Pharyngula

Dawkins and Paxman

Hey, this is a pretty good interview of Richard Dawkins by Jeremy Paxman. I don’t know much about this Paxman fellow, but he asks hard, sharp questions, yet still gives Dawkins plenty of time to answer them. That’s good interviewing technique, I think.

I’m not too impressed with the spartan set, putting them both in plain uncomfortable-looking chairs set all alone in an empty, echoing room…but it does put the focus on the words. They should have saved a few more pennies and just done audio.

(via Father Dan)

Comments

  1. #1 Steve_C
    September 28, 2006

    It’s part of a weekly segment where an author is interviewed. And its on national TV.
    I hope Charlie Rose interviews Dawkins. He has his moments. Think he’ll get interviewed on 60 minutes or during a big 3 network news show here?

  2. #2 G. Tingey
    September 28, 2006

    Dawkins, correctly said that you can’t prove that god does not exist.

    But, you can state it another way:

    No “god” is detectable. (Even if that god does exist)

    Since he/she/it/they are not detectable, why bother?

  3. #3 jeffw
    September 28, 2006

    Classic Dawkins. “I don’t belive we’re put here to be comfortable”. BTW, I’m sure he must be gravely concerned with the current ongoing attacks on him over at uncommonly dense. Especially from someone of dave scot’s caliber.

  4. #4 Russell
    September 28, 2006

    G. Tingey: “Dawkins, correctly said that you can’t prove that god does not exist.”

    No, but you can prove certain kinds of gods don’t exist. For example, a god will have the same uncertainty regarding a more fundamental substrate of existence as do we, and can no more certainly state than do we that he wasn’t created by an ur-god. This proves that there are no gods who know that they are the ultimate ground of existence. That effectively pulls the rug out from under a lot of late Christian theology.

  5. #5 Warren
    September 28, 2006

    Woot! Dawkins fesses up to the possibility of the existence of FSM!

    Arr, another be Touched by His Noodly Appendage!

  6. #6 HPLC_Sean
    September 28, 2006

    I loved the interview! Paxman asked some pretty tough questions, but my impression was that Dawkins convinced him thoroughly.

  7. #7 Michael Kremer
    September 28, 2006

    That was a pretty nice interview. I’d like to see more interviewers like Paxman here in the US.

    But it seemed to me right from the start Dawkins left the real Christian concept of God out of the picture. For God shouldn’t be conceived as “in” the universe at all, in the way that Dawkins clearly thinks he would have to be — that way of thinking about God reduces God to the same status as a creature.

    At some fundamental level it seems to me Dawkins doesn’t “get” Christianity, and this is why I don’t really find his criticisms all that interesting or challenging.

    And yet…

    I too found Dawkins’s last line worth thinking about. Not least because it expresses a sentiment that any Christian should endorse — any Christian who has understood the gospel.

    On the other hand, I find that line interesting as well in that the whole turn of phrase seems to me to carry with it a set of associations which I would have thought Dawkins would want to have shaken off. “Put here” — by whom? and if not to be comfortable, for what purpose, then? I sense some remnant of religious thinking, of a religious sense, surfacing in that line, I have to say.

  8. #8 George
    September 28, 2006

    At some fundamental level it seems to me Dawkins doesn’t “get” Christianity, and this is why I don’t really find his criticisms all that interesting or challenging.

    Also put in the uninteresting category: all those Christians who just don’t get the theory of evolution.

  9. #9 Michael Kremer
    September 28, 2006

    Steve_C: I know that he doesn’t believe we were put here at all. But the line “I don’t believe we’re put here to be comfortable”, while of course compatible with “I don’t believe we’re put here at all” strongly suggests instead — especially in the context of the interview “we’re put here for some other reason (for example, pursuing the truth)”.

    bernarda: It is not possible to show that a system of beliefs is a “delusion” if one does not understand that system of beliefs, or thinks there is simply nothing there to understand. Dawkins thinks he’s showing something to be false. Anything that can be false, can be understood. I am pretty sure Dawkins would not agree with your facile line on this.

    George: There are Christians who do “get” evolution, though. And I agree that Christians who criticize what they don’t understand are completely uninteresting.

  10. #10 Greg
    September 28, 2006

    I’d love to see a debate between Richard Dawkins and Ann Coulter…

  11. #11 gregonomic
    September 28, 2006

    …it seems to me Dawkins doesn’t “get” Christianity…

    If you mean ‘Dawkins is too rational to “get” Christianity’, then yes, I agree.

  12. #12 Kristine
    September 28, 2006

    No one “gets” Christianity, people. Take it from me–years of Bible study, never “got” it, and know more about the Bible than the people who are trying to convert me at last. Yes, I’ve finally “got” Christianity, because I get that there’s nothing to “get.” You’re just supposed to surrender your consciousness to something supposedly bigger, more powerful, and perfect, because you’re a miserable sinner. No, thank you!

    No one “gets” the trinity or God or anything–Christians eventually admit this in an attempt to appeal to your heartstrings. (They call me “hard-hearted.”) You’re not supposed to “get it,” you’re just supposed to trust Jesus. That’s what Dawkins and I don’t “get,” and that’s why I was the best student in Sunday School without believing any of it at all. Because I’m “in love with my intellect, not with my Savior.” There’s nothing to get–Christianity is presented in negative terms only, “not of this world,” “his ways are not our ways,” etc. It’s all about hating yourself and escaping from your boring life instead of getting one.

    They should have saved a few more pennies and just done audio.

    Ah, let us gals have some fun, PZ! His wife gets to look at him every day. (The devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape…) ;-)

  13. #13 Scott Belyea
    September 28, 2006

    A fine interview, and most pleasant not to have people cutting each other off and talking over each other.

    I had the same thought I’ve had before – for me, Dawkins communicates more effectively and in a less arrogant manner with the spoken word as oposed to the written word.

  14. #14 Mayonaise
    September 28, 2006

    I saw Paxman interview Coulter, and it was just painful to watch. I couldn’t finish it. You can’t watch that and say he’s a good interviewer, and it’s depressing that so many people who think along the same lines I do on other issues don’t see that.

    This interview may have been relevant to the book (I’m sure I would agree with it, but haven’t read it), but was also kind of uninteresting. Not much depth.

    What might be really interesting (and truly scientific of him) is to grill all the religious scientist he can find, until he really does grok them. Who here wouldn’t want to read that trainwreck? Of course, packaging it so that it would do some good for an unsaved reader would be the tough part.

    The first couple chapters of The Selfish Gene were what turned me to the dark side, though, so I’ll always have a soft spot for Dawkins.

  15. #15 Mong H Tan, PhD
    September 28, 2006

    Hello, Everybody, Mind, and Spirit! :)

    What a shame! Watching Dawkins’ interview reminded me of the early Christians who tried to indoctrinate the world with their beliefs in Religion–and now, Dawkins tries to indoctrinate the world with his disbelief of Religion, while without his understanding that–as PZ Myers rightly points out in his review of Dawkins’ book The God Delusion (2006)–“Religion is a cultural heritage that should be appreciated for its contributions to [our traditions,] history, literature, art, [etc, the world over.]

    As such, Dawkins has had been completely ignorant of the wondrous working of our human Mind, since our prehistory over 50 thousand years ago, at a time when our ancestors first fashioned religions for their primal survivorship, in the then still uncharted physical and spiritual worlds on this unique planet Earth (please see Gods, Genes, Conscience; Chapter 5 The Origins of Gods; Chapter 6 The Meaning of Life; and Chapter 15 The Universal Theory of Mind).

    Without an understanding of the Meanings of Gods, and yet simply to proclaim the God delusion, is typically and simplemindedly fashionable nonsense of the Dawkinsian kind–gloriously and utterly attributable to his Scientism of the myths: Both the selfish gene and meme that he has had been propagating in The Selfish Gene, since 1976!

    Thank you all for your kind attention and cooperation in this matter–just a food for thought, from a self-introspective Darwinist evolutionist perspective. Happy reading, thinking, scrutinizing, and enlightening! :)

    Best wishes, Mong 9/28/6usct1:02p; author Gods, Genes, Conscience and Gods, Genes, Conscience: Global Dialogues Now; a cyberspace hermit-philosopher of Modern Mind, whose works are based on the current advances in interdisciplinary science and integrative psychology of Science and Religion worldwide; ethically, morally; metacognitively, and objectively.

  16. #16 Kristine
    September 28, 2006

    Watching Dawkins’ interview reminded me of the early Christians who tried to indoctrinate the world with their beliefs in Religion

    You mean, being fed to the lions (lions like you, maybe)?

  17. #17 jeffw
    September 28, 2006

    What a shame! Watching Dawkins’ interview reminded me of the early Christians who tried to indoctrinate the world with their beliefs in Religion–and now, Dawkins tries to indoctrinate the world with his disbelief of Religion, while without his understanding that–as PZ Myers rightly points out in his review of Dawkins’ book The God Delusion (2006)–“Religion is a cultural heritage that should be appreciated for its contributions to [our traditions,] history, literature, art, [etc, the world over.]”

    What rubbish (probably like your book). Science is about facts and the real world, not “indoctrination”.

    I’ve never heard Dawkins disparage religion as a cultural heritiage. On the contrary, it’s a topic he seems quite interested in, and knowledgable about.

  18. #18 Kristine
    September 28, 2006

    Wasn’t she the Doctor’s assistant at one point?

    Yes, but I was never a Dr. Who fan–she’s played Ophelia, and I’ve watched her co-present Dawkins’ works with him. There’s a nice video of he and she reading Ancestor’s Tale here–scroll down to “The Ancestor’s Tale (science lecture)”.

    Not to gush on and on, but she is a real lady and I do think it says a lot that Lalla believes in what he’s doing. Dawkins has, in interviews, quoted a couple atheistic remarks from her that were are drop-dead witty. I’d like to hear more on the subject from her, frankly.

  19. #19 Bokanovsky Process
    September 28, 2006

    Come on, now, jeffw! Be nice to Mong; after all, he’s a “PhD”!

    I followed the link to his blog, and then another to a website which sells his book. There I read what I take to be the back-cover “blurb.” All I can say is that it looks like Dr. Bronner has a new rival…

    And as for Dawkins, I know very little about him or his writings, frankly, but nothing in that interview suggested to me that he is at all flippant in his attempts to “disparage” religion’s cultural heritage. On the contrary, he seems to take most of the “cultural” topics religion addresses – the quest for truth and meaning, the proper way for us humans to treat each other and ourselves, etc – quite seriously. Where he differs is in the fact that he fails to see how religion gets us closer to answering such “cultural” questions, and that religion, in fact, is a serious distraction in the attempt. I for one agree wholeheartedly, but that’s just me (and Dawkins too, as he himself said a number of times – his numerous qualifications belie Mong’s assertions that Dawkins want to brainwash us into irreligiosity).

    I found his manner, too, very respectable. The frothing rage he generates among fundies seems all the more pathetic once you’ve seen him live for the first time, as this time was for me.

  20. #20 jeffw
    September 28, 2006

    Bokanovsky: I agree with most of what you said. It’s the semantics of the word “cultural” – I was using it more in the artistic sense. I believe that Dawkins does value some of the art, literature, and traditions that emerged in the context of religion, while still being highly critical (and rightly so) of most other aspects. In other words, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

  21. #21 Michael Kremer
    September 28, 2006

    bernarda,

    Hmmm… I post under my real name, and no, I am not clueless.

    It is perfectly reasonable to dismiss Ann Coulter’s views on evolution, based on the fact that she evidently doesn’t understand evolution.

    It is equally reasonable to dismiss Dawkins’s critique of Christianity given his evident misunderstanding of the Christian notion of God.

    Dawkins does not think that the sentence “God exists” is meaningless nonsense, or he wouldn’t say in the interview that it might be true (since it can’t be definitively proven false), but is overwhelmingly improbable. Meaningless nonsense is not in the prove-true/prove-false/probable/improbable game at all.

    You could argue that the concept of God is hopelessly confused and incoherent, but that would be a different kind of argument.

    What I object to is Dawkins thinking that the concept of God is the concept of something put forward as an additional bit of the universe, in a kind of scientific hypothesis. I think this radically misrepresents the concept of God. The God of Christianity just isn’t the same kind of thing as Thor or Zeus (were supposed to be).

  22. #22 Will E.
    September 28, 2006

    “It is equally reasonable to dismiss Dawkins’s critique of Christianity given his evident misunderstanding of the Christian notion of God.”

    Once Dawkins, or anyone else for that matter, debunks the truth of sacred scriptures, the historicity of Jesus, and the morality of the bible, what can be left of “the Christian notion of God”? There is nothing left to understand, much less misunderstand.

  23. #23 quork
    September 28, 2006

    What I object to is Dawkins thinking that the concept of God is the concept of something put forward as an additional bit of the universe, in a kind of scientific hypothesis. I think this radically misrepresents the concept of God. The God of Christianity just isn’t the same kind of thing as Thor or Zeus (were supposed to be).

    Which “God of Christianity”? There are so many. Who appointed you spokesperson for this God? I wish you had chosen Odin for your comparison. Odin valued knowledge. He once traded an eye for knowledge.

  24. #24 Ichthyic
    September 28, 2006

    Michael-

    It is perfectly reasonable to dismiss Ann Coulter’s views on evolution, based on the fact that she evidently doesn’t understand evolution.

    It is equally reasonable to dismiss Dawkins’s critique of Christianity given his evident misunderstanding of the Christian notion of God.

    put simply, Dawkin’s doesn’t care about how you define your god, nor should he for the argument he is making.

    He has seen, as well as we all have, an apparent correlation between religious extremeism and effects on people’s irrational and violent behavior. The evidence of this is constantly barraging us in multiple media formats, on a daily basis.

    He reacts to explain what he sees, as any scientist would and should. Would you explain away the behavior of these folks by expounding on the rationality of your particular brand of religion?

    If you disagree with what is at the core of the irrational behavior that is so often associated with the religious meme, your counter to that is not to claim religion’s rationality (you’ll lose), but to counter with another explanation that at least explains the correlation between religion and extreme irrational behavior as well as or better than the simple assumption that religion is at the root of the behavior to begin with.

    It’s not Dawkin’s job to explain how your particular religious viewpoint is or is not rational, it’s yours.

    …and it’s your job to come up with a counter that better explains the correlative data better than a simple religion=behavior association.

    so get to it, as nobody here cares whether Dawkin’s “correctly” interprets your version of xianity or not.

  25. #25 Koray
    September 28, 2006

    Exactly how would Dawkins’ understanding of christianity be dismissed? Dawkins is an educated man who knows how to read a book. What does it exactly take in order to understand the bible? If common folk are meant to read it and live their lives accordingly, how would you explain that Dawkins somehow cannot grok it?

    He wrote books on these subjects. You’d think that whatever you think he doesn’t understand must have been pointed out to him a dozen times by now. I bet Dawkins read a lot more bible and related writings than your average Joe as part of his quest and research. To call him uninformed is quite pretentious. You could call him wrong, but you cannot call him uninformed.

  26. #26 Ichthyic
    September 28, 2006

    code fails me again.

    put this line, which is a quote from Michael in my last post, in italics:

    It is equally reasonable to dismiss Dawkins’s critique of Christianity given his evident misunderstanding of the Christian notion of God.

  27. #27 George
    September 28, 2006

    It is equally reasonable to dismiss Dawkins’s critique of Christianity given his evident misunderstanding of the Christian notion of God.

    Whose critique should I take seriously then, if the Dawkins critique is to be dismissed?

  28. #28 jeffw
    September 28, 2006

    It is equally reasonable to dismiss Dawkins’s critique of Christianity given his evident misunderstanding of the Christian notion of God.

    Actually, he understands the Christian god extremely well. But he also knows that most Christians don’t seem to understand the true nature of their petty barbaric volcano god, and his book of blood. So, he points it out to them, as any decent educator with any morals would do. Hopefully it will open a few eyes. It’s high time for our species to grow the hell up.

  29. #29 Michael Kremer
    September 28, 2006

    bernarda: You can give me a break now. You have no idea what I have and haven’t read. (In fact, among many other things, I have read a couple of books by Dawkins (The Blind Watchmaker I remember as quite effective and useful in introducing me to some key ideas of evolution, and I have never doubted the truth of evolution since) and a couple of books by Dennett. And to my own shame, I haven’t actually read that much of the Bible, though I hear a bit of it every Sunday, and hence know a lot of what’s in it.)

    I am not going to go on any further on this thread.

    George: I think the views of Anthony Kenny are probably worth study. This is a man who really does understand the Christianity he rejected after spending several years as a Catholic priest. He does not, however, end up in exactly the same place as Dawkins since he is more of an agnostic. He has a new book out called What I Believe, in which he has two chapters against theism and one against atheism. I haven’t read this book yet, and really only know his work as a philosopher (my field).

  30. #30 Kristine
    September 28, 2006

    Oh, that up-from-under stare! I think it looks like someone propped Coulter upright and gave her strong coffee (or some methadone?) just before the interview. Yikes!

    Put here” — by whom? and if not to be comfortable, for what purpose, then? I sense some remnant of religious thinking, of a religious sense, surfacing in that line, I have to say.

    Come on. “Put here” is just semantic shorthand, like “it evolved to,” or “it was designed to.” No, Dawkins doesn’t believe we were literally put here by anyone. It’s not his fault that the structure of our language itself assumes a Subject. He also doesn’t believe that hydrogen atoms literally “want to get together” with oxygen atoms, either.

    “It is equally reasonable to dismiss Dawkins’s critique of Christianity given his evident misunderstanding of the Christian notion of God.”

    What nonsense. Dawkins does undestand it, that’s his “problem.” He was raised in the Christian church as I was, and was a little choirboy just as I was a little choirgirl. I reiterate, you’re not supposed to understand Christianity. Faith is [deliberately] not understanding.

    This is emotional blackmail, not an argument. Ironically, it mimics the accusation leveled at Albert Einstein that Dawkins quotes extensively in his book: “Mr. Einstein, you may know a great many things, but you obviously know nothing about God!” And who sounds arrogant? It’s really just another ad hominem attack after all.

  31. #31 hoody
    September 28, 2006

    Heh. From another site (markshea.blogspot.com):
    I take him (Dawkins) for an honest fool. Seems to be interested in the truth, whether it’s comfortable or not (which is a plus), but doesn’t seem too interested in trying to know much that doesn’t fit into his little system of order. I’d love to see him in a conversation with N.T. Wright on the New Testament, because his notions of the origins of Christianity and of the New Testament are the sort of thing that would get you flunked out of a sophomore class in any high school.

  32. #32 Ichthyic
    September 28, 2006

    I am not going to go on any further on this thread.

    good job at running away from your argument there.

    you do your own notion of religion a great service.

    phht.

    It’s funny, but whenever it becomes apparent that religious moderates need to step up and explain why their extremeist compatriots are the way they are, they bunt instead.

    Is it too difficult a question to answer beyond saying essentially “the obvious is not the obvious – you just DON’T UNDERSTAND MY RELIGION!”?

    sad.

  33. #33 paranerd
    September 28, 2006

    Dawkins “Not put here to be comfortable” Using Occam, he meant the program producer put him in a plain room, not in a comfy armchair, with a known hardass Paxman, thats all folks.

  34. #34 jeffw
    September 28, 2006

    Dawkins “Not put here to be comfortable” Using Occam, he meant the program producer put him in a plain room, not in a comfy armchair, with a known hardass Paxman, thats all folks.

    Yes, there is that double meaning. That’s why he smiled a bit when he said it.

  35. #35 Ginger Yellow
    September 28, 2006

    “Yes, there is that double meaning. That’s why he smiled a bit when he said it.”

    Pah. That’s reading too much into it. It’s just that to ardent atheists and science-lovers like Dawkins, PZ Myers and myself, the idea that we should believe something because it makes us comfortable is laughable. If something is true and makes us comfortable (Bach is great, for instance) then all well and good. But the comfort-factor of a proposition has no bearing on its truth value.

  36. #36 windy
    September 28, 2006

    What I object to is Dawkins thinking that the concept of God is the concept of something put forward as an additional bit of the universe, in a kind of scientific hypothesis. I think this radically misrepresents the concept of God. The God of Christianity just isn’t the same kind of thing as Thor or Zeus (were supposed to be).

    “Were supposed to be”? This almost sounds like Thor and Zeus have been falsified. But wait- I thought a god can’t be falsified.

  37. #37 Ichthyic
    September 28, 2006

    …and someday the god of the xians will be relegated to “was supposed to be”, just like the xians relegate the greek/roman pantheon now.

    I wonder what will replace it?

    maybe FSMism will take off like scientology did?

    now THAT would be funky.

  38. #38 Michael Kremer
    September 28, 2006

    Ichthyic: You know what? I have a job, and a family, and other responsibilities, and I don’t see that I have to put up with continuing a discussion where the “rational” response to me is to call me a clueless stand-up comic and question whether I’ve ever read anything other than the Bible. As far as I can tell, the portion of this thread involving me was going nowhere fast, and I have other things to do. I went round and round for days on another thread and don’t intend to repeat the experiment here.

    But since you insist, I’ll answer your question. And then I will stop with this thread. And if you want to insist that I’m somehow giving in and embarassing my religion, so be it.

    I don’t think there is a particular association between the religious “meme” and violence. There are violent religious people, and violent non-religious people, and non-violent religious people, and non-violent non-religious people. Violence is a part of human life, unfortunately. In our country most people profess to be religious and so most violent acts are committed by people professing to be religious. In the former East Germany, where the vast majority of the population is atheist (88% self-describe as atheist), I would venture to guess that most violent acts are committed by atheists.

    I know that there are people who claim that atheists are way underrepresented in the prison population, but when I checked out the statistics as best I could I found that this was wildly exagerrated. For example the site

    http://holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm

    claims that “atheists, being a moderate proportion of the USA population (about 8-16%) are disproportionately less in the prison populations (0.21%).”

    But here a trick is played: when asking whether one is an atheist in the general population, generic “non-religious” responses are counted, whereas when asking whether one is an atheist in the prison population only the strict answer “atheist” is counted. When things are done fairly, it turns out that the representation of atheists in the prison population is not nearly so different than that of everyone else.

    Thus according to

    http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/atheist4.htm

    while 14.1% of the population identifies with no religion, only 0.4% self-identify as atheist. (Further, only 0.5% self-identify as agnostic, with less than 0.1% identifying as “secular” or “humanist.”) Also, in this survey, 5.4% refused to answer.

    Now 0.2% prison population versus 0.4% of the general population (people who self-identify as “atheist”) is still disproportionately low, I admit, but nowhere near the level of underrepresentation touted by the first site. Also, note that in the survey of the prison population fully 20% of those surveyed gave no answer or had religion unknown. This is not broken down into those who answered “no religion” and those who did not answer, but this 20% corresponds pretty well to the 14.1% no religion + 5.4% refused to answer in the national survey, so it is quite possible that at the level of the 14% no religion group there is proportional representation in the prison population.

    It is true that some religious groups are significantly overrepresented, Catholics and Muslims, for example, but also Buddhists. (On the other hand there appear to be 0 Unitarians in the prison survey, which beats out the atheists.) But I suspect at least a part of this is simply due to issues of class and economics. There are more poor Catholics and Muslims than there are poor atheists, and poor folk tend to end up in jail more often.

    In any case there are plenty of examples of nasty atheists such as Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, etc. But as I said before, this is just an aspect of human nature that is not restricted in anyway to one set of beliefs.

  39. #39 GH
    September 28, 2006

    There are more poor Catholics and Muslims than there are poor atheists, and poor folk tend to end up in jail more often.

    Any way to back up this claim?

    But here a trick is played: when asking whether one is an atheist in the general population, generic “non-religious” responses are counted, whereas when asking whether one is an atheist in the prison population only the strict answer “atheist” is counted. When things are done fairly, it turns out that the representation of atheists in the prison population is not nearly so different than that of everyone else.

    I think the one playing a trick here is you. I for one don’t disagree with your larger point about people behaving in whatever way they choose regardless of supernatural leanings but your analysis here is weak.

    Do you have any evidence to support your view that not religious equates with atheist? If not your entire argument is false. My own grandmother said she wasn’t religous but rather a Christian.

    And your wrong about that polling. People in the non-religious category are not counted as atheists. They are grouped as non religious. Many are members of various trains of thought. So essentially your just wrong.

    It is equally reasonable to dismiss Dawkins’s critique of Christianity given his evident misunderstanding of the Christian notion of God.

    This sounds like what many baptists say to catholics. It is a weak canard which presumes anyone has any real tangible understanding that would render Dawkins view incorrect. The simple fact is Dawkins understand the religion just fine. It’s just people like this that try to pretend you have more insight into it than he does. He asks simple straight forward questions.

    And he is correct. If a virgin got pregnant in this world it’s in the realm of science. All the hand waving and theological BS in the world doesn’t make this fact absent.

  40. #40 GH
    September 28, 2006

    Exactly how would Dawkins’ understanding of christianity be dismissed? Dawkins is an educated man who knows how to read a book. What does it exactly take in order to understand the bible? If common folk are meant to read it and live their lives accordingly, how would you explain that Dawkins somehow cannot grok it?

    This is spot on. If you can read, and read the bible you are able to come to every bit as valid an understanding of the concept as any other human being.

    It’s totally subjective. It’s like reading anything or watching a movie you will take with you whatever your inclined to do. On clueless sheep think people with pointy hats have some greater understanding of the book than they can have by reading it themselves.

  41. #41 Michael Kremer
    September 29, 2006

    OK, one more thing. Dawkins is an educated and very intelligent man, but only certain sects in Christianity would suggest that you can understand Christianity just by reading the Bible. In the Roman Catholic Church, to which I belong, there is a lot more to be read and understood than just that. We have these little things called tradition, and theology, and non-literal intepretation of scripture.

    Furthermore, when I suggested that Dawkins didn’t “get” Christianity, I meant more than just that he didn’t understand the Christian concept of God. He doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a Christian. The ordinary believer does “grok” this, of course. As a result, Dawkins will never manage to make a deep critical impression on a real Christian. I don’t think it’s impossible for such an impression to be made. I think Nietzsche had some real understanding of Christianity and that is why his criticism of Christianity has had real force even for thoughtful serious Christians, as something they have to come to terms with. I mentioned above Anthony Kenny as a contemporary example of someone whose rejection of Christianity is much more troubling to me than Dawkins. (A priest become agnostic… and an intelligent and educated philosophern who still takes his Aquinas seriously… It’s as if PZ Myers suddenly gave up on evolution, while retaining his knowledge of genetics and organic chemistry…)

  42. #42 GH
    September 29, 2006

    Michael that last paragraph was just alot of hot air. it simply isn’t logical.

    but only certain sects in Christianity would suggest that you can understand Christianity just by reading the Bible.

    Certain sects? How about virtually the entire of Protestants. And why on Earth is that suggestion bad? I would offer that Protestants here control the high logical ground.

    In the Roman Catholic Church, to which I belong, there is a lot more to be read and understood than just that. We have these little things called tradition, and theology, and non-literal intepretation of scripture.

    Oh so Protestants don’t have theology? tradition is simply an argument from authority that says nothing about the validity of the argument itself. What your really saying is that other humans with no more ability and quite arguably much less ability than yourself and Dawkins are allowed by you to TELL yu what to think about the book they are drawing all this theology and tradition from. Why would any rational human accept that? Is it the pointy hats? Why what does someone hundreds of years ago thought the book said has more value than what you think it says today? It’s absurd.

    And I am more than sure Dawkins is aware of this and even adresses it in one of his books.

    He doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a Christian. The ordinary believer does “grok” this, of course. As a result, Dawkins will never manage to make a deep critical impression on a real Christian.

    That is just the highest order of ignorance. Do you have nay way to support this?

    and an intelligent and educated philosophern who still takes his Aquinas seriously

    Why would anyone other than in passing after the number Hume did on him later?

  43. #43 Ichthyic
    September 29, 2006

    Ichthyic: You know what? I have a job, and a family, and other responsibilities, and I don’t see that I have to put up with continuing a discussion where the “rational” response to me is to call me a clueless stand-up comic and question whether I’ve ever read anything other than the Bible. As far as I can tell, the portion of this thread involving me was going nowhere fast, and I have other things to do. I went round and round for days on another thread and don’t intend to repeat the experiment here.

    But since you insist, I’ll answer your question. And then I will stop with this thread. And if you want to insist that I’m somehow giving in and embarassing my religion, so be it.

    I don’t think there is a particular association between the religious “meme” and violence. There are violent religious people, and violent non-religious people, and non-violent religious people, and non-violent non-religious people. Violence is a part of human life, unfortunately. In our country most people profess to be religious and so most violent acts are committed by people professing to be religious. In the former East Germany, where the vast majority of the population is atheist (88% self-describe as atheist), I would venture to guess that most violent acts are committed by atheists.

    aside from throwing out a bunch of irrelevant victimizations, how does your answer explain anything?

    how do you explain the middle east without invoking religious memes?

    you certainly can’t throw your unfounded assertions of atheism there, can you?

    are you aware of the fact that actual crime statistics don’t support your contention of atheism being associated with criminal behavior?

    or divorce rates?

    or abortion rates?

    or just about anything else you seem to think?

    you really haven’t thought about this much, have you?

    the only reason the discussion was going nowhere fast, is that you weren’t actually saying anything of substance supported by any kind of evidence.

    you still aren’t.

    try again?

    here’s a hint:

    a productive avenue for you to follow might be tieing psychology directly to extremeist behavior, and then see if there is a way to tease apart underlying psychology from religious memes.

    so far, your assumptions of Dawkin’s background and knowledge of religion aren’t making a strong argument for you.

  44. #44 Ichthyic
    September 29, 2006

    so far, Michael’s argument seems to boil down to the oft used “no true scottsman fallacy”.

    “no xian would rely solely on the bible”, etc.

    Am i missing something?

    as to:

    Look, God is outside the universe because God is the creator and cause of being of the universe. God is creator and the universe is creature. “Cause” is said in many ways, as Aristotle would put it. God’s causality is not that of one event in time causing another. God determines the laws of nature and also determines when those laws can have exceptions (when events happen which have no natural causes). But God is not specially causing only the latter events (miracles). He is causing everything there is.

    without any direct evidence to support the bending of laws at will, how is this any different from me saying the FSM is directly involved in our personal fates?

    do you have direct evidence of miracles? seems we’ve been waiting on the CC for eons to support the contention of miracles with any form of direct evidence. no such evidence presented yet.

    in fact, so far, the evidence presented that has been allowed to be examined by science has been refuted (think: shroud of turin).

    you still haven’t gotten past the evidence stage yet.

  45. #45 Michael Kremer
    September 29, 2006

    Ichthyic: Did you read what I wrote?

    where did I say that atheism is associated with criminal behavior?

    where did I mention divorce or abortion?

    where did I throw out unfounded assertions of atheism? (and what do you even mean by that?)

    Middle East: the conflict there certainly involves religion but it involves a lot of other things as well, including totalitarian regimes, oil wealth, and the consequences of European racism in the form of anti-semitism and the aftermath of the Holocaust. I wouldn’t claim that atheism had a role to play in this conflict. I’m not silly. But it’s equally silly to blame it all on religion.

  46. #46 Michael Kremer
    September 29, 2006

    GH, Ichthyic: I wasn’t answering the question how I know there is a God. So of course what you quote and criticize is not a compelling answer to that question and it doesn’t even pretend to be an argument. I was answering Caledonian’s question which was how it was possible to speak of a being outside of the universe as causing something inside of the universe.

    If you’d bother to look at the context of the discussion, at the question to which I was trying to respond, you’d see that your criticisms aren’t relevant.

    I have no intention of defending my religion tonight against all possible objections.

    As to miracles, I personally know someone who was cured of cancer while praying at the shrine of a saint. He wasn’t even praying for a cure from the cancer as he lives next to the Mayo clinic and was prepared to undergo the normal course of treatment — but when he returned to the clinic the tumors that had spread through much of his body were gone.

    I know this because he told me so — and I have no reason to think that he is a liar.

    Also, the miraculous cure of the grandfather of a friend of mine was part of the evidence in the canonization process of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne.

  47. #47 Ichthyic
    September 29, 2006

    In the former East Germany, where the vast majority of the population is atheist (88% self-describe as atheist), I would venture to guess that most violent acts are committed by atheists.

    uh, yeah i read what you wrote.

    did you mean to write what you wrote is a better question.

    the others were logical extensions based on your argument, which I’ve seen a thousand times before, and it was just as wrong then.

    if they don’t apply to you, don’t try to imply that atheism can be attributed to a pattern, as unlike religion, it has no pattern to attribute.

    A-theism. without theism. no pattern there to correlate.

    have you ever watched videos of extremeist churches in the US talking about the evils of darwinism?

    have you ever watched muslims talking about the evils of the west?

    they associate these evils as extensions of their own religious beliefs.

    unless you can provide evidence to suggest otherwise, the extemeism exhibited by these folks is readily and simply attributed to their religious beliefs.

    assuming that 9/11 was perpetrated by Muslim terrorists, did they do it for fun, you think?

    as a result of political fluctuations in middle eastern governments?

    or would you take them at their word that they felt they were doing god’s work?

    when a xian bombs an abortion clinic, are they motivated by their sense of religion, or….

    what?

    ball’s in your court.

    Dawkin’s thinks religious memes motivate these behaviors.

    the evidence tends to support his contention.

    what’s your direct evidence to the contrary?

  48. #48 Kristine
    September 29, 2006

    Oh, don’t give me that “no x-ian would rely solely on the Bible” canard. It’s not fair. Dawkins was raised Anglican, not Catholic, and I was raised Protestant, and I tell you that there are lots of people who expressly believe that all one needs is the Bible! Fundamentalism particularly is a movement to “go back to the fundamentals,” namely, the Scriptures, and just the Scriptures. I know about fundamentalism.

    Jehovah Witnesses, too. They take the Bible so literally that they don’t celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Easter, blah blah, because it’s not Scriptural. Needless to say, they’re lots of fun. (They don’t even believe in religious art, in singing well, because it focuses on one’s talents instead of God, and yadda, yadda.) I was taught outright bullshit about Catholics, by the way, and I reject those slanders.

    I sometimes imagine Jesus having sex, but I have never really imagined him going to the john.

    Jebus, George! It is indeed time for night-night. ;-)

  49. #49 Ichthyic
    September 29, 2006

    I’m not silly. But it’s equally silly to blame it all on religion.

    you have yet to indicate that you actually aren’t silly, to tell the honest truth.

    and your attempt to equate atheism and religion, as pointed out above, is not valid.

    so, no, it’s certainly NOT silly to correlate these behaviors with religion, and if you actually read any of dawkin’s book, you might actually see why.

    all you have to do to counter in the vein you are pusuing currently, is to show me how “organized” atheists (kind of an oxymoron in and of itself) have commited any terrorist acts in the name of “atheism” in the last 100 years or so.

    then you might have a minimal basis to equate the two and say one correlation is silly, and the other not.

    it’s like i said. Moderates turn a completly blind eye to their extremeist counterparts, and you exhibit that pattern so well it’s scary.

    “what, xians as terrorists?? no way!”

    phht.

    you’re hidin’ yer head in sand, Michael, and in so doing are dooming your entire religion to the extremeists.

    yes, the catholics are losing ground in the west. and that has far more to do with their timid and poor reaction to xian religious extremists as it does to anything that can be attributed to secularism.

    and a lot of the reason is because of the same blindness you show here, the same thing Dawkin’s is actually trying to wake you up to.

  50. #50 Michael Kremer
    September 29, 2006

    Ichthyic:

    Hmm… where did I equate atheism and religion? (And what’s this “religion” beast anyway? Surely “religion” is as multifarious as atheism?)

    I admit that individuals can be motivated to violence by religion. The same is true of atheism — that is the rejection religion. Communist persecutions of Christianity, complete with acts of murder and torture, certainly happened in the last 100 years, and were certainly motivated in part by atheism. And if you’re willing to go further back, you might recall certain aspects of the French Revolution (all in the name of reason and humanity of course).

    At the same time I deny both that religion is intrinsically linked to violence and that atheism is intrinsically linked to violence. The evidence of religious non-violent people is all around you. And the evidence of atheist non-violent people is all around me in the university environment where I work, where most of my colleagues and friends are atheists.

  51. #51 Ichthyic
    September 29, 2006

    As to miracles, I personally know someone who was cured of cancer while praying at the shrine of a saint

    stop. before you continue, this is called “anectodotal evidence”, and it wouldn’t hold up in court.

    by evidence, we mean repeatable, independently verified evidence.

    there has never been a miracle that has been independently verified.

    take that as you will, I’m not calling you OR your friend a liar, but you certainly might be mistaken as to the mechanism behind your friend’s recovery.

    have you considered that at all?

  52. #52 Ichthyic
    September 29, 2006

    The same is true of atheism — that is the rejection religion. Communist persecutions of Christianity, complete with acts of murder and torture, certainly happened in the last 100 years, and were certainly motivated in part by atheism.

    ok, i gave you some credit for at least knowing something, but now i see your just a deluded fool.

    the stalinist purges motivated by atheism?

    ROFLMAO! You claim to have read a few things, but you don’t give any indication of any knowledge of history or your own religion, even.

    you belong in the thread we had a while back where Dr. Kennedy was trying to blame the rise of Hitler on evolutionary theory; on the Dr. Kennedy side.

    I’m totally done with you.

    you’ve demoted yourself to “idiot class troll”.

    good luck.

  53. #53 Michael Kremer
    September 29, 2006

    Ichthyic: you asked “do you have direct evidence of miracles? seems we’ve been waiting on the CC for eons to support the contention of miracles with any form of direct evidence. no such evidence presented yet.” It seems to me that first-hand reports are direct evidence.

    Now you demand repeatable evidence. It is in the nature of miracles that they are not in this way repeatable. So then I suppose you had better give up on getting any evidence.

    I did not say that the stalinist purges were motivated by atheism. I said that communist persecution of Christianity was motivated by atheism. There is a reason why 88% of the population of the former East Germany self-identifies as atheist. Read something about the underground church in Czechoslovakia. Or about the Tibetan Buddhists. Or the RC Church in China. Of course there are other factors in all these cases, just as there are other factors in middle east violence.

    And I notice you did not take up the French Revolution.

    And what evidence have I given of not knowing the history of my own religion? Of course I am aware of many evil things done in the name of religion. I am only pointing out that evil things can happen in the absence of religion and even be motivated by atheism.

    As to the baloney detection kit, it seems to me that some of the rules in this kit have been violated repeatedly by the people I’ve been debating with. For example:

    “Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.”

    “Argument from adverse consequences (putting pressure on the decision maker by pointing out dire consequences of an “unfavourable” decision).”

    “Straw man – caricaturing (or stereotyping) a position to make it easier to attack.”

    “Appeal to ignorance (absence of evidence is not evidence of absence).”

    “Ad hominem – attacking the arguer and not the argument.”

    etc.

    You accuse me of “count the hits, ignore the misses.” I am not sure what this is supposed to mean. Go back to the beginning of this thread. My whole point was that:

    God is not a scientific hypothesis.

    I am not counting “hits” in favor of God and ignoring “misses”. The claim that there are miracles is not an explanatory hypothesis for which there could be “misses”. It is not the claim that if you pray enough, you will be cured. It is the claim that there are occurrences which we do not understand and cannot explain. I am perfectly open to the possibility of an explanation being discovered for such events. But at present there is none.

  54. #54 quork
    September 29, 2006

    Michael Kremer said, oh so long ago:

    I am not going to go on any further on this thread.

  55. #55 Kristine
    September 29, 2006

    Well, again, the whole point for me is that religion is all about power, and passivity, and denigration of the here and now. Miracles–why should I get all warm and fuzzy about them, even if they did occur? Is there something more wonderful about something that God allegedly does, than what we do? (Oh, yeah, that’s going to sound arrogant! Too bad.)

    Why does God need to intervene in his creation, after all, if he’s so perfect? Ah! Because of human “sin!” Sorry, I don’t buy it. Listen to how colonialist that sounds: the universe is “occupied” by a force outside of it–as Egypt, for example, was occupied by the British? As Iraq is now occupied by U.S. soldiers? I reject the whole idea. What about the law of unintended consequences?

    This power-relationship of kings (even a benevolent king) and angels is beneath us. We’ve outgrown them. Freedom is not, per George Bush, “a gift from God to every man and woman on this planet.” Democracy is rather a ground-up process in which we all must participate. So is evolution a ground-up process, not a top-down one. And to bring this all back to Dawkins, this is the fundamental conflict underlying the conflict between science and religion.

  56. #56 Michael Kremer
    September 29, 2006

    Quork: Yes, I said that. Not too good at keeping my promises, I guess. But why?

    Ichthyic replied: “good job at running away from your argument there.”

    And Caledonian: “Ah, the old familiar dance. Given fundamental questions he cannot answer and critical problems that he can only glaze over, the common True Believer ducks into his burrow, safe from the predations of the dreaded rationalist.”

    So, if I stop, I am running away from questions I can’t answer, and if I don’t stop, I am a troll who doesn’t know how to shut up. Bit of a tough row to hoe, in’t it?

    Well, now I really am shutting up. See you on some other thread.

  57. #57 Ichthyic
    September 29, 2006

    “good job at running away from your argument there.”

    actually, even though you prattled on at length, you never really did adress the issue at hand, rather you continually introduced new and erroneous (and irrelevant) information to the issue of whether dawkins is right about religion and extremism.

    bluntly, you need to go rethink your position and study your history (both political, sociological, and religious) far more if you actually want to discuss this topic intelligently.

    See you on some other thread.

    not until you go back and study up some, I hope.

    go find out what Stalin was really all about (hint: the purges had NOTHING to do with promoting atheism, regardless of whatever idiocies you seem to have picked up.).

    go actually READ dawkins book, or watch the video series that he made not too far back on the same theme.

    you really haven’t a clue what you’re talking about, but you can fix that easy enough.

  58. #58 Ichthyic
    September 29, 2006

    btw the video series is called “The Root of All Evil”.

    you can find it on google video, in parts:

    here’s part 2, for example:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2439999165547892433&hl=en

    part one is around there somewhere.

  59. #59 Ichthyic
    September 29, 2006
  60. #60 bernarda
    September 29, 2006

    The only miracle here would be if Kremer actually believed any of the stuff he writes.

    Kremer, “As to miracles, I personally know someone who was cured of cancer while praying at the shrine of a saint.”

    Lah, Dee, Dah! Anecdotal “evidence” must be proof that it is true. In his film “The Root of All Evil”, Richard Dawkins asks the quy in charge at Lourdes, how many people visit it every year. It is in the tens of thousands. He then asks how many “miracles” there have been. The guy reponds “66”.

    So after more than century and millions of people going to Lourdes for a miracle cure, the Church only claims 66.

    The percentage is off the radar screen. We are into nanoscale here. This god has to be most incompetent miracle worker ever!

    I know two people, one in my family, who have had unexplained regression of cancers they were being treated for. Neither one of them ever said a prayer in their lives. Sure, that is anecdotal evidence too.

    Thinking that praying to a saint has any effect is absolute nonsense. After all, even by the Church’s standard, a saint is only a dead sinner.

  61. #61 Steve_C
    September 29, 2006

    Don’t forget the question mark. “The Root of All Evil?”

    Dawkins does not like the title and does not think religion is the root of all evil.

    Just want to make that clear. The BBC wanted a controversial title. I think he even insisted on the question mark. It’s very Fox News though.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=A6Xsq7-OIkc

    Love this daily show bit.

  62. #62 Paul G Brown
    September 29, 2006

    After reading and considering their words, I think it’s fair to say that Micheal and Ichthyic have no right to dismiss the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Clearly, their refusal to believe in it is due to the fact that They Just Don’t Understand It(tm).

    Nor can they really discuss and dismiss Thor, Odin, Thoth, Ishtar, Zeus, Mithras, Allah, Pele, Quetzalcoatl, or the The Booger God of Brune. They Just Don’t Understand It(tm).

    It’s a good enough reason for me, too. I Just Don’t Understand any of It(tm). So I will fall back on what I do understand.

    And the next time Micheal or Ichthyic turn on a light switch, or notice a fossil, or cross a suspension bridge, I can explain what happens in ways that allow them to walk away and construct their own lights, find their own fossils, and build their own bridges.

    We will all be converts! We will Understand(c).

  63. #63 junk science
    September 29, 2006

    For the vast majority of Brits, the response to someone attacking evolution as clumsily as she does isn’t: “At last! Someone’s standing up for Jesus!” It’s: “What a nutter!”

    You have no idea how jealous I am.

    As a result, Dawkins will never manage to make a deep critical impression on a real Christian.

    Well, no, of course not. A real Christian is immune to arguments, logic, and facts. Stubborn defiance of reason is a great virtue to the majority of the religious.

    The arguments that “God is outside the universe” and “You just don’t understand Christianity” are wonderfully convenient, I have to say. You never have to explain what you think Christianity is, or provide a thoughtful explanation of how you think a god could have created the universe, backed up by observational evidence. The best your side can provide is Intelligent Design, which is such a transparent joke as to be offensive to thinking people. Whenever someone calls you out on being wrong or deluded, you can just stick your fingers in your ears.

  64. #64 rafael
    January 1, 2008

    THE ATHEIST MENTAL DISORDER

    http://scientistcanotcalculateearth.blogspot.com/

    We will look at the theories of evolution in their two main foundations: the expansion of the universe, and the quantum or microorganism. To understand it with reason, thee first subject we are confronted with is God. Let us read a few verses from the Bible. Psalm 14:1 of the Old Testament says, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” This sentence may also be translated as “The fool does not want God in his heart.” The result of saying this can be found in the second sentence of the same verse: “They are corrupt; they do abominable deeds.”Let us also take a passage from the New Testament. Hebrews 11:6 says, “For he who comes forward to God must believe that He is.

    “THREE KINDS OF PEOPLE ”

    Whether you claim too be a Christian, a non-believer, or a seeker after truth, we will start by examining the subject of God. In this respect the world is divided into three camps. The first is that of the atheists who do not believe in a God. The second consists of the agnostics. They have no sure knowledge about the deity. On the one hand, they dare not say there is no God, but on the other hand, they are not clear if God does exist. We belong to the third category of those who believe in God.

    PROSECUTION

    Is there a God? I will not try to say yes or no to this question. Rather, I will make this place a law court. I will ask you to be the judge, and I will be the prosecutor. The work of a judge is to make decisions, to approve or disapprove the truth of statements; the work of a prosecutor is to present all the evidence and arguments that he can possibly gather. Before we proceed, we have to be clear about one fact: all prosecutors are not eyewitnesses of crimes. They are not policemen. A policeman may personally witness an event, whereas a prosecutor obtains his information only indirectly. He places all the charges, evidence, and arguments collected before the judge. In the same way, I shall present before you everything that I can possibly find. If you ask whether I have seen God or not, I would say “no.” I am reading or demonstrating what I have gathered. My job is to search for facts and to call for witnesses. You are to arrive at a conclusion yourself.

    QUALIFICATIONS

    Many people assert that there is no God. As a prosecutor I ask you first to check the qualification of these people. Are they qualified to make such claims? Are those who assert that there is no God moral or immoral? Do not just listen to their arguments. Even robbers and swindlers have their arguments. Of course, the arguments support them as robbers and swindlers. The subject of their arguments may be very noble; they may talk about the state of the nations and the welfare of society, but their opinions cannot be seriously considered. They are not worthy of passing such judgments. If a man is upright in his conduct and moral judgment, we can give credibility to his words, but if not, his words lose their credibility. This is especially true when it relates to the question of deity. It is interesting to note that the moral standards of men are directly related to their concept about God. Those who admit their own ignorance have a passable standard, while insistent atheists invariably have a low level of moral responsibility. I do not claim to know all atheists, but of the several thousand that I know, none of them possess a notably commendable morality. You may tell me that there was once a moral atheist, but if there was one, he is dead. Or you may tell me that there will be a moral atheist, but whoever he may be, he is not here yet. At least we can say that for now, we do not know a moral atheist.

    NO ATHEIST IS MORAL

    Recently in a College at Uk, the geologist, who is a defender of evolution therefore an atheist confess he is arrogant, the atheist said “there is nothing wrong in being arrogant, I’m right, so there is nothing wrong”. He was debating with a Christian professor who never change his good attitude even though he was being ridicule and mocked. Regarding the behavior of the Atheist it was sad to see a defender of science behaving as a child, he do not have moral standards, man who do not have a sense for Gods law, he will not respect anyone , regarding respecting other he is immoral. There were many students on the campus who did not believe in God. They were greatly offended by these words. This atheist offended the Christian professor again and again; the atheist said to him I like to interrupt you. He kept offending the Christian professor saying “you want to believe in God because you are insecure; the proof is that you have the psychological need of God, your God and you are false and have a mental disorder”. This is completely unethical using the right words immoral. Even the body language of this old man of Uk tells, something wrong with him, he cross his arms in a defensive way , he did look the audience , look to the floor and even when he smile was sad. He looks nervous and evasive; his body language showed that something was wrong with him. He made funny gestures and faces at the Christian professor. How can anyone with moral decency shuffle his speaking to do gestures and call to the other professor false in his believes and say that he has a mental disorder.

    No atheist has helped you become better? Has he made your thoughts cleaner or your heart purer? Or did it make you just the opposite?”

    “Regarding to what they speak”

    This atheist use scientific methods of questioning, and this are endless, their speaking for sure is has not good intention. How come they will ask: Why Jews and Muslims who believe in God, hate each other and kill each other because their religion.

    Muslims attacked Americans in 9/11 because they hate Americans and do not tolerated Americans way of living.

    What are the intentions of these questions? Most of people know that Jews and Muslims have been fighting over their land for thousands of years; it is not for the God in which they believe it has been always the land. And that is their problem is up to then how they deal with it. The atheist confuse them as well others and said they kill each other because their God. Mr. Atheist can you put into your head that is because the land. Or what is what you are really after. Sure you have a bad tongue.

    And why do you ask them about 9/11 actually you Atheist went to the Middle East and told them. You hate Americans because they allow prostitutes on the street. Of course they will say they do not like their respectfull woman to be in the street as prostitutes. But you Godless

    Man understand, that their government is theocratic, meaning their believe in God is their Law and constitution, they live in a Theocratic society and as humans that is their right.

    Why did you bring 9/11 up? USA is democracy. Do you want me to believe that my country USA attacks the Middle East because they want to establish Democracy in the theocratic Middle East? Even if that is truth, if I’m ask I will obey to my president and go to Middle East

    And kill or get kill, soldiers obey orders and thousands of young people have died in this war, that is the way that my country is, do you know how many Middle East civilians have died there? Hundred of thousands, those who are dead are better off of those who are among the living ones, their suffering is not a joke and for USA soldiers is a pain in our soul, so who are you to bring up an issue that USA soldiers will never question.

    China which is the domicile of more than half the world’s population is communist. Atheist should go there to recruit people. You atheist are in your line of question totally immoral.

    I do whish that my president George W. Bush wont let you come to America and I will tell him about your videos The God of delusion and the atheist debate, because in those videos you make fun of my president. Do not think that because our presidents did not claim the rights to the back bone of the net years ago, they will never claim it back.

    Now you ask: why believers hate, homosexuals? Isn’t good to see two male’s holdings hands on the streets, and to girls kissing on the train? Maybe, because evolution is not only about natural selection, but about sexual selection. Are evolutionists teaching the children of America about sexual selection, “Sexual selection is a special case of natural selection Sexual selection acts in an organisms’ ability to obtain by any means necessary to successfully copulate with their mate or in groups” Sexual selection simple means I can chose anyone male female is ok. Can you see that your teaching has contaminated humanity?

    Do you Atheist hold at what you believe?

    Of course not Richard Dawkins has called himself, a cultural Christian. If he is against Christians how he dares to call himself a Christian of any kind, I do believe in God I will always say that I do love God as my Father. But your stamen’s shows that you are not firm in your believe rather, you are liar therefore immoral.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7136682.stm

    Their line of question is groundless or they are carrying out and agenda. I think for old man as they are, it is normal to question everything as well senile to think they know everything. They think of themselves as modern scientist question everything even if they don’t know the subject. Because they live in the twenty first century they know better than those who live thousands of years ago. And why they are confused using the word religion as if it means the same as believer. According to the lexicon Webster dictionary “religion is a way to trying to reach or seek God” “a believer in God have already found Him and knows Him”. Why atheists don’t know the dictionary? Do they know Greek or at the least Hebrew languages what about Aramaic or Latin. In the bible there are tree different words in Greek to designated the word “life”

    1. Bios referring to the biological life our body

    2. Psycho referring to the soul logical means study. The word Psychology means the study of the soul, emotions, mind and will.

    3. There is another word for life that is Zoe the highest life. Whenever the bible speaks of eternal life speak of Zoe. In a Greek dictionary you will find the distinction. I wonder what an atheist that only knows the bible superficially how will they explain that in the bible there is a word Zoe that was transliterated from Hebrew to Greek as Zoe.

    They should not speak about the bible, because their knowledge is superficial, have they read the bible fifty times? have they read 4000 others books? What about the evolution of species how many times they read it.

    For this reason, their whole argument is not worthy of consideration. The question is, “Are you qualified to claim that there is no God?” If your hope is merely hear something that isn’t knew, you have lost your ground already.

    IS MAN THE GREATEST?

    One day a young man came to me and said, “I do not believe in a so-called God. Man is the greatest. He is the noblest among all creatures. There is no God in this universe; man is everything.” We were sitting opposite each other. After hearing what he said, I stood up, went to one side of the room, stooped down, and gazed at him intently. I said, “Do you know that in the past many Americans missionaries went abroad USA specially to China, they came with not support from their churches, during the boxer rebellion many of them died, but sow a seed of life “Zoe” that made of the idolaters Chinese genuine believers, when the communist took over China many were put on jail because of their believe in God, thousands of them died, the bible was taken away, a communist reform took place, everyone have to listen to Mao because communist in China as well Stalinism are base in the cult or worship of the personality of their leader. So believers were whipped out. Because they wont exult Mao over God , but today in china there are 200 millions of genuine believers, how this happen, God did it, can atheist recruit in America or in the world 200 million like them, of course not , so why you say that there is not God and you are greater than Him.

    HOW VAST IS THE UNIVERSE?

    I then said to the young man, “And here you are! You have not even walked through the whole earth, and yet you consider yourself greater than the whole universe. Let me ask you, do you know how vast the universe is? Take light for example. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. Try to calculate how far light travels in one minute, or one hour, or a day, or a year. There are some stars whose light takes three thousand years to reach us. Go and work out how far they are from us! And you think you are so great! I would therefore advise all atheists and young men alike to admit the incompetency of man not only morally, but intellectually and academically as well.

    “CAN MAN EXTEND BEYOND THE BOUNDS OF TIME AND SPACE?

    Another time when I was in Kaifeng, I met another one of those young, stout atheists. I walked up to him and patted him on the shoulder, saying, “I saw God today!” He stared at me in curiosity and demanded a further word. I replied, “You are God! If you know that there is no God, then you have to be God.” He asked for an explanation. I said, “Since you are convinced that there is no God, you must have traveled over the whole earth. If God is not in Shanghai, He may still be in Nanking. You must have been to both places. That is not all. If God is not in Nanking, He may be in Tientsin. You must also have been to Tientsin. But you cannot draw this conclusion simply by being in China; God may be in another country. So you must have been to every country on this earth. If God is not in one place, He may be in another. Therefore, you must have traveled throughout the world. One never knows if God is hiding at the North Pole or the South Pole or in the woods or wilderness somewhere. So you must have combed through all those regions as well. If God is not found on earth, He may be found on the moon. You therefore must have been to the moon. God may also be on other planets or in outer space. This means that you have traveled through space and all the other galaxies as well. If you can say that there is no God, it must mean that you have traveled throughout the whole universe. If this is the case, you must be God yourself.”This is not all. Even though you know that God does not exist in Shanghai today, how about yesterday? Perhaps God will come tomorrow. You say that you know there is no God today, but what about last year? And how do you know that God will not come next year? You say that there is no God this year, but what about a thousand years ago? Very well, you must be an everlasting one who knows everything about the past and future. You have to be a being beyond time and space. You must be in Tientsin and in another country at the same time; you must be omnipresent from the east to the west, from the North Pole to the South Pole. Who else but you can be the very God? If you are not God, you can never be qualified to say that there is no God.

    “THE EVIDENCE”

    Some will immediately step back and say, “I have never said that I know there is no God. One can never tell whether there is a God or not.” Well, if you cannot give a conclusion, I will ask witnesses whom I consider trustworthy to present arguments to you and prove the existence of God. Again let me say this, you are the judge, and I am the prosecutor. I am presenting only the evidence before you. Decide for yourself if there is a God.

    THE UNIVERSE

    First, looks at nature, the world that is before our eyes and every phenomenon in it. We all know that scientific knowledge is the rational explanation of natural phenomena. For example, there is an observed drop in the temperature of a patient. The drop in temperature is a phenomenon, and the explanation for it is scientific knowledge. When an apple falls from the tree, it is a phenomenon. Why does an apple not fly into the air? The explanation for this phenomenon constitutes knowledge. A man with knowledge is a man who has the proper explanations.

    ONLY TWO EXPLANATIONS

    The universe displays countless phenomena of diverse forms, colors, shapes, and nature. We cannot fail to notice these phenomena before our eyes. The explanation for all these phenomena is known as knowledge. All thoughtful persons have only two explanations as far as the origin of the universe is concerned; there is no third explanation. You have to take one or the other of them. What are these two explanations? The first says that the universe came into being through natural evolution and self-interaction; the second attributes its origin to a personified being with intellect and purpose. These are the only two explanations presented by all philosophers of the world. There is not a third one. Where did the universe come from? Did it come into existence by itself or through chance? Or was it designed by the One from whom we derive the concept of God? You have to think and then make a decision about it. Everything that is by chance has certain characteristics. I would suggest you list all of these in a detailed way, the more the better, and then compare all the phenomena of the universe with your list. Alongside of this make another list of the characteristics which, in your opinion, would be prominent if the universe was created by an intelligent Being. Now by a simple comparison of nature with your two lists, it will be easy to draw a reasonable conclusion.

    CHANCE EVENTS

    What are the characteristics of things that come about by chance? First, we know that they are unorganized. At the most they can be partially integrated. They can never be totally organized. One can achieve a specified goal by chance once, but he can never achieve a specified goal by chance all the time. Anything that comes together by chance can only be integrated partially, never totally. For example, if I throw this chair to the other side of the room, by chance it may come to rest at a perfect angle. If I do the same with a second chair, it may also lie neatly beside the first one. But this will not keep on happening with the third and the fourth and so on. Chance can only provide partial organization. It does not guarantee total integration. Furthermore, all random interactions are aimless, disorganized, and purposeless. They are without order and structure; they are loose, formless, disorderly, and not directed toward any meaningful purpose. Briefly, we can say that the characteristics of chance events are disharmony, irregularity, inconsistency, purposelessness, and insignificance. We will write down these four characteristics on our list.

    CONSISTENCY AND ORGANIZATION

    Now let us compare the things in the universe with these characteristics. Take, for example, the human being. He is carried in his mother’s womb for nine months and delivered; he grows up and eventually dies. This cycle is repeated for every single individual. Consistency can be observed. It is not a wild game of chance. Again, look at the sun above your head. It does not exist purposelessly. Rather, it has its purpose and significance. Look at the moon, the stars, and the myriads of galaxies through your telescope. Some stars have their own planets. They all follow definite tracks and patterns. They are all organized. Their manner of motion can be calculated and predicted. The calendar in your hand is derived from them. Even next year’s calendar can be printed before this year is past. All these show that the universe is organized, consistent, and purposeful.

    MICROORGANISMS

    Let us turn to the micro-world. Take a thin slice of wood. Put it under a microscope and observe its grain and structure, all meticulously regular and rhythmic. Even a blade of grass and the petal of a flower are finely fashioned. Nothing is unorganized or confused. Everything is disciplined and functional. All these things witness one fact to you: the universe, with its macro and micro aspects, is purposeful and meaningful. Can you say that all these came into existence by chance? Surely you cannot.

    IS IT OCCUPIED?

    Once I was preaching the gospel with a co-worker of mine in a village. On the way back we were extremely thirsty. There was neither a teahouse nor stream for us to get water. In fact the whole area was uninhabited. After walking for a while we came across a thatched hut. We went to the door quickly and knocked. For a long time there was no answer. We thought that no one lived there. When we opened the door and went in, we found that the floor was swept clean. In one of the rooms was a bed with nicely folded sheets. There was a teapot on the table, and the tea in it was still warm. I said, “Surely someone must be living here. All the arrangements indicate beyond doubt that this place is occupied by someone. We should not drink this tea. We must get out quickly or else people will think we are thieves.” We walked out and waited for the owner to return. By observing the arrangements of the house, we concluded that someone was living there, without having seen the occupant. In the same way, we know that God is there by the arrangement of everything in the universe, although we cannot see Him. Every single phenomenon of nature is so balanced, organized, meaningful, and functional. You may say that they come by chance, but it is impossible for me to believe that chance is its sole originator. The Bible says, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” Only foolish people can say in their hearts that there is no God.

    CHANCE OR DESIGN

    The universe has to be created by someone with profound wisdom, vast knowledge, and intricate design. If you cannot accept the concept of random formation of the universe, you have to admit that it was created by such a God. There cannot be a third explanation. The choice is left to you. You have to decide if the universe came by chance or whether it was created by God.

    A DEMAND AND ITS OBJECT

    One witness may not be enough. I will call in another. This time we will consider man’s heart. Before doing so, we should also observe one fact: wherever there is a desire, there must first be an object for that desire. For example, an orphan who has never seen his father naturally has a desire for a kind of paternal love. I have asked many people who were orphans, and they all have felt this irrepressible yearning. By this we can see that every desire of the heart arises out of an object in the world. As human beings we have a need for social belonging. We need companionship and mutuality. If you put a boy on a deserted island and he grows up alone, he still has the yearning for companions, for beings like himself, even though he has never seen a human being. This yearning or desire is the very proof that somewhere in the world there is something known as “man.” At a certain age, man begins to think about posterity; he starts desiring children and grandchildren. This is not a mere fantasy. This desire stems out of the existence and possibility of offspring. Hence, where there is desire, there is an object for that desire.

    THERE IS GOD IN THE HEART

    Do we have any desires other than social identity and self-propagation? What other cravings do we have? Deep in everyone there is a craving for God. Whether they are highly civilized races, such as those among the Caucasians, or the ancient civilizations, such as the Chinese civilizations, or the African natives and uncultured aborigines, they all have a common craving –God. As long as they are men, they have a yearning for God, no matter what race or nationality. This is a fact. You cannot argue against it. Everyone is seeking after God. Everywhere man is craving for God. This is very clear. By applying the principle that we just mentioned, we can see that since our heart feels the need for a God, there must necessarily be a God in the universe. Since there is a need for God in the heart, there must be the existence of God in the universe. If no God exists, we would never have such a craving in our heart. We all have an appetite for food. In the same way, we all have an appetite for God. It would be impossible to live if there was only an appetite for food but no food. Likewise, it would be impossible to live if there was a capacity for God but no God.

    NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT GOD?

    Once an atheist rudely rebuked me in a loud voice: “You said that a man has the psychological need for a God. But there is no such thing, and I do not believe in it.” I said, “Well, do you mean to say that you never think about God? In fact, even while you were talking, you were thinking about Him. This indicates that you do have a capacity for God. There is no one who has never thought about God. He may try not to think much about Him. Since this thought is in you, there must be such an object outside of you.

    “THE WORDS AND THE HEART”

    A young man once came to me to argue about God. He was vehemently against the existence of God. He gave me one reason after another for saying that there is no God. As he was enumerating the various reasons why God should not exist, I listened to him quietly without saying a word. Then I said, “Although you insist that there is no God and support yourself with so many arguments, you have lost your case already.” He said, “What do you mean?” I went on to explain: “Your mouth can say as much as you want about there not being a God, but your heart is on my side.” He had to agree with me. Although one can give all sorts of reasons in the head, there is a belief in the heart that no argument can defeat. A stubborn person may give a thousand and one reasons, but you can have the boldness to tell him, “You know better in your heart that there is a God. Why bother to look for evidence outside?”Now what would you say? After looking at nature and the universe, after checking with your inner feeling, it is up to you to decide whether or not there is a God. But you should not be irresponsible; your attitude must be sober because everyone has to meet God soon. One day you will all stand before Him. Everything concerning you will be laid bare. On that day you will know God. But now is the time for you to be prepared. We should all be prepared to meet our God

    CONSIDER THIS

    I shall begin by assuming that the issue of God’s existence is settled. We all believe that there is a God. As those who desire to know the truth, we must go one step further to find out what kind of God He is. God is the greatest Unknown. We must spend some time to find out about this unknown One. The next step now is to know what kind of a God He is.

    THE BIBLE
    In the past few thousand years’ man has been inquiring about the nature of God. Is He kind or is He righteous? Is He indifferent towards us, or is He extremely interested in human affairs? These types of questions are the direct cause of all human religions. What is religion? Religion is man’s inquiry about God and his explanation of Him. Through these explanations, different men have arrived at different concepts about God. What kind of God is He? This is a big question. It is also a very serious question. We have all given our thought to this subject at one time or another. The question might even have occurred to our little mind when we were five years old. All men, educated or ignorant, have been intrigued by this question. It comes naturally after some contemplation and observation.

    But a person trying to speculate about God is like an ant attempting to understand a human being. It is extremely difficult for the little creature to try to realize our life, nature, and mind. In the same way it is impossible for us to try to comprehend God. For this reason, in the past few thousand years, all kinds of people, theologians and philosophers alike, have done much thinking about Him. What has God been doing all this time? Has He been indifferent to us or has He tried to reveal Himself to us? What is God’s attitude? Do you think He would say, “I am God and have nothing to do with human beings. I do not care what you think about me. I shall stay in heaven as God. Let the mortals be ignorant!” Or do you think He has a desire to reveal Himself to man and visit him?
    When I was in India, I saw some people lying naked on beds studded with nails. Some walked with bare feet on burning coals. These people devoted a great deal of energy to seeking after God. What has God done to them? Did He hide Himself and take no notice of them at all? Has He not kept Himself as a perpetual mystery? This is a great question. We have to consider it scientifically and objectively in order to find out what God is like.

    A few years ago I spoke on a similar subject to some medical students in an auditorium in Cheloo University. I said that man is an organism with a life. God also is a life. Man’s life is higher than that of the lower animals, and God’s life is even higher than that of man. I asked the students, “Since we realize that all living organisms have some common laws and express some common traits, can you name them?” Different ones then started to bring up different points. At the end we summed up the discussion in this way: all living organisms contain two common characteristics. You can call these characteristics their common expressions or their common laws. First, every life wants to preserve itself. It tends to reproduce itself. There is the ability to produce posterity, to continue its own life. Second, every life wants to have fellowship with other lives. It cannot stand being by itself. When a man cannot find fellowship with another human being, he goes to dogs, cats, fish, or birds and makes friends with animals. All living creatures desire fellowship.
    Based on these two characteristics of life, namely, the preservation of itself and fellowship with others, laws of human government are instituted. For example, the death penalty reflects a convict’s desire to preserve his own life; punishment comes in the form of taking away and terminating such a life. This is the way to inflict suffering on a life. Imprisonment, as a less serious punishment, cuts him off from having fellowship with others. This reversal of the life principle becomes then a suffering for him. From this we see that punishment is applied according to the principles of life.
    With these two chief characteristics in mind, let us turn to the life of God. God is an organism of a higher order than human beings. He is naturally governed by this law of life. We can know God by the characteristics and distinctive features of His life. From this we can deduce whether or not God wants to have fellowship with man.

    There are two kinds of religion: religion based on natural concepts and religion based on revelation. Natural religion starts with man as the center. He is the one that is seeking after God and studying about Him. What then is revelation religion? Revelation religion comes directly from God. He is the One who comes to reveal things to us. Man’s thoughts are often useless fancies. God’s revelation alone is trustworthy. Christianity is different from all other natural religions in that it is a religion that comes from revelation. Christianity begins from God. It is God who comes to seek out man, rather than man who seeks after God.
    I will not try to persuade you to believe in Christianity or to read the Bible. I will only make a few suppositions. We will treat the subject in the same way as if we were solving a problem in geometry. We will start from the suppositions and then deduce our arguments step by step. We will examine our reasoning’s to see if they are sound and if our conclusions are logical. As in mathematics, with some problems we work forwards, while with others we work backwards. At any rate, in the end we should be able to tell whether or not a supposition is justified.

    We have to make a few suppositions. The first one is that God exists. This in fact has been covered by us already. We have agreed that there is a God. He is a Being who has a purpose.
    Second, we assume that God has a desire to reveal Himself to man. If God wants to reveal Himself to man and if He wants us to know Him, how does He do it? In what manner can He be made known to us? If He speaks to us through thunder or writes to us through lightning, we will not be able to comprehend His message. How then does God make Himself known to us?

    If He is to reveal Himself and if He wants us to know Him, He necessarily must do it through human means. What then are the common ways that men communicate with one another? First, they do it through speaking and second through writing. All means of communication, whether telegraph, telephone, sign, or symbols, are all included in these two categories. If God is to manifest Himself, these are the only two means for Him to do so. For the present we set aside the aspect of speaking; we will see how God communicates with us through writing.
    If God reveals Himself through writing, of all the volumes written by different people throughout the centuries, there must be one book which is divinely inspired. This is a very crucial test. If such a book exists, it proves not only the existence of God, but it contains His written revelation to us as well. Is there then such a divinely written book?
    In the search for such a book, let us first mention a few basic principles. Suppose I want to order a book from a publisher. If I can tell him the name and author of the book, there will be no trouble getting it. If, however, I forget the name and author of the book, I can describe the characteristics of it to the publisher, such as the contents, size, color, binding, etc. The publisher will then search through all his books and locates the volume I want. God has one book in this universe. How do we find it? We have to know its characteristics first. If there is any book that has been written by God, it must meet certain conditions or have certain qualifications before one can say that it is from God.

    Let me put forth a few propositions. If there is a book written by God, it must first of all mention God. It must tell you that it is from God and that its author is God. This is the first qualification. Second, it must carry a moral tone that is higher than what we commonly know. If it is a fabrication, it can at the most be on the same level as man. Third, if there is such a divine book, it must tell us about the past and the future of this world. Only God knows clearly what occurred in the past and what will happen in the future. Only by telling us these matters will we know Him as God. Fourth, this book must be simple and available so that all may be able to secure and understand it. If there were only one such book in the world, then only a very few people would be able to see it. It would not pass the test unless it is a book accessible to everyone. In the United States there is a group of people who claim to have a book from God. It is engraved in gold and contains only twelve pages. Such a book then would not be accessible to the Chinese. God would never write to us a book at which we could not look.
    Now the matter is simplified. Let us repeat these four conditions once more. (1) If such a book exists, it must tell us explicitly that its author is God. (2) It must carry a high tone of morality. (3) It must give a detailed description of the past and the future of the universe. (4) It must be available. Let us pick out some of the more important writings throughout human civilization and check them against these qualifications to see if any meets our requirements.

    We will start from books that are generally considered to be good. Let us take the Chinese classics of Confucius. They are immediately disqualified under the first requirement, for none of them claims to be written by God. They do have a high tone of morality, but they fail to give the origin and destiny of the world, the universe, and man. This does not mean that they are worthless books; it means that they do not contain the qualifications we want. They are not what we are looking for.
    Let us go to the classics of other cultures. There are numerous volumes of famous writings, but none of them passes the first test. They are all clearly written by man. They may be masterpieces in philosophy or morality, but they are not written by God, nor are they divinely inspired. We have to set them aside.
    There is a book in India called the Rig-Veda. It once dominated Hinduism. However, it does not claim to be written by God.
    Another book called the Avesta, written by a Persian named Zoroaster, is also extremely influential in the Middle East. It does not claim to be from God either. Moreover, its moral tone is not especially commendable.
    Let us come to the Koran of Mohammedanism. This is the closest one we can find. It tells us that it comes from God; it meets the first requirement. However, it does not fulfill the second requirement, for its moral tone is too low. The heaven it describes is full of lusts and flesh. God could never write a book with such licentiousness and immorality. Hence, this book does not pass the test of morality.

    After searching through all the books, you have to come finally to the Bible. If God desires to communicate with man, and if He does so through writing, then this is the only book that can pass the four tests. Hence, this must be the book God has for man.
    What does this book say? In the books of the law in the Old Testament, it says, “Thus said the Lord,” at least five hundred times. Other books in the Old Testament repeat the phrase about seven hundred times. In addition to the references in the New Testament to the speaking of God, the Bible has more than two thousand claims of divine origin. If God has no intention of communicating with man, we can forget about this book. But if He does communicate with man through writing, then this book has to be of immense value. Can you find another book where God is claimed as its author that many times?
    We have to see if the Bible meets the second qualification. Let us take a look at its moral tone. Everyone who has studied this book confesses that it carries the highest moral standard. Even the sins of the noblest persons are recorded and condemned without mercy. Once a strong opposer of the Bible was asked by his son, “Why are you so strong against the Bible?” He answered, “If I do not condemn it, it will condemn me.” This book does not let us get by easily. The human concept is that all sexual acts outside marriage are considered as fornication. The Bible, however, says that even an evil thought is fornication. Human morality condemns an act of killing as murder, but the Bible condemns a slight hatred in the heart as murder.
    We consider a man who lets his enemy get by without paying vengeance as forgiving. But the Bible charges man to love his enemy. How high is its moral tone and how low we are before its standards! You cannot help but admit that it presents the best ethical code for humanity.

    Furthermore, this book describes in detail the past and future of the universe. Once a friend told me that he could believe in everything the Bible says except the parts in Genesis and Revelation where it talks about the origin and destiny of the heavens and earth. I told him that if this is indeed a book from God, it must, of necessity, contain these matters. If the Bible did not contain Genesis and Revelation, it would be the same as any other book, and we would have to look for another book; it would not be the one we want. But the past condition of the world and its future destiny are recorded here. Hence, the third qualification is also met.

    What is the circulation of such a book? Last year (1935), more than two hundred million copies were sold. Can you name another book that has such a high circulation rate? This statistic, moreover, is not limited to just last year; every year the number has remained approximately the same. In one sense this book is very popular. In another sense it is like a thorn in your hand; it pierces you. This book gives you a headache. It creates an unspeakable uneasiness within man. It even causes man to oppose it. In spite of this, its annual sales are still over two hundred million.
    Furthermore, this book is translated into more than seven hundred twenty languages. In every country and among every race, there is a translation of this unique book. It is extremely easy for anyone to obtain a Bible anywhere in the world. If the Rig-Veda were God’s book, then more than half of the world would perish due to a failure in obtaining it. Even if you put the Rig-Veda in my hand, I would still be unable to understand it. If only the educated ones can contact God, then I am destined to go to hell. If only the Indians have the opportunity, we Chinese, as well as other races, are out of hope. If God speaks through the Rig-Veda, then where can we find that book? Maybe we can only find the original copy in the London Museum. And even that may not contain the original meaning of God’s revelation to man.

    This is not all. The Bible contains sixty-six books and it is divided into the Old and New Testaments. It was written by no less than thirty people. The span from the time the first book was written to the time when the last book was finished is more than sixteen hundred years. The places where they were written are also different. Some were written in Babylon, some in Italy, some at one end of Asia Minor, others at the other end of the Mediterranean. Furthermore, the writers themselves differed in their backgrounds. Some were lawyers; some were fishermen. There were princes, and there were shepherds. All these writings by men of different backgrounds, languages, environments, and periods are put together. The amazing thing is that it is still a complete book.
    All those who have had some experience of editing know that in order to put together a few articles written by different authors, it is necessary for the authors to be of comparable level of academic achievements and viewpoints. Even when the academic standard and viewpoints are similar, there will still be conflicts and contradictions when you put five or six articles together. But the Bible, though complex in contents, contains history, poetry, laws, prophecies, biographies, and doctrines and was written by so many different ones at different times and under different circumstances, yet when you put them together, they surprisingly run as one continuous volume. There is no conflict or contradiction. They are written in one breath.

    If you read this book carefully, you have to admit that God’s hand is behind all the writings. More than thirty people of varied backgrounds and ideas in different times and places wrote these sixty-six books. When you group them up, they link together as if they were written by one individual. Genesis was written about fifteen hundred years before Christ, and Revelation was written ninety-five years after Christ. There is a time span of sixteen hundred years. One talks about the beginning while the other projects the end of the world. Yet whatever begins in Genesis is concluded in Revelation. This amazing feature cannot be explained in human terms. Every word of it has to be written by God through man. God is the motivating One behind the whole composition.

    There is another remarkable thing about this book. In itself it is a book that gives life. Yet countless numbers of people have lost their lives for its sake. There was a time when anyone who held this book in his hand would immediately be put to death. The most powerful empire in history was the Roman Empire. There was a time when this empire summoned all its forces to destroy this book. Everyone who possessed it would be inhumanly persecuted and later killed or burned. They wiped out thousands of people and burned countless copies of the Bible. They even set up a monument at a place where they killed Christians. On it was the inscription: “Christianity is buried here.” They thought that when they had burned all the Bibles and removed all the Christians, they would see Christianity lying there beneath their feet. But it was not long after that when the Bible came back again. Even in a country like England, which has already accepted Christianity as its state religion, you can still find tombs of martyrs for Christ if you visit different places there. Here and there you can find places where the Bible was once burned. Or you may come across a tombstone that tells you that such and such a person tried so hard and wrote so many books in his life to oppose the Bible. One place may tell you that the Bible was once burned there, and another place may tell you that Christians were once killed there. One signpost may point you to a statue of martyrdom, and another may point to a site of Bible burning.
    Why is it that so many people have tried so hard to oppose this book? Why is it that men would pass by other books, but would either oppose this book with every fiber of their being or would put their whole life to the stake for it? There must be something extraordinary here. Even if you do not believe that this is God’s word, you have to admit that there is something unusual about this book.

    This book seems to be very simple and easy. If you consider it from the historical point of view, it tells the origin of the universe, the earth, the plants, human beings, how they established their kingdoms, and how they will eventually end. This is all. There is nothing special about it. Yet it has been handed from generation to generation for centuries. Today it is still with us. Moreover, if you do not confess that it is truth, you have to conclude that it is false. You can disregard many books, but you cannot ignore this book. Nor will it ignore you. It will not let you go. It demands a verdict from you. It will not pass you by.

    Another remarkable thing about this book is that almost half of it is prophecy. Among the prophecies, almost half of them are fulfilled. The other half is for the future and await fulfillment. For example, it predicted the fate of the nations of Moab and Ammon and of the cities of Tyre and Sidon. Today when people talk about big cities, they mention London and Shanghai. Then it was Tyre and Sidon. They were two chief cities of the ancient world. The prophecies concerning these two cities were all fulfilled. Once I was in the Middle East. For some reason I did not visit those two places. However, I bought two pictures of those cities. It amazed me when I looked at those pictures. I could not help but believe in the Bible. It was prophesied that if these two metropolitan cities did not repent, they would be destroyed and devastated. Their land would become hills of rocks and pebbles where fishermen would come to dry their nets. In the pictures that I bought, there was nothing but fishing boats and open nets on the shore. This is only one small fact that proves the reliability of biblical prophecy.
    If you compare past events with the prophecies in the Bible, you will find that they all correspond one with another. For another example, take the birth of Christ. Isaiah prophesied concerning a virgin with child a few hundred years before Christ actually came. Later, He was born indeed of the Virgin Mary. The prophecy was accurately fulfilled. As the prophecies concerning the past have been fulfilled, so the prophecies concerning the future must also be fulfilled.

    If God desires to communicate with man, He must do so through common human channels of communication. He must use the human language or human writings. In other words, there must be a book in the world that is a direct revelation from God. If such a book does exist, it must contain the four criteria we mentioned. Now we can say that such a book is found. This book tells us that God desires to have fellowship with us. He speaks to us through this book. Through it God is no longer an unknown Being. We can now know Him. This book is the Bible. I hope all of you will read it .

    THIS IS A SERIOUS MATER, IS HE CRAZY? A LUNATIC? A LIAR? PLEASE YOU’RE VERIDICT

    God desires to reveal Himself to us. He does so through means that are comprehensible to man. These are namely written and spoken language. We have seen how God reveals Himself through writing. Now we want to take a look at His revelation through speaking.
    Suppose that you have had correspondence with a person for many years; however, you have never seen him. Naturally, you would want to know him more by having some direct acquaintance with him. Full understanding of someone cannot be achieved merely through writing. Direct contact gives a better chance. It seems as if communication through speech is of a more intimate and thorough nature than writing. When spoken language is added to written language, communication becomes enhanced. If you take away either of the two, you have a gap. Of course, if you take away both, communication is completely voided. Effective communication is always carried out by these two means.
    If God’s intention is to reveal Him to us, He must of necessity do so through speaking. But how does God speak? Does He trumpet from the heavens? If so, we would all be frightened to death. We would all run away. No one would dare to listen. There is a chasm between Him and us. He, being so high and great, would drive us away from His holiness. How then does He speak?
    THE WINTER ON THE MOUNTAIN
    let me relate to you a story. One winter I was staying on the mountain Lu-shan, recovering from an illness. It was immediately after the war, and there was practically no one living on the mountain. In the vicinity of my dwelling, one could hardly see anyone all day long. I am a quiet person by nature. This kind of environment was very appealing to me. Not only was it quiet there, but the weather was cold as well. From morning till dusk, all I saw was a boy who came three times to deliver my meals. At the beginning I was quite at ease. But after a while, even a person like me began to feel lonely.
    One day after lunch I went to take a nap. There was a balcony outside my bedroom window. When I woke up I saw some little creatures gathering around the balcony. Bits of my meal had been dropped there, and the birds were busily chirping around them. As they hopped around, they chirped and made many cheerful noises. I said to myself, “All right. Since I cannot find any human beings, I will try to make friends with these little birds.”
    I rose up and went out to greet them. But in an instant they all flew away. An idea came to me. I took some of the leftover rice and began to arrange it in rows, with only a few grains in the first row and gradually increased them towards the entrance of the doorway. I hid behind the door and watched them coming. Soon they gathered around again. I said to me, “This is my chance.” I walked out and began to make friends with them. But the minute they saw me, they all scattered. Some perched on the branches of the tree across the balcony and stared at me, as if trying to determine what my intention was. Every time I approached them, they flew away, and every time I walked away, they came back. This went on a number of times.
    I wanted to preach to the birds. I wanted to tell them, “Little birds, I have no special intention in doing this. This is winter on the mountain, and food is scarce. I have enough food with me, and I just want to share it with you. Please be at peace and come down. I only ask that as you eat, I can sit among you. I want to listen to your songs and watch you playing. Come. Let us be friends…” But the birds would not come. They did not understand me. I had to give up.
    Later I had a certain realization within. I began to preach to myself. I said, “This body of mine is too big. If I could shrink from five feet eleven inches to the size of a bird, and even change myself into a bird, they would not be alarmed by my presence. I could then tell them my heart’s intention, and we could spend the winter on the mountain Lu-shan together.”

    We have a similar problem today. If God remained God, we could never understand Him. If He talked to us in His language, we would be altogether lost. If God wants to reveal Himself through speaking and have fellowship with man, He must shrink Himself to such a degree that He and we are the same. Only then would He be able to speak to us and tell us of Himself and of the mysteries of the universe. Only then would we be able to understand Him.
    Has God become a man to reveal Himself through His speaking? Let us again use the method of supposition. What if God revealed Himself through the human language? What if He became a man and fellowshipped with man? The implication is tremendous here! It would mean that in this world, among all the human beings throughout history, one person was not merely a man, but God as well! If it is granted that God became a man, there must be a mortal who was also divine. We need to find out about this One.

    This is a thorny task. But we will employ the effective method we have adopted–namely, setting down a few principles. Then we will search according to these qualifications and directions. We want to base our evaluation on what manner of life a person should possess and what qualifications he must have if he is God.
    The first condition that this person must fulfill is that he must claim to be God while he is on earth. He cannot be apologetic about it. He must declare boldly that he is God. Only then can we know who he is. Without this declaration, we have no way to guess his identity. Hence, a declaration is our first qualification.
    Second, the way this person came into the world must be different from ours. If I said that I am God and yet was born in the same manner as every other mortal, my words would carry no force. If on the other hand, I dropped down from heaven; my assertion would be taken seriously. The way this person comes into being must be extraordinary. He must come in an absolutely different fashion; otherwise, his words will not carry the necessary weight.
    Third, this man must bear a moral standard that is far above that of all other human beings. He must have God’s holiness, and his life must bear the mark of God’s righteousness. For example, if I became a bird and lived in exactly the same way as other birds, without showing them anything extraordinary, I could not convince them that I was actually a man. If God is to become a man, His moral behavior must be of the highest quality. This is the only way that we could identify Him as God.
    Furthermore, if a person is God, he must necessarily be able to perform things which no mortal can do. If he can achieve what we cannot achieve and know what we do not know, we can say that he is truly God.
    Lastly, this person must be able to tell us the divine purpose concerning man. What was God’s purpose in creating the universe and man? How does He take care of human pains and sorrows? What is the origin and ultimate solution of everything in the universe? What should our attitude towards God be? All these he must reveal to us. Unless this one shows us what we do not see, we cannot say that he has shown us any revelation.
    We will set down these five conditions and put the whole of humanity to the test. Let us find out if someone meets the five requirements. Such a person would surely be qualified to be God.
    The first person to put to the test should be you. Of course, you are not God, because you have never claimed to be God. Nor have I ever claimed to be. So that rules out you and me. Very well, now we will introduce Confucius. If you read his books, you will find that he did conduct a very moral and proper life. But he never claimed to be God either. Hence, he fails in the first step.
    What about Sakya Muni, the founder of Buddhism? Not only was there an absence of the claim of divinity, but his philosophy itself is void of deity. He did not believe in the existence of God. Since he had no God, he cannot be God either.
    Next, go to Mohammed. He believed in God. But he never claimed to be God. He called God Allah and himself the prophet of Allah. If you go through every person in history, you will discover that no one ever claimed to be God except One. That One was Jesus of Nazareth. He claimed to be the living God. No other person put forward such a claim.

    How can Jesus of Nazareth claim to be God? Before going on, we have to pause for a moment to seriously consider the matter. It is not a light thing to claim to be God. A person who makes such a claim falls into one of three categories. He must belong to one of these three categories; he cannot belong to all three. First, if he claims to be God and yet in fact is not, he has to be a madman or a lunatic. Second, if he is neither God nor a lunatic, he has to be a liar, deceiving others by his lie. Third, if he is neither of these, he must be God. You can only choose one of the three possibilities. If you do not believe that he is God, you have to consider him a madman. If you cannot take him for either of the two, you have to take him for a liar. There is no need for us to prove if Jesus of Nazareth is God or not. All we have to do is find out if He is a lunatic or a liar. If He is neither, He must be the Son of God. These are our three choices. There is no fourth.
    What did Jesus of Nazareth say about Himself? In John 10:30 He said, “I and the Father are one.” We need some explanation here. In the Bible the invisible God is called the Father. The Son manifests and expresses the Father. What is hidden is the Father, and what is expressed is the Son. The Son is the One who can be seen and touched. Behind, you have the Father. In front, you have the Son. The two are actually one. They are the two sides of the same reality. When we talk about two, we refer to the fact that one is hidden while the other is revealed. When we talk about one, we say that the revealed One is just the hidden One in manifestation. This is the biblical interpretation of the Father and the Son.
    Therefore, when Jesus of Nazareth one day said, “I and the Father are one,” it was a statement that no one else could make. This man was saying in reality that He and the invisible God are one entity. He is God and God is He. God is the invisible Father, and He is the manifested Son. The Father and the Son are one! Who can this One be that made such a claim? Is He a madman? Is He out to deceive us?
    After Jesus spoke such a word, what reaction do we see? “The Jews again took up stones that they might stone Him. Jesus answered them, I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these works are you stoning me? The Jews answered Him, We are not stoning You for a good work, but for blasphemy, and because you, being a man, are making Yourself God” (vv. 31-33). The Jews understood very well that Jesus’ words meant that He claimed to be God. After hearing these words they wanted to stone Him to death. A claim was made by Jesus, and an accusation was charged by the Jews, both of which concerned His divinity. Was Jesus insane? Did He speak pure nonsense just to cause people to kill Him? Or was He a swindler setting up some kind of a scheme? If so, what was He trying to gain? Was He trying to gain death?

    Perhaps we will go back a little bit to the earlier parts in the Gospel of John and see what it says there. John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” Why has no one seen God? It is because God is invisible. Jesus said that He was the only Begotten of the Father; He expressed the invisible Father. When you see the only Begotten, you see the Father.
    Again He spoke concerning Himself, “And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven” (3:13). Have you ever heard anyone say such words? I cannot say, “No one has been to Shanghai, but he who comes from Shanghai to Tientsin, even I, Watchman Nee, who is in Shanghai.” If I say so, I would be gibbering nonsense. But Jesus was speaking a heavenly language. He said that He came out of heaven and is still in heaven. What can a person be if he can be in two places simultaneously? Either he is God or he is a lunatic or he is a liar. If you have not yet believed in Christ, please give a verdict to this issue. Who is this man?
    Let us read John 3:31-32: “He who comes from above is above all; he who is from the earth is of the earth and speaks out of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. What He has seen and heard, of this He testifies, and no one receives His testimony.” He said that He came out of heaven and was above all. After a while He said the same thing again. Let us see what the purpose behind these words is. He came to preach the things of heaven, but no one received His words. He mentioned words like “heaven,” “above all,” “out of heaven,” etc. What kind of man was He? Confucius never said this. Neither did Sakya Muni or Mohammed. Was Jesus of Nazareth a madman, a liar, or the Son of God?
    John 5:17 says, “But Jesus answered them, My Father is working until now, and I also am working.” He always put Himself in the same place as the Father. Verse 18 says, “Because of this therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath but also called God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” When we read His words now, we may consider them to be ordinary remarks. But the Jews knew what He was saying. They knew that He was making Himself equal with God. The words in fact meant that God is His Father and He came to express God. The invisible One is God, and the visible One is He. Therefore, the Jews sought to kill Him. What should we do about such an unusual person?

    John 6:46 says, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except Him who is from God, He has seen the Father.” Here the word is clearer. He said that no one other than Himself has ever seen God. Only He knew what the Father is like. I can only say with soberness and reverence that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. Read John 8:18. What did He say? “I am one who testifies concerning me, and the Father who sent me testifies concerning me.” The question in verse 19 is most interesting: “They said then to Him, Where is Your Father? Jesus answered, you know neither me nor My Father; if you knew me, and you would know My Father also.” Have you seen what He was saying? They had seen Him, yet did not know Him. Of course they would not know the Father either, whom they had not seen. If men knew Him, they knew God. Who is He then? If knowing Him equals knowing God, is that not the same as saying that He is God and God is He?
    Read John 8:23: “And He said to them, You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” The preposition “from” in this verse is ek in Greek. It means “out of.” That is how it should be translated. He said, “You are out of this world, but I am not out of this world.” This man claimed to be from above; He did not come out of this world. Who can He be?
    The Jews were confused. They were totally bewildered. Who was this man? The ancestor of the Jews is Abraham. They boasted of being the descendants of Abraham in the same way the Chinese boast of being the offspring of Hwang-it. The name Abraham was highly venerated among the Jews. Now they brought out Abraham. Please read John 8:53: “Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too. Who are you making yourself?” How did Jesus answer them? Was He greater or smaller than Abraham? In verse 56 Jesus said, “Your father Abraham exulted that he would see my day, and he saw it and rejoiced.” What is this? Even Abraham had to look forward to Jesus! Hence, verse 57: “The Jews then said to Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Now please pay your attention to Jesus’ answer in verse 58: “Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham came into being, I am.” Tell me who this man is. If I told you that before Hwang-it was, I, Watchman Nee am there, you would immediately write me off as a lunatic. Some of you would say that I am a liar. The words Jesus spoke made Him a madman, a liar, or God. There can be no fourth alternative.

    We have to read on. In John 10:37-38 Jesus said, “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, even if you do not believe Me, believe the works so that you may come to know and continue to know…” Know what? The clause following is very crucial. It is a big statement: “…that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Who then is this man? He said that He was in God and God was in Him.
    Passages like the above are numerous in the Bible. I shall mention one more. Read carefully John 14:6-7: “Jesus said to him, I am the way and the reality and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known My Father also; and henceforth you know Him and have seen Him.” It says clearly that if you know Jesus of Nazareth, you have known the invisible God. Why is this so? It is because He is God.

    One of the disciples was confused. John 14:8 says, “Philip said to

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