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The Problems With Atheism


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#136 crystal ball

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 10:25 PM

Julian Jaynes
The Origin of Consciousness in the breakdown of the bicamerial mind


Presents a theory of the bicameral mind which holds that ancient peoples could not "think" as we do today and were therefore "unconscious," a result of the domination of the right hemisphere; only catastrophe forced mankind to "learn" consciousness, a product of human history and culture and one that issues from the brain's left hemisphere. Three forms of human awareness, the bicameral or god-run man; the modern or problem-solving man; and contemporary forms of throwbacks to bicamerality (e.g., religious frenzy, hypnotism, and schizophrenia) are examined in terms of the physiology of the brain and how it applies to human psychology, culture, and history.

http://www.julianjay...cameralmind.php

If Julian Jaynes is correct all religious preachers should be collecting their p45 no wonder this book has been kept away from the masses by the vested interests who make a living through the mysticism in others.

#137 scarlets79

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 10:39 AM

One of the things that depresses me about this thread is that I am not even an atheist, not that you seem to have bothered to take that point on board. Since you refused to debate me on any of the other points I have raised so far I thought we could try this one. I was simply trying to point out some of the reasons some people have chosen to believe in the non-existance of god. You asked for some reasons or evidence to back these beliefs up and I have provided them. I notice you haven't really tried to debate any of those points beyond some biblical references, and since you refuse to discuss my earlier questions about the nature of the bible, I see no point in trying to discuss those with you.


OK. The title of this thread is "The Problems with Atheism". A fair debate on these matters is one where it's not just Christian belief that's under cross-examination. I am happy to try and answer your questions but in this thread I've tried to keep it on topic. Accusations of trolling, insults thrown etc. amaze me. People may cite reasons for disbelieving but I believe under closer scrutiny of those reasons we find that they don't stand up- it is possible to be sincere but sincerely wrong.
Don't forget: we live in a fallen world.
"Therefore do not worry, saying, ; What will we eat?' or 'What will we wear? For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ( Matthew 6:31-33)
Objections answered here :
http://www.rationalc...tml#phil_punish

#138 whitemice

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 11:21 PM

(Sorry about quoting from more that one poster, but I’m mostly replying to the positions held)

To atheists: Would it be possible, in the 99% of the knowledge that you/humanity haven't yet come across, that there might be ample evidence to prove the existence of God? If you are reasonable, you will be forced to admit that it is possible. Somewhere, in the knowledge you haven't yet discovered, there could be enough evidence to prove that God does exist.

Yes there are inherent problems with the tools we use to understand out world/universe. See Philosophy of science but pointing out holes in Science doesn’t make religion/Christianity any truer. The only people who can be 100% right are the fundamentalists.

How did 35-40 men, spanning 1500 years and living on three separate continents, ever manage to author one unified message, i.e. the Bible?…The Bible is so exceedingly accurate in its transmission from the originals to the present copies, that if you compare it to any other ancient writing, the Bible is light years ahead in terms of number of manuscripts and accuracy

The bible has been edited, translated, reedited and retranslated many times.

Would like to ask though ..... if you had a young daughter that was dying ..... when you are sitting by her bedside in hospital ...... would you be praying to God that she recovers ?? If she doesn't ..... at her funeral would you be praying to God that she is in a better place now ...... or would you think her death doesn't really matter as she was just a bunch of molecules and electrical impulses ?? …Doesn't that make you feel cold and empty ?? Is your mother just a biological machine - no different to a tree ?? !! Is human life of no value what so ever ??

What you wish doesn’t change the nature of the universe.

Anyway, as ever, and I'm partly to blame for this, this thread is becoming a discussion about Christianity rather than a discussion about atheism. Atheism only exists in a vacuum. It must disprove theistic proofs. It cannot prove itself true. It is a very weak place to be intellectually.

Some things are inevitable.
It seems to be conceptually difficult for a believer to imagine someone not believing; hence we end up talking about non-believers and asking silly questions like “how can you be sure that god doesn’t exist?” Asking these kinds of questions reveals a somewhat narrow world view.

God is a concept designed to be impossible to prove or disprove, ever wondered why it was designed like that? Besides, Jedi is the only true religion.

#139 Perfectionist

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 04:00 AM

What you wish doesn’t change the nature of the universe

True ..... but you still didn't answer the question did you !?

#140 scarlets79

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 03:45 PM

Yes there are inherent problems with the tools we use to understand out world/universe... but pointing out holes in Science doesn’t make religion/Christianity any truer.


I am not attempting to discredit Science, only pointing out that as amazing we think our scientific understanding is, relatively speaking we understand so very little of our own world, let alone our universe. Therefore, we ought to be a bit more humble, don't you think? And it is ludicrous to suggest that as we develop more scientific understanding that we are somehow ready to take over from God, and assert he doesn't exist... lol

The bible has been edited, translated, reedited and retranslated many times.

Your point?
Whatever the debate, theological, historical, or otherwise about the contents of the bible... the messages are extremely powerful and life-changing, and understood by people of all class, social status, nationalities, sexes all over the world. No other book, no self-help book, no storybook reaches people in quite the same way. The Bible is much more than just good advice. It gives us the laws that we need to make the earth a colony of heaven, which if adhered to better would make all our lives much more of a joy. In the UK many people don't think we need the Bible no more, that we are somehow so incredibly intelligent and wonderful that we can do without it. Just watch the news on any given days and you still hear the violation of the commandments here in the UK. On Question Time every week we hear clueless politicians and confused public suggest this is the answer, that is the answer... well there is only one truth and we are abandoning it and that's where we are going so so wrong.

Sorry folks, but the harsh reality is that abandoning the Bible and it's unique inspirations and teaching is not doing us any favours. No government can legislate for children to respect their parents, for people to quit lying, for people to stop thieving and murdering... it is only God's guidance that can change people's lives in a radical way that we are craving for.

It seems to be conceptually difficult for a believer to imagine someone not believing; hence we end up talking about non-believers and asking silly questions like “how can you be sure that god doesn’t exist?” Asking these kinds of questions reveals a somewhat narrow world view.


Sorry I disagree. The inability of atheists to answer this simplest (not silliest) of questions regarding their chosen position (or in my view: non-position) exposes a rather embarrassing vaccum... especially as they demand so much from those who believe, and try to portray themselves as people of reason and proofs. That's not my problem, that's one for the atheists to sort out. I believe if we are to discuss the subject of God then people must be prepared to be cross examined not just play prosecutor. That's only fair.

God is a concept designed to be impossible to prove or disprove, ever wondered why it was designed like that?


We don't know everything about God, nor do we understand why certain things happen and why certain things don't happen under his watchful eye. But trust in him we must- he knows best.
Don't forget: we live in a fallen world.
"Therefore do not worry, saying, ; What will we eat?' or 'What will we wear? For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ( Matthew 6:31-33)
Objections answered here :
http://www.rationalc...tml#phil_punish

#141 Sledgehead

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 06:52 PM

I wish to challenge those on this forum who claim to be atheists.

Please answer the following
1. How much of all the knowledge of this world would you say human beings know? Give a %.
2. How much of all the knowledge of this universe would you say human beings know? Give a %.
3. What probability "p" would you give for Christianity to be true... and would your probability, p, be greater than zero or equal to zero?



1. a tautology in light of 2.
2. a non sequitur in the realm of this discussion.
3. Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. It is a word with a meaning, like car or cat. To ask whether it is true or false, or more particularly to ascribe a probability to the likelihood of its truth or falsehood is meaningless. I and serious debaters do not respond well to such loose language. I will not assume what you mean by 3 even though it seems obvious, since in my experience, christian apologetics advocates all and any forms of misdirection and semantic gymnastics in order to evade truth rather than seek it.

I would however point out that the bible is full of contradictions. If, in any circle, it could be proven that 2 + 2 could be anything but 4, I would consider the teachings of mathematics to be sufficiently undermined as to render them all false (though not necessarily useless). In this regard, I must consider the teachings of christianity to be false.

Because christians always adopt a pick-n-mix approach to the bible, it is still possible that the bits you like (and therefore believe) constitute the actualite. In this respect, your beliefs may be correct. Since however the bible still contains contradictions, your beliefs will not fit with the teachings of the bible (unless you can simultaneously believe contradictory views - ie you are clinically mad). So although your flavour of belief may fit with the truth, the teachings of christianity never will. In this regard you may as well make up your own religion from scratch, as there is no evidence to suggest its teachings would be any less truthful than those you have selected as your form of christianity.

Edited by Sledgehead, 17 February 2007 - 06:57 PM.

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You have missed the HMS "good time to buy boat." ........Now is a good time to buy View Post

QUOTE(nodumsunreader @ Aug 10 2005, 03:48 PM)
.....if your wished for HPC actually happened ..... The only winners will ....be those who own property View Post

QUOTE(TheLittleGuy @ Aug 13 2005, 02:16 PM)
I think that the market will eventually have a proper crash ... I used to be an HPC believer, but that was a long time ago View Post

#142 whitemice

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 08:29 PM

True ..... but you still didn't answer the question did you !?

It’s an emotionally loaded argument...
  • Fine, I'm an asshole for not believing in an invisible supernatural entity and thereby not asking it to save my daughter.
  • I don’t feel cold and empty - my molecules are actually quite warm. B)
  • I’m not sure how not believing in the supernatural affects my ability to love and care for my family?

I am not attempting to discredit Science, only pointing out that as amazing we think our scientific understanding is, relatively speaking we understand so very little of our own world, let alone our universe. Therefore, we ought to be a bit more humble, don't you think? And it is ludicrous to suggest that as we develop more scientific understanding that we are somehow ready to take over from God, and assert he doesn't exist... lol

Ah, I think see what’s going on here: Religion and Atheism (for want of a better word for it) are not indivisible and encompass a range of different viewpoints (Atheism perhaps more so).
  • Some Christians believe that the Bible is the literal truth and will tell you the Earth is only a few thousand years old.
  • Some Atheists will tell you that as/when Science can adequately explain the origin of Live and the Universe (I’m not sure if that’s possible) then that will leave no room for a supernatural creator and hence be proof of the non-existence of god.
We appear to be taking neither position. I was simply saying that the possibility of god existing is not enough reason to conclude that god exists (in my own opinion).

Your point? Whatever the debate, theological, historical, or otherwise about the contents of the bible... the messages are extremely powerful and life-changing, and understood by people of all class, social status, nationalities, sexes all over the world. No other book, no self-help book, no storybook reaches people in quite the same way. The Bible is much more than just good advice. It gives us the laws that we need to make the earth a colony of heaven, which if adhered to better would make all our lives much more of a joy.

Sorry, what you say is subjective and the Bible simply doesn’t do it for me (I’ve heard similar things said about the Koran – have you tried reading that?). Also I like to think I have a slightly more evidence based world view.

Just so I know your position, do you believe the Bible is the literal truth and/or the work of god?

In the UK many people don't think we need the Bible no more…you still hear the violation of the commandments here in the UK…clueless politicians and confused public suggest this is the answer, that is the answer... well there is only one truth and we are abandoning it and that's where we are going so so wrong…Sorry folks, but the harsh reality is that abandoning the Bible and it's unique inspirations and teaching is not doing us any favours. No government can legislate for children to respect their parents, for people to quit lying, for people to stop thieving and murdering... it is only God's guidance that can change people's lives in a radical way that we are craving for.

British society doesn’t put much effort into making its people good citizens - I’ll give religion credit for having a stab at that one. However, Religious societies have their own problems:
  • Religious leaders aren’t immune from corruption and scandal.
  • Poor track record when dealing with decent and religious/ethnic minorities.
  • Inhibit scientific progress (don’t get me started on what the Catholic Church did to Galileo)
  • Good Christians still start evil wars, sometimes claiming they are doing gods work. <_<

Sorry I disagree. The inability of atheists to answer this simplest (not silliest) of questions regarding their chosen position (or in my view: non-position) exposes a rather embarrassing vaccum... especially as they demand so much from those who believe, and try to portray themselves as people of reason and proofs. That's not my problem, that's one for the atheists to sort out. I believe if we are to discuss the subject of God then people must be prepared to be cross examined not just play prosecutor. That's only fair.

I happen to find the evidence for the existence of god to be weak and thereby chose to be (from your perspective) a non-believer. It’s silly to call it a non-position because that would imply that I would also have to take a position against the existence of the Easter bunny, Spiderman and the tooth fairy. For convenience sake it’s easier to demand evidence of the believer rather than asking people to defend why they don’t believe in something that can’t be proven.

God is a concept designed to be impossible to prove or disprove, ever wondered why it was designed like that?

We don't know everything about God, nor do we understand why certain things happen and why certain things don't happen under his watchful eye. But trust in him we must- he knows best.

I was implying that god is a creation of man I.e. an invention designed to be un-disprovable (if that’s even a word?).

#143 Sledgehead

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 12:35 AM

The Bible is much more than just good advice. It gives us the laws that we need to make the earth a colony of heaven, which if adhered to better would make all our lives much more of a joy. In the UK many people don't think we need the Bible no more, that we are somehow so incredibly intelligent and wonderful that we can do without it. Just watch the news on any given days and you still hear the violation of the commandments here in the UK. On Question Time every week we hear clueless politicians and confused public suggest this is the answer, that is the answer... well there is only one truth and we are abandoning it and that's where we are going so so wrong.

Sorry folks, but the harsh reality is that abandoning the Bible and it's unique inspirations and teaching is not doing us any favours.


Well, I can't comment on what you consider to be "harsh reality". I can however present some statistics that show how much harsher reality can be for infants born in christian countries by comparison to those born in strongly atheist / agnostic countries:

Top 10 Countries
With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics


Country ___________ Atheists / Agnostics * ___________ Infant Mortality Ranking (1=worst, 221 = best )**

Sweden ___________ 85% _________________________ 220
Vietnam ___________ 81% _________________________ 93
Denmark __________ 43 - 80% _____________________ 205
Norway ___________ 31 - 72% ______________________ 215
Japan _____________ 64 - 65% _____________________ 218
Czech Republic _____ 54 - 61% ______________________ 213
Finland ____________ 28 - 60% ______________________ 216
France ____________ 43 - 54% ______________________ 210
South Korea _______ 30 - 52% _______________________ 182
Estonia ____________ 49% __________________________ 167

Average Infant Mortality Rank, 10 most Atheist / Agnostic Countries = 194 (1=worst, 221 = best )**

By-Rank-Equivalent**** deaths per thousand live birth, 10 most Atheist / Agnostic Countries = 5

Top 10 Countries
With Highest Proportion of Christians

Country ___________ Christians*** _____________________ Infant Mortality Ranking (1=worst, 221 = best )**

El Salvador ________ 99.4% _________________________ 98
Chile _____________ 99% ___________________________ 161
Grenada __________ 99% ___________________________ 138
Honduras _________ 99% ___________________________ 91
Paraguay _________ 99% ___________________________ 96
Romania _________ 99% ___________________________ 92
Armenia _________ 98.70% _________________________ 107
Moldova _________ 98.20% _________________________ 75
Bolivia _________ 98% ____________________________ 61
Colombia _________ 98% ____________________________ 112

Average Infant Mortality Rank, 10 most Christian Countries = 103 (1=worst, 221 = best )**

By-Rank-Equivalent**** deaths per thousand live birth, 10 most Christian Countries = 23

Put another way, strongly christian countries kill 4.6 times more infants than strongly atheist / agnostic countries.

Harsh indeed. Kinda brings a whole new meaning to Mark 10:14 : "Suffer the little children."

And they call themselves "pro-life".


* Zuckerman, 2005
** CIA World Factbook
*** Christianity by country
**** the figure for deaths per 1000 live births is derived from the CIA Factbook world rankings by substituting the deaths /1000 sustained by the county with the same rank.

Edited by Sledgehead, 18 February 2007 - 12:55 AM.

Bubble Thinking & The Wisdom of the Property Bulls (click the pink arrow to see it in full!):

QUOTE(BTLlondon @ Jun 13 2005)
You have missed the HMS "good time to buy boat." ........Now is a good time to buy View Post

QUOTE(nodumsunreader @ Aug 10 2005, 03:48 PM)
.....if your wished for HPC actually happened ..... The only winners will ....be those who own property View Post

QUOTE(TheLittleGuy @ Aug 13 2005, 02:16 PM)
I think that the market will eventually have a proper crash ... I used to be an HPC believer, but that was a long time ago View Post

#144 scarlets79

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 10:46 AM

Well, I can't comment on what you consider to be "harsh reality". I can however present some statistics that show how much harsher reality can be for infants born in christian countries by comparison to those born in strongly atheist / agnostic countries:
...

Put another way, strongly christian countries kill 4.6 times more infants than strongly atheist / agnostic countries.

Harsh indeed. Kinda brings a whole new meaning to Mark 10:14 : "Suffer the little children."

And they call themselves "pro-life".
* Zuckerman, 2005
** CIA World Factbook
*** Christianity by country
**** the figure for deaths per 1000 live births is derived from the CIA Factbook world rankings by substituting the deaths /1000 sustained by the county with the same rank.



This must be some kind of joke. You present conflicting sources of data and are selective in the data you choose. The source and quality of data for atheists/agnostics is a complete joke. For example, are 85% of the swedes christian or are they 49-85% (lol) atheist country? You do not present a measure of the strength of this alleged correlation (not that it matters- if you use bogus data from a cheap webpage you can make it what you like). Give me a break.

This regression exercise lacks credibility and is laughable. The conclusions are highly dishonest. Your credibility is totally gone pal.
Don't forget: we live in a fallen world.
"Therefore do not worry, saying, ; What will we eat?' or 'What will we wear? For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ( Matthew 6:31-33)
Objections answered here :
http://www.rationalc...tml#phil_punish

#145 HOwner

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 02:24 PM

A 2002 study by MENSA, of 43 other different studies also shows an inverse relationship between religiosity and intelligence.

Edited by HOwner, 19 February 2007 - 02:48 PM.

Scarlets79 on Slavery, May 14th 2007, 10:38AM
"Today you have well off people employing nannies, it's not that different."

Yes I want prices to fall, but no, I don't believe in the illuminati, the coming of armaggedon, that the UK will be a 3rd world country in ten years, that the elite are lizards, that the bible should be taken with anything other than derision, that there were WMD's in Iraq, in the NWO, or whatever current conspiracy theory is the new bear flavour of the week.

#146 scarlets79

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 03:10 PM

1. a tautology in light of 2.
2. a non sequitur in the realm of this discussion.
3. Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. It is a word with a meaning, like car or cat. To ask whether it is true or false, or more particularly to ascribe a probability to the likelihood of its truth or falsehood is meaningless. I and serious debaters do not respond well to such loose language. I will not assume what you mean by 3 even though it seems obvious, since in my experience, christian apologetics advocates all and any forms of misdirection and semantic gymnastics in order to evade truth rather than seek it.


ok no straight answers, no surprises there, absolute nonsense that you can't accept the suggestion of a probablity p:- either Jesus was son of God or he wasn't.

I would however point out that the bible is full of contradictions. If, in any circle, it could be proven that 2 + 2 could be anything but 4, I would consider the teachings of mathematics to be sufficiently undermined as to render them all false (though not necessarily useless). In this regard, I must consider the teachings of christianity to be false.

More nonsense. Are you now suggesting that something has to be proven 100% in order for you to accept theories? Then you probably only accept a few pure maths theories in the whole world. Perhaps you should educate yourself more on statistical principles of testing for the null hypothesis...

Because christians always adopt a pick-n-mix approach to the bible, it is still possible that the bits you like (and therefore believe) constitute the actualite. In this respect, your beliefs may be correct. Since however the bible still contains contradictions, your beliefs will not fit with the teachings of the bible (unless you can simultaneously believe contradictory views - ie you are clinically mad). So although your flavour of belief may fit with the truth, the teachings of christianity never will. In this regard you may as well make up your own religion from scratch, as there is no evidence to suggest its teachings would be any less truthful than those you have selected as your form of christianity.


Perhaps you should educate yourself on the concept of interpretation. Ask any two musicians to conduct an orchestra, ask any pianists to play a concerto- you would hear two different performances despite the original composition in front of them being the SAME. Then program the piece of music onto a synthesiser/PC. Then ask yourself which performance was the best... different musicians would disagree about certain interpretations but would agree on the ESSENTIALS- this is how the churches are. Many of these so-called contradictions are explained away- if you're interested in explanations, that is, or maybe you prefer asking rhetorical questions?

Clearly you are unable to appreciate the concept of interpretation and are demanding absolute proofs before placing your belief in something- I would suggest it is you are more likely to be clinically mad.
Don't forget: we live in a fallen world.
"Therefore do not worry, saying, ; What will we eat?' or 'What will we wear? For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ( Matthew 6:31-33)
Objections answered here :
http://www.rationalc...tml#phil_punish

#147 ImA20SomethingGetMeOutOfHere

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 04:08 PM

Delusion

#148 scarlets79

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 04:25 PM

It's no use accusing believers of being delusional, or unintelligent, if non-believers get so scared of dealing with cross-examination themselves without resorting to insults and demanding censorship...
Don't forget: we live in a fallen world.
"Therefore do not worry, saying, ; What will we eat?' or 'What will we wear? For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ( Matthew 6:31-33)
Objections answered here :
http://www.rationalc...tml#phil_punish

#149 ImA20SomethingGetMeOutOfHere

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 04:34 PM

It's no use accusing believers of being delusional, or unintelligent, if non-believers get so scared of dealing with cross-examination themselves without resorting to insults and demanding censorship...


:)

I asked you a question a few pages back and you don't seem to have answered it yet. Just in case you've forgotten, let me ask it again.

The only thing I really believe is that it is better to be happy than unhappy.

Shall we subject that to cross-examination?

#150 scarlets79

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 05:16 PM

The only thing I really believe is that it is better to be happy than unhappy.

Shall we subject that to cross-examination?


Christians, particularly evangelical Christians, regularly top the happiness polls, unsurprisingly.
Don't forget: we live in a fallen world.
"Therefore do not worry, saying, ; What will we eat?' or 'What will we wear? For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ( Matthew 6:31-33)
Objections answered here :
http://www.rationalc...tml#phil_punish




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