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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
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?
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ParkingPlaces I like having a good read in the morning December 16, 2013, 11:23:31 AM