April 29, 2006

RABBI GELLMAN, IT IS YOUR IGNORANCE THAT MAKES ME ANGRY


Does Rabbi Marc Gellman get paid for the crap he recently wrote for Newsweek as a "columnist?" He wrote an article entitled Trying To Understand Angry Atheists, yet he didn't quote any "angry" Atheists, and most importantly he made prejudicial blanket statements as to why he "thinks" Atheists are angry. He is completely out to lunch.
Even if he just wanted to interview Atheist Jews, he has plenty to choose from. More than one third of Secular Jews in America and Israel are either Atheist or Agnostic. There is even a Society for Humanistic Judaism , which "embraces a human-centered philosophy that combines the celebration of Jewish culture and identity with an adherence to humanistic values and ideas."

I think many Atheists are frustrated, and this sometimes leads to anger.
Instead of going the interview route, Rabbi Gellman makes statements like "So we disagree about God." No Rabbi, this is not what sets Atheists off. Personally, I find it frustrating that seemingly intelligent individuals believe in the story of Noahs Ark. I only get angry when they try to prove it, or try to push it as learning material in school. Yes, the idea of fairy tales being taught in science classes pisses me off.

Then he goes off on a tangent stating that "I am tempted to believe that behind atheist anger there are oftentimes uncomfortable personal histories. Perhaps their atheism was the result of the tragic death of a loved one, or an angry degrading sermon, or an insensitive eulogy, or an unfeeling castigation of lifestyle choices or perhaps something even worse."

Rabbi, you are a MORON. Where did you pull this crapola from? Atheists often appear angry when we see God and the State holding hands. Why was Howard Stern pulled from mainstream media? Why did Janet Jackson's nipple slip cause major television networks to skulk around like a dog who just did an accident in the living room? Why are their court cases trying to get creation into science classes?

He goes on to say that Atheists are lacking the demand to constantly be good because we "believe nothing." Newsflash Rabbi Idiot, Atheists believe in things that are REAL. Yes, we do believe. And as far as the possibility that we have no Moral guidelines, well whether one wants to say that Morality is objective or subjective, the reality is that the only evidence out there is that the 10 Commandments were written down by man for man. Objective moralists believe there is always a right action, while a subjective moralist believes that an individuals morality is a combination of evolution, societal norms and the individuals sympathy. Either way, we don't need God to be "more moral" than a believer.

He adds "I can humbly ask whether my atheist brothers and sisters really believe that their lives are better, richer and more hopeful..."

I didn't realize this was a competition. Since when does anyone become an Atheist to lead a better?, richer, and more hopeful life? Atheists do not believe in God, because there is NO GODDAM EVIDENCE THAT GOD EVER EXISTED. This isn't a lifestyle choice. It is a realization made by observation of facts and realities and common sense.

And then he starts on about religion giving hope. Who cares? Atheists play the cards dealt to us, by the laws of nature.
I'll deal with what is real and believers can cling on to fairy tales to give them hope.
Just keep your fairy tales in your own homes and your own houses of worship.

And to answer his question "Why do nonbelievers seem to be threatened by the idea of God?."

We are not threatened by a non existent being. We are threatened by Fundamentalists, whether they are Muslim, Christian, or Jewish. Those who try poison the state with lies, propaganda, their ideals, and in most cases their denial of scientific evidence.
We are threatened by their actions, which are based on their interpretations of a book of fairy tales.


For other Atheist POV's check Hellbound Alleee, The Secular Outpost,
Deep Thoughts, The No God Blog, Betty Cracker, and especially Unscrewing the Inscrutable

Rabbi Gellman should check these out, maybe he will become more learned, and less ignorant.

34 comments:

  1. You seem to imply that any people who believe in God also support creationism or have a very simpleminded view of the Bible (which Bible, of course? Whose translation? The original Hebrew?). Of course some Christian fundies do but that's not all religious people.

    Judaism opposes creationism -- see, among others sources, the book Genesis and the Big Bang by Gerald Shroeder, Ph.D..

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  2. Thanks Donna.

    Amechad, many Orthodox views believe in Young Earth Creation, but mostly that is a Christian Fundy phenomenon.

    The Ark story is nonsense (no scientific proof, and most importantly it is an improbable story), and many Jews believe it to be fact.

    I don't have a problem with those who don't throw out scientific fact or try to spin scientific fact. And it is not those people who upset Atheists very much. Read again who I say upsets Atheists. And it is the Rabbi who brings Christian Fundamentalists out as examples in his garbage piece.

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  3. "Why was Howard Stern pulled from mainstream media? Why did Janet Jackson's nipple slip cause major television networks to skulk around like a dog who just did an accident in the living room?"

    I'm not totally sure on this one, but I don't think God ever said, don't put Stern and breasts on TV. The Supreme Court is the one who made the ruling on obscenity. Whether you believe in God or not, there are things that probably shouldn't be in the mainstream media. If you want CBS to routinely show nudity, that is your opinion, but to try and pin it on Christians and make it a "God and the State holding hands" issue is disingenuous and incorrect.

    By implying that the aftermath of the Superbowl incident was a result of our God-centered morals, you certainly weakened your case for atheists having any morals at all. I happen to know atheists who I consider to be moral people, but your comment seems to imply the opposite. Perhaps if you become a lawmaker we can all look forward to Gang Bang Hour every Thursday night on ABC Family.

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  4. Flamingo, Howard Stern got pulled from public radio thanks to the FCC (The Federal Christian Commission). He is still around, you just have to pay.

    Why should I have to pay? It is either legal or it isn't.

    A nipple slip is not a big deal and it is not equivalent to a gang bang hour on TV. It was only a friggen nipple.

    If you don't think it was the Fundies who came down hard on the networks for this one you are sadly mistaken.

    I personally you should have to pay to see preachers on TV. I shouldn't have to turn my channel and watch their scams and lies for even a second, even if I flip the stations and mistakenly see it.

    Talk about obscene.

    And what God centred morals do you have? The bible is a book of incest and perversion. Way more obscene that Janet's nipple.

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  5. I have never considered pushing any sort Atheist propaganda as I have believed that this system does not have any imperial schemes of crusades and Jihads.

    I will certainly object of religious folk just comes over my turf and try to take over the Earth.

    this Rabbi has no idea what we have went through, except that in one moment we just all opened our eyes and realized the supernatural does not matter to us. what is matter thats what matters.

    On morality, I have always took a difinitve stance on that which is Nihilism. I have my own views that morality is baseless and the entire thing is just passed down through us by the Ubermahn who Neitzche explained well. I have no theological gun at my head telling me what is right and what is wrong.

    Instead I choose to do things to my own likeness. I'm not a pacifest because I'm all saintly I just firmly believe that within Pacifism and all it stands for will benefit me more.

    That's the whole thing is about them being the Masters trying to impose on us the "slaves" their distinct out of date set of codes or honour.

    In this life and age I think Science has replaced Religion. Morality is just what religions were invented for.

    Even Prophet Muhammed have said "It only to complete the ethics and vitues, that I was sent for".

    I appreciate all the work that religion has provided us. We cannot deny they played a certain role in our mental evolution.

    Come on, You're god is a relic, no matter who you are now, you're just a false prophet.

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  6. "You're god is a relic"
    While I am honored that you consider me God, I'm afraid I can't take credit.

    Make no mistake, this comment has nothing to do with the fact that I believe in God, it has to do with the fact that I feel the author is making dishonest arguments.

    If you want to tell me that atheists have a great set of morals (which I believe many do), that is fine, but don't say in the next breath that it makes you mad that "fundies" are trying to hold people to a higher standard of morals than you feel they should be.

    "And what God centred morals do you have? The bible is a book of incest and perversion. Way more obscene that Janet's nipple."

    Again, a fine thing to say, but earlier in the post you criticized fundamentalists for coming down too hard against obscene material and making a big deal about Janet's nipple. If both those statements were true, then "fundies" must have invented a higher standard of morals themselves, because you obviously believe that Bible and God-centered morals are not good ones at all. Atheist or not, I would certainly think that most people essentially agree on what should and should not be shown on basic cable (CBS for example).

    I enjoy many of your posts, and even I link to you on my page, but I found this article rife with contradictions. I commented on it not because because you are an atheist, but because I felt some of your arguments were false.

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  7. You made statements about why people are atheists ("we believe in what is real," etc.) but I do think that just like believers, unbelievers have individual reasons for not-believing. I was raised in a fundy family and over the course of my life (47 now) became gradually more sceptical and now I consider myself "an agnostic who probably is an atheist." For me it really is quite simple: I simply don't believe and couldn't make myself believe. I don't think one chooses what to believe--you either do or don't. Anyway, that is my personal situation. Maybe if God ever actually made direct communication I could believe, but it seems to always be through another human. If he is so powerful why can't he just get real and talk directly to us? When I try to get real quiet and here him talk to me I just hear myself.

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  8. Flamingo, I don't see my contradictions.
    And again, I believe morality is something we evolved mostly as a way of surviving and carrying on our species.
    Man just wrote down what made sense and lied by saying godidit. I didn't say Atheists or believers have superior sets of morals. But I do think that there is an inevitable right and wrong for every dilemma depending on the person, sometimes it is a coin toss.
    As far as basic cable goes. No, you won't get agreement, just like you won't get agreement on abortion, or the death penalty.
    In Canada, I was raised on TV that featured late night nipples. It is not a big deal. The slip up was just that, a slip up. The only repercussions from it should have been an enquiry to see if it was done on purpose, because yes I do agree that it wasn't something that was suitable for kids and parents to watch without proper warning.
    But the issue is proper warning and the Christian Rigtht want to take away programs with warnings. That isn't right. Get a vchip and when it comes to Howard Stern, don't listen to his station, but don't cry that it is on.

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  9. Duane, I don't think atheism is a choice either. I don't know why you think I implied it. Atheism is as natural as breathing air.

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  10. Flamingo, oh yeah, I added you to my blogroll as I do with anyone who blogrolls me.

    And again, just reading over your last comment. The point I'm making is the bible is full of things far worse than a nipple on TV. And I'm not opposed to either being on TV, but I'd rather see the nipple.

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  11. I completely agree with you as far as Howard Stern is concerned. Though an entire show filled with dick jokes and orgasms isn't exactly my thing, I have no problem changing the station when I want to listen to something else.

    I was not brought up watching nipples, although I wish I was. They would have made all that time spent in the crib a lot more enjoyable.

    I felt the major contradiction in your comment was your saying that fundamentalists went after the station with their God-centered morals (although you used the term "God and State holding hands"), and then stating that God-centered morals are perverse. I just don't think that those two statements can go together without one being false. I do think that too big a deal was made over a nipple barely visible to even the most astute viewer, but I don't think it was a Church and State issue. I think it was some people, atheist and theist, who felt that the display was out of line, and perhaps went too far with their displeasure.

    I really enjoy your blog here, even though I may not agree with the title belief. I feel that the internet in general and blogs in particular are one of the best ways for us to get to know about a group of people we don't necessarily agree with. I see that as important because ignorance is where prejudice and hatred begin, and the ignorance of a Rabbi is what spawned the article from you in the first place.

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  12. I made a point that Christians are hypocritical when it comes to what is moral and what isn't. If listening to someone quote the bible is acceptable, so is Janets nipple, as long as the viewing public is warned about either.

    I do think it was a Christian Rights issue and not an issue with Secularists who put the pressure on the major networks. I can't prove it at this time, however, this is not an issue in places like Sweden and Denmark that have very high Atheist/Agnostic populations.

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  13. Bacon: You are smokin' my man--way to Go! You gave him a "zets" where he rightfully deserved. You the man!
    Best,
    ROJ

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  14. Hey BEAJ!

    I SO admire you passion- which, I dare say borders on a "belief" system of its own.

    I completely agree with you about the dangers of fundamentalism- scary Christians, Moslems and Hindus- even a few fundy Jews- creep me out.

    Nevertheless, there is some evidence that a "great flood" of some kind may have occured in the black sea as the Bosporos gave way to the Mediterranean. That would explain why virtually all Indo-European speaking peoples and those they came in contact with have lengends about such a thing. I would agree that looking for a boat is absurd, but the sea bit may be evidence of some real event right? Also there seems to be scientific evidence that Cohanim are all descended from the same family about 3,000 years ago. So maybe some of the Torah is true.

    And while I agree with you that there is no direct evidence that there IS a God, do you have any hard proof that there isn't? After all there was no direct proof that atoms existed when Democritus came up with his theory right? And yet here they are. Perhaps the same is true of the divine?

    Not that I'm trying to get you to change your mind or anything :)

    Be well BEAJ!

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  15. I disagree that most Christians are hypocritical. I think most people will try to "practice what they preach" when it comes to morals. I will concede that it is possibly easier for a Christian to become a moral hypocrite, as many believe they must hold a high standard of morals, but some are unable to do so.

    My original point still stands, however, you attacked Christians as the reason for the Howard Stern move and the nipple issue, and yet you just stated in your last comment that you have very limited to no evidence to back it up. You put it out there like a fact, and use it to attack the belief system of a large group of people, but when it comes down to it, the only thing you can say to defend the point is by saying it isn't an issue in Sweden and Denmark.

    If you fail to see the dishonesty of this point, and the contradictions in your previous comments, I am afriad I can do no more to help you understand.

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  16. Amishav, here is a concise page on why the flood is crapola.
    And as far as God goes, no, I can't prove God doesn't exist, nor can I prove 500 Gods don't exist. There is no hard proof that my dog isn't God. But why even believe in something that has no evidence? I don't need to.

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  17. Flamingo, I guess I didn't look for proof. But here is some.

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  18. Apikoros baal korchoApril 30, 2006 1:08 PM

    I can't see how calling someone whose opinions are different a moron indicates any level of tolerance. Clearly a rabbi and an atheist are not going to have a lot of common ground. One person represents a religious belief; another represents a belief that is based on tenets that are not grounded in religion at all. If the rabbi is misinformed -- and he obviously is -- calling him a moron isn't going to help.

    As my screen name indicates, I'm not in the rabbi's camp at all, so don't see my words as coming to his defence. However, I do believe that tolerance has to be the ultimate goal unless jihad is the desired result -- and it's not what I find desirable at all.

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  19. Thank you for providing evidence for your claim. While I may still not agree with the assertion that the issues you mentioned were Church and State issues first and foremost, I now understand where you are coming from.

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  20. Apikororos, I'm assuming the Rabbi felt good about writing this uninformed, non factual, and prejudicial article(rant). Whether he did or not, I feel better calling him a moron, and that is what counts with me.
    He doesn't appear interested in understanding. I don't have tolerance for people like that.

    Flamingo, thanks, and I'm glad you got it.

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  21. The Morons are an offshoot of the Idiots, one of the Lost tribes of Blithering Idiots. Morons wandered the earth for thousands of years, setting down roots in far-flung areas of the world. Every so often, a Moronic prophet appeared with an hallucination to share. In sociologic terms, the followers of these disparate systems of belief can be gathered under the umbrella term of 'Imbecile' -- or, in medical parlance, the 'Brain Dead'.

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  22. I would say that doctorboogaloo is correct.
    Great post beaj. Gellman is indeed an ignorant moronic idiot and so is his Catholic counterpart.

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  23. "Atheists do not believe in God, because there is NO GODDAM EVIDENCE THAT GOD EVER EXISTED. This isn't a lifestyle choice. It is a realization made by observation of facts and realities and common sense."

    Heh heh heh...this is why I like you so much...:)

    As for the "more hopeful"? I am more hopeful than most people. More hopeful that people will get a clue and come to reality, especially those "really smart people" who make decisions about our countries... oy

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  24. liberalrationalChristianMay 01, 2006 10:00 AM

    A couple of factual errors mar what has been a pretty good conversation about the problems in communication between atheists and "God believers".

    Factual error no. 1: The assumption that most religious believe that the Noah/Ark saga is factually based. Only literalist readers of the Scriptures make that mistake. Mainstream and liberal Christian theologians all agree that the Noah saga is a reshaping of an earlier tale from Babylon.

    Factual error no. 2: Howard Stern was not "removed" from mainstream radio. He was offered a huge chunk of money to go satellite, and he went for the cash. Yes, he was being harassed by the FCC, but they really hadn't created that much havoc for him. He made a calculated decision that he would rather not deal with the hassle of the FCC and went satellite. Candidly, although I find him not in the least bit funny or interesting, I wish he had stayed and gone toe to toe with the FCC. He would have made himself into a hero and ultimately would have prevailed.

    Just my two cents.

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  25. Doctor, looks like you have the makings of a new version of the bible.

    Thanks Atheologist.

    Lisa, luckily Canada has less Fundies and more Atheists/Agnostics. We don't seem to have the same dumbing down of the country that America experiences thanks to the Fundies control.

    Liberal, sure Stern did well financially, but he was constantly being threatened and the fines were getting very steep. I'd say he was forced to make the move.
    As far as the Ark is concerned, yes I realize it is the literalists who buy the story hook line and sinker, but they make up 45% of the American population, and they are the ones who make atheists frustrated and angry.

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  26. Wow - what a post. Okay - I'll just pick one thing that made me laugh:

    " Personally, I find it frustrating that seemingly intelligent individuals believe in the story of Noahs Ark. I only get angry when they try to prove it, or try to push it as learning material in school. Yes, the idea of fairy tales being taught in science classes pisses me off."

    For the love of SCIENCE, bacon!!! What on earth are you saying here? I'd rather they spin their wheels trying to prove it and never prove it, than to be sheep following the heard. It's the ones who do do the research that you have hope for.

    Now, trying to push it to be taught in school - ehhhh, you know where I stand on that. No way should anything religious that isn't proven be taught in school. It just doesn't make sense. If you want that taught to your children then teach them at home, have them teach it at Sunday school, or better yet - send them to private school. Do not push it on the rest of us.

    Flamingo - religion plays a major role within American society. I believe American is the most religioius country in the world. Bacon - I think you had info on that somewhere. Now - it isn't even just about Christian fundies - it is about a lot of religious fundies. Often times, people who come to America that hadn't believed in god, become religious, start practicing the faith that they were born into. It is a trickle down affect of Christianity being pushed down everyone's throats, one tends to turn back to their own roots, become informed, start practicing. I often wonder if this is due to our need to associate ourselves with likeminded individuals or if this has become some sort of safety net for people afraid of the big bad fundie christians.

    Anyway - I got a little off track here - it's not just the xtian fundies, it is the moderate - extreme muslims, christians, jews, hindus, budhists etc, as most secular societies - if they don't have an opinion - will agree with an extreme for the sake of "better be on the safe side".

    Take a look at other established countries around the world - it won't be unusual to run accross nudity during prime time shows, nudity in reputable newspapers. America can be quite the prude at times.

    Next subject - atheists and morality. Right now religion is the basis for values and morals. I mean, as far as I know the only requirement of being an atheist is that one does not believe in god. There is no place for bad atheists and good atheists after death, I mean all you are left with is a dead atheist. So how does a dead atheists funeral go anyway? What I'm getting at here is even an atheist is measuring their morals and values up against the religious folks morals and values.

    What if atheism becomes oh so successfull and we are left with no religion? All we will be left with are laws to keep us in check. You gotta admit that having some sort of fear beyond this world - like burning in hell for eternity is a little more to be scared of than spending some time in jail. Keep in mind that all people are not as "smart" as the atheists are - what are you going to do when the dummies have nothing to fear?

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  27. Pimpette, the ones who try to prove the Ark existed aren't using recognized peer reviewed studies. I don't mind anyone doing research or studies. But until it becomes a scientific fact or a plausible scientific theory, don't teach it or attempt to teach it in science class.

    As far as morality goes, you don't need to base morality on religion. That might be your choice. You don't have to do things on the basis of an afterlife reward, there are other rewards too. Morality has a lot to do with sympathy, we don't do certain things because we don't want to feel bad. Morality is also innate and has actually evolved in our brain. Man knows inheritantly if he acts like a tyrant and rapes, pillages, etc, his chances for survival are greatly diminished, and many rewards can be reaped by being a "moral" person.

    And the religious basis for morality is man made as any atheist will tell you. They are rules based on our instinct for surival.

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  28. Bacon - I agree with you on not teaching it in school.

    Even if the religious basis for morality is man made - I believe that people are more likely to follow those morals in which they feel they may have to pay a price in the after life than those who only have rewards to reap by following them here on earth.

    If no religion exists, you will be left with the law only. What scares you more: Rob bank go to jail. Rob bank, go to jail, face satan, burn in hell?

    Let's face it - there are a lot of people that need that extra face satan while burning in hell theory.

    It's just a little theory I got about the whole thing. In the event that religion became obsolete, Atheism would have to evolve to become something else, but what?

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  29. Far from being the source of morality religion is often used to override man’s innate natural goodness. Religions have simply hijacked natural human behaviour and called it their own and in many ways have perverted it for their own ends. It is only in recent times that the followers of sky fairies in the West have ceased their burning of witches, human sacrifice, slaughtering of heretics, mutilating children, stealing and pillaging and suchlike. Anyone who felt queasy about such practices could rest assured that it was not just sanctioned by their faith but demanded by it.

    Of course in the Middle East such practices still occur. What is a young suicide bomber if not a child human sacrifice? Heretics, adulterers and homosexuals are murdered, children’s genitals mutilated, all based on religion.

    Religion means you don’t need to feel bad about such things. It assuages the conscience whereas an Atheist might be tormented by his crimes to his dying day with no one to blame but himself.

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  30. angloamerican, I disagree. Even if religion didn't exist - you would still have suicide bombers - it just wouldn't be a religious war. It would be a territorial war or a war over needs and survival.

    You can replace any of these so called religious wars with wars of human nature.

    I agree religion is an excuse for many things - it doesn't mean that those things wouldn't happen without religion.

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  31. Outside of Kamikaze pilots, I think you'd be hardpressed to find suicide bombers. And Kamikaze pilots went after military targets not innocent people.

    Suicide bombers is one of the only inventions to come out of Islam in the last 1400 years.

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  32. What does not make sense about this among other things,is the fact you brought church and state holding hands like it is something new,are country was founded on that and it was here way before you was thought of ,ridiculous,and also you say atheist stand for reality and truth but they have found noah's ark and not just recent its been found by different explorers all through history,now of course you will find something to justify cause you would rather have the lie of no God.

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  33. Honestly,

    Beliefs & Ideas
    are up to the
    Individual...

    I have no major opinion/offence/compaint,
    anyway.

    However,

    I personally choose to accept that there is something beyond this fragile flesh.
    That somehow our minds/spirit/soul,
    May Transcend,
    or,
    whatever.

    This entire, massive universe can not be here for no reason.

    Or someone has a really
    sick & appreciated
    sense of humour...


    Aha...

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