If there is a god, wouldn’t faith be insulting to it?

Todays question comes from DK who asks…

Name: DK
Message: I have read enough of the questions and responses to gain a general understanding of why you have chosen to be an atheist…  In saying that, I do believe there is a God.  I was raised in a Christian home, and have been taught Biblical principles my entire life.  I am actually a student pastor at the church I attend, and I am in the process of creating a message series proving the existence of God through Biblical and physical evidence.  My belief, much like yours, is that Christians, as a whole, are viewed as ignorant and hypocritical, because their behavior and the claims they make personally, come from very little understanding of who God is and why they actually believe in him.  For most, Christianity is just what they were always taught was “the right thing to believe.”  Without a belief in God being built on a firm foundation of evidence, any belief you express in that regard, whether in word or deed, will lack conviction and lead to instability.  While I am still searching for all the answers, my conviction comes from having personally experienced God’s intervention in my life.  I am not referring to a sense of a being I have never seen that I have made a blind assumption is the presence of God; I am referring to him making a way for me in times when I, despite my greatest effort, could not accomplish something or meet a desperate need.  Ultimately, whether you believe in Christianity or science, Creation or Evolution, we will all be searching for answers until the day we die, some of which we may never be able to answer completely or even at all.  In an effort to gain a better understand of your perspective as an atheist, have you considered the possibility that you are attempting to justify your position from an intellectually finite perspective, when the answers we are all looking for come from an infinite origin?  The Bible says in Proverbs that men judge the outward appearance; God judges the heart.  While having enough understanding of God to be confident in your belief of Him is im!
portant, we can allow our relentless pursuit of understanding God through everything we see to push us away from Him when we don’t find all the answers, when the truth is, we will never have all the answers.  Even a scientist when he verifies a hypothesis understands that, while he may have uncovered a portion of the truth, there is still much left to discover.  Does that make his belief in his original findings any less true?  God does not expect us to have all the answers before we trust Him.  He only wants to bring us peace in the midst of uncertainty – to bring joy and hope to our hearts in a world that is in a constant state of moral decay.  He wants us to trust that if we believe in Him instead of working tirelessly to solve a problem on our own, He can help us through the trials we face.  However, He has given us the free will to choose whether we give Him the chance to do so.  I say these things not to preach at you, but from the first hand experience of, at one time, being in your shoes-of questioning the existence of God.  You cannot experience God’s true purpose until you stop trying to answer everything with your head, and give Him the opportunity to change your heart.  That is the choice He has given you.  What are your thoughts?

Great question and I want to get right to what’s bothering me about what you just said, in fact, it’s one of my biggest problems with the judeo-christian belief system.

It’s dishonest.

Let’s for a minute assume that there is a god and that it wants us to find it. How has it set things up for us to determine how everything else exists? What is the criteria for determining existence? In short, ( I go into greater detail here. ) it’s through objective, verifiable means. So why is it, then when religion comes around, it says that “god” wants us to find it not with the rational, the intelligence, and the brain that said god gave to us, but in a way that’s exactly the opposite? Remember, god through it’s creation has already taught us how to determine what exists and what doesn’t. So why ask it’s creations to toss that out the window? It’s like telling us that dirt is water, the sun is dark, things fall upwards, and that women get pregnant from kissing. We know it’s not how the world, ( which in this scenario has a god ) was set up.

If there is a god, faith would be insulting to it.

A lot of believers at this point like to tell me that faith is a test, and that we need to let go of everything that said god has already taught us, and believe in it despite all of that. Well isn’t that exactly what a person or organization who wants you to think that god is on their side would tell you since they can’t actually produce a god? They would try to convince you to stop thinking about it. After all, you’re human and can’t begin to understand the ways of god. They would tell you that it’s better to believe without evidence because it would show their god that you really trust it. They would show you places in the world that match places in their stories and try to use that as evidence. They would villainize anyone who didn’t agree with them, telling you how evil and immoral everyone else is, and how you need to convince them to believe as you do for their own sake. They would tell you that everything good in your life was given to you by their invisible, anti irrational criteria for a god. It’s insidious and it’s dishonest. I believe that it can be said that the only honest seekers of the divine are atheists.

There was one more thing that you said that bothers me. You said, “I am referring to him making a way for me in times when I, despite my greatest effort, could not accomplish something or meet a desperate need.” I hear this from time to time from believers, and it disturbs me not only because of the underline message of human devaluation, but because I can’t believe that a loving god would want it’s creation to think so low of itself. I go into deeper explanation in my post titled “How do I overcome adversity without a god?

I hope this and the other two articles I mentioned here answered your question for you. If you have any further thoughts please feel free to use the comment section below.

21 thoughts on “If there is a god, wouldn’t faith be insulting to it?”

  1. “Great question and I want to get right to what’s bothering me about what you just said, in fact, it’s one of my biggest problems with the judeo-christian belief system.
    It’s dishonest.”
    It is almost comical (yet sad at the same time) when an atheist tries to assert his arbitrary morals on somebody who actually has a basis for morality. You seem to dislike dishonesty, yet you have no foundation to believe that dishonesty is wrong. Your standard of morals is rooted in the fickle and selfish opinion of humans. An atheist who thinks that dishonesty is wrong has no more reason to believe this that another atheist who thinks dishonesty is acceptable. It is an “I’m right because I said so” kind of worldview. God’s Word says that God is truth. For believers, dishonesty is wrong because is is contrary to the nature of the Creator. True morality is not founded on the arbitrary opinions of humans.

    “Let’s for a minute assume that there is a god and that it wants us to find it. How has it set things up for us to determine how everything else exists? What is the criteria for determining existence? In short, ( I go into greater detail here. ) it’s through objective, verifiable means. So why is it, then when religion comes around, it says that “god” wants us to find it not with the rational, the intelligence, and the brain that said god gave to us, but in a way that’s exactly the opposite? Remember, god through it’s creation has already taught us how to determine what exists and what doesn’t. So why ask it’s creations to toss that out the window? It’s like telling us that dirt is water, the sun is dark, things fall upwards, and that women get pregnant from kissing. We know it’s not how the world, ( which in this scenario has a god ) was set up.”
    Romans 1:20 says: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” So in reality, the evidence for God is all around us. God didn’t create the world and then go into hiding. On the contrary, he came to earth as a man to pay the penalty for the sins of the world. He lived a perfect life and then was brutally murdered on a cross—in our place. He was buried in a tomb sealed with a huge stone and guarded by Roman soldiers. But He rose from the dead and then was seen by over 500 eyewitnesses! This was all recorded in the most historically accurate history book (even by secular standards. It is terribly inconsistent to reject the Bible but still believe the accounts of other ancient history books). Do you believe that Abraham Lincoln existed? Have you thrown all of your reason out the window to believe in something that doesn’t fit your criteria for determining existence?

    “If there is a god, faith would be insulting to it.”
    I have to give you props for originality. I’ve never heard anyone say this before nor do I think that it makes any sense. I have faith that you exist and are a real person even though I have never seen you before. I do hope you are not insulted by that.

    “A lot of believers at this point like to tell me that faith is a test, and that we need to let go of everything that said god has already taught us, and believe in it despite all of that.”
    I don’t know who told you that. Faith is belief without sight. Contrary to what most people think, it isn’t belief without evidence. I have good reasons for my faith. Do you think that I am real? There is much less evidence for my existence than for the existence of God. By your criteria for “determining existence”, it would take great faith indeed to believe that I am real. You have never seen me, heard me, or felt me. You have never read an eyewitness account of my existence. You freely confess your belief that creative information can arise without a mind. Why would you hypothesize that somebody authored this comment? A rational person would just assume it had arisen by natural means sines the author has never been observed. (I would highly recommend you reading this post: http://www.jasonlisle.com/2012/05/17/on-the-origin-of-articles/#more-97 It is quite funny and thought provoking).

    “I believe that it can be said that the only honest seekers of the divine are atheists.”
    There you go about honesty again. I can’t take comments like this seriously until you can produce a reason to be honest that isn’t arbitrary.

    “There was one more thing that you said that bothers me. You said, “I am referring to him making a way for me in times when I, despite my greatest effort, could not accomplish something or meet a desperate need.” I hear this from time to time from believers, and it disturbs me not only because of the underline message of human devaluation,”
    Human devaluation? Seriously? How is it “devaluing” when somebody helps you through a tough time?

    “but because I can’t believe that a loving god would want it’s creation to think so low of itself.”
    Only the arrogant man will refuse help when he can’t do something by himself. As Christians, we are called to be humble. Humility does not mean a low view of self, it means a correct view of self.

    1. Jordan,
      You said: “Faith is belief without sight. Contrary to what most people think, it isn’t belief without evidence. ”

      Faith is belief without Proof (or evidence). Look it up in the dictionary. Sight is only one part of Proof. Sounds like someone was trying to counter science with that statement and you drank the Kool-aid.

      1. Tomas,

        In the context that I was refering to, faith, it is belief without sight. You have to understand that the Bible was originally written in Greek, when it says faith, you have to look at the Greek definition—not the latest American-Emglish definition. Actually, the Bible defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 which says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

        Furthuremore, your definition of faith is too narrow even in English. The most common example to illustrate is a chair. Before I sit in a chair, I must have faith that the chair will hold my weight and not break. This is faith without sight because I have never seen anybody sit in the chair before. However, it is not faith without evidence. The evidence that the chair will hold me is that it is of sturdy construction and not damaged in any way. Therefore, “faith” can mean belief without sight (but with evidence) even from a purely English point of view. However, I was using it in the context of faith in God so the distinction is even more clear.
        I hope that helps.

        1. Jordan,
          Your example of the chair is dishonest. You are deliberately conflating faith with evidence by presupposition (it’s a standard ploy in lay theology; academic theologians rarely, if ever, employ this gambit, they’re more sophisticated). Let’s look at it in more detail:
          (i) we have independent verifiable evidence that a variety of chairs exist now and in the past;
          (ii) we all have personal experience of having sat in a variety of chairs and others can provide independent verifiable evidence that we have done so;
          (iii) we have a complete knowledge of the physical characteristics of all chairs, down to the molecular level and because of this;
          (iv) we are able to measure the load bearing capabilities of individual chairs, should we wish to and because of this
          (v) should we wish to we are able to predict, with a very fine accuracy, the chance that any given chair will collapse under our weight (we do this sort of things with bridges all the time).
          We don’t have ‘faith’ that a chair will collapse (or not) any more than we have ‘faith’ that the chair is sitting in front of us. Similarly, we don’t have ‘faith’ that a ball dropped from shoulder height will fall, or water will emerge when we turn the tap on. Now we’re not all structural engineers but psychological research has demonstrated very well that, whether we realise we are doing it or not, when making forced choice decisions we all calculate some folk-probability based on independently verifiable empirical evidence gathered over our lifetime, including that any given chair will collapse or not. We assign folk-probabilities to those occurrences. For the gravity example we would justifiably estimate 100% and we would all be in agreement. For the structural integrity of a chair (say what kg load it would bear) we would differ, but evidence shows that, statistically, regression to the mean probability is often accurate. Yet when a believer says they have ‘faith’ in god (or his characteristics or actions) they have nothing resembling analogous access to any of the variables i-v. Obviously then, whatever definition they contrive to use, believers are using the term ‘faith’ in some completely different way when talking about their knowledge of god. The alternative is that every decision we make, including those resulting with a chance element, such as resulting from the throw of a die or toss of a coin, must inevitably be faith-based. This renders the notion generic and epistemologically worthless. And it leaves believers with a problem. If we all have no choice but to make decisions based on faith, then what’s so special about Christian faith (or Islamic or Hindu etc)? It certainly doesn’t generate more accurate predictions about how the universe works than does empirical evidence.

          1. Gary,
            The chair example is used by the academic theologian and the layman alike. It is not a perfect analogy—if it was, then it would not be an analogy anymore. There is an abundance of evidence that a certain chair may hold a person in the same way that there is abundant evidence for God. A chair may be of sturdy construction and not damaged in any way. We have also observed many chairs in our life and most of them have held somebody’s weight just fine (with a few exceptions). We can have faith that the chair will hold, without first observing it to be able hold weight. Similarly, While we cannot see God the Father (many people observed and recorded Christ, who is God, however), we have millions of examples of life coming from life but not one case where life has come from matter and chemicals. There are numerous examples of information being duplicated and damaged through reproduction, but never the creation of new information through reproduction and mutation. So the faith is faith without sight… But not faith without evidence. Which is very analogous to faith in a chair.

            1. “we have millions of examples of life coming from life but not one case where life has come from matter and chemicals.”

              So what? A hundred years ago we had millions of examples of people communicating with each other within earshot but not one case where the exact same communication occurred simultaneously on every centimetre of the planet.

              “never the creation of new information through reproduction and mutation”

              Jordan, why bother to make such ridiculous statements? If you understand the issues, as you claim to do, why not instigate some higher-level discussion, as I have tried to do? Jordan, think about this before you parrot the usual creationist canards:

              The current rate of genetic mutation in Homo sapiens is approximately 1 in every 10 billion cells. The genome of each new born baby has something in the region of 100-130 mutations across their genome that don’t exist in either of the parents genomes (assuming a father of 30 years old at conception; the older the father, the higher the number of mutations). Given the population of the world, this means that there is currently something of the order of 800 billion new mutations in each new generation. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realise that with a starting population of eight as little as 4000 years ago, our mutation rates would have rendered our species extinct a long time ago. Except we aren’t, for the simple reason that while some mutations are indeed deleterious (though this is not as important as creationists like to claim; if enough deleterious mutations accumulate in an organism, that organism will likely die before reproducing), most have a neutral effect while rare mutations (even those that produce a loss of function) can be beneficial. Examples of beneficial mutations in humans are Apo-AIM (which reduces cardiovascular disease risk), LRP5 (increased bone density and strength), HbC (one copy results in a 29% reduction in susceptibility to contracting malaria; two copies a 93% reduction, both without risk of sickle-cell anaemia) and a loss of function mutation in LCT (allowing the digestion of milk after weaning), which has occurred independently in two geographically isolated human populations. There are thousands more examples available from other species – read some scientific papers (you know, the ones that are peer reviewed and employ standard, accepted definitions of ‘information’). Another creationist canard is that there are no non-functional regions of the human genome. Again, this is complete nonsense. The fact that we are able to absorb this level of deleterious mutations at all without staggeringly high levels of phenotypic damage is due to the fact that the majority of them occur in non-coding sections of our genome; our genome is heavily comprised of pseudogenes, inherited from myriad ancestor species. And please don’t parrot the usual creationist lies about the ENCODE fiasco, it’s just embarrassing to your cause.

              Here’s a scientific finding I’ve yet to see a creationist address. We actually have an intact genome from someone who lived approximately 1000 years before the flood (Ötzi, the mummified male found in 1991 in the mountainous border of Austria and Italy). He was genotyped last year. This is a guy who must have had the ‘pure’ genome claimed by creationists, that has lost no information. Yet Ötzi’s genome is remarkably similar to those of modern humans living in Sardinia and Corsica. No evidence for a relatively ‘undegenerated’ genome was found. His red blood cells, which were remarkably intact, were found to be identical to those of modern humans: had he been alive today he could have donated blood. Furthermore, Ötzi suffered what we now label a rare genetic abnormality and had only 11 pairs of ribs. As his genome would have been ‘undegenerated’, we have to assume that Adam and Eve also had only 11 pairs of ribs. So how is it that the vast majority of humans alive today have 12 pairs of ribs if no new information has been added to the genome? You will probably claim that Ötzi was much younger than claimed and the dating is wrong. If so, think about this. Ötzi lived well within the half-life of C-14 and even creationists accept that C-14 dating is accurate at this timescale – of course they have to – I’m always amused when I hear creationists deny the accuracy of C-14 dating then proceed to insist on the authenticity of some Old Testament era papyrus after their age has been ascertained by, oh that’s right, C-14 dating! Ötzi’s dating has also been corroborated by other methods applied to the pollen found on him and by his tools and clothing.

              Anyway, I’m finished. Have a nice life.

              1. “So what? A hundred years ago we had millions of examples of people communicating with each other within earshot but not one case where the exact same communication occurred simultaneously on every centimetre of the planet.”
                Ah yes. But the burden of proof is on you, my friend. Despite the amazing technology and scientific knowledge of our time, nobody has even come close to observing or creating an environment where life can be generated from non-life. You have to have an awful lot of faith to believe something like that can happen by chance—I’m not sure I have that much faith. So until the evidence shows otherwise, I’m not going to accept spontaneous generation as a viable method for the beginning of even the simplest of life forms.

                I’m glad you brought up mutation rates. Because while mutations have do not add genetic information that wasn’t already there (like I said previously and you seem to have tacitly agreed with), they are a huge problem for evolutionists. Due to the staggering rate of mutation (even though most mutations are basically harmless), a species can’t exist for as long as the evolutionary timescale requires. The mutations would have killed us long before we could have evolved into the creature we are to day. This isn’t a problem for creationists, especially because we believe that man was originally created with no mutations at all. However, the problem is magnified tremendously when you have to account for the millions of years of mutations that allegedly happened between the first single-called organism and modern day humans.

                I’m not sure why you felt it necessary to include a long list of beneficial mutations. That was just a red herring fallacy. Almost everybody agrees that most mutations are either harmful or neutral but that every once in a while, there is a beneficial mutation. The increase in genetic information is the problem.

                You wrote: “It doesn’t take a mathematician to realise that with a starting population of eight as little as 4000 years ago, our mutation rates would have rendered our species extinct a long time ago.”
                Hmmm… Which situation do you think would be most adversely affected by mutation rates: a situation with eight people about 4000 years ago, or a situation with one single-celled organism about 3.5 billion years ago?

                Ötzi is not a scientific finding that favors evolution over creation. He was found with a copper axe—technology that wasn’t supposed to exist for 1000 years (if we assume that he was dated correctly). This is no problem for creationists who have always said that man has been intelligent since creation. In order for the C-14 dating to be accurate, the scientists have to know the original amount of C-14 present, know that the decay rate has always been the same, and know that the supply of C-14 wasn’t contaminated in any way. If one of the assumptions is wrong, so is the date.

  2. Jordan, my friend, once again you are making uninformed blanket assertions devoid of evidence or even citations (apart from the Bible).

    “You have no foundation to believe that dishonesty is wrong.”

    Why? Who says so? If I feel pain (physical or psychological) then it is not difficult for me to come to the conclusion that I do not like this pain. It is something I would like to remove. Now assuming I’m not too far down one end of the autistic spectrum, I can reason that if someone else tells me that they also feel a similar pain, then they too would want that pain to stop. Neurologically normal individuals cannot help but to empathise with others’ pain, we even have neurons specialised for this task. It doesn’t take much to further reason that if I am able to help them remove their pain, then they might help me remove my pain at some point and I would feel better for having played a part in removing their pain. And it doesn’t take much further reasoning to come to the conclusion that if we pool our resources we both might be in a better position to remove our pain. Just about all mammalian species which have evolved neurologically complex enough brains seem to appreciate this and behave accordingly. It can be observed in primate species (altruistic and symbiotic behaviours) and even in some bat species (sharing of food, even with individuals who are not genetically related). Cheating works for a while, but cheaters get found out. Cheating is not a viable long-term strategy. Cooperation is. This has been established in many ways, from observation of primate behavior to game theory to anthropological observations to experimental social psychology to brain imaging. Morality emerges from neurological complexity. It is probably inevitable that it does so. This is well established science. We have perfectly good foundations to believe that dishonesty is wrong. It is wrong because it is not psychologically or physically beneficial. It harms our chances of survival. There is nothing at all supernatural about this. Our sense of morality has evolved, physically via our brains, and culturally via the experiences and rationalisations we have made.

    “I can’t take comments like this seriously until you can produce a reason to be honest that isn’t arbitrary.”

    I don’t follow your reasoning here at all. In fact I think it shows profound degree of arrogance. You seem to be saying that, unless you have very specific existential beliefs, that just happen to coincide with yours, you cannot hold to a moral outlook. It’s a kindergarten level of philosophy. The opposite of your divine command morality isn’t arbitrary decision. Moral concepts can be formulated and measured in any number of ways including the degree with which the concept comports with independently verifiable information, the observed consequences of the action, the degree to which it agrees with consensus etc. Are you trying to tell me that the European Convention on Human Rights, a secular document, is simply an arbitrary collection of the likes and dislikes of its authors? That it’s somehow morally inferior to ‘revealed’ morality, which inevitably favours certain peoples and genders? A revealed morality that, for example, has your god command genocide on the Amakelites:

    “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

    It is a well-articulated command to inflict a particularly brutal punishment on a group of people for an act perpetrated by not a single one of the intended victims. Is this the kind of morality that is acceptable to you? Would it be OK with you if god, in 200 years time, commanded the Jews to kill every single German person because of what happened in the early 20th century? Why ever not? What basis would you have to question his decision, other than some ‘arbitrary’ notion that it was wrong? You certainly can’t invoke empathy for the victims – we know that’s just neurotransmitters and molecules.
    Christians love to accuse non-believers of moral relativism while not realising that they are greatest purveyors of moral relativism. As you said yourself “God’s Word says that God is truth”. While moral codes resulting from empathy, reason and consensus can quite reasonably state that, ad perpetuum, slavery, for example, is immoral, on what basis can a Christian do so? None. The Bible does not state that slavery is morally wrong. It’s says it’s OK, but we should apply certain rules when dealing with slaves. That’s the divine command. Make no mistake; if you are a Christian and you agree with the European Convention on Human Rights as regards slavery, you might be a nice guy, but you’re being a nice guy despite what your Bible tells you. Your moral reasoning is secular, it has come from somewhere else other than your Bible.

    Abortion is another example. Nowhere in the Bible is abortion outlawed. Indeed, it used to be argued and taught by evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, within my lifetime, that the Catholic stance on abortion was profoundly unbiblical. Don’t believe me? Read Exodus 21:22-24. Read Bible literalist Norman Geisler’s 1971 version of his book ‘Ethics: Alternatives and Issues’. Read the evangelical Christian scientist Gareth Jones’ 1984 book on biotechnology and philosophy, ‘Brave New People’. Read the ‘Christianity Today’ special issue on abortion from 1979. Here’s a quote from the editor Hal Lindsell:

    “God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed. The Law plainly exacts: “If a man kills any human life he will be put to death” (Lev. 24:17). But according to Exodus 21:22-24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense. … Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.”

    The morality of non-Catholic Christians in the USA has undergone a sea-change in their moral stance on abortion in the past few decades. Get a hold of a copy of the New American Standard Bible from 1971 and read Exodus 21:22-25, then get a current copy and read the same passage. Note the difference in wording and meaning. When it comes to abortion, Christians haven’t changed their moral outlook because of anything the Bible says, they’ve changed their morality regardless of what the Bible says – and then they’ve changed the Bible!

    Like I say, moral relativism writ large. Perhaps that’s what you mean by ‘arbitrary’? When you make a statement like “It is almost comical (yet sad at the same time) when an atheist tries to assert his arbitrary morals on somebody who actually has a basis for morality” exactly which Christian basis for morality are you talking about? The one from 1845 or the one from 1965, the one from 1971 or the one from 2014?
    But there’s a more important question. You’re doing the old trick of trying to shift the burden of proof. You’re the one making the positive claim that an objective morality exists and it emanates from a being that exists outside the universe. The onus is on you to support your conjecture. Science is doing its bit. We’ve come a long way in identifying where our sense of morality comes from. What contribution has theology made to the field? None whatsoever. Except for continually asserting it has a supernatural basis. That’s not only dishonest it’s downright epistemological laziness and arrogance.
    There is no evidence whatsoever that morality exists outside of a human brain. Period. If you have some (other than a limp syllogism) I’d love to see it. Has it never occurred to you that there probably is no objective morality, other than that which we can all agree on and extrapolate from, such as pain is something we should all avoid? That we are all on this speck of dust together and there is no supernatural lifebelt? That the universe isn’t moral, it’s indifferent? That this might just be a brute fact about the universe and we deny it at our peril? That claiming the moral high ground on no more basis than your emotionality isn’t going to convince anyone?

    1. To quote a friend of mine, “you are just being anthropocentric.” Who decided that YOUR standard for morality is the right one? Another atheist could decide that murder, rape, and cannibalism are good. You can go on and on about how most people would disagree or about pain, suffering, or survival—all things that you have arbitrarily decided are bad—but this other atheist’s basis for right and wrong is equally justifiable! Also, why not lie, cheat, or even murder if you knew you could get away with it? As long as you can be reasonably certain that you won’t get caught, EVERYTHING WOULD BE RIGHT.

      Ah yes, the destruction of the Amalekites. This seems to be a favorite passage among atheists. Did you know that the Bible also says that every person has violated God’s perfect standard and is therefore guilty of death? How come you didn’t bring up the myriad of verses that talk about this? Do you favor one tribe above the entire world? Even the most “good” person in the world would still go to hell without saving faith of Christ. To make matters worse, the Amalekites were some of the most morally debased people of all time. In addition to attacking Israel while they were helpless, the Amalekites were involved in idolatry, sexual perversions including homosexuality and sex with animals, child sacrifice, and rape; just to name a few. The most interesting thing about you bringing this up in the first place is that from your point of view, the sin of the Amalekites is no more evil than when baking soda and vinegar react. To assert otherwise would be anthropocentric, which apparently is frowned upon around here.

      I’ve discussed slavery numerous times on this site due to the fact that it is another alleged arrow in the quiver of atheism. You appear to have a very narrow, westernized view of slavery. As long as a slave is not beaten without cause, starved, or treated as less than human, then how is it wrong? Remember, we don’t like anthropocentric reasons… Did you know that sometimes slaves love their masters so much that they have voluntarily chosen to be slaves despite the opportunity for freedom? In Roman times, this kind of servant could be called a bond-slave. Such a situation is even discussed in the Old Testament in Exodus 21:5-6. Also, Paul calls himself a bond-slave (or bond-servant) of Christ in Romans.

      Exodus 21:22-24 does not imply that a baby in the womb is anything less than human. Here is what it says: ““If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” This clearly says that if the baby OR the mother is harmed the offender will be punished accordingly. The phrase, “give birth prematurely”, has been translated in some versions as “miscarriage.” However, the Hebrew phrase literally means “the child comes forth.” There are two words in Hebrew that mean to miscarry or to abort, but neither of these words were used in the passage. There is one other thing at you said that shows a large degree of misunderstanding: “When it comes to abortion, Christians haven’t changed their moral outlook because of anything the Bible says, they’ve changed their morality regardless of what the Bible says – and then they’ve changed the Bible! … exactly which Christian basis for morality are you talking about? The one from 1845 or the one from 1965, the one from 1971 or the one from 2014?” The Bible has never changed. While the interpretations and translations of fallible humans sometimes change, God’s Word has stayed the same through the ages.

      On a somwhat different note, could somebody please explain how faith is insulting? That baffles me…

      1. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

        That definition’s so vague and esoteric that it’s useless. It’s definitions like this that cause confusion.

        “There is an abundance of evidence that a certain chair may hold a person in the same way that there is abundant evidence for God. A chair may be of sturdy construction and not damaged in any way. We have also observed many chairs in our life and most of them have held somebody’s weight just fine (with a few exceptions). We can have faith that the chair will hold, without first observing it to be able hold weight.”

        Based on the context in which it’s used the word “faith” can refer to belief with evidence or belief without evidence. If someone says they have faith in their wife, it’s presumably because they know their wife/ have evidence about the kind of person she is. However, if a Christian says we should believe in Christianity because we should just have faith, in that context they’re presenting “faith” as an alternative to evidence. That I would reject on principle. Erick Cave seems to think the argument the OP is making is closer to the later then the former, and I would agree.

  3. I’m late to this thread, but still wanted to comment.

    Jordan wrote: “It is almost comical (yet sad at the same time) when an atheist tries to assert his arbitrary morals on somebody who actually has a basis for morality. You seem to dislike dishonesty, yet you have no foundation to believe that dishonesty is wrong. Your standard of morals is rooted in the fickle and selfish opinion of humans. An atheist who thinks that dishonesty is wrong has no more reason to believe this that another atheist who thinks dishonesty is acceptable. It is an “I’m right because I said so” kind of worldview. God’s Word says that God is truth. For believers, dishonesty is wrong because is is contrary to the nature of the Creator. True morality is not founded on the arbitrary opinions of humans.”

    You do know that morality is a purely subjective concept, right? It is a creation of the human mind, defined by each culture in order to assign values like “good” or “bad” to various actions and events. Nothing is inherently “honest” or “dishonest”, or “pretty” or “ugly” or anything else either for that matter. They only become so when humans deem them that way, and it depends on which humans from which culture and time period are doing that deeming…

    LX was using the basic accepted definition of “dishonest” when he made his comment. Instead of addressing the substance of that comment you went on a wild tangent about who was the higher moral ground to determine what is and isn’t dishonest.

    “This was all recorded in the most historically accurate history book (even by secular standards.”

    The Buy-Bull is not considered a history book. It is a rehashed collection of older stories, fables, and dogmas from earlier cultures. Most cultists don’t even know that some of the books were omitted by “scholars” because they were considered redundant or unimportant. The whole book is rife with errors and falsehoods. It could not even be admitted as evidence in a court of law because it is hearsay – third party story telling, unverifiable as to its source or accuracy. To claim that it is historical is utter nonsense.

    “There is much less evidence for my existence than for the existence of God”

    There isn’t even one single solitary scrap of verifiable evidence that a god exists. None.

  4. Jordan wrote: “Ah yes. But the burden of proof is on you, my friend. Despite the amazing technology and scientific knowledge of our time, nobody has even come close to observing or creating an environment where life can be generated from non-life. You have to have an awful lot of faith to believe something like that can happen by chance—I’m not sure I have that much faith. So until the evidence shows otherwise, I’m not going to accept spontaneous generation as a viable method for the beginning of even the simplest of life forms.”

    Science does not know precisely how life formed. It’s pretty hard to recreate something when you don’t know how it happened in the first place. Assuming it happened in water, we don’t know at what temperature, salinity, or pH the water was. We don’t know if magnetic fields played a role, if it was under high pressure (deep water) or low pressure (shallow water). We don’t know any of this, and yet you think we should have been able to recreate it in a lab by now. Unreal.

    Here’s what we do know. We know that life on Earth started as simple organisms long ago, and slowly evolved into the complexity that we see today. We have fossilized evidence of this progression. Evidence from multiple independent fields of research, from paleontological to geological to genetic to morphology to anthropology, have all reached the same conclusion about life on Earth. All life is genetically related (you and the oak tree in my yard have some of the same DNA). There is literally a mountain of evidence that points to this.

    Compare that to the evidence that there is a god and that god created life, which is….none. Not even one scrap of evidence. Nothing.

    Jordan also writes: “I’m glad you brought up mutation rates. Because while mutations have do not add genetic information that wasn’t already there (like I said previously and you seem to have tacitly agreed with), they are a huge problem for evolutionists. Due to the staggering rate of mutation (even though most mutations are basically harmless), a species can’t exist for as long as the evolutionary timescale requires. The mutations would have killed us long before we could have evolved into the creature we are to day.”

    Your understanding of genetics and evolution is pretty poor. First, mutations are random. The frequency of mutations for any given time period varies, as does the usefulness of those mutations. There is no truth that most mutation are neutral or bad. The frequency of the usefulness of the mutations is as random as the number of them. You have to understand this before you can have an intelligent discussion on the topic.

    Despite what is often written on creationist websites, mutations do not always lead to a loss of genetic information. They can add, change, or delete info from the genome. Again, it is a random event, with no rhyme or reason to it and no predictable pattern or frequency.

    Now, focusing on your quote above, your statement is obviously false since some species have survived for millions of years and more. Clearly evolutionary change did not kill these animals off. You make a rather absurd statement without any evidence to back it up.

    Mutations happen randomly, and sometimes they can be bad. Any mutation that confers a disadvantage is going to be dropped because the members of a species that have it won’t be able to compete as well and won’t produce as many offspring. Neutral mutations may or may not get passed along. Even good mutations are not guaranteed success. A fly that is born with a mutation that allows it to see all spider webs all the time would be a good mutation, but if it gets eaten by a lizard before it breeds than that mutation is lost.

    Instead of getting your genetic and evolutionary understandings from a creationist website, you might want to try a more scientific site instead…

  5. When I was a little younger and dating I would take time out of my date to take regular measurements of my serotonin levels so as to be sure I was having a good time, how else am I to verify my happiness?

    Now am happily engaged we often lay together and discuss the majesty of the universe. Imagine hovering below the earth, if you could find yourself at just the right position the ball would indeed fall upwards. A few billions of years from now when the sun reaches the end of its life, the old sun, ,that is the one we have now will indeed be dark by comparison. I am pleased to report that the conception of both of my children started with a kiss.

    I have two children and although I encourage and take much joy in there independence and inquisitiveness their occasions when time is short and danger is looming that they need my help, I require them to trust in my judgement explicitly and without hesitation in order to preserve their quality of life.

    Your arguments are based on perspective and the writer has respected yours. For you to discard theirs as dishonest is ignorant to say the least. I am very disappointed. Like it or not life is a very uncertain experience, objectivity and verified analysis is not always possible, things such as love, long term career choices, will I make a good parent? Do I have what it takes to build a business of my own? You may write all the pros an cons lists you wish but the final say in these decisions comes from a feeling, a submission to the unknown. This is what the writer terms God. It may be that the term God has for you many other negative connotations brought forth from your previous experience of theism. That is your own baggage and projecting here onto this writer is of no benefit to any reader and least of all yourself.

    1. J, some thoughts on why I find your reply terribly muddled:

      “Your arguments are based on perspective”

      Surely you can see how fallacious it is to equate subjective feelings with say, empirical evidence, and then define them both as ‘perspective’. If it is so, how then do you explain the inordinate success of the empirical versus the subjective approach to understanding how the universe works? If it’s all “based on perspective” we would expect all perspectives to be equally as effective in terms of their predictive value, wouldn’t we? And yet, thankfully for the welfare of human beings, they certainly are not.

      “…….to discard theirs as dishonest is ignorant to say the least”

      Why? In any other field of human endeavour that purports to explain the universe we expect a rigorous method of collecting and analysing data and a conclusion commensurate with the quality of the data. Religious belief is the sole exception. Here, people like yourself expect subjective feelings to be granted the same respect as carefully planned and executed observation and experimentation yielding replicable, functional insights into the nature of the universe.

      However, the fact is that your “perspective” has produced no verifiable insights whatsoever into the nature of the universe. If you can name one, please do.

      If you were honestly searching for the truth you would start with an open mind and let the data take you wherever it takes you. You wouldn’t start with a subjective feeling and then seek out that data that fits with your feelings. You wouldn’t attempt to ring fence your assertions by complaining when people who disagree with you point out the flaws in your arguments. And you certainly wouldn’t teach children that your subjective feelings are fact; you would teach them those methods we have available to us that have been proven to work, so that they too could use them to discover for themselves.

      “…………the final say in these decisions comes from a feeling”

      If anyone thinks they’ve reached ‘the final say’ then I feel sorry for them for giving up the journey so soon. Your notion that a ‘final say’ comes from a feeling only works if you position your own thoughts at the very centre of the universe and then set the bar for evidence so low that anything that makes you feel warm and fuzzy is accepted as truth. Do you really think the universe cares about your feelings? Do you really think the universe has arranged itself just so it comports with the theistic feelings of a subset of human beings?

      If theists simply investigated their subjective feelings in private, no-one would have any difficulty with that. The problem is that, to varying degrees in different countries, theists expect and sometimes outright demand that their subjective feelings should take precedence over all other evidence and dictate the lives of everyone in that society, via laws and education and social convention. If, as you claim, the final say comes from nothing more than a feeling, what argument can you provide that feelings such as yours should be privileged and feelings such as mine should be ignored? Certainly not publically available evidence.

      “……………….It may be that the term God has for you many other negative connotations brought forth from your previous experience of theism…….That is your own baggage”

      Criticising the methodologies that atheists use to discern what is true is not really a viable option for theists because, they too, rely heavily on the same methodologies in their everyday life. So ad hominem attacks like this become necessary:

      God must be real because I feel it to be so. Therefore anyone who doesn’t feel it so is presenting with some form of psychopathology, based on previous experience with theism. Whether you couch it in terms of ‘presuppositionalism’ or ‘reformed epistemology’ or just ‘grasping at straws’, again, it’s a dishonest approach to take.

      Just like theists, atheists don’t come off a conveyer belt. We haven’t all come to atheism via similar life experiences. Believe it or not, most atheists don’t believe simply because they have yet to be convinced that any of the many theistic viewpoints are supported by either controlled observation or experimentation, or any other evidence (yes, including subjective feelings; the difference being we tend not to privilege ours). Or, they have hold to some philosophical approach, such as Buddhism or Taoism, in which a creator god plays no part. The vast majority of atheists I have known are also agnostic. Provide them with more than your subjective feelings; give them good quality, controlled, replicable evidence that a god exists, any god, and they’ll be as good to go as you are.

      In other words, we try our best not to fool ourselves because we understand that the easiest person to fool is yourself. That’s what was meant by ‘dishonest’ in the original response. It wasn’t an ad hominem attack, it was a critique based on evidential value. What’s wrong with that?

      1. Gary. Firstly I demonstrated the importence of perspective via the ball falling upward point. Second, we are currently unable to collect any data other than personal persectives which is why there is still widespread debate as to the existance of such data, so it cannot be analysed. Since niether your perspective or the posters perspective can be supported by external data both remain vaild because you are both equally valued as hhuman beings (unless you are suggesting that you ar emore valuable?) Since it is my perspective, your perspective or the posters perspective we are all allowed to have the final say on how things are. NO IT IS RIGHT FOR ANYONE TO FORCE ANOTHER PERSON TO ABIDE BY THE PRESUPPOSITIONS OF THEIR OWN PERSPECTIVE INCLUDING LEARNED SCIENTISTS. Put simply your critique is based upon a lack of evidence not on the evidence available, which there is none. Lastly, I wish to emphasise that the origional makes clear he is talking about his own perspective, his personal experience. Your response assumes he is either a fool or dishonest (in the true sense of the word) and that I find to ignorant.

          1. “I demonstrated the importence of perspective via the ball falling upward point.”

            Sorry, I don’t get your point here. What about space-time relativity in physics? That is, the importance of taking into account the physical location and velocity (i.e., the perspective) of observers? Just because we might perceive the ball moving upward doesn’t mean we have to believe it. We’re perfectly capable of calculating an objective vector quantity such as velocity according to the position of any other observer. Physics takes “perspective” into account very seriously.

            So, whether you like it or not objective, natural physical values are real, they exist and can be publically observed independently of the perspective of observers, and they are measurable. After hundreds of years of empirical investigation and literally thousands of experiments no purported supernatural phenomena have ever been observed, measured and verified, from any perspective at all within space-time. If such phenomena interact with the physical universe (as they are claimed to do by theists) then we would predict that we would be able to observe them in at least some cases and under at least some conditions. Yet we don’t. All we ever observe are physical processes operating within predicted norms and regularities. Whether we like it or not, objects do not fall to the Earth because they have a wish to be closer to the Earth. Extreme weather is not caused by human morality or lack thereof. Infectious diseases and psychopathology are not caused (or cured) by demons or Satan or magic spells. Are you seriously telling me that you live your life firmly believing that examples such as these are no more than “perspectives” and that other “perspectives” are just as veridical?

            Did you vaccinate your kids against infectious diseases? Why? Did one “perspective” (materialist germ theory) have far more evidence in its favour than the other (e.g., fundamentalist Christian anti-vac bullshit)? Well, guess what, one “perspective” operates wholly on the basis of philosophical materialism, the other denies philosophical materialism. And one works, the other doesn’t. But, hey, what does it matter, they’re only still “perspectives”; they both must be equal because, according to you “we are currently unable to collect any data other than personal persectives”. Really? Want to run that one by a physicist, or a geologist, a biologist, or a neuroscientist?

            Now, sure, we can hypothesise that supernatural entities and mechanisms somehow lie behind the physical universe. At the least, it makes for good mythology and poetry. But this “perspective” doesn’t give theists and other supernaturalists an automatic right to acceptance of their views simply because they have some “subjective feelings” and harbour some bizarre, relativistic views about “perspective”. If theists want their views to be taken seriously they need to get up out of their comfy armchairs and go about the hard work and sweat of testing their hypotheses. They’re sure they’re right, so what have they got to lose? Look at what the hard work and effort, along with empiricism and philosophical materialism, has done for science. The results, in every field of science, surpass every other method of investigation by a very generous country mile; the fact that you’re communicating to this website on a microchip computer via a satellite in orbit demonstrates this – or perhaps you think that the positioning of the satellite or the logic gate in the chip would perform better if it were based on some other “perspective”. Your shouty claim that philosophical materialism is no more than “PRESUPPOSITIONS OF THEIR OWN PERSPECTIVE INCLUDING LEARNED SCIENTISTS” is sheer nonsense. Science did not start out as a philosophical materialist endeavour. Learned scientists do not tend to deny theism on the basis of any presupposition. They tend to deny theism on the basis that science has actually taken the bother to put in the hard work and, by the way, has found no evidence for theism. It’s not a ‘presupposition’ (the concept doesn’t exist in science; you obviously don’t work in a scientific field), it’s a finding based on rigorous and lengthy investigation that is continuously replicated. It has earned its “perspective” and then some. It is simply dishonest to suggest otherwise.

            If, over the centuries, science had found that the data had pointed the way of theism, so be it. But it hasn’t. So until theists actually bother to perform competent counter-investigations, their epistemic and semantic relativism, equating the fruits of rigorous empirical investigation with the “subjective feelings” of believers, has no a-priori right to be respected. Talk is cheap. As things stand, theism constitutes no more than logical word-play, un-evidenced assertions and theological just-so stories which have given us exactly nothing in our attempt to understand how the universe ticks. It is simply dishonest to suggest otherwise.

  6. I know you want this conversation to take part within the confines of scientific discussion but the thing is science and the supernatural (Definition:Of a manifestation or event) attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature) are intrinsically linked and ultimately, completely incompatible. Science is a very specific toolset relating to the observable universe and nothing else. Science is only capable of describing the universe in terms of itself (science is rhetorical) it is subsequently impossible for science to describe anything supernatural. When one proposes the existence of a God who made the universe one is proposing a being which is necessarily outside of the universe, beyond our understanding and ultimately outside of any frame of reference available to us. This is what I mean when I say there is no evidence (at least the kind of evidence that science requires).

    For me the only logical position on theism is agnosticism and this is because when I ask myself “J, what do think about the whole god thing?” My answer is, well there is so much we cannot explain yet no empirical evidence for god. In summary there is not enough information to answer the question. Many scientist, business men, politicians etc have a great deal of difficulty saying “I don’t know” after all they have put themselves forward as the fountain of all knowledge and it would be rather embarrassing to come up short wouldn’t it. You guys on here like to band about the word dishonest a lot, have you really considered your position do you have enough information to really answer these supernatural questions? For instance, the favourite challenge of the atheist (who is often the anti-theist in disguise) is that of providing proof; that is providing scientific proof of supernatural activity. To this end the atheist employs the “burden of proof” argument. This particular argument sure does hold up if a theist is bent on converting the atheist, however in this case no one wants to convert anyone I and DK it seems ask only for a little respect for our take on a fundamentally unanswerable question. Respect which you seem rather ill placed to offer. So how about this, rather than asking me to embark upon a lifetime of devotion the scientific understanding of that which is beyond the understanding of science; why don’t you embark upon a lifetime of devotion to (any) religion and the principle of compassion to all, after all at the core all religion are the same and interestingly enough to be a believer literally means to “hold dear” to “devote oneself to” not as science would claim to “accept without proof”. Now don’t shirk here going to church on the Sabbath and topping up the collection plate, or adhering to to prayer time etc etc… If after a reasonable period of devotion (in its strictest sense) your life has not improved for the better I will concede. Seem unreasonable? Of course it does because asking or forcing people to adhere to another persons measure or understanding of right or wrong is unreasonable. If you are looking for theisms contribution to society you are looking for the elephant in the room; you are looking for the very notion that enabled the establishment of social acceptance, collaborative effort and the pursuit of the greater good for the benefit of the whole in which science has its place.

    1. J writes: [I know you want this conversation to take part within the confines of scientific discussion but the thing is science and the supernatural (Definition:Of a manifestation or event) attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature) are intrinsically linked and ultimately, completely incompatible.]

      They can’t be both linked and incompatible. If they are linked then they HAVE to be compatible in some way. If something supernatural, such as gods, interact with anything in the universe then they must be a part of the universe based on conservation laws. Of course the first thing believers say to this is that a god is the exception. There is no known evidence of any exceptions to the conservation laws, which means such an exception comment is baseless conjecture. It’s the “magic” part of gods that has to be injected at some point to gloss over the illogical parts of the argument…

      [Science is a very specific toolset relating to the observable universe and nothing else. Science is only capable of describing the universe in terms of itself (science is rhetorical) it is subsequently impossible for science to describe anything supernatural. When one proposes the existence of a God who made the universe one is proposing a being which is necessarily outside of the universe, beyond our understanding and ultimately outside of any frame of reference available to us. This is what I mean when I say there is no evidence (at least the kind of evidence that science requires).]

      This is exactly the “magic” part I am referring to. There is no evidence for any of this, but in order for these gods to exist you have to invoke such exceptions in order to make it possible. You can’t possibly know this is true, yet you want to claim it so.

      [For me the only logical position on theism is agnosticism and this is because when I ask myself “J, what do think about the whole god thing?” My answer is, well there is so much we cannot explain yet no empirical evidence for god. In summary there is not enough information to answer the question. Many scientist, business men, politicians etc have a great deal of difficulty saying “I don’t know” after all they have put themselves forward as the fountain of all knowledge and it would be rather embarrassing to come up short wouldn’t it]

      Theism deals with belief, agnosticism deals with knowledge. They aren’t related. I guess you can technically be an agnostic theist, meaning you don’t know if a god exists or not but you believe that one does. That seems contradictory to me but supposedly it is possible. Regardless, the amount of stuff we do not know in no way lends credence to the idea that part of the stuff we don’t know yet will prove divine entities exist. Just because we don’t know everything doesn’t mean we have yet to find proof of gods. All we can deal with is what we do know, and within that group there is absolutely nothing that verifies religious claims or gods. Anything else is pure conjecture…

      [You guys on here like to band about the word dishonest a lot, have you really considered your position do you have enough information to really answer these supernatural questions? For instance, the favourite challenge of the atheist (who is often the anti-theist in disguise) is that of providing proof; that is providing scientific proof of supernatural activity. To this end the atheist employs the “burden of proof” argument. This particular argument sure does hold up if a theist is bent on converting the atheist, however in this case no one wants to convert anyone I and DK it seems ask only for a little respect for our take on a fundamentally unanswerable question.]

      That seems to be a circular statement to me. The reason it is unanswerable is because you cannot hold up your burden of proof that gods exist, and since you cannot prove something does not exist we are left with an unprovable statement. Insert leprechaun or unicorn in there and it is the exact same thing. The reason atheists ask for proof is because we all know that there isn’t any. We are all smart enough in here, theists and atheists, to realize that I think. The claimant is the one who is supposed to prove their statement, but those that claim a god is real can never meet the burden. Which begs the question, at least in my mind, of why one believes in something that is baseless conjecture? (I never seem to get a good answer for that question either).

      [why don’t you embark upon a lifetime of devotion to (any) religion and the principle of compassion to all, after all at the core all religion are the same and interestingly enough to be a believer literally means to “hold dear” to “devote oneself to” not as science would claim to “accept without proof”.]

      I took a class at St Louis University on world religions once. The core of all religions is most definitely NOT the same. As for devoting oneself to any religion, I ask why should I? Is the fear of eternal punishment why you are compassionate? Why does a person need to practice a religion to be compassionate? They don’t, quite simply. There is no data that says religion is required to be a “good” person, or to be compassionate. Why don’t you just be an atheist and see if you can do it without the dogma…seem unreasonable?

      To be a believer does mean to accept without proof. That’s the definition of the word.

      [If you are looking for theisms contribution to society you are looking for the elephant in the room; you are looking for the very notion that enabled the establishment of social acceptance, collaborative effort and the pursuit of the greater good for the benefit of the whole in which science has its place.]

      Pardon my bluntness, but that is absurd. I’ve never seen evidence for, but often read of, such claims about theism/religion/dogma before, and there isn’t one shred of truth to any of it. I’m not saying that no good has ever come out of theistic avenues, but to claim that theism is the reason for social acceptance et al is ridiculous nonsense…

  7. Hi Tim. I really don’t have time to respond in full this morning but I have a few quick links for you to investigate.

    The Golden Rule:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule

    The driving principle behind all of my posts here.

    The Torah on one foot: http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/tgm/tgm11.htm

    I am sure you know from your studies the torah is the first book of the bible in jewish tradition and represents the core or foundation of the abrahamic religions i.e Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

    The etymology of the word belief and its evolution to the todays current usage: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=belief

    I wish you all the best in your pursuit of knowledge but more so I wish (that is my heart longs for) you
    the good fortune (the more favourable probabilistic outcome) to stumble upon the understanding required to apply your knowledge in bringing people together in peace whatever their disposition.

    J

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