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rotorhead
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rotorhead: Just a couple of sites to look at. I suppose you want huge miracles like parting of seas or burning bushes, but I suspect even that would not be enough for you. Here is one example of modern day miracles: http://www.aglimpseofeternity.org/
You could also watch the movie: Faith Like Potatos.

Yes antiqueone. I would like to hear the story of a single verifiable modern miracle witnessed by credible people. The story which you reference above is about a man who was stung by a poisonous jellyfish. While the toxin was pumping through his system he had a religious hallucination. He lived. He says himself "A sting from a Box-Jellyfish often proves to be fatal" not always fatal. Where is the miracle? How is this even close to being classified as a miracle?

To be classified as a miracle something would have to be witnessed by multiple credible witnesses and would need to be something that could not be caused by natural events. Something like the Earth stopping its rotation and the Sun standing still. Didn't the bible mention that happening? Now that would be a miracle.

Joshua 10
12 Then spoke Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: "Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, moon, in the Valley of Aijalon."
13 And the sun stood still and the moon stayed until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hastened not to go down for about a whole day.
14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.

Tell me about real modern miracles.

More sites to look at: http://biblicalstudies.info/top10/schoville.htm

http://www.faithfacts.org/search-for-truth/maps/archaeological-and-external-evidence

ree:miracles
http://www.faithfacts.org/search-for-truth/questions-of-christians/how-do-you-square-jesus-miracles-with-reality

The archaeological evidence cited above doesn't prove that the stories of Jesus or other biblical stories are true. It only proves that ancient peoples believed the stories. How is this any different from the Egyptian hieroglyphics? Do they prove that Ra existed or only that ancient peoples believed that he did? The same could be said for Zeus or Apollo. Does the Iliad prove that they were real.

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Topic starter Posted : June 26, 2009 10:04 pm
antiqueone
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rotorhead: re: archeological evidence: then the proof that Julius Caesar existed only proves that ancient peoples believed he existed. Just because there are coins with his picture on it and sculptures of him doesn't prove he existed any more than Zeus or Apollo. Hmm. Guess we need a time machine.

Joshua 10 is not provable. I wish it were, but the thing about NASA proving that time did stop is an urban myth. (great story though!)

Just a thought: If we had incontrovertible "proof" of God's existence and of His power, then the only option would be to believe in and follow Him. Without choice, without the possibility of doubting, we would not be truly human.

The point about Ian McCormick is not whether he went to Heaven or had hallucinations. Rather he was pronounced clinically dead for an extended period of time, in a hospital with competent MDs, and came back to life without active ACLS at the time. With no discernable brain damage. Pretty neat trick, if you ask me.

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Posted : June 26, 2009 11:22 pm
rotorhead
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rotorhead: re: archeological evidence: then the proof that Julius Caesar existed only proves that ancient peoples believed he existed. Just because there are coins with his picture on it and sculptures of him doesn't prove he existed any more than Zeus or Apollo. Hmm. Guess we need a time machine.

Julius Caesar is a well documented historical figure. No extraordinary claims are made about his life. Where are all of the pictures of Jesus?

Joshua 10 is not provable. I wish it were, but the thing about NASA proving that time did stop is an urban myth. (great story though!)

Can't be proved because it never happened. Just as I said earlier, none of the biblical miracles can be proven to have happened. Not a single one.

Just a thought: If we had incontrovertible "proof" of God's existence and of His power, then the only option would be to believe in and follow Him. Without choice, without the possibility of doubting, we would not be truly human.

So you can only be human if you believe in fables?

The point about Ian McCormick is not whether he went to Heaven or had hallucinations. Rather he was pronounced clinically dead for an extended period of time, in a hospital with competent MDs, and came back to life without active ACLS at the time. With no discernable brain damage. Pretty neat trick, if you ask me.

Where did the story say that he was pronounced clinically dead. I thought it said that when he regained consciousness a doctor was poking his foot with a sharp object. That doesn't sound like they had given up. Did you see the picture of the hospital? Where is the evidence that this story actually happened? Where are the affidavits from the doctors?
Where are all of the modern verifiable miracles? They seem to have happened a lot in the ancient past.

All religion is based on non-verifiable heresay. Christianity is no more credible than Scientology or FSM.

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Topic starter Posted : June 27, 2009 12:48 am
antiqueone
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rotorhead:
1.)Jesus is a better documented historical figure than Julius Caesar.

2.)That Joshua 10 is not provable does not refute that it happened. It certainly could have happened, but without a fixed point of reference, there is no way to prove it.

3. Wrong conclusion from the information. Our humanity comes from our ability to choose. If we had no choice, we would be mere automatons.

4. Excellent treatise on Science and Miracles: http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth19.html The veracity of an event is not limited to the simplistic scientific method. The existence of God is quite credible after all.

5. Ian McCormack was clinically dead for 15 to 20 minutes. His full story is here: http://www.aglimpseofeternity.org/content/pages/documents/1167662508.doc

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Posted : June 27, 2009 1:59 pm
dougtamjj
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My grandfather died once after his appendix ruptured. They pulled the sheet over him and told the family that they could come in and say their goodbyes. While they were doing this grandpa raised up and pulled the sheet off. This story is told often at every family get togethers. I wasn't born yet as this happened when he was a young man. The reason this story is repeated so often is that all of grandpa's hair fell out afterwards which seems to be more interesting then the fact that he died. Go figure.

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Posted : June 27, 2009 2:37 pm
rotorhead
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http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/060729_medical_miracles.html

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Topic starter Posted : June 27, 2009 5:52 pm
antiqueone
(@antiqueone)
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Mr. Dreamhealer ( http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/060729_medical_miracles.html) sounds to me like a quack. Since miracles are "one of a kind" you cannot apply the scientific method to evaluating them. Science calls events that don't fit nicely into the scientific method "anomalies" and makes some excuse about why they cannot exist. That is not the same as disproving them.

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Posted : June 27, 2009 6:53 pm
rotorhead
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Topic starter Posted : June 27, 2009 10:23 pm
rotorhead
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This would have been better than all those summers at Vacation Bible School followed by summers at Boy Scout Camp.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6591231.ece

http://www.camp-quest.org/

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Topic starter Posted : June 29, 2009 5:50 pm
trw
 trw
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um atheism is a religion

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Posted : June 30, 2009 11:32 pm
dntw8up
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"um atheism is a religion"

Atheism is a religion in exactly the same way as not collecting stamps is a hobby.

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Posted : June 30, 2009 11:52 pm
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
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Or like bald is a hair color.

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Topic starter Posted : July 1, 2009 1:31 am
trw
 trw
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lol,sure it is because once again,preaching is involved and the never ending quest to sway others towards a cause,hence a religion

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Posted : July 1, 2009 8:56 am
Neil
 Neil
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lol,sure it is because once again,preaching is involved and the never ending quest to sway others towards a cause,hence a religion

haha, ...Ditto.

And if "the higher power" is you, then you are your own religion.

It's important to note that not all athiests are arrogant sobs who ridicule other people's beliefs.
I really don't agree with many of the beliefs held by my fellow Xtian brethren, but I respect their passion for a higher purpose ---as long as they stay out of my face about it.

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Posted : July 1, 2009 12:10 pm
rotorhead
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Things are changing. Many atheists, myself included, are becoming more outspoken. This does not make atheism a religion. All of the definitions of religion that I can find require belief in the supernatural or belief in something that cannot be proven but must be taken on faith. This is not the case with atheism. Atheism is the absence of belief in these things.

It is important to note that not all religionists are dim witted twits who believe that their belief system is protected from criticism. Some are actually willing to discuss where their beliefs originate and why they consider themselves members of one religion or another or none at all. Most are intelligent enough to realize that their religion is an accident of birth.

It is the moderate religious that I enjoy talking to. The ones who say that they are religious but never attend church or pray. They are christians because they were born in America and Americans are christians. NOT! These people deserve to hear other possibilities.

The people that I really do not like talking to are the ones who have a vested interest in religion. The ones who make a living by feeding superstitious nonsense to unsuspecting people. The pastors and preachers and clergy, the people who sell and push religion to children and make them feel that they must believe this nonsense or they are bad people.

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Topic starter Posted : July 1, 2009 3:16 pm
dntw8up
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"lol,sure it is because once again,preaching is involved and the never ending quest to sway others towards a cause,hence a religion"

I don't proselytize as I have no interest in trying to convince anyone to share my perspective.

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Posted : July 1, 2009 3:57 pm
stiphy
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Religion is a philosophy who's epistemology is based on mysticism. Atheism is a philosophy who's epistemology is based on anything but mysticism, instead generally preferring logic, reason, and scientific method. Philosopher's often preach and try to get others to see their cause. Socrates, Plato etc. and Jesus Christ are all considered, by many to be great men for preaching their philosophies to the world...but Atheism is surely not a "religion."

Sean

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Posted : July 1, 2009 8:57 pm
EngRMP
(@EngRMP)
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Wow, what a great discussion. I only make it back to these forums every month or two, but I’m glad I saw this. This has been very enlightening. I have a few thoughts to throw into the mix:

- first off, I am very pleased to see such a wonderfully civil discourse... it produced a wealth of thought and insight.

- Ummmm, it might be useful to note that even the atheists were (IMO) very polite in responding to questions/issues (I don't mean to imply that the religious folks were not equally polite). Doesn’t this suggest that at least some atheists have some moral fabric?
- Many years ago I came to the conclusion that religion is as much a science as science is a religion. My rational is:
- listen to a theologian sometime.. they have their own scientific language and basic rules that they use to build arguments and understanding (much like a scientist).
- even a scientist has faith that when he walks out of his house that gravity won’t fail and suck him up into space. Granted, gravity has been documented for a long time... but, only for about 4 billion years.... it's only a constant within our scope of time.

- Once I turned 45 I started enjoying the (casual, social) study of religion. What I enjoy is the way religions tell people how to live their lives. I think the scare tactics of Christianity/etc seem foolish (too much guilt.. drives people crazy). I like the softer reincarnation concept: if you make a mistake - don’t worry - you’ll come back and have a chance to fix it. That seems easier to live with.

- I get worried when I hear religious people say to atheists/agnostics/etc: “but if there is no afterlife, then why am I suffering, being so good?”. Ummmm, if the only reason you’re (reluctantly) being a good human being is the hope of reward in an afterlife, then I think you seriously lack compassion and empathy (among others) which I think is naturally human.

- Personally, I don’t really care if there is a God or not... I don’t really think I would change my life, either way. Like others I find it hard to believe that a God would want us “worshiping” them/him/her/it. I think we naturally understand right/wrong/good/bad... we might have to work on the application of good/right, but it’s not tough to understand.

- I’m hoping someone can convince me that I’m wrong with this next thought. I came up with this thought only in the last few months (I have to “blame” dntw8up for educating me that “there are always winners and losers”): I’ve often had discussions with religious people, that eventually lead to the concept of randomness (in relation to evolution). Religious people WILL NOT even entertain the thought that a God could do anything randomly, and therefore God would not have designed evolution. You know, the whole argument between science and religion ends if religious folks just say: “OK, God made up evolution”. Do you realize how hard it is to get a truly random process... Scientists have yet to make anything that is truly random (consider encryption techniques). So, why wouldn’t religious people say “maybe randomness requires Godliness”. So, why don’t they say that. The really sick thought that came to me was this: if you (religious people) accept that God made evolution, then either animals must have souls like we do, or we do not have souls like animals. Either way we can no longer “feel good” about eating animals (the argument for eating animals is that they don’t have souls). So (getting that sick in the stomach feeling again), is modern religion really about winners (humans) and losers (animals)... is it really just inherently political?

- I’d much rather believe that the spirit of religion is fine because it just tells people that to be good is good. Many people mess up the interpretation and practice of religion... they use an interpretation of religion as an excuse when they really just want to take land or control.

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Posted : July 2, 2009 3:37 am
Neil
 Neil
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Rotor... everybody sells something. If you don't want to buy it, don't buy it. But don't run somebody down because they do something other people want done. Most clergy are people you'd want as neighbors. Are there some who are idiots? The scientific method suggests yes.

Sean... you make a classic mistake in thinking that religious people can't be rational thinkers who subscribe to the scientific method. It is unfortunate that the fundamentalists (of every religion) have hijacked the public debate and definitions of what it means to have faith -and how someone of faith can understand the world we live in.

------

If you haven't seen Bill Moyer's PBS documentary "Faith and Reason," I would recommend it. It's a really good overview of the history of this debate, the players, and some very intelligent modern points of view on the subject.

This month's Discovery Mag has an article about the new telescopes coming on line, and the search for "dark matter." Said one astronomer about dark matter, "we know it has to exist, now we just have to go out and find it!" Said another, "the further we look into the universe the less we understand." The point: it's all about the passion and the Quest.

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Posted : July 2, 2009 12:54 pm
stiphy
(@stiphy)
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Wow, what a great discussion. I only make it back to these forums every month or two, but I’m glad I saw this. This has been very enlightening. I have a few thoughts to throw into the mix:

- first off, I am very pleased to see such a wonderfully civil discourse... it produced a wealth of thought and insight.

Totally agree, I think this thread is proof that the old adage about not discussing "politics or religion" can sometimes be proven partially wrong 🙂

Thanks to all for the great discussion especially those of differing views from mine!

Sean

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Posted : July 2, 2009 1:53 pm
rotorhead
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Rotor... everybody sells something. If you don't want to buy it, don't buy it. But don't run somebody down because they do something other people want done. Most clergy are people you'd want as neighbors. Are there some who are idiots? The scientific method suggests yes..

You could use this argument to justify child pornography as well. What does this have to do with the scientific method?

Sean... you make a classic mistake in thinking that religious people can't be rational thinkers who subscribe to the scientific method. It is unfortunate that the fundamentalists (of every religion) have hijacked the public debate and definitions of what it means to have faith -and how someone of faith can understand the world we live in.

I don't know if you saw my previous post comparing the scientific method to faith.

The thing that convinces me that the faithful do not subscribe to the scientific method is that little matter of performing an experiment to validate your theory. Since your whole belief system is based on the supernatural it would be impossible to confirm through experimentation. Therefore you have abandoned the scientific method.

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Topic starter Posted : July 2, 2009 5:12 pm
jogetz
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Hi again Antiqueone,

You said:

“jogetz: in response to your questions: the Truth of Christian belief is not based exclusively on subjective criteria. Jesus did claim that no man comes to the father but by him. He also said no man takes my life; I lay it down and I will take it back up again. Jesus died on the cross. Medical examiners from Harvard evaluated his scourging and crucifixion and were amazed he lived as long as he did. Jesus came back to life and was witnessed by over 500 people (who were intimately aware of death in a way we moderns almost never are. They were not fooled. No other religion claims that their leader came back to life and walked among us.”

Actually I don’t think the “truth of Christian belief” is based on subjective criteria at all (more on why when I get to your responses to my 2 other questions). I would say that it is based exclusively on objective criteria, and you do make a move in the right direction when you turn your attention to the claim that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead. This is the crux of the matter, and here we are on common ground. The question is: Did he rise or didn’t he? On this Christianity stands or falls and on nothing else.

You continued:

“second: how to know where to take that "leap of faith" Look at the followers of other religions. Muslims think it is ok to kill non-believers. Notice that you only rarely find moderate believers that disagree with that. When the radicals go out and blow themselves up, the moderates are cheering. They are not condemning the radicals. When someone in the name of Christ kills (an abortionist) they are quick to condemn that action as non-Christian. When a Tsunami destroys coastlines all around south east Asia, Buddhists from afar figure it's just Karma. Christians send hundreds of workers to help with food, medicine, and cleaning up. There is a vast body of information that supports a reasonable faith in Christianity if you look. And anyhow: if one religion claims to be the one and only way, why not try it out first? See if the Truth is there!”

The problem here with what you say is that Muslims / Buddhists etc. do not always act in an evil manner and, unfortunately, Christians do no always do good, nor do they even always act in unison. When you look at human behavior (no matter under what banner it may be) you get a mixed bag of results. You’ve heard the old adage “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven”? It does ring true, you know. I think to go in this direction, is to veer into perilous territory that might actually do more to weaken your case than support it. If one is trying to decide where to look, a mixed bag of pointers is as good as no pointers at all. Thankfully, you do not stray too much further down this road. I do agree with your statement that there is ample information that does indeed support a reasonable faith in the truth of Christianity. I just don’t think looking at what you or I (or anyone else, for that matter) does fits the bill as being a part of that information. Your last statement is somewhat hazy. You say that to see whether or not there is Truth in Christianity, one should “try it out first”. If by that you mean, objectively examine the evidence for its claims, then I would be in hearty agreement. But, if by that you mean, one should try believing it and seeing if it really “works” in order to find out if it is true, then I would have to part ways with you on that point. Why? It all revolves around your concept of what faith / belief is as shown in your response to my third question:

“About faith: faith is simply belief in something not seen. We have faith that when we flip the switch the light will go on. We can't see electricity, but we can see its effects. We had faith that atoms, neutrons, protons existed long before we actually saw anything that small. We have faith in the Bible because almost every single documentable archeological or historical event mentioned has been found despite the fact that mainstream (non-Christian) historians and archeologists did not believe the "myths" in the Bible.”

The two words faith and belief are, in fact, synonymous from a Christian perspective. Faith is not a special kind of belief (not merely a belief in something that is unseen), but rather faith is belief and belief is faith. They are simply two words that mean the same thing. Modern usage of the terms has sadly obscured the meaning that they once had. To believe today often has the meaning that “I think something is true”, or “I hope something is true” or even “I embrace something as true because I want to do so”. From these new shades of meaning given to the two words, we get such things as: “I believe I have the next winning lottery ticket” or “I believe in leprechauns”. Due to this wandering of meanings in our “living” language, these same new shades of meaning are often read back into what Christians have said down through the centuries when they have claimed to “believe”. Contrary to these ideas, however, belief is more akin to “knowing” something to be true, than it is to merely “hoping” it to be so. To believe something is to become convinced that it is true based on the supporting evidence that exists in its favor. One does not choose to believe something, rather, one is compelled by the weight of the evidence to acknowledge its truth. And it is right here that I think we may differ. As you can see, I don’t understand belief / faith as something that we can simply turn on or off at our own choosing. It would appear that you, on the other hand, do.

Your examples of the light switch and atomic matter are noble, but a bit stretched. I can say myself that I expect the light to come on when I flip the switch because I have flipped many a time before and seen the light come on, so my past experience tells me it will come on again. I also know enough about the basics of electricity to have at least a rudimentary idea how it all works. I don’t really “believe” the light will come on when I flip the switch, rather I know it should come on, and I expect it to do so. Regarding atomic structure, we may have strongly suspected what the makeup of atoms was before we actually could see one, but that was based more on previous scientific knowledge and testing than any “leap of faith” (i.e. a hopeful guess).

Your mention of the events / places / people etc. that the Bible that were eventually confirmed despite much skepticism on the part of many overzealous historians and archaeologists who had moved all too quickly to write them off as little more than “myths” and “legends” is a good starting point. Perhaps an even better one is to stay focused on the “crux” question that I posed earlier (Did or did not Christ rise from the dead?), and underline both the reliability and credibility of the documents we have that attest to it.

So to sum it up, I would say that in order for one to “try” Christianity, one must first “believe” its primary claim. In order to believe that claim, one must become convinced that it is true. In order to become convinced that it is true, one must deal with the evidence that exists for it. This in my thinking is an unbreakable chain, and allows no such thing as a “leap” of faith.

JG

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Posted : July 2, 2009 8:21 pm
rotorhead
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Topic starter Posted : July 3, 2009 12:19 am
Neil
 Neil
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Roto, you completely missed my point....

I'm not comparing science to faith, you are. I was simply responding to Sean saying that people of faith can believe in the scientific method too. In spite of what certain extremists would have us believe, Faith and Reason are not mutually exclusive points of view. And many of the world's great scientists would agree with that statement.

Regarding your comment "what does it have to do with the scientific method" ...I was responding directly to your comment that "The people that I really do not like talking to are the ones who have a vested interest in religion" -and not about the scientific method. Sorry you didn't understand that.

It's pretty obvious you have a large chip on your shoulder not only about religion, but about religious people. I'm sorry you do, and I can only guess why. Whether you believe in God or not, everyone has a belief system. Would that everyone could at believe in openness, tolerance and respect.

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Posted : July 3, 2009 1:44 am
dannyboy
(@dannyboy)
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i told myself to stay out of this thread , after all i was the one who told rotorhead to stop taking his shots at the people with faith and start his own thread about his non-belief beliefs. i am way to stupid to try and take on all the intellectual arguments and opinions both sides have so aptly conveyed .so why do i say something now? because just as i said i cant understand it all ,i don't want to or am i smart enough to not be smart enough? the beauty of all these thought provoking arguments isn't going to change the choices you make,however it is painfully obvious to me life can be very simple or very complicated. your choice on the path you take in death can be very simple or complicated too. how smart are you? are the odds in your favor if you choose to reject the faith arguments.your either right or wrong correct? 50/50 to even the best gambler isn't good odds. so on the day you die if you can figure that one out and have the time just ask for HIM to save you it's really just that simple for dumb people like me. i personally choose to believe .why? that thread is coming for all to share . sorry rotohead just doing my good deed for the day.

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Posted : July 3, 2009 2:58 am
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