At the invitation of Professor Robert, I'm starting a new thread.

Dr Bob, you are continually trying to draw clear distinctions between Catholicism and other (especially Christian) religions. I grant that Catholics are (a little) different, but, as they still fundamentally believe in the magic, invisible daddy in the sky, there is really NO difference.

Two points: The Bible (whether or not you take it literally) is the foundation of your (and all Christian) religions. A cursory examination of the Bible reveals a SMALL handful of usable tenets along with pages and chapters FULL of utter nonsense. The fact that any religion would base itself upon such a holey book, makes that religion as creditable as Joseph's golden tablets from God which he, unfortunately, misplaced.

God: I will be heartily disagreed with here, but I find the idea of God to be completely understandable. Here we have, at the dawn of civilization, various groups of totally ignorant people trying to put words, meanings, and causes to all manner of things which they couldn't possible understand. Combine this with a clever but ruthless set who have come to realize that, if they ascribed words, meanings, and causes to the world around them, people would actually BELIEVE them (as they no other source of information). These priests could and did use this power to govern the people - insisting that everyone in the tribe bow before them.

Then came the age of knowledge. We could start to actually understand all these things that the priests had, up till then, kept to themselves. As the power base for all civilized people rested with these priests, they were (and, of course, still are) wildly defensive of their position.

There is, however, NO CONCEIVABLE REASON for any educated person to believe in the supernatural - aside from these historic pressures.,

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I lied. I wanted to get the thread started.

"NO CONCEIVABLE REASON for any educated person to believe in the supernatural"

Actually I think that belief in God makes sense to a certain degree. The reason lies in language. Language has a built-in duality - like where there is an UP there must also be a DOWN. Left . right. etc. In language, there must be a speaker and as listener. It's the nature of language. Now that we've named virtually everything, we THINK in language. That, in fact, is how IIIiii would define "thought". 

When we think a thought, bundled with that is the speaker/listener thing. Every thought comes from someone (including yourself) and/or goes to someone (including yourself). It is therefore EASY to think that your thoughts are, in fact communications - to God, or FROM God; that praying is a direct link to God; that God reads your every thought.

Interesting thesis but I am somewhat skeptical. I do wonder if one were raised with language but never encountered the concept of a god, would one simply consider internal thoughts and wishes to be 'heard' by oneself? the universe? or not to be 'heard' at all? 

Interesting question. I don't know. 

Still thinking.

Has there ever been an atheist society? Has archaeology ever revealed any evidence of a community that did NOT believe in the supernatural?

So, 

"with language but never encountered the concept of a god"

may be untestable.

You were correct the first time . I would , however , amend your statement to , " no conceivable reason for any mind of worthwhile intelligence or merit to believe in the supernatural ". Only fools , the mentally challenged , the insane , and children have such beliefs .

Fools like Copernicus, Descartes, Pasteur, Pascal, Ampere, Mendel, Coulomb, Fermat, Volta, Cauchy, Avagadro, Bacon, Einstein, Bohr, Salk, Newton, Darwin, Freud, Kepler, Heisenberg...

Professor Robert, I am surprised.  Every one you listed above was a product of his cultural environment and physical circumstances.  The fact that any of them believed in the supernatural had more to do with the time in which they lived than any veracity of the supernatural itself.  Besides, You need to do better than a weak appeal to authority. 

I think it was fair in this case as it was a response to the claim that those believing in the supernatural are fools (though Darwin's theism at the end of his life is a grey area, and Einstein's is unlikely).

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."[8]

A Einstein

Typical theist obfuscation of the facts . The scientists you mentioned either lived in a time when belief in the supernatural was common due to lack of knowledge , and the others such as Enstein , Bohr , Freud , Heisenberg , Darwin and Salk were absolutely not theists , and were , in fact , probably atheists . In any event , they certainly did not believe in their own personal sky daddy . Can't you you argue your position based on facts and not resort to steaming piles of bullshit to bolster your claims ? Weak , Bobby , pathetic and weak .

How in Bob's view are Catholics different from other christians?

At the core of their belief is that the bible is the word of god, that god exists in 3, that a virgin gave birth to a son/god who died for sins and after 3 days Resurrection and went to heaven from where he will come to judge the living and the dead and this belief is almost true across the board. The only addition catholics have added is they need eunuchs as priests and have an infallible guy at the helm who speaks directly to god on their behalf [with the resignation of Ratzinger claiming other things health issues, god must not care for his representatives].

" bible is the word of god"

I hope he joins us, but meanwhile I believe he's already said that the Bible is the word of men - something many atheists get wrong. To me, though, who cares? No one disagrees (except silly fundies)  that it's highly suspect. So why would a religion be based upon a lot of nonsense - whoever wrote it.

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