Why I changed my mind

(George Brooks) #422


I would suggest that it is a fundamental part of being a conscious organism.

In the same way that anatomy that supports upright walking is much older than Homo sapiens,
then it shouldn’t be surprising that the “will to live” also evolved earlier than the appearance of
Homo sapiens. But in contrast to upright walking, this “will to live” is even older. If we can more
or less agree that all mammals have some sort of “will”, then the “will to live” is at least as old as

Any mammal that was ambivalent about living, after 100+ million years, certainly was unlikely to
out-breed the more zealous animals… the mammals who had a burning desire to survive. The
same analysis might be extended to Birds? Or to the Dinosaur lineage in general?

Where there is consciousness, an animal becomes a candidate for correlating a "desire to live"
with longer living, more offspring and an overall dominance in any population that persists from
generation to generation.


Contrast that with “preference” which seems to speak to a preference of vanilla ice cream over chocolate. One of the charges against atheists with respect to morality is that we just pull morals out of a tree according some preference, like preferring one flavor of ice cream over another. This simply isn’t true. Even atheists recognize the difference between what we would call human rights and mere preferences.

Even among some theists there seems to be agreement that humans do have the inherent ability to determine morality, so this isn’t an atheists-only club. Many theists have said to me that they are fallible, so they seek moral guidance in their religious beliefs. I think that is fine, and even admirable. Atheists also believe they are fallible, and the spend their lives trying to become better people (or at least many do, I can’t vouch for all of those crazy buggers).

(Richard Wright) #424

Hello John,

Sorry for responding so late. I’ll just respond to a few of your points.

One, IMO the mention of beauty, order, complexity, love, sacrifice, enormous size, etc. should be mentioned when pondering the existence of reality, because they are part of our reality. That is why what Paul says in Romans 1:20 rings true to the vast majority of historical humanity:

"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made...",

Most people instinctively understand God’s invisible qualities - His power from a 100 billion light-year large universe with 200 billion galaxies, each with millions to trillions of stars, some 1 millions times the size of the sun, and divine nature, being seen in beauty, love, complexity, sacrifice, etc. are obvious.

Two, there is no way to explain consciousness. For others, I’m sure you would say evolution explains them, and I would agree. But WHY evolution produced them is the question. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion asks an analogous question responding to some atheists who claimed that the laws of nature had to be, “fine-tuned” because cosmic inflation set them that way. He writes, “yes, but why were they set that way?” He didn’t accept the, “blind luck” argument then explains the that multiverse explains it though pure numbers. Fine, but what explains the multiverse?

Then I suppose Hitler was only, “perceived” to be evil. In fact, evil requires an explanation just as much as love and beauty. If there isn’t a spiritual force that opposes God causing people to committ evil acts, like the school shooting yesterday, than how can you account for it?

Maybe so, but we are a theological species. Every culture has come up with some sort of divinity to explain life and existence. Yourself and T-aquaticus want to cut out vital parts of reality in doubting God and carry on the discussion like 2 computers in the night calculating the logic of a calculus equation. That just isn’t reality, no matter how you perceive it.

This debate is about what we put our faith in. Atheists have faith in something, no matter the flavor. You have faith that Jesus is not God. Many of us have faith that He is. The fact that we want answers and someone claimed to have them does not in any way diminish the intellectual argument that Jesus is God.


The question we are asking is if what each culture has come up with is true. I don’t think that we are alone in thinking that humans are fallible, so why believe something to be true just because humans say it is? Lots of cultures thought the Sun moved about the Earth, but they were wrong. Humans have many biases and are often wrong, and to ignore that is to ignore a large part of reality.

I have no such faith.

The more interesting question is why you need atheists to have faith in something.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #426

I don’t need atheists to have faith in something. The fact is that atheists do have faith in something, even if it is themselves.

There is evidence or proof that God exists and there is evidence of proof that God does not exist. That is why we have the choice to have faith or not. It does make a difference as to what we do and how we do it.


Don’t you think that is a bit different than a belief that lacks evidence? Don’t you think having faith in the existence of aliens is a bit different than having faith in your mother to remember your birthday?

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #428

Not sure it was worse than a Christian Gott mitt unds Nazi Germany experiment and definitely not as bad as hell

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #429

How do you know it is not as bas as hell/ Have you been there?

It is certainly very difficult to surpass Hitler, and certainly Stalin might not have, but the statement went far beyond the USSR although you could put the source on Lenin and the USSR. When you add up Stalin, Lenin, Mao, and the dictators of East Germany, Rumania, Cambodia, North Korea, et al. Marxist Leninism cle4arly beats out Nazism.


You’re changing the subject. You tried to equate Jesus’ “Kingdom of God” expectation with Marxist communism.

Can’t do that.

(Susan Linkletter) #431

Some people interpret Hell as an eternal separation form God, but not eternal torture. In some versions of the book of Revelations Hades and all that are in it are thrown into the lake of fire and they are no more. The separation from God is eternal, but they are no more so the torture is not eternal.

I think we have more autonomy than your post suggests, humanity is not planned to the minutest detail. We have choices to make that affect our lives and the lives of others. Can God intervene in our actions, yes. Can He guide us, yes if we choose to look to Him. I can choose to end my life prematurely and God won’t intervene.

My nephew was killed in a motorcycle accident when he was just 16 years old. People would say that “this must have been Gods will”, but this was not Gods will. Gods will was for us to life for eternity in a perfect Paradise on planet earth. The perfect world in the garden of Eden was His plan for us. When we chose to follow the desires of our flesh instead of Gods will, we became part of a fallen world where things fall short of what He intended. My heart was broken when my nephew died and Gods heart was broken too because this was not how life was supposed to be on planet earth. Fortunately we are offered eternal life in heaven through faith in Jesus. Adam and Eve changed to course of mankind, but they did not take away our own choice to follow the will of God while we are bodies of flesh and blood. We each still have to choose to follow Gods will and partake from “the tree of life”, or choose to follow our own desires and partake of the" tree of knowledge of good and evil".

This is what makes Jesus better than Stalin.

(John Dalton) #432

Hi Richard!

There are all kinds of things that are part of reality. Many of them can give people a sense of awe and much cause for contemplation. I think that such feelings were a big part of the genesis of ideas about gods in general. If we’re talking about general reasons to believe in God, I understand how such issues qualify, but if we’re talking about logical proof of God’s existence, I’m unconvinced.

This I never really get. “No way”? Really? To me, it simply seems to be a function of the physical brain, with obvious advantages for us in terms of survival. I don’t get all the hubbub about it, practically speaking.

I agree, and I’ve made similar statements above. An uncaused cause doesn’t automatically solve any problems of causation. I have to go back to see what Dawkins says there, it sounds very similar to my own opinions on the matter. Fine tuning for the existence of matter is certainly interesting, but even if the question could be resolved, bigger mysteries would lie behind it.

I don’t see how it needs an explanation. Things happen and we call them good or bad based on physical, mental, and other practical realities.

It looks like part and parcel of things humans do to me. It’s a set of good things and bad things, but I keep them all in that set.

Some sort of divinity, yes. Certainly people do this. To me, that doesn’t suggest anything beyond that. It looks like another thing that people do, and not a sign that a divinity actually exists, much less one with any particular set of characteristics. Your suggestion that a particular characteristic of the Christian God somehow makes it more logically compelling caused me to make this comment. It’s a theological belief, without the evidential support that would lead me to give it any special weight in a logical argument about existence.

No I don’t. I’m a flesh and blood person making the best assessment of reality that I can from the limited perspective afforded to us. Frankly, in my opinion, logic can’t lead us to any define conclusions about these questions. Maybe this makes you the computer here :slight_smile:

I thought it was about the possibility of reaching a logical conclusion about God’s existence.

Atheists have faith in something, no matter the flavor.

I don’t know. That rather depends on how you define faith for one thing. That can be a problem. Certainly (not speaking for anyone else here) I hold certain beliefs about reality.

You have faith that Jesus is not God. Many of us have faith that He is.

I don’t believe in any god. I don’t see how that translates into having faith that Jesus is not God. I understand that many people do have faith in Jesus’s divinity.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #433

What is the punishment for disobedience to Jesus? Eternal Hell. And Jesus had communist ideas. First he said to give to everyone who asked of you and lend without expecting a return. He went as far as saying you cannot be his disciple unless you give up all your possessions. Luke 14:33 and 12:33.

If you look at Acts 5 it’s how early church practiced his teachings.

And, death was a punishment for Ananias and his wife, same as a punishment rogue regimes handed out for disobedience.

But no tyrant can beat Hell.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #434

No but I am aware of Bible teachings on it. Thankfully it’s a made up place.


You have completely ignored the content of my post (e.g., Luke 19). Address that and then I’ll respond to this.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #436

I did address it. You were wrong. Jesus is not a communist if you ignore ALL of his communist teachings.


You did not. Why did Zachaeus get the 50% off “salvation discount”?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #438

No, you are not. Do your homework of you want to engaqe in discussion.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #439

I’m sorry about the death of your nephew.

The Garden of Eden cannot be a perfect plan, for it has a talking serpent and a tree that (apparently) sends you into Hell.

As far as Hell tortures, I’m not saying anything that Christians themselves are not saying. Here is one Christian apologetics site on Hell


Matt. 8:12, "but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matt. 13:41-42, "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” See also Matt. 13:50.

EVEN if there was no weeping, if you are eternally locked in a solitary room where you are not burning, it’s still torture. There is nothing good about Hell, according to the Bible. The real good news, in my opinion, is that the whole place is very likely a made up place.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #440

Look, the Bible has contradictions. I’ll grant you that. I don’t know why Jesus gave Zacheus a 50% discount. But 50% is still a LOT of possessions. Maybe Zacheus got a discount because he was Jewish? I don’t know for sure.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #441

Bible is not reliable. Universalists see a God there who will not punish ANYONE in Hell. Traditional Evangelicals see an eternal tormenting Hell in the Bible. Gay Christians see a loving God who is perfectly okay with their homosexual marriages, etc…