What Atheists Believe (Or Don’t)


I woke up early this morning and I realized that I’ve been arguing with Atheists for some time now, and there’s not really any point, since their “World View” is so drastically different that they cannot grasp what I am talking about when I speak of Spiritual things.  Thus, I came up with this list.  It’s not really my list, more a compilation of things I’ve been learning in the past couple years.

First, let’s see what Atheists believe:

  1. There is no God – therefore I am “in charge” of my own life and am accountable to no one (Independent Agency).
  2. It follows that since there is no God then there is no moral law (there are no absolutes – except physical principles – and therefore everything is relative) thus whoever has the most violent argument wins.
  3. Since there is no God and only moral chaos, I am my own highest moral authority and I can judge all other systems of thought as inferior to my own with complete justification since there is no God and I am accountable to no one.
  4. The universe is a cold, chaotic place filled with impersonal forces that are mechanistic and there is no fate or purpose or meaning to life.
  5. Likewise, history has no meaning since life is chaos at best .

Thus, the implications of the Atheist’s beliefs on his actions are the following:

  1. If it feels good – I will do it since I am accountable to no one and nobody can tell me what is right or wrong, the only thing that matters therefore is maximizing sensory input.
  2. I can do things that I think are “Right” and nobody can tell me otherwise.  Others cannot do things that I think are wrong, without my telling them so, because I am my own highest moral authority and therefore I am always right.

And here is some truth that Atheists will deny:

  1. If an Atheist says they believe in right and wrong, then they are not truly Atheists since they are admitting moral authority, and that cannot come from man or nature alone. You cannot have independent agency and accountability both – that is a contradiction that violates belief #2 above.  Moral authority can only come from outside humans.  If a person claims there is something such as “Natural” law (without God) then they are in fact stating there is a God, because they are putting Nature itself in the place of providing for morality, which is by definition, not chaotic, and therefore not natural.
  2. The implications for why an atheist believes as he does are therefore really quite simple:  They do not want to be held accountable to anyone but themselves.  This is (obviously) wishful thinking at best, since there are moral obligations to living in an ordered society, and we cannot allow moral chaos as “The norm.”  In this light, atheists themselves are the single greatest threat to civilization that exists (to my mind) and yet Christians are the ones who are held out as examples of “Bigotry” and “Intolerance.”  The only true form of intolerance is atheism since it attests that any belief in anything “Moral” or “Spiritual” is not sound reasoning.

					
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22 thoughts on “What Atheists Believe (Or Don’t)

  1. If an Atheist says they believe in right and wrong, then they are not truly Atheists since they are admitting moral authority
    No one’s forcing you to be willfully ignorant

  2. Pingback: Best Arguments Against Gay Marriage | Confessions of a Jesus Freak

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  4. Hi Scott,

    “I woke up early this morning and I realized that I’ve been arguing with Atheists for some time now, and there’s not really any point,”

    You and I will have to agree to disagree on this, since I think that there’s always a point to discussing issues, even if the people involved drastically disagree with each other. I think it’s always important to better understand the point of view of people who do not think like I do, and I can best get that information from talking to them.

    Not from failed mind-reading. But, we’ll get into that later.

    “since their “World View” is so drastically different that they cannot grasp what I am talking about when I speak of Spiritual things.”

    For someone who supposedly has been arguing with atheists “for some time now”, I’m surprised that you haven’t noticed that there isn’t a singular “world view” that all atheists agree on. There are conservative atheists and liberal atheists, Republican atheists and Democrat atheists, and everything in between. Therefore, I’m not sure how you see there being a singular world-view.

    “Thus, I came up with this list. It’s not really my list, more a compilation of things I’ve been learning in the past couple years.”

    To me, this is a list of failed mind-reading, because I have a hard time believing that you got this information as answers to questions that you asked atheists. Nix the “hard time”, I simply can’t believe that you got this information from atheists. So my question would be, where did you get this information?

    “First, let’s see what Atheists believe:”

    I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.

    I kid. But seriously, there is nothing that you can guarantee any two atheists agree on believing in. All we for sure agree upon is that we are not theists. Beyond that, it’s the personal beliefs of the individual.

    Therefore, any list of “what atheists believe” is doomed to be a failure from the start.

    “There is no God”

    This is incorrect. No atheists believe in a god, but this is not the same as “atheists believe there is no God”. Some do believe this, and others have the point of view of “I don’t believe in one now, but my mind can be changed”, which is decidedly not the same as “there is no God”.

    If you have been arguing with atheists for some time now, I find it hard to believe that I’m the first person who is explaining this to you.

    “therefore I am “in charge” of my own life and am accountable to no one (Independent Agency).”

    There are a few problems with this statement. For one, this does not logically follow from the premise “I believe there is no God” (even if that was the atheist’s belief). For example, say I believe that there is no God, but I do believe in an extremely powerful alien race, or spirits/ghosts/whatever, that controls my life and orders me around.

    Therefore, in this hypothetical, I would believe that there is no God, but I would not believe that I am in charge of my own life, and I would believe that I am accountable to someone (i.e., the powerful alien).

    Therefore, the conclusion “I am in charge of my own life and accountable to no one” would not follow from the premise “I believe there is no God”.

    So, that’s problem number one.

    The second problem is that, while I do agree that I — speaking only for myself here — am in charge of my own life, I do not agree that I am accountable to no one. I live in a society, and therefore I’m accountable to everyone else in that society. My actions have consequences, possibly to other people. In my job, I’m accountable to my boss.

    So, I disagree with this completely.

    “It follows that since there is no God then there is no moral law”

    Again, you have a conclusion that does not follow from its premise. Anyone can create a moral law; it’s whether someone follows it or not that makes it matter. But your statement is only true if moral laws can *only* come from a God, and you have not convinced me of that yet (if at all).

    For the record, I definitely believe that there is are *objective* moral laws.

    “(there are no absolutes”

    And that’s why I used the word *objective* instead of *absolute*. I believe that there are *objective* moral laws, but I don’t believe that there are any *absolute* moral laws.

    For my own curiosity, please name at least one moral law that you think is *absolute*. A list of *absolute* moral laws would be even better. My point is, I’m betting that I could think of a situation where you would not see the law as *absolute*.

    For an example, I assume you think “Thou shalt not murder” is NOT an *absolute* moral law, because I would think you’d protest any and all military.

    *Absolute* morals means that there’s NEVER an exception, and I can’t think of a moral law that doesn’t have SOME sort of an exception.

    “– except physical principles –”

    If you say that someone doesn’t believe in absolutes, and then give an exception, it doesn’t help your cause.

    “and therefore everything is relative)”

    Oh no no no no. You’re creating a false dichotomy, where you appear to think that only two kinds of morality exist: “absolute” and “relative”. As I stated, I don’t believe in either; I believe in an *objective* morality.

    Therefore, someone can not believe in absolutes (except your exception), and still not believe “everything is relative”.

    “thus whoever has the most violent argument wins.”

    What? Where did this come from? Now I KNOW you didn’t get THIS from an atheist.

    I don’t even know how to respond to this strange claim because I have no idea what you mean by it. All I can say is that I do not believe the claim “whoever has the most violent argument wins” is a true statement, and I have no idea how you can even get to there from “this person doesn’t believe in absolutes”.

    “Since there is no God and only moral chaos,”

    Whoa whoa whoa there. Again, you appear to be jumping over arguments, because I have no idea how you got from “someone doesn’t believe in a God” to “someone believes only in moral chaos”.

    I’ll state again: I am an atheist, and I believe in objective morality.

    What exactly do you mean by “chaos” here? Are you talking in mathematical terms, or something else?

    “I am my own highest moral authority”

    Highest? What does “high” or “low” have to do with moral authority? This also appears to assume that an authority is needed, which you haven’t convinced me of this.

    You might be an authoritarian (I don’t know, but I would guess that is likely to be true), but I’m not. And, just to clarify, not being an authoritarian does not make one an anti-authoritarian (i.e., it’s not a dichotomy).

    “and I can judge all other systems of thought as inferior to my own with complete justification”

    Seriously Scott, **where are you getting this from**?

    I have an extremely difficult time believing that some atheist EVER said this to you.

    I can judge other systems of thought, yes, but not necessarily as inferior. I might have justification within myself, but that doesn’t necessarily mean much. This whole statement is kinda bizarre to me.

    Personally, I think you made this up. No atheist ever actually said this. This is a perfect example of you engaging in failed mind-reading.

    “since there is no God and I am accountable to no one.”

    I already covered this error above. The conclusion “I am accountable to no one” does not follow from the singular premise of “there is no God”. It is neither valid nor sound.

    “The universe is a cold, chaotic place filled with impersonal forces that are mechanistic and there is no fate”

    Assuming that you’re using the mathematical definition of “chaos”, we’ve finally come to something that you wrote that I actually agree with…

    “or purpose or meaning to life.”

    … until this part. Unless you can demonstrate that a God is *necessary* for purpose or meaning in life, you’re incorrect by writing this. Again, I don’t think an atheist ever said this exactly to you.

    I believe that there is a purpose and meaning in life, but I don’t think a God is necessary for it.

    “Likewise, history has no meaning since life is chaos at best .”

    Okay, whaaaat??

    Again, you have conclusions that don’t follow from the premises (or, in most of these in your post, a singular premise). Let’s say I believe that “life is chaos at best” (you keep using the word “chaos”, but I’m not understanding what you mean by it… I don’t *think* you mean the mathematical definition, but I honestly don’t know… please clarify), just because I might think that life is chaotic, says NOTHING about how I feel about history.

    For the record, I’m an atheist, and I think that history (and historical events) have meaning.

    “Thus, the implications of the Atheist’s beliefs on his actions are the following:”

    Well, this will not go well. Conclusions based on mistaken premises are not likely to be sound.

    “If it feels good – I will do it since I am accountable to no one”

    Except that, as I mentioned above, I am a member of a society and I’m accountable to the others in that society, so whether or not I do something is based on more than simply “if it feels good”.

    If it feels good and does not cause any harm — or better yet, contributes — to the society, then I *might* do it. There are still a lot of things that go into me deciding if I will or will not do it.

    “and nobody can tell me what is right or wrong,”

    Again, I don’t know where you get this. A God is not the only being that can tell me what is right or wrong.

    I had a very important person who used to tell me what is right or wrong, and she was incredibly helpful in my development as a human. I called her “Mom”.

    “the only thing that matters therefore is maximizing sensory input.”

    No idea where you get this from. If you can show me how this follows from any of your premises (even the ones I disagree with), I’d be interested to see that.

    “I can do things that I think are “Right” and nobody can tell me otherwise.”

    So, in your failed mind-readings, you appear to think that all atheists are obstinate 14 year-olds.

    Where exactly do you have these debates with atheists? Youtube? Outside the local high school? Where?

    “Others cannot do things that I think are wrong, without my telling them so, because I am my own highest moral authority and therefore I am always right.”

    Bizarre. Please cite a single atheists who thinks this. It’s silliness, and makes it difficult for me to take you seriously.

    “And here is some truth that Atheists will deny:”

    So you say.

    “If an Atheist says they believe in right and wrong, then they are not truly Atheists”

    Well, there’s a hallmark of some honest debating; “If you don’t fall into my narrow and mistaken definition of X, then you’re not an X”. Unfortunately for you, that is not persuasive to anyone.

    Is it possible, Scott, that your understanding of what atheists do or do not believe, and their reasons and explanations for those beliefs, is incredibly wrong?

    Is that at least possible?

    For the record, I am an atheist, and I believe in right or wrong, because I believe in objective morality.

    So there.

    “since they are admitting moral authority,”

    This is a bare assertion; you have not supported this claim.

    “and that cannot come from man or nature alone.”

    This is a bare assertion; you have not supported this claim.

    “You cannot have independent agency and accountability both”

    If you’re talking about absolutes to both, then I agree. But I don’t believe in absolutes, and therefore I do believe that you can have both independent agency and accountability.

    “– that is a contradiction that violates belief #2 above.”

    Only if belief #2 is actually held by atheists. Which, as you’ve seen, I take issue with your claim that it is.

    “Moral authority can only come from outside humans.”

    Objective morality does not require an authority.

    “If a person claims there is something such as “Natural” law (without God) then they are in fact stating there is a God,”

    No, they’re not. Saying “there is a God” is in fact stating there is no God. Claiming that there is a natural law, without God, is not claiming there is a God.

    “because they are putting Nature itself in the place of providing for morality,”

    Only if you believe that the *only* requirement for something to be called a God is “providing for morality”, and I have a very hard time believing that that’s your sole descriptor for the word “God”.

    That isn’t your sole descriptor for the word “God”, correct?

    “which is by definition, not chaotic, and therefore not natural.”

    Your conclusion does not follow from any premises I see here. Please explain why this is “by definition” (and, while you’re at it, please define what YOU mean by “chaos”, and why I should accept YOUR definition, instead of the well-understood definition used by mathematicians).

    “The implications for why an atheist believes as he does are therefore really quite simple.”

    Oh boy. Failed mind-reading coming here. Look, Scott, you don’t know why any one person is an atheist. You definitely don’t know why I’m an atheist. So when you start to tell people why they think a certain thing… I’m just astounded by the sheer arrogance.

    “They do not want to be held accountable to anyone but themselves.”

    Failed mind-reading. Seriously though, Scott? Look, if I thought that there actually was an omnipotent and omniscient God, what would my supposed desire to not be held accountable to Him do for me? Nothing. What would be the point of me doing that? None.

    Therefore, even if I did accept your claim that I, as an atheist, do not want to be held accountable to God, *it wouldn’t affect whether or not I believe in Him*.

    “This is (obviously) wishful thinking at best,”

    With all due respect, that’s my view of your entire post, yes.

    “since there are moral obligations to living in an ordered society, and we cannot allow moral chaos as “The norm.””

    Hey, we agree!

    “In this light, atheists themselves are the single greatest threat to civilization that exists (to my mind)”

    Gotcha. When they start blowing up buildings for atheism, give me a call. Until then, I can’t take this viewpoint seriously.

    Plus, as I think I’ve made obvious by now, I don’t think you understand at all what atheists, much less this particular atheist (i.e., me), actually thinks.

    “and yet Christians are the ones who are held out as examples of “Bigotry” and “Intolerance.””

    Some, yes.

    “The only true form of intolerance is atheism since it attests that any belief in anything “Moral” or “Spiritual” is not sound reasoning.”

    I find it interesting that you use the word “attests” when it’s clear to me that no atheist actually attests this. Please cite an example of an atheist attesting that belief in anything moral is not sound reasoning, or retract.

    Are you by any chance mixing up the words “atheist” and “nihilist”? Because it appears that you’re arguing against the latter, instead of the former.

    I look forward to reading your response to this.

    Be well.

  5. Ah – good. Now we have a discussion! Nohm’s comments are very enlightening as to what atheists believe. I agree, no one person can know all the various positions held by all the various atheists, semi-atheists, agnostics, etc… They run the full gamut it would seem from true belief in nothing, or I should say a purely mechanistic Universe with chaotic behavior and no basis for any morality whatsoever, to those who try to substitute something in the place of God that can be used as the basis for a moral foundation (we are accountable to someone).

    I’ve only made it through about 1/2 of Nohm’s comment and am still processing. I do not claim to be an “Expert” on all those flavors of Atheism that exist out there, only to know what it is that they believe – or claim to believe in general. The only thing in which I am an expert, and not really an expert, more just a “Student” is the Bible. I’ve spent my time in University, and various Institutions of higher learning, only to find them wanting for the most part, in any real value as to what’s important to us human beings.

    Our education system has been taken over by liberal progressives, and the masses in primary schools are now reaping the whirlwind in terms of being brought up in a world of moral chaos. Let me go first to the argument that God is the basis for all morality and without him there is no basis. The Bible offers no proof for God’s existence, rather it assumes he is and always has been and always will be. It doesn’t therefore try to teach us about his origins, or really about the origins of our Universe either, other than in a very cursory fashion. The book of Genesis spends just one chapter on creation, then goes right into the origins of sin, then spends the remainder dealing with Adam’s offspring and the start of God’s plan of redemption (the Patriarchs).

    What we can learn from that is simply that it’s not important to question God’s existence – he IS. That, by the way, is why his name is “I AM.” In our limited capacity for thinking and perceiving in our physical universe, we cannot grasp that concept. That is why, unless you have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, you won’t even be able to grasp that concept that there is a supreme being outside our Universe but who can also enter it at any place, any time he desires and have interaction with the creatures in it. He created it, he knows how it works. Our brains seem to get stuck somehow on the notion that the Universe is so big, how can something possibly be BIGGER and outside it? By definition, God must exist outside the system which he created.

    The real questions which are posed by the Bible are the following:

    1. If God exists and he is good, then why is there sin?
    2. Why didn’t God deal with evil and make it so it doesn’t exist?
    3. Could Jesus possibly be God – come in the flesh – to save us?

    One thing I should state clearly, and this is a given for Christians, and is difficult for non-believers to understand, but the Bible calls those who don’t believe in God “Fools” because the evidence for God is all around them. You have to really have your eyes opened at that point and decide for yourself if the Universe could have possibly (spontaneously) just “Happened” and for something to have come from nothing. If you can get something from nothing, then you still have to deal with the Laws of Thermodynamics, and get past the fact that mechanistic systems simply do not create order from chaos. Not only is it foolish to believe that, but it borders on insanity to think that way. No matter how much time, no matter how large you make the Universe, lining everything up so that you can come up with one DNA molecule is so HUGELY unlikely that it’s just insanity to think that way.

    That’s where, as Nohm points out, many atheists these days will run to “Aliens” which is simply just as ludicrous since then you have to figure out how the aliens got here? And so on…

    So, when you really study Cosmology, and Evolution, you find two things: The Universe had a beginning, and it will have an end. This doesn’t agree with anybody’s definition of a purely “Mechanistic” Universe, since if it has to be mechanistic, and every effect had a cause and so on, then what was the “First cause?” St. Thomas Aquinas came to that conclusion many hundreds of years ago, and it’s called the “Cosmological Proof of God’s Existence.” To get something from nothing, you must have an outside agent acting on the system (or creating the system) and we call that God.

    That is why the Bible calls folks “Fools” who don’t believe in God, because they simply have not thought it through.

    There is plenty more proof in our world for God’s providence. We have rain, and snow, and clouds, same molecule, three phases all in one planet. We have about hundreds, perhaps thousands of factors that work together for there to be life on this planet that we don’t even need to think about, but they are there. Then, there’s DNA. A molecule that is so complex in shape and dynamics, and which must be operated on by other proteins in order to be manipulated and reproduced! You gotta have proteins to make it, but it holds the formulas for the proteins! Which came first – the chicken or the egg?

    I will stop. I could go on and on. There are so many complexities here that we simply could not have gotten here by chance. Once you wrap your head around that, and the fact that “Aliens” are about as likely as, well, I don’t believe personally we’ll find life anywhere else. But, I’d still go to Mars, if I could I’d take that one way ticket, but that’s another story. We’ve been searching for aliens now for some time. We can “See” alien worlds, we can even guess which could support life. Will we find any? Why don’t we just send out a call for help?

    Well, I’m here to tell you, we already did (sort of). The story of the Patriarchs in the Bible is the story of the “Chosen” people. They eventually found themselves oppressed in Egypt, and they cried for help. God chose Moses to be the instrument of his deliverance. Then, later, he gave us a more permanent solution in the person of Jesus Christ. First, had to come the Law.

    Ah! The Law! So – just what is this “Law?” One of the questions posed is how can there be absolute moral laws? The answer is simple, only if they were given by a being who can be said to be “In charge.” If the Law then, is absolute, then why don’t people obey it? Answer: People have the disease or condition known as sin. We are born with it. We are born rebellious, we tend to want to go our own way, and not God’s way. That doesn’t make the Law any less absolute because we will all be judged by the Law. Paul tells us in Romans that even those who don’t have the Law still operate (often) as if they had the Law. Just because we are sinners doesn’t mean that folks cannot operate in a non sinful fashion. The Law seems like “Common sense” to some people, and they try to adapt it and use it along with their other laws.

    Unfortunately, what God desires is what it says in the first Law. By the way, the “Law” is the 10 Commandments. That is the Law (with a capital “L”). The other laws and regulations and stipulations and so on are all adapted around the Law to help carry it out and to live spiritual lives. The first Law says: “You shall have no other gods before me.” Very simple, very concise, easy to understand. The most difficult to carry out! Why? Because as I said above, we are born sinners, and we naturally want to be in charge of our own lives, that violates the First Commandment! God says: “I am in charge!”

    Paul says (again in Romans) that breaking any of the Laws is the same as breaking them all! The punishment, the Bible tells us, is death. Now in this sense, it is both physical and spiritual death. We will all “Die” a physical death, thanks to Adam and Eve. These bodies will wear out, they are degrading even now, such that every day we are one day closer to our physical death. But we do not all have to die spiritually. Nor is it necessary for folks to go to a place called Hell. God created Hell as a place of torment for the demons who rebelled with Satan. But, in the end, he decided that all the rebellious humans, those who don’t repent and turn to him and recognize him, will get to go to Hell as well. God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell, but those who are “Sinners” (those not saved by the blood of Jesus Christ – his Son) cannot go to Heaven to be with him, because God cannot be in the presence of sin, HE IS HOLY.

    I didn’t really want to make this a whole “Christianity 101” thing, that’s just how it turned out. It’s necessary for the atheist at some point to understand what Christianity is, what Christians really believe. We don’t just follow a God because he’s some nice fellow like the Easter Bunny who gives us things you know. We follow Him because HE IS THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE. From our point of view, he is all powerful, all knowing, sees the beginning and the end (because he’s outside the system – remember) and, most of all, we can trust him with our lives when we come to him. He will never leave us or forsake us. And I can prove that again and again in my own life as well as the lives of countless other believers through history. Oh yes, Christians die, physically, they are martyred every single day for their faith. But, that doesn’t mean God left them, or that he abandoned them to Hell, as he will do with those who don’t accept the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross at Calvary.

    Do you get it yet, how from a Christian standpoint – we can state quite simply what atheists believe (or don’t)? Atheists really don’t believe much, they only believe what their own senses tell them, and that is quite simply not the end of it. There’s so much more to the story, and God makes himself real to whom he will. We do not know why he chooses to reveal himself to some and not others. We don’t even know if all those who claim to be Christians are really Christians! Only God really knows. But we can know him. We can pray to him and have dialog with him, sort of. He answers prayer, and he gives those answers in unique and subtle ways often.

    The key, is Jesus. What are you gonna do with Jesus. Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me shall not perish but have everlasting life.” We have to answer the question of who Jesus is? Is he God? Is he a liar? Is he insane? Or is he a fable as some like to say these days? Many have set out to prove the latter 3, and then come to realize that there is ample evidence, starting with the Bible itself to prove Jesus is who he says he is. There is enough evidence to convict him in a Court of Law that he is God. How? His miracles? Yes. His perfect sinless life? Yes. His miraculous birth? Yes. The fact that his very existence fulfills hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament? Yes. But most of all, the fact that he was raised to life on the third day after being crucified and buried. He is alive.

    Jesus really is the central issue in all of the discussion about atheism versus religion or God. God is. He came. He saved us. It’s all I need to know that he paid the penalty for my sin on that Cross, and I get to live with him forever in Heaven.

    Jesus is the one reason why Christianity is different from any other so-called “Religion.” They are all the same in the sense that “Religion” is man’s attempt to get to God, to appease him, to satisfy him that we should be with him in paradise. But God, the God of the Bible tells us that we can never be good enough, and that’s why Jesus had to come and die in our place. That “Once for all” sacrifice satisfied God’s wrath, so that he no longer sees a sinner when he looks at me, he sees his son Jesus – in me. Pretty amazing, eh? That’s just how spiritual things work. It’s nonsense to those who don’t believe, it’s life for us who do believe.

    May God bless you and open your eyes this day! In Jesus’ name I pray.

    • Hi Scott,

      I’ll get back to you on your comment, but two things:

      1. Why do you appear to think I’m amazingly idiotic? Why do you appear to think I’m incredibly ignorant about Christian beliefs? Seriously, your comment post comes off as if I’ve never known the existence of, much less seriously considered and researched, any of the topics you wrote about there.

      2. I think I now understand why you might have trouble “get[ting] some real feedback on that, so that we can engage in a real debate, no name-calling, that type of thing.” and be able to have “honest, intellectual debate with folks who don’t instantly “Hate” everything on the Internet they don’t happen to agree with.”

      To be blunt, but with all due respect, this comment of yours appears to “hate” everything on the internet that you don’t happen to agree with, and it really comes off as if you think I’ve never considered any of the things you bring up, because you describe them in such a basic manner like if you were teaching a kid.

      I encourage you to re-read this, because I totally understand why you would encounter name-calling. If I was in a bad mood, reading this would make me tear my hair out. Not because I disagree with you, but because you still appear to think you know how other people (who aren’t you) think, and it really appears that you haven’t done research in a lot of these topics, like asking “gotcha” questions where answers exist for them. You might disagree with the answers, but to act as if answers haven’t been given for some of these issues… it just looks like you haven’t researched the opposing views of a lot of these topics.

      It’s not an issue of “flavors of atheism” (that one killed me when I read it), but that the only person’s thoughts you know are your own. To act as if you know the thoughts and opinions of anyone else, *unless they specifically tell you*, is a pet peeve of mine.

      Like talking about “chance” when writing to a determinst. Why do this? Would you post paragraphs about the “liberal progressives” to a conservative, Republican atheist (like S. E. Cupp)?

      It just feels disrespectful to me, to be blunt.

    • Hi Scott,

      I’m not going to cover every point you bring up in your previous comment, because 1) that would take way too long and 2) a lot of what you wrote about was irrelevant to the discussion at hand, which is “what atheists believe (or don’t)”.

      For most paragraphs, I’ll just list the first sentence of your paragraph before I respond, so I apologize that you’ll have to scroll up and down throughout; copying all of your text would make my comment enormous.

      ____________________

      “Nohm’s comments are very enlightening as to what atheists believe.”

      No. My comments are very enlightening as to what *I* believe, and no one else. That’s one of the main points I keep trying to get across to you; the only thing I for sure share with another atheist is that neither of us are theists. That’s *IT*. To take what I say, and apply it to someone else, is unfair to that other person. For example, I’m a determinist, but there are plenty of atheists who are not determinists.

      Therefore, the simple statement of “what atheists believe” makes no sense. The word “atheist” describes what I am *not*; it does not describe what I *am*. If I’m still not making this point clearly enough, please let me know, because it (i.e., you thinking that atheists share a world-view, instead of the reality that each individual atheist has their own world-view… sure, there can be quite a few similarities, but it’s nothing you can necessarily count on) is one of the biggest problems I have with our communication.

      “I agree, no one person can know all the various positions held by all the various atheists, semi-atheists, agnostics, etc”

      I have no idea what a “semi-atheist” is. Please explain.

      Regardless, my point is simply this: a person can only know the various positions held by another person (regardless of their religious views) if they *ask* that person. Assuming what their various positions are is *disrespectful*, especially if the assumption you make is one that makes them look badly.

      This is why I have the problems I have with your original post about what atheists believe (and don’t).

      “They run the full gamut it would seem from true belief in nothing,”

      I think you’d be hard pressed to find atheists in reality who would say this. Imaginary atheists that you might learn about in your evangelism classes, like I did? Sure. But I doubt it in reality.

      “or I should say a purely mechanistic Universe”

      Yeah, maybe you *should* say that, because that’s something very different from “true belief in nothing”.

      “with chaotic behavior”

      So, I asked in my previous comment, at least twice, for you to define what you mean by “chaos” and “chaotic”, because it doesn’t appear that you’re using the same definition that I would be using. Instead of doing me that favor, you spend most of your comment giving a sermon.

      “and no basis for any morality whatsoever,”

      Look, I fully understand that you think that, outside of God, there can be no basis for morality. I get that you believe that. But couldn’t you show me a little respect to understand, especially after my previous comment, that I *do* believe that God isn’t necessarily to be a basis for morality?

      You certainly don’t have to agree with me, but you could show me the respect that you understand that I think there can be a different basis for morality.

      “I’ve only made it through about 1/2 of Nohm’s comment and am still processing.”

      Ugh. I have to admit, this statement of yours annoyed me. I find this also to be disrespectful; it’s like interrupting someone when they’re talking. Instead of reading my full comment, considering it thoroughly, and THEN responding, you write out a 20+ paragraph reply/sermon that only barely touches on 1) what I wrote and 2) the subject at hand, which is again “what atheists believe (or don’t)”.

      “I do not claim to be an Expert on all those flavors of Atheism that exist out there,”

      As I mentioned in my mini-rant from last night, this statement killed me.

      There are not “flavors of atheism”, at least not in the way that I think you mean. To clarify, what do you mean by “flavors of atheism”, and could you give some real-life examples that I could look at?

      There are flavors of *people*.

      Lastly on this, not only do I think you’re not an expert on atheism, I think you’re woefully ignorant. I had a bunch of atheist buddies of mine — people I hang out with and some I work with — check out this post of yours. Not a single one thought that you were describing them, and they all reacted with “what is this guy even talking about?”

      If you’re writing about atheists, and no atheist thinks you’re describing them in even a remote fashion, then you probably don’t know what atheists think.

      “only to know what it is that they believe — or claim to believe in general.”

      No. You. Don’t.

      If there is only one point that I could ever make to you, it’s that one. You may think you know what atheists believe, or even what they claim to believe, but you don’t. You make it abundantly clear in what you write (and I’ve read quite a few of your other blog posts, even the ones that aren’t about atheists) that you lack understanding in how other people, who aren’t you, think. You ascribe horrible points of view to people you disagree with, making them out to be villains, instead of simply people you disagree with.

      I’m fascinated by this, but it also makes it difficult in trying to communicate with you.

      “The only thing in which I am an expert, and not really an expert, more just a “Student” is the Bible.”

      Fair enough.

      ________________________

      Okay, so this is the point when you start going off on irrelevant topics to the discussion at hand (again, regarding “what atheists believe, and don’t”). If you think I simply missed the connection in the paragraphs that I’m about to gloss over, please point them out and I’ll reconsider.

      So, here we go…

      “Our education system has been taken over by liberal progressives…”

      Irrelevant to the topic at hand, and I have a hard time taking conspiracy theories seriously.

      “Let me go first to the argument that God is the basis for all morality and without him there is no basis.”

      For the record, it doesn’t appear to me that you actually make this argument in the following paragraphs. If you think I missed it, please point it out.

      “What we can learn from that is simply that it’s not important to question God’s existence”

      As one of my atheist buddies wrote to me (over and over, in fact) when he was reading this, “speak for yourself, bud”.

      I find questioning things to be interesting and enjoyable. I’m a curious person. Also, as an atheist I think it’s clear that I’m not a theist, so of course I’m not going to simply accept the claim “God exists” simply because you say so.

      Also, by the way, this is where your sermon begins, and this (i.e., your comment) is no longer a discussion.

      “Our brains seem to get stuck somehow on the notion that the Universe is so big, how can something possibly be BIGGER and outside it?”

      Again, “speak for yourself, bud”. I have zero problem with considering the notion that something could possibly be bigger and outside of the universe. My brain does not get stuck on that notion.

      But talk is cheap. Demonstrating claims is not.

      “The real questions which are posed by the Bible are the following…”

      More sermon time. For the record, Scott, not only did I use to be a Christian (and you can call me a false convert if you want), but I used to be a street-evangelist-in-training. I’ve also lived in the United States for all 40 years of my life.

      So your multiple paragraph sermon, as if I don’t know Christian dogma and doctrine, is a bit insulting. That’s why I’m snipping most of it out here, and it’s irrelevant to the topic at hand.

      “One thing I should state clearly, and this is a given for Christians, and is difficult for non-believers to understand, but the Bible calls those who don’t believe in God “Fools” because the evidence for God is all around them.”

      It is not difficult for any non-believer to understand if they’ve read Paul’s epistle to the Romans. I’m not bothered that the Bible calls non-believers “fools”. I would *expect* an ancient holy book, like the Bible or the Quran, to call non-believers “fools”.

      “You have to really have your eyes opened at that point and decide for yourself if the Universe could have possibly (spontaneously) just “Happened” and for something to have come from nothing.”

      You say stuff like this, which no one actually believes. This is a strawman argument. This is an incredibly simplistic view of cosmology.

      This would be like if someone asked you what computer programming is, and let’s say you respond with, “it’s about entering commands into a computer in a way that, when those commands are run, they do certain calculations to have certain results”. Then that person goes home, opens notepad, types “download 2012 summer olympics video” into notepad, then “RUN my command”, and tells you you’re an idiot because they did what you said but it didn’t work.

      You’re taking a greatly simplified and media-distorted description of something as the full explanation of that thing. That will *never* work.

      As I mentioned before, it’s toally okay to disagree with what some scientists say, but to completely distort what they say, or to claim that they’re not saying anything, is disrespectful… or willfully ignorant.

      “If you can get something from nothing”

      When a cosmologist uses the word “nothing”, they do not mean it in the same way you’re using it here. If you say “there’s nothing in the fridge”, does that *really* mean an absolute void of everything in your fridge? No, of course not. If someone asks you what you’re thinking about, and you say, “nothing”, do you *literally* mean nothing? No, of course not.

      “and get past the fact that mechanistic systems simply do not create order from chaos”

      You say these things as if you’ve researched them, but you don’t even touch on the concepts of emergence or self-organizing systems. You also continue to use the word “chaos” in a way that I’m unclear on; please let me know what definition you’re using.

      What’s your opinion on fractals?

      “No matter how much time, no matter how large you make the Universe, lining everything up so that you can come up with one DNA molecule is so HUGELY unlikely”

      Oh?

      “HUGELY unlikely”? So, you’re claiming a probability? Please show me the probability calculation that you did to come to this conclusion. Please show your work.

      “That’s where, as Nohm points out…”

      I just wanted to mention one thing, Scott. Why does it appear you’re talking to an audience? I would bet that most people who have read this exchange are atheists that I showed it to. Why not write to *me*?

      “many atheists these days will run to Aliens”

      Oh goodness, Scott. I was using the concept of aliens as an example. That’s why I said, “for example, say I…”.

      “which is simply just as ludicrous since then you have to figure out how the aliens got here?”

      Same way we got here, whether by God or another answer.

      “So, when you really study Cosmology, and Evolution”

      Oh, Scott. One, this is condescending. Two, I don’t believe you actually have studied either of these subjects, and definitely not the latter based on previous blog posts you’ve written about it. To “really study” something means you have to research opposing views *from the people who have the opposing views*.

      As I mentioned above, I was a street-evangelist-in-training years ago, and I remember being taught in my classes about atheists and what they think and such. Later, after evangelizing to atheists, I realized that I had been taught about “imaginary atheists”.

      I think that not only have you been taught about “imaginary atheists” (because that easily would explain why you think they think what you claim they think), but also “imaginary cosmology” and “imaginary evolution”.

      Scott, if I thought that evolution claimed what you appear to think it claims, I would also have significant doubts about it.

      “The Universe had a beginning, and it will have an end.”

      For the sake of discussion, I’ll accept both of these claims.

      “This doesn’t agree with anybody’s definition of a purely Mechanistic Universe”

      Wrong. A purely “mechanistic universe” could have a beginning and an end.

      “since if it has to be mechanistic, and every effect had a cause and so on, then what was the first cause?”

      Assuming “first cause” has an actual meaning here, I don’t know what the first cause is.

      That doesn’t mean I start making things up.

      “St. Thomas Aquinas…”

      Oh goodness. Yes, I know who he is and I’ve studied his arguments. I think he was wrong.

      “We have rain, and snow, and clouds, same molecule, three phases all in one planet.”

      I also used to use the water example to explain the trinity. This is well-trodden ground.

      “There are so many complexities here that we simply could not have gotten here by chance.”

      1) How do you determine how complex something is? I admit, that’s actually a trick question.
      2) You’re killing me here. The last time you and I talked, I clearly explained that I was a determinist. Yet here you are, still talking about “chance”, and not even in a mathematical way. For you to not acknowledge at all that a determinist doesn’t accept the idea of “chance” is a bit disrespectful.

      “the fact that Aliens are about as likely as…”

      Again, I used aliens as an example to show a problem in one of your arguments.

      Having said that, it is a bit weird that you go off on the unlikelihood of aliens based simply on a personal belief. Not math, but a gut feeling, as if that’s a reliable source for probability calculations.

      “Well, I’m here to tell you, we already did (sort of).”

      Emphasis on “sort of”. Continuation of a sermon, and not a discussion about the topic. Snip.

      “Ah! The Law! So just what is this Law?”

      More sermon about things that I am very much aware. Yes, I know Christian beliefs. I know what you mean by The Law. I have watched every Ray Comfort video there is to watch.

      Snipping more of the sermon.

      “how can there be absolute moral laws? The answer is simple, only if they were given by a being who can be said to be In charge.”

      Even then, I would still argue this point, but it’s currently moot. Until you can support the claim that there is a being who can be said to be “In charge”, the concept of absolute moral laws is just speculation.

      “Unfortunately, what God desires is what it says in the first Law.”

      More sermon about things I know Christians believe, and so I snip.

      “Paul says (again in Romans)”

      I know his epistle to the Romans very well. It is probably the best example I can think of for “failed mind-reading” as he basically says “all non-believers are actually believers”.

      So, Paul has zero credibility with me, to put it lightly.

      Regardless, this is more sermon without relevancy to the topic at hand. Snip snip snip.

      “I didn’t really want to make this a whole Christianity 101 thing”

      To be blunt, I don’t believe this statement of yours. Also, I am well aware of Christianity 101. Why you thought I wasn’t, I have no idea.

      “It’s necessary for the atheist at some point to understand what Christianity is, what Christians really believe.”

      I’ll quickly say that not all Christians believe what you wrote above, or would at least phrase it quite differently. You might think it’s necessary for *this* atheist (i.e., me) to understand what Christianity is *to you*, and what a particular Christian (i.e., you) really believe, and that’s fair.

      But why you thought I had no idea what Christians really believe, I have no idea. For example, I know you go to the same church as Steve Sanchez. A very simple google search on my handle (i.e., “Nohm”) would show you that I’ve been talking to Steve for a long time now.

      “Do you get it yet”

      I got it about 14 years ago, when I went through Confirmation.

      “how from a Christian standpoint we can state quite simply what atheists believe (or don’t)?”

      No. You. Can’t.

      You can only ever state (“quite simply” or otherwise) what *you*, Scott, believes (or doesn’t).

      Everything you write is abundant evidence that you have *no idea at all* what atheists believe (or don’t). None whatsoever. Completely far off. Outside of the circle. Zilch. Nada.

      “Atheists really don’t believe much”

      Oh, goodness. C’mon now.

      I believe that the San Diego Chargers are the best football team. I believe that I won’t get fired tomorrow. I believe that tomorrow will be a rough day at work. I believe I’ll enjoy this weekend. I believe har gow (shrimp dumplings) are the most delicious things in the world.

      I believe in a ton of stuff, just like every other person — atheist or theist — out there.

      “He answers prayer, and he gives those answers in unique and subtle ways often.”

      Emphasis on “unique” and “subtle”.

      “The key, is Jesus.”

      More sermon that is not relevant to the topic at hand, although your “court of law” comment makes me think you’ve been reading some Josh McDowell or Phillip Johnson.

      Again, to say I think those men lack credibility is putting it lightly, and I base that off of a thorough study of their writings.

      “It’s all I need to know that he paid the penalty for my sin on that Cross, and I get to live with him forever in Heaven.”

      And that little issue of your sobriety.

      “Jesus is the one reason why Christianity is different… [snip]… Pretty amazing, eh?”

      No, not if you studied a lot of other religions and aren’t rooting on any particular one of them.

      Be well,

      Nohm

      • Ack, “I got it about 14 years ago, when I went through Confirmation” should instead be “I got it about 26 years ago, when I went through Confirmation”, since I was 14 or so when I went through Confirmation.

        Bah, I killed my joke.

  6. Wow! Nohm, you write a lot. You must type pretty fast like I do, and I thought I wrote a lot! I’ve read some of the atheistic writings on Determinism, and I’ve read a bit on finding a basis for morality without God. While the first seems to deal with “Thought” and “Consciousness” the latter clearly deals with finding where in the Universe we can come up with some kind of “System” of morality that takes God out of the picture. Obviously, being a believer, I can no longer talk from the atheistic world view. That’s why I have to very carefully and methodically lay out the groundwork for the Kingdom of God (the Spiritual realm).

    Let’s talk frame of reference for a moment. To a cave man, clearly the idea of a flying machine would appear “Magical” wouldn’t it? The interesting thing from our point of view is that of course there is a logical explanation for machines that fly, they use mechanical principles, including Bernoulli’s principles to achieve lift and therefore get off the ground in some fashion. I say some fashion, because Helicopters do it slightly differently than airplanes and jets. We could also talk about thrust, as in rockets and ducted fan motors, but that’s somewhat irrelevant. The basic idea is that we understand how to fly.

    I won’t go so far as to say we’re ever going to understand the Bible (or God) from a purely mechanical perspective, in fact, that could never happen. The Bible does not speak of mechanistic forces or principles, except in a cursory fashion. It does, however liken God to various physical qualities in order to show that God is all around us, and in fact it tells us that Jesus holds everything together in his power. Thus, especially to the Hebrews in the Old Testament, when they said that God is a “Rock” they meant literally that he was solid, was a foundation they could build their lives upon, was a “High place” where they could go in times of trouble and to worship, as well as he would protect them (like a fortress) in times of distress.

    The Holy Spirit, Jesus tells us is like the wind. In other places it is likened to a river flowing into us and out of us. It becomes necessary to give us these comparisons because otherwise we would have no frame of reference whatsoever in order to grasp the concept. Now, let me shift gears and talk perception. Reality is what we perceive, I think Christians and Atheists agree on that. Maybe not in the same way, but basically we all agree that in order to be “Real” something must be perceived.

    Now, this is a great question: “How fast are you moving?” Seriously, how fast are you moving right now? OK, you’re sitting in front of a keyboard typing, so you’re not moving. WRONG! Just sitting here, we are on a planet that is moving, well, it’s spinning roughly 1,000mph as it revolves, and it is also going around the sun. The sum of those two velocities (depending somewhat on how near the equator you are) is about 64,000mph. Now, if we take into account the fact that our Solar System is moving, then we get up to near double that speed. And if we take into account the fact the Milky Way is moving, then we can be dazzled by how fast we are actually moving! Pretty amazing, no? So, just sitting here, we are moving at least: 100,000mph / 3600sph = 27.8 miles per second! That’s just sitting here.

    The point of that, of course, is: Do you perceive it? Of course not. The Universe is designed in such a fashion that we do not perceive that motion. In fact if we even were exposed to that speed naked, we would die, burn up or something, or be crushed by forces of velocity and so on. Perception, therefore, is not everything.

    Nietzsche said that “God is dead.” The only possible end result of that statement is to put ourselves on top, be “In charge” of our own destiny. This is clearly a mistake as it results in totalitarianism every time. We have seen it again and again in the modern era, genocide follows genocide. There is no other end result of that pattern of thinking. What Nietzsche is of course admitting, is that we killed God, and that we have taken over, the monkeys are truly running the zoo.

    The principles of an ordered society were given to us by God himself. First, he gave us marriage, or I should say The Institution of Marriage. Then, he gave us the Patriarchs and the promise, and later the Law with Moses. The Law was not the end of it (Jesus is). Although the Law is the basis for all Civilization. Without the Law, everything crumbles. If a society does not have the “Rule of Law” then that society is corrupt and immoral, from just about any standpoint. Why? Because to have Justice, you must be following a moral code that transcends our lives in such a fashion that it captures the essence of who and what we are.

    That is why all the atheistic attempts to come up with a basis for morality without God are silly to me. The Bible says it is foolish to pretend there is no God, and it is because without God – there can be no basis for morality! It all goes back to that notion of what the Universe is, how it came into being. If we state that the Universe is the end all, be all, in and of itself, then we are stating that the Universe is all there is. There is nothing else. All we see is all we get. Thus, the Universe is made of mechanistic forces, and everything depends purely on blind chance. There can be nothing else if that’s what you choose.

    Determinists seem determined to bring Descartes into the argument and find some basis for morality / deterministic behavior in the fact that “Cogito ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am). Somehow, magically, because I have a brain and can think steps ahead in the process, similar to a computer making “Predictions” that somehow makes me a determining factor in my environment. I have news for you, if the Universe is really mechanistic, then it’s still random, and you’re simply playing the odds. You might as well move to Vegas and try your luck there.

    We can prove, reasonably, that arguments such as “Survival of the fittest” depend on statistical factors, in other words, species need to produce lots of offspring for them to have a chance, but the chances of any one offspring making it to maturity are relatively the same. This doesn’t provide any proof of so-called “Determinism” in the environment anywhere, nor does it make it likely that our thinking makes us any higher than the environment. The only thing our thinking ability buys us is the ability to recognize God and what he means to us.

    The Bible says that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” That’s exactly what I just said. Our brains can be used to provide enough sensory input to understand that all this didn’t get here by blind chance. Couldn’t have. Didn’t happen. Impossible. Or, at least, so improbable, that there must be an outside agent acting on the system. Atheists, I argued earlier, such as Dawkins, have now run to the notion that “Aliens” must be the basis for life on earth. But, we can easily debunk his arguments on the grounds that then the “Aliens” must have evolved somehow from nothing (which again has the same degree of improbability that we had of getting here by chance). The basis for all of that, including evolution and so on, goes back to the origins of the Universe. Evolution would work fine, and most atheistic scientists would be much happier if the Universe had been eternal, never ending and so forth. The problem for them is – it isn’t. The Universe definitely had a beginning, and it will have an end.

    That means that at some point, if we get to the point of admitting an outside agent, as many scientists have done these days, then you are in fact admitting to God. A system so complex, so balanced, so highly unlikely, with physical principles governing all that there is, at least all that we can perceive and measure, means that somebody set things up the way they are. Some infinitely complex being, who knows and understands such things, who is so great and vast and powerful that they are beyond our imagining.

    Let me just ask a question: Have you ever laid on your back in a field at night and looked up at the stars and said “Wow! How amazing that they all just spontaneously appeared there by the fact that they just coalesced into gas spheres that suddenly started burning with nuclear fusion in order to produce electromagnetic radiation to burn off the excess energy of the system so that some day it will all burn out?” No, I thought so. Most of us have laid out there and looked up and just said: “Wow!” But the mere fact of our awe is enough to tell us that God is, that He exists.

    If the Universe were eternal, then maybe there would be an argument to say it all just happened. The fact that it had a beginning and will have an end agrees with the Bible, and hints that some divine agent caused it all to be the way it is.

    Now, we’ve covered Determinism pretty well, the only debate I’ve left open is why can’t we have a basis for morality on our own? I’ve explained that when we try to do that, it results in totalitarianism simply due to the fact that those who have the most violent argument – win the debate as to what’s right or wrong. In NAZI Germany, it was legal to kill Jews. In America, it is legal to kill unborn babies. You must realize, that our own “Law” is hypocritical because the same system of Laws that allows human babies to be killed in the womb, does not allow Eagles to be killed in the egg. Think about that for awhile.

    Chuck Colson always said that those who were more forceful would win the debate as to what is right and wrong, in the absence of God. I’ve only given two examples so far of why taking God out of the equation leads to a totalitarian system that oppresses some and even allows killing of some – while making it perfectly legal! What are other examples, the Genocide in Rwanda, the fighting between the Hutus and the Tutsi’s? We have friends (who were African Missionaries) at our old Church who were at Hotel Rwanda. They rarely speak about it. What about Serbia? Bosnia? The Japanese in WWII? The Japanese Army killed more people in a few months in China (Rape of Nanking) than Hitler’s SS squads killed in an entire year! The Japanese were very efficient.

    Then, there were the Pogroms in Russia. Did you know the Jews were expelled from England in 1290? What is this “Antisemitism” about? Why do people hate the Jews? Is it rational to hate people just because they are “Different?” Are the Jews really that different that folks recognize it and fear them or hate them? Where does Antisemitism come from? My answer is, of course, about God. The Jewish people are God’s chosen people. They know and acknowledge the creator God. Christians, throughout history, have sometimes been great at following Christ, and other times have used their so-called faith as a hammer to beat other peoples down. I have studied history most of my life and I believe that Antisemitism is simply God’s way of keeping the Children of Israel on the move, rootless, homeless, until such time as the State of Israel was re-established.

    Look at the Dreyfus Affair in France in 1892. The “Affair” split the country in 1/2, and there were violent protests, and demonstrations for years surrounding the conviction of a young French Jewish Artillery Officer who was accused of spying – get this – for Germany! He was ultimately re-tried and acquitted, but the point is that the Jewish people in Europe recognized their dilemma even then such that in 1897 the first Zionist Congress convened in the Hague, the first time the Jews from many countries had met together to consider forming the new State of Israel in over 1800 years! The direct result of that, of course, was the re-establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1947. These things can only be God, in my opinion. His actions through history, keeping his “Chosen” people moving, eventually bringing them back to their promised homeland.

    The Bible predicted all this. The end result of all this prophecy will be the second advent of Jesus Christ. The historical Jesus came the first time as a suffering servant. He also gave us a new way of looking at the Law: The Law was given to convict us of our sin nature. We are supposed to recognize that left on our own, we will become Tyrants, and rule in a totalitarian fashion every time (like what’s happening in America right now). The United States was founded based on Biblical principles, however, the balance of power with the system of checks and balances has become broken. There is now no longer any restraint on the Executive, and the power is being abused to such a degree that we are in dire trouble.

    That, of course, is not my point for writing about Atheism, but it is a direct result of taking God out of a people’s system of morality. The saying that “Anything goes” describes our culture better than anything else, simply because folks are left on their own, in the absence of objective morality, or shall we say “Absolute” morality? I cannot prove to anyone the existence of God, nor can I convince anyone that He is still in control of all things. The Bible tells me that he is though, and that’s good enough for me.

    At some point, folks will ask me why and all I can tell them is that I have found, through miracles and wonders in my own life, and those of folks around me, I have seen ample evidence myself that he exists and cares about people still today as he did in the beginning. The end analysis tends to show that folks will only accept God if their hearts are softened. A “Hard” heart is a result of living for oneself, finding yourself as the highest authority. More than anything else, that’s what Atheism really is, a hard heart caused by too much living for oneself. It doesn’t mean there aren’t folks around who don’t believe in God who do good deeds, the question at that point becomes: Why are they doing it? What is the motivation?

    In the end, all behavior can be shown to be selfish and self-centered unless God is the central focus of your behavior. Only with God at the center can somebody truly be called a selfless person. They are no longer doing anything – just for themselves (we will always have mixed motives, even as Christians). Thus, the clash of world views between those who know God and those who deny him becomes the basis for a whole world of motivating factors that influence all the things we do. It gives us either a clear picture of right and wrong, or allows us to draw our own system of right and wrong beliefs.

    I’m not even going to get into “False Religions” here since that is a whole other discussion. Suffice it to say, that those who believe in a god, but that god is not the God of the Bible, and specifically Jesus Christ, well, they are following something that has deceived them to the point of their being in the same condition as the Atheist with a hard heart.

    • Hi Scott,

      I’ll do a full reply when I get home from work tonight, but I *must* make this point again, regarding my difficulty in trying to communicate with you:

      Something that comes out loud and clearly to me when reading what you write is that you don’t appear to research views that oppose — or disagree with — your own *from the people who hold those opposing views*. You appear to only research views that oppose — or disagree with — your own *from people who hold your own views*.

      Your comment about Dawkins and aliens is a *perfect* example of this. The most basic of research would have resulted in you realizing that Dawkins *does not* believe that aliens seeded life here; he was asked for a situation in which he could believe in intelligent design, and so he brought up hypothetical aliens as an *example*, and not as a representation of his actual beliefs.

      Dawkins does not believe that life on Earth came from aliens. I do not believe that life on Earth came from aliens.

      When you are trying to understand points of view that are not your own, please research them *from the people who hold those views*. You obviously did not research Dawkins’ opinions on the claim “life came from aliens”, and instead you repeated an urban legend based on dishonest editing in the “Expelled” fiasco.

      This is another pet peeve of mine.

      Be well,

      Nohm

      • I seem to recall that one of the most popular theories as to how life got here on earth deals with bacteria or some such landing here on meteoroids. Correct me if I’m wrong now, but aren’t those “Aliens” too? I’m just saying you’re still faced with the same dilemma as to how life sprang from lifelessness. I read an article yesterday:

        http://www.science20.com/stars_planets_life/calculating_odds_life_could_begin_chance

        He first states that it is statistically totally impossible for a 300 chain poly-peptide to have formed spontaneously (a ribozyme I believe he called them) but then he goes on to “Prove” that if they did exist, that they could certainly have evolved into “Life” as we know it. Whoops! Wait a second, don’t you need to at least provide a partial proof for the first before launching into the second? Of course life replicates itself, that’s the whole point! Duh!

        Sorry, I don’t mean to sound upset or angry by this, it’s just so foolish to state that something that is – came from something that isn’t, or has already been proved to be statistically (like a 1 with 300 zeros behind it) impossible. The statistical improbability of the 300 chain poly-peptide forming spontaneously has a higher degree of unlikelihood than there are atoms in the Universe!

        BTW, I noticed how ignorant many of the so-called “Atheists” were who were commenting on that article, and on various other articles. They are running around assuming first that the Universe is “Infinite” and we have already established that it is not, and all “Good” science and scientists agree that it is not. We have also established that it is not “Eternal” but that it had a beginning and will definitely have an end. Not even Stephen Hawking can tell us what will happen at the end. In his “Brief History of Time” he says at first he thought gravity would collapse everything and time would run backwards or something. Later, he discarded that notion, but now has no real theory as to what will happen.

        The ancient Hebrews saw God. Moses spoke with him. They likened God to physical things in our world because God was REAL to them. God saw that it all got written down for us so we would know he is real also. If you read the Bible and study it you would understand this, that God is not just something (or someone) who is “Out there” but that he is right here, inside us and all around you and EVERYWHERE! That’s what John the Baptist meant when he said: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” Jesus said the same thing, and after he was resurrected, at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was given to men so that God could dwell INSIDE of us and help us understand all of this, all of what he wrote down for us in his book.

        To spiritual people, this is simple and easy to understand. To those who have not had their hearts softened, and are still wondering how this could be so, it’s nonsense, or “Foolishness.” The Bible itself tells us why: Because the Lord saves whom he wants to. He uses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise. We just don’t suffer enough in this country for folks to think they need God anymore.

        Now why would I say a thing like that? Because, in Iran, Pastor Saeed has been imprisoned. He was in solitary confinement for like 28 days. They tortured him, they beat him, they starved him, they isolated him, all to try and break him. And you know what? He came out from solitary confinement and the other prisoners said he was “Glowing!” It’s just simply too marvelous. He wrote a letter, you can read it:

        http://www.christiantoday.com/article/pastor.saeed.abedini.thanks.supporters.for.prayers/32633.htm

        If you don’t believe that the God of the Bible is alive and active today, just as he was 2,000 years ago when Jesus walked this earth, and 3,500 years ago when the Law was given to Moses, then you better rethink what you believe. I mentioned a little about history, and what I’ve learned. You should also read and understand about things like Rome. The city of Rome became ultimately so decadent and depraved that it was doomed of its own moral failures. But Rome did not perish with the fall of the City of Rome.

        Rome – as we knew it – lived on, in a place called Constantinople. The Emperor Constantine not only declared Christianity the “Official” religion of Rome, after hundreds of years of persecuting the Church, and tens of thousands of martyrs, he also moved the seat of the Government to the east, to be nearer the birthplace of the Church. When Rome was sacked and burned, and finally fell in 476AD, the Eastern “Byzantine” empire lived on – for another 800 or so years. It only fell after being conquered by the Muslims in their blood-thirsty quest to conquer and rape and pillage everything that was NOT Muslim.

        BTW, the President yesterday showed more of his “True” colors by announcing we have to be nicer to Muslims and more inclusive. I’ve got news for you, there is no such thing as a non-radical Muslim. Their book has explicit instructions to conquer and subject all who oppose their god Allah and the so-called “Prophet” Mohammed. You can read about them here:

        http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

        It’s important to understand that evil is at work in our society, and the number one reason is something that you all don’t know about or understand. The whole system of Islam is setup on an evil foundation, that of corrupting the Bible and making certain subtle alterations to set themselves up as “The Promised” people. In the Bible, Isaac is Abraham’s son, the “Son of Promise.” While his half-brother Ismael is the son of a slave woman, destined to be the “Father” of slave nations. What Mohammed did, was to change the “Son of Promise” to Ishmael, since the Arabs are descendents of Ishmael, and he used that subtle trick to set himself up as the “Prophet” and put himself in a place to speak for God.

        Not only is that blasphemy, it’s evil! The Muslim faith continues to grow and corrupt many. It infects their minds, and it sets men up for becoming evil pawns in an evil game by promising them what they want most: PLEASURE. But not pleasure in this life, in the after-life. It’s a cruel sadistic joke, and Mohammed really only ever had one thing in mind: PROFIT. Just like Hitler, he was the one who really wanted more than his fair share, and he was willing to do anything, say anything to get it.

        Does it make sense to you how that’s different from Christianity? And even Judaism? Christians don’t want “World domination.” We simply want folks to be saved so they can have eternal life like we do. It’s not about us or what we want. We don’t do this because we want to, are you kidding? We do it because Jesus commands us to do it. We look like fools for Christ! But, we’re happy to do it because it’s what he wants us to do.

        I can actually say I’m proud to be a Jesus Freak because there simply is nothing else that matters to me. Oh, I live, I work, I have a job, and we have recreational activities, but when we go to the Mountains, we see God there. When we go sailing, we see God out there in the ocean. When we get up and walk down to the beach, we see God there. He is the most important thing in our lives, but not because of anything we wanted, but it’s because it’s what he wants. He saved us for his purposes. Some day, when we get to Heaven and are with him, we will understand it all better. For now, we just do as we’re told.

      • Scott, regarding the science20.com article you linked to, it appears you missed this part:

        “The calculation assumes that a single specific ribozyme must be synthesized for life to begin, but that’s not how it works.”

        Emphasis on “that’s not how it works”.

        If you try to do a probability calculation where you start with an incorrect understanding, then the answer you’ll get as result.

        For example, let’s say I tell you that I’ve created an algorithm that can determine the probability of a winner of a pro-wrestling (e.g., WWE) match based on the strength, size and agility of the people involved.

        I then say, “my algorithm says that, in a match between Hulk Hogan and The Rock, The Rock has a 64% chance of victory.”

        What’s wrong with this idea?

        What’s wrong is that my algorithm is based on the belief that a pro-wrestling match is a competitive event. I hope you know this already, but it is not. The winner is pre-determined based on storyline reasons; it has *nothing* to do with the strength, size and agility of the participants.

        Therefore, an algorithm based on the idea that pro-wrestling is a competitive event *will always fail*.

        And that’s the point that the author of that science20.com article is making; a point it appears you missed:

        “The calculation assumes that a single specific ribozyme must be synthesized for life to begin, but that’s not how it works.”

        The calculation assumes something incorrect.

        So all of the talk about “1 with 300 zeros” is completely irrelevant, just as my “64%” value is irrelevant when really talking about who wins a pro-wrestling match.

        If you start with incorrect assumptions, then the math might lead you to a number, but that number is meaningless.

        The rest of your comment is — once again — a sermon/history lesson, and not a discussion, so I don’t have much to say about it.

        Lastly, I *am* awed by the majestic beauty all around us; the emergence of tiny acts of chemistry and physics is gorgeous. I just don’t see a God as being necessary for all of this to exist.

      • Ack. I wrote: “If you try to do a probability calculation where you start with an incorrect understanding, then the answer you’ll get as result.”

        That should instead be:

        If you try to do a probability calculation where you start with an incorrect understanding of the variables, then the answer you’ll get as a result is guaranteed to be wrong.

  7. Do you, perchance listen to the atheists when you argue with them? The opinion that you have provided does not sound like it has come from having an honest discussion, but from filtering information through ideas that you already have.

    I am a former evangelical fundamentalist (Ray Comfort Style) who is now agnostic.

    I have many friends who are atheists, and what you say they believe is wrong. I used to believe what you say, because I was ignorant. I believed what others told me about atheists. I was wrong. I took some time and had some intellectually honest discussion with atheists, and learned what they actually believe.

    granted, there are some atheists who are jerks, but you have that with any people group. some are jerks, some are loving thoughtful people, and most are a blend of both.

    • Oh no, I would never differ on your opinion that atheists, in fact, all people are capable and sometimes, maybe even often do “Good” things. That’s not the issue that’s at stake. The issue, is “Who’s in control?” In other words, what are the motivating factors? I just pointed out in another discussion the following:

      First and foremost, all us human beings seek to maximize our own “Happiness” or well-being, or whatever you want to call it. That’s the way we are made, we are “Wired” that way. Even criminals, sociologists will point out, are motivated to do what they do because they see the most gain (increase in personal welfare?) from their actions. But, that is the question then, whose “Happiness” are they really seeking to satisfy? I’ve just heard the argument from Nohm, that there is some mystical quality of the brain that “Magically” turns empathy into a “Collective” consciousness. That is pure self-deception and self-justification if I’ve ever heard it. There is no proof of that, and there can be no proof of that.

      My proof to the contrary is quite simple. Put a dying person on one side of a wall, and a “Normal” person on the other side of the wall. Does the normal person feel empathy? Of course not. Couldn’t happen. To state they somehow must be in the same room, and share “Consciousness” for the collective to happen is pure fantasy since I can delude myself easily if I have enough stimulus in the situation. You understand the techniques Ray Comfort used, so you know about how the brain actually works, filtering out what it “Thinks” or has been taught is unnecessary information. It operates in “Grooves” or patterns of thinking that it has been set up for. It doesn’t do well outside those patterns, does it?

      The other point is that the brain will seek – automatically – to self-justify and self-deceive, that is the sin “Nature!” We are always seeking to put ourselves back on the throne, in place of God, because the nature of sin is that WE WANT TO BE IN CONTROL OF OUR OWN LIVES! We don’t want some unseen, far off being controlling us. A wrong conception of God can lead us right back to sin in a hurry, even those who supposedly once worshiped the Creator of the Universe such as yourself. Believe me, I have my own doubts every single day, but I fight! I fight! I fight!

      I have never once heard any argument explain human nature the way the Bible does. I can find again and again and again that every argument that sets itself up against the Bible can be so easily proved wrong as I just did with the “Collective” argument. Atheism is non-sense. Even at its core, there is nothing there. It’s built on air. Or as the Bible calls it, on sand.

      The only alternative is to believe that Jesus is God. If we want to find God, we don’t have to look “Out there” rather we look into the Bible and study Jesus. Study what he said. If you’re in SoCal, I would say come on by Hope Chapel, Hermosa Beach, and check us out. If not, then go back and take your doubts to any decent Bible believing Pastor. We all have doubts. That’s the whole point of continuing to read my Bible every day, and to develop my “Spiritual” sense as opposed to my worldly senses. The world is indeed passing away.

      I listen to atheists, and I try to sympathize with them. I confess I am a spiritual person now, who can empathize with them, but I am quick to point out that we are not “Evolving” into something else. Evolution is a great lie. You can go over my article on Evolution:

      https://sdebeaubien.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/evolution-vs-creation/

      And see how I debunk it. I don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, trust me, much of what modern Evolutionary theory (actually a whole set of theories) teaches is true. E.g., genetics, inheritance, dominance/recessive, survival of the fittest, many parts are good an provable / testable theories and I believe them – because they are GOOD science. So-called “Macro” evolution or the notion that one species can somehow magically become another is fantasy. We have dogs that are very different from dogs 5,000 or even 10,000 years ago perhaps, but they are still DOGS. Same for horses, cows, chickens, etc… Species can be adapted and changed and selectively bred for characteristics that are good and promote good qualities for us. They don’t become other species. You can take fruit flies into the lab, and go through 1,000 generations in very short order. Not EVER has it been proved that you can make anything besides FRUIT FLIES out of them. End of discussion.

      I try to listen, as I said, but my spiritual self is trying to be the stronger now. The more I read the Bible, the more I long to be gone from this earth and be in Heaven with Jesus, sitting at his feet, hearing him talk. There is nothing I want more. Nothing. I know for a fact though, that he will have me stay here as long as I have a mission, as long as I have a place to talk, to share, to discuss, whatever you call it. I wish I were a missionary sometimes, far away from the United States where I grew up. What has happened in our Country is tragic. We are literally going to hell in a hand-basket now. The amount of evil running around masquerading as good is just mind-boggling. It is EVERYWHERE. It has names like “Political Correctness” and “Choice” and “Convenience” and the best of all “Rights.” We have simply let the Genie out of the bottle and it is now running us, our Country. I don’t believe, personally, there’s any stopping it, but that it will end in the fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy.

      We are very near the end. Following the re-establishment of the State of Israel, time is very short. All we await now is the building of the 3rd Temple, and the end time wars. The 3rd Temple is close. Every year, the Temple Mount Faithful carry the cornerstone up the Temple Mount and try to lay the foundation.

      http://www.templemountfaithful.org/

      Our brains will trick us – every time. I don’t trust my own anymore. I only trust Jesus, and the Bible. I’m praying for you friend. For all who need to hear his voice. The Master’s Voice. Jesus, call them. In your name I pray.

      • I appreciate your politeness, and I understand to a certain point your position.

        You said:

        “Our brains will trick us – every time. I don’t trust my own anymore. I only trust Jesus, and the Bible.”

        What do you use to read and understand the Bible? What do you use to communicate with Jesus? Is it something other than your brain, which tricks you every time? If it is something else, how do you know that the something else exists? “Our brains will trick us – every time” is a statement that is impossible to evaluate. Would you not use your brain to figure this out? How would you process this information?

        I do not think that is really what you meant to say. And if it is, you seriously need to consider (with your brain) the logic you are using.

        Sorry for the snark. It is the only way I know how to communicate.

      • You’re right! Sorry for generalization/hyperbole. It is most correct to say that, according to the Bible, our nature is “Sinful” and therefore, we cannot trust our brains to steer us towards God, but rather in the direction where we will be “In charge” of our own destiny. It’s an interesting paradox, since, as Pascal observed, we have a “God-shaped hole” in us that tends us towards trying to find “Truth” while at the same time, our sinful nature tends us towards wanting to be “Captain of our own ship.”

        I wrote some thoughts on that yesterday, in response to a query that a friend sent to me:

        https://sdebeaubien.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/our-house/

        In there I discuss the “Search for Truth” which I believe all of us are on that path, whether believers or atheists or anywhere in between. Even those who don’t know they’re looking for truth, are actually seeking it, since that is also part of our “Nature.” This, in fact, might be a way of restating Pascal’s insight, since we Christians believe that God is not only love but truth as well (light). The Bible says that “In him, there is no darkness.” That’s essentially what it means.

        In some sense, the search for truth, meaning, purpose is all wrapped up in that same builtin “Nature” inside each of us. The believer has already taken the step (of faith) to believe that all we sense (our physical senses) is not all there is. We believe therefore, that there is something “Meta-physical” (above the physical) that is just as “Real” as everything else which we can sense, it’s just that we cannot perceive it directly with the tools we have. We call it “The Spiritual Realm” or “The Kingdom of God” if you want to follow directly from what the Bible (and Jesus) calls it.

  8. Scott wrote:

    ” I’ve just heard the argument from Nohm, that there is some mystical quality of the brain that “Magically” turns empathy into a “Collective” consciousness.”

    Whaaaaat?? Where did I write anything resembling this?

    Scott, your interpretations of the views of others is so far off of the map that Atlantis is looking at you funny. You assume so much incorrectly of my points of view that it’s impossible for me to converse with you.

    Goodness, Scott, I never claimed any mystical quality of anything, nor did I claim that anything magically happened EVER.

    Good lord, do some RESEARCH for a change.

    • No response as to where you got the idea that I claimed some mystical quality of the brain that “magically” turns empathy into a “collective” consciousness?

      Seriously, where did you get the idea that I claimed anything like that?

      • Sorry, busy lately. There was something you said in that one post, let me dig it out… Oh, rats, my mistake. It was a reply to another blog article, it was from a reader named “Froggie.” Here is what he said:

        “Actually, humans have evolved our nature over millennia of cooperation, which turned out to be a most successful survival skill. Empathy is the bedrock of morals and ethics. The law of reciprocity is universal. Empathy can be mapped in the brain and emanates form “Mirror neurons.” We feel the pain of others, and we feel the joy of others as if it were our own.; that is the source of altruism- our collective brains.”

        It was in reply to this blog article:

        https://sdebeaubien.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/redistribution-of-wealth/

        My mistake as I said, sorry. I guess I got a few replies in around that same time that were all on similar topics. I know, what does “Redistribution of Wealth” have to do with what Atheists believe? Well, Froggie said something that struck me as very odd so I commented on it, not realizing I was commenting in the wrong thread.

        I hope you get my “Sense” on that though, in the absence of believe in something “Tangible” folks start to make up all kinds of weird stuff, believing we are “Evolving” into something new, something different, something somehow “Better.” As you might guess, I don’t buy into all the Evolution bunk. I have written a article about what “Evolution” means these days, and what we Christians can agree with:

        https://sdebeaubien.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/evolution-vs-creation/

        I also wrote an article a long time ago, about something that may be more of what Froggie was talking about than he realized, but it’s not some silly notion about an emotional level response as he writes:

        https://sdebeaubien.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/horse-sense/

        You see, what I actually believe is that we are literally the sum total of all our experiences. Those are what define “Us” and who we are, how we react and so on. What I tell kids in the Church all the time is that: “If the proposition is true that you are what you eat, then you are also what you see, what you read, what you listen to and so on…” Get my drift? You will have “Filters” installed based on the data you’ve put into the “Machine” (the Brain) so far. But, intellectualizing about things doesn’t always get you to a satisfactory answer either. Christianity is about faith: “Faith is being sure of what you hope for, and certain of what you cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1). That means that by definition, Christianity cannot be proved by anything anecdotal, there is no evidence, other than the experiences of others, and their testimonies. The question at that point becomes dependent on whether or not you can accept the idea that there is something “Greater” out there. I’m positive, and I argue this all the time when evangelizing that if you can just get to the point where you believe there is something “Meta” physical out there, that you are not far from the Kingdom of Heaven.

        It’s only a small leap of faith to get from there, to a loving creator God who cares so much for us that He sent His Son to die to take the penalty for our sin so that we could live with Him forever in Heaven.

        In the end analysis, it made that much more sense for me to believe in things I could not see, as opposed to believing a bunch of man-made “Myths” about the “Evolution” of the Universe (something coming from nothing) and of all order in the Universe being caused spontaneously by random interactions of atoms. Order cannot come from dis-order, I assure you. You can conduct experiments forever on that one, and you’ll find that it just cannot be done. The Universe in general is winding down, it’s already like 2/3 “Dark” matter, stuff that can no longer be seen or detected, and is therefore no longer available to participate in formation of stars and new systems and galaxies. I have no knowledge as to whether new galaxies are still forming, I do, however know that many are colliding and merging.

        That’s another fact that stirs me to think in terms of a creator and not some spontaneous existence, or perpetual existence. We have already proved a beginning and an end, agreeing with the Bible, and what it said all along. The other things we learn over time, as they are verified with “Good” science, all seem to agree with the Bible and point to a “Divine agent.” One thing that gets me, is that when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, do you know what the real nature of that sin was? We can call it desire for knowledge, or simply rebellion (Independent Agency), but really it boils down to wanting to decide for themselves what is right and wrong! That is both knowledge – AND – rebellion at the same time! That’s what we still do today, in things like Abortion, we assert the woman’s “Right to CHOOSE” what is right for her and her baby. We assume, that in the absence of God, humans are the highest moral authority, and therefore they can choose for themselves right and wrong.

        You can see that at the advent of the 20th Century, the vast majority of folks thought that if we are “Rational” beings, then we would never have war again, since wars are economically and otherwise costly, too costly to undertake. And yet, the 20th Century was the bloodiest on record, in fact bloodier than all of history prior to it combined! We are not “Evolving” and we are in fact, getting worse. As this Universe winds down, to its inevitable conclusion, I’m afraid the Bible is more and more right every single day. We will “Do what’s right in our own eyes” and thumb our noses at God to our peril.

        Time is short. Whether the Middle East is actually coming to the Biblical “End” (of the end times that is) or whether we have longer, is mere speculation at this point. It could come at any time. When Jesus comes back – everyone will know. I’ve wondered if we’ll blow ourselves up first, or whether He will somehow prevent that, and then take the Church away (rescue us). The end result is pretty much the same. I don’t worry much, I just keep on trying to tell folks about Jesus’ love. His grace, His mercy. His offer of salvation, if we will simply give ourselves to Him. He is pretty much the only thing that keeps me sane in this crazy world. The more I look around at life, the crazier it looks. Our Country is going down the tubes – quickly. There is little hope left that we will be spared judgement, and in fact, most of us Christians already believe we are UNDER judgement. The amount of lawlessness is simply mind-blowing. Over a BILLION human beings sacrificed on the altar of “Choice.” It’s so sad. So sad.

        I pray for you today. I pray for all of those who are still skeptical to any degree. I pray that any who hear Jesus’ voice will respond today. Help us Lord, in Your name Jesus.

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