Nature vs. Nurture, Verified Miracles(?), and Why do you hate God?

June 20, 2018

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Just a few words before I open the floor for questions and comments…

While it’s true that I’ve been an atheist since around 1970 – and have studied religion, promoted freethought publicly, spoken and written about belief for decades – I do not speak for all atheists. No one does. We don’t cotton to authority.

This blog is for the believer who genuinely seeks to understand the godless, for the unchurched who must navigate a world full of believers, and for anyone else who has a lot of time on their hands.


What is Your definition of God?

—Alaine

The one that gets my attention is the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, creator of the universe. Anything shy of that is like cheese-less pizza – unworthy of consideration.

What is the airspeed velocity of a laden swallow?

—Kenny Biddle

Depends on how laden he is. I defer to a British sentry from the 6th Century for more discussion.

Has there been a verified case of a “miracle”?

—Dave Oberhelman

Not to the satisfaction of science. Miracle claims are virtually 100% anecdotal. The 2016 Cubs shook the scientific community a bit though. Some things are tough to explain.

Do you think belief is nature or nurture?

—Jerrald Harvey Zeigler Jr.

I’d say nurture is slightly more dominant. Most people adopt similar beliefs of their families and immediate culture. You don’t see a lot of Baptists in Mongolia or Buddhists in Alabama. But there are aspects of our brains that fool us into thinking the supernatural/paranormal exists. Also, most religions offer some form of afterlife. That is very seductive to our innate desire to live (on).

So both sides influence heavily. If say, Christianity, were erased from culture, it would be lost forever (unlike science which would eventually be rediscovered.) Religions are very good meme-replicating machines.

Is there no greater power or are we all just one? In other words, am I one with the flea, rock, and a single-celled algae on planet in another galaxy?

—Bill Peregrine

You are one with them in that all were created from Stars a long time ago. You are different from them in that for a while your molecules are organized into the person that is you, but that is only temporary. Then you go back into the system… like the flea who was trying to be one with me in the woods the other day.

Why do you hate God?

—Anonymous

I don’t hate God, Homer Simpson, or any other fictional character. Though I have seen Homer Simpson.