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God and religion
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Do you believe in God?
yes
65%
 65%  [ 30 ]
no
28%
 28%  [ 13 ]
a little
4%
 4%  [ 2 ]
not sure
2%
 2%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 46

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baypoint
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually don't respond to a post phrase by phrase, because some people find that distasteful, but given that this is the forum on which to take risks, I'll respond to some of the arguments in that fashion...

Quote:
Houses and watches are incredibly complex designed articles , each one perfectly designed for its function and completely different in terms of materials and manufacture. Trees and lions are incredibly complex, but neither is perfectly designed for its function, and they are 'built ' from the same materials and have the same method of manufacture. what designer would ever set out to build a house and a watch from the same building blocks? I would be much more ready to believe in god if there was more diversity of form, and more diversity of building blocks.


So, God would be real if there existed more different kinds of lifeforms? Almost a million known species of insects, 9,000 known species of birds, 4,000 species of mammals, millions of species of plants and trees - how much diversity of form will it take?
And who says trees aren't perfectly designed for their function? The ability of trees to absorb water from the ground, then by means of root pressure, coupled with the cohesion of water molecules within the trunk to literally pump the water from the ground to whatever height the tree is at (200-300 feet, in some cases), where transpiration at the leaves recycles billions of tons of water into the air, which falls as rain - perfect design. Beautiful, quiet, non-polluting, oxygen-producing, water-recycling, food factories - how much more perfectly designed could a tree get?

So about those building blocks...the formation of life (animal or vegetation) requires proteins, which are constructed from amino acids. There exist over 100 amino acids, but only 20 needed for life's proteins. Amino acids are in one way classified by being "right-handed" and "left-handed", based on their chemical structure. Interestingly, of the 20 amino acids used in producing life's proteins, all are left-handed. What are the odds that at some point in the evolutionary cycle, pre-life, so to speak, the correct amino acids came together to form a protein molecule? Take a big pile (or a small pile, it doesn't matter) of mixed-up red and white beans. Now, put your scoop in, and get only red beans, make sure you've got the right 20 varieties of red beans, and make sure each one is in the correct spot in the scoop - a single mistake here results in a protein that doesn't work.

When faced with this issue, not using this illustration, but trying to calculate the same result, scientist Fred Hoyle, among others, calculated the odds of random formation of a single simple protein at 10^113. But mathematicians dismiss any event with the odds of 1 in 10^50 as never happening. The number 10^113 exceeds the estimated total number of all atoms in the universe.

Why ask for more building blocks, when the "few" ones we have constitute a mind-staggering array of life, and the "few" blocks we have give overwhelming evidence of intelligent design (if you wish to reduce God to a mental concept)?

Quote:
The argument that earth is perfectly designed for life therefore god created both is inherently meaningless. Earth is perfectly designed for life on earth because life on earth has to live here. The life that isnt perfectly adapted doesnt live here. Also , if you hadnt noticed vast tracts of Earth arent by any means ideal for any life, let alone mankind.


Life doesn't exist anywhere else!. The argument that the Earth isn't perfect, because some life is adapted to live elsewhere, is fundamentally flawed, for sheer lack of evidence.
And who said life had to live everywhere on Earth? The vast un-inhabitable places are what makes the habitable places possible. The oceans aren't stuffed full of life, but life is there in abundance, and the oceans are a very important reason why Earth is so habitable. The deserts or icecaps aren't very friendly to life either, but life is there nonetheless, and the important aspect is that the presence of such un-inhabitable areas again contributes immensely to the habitability of our precious Earth. And what's so unusual about that concept? Your attic is a hellacious place in summer, your furnace closet is a ridiculous place to stuff a bedroom, your roof isn't agreeable to comfortable living, and your crawlspace is a tough place to get much done, but your house is an ideal place to live because all those un-inhabitable places are there.

Quote:
I wont provide proofs of evolution unless anyone is particularly interested, but proofs do exist in a much more physical way than will ever be available for those trying to prove the existence of god.


Every proof I've offered relies, not on faith or some meta-physical state of mind, but on concrete examples of the physical state of the universe as we know it, whether by personal observation or the work of scientists.

I can't think of one person I know who believes in God without some sort of proof, whether it be by faith (which can be illustrated in the real world as well, but I won't expound on it further...yet), or by using our brains, however we got them, to reason on what our own eyes can see.

Quote:
I wont go into the question of evil and suffering , if you Believe, then you have to believe he created evil and suffering for a purpose, there is no way you can twist it to prove his existence. The concept of gods higher purpose , gods masterplan that we are not yet permitted to see has to suffice to explain all that.


What makes a person think that God is the only force behind what people do? The concept of evil and suffering never entered into God's masterplan, as you call it, but is the result of a certain set of actions taken by creatures who exercised their God-given free will in tragic ways. I can't use real world examples to explain this point - God's masterplan is no mystery, as any serious Bible reader can tell you, but this is pure doctrine, something I've avoided to this point, so I can still maintain the identity of a believer in God, rather than an adherent to a specific faith.

Quote:
Once you have accepted that life began and was self sustaining and self replicating then all our evolutionary history is straight forward. More straightforward, to me at any rate, than believing that a 'creator ' drew up some rules, created one basic building block and then made everything in the universe from it. I cannot understand why an intelligent designer with an infinite number of possibilities available to it should choose to constrain itself with these petty and restrictive rules.


At no point will an educated person subscribe to the notion that all things in existence come from one building block (the relevancy of which I don't get, anyway, but it's easy to refute). The periodic table of elements contains dozens of building blocks. Not small enough? Particle physics is still grappling with their continual findings of more and more basic particles. At what point does one give up the search for a single piece of "stuff" (which scientists still haven't identified, so which none of us can name) on which to hang this irrelevant argument?

As for the "petty and restrictive rules", some of the laws of nature are sophisticated beyond human comprehension. Scientists still don't fully understand the ridiculously common phenomenon of photosynthesis. Some of the laws of nature are well understood, and are called constants (like the speed of light, the force of gravity, the mass of an electron, the charge of an electron); some of these constants have been calculated to an accuracy of one part in a million. Just for grins, let's say we could tweak Newton's force of gravitation just one part in a million. Oh no!! Now there's no hydrogen, no stars, no water, no life. Too much tweaking? How about one part in a hundred million? Now every star in existence is either red or blue, neither of which is capable of supporting life.
We don't have to worry about such changes, because those laws are constant, hence the label, perfectly designed for the existence of life.

Quote:
For me one of the most compelling arguments against the existence of an intelligent designer, against the exixtence of god, ( and incidentally very compelling evidence that the whole thing was made up by mankind) comes from the Koran. The Koran instructs that communal prayer is the best prayer and urges all muslims to pray at the same time and together, at sunrise, sunset and other specified times during the day. For a megalomanic 'prophet' with a few hundred followers exiled in a small Middle eastern city it makes a lot of sense. But wouldnt a truly intelligent designer have ensured that sunset and sunrise occured at the same time for all muslims regardless of where they lived in the world? A truly intelligent designer could have done that, it is beyond me to imagine how, but I reckon that god should have been able to manage it.


Again, you assume that God is behind everything man does, or writes, or believes. As a strict adherent of Christianity, I don't put stock in the Koran as a guidebook to my life. I don't deny it's existence, I don't doubt that it contains the path to a very peaceful existence, regardless of how the fanatics twist it. But to deny the existence of God based on a command that you think should be interpreted one particular way is on the brink of arrogance. Don't assume that God is interested in the simultaneous prayers of Muslims, just because the Koran says so - you already think that a megalomanical prophet is responsible for that, and I won't disabuse you of that notion.
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baypoint
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

carter wrote:

Anti american sentiment may not be a religious view, but Islamic anti americanism is.


Now I'm going to have to tell my Muslim workmates that they aren't welcome in the States...

Oh, maybe I better be a little more open-minded than that. After all, I know only the most infinitesimal fraction of the world's Muslims.

I think the term "Islamic fanatics" is still used in the news, isn't it? Or have we as a society cast all Muslims into the same mold?

And what does anti-Americanism have to do with belief in God? I don't think that Americans as a nation hold any special place in God's heart anyway, regardless of what our currency says...
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carter
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...

Last edited by carter on Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:56 am; edited 3 times in total
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carter
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...

Last edited by carter on Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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baypoint
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And that's the most interesting debate I've been engaged in for some time. Quite enjoyable...even if neither of us is going to change our mind, I loved the opportunity to brush up on how to express my views...if not the quality of my expressions (religion is my hot-button issue, subject to perhaps too much zeal on my part...), than at least a personal refresher on the content...

And if a just a few people enjoyed the debate, well, that's cool too...

Thanks, Carter!! Very Happy
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Tgrrr10
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joining in here a little late, have to say the debate was quite interesting, have to admit had to skim some of it. I grew up in a house where God was the "go to guy" for everything. I was sick, better go pray to God, and if I really believe that he'll "cure" me, he will. Not a good way to get introduced to God. I grew up thinking I wasn't "believing" hard enough, that somehow God didn't believe me!

All through childhood went back and forth between what I believed and what I didn't. When the unlce I was really close to feel ill and died, I was convinced that there is no way God could exsist. Soon after I found the poem "Footprints" --need to get to bed, otherwise I'd write the whole thing out, if you've never read it before and want to I can post it later. After reading that I thought, "Hey, maybe he really is there" Believed like I've never believed. Several years later, my grandmother passed away, in her stationery box we found a hand written note she had written. It said "God is not a force field that protects us from tragedy, but a prescence that sees us through" Would have to say that is my basis for MY spirituality.

I work with kids who deal with life and death issues on a daily basis, have done so for several years. I've often had to ask myself what kind of God allows a child to endure such pain? I've asked myself that same question when I think of CSA. 9 times out of 10 I refer to what my Grandma wrote.

Several years later my other grandmother passed, she was Catholic, my family is not. I sat at her service listening to this priest tell me that I was living in mortal sin because I was not catholic! I literally got up and left!! I was furious!!! Turned out a month later this priest hung himself in the church rectory--I do believe that is a "mortal sin" in the Catholic church. And it turned out this man had MURDERED 2 people. I was even more livid! This man told me I was going to burn in h*ll because I didn't believe what he believed and he killed 2 people and then killed himself?? Don't work well with that. Still believed in God.

It wasn't until my Mom's response to my abuse was that I started doubting the existence of God, or atleast the God I was raised to believe in. She basically told me that my abuse was her punishement for not trusting God to protect me. That she was so worried that my Grandpa was going to abuse me, so she watched him like a hawk and here the "devil" snuck in the back door and that was God's way of showing her not to doubt him! SERIOUSLY??!?!?!?! I don't want to believe in a God that punishes people, esp by having their children sexually abused!

So part of me believes in a higher power, part of me doesn't want to believe in God--atleast not the God that most people think of. I don't want to belive in something that punishes people, or judges people. Now that I think about it, that tends to be more on the line of religion and not God. Would it be a different question to ask "Do you believe in religion?" Because that I do not believe in--for me. I respect that some people see the need for it in their lives. I guess I just don't need someone else telling me what I should and should not do, what I should or should not believe in.

T
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Roseless
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

okay. seeing how science doesn't prove anything in this matter i was just wondering something. is there really any point in fighting or debating this issue. i know i started it but oddly, i just realized how pointless it is. okay... well, i feel pretty odd now.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GRIN... I agree with you Rose, I neither believe not disbelieve in God.

As for believing in religion: Emphatically not. I think God said it best in the movie Oh God (a delightful movie that never got serious attention)...

He was choosing a savior and the one he picked asked him: Why me? I don't even belong to any religion?
God said: "well, neither do I..."

I really don't care about wether God exists or not. I know I don't believe in a personal God who is involved in our daily lives.

And I don't feel I'm wrong in going very fast from people being believing they are right to them demonizing others: I think there is a direct relationship between how convinced someone is that they are right (i.e. fanatical) to how willing someone is to demonize another human being.

Ivonne
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baypoint
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Rose, since this IS the open debate page, there was certainly nothing wrong with starting that...and it came from a position that I imagine a lot of survivors and partners find themselves in - someone (themselves or others) blaming God for the abuse (or more accurately, for not stopping it), or looking anywhere (even to a God they may not know very well) for support or answers.

By the way, I'll think you'll find more science in those proof-of-God arguments than you think...but I digress. That matter's closed.

Religion is a different matter - related, but different. All the science in the world isn't going to explain why people do the things they do in the name of religion, which I feel explains a lot of the disbelief in God. It's pure and simple hypocrisy that drives many people away from organized religion, and their belief in God decays from there.

The reason I disagree with the convinced-to-demonization conclusion, is that just because I'm convinced that my way of serving God is the right way, in no way makes me demonize you (general "you", not a specific "you", just so we're clear). So you don't believe in God; it doesn't lead me to ignore everything you say, as though you're not worth listening to. Religious conviction does not require me to, and in fact condemns, "writing" people off as unworthy of attention, or as unworthy of life. There's no connection there.

It's highly unfortunate that there are exceptions to that. Carter stated the most recent example - why Islamic fanatics should take a few choice phrases out of the Koran, interpret them to mean Western civilization, and determine that we are all worthy of extinction, is completely beyond me.

Is their conviction any more or any less engrained than mine? I doubt it. I have some very strong beliefs from the Bible involving life-or-death situations on which I like to think I would never compromise, and which close friends have personally demonstrated they did not compromise. But strapping bombs to my body, or hijacking planes, or even carrying an AK-47 in case I should be fortunate enough to come across an infidel, isn't part of my conviction. In fact, I'm convinced of quite the opposite. I'm as far as demonizing people that one could possibly be.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

People say that jesus gave his life for us because he loves us all. that means he loves good, bad, evil... everyone. how could that be possible? i mean if he loved us enough to let someone take his life then why is he letting people die and go through so much pain? if you loved someone enough to die for them i'd think that maybe you'd stop then from going through pain. so if he is real why is he letting us be hurt like this? it just makes no sense to me.
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