Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What is God?

Although I am now an atheist, every now and then I ponder the idea of the existence of God. What interest me most about this topic is the insistence of theists on the existence of God based on faith. There is no objective evidence for the existence of God and I am pretty sure that there never will be any to validate the theists claims.

I would like to share with you a theory regarding the existence of God or in this case non-existence of God. If you think back to ancient times and religions and religious beliefs you will see right away that in those days, most beliefs were based on ignorance and superstition about the forces of nature and the world in general. People interpreted things that they did not understand by calling them gods.

Things such as natural disasters, disease, famine, etc. were all interpreted as a result of a deity being displeased with the tribe or civilization. Gods in the most ancient of religions had to be appeased, and at first such things as fruits and vegetables of the land were sacrificed to those gods in return for their favor. Men throughout religions history have worshiped trees, astral bodies, animals, and in some cultures even other men! In China the emperor was considered a god among men, and the same goes for Egypt's Pharaohs.

As is illustrated for instance in Greek mythology man later began to worship objects within their environment such as the sun, moon, planets, and stars. They later gave all of these objects names, personalities and things that they would control or oversee. This process is called anthropomorphism. Wikipedia defines anthropomorphism as the attribution of human characteristics to animals or non-living things, phenomena, material states and objects or abstract concepts.

The God of Moses is a being that is in objective terms undefinable, and whose existence relies solely on ancient texts that propound the beliefs of an ancient people. Jews and Christians have in an essence followed the path of those that came before them. In order to define God or make him easier to comprehend, they have anthropomorphosized him. They have taken the idea of God and personified it by giving this idea human traits. God gets angry, he hears and see all things, he is defined as a male, he is said to speak.

Here is my theory regarding today's general idea of God (specifically the Judeo-Christian God), I am convinced that this God is nothing more than an abstract concept.My reasons for believing this is simply because this God cannot be defined.Ask any theist what is God and all you will get are dogma or abstract ideas about God. Theists claim that he is unknowable, beyond our human comprehension. If this is so then why are so many theists claiming that they know God and have a personal relationship with God?

What I find comical about this is that at least the ancients were personifying objects that they did not understand, such as Ra or R'e the Egyptian sun god. Jews and Christians don't even have an object to personify, they are personifying an idea/concept. From a logical standpoint this is absurd! Jews and Christians choose to worship a deity they neither know nor can define, now what can be more insane than that?

Using the so called order in the universe as evidence of God would not suffice either because along with that order there is massive chaos as well. Of course we don't fully comprehend what exactly took place at the beginning of the universe, but I can assure you that it certainly was no imaginary guy in the sky!

People of the more charismatic bend tend to claim to feel his presence or hear his voice, but as I state in my video could this be just symptoms of their own delusions? All of these experiences are of a subjective nature and in no way constitute evidence for the existence of God. Therefore based on all of these points made in this post I conclude that there is no God, but in reality the onus is on you my dear theist to prove me wrong since it is you that are making the positive claim that there is a God and that he exist.

41 comments:

  1. For those of you interested in the video you can go to http://hubpages.com/hub/conceptsofgod or you can visit my channel on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYhxPQ-svJk

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  2. Wouldn't christians say jesus defined god and made it concrete?

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  3. That could be a way of looking at it but then they would have to prove the existence of Jesus and his claim to divinity. None of this can be proven conclusively.

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  4. Forget having to prove it, just show me a lick of evidence that the guy even lived.

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  5. Can't agree with you more Dennis.

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  6. "Of course we don't fully comprehend what exactly took place at the beginning of the universe, but I can assure you that it certainly was no imaginary guy in the sky!"

    How can you assure us?

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  7. Simple Willempie, anyone who takes the time to study comparative religion and the origin of religious beliefs will clearly see that gods are the creation of man. God was the answer for the unknowable then and he is the answer to the unknowable now. The Judeo-Christian God and any gods for that matter all arose out of ignorance, when knowledge of the world and the forces of nature were not yet understood.

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  8. by your logic nothing can be proven conclusively

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Good Question..if man created god who created man?

    What you think Chatpilot?

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  11. Man was not created he is a product of evolution through the process of natural selection, like every other living organism on this planet. Hans and anonymous you both need to get your heads out of that book of myths and read something with substance.

    God is nothing more than a human idea or concept to explain in more primitive times the unknown origins of the universe, and man himself.

    A lot has been learned about our universe and our planets possible origins since the 7,000 thousand years of your O.T. and the 2,000 plus years of your N.T. Logically speaking religious beliefs on origins just don't hold water anymore.

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  12. evolution is a theory, and if you really look into it, it is a fact that it has not been proven

    scientists have faith that evolution is true, and even if evolution were true then

    Who created the universe, who created the first cell?

    Claiming that humans evolved via evolution does not really answer the question

    Can something come from nothing?

    Either way one believes by faith, the only question is, Faith in What?

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  13. Anonymous said:"evolution is a theory, and if you really look into it, it is a fact that it has not been proven."

    This statement alone demonstrates the depth of your ignorance regarding the "theory" of evolution. There is plenty of evidence to support this theory, the evidence is there but you refuse to see it or accept it.

    "Who created the universe, who created the first cell?" Another demonstration of your ignorance anonymous. Evolution is not a theory of origins,in fact science is still working on that and honestly we may never know. But to relegate origins to ancient myths and fictional gods is an outright neglect of reason.

    Here is a good article you can read on the distinction of fact and theory in the scientific sense. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

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  14. I know there is a lot of evidence for evolution - I do not deny that,

    you said "Evolution is not a theory of origins,in fact science is still working on that and honestly we may never know"

    I read the distinction between fact and theory - but still, you cannot reasonable deny that there is some faith involved. - because "honestly we may never know" Does not the atheist belief hinge on faith in evolutionary biology?

    If there is no God, then there is no right and wrong, it is only relative, and based on what we are conditioned to believe, or what beliefs have helped us to survive in the evolutionary process.

    Here is a question; What is something you think is really wrong and Why?

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  15. Anonymous wrote:"If there is no God, then there is no right and wrong."

    This statement has nothing to do with the existence of God, in fact they are two completely different subjects altogether. Man does not need a god to tell him what is right or wrong. We learn our morals from our family, the culture, and the society we grow up in.

    For instance if you are brought up in some obscure cannibalistic tribe in a jungle somewhere, eating another human being would not be wrong nor repulsive to you because that is what you were taught and grew up believing.

    "Here is a question; What is something you think is really wrong and Why?"

    Murder, because in my opinion no man has the right to take another persons life. It does not only affect the victim but it affects his family, his kids,spouse, and society as a whole. There are exceptions to this rule for example if someone attacks me in the street and pulls a knife trying to kill me and the only way out is to kill him first (self-defense) then I would justify it.

    Evolution is based on scientific facts but when it comes to origins then a simple we don't know yet is enough. Evolutionist do not claim to know how it all began without facts therefore what they believe regarding origins is not based on faith. Because we don't have enough facts yet on origins to formulate a theory.

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  16. Why do you think our society regards murder as wrong?

    Why does no man have the right to take another's life?

    So the cannibal is right in what he does? He is only doing what he has been taught, no?

    So Hitler was right to kill the Jews? He said he was doing right for to benefit mankind, "that is what he was taught and grew up believing" and the German people at the time accepted it.

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  17. After all of that ranting anonymous, what is your point! It is definitely not right to kill God said so in Exodus 20:13 but you can kill with his permission as is demonstrated in Numbers 31:7,8,17,18

    Hitler although he was wrong was just doing what he thought was right before the lord. Here are two quotes from him.

    1.As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.

    2.I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. Adolf Hitler

    So as you can see morals did not come from God or the bible. They are two entirely different matters.

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  18. Well Chatpilot, thanks for being a good sport.

    First, In old testament times you could kill with God's permission (there are many examples of that I'm aware), but since Jesus was crucified, fulfilled the law and began to rule as king, that has changed.

    I will tell you what the point is.

    The point is that the fact that you have a conscious, the fact that one feels moral obligations is one of the indisputable proofs of the existence of God, whether or not you consciously recognize it.

    You said that "Hitler although he was wrong was doing what he thought was right before the lord..."

    Again, why was Hitler wrong? No one can be wrong unless there are absolutes, and absolutes must come from some authority, some source outside of us. Right and wrong based on culture are only meaningless opinions.

    That's why God has preserved his Word in the Holy Bible. (I know your laughing at this)

    There is a big difference between "Believing what the Bible says" and properly understanding the Bible. If Hitler had believed the Bible properly and actually been a Christian he would not have done what he did and still claim to follow God.

    Many people loose Faith in Christianity because they see men who claim to be Christians, and they see that these men are hypocrites and fools.

    Well many Christians, especially in wealthy nations are not in fact Christians, because they love the world and pleasures more than God. Do not look at "Christians" you meet to understand "Christians" as the Bible defines them.

    People can imagine "God" in many ways (that does not make them right). The only true God is the God of the Bible.

    Man cannot accept the things of God unless he is spiritual, because the things of God are spiritually discerned. That is why this all appears foolish to you (I assume it appears foolish).

    "So as you can see morals did not come from God or the bible. They are two entirely different matters."

    How so?

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  19. As I stated before the society in which you are raised dictates what is moral or immoral. I have already explained that earlier. If you claim that the things of God are "spiritually discerned" then you are left with a dilemma. What do you mean by spiritual? And how can you prove that this idea of spiritualism exists?

    Like a child man learns what is right from wrong from his elders and his society, not from God. Morals do not come from God in fact the concept of morality like God is an human invention. In the case of humans morality is a concept used to establish some sort of order to a societies manner of living.

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  20. "If you claim that the things of God are "spiritually discerned" then you are left with a dilemma. What do you mean by spiritual? And how can you prove that this idea of spiritualism exists?"

    Fair question.

    For me personally it has been proved true experientially. When I pray, my prayers are answered, in such a way, and which such a frequency that they cannot be mere coincidences.

    Two examples below.

    When I got to work early on some mornings there was this guy in the employee lounge who always listened to loud music which annoyed me. This had been going on for some time, and one day I prayed, asking God that he would no longer be there listening to loud music. The next day he got fired. I have not seen him since.

    For a while this past fall I was riding bicycle to work. The traffic light never changed for my bicycle. I always had to wait for a car to come, or else make a right and then go left. One day as I approached the traffic light I though that God could change the light for me. So I prayed for the light to change, and it did immediately.

    Now of course you could say I made these stories up, and you could say that they don't mean anything. But consistently for years, God has faithfully answered my prayers.

    Even from a pragmatic perspective would it not be beneficial to be granted such favors?

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  21. I have raised money for various charities, and I have now been raising a few thousand dollars every year. There are times when I do not see how the money can possibly be raised. But I have Faith that it will be. Every time that I have spent time on my knees in prayer, God has always delivered with hundreds of dollars pouring in, often from those who I least expect.

    I don't want to go into details, but there was one occasion where I thought I was going to die. I saw the things I've done and thought of my family, and I cried out to God to deliver me. And he did.

    Have you ever flown alone in an airplane at night for many miles? (I'm a pilot) Rode bicycle through miles of countryside on a moonless night, while being chased by a dog you couldn't see, but feel breathing on your leg? Gone kayaking on a bright night in a deserted lake in the wilderness? When I do these things I cannot avoid faith in God.

    I have also seen demons. I will describe the last two I saw (which was about 5 years ago now). One had the form of a man, but was bloody, I could not see the lower half of his body, and the other was a beast that defies description, kind of like something out of the book of revelation. These demons tried to come to me and do me harm, but I kept them away by quoting scripture, praying, and singing hymns.

    Obviously, you may not believe me, but they were as real to me as anything else.

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  22. Thanks for your honesty and your posts anonymous, I really appreciate your input. Regarding your prayer requests that you cited to have been answered, I would chalk them both up to coincidence. I'm pretty sure if there was a God he would have much better things to do than to be changing street lamps at any ones specific request, or getting someone fired from their job.

    As for the demons you claim to have seen I personally have had similar experiences when I was an evangelist. My specialty was deliverance or exorcisms whichever term you prefer. I now look back at those experiences as due to an over active imagination influenced by my indoctrination and beliefs at the time.

    I used to get attacked at night sometimes and would feel a presence on my chest that would sometimes talk or growl in my ear. I later learned that this is a common condition called hallucinatory sleep paralysis.

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  23. Here is the rest, it had got cut off...


    I have had dreams, and dreams of the future. Sometimes I know what is going to happen before it does, because I have seen it in a dream.

    For example back when I had a girl friend I was planning to buy her something, and went to bed hoping to think of the perfect gift. I dreamed that I should get her a printer for her computer. I woke up and thought what a dumb dream, why would she want a printer. The next time I went to her house she said she really needs a printer for her computer.

    I have also been warned by God in dreams. On one occasion several years back, I had gotten into divination, which is of course forbidden by God. But I convinced myself it was alright, I practiced it for many hours sometimes, discovering things that I was not supposed to know. (I will not tell you how I did it, because I don’t want you to try it, since it is sin) God warned me in a dream, and showed me the evil of it, and so I departed from it.

    I could go on and on.

    What I did was give you examples of why I believe in the existence of the spiritual. Obviously there is nothing I can do change your mind only God himself can do that.

    Fasting and the use of certain drugs have historically been a way to become more aware of the spiritual world. And fasting is a way I have used in order to make my prayer more effective. But many non Christian religious groups use drugs, especially among devil worshippers and traditional primitive groups.

    The book “Spiritual Man” by Watchman Nee is a great book to learn about becoming spiritual from a Christian perspective.

    I have no doubt of the spiritual world as described by the Bible because I have seen, and experienced it myself. You can certainly see why I am convinced.

    I have also heard it argued by some atheists when speaking to Christians that “I only believe in one less god than you.” Well many of the gods other religions worship do exist, but their gods are actually demons that keep them in bondage and these demons are limited in the power they possess, whereas God has unlimited power and sets us free.

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  24. You seem to know the words of the Bible well, it speaks much of becoming spiritual, and spiritual discernment, Romans chapter 8 is one of my favorite chapters on that subject.

    Now I believe Romans chapter 8, and the rest of the scriptures, because in many cases I have personally experienced what the scriptures say, other times I only understand it.

    But I have seen the Gospel, the Bible, the Words of God change peoples lives in radical ways which can only be explained by that fact that God’s Spirit is working.

    If you believe the spiritual word exists, then you will see it. If you do not believe it exists, you may not realize it does, until it is too late.

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  25. "Regarding your prayer requests that you cited to have been answered, I would chalk them both up to coincidence. I'm pretty sure if there was a God he would have much better things to do than to be changing street lamps at any ones specific request, or getting someone fired from their job."

    I don't know, I think God is concerned with every little aspect of our lives.

    After all

    "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father." -Matthew 10:29

    Were the exorcisms generally successful?

    How were they performed?

    I am curious Chatpilot how did you go from being an evangelist to an atheist?

    What events or thoughts made you change your mind? If I may ask.

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  26. I was a Pentecostal evangelist and as you might know that particular faith is known for being charismatic. I fasted for three days before every service and prayed fervently for hours at a time. During my time as a believer I read the bible in its entirety four times. One of those times I read in Spanish to compare it to the English translation.

    1 Corinthians 12:8-10 discusses the 9 gifts of the Spirit as wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, divers tongues, interpretation of tongues (glossolalia). At one time or another I have utilized all of these gifts in the ministry.

    When casting out demons for instance I did not use any rituals but rather the spoken word. I recited verses that referred to my power over evil in Christ. Back then the spiritual world was very real to me.

    What drove me into becoming an atheist was when I started reading the bible in its entirety and being disgusted with what I read. The O.T. deity was a monster and a murderer in my eyes. It took me years to get rid of the former indoctrination I carried with me.

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  27. When I first left the ministry and the service of the Lord I was very angry at God and bitter towards the church and the bible itself. I felt like I had wasted my time and energy preaching and teaching what to me amounted to fairy tales and lies.

    I don't agree with your statement about God caring about every little aspect of our lives because he according to the very book you claim to be his word committed some atrocities that would put Hitler and any other human monster that has ever existed to shame.

    I have found logical explanations for most of my experiences in the ministry. And therefore I have no need to believe in those things anymore.

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  28. Thank you for sharing Chatpilot.

    I am now in the process of reading threw the Bible for the third time. I was also at first a bit disgusted with how roughly God dealt with the Israelites and their enemies. But consider how God was among them living in the temple, and leading them throughout the wilderness by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and all the other miracles he did for them. Many times God wanted to destroy them entirely, but because of Moses' pleading with Him he did not.

    I believe God dealt justly with his people, and others, it seems to me that they were so stubborn that he had to deal roughly to get ideas through their thick heads!

    I will share a dream that I had on the morning of December 25.

    I saw the wickedness in the minds of men, and the minds of the righteous. I saw how much purer the minds of the righteous were compared to the minds of others. But then I saw, what I will refer to as part of the mind of God (for lack of a better description), and I saw how Holy he was compared to the most holy of men. And God’s Holiness made my mind look exceedingly corrupt. But what stood out to me most was how Holy God was. I had never felt and seen, nor conceived in my mind such a Holiness. Tears were in my eyes. The people are so exceedingly corrupt, I am so exceedingly corrupt, GOD is so HOLY. It is a wonder he can even bear to hear us, or to behold us with his eyes.

    And this dream I had reminded me of Isaiah 64:6, where the works of the righteous are described as filthy rags.

    The Theology I hold to is more of a Reformed or Calvinistic view, and it seems to me that you failed to grasp the Holiness of God, and the depravity of man.

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  29. The reason that both you and I found the old testament God to be somewhat disgusting to us is because we had not properly understood God nor even the Gospel.

    I grew up being taught more of an Arminian theology, and more of a watered down, cheapened gospel message.

    Some teach that to be saved we must believe that Jesus died on the cross for us, accept Jesus, ask him to come into our heart, and then we will be saved. What is worse is that many people who, when doubting their salvation, ask a preacher if they are saved. And the preacher says “Well did you ask Jesus to come into your heart”? the person says “Yes” and the preacher says “were you sincere” and the person says “Yes” and the preacher says “Then you are saved, and if you doubt it is just Satan tempting you.”
    And then this poor person is damned to Hell, being mislead by the preacher into believing he is saved.

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  30. Now the real Gospel message is that God is so Holy and So Just that he cannot bear to favor, nor to forgive the wicked. He is just and cannot justify the wicked. And man is far from God and will never please him by his own thoughts and actions.

    And Yet God is also Love, so he sent his son who took the punishment for us (we were justified by Christ because He bore our iniquities Isaiah 53). Of course we accept this by Faith and Repentance, Repentance which goes on as long as we live. For a full explanation of the True Gospel of Jesus Christ see http://www.hcmissions.com/resources/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ

    But the idea I want to note here is the assurance of the believer. How do we know we are saved? This we know from 1 John (1 John 1:5-7, 1:8-10, 2:3-4, 2:9-11, 2:15-17, 2:24-25, 3:10, 4:13), and Hebrews 12:5-8.

    And if we don’t measure up to these verses then we know it, and can repent and seek God, this is better than having false hope, only to end up in Hell.

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  31. Chatpilot, you were very disciplined with your fasting and praying, and very gifted, as you described all that you did for the Lord. It seems to me that the reason you lost faith was ultimately because of your pride. I do not say this to make an enemy of you. I am fearful for you.

    “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” - Hebrews 6:4-6

    Though it appears that it is impossible for any man to lead you to repentance (God still could, I believe), if you are able to repent (by God’s Grace) I urge you to do so. From an eternal perspective, you have nothing to loose by repenting.

    Perhaps God will even yet have mercy on you.

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  32. I have no doubt that you can find logical explanations for everything.

    At one point in time you were convinced of the reality of God.

    At another point in time you were convinced that God was a fairytale.

    How do you really know which view point was correct?

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  33. "I have no doubt that you can find logical explanations for everything.At one point in time you were convinced of the reality of God.Atanother point in time you were convinced that God was a fairytale.How do you really know which view point was correct?"

    Thanks for your response anonymous I appreciate this dialogue we are sharing. Regarding your question which I have quoted above I could only answer that in one way.

    Because of my personal studies on the origins of religious beliefs and comparative religious studies I can't go back to religion. The fact that religions were mans way of trying to explain the world in a pre-scientific age leads me to believe that those views are no longer valid.

    Our planet has been littered with thousands of deities and world religions, what makes you believe that of these thousands of religions Christianity and its deity is the correct one? I simply think that if you believe in something strong enough, it will feel as real as anything else to you. I have a button with a quotation on it that explains this better. I will put it in quotations for you.

    "When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

    I think that pretty much sums it up.

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  34. Again, Thanks for sharing Chatpilot.

    It’s good we both like philosophy, no?

    You seem to be saying that you have chosen not to believe any religious beliefs because of your studies on origins of religious beliefs and your comparative religious studies.

    In my mind Religion could be defined in simple terms as a system of beliefs. So whatever system of beliefs you hold to is a religion.

    At the very least you cannot deny that everyone has a religion, in the sense that everyone has a system of beliefs.

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  35. If truth exists, than truth must have absolutes, because the statement “All truth is relative” contradicts itself since the claim “all truth is relative” is a claim of absolute truth.

    If you do not accept that truth exists, than you cannot even except the fact of your own existence.

    If you accept that truth exists than you accept the reality of absolute truths.

    If you accept the reality of absolute truths, then you must accept that a true religion, that is, a true system of beliefs does exist.

    If you accept that a true system of beliefs exists, then are you not curious which it is?

    Which system of beliefs is different than the rest?

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  36. Christianity is the only religion in which God brings salvation to man rather than man (trying to) bringing salvation upon himself. That is, God did the work for our salvation by offering his son as a sacrifice. We cannot earn our salvation by works as is taught in other religions (Ephesians 2:8-9). We merely (though it is no small thing) need to accept what God has done, which leads to repentance, belief, faith, and regeneration (being born again) which will change our life.

    There are other differences also such as the fact that Christ was raised from the dead and all of the fulfillments of biblical prophecy. But True Christianity is much more than a system of beliefs.

    You said that “I simply believe that if you believe something strong enough, it will feel as real to you as anything else.” That statement I completely agree with, but again I would argue that you cannot escape belief in something. Believing in “nothing” is believing in something. This can be demonstrated by asking “why don’t you believe in X? Because I believe in Y. Even if you do not say the words “believe” it is an unspoken statement. This again goes back to the Truth argument.

    I understand what you mean by your quote about gods. But I do not believe it is a correct statement because it uses a narrow definition for god. I would argue that everyone believes in a god and that you just make yourself god.

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  37. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." - Matthew 7:21-23

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  38. Anonymous, if I had to say I believe in something then I would have to say that I believe in myself. Not as a god but in the sense that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. I can endure any hardship without looking to some non-existent supernatural being for assistance.

    I am not rich, nor have I achieved anything notable in this life, but I am happy and have no need nor use for a belief in a god.

    The whole we are not saved by works but by the grace of god etc. is a load of rubbish. There is nothing to be saved from. What are we so afraid of? An imaginary hell, death, eternal torment have all been made up by men to instill fear.

    Christianity is a fear based religion that basically forces you to either accept it or else! But to those of us who have been freed from the shackles of superstition all of the threats of Christianity are nothing more than empty superstitions with no basis in reality and no bite.

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  39. "And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

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