“There’s Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying And Enjoy Your Life”

This is a new ad slogan that has been put on 800 buses in Britain thanks to the Atheist Bus Campaign. Here is the article (Thanks Doug!): http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/world/europe/07london.html?_r=1

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How awesome is that? (I don’t know who the old dude is. Probably just one of those stumbling around drunk Brits. You know how they are.)

It is about time that someone put out a little marketing for the atheists and agnostics of the world. How many times have you driven down the highway and read some sort of religious billboard? There are all kinds of them talking about Jesus as well as supporting various “moral” campaigns. For instance,  “Got Jesus?”. No, I don’t. And at this point, even if I had him, I might keep him locked away just to agitate his flock.

Can you imagine seeing such a sign as this on an American bus? I can’t. Why? Because within 5 minutes someone would be making a threatening call to the bus company owner explaining how they were going to picket and boycott that bus line. Even in Britain, they had to tone it down to say “There’s Probably No God”. Without the “probably” part, it was deemed too offensive.

Now I realize that Britain is much closer to a total moral collapse and will likely be the second coming of Sodom and Gonorrhea. Still, I appreciate the effort they are making to represent those who refuse to walk in lockstep with the religious community. Apparently, I am not the only one. What started as an effort to maybe raise a modest $8,000 has now raised over $200,000. Granted, the Muslims probably ponied up most of the cash but it all still counts.

I love this comment from Sandra Lafaire, who thinks the signs are “dreadful”. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I don’t like it in my face.” You mean like the 50 foot high crosses that sit by many Interstates? You mean like the 20 tele-evangelists that hog the Sunday morning airwaves? You mean like the annoying ringing of the church bells? You mean like complete strangers knocking on your door trying to get you to “find” Jesus. (Who appears to constantly be lost. Seriously, can’t you get him a GPS tacking device or something?)

I like the sign if for no other reason than it will agitate the pompous religious types. How dare anyone question the existence of God. (Or whoever your particular religious icon is). It is good for the bible thumpers to get slapped upside their metaphorical heads now and then. It brings them back to reality…if only for a brief moment. Now excuse me while I go pray to the alter of Ben and Jerry’s.

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93 Responses to “There’s Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying And Enjoy Your Life”

  1. It is amusing. I’m in America, and it is hilarious that when there is a pagan or atheist gathering Christians will protest. However, they see nothing wrong with their religious symbols clouding the skylines and advertisements. Part of the issue is that there are so few independent companies that own the various medias. With a finite amount of ways to get a message out, it is not surprising that those who are in favor with the ones in control are the ones we see.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Amen sister! Here is a link to the top 50 countries with the highest proportion of atheists/agnostics:

    http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_atheist.html

    Fascinating!!

  3. art vandelay says:

    This is extremely sad on so many levels.

    • tannerleah says:

      Why? Please tell me it is not pity on our “lost” souls. Again, that would just reek of condescension. At least give me a hint as to why you find this sad.

  4. art vandelay says:

    You wouldn’t get it

  5. elizabeth3hersh says:

    I quote Robert Pirsig: “when one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called religion.”

  6. art vandelay says:

    Okay how about if I just say that guy looks like a dick standing there in front of the bus…is that better?

  7. Kim says:

    One day you will acknowledge there is indeed a God. And you won’t be laughing for any reason, especially because you are in hell.

    • tannerleah says:

      Kim – Is this the thing where I have to bow down before him? Again, my God isn’t quite so theatrical or domineering.

      I suppose there is a chance I could burn in hell. The truth is, however, neither you nor I can know that with even the slightest amount of certainty. I appreciate you condemning me to hell based on a blog. It just reinforces my faith in religion. My true hope is that the “real” God slaps the bejeezus (metaphorically speaking) out of all of the people that use religion in order to minimize their fellow man or hurt people. Now THAT would be funny! Hallelujah!

  8. Kim says:

    You do realize, I was only responding to YOUR comment about burning in hell. And I thought you didn’t believe in “a” God–so who exactly is your God? BTW, Your comments aren’t condescending at all. 😉

    In response to your comment insinuating that God is theatrical and domineering…He is theatrical–He created the earth and everything in it! It doesn’t get more theatrical than that. Domineering–since we ARE His creation, and He IS God, he can be whatever He wants to be, and we created beings have no say in it except to accept His gift of salvation (which is His son, Jesus) and live with the confidence of His love, and faith for eternal life in the new perfect world, or reject Him and suffer the consequences.

    And I’m sure your thinking something to the tune of…if He’s so loving, why does he send people to hell??? It’s a long story, but it boils down to the fact that he gives us a choice to love Him or love Satan. There’s no in between. Love Him, we get the benefit of a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe. Love Satan, we get hell. Call us condescending if you want, but many of us (including me) have lived with both choices. For me and every person I know that’s made the switch, loving God is far better than loving Satan.

    Seriously, what on earth could be better than a personal relationship with the Creator of all living things, as a loving Father forgiving all your past sins and continually forgiving your present ones, with the promise of heaven? Since your so confident your way is better, why don’t you try God for a while? At least I’ve experienced life without God…You only know one side.

    • tannerleah says:

      Kim – When I say something condescending I do it with love. I am a people person.

      I suppose my real beef isn’t with God…it is with his minions. I really struggle with being on the same team as rapists, pedophiles, wife beaters, murderers, etc. In no way am I saying that ALL of the flock are tainted but this is the group that I am most familiar with. I just know too many people that go to church praising God on Sunday…then bang their neighbor on Tuesday. The hypocrisy is difficult for me to deal with.

      Again, I am not saying there isn’t a God. I just struggle conceptually with a God that allows children to die and innocent people to be hurt. I cannot explain away these things as “Gods will” or “the devil made me do it”. Believe me, the comfort one must feel knowing that there is a loving, nurturing “being” protecting you is enviable. I have been on that side. But my intellect tells me something different.

      I am glad you have found a comfortable place. I have not. It doesn’t mean that I won’t…it just means that there is still a pretty serious gap in my thinking.

  9. Kim says:

    EVERYBODY questions and doubts God. It’s only human. I struggle with God allowing children to suffer as well. Daily. I’ve been in tears many times over that and many other issues. But the bottom line is, when sin entered the picture, it separated humanity from God. He is perfect. He is holy. He cannot look at sin…it broke the bond between God and man. As a result, the earth and everything in it became broken and flawed. He created us to live forever in a perfect world, in perfect relationship with Him. Did you know that? I grew up in “church” and I didn’t know that until a few years ago. So MAN made the mess the earth and humanity now finds itself in. And humanity will always suffer the consequences until Jesus returns and ends it all.

    When innocent people are hurt, it doesn’t mean it’s God’s will. It’s just that because sin has separated us from Him, there will be bad things that happen to good people. Believe me, I don’t like it any more than you do. Only God knows the big picture. I for one, wish he would share it with us!

    I am totally there with you on the whole hypocrisy thing. That’s a tough one. So many “Christians” are so judgemental of everything and everyone. So many “denominations” are that way, not just the individuals–it’s harder to be accepted into some churches than it is heaven! That is just wrong. And that tainted me many years ago also. I completely was in the place you are now in. After a few years of that, I discovered what God was really all about and said screw these holier than thous.

    So now I guess we have the same problem. Because I believe in Jesus, I am on the same “team” as the holier than thous, the hypocrites, etc. I make huge mistakes every day that I’m sure are hypocritical. Some of them I recognize and apologize to God for, but I’m sure there are even more that I don’t even catch. So I’m sure some people that know me put me in the hypocrisy category. I go to church on Sunday and praise God, but also screw up every Sunday. I praise God at home or in the car every day, but screw up every day as well. But God still loves me. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t put your faith in people. They’ll let you down every time. God keeps every promise he makes.

    I will leave you with the thought that true Christians do not put you on the same team as rapists, etc. True Christians understand that there are plenty of people who claim religion who are rapists, murderers, pedophiles, etc. We understand and acknowledge we are in no way better than anyone who doesn’t believe as we do, we are just forgiven and on our way to paradise forever and would like your company. 🙂

    • tannerleah says:

      Kim – So even if I get into Buddhism, Judaism, Scientology, etc. I still have a shot at paradise? Or is paradise just for Christians? (I have a feeling you are about to lose me).

  10. art vandelay says:

    Wow….who is this Kim girl and can we be friends???
    Well said, Kim, well said.

  11. Kim says:

    You can call yourself whatever you want. Heaven is for all believers of Jesus.

    • tannerleah says:

      Kim – I am not ready to drink the Kool Aid but I appreciate your reasonable input. I am leaning more towards a cult at the moment but I will keep your advice in mind. At the very least, if I end up in hell, I am going to mention your name and see if I can get an upgrade.

  12. Kim says:

    Thanks, Tannerleah! Wanna be on the same team?

  13. Kim says:

    ok–but when you meet up with those religious holier than thou types, remember our conversation. Just do what I do, roll your eyes and let it go. Their standards aren’t the ones you need to concern yourself with.

    I have to go for now, but I’m going to be back later with some scripture and book references for you to consider.

    p.s. There is only one true, living God. And he does love you, much to your dismay right now I’m sure. 🙂

  14. art vandelay says:

    😦

    • tannerleah says:

      Art – Fine, I didn’t mean to upset your emoticon. I am sure you and Kim will hit it off famously. Just be careful what you wish for.

      Liz – Where in the hell are you when I need you?

  15. Kim says:

    Art-why the sad face?

  16. art vandelay says:

    Because TL won’t let me be friends with you. Brush up on your facts because Liz will be here with a vengeance!

  17. Kim says:

    I’m sure she’s a very nice person, just like TL.

  18. Doug says:

    Face it, there is no god. Why does he get all the credit when things go well but none of the disdain when things go poorly? Take the city of New Orleans and hurricane Katrina for example. At least a thousand people died, tens of thousands lost all their earthly possessions, and over a million have been displaced. It is safe to say that almost every person living in New Orleans at the moment Katrina struck believed in an omnipotent, omniscient, and compassionate God. But what was God doing while a hurricane laid waste to their city?

    Those that survive will say they were “blessed” by God. How morally objectionable is it for survivors of a catastrophe to believe themselves spared by a loving God, while this same God drowned infants in their cribs?

    Of course, people of faith regularly assure one another that God is not responsible for human suffering. But how else can we understand the claim that God is both omniscient and omnipotent? If God exists, either He can do nothing to stop the most egregious calamities, or He does not care to. God, therefore, is either impotent or evil.

    • tannerleah says:

      Doug – I must say, that is a reasonable thesis you present. The easy answer is that Satan is to blame and God will not interact directly in such matters. Or, that it is “beyond our understanding”. Not really answers but ways around the problem. I am sure someone can give you a more precise answer.

  19. elizabeth3hersh says:

    I’m not nearly as nice as TL, nor was I born with his funny bone (which ameliorates any excoriating comments he makes). No, my meanness is more blunt. At least you know what I am thinking. The faithful flock, I have found, know little of world affairs, are abysmally ignorant about other religions (other then their own), and are recalcitrant to arguments of reason. They will blindly accept text written by men who thought the Earth was flat, had no idea what a microbe was, and that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Surely, Jesus believed these things as well. It is a lost cause trying to persuade the myopic minions to expand their intellectual horizons. There are three gentlemen we should all be listening to: Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. They are all men with delicious mental prowess and have dissected the religion argument more concisely than I could ever hope to. TL, we will not win this argument so let’s indulge them instead by playing a game called “name your favorite Christian”. My pick? Mike Huckabee. Here is a man so loveable, so affable, so-o-o-o-o, oh, it almost makes me almost want to convert. (Hope that wasn’t too patronizing…I really heart Huckabee).

    • tannerleah says:

      Liz – I think it is unfair to suggest that Bill Clinton or Barry Obama are “abysmally ignorant”. There are many great thinkers that believe in God. I can’t explain why but I don’t think demeaning their opinion is particularly graceful.

      Let me leave you with the words of Dr. Neil Peart:

      You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
      If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
      You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
      I will choose a path that’s clear-
      I will choose Free Will.

  20. elizabeth3hersh says:

    Please allow me to share a passage from the Sam Harris book “The End of Faith”:

    “Imagine that we could revive a well educated Christina of the fourteenth century. The man would prove to me a total ignoramus except on matters of faith. His beliefs about geography, astronomy and medicine would embarrass even a child, but he would know more or less everything there is to know about God. Though he would be considered a fool to think that the Earth is the center of the cosmos, or that trepanning* constitutes a wise medical intervention, his religious ideas would still be beyond reproach. There are two explanations for this: either we perfected our religious understanding of the world a millennium ago-while our knowledge on all other fronts was still hopelessly inchoate-or religion, being the mere maintenance of dogma, is one area of discourse that does not admit of progress. We will see that there is much to recommend the latter view.”

    *Trepanning is the practice of boring holes in the human skull, probably to treat epilepsy or to release demons.

  21. elizabeth3hersh says:

    TL, if a politician does not attend church, they are toast! Also, there are many non-believers who attend church/temple for the fellowship, moral guidance and camaraderie. I don’t find that hypocritical at all.

  22. Doug says:

    Nice quote TL. Another great quote from Dr. Peart:

    Why are we here?
    Because we’re here
    Roll the bones
    Why does it happen?
    Because it happens
    Roll the bones

    Faith is cold as ice —
    Why are little ones born only to suffer
    For the want of immunity
    Or a bowl of rice?
    Well, who would hold a price
    On the heads of the innocent children
    If there’s some immortal power
    To control the dice?

    We come into the world and take our chances
    Fate is just the weight of circumstances
    That’s the way that lady luck dances
    Roll the bones

  23. art vandelay says:

    We should’ve just left this at “sad”
    Sam Harris is over my head and I’m just really happy being a Jesus Freak–life’s not that complicated!

    • tannerleah says:

      I dind’t find the Sam Harris argument compelling. It would be reasonable to assume that God did tell his peeps everything which is why the story never changes.

      Art – be honest…you just dig the Jesus beard, don’t cha?

  24. Kim says:

    Doug–Maybe we all have it backwards. Maybe the people God is “blessing” are the people that die in catastrophies, because if they believe in Jesus, they get to skip all the hardship of the aftermath and be in heaven!

    I realize Katrina was one example–but let’s think about this. New Orleans is a city built below sea level, the levees were in disrepair, and the city was warned several days in advance of the path of the hurricane. They didn’t take it seriously. God didn’t kill them, they killed themselves. There had been warnings for years that this type of event would eventually happen. It’s not rocket science.

    I agree with you that it’s confusing when people give God the credit for the good things, but not responsibility for the bad. But as I stated earlier, our world is so bad because we were separated from God by sin. But we can choose to reconcile with God through Jesus. God sent him to die in our place as a gift of redemption. I happen to like gifts, and that’s the best one I’ve experienced.

    Doug and Liz–If you would spend as much time researching the evidence arguing that God does exist, you might have a change of heart. There is a lot of credible evidence to support the existence of God, and Jesus Christ, His Son. It is your choice, however, since God gave us free will.

  25. elizabeth3hersh says:

    A question: where are the fundamentalist Mensa members? The neuroscientists? The astrophysicists? Professors at Ivy Leagues? (I’m not interested in your fourth tier Christian colleges). I challenge you to name one…just one. I can name a slew that reject religion. Shouldn’t our best and brightest be leading the way? Instead, the opposite is happening. Why haven’t THEY figured it out? Doesn’t God want our best and brightest?

    Art, Sam Harris is not over your head. You may not agree with him but you would understand…you most definitely would understand.

  26. Kim says:

    Liz–I don’t care how many, if any, of your so-called “best and brightest” acknowledge there’s a God. My challenge to you is to research Bible prophesy and open your eyes to see it unfolding all around you. I know you’re bright enough.

    Remember our country was founded on the belief in God. So you shouldn’t be surprised when you’re met with opposition to subdue that. In my honest opinion, religious freedom means believing in God, whoever you want, or nothing at all. But this country is clearly a God-believing majority. And you can find plenty of “best and bright” people who do believe in God. You just choose not to, and you know it.

    • tannerleah says:

      Kim – I tend to agree with you but we were also a country founded on women being second class citizens and slavery being a pretty good thing. So, just because we have always done something isn’t a good indicator that we should still be doing it. But I do agree that this country is definitely interwoven with God and religion.

      Just think, if I was born 6000 miles east of here I would be encouraged to wear a beard year round and have a cool turban. Life is funny like that.

  27. Kim says:

    That is very true, TL. Good point. Thank God we got rid of the horrendous practice of slavery, and I’m pretty happy to have more rights today than women of those times had. Looks like only the good thing stuck around.

    I think the turban would get old. But yes, life is funny like that.

  28. Doug says:

    Hi Kim. So, let me get this straight. If those that died were believers their deaths were a “blessing in disguise” (because they’re off to a cushy life in heaven). The “blessing” for non-believers was a first class ticket straight to hell? Why didn’t God just spare them and let them suffer in the aftermath?

    Yes, New Orleans is a city built below sea level, the levees were in disrepair, and the city was warned several days in advance that a storm “of biblical proportions” would strike. The interesting thing is that the advance warning of Katrina’s path was provided by meteorological calculations and satellite imagery. In other words science, not God, provided them with the warning. God told no one of his plans. Had the residents of New Orleans been content to rely on the beneficence of the Lord, they wouldn’t have known that a killer hurricane was bearing down upon them until they felt the first gusts of wind on their faces.

    Yes, I know “God works in mysterious ways”. He has a bigger plan for all of those who perished. Of course we have no idea because we are simple humans who couldn’t possibly comprehend the greatness of God.

  29. elizabeth3hersh says:

    TL, I am a Jew before I am an atheist or an agnostic. Although (like you) I am a recluse, on the rare occasions I get out, I thoroughly enjoy going to temple and getting my Jew on. Does that make me a believer? Is a self identified Christian necessarily a believer? I don’t find it hypocritical at all to enjoy the fellowship and greater good (charity work for example) by affiliating yourself with a religious organization and yet still be a nonbeliever. But I do think it is incumbent on us to challenge preposterous claims made in the name of religion and it is most unfair to teach this crapola to our children in their formative years. I stand by my claim that Mensa members are critical thinkers and the least likely group to BELIEVE in the claims of organized religion.

    • tannerleah says:

      Liz – a) I am not a recluse. I would like to be but do not yet have the funds to make it happen. Remember the lady that had the toilet seat “grow” on her? I would like that to happen with my sofa.

      b) “getting my Jew on”? That alone should earn you a ticket to hell.

      c) Stop ignoring the facts. I already gave you the stats on Mensa members. Since those are my peeps, I can tell you it is true.

  30. Kim says:

    Doug–I was being sarcastic with my opening sentence in my last comment. As one of Liz’s best and brightest, I thought you would figure that out. I in no way said that God had warned New Orleans, and was referring to the warnings from science. BTW, God created science, He loves it!

    I honestly don’t know why some people survive disasters and some don’t. I don’t claim to understand God. Let’s face it, we can’t understand ourselves or each other, how can we expect to understand God? All I know is I’ve read enough evidence (outside of the Bible) to convince me of God and His sovereignty. God created us, He decides how much time we spend on earth. And yes, we are indeed simple humans who can’t possibly comprehend the greatness of God.

    Liz–It sounds to me like you and TL had a bad experience with “organized religion”. So have I. There are still times that I cringe in church with certain songs or old-fashioned words because it just brings back bad feelings and memories. My belief really doesn’t revolve around organized religion. You don’t have to ever step foot in a church to be a believer. I just like it because it’s a time to learn more about how to live a Godly life, worship with other people and fellowship (one of those words I hate).

    I’m really confused by your last entry. If you call yourself a Jew, then doesn’t that mean you believe in God??? To be hypocritical means to claim to be something you’re not, as I’m sure you know. So what would be the difference if you just call yourself a Jew and enjoy going to temple, but you really don’t hold those beliefs–and a person claiming to be Christian, going to church on Sunday, but not living it during the week? Because that seems to be a pastime of “non-believers”.

    What do you consider perposterous claims made in the name of religion? I could list several myself within my own faith that are just tradition or misinterpretation of scripture because of lack of historical knowledge.

    • tannerleah says:

      Kim – I can tell you that Liz had way more bad experiences with religion than I did. But, somehow, we almost ended up in the same place philosophically.

      As to Liz being a Jew but not believing in God…good luck figuring that out. I have known her a long time and it is still a mystery to me. (She once even made me eat my hamburger in her car because it wasn’t “kosher” and could not be brought into her home. That’s just rude).

  31. Doug says:

    I don’t include myself in Liz’s group of best and brightest. I just don’t believe in”God” as defined by Christians. I would say I’m more of a Taoist.

    • tannerleah says:

      Doug – Did you mean tattoo-ist? I have never really understood the whole body art thing. However, I have vowed to get a tat when my daughter does. I want her to know that she has chosen to scar me for life. It’s that kind of thinking that makes me an awesome dad.

      If you didn’t mean tattoo-ist…please carry on.

  32. art vandelay says:

    Here’s one for all of you:
    Perhaps God destroyed New Orleans due to it’s sin nature? Voo-doo, idolatry, etc.
    Throughout biblical history God destroyed towns when it’s”sin had become full”
    The first was Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, Samaria (Baal worship), Bethsaida, Chorazin, the list goes on. What about the innocent children, etc??? That’s all part of the sin nature of being a human being. You’ve got to expect losses in a big operation.
    I’m not saying that is what I necessarily believe is what happened to New Orleans but I think it’s an interesting nugget to chew on. God will end this earth when the sin has become full, too. Hell I don’t know what he’s waiting for.
    Liz–I’m still confused about you being Jewish. If you’re looking for a “club” or a philanthropy organization there are service clubs like Rotary, etc. I just don’t get what you’re looking for…now don’t hurt me..we’re friends, remember?? 🙂

    • tannerleah says:

      Art – “You’ve got to expect losses in a big operation.” It’s loving comments like that which convince me there is still hope for you.

      Liz won’t hurt you. She is one of the kindest people I know. But she does take her science very seriously. As long as you don’t say anything bad about Carl Sagan or Peter Falk, you will be fine.

  33. Doug says:

    What I actually meant was “tata-ist”. Natural ones of course (to go along with my philosophical beliefs).

  34. Doug says:

    Art – I guess the loss of innocent children would be classified under “friendly fire”.

  35. elizabeth3hersh says:

    Collateral damage is the term you are looking for. You know, like what God-fearing Timothy McVeigh called it when 19 children perished in Oklahoma City.

    Doug, you are hilarious and almost as funny as TL.

  36. Doug says:

    Thanks Elizabeth. I’m definitely not in TL’s class when it comes to humor. I classified it under “friendly fire” since they were “innocent” children. By innocent I mean they were believers and therefore on the same side as God.

  37. art vandelay says:

    TL–I just try and speak your language, you know, so you’ll take me more serious.
    Mensa? I thought that was a female thing.
    One last thing, our local paper prints a daily bible verse and I thought about all my fellow bloggers:
    “But because of your STUBBORNESS and your UNREPENTANT HEART, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will give to each person according to what he has done”. Romans 2:5-6

    • tannerleah says:

      Art – you see, that is where the rub is. I just cannot believe in “God’s wrath”. A benevolent and loving God would just not be pi**ed off…under any circumstances. It is such a human trait.

  38. art vandelay says:

    P.S. Off the subject but can you do a blog on Ann Coulter–pretty please??
    Thank you in advance.

  39. Doug says:

    Thanks for the quote Art. Here’s a few quotes from my local paper.

    # The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality. – George Bernard Shaw

    # Faith means not wanting to know what is true. – Friedrich Nietzsche

    # We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes. – Gene Roddenberry

    # To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today. – Isaac Asimov

    # A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows. – Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

    # Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. – Anonymous

  40. elizabeth3hersh says:

    Great quotes Doug!! May I add two from Carl Sagan?

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    “You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe.”

    I close with another this (again, from Carl Sagan):

    “You see, the religious people — most of them — really think this planet is an experiment. That’s what their beliefs come down to. Some god or other is always fixing and poking, messing around with tradesmen’s wives, giving tablets on mountains, commanding you to mutilate your children, telling people what words they can say and what words they can’t say, making people feel guilty about enjoying themselves, and like that. Why can’t the gods leave well enough alone? All this intervention speaks of incompetence. If God didn’t want Lot’s wife to look back, why didn’t he make her obedient, so she’d do what her husband told her? Or if he hadn’t made Lot such a shithead, maybe she would’ve listened to him more. If God is omnipotent and omniscient, why didn’t he start the universe out in the first place so it would come out the way he wants? Why’s he constantly repairing and complaining? No, there’s one thing the Bible makes clear: The biblical God is a sloppy manufacturer. He’s not good at design, he’s not good at execution. He’d be out of business if there was any competition.”

    • tannerleah says:

      Liz / Doug – Good quotes indeed. My only issue is that there is a certain level of contempt in some of the comments and I also have a problem with that. Disagreeing is one thing but diminishing peoples beliefs seems just as tawdry.

      I leave you will the words of the great 20th century poet, Sir Rodney King: “Can’t we all just get along?”

  41. elizabeth3hersh says:

    Exactly TL, we anthropomorphize not only our pets, but God.

    Art…liked your Mensa joke!

  42. Kim says:

    Liz & Doug–You keep ignoring the fact that there is evidence to be found that there is a God. At least admit you’re not interested in pursuing it instead of pretending like it isn’t there. If you did pursue it, you might take Art’s quote from the Bible seriously.

  43. elizabeth3hersh says:

    Kim-my position on religion has been covered ad nauseum on TL’s blog (see 11/18/08 …”Dear Lunatics: Obama Is Not The Anti-Christ” as that completely encapsulates my thoughts on the subject). If you will indulge me a few more quotes, I would like to end with the words of Cornell professor Carl Sagan who speaks so eloquently:

    “The major religions on the Earth contradict each other left and right. You can’t all be correct. And what if all of you are wrong? It’s a possibility, you know. You must care about the truth, right? Well, the way to winnow through all the differing contentions is to be skeptical. I’m not any more skeptical about your religious beliefs than I am about every new scientific idea I hear about. But in my line of work, they’re called hypotheses, not inspiration and not revelation.”

    “I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.”

    and in reference to your comments on Biblical prophecy Kim:

    “Think of how many religions attempt to validate themselves with prophecy. Think of how many people rely on these prophecies, however vague, however unfulfilled, to support or prop up their beliefs. Yet has there ever been a religion with the prophetic accuracy and reliability of science? “

  44. art vandelay says:

    I’ve got two words for you people: FREE WILL.
    I’m going back to this whole thing as being just plain sad.

  45. art vandelay says:

    Okay, I’ve had more coffee and I have a few more words.
    God created man and gave us FREE WILL–remember Adam and Eve? That’s where it all started. He warned Adam of the consequences but he chose to sin anyway. Lot’s wife was turned to a pillar of salt because she looked back and lusted to stay in the sin. Yes he could’ve made her not look back but he could not change her heart. Besides, what is the point of creating human beings if He can make us do whatever He wants us to do? Why not just fill the world with robots? That is also the reason of so much tragedy in the world, free will. If you think about the ten commandments, those were given to us by God not as a rule book so much but as some guidelines to live by–if people would live by those we would not have all the bull-sh in the world. It’s really quite simple. He new the challenges we would face and armed us with 10 simple rules to live by.

    The quotes are fine but those quotes were written by MAN, scripture is written by GOD.

    I can appreciate everyone’s skepticism about God–but if you don’t know with 100 percent certainty that there IS a God, how do you know with 100 percent certainty that there ISN’T? Science has proven a lot but it can’t prove God. It’s a big gamble you’re taking. At the very least I’d want fire insurance.

    NOW, TL can we please talk about something a lot less controversial like the Obama inauguration that is going to cost upwards of $150 MILLION DOLLARS??? GW’s cost $42 million 4 years ago and he took so much crap for it.

    • tannerleah says:

      Art – 3 things.

      a) Did God only make Adam and Eve? Is that how the world was populated? Cause that would be kind of gross.

      II) Did God really write the bible? Literally? I thought man wrote it based on what God told them.

      3) Of course Barry’s inauguration is going to cost a ton of cash. People actually want to see him…Dubya? Not so much. Besides, you should be much more worried about the 1+ TRILLION he is about to spend. That’s going to be awesome!!! We will be buying bread with buckets full of cash…just like the good old days!

  46. Kim says:

    Well said, Art. I think I do want to befriend you.

    I have one final comment for TL–You mentioned you’re a dad? IF there’s the possibility that you could spend eternity with your children in a perfect world, wouldn’t you want to check it out, even if you don’t understand it completely?

    • tannerleah says:

      Kim – Absolutely! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t WISH there was a God. It’s an awesome deal. I also WISH that I would win a $50 million lottery and that Shania Twain would show up at my front door. There are all kinds of things that I wish would happen. At least I can buy a lottery ticket or stalk Shania. With God, it is a completely intangible relationship. I am open to the concept but not convinced that such an opportunity exists.

  47. art vandelay says:

    1. Yes God did create Adam and Eve which yes I guess that means we’re all related… yo, bro.

    2. Yes you are correct, Men wrote scripture– In 2Timothy you can read that scriputre is “theopneustos”–which means the words written are “God breathed”. It’s the only place in scripture that is mentioned. I’ve always found this to be incredible:

    God breathed on the writers of the bible and told them what to write. If you don’t think God wrote the bible, consider this:

    Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the bible and Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the bible. What chapter is in the center of the bible? Psalm 118. So right in between the longestchapter and the shortest chapter is Psalm 118. There are exactly 594 chapters before Psalm 118 and 594 chapters after 118.

    Add 594 + 594 and you get 1188 or Psalms 118:8. What does this verse say? It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. That is the central message of the entire bible. Trust God and He will lift you up. Need more proof that God is the author of the bible? This will help to clarify the mystery of the bible.

    3. Barry is just like the rest of him…He’s “change” all right, “Changing” all his promises. 150 MILLION for a party….especially when we are in an economic crisis–his words.

  48. elizabeth3hersh says:

    Ladies (Art and Kim) and gentleman readers, please indulge me as I quote Bertrand Russell:

    “Apart from logical cogency, there is to me something a little odd about the ethical valuations of those who think that an omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent Deity, after preparing the ground by many millions of years of lifeless nebulae, would consider Himself adequately rewarded by the final emergence of Hitler, Stalin and the H bomb.”

    Author Sam Harris further argues “this is a devastating observation, and there is no retort to it. In the face of God’s obvious inadequacies, the pious generally held that one cannot apply earthly norms to the Creator of the universe. THIS ARGUMENT LOSES IT FORCE THE MOMENT WE NOTICE THAT THE CREATOR WHO PURPORTS TO BE BEYOND HUMAN JUDGMENT IS CONSISTENTLY RULED BY HUMAN PASSIONS-JEALOUSY, WRATH, SUSPICIOUS AND THE DESIRE TO DOMINATE.

    Again, my assertion that we anthropomorphize God to a ridiculous extent. Humans really think they are something special don’t they? We are just another life form in a universe teaming with life, some far more intelligent then us. In our quest to understand our mission here (the why?) we have evolved a set of beliefs that revolve around us utilizing wishful thinking and making fantastic claims. I don’t think we are that special when you look beyond the global perspective and into a more cosmic one.

    Note: I use caps not to shout, but in lieu of italics which wordpress has disabled (TL, how is it that you can use them?).

    • tannerleah says:

      Liz – So you believe in aliens…which you can’t prove…but don’t believe in God because you can’t prove it. Mmm…ok.

      I can use italics because I am God-like.

  49. elizabeth3hersh says:

    Have you not heard of exobiology and the Drake Equation? Last I heard, highly esteemed Ph.D.’s were immersed in this subject, and not holding Bible study class. When you use the word alien, it indicates you have been watching too many B movies. Get up to speed TL.

    • tannerleah says:

      Liz – What’s the problem with the term “alien”? Not fancy enough? Does it lower the credibility of your argument? I am only making the point that you accept unproved theorems but won’t make the same leap for God. C’mon…do it for Jesus!!!

  50. elizabeth3hersh says:

    Is this thread finally going to morph into a credible subject area? Bring it on.

  51. elizabeth3hersh says:

    Words have nuances. An agronomist would prefer “soil” to “dirt” for instance (soil is what plants grow in and dirt is what you wash off your face). When you use the word alien, it conjures up images from The Blob or the Tribbles on Star Trek. Exobiology is a credible field researched at all leading universities. What do you think Spirit and Opportunity are doing on Mars? I am absolutely willing to make the same leap for a hypothetical God…just show me the evidence. I don’t have so much an issue with the existence of a God then I do with the anthropomorphization of God. I see religion as man-made and not divinely inspired. I will ask your readers again, where are the Bible study groups at your Ivy Leagues and evangelical Christian professors? Please do not read condescension into this question. It’s a valid inquiry and something I teach my own children (I implore them to listen to our best and brightest minds [not necessarily accept what they hear, but to LISTEN]). Einstein and Spinoza saw God as Nature (laws of physics) and that is who I ultimately choose to align my beliefs with after my own exhaustive exploration. I’ve studied both sides. The issue here is that your evangelicals have not.

  52. Doug says:

    Well said Liz!

  53. art vandelay says:

    I believe in Aliens AND Jesus. (and ghosts, not so sure about Santa and the tooth fairy though)
    The proof is in bible prophecy that has and is coming true EXACTLY how it said it would….why you won’t acknowledge that I’m not sure. The Psalm 118 thing is no accident either, or 1000’s of other things in the bible that fit together in this giant puzzle PERFECTLY. The proof is there if you’re willing to look at it. I’m acknowledging the fact of possible life forms in space…I’ve never seen an alien or ufo but cannot rule out the possibility. Most private schools (where large percentages of students go on to Ivy League schools) teach religion classes. You won’t find it in public schools but PRIVATE schools (you know the kind where tuition is $15,000+ for kindergarten) ARE teaching it. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree but it still makes me sad because when you are a Christian you truly weep for those that don’t believe (and THAT is said with the UTMOST of sincerity). If you TRULY believe the gospel, it deeply saddens you about those who do not know Jesus because I honestly do believe there is a heaven and a hell. It’s not a matter of Christians feeling superior to non-believers, it’s a deep sadness.

  54. elizabeth3hersh says:

    This is a futile enterprise and no, I am not capitulating to Art’s argument. You lost me when you lumped aliens in with ghosts. I am talking about exobiology and not the sci-fi stuff of 50’s TV (and that includes UFO’s). What continues to mystify me is why more people are not interested in the thoughts and opinions of our best and brightest. Wouldn’t you want to know what Einstein thought even if you could not fully understand it? What about the opinions of our leading scientists, professors and researchers? It baffles me to no end how the devout cling to their beliefs zealously as progress and research marches on all the while oblivious to said progress. I crave and thrive on these opinions and insights. Knowledge can be exhilarating and powerful!! The more I know the more I realize the less I know. When you surround yourself with like minded individuals who pretty much hold the same set of beliefs, it quashes creativity and innovation. You will find what you want to find in Biblical prophecy. I could find prophecy in a Harry Potter book (if I read Harry Potter).

    Doug…ahhh, the voice of humor, reason and poetry. Please continue to contribute your witticisms and flashes of insight. A man who thinks outside the box is always appreciated.

  55. Kim says:

    Art’s a lady???

  56. Kim says:

    Well, I’m actually a guy. Asian.

  57. elizabeth3hersh says:

    I was once engaged to an Asian guy named Kim back when I was 18 (he was actually half-Jewish/half Asian and it was brief like most of my relationships since I’m so prickly). Forgive me Kim because this will sound like I am stereotyping, but are you a second generation Asian? I can’t wrap my mind around the fact you are an evangelical. Where are your roots?

  58. art vandelay says:

    I love you TL … you make me laugh.

  59. Kim says:

    Just kidding. I’m female. 🙂

  60. VeronicaMGH says:

    Faith my defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable

    -H.L. Mencken

    Religion is what makes people fly airplanes into buildings.

    -R.R. Guerra

    My god can beat up your god.

    -Local elementary school playground

    It’s not God that I have a problem with. It’s his fan club I cannot stand!

    -Bumper Sticker

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