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very differentiable
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I've seen lot's of hypothesising when it comes to deities and whatnot, but isn't it just all hollow words. We have no indication of them, the descriptions and texts describing them and events surrounding them can be twisted in any way you'd want. In essence, shouldn't we just stick to the most pure of reasoning, based on observation and logical deduction (something held near a lamp heats up, that means air must transfer heat from the lamp, not that the lamp holds a lighter near it, silly example but quite effective). Simply said, why still reason on assumptions, which can be used against you or overruled easily.

Take pascals wager, it reasons how a belief in a god can reward you, giving acces to a pleasent afterlife, or if not to exist not ever finding out. Whereas not believing can either punish you or you will never find out if he would not exist. I can easily rephrase it, being punished is negative (i guess it is to some extent), nonexistance is neutral and a pleasent afterlife is positive according to the original version. However, humans fear death, not being around any more, so non existance would be negative, whereas damnation isn't that bad, since at least you'll stll exist and a pleasent afterlife is even better.

The above part goes to show how anything can be twisted perfectly to fit your own view, whereas empirism and rationalism lead to a more objective argument, and to less hassle.
 
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Lumen et ignem

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Your points do make sense however i don't really believe that we fear death. Some may but if you believe in God then really there isn't much point in fearing death and if you don't, well, there still isn't much point in fearing death because then you probably believe there isn't hell or heaven or any other form of afterlife.
 

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I do fear death, and i bet most do, simply because i am sure that i exist, however, when i die, i can't know and as far as i've seen it's the end. But you seem to believe, have you experienced heaven/hell or know someone who experienced it. Isn't it just an assumption made several hundreds of years ago.
 

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If humans were purely logical creatures, being entirely empirical and "rational" would work. However, humans aren't entirely logical (and in my honest opinion, we shouldn't be). On a similar note, it's nigh impossible to be what you suggest for the simple fact that even data must be interpreted in some way or form. All of said interpretations are derived from preconceived notions (and the data, of course). To assume that something "is" is just as much of a preconceived notion as assuming something "is not". You could make the claim that you assume neither; but when interpreting related data, you will have to go one way or the other. Also, when I say data, I'm referring to numerical data too. Granted, data in a vacuum is set and immutable (unless there's an error with the formula, calculation, etc.); but useful data is never done in a vacuum and is designed to point towards something. Most of the time, what it points to isn't always as clear or easily defined as we might like.
 

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▽;4778745 said:
I do fear death, and i bet most do, simply because i am sure that i exist, however, when i die, i can't know and as far as i've seen it's the end. But you seem to believe, have you experienced heaven/hell or know someone who experienced it. Isn't it just an assumption made several hundreds of years ago.

No, i just don't really see any reason to fear death. The way i see it, it's an inevitable fact of life. I believe in God. I don't really know much about the bible and stuff though i just try and figure out my beliefs.
 

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Actually, no-one 100% knows, has seen it, or been there and able to tell about "The Afterlife," save John from the Holy Bible (that I know of). Even then, go back farther than Christianity and you'll most likely find someone similar to Jesus or God/Holy Spirit.

Since the Dawn of Time, mankind has looked to the heavens, for an answer to why we're here, what are we meant for, etc. From there began the Mankind-long thought that there:
A) Is a god/gods.
B) They see all, so be good.
C) Worship them on these days, burn sacrifices, cut out some willing person's heart, and so on.
D) If you don't follow these rules, there will be divine retribution.

Death is just a mere passing from this world. Do we know where we go to? Most likely not, unless you count being buried six feet under.
 

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Ah, the fun of the human language. Problem is, we aren't all just one hive or organism, thus, personalities conflict with one another.

And you make a good point, both you and Nevermore. Pessimistic and Optimistic are both opinions, as is what people can concieve as right or wrong but, there is a certain amount of things that is very often related with those two ideas. Key word here, relative.

ack... if only my head wasn't hurting I'd have gotten more in depth. =.=;
 

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That might be so, but observations can be combined. What i suggest is logical reasoning in it's purest form. It is based on axioms, and thus can only be based on them. We treat those observations as axioms, and thus basing every statement on observation. The statements following from these axioms can be used in further reasoning. When doing observations, axioms are formulated in such a way every person would agree to them.
 

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To the OP:

Whoa whoa whoa you stopped making sense when you said "damnation isn't that bad." Jeez this is just so ignorant it's almost infuriating...DAMNATION isn't THAT BAD?! Would you rather burn in agonizing PAIN for all ETERNITY, or just not exist at all?! I mean REALLY, can you even comprehend it, eternity? Being in so much pain and wanting it all to go away, only to have no relief?! That's a horrible existence, anyone in that situation would be begging to just disappear entirely!

You write kinda weird, without question marks...I'm also confused about the Pascal wager, could you explain it more clearly? Wouldn't it make sense that whether God is real or not, it would be best to just believe in him in case he is real? If he's not real, you've lived a kind and righteous life, and your existence ends with you feeling accomplished and ready for heaven. If he is real, you actually go to that heaven and spend eternity in a paradise. Was that kinda like what you were saying?

And I'll say it just like everyone else: I do not fear death. I fear the thought of the pain, if it happens to be painful, but death in itself is a good thing to me, because I believe I will ascend to God. If my death is painless after a fulfilling life, even better.

As for the first thing you said, it really can go both ways. We won't truly know until we die, so neither side can ever completely disprove the other.
 

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If humans were purely logical creatures, being entirely empirical and "rational" would work. However, humans aren't entirely logical (and in my honest opinion, we shouldn't be).

I agree. Being purely rational and logical would, in my opinion, signify that we forfeit our empathy, among other things, which is one of humanity's greatest defining traits.

However, feelings are not well-suited to all situations. There are times when they are appropriate, and times when they aren't. Specifically, when it comes to establishing truth claims, objectivity, attempting to rid yourself of biases and purely observe, is undoubtedly preferable. Opinions can be, and often are, wrong, but facts are facts and no one wishing otherwise will make them anything else. It is impossible to be completely objective, as you will definitely point out, and I agree...in much the same way a learning artist can't completely and accurately portray reality, regardless of his efforts. Does that mean he should quit trying to improve and become better at his trade?

On a similar note, it's nigh impossible to be what you suggest for the simple fact that even data must be interpreted in some way or form. All of said interpretations are derived from preconceived notions (and the data, of course). To assume that something "is" is just as much of a preconceived notion as assuming something "is not". You could make the claim that you assume neither; but when interpreting related data, you will have to go one way or the other. Also, when I say data, I'm referring to numerical data too. Granted, data in a vacuum is set and immutable (unless there's an error with the formula, calculation, etc.); but useful data is never done in a vacuum and is designed to point towards something. Most of the time, what it points to isn't always as clear or easily defined as we might like.

All observations require interpretation, and it's silly to dismiss our knowledge purely on that basis. I agree that obtaining absolute truth is difficult, perhaps impossible. However, some preconceptions are necessary on our part in order for us to, well, live, because if we start second-guessing everything we know solely because there's an infinitesimal chance it could be wrong then we'd never get anything done.

You write kinda weird, without question marks...I'm also confused about the Pascal wager, could you explain it more clearly? Wouldn't it make sense that whether God is real or not, it would be best to just believe in him in case he is real? If he's not real, you've lived a kind and righteous life, and your existence ends with you feeling accomplished and ready for heaven. If he is real, you actually go to that heaven and spend eternity in a paradise. Was that kinda like what you were saying?

My dad tells me this often. Both you and him fail to realize that this argument is inherently flawed.

First of all, any theist can make that claim. If a christian made it, it would pay for you to convert to christianity, if a muslim made the claim it would pay for you to convert to Islam, and so and so forth. It assumes that there are only two options.

Secondly, even if you were to make it a general statement, that it is better to believe in SOMETHING rather than nothing, this presupposes that if there is a deity, that it decides what happens to us in the afterlife, and that it values blind faith and trust in it. We cannot claim to know anything about deities at all, including that. For all you know he might reward skepticism, he might send everyone to eternal suffering anyway, or he might just not care at all.

Any belief you have puts you at a risk. That is why you shouldn't believe out of fear. Just believe what you think is true.
 

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I agree. Being purely rational and logical would, in my opinion, signify that we forfeit our empathy, among other things, which is one of humanity's greatest defining traits.

However, feelings are not well-suited to all situations. There are times when they are appropriate, and times when they aren't. Specifically, when it comes to establishing truth claims, objectivity, attempting to rid yourself of biases and purely observe, is undoubtedly preferable. Opinions can be, and often are, wrong, but facts are facts and no one wishing otherwise will make them anything else. It is impossible to be completely objective, as you will definitely point out, and I agree...in much the same way a learning artist can't completely and accurately portray reality, regardless of his efforts. Does that mean he should quit trying to improve and become better at his trade?

Oh, believe me; I'm not saying that the two should always be used in unison. Bias is something that should always be minimized to as small an amount as possible. I'm merely expressing that, time and time again, we humans have shown that completely separating the two is something that we don't do well. As such, it's always important to remember its existence (lest we find ourselves trapped, thinking that we've negated our bias entirely . . . on a side note, did I just use "lest" -_-).

All observations require interpretation, and it's silly to dismiss our knowledge purely on that basis. I agree that obtaining absolute truth is difficult, perhaps impossible. However, some preconceptions are necessary on our part in order for us to, well, live, because if we start second-guessing everything we know solely because there's an infinitesimal chance it could be wrong then we'd never get anything done.

I'm not saying that we should dismiss the knowledge that we already have. For example, it's a fairly safe assumption that the sun will rise again tomorrow. Is it a certainty? No, but it's happened enough times that we can safely guess that it will happen again. I don't dispute that. All the same, it's important to note that certain types of presumptions not only exist, but also can easily shape our interpretation of evidence. This is true with quite a few "is/is not" assumptions (particularly those with practically impossible to prove notions, such as the idea of a deity). I think too many people make the mistake of thinking that because we don't know that something exists, that assuming non-existence is better than assuming existence. In reality, the two are (more or less) equal with each other if for no other reason than that neither side can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
 

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Religion, in short, shouldn't blind you; i.e., it doesn't need to overcome your beliefs and ideals. At the same time, you shouldn't also turn too far into logical thinking and reason to the point where you reject yourself from belief.

It's okay to believe in something, but believe with an open mind. Observe the flaws, fix or change them if possible, but nothing will be perfect, regardless. Including this thread.
 

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Religion, in short, shouldn't blind you; i.e., it doesn't need to overcome your beliefs and ideals. At the same time, you shouldn't also turn too far into logical thinking and reason to the point where you reject yourself from belief.

It's okay to believe in something, but believe with an open mind. Observe the flaws, fix or change them if possible, but nothing will be perfect, regardless. Including this thread.


Observing and fixing the flaws of a long taught religion only proves that you're not exactly obedient to the religion in it's entirety. If you're a christian but you think homosexuality is okay, then you might as well throw the Bible in a back seat. To be open minded towards a religion is to interpret it in a way you see fit, therefore it becomes more of what you believe and less of what you're lead/taught to believe. In essence we all have our own beliefs, i'm sure that if you had a group of people draw God (seeing as his/hers/it's interpretations vary greatly) you'd find that each picture is different with only few similarities (my guess, an old white haired white man is usually the typical picture).
 

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I agree. Being purely rational and logical would, in my opinion, signify that we forfeit our empathy, among other things, which is one of humanity's greatest defining traits.

However, feelings are not well-suited to all situations. There are times when they are appropriate, and times when they aren't. Specifically, when it comes to establishing truth claims, objectivity, attempting to rid yourself of biases and purely observe, is undoubtedly preferable. Opinions can be, and often are, wrong, but facts are facts and no one wishing otherwise will make them anything else. It is impossible to be completely objective, as you will definitely point out, and I agree...in much the same way a learning artist can't completely and accurately portray reality, regardless of his efforts. Does that mean he should quit trying to improve and become better at his trade?



All observations require interpretation, and it's silly to dismiss our knowledge purely on that basis. I agree that obtaining absolute truth is difficult, perhaps impossible. However, some preconceptions are necessary on our part in order for us to, well, live, because if we start second-guessing everything we know solely because there's an infinitesimal chance it could be wrong then we'd never get anything done.



My dad tells me this often. Both you and him fail to realize that this argument is inherently flawed.

First of all, any theist can make that claim. If a christian made it, it would pay for you to convert to christianity, if a muslim made the claim it would pay for you to convert to Islam, and so and so forth. It assumes that there are only two options.

Secondly, even if you were to make it a general statement, that it is better to believe in SOMETHING rather than nothing, this presupposes that if there is a deity, that it decides what happens to us in the afterlife, and that it values blind faith and trust in it. We cannot claim to know anything about deities at all, including that. For all you know he might reward skepticism, he might send everyone to eternal suffering anyway, or he might just not care at all.

Any belief you have puts you at a risk. That is why you shouldn't believe out of fear. Just believe what you think is true.

I understand that the first part applies to any faith, I wasn't saying it was only for Christianity. But for the second, you can't just presuppose there is just "a deity", there is more to it than that. As an example, we know plenty about God, he reveals himself to us in the Bible, and tells us exactly what he will reward. There are also things that Allah or Buddha would favor (although Buddha's not really a deity in the same sense as Allah).

Yeah now that I think about it you're right about the last statement. I understand that it's all a gamble if you look at it in technical terms. There are many beliefs but in the end when we die there's only going to be a single truth, even if we don't know what it is. So yeah it can go both ways.
 

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@Camilo

Would you give up existance rather than suffer pain? To me the answer is clear. Besides, you seem to be sent to hell for minor things, even if you did good in your life. That's all assuming if it exists, since the way it looks now, death is the final stop, endgame.

Pascals wager: If you believe in god, two things could happen, either it's true and you'll end up in heaven, or it's not and you'll never know. If you don't, then you'll go to hell if you're wrong, or you'll never know if he isn't. The wager assumes never knowing isn't that bad, but to me it is, i don't like the thought of not existing.

You say it's better to believe in god just in case, ending up in heaven since you've done good, or yet again ceasing to exist, not making a difference. However, i've seen followers of several religions of do morally questionable things. These include insults, murder, rape and destruction of property. I've also seen them act hypocritical, arrogant and patronising. Not qualities to be proud of. So no, being religious doesn't make you a good person, it's how you act.

I also hate to fool myself, i see no reason to assume deities or other planes of existance exist. Being religious would make me fool myself, something i don't see any benefits of whatsoever.
 

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▽;4783647 said:
@Camilo

Would you give up existance rather than suffer pain? To me the answer is clear. Besides, you seem to be sent to hell for minor things, even if you did good in your life. That's all assuming if it exists, since the way it looks now, death is the final stop, endgame.

Pascals wager: If you believe in god, two things could happen, either it's true and you'll end up in heaven, or it's not and you'll never know. If you don't, then you'll go to hell if you're wrong, or you'll never know if he isn't. The wager assumes never knowing isn't that bad, but to me it is, i don't like the thought of not existing.

You say it's better to believe in god just in case, ending up in heaven since you've done good, or yet again ceasing to exist, not making a difference. However, i've seen followers of several religions of do morally questionable things. These include insults, murder, rape and destruction of property. I've also seen them act hypocritical, arrogant and patronising. Not qualities to be proud of. So no, being religious doesn't make you a good person, it's how you act.

I also hate to fool myself, i see no reason to assume deities or other planes of existance exist. Being religious would make me fool myself, something i don't see any benefits of whatsoever.

That was a great post. :)

I wasn't going to post on this thread because of Camillo's last words in his post. I thought it was very cool how it ended that way.

Anyway, I agree. I feel very embarrassed whenever I display ignorance. And on Pascal's Wager, that question doesn't really affect me. After reading The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, my disbelief in Religion is even stronger.
 

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▽;4783647 said:
@Camilo

Would you give up existance rather than suffer pain? To me the answer is clear. Besides, you seem to be sent to hell for minor things, even if you did good in your life. That's all assuming if it exists, since the way it looks now, death is the final stop, endgame.

Pascals wager: If you believe in god, two things could happen, either it's true and you'll end up in heaven, or it's not and you'll never know. If you don't, then you'll go to hell if you're wrong, or you'll never know if he isn't. The wager assumes never knowing isn't that bad, but to me it is, i don't like the thought of not existing.

You say it's better to believe in god just in case, ending up in heaven since you've done good, or yet again ceasing to exist, not making a difference. However, i've seen followers of several religions of do morally questionable things. These include insults, murder, rape and destruction of property. I've also seen them act hypocritical, arrogant and patronising. Not qualities to be proud of. So no, being religious doesn't make you a good person, it's how you act.

I also hate to fool myself, i see no reason to assume deities or other planes of existance exist. Being religious would make me fool myself, something i don't see any benefits of whatsoever.

Okay, I understand the wager now. But you never clearly answered it: if Hell were real, would you rather spend an eternity in agonizing pain, or just not exist at all? Your comparison "Would you rather have pain or give up your existence?" is a horrible understatement; you clearly do not understand Hell. We're talking about unbelievable pain and suffering that you could never feel in this life, and there would be no relief, ever. For the sake of understanding this argument just assume Hell is real. Try to think hard about how it would genuinely feel, and I think you will find that nonexistence would be much better than that kind of torment.

No, you aren't just sent to hell for just minor things, there's more to it than that. A person who lives his whole life doing good works but denies God will be sent to hell, because he rejected his creator. To an atheist, that might sound minor since that person did so much good, but in fact it's perhaps the worst sin you can commit. Yet a man who has been a criminal his whole life, who might have killed people and stolen can be saved if he simply repents and lives the rest of his life for God. So even if you do things that humans would find unforgivable, you can still be forgiven by God.

Something you have to remember when looking at what religious people have done is that all humans are sinners by nature, and can never be perfect in this life. Look at Hitler, he was a Christian but he did those unbelievably cruel things to the Jews; that was not what God wanted. The Jews were God's chosen people and he never would have wished for them to be killed like that. So even when people do things in the name of God or Allah another deity, you have to assess what they're doing and see if it's really righteous in their faith, or if they're just using their religion as an excuse.

I never once said being a religious person makes you a good person. In fact, I am constantly hearing from other Christians and pastors to avoid doing "religion." What they say is that instead of just following routines and rules, it's important that you actually put your heart into what your doing and pray to God to know what's right. You can't be a godly person by just going to church and celebrating Christmas and Easter; you have to actually read the word and apply it to yourself as well as pray to God everyday. It's very similar to how the Jews persecuted Jesus for breaking their traditional laws, when he was trying to show them that they lost themselves in their rules and forgot how God had wanted them to live.

There's a good example of this in the Bible: Jesus sees a man with a mangled hand on the Sabbath and is going to heal him. The Pharisees (Jewish leaders back then) ask him, "Is it not unlawful to heal on the Sabbath?" But he tells them, "If any of you have a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep? Therefore, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." He then tells the man to hold out his hand and it is healed.

So as you can see here the Jews, who were very religious, were scorning Jesus to heal the wounded man just because it was the Sabbath. That obviously is wrong, because you shouldn't leave an injured person when they need healing no matter what day it is. So at least in Christianity, just because Christians do bad things doesn't mean that God is cruel and evil. Those people who do the bad things are cruel and evil, and are going against the word of God.

Sorry to write so much, I just wanted to clear that last part up because I hear things like "Hell isn't that bad" or "religious people do horrible things" all too often, and most people don't fully understand those two. It's important to take a good look at each topic.
 
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Well, pain is the release of certain chemicals in your brain, i don't see that happen when you return as a spirit or how you like to call it. And, if i recall correctly, forever atlas defined hell as being seperated from god, his interpretation of what hell would be like. For an atheist, that wouldn't matter, especially if his friends and family are there with him. Hell can't really be defined, it's all personal interpretation. To me, hell is equal to non-existance, not pain and suffering.

Doing good all your life while not having a belief in a god get's you sent to hell, i'd call that minor. Isn't your idea of god to be a perfect being. One that is far superior to humans. However, the need to be worshipped seems arrogant or some form of jealousy, human emotions. If he is so perfect, he wouldn't care about worship, but just look at how moral a human has been. And about the criminal, that is an important aspect that increases that gap between religion and me. Letting an immoral person who happens to worship out of fear in heaven, while sending a good yet sceptical person to hell, is unjust, something that doesn't befit a perfect deity.

I know not all believers are like that, and i do realise here are atheists out there who do crimes and are immoral. It just strikes me that holy books are used in justifying immoral deeds, the crusades for example, or slander towards people because they aren't religious. To me that's the easy way out, while non-theists have to take their own responsibility.
 

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▽;4786191 said:
Well, pain is the release of certain chemicals in your brain, i don't see that happen when you return as a spirit or how you like to call it. And, if i recall correctly, forever atlas defined hell as being seperated from god, his interpretation of what hell would be like. For an atheist, that wouldn't matter, especially if his friends and family are there with him. Hell can't really be defined, it's all personal interpretation. To me, hell is equal to non-existance, not pain and suffering.

Doing good all your life while not having a belief in a god get's you sent to hell, i'd call that minor. Isn't your idea of god to be a perfect being. One that is far superior to humans. However, the need to be worshipped seems arrogant or some form of jealousy, human emotions. If he is so perfect, he wouldn't care about worship, but just look at how moral a human has been. And about the criminal, that is an important aspect that increases that gap between religion and me. Letting an immoral person who happens to worship out of fear in heaven, while sending a good yet sceptical person to hell, is unjust, something that doesn't befit a perfect deity.

I know not all believers are like that, and i do realise here are atheists out there who do crimes and are immoral. It just strikes me that holy books are used in justifying immoral deeds, the crusades for example, or slander towards people because they aren't religious. To me that's the easy way out, while non-theists have to take their own responsibility.

Please...use question marks when asking questions. You're explanation about pain doesn't apply here, because we're talking about spiritual pain not physical, you need to understand this when talking about spiritual things. I didn't read what Forever Atlas had said, but I'm glad you reposted it because he's right.
Hell is completely separated from God, which would be the most horrible thing to experience. Even now everyone on earth is not completely separated from God, because they can still repent. But once you go to Hell, you're cut off forever.

Yes I understand you think it's minor, I said that in the previous post. But you're mistaken in thinking that he needs our worship. God does not need anything, it's not as if he could not go on without it. In fact he has lived far longer than man has ever existed, and he did not need our worship then. But it's that he wants us to worship him, because he loves us. A father would want to be loved by his child, just like God wants us to love him. And we should love him, because he created us and the world and did great things just for us.

To deny God is to hate him, to not love him at all. Therefore, a person who denies God--no matter what good he has done--is not worth saving. All humans are sinners and beyond God's perfection: if God looked only at our morals, no one would come close to be worth saving. That is why he gives us a chance for salvation by accepting Christ as the savior and turning away from evil. And it is because of this chance that even the worst criminals can be saved.

And your example of an "immoral person who just happens to worship out of fear" is once again twisted and ignorant. You're completely downplaying the situation. A sinner cannot just worship out of fear and expect to go to heaven, that suggests they are just doing "religion" and do not sincerely believe in Jesus. If a criminal is to be saved, he firstly has to recognize that what he has done is a sin and he needs to confess it to God. If he is truly sorry and asks for forgiveness, it will be given to him. Then he has to accept Christ as his savior, the only one who can give him life after death, and he must turn away from his evil deeds. It will be impossible to be perfectly good, but if he tries to live by God's word and accepts Christ he will be saved.

I hope these things answer your third statement too. Remember, you cannot just look at what people have done with a glance; you have to assess if it is righteous or not. It strikes me too that someone would commit sin in the name of God when it does not please God at all, but that is what has happened. And of course it is not right at all to slander people for not believing, God did not want us to mock them, but rather try to help them know his and his word. If you know Christians who say hurtful things to you just for being Atheist, you should know that what they are doing does not please God.
 

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Can you imagine spiritual pain? I don't, so explain what that means. And i don't see how seperated from god is a bad thing. That ties in with the worship part. How can i love someone i've never met, i've never even seen or heard from? And what implicates our universe is an artificial product, instead of a process with no sentience behind it. Hope you can answer these.

How is the worshipping out of fear ignorant? The sheer fact is that worship is enough to land a criminal heaven is ridiculous. The criminal obviously lacked morals, and i seriously doubt he gains those all of a sudden. The fact that worship outweighs morals shows how unjust that god really is. All vile people that ever lived could end up in heaven that way, while a kind hearted person full of morals is dismissed simply because he wouldn't worship.

You could say that the poeple who murder in name of god or slander are no real christians. That is the no true scotmans fallacy, which is, as the name implies, not an argument but an error in thinking. The crusades were decreed and executed by people who really believed they were good christians. They thought they really followed god's word by spreading it, regardless of method. You might say these were no christians, but that's just trying to get rid of a black page to divert criticism. That would be like me saying that my forefathers never held slaves, only other nations did. Instead of denying you should admit they were wrong and try to learn from it.
 
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