The Gods that have suddenly become silent

Rigor_OMortis
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The Gods that have suddenly become silent

(note: this is a short essay I wrote last year; formatting has been partly removed to be compatible with the forum; the essay was part of a bigger project for a University topic roughly translated into English as "law logic and argumentation", so also please note that this is a translation, do not burn me if my English isn't perfect at times)

We are currently witnessing what no animal kingdom would have ever thought would be possible: the days wehn nobody is a stranger. The days where everyone can learn about anything anywhere. The days when ignorance is simply not excusable anymore. It is simply not possible that something really big happens in one part of the world, and the rest of the world doesn't find out about it. Hurricanes, storms, earthquakes, pollitical turmoil, everything that one can imagine possible is publicised all over the world, if it happens.

It is this world in which any normal, intelligent person would think that someone who really had something to say, something that would really impact the way we live and our future lives, that someone would make it public with the most success. Edison's light bulb, atomic power, the discovery of H5N1, contraceptives, even things less helpful, such as music, arts, TV shows or documentaries, all these are now available for anyone to get their hands on.

If you go out through the world and ask people about Shakespeare, or the Beatles, or perhaps "Dracula", chances are that whoever you ask has at least heard of them, if not more. It would therefore be a perfect environment for publicity for anyone.

No doubt the cultural shock of different cultures that have begun interacting is great. Take no further than the example set by Japan and its historical samurais, shoguns and emperors. But, as the example goes further, such a cultural shock doesn't mean a fatal shock. All parties involved have learned to accept, embrace and adapt. No nation has died in vain, simply because it didn't adapt to, practically, a global society.

It is this setting in which any normal, intelligent person would find a god making proof of his or her existence. Yet this doesn't happen.

Throughout all cultures and religions, be them monotheistic or polytheistic, legends and feats that, at least theoretically, would leave whole crowds in awe, have been said and transmitted from generation to generation. Such legends of gods talking directly to humans, interacting with them, sometimes even being in their midst. But those legends now are starting to look more and more like legends, like stories that a parent tells to his child at bedtime, in an effort to stimulate his imagination, and perhaps carrying a message of how that parent wants the child to be when he or she grows older.

Such legends that simply don't happen anymore.

Is any religion immune to this? Apparently not. Pick one at random: Greek mythology, Christianity, Islam, we could even include Gilgamesh in this... in each you will find at least one example of the god (or gods) transmitting his (their) will directly to humans, through personal interaction with them. Wether you look at the story of Moses, who is supposed to have talked directly to Yahweh, whether you look at the story of Zeus, who personally and very directly chose which part of the bull will he accept as a sacrifice, they all share one thing in common: the willingness of a god to interact directly.

Historically speaking, the challenge for one god to transmit his message all over the world, at that time, becomes obvious. Some gods have somehow succeeded, others have failed, most have slowly died in a very funny cosmic game of "get rich or die trying". The question of why no god is even trying to get his message across, beyond any possibility of doubt, seems to be a rhetorical one.

All across the world, people claim that the question above is pointless and invalid. They claim that gods have not ceased to speak, but are continuously doing that with some of them. There are extraordinary claims of miracles, faith heals and magic, but there is at least one problem with them: there is no one single god, or one single recognized pantheon of gods that they are attributed to. All around the world, we have Christian miracles (even more: Catholic miracles, Orthodox miracles, etc.), Islamic miracles, possibly Buddhist miracles, etc. How does that come, when these religions are mutually exclusive? How can it come, when each of these religions claim to have at least just as much right to the pool of "souls" on this planet like any other? Is there a battle over souls amongst different gods?

These questions, when added to our original question, should provide just about enough doubt on the veridicity of these legends and claims. But there's more.

Has anyone ever documented a miracle? Has anyone also publicized their documentation? Has anyone caught on tape a miracle? The answer to all these is an unfortunately resounding "no". So much different from the life of Jesus Christ, for instance, in which Jesus himself had no inhibition to perform miracles in fromt of crowds of people. That they weren't caught on tape is understandable, since there were no recording devices back then. But why the reluctancy now? Why do gods seem to shun means of popularization that would: 1. spread their will throughout huge numbers of people and 2. make people believe in them beyond any doubt, thus offering them a greater ammount of the "soul pool" ?

We presume that the god of the Christians exists. Under such circumstances, can a Muslim be condemned for not knowing the true god? Why, since most Muslims will never get in contact with the Christian doctrine and word of their god? Free will, as many current religions like to publicize with, also means responsibility, but does responsibility also extend to actions that we had no idea that are wrong, and, furthermore, no way of finding out that they were wrong? To which law do we apply responsibility, if we have two laws that contradict each other directly? How will anyone be judged according to those two laws, and how will he know, if one of them is wrong, which one it is?

Such questions deepend the cultural cavity left behind by the question of "why have gods suddenly become silent?" We live, beyond any doubt, in a world in which almost nothing has remained absolute, but almost everything has become relative. And not so much have they "become" relative, but the people actually realized that they had always been so. Wouldn't the word of a god, now, right this day, displayed in all the grandeur that the ancient legends speak about, blow any trace of doubt on the existence and on the truth of their word?

But still, the gods are silent. We are therefore left with two possibilities: either the god(s) has (have) forsaken us, or they don't exist. Couple that with the fact that all legends and beliefs are slowly getting proven as false, or impossible, or wishful thinking, and the correct choice out of those two will become obvious.

Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/


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I hope you got an 'A' on

I hope you got an 'A' on your essay.

Very nice. 


Rigor_OMortis
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My questions have not been

My questions have not been answered.

I'll be bumping this back into position.


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Yep, I'd like to hear some

Yep, I'd like to hear some answers too.

Bump 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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bump

bump

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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bump

bump

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit
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no theists have any

no theists have any comment?

This is a pretty important topic, don't you think?  Seems like a pretty good reason not to believe in gods.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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deludedgod
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Fantastic. I raise this

Fantastic. I raise this point all the time and theists always have no response. The fact of the matter is, all respected religions are ancient.  Mormonism has no respect except from perhaps a tiny chunk of Utahans. This is because a) It is ridiculous b) It was revealed in 1850

But is it more ridiculous than Christianity or Islam?

Surely, now, with modern recording, scientific and verification techniques, would be a perfect time for God to reveal his message, if he had any, or if he existed?

I posed a question in a slightly similiar format:

First, I will tell you some stories.

Story #1:

Several thousand years ago, one of the ancient tribes of Jeruselam was massacred by another tribe of Israel, and the victors fled from Jeruslam and somehow managed to arrive in America, where they buried Gold plates in Jacksonville Missouri. As ounishment God turned their skin red. These plates were revealed by an angel called Moroni who was a native American with white skin to a man who dug them up several hundred years ago. They were the Gospels of the Nephites. These writings were translated by ancient rocks called seer stones, and compiled into a book.

Now may I ask you a question: Do you have faith that this story is not true?

Next story:

Praying alone in a cave, a man suddenly found an angel standing before him. This angel commanded to the man to recite written words which he presented. The man protested, being illiterate, but eventually he realized that through God's glory he must recite. So he fell to his knees and did so. Over the next ten years he receieved many more revelations, and in fact, he journeyed to heaven on a winged horse to discuss prayer with Jesus, Moses, David and Adam. At first, almost no-one believed him, but eventually, they realized he was so sincere and intent, and of such accurate recollection, that they decided he was a man of truth. Thus they wrote down his words, messages and revelations.

Now: Do you have faith that this story is false.

OK.

The first story was the story of Mormonism, the second was the story of Islam.

Whenever I ask this question, almost everyone replies that they do not have faith that these are false. This is because they are ridiculous stories. The default position for an unsubstantiated assertion without evidence and disbelief. The only reason you say we have faith is because so many people are Christian. Do you have faith that cultists are lunatics?

 Interestingly enough, sometimes what I do is not tell the stories. Instead I ask people if they have faith that Mormonism is false. They almost always respond no. This is because it is so ridiculous and almost no-one believes it.

However, when I ask people if they have faith that Islam is false, they respond yes. This is because Islam is older, has many more followers, and is much more respected. There is no rational basis for any of the claims. The judgement, no matter how you construe it, is extremely subjective.

 

Religion has this bizarre formula whereby things become more accepted as time passes that were once myths. Nobody here believes the Greek myths of Athena or Medusa, nor does anyone in Greece. But stories that were simply made up over the centuries that seem like nothing more than good fiction, like Immaculate Conception and six day creation, or the idea of God, for some reason, because they were made up along time ago, are accepted as true. This explains why many regard Mormonism as insane. Joseph Smith received his revelations in the early 1800s...but Catholicism, which believes equally ridiculous things, is somehow more credible to the point where it has one billion followers. Every religion has concepts that seem to be pulled from thin air, that were simply meshed into truth by nothing but time with no evidence whatsoever. In Christianity, there is the Trinity and the ascension of St Mary, In Judaism the strange obsession with the Demiurge verses the High God.

 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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pariahjane
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I think it's a shame that

I think it's a shame that no theists have been brave enough to discuss this with you.

On a side note, I really enjoy reading your essays.  The intelligence that I see on this site is intimidating, but I feel I am learning a lot from all of you.  Your essays are fantastic.

If god takes life he's an indian giver


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I'm Gnostic, so my beliefs

I'm Gnostic, so my beliefs on this won't really help anyone.


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Quote: I'm Gnostic, so my

Quote:
I'm Gnostic, so my beliefs on this won't really help anyone.

From the gnostic.org site, I have found the following points that should be definitory for a gnostic:

Quote:

  • God is incomprehensible in totality, however we may know about "God" through study of the Universe and Ourselves.

  • Inspiration is a product of a relationship with a Greater Intelligence and is the ultimate source of all Knowledge.

  • There is only One Truth and the Religions of the World are but facets of its expression.

  • The Ultimate Source of Divine Authority is the Individual.

  • Service to the World is the Greatest Expression of Inspiration, Enlightenment and Truth.
  •  

    I might be willing to give a certain credit to all of these, but the third one. I admit to not having the knowledge of a superior being's existance (or lack of), but what I do know is that there is far too much mystery, vagueness and interest (considering the recent news, for instance about the layoffs at whatever megachurch, for example - interest that is material, intellectual and political as well) for these days' religions to be faceted expressions of the same superior being.

    It sounds to me as if you are a believer in search of a divinity. And that you've stuck with Christianity simply because that's the common belief where you are, not because you'd give much literal credit to the Bible or Christianity's teachings.

    If this is the case, and if you are able to develop, show and exercise a set of moral beliefs based on human life, rights and values, and if you are able to respect what others say, think and do, I for one will have no problem with that.

    So indeed, your beliefs will not help here. It wasn't my intention to challenge such a belief.

    Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
    http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/


    Hambydammit
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    Put simply, the third one

    Put simply, the third one contradicts the first, because it claims to know something about God's interaction with the planet.

    Even more simply, knowing that god is completely unknowable is um... knowledge...

    but, I'm not going to quibble over that.

    I'd be much happier if all the xtians and muslims would convert to gnosticism.

     

    Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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    Dylan
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    Rigor_OMortis

    Rigor_OMortis wrote:

    Quote:
    I'm Gnostic, so my beliefs on this won't really help anyone.

    From the gnostic.org site, I have found the following points that should be definitory for a gnostic:

    Quote:

  • God is incomprehensible in totality, however we may know about "God" through study of the Universe and Ourselves.

  • Inspiration is a product of a relationship with a Greater Intelligence and is the ultimate source of all Knowledge.

  • There is only One Truth and the Religions of the World are but facets of its expression.

  • The Ultimate Source of Divine Authority is the Individual.

  • Service to the World is the Greatest Expression of Inspiration, Enlightenment and Truth.
  •  

    I might be willing to give a certain credit to all of these, but the third one. I admit to not having the knowledge of a superior being's existance (or lack of), but what I do know is that there is far too much mystery, vagueness and interest (considering the recent news, for instance about the layoffs at whatever megachurch, for example - interest that is material, intellectual and political as well) for these days' religions to be faceted expressions of the same superior being.

    It sounds to me as if you are a believer in search of a divinity. And that you've stuck with Christianity simply because that's the common belief where you are, not because you'd give much literal credit to the Bible or Christianity's teachings.

    If this is the case, and if you are able to develop, show and exercise a set of moral beliefs based on human life, rights and values, and if you are able to respect what others say, think and do, I for one will have no problem with that.

    So indeed, your beliefs will not help here. It wasn't my intention to challenge such a belief.

    Yup, that pretty much covers it. Laughing

    And the third one doesn't contradict the first... ? But, I won't quibble over that either.


    deludedgod
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    Yep. See I have no problem

    Yep. See I have no problem with theism per se. If the whole world was made up of gnostics, agnostics and atheists, we could all dance around singing kumbaya my lord in a drum circle. However, it is the mutual exclusivity of religious doctrine that appalls me.

    "Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

    -Me

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    Hambydammit
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    I agree, deluded. I think

    I agree, deluded.

    I think the biggest problem is that in order to be a religion, a thing must NOT be science, or we'd call it science.  In other words, religion must have something irrational in it -- it's just the degree of irrationality.  Gnosticism, for example, asserts something irrational, i.e. the existence of an unknowable deity, but then leaves it there and then makes some rather logical claims about what it means to live a good life.

    This is all fine, and if everyone would do this, I suppose I wouldn't have much of a problem with religion.  It's that damnable open end that bothers me, though.  If you allow me to assert the existence of an unknowable god, you're still giving value to belief in something without evidence, and that still opens the door for radicals, and amounts to tacit approval.  In other words, the moderates still provide a foundation for the radicals.

    And, you know, I hate to say it, but -- no offense towards dylan, who has been quite polite -- even the Unitarians I've met regard me as somehow less of a person than them because I don't embrace their particular idea of universal spirituality.  Further, the unitarians, because they won't speak out directly against fundamentalism, are condoning it and giving it power.

    I just don't know if there's a day, in America at least, in the forseeable future where religion can be wielded benevolently by the masses.

     

    Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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    Dylan
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    No offense taken,

    No offense taken, HambyDammit.

    I just have to say that I do not think of anyone as less of a person than me. One of the goals of the Gnostics is just to provide an oppurtunity to take what we call the Straight Path. We in no way force you to take the Straight Path, because only few take this path. And this Straight Path only tries to relieve you of the egos which are lust, anger, etc. to let you become one with your Higher Self. And become a Bodhisattva.

    Once one acheives the Bodhisattva status, and this will take years... Samael Aun Weor did it when he was 61... they come back and help Humanity. And they don't do this by pressuring people into a religion, because Gnosticism is the religion from which all major religions sprouted.

    You have every right to take the Spiral Path and gain the benefits of Nirvana. You will still end up in Heaven after your lives are up.

    Hm... this post has been entirely off topic... Sorry. Laughing

    So, the Gnostics' main goal: To help humanity.


    ShaunPhilly
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    Dylan wrote: So, the

    Dylan wrote:

    So, the Gnostics' main goal: To help humanity.

    I'm glad you wish to help humanity.  My question would be what kind of help, what ideals for humanity you are trying to achieve, and what do you do if those ideals conflict with mine? 

    That is, what if I find the path harmful, rather than helpful? 

    Shaun 

    I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit.


    Dylan
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    ShaunPhilly wrote: Dylan

    ShaunPhilly wrote:
    Dylan wrote:

    So, the Gnostics' main goal: To help humanity.

    I'm glad you wish to help humanity.  My question would be what kind of help, what ideals for humanity you are trying to achieve, and what do you do if those ideals conflict with mine? 

    That is, what if I find the path harmful, rather than helpful? 

    Shaun 

    Helping humanity by trying to happiness and well-being.


    ShaunPhilly
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    Dylan wrote: ShaunPhilly

    Dylan wrote:
    ShaunPhilly wrote:
    Dylan wrote:

    So, the Gnostics' main goal: To help humanity.

    I'm glad you wish to help humanity. My question would be what kind of help, what ideals for humanity you are trying to achieve, and what do you do if those ideals conflict with mine?

    That is, what if I find the path harmful, rather than helpful?

    Shaun

    Helping humanity by trying to happiness and well-being.

    What types of things lead to happiness and what criteria are you using for "well-being"?  I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm curious if and how our definitions may differ.

    Shaun 

    I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit.


    Dylan
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    ShaunPhilly wrote: Dylan

    ShaunPhilly wrote:
    Dylan wrote:
    ShaunPhilly wrote:
    Dylan wrote:

    So, the Gnostics' main goal: To help humanity.

    I'm glad you wish to help humanity. My question would be what kind of help, what ideals for humanity you are trying to achieve, and what do you do if those ideals conflict with mine?

    That is, what if I find the path harmful, rather than helpful?

    Shaun

    Helping humanity by trying to happiness and well-being.

    What types of things lead to happiness and what criteria are you using for "well-being"?  I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm curious if and how our definitions may differ.

    Shaun 

    Let's just say it really depends on the person.


    JHenson
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    The assumption of the

    The assumption of the article is that a god or gods must desire to be acknowledged as real.  All silence of a god or gods prooves is that if they exist, this is not their interest.

    "The map appears more real to us than the land." - Lawrence


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    Quote: The assumption of

    Quote:
    The assumption of the article is that a god or gods must desire to be acknowledged as real.  All silence of a god or gods prooves is that if they exist, this is not their interest.

    Yes, that is true. Do you not find that according to reality?

    If you don't, that leaves you bound to the same sphere as Dylan, who correctly identified that a deist belief cannot be applied the same logic this essay follows. While that works just fine with deism, and I freely admit it, it doesn't work at all with Christianity and other such religions. If Yahweh or Allah wouldn't desire to be considered real, they couldn't possibly desire worship either.

    As we all know, this is not the case. Considering the Bible as simply a historical allegory, as it does have some historical truth in the stories it tells, although widely exaggerated, Yahweh's actions point towards a god that desires both worship and sacrifice. To offer that to a god that you don't necessarily believe in is pure madness.

    Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
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    Christian theology has it

    Christian theology has it that humanity was not capable of knowing and loving, let alone worshipping God even with the various reported signs and miracles.  Christ was the intercession that bridged the gap between human failings and God's plan for us.

    The bottom line is that God wants to share his love with us, and that we might love him.  Anyone who's been in a romantic relationship should know that love is a lot more than just a feeling - it's more akin to a skill.  The Bible likens the future human relationship with God to marriage, which would presumably be to illustrate not only that we must learn to love, but that we should make ourselves lovable as one of many ways to glorify and love our God.

    That is the Christian perspective, at least.  I'm not asking you to believe it, only passing on information as best I can.

    "The map appears more real to us than the land." - Lawrence


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    Quote: Christian theology

    Quote:
    Christian theology has it that humanity was not capable of knowing and loving, let alone worshipping God even with the various reported signs and miracles.

    For once, I have to agree with Christianity on this one. I know that I wouldn't be capable of truly loving a god that orders murder and destruction, that gives a choice between loving him or being tortured forever, that induces suffering to his creation for reasons that are far beyond anyone's logic, that afflicts the innocent along with the guilty again for no apparent reason.

    Quote:
    Christ was the intercession that bridged the gap between human failings and God's plan for us.

    Yes... a person that endorses slavery, that curses a fig tree for not doing exactly what it was supposed to NOT be doing at that moment, for breaking the law that his fatherly self originally gave, who leaves room for just as many different interpretations of his word than people are on this planet, who further restates the choice of love or torture. Thank you, but no, thank you.

    Quote:
    The bottom line is that God wants to share his love with us, and that we might love him.

    I'm all fine with that. However...

    Quote:
    Anyone who's been in a romantic relationship should know that love is a lot more than just a feeling - it's more akin to a skill.

    A skill it might be, but every skill comes in handy at the right circumstance. In the case of your god, it isn't the case.

    Quote:
    The Bible likens the future human relationship with God to marriage, which would presumably be to illustrate not only that we must learn to love, but that we should make ourselves lovable as one of many ways to glorify and love our God.

    Or else be tortured for an eternity. What sick kind of a choice is that? I don't love you, JHenson, there is no possible way that I could love you, I only know you as a name on a forum and a few posts, but that does not mean that I hate you. If it comes to your god, it would seem that the previous sentence cannot apply. For your god, non-love means hate.

    Quote:
    That is the Christian perspective, at least.  I'm not asking you to believe it, only passing on information as best I can.
     

    And you did a very good job, too. Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with that information you are passing along.

    And we don't accept it. What happened to the old American saying "If you love [insert entity here], you must let it go", should there be the case. If your god doesn't want to let me go, if your god denies me the "restitutio in integrum" when I die, he clearly doesn't love me. And I see no reason why I should love him in return.

    Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
    http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/


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    The assumption of the

    The assumption of the article is that a god or gods must desire to be acknowledged as real.  All silence of a god or gods prooves is that if they exist, this is not their interest.

    Hahahaha!  That's hilarious!  By your own definition, would that make all biblical text false?  If "god(s)" do not care if people think they exist, what is the bloody point?  Why believe anything at all????


    Vastet
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    deludedgod

    deludedgod wrote:

    Fantastic. I raise this point all the time and theists always have no response. The fact of the matter is, all respected religions are ancient.  Mormonism has no respect except from perhaps a tiny chunk of Utahans. This is because a) It is ridiculous b) It was revealed in 1850

    I must state that this isn't entirely accurate, just mostly accurate. In South Park(Colorado), the only ones entitled to go to heaven are the Mormons. With the sole exception of Saddam Hussein, who was sent there because hell wasn't evil enough for him to really be punished there. Which rather explains how heavens population is only about 2k while hell is approaching the hundreds of trillions...

    Heh heh heh

    Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


    Ophios
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    Quote: Hahahaha!  That's

    Quote:
    Hahahaha!  That's hilarious!  By your own definition, would that make all biblical text false?  If "god(s)" do not care if people think they exist, what is the bloody point?  Why believe anything at all????

    That would also prove most gods true, and that can't be. 

    AImboden wrote:
    I'm not going to PM my agreement just because one tucan has pms.