October 1, 2014

What do Americans pray for? Themselves. And maybe a sports team

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(RNS) When Americans aren’t busy praying for themselves or their own needs — and most of them are — many are seeking divine intervention on behalf of a favorite sports team or the golden ticket in the lottery, according to a new survey.

"Among Americans who pray: People typically pray for..." graphic courtesy of LifeWay Christian Resources.

“Among Americans who pray: People typically pray for…” graphic courtesy of LifeWay Christian Resources.

About 13 percent of Americans who pray say they pray for sports teams, compared with about one in five (21 percent) who say they have prayed to win the lottery, the new survey from LifeWay Research suggests. 

A survey earlier this year from Public Religion Research Institute suggested that more Americans (26 percent) pray for their sports team, while more than seven in 10 (73 percent) say they have never done this.

Some of LifeWay’s new survey’s main findings include:

  • 48 percent of Americans pray every day
  • 82 percent who pray typically pray about family or friends
  • 20 percent pray for people of other faiths or no faith
  • Equal numbers of Americans (7 percent) pray behind the wheel, either for a good parking space or not to get a speeding ticket
  • Smaller numbers of people, around 5 percent, pray for someone’s relationship to end, someone to get fired or for someone else to fail.

In the New Testament, Paul encourages Christians to pray for those in authority. However, only about 12 percent of Americans who pray say they pray for government officials, according to the survey.

"Among Americans who pray: Have you ever prayed for..." graphic courtesy of LifeWay Christian Resources.

“Among Americans who pray: Have you ever prayed for…” graphic courtesy of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Jesus also directs Christians to pray for their enemies. About 40 percent who pray say they have done so, while four in 10 (41 percent) have prayed for people who have mistreated them.

Prayer is receiving attention this fall from at least two Christian leaders with books coming out: prolific Max Lucado, whose book “Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer” came out Tuesday (Sept. 30), and New York City megachurch pastor Tim Keller, whose book “Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy With God” will be published Nov. 4.

About a third of survey respondents say they pray several times a day, according to the survey. About two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans say they pray at least once a month.

The online survey of 1,137 Americans has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

KRE/MG END BAILEY

 

 

 

  • Thanks for the article. Turns out solipsism wins in prayer – as it should.

    “Pray: to ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy” – Ambrose Bierce

    Prayer is nonsense and not for grownups.

    Wisdom has nothing to do with asking for special favors.
    Wishing for favors from an invisible, unaccountable Master in the sky is bad form, and bad for people generally. Since it includes abjection, it is a degenerate practice. And it is immoral to teach it.

    “The Our Father”, “Hail Mary” and many other prayers are stultifying, backward practices which stunt emotional and intellectual growth.

    All of it damages critical thinking – the one quality humans have which other creatures appear not to have.

  • Fran

    Of course, Jesus gave us the model prayer to follow which is addressed to our Heavenly Father, God (Matthew 6:9-13).

    Of great importance to me is praying that God’s Kingdom (heavenly government) come and that God’s will take place as in heaven and also on earth (Matthew 6:10).

    That heavenly government was established in heaven in 1914 when Jesus became its King, according to Bible chronology, and was the start of the last days of this wicked era.

    As foretold by the prophet Daniel (Daniel 2:44), God’s kingdom will soon put an end to all human governments and bring great blessings to mankind on earth
    through its perfect, righteous, loving and just rule (Isaiah 11:1-9; Psalm 37:10,11; Revelation 21:1-4). I would be elated to see its literal fulfillment with my own eyes and that is one of my prayers.

    I also have to constantly pray for forgiveness of sins since I make so many mistakes on a daily basis (Matthew 6:12).

  • @Fran,

    “Of great importance to me is praying that God’s Kingdom (heavenly government) come and that God’s will take place as in heaven and also on earth (Matthew 6:10).”

    Why Fran?
    If God is going to do it someday – why is it so important for NOW?
    If you love God and are with God, aren’t all our problems already solved?
    If you believe in eternity and perfect peace and salvation is already bringing you peace and joy what is the point of this last hurrah? Isn’t god’s kingdom already here? already in your heart?

    Or are you actually just an Atheist non-believer
    looking for proof because you really can’t believe any of it
    until you see it with your own eyes?

    Wishing for one thing always leads to wishing for other things.
    That is why it is dangerous to go down this road of prayer. It takes you to a place completely unhinged from reality.

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  • gilhcan

    The response is simple to those who have studied religion and its believers. Regarding the reason why people pray for themselves is because they are unsatisfied with their lives, anxious about the future, even post mortem. The reason people, including sports players, extend their “prayer life” to those games is because sports ranks at the top of their top concerns about life. They ignore thinking about death until later years or until illness or the death of others scares them.

    Think about the million-dollar gates the billionaire owners of professional football took in right after all their patrons exclaimed, “Oh my” over the recently exposed domestic abuse of girlfriends and four-year-old kids by the millionaire thug players of pro-football.

    People pray when things aren’t as good as they wish they would be, having been taught that their almighty, good God in heaven would change their lives because the economic and military forces beyond their control are making them miserable.

    If they obtain what they want, no matter what they’ve done or not done to obtain it, they credit their prayers to their God. It’s mostly the behavior of people who are religiously illiterate, brain-washed people. It’s serious magic for adults.

    Few “religious people” are sophisticated enough, literate enough about “religion” or prayer to begin to understand the difference between childish oral begging and real, mature prayer as meditation.

    Take Jesuit Pope Francis as an example. I don’t know Jesuit routines now, but not too many years in the past each Jesuit spent an hour every morning in private, silent meditation. That was real prayer. Pondering for understanding. Consideration of one’s manners and ways they should be converted to be a better person, like Trappist monks, more full and practicing of “faith, hope, and charity,” and honesty, “and the greatest of these is” honesty, the basis of all other virtues, the only way to become good..

    .

  • @Gilhan,

    “That was real prayer. Pondering for understanding. Consideration of one’s manners and ways they should be converted to be a better person, like Trappist monks, more full and practicing of “faith, hope, and charity,” and honesty, “and the greatest of these is” honesty, the basis of all other virtues, the only way to become good..”

    I agree that such meditation is extremely helpful and an excellent practice.
    But my major quibble is calling it ‘prayer’.

    To pray is to beg; it is abject, superstitious nonsense. It doesn’t work.

    To meditate on wisdom is real. And it works very well.

  • Earold D. Gunter

    Prayer simply is a waste of time and is immoral in many ways. It is a waste of time because the person doing the praying is just either talking to no one out loud, or thinking it. It is immoral because it replaces actions with thoughts.

    The irony of it is that instead accepting the “will of god”, the religious instead ask their god to change his will because they asked him to.

    I would ask, no beg that every single religious person who reads this comment to pray to their god to regrow the limbs of every amputee in the world (he does it for the tails of certain types of creatures), heal every ill person (he is the great physician, right?), insure that no child is born unhealthy or deprived of any normal bodily function, just for a start. Once he has answered all that, you can ask for world peace, and maybe a new car.

    I’ll be waiting to hear about these things, and waiting, and waiting……

  • opheliart

    Two and one half years ago, I was shown while communing, that there would be a severe virus, a deadly epidemic, that would come upon the people. I wrote to two priests about this. I was shown that it would come to the States, despite what “top” medical professionals involved in this were saying on the news a while back. It is here. It is time for people to put aside their arguments about whether or not Spirit is real, prayer is called prayer, meditation, communing, or lifestyle Consciousness … come together and start asking questions of community officials on how to address this, and other concerns. The government cannot do for you. You are one of many in need.

    What if Ebola enters your community? What will you do? What of travel, food supply, medical care, workers …? What is the condition of your health? Are there things you can do without? What of your children? What of college age and traveling abroad? These are concerns that we all deal with. Parishes and schools may become hospitals, so be glad they exist. Are those involved in these prepared for change? We are all in this … even you, Atheist Max …

    Peace

  • opheliart

    Oh, and Max, don’t start calling me a liar … you simply do not know what others experience, and the levels of Awareness in this.

    Peace

  • opheliart

    E,

    “The irony of it is that instead accepting the “will of god”, the religious instead ask their god to change his will because they asked him to.”

    You are definitely on to something in this statement.

    Peace and Love

  • opheliart

    gilhcan,

    you say:

    “Take Jesuit Pope Francis as an example. I don’t know Jesuit routines now, but not too many years in the past each Jesuit spent an hour every morning in private, silent meditation. That was real prayer. Pondering for understanding. Consideration of one’s manners and ways they should be converted to be a better person, like Trappist monks, more full and practicing of “faith, hope, and charity,” and honesty, “and the greatest of these is” honesty, the basis of all other virtues, the only way to become good.. ”

    Those of gnosis (ancients of the wisdom texts like The Philokalia) say that “Prayer should be ceaseless.” Obviously, not given to navel gazing, or sitting in a cell for hours on end, days, weeks, years, without bringing forth what is shown … IT IS a monastic existence that is COMMUNAL both inwardly and outwardly—unceasing. One is in continuous revelation, and moving into Spiritual Maturity if aware in Gift. In this, there is the necessity to connect and engage with the intent of assisting in healing, and this harbors the practical in relation to the needs of the time.

    Peace

  • opheliart

    and gilhcan,

    I can share an example of a Seer having meditated on a priest with cancer, but Max will only take parts of what is written and twist the meaning to serve his own agenda, so …

    Peace

  • opheliart

    Hey, Max … spending 44 years talking to a wall … does not make you an expert on meditation or prayer. It might be WISE of you to cease treating people with experience as if they are ignorant.

  • @Opheliart,

    Your ‘experience’ is not worth anything to me. If you cannot explain why “spirit” or “god” is true, it is worthless.

    If someone tells you they saw Elvis at the supermarket,
    the mentally healthy, correct response is
    “Really? Cool! But why do you think it was Elvis? Elvis is supposed to be dead.”

    People should have reasons behind their claims. As in, “Well, he started singing “Hound Dog” and it was exactly his voice.” Then I have something to go on!

    Prayer is a word which means ‘to beg’. I didn’t invent the word or the definition.
    I can claim that Meditation is different, because the evidence has shown it to be superior. Meditation and reflection, as Gilhan pointed out, has been show to actually work. Prayer does not work.

    If you tell me that prayer works, you need to back up that claim with some hard evidence. I have been shown no evidence that prayer actually works on any level except as a placebo to make people feel as though they are doing something when it is quite clear they have done nothing.

  • @Opheliart,

    “I was shown while communing, that there would be a severe virus, a deadly epidemic, that would come upon the people.”

    Do You have any evidence of this claim?
    Because it looks ridiculous – as in, deserving ridicule.

    You are free to believe it, and I am not rejecting your belief in your own claim – but religious prophecy is a fool’s errand unless you have the evidence to share with others. And if your evidence is ‘Ebola has now come to Dallas just as I prophecied’ I will want to see the dated material where you wrote that down.

    Otherwise, I have a bunch of prophecies which will all come true I would like to share them:

    The World will end someday millions of years from now.
    The Sun will shine again someday.
    The Moon will stay in its orbit for the next million years.
    A comet will return in the night sky someday.
    A plague will return someday.

    These are not prophecies. They are scientific facts.

    To support your claim you would have to show where you wrote down your prediction two years ago and the details about it being in Dallas in October 2014. That is how you back up a claim.

    Otherwise you are spreading a claim which is not true. Such claims should be challenged as it is the moral thing to do.

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  • @Earold D. Gunter,

    “I would..beg that every single religious person..pray to their god to regrow the limbs of every amputee in the world (he does it for the tails of certain types of creatures)”

    Well said.

    Many people don’t realize that God appears to love Salamanders and Starfish much more than he loves humans.

    Many such creatures get to grow their limbs back as many times as they need to! And they don’t even pray for it! (as far as we know 😉 )

  • opheliart

    “Prayer is a word which means ‘to beg’.”

    Is this another of your Roman Catholic ‘upbrining’ … good grief, Max …

    It means no such thing. What did they teach you in your catechism classes?

    *******

    “Your ‘experience’ is not worth anything to me. If you cannot explain why “spirit” or “god” is true, it is worthless.”

    If you decided that you wanted to play baseball because someone said it was a decent exercise, do you sit and bitch at everyone playing because you never got off your butt to practice—to learn? If you have NEVER done it, Max, you CANNOT know. It’s that simple. If you were expecting that your rosary would provide for you some Spiritual Awareness then you were not questioning Conscience …

    It is an EXERCISE of searching—seeking. Now, if you say, “This is hogwash!” before you start then it will be hogwash for you. You want something without working for it, but you have no trouble dismissing everyone sharing their experiences. I guess it is more fun for you to steal the lunch money of another rather than get your own. Good luck preaching that in the public square.

    Peace

  • opheliart

    I was expecting this from you …

    Enjoy ridiculing, Max … this is what you live for.

    Peace

  • opheliart

    It is what we expect from one like you 🙂

  • opheliart

    I would like to be the voice here, for a moment, for those who have expressed to me their desire to share in some of what they have experienced in prayer/discernment/ meditation … dreams and visions (and many know what I am talking about, especially many of the known artists throughout history like El Greco, van Gogh, Thomas Merton and so many others) … but are afraid to speak for the ridicule that will follow from those like Atheist Max. I have heard from so many believers in Spirit, and even from some not so much believing, that they want to share experiences, but they are AFRAID to because of the intent of those who try to destroy their reputation, or somehow make then look mentally ill, delusional, even dangerous. This is criminal. I am speaking for many here. This has to stop that children can grow more naturally in what they experience and not be made to feel degenerate! They need to be able to embrace their experiences in a manner that does not set them up for ridicule and labeling. I have had experiences as a child that I was afraid to share because I knew most religious would condemn me based on their beliefs … and now I find militant Atheists with their own brand of religion acting like a predator. This must stop! The ARTS are immense and should not be confined to the likes of Atheist Max in his mud-slinging hatred of Spiritual Expression because of a nasty experience in a Patriarchal Religion.

    Max, you are the oppressor! Let the children BREATHE!!!

    Peace

  • Ophelia.

    “Max, you are the oppressor!”

    That is entirely unfair.
    I am taking a break from asking you any more questions.
    Please stop mentioning me in your posts.

    *note to RNS.
    I am not offended, please don’t censor Opheliart.

  • Jim

    If there is a god who can read our hearts and minds, it should not be necessary to petition it through prayer. If it does not know what’s in our hearts, it is not omniscient. If there is a god who hears our prayers, it does not seem necessary to pray for something more than once. If believers did not get what they prayed for the first time, they may assume that the answer was “no,” or that their god does not hear their prayers, or that there is no god. If the answer was “no,” they should quit pestering their god with the same request. And if it does not hear their prayers, or there really is no god, there’s no point in continuing to pray. By the same reasoning, if a god hears and responds to prayer it should not be necessary for more than one person to pray for the same thing.

  • opheliart

    Jim,

    Do you even know WHAT you are talking about? Do you engage or commune with family members? Or do you speak once to them and never again? Despite what some people say on this, to pray is not to beg, at least not any prayer I have ever engaged in, but even if one did, he or she might feel as a child hurting or wanting, and is this such a terrible thing, especially if a child needs this because everything else around him is confusing? It is not for any one to DICTATE how one should pray, especially if not understanding this purpose and exercise. I do not know where people get the idea that God is NOT a RELATIONSHIP … quite possibly from people who have NEVER EXPERIENCED SPIRIT. And yet some unknowing parade themselves as if they are experts on the rights and wrongs of what is faith, what is believing, what is communing, what it is be within a LIFE of prayer/communing … without EVER having lived this. It is like saying to ME: you have no right to be alive, you adverse and disgusting creature.

    Jim, there are some who experience God/Communing not as a thing, but as Father, Mother, Friend, Parent, Mentor, Guide, Advocate, Healer, Teacher … and as a Comforter in difficult times like death of loved ones, pain and suffering, and dying … Spirit is a Living God, and NOT a disgusting idea like one person on these threads felt compelled to share.

    God is active to one like me.

    It is offensive to hear Atheists call God/Spirit, a reality that many of us EXPERIENCE IN LOVE, a disgusting idea. I think it time that those who hate the idea of God realize that some people are BORN THIS WAY, like one is born with a drive or tendency in the ARTS, for it feels very much as one in this sense.

    Peace

  • Fran

    Max,

    A prophecy in the book of Daniel helps us understand in what period of time we are living.

    Daniel describes an image that looks like a human and made of different metals (Daniel 2:28, 31-33). It represents world powers in the past and present. They include:

    Babylon (head of gold)
    Medo-Persia (breasts and arms of silver)
    Greece (belly and thighs of copper)
    Rome (legs of iron)

    The last world power exists in OUR day. The feet and toes represent this world power.

    During World War I, Britain and the US started working together in a special way; the 5th part of the image represents the Anglo-American world power.

    The feet are the last part of the image, so there will be no human world power after it. The feet and toes are made of iron and clay, which represents the weak state of this world power.

    In this prophecy, God’s kingdom is represented by a large stone that was cut from a mountain in 1914 (when God’s kingdom was established in the heavens).

    The mountain represents Jehovah’s sovereignty or right to rule. That stone will soon hit the feet of the image.

    At Armageddon, the feet and the rest of the image (all of man’s governments) will be smashed. This is confirmed by the prophecy of Revelation 16:14 that “the kings of the entire inhabited earth” will come together to fight against Jehovah on his great day.

    Before this takes place, the destruction of the world empire of false religion must take place (Revelation 17:5,6,15). That action will mark the beginning of the great tribulation (Mark 24:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:8). False religion will be destroyed by the worldwide political systems (Revelation 17:16).

    God’s servants will next be attacked by those political systems, which will be the start of Armageddon. God’s people on earth will exercise faith and trust that Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial (2 Peter 2:9) and that Jehovah will be the victor of this war.

    Thus will start the 1,000-year rule by God’s kingdom over the entire earth with Jesus as King! During that time, all the problems we now face which you referred to in your post will be done away with! As the Bible so eloquently states: “For everything there is an appointed time, even a time for every affair under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

    I will not be the one to question or mock God’s timetable at any time, since he knows when it is best to take place. Besides that, it is comforting to know that “Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to retain to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

    So WHY is prayer important to me? It is a major means of communication with my loving Creator! It helps me to keep a close relationship with him, as regular communication between my close human friends does. I can thank him for all the wonderful things he provides me on a daily basis. I can come to him at any time or any place and express my concerns or doubts to him or request strength from him when experiencing difficulties. I know that “Jehovah is far away from the wicked ones, but the prayer of the righteous ones he hears” (Proverbs 15:29).

    I will do as David did: “I inquired of God and he answered me, and out of all my frights, he delivered me” (Psalm 34:4). Having a close relationship with him gives me the faith that he will answer my prayers, as long as they are in accordance with his will.

    Am I an atheist as you asked in your post? I believe all my posts to you thus far have answered that question! However, I shall now confirm that I have never been an atheist and never will be!! I am a loyal earthly subject of Jehovah God and his heavenly kingdom or government. I will continue to do as the prophet Micah expressed:

    “He has told you, oh man, what is good. And what is Jehovah requiring of you? Only to exercise justice, to cherish loyalty, and to walk in modesty with your God!” (Micah 6:8)

  • Fran

    Gilhcan,

    Please see my response to Max’s questions above. 😀

  • opheliart

    Max, it is completely fair! I have had people read your posts and say, oh my gosh … what is wrong with that man! I know of one who would not come on these threads because he saw a few of your posts and said, forget it, I’m not going to comment in that.

    You do not even see the hurt you have caused some people. We are still wondering how someone could demonstrate so much hate for one he does not even know.

  • Jamie Breyer

    Er, Opheliart..you didn’t just say somebody is born with a certain belief right? “some people are BORN THIS WAY” did you really mean that? Never heard of such a thing.

  • opheliart

    unaccountable Master in the sky? Uh, no …

    20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

    21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU.

    Peace

  • opheliart

    Jamie Breyer,
    do not twist my words … you say:

    “Er, Opheliart..you didn’t just say somebody is born with a certain belief right? “some people are BORN THIS WAY” did you really mean that? Never heard of such a thing.”

    A certain belief? No. I said: The KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN. Some people are born experiencing this—some are born this way.

    Peace

  • opheliart

    A certain belief as in a certain RELIGION—NO. You never heard of someone being born experiencing Spirit? Well, now you have.

    Peace

  • opheliart

    Gee, people, or at least some people, have no problems believing homosexuals when they say they are born homosexual. I say Spirit (God) is a RELATIONSHIP, and that I was born this way, and people are surprised? They have never heard that the Kingdom of God is within? Even our earliest Native peoples in America and elsewhere understood Spirit. What has this world come to that Spirit is now so foreign? So foreign and such a topic of hatred and ridicule …

    Wow.

    Peace

  • Fran

    Earold,

    These are some of the stupendous blessings that God and his kingdom or heavenly government will bestow to humans during its upcoming 1,000-yr. rule:

    “The eyes of the blind ones will be opened.” (Isaiah 35:5) I am thinking now of Andrea Bocelli and Stevie Wonder who will be able to see again (and all other blind ones)!

    “The lame one will climb up just as a stag does.” (Isaiah 35:6). Those who have lost body parts will regain them. Wheelchairs and canes will no longer be necessary.

    “No resident will say I am sick.” (Isaiah 33:25). All sickness, diseases and dangerous viruses (even cancers of all types, HIV and Ebola) will be eliminated!

    “There will come to be plenty of grain on the earth.” (Psalm 72:6) Hunger will be non-existent.

    “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out …” (John 5:28,29) Those we have lost to death will be restored to us!

    “He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning, nor outcry nor pain be anymore for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).

    All those people whom Jesus healed of sickness, disease and even death (such as Lazarus) while he was on earth eventually died and are still dead. So WHY do we have a record of these healings?

    They are a “preview” of the miracles God’s kingdom will perform on a worldwide basis for mankind during that millenial rule!!

    These events WILL take place whether we believe them or not. I make the choice to believe them since they are promises by God, his prophecies and promises always come true, and he never lies. I continue to pray that I will literally still be alive to “see” them take place.

    To see my dad, who passed away 19 years ago from a stroke, brought back to life on earth and to cry tears of joy and give him the BIGGEST HUG ever to welcome him back is on the top of my list!! 😀

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  • Jamie Breyer

    Opheliarts, “do not twist my words” ….It was copy/paste. I didn’t change anything – and..”born experiencing Spirit?”….whatever.

  • suzy spellcheck

    opheliart
    all the while your god continues to do nothing about his holy men raping our children. logic dictates he enjoys the act or does not exist.
    I say he does not exist because i’m not evil enough to think otherwise.
    although i am an evil militant atheist.
    loud and proud.

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  • sue

    Max,
    Prayer requires FAITH. IF you do NOT believe-you will NEVER see your prayers answered!
    I’m so sorry you’ve become disillusioned in God. IF you TRULY seek the TRUTH-you will find it.
    God bless your honest efforts to seek HIM!

  • sue

    Max, Your definition of prayer is “to beg”
    That is NOT the definition of prayer….sorry, but dictionaries say (and I copy/pasted)

    a devout petition to God or an object of worship.
    2.
    A SPIRITUAL COMMUNION with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession.

    God WANTS us to commune with HIM! Prayer is our way-given to us through our faith and HIS grace!

  • opheliart

    The Suz says … “all the while your god continues to do nothing about his holy men raping our children.”

    Would you agree that mankind has the right to choose his acts? I would guess that you would say yes. Cased closed on your accusations of me, Suzy dear … you might try spitting your hatred on those who use God as a weapon.

    Lumping everybody into one very limited mind view and experience … again … without ever actually reading posts … good grief.

    Peace

  • Sue,

    Prayer means”petition”. To Petition is to ask for something. To petition a god is ‘to beg’. begging is demeaning and wishful thinking is dangerous for people who engage in it.

    Unlike prayer, meditation is a healthy practice. Especially if it is not connected to a belief in a god.
    It appears there are no gods. Gods appear to be metaphors for larger ideas and products of the imagination only.

  • @Sue,

    Faith is not a legitimate method of inquiry.
    If it were, all the religions of the world would have to be equally true. Even the ones you invent by yourself while daydreaming. And yet that is impossible.

    It is not possible for Al Qeuda to be correct in its claim that suicide bombing at the direction of Allah is ‘true’.
    This is what happens with ‘faith’.

    Faith is a worthless method of inquiry.

  • Chris

    Your “prophecies” are not scientific facts. A prediction of future behavior, even if it is based on past behavior, is not a “fact.” The moon could be struck by a rogue planetoid/asteroid and knocked out of its orbit. Your prophecies are mere possibilities.

    By your comments its obvious you think you are clever and logical, but your words are meaningless. “Faith is not a legitimate method of inquiry.” What does that even mean? Faith is belief without evidence. Perhaps you meant “prayer” not a legitimate method of inquiry.

    “If it were, all the religions of the world would have to be true.” Really? Belief without evidence requires all religions to be true? These are meaningless phrases you are spouting.

    Be logical.

    Max, the scientific method is based on observable cause and effect. Water evaporates, condenses into clouds, precipitates as rain. In the early solar system, asteroids accreted into planetoids, heavy materials sinking toward the center, lighter materials forming a crust, and thus the planets were formed. But tell me Max, what is the first cause of the universe? If all of science relies on cause and effect, what is the first cause? Something from nothing is not scientific.

    By the laws of science, the existence of the universe is impossible Max.

  • Chris

    Thanks for your comments here. The whole “why does God let bad things happen” argument is so tired and seems to be the most popular one trotted out by atheists.

    I was agnostic for my first 33 years, and then I was converted by a combination of intellectual inquiry and I guess a mystical dream experience.

    I probably said a lot of these things Max and others are saying over the years, thinking I was so smart. But now I know better. Thanks be to God!

  • @Chris,

    “Your prophecies are mere possibilities.”

    No, they are mathematical probabilities.

    It was claimed by someone on these comment boards that they had been ‘shown’ that a plague was coming to America (presumably by some supernatural power, they did not elaborate). Unless such a person can elaborate on exactly when and where the plague will arrive, they are simply stating a scientific probability – not a special insight.
    Anyone who knows about infectious disease understands that the world is overdue for a mass pandemic as in the 1918 flu which killed millions of people around the globe.

    If you go to a restaurant predicting cheeseburgers are on probably on the menu, you are not being prophetic. And you would be foolish to think so.

  • @Chris,

    “Be logical……by the laws of science, the existence of the universe is impossible Max.”

    So the universe is your personal illusion? Are you alright? Are you a solipsist?

    ” If all of science relies on cause and effect, what is the first cause?”

    1. That is the wrong question. There appears to have been no ‘first’ cause.
    2. Regardless, I don’t know the first cause if there was one. Why don’t you tell me if you know? Or would that be too arrogant for you?


    “Something from nothing is not scientific.”

    Wrong.
    According to the research of Laurence Krauss and other physicists the idea of ‘nothing’ is fiction. There apparently is no such thing as complete nothingness because quantum material has always been present. There never was a ‘nothing’ to start with. Krauss’ book is called “A Universe from Nothing” and scientists like him are beginning to unravel some of these mysteries. Furthermore the Big bang may have been one of many.

    Americans pray because they don’t know what else to do.
    They have been conditioned and trained to do it without any thought – and the religious bloviators keep crushing the thought process the minute they get any doubts about whether prayer is effective or not.

    And the Priests, gurus and self-appointed ‘spiritual specialists’ push their baseless, outlandish claims about the ‘spirit world’ without the slightest evidence that any of it is true. They KNOW they cannot be certain of their claims but they bloviate as if it is true to see what sticks!

    Nothing is doing more damage to science and to the minds of young children than these empty claims spouted from ‘spiritual’ knowledge – which actually isn’t the slightest bit ‘knowledge’ at all.

  • @Chris,

    Staying with the topic of this article above…
    If you pray, you must think there is a reason to bother.
    No need to answer any of these questions. You don’t owe anyone any answers as I’m sure you know. But if you respond I will challenge these things.

    “I was agnostic for my first 33 years”
    Then something changed?

    “I was converted by a combination of intellectual inquiry…”
    What religion were you converted to? What inquiry did pursue?

    “….and I guess a mystical dream experience.”
    Not sure? Are you hedging?

  • Chris

    If quantum material has always been present, where did it come from? The entire scientific method is based on measurable cause and effect, and yet this breaks down completely when it comes to the origin of the universe. And yes, the same question can be asked “Where did God come from?” But to say that science has settled the first cause problem is preposterous.

    You said: “Nothing is doing more damage to science and to the minds of young children than these empty claims spouted from ‘spiritual’ knowledge – which actually isn’t the slightest bit ‘knowledge’ at all.”

    Seems like your describing the scientists who brush off the first-cause paradox by saying a precursor to existence was eternal. Sounds like they are talking about God.

  • Chris

    @Max,

    You may find some intellectual food for debate in the writings of Peter Kreeft. You probably encounter a lot of Christians who walk away from all of your arguments, because there faith is based on, well, faith. Faith is like love, its nearly impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t felt it.

    Anyway, I don’t have time to debate as much as I would like. So I will point you to a Christian intellectual. http://www.peterkreeft.com/featured-writing.htm

    In particular see his section entitled “Arguments for the existence of God.”

    I don’t know if you were religious in the past, but I know that since I was an agnostic for so many years, and now a Christian, I can understand both sides.

  • @Chris,

    “If quantum material has always been present, where did it come from?”

    I’m not sure you are reading your questions. If quantum material has always be been present it didn’t ‘come’ from anywhere because It ALWAYS HAS BEEN PRESENT.

    “Sounds like they are talking about God.”
    No it doesn’t. Sounds instead like you are projecting God onto something completely explainable and deciding it is God all by yourself.
    The Quantum appears to have always existed. Just as an aside, I simply don’t understand you – if your claim is that a God always existed and that seems rational to you, why can’t the Quantum have always existed all by itself? Meanwhile, We have evidence of the Quantum – but no evidence at all of a god.

  • @Chris,

    I’m very familiar with Peter Kreeft. I’ve heard his arguments because others have pointed me to his videos and texts. His argument is baseless.

    If that is the best you have, I’m afraid we are at an impasse.
    Good luck.

  • Earold D. Gunter

    Fran, I wonder why your god, who supposedly loves his children so much is making them wait for thousands of years, allowing them to suffer, instead of just giving them all these great things now? Yours is a great god.

  • @Fran,

    “To see my dad, who passed away 19 years ago from a stroke, brought back to life on earth and to cry tears of joy and give him the BIGGEST HUG ever to welcome him back is on the top of my list!!”

    I think I understand.
    I’m sorry for your loss and what it must mean to you.

    Though I do not believe in an afterlife through Jesus, Allah or any other God we know about – I see absolutely nothing wrong with hoping for such possibilities.

    Hoping for an afterlife someday, or to exist again in joy with those we knew is a worthy thing to hope for. Nothing wrong with that. And since we do not know all the answers it may even be possible somehow.

    But that is different from CLAIMING that it WILL happen. That I cannot accept based on anything we know right now.

    Hope? sure.
    Claim as fact? No.

  • Chris

    The first-cause problem proves that the scientific method can’t be used to explain the origin of the universe. Even the big bang had to have had a cause, and thus so does the quantum material. It must have originated from somewhere.

    The point being that science, as a tool for inquiry, is incapable of explaining the origin of the universe without violating its own principles and saying that everything has a cause, except the first thing. It was just there.

    It’s impossible for anything to just be there for no reason, at least according to science. You can’t get something from nothing.

    Kreeft isn’t the best I have, it’s all I have time for. No one can prove God exists, just like no one can prove God doesn’t exist.

  • opheliart

    Chris,
    You say,
    “I was agnostic for my first 33 years, and then I was converted by a combination of intellectual inquiry and I guess a mystical dream experience.”

    I just came from sharing with someone about people having mystical experiences, especially children, and how there are people who behave in a very demeaning manner towards them, ridiculing them … labeling. This is criminal. It really is, and even for those on this thread who say “your god allows men to rape children” is so strange to read. It is like these people are in a box they have created for themselves … which in the case of one on these threads, I fear, is a platform for abusiveness. Some lump all believers together like we are a heard of swine that is diseased, and should be put down. There really is no excuse for such verbal abusiveness. There are many “ordinary” things in life that cannot be explained, let alone mystical experiences … but the day is approaching where there will be more light on this, and so many other experiences related. Now, for those who post things like:

    “all the while your god continues to do nothing about his holy men raping our children. logic dictates he enjoys the act or does not exist.
    I say he does not exist because i’m not evil enough to think otherwise.
    although i am an evil militant atheist.
    loud and proud.”

    … and if these “holy men” wind up murdered … you can imagine where law enforcement might be looking. That kind of incessant posting, Chris, especially if it is the case where there is no rape, is not a smart thing to go and on and on about. It is VERY BAD to use as a platform for Atheism against those having nothing to do with the clergy sex abuse going on in religious organizations/institutions, as well as the MULTITUDE OF OTHER PLACES NOT RELATED TO BELIEF IN GOD.

    You are most welcome.

    Peace

  • Fran

    Earold,

    Because it would take time for Jesus, God’s son, to appear on earth; for him to accomplish his ministry; for him to gather his disciples/apostles who would take up the preaching of God’s kingdom (the entire book of Acts); time to acquire 144,000 spirit-anointed Christians since Pentecost 33 C.E until the present time; time to establish God’s kingdom in the heavens in 1914, according to Bible chronology, when Jesus became King and which was a sign that the “last days” of this wicked era started; and time to allow the preaching of the good news of God’s kingdom for a witness to all the nations before the end comes (Matthew 24:14).

    That preaching work is now being accomplished worldwide, so that people have the opportunity to accept or reject God’s rule and the wicked ones still have the time to repent and turn their lives around to keep living.

    We humans want everything done yesterday, we are such an impatient group! However, God’s and his timetable is perfect, unlike us. God is not slow respecting his promise as some (we humans) consider slowness, but he is PATIENT with us because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

    Yes, he is definitely a GREAT God!!!

  • Fran

    Jesus resurrected Lazarus back to life on earth and there many witnesses to this fact (John 11:1-44). This proved the power that was given to him by his Father and the power he presently has, as King, to accomplish that wonderful blessing. The end of this wicked era has to take place before that is realized worldwide.

    Even Lazarus, who still sleeps in death, has another opportunity to be resurrected again by God’s kingdom, but to a completely different world that has been cleansed of all wicked ones and terrible conditions! 😀

  • @Fran,

    Let me ask you a simple question.

    Is there any situation where a man is absolutely morally correct in
    cutting off the arm or leg of his wife?

  • Chris

    The abusiveness of many atheists is a strange thing, it seems to come from hate. When I was an agnostic, I had respect for religion. Sure, I would make fun sometimes, but ultimately I had respect because it sure felt like there had to be something supernatural in the world, and that something was God. It wasn’t until I was well into my adult years that I converted. But I never was filled with the hate and venom that atheists on so many Internet sites seem to have.

    I pray for them, and I pray that if they were abused or neglected by someone of supposed faith, that they can see past that and come to accept God. Perhaps that is why so many of the militant atheists focuse on the “why does God allow bad things to happen” argument, because they had tragedy or abuse as children.

    God gave us freewill for a reason. And with freewill comes the possibility of evil. But with freewill also comes the possibility for genuine love. God doesn’t want a bunch of puppet automatons. True love can’t exist withouth freewill, and the possibilty of evil.

    It is getting more and more dangerous these days to proclaim the gospel.

    Peace

  • Anon

    Atheist Max doesn’t bother me as much as Opheliart. You claim all this openess for free thinking but you freely slam the Roman Catholic Church. All spiritual experiences are accepted except those from RCC. Unbelievable!

  • opheliart

    Anon,

    you are a reactionist, and clearly not reading all the comments. Your big-headed denomination playing in world affairs is of serious concern. Who sent you on this thread … come on, tell us the truth … WAS IT FEAR? And for your holy father delegation acting the prince of peace is hardly a impartial celebration of the Christ Way. The RCC does not give credit where credit is due … a bit high on itself? and a great deal oppressive.

    HYPOCRISY, Anon …

    Peace

    Peace

  • opheliart

    And by the way, Anon … Atheist Max was 44 years a Roman Catholic. What the heck did you teach him that he should be so …

    Read, Anon, read!

    Peace

  • opheliart

    Chris,

    You mentioned Peter Kreeft. I listened to almost all of his lectures the Winter of 2011. I have not checked his site for some time. Interesting material.

    Peace

  • Earold D. Gunter

    Fran, Why would god need time to build his kingdom? What does a god, who is the great “I am” know of or act in the concept of time? When you are “always”, time means nothing.

  • @Chris,

    “God gave us freewill..”

    Nonsense.
    ‘Free will’ cannot have been given to you if you are only allowed to accept it in a certain way! It is immoral to repeat such claims.

    It is like the mobster who gives you “An offer you can’t refuse”.
    Utter garbage.

  • @Chris,

    “The abusiveness of many atheists is a strange thing”

    You claim that God exists and as a result there are truck loads of ‘facts’ and ‘commands’ which then follow. Among those claims is the decree to convert atheists and other non-believers relentlessly until we surrender to your Christ and bow our knees.

    I don’t hate Christ. I hate believers who repeatedly shove this Christ nonsense in my face by subverting our secular laws. (Hobby Lobby, etc)

    As far as I can tell, your hateful, invisible Dictator is imaginary.
    Our democracy cannot survive if you irresponsibly try to smuggle him into the position of being everybody’s ‘Boss’ !

    I’m not alone in my revulsion of this relentless, organized subversion.

  • Fran

    Max,

    He might want to cut off his wife’s arm or keg because it acquired gangrene or else the body part was infected with flesh-eating bacteria !!

    I once gave a massage to a woman who had one half of a leg left because of that flesh-eating bacteria! I massaged that leg and the “stump” as well.

    One guy who was stuck in a red-rock mountain in Utah and had fallen. He had to cut a body part off; he was alone, and he is alive today because of his action.

  • @Fran,

    So you are saying, if the context is
    ‘the man is saving his wife’s life’ a man is justified in
    cutting off her arm. Correct?

    So why then does God demand a husband MUST
    cut off the arm of his wife for ONLY TOUCHING another man’s penis?
    He is instructed by God to show no mercy.

    You have already agree that only if the wife is in
    mortal danger would the man be justified in cutting off the arm.
    So Why are you more MORAL than your God?

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  • Bill

    “All of it damages critical thinking – the one quality humans have which other creatures appear not to have.” Why do you think this is so? Where does this quality come from? Where did it originate? Please name one other animal on earth that ponders the existence of God. Why are humans the only animals that do consider the existence of God?

  • @Bill,

    “Why do you think this is so? Where does this quality come from? Where did it originate?”

    Evolution.
    It is the answer to all three of your questions.

    It is possible other animals have some capacity to think critically but we are so far unable to understand it as such.

    I was careful to say it ‘appears’ that other animals do not have this ability. In fact, some species may. Other primates and other higher mammals are capable of deductive reasoning which is similar.

  • @Bill,

    “Why are humans the only animals that do consider the existence of God?”

    Because we can talk.
    We have no idea whether other animals can discuss this question of gods.

    But we have every reason to believe that all other primates share with us the same ‘drive to find a parent’. We could not have survived all these millennia without it. It comes from evolution.

    And this drive is extremely strong. Our baby teeth and baby hair and baby skin are lost as we grow out of infancy and the ‘drive to find a parent’ would also diminish in our teens and early twenties except that we have an industry which keeps it nurtured.

    The drive to find a parent is a vague but very intense feeling which should lessen as we age. It is why many people grow out of religion in their later years.
    Notions of a ‘God’ fill the void while we are young – but this is one of the reasons why ‘god’ is such an absolutely vague thing which defies all descriptions. It is a pure drive, like the sex drive and the drive for food and water. We cannot live without it in our early years.

    It is extremely unfortunate that more people are not educated in biology.
    The feelings about gods are completely illusory and explainable.

  • Shane

    Hey Christians!! Why are you wasting your time responding to Atheists who troll around looking to pick a fight. Don’t you know they’re just looking for an opportunity to display what they parrot as intellectual superiorty? Don’t you know that you’re just playing right into their hands, confirming to them what they already suspect – that Christians are idiots who cannot identify a trap when they see it? Don’t you know that you can’t argue somebody into the kingdom of God? Leave these Atheists alone to spout their “intellectally superior” objections. Don’t give them the satisfaction of a response. To them it’s not a journey toward faith. It’s an intellecutal game of cat and mouse. Don’t you see you’re not playing on the same game field? Atheists are always going to laugh at you and ridicule you as backward, old fashioned and nieve; don’t let them take your dignity too. Remember (1Cor. 1:23) “But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness.” Stop feeding the egos of those who are wise in thier own eyes!!!

  • @Shane,

    “Leave these Atheists alone to spout their “intellectally superior” objections.”

    1. I am not intellectually superior. I did not get smarter just because I discovered the most obvious thing in the world; God claims appear to be just pretend.

    2. We atheists have a voice. We have rights which are being denied us by our fellow Americans simply because we do not believe in God (Hobby Lobby, Greece N.Y., Creationism supplanting science education..etc)

    3. The Separation of Church and State is being attacked. Atheists like myself are fed up with it. We are here to read, comment and challenge the claims presented by Theists

    4. Some of us are not only unbelievers, we see the real harm that all religion does to education, civil society, proper conduct and simple good manners!
    We speak up in favor of Culture, Democracy and Science and against Jesus, Mohammed, Allah, Yahweh, Vishnu and all the other claimed but invisible Dictators from the Clouds.

    5. I am not here to take away your rights. I am here to challenge your claims. And to study why religious people insist on spreading empty claims as if they are all true when clearly the vast majority of these claims cannot be remotely true.

  • In religions that promise an afterlife (if you believe in the cardinal dogma and, perform as required AND meet the minimal requirements), you (your ‘soul’[1]) will, after the death of your physical body, go to (or be transported to) a coveted afterlife region. If, however, you do not believe in the particular religion, and/or are remiss in your duties and prescribed obligations, you will suffer to be dammed for an eternity of suffering.
    Pascal’s Wager[2] can provide guidance to some individuals (especially those sitting on the fence) of whether or not to believe in God, and the dogma of a generally local religion that punishes, all non-believers, and some sinners.
    The wager is, if there is a God, and you believe in Him, then your soul will be saved; you will have an extremely desirable afterlife upon the death of your physical body.
    If, on the other hand, there is no God, then nothing much is lost by believing in Him, save perhaps some iniquitous or licentious pleasures and the many hours of worshiping Him.
    Thus, in balance, the safer course of action is to believe in [a] God.
    This argumentum ab assecuratio (argument by insurance) is wanting in several aspects. If full acceptance of the belief is hard to swallow, several problems can arise:

    1. A person could experience self-induced shame and guilt (and possibly suffer psychological trauma as a result of recognizing that he or she is being irrationally silly and vacuous, akin to having to force-feed oneself with scriptural gavage —and internalize it, like a stuffed foie gras goose— with the bizarre notions of unknown people long dead, as for example that the moon is made of green cheese in order to be awarded an all-expenses paid trip to Disneyland, or otherwise you would be punished with a heart attack.
    2. If a person did force himself or herself to believe in God due to the insurance aspect —but really, deep-deep-down…sort of didn’t to the required 100% degree of probability— if there is a God she would know that the belief was not genuine, but selfishly developed like trying to please a mother-in-law to be favorably included in her last will and testament. And God might be furious at the attempt to deceive Her.

    ——————————————————————————–

    [1] In disparate religions with an afterlife, the soul —upon its emergence— assumes varied forms, to wit, in some religions, the soul assumes the ethereal form of an angels (deceased persons with gossamer wings who can fly), in others, the emergence is a rebirth in the being of an animal, for example, a cow that might wander around, notably in urban or rural India and its surrounds.
    [2] Pensées, 1669 Blaise Pascal (published posthumously)

  • Shane

    Hey Atheist Max,

    I appreciate your thoughtful response. And I would fight for your right to say anything and believe anything you want. It’s part of our basic rights as Americans living in a country where freedom of speech and freedom of religion are codified in our bill of rights. But you’ve said a couple of things that I have to challenge.

    1. What you refer to as “the most obvious thing in the world,” is, of course, not quite as obvious as you claim. Let’s just be honest with each other here. You cannot prove evolution or the big bang scientifically any more than believers can prove creationism scientifically. They are both theories that attempt to explain the raw data of the material universe. I fully admit that your Atheist worldview is an honest attempt make sense of the world around us, as is my Theist worldview. But the bottom line is nobody was there to witness the birth of the universe. And ALL of the evidence is merely circumstantial. We cannot reproduce ANY of it in a lab. We cannot observe ANY of it in nature. The fossil record is ambiguous at best. The difference between you and me is that I’m willing to admit that my worldview is unprovable and I embrace it by faith. If you are unwilling to say the same about yours then you’re either not as honest and objective as you claim to be, or you’re not as well informed about the various and equally credible Theistic explanations as you need to be in order to discuss it as you’d like the rest of us to believe.

    2. Your rights are not being denied by Hobby Lobby or any other religious organization. If I’ve understood Hobby Lobby’s case rightly, they objected to supplying only 4 out of 23 or so birth control medications based upon thier religious convictions about the termination of a human life. That’s a very small compromise. If “live and let live” is the kind of harmony we want to achieve in our society, then Atheists are the ones denying rights to Theists. You would have the laws COMPLETELY on your side, without giving ANY respect to the religious convictions of Theists. I could understand your position if there were irrefutable evidence that your worldview really was “the most obvious thing in the world.” But if you’re going to be honest and admit that yours is no more provable than ours, then we ought to be given the same degree of respect as you without being forced to defer.

    3. Creationism is not supplanting science education. Theists only want a voice in the conversation. We’d like to be able to present our worldview alongside of yours and let the student decide which one makes more sense to them. But here agian, we are the ones being defrauded. Our theory is just as credible as yours, and yet ours has been denied a place within the sphere of education. Where is the fariness in that? Incidentally, it was Theists who first began the discipline of scientific investigation. Early Theistic scientists used to call it, “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” I believe in science! I love science! Science is the basis for my position that your worldview is no more credible than mine. Where is the honesty?

    3. The so-called “seperation of church and state,” was an idea espoused in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association, positing that the government could not interfere with the free exercise of religion. It was never meant to become a mantra for Atheists to use as a weapon against Theists. The heart of it was not to exclude believers from government, science, education, etc. . ., but to ensure that the government would never discriminate based upon religious convictions. Here again, look what’s happening in our society. It is Christians, and people with Theistic worldviews who are being defrauded and denied a voice in the public square.

    4. It is true that many evils, wars and conflicts have been perpetrated in the name of “religion.” But to be fair, we need to agree that just as much evil, war and conflict has been perpetrated without any religious motivation at all. Furthermore, Christianity, rightly practiced, does not support that kind of behavior. Dispite what the Catholic church did in the Middle Ages, or what sick, twisted churches like Westboro Baptist Church has done in recent years, true biblical Christianity does not teach its adherants to engage in such behaviors.

    5. Again, I want to make clear that I would fight to defend your right to espouse Atheism, and even to speak out against my Savior Jesus Christ. That is your right, and I would never want to defraud you of it. Go ahead, comment, challenge, speak up! I support you. I don’t agree with you to any degree; but I’m willing to give you your space. Why can’t you do the same for Theists. Once again, I could understand if you could PROVE that your theories of evolution and the big bang were true, but science is not capable of producing that kind of evidence. All we have are data, data, data. And a Theistic worldview does just as good of a job of explaining that data as an Atheistic worldview does.You chose your worldview the same way I did – by faith. You chose to place your faith in the theory that makes the most sense to you; I chose to place mine in the one that makes the most sense to me.

  • @Shane,

    Thanks for engaging in this.
    But I must rebut some things you are saying:

    1. “Let’s just be honest with each other here. You cannot prove evolution…”

    Yes I can.
    But it is not necessary for you to accept my word on this. Chromosome 2 alone proves that we share a common ancestor with today’s apes.

    “They are both theories”

    In Science the word ‘theory’ is not used as it is in common vernacular.
    For example:
    The “Theory” of Plate Tectonics explains Earthquakes completely.
    The Germ “Theory” of Disease explains why we get sick from germs.
    The Atomic “Theory” is used to make nuclear power.
    The “Theory” of Gravity explains how the mass of an object is directly proportional to its gravitational force, etc.

    “Theory in Science” is different from Theory in the common usage.
    This is something many religious people have not taken the time to understand.

    I cannot prove god. I cannot disprove God.
    Atheism is the opinion that God probably does not exist.
    Atheism is NOT a claim that Gods are impossible – only that we have found no reason to believe in a god.
    Like many Atheists, I am totally open to evidence of a god or a demonstration of a god. In the meantime, we do not practice any religion at all.

    2. “Your rights are not being denied by Hobby Lobby or any other religious organization.”

    Hobby Lobby is the tip of the iceberg. It is particularly sinister because it is the first time the Supreme Court has allowed a corporation to exercise a religious right.
    The implications are catastrophic if such things continue.
    How would you feel if an Arab Oil company decided not to allow you to drive cars in certain parts of America because it is against Sharia Law? Until Hobby Lobby such ideas were impossible. Religion is not your friend. You would do well to support leaving it out of corporate America but we have all lost that battle now.

    “Atheists are the ones denying rights to Theists.”

    Please name on right which has been denied to Theists.
    I don’t know of a single case.

    “You would have the laws COMPLETELY on your side, without giving ANY respect to the religious convictions of Theists”

    No.
    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion”
    You already have this in the Constitution to protect your right to religion. The minute you destroy this Establishment clause, yes, you would be giving me or other Atheists total permission to destroy Christian programs with an Anti-religion set of laws.
    I wouldn’t do it even if I could – but YES, Atheists and Christians are both very dangerous if they control government law.

    Destroy separation of church and state and you open that possibility.
    That is why is so alarming to us Atheists that Christians are about to destroy the one thing that keeps them safe from war with the rest of us.
    Separation of Church and State has worked fine. You shouldn’t try to mess with it.

    3. “Creationism is not supplanting science education. Theists only want a voice in the conversation.”

    Creationism isn’t real. And it isn’t science.
    And it is child abuse to teach it.
    Several states are trying to replace science class with Creationism and it is working in Tennessee, Virginia, Texas and Louisiana.
    Stopping Creationism is a national emergency.

    “We’d like to be able to present our worldview alongside of yours”

    Do that sort of thing at Church.
    If you bring it into our schools we will have to force you to present Evolution and Atheism alongside your Pastor’s Sermon – And we will see to it that happens! If you don’t like that idea, keep your Creationist nonsense at home and at church.

    “Our theory is just as credible as yours”

    No it isn’t. Creationism is the opposite of credible.
    There is a reason it is laughed at by everyone outside of Christianity.

    “The so-called “seperation of church and state,” was an idea espoused…”

    Yeah. And it is in the Constitution. So this is settled. You can’t push religion into the law.

    4.”Furthermore, Christianity, rightly practiced…”

    Not interested. I don’t agree with you anyway.
    Just keep it away from my laws. I’m fine with you believing whatever you want.
    “Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    See? I don’t want witch burnings in this country.
    Keep it in church, preach on the street corners and do whatever you like – but KEEP IT OUT of our laws.

    5. “Again, I want to make clear that I would fight to defend your right to espouse Atheism, and even to speak out against my Savior Jesus Christ.”

    We have no choice. Free speech is not optional.

    “I’m willing to give you your space.”

    You don’t have to give it. I already have the right.

    “Why can’t you do the same for Theists.”
    But I have not stopped you from praying.
    I have not stopped you from going to church.
    I have not stopped you from praying even at work or on a plane or in a car or on the public sidewalks!
    I have not stopped you from worshipping at any time!

    Christians need to understand however, that you MAY NOT force prayer or rituals of any kind on the rest of us at public events especially where the public property is being used by a government activity.

    “You chose your worldview the same way I did – by faith.”
    No.
    I have no faith. I do not have the slightest faith at all.
    I only have Confidence Based On Past Evidence.
    I capitalized that because I want it to be very clear. If there is NO evidence for something I will not grant that it is true.

    Science compiles evidence and based on that evidence I “Have Confidence Based On Past Evidence” that my computer will work tomorrow, my car will run, my house will still be standing and the sun will rise.

    Not one piece of that is Faith.
    Faith is the act of deliberately stating something to be true when all the current evidence points against it.
    Notice that I am not claiming God is impossible – only that so far I remain completely unconvinced of any god and no evidence points to a real god. It appears to me that most of these god claims come from imaginations which people employ for their own purposes.

    “You chose to place your faith in the theory that makes the most sense to you”

    I did not choose to believe in Gravity.
    Based on past evidence I am confident that gravity will exist on earth tomorrow.
    I did not choose to not believe in God – I simply see no evidence of a god nor do I see the slightest argument which tells me which God could be the true god.

    You are free in America to believe whatever you want to believe. Just keep it out of public schools and public laws and we will all live happily ever after.

    If you destroy the Separation of Church and State, many other Christians sects, Catholics say, might like to run through that loophole and destroy your right to even preach Creationism.

    Your best protection is Separation – and don’t forget it. Please.

  • Shane

    Hello again Atheist Max,

    Your response demonstrates exactly why I find this kind of argumentation to be futile. You will not be swayed by my arguments, just as I will not be swayed by yours. And this is precisely becasue neither one of us can produce any real scientific evedence to support our theories. Citing a bit of data with your interpretation attached to it, dosn’t constitute evidence. It is merely your preferred explanation, which you embrace by faith. Or if you object to that term, let us use the term Convictional Assent, which is what faith really is, rather than, as you described it, “the act of deliberately stating something to be true when all the current evidence points against it.” That is not faith. That is irrationality. But I suppose you don’t make a distinction between the two.

    Now since I’ve already allowed myself to be dragged into this conversation further than I wanted to, I’d like to respond to a few things you said.

    First, you say chromosome 2 proves our ancestry with apes. Come on man! Chromosome 2??? Only the most geeky of jarheads would even know exactly what that refers to. Furthermore, commonality does not prove homogeneity. But you seem like a smart guy, so I’m sure you know that. So I’m forced to conclude that you either have never had the courage to question the assumption or are deliberately being disingenuous, perhaps hoping that just because you are able to use such a term in a sentence will intimidate your antagonists to bow out of the discussion. This is the heir of intellectual superiority I was talking about. Atheists seem unwilling to admit that what they parrot as objective science is mostly just their interpretation of neutral data, which could easily be interpreted in other ways. Also, thank you for taking the time to educate me on the true meaning of the term “theory.” But to be honest, I’m not the least bit interesed in the way you’d like to manipulate the term to mean something more concrete than it really does. At the end of the day, regardless of how hard you try to difine a theory as fact, it remains a theory. Or lets go ahead and replace the term theory with the term fact. I don’t really care what you call it, or how you use it in naturalistic perlance; it remains a theory nontheless.

    You ask what rights have been denied to Christians. I answer: freedom of speech. Thanks to Atheists and others who buy into a naturalistic worldview, Christians have been censored in the workplace, in government facilities, in schools and even in shopping malls where employers have instructed their employees not to use ther term Merry Christmas! How silly is that??? Now I suppose you’ll say, “Good!” “Christians should be censored in the public square,” becaue, to use your own words, “we can do that in our churches.” Well, thank you so much for being kind enough to dictate where and when we can exercise the freedom of speech guaranteed to us by the Bill of Rights. We should be happy to live under naturalistic dhimmitude, right? Well, not so much.

    Now, here’s an example of a you setting up a straw man. You take exception to me saying I would fight for your right to believe and say what you want, and that I am willing to give you your space, by saying: “You don’t have to give it. I already have the right.” But surely you know that I wasn’t making refernce to my handing you a right that you already have. Surely you know that I was speaking about how I intend to behave in polite conversation. I’m trying to be congenial. Why turn that around on me and try to use it as a platform to trumpet your freedom of speech, when all I was trying to do is affirm that you have that freedom? Silly!

    And here is an example of a misunderstanding: you quote Luke 19:27, as if it were evidence of how hostile biblical Christianity really is. But you fail to realize that you’re quoting a parable, which by definition, is not to be taken literally. It’s an extended metaphor, designed to illustrate a larger truth or set of truths. Atheists seem to have developed the highly specialized skill of picking out the harshest passages of scripture, ripping them out of context and parroting them as an example of how irrational, inconsistent, and hateful Christianity really is. It is an exercise in misrepresentation, utilized by those who don’t truly understand the Scriptues, in order to wrongly influence those who won’t take the time to understand it rightly. But, as you’ve already said, you have no interest in that.

    Finally, I don’t want to dismantle the seperation of church and state. I only want it to function the way it was originally intended, which is to prevent government censorship of the free practice of religion in America. When you say it is codified in the constitution, I assume you’re talking about the establishment clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” But what does this really mean? Two things: First, the government cannot establsh a state religion. And second, the government cannot interfere with the free exercise of any particular faith, so long as it doesn’t violate any of our civil laws.

    I acknowledge the difficult and knotty proposition of allowing Creationism to be taught in schools, but only becasuse doing so would necessitate that equal lattitude be given to other religious systems to present their model as well. But please note that allowing these models to be presented would not consitute the establishment of a state religion! It would only mean that other ideologies would be placed on the table for the student’s consideration. The only way this would constitute a state sponsored religion is if the government were to mandate that such ideologies be taught. Allowing something and mandating something are two very different things.

    On the other side of the coin, however, disallowing Creationism a place at the table, can easily be interpreted as prohibiting free exercise. Furthermore, if naturaism is an unprovable theory, embraced by faith (or convictional assent, if you must), then how is it any different than other models, besides the fact that it isn’t classified as a religion? And why should one convictional assent-based system be given deference over another?

    Now I’m sure at this point, you’ll be quick to remind me, as you did before, that “Creationism is not real. It is not science.” But to be fair, neither creationism nor naturalism are actually “science” in themselves. Again, all we have are the raw data of the material universe. Science is the methodology we use to probe and investigate those data. Theory is the explanation we assign to the results of those probings and investigations. Science is used by creationists just as objectively as it is by naturalists. The difference is in the interpretation of the findings. And I end by ascerting once again, that your interpretation is no more credible than ours. You only choose to lend convictional assent to naturalism because it makes more sense to you, while I embrace creationism for the same reasons.

  • @Shane,

    1. We know more about evolution than we do about electromagnetism or gravity. “Chromosome 2” is not obscure – it is high school science. And regardless of how you feel or what you wish to be.. Evolution is why we are Human and it is how we became human beings. It is a fact of science.

    2. About giving Kids choices:
    You don’t want to see teachers throw Thor, Ganesha, Mohammed, Jesus, Vishnu, Astrology, Creationism and some real Science (if there is any time left!) at a classroom full of kids and say: “Here you go kids, you figure it all out on your own – we just wanted to give you all the options!!!”
    Completely ridiculous. That is not how education works. If there is no evidence for a claim, it is irresponsible to teach it as fact – to anyone, let alone children.

    3. I don’t care if you believe in these religious Christian ideas – you are free to have your religion and to practice them and to preach them. I have absolutely no say in it. It is not up to me.
    But you must remember that 60 million Americans do not share your religion at all and just as I consider Islam dangerous nonsense, I consider Christianity to be dangerous also.

    Merry Christmas!

  • drewski

    I’ve never understood the point in arguing with people about religion. Either you have faith or you do not. You can state all the facts you want either for or against it but you will never change someone’s mind. An atheist will not be persuaded by someone quoting bible verses just as a religious person won’t be persuaded by scientific facts. People have to come to that conclusion through their own experiences in their life’s.

  • David

    As I have read through these comments, I noticed something. Most of the people on here are sharing their thoughts and what is on their hearts about the survey. BUT, you have someone who points out everyone else’s views or comments as wrong or inaccurate. What else can we expect from a person that thinks we came from animals…LOL

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