• Reformed Nihilist
    219
    I find most people do not critically examine the beliefs they purportedly hold, religious or otherwise. Much less are they even capable of stating clearly what said beliefs are. In other words, there is no weighing of evidence, whereby religious conviction appears as the caboose to a train of reasoning. People's beliefs rather hover about in their mental space like a fog, which makes it impossible to separate them out for logical scrutiny. The apologists who try to make arguments and debate with people are a very tiny minority of religious people and to the average believer serve merely as a tool to avoid critical thinking and to maintain the illusion of credibility.Thorongil

    This is exactly my point. I personally believe that I have a moral responsibility to conduct my discussion in a manner that is consistent with good logic, evidence and sound reasoning, so for that reason, it is not acceptable to intentionally present an argument that is solely emotive, like "going to church is boring and it sucks to follow someone else's rules", but if people, as a rule, aren't particularly rational, then it would be ludicrous to think that proposing a particular rational argument would be persuasive. That's the point of presenting an argument that isn't strictly rational, but that is still consistent with good reasoning.

    To the extent that everyone worships something, everyone is religious, and there are two kinds of religious person in the world: the ietsist and the mystic. The masses, no matter their professed religion or lack thereof, belong to the former.Thorongil

    I don't know that everyone worships something to some extent, unless you want to use the term "worship" in an exceptionally flexible sense. I certainly don't worship anything in the traditional sense.

    Believers will retort with a common appeal to ignorance: "God's way are not our ways." So what seems unfair to you may in fact not be in reality and in the grand scheme of God's plans. This, of course, immediately strikes one as a cop out and leaves a fairly bitter taste in one's mouth.Thorongil

    I'd rather discover what believers will say by hearing what believers actually have to say. I was hoping there might be a few around to chime in.
  • Bitter Crank
    5.8k
    Believed in or not, God is a great mystery and difficult to explain. But then, so are homo sapiens difficult to explain and mysterious. People are maybe less 'mysterious' than just plain devious.

    Is the testimony of believers actually reliable in providing information about God? Why do non-believers assume that believers actually know something about God? Do you (nonbelievers) think that believers have a pipeline to the truth which you can not have?

    Believers have no more knowledge about God than non-believers. They think they do, because they have been on hand to hear all sorts of preaching. But, you know, it wasn't God who was doing the preaching. It was just one more devious homo sapiens who was doing the talking.

    You don't like some, many, most, or all of the features which you have heard ascribed to God. Fine. What makes you think any of that is true? Jews, Christians, and Moslems know no more about God than you atheists do.

    You are quite free to imagine God as you like.
  • Reformed Nihilist
    219
    Can you reasonably mix appeals to 'fairness' with 'emotiveness'?mcdoodle

    Appeals to fairness are usually emotive. Try giving a candy to one 5 year old, but not to his twin brother, and I promise you, you will hear a very emotive appeal to fairness. Why are we outraged (an emotive response) about the rich "1%", or the lobbying power of corporations? We perceive their level of influence as unfair. "Those fuckers!" we think. Can you reasonably expect appeals to fairness not to be emotive?
  • Reformed Nihilist
    219
    This doesn't prevent me from being a Christian, just from accepting orthodoxy.Landru Guide Us

    So do you believe in and worship a dickish god? Or do you reject all traditional claims about god exempting it's existence? Or is there a third option that I'm not seeing?
  • Reformed Nihilist
    219
    The problem is that the emotional/conceptual distinction is a bit of a red-herring (the difference you are really talking about is between talking about God in terms of whether God exists or talking about God in terms of whether we ought to believe God exists). All the "emotional" arguments are conceptual in the sense that they make promises accusations on which danger and desire are dependent. Your argument there, for example, is working in the idea God is immoral and because of that, it immoral to worship God.TheWillowOfDarkness

    No, there is a distinction between emotive arguments and intellectual arguments. I am not saying that it is immoral to worship an immoral god, I am saying that if god is as purported, he's an asshole, and it's fucked up to worship an asshole. I am not playing at objectivity, I'm trying to avoid it. I'm making it personal. That's the distinction between an emotive argument and an intellectual argument about emotions.
  • Reformed Nihilist
    219
    Believed in or not, God is a great mystery and difficult to explain. But then, so are homo sapiens difficult to explain and mysterious.Bitter Crank

    Sorry Bitter Crank, but this is one of the most intellectually lazy sentences I've read in some time. Lint is a great mystery. Stuff is a great mystery. Life is a great mystery. You know why? Because through either laziness or an emotional attachment to the idea of mystery, which is a great intellectual leveling of the playing field, where morons are equal to geniuses, people refuse to speak clearly, ask clear questions or seek clarity in any form. Care to join me in the camp of seeking clarity?

    Is the testimony of believers actually reliable in providing information about God? Why do non-believers assume that believers actually know something about God? Do you (nonbelievers) think that believers have a pipeline to the truth which you can not have?Bitter Crank

    Would the answers to these question be mysterious, or even mildly controversial, if the subject were bigfoot? If you claim to know enough to believe in a god, then you have reasons to hold those beliefs. They're either good reasons or they're not, right?

    Believers have no more knowledge about God than non-believers. They think they do, because they have been on hand to hear all sorts of preaching. But, you know, it wasn't God who was doing the preaching. It was just one more devious homo sapiens who was doing the talking.

    You don't like some, many, most, or all of the features which you have heard ascribed to God. Fine. What makes you think any of that is true? Jews, Christians, and Moslems know no more about God than you atheists do.

    You are quite free to imagine God as you like.
    Bitter Crank

    You know that the notion of god didn't come from nowhere, right? So if we agree that all the religions have no special access to any divine knowledge or understanding (I think that's what you're saying, right?), but we can historically track that the notion of god is a cultural one that spreads only through cultural institutions like religions, then what do you think you believe in, and why would you call it god, which is a historically religious term?
  • Bitter Crank
    5.8k
    Lint is a great mystery.Reformed Nihilist

    You know that the notion of god didn't come from nowhere, right?Reformed Nihilist

    Indeed. God came from the fecund ground of the human imagination. God is ours. If you find deficiencies in god, look to the creators. God, of course, is whatever people need and want god to be. Comforter, protector, creator, king, ally, enforcer, wrathful judge, weak or omnipotent, eternal, guide, miracle maker, and so on. Of necessity, given the many preferences of his creators, the gods are immensely contradictory.

    Is god real? Like lint? No. Is god real like Apollo? Sure. Individual and collective cultural productions are responsible for the gods--all of them: Jehovah, Wotan, Buddha, Zeus, Minerva and many more. Was the creation of the gods a cynical manipulation of the gullible? Sometimes, possibly. And is belief in the gods an entirely empty experience? No, of course not. The prophets and the believers are almost certainly genuine in their testimony, but that doesn't make god real, like lint.

    Should believers in possession of a "hollow faith" be dismissed as fools? No. Faith is real. But in the matter of the gods and their natures, they need not be taken as reliable sources of information about gods. They will claim to know ("God wants us to...") but they can't. No one can know about the gods, so we need not argue about it. (Within some systems of belief there are stated reasons for not claiming to have knowledge about god. In some traditions God excluded man from knowing him.)

    You might find this intellectually lazy and slovenly too. so be it. I try to take religion and the gods as a serious cultural achievement of our species rather than a ridiculous hoax. i don't think god revealed himself to us, and then many believed. Man made god and then many believed. I used to believe in god, quite ardently. Getting from believer to dis-believer required a lot of effort--lots of long-standing beliefs had to be pitched overboard.
  • Landru Guide Us
    245
    So do you believe in and worship a dickish god? Or do you reject all traditional claims about god exempting it's existence? Or is there a third option that I'm not seeing?Reformed Nihilist

    It makes no sense to believe in, much less worship, a God that clearly doesn't exist and who would be monstrous if he did. God can't be empirical and moral.

    That has no relationship with accepting a text as sacred, which to my mind is just a way to say it is existentially relevant to who I am and who I should become. Hamlet is important to me (Bloom argues the play created the modern person), but I don't "believe" Hamlet is or was an empirical person.
  • jorndoe
    530
    I think it might be worthwhile extending "emotive" with semi/intuitive as well.

    On my part, disbelief in the claims of a God of theism does not really hinge on any one specific argument, though such arguments are cumulative. Some knowledge of history also plays a part, like how insights and claims have advanced over time.

    For the most part, theist/scriptural claims are introduced at some young age, be it by peer pressure, parental indoctrination (even instilling desire and hope for eternal bliss and fear of eternal punishment in some cases), implicit social and cultural expectations, or (preferably) information presented in a less biased fashion.

    When it comes to scriptures, I find every reason to not take them as authoritative in any significant sense.

    If I were to speculate, say, with respect to reincarnation and heaven/hell, then I simply find more mystery without any good reasoning. A more "neutral" scenario would be one where an "afterlife" would present new opportunities (e.g. to learn), as opposed to being beamed up to "everlasting bliss" or tossed down into "the grand barbecue roasting forevermore" (as taught by Christians and Muslims).

    Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. — Unknown but sometimes attributed to Marcus Aurelius (121-180)

    I decline wasting my life preparing for death. :)
  • mcdoodle
    984
    Appeals to fairness are usually emotive. Try giving a candy to one 5 year old, but not to his twin brother, and I promise you, you will hear a very emotive appeal to fairness. Why are we outraged (an emotive response) about the rich "1%", or the lobbying power of corporations? We perceive their level of influence as unfair. "Those fuckers!" we think. Can you reasonably expect appeals to fairness not to be emotive?Reformed Nihilist

    Well I suppose so. I was attempting to tease you into lightening up the argument really. I quoted Randy Newman in the rest of my post, I think to say ironically: I believe you are on a fool's errand here. Any argument you come up with, a witty theologian will turn into an argument for God if they're that way inclined. One of my oldest friends (sadly dead now) used to waylay atheist me with absurdity-as-proof arguments for his deep Christian faith, and in the end we smiled at each other and moved on.

    It greatly matters to me if believers inculcate children with falsehoods or anti-evidential ways of thinking, or oppress women in the name of faith, or if they bomb other people because those people don't share their beliefs - sometimes such oppressors believe in religion, sometimes they are atheistic Stalinists or idealistic zealots. In short, I think God or gods are a stand-in for a different underlying problem, and an atheist yelling emotively at religious people isn't going to help what matters to me.
  • Reformed Nihilist
    219
    Is god real? Like lint? No. Is god real like Apollo? Sure.Bitter Crank

    There. Not so mysterious after all. A simple answer to a simple question.

    Should believers in possession of a "hollow faith" be dismissed as fools?Bitter Crank

    I'm not sure where this comes from. Was anyone suggesting dismissing believers as fools?

    Faith is real. But in the matter of the gods and their natures, they need not be taken as reliable sources of information about gods.Bitter Crank

    This is where you are mistaken. We can either approach god as imaginary (personal) or mythological (cultural). In either case, we can ascribe authority to sources of information. For the individual believer, there is no greater authority on what they conceive god to be but themselves. These beliefs are derived from a larger cultural body of information, which does resist absolute statements (like the field of literary studies does), but that still can be studied with some rigor (which is what theolologists do, if I rightly understand their field). In this case, I am primarily concerned with the personal beliefs, to which the individual believer is without a doubt the authority in.

    They will claim to know ("God wants us to...") but they can't. No one can know about the gods, so we need not argue about it.Bitter Crank

    So people can make religious claims and only because they are religious claims they are exempt from having those claims criticized? That seems like a bad idea to have a special group of claims that are deeply emotionally held, but are immune from rational criticism. It seems like it might be an ideal environment for emotionally disturbed people to work themselves into a state where they commit irrational antisocial acts, because as long as their emotional fervor and irrationality is about that particular subject, no one criticizes it. But that's just a theory. I'm sure nothing like that would happen in real life.

    You might find this intellectually lazy and slovenly too. so be it. I try to take religion and the gods as a serious cultural achievement of our species rather than a ridiculous hoax. i don't think god revealed himself to us, and then many believed. Man made god and then many believed. I used to believe in god, quite ardently. Getting from believer to dis-believer required a lot of effort--lots of long-standing beliefs had to be pitched overboard.Bitter Crank

    I do find it intellectually lazy, and I hope that as a part of a community that values intellectual rigor, that it matters to you. Don't take it personally. We're all intellectually lazy at times, and getting busted on it is what keeps us on our toes. I am also formally religious, and I didn't just wake up one day and say "this is bullshit!". I had a process where I moved from still having an emotional attachment to religion, then just the notion of spirituality, then to a more vague metaphysical conception of something absolute and mysterious, to where I am now, where I have shed those things. That process took decades, and I am not unsympathetic to the unpleasant cognitive dissonances that occur along the way, but I'm glad people pushed me at each step toward that dissonance, and I am happier today because of it.

    I don't take religion to be either a cultural achievement, as that implies that it is a net positive,which I think it is not, nor to be a ridiculous hoax, which I think in only rare circumstances is this the case. I believe religion is a cultural extension of some of the intellectual and social limitations that are inherent in the human species, just as I believe that science is a cultural reaction to some of these same limitations.
  • Reformed Nihilist
    219
    I believe you are on a fool's errand here.mcdoodle

    I don't understand why attempting to disabuse someone of what I believe to be a false and personally and socially unhealthy belief would be any more of a fool's errand than you trying to disabuse me of taking that course, as you are doing here. What's the difference?

    In short, I think God or gods are a stand-in for a different underlying problem, and an atheist yelling emotively at religious people isn't going to help what matters to me.mcdoodle

    I dislike that characterization. I don't believe I am "yelling emotively" in the argument I presented. I think I am emotively appealing to people's senses of fairness and empathy. Their "better angels", if you will. If you want to be fatalistic, and think that no believer ever changes their minds (that's what I'm hearing here), that's a sort of sad way to go, but that's up to you. I don't understand why you would want to try to impose that bleak view on anyone else though.
  • mcdoodle
    984
    I dislike that characterization. I don't believe I am "yelling emotively" in the argument I presented. I think I am emotively appealing to people's senses of fairness and empathy. Their "better angels", if you will. If you want to be fatalistic, and think that no believer ever changes their minds (that's what I'm hearing here), that's a sort of sad way to go, but that's up to you. I don't understand why you would want to try to impose that bleak view on anyone else though.Reformed Nihilist

    Sorry, RN, there is a failure of tone, which must be mine. I wasn't meaning to be accusatory, but to be friendly but wry, hence the randy Newman song. I didn't think you were 'yelling emotively', though your own self-characterisation came close to that :) Nor do I think that 'no believer ever changes their minds'.

    I don't however regard religious faith as 'personally and socially unhealthy belief'. I am a convinced atheist, but I don't draw lines as you are doing between the religious/non-religious. That was what the serious part of my remarks were meant to say. I fear the atheist Stalinist and the dictatorial Pope, and I tend to feel close to the meditative religious person and the atheist with an aesthetic or spiritual sense.
  • Reformed Nihilist
    219
    That was what the serious part of my remarks were meant to say. I fear the atheist Stalinist and the dictatorial Pope, and I tend to feel close to the meditative religious person and the atheist with an aesthetic or spiritual sense.mcdoodle

    I don't really see that as the particular dichotomy. The reason I personally identify (or not, as the case may be) with people are vast, and religious views are only one aspect of a person, which doesn't even come close to defining them for the good or ill. I just believe that in any given case, it is better for anyone to believe what it true rather than what is false, and I believe that those claims made by religion are largely false. I think that there's plenty more complexity if one wants to dig down, but no more complexity than that is needed. Truth is better than falsehood. Moreover, I believe that I am morally obliged to, within reason and where is appropriate, speak the truth as I know it, including regarding religion.
  • taomath
    5
    This topic of discussion has piqued my interest and so I humbly attempt a contribution:
    I understand an 'emotional appeal' not to be an outburst of irrational emotion on behalf of the orator, but rather an oration intended to appeal to the audience's emotions - that is, intended to arouse specific emotions within the listener. The manner in which this is done can vary, but a well-reasoned and logical argument, if successfully 'appealing to the emotions' has the benefit of being sound and able to withstand attempts to de-construct it.

    In that light, one of the reasons which compels me to remain conscientiously atheistic (while admitting my unavoidable agnosticism of never being able to definitively know one way or the other), and which appeals to a hazy mix of my own emotions is the following:

    For far too many centuries, Mankind (humans-as-a-species; forgive the linguistic gender bias) has appealed to a higher power to save it from its miseries - more often than not, miseries it caused on its own. Mankind has prayed and pleaded, committed sacrifices to 'please' that (or those) higher power(s), and invented strict rules of behaviour which were meant to appease it (them). For many of those early centuries, when Mankind was in its 'infancy', our invented divinities played the parental role well - consoling, 'punishing', and establishing limits for this infant collective.

    But Mankind has had ample time in which to mature and assume responsibility for its own existence. Mankind fears many things, but prominent among them are The Unknown (such as the question of whether there is anything beyond death) and Being Alone. It is most certainly understandable then, if Mankind is Alone in the Unknown, that it has shied away from acknowledging this. It has desperately clung to this notion of a higher power, even though the collective knowledge of the species (Science and Philosophy) has diminished The Unknown considerably. This is like the 'adult adolescent' - the grown-up person who still lives at home, and though physically it is adult and thus is expected to assume adult responsibilities (taxes, employment, an occupation, marriage, and starting a family of its own), mentally and emotionally, the individual is stunted and immature. It would be incapable of doing (or simply would not think to do) many things, were it not for their overly-patient parents who do these things for their overgrown child. (This is not to say that 'just as an immature adult nevertheless lives with an actual parent, so too does mankind have an actual god' - the actual existence or not of a higher power is not the topic of discussion here.) There is also a notion of this prolonged dependence as being 'unhealthy': just as a 'people-pleaser' can never really please all people, nor can they be fulfilled or develop their own well-defined identity so long as they continue to conform to other people's expectations and desires; so too Mankind as a whole cannot expect to please an imagined higher power nor can it fulfil its potential while it continues to defer to the power of an imaginary being over its own capacity to effect change.

    So I am of the opinion that it behoves the species to finally recognize and accept that it is Alone in the Unknown. It may help, however, to recognize a crucial difference between the Individual and the Species as a whole: While the majority of individuals may feel this fear, and thus the species as a whole may be seen to suffer from this fear, the primary element of fear - that of being Alone - does not apply to the species - precisely because it is a species (i.e. a collectivity of individuals). The individual can find consolation for this fear of Being Alone in the recognition of the fact that it is not 'alone' - but that there are many many individuals which form our unique species. That is to say we're not alone - we have each other. As such then, we realize that we do not need a higher power - because we have each other.
    There are many benefits as a reward for such a realization:
    - Mankind as a whole will find new freedom and will no longer be held back by two crippling fears - damnation (fear of displeasing a god) and solitude (see above).
    - It will necessarily (though admittedly slowly, like growing pains) bring about 'world peace' - because if we all recognize we are 'alone' but that 'we have each other' - or that we are 'alone together', then we will immediately have a very deep common truth. We will all have recognized the common plight and thus we will at long last acknowledge the value every individual has in their similar plight.
    - Mankind will awaken to its new responsibility as being the 'leading' sentient beings (sentient, with opposable thumbs, able to affect its environment and manipulate the world on a large scale) on this one planet and will thus have to adapt its collective impact upon the delicate ecology of this, our only home. The species becomes the Curator and Caretaker for Life on Earth (no longer the purvey of a fictional supreme being)
    - If there is no god, then there is no 'people preferred by god', so there is no 'people not preferred by god' either.
    So this is an appeal to us as a species, that we see ourselves as mature and at last capable of advancing without an imagined god - for all the moral responsibility that such a conscientious decision entails. It's time to grow up and leave home, step-out on our own and become responsible and independent. For that, we must make the conscientious decision to let go of our fears, let go of our dependence and let go of our imagined gods. We must, like all adults, face reality as it is, not how we wish it to be. It's far more beautiful and far more empowering to actually be a part of this reality - with all of its remaining Unknowns.


    I have only lightly edited the above, so I am prepared to recognize any and all weaknesses in the logic and reasoning. But as an emotional appeal, what emotions does it stir in you?
  • Soylent
    188


    Emotion is better suited to compel towards a particular belief rather than away from a particular belief. Atheists are emotionally committed to a position insofar as they hold a position, but using emotion to rebut a claim without offering anything in place of the claim is going to fall flat in the emotion department. If atheism is manifested as a negative reaction to particular theistic claims on which the atheist has placed no stakes, then atheism has no recourse to emotion. It would be like trying to get emotionally worked up over Russell's teapot.
  • taomath
    5
    has this topic died?
  • Bitter Crank
    5.8k
    Whether "this topic" has died -- don't know. Didn't see a coroner's report.

    Sorry, this got rather long.

    Mental operations are so inextricable tied into emotion that it seems unlikely that atheists and theists would not be motivated in their movements towards and away from. At least, that is the way I see minds at work.

    The religious beliefs imparted to me (and the religious beliefs imparted to anyone--whatever they are) are generally a source of conflict as well as being a source of secure comfort. Most religions have a plan for proper behavior which involves curbing one's carnal enthusiasms, for instance, and that is a constant conflict for many people. Most faiths also provide assurance and validation, which we like.

    Religion has been for me a source of intense frustration, disappointment, anger, irritation, peace of mind, blesséd assurance, and all that. Religion has best served me as a social vehicle, when I participated in that way. But it also provided my first world view and if it gets baked in (mine was) it is very hard to get rid of it, if not impossible. There is nothing particularly problematic about the spiritual enterprise of doing good for other people, having a strong sense of right and wrong (especially if it isn't all that different from a civic view of right and wrong), and so on. But the Abrahamic religions posit an activist God who intervenes in the world. I have always found that a severe problem. (If it was once in ever 10 blue moons, that might be tolerable, but intervention is invoked more like once a minute by some religious positions.

    The activist god is constantly called into action to account for events, good and bad, that do and do not have obvious explanations: a cancer that doesn't respond to treatment, an unusual flood that causes 20 billion dollars of damage, a nice day for a picnic, the timely or untimely death of a parent, the unexpected (or even entirely planned on) loss or gain of a bundle of cash, good or bad sex, and so on.

    God also gets called in for ultimate explanations, like, "How did the cosmos come into being?" Well, God did it--obviously. The conservative version god did it in 6 days, the liberal version god does it through long term natural processes which, apparently, were a divine tool. Either way, micro-manager or vague life force, God is in charge.

    I wanted to get away from all that (this was a fairly mature change, occurring in my 40s). I actively desired and wanted a world that was entirely explainable on its own terms and never needed a deus ex machina to solve problems. I wanted to uninstall the ROM religious training of my youth (mainline Protestant) and replace it with an a-theistic system. Maybe one can pull out old ROM on a computer, I couldn't pull it out of my brain. It's still there, in the middle of everything. I count myself as an a-theist, but have to do periodic overrides on the still functioning ROM.

    There is plenty for this a-theist to actively like about atheism. It isn't all about what I am against.

    I am for science, secular civic governance, socialism (as distant a hope on these shores as King Arthur's Avalon), gay liberation, an 'open' society, end so forth. I like, value, am attracted to, believe in, these ideas. Of course I miss the idea of heaven -- but then no heaven, no hell either.

    Science, secular civic governance, gay liberation, and a single-payer health system doesn't require a-theism of course. There are lots of Christians who believe in these things too. But human beings being entirely responsible for themselves and to themselves does, it seems to me, require no higher authority.
  • Hanover
    3.6k
    Mental operations are so inextricable tied into emotion that it seems unlikely that atheists and theists would not be motivated in their movements towards and away from. At least, that is the way I see minds at work.Bitter Crank

    The word emotion itself is derived from the same root as "motion." We are "moved" by passion. Without emotion, we'd have no motivation to do anything, mental or physical. I therefore have no problem accepting the illogic of emotion if it serves to motivate to a higher good.

    I have a close friend who is devoutly Mormon, who actually claims to believe the ancient Israelites found their way to the Americas and are ancestors of the current day Native Americans. That belief is tame when compared to many of his other beliefs (like of an actual corporeal God who lives on an actual planet, pre-life, post-life, the permanent binding of families for all of eternity, etc.). Utter bat shit crazy by all objective standards, but I must admit, what a neighbor he would make. He and his 5 kids would cut your lawn, repair your fence, bring you food if sick, have a group of missionaries out at your house at the crack of dawn to help you move, and they'd never drink, smoke, or tell you to fuck off.

    As I get older (not more mature, just more resigned), I tend to shrug off the objections I once had regarding the preposterousness of religion. It used to really bother me how people could shut off their minds to absurdity and actually follow these religions like sheep. Pragmatism seems to be an overriding concern of mine, and if believing in nonsense makes you a better person than you would otherwise be, then I'll help you down a big tall glass of nonsense.

    The challenge then is for those of us who do not believe and are of little faith. Do we actually have the motivation of our religious brethren to do the good acts they do? I certainly try, but I can't say that I have their sense of urgency and absolute commitment.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    564
    I suspect there's an emotional argument for not discussing whether there is a God. I'm sure it would be at least as persuasive as those arguments we keep making that God is or is not.
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