July 16, 2008

"ism" = Man made?

I was exploring etymology and in relation to religion, I was contemplating that the suffix "ism" is a great indicator that it's man made. I guess the same can go for "ist". There are some smart people reading this, can someone prove me wrong?

Wiki states: "The suffix -ism denotes a distinctive system of beliefs, myth, doctrine or theory that guides a social movement, institution, class or group."

I cannot find an argument to the contrary. Am I simplifying things?

On a side note and in reflection. I for one, am convinced that atheism is a religion: Hitchens takes 'new atheist' gospel to the masses

From the article:

"Christopher Hitchens offered much more, reflecting the growing visibility and muscle of a new breed of atheists spreading their message with evangelical fervor."


  1. On the subject of religion I wanted to add this to the conversation:

    I don't believe in loch ness monsters or extraterrestrial aliens, is that not a belief system or part of my belief system? I have proven with evidence, yes court rulings are evidence, that atheism is a belief system, or at the very least, atheism is part of belief system.

    The court ruling that atheists have the same right as any other religion, would indeed, constitute atheism as a religion. You cannot have it both ways.

  2. Interesting points...

    Continuing the Wiki page you quoted (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/-ism), they've got a list of Concepts represented by "ism".
    Religon is in there, but I've always felt that Atheism falls more under the second heading: doctrine or philosophy. Specifically, philosophy.

    And some things under there certainly aren't man-made. For example, Headings 7, 8 and 9:

    - characteristic, quality or origin (e.g. heroism)
    - state or condition (e.g. pauperism)
    - excess or disease (e.g. botulism)

    The suffix -ist seems to have it even easier... from WikiAnswers:

    "... a person who apologises is known as an apologist, a person who writes plays is known as a dramatist, a person who works on a machine is known as a machinist, a person who believes in realism is known as a realist..."

    Atheism is given the same rights as other beliefs, because, as your rightly said, it is a belief. Whether or not it is a belief verified by external evidence is another matter entirely: it's a belief. Just like your belief there is no loch ness monster.

    But belief does not equal religon. The very first sentence on the wiki article on religon states:

    "A religion is a set of beliefs and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, or religious law."

    Even ignoring everything after the first comma, which can all be considered 'optional', atheism still doesn't classify as a religon: it has belief, but no practices.

    My conclusion is that atheism is at most a philosophy.

  3. 1) Your cited article does not contain a court ruling of any kind. It is merely the assertion on the parts of the parties involved that the issue is one regarding religious freedom. Unless you have a different source to cite, which actually corroborates your claim, you have merely made an assertion here.

    2) So what? Atheism is obviously a belief. It is the belief that no god exists. To say it is a belief system is misleading, for it implies that more than one particular belief is attached to Atheism.

    The terms religion and its constituent religious are not cut-and-dried terms in reference to the worship of deities. According to Merriam-Webster online, religion is most generically defined as follows:

    a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

    Likewise, the same source defines religious most generically as the following:

    scrupulously and conscientiously faithful

    Bearing these definitions in mind, Atheism is absolutely a religion, and as such it is absolutely protected by the First Amendment.

    Personally, I have tested the notion of Freedom of Religious Expression in a few different situations.

    In one, I was called to Jury Duty, and during the process of voir dire, a bailiff discreetly asked me to remove my headcover -- a red baseball cap with the word "Canada" written in white across its front. I refused, saying that it was a matter of religious expression.

    Now, it is important to clarify some things. First, I wear a hat. I am wearing a red baseball cap right now with a miniature depiction of the Canadian flag, and the word "Canada" on its front (not the same hat as in the story, though I still have that hat as well). I wear a hat virtually all my waking hours. I am not bald (yet, my wife tells me), and I have no medical condition requiring me to wear a hat, but nonetheless I wear a hat at all times permissible.

    The spectre of Jury Duty provided me with what I saw as an opportunity to make some easy money. I would refuse to remove my hat in the courtroom, I would be held in contempt of court, and I would later sue based for religious discrimination. Whenever asked specifics concerning my religion, I would refuse, citing my religion as a personal matter, but sufficing to say that the wearing of a hat was a necessary requirement.

    Back to the story.

    The bailiff immediately, without flinching or batting an eyelash, said, "Okay, that's fine then", and set off to inform the judge. A few moments later, the judge, too, asked why I wore a hat in his courtroom. I politely said, "meaning no disrespect, Your Honor, I wear a hat as a matter of religious expression". A few snickers from my potential jurors, and the judge replied, "I see", and on with business. I'm certain that at least a few of my potential jurors had wished they'd had the balls to keep wearing their hats, and cite religious expression as their excuse.

    Religion, per the constitution, is to remain separate from the matters of state. The implication (indeed, it may be explicit) is that it is a deeply personal thing. Were I challenged in that courtroom, I would absolutely had the grounds for a pricy lawsuit, which I'd no doubt have won -- so long as I refused to answer specifics regarding my religious practices.

    There have been various cases, some with which you may be familiar, regarding the wearing of religious jewelry in public schools. This article describes how a student won a lawsuit overturning a ban on wearing a pentagram at school. This one, from the same site, describes a similar lawsuit regarding a girl wearing a cross necklace.

    I haven't found the source at the moment, but I recall an incident in which a student fighting for the right to wear a cross necklace lost the case, because she made a specific statement regarding her religion, which was found to have been false upon examination of that particular denomination's doctrines. Her error was in providing unnecessary detail, which proved her undoing.

    It would be as if a professing Jehovah's Witness student were refusing a blood transfusion based on Jehovah's Witness doctrine, but a birthday party for that same student had been given weeks prior. The birthday party demonstrates that the student selectively chooses which doctrines to follow, so the religious argument would be invalid.

    At any rate, atheists don't have it both ways. Christians do. By the generic definitions, Atheism is indeed a religion, and atheists are indeed religious.

    The "both ways" argument applies to Christians in that they tend to immediately applaud things like the ban on the pentagram, but cry foul regarding the ban on the cross necklace. Unless you noted the two quick enough, you were likely guilty of this misguided reflex, too.

    Respecting a given religion is something Congress cannot do, based on the First Amendment. Denying a given religion is equivalent to respecting a host of religions, so it, too, is something Congress cannot do. The article you cite, regarding the persecuted atheist in the military, is merely an example of the "having it both ways" mentality that Christians have.

    A poignant example of Christians supressing other beliefs is with the Air Force Academy's evident favoritism toward Christians, and the blind eye it turns toward persecution of non-Christians. (CNN article here, USA Today article here. A more biased review at About.com can be found here)

    You have a right to believe as you will. Your rights end, however, when they infringe upon my rights. The soldier you reference contends, not without reason, it seems, that his rights to religious expression have been infringed upon, in favor of certain forms of Christianity, or other "mainstream" religions.

    As a former member of the military, you must surely be aware that mainstream religion -- particularly Protestant Christianity -- has a stranglehold on raw recruits. I mentioned before that when I was in BCT, I attended church not just to be pious, but to avoid cleaning the barracks. This exclusive support for Christianity runs contrary to the very principles upon which this nation was founded -- not by Christians, but by Deists. Members of the Enlightenment, as it were, who were very careful to eliminate specific religious terminology from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution itself. The First Amendment is further testament to their insistence that reason and dialogue remain unconditionally protected.

    A particular case in point here, is that of abortion. In my hometown, there is a family of very fundamentalist Christians (borderline Mennonite, though not eschewing of technology), who picket the local Planned Parenthood on those days on which it abortions are apparently performed. They picket on the sidewalk and the public grassy area between the sidewalk and the street. They carry and post large (24"x36", and some 36"x42") signs depicting partially aborted fetuses, in graphic detail.

    You no doubt support such a tactic, as do I. Surprised? Well, let me explain.

    I haven't yet put the plan to work, but one day I plan on standing with this family in full support. I intend on carrying my own large sign, though mine will only consist of words. My sign, as currently envisioned, will read as follows:

    FUCK DECENCY: Support Free Speech

    I have checked with the city's sign ordnances, and my sign would comply fully regarding size restrictions. The text is immaterial, for the Supreme Court case Cohen v. California (1971) upheld the right to use such language insofar as it was directed toward a concept, rather than an individual. "Decency" being a concept, I'm covered. Obviously, I'd have a copy of the decision in my back pocket, and for posterity's sake I'd make a few calls to the local media prior to my performance.

    During any interviews or questioning (and I would fully expect the police to show up), I'd staunchly deny that my presence had anything whatsoever to do with abortion. It wouldn't. My sole purpose in such a campaign would be to illustrate the effectiveness of free speech.

    This family's tactics are quite controversial, even in this small, conservative community, but no one has challenged them, and how? When my wife first learned of it, she had both of our children in the car, and quickly forbade them from looking out the right-hand windows, lest they have nightmares. A local schoolbus driver has publicly decried their tactics, due to the worry, confusion, and trauma caused to her elementary students. Yet they continue.

    My goal was to find a method to counteract their campaign which didn't invoke an attempt at curtailing their right to free speech, which I fully respect. The answer, which I outlined above, is the best I could think of.

    You see, no one can argue that my sign is somehow more damaging than theirs. To understand my sign, one needs the ability to read. To understand their signs, one needs only to recognize the human form, however undeveloped, and to recognize blood. No parent can argue that their children would have nightmares due to my sign -- quite the contrary with theirs.

    If ever I'm back in that town for a significant period of time, I look forward to putting my idea to the test.

    Having it both ways is something Christians have enjoyed ever since Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of Rome. Only fairly recently, starting with the wise founders of these United States, has Christianity been compelled to abide by the rules it requires of others.

    Perhaps you're right, though. Perhaps I'll from this point forward refer to your religion as Christianism.

    (Anyway, what does that mean for Theism?)


  4. Stan, I thought your stories were interesting, but I have to disagree with you: Atheism is not a religon by any of your definitions.

    "a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith"

    Although athiesm can be held with faith, it can also be held as a logical conclusion based on observation of the universe, which requires no faith. Whether or not the logic is accurate is again irrelevant: atheism, a lack of faith in a deity, doesn't require or ask for faith.

    "scrupulously and conscientiously faithful"

    Same deal: atheism is a lack of faith. As someone I know is fond of saying, calling atheism a religon is like calling Not-collecting-stamps a hobby.

  5. Hay everyone Stan and I agree on something! (insert "ode to joy" here)

    Theism can be held as a logical conclusion based on observation of the universe also.

    I disagree Quasar, so is this a true or untrue statement:

    atheism is a lack of one type of faith or belief system and faith in another.

    Atheism, without proof, is still a faith whether lack of belief of certain criteria exists or not. Atheism is a faith based belief system that there is no entity that created the universe. Any logically thinking person would conclude there is universal "design characteristics" of the universe, but that's a another discussion.

    The ramifications is astronomical for an atheist to believe that what they believe is a religion. Why? Because they start out despising one religion (all religions). I am guilty of this also, I hated being related to a religion. I always screamed "it's not religion it's a relationship!"

    Then someone wrote me a note that toned me down on the subject. I placed it on my other blog, but he wrote:

    "That is, our religion is from the Creator. It is a result of our hope and trust in God. It is the natural fruit. False religions have stolen from God and not the other way around. False religions have a common denominator and that is there assault on the term "Justification." They are working toward their salvation. We are working as a result of our salvation.

    We have to separate the biblical Jews from religious Jews. One had hope in the Messiah's coming. They acted as a result of this promise. King David loved God because of the promise given to him by faith. The religious Jew (Judaism), as in the case today, denies Jesus and attempts to bring to God their religious efforts.

    A religion that is pure in the sight of God is a "discipline" which results and originates, from God. We do these things as a result of being justified. We do these things because God has declared us "not guilty" because of the passive/active obedience of the Messiah being given to us as a gift. His works are what save us. In contrast, the religions of the world who deny justification seek to bring their "religious" efforts to God to "save" them.

    Don't let that word religion, be a hindrance. We as believers have a beautiful religion because it is a fruit which comes from God. It starts with him and ends with him. Like I said; the religion we show is a result of what God did. It is an external response. For example, we love because he first loved us right? The false religions out there have a completely different gospel. As a result they bring their filthy rags and present then to God thinking they are working their way to God. We have been made clean by the word. The false religions make themselves clean." (Moshe, carm.org)

    The same goes for the new religion of atheism. False religions (atheism) have a common denominator and that is there assault on the term "Justification."

    Sure sounds like atheism to me. This is why atheists deny it as a religion, unless they are honest with themselves, like Stan.

  6. In the sense that Atheism is protected by the First Amendment, it is a religion.

    I suppose, though, that we could equally well argue that Atheism falls under the freedom of speech or freedom of expression clauses, but these aren't as robustly defended in the workplace or other public forums.

    In order to protect the atheist's right to avoid religious favoritism, it is necessary to classify Atheism as a religion, even if, and I love that characterization as well, it is the religion analogous to Not-collecting stamps.

    In point of fact, Atheism is a "principle... held to with ardor".

    Likewise, the term faithful in the definition of religious is not cause for alarm:

    1 (obsolete) : full of faith

    2: steadfast in affection or allegiance : loyal

    3: firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty : conscientious

    4: given with strong assurance : binding [a faithful promise]

    5: true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original [a faithful copy]

    None of these explicitly declares being "faithful" as having anything to do with a deity. Only the obsolete first definition even implies a correlation with a deity, and even then only in one particular case.

    So again, we quibble over the details, but we ultimately agree -- Atheism should be granted the same protection afforded to Christianity, Hinduism, Wicca, etc. We are free to reclassify as a protected form of expression, but until such a reclassification is as well-protected as religion, I think it prudent to adopt the apparently paradoxical label of "religion".

    For myself, anyway, I am not made uncomfortable by this label. It should come as no surprise that, as an atheist, when we restrict the term "religion" to deity-affirming philosophies, it has no particular sway. Since I maintain that there is no deity to affirm, their precious term is necessarily impotent. Its only value is as a category under Constitutional protection.

    Since I am entitled to that same protection, despite the fact that my "hobby" is "not-collecting stamps", the discussion becomes one merely of semantics, and, as I said, that label does not make me uncomfortable in the least.

    Indeed, it could allow atheist organizations to qualify for funding under Bush's "Faith-Based Initiative", and such organizations should challenge that premise accordingly. Like churches, atheist "congregations" should be tax-exempt (perhaps this is already the case?) -- legally, Atheism is entitled to every protection and provision offered to "traditional" religion.

    Atheism is a religion? Doesn't matter to me. Eating peanut-butter sandwiches every Thursday is a religion. As long as my philosophical system is equally protected under the law, you can call me Pope Stan, for all I care.


  7. I like the name but I hope not:


    Lending money on usury. (Greek, daneisma, a loan.)

    Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894

  8. "Theism can be held as a logical conclusion based on observation of the universe also."

    This is true. I put theism, and deism, in the same catagory as atheism: a worldview, or a philosophy.

    Theism, however, only contains a belief: it has no practices, and it requires no faith. One can be a theist based on the 'design characteristics' of the universe, as you call them, just as they can be atheist based on the lack thereof. I find the lack more convincing, hence my position.

    I distinguish between religon and philosophy simply because religon promotes faith, and faith erodes critical thinking about the subject you have faith in. I have no faith in my beliefs: if a better explanation comes along, I will adopt it. My belief that the universe stands alone is just the best explanation of the evidence I have been presented.

    But I'm also a faithful Pastafarian, so I can get free protection under the First Amendment without resorting to semantics.


  9. "because religon promotes faith, and faith erodes critical thinking about the subject you have faith in."

    So that's part of your belief system.

    just as they can be atheist based on the lack thereof. I find the lack more convincing, hence my position."

    So we all agree then atheism is a (part of a) belief system.

    "I have no faith in my beliefs: if a better explanation comes along, I will adopt it. "

    That is very interesting, but just untrue.

    [broken record time]

    Your presuppositions will not allow you to examine without bias the evidence that I present to you for God's existence.

    Your presupposition is that there is no God; therefore, no matter what I might present to you to show His existence, you must interpret it in a manner consistent with your presupposition: namely, that there is no God. If I were to have a video tape of God coming down from heaven, you'd say it was a special effect. If I had a thousand eye-witnesses saying they saw Him, you'd say it was mass-hysteria. If I had Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament, you'd say they were forged, dated incorrectly, or not real prophecies. So, I cannot prove anything to you since your presupposition won't allow it. It is limited.

    Your presupposition cannot allow you to rightly determine God's existence from evidence -- providing that there were factual proofs of His existence. Don't you see? If I DID have incontrovertible proof, your presupposition would force you to interpret the facts consistently with your presupposition and you would not be able to see the proof.

  10. Your presupposition cannot allow you to rightly determine God's existence from evidence

    Ummm. No. We presuppose that we are currently unaware of any god's existence. You, on the other hand, quite explicitly presuppose the existence not only of a god, but of a specific god. Non sequitur, indeed.

    -- providing that there were factual proofs of His existence.

    But there aren't. If there were, we'd be having an entirely different conversation, now wouldn't we?

    Don't you see? If I DID have incontrovertible proof, your presupposition would force you to interpret the facts consistently with your presupposition and you would not be able to see the proof.

    Yet, again, you do not have proof of any kind, much less incontrovertible. You cite the ancient beliefs of a people known to have held to nonfactual beliefs, concerning the cosmos, concerning human equality, concerning the process of conception, concerning medicine, ad nauseum.

    You, however, would single out their religious beliefs -- upon which all of their other factually incorrect beliefs rest -- and claim that despite their ignorance in all these other things, their foundational religious beliefs are nonetheless accurate, and we're destined to hell for not agreeing with you.

    Harp on all you want about our presuppositions, but what of your own? Oh, that's right, your presuppositions are correct, because you say so and god is your best friend.

    What of the false Christians who presuppose god's existence? What of non-Christians who presuppose the existence of a different deity?

    Your special pleading is turning into special whining. We presuppose nothing, by comparison. As I said, we presuppose skepticism -- nothing more. I am Thomas, from Missouri: I doubt it, so show me.

    The sorts of proofs you referred to tongue-in-cheek are not proofs at all. First, there is ample video "evidence" of UFOs, yet we don't admit that as evidence, now do we? There are also thousands of UFO and alien witnesses, yet again, we discount this testimony. Your OT prophecies are a red herring, but even I can claim to have fulfilled some of them, based at least on the same twisted logic that is used to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. There are even plenty of extra-biblical "prophecies" which have come "true", in the same manner.

    Your whole argument is founded on special pleading: The only difference between my beliefs and those of any other religion is that mine are true.

    So, I cannot prove anything to you since your presupposition won't allow it. It is limited.

    Really? Examine your own position for just a moment. Precisely what would you say we could prove to you, your presupposition notwithstanding? Is it limited?


  11. Your presuppositions will not allow you to examine without bias the evidence that I present to you for God's existence.

    Dan, Dan, Dan, what about your presuppositions? I'm willing to admit the possibility of some sort of god. Are you will to admit the possibility that there is no God?

    Towards the end of my time as a Christian one of my daily prayers was asking God to make himself more real to me. To this day, the only prayer I ever say, is asking God if he exists. I never wanted to be an atheist.

  12. Oh don't get me wrong now, my presuppositions are firmly in place.

    "I never wanted to be an atheist."

    Then you shouldn't be, shame on you. It's called faith for a reason. Sure God could reveal himself to us quite easily but he wants us to have faith in Him and Trust Him not just believe and not to be tempted.

    You guys sound like the devil telling God to show Himself to you. Remember the devil was trying to get Jesus to do miraculous things to prove His divinity.

    Matthew 4:3-7 "And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

    You guys sound like the devil more and more everyday...Are you sure your not satanists? (cheap shot)

    It has to do with trusting the unseen and the unknown, the promises of righteousness and justice against evil.

    John 20:29 "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

    "To this day, the only prayer I ever say, is asking God if he exists."

    That is Biblical and a smart thing to do. But you can't pray to Him if you distrust, disobey, and dishonor Him.

    James 5:16-18 "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit." (emphasis added)

    God will manifest Himself to you if you show patience.

    John 14:21 "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."

    You making me bring out the hot Iron analogy again.

    "Well I have felt the Hot Iron of God's hand on me and cannot be persuaded otherwise because I have an experience that removed ALL doubt, I am 100% certain there is a God.

    On the flip an atheist cannot say they have 100% certainty based on a non experience, it is based on a belief still. They have a belief based on lack of said experience, but they remain uncertain (lack of assurance)."


  13. Dan, the more you argue, the more I see that I was once almost exactly like you, and the more I think the God of the Bible must not exist.

    "God will manifest Himself to you if you show patience."

    For years my patience, my practice of the presence of God had wonderful results. I believed!

    The Bible teaches you to constantly focus on God, the Bible, prayer, etc. If you were to do that with anything else you would begin to believe it too. Hence the devout believers in all the other religions of the world.

  14. Quasar wrote:
    "because religon promotes faith, and faith erodes critical thinking about the subject you have faith in."

    Dan replied:
    "So that's part of your belief system"

    Indeed it is. But it is not a part of my atheism.
    It is something I have observed in people of all faiths, and have decided it is not for me.

    Dan wrote:
    "Your presupposition is that there is no God"

    No, my only presupposition is that anything that exists will leave evidence that it exists. "there is no God" is a conclusion based on this presupposition.

    Mike wrote:
    "I never wanted to be an atheist."

    Dan replied:
    "Then you shouldn't be, shame on you. It's called faith for a reason. Sure God could reveal himself to us quite easily but he wants us to have faith in Him and Trust Him not just believe and not to be tempted.

    Which is exactly my point regarding faith. Your God could answer all our questions, or at least provide answers for us to stumble upon, and yet He tells us simply to have faith. If you've got that faith, you can simply ignore all the questions you don't have answers for. Is that the behavior of a critical mind?

    Last one:
    Dan said:
    "On the flip an atheist cannot say they have 100% certainty based on a non experience, it is based on a belief still. They have a belief based on lack of said experience, but they remain uncertain (lack of assurance)."

    Congratulations, you got it exactly right. An atheist can never say with 100% certaintly that the supernatural doesn't exist, because there will always be something we haven't looked beyond. In the past it was the sky, now it is the very depths of time and space, maybe in the future it will be alternate dimensions or the like.

    In this way, atheism is similar to something else... what was it... oh yes, that's it!


    Science naver states anything with absolute certainty: everything is open to reinterpretation. Of course, some parts of science simply have so much evidence in favor that they are absolutely impossible to topple completely... but, like atheists, they are always open to new discoveries.

  15. Actually, from the article you linked to in the OP:

    "Hitchens... has teamed up over the past two years with an informal group of prominent "new atheists" who prefer to call themselves anti-theists."

    It's important to note that atheism is a very different thing to anti-theism. Don't dump us into one catagory: anti-theists are the atheist equivilent of fundumentalists. They might have faith in their beliefs, but agnostic atheists such as myself don't.

  16. agnostic atheists? You believe in a Creator?

  17. "Dan, the more you argue, the more I see that I was once almost exactly like you,"

    There is an obvious difference between us though. The fact that I keep my word and you didn't. You made a covenant with God, right? You were baptized weren't you? Well you broke your promise and I haven't. Christians try not to lie and you lied when you promised to God to remain faithful and then didn't. The wrath that you are storing up is growing.

    God's word declares that this is God's plan of salvation; 1. Hear the WORD of God. 2. Believe that Jesus is the Messiah. 3. Repent of your ways that are contrary to God's will. 4. Be Baptized INTO Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 5. Remain faithful to the Covenant you have made with God.

    Oops you failed step 5, right? Here is a huge problem though, God wants us to have faith without overwhelming evidence. He gave us evidence as you know but again it just isn't enough. Again based on your presupposition you cannot accept any evidence. Remember the story of the Rich Man and Lazerath and the entire Universe? (Romans 1:20, Luke 16:30-31). You have all the evidence you need to trust but you still are searching to disprove it. You don't need anymore then God's Word and the Universe, I don't so why do you? Billions of people are satisfied with what we have. Evidently that is just not enough for y'all though. Will it harm the ones that remain faithful? Will you be harmed for your disbelief? What if everyone you know and have ever known, every time you see them, says "I don't believe in you, Mike" "You don't exist to me Stan" "Mike is just made up and a figment of our imagination". This goes on over an over again, throughout a lifetime. Would you be hurt, frustrated, or disappointed?

    "Science (never) states anything with absolute certainty: everything is open to reinterpretation. "

    There is a huge problem with this also, because of the subjectiveness of man. Think about it, a scientist has a presupposition about God and goes about finding evidence contrary to that projected belief. The experiment, or the interpretation of the results, right off that bat is flawed. Science is supposed to be objective and where ever the evidence leads is the conclusion. There is scientific sound proof of a Creator yet only some of the scientist accept the data.

    Sweet dreams and don't die, it's safer for you.

  18. Yes, I'm an agnostic atheist. Most atheists are. No, I don't believe in a creator.

    Agnostism and Gnostism is how open you are to the possibility that your beliefs are wrong, and is completely independant from theism. One can be a Gnostic Atheist (like Hitchins and Dawkins, who believe the universe provides strong evidence against the existance of God), an Agnostic atheist (like myself, who believes that God might still exist, but see's no evidence), an Agnostic theist (can't think of an example right at this moment, but who believes in God, but accepts the possibility He might not exist) or a Gnostic Theist (like yourself, who is completely unwilling to entertain the possibility God doesn't exist).

    "There is a huge problem with this also, because of the subjectiveness of man. Think about it, a scientist has a presupposition about God and goes about finding evidence contrary to that projected belief."

    And then all the other scientists in the same field shout him down for not following the evidence. This is exactly what continually happens to "Creation Scientists", and "Intelligent Design Theorists": they make a presupposition, and go out looking for evidence.

    And then get shouted at for it.

    "There is scientific sound proof of a Creator yet only some of the scientist accept the data."

    Really? I'm yet to see it. And I've been following and participating in this debate for 3 years now, so I've heard most of it.

  19. Dan,

    I lied to Santa Claus too. He's every bit as real as Jesus. There was an actual guy the myths are based on.

    I like that instead of trying to win me over with any love and compassion all you do is attack my character. Jesus would be so proud.

  20. Mike,

    Win you over with any love and compassion? I love you very much, enough to spend time with you to help you understand. I may be abrasive to you because there is a great deal at stake here, namely your soul.

    Remember in Pulp Fiction when Vincent (John Travolta) said to Wolf "A please would be nice."

    Wolf said "Get it straight buster - I'm not here to say please, I'm here to tell you what to do and if self-preservation is an instinct you possess you'd better fucking do it and do it quick! I'm here to help - if my help's not appreciated then lotsa luck, gentlemen."

    Vincent: "I don't mean any disrespect, I just don't like people barking orders at me."

    The Wolf: "If I'm curt with you it's because time is a factor. I think fast, I talk fast and I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this. So, pretty please... with sugar on top. Clean the fucking car!"

    and scene.

    So if I am curt with you all it's because time really is the factor and you could die tomorrow. So pretty please with sugar on top, seek Jesus.

    I am tilling the soil getting it ready for that seed. There is no way, at the moment, I can have success bringing you the gospel. It would fall on deaf ears Remember Matthew 7:6. Your heart needs to be convicted first. When you fully understand that you have violated and even molested God's Law and that you are building up God's wrath upon you to the point and realization that you will go to a real hell. Then and only then can you be helped by God and be saved. Otherwise you will show the fruit and the characteristics of a false convert.

    "Mark 4:16 - False Converts receive the word with gladness. Hears the gospel message with gladness and really seems to latch on to it. He may express, for example, with tear filled eyes of joy. How this is the answer he's been looking for. When any test or trials comes his way, excuses become his trademark he falls away from following Jesus."

    "Luke 8:13 - Because they do believe for a season this is the one that fools the most people because they do believe, for a short time, the Gospel message. These false converts walk and talk a very good game. They often sincerely believe the Vital truths. That Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial death and rose from the earth and that he was fully man and fully God. they believe those things in their mind. When it comes time to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Jesus into test and self sacrifice the false convert displays, slowly but surely, the truth that they never believed in their hearts. Never made that commitment to Christ and eventually becomes distracted by the worries and opportunities of life and lives for himself not Christ."

    Sound familiar? It sure does to me back when I first thought I was a Christian.

    I have a question for you then Mike, What would you like me to say to get you to understand? What ever method you choose I will use. What would you tell you to move you from unbelief to belief and trust?

  21. My goal here is to get you to treat atheists and other nonbelievers with civility and respect. I went through more trials than you could imagine as a Christian, each time coming out with my faith stronger. Sound familiar?

    What version are you using for Mark 4:16-17 there? I checked all the online English versions and could not find it. I'll have to wait until I get home to check my Living Bible paraphrase.

  22. What version are you using, lol

    It was an explanation not a quote. If you want it quoted, I will oblige.

    Mark 4:16-17 "And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended."

    Sound familiar?

    Treat atheists and other nonbelievers with civility and respect? Why are you disrespectful to Jesus? I believe I am quite civil, at times. Unfortunately sometimes the situation calls for other tactics. Like the "being curt" example, time is running out and civility, most of the time, will not get someone convicted. Do we have a deal then, I will be civil and you get on your knees and bow to Christ's authority?

  23. I asked about versions Dan because you reworded it and I was just curious. I've read some nicely worded paraphrases over the years, and your wording certainly gets your point across. Thanks for quoting the verse. I did go look it up at biblegateway.com before asking my question, that's how I knew it was verse 16 and 17.

    If Jesus exists and is God, then he's a big boy and can do with me as he wishes for denying him. According to the words attributed to him I would truly be attacking him if I were attacking you. Matthew 25:40 "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'" I do not wish to attack you Dan.

    Dan, you and I both know that if I were to get on my knees and bow to Christ's authority right now that it would be only lip service. That, even I would agree, would be a false conversion. One must believe before they bow.

    No deal. I will be civil and hope that you will emulate my behavior.

  24. Oh, I forgot, you get 10 points for the Pulp Fiction reference. :-)

  25. I guess I'm two years too late, but if Dan ever sees this....wow. You have the worst sense of logic and knowledge I think I've ever seen. I would love to debate you sometime and completely destroy your entire belief system. Put it this way: There's no evidence for God, definitely no evidence for the Christian God. Even if I were to grant to you that the Christian God does exist, He is still not worthy of worship or reverence and is in fact a very sadistic and vindictive bastard. I'm quite happy he does not exist.

  26. SuperAtheist,

    Of course I see comments on my blog. Be my guest to bring your "A" game, if you have one that is. Hopefully truth will find you.

    >>There's no evidence for God, definitely no evidence for the Christian God.

    Correction: There's no evidence for God that you will accept, that would be more intellectually honest.

    I thought I would point out, it might be a futile effort to discuss things intellectually with you.

    Anyway I will give it a go, welcome.


Bring your "A" game. To link: <a href="url">text</a>