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A brief history of Stephen Hawking’s atheism

Professor Stephen Hawking smiles during a news conference at the University of Potsdam, near Berlin, Germany, on July 21, 1999. Hawking, whose brilliant mind ranged across time and space though his body was paralyzed by disease, has died, a family spokesman said early Wednesday, March 14, 2018.(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

(RNS) — Say the words “British,” “scientist” and “atheist” and the first person to come to mind probably isn’t Stephen Hawking.

But while Hawking, the theoretical physicist who died Wednesday (March 14) at age 76, was certainly overshadowed in the atheist department by his countryman, the evolutionary biologist and atheist activist Richard Dawkins, Hawking’s atheism was more of a slow simmer than Dawkins’ explosive ire.

“What could define God (is thinking of God) as the embodiment of the laws of nature. However, this is not what most people would think of that God,” Hawking told Diane Sawyer in 2010. “They made a human-like being with whom one can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible.”

One reason Hawking’s atheism was less well-known was he seemed to fudge the question of God’s existence for years. In his 1988 seminal best-seller, “A Brief History of Time,” he wrote, “The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired.”

Later in the book, he writes of the quest for a unifying theory of the universe: “It would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.”

Some saw those statements as proof that Hawking held private religious beliefs. He fed that idea with a few statements over the years — “The laws may have been decreed by God,” he told Reuters in 2007, “but God does not intervene to break the laws” — and even titled a 2005 book “God Created the Integers.”

He also went to the Vatican and met briefly with then-Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.

Then, in 2010, with the publication of “The Grand Design,” Hawking seemed to have begun a sort of atheist striptease, slowly revealing his nonbelief:

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” he and co-author Leonard Mlodinow write. “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

Within a year, Hawking said in a Discovery Channel documentary: “We are each free to believe what we want and it is my view that the simplest explanation is there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate.”

And just in case that wasn’t clear enough, Hawking dropped the last veil in a 2014 interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

“What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God. Which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”

After his death, some atheists remarked that Hawking’s outlook on having just this one life, which was marked, for him, by debilitating Lou Gehrig’s disease, fortified their own lack of belief.

“Hawking had to aggressively face his own mortality every single day, it would have been understandable for him to abandon evidential reasoning and fall into the old adage that there are ‘no atheists in a foxhole,'” Lianna Brinded, an atheist, wrote in the online magazine Quartz. “Instead, he continued to approach his stance on religion with scientific evidence-based reasoning.”

These stories are part of a series on science and religion, brought to you with support from the John Templeton Foundation. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation. (RNS logo, John Templeton Foundation logo}

About the author

Kimberly Winston

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

282 Comments

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  • One of my favorite (so perfectly rational) Stephen Hawking quotes is:

    “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

  • Were there 2 Stephen Hawkings? Or was his specialty in OXYMORON?

    There was the Stephen Hawking of 1988, see, who declared – “[It is] the ultimate triumph of human reason … [when finally] we … know the mind of God.”

    And there was the Stephen Hawking of 2014, see, who 2nd-guessed himself 26 years later – “slow simmer” like – “What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God. Which there isn’t.”

    OK so let’s synchronize those two statements into this one huge OXYMORON:

    “[It is] the ultimate triumph of human reason … [when finally] we … know everything that [a non-existing] God would know … WHICH THERE ISN’T.”

    According to Stephen Hawking, then, THERE ISN’T going to be any “triumph of human reason” at all! And THERE ISN’T going to be “know[ledge of] everything” at all! And THERE ISN’T going to be any “know[ledge of] the mind of God” at all!

    ERGO: Stephen Hawking was the living or rather dead proof that ATHEISM IS NOTHING MORE THAN AN OXYMORON.

    (OMG & Jesus You’re both so right! Thank You, O King of kings; thank You, O Lord of lords!)

  • There’s another OXYMORON, courtesy of Stephen Hawking: “People afraid of the dark” tell themselves “a fairy story”. No, they don’t. They keep their night lights on. Or leave their bedroom doors crack open between 4 3/4 inches and 2 miles. Or they watched “The Exorcist”. Or they blame Trump & Putin for everything.

    What a silly man.

  • “We are each free to believe what we want and it is my view that the simplest explanation is there is no God. No one created the universe, and no one directs our fate.”

    You gotta admire Hawking’s raw honesty, clarity, and candor about what atheism means. No jive, no sugarcoating, no fancy footwork. He defined “atheism” directly in terms of “There Is No God”, and he never backed down from this definition. Not even for the sake of boosting atheism’s PR.

    “…If there were a God. Which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”

    Yup. He was clearly an atheist.

  • If Hawking was correct in his affirmation of Atheism, he cannot now know it; unless of course one can exist elsewhere (after this life) in the absence of God, which is another philosophical question entirely. On the other hand, if Hawking erred, I would think the odds favor the proposition that he now knows his error.

  • It’s disgraceful and offensive for you to attack an innocent man like Stephen Hawking when he isn’t even in his grave yet. Cruel and hateful people like you are why young people are leaving Christianity in droves.

  • He is likely exactly where he was ten years before he was born, nowhere — just like Jesus and Billy Graham !

    But his accomplishments will live on….far more important than Jesus or other fraudulent god-men, prophets, or saviors.

  • You say, “cruel and hateful people like HpO” ??

    What kinda … ? Are you kidding me? You gotta be kidding me. Magic mushroom overdose?

    Shoot, that poster, HpO, ain’t got a cruel or hateful bone in his or her body. We might as well get honest on that point. That person does carry a soft-hearted spiritual empathy for atheists, if I ever seen one.

    Now if you DO need to point to a cruel and hateful attack on the late atheist Stephen Hawking (and Hawking knew better than to sell his soul to that cr*p, by the way!), then feel free to consult ME on the matter.

    I’m your main supply vendor for all Cruel & Hateful Attacks against innocent atheists, and I offer a money back guarantee to boot!!

  • There is a non-judgmental way of explaining what Hawkins did as well as what HpO observed, without giving anybody offense.

    This non-judgmental way is described in The Heathen in His Blindness, a book by S N Balagangadhara.

    For a long time the Vatican did encourage science. The Vatican’s attitude was: studying Nature is a way for humans to understand God’s plans. Further, God is good to humans–He has planned Nature in a systematic way, a way that humans can understand.

    The Vatican’s attitude became, over time, the cultural commons of the West. Being cultural commons, the attitude persisted even after Europe’s Age of Reason. Even atheists imbibed this attitude from the cultural commons. Of course, being atheists, they articulated the attitude without using the word “God”. For example, they would say, “Nature is systematic”, instead of saying “God has planned Nature in a systematic way.”

    I suggest that Hawkins intuited the foregoing, and this intuition is coming through the seemingly contradictory statements that HpO quoted.

  • ” money back guarantee ”

    Which is infinitely more than the holy-man, who suckers you out of your $$$$, will ever give you….

  • “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail.”

    Even black holes eventually evaporate.

  • Absent any new evidence….the idea of “dead=dead” seems to be the most plausible explanation. Unless we have new news footage from heaven

  • Atheism is rather a fluid term…just like theism.

    One can be an agnostic or gnostic atheist or theist…it will vary person to person.

    However, when an atheist says “there is no god” they often mean it in the way most people would say “there are no fairies” or “there is no bigfoot.”

    It’s a kind of shorthand for “there have been hundreds of claims for gods, fairies and bigfoot but so far no compelling evidence.”

    So absent any evidence it is AS IF no gods exist. If new evidence is discovered we can change our view.

  • When you are known as the world’s most prominent physicist…your rant could be valid..until then…trolling.

  • Bruno lived from 1548 to 1600, ie, around the start of the Protestant Reformation. Let’s go to the period from 1200 to 1500, i.e., between the Gregorian Reformation and the Protestant Reformation. In that period, the Vatican’s attitude to science was good.

  • Atheism is a rather fluid term, depending on whether the atheist believes he is winning or losing the argument.

  • It’s not about facts.

    With a name like Patrick, he must have been raised a Catholic. He must now feel betrayed by the scandals of the Vatican. Even so, he does need to give due credit to the Vatican. That is the only way Patrick will also learn to give due credit to a non-Western culture like mine.

  • Can you prove this assertion. I really don;t care what anybody says about the term. I sometimes just use the term non-believer since the definition for atheism is so muddled.

  • I don;t find a lack of belief in the accuracy of god claims to be muddled. Sorry your thinking on it is muddled.

  • That from the author of:

    “Atheism is rather a fluid term…just like theism.”

    “One can be an agnostic or gnostic atheist or theist…it will vary person to person.”

    “However, when an atheist says ‘there is no god’ they often mean it in the way most people would say ‘there are no fairies’ or ‘there is no bigfoot.’”

    “It’s a kind of shorthand for ‘there have been hundreds of claims for gods, fairies and bigfoot but so far no compelling evidence.’”

    Four sentences to say it could mean anything, but MY thinking on it is “muddled”.

  • So you’re saying the Bruno did not have his tongue cut out? That he was not burned at the stake? Thanks for the non sequitur.

  • If you interpret my well-crafted replies as saying that..you continue to be confused.

  • Hawking’s earlier statements remind me of Einstein’s thoughts on a certain kind of cosmic spirituality.

  • Why? Do you think “Con men like Billy G. should be displayed in “Ten Most Wanted Con Lists of All Time” , which was posted here during the week before BG’s funeral, caused any atheistic young people to leave atheism?

  • The Vatican’s hands are not clean. But the Vatican did run Western Europe’s university system and legal system. The Vatican was able to get elements of Christian theology into science, into history and into law. And that is what Hawking intuited.

    Please understand that I am an idolator. The Vatican will want to convert me. Or if I prove to be a formidable opponent, the Vatican will want to plot my downfall. Yet, I cannot deny the Vatican’s influence on Western intellectual thought. I suggest that Hawking also intuited this, and this is why he made those contradictory statements that HpO quoted.

  • To even suggest that Hawking was the least bit religious or, even spiritual is wishful thinking at best and demonstrates more about the readers’ ability to discern meaning and nuance from Hawking’s words, than the substance of the text itself. Sad.

  • The “Pascal’s Wager” is a bullshit argument that’s been debunked. One Hawking would have delighted in teaching you…

  • Hawking wasn’t muddled when he said “There is no God”. One could not say it any more clearly.

  • “No debate”?

    Here’s one:

    “[Stephen] Hawking was never a firebrand atheist. He wasn’t a vocal atheist at all, though the label was often thrust upon him. He just stuck to science. Even his books often alluded to knowing the mind of God, allowing that ambiguity to satisfy religious readers. He didn’t definitively say he was an atheist until 2014.”
    – Hemant Mehta, Friendly Atheist, March 13, 2018

  • Ha-ha.

    Wikipedia’s sources say Stephen Hawking “supported the academic boycott of Israel”!

    According, that is, to Jerusalem Post, May 8, 2013, “Stephen Hawking Reaffirms Support of Israel Boycott”. And to New York Times, “Stephen Hawking Joins Boycott Against Israel”, May 8, 2013.

    Ha-ha.

    But if Putin & I did what brother Hawking did against Israel, you’ll probably label us anti-Semitic.

  • I still don’t get why after State Rep. Briscoe Cain, a Christian lawmaker, tweeted with “condolences to [the] family”, “Stephen Hawking now knows the truth about how the universe was actually made” – Michael Stone over at Progressive Secular Humanist got so offended.

    I’ve heard of Christian taboos; but are there atheistic taboos as well? At any rate, your comment & brother Briscoe Cain’s kind of address the same thing for atheists to consider, taboo or not

  • “Summa cum laude” means “at the highest level of the special levels of achievement in a person’s studies at a US college or university. The expression comes from Latin, meaning ‘with the highest praise'”.

    Your meaning is an oxymoron.

  • And they’re leaving to join up with atheists & secularists? That’s a popular urban legend, according to Friendly Atheist, March 10, 2018, “When Will Non-Religious Americans Finally Become an Effective Voting Bloc?”.

  • Just now bouncing that thought off to brother Edward Borges-Silva, Are there maybe atheists’ taboos?

  • No, what Jesus told me was, “You, HpO, will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them”! He didn’t call that “rant” or “trolling”. Not even Trolling4Christ. Nor must I first qualify as a fellow governor or king to those “governors and kings”.

  • Yes, parts of the BDS movement are anti Semitic. I wouldn’t put Hawking in that camp, it was just intellectual laziness on the part of someone put forth as the foremost mind that ever lived. He basically said that his friends were boycotting so he would too.
    Einstein, on the other hand, was a major supporter of Zionist causes and was asked to be Israel’s first president (head of state). His archives reside at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

  • Not sure all “seemingly contradictory statements” are oxymoronic.

    Stephen Hawking’s atheism is an oxymoron because his is an impossibility. A leap of faith. Except it was toward unbelief. “Slow simmer”-like, this article’s writer describes it.

    Nah, brilliant though he was, he really wasn’t. Hence a living now dead oxymoron. God won in the end, per His usual way. I like that about Him!

  • I like your style around here. Keep that up.

    On a less serious note, I repeat: SH’s statement – “[It is] the ultimate triumph of human reason … [when finally] we … know everything that [a non-existing] God would know … WHICH THERE ISN’T” – is not a contradiction but an oxymoron.

  • GOTCHA.

    “Parts of the BDS movement are anti Semitic. … Parts of the BDS movement are [not].”
    – ARBUSTIN, March 15, 2018.

  • Everybody here at RNS got stuck between a rock & a hard place. You, the Rock. As in, ‘Yo, Rocky. And me, Hardey Har Har. Boy, the way they put me down. Everything at my expense. I mean, HPOO to boot!

    So you keep’em on the Ever Straight ‘N Narrow. And I on a good cop/bad cop routine.

    I’m being paid Australian $0.45 per comment. How about you, ‘bruh?

  • “Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but the one who constructed all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).

    “For his (God’s) invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable” (Roman 1:20). And what about that awesome universe, as well?

    Yes, Stephen was a self-proclaimed atheist. He passed away and is now sleeping in death, not aware of anything (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10).

    But imagine how surprised he would definitely be when he’s resurrected back to life on a paradise earth (John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15) with no more problems, sickness, disease, old age and death (Revelation 21:3,4).

    Innumerable resurrections will take place on earth throughout the upcoming millennial rule of God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Matthew 4:17; Isaiah 11:1-5).

    Hopefully then, he will be very happy to be alive, young and healthy, and also appreciate how loving, merciful, powerful, just and righteous our Creator really is!

    In the meantime, Stephen is just taking a “little nap,” while not aware of that fact.

  • If SH was an atheist so what. You have others who are as intelligent if not more but not in the limelight and are theists.

  • Stephen Hawking’s Atheism was philosophically amateuristic and deeply flawed. To say: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing” is an open contradiction.

  • I was baptized Roman Catholic, brought up Jewish by a single mother & evolved into an Atheist in my 50’s. What’s your point?

  • It’s called evolution. Oh, wait, you don’t believe in that. Too bad you don’t understand how people grow, grow up & evolve. You seem to be in your grade school years with your same beliefs you were told to believe.

  • Which was my point. He was an atheist…how do we know..he f*cking said he was…that’s how.

  • Any other questions? Hmmm

    Yes! Is your anus jealous of all that crap that pours from your mouth?

  • Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.…

  • Well, Stephen now realizes there is life after death. Probable feels rather stupid for denying God created all things.

  • Who will care about his accomplishments a thousand years from now. No one Damien. Not you. After nuclear wars within this period, history will be lost. He is a non-person, already forgotton, since there is no lfe beyond death. Oh, because of man’s intelligence, their will be no more war. And all countries will work together! Joke!!

  • Nah, they can’t be. We have many atheists here who are redolent of all three and seldom receive anything but praise from other atheists for it. Try again.

  • Actually, your take on that statement shows your ignorance of his science.

    The existence of gravity as understood by newton, Einstein and others, to include Hawking, means precisely that we can wind back the universe and see that it cake from “nothing”.

    Be careful of the “nothing” word because scientists are rather precise in What that means. Space and time were created from the Big Bang, and Hawking once said that asking what came before is like asking what’s further southnthan the South Pole. The question is incoherent. This means there is no cause/effect as we know it, and so there could be effects with no causes under the current science. God is not needed.

  • Scientists tend to believe in lower percentages, but yes the two are not mutually exclusive.

    Francis Collins, former head of the human genome project, is an evangelical.

    Kenneth miller, evolutionary biologist of some renown, is a catholic.

  • Using “know the mind of god” as evidence of religion is profoundly….. insert many pejoratives.

    The line is from Einstein, who at most religious was a secular Jew and a weak pantheist. It’s meant when quoted to say that no dogma or theology is close to enough. Science illuminates the universe.

  • “When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it”

    How tragic Hawkings viewed humanity with such disdain.

  • The fact that they are ingrained into the study of the universe. Like Newton, Einstein and even Werner Heisenberg.

    People will be caring about Hawking’s accomplishments because they will be invoking them in their work.

    Hawking said his greatest regret in his life was not running over Margaret Thatcher’s toes with his chair when he had the chance. 🙂

  • “but are there atheistic taboos as well?”

    The same as every other taboo of people who are not psychopaths. Morals have nothing to do with religious belief. In fact religious belief is generally a great way to shortcut and remove moral thinking from a situation.

    It is impossible to make an argument against morals in atheism without coming off like one is a harmful sociopath on a leash?

  • Usually the people most offended by atheism are the ones who are the most insecure about their own faith. The type who feel the need to deny faith and pretend their belief has some rational basis.

  • He does that alot. Makes up versions of your arguments to counter rather than address what you say.

  • That can be true in some cases, but those who know their God, will be strong in Him regardless and do exploits. To get a clear picture of this, I suggest a reading of the book, “Foxes book of Martyres”.

  • “… he continued to approach his stance on religion with scientific evidence-based reasoning.”

    That’s a hoot. How much more evidence of creation does a rational person require?

    Romans 1

  • If you see disdain in a statement like his— considering we are a small planet circling a minor sun among billions of stars in a minor galaxy among billions in an infinite universe….

    I think you are just looking for someone meaning to complain about.

  • That you consider Earth and/or our solar system “minor” betrays an odd, unflattering self-effacement. Puzzling.

  • Perhaps you missed the millions of stars and billions of galaxies part. That you consider us to be important betrays an odd, self-flattering self-aggrandizement. Puzzling.

  • Thatcher would have dumped him out of his chair and used him for a floor mat. How can we trust a man’s thoughts about God if he can’t see ten seconds into the future that his proposed provocation would end in his inevitable defeat?

  • No God = No Good or Bad = No Morality
    Anyone who would define good or bad sans a supreme arbiter does so on what basis? Every stricture becomes as quaint as not eating fish on Friday.

  • So without fear of God you would run amok and hate people? You are a sick human being. One only kept in check by an imaginary divine restraint.

    I have no fear of divine punishment or reward but I have no such desires.so!Because I am not a psychopath. I have a measure of empathy and understanding of people.

    Thank you for proving my point. That your argument is one which assumes the speaker is a sociopath and really hurts the notion try understand moral thinking. .

    Your religious rules are as arbitrary as they come. Any horrific act can be excused by quoting scripture and calling it God’s will.

    If you need to be told harming people maliciously is bad, you are in no position to talk to anyone about morality. You would be a sick puppy.

  • Talking big about beating up a quadraplegic. Yet you try to lecture others on morality? Funny

  • People who are secure in their understanding of faith do not get offended when others do not share their views.

    Those who have no such security, demand others believe as they do. They do not respect the beliefs or lives of others, do not understand the nature of faith, get in a tizzy.

    Faith, the basis of any belief in God, is belief in the absence of facts. A personal gut feeling. Anyone who claims the contrary is engaging in deception of themselves and others.

  • “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in Physics

    Values such as good or bad are not things that exist. They are relationships between subject(s) and object(s). They cannot be defined separated from the understood subject and object. You can say its bad to kill elephants. That does not necessarily mean its bad to kill sheep. The subjects and objects can be expanded. We might say that it is bad for all humans to kill humans.

    It takes a conscious being or beings to be a subject. At this time we, humans, are the most conscious beings we know. Since there is no God or higher power to tell us what is moral, we have a big responsibility. It is quite possible for each person to determine what is good or bad for themselves. Moral values must consider the relationships to others. Moral values must be determined in conjunction with others. For this we use reason and dialog.

    Our desire to create equitable values with others is due not to God, but natural selection. We are equipped with reason and also empathy, compassion, and a sense of fairness. Scientists have shown these to be available to infants. Higher mammals also exhibit these traits.

  • Although I agree with you, I usually say I am an unbeliever to avoid the confusion. This is necessary to confront someone who doesn’t have enough faith to be an Atheist.

  • Faith is pretending you know what you don’t know. Otherwise pretending would not be necessary. If you have received word from your God, then you don’t need faith at least in His existence. For you this is a fact.

  • Is being against the inhumane actions of the majority of the people living in Israel anti-Semitic? I don’t blame all Jews, including my friends, for this.

  • Delusionalists like yourself are one of the main causes of the ruin of our country and our planet.

  • Hawking, like Aristotle, was aware that there will always be a need to discover more knowledge about this reality. That will not likely lead to an intelligent creator.

  • If you are right and society is destroyed by nuclear war and history is lost…When civilization is rebuilt, science that Hawking and others developed will be rediscovered and remain exactly the same…However if new religions are formed, they will be totally different than ours — so it is Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc. that will disappear forever.

  • I agree. But in the hypothetical, the only people in a position of knowing either way are dead. No one living has a basis for certainty.

  • And Einstein thought Quantum Physics was wrong. Collins is not an historian. People are correct or not on the merits, not their position or status.

    Writings from 30-60 years after events aren’t eyewitness testimony, even if they were written by people that saw the events. And even if they were, we’d have testimonies of people who think they saw something. Anecdotal evidence, in other words. Not convincing.

  • “Instead, he continued to approach his stance on religion with scientific evidence-based reasoning.”

    caveat:

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  • I know.

    Although Collins said it, i was making a joke. “near eye-witness” is like “one centimeter away, give or take a foot.”

  • Ah, thanks for clarifying.

    I like both Collins and Miller. I’m an atheist, but if a good scientists has a religion too, I only care if it affects their science. Both of them are good scientists.

  • According to Cambridge University Dictionary, “taboo [means] an action or word that is avoided for religious or social reasons”.

    According to Oxford University Dictionaries, “taboo [means] a social or religious custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing. … [Or] a practice that is prohibited or restricted by social or religious custom.”

    According to Robin518, however, to atheists, their taboos are “crudeness, rudeness & dumbness.” A very oxymoronic statement, that one, because:

    “Crudeness, rudeness & dumbness … [are] avoided [by atheists] for religious or social reasons”. Say again, for atheists “crudeness, rudeness & dumbness … [make for a set of] a social or religious custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing.” In the lifeworlds of atheists, “crudeness, rudeness & dumbness [are] a practice that is prohibited or restricted by social or religious custom.”

  • You don’t just start off with, “It’s …” when the “it” there can point to zillions comprising my comment. … “Oh, wait, … your grade school years” – that’s right. Never mind, I understand you now.

    “Evolution”, my foot!

  • According to Cambridge University Dictionary, “taboo [means] an action or word that is avoided for religious or social reasons”.

    According to Oxford University Dictionaries, “taboo [means] a social or religious custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing. … [Or] a practice that is prohibited or restricted by social or religious custom.”

    According to Spuddie, however, atheists share “the same as every other taboo of people who are not psychopaths.”

    ERGO: The atheists’ taboo is “action or word that is avoided for religious or social reasons … [but only by] people who are not psychopaths.” That distinction is of utmost importance, because the atheists’ taboo, see, is “a social or religious custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice … [but only for] people who are not psychopaths.” An atheistic taboo is “a social or religious custom … forbidding association with a particular person [from among] people who are … psychopaths … [or with a] place [frequented by] psychopaths … [or with a] thing [that’s] psychopath[ological].”

    LOL – “slow simmer”-like.

  • There’s atheist, and there’s an atheist who was “never a firebrand atheist” – no matter what “he f*cking said he was”.

    What “he f*cking said he was” – versus – what “he f*cking [DID]”.

    On that “there really is no debate”.

  • You don’t know Arbustin, then. (Susan Stein isn’t far behind him, or flanking him just in case.)

  • You were born after Darwin’s work got accepted, so you can say this. But what if you had been a contemporary of Kant? You would not know about Darwin’s work. (Darwin was born after Kant passed away.). The sentence “Nature is systematic” would be an assumption for you.

    What I am attempting to say, is that people like Kant tried to keep the baby and throw out the bath water. The baby was Western intellectual thought. The bath water was the Vatican’s control over Western institutions like universities and law. This, I suggest, is the achievement of Europe’s Age of Enlightenment.

  • Philosophy goes deeper. If you want to say that something comes from nothing you should not put the nothing between quotation marks, and make it a so-called nothing. This betrays a sloppy wayt of thinking. Gravity is not nothing, the Big Bang is not nothing. You are introducing forms of existence. If there is really nothing, than nothing can come from it, either by way of effiicient causality or by way of material causality, as the ancient Greek adage rightly says: Ex nihilo nihil fit.

  • At the time of Kant and Hume I think natural theologians understood that Nature was systematic. This was why it was considered rational to assume an intelligent creator. Kant re-introduced Lucretius’ idea of evolution of plant and animal life. There were a number of Enlightenment era thinkers that doubted religious teachings,but were
    Deists because that was the only known way to explain the creation of a systematic nature.

    I would probably have agreed with them as I don’t feel I would be wise enough to come up with Darwin’s dangerous idea. I agree that enabling thinkers to overcome the thought control of the Vatican was the essential achievement of the Enlightenment.

  • Your imaginary God didn’t win anything. Stephen Hawking’s life will continue to enhance the lives of millions that have learned many scientific truths from his writing. He has also added to our scientific knowledge which current and future scientists will build on.

  • Time was created at the Big Bang.

    Tell me what comes before time.

    To get causality you need time.

  • The notion of an intelligent creator dates back at least to the ancient Greeks.

    Of course the rabid anti-Catholic sees the Enlightenment as “enabling thinkers to overcome the thought control of the Vatican”, just as the rabid anti-gun fanatic sees everyone else’s firearms as dangerous while his own are sporting goods.

  • Pst … wanna know how Stephen Hawking’s claim to the “triumph of human reason”, to the “know[ledge of] everything”, and to the “know[ledge of] the mind of God” end up an oxymoron? God & Jesus did that. Not bad, huh? For what non-existence can still accomplish, I mean. Imagine if They DO exist. OUCH. Too late now, though, seeing as the genius is dead and our time’s next.

  • Due to our long association, I will endeavor to demonstrate that my comment is something beyond the classic “Pascal’s Wager” because my thought was framed a bit differently than his “Wager.” Point by point.
    1. If we take as a given that death leads to oblivion, which is the historical atheist sub theme that follows somewhat logically in the absence of belief in a deity; then in fact my assertion that Hawking cannot now know whether he was right or wrong is unassailably true.
    2. If Hawking erred and the classic religious perspective is true (not necessarily Christian) his consciousness in one form or another survives, and he now is in possession of knowledge that we cannot directly access, and this logically supports the existence of deity. Unless…
    3. Existence of consciousness remains in the absence of deity. Or…
    4. There is no consciousness after death even in the reality of deity.

    These philosophical constructs do not precisely mirror the arguments of M. Pascal.

    I will add one thought, for the benefit of others. People may respond to me in the manner most comfortable to them, but I will not answer or engage people who frame their language with swearing or curses, etc.

  • It is God who will bring ruin to those ruining the earth (Revelation 11:18), as well as resurrect millions of persons who have passed away back to life on earth, whether we believe it or not.

    It is imperfect men and his corrupt, selfish and greedy governments that are delusional and are ruining this planet, our home.

  • Enough, this conversation is futile. Since your only backing is your faith, we have no facts in common.

  • …a silly man who is one of the most brilliant, recognized cosmologist in the history of humanity, His work revealed incredible facts about the fabric of the universe.

    I think you understand what he meant by his metaphor and are being willfully dense.

  • The “wisdom of the world”, as you call it, had given us medicine, vaccines, computers, transportation, mathematics, vastly heightened lifespans, and all manner of things.

    That has religion given us, exactly?

  • There are approximately 42,000 denominations of Christianity in the world today, all with doctrinal differences.

    So what exactly is muddled?

  • He is right. The universe existed for 13.77 billion years before I was born. It will continue to exist for trillions and trillions of years after my death. My existence is a tiny blip – an anomaly – and in less than 100 years, the universe will return to the default state of me not existing.

    There is nothing tragic or disdainful in that.

    Now, Christians believing that humans are fallen, evil, sinful creatures that need redemption because some invisible being created us and ended up disappointed with his creation the the point where he had to impregnate a virgin human and be murdered and resurrect in order to forgive humanity?

    That’s not just disdainful towards humans, but completely absurd.

  • It’s utterly insane when Christians or other believers in faith label atheists as “arrogant” and “self-aggrandizing”, when precisely the opposite is true: atheists think there is nothing particularly special about humans, the earth, our solar system, or our galaxy, whereas Christians believe the whole thing was made by god just for us because we are so special.

  • I’m not quite sure why Christians think that even if they could convince us atheists of an afterlife why we would have any desire to exist for all of eternity in a magical land of Christians.

    That sounds like the most dreadful fate imaginable. You’re already unbearable enough here on Earth when diluted (deluded) amongst the general populace.

  • Philosophy goes deeper….. That is what we call a “deepity”, something that sounds profound but after examination is either meaningless or utterly silly. Kinda like anything that comes out of Deepak Choprah’s head. Or out of a book by Augustine.

    I put “nothing” in quotes because its meaning is under dispute depending on how you frame the question or who is asking. It’s not a simple word, and often believers don’t actually understand it. By “nothing” I mean that the universe is an effect without a cause that we can determine with our current state of knowledge, science or philosophy. You need time to have a causative effect, time did not exist until after the big bang, and we have many observable effects now even with time that have no cause (the “froth” in vacuum, froth being someone else’s word and so in quotes). It’s possible there was something at the big band that everything came from, like a singularity or two other universes colliding or an angry troll or something similarly speculative. Of those the evidence points to a singularity.

    But we have no cause, and no way to determine a cause. Anyone that claims there is a cause or that they know what it is is making stuff up out of ignorance. The only answer based on the the evidence right now is “I don’t know”. Or, as Hawking put it, “What is further south than the south pole?”

  • The only definition of faith that matters to a Christian is the Biblical one, because that’s what God Himself requires, because trust is foundational to any relationship, including ones relationship with God.

  • Lacking belief and reverence in the stories of ancient people is not a sin.

    Having a standard for evidence is not a sin.

    You’ll burn forever for rejecting the Norse gods.

  • LOL if you think the biblical code for “morality” is moral, you have a sick sense of morality.

  • How utterly fooled you are. You have fallen for evil’s elaborate scheme to try to pass itself off as good. Such gullibility will not go unpunished.

  • And we are constantly discovering new things about the laws of physics, so why shouldn’t we be constantly discovering new things about morality?

    Why didn’t your god hand over a complete guide to the laws of physics, which would have actually had usefulness?

  • In this case you are pretending you that the Bible speaks truly about God. You can’t know this without evidence. This definition is only of meaning to some Christians.

  • You’ve misread Hawking’s statement. His statement is factual — not an assessment of human nature. Ironically, religious dominionists are among the most disdainful humans on the planet, and always have been.

  • NO. “[It’s] you [who] understand what [the mathematician John Lennox] meant by his metaphor and are being willfully dense.”

    “If religion is a fairy tale of those afraid of the dark, then atheism is a fairy tale of those afraid of the light.”
    – John Lennox.

  • It’s too bad that Hawkins had never explored other scientists’ work. For instance, Mary Baker Eddy, a Christian Scientist (the Founder) wrote a book called, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” It would have been a way to critique his own conclusions. For the non-religious, there is quantum physicists, who are seriously questioning the visible creation (as Christian Science does), and are recognizing an existence that is invisible to finite sense. A spiritual sense of existence for Christian Scientists, and a “conscious observer” for quantum physicists, would have been a great help to his narrow view of reality and would have expanded a reliable and progressive and truer theory.

  • What a load of ridiculousness. I’m a mathematician (PhD math, Jan 2013), and the rate of atheism amongst mathematicians and scientists is far higher than amongst the general population, and for a reason.

    I know very few atheists who wouldn’t covert to whatever religion was able to offer very compelling evidence of its correctness. I am a spiritual person, and also a philosophical Taoist. Philosophical Taoism and atheism don’t offer you the simplistic, pablum, comforting answers that Christianity and Islam do, nor the sense of self-importance: indeed, they are quite humbling.

    Note that I won’t objectively state that either atheism or philosophical Taoism are truth, because I cannot prove that. That being said, a biblically literal interpretation of god can be proven false.

  • Strange, I always thought Leftist meglomanics like Lenin, Castro, Mao, Stalin, and Hitler were the most disdainful.

    Anti-religious bigotry is not new, avant-garde, or even intellectually rigorous. Take two wellbutrin and get over yourself.

  • It’s not strange at all that you would think that. The thoughts of religious fundamentalists are never surprising.

    Re: “anti-religious bigotry”… I assume that you are including your anti-Islamic sentiments in that category?

  • That you dismiss human potential is to ignore the great human hope. Each of us has the opportunity to achieve great, transcendent accomplishments….the kinds of feats that live beyond the 100 year life span of our bodies. You can mock others all you like, but that does not help you achieve greatness.

  • Great, transcendent accomplishments — such as Stephen Hawking’s discoveries. Trolling commentary on Disqus isn’t going to earn you greatness.

  • The notion of “before time” is a contradiction, since ant “before” implies time. But causality does imply time, because the concept of efficient cause only includes the power to set an effect into existence. And the concept of effect only includes dependence upon a cause, not a beginning in time.

    The effect may be either timeless, or in time. But if the effect is in time, and has a beginning, this beginning belongs to the effect, not per se to the cause. Obviously, there are many causes which exist in time, but the concept of cause doesn’t include time, and therefore existence in time is not necessary for being a cause.

    Time is an accident of things that are in time, like other accidental properties. So, strictly speaking, things are not in time. but time is in things, because time is simply a property of a thing. This follows from the definition of time as the measure of movement or change. Changeable things have the property of time, and time is the measure of their changings.

  • And so hereby UNCONTESTED: Stephen Hawking’s claim to the “triumph of human reason”, to the “know[ledge of] everything”, and to the “know[ledge of] the mind of God” all ends up an oxymoron.

  • So true. But SH went as far as boasting he did know what’s claimed to be the mind of God. Or will know if he got to live long enough on earth.

    But as brother floydlee reminded us, It is appointed for SH to die once, and then shall come his day in court to face an allegedly non-existing God of Judgment.

  • 42k seems perhaps ≈ 25k high.

    Any idea what the doctrinal differences might be?

    A number of posters who are technically agnostic claim to be “atheists”, while other “atheists” acknowledge the potential existence of a deity or deities but none they’d acknowledge, or none they consider relevant to themselves.

  • You sure don’t know your afraid-of-the-light atheism. So here’s a lesson learned for you and you’re welcome, say I, a fired-up & die-hard follower of THE crucified & resurrected Christ Jesus of the gospels, epistles & revelation. For according to David Hoelscher, an atheist himself (cf. “New Atheism, Worse Than You Think”, Counterpunch, January 29, 2016):

    (1) That there are more atheists specializing in social science than in natural science is an “information … [that] ought to serve, to deflate some of the smugness that is such a conspicuous trait among New Atheist luminaries.”

    (2) “Contrary to what most atheists assume, it was not his scientific findings that led Charles Darwin to stop believing in God … [but rather his] observations … of the diversity of religions around the world and the sincerity of their devotees, and his reading of the works of Shelley, the philosopher David Hume, and various other skeptical thinkers.”

  • this wasnt hawkings the real one diedin the early mid 60’s,compare the pictures also some one with this disease does not live to seventy or 60 lucky or unlucky to live till 40.

  • I would agree. They are always projecting onto other people whatever garbage they are spewing. I’m happy to be alive, lucky to be alive, enjoy being alive. And in once sense, given that so many people aren’t alive, I’m special to be alive. But the entire history of the known universe doesn’t come to a point because I’m alive.

  • I don’t know if there are more atheists in social sciences than in hard sciences, but regardless, that holds little relevance and doesn’t do anything to rebut the fact that the rate of atheism amongst mathematicians and scientists is far higher than in the general public.

    As for Darwin, the diversity of religion should make it obvious to anyone that anyone who claims to have a full grasp on religion is a deluded fool.

    You say, “I, a fired-up & die-hard follower of THE crucified & resurrected Christ Jesus of the gospels, epistles & revelation,” like it’s somehow a noble thing. It’s not. You are haughty and arrogant and hold your idolatry up and use it as a platform to feel superior to everyone else, dismissing their experiences as invalid and holding only your own as valid.

  • Indeed. They all think they are so vastly special that they happen to be born in the “End Times” that never seems to come. They’ve been believing this for centuries, and been consistently wrong.

    Wake me up when we get to the end of the end of the end of the end of the end of the End Times.

  • An effect without a cause isn’t a contradiction: it’s physics. And it’s one reason why Quantum Physics is so weird. Einstein disliked Quantum Physics and thought it couldn’t be right, generating the classic quote “God does not play dice with the universe”, which is wrong on so many levels. First, Einstein didn’t believe in a god, and second, quantum physics is right, and on the Einstein was dead wrong. You can have effects with no cause. You have them every day, and they can be demonstrated in a lab.

    The notion of cause/effect is most definitely time dependent. The whole notion implies a time component and falls apart without one. You talk about dependence, but even that implies that the cause exists prior to the effect. Without time, that concept falls apart.

  • Thanks for this. If only to brush up on Christian Science (since watching Costa-Gavras’ “Missing”; Jack Lemmon played a Christian Science daddy). According to Wikipedia’s sources, see, “[Mary Baker] Eddy described Christian Science as a return to ‘primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing.’ There are key differences between Christian Science theology and that of other branches of Christianity. In particular, adherents subscribe to a radical form of philosophical idealism, believing that reality is purely spiritual and the material world an illusion. This includes the view that disease is a mental error rather than physical disorder, and that the sick should be treated not by medicine, but by a form of prayer that seeks to correct the beliefs responsible for the illusion of ill health. The church does not require that Christian Scientists avoid all medical care – adherents use dentists, optometrists, obstetricians, physicians for broken bones, and vaccination when required by law – but maintains that Christian-Science prayer is most effective when not combined with medicine. Between the 1880s and 1990s, the avoidance of medical treatment led to the deaths of several adherents and their children. Parents and others were prosecuted for, and in a few cases convicted of, manslaughter or neglect.”

  • Your notion of cause/effect is simply not rooted in science. With a flawed premise, nothing else has a reason to be true.

    Where is your notion of cause/effect coming from?

    Even in this universe where time flows, we still have effects without cause. The vacuum of spacetime produces spontaneous particle generations (particle and antiparticle), and this real effect affected Hawking’s notion of black holes, that this sort of particle generation near the event horizon of a black hole causes “Hawking Radiation” and, absent any mass gain from an accretion disc, will evaporate the black hole given enough time. Effects built on no cause – spontaneous particle generation evaporates black holes.

  • Most sources I’ve read say that the number of denominations is around 40,000. Here is a summary with some citations:

    https://theway21stcentury.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/how-many-christian-denominations-worldwide/

    Agnostics and atheists are largely the same thing: agnostics are agnostic atheists. There is a small subset of atheists that claim to be gnostic atheists, i.e. that they know with certainly that there is no god. They are generally not as respected amongst the larger body of atheists because the majority of us recognize that that claim cannot be proven, and thus should not be stated.

    Now, that being said, very specific definitions of god CAN be disproven: for example, a god that is defined as having the bible as his literal, inerrant word cannot exist.

    The only thing that is required by the definition of atheism is to lack faith in the belief of a god. That does not equate to having faith in the lack of any god. I fully acknowledge that there _could_ be a god, but as it stands, I see no reason to put my cart behind any of the contenders.

    Humans are an incredibly diverse group. It shouldn’t be surprising that there is a lot of diversity amongst atheists. What IS surprising, however, is that groups that claim objective correctness – such as Christians and Muslims – have such diversity: if there is a knowable, objective truth that was imparted by your god, then it should be clear, thus necessitating only one denomination of Christianity.

  • You really have no clue what you’re talking about, but keep misinterpreting things to confirm your bias.

  • Sure, we can contribute to humanity in a way that will transcend our lives. Many humans have done so. My PhD in math has led to a deeper understanding of a group of combinatorial designs that has led to further research in the area amongst others, and will transcend my life. I wouldn’t say that it’s a monumental accomplishment by any means, but it has contributed to the greater sum of human knowledge.

    That being said, eventually, the universe will very likely experience heat death, and none of what any of us have ever done will matter at that point.

    I am certainly not mocking the idea that we can accomplish great things: I am mocking the idea of Christians thinking that atheists hold the opinion that we are special, when that’s completely backwards.

  • The dead “realizes”? That’s one false teaching of the proto-Catholicism Early Church Wolves I mean Fathers that we born-again Christians have been duped into buying into.

    Once you die, or at your graveyard, what I can only say is, Be well dead asleep, brother Steve Weber, until the resurrection.

    I can’t say that where SH’s remains lay, given his raised middle finger to God & Jesus all his life.

  • You’re a Jehovah’s Witness! I knew something’s way off about you in our previous tit-for-tat.

    “[SH an atheist] will … appreciate … our Creator”, MY FOOT.

  • What is interesting is that he spoke of knowing the mind of a Person he claimed does not even exist. Sounds like Romans 1:21 to me.

  • The material you cited is counting organizations, not denominations.

    For example there are a plethora of denominations which share beliefs, one of which is that each congregation is completely freestanding, and therefore have no overall organization.

    I think the number you quoted, therefore, is a bit high.

    Agnostics are agnostic atheists.

    An agnostic is not an atheist.

    Agnostic means “I do not know”.

    Atheist means “no god”.

    If you’re truly an agnostic, you can’t say there is “no god” because you believe the existence or non-existence of a deity is unknowable.

    “(V)ery specific definitions of god CAN be disproven: for example, a god that is defined as having the bible as his literal, inerrant word cannot exist.”

    I believe in that case you’re simply defining the text is question as not literal and not inerrant.

    “The only thing that is required by the definition of atheism is to lack faith in the belief of a god.”

    I completely disagree, although that appears to be a common thread among younger adherents of agnosticism.

    “What IS surprising, however, is that groups that claim objective correctness – such as Christians and Muslims – have such diversity: if there is a knowable, objective truth that was imparted by your god, then it should be clear, thus necessitating only one denomination of Christianity.”

    Let’s dispense with “your god”. My personal beliefs are on close hold.

    I am, however, well-versed in the major threads of Judaism and Christianity, including my way around most of the major texts. I have a fair knowledge of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.

    My impression is that claims of “such diversity” come from folks who really don’t understand the “Christianists” and “religionists” they claim to be able to critique.

    In significant ways, particularly in moral systems, there is not all that wide a divergence.

    It really was not until the early 20th century through the mid-20th century that, for example, the major denominations in Christianity began to vary on significant moral issues.

  • Exactly.
    Agnosticism and gnosticism are claims about knowledge.
    Those who are agnostic claim to not know, and thus lack the faith to worship any god. That is identical to the position taken by the vast majority of atheists, and compatible with the definition of atheism.

    If you’re truly an agnostic, you can’t say there is “no god” because you believe the existence or non-existence of a deity is unknowable.

    This is wrong on multiple levels.
    First off, most agnostics do not say that the answer is unknowable: they say that they don’t currently know the answer.

    Secondly, atheists do not make the claim of “no god.” They simply do not worship any god because there isn’t sufficient evidence to do so.

    I completely disagree, although that appears to be a common thread among younger adherents of agnosticism.

    Your agreement is not relevant: that is what the definition of atheism is.

    In significant ways, particularly in moral systems, there is not all that wide a divergence.

    A perfect being would not lack the abilities to make sure that there was no divergence. Furthermore, I think that this is a relative statement, as I see quite a large amount of divergence amongst Christian denominations.

    I don’t contest your last paragraph: I think that is probably correct.

  • I do not see all that much divergence between Christian denominations.

    Christian denominations see a lot of divergence because they are down in the weeds, and because they inherited different terminology.

    I haven’t done it, but I would probably sort all of them into perhaps a half dozen major groups, starting with the major division between those that hold to the apostolic succession and those who rejected it.

    For example, what is the practical difference between the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church?

  • I’m sorry, but this is nonsense. No scientist and no philosopher accepts the notion of “effect without a cause”.

    In the first place, there is a conceptual error here, because instead of an “effect without a cause” you should speak about a thing or phenomenon without a cause, since the notion of effect logically implies the notion of cause. If something happens without a cause, then what happens is not an effect. For an effect is an effect of something — of its cause — otherwise it doesn’t make sense to call it an effect.

    But apart from this conceptual confusion, there are no physical phenomena or occurrences without a cause. If something seems to happen spontaneously, then we must always presuppose some cause, and in reality there is always such a cause, albeit it can be unknown. At this very moment scientists are busy to unravel the process of this seemingly spontaneous generation of particles. No scientist can accept the notion that something can happen without any cause whatsoever. This would be the end of science itself, which is the explanation of things by their causes.

    Moreover, what you call the vacuum of space-time is really not a nihil or nothing. If a vacuum in this sense exists at all, then it is something and not nothing. Space and time are realities and not a simple nothing. Here again you commit the error of not taking your own “nothing” seriously.

  • No, the notion of causality doesn’t at all imply that the cause exists prior to the effect. You are committing a ponendo ponens here, by presupposing what you want to prove. The notion of efficient causality only implies that the efficient cause either actually produces, or is ablte to produce, an effect and thus, by logical implication, that the existence of this effect is dependent upon its cause. Being caused is simply being dependent upon something else, nothing more.

    Quantum Mechanics doesn say that there are physical phenomena which are uncaused. It only says that there is no Newtonian determinism, which is something quite different. The real reason why there is no such determinism is because of the interference of the physical phenomena with the experimental settings. The real things which are studied in Quantum Mechanics is thus not just natural phenomena, but the intertwining of natural phenomena with the context and constraints of experimental settings. That’s why in Quantum Mechanics nature itself become an unknown X. The only thing known is the interaction between two systems: Nature (X) and the experimental setting.

    This state of affairs is why the illusion is created that the principle of causality doesn’t seem to apply to Quantum Mechanics, since it can longer be conceived in a deterministic way.

  • Really? Across the entire spectrum of Christian denominations, you don’t see much difference?

    I mean, it is relative, of course, but a few differences I see:
    1. Morality of homosexuality and legitimacy of same-sex marriage.
    2. Morality of divorce.
    3. Sex before marriage and masturbation.
    4. Abortion.
    5. Valid techniques for disciplining children.
    6. Attitudes towards women, and roles that women are allowed to fill in the church and society.
    7. Considering the Sabbath Saturday or Sunday.
    8. Allowance of birth control.
    9. Morality of celebrating cultural pagan traditions like Halloween.
    10. Works vs. faith as being required to be saved. (And indeed, even if being “saved” is important.)

    I’m sure I could come up with many more if I took another 10 minutes to brainstorm, but at least from my perspective, those are some fundamental differences.

    I do agree with you to an extent: I was shocked when I first encountered the 42,000 number. I would have guessed, had I been asked, perhaps 1,000. And I do agree that they can probably be sorted into a much smaller number of categories, although I’d think a couple dozen rather than half a dozen.

  • Nice to brush up on Romans 1 again – thank you for that.

    Yup, it’s confirmed. Stephen Hawking is all over the map in Romans 1:

    (1) “That which is known about God is evident within [Stephen Hawking]; for God made it evident to [him].” (Romans 1:19)

    (2) Stephen Hawking was, therefore, “without excuse. For even though [he] knew God, [he] did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but [he] became futile in [his] speculations, and [his] foolish heart was darkened.” (20-21)

    (3) Stephen Hawking “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.” (25)

  • No further or “more evidence” of God & Jesus (note: not creation, actually) required for brother Stephen Hawking!

    Because, according to Romans 1:

    (1) “That which is known about God is evident within [Stephen Hawking]; for God made it evident to [him].” (Romans 1:19)

    (2) Stephen Hawking was, therefore, “without excuse. For even though [he] knew God, [he] did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but [he] became futile in [his] speculations, and [his] foolish heart was darkened.” (20-21)

    (3) Stephen Hawking “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.” (25)

  • No, human empathy is what gives us the basis (not basic) for morality. Long before religion was anything but praying to the local rock to make it rain. Walk in another’s shoes and the world looks very different.

  • Morality comes form empathy, not god. It’s quite simple really. How would you feel if someone did that to you? That’s all it takes.

  • If “arrogant means with an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or ability, whereas haughty carries an additional connotation of a sense of superiority and contempt for others”, then I want my lawnmower back, you ungrateful neighbor.

    I’ll bet you, though, that no atheist like you knows “the difference between haughtiness, arrogance and narcissistic personality disorder”. Here’s a freebie for you, courtesy of this fired-up & die-hard follower of THE crucified & resurrected Christ Jesus of the gospels, epistles & revelation:

    “The first is a mannerism, mostly of speech and expression. Haughtiness can be cultural, familial and more annoying (or amusing) than harmful. It can also be a defense mechanism. How snooty do our accents become when we’re making complaints or accusing someone? More so than when we’re ordering a burger, I suspect.

    “Arrogance is an attitude that affects actions. It is the presumption that one’s opinion is the only valid one. It’s a presumption that causes a person to override the rights of others.

    “Narcissistic Personality Disorder is mental illness. If differs from the previous two attributes in that it is complex, and is comprised of several behaviours, perceptions and tendencies.

    “NPD is typified by arrogant behaviour. Haughty speech is a common, but not definitive symptom. NPD has a core characteristic of self loathing. This loathing is projected onto others whilst the NPD sufferer hides behind a fake self, who can do no wrong.

    “Not all arrogant or haughty people hate themselves or have hidden shame from which they dissociate. All narcissists do.”

    So let me ask you. Are you a fan of the band, The Narcissists?

    If the foregoing is an indication that you’re boring me, well, then, you’re …

    WRONG.

  • LOL. Okay, your post brought me a chuckle. Not at you, but with you, so thank you for that.

    I know what both arrogant and haughty mean, hence my use of both terms.

    I definitely know what NPD is, as I had someone with NPD stalk me online for a month. It was one of the most disturbing experiences I’ve had. I guess I damaged his fragile sense of ego and he dedicated four weeks to trying to find as much information as he could about me, replying to comments on every social media account I had, and criticizing everything I said / did. I ignored him, and finally some woman insulted him and became his new target.

    My definition of arrogant matches yours. Do you deny that you’re arrogant? If I misjudged you, I apologize, but I suspect that you do believe that, in the realm of religious belief, you are convinced that your faith is the only valid one.

    Most of the “fired-up & die-hard follower of THE crucified & resurrected Christ Jesus of the gospels, epistles & revelation” have been very haughty indeed.

    I’m glad I’m not boring you :-). I’m sorry if I’ve been a bit cranky. Last week was a (good but) draining week, and has left me tired and spent, so I’m just a bit fussy and probably need an aspirin. 🙂

  • I think a transformed heart and character is very useful. As millions of Christians show forth by the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

  • Alright, alright. You’ve got my attention. I love conspiracy theories. Gotta have one per weekend. So go on, then, elaborate with proof-like statements.

  • You write about a comment he made in a book published in 1988, and ignore his own explanation of that quote in made in 2014, and try and make his statements an oxymoron.

    All I can see as that you either didn’t read the entire article, you choose not to read with an open mind, you don’t allow people’s words to stand for themselves with out trying to twist them to an interpretation that allows you to ignore them, or you can’t comprehend what you read. I honestly have no idea which it is.

    “What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God. Which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”

    2014

  • I have many atheistic friends here and a couple over at Friendly Atheist. Can’t say, though, that it’s mutual on their part.

    That’s the one fantasy I have, see.

  • And many non christians show daily by the fruits of their work for the disabled, disadvantaged, poor and needy. Christianity isn’t required for a loving heart and kindness toward others, nor is a belief in god. Empathy and compassion are all that is required.

  • Ok. I’ll just block you then. I prefer intelligent, kind, thoughtful conversation. Since you’ve stated you have to live up to being a troll, I won’t bother to engage with any longer. Enjoy your day.

  • Again, you aren’t making any sense at all. We have a for profit prison system and judges being bribed to put people in it. We have people waiting for two years for an arraignment hearing because they don’t have enough money to pay bail and be out while they await that arraignment.

    If you are implying that no one is perfect, you are right.

    None of that changes that the basis for morality is empathy and compassion, why you except to find large amounts of that in a prison population makes little sense.

    i m sorry, but until you address what I said, not make side remarks that don’t pertain, I am done here.

  • If you and many of the other conservative Christians are what a “transformed heart and character” look like, I’d say that’s a transformation that the world could definitely live without.

  • I of II

    Mainstream Christianity opposes the following. The exceptions are among the liberal Protestant sects which show or are beginning to show the terminal effects of the liberal German influences of the 19th century, which exhibited in the 20th as the Jesus Seminar and so on:

    “Morality of homosexuality and legitimacy of same-sex marriage.”

    “Abortion.”

    An example of a denomination accepting these would be what’s left of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.

    These require a bit of explication. The mainstream of the churches who adhere to a ministry made up those who have received the laying on of hands consider sex outside of marriage immoral. They also note the divine command forbidding divorce and remarriage (divorce per se is not condemned). How they treat it differs. For example, the Orthodox, unlike the Catholics, allow divorce and remarriage but consider it sinful and require penitence and limit the number of remarriages.

    “Morality of divorce.”

    “Sex before marriage and masturbation.”

    Examples of opponents include the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Communion, and the Continuing Anglican Movement.

    This one has a very interesting history. With near unanimity East and West, Catholic and Protestant, Christians opposed this if it involved other than abstinence. At the 1930 Lambeth Conference the bishops of the constituent churches of the Anglican Communion relaxed this discipline:

    “Resolution 15″

    “The Life and Witness of the Christian Community – Marriage and Sex Where there is clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, the method must be decided on Christian principles. The primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary) in a life of discipline and self-control lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles. The Conference records its strong condemnation of the use of any methods of conception control from motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience.”

    “Voting: For 193; Against 67.”

    That opened the floodgate among Protestants since, at that time, the Anglicans held considerable sway in the non-Catholic and non-Orthodox Christian world (no longer the case). The Catholic analysis differs from others because its mode of analysis differs – it considers procreation the primary purpose of marriage and forbids artificial means (french letters, IUDs, and so on) intrinsically immoral.

    Btw, another resolution of that same Conference was:

    “Resolution 16″

    “The Life and Witness of the Christian Community – Marriage and Sex”

    “The Conference further records its abhorrence of the sinful practice of abortion.”

    “Allowance of birth control.”

  • II of II

    The Sabbatarian movement has a long and circuitous history, including the Seventh Day Baptists, and particularly the Millerites. Remnants exist in the Seventh Day Baptist, Seventh-day Adventist, Sabbath Rest Advent Church, Church of God (Seventh Day), and other Churches of God. I am not sure these disciplines rise to the level of doctrine, but in any case Sabbatarian Christians are a very small minority.

    “Considering the Sabbath Saturday or Sunday.”

    I consider this one a ringer. Properly understood there is no difference between these two supposed positions, most of the conflict being rhetorical and historical – a remnant of manning the barricades. No Christian believes Satan does good works, nor does anyone believe that you can shout “I believe!”, park yourself in an easy chair, and light up your favorite smoke.

    “Works vs. faith as being required to be saved.”

    These two are not part of any Christian body’s belief systems to the best of my knowledge, but involve applications of Christian belief to concrete situations where reasonable authorities within a given denomination may arrive at differing conclusions. For example, no Christian body would endorse offering animal sacrifice at Samhain to Crom Cruach. On the other hand, whether the origin of Halloween as Samhain still contaminates the celebration, or whether “Garfield’s Halloween” special took the curse off it is open to discussion.

    I was rather surprised to find a young couple in my own family who are Russian Orthodox avoiding Halloween on the advice of their bishop, while at the I was in the Bible Belt during Halloween and observing the costumed children going door to door. I chalk this up as a matter of taste, not doctrine.

    Much the same is true for techniques for disciplining children. Most Christians would frown at using an axe handle on the head of a two-year-old, and few would blanch at the grounding of a fourteen-year-old on a weekend. That space in between is really not a religious issue.

    “Morality of celebrating cultural pagan traditions like Halloween.”

    “Valid techniques for disciplining children.”

    With the exception of ordination, the following is much more an issue of culture than belief. However, the scriptural and traditional Christian view is one of a complementarian view of gender roles. The Western view of feminism and liberation is a very small minority among Christians worldwide.

    Ordination is a special case because the issue of women is inextricably wound up with the nature of ordination and of orders within the church. The churches which believe that ordination is a sacrament instituted by Jesus generally eschew ordaining women because there is no precedence in the scriptures or tradition for doing so.

    Among the literalist Protestants the scriptural precepts against women speaking in the church are binding.

    “Attitudes towards women, and roles that women are allowed to fill in the church and society.”

    Examples of opponents of sacramentally ordaining women include the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Communion, and the Continuing Anglican Movement.

    Examples of opponents of women being ordained due to scriptural prohibitions the Presbyterian Church in America and the Free Reformed Churches of North America ordain men only.

  • The word “god” is poorly defined, and encompasses a number of things. SH was using it in a metaphorical sense, and not in the sense that you think he was.

    Even if we don’t believe in certain gods, that doesn’t mean that we can’t apply concepts of gods in our speech. It doesn’t imply the existence of your god any more than it implies the existence of Odin.

  • I would say that if in public outside of Oakland you exhibit the kind of mouth that you type with on-line, I would have to agree you’re lucky to be alive.

  • I’ll look forward to the possibility of getting a condo next to SH’s with a beautiful view of the lake of fire for all eternity.

    I enjoy warm weather, cultural diversity, being gay, drug use, and not having to deal with conservative Christians, so in the vanishingly unlikely possibility that hell exists, it sounds like paradise.

  • This would qualify as one of the more pointless conspiracies of all time. Which means it most likely is true, because that is what THEY want you to think.

    Who is THEY, you ask?

    THEM!!! *points at himself*

    But now that you know…

  • Stephen Hawking? Yes, he definitely was an incredible person who furthered our knowledge of the universe and cosmology dramatically.

    Or were you talking about the god with the maturity of a four year old who threw a hissy fit, inflicted mass genocide, and then decided to give us refraction of light as a consolation prize, kind of like an abusive husband gives his wife jewelry to make up for pushing her down the stairs and punching her in the face a few times?

  • You’ll see your need of Him on more desperate terms, when you stand before Him on the day of judgement.

  • My beloved Mishka & I had a beautiful life together but only for 14 months. She’s buried in our backyard. When I look at her graveyard, I whisper, Be well dead asleep, my Mishka, until the resurrection.

    I can say that to my cat, but for the life of me, I can’t say that to the genius, Stephen Hawking. Not when I remember him shoving his fist at the faces of my God & Jesus all his life.

    I say this because your avatar tells me you love cats. Not much of a common ground, but I can work with that.

    I don’t break down anymore since her accidental death. But when she got my attention, maybe for half a minute I would wail for her.

  • Stop stop you’re making me LOL

    But “pointless”?

    YA THINK?

    Again LOL stop stop

    Thing is, one commenter replied by speaking in tongues. So I thought. Apparently the Moderator spoke the language, understood the reply word for word, then … ZIP.

    DELETED, YOU.

    That was when I beg – BEG – to be in on the SH-look-alike conspiracy theory.

    Looking at that, you must’ve ranted silently, HPO WHAT THE …

    Man you crack me up

    Have a nice week

  • I understand… last year was a brutal year for me for many reasons, but two of the bigger ones were that my lovely tortoiseshell cat, Rapunzel (Punz), developed a liver tumour and needed to be put down in December, just about one month after my best friend killed himself.

    I respect your right to your beliefs and would defend that right if it was threatened. I shared similar beliefs (although more of a liberal bent) for the first 22 or so years of my life. (I am now 40, so I have been a philosophical Taoist for about 18 years.)

    I am sorry that you were made to feel that a fist was being shoved in the face of the most important aspects of your faith. I certainly don’t want to do that, so I apologize if I have.

    And I am very sorry for the loss of your sweet Mishka, but glad that you got to spend 14 precious months together.

    Thanks for your kind post.

    (The cat in my avatar is my little sidekick, who follows me around all day long, and I love him to bits.)

  • Saul of Tarsus, a citizen of Rome since birth, was a passionate persecutor of Christians to begin with, even consenting to the stoning death of Stephen (Acts 7:58-8:3). Many of his acts are outlined in detail at 2 Corinthians 11:23-28; 6:4-10; and 7:5).

    He thereafter became Paul (Acts 13:9) a very passionate follower of Christ and faithful apostle until his death.

    Because of his acts of persecution, he did not consider himself fit to be an apostle, but he acknowledged that he was such only by God’s undeserved kindness (1 Corinthians 15:9,10).

    Paul thereafter suffered various acts of persecution as well from Jews, which he endured to the end (2 Corinthians 11:23-28; 6:4-10; 7:5).

    Therefore, anything is possible, even concerning Stephen Hawking (who seemed to be a meek person to me). God is able to read people’s hearts (Proverbs 17:3) and make a correct determination concerning continuation of their lives or not, which humans cannot do.

    It is reassuring to know:

    “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both the just and UNJUST” (Acts 24:15, King James Version).

    Therefore, people who did not have an opportunity to learn about God before death will be given that opportunity, which shows God’s perfect justice.

  • Jesus and Muhammad, yes, I agree. Not with the Buddha. The enlightenment (or awakening) the Buddha achieved has been achieved by others as well. (In principle you, as a 21st century Westerner, can achieve it also.) Please see the following video for a short discussion:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vd8uvyCse0

    (The speaker uses “history centrism” as a short way of describing the issue you speak of.)

  • You, you described Pascal’s wager to a “T”.

    But the problem with the premise is the implication that if the non believer was wrong about their position, they will suffer eternal punishment at the hands of a vain deity. One who values fealty (even insincere acts of it) over morals and actions.

    Making religious belief either unnecessary if that is not the case or to one unworthy it if it is.

    Most religious arguments about non belief tend to put religious belief in a bad light by implication.

  • You have no idea what I’ve been through in my life. I have a severe autoimmune disorder that can be extremely painful and debilitating, and if anything, that was what convinced me that there is no god who cares about my well-being.

    If we hypothetically assume he exists, I can tell you that I want nothing to do with him or his followers for all of eternity.

  • So you are deliberately trying to miss the point. OK.

    We all have social reasons not to act like psychopaths. You can’t maintain social order when everyone is assaulting, robbing and doing nasty stuff to one another.

  • You don’t have to believe me, but I’m sorry that you’ve had to endure something like that. My wife suffered for several years before passing 10 years ago, so I have an inkling of your predicament. I trust you have the support of family and friends.

  • He wasn’t speaking in tongues. He was speaking Irish. I replied to him in that language. We both agreed that the commenter was crazy. I don’t know why his comments were deleted.

  • …except people are fantastic at excusing their behaviors to themselves. I knew one guy who thought himself moral, but believed everything was: A.) Too trivial to matter, so he was excused for the little things, or B.) Too big a deal, so nobody could expect him to resist temptation. So who is to say that his values system is any less legitimate than yours or mine, especially if the majority would vote with him?

  • I do believe you, and thank you for the kind words. I’m very sorry to hear about your wife, and genuinely wish you well, and hope you have people to share in your company.

  • Yes I do, but I do want to know of you do too, if you don’t mind sharing. Privacy respected of course.

  • So…you are saying we can judge how bad a person is by how evil we ourselves act towards that person? Quite the moral compass you have there! 🙂

  • “There were a number of Enlightenment era thinkers that doubted religious teachings,but were
    Deists because that was the only known way to explain the creation of a systematic nature”

    This sentence speaks to me of the following: the thinkers of Europe’s Age of Enlightenment could only make incremental changes to the intellectual discourse that they had received from their Catholic / Protestant predecessors.

    The long-term consequence of this fact is that the social sciences often reproduce elements of Catholic / Protestant theology in a secular disguise. This fact is a bit more obvious in non-Western cultures. In the West, you may also see the issue surface in debates about how Hinduism should be presented in school textbooks.

    I’ll leave you with two fairly short references:

    http://www.hipkapi.com/2011/03/05/atheism-a-secularized-theism-jakob-de-roover/

    http://www.hipkapi.com/2011/03/03/the-religion-of-secular-state-dechristianized-christianity-s-n-balagangadhara/

  • I’m quite lucky on the whole. I have a partner of 14 years who also has an autoimmune disease (in my case, Crohn’s, and in his case, diabetes), so we are very understanding of how that limits each other and supportive.

    Although my family lives a continent away (I’m from Canada / the US but living and working in Chile), they are fantastic people and have been very loving and helpful.

    I also have good friends here, and work for a scientific organization where my manager is the best boss I’ve ever had, and he and the organization are understanding and patient with my illness and we make it work.

    So on the whole, things are mostly good now except for painful days like this morning. Back in 2007 – 2010, every day was hell: fevers of 102-104 every day, my weight dropped to 135 lbs (and I am 6’1), I could barely eat anything, and the pain was horrendous. Fortunately, after a nearly successful suicide attempt, doctors took my condition much more seriously, decided to perform surgery, and I was doing well from 2010 to 2016.

    Unfortunately, last year it started acting up again, but we are keeping things reasonably under control.

    My life is mostly an open book, and I don’t mind answering almost anything.

    Edit: also, I do appreciate your genuine concern. That is very kind of you.

  • It was complications from diabetes that took my wife, plus my present girlfriend is also diabetic, so yes, I hear you.

  • It can be unwise, it all depends. It’s common to take the word of someone at face value, when it comes promises having been made. It someone were to write you a check for X amount of dollars, you then accept it on faith that the funds will be in the bank when you go to cash it. That’s what Biblical faith is. It’s simply trusting God, and taking Him at His word, just as you would trust a close friend.

  • It’s a challenging disease. I wish you and your girlfriend many, many happy and healthy years together.

  • Ah, no, and you certainly had to wist to get there. No one’s toes were run, over, so none one committed any evil. That the poster knew Thatcher would dump him out our his chair and walk on him if he had, was the confirmation of how evil we already knew her to be. The judgment was in the evil she had already done.

  • We are speaking about where morals come from, as whole, not analyzing every possible person on the planet, who chooses to have none while knowing better.

  • I criticize Israel all the time. It’s different from seeking its destruction and condemning it on the basis of anti-Semitic tropes like so much of the BDS movement. But I’d certainly want to know what these “inhumane actions of the majority of the people living in Israel” are.

  • We will have to congenially disagree about what constitutes “Pascal’s Wager.” However, I’m not surprised by this given my recent reading of “Friends Divided” by Gordon Woods which details the philosophical disagreements between Jefferson and Adams. They too were unable to agree on the terms and premises of their various arguments. And such disagreements about terms and premises are not unusual among the most gifted of philosophers. Therefore I conclude that: You and I are in good company. Cheers.

  • Well either you posit that belief and devotion is required for eternal bliss in the afterlife and therefore God is vain and arbitrary or it isn’t and belief is actually superfluous and unnecessary. 🙂

  • Oh no your “best friend”?! So so sorry.

    So so sad now.

    Breaking down here.

    I can’t stand death of loved ones. Hate it. Hate it.

    Please, please take very good care of yourself, my friend.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Spontaneous generation of life, without a first cause came in vogue in the Middle Ages, because folks didn’t know that the maggots and flys that appeared on spoiled meat, because of egg laying. Although it was discarded as unscientific yet that very theory is what Hawking wanted us to still believe, but on a cosmic scale.

  • I understand Christian Science and have had many healings. I find those who have not experienced it for themselves remain skeptical. Nevertheless, it is a Science and coincides with the theory that matter has no substance. Einstein first countered popular theories about matter being substance. What we see, hear, taste, etc., is not outside of thought. And when you learn the Science and start practicing it, you prove it’s Truth.

    Jackie Reid

  • And that’s the power of post-French Revolution secular thinking, education, debates & journalism. They empower people’s doubting, 2nd-guessing and disbelieving at such “cosmic scale”. Now I can be standing right before their eyes, yet with their critical reasoning they can render me invisible. Their power to doubt has now reached the crest of The Tower of Babel. It’s making God & Jesus very nervous. And when They’re nervous, we can only pray, Maranatha!

    I find this comment of yours INSPIRATIONAL. Thank you!

  • I’ve always been bothered by this about Christian Science folks: They declare, “The only reality of sin, sickness, or death is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief, until God strips off their disguise … until every belief of life where Life is not yields to eternal life. … Christ came to destroy the belief of sin”. (Science and Health, 472, 584, 473.)

    Maybe, then, you can answer these (for now) two questions for me – using Christian Science scriptures, preferrably:

    (1) How, in fact, do you, or God, for that matter, “strip off [the] disguise … [of] the … reality of sin, sickness, or death”?

    (2) How, in fact, did “Christ … destroy the belief of sin”?

  • I “tried the Spirits” for myself. I have been Catholic, Protestant, and looked into all kinds of philosophies. Christian Science first answered my questions, and second, proved what it taught.

    I advise you to research the religion for yourself to answer the questions. I went to one church service and knew it was the Truth as did Einstein at a NYC CS church service.

    I don’t care to proselytize. You must find the truth for yourself. Because it is a Science, everyone is already a Christian Scientist. Science is Law, not opinion. It is religion, so it requires devout consecration to search and apprehend it. Not argument.

    Sincerely,

    Jackie

  • What a letdown. The strategy of avoidance of answering even just 2 questions serves thee well. Hanging me to dry. Oh well. At least I instigated a discussion about Christian Science, your religion. But you cowered.

  • Go to: http://www.christianscience.com. Search the questions you gave me or just read Science and Health. [https://www.christianscience.com/var/cscom/storage/images/media/multimedia/homepage/previous-homepage-hero-images/2016-04-21-hero-image/489-6-eng-US/2016-04-21-hero-image.jpg?v3.3.0]
    Christian Science http://www.christianscience.com
    The heart of Christian Science is Love. Christian Science is about feeling and understanding God’s goodness. Christian Science is based on the Bible and is explained …

  • I’d rather that you just tell me that you can’t answer those 2 basic questions than giving the run-around.

    Go ask somebody who do know, then get back to me.

  • 1) How, in fact, do you, or God, for that matter, “strip off [the] disguise … [of] the … reality of sin, sickness, or death”?
    (2) How, in fact, did “Christ … destroy the belief of sin”?

    These questions are answered by understanding. I couldn’t tell you the answer any more than I could tell a 3 year old. You don’t have the vocabulary of Spirit or Mind.
    Christian Science is learned through the individuality of the person. The answer is not personal but right for the individual. In fact, after you learn to answer these questions, we could then talk in the language of Spirit.
    See if you can understand this:

    “Spiritual sense is a conscious, constant capacity to understand God. It shows the superiority of faith by works over faith in words. Its ideas are expressed only in “new tongues;” and these are interpreted by the translation of the spiritual original into the language which human thought can comprehend.”Science and Health” p. 210
    I’m impressed that you have Science and Health. Now you need the Bible.
    “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Gen. 1
    I know the answer to these questions, but you’re in kindergarten right now. The questions you chose are out of context. You would have needed to preface them with something you already understand. When you understand the Genesis 1:31 quote, let me know.

  • So very clear, this:

    Christian Science folks “strip off [the] disguise … [of] the … reality of sin, sickness, or death” VIA “a conscious, constant capacity to understand God.” Because, see, “Christ … destroy[ed] the belief of sin” VIA “a conscious, constant capacity to understand God.”

  • As what my original comment above alluded to, it’s the atheist’s taboo talking when, March 14, 2018, Michael Stone, blogger head of Progressive Secular Humanist, ranted, “Conservative Christian lawmaker Briscoe Cain mocks Stephen Hawking for being an atheist only hours after he died.” Yet all that Cain said, via Tweeter, March 14, 2018, was, “Stephen Hawking now knows the truth about how the universe was actually made. My condolences to his family.”

    Who’s your alleged “psychopath” here, then? O let’s see, uhm – Nobody! It’s just the atheist’s taboo talking, like I said.

    If you don’t get this, then, sorry to say, that says “whole lotta love” (Led Zeppelin) about you. You really, really have to calm down around here, is my advice. Lots of wonderful insights you offer get lost in the (ranted) translation.

    Have a great weekend.

  • In NONE – NADA – ZILCH – ZERO TIME – of the following 3 occasions when apostle Paul talked about the resurrection, can it ever be said that he – OMG & Jesus forbid! – entertained this false JW teaching – “[Stephen Hawking an atheist] will … appreciate … our Creator”!

    (1) “Because [when Paul] was preaching Jesus and the resurrection … [the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers] took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, ‘May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?’ … So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘… God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man [Christ Jesus] whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.’ … Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, ‘We shall hear you again concerning this.'” (Acts 17:18-19, 22, 30-33)

    (2) “[And] when the governor [Felix] had nodded for him to speak, Paul responded: ‘… According to the Way … a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, … having a hope in God … that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. … For the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you today.'” (Acts 24:10, 14-15, 21)

    (3) “[And before] Agrippa … Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to make his defense: ‘… I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews. Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?'” (Acts 26:1, 6-8)

  • “Who’s your alleged “psychopath” here, then?”

    Briscoe Cain, the Conservative Christian. For making such a self-aggrandizing malicious remark about Hawking after his death. Like you needed me to answer that?

  • My Q&A with a Christian Science Dude

    QUESTION (Me): “How do Christian Scientists acquire just that – ‘a conscious, constant capacity to understand God’? And how does that ‘capacity … strip off [the] disguise … [of] the … reality of sin, sickness, or death … destroy[ing] the belief of sin'”?

    ANSWER (Jackie Reid): “YESSS!”

  • Your alleged “psychopath” or a real one would NEVER have these words to say coming from their hearts of hearts – NEVER.

    “Losing a loved one is never easy and I am sympathetic for his family’s loss. My prayers are with them. Stephen Hawking was brilliant, many even called him one of the greatest public intellectuals of the last century, but the fact remains that God exists. My tweet was to show the gravity of the Gospel and what happens when we pass, namely, that we all will one day meet our Creator face to face. Though Hawking has long been a vocal atheist who advocated against and openly mocked God, I hope nothing but the best for his family and pray that he came to know faith before he passed.”

    Source: Briscoe Cain in Fernando Alfonso III, “Texas state representative tweets jab at Stephen Hawking”, Houston Chronicle, March 14, 2018.

  • Nope. It takes a real psychopath to take sick delight in the death of someone because they had different beliefs than they have, like Briscoe Cain.

    Your post proves my point. Only a self-centered psychopath would say such nasty minded garbage just to attack someone postmortem.

    Briscoe would rather aggrandize his belief than wish well of the dead. The sacrasm and malice drips from that passage. As if Mr. Cain was offended by the existence of an atheist who happens to be more famous than himself. Essentially trying to denigrate Hawking in service of his belief.

  • You speak English, right, Spuddie? Just lacking social command of it, maybe. And you’re not trying to invent an atheistic, Christian-bashing English by any chance, right, Spuddie? Well, then, in order to qualify as a “psychopath”, and going by Cambridge University Dictionaries’ definition of “psychopath” – LOOK IT UP – this here my “Mr. Cain” must, as per your false accusation:

    (a) Possess “no feeling for other people”; yet – WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT, SPUDDIE? – he DID send, “[His] condolences to [Stephen Hawking’s] family”, adding that “losing a loved one is never easy and I am sympathetic for his family’s loss. … I hope nothing but the best for his family”.

    (b) “Not think about the future”; yet – WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT, SPUDDIE? – he DID claim, “Stephen Hawking NOW knows the truth about how the universe was actually made” – so as “to show … what happens WHEN we pass, namely, that we all will ONE DAY meet our Creator face to face” – and at the same time “hope … that [Hawking] came to know faith BEFORE he passed.”

    (c) “Not feel bad about anything [he has] done in the past”; yet – WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT, SPUDDIE? – he DID give public recognition to “Stephen Hawking [as being] brilliant [and] one of the greatest public intellectuals of the last century … though … a vocal atheist who advocated against and openly mocked God”. And,

    (d) Be “very mentally ill and dangerous”; yet – WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT, SPUDDIE? – the worst that Texas Monthly could say about the guy was that he was “The Worst Legislators of 2017 … uninformed and belligerent”, to boot; and the worst that a Texas Southern University student member of Black Lives Matter could rationalize about the guy vis-à-vis BLM was “[w]ith his First Amendment right to espouse hate comes our First Amendment right [to overthrow it]”. Neither opposition did what you now do, though, Spuddie, which is medically & criminologically classifying Briscoe Cain as a “very mentally ill and dangerous … psychopath”!

    ERGO: According to the English language & to Oxford University Dictionaries, Texas Monthly & Black Lives Matter, Briscoe Cain – ha-ha! – DISQUALIFY as a “psychopath”, which, otherwise, must a 100% mean “a person who has no feeling for other people, does not think about the future, and does not feel bad about anything they have done in the past” – and/or “someone who is very mentally ill and dangerous”.

    I REST MY CASE, YOUR NO-HONOR.

  • You quote a rather uncivil person who is trying to feel superior to a world famous scientist on the basis of religious belief. I see nothing into it other than blind malice and self aggrandizement. Whatever point you are trying to make is rather muddled.

  • There is an easily solution to this question: pick up a bible. Read it. See what this god did and how he acts.
    Hints: genocide, abuse, murder of children, psychological mind games, and self-obsessed.

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