I myself come from an extremely devout conservative family. I was raised as a Catholic and became "born again" during a Summer Vacation Bible camp when I was in the sixth grade. I made all the sacraments, went to CCD (like Bible study classes), attended Christian Conferences and week long camps, and even went to a Private Catholic College. My husband went into the military shortly after we married and I think that was the beginning of my de-conversion.  I attended LSU and lived all over the deep South.  This really opened up my eyes to a world very different from where I grew up. I began questioning after attempting to find a church that "fit" us.  Listening to pastors talk about beating their kids, using Bible quotes to condone it, and then sitting through masses about tithing and speaking in tongues, I started to see how crazy religion was. I guess I identified as non-denominational for a while because I didnt want to have anything to do with man made religion. Then it was watching documentaries and specials on Jesus and I started questioning the Bible and whether or not he could have existed and raised the dead, and walked on water, turned water to wine, etc....My conclusion upon getting my degree in Science Psychology was no he couldnt have, those things are improbable.  If that was my conclusion then every other "story" in the Bible was improbable and where did that leave me?

My de-conversion was a process and progress if you ask me. I didnt just wake up one day and say "I think I'll be an atheist". I was a long sometimes painful process that led me here. I could never "go back" EVER, too many things about this world and Universe point to happen stance, probability, and accident. We are Serendipitous, the outcome of a happy accident. I'm fine with that, I'm happy with that! I no longer need a man in the sky subconsciously re affirming my every choice and "making" me feel guilty when I make a poor decision. My brain is far evolved from the mythology and going back is no longer an option.

The repercussions from my de-conversion have been slight. My Mom cried when she found out and told me I was going to Hell, now she just tries to get me to listen to Christian radio stations and referred to my recent raise and promotion as an "answer to her prayers". I deal with the religious rhetoric because she is family. I now look back often, especially when she looks at something purely scientific and attributes it to God, and wonder how I could have ever believed such nonsense. 

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Kara, you said:

"Why does our existence have to be from a who....why cant people just be content with a how?"


I suggest that one does not have to assume that our existence came from a "who" (personal being). I think one can arrive at that by doing a conceptual analysis of what attributes the cause of the universe would have.

Based on some of the things I've written on this site, I think it makes more sense that the cause was something of the order of Mind rather than of the order of Matter. The latter is apparently contingent (dependent) on something else, and all matter came into existence a finite time ago. 

But we can also discover the "how" as we go! Swinburne, the Oxford philosopher, says there are two ways to describe any explanation: a personal explanation and a scientific explanation.

For example: If you came into my kitchen and asked, "Why is the kettle boiling?" I could reply something like, "the heat from the fire is transmitting into the metal of the kettle and heating the water molecules until they are thrown off as steam, etc."

Or, I could say, "I put it on to make some tea!" Both are legitimate answers to the same question.

Why are we so bothered that the ultimate reality may be personal; a Mind? Especially if there are better reasons for believing that?

Well matter can never be destroyed, only transformed.  Maybe there-in lies the answer......I mean who knows maybe the universe have been being recycled forever. Perhaps we are one universe of a thousand preceding it.

Keep in mind the matter that is currently in existence is neither being created nor destroyed (First Law of Thermodynamics). But that says nothing about whether matter came into being or is eternal etc. 

Kevin Kevin Kevin - The first law of Thermodynamics deals with a closed system and the energy in it.  We do not know that the cosmos in which we reside is a closed system.

Okay. So the matter in this closed system is neither being created nor destroyed. That doesn't mean the matter in this closed system is eternal.

And if the universe is an open system, based on a conceptual analysis, what is beyond it, i.e. to what is it open (again based on a conceptual analysis)?

Matter is created and destroyed all the time - E = MC2

Of course the sum of matter & energy, adjusted by the above conversion, in a closed system remains constant - but that really falls right outside thermodynamics altogether now, doesn't it.

What would be beyond this cosmos seems to be a super-cosmos filled with a lot of comsi like, and many very different from, ours.

 

I think you're rightly pointing out that nothing in E = MC2 disputes the First Law. 

And the Multiverse is pure speculation at this point. As well, even upon it's existence, it only puts the second premise of the Kalam back a step. 

The multiverse certainly is not 'pure speculation' - to say so only reveals your complete ignorance of all the hard work of our world's physicists.

The dominant model of the multiverse at this point reveals 11 dimensions decoupled from our own chain of cause-effect.  It doesn't put your fallacious premise of Kalam back a step - it utterly destroys it.  Checkmate, theist.

Hello Kevin Harris. Welcome back. Is it down to conceptual analysis that you are still a Theist? A year later and I have still found no sign of your god. Yes, the same old arguments are there but no evidence. A mind that is infinite creates matter that is finite ergo Yahweh?

Hey Reg,

The Kalam combined with a conceptual analysis does not lead one directly to the God of the Bible but merely a more generic notion of God. Other arguments are needed to establish the God of Christian Theism.

Kevin :

Why would a mind make us so inefficiently?  I mean we have so many downfalls....our bodies are far from perfect (from a supposedly "perfect" being) For example if you listen to Neil DeGrasse Tyson he points out a number of things that are incredibly UN-intelligent about our design. Forgive me for poor grammar or spelling, it is 2:35 am and hot as hell here.  For example as humans we have to eat and drink constantly.  Too much of something and we get sick, too little of something and we get sick. We need it "just right", just like the goldilocks zone.  We eat and drink out of the same "hole" so to speak so we have a constant possibility of choking.  And why would an intelligent, thinking mind put an amusement park next to a sewer system?? These are only a few flaws in a list of many more that logically suggest something other than intelligent design.

Yeah, that's an excellent discussion. Without writing volumes, the parameters of the discussion center around Efficient Design vs. Optimal Design.

First, it is difficult to define what constitutes optimal design. How many things could be added to a car or a laptop before it became "optimally designed"? If you add too many things to a laptop it will no longer fit on your lap! Or, the car would no longer be affordable!

Efficient Design is only the domain of someone with limited time or resources. She must do with what she has to make the widget work. But someone (God) with unlimited time and resources is just not held to such efficiency. So God can design sufficiently for various life forms.

Secondly, I've seen Tyson's laundry list. The problem is, it assumes that, on theism, God did not design efficiently, optimally, or sufficiently. We discover things all the time that overturn long-held beliefs that something was useless or vestigial (e.g. "junk DNA", the appendix, etc.). Not knowing all the factors, it is a huge burden of proof to assume something is "poorly designed", and it certainly doesn't dispute that design itself is there. 

Also, there is a distinctly Christian consideration: the fallen world. One may speculate as to how the fall of man has affected various systems. 

(BTW, don't worry about spelling or grammar. No pressure with me!)

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