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Old November 20th, 2008, 11:18 AM   #1
simmo
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Default Re: Questions for Theists to Answer

I'm glad that some people do take these issues somewhat seriously at least. It is easy to brush thoughts about God aside, or to joke about it, but that doesn't really get anywhere.

So, I will try to answer some of the objections that were posted in "Questions For Theists to Answer". First, let me say that I believe in one God and that Jesus Christ is his son. He suffered and died to take the punishment of sins, and we are saved from that punishment if we believe in that sacrifice for us. I am not a Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or believer in another religion.

Q: Why does the universe need a reason to have been made?
Q: Can you prove that your god exists?
A: I thought I would try and tackle these questions together. The first question, I think, is a bit strange to me. Either the universe was made or it wasn't. Isn't that what should be asked? "Was the universe made?" not "Do we have to believe that it was made?" Similarly, for the second question, it does take faith to believe in God whom we cannot see, but if you take the approach that you're not going to believe in God unless his existence can be "proven" then you will not know one way or the other.

There is ample evidence in what we see around us for the existence of God. We cannot observe him directly, but his creation expresses what he is like, and I am persuaded that no other explanation can adequately explain how it is that we are here. This is clear even to simple folk, but the more I know about creation, the more amazing it is to me. I cannot accept that we just happened, and this is essentially the best explanation that scientists can come up with. The intricate detail and beauty of creation persuade me that a creator's hand was at work, and when one considers the sheer odds of something as amazing as our bodies just happening, even if enough time is thrown in the mix, it is ludicrous to conclude that it happened by chance. Imagine, say, an intricate sand castle with towers, a moat and turrets. If you saw one, would you think, "That must have just happened. Eventually, the odds are that one will appear." Of course, that is an unreasonable thought. Sand castles don't appear out of nowhere, they are made by intelligent people. A lump of sand will not turn into a sand castle, no matter how much time it has. It is much, much more likely to be washed away or trodden on or something rather than form some complicated, orderly structure. Isn't it more reasonable, then, to think that there is a creator than to believe that nature just happened?

No, I cannot prove that God exists beyond all doubt, but I also cannot prove that you aren't living in the Matrix. We live accepting what seems right to us, making many assumptions, but really there is no way to grow in confidence unless we put our faith or trust in something or someone. It is the same with God. Jesus said that faith is like a mustard seed. It starts out one of the smallest of seeds, but grows into a plant bigger than all other herbs. It does matter what you put your trust in. Trust in the wrong object will lead to disillusionment rather than conviction, but it is the experience of Christians throughout the ages that faith in Jesus leads to a stronger and stronger assurance of God's love, even in the face of tribulations.

Hmm, I've only answered the first two questions. Maybe I'll get to the others some other time.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 11:31 AM   #2
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Default Re: Questions for Theists to Answer

Woah. Smeone actually answered them. Awesome.
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This is clear even to simple folk, but the more I know about creation, the more amazing it is to me. I cannot accept that we just happened, and this is essentially the best explanation that scientists can come up with. The intricate detail and beauty of creation persuade me that a creator's hand was at work, and when one considers the sheer odds of something as amazing as our bodies just happening, even if enough time is thrown in the mix, it is ludicrous to conclude that it happened by chance.
Ah, but if you're looking for a needle in a haystack, you won't be able to find it if you're sitting on the needle. If the planet was not hospitable, and intelligent creatures had not evolved, then this planet would be no different from the vast majority of planets in the universe, i.e. not able to support intelligent life that would be able to observe how lucky that planet was. Also, your idea suggests that everything is PERFECTLY designed, ioncluding humans. We're not. For example, we have an appendix, we have terrible backbone posture and we covered in hair for no reason. These are all things that would assume to have been left out by a designer, due to them using up resaources, but are expected in terms of evolution.


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No, I cannot prove that God exists beyond all doubt, but I also cannot prove that you aren't living in the Matrix. We live accepting what seems right to us, making many assumptions, but really there is no way to grow in confidence unless we put our faith or trust in something or someone. It is the same with God. Jesus said that faith is like a mustard seed. It starts out one of the smallest of seeds, but grows into a plant bigger than all other herbs. It does matter what you put your trust in. Trust in the wrong object will lead to disillusionment rather than conviction, but it is the experience of Christians throughout the ages that faith in Jesus leads to a stronger and stronger assurance of God's love, even in the face of tribulations.
Likewise, I can't prove that Santa Clause exists, or that he doesn't, but I don't believe in him because the facts are overwhelmingly in favour his not existence. You alkso seem to place particular emphasis on Christianity; so why is that Muslims, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and Pagans all seem to be happy in their life? You can't call yourself religious unless you've explored the possibilities of these religions, and considered the pros, cons and theology of each religion, and atheism, otherwise you're just indoctrinated.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 04:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Questions for Theists to Answer

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Imagine, say, an intricate sand castle with towers, a moat and turrets. If you saw one, would you think, "That must have just happened. Eventually, the odds are that one will appear."
Bad analogy. When I see a sand castle, I know with reasonable conviction it was created by a human for two reasons. First, I've seen humans build many sand castles before. Second, I know humans build the full-scale castles that sand castles are modeled after, so even if I'd never seen a sand castle before I could be reasonably certain a human created it.

Furthermore, I've never seen any other species capable of creating castles or sand castles, so through deduction I can safely assume it was a human, not a bird, fish or platypus, who made it.

With living things, there are two sides of looking at it. On the one hand, I have seen many living things created through unintelligent actions such as sex, cell division or just hanging out waiting for the bees. On the other hand, I've never seen anyone or anything create even one animal, much less a billion species of animals, in a short period of time out of thin air, so I really have no reason to assume that's where we came from.

So while I agree that humans and similar animals are far too complex to have spontaneously popped into existence, and therefore must assume that's not what happened, this assumption doesn't mean I have to assume some god was involved. The idea that the complex evolved over periods of time from the simple is not new and is shown in many areas of our lives.

The only thing hard to swallow about abiogenesis is the part where we went from random elements to self-replicating patterns. As soon as the object can self-replicate, and there can be errors in the replication, evolution is the natural consequence.

You talk about very low odds, but I think you've missed the magnitude of how many places didn't spawn life. Out of an estimated 10^21 stars in the known universe, thousands to millions of objects floating around each of those stars, untold numbers of chemical interactions every second on each of those objects, and some nine billion years (that's roughly 3 * 10^17 seconds) of time, is it really so far-fetched to think that one of them has a place with the right elements at the right temperature to allow a single, randomly-formed element with the property of self-replication?
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Old November 20th, 2008, 10:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Questions for Theists to Answer

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The first question, I think, is a bit strange to me. Either the universe was made or it wasn't. Isn't that what should be asked?
We have asked that. It's been answered with a BANG!

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"Do we have to believe that it was made?"
I think most people agree that the universe was made. How it was made is where the answers differ.

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There is ample evidence in what we see around us for the existence of God. We cannot observe him directly, but his creation expresses what he is like, and I am persuaded that no other explanation can adequately explain how it is that we are here.
No, there is the interpretation of a God being there. However, most of the evidence out there, usually from direct observation and experimentation, leads us to conclude that the existence of a God is, at best, highly improbable.

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This is clear even to simple folk, but the more I know about creation, the more amazing it is to me.
In a sense, I agree - I am constantly impressed by how the world works, how the creatures on it interact with it and how the world interacts with the other celestial bodies. But the beauty and the harmony of this system is not something that was applied by God. Rather, it was an imperfect system, interacting as it normally does and the element of uncertainty caused some incredible things to happen. I find the imperfection of the universe more beautiful than the perfection of God. Quite possibly because, I think the universe is more real.
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I cannot accept that we just happened, and this is essentially the best explanation that scientists can come up with. The intricate detail and beauty of creation persuade me that a creator's hand was at work, and when one considers the sheer odds of something as amazing as our bodies just happening, even if enough time is thrown in the mix, it is ludicrous to conclude that it happened by chance.
Ludricous, perhaps. But not impossible. We must also look back at the evolution of the God idea and realize that as our knowledge base grew and societies began to form, the god-figure had less and less of a figure.

I await the time when religion and science truly join - when the universe is acknowldged as God.

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Imagine, say, an intricate sand castle with towers, a moat and turrets. If you saw one, would you think, "That must have just happened. Eventually, the odds are that one will appear." Of course, that is an unreasonable thought. Sand castles don't appear out of nowhere, they are made by intelligent people.
Something with form created something with form (a human built the sandcastle). How does that extend to a formless being creating something that is formed. That's always been a problem for me - how does something 'perfect' create something 'imperfect'.

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Isn't it more reasonable, then, to think that there is a creator than to believe that nature just happened?
Not really, no.

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No, I cannot prove that God exists beyond all doubt, but I also cannot prove that you aren't living in the Matrix. We live accepting what seems right to us, making many assumptions, but really there is no way to grow in confidence unless we put our faith or trust in something or someone.
Humanism - the faith in people. Trust in us - trust in yourself. Simple enough really. Plus, all the emotions such as love, trust, kindness and the like are expressed more authentically by the humanist than the Christian. They do it because God commands it (or at least suggests it) - we do it for the sake of those emotions.

Cheers.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 10:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Questions for Theists to Answer

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I find the imperfection of the universe more beautiful than the perfection of God. Quite possibly because, I think the universe is more real.

I can think of no other way to describe that quote.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 10:31 PM   #6
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We have asked that. It's been answered with a BANG!
LOL!!!

And faith in oneself and others is what I use! Why do I need to go elsewhere?
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Old November 21st, 2008, 01:08 AM   #7
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Default Re: Questions for Theists to Answer

All right, here's a question I've been pondering for awhile: for an after-life to exist, does that also require a god to exist? In other words, can you have an after-life without any sort of deity? (This of course, presumes life after death--a topic for debate in and of itself.)
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Old November 21st, 2008, 01:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Questions for Theists to Answer

Why would you need a god for an afterlife? If we have some type of soul that moves to another world after we die, why would the physics behind that transformation require a god any more than the physics behind this world?

This is my problem with the whole idea of "supernatural". At some level, physics describes how everything works. Gods, ghosts, spirits and the like are all bound by those physics. So there might be something above our level of nature, but ultimately anything that exists is natural. Unless we define God = Reality, god is just another guy. Maybe he/she/it created our spacetime, maybe not. Likewise, if there is an afterlife, maybe a god did it, maybe not. But there's no more reason to say "clearly an afterlife could only be created by a god" than to say "clearly a snowflake is far too ordered to be created by anything but a god".
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Old November 21st, 2008, 02:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: Questions for Theists to Answer

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"clearly a snowflake is far too ordered to be created by anything but a god".
That's nice. You know the saying about giving something any attention at all, even if it's negative, will just increase the problem & provoke it?

Bad site.

I think we give this type of thing just entirely too much time, thought, attention, and emotion in the answering of them. But, that's my opinion. I'd just move on and do other things. Obviously the fundie mentality is just nutz. I suppose it is the path of some to try to talk rationally to them, but they are sick. So why talk sensibly to people who are out-of-their mind zealot zombies who've given their power to the pulpit, which is just another word for satan. The irony of the jesus trip is that those most pious are often the worst offenders of any word of truth at all.

Give them a rest. Karma usually gets these buggers in the end.

Let them eat cake.
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