When we don't talk about God... pt 1 Politics, Religion and Sports...

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There’s very little that we can actually talk about that wouldn’t, in some way, correlate, and in one way or another be linked too, if not be directly affiliated with God.  It doesn’t matter if your conversations linger on the weather, which is set in motion by its’ creator, or if you prefer to discuss the fundamentals of Tchaikovsky and the music of the romantic period, which flows from the creative and passionate parts of our persons, which are systemic of the image we bear, being that of God Himself.  Perhaps you prefer to discuss the health and progress of the years’ crop which is a direct result of both your efforts to work the ground, mans original job given by God, and natures affects on them, again something set in motion by the creator.

            However we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses that fervently work hard to avoid the very thought of bringing God into a conversation (yes even ‘Christians’).  There are those who desperately want nothing to do with God, or at least a god that would expect anything from them, or maybe a god that didn’t offer the easy answers, or was too confusing, or made one feel as though they were ‘bad’.  These are those who are either unwilling to allow any god other themselves have any say in their ‘reality’, or they are simply ignorant about God.  Although even a “proper education” about God does not guarantee ones willingness to participate with Him, much less believe in, or want anything to do with Him. 

            And as this is the world that we live in, God gets lumped in with politics, because God is viewed as a system of control.  Or He’s thrown in with sports, because it always depends on who’s team you side with.  God becomes a taboo cliché.  “Don’t talk about politics, or religion, and stay away from sports if you want to play it safe.”  So our conversations, no matter how relevant to God and the one who gave meaning to language, are driven into a dark corner where we have to be ever so careful not to mention a perfect God or how much He loves us. 

            Yet even Christians are riddled with misunderstandings about who God is and how He fits into a world that is crazy and angry, and sad, and confused, and looking for meaning.  And so they feel as though they are backed into a corner, yet in reality they are finding themselves in the very same place that those who don’t understand God and our relationship with Him, are in. 

            So because we don’t know how to talk about God specifically, we avoid the conversation altogether.  We are bombarded with the demand to “shut up already” by those we thought were safe to talk too.  This mentality then comes to work with us, comes into our homes, even to church with us, and we are so burdened with fear of being unsure of who is safe to talk about God with.  This fear leaves us speechless and powerless, and ultimately builds in us the same attitude that caused us to remain silent in the first place.  Where we then adopt the “don’t talk to me about god” view. 

            There are innumerable conversations every day where God is present and moving, and relevant, and good where we juke and dodge and do whatever we can to avoid the ‘imposing concept’ of god.  It is a conversation that you can run from but will never be able to completely hide from, as it is ultimately the conversation everyone is having without intending too.  So instead of intentionally and tactfully looking for ways to avoid Him, be ready to be encountered by Him and moved by Him and used by Him to be empowered to talk about politics, and religion and sports.

Views: 582

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on February 1, 2014 at 6:20pm

So I cannot hear Him audibly, nor see Him directly (physically) but

The same applies to leprechauns, Superman and Gandalf the wizard: they exist, but only in the imagination, not in empirical reality.

to understand how He does interact stems from the acceptance that we (humans) were once able to see Him physically and hear Him audibly, but chose to walk away from that relationship. 

A claim, presented without evidence, and hereby dismissed without evidence. It's same song and dance we've seen in here over and over, Jonathan. Let's take it from the top:

Crackpot: God exists!
Me: Evidence?
Crackpot: There is none.
Me: I don't believe you.

It ends there, except for the crackpot employing some bit of dishonesty to obfuscate or deny it:

  • He'll shift the burden of evidence onto me. ("Prove God doesn't exist!").
  • He'll claim to have evidence when he does not. ("Lookee here! Pretty waterfalls! Snuggles with wifey! Purely abstract mathematics! That's evidence!").
  • He'll say he doesn't need evidence. ("God is too big for evidence!")
  • He'll completely ignore the request for evidence and won't respond at all. (This is very popular.)
  • He'll restate the request for evidence as an accusation or insult. ("You hate God!" "How dare you question my faith!")
  • He'll pin God to ignorance. ("You can't explain X so God is the only explanation!")

And on and on and on. Anything but evidence.

There is no case to be made for the existence of God. There is nothing to debate, nothing to consider; no evidence, no data, not a shred of the scientific whatsoever. The rest is just the outraged caterwauling of the crackpot, desperately insisting that any such "debate" over God exists at all.

This is why I dismiss you and your ilk.

Now ones willing to 'hear' or 'see' Him is based on our willingness.  I don't 'feel love' for God I look at the evidence both in my personal experience, in life, even in science, and logic and reason and cannot come to any other conclusion but that God must exist, and through evidences and proofs I have landed on a specific source to know what God is then like...

You're actually claiming to have conclusive scientific evidence for God?

Okay, Jonathan. I'll bite. Let's see this evidence.

Everyone else: brace yourselves. Here begins the inevitable meltdown.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on February 1, 2014 at 6:21pm

Hi Jonathan, could you give an example of such "evidences and proofs" that are not just subjective experiences?

Comment by Ed on February 1, 2014 at 6:37pm

Jonathan,

Welcome to TA. 

Considering sports and God's involvement in it in some way, since you alluded to the fact that God is somehow related to all things/events. I was always bemused by the athletes in martial arts who, after pummeling and beating down their opponent in the most vicious of physical ways, would look skyward and give thanks to their god for their victory. It is a strange dichotomy.

You will make more progress on this site by interacting with it's members by not specifying a particular god but, rather, speak in generalizations. It makes absolutely no sense to any of us that your particular religion is correct and the vast billions of other worshipers on this planet are living a misdirected life that will not lead to any sort of ultimate redemption.

Jonathan, you are a product of your environment and culture. It was a roll of the dice that you ended up being born where you were, raised where you were, and indoctrinated with the religious trappings of your Abrahamic faith. I applaud you if you can try to step back and look at our civilization from an evolutionary standpoint. If you are honest and open with yourself then take time to study the origins of religious thought, going back to animism, then perhaps you can better understand the plethora of religions/cults/superstitions that exist in our world today. The supernatural world is one of invention and it was an attempt to explain that which we did not understand and placate our ignorant fears.  

Comment by MikeLong on February 1, 2014 at 11:13pm

" I look at the evidence both in my personal experience, in life, even in science, and logic and reason"

Please, Jonathan, refrain from using the word "evidence" before you at least look it up - hopefully until you actually understand the concept as it applies to the scientific method. Doing so simply detracts from your credibility even further. You have been asked (on more than one occasion) to present actual evidence. You will, of course, ignore those requests - as theist visitors to TA ALWAYS do. They quickly steer away from reality.

"Now ones willing to 'hear' or 'see' Him is based on our willingness."

Absolutely. Neither Elvis nor God ever appears except to those who have already deluded themselves of their existence. My friend, sadly you are simply deluded. Were to actually examine the evidence available you might find it much more likely that Santa Claus exists. We've all SEEN him on many occasions and gifts DO magically appear under the Christmas tree of good children.. ;-)

The fact is that the existence of God CANNOT be supported by factual evidence.

If you want to defend your belief in terms of "your" reality, or your personal experience, that's fine. We will, of course, place you in a category in whose reality Elvis is still alive or those who sincerely believe in leprechauns. There IS NO DIFFERENCE between ANY of these outlandish claims of supernatural powers - except in your head.

Comment by MikeLong on February 1, 2014 at 11:30pm

"I would argue that there is plenty you believe in that you cannot see, or hear or prove"

You've come to the wrong place to make such an assertion. Again a skeptic looks at the evidence and the source of the evidence. But equally we look at the claim. If someone claims that they've been to a place called India, I admit that I have never seen it. But, not only is the evidence strong that such a place exists, the contention lies firmly within the realm of "conditionally acceptable". There is no reason I wouldn't accept India - especially in light of the preponderance of evidence. However when someone claims the existence of a magic, invisible daddy in the sky who created the entire universe, such a remarkable claim requires far more than hearsay evidence to support it - it would require a remarkable cache of proofs. In fact no compelling evidence exists AT ALL.

Comment by onyango makagutu on February 2, 2014 at 1:49am

Welcome to TA.

What Emperor Milos said. 

Comment by Jonathan Burian on February 3, 2014 at 10:19am

Again I will make an effort to address responses, but it really would be better if we could round table this instead of trying to communicate through simple posts, so much is lost is this type of communication. 

Gallup's Mirror. I am no crackpot, and in fact have no intention of trying to make you see things the way I do, I am however expecting a fair hearing.  I have been trained in the ways of 'shifting the burden of proof', and I will say it is an equal burden that you and I both must share.  The problem with shifting the 'burden of proof' is that it leaves no room interaction and cooperation.  Although I'm quite grounded in my faith (this has come from years of wavering back and forth) I am not oppose to listening and learning something I will admit I may not know much about.  Shifting 'the burden' actually gives no opportunity for the party expecting the proof to have to validate their own standing.  I am not oppose what-so-ever to offer up my defense, but then it would also be equally fair for me to expect you to do the same. You ask for evidence (MikeLong and others I will get to that) but for one to simply say "there is none for God" and walk away from the conversation is as invalid as dismissing a 'crackpot' for shifting the burden onto you with substantiating his own beliefs.

I've mentioned science before in previous comments, please review them, but I will repeat myself here.

Science itself is a misapplied methodology, I will explain why, and then continue to use it to explain how I can still believe in God within the boundaries of science.  Science is a language invented by humans.  Without humans there would be no science (I think if you consider this realistically it will make sense).  Science is a methodology, and system in which the results are 'answers' that it's users consider valid and factual.  This is largely because of the consistency of the result and the large number of users that agree upon it's methods and consistency.  However even in 'science' there are unexplainable inconsistencies (I can get into specifics if desired, but to put in short "the exceptions that prove the rule", or results that are simply dismissed due to 'no evidence' to determine why the results came out the way they did).  So science is then not a reality that can stand alone, but is instead a system, or a collection of practices that humans have selected due to the results these practices produce.  If anything I would argue that humans have made science in their own image, in other words, chosen practices and attitudes that reflect the 'answers' they desire.  You may argue the consistency (which is never 100%) of the 'answers' but none the less one could not deny that it is then the consistency (however inconsistent) that humans are desiring for their answers. 

So the indication occurs to me that arguments against God are not there is no evidence but instead that the evidence provided simply does fit into a person's world view or expectation of 'answers'.  In other words, the evidence is too 'inconsistent' to be accepted as fact.  (there is immeasurable difference between fact and truth).  So I am not trying to start from the ground that I am right and you are wrong by any means, but instead I'm now trying to establish the grounds that we both have come to an acceptance of systems and practices that provide us with answers that we are convinced if not convicted of, as factual, or dare I say truth.

Evidences for God.  Again here is a reason why I wish we weren't typing our conversations.  MikeLong perhaps we are simply mis-communicating about what 'Evidence' really is. If you are looking for  God Himself to appear to you, I would suppose that even that encounter could be explained away.  What evidence would in fact rearrange ones thinking?  So I appeal to you under the scientific umbrella, I am assuming this is the type of 'evidence' you would want.  (please explain further if there is an other evidence you'd like)

If at any point there is a disagreement please let me know.  Let's start with simple science laws.  In physics it is unquestioned that an object in motion stays in motions unless acted upon, it is also established that an object at rest stays at rest unless it is acted upon.  The age old argument well where did everything come from?  We accept that nothing occurs (is set in motion) without an object to act upon it (a mover) and yet have no 'evidence' to suggest that everything exists from nothing and is perpetually set in motion by nothing to create and destroy and recreate.  It should suffice to say that everything at one point must have had an unmoved mover to set all things into motion (this is an example of where the system of science breaks down).  It might be supposed that a god (higher power what have you), who is outside of the space, time and matter universe could look in and compose it, as well as set it all in motion. We can look at evolution.  Evolution is an entirely unsubstantiated claim.  It is a well rehearsed theory with no factual foundation.  It has lots of 'evidences' that are no more valid than my experiences.  For someone to say that through fossils or 'science' (which we created) we can determine that the earth is billions of years old and complex organisms derived from single celled organisms, first of all breaks the 'laws' of science which repeat that energy and matter break down not cohere and become more dynamic and complex.  There is no evidence of progressive evolution, perhaps adaptive yes, but in all evidences that can validate evolution, in the sense that one can touch and see and experience the evidence, they point to the de-evolution of one thing or another from complex to simple. 

(please at least read this next part to hear a perspective) Finally I would use scripture as an argument .  I don't mean that scripture is self substantiating, what I mean to say is that there is nothing in scripture that has ever been disproved.  All histories that can be fact checked have been proven true.  Even it's revelation about humanity, it never leaves out any details regardless of how unflattering they may be toward God or human kind.  It reveals details about the human heart that no science can uncover and has been accurate in every account, and is still hitting the nail on the head even today. 

Ed I appreciate your input and agree that in general I can totally talk about God in generic terms, but to address some questions of my views and what not I will divulge my personal accounts of a specific God.

MikeLong I would argue that gravity and wind are a couple examples of things you believe in that you cannot, hear or see, and ultimately prove. For example you experience these things, now you must prove them to someone who has never experienced them before.  You are acutely aware of the effects of both gravity and wind, and science can semi explain them (the reasons behind why mass has it's own gravity is still unknown scientifically) but to prove them, is an entirely different situation. 

Comment by Jonathan Burian on February 3, 2014 at 10:29am

Ed I would be careful not to assume I've been raised to believe what I believe.  In fact I would argue that my upbringing and family in a 'normal' trend would have sent me in a completely different direction.  I concede that being born in America one world view seems to dominate, although culture may influence it does not dictate. There are converts to Islam here and converts to Christianity in Tasmania and Afghanistan and the like (just as an example)...

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on February 3, 2014 at 2:47pm

Gallup's Mirror. I am no crackpot, and in fact have no intention of trying to make you see things the way I do, I am however expecting a fair hearing.

I'm using the word crackpot in the sense that means "one given to extravagant folly" and that applies to your statements and fallacious arguments here.

I have been trained in the ways of 'shifting the burden of proof', and I will say it is an equal burden that you and I both must share.

That's a burden of proof fallacy: argument from ignorance. There is no "equal burden" between us to prove that God exists. God is your claim. The burden of proof is exclusively yours.

I am not oppose what-so-ever to offer up my defense, but then it would also be equally fair for me to expect you to do the same.

I have nothing to defend. I have made no God claim. I have no burden of proof.

You ask for evidence [...]

Yes, Jonathan. You claimed to have conclusive scientific evidence for God. I've asked to see it. I'm still waiting to see it.

but for one to simply say "there is none for God" and walk away from the conversation is as invalid as dismissing a 'crackpot' for shifting the burden onto you with substantiating his own beliefs.

It's perfectly valid and reasonable to dismiss an unsupported claim and logical fallacies, which is all you have presented.

Science itself is a misapplied methodology, I will explain why, and then continue to use it to explain how I can still believe in God within the boundaries of science.

First you claim to have conclusive scientific proof for God. Now you indite the scientific method as "misapplied methodology" but you want to continue to use it?

That's doesn't pass the laugh test, Jonathan.

If "belief" is required, God is not "within the boundaries of science", he is disqualified from it. Science requires empirical evidence. There's no need to "believe" that snow exists because we have evidence that it does.

You are describing faith.

So the indication occurs to me that arguments against God are not there is no evidence but instead that the evidence provided simply does fit into a person's world view or expectation of 'answers'. In other words, the evidence is too 'inconsistent' to be accepted as fact. (there is immeasurable difference between fact and truth). So I am not trying to start from the ground that I am right and you are wrong by any means, but instead I'm now trying to establish the grounds that we both have come to an acceptance of systems and practices that provide us with answers that we are convinced if not convicted of, as factual, or dare I say truth.

In other words, you're changing the definition of scientific evidence. 

Evidences for God. Again here is a reason why I wish we weren't typing our conversations. MikeLong perhaps we are simply mis-communicating about what 'Evidence' really is.

This isn't "mis-communication". We are not proceeding with the assumption there is some kind of debate over what "really is" scientific evidence, or that you get to have a personal definition of it.

(please at least read this next part to hear a perspective) Finally I would use scripture as an argument . I don't mean that scripture is self substantiating, what I mean to say is that there is nothing in scripture that has ever been disproved. All histories that can be fact checked have been proven true. Even it's revelation about humanity, it never leaves out any details regardless of how unflattering they may be toward God or human kind. It reveals details about the human heart that no science can uncover and has been accurate in every account, and is still hitting the nail on the head even today.

Proselytizing.

Comment by Jonathan Burian on February 3, 2014 at 3:07pm

Regarding your last comment: Praytell... I was merely explaining why such an item could be considered an evidence. 

I would argue in fact you are the one doing the Proselytizing, you are working diligently to discredit any of my established claims without consideration, or respect and are diligently asserting your beliefs are far greater than my own and that I should in fact believe if what you believe.  I am answer your request for 'evidences'.

I am not inventing my own perspective on what Science is, I'm observing what it is.  Which is what you claim you use for your reliable evidences.  I am not here to argue, or be belittled.  If you'd like to have a reasonable, respectable discussion then we can continue, but I will not continue to offer my sincere contributions to the discussion for you berate me and ignore my offerings for your requests.  We can have a conversation, but you seem to be angry want nothing to do someone else who thinks critically if it doesn't match your pattern of thinking...

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