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Old 11-30-2009, 09:23 PM   #121
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Given that the very first person on your list is Albert Einstein, a man who explicitly denied the existence of a personal God and described the God of Judaism as a childish superstition I wouldn't put too much stock in it.

Throwing out great minds of history as exemplars of smart Christians without noting the social setting of the time is dishonest, for instance Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for heresy (an illustration of religious tolerance), and Galileo was threatened with torture and imprisoned for asserting Copernicanism. David Hume is an interesting choice as well, I suspect that the writer of On Miracles would be a new atheist if he were alive today.

You are throwing out names left right and centre, but even if you were giving an honest list this says nothing about the level of education and intelligence of the group. If you take 10,000 Christians and 10,000 disbelievers it is overwhelmingly likely that the disbelievers will be better educated on average.

I have to repeat it so many times, even if as a group disbelievers are smarter, this doesn't mean that all Christians aren't.
The list mentions those who had even a small faith in "some" God - not necessarily a personal one. A few Einstein quotes:

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"I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details."

"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."

"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind."
.

Does this make him a Christian? Not at all. My only point was that he was a genius and even he acknowledged some sort of God.

You are probably right that on average atheists are smarter and more educated than Christians, but I am certain as a scientist you would see that this fact would not necessarily make atheism true. I would contend that the "bottom intellectual rung" of Christianity more than skews the numbers. If you took the best and brightest of both camps, I would imagine you find them nearly equal.
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:36 PM   #122
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Agnosticism is actually the only view that is "true" because it's the only view that recognizes our lack of certainty.
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:42 PM   #123
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You will find very few atheists who are willing to say they are absolutely certain that there is no God, I admit the remote possibility of God but I still describe myself as an atheist.
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:44 PM   #124
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That's probably how I would describe myself. But even if I do find a belief in God someday, I can't see myself believing in organized religion.
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:51 PM   #125
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I'm not a Christian because I don't want or need to be, and haven't been converted or raised that way by my folks.

I must admit to probably having a prejudice against proper Christians and I hold reservations about them when I meet them. My negative attitude to Christianity probably stems from the fact that I am still immensely frustrated with how my supposedly secular primary and secondary schools allowed the "lovely, generous" old ladies and conversion groups (Christian in everything but name only), to visit the school and preach Christian stuff to kids. In Primary School, this weekly class was supposedly Relgious Education (originally called Religious Instruction (!) in the early years), yet we never learned anything about Islam, Buddhism or any other religion. It was just "God Loves You" and "Jesus died for you, so you should love him, and you can do that by going to church!" Thankfully, I thought it was a load of bollocks. I used to be extremely jealous of the Bosnian students in my class who had just arrived in Australia and were allowed to sit in the corner of the class and do wordsearches.

After a personal tragedy a few months ago, I did come to look at things in a different light, but I realise now that all I really want is the existence of a place like heaven so I can see my good mate again. So while I still don't believe in heaven, it's a comforting concept.

After doing some reading on Baha'i (cause I wanted to hook in with this girl), I found that to be a pretty decent religion, but then I read that they too are anti-gay and that's just shameful and unforgivable in my opinion.

I used to claim to be an Athiest in my teens, but consider myself wholeheartedly Agnostic now. Science has always bored me, so I'm unwilling to read the supposed proofs of Athiesm, so I'm happy to remain ignorant, for ignorance is bliss. At the end of the day, I know I'm capable of love and charity and happiness etc, and I prefer to direct my faith in more tangible stuff (sport, music, women, animal liberation), because I know that faith can be rewarded here and now, rather than in the afterlife or of some suspicious old guy in the sky whom I have never met.

Who knows though? I could become emotionally vulnerable one day, and conversion to Christianity might be just what is required to "save" me.
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:06 PM   #126
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You will find very few atheists who are willing to say they are absolutely certain that there is no God, I admit the remote possibility of God but I still describe myself as an atheist.
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:12 PM   #127
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Indeed, the arguments have all been made before.
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:42 PM   #128
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My best friend for the last 10 years had his dad pass away early this morning from cancer. I really don't care to join the current debate, but I just want to add that I can't imagine NOT relying on a higher power at these times in my life, and seeing how my friend and his brothers and their now widowed mother have done the same through their whole lives, especially the past few months, and NOT want that in my own life.

I guess I feel that if it's not for you, it's not for you, and I won't spend too much time trying to tell you otherwise if you really don't want to hear it. But I think I speak for hundreds of millions when I say it really is an amazing thing to experience.
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:49 PM   #129
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Sorry to hear that man I'm glad to hear it brings you and your friends some comfort
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:53 PM   #130
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My best friend for the last 10 years had his dad pass away early this morning from cancer. I really don't care to join the current debate, but I just want to add that I can't imagine NOT relying on a higher power at these times in my life, and seeing how my friend and his brothers and their now widowed mother have done the same through their whole lives, especially the past few months, and NOT want that in my own life.

I guess I feel that if it's not for you, it's not for you, and I won't spend too much time trying to tell you otherwise if you really don't want to hear it. But I think I speak for hundreds of millions when I say it really is an amazing thing to experience.


i don't want this to come off as insensitive, i really don't and so i mean this as a hypothetical question and i fully respect your friend's situation, but what would you say if someone said to you that this illustrates the point that religion is just a crutch that we use to avoid what is the absolute horrible crushing reality of existence, that we really are just big bags of water standing on a rock hurtling through space and that we concocted god/religion in order to shield us from the stupefying reality of our own absolute insignificance? or why bad things happen to good people?
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:08 PM   #131
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2861U2,

I am sorry for your loss.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:14 PM   #132
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Sometimes people just need a crutch, even if that's all it is. One of my best friends died after a long battle with cancer, she was just 20 and I a year younger. She was very much a Christian, and she was at peace with herself and everything happening to her until the very end. I on the other hand am angry and bitter (not with her, but how some things were handled, and maybe with myself). I am jealous of that peace and comfort that she had. We just experienced the same thing with Phil's grandma. She was 93 years old. Her husband and many friends had already left her. Her health was failing, she lost her independence...she told me herself with a big grin that she wanted to die and that she was ready (but she would give it two weeks to show her appreciation for the family moving her into such a nice home).

I don't have that faith or that peace, maybe I wish I did.

Anyway, to go along with what A_ was saying about atheism and God...to me an atheist isn't necessarily someone that completely denies any possibility of a god, but basically someone whose daily life and decisions are not impacted by a believe in a god or a belief that there could be one. That's kinda the way I see it. I consider myself more agnostic because I think that the existence of a god does influence how I think.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:31 PM   #133
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Indeed, the arguments have all been made before.
Indeed, all the arguments have been made before.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:39 PM   #134
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For 40 years I was a rote Christian, then I found the more I tested my faith the stronger it grew.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:03 AM   #135
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Sorry to hear that man I'm glad to hear it brings you and your friends some comfort
My sympathies too. I was going to post exactly what Jive Turkey said.

However, I would like to add that my own experience has been the opposite. I renounced whatever few tatters of religious belief I had left from a teenage flirtation with religion just a few months before my grandfather died. We were tremendously close. It was a shock too; we all knew he was unwell, but nobody expected him to decline so sharply.

I hadn't lost anybody close to me before this, and I didn't know how I would cope. I thought I would be a total wreck. As it happened, my disbelief was a tremendous advantage for me. I guess it provided a sense of closure. That was it. The end. That finality made a big difference. I can't speak for anybody else's religious beliefs, but those I had held would not have provided such a solid sense of closure, and would have made the grieving stage more prolonged.
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