REPLY #4 TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
(R) Well, this is a real can of worms. Many volumes could be (and have been!) written on the issues you touch on. In light of that, I will start merely with your statement that you do not believe in God, and go from there.
(MB) My statement was that I don't believe in any of Man's religions or in any of the Gods that Man has invented for himself. What this means is that, if any superior beings exist, I don't think that Man's descriptions of them are accurate or that any of Man's religions are much more than irrelevant collections of ceremonies.
(R) People get very overwrought over the issue of creation vs. evolution, which is odd, because it really doesn't matter. There is no conflict between true religion and true science.
(MB) It is more accurate to say that religion and science are not mutually exclusive. There is plenty of room for each to accept ideas from the other. Where Creationists fail is in their assertion that the Bible's account of creation is literally and scientifically accurate and in their fallacious idea that to accept evolution is to deny God.
(R) The argument over the method which God used to create the world is irrelevant to the real issue of whether or not a Creator exists.
(MB) Exactly. Acknowledgement of that bit of logic would avoid many pointless arguments.
(R) The simple fact of the matter, is that there is no proof that God exists. I cannot do an experiment which proves he is real. I can demonstrate the chemical composition of water, or show that an object dropped from a height travels toward the earth with a constant acceleration, or prove what the speed of light is in a vaccuum, etc.
(MB) This is the heart of the scientific method. Strictly speaking, "proof" is often impossible. What is required to demonstrate scientific validity for any hypothesis or theory is compelling evidence that survives continued challenges. It takes continuous success for a theory to survive, but only one failure for it to fail or to require revision.
(R) But there is no experiment I can do to prove God's existance. But neither can you prove he doesn't exist. Can you? And so, that puts us in exactly the same position: we both believe something we can't prove is true.
(MB) While this may be "the same position", the two positions are not equals. In any question where one side claims that "X" exists and the other side claims that "X" does not exist, the burden of proof resides with the side claiming that "X" exists. It is a logical impossibility to prove that "X" does not exist unless at least one situation can be defined under which the existance of "X" would be impossible. Then, it must be shown that such a situation actually exists. Since it is
not possible (to my knowledge) to define any situation that must preclude the existance of God, it is not possible to prove that he does not exist.
However, as I said, it is not necessary to prove that God does not exist. It is enough to cast doubt upon the need for such an existance or to debunk the arguments put forth by those who seek to claim that he does exist.
(R) Another name for this is faith, which simply put, is believing in something despite a lack of evidence to support that belief. I believe in God because I choose to believe in Him, and you do not because you choose not to.
(MB) I do not believe in Man's notion of God because I find no necessity for it and have heard no compelling evidence in favor of his (or any other superior beings') existance. If you choose to believe despite having no evidence to support such a belief, that is your right and I will not disparage it. However, consider that if you want me to join you in your belief, you will need to present something compelling in its favor.
(R) So, I will wait to hear from you (if you dare!) with any arguments you have proving God doesn't exist. I guarantee I'll have an answer for you on each, because I've probably heard most of them before.
(MB) I *always* dare! :-) However, I must disappoint you as I have no such arguments for you -- and, as I stated above, there are none to offer. The best I can do is to debunk statements claiming to prove that God *does* exist. If a compelling case is to be made, such statements must be put forth.
(R) I can confidently and irrevocably declare that there is no danger you will shake my belief in God.
(MB) With nothing evidential to support your belief, it must be a very hollow one, indeed. I hope you are not one who will claim that he'll never change his beliefs even if they are shown to be wrong.
(R) I, on the other hand, may have you in church before we're through.
(MB) Been there, done that, moved on to reality. What compelling evidence will you bring to my attention that will put my butt in a pew?