***[Moderator Note] Pahu is no longer a member of Think Atheist.  If you would like to add your thoughts to this thread, that is your prerogative; however, the original poster is not able to respond.[/Moderator Note]***

When we set out to explain why and how something happens, we must use the evidence, facts and experience available to us if we are to arrive at a logical conclusion. Using available evidence, experience, facts, observation and experimentation, we know that the universe had a beginning and that before that beginning there was no universe and therefore there was nothing. We know this because of the Law of Causality (for every cause there is an effect and for every effect there is a cause). Based on this law, we can use the following logic:

 

1. The universe exists.

2. The universe had a beginning.

3. Before the beginning of the universe, there was no universe.

4. Since there was no universe, there was nothing.

5. Since the universe does exist, it came from nothing.

6. Nothing comes from nothing by any natural cause.

7. Therefore the cause of the universe is supernatural.

8. Life exists.

9. Life always comes from pre-existing life of the same kind (the Law of Biogenesis).

10. Life cannot come from nonliving matter by any natural cause.

11. Since life does exist, the cause of life is supernatural.

 

Many people with a naturalistic worldview assume everything can be explained by natural causes. From the beginning, they reject the possibility of a supernatural cause. Because of this they are left with no scientifically valid answers to the question of how the universe could come from nothing, which is impossible by any natural cause of which we are aware. Many answers have been proposed that go beyond the realm of known evidence, experience, facts, observation and experimentation and therefore enter the realm of fiction.

 

The same logic applies to life. Using available evidence, experience, facts, observation and experimentation, we know that life only comes from pre-existing life of the same kind.

 

[color=blue][i]“Spontaneous generation (the emergence of life from nonliving matter) has never been observed. All observations have shown that life comes only from life. This has been observed so consistently it is called the Law of Biogenesis. Evolution conflicts with this scientific law by claiming that life came from nonliving matter through natural processes”[/color][/i] [[url=http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/]From “In the Beginning” by Walt Brown[/url]]

 

Life never comes from non-living matter by any natural cause of which we are aware.

 

Now that we have seen proof that God exists, using logic based on known evidence, experience, facts, observation and experimentation, we need to see if He has revealed Himself to us. In the Holy Bible there are hundreds of prophecies given by God who is speaking in the first person. In both Bible and secular history we find that those prophecies have been accurately fulfilled. No other writing on earth comes close to doing this! Only God can accurately reveal the future, ergo, He is the author of the Holy Bible. Within the pages of the Holy Bible He reveals His nature, our nature, His relationship to us, our need for salvation and His plan of salvation for us.

 

The reason the universe and life cannot come from nothing by any natural cause, but can come from a supernatural cause is because God is the self-existent creator of everything and everyone. He is not subject to His creation. He created it and sustains it. It is a mistake to judge God by human standards and human perspectives. God reveals that He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.

 

If you are interested in more detailed proof, read, [i]“Evidence that Demands a Verdict”[/i] by Josh McDowell.

 

[[url=http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000005147#] From “Reincarnation in the Bible?” [/url]]

 

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Better ask first, what exactly is nothing? And what is it not?

Does nothing contain nothing?

Would it be possible for nothing to exist? How long? If it would, what would such a statement - nothing exists - even mean?

If it would nevertheless exist, would it exist there when it makes way for our Universe to expand into?

(To be sure for those more versed in standard cosmology the Universe doesn't expand into nothing, space itself is what expands. As a matter of fact it "falls outwardly" (that shouldn't be taken too literally as this 'outwardly' would be located at every point in space) due to the constant vacuum energy density. (The gravitational energy part in for example the enhanced Friedmann equation is getting more negative. The "enhanced" part just refers to a differentiation of the energy density, that is say to divide it up in a diluting matter part, a diluting and redshifting radiation energy part and a constant dark energy or vacuum energy part. - We are at a phase in the Universe's history where the dark energy part is dominant.)

I guess it will be possible to "prove" any position on the origin of the Universe by way of syllogism if you craft the premises carefully to ensure the conclusion you want.

Edit: In a previous version I butchered the English language even more and I hope this is close enough to keep the reader from weeping.

 

Reply by Heather Spoonheim 16 hours ago
What is your proof that the Universe came from nothing?

Pahu: The universe is everything that exists. Before it existed, it didn't exist. Before the existence of everything that exists, there was nothing. Nothing always comes from nothing by any natural cause. Since the universe does exist, the cause of it coming from nothing must be supernatural.
Reply by Jim Minion 15 hours ago
Pahu: And yet the fact remains that the universe came from nothing and the Bible contains hundreds of fulfilled prophecies.

Who says the universe came from nothing? Creationists?

Pahu: Yes. Also anyone able to use logic based on the facts of science.

Your logic is flawed and science doesn't say that universe comes from nothing. Your starting from a flawed premise so your logic can't work.

Spend the time to read the science but I believe the only thing your interested trying to prove 2000 year old myth so you keep going to non scientific sources to back up that myth.

No Pahu not explained rationalized.

Where can you find bigotry? You mean you haven't noticed?! 1. Bible sanctions slavery over and over and actually gives instructions on how to beat slaves...

2. Jesus refuses to heal a Canaanite woman's possessed daughter saying that she is a "dog" and only changes his mind when the woman admits that she is a dog.

3. A non-engaged woman who is raped must marry her rapist

4. People with disabilities or deformities cannot enter the house of God.

5. If a woman is found not to be a virgin on her wedding night she must be dragged to her father's house and stoned on his doorstep. If it is a priests daughter she must be burned alive.

6. Moses' armies capture 30,000 women and children and moses orders that every male child and grown woman who is not a virgin be killed, but that every little girl who is a virgin can be kept by the soldiers as a sex slave.

I could go on and on, but you get the point, right?

Reply by Skycomet the Fallen Angel 16 hours ago
Where can you find bigotry? You mean you haven't noticed?! 1. Bible sanctions slavery over and over and actually gives instructions on how to beat slaves...

Pahu: Where?

Skycomet: 2. Jesus refuses to heal a Canaanite woman's possessed daughter saying that she is a "dog" and only changes his mind when the woman admits that she is a dog.

Pahu: Where?

Skycomet: 3. A non-engaged woman who is raped must marry her rapist

Pahu: Where?

Skycomet: 4. People with disabilities or deformities cannot enter the house of God.

Pahu: Where?

Skycomet: 5. If a woman is found not to be a virgin on her wedding night she must be dragged to her father's house and stoned on his doorstep. If it is a priests daughter she must be burned alive.

Pahu: Where?

Skycomet: 6. Moses' armies capture 30,000 women and children and moses orders that every male child and grown woman who is not a virgin be killed, but that every little girl who is a virgin can be kept by the soldiers as a sex slave.

Pahu: Where?

Skycomet: I could go on and on, but you get the point, right?

Pahu: Right. For starters, bigotry is intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself. Where do any of your examples conform to that dictionary definition?

Second: Your examples are distortions of what the Bible actually says.

Third: Each of those examples have been explained by scholars for centuries, if not millennia. If you are interested in the truth, you can find it here:


Bible Answers (CARM)
http://www.carm.org/bible-difficulties/genesis-deuteronomy

Bible Archaeology
http://www.christiananswers.net/archaeology/home.html

Bible Christian Answers
http://www.christiananswers.net/menu-at1.html

Bible Commentaries
http://www.ewordtoday.com/comments/

Bible Contradictions Answered 1
http://contenderministries.org/discrepancies/contradictions.php

Bible Contradictions Answered 2
http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/contralinks.html

Bible Contradictions Answered 3
http://www.bcbsr.com/topics/ans5.html

Bible Creation Proof
http://www.caseforacreator.com/home.php

Bible Explained
http://www.bibleexplained.com/

*sigh*

I still hold out hope for you. To be honest, I know what it's like to be a Christian, I was brought up as one. Freedom only comes when one gains the curiousity to question. 

Please DO dare to question god!

If he is real, why would he give you the gift of a brain and not wish you to use it? 

I know the feeling of the doubts lingering on the edge of your conscience, producing anxiety and pain. Let the doubts come in and CONFRONT them head on. If what you believe is true, then God will provide an answer to every one of them. Whether god is real or not, refusing to question can only bring terrible pain. Let the questions come. If God has a plan for you, then you need not fear any questions he may give you. Do not go to your minister or read books. Ask God directly. If God loves you like a father he wouldn't want you to suffer. He would want to provide you with answers. Maybe he will speak to you. He never answered me.

 

The bible's attrocities and contradictions can be easily waved aside. But it shouldn't be so easy to wave aside the problem of evil... a problem older than even Christianity! 

[The Greek philosopher Epicurus wrote about it at least 100 years before the birth of Christ]

 

Answer me this... or rather ask god directly as I did...

 

1. 12 million people died horrible deaths in the holocaust. Their pain and suffering were unimaginable. The evil that fueled those death camps was worse than any visions I could ever have of Satan. 12 million people lived in Hell, without being dead. 

Where were you God? Why didn't you stop this? If you loved those people, why did you allow a group of such evil people to treat them so badly? Where were you when a Polish woman screamed and cried and begged and fought as her two year old son was being yanked out of her arms by SS officers at an institution for the "euthanasia program?" Where were you when she was knocked unconscious and her child was killed and then upon waking she was forced to carry her own baby's body to a dump site with over 500 other dead infants and young children, stacked on top of eachother like garbage bags? 

 

Why did you allow a boy that went to my church, only 7 years old, to die beneath the wheel of his mother's car when she didn't see him playing on the driveway while backing up her mini van? How COULD you cause the woman who was left behind such horrible, unnecessary pain with the knowledge that not only was her only child dead, but SHE had accidently killed him?

 

Where are you in the hospital psychiatric ward where mentally ill patients who have done nothing to deserve their unending mental torture scream in the dark of the "quiet room" and have the humilliation and stigma of outsiders, feared for a disease that is not catchable. Where are you with those among them that finally succummed to their pain and took their own lives? Why didn't you even TRY to save them?

 

Where were you in Rwanda? Where supposed soldiers of god, doing your work kidnapped children, raped young women and girls, gutted pregnant women, and beheaded adult males who were somebody's father, somebody's husband, somebody's brother? Why didn't you correct these monsters who were slandering your name?

 

What about Japan? Why did you let a tsunami destroy so many people's lives?

 

Why does the world need to die in a ball of fire before Jesus Christ can come back to us? Doesn't that seem unnecessary and cruel?

 

And why do so many people HAVE to go to hell? Wouldn't it be so easy for you to forgive them and accept them into your arms with love like the loving father you are supposed to be? Why would you punish your own innocent-minded children for not understanding you? Why would you fill your followers with terror by threatening them with a fate worse than death?

 

Please answer me that, God! I do not wish to abandon you, so I need your help, give me answers!

 

That is the sort of thing I did. I suggest that you do it as well. Who knows? God might answer you? You might find peace!

Hm... I'm going to give a quick comment to this:

It is true that many people give the answers Brad gave - but even to me, they sound a bit restricted.

I remember Pope John Paul II talked about suffering and explained it in an encyclical, I believe. I don't know all he wrote, but let me see if I can put my own thoughts in it, though...


It is true that there are many atrocities occurring today. If you look for a theological response in the Bible, though, it would show you that, oftentimes, some of these atrocities occur not so much because God abandons us, but because we abandon Him.

We are very oft to talk of God as a merciful God, but what people don't notice is that they often like to abuse of God's mercy. God's justice is hidden away like a sword at the end of a sheath. If we abuse God's mercy, God grant's us only justice. I agree it might sound harsh, but I'm pretty sure most people would behave in such a way when they have a person under them that abuses of their generosity.

Over more, we could also flip the question. God, if you are so loving and powerful, why did you suffer your mother to see you die, so physically distorted that "you no longer could be recognized as a man" [Paraphrase]? Why did you suffer so many injustices, flaggelated, born poor (you, who can rightly call the world all yours), constantly have nowhere to put down your head and rest, crucified, punched, kicked, pricked with torns, and suffer need of food and underwent disease?

I think that the sacrifice of God finds it's complete meaning when we consider that he died precisely to liberate us from such torments.

Had we no pain and live in a life of eternal happiness, would we even hear or bother with the message of an afterlife? Of the two possibilities?

If we had no pain and suffering, could we really say that any thing we do has much merit? Patience is not a virtue, where it not a painful thing to suffer through particularly obnoxious people... Neither would courage be a virtue, or at least have merit, where it not to be to brave the painful possibility of enduring painful alternatives... and so on with a host of, if not every, other virtue.

You see, Heaven is acquired through merit. If there be no such thing as merit, I don't think we could conceive of ideas such as justice or mercy, even in secular terms.

There is also another idea in the Bible. It says: "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ..."

So basically, it's saying that Christ's afflictions are not still fulfilled. His perfect sacrifice allows us the chance to be saved. It opened up Heaven and brought down the Holy Spirit, giving us all that was necessary to work for our salvation. Nevertheless, to be saved requires us to carry our cross in continuation of Christ. You cannot just say "I'm saved". You must "work out your salvation with fear and trembling". Weather your saved or not depends on your final judgment and on how you carried your cross, not on mere faith (contrary to the idea of sola scriptura posed by Martin Luther)
and through membership of a Church.

We often see that Hell is completely explained through fire. But Hell's greatest torment is not fire, but eternal separation from God, which explains much of the fire imagery.

This needs, especially for atheists, a much bigger explanation, but I'll make a summary. We are meant to find eternal joy and happiness through union with Him after death.

We have a will as well, and through it, God has placed upon us through choices. Unite yourself with me or separate yourself from me through sin.

You see, Hell becomes Hell insofar we separate from God. Especially after death when only our more spiritual essence will remain.

If food shows itself to us and we do not eat it, we cannot condemn it for our hunger... just as so, if God gives himself to us, we cannot condemn Him when we suffer through want of Him - especially through our final decision.

All in all, it should be said that for so long we strict to the narrow path, God never sends a heavier cross that what we can handle. And the cross is needed, for without it we can have no merit.

And when it comes to the seeming differences of God between the Old and New Testament and the questionable behavior, I confess, I do not even want to graze that topic.

I've seen people give me many questionable passages and, usually, they are ignoring some small fact or another.

I do know a couple of the ideas that flow through it, but... I don't know all of them - and experience tells me that I have to know everything when debating a... large group of atheists with the odds against me. :)

I think St. Irenaeus or something was one of the experts explaining such differences.

Reply by Skycomet the Fallen Angel 3 hours ago

I still hold out hope for you. To be honest, I know what it's like to be a Christian, I was brought up as one. Freedom only comes when one gains the curiousity to question.
Please DO dare to question god!
If he is real, why would he give you the gift of a brain and not wish you to use it?

Pahu: Your concern for my mental health is touching. Why do you believe God does not want us to use the brains He gave us?

You give a very graphic list of the deliberate horrors of man’s inhumanity, which is the result of our misuse of our God-given minds. That is the direction we tend to go when we replace God’s way with our own godless ways.

You also mention accidents that result in suffering and death, and natural calamities like the tsunami at Japan.

Your question, where was God, is a valid question most people ask when faced with those tragedies.

In a Bible commentary, Barnes says: “God directs judgments, disappointments, trials, and calamities; he has power to suffer the mad passions of people to rage, and to afflict nations with war; he presides over adverse as well as prosperous events.”

Although God allows moral evil and sin, He does not create this kind of evil. The rest of the Bible is replete with evidence of His goodness and His marvelous plans for mankind. James:1:17
[Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.]
assures us that "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (NIV).

(The above paragraph was copied from a commentary without the sentence in brackets, but every time I pasted it, the bracketed sentence appeared (without the bracket, which I added), so I thought I would just leave it there.)

I am sure your questions are not adequately answered by my response. God reveals that His ways are not our ways. The problems of human evil, accidents, and natural calamities do not prove that God does not exist. I have shared proof that He does exist. So that isn’t the question. The question we all have is why doesn’t He save us from those problems?

Here is an excerpt from one source about evil:

“Skeptics ask a valid question of believers: How can a loving God allow evil to exist? The believer in turn asks a valid question of moral relativists: How can you say something is evil when you deny absolute good or evil, arguing that good and evil can be defined only by what each person thinks?
Philosophers, religious thinkers and criminologists have long sought rational explanations to these important questions.
What is evil? From where did it come?
The Bible clears up these mysteries for us and provides a solution for the evil that is so widespread and entrenched in the world.” [http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/why-does-evil-exist/]

The author goes on to give his explanation based on his understanding of the Bible, not all of which I agree with.

I believe we were originally created in God’s image, which includes mind, spirit and free will. A third of us decided our way was better than his, which is sin and cannot be tolerated. Instead of annihilating us, He confined us to earth in physical bodies through which we could express ourselves in the physical earth He created for us.

His overall plan was to give us all the raw material we needed and a few thousand years to prove our way is better than His.

That is where we are now. Our problems are all caused by our rebellious way, including natural calamities. He is aware of our self-inflicted suffering, and He does protect some and allow others to suffer. Why did He allow James to be killed by Herod, but supernaturally protected Peter? I don’t know. But what I do know is He does exist and He does love each of us so much He shed His blood for us, paying the penalty for our sin of rebellion so we wouldn’t have to.

I must stop. I have written too much already. I hope some of it makes sense to you.

Carlos, Pahu, Michael

I am a very simple soul - I don't care if you believe in the bible, genesis, who begat who, what came first, where did we come from. You want to believe it, that's okay, but the problem is, you can't influence anybody on this site, so do you think you could possibly start a web site, called Christians Against Pedophilia, Child Sex Slaves, Rape, Homeless Children - instead of wasting your time here.

 

Set up a home for the kids who escape the mormon clutches. A sixteen year old girl left her two children behind, so she could escape. Think about the victims in all of this, and the real good you could do.

Band together with other christians to actually do something good for the world. I shout and weep at all these things, but they aren't done in my name. Pedophilia is being done in Christianity's name. Why aren't you railing, and making public about the crimes against humanity in YOUR name. 

Just think, you could ask christians from all over the world to expose these criminals.

You might learn the differences between gays and pedophiles - you might learn about pedophiles in church, going to services, being 'inclusive' and planning their next rape and sodomy. You might learn about Jehovah witness pedophiles, Mormon pedophiles. Do some research, and when you start a web site I could do the research for you, and give you thousands of pedophile names, Crimes Against Humanity in God's Name and how many boys they raped, or girls raped by clergy, like Rev. Charles Engelhar Rev. Edward Avery, and catholic teacher Bernard Shero - Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia - July 2011, and what do you know, the church is being sued.

 All planned, behind the cross, and protected by the hierarchy. What do you think - to do some good for children, for a change, instead of having mind games, and what came first, the chicken or the egg?

I will be your first volunteer. Looking forward to your positive answer.

 

Oh my goodness, Suzanne... don't you think you're overreacting a bit?

I mean, it's true I jump at every badly conceived notion of religion, whenever I've my facts straight and I see it; and yes, I like persuading - but it's more out of a love of a good debate or fight. I'm guilty of liking a good "boxing" match.

Yes, while you could technically call it evangelizing...  I really don't have that in my head or even have that purpose. I just, for so long as I can remember, had a love for philosophy and debating (and as I said before, I like a good debate).

My friends are often agnostics, anti-religious, Zeitgeist proponents, and even leftists. Yet I've often had discussions where a single comment box was a single-spaced, two-page Word essay. Funny thing? The conversation had around 57 of those comment boxes and we still remain friends in the after-math. Usually, we just jump again to another topic (Well, now not so often. One of my more talkative friends is traveling the whole of Europe right now.)

If everyone is disgusted at me arguing my position and openly having a debate, I'll shut up. Just as many atheists claim, it's useless to talk to someone who doesn't listen.

I'd have to say that I've still to see where I've failed in becoming the closed, hatred-mongering Christian stereotype one can often see in secular and perhaps even atheistic view.


P.S. Atheists can and are oftentimes, also, the culprits of many crimes and odious philosophies.

Karl Marx? Stalin? The current communist Chinese government and probably North Korean government? The former U.S.S.R. Government? Many of the eugenics, especially the very bad eugenics, are often atheists. What about those atheists that vandalize Christian buildings?

Are you really going to continue calling all Catholics pedophiles and Christians in general as evil? Should I consider all atheists on this site as communist murderers that believe anyone with color should be annihilated? Should I believe they've all decided to raid a Church in their hatred for all things religious?

Do you know that, even atheists such as yourself, have written in the Times of London that "As an Atheist, I Truly Believe That Africa Needs God"? Saying that "In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good". He wrote that "seeing the impact of Christianity on the lives of Africans "confounded his ideology and "embarrassed" his atheism".

Obviously... OBVIOUSLY... I'm not going to argue that Christianity is true merely because of this (though I certainly find it a great sign of what true religion can do when rightly used) or that it isn't responsible for some great and heinous crimes.

But could you go easy on the prejudice?

It just seems that you've a hatred for all things religious flowing through every vessel in your body -- to the extent that you unfairly stereotype all Christians for the actions of individuals.

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