Why You Should Take The God Hypothesis Seriously

by Frost on January 24, 2013

I am not a Christian. But, I take Christianity far more seriously than most.

Taking Christianity seriously marks me as an oddity in the modern era, wherein everyone who’s anyone knows that only low-class, backwards, half-retarded rubes ever consider the possibility that the story of biblical Jesus Christ is anything more than a fairy tale. A little while ago, I told someone close to me that I was reading the Bible and a stack of Christian writers in an effort to better understand the origins of western history and philosophy. Their off-hand response was: “I suppose that might be interesting. But honestly, as soon as I find out a person is a Christian, I lose all intellectual respect for anything they say after that.”

Well. That’s certainly one way to look at it. But imagine making the same statement about Muslims, Buddhists, Koreans, teachers, pipefitters, tall people, feminists, conservatives… or really, any sort of differentiable group of people. With any other target, such a statement would be beyond crass. When Christianity is our subject of ridicule though, full speed ahead.

The stronger the modern leftist taboo around a given set of beliefs – i.e., feminism, global warming, human biological uniformity – the more likely it is to be true. Such is the trend I’ve noticed.

Our universe appears, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to be the product of either design or evolution. This is absolutely beyond dispute. Paley’s watchmaker, now armed with our 21st-century knowledge of cosmological constants, exists. I repeat, this is an observable fact about our universe that is beyond dispute: Our existential plane gives every appearance of having been designed with the intent of hosting intelligent life. Richard Dawkins, the closest thing atheism has to a pope, devotes the second half of The God Delusion, not to refuting this observation, but rather to offering alternatives explanations.

And yes, there are alternatives. Our universe could be one of an infinite number. This is the Multiverse Hypothesis. Combined with the Anthropic Principle, it provides a perfectly reasonable and God-free explanation for the otherwise implausible existence of our fine-tuned universe.

Does God exist? Or are we the fortunate inhabitants of one of a few habitable worlds among multitudes of lifeless parallel universes? Both explanations are, to a first approximation, pretty far out. Hence, my agnosticism.

But when I look around the world, I see many agnostics (and many Christians) who are agnostic (or Christian) in name only, while their actions betray their true atheism.

Consider: If you are uncertain of whether a proposition is true, and the truth or falsity of that proposition is extremely relevant to your life, the rational thing to do is expend as much time and energy as possible evaluating that proposition. Say, you are legitimately unsure of whether there is a suitcase filled with hundred dollar bills hidden somewhere in your basement. Or, that your house is on fire.

In either situation, if there is any doubt in your mind, if you are any less than ~100% sure that there is no suitcase and no fire – you would be a fool not to immediately set about finding the truth. Right now, as I type this, I am ~100% sure that my house is not on fire. If the fire alarm were to go off right now, I would adjust this probability to 95%. (If that seems high, keep in mind my roommates and I are not good cooks.) Still, that five percent possibility is enough that I would immediately stop what I’m doing and figure out if the house is on fire or not.

The truth or falsity of the God Hypothesis is vastly more relevant to our lives than a mere fire. The logical and evidential case for the possibility of the existence of God is quite strong, if not conclusive. So why are most men completely unconcerned with the question of whether God exists?

Further to all this, Pascal’s Wager is an irrefutable case for why any hedonist who is not completely convinced of the non-existence of God, should immediately start living a pious life and do his utmost to ‘trick’ himself into believing through prayer, readings of the bible, and immersion in a social milieu conducive to Christian brainwashing.

But, while the case for literal, certain atheism is extraordinarily and obviously weak (not even Richard Dawkins can bring himself to endorse it in The God Delusion), many atheists are completely convinced of the non-existence of God.

Much of this flows from the success of a clever rhetorical trick on the part of atheist thinkers: The re-definition of God.

There exist many sound logical proofs of God’s non-existence. But each takes His literal omniscience, omnibenevolence, and omnipotence as their core premises, rendering them cute but meaningless:

Can God create a rock so heavy he himself cannot move it? Checkmate, Christians!

If God knows everything that will ever happen, how can we have free will? Checkmate, Christians!

If God is perfectly good, why does little Suzie Jenkins have leukemia? CHECK and MATE, Christians!

And so on.

There is some scriptural basis for assigning these qualities to God. But I think we should make the distinction between literal and effective omnipotence. When God describes himself to humanity, we’re on a need-to-know basis.

God is, to us, for our own practical purposes, all-powerful. Much like, if you could communicate with a population of sentient avatars in a game of SimCity 2000, you might similarly describe yourself to them. And it would not be dishonest. From the Sims perspective, you are God. Sometimes you fuck up, sometimes you have to get up and take a piss, and there are some limitations to what you can and cannot will in the context of the game. But…details, you know?

Taking this view of our God, limited somehow – though all-powerful and all-knowing within the context of our own existence – makes Him much, much more plausible. God is God – to us. But perhaps, at some level, he has his own problems. Perhaps he has his own God or Gods to answer to. I don’t think this idea is at all incompatible with Christian scripture.

I also don’t think its nearly as ‘far-out’ and ‘weird’ as it may appear at a first pass. Humanity, right here and right now, seems to be on the verge of creating our own ‘artificial’ intelligences, i.e. sentient life forms who inhabit a digital plane of existence subordinate to our own, to whom we would be, essentially, Gods. Perhaps we’re the product of some earlier iteration of this process, in which intelligent life begats intelligent life on a lower plane of existence than itself.

If humans are mere decades away from becoming, in a sense, creator-Gods, how can we dismiss the possibility that the universe we inhabit is the product of a similar event? Many bright people who would (rationally) admit that it is well within the realm of possibility for human beings to become Gods, irrationally deny that it’s possible we have a God.

*

But What if God is a Dick?

Much is said on the subject of whether God exists or not. But comparatively little energy is spent considering whether God is good or evil. I actually think that this is a much more interesting question than that of his existence. What if God hates us? Or is indifferent to us? What if God’s pretensions to loving us and wanting us to find salvation are a scam? That would be a pretty awkward position for humanity.

But here are my two reasons for believing that God, if he exists, has our best interests at heart.

The truth is hard to come by

The history of Christianity is complex. A smart person can spend a lot of time and energy parsing the philosophical and historical arguments for and against the existence of Christ, and still walk away unsatisfied. I offer this as evidence for, not the existence of God, but the conditional proposition that if God exists, then he is good.

Let’s say you were a God. You are a God who wants to judge your creations on the strength of their character and their faith. But, the subjects of your creation naturally differ in cognitive ability, so you cannot make your existence a mere test of reading comprehension or a logic puzzle – if you did, you would only reward the intelligent and punish the dim.

So you want to create a test that poses an equal, or at least equitable challenge to smart and dumb creations alike.

If that were my goal, as God, I would reveal myself to humanity in such a way that the essential goodness of my message was easily grokked in the primitive hindbrain cockles of the left side of the bell curve, while sending the intelligent and inquisitive in a long and arduous hunt through the philosophical and historiographical arguments for and against my existence. I would reveal myself in such a way that my individual creations, no matter what their given level of intelligence, could not ever arrive at a state of perfect certainty with regard to my existence. I would deprive no one, smart or dumb, of the fundamental choice to believe or not.

*

The minimalist nature of God’s revelation to us suggests his benevolence in another way.

God desires our obedience, allegedly, for our own sake. We can follow God or not – He is, as we say, outcome independent. God would like us to be good, for our own sake. But, an evil God would say that, wouldn’t he?

If we accept that God exists, we must also consider the possibility that our creator wants us to obey for some other reason.

Suppose you created a race of artificial intelligences in a supercomputer. Might you consider telling them that you are God, and invent some narrative whereby they will be saved if they toil all their lives coming up with HFT algorithms that make you jillions of dollars? I certainly would. So, maybe our God is pulling a fast one on us.

But, if that were the case, God would hold daily conference calls with anyone who ever doubted his existence. All the better to keep us serving and obeying. As it stands, God seems content with a world in which very few of his creations even attempt to do as he commands. This, ironically, suggests that he has our best interests (or at least, the interests of the best of us) at heart.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

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Gabe January 25, 2013 at 10:43 am

“The big bang theory and the evolution theory are both hotly contested in the fields they dwell in.”

Sort of true, but very misleading when you it phrase it like this. Specific interpretations and extrapolations from the models are debated, but the truth of the underlying theories is NOT contested.

W/r/t Big Bang Theory: I’d like to see you (or any one) propose a more plausible explanation for the cosmic microwave background radiation, the abundance of light elements, and the redshift of distant galaxies.

W/r/t Evolution: it’s probably the most successful and powerful scientific theory EVER (yes, even more than Newton and Einstein). Gradualism vs. punctuated equilibria and natural selection vs. genetic drift remain hotly contested topics, but no one questions the underlying theory of evolution. It has been observed in real-time many times in labs and the range of disparate observations it elegantly unifies and explains is nothing short of stunning.

YouSoWould January 25, 2013 at 3:46 am

Good topic – as a result, I spent several very interesting hours learning about the differences between classical theism and theistic personalism.

Classical theism as a purely philosophical argument about the nature of existence appeals to me – we may never have an adequate answer to “why does everything exist”, and for now, “because it could not have been any other way” is as good an explanation as any.

Where I still remain unmoved however, perhaps now even more so knowing the nature of god described by classical theism, is why such a god would give a shit about humans, in all the near infinite reaches of the universe. To think that a god of this nature would give any more occasion to our acts than we would to the fate of an individual atom is solipsism on the grandest scale as far as I am concerned.

I pride myself on being a rational, logical man, and until I witness incontrovertible truth of something, I will remain skeptical. Classical theism is a compelling philosophical argument, but ends there for me, whilst it isn’t even funny how many holes you can point out in the notion of theistic personalism. And yet the latter is what I should think 99% of modern Christians identify with, it’s only the bigger thinkers amongst them that have considered the other angle.

Simon January 25, 2013 at 6:08 am

You gotsa read Pascal, buddy.

YouSoWould January 25, 2013 at 6:18 am

Pascal’s wager I presume you’re referring to? I’m aware of it.

For me, the outside possibility that there is any kind of “god” at all, let alone one that would give a shit about humanity, is so infinitesimally small as to be effectively zero. Thus, becoming sufficient religious to be able to “brainwash” myself into believing in god to get into heaven, would impact my quality of life and limit my choices so severely as to spoil my enjoyment of what is, as I see it, my only brief window of existence in the void of infinite nothingness.

I’m perfectly comfortable with the prospect of annihilation. And if there is a hell, at least most of my mates will be there too.

Simon January 25, 2013 at 6:24 am

No, Pascal’s Pensees. His Wager is simply a small part of his apologetics.

Your understanding of Hell is also infantile. I suggest you redouble your efforts.

YouSoWould January 25, 2013 at 6:28 am

Infantile, really? Been there have you? You sound awfully sure of yourself

Simon January 25, 2013 at 6:38 am

The Scriptures make it quite clear Hell is not a place you sit around giggling with your mates.

endwatcher January 24, 2013 at 10:16 pm

People will twist every fact and bend every idea to reflect what they believe in. You can say the same about us who believe. I strive to be intellectually honest about the matter and encourage people to ask these questions and seek the truth. The caveat being, once you have found it, don’t leave it behind. I believe science and faith affirm each other, it may not seem so right now, but our understanding of things has changed a lot over the past centuries.

One thing to watch out for is scientific data that is skewed to serve an agenda. This abounds in fields where no product is being manufactured. The big bang theory and the evolution theory are both hotly contested in the fields they dwell in. They are promoted as heavily as they are because they are profitable in some way to those who sign the checks.

In the end, no matter how much revealing truth you receive, no matter what sign you witness, you have a choice. Will you believe that Lord Jesus died for your sins at the cross, buried, and resurrected three days after(proving He is the son of God) or will you reject the Gospel?

I thank Frost for having this topic, it at least get people thinking.

Frost January 25, 2013 at 11:28 am

I know a lot about evolution. It is an extremely plausible theory. Either it is basically true, or our God has gone to great lengths to deceiving us. Also, evolution and scripture are only incompatible at the most ridiculously literal of bible study.

But, care to lay out what you perceive as the flaws in the theory of evolution?

Gabe January 24, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Also, if you have any interest in dialoguing more about this, I’m totally down for an e-mail exchange.

Frost January 25, 2013 at 11:15 am

I am, but I see no reason to take it private. Why deprive the legions of adoring readers?

Gabe January 24, 2013 at 6:42 pm

I really liked your essay and I completely agree that atheists/agnostics don’t take religion nearly as seriously as they should, but I think there are some blind spots in your thinking. Three points:

1) The way you express it, I’m not sure you entirely understand the anthropic principle. It’s not a question of multi-verses, observation bias, or luck. The universe appears to be fine-tuned to support life precisely because life evolved according to its constraints. “Fine-tuning” arguments reverse the direction of causality: we don’t conclude from the uncanny useability of a car that humans must have been fine-tuned to support car-driving.

The study of complex systems provides insight about the staggering complexity and interdependence that can arise from almost laughably simple rules. At an extreme, Wolfram posits in A New Kind of Science that the equivalent of a 1D cellular automata can reproduce the observable complexity of the universe. His formulation is a stretch, but his arguments by analogy are compelling nevertheless.

2) Pascal’s Wager is by no means irrefutable. Your game-theoretic calculation assumes that there is no cost to being pious and no benefit to being hedonistic. With such assumptions, sure, the only rational choice is to move to a monastery and start praying immediately – but I think we can all agree that such assumptions are demonstrably false.

The problem of Pascal’s Wager is further compounded by the fact that it’s not actually a binary question. Which god do you pick? The God of Abraham will punish you for worshipping false idols, but Kali probably frowns on Christians turning the other cheek. The pantheon of deities is immense, and many of them have just as much literary and historical tradition backing them up. In a state of uncertainty, there’s no clear default.

3) While strong atheism is clearly untenable as a general philosophical position, being strongly atheistic with respect to specific formulations of the god hypothesis is entirely reasonable. If a particular definition of god is self-contradictory, then we can confidently assert that such a god does not exist. Inevitably, theists start stripping down the definition of god, gradually removing each possible criteria of disproof. If it reaches the point where there’s no null hypothesis, then ok, we can’t say your god doesn’t exist, but it raises the question: what does it even mean for your god to exist? See Carl Sagan’s fantastic ‘Dragon in my Garage’ allegory.

Frost January 25, 2013 at 11:14 am

1) The fine-tuned universe theory claims that only a very limited range of values for fundamental constants in the universe are conducive to any sort of life at all. It’s not just a matter of humans evolving to breathe oxygen, because that’s what’s around us. Very small changes in the nature of the universe would render it a barren, star-less wasteland.

2) PW relies on the payoff matrix in a theistic universe being infinite. In a godless universe, rewards and punishments are bounded.

I think the question of the existence of God is partially beyond the reach of human reason, but evaluating different hypothesis for how God has communicated with us (ie, the different religions) is not. I am an agnostic with regard to the existence of God, but I don’t lose much sleep wondering if Muhammed was his messenger.

3) “If a particular definition of god is self-contradictory, then we can confidently assert that such a god does not exist.”

Sure.

“Inevitably, theists start stripping down the definition of god, gradually removing each possible criteria of disproof.”

I’m sure some such ‘theists’ exist. But they are idiots. Why bother talking about what idiots think, unless your goal is to score a cheap gotcha? There are plenty of smart, honest theists. You should engage their ideas.

Gabe January 25, 2013 at 9:02 pm

1) Ok, I see what you’re getting at.

2) Granted – infinite afterlife payoffs would skew the calculation so that present costs or benefits were completely irrelevant, but it still doesn’t address the problem of which god/religion to choose.

TBH, I find the entire idea of a deity rewarding and punishing humans to be rather implausible. It’s undoubtedly valuable insofar as it discourages antisocial behavior, but it seems way too anthropomorphic to not be the product of baseless speculation and a deep-rooted psychological need to believe justice is ultimately served. But who am I to know the mind of God…

We’re in total agreement on the second part. I guess I would technically have to call myself an agnostic (or weak atheist), but in lesser company, it’s not usually worth bothering to make such a subtle distinction.

3) Point taken, but this tactic isn’t just used by stoopid theists – it has been regularly used by highly-regarded philosophers as well as modern intellectual Christian apologists. Hell, even physicists (string theorists) have been accused of it.

I guess my question to you is: if you’re going to dabble in the god hypothesis, why pick a slave morality like Christianity? I always found the most compelling arguments against Christianity not to be the logical/evidential ones, but rather Nietzsche’s analysis of Christian values as disgusting and disfiguring to the species.

P.S. I used to be a Christian.

Daniel January 24, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Very interesting points.

I’d like to add that God’s limitation is that he cannot act against his own nature. God cannot do that which is not “of God”. This point pretty much explains God’s lack of activity(seeming or otherwise).

I especially agree with you on the point of other people’s inherent atheism. To not consider where we came from and all that is seriously pathetic. I didn’t rest for decades trying to discover or figure out or whatever; it led me to a weird sort of agnosticism.

Not that I mind-I feel comfortable with my perspective, but I still always wonder about those that either blindly accept or never bother to care about this issue. Those that consider themselves religious tend to run around in their Sunday best but when you try to have a real conversation about it, they can’t do it. And heaven forbid they even open or own a Bible.

And those that don’t care at all, well, I don’t even know what to say about all that.

Aurini January 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm

I’ve recently started noticing some cases where philosophy ‘accidentally’ says major things about physical reality.

See Koanic’s (above) quick-and-dirty proof of the supernatural. Then combine with Kant’s synthetic reasoning – you wind up with the possibility that FTL is possible, so long as you fundamentally alter the nature of the reasoning being in the process.

Suffice to say, I’m beginning to realize that this reality is far stranger than either the atheists or the mystics (for whom The Force works on simplistic physical patterns) realize. Ian Banks plays around with some of these ideas in his latest Culture novel.

There seem to be valuable patterns to be discovered in most religious traditions – excepting Islam IMO (Muhammed being, quite literally, the anti-Christ, a photo-negative of Jesus, creating a society which spawns violent civilization after civilization, each a flash in the pan, sewing the seeds of its own destruction), so I wouldn’t put stock only in the Christian faith…

But there’s a lot more going on than we’re apt to realize.

Frost January 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

I see a lot of potential parallels between the End Times and the Singularity.

Maybe humans have to build Jesus 2.0

Alat January 24, 2013 at 12:16 pm

@YouSoWould

I suggest your atheism is not up to date if you forget that time is an illusion and that only spacetime exists, as per the discoveries of science. Therefore, the question “who/what created God” – or “who/what created the universe”, for that matter – are nonsensical. Theists – at least sophisticated ones – do not conceive of God of having pushed the proverbial first domino 15 billion years ago (or whatever). God is supposed to be sustaining the world RIGHT NOW. And He would have to be uncaused in order to be able to do that.

Of course, you can – and if you’re an atheist, you should – dispute these conclusions. (And they are conclusions, arrived at by logic, not things you have to get “on faith”. Of course, if atheist are right they’re just wrong conclusions because of false premises, faulty reasoning, or both).

But first you have to understand the actual argument. I suggest you take a look at these three short posts – especially the first – , which were helpful at least to me. The author is a Catholic philosopher named Edward Feser. You won’t be converted but I wager you’ll learn something.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/09/classical-theism.html

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/07/first-without-second.html

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/07/so-you-think-you-understand.html

BTW, I’m not a theist myself. I was a strong atheist, but like our gracious host I’m taking religion seriously and trying to better understand the arguments for it. I’ve learned a lot, and certainly have much more respect for religion that I had, say, five years ago. I’m now agnostic. And I keep studying…

Frost January 24, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Ah yes I’m a Theser fan as well. Excellent links.

YouSoWould January 24, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Being unaware of classical theism until about 2 hours ago, my argument was based solely against theistic personalism. I’m not sure how many months it would take me to read enough material to begin to form arguments against the former, but it’s actually extremely interesting.

It appears I brought a plastic spoon to a gun fight…

YouSoWould January 24, 2013 at 11:25 am

I’m with you, up to a point. Whilst indeed it impossible to know if we and our plane of existence are “rats in a lab”, created by some higher form of life, this line of reasoning leads to an inescapable paradox.

If we were indeed created by a higher life (let’s call it god for argument’s sake), who then created god? Super-god? Who then created super-god? Ultra-god? At some point, there has to come a point at which you say “It just spontaneously came into existence”. Something has to be at the start of the chain. It’s just as easy to claim that it began with our sphere of existence as another one, 1, 2 or n levels up the chain.

For me, I am content with my atheism, and the spontaneously existing multiverse theory coupled with the anthropic principle.

Frost January 24, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Yes, there might be n levels of existence above us.

Yes, it just pushes the question back further.

But, maybe those questions are above our pay grade.

Maybe ‘higher up’ there’s a race of beings whose universe doesn’t appear as designed as ours.

David March 3, 2013 at 12:35 am

Why must we assume that if we are created, that the being that created us is more intelligent than us? We are able to create artificial computer intelligence. Since the rate of technological advancement is much quicker than what we see with biological advancement (evolution), it may just be possible that after a couple hundred years we will have AIs that make the smartest humans look like ignorant children. Maybe a god exists, but we were designed to advance at a faster rate than he is able to. Maybe it’s a decision he regrets and he wants to make us pay a price for it.

Koanic January 24, 2013 at 11:08 am

“There exist many sound logical proofs of God’s non-existence.”

While I don’t believe in the omnimax God, you are not very good at philosophy or logic if you believe the above. Pick one and I’ll show you why.

Frost January 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Note that all proofs are conditional on the existence of an Omnimax God.

If God knows all, he knows if I’m going to go home and bang some slut tonight, or if I’m going to read the bible instead.

If he already knows what I’m going to do, I have no choice in the matter. At least not in any sense that would make my actions non-predetermined. hence, no free will.

Checkmate theist.

Koanic February 26, 2013 at 8:34 am

Missed this.

It is incorrect that all philosophical proofs try to prove an Omnimax God, although they certainly tend in that direction. Furthermore, philosophical proofs are not the only evidence for God’s existence. I do not believe a positive philosophical proof for the existence of an anthropomorphic God is possible. However, I am quite certain that there is no philosophical disproof for an Omnimax God. So again, pick one.

Koanic February 26, 2013 at 8:38 am

Oh, I see you chose the foreknowledge / free will paradox.

This is easily resolvable. If God is outside time, then he views you on a line. The error is in the “fore” of “foreknowledge”. Your volition is not abrogated by God’s knowledge, because it is not fore, it is merely knowledge.

Or take this thought exercise. You invent a time machine, go back in time, and whisper in a caveman’s ear the date you lost your virginity. Does the caveman’s foreknowledge eradicate the free will of your act? No.

You may then argue that since God created the universe, he set in motion a deterministic material chain of reaction that dictates all your actions. If life is deterministic, then you lack free will regardless of God’s existence. If you possess a spirit which influences your actions by affecting your physical brain, then you indeed possess free will.

Koanic February 26, 2013 at 8:39 am

In sum, be very very careful before you say “checkmate” in a philosophy discussion with a man who improved on Kant: http://www.koanicsoul.com/blog/mathematical-proof-that-the-supernatural-exists/

Simon February 26, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Koanic, improving on shit is still shit, take another angle, mate.

Simon.

Peter January 24, 2013 at 10:46 am

I agree that people should study and maybe even practice one, but this has a lot of problems. It seems like you’re starting off where your overly anti-Christian friends are and trying to speak to them with hypothetical God models. But most Christian leaders would outright reject a lot of what you wrote. To them, God is benevolent, is not a dick, and is all powerful and knowing.

My approach would be questioning why an outspoken Christian feels the absolute need to convince others when faith, by definition, is full of doubt. On the flip side, I’d ask the ardent atheist why they care so much about dismissing Christianity, especially if they haven’t studied it at all. That’s just ignorance and weakness.

Frost January 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm

That’s because most Christian leaders are idiots. Or at least, misguided.

Evangelizing Christians are easy to understand. They’re doing their fellow man the greatest favour they can possibly do (in their eyes, at least).

Loud and smug atheists, whether they’re right or wrong, have their own unhealthy motivations.

David March 3, 2013 at 12:25 am

Although I’m sure that there are many atheist who don’t know much about Christianity, the majority of atheists that I know are more knowledgeable about the Bible than the average Christian that I know. But that could be due to my background. Most of the atheists I know either used to be Christians, or at least had parents that brought them to church services.

Koanic March 3, 2013 at 12:44 am

Self identified atheists are intellectual small subset and thus more intelligent than average populace, including average Christian.

The New Guy January 24, 2013 at 10:42 am

I very much appreciate this food for thought–and there is much to ponder from my side of the post, being that I believe wholly in Christ with a constant skepticism. There is no way to attain any sort of useful faith without first wrestling with the concepts, ergo, why I left the Christian church. The tenets of politically correct, emotion-based “thinking” (and as well many pagan concepts) have crippled the church from wrestling with much more than their bottom line. A shame, but the harsh truth is that I far more enjoy wrestling for myself and *then* seeking out other’s thoughts and weighing their validity.

At any rate, thank you again.

Frost January 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Thanks for reading.

The only real difference between a skeptical Christian, like yourself, and an agnostic like me, is that you’re better at doing expected value calculations than I am.

Booch Paradise January 24, 2013 at 10:07 am

I just have to mention on proof “Can God create a rock so heavy he himself cannot move it?” is about the same as saying ∞ is illogical because ∞/2 = ∞. The confusion happens because ∞ is being treated like a discrete number when it is not. So the limit is not on God’s part to either create rocks of any size or move rocks of any size, but on the atheists ability to think.

YouSoWould January 25, 2013 at 6:44 am

Ah, perhaps you didn’t realise my comment was merely an example of something we Brits specialise in, “gallows humour”.

As you say, were it to believe it existed, the version of hell as described by Christian scriptures would certainly be no picnic. However, it is not the only religion which has a concept of hell, and indeed in others, hell is merely a transient place, or is in itself more of a limbo in which one waits to be reborn.

Most religions claim that theirs is the only true religion, and I see no reason to pay any more mind to one person’s claimed authority in the area than anyone else’s.

Simon January 25, 2013 at 6:51 am

The only thing is, is that Christianity is true, and Hell is real. It is to your detriment that you think otherwise.

YouSoWould January 25, 2013 at 6:53 am

“The only thing is, is that Christianity is true, and Hell is real” – in your opinion. I’m sure proponents of other religions would assert with equal certainty that theirs is also the only true religion.

Anyway, I’ll stop choking up the comments section now, and bid you good day. It’s not my job to try and force my world view on others, and I hope nor would others attempt to do so on me, or anyone else.

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