Atheism, Humanism, Sciencism—Just Another Religion?

As catastrophic events unfold millions of prayers dissipate into the stratosphere—and nothing. Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. It is not proof of absence, but in the spirit [sic] of consistency one would automatically conclude there is no God, just as you would conclude after seeking flaming elephorned jackals for 5000 years in Kentucky—or South Africa. Never seeing a non duplicatable unseen claim is plenty of evidence of non existence—unless of course there is an explainer close by.

If my atheism is a belief as I’ve been accused, is science too a belief system? I would effectively have two, no three belief systems. My atheism is not based on science, nor is my humanism based on atheism or science.

If religiosos are insistent that I believe (science you know, requires more faith than worshipping deities) then is ethics too, a belief system—and reason? Oh for gods sake!™️ I have five belief systems!

We have evidence of many things that are not true—

Consider a game of chance—a coin flip. If I flip a coin five times and get heads each time, is that proof the coin is two-headed? Of course not, but if I get heads 500 times I could safely conclude I have a two headed coin, no matter what another may say. Based on experience, 500 heads in a row would be evidence the coin has no tail

If I pray one time and get no answer, is that proof there are no gods answering prayers? Of course not, but if I pray 500 times a year for 40 years? That’s pretty good evidence there are no answers to prayers. How about the entire planet? Gods are either avoiding contact, or just not there. I’ll go with what actual experience tells me.

After 2000 years it is clear—and a million Olly Olly Oxen Frees gives me a million to none odds he’ll stay in hiding—or perhaps gods are myths. Or perhaps the catastrophe has a hidden meaning.


Author: jimoeba

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

72 thoughts on “Atheism, Humanism, Sciencism—Just Another Religion?”

    1. It is absolutely! This has gone on for so long people just expect and are expected to believe in something. Sorry folks, maybe the next generation will get rid of the 2thousand years myth. It isn’t working!

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  1. Where are the answered prayers? Where are the storms that were diverted from populated areas? Where are the limbs grown back? Where are *any* physical changes demonstrably shown to be made by prayer? There have been dozens of studies done under controlled conditions that tried to prove prayer had an effect on health, and none of them produced any positive results. When will people begin to realize this just isn’t working?

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    1. I did a post a while back on the Hamilton Path problem in physics. I found all the unanswered prayers using Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Mathematic of matrices says the prayers are “waiting”.

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    1. Most likely so. I wasn’t a real needy believer, but there were a few people I could’ve helped, with a little help. I am happy a lot of my prayers weren’t answered. 3/4 of my kids are atheist. Had god listened to me they’d all be believers.


  2. Years ago my sister prayed to get a specific job. She promised god that if she got the job, she would go to church every Sunday. She got the job and kept her part of the bargain.
    So you see folks, when it comes to god and prayer, he wants to know what’s in it for him. You gotta have skin in the game for the prayer deal to work. 🙂

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  3. If we take the conclusions of Jonathan Haidt and other psychologists/sociologists (like Durkheim) into consideration, human groups inherently have a mentality of “religion”, in the sense of common principles or “beliefs”, continually reinforced by ingroup members/structures distinguishing themselves from the outgroup. It could be argued that there are no exceptions to this rule, in which case the debate is, almost entirely, a moral rather than intellectual one. Even though there are differences among belief systems as to the extent of intellect needed or sought, the discrepancy is always based on values and therefore morals; and as much as one can try, there will always be deductive reasoning, no matter how much inductive evidence can be put forth! This could be summed up neatly: moral and cultural relativism are inevitable, unless force is used.

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    1. Well said. I agree with you. I think we all have beliefs. I think the key is to not hold them too strongly. To not be dogmatic about it. Is this possible? Perhaps not, but I do think one should try. I certainly have a strong belief in the value of science. I did not come to this value through simply deciding to value it, but rather by observing through my study of science that:

      A) Science is far more comfortable with uncertainty. It doesn’t seek to use magic as an explanation when it cannot explain things.

      B) It is iterative. It recognizes that the entire answer may not come with any one scientific experiment. It is refined by other scientists both in space and in time. This means that what we think we know changes, and this seems to me the obvious way knowledge must work since perfect knowledge is impossible.

      C) Science is the most reliable tool we have for uncovering truth. Other methodologies simply fail to provide reliable information that is accessible to others. It may be valuable individually in the same way that a story might bring a great deal of joy and comfort but it seems to me much more of a question of aesthetics at that point.

      We are naturally curious creatures, I suspect that the emergence science is a product of the fact that we knew our stories were insufficient even if they were the best thing we had for a long while. Now maybe some day something will come along and replace science as a better way to model reality. Religion was just our first attempt and given are far from perfect knowledge, it was a good one because it strengthened things like community, which is pretty much all you had in a completely inexplicable world. Science doesn’t promote community and I think there is some validity to that concern. Ironically science can also show that humans need community. That might seem intuitively obvious for some but I think here in the U.S. we live in a highly individualistic society and I think it’s easy to not understand the value that community can provide.

      In the end, science, to me seems to be the best tool we have to make sure we don’t hold on to our beliefs too tightly. If we are going to always have beliefs, I’d like to have the kind of mind that is free to modify/change them. Religion relies specifically on people not deciding for themselves to change what they believe in. This seems like a wholly bad idea for a more peaceful co-existence.

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      1. I really appreciate the positive direction this goes. Community is important. I wish there were more options to have that without the religious strings.
        My coworkers are always engaged about Trump, border walls, fly fishing and bible study (not kidding) I have to keep quiet a lot, everyday. It’s an interesting exercise for me balancing my thoughts and keeping my job. The entire area I live in is pretty hardcore and maybe that is wearing me a little thin. I really have no one to share with.

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        1. Certainly I think there are ways to build community through secular and scientific thought, but it definitely is more challenging…but perhaps only so because religion still permeates very strongly through our society.

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      2. Many thanks for your answer. It has made me reflect further on the matter at hand. Science, or more broadly, logical reasoning has been indispensable is expanding human consciousness of the world and ourselves within it. We now know more than ever about history, evolution and the various parts and functions of things within our world. But the question always is, how to interpret and how to act upon these discoveries? Science seems to be a means rather than an end; in a raw state, it is neutral, but we always put it to bake in pre-existing ovens of ideology, so to speak. Take genetic studies as an example. They are proving that (see David Reich) that race can no longer be ignored as a biological reality. The question is: what to do with this? We always culturalize/moralize it somehow. Another example is climate change. Very well, how exactly do we act here? But these two examples are less complex than sociological research. Once science deals with society directly (which can be argued is the most important task of science, especially if it seeks to replace religion), the question of “how to interpret and act upon it?” becomes more complicated than ever. The following inquiries are among the deepest we have asked about our existence:

        -What is truth? And is there one only or a best way?
        -What things are most perfect or best?
        -How should family and society function?
        -Who are we, what is the purpose of life, and what should we do?
        -Why do we so differ from all animals, and to what degree are we still like them?
        -What happens after death?
        -What is happiness/ harmony and how can we attain it?
        -What is good and what is evil?
        -What is useful and what is useless?
        -What or whom should one follow? That is, what or who is the authority?
        -How can differences and conflicts be understood and resolved?
        -How much can and should we know and discover about reality? When do we stop?
        -Are we improving or declining through time?
        -What is the nature of divinity and how does it relate to us?

        Science can discover bits pertaining to these essential questions of life, but it is always our task to put these together and interpret them within meaningful (and pre-existing) wholes. As you hint, I don’t think science will reach certainty here or even much consensus for a partial certainty. The problem is, people need certainty or an illusion of it to function properly as a group. There are only a few who are able (or to put it better, who have the luxury) to hold unto beliefs weakly rather strongly and afford to change them. There are even fewer who are interested in doing so. And sometimes we don’t even recognize that we are holding a belief when we think or act, because it is so deep. What troubles me about science is that it is always most successful within an industrial and military capacity, i.e. materialistic things. In other words, science can make us build fast and destroy even faster. Such a dangerously double edged sword! I know science has wonderful medical accomplishments too, but these have also caused the population to explode and threatened the planet in various ways. Are we certain we have done more good than harm at the end of the day, or have we merely merited the ambiguous title of the most interesting creatures on Earth? The answer depends on interpretation once again, much like with those essential questions above.

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        1. You are good person to philosophize with. Thank you! You said:

          What troubles me about science is that it is always most successful within an industrial and military capacity,

          I don’t think this has always been the case, but you are right that many useful advancements have come as a result of needing to solve problems of how to blow other people up better. I do think there has been a stronger shift towards that in the 20th century, but prior to that I don’t think it was necessarily related to war, but I’ll agree that all scientists needed support for their research from somebody and often that meant some rich person/monarch with political aims, but there are many examples of patrons who just saw science as a value and supported research. We also have the jailing of many scientists in the past because their findings went against the thinking of the day.

          But in relation to that you bring up an important point which is that science is a luxury (just as it is to sit here and have this conversation). For people to devote themselves entirely to something other than food production comes at an expense to society. Although perhaps not as costly as the military or politics. It’s hard to say, but either way, science tends to be expensive, and certainly more so since science has moved beyond the realm of what we can easily observe with our own two eyes. Precision instruments cost a great deal of money. I would say that science should be seen as a positive investment by society, but for many people who are living in poverty I can completely understand how they might think science should be put to the side. My overall point is though that because curiosity is part of who we are there are going to be people who want to practice science and they are going to want to do so through no financial incentive. It’s just unfortunate that doing science requires money and that makes a scientist susceptible to political whims.

          You ask many good questions there. I think that with those questions we may have to accept the fact that the answers might not be very interesting to many of them. As pattern seekers with a high level of conciousness I think we can ask some very deep questions, and I think sometimes we want the answers to be of equal depth. It could be that the answer to what happens after death is nothing…it could be that the answer to the question about purpose is to be kind to life. It could also be that there is no one answer to some of those questions. Maybe there is some bare architecture that general answers the question, but simply doesn’t get you very far. We get to decide some of these thing as individuals within the constraint of not bringing harm to others. It could also be that many of these questions are the wrong question to ask, and searching for the answer to that question is fruitless. I think just because we are capable of forming a question, doesn’t mean that there is necessarily an answer to that question if it’s a bad question.

          I think many things are certainly a double edged sword. If not pursuing the scientific enterprise was even an option, I’m sure that we would find that this also had tremendous downsides also. Agriculture, which is probably the best and worst technological advancement we’ve made seems simple inevitable which you consider a species that is interested in simply having a more dependable food supply. Even if earlier man could have envisioned the costs of such an advancement, they would have surely went ahead with it anyway. But I think it is very hard to see into the future, whereas hindsight brings much sharper vision.

          In the end, your point about luxury is the most important. I have come to realize how fortunate I am to have these discussions and to let my mind wander down innumerable pathways of thought. We might not know the answer to all your questions, but we do know that education is important, and poverty is bad. I think these are the two things that should be two most important things we should be fighting for.

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        2. Sorry, I wanted to add a couple of things, but realized I was late getting out the door for work as I was typing my last response. You said:

          “Once science deals with society directly (which can be argued is the most important task of science, especially if it seeks to replace religion),”

          I don’t know that it’s fair to say that science seeks to replace religion, although that may be what it’s doing. Religion has traditionally occupied the space of the unknown and uncertainty. I don’t see any of these things ever going away, at least for a long time to come. There will be room for religion to occupy…although the ones that persist today may not fare as well. (Although they’ve been doing a pretty good job so far!) Imagine having a religion built around the central tenet that things change, that a divine consciousness is a thing that can only be known through a pursuit of understanding how the universe works, and this requires us to continue to learn and try to understand. This to me is the very essence of science, and yet even this pursuit leaves room for a supreme consciousness, just one that doesn’t look like many of the ones we’ve invented. If there is a God then maybe our earlier attempts to understand God have only been getting at the edges, and the only thing that holds us back is the fact that God itself isn’t something we could understand 2000 years ago, anymore than we could have understood that light consisted of photons. In Buddhism one of the 4 noble truths is impermanence. I think this is on the money. At least for humans in their perception of the universe. The fact that many religions hold their holy book as representing some sort of truth for now and all time is the most ridiculous notion to me, because it simply doesn’t support our observations of the universe. Things change. That’s the only truth I can be absolutely sure of.

          I read an article about David Reich by the way. I think I had actually listened to a podcast interview with him before. I do think that we need to be able to have more honest conversations about racial differences, but I think David Reich, in the article I read said it well:

          It is clear from the inequities that persist between women and men in our society that fulfilling these aspirations in practice is a challenge. Yet conceptually it is straightforward. And if this is the case with men and women, then it is surely the case with whatever differences we may find among human populations, the great majority of which will be far less profound.

          An abiding challenge for our civilization is to treat each human being as an individual and to empower all people, regardless of what hand they are dealt from the deck of life. Compared with the enormous differences that exist among individuals, differences among populations are on average many times smaller, so it should be only a modest challenge to accommodate a reality in which the average genetic contributions to human traits differ.

          It is important to face whatever science will reveal without prejudging the outcome and with the confidence that we can be mature enough to handle any findings. Arguing that no substantial differences among human populations are possible will only invite the racist misuse of genetics that we wish to avoid.

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        3. Some excellent questions. We are limited and finite. Science is limited and finite. Science has helped us greatly in understanding our world. We are always learning more and understanding more. Science and the teachings of Jesus are not contradictory. I think the teachings of Jesus combined with philosophy and science can help us begin to understand the answers to the important questions you bring up. I think in this life we will never have fully satisfactory answers to those questions.


  4. I guess you may have guessed that I’m not for belief really, of any kind. We spend our years debating which is the best belief, when the real problem is belief itself. Everybody seems to want a belief, and all it is an idea conviction. There is nothing more to it than division, tribalism, and a host of other intangible problems. If I question an academic knowledge, it is discussed and both parties come away with greater understanding of the topic. If I question an intangible belief, or a faith, the brain gets a squirt of norepinephrine and the gloves come off.
    Somehow I think this belief is an errant or misused defense of our past. I’m still thinking on that one. Belief is nothing more than a thought, and it’s guarded like it’s a sick child. Great comment Melas. Always appreciate your input.

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    1. Thanks. This is quite a deep subject and it touches many others that pertain to the question of what is human and what is good. I agree with you that beliefs are indeed ideas; we all tend hold unto them strongly, even when they are not entirely or universally logical. Very few things are entirely and universally logical, but nevertheless beliefs carry meaning, and more importantly, they carry hope. We all have one life and we try to live it as best as we can, with individuals conforming to the group they subscribe to. There is tribalism whether we choose it or not, because there will always be ingroup and outgroup politics. But some have a “belief” that tribalism is not good and therefore ought to be transcended or avoided at all times. Trusting in science and logic is likewise a belief insofar as the value we place on our intellect and material understanding is concerned. Notwithstanding the plurality and reality of these beliefs, they are not necessarily of equal value among one another nor of constant value in the course of circumstances & experience. There are certain “beliefs” from the Enlightenment that have led to as much bad as those from monotheism, and I could also mention a few from polytheism. I find both relief and grief in thinking that we live in a gray world with many competing groups & truths, where both good and bad exist simultaneously, but are never fully known completely. Believing in most, rather than all, of what my ancestors believed helps with the burden, and it helps also that I can think for myself and share with others within my group and occasionally outside of it. I think we are the children, not the beliefs; the beliefs are playthings that guard us from sickness!

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      1. Tribalism cannot be avoided, I agree with you. But my hope is that we can broaden our definition of tribe to go beyond skin color, culture, or religion, and recognize how much all humans actually have in common.

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        1. It’s rather interesting: trying to go beyond tribes will only make tribes either bigger (more powerful) or weaker (more subject to change), which has both advantages and disadvantages, surely. Science as well as observation seem to confirm that tribalism has been our mode of existence since our very beginning. Language, belief and indeed all culture help us forget or act as buffers between us and such a primal reality.

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          1. I was listening to a podcast interview with Yuval Noah Harari and he said an interesting thing. He said nationalism made him hopeful. When asked what he meant by this he said…well nationalism made it so that you could have a country of a 100 million people and they need not all know each other and yet one person is willing to work or make sacrifices for a person on the other side of the country that they’ve never even met based on common goals of the nation. He said when you consider where we started…in groups no more than several hundred, this is a huge jump in order of magnitude to 100 million…he set the jump to 7 or 8 billion isn’t nearly as far. I think we have the capacity to extend the way we think of “tribe” to go well beyond the confines of the people we know.

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      2. One of the main reasons I write is to share my ideas and receive input. “ pertain to the question of what is human and what is good”. It is comments like these that help me change my perspective. Belief does seem to just be a part of being human (maybe I’m an alien) Capitulating the old and fostering better ways makes sense to me. I get frustrated at the level of ardent belief that goes backwards but people hang on for dear life to their comfortable ball and chain.
        A friend I have here says “believe everything, belief in nothing”. “the beliefs are playthings that guard us from sickness! I like that”.

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    2. I agree with much of what you are saying here. Disagreements about “doctrine” have done great damage to the “Church”. I think the true followers of Jesus will feeding the hungry and helping the homeless and loving their neighbors. They will have little time to argue about doctrine if they are doing the work Jesus commanded them to do. The only belief necessary to be a follower of Jesus is to believe he rose from the dead.

      Ron Sider quotes his discussion with German theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg who said, ‘The evidence for Jesus’ resurrection is so strong that nobody would question it except for two things: first, it is a very unusual event; and second, if you believe it happened, you have to change the way you live.’”

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  5. So lots of times what we pray for happens. Now you will say ok that was just coincidence and it may be. But to say what is prayed for never happens is simply not true. Sometimes it does.

    Now given that Notre Dame has not won a National Championship since 1993 (don’t go there and claim Florida State won) clearly I have to admit God does not answer all prayers and I might even agree that I can not prove a statistical significance to prayer. But saying prayer is never answered is something that I don’t really believe. Nor is it something that to be proved by just claiming prayers are never answered.

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    1. I like your optimism. Weird. But “never answered” or no other explanation? There is always a coincidence or other reasonable explanation. If you share your miraculous with others it’s usually pretty easy to see a natural explanation. Not supernatural at all, and luck. If you’d care to share an answered prayer I’d be happy to give an example of another solution.

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      1. Of course I do not doubt that. I do not doubt that for every prayer anyone says was answered you can offer some other explanation. Often people pray for things that are not miracles in themselves. Pray that I find out the truth of this event. Pray that my daughter lives through this etc. Sometimes the odds may be against it and it comes true but that does not prove it was God answering the prayer. And yes sometimes prayers are not answered and children die etc.

        My point is just to say you can’t say it is the case that what is prayed for never happens. It obviously does happen sometimes. You saying well that was just “luck” might be true or it might not. You will say I am biased for being open to the idea that it was God answering a prayer. And I know you will say that, because you do not believe God exists. So how could you think that he is answering prayers? For people who are open to God existing the possibility that some of the things prayed for happened because he answered the prayer is at least possible. In other words I think you are engaging in confirmation bias.

        Certainly over 500 normal prayers typically what is prayed for will happen a few times. So your saying the prayers were not answered is just you restating your view that you don’t think God exists.

        Can we measure this statistically? I think that is hard to do because the actual probabilities without prayer are not always well established.

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        1. There is a definite theological “prescription” for something to be accepted as miraculous and I’m surprised this has not come up. What is a miracle? It has to be an event that could never have happened other than through a “divine” intervention; something that has no other explanation. If a person is born with their left arm missing and a divine healer prays over her and she immediately grows a new and fully functional arm: that would be considered a miracle. If people are dying from a virus, medication is applied and many survive, including some being prayed for, that is NOT a miracle. Assuming for the argument that there was a god such as claimed by Christians, it is obviously impossible to know the mind of such an entity, therefore unless it is clear that the intervention could only be miraculous it is foolish to ascribe any questionable happening to such a deity. Further since it is patently obvious that ‘god’ does NOT answer prayers except as a game of chance the wise person does not enter into the argument: it is utterly pointless.

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          1. I think you conflating requirements for something to be “accepted” by the church as a miracle, and a miracle happening. If God acts in the world it might be a miracle even if we can not establish a miracle happened. So lets say ball thrown for a touch down actually came off the hand of the quarterback in such a way that if the normal forces of nature were only at work it would be incomplete. But God just nudges the ball ever so slightly to help it get to the receiver. That would be a miracle IMO. Of course it would be very hard to show this was a miracle just by looking at how the ball would have come off of the quarterback’s hand.

            “…it is obviously impossible to know the mind of such an entity, therefore unless it is clear that the intervention could only be miraculous it is foolish to ascribe any questionable happening to such a deity.”

            I think this is a non-sequitur. I agree we don’t entirely know the mind of God although he does reveal himself to us. So we know a bit about God. Now I might agree we can’t be certain that God answered a prayer that does not require a miracle. But I don’t think it is foolish to think that when something that you pray for happens that was otherwise improbable it is always foolish to ascribe it to God answering our prayer/ acting in the world contrary to the laws of nature. Yes maybe some doubt would be justified but I don’t think we are foolish if we don’t ultimately always decide it was not God answering our prayers.

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            1. Do you really think any god would care whether a football gets caught or not? I know you are only using this as an example, but the example is so absurd as to be completely meaningless. Have a god change the course of a bullet so that it does not kill someone important to that god, as in preventing an assassin from killing Martin Luther King, Jr. who is doing his god’s work wonderfully for him, and should need to go on living… But no, god did not prevent that bullet from going exactly where it was aimed, so I guess no one was fast enough to pray that it would not strike and kill him!
              Most things people pray for are petty, as far as real life goes, and are just as likely to happen anyway without divine intervention as they are with divine intervention. To say such prayers are “answered” are as absud as a god nudging a football into a better trajectory for a receiver to catch it. Life happens, otherwise there would be no life. Thank god we don’t have to petition god for every petty thing we get. The arrogance of that idea bewilders me.

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            2. “Do you really think any god would care whether a football gets caught or not?”

              It depends who is playing.

              I grew up Catholic and pray for all sorts of things. My wife grew up protestant and thinks I am semi-irreverent for praying for the things I do – especially sports results. She may have somewhat of a point so I am somewhat conflicted on the issue.

              I don’t think my view is arrogant. Rather I think it shows my constant awareness of God’s presence. Should I pretend I don’t want my team to win? Of course, God knows all our desires anyway so openly asking him seems reasonable and honest.

              I don’t think prayer needs to be saved for big issues. Its not like gasoline where you burned up all your gas going to the movies now there is none in the tank to get you to the hospital. But I recognize my views are not widely shared – especially among protestants.

              I think for some atheists they tend to think what happens in this life as being all there is. So you tend to think in those terms and say oh well this is most important or that is most important. I don’t entirely disagree but it is just a bit different.

              For me prayer is about our connection with God it is not just about thinking miracles can happen at important times. Although I am open to that possibility.

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            3. Thank you for your answer, Joe. I will try to reply to it with repect. You see your god as all-knowing and all-powerful, but you are also seeing him in a very personal way. I will not fault that. Yet this is where I use the word “arrogance” from: though you want your sports teams to win, as do most people, you are asking your god to take part in exactly the same game that your opposition’s fans are asking their god to take part in, but on behalf of the other team. If god were to “interfere” in that game, he would have to make a choice of which team he should most play on. On what would he base that choice? Which team has more fans praying for his help? Maybe which team has more true believers? Which team’s players or coaching staff commits less sins than the others? Or is he just going to help you, because he knows you have a good personal relationship with him?
              Meanwhile, how many games of any kind are happening in the world at the same time as your team’s games? How many people are praying for their teams at the same time you are praying for yours? How many horse races, or boat races, or other sporting events are going on simultaneously around the world, and how many billions of people are praying for god to play for their team, or help their horse run faster around a track, or whatever? And what effect are all these sporging events going to have on whether the world ends tomorrow or not?
              Please allow me to ask you, Joe, in all seriousness, does it not seem arrogant to think god is going to listen to one person’s pleas when he is busy taking care af a world where there are octillions or nonatillions of living beings fighting to stay alive at the same time as your team is playing another team? And this is only 1 world in a billion billion billion other worlds in the universe that have to be similarly taken care of. Surely some being somewhere needs his attention more for more important reasons than why you want your team to win. Was it a prayer from someone like you who took god’s focus off the bullet speeding towards MLK Jr and he was a microsecond late in diverting that bullet from its course? I know god can supposedly pay attention to many things at any one time, We were supposedly made in his image, and we can barely focus on 1 thing at a time; how can we expect our gods to focus on more things at one time than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on earth, let alone other worlds?
              I am not exaggerating, Joe, when I ask these things. I am dead serious? What makes you so important to god that you think he will answer your prayer about something so inconsequential as a football game? On an average basis your team is going to win 1/2 its games with or without his help. Praying for god to interfere is, to me, the height of arrogance.
              I am an atheist, so I do not pray, obviously. But I would choose to agree with your wife’s views over yours if I had to. God has more important things to do…

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            4. “If god were to “interfere” in that game, he would have to make a choice of which team he should most play on. On what would he base that choice? Which team has more fans praying for his help? ”

              Bingo! Now you see why I pray and used to try to get my kids to pray before my wife would give me looks about it.

              Ok I hope you know I am just sort of kidding around and, of course, I have thought of these things. Sure I realize the team may be jerks and there are several other things happening etc.

              But I don’t think God is too busy or distracted to hear my prayer or is distracted by my prayer. God is omniscient it is not like he has trouble keeping track of us. I don’t think his direction is only focused on one thing at a time like ours. And I think he wants us to include him in our daily lives.

              Yes I pray for sports results and yes I understand it can be sort of silly in one respect but again God knows I want the team to win so what is the big deal with expressing it to him in prayer?

              I think *everyone* is important to God. Not just me, but I am important as well. It’s hard to imagine USC fans might be important to God but I am open to the possibility.

              There was a movie where all the prayers were happening and God was trying to listen to them all at once but they just sounded garbled because everyone was talking over each other. I think that was amusing but I don’t think that is how it works. I mean its not like God is just 5xs better at multitasking than we are. That view seems silly to me. I don’t see much in the bible that says don’t bother God with prayers because he will lose focus on the important stuff.

              I think God has plenty of time to hear our prayers its not like he is too busy. I don’t think God failed to redirect the bullet because he too busy messing around with a pass. I don’t think when I am praying I am so loud he can’t hear someone else’s prayer – or he is too busy with my “Hail Mary” to cure cancer somewhere.

              That said I think my wife has a point that when we approach God in prayer we should be reverent so maybe asking him for things we know are trivial is somewhat irreverent. I don’t want my kids to think it is ok to be irreverent so I no longer ask them to pray for sports results. Of course, if you were a Christian dad I bet you would pray for your kids to do well in a sport or activity. I think my wife might even do that – or at least bet she has been tempted to do it.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. I never had kids, so I wouldn’t know about wanting them to be anyone but who they want to be. Seeeing as I have no way to test the theory, I will never find out.
              And being an atheist who sees no possibility of there being a god, I cannot see asking anyone for help for kids to be anything but what they want to be. In my experience, not all, but most sports heroes are major league jerks: Womanizers, wife-beaters, egomaniacs, brawlers, addicts, what have you. But really that is no different from many men, only they have more money than most average “joes” (please pardon the expression!) to indulge their habits with.
              See, I do not need anyone to help me be what and who I am. I think for myself, I succeed on my own–I fail on my own. I give no one responsibility over me–except me! Since I left religion behind, and the idea of god behind, that is how I have run my life. I take responsibility for everything I do, good, bad, or indifferent. As well, I decide what is good and bad.
              If you can ask your god to influence the outcome of a game, or someone else’s life, probably we can never see eye-to-eye. But that is okay, we are two different people. I just wanted a glimpse into how believer’s live these days. Thank you for that.

              Liked by 3 people

            6. How did you decide which god to ask? Do you know if his existence because of special, or general revelation. What does it feel like to rub shoulders with the big guy while he would never even give me a whisp of dopamine to confirm his existence?

              Liked by 1 person

      2. Now there is a challenge I would like to see answered.

        What is the difference between ‘wishing for’ and ‘praying for’ and ‘hoping for?’ Que Sera, Sera.

        In the history of humanity, who can point to one instance which shows that a supernatural being has altered the course of nature?

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I recently heard an interview with Lee Strobel who has written a book called “The Case for Miracles.” Lee mentioned a study of people who believed that miracles have happened. He said the group of people in the US most likely to believe miracles happen are medical doctors. They are scientific-minded. Why would they believe this? Perhaps they are around many people who are praying? Perhaps they have seen more miracles than most people? Perhaps God really does answer prayer?

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      1. “It is pointless to ask from the gods what one is fully able to attain for oneself.”
        Epicurus (or one of his disciples)

        I have found there are always two sides to unsubstantiated facts.
        (I don’t know who I stole that from.)

        I was taught by the ‘keepers of the dolls’ that a miracle was an occurrence or event that mere mortals could not duplicate.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sudden cures beyond the capability of practised medicine does not make them miracles, unless you are looking to find miracles. There are things that happen to believers and non-believers alike. Is it a miracle that I can make myself sick with just a thought? That would be a reverse miracle, I guess, but more than once in my life something has been happening in my life that caused me to have a medical problem. One time I was losing the love of my life, we were drifting apart. Being a nurse, I remember thinking, as exactly as I can remember, what I need is a good medical emergency to bring her focus back to me, instead of what she was wrapped up in. But what kind of medical issue? Oh, I know, appendicitis! That’s a safe one–little did I know how dangerous it was! Two weeks later, on the first day of my vacation from work, I came down with stomach pains. They got so bad I ended up walking half-an-hour to get to a hospital emergency room in the middle of the night. Within 15 minutes of my arrival I was in the operating room and my appendix was removed. The doctor said if I had not gotten to the hospital at that very moment my appendix would have burst, and I would have been dead. My girlfriend of many years was listed as my next-of-kin, and they phoned her up to let her know I was in recovery. She rushed to see me, and we were good for another seven years after that. My ruse worked, I won her back. But it was while lying in bed in the hospital I remembered those thoughts I had had two weeks before. The event happened almost exactly as I planned, in my thoughts, though the actuality was much worse than I could have conceived. I was released from hospital 3 days later, the fastest recovery that doctor had ever seen. Medicine current at that time called for seven days to recover. He could not understand how I healed so quickly. I was not about to tell him that I had caused myself to get sick to win back my girlfriend, and once I had won he back I did not need to be sick anymore.
        So was that a miracle? No! It was sheer dangerous stupidity on my part. I had no idea of the symptoms of appendicitis. I had forgotten my momentary plan seconds after I thought about it, not thinking it would really happen. When it did, I thought I just had a bad tummy ache, something bad I had eaten. I almost killed myself for love, and had that happened, no one would have known. There was no miracle there, but the doctor thought there was. He said as much, and when I told him I was an atheist and did not believe in miracles, he looked like he wanted to kill me. Of course it was a miracle, and I should thank his god it was. I told him to take his prayers elsewhere.
        That was the most dramatic time I caused myself to have medical issues, and it was the most vivid. Other times I did not plan it as such, but I used the trick to get out of bad work situations, and once to get out of a bad university situation. But it was only in retrospect I realized what happened, that I had caused the problems myself.
        Where did I learn this trick? From my mother, of all people. My father was a batterer, and a mental abuser. This was in the 50s, with no help available for her. She could not escape him, what with ten kids in tow. But she could not live like that either. She got cancer, and died way sooner than doctors thought she should have. They had no idea what she was running away from, as fast as she could. But I saw, and I learned. The trick is to not do anything to kill myself (well, that was the plan). What’s the use of running away, if you are no longer alive? Obviously, I am still alive, 71 years old now. I might not be in the best of health, because of earlier things I asked of my body, but I am still here to write about it, so for as much as things went wrong, they went right in the long run.
        But all to do with the power of thought, conscious or subconscious. Nothing to do with miracles! Nothing to do with a god…

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, but their god held of f predicted rain to give them time to protect the exposed works of art from water damage. (Yes, someone claimed this was so.) What the twit was doing the day before when the building almost burned to the ground wasn’t mentioned. A targeted rain deluge (surely within Its capabilities) would have put the fire out pronto, no?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maybe this is symbolic of the Catholic Churches future. If there is a god he would certainly be disappointed in the pedophilia and criminal activity of the church. Or, like father like son —like bride?

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I have to agree with you Jim, “Absence of evidence is evidence of absence.” Our chosen beliefs are basically preferences at this point….Which one works best for me? I begged, even cried at times for God to hear me, answer my prayers…he never showed for 30+ years, not even the tiniest of signs…..Later on a friend claimed, “God is real because I have felt him before.” I responded, “well, I’m glad YOU have.” 🤷 Looks like God might actually NOT love all his children equally……🙄

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think that God is as real as we choose to make it. When we get tired of the pretend game, then we can move on and mentally grow up. I have observed that the people who insist on continuing to play with their God dolls have serious limitations in understanding how things actually work. After all if your life depends on your doll you don’t need to take responsibility for yourself or your surroundings: just hold your doll, talk to it and pretend it is answering your queries, er, hmmm, prayers? When problems of “interpretations” arise you go to the God doll meeting and the doll keeper will interpret the doll for you… for a fee of course but that’s understandable…

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I have found that since I am a Christian I have a much greater sense of responsibility for my life than I did before. I also have a much, much greater concern for my neighbor, a relationship with Jesus greatly changed my life for the better.


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