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FrGamble
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November 9th, 2011 at 9:50:39 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

Life isn't random. We find patterns in things, and we can repeat those patterns (science, technology).

And though things may lose their meaning to you if it is as the staunchest atheist will say, wishing it to be otherwise doesn't mean it IS otherwise. I find it the weakest of arguments for a God is the one that says "it ought to be so".



Yes, life is not random. Could we not use this as reason to say there is a creator? I guess we could also say that we don't know or just give us time and we will figure it out, but I don't find that very satisfactory especially because it is irresponsible to not have an answer to these fundamental questions of our existence. I think the weakest arguement for atheism is the old 'wait and see' approach. Since you seem to be saying just wait and see and science will figure this all out, would it be better for you if one said just wait and see God will show us, just give Him time?

Wishing you had all the answers right now concerning why and how we exist doesn't mean it IS ever going to happen. Why ignore the obvious and logical answer that something did the creating and made it full of beauty.
FrGamble
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November 9th, 2011 at 10:05:47 PM permalink
Quote: Evenbob

You said it yourself, religion gives you purpose, a reason
to live, to carry on every day. Its a weakness, a crutch.



Religion is more like anabolic steriods. It is not about just living out my days trying to just carry on or sqweak by. Religion is about living life to the fullest. Religion allows me to thrive and grow stronger through life experiences. Religion adds excitment and meaning to life, it makes everything an adventure and gives you the power to push yourself to try to reach new heights. I imagine and hope you are indeed very happy, but my motivation for conversion of souls is not based on guilt, fear, etc. but rather is all about hoping everyone could experience the true deep joy that comes from working with God to make this world a better place.
EvenBob
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November 9th, 2011 at 11:10:59 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Without religion and without meaning in life we are doomed to be destroyed by our own selfishness and greed.



Yes, there are no selfish, greedy religious people. No, wait. They're
just as selfish and greedy as everybody else, maybe more so.

Never mind...

Quote: FrGamble

but rather is all about hoping everyone could experience the true deep joy that comes from working with God to make this world a better place.



Thats the same as saying you wish everyone could be
just like you. Thats what 'conversion of souls' really means.
Nobody can be really happy unless they believe just as you
do. Religion is a dangerous thing, thats why we have to
control it. We've already seen it out of cxontrol, just look
up The Inquisition on Wiki. Those good Catholics believed
they were truly doing god's work also.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
thecesspit
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November 9th, 2011 at 11:11:12 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Yes, life is not random. Could we not use this as reason to say there is a creator?



Nope. Why does a repeatable event need a creator?

Quote:

I guess we could also say that we don't know or just give us time and we will figure it out, but I don't find that very satisfactory especially because it is irresponsible to not have an answer to these fundamental questions of our existence. I think the weakest arguement for atheism is the old 'wait and see' approach. Since you seem to be saying just wait and see and science will figure this all out, would it be better for you if one said just wait and see God will show us, just give Him time?



Why is it irresponsible? Belief in something we cannot prove, see or directly interact with could be deemed irresponsible. Telling people the wrong thing could be said to be irresponsible.

I'm not saying "wait and see". God is not a necessary of even a sufficient answer to those questions, anyways.

Quote:

Wishing you had all the answers right now concerning why and how we exist doesn't mean it IS ever going to happen. Why ignore the obvious and logical answer that something did the creating and made it full of beauty.



I don't wish I had all the answers right now. I accept there are things I will never know, like who sent me a Valentine when I was 16, whether or not that guy had AK in my first poker tournament or if there is life in another Galaxy. But I can make educated guesses to all there.

Because it is neither logical OR obvious. One particular answer to a half asked question is not a reason to believe in the Christian God. Your arguments barely satisfy the need for a deity (the Deist approach isn't a horrible theory. Flawed to me, but I think the Deists had something going on there...)

Anyways, I am hardly celebrating religion here and I've stomped in my muddy atheist shoes. I must be a frustrated and sad individual (in-side joke, no offense meant, FrGamble)
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
EvenBob
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November 9th, 2011 at 11:48:47 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

I must be a frustrated and sad individual (in-side joke, no offense meant, FrGamble)



You're making a joke, but thats part of the sales
pitch. Just like to convince someone they're a
sinner, you first have to convince them sin is
real. If you want to convince someone religion
will make them happy, you first have to convince
them they aren't happy now. It was easy in the
old days, few people were happy. They had no
future and were doomed to live the same awful
lives their parents and grandparents lived. Things
have changed...
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
NowTheSerpent
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November 9th, 2011 at 11:53:08 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

The act of reasoning is taking what we know and reaching new conclusions based on them. Faith does just that. It takes what we know about this wonderful world and our amazing human nature and through a process of reasoning leads us to conclusions about the big questions in life. We would have no way of reaching this final frontier without the power of Faith, which is a reasonable judgement based on evidence and truths that leads us to the things man would have no access to if it was not through the act of reason we call Faith.



So Faith is an act of Reason: one, or perhaps all three together, of what Aristotle called the "Acts of the Mind". Thus "Rationality" and "spirituality" (in particular, the Christian variety) are the same thing, essentially, once we cut through the sanctimonious and theological language? Could the Trinity be a personification of the mystery of these three profound Acts of the mind? What is the nature of the conscience, then? The "voice of God" within the soul, is it the process, or its result, of rational, dialectic determinations between right and wrong, as absolute, permanent, measurable differences and more than just "feelings" or what Sam Harris has described as "moral intuitions" (an expression which has always bothered me as an Objectivist)? So, Faith is related more intimately to the deliberate, focussed use of cognition, and less intimately to mere cultic belief in doctrines or superstitions or authority as such? The only real authority to a true spritualist (rationalist) is the Truth itself or - as Christians might say - Himself?
NowTheSerpent
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November 9th, 2011 at 11:58:14 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

Why does a repeatable event need a creator?



Everything has a creator. That creator may just not be any force more personal than evolution itself. Causality is both a creature and a Creator, especially in the world of human free will (red herring!) where actions are both caused and free.
NowTheSerpent
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November 10th, 2011 at 12:03:53 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Religion is more like anabolic steriods. It is not about just living out my days trying to just carry on or sqweak by. Religion is about living life to the fullest. Religion allows me to thrive and grow stronger through life experiences. Religion adds excitment and meaning to life, it makes everything an adventure and gives you the power to push yourself to try to reach new heights. I imagine and hope you are indeed very happy, but my motivation for conversion of souls is not based on guilt, fear, etc. but rather is all about hoping everyone could experience the true deep joy that comes from working with God to make this world a better place.



I like your perspective on religion in general. But what about the New Testament description, as Oswald Chambers often put it, of discipleship (Christian maturity) as involving an intense narrowing of one's earthly interests. Approching Christlikeness often appears to "outsiders" as a denial of ambition and self-affirmation. Why do you think such a discrepancy prevails?
NowTheSerpent
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November 10th, 2011 at 12:08:37 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

The advantage play is religion. Religion is about believing in a strategy that has been shown to be helpful to billions of people. Religion is more like counting cards....



Pascal would blush! LOL. :)
NowTheSerpent
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November 10th, 2011 at 12:19:32 AM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

You're making a joke, but thats part of the sales pitch. Just like to convince someone they're a sinner, you first have to convince them sin is
real. If you want to convince someone religion will make them happy, you first have to convince them they aren't happy now. It was easy in the old days, few
people were happy. They had no future and were doomed to live the same awful lives their parents and grandparents lived. Things have changed...



Wouldn't the best way to convince them that they aren't "happy" be to demonstrate to them that you are (objectively) happy, and that they definitely want what you have? Aristotle called this eudaimonia - a state of intellectual and aesthetic fulfillment - which is more than mere contentment. Who wants this today and can we admit to the longing? If any, who is willing to transcend familiality and cultural subliminals (the backbones of religion) to really say "Yes!" to learning how to become "happy" Individuals? Note that I said "Individuals".
MrV
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November 10th, 2011 at 12:36:46 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Religion is more like anabolic steriods. It is not about just living out my days trying to just carry on or sqweak by. Religion is about living life to the fullest. Religion allows me to thrive and grow stronger through life experiences. Religion adds excitment and meaning to life, it makes everything an adventure and gives you the power to push yourself to try to reach new heights.



Gee, it sounds like you are describing gambling.

Coincidence?

I think not.
"What, me worry?"
rxwine
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November 10th, 2011 at 3:16:34 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Religion is more like anabolic steriods. It is not about just living out my days trying to just carry on or sqweak by. Religion is about living life to the fullest. Religion allows me to thrive and grow stronger through life experiences. Religion adds excitment and meaning to life, it makes everything an adventure and gives you the power to push yourself to try to reach new heights. I imagine and hope you are indeed very happy, but my motivation for conversion of souls is not based on guilt, fear, etc. but rather is all about hoping everyone could experience the true deep joy that comes from working with God to make this world a better place.



Leave "god" out, and it's one of those motivational courses.
There's no secret. Just know what you're talking about before you open your mouth.
Nareed
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November 10th, 2011 at 6:56:44 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

I think the weakest arguement for atheism is the old 'wait and see' approach. Since you seem to be saying just wait and see and science will figure this all out,



That's not an argument for atheism. It's a simlpe statement regarding knowledge and ignorance. we know more about the universe now than we did in the apst. It's logical to assume, since there is much research going on in all fields, that we will know more in the future than we do now. Further, it is wrong to suggest causes or explanations without any evidence.

Should a curious oncologist figure out how cancer behaves, determine all mechanisms it uses to thrive, and figure out how to slow it down or stop it? Or should he look at a tumor and say; "God did it," offer his sympathies to the patient and consider his work done?

Quote:

Wishing you had all the answers right now concerning why and how we exist doesn't mean it IS ever going to happen. Why ignore the obvious and logical answer that something did the creating and made it full of beauty.



You're making a bunch of errors:

1) You assume there is a reason why the universe, the earth and humanity exist.
2) You assume something created everything
3) You use the first assumption to prove the second, and the second to prove the first, as it suits you. You're engaging in the perfect circular definition: "there is a god because we exist for a reason and the world is beautiful; the world is beautiful and we exist for a reason because there is a god who made it so."

In other words, your argument is a two-headed coin.
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NowTheSerpent
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November 10th, 2011 at 9:08:56 AM permalink
Quote: Nareed

...It is wrong to suggest causes or explanations without any evidence.



I would say, though, that the very first humans to speculate God or gods as a cause of phenomena were actually making a plausible hypothesis thumb, given the knowledge they had at that time.
FrGamble
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November 10th, 2011 at 9:34:33 AM permalink
Quote: thecesspit


Why is it irresponsible? Belief in something we cannot prove, see or directly interact with could be deemed irresponsible. Telling people the wrong thing could be said to be irresponsible.....

I don't wish I had all the answers right now. I accept there are things I will never know, like who sent me a Valentine when I was 16, whether or not that guy had AK in my first poker tournament or if there is life in another Galaxy. But I can make educated guesses to all there.

Because it is neither logical OR obvious. One particular answer to a half asked question is not a reason to believe in the Christian God. Your arguments barely satisfy the need for a deity (the Deist approach isn't a horrible theory. Flawed to me, but I think the Deists had something going on there...)

Anyways, I am hardly celebrating religion here and I've stomped in my muddy atheist shoes. I must be a frustrated and sad individual (in-side joke, no offense meant, FrGamble)



Your muddy shoes are welcome here along with your good posts. Maybe your visit will knock some mud off and cheer you up a little bit (just a joke).

If we are making educated guesses about why and how we are here than it is much more logical and obvious to believe in God. Maybe irresponsible is the wrong word, but how would you describe the choice to prefer a belief in nothingness, ultimate futility, and accidental unexplainable existence to a belief in meaningfulness, ultimate purpose, a loving and logical explanation of a beautiful existence? If the same level of evidence is equal in both choices why not chose to believe in the more attractive educated guess until you study the Big Bang enough to discover beyond a shadow of doubt that indeed God did create the universe and all that exists out of nothing?
FrGamble
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November 10th, 2011 at 9:50:54 AM permalink
Quote: Nareed


In other words, your argument is a two-headed coin.



I like two headed coins, why do you keep betting on tails! No you are right, its like a math problem with the right answer but I did not show my work.

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2) The universe began to exist
3) The universe has a cause

Let us call this cause God who must have existence in itself and not dependent on another. Therefore God exists. I don't think you can argue with point (1) that is just a undeniable truth. Some like to imagine that the one exception is the universe and will argue point (2), but with the evidence of the Big Bang I think that is harder and harder to do so without writing your own science fiction novel. Alexander Vilenkin in his book about searching for other universes says, "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning."

Once it is established that there is a cause of all that exists out of nothing then by taking a look at the creation and noticing the beauty, patterns, observable laws and order we can come to further conclusions about the nature of God and our special role in this creation.
MathExtremist
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November 10th, 2011 at 10:04:14 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

If we are making educated guesses about why and how we are here than it is much more logical and obvious to believe in God. Maybe irresponsible is the wrong word, but how would you describe the choice to prefer a belief in nothingness, ultimate futility, and accidental unexplainable existence to a belief in meaningfulness, ultimate purpose, a loving and logical explanation of a beautiful existence? If the same level of evidence is equal in both choices why not chose to believe in the more attractive educated guess until you study the Big Bang enough to discover beyond a shadow of doubt that indeed God did create the universe and all that exists out of nothing?



Your choice of the word "prefer" says it all. Human preferences are not rational. Lots of people prefer to believe in the creation myth, even though there is hard evidence that the world is not merely 5772 years old. Likewise, lots of people prefer to believe in an omnipotent creator rather than a happenstance creation, not for any rational reason, but because it is their preference.

Personally, I do not find a belief in accidental unexplainable existence to be as abhorrent as you seem to. I think it would be quite elegant if we were here as a result of random chance, but I also know that most people have never actually considered the ramifications of that train of thought. What if we are the lucky ones? What if our universe is the equivalent of the 20-coin-flippers in the "Superinvestors of Graham and Doddsville":

Quote: Warren Buffett


I would like you to imagine a national coin-flipping contest. Let's assume we get 225 million Americans up tomorrow morning and we ask them all to wager a dollar. They go out in the morning at sunrise, and they all call the flip of a coin. If they call correctly, they win a dollar from those who called wrong. Each day the losers drop out, and on the subsequent day the stakes build as all previous winnings are put on the line. After ten flips on ten mornings, there will be approximately 220,000 people in the United States who have correctly called ten flips in a row. They each will have won a little over $1,000.

Now this group will probably start getting a little puffed up about this, human nature being what it is. They may try to be modest, but at cocktail parties they will occasionally admit to attractive members of the opposite sex what their technique is, and what marvelous insights they bring to the field of flipping.

Assuming that the winners are getting the appropriate rewards from the losers, in another ten days we will have 215 people who have successfully called their coin flips 20 times in a row and who, by this exercise, each have turned one dollar into a little over $1 million. $225 million would have been lost, $225 million would have been won.

By then, this group will really lose their heads. They will probably write books on "How I turned a Dollar into a Million in Twenty Days Working Thirty Seconds a Morning." Worse yet, they'll probably start jetting around the country attending seminars on efficient coin-flipping and tackling skeptical professors with, " If it can't be done, why are there 215 of us?"

By then some business school professor will probably be rude enough to bring up the fact that if 225 million orangutans had engaged in a similar exercise, the results would be much the same - 215 egotistical orangutans with 20 straight winning flips.

"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
boymimbo
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November 10th, 2011 at 10:06:48 AM permalink
It's actually not more logical and obvious to believe in GOD at all. When we're three years old, we believe that everything is magic. Playing peekaboo with my six month old daughter and her actually believing that I've disappeared is magic is simple ignorance. Ignorance is not bliss.

We can pretty much chalk up everything from the big bang forward up to some kind of scientific explanation. There are plenty of mysteries remaining out there. Up until less than 500 years ago the accepted theory was that the sun was at the center of the universe. Eventually, there may or may not be a valid hypothesis to the big bang. Eventually, there might be a theory of everything that explains everything.

I can't and won't believe in God because of the wonderfulness and complexity of us and the universe around me. The only thing I have is blind faith. I don't have a VALID reason why I believe in God - i just do. But I don't look around the universe and say "look at the world that god made!!!" The existence of earth and our complex ecosystems, species and society is due to (I feel) some very dumb and amazing (yes, miraculous) luck. Some will attribute it to God's existence per Genesis.

I can't see how "God" is an educated guess. Quite the contrary.
----- You want the truth! You can't handle the truth!
FrGamble
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November 10th, 2011 at 10:18:09 AM permalink
Quote: boymimbo


I can't see how "God" is an educated guess. Quite the contrary.



God is not a guess it is an educated and logical conclusion.

I find your description of faith very intriguing. While you may not be the best apologist in the world, I'm glad your faith is strong. I doubt that you would truly have your faith for long if it really was blind. There is obviously something deep inside you that compels you to believe in God. This is the blessing of a strong conscience maybe or the blessing of strong examples of faith in your past, I don't know and you don't seem to know either, but do not downplay the validity of those unexplainable interior yankings on our heart that lead us to God.
boymimbo
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November 10th, 2011 at 10:51:25 AM permalink
Scientifically, there is no evidence for God.

My faith is explainable, but I'm not going to explain my faith to those who will just blow it apart.
----- You want the truth! You can't handle the truth!
dm
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November 10th, 2011 at 10:54:42 AM permalink
Quote: boymimbo

Scientifically, there is no evidence for God.

My faith is explainable, but I'm not going to explain my faith to those who will just blow it apart.




I read this unintentionally, and NOMB, but there seems to be lots of scientific evidence against there being a bible god.
Nareed
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November 10th, 2011 at 11:33:38 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2) The universe began to exist
3) The universe has a cause

Let us call this cause God who must have existence in itself and not dependent on another. Therefore God exists.



If point one is valid, then god needs to have a casue, which needs to have a casue, which needs to have a casue...

If god requries no cause, why then, does the universe? Furhter, who says the universe began at some point? We know there was a Big Bang, yes, but it was the detonation of something which previously existed.

Quote:

I don't think you can argue with point (1)



I just did :P

Quote:

Once it is established that there is a cause of all that exists out of nothing



But you need to establish it first.

I'll give you a tip: stop using the argument from design. It's weak. It gets weaker by the day as we learn more about cosmology. And it's too easy to poke holes in it. Not tiny pinpricks, but big gaping holes large enough to toss a Hollywood blockbuster plot-hole through.
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Nareed
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November 10th, 2011 at 11:44:39 AM permalink
Quote: boymimbo

I can't and won't believe in God because of the wonderfulness and complexity of us and the universe around me. The only thing I have is blind faith. I don't have a VALID reason why I believe in God - i just do



Thank you. That's what I think all or most believers ultinately have anyway, whether they pile on rationalizations on top, or engage in transparently falalcious arguments. I just wish they'd admit it.
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FrGamble
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November 10th, 2011 at 2:21:45 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

If point one is valid, then god needs to have a casue, which needs to have a casue, which needs to have a casue...

If god requries no cause, why then, does the universe? Furhter, who says the universe began at some point? We know there was a Big Bang, yes, but it was the detonation of something which previously existed.



Goodness Nareed do I have to show all my work, even the things that are fairly obvious to most people? It is given that there cannot be a infinite regress of causality. Something always has to begin or create something else which logically means that there has to eventually be a first cause. This first cause of all things has to have existance in itself and not depend on any other cause or you fall back into the fallacy of infinite regress. It looks like you want to say this first cause is the universe, of whatever detonated something, or maybe for you it is whatever caused the previously existing matter that exploded in the Big Bang, call it what you want, I call it God.

Quote: Nareed


I'll give you a tip: stop using the argument from design. It's weak. It gets weaker by the day as we learn more about cosmology. And it's too easy to poke holes in it. Not tiny pinpricks, but big gaping holes large enough to toss a Hollywood blockbuster plot-hole through.



The more we learn about cosmology the more it becomes clear that there was a beginning to the universe in the Big Bang. I'm sorry that science is not helping you, but it should be as no surprise because God created the universe and all that exists to eventually lead us to Him. Speaking of cosmology and holes it seems as if there is some type of black hole of denial that is not letting any light get through to you.
Nareed
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November 10th, 2011 at 2:35:11 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Goodness Nareed do I have to show all my work, even the things that are fairly obvious to most people?



No. Just give me a logical, reason why the universe requires creation and god does not. The simple assertion that it is so simply isn't good enough. The more so because the existence of the unvierse is self-evident, while the existence of a god remains a matter of blind faith.

Quote:

It looks like you want to say this first cause is the universe, of whatever detonated something, or maybe for you it is whatever caused the previously existing matter that exploded in the Big Bang, call it what you want, I call it God.



Don't conflate entities. I say there's no reason not to suppsoe the universe hasn't always existed, the way you claim god has always existed. Except, well see above what existence can be proven.

Quote:

The more we learn about cosmology the more it becomes clear that there was a beginning to the universe in the Big Bang.



There was a Big Bang, no question. I dispute that it denotes the begining of existence. It's very, very simple: something blew up. So something already existed. It might have been a collapsed universe re-blowing up in any of a number of oscillations (which doesn't seem too likely lately), or it might have existed as a dense ball of everything for all eternity, it may even ahve been parallel univreses probing each other. We don't know. And, again, not knowing something merely means we don't know something; it's not carte blanche to make up anything we'd like to see in its place.

Quote:

I'm sorry that science is not helping you, but it should be as no surprise because God created the universe and all that exists to eventually lead us to Him.



I thought priests had their sense of humor surgically removed during training. I'm glad to see I was wrong ;)

Quote:

Speaking of cosmology and holes it seems as if there is some type of black hole of denial that is not letting any light get through to you.



Metaphors are cheap.
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rxwine
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November 10th, 2011 at 3:53:51 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

it should be as no surprise because God created the universe and all that exists to eventually lead us to Him.



Maybe two or more gods created the Universe. What rules it out?
There's no secret. Just know what you're talking about before you open your mouth.
MathExtremist
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November 10th, 2011 at 4:20:23 PM permalink
Quote: rxwine

Maybe two or more gods created the Universe. What rules it out?


And maybe someone 6000 years ago had as much imagination as L. Ron Hubbard had in the 1950s. Nothing rules that out either.

I'm still not clear on how one religion can rationally dispute the tenets of another. Once upon a time, someone made up a story about a sun god with the head of a falcon and the body of a human. But try telling that to the ancient Egyptians. Meanwhile, in the present, we've seen the Egyptian pantheon fall into disfavor compared to the Greco-Roman pantheon, which subsequently fell into disfavor compared to Abrahamic monotheism.

How can anyone be so sure that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam aren't just another step in the ever-changing path of human faith? Who's to say that one day, thousands of years in the future, people won't be looking back on this epoch and with historical curiosity about how people believed in YHVH/God/Jesus/Allah? Isn't it the ultimate in hubris to proclaim one's own religion right and another person's religion wrong?
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
EvenBob
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November 10th, 2011 at 5:04:24 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

The more we learn about cosmology the more it becomes clear that there was a beginning to the universe in the Big Bang.



We don't know that was a beginning, we only know it
was something. Maybe it was a continuation. The Veda's
teach that the universe is constantly destroyed and reborn,
its an endless cycle. This is much easier to believe and
makes more 'sense' that a heavenly father and a horrible
hell. Those sound like quaint urban legends when you
consider the universe as a whole. Study Joseph Campbell
for awhile, you'll get a whole new perspective. He was a
good Cathloic boy at one time too.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
rxwine
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November 10th, 2011 at 5:25:03 PM permalink
I've heard proposed that without God or religion we would all act as we wish without morals taking what we want and doing what we want.

In fact. It's pretty clear when that starts happening someone's going to beat your ass eventually. You don't need to invent a god to do it.
There's no secret. Just know what you're talking about before you open your mouth.
FrGamble
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November 10th, 2011 at 6:50:02 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

No. Just give me a logical, reason why the universe requires creation and god does not. The simple assertion that it is so simply isn't good enough. The more so because the existence of the unvierse is self-evident, while the existence of a god remains a matter of blind faith.



The black hole of denial sucked away the reminder in my post that you cannot have an infinite regress of causality. I'm not picking the nomenclature that you use, but there has to be something that is not created and that exists on its own as the first cause of everything else. This should be as self-evident as the fact there is a universe. So again just to be clear, everything that exists from ourselves to the rocks at our feet were created. This process of causality cannot be infinite, that is not logical. Ultimately everything must have come from something that did not need to be created. You might call this the universe, you might call this God.



Quote: Nareed

There was a Big Bang, no question. I dispute that it denotes the begining of existence. It's very, very simple: something blew up. So something already existed. It might have been a collapsed universe re-blowing up in any of a number of oscillations (which doesn't seem too likely lately), or it might have existed as a dense ball of everything for all eternity, it may even ahve been parallel univreses probing each other. We don't know. And, again, not knowing something merely means we don't know something; it's not carte blanche to make up anything we'd like to see in its place.



Okay so it looks like you are going with calling God, aka 'a dense ball of everything that existed for all eternity". Okay, if everything has already existed and has existed for all eternity in this dense ball that explodes into the universe - that moves you closer to Pantheism. I think EvenBob is partial to this belief as well. Look we are here to celebrate all religions, so if you believe that God is equal to the universe and that all that exists is synonymous with what other people call God, who am I to judge you. If you believe that God is present in you, me, the trees, the stones, and everything that exists taken together is God who has always existed then at least you aren't an atheist.
FrGamble
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November 10th, 2011 at 7:00:03 PM permalink
Quote: rxwine

Maybe two or more gods created the Universe. What rules it out?



A welcome to this thread to those who practice the religion of polytheism. I remember being struck that C.S. Lewis in his classic book "Mere Christianity" says that next to Christianity he finds the idea of polytheism or Dualism, specifically a good God and an evil God who are in epic struggle for the fate of humanity, is "the manliest and most sensible creed out there."
FrGamble
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November 10th, 2011 at 7:11:18 PM permalink
Quote: MathExtremist


I'm still not clear on how one religion can rationally dispute the tenets of another.



I think this thread exists to celebrate religion in all of its many forms and not as a place to dispute tenets or put down anyone's beliefs. I'd like to celebrate the many ways in which people are blessed in discovering and knowing God, in all of the various forms and names the Divine is known. I'd like to hear and see how this has made a difference in people's lives, how it has changed the way they live and move and have their being.

Quote: MathExtremist

Isn't it the ultimate in hubris to proclaim one's own religion right and another person's religion wrong?



That is close to the ultimate in hubris, but the prize in ultimate hubris still goes to those who with their limited knowledge of the universe boldly and brashly proclaim that for sure there is no God.
EvenBob
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November 10th, 2011 at 7:12:43 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Ultimately everything must have come from something



Not true. We think we see endings, so we think there
must have been beginnings. We can't wrap our minds
around the fact that everything has always been here and
and always will be, in one form or another. We know energy
can't be destroyed, only converted to something else. And
everything in the universe is made from energy.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
FrGamble
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November 10th, 2011 at 7:17:54 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

Not true. We think we see endings, so we think there
must have been beginnings. We can't wrap our minds
around the fact that everything has always been here and
and always will be, in one form or another. We know energy
can't be destroyed, only converted to something else. And
everything in the universe is made from energy.



Spoken like a beautiful pantheist.
Nareed
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November 10th, 2011 at 7:46:50 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

I'm not picking the nomenclature that you use, but there has to be something that is not created and that exists on its own as the first cause of everything else.



There doesn't have to be. But it does stand to reason.

Quote:

So again just to be clear, everything that exists from ourselves to the rocks at our feet were created.



If you can't prove it, then it's a mere assertion. It has no more value than claiming seven is due.

Quote:

Ultimately everything must have come from something that did not need to be created.



Repeating it won't make it so, you know. Not everything has to be created. It makes more sense to suppose the universe is eternal and has always existed, perhaps in different forms. It can't end, we know that. If it can't end, it makes logical sense to suppose it never began, either, that it was not created.

Quote:

Okay so it looks like you are going with calling God, aka 'a dense ball of everything that existed for all eternity". Okay, if everything has already existed and has existed for all eternity in this dense ball that explodes into the universe - that moves you closer to Pantheism.



As a result of recent developments, I'm trying to keep civil and not to ridicule or insult anyone's beliefs. So I'll ask you to please grant me the same courtesy.

I call nothing "god" because there is no god. That's it. End of story. I don't have any kind of faith. I don't have a religion. I don't pray. I don't worship. I certainly don't think the universe is god, or that anything remotely like a god is present anywhere. And the second worse thing you can say to me is to accuse me of having a religion, faith or belief in any kind of god. So please don't do this again.
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EvenBob
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November 10th, 2011 at 7:59:02 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Spoken like a beautiful pantheist.



Do you ever wake up at 3am and wonder if you're
following a really old urban myth? Thats all the New
Testament is, strung together urban myths that have
stood the test of time, therefore they must be real.
King Arthur and the Round Table is an urban myth,
most people believe he's real.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
rxwine
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November 10th, 2011 at 8:52:36 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

A welcome to this thread to those who practice the religion of polytheism. I remember being struck that C.S. Lewis in his classic book "Mere Christianity" says that next to Christianity he finds the idea of polytheism or Dualism, specifically a good God and an evil God who are in epic struggle for the fate of humanity, is "the manliest and most sensible creed out there."



Doesn't the god of the Bible object rather vigorously to other gods? Where do you get your support for your rather liberal view?
There's no secret. Just know what you're talking about before you open your mouth.
FrGamble
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November 10th, 2011 at 9:39:59 PM permalink
Quote: rxwine

Doesn't the god of the Bible object rather vigorously to other gods? Where do you get your support for your rather liberal view?



Let me allow my dear Pope Benedict XVI answer that good question from his most recent statements at an inter-religious gathering in Assisi at the end of October 2011. Some background: Blessed John Paul II began these meetings calling together religious leaders from all around the world to meet in peaceful Assisi. This was the first time the Pope invitied agnostics to the gathering and the theme was, "pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace." This is just the very end of his remarks, which have many other awesome quotes about such things like recognizing the common truths found in all religions as a way to avoid violence. Enjoy!

"In addition to the two phenomena of religion and anti-religion, a further basic orientation is found in the growing world of agnosticism: people to whom the gift of faith has not been given, but who are nevertheless on the lookout for truth, searching for God. Such people do not simply assert: “There is no God”. They suffer from his absence and yet are inwardly making their way towards him, inasmuch as they seek truth and goodness. They are “pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace”. They ask questions of both sides. They take away from militant atheists the false certainty by which these claim to know that there is no God and they invite them to leave polemics aside and to become seekers who do not give up hope in the existence of truth and in the possibility and necessity of living by it. But they also challenge the followers of religions not to consider God as their own property, as if he belonged to them, in such a way that they feel vindicated in using force against others. These people are seeking the truth, they are seeking the true God, whose image is frequently concealed in the religions because of the ways in which they are often practised. Their inability to find God is partly the responsibility of believers with a limited or even falsified image of God. So all their struggling and questioning is in part an appeal to believers to purify their faith, so that God, the true God, becomes accessible. Therefore I have consciously invited delegates of this third group to our meeting in Assisi, which does not simply bring together representatives of religious institutions. Rather it is a case of being together on a journey towards truth, a case of taking a decisive stand for human dignity and a case of common engagement for peace against every form of destructive force. Finally I would like to assure you that the Catholic Church will not let up in her fight against violence, in her commitment for peace in the world. We are animated by the common desire to be “pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace”. - Pope Benedict XVI

I could have also quoted from Vatican II documents like Lumen Gentium or Gaudium et Spes. The Cathechism and the recent document Dominus Jesu; all of these mention the idea that God works through many means to bring us ultimately to His Son who I believe is the fullness of revelation. We are all pilgrims of truth, working towards discovering the promised land.
rxwine
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November 11th, 2011 at 3:57:39 AM permalink
Quote: Nareed

There was a Big Bang, no question.



Coincidently, news from the Big Bang.
There's no secret. Just know what you're talking about before you open your mouth.
rxwine
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November 11th, 2011 at 4:02:44 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Let me allow my dear Pope Benedict XVI answer that good question from his most recent statements at an inter-religious gathering in Assisi at the end of October 2011.



I don't dispute that's it's a better message than many other messages one could come up with. Whether it's true to the intent of the god of the Bible is unclear.
There's no secret. Just know what you're talking about before you open your mouth.
boymimbo
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November 11th, 2011 at 5:48:36 AM permalink
Scientists have no idea at this point of time whether the BIG BANG represented the very beginning of the universe or whether there was a concept of time before the big bang. Just because we don't understand the mechanisms of how the universe happened doesn't mean or even infer that "God" did it. It probably is the biggest mystery out there in physics and one that may never be solved with any certainty.
----- You want the truth! You can't handle the truth!
Nareed
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November 11th, 2011 at 7:35:56 AM permalink
Quote: boymimbo

Scientists have no idea at this point of time whether the BIG BANG represented the very beginning of the universe or whether there was a concept of time before the big bang.



That's a very good question. it may be time did not exist before the Big Bang, but that brings up a bunch of paradoxes and contradictions that make no sense. For example: if time did not exist, how could change happen?

Quote:

Just because we don't understand the mechanisms of how the universe happened doesn't mean or even infer that "God" did it. It probably is the biggest mystery out there in physics and one that may never be solved with any certainty.



Exactly.

It may be that the data is no longer available. The Big Bang happened a long, long time ago (all of time ago, if time began wiht it <w>). Matter and energy dispersed, combined, interacted, according to the laws of physics, not necessarily in such a way as to preserve the evidence of the event in question, nor in such a way as to destroy it, either. Matter and energy have no volition and take no action; they merely exist.

You know what would make a good science fiction story? Finding cosmological records from a species that lived much closer in time to the Big Bang than we do, and describing what the universe was like then. I lack the knowledge of physics and cosmology to write it, though. So I'm giving it to whover wants it.
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NowTheSerpent
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November 11th, 2011 at 9:23:28 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

I like two headed coins, why do you keep betting on tails! No you are right, its like a math problem with the right answer but I did not show my work.

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2) The universe began to exist
3) The universe has a cause

Let us call this cause God who must have existence in itself and not dependent on another. Therefore God exists. I don't think you can argue with point (1) that is just a undeniable truth. Some like to imagine that the one exception is the universe and will argue point (2), but with the evidence of the Big Bang I think that is harder and harder to do so without writing your own science fiction novel. Alexander Vilenkin in his book about searching for other universes says, "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning."

Once it is established that there is a cause of all that exists out of nothing then by taking a look at the creation and noticing the beauty, patterns, observable laws and order we can come to further conclusions about the nature of God and our special role in this creation.



Proposition 2 is actually argumentative, not self-evident. The only reason we think that the Universe must have begun is the so-called "time's arrow" phenomenon, everything seeming to run down, as Paul aptly put it, being "in bondage to decay" (Romans 8:21) which is due to Gibbs free energy decreasing with every possible process. But the counter-balancer to this thermodynamic progression might be accumulated within gravitational energy, and the sum might be zero, thus precluding the need for a "first moment" and thus a First Cause.

Also, there is the difference between activity, which all entities contain, and action, or causative influence exerted by an entity. Activity inherent in entities allows them to act. Actions have causes, but activity doesn't necessarily have a cause. That requirement is a leap of faith and a bias toward the idea that only God is capable of not requiring a beginning. Religionists will posit that God, existing absolutely, requires no beginning, despite our inability to comprehend timeless existence. But the idea of the Universe having always existed is no more or less comprehensible. But, the incomprehensibility of the former belief doesn't preclude acceptance of it, so why should it preclude acceptance of the latter. In other words, if God doesn't need a beginning, then neither does the Universe. The real reason, IMO, that we object to a timeless Universe is that we object to the absolutism and finality of Causality - plain reality after all.
MathExtremist
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November 11th, 2011 at 10:09:20 AM permalink
Quote: Nareed

Matter and energy dispersed, combined, interacted, according to the laws of physics, not necessarily in such a way as to preserve the evidence of the event in question, nor in such a way as to destroy it, either. Matter and energy have no volition and take no action; they merely exist.

You know what would make a good science fiction story? Finding cosmological records from a species that lived much closer in time to the Big Bang than we do, and describing what the universe was like then. I lack the knowledge of physics and cosmology to write it, though. So I'm giving it to whover wants it.



I remember reading a sci-fi story once about interstellar beings that could actually manipulate the laws of physics, things like changing the strong nuclear or gravitational forces, etc. When you say "according to the laws of physics", it's worth remembering that those laws happen to be the ones we've been able to observe and codify. There is no reason not to believe that some other combination of elementary physical laws could give rise to an entirely different universe with entirely different life.

I also remember reading an analogy once about how our universe might be somewhat like a bubble in a bubble bath. Each one has a different shape, they seem to come into existence out of nowhere (think about it -- have you actually watched bubbles form in a bathtub?), there are a very, very large number of them, and eventually they pop.
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
TheNightfly
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November 11th, 2011 at 12:18:22 PM permalink
Quote: MathExtremist

think about it -- have you actually watched bubbles form in a bathtub?

Yes, but it was after a long night of drinking beer and eating chilli. I never thought about how each little bubble was a distinct universe. I am the creator.
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Nareed
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November 11th, 2011 at 1:04:47 PM permalink
Quote: MathExtremist

I remember reading a sci-fi story once about interstellar beings that could actually manipulate the laws of physics, things like changing the strong nuclear or gravitational forces, etc.



In Trek, Q could hcange the gravitational constant of the universe. Geordy managed to change it for an asteroid.

Quote:

When you say "according to the laws of physics", it's worth remembering that those laws happen to be the ones we've been able to observe and codify.



Sure. And there may be laws we don't know yet (almost certainly there are). It's even possible some laws of physics change over time. But matter and energy still "act" only as the laws of physics allow, and still lack volition. They simply exist.

Quote:

There is no reason not to believe that some other combination of elementary physical laws could give rise to an entirely different universe with entirely different life.



That's part of Asimov's premise in "The Gods Themselves." He pictures a universe with a stronger strong nuclear force, where things like Plutonium 187 are stable elements, stars are tiny and the sentient beings are permeable. There are serious scientific speculations about the matter, too. Including not even having a weak nuclear force.

Quote:

I also remember reading an analogy once about how our universe might be somewhat like a bubble in a bubble bath. Each one has a different shape, they seem to come into existence out of nowhere (think about it -- have you actually watched bubbles form in a bathtub?), there are a very, very large number of them, and eventually they pop.



Bubbles in a bath come from air and water alreasy present. Do universes form from available matter and/or energy, or from nothing?
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FrGamble
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November 11th, 2011 at 10:19:39 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed


Bubbles in a bath come from air and water alreasy present. Do universes form from available matter and/or energy, or from nothing?



All matter and energy that constitute the universe where created from nothing, ex nihilo. Space and time also come into being at that inital moment of the universe's beginning, most often called the Big Bang. For this to make sense and avoid the logical truth that, "something cannot come out of nothing" we have to remind ourselves what we mean by Creation. Creation in this ultimate sense is not a change or a mutation of pre-existing or available matter. Creation is a cause, not a change. The biggest mistake we often make here is treating nothing as if it were really something. God did not take a little bit of nothing and make something out of it. God creates not out of nothing, but from nothing at all. Creation is the radical causing of the whole of existence to come into being at that inital cosmological singularity. God makes all of the matter, energy, and stuff that makes up everything else exist at one amazing and awesome moment.
odiousgambit
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November 12th, 2011 at 4:04:35 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

All matter and energy ... ex nihilo.



What came before the big bang? Is your statement Church doctrine? Just curious.

I used to think of the Universe as quite old, but the more we know about it, the age of it seems young compared to what came out of this single spot.
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!”   She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
Nareed
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November 12th, 2011 at 5:08:54 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

All matter and energy that constitute the universe where created from nothing, ex nihilo.



You don't know that. But if you can supply proof, I'd like to see it.

Quote:

Creation in this ultimate sense is not a change or a mutation of pre-existing or available matter. Creation is a cause, not a change.



Proof?

Quote:

God did not take a little bit of nothing and make something out of it. God creates not out of nothing, but from nothing at all.



If one of your parishioners came regularly to confession and he kept confessing the same sin each time, wouldn't you advise him to stop committing that sin? I advise you to stop using circular arguments. They are an affront to logic.
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FleaStiff
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November 12th, 2011 at 5:13:03 AM permalink
Celebrate religion here.
What is religion?
I think we have a state religion imposed upon us known as the belief in medicine.

I think some try to impose on us a never-ending focus on the poor, the sick, the generally unpleasant such as the homeless in tent cities, the teeming masses in China or some similar nonsense. There is a measure of money and treason in religion. Its always give to the religion officials so that they can in turn give resources to other nations and sap our nation's strength. They never quite disclose the Vig in such operations but I think its high.

Its sort of a constant sapping of strength so that religion itself acts as a parasite. We can't go get a bagel and a cup of coffee in the morning anymore, we must have an encounter with some blue-blazoned religious icon insisting that only those touched by Allah may park or sit in certain places. We can not simply drink coffee and enjoy the fruits of colonialism and imperialism, we must pay homage to some sort of morally correct beans or religiously endorsed beans that benefit some thirteen cents a day peasant in some filthy poverty-stricken village in the belief that there is some inherent good in filthy people in some far-off hell hole. It seems Religion does not want us to enjoy our bagel and coffee we have to focus on something unpleasant in the attempt to start our day. Our focus is required to be on something not only unpleasant but also unlikely. When someone religious prattles about some dead kid, its never some dead throwaway brat who had he lived would have been a felon feasting at the taxpayer's expense, its always some noble Saint who would have cured us of cancer and dandruff.

Celebrate miracles? Okay.... Lets. By all means. Lets go celebrate a miracle or two. Roulette wheel or Craps Table???
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