You Say You Believe in “God”

Siriusbizines at Amusing Nonsense wrote the following in a recent post:

At noon, even in a windowless room or outside on a cloudy day, one knows that the Sun should be somewhere overhead. It isn’t because of an unjustified belief resting solely on the faith that the Sun does what it does; it rests on repeated observations of the Sun doing what it does throughout our entire lives.

A visitor (Seth Scott) responded (in part) …

See, this sort of evidence, I think, is very much in line for many of my reasons for continuing to believe in God …

He goes on to say …

In my mind, atheists who assert that my “relationship with God” is actually a construct of my brain are somewhat on par with someone saying, “The sun doesn’t really exist — your brain just happens to hallucinate one moving in the exact same way in the exact same place in the sky every day.”

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As I read this, it once again raised the question in my mind: how can people believe in something that cannot be seen, heard, or felt (tangibly). The sun, at least, is visible and we are even able to “feel” its existence through the effects it has on our bodies (e.g., sunburn), as well as “see” its actions on the world around us.

And when atheists assert that a person’s “relationship with God” is a fabrication or a construct of the mind, I believe they do so because there is absolutely NOTHING to prove that such a “God” exists in the real world.

Superstition Still Rules

Essentially, belief in the Christian “God” — or any god, for that matter — is simply a result of superstition. That’s how it was from the beginning and that’s how it remains today.

Early humans did not understand the constant changing of seasons, the movement of the sun, moon and stars, the storms, dry spells, floods, earthquakes, etc. And what they did not understand, they feared. As a way to help explain the world around them, they created gods. Knowing there was a supernatural being in control gave them a sense of security in the face of natural forces. This is still the case among many tribes throughout the undeveloped world.

While “modern” folk now understand more about the forces of nature through (ahem) science (which some believers tend to discount), many still have a need for assurance that “something” is in control. This is why they “pray” to an invisible being to act in certain ways and why they “thank” this same unseen entity when things turn out in their favor. It seems the superstitious nature of the early humans is still present in our DNA.

It’s in the Book

In today’s world, the concept of “God” is found in a set of books written by a number of different people and put together in a single volume (Hebrew Bible c. 250 BCE; New Testament c. 300 CE) by “church fathers” who felt they knew best about what this “God” was saying. Many believe this book is “holy” and they refer to it frequently as “proof” their god exists. Yet it is a book. Nothing more. Just a book. It has no divine powers, just as its protagonist lacks existence.

Belief = Truth?

Michael Shermer once wrote, “… our brain reasons our way to supporting what we want to be true.” For me, this is nowhere more true than in the world of god-believers. And while this may describe non-believers as well, I have found they tend to use objective and concrete examples to support their reasons why something is “true.”

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You say you believe in “God.” And I ask, who or what is “God”?

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ADDENDUM

Someone once asked this question of God:

“Do any of us actually know what you are all about? We worship, revere, and pray to you but have absolutely no clue about you — who you are, where you came from, why you are, where you are, what you are … or if you even exist.”

Great question.

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140 thoughts on “You Say You Believe in “God”

  1. Excellent post. Oh, btw, any reasonable person can tell you, christians believe in a non-existent god. They are infidels, blasphemers, and doo-doo heads. The REAL God is Allah, and the REAL religion is Islam. How do I know this? Because it says so in the Qur’an, silly. “The only true faith in God’s sight is Islam.” (Surah 3:19) Now, how could that possibly be wrong?

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  2. I could not put it better than that Michael Shermer quote, “… our brain reasons our way to supporting what we want to be true.”

    Looking back I can see it applied to me. However I always had some lingering doubts, especially with the first 11 chapters of Genesis. But I sort of found a way to make it work without driving myself mad.

    I so wanted to find some supernatural evidence to support the existence of a supernatural deity. But the evidence was never totally convincing, it was more uncanny coincidence.

    As I found problems in the Bible I struggled to find explanations. I worked through apologists type books like Gleason Archer’s Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. But so many of the explanations appeared forced, they did not speak of a divine book. There must be some explanation like God is deliberately making it look like a human book to confound those who don’t trust. Yet even Archer had to admit that there were errors in the transmission of the text, inerrancy only applied to the original text, how could an all powerful God allow this?

    I puzzled at Christian History. The Church looked all too human. But I suspected that ‘God’ gave humanity a free hand and only intervened when things were really going off the rails – like at the time of the Reformation. But that did not seem convincing, yet I told myself ‘God’s hand must be hidden’.

    We prayed and prayed we claimed answers in faith, yet the answers to prayer fell through. But we knew ‘God was good’ it must be our faith that was the problem.

    There were so many moral failures among Christian leaders – why? I told myself it must be that the Devil attacks them, they retain human weakness whilst in the body. The Church is a hospital for sinners not a grouping of the perfect. Yet the hypocrisy bothered me, I could understand weakness with humility, but not with lying and judgement of others.

    Why was there so much disagreement in the Church. Why when Christians had the Holy Spirit to lead them did they always split on virtually every matter. Only some could be hearing the Spirit. What could I conclude, some were listening to their own hearts or the Devil, but how to know who is hearing correctly?

    It goes on and on, how could I have held it back for so long. I suppose it comes down to I wanted to believe. Or more precisely I feared not believing.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The thing I find very sad with Seth is he seems to be a bright fellow. Maybe he doesn’t like me for pointing out to him that he is misguided in some of his comments so he acts like he didn’t see them, but seriously, who compares the sun to a book god? If I met a person who worships the sun, I would respect such a fellow. But to claim a book god is real because it says so in an ancient book, is for me, the mark of one who has quit on being reasonable. No reasonable discussion can be had with such a person.

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  4. Nan, i think you are just reasoning out of your senses. I have never seen an Eskimo but i believe those guys exist, Nan, were dinosaurs there? I am wondering also why you are using just the same judgement against yourself, ‘our brain reasons our way to supporting what we want to be true.” and the same, ‘ our brains reason our way to not support what we do not want to be true’ I think you are making an illusion that you want everything in your life to make sense,,,is it? What is life?
    Inspiredbythedivine, you are saying that Allah is the true God and i agree because the name means God in Arabic. By name calling Christians i think you just want to justify why you think your faith is better than others. Faith is not read in any book, whether its the Qur’an or the Bible, it grows in a person inherently after interaction with all the aspects in your life,,not just one dimension. Whereas Qur’an and the Bible are religious books, religion is not faith but a civilization. A civilization gives guidelines on how to live with the faith we uphold
    Peter,,,Fear!! Honestly you cannot just rule out a conception because of fear, does it mean that just because you did not make real sense of a concept it does not exist. As a matter of fact, this just means that unless you believe/see/experience it, it is not real. When a 60 yr old man survives with just a few bruises under a ton of a collapsed building and meanwhile a 27 yr old athlete dies in his office(the autopsy claims a normal death) how does this make sense.
    This may seem a bit arrogant,bear with me, but Atheists!!, You are not real, you are never real as a matter of fact. If people just believe there is God just to feel secure about their lives, then it means you are the most insecure,uneasy people in this planet. GOD EXISTS. For now, start by believing God exists as the Originator of life and the End of it.
    Yes, I SAY I BELIEVE IN GOD

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    • Thanks, liberalbloke, for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

      Of course you already know I disagree with you about several things you wrote, but I’ll narrow it down to a couple.

      1. No, I don’t expect everything in life to make sense. But to believe in an invisible entity that doesn’t demonstrate any signs of true existence is one thing that definitely doesn’t make sense to me.

      2. I feel you are making a rather broad assessment when you state that atheists are not real. (BTW, as a side note, I’m not an atheist. I do not, however, believe in the Christian God. I explain my position in my book as well in several places within my blog.) Further, I daresay those who claim to be atheists are MUCH more comfortable with their lives than those who believe a guy-in-the-sky might condemn them to a burning, eternal fire simply for not believing in the “stuff” that’s in that “holy book” I referenced in my posting.

      3. You say (in capital letters) that “God” exists. And I ask again … who or what is “God”?

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      • God is who He is Nan, the one who made the choices that you did not make. Choices like, when you(read i) were born, which race you are, why you are even existing. God is that past which you cant chase once past, God is the certainty of the future that you are never certain about. It doesn’t make sense huh! It surely doesn’t even to me

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        • Copout Alert: “God is who He is”

          As usual, a believer has been unable to answer the simple question: Who or what is “God”?

          *sigh* The rhetoric is always the same. Expressed in individual ways, but essentially the same … God just is.

          It continues to amaze me how people can believe in something that exists … where? In airy-fairy land?

          If you missed it, I urge you to read the Addendum to this blog posting. If Christians are honest with themselves, this question sums it up perfectly.

          Liked by 1 person

    • theliberalbloke, you are right; I am an atheist and I am not real. I am insecure, there are many muggings in my neighbourhood; uneasy- I don’t know when the next preacher is going to open their mouth next to me.
      As to god existing, we are in agreement. It exists in your head. And with that behind us, can you tell me what god is.
      In which planet is religion synonymous with civilization? Or is this the theist using words to mean what they want them to mean, communication be damned!

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      • Religion is synonymous with civilization on the planet, “WTF?”. It exists in a timeless, immaterial, space-less, boundless never-land that, just because you can’t see it, in no way means it doesn’t exist. Oh, Eskimos don’t exist there. There’s no snow, but Jesus does. As you know, Jesus is the only real god. Again, just because you can’t see or hear him, this does not mean he isn’t the one true god. Anyway, if you’re having pancakes this morning, send me some. I’m hungry, in a timeless, immaterial, space-less kinda way. $Amen$

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        • I don’t remember quoting that i am a Christian, but good guessers i see.. I believe that there is God. But seriously!!! Timeless, immaterial, space-less, boundless never-land!!! Who said that man sets the parameters for existence like ‘hey you bloke if you got no time in your system just know you ain’t there’ What! so everything is just meant to be, and as a matter of fact A man did lie to himself??Ridiculous!

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      • makagutu, just like any other form of civilization, all religions have their doctrines, their ways of defining themselves like using Holy books as guidance and references, having preachers and imams to guide the flock and a vision that they wanna achieve at the end of it all. Who God is? is that who taps me, and you, when i am dead sleep with no alarm on, do you make that choice makagutu? Probably it is meant to be you might say!! But you and i know it is inherent, Tell me either.. Who planted in you what you weren’t taught/experince?

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        • “where is your faith contained apart from your brain?” Mine’s in a small wooden box I keep under my bathroom sink. I take it out whenever I need an invulnerable shield to hold up when pontificating to folks. It’s great to have “faith” because no matter what you do or say, if you say you do it because you are a person of “faith”, all who hear you say it will lower their heads and say, “Aww, isn’t that wonderful. So and so is a person of ‘faith’. Let’s make their home tax-exempt and give ’em 10% of our wages. Amen” If you want, I’ll sell you half of my “faith”, for a small fee. This way, you can have some too. Just remember, feed it a cheeseburger 2x a week or it’ll die.

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  5. …Fear to ´not believe’, a powerful force… Nicely said – and also, perhaps, a bit sad.
    I was brought up with the same Christian concepts and, as a child, I willingly believed them – why not? But then, why is it that I never felt a “…..need for assurance that “something” is in control….., and that I had no difficulty in stopping to believe?
    I wonder if that may be a personal matter, a facility of my neurons forming certain circuits.-

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  6. Hello there 🙂 I look forward to reading more of your blog in the future. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Essentially, belief in the Christian “God” — or any god, for that matter — is simply a result of superstition.

    What you seem to be describing here is a “god of the gaps,” where a divine placeholder is put in to explain the mysterious phenomena in our experience. However, if you don’t mind my saying so, this is not the God in which I believe — the sort of superstition you explain (and I agree with your assessment of that kind of god) is not at all representative of the kind of faith I (and, I believe, most Christians) have. I don’t believe by heresay, I believe in large part because I have, myself, experienced what I believe to be a relationship with God, for evidential reasons. If I’m incorrect, it’s not because I’m superstitious, but it must be because my brain is hard-wired to create and sustain delusion. This latter theory I would accept before the superstition theory. Just my thoughts on the matter 🙂 Thanks again for posting.

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    • Hi Seth! Nice of you to stop by and I also appreciate your “follow.” Quiet warning: you may find several postings you disagree with. 😉

      You say you don’t agree with the superstitious reasons I outlined for believing in “God” because it is not representative of the kind of faith you have. You go on to say you don’t believe by hearsay but by experience.

      I too had that “experience” for 15+ years and during that time, it was real and “evidential” (at least to me). But over time, I began to look at things differently. (Surprisingly, one of the reasons for this was a message delivered by a visiting preacher.) As time went on, I began to compare bible passages with real life. Then I began to read other people’s testimonies on why they left the faith. Then I took a tour through the history of Christianity. Eventually, I arrived at the place where I am now — a non-believer (not an atheist, per se).

      I do understand and appreciate your position, but at the same time, I find it difficult to understand how you (since you seem like an intelligent person) … and others … can fill your mind with such an obvious illusion.

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      • Thanks! And no need for the warning, I was counting on it — most of the blogs I follow are from opposing philosophies to mine. Does that make me a philosophical masochist? 😉

        I’m sure you have your reasons for believing that my faith (as well as yours prior) is an illusion, but even if your assessment is the more correct between the two of us, I think you can understand, since you’ve lived it. You didn’t know it was an illusion for those 15+ years, I assume. Perhaps I’m just a few years behind you, or maybe I’ll never see the illusion with the clarity you have attained… or maybe I’m right after all, and there is something to Christianity beyond delusion and wishful thinking. Who’s to know? I for one try to do the best with the information I have, and try to keep my mind away from biases that keep me a priori from entertaining competing worldviews. I’m sure you do the same, and I look forward to hearing more from you 🙂 Cheers!

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      • One of the greatest figures in Christian history, Jonathon Edwards, commented that Christians who think they are conversing with God like someone talks with a close friend – are deluding themselves.

        There is much talk of one’s relationship with Jesus. However how often do people ask themselves is that really Jesus or is it part of myself? The only real test is provision of some sort of supernatural knowledge that the person could not have otherwise known and is 100% correct, all the time.

        The trick is that sometimes someone gets ‘lucky’ and their inner voice tells them something they did not know – almost a hunch, this convinces them it is God. However when the same ‘hunch’ is wrong at other times – what do they think, ‘oh, the previous message was a lucky hunch’, No, they think, ‘Well I heard from God correctly before, but not this time, I need to be more discerning to ascertain when it is God versus my own inner voice’. And so the illusion is retained.

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    • “If I’m incorrect, it’s not because I’m superstitious, but it must be because my brain is hard-wired to create and sustain delusion.”

      Seth, your brain IS hardwired to create and sustain delusion..and that is why various religions (which has no empirical evidence, only subjective evidence) is believed in by so many. There are many neurological reasons for this. If you seek more information, Victoria Neuronotes has many studies on her blog which discuss this exact thing.

      For the record, I had deep spiritual experiences of god for over four decades. It was all proven a hoax to me. Take prayer for example:

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      • Thanks for sharing a bit of your story, Violet, I truly appreciate it. When it comes to the neuroscience, though, I think the gap has still yet to be closed regarding the general religious experience — just because something has been hypothesized to be a delusion does not mean that it is. The work has yet to be done.

        Interesting you should bring up prayer, because I think this is one area that rather exposes a misunderstanding about prayer rather than bringing anything definitive to the table in demonstrating that prayer does not work. I talk about this topic in detail here, if you’re interested. In short, though, prayer was not given to us by God so that He can be our cosmic gumball machine.

        For instance, in the video you shared, though it was a heartfelt and touching story I left without much definitive in the way of evidence that would put prayer unequivocally on the level of delusion. For instance, I’m curious what prayer study the narrator is referring to, for instance — what was the methodology? Who was doing the praying? What indicators did they use? From what he says, it doesn’t sound like a blind or even a double-blind test, which makes me suspicious as to the methodology used. I give references to some alternative prayer studies (where the methodology and results are clear) in the piece cited above.

        Thank you so much for engaging with me. I appreciate your style, and benefit from your point of view. Thanks again.

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        • Studies on prayer, double blind and all:
          http://www.ourjourneyofhope.com/general-resources/mayo-clinic-releases-studies-on-spirituality-and-health/

          Johns Hopkins has a similar study to the Mayo clinic one above.

          General article on studies involving prayer and healing, and mentions your point about it not being a gumball machine (but still not doing anything for anyone nonetheless):
          http://www.alternet.org/story/72987/is_prayer_good_for_your_health

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        • I checked out your link on prayer…the studies you site are out of date. New studies, such as the ones I quoted, are the most recent data. But I appreciate you being a good sport. 🙂

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        • Well, then, I guess you win, so congratulations 🙂 Though I will mention a couple of things:

          1) The article you cited about the Mayo test makes no mention on who was doing the praying, what their beliefs were, etc. They could have been atheists, for all I know.

          2) Using health indicators as a sole method for determining the efficacy of prayer, as I mentioned, is rather off-the-mark, since the purpose of prayer is not, primarily at least, to make people less physically sick. It’s sort of like if I said hammers were useless because they’re lousy at driving screws.

          Thanks for the discussion!

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        • Seth, it’s not about winning, it’s about following the logic. Here’s another study on prayer from Harvard…the largest study of this kind. Friends and family were praying for the patients.

          http://web.med.harvard.edu/sites/RELEASES/html/3_31STEP.html

          So you’re saying that prayer doesn’t work for health stuff, but it works for other stuff…stuff that has NOT been studied? Don’t you find that to be rather “convenient logic”?

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        • Convenience aside, I think the best way to test something’s efficacy must start from a thorough understanding of what it is meant to do in the first place. That’s all I’m saying 🙂

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        • The problem with your way is that there is no EVIDENCE. Show me current evidence of how prayer works…convince me!

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        • I cannot 🙂 I admit that prayer is not my strongest evidence for a belief in God. To be fair, I wasn’t the one to bring up prayer — I’m the defendant in this case 😉 I never claimed that prayer is an effective proof for God’s existence — I was merely challenging the methodology of trying to use a formulaic understanding of prayer as evidence against God.

          If one is going to reject God’s existence, I don’t think it ought to be on the basis of what tangible things one feels he or she should expect from prayer, because the purpose of prayer isn’t to get tangible results, but to cultivate a personal relationship with God.

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        • Matt 18:19 speaks volumes about the powers of prayer.

          Speaking of a personal relationship with jesus, do you have any empirical evidence of that? I had a personal relationship with jesus for four decades…it provided only subject evidence.

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        • If you mean Webster’s definition of “empirical” as in “based on testing or experience”, then yes — if you mean “empirical” to mean “material” or “objective”, the gamut admittedly narrows. But it’s been convincing enough for me so far — take that for what it’s worth 🙂

          If I may say so, if you’re truly interested in hearing the various reasons I have for believing what I do, I suggest hanging around my blog — that’s what it’s all about, really. I invite your input! Thanks for the discussion.

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        • Despite your shortcomings in logic, I find you a likeable chap, Seth. Just let me say that since our very souls are at stake here, and eternal torture the result if we get it wrong, god should have to pass the higher standard of empirical evidence. After all, he IS the one who said only a few can pass through the narrow gate…the rest of us goats are going to burn. He sets his own standards pretty high, no?

          I was a devout christian for over 40 years. I was a slave to god, I had a personal relationship with Jesus, and I lived to serve him. I did this all with only subjective evidence, which was proven to be wrong. If I go back to god, there MUST be some empirical evidence. I’ve not yet found any such evidence on earth.

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        • I hope it wouldn’t be taken ironically for me to say, at this point, that I pray you find what you’re looking for 🙂 Thanks for the compliment, and for the discussion! I enjoyed it.

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        • Seth, what is the purpose of prayer? And can you definitely say when a prayer is “answered” it’s because “God” heard and granted a person’s request?

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        • Hello Nan 🙂 I explore the topic in detail here if you’re interested, but in a nutshell it’s primary purpose is to provide a medium through which a direct relationship with God can take place. Nowhere does God say to test Him in prayer, so using indicators that are extraneous to prayer’s central purpose in order to make a point about the likelihood of God existing is, in my mind, trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

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        • I’m not sure how Nan’s reply buttons work, but this reply is meant for Seth. Seth says, “Nowhere does God say to test Him in prayer…”

          What about Matt 18:19…
          “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.”

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    • As one who walks with a hammer, I apologise for interrupting this very polite conversation.
      Seth writes

      If I’m incorrect, it’s not because I’m superstitious, but it must be because my brain is hard-wired to create and sustain delusion

      and I hate to say you are superstitious and find no problems with believing delusions.

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  7. @Ain’t No Shrinking Violet. July 17, 2015 at 9:26 am

    … your brain IS hardwired to create and sustain delusion…
    Thumbs up for the capitals Violet, I find them capital here, an excellent description!. – Those are our first, and therefore probably our most easily accepted thoughts. Am I right in being convinced that precisely for that reason it is so hard to discover that we CAN change our wiring? Hard but rewarding, I would say.

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  8. I loved this conversation but I kept seeing a “theme” that I only see from Atheists when they are online.

    “(since you seem like an intelligent person).”

    I think that came up two or three times throughout this post and it kind of annoys me. You understand that your faith or lack of faith says nothing about your intellect. I have met brilliant individuals on both sides of the fence and I have, unfortunately, met complete and total ‘scratch an sniff for fun’ morons on both sides.

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    • hayden, I made that remark the three times you mention and I make no apologies. Too bad you get annoyed, that I can do nothing about. If you can demonstrate that I am wrong in my assessment, go ahead.

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    • “(since you seem like an intelligent person).” That’s the idea behind a new Broadway musical I’m writing. The show consists of a bunch of people, who seem intelligent, having a conversation that the audience, which consists of people who seem intelligent, will listen to to see if they can pick out what the theme of the show is, If they are intelligent, and don’t just “seem” that way, they’ll be able to pick out the theme. If they can’t, then it’ll prove that they weren’t really intelligent, it just seemed like they were. The name of the show is, “Don’t Suck At Tongues: It’s Gross And Unsanitary”.

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        • Naw. He was a bad tongue sucker. Useless. But you! Now, I’m bettin’ you “know” (biblically, speaking, that is) tongues really well. I can tell. You’re using yours like a Satanic snake oil salesmen right now. HOT!!! God Damn, but you christians are sexy!!! HEE! HAW!!!

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    • You understand that your faith or lack of faith says nothing about your intellect.

      Yes it does. It demonstrates how much or little someone values intellectual integrity.

      What supporting faith-based belief indicates is a significant lack of attention to methodology that justifies and informs these faith-based beliefs. These beliefs are supported for reasons other than what can be justified on the basis of intellectual merit.

      Holding a faith-based belief is a neon sign that advertises at the very least one’s ability to compartmentalize in order to make room for privileged beliefs that disallow reality to arbitrate them AND an ability to be okay with that. Hence the charge about integrity. (Many of us aren’t okay with that because of how easy it is to link acting on some faith-based belief to producing unjustified harm.) Such an intellect is more than willing (actually complicit) to undermine, reduce, and even eliminate its role in considering some faith-based belief. Upon closer examination, putting the intellect on hold in order to privilege a faith-based belief is usually done to fit some agenda other than seeking what’s knowable and truthful, an agenda that has nothing to do with any intellectual consideration.

      For example, every non believer I know who has become a theist has done so not for good reasons that stand on merit but as a rationalized means to gain regular sex with a believer. And I don’t think this is at all unusual. But it’s hardly an indication of any intellectual dedication and affiliation with what’s knowable and true about the reality we share; it’s an indication of allowing convenience for practical gain to weigh more than a dedication to principle… in this case a means of disallowing the intellect to play the primary role when access to sex tests that dedication and integrity. The primal brain is a potent force, and it’s not an intellectually driven one.

      So holding some faith-based belief to be true, as if reasonable, as if holding them has no reflection on one’s intellect isn’t so. This is not to say someone’s intellect isn’t perfectly capable outside the compartment of faith-based belief but it IS very much a reflection on one’s intellectual integrity.

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      • I disagree. All you’ve done here is post an entire blog designed to say you’re right and everyone else is wrong.

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        • haydendlinder, you are absolutely right.

          Oh, wait…

          Did you miss the bit where I explained my reasons by pointing out the connection?

          If I’ve gone wrong and/or missed something in these connections (as you seem to think my opinion is based not on these but some egotistical position), by all means you are more than welcome to point it/them out please. I’d appreciate the correction because, well, because I like to hold opinions informed by the best reasons and not just the ones I would prefer, the ones that I like. the ones that make me feel good.

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        • OK. I believe in God because I commune with him every morning. Now, it could be that you are correct and this is just me directing myself and thinking it is God BUT I believe it is him. There is an interaction that leads to results. Therefore my belief in God is based on this.
          Nowhere in any of that is there “Proof” for God to give to other people but there IS more than enough for ME to believe in God and none of it says anything about my brain power or my intellectual integrity.
          Just a simple data goes in data comes out.

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        • Right. And this is why I point out that such a belief indicates an intellect willing to privilege beliefs you would otherwise not hold.

          Mak makes reference to the faeries and checking in with them but you’ve shown no qualitative difference communing with them versus communing with your god. You utilize not your intellect but your belief to know the difference. And that’s the problem of method I’ve pointed out.

          Is your belief reliable enough? If you exercised intellectual integrity here, you would maintain some level of uncertainty. Do you? Would you would maintain the same level of confidence in other beliefs using this same method? Well, you’re not Muslim, and there’s stronger evidence for Mohammed than there is Jesus, so I have to ask again, is believing a method than indicates intellectual integrity? What I’m seeing, and I could be wrong, is the willingness to privilege your religious belief and also grant it special exemption by your intellect.

          I’m not questioning your beliefs; I’m trying to point out that how you inform them – by your beliefs and not independent evidence from reality for an explanatory model that works to practical effect no matter who exercise it – should be reflected by a level of appropriate skepticism. I’m not seeing that. Without that appropriate skepticism, you replace intellectual integrity with your personal beliefs, personal desires, and demonstrate that privilege with an unreasonable amount of confidence to these religious beliefs of yours but not the Muslim’s. This reflects how much importance one places on intellectual integrity. And that’s my point.

          Liked by 1 person

        • But this whole response is based on the assumption that because I am a Christian that I have not done that. The Muslims worship the same God I do so they are a bad example because ME and THEY agree he exists. It’s really no different than me and the Mormons. More to your point would be, “have I faced the possible reality that God may not exist?” Yes, I have actually. I kept my belief based on the results I have had with him. As for fairies, I tend to think they do not exist, but I cannot say for a certainty about them until I have seen concrete proof one way or the other.

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        • Right… because you have not demonstrated that you have done that, that you do maintain a reasonable level of skepticism towards these beliefs that would demonstrate intellectual integrity in this matter. This is my point, that granting confidence to any faith-based beliefs is an indictment against the use of the intellect. And supporting faith-based beliefs undermines the claim that having confidence in faith-based beliefs has no affect. It does. It harms one’s intellectual integrity.

          As a word of warning, you may believe Allah is Yahweh – that they are one and the same – but you’ll still be executed as an apostate by those who take their Islam seriously… if that sort of thing matters to you.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not sure that we are not splitting hairs here. I still don’t see how this means you can assume the intellectual level of anyone based on them having faith or not. I think you have to find out why they do or don’t believe before you can know how bright they are.
          And yeah the fundies of Islam suck as human beings but that seems to be the case anytime someone becomes a fundamentalist of any belief system. IMO.

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        • Haydendlinder, you originally stated as if true that, “You understand that your faith or lack of faith says nothing about your intellect.”

          I think it does. And I explained how.

          Now you say that, “I still don’t see how this means you can assume the intellectual level of anyone based on them having faith or not.”

          This is a different question. And I don’t think anyone is suggesting that having faith indicates an overall intellectual level that is inherently lower. Many very big brained people are also people who allow an unreasonable confidence to certain privileged and usually religious beliefs… privileged by being upheld by assertion, assumption, and attribution alone. Newton, for example, was a believer in alchemy and spent far more time on this than all his other contributions combined. The intellect is compartmentalized and kept separate to allow these beliefs to persist unhindered by reasonable critical consideration. And this shows a willingness to tolerate a targeted lack of intellectual integrity (meaning a lack of consistency and wholeness in its use) for reasons other than intellectual honesty and other than pursuing what’s true.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Now, it could be that you are correct and this is just me directing myself and thinking it is God BUT I believe it is him. — Hayden

          This pretty much sums it up. YOU believe it’s him … and that’s all the evidence you or any believer needs.

          There is an interaction that leads to results.

          You know, of course, that many would argue this is nothing more than your subconscious mind directing your thoughts and actions in the direction you wanted/hoped (prayed) things would go.

          I don’t fault you for your beliefs, Hayden. Of course, I think you’re living in a make-believe world when it comes to “God,” but hey! If it works for you …

          Maybe someday you’re see this “God” through the eyes of reality. Then again, maybe not. As I wrote in my posting, ” … the superstitious nature of the early humans is still [very] present in our DNA.”

          Liked by 1 person

        • That is assuming you are correct and there is no God. Maybe someday you’ll see that God is very real… He just crap for PR.

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        • “He just crap for PR.” True enough!

          Actually, as you know from my book, I did at one time see God as very real. But then common sense took over. 😉

          Liked by 2 people

  9. In this interesting debate on belief and intellect interesting, I wonder if haydenlindner and tildeb (and maybe other readers) agree that Nan has summed it up nicely saying that, after her believing in a real God, common sense took over?

    Liked by 2 people

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