became an flaming beacon of goodness in the midst of a sea of immorality. Have they not read their own bible? Well, actually, no.

    And really, that the “good word” was spread by the sword. What’s that about? “We, the nice people, are going to kill you, then you will be tormented for the rest of eternity unless you agree to go and spread our wonderful vision of killing people and telling them how awful and useless they are, so that they can then feel loved by an imaginary friend”.

    Yes, Christians are delusional.

  33. on 14 Dec 2011 at 2:41 am 33.Black wolf said …

    Now I dont want to slander ALL atheists, I have an atheistic friend who is very nice, however, this ‘Unjust God’ you mention, that’s not how it is. Im not going to try and force Christianity down anyone’s throat, nor would anyone I know. I wont bore you with my reasons, but I notice that some of you believe that God is the reason for pain in the world, letting people be hurt, demanding sacrifices. The truth is, the human race is far from pure, we cause our own hurt, our own pain, you see the bad in the world and ask “is this the work of a loving God?” but look again. Do you see all the good there is? Look around at the world, the beauty, the magnificence. While some seem to think that Christians want to force everyone to be like them, we dont work that way, Christianity is a religion of love and acceptance. Joel 2:13 “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is Gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth of him the evil.” Of the earthquakes and natural diasters, well, they are NATURAL disasters, these are things that happen, would your father wrap you in bubble wrap to protect you from every danger? No. The Lord first flooded the world due to OUR sins, OUR choices. If the Lord fixed all of our problems, we would not be as strong of a people as we are.

  34. on 14 Dec 2011 at 3:07 am 34.Anonymous said …

    So all the good things are caused by your god, but all the bad things are not? That’s convenient and it’s also called special-pleading or making shit up. Yet, you also believe that your god created the natural world (the part that causes the bad things) and intercedes in this world but only in ways that no-one can test and in ways that are indistinguishable from a world where he doesn’t intercede.

    You claim that the god flooded the world, even though we have no evidence that this happened and plenty that it didn’t. You claim that this flood was due to OUR sins yet these “sins” were 100% the result of how this god of yours created people and the kicker is that, according to your religion, he was also aware that his actions would lead to that outcome. Somehow you think that it’s moral that your god punishes everyone for a “sin” committed by someone who had no knowledge of good or evil, that knowledge being withheld by your god. Talk about setting someone up for failure!

    You hypocritically cherry pick a couple of verses out of the book of myths that is the bible to claim Christianity is a religion of love and acceptance which means that you are either a liar, completely out of touch with reality, or you have never actually read your own holy book.

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/int/long.html
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/gay/long.htm

    You have absolutely not one shred of evidence that this god exists and masses of observations that he doesn’t, yet you don’t understand why educated people think that you’re delusional?

  35. on 15 Dec 2011 at 12:46 am 35.Black wolf said …

    Well, what you say about not being able to SCIENTIFICALLY prove that he is real, thats all a matter of perception and opinion. As to him punishing people who have no knowledge of Good and Evil, well, I’ve seen many people on here claim that you dont need God for that, so those people were still in the wrong. If you are young, and you do something bad, doesn’t your father punish you to teach you? I never said that God does not allow bad things to happen, but that some only see the bad in the world, not the good. Im quite confused as to why you say ‘Educated’ people think that we christians are delusional, if you didnt know, this country was founded, and I am not being biased, on christianity, or at least a belief in a benevolent God, are we any weaker from it? No. Christianity IS a religion of love and acceptance, but there are rules to this, are there are in life. I myself have no problems with Homosexual people, nor does anyone I know, I have an atheistic friend, and I have no problem with any person of any sexuality or religion, as long as they are good people. What you are choosing to think on are the christians who take it too far, being abusive and cruel, not all of us are like that. I have no proof that the Lord flooded the earth, but my faith. Although the way the world works, fitting together in Just the right way to sustain life. Have you ever thought, if any TINY little thing, the sun being a little farther from the earth, a slight difference in orbit, this planet could not sustain life. Im sorry if I cant believe that this system was just a random creation. I have read the Bible, and am quite in touch with reality, thank you. Even if I DO tend to see the good, not the bad, in both the world and the bible, is that wrong? You accuse me of Cherry-picking a couple of verses out of the Bible to suport my religion, well, if I look again, will you? Try to see the good in the bible, if it is just a book of myths, what harm would it do?

  36. on 15 Dec 2011 at 3:46 am 36.Anonymous said …

    Black Wolf, your post is so full of nonsense I don’t know where to begin. I hope that you are home-schooled because if that pile of crap that you posted above came as a result of a public education, then you simply have no hope of surviving in the real world.

  37. on 15 Dec 2011 at 4:42 am 37.Black wolf said …

    Im sorry, Anonymous, that you feel so strongly, and that you’re apparantly to afraid to look at the bible carefully, after all, if you are as devote an atheist as you seem, then you would not be lashing out with unnecessary insults and hurtful comments. I have had the pleasure of speaking in a rational way about religion with my atheist friend, my COUSIN, and we never once traded harsh words. It is the mark of a weak and insecure mind to lash out at those who have different opinions from themselves. I myself would be happy to speak to you, or anyone here on YOUR terms, reason, and common sense, about religion, but with one rule, no hateful, hurtful, or otherwise rude or derogatory comments to each other, a conversation as CIVIL human beings. Please, just think about it.

  38. on 15 Dec 2011 at 4:46 am 38.Hell Yeah said …

    Black Wolf,
    I don’t even know where to start with your comments, so I will just pick a few…..

    “what you say about not being able to SCIENTIFICALLY prove that he is real, thats all a matter of perception and opinion.”

    Try wandering the desert for days without water. Once you start to see puddles of water everywhere, try asking yourself if they are real or just a perception/opinion. They aren’t real, but your mind plays tricks on you and you really think they are there. My point is that perception and opinion aren’t based on facts. If they were facts, there would be actual proof to back them up.

    ——————-

    “this country was founded, and I am not being biased, on christianity, or at least a belief in a benevolent God”

    The first colony of English-speaking Europeans was Jamestown, settled in 1609 for trade, not religious freedom. Fewer than half of the 102 Mayflower passengers in 1620 were “Pilgrims” seeking religious freedom. The secular United States of America was formed more than a century and a half later. If tradition requires us to return to the views of a few early settlers, why not adopt the polytheistic and natural beliefs of the Native Americans, the true founders of the continent at least 12,000 years earlier?

    Most of the religious colonial governments excluded and persecuted those of the “wrong” faith. The framers of our Constitution in 1787 wanted no part of religious intolerance and bloodshed, wisely establishing the first government in history to separate church and state.

    ——————

    “I have an atheistic friend, and I have no problem with any person of any sexuality or religion, as long as they are good people.

    So if there happens to be a god, why can’t people just go to heaven as long as they are good people? Why does a god need to be worshipped so badly that it writes a book after many wrong religions have been in existance for many thousands of years, and then finally woke up one day and said, “I think it is about time those people start believing in the true god, me, since I am tired of sending everyone to hell since no one believes in me, they only believe in Zeus, Ra, etc. And I can’t show myself to make people believe other than this book that will be written during a time when people can’t video record me so that there is no question that I am real for future generations.”

    ——————

  39. on 15 Dec 2011 at 4:47 am 39.Hell Yeah said …

    “Have you ever thought, if any TINY little thing, the sun being a little farther from the earth, a slight difference in orbit, this planet could not sustain life. Im sorry if I cant believe that this system was just a random creation.”

    Tell that to the thousands of other planets out there just going to waste. God sure was briliant in creating a tiny spec in the universe that became the only thing that mattered, heh? By the way, if you actually follow the news, there was a planet that they found far away that is just like Earth but 2.5 times bigger. It is exactly in the goldylocks zone just like our Earth.

    —————–

    “Try to see the good in the bible, if it is just a book of myths, what harm would it do?”

    Yes, there is good and bad in the bible. The problem is that most Christians are unaware of the bad. And the good that comes out of the bible, like do good to others, etc…..we can do good to others without a fairy tale book telling us to. That is the whole point we are trying to make that a god is not needed for society to still function in a good way.

  40. on 15 Dec 2011 at 4:48 am 40.Anonymous said …

    Well, what you say about not being able to SCIENTIFICALLY prove that he is real, thats all a matter of perception and opinion.
    You need to look up the meaning of the word scientific

    As to him punishing people who have no knowledge of Good and Evil, well, I’ve seen many people on here claim that you dont need God for that, so those people were still in the wrong.
    WTF are you talking about?

    If you are young, and you do something bad, doesn’t your father punish you to teach you?
    If you are punished for doing something wrong when you don’t know that it is wrong, then that is abuse
    Anyone who punishes someone for eternity for anything is a sick and sadistic monster.

    I never said that God does not allow bad things to happen, but that some only see the bad in the world, not the good.
    You tried to attribute good to your god and claim that bad things were our fault. Now you are back-peddling but it’s too late.

    Im quite confused as to why you say ‘Educated’ people think that we christians are delusional,
    Because they do and you are.

    if you didnt know, this country was founded, and I am not being biased, on christianity, or at least a belief in a benevolent God, are we any weaker from it?
    No, it wasn’t.

    No. Christianity IS a religion of love and acceptance, but there are rules to this, are there are in life.
    No, it clearly isn’t. Perhaps you should read the references that were provided to you?

    I myself have no problems with Homosexual people, nor does anyone I know, I have an atheistic friend, and I have no problem with any person of any sexuality or religion, as long as they are good people.That’s refreshing but why, then, are you going against what your holy book tells you to do? Is it not the word of your god?

    What you are choosing to think on are the christians who take it too far, being abusive and cruel, not all of us are like that.
    So the nice ones are the ones that don’t follow the bible. Thanks for explaining that to us.

    I have no proof that the Lord flooded the earth, but my faith.
    So you believe something even though all the evidence tells you that it is not true. Are you sure you are not delusional?

    Although the way the world works, fitting together in Just the right way to sustain life. Have you ever thought, if any TINY little thing, the sun being a little farther from the earth, a slight difference in orbit, this planet could not sustain life.
    You need to get a real education and stop believing the nonsense you see posted on creationist websites. When you do you’ll see that your comment is so removed from reality that it’s embarrassing to read.

    Im sorry if I cant believe that this system was just a random creation.
    Who said it was? Yet you willingly believe that the universe was created by magic by a magic being? You don’t think that you have double standards here?

    I have read the Bible, and am quite in touch with reality, thank you.
    That’s hard to believe when you claim that Christianity is a religion of peace.

    Even if I DO tend to see the good, not the bad, in both the world and the bible, is that wrong?You tell me, is it a virtue to claim something is good based on ignoring all the bad?

    You accuse me of Cherry-picking a couple of verses out of the Bible to suport my religion, well, if I look again, will you?
    Sure, show me the actual physical non-biblical evidence for the existence of your god, convince me that this god is real, disprove all the other “holy books”, and then we can read the bible as something other than a book of myths.

    Try to see the good in the bible, if it is just a book of myths, what harm would it do?
    Even books of myths can have some good. Harry Potter is a good read, some of it is even inspirational. Would you want us all to worship Wizards and base our entire lives around the mythical goings on of a character of fiction?

  41. on 15 Dec 2011 at 4:55 am 41.Anonymous said …

    (trying again to get the formatting correct)

    Well, what you say about not being able to SCIENTIFICALLY prove that he is real, thats all a matter of perception and opinion.

    You need to look up the meaning of the word scientific

    As to him punishing people who have no knowledge of Good and Evil, well, I’ve seen many people on here claim that you dont need God for that, so those people were still in the wrong.

    WTF are you talking about?

    If you are young, and you do something bad, doesn’t your father punish you to teach you?
    If you are punished for doing something wrong when you don’t know that it is wrong, then that is abuse

    Anyone who punishes someone for eternity for anything is a sick and sadistic monster.

    I never said that God does not allow bad things to happen, but that some only see the bad in the world, not the good.

    You tried to attribute good to your god and claim that bad things were our fault. Now you are back-peddling but it’s too late.

    Im quite confused as to why you say ‘Educated’ people think that we christians are delusional,

    Because they do and you are.

    if you didnt know, this country was founded, and I am not being biased, on christianity, or at least a belief in a benevolent God, are we any weaker from it?

    No, it wasn’t.

    No. Christianity IS a religion of love and acceptance, but there are rules to this, are there are in life.

    No, it clearly isn’t. Perhaps you should read the references that were provided to you?

    I myself have no problems with Homosexual people, nor does anyone I know, I have an atheistic friend, and I have no problem with any person of any sexuality or religion, as long as they are good people.

    That’s refreshing but why, then, are you going against what your holy book tells you to do? Is it not the word of your god?

    What you are choosing to think on are the christians who take it too far, being abusive and cruel, not all of us are like that.

    So the nice ones are the ones that don’t follow the bible. Thanks for explaining that to us.

    I have no proof that the Lord flooded the earth, but my faith.

    So you believe something even though all the evidence tells you that it is not true. Are you sure you are not delusional?

    Although the way the world works, fitting together in Just the right way to sustain life. Have you ever thought, if any TINY little thing, the sun being a little farther from the earth, a slight difference in orbit, this planet could not sustain life.

    You need to get a real education and stop believing the nonsense you see posted on creationist websites. You could start with reading up on the perihelion and aphelion of the earth wrt the sun. When you do you’ll see that your comment is so removed from reality that it’s embarrassing to read.

    Im sorry if I cant believe that this system was just a random creation.

    Who said it was? Yet you willingly believe that the universe was created by magic by a magic being? You don’t think that you have double standards here?

    I have read the Bible, and am quite in touch with reality, thank you.

    That’s hard to believe when you claim that Christianity is a religion of peace.

    Even if I DO tend to see the good, not the bad, in both the world and the bible, is that wrong?

    You tell me, is it a virtue to claim something is good based on ignoring all the bad?

    You accuse me of Cherry-picking a couple of verses out of the Bible to suport my religion, well, if I look again, will you?

    Sure, show me the actual physical non-biblical evidence for the existence of your god, convince me that this god is real, disprove all the other “holy books”, and then we can read the bible as something other than a book of myths.

    Try to see the good in the bible, if it is just a book of myths, what harm would it do?

    Even books of myths can have some good. Harry Potter is a good read, some of it is even inspirational. Would you want us all to worship Wizards and base our entire lives around the mythical goings on of a character of fiction?

  42. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:00 am 42.Black wolf said …

    As I said, I am sorry you feel so strongly about what I say, but as I said before, it seems as though no one on here who speaks to me can do it without condemnation and a harsh word. Have I ever hurt you? Can you not speak as civilized humans? Or shall you continue to mock me, and my beliefs? You claim to be intellectuals, if so, why do you show it with cruelty? The man who is kind is the wisest of all, but a man with a mocking tongue is the lowest of fools.

  43. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:07 am 43.Hell Yeah said …

    “it seems as though no one on here who speaks to me can do it without condemnation and a harsh word.”

    So by pointing out that your perception of reality is only an opinion and showing you examples of why your statements are delusional is being too harsh? Give me an example of what I wrote that was too harsh? Or is it that what is being said is going against your opinion even though it makes sense, it may seem harsh to you because it goes against everything you think you believe?

  44. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:17 am 44.Black wolf said …

    “So you believe something even though all the evidence tells you that it is not true. Are you sure you are not delusional?”

    Is this not what you said, Hell yeah? I do not know what you perceive to be hurtful, but being called delusional, perhaps you could speak without implying any deficiency of my mental health?

    “Even books of myths can have some good. Harry Potter is a good read, some of it is even inspirational. Would you want us all to worship Wizards and base our entire lives around the mythical goings on of a character of fiction?”

    Have I insulted you in such a way, Hell Yeah? Did I compare your beliefs to mere fictional literature for children, no, I did not. I ask not for anyone to simply follow christianity, or any other religion, that is YOUR choice. All I ask is that we can speak as civilized people, without rude comments, or insults. Surely that is not beyond the realm of your abilities?

  45. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:18 am 45.Anonymous said …

    I myself would be happy to speak to you, or anyone here on YOUR terms, reason, and common sense, about religion, but with one rule, no hateful, hurtful, or otherwise rude or derogatory comments to each other, a conversation as CIVIL human beings.

    If you are young, and you do something bad, doesn’t your father punish you to teach you?

    Consider that a rebuke from someone older and wiser than you that was made in the same loving and caring way of teaching that your god uses when he condemns the innocent to an eternity of torment for being born with neither evidence nor knowledge of his existence.

  46. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:27 am 46.Hell Yeah said …

    Black wolf,

    By you thinking that Hell Yeah, which is me, and Anonymous (not sure why my fellow atheist hasn’t chosen a name yet) are the same person just shows your lack of inteligence. Obviously, by the way we write our posts and the time stamp of our posts, we happen to be writing at the same time just like you have been wrting at the same time as us this past half hour. I am not trying to be rude by saying this, but usually the theists that have posted on here in the past are the only ones that point out things like you that are obviously not right and the atheists get a good kick out of pointing it out. Could it be that atheists just have better critical thinking skills? And if calling you delusional, whether I did it or someone else did, hurts your feelings, then that is your problem if you think that is too harsh. Now, if someone was to call you a fucking idiot, then yes, that would be harsh. See the difference?

  47. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:28 am 47.Black wolf said …

    Anonymous, I do not believe that that is the way christianity works, most of us believe that the Lord would never condemn an innocent to hell, if they have never heard of him, nor had knowledge of him. I have not seen what is says of this situation in the bible, but I believe these people who have never heard of him are shown mercy, not the fires of damnation.

  48. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:36 am 48.Hell Yeah said …

    “I have not seen what is says of this situation in the bible, but I believe….”

    How can you believe in anything that involves your religion if you don’t even know what it says in the bible about it?

  49. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:38 am 49.Black wolf said …

    Im sorry, my timing on the post was off, sorry if there was any confusion. No Hell Yeah, I do not think that you and Anonymous are the same person, I DO have a life outside, Im just bored, so Im on here. See there, HY, You do no need to be rude, it shows that you truly can not think of a civil way to speak to me, and I am sorry, that you aren’t very well mannered, elswise you could stand to be civil. I mean no insult in saying this, it is simply that you begin to try my patience. Can we please speak, with no cussing, or otherwise rude, overall, rude comments? or shall you prove your hard-headedness clearly once and for all?

  50. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:42 am 50.Anonymous said …

    Have I insulted you in such a way, Hell Yeah? Did I compare your beliefs to mere fictional literature for children, no, I did not

    You’re mixing up posters, but that’s an aside.

    What you are missing here is that the bible is a work of fiction. Further, you keep arguing that your religion should be immune from criticism yet you also fail to provide any evidence that it is anything other than a work of fiction.

    It’s not our fault that your beliefs are based on a fiction, that’s something you need to resolve for yourself. It’s also noteworthy that having lost the debate thus far, you are now changing tack and arguing about tone.

    Nothing but religion gets this request for special treatment. Scientific ideas are subject to intense scrutiny yet no-one runs home to mommy crying that someone failed to respect their idea which wasn’t based on any actual evidence.

    You’ve been taught that you can immunize your beliefs from examination by complaining that people are mocking you. Well, sorry, but that excuse is past its sell-by date. Nowadays you must bring also bring evidence and facts.

  51. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:45 am 51.Black wolf said …

    HY on comment 48 (to avoid confusion) I believe this because I believe that my God is a loving and merciful God. If you can tell me where I can find this situation in the bible, I would be overjoyed to know of it.

  52. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:48 am 52.Hell Yeah said …

    Black wolf,
    How about you start by trying to point out some of the things that we said were wrong and give a good reason, instead of crying since you believe we are too harsh. Most theists on here like to go onto random tangents that don’t involve trying to point out things that we said that are wrong and give an actual reason why instead of just saying, “nope, you are wrong” with no explanation. So, sorry if some of us atheists lost patience with some of you. For example, see my posts in 38 and 39. What in it do you disagree with and what is the reason? That is how a debate should work.

  53. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:53 am 53.Black wolf said …

    To Anonymous on comment 50 (to avoid confusion) If it is based on fiction, then do a comparison. Look up the Assyrian King Sargon in Isiah 20:1, then look online for the capture of Ashdod and the writing on the wall. This was proven a TRUE account of history by archaeology. The hittites were thought to be a fake people from bible “fairie tales”, until their capital and records were dicovered in Turkey.

  54. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:55 am 54.Hell Yeah said …

    “I do not believe that that is the way christianity works, most of us believe that the Lord would never condemn an innocent to hell, if they have never heard of him, nor had knowledge of him. I have not seen what is says of this situation in the bible, but I believe these people who have never heard of him are shown mercy, not the fires of damnation.”

    “I believe this because I believe that my God is a loving and merciful God. If you can tell me where I can find this situation in the bible, I would be overjoyed to know of it.”

    A couple things to point out are: Have you read the parts of bible where your god isn’t loving in merciful? That is the reason why we say you theists only cherry pick the parts where it talks about god being good. Also, if god is loving and merciful, even those of us that don’t believe in him should be able to go to heaven if we are good people and there happens to be one. Lastly, you missed the point completely. If you don’t know if it says it in the bible, how can you believe it then? Could it be that Chrisians have been interpreting everything in their own opinion not based on actual facts?

  55. on 15 Dec 2011 at 5:59 am 55.Hell Yeah said …

    “This was proven a TRUE account of history by archaeology. The hittites were thought to be a fake people from bible “fairie tales”, until their capital and records were dicovered in Turkey.”

    So, since the bible was written by humans 2000 years ago, when writing it they couldn’t throw in some true historical places and people? And by doing so makes everything else true? I can easliy write a fiction book and take current ciites around the world and groups of people and add them to the made up stories. Would that make the made up stories real then? Please try to use critical thinking skills.

  56. on 15 Dec 2011 at 6:10 am 56.Black wolf said …

    To HY on comment 52 (to avoid confusion) I am not disagreeing, quite the opposite. Did you know that there are christians who believe in CREATION followed by EVOLUTION. Just to tell you. I may have gotten my history incorrect in some areas, so thank you for telling me, You helped me learn something new. As to why God came along one day, well, I played games when I was younger, and your parents will tolerate it, to an age, then they want you to grow up. But you do get to play for some time as a child. God showing up was his message, “Time to put away your toys.” Christians worship him because we believe that he is our creator.

    “I can’t show myself to make people believe other than this book that will be written during a time when people can’t video record me so that there is no question that I am real for future generations.”

    I will leave it at the fact that we need faith, to believe in God, and despite what you may think about us sometimes, it can be a great comfort to have faith when we are at our darkest hour. Believe me, I know all too well.

  57. on 15 Dec 2011 at 6:18 am 57.Hell Yeah said …

    “Did you know that there are christians who believe in CREATION followed by EVOLUTION”

    Gotta love how Christians can’t even agree on things in their own religion. If only one way is correct, then why all the different opinions? Christians just like to interpret things to fit their own opinions.

    ————–

    “Time to put away your toys.”

    Again, trying to make up things to fit your opinion. So what was god doing before he created man then? Billions of years of no life, followed by plants and dinosaurs, then by other mammals, followed finally by humans. Did he get bored?

    ——————–

    “I will leave it at the fact that we need faith, to believe in God, and despite what you may think about us sometimes, it can be a great comfort to have faith when we are at our darkest hour.”

    Just because it sounds good and creates comfort, doesn’t make it real. In fact, you brought up a good point about it creating comfort. Probably a reason why heaven was invented in the first place, so people weren’t afraid of death. By the way, faith means believing in something without proof. Just like kids believe in Santa Claus before they realize he isn’t real.

  58. on 15 Dec 2011 at 6:26 am 58.Hell Yeah said …

    Black wolf,

    I used to be a Christian, so I know what you are believing in. It took some time to go over everything in my head and the more I leared about the world, math, science, history, etc, the more I began to understand how religion has become the most delusional thing in human history. I am just the type of person who seeks out the truth and would rather know the truth than to be blind of reality. I am not the type that is going to pretend something is true just to comfort me.

  59. on 15 Dec 2011 at 12:35 pm 59.Lou (DFW) said …

    35.Black wolf said …

    “Have you ever thought, if any TINY little thing, the sun being a little farther from the earth, a slight difference in orbit, this planet could not sustain life. Im sorry if I cant believe that this system was just a random creation.”

    It doesn’t matter if you believe it.

    First of all, life as we know it has existed for only a very short part of this planet’s existence because conditions were not right for the majority of the time.

    Second, the majority of all species of life that ever existed on this planet are extinct because conditions were not right or a natural catastrophe occurred.

    Last, all life on this planet, barring any other catastrophe, will cease to exist because the the solar output of the sun increases roughly 10% every billion years as it progresses towards a “Red Giant” phase. This will cause the conditions on Earth to no longer be just right for life, and it will cease to exist here long before the sun expires.

    “The extreme heat generated will be catastrophic for Earth: the oceans will boil away and life as we know it will end. Long before the Sun reaches the Red Giant phase, the surface of the Earth will literally be molten as the temperature of the Sun increases.”

  60. on 15 Dec 2011 at 1:14 pm 60.Anonymous said …

    BW, your arguments seems to revolve around what you believe, what you want to believe, that we should be nice to you because these are your beliefs, and that our beliefs make you feel good.

    Have you noticed that nowhere in there have you addressed that pesky little thing called evidence?

    You argue that your religion is true and that the bible is true and we should reread the bible yet you also tell us what you want to believe about what your bible tells you, what you want to believe about your god, and that you don’t actually know what is really in your bible.

    Sorry, BW, but that’s just an emotional appeal designed to cover up the nonsense of your beliefs and if that’s the best you’ve got, then you’ve got nothing but childish fantasy.

  61. on 15 Dec 2011 at 4:51 pm 61.DPK said …

    35.Black wolf said …

    “Have you ever thought, if any TINY little thing, the sun being a little farther from the earth, a slight difference in orbit, this planet could not sustain life. Im sorry if I cant believe that this system was just a random creation.”

    Have you ever thought, that if any of those factors HAD been a little different you would not be here thinking about it either? Perhaps you would have been on some other world in some other galaxy where the conditions WERE right for a period of time long enough for life to evolve. You are exactly like the puddle of water marveling at how perfectly the hole in the ground was designed to fit it’s shape, or like the person who tells the lottery winner that the odds of winning the lottery are so small it is not possible to win.

  62. on 15 Dec 2011 at 6:06 pm 62.Anonymous said …

    Black Wolf, looking back on your comments it seems that you have a belief about a belief. You believe all these things about your religion and your god but you base that on what you want to believe without reference to the actual tenants of your faith.

    You are taking a position that is immune to reason because whatever anyone says to you, you respond with either a cherry picked quote to support your view or a response that you believe that your god / religion wouldn’t do that, even if your “good book” contradicts your position.

    Several posters have responded to your comments in detail. However your responses have simply been more beliefs about your beliefs and you’ve largely ignored their comments

    Let’s compare your views with other believers.

    Why do you believe that your god is real and Odin, Thor, Ra, Zeus are not? Based on what evidence?

    Why don’t you follow the Quran?

    Do you have evidence for the bible that followers of Islam don’t? In responding, see if you can formulate an argument that can’t be reversed and used against you. The same for the book of Mormon.

  63. on 15 Dec 2011 at 10:47 pm 63.Black wolf said …

    To Anonymous on comment 62 (to avoid confusion) I see no reason why, in speaking about my religion, I should not comment about it. To everone who has commented on my lack of evidence to prove the existance of God, you are correct, I have no physical proof that he exists, but can you give me proof, undisputed, actual in-your-face proof, that he does not? I cant tell you why I coose to follow Christianity instead of any other religion, I just do. My parents were not Christians, nor did they impart christian values of any kind to me. It is simple, I have never NOT believed in God. If you look at some other Gods, Odin, Ra, Zeus, dont they treat people like playthings? they are even crueler than the christian God. They had affairs, and demanded human sacrifice. Look at Moloch, why would I want to believe that a God would want you to kill your children for his blessings? Look at my comment about my faith to see why I dont follow any other religion. As I said, I have no proof, no evidence, that my God is real, and I will not try to fan the flames by creating a weak argument, that will no doubt be rejected.

  64. on 16 Dec 2011 at 1:32 am 64.Hell Yeah said …

    “I have no physical proof that he exists, but can you give me proof, undisputed, actual in-your-face proof, that he does not?”

    Because your god has the same properties as anything else that is made up. No one can use any of the 5 senses to prove he exists. There is no real evidence for any kind of supernatural, for example, if there were evidences of real ghosts, demons, use of magic, etc, then the likelyhood of a god existing comes into play. But none of that has ever proven to be real. Also, I can tell you there is a teapot floating around Saturn. Can you prove to there isn’t? That must mean that there is then, right?

    —————-

    “Look at Moloch, why would I want to believe that a God would want you to kill your children for his blessings?”

    Do you not realize that your Christian god has murdered and also demanded others to murder? That is right, I forgot that you don’t pay attention to that part of the bible since it isn’t the part that portrays good.

  65. on 16 Dec 2011 at 1:36 am 65.Hell Yeah said …

    http://www.evilbible.com/Murder.htm

    The act of murder is rampant in the Bible. In much of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, there are laws that command that people be killed for absurd reasons such as working on the Sabbath, being gay, cursing your parents, or not being a virgin on your wedding night. In addition to these crazy and immoral laws, there are plenty of examples of God’s irrationality by his direct killing of many people for reasons that defy any rational explanation such as killing children who make fun of bald people, and the killing of a man who tried to keep the ark of God from falling during transport. There are also countless examples of mass murders commanded by God, including the murder of women, infants, and children.

  66. on 16 Dec 2011 at 1:39 am 66.Hell Yeah said …

    “Look at Moloch, why would I want to believe that a God would want you to kill your children for his blessings?”

    Murdering Children

    Kill Sons of Sinners

    Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants. (Isaiah 14:21 NAB)

    God Will Kill Children

    The glory of Israel will fly away like a bird, for your children will die at birth or perish in the womb or never even be conceived. Even if your children do survive to grow up, I will take them from you. It will be a terrible day when I turn away and leave you alone. I have watched Israel become as beautiful and pleasant as Tyre. But now Israel will bring out her children to be slaughtered.” O LORD, what should I request for your people? I will ask for wombs that don’t give birth and breasts that give no milk. The LORD says, “All their wickedness began at Gilgal; there I began to hate them. I will drive them from my land because of their evil actions. I will love them no more because all their leaders are rebels. The people of Israel are stricken. Their roots are dried up; they will bear no more fruit. And if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved children.” (Hosea 9:11-16 NLT)

    Kill Men, Women, and Children

    “Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders. “Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded. “Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!” So they went throughout the city and did as they were told.” (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)

    God Kills all the First Born of Egypt

    And at midnight the LORD killed all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the captive in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died. (Exodus 12:29-30 NLT)

    Kill Old Men and Young Women

    “You are my battle-ax and sword,” says the LORD. “With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms. With you I will shatter armies, destroying the horse and rider, the chariot and charioteer. With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and maidens. With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and rulers. “As you watch, I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem,” says the LORD. “Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth! I am your enemy,” says the LORD. “I will raise my fist against you, to roll you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of rubble. You will be desolate forever. Even your stones will never again be used for building. You will be completely wiped out,” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 51:20-26)

    (Note that after God promises the Israelites a victory against Babylon, the Israelites actually get their butts kicked by them in the next chapter. So much for an all-knowing and all-powerful God.)

    God Will Kill the Children of Sinners

    If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey, I will inflict you with seven more disasters for your sins. I will release wild animals that will kill your children and destroy your cattle, so your numbers will dwindle and your roads will be deserted. (Leviticus 26:21-22 NLT)

    More Rape and Baby Killing

    Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children. (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)

  67. on 16 Dec 2011 at 2:09 am 67.DPK said …

    Boom!

    This is the god you worship Black Wolf.
    Still want to entreat us to read the bible? I HAVE read it, the whole thing.
    Apparently, you have not.
    D

  68. on 16 Dec 2011 at 2:17 am 68.Black wolf said …

    To HY on comment 66 (to avoid confusion) You say that you used to be a christian? I do not know what you were taught or told to believe, but I have been told repeatedly, in different churches, in different states, that the new testament essentially replaces alot of things in the old testament. Now you may say that I am cherry-picking, and perhaps I am, but I was taught that the new testament is what we go by for information now. All the quotes from the bible you mentioned, not that they aren’t true, are from the old testament. I agree, what the Lord did in the OT was what we consider cruel, but even when the Israelites complained and griped, didnt the Lord give them manna, and the bible says that he rained down bread for them! Again, I have no proof of these things, but I do have faith in my Lord, just as you have faith in your science.

  69. on 16 Dec 2011 at 2:25 am 69.Hell Yeah said …

    “I have been told repeatedly, in different churches, in different states, that the new testament essentially replaces alot of things in the old testament.”

    So what does that tell you then? That Christians didn’t like the bad things in the bible, so they took them out. Now if the bible is the word of God, then why would anything need to be changed? The current version of your bible has been cherry-picked from the original because a lot of the original bible people didn’t like, so they altered it to fit what they want to believe so more people would want to believe it. I bet you didn’t know that, did you? The majority of Christians don’t even realize that, which is one of the points atheists try to make in how humans are tricked into believing.

  70. on 16 Dec 2011 at 2:26 am 70.Black wolf said …

    To DPK on comment 67 (to avoid confusion) I have read the bible, very long ago, when I said there was never a time I did not believe in God, I MEANT it. No, I have not read it in-depth for a while, so I will make it my holiday plan to start reading the bible, cover to cover. I notice most of you ask how my God could be a loving God when so many horrible things happen. When I was young, I came home from school one day, a few hours later, unknown to me, my mother commited suicide. I was awoken by police at 11:00AM for them to question me about the day, without telling me anything. It was years later that I was told she killed herself, my father had always told me that she died in her sleep. You would think I would wonder why my God would let this happen, I dont, and truthfully it never crossed my mind.

  71. on 16 Dec 2011 at 2:28 am 71.DPK said …

    So, what are you saying? God, the perfect and all loving omniscient creator of the universe used to be an immoral bastard, but changed his nature?
    Doesn’t sound like a perfect being to me?

    Your old testament, new testament plow is just a rationalization… and you seem to be on the verge of admitting it. You just said in 63 you would never worship a cruel god. Yet then you said other gods “were even crueler that the Christian god…” even CRUELER…. you said it yourself…. the christian god of the bible is a total monster.

    The point here is NOT that we don’t like your god…. the point is that a real supreme being would NEVER act that way. Your christian god is completely imaginary, just like all the other “cruel gods” you disdain.
    Wise up. The evidence is right in front of you and is contained in your own holy book.

  72. on 16 Dec 2011 at 2:29 am 72.Hell Yeah said …

    “Again, I have no proof of these things, but I do have faith in my Lord, just as you have faith in your science.”

    Science isn’t faith based. Science is the study of reality. Faith is believing in something with no proof.

  73. on 16 Dec 2011 at 2:36 am 73.DPK said …

    70.Black wolf

    I’m sorry for your tragedy. I do believe that some people are genetically disposed to be believers and others are not. I was raised in a christian family. Not the holy roller fire and brimstone brand, but mainstream christian. I knew from the age of reason, about 12 or 13 or so, that it was all just a bunch of myths and fairytales. I had no great tragedy in my life that caused me to turn away from god… inside I just knew there was no such thing.
    You seem like a reasonable guy. Read your bible with an open mind. You will find your way. But use the intellect you have been lucky enough to have been born with.

  74. on 16 Dec 2011 at 2:36 am 74.Black wolf said …

    To HY on comment 69 (to avoid confusion) No, I did not know that, but even if the NT is cherry picked, there are new things in there as well. Some of you seem to think that if I belive the bible, I am a fool, and if I say that I am a christian, but disagree with some things in the bible, that I am disobeying my own religious laws. You may be surprised to know that I do not agree with everything there is in the bible. I have been rebuked for bringing it up with friends, but humans are humans, and some things in the bible could easily be mistranslated, or ommitted because people dont like them(yes HY, I aggree with you on this part). I think there are things that are and are not in the bible, that we know nothing of.

  75. on 16 Dec 2011 at 2:45 am 75.Black wolf said …

    To DPK on comment 73 (to avoid confusion) Although we see things differently, you appear to be a good, and intelligent person, and you enjoyable to debate with. Thank you.

  76. on 16 Dec 2011 at 2:51 am 76.DPK said …

    So, here is what may seem (to you) to be a dumb question. But consider it.
    If you admit that the bible is NOT the inerrant word of god… it is NOT the perfect word of a perfect being, and in your own words you “do not agree” with everything in the bible… then why do you accept ANY of it?
    I mean come on… you don’t need a magic book to know you should treat other people fairly, not lie or steal, and shouldn’t kill anyone. A child knows that.
    You said before you have gay friends, and have no problem with people being homosexual…. but your christian god says (or at least said, at some point in time) that they should be stoned to death. That isn’t a problem for you?
    You are basically telling us that you don’t really believe what you say you believe.

  77. on 16 Dec 2011 at 2:56 am 77.Black wolf said …

    To HY on comment 72 (to avoid confusion) You have faith that your science will work, that it will continue to work and be correct. Look at how science has changed, Im very sure that the people who thought that the earth was flat, and that the earth was the center of the solar system, were convinced that they were correct. Im not saying that you are wrong, just that everyone chooses what to believe in.

  78. on 16 Dec 2011 at 3:04 am 78.DPK said …

    BW… “Science” did not tell us that the earth was flat and at the center of the universe…. religion did that. Science is a method for discovering truth, nothing more, nothing less. Remember, the churches were the ones who burned heretics at the stake for claiming the earth was not the center of the universe. Science has always had to drag religion, kicking and screaming, into current knowledge, and usually only after it was simply too painfully obvious to continue denying it. Remember, it wasn’t until 1969 that the church decided to admit that Galileo was actually right.
    Science starts with questions and looks for evidence to determine the truth. Religion starts with answers and looks for evidence to support it, and ignores or suppresses evidence to the contrary.

  79. on 16 Dec 2011 at 3:08 am 79.Black wolf said …

    To DPK on comment 76 (to avoid confusion) I do not recall saying that I have any gay friends, do not take that to mean I dont like gay people, I just dont know any. I said I have no problems with them. If they’re a good person, I’d be friends with them. I think, and hope, that the main things in the bible were not changed. People can change things, although I believe that the original bible, written in HEBREW, would be the best source for biblical knowledge. Do you know hebrew? I dont, although my friends mother is studying it. Right now I am watching a show on things and books that have been BANNED from our modern bible, perhaps I shall learn more new things here.

  80. on 16 Dec 2011 at 3:22 am 80.Hell Yeah said …

    “You have faith that your science will work, that it will continue to work and be correct.”

    The Nobel Prize winning scientist Linus Pauling aptly described science as the search for truth. Science does this by continuously comparing its theories objectively with evidence in the natural world. When theories no longer conform to the evidence, they are modified or rejected in favor of new theories that do conform. In other words, science constantly tries to prove its assumptions to be false and rejects implausible explanations. In this way, scientific knowledge and understanding grow over time.

  81. on 16 Dec 2011 at 3:22 am 81.DPK said …

    Well, if reading the Hebrew version of the bible gives you a different meaning for:
    “If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (Leviticus 20:13)… let us know.
    While you’re researching it, tell us if the original Hebrew version of the bible happens to NOT contain the following:
    http://www.evilbible.com/Murder.htm

  82. on 16 Dec 2011 at 3:27 am 82.Hell Yeah said …

    “I think, and hope, that the main things in the bible were not changed.”

    Are you trying to say that the “good” in the bible were the main things, but the “evil” wasn’t?

    I also hope that there is actually an afterlife waiting for me when I die, but hoping doesn’t make it real. And tricking my mind to believe it doesn’t make it real either.

  83. on 16 Dec 2011 at 3:30 am 83.Hell Yeah said …

    Top Ten Signs You’re a Fundamentalist Christian

    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

    9 – You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!

    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”

    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.

    2 – You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

  84. on 16 Dec 2011 at 3:33 am 84.Black wolf said …

    To DPK on comment 81. Did you know that Eve was not Adam’s first wife? It was in the Alphabet of Ben Sira, and Lilith may be vaguely mentioned in Isa. 34:13-15. I dont know about the hebrew bible, but this documentary is very interesting. About a man lying with a man, I have not read the hebrew bible, I will let you know when I do, although I will ask my friends mother about it.

  85. on 16 Dec 2011 at 3:40 am 85.Black wolf said …

    To HY on comment 83. Im glad to tell you I do NOT fit most of your discriptions, I have studied many religions, hinduism, buddhism, Muslim. And I have also studied mythology vigorously most of my life. I do not laugh at them, I simply do not believe them, as you do not believe in my Lord.

  86. on 16 Dec 2011 at 3:53 am 86.DPK said …

    84.Black wolf said …
    To DPK on comment 81. Did you know that Eve was not Adam’s first wife?

    Do you know that Adam and Eve were not real people??? That it’s just a story? That there was no talking snake? I mean, you do realize that everyone on the planet are not the direct descendants of just 2 people, right?
    You know that Noah did not take 2 of every creature on a big boat, right?

  87. on 16 Dec 2011 at 4:02 am 87.Black wolf said …

    To DPK on comment 86. I am just speaking of what my belief tells me is true. I am sorry if I insulted or irritated anyone, but I thought I was free to share thoughts here. By the way, I got that info off of a documentary I am watching. It is a historic way of looking at the bible, instead of religious.

  88. on 16 Dec 2011 at 4:33 am 88.Anonymous said …

    BW, the trouble with your new vs old testament explanation is that without the old testament, then the new falls apart because it loses continuity and much of the basis for its “teachings”.

    For example, throw out the old and you lose original sin, lose original sin and you lose Adam and Eve, lose those two and you’ve disposed of Genesis and, suddenly, you’ve just got a book based on stuff you not longer believe in.

    Also, your gambit about reading the bible in Hebrew is weak and predictable. Well, I’ve read the Torah in Hebrew and it’s just as vile as in modern English. Next up you’re supposed to challenge us to read it in Aramaic but, seriously, if you are going to try that or a challenge to read the new in Koine Greek, you’ll be admitting that you’re not actually aware of the true content of your holy book.

    You also need to address DPK’s question on how the perfect word of a perfect being needing amending?

    “If you look at some other Gods, Odin, Ra, Zeus, dont they treat people like playthings? they are even crueler than the christian God. They had affairs, and demanded human sacrifice. Look at Moloch, why would I want to believe that a God would want you to kill your children for his blessings”

    First, how does this prove that your god is real and these other gods are false? Second, if your criteria is based on how this god treats people, then I suppose you never read that part of the bible where Abraham was ordered to sacrifice his son Isaac?

    Further, isn’t the basis of the new testament that your god sacrificed his own son (to himself)? Didn’t we just fail at the word go?

    “You may be surprised to know that I do not agree with everything there is in the bible.”

    I appreciate your honesty but do you not see that once you claim a divine connection for the bible that you’ve boxed yourself into a corner? Agree with the bible and you condone vile and vicious behavior. Disagree, and now you are left trying to explain the arbitrary way which you pick and chose which parts of the (im)perfect bible you feel represent “true Christianity”. The way out is to admit that the bible is simply the fictional works of a tribe of nomadic goat herders.

    Earlier you said you’ve never not believed. Consider, then, having a conversation with a Muslim who would make exactly the same arguments as you do with regard to the Quran. Both of you would insist that your faith was true, but you can’t both be right. Add to the mix a child brought up in a remote part of the Amazon. Will they believe in your god, your Jesus? Absolutely not. How could it be that they would have a different set of beliefs and not “know” as clearly as you do the “truth”?

    The obvious answer is that all gods are imaginary. How else do you explain it?

  89. on 16 Dec 2011 at 5:17 am 89.Black wolf said …

    To Anonymous on comment 88. You have very good arguments, and some questions about my beliefs that I have no answer for. As I said, I am going to do an in depth bible study over the holiday, so that I may add more wisdom to my side of the conversation. As to DPK’s question, I have better answers after watching that documentary. I must concede, it seems as if the bible is exceedingly cherry picked. I believe that while some parts are real, some parts MAY be falsified, and after thinking on the many splinter groups of Christianity/Catholicism ect., and how they have had such a long time to have their way with the bible, there are things in it that we may never know. But I do know that the Lord does not command faith in a book of ink and paper, but in him.

  90. on 16 Dec 2011 at 10:07 am 90.Obvious said …

    “But I do know that the Lord does not command faith in a book of ink and paper, but in him.”

    The ONLY thing you know about “god” is that book of ink and paper. Your “god” has never communicated to you in any way.

  91. on 16 Dec 2011 at 10:58 am 91.Anonymous said …

    Meanwhile, Horatiio being challenged to deliver on his promise of proof for his god, has once again faded into the shadows.

  92. on 16 Dec 2011 at 11:09 am 92.Anonymous said …

    “But I do know that the Lord does not command faith in a book of ink and paper, but in him.”

    Then how do you know what or who to believe? It sounds like you are willing to redefine your god to be whatever or whoever you want him to be as long as it suits your expectation of your ideal god.

    Whilst you are rereading your bible, you might want to add this to your reading list:

  93. on 16 Dec 2011 at 2:28 pm 93.DPK said …

    87.Black wolf said …
    To DPK on comment 86. I am just speaking of what my belief tells me is true. I am sorry if I insulted or irritated anyone, but I thought I was free to share thoughts here.”

    You are free to share thoughts here. But what is the purpose of sharing thoughts if you are not prepared to discuss and defend them??? That’s not discussion, that’s preaching. As I said before, this is not your church where you are surrounded by like minded people who seek to validate each other. The fact that you hold a “personal belief” does not grant you immunity from criticism just because it is religious in nature. The story f Adam and Eve is a fable with no basis in fact… at all. The fact that someone holds it as a religious belief does not isolate it from criticism. Sorry if that seems harsh or unfair to you. It’s not meant to be mean spirited, but if you’re going to participate here, be prepared to be challenged.

  94. on 16 Dec 2011 at 3:50 pm 94.DPK said …

    89.Black wolf said …
    To Anonymous on comment 88. You have very good arguments, and some questions about my beliefs that I have no answer for.

    Then you need to ask yourself why you believe them…

    “I must concede, it seems as if the bible is exceedingly cherry picked.”

    The Bible is not cherry picked… all of the good and bad is right there for the viewing… it’s the “faithful” that do the cherry picking, choosing only to acknowledge the good parts and being willfully ignorant to the obviously bad parts….

    “I believe that while some parts are real, some parts MAY be falsified…”

    I take it you do not accept the concept of the bible as the inerrant word of god, guarded by the holy spirit so that it’s content cannot be altered to interfere with god’s message to his people?
    In that case how do you know which parts are really god’s word and which parts are not? And moreover, why would god ALLOW his divine word to be “falsified”? Doesn’t sound like the perfect plan of a perfect being who causes everything to happen according to his will, does it?

  95. on 16 Dec 2011 at 4:05 pm 95.Xenon said …

    “To Anonymous on comment 88. You have very good arguments, and some questions about my beliefs that I have no answer for.”

    Black Wolf,

    That shows you are very mature and full of wisdom. Every belief system has unanswered questions. Some just admit it while others refuse to acknowledge the fact.

    Most atheist fall in to the later category when confronted with their own. Actually, atheism has more unanswered questions than any belief system out there.

    Keep searching, the journey is a great part of the purpose to life.

  96. on 16 Dec 2011 at 4:23 pm 96.Lou (DFW) said …

    95.Xenon said …

    “That shows you are very mature and full of wisdom.”

    That shows that you are either an idiot or a liar.

    “Actually, atheism has more unanswered questions than any belief system out there.”

    You lie. Atheism is not a belief system.

    “Keep searching, the journey is a great part of the purpose to life.”

    Keep lying. Deception is a great part of the delusion known as religion.

  97. on 14 Jan 2012 at 5:26 pm 97.Black Wolf said …

    To Xenon on comment 95. Thankyou, your comment was kind and appreciated. To Lou on comment 96. About atheism, it IS a belief system, it is the belief that there is no God, you put your trust in science while Christians put their trust in God. I noticed that many people on here tend to group all Christians into one category based on the worst of us. Not all of us are fanatics or insane. I believe that it is immature to point out the past crimes of people claimed to preform as Christians when we are speaking in the present tense.

  98. on 01 Feb 2012 at 6:43 am 98.Zach said …

    To recap Pryor [7]:

    “Live a good life”
    Question, what is good? Hanging out with the squatters on wall street raping, stealing and attacking cops?

    “If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been…”
    Conjecture, opinion and irrelevant. Just in whose eyes? He is so arrogant as to believe he knows what God would think. Yes, I’m sure God would be happy with jack-legs who make light of His existence. Pure stupidity.

    “If there are gods, but unjust”
    Question. How can an atheist deem anything unjust? His opinion? Pointless rhetoric with no basis.

    “But will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
    Your loved will be dead then what? If your loved ones also squat on wall street with the other putrid vagrants who live in the squalor, then you do have some wonderful memories to look back on.

    Despite his bizarre confounding of the issue with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, Pryor and with him 40YA [11] and Joel [18] raise a common question: without gods, how can we know what a good life is, or what justice is? Despite Pryor’s rudeness, the question is frequent enough that it needs to be answered.

    Plato considered this when, in his writings, he had Socrates asks Euthyphro: “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” In other words, if we accept that God is good, does God define what goodness is, or is goodness something independent, and God is good. It’s an important distinction.

    Take, for example, Pryor’s first question, and the fact that Jesus was frequently seen “hanging out with the squatters” and according to the Old Testament, the Israelites were experts at “raping, stealing, and attacking” their enemies. So actually, yes, those things must be good, if God wills them. But obviously, the Pryor doesn’t feel they are good, so something odd is going on here—Pryor has a sense of right and wrong that doesn’t come from Scripture.

    We all have this sense, and it is surprisingly uniform between people and between faiths. One of the biggest differences in morality is that some moral codes insist that you be kind to everyone, while some only insist that you be kind to those of your race, nation or religion. But kindness has existed in all cultures throughout history, whether they worshipped this god or that one. It is not as if Christian missionaries showed up in the new world and taught the natives an amazing new concept of “how to be nice to each other”—if anything, they taught the opposite.

    Most people feel that “God is good” means “there is a thing called goodness, and I know it when I see it—and God matches that.” They are happy if they think God helped them out because they know what helping out feels like. They can legitimately ponder the questions of whether God accepting Jephthah’s daughter as a human sacrifice, or God sending two bears to kill the forty-two boys who teased Elisha, was “good”.

    The only person this would make no sense to is someone who sees of Socrates’ dilemma the other way around: an act is defined as good because God does it. God was right to send the bears, because “right” means “approved by God”, so it must be. If we feel squeamish, it is because our modern age has made us soft—true believers murder, rape and steal in the name of the Lord in it’s all OK. This is the opinion, I have to assume, of the Lord’s Resistance Army or al-Qaeda. At least this belief is internally consistent.

    The problem with that stance is that the new truth shifts from “God is good” to “God is what God likes”. Under those circumstances, there is no more reason for us to obey God than there is for us to obey a king, a tyrant or a despot. If God’s will is that we simply do as he says because he says it, there is no reason to prefer it, except to escape his wrath or incur his favor. God commandments would therefore not make us wise, but servile.

    I prefer to avoid this question altogether by insisting that an omnipotent power doesn’t make sense in the first place. That leaves me, as Pryor points out, with nothing but my own conscience for guidance. Damn. I guess I’ll just have to live with it. But almost all of us have a conscience, and our consciences almost always agree on the big picture: “Treat people as you want to be treated, don’t use people if it hurts them, take care of others.” The details that we argue over—sex, punishment, taxes—these are all understood in light of the big picture. Yes, Pryor, there may be no ultimate answer and I am OK with that. And what if people disagree with me? Well, that’s always going to happen, God or not. That’s life.

    Given that, back to Marcus Aurelius’ three possibilities. If God is good (as defined by my conscience), he would understand if I, like Bertrand Russell, were to tell him that I based my honest beliefs on the evidence I saw, and He simply didn’t provide it. If God is actually the kind of guy who appreciates cruelty—the vain, jealous bigot who endorses genocide, sends earthquakes when he is mad and sends us, his favored creations, to Hell if the weaknesses he made in us are swayed by the temptations he put in our path—then he can go fuck himself.

    And if, as I suspect, we are only on this earth a brief while after which we will simply be a memory, then a historical record, then nothing? Well. Then that is what we have. Be good, and make this fragile, temporary world a better place, not a worse one. If these brief years are all we have, that’s all the more reason to make them beautiful and compassionate—we aren’t being tested for eternity: we are eternity, crammed into one little lifetime.

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