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Subduction Zone

Veteran Member
Off topic, as I just said. The point is that 93% of people in the world believe in a God or gods vs. no God or gods.

The fallacy does not apply because I did not say that God exists is true because 93% of people believe that God exists.
That is not what this discussion is about. It is about why people believe in God, the evidence for God.
None of them appear to believe due to evidence. The vast majority believe because that was the faith that they were born and raised with. There beliefs have nothing to do with evidence or logic.
 

Trailblazer

Veteran Member
No, I am not. You keep assuming one God when there could be many, or none.
That is completely irrelevant to this discussion.
This discussion is not about how many gods there are, that is a separate discussion.
There could be one God or many Gods or no God or gods, but this discussion is about evidence for God or gods.
 

Subduction Zone

Veteran Member
That is completely irrelevant to this discussion.
This discussion is not about how many gods there are, that is a separate discussion.
There could be one God or many Gods or no God or gods, but this discussion is about evidence for God or gods.
Then drop the upper case "G". The reason you don't want to do that is because it becomes rather obvious that you have been making a " So what?" argument all along. Even if true it does not help you.
 

Trailblazer

Veteran Member
None of them appear to believe due to evidence. The vast majority believe because that was the faith that they were born and raised with. There beliefs have nothing to do with evidence or logic.
It is completely irrelevant that most people believe because of the religion they were born into.
This discussion is not about how people became believers, it is about evidence for the existence of God

No matter how people came to believe in a religion, religion is either evidence for God or it is not evidence for God.
 

Subduction Zone

Veteran Member
It is completely irrelevant that most people believe because of the religion they were born into.
This discussion is not about how people became believers, it is about evidence for the existence of God

No matter how people came to believe in a religion, religion is either evidence for God or it is not evidence for God.

Okay, good point. So far there does not appear to be any reliable evidence for a god. The number of believers is not reliable evidence.

Does anyone have any?
 

Trailblazer

Veteran Member
Thank you for explaining what is meant as evidence. I have some objections though.

1. His own Self. - A good person can also be self-deluded and sincerely believe something that is false.

2. His Revelation. - OK. He was devouted to his mission and wrote a lot. So what?

3. The words He hath revealed. - The words are his claims. As you said what he claimed is not evidence. It's not true only because he claimed so.

4. Baha'u'llah fulfilled the Bible prophecies. - The prophecies are not enough concrete and specific to determine this. Too open for different interpretations... For example there should be peace in the world but there isn't. This means no Messiah so far.

5. Baha'u'llah predicted many events that later came to pass. - OK. I have to check this... That would make him a someone who can see future but not necessarily a Messenger of God.
I have a response to your objections. :)

1. His own Self. - A good person can also be self-deluded and sincerely believe something that is false.

That is true, but it is much more than about Him being a 'good person.'

2. His Revelation. - OK. He was devouted to his mission and wrote a lot. So what?

In order to know so what, you would have to read about what He did on His mission.

3. The words He hath revealed. - The words are his claims. As you said what he claimed is not evidence. It's not true only because he claimed so.

No, very few of His words are His claims. Most of His words are about many different subjects, containing what was received in His Revelation from God.

As I have repeatedly on this forum, a claim is not evidence, evidence is what is needed to support a claim.

4. Baha'u'llah fulfilled the Bible prophecies. - The prophecies are not enough concrete and specific to determine this. Too open for different interpretations... For example there should be peace in the world but there isn't. This means no Messiah so far.

You are correct. When it comes to prophecies, it is all about interpretation, but that does not mean that Baha'u'llah has not fulfilled the prophecies. If one is really interested one should study the prophecies in their entirety and try to match them up with what Baha'u'llah did to fulfill them. Then can they decide for themselves.

There is no prophecy that says that peace will be established by the Messiah or during His lifetime. That is a common misconception, but you won't find any Bible verses that say that. The prophecies refer to the messianic age in which we are now living, but it is to span 1000 years from the coming of the Messiah, so those prophecies will be fulfilled during the messianic age (1852 - 2852).

Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Please note that the prophecy does not say 'when' peace will be established. It says that it will increase which means it will unfold over time. Where it says there shall be no end to the peace means that the world will become more and more peaceful over time. The same is true for the government. It says that there shall be 'no end' to the government which means it will begin and be established gradually and continue to develop over time. The government will be more developed in the future as the prophecy says (increase in government).

Baha’u’llah set up a 'system of government' and it has already been established among the Baha’is. The institutions of that government are fully operational, but still in their infancy. What we now refer to as Local Spiritual assemblies (LSAs) and will eventually evolve into what will be called Houses of Justice. This certainly qualifies as an 'increase' in government.

5. Baha'u'llah predicted many events that later came to pass. - OK. I have to check this... That would make him a someone who can see future but not necessarily a Messenger of God.

That is correct. Being able to see into the future does not 'necessarily' make a person a Messenger of God. It is just part of the evidence.
 

muhammad_isa

Well-Known Member
When you consider the existence of the cosmos, you demand an intelligent author based on its unlikeliness to you, but give that intelligent designer's existence a pass..
Of course. Because I see that 8 billion people exist, that presumably are like me, in as much as they have a conscious mind and are aware that they exist.

It doesn't require much imagination, to see that there is an explanation for this .. something greater than ourselves, that just "is" .. isn't born and doesn't die.

You don't use words like coincidence when discussing gods, but one could also note the incredible coincident that a god or anything at all exists.
..that is just questioning existence itself .. it doesn't get us anywhere.

Honesty isn't the issue. It's competence at evaluating evidence, a skill called critical thinking possessed by virtually all of the atheists we encounter here..
Oh, please !
"critical thinking", or materialist thinking?
 

muhammad_isa

Well-Known Member
..There appears to be quite a few versions of the "God of Abraham".
More "divide and rule"..

There is only one truth, and God is aware of what it is.
Many people state things about God with little knowledge.
They have no business doing so, but that is the nature of humans.
We claim that we know things when we do not. :)

..so we end up with many different creeds and denominations, but still only One God.
The splitting of religion into sects does not split God .. it splits people. :)
 

Trailblazer

Veteran Member
Your beliefs are of zero importance. Evidence is what matters. So I would ask how you know God did not say that in the OT yet you think the much lesser quality writing in Bahai is actually from a God. And if you believe a God gave a person messages why couldn't a God treat the early Israelites in a different way with actual speaking? As if God has limits?
Much lesser quality writing only in your opinion. I do not consider the OT to be high quality writing, nor do I consider it in any way comparable to the Writings of Baha'u'llah.

Even if God did speak to the early Israelites back in those days that is a moot point because that does not mean God is going to do that again. The past is history, why can't people let go of it and move on?

The point is that there is no way to verify that any of the OT was inspired by the Holy Spirit. It was not even written by any prophets! It was written by men and we don't even know all the authors, and even if we did know the authors, we could not verify that they wrote the texts. We also cannot verify that the Writings of Baha'u'llah were inspired by the Holy Spirit, but the fact that we have those original Writings penned in his own hand. We have no writings from Moses or Jesus or any other Messengers of God. All we have is he said that God said. It is not good enough for me, not when I can read the original Writings of Baha'u'llah. Moreover, I do not care what God said thousands of years ago, even if He said it, since I have the current Revelation from God. God is unchanging, but what God reveals to humans changes over time.
Your religion claims progressive revelations, so why were these OT stories not just a different type of communication?
I guess because God decided that is the way it would be back in those days.
I have been over and over the Bahai evidence so I know that doesn't exist but how did you draw these conclusions about the OT?
3. Mírza Abú'l-Fadl

Mírza Abú'l-Fadl was praised and recommended by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and has been justifiably called the most learned and erudite Bahá'í scholar[16]

Regarding the Old Testament, Fadl said that it contained two types of teaching: a) revelation from God, such as the 10 commandments of Moses, the Psalms of David and the books of the Prophets, and b) historical information, such as the books Joshua, Samuel, Kings and Chronicles "...which contain no statement, sign or hint of being divine speech and therefore should not be considered as revelation."[17]

Concerning the Book of Christ, he wrote that "The Holy Gospels alone contain teachings which can be regarded as the true Words of God; and these teachings do not exceed the contents of a few pages."[18]

Mírza Abú'l-Fadl's contributions are original and lucid, and appear to me to be in harmony with the understanding of the Bible which is argued for in the present paper.

16. Cole, J.R., in "editor's note", Mírza Abú'l-Fadl, Letters & Essays 1886-1913, Kalimat Press, Los Angeles, 1985, p.xiv.

17. Mírza Abú'l-Fadl in Miracles and Metaphors, Kalimat Press, Los Angeles, 1981, pp.11,12.

18. Mírza Abú'l-Fadl in The Bahá'í Proofs, Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Illinios, 1983, p.220.

Conclusion

The Bahá'í viewpoint proposed by this essay has been established as follows: The Bible is a reliable source of Divine guidance and salvation, and rightly regarded as a sacred and holy book. However, as a collection of the writings of independent and human authors, it is not necessarily historically accurate. Nor can the words of its writers, although inspired, be strictly defined as 'The Word of God' in the way the original words of Moses and Jesus could have been. Instead there is an area of continuing interest for Bahá'í scholars, possibly involving the creation of new categories for defining authoritative religious literature.

A Baháí View of the Bible
update:

"That which thou hast heard concerning Abraham, the Friend of the All-Merciful, is the truth, and no doubt is there about it. The Voice of God commanded Him to offer up Ishmael as a sacrifice, so that His steadfastness in the Faith of God and His detachment from all else but Him may be demonstrated unto men. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 75-76."

Uh, your religion says there IS A HUMAN VOICE OF GOD?
No, my religion does not say there IS A HUMAN VOICE OF GOD. God speaks through the Holy Spirit, not with a human voice.

Abraham was a Messenger of God, and that is why Abraham heard the Voice of God. All Messengers of God hear God's Voice, through the Holy Spirit, not through God's mouth, since God does not have a mouth with a human voice. Only humans have a mouth with a voice.
 

Trailblazer

Veteran Member
Hardly odd at all, actually. So many people believe in God for the same reason they speak their native language and usual not some other, or that their cultural values are the same as the people around them. They do not do these things out of careful consideration -- they do them because they were indoctrinated into them as children, by the people they are born pre-disposed to trust. Nothing could be simpler.
That might be true, but all people do not continue to believe in God as adults just because they were raised believing in God. It is very common for people to drop out of the religion they were raised in.

The salient question is why people believed in God in the first place. Belief was handed down through the generations but it has to start somewhere.

The only thing that is pertinent to this discussion is whether religion is evidence for God, not how any people believe in religion or why they believe in it.
 

Trailblazer

Veteran Member
Yes, if it cares about all 8 billion people.
I cannot speak for God, but I don't really think God cares about the whiny babies who think that are so important that they deserve a personal message from God, the Creator of the universe. God communicated to humans and most people are happy with the way God has communicated, so if atheists don't like the way that God communicated it is tough luck for them.
 

Subduction Zone

Veteran Member
More "divide and rule"..

There is only one truth, and God is aware of what it is.
Many people state things about God with little knowledge.
They have no business doing so, but that is the nature of humans.
We claim that we know things when we do not. :)

..so we end up with many different creeds and denominations, but still only One God.
The splitting of religion into sects does not split God .. it splits people. :)
That is merely your own personal belief. It is not worth much without support. And please, ti is extremely ironic when you claim that "Many people state things about God with little knowledge". You would be included in that group.

Remember, knowledge is demonstrable. All you can do is to make unsupported claims.
 

John53

I go leaps and bounds
Your actual words "They also fail to mention that all 93% don't believe in their God, they might believe in a God so I'm not sure how it's relevant other than to show what a poor job the messengers are doing."

Taken out of context of what I was replying to. If I was a suspicious person I'd say on purpose.

I am fully aware of the tactics .. divide and rule.

It's a discussion about evidence for the Baha'i God. That 93% of people believe in God was offered as evidence, I disagree that it's evidence because all that 93% who believe in "a" God don't believe in the Baha'i God. Why you see that as a threat is inconceivable to me.

There is only One God .. the God of Abraham.

Tell that to the Hindu's

Christians and Muslims worship the God of Abraham.
..perhaps you'd like to ask them, if you don't believe me. ;)

I was a Christian, I worshipped Jesus Christ as my God. Didn't even know about Yahweh until I read the OT at age 26 when I became an Atheist.

Edit to add: It's interesting that you would leave Jews out of the equation. The ones who actually came up with the idea.
 
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Trailblazer

Veteran Member
That's pretty much what I said, apart from the Messenger part. It's not the end of the discussion though.
I sure hope not, because you are now one of my favorite atheists, along with @Nimos. :)
First, God can choose to communicate with us, as he has the power to do so. We can't fully understand God, but it seems to me that a simplified version should be possible. A somewhat flawed analogy would be an adult explaining things to a child. We communicate with children at a level that they can understand.
I fully agree, and that is what I think we got from God this time around, with the Revelation of Baha'u'llah. For those who cannot understand the Writings of Baha'u'llah, He appointed two interpreters through His Covenant, Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi, to explain the abstruse matters of this Faith in 'simple terms.'
Despite not being able to put God on a microscope slide, there remains one alternative. We can ask God to tell us things.
We can ask, but God is not going to answer like a person would, since God is not a person. The most we are going to get from God directly is Divine guidance and inspiration.
So, adding these things together, we have a God that could give us ordinary mortals a lot more information, or the same information in a more understandable form, yet doesn't choose to do so. Instead, according to you, he occasionally creates these superhumans that can understand him, and leaves it to them to tell the rest of us.
That is surely what God has done, but this time the information has been delivered in an understandable form (see above).
I find this difficult to make sense of. If it's possible for a human to exist that can understand God, why not install that software in all of us?
That is a very good question. It makes sense that God did not install such software in all of us because God did not 'want to' communicate directly to all of us. God only wanted to communicate directly to the Messengers, who would the convey that information to the rest of us, so He created them with the ability to understand Him as well as understanding humans, since they have a twofold nature, divine and human.
If, as we agreed above, humans can't understand God, then it should follow that the Messengers can't either. Yes, they are supposed to be some kind of human/god hybrid, but that opens up the idea that the substance of God is not so different after all if they can be merged like that.
As I just said above, the Messengers can understand God because they have a divine nature, what I previously referred to s a divine mind. How they are merged like that is a mystery of God. However, one reason they are different from ordinary humans is because their souls were with God in the spiritual world before their bodies were born into this world, so right off the bat that makes them different from ordinary humans whose souls came into existence at the time of conception. Perhaps they got their divine mind when they were with God in the spiritual world aka heaven.
 

Trailblazer

Veteran Member
The word "debate" has always implied to me trying to win an argument. It's not about winning to have a discussion where you disagree. Why should I talk to people who only care about winning? What's the point? There are those who are like that here that I have identified over time.
There is no point in talking to those people since they don't really care about knowing the truth - they only want to win. I think you and I both know who these people are, but that does not constitute the bulk of atheists. There are many atheists who would like to know the truth about God, they are just frustrated because they do no see what we see. But on a forum such as this we have to deal with both kinds of atheists, and if we use our best judgment there are ways to deal with everyone without causing dissension and hard feelings.
 

Evangelicalhumanist

"Truth" isn't a thing...
Premium Member
That might be true, but all people do not continue to believe in God as adults just because they were raised believing in God. It is very common for people to drop out of the religion they were raised in.

The salient question is why people believed in God in the first place. Belief was handed down through the generations but it has to start somewhere.

The only thing that is pertinent to this discussion is whether religion is evidence for God, not how any people believe in religion or why they believe in it.
Well, I've posted thoughts on this before as well. You continue to insist, for example that some number (you said 93%?) of people "believe in God." But I contend that quite a good portion of those might be better described as "believing they believe in God." That would keep them comfortable within their culture and community, and make interactions with members of the community stress free and frankly pretty common-place.

But the real question is, "do they really?" I've said before, I believe -- I absolutely and firmly believe -- that when the burners on the top of my stove are glowing red, it would do me great harm to place some part of my body (my hand, arm, face, etc.) on it. And it would take an act of considerable violence by somebody else to get me to do so. That's how firmly I believe that!

Then, think of all those Baptist and other fundamentalist Christians and "reverends" and Catholic and Anglican priests who denouce homosexuality and infidelity as the pathways to hell -- and then go out and do it themselves. Do they believe in their God and their Hell as strongly as I believe in my stove burners? I don't think so.

Similarly, living in a very multicultural Toronto as I do, I know many Muslims who drink alcohol, enjoy sexual pleasures with people of their own sex or with people of the opposite sex who are not their spouses. Do they really believe in quite the way that you mean? Again, I don't think so.
 

Subduction Zone

Veteran Member
There is no point in talking to those people since they don't really care about knowing the truth - they only want to win. I think you and I both know who these people are, but that does not constitute the bulk of atheists. There are many atheists who would like to know the truth about God, they are just frustrated because they do no see what we see. But on a forum such as this we have to deal with both kinds of atheists, and if we use our best judgment there are ways to deal with everyone without causing dissension and hard feelings.
Why do you say that? The people that you are claiming that about merely want to know as many true things as possible. When a person cannot justify their claims properly it is very likely that they are not true. No one has said "You are wrong because you cannot support your claims" people have just pointed out t that it is highly likely that you are wrong.

And need I point out that what you see appears to rational people to be only confirmation bias at best. You lack reliable evidence.

I could say that what is true does not matter to you, you only want to believe. Would that be fair? Don't make the same sort of accusation against others.
 

Trailblazer

Veteran Member
Exactly. That's my point. If the first step is so important, why make it so hard (for many people) to know the answer? It's going to be hard enough to do what he wants (probably). Isn't that enough? (If it's important that things be difficult).
I will grant you that it is hard to believe in Baha'u'llah, but I don't think it is that hard to believe in God.

I do not know exactly why God makes it so hard for most people to believe in Baha'u'llah since it came easy for me, but maybe it is partly because most people would not want to do the things that are expected of us as Baha'is. The first duty is recognition of Baha'u'llah, the second duty is obedience to His Laws. Maybe God wants to make the road narrow so few people can walk on it because God knows that few people will be able to follow the Baha'i Laws and do everything else we are enjoined to do for the Faith.

“The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Day Spring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof, hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Source of Divine inspiration.”
Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 330-331

The Twin Duties
 
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