God, Atheism and Buses

Perhaps you’ve enjoyed the recent run of advertising duels between some of America’s biggest brands — Mac v. PC, Dunkin’ … Continued

Perhaps you’ve enjoyed the recent run of advertising duels between some of America’s biggest brands — Mac v. PC, Dunkin’ Donuts v. Starbucks. Burger King v. McWorld.

And now, coming to the broad side of a bus near you, God vs. No God.

Last month, the American Humanist Association bought $40,000 worth of space on 200 Washington D.C. Metro buses for this ad: “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.” The humanists were copying a similar bus ad campaign by atheists in Britain.

Not wanting to be left behind, the Center for Family Development, a Catholic-based nonprofit in Maryland, is trying to raise $14,000 to run a bus ad campaign with this message: “Why Believe? Because I created you and I love you, for goodness’ sake.” The ad includes an image from Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam.”

And a group called Pennsylvania Friends of Christ plans to buy ads for 10 Metro buses to send this message into the streets of the nation’s capital: “Believe in God. Christ is Christmas for goodness’ sake”.

So far, it’s a light-hearted joust, but other believers are getting involved.

In Florida, American Muslims have started a bus ad campaign of their own. Late last month, 120 public transit buses in Dade and Broward counties started carrying this message: Islam: The Message of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. The ads include an 888 number for more information about Islam.

In the competitive and often combative realm of personal belief, there’s a lot to be said for the gentle and nonviolent art of persuasion.

On the other hand, maybe Will Rogers summed it up best when he said, “If advertisers spent the same amount of money on improving their products as they do on advertising then they wouldn’t have to advertise them.”

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  • Robert_B1

    As to the Humanist ad, a far better answer to its question would be “What is your definition of ‘good’ and why is it so?” If indeed there no moral standard outside of human experience (as most atheists claim, whether they realize it or not), then morality is merely a human invention. This means that any human (either on an individual or societal basis) can decide what is good, which means that there are no standards at all…

  • Robert_B1

    On the whole, though, score one for the free marketplace of ideas… :)

  • ecglotfelty

    This is just like the different variations of the Jesus fish that morphed into the Darwin fish, which changed into the Truth fish eating the Darwin fish (which I proudly display on my car). Just like with any other marketing scheme, someone always comes up with a better idea.

  • Robert_B1

    Ecglotfelty –I have yet to find a Christian fish with little legs, unfortunately… :)

  • marcedward1

    RobertB1 writesOf course it is, just as is math, the alphabet and organized religion. Being human, what’s wrong with that?’This means that any human (either on an individual or societal basis) can decide what is good, which means that there are no standards at all’You might try that one out and see how far it gets you. If your philosophy that determines your behavior is all based on ‘because god told me to’ you’re a bit of a sheep. Plenty of evil has been done because people believed ‘god told them to do it’.

  • colinnicholas

    AS far as we know there are no gods, and this cannot be said too often. Folks who believe in a parallel world of supernatural fairies and everlasting life do so without a scrap of evidence that such a world exists.

  • colinnicholas

    Robert B.There’s nothing “merely” about human achievements. And morality existed and was debated long before Christianity existed. Read Plato and Aristotle.

  • argie

    The “Just be good for goodness’ sake” ads could have been as effective without asking “Why believe in a god?” The message is good. The question seems gratuitous. One might surmise that those paying for the ads were more interested in inciting a response than incenting behavior.

  • malis

    Since I have not yet seen even the slightest evidence of the supernatural, it can be stated I don’t believe in astrology; ghosts; ESP; fortune-telling; an omnipotent, omnificent, all-powerful God; or in the ultimate truth of any one religion over any other religion. When I’ve said that, I’ve sometimes been asked what I do believe in.I believe in seeking out the truth as observable fact and that when doing so, demonstrable, repeatable, verifiable evidence deserves greater weight than opinion and assertion. I believe in the value of the social compact (including The Golden Rule), personal responsibility, earned authority over appointed authority, the tragedy of ‘The Tragedy of the Commons,’ and that children should not be treated as little adults nor adults treated as big children (of that last, I believe James Dobson agrees with me on the first half).I believe ‘The Law of Unintended Consequences’ usually has a greater impact on society than the intended impact of most law passed by legislatures. I believe in the strength of community and family, and that my obligation and legacy is to leave the world better than I found it (and that my children are my best hope of that).I believe death is not a tragedy…it’s just the end (solipsisticly speaking, although I don’t believe in solipsism). Ultimately, I believe it to be very likely that I have only one chance in this world, so I’d better make the most of it while I’m here. And I believe that, despite the occasional odd polemic equating my lack of belief in the supernatural with lack of morality, human society progresses.

  • FH123

    “I believe in the strength of community and family, and that my obligation and legacy is to leave the world better than I found it (and that my children are my best hope of that).”Unfortunately, given your worldview, there can be no metric for what BETTER is. The progressive movement by its very nature seeks to desintegrate the family unit, as it is traditionally known. Do we embrace individualism as true morality or is selfless service to ones family true morality. Is abortion an expression of each persons individual rights, or is it murder. In the end, existentialism is fruitless…who are you trying to impress after all.

  • malis

    Argie, it doesn’t seem gratuitous, it seems integral to the argument. The point being made is that one can and perhaps should be good just for the sake of goodness, not just for the sake of God.I was making the same point a little differently when I listed ‘the social compact’ among the things in which I believe. This could be interpreted as being good for goodness sake—also known as ethical self-interest.I think that’s the point of the commentary—that a serious argument can be made in a good-natured way.

  • Pamsm

    Robert_B1 says:Not so. Empathy is the root of human “goodness” (and not just human, either). Recognizing that others are the same as you in their needs, their abilities to feel pain, their capacity for love, etc. is exactly where the “golden rule” came from. This is a basic for all animals that live in societies. Social animals must have empathy, and the rules of behavior that it engenders, or societies just wouldn’t work. Nature selects for it.Please read anything by Frans de Waal. You can start with this short article:

  • malis

    FH123, I’m sorry that you apparently feel you can’t measure what is good without being told—that seems a sad and bitter approach to life. If you can provide a coherent definition of Existentialism and relate it to what I wrote, perhaps I’ll let you explain yourself further. Doesn’t seem likely though.

  • EnemyOfTheState

    I don’t claim to be good for any reason, but I like the idea of being ‘good for goodness sake.’ It makes the alternative option of being good so I can get to heaven seem selfish by comparison.

  • Hewitt1

    Notice that the Humanists’ DC bus ad asks a gentle question, while the theist groups plan on bus ads that state dogmatic conclusions. It’s revealing.ROBERT_B1 and othersBelief in God does not substantiate an absolute moral standard. Consider one of several arguments. Is God good because whatever he says goes? If so, then morality is irrelevant; only obedience to God counts. Is God good because he does good things? If so, then morality is independent of God and a human-created standard by which we evaluate God’s works. So which is it?

  • FH123

    The dictionary definition of existentialism:”A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one’s acts.”The basic tenents of your argument revolve around personal responsibility et al. “perhaps I’ll let you explain yourself further.”Wow…the arrogance…sad, really. Not as civilized as you pretend to be.

  • pallasathena1

    This is very sad (with a bit of laughter in amazement)—instead of raising and spending on ads for buses this holiday season…why not take the money and feed the poor, house the poor, and clothes them?Total waste of money- sad.

  • colinnicholas

    argieYou say;”The “Just be good for goodness’ sake” ads could have been as effective without asking “Why believe in a god?” The message is good. The question seems gratuitous. One might surmise that those paying for the ads were more interested in inciting a response than incenting behavior.”But Argie, the whole point IS “Why believe in a god?” It’s a message that we don’t need a god.Religion is everywhere all the time trying to dominate the conversation and influence manners and mores, and the non-religious enable this by saying nothing. But they – the agnostics and atheists and other skeptocs and realists who see no reason to believe in supernatural Skyfairies – are fed up with this dominance, especially since 9/11, and are speaking out more to say “Hey let’s get real, because as far as we know there are no gods. Who needs gods anyway? We can get along without gods.”

  • Lookaround

    MALIS

  • malis

    FH123, glad you can use a dictionary and, yes, as far as any brief mention of personal responsibility can be said to have a relationship, one can claim there’s a tenuous relationship to Existentialism. Congratulations.On the other hand, my entry to which you objected contained a much stronger emphasis on the social compact and the value of community—not topics typically related to Existentialism.I tend to be polite with anyone demonstrating an interest in civil dialog, especially with those who coherently and rationally disagree with me. You, with the immediate and unprovoked attacking insult in your very first comment, demonstrated your disinterest in any kind of true dialog.I’ve noticed before my real empathy is offset by a disappointing lack of compassion. In other words, I feel and understand the pain you’re going through…but I don’t much care. It’s a personal weakness and I’m a lesser person for it. I’ll work on it.

  • CCNL

    God is god to some. Allah, Zeus, Jupiter, Jehovah, Athena, Mother/Father Nature or the Sun to others. Take your pick and give thanks for ads on trains and buses. They help reduce our fares.

  • ebleas

    MGT2 wrote:All religious faiths cannot be right because they contradict each other in so many ways. So as to whether in the end yours will be right, is a matter of faith. Your challenge is to be true to your faith.This seems to be a self conflicting series of statements. You are saying, on the one hand, that the only absolute in life is faith. But then in the next statement you admit that the many faiths conflict with each other and not all of them can be right. How is this any better than multiple scientists presenting me with multiple hypotheses and each one telling me they are “right”? What if yours turns out to be the wrong one? The “real” God is likely to not be too happy?

  • iiandyiiii

    MGT2, I’m not sure what definition of “faith” you are using.If I say “I’m not sure” about something, then there is no faith involved. So- what is it that I have faith in?

  • ebleas

    MGT2 wrote: Because “They do not violate any of the known laws of quantum physics” does that mean no law of physics was violated. The law is just not known. Faith.No, no faith needed. I can go to a particle accelerator (assuming they would let me in) and see the traces on the screens. I can see with my own eyes the evidence that the particles appeared and then disappeared. I can look at the calculations that explain it. I can take all this EVIDENCE in and prove to myself it is true. Absolutely no faith needed.

  • MGT2

    To EBLEAS:To say that the only sure thing is faith and to also say that not all religious faiths can be right is not conflicting if you maintain what faith is. Faith is a personal affirmative response to a claim without the attendant proof that what is believed is indeed so. This is not confined to religion. The only way someone can say with any sense of absolutely certainty that something is as claimed without verifiable evidence to corroborate the calim, is to do so by faith. Where there are several contradicting claims about one thing, it is obvious that only one of those claims can be correct. Faith is not defined by the correctness of the claim. The degree of ignorance and uncertainty in any claim requires a degree of faith. This is the constant.

  • MGT2

    But, EBLEAS, in the particle accelerator, you would supply the energy–the cause.

  • hitpoints

    I usually avoid these type of columns, though I’m intrigued by them. Usually they wind up being a bunch of arguing. I have to tip my hat to Malis, however, whose posts got me to thinking again about existentialism. As an agnostic with a Christian upbringing, I’ve long held beliefs akin to existentialist ones. I’ve only read shallowly in existentialist literature. Malis’ posts inspired me to read Wikipedia’s entry and I’m fascinated by the wealth of reading material referenced there. I look forward to immersing myself in books for some time to come! Thanks again to Malis reawakening that interest.Oh, and about the bus ads – I’m just glad that we’ve reached the day when the Humanist ad is allowed to be run. Non-believers, quasi-non-believers, whatever – we are free to speak our views, and we increasingly are doing just that.

  • Hewitt1

    ROBERT_B1Your original post denied the possibility of human-created morality on grounds that people could then make morality into anything they wanted. That argument implied an absolute, God-created morality.I argued that belief in God does not substantiate an absolute moral standard and provided a paradox proving that God-based morality is impossible. You avoid the paradox by denying that you were defending God-based absolute morality and by demanding the basis for the morality without God. Please stop dancing. If you deny that there can be morality without God, then you ARE defending God-based morality. You just don’t have any positive arguments for the proposition and no answer to the paradox I posed to you.In answer to your argument, obviously morality without God is possible, since there are atheists who act morally. The basis for their moral beliefs differs widely, everything from Kantian deontological principles to the pure consequentialism of utilitarians. The only commonality is that these profound moral systems are built from the ground up on human reason. A belief in God is not necessary for morality.

  • MGT2

    IIANDYIIII,I certainly accept that there are those like yourself who are not sure and, as far as this topic is concerned, it is really not a matter of faith or the lack of it.

  • malis

    MGT2, you moved from the topic most of us are discussing (faith and the nature of religious belief) long ago. You’re now arguing a simple matter of semantics—what are the meanings of the words “Faith” and “Belief”—with a little philosophy mixed in (“Is the nature of Faith such that one can truly be said to have faith in uncertainty?”).I’d like to step back a little. As traditionally defined, religious faith proudly proclaims itself as belief without evidence (“that belief which passes all understanding”). Indeed, a familiar doctrinal position of Christianity is that faith is not only independent of evidence, a desire for evidence is actively irreligious because it lessens the fundamental need for faith. The way you’re using ‘Faith’ is actually the way most of us make assumptions of probability, based on experience and knowledge. I have some degree of faith that absent some external force, when I set my coffee cup on the counter, the coffee will remain inside the cup. In the same way, I believe the probability of alchemy and intelligent design providing a more accurate explanation of the world than biology and nuclear physic, is so vanishingly small as to be safely disregarded. The point is that the unbelief of atheism simply reflects an unwillingness to accept non-provable supernatural claims based only on the surety and intensity of the person or entity making the claim. This unbelief is the direct opposite of the use of the religious term, Faith.So everyone (remembering this thread does have a topic), be good for goodness sake, not for God’s sake!

  • drihl

    What we accept as “good” in our society is generally little changed over the eons. The 10 Commandments were a method of outlining the standards of moral behavior that already existed. Even small bands of early humans had to embrace standards of conduct and social interaction long before they could be written down. Trust, companionship, friendship, charity, and many more attributes had to develop before large scale civilization could evolve. They are the glue that hold societies together and allow them to flourish.The invention of God made it necessary to attribute the qualities above to God and, as such, should be emulated by anyone who would claim to be devout or godly. It does not, however, require a belief in God for one to accept and act in a socially acceptable manner. Yes, be good for goodness sake. Be good for society’s sake. If you do it for God, fine. If you do it because you believe it is important, without the religious trappings, then that is fine too. Society benefits either way. Isn’t that enough?

  • MGT2

    MALIS, I think you are right. Thanks for bringing me back.

  • Skowronek

    I find myself wondering why anyone would spend that kind of coin in the first place, on either end of the spectrum. Couldn’t they figure out an effective way to put their money where their mouths lay?Let’s just say that I don’t think it’s actually designed to sway anyone’s opinions. But I bet it keeps a lot of opinion writers gainfully employed and off the streets.

  • noleander

    I am a proud atheist. I’m glad to see that humanism and atheism are getting publicized a bit more. Dawkins “The God Delusion” was a great help in that regard.I believe in living a virtuous life, and in minimizing human suffering. I respect religious people, and find that they often share the same values as I.Where we differ is that I insist on rational proofs, and don’t brainwash my children into supernatural beliefs (except for Santa Claus, but that stopped when they were 6 years old :-).Religious extremists who insist that their religion is the “right” one, and all other religions are “wrong” are irrational, and because they are so unreasonable, I would even go so far as to say they are harmful.Science and rationality have helped humanity: Astrology, palm-reading, blood-letting … all things of the past. When I need medical care: I rely on science, not faith.Atheism and humanism promote diversity and tolerance. Dogmatic religions often do not.

  • malis

    Noleander, ummmm, Amen?

  • Skowronek

    malis Author Profile Page:Noleander, ummmm, Amen?December 9, 2008 3:14 PMHow about a hearty, “Hear, hear!”

  • SpiritualMongrel

    Thank God for Atheists because they will show us the way to the truth. If we challenge our truths (both fact based and believed) then we get closer to an ultimate truth. Science moves forward because of imagination, without it there is nothing to push us forward. Things once deemed impossible are now possible and scientifically proven. Because something can not currently be proven does not mean it does not exist. We discover because we explore.Atheists simply ask us believers to continue to explore and we should thank them for that. If God exists they push us to discover a greater truth about God. If God does not exist they will push us to discover that too. There are plenty of concepts within religious writing that can be beneficial to society. Where we get in trouble is when we decide these are absolute when we live in a relative world. We have tried to define God in our terms, through our interpretation, to try and understand something that is not physically human. We define God in finite terms when God is infinite. If God exists, which I believe he/she/it does, it exists in a manner we have not fully comprehended yet. Ironically if we followed the atheist route of questioning and using our imagination to further scientific discovery, including discovering a grander truth about God we get closer to that which we seek.

  • InTheMiddle

    The day you die you will find out whether what you believe is true or false. If the Bible is truth, then those who reject God will spend eternity in hell, forever separated from the love of God. Don’t blame God. It is not God who will send them there. They will send themselves there. If the Bible is a fairy tale, then the atheists will get the last laugh — that is, if corpses could actually laugh.

  • fake1

    “InTheMiddle”, I assume you’re talking about the Abrahamic God, yes? Because it’s funny how you say “God” as if there’s just one holy book and one deity. Maybe you should turn your argument around: if you don’t believe in Ra, you are going to hell (or a reasonable facsimile- certainly not heaven). Therefore, you must believe in Ra! I love the idiotic arguments people use to explain away their faith through fear. Personal revelation is a great reason to believe… but it’s not faith. Faith is not evidence based. It is illogical. Don’t try and pretend like you’re playing a game with this and finding out it works.

  • malis

    Inthemiddle, , you’ve just unknowingly described an old problem generally known as Pascal’s Wager. That is, it’s a good bet to believe in God because no matter how small the chance of his actual existence, the resulting costs of not believing are overwhelming, while the cost of believing is negligible.I’ll note I don’t consider it a good wager because, of the thousands of different religions that have existed through human history, the probability of any one being true is so infinitesimally small as to be safely disregardedBut if you actually believe what you’ve said, you have a different problem. Which of the many different Pascal’s Wagers do you accept? There are so many different sects and religions—many contradictory—if you accept Pascal’s Wager on one, how do you know it was the right one? I doubt, however, that’s true your reason for believing. Consider, Inthemiddle, all those religions (including yours) have the exact same evidence behind them, and the exact same chance of being right. And we’re very close to the same position on that…I am unable to justify a belief in 1,000 different gods and religions. You are unable to justify a belief in 999. I hope you can accept my sincere best wishes that you find satisfaction and fulfillment in your religion, or in none if that’s your path of growth. I’ll cheerfully accept your best wishes (feel free to call them prayers) that I receive evidence that would let me believe your 1 of 1000 gods proves true, however unlikely I think that may be.That’s why I earlier said that if some religion does turn out to be, against all odds, the only eternal Truth, I hope it’s either the Pagans or the Mormons. In their afterlife, I may be greatly surprised but at least I won’t be eternally tortured(For those you who insist on taking things literally—that’s a joke!)

  • InTheMiddle

    Fake 1:Clearly I was referring to the God of the Bible because that’s what I wrote. If you believe the Bible to be true and it turns out that it is not and the Koran is, then those who believe the Bible are in big trouble. Take your pick or pick neither. But the Bible and the Koran cannot both be truth, and the stakes are high.As for atheists, they are pretty much in a lose-lose situation since the one thing certain in life is death. If they are wrong, they end up in hell. If they are right, they cease to exist.

  • malis

    Inthemiddle said: “If [atheists] are right, they cease to exist.” Yup, as do you. Just like a candle flame.As I said earlier, I believe death is not a tragedy…it’s just the end (solipsisticly speaking, although I don’t believe in solipsism). Ultimately, I believe it to be very likely that I have only one chance in this world, so I’d better make the most of it while I’m here. …and your advantage is that you behave ethically in this life because you’re threatened with the loss of a 2nd life? (with ‘ethics’ that must be defined for you, otherwise you can’t tell right from wrong?).I hope it doesn’t bother you too much that, if you’re wrong, you’ll never never know.

  • pierrejc2

    Magical, invisible friends are for IDIOTS and small children.

  • franklei

    I have grazed lightly over what goes before on this thread and am struck that the supposed conflict between those who advocate that God exists or is, and those who decline to agree on grounds of lack of evidence, is not the conflict it may seem to be. Important terms are not defined (God, existence, being) but, if taken open-mindedly and at the highest level of generalization, will resolve matters in favor of the existence or being of God. For example, if God is a name for the highst experienced value for the individual or group, and the notion of existence and/or being is taken to mean evident and effective in the world, then few would argue the substantive point. Some would, as now, insist that the word God has been spoiled by history and should not be used. Others might wnat to restrict the terms existence and being to hard-nose empirical proof; but the argument would then be over matters of semantics and, well, taste. We could move over these differences easily and get down important real questions. What do you think?

  • spidermean2

    Im 100% sure that there’s a second life. Im an Engineer and don’t believe in fantasies. I’ve tested the 100% accuracy of the Bible. I’ve seen its prophecies fulfilled and how it accurately describes China, Europe, the U.S and most of the countries that will take part in WW3.Atheists are in very deep trouble. How sad.

  • timmy2

    I think this is just the beginning. The atheists are waking up. Getting more and more vocal.This is going to build. The movement is growing. Religion is in trouble.Hooray for that.

  • Arminius

    Isn’t it wonderful that Spidey supplies us with humor on these otherwise serious blogs? Of course we are all wondering what ‘engineering’ tests he used to prove the bible is true. A pity he won’t ever tell us – he’ll just tell us that we’re stupid….

  • sparrow4

    As I’ve said on several occasions- please please please never ever let me cross over on a bridge spidey designed. Or use an appliance or drive a car or use a water system or eat an ear of corn (in case he is a bio-engineer) that spidey has had anything to do with. Any engineer who wears a tinfoil hat with antenna instead of a hard hat needs a padded room in my book, not a calipers (or whatever they use). :-)

  • malis

    Arminius, you’re right, Spidey’s pretty funny. Here’s what I’d said last time I bothered responding to him:Spidey, you continue to shout “Doomsday is coming to weed out athesism in this Somehow, despite the millions of times this has been said, in support of thousands of I wonder if he understands the unintended irony in the choice of his cartoon username? The more he speaks, the stronger the evidence of his ‘Cartoon’ world. A cartoon is a method of presenting a story (usually fiction) that simplifies the narrative and representation of ideas, while using fantasy, exaggeration and distortion to appeal to emotion. Is there a better metaphor for all he represents?

  • jhbyer

    Theory has it what makes Americans more fond of religion than modern Europeans, without making us any better for it, is market competition.

  • Arminius

    Hi, Sparrow,Spidey is, IMHO, not an engineer. I have known many engineers in my life, and they all will eagerly say what kind of engineer they are. I have known structural, electrical, mechanical, civil, even nuclear engineers. Spidey won’t say what kind he is because he can’t – he is a liar.

  • Arminius

    Hello, Malis,Yup, Spidey’s a hoot. He actually has cleaned up his act a bit – he’s just as ridiculous as always, but not so horrendous in his accusations as he once was.Odd about Spidey, who claims to be a Christian, but never talks about Jesus except in terms of casting millions into some lake of fire. I’ve called him out on this, but, of course, no reply. It is really strange that I, a Christian, have so few Christian friends on these blogs. Most of the people that I have met here and really respect are either non-believers or Pagans. I’ve learned a lot, too.

  • spidermean2

    Arminius wrote “It is really strange that I, a Christian, have so few Christian friends on these blogs. Most of the people that I have met here and really respect are either non-believers or Pagans.”Good that you’ve noticed that. You should investigate what’s wrong with your belief.

  • iiandyiiii

    Spidermean2- it’s a good thing you’re not a missionary, because calling everyone who disagrees with you “IDIOTS” isn’t exactly going to change anyone’s mind. Thankfully, most Christians out there actually try to display kindness and understanding of other people’s beliefs. It must be nice to know all the answers. I wish I did.

  • MGT2

    Look, we all believe in something. The theist believes in something: God. The atheist believes in something: Nothing. Yes, I know this sounds ridiculous. But, if you ask me, the atheist has a lot more faith than the theist because it is impossible to believe in nothing–at least, with man. Otherwise, we would have to conclude that believing in nothing is a foolish notion. Wouldn’t we?

  • spidermean2

    Malis wrote “So tell me, for what possible reason should I discount thousands of years of past history and decide that you—Spidermean2!—is the first one to actually get it right?”The reason is that the TIME IS RIPE for the prophecies to be revealed. And the only way to check its accurate is to wait just a few more years.

  • iiandyiiii

    Actually we don’t all believe in something. Some of us are honestly not sure. Many people would say that there may or may not be a god, many people simply don’t care and aren’t interested in anything beyond the natural world.

  • MGT2

    Oh, we do. We all believe in something. Some of us are just not sure what we believe in.

  • spidermean2

    Malis wrote “So tell me, for what possible reason should I discount thousands of years of past history and decide that you—Spidermean2!—is the first one to actually get it right?”The reason is that the TIME IS RIPE for the prophecies to be revealed. And the only way to check its accuracy is to wait just a few more years.

  • Arminius

    Thank you, Spidey, for the great laughs!I know what is right with my belief, and I know what is wrong with yours. What will you say to God, Spidey, when you stand before Him to be judged? How will you defend your hatred of all of His children? What will you say? ANSWER, YOU COWARD!

  • ebleas

    MGT2 wrote: The theist believes in a supernatural power which is beyond the natural laws of the four fundamental forces. They believe this power created them and everything they see and controls their fate and destiny. They accept this with little or no proof. A “non-believer” does not believe in this supernatural power, which is why they are termed a non-believer. But yes, of course, even non-believers “believe” in something. They believe in what they can see, touch, smell and hear. They believe that which they perceive with their senses is reality and there is nothing beyond that. To label this as a “faith”, as a theist uses it, is a common misunderstanding and misrepresentation. A definition of faith I found is as follows:: belief and trust in and loyalty to GodThe last definition speaks volumes for why non-believers do not fit into the category of faith, as they require proof before they believe in something. This is the fundamental difference.

  • spidermean2

    The reason why engineering is such a nice course is because it doesn’t allow stupidity to float around. 80% of the students who enrolled in our department did not make it. You can’t talk your way around in this course unlike some other fields which study evolution where magic abound.

  • FH123

    “I’ve noticed before my real empathy is offset by a disappointing lack of compassion. In other words, I feel and understand the pain you’re going through…but I don’t much care.”Good luck in your efforts to leave the world a better place. After all, what is empathy without compassion…a lot of talk really, which is the real flaw in your argument

  • spidermean2

    “But people who are cowardly, unfaithful (UNBELIEVERS), detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will find themselves in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.” (Rev 21:8)Arminius, that didn’t come from me.

  • IamGod1

    A little diversity of ideas is a good thing. To say that the atheist believes in nothing is not correct. The Atheist as much as the faithful believes in living a happy, moral and ethical life. If one’s religion is threatened by a bus advertisement than that says alot. It is good to hear from the atheists as we are bombarded from birth with the idea that there must be a god with no room for freethinking. People are free to believe or not, what matters is that people live a good life whether they believe or not.

  • uououo

    I believe in God, but if you don’t, you don’t and it can’t be forced. But being good for the sake of goodness is a worthwhile pursuit that anyone can do. (I believe it is also a godly pursuit.) The humanists urging people to be good for the sake of goodness are doing a good work in this world. If I end up in heaven by God’s grace, I expect to meet them there (and they will be surprised but glad!).

  • Arminius

    Spidey,As always, you don’t answer, you attack and try to change the subject. You are truly pathetic. But please keep up the comedy!

  • Robert_B1

    Colinnicholas: “And morality existed and was debated long before Christianity existed. Read Plato and Aristotle.”First, I’m not advocating a purely Christian view (though I am a Christian). I’m advocating the existence of moral standards independent of human opinion and culture, otherwise known as natural law.Second, I’ve read Plato and Aristotle as well as Augustine and Aquinas. All four were theists and all four believed in absolute moral standards that were independent of human opinion.Colinnicholas: “As there are no gods – of course humans decide what’s right and what’s wrong; and different societies in different times usually have very different ideas about what’s moral and whats not.”This speaks to my problem of standards. Suppose I believe that morality should be based on what is good for the progress of humanity as a species (a purely Darwinistic perspective). Then it is completely moral for me to murder a mentally incompetent man to stop his condition from infecting the next generation. If morality is purely a human invention, then we have no real basis to judge a man like Adolf Hitler’s morality. After all, his morality was merely different (he would say superior) that the rest of the world…Hewitt1: “Belief in God does not substantiate an absolute moral standard.”I never said otherwise. There are plenty of religious people who aren’t moral (though I do believe that religion is the best way of teaching morality). I’m merely asking atheists (who in my experience tend to crow about how morally good they are) what the basis for their morality is.

  • wtwiii

    As Alec Leamas famously remarked in John Le Carre’s “The Spy Who Came In From the Cold”, “I believe an eleven bus will take me to Hammersmith. I don’t believe it’s driven by Father Christmas.” It’s hard to think of a better way of expressing the atheist viewpoint.

  • iiandyiiii

    You’re ignoring a large group, MGT2. There are those (like myself) who are genuinely uncertain. I don’t have beliefs one way or the other on the existence of god. I actually don’t know, and don’t feel I’m even close to knowing one way or the other.With regard to belief in scientific theories and “facts”: It’s not absolute, at least not with me (and most scientists, I believe). I’m pretty sure that if I throw a quarter in the air, it will come back down. I’m close to certain that the Theory of Gravity is an accurate explanation of how bodies of mass interact with each other. As far as the Big Bang, for example, so far it is the best explanation based on the data that has been gathered for the physical origin of this universe. But that’s as far as I can go- I’m not certain by any means that it is the perfect truth about how things got started, and the theory says nothing about what may or may not have come before the Big Bang.

  • hyjanks

    To Robert_b1:

  • sparrow4

    FH123 wrote:”Unfortunately, given your worldview, there can be no metric for what BETTER is. The progressive movement by its very nature seeks to desintegrate the family unit, as it is traditionally known.”The progressive movement does not seek to destroy the family unit. I have no idea where you got this from, but if bothered to read the many comments about atheism, or agnosticism, or humanism, making the world a better place is about your fellow human beings, and of course, how they function in society. ergo- stronger happier families are part of that.If you are referring to gay marriage, again you’re wrong. Gay marriage is an extension of how families are defined. they add to the strength, not weaken it. The only people afraid of gay marriage are those whose faith is weakest.

  • CCNL

    Gay “marriages” simply simplifies and somewhat sanitizes the “yuckiness” of the act.

  • cnj5954

    Weren’t we all born atheist?

  • probashi

    Fire and brimstone for the non-believers? For me the choice is clear. Stay as far away from the bigots I can. The more I learn about religious extremists — of all faiths — the more strongly I feel that what they do in the name of god is sickening. God, if there is one, must be asleep or has given up in disgust.

  • malis

    MGT2’s continuing insistence that belief and non-belief are somehow exactly equal, is just another attempt to argue the tired old canard that theism and non-theism are two equal ‘belief systems.’ That argument, common among religious fundamentalists, seeks to equate the non-belief of skepticism, with the belief of religion.Let’s clarify. To put it simply, religion asserts a positive: “There is an undetectable force called ‘God’ that has influence over the Universe.” Let’s call this ‘Theism.’ This is similar to the statement, “There is an invisible force called ‘gravity’ that has influence over falling objects.” Let’s call this ‘Gravitism.’ There exists a large body of measurable, demonstrable, repeatable evidence to support Gravitism (I know of no a-gravitists). There is not, however, a scintilla of measurable, demonstrable, repeatable evidence supporting Theism, thus the existence of a-theists.The non-believer simply declines to accept extraordinary claims based only on assertion and opinion. So, the ‘a’ in ‘a-theism’ does not mean ‘anti-,’ it simply means ‘without.’ There is no positive assertion in atheism, either that a god must, or must not, exist. Since Theism is asserting a positive, it’s the responsibility of the Theist to provide evidence. The non-believer simply says “you have provided no verifiable evidence supporting your extraordinary assertion,” and asks that since you insist as stating this as ‘The Truth,” you provide supporting evidence, vetted through the process demonstrated to have the greatest credibility—the scientific method. Clear?

  • Arminius

    Probashi,Yes, Spidey, the ultimate example of the horrendous religious right, has done more harm to Christianity with his ignorance and bigotry than I can ever even comprehend. Please keep in mind that there are moderate Christians (myself) who do not ever try to condemn others or force their belief on them.

  • Robert_B1

    Hyjanks: “I’ve been an atheist since the time I understood the meaning of the word yet I never “crow” about how morally superior I am.”Hence why I qualified my statement by saying “in my experience”…”I, as an atheist, can bear views contray to my own. If that makes me morally superior to those pushing the moral superiority of their religion (yet who constantly violate the “moral” tenets of same), then so be it.”As a Christian, I too can bear views contrary to my own, but that doesn’t stop me from asking the people who hold these views to explain themselves. You see, all Christians are not incurious… :)You seem to be a thoughtful fellow, so I’ll ask you directly. What is the foundation of the concepts of right and wrong? Are they just human constructions (and therefore infinitely malleable) or are there definite standards to which all men, regardless of culture or era, should adhere?

  • FH123

    The Progressive movement goes hand-in-hand with individualism, which seeks to subvert collectivism of any kind. So by its very nature the Progressive movement subverts the nuclear family. I’m not saying that a certain amount of individualism is not a good thing, it clearly is, but it’s a balancing act. The more you push on one side, the more you lose from the other side.I would love to hear your argument on how this is not so.

  • malis

    FH123 responded with “Good luck in your efforts to leave the world a better place. After all, what is empathy without compassion…a lot of talk really, which is the real flaw in your argument.” That’s not a flaw in the argument; it’s a flaw in the implementation. As I mentioned, it’s a personal failing that leaves me a lesser person that I could be. The phrase you originally objected to seems to be “I believe… my obligation and legacy is to leave the world better than I found it (and that my children are my best hope of that).” From what I can tell, my three grown children exhibit (that is, show through their actions) both empathy and compassion superior to my own. I’ve done a few other things, which in a small way will continue to make life better for some, and I’ll have to be satisfied with that.It’s not ‘The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’ but for me, it’ll do.

  • sparrow4

    The Progressive movement addresses social ills and political power. were you correct the Progressives would die out, without families, so you are way off base here.

  • garethharris

    After observing these comments, all I can say is:

  • iiandyiiii

    FH123 states :”The Progressive movement goes hand-in-hand with individualism, which seeks to subvert collectivism of any kind. So by its very nature the Progressive movement subverts the nuclear family. I’m not saying that a certain amount of individualism is not a good thing, it clearly is, but it’s a balancing act. The more you push on one side, the more you lose from the other side.I would love to hear your argument on how this is not so.”Your initial two assertions are wrong. One, progressivism does NOT always go hand-in-hand with individualism- where did that come from?

  • MGT2

    MALIS, you are talking about “belief” and “non-belief” in God. I am talking about accepting something as true without proof, which happens to be faith whether or not one believes in God. It takes faith to believe in God. It also takes faith to believe that everything came out of nothing. You see, I am not equating the atheist’s non-faith in God with the beleiver’s faith in God. Tha believer has faith in God and the atheist does not have faith in God. But it does not mean the atheist has no faith at all. IIANDYIIII, I understand what you are saying and I agree that there are many in your position who are genuinely not sure. I just think that if you believe that you exist at all, then you believe in something. Maybe you are a true existentialist and believe that human existence is unexplainable. Still, that would constitute a belief in something.

  • dolph924

    While I agree with the humanist ads and their right to run them, I also agree with some posting here that the money could be better spent. You WON’T convince a single member of the God Squad they have been “wrong” all these years — they are hard-wired to believe. You need not convince the atheist choir. So who is the target audience? Agnostics? The amoral? Not sure I see the upside of these ads. Give that ad money to the food banks or homeless shelters and move on in annonymity doing good w/o god. I think the ads are just designed to incite controversy that shines the light on those who run them. Why? Ego. Nothing more; nothing less. Nothing “good” about that.

  • peterungar

    The one thing we know for certain about Heaven is that no one may use a telephone there.

  • Skowronek

    The reason is that the TIME IS RIPE for the prophecies to be revealed. And the only way to check its accuracy is to wait just a few more years.December 9, 2008 8:32 PM What year are you betting on? You say you’re an engineer, so let’s hear some specifics. I’m willing to bet that you were one of those who were convinced that the world was going to end in 2000.

  • malis

    MGT2, OK, I understand that—your position is more limited than I’d assumed. Still, you’ve misstated the atheist’s position. It’s not a belief “…that everything came out of nothing;” it’s simply an unwillingness to accept an assertion that everything came out of a supernatural power, and especially that some other human knows that nature of that supernatural power with absolute certainty. Overwhelmingly, the actual position is that neither of us can KNOW the unprovable, but we’re willing to wait for the proof (yes, I understand some people say they know, with absolute certainty, there is no God. I agree with you, they ‘believe’ just as much as any religionist).I agree with what I think is your point—a real question with no answer is, where’d the Big Bang come from? I certainly don’t know and that branch of science—cosmology—is better at slowly uncovering the mechanics involved than explaining how it all got started. The accepted name for this quandary is “The God of the Gaps.” If we don’t understand something (that is, there’s a gap in our knowledge), why, it must be supernatural! Unfortunately, the ‘believers’ have an unbroken, millennia-long losing streak there…every time we reach a new understanding of a previously unexplainable phenomenon, the natural (measurable, demonstrable, repeatable) cause has won over the supernatural every time.Still, if some religion does turn out to be, against all odds, the only eternal Truth, I hope it’s either the Pagans or the Mormons. In their afterlife, I may be greatly surprised—but at least I won’t be eternally tortured (my unavoidable fate, if the religious tradition in which I was raised is correct).

  • ebleas

    MGT2 wrote: And, whether it is the belief that everything began with God or a Big Bang or whether God caused the Big Bang, the beginning, for both the theist and the atheist remain the same: How it started is a matter of faith. For the believer: Hebrews 11:3. For the atheist: scientific theories and “facts” that are ever changing.You still seem to be confused. The scientist will formulate various hypotheses. Data are then gathered that will either support or refute the hypothesis. Experiments will be performed, when possible, to validate the hypothesis. Only after sufficient evidence has been gathered will the hypothesis be accepted. The theist will start with a mandate, which is that God created the universe, and only entertain those facts that support that mandate and reject all that do not. The battle between ID and evolution is a good example. The theist starts the notion that the idea is absolutely true and cannot be wrong, and then works to prove it. This is the very anti-thesis of the scientific method.Let’s take your example of the Big Bang. There is a hypothesis that the universe began as the big bang. There are data and mathematical models to support this hypothesis. Experiments have been performed using particle accelerators that demonstrate the merging of the four forces. One can analyze those data and make an informed decision as to whether or not the data are sound and valid. From that analysis, one can accept or reject the big bang hypothesis. Yes, the findings are still preliminary and much more work needs to be done. But this does NOT imply that the non-believer will simply use “faith” to accept that the theory is correct. It simply means they are currently analyzing the data and need more before a conclusion can be reached. Until that time, they are keeping an open mind.Also reread malis’s post at 10:19. He / she does a much better job of explaining it than I did.

  • rb-freedom-for-all

    As someone who does not believe in a personal god, this does not mean that I believe in nothing. I believe in myself and I believe in humankind. So in a crisis, I figure out what to do and work with other people to organize a rational response, instead of going all to pieces because god is not delivering a miracle to save me.In this way people who do not believe in a personal god demonstrate a much greater degree of faith than the so-called “faithful.” Its just that we have faith in ourselves and our own abilities and in our fellow humans and their abilities.

  • cnj5954

    Since we were all born atheist, and belief in God is a must. Why did God leave it up to man to indroctrinate man in ways to believe in him? Why didn’t God just implant a God belief device in our brains at birth? If he had wouldn’t you agree that so many innocent lives would have been spared throughout history? Why does God play games?

  • MGT2

    MALIS, now that we are clear on my meaning, here is what I think. I think believers, such as myself, are needlessly concerned about that ‘losing streak.’ Indeed, we are needlessly concerned about what athiests think. What does it matter that they do not believe in God? It does not change the fact of his existence because that fact can only be assertained by faith. Science deals only with the natural world; a world that can be see and handled. And as powerful as the evidence of science is, the evidence of faith, which resides in the spirit and operates in a wolrd beyond the natural. An earlier post mentioned “nothingness” and stated, rightly, that what is unseen is greater that what is seen. Even science knows that to be true in the natural world. In a recent presentation of “Journey to the Edge of the Universe,” the narrator stated that the more we discover, it seems the less we know. I will add that the more apparent it becomes that we know so little, the more we speculate and theorize. Today, what is taken to be proven scientific fact, may, and often do, turn out not to be so. The only sure thing is faith. All religious faiths cannot be right because they contradict each other in so many ways. So as to whether in the end yours will be right, is a matter of faith. Your challenge is to be true to your faith.

  • spidermean2

    “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.” The problem with this is that those who promote it based their “goodness” on how animals behave. “Kill or be killed” is what drives their existence.IDIOTS.

  • spidermean2

    “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.” The problem with this is that those who promote it base their “goodness” on how animals behave. “Kill or be killed” is what drives their existence.IDIOTS.

  • spidermean2

    those who believe in evolution only have to observe how a fertilize egg turns into an intelligent brain and proclaim that NO INTELLIGENCE was involved in the process.IDIOTS. Maybe there is NO intelligence present if the brain they are observing happens to be theirs.

  • sparrow4

    “Today, what is taken to be proven scientific fact, may, and often do, turn out not to be so. The only sure thing is faith.All religious faiths cannot be right because they contradict each other in so many ways. So as to whether in the end yours will be right, is a matter of faith. Your challenge is to be true to your faith. “Isn’t this a contradiction of your statement “the only sure thing is faith?” If they all can’t be right, and you won’t know if yours is right or not, that’s not so different from changing scientific facts.But also, it isn’t always that scientific facts change, so much as our interpretation of them. And that is based on many factors- new thinking on ideas, new equipment and technology, new studies, and yes, the more we know, the more we realize how little we know. Actually, I’d like to change that to” the more we realize how much there is to know.”

  • MGT2

    EBLEAS, you are right, I am confused–about your response. First, I do not see in your response, any contradiction to what I am saying unless you did not get my point. Second, my point is this: As to how everything began, the theist and the atheist both exercise faith. Now, notwhitstanding your explanation, the scientific community, presently, admits ingorance as to the cause of the Big Bang. This is the great unknown. What they have are theories, and yes, they are testing those theories. However, atheists accept, by faith, an unkonwn cause other than “God” because as yet, they have no proof of a cause to point to.

  • ebleas

    I’m not sure who wrote this:”It takes faith to believe in God. It also takes faith to believe that everything came out of nothing.”But it’s not true. Again, a “faith” implies accepting something with no evidence. There are theories and evidence that support the creation of something out of nothing. Virtual particles have been shown to ebb into and back out of existence all the time. They “borrow” energy from the vacuum for their creation, appear, and then repay the energy when they disappear and release their energy. They do not violate any of the known laws of quantum physics. Even though we can’t see them, we know that these virtual particles are really there because they leave a detectable trace that can be observed. Hence, we have evidence.Also, quantum events have been shown to have no “cause”. They are driven purely by probability. Hence, if the big bang was a quantum event (which is the current thinking), there is not need to postulate a “cause”, which neatly removes the need for a creator. Again, the probabilistic nature of quantum events is well understood and documented. There is NO faith needed to accept this theory.

  • ebleas

    MGT2 wrote: Now, notwhitstanding your explanation, the scientific community, presently, admits ingorance as to the cause of the Big Bang. This is the great unknown. What they have are theories, and yes, they are testing those theories. However, atheists accept, by faith, an unkonwn cause other than “God” because as yet, they have no proof of a cause to point to. There may be no “cause”. Refer to my post at 12:32.

  • sparrow4

    I think you’re both actually arguing over the semantics of the words “faith” and “belief.” One of you is arguing in the traditional, religious sense, the other in the vernacular sense. You’re both right, just in different ways.BTW- I find quantum physics totally fascinating- just wish I had more hard science to understand it better.

  • ebleas

    MGT2 wrote: Now, notwhitstanding your explanation, the scientific community, presently, admits ingorance as to the cause of the Big Bang. This is the great unknown. What they have are theories, and yes, they are testing those theories. However, atheists accept, by faith, an unkonwn cause other than “God” because as yet, they have no proof of a cause to point to. You seem to be implying that rejection of one hypothesis (God did it) implies a “faith”. Or said another way, you seem to be implying that because one does not currently know the reason (for the big bang), one has “faith” in some unknown reason. This logic puzzles me.Simply rejecting one theory (God did it) does not imply one has an alternative explanation. One could simply take the approach that we reject your hypothesis due to lack of evidence and do not currently have a well-defined alternative. That is to say, we are still looking for an answer by performing science, research and experiments. Where does this imply any type of “faith”? Faith is a positive notion, it is applied to an idea or notion. How can one have “faith” in the absence of an idea? I’m very confused.

  • MGT2

    EBLEAS,Here is your cause:”They “borrow” energy from the vacuum for their creation, appear, and then repay the energy when they disappear and release their energy.” The “energy” they borrow. Because “They do not violate any of the known laws of quantum physics” does that mean no law of physics was violated. The law is just not known. Faith.

  • AFan4Skins

    “The days where non-believers are the last acceptable minority to insult and ridicule are over.”This is a classic example of the attacker claiming to be a victim. It has been a very long time where the ONLY acceptable group to insult and ridicule in public have been people of faith, particularly Christians. Must of the discussion on this thread is absolute proof. All those who believe that their lack of faith is not reflected in society should take a serious look at TV, movies, and the general media. It is either openly distainful of people of faith, or trash because there are no moral standards left in the modern global society.

  • Carstonio

    Waters and the authors of both ads make the mistake of treating the question as binary. The question is not “god or no god” because many religions make claims about the physical universe that do not resemble monotheism. Some religions, like Confucianism, make no such claims at all. There are really two questions involved in this dispute. The first is whether a transcendent realm exists and what evidence is there for such a realm. Belief in such a realm does not constitute evidence. The second involves the nature of morality. “Being good” falsely implies that morality is about following rules and not about the effects of actions. Even the “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” song cited in the first ad contradicts itself – it offers a rationale for obedience based on rewards, which has nothing to do with “for goodness’ sake.”

  • whickedwheels

    These people are subsidizing your bus ride. That’s wonderful. We need a lot more like them.

  • Carstonio

    “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”Sorry, I must have had a Tim Allen Freudian slip…

  • ernesthua

    Is a belief in a higher (higher what? elevation? intelligence? capability?) being (as opposed to knowing through evidence) just that? A “belief”? Just like belief in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny?And isn’t it personal? I keep hearing this concept of a “personal God” being described as strictly a private relationship between the said person and God. If so, then why not keep it private?Are you so much in doubt that you need external validation in order to be able to sustain your belief?Some of us just aren’t interested. We don’t believe that God does NOT exist; we just don’t care. Many people who place themselves in the “atheists” or “agnostic” camp are really “not interested”.A meteor could strike us dead some day, but it is just a issue that is far beyond most of us, even though there is quite a bit of evidence that meteors strike earth every day; far more evidence than that for any some specific higher being (and it always comes down to a SPECIFIC higher being doesn’t it? It can’t just be ANY higher being or beings. It must be YOUR specific one.)I don’t have time for Santa Claus or Easter Bunny or God, even though I cannot prove that they don’t exist. They just don’t matter much in my life. I can behave ethically and morally without the needing, first, the possibility of being sentenced to an eternal uber-torture chamber.Isn’t it funny that many of you have to label me a “humanist” or a “atheist” of an “agnostic” or some “-ist” just so that you can claim I believe in some other “religion”.Luckily for you, once you make up some label like this, then you can throw everything inconvenient to your religion into the pot that is the label. For instance, evolution is inconvenient, so you through that into the pot. Cosmology is inconvenient, so you throw that into the pot. Plate techtonics is inconvenient, so you throw that into the pot. (I’m surprised you haven’t found gravity inconvenient yet because gravity theory actually contributes to the conclusions that earth is a LOT older than 10,000 years old.)Now you can, with some word tricks, pretend that inconvenient facts are just another “-ism” that you can ignore because that’s another religion.At some point, you end up holed up in a heavily armed compound making sure your women and children are not exposed to these evil “-ism”‘s.Funny how religion allows you to feel perfectly fine about not having to face criticism of your beliefs. And, yes, believing in 10,000 year old earth and then sending your children off to school to face evolution and plate techtonics is very much criticism of your beliefs, even if it is not directed at your belief. I understand that part. But in that case, you lose. Life is tough. Your religion did not evolve to stay current with scientific knowledge. Some did; yours did not.And that crossing of the line from “it’s my own personal belief” to “damn you all trying to force inconvenient facts on me” is the real problem. What you do in your own home, group of friends, church, whatever, is your own thing and your own problem. We could care less what you do. But when you start rationlizing having to force the rest of us to believe your nonsense, we start to get a little annoyed.

  • cbl-pdx

    DOLPH924 wrote:—–Maybe one reason is to reach out to other Atheists to let them know they are not alone. Because of the long stigma of Atheism, many go along not realizing there are others who believe in rational thought just like they do. Under your criteria for better things to spend money on, just about everything pales in comparison to feeding the hungry and helping the homeless and sick. Do you look at every ad and say “money should have been spent on the poor?” I don’t disagree that some things are more important (and some things much less important), but you can’t use that as the criteria for doing things or not doing things.

  • wizard2

    The atheists put up a sign that asks, “Why believe in a god?”Then they walk away. It is the end of their thought and their argument.

  • Carstonio

    The response ad assumes that a god would be a creator and that a god would be capable of love. If gods exist, it’s possible that they would not create or love.

  • tdion

    I find it arrogant of people to proclaim that they know anything about the afterlife. Based on what? Dusty old books written by other humans. Why waste time arguing about what we cannot know.

  • EddDoerr

    As a former head of the American Humanist Association for 14 years, until 6 years ago, I am embarrassed by the juvenile and unnecessarily confrontational ads the AHA has been running on DC buses. Whether we believe in a supernatural order or not, our many religious differences are of far less importance than the values and concerns we share. We live together in a country and world beset by serious problems: global warming, resource depletion, economic crises, nasty unnecessary wars, pandemics, overpopulation, social disorganization, growing gaps between the rich and the rest of us, widespread poverty and misery, deficits in civil liberties and human rights, patriarchialism, etc. More important than the things that divide us are the positive values most of us share.

  • donlibes

    Proof of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s existence is everywhere I look. Pastafarianism is based on solid science just as Intelligent Design is.

  • denniscav

    The debate between science and religious beliefs will continue to be futile unless and until there is a consensus as to the ‘need’ that religious beliefs serves, and has served for thousands of years of human history and also unless and until science provides a suitable substitute. Afterall, faith in the future provides comfort that results in happiness and confidence in the future and makes all efforts worth while.

  • Brandywine9

    Of the thousands of religious belief systems out there for people to debate vociferously, there seem to be four groups: Which one are you? Since I have no objective evidence to support alternatives 1 through 4, Agnosticism is the ticket. Though I’m from U.S., my living abroad has informed me that Western Europeans are much more Agnostic than folks in U.S. I was very surprised recently to hear that Spain (once very Catholic) was not at all anymore. Apparently, the dictator, Franco, had a very negative history w/ trying to force his dictums on the populace in the name of Catholicism, and the long-oppressed people ended up renouncing Catholicism en masse. Sound like a familiar story? It’s the same story that caused much of Europe to abandon organized religion over the decades, as it had experienced such a very long history of institutionalized abuse. America is very young, yet we, too, have our religious growing pains. “The bus” is another silly little tempest-in-a-teapot about religiosity in emotional overdrive. Relax!

  • GOOSP

    I don’t mind people professing unbelief in God, because some people just don’t want to or just can’t be convinced of it or just can’t admit it. And, I can’t force that belief on anyone. However, once you claim an absolute “goodness” without an absolute frame of reference, then the arguments, although seemingly clever, are already flawed, e.g., the phrase “for goodness’ sake”.There is no way you can claim a value or truth without having an initial frame of reference as to what is the absolute definition of “good”. When you believe in a God that is good who created us in His “image”, which would be the ultimate definition of “good”, then you have a basis to which you can derive your sense of “good” from. However, if there is no God or there are no absolute morality rules, then “good” can differ and there is no way that one can make a judgment saying that this is “good” or this is “not good”. If there were no absolute morality rules, then everything is just “acceptable”. You can’t tell someone to “stop” when they’re cutting you with a knife, because what they could be doing to you is “good” in their eyes, even if it’s not “good” in your eyes, so you would have no right to tell them what is “unacceptable”. Because that’s an example from what a world with no absolute morality would look like. Then you may argue that there is just “humanistic morality”.And with regards to humanistic morality, one has to question where that morality comes from. Sure we’ve been taught what right and wrong is, but there are also things that we inherently know that are wrong. Why is murdering bad? Why is killing innocent babies considered wrong? What’s wrong with sexual slavery?No matter the culture, there are certain absolutes that we all agree upon. If there were no commonality with regards to our “creation”, then there should be no commonality with our morals; but if there was any commonality with our morals, then could there be a commonality with our “creation”? Yes.Anyway, my point is that you can’t claim “goodness” as an idea without a God or some kind of higher being that defines it because there has to be some absolute with which you compare it to. Otherwise, it’s just a relative idea with relative meaning. Ergo, that claim means nothing. I don’t want to “push” God onto you, but just know that when you start saying “for goodness’ sake”, I need you to justify what goodness means and why. Everyone has their own beliefs, and I’m fine with that, but there are just certain assumptions that are held with certain truth claims. To overlook the associated assumptions would render an incomplete picture.

  • thornwalker1

    Ramen, Donlibes, well said.

  • presto668

    GOOSP wrote:This is ridiculous.”Why is murdering bad? Why is killing innocent babies considered wrong? What’s wrong with sexual slavery?”Because I wouldn’t want any of those things to happen to me, so I don’t want them to happen to anyone else either. It’s called the Golden Rule and it’s been around longer than Christianity.My counter argument to you would be: are you telling me that the ONLY reason you are not out there right now murdering your way across the countryside is because God tells you not to? I find that frightening. You’re defining “good” as “what God says”, which is just as bad as defining it based on the society’s norms. What if God appeared to you personally and told you to go out and kill everyone you could find with red hair? Would you do it?”If there were no commonality with regards to our “creation”, then there should be no commonality with our morals;”This doesn’t follow at all.”Anyway, my point is that you can’t claim “goodness” as an idea without a God or some kind of higher being that defines it”Sure you can. I just did above.

  • icoleman

    Now see here! What you atheists don’t seem to understand is that without an absolute moral authority (i.e. God) there can be no moral…Umm. Oh wait a second… Looking back on the comments, I see that a hundred other “people of faith” have mistakenly written the same thing, and been taken to the woodshed for their sophistry.Sorry to waste your time. Messy Xmas!

  • coloradodog

    I’ve never had an atheist bother me about what he or she thought was wrong with my beliefs. As for neochristians, that’s another story. Growing up in Utah, “friends”, neighbors and teachers first “outed” me as a Gentile and then hounded me about knowing more about the Mormon Church which I did. I listened to the missionaries and paid attention to their felt story boards which started with “Do you believe in God” and “Do you believe in the Bible” and read the Book of Mormon and thought it was interesting, even possible, but not for me. Later, after I escaped Utah and when evangelicals did the same to me, I read the Bible, all of it – cover to cover, and found it self-contradictory in many ways and easily susceptible to interpretation for the specific motives of mortals, not always ones that I though were good or Holy. Later, I spend countless hours listening to a Jehovah Witness “friend” who stopped speaking to me when I told her her beliefs were interesting, even plausible, but not for me. Now in Mexico, blond Mormon Missionaries hound me again denying the words of their own prophets who said Navajo’s would become “white and delight some” if they converted to Mormonism, denying their electroshock torture of their gays to “cure” them, and denying the racial and gender based peculiarities of the doctrine of THE CHURCH.The point is that atheists are not a threat to someone of faith – only to those who can’t stand it that everyone else does not believe exactly as they do and define “God’s standards” by their own narrow minded definitions. The punitive, intolerant Abrahamic religions bring out and play on the insecurities of the weak of faith.Let people buy ads on buses even if they make you uncomfortable.

  • Carstonio

    “Because I wouldn’t want any of those things to happen to me, so I don’t want them to happen to anyone else either. It’s called the Golden Rule and it’s been around longer than Christianity.”I would add that we cannot assume that gods or higher powers would be sources of morality.

  • twinsfan

    GOOSP WROTE:No matter the culture, there are certain absolutes that we all agree upon. If there were no commonality with regards to our “creation”, then there should be no commonality with our morals; but if there was any commonality with our morals, then could there be a commonality with our “creation”? Yes.To elaborate a bit on Presto668′s rebuttal, the justification for humanistic ethics is precisely that there IS a commonality with our creation: we’re all human beings. There are many aspects of human nature that are obviously and unquestionably universal. For example, we are born helpless; we are mortal; we can imagine things that don’t yet exist; we are happier and live longer when we have close relationships with one or more other human beings; etc., etc. From these facts can be derived the universal principles of ethics that are common to all the world’s great religions (not to be confused with the conventional morals of a particular society–things like what’s acceptable to wear on a beach). For example, lying is bad because it destroys the trust necessary for cooperation.BTW, one doesn’t have to be an atheist to be a humanist. At the Washington Ethical Society, we have members who believe in some kind of God or Higher Power, and others who don’t. What we have in common is faith in the human spirit and desires to learn how to be stronger ethical agents and to do our part to make the world better.Anyone curious about humanistic religion could look for a congregation in their area that belongs to the American Ethical Union, the Unitarian Universalist Association, or the Society for Humanistic Judaism, to name three organizations that I’m familiar with.

  • sparrow4

    Oops- maybe I should have said FH123 is the only bozo on the bus.

  • spidermean2

    Humanists and atheists would make this country a target for doomsday. Why? Because their definition of “good works” is actually “disguised stupidity”. Just consider the atheist communists. If you talk to these guys (I know some communist folks), they are sweet talkers, and if you don’t put your guard up, you can easily be convinced that what they are doing is for the “good” of mankind.After the poster,”why believe on a God” will be “why ride a bus afterall?” In Cambodia during Pol Pots time, their leader had this in his mind, “why use money?” so they abolished it and end up killing the people who think they are fools.Humanists and atheists are FOOLS, period. Why? Everything that is considered wrong in the Bible is actually right for them. If they will have their way, nobody can ride his own car but should all ride the bus. Just ONE bus for the whole country coz the other buses lacked spare parts to run.c ya later

  • Arminius

    Spidey wrote this nonsense:So, then, humanists and atheists often feed the hungry, clothe the naked, help the homeless, try to alleviate poverty. And this is stupid? Seems to me a guy named Jesus encouraged this behavior. But…oh dear… I forgot, you never read the Gospels, just the madness of Revelation.What will you say to God, Spidey? What will you say? You had better think about that.

  • FH123

    sparrow4 : Do you have a point…if so I don’t seem to find it here. I usually don’t respond to you because I don’t find your posts very inciteful or well thought out…not worth the trouble really. Thanks for validating.

  • freespeak

    As a proud atheist, I have often asked this same sort of question to religious people: To me, a human being’s dependence on God to be good is quite a bit like a child’s dependence on Santa to be good. I love Jesus!A Christian once asked me what I believe in, if I don’t believe in God. I said I believed in healing the sick and feeding the poor. I was told about the “rewards” of “heaven” that awaited me, if I was good.I said I didn’t need the reward of some place called “heaven” to want to be “good.” I find that helping other people is reward in itself. The Christian couldn’t quite understand that concept.

  • catweasel3

    I find it ironic. They way people behave these days, with all the crime and such…usually the first thing I do before I set foot on a public bus is say a little prayer for a safe trip.For ads to be run during a very religious time of year (for Muslims, Christians AND Jews) is very disrespectful of people’s private beliefs and that’s where I have a problem with the ads.

  • spidermean2

    Without God and the Bible, which is the word of God, a person could easily slip to wrongdoings despite his desire to do good things. The work of God is to guide. Humanists think they can do it alone but oftentimes they end up falling into a ditch. That’s what Doomsday is all about. In search for that something which is “good” for mankind they end up turning into dust.After Doomsday, heaven on earth will follow. Maybe it’s their presence that makes this earth hellish, afterall.

  • spidermean2

    Skowronek “I’m willing to bet that you were one of those who were convinced that the world was going to end in 2000″Nice try but I don’t think the world will NOT end within the next 1000 years.

  • spidermean2

    Skowronek wrote “I’m willing to bet that you were one of those who were convinced that the world was going to end in 2000″Nice try but I DON’T think the world will end within the next 1000 years.

  • MGT2

    To FREESPEAK:I am sorry that you have such a low view of Christians. But I am sure that not every Christian would respond to you the same way. As I understant it, the Biblical position is that God gives everyone the right to choose whether they want to believe in him. There is also the recognition that people can be good without believing in God. In fact, people can be good just for “goodness sake.” However, the purpose of the Bible in calling people to believe in God and to become Christians is that being good, even for goodness sake, is not good enough for moral beings; that we are by nature not inclined to be good and without moral restraint(divine help) we are capable of unimaginable evil.

  • mightysparrow

    “The work of God is to guide. Humanists think they can do it alone but oftentimes they end up falling into a ditch. That’s what Doomsday is all about. In search for that something which is “good” for mankind they end up turning into dust.”The above statement ignores the fact that the “doomsday” weapons so far developed were developed by Christians, Muslims and Jews — not by atheists. As the opening piece pointed out, the moral behaviors of atheists are similar to those who describe themselves as believers.

  • garbot12

    I myself am a Christian and have many Athiest friends. We have great respect for each other yet we have different beliefs on many issues. My friends know that Christmas is a holy times for Christians, and they would never think to dimish that meaning to me by insulting my beliefs on the side of city buses.

  • mightysparrow

    Robert_B1 said: ” If indeed there no moral standard outside of human experience (as most atheists claim, whether they realize it or not), then morality is merely a human invention. This means that any human (either on an individual or societal basis) can decide what is good, which means that there are no standards at all…”Nothing could be farther from the truth. Atheists do believe in moral standards. However, the difference from believers in God is that atheists believe those standards come from us, not from a god or gods.

  • spidermean2

    I meet people of all stripes – unbelievers, believers and really godly believers. They are all “good” coz they are my friends, but only those whom I consider the really godly believers exhibit holy attributes. The study done by these so called “futurists” is as good as horse manure. Christians are in favor of stem cell research but they have some reservations about EMBRYONIC stem cells. Stem cells can be found in a person’s skin or his other body parts which is more practical, unlike embryonic stem cells which practically don’t exist among mature patients.

  • MGT2

    TUCKERP0, thanks for that information.One of the reasons why many non-believers object to believers’ positions on various issues is the mistaken notion (by some believers)that believing in God means denying the obvious. This is an historic trend in Christianity. It is not the fault of the religion because the Bible does not, and did not intend to, directly address scientific issues. For examlpe, there are those who use the Bible to say that the earth is 6000 years old. Despite the fact that the Bible itself makes no such claim and the overwhelming evidence, shown by science, that this is simply not true. The samy way, the Bible has shown that people can be good without believing in God and often behave more morally than many who do. The Bible addresses morality from a spiritual point of view.

  • spidermean2

    mightysparrow wrote “However, the difference from believers in God is that atheists believe those standards come from us, not from a god or gods.”Id rather get the standards drawn from the mind of a “person” who can walk on water or rise from the dead and not from somebody who don’t know what’s the logic behind a fertile egg turning into an intelligent brain.

  • dcwca

    >>Nothing could be farther from the truth. Atheists do believe in moral standards. However, the difference from believers in God is that atheists believe those standards come from us, not from a god or gods.The origin of any inherent moral standards equated with coming from us (humans) is an oxymoron. There is no human that has lived intelligent enough to come up with something like the 10 commandments..which if one really studies them and their intent..cover all moral guidelines that would have/would make this world a much better place to live.

  • ebleas

    MGT2 wrote: The virtual particles are created all the time without the input of energy. The particle accelerators simply supply the observational tools to prove it. All human observational efforts would require SOME type of energy input. You argument is a dance around the issue.

  • mightysparrow

    “The origin of any inherent moral standards equated with coming from us (humans) is an oxymoron. There is no human that has lived intelligent enough to come up with something like the 10 commandments..which if one really studies them and their intent..cover all moral guidelines that would have/would make this world a much better place to live.”The above statement is simply false. The 10 commendments were written by humans, I say. Prove me wrong! And, no, the 10 commandments do not cover all moral guidelines that would have/would make this world a much better place to live. For example, the first commandment is not necessary to make this world a better place to live. You disagree? Prove I am wrong. You cannot prove I am wrong from a universal perspective- you can only do that from a perspective biased in favor of a belief in God.

  • spidermean2

    mightysparrow wrote “that assumes Jesus actually did walk on water or rise from the dead. You believe he did, but many people do not-”If I have a gold coin inside my pocket, you would never know if I really have it or not. The same is true with Christ, He can’t be known unless He manifests Himself to a person. You guys are as blind as the 3 mice not knowing if I have the coin or not. If it’s a beting game, you guys can never win.Explain to me the logic of a fertile egg turning into an intelligent brain. You’re just dreaming to insinuate that you know. Sorry to say this but you guys are the true dreamers. You have no idea that it could be a nightmare once this life is over.

  • elliottwl

    Good ads.

  • iiandyiiii

    It must be nice to have all the answers, Spidermean2. I wonder what that’s like- knowing everything that is true, and everything that isn’t. I guess I’ll never know, being imperfect and all. I do feel like each day I know more, but I’ll never know more than a tiny fraction of the answers to all life’s mysteries.To me, though, life is far more interesting when there are a lot of mysteries. So maybe it’s good that I don’t know all the answers like you do, Spidermean2.

  • mightysparrow

    Spidermean2 said: “If I have a gold coin inside my pocket, you would never know if I really have it or not. The same is true with Christ, He can’t be known unless He manifests Himself to a person. You guys are as blind as the 3 mice not knowing if I have the coin or not. If it’s a beting game, you guys can never win.”But what if you are deluding yourself about the gold coin in your pocket? What if it isn’t in there, but you believe it is? You are simply assuming that God exists, then claiming that those who don’t believe will be damned for eternity. You need to supply proof that we are missing something, and you cannot supply that proof. Where is the gold coin? You can’t show it to me, except to say you have faith that it is in your pocket. Well, I don’t accept that as proof that it exists. That’s not proof- that’s faith.

  • wharwood

    Incredibly interesting that the discussion of an athiest message bus ad draws absolutely nothing here but defenses of Christianity, largely in form of sloppy syllogisms. You might also expect to see a defense of religion as an important and postive aspect of culture and identity. On this latter point, most athiests would agree. But this agreement would require recognizing with respect, that is, as equals and ends in themselves rather than people to converted to gain chits in heavan, members of other religious and cultural traditions. It would also require recognizing the interweaving of other religions into Christianity. That is something most Christians simply cannot bring themselves to do. But this is unnecessary proof of a well-tested principle of history: full respect for others and full understanding of shared values and history is not possible in mindset that elevates ones own culture above others as the major assumption of their entire experience.

  • nuke41

    Religion can be a great thing for an individual, but when it involves groups of more than one person it becomes one of the greatest sources of evil on the planet.

  • MGT2

    EBLAS, here is an explanation of virtual particles from the University of Oregon Energy is needed. They also reside in a background vacuum from where they appear and to where they return. The article follows:Virtual ParticlesThe vacuum is seething with activity. Particles continuously come into existence and go out of existence all of the time. This property follows directly from the quantum nature of the sub-atomic world. To see this, recall the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (HUP). In the formulation that I have talked about in this class, the uncertainty in the position of a particle and the uncertainty of the momentum of a particle were related. There are also other (equivalent) ways to state the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. One such formulation uses the energy of a particle and the time at which the energy is measured. In this case, we have that d(energy) x d(time of measurement) is greater than (h/2pi) Now let’s look at the vacuum. Suppose that there is nothing in the vacuum (no matter or radiation at all), according to the HUP there is an uncertainty in the amount of energy which can be contained in the vacuum. On average, the energy is constant, however, there is always a slight uncertainty in the energy, dE. This small uncertainty allows a nonzero energy to exist for short intervals of time defined by dT = (h/2pi) / dE Small uncertainties in energy can actually live for very long times. Because of the equivalence between matter and energy, these small energy fluctuations can produce matter (particles) which exists for a short time and then disappears. Consider a proton and the anti-proton. They have masses of 1.7 x 10**(-24) grams and so, if a virtual pair is created, dE = (2m[proton]) c**2 = 3 x 10**(-3) ergs ===>dT ~ lifetime ~ 10**(-27) / dE ~ 3 x 10**(-25) seconds!!!! So a proton/anti-proton pair will pop into and go out of existence in the background after less than 10**(-25) seconds.Pair ProductionThe existence of virtual pairs helps to explain a process known as pair production. The background is always seething with these pairs of particles. However, in order not to violate physical laws, the pairs always return back to the vacuum before they are observed directly. However, these virtual pairs can become real particles. It is found that when there are very high energy photons, that the energy of the photons can be channeled into the virtual pairs and the virtual particles can become real. This process is known as pair production. The collision and subsequent disappearance of a particle/anti-particle pair is known as annihilation. What this means is that if there is a large supply of high energy photons then particles can be created. How energetic do the photons have to be?Consider proton/anti-proton pairs. Recall that the energy of such a virtual pair is 3 x 10**(-3) ergs To make the discussion more concrete, let’s talk in terms of temperatures. Since the temperature of a gas is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles, we have that 1.5 k T ~ energy or Comment–note that matter and anti-matter particles seem like that they should be produced in equal amounts. In the Universe, for every billion anti-matter particles produced, there seems to have been one billion and one matter particles produced. Hmmmm.

  • mightysparrow

    Spidermean2 said: “Explain to me the logic of a fertile egg turning into an intelligent brain. You’re just dreaming to insinuate that you know.”During sexual reproduction, a sperm cell and an egg cell unite to form a one-celled fertilized egg. This cell is totipotent, meaning it has the potential to give rise to any and all human cells, such as brain, liver, blood, or heart cells. The first few cell divisions in embryonic development produce more totipotent cells. After four days of embryonic cell division, the cells begin to specialize.During early embryogenesis, cells divide and gradually become committed to specific patterns of gene activity through a process called cell determination. Specific genes are associated with the determination event. Because the daughter cells of each “determined” cell have the same limited potential as their parent cell, determination is considered heritable. Determination is permanent under normal conditions but it is possible to reverse the process experimentally.The final step leading to cell specialization is cell differentiation. Differentiation is a maturing process during which a determined cell becomes a recognizable, specialized cell. External stimuli, such as growth factors, trigger cells to differentiate. Once differentiated, these specialized cells are usually terminal and nondividing, though some may be induced to divide following injury.Differentiated cells produce and use specific proteins characteristic of their differentiation type. For example, red blood cells produce hemoglobin to help transport oxygen, and muscle cells produce myosin to help with muscle contraction. Differentiated cells often assume characteristic shapes, such as columnar epithelial cells and star-shaped astrocytes.Copyright Thompson Learning Corp. 2002

  • ChoKum

    To garbot12,I appreciate much of what you said. I respect Christians, Jews, and those who believe in Islam. There is no problem with their beliefs. The problem is that to many Christians do not respect MY beliefs! No Christian has the right to force their religion-based beliefs on others just as non-Christians cannot make religious demands of them. Many so called Christians consider themselves modern crusaders. They need to study honest history rather than what’s written by biased, faith based writers. Most of what the crusaders did were the cruel, immoral, and barbaric actions of third sons looking for riches and fame.You do not know what I believe or what I practice. If we so called “non-believers” are honest and law abiding it’s none of your d..n business!

  • spidermean2

    iiandyiiii wrote “To me, though, life is far more interesting when there are a lot of mysteries.”Actually, engineers don’t like mysteries. If bridges are built on mysteries, many would become miserable coz they would easily collapse.mightysparrow, you would know that it’s a gold coin coz you can trade it with tangible items. I’ve seen the power and I’ve seen the proof.

  • sux123

    I think these ads are great since they show what religons have become – just products to be sold to the masses for profit. The tel-evangelists on TV are just hour long commercials looking for buyers. If we are ever going to shed ourselfs of these foolish superstitions this may be the way to do it. People seeing these Ads will slowly realize the the emperors have no clothes.

  • iiandyiiii

    Spidermean2- what kind of engineer are you? Do you have your PE? Are you still an EIT? I was a nuclear engineer for the Navy on a submarine; so far you have displayed no engineering knowledge that I can see. You’re also less than convincing, with circular arguments and such. If it was God himself or Jesus that revealed the “truth” to you, can you honestly expect anyone else to just take your word for it? Wouldn’t we need our own epiphanies?

  • Skowronek

    Spidermean2 says,”Malis wrote “So tell me, for what possible reason should I discount thousands of years of past history and decide that you—Spidermean2!—is the first one to actually get it right?”The reason is that the TIME IS RIPE for the prophecies to be revealed. And the only way to check its accurate is to wait just a few more years.December 9, 2008 8:23 PMIm 100% sure that there’s a second life. Im an Engineer and don’t believe in fantasies.Ive tested the 100% accuracy of the Bible. I’ve seen its prophecies fulfilled and how it accurately describes China, Europe, the U.S and most of the countries that will take part in WW3.Atheists are in very deep trouble. How sad.December 9, 2008 5:28 PM”The reason is that the TIME IS RIPE for the prophecies to be revealed. And the only way to check its accuracy is to wait just a few more years.”spidermean2′”Skowronek wrote “I’m willing to bet that you were one of those who were convinced that the world was going to end in 2000″Nice try but I DON’T think the world will end within the next 1000 years.’December 10, 2008 7:40 AMEven a stopped watch is 100% accurate twice a day. For someone who is “100%” certain of the whys, wherefores and whens of life, you are terribly vague on details.

  • spidermean2

    mightysparrow, The fact is that if we know the logic behind a fertile egg turning into a brain, then it means we can replicate it artificially and computers would then be able to behave like true humans. It’s still a fantasy and if you believe it can happen, you’re dreaming.What you posted were just “observations and hypothesis” and it doesn’t explain the logic and basic algorithm how to replicate the process.It’s a dream world that you’re living in.

  • jpsebasti

    This is America and everyone is entitled to their opinions including Humanists. True, some don’t like that message but, well, too bad.

  • spidermean2

    iiandyiiii wrote “Wouldn’t we need our own epiphanies?”Yup. “It is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast”. “Seek and ye shall find, ask and it shall be GIVEN”.

  • timmy2

    Nothing wrong with asking the question “why believe in god?”No one has ever been able to provide a rational answer for that question. And yet Billions believe in God. It is a good question. Why believe in God?Does anyone have a good reason to believe in God?

  • irae

    Meh. God is most likely ok, but her PR, HR, and Marketing departments are full of corrupt, deluded pedophiles and ought to be shut down.

  • jehelinramirez-bojorquez

    its called CHRISTmas for goodness sake! we are celebrating the birth of Christ, God’s son!

  • ncphoto

    garbot12 said:”With that said I don’t understand why Athiest have such a problem with people believing in a deity. If it is a fairy tale that makes them happy, why take that happiness away from them? In real life a man wakes up goes to work everyday, we trust in other humans for our happiness and they let us down. WHY can’t us Christian live in “ignorance”, in peace?”An atheist has no interest in taking away your crutch. The problem with christianity (or any other mainstream religion) is that they believe it is incumbent upon themselves to proselytize. In fact they believe that their view is so correct that they MUST impose their beliefs on everyone else for their own good. That would include with whom consenting adults can sleep, whether or not a woman can make decisions about their own bodies, even what day of the week you can buy a bottle of vodka. Kneel and pray to your hearts content. Speak in tongues, have your visions, implore your saints, gather in groups and profess your piety. Practice your religion ’til you breathe your last breath. Just stop trying to impose your beliefs on everyone else.

  • spidermean2

    ncphoto wrote “Just stop trying to impose your beliefs on everyone else. “This is the usual atheist line. In reality, it’s them who are shoving their beliefs on other people’s throat. Just look at atheist communist states. Also, look at how they resist anything that debunks evolution.

  • johnrice1

    What’s with this “Jesus fish” and “Christian fish” terminology? It’s actually called an “ichthys.”

  • chilblain

    The gold coin argument. Hmmmm. I guess I could knock you out and check your pocket. Lord knows as a (secular) Jew growing up in Virginia many a “Christian” knocked me around as a child on the school bus for not believing in Jesus. I’d probably just find an IOU……………

  • mightysparrow

    Spidermean2 said: “mightysparrow, The fact is that if we know the logic behind a fertile egg turning into a brain, then it means we can replicate it artificially and computers would then be able to behave like true humans. It’s still a fantasy and if you believe it can happen, you’re dreaming.”Spidy, you’re not playing fair! First you said I could not explain it. When I did explain it, you said that knowing how it happens and why must mean that we can duplicate it outselves in some sort of artificial lab. That is not logical. We can explain it, even if we cannot replicate it. It doesn’t make sense to assert that, if we cannot replicate a natural process artificially, then that natural process DOESN’T EXIST WITHOUT A GOD. That is simply a false assumption on your part. The question of whether or not we can explain something has nothing to do with the question of determining the ultimate cause of that phenomenon.

  • LeroyTheRoadie

    I stopped reading WaPo comments for a while as an experiment… Guess what…? I’m a lot less unhappy because I suffer one less fool in my life… I’ll let said fool go largely unnamed…Now you may say that I’m suffering from arachnophobia, and I don’t really enjoy the perspective that I’d rather sacrifice lucid exchange with some good minds in order to minimize my exposure to idiocy, but the fool can have the podium…He’s just preachin’ to himself, and I’m tired of letting him raise my blood pressure…Truth is, he doesn’t want to convert anyone…He just loves his deluded idea that he’s got great things to say…If he actually cared about other people and what they think, he’d take a different stance and be less confrontational; more accepting…But he has that frightening certainty of zealots…What’s the definition of a fanatic…? Someone who can’t change their mind and won’t change the subject…Wouldn’t it be nice to kick him off the island…?But that’s not possible…See y’all… I’m swimmin’… Rather drown than listen to him ever again…

  • EWemmelman

    What harm do these signs do to the mindless people who actually believe in religious dogma?

  • minnelusa

    Remember this….the word “love” is not a verb.

  • BigtrainRR

    It’s amazing to me that Christians get so upset when Atheists exercise their right to voice their opinion. Why is it that Christianity is forced down our throats from day one, but we can’t even open a dialogue about whether or not God exists. The signs in D.C. weren’t against religion per se, they asked a question about why people feel a need to relate their behavior to their religion. And, to say that atheists aren’t the immoral people that we’re made out to be. Somehow the Christian community feels that they are being singled out in this and that their religion is being oppressed. I don’t get it. I guess that atheists have no place in society and we aren’t allowed to speak because it might offend the master.

  • FH123

    “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.”What exactly is good for goodness sake? Atheists want to destroy the belief in a higher meaning to life, but keep morality intact like it matters. Like good, bad, right, wrong have any real meaning. If all we have is today, I would have put, “if it feels good do it, for goodness sake.”As William Provine of Cornell University said,Now there’s some intellectual honesty people. You want a life unencumbered by universal consequences…there it is. Enjoy it, but please stop trying to equate some sort of canard about “goodness.”

  • ravitchn

    Why are we reducing human life to a bumper sticker or an advertisement?

  • wildfyre99

    “Why Believe? Because I created you and I love you, for goodness’ sake. — God.” This is just more “he said/she said.”The thing that always gets me about “evangelicals” and various other bible thumpers is that they always cry… “the bible says it is the word of god thus it is.” Saying “this book is true because it says it is” is a logical fallacy. A “source” cannot be trusted to cite itself as proof of its accuracy. Just because some guy wrote about a guy who knew a guy who heard about a guy who heard a voice coming out of a burning bush that said he (the voice) was god and that his name was “I AM”, does not make it true. Now, I do understand faith. I took countless theology and religious studies courses in college, and after another 25 years have come to the conclusion that “faith” is not something I have. I cannot blindly assume that there is some supernatural being controlling or watching the world. Naturally I cannot prove that any particular god does not exist, but neither can I (or anyone else) empirically prove that he/she/it/they do exist.As an earlier commenter observed. I don’t need a god to tell me I should be nice to my fellow man, and thats the whole point of the original advertisements.

  • sparrow4

    FH123- if that were the case every atheist in this country would be in jail because they would all be criminals, by your reasoning. Atheism is not about removing all meaning from life, (the miserable Provine to the contrary) atheists find meaning and joy and goodness in the very fact of being alive. religious conservatives like you are afraid to think anyone can be moral and good just because of empathy or compassion toward their fellow man. Or, as 1 60′s comedy group used to say (can’t remember their name at the moment), “We’re all bozos on this bus.”

  • kels7200

    Spidermean2 says “This is the usual atheist line. In reality, it’s them who are shoving their beliefs on other people’s throat. “Then how come I’ve never had an atheist come up to me at 6am in the freezing cold at a grocery store or gas station trying to jam a copy of their latest religious pamphlet at me and asking me if I’m saved? How come an atheist hasn’t stood between me and my car even after I said I’m not interested? How come an atheist has only left when I threatened to call 911? Because, you know what, the religious zealots where I live (just outside of DC) do that to me on a regular basis…at a minimum once a month. If you have to go to someone’s website to see what they say, that isn’t shoving it down someone’s throat.

  • FH123

    Empathy, compassion, morality, goodness are a lie. An evolutionary trick played on you so that you can better live with your fellow man. That is truth, and can be the only truth given your worldview. Any other rationalizing of that basic point is just intellectual dishonesty.

  • Hewitt1

    FH123Just because there is no absolute basis for morality doesn’t mean that morality should be abandoned. We make decisions under uncertainty every time we invest money or choose the quickest route into work. Moral decisions are no different; you do the best you can. It is false to assume that either morality comes God as an absolute command or there is no morality. If morality is nothing more than following God’s command, then morality is meaningless. Only obedience to God matters. If God tells us to massacre 200 people in Mumbai, then that is moral. Absolute morality contradicts itself. Subjective morality is all that we have.

  • JMarston

    Here’s a perspective from someone who was raised an atheist: The Golden Rule predates Christianity, so the religion is not needed to instill that as the foundation for doing good in life and in society. That’s the “being good for goodness’ sake.” Being an atheist is not a license to be some kind of heathen, any more than having a religious belief prevents people from killing in “God’s” name even though “God” forbids it. Being an atheist means trying to appreciate the here and now — my five senses, consciousness and intellect while I still have them. Having a religion often means taking that for granted in the presumption of some kind of afterlife reward. Appreciate the genetic lottery that put you here for a brief few years as a sentient human with the awareness to understand the preciousness of mere existence!

  • JoeBlow991

    ‘On the other hand, maybe Will Rogers summed it up best when he said, “If advertisers spent the same amount of money on improving their products as they do on advertising then they wouldn’t have to advertise them.”‘What would Will have said to advertising saying “You’ll be better off if you don’t buy anything!”

  • CCNL

    God is god to some. Allah, Zeus, Jupiter, Jehovah, Athena, Mother/Father Nature or the Sun to others. Take your pick and give thanks for ads on trains and buses. They help reduce our fares.

  • JBMSC

    DC Metro should not be made to profit from starting this controversy during the holiday season. I would much rather see all faith in God based religions coming together to declare a month of boycott of the DC Mass Transit system. Exercise your freedom to spend.

  • JBMSC

    CCNL: “Take your pick and give thanks for ads on trains and buses. They help reduce our fares.”Do you honestly believe that DC Metro would have trouble reselling that advertising space to someone else?

  • Pamsm

    Robert_B1!!Asked and answered! Are you just ignoring me?

  • ebleas

    MGT2 wrote: Energy is needed. They also reside in a background vacuum from where they appear and to where they return. The article follows:My statement as posted was indeed incorrect. What I was attempting to say was that virtual particle creation does not have a cause, as your previous post implied:”But, EBLEAS, in the particle accelerator, you would supply the energy–the cause.”The particles do require energy for their creation, but the energy is not the CAUSE. Your statement is still incorrect, as was my response. The creation is driven purely by probability, as are all quantum events. There is no cause. This has been proven by countless experiments. Do you deny all this research and the probabilistic nature of quantum events?

  • ej56

    Be it an ad for Humanism, Christianity, Islam, Buddism, whatever — the bottom line is that we are a nation of free speech. And for me, free speech ads + ad revenue = no increase in fares! Happy Holidays or not.

  • sux123

    FH123 wrirtes:What exactly is good for goodness sake? Atheists want to destroy the belief in a higher meaning to life, but keep morality intact like it matters. Like good, bad, right, wrong have any real meaning. If all we have is today, I would have put, “if it feels good do it, for goodness sake.”——————————————-Why do we need a “higher meaning” of Life?? Life is wonderful and a miracle as far as I am concerned. My family, my fellow man, and this earth and creatures, this Universe is meaning enough for me. And I agree with Abe Lincoln, who said, “when I do good, I feel good, when I do Bad, I feel Bad, that is my Religion”.

  • gco1gc

    I love these sign from Humanist. I got on the train and suddenly, I felt that I wasn’t alone.

  • jpsebasti

    “Why Believe? Because I created you and I love you, for goodness’ sake. — God.” If God has a message for us, I’m sure he/she/it will let us know. I love these people who can’t seem to comprehend their own audacity when they speak for God.It was the same with all those billboards that were splattered around the country a few years ago. All of them had some quote created by some Yahoo who then signed them — God. Truly the height of egomania.

  • GloomBoomDotcom

    What a tragedy that all this has started. How about just respecting each others ideas and feelings rather than ripping each other. Good grief! Check out gloomboom.com

  • JAMNEW

    We walk right past people living in the street, but an ad on the side of a bus gets us bent out of shape?

  • sparrow4

    “The reason why engineering is such a nice course is because it doesn’t allow stupidity to float around. 80% of the students who enrolled in our department did not make it. You can’t talk your way around in this course unlike some other fields which study evolution where magic abound.”spidey- unless you can up with a few more specifics, I think you pretty much have proven yourself incapable of being an engineer on a Lionel train let alone in real life.

  • RealCalGal

    Hewitt1 nailed it. For all those “believers” who say “God loves you” there are sure a lot of instances in the Bible where God smote a whole lot of people who didn’t do much. How about the whole book of Job? God messed around with this man, really screwed up his life, to make a point about OBEDIENCE. God is wrathful. How does wrath = love? Looks more like a typically abusive parent: “I beat my child because I love him.”

  • sparrow4

    fh123- you wrote:”There is no right or wrong moral position. Humans hunt, fight, mate, make electronics and in the end, it does not matter due to the indifference of the universe.You mistake me for a fundamentalist, when in fact I am a skeptic most of all. A skeptic with enormous doubts about my faith, and about evolution. In the end, if you choose a side, you have to live with the realities of that decision…and many atheists want to trade one sort of pedestal for humanity for another.”You and I think more alike than you might believe. And yes- atheists probably do, but I tend to think a lot of that is hyperbole in the interest of self defense.Oddly I do hold with much of what you say regarding the indifference of the universe- but on the other hand I never thought the universe would or should be otherwise. At least not in my regard :-). It’s just you sound so much bleaker, the Bertrand Russell quote notwithstanding. (And I do love the quote.)Whether bears are good or moral really doesn’t belong in this particular argument because bears do not think, or reason, or write books on philosophy (in so far was we know.) Goodness and morality are human constructs. Whatever the root cause, evolution, the bible, G-d- its the impact of these things that seem to me are what’s important. Whether you don’t punch your neighbor in the face out of fear, legality, innate decency, empathy (you know it’ll hurt) or because you want to go to heaven, the end result is the same. The difference is in how we make our choices. And how those choices indicate what behavior can be expected of you throughout your life. And that is certainly not guaranteed. I don’t think atheists intend to reduce people to the level of animals- don’t really know where you got that from any more than believers intend to reduce us all to puppets of G-d. I’ve also heard people say that in some respects the animal kingdom displays true morality- they kill to eat, they take care of their young, they act according to the dictates of their nature- so no greed, no serial murderers, no wars. It’s a thought.Bertrand Russell is saying that only with absolute honesty, stripped of all pretensions and illusions, can we find our true foundation- harsh but beautiful. The universe is vast and awesome and humbling but live in it- hunting, fighting, mating, loving, understanding the world around us, those things matter to us and that’s the part that really counts I think.

  • kengelhart

    spidermean2 : “Atheists and humanists are so DUMB…in their so called ideal state (Communist Utopia)”Dimwit!!

  • RealCalGal

    I urge all atheists and agnostics to see Religulous, Bill Maher’s movie. It will give you some ammunition and make you laugh, too.Our multiplex was showing it in the smallest theater they had. (I had to sit in the back row to be able to focus on the screen!) But the audience was bigger than in some of the “blockbuster” theaters.I’d urge “believers” to see it, too, but I’m assuming they’re rejecting it out of hand.

  • luispanagi

    Until now I have not heard God (if God really exists) say anything. Everything the religious fanatics tell us that God said, included those in all the so-called “Holy Books” are their words not God´s (again, if God really existed). Until God shows up at the same in all networks of the entire planet and spell things out properly I will continue to go on with my life as if God didn´t exist. That doesn´t mean I will be bad as bad is defined by the religious. I can be a non-believer and still live a fairly honest life.

  • kengelhart

    sparrow4 : “Goodness and morality are human constructs.”Yes, but isn’t it possible that all living things are tied into some sort of “construct” that conveys identical demands for “goodness and morality” for all? Observation has shown that animals display similar characteristics in their behavior even when anthropomorphism is considered.

  • luispanagi

    Until now I have not heard God (if God really exists) say anything. Everything the religious fanatics tell us that God said, included those in all the so-called “Holy Books” are their words not God´s (again, if God really existed). Until God shows up at the same time in all networks of the entire planet and spells things out properly I will continue to go on with my life as if God didn´t exist. That doesn´t mean I will be bad as bad is defined by the religious. I can be a non-believer and still live a fairly honest life.

  • FH123

    sparrow4 : Sorry about the insult…regretted it as soon as I hit submit.

  • RealCalGal

    “You seem to be a thoughtful fellow, so I’ll ask you directly. What is the foundation of the concepts of right and wrong? Are they just human constructions (and therefore infinitely malleable) or are there definite standards to which all men, regardless of culture or era, should adhere?”The mutual benefit of the Golden Rule seems obvious to me. Doesn’t it seem obvious to you? Funny how no one wants “wrong” things done to them, isn’t it? So … “wrong” = what you don’t want others to do to you. “Right” = how you think others SHOULD deal with you.There. That wasn’t so hard.

  • MikeKohout

    kparc said: “If you can prove the existence of God, there is NO faith. (same goes for Santa)”I beg to differ. The evidence for God’s existence is great and everywhere. There’s testimony in His creation. His splendor is seen everyday in the natural beauty of this planet. There’s testimony in the history books. More documentation exists bearing witness to the people and events in the Bible than that of Ancient Rome. And there’s testimony in the spiritual realm. In a world that frequently offers hate and evil, His love and His goodness can be seen everyday by those who seek and embrace Him. Without God, how can an atheist even contemplate “goodness”? Who or what decides what is good without God? Some say society does – well, which society? WWII Germany? 1950s Russia? Current day North Korea? I love my country and support it – but, is the United States in 2008 qualified to decide what is good and what is bad? I agree faith is a hope for what’s not seen. He sent His Son to die for me, so that I might have eternal life. That is where my faith is rooted – Jesus died for me. His Spirit testifies with my spirit that without that sacrifice, I have no hope.

  • kengelhart

    luispanagi : “I have not heard God (if God really exists) say anything.”How do you know for sure when you see these posts here, that some of them, or maybe even all of them, are NOT the words of God?

  • RealCalGal

    “But if you actually believe what you’ve said, you have a different problem. Which of the many different Pascal’s Wagers do you accept? There are so many different sects and religions—many contradictory—if you accept Pascal’s Wager on one, how do you know it was the right one? “I love this point, and every time someone makes it I think of South Park’s hell, where almost all “believers” go and ask “Why am I here? I was a believer?” And Satan’s clerk answers, “You didn’t have the true faith. Mormons, people. The answer to “Who goes to heaven” was ‘Mormons.’”Makes me smile every time.

  • RealCalGal

    While heaven will contain a whole lot of people who did truly horrible things in this life but who asked for forgiveness on their deathbeds, and hell will contain a whole lot of people who did really good things in this life but just didn’t “believe,” how bad will it be to be cut off from “God’s” “love”?

  • bdouble74

    Doesn’t our existence and the existence of anything material suggest that there is a creator? Or at least, does it not make it a credible theory (i.e.intelligent design)? How else could us or anthing else material be here?

  • RealCalGal

    “Doesn’t our existence and the existence of anything material suggest that there is a creator? Or at least, does it not make it a credible theory (i.e.intelligent design)? How else could us or anthing else material be here?”Where did “God” come from? How did “God” come to exist.” Doesn’t the existence of “God” suggest that someone created “God”? There is no end to that line of thought. Give it up.

  • franklei

    Goodness and morality are human constructs. Even if “merely human constructs” is meant, the question for the deeper thinker might be Why? Can it be, as suggested recently here, that this merely human contruct is part of a comprehensive network of values? And if so — this is my point — why not allow that network to be called “God”? Isn’t that in fact what we do, we who mostly agree with the good and moral atheists but not with their conclusion? So, I suggest that all who concede that there is a general human contruct of goodness and morality might without wrenching pain or shame concede that it is OK to call that construct “God.” Then let the argument about whether the construct in question is “really real” or not go on. That would get us back into the old nominalist-realist debate where we belong.

  • RealCalGal

    “And if so — this is my point — why not allow that network to be called “God”?”Because, unfortunately, words do have agreed-upon meanings, which is why they are useful. And “God” is agreed to mean a supernatural, omnipotent being who stands outside the physical universe but who nevertheless has all-powerful control over the physical universe.Except, of course, by people claiming to BE God, or the physical manifestation of God.

  • MikeKohout

    REALCALGAL – You’re setting yourself up to be God. You seem to believe that you know (or will be able to know) – who did “good things” and what they had in their hearts when they did it. Or put another way, you’re claiming that you have a better understanding of people’s spiritual condition than God. Rather than assuming this responsibility and defending people whose hearts and minds you cannot possible know, shouldn’t you worry about your own heart and mind and how you might stand before God? If you can count yourself as righteous before Him, than I can understand worrying about others. But until then, how can you defend others when you cannot stand and defend yourself?Anyone who says he can defend his thoughts and deeds, and thus has no need for a Savior, is either a liar or a fool…quite possibly both.FRANKLEI – I disagree that there is a universally accepted “general human construct of goodness and morality”. If so, then it has been corrupted by many, many different cultures – and those cultures don’t seem to recognize it as a corrupted construct. And if a so-called “general human construct of goodness and morality” exists, how did this become implanted in everyone’s consciences? I might buy the idea that through God’s general grace, He makes us aware of his goodness – but it’s not an invention of man. And if you’re claiming it is developed by society over time – then I go back to my previous post – which society can stake claim to it? Who are you to say that your society’s construct is more valid than someone else’s? In short, any standard of morality and goodness without God is completely subjective.

  • luispanagi

    kengelhart : How do you know for sure when you see these posts here, that some of them, or maybe even all of them, are NOT the words of God?kengelhart: because I happen to be the banker of the grafic design artist that made those ads… just kidding!When the leader of one of the “axis of evil” governments doesn´t show up on TV for just a few days we rush to say that such leader doesn´t exist anymore. Additionally, assume we had a President that never showed up anywhere, a President nobody have seen… ever… the majority of us will say we do not have one. So we take that approach about earth guys but are prepare to “believe” the opposite in something more important as a God? Sorry. It just doesn´t make sense.

  • Skowronek

    “Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself.”This was one of the guiding principles of life that Confucius taught his followers, five centuries before Jesus taught the Golden Rule with similar words.

  • luispanagi

    kengelhart : How do you know for sure when you see these posts here, that some of them, or maybe even all of them, are NOT the words of God?kengelhart: because I happen to be the banker of the grafic design artist that made those ads… just kidding!When the leader of one of the “axis of evil” governments doesn´t show up on TV for just a few days we rush to say that such leader doesn´t exist anymore. Additionally, assume we had a President that never showed up anywhere, a President nobody have seen… ever… the majority of us will say we do not have one. So we take that approach about earth guys but are prepared to “believe” the opposite in something more important as a God? Sorry. It just doesn´t make sense.

  • luispanagi

    Skowronek wrote: This was one of the guiding principles of life that Confucius taught his followers, five centuries before Jesus taught the Golden Rule with similar words.Skowronek : That proves that at least one of three wise men (or Magic Kings as they are known by the Italians) was imported from the Orient by WalMart and that particular wise man (or Magic King) told Jesus that thing. Now seriously, anything of any value of any religion is just basic, plain civilized behavior, typical of a particular kind of animal that is one level up from the rest of the animals.

  • Carstonio

    “How do you know for sure when you see these posts here, that some of them, or maybe even all of them, are NOT the words of God?”We can’t reject the possibility that those words came from a god. However, the burden of proof is on any claim that they are – anyone can claim that their words come from a god.

  • Skowronek

    Luispanagi,Don’t get your knickers in a twist. If you read some of my other replies I think you’ll know that I don’t have a dog in the “My god(s) can beat up your god(s)!” battle.But I still think that the money spent on the bus ads could have been better spent elsewhere. Actions speak louder than words, in my opinion.

  • kengelhart

    franklei : “it is OK to call that construct ‘God’”Bingo!!

  • kengelhart

    Carstonio : “the burden of proof”Positivistic thinking. There is never any proof, only conjecture. Where we have lots of evidence it is reasonable to accept conjecture as “fact.” For God as defined in some ways there is no evidence. For God as defined in other ways everything is evidence. Picking the former as a straw man to “prove” there is no God will make no sense to those who see the evidence all around them.

  • sparrow4

    fh123- no worries. I apologize for my quick temper with you too. kengelhart wrote:”sparrow4 : “Goodness and morality are human constructs.”Yes, but isn’t it possible that all living things are tied into some sort of “construct” that conveys identical demands for “goodness and morality” for all? Observation has shown that animals display similar characteristics in their behavior even when anthropomorphism is considered.”I don’t know that I can answer that, truthfully. I do believe certain things tie all life together, and that certain things prove beneficial to most living creatures. But why a dog would run through traffic to save an injured dog (as a recent youtube video showed), I can only conjecture that certain things are innate. I believe that we think animals are not as intelligent as humans because in truth we don’t understand how their brains work. In the same way if we ever met aliens, would we be capable of understanding them? (And I know my cat is as alien as they come).Strange ruminations aside, if those qualities of goodness and mercy exist in animals, who as far as I know don’t read bibles or believe in G-d, perhaps it indicates that goodness does not require G-d to exist. It’s inborn because such qualities benefit society as a whole, and that makes sense it evolved because it is so. To me, morality implies a system of rules you live by, a set of manmade definitions, rather than innate qualities of compassion, love or anything like.Goodness, morality, etc. are part of enlightened self-interest. Man is a social animal. To exist in human society, doing unto others is the most basic tool of socialization. If you cobble together the Golden rule with an understanding of Newton’s third law,- for every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction- you see you can’t have a society without them. (OK, adding Newton was for humor. However, smack your neighbor, chances are he smacks you back. Ergo- don’t smack him, unless you want to be smacked yourself).My question to you would be, why do you have to believe in G-d in order to be a good person? Why can’t it be simply because you’re human? How do you explain all the atheists and agnostics who do good work, raise great families and conduct themselves morally and ethically without the belief in G-d? An if you must have G-d to be a good or moral person, explain the actions of the Church in history, much of which was far from moral or beneficial.

  • Carstonio

    “For God as defined in some ways there is no evidence. For God as defined in other ways everything is evidence.”What evidence are you talking about? “There is never any proof, only conjecture.”What conjecture? Wouldn’t that amount to simple speculation?

  • Hewitt1

    IAMWEAVERYou can’t answer the paradox of God-based morality by defining obedience to God as morality. The counter is obvious: what if God told you to do something immoral? You recognize the problem, and so answer the question by begging it. You say, God wouldn’t tell me to do something immoral, and if he did, I would know it was not God. How would you know in the first place if the requested act was immoral? You can’t ask God; he just told you to do it. That leaves your own human-developed sense of morality as the only standard. Neither can you say that a request to do an immoral act cannot be from God. That just shifts the question from whether the act is immoral to whether the act was actually requested by God. You have no way to answer the question if your only standard for determining whether that was actually God is determining whether the requested act was moral using your own standard of morality.

  • Carstonio

    “You say, God wouldn’t tell me to do something immoral, and if he did, I would know it was not God. “We don’t even have words from gods directly – all we have are words by people who claimed to be proxies for gods.

  • bdouble74

    REALCALGALYou said: “Where did “God” come from? How did “God” come to exist.” Doesn’t the existence of “God” suggest that someone created “God”? There is no end to that line of thought. Give it up.”No one made God—He’s the unmade, eternal, self-existing First Cause.There are only two possibilities: either the universe has always existed or something outside the universe has always existed. The scientific evidence shows us that the universe hasn’t always existed—it had a beginning. So, the uncaused first cause must be outside the universe. The second law of thermodynamics, the expanding universe, and Einstein’s general theory of relativity are all accepted observations of modern science, and they show us that the universe is not eternal—it had a beginning. If it had a beginning, then it had a beginner. And this beginner left clear signs of intelligence because this universe includes more than 100 environmental conditions that are precisely tweaked to support life here on earth.I’m only going where the evidence leads.

  • iamweaver

    HEWITT1 writes:God is good because from a Christian perspective, that’s just a tautology. Morality is obedience to God (in other words, doing good things), but it just so happens that we are created to enjoy doing those things that God does and requests of us – the “love your neighbor as yourself” thing, and the “Love the lord your God” thing. The definition of morality is following some doctrine of human conduct – and for the Christian, the author of that doctrine is God. There is no paradox here. The paradox would exist if God hadn’t given us free will, but as it is the Christian viewpoint is that we are imperfect creatures created to follow the moral code that God gives us, but free to do so or not. This does lead to other problems, which I am satisfied were solved by the coming of Jesus.

  • iamweaver

    As a side note – there are a number of first-time posters here. Be aware that there are perennial posters on these forums whose whole purpose of posting here seems to be to draw people away from the topic at hand and on to their personal issues. No amount of clever badinage on your part will change or influence them – best to just ignore their posts.

  • EnemyOfTheState

    RE:”Humanists and atheists are FOOLS, period. Why? Everything that is considered wrong in the Bible is actually right for them. If they will have their way, nobody can ride his own car but should all ride the bus. Just ONE bus for the whole country coz the other buses lacked spare parts to run.”As an atheist, I don’t know whether to be offended or promote public transportation.

  • timmy2

    BDOUBLE74You state:Not true at all. You also said:Also not true. You need to do some more science reading.You said:Evidence of nothing.You said:You are making up the evidence. There is no such evidence that the universe had a beginning or that some intelligent source needed to create the big bang.

  • spidermean2

    “Just ONE bus for the whole country coz the other buses lacked spare parts to run.”Atheists and humanists are so DUMB that in their so called ideal state (Communist Utopia), they all ended up in bondage, poor and no decent transport system. Most of their buses are decrepit spending more time on repair shops than running on their bumpy streets.Nothing works right. The slogan should have been stated this way :”Why believe us that there is no God, when we the idiots can’t make a decent bus?”.

  • persiflage

    You’ve got to love Will Rogers, the all-American cowboy/humorist. Raised to be a Methodist minister by his religious mother, he successfully resisted her best intentions. Here’s a couple of his more memorable quotes:He reports a meeting with Methodists during a lecture tour in his weekly syndicated column in 1928 as follows: “I didn’t tell’em I was a South Methodist. That would have been worse than telling them that you had gone High Hat and joined out with the Episcopals. You know, there is two gangs of Methodists, the North and the South…one believed in slavery, and the other didn’t. That is their only fundamental difference. Now, the War has been over since ’65, but they are still building different churches. There is just as much reason for these denominations to be separate as there is for blondes to go to one church, and brunettes to another…the Civil War has been over 63 years, but the churches are the only ones that haven’t found it out.” The Methodists finally joined forces in 1939. “Do anything in this world but monkey with somebody else’s religion. What reasoning of conceit makes anyone think theirs is right?”And then there’s the master himself, Samuel Clemens – I can see Mark Twain quotes plastering the sides of city buses from Cinarsi to Calaveras County. Why exactly do people believe the tenets of any given religion? Could just be upbringing and force of habit – but who knows?!

  • Skowronek

    Spidermean2,Care to straighten this out?Spidermean2 says,”Malis wrote “So tell me, for what possible reason should I discount thousands of years of past history and decide that you—Spidermean2!—is the first one to actually get it right?”The reason is that the TIME IS RIPE for the prophecies to be revealed. And the only way to check its accurate is to wait just a few more years.December 9, 2008 8:23 PMIm 100% sure that there’s a second life. Im an Engineer and don’t believe in fantasies.Ive tested the 100% accuracy of the Bible. I’ve seen its prophecies fulfilled and how it accurately describes China, Europe, the U.S and most of the countries that will take part in WW3.Atheists are in very deep trouble. How sad.December 9, 2008 5:28 PM”The reason is that the TIME IS RIPE for the prophecies to be revealed. And the only way to check its accuracy is to wait just a few more years.”spidermean2′”Skowronek wrote “I’m willing to bet that you were one of those who were convinced that the world was going to end in 2000″Nice try but I DON’T think the world will end within the next 1000 years.’December 10, 2008 7:40 AMEven a stopped watch is 100% accurate twice a day. For someone who is “100%” certain of the whys, wherefores and whens of life, you are terribly vague on details.December 10, 2008 9:47 AM

  • sparrow4

    persiflage- loved the will rogers quotes. He was brilliant.Actually, this past year, I think it was, some scientists studying the brains of those who believe in religion and those who don’t, think there may be biological differences in the to explain it. I’m trying to find the article and I’ll post it if I do. but there is a very interesting book, old now but still fascinating, called “the Origin of Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind”. It’s pretty famous, and still worth reading, I think.

  • persiflage

    Hi Sparrow – I know that book by Julian Jaynes. I’ve seen something somewhere about the religion gene, but don’t recollect where just now. I wonder if it’s located anywhere near the politics gene?! It might explain the continuum where some folks are virtually free of religious impulses, while others are stoked on religion to the maximum. An old comparative religons prof. of mine from the distant past has written on the cognitive imperatives of religious behavior. See works by E. Thomas Lawson, now a professor emeritus from Western Michigan University and long ago from the University of Chicago religions department.

  • Arminius

    My favorite Will Rogers quotation:There is a wonderful statue of Will Rogers in the basement of the Capitol Building. I saw it years ago, surrounded by countless statues of largely nameless politicians, all trying to look important and larger than life. There was old Will – life size, feet on the floor, suit rumpled, tie unloosened, one hand in pocket, the other hand outstretched to shake yours – and a huge grin. From that time on, I have been a die-hard Will Rogers fan!

  • EnemyOfTheState

    Spidey – Thanks for the clarification on the buses.I think it’s true that a centrally-planned economy with too much government control can create havoc. I don’t think the government’s stance on atheism really has anything to with that.And pretty much every utopian vision has failed to live up to its billing, including some religious ones – The Shakers, Pitcairn Island, The Philadelphians, The Dorrellites and others. The Amish are still hanging in there, if you like that kind of life.

  • sparrow4

    thanks, persiflage. I’ll look for those.arminius- always thought if Lincoln was the quintessential American President, Will Rogers was the quintessential American folklorist. we could all use more Will Rogers in our lives these days, don’t you think?

  • sparrow4

    funny FH123- I think the same of yours. For someone who thinks empathy, compassion,goodness and morality are a lie, I’d say you sound more like a serial killer than a human being. You don’t have children, do you? I’d hate to think what kind of kids you’re raising with that kind of thinking.And actually you have it backwards- I usually don’t bother posting in response to you, because most of what you say borders on the ludicrous and the laughable.

  • Hewitt1

    IAMWEAVERI posed a paradox for those that believe that morality comes from God. “Is God good because whatever he says goes? If so, then morality is irrelevant; only obedience to God counts. Is God good because he does good things? If so, then morality is independent of God and a human-created standard by which we evaluate God’s works. So which is it?”Your curious response is to deny the paradox without ever really addressing it. You do say that “morality is obedience to God,” but do not consider how that renders morality meaningless.To say that we enjoy doing what God wants, while admitting we have the free will to not do what God wants, is contradictory and does not address the point. Enjoying yourself is not morality. Free will is not morality. And neither is obedience to God morality. It is obedience. If God commands you to murder hundreds in Mumbai, is murder therefore moral?

  • kparc

    “Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not too.” Miracle on 34th Street – Doris/mommy (Maureen O’Hara) to Susie (Natalie Wood).If you can prove the existence of God, there is NO faith. (same goes for Santa)

  • bdouble74

    TIMMY2,The law of entropy that predicates that a universe which has eternally existed would have died an eternity ago of a heat-loss death.A good DVD on how the scientific community continues to overlook facts like these is called “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” by Ben Stein. In it, prominent atheists, like Richard Dawkins, are not able to give rationale arguments for topics like the origins of life. Not me or Abraham? This is just a discussion, no need to get bent out of shape over there. ;)What about life as we don’t know it? And the rest of the universe (which is surely the vast majority) that we do not know about? I would still argue that the complexity of the life we do know about points to a designer though. Identifiable systems such as individual enzymes, molecular machines, and the like, exhibit a clear function and complexity. Ascribing these types of things to random chance is extremely tough to do.You not knowing that there is not a creative source in the universe is my whole point. That is the the point of what some call Intelligent Design. It’s a theory. If it can not be proven that there is no creative source, then why should the theory that there is one be rejected?I am a Christian, but my only argument for now is for the possibility of a creative source. Thanks for agreeing with me.

  • bdouble74

    Hi Timmy2,What is your take on the statement that: The law of entropy removes the argument that the universe always existed?If there was a “big bang”, and that was not the “beginning”, then what did the “big bang” accomplish?How do you know life is impossible in “99.9999%” of the universe?If I do not know that there is a God, then how do you know that there is not?Respectfully,