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Christians and Atheists: friendly discussion

RarelyJadedThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. posted this thread...
Feb. 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Hey guys:) This topic is very interesting and certainly controversial. However, I want to see if I can have a civil debate about religion and come to understand why some people are atheists (i am a Christian). I will respect everyone's opinions, cuz I am just curious. Thank you! Peace, love, and rainbows.

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NDserpenteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Feb. 17, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Friendly discussions are great!  I am an atheist, but I respect all religions as long as no one is being harmed!  I have many Christian friends, Hindi friends, and a Muslim friend.  I know this is kind of an old thread, but friendly discussion between religions/lack of religions could lead to a serious increase in tolerance.

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RarelyJadedThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Feb. 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm

I agree on that last bit:). So... What do you want to debate? P.s. I was getting a little worried that no one had responded, so thanks for your interest! I thought about added something like "NO, THIS IS NOT A TRICK, I WILL NOT SMITE PEOPLE OF OTHER RELIGIONS...." But then I felt like that was going a bit far, and also might be considered a trick. Lol. Anyways.... I'm new at this. I realize this is my thread, but i don't want to dictate it. That said, I can give a general reason why I believe in god, or if there's a certain topic of interest or questions you had that would be great too! :)

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FlannelSkin replied...
Mar. 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I'm an atheist because I think humans were an accident. Look at what we're doing.

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RarelyJadedThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Mar. 10, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I don't see the connection. Explain please?

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FlannelSkin replied...
Mar. 11, 2013 at 1:34 am

The Bible states that God intentionally created man when he made Adam and Eve, right? Now the entire world has been wrecked by humans and by my logic a God, if it existed, would've intervened by now.

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FlannelSkin replied...
Mar. 11, 2013 at 1:38 am

that's just my take; I totally get why the belief in a deity is comforting and important to a lot of people.

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RarelyJadedThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Mar. 11, 2013 at 9:46 am

Christianity does not deny the existence of suffering — far from it — nor does it promise believers an end to said suffering. So comforting? No. Does the belief in God, specifically Jesus Christ, provide hope? Yes. But it's different than saying everything is rainbows and butterflies.


The Bible acknowledges human suffering, why God allows that to happen, what the cause of it is, and how Jesus will end that. If you want to know these things from that perspective, us be happy to provide an explanation.

"The entire world has been wrecked by humans... God, if He existed, would have intervened by now." This implies that things used to be GOOD. they were, for about a quarter of the first human's lifespan, and then sh.it hit the fan:). The fact is (well, the belief is) that humans are sinful by nature, they murde.r and steal and destroy..... Why does God allow this? Why doesn't he intervene? How is God a just God if He allows this suffering?


All good questions, if you'd like to hear my opinion :P

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alice_swim_n_skateThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 26, 2013 at 10:27 pm

I think this is super fascinating! Sorry to barge in on this kind-of-old thread but I really liked this discussion. I'm a new Christian (as in prior athiest, then I got saved) so reading your discussion was interesting :)

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Jade.I.AmThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Haha, it kinda died though. I honestly forgot about it. Anyone is welcome to rekindle the discussion if they want!

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TimeTravellerThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jun. 2, 2013 at 10:46 am

I respect all religions as long as they are treating other people right. I am agnostic more than an atheist - I do believe in a higher power but I don't necessarily think that it's God or whether he has created us intentionally. I have noticed that many people are atheist because they think that at some point in their life, God was unfair to them. 
Others are people like me, who rely more on scientific evidence than on God. As our understanding of the universe increases, our faith in an ultimate creator gradually decreases. But I believe that we can't deny God's existence yet, no matter how advanced we are, there are still unsolved mysteries and we still lack the complete understanding of the cosmos and it's origin. Who knows that there might be God, who knows that he might be way different than we could ever imagine and who knows that if he is really the creator or whether he has unintentionally "created" us.

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Jade.I.AmThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jun. 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm

I hate the fact that religion seems so anti-intellectual now. There's a good book out called "Hard Questions, Real Answers" by William Lane Craig, a popular Apologetics philosopher, which is really interesting. In it he explains why believe in God can be rational. Also, C.S. Lewis and Max Lucado are amazing writers, if you're ever bored and want to check out their works. 
 
I just want to stress that one shouldn't not believe in God because it's inhibiting intellectualism, or because it isn't raitonal. That's definitely not the case. Whether it's right or wrong is another thing, but many people have put a lot of thought into why there could be a God and why He is worthy of worship.
 
Have a nice day!

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Jade.I.AmThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jun. 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm

*belief in God

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TimeTravellerThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jun. 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Of course, many people would say there's a God because nobody knows what caused the universe to come into form and why is it bounded by laws that can be understood by human beings. This once again rises the question that perhaps God made the universe in such a way that we can understand it.  I have a different theory that there can be universes made of laws which can conflict to our present theories about our universe. Or maybe our universe is just another one of the bubbles in the infinite space and dimensions. Who knows?
Many physicists tend not to believe in God due to the fact that time had a beginning and what happened before that can't be determined because time didn't exist then. This is further explained in Hawking's documentary, "Stephen Hawking's Grand Design: Did God Create The Universe?" When you look at the vast size of the universe, the human life existing on one planet seems insignificant, that is why most people rule out the idea of the existence of a personal god who controls our fate. A fundamental difference between religion and science is that religion is based on authority, while science is based on reason and observation. 

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Jade.I.AmThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jun. 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm

"I have a different theory that there can be universes made of laws which can conflict to our present theories about our universe. Or maybe our universe is just another one of the bubbles in the infinite space and demensions. Who knows?"
 
Exactly. There's really no way of knowing, and anyways, you're judging this by using reason that you claim is possibly different in another universe. Do you see how this is fallible? How can you say there's a different universe with different laws when you came to this conclusion based on the laws of reason you assume to be right? Even if there was another universe with different rules, what impact would that have on Christianity? It really doesn't matter either way.
 
"Many physicists tend not to believe in God due to the fact that time had a beginning and what happened before that can't be determined because time didn't exist then. This is further explained in Hawking's documentary, 'Stephen Hawking's Grand Design: Did God Create the Universe?'"
 
The fact that time had a beginning points towards the existence of God, not away from it. Wouldn't it take something eternal, beforehand, to create something finite, and an eternal resting place afterwards (death)? If you could explain further what you mean by saying this contradicts God's existence that would be great. :)
 
"When you look at the vast size of the universe, the human life existing on one planet seems insignificant, that is why most people rule out the idea of the existence of a personal god who controls our fate."
 
Really? I'm not being sarcastic here, I'm truly surprised that this would be the conclusion. Isn't it far more personal that God would create such a vast universe and then only one planet with life....and somehow amidst all this grandeur and magnificent creation, He still has the thought to love us and pay attention to our troubles? It might make you feel small to know how vast the universe is, but how much more special does it make you that God still cares for a speck? For one speck against the background of the universe? And by the way, it is not Christian doctrine that God controls our fate, that goes against the doctrine of free will.
 
"A fundamental difference between religion and science is that religion is based on authority, while science is based on reason and observation."
 
While I respect your opinion, I would not go so far as to make this kind of truth claim without evidence or support to back it up. And again, I'd recommend reading "Hard Questions, Real Answers" by WIlliam Lane Craig. In it, he reconciles faith and reason. Both are vital. The Christian faith is more than capable of standing under the microscope of reason. Please expand on this statement :)
 
Thank you for taking the time to discuss! It's very interesting to me :)

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TimeTravellerThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jun. 6, 2013 at 3:17 am

Well I'd like to say that I'm not against your opinion either, this is a healthy discussion and very fascinating too. :)
The theory of multiuniverses is actually one of the nominated theories for the explaination of the Big Bang and why does the universe exist in the first place  in the field of cosmology. We can know of multiuniverses once we learn about dimensions - which are very possible of existing and it's not necessary that all laws of universes in those dimensions might precisely match with ours. For example we live in a 3D universe with height, width and depth. On the basis of M-Theory, it is veyr possible for a 4D universe to exist where objects might look like tesseracts and organisms(if existing) can see through objects. The Anthropic principle says that the way the universe exists is simply how it is, if it didn't exist in this manner we wouldn't be here to observe it. We might be very probably just another universe in a bubble of multiuniverses and it all could be a work of science itself.
Actually no, the fact that time had a beginning means that time wasn't there in the first place before the Big Bang; space, time, light, matter, energy etc. everything was created at the moment of the explosion. Since time wasn't there at all, means that there was no time for god to create the universe at the first place. Also, in a static universe, the beginning of time is something imposed by a higher power outside but in our case, there is an expanding universe where there may be physical reasons on why there had to be a beginning. It may not necessarily preclude a creator but places limitations to when he had done the job of creating the universe.The possibility that space-time is finite and has no boundary means that it necessarily had no beginning or moment of creation. Physcists are very near to giving us a clear, true picture of the universe. The Big Bang Theory does make quite a  room for the need of god, but there are new found theories under work. The String theory for example, and most significant of all the M-Theory, which predicts strange yet true things and gives us the whole picture about the universe. It might take years to completely verify and test it but the process and development has begun, the Hadron Collider for example can provide a clue to all questions. Physcists don't believe that there's a need for god who might have created the universe and that the M-Theory would support it strongly.
As for humans, we are more accidental than planned, as I believe. To say that Earth is the only planet with life on it is narrowing down the size of the cosmos. We have only sent manned missions as far as the Moon, while the entire Solar Sytem is left for brief human exploration. Then we have our galaxy which is just one out  of billions and bilions of galaxies, and the universe is still expanding - opening a lot of room for possible extraterrestrial life to exist. There have been many signs of alien life in the past, that can be seen in the history and in our present - according to most people, the government often does cover ups and think that they don't give them sufficient information about this topic. See it this way, all the elements around us were formed in a nearby supernova, the ions released fused with heavier elements forming gold and others. These ionized gases formed nebulas, which collapsed under gravity to form the solar system  . Now every nebula is different, ours contained elements necessary to support life - now the universe is vast, supernovas can be occurring everywhere at some point in time, the remnants of these can form nebulas which remain undisturbed for billions or millions of years, until the shockwaves from a nearby explosion cause them to react and collapse under it's gravity. Around the universe, there can be a 1 out of 10 probablity for a nebula to contain heavy elements, forming stars and a planet at the Goldilocks Zone which can support life. Once again, we can't be alone.
 We can have philosophical answers about god but there is simply lack of true evidence for me to actually believe in a higer power. Religion is often unchanging and carved to a stone, but science is self-correcting, formulating hypothesis, calculations, experimenting, then coming to a final theory and verfying it again. 
I am personally unsure about having faith in a higher power because I simply consider it  unnecessary. When we talk about a grand desginer or a god, the question rises that is he definite - one with feelings and compassion or indefinite - one who is alienated from the rest of humanity. Religion may answer this and provide us evidence and reasons, but it can't prove it accurately and why it should be like this. Most people turn to science because it on the other hand, provides us a partialy good explanation about the laws of the universe right from the origin, it can't although explain why these laws are like this and why not completely different, but it can explain why they are not slightly different. 

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Jade.I.AmThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jun. 9, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Hey, I promise I'll get to this soon. You write a lot :P

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Jade.I.AmThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jun. 10, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Alright, I'm gonna be honest and say I don't know enough about multiverses and all to accurately rebuttal it. But let me ask, why invest so much thought, and in reality (you must admit) faith into something that really hasn't been proven and is highly improbable anyways?

"The Anthropic principle says that the way the universe exists is simply how it is, if it didn't exist in this manner we wouldn't be here to observe it."

--So, a circular argument. Is this even a statement worth being said? Basically here you just say the world exists and we observe it, and that's the reason it exists.

"Since time wasn't there at all, means that there was no time for God to create the universe in the first place."

--God created time, along with space. So when He created it, it began. He didn't need time to create time, that is illogical. Before the universe existed, there was simply God. God was the universe, so to say.

"Physcists are very near to giving us a clear, true picture of the universe."

--no offense, but ... says no scientist ever :P

I'll have to go look up this M-Theory you keep talking about though, because I have honestly never heard it, I don't think.

"There is an expanding universe where there may be physical reasons on why there had to be a beginning."

--This is assuming science and religion work against each other. There are "physical" reasons for everything that exists in this universe, but what religion does is go beyond that. And anyways, you keep changing your view that time even had a beginning to start with, because later you say: "The possibility that space-time is finite and has no boundary means that it necessarily had no beginning or moment of creation." So you're saying the universe is finite but that it began infinitely?

As to your entire paragraph about us not being alone in the universe....I agree that it seems unlikely that we are. In fact, we might come up with hard evidence that we are not alone--hell, we might soon be invaded by an alien species, thus blowing to shreds all thought of being alone. But until that happens, you have no more evidence to believe there are as you say i have to believe that we are in fact alone and that there is a God (though there actually is overwhelming evidence of a god). And as I've said about the multi-universes, even if we weren't alone, how does that go to disprove God? There's simply one more thing that God created and whose existence needs to be explained in that way.

"We can have philosophical answers about God but there is simply a lack of true evidence for me to actually believe in a higher power."

--Fair enough. Not all with come to believe by faith, as we are called to do. But can I just point out, that there's no more "true" evidence to believe in intelligent life besides here on Earth than by rationalizing that there is a great possibility there would be? The reason scientists have theories is because while they may have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that something is true--no, not even true, but feasible, they simply do not know. All of these alternate theories and realities you are describing take as much faith to believe in as religion. In the end it all comes down to mere thought, so I would not discredit philosophy and theology so completely.

"Religion is often unchanging....."

--Here you make a case that science is more reliable because it changes and is self-correcting. Well, it is not self-correcting, the method of scientific inquiry is made by people, the facts themselves never change and have always been the same. And I simply do not see how religion being unchanging is an argument against it.

"I am personally unsure about having faith in a higher power because I simply consider it unnecessary.....Most people turn to science because it on the other hand, provides us a partially good explanation about the laws of the universe right from the origin, it can't although explain why these laws are like this and why not completely different, but it can explain why they are not slightly different."

--I think this last bit is a completely valid point. Science teaches you about things are, religion teaches you about why things are (and even if you did not mean to, you stated this yourself). What we theists are asking you to do is not replace your textbook with the Bible, that would be ludicrous. The Bible is not a book that explains the inner workings of the atom, it is a book that goes beyond that and answers life's toughest questions. It does not provide an alternate answer to how things work, it answers why things work, why we are here.

--As for not seeing the purpose or necessity of religion, I see what you mean. That's a personal things, and I'd be lying if I said I've never been there. But it's easy to say you don't need something when you don't understand it. Religion is necessary when you finally realize what you are missing, that you are dying spiritually and need reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ, who humbled himself to come to Earth as a man and share in our suffering. You see, it's not about this world, it's about when we die, was all of this pain worth it? What's the point of living? Sure, what science does is to help you see what's already there, helps you explain the Seen. So what if the day comes where science can fully explain the universe? It's like finally realizing that a rose is red. So what? What have you really uncovered but a truth that you hadn't seen before but that really has no intrinsic value? What religion does is answer the Unseen, and gives meaning to things like science and life.

If you don't mind, let me quote a few things from Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis:

Why God doesn't simply "appear" and wave a flagging say "I'm here, belive in me!"

"Another possible objection is this. Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the change of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and the announced he was on our side. God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happnes, it is the end of the world. When the author walks onto the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else--something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so ovserwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing: It will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us a chance..."

Sorry for the long post! Whether you read all of it or not, if you have other questions you want to be answered, I'm more than willing to tackle them. And I promise I won't always quote authors ;) I just needed to this time.

I encourage you to look into Apologetics, or at least consider the possibility of God seriously, it isn't something you want to just disregard or push off until you're on your deathbed. It's something everyone has to at least seriously and whole-heartedly (understanding full well why and what they are choosing, and the implications of being wrong) either accept or reject.

Have a nice day!


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Jade.I.AmThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jun. 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Alright, I'm gonna be honest and say I don't know enough about multiverses and all to accurately rebuttal it. But let me ask, why invest so much thought, and in reality (you must admit) faith into something that really hasn't been proven and is highly improbable anyways?

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Jade.I.AmThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jun. 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm

"The Anthropic principle says that the way the universe exists is simply how it is, if it didn't exist in this manner we wouldn't be here to observe it."
 
--So, a circular argument. Is this even a statement worth being said? Basically here you just say the world exists and we observe it, and that's the reason it exists.

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