After life

“and I am angered by some of the things people do to children in the name of superstitious belief in some tribal groups. I’m not sure what atheists do to combat these types of superstition.”

well, I guess they do the same things as reasonable non-atheists (and, luckily, world is still full of reasonable people, both atheists and religious). Since when is the question of human rights (in this case endangered by superstition) only a matter for the atheists? :slight_smile:

“Matter that gradually became conscious of itself, a star material, reorganized, able to look back at the stars and say “That is the star.”, that is just…mindblowing, absolutely fascinating, even without any traces of religion.”

That is also the way I see it: stardust (or the universe itself if you will) becoming aware of itself. I think our fear of death is also partly rooted in the fact that our brain cannot comprehend certain things such as eternity and nothingness. I think we are afraid of nothingness because we cannot comprehend it. When I think of dying, I think of the fact that I have already experienced it. All the billion years before my birth I experienced nothingness and it didn’t hurt. Every night we fall asleep is a small death, we glide into nothingness (at least part of the night), every time we have a larger surgery we experience death. Furthermore, I don’t know what is more terrible of a thought: living forever (in heaven) or nothingness, both concepts are difficult to fully comprehend.

while I see progress in our understanding of how the species evolved, I think abiogenesis, the formation of the first living system from dead matter is becoming an ever bigger mystery. If you look at the complexity of a cell and the complexity of proteins in particular, it is difficult to imagine how this could have happened spontaneously. I am not saying we will never know, but I think scientists had underestimated this issue,



“although I love Dawkins’ early work with the selfish gene hypothesis, I never read a ‘God delusion’”

I agree. Dawkins’ early books were beautifully written and a revelation. The God Delusion is polemical and disappointing.

Why would writing a book claiming that there is no god be polemical? Requesting that we believe in the supernatural without evidence, and that we alter our behaviour because of it, that’s what’s polemical. Asking that claims be backed up by evidence is not too much to ask for, and we do it automatically in most other spheres of our lives.

Whether we require evidence for everything in our lives is a personal choice which, I suspect, is probably driven by innate personality traits.

“abiogenesis, the formation of the first living system from dead matter is becoming an ever bigger mystery”

well, one thing is certain about this: we are definitely far away from the Oparin’s soup and life as a matter of pure chance (two molecules float in the water and meet each other by chance). I guess you are familiar with the RNA world hypothesis and more recent work in this field. There are different scenarios being discussed, but one thing seem to be more and more certain: for life to emerge, you need an interface between the two different chemical/physical phases. Was it a mineral surface/water interface ( ) or a water/atmosphere interface ( ) and was it at the thermal vents (I can’t find link to my favourite article about this! :frowning: ) or somewhere less hot ( ), like ocean shores…remains to be investigated further.

However, two things are sure. Whatever we achieve in the laboratories, we will never have “An Origin of Life” on a videotape :), so we will never know is ‘that’ exactly how it happened and, there will always be someone to say “yes, but humans have designed the laboratory and the experiment, so, there you go, it has to be ‘intelligently designed’…”.

And about complexity, well - couple of hundreds of millions of years and a lab as big as Earth, who knows… :slight_smile:

Alex, writing a book claiming there is no God need not be polemical. Dawkins is , however,for example when he writes that teachin yourvreligion to your kids is a form of child abuse.

The existense or non- existense of God cannot be proved. The polar opposite of a devout Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc. is not an athiest, but rather an agnostic. An athiest has a black/ white belief system as does the true believer. Neither knows the Truth for sure. An agnostic on the other hand says “I don’t know” which logically is the only correct answer anyone living on the planet can give. Many of my Christian friends tell me “I’m a Christian because the Bible says this or that”. I say you"re a Christian because you were born here (USA) and your parents were Christians. If you were born 10,000 miles away in the middle east you’d have your nose stuck in the Koran. What the truth is I don’t know- I’m all for any religion that gives comfort to it’s adherents and teaches peace and tolerence (the golden rule).I consider myself a follower a follower of Christ, I believe in his teachings of serving your fellow man especially the down-trodden. Whether He was the son of God or even existed outside the imaginations of a few dark ages scribes, I really don’t know. It’s a major burden that we humans,of all the species on Earth, can contemplate our own demise. Is this why we have religion?, again, I don’t know.- Bill


I cannot speak for every atheist, but I don’t see things black and white. Science cannot disprove the existance of God, but the body of evidence so far makes it seem very likely God does not exist. If God were that powerful, he could unambiguously reveal himself. An universe in which God exists would be a different one than the one we see.

Since you call yourself a Christian, here are a few contradictions that led me to loosing my faith:

Why is there suffering if God is omnipotent?
Why did he create an imperfect world?
Why are there so many religions? Which one of them (if any) is right?
Why didn’t Jesus speak to the entire humanity as opposed to a tiny group of people in the middle east 2000 years ago?
Why did God sent his son so late? Humans had been around for hundreds of thousands of years before that time.


I didn’t think that “The God Dilusion” was too polemical. I think it is just that religious beliefs are so engrained in our cultures that people feel to question them is unacceptable.

I do believe some forms of religious indoctrination of kids especially in the US (watch the documentary “Jesus Camp”) or in parts of the muslim world qualify as abuse of children,



My only problem with agnosticism is that it implies that the supernatural is plausible. On the one hand, I’m forced to agree that I can’t know for sure, but to posit that something might exist, I need a reason. I have no choice but to remain intellectually honest with myself, and since no supernatural occurrence has ever been demonstrated, I’m forced to conclude —until proof is brought forth — that it doesn’t exist.

Rohr- I didn’t call myself a Christian- I called myself a follower of Christ ( his? teachings of tolerance and serving one another). If the man ever existed I haven’t a clue. I’m agnostic. I have serious doubts on the existence of any deity. I have all the same questions you have. If one says he is an atheist he takes the concrete position that God doesn’t exist-. something he can’t prove.


Why is there suffering if God is omnipotent?
Well, you are asking a question about God. For the sake of the question, let’s say God exists and He’s the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible. The Bible says it’s because of sin. That’s the answer.

If there is no God,
We can say it’s a result of our bodies decaying. It’s a natural process.

Why did he create an imperfect world?
Again, if it’s the God of your childhood, then he didn’t create an imperfect world. Adam and Eve sinned,
Cain was jealous of Abel, etc. etc.

If you are an Atheist,
God doesn’t exist. There is no question of an imperfect world being caused by a god.

Why are there so many religions? Which one of them (if any) is right?
Because some people don’t choose Christianity or Judaism. In some religions, any “good” person will have a good afterlife. In other religions, there is a kind of scale. Christianity says there is only one wayI
Pascal’s wager…

Why didn’t Jesus speak to the entire humanity as opposed to a tiny group of people in the middle east 2000 years ago?

I don’t understand this question perfectly. I think he used the means available to him at the time and his followers carried his message.

Why did God sent his son so late? Humans had been around for hundreds of thousands of years before that time.

I don’t have any idea on this one, but Christ is prophesized in the Old Testament according to many people. On the other hand, according to the Biblical story Christ did go and preach in Hell during the three days he was dead. If I’m wrong, someone can correct me.

Friedemann, you seem more like an agnostic to me.

Hello. Btw, your name is very pretty.

I’m glad that you commented on the NDE.

About various things you mentioned, well, they kind of came off like potshots toward Christianity.
I listen to people whether or not they share my beliefs. Have you read the Bible all the way through?
It’s a very good way to learn languages (and an old technique).

The passage you mentioned about women is not a teaching of Christ. I believe it is a suggestion by Paul, who came after Christ. Perhaps it was a specific comment to address concerns in that particular culture (He was a missionary…). About killing people-I think this goes back to the Old Testament. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah and other places were considered to be very perverse. You can read about it. There were also societies that sacrificed children. Talk about child abuse. That is real child abuse. According to the Old Testament, these kinds of society were particularly egregious and the ancient Hebrews believed that God wanted to wipe out these groups.

Neither Christ nor Paul advocate the killing of homosexuals, adulterers, etc. We have no words from Christ on homosexuals, but he was very kind to two adultresses-to use an old-sounding word. One was about to be stoned and another he met at a well, probably in Samaria. Paul indicates that homosexuality is wrong behaviour, but he does not suggest that homosexuals be maimed, or killed.

If you are willing to think about this, this ancient religion is pretty forgiving compared to a more modern religion where homosexuals are killed and women are stoned to death.


thanks for your comments, this is an interesting debate indeed. Another issue I have with many religions is that they seem to deny part of what makes us human. Take the nth commandment (I don’t remember which one it is) that says you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife or so. Now, that to me seems denying who we are. Evolutionists can probably explain well how our sexuality evolved and why it is exactly the way it is and how that gave us an edge in our struggle for survival as a species.

I believe to flirt in my thoughts is someting I should not be ashamed of. We think many things and we are free to do so. I don’t really know why sexuality has become such a taboo especially for the various religions, a historian might be able to explain this. I think science and in particular evolution is a much better tool than religious teachings to understand why we act the way we act and accept this as part of our genetic and behavioural make-up. If we stop coveting, a man or women or material things, we start losing our competitive edge as a species I believe.

People marry and split up again. Is this good for children or society as a whole? Probably not. But I think what leads a man to betray his wife reflects something very basic which is not easy to control by our conscious self. I am not saying we shouldn’t try to control urges and longings that cause harm to us and others, but I reject the concept of sin and all the guilt feelings that come with it.

If a car has a malfunction, we don’t blame the car, we blame the carmaker. If God equipped us with free will and didn’t think of the possible consequences, it’s his fault and he should initiate a recall.


@ Aineko,

Hey! I just noticed some nice writing from you about life and the laboratory. I guessed I missed it earlier.


I don’t covet my neighbour’s wife. It could be because I am married, female and straight. It must be terrible to be a guy. I guess I can’t put my photo here now. Someone might covet me. Maybe I could put a picture of an ox or a donkey. No, someone might covet them too… Maybe I’ll become a LingQ blue man again.

I think there are two issues related to sins of the mind. One is that thought sometimes leads to action and regrettable circumstances. The other is the admonition that one is to love the Lord with all his mind.
This reminds me of the Shema in Judaism for some reason.

God keeps figuring in your posts and guilt does too. I think you have a conscience. I don’t know if atheists allow that or not. We can’t see a conscience, after all. I’m not sure that they’ve been verified by scientific method. Okay, I’m joking a little, but you really sound more like someone who is trying to get around the God of his childhood. Maybe I’m wrong, but if I’m not, I don’t think you should ask God for a recall.

“If one says he is an atheist he takes the concrete position that God doesn’t exist-. something he can’t prove.”

very, very wrong :). for me, anyone who claims that he knows that god does not exist is at the same position as someone who claims to know that god does exist. They both can’t prove what they are claiming. I am atheist and not agnostic because I know very well what I believe in, I do not have a slightest doubt about my beliefs, and that is : I believe that god does not exist. Does he really exist or not - I don’t have a clue. :slight_smile: (the problem is that many atheists, as well as many religious people just do not think through their beliefs.)

Thanks, but that’s just my lingq nickname :slight_smile: (my name is Milena)

you are absolutely right, I was talking about the Old Testament and Paul’s letter to (some people whose name I can’t spell :slight_smile: ). I didn’t read Bible all the way through and I cannot say I will ever do it, but I have read enough to find both good and bad things (same for Koran). About killing, I will never forget the sentence that goes something like this (sorry, I’m translating from Serbian, I don’t know English Bible): …kill everything, every animal, every child on the mother’s breast… . As for the women, the comment goes like this: Woman should cover her head because, as man is lower than God, woman is lower than man. It definitely didn’t seem to me like a comment about specific culture :). Not to mention that in the Genesis god created women to be an ‘assistant’ to a man (so not someone who is absolutely equal), or for example a man who is willing to give his daughters to the horny crowd just to protect his guests (“I have two daughters who still did not know the man…” - sorry, again my clumsy translation, but something like that) - that all was just too much for my stomach :). that’s how I saw and felt about these things - I know that other people will understand them differently (and I’ll be fine with that as long as they don’t try to explain to me that I should read them differently, too).

Christ is a completely different story, I see him as one of the greatest philosophers. The story about the first stone is one of my most favourite stories ever…

Yes, I was talking only about Christianity, simply because everyone today knows what the problems in Islam are (even to the point that western world is becoming islamophobic). And because I’m coming from a Christian country, so had a lot of discussions about the subject. And some centuries ago, Christianity wasn’t that forgiving, either… For me, every religion is pretty much the same thing: someone might have had a nice idea. then someone else used it to gain power. Then once the idea was powerful enough, someone else used to justify killing to gain more power. And at the end, idea is compromised to the extreme, but of course, some people might still chose to go back to the roots of the nice idea… Same story as for communism…

As I already said it - I have no problem with people’s beliefs if they don’t tend to kill or discriminate others based on these beliefs (homosexuality is one distinctive example today and women were the one throughout the whole history).

“I am atheist and not agnostic because I know very well what I believe in, I do not have a slightest doubt about my beliefs, and that is : I believe that god does not exist. Does he really exist or not - I don’t have a clue. :)”

this is confusing

“this is confusing”

I think it is rather clear: Given the evidence it highly unlikely that God exists, but it cannot be completely ruled out (such as the existence of Zeus or the man in the moon cannot be disproven by science).

So on what level is there “not a slightest doubt” about the non-existence of a deity? Is it a non “concrete position”, in other words a belief?

Also: "I am atheist and not agnostic because I know very well what I believe in, "

As far as I can see, as an atheisy she expresses what she does not believe in, but has not detailed what she does believe in, unless it is a belief in the incorruptibility of the scientific method, which incidentally would be quite an ironic belief to to have.

dooo, what I say is based on the fact that I have never seen a definition of atheism that says: “Atheist is someone who knows that god does not exist.” (that definition wouldn’t make sense at all - question of god is a question of faith). All definitions I know are “Atheist does not believe that god exists.” and that seems perfectly logical to me. Agnostic, on the other side, is just not sure what to believe in.

" but has not detailed what she does believe in"
because in order to give that answer, I need a proper question (like 42, you know :slight_smile: ). That is to say, if we are talking about the origin of the universe, I can tell you what I believe in, if we are talking about evolution of human brain (where there are few hypothesis), I can also tell you which one I believe in. BUT - if we are talking about god/gods as presented in humans religions, I can only tell you that I do not believe - I have nothing else to say about that. If, however, we are talking about existence of the higher beings (higher = in certain ways much more powerful than humans, gods-like to human eyes) in this universe - I’m an agnostic, I don’t really have an opinion about their existence. Given the age of the universe, it is possible that something god-like might exist out there. However, I do have one belief in this case - if they exist, I believe that they mind their own business, that they really don’t bother with us, our lives, our laws, our nature or our future…