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Where is God in this Covid horror? Church is one of the few places where we can acknowledge the existence of futile suffering

Lighting candles in the Annunciation Church in Kineshma. Credit: Vladimir SmirnovTASS via Getty

Lighting candles in the Annunciation Church in Kineshma. Credit: Vladimir SmirnovTASS via Getty


April 10, 2020   5 mins

On All Saints Day 1755, the ground of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, was split open by an earthquake of a magnitude somewhere between 8.5 and 9, the centre of which was some 200 miles out in the Atlantic. Those fleeing falling masonry made for the open area around the docks where they noticed the tide sucking out the sea from the coast. Some 40 minutes later, a tsunami hit the city. In Lisbon alone, tens of thousands of people lost their lives.

It was the defining event for a generation of Enlightenment-inspired philosophers who began to put into words questions that had been circulating as far back as the ancient Greeks about the relationship between God‚Äôs benevolence and the senseless suffering that exists in the world. They called it ‚Äúthe problem of evil‚ÄĚ.

In 1779, David Hume gave it its classic formulation:

‚ÄúIs God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is be both able and willing? Then from whence comes evil?‚ÄĚ

For a certain sort of atheist of the Enlightenment school, this argument is the slam-dunk against God’s existence. And, inevitably, the question has returned, as it always does at moments of crisis and fear. How can religious minded people go on asserting God’s existence at a time when thousands of people around the world are dying from this hideous virus? Where is God in all this horror?

Indeed, in the battle between God and the virus, the virus seems to be winning. It has shut down the churches, and shifted the centre of spiritual gravity to the hospital. It is the NHS, not God, that heals. This is our religion now. The old religion of God has become an archaic irrelevance.

‚ÄúGod is dead‚ÄĚ, Nietzsche famously proclaimed. Though he was theologically savvy enough to know that this phrase would play tricks with people. And that many wouldn‚Äôt understand the in-joke. As a child of a long line of Lutheran pastors, Nietzsche would probably have sung the Lutheran hymn ‚ÄúO sorrow, O suffering‚ÄĚ (Johannes Rist, 1641) many times as a child. ‚ÄúO great distress! God himself lies dead. On the cross he died and by doing so has won for us the realm of heaven.‚ÄĚ

God‚Äôs death is not something that Christians cannot imagine. Indeed, it is at the core of their proclamation. Atheists who wave this banner, beware. For the phrase ‚ÄúGod is dead‚ÄĚ plays squarely into the hands of the Christian evangelist. It recalls an event that is at the very heart of their narrative.

So how would I answer David Hume? I would say there is no such thing as an omnipotent God. Omnipotence is not a word in the Bible. And the idea of omnipotence comes from a completely different tradition of intellectual thought from that of the Hebrew scriptures. The idea of God as a human being hanging helpless on a Roman instrument of torture is not an image of omnipotence. In this sense, Hume’s challenge is not one that has ever detained me very much.

But I also have a far deeper problem with the way in which this question is posed. For a while, I taught philosophy at Oxford University. I also have a PhD in the subject. But in the end I gave up philosophy as an unsatisfactory discipline; not least because it seemed to me to be fundamentally unserious about many of the sorts of things it argues about, and particularly when it comes to suffering.

As a priest, dealing with death and loss all the time, no one has ever asked me the Hume type question, and certainly not in his measured tones. Never. Yes, many have been fantastically angry, spitting out the question ‚Äúwhy?‚ÄĚ as an accusation against anyone and everything. Many have been broken by their experience of pain and loss, alone in a dark room, unable to make themselves food or get out of bed. Perhaps it is unfair of me to call philosophy an unserious discipline when it comes to human suffering, but it has never helped me respond to people in such a state as this.

But the Bible has. When Job spits verbal fire at God for the death of his family, he manifests a sort of rage that feels far more realistic than the calm and studied logic of the dispassionate Enlightenment atheist. Job‚Äôs invective against God is so fierce that one can imagine Job thinking that non-existence would be too good for Him. Indeed, for the psychotherapist Carl Jung, the suffering of Job cries out for an answer, and pushes the divine into a kind of psychological development that ends up with the death of Jesus on the cross as a supreme act of identification of God with human suffering. According to Jung, the cross is ‚ÄĒ as the title of his book makes plain ‚ÄĒ ‚ÄúThe Answer to Job‚ÄĚ.

At the very least, then, it is not that the so-called ‚Äúproblem of evil‚ÄĚ is something Christianity runs away from. Indeed, it is the very point of Christianity to find a way of responding to human suffering in such way that has the sort of existential gravitas required by the challenge. That God ‚ÄĒ even understood symbolically as the sum total of human meaning ‚ÄĒ is also consumed by horrendous suffering and death, is a way to express of monumentality of what is at stake here. It‚Äôs not a ‚Äúproblem‚ÄĚ. It‚Äôs far more than a mere ‚Äúproblem‚ÄĚ.

That’s why the church feels like the right place for many of us to go and cry. The church is not an argument. It’s not a place for Socratic disputation. It’s a place where we can be broken, presided over by a man hanging broken on a wooden cross. And it formats our brokenness with a story that speaks of love as being ultimately greater that death, and as a triumph over even the most purposeless of human pain.

This is why human suffering does the exact opposite of what the Enlightenment atheist imagines it should do: it fills our churches, it doesn’t empty them. And not because it offers some cheap consolation that all will be ok. But for the opposite reason that it takes seriously the full weight and horror of human suffering. Indeed, church remains one of the few spaces in our culture in which we are allowed to acknowledge the existence of futile suffering without someone feeling so uncomfortable about it that they need to reassure us all that everything is going to be OK.

I have sat in church on my own quite a bit these last few weeks. I have a large wooden cross set up in the aisle. I am sitting with a dying man, keeping him company. And this feels like the proper place for me to express some sort of solidarity with those on ventilators, alone, struggling for breath; those receiving the news of the death of a mother, father, child; those being buried by men in protective clothing, no mourners there to say goodbye. I call it prayer. Atheists call it foolishness. And perhaps it is. But foolishness feels like the least of my worries these days.


Giles Fraser is a journalist, broadcaster and Vicar of St Anne’s, Kew.

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Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
4 years ago

Sorry Giles. I love your writing, but God is nowhere because there is no God. Despite a relatively religious upbringing I had thought my way to this inescapable conclusion by the age of 15. I just with more people could do the same.

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
4 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I was brought up as an atheist. I have had many religious experiences throughout my life and denied them and argued against them as I was brought up to do, listening to reason, instead of accepting what I was being given as evidence.

But after half a life time (I hope, I’m 50) I realised I could not go on making rational and reasoned arguments about irrational and inexplicable experiences so instead I embraced the faith which must have already been there, inside me, as it had been the means by which I had recognised my religious experiences as the extraordinary things they were despite the rational arguments my mind had made against them.

I still argue with myself because it is my nature, but I know the rational, bossy side can never beat the childish, faithful side and that is what true happiness feels like.

spangledfritillary
spangledfritillary
4 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Thanks for this.

I was diagnosed with terminal renal stage 4 cancer in May 2013 and here, seven years later, due to some extraordinary chains of events, including obvious medical expertise, my Faith is unshakeable through what some in the past might have labelled a Marian cult of worship. Making sense of all of it is still very difficult.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

However, Irrational and inexplicable experiences, are not the same as having proof. They are simply unexplainable experiences., Just as in science, There are many scientific observations that simply defy explanation.
Simply because we don’t understand something – is not proof of anything – it is simply that we don’t know!

spangledfritillary
spangledfritillary
4 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Alright, Fraser. I’ll bite.

Prove to us that God does not exist; “…there is no God” (your own capitalisation).

An earnest and perfectly serious question for you.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

Burden of proof is the obligation on somebody presenting a new idea (a claim) to provide evidence to support its truth (a warrant). Once evidence has been presented, It is up to any opposing “side”, (non believers) to prove the evidence presented is not adequate.

If you claim there is a god. Proof please!

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

As the majority of people over time have believed in the supernatural and a God or gods it is up to the atheists, particularly the New Atheist who believes in no supernatural realm, to prove the novel idea that there is no supernatural and therefore no God.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

There is nothing novel about a world without gods!
We need no God to explain the universe and life.
How many gods and religions have been invented and dismissed as irrelevant?
How many introduced newly without solid proof?
It’s happened many times, you yourself have done it!.
Your religion is far newer than those before, What proof did it offer as to authenticity? Currently, there are 10,000 distinct religions, with 8,00 – 12,000 gods who have been worshipped!

The burden lies with you to prove your god is real, what is it that makes you think there is one? What proof do you offer of existence? Why your proof is superior to other such claims? Proof of supernatural miracles?

Humans have an amazing ability to invent gods and the supernatural!
Godesses, deities and mythical creatures:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wi
https://en.wikipedia.org/wi
https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

We cannot, of course, disprove God, just as we can’t disprove Thor, fairies, leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But, like those other fantasies that we can’t disprove, we can say that God is very very improbable

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

You haven’t understood my response, and your response kind of proves my point.

Atheism presupposes the belief in a God. Its very meaning is “without god”. To have unbelief you need the the belief in the first place. The majority of humans have always believed in some greater power than them – a god. As the majority of humans have always had a belief in a god of some form or other, it is those who take the minority opinion of non-belief are presenting a “new idea (new claim)”. As as you have stated the “burden of proof is the obligation on somebody presenting a new idea”. Atheism is the novelty not thesis, so the burden of proof rest with them.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

Atheism and thiesm presupposes the exsistance/non of a God.
Agnostism presupposes nothing and demands high quality evidence!

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

Agnosticism is for ditherers, the feeble minded

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

Many Great philosophers, mathematicians, and writers have been defined as Agnostics. I hardly think they are feeble minded!
Agnosticism simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that which he has no scientific grounds for professing to know or believe.

To pretend to know more without facts is fraudulent!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

You haven’t understood my response, and your response kind of proves my point.

Atheism presupposes the belief in a God. Its very meaning is “without god”. To have unbelief you need the the belief in the first place. The majority of humans have always believed in some greater power than them – a god. As the majority of humans have always had a belief in a god of some form or other, it is those who take the minority opinion of non-belief are presenting a “new idea (new claim)”. As as you have stated the “burden of proof is the obligation on somebody presenting a new idea”. Atheism is the novelty not thesis, so the burden of proof rest with them.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

And you have not understood my response – even if I presuppose the electron that I cannot see – I have testable proof to its existence! I have technology that runs from those theories (not so god or any other application of the supernatural!)
There is only a theory and no proof!

The majority of humans have always… This is a presupposition! one you can’t prove without a time machine.
It’s more likely as humans developed the ability to imagine moving from an animal like cognisance – that they developed the ability to invent the fantastical. (as you can see from my examples – this has happened many many times, people invent gods and the supernatural with ease) Unless of course you also believe in a creation theory too…

You would still have an obligation to prove your novel new god over the older religions, As yet you have provided nothing that I would consider to be evidence pointing to the supernatural – it’s all able to be explained by science and quite rationally too.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

Belief in god had to be taught to you – you didn’t simply believe in Jesus, or any-other superstitious custom! depending on the country born would also affect which god or custom you would be taught. Anyone of those 8,000 – 12,000 gods, goddesses, animal deities…

Agnosticism does not presuppose a god!
AKA tacitly assume something is the case (Which is what presuppose means!) It means the evidence available is not enough to prove that there is a god! Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof!

The majority of humans have always believed in some greater power than them This is presupposition! – without a time machine you can’t verify that claim!

Because of humans ability to create and invent gods you would still need to prove your god over the claims of others with superior evidence as to the claim.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

There is nothing novel about a world without gods.
We need no God to explain the universe and life – it existed before we invented god and religions.”¬®

Humans have an amazing ability to invent gods and the supernatural!”¬®
https://en.wikipedia.org/wi
https://en.wikipedia.org/wi
https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

How many gods and religions have been invented and dismissed as irrelevant?
How many introduced newly without solid proof? It’s happened many times, you yourself have done it!.
Your religion is far newer than those before, what proof did it offer as to authenticity?

Currently, there are 10,000 distinct religions, with 8,00 – 12,000 gods who have been worshipped!
The burden lies with you to prove your god is real, what is it that makes you think there is one? What proof do you offer of existence?

We cannot, of course, disprove God, just as we can’t disprove Thor, fairies, leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But, like those other fantasies that we can’t disprove, we can say that God is very very improbable

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I very much doubt that at the age of 15 you had the full weight of knowledge and arguments to draw a rational conclusion to a question that has challenged people for millennia.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

Yes, which is why religion should not be taught to children.
before they have the ability to evaluate and question properly. rather than follow blindly.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

To be logically consistent you would have to apply to all subjects including science, as a child would also be blindly following them until they have the “ability to evaluate and question properly”.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

We introduce subjects to age groups based on cognitive ability! (religion doesn’t it jumps straight to the supernatural!) Science only works if you use logic! Which is why it’s taught to older students who can problem solve. after all, giving high level chemistry to 5 year olds is not productive.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

As I expected you have resort to irrational childish argument.

John Gleeson
John Gleeson
4 years ago

You totally decimated Alexander’s point with a very sensible point, and yet it was dismissed as simply being a childishly irrational argument.

To believe religion you simply have to be a person who believes whatever they want to believe, and whatever gives them comfort. And honestly, without intending to be demeaning to the guy although it might come across that way, Alex’s reply – as well as this article actually – exemplifies that trait.

I sometimes dearly wish I was such a person, and could hold on to nice, comforting, soothing, reassuring beliefs despite what factual reality tells us, but I’m simply can’t allow myself to not face reality and live in it fully, despite the bleak notion that it is highly likely this existence, our human one on this earth, is the only one we get.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  John Gleeson

Oh I think it’s quite comforting not to go to heaven to a god that kills the innocent, sells daughters to slavery or many of the other horrors invented and inflicted…if it is indeed that god in any case – not great odds on that either! ;P “God” is my planet it is where I live and die, as is natural… I hold on to nice, comforting, soothing, reassuring friends instead! despite the factual reality we get one go at life, it’s quite enough if you live it well ūüôā

John Gleeson
John Gleeson
3 years ago

Quite right.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

To be logically consistent you would have to apply to all subjects including science, as a child would also be blindly following them until they have the “ability to evaluate and question properly”¬Ě.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
4 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

the underlying assumption of this sort of glib un-reflective conventional-atheist perspective is that God is a particular definable thing– maybe a Being, like a superhero or something. It might be more interesting if atheists like this — proud of their querying, sceptical natures — questioned their own assumptions sometimes. Is there really a specific referent for ‘God’ ? But they’re not really interested in that, or capable of it…. Maybe the reason for coming to that ‘inescapable conclusion’ by the time you’re 15 is because is a particularly pubescent self-satisfied facile sort of conclusion, appropriate for a know-all teenager

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

God is a particular definable thing!
Religions like to control the conception of their special supreme being, to differentiate it to others, Hera is not Allah, Jade Emperor is not Yhwh or Thor. They have been defining their gods for millennia. Packaging up laws and morals demanded by their deity, creating epic backstories and sagas as proof. Then fighting wars over those concepts, even amongst themselves!

Agnostics find there is little in the way of substance for any of the arguments put forth to to validate any of these concepts or constructs. But the religious really are so sure of their concept!
They are happy enough to kill over it!

Is there really a specific reference for ‘God’ ?
Is actually a very important question! – the evidence is so low quality to non-existent as to give alarm bells to anyone who claims to know more!

John Gleeson
John Gleeson
4 years ago

I’m sitting here admiring your intellect. Sensible, rational, thoughful, logical, balanced, open-minded. And one that is all too rare. I know pitifully few people who have such a mindset.

ehyslopmargison
ehyslopmargison
4 years ago

I understand the longing for god or gods since the concept offers cause and purpose to suffering and death. But that’s an anthropocentric solution to a cosmological conundrum. What’s far more problematic is that such myths inevitably give rise to dogma and irrationality that prevents genuine human progress in areas of morality and science. Indeed, it is these outcomes of religion that led Hume to question and reject its legitimacy in favour of empiricism – although that move didn’t work out particularly well either.

Joe Smith
Joe Smith
4 years ago

If suffering fills the churches than that is just more evidence that belief in God is merely a psychological phenomena rather than a belief based on compelling and incontrovertible evidence.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
4 years ago
Reply to  Joe Smith

Call it what you will…but it’s not nothing.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  Joe Smith

What supernatural being would wish churches to be filled that way?
Would that be a moral way to fill a church?
Would that be a compassionate way to fill a church?
Would that be a leader I follow? If indeed, causing suffering is the method of filling a church or instilling belief?
Would there be a better way to fill churches?
If all powerful, why the inaction in the face of suffering?

David George
David George
4 years ago
Reply to  Joe Smith

“a belief based on compelling and incontrovertible evidence” – that’s knowledge, not belief. “In the material realm science reigns supreme. in the realm of values we must look elsewhere” (JBP)
Like beauty, God is a spirit that we can apprehend, real but not attainable or knowable via the rational mind. I hope that helps.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  David George

Oooh I think people can do better…
The bible and god has some very bumpy bits indeed! condoning selling daughters into sex slavery being one… I think humans when generous and compassionate can do it without the need of the supernatural, inherently people can be amazing either way with or without religion. Love it something I value – its not a physical property… Sometimes its even hard to rationalise! ūüėõ but it has beauty.
The world could use more not less!

Jerry W
Jerry W
4 years ago

Surely humanity can do better than this? Is it not time we learnt to stand on our own two feet and not depend on spurious biblical texts?
No, omnipotence is not a word in the bible. But neither are purgatory, pope, or archbishop, words in the bible.

Humans are not perfect and we have much to learn, but we can do better now than placing blind faith in religions.

Simon Bannister
Simon Bannister
4 years ago

Thanks for this, your writing is a big reason I come to this site…

Philosophy? Depends on the Philosopher… Religion and Philosophy harmonise for me, Practise of a Philosophical discipline led me back to the Church, one works with the mind, wisdom, reason the other on the emotion, both are necessary.

Cranmer in a Norman Church, sitting upright and quiet, listening inwardly to my Mantra, then the opening words…

We are born to die, that’s how it is. We just have to accept this, when we do we can then start to live properly, from suffering we seem to become elevated, to rise above the Trivia that usually defines us, madly pursuing meaningless desires.

I am so ready for my 1st communion after the lockdown lifts.

Thanks again Canon (hope I got that right?)

Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
4 years ago

I don’t believe in God as traditionally expressed – ie a consciousness that could intervene and “save us” from whatever bad cards life deal us, certainly not a consciousness that has a gender. When it comes to saying the Credo, the words “God the Father” stick in my throat. But something Giles once said on the Moral Maze made me think. He was talking about original sin in the context of whether people are good or evil. I have never believed in that duopoly either. But then he explained that he meant “human beings are broken”. And that I could identify with. We see in the current crisis so many voices who seem to believe that humans are almost godlike in their intelligence. This could have been prevented, they argue, if we had just done things differently. Deaths could have been avoided. Someone somewhere must have answers. Someone is to blame. But human understanding is incredibly limited, most damagingly by our own egos – our need to be seen, to be admired, to be important, to be right. We each of us, even the “experts” know so little. We are each just a tiny fragment of this miracle of life – the miracle I like to think is the real “god” if we are going to use that word. The chances of each of us even being here are billions to one. The number of possible views of “here” are many as the number of individuals who live. Having been given this miracle of a gift, we have the choice each day about how live it. We can approach everything and everyone with love, which is Christ’s commandment. In which case we can make virtuous circles of life. Or we can do the opposite. We can create our own heavens or hells. We can work to become better people and to make the world a better place or we can take and take and find we are left with nothing. We need religion as the support to do what we ought rather than what we want, including in times of illness, pain and sorrow. Our reward won’t be to banish those things, but to become stronger and to feel at peace with how we have acted and thought. And when we do die, we can be satisfied that we lived our brief shot as best we could.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

Nicely said however, we can do all of this without the need for a god or religion! Secular naturalism or Pantheism has appeal … Our physical environment (the land on which we live, our natural environment) or else our social environment (our community, nation or, generally, the people we meet with). God consists of everyone and everything. For example, a tree is God, a mountain is God, the universe is God, all people are God

However – pantheism is a non-religious philosophical position. Pantheists also reject the idea of God’s personhood.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

Pantheism from the Greek pan- all + theos- god. It is defined two ways:
1. A doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the universe.
2. The worship of all gods of different creeds, cults, or peoples indifferently.

It is a religious.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

thanks but…There are a variety of definitions of pantheism. … Some such as Spinoza and Hegel hold that pantheism is a non-religious philosophical position. To them, pantheism is the view that the Universe (in the sense of the totality of all existence) and God are identical Implying a denial of the personality and immanence of God and miracles.
Thus removing all laws, scripture and dogma to start fresh! Using minds and reasoning to make laws to bring greater fairness and compassion to society without superstition!

So we both show our bias evenly ūüėõ

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

If it is true that our universe and all that is contained is “god” Then science would be the true “religion.”
The religion of understanding our world and ourselves!
And if not – at least science and logic can debunk all other claims to the supernatural as they appear!
Including all current claimed knowledge of the afterlife etc.

In this crisis it is science and not god the brings treatment and hope! When all religions can only commiserate the loss, the path forward is the path human kind paves for itself through its own hard work and ingentuity!

Paul Davies
Paul Davies
4 years ago

How can you love God and Love your neighbour as yourself when if they do not espouse your belief system then they will for eternity burn in agony in hell.Simple question for which I am sure there will be complex answers from the Christian intelligensia.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Davies

Yes it makes me very weary of smiling neighbours especially if they are extreamly religious ;P

Marco Federighi
Marco Federighi
4 years ago

I have been wondering if, and in which sense, I am a religious person. I have three answers.

Rationally – the existence of God, as far as I know, has been neither proved nor disproved: I don’t know if God exists, full stop.

Culturally, I am a Roman Catholic, born in 1955 and brought up in Tuscany. The basics of ethics, I think, are largely the same for atheists, Muslims, Christians and so on: we all agree that certain things are wrong. But my cultural references are the Ten Commandments (in the Catholic version), and the Gospels – not other sacred books, not the Old Testament.

Emotionally, I am not religious, and I feel it as something that I miss. My parents were both believers. They could pray, and draw emotional solace and strength from prayer. I have prayed too, for loved ones – but I feel no emotion. And I miss that.

I see no contradiction in being an agnostic (not knowing if God exists) and praying: contradictions belong in logic, not in human life.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

I largely suspect the majority of the population are agnostic (and don’t really believe in miracles and the supernatural) I think many people also “pray” and hope for other people, knowing no divine intervention will come, but wishing for better. You could say I “pray” not to god (i doubt its presence), but maybe to the world in general – a shared hope of something better for everyone, the planet too.

When people “pray/consider life” we think of our families, our friends, our health, our significance, and our greatest ambitions… that is to regard the deeper meanings in life. It’s Not something that needs the supernatural. Agnosticism sits well with those thoughts and actions.

Prayer/consideration of life does not change the world, but it changes him who prays.

Michael Baldwin
Michael Baldwin
4 years ago

I made a comment that seems for some reason that escapes me to not have escaped moderation, so I will summarize it here again, as I think it is a very simple and plausible explanation to the above question “Where is God in this Covid-horror?”

My answer is that while God is nowadays mostly depicted as a “God of love” as per the New Testament and life of Jesus suggests at a superficial glance, a more careful but even casual study of the Bible as a whole, especially the Old Testament, suggests it’s really not that simple.

What appears in summary, is that God has created a world in which though science may not accept it – unquestionably does not accept it, we are not in fact as free as we imagine, there are fixed moral laws, as how man is to behave towards his neighbour, mainly stated in Jesus’ law to “love God and love his neighbour as himself” and the commandments of Moses.

So if you look objectively at what man has been doing in the world for the past 2000 years since Jesus gave and handed out that law, and in particular at our well documented modern era mostly of tyranny, in that most of world past and current history is a catalogue of wars and repressions of peoples everywhere, and cruel domination by the rich and powerful over the poor and weak, and a society in general that routinely breaks most of Moses’ commandments and fails to remotely live up to Jesus laws of loving God (most don’t even believe in Him) and loving one’s neighbour, then it is clear we have trampled all over God’s laws and continue to do so as if they didn’t hardly exist.

For example, while everybody is currently obsessed with covid-19, which to date has killed about 9,000 in total in the UK, 21,000 people a day die of starvation, and this effective mass murder in a world that has an overabundance of food goes on decade after decade incessantly, but the media and public hardly talk or care about it, so that would certainly appear to be a mass failure to “love our neighbour” as Jesus ordered that God said we should.

So then we look at the Old Testament, and we see the fate of cities and nations even who did not follow God’s commandments, and we are told that they suffered plagues and disasters and were even destroyed.

So it appears that God’s laws and commandments are not mere suggestions to be good and moral, that we might consider taking up some day, but actually inbuilt laws inherent in Nature, which heap terrible consequences up on us should enough people disobey them.

For it appears also from the Bible story of the city that was saved when so many “good men” were found inside it, these “Biblical catastrophes” only occur when the evil goes beyond a certain point.

So I submit that we are as a world and society at that point, surrounded by disasters, but totally in denial that it’s anything we are doing that is causing it, just as so many are in denial even that man is causing the environmental catastrophe, even though apparently the vast majority of scientists now even think so.

(bear in mind, I’m not saying we are causing global warming or not, I’m just saying in this case, even atheists who use science to deny God are conveniently also denying science if they don’t agree with the man-made global warming theory)

We live in a world in which as Jesus put it, “man’s love has grown cold.”

Yes, we talk about love all the time, but the divorce statistics, the crime statistics, the massive inequality between rich and poor, and this nearly 1 million a year we allow to die of starvation every year, we don’t hardly mention, while we go crazy about to date only about 9,000 of our own people dying of a disease in months, while 21,000 die of starvation every day, and so on, suggest that it is mainly all talk.

So that appears to be the answer to where God is. He is watching all right, but he has given man free will to love his neighbour as himself, and obey God’s commandments, but as man mostly does neither, these disasters come on man automatically, not as “a punishment from God”, but due to man’s abuse of his free will, which God sent his prophets to warn man would occur if he did not behave rightly.

So as man continues to blatantly ignore God and his Prophets, the disaster happen before our eyes, and the Bible would suggest will get far worse if we continue along this path of “unrighteousness.”

I mean, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying I necessarily believe that explanation, or am insisting it is true – I am just pointing out that if one does take the New and Old Testament seriously, as a Christian believer surely must, then those are simple deductions it appears to me.

I in fact personally follow a more Buddhist or Hindu explanation or theosophical explanation of our existence and religion, but which amounts to the same thing, as then it is simply a matter of karma – man creates collective evil and then Nature automatically backfires on him, producing even deadly viruses and freak weather because he does not understand and disobey’s Nature’s laws.

Almost all in fact of the thousands of different religions say the same thing, including the prophecies of the Hopi Indians mentioned in the “real life disaster movie” Koyannisqatsi, which prophesies doom when man behaves in his current fashion.

There is a particularly fascinating one which says:

“a can of ashes might be thrown some day, which would boil the oceans and scorch the land” – this prophecy is possibly even thousands of years old, certainly many centuries, and appears to predict the atomic bomb.

So it is not just Christian scripture that warns man to behave himself or Nature will punish him through one disastrous means or another, but nearly every other religion throughout history teaches and warns of more or less the same.

So as atheism and science now dominate our world, these kinds of disasters of the plague variety, are merely one of the inevitable results.

But the public does not wish to hear this, it wants scientists to save it, it refuses to believe it has any responsibility for any such “natural event” that happens, like the appearance of a deadly (so they tell us) new virus.

And thus objectively speaking, if the religious teachings are right, it appears we will be subjected to ever more disasters until we are either made extinct, which of course can now plausibly happen by either nuclear war or environmental catastrophe (and plagues are an environmental catastrophe), unless in some way shape or form we start to “turn back to God” and obey His laws.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

Sorry you need to prove
A god + existence of the supernatural (Since nobody yet has! The argument stops there!) You are claiming authority with no evidence or proof. Meaning your “laws” mean almost nothing other than opinion based on superstition.

Michael Baldwin
Michael Baldwin
4 years ago

Well no, I don’t actually need to prove God exists.

That you say I need to prove God exists, is just a statement you are making, but making a statement doesn’t mean it’s true.

Because I could ask you equally to prove God does not exist.

Just because Richard Dawkins says God believers need to prove God exists, the onus is on them, that doesn’t mean it is.

Because the fact a universe is here, and science has no explanation for it (the Big Bang is not an explanation, it’s an unproven description that can never be proved as nobody can witness it), and it does not know how life arose, cannot simulate the creation of life in a laboratory even (though Richard Dawkins claims (something like) this will probably happen “over tea next Tuesday” by some “really smart biologist” but that was quite a few years ago and it didn’t happen yet) so actually you have no other explanation than some kind of God created the universe, because everything else that exists apart from Nature that God created, e.g. your computer, was created by somebody.

So it’s up to atheists to prove God doesn’t exist, or the rest of us will continue to see that as the only reasonable explanation.

However, that’s not really my point anyway.

All I am really saying is there are these “prophet” guys (and some girls too) who all through history keep coming up with religions based on a religious/spiritual experience they have, like the Buddha’s enlightenment even, and they generally follow the same description.

Which is there is a God, there is some kind of afterlife (in the Buddhist case) or heaven or enlightenment, and there is some kind of path to it which generally means man must obey some set of rules like Moses’ Ten Commandments.

Then the Bible, which as far as one can see is largely a historical document (there are kings, pharaohts etc in it known by official history to exist), describes what happens if people don’t – disasters, plagues famines etc, and even destruction of cities.

So I can understand you may not like that, and it’s frightening, so you would prefer not to believe it.

You are entitled to disbelieve it.

But what if the Bible really is generally true, and if we don’t obey God’s laws we are going to have some awful disaster, like an asteroid strikes the planet or something, like all those craters you see on the moon?

Scientists are all agreed if even a small one of those hit the Earth, it would cause something like Noah’s flood as well as an impact event that would be like all the nuclear weapons in the world (which is a lot) going off all at once, and quite possibly all human and other life could be wiped out.

So my thinking is that scientists are fairly well agreed that if such an asteroid comes they don’t be able to do a thing about it, so I am wondering if instead we should consider following God’s laws.

My thinking is that even if I’m wrong, following things like Moses’ Ten commandments” would lead to a much more peaceful and secure society with nobody killing one another or stealing things from others, including their wives and husbands, and telling lies in court trials to get people falsely imprisoned and things like that, and Jesus’s suggest that we all love each other in a far less selfish way also seems like a good idea to me.

I mean, personally do you think it is a good idea that people do the things Moses said it is better they didn’t?

Like killing people, telling lies, stealing somebody else’s husband/wife, etc?

Whereas it appears with the atheism that you seem to favour, there aren’t really any fixed laws at all, so there’s no safety for anybody.

You might say there is, but for example in Scotland at the moment, they are trying to abolish jury trial and make legal hearsay evidence, which means lots of people will go to prison wrongfully and falsely accused, but that would never happen under properly applied laws of Moses, as he wouldn’t allow “false witnesses.”

And e.g there’s all these people starving to death at the rate of 4 a second, 21,000 a day, but there is no atheist law to stop this happening.

However, Jesus’s law would stop it happening. The problem isn’t Christianity, but that the so called Christians don’t actually much put Jesus’s laws into practice, so they’d treat others with the same consideration they treat themselves, which would mean not letting anybody on the planet starve.

What I’d like you to do is prove to me the safe alternative than having religious morality (I mean of the kind Jesus talked about in the New Testament, and I can’t see personally anything wrong with Moses 10 commandments, they just need applying fairly).

Because all I see as religion has declined, imperfect as it may have been, is more and more chaos, like this lockdown which is putting everybody in prison when they’ve not actually committed any crime.

Please – I got Boris Johnson’s letter this morning telling me not to dare to go out of my home, because he says he’s very worried about the NHS getting overloaded.

If he was worried about that sort of thing happening, he should have increased its budget about 300% minimum as soon as he got to power, which is what I would do, and I am quite sure Jesus would do too if he was here now, which maybe He is, but for reasons the public is not at present aware of, maybe is just not allowed to speak in public.

Maybe I even met Him, and so I have my proof. But of course you wouldn’t believe that, so it still wouldn’t be proof to you.

You see, that is the actual basis of my belief. I don’t just depend on the Bible, I have read a lot of other books by people who say they have met and even lived with spiritual beings who have miraculous powers like Jesus.

I decide whether that is true, because I listen carefully to lots of these kinds of people, and many of them are very accomplished and very intelligent and wise people, so I am inclined to believe what they say, when they claim these things.

The same is true of people like the Buddha or Confucius or whoever.

It is the wisdom in these works, the feeling of rightness, of it bejng superior to ordinary human judgement that persuades millions and even billions to follow these beings, which whether you like it or not they actually do, and have done all throughout history.

Because they respond to this sense of justice, that is not usually found in the secular rulers that usually preceded them, usually tyrants of one kind or another like King Herod or Emperor Nero and so on.

You seem to have an Eastern European name.

One of the people who convinces me that there is truth in spiritual things is Madame Blavatsky, who wrote the Secret Doctrine.

It’s a very hard and complicated book to read, but it includes the most amazing information that it appears nobody else till that time knew, and I cannot believe that any human being could possibly create such a work unaided by beings who are beyond the level of ordinary humans, as she claims.

It is after reading that book for example that a British lady, Annie Besant, originally an atheist, became a theosophist, and so returned to a spiritual belief.

There have been numerous women theosophists who all claim encounters with this groups of spiritual beings, of whom Jesus and Buddha are members.

They are still alive, but not allowed to circulate openly in society, until society becomes ready for it.

That time may be coming very soon, as people lose faith in their governments and scientists to protect them.

Which has pretty much happened in the first case, and now is rapidly happening in the second one.

For example regarding this covid-19 which science cannot apparently protect us from, so has suggested locking us all indoors, and science could not of course protect us from the HIV (AIDS) virus either, which has been circulating since 1981, and about 37 million people are currently infected with and nearly a million die because of every year.

It’s funny isn’t it, it how everybody is obsessed with covid-19, even though only about 10,000 have died in the UK so far, but we have this other virus, HIV, killing nearly a million a year worldwide and about 37 million are infected with, but nobody even talks about hardly.

I mean, you’d think they’d at least remind us that is still a big danger to us, wouldn’t you?

But Boris didn’t say a word about it in his letter, telling us all we’d all been sentenced to virtual “house imprisonment” till he decided to let us out again, which he didn’t even give any possible date for.

Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith
4 years ago

Because I could ask you equally to prove God does not exist.

No, you can’t. Because then I could ask you equally to prove that there does not exist an invisible pink platypus in the universe. It’s unfair for me to ask you to do that. Likewise, it is unfair to ask someone to prove that God does not exist. The onus is on the person claiming the existence of God.

Michael Baldwin
Michael Baldwin
4 years ago
Reply to  Thomas Smith

I’ve decided to cease fruitless intellectual arguments on this and just talk about *evidence.*

Which is that many thousands of humans throughout history claim personal encounters with God – who is of course not some bloke on a white cloud with a big beard hurling thunderbolts – but as these *witnesses* explain, a supreme intelligence, more awesome than anything imaginable, which He (the idea God has a gender of course is just a convenience, as a God who creates and is simultaneously the whole universe at once, cannot possibly be restricted to gender, but must be beyond all limitations).

The real proof that this God almost certainly does exist, is the evidence of these many humans who not only describe their personal encounters with God, but describe these close encounters with an incredible similarity.

But of course, the even stronger evidence is the far more numerous personal encounters with the “agents” of God, who are the prophets like Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Moses, Confucius, Krishna, Zoroaster, etc, etc.,

But these encounters are not confined to history, there are numerous modern people who have described their meetings and experiences with these beings in great and convincing (if one bothers to read it, which of course almost nobody does, as the media almost never talks about it) detail.

Including people like Swami Omananda (born Maud McCarthy, a doctor’s daughter and former violin soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and married to English composer John Faulds), Annie Besant, numerous Westerners who have met Sai Baba and experienced his miracles, Madame Blavatsky (born a minor Russian aristocrat), Murdo McDonald Bayne, a Scottish doctor, Baird T Spalding, an American engineer, British composer and author Cyril Scott, and many many more, who have described their encounters with real life physical beings called Masters/Brothers who exhibit similar powers to Jesus, Moses or one of the other prophets.

I give brief biographical details of some of the persons above to indicate these are not retarded person or cranks, but in fact some of the finest minds and most accomplished people in their respective societies, as was Madame Blavatsky (founder of theosophy) herself, a totally brilliant personality who seemed to be fluent in numerous foreign languages and had a knowledge so broad and detailed she must be one of the greatest intellects in history.

Trying reading a few chapters of her monumental multi-thousand page work “The Secret Doctrine”, and you will find you have extreme difficulty even reading quite a lot of it, because actually you are dealing with a higher form of intelligence than almost all human, and the same applies to the works of Alice A Bailey.

You see, the atheist has absolutely no explanation of where all these experiences and extremely detailed systems of knowledge and philosophy come from.

So Richard Dawkins for example, simply dismissed all if it in a few brief pages as “proof by experience”, and suggests it is all illusion or delusion, simply because he has not had these experience or encounters himself, which I also have had personally you see, which is why I can write with such confidence on this issue.

In particular, many have seen (and there are photographs of) a being called Maitreya, who is allegedly the head of the group of Masters (these are perfected beings like Buddha or Jesus, who are able to exist in spiritual bodies or may be in human bodies, but ones which can actually be kept young for hundreds of years, like Methuselah and many others mentioned in the Bible).

British artist Benjamin Creme wrote about these Beings, and also lists literally thousands of such miraculous events reported by correspondents on his website or in his various writings.

I might disbelieve him myself, but I actually have had at least one personal encounter with the head of this group of Masters, a Being known as Maitreya, who is actually the Christ.

I did not at the time know who this person was, until I later recognised Him from the photographs on Mr Creme’s website of His appearance to a crowd of around 6000 in Nairobi in 1988, and was reported in the Kenya Time with those photos, but apparently mostly ignored worldwide.

But He spoke to me in a public place by name, and indicated He knew where I had been and where my next destination was, which nobody could possibly have known, as I only had decided it myself a minute or so earlier.

I have had many other “miraculous occurrences” in my life, for example inexplicable but instant in cases remedy of various physical ailments (though not all) on requesting His aid, which is available to whoever asks within karmic limits.

For example I was once bleeding profusely (and I do mean profusely) from a cut and had no medical aid at hand, and the cut was sealed instantly at my request.

Many millions of ordinary people it can safely be assumed have had these kinds of experiences, “miraculously” escaping from a car crash or something, that seemed to defy all laws of chance, and often some unknown figure has appeared to rescue them from a situation whose appearance similarly seemed unlikely in the extreme.

Many people will recall these experiences if they think about it.

But of the more dramatic and inexplicable ones – such as materialisation of objects before one’s eyes, or statues that weep real tears or blood that science can analyse – the public is almost totally ignorant of.

Due to a media that is either utterly silent about them, or mocking and dismissive in the case of anybody such as Sai Baba – numerous Westerners have had experiences with Said Baba, many quite famous persons, and have had gold bracelets or whatever inscribed with their own names that he has materialised before their eyes or left in some private and inaccessible (to others) place for them unexplained.

There is a reason for this mockery and dismissal, because what we actually have in the world, that most of the public does not understand remotely, is a battle between good and evil which occurs mostly on the higher and invisible planes, but is then played out on the physical plane that science alone detects and describes.

Reality is in actuality truly something like as in Star Wars, in that there is a never ending war going on by the light forces against “the dark side”.

This war is played out by these higher spiritual forces using human beings more or less like chess pieces, such as Hitler and Churchill. Or in modern times people like Tony Blair, Trump or whoever, who are to a lesser or greater degree open to the influence of these higher beings, good or bad.

Hitler for example, was well known to be interested in the occult, and the swastika he used as a symbol of Nazism was actually an Eastern spirituality symbol, used in a mirror image anti-clockwise form, so perverted to Hitler’s evil and destructive purpose.

So the light Masters – such as Jesus and Buddha – are forever trying to spread good in the world, which they do via their prophets and supporters, and the dark ones are trying to cover up the light, and keep everybody tied to the material reality, and deny the spiritual.

Which as we can see, results in endless suffering and war, and even natural disasters due to the prevalence of negative forces on Nature, which our scientists, like Mr Dawkins, of course do not understand.

Because likewise, the goal and purpose of human life is not remotely understood, which all the scientists like Mr Dawkins have to offer is at best that we are here “to pass on our genes.”

You know, I’m so thrilled to be able to do that, aren’t you?

And bear in mind, under this system, for example due to the massive wealth inequality forcing many into joblessness and crushing poverty, a great many people do not get to pass on their genes. Or at least not with somebody who is their ideal, due to this same dominance of the material, so that women often seek out the rich men to breed with, rather than the genetically superior, as they feel that gives them more security.

Hence, we see the massive popularity of “fairy stories” about peasants who solve some riddle and get to marry the king’s daughter; or movies in which poor people get together and get rich by some daring robbery, ultimately so they can get a desirable partner to mate with, which is far more difficult if one is poor.

This is a very serious point, given the true purpose of life on the planet, as I will now explain.

Which is spiritual evolution, so that by a series of enough incarnations the soul then arrives at perfection like the Christ or Buddha.

That is, each soul starts out as a primitive being, a being mostly only concerned with breeding and feeding, and gradually evolves to become a more cultured being, an “intellectual and lover of the arts.”

And then in later lives, a genius like Mozart, Einstein or Van Gogh (note his spiritual tendencies) and finally a prophet or enlightened person like Moses, Jesus or Buddha.

So for that to happen, we have to have a society, in which good can prosper – including being able to find a genetically as well as otherwise compatible marriage partner.

Because spiritual evolution requires a genetically suitably evolved body for the more evolved soul to incarnate into, so the spiritual qualities of man can unfold.

And that only easily takes place in a well ordered and just society, in which love and mutual help can flourish as opposed to hate and greed, injustice, crime and conflict.

And this is why every one of the prophets – you know, these persons who had an actual encounter (albeit on the mental/spiritual level) with God, like Moses, produced a set or rules of laws like Moses Ten Commandments, or Buddha advocating the respect of all life, or Jesus’s command to love and treat one’s neighbour as oneself.

But the dark forces, of “evil” if you like, to be simplistic about it (actually anti-evolutionary forces, who wish to keep us locked into total material obsession, which includes for example even our modern shopping obsession) would rather see the whole planet destroyed than humans all start turning into Jesus’s and Buddhas.

You can see millions are now attempting to do that, for example since the Maharishi, and following the Dalai Lama and so on, like Russell Brand even, but even with the modern more or less mainstream pursuit of mindfulness meditation.

But that situation of possible destruction of the planet and human life whether by environmental collapse or nuclear or biological war is unfortunately where we are at now.

i.e. we are in a situation in which we are having dangerous international conflict, mainly between Russia, America and China currently, but even inside the EU with Brexit, which former can quite possibly result in nuclear war, in which we all die.

So basically, the dark forces are working through people like Richard Dawkins and even it may surprise you to know David Icke, to lead us all away from the real truth.

Which is that spiritual beings like Jesus and Moses have been with us for all our history, but not allowed – due to the mostly total dominance of dark forces on this planet for all its officially known history – to appear more than occasionally in public view.

But the good news is the Masters (Those who were Jesus, Buddha, Moses, John the Baptists, Krishna, etc.) are now here en masse to save us from being dominated by these dark forces, as authors like Alice A Bailey and Benjamin Creme explain.

(David Icke incidentally, as written in his most famous book “The Biggest Secret” actually explains he has a serious problem with the whole concept of “a Master” – which he wrongly takes to be an authoritative figure, when it actually means “A Master of Wisdom” (or of Himself), so he thereby leads people away from true spirituality, like a “spiritual pied piper”, while pretending he is the answer – hence you see due to the support of these dark forces who are still dominant on the material and commercial plane, his books are everywhere (they are in all the libraries) even though they contain the most outrageous slander of those in high places, even royalty, but the likes of Benjamin Creme you do not see his books anywhere, though one of them – “The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom” was a best seller in America, but not here).

You will note also that the advanced beings whom we call geniuses such as Mozart, Van Gogh, Wordsworth, Shakespeare and numerous others have a spiritual aspect to their work, even for example we find prophetic author H G Wells talking about theosophy founder Madame Blavatsky in hir short story (from which a film was made) “The Man Who could Work Miracles.”

Fortunately, due to the Internet, now most or all of the above spiritual material (and even complete works of H G Wells) is available free (as out of copyright) on websites such as archive.org, or failing that can still be got somehow from libraries, though a lot of it is even now out of print, but can often be found or read somewhere online.

The problem is nobody is hardly looking at this material, they are not waking up to the truth that the “Second Coming” has actually already taken place, but is just not yet into open public view.

Instead they are told authoritatively by scientists such as Mr Dawkins the whole idea of a God is laughable, and can only be taken seriously by deluded or mentally ill persons.

And are on the other hand assaulted with relentless promotion of excess pleasures and luxuries, and daily with real life “disaster movies” and propaganda, all of which tells them there is nothing that is real except the material prison they find themselves in.

With its permanent unavoidable death and its massive inequality and injustice, and its domination by greedy, self-aggrandizing and often murderous (by war especially) tyrants.

So little do all these “agnostics” and “atheists” realise, but they are doing nothing but “shooting themselves in the foot” and propping up the evil global tyranny, which of course is not a new event, but pretty much the pattern of all known world history, to the point that the argument is put forth that it is merely “human nature”, “survival of the fittest”, and so nothing can ever be changed.

Note how the promotion of the animal evolution as “survival of the fittest” not only supports the capitalist system of permanent inequality and domination of the weak by the strong, including militarily if necessary as in our wars, but also therefore at its extreme justifies both enforced euthanasia and genocide, on the grounds that if our military science is superior to theirs, by possessing for example a superior nuclear arsenal, they we are entitled to wipe them out.

That’s really also the basis upon which the British Empire was created – our military was superior to theirs, so we believed we were entitled to rule over and dominate them.

And there is *no* antidote whatsoever to that tyranny and mass murder or genocide, unless there is a Jesus or Buddha or Moses to issue the commands from on high to say that it is wrong.

And lacking that, of course this neverending domination and tyranny and war, is not only what the rulers of our society and world want, but moreover the dark forces behind them.

Whose real goal is to stop a true spiritual awakening, in which the world would actually start to be ruled and governed according to the principles of Buddha and Jesus, rather than just paying lip service to them.

As has been the actual truth since even Jesus came 2000 years ago, which has mostly been a period of war and injustice, and very little of the brotherly love that Jesus recommended has ever taken place.

So what I have written here, I am very certain 99.99% of the public has not even been exposed to, not allowed to even consider if this may be true.

But instead are offered only an immature, childish unscientific version of religion which they therefore understandably reject and laugh at, especially in the face of scientific modern education, which appears to explain our existence to their satisfaction, though it really doesn’t, as I have also above explained.

So the public debate we (as a society) have been having so far is merely “corrupted middle ages level religion” versus modern science.

So as I’ve explained, that’s really not “a fair fight”, and most tragically of all, that has resulted in persons such as yourself and Natalija above, believing in their own permanent (or indeed imminent) personal extinction.

As that is just what these dark forces want.

They want us all to remain in fear, darkness and doubt, so that like at the end of Orwell’s novel 1984, we die “loving Big Brother”, as they have finally controlled the few square inches inside our head that we thought were beyond them.

So we die loving “Big Boris” or “Big Dawkins”, while denying “Big God” whom we consider (though we deny His existence) our mortal enemy, and from whom we therefore had a lucky escape by disbelieving in Him.

You know, it’s a wonder Mr Dawkins does not hand out certificates shortly before death, congratulating people on dying still disbelieving in Him, as if that would do them any good, which I doubt even his most fervent fans would be grateful for at that point.

Anyway, I am not trying to force my beliefs on you, just giving you information you almost certainly have never heard before, so you can either follow it up or ignore it as you please.

So I don’t think I’ll therefore reply to yourself or Natalija again, at least not upon this thread, as all the answers to the questions or objections you raise are dealt with in those sources I have above mentioned.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

To have “laws from god” you need to prove a god!

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

.”..it’s an unproven description that can never be proved as nobody can witness it…”

I’m always very interested why religious people can accept god but then reject the big bang as- “not proved as nobody can witness it”

Personally, if physicists want to play with big bang theory that’s up to them theories grow change and expand (thier field of science produces much of the technology we have – pointing to be more reliable than religion in useful application, as we can verify some of the ideas in behaviour without Quantum physics we wouldn’t have cellphones.

Of course if proved big bang potentially damages an already hugely flawed scripture + creation myth. But that can only effect those that hold the bible as a literal “heavenly document” – something I find very unlikely given the flaws, outright horror and contradictions.

from Mesopotamian cosmology the flat, circular Earth enclosed in a cosmic ocean to the Event Horizon Telescope…. an amazing journey of inventiveness!

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

“I could ask you equally to prove God does not exist” X is true because there is no proof that X is false.
Apply any mythical creature at X…
Knock yourself out, we can have lochnesses, dragons, and aliens galore…

Remember, I’m not an atheist but agnostic… Which means I say god likely does not exist. There is no proof to conclude with certainty. X is not true or false, X is unknown and unverified due to lacking incomplete or low quality evidence.

Not being able to disprove does not mean god exists! Which is the fallacy you are making.

https://www.logicallyfallac

Michael Baldwin
Michael Baldwin
4 years ago

(NOTE: I’ve had to edit this reply massively as it won’t go through the system, so it is far from the best answer I can do as a consequence.)

I feel you are framing this wrongly and also accusing me of things that aren’t the case.

Of course I cannot prove 100%, beyond any trace of doubt that God exists, any more than any scientist can with certainty say the universe started with a Big Bang, or in fact whether it actually ever “started” at all, but has simply always existed in some form.

The question of God’s existence or non-existence cannot be compared to that of the Loch Ness Monster or a chocolate teapot orbiting Mars, and that Mr Dawkins and his followers do so is not in any way scientific or logical, but merely “argument by mockery.”

That is to say “oh, the idea there is a God is as ridiculous as a chocolate teapot orbiting Mars” – that’s an opinion, but there’s nothing scientific about it.

The larger point is the existence or non-existence of God is in fact totally beyond the realm of empirical science, because firstly we are talking about a “Being” that is either infinite (in “Its” manifestation as the universe) or invisible and eternal and therefore beyond any conceptions of time and space.

An eternal consciousness and unlimited intelligence (because it creates and administrates the whole universe, animates every atom) that does not require any physical apparatus to exist, and if that sounds ridiculous, the fact is that is effectively what must exist whether we call it Nature or God.

But that then somehow some form of life arises from all that supposedly “dead matter” and then somehow then becomes conscious even on some dim level, and eventually somehow evolves (which is also far from clear) to beings that appear to (based on our own ideas about our own consciousness) exhibit ever increasing consciousness, such that their mental horizons are expanded to for example become aware of things that their eyes could not unaided see, such as through the microscope and telescope, and aware that what part of what they call “the universe” they can see through their eyes or telescopes appears to have other stars in large numbers, and so they imagine other planets which may also have life on them.

So in fact most scientists now “believe” that life must exist on other planets, and that it could be as “advanced” as ourselves, or possibly even more so.

But as to how it started at all, they still only have theories, just as they only have theories of how the universe started, or that it started at all.

And what you don’t seem to appreciate is that there is an extremely arrogant and self-aggrandizing assumption here.
Which is that the human brain or rather intellect is actually capable of dealing with these fundamental questions of the origin or life or the universe, or what exactly consciousness is at all.

The result is we have a practically infantile level this discussion is taking place upon because we have been trapped in this “anthropomorphic” idea of God as some angry bloke in the sky who tells sinners which sins they can and cannot commit and threatens them with “eternal punishment” in hell if they don’t obey him.

What is it that makes two more or less identically qualified scientists (this is why all your efforts to bring science into this are irrelevant) take totally diametrically opposed views on the God issue?

Such as Dr Francis Collins, an evangelical Christian believer, and original director of the Human Genome Project, and on the other hand Richard Dawkins, probably the world’s most famous atheist.

So the fact we have people with equally high IQs and qualifications who take totally opposing views itself confirms this is not an area where objective or empirical science can operate and decide with any certainty, as these persons are all trained in it and are unable to prove either is right or wrong.

So in fact, the God belief question is not therefore hardly ever or ever being decided by reason or the intellect, but is simply a choice people are making to believe or disbelieve, which must therefore be of psychological or emotional cause, and not a scientific one.

i.e. people choose to believe or disbelieve when their views are reduced to their essence as because they either *like it* or *don’t like it* – it has little or nothing to do with either “science” or “reason”!

And in fact, that is also why so many choose to “believe in” or follow a religion – not because they know with any certainty if there is a God or not, but because they see a structure there of law and community that makes them feel secure, which they feel gives them protection from what they see (and in my view, with a lot of justification) as the lawless non-religious world.

e.g. a religious adherent almost universally is not allowed to have sexual relations outside of marriage of some sort, and as an enormous number of the population wants to have that right to carry out such actions without guilt or censure, they are unwilling to accept a “religious authority” telling them what they can or cannot do.

But I have explained in the reply to Thomas Smith below what the problem with this mass disbelief is, and why the “rules” that so many currently want to avoid are always part of any religion.
Which is humans currently think that their purpose in life is to fulfill all their desires and ambitions.

So they think the only way to go is to get as much pleasure and satisfaction.

Whereas true religion/spirituality explains (I am talking about the theosophical version as per Madame Blavatsky, Alice A Bailey or Benjamin Creme and the general Buddhist/Hindu viewpoint) that our purpose in our life is not in the least to do “whatever we like” but instead to make as much progress as we can towards perfection, enlightenment.

Which on the contrary, means we have to actually learn to get eventual *total* control over ourselves, in every thought, word and deed, to do what in religious parlance is called “God’s will.”
The huge and everlasting bonus of that apparently is that we get to be in a constant state of “divine Ecstasy”, “union with God”, Whom if it pleases you, you can imagine as the most wonderful human lover/friend who possibly could exist, who will not ever disappoint and leave you as human lovers/friends tend to, but will be with you and love you eternally.

And by all accounts (of the spiritually advanced state, than hardly anybody knows about or reads about) that “fantasy of Earthly love made permanent” would be a serious underestimate.

i.e. all those who have experienced this “union” are agreed than any worldly pleasure or possession is as nothing in comparison to this neverending experience of bliss, joy, love, that unlike human contacts and pleasure, can never ever be taken away from you.

So as very approximately Pink Floyd might put it, have you exchanged a walk on part in the war (i.e. glory, however small) for a lead role in a cage?

i.e. a self-sentence of death that can occur at an moment, and eternal extinction, as is the atheist “belief.”

But that process of spiritual evolution via reincarnation which leads to such eternal love and bliss requires an orderly well organised and secure society, in which in particular, the more advanced people are allowed to prosper and breed in adequate numbers.

Because spiritual evolution is not just an abstract thing, but requires more advanced bodies genetically to enable the more advanced souls to have further incarnations.

And the precise opposite of that is happening now due to atheism which is really a synonym for obsession with the material and materialism, to to put it bluntly *riches.*

As the world is based on the material, the worship of materialism in fact, as everyone wants to be a millionaire or billionaire and live in a mansion and have 20 elite cars in the garage, the most advanced people, who are more spiritual and not so materialistic, are being pushed to the boundaries of society and the commoner people are breeding relentlessly.

And in fact by this failure to impose a fairly strict morality (i.e. keeping sex within marriage) we also have massive overpopulation, which nobody hardly talks about, which is in fact causing scarcities of all kinds, especially satisfactory and affordable housing.

Because the people we have running society are also not the most competent and wise and capable, but people who are themselves out of control, and like madmen at the helm of a ship, lead us all to disasters of almost every kind, including massive overpopulation.

And we have mass addiction to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, eating, shopping, sex itself, we feed not only on bad food, but on violent and criminal entertainments.

We have mass abuse of children and old people, and constant betrayal of relationships, which result in children growing up in their millions without their father or even mother, and they see unloving hateful and sometimes violent relationships around them, whether between themselves and their brothers and sisters or between their parents, and there are not enough prisons or mental hospitals provided to put the criminals and mentally unstable in.

So they are just chucked onto the streets or left as a danger or threat to everybody else in the community, and it gets described as “care in the community” even, while most of them end up either committing suicide, or occasionally murder, or simply are begging and homeless on the streets.

Almost none of this would be happening if government was actually controlled by the philosophy of Jesus or Buddha or following Moses’ Ten commandments.

Some argue there is a “secular morality”, but actually the reality
of current events proves there isn’t; law is determined merely by who gets into power, so that even wars are ordered against countries that never attacked us like Iraq – even though the majority of the population would not agree with that, but are never asked.

The fact religions become corrupted and are not true to their founders does not mean that religion per se is wrong.

As to the “likelihood” God exists, you have to understand that this is not anything that can be decided by empirical science, as God is not a teapot or a fairy at the bottom of the garden but an infinite being beyond all limitations and dimensions of time and space.

That 99.999% of humanity cannot understand what God is up to (100% in fact, in totality, even the prophets only know part of the truth, as revealed by the Masters Themselves, via the Alice A Bailey writings for example) is a totally different issue as to “His” existence or non-existence.

This cannot therefore be resolved by the “scientific method” but is rather a “courtroom trial.”

So, as I explained in my reply to Thomas Smith below the evidence therefore one has to consider is those who claim personal experiences, and all the scriptures and writing left by those who claim those experiences, and modern as well as historical accounts of what we call “miracles”

i.e. events currently not understood by science, but *not in any case outside of the laws of Nature/God* – nothing can be that.

So in any case, I am going to tell you that whether you choose to believe or not, what is going to happen.

One of two things are going to happen.

Either humanity will come to this view I am explaining and return en masse to spirituality or else we will all be wiped out.

We need to learn to coexist or else we will not survive, and that coexistence requires everybody agreeing to rules that currently too many people don’t like and refuse to obey.

Such as in particular, everybody taking no more than what they need, “their fair share” of planetary resources.

And then having social rules that guarantee that most people if not everyone will have a life partner to love and be loved by, and probably as adults have a sexual relationship with (if they want one, not everybody necessarily does), so that everybody has some kind of a meaningful and tolerable way of life.

Understand that ultimately there is only *one* intelligence in the universe, *one* consciousness, which is God.

So we are all nothing but tiny fragments of that intelligence, which filters down to us through these intermediate higher beings – the Masters – to the extent we can “pick up” like a radio receiver these higher vibrations, and those who are very good at picking them up and expressing these “higher vibrations” via words and works are known as “geniuses” or “prophets.”

Which also explains (the Masters only release scientific knowledge at a time of Their choosing) why the likely equally intelligent Romans or Greeks did not “discover” things like nuclear energy and electricity even for thousands of years, but for example Newton and Leibniz discovered calculus simultaneously.

Because how so called “discovery” actually works, is the Masters put this information out into “the ether” (it’s actually called “the Mindbelt”) which certain advanced brains like that of Newton or Einstein can then pick up.

Or otherwise, explain how even the greatest minds like Leonardo did not for example invent the electric bulb or motor or whatever a very long time ago.

And in fact, there is another factor in that, which you have also mocked out of ignorance, which is that the so called UFOs are part of that plan.

And once again the public has been kept in the darkest ignorance about them, and believes if they are here, they are either here only to conquer or experiment on humans or whatever.

Whereas in fact they are here to help us.

I have seen their craft myself.

Not close up, just disk shaped objects in the sky about 1/6th perhaps the size of the Moon in the sky, as have by now millions of others, without necessarily realising what they were.

The craft I saw could move incredibly fast and suddenly stop, unlike any craft humans have made so far (this is around 20 years ago, before drones even existed).

Once I saw a full roughly twelve of these objects in the sky at the same time of that same size all about 1/6 the size of the moon, all just sitting there like a set of ornamental plates upon a wall, but up in the night sky instead.

Benjamin Creme writes about them in detail, claims he has personal contact with the UFO beings, which I don’t claim and frankly don’t want to have at this point in time – I am unable to shake the fear, which is the very reason they won’t appear at all to most people, or only high up in the sky.

But the point is, they are here to protect us and are from the nearby planets, not other star systems.

Science completely ignores the sightings as if they did not exist, and instead speculates on life in other star systems that we can never probably ever reach, lest the totally speculative “wormholes” have any truth in them, which no scientist has ever been able to demonstrate are real, as depicted in the Jodie Foster (science fiction therefore) movie “Contact.”

Science is unable to detect these UFO beings normally as they don’t exist in our state of matter, but in a finer level called the “dark matter” which our scientists now accept compromises maybe 80% or 90% or more of the universe, but Eastern yoga based science has known about for thousands of years and calls “etheric matter.”

We actually all have an etheric body (you’ve heard of the chakras no doubt, which are part of it) and it is in this finer body that disease starts, such as cancer, and that’s why cancer cannot be properly cured, as it has to be dealt with in the etheric body that medical science does not accept even exists

And by the way, don’t rush off to any “chakra healer” – it takes Masters to handle the chakras with great understanding and skill, which you can safely assume nobody currently advertising such a service has got.

But the existence of etheric/dark matter explains how the UFO craft can appear and disappear at will, as they merely change their vibrational rate to a higher frequency, and disappear or lower it and reappear ( you can see videos of this on YouTube, of them “blinking” in the sky, and no, it’s not due to atmospheric changes like the twinkling of stars).

Rather it is just as one cannot see the spokes of a bicycle or car wheel when it is revolving fast enough, but they reappear when the wheel slows down or stops spinning.

The point is, and search “The UFO Full Disclosure Project” it is only the UFO beings (who are apparently advanced beings like Buddha or Jesus or of a somewhat lower order of the same kind) who have saved us from further nuclear war since WWII and have (actual personnel from nuclear missile silos have sworn this on oath) demonstrated their ability to switch off the nuclear launching mechanisms at will.

i.e. in one case a large spherical UFO appeared outside a missile silo, which was observed by the officers there, and then they became aware the launch mechanisms on their control panels have been disabled.

The crop circles are the most obvious example of the UFO activity, which the media tells us are all hoaxed, despite their vast size and complexity which makes that extremely improbable as they appear overnight suddenly and are produced *in the dark.*

The UFO beings have the whole planet under surveillance and are even able to prevent an undersea nuclear launch and stop it in its tracks.

That’s the only reason the maniacs in charge for the last 75 years since WWII and Hiroshima haven’t incinerated us all already.

Because if you think about it, it is otherwise very hard to believe that *not a single one* of these countless thousands of nuclear weapons has ever been used on a human population since that time, when you consider all the unwise despots we’ve had, or even the risk of a paranoia induced accidental launch.

So the public in general have absolutely no idea what is really going on in the world and human history in the sense I have explained it here, and the degree to which science and the media is almost relentlessly trying to avoid discussing all this information I have here disclosed, enough of which I can personally verify from my own experiences.

So that’s what makes me take Benjamin Creme seriously – because I got *evidence* from my own experiences – the encounter with Maitreya before I even knew who He was or had even seen a picture of Him, and then the UFO experiences I’d never had or believe in ever before in my life.

And then the apparently “miraculous” instant healings I’ve described in my comment below.

So no, I can’t give you any photographs or videos – though other people have those regarding similar experiences reported for example on Benjamin Creme’s (now deceased incidentally) website.

So you have to decide now – without full evidence, which as I have explained is *impossible* for *anybody* (including me) to have, and nobody hardly ever has regarding anything but the simplest decisions they make – whether I am being honest, if I am sane, not on drugs, or whatever.

And moreover, compare my claims with those of hundreds or thousands of others described in the various sources I have mentioned.

Because I’m not David Icke, I’m not famous and never wish to be, so there’s no material profit in this for me – all I want is a peaceful world which isn’t ruled by maniacs in which I can peacefully live out whatever remains of my life.

And until we have a world which is basically spiritual inclined, accepts generally (bear in mind, most of the world still *is* following some kind of religion, but usually a dangerous and conflicting and corrupted and exclusive one) some kind of commonly accepted spiritual basis to our existence, the world won’t get better, it will get worse, until ultimate disaster occurs – most likely global nuclear war.

(yes, I said the UFO beings were saving us from it to date, but I am not aware there is any guarantee that protection is unlimited and permanent – it apparently depends on man’s choices and “collective free will.”)

But there’s no absolute proof, as with some (but not even all) laboratory test tube experiments – reality generally isn’t like that, and it’s an immature view that makes people think that decisions can always be made with certainty and that everything is “cut and dried.”

So you have to decide like a in a courtroom as judge and jury who you think is being honest and telling the truth, what story, when you hear enough of it and fit it all together makes the most sense, and therefore you have to *choose* what you think is probably most likely given all the evidence.

So obviously just not mine – all those numerous sources I have in this reply and the other comments I’ve made here referred to.

So as I wrote in conclusion to my reply to Thomas Smith, I don’t think I’ll reply to you again – though you are free to reply back – because really any questions or objections you may have, are all answered in the sources I’ve referred to here, so it’s up to you if you want to ignore it or follow it up as you choose.

In either case, I wish you well, and hope that whatever it is you are seeking in life you find.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

The question of god can absolutely be compared to the lochness monster!
1) Both have people that believe using spurious claims and proof.
2) Both remain unproven.
3)I see you also believe in UFOs…

Personally I would be more skeptical of your information sources, their qualifications, funding, counter arguments, etc.

I also wish you well.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

“And thus objectively speaking”…
Sorry you are influenced by personal feelings in considering and representing facts. Your entire idea is centered around their being a god. You have jumped to a conclusion that god is creating the disasters, so we will return to his teaching… before proving A,B,C Which then opens the door to the immorality of such an action if that was true.

Punishing people into submission is immoral and any other such action in this vein.
For a supposed immortal omnipotent being – I would expect better! something inspiring, heartwarming and noble.
A five year old could do better!

ovicto01
ovicto01
4 years ago

There is an unspoken assumption that pervades such discussions on suffering “‚Äú that the explanatory burden of proof is on theism. In a largely atheist society there is no reason why this should any longer remain the case. Rather, it is atheism that must explain why, if there is no God, should we care about other people’s suffering at all? To bring this into sharper focus consider for a moment what atheism implies. Atheism implies that there is no real meaning to human existence “‚Äú as psychologist Susan Blackmore opines, ‘we live in… an ultimately meaningless universe’. Moreover, atheism implies that there is no such thing as a real right and wrong “‚Äú as philosopher of science Michael Ruse points out, morality has merely ‘the illusion of objectivity’, and is only present due to its ‘adaptive value’. Adaptation would necessarily imply that moral values are malleable, contingent, and pliant to the drive for biological advantage “‚Äú to listen to the pangs of the conscience would be no more obligatory than listening to the pangs of hunger and appetite. This being the case, it would be impossible to rail against the moral infringements of others that atheists rail against – even Frederich Nietzsche, who famously rung the death knell for God, harangued atheists for their disingenuous repudiation of Christianity whilst still ‘play acting the Christian moral ideal’. For this reason, moral complaints against God by the atheist are incoherent since atheism strips morality of any objectivity and normative force. The question should therefore be, “Where is atheism in this Covid horror?”¬Ě Both as an explanation for why we should care about suffering and as an attempt to give hope, atheism is bereft of answers. Jesus’ offer of an eternity without suffering, where what was previously experienced as suffering pales in comparison to an eternity of happiness, does at least attempt to offer one. Moreover, Jesus’ doubts, disillusionment, despair and feelings of being forsaken whilst enduring the most brutal of sufferings, does complicate the otherwise simplistic picture of a distant God by showing some measure of solidarity with humanity. Whilst there are no easy answers, atheism’s incoherence can hardly even begin to offer one.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  ovicto01

“Rather, it is atheism that must explain why, if there is no God”
It’s a repeat of another conversation in this thread…
“I could ask you equally to prove God does not exist”

X is true because there is no proof that X is false.
Apply any mythical creature at X…
Knock yourself out, we can have lochnesses, dragons, and aliens galore…

Not being able to disprove does not mean god exists! Which is the fallacy you are making.

Argument from ignorance
https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

ovicto01
ovicto01
4 years ago

The argument was not to prove God’s existence, but rather to point out atheism’s internal incoherence, independent of the arguments for God’s existence. Atheism uses the immorality of suffering against God’s existence – but the challenge is, how can such a charge be made if, on atheism, there is in fact no real morality, given that morality is ultimately an “illusion” created in service of biological need or advantage? It is also a wonder how certain moral acts, such as the self-sacrifice demonstrated by NHS workers for instance, could ever be conceived as biologically advantageous, since it risks the survival of the organism’s own existence. Clearly, atheism as an explanation for why there is morality, and its use of immoral suffering against God’s existence, is internally incoherent.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  ovicto01

Atheism and theism suffer the same internal incoherence.
Neither are provable and are an argument from ignorance.

How can atheism have an opinion on morals if there is no absolute morality? I can say from the current morality of the day the bible contains immorality, and I can show you the changes within society the progression of those changes – what was acceptable in the bible is unacceptable now!

Morality is a changing cultural construct
There is no absolute morality but a progression of standards!

How would the bible claim an absolute morality, when its own morals change throughout the books?
And how can an eternal document written by god contain immorality?

The changing morality is at odds with an eternal creature who is supposedly compassionate, just etc. and in fact yet another proof against a god. (or against the bible)

Self-sacrifice is also viewable in nature, Animals that sacrifice their lives, for their homes or offspring

Altruistic behaviours appear most obviously in kin relationships, such as in parenting, but may also be evident among wider social groups, such as in social insects

How could NHS workers actions be viewed? – well in the same way of course! her actions make a society that is biologically advantageous They allow an individual to increase the success of its genes by helping wider society and social groups.

Again all logical and reasonable explanations – with no superstition needed.

ovicto01
ovicto01
4 years ago

‘Atheism and theism suffer the same internal incoherence. Neither are provable and are an argument from ignorance.’

I would disagree with this charge on theism’s account, simply because this has not been tackled yet since it is not at issue. However, what we should be interested in is atheism’s account, which I would agree is incoherent, self-contradictory and unliveable.

The Immorality of the Bible and the Changing Nature of Morality;
Morality Explained in Nature Pointing to Biological Advantage

Again, the problematic incoherence associated with atheism is well demonstrated here. Whilst on the one hand, one criticises the Bible for its alleged “immorality”¬Ě, but on the other one says that “morality”¬Ě is simply what is biologically advantageous as in nature. But given the latter’s “truth”¬Ě, that would necessarily mean that what is alleged to be “immoral”¬Ě in the Bible should be considered to be biologically advantageous and therefore “moral”¬Ě. To be consistent with atheist doctrine, the Bible should be considered “moral”¬Ě, and yet atheists cannot bring themselves to do that. The atheist position accepts objective morality in practice but denies it in theory, thus the incoherence of atheism laid bare.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  ovicto01

Moral values are malleable! – Absolute morality is a myth! Historical change in moral concepts is a who branch of study! For instance: It used to be moral to stone non virgins brides on their fathers doorsteps, sell daughters as sex slaves, burn humans as offerings!

That “morality” came from the bible and changed!
Meaning the morality of the bible is also malleable and changing!

Rape
https://www.evilbible.com/e
Human sacrifice
https://www.evilbible.com/e
Slavery
https://www.evilbible.com/e

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  ovicto01

“Why care about other people’s suffering if there is no god?”
The absence of an afterlife lends a greater, not a lesser, moral importance to our actions on earth.

Morality is more than possible without God/s, it is entirely independent of.

I think our knowledge of right and wrong is innate in us. Religion gets its morality from humans. We know that we can’t get along if we permit perjury, theft, murder, rape, all societies at all times, well before the advent of monarchies and certainly, have forbidden it… Socrates called his daemon, it was an inner voice that stopped him when he was trying to take advantage of someone… Why don’t we just assume that we do have some internal compass

ovicto01
ovicto01
4 years ago

The force of the original argument is on what atheism offers. Morality, on atheism, is relative to its adaptive utility. Thus, on atheism, there is no objective right or wrong, just what is relative to survival. If other people’s suffering has no conceivable biological advantage for us, there remains no reason, on atheism, to care. There is the argument that can be made from the reality of morality to theism, but that has to assume that morality has some sense of objectivity to it, akin to a natural law. The point being made here is that on atheism that objectivity is made redundant. Therefore, we are faced again with another of atheism’s internal incoherences – to claim that there is a sense of real morality, whilst morality is ultimately, on atheism, an “illusion” to use Michael Ruse’s words. We can “assume that we do have some internal compass” – we just cannot do it on atheism.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  ovicto01

Atheism offers a life free from superstition and dogma, unencumbered by old irrelevant beliefs. And the chace to examine life fresh from those that would tell you what and how to think.

there is no objective right or wrong
Morality in theism also changes – you’ll see slave ownership, selling daughters into sex slavery, killing the innocent human sacrifice as wrong I hope! (but all acceptable in the book!)

natural law is also changeable.
Morality is an illusion! It is formed through culture and laws but not the bible.

Of course we can assume we have an internal compass! – every culture and even animals display traits of empathy, altruism, non-christian religions and the unreligious too!
To claim an atheist does not have those traits is a grave injustice and untrue! No god is needed to be good or kind, and no threats about an afterlife – just the simple enjoyment of giving, sharing time with friends, meals – are universal and not something religion gave us!

ovicto01
ovicto01
4 years ago

“There is no objective right and wrong… Morality is an illusion”
“Of course we can assume we have an internal compass!.. To claim an atheist does not have those traits is a grave injustice and untrue!”¬Ě

Continuing from what was stated in the previous strand, the internal contradiction and incoherence is well illustrated here. On the one hand, one will claim that morality is an illusion because atheist doctrine requires it. On the other hand, one cannot live without morality as atheist doctrine requires. Therefore, one is forced to still cling onto an internal moral compass, but to do so is in contradiction atheist doctrine which says that there is none.

Additionally, arguing against religion (that to some degree I can agree with, although I do not think it is as simplistic as made out), does not do anything to alleviate the problems associated with atheist living, namely internal contradiction and incoherence. It is also important to point out that arguments against religion do not harm arguments for the existence of God. Although, again, neither are at issue here.

Given the largely atheist society that we live in, it is high time to demand an explanation from atheism on things like meaning and morality, and it turns out that it falls incredibly short.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  ovicto01

“An ultimately meaningless universe”
When atheists say that life is meaningless, they mean it doesn’t have some kind of grand divine or spiritual meaning. There is no “reason” that we are here, what we do doesn’t “matter” to the cosmos, there isn’t a design to existence. We are not the purpose of creation”in fact, there is no purpose to “creation”.

And that idea, what life doesn’t have a grand plan, can actually be freeing; if there is no external, divine design, than you are able to shape your existence to whatever design you choose.

Life is meaningless on its own”but you can imbue your life with meaning.

By caring, by kindness, by passion, by intelligence, by making and leaving the world a better place, you make your life meaningful.

ovicto01
ovicto01
4 years ago

Life is meaningless on its own”but you can imbue your life with meaning.

Interestingly enough, this is the same fallacy that Susan Blackmore makes when she made the statement about a meaningless universe. To say that one can imbue life with meaning is, on the atheist account, ultimately meaningless. It is not an argument for theism. It is an argument against atheism’s incoherence. For why should anyone bother to pursue any individual meaning if ultimately there is none. To iterate that there is meaning and that there isn’t meaning in the next breath is a self-contradiction, or worse, self-refuting. The force of this self-contradiction renders atheism in the very least intellectually unattractive and at the most necessarily false. It cannot offer meaning in any real sense if ultimately there is none. One might pretend to live as if there is meaning, but, using Richard Dawkins’ famous book title, that might be considered a “delusion”.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  ovicto01

“Why pursue meaning if there is none”
Why wouldn’t you have questions or wonder at the world?
Why wouldn’t you wish to pursue what makes you happy? You don’t need meaning for either of those states! Very few people need validation or recognition for activities they pursue – they just do it because it brings happiness!

But just a love of life and living! You do it because you can! That is one of the joys of living to learn! To be! To think and feel! Meaning is what we make of life and what questions are interesting to us! what activities and hobbies we are good at, what skills and interests drive us. People should fill their life with what makes them happy! And purse what makes them happy (if it harms no and hampers other)
What comes after, who knows. But living and being happy are what make my life meaningful.

ovicto01
ovicto01
4 years ago

The point originally being made “‚Äú one that was agreed with “‚Äú was that according atheism there is no ultimate meaning to existence. One’s attempt to find personal subjective meaning does nothing to diminish this existential meaninglessness that atheist doctrine insists upon. It is, as famous biologist Richard Dawkins put it, ‘there is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference”¬¶ We are machines for propagating DNA”¬¶ It is every living object’s sole reason for being’.

Insofar as one attempts, as an atheist, to find meaning and happiness in life, one does it in contradiction to atheist doctrine “‚Äú a doctrine that does not justify such subjective meaning given that ultimate meaning (and therefore all meaning) is non-existent. This highlights the internal incoherence, inconsistency and inauthenticity inherent in atheist living “‚Äú proclaiming meaningless but not living according to that meaninglessness. This is quite natural because authentic atheism “‚Äú nihilism “‚Äú is simply unliveable and undesirable. And yet this is what atheist doctrine truly offers. It necessarily allows any variety of behaviours, even “immoral”¬Ě ones, because it has determined that there is no morality in reality given the priority of biological advantage “‚Äú this is its core “truth”¬Ě or doctrine. As Fyodor Dostoyevsky stated, ‘without God”¬¶ everything is permitted’, as long as it is biologically advantageous, and that would include “immoral”¬Ě acts, such as incest, rape, genocide, torture.

paulkern22
paulkern22
4 years ago

The fool has said in his heart there is no God. It takes more faith to be an atheist than to believe in God.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  paulkern22

Faith means belief in the absence of evidence.
I see no evidence or need in the supernatural in my day to explain my existence or reality. (Every bit of evidence in the god/gods or supernatural is lacking)
Because of the lack of evidence I have no faith that those things exist.

mwsp
mwsp
4 years ago

I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t stack up. Every practising scientist operates by faith; a faith that rational processes are at work. The is no rock hard evidence of this, but a presumption that it works. There is\enough vidence that the theory may be correct.

further experiment confirms it. It is still lacking the sort of proof that mathematicians use. But we trust our lives to it ( in aricraft, medicines etc)

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  mwsp

Yes show me a religion that lifts a 439,985 kg Boeing 747 in the air with faith i’ll be impressed! or introduce me to the captain who thinks prayer will get the flight to the next city (likely ill book a new plane!)
But we all know getting a plane in the air is a bit more technical than faith and presumption!

People that trust their health to religion die. (No one has prayed corona virus away, or cleared a nation of it, did no-one wish to, where they insincere? or is it prayer has no effect?) Whereas I don’t need faith or prayer, my painkillers will work, antibody therapy will work, or the myriad of successful medical procedures preformed every year will be successful.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago
Reply to  mwsp

The “faith” that operates under scientific conditions…
The electron, for example. Seeing an electron is not possible. Unlike religion, we can find proof and test our theories!

We can determine the existence of electrons using cathode-ray tubes. By checking, problem-solving we began to understand the electron. The proof and knowledge expanded. (whole areas of science opened)

We developed ways to use electrons with successful and reliable results. To make electricity, digital audio, television your computer. Through dogged hard work and creativity!
That is not faith! Faith requires no questioning or problem solving, just acceptance…!

We trust our lives to aircraft and medicine because they have proof, can be improved as we learn more, and work!

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

Faith is trust in a belief. Belief is something one professes to be true but has no personal knowledge of that truth. We can only know what is true through our senses. Acts and things we have not personally experienced we only believe to be true based on having faith in the source of that information.

How do you know an electron exists if you personally haven’t seen, touched, smelt, heard or tasted an electron? You don’t know it exists. You only believe it exists because you trust and have faith in those who have told you it exists.

Even if someone presents you with evidence, you still have to make a judgement to trust the evidence and therefore the source of evidence. You have to believe they are telling you the truth. We are all believers.

What and who you trust and believe is often based on presuppositions and biases and how in already conforms to what you want to believe. Thus it is often based on emotion rather than objective reasoning; with reason being used to justify the emotion as if emotions are the source of truth.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

Faith is trust in a belief without proof.
The electron we can’t see, however, your computer, stereo, phone run on those theories. They are testable and provable theories, with reliable measurable outcomes! (That’s what good evidence can do, it’s consistent, reproducible and testable!)

What runs on the theory of the supernatural and god?
What proof do you have your theory works?
To date, nothing we have about god is consistent, reproducible or testable!

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

Again you haven’t understood my comment.

I will try to explain again based on your comment above. You stated that we can’t see electrons. I agree. That electronic devices run on theories based on electrons. I agree. You say that scientists have done experiments on these theories. I agree. However you have not done these experiments yourself. Therefore you personally don’t know they are true. In order to know something you have to perceive directly: have direct cognition of it. You can only truly know something through your senses. Everything else if secondhand knowledge which in order to believe in true requires the prerequisite belief you are being told the truth. Therefore only things you have personally experienced do you know to be true. All other things you claim to be true you are actually only believing them to be true.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

“However you have not done these experiments yourself. Therefore you personally don’t know they are true”

Experiential learning is one method of training through first-hand experience there are more…Concrete Experience, Active Experimentation, Abstract Conceptualization, Reflective Observation

But for example…
Did you personally raise the dead?
Get resurrected?
Walk on water ?
Turn water to wine?
(presumably you claim they are true if you are Christian? You have not done these experiments with a successful outcome yourself.

Such an idea is falsifiable from the outset, and amusing when turned to superstition! You can see you don’t need the experience at all to learn the concept of something, or to be able to falsfy it aswell!- It just takes a bit of logic and abstract thinking!

I can also use the other forms of learning to evaluate the claims! of turning water to wine, walking on water, raising from the dead to say all of those are highly improbable!

Civilisation is built on other peoples knowledge! – And our knowledge can come from many sources other than our experiences! Secondhand knowledge is a treasure but also to be evaluated with care!

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

Your presuppositions here are: 1. I am God and therefore I can preform the same miracles as Him. I assure you I am not, and therefore I can’t. 2. that something can only be true only if it has been proven to be true. However this position is irrational and exposes poor abstract thinking. For if something is only true if proven to be true does that mean it was false before? Or has it always been true but we initially could not be certain it was true and now believe it to be true based on a proof. Or is it false but we believe in a proof that claims it true so think something that is false is true.

The problem with your argument is that the presuppositions you use before engaging in abstract thinking is acquired knowledge. Therefore you have to believe that those suppositions you have been taught are true in the first place. Again, all knowledge, apart from that which you personal know through your senses, requires belief.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

I’m not presuming you are god! (It’s a funny thing to say of an agnostic!) I’m arguing your point on learning styles, you highlighted only one when there are many! You fail to address the refutation by misrepresenting intentions…

Your claim: “I haven’t done the experiments with the atom, therefore it’s not proof that an atom exists” is totally fallacious argument!

I think this is where you go wrong..,“Again, all knowledge, apart from that which you personal know through your senses, requires belief.”

This is only a partly true statement, because all knowledge requires proof to be believed! it’s not simply believed, but must pass through scrutiny and tested.
Using re-creatable, credible, reliable, high quality proof at that!

That is the essential difference between faith and knowledge!
You can have faith in god – but have no knowledge of god…
I dont need faith in an atom, I have knowledge of an atom.

So to recap:
The atom we can’t see > but the proof of its theories we can test, A vast amount of technology from phones tv electricity are built on those theories – whole branches of science with provable results!
So even if the former is based on an incomplete model of how an atom actually behaves 100% – enough of that working model is able to be used in technology.

god we can’t see has no reliable outcomes, proof or indeed reliable knowledge! The problem with your argument is that your presupposition has no proof after it, it remains a presupposition taken as fact, but without solid proof!

… Atoms even if as you say I take it on “faith”
I can assure you it is a well tested knowledge, with results and proof! knowledge requires that the evidence for the belief necessitates its truth The atom proves itself god doesnt…

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

as below sorry weird editor duplicate

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

Again you haven’t understood my comment.

I will try to explain again based on your comment above. You stated that we can’t see electrons. I agree. That electronic devices run on theories based on electrons. I agree. You say that scientists have done experiments on these theories. I agree. However you have not done these experiments yourself. Therefore you personally don’t know they are true. In order to know something you have to perceive directly: have direct cognition of it. You can only truly know something through your senses. Everything else if secondhand knowledge which in order to believe in true requires the prerequisite belief you are being told the truth. Therefore only things you have personally experienced do you know to be true. All other things you claim to be true you are actually only believing them to be true.

perrywidhalm
perrywidhalm
4 years ago

All of science is open to question …. all of dogma is taken as absolute truth without any evidence or experimentation necessary. Surely, you can understand that simple fact.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago
Reply to  perrywidhalm

Belief doesn’t have to be dogmatic so this is a red-herring.

Also science ought to be open to question, but it has become a religious to modernists with supposed scientific positions being made dogmas. Evolution and climate change are two that come to mind.

perrywidhalm
perrywidhalm
4 years ago

Oh my …. science is ALWAYS open to question. That is its most cherished aspect. Despite many people thinking science proves this or that, the essence of science is disproving hypotheses until whatever remains best explains the evidence at hand. Religion, on-the-other-hand, is based squarely on not questioning the dogma but obeying it regardless.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago
Reply to  perrywidhalm

You obviously don’t have any idea of what is going on in the sciences today such as the gate keeping to prevent new concepts that challedge current scientific orthodoxy from from getting a fair platform.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

“Belief doesn’t have to be dogmatic so this is a red-herring.”

Belief doesn’t have to be dogmatic, but religion most definitely is! Religion is centered around essential principles or doctrines beliefs / dogma!

Those beliefs are mostly unchangeable without destroying the religion or forming a new sect!

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

Go look up the meaning of dogma

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

“Dogma is an official system of principles or doctrines of a religion”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

Christianity is defined by a set of core beliefs shared by virtually all Christians, though how those core beliefs are implemented and secondary questions vary within Christianity. When formally communicated by the organization, these beliefs are sometimes referred to as ‘dogmata‘.

As I said, Belief doesn’t have to be dogmatic, but religion most definitely is! Religion is centered around essential principles or doctrines beliefs / dogma!

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

Belief doesn’t have to be dogmatic
But religion most definitely does! Christianity as with any religion is defined by a set of core beliefs / dogma.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

Faith is trust in a belief without proof.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

It is the NHS, not God, that heals
Either god is not willing or not able…
love as being ultimately greater that death, but you don’t need a god for that, just love.
Atheists call it foolishness somebody who wishes for better for others, but lacks the power to change the circumstances of the reality now faced.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
4 years ago

i think materialist atheists are glib about the mind-body dualism sometimes. & religion can certainly be a valuable and enlivening aspect of someone’s conceptual world, their mind-space. Ironically that mind-body dualism is an assumption inherited ultimately from Christianity, via its rationalist Enlightenment developments.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

And somehow you are off topic – feel free to expand why an all powerful god can’t do better than NHS?
Is it that it doesn’t care or can’t?

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

Religion as a philosophy unrelated to scripture can be entertaining and valuable… Such as Spinoza’s thoughts on humanism and god, It benefits from rationalism and is a great deal improved by the sweeping away from old dogma and poor moral laws. On that I could agree! However most of the findings and improvements there don’t rely on a personal god and superstition or any particular god/goddess etc – but rather an empathy for human kind and looking for a better more fair system of government.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

And why stop here?… rationalist Enlightenment would deem the necessity of sweeping out of superstition and unvalidated claims altogether! – You could have religion as a philosophy, however you would need to loose the book, dogmas, miracles and personal god to do so!

The ideas of the Enlightenment undermined the authority of the monarchy and the Church and paved the way for individual liberty, religious tolerance, and an end to absolute monarchy, while working against and the fixed dogmas of the Catholic Church.

Also the enlightenment is not only a christian development! it draws from the greeks and the use of logic, and was supported by the many who were not believers! Koerbagh, D’Holbach, Diderot, Spinoza, Meslier etc

Intellectuals of the Enlightenment (very few represent the church, so its doubtful the church should claim anything other than acceding to common sense, they certainly we not the drivers of change!)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

Derek Drew
Derek Drew
4 years ago

Time in mid-life to study history more deeply I was excited by the Enlightenment and the freedom it gave from fear. And while many of its leading lights were men of faith, it seemed to me, although embedded in the Christianity from Sunday School, I thent found it difficult for my Bible to square with science on many levels.

How accurately recorded were those complex quotations? How corrupted over years of reform and rewriting?

But reality, it times like these, brushes aside philosophic argument, revives humble faith through the workings of the Holy Spirit.

It is surely true there are few atheists in the trenches. .

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

Omnipotence is not a word in the Bible and nor is Trinity. Therefore are you denying the Christian God of Father, Son and Holy Ghost?

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

“I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.

A simple virus would seem quite a lesser challenge.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
4 years ago

The reality is atheist have a bigger problem with evil than Christians. For if there is no God there is no evil. For to state there is evil, is to say it exists objectively. Why would a universe that came into existance without purpose or cause but purely through chance be concerned with evil? Surely it just is and is amoral in totality? Therefore a proclamation that something is evil is just a word to express an opinion of extreme disagreement in something; it is not evil in itself. Therefore an atheist must profess that there is no problem of evil to be logically consistant as “evil” is purely a subjective construct and not based on objective reality. Problem is most modern atheists ground their unbelief on the need for evidence, and often just scientific evidence. However there is no empirical evidence proving evils existence so in one form or another they end up contradicting their own believes if they claim that the existence of evil is barrier to believing in God. In reality the “problem of evil” is is the best argument for God’s existence.

Costa Cornick
Costa Cornick
4 years ago

Thank you Giles, this was beautiful…

Michael Baldwin
Michael Baldwin
4 years ago

I’ve got a theory about suffering and God’s part in it.

My theory is that God has set up a Creation in which his “only Son”, so described in the New Testament translations we have, told us to “treat/love our neighbour as ourselves”, and that He indicated was the most important commandment apart from loving God Himself, and that therefore because of our abject mass failure to implement this law even a full 2000 years later, the consequence is that we often suffer too.

That is, God does not punish us with suffering, per se.

He merely set up a world in which if His law was not obeyed, which man had the free will to do or not, man effectively punishes himself, by not truly loving his neighbour to prevent that neighbour’s suffering.

For example, while we are for the moment far more aware than normal that many of our neighbours nearby are dying of this disease and indeed many other things, which in fact happens everyday and every year without hardly any of us noticing or focusing on it, we are apparently less concerned, that as far back as anyone can remember in modern history somebody in the world has been dying of starvation, and continues to do so, at a rate of 1 every 4 seconds, which is 21,000 a day.

That’s about 2 1/2 times the UK death total attributed to COVID-19, so more people are dying of starvation in the world every roughly 10 hours, than have died so far of or with covid-19 to date in the entire UK.

And I don’t discount myself when I say, how many of us mostly luxury loving and frequently overweight and gourmet restaurant loving Westerners actually ever even give it a thought?

So while we argue about the philosophy of Hume, Descartes, and Nietzsche, and the nature of evil, all these men, women and children starve to death in their millions in what is for everyone else a world of plenty, and we have so much food in fact, that we waste and allow rot far more than the starving would need to survive.

Likewise, we allow the streets to fill with the homeless and beggars, in a nation which up until the last fortnight anyway, had one of the strongest (so they tell us) economies in the world, in which as food is so plentiful, we now have an absolutely staggering overweight epidemic, which is normally taking up about 10% of all NHS resources alone to deal with.

The awful irony that while nearly one million a years are dying from lack of food, perhaps as many or more now worldwide are dying from eating too much, from a gluttony, which in fairness to them, for psychological reasons mostly, they are unable to control.

Then obviously we have this massive wealth inequality, with most of even the UK population now living frustrated lives, unable to afford education, unable to get the careers and jobs they desire, and unable to buy homes of their own in now the vast majority of cases, if they do not own or inherit them already.

So we as individuals are most of the time not much aware of any of this neglect of and failure to “love our neighbour as ourselves”, but rather spend almost all our waking hours following our own pleasures and feathering our nests, like a race of Prodigal Daughters and Prodigal Sons.

But if God exists, then He is surely watching us, and that He does not intervene is then the only issue that those who do believe in some kind of God appear to be left with.

So I have offered what to me appears to be a plausible reason, especially in view of the perspective which is offered us by the Old Testament, which is at least partly the story of the fate of cities and nations, when they disobeyed God’s law, broke His commandments.

And we know their fate – they perished, they had disasters come upon them, they had plagues and other calamities, and of course, the allegedly worldwide cleansing flood of Noah in which obviously everybody else who was not in the Ark presumably drowned.

So this suggests that Moses’ Ten Commandments and Jesus’ law of loving one’s neighbour, were not mere suggestions that we might take up someday when we finally tired of being sinners, and Prodigal Sons and Daughters, though current history suggests that most die before ever getting tired of their excess pleasures, and indeed leave them unwillingly.

But rather that such laws and commandments were stern warnings from Prophets, who warned repeatedly that if man disobeyed them, disasters would befall him, even so dramatic that whole cities could be wiped out, such as the Portuguese example above, or even by some “fire on high” which perhaps was a comet or meteor or something (the New Testament mentions the star “wormwood”), or even by flood, or tsunami, which of course could be caused by a meteor or comet colliding with a part of the world as well as earthquakes.

So man likes to imagine he is innocent, and nothing he does is wrong, as you can see from some of the behaviour of our leaders, even if they started a war like the Iraq one, when nobody every attacked, which resulted in the murders of numerous thousands of innocents, yet still believe they have done no wrong.

But as the saying goes, “man proposes, God disposes”, the apparently impersonal forces of Nature who deliver the plagues and other disasters, apparently see through man’s deceit, and he then reaps what he has sown, while protesting to the high heavens that he is innocent and has done nothing wrong.

Because on a psychological level, leaving religious belief entirely aside, we see this is the very culture we have now know as “denial” (including of God Himself one sees).

Whatever the problem is, is it not only not our fault, it is always our neighbour’s.

If God exists, it is God’s fault, and if He doesn’t, it is our neighbour’s fault.

See how that is the most blatant and shameless denial of Jesus’s law imaginable, and that is the main “philosophical thinking” of those who don’t definitely subscribe to a God belief.

We have perhaps the most intolerant self-obsessed society that has ever existed, full of deceit, infidelity that destroys marriages and families, full of greed, and full of hate, even just because one supports a rival football team, let alone if one dares to vote for a different political party or is on the wrong side of the Brexit debate, or perhaps worst of all, dares to follow a different and therefore disapproved religion.

But the Church does not dare express this, as nobody ever wants to admit they ever do any wrong, it is always somebody else’s fault, always somebody else who is the wrong doer .

If one is a Christian even, then quite likely it is the Muslim who is at fault – that is the general political and religious belief in America by the Christians there, which of course threatens a never ending war between the Christian West and Islam, of which terrorism is one of the symptoms.

But to point all this out to the public, would likely only empty the Church’s pews even further, to dare to call what most people really are – “sinners” – by that name any more.

I am certainly not expecting any upvotes for this comment but of course that was Jesus’s position too, to say what the authorities of his time did not like, and get put on the cross for it.

But one might argue, Jesus did say – I didn’t come to call the virtuous, but to call sinners, which at a glance might encourage we sinners to assume that being a sinner is OK as far as He’s concerned.

Apparently so we’ve been brought up to believe (in some versions of the faith anyway) there are places called “limbo” and “purgatory” where we can go, if we did too much sinning, and didn’t get around to giving it up, and somehow we’ll evade hell, a part of the faith or scripture we’d rather not think about and are not too clear about.

But then Jesus also says things like – it would be better if we had a millstone put round our neck and were thrown into a river than to “cause a child to sin”, which we are not exactly sure about the meaning of either, though we probably are certain it at least includes not child molesting.

So again, it sounds like if we do anything bad to children at all we are at risk of severe consequences, though we are not at all sure what the scope of that might be.

For we also have the saying “spare the rod, spoil the child” somewhere in the Old Testament, so that rather suggests we have a duty to not only not sin against children, but to stop them doing so too, and in a pretty zealous way if necessary.

I would also suggest that though the debate here about evil exists without a God, I think regardless of that question we all know what evil is – and it is to cause suffering to others without due cause – it is really answered by that same commandment of “loving your neighbour as yourself.”

So if for example we unfairly cheat our neighbour out of a job of money that would have enabled him to live well, but he doesn’t live well, but we do instead, then that would certainly be a measure of evil.

But while we allow others by the million to be literally tortured to death by the millions by starvation we need to at least get the gigantic evils dealt with first.

Because it appears there is always a tolerance in Nature, which is visibly the instrument of God, just as there is a tolerance in humans.

Cities were spared in the Bible if a certain number of “good men” could be found, so we need not it appears be all totally virtuous for the forces of Nature to not turn upon us (which would included death-dealing viruses), we must just not let our collective evil go beyond a certain measure.

So it is all very well for me to “preach this” from my anonymous hiding place, but if a priest of any kind were to do so now on a public pulpit as I said, I imagine the Church would be more empty than ever.

People want comfort. Those who are still willing to enter a Church know already that the world is somewhat crazy, a scary and unpredictable place, and they want God and Jesus to save them, so come to the church hoping for such salvation, either in this life or the next, and not to be told that they themselves are the problem.

They don’t want to here it’s at least partly their fault.

And there lies the problem, which currently has no solution, and so the disasters come, and force humanity to reform, force him to look for answers he wouldn’t have otherwise done before.

Maybe men are ready to here that – the spiritually or religiously inclined that is – maybe this is “God’s judgement” on us (via Nature, as I explained), for not following his laws.

After all Adam and Eve were evicted from paradise for disobeying God’s law, and a fairly simple one it appeared, though of course there is a big debate what “the forbidden fruit” really means.

But Jesus told us the answer, the way to salvation – “Love your neighbour as your self” – and who is our neighbour he also told us – the least of us, even he whom you might hate, like in the story of the Good Samaritan. We must give even him – that person whom we loathe, who voted Brexit or Remain, or supports a different football team, or maybe said something bad about our mother or wife – even him we have to give a fair deal.

And that may sound tough, but actually it’s not as tough as we might imagine, because just to keep things in that limit of safety, in which “Biblical disaster” apparently will not rain down on us, the Bible suggests we just have to keep the evil, the advantage taking and so on, down to certain safe proportions.

We can render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, as long as Caesar will also render what we also need, unto us, as Jesus himself would have Caesar do.

Which I submit is our greatest problem – our current Caesars, the filthy rich, are like modern Pharaohs, who enslave everyone else, and will not share sufficiently with the poor, but also set a terribly bad example to the rest of us, who then seek to be them and emulate them, so encourage us also to break God’s law.

Just this social distancing measure has now separated us even further from one another, made us more fearful and intolerant of one another, unable to come together, to touch one another, to show one another our love.

For that reason alone, I believe it is wrong, and that to inflict mass loneliness on the old especially, the most at risk, who will inevitably die alone in many thousands of cases while this goes on, and in most cases not of covid-19.

Many Christians now have a technique they use to make decisions – they ask “What would Jesus have done?”

I just don’t see a Jesus who would have told the old to stay locked in their houses afraid and alone, and likely die there.

I just don’t see any love for our neighbour in that and can’t see how anybody else can – especially when it is the old themselves who are the most at risk, so surely should have that choice.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
4 years ago

To have “a theory of god” you need to prove a god!
You are justifying knowledge and making claims without being backed by facts and proof.

perrywidhalm
perrywidhalm
4 years ago

Where is god? Where god always is …. believer’s imagination.

lawrence of.osaka
lawrence of.osaka
4 years ago

wow, everyone here is SO euro-centric. kinda disappointing.
I read thru tons of comments below ” everything is from a whitey European western-educated (indoctrinated) mindset ” and this is 2020! not the Middle Ages.

so sad. a lot of you really really need to broaden your mindset. there’re 7bil people in the world today. open up.

buddhism, taoism, hinduism and, where I live now, Japan, absolutely non-religious ” which is not at all the same as atheist. let alone the hundreds of other more minor (population-wise, but necessarily wisdom-wise) sects, cults & beliefs.

Andrew McIntosh
Andrew McIntosh
4 years ago

This is why human suffering does the exact opposite of what the Enlightenment atheist imagines it should do: it fills our churches, it doesn’t empty them. And not because it offers some cheap consolation that all will be ok.

I can’t read minds, but I am prepared to bet that consolation, cheap or otherwise, is exactly what people going to churches and other religious sites at this time are looking for.

Which makes perfect sense, and I can’t begrudge it for that reason. But I don’t see that as

taking seriously the full weight of human suffering

. I see it as the same sort of looking for some kind of comforting notions that everyone else is looking for right now, atheist, theist or any other relevant label.

It seems to me that human suffering is something no individual can take on individually. I’d include the character of Jesus in that, since it did seem he was an actual, historical human. But Jesus aside, the rest of us are just stuck with being simple human beings who find the enormity of suffering overwhelming when it’s brought to our attention. Religion may work for some people in that. Personally, I admit my helplessness and can offer no practical solidarity with those who are dying, or who have had loved ones die. Whatever thoughts I may have cannot console them, and I’m inclined to believe that applies to prayers as well.

rosalindmayo
rosalindmayo
4 years ago

I never found philosophy helped me respond to many of the existential questions of life, and even later returning to it through psychoanalysis, it has its limitations- Heidegger in fact came very close to a theological sense of the world and existence like Bultmann- I like very much the idea of foolishness as prayer- St Francis i think embodied this.
Arguing about the existence, or proofs of God, seems at this time a very disconnected exercise- perhaps an intellectual defence to pain and the sense i have each day of feeling overwhelmed by the news- and the lives of so many lost, and some of the decisions being taken about human life.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
4 years ago

Please write a book on this, or a television series. Christians need this stuff put to the general populace.

Neil Hart
Neil Hart
4 years ago

All comments always concentrate on proof of God but read the article for what it is. Giles gives a Christian understanding of where God is to be found in Covid 19. God is hope and love and faith and all of those things are around in abundance right now found right in the midst of the angst. Faith is the place that says that the humanity of it all is real – the hurt and the love.