Counting Zeros

Before I get too far into this article, I’d like to mention that I got the idea for this from Tracie Harris over at The Atheist Experience, which is a weekly live call-in show down in Texas.  If you haven’t watched it before, I highly encourage it.

I’ve already written two articles about evidence.  I have made them quite simple to follow, and I don’t wish to do another at this time.  However, I would like to dive into the whole idea that there’s LOTS of evidence for God, when of course we know there exists none.

The average believer doesn’t believe in God based on absolutely nothing at all.  As I’ve said before, being religious or Christian specifically doesn’t mean you’re dumb.  But obviously, with absolutely no evidence whatsoever to point toward the existence of this god, what keeps people believing?

There are a whole host of reasons that people believe in god.  If I asked a whole bunch of people why they believe, we would get this:  “What if I’m wrong?”  “Seems to be order”  “No proof either way”  “I experienced something” “He has done miracles!” “Jesus is what god should be” “Jesus is historically proven” “The chance is way to small to be by accident” “It seems to be the best account for the world” “Fulfilled Prophesies” “God gives us signs” “I can’t imagine a world without god”  “Life would be meaningless without god” “Something had to make all of this” “God loves me” “The world is too complicated to be made without a creator” “I love singing to god in church” “I’ve always gone to church” “I have faith” “near-death experiences” “God gave us his book” “*religious quote*” “The church provides us morality” “Hell awaits the unbeliever” “science proves god exists” “It takes more faith to be an atheist”.

Adding to the number of reasons they believe, let’s talk about frequency.  To the fairly religious, every day there are reminders of god.  These reminders include someone saying something about god, hearing a sermon, religious media, religious articles in the home, religious habits, and reflecting on god.  From age 5 to age 40, that’s 12,775 reminders that there is a god, more or less depending on the community and household lifestyle.

So when a religious person has a strong conviction, it’s actually no wonder.  Personally, they have tens of thousands of individual points that ground them to their religion.  But here is the problem: Not a single one of their thousands and thousands of confirmation data points is worth a damned thing.  Let’s explore.

I recently listened to someone that claimed to have an experience that demonstrated god.  Details are not important.  Someone was sick, there was some praying, the person got better.  When asked how that happened, the person even responded “I don’t know”, followed shortly thereafter by “it has to be God!”  The problem was, they already gave the correct answer- they don’t know how it happened.  They then made the leap to their favorite excuse- God.  This is a useless data point.

We don’t know what the doctors were doing at the time.  We don’t know specifics of the diagnosis.  We don’t know the percentage of people with the illness that are able to recover.  Rare events, after all, many not happen often, but they do happen.  Plus, it’s very hard to actually get the facts of the case based on a single person’s testimony.  It might have been weeks instead of hours, they could have misinterpreted the doctor’s words.  The person could have shown improvement but then died 3 weeks later.

But even if we assume the most fantastic event, it gets us nowhere near an explanation.  No matter how the believer decides to attribute the event, at the end of the day it is simply an unexplained mystery.  It holds no weight at all.  It is a zero.

Feel free to scroll back up to the list of “reasons”.  One by one, every single one of them is a debunked fact, a logical fallacy, an unknown attributed incorrectly.  Zeros.  All zeros.  Sit with a believer sometime, and actually pry into a single example of why they believe.  Not the overall concept, but a specific example.  With simple questions, they must admit that the specific example may not have merit.  That is, if you can hold them to one example long enough.  The usual game is to quickly change the subject with another example or another fallacy or another debunked “fact.”  The more savvy believer can rattle off a dozen zero-sum data points in a single breath.

But here’s the important thing.  The believer may have tens of thousands of individual data points helping them ground their belief in their mind, but they are all still zeros.  Zero plus zero equals zero.  But zero plus zero plus zero plus zero plus zero plus zero plus zero plus zero equals…… Still zero!  It’s not one!  Or seven!  Or God!  Yet this is exactly the game they play.  Even if they are unaware, they are just adding up lots and lots and lots and lots of stuff in their head- tens of thousands of stuff- and a single goofy problem isn’t going to shake them.

No, to shake these beliefs, it takes a lot of examination.  Believers will have to go back over their entire lives- every conversation, every prayer, every event, every sermon- to deconstruct the zero-sum conclusion they have accepted.  They must snip, one by one, the tens of thousands of strings that ground them to their beliefs.  They must disconnect from the advice of trusted adults, publications, media, articles, confirmation bias, and very poor thinking patterns.  This can be quite scary to them.

On the other hand, it is empowering to learn true facts about the world.  It is freeing to throw off the shackles of snake-oil salesmen selling their magical cure.  It is wonderful learning to think deeply about morality, or kindness, or love.  And most importantly, it is highly satisfying adding up points in the real world.  Real love.  Real action.  Real caring.  Real progress.  I don’t know what my end sum is now, but at least I know it isn’t zero.

The Spartan Atheist

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93 thoughts on “Counting Zeros

  1. I have a question, can you show someone something that will counteract their indoctrination and bring them out of theism, or is it simply something they must do themselves. I say this because often when talking to a theist online, I feel I am wasting my time. They throw everything including the kitchen sink at me in reply after reply gish galloping all the time, and no matter what I respond with they simply reject. I just don’t have faith, I just don’t know their god, I just have no holy spirit…! I begin to wonder if reality, if evidence , if reason can break through hope and emotion? Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I rarely think the person that comments is going to have their mind change. My assumption is I won’t. I comment for the benefit of the person being open.

      In the real (non-internet) world, I have talked people out of religion. It isn’t a quick process, and it certainly isn’t a deliberate process. It’s always a series of conversations where my religious beliefs come up here and there, and it makes sense to them.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ark has said he often engages with theist for the ones reading but not commenting. While I have never been a real theist I did read a lot of atheist blogs before I joined in commenting. Hugs

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      2. I was presenting my views a few years back to many of those here whose blogs I follow now. Violet (ain’t no shrinking) said something to me to make me ponder over the next few weeks. Once I looked outside the prism of faith, the house of cards unraveled very quickly. All I would ask is people think this through on their own, without the apologetic ministers explaining every detail and sugar coating the failures. If you do, you will have a clear cut choice to make. And often times that is a choice to live with integrity, or continue with the flow. Violet, Violet T, , Ark, John, Victoria, Nan and others I was reading and whether commenting or not, I was getting it bit by bit. And btw, thanks to them all!!!

        Liked by 6 people

    2. Ark has said he often engages with theist for the ones reading but not commenting.

      That’s the point. I also sometimes get the feeling that I’m wasting my time but I remember that Nate’s blog & some other blogs ( where I was the theist who read but didn’t comment ) and the comments from Ark and other atheist there were helpful in me leaving religion. I bring myself to comment

      Can’t exactly remember where I saw this statement ( i think it was on quora )

      No one article can make someone become an atheist regardless of the point(s) you make. Your point will just be a straw, may be it is the one that starts the process, a straw somewhere in the middle or the straw that breaks the camel’s back. But it will just be one straw

      Liked by 3 people

    3. I think debating with someone on it’s own is rarely helpful, people tend to get defensive when they feel attacked. BUT, over time people can gradually change their mind when presented with information outside their religious worldview, so long as it isn’t forced. Ultimately they have to do this themselves though and be honest with themselves on what they REALLY believe, and not just what they want to believe.

      I do believe that change doesn’t initiate without a trigger of some kind though. In other words, if someone is really happy in their religion then nothing is probably going to change that. But if they start to feel bitter or unsatisfied? That can initiate a slow chain reaction to leaving religion (if they so choose). That’s what happened with me anyway.

      Liked by 4 people

    4. The real issue here is not the Gish galloping, rejection of evidence, evasion of logic, etc., but rather the motivation for those things. See the “argument” that “Life would be meaningless without god” cited by Spartan. This isn’t an argument for the truth of the proposition at all — it’s a statement that the speaker wants it to be true.

      Most people cling to religion not because of reasons or evidence but because it’s familiar, because they fear the concept of death being the end, because respect for religious authority is so ingrained that challenging it causes severe discomfort, because they’re so psychologically invested in it that giving it up would be a threat to their very identity, and suchlike. If they were going purely by logic and evidence, they’d very quickly see that their religion has no support from those things. The reason logic and evidence don’t make a dent is that they don’t address the real roots of the belief.

      Obviously many people do eventually break free of religion, and logic and evidence do play some role, especially with the more intelligent ones. With most people, the best one can do is plant the seeds of some doubts in the hope that, over time, they will grow and force some cracks in the dead concrete of faith. Surprisingly often, that happens not through logical argument but through exposure to other religions. Evidence of the abusive and hypocritical nature of religious authority (such as the Catholic Church’s child-molestation cover-ups) is often very effective too. It’s not logical — if God existed and sent people to Heaven and Hell after they died, you’d still be well advised to obey no matter how evil his Earthly minions were. But such shocks destroy the emotional roots of faith. They were enough to smash fifteen centuries of absolute Catholic domination over Ireland in one generation. I doubt that logic and reason could have achieved the same.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Good insight, Infidel. I agree completely.

        It’s worth noting that many people finally break free from religion, even after their mind is totally convinced, by literally saying something blasphemous. It’s almost like we can reason ourselves to the edge of facts, but we need emotion to clear that edge.

        By the way, fuck God, fuck Jesus, and fuck the bible. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I feel the same way when talking to atheists. I know I can convince them, but hopefully a little light will shine in one who is reading.
    I think I went through this the last time, so I won’t be labor the point.
    The evidence for God is everywhere, but the mind is blinded, maybe by another force, maybe because you just don’t want to believe, maybe because someone really hurt you bad in the past and the bitterness closed your heart to the idea of a God of Love…I don’t know. I understand the “list” you wrote, and, admittedly, I believed in God because of that list. I grew up with it. But I came to a place where the list wasn’t making me any better, and I saw a few who had this relationship with thus God that I only believed in.
    The relationship is everything.
    It can’t be explained, or argued, or even grabbed onto to try it out.
    It’s all or nothing.
    He either plants a “new life” inside you, that you learn how to hear, to follow, to please and push the old ways aside… or you can just keep the old one.
    If you don’t want it…well, you won’t see it.
    I know you say you were a Christian before you got enlightened, or whatever.
    If you were a child of God, you would have His life and His thoughts flowing through you, and you wouldn’t need someone to “show evidence” that He is real.
    But, I can’t argue with your findings.

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    1. Thanks, Randy. And since your reply is exactly the same as Muslims, Hindus, and people of nearly every other religion, I will hold back from picking one, if ever.

      Oh, and by the way, evidence is just evidence. If you have any, please present it and we’ll discuss it’s legitimacy and it’s conclusions.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I try to imagine how hard it would be for you to convince a room of kindergarten kids about the evidence for microscopic organisms if you didn’t have access to a microscope.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Easy. You take a container and grow mold.

        You see, Randy, we have evidence for microscopic organisms. You are stuck for one very big reason- there is no evidence. None.

        I really wish you could understand how open I am to evidence. Hell, if I could demonstrate there was a God, I could win the Nobel peace Prize. My name would go down in history along with Einstein, Darwin, and Newton.

        But there simply is no evidence. And the evidence that religious belief is the same as every other religious belief, belief in conspiracies, and gullibility is overwhelming.

        I’m not trying to be a dick, but your views and statements so far are quite what we would expect from any person convinced of any other clearly ridiculous thing. This does not help your case.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. That container to grow mold is a fantastic answer. To the child, you put an “invisible “ something into a container, and voila, in a few days you have evidence.
        God is a Spirit (Bible says) and we can’t see him, but if we come to him (sorry, in faith) he plants these invisible stuff (his spirit) inside of us, and , no matter how wicked we were before, he starts to grow something in “this container” that is evidence that something supernatural has occurred.

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      4. Except nobody sees the same thing. In your example, some people see green mold, others see purple mold, others see marijuana, others see mud, and most people see nothing at all

        One thing everyone sees is exactly what they expect to see, although they can’t show it to anyone else, and nobody else can see what they see.

        In other words, there is no demonstration that it is anything other than the individual’s mental projection.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Are we talking about religions, or about the One True God? I’m not talking about religions…that is man’s search for God…or, in your case, man’s attempt to pretend there is no God.

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      6. Yeah, if you’re going to just be silly, we aren’t going to get anywhere.

        Every religion thinks theirs is the one true god. Why should we believe in yours?

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      7. He’s not mine. I’m his. (Well, I guess He is mine, since now, I am his child.) Anyway, you call me silly…that’s okay…it takes a different dimension of understanding to conceive of certain things. I didn’t earn it, or study real hard to get it. He just gives it to me.
        If you wanted it, he would give it to you.

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      8. So your god is so weak, so insignificant, and so hidden, that the only way to see him is to allow yourself to be open to complete gullibility?

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      9. Or, he shows you stuff all around you that couldn’t possibly happen randomly and let’s you decide whether to accept or try and figure out a way that it could have happened randomly.
        But, again, he gives you choice. You like choice, don’t you?
        If he lets you choose, well, that doesn’t sound weak…or insecure.
        Your loss, or your gain.
        My gain.

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      10. Who said things happened randomly? Are you just making stuff up now?

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      11. Well, if there is no intelligence behind it, it has to be random, right. Only a mind could make improvements.

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      12. Wrong. So wrong.

        You’re basically saying “I can’t think of a way this could happen, therefore I’m going to make a baseless assumption that it must be the god I’m familiar with”

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    2. But, I can’t argue with your findings.

      It is possible to use objective data to test your analogy between atheists trying to convince religionists and religionists trying to convince atheists.

      Over the last twenty years the numbers of non-religious people in the US have exploded from almost none to about a fifth of the population. In western Europe the process began a generation earlier and now in most of those countries the majority of the population is non-religious. The same thing is starting to happen in Latin America and even the Middle East.

      Religionists abandoning religion are a stampede; atheists becoming religious are a trickle.

      In a wide range of cultures and circumstances, far more religious people are finding the atheist case convincing than vice versa. Your side is losing the argument, massively, all over our world, from Iran to Ireland and from Alaska to Argentina. If there were real evidence for God that could stand up to the case against religious belief, this would not be happening.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Are you trying to say that because the world is turning away from God that that is proof he doesn’t exist? That’s kind of a dangerous argument, majority rules, don’t you think?

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      2. Are you trying to say that because the world is turning away from God that that is proof he doesn’t exist?

        No. What I said was clear, and I stand by it. I’m not going to debate your dishonest paraphrase of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I meant “can’t convince them”

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    1. Randy you say the evidence is every where, but that is simply not true. There simply is no empirical scientific evidence for a god. Everything in nature that a person sees can be explained by science without a supernatural agent. This is not closing of the heart stuff of emotion. Religious experiences are simply emotional responses that can be explained and have been. This is not a want to or not want to situation, it is simply evidence for , reason for, and the most likely for situation.

      For example. In a hotel I put my shoes in a place and when I come back hours later they are moved. Now I could think elves moved them, or the person cleaning the room did so. What is more likely?

      The simple fact is the supernatural has never explained anything. The other fact is science has explained stuff we use to think was supernatural and will explain more stuff as we gain knowledge. That is all one needs to see the failure of religion.

      Be well. Hugs

      Liked by 4 people

      1. “Now I could think elves moved them, or the person cleaning the room did so. What is more likely?” Easy. Elves.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You snuck in and hid them on me , and I need my shoes back please. Hugs

        Liked by 2 people

      3. They’re all working at Keebler at the moment but when I see ’em, I’ll let ’em know you need your shoes.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Isn’t that the species Jeff Sessions belongs to? Hugs

        Liked by 2 people

      5. He’s an Orc from Lord of the Rings.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. You said … “This can be quite scary to them.” Absolutely!

    As I wrote in my book, leaving the faith was not an easy decision; in fact, it was a spiritual struggle at the deepest level … each step I took towards spiritual freedom was excruciating

    But then I wrote … “Was it all worth it? Absolutely!”

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I can barely imagine the dreariness and deadening effect of believing you have a supernatural bronze-age tyrant watching and judging you all the time. I don’t know how people stand it.

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  5. Thaaaank you loooooord, for giving us foooooood.

    Which I made, Tom packed and Suzie planted and science made happen.

    But screw them.

    Thank you. Amen.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Indeed. I was raised on a farm. My dad worked hard, my mom worked hard. But they still thanked Jesus. Looking back, it was ridiculous.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Even when I was a Christian I did think it kinda odd, but you just went with it.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Eradication of epidemics that dogged us for millennia? Technology.

      70-year average lifespan globally (and 80 in rich countries)? Technology.

      Food production that provides eight billion with abundance on a planet where half a billion suffered constant famines a few centuries ago? Technology.

      Instantaneous global communication? Safe drinking water? Probes that have explored the whole solar system? Technology.

      This world is intelligently designed for humans, by humans. If a “god” made it, he did a shitty job and created a pesthole we had to fix by generations of effort. Almost everything worth having is the product of human achievement.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Oh my technology you are right! Amen.

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  6. I agree, that unlike many believers would think, a secular worldview for me anyways, has been very liberating! The awe and wonder of science, and the freedom to not be conflicted or restrain thoughts that don’t line up with your belief system really helps in going where the evidence leads you. I can study science to my heart’s content, all without fear of any “conflicts” to excuse and cover for, or outright deny! I’ve found out that many believers don’t hold to religion in the pursuit of factual knowledge, albeit some exceptions, but more for social and family cohesion, like a security blanket, once taken away, they fear they will be lost and have no purpose, or nothing to live for. Many religions say what you must think, and what your purpose and destiny is on this planet, but the secular thinker is free to write their own destiny, and create their own purpose 🙂
    https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Love your comment! Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “Write their own destiny”
      Do you really believe this…do you know if you will be alive at the end of He day tomorrow, or that you will be able to maintain you memory and your ability to reason and think as you age?

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      1. Do you really believe this…do you know if you will be alive at the end of He day tomorrow, or that you will be able to maintain you memory and your ability to reason and think as you age?

        I may not live to see the next day, but that is no reason why we shouldn’t plan our lives. If everyone refused to plan for the future simply because we are not sure if we would see it then we would have still been less developed than cave men. Apes and ravens have been observed to plan for the future
        Maybe my memory and my ability to think and reason may go away when I get older, but that is even more reasons to use them while I still have them

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I mean, do you believe you can write your own destiny? We all make plans. Even I make plans. But we cannot control our destiny. I may not be understanding what is meant by “destiny”.

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      3. For us to be on the same page, it would be great if you define what you mean by “destiny”

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      4. I don’t think it matters. I don’t have any ” evidence” that you can see. If you only believe in the physical world, then we that believe in the supernatural unseen world will always be kooks to you. Good conversation, though.

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      5. I don’t think it matters

        It does. I need to know if you are referring to determinism or not

        I don’t have any ” evidence” that you can see

        In this instance I am not asking for any evidence
        You asked a question: do you believe you can write your own destiny
        And I am asking for what you mean by destiny because both why I was a christian and now a non believer.
        I have seen people view destiny as something like
        destiny = my response + event( this involves environmental and social interaction )
        Here destiny is kind of a variable
        Then they are those who believe that ones future predetermined
        Here destiny is kind of a constant

        I will need to know your view on destiny, to know what you are referring to

        That could work, except people call themselves religious if they go to church on Sunday, occasionally. I don’t do religion just on Sunday. My relationship with God is 24 hours a day. That is why I specify.

        I get your point. I never understood sunday only christian

        Religion could also be a denial of a God’s existence, if it rules the way you live your life and interact with others.

        I tend to refer to this as more of ideology and not religion. Largely because ideology is basically idea(s) which form the basis for our decisions

        Most people generally have an ideology/ideologies the follow when making decisions

        I think at its core christianity and religion in generally are kind of ideologies.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Those are all reasonable thoughts. Thanks, Jonathan. (Is that your real name? Just curious, I never understood the use of fake names in these “discussions”.)

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      7. Fake names are because many religious people will try to ruin your life if they find out you’re an atheist.

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      8. Thanks, Jonathan. (Is that your real name? Just curious, I never understood the use of fake names in these “discussions”.)

        Jonathan is my real name. Most atheist use fake names mainly because there maybe some social consequences if you are found out to be an atheist.
        I used my real name because the people ( in real life ) I don’t want to know I am an atheist wouldn’t find my blog or my comments, even if they did they wouldn’t know that I am the one

        Liked by 3 people

      9. So you don’t live your ideology in the open?
        No criticism.
        I am open about mine…even when it draws ridicule.

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      10. Lol! Randy, believing in bronze age superstitious nonsense is almost required to be an elected official in the US. Saying “I don’t buy it” prevents elected office at almost every level and every job nationwide. Atheists have been run out of town, shunned from families, and lost their jobs.

        Christians act like their grandma was raped and murdered if you say “happy holidays”.

        You act like a hero. You’re not.

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      11. No. I’m no hero. But I’m not ashamed of my God.

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      12. Clearly you aren’t ashamed. And I don’t care. Please answer the question (lots of comment threads, so it could have been missed), does your god influence our world? Does he answer prayers?

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      13. Jonathan I hope you get to the point where you live where you can simply not care if some one will react to you being atheist. I am an older white male living in a retirement community and I have no problem correcting uneducated theist when called for. I don’t go looking for a fight and I love to live and let live, but when older white people start pushing Jesus, I push back hard and with facts. I have had some not talk to me again but as I am the resident on call computer expert I have not seen a loss of friends nor clients. Hugs

        Liked by 3 people

      14. My definition of destiny? I guess, since I believe in a sovereign God, that, ultimately he knows where our choices will ultimately lead, both in life and in death…we may think we are moving toward a goal, but we cannot choose the outcome. I’m not talking about planning. The other day, business was good, I had a full day planned, and I fell off a roof at my first job. Three days in the hospital and a minimum of two weeks with no income were not in my plans.

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      15. For me, we don’t have complete control ( that is if we even have control ) over what happens to us
        But we do have control over our choices and response to the things that happen to us. ( This for me is the part that matters )
        I think it is the combination of both the things that happened to us and our response that shape our destiny

        Liked by 2 people

      16. Randy, does your god answer prayers in this physical world, yes or no?

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  7. This is an old post from my previous, now retired blog The Virtuous Atheist. I’m no longer posting on there, but had some articles I don’t have the heart to throw out yet… This post details my philosophy in finding satisfaction in my secular worldview. https://thevirtuousatheist.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/what-is-it-like-to-be-you/

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    1. I’d rather it be a chance mutation, or cells gone wild, than divine providence, as in the randomness, no one was to blame. No one was at fault for what occurred. To me, it’s morally sounder that it was a chance of nature, and not God “playing God”.

      Love this.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. So true Spartanatheist.

    As the Neurologists and biologists and the many other scientific fields that make up neuroscience have basically discovered what parts of the brain are involved in religious beliefs and can match them to the same areas of where other human emotions of pleasure also register, so this should technically be the end of all gods because it is simply another feel good emotion.

    Of course, it will not end there, and it will just become another conspiracy against God and many of the theists will not want to understand, or cannot understand the science so will reject it and claim God made the brain to operate that way anyway.

    I should expect, and I hope that in some unknown amount of years a couple of electrodes fitted to the head of a theist and a good old zap to the brain will be a permanent cure for their stupid superstitious beliefs.
    I can just imagine the Pope saying to his cardinals to take of those stupid f_ _ _ _ _ _ g clothes and ridiculous hats telling the old bastards that they have wasted their lives and to come and join him in the free world where life has a real purpose.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Of course, it would be impossible to assume that those pleasure areas of the brain were actually designed that way to give us pleasure in common things to point to the true pleasure of discovering the one who designed it in the first place.

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      1. Wrong again. It is not impossible to assume that. However, it is intellectually dishonest to assume things without evidence. It’s even more intellectually dishonest to assume things after evidence is found that is the opposite of your assumption.

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      2. Well, I guess you win, then. Except I cannot deny what has been proven in me. I can’t prove it to you, because you won’t (or can’t) hear or see the evidence of something greater than “physical proof”.
        If you had ever tasted God’s goodness when you were, as you say, “a Christian” ( I guess we’re talking religion, and not the born twice thing) then you would understand what I am saying.
        Again, it is not something you can be argued into or out of.
        If you have the Son of God, you have life.
        If you don’t have the Son of God, you don’t have life.
        Life is good.

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      3. Randy, it looks like you’re backing out, so I’ll let you go gracefully. Please read more of my articles. I’ve gone through many of your points and have thoroughly explained why they are just wrong.

        As to “taste god’s goodness”, I’d suggest you start with this one: https://thespartanatheist.wordpress.com/2018/05/04/jesus-and-santa-claus/

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      4. I’m not really backing out. But, you think I enjoy these arguments? Well, I kind of do, but, there is nothing you could ever say, or show that would change my mind, because I have already been where you are, and I don’t want to go back. Actually, I can’t. I just can’t help this love I have for my Father. He makes my life rich. It’s just always hard for me to remember that is not obvious to you.

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      5. I think we both enjoy them, otherwise we wouldn’t do this.

        I care more about what is true, rather than what is comfortable.

        You care more about what makes you comfortable, instead of what is true.

        Therefore, we will never agree. Best of luck.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. This life is not about “being comfortable”, It’s about belonging to God, and being alive and able to see things that you can’t see.

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      7. Call it whatever you’d like, I have no problem with that. It’s still choosing that over what is true. We have different goals, therefore. And since we have different goals, we aren’t going to reach an agreement.

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      8. I know. It’s just you are so certain that you have “truth” and I don’t. You don’t think there is a chance you could be wrong?

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      9. Well I feel pretty certain, but I’m also quite willing to listen to others. I have never blocked a comment on this blog. I ask every theist that is willing to present me with a convincing argument. If I ever got good evidence for god, I would believe in him/her.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. No, I don’t believe you would.

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      11. Well, once again, I don’t know how to proceed. I’ve told you that I want to believe in what is true, and I’m willing to change my mind based on the evidence.

        If you don’t believe me, then we again are at a stalemate.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. I used to be religious. Then I became a believer/follower of the God of the Bible.
        I have a nephew who used to be religious. Then he became an atheist.
        He said, “There is no God. But if the God of the Bible is real, I would never worship that maniac.”
        If it could be proven to you that the God of the Bible is indeed the Creator of everything ( by evidence, of course) what would your response be?

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      13. Bible god specifically, as written in the bible? I’d be horrified, I suppose. The attributes the bible gives to god amount to toxic leadership at best, and outright evil at the worst.

        Naturally, most Christians don’t believe in a god as depicted in the bible. Their god is warm and fuzzy. I don’t believe in this god either, but I’d be okay if such a deity existed.

        Each god has certain attributes in the literature that I may or may not be comfortable with. But I’m not really sure what that has to do with anything. Could you explain?

        And also, I have no idea what you mean when you say you USED to be religious, but now you’re a believer. Are you not Christian?

        Liked by 2 people

      14. Christian yes. Religious no. I’ll have to explain later.

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      15. Yes, please do. The definition of “religious” is “believing in a religion.” You have already stated you believe, and Christianity is a religion. By definition, you’re religious. Hence my confusion…

        Liked by 1 person

      16. I’ll have to explain later.

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      17. Religion: believing in a doctrine or set of rules. You accept them as true, so you try to follow them. Do this…don’t do this. But, oftentimes you just want to do what you want to do, no one is watching so you do what you want. But you keep pretending that you are keeping all the rules, even judging those that don’t. It is such an effort to “do what you should” but, honestly, the desire inside you to please yourself is so much stronger than the desire to please God. “At least, I’m not as bad as (insert some name here)” becomes your justification. Then, an intelligent argument from an atheist, or another religion shows up, and it draws you away.

        “Not religious”: Something happens to change your mind, or your heart. The Bible calls it replacing your heart of stone with a heart of flesh. It comes from outside of you, and it begins with a sudden strong desire to be “right with God” and a sudden realization that you could never be good enough. You have tried so many times in the past and failed. This day, though, you feel a sense of love and acceptance flowing through you, a sense of love for God rising up inside of you, and a deep, deep, deep desire to make him happy.
        It stays with you.
        That first day is like you are a new born person.
        You start to see everything with brand new “eyes”.
        The Bible stops being a “dry book of old time superstitious people” and becomes a book of living words that strike you deep, that make you feel a love for the writer of these words.
        Living words that give you power to live to please your new “Daddy”.
        And…when you please him…you feel his pleasure.
        It’s been 40 years since my first day with this new heart.
        You could never convince me that it is not real.
        My prayer for you (I wish I knew your name) is that God will call you as he did me on May8,1978.

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      18. I don’t get your definition of religion
        Your definition of religion fits more with the definition of ideology
        I am sure most people define religion like this

        the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

        Liked by 1 person

      19. That could work, except people call themselves religious if they go to church on Sunday, occasionally. I don’t do religion just on Sunday. My relationship with God is 24 hours a day. That is why I specify.
        Religion could also be a denial of a God’s existence, if it rules the way you live your life and interact with others.

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      20. Okay, been busy all day, but Randy, your definition of religion is completely not the same as the accepted definition of religion. Which means you object to something about the definition. By your own explanation, religion is basically what everyone in the world calls religion, but with the added quality of either not living it full time and/or gossipy crap. Your definition of non-religion is the same as everyone elses definition of religion, with the addition of being a more introspective person.

        And then you just added another definition, that of denial of gods existence, which of course is just dumb. Dumb because it’s the exact opposite of religion.

        I’ll use an analogy. If religion is football, you are saying that people that own stock in the Green Bay Packer franchise are football fans, but people that do not own Packer stock are just bandwagon fans, and people that don’t like football at all are also bandwagon fans. It’s the most ridiculous definition I’ve ever heard.

        But obviously, you wish to not be lumped in with “religious” people, and I wonder why?

        Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s that examination that they are often so afraid of. It was true for me. And I was right to be afraid; when I let myself really consider everything with an open mind, it all crumbled.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I’ve been busily writing about evidence for God because I too am sick of lame theists being unable to justify their beliefs. https://johnbranyan.com/some-evidence-for-god/

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    1. I just posted on your site. Your definition of god is so weak, the Theory of Evolution is your god.

      Way to move the goal posts.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Basically you evidence for “god” are
      1) We want life to have meaning
      2) The explanation of cow
      3) People don’t sue monkeys and rocks
      4) Because people talked about god in your imaginary planet, therefore god exist and your imaginary hermit
      5) I didn’t get your Jello story ( what do you mean by coming to life )

      Non-living stuff doesn’t come to life.

      Take a look at viruses that are essentially “non-living stuff”, but on certain circumstances the show properties of life, like reproduction, ability to adapt to their environment take a look at human immunodeficiency virus whose adaptation and mutation has made it difficult to combat it. Look at mamavirus a virus that was found to be infected by Sputnik virophage — a satellite virus ( talk about virus getting sick )

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You’re, of course, misrepresenting me. If you want to comment on the specific articles on my blog, I’ll respond. I’m not going to defend your misrepresentations in hostile territory. 🙂

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  11. Tracie is my favorite.
    (Scottie’s the worst though just saying.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, she doesn’t get pissed of, and she has a way of flushing out the issues and explaining them clearly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She and Matt, when he let’s her speak, are a great dynamic.

        Liked by 2 people

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