Spread of the Article May 14, 2007

Spread of the Article

The Christian Science Monitor article from a few days ago was apparently picked up by Yahoo! news. I went out early last night, went straight to bed when I came home, and woke up this morning to find 9023423409 emails from people who had various things to say. Let’s go through the comments…

I can send you proof of God… Do you have a mailing address…?

Umm… no. No mailing address. I live on the streets.

Since most atheists I know pride themselves on being very rational people… think about the fact that we supposedly only use 10% of our minds capacity. Is it possible that our God consciousness takes place somewhere in the remaining 90% where we can connect with God through our spirit once awakened to God on His terms?

Why is it that so many religious people never question what they hear? Why are they so gullible when it comes to claims that sound good but are simply wrong? It’s not true that we only use 10% of our brain. We use all of our brain, but we use a different part of it, and a different percentage of it, depending on the task. But on the whole, it’s not like we have 90% of our brain lying dormant.

Again, why do so many religious people not feel the need to question these things? Some do, but not a lot in my experience. At least atheists know how to critically think about these things.

Trying to get someone to prove Gods existenence is like trying to prove evolution.Thereis proof on both sides,and no clear winner.No one can convert another,it comes from within,and from God.

No, there’s a big difference. Evolution has this thing called evidence. We have records of transitional fossils. Evolutionary Biologists make predictions that have come true. Too many Christians have been saying for decades that Jesus is coming back… to no avail. You shouldn’t need to be “converted” to accept Science.

I was wondering, have you ever looked at The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints?

I’ve heard the backstory… have *you* ever looked at the church?

My mother was born in 1918 and raised as a Freethinker until age 20. Her mother was getting married to a catholic and had to convert in order to marry him so both my mother and uncle converted along with her. It never took with my mother. She later married my father who was also catholic and we four children were baptized and raised in the church. I never once saw my mother go into a church or mention the name Jesus or God. She never prayed (t least as far as I know). I just thought you might be interested to know there were ”mixed” marriages back in the 1930’s. I am catholic with an athestic bend.

That had to be rough, being forced into conversion in order to marry someone. But kudos to the mom for not letting that overwhelm her beliefs.

I just read about you online. I was especially captured by your statement that it would take a miracle to make you believe in God (and Jesus). I am 41. Until October (2006) I had distanced myself from the church for about 20 years as I tried to live my life my way. The Lord drew me back with a series of miracles! If you pray in Jesus name you will see miracles in your life. First you must brainwash yourself with “blind faith” and block out any doubt. If you do, you will be seeking God and you will find him – you too will see many miracles!

Wow… he even used the word “brainwashed.” That’s a new approach…

I have looked over your website, and I have not found a treatment of the a question I find rather challenging yet deceptively simple; Why are you here?


Unfortunately you sold [your soul] on e-bay so it belongs to your friend the pastor. But if you buy it back from him maybe you can write back to me and I will try to coach you in a process of meditation that will take you to the next step of discovery of God.

I think you missed a part of the story…

Maybe God is tugging at your heart right now Mr. Hemant.

God Bless and hope to see you in heaven one day,

Mr. Hemant?

OK, here is how I will prove that God exists. You have to turn on your “radio” (because I can’t do it for you, I can only show you how). Take 10 minutes in your room or somewhere private and all you do is to call His name repeatedly like this > O LORD JESUS! You need to shout like you are at the bottom of the pit or like your house is on fire. You can even say O God, O Lord Jesus, if you really exist!!! show yourself to me!!! show yourself to me!!! Do this for 10 minutes.

After that for a comparison you can call out to someonelse that is already dead like Abraham Lincoln for another 10 minutes.

This is not a joke and I am seriously asking you or any atheists to test this out. I challenge you to compare the two sets of ten minutes and let me know if you felt any “radio waves”.

Umm… someone please let us know how this goes. (It would be hilarious if Marilyn Manson started playing as you called out to God…)

[tags]atheist, atheism, Christian Science Monitor, Jane Lampman, Yahoo!, God, evolution, transitional fossils, Biologist, Christian, science, The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, Mormon, Catholic, Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Marilyn Manson[/tags]

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  • Oh man….well, if anything these comments testify to the fact that these people need a God of grace, right?

  • Karen

    I thought we’d already had the visitation of the crazies around here. I guess we were just getting started.

    Oh man….well, if anything these comments testify to the fact that these people need a God of grace, right?

    I’d say they need a good dose of reality, which doesn’t include a god of grace, revenge or anything else. (Heaving large sigh …)

  • Vincent

    What would your neighbors think if they heard you shouting “oh god! oh god!” for 10 minutes? Especially if you were alone.

  • Sorry for my “craziness”…was just trying to say I didn’t agree with the posts these people were making.

  • HappyNat

    This is not a joke and I am seriously asking you or any atheists to test this out. I challenge you to compare the two sets of ten minutes and let me know if you felt any “radio waves”.

    Maybe “radio waves” = feeling lightheaded? I think that is about all I’d feel after yelling like I was in “the bottom of a pit” for 10 minutes.

  • Karen

    What would your neighbors think if they heard you shouting “oh god! oh god!” for 10 minutes? Especially if you were alone.

    ROTFL – and that’d just be the start of your problems!

  • This is definitely my favorite.

    Unfortunately you sold [your soul] on e-bay so it belongs to your friend the pastor. But if you buy it back from him maybe you can write back to me and I will try to coach you in a process of meditation that will take you to the next step of discovery of God.

    How much did you charge Jim for shipping? Does UPS deliver souls?

  • I think you should have made the quantity more then one, that’d make people scratch their heads. No Reserve Souls!

  • Ron Henry

    I would like to make a distinction here between people who call them “atheists” ( which mean you do not believe there is a God) and agnostics (who claim they do not know). I have browsed a few atheist websites and observe that many of the so-called famous atheists they site are not atheists at all. Rather, they are people have real problems with God as portrayed in Christianity. Abraham Lincoln is one classified on some sites as an “atheist,” yet he was anything but an atheist. He just thought the Bible was full of inconsistencies (which it is) and did not satisfy his understanding of what God is. He could not be a Christian, but when you read his writings it is clear he believed in God. Similarly, many of the Founders of the United States were not Christians, but Deists. They believed in Divine Providence, but not in God as portrayed in the New Testament.

    My point is that many who call themselves “atheist” are not that at all. They are in rebellion against the inconsistencies of Christianity and cannot accept it “on faith.” This is perfectly right and legitimate to me. It is irresponsible and really immoral to suspend intelligence and common sense in matter of religion, when we would think someone crazy if he did it any other area of life. For instance, when I drive over a bridge I don’t “have faith” the bridge won’t collapse. I have a lot of experience with bridges. I know the engineering that goes into them. I have knowledge that bridges generally are well constructed and do not fall down. My experience, not faith, tells me to trust the bridge.

    A lot of the rhetoric I hear from atheists seems to be rebellion against Christianity, not rejection of God. I think many of these atheists are really agnositics who cannot abide Christianity. The few strident atheists I know remind me of fundamentalists in their zeal and closemindedness. There are several recent young atheists ( I do not have their names at my fingertips) who delight in condemning anyone who believes in God, and they ridicule them. That is not the tone I sense from the originator of this site. I sense one who is trying to ask questions and find answers. I think
    God is all for that. You cannot really know the mind of God if you don’t know your own mind. Christianity too often appeals to people who do not want to do the hard work of thinking (yet there are some excellent Christian thinkers).

    “I don’t know” is perfectly tenable position. The extreme of ruling out the possibility seems closed minded and pretentious to me.

  • Welcome Ron Henry,

    I hope you stick around longer than most people who preach on first posting.

    Please make the decision to get to know us and you might be on the path to a rewarding experience here.

    There are two kinds of people on this site. Those who think that they 100% know for a fact that the God/NoGod question has been answered. And those that don’t.

    If you’re going to call those folks who think the question has been answered closed-minded, you’re mostly talking about the Christians.

    A lot of the rhetoric I hear from atheists seems to be rebellion against Christianity

    I take issue with your use of the word “rebellion” here. We don’t live in a theocracy (yet). So I cannot rebel against something that holds no power or authority over me.

    I can react against Christianity. I can respond to it. I can criticize it. I can attack it. But I cannot rebel against it.

  • HappyNat

    Ron, what does all that have to do with the price of tea in china?

  • stogoe

    I don’t think I’ll ever be ‘completely sure’ there are no gods of any sort. But it’s easier just to call myself an atheist rather than repeatedly describe and defend myself as having a couple toes on the other side of the fence.

  • Susan

    I agree that the distinction between atheism and agnosticism is an important one, and there are many agnostics out there, as well as on this site. However, too often I hear the argument that “all atheists are really agnostics, because you can never know for sure”, and I find it a bit silly. (I realize this isn’t quite what you’re saying, but it’s a related idea.)
    The fact is, you can’t really know for sure about anything. All we have to determine what reality is are our own perceptions and thoughts, and those are certainly fallible. There could be a god implanting thoughts in our own minds, there could be no god but the product of our own imaginations, or all of you could be figments of my imagination and I could be the only being in the universe. It would all look the same to us here on the inside.
    However, if we walk around all the time refusing to say “I know” because we can’t know anything, the word becomes useless and meaningless. Nevertheless, there are some things we expect with a stronger degree of certainty than others: I am fairly certain that tomorrow the sun will rise, whereas I’m only somewhat confident that when I roll this die I’ll get a number greater than 1.
    I think it’s quite appropriate to use the word “know” to describe things like the fact that the sun will rise tomorrow, even though it’s quite conceivable that some hitherto-unknown law of the universe will cause the earth to stop spinning or the sun to turn invisible. When that happens we’ll have to change our model of the universe to account for it, but for now we’ve got a huge body of evidence (the fact that the sun has risen every morning in recorded history) that implies that the sun will continue to rise every morning in the future. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m quite willing to change my view of the universe when some new piece of evidence presents itself to the contrary. This doesn’t mean I can’t say that “I know the sun will rise tomorrow morning.”
    What I’m getting at is that I am exactly as certain that there is no god as I am that the sun will rise tomorrow morning. This doesn’t mean I know absolutely for sure that no god exists, and given evidence to the contrary I will happily change my viewpoint, but for now I’d say it’s fair to state that “I know there is no god,” in the same sense that “I know the sun will rise.”
    For this reason I think it’s perfectly reasonable for an atheist to “know” that no god exists in this practical sense of the word, whereas an agnostic might have a significant level of doubt.
    As a sort of corollary to this, I’d say that I don’t perceive it to be worth my time to try to find evidence for god at this point. I’m not particularly inclined to look for evidence that the sun doesn’t always rise, either, because I strongly suspect that even if evidence is available I’ll have a hard time finding it. Likewise, I highly doubt that I’d be able to find true evidence for the existence of god, given that way smarter people than me have been making the effort for hundreds of years. I don’t think I could add anything useful to the search, and I can do better things with my time. (To give another analogy, even if Fermat’s Last Theorem hadn’t finally been proved, I don’t think it would be worth my time and effort to search for a counterexample to it–there are way smarter mathematicicans with better computer systems who would be more likely to find it if it did exist. (This analogy isn’t to great since it has been proved conclusively that no counterexample exists, which isn’t possible outside the context of mathematics, but you get the idea, I hope.))

  • Susan

    (Er…sorry for the long post. It kind of got away from me.)

  • miller

    Atheists are no more “really agnostics” than agnostics are “really atheists.” People can define these words to mean whatever they want (I am a semantic relativist ;)). You can argue over labels, but that doesn’t change what people actually are.

    Also, in response to Rob Henry, I would be extremely careful about making generalizations about nonbelievers based on personal observations. There are strong selection biases at work. A lot of atheists are completely invisible.

  • Steelman

    This talk of agnosticism vs. atheism reminds me of an essay by historian and philosopher Richard Carrier that I read a few months back. He concluded: “Though these categories aren’t synonymous, you still can’t sort unbelievers into ‘atheists’ and ‘agnostics’ any more than you can sort them into ‘persons’ and ‘people’.”

    Personally, I have to agree that I’m both an atheist and an agnostic. It just depends on the descriptions of any given God(s) that are being argued.

  • Hemant, the person who wanted you to prove God’s existence by going into your closet and shouting sounds suspiciously like the person who invited me to say some magic words that would make me a theist. That person never identified themself to me. I wonder if you’re dealing with the same individual?

  • Susan

    Your friend with the magic words seems awfully bloodthirsty, doesn’t he/she? All that “BLOOD OF JESUS” stuff…

  • “First you must brainwash yourself with “blind faith” and block out any doubt.”

    Is this person serious??

    So, there you go Hemant, just forget everything you know about logic and reason and you’ll be just fine. Wow. . .

  • Richard Wade

    So, uh Ebonmuse, did you like say the magic words? Huh? I mean out of fairness and open-minded inquiry did you say the prayers out loud three times like the fruitcake said? Huh? I mean we’re all wondering. So what happened? Did you like become a theist or something? Or bleed on your hands and feet? Huh? C’mon Ebonmuse, we wanna know. Did ya? Huh?

  • HappyNat

    A lot of atheists are completely invisible.

    shhhhhh don’t tell anyone, especially Chuck Norris. It would ruin our plan to take over the world if he knew half of our “troops” were invisible. 🙂

  • I now have proof that atheists exist. It’s on podcast from the Conference: God for People Who Hate Church. The Gathering is where it can be found. Yes, it’s true Mehta – you are real, and so are your friendly nieghborhood atheists.

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