Friday, 2 March 2012

Playing The Faith Card

When you're living as an "in the closet" atheist conversations, on religious matters, are pretty dicey.  I find myself still trying to be as truthful, as humanly possible, without saying too much (so as to tip my hand and accidentally reveal the full extent of my current opinions).

The other day, a Christian friend of mine brought a certain article to my attention.  We had a brief conversation about it and, afterward, I sent him a link that expressed "a different perspective" on the issue (this was how I framed it).  My friend happened to notice that the piece was written by an atheist, which initiated a discussion that went something like the following...

Him: I have to admit, he (the atheist author) did make some good points.

Me: Yeah, I totally get where you were coming from, but I just thought you might be interested in seeing another perspective on it.

Him: It must be really difficult being a public atheist like that.

Me: Why?

Him: Well, because you have so much to explain.

Me: What do you mean?  Can you give me an example of what atheists have to explain?

Him: Like, where we came from.

Me:  As in Adam and Eve?

Him: Yes, exactly.  I mean, I know they believe in the "big bang", but no one really knows what came before.

Me: That's partly true, but Christians don't know what came before God either.

Him: Sure, but that's where we get to have "faith", and they don't have that.

We had another interesting (follow up) conversation, a bit later, but for now I'd like to circle back to my friend's comments about atheists, above, in terms of what he says they have to prove (and how this all ties in with faith) etc.  What follows may seem overly obvious, to some of my atheist readers, but as this conversation with my (University educated) friend reminded me, we can't simply take it as a given that everyone understands the principles I am about to highlight.

Having said that, it seems to me there are a couple of fundamental problems with my friend's line of thinking here...

Firstly, he is confusing an assertion with an explanation.  The two are not the same.  When the Bible says that humanity started with two people, created by God to live forever in a majical garden (had it not been for "the fall"), this is simply an assertion.  Nothing more, nothing less. And it doesn't actually explain a single thing.  (Evolution, on the other hand, does explain plenty of things.)

Secondly, I would be willing to concede that strong/hard atheists bear a certain burden of proof, in showing how the Universe could begin without a god; but this decidedly does not mean that Christianity is true, by default, even if they don't succeed in doing so.  (As it happens, I think that people such as Stephen Hawking & Lawrence Krauss are doing a pretty decent job of it though.) Actually, in this sense, hard atheists are only making one major claim; there is no god.  By contrast, Christians are making dozens upon dozens of major claims; there is a god, that God is Yahweh, Jesus was his son, the Bible is God's special/perfect book, there are invisible beings called angels and demons, there are invisible places called heaven and hell that we all go to after we die, etc. etc. etc.

At the risk of over emphasizing the point let me offer a thought experiment...if I were to suggest that atoms were created by invisible space monsters, would you feel that you need to explain fully where atoms do come from in order to reject that view?  Of course not.  Even if you had no idea, as to the true origin of atoms, it wouldn't matter in the slightest.  You need not offer an alternate explanation at all, in order to be completely justified in rejecting my space monster assertion. The same is true when it comes to atheists & Christians.  Atheists may bear the burden of proof, if they are indeed making a positive claim (there is no god), but they do not bear the burden of proof in the negative (their rejection of your particular religious beliefs).

So, to review, here's how I see it...

(Hard) Atheism: Bears the burden of proof on the claim that there is no god.

Christianity: Bears the burden of proof on several dozen claims that are unique to the Christian religion (some of which just so happen to directly contravene scientific findings).  Each one of these claims, by itself, is implausible, but together their implausibility is magnified many times over.

My friend was playing what I like to call "the faith card" in this conversation.  The faith card says, "I don't have to really justify my beliefs logically, in such and such, because I just have 'faith' in those things".

All of this reminds me of another way in which Christians sometimes play "the faith card"; namely, in claiming that their beliefs are somehow mysteriously validated by the fact that "atheists have faith too".  Is this true?  

But that's another discussion, so I'll save it for my next post.

What do you think, about this conversation with my friend, is there something I could have said or done differently?


  1. "Secondly, I would be willing to concede that atheists bear a certain burden of proof, in showing how the Universe could begin without a God..."

    I'd have disagreed here. For me, atheism is not a positive claim. I don't see any reason to believe that god exists; therefore I don't believe that he does; therefore I'm an atheist. Granted, there's an element of agnosticism there, but atheism and agnosticism are not (in my experience) as distinct as many people think. And since atheism - at least the way I approach it - is not a positive claim, it doesn't bear the burden of proof on much of anything.

    And in particular, I don't think atheists bear any burden of proof in terms of how the Universe began. That's an esoteric topic, one that exists right out at the ragged edge of what we can even gather data about.

    We know the Universe exists because we're in it. What are the odds of a Universe existing in a way that could support Human life? As far as we can see, the odds are 1 out of 1. We have no basis for comparison. Can a Universe come into existence without an eternal, external cause? We can't answer that. Again, we have no basis for comparison. And how would you test that?

    That there are limits to Human knowledge proves nothing. That could as easily be because we are imperfect creations as because we are the result of impersonal natural processes. How would you tell the difference?

    Most religions, Christianity among them, claim that divine beings have a direct effect on events in the natural world. As far as I can determine, there is no consistent, independently verifiable evidence to support those claims. If a Christian wants me to believe in deities at all, let alone that Christianity specifically provides an accurate description of their nature and desires, they'll have to offer me some of that sort of evidence.

    But, even if you concede that atheism has some sort of burden of proof, the rest of your points remain valid.

  2. Me: That's partly true, but Christians don't know what came before God either.

    Him: Sure, but that's where we get to have "faith", and they don't have that.

    I'm sorry. After that, I would have had to shake my head and walk away. More power to you for not doing so.


  3. But, doesn't it make sense to reason from what we can empirically observe? It doesn't make sense to me to suppose that life can evolve from non-life, spontaneously, essentially by chance. I can't see how atheism can even begin to offer a reasonable explanation.

    "It seems reasonable to me to suppose that an intelligent mind composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create: science, art, and technology making creatures," a quote from the Nobel prize-winning physiologist George Wald..

    I personally think that atheists do have a kind of faith as well.

    For instance, how many accept the multi-universe hypothesis to explain the apparent fine tuning of the cosmos toward life, and yet there is really no objective evidence at all that an infinite number of universes really exist?


  4. If it makes sense to reason only from what we can empirically observe than that leaves God out as well.

    What are the chances of life evolving from non-life? I don't know, but what are the chances of an all knowing, all powerful intelligent designer being in existence for all time? If you're fair than this is also hard to believe.

    Why not just be honest with ourselves and admit that we are still figuring this stuff out. I see no reason to jump to conclusions.


  5. Well, Agnostic, I do feel that agnosticism with at least an openness to a real possibility of a creator seems more intellectually defensible to me than convinced and wholly persuaded atheism.

    It's true we can't place God in a test tube to show empirically that He exists or is eternal. But, most cosmologists agree according to the "Big Bang, " theory that the universe had a beginning in space and time. The cosmos is not eternal. To me, this reality is like a signpost pointing toward the creator, one of many.

    I'm thinking of that verse of Scripture, "Every house is built by some man, but He that formed all things is God..."

    Suppose we will have to agree to disagree about this. :)It's always good to dialogue and hear other perspectives.


    1. Good discussion guys. Keep in mind as well that atheism and agnosticism are not mutually exclusive (many are both).

  6. Rebecca,

    "It doesn't make sense to me to suppose that life can evolve from non-life, spontaneously, essentially by chance. I can't see how atheism can even begin to offer a reasonable explanation."

    While I understand it might be difficult to grasp that life can evolve from non-life - if you take enough chemistry and science classes you would probably come to a different conclusion.

    You CAN empirically observe much of this process already.

    Scientists have created molecules that can reproduce themselves (RNA) using chemicals and conditions found in nature. It can be argued that these self-replicating (RNA) molecules were the very first "life forms" on earth. Scientists have also created amino acids - the building blocks of DNA - that are a precursor to "life" as we currently know it.

    By the way - the chemical structure of RNA is very similar to that of DNA, with two differences: (1) RNA contains the sugar "ribose", while DNA contains the slightly different sugar "deoxyribose" (a type of ribose that lacks one oxygen atom), and (2) RNA has the nucleobase uracil while DNA contains thymine.

    RNA molecules are single-stranded molecules - DNA are double stranded. So, it isn't unreasonable to assume that one day - we will be able to create complex life forms - similar to ones present at the beginning of our evolutionary journey - in a lab. In 60 years we have already recreated events that took billions of years to happen naturally on earth.

    Only 60 years?

    Yep. These experiments started in the 1950's - and have been reproduced literally thousands of times. See the "Miller and Urey experiment " or look up "abiogenesis". So, in roughly 60 years of research we have created simple life – and we are relatively "close" to developing complex life in a test tube - from inert chemicals.

    It can be done, Rebecca.

    Like I said, I understand that may be difficult for you to grasp - but it is a reality.

    1. Hi, anon, I'm back.

      I'm no scientist, and I'm sure as a layperson this conversation could certainly go beyond my depth. But, it does seem to me that there is a pretty huge gap between forming some of life's building blocks, simple amino acids, and explaining how a self-replicating information-carrying molecule could assemble spontaneously from these compounds, again from essentially nothing.

      Also, what do you think of the work of Stephen C. Meyer, (PhD from Cambridge) his book "Signature In The Cell?" He basically argues against the RNA World Hypothesis, at least happening from a purely naturalistic perspective.

      Interesting stuff, either way.


    2. "But, it does seem to me that there is a pretty huge gap between forming some of life's building blocks, simple amino acids, and explaining how a self-replicating information-carrying molecule could assemble spontaneously from these compounds, again from essentially nothing."

      Science has created BOTH simple amino acids AND self-replicating information carrying molecules (RNA).

      It may be another 60 years - it may be 100 years - it may be next week.. before "complex" (DNA based) life is created in a lab - who knows?

      The point is - God wasn't needed to create self-replicating RNA or Amino Acids.... and DNA is very similar in structure to RNA and will eventually be created as well. It took BILLIONS of years for nature to achieve the right conditions... we have a bit of an advantage being able to aim for an end result... but in the end Rebecca - it is all just a combination of chemicals.

      As for Dr. Meyers book - he may very well be correct that RNA didn't play a part in complex life being created. RNA may simply be something that is formed alongside DNA and like current experiments it may have just been easier to form in nature and so we created it first.

      It is fascinating stuff.

  7. Many Christians do not want to accept that as a fact – but many also did not wish to believe the earth was not the center of the universe or that the earth revolved around the sun.

    Now-a-days pretty much everyone accepts the facts that the earth is not the center of the universe and it does in fact revolve around the sun – belief in God still continues. In a few dozen years – Christians will accept that life can – and was – created by random chemical combinations – and my guess is that Christians and other religious people will continue to believe in a God.

    Religion will not parish because of science. You already hear many Christian apologists talk about “micro-evolution” being proven but not “macro-evolution” – that is religion adapting to change.

    They are arguing that a 1 degree change (micro-evolution) in course won’t get you to a different destination. However, any one who honestly examines the facts understands that if you make a 1 degree change of course – and then drive for a billion years – you are going to end up a long, long way and in a far different place than when you started (macro-evolution).

    One day – probably in our lifetimes – you will hear something to the effect of; “The truth is – evolution doesn’t “dis-prove” God. “

    And that is correct.

    You can’t “dis-prove” God.

    You can only state that the evidence that we currently have makes the biblical story of the Garden of Eden – unlikely from a literal standpoint.

    The “evidence” for God – as a human shaped entity who scooped us out of mud 6000 years ago and demands worship and is jealous of “other” Gods and wrote a book called “The Bible” – is not really good.

    A better evidenced – more likely scenario – is what science offers.

    You can choose to ignore the facts - or not believe them - but then that just makes you – insert your own word here.

    At one time religious people were certain that the earth was flat, and people believed the sun circled the earth.

    Okay that’s fine – but when we knew we wouldn’t fall off the edge of the world – we discovered different lands and amazing possibilities.

    When Galileo proved the earth revolved around the sun – how did it help mankind to ignore it? It didn’t change God…

    But by accepting Galileo’s discoveries over the religious beliefs of the day we were able to make huge advances in mathematics, inductive reasoning, astronomy, and so much more…

    Evolution, advanced by Darwin, has led to hundreds of discoveries about us – medical breakthroughs – explanations for fossils, genetics, and so much more…

    If you don’t believe these facts are true – or you ignore them – you aren’t helping mankind.

    Yes, Religion may help people as well – but it also divides people; My God versus your God. Science rarely divides us. It invites challenge, and honest discovery. It is not perfect (it is practiced by humans who are not perfect) but the idea of science – if I may semi-quote Carl Sagan – “is a candle in the darkness”

    1. I think religion can certainly be toxic and divisive. But, for me the crux of the difficulty goes deeper than religion, but is based in fallen and broken human nature. We have become alienated from God, and from each other. It seems to me that terrible atrocities have been committed under totally atheistic, as well as religious regimes.

      However, would you agree that if everyone followed the ethic of Jesus "to love our neighbors as ourselves, " we couldn't go far wrong?

      Many would also argue that some of the greatest scientific minds of all time were also people of faith, and that it was the Christian faith that helped make possible the advancement of science in earlier Western civilization.

      Anon, I think most people just have this sense and awareness of spirituality. I really do. As the human race, we seem to be hard wired for God.


    2. "I think religion can certainly be toxic and divisive. But, for me the crux of the difficulty goes deeper than religion, but is based in fallen and broken human nature.We have become alienated from God, and from each other. It seems to me that terrible atrocities have been committed under totally atheistic, as well as religious regimes."

      Debating who killed more people atheists or religious people - is sort of like debating whether more murders are blonde or have dark hair. It is a stupid debate.

      Religion obviously doesn't PREVENT people from becoming murders - nor does it cause people to become murderers. Atheism obviously doesn't PREVENT people from becoming murders - nor does it cause people to become murderers.

      People who want to justify killing will always find justification for their acts - be it religion or some other made-up cause. Both atheists and Christians kill when it suits their needs / desires. That is a part of our DNA.

      Your point was that we have become "alienated" from God... but Rebecca murders and killings have gone on since the beginning of mankind. It has never been different. Even in the Bible when there were only 4 people - Cain slew Able. 25% of the population died - we are not sure about their wives and such - but the point is pretty clear... God never prevented murders. We were never alienated from God - because God never existed.

      In fact, if he did exist - He committed quite a few murders himself. If you are to believe the Bible he wiped out cities and drowned the whole world.

      So how - or when - did we become alienated from God?

      Yes - i would certainly agree that if we lived by the code - Love your Neighbor as yourself... the world would be a better place.

      However the Bible also says that women are to be silent in church, and submissive to men. It also says that Gays should be put to death, that non-believers should be killed... yes the Bible has some great lessons - and some horrid ones as well. Which should we follow - the ones you pick out... or the ones Jim Jones picked out?

      "Many would also argue that some of the greatest scientific minds of all time were also people of faith, and that it was the Christian faith that helped make possible the advancement of science in earlier Western civilization."

      Yes, some of the greatest minds in history have been Christians. That's because churches were the only place you could get ANY education for over a thousand years. And you need to look up the "Dark Ages" to see how little Religion helped science. Maybe ramble around Galileo's biography.

      Rebecca - atheists were killed for their non-belief; scientists jailed for their discoveries when they varied from what Bible taught... It's a real feat of mental gymnastics to reach the conclusion that Christianity "helped" science in earlier western civilization.

      "Anon, I think most people just have this sense and awareness of spirituality. I really do. As the human race, we seem to be hard wired for God."

      Humans have always sought answers. The easiest answer (as explained in my writing) is "God." It answers all questions and stops all further inquiry. I just saw a truck this morning with huge letters that read - "Jesus is the Answer" - yes He is.

      He is the answer to every question when you want to stop thinking about it.

    3. Anon, I think there is a difference between folks who happen to be part of the institutional church, and are "religious," and people who are actually following Jesus as Lord. No one following the Christ is going to be like a Jim Jones. It would be an oxymoron.

      Religion seems a mixed bag to me. There are great ways that the Christian faith has contributed to Western Civilization from art and music to our base for common law, but there are some dark chapters in the church's history as well.

      Do you happen to come from a very fundamental kind of spiritual background? Truly, there are people whose faith in God, specifically in Jesus, who have become deeper seekers after truth, open, more loving, and compassionate, all sorts of good things.

      Also, I want to add that the Bible was never given to be read like a modern day science textbook. Even in matters of faith and practice, we need to consider the context, and the culture of the time, things like that. To share an example ,because Paul is giving an admonition to a particular group of women in a specific church setting in his culture, it doesn't necessarily follow to me, or to most Christian people I know that this teaching universally applies to all people of faith everywhere through the centuries. Do you see what I mean, anon?

      Well, I suppose we could go on and on talking about this. There's probably no end of subjects to cover. I've enjoyed talking to you though, anon. Give you the final word. :)

      Oh, one more thing, when I was sharing that the Christian faith helped make possible the advancement of science in the middle ages, I meant my statement in this sense. Christianity reinvigorated the idea of an ordered cosmos by envisioning the universe as following laws that embody the rationality of God the creator. According to Christianity, human reason is derived from the divine intelligence that created the universe. In pantheistic cultures there was not the same confidence that the code of nature's laws could ever be unveiled, or read. "In his classic book "Science and the Modern World," Alfred North Whitehead concludes that "faith in the possibility of science an unconscious derivative from medieval theology."


  8. Here is a common mistake many non-scientists make;

    You quoted a Nobel Prize winner, physiologist George Wald, regarding his belief that God could exist (and of course God can exist) but this is a flawed debate tactic with scientists.

    The first mistake here is that - in science - it really doesn't matter at all what a person believes.

    It wouldn't matter if Charles Darwin renounced evolution on his deathbed (a false claim Christians used to make) or if Einstein was a devout Christian (He wasn't) In science - it isn’t about what you believe – it is only about what you can prove.

    The second mistake is this; Dr. Wald was no doubt a brilliant man.

    However, his expertise in science was NOT in evolutionary biology, chemistry, or even evolutionary physiology - or any of the other disciplines that might be more appropriate to the subject of "God" - Dr. Wald's expertise was in pigments found in the retina.

    The equivalent in the religious world - to quoting Dr. Wald - would be for me to find a well-known or an award winning Muslim - who might say, "Jesus was fictional". I doubt you'd accept his authority on the issue. It's sort of the same thing quoting a scientist who has a different area of expertise.

    That said, the truth is, many scientists are religious.

    However, they accomplish this by compartmentalizing their world. They are a scientist when it comes to , say, microbiology - but do not apply the same standards to their philosophical beliefs.

    It is easier to believe in a God when you work as a medical doctor (about 75% of doctors believe in a "God") than say - a paleontologist (only about 28% believe in God).

    This is fairly easy to understand - for example - it becomes more difficult to believe in a Bible story of "God" scooping a human out of mud - when you have a PhD in evolutionary biology and know and understand that man evolved from ape-like creatures several billions of years ago. (That number is about as close to 0 as you can imagine)

    Similarly, there are very few, if any, Geologists who believe the creation of earth and universe happened 6000 years ago in the span of a week. (Although I am sure there are many geologists who believe in "God" without embracing that particular part of the Bible.)

  9. You said something else I found very interesting - and it again shows the difference in viewpoints that religious people and atheists have:

    "...the apparent fine tuning of the cosmos toward life."

    You see, I would argue that this is starting with a false premise.

    The "cosmos" - is very hostile to life.

    In fact, in our solar system - to our current knowledge - less than .0000000001% of the area contains "life" - and from our observations of other solar systems it might be even more rare than that.

    The conditions must be just “right” , what scientists refer to as the "Goldilocks Zone" - for life (as we know it) to evolve. Chemicals need to combine in such a way that they can reproduce and mutate. That requires a very specific range of pressures, chemicals and temperatures.

    This isn't by design - Rebecca - it is by sheer chance.

    Basically by rolling "dice" (chemicals coming into contact with each other in various states and conditions) which happens literally trillions of times a day - over billions of years.

    Most religious people start with the presumption that humans are something special - an "end" result that represents God's final work. It is sort of the reasoning to say, “Well how did we end up with souls, looking exactly like our creator – if it was all just by chance?”

    While we are special in many ways - are simply a link on a very long, extremely varied chain of chemical mutations.

    Humans didn't "pop up" out of nothingness.

    There were single cell animals, then multi-cell animals (mutated single cell animals that found they could compete better for resources) then even more complex creatures kept mutating - again each evolving because they could exist in a certain niche of nature.

    This is all fact, Rebecca. It is not in doubt or even controversial. The further you dig into the earth - the simpler life forms become. This is just fact. You can't really get around it.

    At first these basic life forms existed in water, then on land - each competing for their existence.

    Make no mistake - this is / was no "Garden of Eden" - this is a brutal "winner take all" world and after billions of mutations, and billions of years - we humans came into existence. Currently humans are the most successful Apex Predator in the world (at least - right now). Our evolution has made us top of the world - just like many of the dinosaurs who roamed for millions of years were before us. One day – just like the dinosaurs – we too will be replaced by something more successful.

    1. My understanding of this, anon, albeit limited, is that cosmologists have identified fifteen physical constants whose values current theory is unable to predict. The list includes everything from the speed of light to the force of gravity, and the chance that all of these constants would take on the values needed to result in a stable universe capable of sustaining complex life forms like us is almost infinitesimal. Yet, here we are. It's as if in some sense, the universe knew we were coming. I know we will probably have to agree to disagree, but I don't think it was all by sheer chance.

      Christians think that the creation itself bears witness to the creative power of God.

      (To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.) The heavens declare the glory of God; and the universe shows his handiwork...

      [There is] no speech nor language, [where] their voice is not heard. Their lines have gone out to the ends of the earth.

      I think you might enjoy very much reading some stuff by Dr. Francis Collins. He is one of the worlds most eminent scientists, formerly head of the Human Genome Project, and has worked at the cutting edge of the study of DNA, the origin of life.

      Dr. Collins is also a committed Christian believer, and has written a book called, "The Language of God."( He is a theistic evolutionist.)


  10. The fossil record clearly shows this. Anyone who tells you different is lying.

    Evolution doesn't take a "leap of faith" - it happens and is happening whether we believe in it or not.

    It doesn't require belief, or faith, or worship... it simply exists.

    In another million years we will be gone, maybe all life on earth will be gone - but somewhere, the dice are rolling, or have rolled, and other life exists. But it is very rare.

    Now you can argue - that "God" started all of this.

    Honestly, it is as good an explanation as any.

    Humans have a "finite" intelligence. No matter how hard we try we cannot imagine the beginning of time or the end of the universe. God, pretty much by definition, is more “limitless” than either of those concepts.

    To my thinking - it is ridiculous to try to understand "God" when we can't even fathom the beginning of time or space.

    Science is the exploration of "natural" explanations for the events of our world.

    Science finds itself in opposition to religion only because the instant you say, "God" - you have left the realm of "natural explanations."

    "God" is the word we use to define the limits of our understanding.

    How did we get here?

    God scooped us out of mud.

    What happens when we die?

    God takes us to heaven.

    What is our purpose on this earth?

    God wants us to...

    Science doesn't seek to disprove "God" - God could have created the Big Bang... or a different start to the universe. However, we say that the evidence for God is not very strong - because we have better explanations (up to a point)

    How did the universe come to be?

    Well there was this big bang?

    What existed before the big bang?


    How did man come to be?

    He evolved from simpler life forms, which we can trace back to single cell organisms (albeit with over 10 billion different organisms to trace back - we will never have a complete picture of evolution)

    What existed before those simplest life forms?

    Basically chemicals in a "primordial soup" of pressure and temperature created the simplest life forms…

    Where did the chemicals come from?


    1. To my thinking - it is ridiculous to try to understand "God" when we can't even fathom the beginning of time or space.

      Agreed that we "all see through a glass darkly." But, it does seem reasonable for me to think that if there is a God, who ultimately formed the universe, and everything in it, He would reveal Himself specifically to us in some way. Because all religions can't be equally true, this doesn't follow to me that all are equally false.


  11. So, Rebecca - it isn't a matter of believing in "God" per se - we have a finite intelligence. All of us believe in God on one level or another. Even Einstein.

    But we look at science as a way to explain things in natural terms. That isn’t a “dis” to God. However, they do conflict because the instant you bring God into the equation - the conversation stops.

    The answers stop.

    The journey of our mind - stops.

    The more we know - the further God get's pushed back, but we will never eliminate God from our vocabularies - because we have a "finite" intelligence. "God”, by definition, is infinite and will always be the answer to what we don't understand.

    This is very long post - I understand, but it is an important discussion.

    One last point - Athiesm.

    Our host - has done a fine job to define the different types of atheists dividing them from the "agnostics" and so forth. By definition you are either a Theist (you actively believe in a God of some type - or you are an Atheist - you don't believe in a God of some type. Being an Agnostic is a polite way to be an atheist. If you don't know - then - by definition you are an atheist. A “Theist” requires a leap of faith. It is a positive affirmation. If you have not made that “leap of faith” – then you are – by definition – an atheist.

    The truth is we are ALL "Atheists" - and at the same time - we are ALL "Theists" as well.

    You are an atheist when it comes to “Zool The Monkey God” or “The Flying Spaghetti Monster” - or Zeus, or Ra or Odin... Every Christian I know doesn't believe in any of the hundreds of Gods that have existed throughout history - and so they are (in fact) atheists just like me.

    The argument made by many atheists is - the same reason you dismiss all of those other "Gods" as being false - I apply your same logic to all of those other Gods - and yours as well.

    At the same time - no matter how much many atheists dislike the idea of “God” – no one can honestly know all of the answers to all of the questions about our universe and our existence.

    The instant that you have reached the limits of your intelligence and understanding - you will always find God.

    songwriting at

  12. Wow, anon, thank you for your thoughtful reply. That took a lot of time. I'm having family over for the Easter weekend, and so have to come back to this when I have more time.

    But, I do need to share that I am not a fundamentalist Christian, and do not find science in general or the theory of evolution to be contrary to my Christian faith, and trust in Jesus Christ. I don't know that any thinking Christian believes that God literally scooped human beings from the mud like a potter. Surely this is a poetic, and anthropomorphic way of speaking. More later...