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Non-Prophets
Conversion: What would it take?

In your show with Guy Harrison, someone mentioned that they would believe in Zeus if he appeared to them. This got me thinking about what it would actually take to "convert" a believer and a non-believer. I don't think it's very straight forward. Let's imagine the most extreme cases:

Believer (Christian): You take them in a time machine to every significant historical event they want to see in such a way that they are convinced the machine works. They can view the Big Bang, the Earth forming, early life, evolving life, billions of years with no humans, early man, and all the significant (non)events of Christianity. What are the chances they would now become a non-believer? I think they would simply retreat to more and more abstract forms of believe, as all religion has in the face of science.

Non-believer: A being appears. It subjects itself to tests of its powers. It shows that it can create galaxies, life, etc. It passes all possible tests that believers attribute to their respective gods. What are the chances they would now become a believer? Couldn't this being simply be a more advanced form of life? Why is this being worthy of worship? If it had the power to make us do things, think things, or feel certain ways, then free will is gone, so it doesn't matter.

If these 2 extreme cases would make little difference in our lives, then anything less (philosophical/logical/historical/scientific discussions) seems rather pointless. Still, it doesn't stop me from trying.

- Jim (agnostic/atheist/skeptic)

Scientist validate everything by testing it, they try to prove that it is false every possible way before they know it is true. I don't believe that is how theologians work.

RELIGION - The ruins of the ancient city of Ugarit were found in the 1920's and answer the question where did religion come from. That's where it started and is today known as Iraq. The Sumero-Akkadian story of the creation of the World found its way to Palestine long before the Israelites' advent there, and Israelites learned of them from the Canaanites.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 at Qumran. It took thirty years for the world to find out what the Dead Sea Scrolls actually said due to the efforts of Professor Geza Vernes, a Biblical scholar from Oxford, voiced his frustration (on the 30th anniversary of the Dead Sea Scrolls first coming to light) he wrote, "the world is entitled to ask the authorities responsible for the publication of the Qumran Scrolls, what they intend to do about this lamentable state of affairs." It wasn't a rich and famous preacher?

The contents of the first scrolls released by the Ecole Biblique created such an uproar in the intellectual world that no further scrolls were available for examination until an unknown defector working inside the Ecole Biblique leaked out photo copies of the remaining texts to Professor Robert Eisenman of California State University. The first photocopies of the Dead Sea Scrolls began arriving at Professor Eisenman's office in September of 1989 and the last photocopy arrived in late autumn in 1990. Professor Eisenman published a two-volume edition containing photocopies of all the scrolls under the title "A Facsimile Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls." Then the Vatican got involved in the politics of trying to suppress the publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls but ultimately failed. Scholars and theologians of integrity soon began the translation of the remaining Dead Sea Scrolls. After the scholars finished the translation work on the Dead Sea Scrolls one very important fact came out, and that was that nowhere in the Dead Sea Scrolls was the name of Jesus mentioned. Also, the popular Christian view of early Christianity had no support in the new translations.

The real support to this case of vacant references to early Christianity is to be found in the strange silence that surrounds researches into the famous Dead Sea Scrolls; leather, parchment and metal scrolls written in Hebrew which have been unearthed in the hundreds, often complete and in excellent condition. The records of religious events, important commentaries and chronicles by a sect of Essene scribes and scholars writing in Judea for a hundred years up to 70 A.D. And nowhere is mention made of a new religion, a Messiah, a worker of miracles, a preaching to multitudes, a trial and crucifixion. Nothing. This silence is a great embarrassment to Biblical scholars and is treated extremely cautiously by the Biblical academic community.

SCIENCE - The "Big Bang" Theory - The Cosmic Microwave Background is incontrovertible evidence that the Universe experienced a "Big Bang".

There are all sorts of findings and experiments that could have falsified evolution. In the century-and-a-half since Darwin published his theory, not one has. If something is science, hypotheses or theory it makes predictions that could be wrong. If so it will be possible to falsify these ideas. What is found the progression over time seen in the millions of fossils unearthed around the world is exactly what evolutionary theory predicts. Unicellular organisms appear before multicellular ones. Jawless fish precede jawed fish. Lunged fish precede amphibians.

Linda, brilliant reply. Please write a book!

There are plenty of books out there new and very old that would assist anyone interested in learning the facts. The problem is they only read things written by "apologists." That's why most theists are very poorly informed. However, some atheists can't do much better explaining why they don't believe in deities or the supernatural.

I think that it is better to state your case rather than to cagily imply something. Although, the post doesn't exactly say it, I think the idea is that nobody can prove anything one way or another. I think they can. I was trying to distinguish the difference between using science fiction to prove (non-belief) "time machine" and science. He also uses fantasyland to prove belief. When belief is the only one that does requires a trip to fantasyland or science fiction to prove. Science has proven most of his examples for (non-belief) that he thinks would require a "time machine." Scientists try to answer questions about how things came to be the way they are, but apologists never really do (god was always been there and he did it all.)

QUOTE "The Earth forming, early life, evolving life, billions of years with no humans, early man, and all the significant (non) events of Christianity." The idea that it would take a trip on a "time machine" to prove that the "Big Bang" occurred for instance. We don't need a "time machine" to study "The Cosmic Microwave Background" the Hubble Space Telescope has already done that. And it is incontrovertible evidence that the Universe experienced a "Big Bang." Biologists do not have to get inside a "time machine" to study transitional fossils; we can examine them in hundreds of museums around the world, and we make new discoveries in the rocks all the time. Scientists do not have to believe that the solar system is 4.5 billion years old; we can test the age of the Earth, Moon, and meteoric rocks very accurately. We do not have to get in a "time machine" to prove that protocells can be easily created from simple chemicals in the laboratory; we can repeat the experiments with comparable results. We can also create artificial species of plants and animals by applying selection, and we can observe natural speciation in action (not in a time machine.) There is a big difference between science and belief. Science exists because of the evidence, whereas belief exists upon faith (it's faith in faith.) In the case of fundamentalist belief, it's in spite of the evidence.

I covered what we know about the origins of religious beliefs in my first post. The study of ancient history has proven a great deal about religion (where it came from) as well as the forgeries and inaccuracies of the Bible.

What he believes would take a "time machine" to prove has already been concluded by science. Scientific development of theories has filled the void that at one time "spiritual" belief filled. Some people decided that the "questions" were not being answered with information that was usable in any real sense. That is why science was developed (to answer questions.)

The Bible is a compilation fables about superstition and an imaginary world. Beliefs actually evolved from the passing on of myths. It's not honest, moral, or realistic, and it never was. There was antagonism from the beginning for those who were seeking answers. It is the remnants of medieval absurdities. The Bible is not about knowledge itself; theoretically, it is not about a quest for knowledge it is about the abstract.

Opposite side of the argument is: Quote " A being appears. It subjects itself to tests of its powers. It shows that it can create galaxies, life, etc. It passes all possible tests that believers attribute to their respective gods. What are the chances they would now become a believer?" I guess this is meant to appeal to the "rational" people? So, if this ever happens let us know.

Jim wrote:"It shows that it can create galaxies, life, etc. It passes all possible tests that believers attribute to their respective gods."

At that point I'd probably ask it "if you can do all that, why do you care what I think of you?"

Jen

Please define "it." If it the 'being," then please define "being." Thanks, A crazy Christian!

I think believers have a unhealthy fear of death. They also seem to need guidance and rules beyond even what a child requires. One more thing many hard core believers use religion to validate prejudice that borders on psychotic phobias. They are typically threatened by Atheist, Intellectuals, Homosexuals, Feminist, and Other Races. I'm not sure a time machine would have any effect on such people. When you try to "convert" a believer they do not want evidence from you but emotional arguments that lead to new beliefs. A Psychiatrist given enough time and resources could possibly help them with issues revolving around their fear of other races homosexuals and feminist. But you would still be left with their overwhelming fear of death and intellectuals. Believing and thinking don't mix. Take the philosopher Descartes. He used a method of doubt more stringent then the scientific method. Yet his need for comfort totally undermined his whole process. In his writing Meditations he postulated that reality might be an illusion fostered by an evil demon. He then worked his way back to his comfort zone where instead of an illusion created by a demon we live in a real world/universe created by a god. He never doubted that our universe was good or evil. He never doubted that this world was even real. By stipulating that this could all be an illusion to our senses he was stipulating that we exist. If we exist then there is a necessary reality for us to exist in.

His question wasn't whether we exist or reality exist. His question was only on whether we perceived reality as it actually is. The truth is he really didn't even care what the answer was. He simply decided from the outset that if you admit you exist then you are somehow admitting God exist. He then proceeds from the premise I think therefor I am to God exist. My point is this is the most intellectual a Christian can handle being. My argument is about comfortableness. Descartes main arguments are about his comfort which he assumes is everyone's comfort level. To a believer an atheist comfort with a Godless universe is as frightening as it is inexplicable. Descartes makes arguments on doubt making him seem like an innovator. But in reality his meditations is on faith. A true agnostic is just as comfortable in the atheist universe as he/she would be in a theistic universe. A true agnostic would not be relieved if they found out that God was real. If an agnostic found proof of God's existence he would be no better off then before on the meaning of life. He/she would have simply found a new form of life. This life can create and destroy universes and may have total control of all aspects of said created universes including time and space.

This leaves no room for freewill or meaning in that universe. It is for this reason that agnostics tend to lean towards atheism. Descartes was obviously never an agnostic. Descartes never left his comfort zone of Christian theism. So his whole " I will doubt everything was a sham. Anyone who truly doubts everything will inevitably become not only agnostic but a nihilist as well. To me nihilism is incoherent and self contradictory but that may be a reflection of my comfort zone. If you read this all carefully you will see I have pretty much addressed the problems of converting a nonbeliever as well. But I will try to sum up my most salient points anyway. A nonbeliever values freewill. A universe totally devoid of freewill is meaningless and pointless to a nonbeliever. So there are only top options besides atheism to a nonbeliever. One there is a God but he/she/it is one of noninterference. That is God would have no personal interest in our universe beyond creating it. This would be like an artist or writer.

I prefer the artist model to the writer model because characters in a written novel have no freewill. The second option is God is the God of the Bible. This is quite a nasty option. If this God existed then all other Gods would exist. Then the only question left would be if other Gods were the main Gods' playthings or if all the Gods were having a competition to see who could control the most living beings at one time. Or some other contest. So the question would be if our characters are part of a one player or two player game or if it was player game. There simply is no scenario in the second option where freewill is included except in the most useless sense of the word. In all cases I presented there is no room for conversion of believers or nonbelievers because conversion violates both types of people's comfort levels. I submit that conversation itself is a misrepresentation of what actually happens when a person changes sides. Conversion implies an outside force to the individual. Either a God pushes people and events onto a person until that person becomes a believer or an atheist individual or movement overwhelms a believer with evidence until they let go of beliefs.The last case is that believers with no help from an actual God manipulate your feelings until belief becomes the path of least resistance.

It would seem that the deck is stacked in favor of believers converting nonbelievers because they can get you whether there is a God or not. But if you read this whole message you will see that the idea of conversion is superfluous or un-necessary because if someone does change sides it is more due to what makes them uncomfortable then any proofs or arguments. A believer can chip away at your fears of what might happen after death. But almost all religions offer an afterlife. If I accept Pascals Wager am I really accepting Christianity and all that it teaches ? A nonbeliever can offer you a way of looking at things that frees you to think for yourself but will that necessarily lead to Materialistic Atheism? If so then I would have never studied Buddhism or been open to Pantheistic ideas. Because I am open to both my Buddhist philosophy influences my pantheistic concepts or understanding. This is so apparent in my actual philosophic understanding of what our universe is and my place in it that I don't even like the word Pantheist anymore because of theist implications.

I have been an atheist all my life but I can not even accept Atheist as a description of my beliefs or lack of them because most atheism denies the possibility of a soul. To me a soul has more evidence of it's possible existence then a God because I exist. Not just physically but as a being aware of myself. The soul has two attributes awareness and immortality. I know that I have awareness so all that is left is to prove that awareness is infinite. To me awareness by definition is infinite. Meaning that it has no definite beginning or end. Do I remember before I was born? No. But do you remember all your dreams? In other words when you go to sleep and then wake up not remembering any dreams or consciousness (awareness) where were you? Does a different person wake up from the one that went to sleep everyday? I am not going to write anymore here trying to prove the soul or define the kind of pantheism I could accept or explain why Buddhism appeals to me. I am simply trying to show that those who are not comfortable with thinking can not be converted because of what makes them uncomfortable. And those that give up religious beliefs do not automatically convert to Materialistic Atheism. It is my contention that conversion doesn't really exist. Do to human nature I am do not see how conversion is even possible. You either hold on to faith or let go. I do not see either as conversion. In my case as I am sure it is with many Atheist there was never any faith to let go of. You can not give a person faith who has never once in their life had any. At best you can scare them into some sort of Pascals Wager. To me that wouldn't be conversion any more than giving someone with no fear of heights a new fear of heights by pushing them of a cliff without first telling them that there is a bungee cord attached or indeed your intention to push them off. If a person with a fear of heights loses their fear of heights by working through issues or by being desensitized to heights this wouldn't be conversion either. This because their beliefs would not have changed just their fears or comfort zones.

Brian said, "I think believers have a unhealthy fear of death. They also seem to need guidance and rules beyond even what a child requires. One more thing many hard core believers use religion to validate prejudice that borders on psychotic phobias. They are typically threatened by Atheist, Intellectuals, Homosexuals, Feminist, and Other Races. I'm not sure a time machine would have any effect on such people."

What you say may be very "true" but it does not prove anything about the existence of god - it only proves something about the followers of a religion. What followers of a religion are like would only be relevant if it proved the existence/nonexistence of god - but it doesn't. Ekted was trying to come up with "what he thinks it would take to "convert" (convince would be a better word) a believer/non-believer to change their position. From what "ekted" says I'd say he is trying to find something that would prove/disprove god with science or "science fiction" in order to convert belief/non-belief. Science has proven most of his examples for (non-belief) that he thinks would require a "time machine." The idea that it would take a trip on a "time machine" to prove the "Big Bang". We don't need a "time machine" to study "The Cosmic Microwave Background" the Hubble Space Telescope has already done that. "The Cosmic Microwave Background" is incontrovertible proof that the Universe experienced a "Big Bang." Biologists do not have to get inside a "time machine" to study transitional fossils or to test the age of the Earth, Moon, and meteoric rocks very accurately. Science exists because of the evidence, whereas belief exists upon faith and in spite of the evidence. Although, there are those who claim that religion is a philosophy it is not. Religion is a faith-based doctrine, and philosophy is a reasoned-based doctrine.

Brian said, "When you try to "convert" a believer they do not want evidence from you but emotional arguments that lead to new beliefs. A Psychiatrist given enough time and resources could possibly help them with issues revolving around their fear of other races homosexuals and feminist. But you would still be left with their overwhelming fear of death and intellectuals. Believing and thinking don't mix.

If no one can prove anything about god's existence then it is unverifiable, which is why it should be rejected. Something that can't be proven to be true/false is meaningless, and that is why it is rejected. Therefore, an argument for or against something that is unverifiable is meaningless.

Brian said, "Take the philosopher Descartes. He used a method of doubt more stringent then the scientific method. Yet his need for comfort totally undermined his whole process. In his writing Meditations he postulated that reality might be an illusion fostered by an evil demon. He then worked his way back to his comfort zone where instead of an illusion created by a demon we live in a real world/universe created by a god." He never doubted that our universe was good or evil. He never doubted that this world was even real. By stipulating that this could all be an illusion to our senses he was stipulating that we exist. If we exist then there is a necessary reality for us to exist in. His question wasn't whether we exist or reality exist. His question was only on whether we perceived reality as it actually is. The truth is he really didn't even care what the answer was. He simply decided from the outset that if you admit you exist then you are somehow admitting God exist. He then proceeds from the premise I think therefor I am to God exist. My point is this is the most intellectual a Christian can handle being.

Descartes - His method was not more stringent than the scientific method. Science does not accept anything is true without proof. Descartes came up with all the "right" answers. "I think therefore I am" may prove to him that he exists, but it doesn't prove that anything exist outside of the Universe. Including, his idea that we come into the world with knowledge that is given to us by god. Did he question anyone that just came into the world to find out if this was true? A statement that is verifiable is meaningful, but this statement is unverifiable (newborns can't talk) so it is meaningless. By the time a kid can talk they have heard about god - at length - Descartes is no skeptic!

Brian said, "My argument is about comfortableness. Descartes main arguments are about his comfort which he assumes is everyone's comfort level. To a believer an atheist comfort with a Godless universe is as frightening as it is inexplicable. Descartes makes arguments on doubt making him seem like an innovator. But in reality his meditations is on faith. A true agnostic is just as comfortable in the atheist universe as he/she would be in a theistic universe. A true agnostic would not be relieved if they found out that God was real. If an agnostic found proof of God's existence he would be no better off then before on the meaning of life. He/she would have simply found a new form of life. This life can create and destroy universes and may have total control of all aspects of said created universes including time and space."

Descartes conclusions about god were probably for the same reasons some of the prominent people claim to "believe" today. It would ruin their careers if they didn't believe in god. A few celebrated people have been brave enough to tell the truth - very few. If an entity existed intelligent enough to create or destroy the Universe it didn't write the bible - it would laugh like hell at the bible. I'm not afraid either way.

Brian said, "This leaves no room for freewill or meaning in that universe. It is for this reason that agnostics tend to lean towards atheism. Descartes was obviously never an agnostic. Descartes never left his comfort zone of Christian theism. So his whole " I will doubt everything was a sham. Anyone who truly doubts everything will inevitably become not only agnostic but a nihilist as well."

Descartes came to a conclusion about the existence of god without any tangible proof - there is a credibility gap. If you consider the level of indoctrination and intimidation that goes on not many people use freewill.

Brian said, "To me nihilism is incoherent and self contradictory but that may be a reflection of my comfort zone. If you read this all carefully you will see I have pretty much addressed the problems of converting a nonbeliever as well. But I will try to sum up my most salient points anyway. A nonbeliever values freewill. A universe totally devoid of freewill is meaningless and pointless to a nonbeliever. So there are only top options besides atheism to a nonbeliever. One there is a God but he/she/it is one of noninterference. That is God would have no personal interest in our universe beyond creating it. This would be like an artist or writer. I prefer the artist model to the writer model because characters in a written novel have no freewill."

Why don't you read Voltaire (François Marie Arouet) French philosopher and writer whose works epitomize the Age of Enlightenment (1694-1778)? He was an atheist who was often attacking injustice and intolerance.

Brian said, "The second option is God is the God of the Bible. This is quite a nasty option. If this God existed then all other Gods would exist."

There are no options unless you have proven the existence of any god/gods existence - and nobody ever has.

Brian said, "If I accept Pascals Wager am I really accepting Christianity and all that it teaches ? A nonbeliever can offer you a way of looking at things that frees you to think for yourself but will that necessarily lead to Materialistic Atheism? If so then I would have never studied Buddhism or been open to Pantheistic ideas. Because I am open to both my Buddhist philosophy influences my pantheistic concepts or understanding. This is so apparent in my actual philosophic understanding of what our universe is and my place in it that I don't even like the word Pantheist anymore because of theist implications."

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a 17th century French mathematician and scientist - Pascal's Wager: Is it safer to believe in God even if there is no proof that one exists? Huckabee used the same argument. Pascal said that nobody can prove that god exists, and there is no doubt that it would be safer to say you believe in god - for all kinds of reasons - but it has nothing to do with proof of the existence of god. If something is unverifiable nobody has to believe in it- give it money - and worship it.

Brian said, "I have been an atheist all my life but I can not even accept Atheist as a description of my beliefs or lack of them because most atheism denies the possibility of a soul. To me a soul has more evidence of it's possible existence then a God because I exist. Not just physically but as a being aware of myself. The soul has two attributes awareness and immortality. I know that I have awareness so all that is left is to prove that awareness is infinite. To me awareness by definition is infinite. Meaning that it has no definite beginning or end. Do I remember before I was born? No. But do you remember all your dreams? In other words when you go to sleep and then wake up not remembering any dreams or consciousness (awareness) where were you? Does a different person wake up from the one that went to sleep everyday?"

To find out what the truth is you have to want to see it. When your brain is dead you are dead. There is no reason to believe that we possess souls that would survive our physical death. Souls, reincarnation, astral projection can be explained by research into how the brain functions. Cells' talking to one another is what consciousness is. The brain is made out of cells. It is a long and very distinguished group of cells--about 550 million years or so old. These cells have a small mass. Our brain is about one-and-a-half liters, or three pounds, but it has 10 to the 10th power cells, which is a huge number of cells. Ten billion cells. And each cell has 1,000 to 10,000 or so synapses--the connections between the cells. So the brain has trillions of synapses. Matthew Alper's book, (The "God" Part of the Brain) summarizes the latest scientific research into how the human brain functions while having religious experiences.

Brian said, " I am not going to write anymore here trying to prove the soul or define the kind of pantheism I could accept or explain why Buddhism appeals to me. I am simply trying to show that those who are not comfortable with thinking can not be converted because of what makes them uncomfortable. And those that give up religious beliefs do not automatically convert to Materialistic Atheism. It is my contention that conversion doesn't really exist. Do to human nature I am do not see how conversion is even possible. You either hold on to faith or let go. I do not see either as conversion. In my case as I am sure it is with many Atheist there was never any faith to let go of. You can not give a person faith who has never once in their life had any. At best you can scare them into some sort of Pascals Wager. To me that wouldn't be conversion any more than giving someone with no fear of heights a new fear of heights by pushing them of a cliff without first telling them that there is a bungee cord attached or indeed your intention to push them off. If a person with a fear of heights loses their fear of heights by working through issues or by being desensitized to heights this wouldn't be conversion either. This because their beliefs would not have changed just their fears or comfort zones."

The apologists use the term incorrectly "materialistic atheism" as an insult implying that atheists are (selfish or self-centered). Atheists can accept secular philosophies such as materialism, humanism or naturalism, but they do not have to have any particular philosophy, nor does atheism have any institutionalized rituals or behaviors. Atheists do not believe in god that's all, there is no ism or philosophy involved.

Ekted said, "Believer (Christian): You take them in a time machine to every significant historical event they want to see in such a way that they are convinced the machine works."

He is clearly talking about Christians, saying you would have to go back in time in a "time machine" to verify the Christian claims of historical (miraculous) events. Impartial researchers do not confirm the historic events that are described in the NT. Studies of the writings of historians living in the same place as the miraculous events were supposed to have happened found no confirmation of Jesus or the miraculous events described in the Jesus story. Nothing in the writings of non-Christian Jewish, Greek, and Roman writers. Philosophers, poets, historians make no mention of Jesus. Only a few words that are confirmed forgeries. The major problem is the doctrine is based on unproved assumptions. Any belief founded on assumptions is worthless. Nobody can prove anything about god. Until an "omnipotent being" is discovered and examined it's not the truth. If it can not be confirmed it is not the truth.

People can be programmed or indoctrinated, and they can be deprogrammed. But that doesn't mean that they won't go out and get programmed or indoctrinated into another belief system. They don't all become atheists.

Ekted was saying that he wonders what it would take in the way of actual physical evidence to "convert" either way. We have no evidence for belief in a creator or an afterlife. A time machine might not solve the problem, if we went back in time and were as ignorant as the people who started this madness, we wouldn't be any better off.

Most people who become atheists have studied all of the religions. Being an atheist does not prevent studying religions, many scholars that are atheists study religions. It's the theists who usually don't study any other religion than their own. The Buddhism part is interesting (coming back as someone else.) Buddhism accepts the pan-Indian presupposition of samsara, in which living beings are trapped in a continual cycle of birth-and-death, with the momentum to rebirth provided by one's previous physical and mental actions (karma.) The release from this cycle of rebirth and suffering is the total transcendence called nirvana. If you do not earn enlightenment you keep coming back. There is also reincarnation in the bible.

There is no more evidence or proof of the existence of a soul than the existence of any god. Atheists do not have supernatural beliefs, like reincarnation or rebirth; it is purely a religious ideology. Awareness has nothing to do with a soul, it's the brain, and immortality is a religious ideology. That is a supernatural religious "faith" with or without a god.

Awareness is not infinite; awareness comes from the brain as long as we are still alive, but not after death. It is a theist belief that awareness is infinite. You can't have "faith" based positions, and be an atheist. All of this is a supernatural belief.

Before we were born our brain was not developed; experience and learning is why we have memories. Sleep is an altered state of consciousness; we don't physically go anywhere. We are still in the bed and we are still the same people. If anyone goes to sleep and wakes up as someone else that's reason for concern.

I think you already see the first scenario, when people retreat to "spiritual" methods of religion that do not actually state anything positive besides the idea that there is a supernatural force in the world.

On the second point, well, if that creature showed me all of that, and then said it could give me an eternally happy existence, I would do whatever it wanted me to do! I'm not *that* proud!

No, none of the xians are all that proud. They are mostly a bunch of sold out pricks, and they are doing what you described right now, with out any evidence of a superior being. The only reason for their "belief" in a load of crap is the goodies they think they are getting now, which are nothing but the crumbs off the greedy corporate criminals table. Also, their desire to live forever in luxury after dead. It all works out great for the people getting rich off of their stupidity, and they never do anything about the horrific situation in this country and all over the world. Add to that the fact that religious corporate interests probably have more wealth than the government, and like any corporation a lot of the money goes on P. R. campaigns.

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