Is God Necessary?

Just saw this phrase on a Christian blog … “the necessity of God” … and it puzzled me.

I don’t know about you, but even when I was a Christian, I never felt “the necessity of God.” I mean obviously God was part of my faith, but mostly “he” was someone to send prayers to … someone to sing to in church … someone to “worship and adore” …. and of course, someone that I needed to stay on the good side of … !!

I suppose if you’re religious, God would be considered “necessary” because, after all, that’s what religion is all about. But there’s something about that phrase that seems, well, off.

To me, it makes the whole idea of “believing” rather cold and calculating. In other words, it sounds like you must agree that God is necessary  before you can become a believer.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m making too much of the phrase. And certainly, as a NON-BELIEVER, God is definitely not necessary.

But I’m curious. Anyone like to offer their thoughts on “the necessity of God?”

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212 thoughts on “Is God Necessary?

  1. I have always wondered why some people say god is necessary for … When we have reached a point where we can explain or have ways in the natural universe that can now explain where they feel god must be to make it work. I do not understand this need for a deity. Maybe some people need something bigger and more powerful than humanity and life as it is. I don’t know, great question. Hugs

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  2. It’s a word game used, in part, to excuse the idea of a Creator from the general rules of causality. Or as JP Moreland wrote:

    “God does not need a cause, since he is neither an event nor a contingent being. He is a necessary Being and such a being does not need a cause. In fact, it is a category fallacy to ask for a cause for God since this is really asking for a cause for an uncaused being.”

    Of course, this entire game begins by assuming the universe is artificial… and that’s a pretty big, completely unfounded presupposition.

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  3. The Universe and Cosmos, which includes Earth and all species on it, has been and is being more and more understood factually and theoretically by evolving science. In his 2010 book “The Grand Design,” Stephen Hawking guides us from the most ancient of beliefs regarding life on Earth and the celestial sky to modern cosmology, which includes quantum physics, string theory, multi-verses, and M-theory. Hawking, page 8:

    M-Theory predicts that a great many universes were created out of nothing. Their creation does not require the intervention of some supernatural being or God. Rather these multiple universes arise naturally from physical law.

    On the Quantum level, cause-and-effect DOES NOT EXIST as we humans experience or perceive it and have been for 200,000 years. Science knows this, most well-educated people understand this. M-theory, M-theory, M-theory; study it, restudy it if necessary and you’ll understand. Hawking, page 180:

    Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.

    M-theory shows — and btw, it has been mathematically proven — that something can indeed come from nothing.

    So, to answer your question Nan: No. There is no need for God. Besides, genius, ingenuinity, creativeness, love, forgiveness… all the tools we need are already here and there, as well as in our evolving brains. We are gods. 🙂

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  4. Nan, I personally find it difficult to question the religious beliefs of others. I’ve come from a world of oppression, as experienced in Guyana and Brazil, where faith in a higher and greater power – call it what you may – makes living in such a world possible. To take away or denigrate such faith, however futile or meaningless it may appear to the non-believer, is to doom believers to a life of hopelessness and darkness without end. The belief that “we shall overcome some day” becomes meaningless.

    Faith in God, whatever we conceive that powerful force to be, is a personal experience. I have experienced such a divine force in my life. That I am here today is proof of the power of such a force in our lives. To ask me if God is necessary is like asking me if the air we breathe is necessary.

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    • To take away or denigrate such faith, however futile or meaningless it may appear to the non-believer, is to doom believers to a life of hopelessness and darkness without end.

      Rosaliene, this is a humanitarian outlook on God and religiosity, and surely has its merit, yes. However, think of yourself as a parent who deeply loves and cares for your child(ren) to be as prepared for the very daunting, exciting, unpredictably violent Natural “world” and Universe they are preparing to enter for themselves — one in which they CAN INDEED understand and be RESPONSIBLE for, i.e. ecology and climate change to name just two! Do you want them to be responsible and EMPOWERED or faithfully apathetic and disempowered to a fairy-tale omniscient, omnipotent insensitive-to-humanity God? Like Paolo Coelho writes:

      Telling the truth and making someone [your child] cry is better than telling a lie and making someone [your child] smile.

      Nevertheless, I do understand showing sensitivity in certain cases and discernment during random times is a LEARNED skill, not one that you are born with, eh? LOL 😛

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      • Professor Taboo, thanks for taking the time to respond to my comments. While I raised my sons with Christian moral principles, I gave them the freedom to make their own decisions regarding matters of religious faith. One son is an atheist. The other, while not affiliated to any religious group, maintains an open mind. I respect their choice.

        I fear that we-humans get so hung up on differing religious beliefs and imposing them on others that we fail to see our shared humanity.

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        • @Rosaliene I like your second point a lot. I am not against anyone having a personal faith that gives them emotional benefit in life. I dislike and push back against organized religions as they are not personal but very much a business and one used to hurt others. Just today I have had three different articles come across my desk from Tony Perkins and several others trying to deny rights to gay people and Perkins wants to raise a huge sum of money to deny the right of public schools to allow same sex prom couples. All the while the religious groups crying they are being victimized and denied their religious rights.

          So if someone is spiritual, has faith, or simply lives by a code of honor I can support that. But it cross the line for me once they take their personal faith and makes it a force against others. Hugs

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    • There is no question as to the importance of spirituality in people’s lives. But I think the question is, is God necessary? Does that religion necessarily need to contain some all powerful creator who intercedes on your personal behalf? Are there other philosophies that might be just as inspiring? Are there ways of feeling awe and wonder that don’t include the divine?

      Then we also might ask, what is religion providing that gives people strength? One of those things is community. Is a belief in God a necessary condition to have community? It doesn’t seem so. Is one’s belief system helping one deal with death anxiety, or coping with some other form of loss? Are there other ways of dealing with these psychologically?

      The fact that God is necessary to some people, can be an artifact of not knowing other ways of being. Not being aware of other philosophies that might do the same thing. It doesn’t make God necessary it makes “community, awe, humility, strategies for coping with psychological pain and suffering, etc” all necessary. God is a possible solution to a problem. In this way God is quite different than breathing air, because air is a necessary condition of life, God is not.

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  5. I hesitate chiming in here, especially as to the previous post. As you know I think all religions are popular based upon how well they serve the interests of the religious and secular elites. I think there is no statement more indicative of that than the comment above. I do not mean to denigrate the sincere beliefs that others have but in the absence of a necessary god, people would become so despondent that they would … what? Finally revolt against their cruel masters? Is there any better reason for the existence of a religion than keeping the lid on the pot to keep it from boiling.

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  6. Half of apologetics is about tweaking the God concept, so as to make God a necessary being. That way, they don’t have to provide evidence for God.

    The other half of apologetics is about convincing you that God is the Abrahamic God, rather than that necessary being.

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  7. Nan, when theist philosophers say that God is a necessary being it’s not meant in some emotional sense, or faith-based relational sense, but in an ontological sense. In other words, it is said that God is necessary for the continuing existence of the cosmos.

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    • Hello Mel. Quite a while ago you and I talked on your blog about something similar. I had asked you why you kept putting God in places where our understanding of the natural universe, and it’s laws, do not need a god there. Things we had an understanding of the nature of them, and were learning more about them all the time. To paraphrase your response to me you basically said it was because you are religious and so felt God was needed even in the things we already had an explanation for. You believed god was responsible somehow so he was or needed to be in the mix even if science had an explanation is what I understood you to be saying.

      So I ask, is your statement above about the continuing existence of the cosmos the same type of thing? Do you add Your God because you believe in your god? Or are you saying the explanations we have for everything happening since inflation of the universe and the way scientist think it is all working is flawed and the universe will just stop without the addition of the God? Is the universe broken or about to break without a deity? I am just trying to get a better understanding of what you are trying to say. How it is necessary for a god that so far has remained hidden and not been shown through interaction, when stuff is working according to the natural explanations? I mean we know how gravity works, so would you say god is needed for gravity to keep functioning? Sorry if this got long, just trying to order my thoughts. Thanks. Hugs

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      • Hi Scottie. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about before but when we theists (classically) talk about a necessary being, we’re not just adding “God” in the equation. It’s a logically deductive ontological argument. Basically, we mean there must be a fundamental member in an essentially ordered chain that is required for anything in the cosmos to continue to exist. So, things like inflation, quantum vacuums, etc., cannot be in this category because then we must ask what is the motive power behind their fluctuations in energy, etc. This also has nothing to with when it started, if the universe has a beginning, or other time-related questions. That would be technically called “accidently ordered,” which is a different thing. I wrote a whole series of posts on this on my blog.

        Btw, I didn’t make this comment to start a debate here. I was simply trying to clarify what we mean by a necessary being. 🙂

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        • Mel I agree about not debating. I am not even arguing. I am trying to get clarity of your position. So by

          Basically, we mean there must be a fundamental member in an essentially ordered chain that is required for anything in the cosmos to continue to exist.

          do you put God in the beginning of the chain of events, or do you think god has to be in every section of the chain of events? Could it be God started it, gave up his existence for it so it could be, like some insects and fish give their lives to propagate? Or does God need to keep puting energy or something in the system all the time? Hugs

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          • Technically, you could just say primary cause, Subsistent Existence Itself, or something like that, instead of “God” if you want. We give the nominal label “God.” I say “nominal” because it’s not an argument for a particular God, but for a necessary being.

            But it’s not an argument for how something started, but how something continues to exist in the here and now. So, we’re talking about the fundamental power behind the continuing existence of all things, including the quantum world.

            The classical argument is that everything that exists is either in some state of “motion” (in an ontological sense) or it is fully actualized. This fully actualized member must have certain properties in order to qualify, but if it does, it would be the most fundamental motive power behind all things. There is a logical reason why there can be only one fundamental power in order to be truly necessary but that gets deeper into the argument. Kind of hard to explain in a comment section!

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            • I think I understand, well part of what you said. If I understand you correctly, the universe is an open system instead of a closed one, and it continuously receives something ( energy , essence, unknown thing ) from the prime mover at all times. Without this added something the universe stops functioning and breaks down? Does this sum it up in a less technical terms? Now I have another problem to think on. If the universe needs a constant inflow of “something” why can’t we measure, perceive, or have evidence of that something? Maybe that is the Higgs Boson field they recently discovered. Sorry just wondering out loud. Thanks for taking the time to answer. I think I understand what you are saying. Hugs

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            • I think you have a basic understanding, Scottie. Basically, yes, it is saying that the universe is an open system that is in a constant state of motion or flux, constantly in a creative process (which actually fits well with evolutionary theory). But if there is no Prime Mover behind this process, then infinite regress would occur, and everything would collapse in on itself in some way unimaginable.

              The problem of measurement is simply revealing the limits of natural science. This is why we could only talk about it philosophically, but we must talk about it because it’s a logical reality. This necessary being would not be material at all, so there would be no way to measure it. But this is already a problem in science. There are things like extra dimensions outside of time and space and multiverses that we believe are there that we may never be able to actually measure in any empirical way. We can only show them mathematically, or we see it from changes in states, etc.

              Who knows, maybe sometime in the future we’ll make some exponential leap in scientific development, like the modern science revolution in the 17th century, where we will have a way to measure something outside the physical realm. But we’re certainly coming up against that limit in the quantum world now.

              Anyway, this is all way above my paygrade. I better stop here! 🙂

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            • Thank you Mel. I had a thought reading your answer. What if the prime mover is the natural action / reaction of one of the other dimensions mentioned in M-theory? Without more evidence it is hard to determine the nature of this thing. Exciting possibilities! Have a great weekend. Hugs

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            • Mel, since I’m new to all these blogs, which I enjoy very much and I know nothing about you, I have a question. Do you believe in the biblical personal god or just a force or prime mover that started it all that you simply refer to as god? You seem way to smart to believe in this biblical fantasy god. Just curious.😊

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            • And why do you if it’s the personal biblical god? Surely not just because of some book written ages ago by a bunch of different people and in other languages and who knows for what end. What is your logic that leads you to these beliefs? I’m honestly curious.

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            • Yes I get that, but why do you believe in this mythical god?

              To me your belief must be something interior since there is such a lack of evidence and logic to it, especially for smarter people who are not just followers because their pastor tells them it’s all true.
              And for the rest of us, it’s exterior as we feel compelled to use reason, logic, research and critical thinking. Emotion (for you) over critically thinking things through (us).

              Having never been religious, I’m just trying to understand how people living in the modern world of science and technology ,can possibly believe any religion, not just Christianity. It seems absurd to me. Even many religious historians and archeologists,who have made a life studying religion are non believers in a god, but they love the history.

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            • I hear a lot of assumptions in your comments. But, as you said, you don’t have a lot of knowledge on matters of faith so I understand why that would be. While I totally agree with you that we should not believe in absurdities and superstitions, etc., understand that the argument for a necessary being is based on logical deduction and reason, not on emotion or mythology. It’s also deduced from what we can observe in our everyday experience. Besides, there are a lot of things in physics and cosmology that are believed by very smart people the same way, theoretically, mathematically, which cannot, and may not ever be empirically proven. We don’t call them myths or superstitions. And science would not help us if there is a reality beyond the natural realm anyway. Science is limited to material and natural things by its own methodology. That’s what makes it so effective. But it cannot prove or disprove anything supranatural.

              I also agree, we should be critical thinkers, but, remember, that goes both ways. We should also not just adopt a worldview that has a naturalistic prejudice that prevents us from exploring beyond what science can do, or creates an incoherent ontology (metaphysics of being) for us. Anyway, I hope that helps you understand us. 🙂

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            • Good morning Mel. When you say about science ” But it cannot prove or disprove anything supranatural.” I think part of what you wrote is true and part false, if I understand what you meant. I agree with you and think you are correct when you say science cannot prove anything supernatural to exist. However I have seen tests done scientifically that did disprove a claimed supernatural event. Such as ESP telepathy tests, claims about dowsing for water, even near death experiences where people claimed to be floating in the room but failed to identify hidden things that could be seen from above.
              Now again I may not have my terms correct or I may have misunderstood your point. But for my understanding could you clarify this. Thanks. Hugs

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            • It’s true, science can disprove claims, but that’s not the same thing as disproving that there is a supranatural world that exists.

              Btw, I prefer to use the word supranatural in this context because we’re simply talking about something that might exist beyond the natural world. Supernatural seems more phenomenological, having to do with miracles, etc. Hope that makes sense.

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            • It does to me. Thanks. I have no problem using the word supernatural. I think that word ecomapasess everything dealing with magic, non-natural forces, abilities not in nature, stuff like that. Not to argue but to be clear what I think, I put miracles and gods in that category also.

              I agree with your first paragraph but have to ask. If the supernatural claims can be disproved, and there is not evidence that supports the supernatural, can we not say that the supernatural is so far disproved? Or is that a word game. To my mind a negative point against beats a zero point for? But I am not a scientist nor a theologian. Hugs

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            • The problem is, every case in the history of the world cannot be disproven. And we’re still left with the question, what do we mean by evidence? Are we saying empirical physical proof is all that qualifies? If so, we would also have to say we’ve disproven a lot of theoretical physics, like extra-dimensions and multiverses, and I don’t think we want to do that.

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            • I think that is mixing categories a bunch. If I understand correctly theoretical physics are mathematics, where religions are not. The theoretical sciences are based on science where religions are based on myths and very old written superstitions.
              No I would not say that those things need to go just because it is only mathematically proven or possible. But maybe it is my limited education but I really can not see those as the same as Islam or Christianity or even turning water into wine. Which would be seriously cool but it simply doesn’t happen that anyone can show.

              So do we have to disprove every case presented or ask the claimits to show their proof? Who and where is the burden placed? Is it on the positive claims as I hear all the time on debates, or on the ones who simply disbelieve? Hugs

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            • I will have to take your word for it Mel. I see them as separate things, like apples and oranges, but I do not understand the logical deduction things at all. I watch them presented by people on YouTube and I do not see how they prove or disprove anything. I guess where I fail to understand is that while I see physics as a real thing I do not see / understand metaphysics to be real at all.
              Hey thanks for all the responses, a lot of me to think on. Hopefully a few others will also comment on them so I have things to compare to. It does help to understand what both sides are trying to say. Hugs

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            • UM, Mel I looked up supranatural and it told me that it meant supernatural.

              adjective
              1.
              beyond what is natural; supernatural.

              I am then confused if you meant something different. I was using the term supernatural which I think means all stuff not in the natural world. Hugs

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            • Yes, both words work, but supranatural is more precise to what we’re talking about here. Supernatural is usually applied to phenomenon (miracles, etc.). Another problem is that it’s become a buzz word for “magic” or superstitions, so it could confuse what’s actually being communicated here.

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            • Well I am sure getting confused by it. That is for sure. 😉😃😀 So can you flesh out the word meaning so I can tell the difference. I don’t mean to be dictatic, but I am having trouble seeing the difference between the words. Hugs

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            • Okay, I have a minute…Maybe this will help clear up the confusion.

              “Supranatural” has no religious connotation. It’s used in metaphysical discussions without bringing religion into it. It simply means “beyond the natural.” So, one could believe that there is a reality beyond the physical realm without necessarily believing there is a god. They’re just not materialists or physicalists (the doctrine that the real world consists simply of the physical world.)

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            • OK, thanks. We can use whatever word you prefer as I now understand better what you mean. I see it is a fine point, but it means something in communication to understand the fine points. Hugs

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            • It is a fine point, but as you said, it’s a meaningful one in communication. And it’s an important distinction if the debate is between naturalism and the supranatural rather than between atheism and theism, which is not necessarily the same argument. Supranatural is the perfect word for one who does not believe in “God” but does concede that the natural world may not be all there is to reality. So, you could believe in the supranatural and still an agnostic or atheist. 🙂

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            • I guess. I am still thinking it is not that big a difference really. More like splitting hairs or the baby. I guess I never thought supernatural was related to theist or atheist. I just put everything not natural in the meaning of the word. I do see it as sort of want to have it both ways though. You could start out meaning supranatural and switch to supernatural meaning without letting people know and they wouldn’t notice the shift. But if it helps us to communicate I will use the word you prefer and try to keep the meanings clear. Or clearer. I do think it is important to be able to communicate clearly.
              To Nan’s point it is a sad fact that some people do use words to confuse. They create a word salad that uses a lot of words but really means nothing and then they claim they made a point. I know I have to end up looking up a lot of words when people could have used smaller or better known words to make the point. Not every word needs to be parsed to slivers to make a point clear does it? Anyway, thanks, and have a good day. I am sure we will talk again. Hugs

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            • I agree, Scottie. People shouldn’t use big words to confuse or bait and switch. But the right word can be more precise in clear communication. I guess I read too many technical books! 🙂 Just know I don’t intend to confuse but only to clarify by using words that may be more nuanced than the common words.

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            • Nan, I’m not trying to be clever, but using the word that is more precise to what I mean in the conversation. If one doesn’t know a particular word they can look it up or ask me what I mean, as Scottie has. Dismissing it as “word games” is not helpful in meaningful dialogue.

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            • I’m not “dismissing” anything. You DO use words that many (most?) people have no clue what they mean (and please … I’m not just referring to the word “supranatural”). Perhaps you might consider this when you’re trying to explain things to those who are not as deep into religiously philosophical matters as you are. NOT a criticism. Just a suggestion.

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            • Thanks. I will consider it. But when you say “word games” you are being dismissive. I try to use the word that best fits what I mean to say.

              I do realize these are not common words, but they allow me to be more precise when we’re talking about more technical things like metaphysics, rather than using generic words that may lead people to assume something I don’t mean at all. And I would prefer to use the right word and have to further explain it because it’s not only more precise in communication but helpful to others in better understanding my point of view when I do explain what I mean.

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            • In other words, you technically could believe that there’s a supranatural realm and still be an atheist (or deist), not necessarily believing in supernatural invention or miracles. You could simply believe that there’s something existing beyond the physical world. I think it’s a little more palatable for those who don’t believe in miracles but are open to more than just what we can see and test with empirical science. It’s a good word for these kinds of conversations. 🙂

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            • Sorry I just don’t get the difference. I do not think it makes a difference if you are a theist or atheist to believe in both spirituality and the supernatural. I think the only division as I see it is between natural and supernatural. I know a lot of people who say they do not believe in god who do believe in supernatural things. I think it is silly, but they do. I have friends who are pagan who claim to practice magic. I don’t see the whole thing showing any evidence it works or is true, but they believe it. Hugs

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    • We give the nominal label “God.” I say “nominal” because it’s not an argument for a particular God, but for a necessary being.

      So you are saying that a Prime Mover is necessary but it could be any Creator /creative force and your belief that your god, the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth is simply a faith-based claim that you can only argue for but certainly not demonstrate or make a more plausible argument than a Muslim apologist can for Allah or an orthodox Jew can argue for Yahweh?

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    • Mel, you consistently use the word “ontological,” yet I wonder how many individuals even know what it means. I would imagine very few people (if any) use it in everyday language! So for the benefit of my readers, here is the meaning of the core word, ontology

      The metaphysical study of the nature of being and existence

      OK, so now that we know what the word means, let’s look again at what you wrote: God is necessary as related to the nature of being and existence.

      Hmmm.

      Of course this is supposition only based on whatever reading and studying you have done (and the perspective of others), but you (or anyone) cannot categorically say it is a “truth” because in actuality, NO ONE has “all the facts” about the “nature of being and existence.”

      BTW, thanks for spelling out things for Scottie. He seems to have an earnest desire to learn and I appreciate you making the effort to explain where you’re coming from.

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    • Ontological or not, God is NOT necessary… as modern, evolving science — especially Quantum Physics, cosmology, physics, and advanced mathematics (as applied by Stephen Hawking) — are showing (proving) with every half-decade or decade!!!

      Nevertheless, thank you for your alternative viewpoint Mel. 🙂

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      • A lack of understanding ontology is precisely the problem, in my alternative view. Hawking’s ontology was incoherent. So I would very much disagree that he has shown any such thing, certainly not in any empirical way, which is why he probably shouldn’t have been so dismissive of philosophy.

        But thank you for your alternative viewpoint, too. 🙂

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        • The actual problem appears to be that you, Mel, give credence only the ontological word games which suit you and your agenda. Ontology you don’t like you describe as “incoherent” and “idiotic”. For example, this particular ontological proof for the existence of God

          1. It is possible that a maximally wicked being exists.
          2. If it is possible that a maximally wicked being exists, then a maximally wicked being exists in some possible world.
          3. If a maximally wicked being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
          4. If a maximally wicked being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
          5. Therefore, a maximally wicked being exists in the actual world.
          6. Therefore, a maximally wicked being exists.
          7. Therefore, the Omnimalevolent Creator exists.

          Et Voila!

          The rather awkward problem for you, Mel, is that this word salad is a letter-by-letter copy of William Lane Craig’s ontological argument for the existence of God… an argument this champion of Christian apologetics claims to be the most convincing argument in all of Christian philosophy.

          All I did was change the name of the god.

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          • John, you are only showing (again) that you don’t understand the Classical Theist arguments at all. You are mocking an argument of Theistic Personalists. Sure, I would agree with you, this argument makes “God” no more than a demiurge, but Classical theists would never make this argument.

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            • I disagree with him. William Lane Craig embraces the ontology of Theistic Personalism, which is one of two categorical views in philosophy of religion (but not mine, nor Plato’s, nor Aristotle’s, nor Athanasius, nor Augustine’s or Aquinas’s…). You need to take up your mockery with him.

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            • Just a reminder, your current position of classical theism is not only ridiculed by actual Christian philosophers like Plantinga, Swinburne and Craig, but it also contradicts your previous position of panentheism… as noted in the very first sentence in Wikipedia’s classical theology page.

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            • It’s not ridiculed by these philosophers, they respectfully disagree with it. And you keep harping on the first line of a Wiki definition of panentheism. First of all, what I shared was what’s called a weak version of panentheism. Secondly, it does not conflict with Classical theism, only your (lack of) understanding of it. Here’s another first line from Wiki for you:
              “The religious beliefs of Neoplatonism can be regarded as panentheistic. Plotinus taught that there was an ineffable transcendent God.” Plotinus was a classical theist.

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            • Not really interested in playing your game of Apologetics-Whack-A-Mole here. Nan doesn’t appreciate it. But as already pointed out in the past, you need STRONG panentheism (which states the laws of nature are not autonomous of God, and he manipulates them, including matter, to effect his will) to accommodate your need for a god meddling in evolution.

              Whine all you like, but weak panentheism doesn’t allow that.

              But of course, you have a screenshot of a graphic that appeared on a You Tube video produced by an anonymous youtuber, and say that trumps the positions of actual Christian philosophers like Plantinga, Swinburne and Craig, as well as the professional editors at Wiki who make it perfectly clear in the very first sentence of their classical theology page that classical theism is in OPPOSITION to other theological conceptions such as panentheism.

              “In modern philosophy, classical theism is a theism in which God is characterized as the absolutely metaphysically ultimate being, IN CONTRAST TO OTHER CONCEPTIONS such as Pantheism, Panentheism, Polytheism and Process Theism.”

              You have even quoted Layton to support your position, who says : “God’s transcendence has been over-emphasized”.

              God transcendence has been over-emphasized DOES NOT fit particularly well with classical theisms insistence on ABSOLUTE transcendence.

              All your contradictions aside, the point, though, was this: you belittle people mercilessly for not “understanding” ontology, or taking it seriously, yet the truth is, you ONLY like ontology which suits *your* agenda… as demonstrated by Craig’s ontological argument, which when presented you called “Idiotic.”

              That is why so many people call you disingenuous.

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            • Nan doesn’t appreciate it (“playing your game of Apologetics-Whack-A-Mole here”).

              You are absolutely correct, John! I have no problem with people discussing the subject of the post (even ad nauseam), but when the discussion begins to drift into other areas and it becomes some kind of personal battle between two individuals … I prefer it be taken elsewhere. Thanks!

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            • A technical term is not a word game, Nan. These are common terms used in philosophy and metaphysics. I don’t make them up.

              I find it interesting that anti-Christians constantly accuse Christians of being mindless, superstitious, not following reason and logic or science, but when we do get technical and use logic and reason we’re accused of word games. Hmmm….

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            • but when we do get technical and use logic and reason we’re accused of word games.

              Yes, because your arguments begin in imagination and never leave it. That is why they’re called “word games.”

              You can demonstrate nothing.

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            • And, btw, you brought up the term, “necessary being,” which is a technical ontological term. So, you entered the world of philosophy and metaphysics when you posted this. 🙂

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            • I daresay most people would understand “necessary being” far more than they would “theist personalists”!! But unlike you, I’m not going to get into a back-and-forth argument on semantics. All I ask is this — whenever you visit and contribute to my blog, please try and bring the level of discussion down to a more palatable level for most readers. Thanks for your understanding.

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        • Understanding MORE THAN just ontology is even more important Mel, that was my primary point. Have a great day. 🙂

          Thanks for the reply here, and btw… it is FANTASTIC to see you visit other blogs, not just stay in your bubble over there on your blog! Well done sir. 👍

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          • I agree with you, Professor Taboo. It’s more than ontology, but we should start with a coherent one.

            And my “bubble?” I probably have more atheists visit my site than theists visit a lot of atheist sites. Most of the comments are from atheists and skeptics, so I wouldn’t exactly call it a bubble. But it is going to show my viewpoint, which it should, I would think.

            Anyway, I want to thank Nan for being a respectful host. 🙂

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            • Nan does an excellent job of moderating particular readers, commenters, and Followers that in the end keeps her blog a (high) quality, engaging, pretty diverse, and learning blog. It’s why I follow and frequent her blog along with several others! 🤩

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            • P.S. I wasn’t speaking about you at your blog Mel. I was speaking to YOU getting out away from your own blog, like here at Nan’s, and commenting and engaging all sorts of non-Christian bloggers OUTSIDE OF your blog.

              Have a good day. 🙂

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            • Okay, thanks for the clarification. My challenge is I usually don’t have the time. Nan had invited me a while back so I look in when I can. But I will expand the search when I can. 🙂

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            • I do understand about “time,” or its limits and priorities in our American society. I will borrow and tweak a very well-known and profound quote by witty and wise 19th century American author/lecturer:

              Travel [and visiting a variety of blogs and engaging there] is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth [and blogosphere] all one’s lifetime. — Mark Twain

              🙂 👍

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        • Good Thursday to you Mel. If you have time I have a question. I want to say first that your discussion with John went right over my head, and so if you could when ( if ) you answer my question try to not use a lot of philosophy terms please.

          I really like Professor Hawkins and his ideas. I don’t pretend to understand them all, but he had a grand show that covered a lot of science topics that was very educational. So I was wondering what you mean by his ontology was incoherent as compared to yours? I guess you are using the definition Nan gave that ontology means the metaphysical study of the nature of being and existence. I think from yesterday you would say metaphysical means the supranatural. So that means you think that Hawkings way that the theoretical world works is incoherent? Am I close? If so at what point in layman’s terms do you think he goes off the rails. Thanks. Hugs

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          • Hi Scottie. I finally got a chance to look at your question. I don’t know if there’s any way to explain something like this to you non-technically. 🙂

            First, I highly respect Hawking’s major contributions to cosmology and physics. He was a brilliant scientist. And let me be clear: I don’t think Hawking’s science is incoherent, I think his ontological explanation is incoherent. The incoherence comes when he tries to explain “being” (ontology) with physics and cosmology. He makes the same fundamental mistake other materialists make, not understanding things essentially-ordered (a member’s dependence upon another for its continuing existence) , thereby they try to force an answer from within their materialist worldview, which, ironically, goes against true scientific inquiry.

            Quantum gravity does not answer the ontological question. As a causal force, it’s still clearly a member in some state of potential, which necessarily means it’s still dependent upon some outside motive force. Again, this gets too complicated to explain in a comment section but I have two simple graphics in a post I wrote (they’re near the bottom of the post) that explain it more clearly if you’re interested. Here’s the link: https://melwild.wordpress.com/2018/03/16/god-is-not-a-god/

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            • Thanks for keeping it (somewhat) simple, Mel. 🙂

              This comment: He makes the same fundamental mistake other materialists make disturbs me. It may be a “fundamental mistake” to your personal perspective, but to Hawking and others like him (who have spent a big part of their lifetime studying cosmology), it undoubtedly contains the element of truth.

              I understand where you’re coming from (how can I not?), but when you present your outlook as being the only “right” one, it does tend to trigger strong kickback from those who disagree.

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            • Nan, I don’t pretend to know even a small fraction of what Hawking understood about cosmology; but this particular issue is not one of cosmological knowledge but of logical deduction. It’s like trying to say 2 + 2 = 5. It’s an incoherent conclusion that’s never the right one no matter how much scientific knowledge one might have.

              So, yes, it’s my personal perspective, but it’s informed by logic and reason.

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            • Thank you Mel. I think I understand better. It is not the science you were disagreeing with but the metaphysics, or the supranatural part. Basically you see the universe with extra supranatural parts and Hawkings did not. So he did not include them in his figuring, which you you do and think he should have. It is a universe view issue. Thanks for taking the time to answer. Hugs

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            • My disagreement with Hawking is that one cannot come up with a material “most fundamental” force, or Prime Mover, for logically deductive reasons. It logically must be immaterial. Hawking was basically doing the same thing religious people are often accused of, appealing to magic by saying quantum gravity needs no external motive force.

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            • Your “logic” commits the fallacy of composition, and for no reason other than continued self-deception you are simply ignoring the point that you cannot have “nothing.” “Nothing” is an imaginary state. It has never existed. “Nothing” is unstable (therefore already in motion), which makes the null situation a failed premise.

              Your ENTIRE argument rests on the null hypothesis.

              Move on.

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            • John, you should move on because you never bother to understand the argument. I am making the precisely the OPPOSITE case. I am saying that there MUST ALWAYS BE SOMETHING, which has been dubbed a prime mover. If we refuse to see this, we have infinite regress going down the essentially ordered chain and end up with non-existence of all things. This prime mover would be that which brings something from nothing. The argument has never ever been that there was a point where nothing at all existed. So, you are making an argument that has not been made.

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            • Why do you keep bringing up infinite regress when I have told you repeatedly (dozens of times, in fact) it is absolutely meaningless in a non-contingent universe? It ONLY makes sense in your proposition that this universe is artificial.

              You are creating a “problem” that simply doesn’t exist.

              If, however, you wish to cling to a thought bubble that made sense in the 13th Century, then by all means do so, but considering it’s 2018 (and we know time is not absolute, causality is not what we intuitively see it as, the sum of matter and energy is zero, and “Nothing” cannot exist) I would suggest you direct your efforts to DEMONSTRATING that this universe is artificial…

              And I see you keep ignoring the fact that your ‘logic’ commits the fallacy of composition.

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            • Total nonsense. The universe cannot be shown to be non-contingent. But since you clearly don’t wish to understand the argument but only want to mock what you don’t understand, I’m done here.

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            • Sean Carroll is not making any ontological statement at all here. You have shown nothing in the way of proving that the universe is non-contingent.

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            • Hello Mel. For clarification when you say “that one cannot come up with a material “most fundamental” force, or Prime Mover…” do you mean we have not yet found one, or that one simply cannot exist in the reality of our universe? Just wondering if it is a time issue of not yet found one or an issue where according to the parameters one simply can not be / fit. Thanks. Hugs

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            • Simplistically put, a problem with matter as the prime mover is that it is inherently composite and in some state of potential, not fully actualized. In other words, matter is made of waves/particles and exhibits changes in state from waves to particles. Then we must ask, what is the motive force that works on these waves and particles? Thus, matter is contingent, or not the most fundamental mover. We can conclude that there’s something more fundamental than matter. Of course, this argument doesn’t prove exactly what that most prime mover is. It’s not meant to. It’s simply giving us the logical framework to see if we’ve actually arrived at the prime mover. Its properties like being immaterial, not composite (simple), omnipotent, etc., were all derived logically from what something necessarily must be, to be called Pure Act (fully actualized, or the prime mover).

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            • So it is not a time problem such as we have not found it yet. Is energy more fundamental than matter? Does the prime mover have to be omnipotent? It seems we are looking for a force that may have started the rest to move, which may not have been even the main thing that unknown force does. So we could be looking at a dark energy thing, something out there spread throughout the universe doing things we don’t understand yet.
              Can logical deductions be wrong? Hugs

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            • Energy falls under the same contingency as matter.

              Scottie, we could go through every attribute here, but I already did a whole series of post to try to do this and I don’t have the time to repeat it all here. Just think in terms of something that would necessarily be the fully actualized “version” of all things that exist. What would be required of this prime mover in order to be the prime mover? 🙂

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            • OK I guess I do not see the need for a prime mover but I understand you do not want to go back over what you have expressed before. I have just one question. Can logical deduction be wrong? if you follow a logical deductive argument to its conclusion, could the conclusion be wrong? If so we have to factor that into our result or acceptance of the result from them. Thanks. Hugs

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            • Just know that there are well-reasoned arguments for why this prime mover must be what it is. And if there is no prime mover, then nothing would exist at all, so it is pretty important. But you’re welcome. Hugs back at you. 🙂

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            • Mel …

              Maybe I’m missing something (which I probably am), but IMO, all your “logical arguments” essentially “fail” when it comes to defining and supporting your basic belief that a “God” is the creator and sustainer of the universe.

              In other words, you may claim you’re using “logic and reason” but when push comes to shove, there is simply no way an immaterial force can be shown to exist in any material way.

              Those of us who deny the presence of this force may not have all the answers either, but Hawking and his kind certainly offer more substantial conclusions to work with.

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            • As Sean Carroll said:

              “So the universe exists, and we know of no good reason to be surprised by that fact.”

              Mel’s argument starts by creating a “problem” that simply doesn’t exist.

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            • John, so as I asked Mel, can a logical deductive argument like he likes to use be wrong. I don’t understand them The few I have seen appear to get their conclusions from the presupposition from the first line of the argument. It seems to me if you set the parameters up in a way that gives you the answer you want, then the reasoning means nothing. You understand these logic puzzles so I thought I would ask you, can they be wrong? If so we must question the results? I do not know why we would need a prime mover but if we did couldn’t that prime mover have be a built in part of the functioning of the universe naturally? The universe seems to function quite well on its own to me. Hugs

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            • The few I have seen appear to get their conclusions from the presupposition from the first line of the argument.

              Exactly. Mel’s presupposition is a contingent universe. That idea would have appeared quite compelling in the 13th Century, which is the logic Mel is appealing to. In effect, he has created a problem that doesn’t exist, and then solves that problem with Olódùmarè, blessed be He.

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            • When Mel mentions “infinite regress” he’s 1) committing the fallacy of composition (what’s true for a member of a group is not necessarily true for the group as a whole), 2) demanding time be absolute, which it isn’t, and 3) deliberately ignoring (or perhaps he simply doesn’t know?) that the math doesn’t support this. The sum total of matter in the universe cancels the sum total of negative gravitational energy, giving us a universe with zero net matter/energy. According to the brilliant minds of the Carroll’s and Krauss’ of the world, that is literally a universe from “nothing,” which means there was never “nothing.” You cannot have “nothing,” so there was always something, and that something was always in motion…. A non-contingent, perfectly natural universe, no “prime mover” required.

              This is why Carroll says “we know of no good reason to be surprised by that fact”.

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            • Thank you John. I love to learn new things. I had heard that the word nothing, what we normally think of , is not what the scientific nothing is. I did watch a video where Krauss said there was always something in the nothing, but in truth I couldn’t follow him until you wrote it out. Hugs

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            • Nan, when you say there is no way that a an immaterial force can be shown in any materialistic way, you are basically saying nothing at all. Of course! Because it would not be material. But why are we only excepting natural science as our basis for discovering knowledge? This is why I believe that trying to find all reality by natural science is actually being closed-minded, refusing to go where the inquiry logically takes us. We just simply just give up or try to pigeon-hole it into our materialistic framework, which is where one leaves honest scientific inquiry for dogma.

              And I would totally disagree with your statement about Hawking bringing us any closer to the ontological answer. He has only confused the subject and gotten people further away. Yes, his contributions have brought us much closer in areas of pure scientific inquiry, but not in his scientistic speculations based on an a priori materialist worldview. This is where not dismissing philosophy would’ve helped him, I think.

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            • I think, for me anyway, there is simply no point in going beyond “natural science” to come up with answers to existence. Once you do, I have to agree with tildeb that you’re getting into the “woo” factor.

              Obviously your search veers into the more philosophical approach … and that’s OK. The conflicts arise when you so soundly discount the “naturalistic” viewpoint as though it is irrelevant, incorrect, and fallacious.

              NONE of us can claim we have undeniable proof of our existence. All we can really do is wonder and speculate … and hope that someday we’ll have the answers.

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            • Why does it have to be a “woo” factor? That only reveals a materialist dogma. This is not simply saying there is a God. It’s saying that if the logical inquiry tells us we must go beyond material things, then shouldn’t we find ways to explore that like we do everything else? It’s only “woo” when you’ve already made up your mind that matter is all there is, which in not “woo” but just plain stubborn dogma.

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            • You DO like to argue, don’t you Mel?

              No, you DON’T have to go “beyond material things” if the concept of existence is settled in one’s own mind. If you want to call that “plain stubborn dogma,” so be it. Not everyone cares about this topic to the extent you do … and it’s ill-conceived of you to disparage others who have different — as “incorrect” as you think they may be — viewpoints.

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            • Well, Nan, when you ridicule my position unfairly by alluding to Tildeb’s “woo” I don’t think that statement should just go unanswered, do you? I was simply making the logical argument for a prime mover and letting it take us to a cogent conclusion. And if people don’t truly care, then they shouldn’t mock what they don’t understand. Fair enough? 🙂

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            • Mel, I’ve tried in the last 2-3 of my comments to wind this whole thing down by saying, as clearly as I could, you have your perspective, I have mine, others have theirs. If you feel you are being “mocked” because someone uses a word you find offensive, then IMO you are far too sensitive.

              The plain and simple fact related to this subject is that NONE of us know for certain. It’s all speculation and fodder for discussion. So let’s accept it as that and move on.

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            • I’m too sensitive? Perhaps. But I’m not trying to be disrespectful. And “woo” is meant to be offensive. And I don’t think things like this are as subjective as you would like to think they are. Sure, we cannot empirically prove anything beyond the natural realm with science for methodological reasons, but there are answers that are more helpful than others. And incoherence can be shown to be what it is from plain logic.

              This argument is not simply “speculation and fodder for discussion.” That would be a waste of time. If one does not wish to take it to where it must ultimately go, they shouldn’t bring it up in the first place (or dismiss it as “woo.”)

              Anyway, I will leave it at that. Thanks for the discussion. 🙂

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  8. In what context was the word “necessary” used? Was it that God, as Mel said, is necessary for the existence of the cosmos? Or, like Ros said, is the concept of God necessary for spiritual faith? Or, is god-based religion necessary for social cohesion?

    Regarding the latter, I do believe that large complex human societies require some philosophical way to bind people together. I do not believe that human nature, left to its own devices, is capable of peaceful cooperation on such a scale. However, this does not mean than God is necessary. There are other philosophical ways to build social cohesion.

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    • I would agree with you, Robert. First, the “necessary being” argument is not the same thing as having a faith-based relationship with “God.” It’s a rather technical ontological argument. The felt need for God is something altogether different. Whether God is necessary in my life will totally depend on what I believe or don’t believe about God. That’s a faith issue.

      And while I personally would argue for a having a relationship with God, on a cultural level, we as human beings are certainly capable of getting along with each other simply because it’s the right thing to do. That’s just being relationally mature as people, learning how to appreciate our differences in a pluralistic society rather than seeing people who are different than us as a threat.

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      • The problem is that religion is among the elite reasons which divides society. Your own faith has around 40,000 different sects, each with a slightly different view of Yahweh and although the same religion there are numerous examples where societies have been torn apart. Northern Ireland. Syria would be the modern Islamic example.

        So while your god is necessary for your superstitious religious faith,( and Muslims of course) no god has ever been necessary for any other reason whatsoever.

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      • Mel, your description of the prime mover is enteresting but not edifying. Your are trying to solve a mystery with a bigger mystery. How do you know any of this. If Genesis is your response then I’m in for some fun at your expense. Think man, wouldn’t the honest response be I don’t know. Nobody does and we may never know. That’s ok, discovery is about the journey. A god forsooth.

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        • Nationofnope, this is not based on projecting God or the Bible onto an argument but based on a series of logically deductive arguments that I did not go through here. That was not my intent. I was simply clarifying what is meant by necessary being. Philosophy gives us a way of thinking about something that we have no other way of thinking about or even exploring in a naturalistic sense. On the one hand, I would agree that it’s possible we cannot absolutely know for certain, but on the other, the logic does seem to point to something beyond our natural world, so I would think just shrugging our shoulders about it isn’t very satisfying either. I would also think we don’t want to end up with a worldview that’s ontologically incoherent, or just not think about it at all. Anyway, that’s me. I was only trying to answer the question here.

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          • Mel I would agree with

            On the one hand, I would agree that it’s possible we cannot absolutely know for certain, but on the other, the logic does seem to point to something beyond our natural world, so I would think just shrugging our shoulders about it isn’t very satisfying either.

            as long as we do not just insert a magic where we have a lack of understanding. I am very much ok with saying I don’t know, because on a lot of stuff I simply do not know. I have confidence in the people who have spent their entire careers studying the science of this stuff and have figured out what they have. As for philosophy and logic puzzles I do not have enough education / understanding to make much sense of them. So I tend to deal with reality as I know and live it. We as a society will learn new and wonderful things in time, we always have and seems we always will. I guess that is enough for me. Hugs

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            • Because of the complete absence of verifiable evidence,Mel and those who have been indoctrinated into religion are forced to create an alternate reality that they can attach to this one which then acts much like a parasite in order to justify their personal belief.

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          • Mel, you’ve hit on your conundrum. What is logical about a god. Let’s start with the basics. Please define for everyone in the world and tell us what a god is. Focus on the what please. Additives and titles are not helpful. I mean, I gotta tell you, the Christian god has issues and if that’s the one your hooked on then it’s unfortunate for us all. That sucker is, by any measure, disturbed. Frankly the entire category means we are an alien science project at best.

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  9. I dont think god or gods are necessary for the universe to form or exist or continue. Science has pretty much proved that or at least getting close. The sticking point is always the something from nothing issue.

    But, obviously, for a lot of people, especially the downtrodden, gods are necessary for their ability to cope with their lives. Many of the people have horrific lives and they feel they must have something to hang onto.
    If poverty, ruined environment and dictatorships could go away and be replaced with education and inclusive and meaningful treatment and a hope of a peaceful life, this need would and could lessen.

    God is not necessary in reality, but in the mind and hearts of some. It’s like having imaginary friends in childhood because there were no real ones around.

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  10. Exactly. That’s why I end each post with these two questions. Why should anyone feel compelled to be subservient to a benevolent benefactor? Put another way, what kind of jerk expects to be worshipped for doing what came naturally? There’s something very disturbing with the forced relationship theists have with their deity’s. Creepy ain’t the half of it.

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  11. Mel has said the mere thought of no god is incoherent to him. That makes it hard to see the obviousness of how much better life can be without it. I, for one have firsthand experience in both camps, and the real incoherence comes when you try to include a god in the discussion. In makes no sense at ALL. Thousands of immortals have passed away, and this one will too. And when it does… nothing will happen. The planet will stay in orbit, and all will be as it has for millennia. It may be replaced by another, even greater god, but that will too, go the way of the dodo.

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    • @ Jim

      This is how indoctrination works. It makes normal people become blathering halfwits who simply switch off. And it often works perfectly when religion is the medium.

      As Seth Andrews astutely noted: ”Christianity made me talk like an idiot”

      And we witness this every single time we read a blog or comment by a Christian.

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      • A lifetime of trying to make sense of something that requires you to believe in the absurd, makes you sound like you’re on a mission to prove that you are insane, and proud of it.

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  12. I haven’t read all of the comments here…but would like to share my thoughts on the necessity of God… Lets look the definition of necessary…
    noun
    1.
    the basic requirements of life, such as food and warmth.

    For me, life without God, is life without food… I’m not speaking of food we eat… I am speaking about the spiritual food that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 4:4… But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (ESV) (and Luke 4:4)…

    As a born again Christian…being spiritually fed every day is an important part of my life… God wrote the Bible to share with man, how to live a life filled with the blessings a believer will receive…if they finally submit their lives to God, and allow the indwelt Holy Spirit to take charge of their lives…

    We can be saved…but not living for the Lord… I was in such a state for the better part of 7 years… Saved by grace at almost 52 years of age (June 2, 2002) But not allowing the Holy Spirit to take total control of my life… The Apostle Paul pens this, in…Ephesians 5:18-20…

    My supernatural peace, and the joy of my salvation were gone… I read “Grieving the Holy Spirit”…a sermon by REV. C.H. Spurgeon from 1859 (Google it !!), and got down on my knees and asked the Lord to take back control of my life… It was June 4th, 2009, and praise the Lord…I have done my best to walk in and by the full power of the Holy Spirit ever since !! Galatians 5:16… But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (ESV)

    The 9 fruit of the Spirit will only grow and mature, when we allow the Holy Spirit to direct our every step… This of course takes humility, with our realizing God’s ways and His will for our lives is always perfect…

    You call it brain washing, but until you have experienced God’s grace, it is a natural thing for you to call it…

    The agape love God has indwelt us with is not your emotional love… It is a spiritual love beyond our mortal understanding…Ephesians 3:19… Joy, the second fruit of the Spirit, is also a supernatural Spiritual joy…not an emotional joy, like having a baby… Jesus tells us about this joy in John 15:11…when we allow Him to fill our heart…

    And the peace of God, which surpasses our mortal understanding (Philippians 4:6-7), is something I find absolutely necessary for me to function in the world of sin and shame, and still have the ability to love even my enemies, as Jesus tells us we should do, in Matthew 5:43-44…

    Yes to live with the spiritual blessings God will shower on His obedient children have to be experienced to be believed !!

    Still praying for over 20 of you guys and gals each and every morning, before I get out of bed…

    Be blessed !!

    bruce

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    • Hello Bruce. I got your intent but I do have a quibble with your comment. You equated something necessary for physical survival such as food, with a wanted / desired feel good emotion. Fact is if I put you in a room alone and give you no food or water, you would die. If I put you in a room alone and fed you but did not give you any access to your religious materials or others of your religion you would still live. If I had people brainwash you into believing in a different god and religion than you have now you wouldn’t die either, just have a different faith. So your idea that religion is as necessary as food is silly to me. Food is a necessity, but religion is a desire and a want. You might say it is a choice. Hugs

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      • Of course it is silly to U Scottie… I don’t need the Bible to exist in this insane world… The Holy Spirit living in me has written scripture on my heart and in my mind… Jesus tells us about the coming of the Holy Spirit, and how He will help them remember all that He has taught them…

        It is not a religion, as I am sure you have heard… It is a relationship with the Lord… Like I said before…it is not an emotion like joy, or peace as U know it… It is spiritual… And unless U have been indwelt with the Holy Spirit…U will continue to think God is not real…and the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is just a bunch of hooey !! Hugs to U as well, and be blessed !!

        bruce

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        • Bruce you seem to miss one of the points I made. You can be brainwashed, convinced, and deluded into worshipping a different god, following different rules, doing different worship rituals. Without the support systems in place for your brand of choice now you could very well end up far removed from where you started. That is why having it written on your heart is stupid and frankly bullshit. You are currently reinforcing your own view all the time. Which is normal. But we were discussing something necessary for life. In isolation you would drift in your views, and you would be add to and making things up in your faith. Then if someone were to direct you properly they could have you worshiping an entirely different faith. It is not a far fetched thing, they have done studies to show how malleable human beliefs are. So please think for a second, you are not in a fable. You are in reality and every day you get positive reinforcement on your faith. I really don’t care about that if that is all that keeps you a good person and on a even keel. But if your books,m shows, blogs , all of the materials of support for your faith was suddenly gone, you would survive, but your idea of that faith would drift. That is human nature. Be well Bruce. Hugs

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          • Scottie, when one places their faith and trust in God…they don’t drift because of their surroundings… God is so much stronger than our human nature… Let me give you my actual life experience… But first a question for U…

            Lets say you were driving down the street, and someone went through a stop side and plowed into your car… The guy gets out and starts yelling at you, that it was your fault… How do U respond ?? Answer this, And I will continue with my life experience…

            Hugs back !!
            bruce

            Liked by 1 person

            • Bruce first please do not share your conversion story. I already heard parts of it on Ark’s blog and to tell the truth it has no bearing on our discussion. How I handle a belligerent driver who caused an accident would be determined by the situation. First is the safety of the people involved and proper contacts must be made for first responders. You deal with the situation as best you can which may or may not go well. If your asking would I get as belligerent and demand the person accept blame, nope. It doesn’t matter what they yell or try to assign blame, an investigation will show the truth of the situation. I was taught de-escalation in two of my prior job fields.

              Bruce what you are saying is you are a super human able to do what no other human has been shown to be able to do. IF the right pressures and situations were applied any human, including myself, can have their views altered, be made to believe differently, to be brainwashed. To say you wouldn’t ever change or even drift in your beliefs is simply to deny being human. Sorry Bruce it is not a statement of faith or even making you look good to your god, it is simply what we know of human nature and psychology. Don’t take it as an insult, it is not meant that way, it is simply the fact we are thinking animals and animals can be taught, molded, and have their perceptions changed if the programs and pressures are forced on them. Hugs

              Liked by 2 people

    • Check out the neuroscience, it explains the brain changes for different beliefs, all the answers about your hunger for spiritual food and why you cannot clear your mind and absorb the logical arguments.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Slightly off-topic, sklyjd … but it seems James took his sabbatical without approving your comment on his atheist post. I just wanted to tell you I appreciate your defense of me … plus I thought what you said was very good. It’s unfortunate (but not surprising) he didn’t include it.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. They are meaning that God by definition is a necessary being. That whether you can actually demonstrate his existence in reality or not, God must exist because of the necessity that he must. More circular, definitional bullshit.

    Liked by 4 people

    • So no sign or evidence of the hidden, invisible, non-interfering, not showing any ability to affect reality, god needed? Then how do they convince themselves it is a necessity? 😃😄😉Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

        • Bingo !! Saving faith alone…given as a free gift of grace…(Ephesians 2:8-9)…after God changes the will of even the heart that hates God… Look at the Apostle Paul (formerly Saul), who was killing Christians… Struck down on his way to Damascus to round up more Christians to crucify… Paul ended up writing almost half of the New Testament…

          Be blessed !!
          bruce

          Like

          • Of course you know Bruce the story in acts 9 is total fiction as is the whole narrative of the book. Galatians has Paul saying only that he persecuted Christians, not that he killed them. But who knows even if that is the truth. Preachers have a way of embellishing and padding their resumes for theatrical effect.

            Liked by 2 people

      • But they’re uncomfortable with that so as an attempt to save face and not appear to be what they are… Simply faith based… They concoct and weave elaborate webs of bullshit, and then convince themselves that the bullshit is the reason they believed in the first place.
        Self delusion

        Liked by 2 people

      • It’s not a mental disease. They just get very adept at lying to themselves, then lying to others so much so that they simply ‘must’ believe. It’s “necessary” for them to.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Back to the prime cause issue.

    Why does there have to be a prime cause or a beginning at all?
    I wonder about the state of absolute nothingness…no quarks, no strings, no space, no vacuums etc. I can almost imagine it but not quite and I do think it’s quite possible there has always been “something”.

    No need for a prime cause, a beginning or something from nothing, as there never has been nothing. Something unknown that is eternal…not god, but an unknown force or field or something we can’t imagine.

    By no means do I mean this in any religious or god sense. I think it use to be referred to as an oscillating universe…endless and always, no beginning no end.

    Liked by 4 people

    • According to people far, far brighter than me, you cannot have “nothing.” “Nothing” is an imaginary state. It has never existed. “Nothing” is unstable (therefore already in motion), which makes the null situation a failed premise. Long story short: there was always something.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Mary, I can give you the empirical perspective of science on this. John is correct, “nothing” equates to nonexistence. However, current cosmological understanding of the event that generated our observable universe (not to be confused with a hypothetical multiverse or cosmos) around 13.8 billion years ago clearly indicates that something physical occurred. Science knows it was rapid expansion of energy popularly referred to as the “Big Bang.” What science does not know is what caused it. Various hypotheses are focused on this problem in the field of quantum mechanics, including the concept of “branes” in String Theory. So, from the perspective of science, evidence of a “beginning” of sorts does exist.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, something physical occurred, but perhaps the conditions (for lack of a better word at the moment) have always been there and it may have happened an infinite number of times and will continue to do so. The conditions may be the cause of the Big Bang, but the conditions themselves are are eternal.
        I agree with John…no such thing as nothingness, so therefore there will always be something. I admit “no beginning, no end” is a concept as hard to visualize as nothingness.

        Liked by 3 people

        • An infinite succession of Big Bangs is theoretically possible, although there is no evidence to support that hypothesis yet. Science, being empirically bound, requires verifiable evidence. It’s the difference between what might be true versus what is known to be true.

          Liked by 2 people

      • “What science does not know is what caused it.” Ah, yes… This is the problem all of U cannot answer… It takes more faith to believe in evolution, and what might have caused the beginning of the universe… than it does to believe in God, the creator of heaven and earth…

        Be blessed,
        bruce

        Like

        • Oh Bruce, do you really try at all. As far as evolution is concerned it is a fact. As much a fact as anything in science and reality can be. It may be tweaked if we find new information, but the science of the theory of evolution fit all the known facts. All the predictions made based on it have been found solid. Faith is believing without evidence , and evolution has more than abundant evidence.
          As to not knowing, it is OK to say we don’t know. There is no need at this point to add an ingredient into the mix called god when we have no evidence for that ingredient. At one point we did not know what caused rain, thunder, clouds, volcanoes… and so people assigned them to gods. Now we know what the causes and effects are and know that thinking it is mystically caused is silly. So we don’t know everything. That is exciting as we can learn and discover. If there is evidence for a deity it will show up. But so far in everything in reality it has not. Hugs

          Liked by 3 people

  15. For me, God was a necessity when I was a believer. I needed him to be real because of what I wanted to be true. I wanted Heaven to be real. God was necessary for that. I wanted to see my family members who have passed away. God was necessary for that. I wanted to believe I was created for a purpose. God was necessary for that.

    I no longer believe in the Christian God. I don’t find that my life has changed much besides the things I wanted to be true may be true no longer. God is necessary in order to justify our wishful thinking. When you let go of the things you want to believe in and replace them with the things you know to be true, you learn quickly what is necessary. Food, water, family and friends. These things are needed to have a happy, healthy life. God is an idea. Ideas don’t feed or clothe you. Ideas don’t hold you and love you. Families do. Friends do. Communities do. When we do all the work, it’s hard to think of any reason to give God the credit.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Ben, you say…”God is an idea. Ideas don’t feed or clothe you. Ideas don’t hold you and love you”… Ben, respectfully I must tell you with much love, and concern…that you were never a believer to begin with… You had a mind change, but no regeneration of the heart… Once given saving faith by God’s grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), the Holy Spirit indwells the believer… Only then will you become a redeemed child of God…

      The Apostle Paul pens this, in…Romans 8:31-32… For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (ESV)

      “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” Only then will you believe with the amazing power of the Holy Spirit…and how He produces the 9 fruit of the Spirit Paul pens in Galatians 5::22-23… But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (ESV)

      BTW Nan…I really appreciate U allowing me to post scripture… ARK forbid it !! 🙂

      Blessings, bruce

      Like

      • Bruce are you saying you know the mind of your god? You know what this god is thinking? He has revealed his thoughts about others to you? If not then how can you claim who is saved or not, who is a true christian or not. That is not really the place of a lowly human sinner is it, to determine who is called by god? Are you setting yourself up on a pedestal? You could lose your humility card that way. Hugs

        Liked by 3 people

        • As a former Christian Scottie, I can tell you that what Bruce is saying is all too common. They believe one thing so anyone who believes differently is a hell-bound sinner. They “know” the “truth” so they can look down and judge others. It’s simple. If someone isn’t exactly like me with the same beliefs, then I can tell them exactly what they need to do, what they need to say and how they should pray. I know exactly what God thinks about them and how he is so disappointed in them. Instead of just saying they disagree with you, these people tell you that they know all about you and have all of the solutions for your problem-filled existence.

          I used to think I’d always believe and I would always have love for Jesus. But here I am feeling foolish for thinking such things. Sometimes, it’s good to be the fool. I’d rather be a fool who has changed than a fool who is too blind to know that he’s even being fooled. Thinking you are wise, but spouting out nonsense is not going to change many hearts.

          Liked by 5 people

          • Thank you Ben. You have experience I do not have and it is hard to relate to. The journey you took, and of every deconvert, is so personal and so much a part of your being it is hard to fathom the totality of it. I am glad it works out and people can free themselves, but the cost is sometimes very high for them personally.

            What is your thoughts on those who deny what is known to champion things not real but in the bible? Such as the sun going around the Earth, flat Earth with a dome over it, creationism. There are people who come here and to the other blogs of this group who do say they believe those false things because the bible tells them it is so, and they deny anything contrary to the science of thousands of years ago. Hugs

            Liked by 2 people

            • My thought is that anyone who denies undisputable science is desperate. If you say that you don’t believe in something because the Bible disproves it, then there is a problem. If you can show them proof with our ever-improving technology that their biblical “science” is wrong and they still say the Bible is right, you have someone who is not willing to admit they are wrong. I used to read things in the Bible that made no sense and I’d either blindly accept them or just skip to the next. If I pondered too long, I may lose faith so it was best to remain ignorant.

              If someone has evidence showed to them and they deny it, then they are probably still too heavily indoctrinated to change their minds. It happens slowly (at least it did for me) the change from being a believer who trusted in the Bible alone and rejected sound science to someone who sees scientific evidence for what it is; evidence. I think there is a huge problem with how many Christians view facts. They try to take scientific evidence and fit it into the Bible. If it contradicts the scriptures, they toss it out. What should be happening is people should take scientific evidence and see if the Bible’s accounts match up to it. If not, guess what should be tossed out?

              Liked by 5 people

          • Ben, you are absolutely correct !! My spouting off will not changer ANY heart (not many)… It is God the Father that must drawn the unbeliever in…John 6:44…

            I pray for the gang every day… Since our chat some time ago…I was urged to go back and look up your name again… BEN !! I will try to remember your name, as I pray for Ark, Arch’s family, Violet, Victoria, Kia (Mike), Nan, Scottie, Professor, Luke, Peter, Ruth, R.S.(Katie), Mac, John Z, G.C. Carmen, Paul, Serious business, James 87, Saint Paulie girl, and OH yes, the Jewish people Ark led me too…Fred, Dina, and concerned…

            If I left anyone out, my apologies…

            Have a blessed day !!

            bruce

            Like

        • Scottie, I am no better than the druggie on the street corner, or the hooker looking for tricks…except I have been graced by God with salvation… The Bible tells us that we will be known by our fruit… What comes out of our mouth, defiles our heart…

          I spent almost 52 years believing I was a Christian, when I was not… If I’m delusional, I just don’t want to change a thing in my life…

          No one knows the mind of God… God is sovereign over everything and everyone… God does as He pleases, in His timing… Only God can change a mind that has never placed their faith and trust in Him…

          I am not sure why I waste my time chatting with any of U ??? I guess it is because I am urged to share what I know to be the truth… As Jesus tells His disciples…Abide in My Word, and you are My disciples indeed… You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free…

          Blessings, and hugs !!
          bruce

          Like

          • Bruce this is the saddest thing I think I have ever read you write.

            If I’m delusional, I just don’t want to change a thing in my life

            I would think rationality even in your belief in your god, would be very important to you. Bruce if you are delusional, how do you know your god is not a delusion also? I am not trying to change you or insult you, I ask if you think it is normal to prefer a delusion to reality as a way of life? As the motivator of your life? We have seen so many tragic results of people following their delusions and taking actions that harm others. Do be careful, do look at it seriously. If it is a delusion you can moderate it with help. I wish you the best. Hugs

            Liked by 3 people

      • Well Bruce, I will respectfully say that you have no idea who I am or what you are talking about. I was a devout believer for 25 years of my life. I was reverent. I was sincere. I was a member of my local church by choice as I wanted to get to know God even more. I prayed for guidance and for God to show me how to be a better follower of his. I prayed daily with thanksgiving to show how much I appreciated everything God did for me. I told God I loved him every day because that’s how I felt and that’s what I believed. You know what my answers were to all of my prayers? Silence. If a god was listening to me for 25 years of my devoted life to him and yet still ignored me, what does that say about God? Someone is sincerely crying out to God to be more like him and to be shown how to be more “Jesus-like” and yet those prayers are pushed aside? Even after my ignored prayers, I still believed. I believed the church when they said I must have some sort of sin in my life being a barrier between God and I and that’s why God was ignoring me. Really? Isn’t that why we pray in the first place? Because of our sinful nature? If God ignores sinners, then no one would get through to him because “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, right?

        I think the problem here Bruce, is that you are still in it and can’t ever imagine being out of it. Guess what? I felt that way too. So did the millions of others who have left the faith. You’re under the impression that once you are a believer, you’ll always be one. You are also under the impression that the Bible is true. The Bible is God-inspired. The Bible is infallible. None of things are true and when the Christian blinders are removed you’ll see that.

        I know you mean well, but you are talking to me as if you know me. You think that you know me because of your own personal beliefs. You don’t know me or the spiritual journey I’ve been on. You don’t know how much I truly did believe and how much I mourned the loss of my faith. You can quote scripture all day long to try to prove that you are right, but if God were real and if God is grieved by losing even one of us, he never would have ignored my prayers or the prayers of countless others who desperately wanted to cling onto their faith. Your scripture is just a bunch of empty words that have filled a book that confuses even the most pious believer.

        If you want to be respectful, then do not presume that you know someone based on words you read in an ancient book written by ancient men. You get to know someone by talking to them and being open-minded. But if you truly want to be respectful, just let this go. I have no interest in debating someone who is so lost in indoctrination that they can’t see that there is a world outside of the Bible. It would be like arguing with the old me. I’ve done that already and I’m not going to do it again. The old me had to go because he used the Bible as both the lenses for his glasses to see the world and as a weapon to fight what he saw through those lenses. And that’s no way to live.

        Liked by 6 people

        • @ Ben

          A little Bruce background. All according to Bruce himself. And if I am off the mark with my summation please, somebody, let me know.
          Bruce is a re-born /born again variety who used to have a bit of a problem with certain internet sites where people take their clothes off and indulge in sinful things.
          Apparently it came(sic) between him and his family and then god … sorry God intervened, by way of the Holy Spirit entering him and he was saved.
          His wife is not too enamored by his conversion and will not tolerate all this God Stuff in the house. So … he leaves dollops of it on the blogs of non-believers ( see, Nan, I did not say you were an atheist you little heathen! ) and tells us that only the Holy Spirit can save us and promises to pray for ”you guys” all the time.

          Amen.

          Liked by 5 people

          • I get it. And I probably should have just let his comment go. But sometimes it just feels good to vent a little. I honestly didn’t have much to respond to anyway. His actual comment was very brief…followed by biblical quotes. His comment was basically, “I’m right. You’re wrong. I’m sincere. You never were. Here are some words written by men a long time ago that prove my point.” Oh well, at least he meant well, right? Bless his heart 🙂

            Liked by 3 people

      • I’m “allowing” it, Bruce, only because you’ve posted most of it before I was up and about (different time zone than most of you). But in actuality, I find it offensive. No matter what your “good book” says about the “word” being sharper than a two-edged sword (blah-blah-blah), to atheists and other non-believers, it is simply taking up space that could be better used by a person expressing THEIR thoughts … not those supposedly attributed to an unseen supernatural entity that many gullible people think is real.

        So consider this as my request to cease and desist.

        Liked by 4 people

  16. @Nan @ Mel @ John. Nan I know you are trying to close down the discussion but I wanted to take a minute to thank you, Mel, and John for helping me understand the arguments and the thought processes / science behind the ideas. I learned a lot and feel more comfortable with my own view now. I started reading this thread not understanding a lot of it, and I do understand a lot more now. Thanks to all three of you. It helps. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  17. When I hear about God being “necessary” I generally interpret it as follows. “People are inherently evil. If left to their own devices, they will just do many terrible things. Without the notion of God, we would all just savage, rape and steal from each other. But, because we believe in God who is all-powerful, we submit our will to his and we do NOT just savage rape and steal from each other.”

    To me, there are three major problems with this. First, people who claim to be Christian *do* still sometimes savage, rape and steal so even believing in God certainly isn’t a foolproof method of behavioral control. Second, it views people as having no moral sense or ethical sense. When we do good, it is merely to avoid punishment from a stronger, mightier being (God). Third, it isn’t *necessary* to believe in God in order to do good to others. It isn’t even necessary to be smart. Animals often cooperate. Life is *partly* about competition but it is also largely about cooperation. That is especially true of humans. We’re capable of empathy and kindness and compassion and sharing without any reference whatever to God.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Peter … thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope you will become a “regular.”

      I totally agree with what you wrote. People like to think “God” is the answer to a peaceful and loving world, but I have news for them. And to live in constant (subconscious) fear of avoiding eternal punishment? Well, that’s most definitely not the life for me!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Peter !!! Just saw Nan welcome your presence !! It is good to know UR still alive and well !! You are absolutely correct !! God gives general grace to every human being… You are also correct, that people calling themselves Christians do still rape and steal… But I have to tell you Peter…the power of the Holy Spirit living within the truly born again Christian is so much stronger than our own weak flesh…and even Satan’s fiercest attacks…

      You wake up every day thanking God for giving you another day.. You put on the Lord Jesus Christ before stepping out the door… (I equate this to putting on all 6 pieces of God’s armor) And by humbly submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit…God directs your every step…

      Have a blessed day my friend !!

      bruce

      Like

      • Bruce, is this armour from God what you need to be able to behave properly when you leave home because without it you may run crazy, out of control maybe raping and stealing?

        Of course, if you are just an ordinary average run of the mill Christian or any non-Christian you do not have the Holy Spirit living within you and Satan will attack and beat you until you become a criminal, therefore from what you claim Satan will not win because you are so much stronger. Therefore, do you claim that no born-again Christian would rape and steal? …… Interesting that.

        Like

  18. Do you feel satisfied, or do you constantly look for ways to be satisfied? I notice this is a common theme, and I certainly experienced it before I knew God. I believe God created us, and He made us to need love, His love. HIS love satisfies us. What do you think? Check out my blog to see more about my experiences with Him- He absolutely changed my LIFE! I have peace, hope, and more love than ever before. I’ve also seen angels and miracles! It’s been an amazing journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tess, thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. I always appreciate it when Christians stop by … even though I no longer believe as you/they do.

      Your experiences are, of course, your own and while I reject the reality of “God,” angels, miracles, etc., I know many people have been persuaded that they exist. Perhaps someday your circumstances will change and you’ll recognize (as I and many others have) that a god is not necessary to experience hope, joy, peace, and most of all … love.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for responding! I am saving my angel post for next week, I changed it, but check it out if you want next Thursday ☺️ .

        They certainly are my own experiences, and I agree we can find all those things without God, but I find that they are fleeting and don’t really compare. I just wish the BEST for everyone. I’d love to talk about why you decided God wasn’t real anymore! Let me know. Have a wonderful day!

        Like

        • There are several reasons for my decision related to the non-existence of “God.” My book mentions some of them and I’ve covered others in my blog postings. Essentially, I simply cannot fathom the idea that (a) some supernatural entity exists, and (b) this entity does all the things credited to it.

          Thanks again for visiting. I hope you’ll stop by again sometime.

          Liked by 2 people

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