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Reader Voices: An argument for the existence of God

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  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    July 8, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    Before all the "intelligent" posters come on this page and prove to us once and for all that God does not exist, let me say that there will never be irrefutable proof one way or the other.

    Faith is needed to believe in and trust God. Those who refuse to have faith, or want to live selfishly and not conform to the rigors of a life of service and sacrifice to others, will always throw around arguments against God. For them, is is easier to alter Truth or God than to change themselves.

    Atheists are like the three year old throwing a temper tantrum in the store. They want what they can't have, so they make a scene to embarass the parent into giving in.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    July 8, 2014 11:40 a.m.

    For me the question has always been, if there is no "soul" or "spirit" what separates me from you? What makes my pile of carbon atoms, which are 99.9999% identical to yours different?

    Why is it that when the carbon atoms in my brain stop firing synapses it cannot be restarted? Almost nothing has changed chemically from them being active to inactive. They are still the same atoms.

    If the difference is solely DNA, why are identical twins different people?

  • JoCo Ute Grants Pass, OR
    July 8, 2014 12:14 p.m.

    "Popular belief. . .tells us that everything just came into existence". What popular belief? This popular belief exists only in the minds of uneducated people who don't understand the scientific method.

    Scientific evidence clearly shows that the Universe started with what is called the "Big Bang" and that evidence is overwhelming. The Universe (300 billion stars in the Milky Way and 200 billion galaxies in the Universe) is expanding and at an increasing rate. Scientific evidence speaks only to way the universe works and not whether there is a God or if God started and controls the process.

    There is nothing in the scientific evidence that claims God is not behind this incredibly complex and beautiful process. In fact, as more details of how the Universe (and quite possibly the Multi-Verse) works the incredible complexity seems to show that there must be a God.

    Trying to sell science as anti-God makes for good politics, but has nothing to do with the truth.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 8, 2014 12:17 p.m.

    I can't prove gods' existence one way or the other. I can only claim what I can know and prove, and anything extraordinary to that should require extraordinary proof.
    One thing's for sure; claiming proof of god does not in any way begin to prove it's 'your' god. All that work is still ahead of you, and those claims are going to take some serious evidence to support.

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    July 8, 2014 12:41 p.m.

    The idea that God does not exist is not a new one.

    Psalm 53 is an example of that "To the Overseer. -- `On a disease.' -- An instruction, by David. A fool said in his heart, `There is no God.' They have done corruptly, Yea, they have done abominable iniquity, There is none doing good."

    I don't know of anyone who thinks that people who believe in God are ignorant. However, I know a lot of people who claim to believe in God and act based on their ignorance.

    The existence of a super Intelligence that controls the universe, life after life, should be matters of scientific investigation. However, those type of subjects have been left to the philosophers, theologians and the masses to explain.

    Unfortunately many "believers" lack an open mind and measure their "religious fervor" in how intransigent they are in their dogmas. e.g. Same Sex Marriage as against the laws of God and establishing laws against it.

    If most vocal religious people are perceived against "common Sense", they will be accused of being ignorant.

    When I encounter a person who claim to know the truth, I cannot avoid shuddering and pray for wisdom, patience and love.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    July 8, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    Redwings you live in a very strange world I must say. In your world it seems the only humble kind people who work to serve others believe in god and everyone who doesn't believe in god is a petulant evil person with no desire to serve their fellow man. I honestly wonder how you can believe such an obvious lie.

    Plenty of people who have sincere beliefs in god have been horrible people. I know many fellow atheists who volunteer their time and efforts to helping and serving those in need.

    I'm not going to bother trying to prove the existence or non existence of god. Others far more capable than I have had that argument. But it's time you got off your high horse and realized that atheists aren't the little three your old children whining in the story that you think they are. I am an atheist because it is the world view that makes the most logical sense for me. I also give to others, serve and work to improve the lives of people less fortunate than me as are the majority of atheists.

  • JD Jones Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2014 12:50 p.m.

    It's problematic to compare the apparent design of natural objects to the deliberate creation of art or technology. The writer is borrowing from Walter Paley's argument from design. Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species below Paley's argument design out of the water and yet we still have people insisting that natural objects can't possibility exist without a supernatural creator. Darwin and future Biologists have been able to evidence for natural selection. No one has provided any evidence of a creator God. Big difference.

    By the way, I can't think of a good particle physicist who says that the universe was created by pure chance, neither has a good biologist said that evolution operates by chance.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    July 8, 2014 12:57 p.m.

    I found that there is more than sex and some one to be with. You mater, The spirit of things, God makes every thing real when there is gratitude.

  • JD Jones Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2014 1:03 p.m.

    @Red Wings, I find it interesting that you equate a disbelief in God with living selfishly. You say they are incapable of living a life of service and sacrifice to others. What makes you assume that atheists are incapable of changing themselves for the better. I know atheists who are just as devoted to serving others as Mormons and other religious people, and they do so without any expectation of receiving a reward in an afterlife.

    The reasons you mentioned for most atheists choosing not to believe in God are false. We don't believe in God because there is no evidence to back up the claim. It's that simple. I simply reject claims lacking sufficient evidence, and the God claim is simply one of many claims I reject. I'm not sure what you mean by "They want what they can't have", so you will have to explain.

  • MarkMAN West Columbia, TX
    July 8, 2014 1:06 p.m.

    Red Wings,

    Faith can be changed into knowledge. This knowledge is only found by and through first faith.

    Mark

  • jeanie orem, UT
    July 8, 2014 1:18 p.m.

    A great read on the topic of religion and God is the book The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton. This book and the Bible were the ones that swayed C. S. Lewis from atheism to Christianity.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    July 8, 2014 3:04 p.m.

    Christ said to "Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me". This command negates a life of self-interest or selfishness. True disciples of Christ through the centuries have done just this. He aske no less of us today.

    To me, refusing to believe without proof is a form of selfishness. Belief in God must be based on faith, as there will not be tangible proof offered in this life. Some would refuse to believe in God if he spoke to them face to face.

    I am sure there are atheists who give of the time and money in service to others. That is great. My point is that most I know who leave religion and deny God do it because they want to live a lifestyle that is not in harmony with God's commandments. Again, that is a decision based on selfishness.

  • Seeker of Truth Kaysville, UT
    July 8, 2014 3:08 p.m.

    @JD Jones

    It seems that you are arguing that the principle of natural selection is somehow not compatible with the existence of a creator. Could not the creator use the principle of natural selection in the creation process(a process that is still ongoing)? Also, the principle of natural selection by itself cannot completely explain how extremely complex natural systems (such as animal life) came into being. The law of entropy indicates things naturally tend towards chaos, not towards higher levels of organization and complexity.

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    July 8, 2014 3:53 p.m.

    @ RedWings
    You wrote:" My point is that most I know who leave religion and deny God do it because they want to live a lifestyle that is not in harmony with God's commandments. Again, that is a decision based on selfishness."

    Quick to judgment, my friend.
    Have you thought about the possibility that what you take as God's doctrine for somebody else is just Man's doctrine?

    The glory of God is intelligent! How can you deny the glory of God and follow principles that are not sound or coherent to your inteliggence?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 8, 2014 4:55 p.m.

    @ RedWings – “For them, is is easier to alter Truth or God than to change themselves.”

    Or, they simply follow the evidence as the best approximation of truth and arrive at the conclusion that all the gods of antiquity (including God of Abraham) are man-made fictions created at a time when we knew next to nothing about how the natural world worked and a god seemed like a plausible explanation. Not to mention those claiming access to the mind/will of the gods gained tremendous influence in the tribe.

    Actually I think the fine tuning argument is fairly compelling (not conclusive) that an intelligence was behind the Big Bang.

    What I do not find compelling is that this intelligence takes a personal interest in me, what I eat, wear, pray to, or who (and how) I sleep with.

    And your claim about atheists/agnostics wanting to live selfish (immoral?) lives does not begin to explain the relatively happy and generous countries around the world made up of mostly non-believers – Norway, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, and a growing number of Americans.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    July 8, 2014 6:25 p.m.

    It is surprising how some well educated people can not distinguish the difference between inorganic manufactured creations (statues, watches, etc.) and organic evolution and growth (life, humans,flowers, etc.).

  • Seeker of Truth Kaysville, UT
    July 8, 2014 9:11 p.m.

    @skeptic

    I don't follow your logic. I'm not sure why being biological organisms instead of inorganic manufactured creations somehow makes their existence less significant as evidence. This seems to make them a stronger evidence, not less, since biological organisms are infinately more complicated than any inorganic manufactured creation. As I said in a different comment, the law of entropy indicates that things tend towards chaos, not towards complexity. Something is driving organic creatures towards greater complexity and natural selection cannot completely account for that force.

  • donn layton, UT
    July 8, 2014 10:01 p.m.

    RE: Moral arguments for God's existence. They are interesting because evaluating their soundness requires attention to practically every important philosophical issue dealt with in metaethics.

    They are important because of their prominence in popular apologetic arguments for religious belief. Evidence for this can be found in C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity (1952) Which begins with a moral argument for God's existence. Many ordinary people regard religion as in some way providing a basis or foundation for morality. This fact might seem to favor religious arguments for morality rather than moral arguments for religious belief, but if someone believes that morality is in some way “objective” or “real,” and that this moral reality requires explanation, moral arguments for God's reality naturally suggest themselves.

    The apparent connection between morality and religion appears to many people to support the claim that moral truths require a religious foundation, or can best be explained by God's existence.

    “being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: (Eph 4:18)

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 9, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    Religion is certainly man-made. Whether or not there is a supernatural being behind the universe...I see no evidence myself. I do see people doing exactly what I used to do: Listening to themselves and believing this was a god speaking to them.

    As for using the design argument to prove a god's existence, plenty of people have found a way to both accept evolution and maintain their god beliefs. Evolution is a deal breaker only for the religious that have boxed themselves into a literal reading of an obviously flawed piece of human literature. Besides, if your god is so great, why would it be threatened by a little human knowledge? Sounds like an awfully insecure being to me.

  • KTC John Wetumpka, AL
    July 9, 2014 9:49 a.m.

    Alma 30:44:"But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had [scientific evidence] enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me [scientific evidence], when ye have the testimony of ... all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator."

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 9, 2014 11:54 p.m.

    Physicist Hawking has some interesting things to say about this - and no he's not impressed with the argument for God.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    Columnist: "By profession, I am an electrical engineer who designs communication systems."

    One more data point in support of the Salem Hypothesis. It should be established law by now.

    As noted by JD Jones above, the piece is simply a rehash of Paley's argument from design, which has been widely refuted. Many counterarguments are available. Engineers are trained to think in terms of design, so it is not surprising that they gravitate towards design as explanatory for everything, but they should try thinking outside their discipline sometime.

    To echo Tyler D, even if there is some intelligent agency behind our existence, there is no evidence that it is any particular agent identified by humans over the generations: Thor, Jove, Yahweh, Coyote, etc. Those are all human constructs.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 10, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    @Lagomorph – “To echo Tyler D…”

    Thanks – and I neglected to mention my appreciation for your kind words following the comments I made a few weeks ago (on a vaccine article if I remember correctly).

    On this topic, yes I’m always baffled at what exactly believers think they are proving, even if we grant these philosophical arguments (which as you said, are mostly unconvincing and easily refuted even prior to Darwin – e.g., Hume).

    A cosmic watchmaker still doesn’t get you to Yehweh by any stretch. And given what we know about science and the veracity of most myths, I would say if any religion is closer to the mark here it would be religions in the east.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    July 10, 2014 11:52 a.m.

    The Argument from Design is the weakest argument for the existence of God. There are scientific theories that adequately explain the development of complex systems through purely natural processes.

    The problem with the argument from design is that it makes God into a kind of Rube Goldberg designer. The universe, for all its complexity, is *too* complex. A competent designer would have been much more efficient. If He were designing an eyeball for a land animal, for instance, he would not take a structure that developed and was optimized for operation underwater, and modify it (imperfectly) for use on land. It would be much more efficient and effective simply to start from scratch and design a land-specific eyeball.

    Not to mention the question of why He would custom-design viruses that serve no other purpose than to make his other creatures miserable. Achoo.

    I am much more impressed with the moral argument for God's existence.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2014 12:58 p.m.

    Tyler D: "Thanks – and I neglected to mention my appreciation for your kind words..."

    You're welcome. I knew you were out of comments on that thread. There are certain regulars here I can rely on for thoughtful, civil, properly spelled and punctuated discussion of the issues (I'll add Kalindra, Karen R, A Quaker, and Quercus Qate to the list). Y'all keep it up.

    That said, I'll beg to differ with you on fine tuning being persuasive. Fine tuning is exactly what you would expect in a world with undirected natural selection. Life forms that use water as a solvent, for example, are never going to occur on a planet without water or temperatures over 100C, only on a wet temperate place like our own planet. OTOH, a designer could plop them anywhere. Or am I oversimplifying the argument?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 10, 2014 1:46 p.m.

    @Lagomorph – “Or am I oversimplifying the argument?”

    No, I think you’ve got it about right.

    And I tend to agree with the criticisms, however, I can appreciate (from a believers perspective) that there is something compelling about the argument as this quote from Hawking makes clear.

    "The laws of science… contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. ... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life."

    That said, it is entirely possible that natural phenomena could give rise to the BB as people like Victor Stenger have pointed out. And given evolution it seems more likely that we (and all life) are adapted to the Universe and not the other way around.

    So while I can appreciate the argument - despite its being something of a tautology - it can easily lead to hubris and anthropomorphism, which it obviously does given all the silly beliefs humans have held throughout the eons.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    July 10, 2014 3:51 p.m.

    What is so hard to comprehend?

    Science explains the HOW,
    Religion explains the WHY.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2014 4:07 p.m.

    Per the article.. "Modern science teaches about the intricate balance that must exist on our planet to support life. Millions of different complex systems interact with and sustain each other in ways that boggle the mind."

    That right there sums it up phenomenally well.

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2014 4:15 p.m.

    re RedWings

    "Atheists are like the three year old throwing a temper tantrum in the store. They want what they can't have, so they make a scene to embarass the parent into giving in."

    Because true believers are the pinnacle of class, tact, & decorum when things don't go their way?

    "I am sure there are atheists who give of the time and money in service to others. That is great. My point is that most I know who leave religion and deny God do it because they want to live a lifestyle that is not in harmony with God's commandments."

    Yet, how many religious types try to fit the proverbial camel through the proverbial eye of the needle as witnessed by rants on this site that are blindly apologetic to Wall St or infer businesses should be allowed to run wild with no consequences.

    Or maybe, atheists have a better understanding of Pascals wager than you or your belief system?

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    July 10, 2014 7:02 p.m.

    @ Hutterite

    "One thing's for sure; claiming proof of god does not in any way begin to prove it's 'your' god. "

    To prove that my God is real vs. your God simply comes down to calling on his name.

    Elijah proved this point in the Old Testament. He basically had a contest between the priests of Baal and himself.

    He had the priests of Baal pray to their God which was Baal and he prayed to his God. The result was nothing happened when prayed to the God of Baal but when Elijah prayed to the true and living God fire came from Heaven. There is obviously more to the story than this but you get the idea.

    It is simple as that. I know my God is real because I have made specific prayers to Him and those prayers have been answered. Now I know you can say well that is all coincidence. If you are vague in your prayers why do you expect to receive something more than a vague answer, blessing, etc in return.

    I think the more specific your prayers are the less coincidence it would likely be.

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    July 10, 2014 7:25 p.m.

    @ Karen R.

    "Religion is certainly man-made."

    Some Religion is certainly man-made. There I fixed that for you.

    Whether it is man-made or not is for God or his son (Who is also part of the Godhead) to tell you just like he did the 14 year old Joseph Smith Jr.

    He was answered to which Church that he should join by Christ himself:

    "I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

    This statement by Christ himself definitely backs up your claim that religion can be man made. That fact is that Christ came and sent others to restore the Church that he originally established.

  • LDS Tree-Hugger Farmington, UT
    July 10, 2014 10:06 p.m.

    @Mister J
    Salt Lake City, UT

    Per the article.. "Modern science teaches about the intricate balance that must exist on our planet to support life. Millions of different complex systems interact with and sustain each other in ways that boggle the mind."

    That right there sums it up phenomenally well.
    4:07 p.m. July 10, 2014

    =======

    Agreed.

    And that same Science also explains how horrible we can make things if we move any one of those things OUT of that delicate balance.

    BTW --
    My scriptures tell us that mankind will suffer all sorts of calamities in the latter-days.

    They also do NOT say God is responsible for making them happen,
    only that they would.

    But, it is quite clear that man's iniquity does...

  • ChuckP LAS VEGAS, NV
    July 11, 2014 2:35 a.m.

    Excellent argument. On the matter of proving the existence of God; I can't prove my own existence to myself, let alone to others. If so, I darn sure can't prove the existence of God, and nobody else can either. However, when considering the fact that life exists in spite of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and the unbelievable hazards to the formation and maintenance of life that exist throughout our universe, together with the laws of physics that seem to be tailored specifically to favor the formation of atoms, stars, galaxies and molecular combinations that make life possible, you simply have to consider the improbability of this creation without a creator. Alma was right, the entire universe is clear testimony of the existence of God.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 11, 2014 6:22 a.m.

    @ AerilusMaximus

    I would think that those creating a religion necessarily have to say it's inspired, divined, or directed by a god, don't you? Isn't this what makes it "religious" as opposed to simply the imaginations of, say, a 14-year old boy?

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    AerilusMaximus: "I know my God is real because I have made specific prayers to Him and those prayers have been answered."

    Look up "confirmation bias." Your experimental design does nothing to test your hypothesis (your Elijah example shows better design, but yields only a single data point, which makes statistically relevant conclusions difficult). Have you tried praying to other deities? Do you have experimental controls? How do know that the same results would not have occurred without prayer? What is your failure rate, i.e. how often have your prayers not been answered? How does that failure rate compare to the failure rate of prayers to other deities? How do you know other deities are not intercepting your prayers to your god and answering them for you?

    The point is, your god may indeed exist, but that conclusion does not follow from the evidence you have presented.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2014 9:09 a.m.

    I don't think that people believe less in God or a creator. I think that more people question religion and what is actually true, there is a big difference. Being gay, I tell people that I didn't choose it, and I know that I did not. It makes a lot more sense that our creator made me just the way He wanted me to be! I definitely question beliefs that tell me I am an abomination! I grew up Mormon, yet I find that very few of them will even listen to my beliefs in God! They automatically feel that my belief in our creator has little meaning. Believe me, it is hard, because I do believe in God! Another thing, many people don't even listen to the beliefs of others unless they belong to the same religion! How can you say that people believe less in a creator when you don't really know what they believe and why is my belief in God less important than yours?

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    July 11, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    @ Karen

    A person creating a religion has to say it is inspired, divined, or directed by God?

    No, look at Scientology it is a Religion that makes no such claim. I am sure there are plenty of others that exists.

    Whether said religion is true or not is a completely different matter entirely.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    July 11, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    @ Lagomorph

    "Look up "confirmation bias." Your experimental design does nothing to test your hypothesis (your Elijah example shows better design, but yields only a single data point, which makes statistically relevant conclusions difficult). "

    Who said I only prayed once? Who said I didn't conduct my prayers in many of different places and circumstances?

    I never extrapolated upon my experimental design but you are more than eager to jump upon and make assumptions / conclusions based upon information that you do not have.

    "How do you know other deities are not intercepting your prayers to your god and answering them for you?"

    I don't know your real name so I will just make up one. I shall call you "Bob"

    So if I prayed to you God "Bob" would answer my prayers if I called you Steve? That doesn't really make sense.

    If a God existed why would he answer to another name? It doesn't make sense for a God to answer to a name that is not his own?

    There have been many examples in history of Gods (Greek, Roman, Eygptian) I don't know of any of them still being around?

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2014 10:38 a.m.

    greatbam22: "...you are more than eager to jump upon and make assumptions / conclusions based upon information that you do not have."

    Whoa! I seemed to have touched a nerve. Please re-read my post for comprehension. I qualified my comment with "...that conclusion does not follow FROM THE EVIDENCE YOU HAVE PRESENTED." [emphasis added] You provided a minimal detail of your hypothesis testing. I merely asked questions about your experimental design to fill the gaps. My conclusion followed logically from what you did provide.

    greatbam22: "It doesn't make sense for a God to answer to a name that is not his own?"

    Gods are by definition unknowable and complex and sometimes inscrutable. We even have a common expression, "God works in mysterious ways." that acknowledges that. Even discounting the gods and spirits who are by nature mischievous (Coyote, Loki, Puck, etc.), religion is full of stories of gods assuming other identities. Gods notoriously act beyond human understanding. Incredulity is not an argument in this case.

    @greatbam22: You respond to my comment directed to "AerilusMaximus" in the first person. Is "greatbam22" a sock puppet in violation of the forum rules?

    4th/final comment

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 11, 2014 10:45 a.m.

    @greatbam22 – “If a God existed why would he answer to another name?”

    So if Muhammad prays to “Allah” and claims to not only have his prayers answers but is given so much information he’s able to start an entire religion; that makes no sense to you?

    Same goes for Arjuna with respect to Krishna or Buddha with respect to… oh wait, Buddhists don’t pray to anthropomorphic deities… never mind.

    And I have to call you out on the rest of your assertions. For you to claim to pray in a scientific experimental manner (which implies detached observation unobscured by faith bias) strikes me as both highly unlikely and (as used in this thread) a rhetorical smoke screen.

    There has only been one documented case I know of where someone (Ramakrishna) engaged multiple religions in an experimental manner and guess what – he achieved salvation (or enlightenment) in all the religions he practiced.

    So much for exclusive truth… as this would suggest his spirituality was a function of his own mind and not supernatural entities.

    @Lagomorph – “Look up "confirmation bias."

    Absolutely spot on!

    Reached comment limit…

  • GK Willington Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2014 12:52 p.m.

    re: AerilusMaximus yesterday

    [Whether it is man-made or not is for God or his son (Who is also part of the Godhead) to tell you just like he did the 14 year old Joseph Smith Jr.

    He was answered to which Church that he should join by Christ himself:

    "I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong]

    So? If God is no respector of persons (as scripture states); why would the almighty have a preference for any non secular institutions?

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    July 11, 2014 1:24 p.m.

    @ Lagomorph

    "Whoa! I seemed to have touched a nerve. Please re-read my post for comprehension."

    No, but I can understand how it may have come across that way. I don't have any exclamation marks or CAPS in post. I was just suggesting by the way you responded that is the way your writing appeared to me. Just at it appeared the way I formatted / wrote appeared like I was ticked off or something.

    If your questions were presented separately maybe I would have been able to read / comprehend them better.

    "You respond to my comment directed to "AerilusMaximus" in the first person. Is "greatbam22" a sock puppet in violation of the forum rules?"

    I didn't realize that this is a forum? I thought it was just a comments section? Doesn't seem very forumish...oh and I have a wife. We are each allowed to have an account.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    July 11, 2014 1:36 p.m.

    @ Tyler D

    "So if Muhammad prays to “Allah” and claims to not only have his prayers answers but is given so much information he’s able to start an entire religion; that makes no sense to you?"

    Who said I had any problem with the word "Allah"? Allah is just another way to say God. It is not referencing an alternative God. Muslims have a different understanding of God but I never said anything about the term "Allah".

    There are many languages around the word that don't specifically use the English form of God. Most if not all languages have the King James Bible and so in turn know the proper way to address God in their own languages.

    Since it seems like you are trying to twist what I was saying.

    I will use another example. If you were to use the names Lucifer or Satan while praying to Heavenly Father I don't think he would recognize your prayers at all. Lucifer might but I don't know because I have never prayed to him.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    July 11, 2014 1:58 p.m.

    @ Tyler D

    "For you to claim to pray in a scientific experimental manner...strikes me as both highly unlikely and (as used in this thread) a rhetorical smoke screen."

    Just because you specifically haven't heard of any person doing something it doesn't mean that said person (being me)has not done it.

    I think Prayer can totally be looked at like as an experiment.

    Why not try it out for 40 days? Ask God one question per day. See if he answers.

    Scientists are willing to running trivial experiments over and over again. They get clearly answers / results from trial after trial.

    To me it applies similarly with prayer.

    One of my biggest problems with some Atheists I have encountered is they totally write off prayer. They may try it once or twice and then totally write it off.

    Who said you can't conduct prayer as an experiment? God tells us to pray in all sorts of places and over all sorts of things?

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    July 11, 2014 8:21 p.m.

    I'm fine with folks whose faith in the artist is enhanced by enjoying the art. However, I'd recommend the more direct approach, speaking to the artist.

    My experience with the artist has been more than sufficient for me to be convinced not only of his existence but of his grace.

    I don't expect my experience to be sufficient to convince anyone else, I'd be concerned if it did.

    Each has to discover by and for themselves. God will manifest himself to anyone with a sincere desire but has made it clear that what's required is a willingness to accept and build on what is received. Curiosity isn't enough and pride needs to be overcome.

    Finally, to those that believe faith and intelligence are mutually exclusive, a high dose of *intelligence* need not preclude faith and submission. My IQ is over 140 and if that makes me *smarter* than you, then I don't expect that to be enough for you to believe me. And if you're smarter than me but don't have faith in God, I trust you'll understand that your opinion won't diminish my faith.

    Godspeed to all.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    July 11, 2014 9:16 p.m.

    "There are scientific theories that adequately explain the development of complex systems through purely natural processes."

    Well, the only problem with that is the statistical probability of it actually happening is indistinguishable from zero. Most of science requires a confidence of 0.95 - except climate science, which has lowered the bar to 0.90 and still can't find correlation - so a confidence 0.0000000000000000 doesn't make for a very good theory in my book.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 12, 2014 12:57 p.m.

    @ AerilusMaximus

    Yes, I spoke too globally. Let me try again:

    Absent "God-inspired," would the experience of that 14-year old have been as compelling to or even given a second thought by potential followers? "Hey, I had this transcendent experience, and I think we should do things this way" versus "Hey, I had this transcendent experience and God told me we should do things this way." Invoking a deity’s authority is (nearly) universal in attracting religious followers.

    Re: religion being man-made, do you know of one that isn’t? Some people claim their god can create entire universes, but a book whose creation requires no human assistance whatsoever? Haven't heard of one so far.

    @ Lagomorph

    Thanks for the nod. The feeling is mutual.