I hope there is no God!

An honest atheist

Is it possible that most atheists reject God’s existence not because they lack evidence for God but because of inner revulsion to the thought of such a being? I mean, who wants to answer to God?

Is atheism a kind of mental exercise in wish-fulfillment? Some atheists would like us to believe that there is simply too much evidence against God. They mock God with silly little comparisons to Santa Clause and Easter Bunnies. Lacking the ability to offer substantive responses, they resort to demeaning labels and name calling (just read Dawkins). They postulate things by through a philosophical abuse of evolutionary science, 

After years of interacting with atheists, I suspect deeper reasons for their rejection of God. Allow one honest atheist to explain:

“In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper–namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about life, including everything about the human mind. Darwin enabled modern secular culture to heave a great collective sigh of relief, by apparently providing a way to eliminate purpose, meaning and design as fundamental features of the world” (New York University philosopher, Thomas Nagel, “The Last Word”).

“In truth, many academics are naturalists or atheists as much or more on the basis of such wish fulfillment as they are on the basis of any reasoning or evidence.” (Dr. Michael Murray). Conversely, “Perhaps a God really does actually exist, and many humans–especially those not blinded by the reigning narratives of modern science and academia–feel a recurrent and deeply compelling ‘built-in’ desire to know and worship, in their various ways, the God who is there” (Christian Smith, “Moral, Believing Animals”).

Jesus exposed the true motives of those who reject God when he said, “God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed” (John 3:19-20).

Consider Nagel’s analysis of the “yearning for cosmic reconciliation that has been part of the philosophical impulse” and his recommendation of “a non-religious teleology.” Nagel aspires to answer the question: “Can one bring into one’s individual life a full recognition of one’s relation to the universe as a whole?” 

Steve Cornell

48 comments on “I hope there is no God!

  1. Personally, I hope that your god is not real for a few reasons:
    1) The universe lends itself to being much older than 6000 years, why would a god trick us?

    b) The atrocities Yahweh and the Jews committed in the old testament suggest a monster of a god, no matter how much you say he is loving, killing suckling babies and the unborn along with cattle and donkey, along with the destruction of the world once, and promised a second time shows makes me your god is petty, hateful, and more like a child than an enlightened god. I am more moral than Yahweh.

    III) If your god exists, he destined me for hell before I was ever born with the poor publishers he chose for his only book, the book reads like it was written 2000 – 4000 years ago by goat herders and other laymen, not by a god who would realize that his work was going to be read by people way later on.

  2. thinkpoint says:

    First, Christianity and the Bible do not set an age to the earth. Some believe in a young earth but many Christian scholars believe in an age for the earth in keeping with scientific evidence–an old earth.

    Second, I cannot completely understand God’s judgments but your rejection of a God who commands death and destruction exposes your presupposed notions of God or at least how you think God should be if he exists. Where did you get such notions? Why do you hold them—so forcefully? Should others be obliged to comply with your notions and definitions? If so, why? What should we make of your moral outrage? Is it possible that God’s mercy is elevated in allowing any rebellious creatures to live? Why should we rebellious ones expect God to conduct himself as we think best? Maybe we misunderstand both justice and mercy.

    Thirdly, what makes you think God has predestined you to hell? This is not taught in the Bible. And, for being a goat herders book, the Bible sure has made an unusual impact on the entire world. I think I will find some goat herding ghost writers for my work. NYT best seller coming up!

    • Pete says:

      “Where did you get such notions? Why do you hold them—so forcefully? Should others be obliged to comply with your notions and definitions? If so, why? What should we make of your moral outrage? ”

      The very same questions could be asked about why should people have reason to feel obliged to have faith in christianity.What should we make of it.Where did such biblical notions come from.Why were the beliefs often seeming so arrogant and harsh and forceful.What should we make of morals within faith that often dont always really even seem so moral.

      Unless god actually finally turns up to explain it all himself.

      The faith and morals and thoughts are only ever relative to thoughts of the humans who think of them anyway.

  3. First of all, I think you know exactly how old the Bible implies the Earth to be (determining the age through the lineage given in the Bible). How could the word of a god be wrong? Why does science disagree with the word of God?

    “Where did you get such notions?”

    From the Bible, there are multiple instances where Yahweh commands the Jews to commit atrocities. 1Samuel 15:1-3, Deuteronomy 32:21-25, and Hosea 13:16 come to mind.

    What kind of God should I see after reading those passages?

    The only information we have about Yahweh is in the Bible, with that information alone, I would never convert. It’s full of holes and inconsistencies and hate. I think that if a god really existed and had a book written he would have done a much better job of explaining why he commands these things.

    If I had my own pick of a god I most certainly wouldn’t want a god who commits any acts of violence. I would pick some sort of watchmaker god, who sets the universe in motion and leaves, possibly destroying itself for good.

    • thinkpoint says:

      The age of the earth should not be read into what you refer to as “lineage”. They only tell us the age of people who lived on the earth. You work off an assumption that the earth was formed in close association with the people who originally inhabited it. This is an unnecessary assumption.

      God’s judgments are just and deserved. It is his mercy on any of us that amazes me. Sinners deserve to die–all of us. Mercy from God is not owed to anyone. Be amazed that you have escaped God’s judgment for the present time (see: Luke 13:1-5).

      I am not sure what YOU mean by holes and inconsistencies in the Bible. You must be specific. And, I am not surprised that you flee from a God of judgment. But I am quite sure you would vote for justice in some circumstances. Perhaps it would be justice defined by you, on your terms. We don’t get to make all those decisions. You are very much like Nagel in your response.

    • Nick says:

      Sisyphus: I appreciate the informed response you bring. You are keen to observe that the Herbrew Bible demonstrates that YHWH is not exactly a jolly old chap who is perpetually warm and lighthearted with his creation. I think no intellectual could defend otherwise.

      I will say this however, the fact that you do not ‘want’ this kind of God to exist is not the same thing as that kind of God not existing. To say it inversely, the existence of metaphysical things (be it a chair, a locomotives, or God) is not contingent upon whether or not conscious beings prefer them to exist or not. So, while I appreciate your critique of YHWH’s character traits or ‘temper’ I would remind you that he could exist even you and I abhor him. Perhaps this is obvious to you, but your comment did not seem to concede this.

      Again, thanks for making informed comments. I would appreciate it if more people commented like you do.

    • naitdawg21 says:

      “The only information we have about Yahweh is in the Bible, with that information alone, I would never convert. It’s full of holes and inconsistencies and hate. I think that if a god really existed and had a book written he would have done a much better job of explaining why he commands these things.”

      1. The God that is described in the Bible is the same God that is described in the Holy Koran and also in the original manuscripts of both Hinduism and Buddhism. So you are incorrect in your assumptions. Allow me to correct you, the Bible is the most descriptive and detailed attempt made to convey the true nature of the ancient stories ABOUT the characteristics of this God YHWH which nearly every culture shared a similar picture of in the first known civilization of Babylon where all cultures were welcome and the first written languages emerged. The stories were collected and written down and those who cherished the stories the most…..the Hebrews…..kept them and made sure they stayed intact. That is one version of how we got the oldest stories of the Bible….the first five books at the least which includes one of your passages there, and the other two were written by prophets of ancient times who were known to be dramatic in order to get their point across. But I digress….to my next point.

      2. Holes and inconsistencies based on which pre-biased idea? If you approach the Bible from the perspective that it is supposed to be read literally and from some special objective perspective by which it will all suddenly become clear and remain pure Truth then I agree there are inconsistencies and holes. If you read it from a different perspective however those inconsistencies suddenly dissipate. Allow me to submit an idea that may solve all such dilemmas. Could it be that God who was a metaphysical being and thus not understandable by any cognitive being within this universe, a being that by definition would be outside of our realm of understanding, If he is outside of our realm of understanding, then isn’t it entirely possible that He may have created the Bible to be “open to interpretation” in all aspects. If that is the case then you are merely interpreting it the way you choose and thus reaching conclusions that may not be at all implied.

      3. You assume some negative motivation behind God in these verses, as though he is disconnected from emotion and feelings and you also are assuming these actions are “atrocities”, but I wonder how you are defining that term and why you would consider those acts….atrocities? So God has Saul avenge his people….is it not the right of God to exact vengeance? Is it not also equally a display of love to protect that which one loves? You know…we make movies about such acts and call the main characters heroes….Saul is sent to smite someone who committed horrible crimes against other humans…and thus deserved what he got. In Deuteronomy you read a poetic verse written by a scribe who is merely interpreting a story handed down over generation after generation…and then writing it down finally after written language is invented. Which means those are not God’s words…they are what man is interpreting what God would have said to those people of that land way back in that time…at that place…by that name…which no longer exists. But is it not also the common practice of every religion to appease their god for fear that the god will turn his back to them and they will be subjected to terrible things such as bad weather, diseases, famine and the like? You are disregarding that this may simply be a superstitious interpretation of the events that transpired over several years…..and It seems that here you are uninformed of the origin of the passage and also that you are seemingly seeking a reason to not believe…thus biased. If God exists and plays a role in this world then tell me why he couldn’t do this? Those people do not follow him…why should he pay attention to them or save them? Granting man the freedom of their own will brings with it consequences for their actions…that is just a logical product of granting free will. What should he do? Pat them on the back and grant them their every wish for exorcising their free will to not believe in him? Again in Hosea you have chosen a passage in which God seemingly is enacting judgement. Well? So? I hate to sound incompassionate but the truth of the matter is that God told them to do something and they did not do it. What would you have him do instead? Walk all over him and not show them the consequences of their actions? What sort of order would we have on earth if that were the case?

      4. You are forgetting that these books are written from the point of view of people who were primative and superstitious. Who viewed diseases and lightning as “powers” of an all powerful God. Which they very well might be, but that does not mean that God is exacting judgement on these tribes or men or that God is even acting in the way that is suggested here. It is a logical misstep to jump from “The Bible is true” to “The Bible must be completely and 100% word for word the exact words that came from the lips of God himself”…….The two are not even close to the same.

      5. If God is loving, then with love must come some sort of punishment. It is not loving to have a child and allow it to teach itself. It is also not loving to allow your second child to walk up and slash the throat of your first child while your third one looks on in horror….and to stand there and do nothing about it. We as humans enact a meager form of judgement upon each other…….why do you think that God should tie his own hands when it comes to doing the same? And where do you think we as humans get the idea of justice and judgement to begin with?

      6. If your deity that you suggest was the way things were then you are already speaking in logical inconsistencies. A God cannot, by logic, create a world and then take his nature (or hand) away from it…as everything within that world would be made FROM his nature it would then therefore act in the same manor as the nature of that creator. Thus it would call good those things that deity called good, call evil those things which that deity called evil, it’s form of justice would be the same as that deity’s form of justice…creation cannot be a hands off process, if it could then why is it that everything that is created has some sort of signature of the craftsman? Why is it painter’s “style” is so distinguishable that scholars some 1200 years late can point at it and say “Yes…that was done by Mr. So and So”? What you are saying there is babbling incoherent metaphysical nonsense. If that deity created a world then he would be bound by the very creation of it TO that world and thus even if he desired to sever the connection, the guiding hand of the nature by which the world was created would remain and thus so would he since it was his nature in the first place. If you do not think that is true then tell me how it is that a person can distinguish your handwriting on a piece of paper 20 years after you wrote it and sealed it in a time capsule. You cannot fully remove yourself from that which you create, it is pure logical and metaphysical impossibility.

      And yes….I realize the heretical claim here that is implied by what I just said…No…I do not believe that God has the ability to defy logic, that does not mean that God is governed by logic, but it does mean that there are certain things that God cannot do….simply by being who and what He is. If you think this is nonsense then don’t blame me, blame St. Thomas Aquinas for coming up with the idea first.

      • DAD says:

        Whoa….you are very….smart please….enlighten us all with your….grand philosophical…..wisdom………..but you digress……

  4. Richard Wade says:

    Steve, you start your post with:

    “It is entirely possible that most atheists reject God’s existence not because they lack evidence for God but because of a deep revulsion to the thought of answering to such a being.”

    Respectfully, please consider that it is also entirely possible that you don’t know what you are talking about. Taking the stance that you know the minds of atheists better than they know themselves, and telling them all about their thoughts, feelings and actions, rather than sincerely and openly asking them about their thoughts, feelings and actions, giving unsolicited amateur psychoanalysis is not a very effective way of gaining any accurate information about atheists nor is it an effective way to have any productive dialogue with them. Of course, I may naïve in assuming that you actually want accurate information, instead of simply wanting to pronounce your judgments upon those whom you do not really even want to know. I hope that is not the case.

    You seem to have selected remarks from one person calling himself an atheist, Mr. Nathan, whose hypotheses are, according to the quotation, entirely based on his own intrapersonal experience, and who admits to merely guessing about the motives of other atheists. You have also apparently discarded the opportunity to interact with hundreds of other atheists, people with whom you could actually communicate, whose personal stories just don’t match your pre-conceived ideas about them.

    Please also consider that labeling the one atheist who fits your bias as “an honest atheist” strongly implies that all the others who don’t fit your bias are dishonest. Saying that we’re just lying if we disagree with your beliefs about our personal motives is not a good way to start a respectful discourse, and it is also just a lame attempt to discredit evidence that refutes your assertions about us.

    Steve, it is also entirely possible that your faith in God and in Christianity will not have to be shaken if you acknowledge the possibility that your beliefs about atheists are just dead wrong. I don’t know if you are doing it, but I suggest that you should not make your present beliefs about the inner psyches of atheists an important supporting pillar of your overall religious assumptions, because you are surrounded by millions of people who are living proof that you are wrong about atheists.

    If you really want to talk about atheists, then first get to know several of them personally on a trusting, intimate level for a long time, as I do. If you don’t want to go to all that trouble, then please at least keep your ignorance and prejudice silent. Talk about things that you do know.

  5. Richard Wade says:

    Errata: Please change “Mr. Nathan” to “Mr. Nagel.” thank you.

  6. J.W. Wartick says:

    I’m at least slightly confused as to which side “thinkpoint” stands on.

  7. jcvincent83 says:

    Your quote: “Is it possible that most atheists reject God’s existence not because they lack evidence for God but because of a deep revulsion to the thought of answering to such a being?”

    Answer: No. It is not possible that most atheists reject god because of a deep revulsion. Do some atheists? Perhaps. In fact, there are many of us who really liked God until we found out he was made up.

    • naitdawg21 says:

      You……found out….he was made up?

      Interesting conclusion you came to. Too bad it’s logically impossible to come to any sort of truth about a being that is metaphysical in nature. You cannot “find out” he is made up any more than any other metaphysical idea.

      Are you then saying that all metaphysical ideas are just nonsense? That’s an intriguing idea, but I doubt you’d want to go that rout.

      • Pete says:

        We cannot rely entirely on the metaphysical and do often end up concluding certain things are most likely made up.

        Its important we do.

        Imagine the chaos if everyone lived our entire lives based on speculative or abstract reasoning.

  8. […] also: I hope there is no God http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/i-hope-there-is-no-god-thomas-nagel/ Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)economist and people, who are more stupid?What Do […]

  9. thinkpoint says:

    It is the nature of humanity to seek autonomy from external authority. The moment we honestly admit to God, we face the reality of accountability. We all share an aversion to this. Prideful arrogance keeps us from admitting our sinful rebellion and need for a savior.

    • Jon Hanson says:

      History shows this to most definitely be false as a blanket claim, humanity has always built up external authorities. Rebellion against authority is also a common human characteristic, but for a civilization to be successful there needs to be more conformity compared against rebellion or else it’s anarchy and anarchy is self destructive. You’re letting your theology obscure your observations about humanity.

  10. fubar says:

    Premoderns (conservatives) emphasize a “strict daddy” (authoritarian/hierarchical) model of society, and/or politics. Order is maintained via a system of punishments that are justified via images of a distant, impersonal thundering sky god. Some accommodation of the divine feminine is allowed, such as the intense devotion that the previous Pope had for Mary/Mother.

    Postmoderns (liberals, progressives, pluralists, feminists, relativists, multiculturalists) primarily emphasize a “nurturing mommy” model.

    Integralists emphasize holistic (“third way”) models that include, but transcends, both male/female models.

    As a western Druid-Buddhist (ex-bahai), the “ALL unbelievers are going to hell” thing seems like a ridiculous artifact of a conformist, ethnocentric premodern form of culture. Please note that such (agrarian) cultures used both psychological violence and physical violence to maintain slave economies and rigid class structures that were undemocratic and that enforced injustices that served to maintain the privileges of rulers and religious elites. This is true, in varying forms, for all medieval societies (regardless of the specific religion).

    Such artifacts appear bizarre to modernists (including evolutionary scientists), but apparently give great comfort to those that fear (due to a lack of maturity) the unbeliefs and uncertainties of the age of reason, and are disturbed (understandably) by the narcissism and nihilism of postmodernism.

    I believe that something in the structure of existence drives people to search for meaning, purpose, community and transcendance (spirit).

    In Ken Wilber’s integral (A.Q.A.L.) theory, four quadrants represent the combinations of interior/exterior and individual/collective awareness:

    (I, We, It, Its)

    (I) spirit = interior/individual
    (We) morals = interior/collective
    (It) reason = outer/individual
    (Its) ecology/systems = outer/collective

    http://www.formlessmountain.com/aqal.htm

    The Abrahamic “prophets” explained transcendance (and the usual other questions about the Kosmos, society and existence {soul, mind, body}), as well as they could to a premodern audience. How would it have made sense for Moses or Jesus to talk about the truths of evolution, or any other modern science, to people that did not have the intellectual tools to understand it?

    Evolution certainly explains some things well, but is a young science that contains, for mostly understandable reasons, a tendency to be hostile to conventional religion (large parts of which are artifacts of premodern culture). As such, it is difficult to reconcile evolution with some aspects of conventional religion. Religious people are offended, somewhat understandably, by the hostility that many in science have to spirit.

    Neither science or evolutionary theory are perfect.

    This simple fact would presumably give (open-minded) religious people many opportunities to explore new areas in which spirit and reason might be seen as complementary parts of a holistic model of human consciousness.

    (This would however require people to stop engaging in un-necessary psychological violence against real or perceived “opponents”.)

    The premodern artifacts of culture (mythic archetypes, conformism, outmoded morals, ethnocentrism, hate ideology) that are imbedded in conventional religion are not perfect, and must be understood as being imperfect and limiting in order for humanity to advance to a higher (more enlightened) developmental stage.

    The current “reason vs. faith” debates provide considerable evidence that much of what is being said by both sides is not the result of mature psychological paradigms, and is not open to other perspectives outside the narrow conventional confines of the “reason vs. faith” debate.

    I would suggest that any “faith vs. reason” debate should include consideration of alternatives outside of that framework, such as holistic, complementary or integral theories (e.g., Sri Aurobindo, Jean Gebser, Ken Wilber).

    Thanks!

    • thinkpoint says:

      This strikes me as a good bit of warmed over Freudian irrationality. Please read Robert Roberts book “Spiritual Emotions: A Psychology of Christian Virtues” for an able corrective to this line of analysis.

    • Mutax says:

      Fubar has a point here but it seems to me that he believes we can have a safe autonomy or independence of God and Religion, in reaching self-realization. Why he has this belief? Lack of sufficient experience. Faith in the power of method?
      If one doesn’t ‘like’ a specific religion because of it’s form she can look elsewhere, anywhere. (@ Sisyphus). Christ is the Logos and can be found under other names.
      But 2 ingredients are unavoidable: God, of course, and Revelation. Ordinary human doctrines, for the time being, will be simply inherently fallible. (Of course its hard to see our own insufficiency and even harder to accept that fact. That’s all religion is all about.)
      The other way is to find a real Sage that speaks from Truth itself.
      =====
      Regarding what thinkpoint responded, i don’t know what he meant by ‘Freudian irrationality’. The book seems interesting.

  11. Name (required) says:

    there we go again.. quoting the bible…. Pathetic!

  12. Marc says:

    What can be asserted without proof, can be dismissed without proof.

    End of story

  13. Ray Ingles says:

    “You must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly.” – C. S. Lewis

  14. Lord Charos says:

    Well, I just must say something. I am an atheist. Not because I fear any gods, but because there is simply a lack of any evidence for the existence of any gods.

    I base my life around theories that are supported by evidence and science. That is all.

    I admit that there is a possibility that gods do exist. What I will not do is devote my life to the morals of a psychopathic god and to an unfounded and morally unacceptable religion because there’s a CHANCE that their god might be real. And especially when they fail to offer any proof for their gods, instead sticking to their asinine ‘holy’ books written by lunatics.

    So I say this: If there is a heaven, to me it would be Hell. I just wouldn’t be able to put up with the people there. The hateful Christians that plague our world would be there in droves… and I think that hell would be a far better place for an intellectual conversation, if you ignore the eternal torture. ;)

    And if I may say one last thing. If it was found tomorrow, by everyone, that the God of the Old Testament definitely exists, I would not worship him. I will never compromise my fundamental morals and beliefs, to save myself from torture. I will never become a slave to such a spiteful and vindictive character, no matter the punishment.

    • saskia says:

      But Charos, your comments show that you are biased against or afraid of religion, specifically a particular slant you have taken on a particular religion.

      You can’t claim that you base your life around evidence and then go on to make such an emotional plea as that and expect us to believe you.

      We all need to accept that our leanings are based just as much on emotion as on evidence. Christians and atheists alike, yes. In fact, it is important for us to use both our emotions and our reason, not one or the other.

      Saskia

      • Jon Hanson says:

        What do you mean it is important to use our emotions to make decisions? I was agreeing with you up to that point, we most certainly are emotional beings and to deny that as too many atheists do is to look at ourselves through a distorted lens, but just because we are by nature emotional doesn’t mean our emotions have anything to do with the truth.

    • You really do need to read David Harts book: Atheists Delusion http://www.amazon.com/Atheist-Delusions-Christian-Revolution-Fashionable/dp/0300111908

      And read: “Is God a moral monster?” by Paul Copan

  15. Phil says:

    Alrighty, this will probably go nowhere (because these discussions rarely do), and I may go off topic. So if this adds nothing to the actual discussion at hand, I apologize in advance and ask for everyone’s forgiveness :). But I’d like to point out that attempting to use “evidence” to prove anything concerning the supernatural is a lost cause, ESPECIALLY if you are trying to prove it by NATURAL means. This should be obvious to even the average person, and especially the science-minded, but we can’t “prove” the existence of God any more than we can “prove” the non-existence of God.

    It has become incredibly cliche to say “there is simply a lack of any evidence for the existence of any gods.” Well, yeah…of course. Duh. Scientifically you cannot prove God’s existence, NOR his non-existence. It’s logically inconsistent to accept the first half of that but not the other because neither can be scientifically observed in a repeatable manner, like everything else in science. Any Christian who believes they have such proof for God’s existence is most likely unaware that they have left the science arena and have entered the philosophic discussion or something else. At the same time, for the athiest to claim to have proof that God does not exist would be to essentially commit the same mistake.

    The main point that I would like to make is that because God is outside our natural world (assuming He exists), we have to stop claiming to be able to use natural means to prove His existence. So, what then? Do we toss all debate out the window? NO, certainly not. Because while science fails to provide ways to prove anything about a supernatural God, IF THE GOD OF THE BIBLE EXISTS then we know that He has left his “imprint” (if that’s what you want to call it) in the natural world, thereby giving us clues to the possibility that there is indeed something beyond our natural world. I submit that this must be where the debate sits!

    Many of the fathers of science (a great, great number of them believing in a personal God) had no problem mixing science with theology because they saw that science DOES NOT PROVE GOD’S EXISTENCE, but instead science actually simply meshes with what they already believed. Many of them, already believing in God, looked at science and said “Yeah, everything we see makes sense. It’s not that it directed proves God’s existence (cause that would be scientifically impossible), but what I do see fits perfectly into how the underlying principles of the Bible would explain how the universe works.”

    That is how I am able to comfortably be a scientist and a Bible-believing Christian at the same time. And this is not subjective. Science does not contradict Scripture. It only seems to contradict Scripture if you enter the discussion with presupposition that there is can be no supernatural God (because that’s what many of our textbooks and professors and the “intellectual elite” tell us). I have seen this time and time again with so many in the field of science. You may say “Well that’s great, but you only believe that science meshes well with your Biblical principles because you are a Christian.” To that I respond, “Maybe, but you only reject God in science because you are an athiest.” Some say “Most believers of creation/ID are Christians.” Yet I say “Most believers in evolution are athiests.” Touche.

    I say none of this to enhance the divisions among us, but only to encourage the debate away from people taking stands that “Science says that God does not exist”. Science can never provide us with any evidence that would ever allow us to make such claims. Science may (or may not, as I see it) say “the evidence fits better with the idea that the universe exists apart from any God.” But that’s really all it can say about the matter.

    A good read on this subject is “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel. While that book deals with the more general issue of the origin of the universe, it provides much insight into our more general discussion here.

  16. Thor says:

    “Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”
    -Martin Luther

    Is Martin Luther being an “honest” Christian when he writes that reason is a whore? His statement fulfills a stereotype that Christians are often willing to sacrifice the indispensable tool of reason on the alter of their beliefs.

    I’m sure there are atheists who have are deeply revolted by the idea of god just as I am sure there are Christians that will throw reason out the window when it starts to conflict with their beliefs. Both are biased stereotypes.

    I was a Christian for 16 years and now many would categorize me as an atheist. I changed because the evidence for atheism is stronger in my opinion. That’s it. I’m not deeply repulsed by the idea of god. In fact, part of me really wanted Christianity to be true and I’m being an honest atheist when I write this.

    • I would like to hear the “evidence for atheism.” If honest dialogue is permitted, I suspect that you will be logically forced to some brand of agnosticism. As G. K. Chesterton said, “Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative.”

  17. Thor says:

    I would be interested to hear how G. K. Chesterton defines atheism and how he defines god. When I say I am an atheist I’m saying I disbelieve in the god defined by Christianity and other mainline religions. However, if you define god much more broadly or atheism much more strictly then I would likely be something different.

    Some atheists take a stronger stand then I do making an explicit affirmation that god does not exist. If this is how G. K. Chesterton defines atheism then his statement has some truth to it. However, most atheists that I know are not “strong” atheists.

    I have not seen any compelling evidence supporting an idea of a god, at least for a god as defined by mainline religions such as Christianity. As far as evidence for atheism, theists should be the ones presenting the evidence since they are the ones making the assertion.

    • So are you saying that “As far as you know there is no God.”? If this is what you are saying, you have moved to agnosticism. Once you land here, the question is one of data: What pieces of information lead you into doubt. And is there more weight to the data supporting your doubts than the data leading me into faith?
      On the other hand, perhaps you are making the ASSERTION: “The Christian God doesn’t exist.” If so, you must provide the evidence?

  18. Thor says:

    “So are you saying that “As far as you know there is no God.”?”

    Sure. I’m not stating “There is no God.” It is possible that there is a god, but not probable in my opinion.

    “If this is what you are saying, you have moved to agnosticism.”

    Depending on how you define these terms, I do not think atheism and agnosticism are mutually exclusive concepts. In other words, it is possible to be both agnostic and atheist in the same way it is possible to be both an American and a Democrat. By your definition of agnosticism and by my definition of atheism, I’m both.

    If someone said “As far as they know there is a God” would they also move into agnosticism? If so, I’m guessing most of your congregation is agnostic!

    “Once you land here, the question is one of data: What pieces of information lead you into doubt. And is there more weight to the data supporting your doubts than the data leading me into faith?”

    I think there is more data on the side of doubt. I do not think this is the best forum for going into why though I am willing to meet up sometime if you want.

    “On the other hand, perhaps you are making the ASSERTION: “The Christian God doesn’t exist.” If so, you must provide the evidence?”

    I’m not making that assertion.

  19. Nightvid Cole (atheist) says:

    You ask: “Is it possible that most atheists reject God’s existence not because they lack evidence for God but because of a deep revulsion to the thought of such a being?”

    Possible, yes. Probable, no.

    I could equally well ask ” Is it possible that most Christians reject God’s non-existence not because they have evidence for God but because of a deep revulsion to the thought of death? ”

    Quoting John isn’t going to support your case here. The book of John was probably written 60 years after Jesus’s time by a non-eyewitness to Jesus’s ministry. It is unlikely to represent anything Jesus actually said. Additionally, as a non-Christian I don’t necessarily believe things Jesus said are actually true. But even as a Christian who believes that Jesus cannot be wrong about anything, you have no historical evidence that the Gospels accurately reflect what Jesus said.

    • Mutax says:

      “Are you trying to use God for general relief, for instance from death?”.

      I think you have a very important point here. Self-delusion is not to be underestimated. Good for Theists and Atheists alike.

      The general, initial, repulsive idea about any religion is that you have to submit yourself to authority. “Unfortunately”, we can’t create the universe nor ourselves nor rule the world to fit our wishes.

      I think that the answer the scientistic (naturalist) credo followers expect (and want to wait for) from science is that liberating formula. Miragic and prometheic?

      Of course this doesn’t apply to all scientists or atheists in general. Just to the religious (lazy irrational haters in campaign?) of them.
      Of course, all men are subject to lazyness, being irrational, and lack of love.

  20. […] The atheist’s problem with belief in God is not an absence of evidence but suppression of it. Many atheists hold their views as much or more on the basis of such wish fulfillment than on the basis of any reasoning or evidence. See: I hope there is no God. […]

  21. B. Skeptic says:

    “1. The God that is described in the Bible is the same God that is described in the Holy Koran and also in the original manuscripts of both Hinduism and Buddhism.”

    This is flat-out false. Have you bothered reading any of these texts? Islam is the only one that comes close to representing what you said. Hinduism is nowhere near it, and buddhism can be considered atheistic itself.

    “2. Holes and inconsistencies based on which pre-biased idea? If you approach the Bible from the perspective that it is supposed to be read literally and from some special objective perspective by which it will all suddenly become clear and remain pure Truth then I agree there are inconsistencies and holes. If you read it from a different perspective however those inconsistencies suddenly dissipate.”

    This essentially means, you rationalize. If you get to pick and chose what you want to take from the Bible, then you are not believing in the Bible. You are believing in your own version and interpretation of the Bible, which is seems is never the same between any 2 Christians. You have essentially rendered your “greatest evidence” as subjective as the thoughts of whomever is reading it at the time.

    “Could it be that God who was a metaphysical being and thus not understandable by any cognitive being within this universe, a being that by definition would be outside of our realm of understanding, If he is outside of our realm of understanding, then isn’t it entirely possible that He may have created the Bible to be “open to interpretation” in all aspects. If that is the case then you are merely interpreting it the way you choose and thus reaching conclusions that may not be at all implied.”

    Yet, you can understand that it exists and wrote a book? This is not logically consistent with something outside of out understanding.

    “If God exists and plays a role in this world then tell me why he couldn’t do this? Those people do not follow him…why should he pay attention to them or save them? Granting man the freedom of their own will brings with it consequences for their actions…that is just a logical product of granting free will. What should he do? Pat them on the back and grant them their every wish for exorcising their free will to not believe in him?”

    Why not? What does god stand to lose from this? In fact, what does god stand to gain from a single person going to hell? And what would he stand to lose from everyone going to heaven, or just letting those who didn’t die? You seem to be putting all-too-human limitations and characteristics on this god, which would, in my opinion, make it very-much within the realm of our understanding, and make said god very petty and selfish.

    “4. You are forgetting that these books are written from the point of view of people who were primative and superstitious. Who viewed diseases and lightning as “powers” of an all powerful God. Which they very well might be, but that does not mean that God is exacting judgement on these tribes or men or that God is even acting in the way that is suggested here. It is a logical misstep to jump from “The Bible is true” to “The Bible must be completely and 100% word for word the exact words that came from the lips of God himself”…….The two are not even close to the same.”

    YET, you believe their accounts when it comes to ANYTHING theologically significant. How do you know the key elements of your theology were not just more of this superstitious nonsense? Apparently quite a bit of it made it into the book already, why is anything theologically significant immune to this?

    “5. If God is loving, then with love must come some sort of punishment. It is not loving to have a child and allow it to teach itself. It is also not loving to allow your second child to walk up and slash the throat of your first child while your third one looks on in horror….and to stand there and do nothing about it. We as humans enact a meager form of judgement upon each other…….why do you think that God should tie his own hands when it comes to doing the same? And where do you think we as humans get the idea of justice and judgement to begin with?”

    Again, you are looking at this from a very human perspective. The claim isn’t that god is loving, it’s that god is ALL-loving. Humans need vindication and vengeance, why does a god? After all, when one of the children’s lives is cut short, they are whisked away to an eternal theme-park, no harm, no foul. Further, why would assigning an infinite punishment be a fair retribution for a finite crime? Even when people murder today, they receive a finite sentence, at most a lifetime. Now, why is an infinite punishment justifiable SIMPLY for non-belief? After all Biblical theology teaches forgiveness for ANY sin(except blasphemy oddly enough.) The murderer of god’s child only has to ask for forgiveness. What REALLY dooms someone is their state of belief regarding god. You can kill no one and lead a very decent life, and still end up in hell if we go by the Bible.

    “Thus it would call good those things that deity called good, call evil those things which that deity called evil, it’s form of justice would be the same as that deity’s form of justice…creation cannot be a hands off process, if it could then why is it that everything that is created has some sort of signature of the craftsman? ”

    This is simply logically inconsistent, and demonstrably false. Virtual worlds created by humans do not have to reflect human morality or human justice. The world’s parameters are certainly dictated by the programmers in this instance, but they don’t necessarily reflect anything about the programmers personally. Also this point(6) is relying totally on the bare assertion of you begging the question by calling all of this “creation.” Even if the universe had a “signature,” you would not be able to make the theistic jump to Yahweh. You would be left with a deistic god from that.

    • Mutax says:

      I wil not put the same dedication you did here. Too much text. And not good in english. (And also i’m not Christian)

      Regarding interpretation, you said:

      “This essentially means, you rationalize. If you get to pick and chose what you want to take from the Bible, then you are not believing in the Bible. You are believing in your own version and interpretation of the Bible, which is seems is never the same between any 2 Christians. You have essentially rendered your “greatest evidence” as subjective as the thoughts of whomever is reading it at the time.”

      Men’s understanding can evolve as men can too. You are allowed to pick the parts that you can now study, understand and put in practice. That part will then be truthfull because it became true for You at that moment (stage), in that way the text was the bearer of Truth – provided that the reader is not using it for what it didn’t was meant for. That is against God and Man’s hidden will.

      Just for an example: St Augustin waited to read (try to understand) the genesis part after he found his Heart and the Lord. It is a book for the begginners and advanced as well.

      Also, symbolism is a basic needed feature when you need to reach or have some grasp (intelectual or other) of upper levels. To take them to the letter some time is necessary, sometimes not right. Even the same fragment. But a Sage can see all the possible meanings and explain for the man in question at the moment. We generally expect that Sacred texts are like what we are used to. For instance, scientific or pedagogic. Oh. Sometimes they are. Oh2. The Texts are fragile. They need a correct reader.

      Excuse me if that information doesn’t apply to you. I just think it to be informative to the general public.

  22. […] I hope there is no God! […]

  23. […] Is it possible that people resist belief in God primarily because it threatens their desire for autonomy and self-sufficiency? Perhaps atheists would be more honest if they joined philosopher, Thomas Nagel in saying,  ”I hope there is no God.” […]

  24. […] Is it possible that people resist belief in God primarily because it threatens their desire for autonomy and self-sufficiency? Perhaps atheists would be more honest if they joined philosopher, Thomas Nagel in saying,  ”I hope there is no God.” […]

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