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The Top 10 Reasons I Don't Believe in God

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The following is an excerpt from Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless by Greta Christina. The book is available electronically on Kindle, Nook, and  soon in print.

"But just because religion has done some harm -- that doesn't mean it's mistaken! Sure, people have done terrible things in God's name. That doesn't mean God doesn't exist!"

Yup. If you're arguing that -- you're absolutely right. And the question of whether religion is true or not is important. It's not the main point of this book: if you want more thorough arguments for why God doesn't exist, by me or other writers, check out the Resource Guide at the end of this book. But "Does God exist?" is a valid and relevant question. Here are my Top Ten reasons why the answer is a resounding, "No."

1: The consistent replacement of supernatural explanations of the world with natural ones.

When you look at the history of what we know about the world, you see a noticeable pattern. Natural explanations of things have been replacing supernatural explanations of them. Like a steamroller. Why the Sun rises and sets. Where thunder and lightning come from. Why people get sick. Why people look like their parents. How the complexity of life came into being. I could go on and on.

All these things were once explained by religion. But as we understood the world better, and learned to observe it more carefully, the explanations based on religion were replaced by ones based on physical cause and effect. Consistently. Thoroughly. Like a steamroller. The number of times that a supernatural explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a natural explanation? Thousands upon thousands upon thousands.

Now. The number of times that a natural explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a supernatural one? The number of times humankind has said, "We used to think (X) was caused by physical cause and effect, but now we understand that it's caused by God, or spirits, or demons, or the soul"?

Exactly zero.

Sure, people come up with new supernatural "explanations" for stuff all the time. But explanations with evidence? Replicable evidence? Carefully gathered, patiently tested, rigorously reviewed evidence? Internally consistent evidence? Large amounts of it, from many different sources? Again -- exactly zero.

Given that this is true, what are the chances that any given phenomenon for which we currently don't have a thorough explanation -- human consciousness, for instance, or the origin of the Universe -- will be best explained by the supernatural?

Given this pattern, it's clear that the chances of this are essentially zero. So close to zero that they might as well be zero. And the hypothesis of the supernatural is therefore a hypothesis we can discard. It is a hypothesis we came up with when we didn't understand the world as well as we do now... but that, on more careful examination, has never once been shown to be correct.

If I see any solid evidence to support God, or any supernatural explanation of any phenomenon, I'll reconsider my disbelief. Until then, I'll assume that the mind-bogglingly consistent pattern of natural explanations replacing supernatural ones is almost certain to continue.

(Oh -- for the sake of brevity, I'm generally going to say "God" in this chapter when I mean "God, or the soul, or metaphysical energy, or any sort of supernatural being or substance." I don't feel like getting into discussions about, "Well, I don't believe in an old man in the clouds with a white beard, but I believe..." It's not just the man in the white beard that I don't believe in. I don't believe in any sort of religion, any sort of soul or spirit or metaphysical guiding force, anything that isn't the physical world and its vast and astonishing manifestations.

2: The inconsistency of world religions.

If God (or any other metaphysical being or beings) were real, and people were really perceiving him/ her/ it/ them, why do these perceptions differ so wildly?

When different people look at, say, a tree, we more or less agree about what we're looking at: what size it is, what shape, whether it currently has leaves or not and what color those leaves are, etc. We may have disagreements regarding the tree -- what other plants it's most closely related to, where it stands in the evolutionary scheme, should it be cut down to make way for a new sports stadium, etc. But unless one of us is hallucinating or deranged or literally unable to see, we can all agree on the tree's basic existence, and the basic facts about it.

This is blatantly not the case for God. Even among people who do believe in God, there is no agreement about what God is, what God does, what God wants from us, how he acts or doesn't act on the world, whether he's a he, whether there's one or more of him, whether he's a personal being or a diffuse metaphysical substance. And this is among smart, thoughtful people. What's more, many smart, thoughtful people don't even think God exists.

And if God existed, he'd be a whole lot bigger, a whole lot more powerful, with a whole lot more effect in the world, than a tree. Why is it that we can all see a tree in more or less the same way, but we don't see God in even remotely the same way?

The explanation, of course, is that God does not exist. We disagree so radically over what he is because we aren't perceiving anything that's real. We're "perceiving" something we made up; something we were taught to believe; something that the part of our brain that's wired to see pattern and intention, even when none exists, is inclined to see and believe.

(continued below)
by on Apr. 5, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Replies (291-300):
Della529
by Matlock on Apr. 16, 2012 at 7:03 PM

 Please provide an example of one of those you know; what happened, continued to happen in their life that lead them to believe there is no God.

Did they learn more about science and fall away from child-like characteristics necessary in order to understand the bible?

Quoting AdellesMom:

I can comprehend that. You can't comprehend that I'm talking about people that I know.

Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

Yup, you did. You dont believe in other gods and goddesses. You dont co sider yourself as having "shut them out" because you realize yu cant shut something out you simply dont believe exists. Yet you cant comprehend that atheists view the concept of your god exactly the same way. Baffling.




Quoting AdellesMom:

I didn't make your case. I'm not acting "persecuted." ROFL @ that!





Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

You made my case, thank you. Oh, and It isnt "calling you out" to talk to another poster about something you said so can the "poor persecuted me" act.




Quoting AdellesMom:

It's not baffling. I know nothing of those other "gods."



Next time you want to call me out, quote me directly. K?


Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

I am confused why she can't comprehend that it is no different rhan her not believing, say, in the Goddess Brigit. I guarentee she doesn't consider herself as having "shut other gods out" of her life because, in fact, she flat just doesn't believe they exists,. Why she can't wrap her head around it is baffling.








Quoting PurdueMom:

That doesn't make sense.  Atheists don't believe God exists.  How does one shut out of her life something that doesn't exist?

Quoting AdellesMom:

That there aren't any Atheists that have shut God out of their lives.







Quoting PurdueMom:

Now you've confused me.  What's my theory?    (...and I don't think you are being mean.  lol)

Quoting AdellesMom:

Funny story: it isn't! I know people like what I described IRL.









There goes your theory.









Like I said, I wasn't trying to be mean. It's my opinion.














 

Goodwoman614
by Satan on Apr. 16, 2012 at 7:04 PM
Quoting Raintree:



I LOLed at the "are you rich and insane" as well. Made me think of a few ppl...Tom Cruise, for one.
AdellesMom
by on Apr. 16, 2012 at 7:12 PM
I already said that I'm not going to put their personal info all over the Internet. I already have a "nutshell" explanation a few pages back.

Quoting Della529:

 Please provide an example of one of those you know; what happened, continued to happen in their life that lead them to believe there is no God.


Did they learn more about science and fall away from child-like characteristics necessary in order to understand the bible?


Quoting AdellesMom:

I can comprehend that. You can't comprehend that I'm talking about people that I know.


Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

Yup, you did. You dont believe in other gods and goddesses. You dont co sider yourself as having "shut them out" because you realize yu cant shut something out you simply dont believe exists. Yet you cant comprehend that atheists view the concept of your god exactly the same way. Baffling.





Quoting AdellesMom:

I didn't make your case. I'm not acting "persecuted." ROFL @ that!






Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

You made my case, thank you. Oh, and It isnt "calling you out" to talk to another poster about something you said so can the "poor persecuted me" act.





Quoting AdellesMom:

It's not baffling. I know nothing of those other "gods."



Next time you want to call me out, quote me directly. K?



Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

I am confused why she can't comprehend that it is no different rhan her not believing, say, in the Goddess Brigit. I guarentee she doesn't consider herself as having "shut other gods out" of her life because, in fact, she flat just doesn't believe they exists,. Why she can't wrap her head around it is baffling.









Quoting PurdueMom:


That doesn't make sense.  Atheists don't believe God exists.  How does one shut out of her life something that doesn't exist?


Quoting AdellesMom:

That there aren't any Atheists that have shut God out of their lives.








Quoting PurdueMom:


Now you've confused me.  What's my theory?    (...and I don't think you are being mean.  lol)


Quoting AdellesMom:

Funny story: it isn't! I know people like what I described IRL.









There goes your theory.









Like I said, I wasn't trying to be mean. It's my opinion.
















 

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
AdellesMom
by on Apr. 16, 2012 at 7:19 PM
Your whole notion is based on the assumption that Sally had never read the entire Bible before. What if she had? What would you say then?

Quoting Clairwil:

Let's see if I can describe the situation in neutral language.

I'll use a random name (Sally) as my example.


Sally starts off as a regular church goer.  She attends an hour long service every Sunday, and sticks around for another hour after church to chat with her friends over a cup of tea in the church hall.  She prays several times a week, closing her eyes and asking for guidance.  This ritual gives her comfort and she thinks that the she receives guidance, that the answers she comes to during prayer that she gets a positive feeling about are God talking to her.

Then Sally's daughter falls ill.  Sally has to make a decision over which course of medical treatment to pursue and she prays for guidance.  She feels precisly the same warm feeling over one of the options as she normally does, and gladly follows that course, even when the results are not as good as expected, confident in the benign fore-knowledge of her Lord.  As the daughter gets worse, Sally prayer more and harder, like she's never prayed in her life, and keeps getting the answer, "have faith, hold the course, I know best".

Sally's daughter dies.  Sally feels betrayed.  She doesn't doubt God's existence at this stage, but she starts to have doubts about his benevolence or wisdom.  Does he even care?  How could the death of the daughter possibly be the best path?  She stops praying, stops attending Church.  It is like a pet owner who banishes their dog to the back yard after it bites someone and, eventually, sends the dog to a rescue centre.

This step of stopping the rituals, changing social circle away from believers to people who hold a variety of views about religion is (for Sally) a pre-requisite for her hearing and being open to a new idea.  Maybe God wasn't being mean to her.  Maybe he just doesn't even exist!


Previous Christian friends of Sallys would indeed describe the process thus far as Sally becoming an Atheist because she shut God out of her life.   Sally might even use the same language to describe the process thus far.

But what those friends are less likely to observe (or be told about) is the process that happens after that point.  After Sally has, for the first time, decided to objectively consider with an open mind, the possibility that God doesn't exist.  Because things don't end just there.

Sally, who used to be keen on Bible study, who could recite long passages, and quote what Aquinas or Augustine thought about various abstract theological points, doesn't suddenly lose that knowledge.  She doesn't suddenly become a ninny, and lose all critical facilities.

A frequent next step in the process is that Sally goes back to her Bible.  But this time she reads all of it, not just the bits her pastor or reading circle direct her attention to.  And, this time, instead of reading each passage with the prior assumption "This stuff is true, it is up to me to work out the implications of that and come up with an interpretation that makes me happy that it fits the rest of what I believe", this time she is reading it with an open mindset "I don't know if this is true or not.  How else might someone have come to write this stuff, if it were not true.  What are all the logical possibilities, and what is the evidence for and against?"

It may take weeks or it may take years.  Sally will quite often miss the comforting feeling she used to get from being a believer (and her previous friends and social life), and desperately search for some, any, way that she can reconcile the new information she has found in a way that doesn't leave her intellectual integrity and self regard in tatters.  It is a very similar process to an abused wife who has left her husband after great internal struggle, but still feels temptation to return and believe his lies, and keeps having to reherse to herself the objective evidence all her girlfriends have pointed out to her.

Eventually Sally reaches an equilibrium state, where she has built up new friends outside the church, has had positive experiences of freedom (like not having to kowtow to men), and has realised in her heart that stopping believing doesn't make her immoral or ungrateful.  She's still a decent person, doesn't sleep around, or hurt people.  She still gives to charity and tries not to lie.  And takes great satisfaction from the knowledge that she's doing so because she thinks it is right, not from fear of burning in hell.  She actually feels more moral, more virtuous, more confident in herself and human nature, than she did previously.   She might get to know a gay person and, freed from the need to preach to them, realise they are human too not a puppet of Satan.  She might learn a bit of science, and find out that her pastor has been lying to her when presenting how the scientific community actually view evolution and those who support Intelligent Design.

After a while, and reading about the actually bloody battles and backroom deals between factions that went on during the Nicene Councils, Sally is likely to get pretty pissed about not just her pastor lying to her, but hundreds of generations of patriarchal pastors lying to her.   She reads more deeply about the Bible, and discovers glosses.  A scribe, copying a slightly unclear script, often make notes in the margin.  Indeed, paper being scarce, if was difficult for the scribe copying that copy to tell which were the main text and which were margin notes, and sometimes the margin notes got inserted as being part of the main text.  Sally thinks about her previous life, and being told the husband is the head of household who gets to do the scriptural interpretation and the she should stay quiet in church, and the effect of sexist controlling glosses added into the text, and thinks "Why the hell, when I was a believer, did nobody point this out?  Why were so many people so keen to hush up this area of uncertainty, that they were willing to shut up half the congregation rather than open the debate.  What's WRONG with them?"

Sally, 10 years down the line, if asked why she is an Atheist, will peel the paint off the wall giving a list 99 reasons long, and "shutting God out of my life" won't appear in the top 10 or even the top 50.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Della529
by Matlock on Apr. 16, 2012 at 7:46 PM

 

Quoting Clairwil:

Let's see if I can describe the situation in neutral language.

I'll use a random name (Sally) as my example.

 

Sally starts off as a regular church goer.  She attends an hour long service every Sunday, and sticks around for another hour after church to chat with her friends over a cup of tea in the church hall.  She prays several times a week, closing her eyes and asking for guidance.  This ritual gives her comfort and she thinks that the she receives guidance, that the answers she comes to during prayer that she gets a positive feeling about are God talking to her.

Then Sally's daughter falls ill.  Sally has to make a decision over which course of medical treatment to pursue and she prays for guidance.  She feels precisly the same warm feeling over one of the options as she normally does, and gladly follows that course, even when the results are not as good as expected, confident in the benign fore-knowledge of her Lord.  As the daughter gets worse, Sally prayer more and harder, like she's never prayed in her life, and keeps getting the answer, "have faith, hold the course, I know best".

Sally's daughter dies.  Sally feels betrayed.  She doesn't doubt God's existence at this stage, but she starts to have doubts about his benevolence or wisdom.  Does he even care?  How could the death of the daughter possibly be the best path?  She stops praying, stops attending Church.  It is like a pet owner who banishes their dog to the back yard after it bites someone and, eventually, sends the dog to a rescue centre.

This step of stopping the rituals, changing social circle away from believers to people who hold a variety of views about religion is (for Sally) a pre-requisite for her hearing and being open to a new idea.  Maybe God wasn't being mean to her.  Maybe he just doesn't even exist!

 

Previous Christian friends of Sallys would indeed describe the process thus far as Sally becoming an Atheist because she shut God out of her life.   Sally might even use the same language to describe the process thus far.

But what those friends are less likely to observe (or be told about) is the process that happens after that point.  After Sally has, for the first time, decided to objectively consider with an open mind, the possibility that God doesn't exist.  Because things don't end just there.

Sally, who used to be keen on Bible study, who could recite long passages, and quote what Aquinas or Augustine thought about various abstract theological points, doesn't suddenly lose that knowledge.  She doesn't suddenly become a ninny, and lose all critical facilities.

A frequent next step in the process is that Sally goes back to her Bible.  But this time she reads all of it, not just the bits her pastor or reading circle direct her attention to.  And, this time, instead of reading each passage with the prior assumption "This stuff is true, it is up to me to work out the implications of that and come up with an interpretation that makes me happy that it fits the rest of what I believe", this time she is reading it with an open mindset "I don't know if this is true or not.  How else might someone have come to write this stuff, if it were not true.  What are all the logical possibilities, and what is the evidence for and against?"

It may take weeks or it may take years.  Sally will quite often miss the comforting feeling she used to get from being a believer (and her previous friends and social life), and desperately search for some, any, way that she can reconcile the new information she has found in a way that doesn't leave her intellectual integrity and self regard in tatters.  It is a very similar process to an abused wife who has left her husband after great internal struggle, but still feels temptation to return and believe his lies, and keeps having to reherse to herself the objective evidence all her girlfriends have pointed out to her.

Eventually Sally reaches an equilibrium state, where she has built up new friends outside the church, has had positive experiences of freedom (like not having to kowtow to men), and has realised in her heart that stopping believing doesn't make her immoral or ungrateful.  She's still a decent person, doesn't sleep around, or hurt people.  She still gives to charity and tries not to lie.  And takes great satisfaction from the knowledge that she's doing so because she thinks it is right, not from fear of burning in hell.  She actually feels more moral, more virtuous, more confident in herself and human nature, than she did previously.   She might get to know a gay person and, freed from the need to preach to them, realise they are human too not a puppet of Satan.  She might learn a bit of science, and find out that her pastor has been lying to her when presenting how the scientific community actually view evolution and those who support Intelligent Design.

After a while, and reading about the actually bloody battles and backroom deals between factions that went on during the Nicene Councils, Sally is likely to get pretty pissed about not just her pastor lying to her, but hundreds of generations of patriarchal pastors lying to her.   She reads more deeply about the Bible, and discovers glosses.  A scribe, copying a slightly unclear script, often make notes in the margin.  Indeed, paper being scarce, if was difficult for the scribe copying that copy to tell which were the main text and which were margin notes, and sometimes the margin notes got inserted as being part of the main text.  Sally thinks about her previous life, and being told the husband is the head of household who gets to do the scriptural interpretation and the she should stay quiet in church, and the effect of sexist controlling glosses added into the text, and thinks "Why the hell, when I was a believer, did nobody point this out?  Why were so many people so keen to hush up this area of uncertainty, that they were willing to shut up half the congregation rather than open the debate.  What's WRONG with them?"

Sally, 10 years down the line, if asked why she is an Atheist, will peel the paint off the wall giving a list 99 reasons long, and "shutting God out of my life" won't appear in the top 10 or even the top 50.

 I still believe, but you could substitute the name "Della" for "Sally" up to a point in this scenario, and it describes me.

newmom2be08
by Member on Apr. 16, 2012 at 8:00 PM

 

Quoting Della529:

 

Quoting Clairwil:

Let's see if I can describe the situation in neutral language.

I'll use a random name (Sally) as my example.

 

Sally starts off as a regular church goer.  She attends an hour long service every Sunday, and sticks around for another hour after church to chat with her friends over a cup of tea in the church hall.  She prays several times a week, closing her eyes and asking for guidance.  This ritual gives her comfort and she thinks that the she receives guidance, that the answers she comes to during prayer that she gets a positive feeling about are God talking to her.

Then Sally's daughter falls ill.  Sally has to make a decision over which course of medical treatment to pursue and she prays for guidance.  She feels precisly the same warm feeling over one of the options as she normally does, and gladly follows that course, even when the results are not as good as expected, confident in the benign fore-knowledge of her Lord.  As the daughter gets worse, Sally prayer more and harder, like she's never prayed in her life, and keeps getting the answer, "have faith, hold the course, I know best".

Sally's daughter dies.  Sally feels betrayed.  She doesn't doubt God's existence at this stage, but she starts to have doubts about his benevolence or wisdom.  Does he even care?  How could the death of the daughter possibly be the best path?  She stops praying, stops attending Church.  It is like a pet owner who banishes their dog to the back yard after it bites someone and, eventually, sends the dog to a rescue centre.

This step of stopping the rituals, changing social circle away from believers to people who hold a variety of views about religion is (for Sally) a pre-requisite for her hearing and being open to a new idea.  Maybe God wasn't being mean to her.  Maybe he just doesn't even exist!

 

Previous Christian friends of Sallys would indeed describe the process thus far as Sally becoming an Atheist because she shut God out of her life.   Sally might even use the same language to describe the process thus far.

But what those friends are less likely to observe (or be told about) is the process that happens after that point.  After Sally has, for the first time, decided to objectively consider with an open mind, the possibility that God doesn't exist.  Because things don't end just there.

Sally, who used to be keen on Bible study, who could recite long passages, and quote what Aquinas or Augustine thought about various abstract theological points, doesn't suddenly lose that knowledge.  She doesn't suddenly become a ninny, and lose all critical facilities.

A frequent next step in the process is that Sally goes back to her Bible.  But this time she reads all of it, not just the bits her pastor or reading circle direct her attention to.  And, this time, instead of reading each passage with the prior assumption "This stuff is true, it is up to me to work out the implications of that and come up with an interpretation that makes me happy that it fits the rest of what I believe", this time she is reading it with an open mindset "I don't know if this is true or not.  How else might someone have come to write this stuff, if it were not true.  What are all the logical possibilities, and what is the evidence for and against?"

It may take weeks or it may take years.  Sally will quite often miss the comforting feeling she used to get from being a believer (and her previous friends and social life), and desperately search for some, any, way that she can reconcile the new information she has found in a way that doesn't leave her intellectual integrity and self regard in tatters.  It is a very similar process to an abused wife who has left her husband after great internal struggle, but still feels temptation to return and believe his lies, and keeps having to reherse to herself the objective evidence all her girlfriends have pointed out to her.

Eventually Sally reaches an equilibrium state, where she has built up new friends outside the church, has had positive experiences of freedom (like not having to kowtow to men), and has realised in her heart that stopping believing doesn't make her immoral or ungrateful.  She's still a decent person, doesn't sleep around, or hurt people.  She still gives to charity and tries not to lie.  And takes great satisfaction from the knowledge that she's doing so because she thinks it is right, not from fear of burning in hell.  She actually feels more moral, more virtuous, more confident in herself and human nature, than she did previously.   She might get to know a gay person and, freed from the need to preach to them, realise they are human too not a puppet of Satan.  She might learn a bit of science, and find out that her pastor has been lying to her when presenting how the scientific community actually view evolution and those who support Intelligent Design.

After a while, and reading about the actually bloody battles and backroom deals between factions that went on during the Nicene Councils, Sally is likely to get pretty pissed about not just her pastor lying to her, but hundreds of generations of patriarchal pastors lying to her.   She reads more deeply about the Bible, and discovers glosses.  A scribe, copying a slightly unclear script, often make notes in the margin.  Indeed, paper being scarce, if was difficult for the scribe copying that copy to tell which were the main text and which were margin notes, and sometimes the margin notes got inserted as being part of the main text.  Sally thinks about her previous life, and being told the husband is the head of household who gets to do the scriptural interpretation and the she should stay quiet in church, and the effect of sexist controlling glosses added into the text, and thinks "Why the hell, when I was a believer, did nobody point this out?  Why were so many people so keen to hush up this area of uncertainty, that they were willing to shut up half the congregation rather than open the debate.  What's WRONG with them?"

Sally, 10 years down the line, if asked why she is an Atheist, will peel the paint off the wall giving a list 99 reasons long, and "shutting God out of my life" won't appear in the top 10 or even the top 50.

 I still believe, but you could substitute the name "Della" for "Sally" up to a point in this scenario, and it describes me.

So, something happened that made you question whether God exists or not?  At one time, did you think He did exist?  We don't always understand God's ways and sometimes we just aren't supposed to, but as a Christian I keep pressing onward when life gets hard.  I have had a very rough year and have had some very sad things to deal with in my life, but not for one second do I question if God is there.  I know He is and even through this difficult time, He has made it even more apparent that He is right there with me, in more ways than one. 

Della529
by Matlock on Apr. 16, 2012 at 8:45 PM

 

Quoting newmom2be08:

 

Quoting Clairwil:

 

Quoting newmom2be08:

 

Quoting romalove:

You didn't answer my question.

Quoting newmom2be08:

 


Quoting romalove:


 


Quoting newmom2be08:


 


Quoting Goodwoman614:

5: The fact that religion runs in families.

The single strongest factor in determining what religion a person is? It's what religion they were brought up with. By far. Very few people carefully examine all the available religious beliefs -- or even some of those beliefs -- and select the one they think most accurately describes the world. Overwhelmingly, people believe whatever religion they were taught as children.

Now, we don't do this with, for instance, science. We don't hold on to the Steady State theory of the Universe, or geocentrism, or the four bodily humours theory of illness, simply because it's what we were taught as children. We believe whatever scientific understanding is best supported by the best available evidence at the time. And if the evidence changes, our understanding changes. (Unless, of course, it's a scientific understanding that our religion teaches is wrong...)

Even political opinions don't run in families as stubbornly as religion. Witness the opinion polls that show support of same-sex marriage increasing with each new generation. Political beliefs learned from youth can, and do, break down in the face of the reality that people see every day. And scientific theories do this, all the time, on a regular basis.

This is emphatically not the case with religion.

Which leads me to the conclusion that religion is not a perception of a real entity. If it were, people wouldn't just believe whatever religion they were taught as children, simply because it was what they were taught as children. The fact that religion runs so firmly in families strongly suggests that it is not a perception of a real phenomenon. It is a dogma, supported and perpetuated by tradition and social pressure -- and in many cases, by fear and intimidation. Not by reality.

6: The physical causes of everything we think of as the soul.

The sciences of neurology and neuropsychology are in their infancy. But they are advancing by astonishing leaps and bounds, even as we speak. And what they are finding -- consistently, thoroughly, across the board -- is that, whatever consciousness is, it is inextricably linked to the brain.

Everything we think of as the soul -- consciousness, identity, character, free will -- all of that is powerfully affected by physical changes to the brain and body. Changes in the brain result in changes in consciousness... sometimes so drastically, they make a personality unrecognizable. Changes in consciousness can be seen, with magnetic resonance imagery, as changes in the brain. Illness, injury, drugs and medicines, sleep deprivation, etc.... all of these can make changes to the supposed "soul," both subtle and dramatic. And death, of course, is a physical change that renders a person's personality and character, not only unrecognizable, but non-existent.

So the obvious conclusion is that consciousness and identity, character and free will, are products of the brain and the body. They're biological processes, governed by laws of physical cause and effect. With any other phenomenon, if we can show that physical forces and actions produce observable effects, we think of that as a physical phenomenon. Why should the "soul" be any different?

What's more, the evidence supporting this conclusion comes from rigorously-gathered, carefully-tested, thoroughly cross-checked, double-blinded, placebo- controlled, replicated, peer-reviewed research. The evidence has been gathered, and continues to be gathered, using the gold standard of scientific evidence: methods specifically designed to filter out biases and cognitive errors as much as humanly possible. And it's not just a little research. It's an enormous mountain of research... a mountain that's growing more mountainous every day.

The hypothesis of the soul, on the other hand, has not once in all of human history been supported by good, solid scientific evidence. That's pretty surprising when you think about it. For decades, and indeed centuries, most scientists had some sort of religious beliefs, and most of them believed in the soul. So a great deal of early science was dedicated to proving the soul's existence, and discovering and exploring its nature. It wasn't until after decades upon decades of fruitless research in this area that scientists finally gave it up as a bad job, and concluded, almost unanimously, that the reason they hadn't found a soul was that there was no such thing.

Are there unanswered questions about consciousness? Absolutely. Tons of them. No reputable neurologist or neuropsychologist would say otherwise. But think again about how the history of human knowledge is the history of supernatural explanations being replaced by natural ones... with relentless consistency, again, and again, and again. There hasn't been a single exception to this pattern. Why would we assume that the soul is going to be that exception? Why would we assume that this gap in our knowledge, alone among all the others, is eventually going to be filled with a supernatural explanation? The historical pattern doesn't support it. And the evidence doesn't support it. The increasingly clear conclusion of the science is that consciousness is a product of the brain. Period.

I for one am so grateful that "religion" runs in families.  I am forever indebted to my parents for instilling the Christian faith in my life.  I also have the promise of being reunited with those loved ones again someday that have gone on before me.  Hallelujah! 


 If you were born to a Muslim family, or a Jewish family, or a Druid family, or a Hindu family, or a Buddhist family, what would happen to you then?


Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life....NO ONE comes to the Father, but through Me." 


For me, there is no other way than the path that is narrow, for that path leads to Christ.  I also accept that your viewpoint on this issue may vary from mine.


 

I thought my first statement was self-explanatory. 

 

If a person is a Hindu then, according to you, what happens when they die?

  • Do they go straight to a firey hell, to roast there for eternity?
  • Do they spend a miserable time in some limbo or purgatory, before eventually getting to heaven?
  • Do they get a second chance, after death, to get to know and accept Jesus, before the last judgement?

What happens to them?

Everybody has a day when we will have to enter God’s courtroom but the day and time is unspecified. However, we will be dragged into this court by death.  God will judge us at that time and He will say to the ones that didn't accept him, "Depart from Me, I knew you not."   There will not be a second chance.  You either believe or you don't and those that do not believe will not spend eternity with Jesus.   

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”   Revelation 21:8

 So this God, the one vetted and accepted by Christians, is the only answer?  I thought Christianity was an Abrahamic religion.  Imagine my surprise to learn it's superseded all others.

Della529
by Matlock on Apr. 16, 2012 at 9:09 PM

 Their personal story isn't personal unless you name them.

Quoting AdellesMom:

I already said that I'm not going to put their personal info all over the Internet. I already have a "nutshell" explanation a few pages back.

Quoting Della529:

 Please provide an example of one of those you know; what happened, continued to happen in their life that lead them to believe there is no God.


Did they learn more about science and fall away from child-like characteristics necessary in order to understand the bible?


Quoting AdellesMom:

I can comprehend that. You can't comprehend that I'm talking about people that I know.


Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

Yup, you did. You dont believe in other gods and goddesses. You dont co sider yourself as having "shut them out" because you realize yu cant shut something out you simply dont believe exists. Yet you cant comprehend that atheists view the concept of your god exactly the same way. Baffling.


Quoting AdellesMom:

I didn't make your case. I'm not acting "persecuted." ROFL @ that!


Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

You made my case, thank you. Oh, and It isnt "calling you out" to talk to another poster about something you said so can the "poor persecuted me" act.

Quoting AdellesMom:

It's not baffling. I know nothing of those other "gods."

Next time you want to call me out, quote me directly. K?



Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

I am confused why she can't comprehend that it is no different rhan her not believing, say, in the Goddess Brigit. I guarentee she doesn't consider herself as having "shut other gods out" of her life because, in fact, she flat just doesn't believe they exists,. Why she can't wrap her head around it is baffling.

Quoting PurdueMom:


That doesn't make sense.  Atheists don't believe God exists.  How does one shut out of her life something that doesn't exist?


Quoting AdellesMom:

That there aren't any Atheists that have shut God out of their lives.


Quoting PurdueMom:


Now you've confused me.  What's my theory?    (...and I don't think you are being mean.  lol)


Quoting AdellesMom:

Funny story: it isn't! I know people like what I described IRL.

There goes your theory.

Like I said, I wasn't trying to be mean. It's my opinion.
















 

 

AdellesMom
by on Apr. 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM
Their personal stories are their personal stories whether I name them or not. I don't have their permission to tell anyone about thee story. Like I said, I gave a "nutshell" explanation a few pages back.

Quoting Della529:

 Their personal story isn't personal unless you name them.


Quoting AdellesMom:

I already said that I'm not going to put their personal info all over the Internet. I already have a "nutshell" explanation a few pages back.


Quoting Della529:


 Please provide an example of one of those you know; what happened, continued to happen in their life that lead them to believe there is no God.



Did they learn more about science and fall away from child-like characteristics necessary in order to understand the bible?



Quoting AdellesMom:

I can comprehend that. You can't comprehend that I'm talking about people that I know.



Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

Yup, you did. You dont believe in other gods and goddesses. You dont co sider yourself as having "shut them out" because you realize yu cant shut something out you simply dont believe exists. Yet you cant comprehend that atheists view the concept of your god exactly the same way. Baffling.



Quoting AdellesMom:

I didn't make your case. I'm not acting "persecuted." ROFL @ that!



Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

You made my case, thank you. Oh, and It isnt "calling you out" to talk to another poster about something you said so can the "poor persecuted me" act.


Quoting AdellesMom:

It's not baffling. I know nothing of those other "gods."

Next time you want to call me out, quote me directly. K?




Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

I am confused why she can't comprehend that it is no different rhan her not believing, say, in the Goddess Brigit. I guarentee she doesn't consider herself as having "shut other gods out" of her life because, in fact, she flat just doesn't believe they exists,. Why she can't wrap her head around it is baffling.


Quoting PurdueMom:



That doesn't make sense.  Atheists don't believe God exists.  How does one shut out of her life something that doesn't exist?



Quoting AdellesMom:

That there aren't any Atheists that have shut God out of their lives.



Quoting PurdueMom:



Now you've confused me.  What's my theory?    (...and I don't think you are being mean.  lol)




Quoting AdellesMom:

Funny story: it isn't! I know people like what I described IRL.


There goes your theory.

Like I said, I wasn't trying to be mean. It's my opinion.


















 


 

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
JonJon
by Ruby Member on Apr. 16, 2012 at 9:27 PM

I writing, "Who cares?" so I can get reply #300 just for fun.


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