Religion, Atheism and Health

God and health

We have seen that religion and religious adherence are positively correlated with crime and teen pregnancy. What about health? Are more religious people healthier? Do more devout societies produce longer lives? We will look at American and international data to find the relationship between religion and health.

Religion, healthy lifestyles and wellbeing

Gallup conducted a very large study that indicates that very religious Americans (defined as those who attend religious services frequently and who take religion as an important part of daily life) tended to have healthier lifestyles than the moderately religious or nonreligious. Specifically, they smoke less, eat more fruits and vegetables and exercise more regularly.

At the same time, less religiously devout Americans tend to have higher overall wellbeing than more devout groups*. Specifically, Jews have the highest overall wellbeing (and, of all religious groups, are the least devout within their tradition). The second highest overall wellbeing is enjoyed by the nonreligious/ atheists/ agnostics, and the third-highest by Roman Catholics. Protestantism had the lowest wellbeing of all, whilst having one of the highest percentage of "very religious" adherents.

Even some people in the "nonreligious" grouping in the study attend religious services regularly, and have religion as an important part of their daily life. Thus although these people may not believe in God, following a religious lifestyle seems to have a positive effect in their lives. No doubt it is the discipline, regularity and dependability of that lifestyle that contributes to their wellbeing, along with the regular and sustained social interaction. Since this is a lifestyle assessment, there is no indication that specific beliefs lead to better health outcomes.

*UPDATE:

Gallup has updated the data in this study, and it now indicates a positive relationship between religious devotion and overall wellbeing. The updated study is here. Despite this overall trend, Jews still have the highest wellbeing overall, even though they are the least religious as a group (as the subtitle of Gallup's article points out). This major wrinkle in the data points to a more complex relationship between religious adherence and health than we may initially expect. Mormons have the second-highest overall wellbeing, and are a very devout group. Meanwhile, Roman Catholics have higher wellbeing than Protestants, although they tend to be less devout than Protestants. This all indicates anything but a clear positive relationship.

Source

Religion and health by state

Among the American states, there is an extraordinarily strong correlation between religious adherence and negative health outcomes. To see this, we can consider three measures:

  • State rates of church and synagogue attendance in 2006, according to Gallup.
  • The importance of religion in people's daily lives, by state, in 2009, according to Gallup.
  • A ranking of the states according to a comprehensive set of health indicators for 2010, by America's Health Rankings. The health measures include rates of smoking, obesity, binge drinking and high school graduation.

Using Microsoft Excel, I created the charts below showing the relationship between religiosity and health by state. The highest ranking states on health include Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts. These are also some of the least religious states. The lowest ranking states on health include Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas. These are also some of the most religious states. States that go against the trend include Utah (religious and healthy) and Nevada (nonreligious and unhealthy).

Nevertheless, the data demonstrate the very strong correlation between negative rankings on health, and religiosity in a state.

Health and religious attendance

There is a negative relationship between and health and religiosity in a state.
There is a negative relationship between and health and religiosity in a state. | Source

Health and religion in daily life

There is a negative relationship between health and religiosity among the states.
There is a negative relationship between health and religiosity among the states. | Source

Religion and health around the world

Internationally, there is a negative correlation between religiosity and health. Considering life expectancy at birth as used in the UN Human Development Index, we can see that the highest life expectancy is generally seen in the least religious countries, and vice versa. The top countries in life expectancy include Japan, Australia, Sweden, Norway and Canada. The bottom include Sierra Leone, Senegal, Malawi, Tanzania and Afghanistan.

The former group have among the highest proportion of people for whom religion is not important in their daily life (all greater than 50%, ranging from 55 to 78%), and the latter have among the lowest (2 to 3%).

Religion and health: conclusions

There are a variety of reasons why religion and health might have a negative relationship. People going through health difficulties, as well as their surrounding network of friends and family, are some of the most likely to seek comfort and promise in higher or supernatural powers. Like other social maladies, bad health is tied to poverty and poor education, both of which are, in turn, positive influences on religious adherence.

In addition, religion itself can directly impact health in a negative way if religious beliefs or practices create unhealthy situations. The Catholic practice of the Eucharist involves dozens or hundreds of people drinking from the same cup at the same time, as well as sharing germs in other ways. More dramatically, Jehovah's Witnesses are against blood transfusions for purely religious reasons, directly resulting in untold deaths and injuries. Many Muslims believe that a Muslim woman should ideally be treated by a Muslim woman doctor. A lack of Muslim or female doctors in a community may cause difficulty and negative health outcomes for such believers.

Many religious people may believe that praying or increasing their devotional practices is enough to heal a loved one or improve their health, and thus ignore more scientific and secular medical options. Even some medical professionals may withhold medical treatment for religious reasons.

On the other hand, religion and health do sometimes have a positive relationship. Religion can give people a strong sense of purpose, direction and security in their lives. The discipline, order and regularity that religious membership confers often has positive health effects, particularly in the psychological realm. In addition, regular social interaction and renewing of a community spirit has been shown to have a very positive effect on people's health, and religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam feature community activities prominently.

Peter Popoff, Faith Healer

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Comments 34 comments

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I have heard the statement that the bible contains the cure to every illness. Faith healers are a strange bunch. While it is true that religious attitude can bring on the placebo effect, modern medicine still works amazingly better.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Love the video, exposes the fakes that give Christianity a bad name, sure, they exist, easy money on earth and a bad future for eternity!

As for the statistics, you took them from three different surveys held over a four year period, 'evidence' that I doubt you would accept from a believer.

But you have your axe to grind, and you grind it well.

"Even some people in the "nonreligious" grouping in the study attend religious services regularly, and have religion as an important part of their daily life. Thus although these people may not believe in God, following a religious lifestyle seems to have a positive effect in their lives. No doubt it is the discipline, regularity and dependability of that lifestyle that contributes to their wellbeing, along with the regular and sustained social interaction. Since this is a lifestyle assessment, there is no indication that specific beliefs lead to better health outcomes."

Or it could be that being in the presence of God and paying at least titular observance of His name means that God was able to bless them more than secularists.

I'm not even going to bother following these comments, your team will make the normal remarks, and life's too short to waste time on this sort of stuff.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Austinstar

I don't know, those Medieval Christians were a pretty devout and Bible-believing bunch, they seemed to have a lot of illnesses, lol.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Aguasilver

Haha, hey man, nobody's putting a gun to your head. If you don't want to comment, then don't comment. If you do, then you're welcome.

The faith healer thing was intended more for entertainment purposes, BTW.

Statistics--I assume you are referring to the section on the states. Well, you are incorrect. I would most certainly accept this analysis from a religious believer, because it's not exactly comparing rates of church attendance in the 15th century to health outcomes in 2005. I happen to understand that statistics are never perfect.

The difference is only a few years, and American society and culture was, for all intents and purposes, EXACTLY the same during that period. Do you honestly think that self-reported rates of church attendance in Alabama relative to Vermont were THAT different in 2010 versus 2006? Come on!

Moreover, the second chart shows the relationship between religion in daily life and the health rank--the two studies are separated by only 1 year! ONE YEAR!

You're just engaging in sour grapes, no real rebuttal to the data. I know it sticks in your craw that the stats say what they do, but them's the breaks.

"But you have your axe to grind, and you grind it well."

My only axe is the data. Show me better data... on all counts--national, state and international.

"Or it could be that being in the presence of God and paying at least titular observance of His name means that God was able to bless them more than secularists."

Well, if this was true, then the data would not say what they do--i.e. that religious populations are generally less healthy than less religious ones. Oh, but I forget, God works in mysterious ways. :)

The psychological and social effects of religious practice are much more reasonable explanations. There is no need for a supernatural explanation.


Beverly Stevens profile image

Beverly Stevens 5 years ago from College Station

I like your article and your video. It's easy to see where aguasilver was coming from. Religious believers don't like to see facts and reason, they use faith as their guide--no matter how much it deviates from truth. It's like seeing a three year old on Christmas morning opening presents and saying to him, "There is no Santa Claus." The message just doesn't get through after one devotes a lifetime of energy, money and time to something (false), it's hard to face truth.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

If even ONE child had died because of the parent's refusal to consent for modern medical treatment, it would be a tragedy. But the fact is that children die EVERY DAY from lack of treatment, lack of emotional support and the worst of all - downright abuse and neglect.

And yet they profess to be "Christians".

I have personally witnessed the death of babies, condemned by their parents because they don't allow blood exchange treatments. I've had to testify in court over this.

I've seen many, many abused and neglected children. I've seen a baby covered in green slime because its mother threw it in the trash dumpster.

Try working with these things and still believe in "faith healing". What a farce.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Thank you, Beverly!

So true. We see the same tendency among creationist religious believers who try to "explain away" countless facts in favor of evolution, or any other idea that clashes with their assumptions about the world.

What many of them don't realize is that many atheists and secularists actually believe what they do BECAUSE of the facts and data that support the arguments. Imagine that. Ideas and values based on facts!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Powerful stuff, Austinstar. Unfortunately delusion and what one wants to believe is often more powerful.

The human mind has an incredible capacity for empathy and cooperation, but also an incredible capacity for blocking events and experiences and twisting them to fit deeply-held assumptions.

In the long run, the only answer is more knowledge, more information and more education.


James Kunz 4 years ago

Your evidence for your argument that religion correlates with overall poor health is very weak. It doesn't at all account for the fact that 10 of the 15 most religious states are also within the 15 poorest states. You need to account other variables such as poverty in when looking at overall health.


James Kunz 4 years ago

The evidence you have on this article is so unscientific.


James Kunz 4 years ago

And the overall wellbeing article, which can't be accessed, doesn't help your point since it names a religious group as having better health than nonbelievers. Moreover, because you didn't actually leave the sources in citation form at the bottom of your article, now we're left not being able to find the article on wellbeing that the Gallop poll is reinvestigating. Let's try to be more academic, please.


James Kunz 4 years ago

It gets worse. You mention that secular countries have greater life expectancies than more religious countries. You include Westernized nations such as those in Europe. But you again don't account for the other variables. Most Westernized countries are far more wealthy than others, so it's easier for them to maintain good health. I can't believe you don't even mention this variable in the article. Let's try to use more reason and critical thinking.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

James:

Well, I can't tell if you're not paying attention, or if you are serious, or what. I will just assume you are serious and try to explain some things here.

"Your evidence for your argument that religion correlates with overall poor health is very weak."

Well, the evidence is right up there in the data. The lines are drawn on the charts. The data points are all there, clear as day for anyone to see. There is a clear correlation between religious adherence and poor health. This does not mean it is a CAUSAL relationship, but it is clearly CORRELATED. This correlation is a fact, it cannot be disputed. Therefore the real question is, why does this correlation exist? More on that in a moment.

"It doesn't at all account for the fact that 10 of the 15 most religious states are also within the 15 poorest states. You need to account other variables such as poverty in when looking at overall health."

I don't need to account for any such variables do demonstrate a simple correlational relationship. Yet I do address the issue of poverty in the conclusion of this article. Again, more on that in a moment.

"Moreover, because you didn't actually leave the sources in citation form at the bottom of your article, now we're left not being able to find the article on wellbeing that the Gallop poll is reinvestigating. Let's try to be more academic, please."

Let's try a reasonable criticism, please. This is obviously not a scholarly article. I have no obligation or need to name my sources in a formal bibliography. The sources are linked throughout the article.

Clearly the Gallup page I linked to was altered since I published this article. This happens frequently in online writing and is a ridiculous thing for you to criticize. I have updated that section to reflect Gallup's updated data. The new data do indeed indicate a stronger relationship between religious adherence and health. This contradicts the other data I cite that demonstrate the opposite relationship.

Thanks for letting me know, though.

"It gets worse."

Clearly.

"Most Westernized countries are far more wealthy than others, so it's easier for them to maintain good health. I can't believe you don't even mention this variable in the article."

Well, I can't believe you didn't read the concluding section of this article, where I say:

***

"There are a variety of reasons why religion and health might have a negative relationship... Like other social maladies, bad health is tied to poverty and poor education, both of which are, in turn, positive influences on religious adherence."

***

"Let's try to use more reason and critical thinking."

Let's try to actually read before commenting. :)


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

If only they would actually READ and UNDERSTAND what they are reading. I realize they are trained from birth to see and hear only the parts that appear to support their cognitive abilities, but if a person makes it to college, they should learn to put facts together and see a conclusion. If only...


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Indeed. I always say, if you have a big charge, you better bring big evidence to support it.


Leland Johnson profile image

Leland Johnson 23 months ago from Midland MI

Your video showed charletans. I am a believer in the bible and Jesus Christ but do not call myself "Christian." Christianity, like all religions, are man made systems and methodologies that really keep people from finding God. My point is that your video is about frauds, not real believers such as myself. So, for you to use that as evidence against the veracity of believing in God, I think, is inaccurate. Are you an atheist?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 23 months ago from New York City Author

It's not my video. I embedded it from Youtube. I'm not an atheist, but I do not accept the existence of god or any other un-provable entity or being.

How do you know others' beliefs are false while yours is true?


Leland Johnson profile image

Leland Johnson 23 months ago from Midland MI

There are lots of things we can't see yet believe in. Atoms, molecules, love. I know it wasn't "your" video but you used it to make a point so in a sense that makes it yours. You didn't show any credible, authentic ministers- not all your fault, there's not many out there. I know my belief is real because I have heard the voice of God in my soul and I have seen His work in my life. I do not believe in organized religion because they claim to believe in the bible yet conduct their affairs contrary to what the bible teaches. I believe my beliefs to be correct because I know that if the world followed the 10 commandments for just one day there would be no murder, adultery, theft, disrespect, etc.. at least for that day. I see that atheists and agnostics are often taken in by philosophies like socialism, darwinism, and communism. These too are religious apparatus, they just won't admit it. They lead to death and destruction and disappointment. Question for you, if you do not believe in God how are you NOT an atheist?


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 23 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

@Leland - I guess the world could go on raping - that's not one of the commandments. Other than that, I wish the world would follow the Commandments and the golden rule for at least one day!


Leland Johnson profile image

Leland Johnson 23 months ago from Midland MI

haha, I think that would be implicit, but rape is expressly forbidden and punishable by death in Exodus ch 22. The 10 commandments are really more like bullet point commandments. In total there are 613 and each of those tend to fall under the heading of 1 of the 10 as described in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. But yes, the golden rule in itself should cover all of them put together!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 23 months ago from New York City Author

Leland:

"There are lots of things we can't see yet believe in."

We don't have to see it with the naked eye, but we do need to detect it in some way. Otherwise how do we know it's there?

"I know my belief is real because I have heard the voice of God in my soul and I have seen His work in my life."

That's exactly what everybody else says. Whom you say have false beliefs.

"Question for you, if you do not believe in God how are you NOT an atheist?"

It depends on the definition of "atheism" one uses. There are many different definitions out there. There is strong atheism, positive atheism, and so on.

I say I'm not an atheist because I don't actively deny the existence of God (which is what "atheism" often means in today's parlance). I simply say we don't know, and until we "know" per se, the correct position is to withhold belief. Which is the same for any other unproven or un-evidenced concept.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 23 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

"There are lots of things we can't see yet believe in."

Electricity

Gravity

Air

Yep, lot's of things. But at some point, we can detect their effects or lack of effects in an observable way.


Leland Johnson profile image

Leland Johnson 23 months ago from Midland MI

Austin, I believe you read my post on your page about the frogs? Assuming I'm telling the truth, (and I am) are you willing to chalk up the timing of me reading the verses from the bible that talk about how God cares for small animals and yet that He cares much more for us, and my near miss encounter with the little frogs an hour after I read the passage to coincidence? I know that is way too long of a sentences. Sorry about that, but really; what are the chances that the incident with the frogs would occur just after reading the verses referencing small animals? add to the mix that I had been wondering and asking God how I could know He cared for me personally and if He would in some small way communicate with me. The odds are colossal that all those things could line up and happen in the order they did. I think part of the problem is that you are selective about what you will take into consideration as evidence or measurability. The most measurable thing you could measure in a discussion like this is the transformative effect the power of God has on a person, but I admit there are lots of frauds out there, lots of impostors, lots of religious people that are crazy, greedy, or both. Don't' throw the baby out with the bathwater is all I'm saying.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 23 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Hi Leland, I did read your story and it's a good one. I can see how you got all the items to line up with your 'revelation'. And this sort of experience happens to people a lot more frequently than you realize.

But, as cool as your experience was, it just isn't repeatable. In other words, if a different person did all those same three things you did that day, they may or may not come up with the same conclusion. If 50 people (mixed ethnicities, backgrounds, and levels of education) did it and came to the same conclusion, that would be real evidence of a 'miracle'. Then the evidence would have to be independently documented by impartial observers. And of course, all of the 50 people would have to be unaware of the other 49 people (to avoid collusion).

We can't just take your word for it. Your word being that it was a direct message to you from a god.

Believers are, however, able to accept the words and testaments of people recounting miracles, faith healings, and stories from 2,500+ years ago as a truth. And that's ok - for them. It just isn't for me.

My being an atheist and a scientist should in no way affect your religion, so let's just agree to disagree. It's perfectly ok for you to accept your beliefs and it's perfectly ok for me to accept mine. No baby, no bath water needed.


Leland Johnson profile image

Leland Johnson 23 months ago from Midland MI

Austinstar- Lots of things aren't repeatable in science yet are accepted as fact, as a scientist you should know that. For example, you can't repeat the big bang but most evolutionist/scientists believe it as fact. You can't reproduce a cell transforming into another cell to begin the process of evolution yet many believe evolution to be fact- this though it is not repeatable. You should admit that to hold your position you use faith just as I use faith to hold mine. I cannot prove God created the universe because it only happened once and is therefore not repeatable. True science would not discount that it may have happened simply because it is not a repeatable incident. A crater crashed in Northern Russian and left a huge indentation in the earth. No one saw it happen, but it happened- something happened, right! If you want to believe that contrary to everything we see and observe, namely that intelligence comes from greater intelligence and that spontaneous generation really is true, then by all means believe it. You have that right. In fact, it makes me admire you in a way. You need waaaayyy more faith to believe in that than to just believe in God. :)


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 23 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Sorry, Leland, but it isn't science if it doesn't meet the scientific method of study which the Big Bang does.

And yes, evolution is a proven theory, although most people don't believe it. Yes, we can grow the same cells over and over by cloning.

Gravity is also a proven theory.

The Big Bang is still being studied and has not met the requirements of a theory yet. But neither has 'god'.

And you are repeating a mantra, "it takes more faith to believe in ? than it does to believe in God". That mantra is just a saying spit out by "believers" and it doesn't mean anything. It's repetitious nonsense.

The crater that is in Russia is still being studied also. As is the crucifixion of Jesus. No one alive "saw" either thing happen. But with the crater there is evidentiary proof that something happened. With the crucifixion, there is only hearsay.

Where are the 10 commandments? They were allegedly made of stone, so they should have survived the ages and they would be on display as proof of a god.

Where is the Ark of the Covenant? Another tangible item that would prove the theory of a god.

Where is ANY surviving item that we could subject to the scientific method of study (regarding theism)?

Faith is intangible and can't be measured or proven, but if it works for you, then enjoy!


Leland Johnson profile image

Leland Johnson 23 months ago from Midland MI

In 1963 a plaque was found in Judaea with the inscription "pontious Pilate tetrarch of Judaea" until that point skeptics like yourself dismissed the bible, among other reasons, because it named Pilate yet there was no other recorded evidence that he ever existed. Skeptics as usual never admitted they were wrong, they just moved on to something else they could dispute. As to the ark of the covenant; I'm surprised you've never heard the archaeological axiom "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"


Leland Johnson profile image

Leland Johnson 23 months ago from Midland MI

Furthermore, I don't recall anyone challenging the concept of gravity. It's a fairly self evident factoid- however, having said that, Walter Isaacson's biography on Einstein raises questions about gravity and suggests that quantum physics is offering new ideas about gravity because the Newtonian work on the subject, while groundbreaking, is not exhaustive. Einstein, by the way, was not an atheist, but I'm sure you know more than he ever did about science. He said that anyone who says they are an atheist is either "mentally unstable or must have been seriously emotionally traumatized at some point in their life." (that was from Isaacson's biography) As to the crucifixion, it is well documented by extra biblical sources such as Pliny the Younger and Josephus Flavius. There happen to be 1,000 more copies of the New Testament than there are of The Illiad, or the Odyssey, do you doubt the veracity of those works as well or do you limit your invective to spiritual literature? There are others examples of extra- biblical literature discussing the crucifixion of Jesus. but I would have to dig them up. Besides, the Romans crucified tens of thousands of Jews, Jesus was just one more trouble maker to them. That's what you need to do Austinstar- start really looking for evidence of what you're trying to refute. You're the one regurgitating the same old lines "no evidence" etc. Steven J. Gould said, "I don't care if you found Noah's ark and paraded it down main street, I'm still not going to believe in God." It doesn't matter what evidence you are presented with you won't believe because your heart is hard, you do not have "ears to hear" as it were. The fact that you think evidence would persuade you demonstrates my point. You believe in evolution? Name all the intermediate specimens found in the fossil record- NONE! I know there is one disputed fossil (archaeopteryx) but scientists are not in agreement about what it really is. Louis and Mary Leaky were quoted as saying, "It just looks like a strange bird." You don't believe in God because you don't want to believe in God. Do you mean to tell me you really think we all just "happened" by accident? That all the order, right down to our DNA, genome sequences, etc, is just a cosmic/biological mistake? That's what I mean by you needing more faith. Just because someone else said it doesn't mean I'm parroting it. Do you think you're the first person to state the nature of the Big Bang Theory?


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 23 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Do you think that god just "happened" by accident? Where did god come from? Nothing? Oh, that's right, he is supposed to exist (outside) of time, space, and matter. Whatever.


Leland Johnson profile image

Leland Johnson 23 months ago from Midland MI

Ok, that is definitely not original thinking. Do you know all there is to know about time, light, speed? You don't want to believe in God so you don't. You don't have ears to hear. You believe in fallible men whose theories change from day to day and you just keep believing them. Piltdown man, Peking man, frauds and outright bad science but you keep trusting in them because it keeps you from having to believe in God. Do you know for a fact that time is not a created thing or a measurable thing, like light? We don't even understand time fully- hence relativity. It is more sensible to believe in a God that exists out of time than to believe that the planets all aligned themselves and synchronized themselves in their orbits. That is contrary to everything we see and observe with our 5 senses. You can't repeat the big bang! You hold my belief in God spurious because I can't recreate Him or recreate creation, an event that happened ONCE, yet you believe in the Big Bang Theory which only happened ONCE. You can't repeat it in a lab or re-demonstrate it yet you, by faith, believe in it. You don't even realize you're doing it. It's fine to disagree as long as you don't use 2 sets of rules, one for you and one for me. Just be consistent. Besides, I do not claim to be able to explain the origin of God. I believe He is without origin. Origin reflects time and because God is outside of time He cannot be measured by time, hence- no origin. Can I explain that? No. But I can believe it. Just like you can't explain where cosmic gases came from to collide and create the big bang yet you believe in them. You are using faith whether you like it or not. You did not observe the big bang, no one was there to record the big bang, and yet you believe it. Scientists extrapolate 5 billion years into the past when they can't predict tomorrow's weather and you put your faith in them. It's a distraction. I hope you start using your senses and turn from the pseudo science to which you currently adhere. no offense intended.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 23 months ago from New York City Author

"As to the crucifixion, it is well documented by extra biblical sources such as Pliny the Younger and Josephus Flavius."

Statements like this miss a larger point: you have a much greater burden of proof for a supernatural claim than you do for a naturalistic claim.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, not ordinary evidence.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 23 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

@Leland - You are assuming things about me that are not true. I do not, in fact, believe in the 'Big Bang'. Actually, I care a heck of a lot less about where we came from than where we are headed. In fact, I don't care one whit about 'creation' since I don't believe in it either. I totally care about the here and now since that is all we have.

And just for edification, why do you think the big bang happened only once? If it happened at all? The universe is expanding AND contracting according to science and it's possible that this has gone on for a trillion billion years and even infinitely.

You're right about one thing. Time is a man made measurement. It doesn't exist. It functions like a ruler to measure stuff.

And I am not asking anyone to measure God by time as I know that's impossible. Just try to decide for yourself exactly WHERE God is located in this universe of ours. Please don't say 'everywhere' If he exists as a 'being', then he must be located somewhere. Or is god just a concept?


Leland Johnson profile image

Leland Johnson 23 months ago from Midland MI

Secularist- I supplied you with evidence and you did not comment. It is in a previous comment in which I talk about the discovery of a plaque in 1963 with the inscription "Pontius Pilate: Tetrarch of Judea." How much do you need before you believe the Bible is credible? I don't think any amount will be enough because believing isn't about knowing everything or the sheer weight of evidence. Our own legal system recognizes this by the "reasonable doubt" clause. We can't know everything, but do we have enough evidence to believe in God? I say we do, you seem to think we don't. All the arguing and presenting in the world will not be enough to persuade a person to believe because believing, or the ability to believe, is not based on evidence alone, but is acompanied by faith. For example, a man or woman cannot know for sure whether or not the person they marry will one day be unfaithful, but they marry them anyway because they "believe" they won't be. They can't "prove" they won't be. In fact, they can't prove whether or not a person was NOT unfaithful in the past. You cannot prove what isn't, or what wasn't. It is similar with God. I cannot prove His existence to you. I would go so far as to say that He will prove it to you if you ask, but He will not if you don't. And I don't mean ask with an attitude, or daring God to do something, to jump through hoops, etc. But to really ask from your heart, to just say in effect, God if you're there I'd like to know.. But you aren't doing that. You're arguing with me, a person who has already confessed that I cannot prove God exists. Just like I can't prove to my wife that I didn't cheat on her (and I never have) while I'm away at work. But she believes in me, she believes that I am telling her the truth and that I'm honest with her in my dealings. I am, and she believes it, but just because I am doesn't mean I can prove it.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 23 months ago from New York City Author

Leland--

In every other aspect of life you require evidence for your beliefs. It is only when it comes to this one, specific issue that you choose to suspend the need for evidence.

For instance, regarding adultery, even there you have evidence--your wife behaves a certain way towards you, you sense that everything is "normal" when talking with your friends and neighbors (i.e. that they aren't hiding anything from you), and so on. This is evidence consistent with the nature of the thing being believed. You are not just believing blindly.

If your wife were to start going out night after night returning at 2 AM, or you observed neighbors whispering to each other, or she wasn't as affectionate towards you as she used to be, and you started smelling various colognes on her, and so on, you would probably think that something was up. That's evidence.

But for an extraordinary, supernatural claim, we need extraordinary evidence.

I, on the other hand, require evidence for everything I believe. If the evidence isn't there, I don't believe it.

No amount of manuscripts from thousands of years ago, written by backward peoples, can prove that a man died and rose from the dead, any more than such evidence can prove that Zeus resided at the top of Mt. Olympus.

So if you believe that there is enough evidence for God, then you must also admit we have enough evidence for Zeus.

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