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Offline wheels5894

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So, Patrick Henry, here's a new thread so you can show us what there is that could lead us to believe that there is not only a really existing god but also that we should all believe in him.

As atheists, obviously we are not believers and we can't see any evidence that is changing our views. one of the problems we have with this topic is the nature of evidence that counts. Some examples.

1. Even if a few hundred people said that posting a £($) 10  note through a particular letter box would result in me getting £($) 1,000 back next day, would I do it? Certainly not. I'd be asking for information about what was going on, how it worked etc. I certainly wouldn't take the word of someone I didn't know.

2. Supposing a person came up to me and said that she was sure, because she saw it in here head, that if I buy a lottery ticket with this list of numbers I will win a huge prize. I wouldn't do it - can you see why Patrick Henry?

So, I am not looking here for proofs like we get in mathematics nor even supported theories like the theory of evolution. I am looking for the equivalent of an argument that would get me investing £($) 1,000 in a business that was just starting up say.

Have a go...
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Patrick Henry

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2013, 12:39:12 AM »
So, Patrick Henry, here's a new thread so you can show us what there is that could lead us to believe that there is not only a really existing god but also that we should all believe in him.

As atheists, obviously we are not believers and we can't see any evidence that is changing our views. one of the problems we have with this topic is the nature of evidence that counts. Some examples.

1. Even if a few hundred people said that posting a £($) 10  note through a particular letter box would result in me getting £($) 1,000 back next day, would I do it? Certainly not. I'd be asking for information about what was going on, how it worked etc. I certainly wouldn't take the word of someone I didn't know.

2. Supposing a person came up to me and said that she was sure, because she saw it in here head, that if I buy a lottery ticket with this list of numbers I will win a huge prize. I wouldn't do it - can you see why Patrick Henry?

So, I am not looking here for proofs like we get in mathematics nor even supported theories like the theory of evolution. I am looking for the equivalent of an argument that would get me investing £($) 1,000 in a business that was just starting up say.

Have a go...

Well I have to say first of all that I agree with you in your example.  I would not fall for a claim like that because it seems like it is self serving in such a way that it could be unethical.  In other words, if the business model didn't serve a good overall purpose, then by it's nature it could be motivated by purely selfish desire, and thus, something to distrust.  It could be either a scam on me or someone else. 
That is one of the things actually that has drawn me to Christianity.  The faith if practiced correctly, is not self serving at all.  It is self giving.

I see the evidence for God vs no God as scales with weights stacking on on one side or the other.  And the scales tip to the side of God in a big way.  It is a multi-dimensional stacking of weight, as God meets not only the physical criteria, but the emotional, spiritual, psychological, and relational needs that human beings have.  It's not that I ignore science or the physical realm for proof. But I believe if we rely only on science and the physical world, I think we miss Him completely.

So in order to understand my points for belief in God, you would first have to accept something that I believe is true.  That mankind is made up of more than just the physical.  We have other dimensions to us.  Love, music, art, self sacrifice, laughter, sadness, and all of these expressions (and more) tell me that we are more than just tangible.  We have qualities like higher level thinking and a consciousness that causes us to ask why am I here?  Where did I come from?  Where am I going? 
Observations like this leads me to believe that we are more than just evolved beasts.  That we are not random chance beings whose ancestors crawled out of a primordial soup and eventually become man.  I don't see the evolutionary reason or even the possibility of evolution "needing to" create those intangible qualities (as if evolution itself had a brain and a motive).  But I won't dwell on evolution because in my mind evolution isn't really the main contest to the agrument against belief in God.  But it is a good talking point since it is thrown around so much. 

So that is the backdrop to my faith and I am drawn to faith in God also for these particular reasons.  Sorry that some of these are not "evidence" that you would probably like to read about.  But they are my reasons for belief:
1. I see evidence of good and evil
2. I have reason to believe in the authenticity of the bible
3. The bible also admits the problem of good and evil
4. The bible states that the ability for good and evil exists in people.  Which I see evidence of. 
5. The bible states that mankind needs to be taught what good and evil are.  Otherwise, if left to their own devices, man will deviate into a place where he hurts and destroys himself and others around him. I see evidence of this throughout history and in today's world. But ultimately a society without God's rules for living written in their hearts, will decay.  Therefore God in the bible shows us that we are lost without Him. 
6. Other religions are self serving in that they try to control their followers.  If practiced correctly, Christianity allows people to choose.  As Joshua said "choose for yourself this day whom you will serve".
Jesus said "behold I stand at the door and knock, if any one opens the door I will come into Him and dwell".
7. There is a law of nature that says all sin must be paid for with a price.  Similar to the first law of thermodynamics in physics, there is a spiritual law in a sense that we can see manifest itself here in the natural realm.  If people steal, lie, covet, murder, there is a price to be paid, by someone.  Either the victim or the perpetrator pays the price of the activity. 
8. Christ came to pay the price for the sins of the world.  There is a price to be paid for the sin of the world that leads to decay of society and death.  Jesus came to pay that price.  This is not self serving or controlling.  It is a free gift for all who will believe.
9.  The offer of salvation being a free gift through faith, is not something that I see men who wrote books in the bible at different points in time, could have come up with on their own, without collaboration.  It is not self serving especially when considering the time and culture in which they lived. 
10.  Christ had a huge impact on the world.  The world's calendar for example is based on His birth. Major holidays around His birth and resurrection. 
11.  Men who knew Him where martyred and persecuted because of their faith in Him.   It makes no sense to go to your grave in an ugly painful way for something you weren't sure was true.  I could maybe understand if these guys never knew Him and fell for a lie passed down through the generations.  This was not the case for Peter, Steven, Paul, James, and many others. They knew Christ.     
12.  I have had sin in my own life and Christ has changed me.  My belief in Him has caused me to love God for the free gift of salvation that He has given me. This in turn gives me a desire to avoid sin and things that lead to sin.  Because of a love for God. 
13.  Christianity, if practiced correctly, works for human flourishing.  It works for individuals and society.  A correct form of Christianity that I have seen in action, has been proven to work well. 
14. I have reconciled within myself that a good God can allow suffering
15. I have reconciled within myself that a loving God can send people to hell

I have more reasons to give and could get into the details of each point and more if you'd like. 
I hope it made sense.  If not, I'll try to explain in better detail.
 
 Thanks.
- Patrick Henry
 
   
 

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2013, 01:11:43 AM »
Hooray! A theist who knows how to type and who doesn't assume that it only takes thirty words to say it all. Very refreshing.

Wheels, do you mind if I get in on this or would you prefer this be just between the two of you? I don't want to step on your toes.

And by the way, if you'll send me $10, I can turn it into $1000 overnight  ;D
Jesus, the cracker flavored treat!

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2013, 01:34:21 AM »
I have a question that has bothered Me for many years, Patrick, and would like to hear your views on it.

In Christianity, why is salvation so closely linked to belief?  I find it strange that a conscientious individual who cannot muster faith could be in danger of hell, while someone who professes faith but does not act upon it essentially gets a free pass.  (I understand that there are denominational differences here, losing salvation versus "once saved, always saved," so this may not apply to your specific beliefs.)
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Offline Patrick Henry

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2013, 04:12:19 AM »
I have a question that has bothered Me for many years, Patrick, and would like to hear your views on it.

In Christianity, why is salvation so closely linked to belief?  I find it strange that a conscientious individual who cannot muster faith could be in danger of hell, while someone who professes faith but does not act upon it essentially gets a free pass.  (I understand that there are denominational differences here, losing salvation versus "once saved, always saved," so this may not apply to your specific beliefs.)

]That is a great question.  I think salvation is linked with faith or belief, because it takes away our ability to earn it. 
Ephesians 2:8-9 says:
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.


It is important that Christ be understood as the only way to salvation.  His finished work on the cross atones for your sins if you believe in Him.  Belief implies something though.  Passive belief isn't really belief is it?  I can say that I believe in something but if I don't act on it, then it shows what I really believe.  So it is with belief in Christ.  If you really don't believe then you will not live according to God's word. The confusion comes in when people falsely think that they have to live a perfect sinless life in order to gain God's favor.  What God really wants is your heart.  If you have even a faint belief then you will seek God through prayer and and even stronger belief will earnestly ask Him to grow your faith.  I think that a sincere prayer like that generally comes from the heart of someone who is saved.  They may not have a lot of faith, but Jesus said you only need faith the size of a mustard seed.  I have observed this.  That God calls people, they respond then He responds and grows their faith in Him.   In your example.......what does a conscientious individual act like?  I mean does this person care about the story of Christ and salvation through Him?  Does this person generally believe but isn't sure because there isn't enough evidence?  Just wondering.  I think it depends upon what you mean.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 04:55:27 AM by Anfauglir »

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2013, 04:55:44 AM »
Bookmark.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2013, 06:08:19 AM »
Thanks for an interesting post, Patrick.

I'd have to start by saying that I can't really accept you original proposition that mankind is made up of more that the physical. It might be true, but we have no way of knowing it. The things you list to support your view seem to be abstract concepts but we can't imply from such concepts the separate existence of that concept. Take love - we all understand it to some extent but we we can observe and experience are all physical things, from hormones rushing round the body to the kind and helpful actions of people. In fact, love only exists where there are people doing 'loving'. There is no an object out there, separate from people, that we could call love.

Really, we ought not to get bogged down in evolution, but the evidence that we are part of the long chain of evolved creatures is amazingly strong and I think we have to accept that it describes our own evolution too. Our brain have just evolved over the long time-scales and, interestingly, our brains seem to have grown in the period after man discovered cooking - the way of making more energy available from the food. At any rate, explaining how man got here without having evolved is going to be a tough job but one that has to be left for another thread.

To your numbered points I would say -

1. Yes, but these are abstract qualities, like love, which only exist within people These are descriptions of how we see another person's actions and nothing more.
2. Please, start a thread to discuss this. Of course, authenticity is not equal to being true. It is the authentic work of the writers and redactors and contains the things they thought but that doesn't mean it is true.
3. So - we don't need to the bible to see good and evil.
4. Again, we hardly need the bible to tell us that!
5. Really - we need bible morals to run a decent society? the morals that permit slaves and the death penalty for crimes such as homosexuality, and even arguing with a priest? You might like to live in a hierarchy (rule of priests) because that's the sort of rule the bible ends up with as part of its morals.
6. Oh, so practiced 'correctly' the religion doesn't try and control its followers. Who defines 'correctly'?
7. I wouldn't compare the Law of Thermodynamics with a suppose law of nature about sin. The former is tried and tested but where is the evidence that nature has such a law at all?
8. Well that's what the gospels say but it hardly adds the evidence for the existence of any god as such.
9.  No? Paul, who never met Jesus cam up with the idea of the new Adam and Paul wasn't interested at all in  the physical Jesus and his actions at all. Maybe, using the OT, working this sort of stuff out is that hard.
10. ....and... care to comment on the days of the week we use in the English speaking world. They are theistic but hardly Christian. Meanwhile what sort of impact do you suppose would happen if the most powerful emperors enforce Christianity on there subjects. The pope sis this in his lands and, certainly in the Uk there were laws at various times prescribing punishment for not attending church. Now that all these law have gone, which way are people voting with their feet? Not for churches anyway.
11. I would love to think that but look at the cults in recent years who have committed suicide on the basis of the cult leader. Even look at the Muslims who carry suicide bombs. All these people are sure they are dying for the right cause but it is probably not true.
12. I'm pleased you have had such a good result for your belief. Yet the absence of belief can have the same effect. Many atheists will tell you that knowing that this life is all there is concentrates the mind on making the best we can in the time we have.

Really, none of the above argues for the existence of a god though they might bolster the evidence if there were some strong evidence for god.

So far as suffering and evil is concerned, even if you have reconciled yourself to accepting them, don't forget Epicurius
Quote
Epicurus [341–270 B.C.] Greek philosopher:
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Quesi

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2013, 08:19:08 AM »
Thank you Patrick Henry, for bringing up such a coherent and comprehensive set of issues.

I am also very interested in the issues of "good" and "evil" and ethnics and morality. 

I pulled out some of the bullet points that posted, relating to the topic. 

........

3. The bible also admits the problem of good and evil
4. The bible states that the ability for good and evil exists in people.  Which I see evidence of. 
5. The bible states that mankind needs to be taught what good and evil are.  Otherwise, if left to their own devices, man will deviate into a place where he hurts and destroys himself and others around him. I see evidence of this throughout history and in today's world. But ultimately a society without God's rules for living written in their hearts, will decay.  Therefore God in the bible shows us that we are lost without Him. 
6. Other religions are self serving in that they try to control their followers.  If practiced correctly, Christianity allows people to choose.  As Joshua said "choose for yourself this day whom you will serve".
Jesus said "behold I stand at the door and knock, if any one opens the door I will come into Him and dwell".
7. There is a law of nature that says all sin must be paid for with a price.  Similar to the first law of thermodynamics in physics, there is a spiritual law in a sense that we can see manifest itself here in the natural realm.  If people steal, lie, covet, murder, there is a price to be paid, by someone.  Either the victim or the perpetrator pays the price of the activity. 
....................

 Thanks.
- Patrick Henry
 
 

Now please forgive me if this question strays too far from the OP, but I'm really feeling compelled to ask.  You have chosen the screen name of a famous leader and orator, who helped shape a revolution. 

He was also a slave owner.

There are few acts that I find more morally reprehensible than slavery.  This is a man, who made cash profits to buy material goods with the labor of human beings who were kidnapped from their homes, separated from their families, beaten, raped, and forced into servitude. 

There is slavery in the bible, of course. 

Is there a specific time-frame, during which slavery was morally acceptable? And if so, is there something in the bible to indicate when slavery ceases to be ok?  Or is it still morally acceptable? 

Was it ever a sin?  And if so, is it just one of those random sins that god forgives easily, like using the lord's name in vain or working on a Sunday or wearing clothes made out of a variety of fabrics? 

I have heard Christians claim that once they really accept Jesus into their lives, they just don't sin anymore.  Or don't sin as much.  Or maybe they just really feel genuinely bad when they sin.  I'm not absolutely sure. 

Patrick Henry was clearly a real Christian, who embraced Jesus.  He let Jesus into his heart.  How did Jesus let him lead a life in which he valued his own accumulation of material possessions so much that he was willing to destroy the lives of so many other human beings? 

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2013, 02:38:44 PM »
That is a great question.  I think salvation is linked with faith or belief, because it takes away our ability to earn it. 
Ephesians 2:8-9 says:
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

I confess that I find the idea of earning a gift to be rather strange.  Perhaps we don't agree with what the term 'gift' means.
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Offline Astreja

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2013, 01:38:47 AM »
In your example.......what does a conscientious individual act like?  I mean does this person care about the story of Christ and salvation through Him?  Does this person generally believe but isn't sure because there isn't enough evidence?  Just wondering.  I think it depends upon what you mean.

By 'conscientious' I mean 'tries to live a good life and be an asset to the community.'

I've always liked Matthew 25:35-40 and tried to put it into practice, but I've never believed in salvation, substitutionary atonement or Original Sin and am highly skeptical that there ever was a historical Jesus.  If belief is the touchstone, I'm out of luck because I seem to be congenitally incapable of suspending disbelief for more than a couple of seconds -- And that only in a tentative, even tongue-in-cheek way.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2013, 01:54:59 AM »
Good on you, Patrick Henry, for taking your responses seriously. Hang in there, and please don't go all "we have to ignore all of biology and geology but there are these abstract concepts in theoretical physics that show god" on us..... like our friend skeptic.

And you have given us some ways to tell that there is a god, but how do we know that love and so forth come from your particular god? People love one another in every culture known, no matter what religion they believe. And as long as we are on the subject, US atheists stay married as long as (and sometimes longer than) US Christians. How could that be if god-belief influences love and commitment?
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Patrick Henry

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2013, 02:12:01 AM »

Now please forgive me if this question strays too far from the OP, but I'm really feeling compelled to ask.  You have chosen the screen name of a famous leader and orator, who helped shape a revolution. 

He was also a slave owner.

There are few acts that I find more morally reprehensible than slavery.  This is a man, who made cash profits to buy material goods with the labor of human beings who were kidnapped from their homes, separated from their families, beaten, raped, and forced into servitude.   


Patrick Henry was clearly a real Christian, who embraced Jesus.  He let Jesus into his heart.  How did Jesus let him lead a life in which he valued his own accumulation of material possessions so much that he was willing to destroy the lives of so many other human beings?

I like Patrick Henry for his patriotism and oratory skills and that he was a Christian.  A perfect man, he was not.  But his imperfections do not disqualify every good thing about him (from a human standpoint).  A man can be wise, brave, skilled in many ways and still make mistakes.  Having said that, you might like to know that he was a man in conflict.  He didn't like slavery and admitted that it wasn't conducive to the practice of Christianity or freedom.   
Here is a quote from him:
"Would any one believe that I am master of slaves by my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them. I will not -- I cannot justify it, however culpable my conduct. I will so far pay my devoir to Virtue, as to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and to lament my want of conformity to them. I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be afforded to abolish this lamentable evil. Everything we can do, is to improve it, if It happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot, and an abhorrence of Slavery. If we cannot reduce this wished-for reformation to practice, let us treat the unhappy victims with lenity. It is the furthest advancement we can make toward justice. It is a debt we owe to the purity of our religion, to show that it is at variance with that law which warrants Slavery". 
Of course slavery was eventually abolished with the help of Christians who claimed the right of freedom came from God and not men. 
« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 02:22:25 AM by Patrick Henry »

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2013, 07:33:35 AM »
"Would any one believe that I am master of slaves by my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them. I will not -- I cannot justify it, however culpable my conduct. I will so far pay my devoir to Virtue, as to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and to lament my want of conformity to them. I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be afforded to abolish this lamentable evil. Everything we can do, is to improve it, if It happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot, and an abhorrence of Slavery. If we cannot reduce this wished-for reformation to practice, let us treat the unhappy victims with lenity. It is the furthest advancement we can make toward justice. It is a debt we owe to the purity of our religion, to show that it is at variance with that law which warrants Slavery". 

Awww, what a poor little lamb he was!  "I don't WANT to own slaves, but it would be SO inconvenient for me to get rid of them all.  Why, I might have to pay wages for people to do the things they did for me, or even do it myself!!  But I will continue to feel sorry for them - and when I transfer ownership to my offspring, I will hope they continue to feel sorry for them rather than actually do anything."

Sorry, but I can't see anything especially praiseworthy in that quote.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2013, 07:35:42 AM »
he probably prayed for his slaves - which was the least he could do!
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2013, 07:48:01 AM »
He could be worse - he could've sworn...
"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." - Voltaire

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2013, 08:23:06 AM »
  I don't see the evolutionary reason or even the possibility of evolution "needing to" create those intangible qualities

I do.

Once you get consciousness, it forms a sense of self, which you might notice is the cause of selfishness, which is what the more advanced religions attempt to combat as a virtue. However, "self" is used as an important motivator to stay alive, along with its other abilities, to experience pain, excitement, color, smell, and form a cohesive outlook for the animal to make sense of what it is doing. Since self is a motivator to stay alive, natural selection will favour it, if it has this tool. We really don't have any other models within the animal kingdom to judge whether you can make a complex animal, without a sense of self and consciousness. The most likely candidates are solitary insects and spiders. They most likely have no sense of self, but survive, instead, by complex ancient programming. To make a more intelligent animal, it probably becomes increasingly more difficult to keep programming "instincts" into the animal. I'm somewhat in awe of the way a spider can create a web, but more curious is the way a bird knows how to make a nest, without being taught, and then fly off to Indonesia, for no apparent reason.

Spiders have been doing their thing for 400 million years, so there has been time for this complex behaviour to evolve. With the power of intelligence, a human could learn to make a web in a few days. If you try to program absolutely every action into an animal, using brute force, it takes a very long time. Consequently, insects and spiders have a range of behaviours that you might think are anthropomorphic, or indicative of consciousness. You can see a Wolf Spider carrying spiderlings on its back. This action looks like an affectionate mother. Obviously this evolved habit could have taken 20 million years to evolve, so it's not affection at all.

After consciousness evolves as a representation of external inputs, I could (experimentally) say that an animal acts in more intelligent ways, but I don't think that's correct, because some larger mammals seem to behave dumber than bees. What consciousness could do, is speed up evolution in 2 ways: (1) a more intelligent brain can adapt FASTER to a faster changing body, and (2) the animal can start to design itself, by aesthetic. This speeds up the process even more, which requires a better brain to cope with the change.

Because mammals (and other large animals) have a slow reproductive rate, they need to compensate for a slowed-down evolution, by using their brains. Most mammals and birds select mates based on aesthetic. The female sits around, waiting for perfect-looking males to have sex with her. She rejects the weak-looking males. This isn't natural selection any more. It's intelligent design, by art appreciation. This explains birds of paradise very well.





Notice how to evolve themselves, they had to have an appreciation for art and drama.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 08:29:32 AM by Add Homonym »
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Offline Quesi

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2013, 08:36:26 AM »
I have written a response, but for some reason, I get an error message when I try to post it. And it is not as long as other stuff I've posted.   Contacting the mods, and hope to respond later. 
« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 08:40:39 AM by Quesi »

Offline Graybeard

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2013, 09:26:06 AM »


So that is the backdrop to my faith and I am drawn to faith in God also for these particular reasons.  Sorry that some of these are not "evidence" that you would probably like to read about.  But they are my reasons for belief:
1. I see evidence of good and evil[...]

15. I have reconciled within myself that a loving God can send people to hell
I don't think anyone is surprised by what you say, although it is likely that they will not agree with you that any of the above, in any way, points to a supernatural solution.

The essence of a, for want of a better word, delusion, is observing something correctly, but drawing the wrong conclusion.

In all you points, you have assumed a god (and face it, it could be any god at all) and attributed to him everything that you have seen.

You will know that the weather system of the world is random and driven by the Sun - you would not think of attributing this to a god - the addition of any god would be superfluous.

The same is for the universe: we know its history from less than 0.000000000000000001 secs to the present and there is no need for a god to explain any of it.

We also know why people commit crime and why some behaviours are disapproved of - there is no need for a god to explain anything.

We have more than enough evidence to show the age of the earth - there is no need for a god to explain anything.

We have no evidence of heaven, or hell or any other invention of the human mind. Souls are imaginary - there is no need for a god to explain anything.

There are some things we do not know. However, not knowing something cannot be used as proof there is a god of some sort.

Your god was the god of a Bronze Age Mediterranean tribe. He was no more important that the god of the tribes that lived around. It was just that stories about him lasted longer than most but are no more accurate than those of other gods.

As is often said, there are gods that you do not believe in. Why not? When you understand that you will understand your own god.



Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline wheels5894

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2013, 09:57:24 AM »
I have some sympathy with Patrick here. I think the think is that those who choose a religion, or those who are brought up in one, continue with the religion for a variety of reasons of which sound logic and hard evidence are not a part. For starters, being part of a group is always a good thing so if one is a member of a church that affords one a warm welcome at each meeting there's incentive already to continue to believe.

Then there's the  fact that people maybe think about a god as they think about love. These things are intangible yet we feel they are right. If our brain is working in the right way it will encourage us to feel disposed to either, or both, Then, in church and at meetings, people will be discussing the religion in a very emotional way - Jesus' suffering, god suffering, hell - all things that get the emotions going and encourage belief.

So when one comes to defend the religion in a place like this, where, instead of feelings and emotions, we seek hard evidence for everything it must come really hard. At church people hear the gospel read and of course it sounds real. We nasty types try to knock holes in it which is quite unlike that which happens in church so it comes hard to people.

Now, Patrick, let's put it to you like this. Here we look for the sort of evidence that you would accept in any other matter of your life except religion. You wouldn't buy a washing machine from anyone without checking to make sure the place is reputable and it is likely that the seller is really sell the right thing and not passing on stolen property. If you get an email from the bank wanting to check your security details, I hope you check carefully before typing your security codes into a fake site. The point is that you don't just accept someone's word for something you check it out for yourself.

So here's the point - why do you apply one set of standards of proof to most areas of your life (or did you send that nice man in Nigeria the money to get the $6 million transferred to you?) whereas you have a completely different standard of evidence for religion. The principle source of information about Christianity is the bible yet this has no first hand accounts of anything and we don't even know the names of the authors.We have passages where Jesus claims the asking god in prayer for something will yield and answer but even you must know that doesn't work. If prayer doesn't work, how can you even think that there might be an afterlife.

I'd love to know or even be part of your religion if it has answers to this sort of problem - the fact the prayer has no effect - but things like, 'it's a mystery' or 'well god's will is not the same as man's' won't cut it.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2013, 09:46:09 PM »

Now please forgive me if this question strays too far from the OP, but I'm really feeling compelled to ask.  You have chosen the screen name of a famous leader and orator, who helped shape a revolution. 

He was also a slave owner.

There are few acts that I find more morally reprehensible than slavery.  This is a man, who made cash profits to buy material goods with the labor of human beings who were kidnapped from their homes, separated from their families, beaten, raped, and forced into servitude.   


Patrick Henry was clearly a real Christian, who embraced Jesus.  He let Jesus into his heart.  How did Jesus let him lead a life in which he valued his own accumulation of material possessions so much that he was willing to destroy the lives of so many other human beings?

I like Patrick Henry for his patriotism and oratory skills and that he was a Christian.  A perfect man, he was not.  But his imperfections do not disqualify every good thing about him (from a human standpoint).  A man can be wise, brave, skilled in many ways and still make mistakes.  Having said that, you might like to know that he was a man in conflict.  He didn't like slavery and admitted that it wasn't conducive to the practice of Christianity or freedom.   
Here is a quote from him:
"Would any one believe that I am master of slaves by my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them. I will not -- I cannot justify it, however culpable my conduct. I will so far pay my devoir to Virtue, as to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and to lament my want of conformity to them. I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be afforded to abolish this lamentable evil. Everything we can do, is to improve it, if It happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot, and an abhorrence of Slavery. If we cannot reduce this wished-for reformation to practice, let us treat the unhappy victims with lenity. It is the furthest advancement we can make toward justice. It is a debt we owe to the purity of our religion, to show that it is at variance with that law which warrants Slavery". 
Of course slavery was eventually abolished with the help of Christians who claimed the right of freedom came from God and not men.
The Bible loving south hardly thought giving up slavery was a good option,they fought a war over what they thought was a GOD given right of slave ownership. care to explain?
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2013, 10:16:43 PM »
Give me liberty or give me.... some other people's liberty!
--Patrick Henry 

Doesn't quite have the patriotic bumper slogan ring to it.

Muslims also used the Patrick Henry excuse: "Yeah we admit our religion never condemned slavery, but we think it is bad and maybe other people should not do it, but we are keeping our own slaves because......mumble mumble".

We have also gotten folks here on this discussion board who try to argue that slavery is not really that bad, especially if done according to bible principles.[1] Strangely,  none of these people has yet to take me up on my kind offer to enslave them and their children. I will treat them according to bible principles, of course.

Now that I think about it, I think I will start my atheist book with a chapter on how no ancient religious text condemned slavery. It took modern secular laws to do that. God approves of enslavement of human beings, because he never corrected anyone on the subject. People of every major religion have found ways to justify and even promote slavery. Every mom or dad sold away from their children, every whipping, every rape, every broken spirit was applauded by god.  Right?

Or people don't really give a sh!t about god when it comes to doing what they really want to do. Because, maybe deep down they realize that god does not exist....
 1. Like, you can beat them all you want as long as they can get up after two days....
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Patrick Henry

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2013, 10:56:10 PM »
I have some sympathy with Patrick here.

Then there's the  fact that people maybe think about a god as they think about love. These things are intangible yet we feel they are right.  -

 We nasty types try to knock holes in it which is quite unlike that which happens in church so it comes hard to people.

Now, Patrick, let's put it to you like this. Here we look for the sort of evidence that you would accept in any other matter of your life except religion. 

So here's the point - why do you apply one set of standards of proof to most areas of your life.......whereas you have a completely different standard of evidence for religion. The principle source of information about Christianity is the bible yet this has no first hand accounts of anything and we don't even know the names of the authors.We have passages where Jesus claims the asking god in prayer for something will yield and answer but even you must know that doesn't work. If prayer doesn't work, how can you even think that there might be an afterlife.

I'd love to know or even be part of your religion if it has answers to this sort of problem - the fact the prayer has no effect - but things like, 'it's a mystery' or 'well god's will is not the same as man's' won't cut it.
You don't need to feel sorry for me.  Believe it or not, I think about these things that you are saying all the time.  None of these are new challenges to me.
You touched on it when you said these things are intangible...........I agree that they are and that we have a very real side to us that is intangible and therefore cannot be explained merely by science.  Not knocking science, its great.  But it doesn't explain everything that I feel or see evidence of.  There, I used the word "feel", if you knew me you would know that I don't use that word often.  But the reality that thinkers need to contend with is that we:  have emotions, we feel insulted, we love, we care, we give even to those whom we don't personally know, out of compassion.  I don't see how that behavior is evolved.  You can surmise that it is, but evolution doesn't explain it.  I'm aware of the arguments for it.  But evolution doesn't explain it, imho.  Being created in the image of a loving God does explain it however.  So that is just one basis I see "evidence" for belief in special creation in the image of God. 
Prayer.  Many people believe that God answers prayer.  You can say that it's coincidence but you would be in the clear minority of people who agree with you (outside of this website). I know, being in the minority doesn't make it less true if others are deluded, but I've heard many stories from people whom I know that experienced answers to prayer.  Physical healing included.  And I'm not at all into televangelistic faith healing.  That stuff is disgusting.  Really, my focus on prayer is really more a connection with God than it is asking Him to do things for me, like a genie in a bottle.  People get it wrong when they do that.  None of this is the evidence that you are looking for........but, again my original belief is that you and I are more than just "stuff".  There are other dimensions to us and that physical "proof" in the way you are asking for it won't solve the problem.  But if you believe that we are more than just complex physical creatures, then the idea of God, makes sense.  Or becomes a plausible option, anyway.  If that door is opened, then we can talk about which god, why Jesus, etc.  If you reject that premise, then we stall out.  As for me, I accept it, it makes sense, it has opened the door to many more things that I never knew about, deeper understanding about human nature, love, relationships, pride, all kinds of stuff.  My life is better for it.  I see good results.  That is one thing that I think you and I can both agree on, is results.  Speaking of that I will add one thing because you brought it up.  You used the word "nasty" in terms of people giving believers a hard time on this website.  If you like proof, I say the results of authentic Christianity are that Christians don't treat people in a nasty way, even on a forum like this.  Compare that to atheism.  My experience is that atheists often get nasty and no one thinks twice about it.  I'm not complaing, I'm just pointing it out.  But I've seen it over and over for decades.  Civil discourse is an old, I'll dare say Christian practice.  Compare the two, and you get a "result" in favor of Christianity.   

Offline Patrick Henry

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2013, 11:20:49 PM »

Now please forgive me if this question strays too far from the OP, but I'm really feeling compelled to ask.  You have chosen the screen name of a famous leader and orator, who helped shape a revolution. 

He was also a slave owner.

There are few acts that I find more morally reprehensible than slavery.  This is a man, who made cash profits to buy material goods with the labor of human beings who were kidnapped from their homes, separated from their families, beaten, raped, and forced into servitude.   


Patrick Henry was clearly a real Christian, who embraced Jesus.  He let Jesus into his heart.  How did Jesus let him lead a life in which he valued his own accumulation of material possessions so much that he was willing to destroy the lives of so many other human beings?

I like Patrick Henry for his patriotism and oratory skills and that he was a Christian.  A perfect man, he was not.  But his imperfections do not disqualify every good thing about him (from a human standpoint).  A man can be wise, brave, skilled in many ways and still make mistakes.  Having said that, you might like to know that he was a man in conflict.  He didn't like slavery and admitted that it wasn't conducive to the practice of Christianity or freedom.   
Here is a quote from him:
"Would any one believe that I am master of slaves by my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them. I will not -- I cannot justify it, however culpable my conduct. I will so far pay my devoir to Virtue, as to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and to lament my want of conformity to them. I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be afforded to abolish this lamentable evil. Everything we can do, is to improve it, if It happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot, and an abhorrence of Slavery. If we cannot reduce this wished-for reformation to practice, let us treat the unhappy victims with lenity. It is the furthest advancement we can make toward justice. It is a debt we owe to the purity of our religion, to show that it is at variance with that law which warrants Slavery". 
Of course slavery was eventually abolished with the help of Christians who claimed the right of freedom came from God and not men.
The Bible loving south hardly thought giving up slavery was a good option,they fought a war over what they thought was a GOD given right of slave ownership. care to explain?
I think they were wrong.  Many people have done things in the name of God and were wrong.  Because they weren't living in the Spirit and only picking and choosing the things in the bible that they liked.  Paul introduced a radical idea in the new testament.  That slaves were equal in God's eyes with the slave owner.  Ephesians 6.  This certainly had a huge impact and led to changed hearts on this issue.  Authentic Christians get this and live accordingly.  Patrick Henry got it, but I suppose that he was conflicted by his own selfish desires.  But his expressed beliefs in his writings were used as agruments to free the slaves later on.  So that was a good thing.  So Christian principles when put into practice, ultimately led to freedom for the slaves.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2013, 12:08:04 AM »
The first country in the western hemisphere to end slavery was not the US in 1865. It was Haiti in 1804. Yes, those devil-worshipping animal-sacrificing heathen Africans were more moral on the slavery issue than the white Christians who held them in bondage for hundreds of years.

Those same white Christians fled Haiti and came to the US where they could keep on owning slaves for 60 more years. Protestant England and Catholic Canada also outlawed slavery before the US did, and it did not take a horrible war in either country.

It is pretty clear that economics plays a bigger role in who ends slavery and when than what religion people are following. Places dependent on plantation agriculture try to hang on to slavery longer than places where people work in stores and factories.

The struggle for human rights has often used religious ideas to rally and motivate people. But the oppressors never stop until the oppressed people stand up and fight.[1]

No country in history has ever sat down and peacefully decided, based on their religious beliefs, to stop doing something wrong if it was economically profitable or politically popular.

Please correct me if I am wrong.
 1. Fighting does not have to be violent. As Gandhi, MLK and many others have showed, as long as you are relentless and not afraid of consequences, you can eventually win.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2013, 12:50:41 AM »
The Bible allows slavery PH where do you think the Americans in the south got the idea FROM? It (being slave masters) was their God given right. Slavery is not WRONG the way they read their Bible.
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline Patrick Henry

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2013, 01:21:45 AM »
The Bible allows slavery PH where do you think the Americans in the south got the idea FROM? It (being slave masters) was their God given right. Slavery is not WRONG the way they read their Bible.
Yes, "the way they read their bible".  If they read it at all.   

Offline Patrick Henry

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2013, 01:56:31 AM »
The first country in the western hemisphere to end slavery was not the US in 1865. It was Haiti in 1804. Yes, those devil-worshipping animal-sacrificing heathen Africans were more moral on the slavery issue than the white Christians who held them in bondage for hundreds of years.

Those same white Christians fled Haiti and came to the US where they could keep on owning slaves for 60 more years. Protestant England and Catholic Canada also outlawed slavery before the US did, and it did not take a horrible war in either country.

It is pretty clear that economics plays a bigger role in who ends slavery and when than what religion people are following. Places dependent on plantation agriculture try to hang on to slavery longer than places where people work in stores and factories.

The struggle for human rights has often used religious ideas to rally and motivate people. But the oppressors never stop until the oppressed people stand up and fight.[1]

No country in history has ever sat down and peacefully decided, based on their religious beliefs, to stop doing something wrong if it was economically profitable or politically popular.

Please correct me if I am wrong.
 1. Fighting does not have to be violent. As Gandhi, MLK and many others have showed, as long as you are relentless and not afraid of consequences, you can eventually win.

Well, not quite:

SLAVERY in VERMONT
The newly formed state, which broke away from New York, abolished slavery outright in its constitution, dated July 8, 1777.

The relevant section is Chapter I, subtitled "A DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE STATE OF VERMONT"

I. THAT all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights, amongst which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. Therefore, no male person, born in this country, or brought from over sea, ought to be holden by law, to serve any person, as a servant, slave or apprentice, after he arrives to the age of twenty-one Years, nor female, in like manner, after she arrives to the age of eighteen years, unless they are bound by their own consent, after they arrive to such age, or bound by law, for the payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like.

http://www.flowofhistory.org/themes/american_republic/abolition_timeline.php

As Haiti goes:  The Haitian slave rebellion began, and resultant revolution ovecame the French occupation, and freedom for the slaves came sometime between 1791 - 1804.  It wasn't a "moral" decision as you depicted it.  It was a bloody revolution. 

Offline Jonny-UK

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2013, 02:01:03 AM »
Hello Patrick Henry
Can I ask you to imagine you had never read the bible (or any other religious book).
Now do you see anything in the world that would point you to the fact that-
A- there is a god, and if so
B- something to make you think the bible is the "correct" religious book to read ?
As you can see here-
http://www.godchecker.com/
there are plenty of gods out there so what sign(s) points you to the bible and jesus/biblegod?
Do you think you would still have followed the bible if you had been born and raised in an Islamic country?
"Do I look like someone who cares what god thinks" - pinhead

Offline cynicalviking

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Re: for Patrick Henry - what evidence is there that god really exists?
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2013, 02:15:42 AM »
What interests me is your argument that the existence of slavery itself in the bible creates a non plus for the existence of God. The addressing of laws in the Old Testament as Christians call it is a matter of debate between pretty much every church I have had contact with. What is even more interesting is that the pick and choose attitude towards a legalistic approach to religion is much older than Christianity. Looking within the history of the movement itself, it seems to have gotten some momentum by pointing out the logical inconstancy of trying to follow "God" by living by rules from a book.

I don't see how according to the terms of this field the argument could be won either way, at least from my limited study it appears that modern Christianity on the large relies on a relationship with  "God" to achieve any kind of "evidence". Some of the people in their very approach are desiring to refute and disprove any proof that comes their way towards either conclusion. This is a documented psychological impediment to objectivity, and therefor to finding truth.

If you are predisposed to think the world is flat, you'll find a way to keep it that way. If I show you photos, you'd say they are a hoax. If I travel east and come around the other side of the world, if you are truly committed to the idea of a flat earth you will find a way that I faked it.

However I will share one logical thought that keeps my mind open to both sides. If one thousand people are bad at explaining something, it doesn't make that something untrue. If you meet 200 bad doctors, it does not make all doctors bad (though I suppose in a quantum sense to you they are). If you meet 1000 Atheists, Agnostics, or Humanists who use poorly constructed arguments to support their beliefs, it does not make those beliefs wrong. If you meet 1000 Christians and none of them can explain to you to your satisfaction why God exists, that doesn't make them wrong. Just because you don't get a good salesman for a product doesn't make it a bad product. On the same logical token just because you meet a very good salesman for a product it doesn't make it a good product.

Belief is easy, the truth is hard.