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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was watching some videos on YouTube and reading some articles and every single person that says they have evidence that God exists use the Bible to do so. Isn't that like me using a Wicca book to prove Hectate, or about Zoroastrianism to prove Mithra?

They say things are too complicated to have originated by itself, and thus there MUST be a creator. But, doesn't that make the creator more complicated than his creation? If complicated things don't just happen, who created this complex creator? And who created that even more complex creator? It's a self-defeating argument.

Every single religion claims to be true, they condemn others, except for some left-hand-path ones that claim to be simply "branches" of the greater "will" or "gods" or whatever.

Anyway, I just want your thoughts on this, and if it's reasonable at all to use the Bible as evidence for God... I think it's not.
 

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黐線 ~Chiseen~
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My view of God is like how humans are compared to ants.

So for example, a colony of ants do what they do and gather food for their community. Seldom do ants scatter away from the collective. Even if they do, they may simply 'fit' right in a neighboring colony if it's far from where they were originally from.

Humans being as big as they are, has their own agendas. They go to work, they go to places, they just got out of the house, they could be doing one of anything at any single point in time. Humans must step on grass and ground to do so. At the same time, they may be causing violent quakes or even killing mass amounts of ants by stepping on them without second thought.

Now unless the ant farm is controlled in an enclosure or enclosed environment (e.g. DO NOT WALK ON GRASS!) where they're kept as pets; an experiment as you will, only will then is there a Human monitoring the exhibits.

With this said, bring this on the higher scale. The 'Gods' who created our universe may not pay us little beings any mind at all. They have their own agendas while we have ours.

How I see it, no matter how much we pray, worship, call upon, summon 'God(s)', I truly feel such spiritualism falls on deaf ears.

Do I believe there are higher beings beyond our understanding, beyond our dimension? Yes. Do I believe there is an all-knowing all powerful God watching over us? No.

As much as there are many things that cannot be 'explained' now, there's a 'science' behind it... we just see it currently as an unknown... like how medieval people identifies as 'magic' then is what we know as 'science' now. it's a repetitive cycle.

Faith can only carry an explanation so far then it turns towards Science, just like how Science can only carry an explanation so far before it turns to Faith... it's an endless cycle.

*my two cents*
 

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I don't know how anybody can point to a 2000 year old book and go "evidence!", and why that book? Why not the Quran or the Torah, they're just about as convinced that everything in there is true, what makes the christian holy book special apart from the fact that the guy claiming that it's evidence happened to be born in a household where he was brought up to believe that the bible was true? They're jst falling back on tradition because there's so little in the real world for them to justify their opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My view of God is like how humans are compared to ants.

So for example, a colony of ants do what they do and gather food for their community. Seldom do ants scatter away from the collective. Even if they do, they may simply 'fit' right in a neighboring colony if it's far from where they were originally from.

Humans being as big as they are, has their own agendas. They go to work, they go to places, they just got out of the house, they could be doing one of anything at any single point in time. Humans must step on grass and ground to do so. At the same time, they may be causing violent quakes or even killing mass amounts of ants by stepping on them without second thought.

Now unless the ant farm is controlled in an enclosure or enclosed environment (e.g. DO NOT WALK ON GRASS!) where they're kept as pets; an experiment as you will, only will then is there a Human monitoring the exhibits.

With this said, bring this on the higher scale. The 'Gods' who created our universe may not pay us little beings any mind at all. They have their own agendas while we have ours.

How I see it, no matter how much we pray, worship, call upon, summon 'God(s)', I truly feel such spiritualism falls on deaf ears.

Do I believe there are higher beings beyond our understanding, beyond our dimension? Yes. Do I believe there is an all-knowing all powerful God watching over us? No.

As much as there are many things that cannot be 'explained' now, there's a 'science' behind it... we just see it currently as an unknown... like how medieval people identifies as 'magic' then is what we know as 'science' now. it's a repetitive cycle.

Faith can only carry an explanation so far then it turns towards Science, just like how Science can only carry an explanation so far before it turns to Faith... it's an endless cycle.

*my two cents*
Why did you put "my two cents" in white? LOL.

Anyway, thanks for posting that analogy. I guess it makes sense. I personally think that IF there is something greater, or maybe even a creator, it's not the one from any religion and it doesn't really care to help us in any way.
 

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I'm not sure what the videos were, but one method for validating Christianity is to show how historical accounts from the bible are consistent with today's scientific knowledge, to appease skeptical types who believe religion and science are incompatible. This isn't the same as using the bible as evidence to prove God. As for the philosophical issues about existence having a source, we Christians believe in an infinite God who transcends time, who has always existed and always will. We say there is one uncreated entity from which all created things were formed, while atheists tend to believe in a beginning point, within time, where existence began. However, atheists cannot find such a point without assuming that something came from nothing spontaneously without having been acted upon, which is not a claim Christians make. We say there was always at least one thing, without the need for an origin point or a cause, and that the eternal thing was the source of everything that exists within time.
 

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kind of off topic but interesting none the less

BLAM

The God issue: Religion is the key to civilisation - science-in-society - 22 March 2012 - New Scientist
 




As early humans expanded beyond hunter-gatherer groups, religion was the glue that held societies full of strangers together
Read more: "The God issue: New science of religion"
ON A hilltop in what is now south-eastern Turkey rests the world's oldest temple of worship. With its massive, T-shaped stone pillars carved with images of animals, Göbekli Tepe is challenging long-held assumptions about the origins of civilisation. While archaeologists are unearthing clues and debating their meaning, the significance of the site escapes no one.
No evidence of agriculture has been found at the site, which may be explained by the fact that it dates back about 11,500 years, making it old enough to have been built by hunter-gatherers. Yet the monumental architecture of Göbekli Tepe would have required the participation of many hundreds, possibly thousands, of people (Documenta Praehistorica, vol 37, p 239). It may therefore hold clues to two of the deepest puzzles of human civilisation: how did human societies scale up from small, mobile groups of hunter-gatherers to large, sedentary societies? And how did organised religions spread to colonise most minds in the world?
The first puzzle is one of cooperation. Up until about 12,000 years ago all humans lived in relatively small bands. Today, virtually everyone lives in vast, cooperative groups of mostly unrelated strangers. How did this happen?
In evolutionary biology cooperation is usually explained by one of two forms of altruism: cooperation among kin and reciprocal altruism - you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. But cooperation among strangers is not easily explained by either.
As group size increases, both forms of altruism break down. With ever-greater chances of encountering strangers, opportunities for cooperation among kin decline. Reciprocal altruism - without extra safeguards such as institutions for punishing freeloaders - also rapidly stops paying off.
The second puzzle is how certain religious traditions became so widespread. If you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, or an agnostic or atheist descendant of any of these, you are the heir to an extraordinarily successful religious movement that started as an obscure cultural experiment.
"Many are called, but few are chosen," says the Gospel according to Matthew. This might as well describe the law of religious evolution, which dictates that while legions of new religious entities are created, most of them die out, save a potent few that survive and flourish.
In the long run, almost all religious movements fail. In one analysis of the stability of 200 utopian communes, both religious and secular, in 19th century America, Richard Sosis of the University of Connecticut in Storrs found a striking pattern. The average lifespan of the religious communes was a mere 25 years. In 80 years, 9 out of 10 had disbanded. Secular communes, most of which were socialist, fared even worse: they lasted for an average of 6.4 years and 9 out of 10 disappeared in less than 20 years (Cross-Cultural Research, vol 34, p 70).
Göbekli Tepe suggests an elegant solution to both puzzles: each answers the other. To understand how, we need to revisit the lively debates about the evolutionary origins of religion.
A growing view is that religious beliefs and rituals arose as an evolutionary by-product of ordinary cognitive functions (see "The God issue: We are all born believers"). Once that happened, the stage was set for rapid cultural evolution that eventually led to large societies with "Big Gods".
Some early cultural variants of religion presumably promoted prosocial behaviours such as cooperation, trust and self-sacrifice while encouraging displays of religious devotion, such as fasts, food taboos, extravagant rituals and other "hard-to-fake" behaviours which reliably transmitted believers' sincere faith (Evolution and Human Behavior, vol 30, p 244), and signalled their intention to cooperate (Evolutionary Anthropology, vol 12, p 264). Religion thus forged anonymous strangers into moral communities tied together with sacred bonds under a common supernatural jurisdiction.
In turn, such groups would have been larger and more cooperative, and hence more successful in competition for resources and habitats. As these ever-expanding groups grew they took their religions with them, further ratcheting up social solidarity in a runaway process that softened the limitations on group size imposed by kinship and reciprocity.
From there it is a short step to the morally concerned Big Gods of the major world religions. People steeped in the Abrahamic faiths are so accustomed to seeing a link between religion and morality that it is hard for them to imagine that religion did not start that way. Yet the gods of the smallest hunter-gatherer groups, such as the Hadza of east Africa and the San of the Kalahari, are unconcerned with human morality. In these transparent societies where face-to-face interaction is the norm, it is hard to escape the social spotlight. Kin altruism and reciprocity are sufficient to maintain social bonds.
However, as groups expand in size, anonymity invades relationships and cooperation breaks down. Studies show that feelings of anonymity - even illusory, such as wearing dark glasses - are the friends of selfishness and cheating (Psychological Science, vol 21, p 311). Social surveillance, such as being in front of a camera or an audience, has the opposite effect. Even subtle exposure to drawings resembling eyes encourages good behaviour towards strangers (Evolution and Human Behavior, vol 26, p 245). As the saying goes, "watched people are nice people".
It follows, then, that people play nice when they think a god is watching them, and those around them (see "In atheists we distrust"). The anthropological record supports this idea. In moving from the smallest scale human societies to the largest and most complex, Big Gods - powerful, omniscient, interventionist watchers - become increasingly common, and morality and religion become increasingly intertwined (Evolution and Human Behavior, vol 24, p 126).
Quentin Atkinson of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and Harvey Whitehouse of the University of Oxford have found a similar shift in ritual forms: as societies get larger and more complex, rituals become routine and are used to transmit and reinforce doctrines (Evolution and Human Behavior, vol 32, p 50). Similarly, notions of supernatural punishment, karma, damnation and salvation, and heaven and hell are common in modern religions, but relatively infrequent in hunter-gatherer cultures.
Several lines of experimental evidence point in the same direction. In one study, children were instructed not to look inside a box, and then left alone with it. Those who had been told that a supernatural agent called Princess Alice was watching, and actually believed in her existence, were much less likely to peek (Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol 109, p 311).
Economic games have also been used to probe prosocial behaviour. The dictator game, for example, involves two anonymous players in a one-off transaction. Player 1 is given some money and must decide how much of it to give to player 2. Player 2 receives the money (or none) and the game ends. Experiments by Joseph Henrich of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and his colleagues found that, across 15 diverse societies from all over the world, believers in the Abrahamic God gave away more money than those who believed in local deities who are not as omniscient and morally concerned (Science, vol 327, p 1480).
My colleague Azim Shariff and I planted thoughts of God in people before they played the dictator game by subtly exposing them to words such as divine, God and spirit. Other participants played the game without religious prompts. The reminders of God had a powerful effect. Most people in the unexposed group pocketed the lot but those primed to think of God were much more generous (Psychological Science, vol 18, p 803). My colleague Will Gervais and I found that religious reminders heightened believers' feelings of being under surveillance (Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol 48, p 298).
Religion, with its belief in watchful gods and extravagant rituals and practices, has been a social glue for most of human history. But recently some societies have succeeded in sustaining cooperation with secular institutions such as courts, police and mechanisms for enforcing contracts. In some parts of the world, especially Scandinavia, these institutions have precipitated religion's decline by usurping its community-building functions. These societies with atheist majorities - some of the most cooperative, peaceful and prosperous in the world - have climbed religion's ladder and then kicked it away.
Subtle reminders of secular moral authority, words such as civic, jury and police, have the same fairness-promoting effect as reminders of God in the dictator game. People have discovered new ways to be nice to each other without a watchful God.
In atheists we distrust

One of the most persistent but hidden prejudices tied to religion is intolerance of atheists. Surveys consistently find that in societies with religious majorities, atheists have one of the lowest approval ratings of any social group, including other religions (American Sociological Review, vol 71, p 211).
This intolerance has a long history. Back in 1689, Enlightenment philosopher John Locke wrote in A Letter Concerning Toleration: "Those are not at all to be tolerated who deny the Being of a God. Promises, Covenants, and Oaths, which are the Bonds of Humane Society, can have no hold upon an Atheist."
Why do believers reject atheists, who are not a visible, powerful or even a coherent social group? The answer appears to be the same force that helped religions expand while maintaining social cohesion: supernatural surveillance.
My colleagues Will Gervais, Azim Shariff and I have found that Locke's intuition - that atheists cannot be trusted to cooperate - is the root of the intolerance (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol 101, p 1189). Outward displays of belief in a watchful God are viewed as a proxy for trustworthiness. Intolerance of atheists is driven by the intuition that people behave better if they feel that a God is watching them.
While atheists think of their disbelief as a private matter of conscience, believers treat their absence of belief in supernatural surveillance as a threat to cooperation and honesty.


To rule out god, first get to know him - opinion - 19 March 2012 - New Scientist

 


"GIVE me the child until he is seven, and I will show you the man." This Jesuit maxim epitomises how many of us perceive religion: as something that must be imprinted on young minds.
The new science of religion begs to differ. Children are born primed to see god at work all around them and don't need to be indoctrinated to believe in him (see "The God issue: We are all born believers").
This is just one of many recent findings that are challenging standard critiques of religious belief. As we learn more about religion's biological roots, it is becoming clear that secularists are often tilting at windmills and need to rethink.
Another such finding is that belief in a god or gods does appear to encourage people to be nice to one another. Humans clearly don't need religion to be moral, but it helps (see "The God issue: Religion is the key to civilisation").
An interesting corollary of this is a deeply held mistrust of atheists (see "In atheists we distrust"). In fact, atheists might consider themselves as unrecognised victims of discrimination. In a recent opinion poll, Americans identified atheists as the group they would most disapprove of their children marrying and the one least likely to share their own vision of American society. Self-declared atheists are now the only sizeable minority group considered unelectable as president.
Such antipathy poses a dilemma for opponents of religion, and may explain why "militant atheism" has failed to make headway.
Secularists would also do well to recognise the distinction between the "popular religion" that comes easily to people's minds and the convoluted intellectual gymnastics that is theology. Attacking the latter is easy but will do little to undermine religion's grip (see "The God issue: Science won't loosen religion's grip").
This is not an apologia for god. Religious claims still wither under rational scrutiny and deserve no special place in public life. But it is a call for those who aspire to a secular society to approach it rationally - which means making more effort to understand what they are dealing with. Religion is deeply etched in human nature and cannot be dismissed as a product of ignorance, indoctrination or stupidity. Until secularists recognise that, they are fighting a losing battle.
 

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I was watching some videos on YouTube and reading some articles and every single person that says they have evidence that God exists use the Bible to do so. Isn't that like me using a Wicca book to prove Hectate, or about Zoroastrianism to prove Mithra?

They say things are too complicated to have originated by itself, and thus there MUST be a creator. But, doesn't that make the creator more complicated than his creation? If complicated things don't just happen, who created this complex creator? And who created that even more complex creator? It's a self-defeating argument.

Every single religion claims to be true, they condemn others, except for some left-hand-path ones that claim to be simply "branches" of the greater "will" or "gods" or whatever.

Anyway, I just want your thoughts on this, and if it's reasonable at all to use the Bible as evidence for God... I think it's not.
No.. Maybe if you are arguing theology between believers, it's fine.
But for arguing the validity of a religion.. it's basically an appeal to authority fallacy
 

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I'm not sure what the videos were, but one method for validating Christianity is to show how historical accounts from the bible are consistent with today's scientific knowledge, to appease skeptical types who believe religion and science are incompatible. This isn't the same as using the bible as evidence to prove God. As for the philosophical issues about existence having a source, we Christians believe in an infinite God who transcends time, who has always existed and always will. We say there is one uncreated entity from which all created things were formed, while atheists tend to believe in a beginning point, within time, where existence began. However, atheists cannot find such a point without assuming that something came from nothing spontaneously without having been acted upon, which is not a claim Christians make. We say there was always at least one thing, without the need for an origin point or a cause, and that the eternal thing was the source of everything that exists within time.
So... God is not created... he exists eternally... but f you consider such a thing to be possible... can't the universe have also existed in eternity...? being destroyed recreated,etc. ? I think in such a case God IS the universe... all good AND bad... he is not some all loving benevolent entity... but indifferent to good or bad... he is the demon as well as the angel... "He" is no different from an indifferent stone...
 

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Cafe Legend and MOTM Jan 2011
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So... God is not created... he exists eternally... but f you consider such a thing to be possible... can't the universe have also existed in eternity...? being destroyed recreated,etc. ? I think in such a case God IS the universe... all good AND bad... he is not some all loving benevolent entity... but indifferent to good or bad... he is the demon as well as the angel... "He" is no different from an indifferent stone...
If you believe God is the universe, you aren't an atheist. At least you have found a way to avoid certain inconsistencies.
 

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If you believe God is the universe, you aren't an atheist. At least you have found a way to avoid certain inconsistencies.
hehe... I am not an atheist I suppose I'd be an agnostic...

EDIT : and no I don't BELIEVE God is the universe... rather I'm just putting the idea out there... I don't know what I believe... nothing as of yet in terms of God I suppose... won't believe either side without proper evidence of the absence or presence of a God... which may in fact never be proven...
 

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In general, quoting old sources that have yet to be updated or revised to match the current time is not going to provide sufficient evidence to persuade people. Religious text are no different. They provide a static, one dimensional story to a idea that is so vast and most likely beyond our human comprehension. The old gospel is the antithesis of knowledge and understanding.
 

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Using the bible as the sole proof of (a) god's existence is begging the question, right?

You need more that just one single source of evidence.
 

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I was watching some videos on YouTube and reading some articles and every single person that says they have evidence that God exists use the Bible to do so. Isn't that like me using a Wicca book to prove Hectate, or about Zoroastrianism to prove Mithra?

-snip-

Anyway, I just want your thoughts on this, and if it's reasonable at all to use the Bible as evidence for God... I think it's not.

No, I don't think those are analogous. Historians/scholars like Gary Habermas state that even if we don't accept it as divinely inspired book, we can still use it as a historical document to come up with a set of "minimal [historical] facts" that we can know about the life and death of Jesus Christ. Christian scholars state that the Bible is (esp. the New Testament) as reliable a historical document as bibliographies describing the life of Alexander the Great and other famous historical figures. He states that if we can't accept the Bible as a reliable historical document, then we can't rationally and consistently accept countless other historical documents describing the life of ancient figures such as Aristotle, Alexander, etc. (this is an attempted reductio ad absurdium of the non-Christian position; Christian scholars think that non-Christian scholars are selectively putting the bar of reliability too high for theological documents).

The problem is that this is exactly the matter that is under debate. How reliable is the New Testament exactly as a historical document? Thinking of historicity/reliability as an all or nothing matter is a fallacious error that is unfortunately all too common among non-scholars. It is much more accurate to think of the overall historical reliability of a particular work along a continuum. On one end of the continuum you have works such as bibliographies of Eisenhower's life and descriptions of the attack on Pearl Harbor. On the other end of the continuum, you have historical works that are so unreliable they might as well be classified as fiction. The question is: where exactly is the N.T. along this continuum? Also, it's important to note that even if a particular work isn't very reliable as a whole, it doesn't necessarily follow that there aren't any particular sections or chapters within the work that are well evidenced. Christians (rightly state) that the following is a fallacious argument (a non-sequitor):

1. As a historical document, the New Testament isn't very reliable as a whole (it's closer to the non-reliable side of the continuum).
2. Therefore we can't accept anything from the N.T. as historical evidence.

One could try to make the argument (as Bart Ehrman does) that due to the way copies upon copies of the New Testament were transcribed, we can infer that there are even more mistakes in the N.T. than the ones that have been found. I think that this a reasonable inference, but it's still not enough to give credence to premise 2 in the above argument (and I think Ehrman would agree). A historian has to read each chapter/section and see whether or not it is well-evidenced as a historical document.

I've already spent more time than I wanted to typing this response up. But if you have further questions I recommend reading Ehrman's: "A Historical Introduction to the New Testament" and Gary Habermas' "The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus" in tangent. I state this because all too many religious and non-religious folks only read books affirming the truth of their own views, and thus fall prey to confirmation bias.

( http://www.archive.org/details/BartEhrman-TheNewTestament-AHistoricalIntroductionToTheEarly ; Online free version of ehrman's book)

They say things are too complicated to have originated by itself, and thus there MUST be a creator. But, doesn't that make the creator more complicated than his creation? If complicated things don't just happen, who created this complex creator? And who created that even more complex creator? It's a self-defeating argument.
God is divinely simple, according to Christians and other monotheists, so no, the argument is not self-defeating. Although, a non-theist could :

A) question the coherence of the doctrine of "divine simplicity"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_simplicity
http://www.iep.utm.edu/div-simp/

and/or

B) question whether a conscious creator of the universe is the best explanation for the observed complexity and beauty of the universe

(the universe could be a necessary state of affairs: meaning, it couldn't have not existed or existed differently, even though it may seem so prima facie).

For more information on this topic, I recommend listening to the below podcast ( a conversation between an atheist blogger and a Christian philosopher on God's purported simplicity and necessity)
http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=8047
http://ia600209.us.archive.org/10/i...eDot035-TimothyOconnor/035-TimothyOconnor.mp3
 

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hehe... I am not an atheist I suppose I'd be an agnostic...

EDIT : and no I don't BELIEVE God is the universe... rather I'm just putting the idea out there... I don't know what I believe... nothing as of yet in terms of God I suppose... won't believe either side without proper evidence of the absence or presence of a God... which may in fact never be proven...
So if you didn't know where oxygen came from and I told you that it came from invisible garden gnomes, you would then be in the middle if no one could prove me wrong?

It's illogical to say that you're stuck in the middle because the non-believing side can't disprove a negative. Atheists don't typically make the *claim* that there isn't a god. They don't believe in god because of lack of evidence.. Not believing in god and believing he isn't there are not at all the same.
 

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I'm not sure what the videos were, but one method for validating Christianity is to show how historical accounts from the bible are consistent with today's scientific knowledge, to appease skeptical types who believe religion and science are incompatible. This isn't the same as using the bible as evidence to prove God. As for the philosophical issues about existence having a source, we Christians believe in an infinite God who transcends time, who has always existed and always will. We say there is one uncreated entity from which all created things were formed, while atheists tend to believe in a beginning point, within time, where existence began. However, atheists cannot find such a point without assuming that something came from nothing spontaneously without having been acted upon, which is not a claim Christians make. We say there was always at least one thing, without the need for an origin point or a cause, and that the eternal thing was the source of everything that exists within time.
So, the bible says that something happened (like a flood), scientists find evidence for this happening. Therefore the bible must be true(at least in some aspects)? How can that prove that there is a god? That just proves SOME historical facts in the bible that someone saw and recorded. That proves nothing but the writer's ability to observe. To prove a god is impossible, unless that god has specific attributes. The christian god does have these specific attributes, such as a savior coming down from heaven and proving to the people the right way to live. So, according to christianity, this "saviir" came down and showed all of his miracles an dwisdom (turning water into wine, etc.) yet he only has 12
followers and there is only ONE book written about him. What kind of evidence is that. Just my opinion but whatever.

Edit: I'm on a tablet so it isn't exactly how i wanted to say it because its hard to type on this, sorry if amy of it sounds weird or is spelled wrong.
 

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Yeah, it's pretty ridiculous.

Let's get this show rollin'!







These pictures word my opinion better than I ever could, I guess. It's less work, that's for sure.
 

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I always thought about the bible as a game of telephone. Being passed down through time may have altered what was originally said as more people began to misunderstand things and add their own interpretations.

And I don't understand how some people can take the bible as "god's word" with no question. Did god personally write it and hand it down to them? No. It was written by so called "prophets", ordinary men, who claimed that they talked to god. Whether that was true or not is difficult to prove. Maybe some of them did reach to something beyond our understanding, and maybe some of them were schizophrenic.

My own personal belief is that god is not like the great and powerful Oz character that people make him out to be. God may just be the "source" energy. It is from this source energy that everything else probably stemmed off from. I mean, everything is a manifestation of energy, so "god" is just the purest form of this energy than can be altered to fit the mold of whatever is being created.
 
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