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Ok...I believe that we are all connected because everything in existence came from one source. I call that source God and try to understand it inside of myself because that is the closest I can possibly get to that source without dying. Does the source I'm speaking of not exist? I still believe that source is still around. Imagine a ball that blew up into tiny particles. Those particles could be my hair or a can of soup, in other words everything is part of that original source. Everything has some of that source inside. This ball is dynamic however. I believe that the ball is trying to get it's pieces back to it to be recycled or whatever. (Like I said I don't fully understand the intent of the source because I have not died yet). There are those of us who believe this ultimate concept, that goes by many different names and whatnot, and are simply trying to be closer to it. You are close to you mother until she dies, you are close to your first sports car until it dies, but the source that is in all of us does not die. Thus the concept of living eternally in heaven. You return to this source and leave all the "worldly" parts of yourself behind, kind of like a tootsie roll pop. The source then receives you as a part of the concentrated whole again and then a part of the source goes back out into the "world". The reason we can't be completely one with the source is because as soon as we are born into this world we view ourselves as seperate. In eastern philosophy the goal of enlightenment is to release you desires and become one with everything, in your mind of course, as a perspective. I think religion is just a perspective. Christianity says to believe in being one with that source instead of seperate because that is the one thing you are truly not seperate from. Hence the idea of heaven and hell. In Heaven, you are fully one with God at last, and in Hell you are seperate from him forever. Now I know what you are going to say. If I don't believe in God then I go to hell right? That is truly a hard core concept straight out of the bible that I believe is made to scare us. I believe to view yourself seperate from God or the Source is to live in hell on earth in delusion.

By the way, you were spot on about the comment about my wife. My mother died when I was very young. The thing about me and my religious training is that I am not afraid of death. My wife would be upset to lose me but you have to release the present given to you by life eventually. Being afraid to die is like wanting to keep playing a video game and cry when your dad comes in and turns it off. Just grow up.

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Ok...I believe that we are all connected because

<snip>

Mere assertion after assertion. Anything to back any of that up?

The reason we can't be completely one with the source is because as soon as we are born into this world we view ourselves as seperate.
Interestingly this is false; we humans are born without a sense of separateness, this is something that develops as we grow.

Hence the idea of heaven and hell. In Heaven, you are fully one with God at last, and in Hell you are seperate from him forever. Now I know what you are going to say. If I don't believe in God then I go to hell right? That is truly a hard core concept straight out of the bible that I believe is made to scare us. I believe to view yourself seperate from God or the Source is to live in hell on earth in delusion.
Heaven and Hell, no matter how you want to interpret them as being redefined, is simply a version of the Carrot and Stick game that uses the Appeal to Consequences Logical Fallacy to coerce (not argue or reason) people to believe the claimed religious doctrine. But really more to keep the believers from straying. Through the threat that without the faith the Bribe (Carrot) of Heaven will be lost to you and/or the threat (stick) of Hell will be your punishment.

You do raise one fairly modern interpretation of this bit of manipulation; the indoctrinated idea that the "presence of God" is something to not only be desired, but the loss of to be positively horrifying. Thus the Carrot/Stick of Heaven/Hell can be replaced by the idea of the fear of being separated from God. It's all the same though:

Heaven/Hell,

Carrot/Stick,

With-God/Separate-from-God,

Good/Bad,

Bribe/threat.

By the way, you were spot on about the comment about my wife. My mother died when I was very young. The thing about me and my religious training is that I am not afraid of death. My wife would be upset to lose me but you have to release the present given to you by life eventually. Being afraid to die is like wanting to keep playing a video game and cry when your dad comes in and turns it off. Just grow up.
It may surprise you to know that My complete lack of religious beliefs leaves me without a fear of Death either. I don't need any belief in a Magical Sky Fairy that will allow me to survive my own death to be without that fear either!

From what I have seen (having been raised Christian) we humans have a natural fear of death, it's a pretty obvious survival trait; the desire to avoid getting ourselves killed. But this is in general (although as with most such things there are varying degrees of it within the species as a whole) little more than a general unwillingness to die - prevents us from committing suicide easily, ignoring extreme risks and the like, rather than a real phobia like fear. It is religion (present in many different ones, and a few non-religious doctrines as well) that insills, indoctrinates, this into a real Fear, into a phobia, a mortal dread of death, to which the "cure" is then offered.

Essentially Religions administer the toxin (the poison, disease, condition, phobia), or at least increases the already present toxin (and actually beneficial at those doses) to dangerously high levels. And then offers the cure - a cure that they don't really have, have no evidence of it's existence, but assure you you will get it after you die, when no one else will ever be able to confirm that it was given as promised.

Oh, and you do realise don't you (what you said here suggests not) that what I said "about your wife" was a description of an irrational psychological disorder? A psychological attachment error.

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Here's an observation I'd like to add. While the psychological attachment aspect of religion (mentioned by AdParker) is surely valid, there is also another way of looking at this:

Belief on a quid pro quo basis

The idea is that God wants, or needs us to believe in him:

God lies in belief and hope. If you believe in him, he is real, if you don't believe, he is not real. We make him real through belief and hope, kinda like Tinkerbell in Peter Pan.
This gives us power over God. Stop believing in him, and he stops existing. The quoted example is a bit extreme but it may be more common to assume God gets something out of belief. So we can use this as a bargaining tool to get what we want out of God: love, sex, fulfillment, whatever.

As long as God gives us what we want, we give him the belief he wants. If the deal goes sour and God lets us down, we stop believing in him.

It follows that non-believers in God must have felt betrayed at some point, and are bitter and angry at God:

In reading all the arguments back and forth I can't help but feel a deep sadness. Many of you are trying so desperately to justify why you've spent your life ignoring God that what you are really ignoring is the voice deep inside that you supress due to your anger at the world. I am thankful that I was wise enough to be still and listen to the voice...that I was brave enough to respond to the tugging at my heart. I am sad for those of you who are denying yourself an inner peace that surpasses understanding because you are too stubborn to want to know the real truth.
There are other posts which make the same assumption but I just dug out the most recent one.

Any theists reading this might want to ask themselves whether this reciprocal arrangement is something that plays a part in their own belief.

I point this out because it is quite obviously absurd, and not directly at odds with religious belief, so it is an irrationality that you can eliminate without challenging your beliefs!

The daftness of the above idea should be pretty obvious to all, but here's a couple of things wrong with it:

1) The whole idea is irrelevant unless God exists. So believing this idea means you believe God exists. You cannot exercise your power to punish God by not believing in him if you think that is what you're doing. You're only pretending not to believe in God (ignoring him). Which would be a bit childish really.

2) Why would God need your belief? God was doing fine before you came along. You might say God wants your belief because God loves you and so by denying him that belief you are punishing God vicariously by punishing yourself (emotional blackmail).

So what we're saying is that we're emotionally blackmailing God by pretending not to believe in him (when we really do). Is God really going to fall for that? I wouldn't, and I'm not even omniscient.

Does letting go of that idea weaken your belief in God? Well, that's a matter of opinion. Personally I think that since this idea is rooted in an underlying assumption of God's existence, letting go of it weakens the grip of that assumption (feel free to see it differently :D ). Either way, it's irrational and superstitious so all the better to recognise it as such.

If you fail to hold up your end of the bargain by, say, questioning your belief in God, it follows that you will be out of favour with God. Who knows what the consequences will be?

Upholding irrational behaviour and beliefs because of fear of the consequences of not doing so is textbook superstition.

By the way, the quotes I've used are not meant to imply that the people quoted actually think all of this. I'm hypothesising here. Maybe you do think this, maybe you don't. But I suspect some people out there may do.

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You cannot exercise your power to punish God by not believing in him if you think that is what you're doing. You're only pretending not to believe in God (ignoring him). Which would be a bit childish really.

You are correct. Absolutely no one has power over God...that's just silly. What I intended by "ignoring him" is that many athiests have somehow, someway allowed themselves to be taught/convinced/misled/respressed the existance of God...and that they are happy to exist without Him.

On the other hand, many athiests and thiests alike have at some point attempted to ignore God (although their heart tells them differently) because they are afraid that believing in God means not having any fun, or changing too much of their lifestyle...which is also silly btw, because God is the God of all good things = peace, love, joy, goodness, kindness, patience, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) God only want to protect you from harm and to lavish all good things on you (Ephesians 1:7-8).

I know many of you do not accept the use of scripture as a valid argument for the Christian point of view, but I use it not because it is necessary to convince myself (I know God's characteristics because of how he speaks to my heart...and would know him the same with or without the Bible) but to confirm that my belief also corresponds with the written word of God.

Why would God need your belief?

Again, silliness. God does not need our belief. Because God IS love, his heart is saddened by our disbelief - again, because he does not chose for anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9) but instead to be lavished in his love (and peace, and joy, and...)

If you fail to hold up your end of the bargain by, say, questioning your belief in God, it follows that you will be out of favour with God.

You CANNOT fall out of favor with God. He loves everyone and wants everyone to turn to him. Again, he may be saddened by your choices and disgusted at any evil you accept or commit, but he will gladly open his arms to receive you if you admit the error of your ways and turn from them. Even Hitler could have repented and God would have considered him an heir to his kingdom. God loves EVERYONE!

the quotes I've used are not meant to imply that the people quoted actually think all of this. I'm hypothesising here.

Thank you for admitting this. As you can see, you interpretted my previous statement much differently than I intended it. I suppose that is in part due to the limitation of our language and the confines of our computer screens, but also to our to our enlightenment to the character of God (ie: those who have experienced him intimately, and those who have not.)

I like you Octopuppy. I think you are intelligent and funny and a creative writer. I certainly do not mean to offend you or any other non-thiests with my comments. What I say, I say out of love. If it is interpretted hashly or coldly or as "holier than thou" please know that is not the feeling in my heart. I only want for all of you to know the overabundant, inexplicable joy that I know. I am not suggesting that your life is not happy and that you have no knowledge of love, etc. I just have yet to encounter a non-thiest who has the kind of inner-harmony that many of my Christian friends and myself have. If I had discovered a recipe for a doughnut that was not only full of flavor but fat-free, raised your IQ by 5 points increased your standard of living and caused you to have multiple orgasms I would gladly share that recipe with you as well. :P

Edited by puzzlegirl

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puzzlegirl, you "ignore" Zeus, don't you? HOW CAN YOU IGNORE ZEUS'S EXISTENCE! lol, see where I'm going with this? It's not possible to prove a God logically, so why don't you tell us (please) how he speaks to your heart, and how you know it's not your normal emotions, and how you know it's God, instead of Zeus or Buddha. Until then, your assertions that God exists have little credibility :D

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and, furthermore, if God hasn't shown himself to us (he hasn't) like he has to you, it's not our fault for not believing, when we don't have proof, and the assertion itself goes against all evidence/logic

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Dude, I tried to tell you all earlier on in one of my posts by challenging you to read the Book of John in the New Testament and to sincerely pray for God to reveal himself to you, but no one accepted my challenge. Everyone just poo-pooed it. How in the world can I explain any more clearly what is in my heart and what my intimate relationship with God is like than I already have? And even if I had words adequate enough would you believe me? I doubt it. The only way you will ever know is to experience it first hand. And if you think belief in God and especially prayer are just hokey, then I don't know what else to tell you.

...And I don't ignore Zues. I know the story full well. But I have never experience, nor even read about, anyone having a personal relationship with him and being transformed from the inside-out by the absolute love of Zues. So if Zues is/was areal god (which I think we all agree is unlikely) then he doesn't have much influence in the lives of the people he lords over. On the other hand, Jesus died nearly 2000 years ago and there are millions and millions to this very day who have felt his presence in their lives so clearly, so intimately, so intensely that they are would rather die a gruesome death than deny his existance. If Jesus was just a teacher with some good ideas on how mankind should treat each other, do you really think that anyone would find his teachings still relevant today (and, yes, I know that you argue than many don't)? But that the millions and millions not only still find his words relevant but believe in his ressurection and in eternal life, regardless of trying to be convinced otherwise (because you cannot deny your own soul) should be sufficient to explain that there is more to this "Christianity thing" than you have yet experienced. And maybe, just maybe, you're missing out on the most amazing "doughnut" the world has to offer!

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Maybe. But maybe you are too... maybe Zeus is- (okay I'm not even gonna get into the other-gods thing, I think you get the point :P)

but what if atheism is the "doughnut"? What if being free and living in a chaotic where you don't mean anything, where you are just cells working together... where you have to make it for yourself...

I dunno, I just mean that you're obviously biased, you've only seen your part of the world. What about the people that suffer? What about some of the stuff in the Bible? What about the Flood? Let's face it, your God is not a good God

also, we can't be blamed for not believing in God if "he doesn't live in our hearts" like he lives in yours, know what I mean? So we're going to hell now? :P (another attribute of a not-nice god)

also, pulling out the "millions = christians" card doesn't help. There are millions of atheists too. And millions of other religions. In fact, I don't even think that Christianity is the majority religion of the world, though I could be wrong

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Dude, I tried to tell you all earlier on in one of my posts by challenging you to read the Book of John in the New Testament and to sincerely pray for God to reveal himself to you, but no one accepted my challenge. Everyone just poo-pooed it. How in the world can I explain any more clearly what is in my heart and what my intimate relationship with God is like than I already have? And even if I had words adequate enough would you believe me? I doubt it. The only way you will ever know is to experience it first hand. And if you think belief in God and especially prayer are just hokey, then I don't know what else to tell you.

You know, ADParker already said that he did something similar to your challenge back when he wasn't atheist, but it did nothing for him. He didn't need to accept your challenge, he had already done it, and it failed miserably. So wherever you're getting your experiences, we certainly can't find it.

Read the last bit of this post.

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Read the last bit of this post.

I read that post when he first wrote it, and again just now and it is hard for me to believe that someone who could speak with such insensitivity, such harsh words, such a mocking tone, would be someone who sincerely sought after God. I cannot speak for God, but my guess is that he sought God for selfish reasons...for what he could get out of the deal. At least that's what I glean about his character from the way he writes his posts.

If someone wants to present a thoughtful arguement, with respect in their heart and with a hope that mankind might be bettered by the truth, then I am glad to listen whole-heartedly to what they have to say. I will chose to love those who are hateful, but nastines will never earn my respect.

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As you can see, you interpretted my previous statement much differently than I intended it. I suppose that is in part due to the limitation of our language and the confines of our computer screens, but also to our to our enlightenment to the character of God (ie: those who have experienced him intimately, and those who have not.)
Yes, I put that there with you in mind. There are better examples of people thinking atheists are angry at God but I was too lazy to trawl for them! :D It would be quite a stretch to imply that you have a reciprocal approach to belief (for example you might just think other people do, and you might be right at that).

What I intended by "ignoring him" is that many athiests have somehow, someway allowed themselves to be taught/convinced/misled/respressed the existance of God...and that they are happy to exist without Him.
That's pretty similar to what I was talking about, though maybe a less conscious version of the same thing. To me such people are still essentially religious, because there is an underlying belief that is being denied (likely to be motivated by hurt or a sense of betrayal). Actually I think that kind of thing deepens religious belief because you think you lost the belief but you never did, so when you regain it, it is stronger than ever (like some underlying "truth" that surfaces in the end). Being brought up in a deeply religious society can create the kind of atmosphere where you would no more question God for real than you would question the existence of the air that you breathe. But the deepness of that conviction is not the same as truth.

On the other hand, many athiests and thiests alike have at some point attempted to ignore God (although their heart tells them differently) because they are afraid that believing in God means not having any fun, or changing too much of their lifestyle...which is also silly btw, because God is the God of all good things = peace, love, joy, goodness, kindness, patience, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) God only want to protect you from harm and to lavish all good things on you (Ephesians 1:7-8).
Forming a belief based on consequences would be a bad idea in any case. Truth is truth, regardless of the rewards on offer.

I know many of you do not accept the use of scripture as a valid argument for the Christian point of view...
Actually I had a go at bringing that up as an issue for debate a few posts back. Anyone interested?

...but I use it not because it is necessary to convince myself (I know God's characteristics because of how he speaks to my heart...and would know him the same with or without the Bible) but to confirm that my belief also corresponds with the written word of God.
What would you do if there was a conflict? Go with the Bible or your heart?

I like you Octopuppy. I think you are intelligent and funny and a creative writer.
Thanks. The feeling is mutual!

I certainly do not mean to offend you or any other non-thiests with my comments.
You've said nothing offensive that I'm aware of. And it's a debate, you don't have to agree with me!

If I had discovered a recipe for a doughnut that was not only full of flavor but fat-free, raised your IQ by 5 points increased your standard of living and caused you to have multiple orgasms I would gladly share that recipe with you as well.
I've got a recipe for gnocchi that does that. Will I share it? Hmm...

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Forming a belief based on consequences would be a bad idea in any case. Truth is truth, regardless of the rewards on offer.

well said.

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Just for clarification; when I tried that, ! was technically an atheist. Shortly after finding that my beliefs had been unfounded, and thus no longer believing, but still wanting to (as the religion taught us to desire.)

I read that post when he first wrote it, and again just now and it is hard for me to believe that someone who could speak with such insensitivity, such harsh words, such a mocking tone, would be someone who sincerely sought after God.
Interesting; I usually get a positive mention in this regard - Theists complain that "the atheists are all being mean to me; except for ADParker (and sometiumes one or two others)."

I bit over sensitive there perhaps?

I cannot speak for God, but my guess is that he sought God for selfish reasons...for what he could get out of the deal. At least that's what I glean about his character from the way he writes his posts.
Shouldn't this be "I can't speak for ADParker"?!

No, I assure you, at that time I sought the reclamation of my belief, it was a real internal battle between Faith and Reason. Fortunately (in my "older and wiser now" opinion) reason won out. :D

But wait didn't you say this:

I double-dog dare you to accept this challenge: Each day for 3 weeks, read one chapter of the book of John (1-21) and before you read say this prayer (no matter how sarcastic your tone) "God, if you exist, reveal yourself to me."
So according to your own words, that I (as you wrongly assume with ZERO evidence) "sought God for selfish reasons" should not have mattered. No?!

If someone wants to present a thoughtful arguement, with respect in their heart and with a hope that mankind might be bettered by the truth, then I am glad to listen whole-heartedly to what they have to say. I will chose to love those who are hateful, but nastines will never earn my respect.
Hmm, exactly how I argue.

At least I think so, anyone else disagree?

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Just typing something b/c as a Theist, I don't want to be the "666" reply... :ph34r:

Heh, I was the 666 reply :lol:

And I don't mind a bit:

1. It's just a number.

2. It's not like I believe in that stuff anyway.

3. You do realise that "666" is a mistranslation that got itself replicated because it read better? Originaly it was"661" :lol:

(Frost was 661 by the way ;) )

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I was going to comment on the inconsistency of puzzlegirl's citing of scripture to support her beliefs, but yeah, it's off topic, so I'll ignore that ...

Regarding the tone of atheist posts ... for the most part, I've found the atheists on this site to be quite reasonable. Stubborn, perhaps, but so is almost everyone that feels strongly enough about this topic that they choose to participate. One distinguishing quality, however, is the difference between those who argue for the purpose of winning an argument and those who genuinely want to convince others (and of course there are those who just express their opinions without making any arguments, which is fine but not particularly helpful). As unreality once mentioned, an open debate thread is probably not the best place to persuade people, and naturally tends to result in trying to win the debate, which, naturally, is hard to determine. What qualifies as winning? If one side rebuts an argument but the other side doesn't accept the rebuttal, the argument stops and ... who won?

In any case, in regard to ADParker specifically, even though I've found his arguments to be frustrating, and occasionally his tone a bit sarcastic, I've been impressed that he takes the time to genuinely think about and respond to opposing points. Even if he might think that there is an overriding principle or line of reasoning which could be used to simply dismiss an opposing view, he doesn't just mindlessly invoke that when he knows it won't be accepted. This is a key to reasoning and convincing. You have to try to understand why the other person thinks what they do, and not carelessly dismiss them as irrational. AD doesn't do that, and puts a great deal of energy into trying to explain why the thinking of others is irrational, and whether or not I agree with his evaluation, I have to respect that.

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Heh, I was the 666 reply :lol:

And I don't mind a bit:

1. It's just a number.

2. It's not like I believe in that stuff anyway.

3. You do realise that "666" is a mistranslation that got itself replicated because it read better? Originaly it was"661" :lol:

(Frost was 661 by the way ;) )

Oh, ouch. :lol: Well, it's just a number anyway, like pi, and I like numbers. B))

I agree with Duh Puck in that this isn't so much an argument, as there is no winner, it's more of a discussion for the benefit of the reader. It's just a bunch of intelligent people sharing and discussing their opinions on religion(specifically God).

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this isn't so much an argument, as there is no winner, it's more of a discussion for the benefit of the reader.

Sure there's an argument. The argument is between theists that claim there is sufficient evidence to conclude there's a god and atheists that claim that evidence is non-existent. If you don't think a side won that argument, you may want to read through this thread again.

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Sure there's an argument. The argument is between theists that claim there is sufficient evidence to conclude there's a god and atheists that claim that evidence is non-existent. If you don't think a side won that argument, you may want to read through this thread again.

I know what you mean, and I've already read through the whole debate. The only way to truly win an argument is to convince the other side of your opinion, and I don't see that happening anytime soon... :D

Also, if you already won, why is this thread still going?

Edited by Frost

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The only way to truly win an argument is to convince the other side of your opinion, and I don't see that happening anytime soon... :D

Oh, I don't see that happening either, but I define winning an argument differently than you do. Whether the atheist side convinces theists that God doesn't exist, I think it's clear their arguments for evidence were destroyed to the point they could no longer defend them to the point a rational reader would be convinced evidence for the existence of any gods has been given.

Also, if you already won, why is this thread still going?

Because some people don't give up repeating arguments that were shown to be faulty and in some cases, even ridiculous?

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Oh, I don't see that happening either, but I define winning an argument differently than you do. Whether the atheist side convinces theists that God doesn't exist, I think it's clear their arguments for evidence were destroyed to the point they could no longer defend them to the point a rational reader would be convinced evidence for the existence of any gods has been given.

Yeah, that's true, you did do that already, but I doubt the theists see it that way, as they keep raising arguments about it. Anyway, it's not that important, this debate is merely for the reader's benefit,

not convincing the other side you're right, as that will probably never happen.

Because some people don't give up repeating arguments that were shown to be faulty and in some cases, even ridiculous?

Yeah, that has gotten annoying, especially thepeople that aren't even willing to listen to the atheist viewpoint.

And that second to last sentence sounds like you think evidence has been given. Did you mean to say "no evidence"?

Back to being on topic. :D

Edited by Frost

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Yeah, that's true, you did do that already, but I doubt the theists see it that way, as they keep raising arguments about it. Anyway, it's not that important, this debate is merely for the reader's benefit,

not convincing the other side you're right, as that will probably never happen.

You're largely right (there are only very rare exceptions.) In most debates the arguing opponents are unlikely to change views (I have seen it, but rarely), I and most atheists on the RD forum for instance state that we argue more for the benefit of anyone reading it. In that case many of them might be unsure of the truth-value of certain arguments put forward. They are less likely to be the ones actually engaged in the discussion because their position makes them less likely to have a strong enough position, or argument, to feel prepared to make their case. They may well be persuaded (whichever way) by what they read. Thus we are giving them access to the arguments from both sides. Better than a site (or lecture or book or whatever) which either only presents one side or is clearly focused on that one side.

It's not so much (as one might assume from what we have said) that we, making the arguments, are neccessarily one-sided and closed-minded on the subject (although it may be the case of course,) we have just seen and heard enough, in our opinion, to take a stand, to pick a side and argue it, that's all :)

Yeah, that has gotten annoying, especially thepeople that aren't even willing to listen to the atheist viewpoint.
But it's been going on for years, decades, centuries even. It is hardly a unique feature of this thread :rolleyes:

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well, I figured this would be at the most a 5 page thing, but here we are, this is the 677th post, right?

though the debate has slowed down, and honestly, it seems like people are now debating whether or not the debate was worth it :D

but you know what, I learned something in this thread, I've learned A LOT of things

so that means it was all worthwhile, and i'm glad we made it this far, and even if this thread is dying, I've seen lots of other religious threads pop up since the beginning of this one, so I guess i started a trend, eh?

anyways, I'm glad we made it this far

peace

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yeah I officially declare this The Longest and Most Informative and Spiritually Deep Topic on Brainden in Existence ;D

I agree with Ploper :P it was a long journey *sniffles* lol

(why are we talking like it's over? Did something happen on page 67 that I haven't read yet? lol)

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