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Good morning WWGHA,
Well I'm more than an hour past pumpkin time in Australia but how could I ignore the chirpy you this morning ;)
(My wife is already asleep so I have to type quietly.)

I'm so glad that I have explained my beliefs in a way you can understand.  It doesn't seem like it would be such a hard thing to do but it has taken me 5 months to get this far.  I'm sure it's 90% on me but I also think the other 10% is on the other end; closed-minds.
Agree - I think there is progress.
Yes William the heart is really your conscience I know.  It's easier to spell. ;) 
Agree. Although the definition of "conscience" is another debate  ;)

My belief in a Creator is not limited to explaining where Love comes from.  Matter of fact that has very little to do with why I believe in God.  First of all I find it hard to comprehend the amount of luck it would take for our planet to end up with so many forms of complex life from an explosion.  Explosions are messy business.  There is also the lack of other planets like ours.  If it was that easy there should be planets like ours all over.
This is drifting a long way from the original topic.  If I may ... it might help to look at it the opposite way.  There are frogs that thrive in the Namibian desert - and you know frogs need coolth and water.  But these frogs have adapted to the desert.  If they could speak they would also say how lucky they are to be living in a desert :laugh: 

All other frogs on the planet would instantly croak in disagreement - and die within minutes or hours of being placed in that same environment.

You see the reason we think our planet is lucky and perfect is because we have adapted to it.  We evolve into our environment as it changes. Even rolling back geological time - we could not have breathed on this very planet. The answers are more complex than our own snapshot in time.  There is actually a huge latitude in the parameters for life - the high pressure hot sulphuric vents at the bottom of the ocean for example - covered in amazing life forms but where you or I would die faster than a blink. 

And there are more and more planets being discovered that are close enough to the conditions on our planet to support life.  Please keep your mind open on this one  :)

2nd if humans came from water not dirt then we should be natural swimmers.  Most of us have to "learn" to swim and our bodies have more elements of dirt than water, could be wrong here, I'm sure you'll let me know. :)
From the perspective of our lifetimes this logic might appeal.  But we are talking about millions and millions of generations of change and adaptation to new environments. Our situation now doesn't need us to swim to survive - so the anatomical structures that served our ancestors well for swimming have evolved to structures that serve us well for climbing trees and walking.
Whales are a marvellous example of where land animals evolved back into aquatic animals. Google that - you will be amazed I guarantee :)

There is also the fact that not all creatures evolved into the same thing.  Why remain a fly when you could've evolved into a human or lion, etc.  We have flies because we need flies.  We need all our different life forms.  We all have a "purpose".
I can see this is a very difficult issue to deal with if one holds that there is a "Creator" with a plan or purpose.  And it boils down to the MAIN problem theists have with evolution - why they reject the science and bury their heads in the sand.  Theists cannot bring themselves to accept that evolution has no direction, no purpose, it's merely a response to opportunity by some individuals who happen to have inherited beneficial mutations.

Evolution doesn't work on all individuals simultaneously. It works through rare individuals with accidental mutations that open up opportunities for that individual alone, and eventually its offspring.  It leads to new populations that separate from the old - leaving the old behind, still alive in their original environment and set of opportunities.

That is why there are still single celled creatures and monkeys to whom we are related through evolution. But even then the relationships are a bit deceptive, because those same amoebas and monkeys we see today have also had time to diverge and evolve in different directions from our common ancestor.  The original common ancestors are long gone - except in the fossil record where they show up abundantly - demonstrating how forms changed and diverged.

We really should discuss this further in another topic in another forum - it's so totally removed from the Bible is a disgrace topic.  Meanwhile here is the tree of life pic to wet your appetite for the discussion and leaning ahead of you:

Then there is my spirit.  I feel my spirit and it feels eternal unlike this flesh I wear.  It's the "real" me. 
Yep, I get that.  I wake up in the morning and the real me re-enters my consciousness.  I can't wash it of my mistakes or my learnings - it seems eternal - while I'm alive and awake that is.  The discussion about what happens to me (my spirit if you like) has been done many times on WWGHA. In the end it boils down to what we know about death (a lot) and what we know about spirit (absolutely nothing).  You are free to believe whatever you like about this, but you should take some notice of the rational view that when we die it all goes quiet - like falling asleep and never waking up. It doesn't hurt a bit.  And when we look at how theists cling desperately to this life, seeking treatments for life-threatening illness, defending themselves against attack, fighting to stave off death ... we can conclude from their behaviour that they also know deep down that this life is all we have.

If I wake up after death in another life I'll be pleasantly surprised, and enjoy whatever it has to offer.  But meanwhile I refuse to live my life as if some clergy know more about the next life than I do, and for that claim to "knowledge" of the unknowable they get to live an easier life here on this earth.  We are all in the dark on this.  There is no evidence of what comes after death, but a very good indication when I look at the worms in my compost heap  ;D 

I say live your life with honesty and integrity - a life filled with love and enjoyment - and fight a bit against evil, especially those who try to suck us into religion for their own gain in this life.

These are my main points of belief in a Creator.  I very well believe that there was an Intelligence involved in our making.  No magic necessary, intelligence yes.  Love yes.  I believe Love and hate comes from us.  We are capable of both because we have freewill.  We are not forced to love it is a choice.
On the belt buckles of Hitler's soldiers there was an inscription: "Gott mit uns"  Did the German soldiers ordered to muster Jews into the death camps have any real choice. No.  An Islamic suicide bomber presses the detonation button thinking thoughts put there by his trainers - he also has no real choice either.
Religion can and does override love by dulling our capacity to make natural choices.  I happen to agree with you that expression of our natural love is indeed a choice - a choice to do what already feels right - but only when free from the mind-shackling oppression of religious thought.

Junebug, I think your belief in a deity Creator is quite harmless and won't prevent you from living a life of love and fulfilment. You don't need to make the complete transition to atheism to know the value of this life for yourself right now - I think you are there already.  But expect to take some heat for the tolerance you afford some of theistic ideas (e.g. intelligent design) that full-blown theists deploy to keep a choke-hold over the minds of people weakened by brainwashing.  Theists, the fundamentally religious ones, are the natural adversary of the atheist.  Atheists are justified to be cranky about being pushed around by religious values in politics and daily life, falsely accused of being immoral, and condemned to (or at least threatened with) hell by theists - all for not believing and submitting to fairy tale gods  &)

You can live on the fringes of the main debate, out of the conflict zone, but be cautious of inadvertently siding with the enemies of free thought  ;)
For myself I will carry on seeking the knowledge. Being curious. Never stop questioning  :)
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screwtape heroic effort July 24, 2013, 03:50:09 PM