This is meant to be a hysterical thread for any jokes you want to make about this topic but also to serve as a serious place for me to understand further how Atheists think...

I considered myself an Atheist for quite a while but it just never felt right. I wasn't really being "me," but I was trying to please someone else...anyway....now I'm being me. I DO think there is a TON of evidence and proof that God does in fact exist.

But this thread is not about me. It's about you. I want to know what would it take for you to say, "YES that's it!" What "evidence" or "proof" are you looking for? What EXACTLY would you need to see to be able to say, "Wow yes, there is a God..."....A scientific journal article? A scientific experiment? Richard Dawkins saying it? lol...What? What could possibly persuade you to suddenly believe that there is a God.

And because I know it's probably going to happen there are some rules for participation

Rule #1. No spinning this back on me. I'm asking YOU what YOU think. If you want to ask me what i think start a different thread for that.

Rule #2. No ducking the question. Saying, "the "onus" is on you to prove." No. That's not going to fly here. We're not discussing the "on us" argument. We're discussing what would it take for you to be convinced. A lightning bolt up your ass on a sunny day? A surfer Jesus knock on your door? lol...OK I'm being sarcastic. But seriously WHAT?

Have at it!

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If evolution/natural selection exists, which is does, it is factual, then God cannot exist, because things don't evolve from complex to simple--i.e., in reverse.  That is, you don't go from an infinitely complex and intelligent being to, say, an amoeba, etc, and then work up the ladder of complexity.  Can't get there from here.

 And where could God possibly be?  When you look out at the stars at night, there's nothing out there, forever, in all directions, except the usual "outer space things".

And then you get into the whole "infinite regress" dealio with an alleged "Creator".  And there are many other reasons, but I'd rather not re-write Dawkins' book here.

Complex-to-simple, entropy in other words, is the general direction of the universe. While simple-to-complex happens, it's fighting a losing battle to entropy. The mainstream thinking is that the universe is heading toward heat death. It will burn out, in other words. But long before that, all matter will dissipate and disappear. And long before that, due to the expansion of space, what stars and planets are left will gradually be so far apart they won't even be able to see the closest celestial objects. It's unlikely human or any other life will even still exist once this state comes about.

But entropy is not evolution.  Things don't evolve from complex to simple, it's the converse of that.

You don't start out with an infinitely complex, supremely intelligent, omniscient being, who then creates a molecule, then a cell, then some cells together, etc...  Evolution doesn't work like that.

But sure, things grow, evolve for a time in individual lives, but then give way to entropy.

We're talking about evolution? Evolution can go either way. Natural selection selects out what doesn't work regardless of complexity. I doubt if you can find an evolutionary expert saying that evolution is always one-way toward complexity. I can't think why that would necessarily be the case.

An ostrich is less complex than a peregrine falcon in several respects. In many ways, both are "just a bird," but the ostrich lost much of the structure it once had in its wings, because they haven't proven necessary on the African plains and it also lacks the flap the peregrine has to protect its nasal internals from 200 mph wind pressure.

The kiwi bird has no real wings at all. Just some vestigial bones. Maybe the peregrine came from a less complex progenitor, but the kiwi seems to have come from a more complex one.

I'm sure I could find other examples, but all I need is one for a refutation.

There's evolution and then there is devolution, or entropy, or death.  They go in different directions.

Read Dawkins discussion in the "God Delusion" re evolution not going from the most highly complex, supernatural God, to the big bang.  Not possible.

I think you misunderstand evolution.

It is the passing on of genes, or not.

Sharks were around before the dinosaurs, and, afterwards as well, because the darn things "worked".

Evolution, for a shark, meant "staying like a shark", because being a shark, worked.

Being LESS shark-like was not a better design so to speak.

Sharks therefore evolved to limit genetic drift, etc, and are therefore  even all but immune to (not immune to though) cancer, etc.

Wings might be more complex than vestigial wing bones, and tails might be more complex than vestigial tail bones, etc...

....But, if wings and tails were not associated with the passing on of genes for them, and NOT having them was...well, evolution is NOT "De-evolution" when a feature is morphed or abandoned, etc...its still just evolution.

:D

And, entropy as a tendency ONLY applies to a closed system.

So, the universe, being infinite, is an OPEN system in effect.

Spacetime, as one of its properties, generates photons, electrons and positrons, IE: Matter and Energy.

So, entropy, while a general tendency, is not a rule that doesn't have exceptions.

So, our KNOWN universe is, so far, based upon the math, heading for heat death...but, that DOESN'T mean that sodium and chloride ions/cations will STOP precipitating out of solutions as sodium chloride, etc.

:D

The universe doesn't "evolve" (adapt to changing circumstances by paring away dysfunctional structures or behaviors). It is driven by immutable, deterministic, universal physical laws. Laws which tell us that the universe is moving toward absolute entropy, aka "heat death." 

Whether that is more or less complexity is a matter of description, not fact. 

What is a fact is that what physicists call "information" is never lost. The stuff in the universe is constant in some sense, never losing or gaining any. Otherwise, if matter/energy can simply disappear, you can toss physics out the window. 

You couldn't, and it would be stupid to assume so.  It would just mean everybody now has antlers--maybe from eating too many GMOs.  ;)

If you eat too many Jackalopes, you can get antler outbreaks...and also get more jumpy, etc.

I don't remember who first thought to eat Jackalopes, yet another hare brained idea I suppose.

:D

Dang them Sciences!

 

What an interesting discussion I have missed.

What a lot of repeating themes I see when reading some (but not all) of the currently-33 pages and counting of replies. I see a lot of people giving answers, and Belle asking over and over why nobody is giving her straight answers.

If you say how would I know that “God” exists, my first instinct is to wonder which of the million gods were talking about. I think the deist’s god seems more likely. But the God of the protestant Christians, the God who is Jesus and wants a personal relationship with humankind, that’s the god most familiar to me, and that’s the God I think of when you ask this question.

What would it take to prove to me that this god is real? What would it take to prove to you that your god isn’t real?

I don’t think anything could prove  all at once that a god exists. I am not 100% certain about anything, certainly not something so far above my head as a god. But good evidence could push me in the right direction.

If I was out with a pastor or a preacher in a storm, for instance, and I saw that pastor jump out of the boat and just walk on the surface of the water—I would think it was a trick. But if I was allowed to go out on the waves myself, and I was allowed to examine my feet and see there was no trickery involved…I would absolutely 100% start to consider that there might be a god.

If I was personally involved in a ministry—maybe all the way the hell out in Africa—and I saw a preacher repeatedly bring dramatic, powerful physical healing to people. Not just they hurt, and he prays and their pain is less. I mean like curing paralysis. I mean like re-growing limbs. I mean like laying hands on a giant hole that grew in a woman’s cheek due to an infection, and magically making the hole close up in front of my eyes. I mean like saying a prayer for the little boy who died after he was playing with his brother too near the fire and fell into a boiling pot, and seeing him come back to life.

Proof of God? I don’t know. But if a boy came back to life after he’s been cold and dead for a day or two you better believe I’m going to notice that at least something beyond natural is going on here.

Or if I saw people I knew and trusted pray over bread when the shelter was out of food, and miraculously have more bread than they started with. People I trust, people I know are not faking it.

Or if a minister became famous for actually healing the sick. Not like that pool in France or whatever where people come every year and the church tries to document one real miracle out of the thousands who claim healing. Not like the charismatic TV preachers of the 70s and 80s who used earpieces to pretend they were getting secret messages from God, and who put healthy people in wheelchairs so they could later get them OUT of the wheelchair and proclaim “She’s been healed!” for the cameras. I mean if people actually consistently left this preacher healed in measurable, quantifiable ways, including amputee limbs regrowing.

I wrote about this before I took a hiatus from this site back in 2014. I said, how amazing would it be if debates between atheists and Christians were done like in the Bible instead of like modern times? Richard Dawkins faces William Lane Craig and instead of giving some kind of argument, Craig just points at Dawkins and says “Your language is confused, just like your ideas.” Suddenly, Dawkins can only speak Swahili. Imagine Sam Harris goes to argue with some pastor and the pastor says, “If God is real, he will send fire from the sky and light your hair on fire,” and it fucking happens. Harris gets actual burns from it. Imagine if Neil Carter went to hold a talk at some church but before he can even begin, a fanatic in the audience jumps up and shoots him in the head. The pastor just points at the assailant and he falls down unconscious. Then the pastor goes to Neil, puts his hands on him, and right in front of our eyes the bullet comes out of his head and he get up, healed.

No, seeing these things in a large group wouldn’t be convincing, because they could be faked. But something like that happened to me? If that happened to a friend of mine, or if I was involved in a ministry like that? If I had the opportunity to work those things myself? If those things were happening consistently, with medical and physical evidence to back them up?

You say you had to work hard to try to convince yourself to be an atheist? Your experience is foreign to me. I wanted to believe I was wrong, and that God was real after all. I asked God to give me a sign. I asked him to speak to me in some way, or give me a vision. I attended church regularly, and played on the worship team. I waited for God to punish me for standing in front of the congregation and worshiping dishonestly. I thought he might suddenly wipe away my ability to play, or take my voice, or even just overwhelm me with emotion. But it did not happen.

I asked God to send me a message from one of my many friends from college who went on to be a pastor. Not something basic like, “Hey Physeter you’re on my mind,” but something more like, “Hey Physeter, God told me that at exactly 11:14 last night you prayed to him and said you were going to be an atheist now. And here’s a code phrase he said to use so you would know this message was really from him.”

Or I wanted God to give me a prophecy. Not something like, “You’re going to hear an important message from a friend today,” but something like, “Today while looking for a restaurant that’s open you will meet a man named Greg with a car full of accordions asking you for directions to the coin shop on 18th Street. You should tell him to go to the auto parts store on 3rd Avenue instead, and when you do he will laugh and give you a gold coin which you can sell for exactly $21.31.”

You notice these things I wanted then are LESS than what I just said it would take to convince me now. At that time I wanted to believe.

Today I believe that it’s important to ground yourself in truth, or you can be fooled by anybody.

You had to TRY to be an atheist? I never tried to be an atheist, but I did have to make a hard decision to be honest about how “miraculous” a given coincidence may be.

After I deconverted, I looked into a book to see if there would be a message from God. This was a book about getting messages from God, so I knew finding something by chance was likely. I picked it up and I read “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased,” that quote of God from the book of John. This was an extremely meaningful verse to me because of what happened during my year in Africa. But I knew it could just be a coincidence; after all, being a “child of God” is the theme of the book. So I flipped around some other random pages, to see if I would find that verse again, and I did not; or to see if I would find another message that spoke to my heart like that one did, and I did not. So I started going one page at a time forward and backwards from the page I had found, to see if that verse appeared again in close proximity. And I couldn’t find it. So when looking for a message from God, I somehow flipped open to the one page in that whole portion of the book, maybe the whole book, that had the message I most wanted to hear.

I’ve written before about other things like this happening to me.

Why didn’t coincidences like that convince me God was real? I did take them as evidence, at the time. They caused me to go slow in my path of ‘deconversion’ and think carefully about what I was doing. They caused me to consider I might be wrong, as I wrote in that linked post from four years ago. The evidence made me question, but ultimately did not convince me, because everything I’ve just described can be coincidence. Every single thing. Some of it ‘seems’ rather unlikely, but I don’t believe for a minute that an omnipotent god would be so weak that these are the only things he can do. He would continue the conversation, so to speak. Once he got my attention with those small things, he could move on to bigger things.

You have repeatedly claimed throughout these pages that atheists are just admitting “nothing” would convince us, and that we just “choose” to believe. Well, I could have chosen to let myself believe those coincidences. I could have decided to focus on those coincidences, and ignore all the other times when I haven’t received a word or an answer to prayer. Why did I not choose to do this? Because I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible. Because as much as I want “answers” to my questions, I want true answers more. Because I firmly believe that if you allow someone to fool you into believing something without evidence, or on faulty evidence, that person can then convince you to do ANYTHING at all they want, because you can never again trust your own judgement.  

I was anti-gay because I thought that’s what God wanted of me. I spent so much time agonizing over what I should do with my life, where I should go, how God wanted me to spend my hours and days, because I thought I needed to hear from God. I was a creationist for a while because I took it on faith that I could trust some sources more than others, based on something other than scientific consensus.

If I’m going to live my life based on coincidences and pleasant-sounding arguments, by “faith” alone, I can be taken in by creationists. I can be fooled by Scientologists, with their fake “science” of how to relieve stress and become more successful. I can be taken in by prosperity-gospel preachers. I can be made to hate gay people or trans people all while calling it “love.”

I can be convinced to vote for a man who says, “The mainstream media is full of lies, only I will tell you what’s really going on!” If I live in faith, I can be taken in by a man who says, with zero evidence, “Only I can save you, and I have a secret plan to take everything wrong with this country and make it disappear!”

I don’t set my standards of “evidence” or “proof” higher than simple coincidence because I somehow have “chosen” against a god. I set those standards higher because I don’t know of any other way to live an honest life.

If I’m going to live my life based on coincidences and pleasant-sounding arguments, by “faith” alone, I can be taken in by creationists. I can be fooled by Scientologists, with their fake “science” of how to relieve stress and become more successful. I can be taken in by prosperity-gospel preachers. I can be made to hate gay people or trans people all while calling it “love.”

I can be convinced to vote for a man who says, “The mainstream media is full of lies, only I will tell you what’s really going on!” If I live in faith, I can be taken in by a man who says, with zero evidence, “Only I can save you, and I have a secret plan to take everything wrong with this country and make it disappear!”

Beautifully put.

to live an honest life.

Cheapening your standards, even for just one thing, makes the goal of an honest life far far out of reach. I'd only add that doing so also fatally destroys any chance at an authentic life.

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