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Is Atheism Irrational? NYTimes Opinion Piece


Klimtology

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I am definitely ex fundamentalist at this point in time myself. It's an interesting journey.

What led you to this point? Would you call yourself a more Liberal Christian now? And/or how would you define a liberal Christian?

I would say that I am more liberal in the sense that I am willing to admit that the hermeneutic I have always been comfortable with may be flawed and I'm willing to listen to those who have a different view than the "plain reading" of Scripture and admit they may be correct. So more the colloquial definition of liberal rather than the traditional theological definition.

Do you find it difficult to discern which parts should be interpreted as figurative versus those that are meant as historical biography? Excluding the obvious, of course (e.g. a camel through the eye of a needle or same such sayings meant to make a point).

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/fox-historian-more-evidence-than-atheists-would-ever-imagine-that-jonah-was-swallowed-by-a-whale/

This guy doesn't find it difficult

To be fair, the guy pretty much ignores the Jonah story and focuses on the "evidence" relating to Jesus.
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This thread has now turned into "Is Christianity Irrational?".

By all means, carry on. The discussion is interesting. Just thought this was funny.

:goodposting:

Although, really, that's been the discussion from the very beginning. The burden of proof is on the assertion being made, not the nonbelief of it.

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This thread has now turned into "Is Christianity Irrational?".

By all means, carry on. The discussion is interesting. Just thought this was funny.

:goodposting:

Although, really, that's been the discussion from the very beginning. The burden of proof is on the assertion being made, not the nonbelief of it.

That's silly because it can't ever proven one way or another.
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This thread has now turned into "Is Christianity Irrational?".

By all means, carry on. The discussion is interesting. Just thought this was funny.

:goodposting:

Although, really, that's been the discussion from the very beginning. The burden of proof is on the assertion being made, not the nonbelief of it.

That's silly because it can't ever proven one way or another.

"Burden of proof" is a legal term of art, where proof is a synonym for evidence, not a synonym for sound deduction. I agree with tonydead that the burden of proof (or, if you prefer, the burden of evidence) falls on anyone making an assertion. Almost no synthetic claim can be proven; but that doesn't mean that such claims -- including claims about gods -- shouldn't be supported by evidence.

Note, however, that "no gods exist" is an assertion just as surely as "at least one god exists" is -- so I don't think it's necessarily the case that atheists have no burden of proof. (And here we might distinguish between strong atheism and weak atheism, or indeed other forms of atheism.)

In any event, I claim that no gods exist, and I can prove it to my own satisfaction. (But I treat it as more of an analytic claim than a synthetic one.)

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MT, you never responded to (or I missed) your response to the video that you posted on the orgin of the Big Bang.

It was very interesting. The parts on the shape of the universe, future of the universe, and theory of how nothing can bring about something was well explained and mostly new to me. He did lose me a bit when he described nothing as actually being something, but that that nothing (which is actually something) could, when out of balance create something. I understood what he said, it seems like a bit of semantical play on the word "nothing". It doesn't seem to answer the philosophical point that some argue. We know he thinks philosophy is stupid so he never addressed that, but he did say there are more questions than answers. I suppose that is some concession.

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This thread has now turned into "Is Christianity Irrational?".

By all means, carry on. The discussion is interesting. Just thought this was funny.

:goodposting:

Although, really, that's been the discussion from the very beginning. The burden of proof is on the assertion being made, not the nonbelief of it.

That's silly because it can't ever proven one way or another.

"Burden of proof" is a legal term of art, where proof is a synonym for evidence, not a synonym for sound deduction. I agree with tonydead that the burden of proof (or, if you prefer, the burden of evidence) falls on anyone making an assertion. Almost no synthetic claim can be proven; but that doesn't mean that such claims -- including claims about gods -- shouldn't be supported by evidence.

Note, however, that "no gods exist" is an assertion just as surely as "at least one god exists" is -- so I don't think it's necessarily the case that atheists have no burden of proof. (And here we might distinguish between strong atheism and weak atheism, or indeed other forms of atheism.)

In any event, I claim that no gods exist, and I can prove it to my own satisfaction. (But I treat it as more of an analytic claim than a synthetic one.)

Wasn't it you that posted some quote to the extent of "if you need proof, whatever you have, it is not faith" a little while ago? I liked that quote.

I don't know exactly which quote I may have posted, but I do think "I take it on faith; deal with it" is a perfectly good response to someone asking for evidence about our religious (or other) beliefs that we do not seek to impose on others. If your religious beliefs make you want to bar someone from getting married, you need to produce evidence that your religious beliefs aren't stupid. But if your religious beliefs simply make you want to face east and pray five times a day -- or feed the hungry -- you don't need to justify your beliefs to anybody because they're not really anybody else's concern.

If we are not seeking to persuade others that our beliefs are true, or to curtail their freedom or otherwise impose on them, then I'd argue that we are not really making a claim in any sense that burdens us with producing evidence. We're just minding our own business.

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If you were not doubting the existence of the universe, but only wondering how it might have come to exist, you may enjoy this lecture by Lawrence Krauss.

Thanks. I will check it out. My comment was more for that the existence of particles and energy (why it exists or how it could have been created vs always existed) is something that defies human rationality. No matter how far back we study and trace matters of existance, we are always left with new questions.

ETA: Very interesting. The parts on the shape of the universe, future of the universe, and theory of hownothing can bring something was well explained and mostly newer to me. He did lose me a bit when he described nothing as actually being something, but that nothing (which is actually sonething) could, when in equilibrium create something if there was a flux. I understood what he said, it seems like a bit of semantical play on the word "nothing". It doesn't seem to answer the philosophical point that some argued. We know he thinks philosophy is stupid so he never addressed that, but he did say there are more questions than answers. I suppose that is some concession.

Krauss's claim is that matter and energy can arise from a true vacuum without violating the laws of physics as we understand them. It doesn't answer the philosophical question, "Why is there something instead of nothing?" But science is seldom up to the task of answering philosophical questions.

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If you were not doubting the existence of the universe, but only wondering how it might have come to exist, you may enjoy

by Lawrence Krauss.
Thanks. I will check it out. My comment was more for that the existence of particles and energy (why it exists or how it could have been created vs always existed) is something that defies human rationality. No matter how far back we study and trace matters of existance, we are always left with new questions.

ETA: Very interesting. The parts on the shape of the universe, future of the universe, and theory of hownothing can bring something was well explained and mostly newer to me. He did lose me a bit when he described nothing as actually being something, but that nothing (which is actually sonething) could, when in equilibrium create something if there was a flux. I understood what he said, it seems like a bit of semantical play on the word "nothing". It doesn't seem to answer the philosophical point that some argued. We know he thinks philosophy is stupid so he never addressed that, but he did say there are more questions than answers. I suppose that is some concession.

Krauss's claim is that matter and energy can arise from a true vacuum without violating the laws of physics as we understand them. It doesn't answer the philosophical question, "Why is there something instead of nothing?" But science is seldom up to the task of answering philosophical questions.

Very much so. Perhaps I need to rewatch, but I thought a key part of his explanation was that nothing (empty space) isn't empty. That would mean empty space or nothing is actually a misnomer. Definitely would like to research more. Any suggestions?
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Very much so. Perhaps I need to rewatch, but I thought a key part of his explanation was that nothing (empty space) isn't empty. That would mean empty space or nothing is actually a misnomer. Definitely would like to research more. Any suggestions?

It's been a while since I've watched it (and even longer since I encountered a very similar explanation in an essay by Victor Stenger). The physics is over my head. But my understanding is that he's starting with no matter and no radiation. That's "nothing" in an important sense -- but it's not "nothing" in the sense of no laws of physics. We're stipulating that the laws of physics are the same ones we observe in our own universe. And under those circumstances, matter and energy can bootstrap themselves into existence because of [something about quantum mechanics and relativity and curvature of space] and end up forming a universe with enough matter, energy, and non-uniformity to develop into stars and galaxies and teacups and whatnot.

In terms of further reading, I'd probably start with Wikipedia.

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If you were not doubting the existence of the universe, but only wondering how it might have come to exist, you may enjoy

by Lawrence Krauss.
Thanks. I will check it out. My comment was more for that the existence of particles and energy (why it exists or how it could have been created vs always existed) is something that defies human rationality. No matter how far back we study and trace matters of existance, we are always left with new questions.

ETA: Very interesting. The parts on the shape of the universe, future of the universe, and theory of hownothing can bring something was well explained and mostly newer to me. He did lose me a bit when he described nothing as actually being something, but that nothing (which is actually sonething) could, when in equilibrium create something if there was a flux. I understood what he said, it seems like a bit of semantical play on the word "nothing". It doesn't seem to answer the philosophical point that some argued. We know he thinks philosophy is stupid so he never addressed that, but he did say there are more questions than answers. I suppose that is some concession.

Krauss's claim is that matter and energy can arise from a true vacuum without violating the laws of physics as we understand them. It doesn't answer the philosophical question, "Why is there something instead of nothing?" But science is seldom up to the task of answering philosophical questions.

Very much so. Perhaps I need to rewatch, but I thought a key part of his explanation was that nothing (empty space) isn't empty. That would mean empty space or nothing is actually a misnomer. Definitely would like to research more. Any suggestions?
I would say the claim is that empty space/vacuum/nothing actually "weighs" something. If that would prevent you from calling it "nothing", then we really don't have an example of "nothing" in the known universe.
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This thread has now turned into "Is Christianity Irrational?".

By all means, carry on. The discussion is interesting. Just thought this was funny.

:goodposting:

Although, really, that's been the discussion from the very beginning. The burden of proof is on the assertion being made, not the nonbelief of it.

That's silly because it can't ever proven one way or another.

"Burden of proof" is a legal term of art, where proof is a synonym for evidence, not a synonym for sound deduction. I agree with tonydead that the burden of proof (or, if you prefer, the burden of evidence) falls on anyone making an assertion. Almost no synthetic claim can be proven; but that doesn't mean that such claims -- including claims about gods -- shouldn't be supported by evidence.

Note, however, that "no gods exist" is an assertion just as surely as "at least one god exists" is -- so I don't think it's necessarily the case that atheists have no burden of proof. (And here we might distinguish between strong atheism and weak atheism, or indeed other forms of atheism.)

In any event, I claim that no gods exist, and I can prove it to my own satisfaction. (But I treat it as more of an analytic claim than a synthetic one.)

This is a great post, and a potential thread-ender. Logically, we should all be agnostics. There's no way to definitively prove the existence or the absence of god(s). So, we each either need to give up :shrug: and accept agnosticism, or rationalize one way or the other to the point that we can sleep at night.

I'm with MT. There is way more evidence supporting the idea that there are no god(s) than there is that there are. I'm ok with leaving it at that.

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If you were not doubting the existence of the universe, but only wondering how it might have come to exist, you may enjoy

by Lawrence Krauss.
Thanks. I will check it out. My comment was more for that the existence of particles and energy (why it exists or how it could have been created vs always existed) is something that defies human rationality. No matter how far back we study and trace matters of existance, we are always left with new questions.

ETA: Very interesting. The parts on the shape of the universe, future of the universe, and theory of hownothing can bring something was well explained and mostly newer to me. He did lose me a bit when he described nothing as actually being something, but that nothing (which is actually sonething) could, when in equilibrium create something if there was a flux. I understood what he said, it seems like a bit of semantical play on the word "nothing". It doesn't seem to answer the philosophical point that some argued. We know he thinks philosophy is stupid so he never addressed that, but he did say there are more questions than answers. I suppose that is some concession.

Krauss's claim is that matter and energy can arise from a true vacuum without violating the laws of physics as we understand them. It doesn't answer the philosophical question, "Why is there something instead of nothing?" But science is seldom up to the task of answering philosophical questions.
Very much so. Perhaps I need to rewatch, but I thought a key part of his explanation was that nothing (empty space) isn't empty. That would mean empty space or nothing is actually a misnomer. Definitely would like to research more. Any suggestions?
I would say the claim is that empty space/vacuum/nothing actually "weighs" something. If that would prevent you from calling it "nothing", then we really don't have an example of "nothing" in the known universe.
Which is one of the points that I thought was interesting, that true nothingness is not possible or not known to be possible. If a phenomenon has mass/weight, than it is something with a definite existence, right?
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Well. as I understand it there is nothing and then there is the nothing called 'dark matter'

dark matter is just a phrase for "unexplained gravity"
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This thread has now turned into "Is Christianity Irrational?".

By all means, carry on. The discussion is interesting. Just thought this was funny.

:goodposting:

Although, really, that's been the discussion from the very beginning. The burden of proof is on the assertion being made, not the nonbelief of it.

That's silly because it can't ever proven one way or another.

"Burden of proof" is a legal term of art, where proof is a synonym for evidence, not a synonym for sound deduction. I agree with tonydead that the burden of proof (or, if you prefer, the burden of evidence) falls on anyone making an assertion. Almost no synthetic claim can be proven; but that doesn't mean that such claims -- including claims about gods -- shouldn't be supported by evidence.

Note, however, that "no gods exist" is an assertion just as surely as "at least one god exists" is -- so I don't think it's necessarily the case that atheists have no burden of proof. (And here we might distinguish between strong atheism and weak atheism, or indeed other forms of atheism.)

In any event, I claim that no gods exist, and I can prove it to my own satisfaction. (But I treat it as more of an analytic claim than a synthetic one.)

The bold I guess so. Because in my mind most atheists, or those that get labeled atheist, don't claim "no god exists". We're just waiting for the proof from those that do, and, sometimes demand that proof. And when it comes to the particular God that is debated around here I don't think I need to be agnostic about him just like I don't think I need to be agnostic about fairies or unicorns.

I often wonder if there ever is/was a shred of evidence for "God" if atheists wouldn't be first to embrace it. Because chances are it wont fit into the model the vast majority of the faithful have constructed for themselves. And you can be sure it will be fully vetted.

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For example, in this thread during all the banter back and forth, how many times has the atheist side made the assertion "no god exists"? I'm guessing not many if any.

This discussion frustrates me because neither side generally listens to the other. The atheists go on about proof, which christians generally don't claim, and the christians go on about how illogical it is to state with certainty no god exists, which atheists generally don't claim. It's a bunch of shouting past each other, generally. The last 20 threads have been that way, and the next 20 probably will be too.

It also frustrates me how christians and atheists treat each other as the enemy. We're all on this rock together. Let's try to figure out how to work together without demonizing each other.

It is usually the atheist looking down on us christians, not the other way around. Atheists think we are delusional and treat us as if we deserve to be mocked and locked away.

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It is usually the atheist looking down on us christians, not the other way around. Atheists think we are delusional and treat us as if we deserve to be mocked and locked away.

A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary.

Not much different than faith, which is at the heart of religious belief.

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It is usually the atheist looking down on us christians, not the other way around. Atheists think we are delusional and treat us as if we deserve to be mocked and locked away.

A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary.

Not much different than faith, which is at the heart of religious belief.

And atheists unable to imagine being wrong is the real delusion here

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For example, in this thread during all the banter back and forth, how many times has the atheist side made the assertion "no god exists"? I'm guessing not many if any.

This discussion frustrates me because neither side generally listens to the other. The atheists go on about proof, which christians generally don't claim, and the christians go on about how illogical it is to state with certainty no god exists, which atheists generally don't claim. It's a bunch of shouting past each other, generally. The last 20 threads have been that way, and the next 20 probably will be too.

It also frustrates me how christians and atheists treat each other as the enemy. We're all on this rock together. Let's try to figure out how to work together without demonizing each other.

If you're in this thread you interested in what other people think.

I'd never go around criticizing people's beliefs IRL, hell I'm married to a Muslim (even if it's in name only) and mostly keep my mouth shut about it.

Religious people are not my enemy - and in fact if they are right then they get to spend eternity in heaven while I burn in hell. Shouldn't that give them thicker skin?

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It is usually the atheist looking down on us christians, not the other way around. Atheists think we are delusional and treat us as if we deserve to be mocked and locked away.

A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary.

Not much different than faith, which is at the heart of religious belief.

Way different. "superior evidence", and faith, are not even in the same realm.

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It is usually the atheist looking down on us christians, not the other way around. Atheists think we are delusional and treat us as if we deserve to be mocked and locked away.

A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary.

Not much different than faith, which is at the heart of religious belief.

And atheists unable to imagine being wrong is the real delusion here

I am not saying I know the truth about God's existence. For example, if you say "I believe there's a God but I'm not sure which religion is correct" then I can understand that. There absolutely could be a God, I just don't understand how people can be sure that the religion they were taught to believe as a child is the real one.

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Is it really irrational to say that something doesn't exist when it has never been proven to exist?

Whether we actually "know" it or not seems pretty irrelevant to me.

If I say that I don't believe that the giant spaghetti monster lives on a far far away planet 10 gazillion miles away, am I being irrational?? I mean, after all, we don't "know" for sure one way or the other.

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Is it really irrational to say that something doesn't exist when it has never been proven to exist?

Whether we actually "know" it or not seems pretty irrelevant to me.

If I say that I don't believe that the giant spaghetti monster lives on a far far away planet 10 gazillion miles away, am I being irrational?? I mean, after all, we don't "know" for sure one way or the other.

How are God and the giant spaghetti monster similar?

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Is it really irrational to say that something doesn't exist when it has never been proven to exist?

Whether we actually "know" it or not seems pretty irrelevant to me.

If I say that I don't believe that the giant spaghetti monster lives on a far far away planet 10 gazillion miles away, am I being irrational?? I mean, after all, we don't "know" for sure one way or the other.

How are God and the giant spaghetti monster similar?

They are both man made.

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You have to get your heads around the fact that god is man made. Study biblical history. It has been beaten, (literally), into our brains for centuries.

Man did not make God

We sick an' tired of-a your ism-skism game, Dyin' 'n' goin' to heaven in-a Jesus' name, Lord. We know when we understand:

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You have to get your heads around the fact that god is man made. Study biblical history. It has been beaten, (literally), into our brains for centuries.

Man did not make God

Oh yes. Absolutely. You're ignorant to history.

God made man, not the other way around.

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You have to get your heads around the fact that god is man made. Study biblical history. It has been beaten, (literally), into our brains for centuries.

Man did not make God

Oh yes. Absolutely. You're ignorant to history.

God made man, not the other way around.

Thanks. This topic has been beat to death here. Started back in the 90's. Search is your friend.

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He was born to be known
As everybody's brother
He is the Father Son and Mary is his mother
He is a 'scuse my slanguage, well a compound country kinda guy
Yes he is
Ain't no way to get around it, you just can't beat Jesus Christ
No you can't
Well I used to crank and drank until my back was to the floor
I'd take it to the limit then I'd try to get some more
Yeah when it came to gamblin'
Well Lord I'd know how to roll them dice Yes I would
Ain't no reason to deny it, I have been saved by Jesus Christ
Yes I have
Ahh Praise the Lord guitar
Play it Eddie
Tell 'em about it John
Well Even though I am a sinner

He will always be my friend
He starts in the middle and he does not have an end
And when my soul was held for ransom he's the one who paid the price
Yeah he did Billy Joe
Ain't no two ways about it, I owe it all to Jesus Christ,
Ah praise the lord harmonica
Play it Rogie

Yes he was born to be known
As everybody's brother
He is the Father Son and Mary is his mother
He is a excuse my slanguage, well a compound country kinda guy
Yes he is
Ain't no way to get around it, you just can't beat Jesus Christ
I mean it
That's the truth
Hallelujah

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Is it really irrational to say that something doesn't exist when it has never been proven to exist?

Whether we actually "know" it or not seems pretty irrelevant to me.

If I say that I don't believe that the giant spaghetti monster lives on a far far away planet 10 gazillion miles away, am I being irrational?? I mean, after all, we don't "know" for sure one way or the other.

How are God and the giant spaghetti monster similar?

I have never seen either.

Neither have ever been proven to exist.

Both taste good.

You still never answered my question. All you did was respond to my question with another question. For spaghetti monster, feel free to insert "anything that has never been proven to exist".

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You have to get your heads around the fact that god is man made. Study biblical history. It has been beaten, (literally), into our brains for centuries.

Man did not make God

Who made the Greek and Roman gods? The Nordic gods? The Hindu gods?

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So at the risk of being stramanned again (even though I am sure it will again anyway), I will just ask this question:

Is it really irrational to say that something doesn't exist when it has never been proven to exist?

I think its irrational to say with certainty that it doesn't exist. But its fine to believe it doesn't as your default assumption.

For example, I don't believe that there is an invisible pink unicorn living in my ceiling tiles at work... but I can't definitive say that it doesn't exist because I've never stuck my head up there to not see it (its invisible imo) and sometimes I hear some weird noises coming from there.

I think it would be silly to assert its existence with no evidence other than the say so of people who worked in this office 2 millennium ago and had very little understanding about how the world and universe worked. I mean, these folks used to believe that the office stapler was a demon bent on binding all of the papyrus into one giant mass. They didn't understand gravity, celestial movements, etc etc. They made up stories to fill in the gaps in their knowledge, just like every society throughout history has done... my office was no different back then. So, whenever I come across a faded memo from 2000 years ago asserting that a water demon eats the feces we deposit in the office toilet, or that an invisible pink unicorn lives in the ceiling and is responsible for the occasional noise up there, I dismiss it. Relying on the people who wrote those memos for information about how the world around them worked would be like asking my 6 year old daughter to solve a calculus problem and then taking her answer as correct and serious.

So no, I can't definitively say that there is no invisible pink unicorn in my office's ceiling. I do not believe it is there, and I question the judgment of any who assert its existence.

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You have to get your heads around the fact that god is man made. Study biblical history. It has been beaten, (literally), into our brains for centuries.

Man did not make God

Who made the Greek and Roman gods? The Nordic gods? The Hindu gods?

Hey PS/Em - would you be willing to participate in a little thought experiment, actually more like a research project? Here's the assignment: Document all evidence for the existence of the Christian god and Jesus. The only limitation is that you can't use the Bible as a source. Any and everything else is fair game. Go!

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