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Thread: The types of evidence that would convince me that a religion is true

  1. #1 The types of evidence that would convince me that a religion is true 
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    First off, I want to say that although I don't believe in religion, I am not here to judge others for doings so. This isn't a topic to just bash religion, rather to entertain a few ideas of what a real religion may look like, in my opinion (and yours too). There are a few things that I think would exist in our world if any of the religions were actually true.

    • If a single religion (or God/god) were founded in completely different areas around the globe: if there is a real god speaking to people, this god would have been founded everywhere. When the Europeans founded the Americas and the American Indians were worshiping Jesus...this would be (most likely) proof of him actually existing and communicating to people. Also apply this idea to Holy Scriptures. If the Europeans founded America and found them reading a copy of the New Testament, this would be pretty good evidence for the authenticity.
    • If religious scriptures contained truly inspired knowledge: Read some religious scriptures and finding a cure to cancer, how to end poverty, explain quantum physics or something that couldn't have been thought up by ancient humans would convince me of their authenticity. There are definitely parts of scripture that "help" people, but this is in a different sense. Many people read a verse in the Bible for instance, and use it as an analogy to be applied to their daily lives and this may help people, but it's not out of reach of what a normal human being could write. You can, in a sense, do the same thing with any book on your bookshelf. Nothing written in any religious scripture I have read has contained anything that could have been thought up by a normal person. The Golden Rule seems to be, not divinely inspired, but rather common sense to a large community and arose in many different cultures around the world, regardless of their religion.
    • Finding clear standards: in many religions, the gods are said to be all-powerful and yet they cannot even convey a clear message whatsoever to their adherents. Reading the Bible, you find that you can justify almost any act, no matter how horrible. We find this in the history of monotheistic religions that are incredibly racist, sexist and violent. If religious scriptures are "divinely inspired", why are there not even close to being a clear standard? Keep in mind, in many translations of the 10 Commandments, it's not "Do not kill", it is "Do not murder". This is a completely different meaning and has been used to justify killing in the past.
    • Soldiers who fight in wars would be actually protected by their God. I am an atheist and also was a sniper in the US Army. I was shot in my face (graze wound to my temple) and yet I had many friends who heavily believed in God were killed. Admittedly, this isn't a strong point, but I think things would be different if a God did actually exist.
    • Does it make sense that a certain God/gods only will "communicate" to you if you believe in them? Wouldn't a true God make itself explicitly known to everybody, regardless of their beliefs. The all-knowing Gods should be more understandable to logic and evidence if he is truly all-knowing.
    • Why are there multiple religions? Multiple "Holy" scriptures? Multiple Gods/gods? If any religion was really true, I think there would only be one. The fact that there are multiples seems to suggest that people are making them up at least to some degree. They cannot all logically be right, but they all logically can be wrong.


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    In order:
    1) A very common psychology (or very limited imagination) could account for the same myths being widespread. Or alien contact (not that I actually subscribe to that, but it's an option).
    2) Alien contact could also account for this. How would you rule it out?
    3) Common psychology/ aliens again.
    4) Yup, I could go with that one. Although, given "god" why would he/ she/ it let wars start in the first place? Surely it's easier (less work) to prevent a war than it is individually protect each soldier? (After all, presuming that soldiers on one side were protected and soldiers on the other then the first set is definitely the good guys...)
    5) Yup.
    6) Yup.


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    My opinion only and not testable so far as I know:

    Early religions were the best explanations of the world ancient peoples could come up with.
    Some religious stories were more about psychology and human relations than about explaining physical phenomena.

    Good stories travel along trade routes and where there are few or no routes of communication the stories change.
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    In order to take religion seriously, I need one simple task performed; accurately predict something.

    That's it.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    In order to take religion seriously, I need one simple task performed; accurately predict something.

    That's it.
    You must have seen the war against ISIS coming surely? Predicting whether it is winnable might be a tad harder.
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    Why does everyone point at Jesus and say that is someone's God? It clearly states in all the text God was a different dude. The God of the Christians is the God of the Jews. The other fact that seems to always be misinterpreted is, that the texts where written by men not God. Not all religions express necessity to believe in God either, some actually focus on self. I know of no man who could not fashion himself into a better person, or member of society.
    Whatever your take on religion one must agree, when we where coming out of the caves, and starting to fashion tools and weapons from metal, living in communities, we needed a code of conduct. Many of the fairy tails in the early texts worked in favor of the peoples who lived by the teachings.
    In today's world there is much narcissism, as in times past, men who think they (because of their money or power) can get away with anything, and sometimes do. The fear that religion puts into a man's heart, helps the those who have little moral conviction keep within the boundaries of society.
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    Quote Originally Posted by keeseguy View Post
    Why does everyone point at Jesus and say that is someone's God? It clearly states in all the text God was a different dude. The God of the Christians is the God of the Jews. The other fact that seems to always be misinterpreted is, that the texts where written by men not God. Not all religions express necessity to believe in God either, some actually focus on self. I know of no man who could not fashion himself into a better person, or member of society.
    Whatever your take on religion one must agree, when we where coming out of the caves, and starting to fashion tools and weapons from metal, living in communities, we needed a code of conduct. Many of the fairy tails in the early texts worked in favor of the peoples who lived by the teachings.
    In today's world there is much narcissism, as in times past, men who think they (because of their money or power) can get away with anything, and sometimes do. The fear that religion puts into a man's heart, helps the those who have little moral conviction keep within the boundaries of society.
    Well, Jesus is God according to most Christians. The idea of the Holy Trinity (Son, Father and Holy Spirit are one in the same) was created during the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople which then laid the foundation for the "orthodox" version of Christianity which all modern-day versions of Christianity would be based off of. The New Testament also states that the scriptures were "divinely inspired" and much of the New Testament was written, mainly Paul's letters, because of revelations from God.
    My final point would be to state that most religions that are recorded don't have moral codes and don't tell you have to live your life. Moral codes in religion is mainly only seen in religions with scriptures, which most religions don't have because they belong to illiterate societies. You seem to suggest that religions have always used moral codes and this is inaccurate. Codes of conduct in today's hunter-gatherer society are mainly secular and tend to shun or ban people (or at least threaten them with these) from the groups in order to keep order like the African Pygmies and Netsilik Eskimos.
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    When one chooses not to believe in any religion, they find a way not to believe. When you choose to believe, they find a way to get total fulfillment from the scriptures. I personally, would not clump believers into a single category (Christianity, is not the largest religion on the planet).
    Illiterate society is a bit of an oxymoron, even if a religion had no scripture, there would need to be some recording of the percepts of the belief or, it would be difficult to maintain through more then 1 generation, hence could it be classified as a religion?
    There are examples of "believers" in various religions performing acts of almost miraculous mind control, healing, and physical feats they attribute to their beliefs. Be these scientifically proven hoaxes or just exceptional mind control abilities, I give it to anyone who has that much belief, and uses it for non destructive endeavors, I for one will not be walking on hot coals anytime soon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    In order to take religion seriously, I need one simple task performed; accurately predict something.

    That's it.
    You must have seen the war against ISIS coming surely? Predicting whether it is winnable might be a tad harder.
    There is no prediction in the Bible that mentions ISIS. There are interpretations and manipulations of vagaries which people choose to believe lend some credibility to Biblical texts.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Quote Originally Posted by keeseguy View Post
    When one chooses not to believe in any religion, they find a way not to believe. When you choose to believe, they find a way to get total fulfillment from the scriptures.
    I suggest that, generally, you don't choose so much as become convinced.

    Illiterate society is a bit of an oxymoron
    Uh what?
    Historically societies have been (largely) illiterate: the elite may have been literate but not the general populace.

    even if a religion had no scripture, there would need to be some recording of the percepts of the belief or, it would be difficult to maintain through more then 1 generation, hence could it be classified as a religion?
    It's called Oral tradition.

    There are examples of "believers" in various religions performing acts of almost miraculous mind control, healing, and physical feats they attribute to their beliefs.
    What you mean is that there are stories of such.

    I for one will not be walking on hot coals anytime soon.
    Uh yeah...
    You do know it's a "trick"?
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    I agree with Dywyddyr's first three possible arguments against the OP. [I am atheist myself, too. But some of these arguments are not good ones.]

    4) "Soldiers who fight in wars would be actually protected by their God. "

    A religious apology to this might merely state that you were be on the wrong side, or wrong god, or you did something wrong, etc...

    5) "
    Does it make sense that a certain God/gods only will "communicate" to you if you believe in them? Wouldn't a true God make itself explicitly known to everybody, regardless of their beliefs. The all-knowing Gods should be more understandable to logic and evidence if he is truly all-knowing."

    Although most Christian apologists might represent their gods as omnipotent, omniscient, etc., this can't eliminate those potential beliefs outside of these qualifiers. If you created an artificial intelligent program or entity, is it not possible that you wouldn't waste your time with bothering with 'communicating' with your creations? In fact, if your computer started spitting back accolades to you and demand wishes that it wants you to provide, unless you have some need to provide such input, could this not possibly appear rather annoying if the program is defeating the purpose you intended it to do? In fact, if you programmed such entities to act as humans did, if they were certain that you existed, wouldn't all the beings in it stop doing all the work of the intended program and start demanding that you did it for them instead?

    Program #3, 503, 495, 093: "Oh, my Superior creator, please tell me what 9753/395 equals."
    Programer: "Umm...I programmed you to do that for me and besides, I'm really busy with other questions from all my other programs. Let me get back to you."


    I agree with your last point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Mayers View Post
    I agree with Dywyddyr's first three possible arguments against the OP. [I am atheist myself, too. But some of these arguments are not good ones.]

    4) "Soldiers who fight in wars would be actually protected by their God. "

    A religious apology to this might merely state that you were be on the wrong side, or wrong god, or you did something wrong, etc...

    5) "
    Does it make sense that a certain God/gods only will "communicate" to you if you believe in them? Wouldn't a true God make itself explicitly known to everybody, regardless of their beliefs. The all-knowing Gods should be more understandable to logic and evidence if he is truly all-knowing."

    Although most Christian apologists might represent their gods as omnipotent, omniscient, etc., this can't eliminate those potential beliefs outside of these qualifiers. If you created an artificial intelligent program or entity, is it not possible that you wouldn't waste your time with bothering with 'communicating' with your creations? In fact, if your computer started spitting back accolades to you and demand wishes that it wants you to provide, unless you have some need to provide such input, could this not possibly appear rather annoying if the program is defeating the purpose you intended it to do? In fact, if you programmed such entities to act as humans did, if they were certain that you existed, wouldn't all the beings in it stop doing all the work of the intended program and start demanding that you did it for them instead?

    Program #3, 503, 495, 093: "Oh, my Superior creator, please tell me what 9753/395 equals."
    Programer: "Umm...I programmed you to do that for me and besides, I'm really busy with other questions from all my other programs. Let me get back to you."


    I agree with your last point.
    I'm having a hard time with this page on my phone right now for some reason so bear with my answer as it will be eight to the point.

    Your objection to my point number 4 seems to miss the point. I'm not stating anything about the religious interpretation of being "protected" by their God but rather we would be able to objectively see a group of people who subscribe to a particular religion to be much less likely to be killed off during wars...if at all. I stated this was a weaker point because a God may not necessarily save his followers from those types of situations and is a generalization on my part.

    And to be honest, I don't seem to understand your point in the rest of your post. To expand on my own to clear up any possible misunderstanding...God's only tend to "communicate" to people who are culturally exposed to the religion. If a God was actually all - powerful and wanted to speak to his creations, he WOULD speak to all his creations as he is all-powerful. When I ask a believer why their God doesn't speak to me, it's generally stated that it's due to the fact that I don't believe in the god which implies that their God only speaks to believers. Hope this helps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by keeseguy View Post
    When one chooses not to believe in any religion, they find a way not to believe. When you choose to believe, they find a way to get total fulfillment from the scriptures.
    I suggest that, generally, you don't choose so much as become convinced.

    Illiterate society is a bit of an oxymoron
    Uh what?
    Historically societies have been (largely) illiterate: the elite may have been literate but not the general populace.

    even if a religion had no scripture, there would need to be some recording of the percepts of the belief or, it would be difficult to maintain through more then 1 generation, hence could it be classified as a religion?
    It's called Oral tradition.

    There are examples of "believers" in various religions performing acts of almost miraculous mind control, healing, and physical feats they attribute to their beliefs.
    What you mean is that there are stories of such.

    I for one will not be walking on hot coals anytime soon.
    Uh yeah...
    You do know it's a "trick"?
    The OP suggested that perhaps, with proper evidence he would opt for a religion. I understand that in most cases cultural pressure fathers in most citizens. Most in today's society, will reach an age where they may question their faith, or lack thereof.
    As to society being illiterate, though the elite may have had a special level of knowledge, literacy surely would be measured only by ones ability to be a functioning member of that community. One can know to read and still be an imbecile. I suggest for a community to function as a society, there needs to be people skilled to the level of effectiveness within that community.
    My suggestion to the hot coals alludes to the power of the mind, to, not only act as a placebo to heal and protect the individual, there is proof that a happy and calm psych leads to longevity, perhaps somewhat of "a cure for cancer".
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    Quote Originally Posted by keeseguy View Post
    As to society being illiterate, though the elite may have had a special level of knowledge, literacy surely would be measured only by ones ability to be a functioning member of that community. One can know to read and still be an imbecile. I suggest for a community to function as a society, there needs to be people skilled to the level of effectiveness within that community.
    In other words you're now redefining the meaning of "literacy". (Despite your earlier mention of "scripture" and "recordings").

    My suggestion to the hot coals alludes to the power of the mind
    With regard to what?

    perhaps somewhat of "a cure for cancer".
    Huh?
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    And your dictionary defines literacy how? As for the power of the mind, had you not edited my statement, the mind has a powerful impact on the health.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReligionOfTheSemites View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by keeseguy View Post
    Why does everyone point at Jesus and say that is someone's God? It clearly states in all the text God was a different dude. The God of the Christians is the God of the Jews. The other fact that seems to always be misinterpreted is, that the texts where written by men not God. Not all religions express necessity to believe in God either, some actually focus on self. I know of no man who could not fashion himself into a better person, or member of society.
    Whatever your take on religion one must agree, when we where coming out of the caves, and starting to fashion tools and weapons from metal, living in communities, we needed a code of conduct. Many of the fairy tails in the early texts worked in favor of the peoples who lived by the teachings.
    In today's world there is much narcissism, as in times past, men who think they (because of their money or power) can get away with anything, and sometimes do. The fear that religion puts into a man's heart, helps the those who have little moral conviction keep within the boundaries of society.
    Well, Jesus is God according to most Christians. The idea of the Holy Trinity (Son, Father and Holy Spirit are one in the same) was created during the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople which then laid the foundation for the "orthodox" version of Christianity which all modern-day versions of Christianity would be based off of. The New Testament also states that the scriptures were "divinely inspired" and much of the New Testament was written, mainly Paul's letters, because of revelations from God.
    My final point would be to state that most religions that are recorded don't have moral codes and don't tell you have to live your life. Moral codes in religion is mainly only seen in religions with scriptures, which most religions don't have because they belong to illiterate societies. You seem to suggest that religions have always used moral codes and this is inaccurate. Codes of conduct in today's hunter-gatherer society are mainly secular and tend to shun or ban people (or at least threaten them with these) from the groups in order to keep order like the African Pygmies and Netsilik Eskimos.
    Illiterate societies have no scriptures.
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    Quote Originally Posted by keeseguy View Post
    Illiterate societies have no scriptures.
    And here we are again, redefining words.
    Throughout most of human history large numbers of societies have been illiterate.
    The existence of a literate "elite" does not make the society literate.
    illiteracy: History | Infoplease.com
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    [QUOTE=Dywyddyr;592545]
    Quote Originally Posted by keeseguy View Post
    Illiterate societies have no scriptures.
    And here we are again, redefining words.

    Until i learn to crop quotes as you do I fear any productive discussion may not be possible
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    Quote Originally Posted by keeseguy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ReligionOfTheSemites View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by keeseguy View Post
    Why does everyone point at Jesus and say that is someone's God? It clearly states in all the text God was a different dude. The God of the Christians is the God of the Jews. The other fact that seems to always be misinterpreted is, that the texts where written by men not God. Not all religions express necessity to believe in God either, some actually focus on self. I know of no man who could not fashion himself into a better person, or member of society.
    Whatever your take on religion one must agree, when we where coming out of the caves, and starting to fashion tools and weapons from metal, living in communities, we needed a code of conduct. Many of the fairy tails in the early texts worked in favor of the peoples who lived by the teachings.
    In today's world there is much narcissism, as in times past, men who think they (because of their money or power) can get away with anything, and sometimes do. The fear that religion puts into a man's heart, helps the those who have little moral conviction keep within the boundaries of society.
    Well, Jesus is God according to most Christians. The idea of the Holy Trinity (Son, Father and Holy Spirit are one in the same) was created during the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople which then laid the foundation for the "orthodox" version of Christianity which all modern-day versions of Christianity would be based off of. The New Testament also states that the scriptures were "divinely inspired" and much of the New Testament was written, mainly Paul's letters, because of revelations from God.
    My final point would be to state that most religions that are recorded don't have moral codes and don't tell you have to live your life. Moral codes in religion is mainly only seen in religions with scriptures, which most religions don't have because they belong to illiterate societies. You seem to suggest that religions have always used moral codes and this is inaccurate. Codes of conduct in today's hunter-gatherer society are mainly secular and tend to shun or ban people (or at least threaten them with these) from the groups in order to keep order like the African Pygmies and Netsilik Eskimos.
    Illiterate societies have no scriptures.
    Yeah, and if you actually read my response, I literally go over how societies that are illiterate don't have scriptures.

    "Moral codes in religion is mainly only seen in religions with scriptures, which most religions don't have because they belong to illiterate societies."
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    Quote Originally Posted by keeseguy View Post
    Until i learn to crop quotes as you do I fear any productive discussion may not be possible
    Until you learn to be precise "productive discussion" doesn't look like it's forthcoming.
    NVM, you're on the ignore list now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReligionOfTheSemites View Post
    Yeah, and if you actually read my response, I literally go over how societies that are illiterate don't have scriptures.

    "Moral codes in religion is mainly only seen in religions with scriptures, which most religions don't have because they belong to illiterate societies."
    I don't think that part about societies that lacked writing also lacked moral codes is right.
    There are too many examples of primitive societies that have severe moral codes.
    Comparative Criminal Law and Enforcement: Preliterate Societies - Emerging Problems - Social, Crime, Offender, and Sanctions - JRank Articles
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ReligionOfTheSemites View Post
    Yeah, and if you actually read my response, I literally go over how societies that are illiterate don't have scriptures.

    "Moral codes in religion is mainly only seen in religions with scriptures, which most religions don't have because they belong to illiterate societies."
    I don't think that part about societies that lacked writing also lacked moral codes is right.
    There are too many examples of primitive societies that have severe moral codes.
    Comparative Criminal Law and Enforcement: Preliterate Societies - Emerging Problems - Social, Crime, Offender, and Sanctions - JRank Articles
    I can see where this can be misinterpreted but my quote should be interpreted like this:

    "Moral codes in religion is mainly only seen in religions with scriptures, which most religions don't have (meaning scriptures not moral codes) because they belong to illiterate societies."

    Most recorded religions have belonged to illiterate societies. Anthropologists go around the world and study them like the African Pygmies to Netsilik Eskimos. These cultures most likely have some sort of moral codes but aren't inherently entwined with religion. Strict religious moral codes developed along side with writing as religions were started to create scriptures.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReligionOfTheSemites View Post


    Your objection to my point number 4 seems to miss the point. I'm not stating anything about the religious interpretation of being "protected" by their God but rather we would be able to objectively see a group of people who subscribe to a particular religion to be much less likely to be killed off during wars...if at all. I stated this was a weaker point because a God may not necessarily save his followers from those types of situations and is a generalization on my part.

    And to be honest, I don't seem to understand your point in the rest of your post. To expand on my own to clear up any possible misunderstanding...God's only tend to "communicate" to people who are culturally exposed to the religion. If a God was actually all - powerful and wanted to speak to his creations, he WOULD speak to all his creations as he is all-powerful. When I ask a believer why their God doesn't speak to me, it's generally stated that it's due to the fact that I don't believe in the god which implies that their God only speaks to believers. Hope this helps.
    I recognize that I might be missing an interpretation here. I think that dependent upon a religion, one might presume that whatever occurs, no matter of the outcome, it is God's way and He(She/it) can chose to communicate this in whatever way it wants, even if it might chose to appear ambivalent or indeterminate. In other words, God may chose to purposely 'favor' even an absolute atheistic interpretation because it 'wants' to appear this way as it is in its power to do so. At least, this is the way I understand a good religious apologist to argue. As such, in both of the points that I raised (4 and 5), it could be argued that God is so powerful as to also purposely make humans think that their reasoning leads to at least appear contradictory to an objective perspective. I read "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" years ago and remember how this type of explanation was used to describe the way the God of War, "Ares", was interpreted after-the-fact (post-hoc fallacy, in logic). To such apologists, their god is sufficiently powerful to also be able to grant the delusion of fallacies.

    For what you didn't follow on the '5th' point, I gave a "Matrix"-type example to show how 'god', if it exists, could be akin to an average human who 'creates' its entities to serves some purpose. As such, this particular type of entity (as a creator) wouldn't have to be morally superior, but rather simply an entity that 'created' us in order to serve some function beyond even it might be able to do on its own (like how we create computers and programs to go beyond our own capacity). This is usually NOT the traditional Judea-Christian views and so may not apply to these particular beliefs. But some forms of religion can apply this type of thinking. I find this type of reasoning for a religion relatively less harmful, but nevertheless, they are still a form of religion.
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    You say: "In other words, God may chose to purposely 'favor' even an absolute atheistic interpretation because it 'wants' to appear this way as it is in its power to do so. At least, this is the way I understand a good religious apologist to argue. As such, in both of the points that I raised (4 and 5), it could be argued that God is so powerful as to also purposely make humans think that their reasoning leads to at least appear contradictory to an objective perspective" and this is a completely valid point. In fact, it's a point that many the theologians and apologists who use ad-hoc reasoning to defend their God but I guess my somewhat ambivalent point of the original post is that there is no logical reasoning behind choosing this way to expose yourself to your followers (if that is what the God is trying to do) and essentially being as confusing as possible. If there is one real God in a sea of false gods, he is doing no better communicating to his adherents and than all of the false gods that are "communicating" to the false gods (aka communicating to their own mind). If there is one real God, he is not saving them on the battlefield more than any other false gods and I think if there were truly a God out there and had the qualities of the Gods mentioned in many religions, we would actually see a difference.

    But for your second point, if the God doesn't want to interfere with his creation, then all the religions all wrong. If God wants to create everything, sit back and watch...well there would be no point in worshiping a God who doesn't ask for it. I study religion in college and have never read about a religion where the Gods don't specifically interact with people in any extent, but I can definitely see the possibility of this type of God existing.
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