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Favorite Quotes about Atheism, Agnosticism, And Religion

Favorite Quotes about Atheism, Agnosticism, And Religion
[Image: 78612847_146657750078415_268721041260412...e=5E436524]
"The advantage of faith over reason, is that reason requires understanding. Which usually requires education; resources of time and money. 
Religion needs none of that. - It empowers the lowliest idiot to pretend that he is wiser than the wise, ignoring all the indications otherwise "
 - A. Ra
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Favorite Quotes about Atheism, Agnosticism, And Religion
(12-01-2019, 11:53 PM)M.Linoge Wrote: [Image: 78612847_146657750078415_268721041260412...e=5E436524]

 I've always liked these quotes: 

"Christian .; One who believes that the New Testament is a  divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbour. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin"  (Ambrose Bierce)

" Clergyman: A man who undertakes the management of our spiritual affairs  as a method of bettering his temporal ones"  (Ambrose Bierce,)
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Favorite Quotes about Atheism, Agnosticism, And Religion
Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely.” (Sam Harris)  Consider
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(12-02-2019, 11:47 AM)Gwaithmir Wrote: Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely.” (Sam Harris)  Consider

 Sounds familiar , not quite the same:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

― Epicurus
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Favorite Quotes about Atheism, Agnosticism, And Religion
“Atheism is more than the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as part of nature.” (Emmett F. Fields)  Consider
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Favorite Quotes about Atheism, Agnosticism, And Religion
(12-03-2019, 11:23 AM)Gwaithmir Wrote: “Atheism is more than the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as part of nature.” (Emmett F. Fields)  Consider

Point of order; Atheism is about belief, not knowledge.

An atheist  need only assert  "I do not believe" . Imo takes a pretty ignorant /stupid person to assert  "I KNOW there is no god"   (such a claim is an affirmative statement, and attracts the burden of proof)

Being an atheist implies nothing else .

There are no generalised atheist positions/attitudes  on anything.  For evidence of this claim  spend some time reading different posts on this forum.
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(12-04-2019, 09:17 PM)grympy Wrote: Imo takes a pretty ignorant /stupid person to assert  "I KNOW there is no god"   (such a claim is an affirmative  statement, and attracts the burden of proof)

Or perhaps someone who is better informed, and who can handle the implicit burden of proof.

But of course that depends on defining which specific God-concept(s) one is addressing.
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(12-04-2019, 09:17 PM)grympy Wrote: Point of order; Atheism is about belief, not knowledge...

In my case it's all about lack of belief.  I'm an ignostic.

Quote:An atheist  need only assert  "I do not believe". Imo it takes a pretty ignorant/stupid person to assert  "I KNOW there is no god"   (such a claim is an affirmative  statement, and attracts the burden of proof)...

I've been saying "I know there are no gods" for decades past, and I'm certainly not ignorant or stupid.
The belief in God and/or gods is a proposition supported by all theists.  And as the proponents of that
proposition, they must, logically, supply empirical evidence to support the proposition.  It's not up to their
opponents to disprove it—prior to them providing that purported  evidence (at the very least).  And the
opponents of any similar proposition do not have the burden of proof shifted to them.

If I tell you that I can fly (for example) I have to prove it by jumping off the roof.  It's not your job to prove
that I cannot fly.  The burden of proof lies with me—as the proponent—in order to prove that I can.

Quote:There are no generalised atheist positions/attitudes on anything.  For evidence of this claim spend some time reading different posts on this forum.

Yes there is, and in fact, that's what makes us atheists; there is no credible evidence supporting the existence
of supernatural entities or paranormal phenomena.
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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“We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.”  (Carl Sagan) Consider
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@Alan V

"Or perhaps someone who is better informed, and who can handle the implicit burden of proof."

'Better informed ' has nothing to with it. As far as I'm aware, the claims for the existence of any supernatural being are unfalsifiable . IE cannot be proved nor disproved. (See"Russell's teapot)

Of course I' m aware that both Bertrand Russell and myself may be wrong .

However, so far, over 30 odd years, I have never come across credible evidence for or against any claims about the existence of god(s), the soul, an afterlife, heaven, hell, angels ,demons, dragons, pink unicorns, mountain trolls, the paranormal, fortune telling or angels at the bottom of my garden .

Your somewhat snippy response, implying I'm too ignorant to understand suggests you are in possession of such evidence. If so, WONDERFUL! I''m on tenterhooks ! Let's see it.


Having said all that, on a purely pragmatic level, it 's irrelevant. I live my life AS IF there are no gods etc . I only reply to your post because of your apparent ad hominem.
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(12-05-2019, 12:22 AM)grympy Wrote: Your somewhat snippy response, implying I'm too ignorant to understand suggests you are in possession of such evidence. If so, WONDERFUL! I''m on tenterhooks ! Let's see it.

Having said all that, on a purely pragmatic level, it 's irrelevant. I live my life AS IF there are no gods etc . I only reply to your post because of your apparent ad hominem.

I didn't intend to be snippy or to insult you. I thought I was being rather matter-of-fact.

Below is a general information essay I wrote for the forum back in September, on Dom's request. It hasn't been posted yet otherwise, but I think it makes a good addition to a discussion about favorite quotes.

Theism Versus Atheism: Standard Arguments by Alan V

Introduction

In various discussions between theists and atheists, certain arguments are repeated again and again by both sides. I thought it could be useful to summarize many of the most common arguments for general reference. To make this exercise interesting, I have also included quotes from a range of thinkers, since many atheistic arguments have a long history. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Question with boldness even the existence of a god.”

Theism

Theism, in contrast to atheism, is the belief in some gods or God. So theism comes in various forms, including polytheism, dualism, and monotheism. Monotheists tend to forget that the various polytheistic schemes have been among the most popular historically. Hindus, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Mayas, and Incas, among others, created pantheons of gods with different characteristics and stories. Literally hundreds of such gods conveyed moral teachings or explained various natural phenomena, and many people believed their own gods really existed.

Of course, such gods all cancel each other out as obvious products of human imagination. They are like the leprechauns, invisible dragons, unicorns, celestial teapots, and flying spaghetti monsters we atheists so often conjure in our arguments.

Since the polytheistic gods are the easiest to dismiss outright, they have been challenged throughout history. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote, “If lightning is the anger of the gods, the gods are concerned mostly with trees.” Greek philosopher Anaxogoras wrote, “Everything has a natural explanation. The moon is not a god but a great rock and the sun a hot rock.” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next.” And as Richard Dawkins wrote, “Modern theists might acknowledge that, when it comes to Baal and the Golden Calf, Thor and Wotan, Poseidon and Apollo, Mithras and Ammon Ra, they are actually atheists. We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”

Defining “God” for this short discussion

Even among monotheists, there are different definitions for the word “God.” Some atheists who call themselves igtheists assert that the God-concept is so poorly defined that the question of the existence of God becomes meaningless. Other atheists have arguments against all of the various definitions proposed, though the arguments most often repeated are those targeted at the most commonly used conception: the ethical monotheistic God-concept.

God is most typically considered the singular Supreme Being who was the Creator of the universe, who possesses certain unique attributes including all-power, all-knowledge, and perfect goodness. Such attributes are the reasons why God is thought to be worthy of worship. Ethical monotheists believe in a personal God who is concerned about people’s lives and how they behave, who intervenes in the world when necessary, who offers guidance in various way, who judges people at the end of their lives, and who rewards or punishes them in some afterlife.

Knowledge and belief

Knowledge is considered “justified true belief.” Whenever people claim to know God exists, they should have some logical justification or evidence to support such a claim. Atheists assert that theists can’t possibly know God exists, and some go so far as to claim that the ethical monotheistic God is impossible. So I will examine the major arguments favored by monotheists to justify their beliefs as well as many atheistic answers to them.

The support theists offer for their claim that God exists comes in the form of arguments, appeals to authority (especially of certain stories), intuitions, and supposed revelations. Atheists argue that none of these things can be trusted, and for a variety of reasons. Atheist in turn offer arguments and evidence based largely on science and its conclusions to demonstrate that the world looks just as it should if no God exists.

The Ontological Argument

A priori arguments reach conclusions without any appeal to experience, while a posteriori arguments rely on interpretations of evidence.

An important a priori theistic argument is the Ontological Argument, which was proposed by Anselm and promoted by Descartes. It defines “God” as “that than which no greater can be conceived.” Because existence is considered greater than nonexistence, the argument concludes that such a God must exist.

This is an attempt to derive a property from a definition, like saying all bachelors are necessarily unmarried. But philosophers from Immanuel Kant on have rightfully pointed out that existence is not a property at all, so you can’t simply define something into existence. As Kant wrote, “Supreme Being is a mere ideal, the objective reality of which can neither be proved nor disproved by pure reason.” For instance, you may imagine a perfect island, but just because that island is thought to be perfect doesn’t mean it actually exists. At best, you can only conclude what something must be like if it exists.

Although such an argument seems absurd to us now, it is important to understand that any a priori argument can only be analytic and not synthetic, meaning it can only analyze something’s attributes, not determine whether it exists. This in turn means that for someone to claim they know God exists, they must present an a posteriori argument based on actual evidence of some sort. There is no a priori argument to establish matters of fact. So we are restricted to considering theistic arguments which are constructed around whatever is taken to be actual evidence that God exists.

Logic and evidence

Of course, theists have not always insisted that their beliefs be reasonable and based on evidence. For instance, Martin Luther wrote, “Reason should be destroyed in all Christians.” Nevertheless, the stronger theistic arguments in favor of God depend on both logic and assumed evidence. Atheists often criticize theists for having no evidence to support their claims when in fact we instead should argue that the evidence theists cite actually supports another interpretation much better, i.e. that no God exists.

The Bible

Bible accounts are frequently cited as evidence that God exists, and they are often taken to be the words of God himself. But imagine for a moment what the Bible could have been like had it really been the creation of an all-knowing, perfectly good God. It could have included revelations of later discoveries by scientists, like our heliocentric solar system, evolution, or the germ theory of disease which relieved so much human suffering.

Instead, the Bible abounds with contradictions, factual misinformation, and tall tales to the point where it’s impossible to say what was intended as actual history and what as mere storytelling. Concerning the mythology, Dan Barker wrote this to Christians, “You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?”

Concerning the contradictions, English novelist Samuel Butler wrote, “If God wants us to do a thing, he should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till he has done this before paying much attention to him.” Different interpretations inspire the huge variety of Christian sects with their cherry-picking of passages to support their ideas. As English playwright George Bernard Shaw wrote, “No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.”

Some religious ideas are so contradictory as to leave their adherents with extreme cognitive dissonance. As American country singer Butch Hancock pointed out, “Life in Lubbock, Texas taught me two things. One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, dirty thing on the face of the earth and you should save it for someone you love.”

Scholars analyzing of the Gospels have concluded that they were by no means eyewitness accounts, and were heavily edited by later generations. German New Testament scholar Hans Conzelmann wrote, “The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them.”

All of this led author Isaac Asimov to conclude that, “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.”

Personal experiences

Different people claim direct encounters with the divine, and base their belief in God on such experiences. But all of such experiences require interpretations, and those interpretations are overwhelmingly in agreement with the assumptions such people were taught growing up. Christians don’t have experiences of Hindu gods, and Hindus don’t experience the Christian God. Humanist Greg Erwin wrote, “The kind of things that religious people offer as evidence for their brand of religion, they do not accept as evidence when proffered by adherents of other religions.”

This interpretive problem goes back centuries. Greek physician Hippocrates wrote, “Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. We will one day understand what causes it, and then cease to call it divine. And so it is with everything in the universe.”

As American philosopher Michael Martin pointed out, “Religious experiences are like those induced by drugs, alcohol, mental illness, and sleep deprivation: They tell no uniform or coherent story, and there is no plausible theory to account for discrepancies among them.”

Faith

Of course, such interpretive difficulties are easily swept aside by asserting that faith in God is a virtue or that certainty that God exists is inspired. This ignores the possibility of one’s personal loyalty being misplaced with often terrible results. As German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.”

Cultural conditioning

Religious people typically are not shy about pressuring their children into their own preferred belief systems through any number of means. Children are exposed only to cherry-picked and highly questionable information and arguments which support their parents’ beliefs. They often find their social integration requires parroting the party line, regardless of what they might really think. John Bice wrote, “The vast majority of personal religious beliefs can be accurately predicted based solely on the beliefs of one’s parents or the culture one is raised in.... Religionists should ask themselves, ‘Are my religious beliefs based on rationality and evidence or indoctrination?’ ” Writer H. P. Lovecraft wrote, “If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth.”

This is a huge problem for atheists, who assert that there are plenty of good reasons not to believe in God. Atheists find that highly conditioned people will not only not give their reasonable arguments proper consideration, but will even see them as evil for promoting them. But hopefully the present situation isn’t so hopeless as Irish satirist Jonathan Swift made it out to be in his own time, when he wrote, “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into.”

The Teleological Argument

The Teleological Argument was variously articulated by the writers of the psalms, St. Paul, William Paley in his book Natural Theology, and many others. The argument states that just as we can tell that a watch we find on the beach was designed, so we also can tell the world was designed by an Intelligent Designer. We can also tell from the design what that Creator’s intentions for us are.

There are all sorts of problems with such an argument from a modern perspective. If we say we can recognize design in the watch on the beach, why not in the beach itself? With a Creator God, everything must be designed. Which leads to the second problem: the examples of such design are radically cherry-picked, especially to show the alleged Creator in a positive light. The same Creator who supposedly designed birds and eyeballs also designed parasites and diseases. As naturalist Sir David Attenborough pointed out, just because there are pretty things like hummingbirds and butterflies doesn’t mean there is a Creator God: “You’ve also got to think of a little boy sitting on a river bank, like here in West Africa, that’s got a little worm, a living organism, in his eye and boring through the eyeball and slowly turning him blind. The Creator God that you believe in, presumably, also made that little worm.” The problem of evil will require a whole section of its own below.

Further, we now know from science how apparent design in the cosmos and in biological life was either self-organized by the laws of nature or evolved by natural selection, neither of which require an Intelligent Designer. Charles Darwin wrote, “My theology is a simple muddle. I cannot look at the universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent design, or indeed of design of any kind.”

The fallback argument is that such laws and evolution were themselves the creations of a Creator who fine-tuned the universe. However, this begs the question of why such a Creator was required for a creation which doesn’t reflect his assumed attributes. The idea of God’s special creation takes a beating when we understand that over 90% of all species that ever lived on earth have gone extinct in five major extinctions and many more minor ones. As Scottish philosopher David Hume wrote, “If there is a designer, he must take credit for the flaws in his creation. Flaws in the creation directly reflect flaws in the creator. If there is a flaw in the creator then he cannot be all powerful.”

The Cosmological Argument

One of the most popular arguments for the existence of God is that God can be inferred from the existence of the universe itself. The universe is taken as evidence for God. Such Cosmological Arguments come in different forms, from Aristotle’s prime mover, to medieval Islamic and Christian scholasticism’s God the Creator, to William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument.

In short, such arguments state:
1) whatever begins to exist has a cause,
2) the universe began to exist (these days the beginning is taken to be the big bang),
3) therefore the universe had a cause.

The argument then continues with a conceptual analysis of the required properties of such a cause, which not surprisingly can be summed up as an uncaused, personal Creator who exists outside the universe, who is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, all-powerful, as so on.

The analysis adding all those extra attributes is not economical at all, so much could be cut out by Ockham’s razor even without considering whether the premises hold true. If there was a cause of the universe, it likely wouldn’t be perfectly good for example. Nor would it necessarily be conscious and willful as any God is typically considered to be. It could simply be a mechanical cause. In other words, it might not be worthy of worship at all. British philosopher Sir A. J. Ayer wrote, “So far as scientific evidence goes, the universe has crawled by slow degrees to a somewhat pitiful result on this earth, and is going to crawl by still more pitiful stages to a condition of universal death. If this is to be taken as evidence of purpose, I can only say that the purpose is one that does not appeal to me.”

The premises are also open to challenge. British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote, “If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument.”

We know from quantum mechanics that not everything which “begins to exist” has a cause. Since the universe at the big bang was a singularity, it could have begun as a quantum fluctuation. Normal causality breaks down on a subatomic level. American physicist Taner Edis wrote, “Quantum events have a way of just happening, without any cause.... An uncaused beginning, even out of nothing, for spacetime is no great leap of the imagination.” American physicist Alan Guth wrote, “The universe could have evolved from absolutely nothing in a manner consistent with all known conservation laws.... The question of the origin of the matter in the universe is no longer thought to be beyond the range of science... everything can be created from nothing.... It is fair to say that the universe is the ultimate free lunch.”

Plus the big bang itself doesn’t really fit the bill as the creation of an Intelligent Designer, since the most widely accepted description of the event included particle and anti-particle annihilations, after which only one in a billion particles still existed. Why would an all-powerful Creator be so messy and indirect?

The God of the gaps

Theists actively look for gaps in our scientific knowledge to try to salvage their God-concept by plugging it into the gaps. American author Edward Abbey wrote, “Whatever we cannot easily understand we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues.... Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination.” Richard Dawkins wrote, “The creationists’ fondness for ‘gaps’ in the fossil record is a metaphor for their love of gaps in knowledge generally. Gaps, by default, are filled by God.” Apathetic Agnostic John Pariury wrote, “A favored argument of theists is that atheists are not aware of everything there is to know about the cosmos.... The flaw in this argument is that it can equally be applied to theists.” In other words, although theists may assume they have special access to revealed knowledge, they have failed again and again to demonstrate it. As gaps in our understanding are repeatedly filled by new scientific discoveries, the God-concept loses any possible relevance.

The problem of evil

Those of us who hold naturalistic perspectives have no problem dealing with the evils of the world, since we don’t take the world as an expression of design or intention. However, theists who assume an all-knowing, all-powerful, and perfectly good God created the world have real problems with the evils which exist in that world, especially when they say they can infer the nature of the designer from the character of the designed. Our world not only contains such people as Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer, but also floods, droughts, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tidal waves, avalanches, hurricanes, tornadoes, parasites, diseases, birth defects, and natural abortions.

Greek philosopher Epicurus famously wrote, “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” Or as American comedian George Carlin more humorously put it, “War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, the Ice Capades.... This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the resume of a Supreme Being.”

Theodicies
Of course, religious philosophers have tried to explain human evils and even natural evils by any number of theodicies, or rationalizations. They claim the world is flawed for good reasons, whether to teach us lessons or virtues, to punish us, to achieve certain greater goods, or to glorify God in seemingly perverse ways. Others say that evils all came from men and possibly even demons. It’s assumed God granted humans and demons free will, and we are misusing it.

Yet many problems in the world are not caused by human action, inaction, intention, or negligence. Blaming natural evils on the fall of man does not jive with modern evolutionary science. Further the so-called punishments are heavy-handed and disproportionate, and often indiscriminate as well. American journalist Barbara Ehrenreich pointed out, “God has a lot to account for in the way of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and plagues. Nor has He ever shown much discrimination in his choice of victims. A tsunami hit Lisbon in 1755, on All Saints Day, when the good Christians were all in church. The faithful perished, while the denizens of the red light district, which was built on strong stone, simply carried on sinning.”

Even in the case where humans are to blame, God has some explaining to do. An all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly good God would not allow a woman to be raped and killed to preserve the free will of her attacker, nor otherwise exploit one person to warn another. If a parent was so negligent toward a child, he would be arrested for child abuse. Couldn’t God create beings who always freely chose the good? Isn’t God himself responsible even for human evils? Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry wrote, “We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.”

If humans or demons can so easily violate the will of God, isn’t God’s assumed omnipotence in jeopardy? And if evils are somehow logically necessary for a perfect God, then not only is God off the hook but so are imperfect people. Mark Bilbo wrote, “The very need for a thing called ‘apologetics’ is example of the weakness of the theistic argument. ‘God’ always needs apologies, rationalizations, explanations, equivocations, excuses.”

Improbability

To review, it seems highly improbable to atheists that the Bible could really be the word of God, that personal experiences could offer us truths without verification, that a perfectly good God could have designed the world we actually live in, or that the God-concept is necessary to explain anything. On the contrary, it seems to us that the world is much more easily explained without any God-concept to clutter up our thinking. It’s time for monotheists to change their minds based on better interpretations of the evidence. American astronomer Carl Sagan wrote, “It often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again.... I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.”

Deism and pantheism

Redefining “God” is a popular form of apologetics, but often it leads to definitions which are not at all what ordinary people think of as God.

Deists believe in an impersonal God, who created but does not sustain the universe since he is indifferent to it and to us. Such a God could explain the evils of the world without resorting to weak theodicies. However, a deistic God would have no need for the attributes of consciousness and willfulness, if he is thought never to intervene in the universe for any purpose.

Similarly, pantheists redefine the whole universe as God. That takes care of several other problems mentioned above. If God is the universe, then he is indeed all powerful and contains all that is good. But he obviously wouldn’t be perfectly good. And is he still all-knowing? The universe would have to be conscious and purposeful, rather than filled with merely determined and chance events, to pass for God in any reasonable sense of the word. As far as we can tell, it isn’t.

The transcendental approach

Frustrated theists may, after hearing all of these atheistic counter-arguments, insist that God transcends the world and everything in it. Then no one can claim God doesn’t exist. But neither can God’s existence be shown to be true. Such a claim makes the concept of God unintelligible and useless. Relevance is a two-way street. If the world is irrelevant to God, then God is irrelevant to the world. Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Since it is impossible for me to have any positive, clear idea of that which is infinite and incomprehensible, I cannot conceive otherwise than that He... expects or requires no worship or praise from us.”

Immortality

Even when shown that the God-concept lacks supporting evidence, some theists will still hold out hope that he exists. The fear of death is so strong that many will hope against hope that we can somehow continue living beyond our deaths. Religions promise that escape, so their appeal to basic human nature will likely continue. Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams said, “Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle of lotteries, dating, and religion.”

Nevertheless, there are positive proofs that we do not possess immortal souls. Modern neuroscience has demonstrated how our minds are brain-dependent, through studies of dementia, strokes, and other brain injuries, by drugs and alcohol altering awareness, and so on. This should be obvious to all of us by now. Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus wrote, “A blow to the head will confuse a man’s thinking; a blow to the foot has no such effect. This cannot be the result of [man having] an immortal soul.”

But we really fear dying more than death itself. American humorist Mark Twain wrote, “I do not fear death, in view of the fact that I had been dead for billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

Utility

Some perhaps more cynical theists claim that religious ideas should be maintained for their utility, rather than discredited. Religious beliefs and rituals are considered useful for social bonds and holidays, for consolation for life’s many trials and tribulations, and so on. But obviously beliefs aren’t true just because they might be useful in whatever ways.

Some have pointed out that Christianity, in particular, is a solution in search of a problem. French author Andre Gide wrote, “Christianity, above all, consoles; but there are naturally happy souls who do not need consolation. Consequently, Christianity begins by making such souls unhappy, for otherwise it would have no power over them.” But people will console each other with or without religion, and of course we create societies and occasions around anything at all.

Morality

Among such useful religious ideas are said to be certain moral principles. Theists argue that humanists largely derive their ethics from Christians, or that there is no morality without God. Others have argued that in fact some of the worst tendencies of Christianity were tamed in the last several centuries by humanism and skepticism. English philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, “Modern morality is derived from Greek and Roman sources, not from Christianity.” So for instance, the reward of heaven and the punishment of hell, supposedly for all eternity, seem completely disproportionate for any of people’s actions in their short lifetimes, and certainly for their mere belief or disbelief. Our laws are now secular to avoid such religious distortions.

Of course there are secular and philosophical methods to derive moral values. Albert Einstein, who did not believe in a personal God, wrote, “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. If people are good only because they fear punishment and hope for a reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.” American anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote, “It is an open question whether any behavior based on fear of eternal punishment can be regarded as ethical or should be regarded as merely cowardly.”

This doesn’t even account for moral failures among the religious. The authors of a paper published in the Journal of Religion and Society in 2005 concluded: “[Globally,] higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion.” Similarly, the authors of a standard text, The Psychology of Religion, asserted, “Most studies show that conventional religion is not an effective force for moral behavior or against criminal activity.”

American atheist Robert Ingersoll wrote, “If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane.”

Modern morality

Many critics, and not just atheists, point out that many of the moral ideas of religions are terribly outdated, since historically they have been used to justify wars, slavery, misogyny, homophobia, and anti-scientific perspectives. While certain useful moral lessons can be derived from certain passages from the Bible, the very act of such cherry-picking brings the whole process into question.

The Bible was terribly outdated even before the modern period. Frederick Douglass wrote, “The church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors.... For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! Welcome atheism!” American actress Mira Sorvino said, “Why does it not say anywhere in the Bible that slavery is wrong? ... How is it possible that it is not immoral to own another person? Why isn’t that one of the Ten Commandments? ‘Thou shalt not own another person.’ You want to sit here and tell me that fornication is worse than owning someone?”

Even worse atrocities have been committed in the name of religion. French eyewitness of the First Crusade Raymond of Aguilers wrote, “Wonderful things were to be seen. Numbers of the Saracens were beheaded.... Others were shot with arrows, or forced to jump from towers; others were tortured for several days, then burned with flames. In the streets were seen piles of heads and hands and feet. It was just a marvelous judgment of God, that this place should be filled with the blood of unbelievers.” As Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek pointed out, “The lesson of today’s terrorism is that if God exists, then everything, including blowing up thousands of innocent bystanders, is permitted – at least to those who claim to act directly on behalf of God, since, clearly, a direct link to God justifies the violation of any merely human constraints and considerations.” The scholar and critic of Islam who uses the pseudonym “Ibn al-Rawandi” wrote, “There is no way that Islam can reform itself and remain Islam, no way it can ever be made compatible with pluralism, free speech, critical thought and democracy.” British philosopher Sir Karl Popper wrote, “If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant... then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.” American theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg put the same problem a different way when he famously wrote, “With or without [religion] you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

Purpose

Yet another assumed utility of religion is that it is said to give people’s lives purpose. If the universe has no intention behind it, then it is assumed that people’s lives are meaningless. However, this entirely overlooks our human ability to create our own meanings. Physicist Richard Feynman wrote, “I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.... I don’t feel frightened by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.” American paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote, “We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a small and tenuous species, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to survive by hook and by crook. We may yearn for a higher answer – but none exists.” More pointedly, French astronomer Camille Flammarion wrote, “Men have had the vanity to pretend that the whole creation was made for them, while in reality the whole creation does not suspect their existence.”

Religion as teaching stories

Theists in retreat try to redefine religion in terms of its importance as cultural mythology. Mythological scholar Joseph Campbell wrote, “Religion can be defined as misinterpreted mythology.... [It attributes] historical references to symbols which properly are spiritual in their reference.” But if religion is to be redefined as a series of teaching stories, we should be quite sure those stories are teaching the lessons we really want to convey. In many cases, they convey immorality and anti-scientific propaganda.

American author Ruth Hurmence Green wrote, “If the concept of a father who plots to have his own son put to death is presented to children as beautiful and as worthy of society’s admiration, what types of human behavior can be presented to them as reprehensible?” Similarly, G. Richard Bozarth pointed out, “Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of god.”

Theism as outdated

All of this leads to the inevitable conclusion that even in terms of their assumed utility, religious concepts are hopelessly outdated.

Atheist author Christopher Hitchens wrote, “A true believer... must also claim to have at least an inkling of what that Supreme Being desires. I have been called arrogant myself in my time... but to claim that I am privy to the secrets of the universe and its creator – that’s beyond my conceit.” Ruth Hurmence Green also wrote, “It is possible to pull out justification for imposing your will on others, simply by calling your will God’s will.” American linguist Richard Lederer wrote, “There once was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled. This time was called the Dark Ages.”

Atheistic options

British atheist Chapman Cohen said, “Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.” What is left is a lack of belief in anything so problematic. Or as “Raving Atheist” Ignots Pistachio wrote, “[All] religions eventually die out.... But atheism will live on regardless of what new religion replaces the old.”

All of the above quotes were selected from The Quotable Atheist by Jack Huberman. I highly recommend the book for its wealth of information about atheistic perspectives.
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Favorite Quotes about Atheism, Agnosticism, And Religion
Quote: Ignots Pistachio wrote, “[All] religions eventually die out.... But atheism will live on regardless of what new religion replaces the old.”

That is probably the best quote in this thread.
"The advantage of faith over reason, is that reason requires understanding. Which usually requires education; resources of time and money. 
Religion needs none of that. - It empowers the lowliest idiot to pretend that he is wiser than the wise, ignoring all the indications otherwise "
 - A. Ra
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"“The more I learn about the universe, the less convinced I am that there is any sort of benevolent force that has anything to do with it, at all.” (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)  Consider
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(12-05-2019, 12:51 AM)Alan V Wrote: Theists in retreat try to redefine religion in terms of its importance as cultural mythology.  Mythological scholar Joseph Campbell wrote, “Religion can be defined as misinterpreted mythology.... [It attributes] historical references to symbols which properly are spiritual in their reference.”  But if religion is to be redefined as a series of teaching stories, we should be quite sure those stories are teaching the lessons we really want to convey.  In many cases, they convey immorality and anti-scientific propaganda. 

I question whether it's fair to say that Campbell's take on mythology, symbolism and ritual are an attempt to justify religion. He even says religion is misinterpreted mythology, so he inherently doesn't seem to agree with it, at least in total. I find some of his thinking useful, particularly his insights about the way the subconscious deals in symbols and how that influences conscious thought and behavior. I have put that to some practical use at times.

Ritual and tradition ARE a huge component of religion and, whether explicit or not, that involves a lot of symbolism. And some liberal religious people feel that is important in its own right. I'd say that as Campbell points out, their free-form and self-referential understanding of their own symbols can be self-defeating at best and harmful at worst. Campbell's frameworks of archetypes and universal stories is generally free of traditional Christian presuppositions and reaches for human universality; if anything religious creeps in, it might arguably be something like Buddhist thought.

Just my $0.02. I really like your essay, I hadn't seen it before. Plan to read it more closely when I get a sec.
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[Image: 79339224_1204262189780227_63611627136236...e=5E83E912]
"The advantage of faith over reason, is that reason requires understanding. Which usually requires education; resources of time and money. 
Religion needs none of that. - It empowers the lowliest idiot to pretend that he is wiser than the wise, ignoring all the indications otherwise "
 - A. Ra
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“Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by dozens.”

― Montaigne, The Complete Essays
In the beginning was the misteak.
Book of Erors 1:1


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"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith! Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge!" (Robert G. Ingersoll)  Consider
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truthseekersasciencespiritual.blogspot.com/
The source of all religion is the natural self of man ‑ the expression of the fallen nature of the flesh exercising dominion over the soul. As evidenced by these verses and by the history of all the religions of the world, the result of this source is always division and confusion. God is not the author of confusion. Who is?
 
In discussing the world's religions, I am putting them in the same category with pagan religions. The relationship of the world's religions to paganism is a documented historical fact, indeed, the ancestry of both categories of religions can be traced back in origin to the Babylonian worship established by Nimrod. What, then, is the true purpose of religion?
 
           The entire purpose of religion is to externalize spiritual truth: to substitute worthless outward rituals, symbolism, and self‑effort for the truth that can only be apprehended in spirit. There is some "truth" in all religions, but it is truth that has been so distorted and mixed in with falsehood that it becomes not only useless but also deadly. How much we underestimate the subtlety of Satan!
 
What can be said with respect to the religions of the world is this: Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius and all other such religious figures are still buried in the grave; but Jesus Christ alone is risen from the dead!
 
By the time that Jesus came, the Jewish religion had lost sight of the living God of which it was but a picture and had degraded to the extent of carnalizing spiritual things: They had lost an actual, living contact with God and had degraded into an organized, systematized religion based on knowledge, practices, and works. They even had turned the brass serpent, a type of Christ through which God had wrought a miraculous work, into an idol and were worshiping it as if it had special powers of itself. This is a good illustration of what, spiritually, is an idol and what it does. Any previous genuine spiritual experience can become an idol to us if we let it. Thus, there are many genuine believers today who, in looking back on their initial regeneration experience, never learn to walk in the Spirit daily.
 
 In this section I must implore you, the reader, to set aside your natural concepts. I must re-emphasize that such concepts will lead you to consider good as always being from God, causing you to be fooled by Satan's master work. If you want to see things from the spiritual point of view‑ the reality behind the outward appearance‑ you must lay aside personal opinion in order to have an open mind, especially in the subject that we will now consider. All that I ask is that your evaluation of what I have to say be objective, rational, and honest. It is not my intention to criticize any individuals or to question their sincerity‑ that is between them and the Lord‑ but it is necessary that I expose certain categories of people, so if the shoe fits so be it.
 
Having drifted away from the reality found only in their spirit, the believers more and more began substituting man‑made organization for the leading of the Spirit. By this time, the works of the Nicolaitans had become an accepted teaching; those with more natural ability were paid to function while the rest of the members listened and did not function. Again, I don’t ask you to take my word in this. Scofield’s Study Bible concisely points out that the practice of the Nicolaitans, which the Lord condemns, is the clergy-laity system. This is the clergy‑laity system and its true purpose is to kill the functioning of the members of the body.
In 2008, a survey revealed that 47% of the clergy in Christianity reported having a problem with pornography. Another survey reported that only 25% of them believed that the Bible was the literal inspired word of God.
Idolatry began to creep into the church at this point, and fornication also. What is this fornication? Is it literal or spiritual? From the context here as elsewhere in Revelation this fornication was a spiritual fornication. We shall see what its significance is later.
 
 
Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and device or man. (Acts 17:29)
 
Hear ye the word which Jehovah speaketh unto you, 0 house of Israel: thus saith Jehovah, Learn not the way of the nations (heathen) and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vanity; for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe, They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are like a palm tree, of turned work, and speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good. (Jer. 10:1‑6)
 
Is this a 'Christmas tree'? If not, then what?
 
 
Thus the very customs of Christmas still existent cast surprising light at once on the revelations of grace made to all the earth, and the effects made by Satan and his emissaries to materialize, carnalize, and degrade them. 266
 
This would have been contrary to the famous advice of Pope Gregory I., that by all means they should meet the Pagans half‑way, and so bring them into the Roman Church .267
 
To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated, and by a complicated but skillful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity‑ now far sunk in idolatry‑ in this as in so many other things, to shake hands.  268
 
How, then did the Romish Church fix on December the 25th as Christmas day? Why, thus: Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at that precise time of the year, in honor of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ. 269
 
            Then look at Easter. What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country. That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian Monuments, is Ishtar. 270
 
The same sign of the cross that Rome now worships was used in the Babylonian Mysteries, was applied by Paganism to the same magic purposes, was honoured with the same honours. That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians- the true original form of the letter T- the initial of the name of Tammuz. 284
 
The drift of this statement is evidently this, that in Egypt the earliest form of that which has since been called the cross, was no other than the "Crux Ansata," or "Sign of life," borne by Osiris and all the Egyptian gods; that the ansa or "handle" was afterwards dispensed with, and that it became the simple Tau, or ordinary cross, as it appears at this day, and that the design of its first employment on the sepulchers, therefore, could have no reference to a crucifixion of the Nazarene, but was simply the result of the attachment to old and long‑cherished Pagan symbols, which is always strong in those who, with the adoption of a Christian name and profession, are still, to a large extent, Pagan in heart and feeling. This, and this only, is the origin of the worship of the "cross”. 285
 
... And ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition. (Matt. 15:6)
 
But in giving you this charge, I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that divisions exist among you ... (I Cor. 11:17‑18)
 
 
Remember the principles of the tower of Babel: scattering, division, confusion, and self‑ambition. In today's Babylon it is the same: Scattering: you meet at your "place of worship" and I'll meet at mine; Division: if your "place" is not the same as my "place," then we cannot have true oneness with each other; Confusion: your "place" has different doctrines and practices than mine, we each do not understand the other's doctrines and practices, self‑ambition: no different from the world, the desire to make a name for oneself by doing great works.
 
 
‘Church’ is arguably the most abused and misunderstood word in the English language. It is certainly NOT a funny-looking building, nor even an assembly of people meeting in unison. "The church, which is His Body"- (Eph. 1:22-23). ‘Attend the church of your choice’ is a Satanically-motivated invitation to commit rebellion, and is totally in opposition to holding the one accord to keep the oneness of the Spirit.
God is not a God of confusion. Be honest‑ does Christianity express Christ or does it express confusion? Does a non‑Christian see the expres­sion of the living Christ or do they see a religious system as confusing as it is divided? Satan is not stupid, he knows the rules of warfare- ‘Divide in order to conquer”. There is a material system to trap unbelievers and there is a religious system to trap believersboth are in Satan's World System and under his control. Babylon, the mother of Harlots, is the Roman Catholic Church and her daughters are the divisions (both denominational and “non-denominational”) of Protestantism.
 
 
 
   Christianity, the Religion
1. BABYLON, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
             In this section I must implore you, the reader, to set aside your natural concepts. I must re-emphasize that such concepts will lead you to consider good as always being from God, causing you to be fooled by Satan's master work. If you want to see things from the spiritual point of view‑ the reality behind the outward appearance‑ you must lay aside personal opinion in order to have an open mind, especially in the subject that we will now consider. All that I ask is that your evaluation of what I have to say be objective, rational, and honest. It is not my intention to criticize any individuals or to question their sincerity‑ that is between them and the Lord‑ but it is necessary that I expose certain categories of people, so if the shoe fits so be it.
            From this point on, understand that whenever the term "Christianity" is used in this book, it does not include Roman Catholicism; Christianity will refer to all organized religion that is ostensibly following Christ and that does not contain any heretical teachings or practices. Catholicism is not even a Christian religion.
 
 
Author's Note:
            There are two women at the end of this age who claim to have a relationship with Christ.
            One woman is the pure, holy, spotless, and without wrinkles bride of Christ. Nothing indicates her size; only her purity and singleness of heart are portrayed.
            The other woman is a great harlot with many daughters. She claims Christ as her husband, but is in reality married to the satanic world system. She is depicted as great, powerful, world‑wide, rich, and full of fornication and idolatry.
            At the time of the uploading of this book (2000), the most accurate estimates are that the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church has an HIV‑AIDS infection rate somewhere between 8 and 11 times that of the general population. This is pure, and this is holy? Again, which of these two women is the accurate depiction of the Roman Catholic Church?
            COME  OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE!!!
             THIS IS THE DESPARATE PLEA OF OUR HUSBAND TO ALL OF HIS LOVERS TO SEPARATE THEMSEVES FROM ALL OF THE WORLD SYSTEM!!!
WHY???  SO THAT  THEY BE MARRIED NOW IN THEIR BEING TO HIM!!!
 
 
            Who are the harlot daughters of Babylon? In order to realize the answer to this question, we must realize the Scriptural implications of the word 'harlot.' According to Ezekiel Chapter 16, Jeremiah Chapter 51, and Isaiah Chapter 47, a harlot in the eye of God is one who claims to belong to God but is in actuality unfaithful due to prostituting herself to the world system. A harlot in God's eyes, then, is anyone who pollutes the things of God by mixing them with the things of the world.
            There is, however, one very important difference between the Old Testament descriptions of Israel's harlotry and the descriptions of this New Testament harlot. Whereas Israel was an unfaithful wife who could legitimately claim God as her husband, the Lord has never recognized any claim made upon him by Babylon. Consequently, He refers to her as "that woman," "the great whore," and "a woman." Babylon can never legitimately claim to be the Lord's purpose or intention.
 
            If you are a believer in Babylon, most likely you have been told that as long as you are saved, everything is okay: you will be raptured to heaven before the Tribulation starts and live happily ever after. Do you know what the main purpose of the Tribulation is? The main purpose of the Tribulation is not, strictly speaking, to punish the world. The judgment of the world occurs after the Tribulation. Why does God allow the bad time of the Tribulation to occur‑ is God cruel? Certainly not! The main purpose of the Tribulation is to mature in Christ the majority of Christians, who have allowed so many things to interfere with their spiritual growth. As we will see in Chapter Nine, most Christians will still be here on the Earth during the Tribulation. Do not accept the lie that as long as you are saved, your problems are over.
                And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (Rev. 18:4 Intl. Greek)
 
 1. Religion is man's attempt to please God with his own capability. The source of religion is the self (the natural man), the expression of the fallen nature of man's flesh upon his corrupted soul.
 2. In total opposition to religion is Jesus Christ, the complete God and perfect man. This is God's provision for man to believe into and receive in order to fully meet every requirement and desire of God‑ to thoroughly enable man to become fully one with God in life and nature (but NOT in His Godhead) in order to co‑inhere with the Triune God for eternity.
3. If my dear brothers and sisters in religion were in reality following the living, present person of Christ Himself they would not be divided. Instead, they have become captives of an evil counterfeit system. Their hearts have deceived them into ‘doing what is right in their own minds’- resulting in worshipping God according to their concept and preference. Even the unbelievers know this, their accurate observation is: "If Jesus Christ is real, then why are there so many kinds of Christians?" "Come out of her, my people" is His urgent call. Do not try to improve or change her, come out of her.
The oneness among believers is what we value the least, and what Satan fears the most. My dearest eternal family (those in Babylon still), will you forsake your opinions and preferences so that the Lord can use you as material for the fulfillment of the greatest prophesy in the Bible: "I will build my church". Open up to and pray over John 17:20‑21 to the Lord and may He impart this ultimate desire of His heart into your heart.
 
 
 
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Favorite Quotes about Atheism, Agnosticism, And Religion
My favorite quote:

GO BLOW JESUS OUT YOUR ASS.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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"“Sensus divinatis” is a fancy term for “lots of people believed and still believe in God.” But in that case the sensus divinatis is not working properly in more and more people all the time. In fact, it’s almost disappeared in Scandinavia and much of Western Europe, and is waning in the US. Did God remove it? The fact that many people evince a belief or a behavior is no more evidence for God than is the fact that our ancestors used to kill each other at alarmingly high rates, and so had a sensus homicidus."

Jerry Coyne - whyevolutionistrue December 15, 2011
In the beginning was the misteak.
Book of Erors 1:1


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“The proposition that the entire human race─consisting of enormous hordes of humanity─would be placed in serious danger of a fiery eternity characterized by unspeakable torments purely because a man disobeyed a deity by eating a piece of fruit offered him by his wife is inherently incredible.” (Steve Allen)  Consider
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"The most novel aspect of “New Atheism”—the form of disbelief that distinguishes the views of writers like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins from the “old”atheism of people like Jean-Paul Sartre and Bertrand Russell—is the observation that most religions are grounded in claims that can be regarded as scientific. That is,God, and the tenets of many religions, are hypotheses that can, at least in principle, be examined by science and reason. If religious claims can’t be substantiated with reliable evidence, the argument goes, they should, like dubious scientific claims, be rejected until more data arrive. "

Jerry Coyne - "Faith Versus Fact - Why Science And Religion Are Incompatible"
In the beginning was the misteak.
Book of Erors 1:1


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God is an hypothesis, and, as such, stands in need of proof: the onus probandi [burden of proof] rests on the theist.
 - Percy Bysshe Shelley
In the beginning was the misteak.
Book of Erors 1:1


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“For centuries kings, rulers, churches, leaders have been treating the people like a vile, miserable herd to be fleeced and butchered. And for centuries the disinherited──thanks to the deceitful mirage of Heaven and the terrible, frightful image of Hell──have been docile and have stood misery and slavery. It is time that this odious sacrilege, this abominable fraud come to an end!” (Sebastien Faure, Twelve Proofs for the Nonexistence of GodConsider
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"But soon after I arrived and began working on evolution in fruit flies, I thought I’d made a
terrible mistake. Shy and reserved, I felt as if I’d been hurled into a pit of unrelenting negativity.
In research seminars, the audience seemed determined to dismantle the credibility of the
speaker. Sometimes they wouldn’t even wait until the question period after the talk, but
would rudely shout out critical questions and comments during the talk itself. When I
thought I had a good idea and tentatively described it to my fellow graduate students, it
was picked apart like a flounder on a plate. And when we all discussed science around
the big rectangular table in our commons room, the atmosphere was heated and
contentious. Every piece of work, published or otherwise, was scrutinized for problems
problems that were almost always found. This made me worry that whatever science I
managed to produce could never make the grade. I even thought about leaving graduate
school. Eventually, fearful of being criticized, I simply kept my mouth shut and listened.
That went on for two years.
But in the end, that listening was my education in science, for I learned that the pervasive
doubt and criticality weren’t intended as personal attacks, but were actually the essential
ingredients in science, used as a form of quality control to uncover the researcher’s
misconceptions and mistakes. Like Michelangelo’s sculpturing, which he saw as
eliminating marble to reveal the statue within, the critical scrutiny of scientific ideas and
experiments is designed, by eliminating error, to find the core of truth in an idea. Once
I’d learned this, and developed a skin thick enough to engage in the inevitable to-and-fro,
I began to enjoy science. For if you can tolerate the criticality and doubt—and they’re not
for everyone—the process of science yields a joy that no other job confers: the chance to
be the first person to find out something new about the universe. "

Jerry Coyne - "Faith Versus Fact - Why Science And Religion Are Incompatible"
In the beginning was the misteak.
Book of Erors 1:1


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