Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

Healthy skepticism of ALL worldviews is good. Skeptical of non-belief like found in Atheism? Post your challenging questions. Responses are encouraged.
Kenny
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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#196

Post by Kenny » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:45 pm

Danieltwotwenty wrote:
Kenny wrote:
Danieltwotwenty wrote:
Kenny wrote:
Danieltwotwenty wrote:

I realise I made up a word, I had to because one does not exist, mainly because we usually don't talk about babies and the severely mentally disabled as having beliefs or unbelief as they are not capable of either. The same way we don't talk about talk about babies and the severely mentally disabled as being moral or immoral. In both cases they are not capable and would be a-XXXXXXXX

A baby can no more make a decision about morals than it can about beliefs, hence a baby cannot be am atheist.

As I mentioned earlier, what about the Piraha people? They have no concept of God, they are not babies, they are not retarded, and they are not immoral. What would you call them?

Ken
Neutral and lacking in knowledge.
But that describes all of us; don't you think?

Ken
See my edit....
We are all neutral in one thing or another, and we all lack knowledge in some areas. I guess this is where we disagree. What you call neutral, everyone else (mostly) will refer to that as Atheist

Ken

K
RickD wrote
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#197

Post by Danieltwotwenty » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:48 pm

Kenny wrote: We are all neutral in one thing or another, and we all lack knowledge in some areas.

K

This edit Kenny
They seem to believe in the super natural, they just don't believe in God in the western sense of the word, nature would be their "God".

So I take back the neutral comment, they have beliefs.
They are not atheistic or don't believe in the super natural or God(s), nature is their God and their belief in the spiritual and super natural side of nature.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirah%C3%A3_people

Edit. here is the full comment from the wiki, just so there is no misunderstanding.
However, they do believe in spirits that can sometimes take on the shape of things in the environment. These spirits can be jaguars, trees, or other visible, tangible things including people.[4](pp112,134–142) Everett reported one incident where the Pirahã said that “Xigagaí, one of the beings that lives above the clouds, was standing on a beach yelling at us, telling us that he would kill us if we go into the jungle.” Everett and his daughter could see nothing and yet the Pirahã insisted that Xigagaí was still on the beach.[
1Tim1:15-17
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.Amen.

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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#198

Post by Kenny » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:07 pm

Danieltwotwenty wrote:
Kenny wrote: We are all neutral in one thing or another, and we all lack knowledge in some areas.

K

This edit Kenny
They seem to believe in the super natural, they just don't believe in God in the western sense of the word, nature would be their "God".

So I take back the neutral comment, they have beliefs.
They are not atheistic or don't believe in the super natural or God(s), nature is their God and their belief in the spiritual and super natural side of nature.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirah%C3%A3_people

Edit. here is the full comment from the wiki, just so there is no misunderstanding.
However, they do believe in spirits that can sometimes take on the shape of things in the environment. These spirits can be jaguars, trees, or other visible, tangible things including people.[4](pp112,134–142) Everett reported one incident where the Pirahã said that “Xigagaí, one of the beings that lives above the clouds, was standing on a beach yelling at us, telling us that he would kill us if we go into the jungle.” Everett and his daughter could see nothing and yet the Pirahã insisted that Xigagaí was still on the beach.[
But they don’t see the spirits as Gods, and they don’t see nature that way either.

Help me understand your position here; what do you believe a person must assert/claim/believe in order to be what you would call atheist?

Ken
RickD wrote
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#199

Post by Danieltwotwenty » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:13 pm

Kenny wrote:
Danieltwotwenty wrote:
Kenny wrote: We are all neutral in one thing or another, and we all lack knowledge in some areas.

K

This edit Kenny
They seem to believe in the super natural, they just don't believe in God in the western sense of the word, nature would be their "God".

So I take back the neutral comment, they have beliefs.
They are not atheistic or don't believe in the super natural or God(s), nature is their God and their belief in the spiritual and super natural side of nature.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirah%C3%A3_people

Edit. here is the full comment from the wiki, just so there is no misunderstanding.
However, they do believe in spirits that can sometimes take on the shape of things in the environment. These spirits can be jaguars, trees, or other visible, tangible things including people.[4](pp112,134–142) Everett reported one incident where the Pirahã said that “Xigagaí, one of the beings that lives above the clouds, was standing on a beach yelling at us, telling us that he would kill us if we go into the jungle.” Everett and his daughter could see nothing and yet the Pirahã insisted that Xigagaí was still on the beach.[
But they don’t see the spirits as Gods, and they don’t see nature that way either.
I think you mean they don't see them as God(s) in the traditional sense of western culture. But they certainly believe in spiritual beings and nature, so in a sense that is their God and their belief set.
Help me understand your position here; what do you believe a person must assert/claim/believe in order to be what you would call atheist?
Jac wrote a great breakdown of the word atheism.

http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... n&start=60
Jac3510 wrote:And there he goes again. The only thing worse than trying to talk about Greek grammar is pretending you know Greek when you don't. :roll:

Okay, so we here have the tired and rather standard claim that "atheist" doesn't mean "God does not exist" but "the lack of belief (hence, the 'a' in 'atheist') in God." Thus, it supposedly follows that atheists make no positive claim, and all of this is a clever ruse by which they atheist can shift the burden of proof to the theist. After all, the atheist isn't makig a claim! The theist is! So, pony up with the evidence, theist!!!

As expected, Lunalle doesn't know what he is talking about. There are two serious problems with his argument.

1. Historically, he is wrong. Throughout history, 'atheist' was used to refer to those who denied the existence of God. That changed in 1976 when Anthony Flew wrote The Presumption of Atheism. In that book, he made the argument Lunalle is now copying. It didn't matter to Flew that he was using the word differently than it had been used in the past. He wasn't arguing for atheism. He was trying to set the ground rules by which the atheist/theist debate could continue. So Flew just redefined the term. In doing so, he distinguished between "negative atheism" and "positive atheism," the former being the lack of belief in God and the latter being the positive assertion that God does not exist.

It's important to note that all of this was set in a procedural context by Flew, a context that has been totally ignored by less sophisticated atheists who follow him and who are just looking for a cheap way to "debate" (as we have in this case). In fact, all Flew was really saying is that anyone who claims to know his position is correct has the burden on them. Thus, the one who claims God does exist must prove the case. And, of course, no Christian would deny that. Likewise, the one who claims God does not exist must prove that is the case. That should be equally unquestionable. The problem with atheists is that they have claimed Flew's negative atheism as "atheism" in general, but then have proceeded in the actual debate to argue from the assumption of the non-existence of God. That assumption, though, is a positive assumption, and therefore, they are actually begging the question.

And as an aside, before we lean on Flew's brilliance to accept his redefinition, let's note that Flew did not read Greek and, in fact, admitted in his later years that he had not read Aristotle. That fact alone ought to give anyone pause before they consider whether or not his arguments for atheism or against theism are at all worth considering, since he basically ignored the intellectual basis on which theism was built! But, that leads us to consider the second problem with Lunalle's argument, namely, the way Greek grammar actually works.

2. Lingustically, Lunalle is even more absurd. He writes:
Position. This is a very basic concept, that apparently a lot of religious folks have a huge problem with.

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definitio ... ?q=atheism
from Greek atheos, from a- 'without' + theos 'god'
Like cold is nothing more than the lack of heat, atheism is nothing more than the lack of belief in god(s). It is not a belief.

In mathematics
-1 (lack of belief) = -1 (lack of belief) NOT 1 (belief)

Hope this helps clear up the confusion.
There are two errors. The first is strictly linguistic, the second is etymological. Starting with the latter, even if we granted Lunalle his claim (and we shouldn't, because it is wrong), it does not follow that because the parts of a word mean this, therefore, the word itself means this. That's called the etymological fallacy. Since I teach apologetics, I'll use an example close to my own heart. The word "apologetics" comes from the Greek word apologia, which is a combination of two words: apo (meaning, in the genitive, "out of," among other things), and logos (meaning, among other things, "word" or "reason."). The etymological notion of the word, then, is "coming out of reason." The word was used to refer to a legal or philosophical defense--in fact, the New Testament uses the word in just that way, as to apologists today. Of course, the word "apology" doesn't mean that all in general! When I mistreat my wife and I offer her an apology, the last thing I am doing is giving her a legal defense. On the contrary, I'm doing exactly the opposite: I'm saying that I have no defense and that I am simply wrong.

And so it is in all cases of the etymological fallacy. One of the WORST things we can do as philosophers or biblical exegetes is do word studies apart from context and conclude what the meaning of the word must be based on its history. For those interested in more on this, I would very highly recommend Moises Silva's The Meaning of Biblical Words. He has an entire section dedicated especially to this issue.

Moving on . . .

So, off the bat, we see that Lunalle's basic argument is just fallacious from the get go. But even better, his basic argument is wrong. It is not true that a is a 'negation' and theos is "god" and therefore "atheism" is just "a lack of belief in god." There are several reasons for this:

A. We can say that the Greek particle a had the function of negation only if we are speaking loosely. Take the Greek word apistos (as in John 20:27). So we have the particle a and the word pistos, which is an adjective meaning "faithful." On Lunalle's misunderstanding of Greek grammar, the word would simply mean "lacking faith." But, in fact, apistos does not mean "lacking faith." It means "disloyal," and a proper translation of John 20:27b would be, "Do not be disloyal, but believe!" (For a detailed study of this word, see Stan Harstinen, "Un-doubting Thomas: Recognition Scenes in the Ancient World," Perspectives in Religious Studies 33, no. 4 (December 1, 2006): 445-46.)

B. The actual function of a was privative, which is not identical to negation. That is, it "gives a negative sense to the word to which it is prefixed, as in abares; or signifying what is contrary to it, as in atimos." We see that clearly enough in apistos above--the word doesn't just signify a lack of faithfulness, but, in fact, disloyalty. But lets also look at atimos as another example. It occurs, for instance, in 1 Cor 4:10. There Paul writes, "We are fools for Christ, but you are men of wisdom in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored [atimos]!" Here we have three opposites set beside each other: Fools vs. men of wisdom; weak vs. strong; distinguished vs. dishonored. It would make a mockery of the text to simply read atimos as "without honor." In fact, Paul and his colleagues were being "despised" (as per the KJV)--they did not simply lack honor; they were atimos--the OPPOSITE of timos (honor). The opposite of honor is dishonor, which is what they suffered.

I could go on and on, but the point here should be clear enough. To add the prefix a to a word doesn't just mean it is a lack of the thing prefixed to, but its opposite. If we go by etymology, THAT is what the word actually means.

C. And all of this leads us to the third problem with Lunalle's argument. Even IF a just implied a lack (which we have seen is not the case), then Lunalle would STILL be wrong. His own dictionary shows the lunacy of his position. The word in question is NOT "atheos," but atheism. Now, still tracking his absurd etymological reasoning, '-ism' is a suffix attached to Greek words to turn verbs into nouns (so baptizo ("to wash") becomes "baptism"), and further, to express devotion to a particular idea (so intellectuals follow intellectualism).

Etymologically, then, modern so-called "atheists" don't even understand their own term "atheism." They want us to believe that the word should actually be parsed 'a-the[os]-ism.' But in the first place, even on that parsing, the word would not mean "a lack of belief in God or gods," but rather, "Devotion to the non-existence of God." That, of course, is what "atheist" has always meant and what it still means, their silly objections notwithstanding. But second, that's not even the right parsing, and it's evident in their own arguments. Lunalle doesn't say that an atheist is one who lacks God, but one who lacks a belief in God. But the "belief in" comes from 'ism,' not 'the[os].' Here, he is correct, for the correct parsing is would be 'a-theism.' Again, though, this would not be "a lack of God," but rather now, "a devotion to the denial of God's existence" (that is, the opposite (not merely lack) of theism). So in any number of ways, as usual, our poor ignorant atheist friend here doesn't understand what he is talking about.

I'll close on a final note between the difference in atheism and agnosticism, as that further illustrates Lunalle's misunderstanding of the terms in question and how Greek grammar words. An "agnostic" is one who does not know whether or not God exists, of course. The Greek word in question is gnosis, which means "knowledge" (more specifically, it's actually gnosos, a adjective meaning "known"). Agnosis, then, is not merely a lack of knowledge (it is at least that); it is the opposite of knowledge. It is necessary ignorance. In Greek literature, an agnostic was one who believed that something could not be known (so, Socrates was agnostic about immortality).

In closing, theists believe God exists.
Atheists believe God does not exist.
Agnostics believe that it is impossible to know whether or not God exists.

A person who doesn't know--who just lacks a particular belief in a particular god or gods--is not an atheist. They just don't know whether or not said god or gods exists. As an aside, this is why the first Christians were called atheists. They didn't just lack a belief in Zeus' existence. They were atheistic about him. They were devoted to the notion that he did NOT exist.

edit:

And given all of the above, I'll just repeat what I said on the first page:
I find that, in practice, most of these weak atheists are really just strong atheists who think they have found a rhetorical ploy by which they can shift the burden of proof to the theist and ignore justifying their own position. It's an incredibly dishonest position and, frankly, cowardly. But, it is what it is. We can either respond by having the tired debate over the definition of atheism, or we can accept their lack-of-a-position for argument's sake and press on with our own case, and when their responses presume God's non-existence (as they always do, since these people always really DO have a belief, even if they aren't willing to admit it), just call them out on it and ask for evidence for their assumption while pointing out that they've changed their position and have in the process adopted a true belief.

Atheism is a positive belief that God or Gods do not exist.
1Tim1:15-17
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.Amen.

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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#200

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:41 am

Audie wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Everything we believe in involves a CHOICE to believe in it.
Atheism is a choice.
It is a choice to NOT believe the evidence for God and TO BELIEVE the evidence that no god exists.
That may be the bright line that distinguishes "believers' from other people.

"Choosing" to believe. Deciding what to believe.

I dont doubt that some-the believers- can just decide to believe something, and then believe it.

Doesn't work that way for me. No more than I can do the White Queen thing and believe 6 impossible things before breakfast.
So you are saying that YOU have NO choice in what you believe?

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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#201

Post by Kenny » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:24 am

Danieltwotwenty wrote: I think you mean they don't see them as God(s) in the traditional sense of western culture. But they certainly believe in spiritual beings and nature, so in a sense that is their God and their belief set.
There is a difference between spirits and a Deity that you worship. These are not their Gods. And as far as the western culture sense of God, it is no difference than anywhere else. After all, didn’t worship of your God originate in Asia?
Danieltwotwenty wrote: Atheism is a positive belief that God or Gods do not exist.
I noticed a lot of theists seem to have adopted this interpretation of Atheism. IMO the problem with this interpretation is that there are some versions of Gods that can be experienced empirically. Some people worship the Sun, some worship nature, some worship people who are as real as you or I but they worship them as Gods. No atheist is going to say Halle Selassie does not exist simply because people worship him as God, he was as human as you or I we just don’t see him as a God.
So if we go by your definition of Atheism, that means to be an Atheist only applies to specific Gods that cannot be experienced empirically; like yours and does not apply to all the others.
I disagree, I believe Atheism applies to all Deities/Gods.
What do you think? Do you believe atheism only applies to some Gods not others? Or do you believe it applies to all?


Ken
RickD wrote
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#202

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:41 am

Hmmm, empirical evidence...
Empirical evidence is information acquired by observation or experimentation. This data is recorded and analyzed by scientists and is a central process as part of the scientific method.
Full Definition of empirical
1
: originating in or based on observation or experience <empirical data>
2
: relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory <an empirical basis for the theory>
3
: capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment <empirical laws>

Pretty much everything must start with a premise, a hypothesis:

What we call God is the first cause of everything that comes into being and He must be uncaused (eternal).
Empirical evidence:
All that comes into being has a cause.
We know this via observation and experimentation.
We can conclude, based on the empirical evidence of observation and experimentation, that everything that comes into being in the observable world, has a cause.
Since there can not be infinite regression, there must be something that is the first cause and this thing must be uncaused. Empirically speaking of course.
This uncaused thing must be eternal ( ever existing) and we call this God.

Empirically speaking, God, as the first and uncaused cause, exists.

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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#203

Post by Audie » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:43 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:
Audie wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Everything we believe in involves a CHOICE to believe in it.
Atheism is a choice.
It is a choice to NOT believe the evidence for God and TO BELIEVE the evidence that no god exists.
That may be the bright line that distinguishes "believers' from other people.

"Choosing" to believe. Deciding what to believe.

I dont doubt that some-the believers- can just decide to believe something, and then believe it.

Doesn't work that way for me. No more than I can do the White Queen thing and believe 6 impossible things before breakfast.
So you are saying that YOU have NO choice in what you believe?
Well no, Paulsac, when I say something, that is what I mean, not something else.

Perhaps it would be instructive to read what I wrote.
"we believe in involves a CHOICE to believe in it."
Shall I take it that you are capable of believing anything at all, just by choosing to do so? See White Queen, above.

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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#204

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:51 pm

Audie wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
Audie wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Everything we believe in involves a CHOICE to believe in it.
Atheism is a choice.
It is a choice to NOT believe the evidence for God and TO BELIEVE the evidence that no god exists.
That may be the bright line that distinguishes "believers' from other people.

"Choosing" to believe. Deciding what to believe.

I dont doubt that some-the believers- can just decide to believe something, and then believe it.

Doesn't work that way for me. No more than I can do the White Queen thing and believe 6 impossible things before breakfast.
So you are saying that YOU have NO choice in what you believe?
Well no, Paulsac, when I say something, that is what I mean, not something else.

Perhaps it would be instructive to read what I wrote.
"we believe in involves a CHOICE to believe in it."
Shall I take it that you are capable of believing anything at all, just by choosing to do so? See White Queen, above.
Thanks for clearing that up Audie.

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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#205

Post by Audie » Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:40 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:
Audie wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
Audie wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Everything we believe in involves a CHOICE to believe in it.
Atheism is a choice.
It is a choice to NOT believe the evidence for God and TO BELIEVE the evidence that no god exists.
That may be the bright line that distinguishes "believers' from other people.

"Choosing" to believe. Deciding what to believe.

I dont doubt that some-the believers- can just decide to believe something, and then believe it.

Doesn't work that way for me. No more than I can do the White Queen thing and believe 6 impossible things before breakfast.
So you are saying that YOU have NO choice in what you believe?
Well no, Paulsac, when I say something, that is what I mean, not something else.

Perhaps it would be instructive to read what I wrote.
"we believe in involves a CHOICE to believe in it."
Shall I take it that you are capable of believing anything at all, just by choosing to do so? See White Queen, above.
Thanks for clearing that up Audie.
Communication failure alert.

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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#206

Post by Kenny » Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:19 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:Hmmm, empirical evidence...
Empirical evidence is information acquired by observation or experimentation. This data is recorded and analyzed by scientists and is a central process as part of the scientific method.
Okaaaay!!!! I didn’t expect a single word I used in the context of making a point would be picked apart and analyzed like this, but I can’t say I am surprised. But that’s okay; let’s see where this goes.
PaulSacramento wrote:Full Definition of empirical
1
: originating in or based on observation or experience <empirical data>
2
: relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory <an empirical basis for the theory>
3
: capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment <empirical laws>
Thanks for the definition; perhaps it will come in handy.
PaulSacramento wrote:Pretty much everything must start with a premise, a hypothesis:

What we call God is the first cause of everything that comes into being and He must be uncaused (eternal).
Do you have any EMPIRICAL evidence to support this? Or is this just an assumption you make based on your faith. If you have empirical evidence, please present it.
PaulSacramento wrote:Empirical evidence:
All that comes into being has a cause.
We know this via observation and experimentation.
We can conclude, based on the empirical evidence of observation and experimentation, that everything that comes into being in the observable world, has a cause.
What about all that stuff that did not come into being?
PaulSacramento wrote:Since there can not be infinite regression, there must be something that is the first cause and this thing must be uncaused. Empirically speaking of course.
Do you have Empirical evidence that there is only one first cause? Or is this an assumption perhaps based on faith?
PaulSacramento wrote:This uncaused thing must be eternal ( ever existing) and we call this God.
Do you have Empirical evidence that shows this uncaused thing is intelligent? And is the God you worship?

Ken
BTW Do you have an opinion on the point I made to Danieltwotwenty?
RickD wrote
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#207

Post by Danieltwotwenty » Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:58 pm

Meh I give up haha.

:beer:
1Tim1:15-17
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.Amen.

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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#208

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:02 am

You really didn't get it, did you Ken?

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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#209

Post by Kenny » Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:13 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:You really didn't get it, did you Ken?
I responded to everything you said didn't I? If you feel I didn't get the point you were making, perhaps you could reword it. Also, would you mind responding to the point I made to Daniel?

Ken
RickD wrote
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

abelcainsbrother
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Re: Is Belief in God Delusional or Non-Belief?

#210

Post by abelcainsbrother » Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:39 pm

Kenny, what stuff in our world did not come into being?
Hebrews 12:2-3 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,despising the shame,and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2nd Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,lest the light of this glorious gospel of Christ,who is the image of God,should shine unto them.

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