A common view among Christians is that being a Christian makes your life significantly better. I’ve heard people talk about having some kind of “peace” or “happiness” or whatever else that they didn’t have before they were religious.
I personally believe that this is bullshit. I would like to invite Christians to tell me why they think their lives as Christians are so much better than mine as an atheist.
I think the misunderstanding is that when Christians say this, what they usually mean is that being a Christian makes their life better. It gives them peace and happiness or whatever else they didn’t have before they were religious.
If you don’t need any of these things in your own life, you aren’t likely to see the value of Christianity. But just as you might tell someone, ‘hey, this flavor of icecream is really good. You should try it’, those who are Christian and happy with it tend to want to share that happiness with others. They’re not saying that you’ll never be happy without it, anymore than you would say someone must try that icecream or they’ll never be satisfied with any other flavor- only that they think it’s a good idea.
Question with 98 notes
Anonymous asked: I came to this blog because I have recently found myself praying a lot more to God. I have found the last few months as very stressful as I have been recovering from an eating dissorder. I want to look into being a Christian and seeking solace in God but I am a lesbian, I don't believe I can pray this away because I have already tried. I asked God to take away the feelings but he either can't or won't. I don't know if it's right for me but i am being drawn towards the values and general comfort.
Christianity is about salvation and love. Christ’s sacrifice was made unconditionally- for atheists, for homosexuals, for those who broke the commandments, and for those society deemed outcasts- no one was overlooked, and no one was denied His love or mercy. Thus, no one can deny you the right to seek God… not even yourself. Christ’s love and forgiveness overcomes all else.
Not all Christians view homosexuality as a sin. Your feelings of discomfort from sexual attraction are most likely inspired by prejudice from those around you, not from God. If you really, honestly, believe that your feelings are wrong, and that this is not based on social pressure… then accept yourself as no more or less sinful than anyone else, with no more to be ashamed of than anyone else. We all struggle with sin and difficulties in life, and we all fail sometimes. It doesn’t matter: Christ’s forgiveness is eternal. Prayer will not take any of this away, it can only enable you to become closer to Him.
I don’t personally believe that homosexuality is sinful or unnatural, so I’m not surprised at all that God hasn’t attempted to fix what isn’t broken. I would say that celibacy is always an option- for your own peace of mind- not for anyone else and not for God. He doesn’t need you to be straight or celibate, else, you would be called toward that already.
If you’re drawn toward Christianity, then it is right for you. No one else can say otherwise, as it is only between you and God. Plenty of online resources and community are available for gay and lesbian Christians, too. God bless, and please feel free to ask if you have any other questions or need references to other sites that might help :)
"I already told you, I believe in science, not God," he interrupted. In his mind they were mutually exclusive. I stopped. I wanted to ask what he thought about science and spirituality, the new physics, Einstein and Bohm, who operated with a sense of order and wonder at the universe itself as a great mystery of divine proportions. I wanted to, but I didn’t because I realized he didn’t want to engage with the questions; he already knew the answers. He wasn’t interested in a discussion. That’s when I got it. I was talking to a fundamentalist. What I was saying threatened his very identity and construct of life. My lunch companion knew who God was, and he didn’t believe in "him." It was a Santa sort of God, the kind that a small child believes in and then is disappointed by when he doesn’t get a pony in his stocking.
Blaming wars on religion is like blaming legos for the pain in your feet.
You stepped on the Lego. The Lego didn’t magically come to life in the middle of the night to stab you in the foot because it had nothing better to do.
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i asked you (not very kindly, mind you) to go through your posts *for* me.
Ok. Request denied.
I believe that the metaphysical evidence supports the existence of God more than it does atheism. I’ve argued this point many times, just not specifically in that comment. If you have a question related to the specifics of my beliefs, I’d be happy to address that.
i’m interested in reasons (or “arguments”…or “metaphysical evidence”) why you think a god exists.
And the reason why your request is denied is because I make a policy these days to only discuss the arguments for God with people who are genuinely interested in understanding how other people think who do not share the same beliefs. I do not discuss arguments for the existence of God with people who insist that I prove God to them, to their satisfaction, because I don’t really care if you believe in God or not. It has zero impact on my life, but obviously, my beliefs(and those of many other Christians who are largely minding their own business) are a matter of *great concern* to many internet atheists.
Based on your blog, you are not interested in the former. I am not interested in the latter. Thus, we have nothing to discuss.
If you have a *specific* question, then address it to my inbox, and I’ll answer.
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[…]Which is more likely based upon metaphysical evidence- the existence or the nonexistence of God? I argue the former.[…]
you know, i’ve been looking for an argument for the existence of god that i’m not familiar with (it’s a difficult task!).
please tell me what you are even referring to when you use the phrase “metaphysical evidence”.
The study of philosophy, of morality, of existence versus nonexistence, and whether the arguments that can be made for or against God agrees with modern science. There are debates that it does, and debates that it does not- but either way, none of it is a ‘known fact’, because there is no testable hypothesis of “God”. It -has- to be argued by other means, i.e., metaphysical evidence.
I argue the former.
you do? really? that’s great, please direct me to where you argue this, thank you. i don’t see it anywhere.
I assume you’ve read every single post I’ve ever made and you’re not just arbitrarily making an objection based on a single statement about my general beliefs? I believe that the metaphysical evidence supports the existence of God more than it does atheism. I’ve argued this point many times, just not specifically in that comment. If you have a question related to the specifics of my beliefs, I’d be happy to address that.
I think what you’re saying is a copout. You’re using a solipsistic argument because it’s convenient for you to do so. It’s quite clear that gravity and bacteria are facts — they are known to exist and have been verified with mountains of evidence. In essence, they have been proven to exist, though perhaps there is a fraction of a fraction of percent that we’ve interpreted the evidence wrongly and they do not. But that fraction is so infinitesimal that saying something like “bacteria aren’t proven to exist” is a ridiculous statement to make.
And sure, there is no “proof” in science, but what is really meant by “proof” is evidence. Empirical evidence is required before making a statement of fact, such as “gravity exists” or “bacteria exist.” We have evidence — lots of it — and therefore we can say with near perfect confidence that gravity and bacteria exist.
Within science, God cannot be said to exist because there is no evidence. Over the years, I’ve made evidence a requirement before I accept something as true. Therefore, when someone makes a claim, I can say, “prove it.” Once evidence (or what some might call “proof”) is presented, then I’ll make a decision.
I’ve no problem with Xians believing in their god. But when they want to influence/change science education because of their religion, that’s when I ask for evidence. Because, if they want to present their argument for the existence of good within a realm of study that requires evidence, then they better bring some to the table for the claim to be heard.
What I’m saying is accurate science. Actually, there are a lot of questions about how and why gravity works that calling it a ‘fact’ doesn’t answer and may be quite misleading. If proof does not exist in a particular field, you cannot possibly say that those within the field have proven it. That word means something, and it will continue to mean something different from the way you’re using it. Bacteria and gravity are not proven concepts. That doesn’t make them inaccurate or just an opinion.
As you’ll recall, I mentioned evidence many times in my comment. It still cannot be said to be proven, so why continue to insist on using that word? Maybe it’s just the mathematician in me, but I’d prefer to be accurate with language than demand that an idea is 100% verified fact(especially when it really isn’t, and there’s no need for it to be).
Science doesn’t investigate the claim of whether or not God exists, so it’s irrelevant what science has to say about it. Such an experiment could potentially be designed, but I rarely hear any suggestions for how to do so.
None of what I said has anything to do with the way science OR religion is taught in school(although the latter probably should be far more often), but more about how ADULTS address these questions to EACH OTHER. So if you’ve no problem with Christians believing in their God, and see no reason to argue for or against it either way… what is the problem, exactly? No one is going to hold a gun to your head and demand you prove or provide evidence for atheism. But neither is it my responsibility to justify my beliefs to you, to your satisfaction. “Burden of proof” does not exist. Period.
I’m really tired of Christians claiming the burden of proof is on atheists to prove that God doesn’t exist. Allow me to explain.
When Sir Isaac Newton proposed the idea of gravity, was it up to him to prove gravity existed, or was it up to the other scientists to prove gravity didn’t exist? It was up to Newton, of course. The burden of proof was on him because he claimed gravity existed. “Does gravity exist?”
When Anton Van Leeuwenhoek discovered bacteria, it wasn’t up to other people to prove bacteria didn’t exist. It was up to Leeuwenhoek to prove bacteria existed. The claim in question was “Does bacteria exist?”
So, when a Christian proposes that God exists, is it up to atheists to prove God doesn’t exist, or is it up to Christians to prove he does exist? It’s up to Christians! You can’t prove or disprove a negative. The claim in question is not, “Does God not exist?”. It is, “Does God exist?”. Therefore, it is up to Christians to prove God exists: the burden of proof is not on atheists.
There is no such thing as a burden of proof in science or theology. At best, you could determine whether a theory is preferred based on a preponderance of the evidence- which we can do in the case of ‘is there or is there not a God.’
In these examples, Newton did not ‘prove’ that gravity existed, because the whole idea of burden of proof is highly inaccurate when talking about scientific ideas. Gravity remains unproven. It also remains the best explanation for the available evidence. The existence of bacteria also remains unproven, however, it is the best explanation for the available evidence. There is no such thing as proof in science
And -that- is exactly what atheists need to argue if they care at all about theology(or logic): Which is more likely based upon metaphysical evidence- the existence or the nonexistence of God? I argue the former. Some atheists argue the latter. The majority seem to want to pretend the question doesn’t exist.
That’s the argument. It has nothing to do with proof, or proving anything, and it never has.
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Anonymous asked: I have a question about prayer. I'm kind of confused about what exactly the point is? If God knows all and God has everything in his plan then how would my prayer change anything? My friend and I were discussing this and she said that the point is to draw yourself closer to God, which makes sense. Just wondering if you could add some insight.
Your friend has a great way of putting it.
Most of the confusion about prayer comes from viewing it as ‘wish fulfillment’, though prayer is better thought of as part of the process of salvation or forgiveness. I do believe some prayers are granted, when it’s right for God to do so and there is a desperate need for it to happen… but it’s worth noting that there is no -need- for God to answer a prayer if it is within human ability to solve the problem. I.E., if you can help someone without praying for them, then do so.
But on occasions when there is literally nothing you can do- and nothing anyone else can do- then prayer is a way of leaving it to God instead. Even then, the prayer might not be granted… yet, most who pray find comfort in it, and in God. Ultimately, comfort and faith is the value of prayer, and the reason why the poor and the outcasts of society tend to find religion much easier to grasp than anyone else.
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