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stump's avatar

Atheists, do you find you are unable to believe in God, or do you choose not to believe?

Asked by stump (3827 points ) December 14th, 2010

In my experience, no one has been able to prove or disprove anything to me. I could choose to be an atheist, but I find it helpful and healthy to foster my own faith and to attend regular religious services. Have you made a choice, or do you simply find yourself without a religious belief?

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189 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

Unable. I simply have too many questions.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

God made me this way.

Summum's avatar

I believe from my own personal experiences and have a deep understanding of who and what God is and where he is and where he came from.

Blackberry's avatar

@Summum Oh really? Would you like to let us in your bastion of knowledge?

Seelix's avatar

I think it’s kind of paradoxical to choose to be atheist. Atheism is the belief that god doesn’t exist; choosing to ignore a god that one believes exists must be something else, no? Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know all the details about this kind of stuff.

Personally, I don’t believe a god exists. If others want to believe, though, that’s cool with me. I don’t believe in ghosts or the Tooth Fairy either, but if others do, whatever.

Summum's avatar

I goofed this is for atheists so I’m off topic sorry about that.

Qingu's avatar

@stump, which god are you talking about?

Qingu's avatar

Also, the question strikes me as silly. I don’t choose to believe or disbelieve anything.

Like, if I was on a jury and the prosecution and defense presented their respective cases, I wouldn’t be “choosing” to believe the defendant was guilty. I would simply believe he was guilty if the prosecution’s case was stronger. Maybe I’d have some amount of doubt that I would weigh against the strength of the evidence or lack thereof.

stump's avatar

@Qingu The God I choose to believe in is the christian God.

Qingu's avatar

@stump, just to be clear, you are talking about Yahweh, the Hebrew god who allegedly created a solid dome for a sky and ordered his followers to commit multiple genocides?

El_Cadejo's avatar

I am unable to believe in ANYTHING without seeing some proof first. Its how ive always been. I grew up being told question EVERYTHING

Blackberry's avatar

@stump I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but you do realize that if you grew up in Afghanistan, your chances of being a christian now would be lessened, right?

deliasdancemom's avatar

I am an atheist, their is no proof for the existences of any of the popular gods of today, in fact there is heavy proof they were created based on mythologies of past gods…and that those gods were created by mythologies of other gods….so I can say with certainty there is no christian, hindu, muslim, jewish, etc….god….nor is there a mithras, an odin, a thor or a bast etc….nor in the future will there be phetons or great wizard alien ghosts living in you (scientology btw) might there be something….maybe…there’s a slight chance….I highly doubt it, but a slight chance, but if there is who the hell are we to know all about it….the gods of man are every bit as self absorbed, exclusive and selfish as man himself, and ill have no parts of that for eternity thanks….ill be quietly rotting in my grave

TrkReznor's avatar

I see religion as a form of mind control. God says this, God says that. I don’t believe any of that. I don’t believe there is one all powerful being all there who is a master of good and evil. Nobody in this world has ever proved to me the existence of a God because they can’t. I have a huge theory about life but it would be waaaaay of topic. So, in summary, it is not that I am unable to believe it is that there is simply nothing for me to believe in without any hard proof.

stump's avatar

@Qingu I guess I mean in the absence of compelling evidence one way or the other.
@uberbatman Do you believe in the planet Neptune? I do, but it hasn’t been proven to me. I take it on faith. Has someone proven that to you?

stump's avatar

@Qingu Yeah, that guy. But I think the people who wrote the old testament did their best, but got a lot wrong.

Blackberry's avatar

@stump You see no problem questioning why you chose to believe in the christian god and some other god? Also you do realize we have pictures of Neptune, right?

Qingu's avatar

@stump, now I’m confused. Did they get those descriptions of the deity in question wrong? How are we supposed to know which descriptions of Yahweh are correct?

This is important, because if you mean “god” as the standard sort of Mesopotamian sky god that Yahweh of the Bible is, of course I don’t believe in him, why would anyone believe in that? But if you mean “God” in some vague sense meaning “the Laws of the Universe” or “the Force from Star Wars,” then I’d be more sympathetic to such belief. I mean, I certainly believe in the laws of nature.

Rarebear's avatar

For me the answer is both. I find I cannot believe so I choose not to believe.

Qingu's avatar

Also, your comment on Neptune leads me to suspect that you are using the words “proof,” “belief,” and “faith” very differently than the majority of posters on Fluther.

Just for clarity, let’s go back to the example of me on jury duty. I believe the defendant is guilty if the prosecution proves its case. The prosecution proves its case by providing overwhelming evidence that demonstrates guilt is the only plausible explanation.

Proof doesn’t mean “disproving a negative.” Like, it’s possible that aliens planted all the evidence using alien magic. It’s possible that Neptune’s images are a giant scientific conspiracy. But merely suggesting these alternate possibilities—with no evidence of their own—doesn’t enter into how I consider “proof” and “evidence.” I certainly dont’ have “faith” that the prosecution’s evidence is not fabricated by magic aliens.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s all about evidence. I don’t disbelieve or believe—in anything, really. If there is evidence to support an idea, I find it more useful than if I don’t have evidence. There’s no real world evidence for any notion of a God, so it is not a useful idea to me.

Now, I will use the word “believe” but when I say that, I mean I think the evidence for something is pretty convincing. I am always ready for new evidence that does not support the hypothesis. If it shows up, I’m not going to “believe” any more. I’ll just be looking for a better hypothesis.

Cruiser's avatar

What is God or “a God”?? If this God is a fictional character who overseas a heaven and a hell who just may be culpable in creating this World we live in then no. If “God” is a life force energy that is all of what we know of our Universe?? That God I believe in.

josie's avatar

No real evidence to conclude that God exists.
The only “evidence” is ancient stories that were not even written down until centuries after they were first told, combined with the ad populum argument that lots of people believe in God therefore God exists.
Just not enough to make a conclusion that should not be frivolous.

crisw's avatar

I cannot believe in things for which I have no evidence that they are true, even if such beliefs are comforting, helpful, etc. I’ve chosen to value truth over faith.

There is no evidence that the Christian god exists or that stories of him are true. Therefore, I cannot believe in him.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I went the jury direction and made the call for myself. Then Cruiser came along and made me rethink. Still don’t have a solid answer and still working on it.

deliasdancemom's avatar

Dear everyone:

If you are gonna pick a religion just because you think you should or whatever…..concider buddhism? At least they are….ya know….peaceful and are encouraged to continue to learn about the world around them….im not putting anyone down, but if you just want religion for the sake of community or having a religion, don’t pick a religion that makes you close your eyes to history or science, medicine or the advancment of the human race. Especially if that religion is telling you the end is n’igh. Because what’s gonna happen when the end doesn’t come and you spent all this time preparing, leaving yourself uneducated and unable to face the real world?

stump's avatar

@Blackberry I don’t understand the first part of your reply. Yes I have seen pictures of Neptune, but I have seen photographs of supposed ghosts, too. People can create photos of anything. A photo isn’t proof.
@Qingu I can’t take everything in the Bible as literal truth, so I have to compare what is written there to my own experience of life. Many things written about God in the Bible sound like fairy-tales to me (and fairy-tales are very valuable, just not literally true). I try to gleen what ever wisdom I can from each story, and put together a picture of God that they all point to. Some stories are better written, some are badly written. I have done a little comparing with other religions and find the Bible has more useful wisdom and a more sympathetic picture of God than others. And I am specifically thinking of the New Testament.

Qingu's avatar

@stump, okay, but… without specifically defining the god you’re talking about, or at least listing some of his attributes, it is impossible for me to meaningfully answer your question. Even in the swath of Christian traditions there are a variety of gods to choose from.

Does your god have a son, who is equal to himself, who sacrificed himself (to himself) in order to change the way humans are punished for breaking the laws he gave them, laws which are impossible for us to follow anyway because of an evil force “imputed” down through the generations because our mythic ancestor ate a magic fruit at the behest of a talking snake?

I don’t believe any of that. Why would you?

Qingu's avatar

I agree, a photo isn’t proof.

Numerous photos, combined with detailed equations showing why there must be a planet of Neptune’s size in the orbit that Neptune is in for the solar system’s gravity to work as it does, along with consensus among experts in the field, on the other hand… if this isn’t “proof,” then what is, exactly? In what sense are you using the word “proof,” and do you consider anything to be proven?

deliasdancemom's avatar

My head hurts and I need a place to hide….

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I am unable to believe in god(s).
It isn’t a choice, as I’m sure most people who do believe don’t feel they made a conscious decision to believe. You either believe or you don’t. I find it next to impossible to believe in god. It really is that simple. I believed as a child, and the doubt crept in, and I lost my ability to believe it. I really try to avoid being offensive, as I think that someone’s faith is something that is personal and should be respected, but the truth of the matter is that I think it’s downright absurd to believe in pretty much any religion or deity.

stump's avatar

@Qingu Yes there are a lot of christian gods, and mine is very personal to me. Of course I believe mine is closer to the truth than all the others, but I also know I am often wrong. You are right about how people commonly use the word proof. I guess I use a more specific meaning when thinking about religious experiences. Proof in that respect for me is direct personal experience. As for the story of a god who sacrificed himself to himself to save us from the evil of a talking snake, I believe it the same way I believe Romeo and Juliet. I don’t think the events actually happened. But it contains a truth about human experience that is often more true than varifiable history.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@stump yes, there is ASSLOADS of peer reviewed sources and other research supporting the fact that its there. Give me the same evidence for god.
we also have pictures of neptune, while your proving god, do you mind supplying me with a picture of him taken by human cameras as well?

ragingloli's avatar

I am unable to. I think it is not possible to choose to believe or disbelieve.
If it was, I would be a devout Jedi.

HearTheSilence's avatar

I couldn’t agree more with @deliasdancemom everything she has said is spot on to my way of thinking when it comes to religion.

I’m no longer a child, I just can’t believe in fairy tales especially if there’s no proof.

There’s far too many questions that can’t be answered. A god that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent? So why is there natural disasters in the world if he’s omniscient? And if he’s omnipotent, why doesn’t he stop them from happening? If god is good, why does he allow us to suffer? God can stop bad things from happening to us and yet he doesn’t, so does that then make him evil since he’s allowing us to suffer?

Qingu's avatar

@stump, I guess my question would then be, to what extent does a god whose major defining characteristics are only “true” in the sense of a made-up fable exist at all?

I mean, I wouldn’t say “I believe in Romeo and Juliet.”

I believe the story of Romeo and Juliet is beautiful and influential in the history of literature (but somewhat overrated and derivative), which is also how I feel about Genesis and parts of the New Testament. But, the characters were made-up by humans.

Summum's avatar

I want to speak up here a little. God is not what you seem to think he is @HearTheSilence he has no control over how this Earth goes. Universal Law governs our planet and the Universe Including what you call God.

coffeenut's avatar

I’m not satisfied with the Current and past GODS….So I’m waiting for the next batch of GODS before I decide my fate.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu Your court example is really off base. What about circumstantial evidence as opposed to direct evidence or the preponderance of the evidence. What about cases where the jury believed, based on all the evidence available, both circumstantial and direct, that a defendent was guilty and it was later proven that he was in fact not guilty.

Sometimes people are found not guilty based on the evidence but that doesn’t mean they didn’t commit the crime they were charged with. It just means there wasn’t enough weight to the evidence to persaude a jury or even that the judges orders for the verdict didn’t allow for the verdict they wanted to give.

Prove to me the witnesses of Jesus were liars.

HearTheSilence's avatar

That’s your take on god which is much like the deism belief—that’s fine, not everyone has the same belief. I’m not knocking anyone’s beliefs, I’m simply stating why I can’t believe in god. Popular belief though is that god is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent; thus raising too many questions—for me, that can’t be answered without contradiction.

Qingu's avatar

Also, I definitely wouldn’t define “proof” in terms of direct personal experience (which I’m guessing, from the ambiguity of your understanding of the deity in question, to be relatively vague to begin with).

Personal experience cannot be proof because it only “proves” anything to one person: you. It’s like defining proof in terms of sensory experience. I think this understanding robs the term “proof” of any useful function whatsoever.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, I would take all of that into consideration. I believe I said I would weigh the evidence, and the strength of the evidence.

What witnesses of Jesus?

Qingu's avatar

Hint: the earliest Christian writing we have is from Paul… who never met Jesus…

bkcunningham's avatar

So, going with you comment, Paul was a lunatic along with the other writers of the Gospels?

Seelix's avatar

I think Qingu meant that Paul was writing what had been passed down through the oral tradition, not that he was a lunatic.

Qingu's avatar

I would characterize Paul the same way I’d characterize most televangelists. An opportunistic demagogue.

But, even if we believe everything Paul says, Paul was not an eyewitness. He never met Jesus. He said so. What eyewitnesses are you talking about?

@Seelix, Paul’s writings weren’t passed down thru oral tradition, actually…

Seelix's avatar

@Qingu – my mistake. I’ve said before that I don’t know a heck of a lot about this stuff; that was just my assumption.

Qingu's avatar

‘s cool. Paul’s writings are actually letters that he wrote to his various flocks of followers around the Roman Empire, so they’re very much written works (unlike, for example, much of the OT, which is probably based on an earlier oral tradition)

bkcunningham's avatar

Matthew, Mark, Luke, Peter, James…

Qingu's avatar

Right, characters mentioned in the gospels. Why do you think they’re eyewitnesses?

deliasdancemom's avatar

Jan, cindy marcia….oh sorry we weren’t listing the brady bunch were we?

bkcunningham's avatar

They say they were.

Qingu's avatar

Where do they say they’re eyewitnesses?

Also, even if they were eyewitnesses, do you believe everything ancient eyewitnesses report?

Like, I’m assuming you don’t believe the eyewitnesses mentioned in Bukhari hadith report claiming that Muhammad rode up into the sky on the back of a flying donkey. Or the eyewitnesses in the Roman historian Seuteonius’s writing who said the emperor Vespasian healed a blind person and a cripple. Or the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus who said “it would seem a fable but there was an army of chariots floating up in the clouds” around 80 AD, seen by numerous witnesses.

And these witness testimonies, unlike the gospels, are signed and dated. We don’t know who wrote the gospels, or when they were written. Most scholars think they were written after 80 AD.

bkcunningham's avatar

So you don’t believe any written accounts of things that happened before you could witness it yourself. I suppose there will come a time that people won’t believe any written accounts of history. Seriously, it is really amazing that for so many centuries such a great number of people have been duped isn’t it? Well, except for great thinkers like yourself and others.

Qingu's avatar

The gospels also contradict each other left and right… that is, the parts that aren’t copied from each other word for word

Summum's avatar

There have been and continue to be “Chariots in the clouds”.

Seelix's avatar

I’m looking outside right now and all I see in the clouds are snowflakes. Wait, there goes a plane…

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, I believe some ancient written accounts. But in general, I’m very skeptical of ancient written accounts because ancient writers did not share our modern ideas of things like objectivity and skepticism.

You didn’t answer my question. Do you think Muhammad rode up into the sky on a flying donkey? Eyewitnesses said he did. Why or why not?

bkcunningham's avatar

I suppose Roman history is all made up and oral traditions handed down. Prove to me that Jesus didn’t exist and all the written accounts of his existance are false and the writers are lunatics.

Qingu's avatar

Roman written history is not made up altogether… though the parts of Seutonius’ history claiming that the Emperor Vespasian magically healed a blind person and a cripple are certainly made up.

Do you disagree with this?

Seelix's avatar

Prove to me that he did.

I don’t think the question is so much “did Jesus exist”. Was he really the son of god? Prove that.

Qingu's avatar

Yes, I definitely think that Jesus existed. I also think that Muhammad existed. Neither of these are extraordinary claims.

I don’t think Jesus magically resurrected for the same reason I don’t think Muhammad rode a flying donkey up into the sky. Because they’re extraordinary claims with no evidence that contradict everything we know about reality.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu you think Jesus existed, who was he then?

Qingu's avatar

Jesus was an ancient Roman cult leader who was active in Judea. His cult seemed to have blended Judaism with elements of mystery cults that were popular at the time. He may have co-opted John the Baptist’s cult, just as Paul co-opted Jesus’ own cult.

bkcunningham's avatar

He was a cult leader and a lunatic liar? That’s interesting. A cult leader/lunatic liar whose birth even fulfilled Old Testament scripture about a coming Messiah. Interesting.

Seelix's avatar

Did Qingu say “lunatic liar”? Sorry, you might be able to go back and edit your own posts, but you can’t edit someone else’s.

Anyone can say they’re a messiah. Hey, look guys, I’m a messiah!

Qingu's avatar

His birth fulfilled (incredibly vague) OT scripture… as written by unnamed, unsigned documents likely written 50 years after his death by his dedicated cult followers.

Yeah, that’s not that interesting. Most cults do that.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, I’ve answered your questions, can you please answer mine?

Do you think Emperor Vespasian really healed a blind man and a cripple?

Do you think Muhammad rode up into the sky on al-buraq?

Why or why not?

HearTheSilence's avatar

@bkcunningham anyone can fulfill old testament scripture to make them out to be the messiah, look at david koresh, he thought he was the messiah—doesn’t mean he was right.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Seelix if Jesus wasn’t all the things he said he was, what would you call him? I’d say, based on what he said like he the things he said he was coming to fulfill and saying he was the only way to God and all his other teachings, that if it isn’t true, he had to be a lunatic and a liar.

Qingu's avatar

Oh, I think Jesus may well have been a lunatic and/or a liar. I feel the same about most cult leaders. But I don’t think we can say much definitively about the “real” Jesus because the documents about him post-date his period of activity. He seems to have been against divorce; that’s the most certain thing we know about him. He also seems to have royally pissed off both the Romans and the Jewish priestly powers.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I could choose to believe in a god for an hour an a half if I watched Bruce all mighty or another movie, the same way I can make Picard real for 40 minutes. But other than that I can’t fool my self.

I was 6 years old when I learned what “atheist” was, and told my religion teacher I was one. I have been an atheist all my life, as soon as I came in contact with religion for the first time ever, I doubted how true it was.

I can suspend disbelief for a little while for entertainment, but thats as far as it goes, it has always been obvious to me that it is all made up, ever since I first heard about it.

As I have mentioned before in other questions, I was a very manipulative child, and I knew how to lie well, when I looked at and look at religion, I always see the hallmarks of a lie. Little get-out clauses and pre-emptive excuses built in.

btw, I’m not talking about any religion in particular, I have been an atheist for so long that I see all religions as being more or less the same. Jesus, Mohammed, Apollo, its all the same to me.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu okay, I’ll bite. Tell me the divorce thing.

Seelix's avatar

@bkcunningham – I was merely commenting on your putting words in someone’s mouth.

There’s no way that we can know whether he said these things at all.

Qingu's avatar

All four gospels quote Jesus as being against divorce, and iirc it’s in non-synoptic sections of Matthew, Mark, and Luke—so it’s the strongest “statement” we have of Jesus because of the variety of sources that mention it.

Um, I wasn’t trying to make any sort of major point with this, by the way. My basic point here is that I am skeptical that the gospels accurately describe or quote the real person Jesus who was active half a century before they were written. It’s certainly possible that parts of them do, (in particular, the parts that correlate with “sayings traditions” like the gospel of Thomas) but then they contradict each other and are filled with claims that are obviously mythical. It’s also possible that the gospel writers or their predecessors who they cribbed from treated Jesus like Plato treated Socrates, or like Thucydides treated anyone he wrote about and “quoted.”

bkcunningham's avatar

Yeah, I know oral histories 50 years old are absurd. Like that thing that Tom Brokaw did with the WW II vets. You know those old fellows memories were failing and half of them made up stuff. That was before we had 24 hour news for the love of God. And witnesses to miracles and fulfillment of prophesies or something generations had been expecting to happen like the son of God. I’m sure after they witnessed something like that they forgot about it within an hour or two. They were busy with other things. I know what you mean. Like how would Adam walking with God and knowing the story of creation and the future. It didn’t impress him. Why should it? Just make up something when the kids ask. You wouldn’t remember that crap and write it down or remember it with stories in the stars or things that are consistant. Nope you are right. Like that stupid coronation stone. Those stupid Royals and that silly oral history made up story of King David. Some people will just fall for anything without any merit to what they believe. You are right. Thanks.

Seelix's avatar

I’m going to pretend that there was no sarcasm in that response, and leave this thread happily.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, now would be a good time to answer those questions I asked about Vespasian and Muhammad’s flying steed.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu fools and lunatics the lot of them!

Qingu's avatar

Also, just to be clear, the question here isn’t so much “are oral histories accurate” (the gospels probably weren’t developed through accreted oral histories), but rather “why should I believe any crazy-sounding claim written down by ancient people?”

If you are serious, why do you think the respected Roman historian Seutonius and the hadith author Bukhari were fools and lunatics, but not the people who wrote the gospels? Unlike the gospel writers, these folks had the courtesy to sign their name and date what they wrote. The hadiths also list the names of eyewitnesses.

Zaku's avatar

I’m a spiritual agnostic with enough knowledge of various theologies and philosophies that it seems almost silly to believe literally in any human religion. Religions seem to me to use a lot of metaphor and people who “believe” and are concerned about faith (especially the faith of others) seem to me to almost always be missing the point (or taking the point of mislead and/or corrupt religious leaders) of their own religions.

Qingu's avatar

And I could go on and on about stuff ancient people wrote down—whether they were direct eyewitnesses or historians, or taken from oral history—that are obviously just bullshit. Alexander the Great did not actually march his army preceded by a wave of snakes, nor was he born of a demigod. Constantine did not actually see a floating cross in the sky that said “by this sign conquer.” Catholic saints could not control the flight of birds or the weather. Etc etc.

This goes up to the modern age. Millions of people have reported being abducted by aliens. They are all either crazy or lying.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu Seutonius wrote about Christ and the uprising of the Christians.

Qingu's avatar

You’re probably thinking of Tacitus.

And, he called the resurrection a pernicious falsehood. whoops, he actually said “mischevious superstition.” In translation of course, but you get the drift.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu millions? No it was Seutonius in the Life of Claudius.

Qingu's avatar

(fact-checks) I see, you are right. Well, he doesn’t appear to mention Christ. Also, what’s your point?

I’m looking for that “milliions” figures for abduction claims but I’m having some trouble… I could well be mis-remembering from a book I read a long time ago (Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World.”) In any case, a bunch of people have claimed to be abducted by aliens.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu you asked if I believed the writings of Seutonius to make a point yourself. I was just pointing out that he mentions Christ and Christians.

Translated: “Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.” Page 53

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Suetonius/12Caesars/Claudius*.html#ref75

Qingu's avatar

But that was about Emperor Claudius, not Tiberius, so it’s unlikely that he’s talking about that Chrestus.

Anyway, I find this claim by Seutonius fairly reasonable, though probably biased in favor of the Roman emperor as he was an imperial historian. On the other hand, I find the claim that Vespasian healed a cripple to be complete BS. Are we on the same page re: Seutonius?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I find these options to be ridiculous so I’m going to say neither. To imply that I am unable to believe in god(s) is wrong because it sounds like something that’s not the norm and that everyone else is able to and I, for whatever reason, am unable to. I am neither able or unable, I just don’t. Nor do I choose to not believe in god – if you think that way, then believers choose to believe in God but they’ll say it’s not a choice. So I don’t choose either. It just doesn’t matter to me whether god exists, period.

bkcunningham's avatar

Of course logically it would seem biased in favor ot the Roman emperor. I don’t know. I’ve witnessed some pretty amazing things that would be considered miracles. But I’m not that schooled on The Jesus Papers.

Qingu's avatar

I haven’t seen any miracles. I have seen a lot of people who are willing to lie, often to themselves, in service of ideology. And even more people who are gullible enough to believe such lies.

talljasperman's avatar

I’ve experienced miracles the unknown…But I don’t really care either way. just living my life is fine for me

Summum's avatar

I don’t believe in miracles.

JLeslie's avatar

I am an athiest, and for me the proof argument is ot one I get into. Just because there is no proof, does not mean something does not exist, or a theorybis not true, it only means it has not been proven yet. For me, I have never turned to God for anything, and it seems like magical thinking to me. It just does not make sense to me that God would require blind faith, would send down Jesus to represent him, when other parts of the world, other people, had no chance to get his message until many many years later as missionaries travel and spread his word. Why would a loving God leave some people out? Out of the secret to eternal love and life in Heaven? It just doesn’t make logical sense to me.

Summum's avatar

Are you talking about all the people that never even heard the name Jesus in their lifetimes? They have not been left out and there is nothing they are not going to have a chance at that any Christian does or for that matter any person does.

JLeslie's avatar

@Summum Are you talking to me? Why do you say people who have never heard of Jesus are not left out? God lets them into heaven?

Summum's avatar

Absolutely. and yes I was talking to you @JLeslie. Why would anyone be left out?

DominicX's avatar

When I was younger, I found it easy to believe and I didn’t question what I was taught. It was as I got older that I found more and more problems with my belief system and I have rethought the whole thing. I now consider myself an “agnostic atheist” meaning that I do not know whether God exists or not and I think that it’s possible, but I also believe it’s unlikely and that if God does exist, it’s not going to be exactly like the one described in the Bible. My problems that led to this difficulty believing are many, but some are issues like Hell: It didn’t make sense to me to have someone punished eternally for something they did in their mortal life. It also didn’t make sense to me for something like homosexuality to be “wrong” when it harms no one and it’s just how I am. There’s more, but those are just some highlights.

Summum's avatar

@DominicX

There is no eternal punishment. There are higher forms of beings that have been here since this world began which is to say since Man was brought here from another planet. These beings are still watching this Earth and waiting for the evolution that the Earth is about to take. This Earth is alive and will progress soon and receive its paradisiacal glory. There have been many beings helping this world. Look at the Egyptians and the Mayans for an example.

Qingu's avatar

Maya.

Smashley's avatar

I’m as good as most people at hiding my cognitive dissonances from myself, but since the age of nine, believing in a god has never been something I was capable of. I have appreciated the social aspects of churches and similar communities, but since around that age I’ve always been keenly aware that these were very earthly constructions. It’s not that I’m unable to believe in a deity. I am unable to believe in almost anything that has no logical basis for belief. I won’t say I’m perfectly logical at all times (though I strive to be), but religion is such a prominent topic in my life that I have been giving it careful thought since I was young and do not doubt my conclusions.

Introduce some new evidence and I could surely reconsider. Until that time, belief in a god, for me, is impossible.

JLeslie's avatar

@Summum People who are not Christian get into heaven? The Christians believe that? Makes me feel much better.

Summum's avatar

@JLeslie

Every individual has the same opportunities as anyone else wither they are Christian or not.

Qingu's avatar

@JLeslie, I don’t think @Summum is speaking from a Christian perspective.

deliasdancemom's avatar

@JLeslie don’t worry, most christians do not believe this

JLeslie's avatar

@deliasdancemom I’m not worried. I think most Christians down here in the bible belt do believe it. I think the average Catholic doesn’t. At least that has been my personal experience, I don’t have any statistics to back it up.

@Qingu I think you are right.

Summum's avatar

I am a Christian so it is my perspective.

DominicX's avatar

@Summum

Uh…thanks…

flutherother's avatar

I am almost an atheist, but when I think of a simple thing like a flower, I wonder, who imagined that? The flower didn’t imagine itself and that is as close as I can get to believing in God. I wonder if our sense of morality and fair play is our own invention or if it was given to us. I can’t believe that God favours Christians over other people or even that he favours man over other forms of life.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Summum ‘s operative word here is “opportunities.”

HearTheSilence's avatar

To be a christian don’t you have to believe in jesus and god, the almighty creator of all? I’m confused now as to why you keep talking as though you’re a deist and mention aliens as though they’re the creators of all @Summum ?

DominicX's avatar

Apparently, “Christian” means whatever you want it to mean.

Qingu's avatar

@Summum is, I think, syncretism in action. S/he is attempting to co-opt an older religion by identifying it within the context of a newer cult, in this case some bizarre melange of new-age ancient civilization mysticism.

The Muslims did this with Christianity and Judaism. If you were truly a Jew or a Christian, you would be a Muslim, because those earlier religions are like version 1.0 and version 1.1 of the better, more comprehensive Islam, truth version 2.0.

So in Islam, Abraham worships Allah and Jesus is quoted in the Quran as saying Allah has no son. Likewise, in Summum’s religion, Jesus is apparently not the key to salvation but merely a player in some cosmology involving what I am assuming to be magical Maya calendars and perhaps pyramid-building aliens and such.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Summum ?? Would you care to clarify? Unless you are telepathically speaking through @Qingu.

Summum's avatar

@HearTheSilence

There is NO creator of all. There is a God of this world and his son Jesus.

Summum's avatar

No one could possibly speak through @Qingu or would want too. What is it you want clarified?

bkcunningham's avatar

@Summum I was just wondering if @Qingu hit the nail on the head when attempting to summarize your beliefs and calling them religious syncretism.

Summum's avatar

No I believe in Christ and who he was. He was half Elohim and is a Savior to this world.

HearTheSilence's avatar

@bkcunningham oh he did lol. He’s just going around in circles now. Talking about higher beings and then talking about god and jesus. I’m confused as to what he believes; aliens or Christianity… Thus @Qingu hit it out of the park with his statement.

Summum's avatar

There is no conflict at all God is an Alien as Christ is half Alien.

JLeslie's avatar

Wow. I don’t think I have ever seen so many people in agreement with @Qingu

Qingu's avatar

Whelp. I rest my case.

Summum's avatar

Was God born on this planet? And if God was the Father of Christ then he is half of what God is.

Qingu's avatar

The funny thing is that this actually makes much more sense than the Trinity.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Summum do you believe the Anunnaki of Nibiru are coming back to earth soon?

JLeslie's avatar

@Qingu Hahahaha.

Summum's avatar

I would guess you would have to ask the Anunnaki.

HearTheSilence's avatar

This is good stuff lol, it’s made me laugh harder than anything I’ve come across in a long time.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu if this is too personal, I am sorry for stepping over the line and asking and I really mean no offense, just curious, but were you raised Catholic?

Qingu's avatar

Close! I was raised Jewish. :)

Summum's avatar

Laugh while you can @HearTheSilence. We will see who gets the last laugh. GRIN

HearTheSilence's avatar

@Qingu “The funny thing is that this actually makes much more sense than the Trinity.”

Watch out, that’s how cults get started lol.

@Summum I’m laughing at the absurdity of all of this. And if I’m going to your so-called hell, well at least I’ll have plenty of company, so I’m not worried. =)

bkcunningham's avatar

Well, one thing is certain. I am going to replenish my supply of aluminum foil before the weekend blizzard.

Summum's avatar

There is no Hell except in the mind. You just have no idea what is going on. Just watch for the New World Order. That is all I have to say.

HearTheSilence's avatar

@Summum LMAO! Good one man.

lynfromnm's avatar

I have not found a reason to believe in a god.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I am unable to believe in gods. I was raised in a Christian family, and desperately tried to believe as they did for five years (ages 13–18), but eventually the number of problems became an insurmountable obstacle to my desire to believe. Then I realised that a lack of belief was actually a valid alternative, and in fact the one that best suited what I knew. It isn’t a choice, its just the way I am.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@bkcunningham i like how you constantly dodged @Qingu‘s questions since itd put a hole in your little beliefs. Nice work.

I also rather enjoy how everyone is mocking Summum about his/her alien beliefs when as Qingu said, its a whole of a hell lot more believable than the shit in the bible.

bkcunningham's avatar

@uberbatman what questions would it be that I didn’t answer that would put a hole in my little beliefs? Also, I was having an honest, sincere exchange about the Illuminati theory.

crisw's avatar

@flutherother

“when I think of a simple thing like a flower, I wonder, who imagined that? The flower didn’t imagine itself ”

Nope- but butterflies and bats and hummingbirds and moths and bees all, in a sense, created the flower. Flowers are reproductive devices, and evolution shaped them to become efficient at that. So the byproduct is some flowers we find beautiful- and some that smell like rotting corpses to attract flies, or that look and smell like female wasps to attract randy male wasps.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@bkcunningham here and here and then even brings it up again here and here . Yet even though ya answered and responded to everything else he said you completely ignored these questions. Or was that just a coincedence?

bkcunningham's avatar

@uberbatman I did answer. I don’t know how to do the “here” thing. But look back. My answer is: Of course logically it would seem biased in favor ot the Roman emperor. I don’t know. I’ve witnessed some pretty amazing things that would be considered miracles. But I’m not that schooled on The Jesus Papers.

I didn’t answer his question about Muhammad’s flying steed. You are correct. I overlooked that question. And not out of fear of poking holes in my llittle beliefs. Sorry.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@bkcunningham so your answer to this would be?

bkcunningham's avatar

No I don’t believe Muhammad flew to seventh heaven on a mare.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@bkcunningham but what about all the witnesses? What makes these people less believable than those who saw jesus do all his miracles?

Qingu's avatar

It was a magical donkey creature with wings. And why not? Eyewitnesses reported it.

Afos22's avatar

It seems as though you are and atheist. You are just too scared to be wrong. Stop listening to pointless empty threats that you will go to hell and listen to the intelligent discussions that do not involve religious fairy tales.

bkcunningham's avatar

I believe this was a dream. It was a magical winged horse he called Burak. “The Bokhari” (Vol.15, p.3615)

bkcunningham's avatar

His dream is a shadowing of Jacob’s dream and the ladder into heaven.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Convenient. This thing with probably thousands of supposed eye witnesses was nothing more than a dream but also conveniently all of jesus’ miracles really happened.

bkcunningham's avatar

@uberbatman it is said to be a dream. Uh, it isn’t me twisting it and saying it is a dream. It is what Muslims believe. Read it yourself. It was your point anyway, not mine.

Qingu's avatar

What about Jesus’ transfiguration? Did that really happen, or was that just a dream?

http://www.sacred-texts.com/isl/bukhari/bh4/bh4_433.htm

It doesn’t say it’s a dream. “Halfway between wakefulness and sleep.” I guess you could interpret it that way, but Sunni tradition certainly does not. The journey is also mentioned in the Quran.

There are plenty of miracles reported in the various hadith that explicitly aren’t dreams, if you’d like more examples I can dig them up.

Qingu's avatar

Here are Muhammad’s other miracles. I only just skimmed the page; I’m not sure if all of them are from as authorititative of sources as the Bukhari hadith, but I’ve definitely heard of some of them before:

http://www.iqra.net/Hadith/miracle.php

Qingu's avatar

FYI: the hadith reports are Islamic traditions supplemental to the Quran. They’re sort of like the gospels, in that they’re histories alleging to tell what happened; unlike the gospels they tend to include chains of witnesses back to the events they’re reporting. Some of them (like the Bukhari hadith and a few others that I’ve long forgotten about) are widely accepted amongst Sunni theologians in the same way that the four gospels are by Christians.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

I can’t force myself to believe in any sort of deity. I was raised by atheistic, Unitarian science teachers who never used God as an explanation for anything. Nothing I’ve experienced or heard of in my life has ever had the power for me to believe in God or any other spiritual entity. And I’m okay with that. For a time I envied people who had some sort of spirituality to rely on for support… But I find that without religion as a crutch I can be more reliant on myself.

AdamF's avatar

I’ve never heard a defintion of god that was both plausible and relevant.

The plausible gods (think pantheism) are so broadly/vaguely defined as to equate with nothing or everything (ie irrelvant).

The relevant well-defined gods (ie personal gods) are never in the least bit plausible.

I consider “god” a flawed concept.

As such, perhaps one could say that I am unable to believe in god, due to my choice to retain my critical faculties.

Brian1946's avatar

@Blackberry

”,,,pictures of Neptune….”

That would be a great title for a song proclaiming atheism. :-p

AdamF's avatar

@Qingu With respect to the earlier Liar, Lunatic or Lord false trilemma, raised by @bkcunningham , I think 43alley provides a great tackling of this apologist argument.

Would be nice to hear your thoughts on the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKAHoYCWXF8

Reading some of these comments, I can’t help but think of Poe’s Law.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Poe%27s_Law

flutherother's avatar

@crisw I understand and believe in evolution but I am not convinced that a theory as threadbare as this can be the whole truth. I find it as difficult to worship science as I do God. And is beauty merely a ‘byproduct’ ? If so what is the actual product?

Blackberry's avatar

@Brian1946 That wasn’t the best way to put it, but Qingu expounded on it for me lol.

Summum's avatar

Enjoy your mocking at my expense. You must think you are correct. LOL

bkcunningham's avatar

I have to first ask for the same defense and tolerance you gave the alien theory when I disclose that I have been born again; not of flesh, but of spirit; and I believe that Christ died on the cross, was buried in the tomb, rose and sits at the right hand of God. I didn’t realize I was using a series of standard arguments by followers using texts and stories when discussing the belief that if Jesus really existed but wasn’t what he or his followers said he was,what was he then. It just makes sense to me. I enjoyed the video by the way.

In the video where it talks about the legend, the first grade math gap in time (the Vanilla Ice example) and the chronological writings in the NT starting with Paul (the one who the video said he is the reason there is still Christianity today and Alley43 says is the first time we hear about Jesus, which in his estimation doesn’t consider any OT references, but anyway) to the churches; his letters give instruction to the growing churches on Christian doctrine according to Alley43.

So what were the people, some perhaps eyewitnesses and contemporaries of Jesus, doing in these churches or congregations while waiting on Paul’s letters and the instruction and revelation of Christ? According to the Alley43, there is a gap of 20 years between the death and resurrection of Jesus and Paul’s letters. Alley43 explains that there were no references in the writings explaining the birth of Christ, his miracles et al until Acts 2:22, 34 years after Christ’s death and rising.

There were already churches before Paul’s letters or he wouldn’t have anyone to give instruction to. I just wonder what they were doing, talking about, praising? Were these people just meeting and embellishing the legend for 20 years? Alley43 seems to think that there was nothing written about Christ before the gospel of Paul. That simple isn’t true. These Jews and Gentiles were basing their beliefs on OT scriptures and then eyewitness accounts. I don’t think they were simple sitting around waiting on someone to craft a book of instruction which is what Alley43 would have you to believe.

So, believing it was faulty memory and embellishment that helped develop the legend of Jesus, it is interesting to me that people, some of whom knew Christ and others who were only going on the oral history and myths told by others, would actually die brutal deaths to perpetuate these falsehoods about Christ. It is even more amazing to me, that people, like myself, who weren’t there but are living centuries after the stories were told would still feel committed and moved by something spiritual and so real that they would blindly follow after that big fish story despite space shuttles and the Internet and an ever expanding understanding of how the universe works. I see the handiwork of God all around me. Like flutherother is trying to say. Somethings aren’t explained with a scientific formula or equation or the proper sequence of logic. I guess after having been born again I converted back to my childlike innocence and faith. But according to Alley43, I’m just arrogant.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, I don’t think you’re arrogant. But I don’t think you’re being consistent. (Note: I haven’t watched the video yet)

First of all, you are making several assumptions about Jesus fulfilling prophecies. (1) That the prophecies in Isaiah, etc, are obviously about this one particular Judean cult leader (the prophecies are incredibly vague, I’ve read them), and (2) the people who wrote the gospel, 50 years or so after Jesus died, didn’t simply make up the “prophecy fulfillment” stories. Also, Jesus was not the only messiah figure that people thought fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament in ancient Judea. I also think it’s clear that the messiah figure described in the OT is supposed to be a political figure—which is why you have a sect of Jews during Jesus’ time, the zealots, who were devoted to the idea that the messiah would bring about the end of the Roman Empire and the establishment of a Jewish state.

Also, you’re making the “why would they die for a lie” argument. You should ask the same question about Muhammad’s followers, both in the 8th and 9th centuries and in modern times, the ones who fly airplanes into buildings or blow themselves up for the glory of Allah. Or Heaven’s Gate, or Aum Shinrikyo, or Jonestown. Why would all these people die for a lie? I mean, every religion worth its salt convinces at least some of its followers to die and/or kill for the sanctity of the cult.

Like I said, I don’t think you’re arrogant, but I do think you’re inconsistent and arbitrary. When it comes down to it, the arguments you’ve made here apply equally well to most cults, ancient or modern. So why Christianity? I don’t think there’s any good answer to this question. And I don’t think having a childlike innocence, in this matter at least, is something to be proud of—though I can certainly see why cults try to promote this attitude amongst their followers.

crisw's avatar

@flutherother

“I understand and believe in evolution but I am not convinced that a theory as threadbare as this can be the whole truth.”

Threadbare in what way?

“I find it as difficult to worship science as I do God.”

No one is asking you to “worship” science. What we are asking is that you accept it. If scientific facts contradict a religious belief, it’s the facts that should win out.

“And is beauty merely a ‘byproduct’ ? If so what is the actual product?”

I explained above. In the case of flowers, it’s reproduction. If flowers were made for our benefit, then why would so many of them be ugly, insignificant, have patterns we cannot see but bees can, or have smells that we find horrible but that delight pollinating flies? All of these can be explained, easily, through evolution.

The world was obviously not made to be beautiful. In a world designed for beauty, the majority of species on Earth would not be parasites. But they are. And, again, this makes sense in light of evolution, but not creation.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu my response is related to the video.

mattbrowne's avatar

Life is a choice and how you handle the pitfalls along its bumpy road. —Julie Andersen

flutherother's avatar

@crisw I said that the theory of evolution is threadbare because it isn’t a full and convincing explanation. I don’t think it is wrong and I don’t think it should be abandoned I just mean there is an awful lot more we have to learn. The same principle of survival of the fittest is used to explain why jaguars, snails, penguins and beetles exist. I don’t think we can rest easy and think that we have found the final answer to nature’s diversity.

I am a sceptic and in my mind science is not capable of providing a final answer to anything. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing, it just means that on its own, whatever it discovers, it will never be enough. There will always be mystery in the universe. The world was not made to be beautiful, it was not made to be anything that we can comprehend, but it is beautiful.

iamthemob's avatar

@flutherother – I think it’s fair to refer to evolution as threadbare in the sense that our knowledge of the natural world is generally threadbare, and we shouldn’t accept it as a conclusion as that may shut down avenues of investigation.

However, there is no other explanation that, when compared, isn’t even close to threadbare – it’s thread. Admitting evolution is threadbare doesn’t undermine it’s profound strength as a theory, how the available evidence supports it. So when we say that the theory is threadbare we should also say there is no other explanation, derived through reason, that explains the diversity of life.

JLeslie's avatar

I thought about this question more, since it keeps popping up in my activity, and I realized I don’t really “believe” in things. Believe it will just work out – no, I don’t think that way really. Believe some super power is fooling with nature – no I don’t believe that. Believe that things come true just because we pray about it – no I don’t believe that. Believe that people are punished or rewarded by some diety because of how they behave – no I don’t believe that. I think I can’t believe those things.

However, some of it is semantics, because I think there is reward for living a good honest life. And, I think focusing on a goal, and acting on it does lead to success. I just don’t think there is some almighty God directing it all.

Qingu's avatar

wtf, evolution is not a threadbare theory. It is probably the most comprehensive theory in science, relative to its applicable field.

crisw's avatar

@flutherother

“I said that the theory of evolution is threadbare because it isn’t a full and convincing explanation”

In what way, exactly? To be frank, people who say this usually don’t really understand evolution.

“The same principle of survival of the fittest is used to explain why jaguars, snails, penguins and beetles exist.”

I think this is an oversimplification. But, even so, what about evolution, exactly, do you think makes it improbable that jaguars, snails, penguins and beetles should exist?

flutherother's avatar

@crisw I remember a guy who was a bit drunk trying to explain to me the job of an electrician. It is easy he said, just run a wire through the house wherever you want the current to go. The current will naturally follow. Plumbing was equally simple. You run pipes through the house as required and the pressure of the water will ensure the water is carried to where you want it to be.

What he said was not untrue, but it wasn’t very impressive either. When people try to explain how evolution gave rise to giraffes and to polar bears it reminds me of this story. I am sure the theory of evolution is correct as far as it goes, and it is certainly fashionable, but there is a lot we still have to learn and who knows, there may be a few surprises along the way.

crisw's avatar

@fluterother

“What he said was not untrue, but it wasn’t very impressive either. When people try to explain how evolution gave rise to giraffes and to polar bears it reminds me of this story.”

I am wondering which explanations you have read or heard? Again, you haven’t given me much to go on as to exactly what is causing you problems. Could you give a specific example of an explanation of how giraffes or polar bears evolved that doesn’t work for you?

I’ll give it a shot with polar bears.

Not that long ago, in evolutionary terms- about 200,000 years ago- a group of brown bears were isolated by increasing glaciation in Siberia from the brown bear populations in the rest of what is now Russia. Most of them died- but a few survived.

In the increasingly cold climate, there was strong selection pressure for aspects that could help the bears survive in a glacial world. Genetic variation provided the raw material for nature selection to work upon. So those aspects- longer coat, whiter hair, ect.- became more common in the population. Those bears that had a survival-promoting variant had more surviving offspring, so the genes became more common. And thus the animal we now know as a “polar bear” emerged.

We see this transition in the fossil record. We start with Ursus maritimus tyrannous, which had the teeth and size of a brown bear. Over the next 20,000 years, fossils show progressively smaller body size and a more elongated skull with sharper molars and longer canines; better for feeding on seals.

And, even today, the separation is not total, as this is a very new species. Global warming has allowed the grizzly to wander further north than it had been able to for many millennia. Grizzlies and polar bears are now interbreeding, producing hybrid “grolar bears” that combine features of both parents- and that are fertile.

So, what about this scenario is unlikely or incomplete?

flutherother's avatar

The most troubling sentence is this one “Genetic variation provided the raw material for nature selection to work upon”. This sounds like the hand of God.

You also say “Global warming has allowed the grizzly to wander further north than it had been able to for many millennia” and yet previously you implied that global cooling enabled the grizzly to wander even further north by modifying them into polar bears. This logic means that the grizzly should be able to wander just wherever and whenever it wants.

Qingu's avatar

Why on earth does that sound like the hand of God? Genetic variation is based on known chemical processes. Like, we know the exact molecules and chemical reactions involved.

It’s like saying “computers function through binary logic gates” sounds like the hand of God.

crisw's avatar

@flutherother

“Genetic variation provided the raw material for nature selection to work upon”. This sounds like the hand of God.

How so? I could go into very great detail here, but I thought that would be boring.

Every organism has a base mutation rate- a number of base pairs in DNA that, in any given gamete, will be mutated. For the common lab animal C. elegans, a simple flatworm, that rate is 2.1×10–8 mutations per base pair per generation For fruit flies, it’s 7×10–9 mutations per base pair per generation. . For humans, it’s 1.1×10–8 mutations per base pair, which works out to about 70 mutations per offspring. The average mammalian genome mutation rate is 2.2 × 10−9 per base pair per year

Most of these mutations do absolutely nothing, primarily because they occur in areas in our genome that do absolutely nothing (the majority of our genome is nonfunctional). A few are harmful. A few are advantageous- depending on the environment of the organism. A gene that shortens hair, for example, would be deadly to an Arctic bear, but beneficial to a desert bear.

This is hardly “the hand of God.”

”“Global warming has allowed the grizzly to wander further north than it had been able to for many millennia” and yet previously you implied that global cooling enabled the grizzly to wander even further north by modifying them into polar bears. This logic means that the grizzly should be able to wander just wherever and whenever it wants.”

I am sorry, but I really don’t understand how you derived that from what I said.

The original brown bears that became polar bears were trapped by glaciation- geographically isolated. Today, global warming is breaking down that geographic barrier and also allowing food sources for grizzlies to flourish in areas where they previously could not. Of course grizzlies could have tried to move north in the past, but they would not have been reproductively successful. Today, some do make it, but there aren’t enough grizzlies to mate with, so they mate with polar bears. How, exactly, is this unlikely or far-fetched?

bkcunningham's avatar

@crisw what scientific material is available to read more about the Ursus Maritimus Tyrannous? Are there photos available of the remains that were found?

crisw's avatar

@bkcunningham

Turns out my original source misspelled the Latin name; it should be U. maritimus tyrannus.

Here are a few written sources-

The evolution of Arctic marine mammals

A Wikipedia article

Late Pleistocene fossil find in Svalbard: the oldest remains of a polar bear (Ursus maritimus Phipps, 1744) ever discovered

Still working on finding some pictures of the actual fossils.

bkcunningham's avatar

@crisw thank you. The Wiley Online Library article requires membership to read the article. I don’t use wikipedia as a source, but I did look at the footnotes on the wiki site and it has a link to an article that cost $20 but nothing else really. The evolution of Arctic marine mammals articles has potential but I’ll have to really concentrate to read through it. So far it doesn’t have many details on the find you related in your example. I’d love to see a photograph of the find or the dig or the fossils. I just haven’t been able to locate anything either. I’m sure there are some out there somewhere. Thank you again for your time.

crisw's avatar

@bkcunningham

This video has a short shot of the jawbone.

Some more info on the jawbone- turns out they actually extracted DNA from it to study the phylogenetic relationship of this species with polar and brown bears.

Here’s the PNAS article on that research.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, are you asking because you’re interested in the evolution of polar bears in particular, or because you’re interested in evidence for large-organism evolution in general? Because there are probably other examples than polar bears that are more easily available to ye; horse evolution comes to mind.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu I am interested in that one particular fossil at the moment. Thank you though. I found it interesting.

jasper1890's avatar

In direct response to the question, i am not unable to believe in god i choose not to.

I was brought up as a catholic, and as soon as i was old enough to understand science and make my own decisions, i immediately disowned my religion and any belief in God. Yet I am still fasinated but different beliefs.

I am simply one of those people that until the evidence is there, i will not be open to religion.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Religion is such a touchy subject, that it is easier to understand if you substitute something else, such as: “Are you unable to believe in Santa Claus, or do you choose not to believe.” It isn’t that I choose not to believe or that I am unable to believe. It just isn’t so, and isn’t even remotely possible. A magic guy that gives gifts to everyone in the world, and sees all and knows all? I don’t think so.

reijinni's avatar

I couldn’t get behind this absurd concept behind the belief of God, so as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t exist.

Shinimegami's avatar

Not arbitrarily choose opinions, just look at real evidence and think much of it. Is no real evidence any gods exist. Believers only present bad reasoning. I not choose accept Theory of Relativity, Big Bang Theory, Evolution, Atheism, etc., have no choice when evidence and logic show me they are facts.

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