To be genuine and sincere, I can assert for you that God is not real. Even if God was real He would not be anything like what is claimed of Him by the Christian theologians. I doubt very much that you were an atheist and then chose the Christian concept of God and hence the Bible as His word. This only happens to people whom have undergone some severe traumatic experience -- (and they never really recover from it).
The humanism that I am familiar with has no god of its own.
Don't try this at home but I once went out into a field during a lightning storm (when I was 18) and dared God to give me sign. I felt so stupid afterward and was asking myself why I did such a thing.
Happy Bible reading, you wasted soul.
At 12:28 AM 7/22/02 -0600, you wrote:
I hesitate to write, partly because I really have little time, and partly because there are many who are more able and knowledgeable than myself.
First of all, I used to be an atheist and I am very much a thinker. I tend to question everything, and I take very little for granted.
I have a question for you. Do you really hope to win "believers" over to your camp with a tone of scoffing at the beliefs of "believers"? I question your sincerity. Perhaps you hope (maybe unwittingly) to use coercion or peer pressure to influence those on the fence, so to speak. I really don't want to start an argument here, because there will then be no room for meaningful debate. Your comments and questions, if sincere, deserve answers,.. good answers, but that will take quite a bit of time to cover in its entirety.
You may find it curious that I agree with a comment or two that you've made. I've thought about what to say, since I have something to say about almost every line in your article. So I've decided that there is really only one issue at hand, and that the inaccuracies in your article can be sorted out later. That issue is whether God is real, or not real, and if He is real, how must that challenge my/your belief system? This is the biggy isn't it? I mean the real big one. Because if this test fails, then you would be quite right in your belief about religion being quite worthless. With no God, there can be no religion. (Not quite true because even humanism has it's own god. But, for another time, perhaps. Are you steaming? I hope not, I really want to keep things on an even keel here.) If you are open to this question, I believe you will get a real, tangible answer, as I have. I'm not talking about meditation or some ritual on your part. Just turn your minds eye toward God (if there is a God, right?), your eyes upward if that helps you, and say or think, "ok God or Jesus of the Holy Bible.. this is it, if you are real, reveal yourself to me in a way that there can be no doubt in my mind." "I don't want any doubt to enter my mind God, I want to settle this once and for all." "I don't want some figment of my imagination, I want the truth." "If you are real, I want to know it. Let me know in a way that there can be no denying it."
You've asked people for answers, but it seems you haven't asked God Himself, or at least not sincerely. God knows your mind and your heart. (God also loves you and originally never intended Hell for people, only as punishment for Satan or Lucifer the devil, and no, the devil is not, nor will he ever be in charge of hell. The bible indicates he, Satan/Lucifer [he had a name change after getting kicked out of heaven] will be seen as no more than a man, in hell. Check for yourself, Isaiah 14:12-16) Ask Him/God, and allow some time for the answer. The answer will be of His design and of His timing. He is God. This may all seem silly to you, but I am dead serious. I have been where you are and I can relate to you, although it was a long time ago. Whether He answers you or not will likely depend on your sincerity. Ask Him to repeat it or give you more proof if you like. I challenge you. If this is all "really" "nothing", then you have nothing to lose by putting this to the test, do you? If you are wrong, you will have everything to lose. I am not trying to coerce or pressure you, just relaying the truth that I know. I'm sure that statement is a hard one for you, as are much of the above, but I am not one who blindly accepts everything without testing it. I want you to know that I have. I challenge you to do the same. Prove me wrong. Prove that God won't answer you.
It doesn't take much, no faith required, no prayer as such, just ask. Get some quiet space, and just ask. See what happens.. ("if" something happens right?). Try not to get caught up in the "how could God do any of this", or scientific or mathematical reasons why things can or can't happen. (After all, if God is really God, then the laws of physics as we know them, may not apply right?.. Pretty preposterous right?) You don't have to close your eyes; I wouldn't want you to think you were being tricked into walking into this blind like all those other blind believers. My point is, skip all the crap and get to the main point. Is God real or not? Either He is or He isn't! It can't be both! The answers to all the other questions are secondary. In fact, I remind you, that if God is not real, then everything else crumbles, and there can be no religion that "means" anything, at least. If you do that (ask God to reveal himself as suggested above), I will look forward to debate with you the various points and topics in your article and share what I know, if you're interested. Put God to the test. Give it your best shot, be genuine and sincere. No matter what the outcome, I will respect your view and accept your right to choose.
Perhaps we will debate a few things, and I look forward to sharing my definition of the word "religion". I do not like the word, and I do not consider myself religious. I define the word religion with a two-letter word,.. but, that'll wait for another time.
I would like to hear how your experiment turns out.