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Famous Atheist Now Believes in God
Yahoo ^ | 12/9/04 | RICHARD N. OSTLING

Posted on 12/09/2004 1:15:38 PM PST by ZGuy

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To: Alamo-Girl; betty boop

ping


51 posted on 12/09/2004 6:46:51 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: Tribune7
There has to be something wrong with Christian religious training in the UK to come up with this conclusion.

Darwin was English.

52 posted on 12/09/2004 6:47:26 PM PST by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: ZGuy
He accepts Darwinian evolution but doubts it can explain the ultimate origins of life.

Nor does the theory of evolution attempt to do so. It attempts to explain what happened after the origin of life.

53 posted on 12/09/2004 6:52:20 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: DirtyHarryY2K
hehe! :^D

54 posted on 12/09/2004 7:00:32 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (There is only one GOOD 'RAT: one that has been voted OUT of POWER !! Straight ticket GOP! )
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To: AndrewC
After all, he accepts Darwinian evolution.

Yeah, he just doesn't believe that it can explain something that it doesn't try to explain. Real master of the obvious there.
55 posted on 12/09/2004 7:00:53 PM PST by Dimensio (Join the Monthly Internet Flash Mob: http://www.aa419.org)
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To: AndrewC

As was Huxley. America has its share of atheists but they don't seem to be taken, or take themselves, quite as seriously.


56 posted on 12/09/2004 7:01:11 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: Tribune7
There has to be something wrong with Christian religious training in the UK to come up with this conclusion.

In other words, he didn't come to the conclusion that you wanted, so clearly he's still in error.
57 posted on 12/09/2004 7:01:43 PM PST by Dimensio (Join the Monthly Internet Flash Mob: http://www.aa419.org)
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To: Dimensio
In other words, he didn't come to the conclusion that you wanted, so clearly he's still in error.

He seems to be coming around :-)

58 posted on 12/09/2004 7:03:10 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: Dimensio
Actually, if Hell exists a despot would not care whether you end up there or not providing you provided unquestioning obedience.

In Christianity, Hell of course exists but God clearly does not want you to end up there and disobedience does not automatically consign one there.

59 posted on 12/09/2004 7:08:28 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: Tribune7

Er, what has this to do with anything?


60 posted on 12/09/2004 7:10:02 PM PST by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: Dimensio

Your post 57 in response to my post 48.


61 posted on 12/09/2004 7:17:19 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: dimmer-rats stealvotes
He's a dime a dozen as an atheist: a little more valuable as a believer.

This is just a small, first step. He now needs to read The New Testament and accept God's grace and Jesus as his Lord and Saviour before he could be considered a 'believer'.

62 posted on 12/09/2004 7:18:25 PM PST by NewLand (God Bless America and God Bless President Bush!)
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To: NewLand
This is just a small, first step. He now needs to read The New Testament and accept God's grace and Jesus as his Lord and Saviour before he could be considered a 'believer'.

What if he were to come to the conclusion that the Hindus are right?
63 posted on 12/09/2004 7:23:33 PM PST by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: mike182d

Every atheist believes in God: a split-second after death...


64 posted on 12/09/2004 7:30:26 PM PST by antidisestablishment (Our people perish through lack of wisdom, but they are content in their ignorance.)
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To: antidisestablishment
Every atheist believes in God: a split-second after death...

Which "God" do they suddenly believe in?
65 posted on 12/09/2004 7:31:01 PM PST by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: ZGuy
I found a better article that apparently better reveals Flew's "revelation", in that he still isn't 'sure' of a 'prime mover', and he doesn't believe that a such a mover -- if one exists -- is necessarily sentient.
66 posted on 12/09/2004 7:40:04 PM PST by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: DirtyHarryY2K

"Maybe he's a "Frisbee-tarian" When they die their souls fly up on the roof and nobody can get it down."

That's Frisbeeite. They also believe that you have a much better view from the roof.


67 posted on 12/09/2004 7:44:16 PM PST by Old Student (WRM, MSgt, USAF (Ret.))
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To: Dimensio
What if he were to come to the conclusion that the Hindus are right?

I don't mean to pick on you. There is only one God. The question is what does this god want us to do? If he concludes the Hindus are right he will organize his life according to the tenets of Hinduism.

68 posted on 12/09/2004 8:20:28 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: Tribune7
There is only one God.

Actually, many Hindus believe this. They just believe that this one God manifests itself in a multitude of entities.

Of course, your statement is itself an unsupported assertion, so I can take issue with it on those grounds.

The question is what does this god want us to do?

Actually, this question only becomes relevant once you establish that a god exists and that it wants us to do anything at all.
69 posted on 12/09/2004 8:28:03 PM PST by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: Dimensio
Actually, this question only becomes relevant once you establish that a god exists

This question is infinitely the most relevant question a man can face if a god exists.

70 posted on 12/09/2004 8:40:32 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: ZGuy

Yeah, at 81, I'd start believing there is a God. He has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.


71 posted on 12/09/2004 8:45:00 PM PST by lilylangtree (Veni, Vidi, Vici)
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To: Dimensio
Yeah, he just doesn't believe that it can explain something that it doesn't try to explain. Real master of the obvious there.

Not quite.

A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature,

Darwin did try to explain the complexity of nature.

72 posted on 12/09/2004 8:47:48 PM PST by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: Dimensio

I wonder if he feels he deserves congratulations for making a breakthrough scientific discovery..


73 posted on 12/09/2004 9:00:17 PM PST by syriacus (Who wanted Margaret Hassan murdered? What did she know about the oil-for-food scandal?)
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To: snarks_when_bored
Current inability to explain a phenomenon scientifically does not imply that phenomenon's scientific inexplicability.

Nor does it imply that all things can be explained by science - or known by science alone - or even detected by science.

Science assumes that matter is the foundation everything that exists. This is an assumption, not proven (or capable of proof) by science. It is a worldview, a metaphysics. It is the essence of of scientism.

Some, perhaps like Flew, convert from scientism, most don't even know they're believers.

74 posted on 12/09/2004 11:09:51 PM PST by D-fendr
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To: MeekOneGOP

Thanks for the ping!


75 posted on 12/09/2004 11:11:14 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: wallcrawlr

So long as he limits himself to rejecting abiogenesis, and not the patently obvious science of evolution, then whatever.

My attitude remains this: the burden of evidence is on those who claim that deities exist. I haven't any problem with the idea that there is something beyond the observable universe, but rather the idea that we have even remotely enough information (we have none whatsoever) to validly speculate what that might be.

That the universe is here is obvious. That it is complex is also obvious. To proclaim failure in the quest of understanding that complexity achieves nothing but to displace the exegetic mystery.

In other words, to follow this line of reasoning, if God 'must have' created the universe, then what created God? So, Flew falls prey to the god-of-the-gaps. He says: "I don't have the answer, so I'll just make one up!" Oh well.

PS. I also think most people are better off believing than not, so long as they don't interfere with scientific progress beyond the limitations they impose on their own rationality.


76 posted on 12/10/2004 12:18:21 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Tribune7

There is definitely no hope for me, though! If there is a God, then he clearly chose to create the universe such that I would never believe in him. Who am I to argue with God? =)


77 posted on 12/10/2004 12:19:59 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv
…what created God?…

If all matter is made up of matter, what was there before the first matter?

We have the same problems with time as we do with matter. Yet matter exists, we can know it though our senses. Some things we can know exist that we cannot know using our senses alone. There are many such things for you. God is one of them, but it has not quantity, size or specific location. So seeking this knowledge with science alone is… like trying to see the periphery with a telescope. It's the wrong method for the empirical knowledge sought.

there is something beyond the observable universe…

Transcendent. Many things you know transcend your sense detectors. It is the unobservant one who clings to the illusion that all he knows about reality he knows by sense and reason.

Flew falls prey to the god-of-the-gaps.

I recognize the old reference, but my point is science has gaps as well. By design it limits what it can know. It limits it to those things detectable by the senses (and their extensions) that have simple location, size and quantity. That all of reality conforms to these restraints is a leap of philosophy, not science. And it's a leap made two centuries ago that fell upon it's own weight within a decade. Yet it lives on in the popular mind - and in the mind of some scientists who don't realize they are very poor philosophers and theologians.

The fault some make is to slide lazily to the false conclusion that if Science cannot know it, therefore it doesn't exist. Neither Science, nor reason, can prove this. It fails on it's on logic.

so long as they don't interfere with scientific progress beyond the limitations they impose on their own rationality.

Why interfere with your own progress by imposing the limits of rationality upon it? If you look closely, you will see you know a great deal more of reality that can known using science or reason alone.

You have all the equipment you need; observe yourself.

78 posted on 12/10/2004 1:42:30 AM PST by D-fendr
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To: AntiGuv
so long as they don't interfere with scientific progress beyond the limitations they impose on their own rationality.

I think he created a you that doesn't believe in what you think others believe God is.

I also think you have experienced God, but it wasn't the same thing you thought others called God.

79 posted on 12/10/2004 1:50:20 AM PST by D-fendr
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To: AntiGuv
Oops, wrong cut and paste quote. Should have been:

he clearly chose to create the universe such that I would never believe in him.

80 posted on 12/10/2004 1:51:32 AM PST by D-fendr
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To: escapefromboston
At 81 you may want to start making plans for the next step.

Sounds like that may be what he is starting to do

81 posted on 12/10/2004 1:56:17 AM PST by Mo1 (Should be called Oil for Fraud and not Oil for Food)
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To: D-fendr
FWIW, only a couple days ago I was toying with the idea of going to Mass for the first time in about a decade just out of curiosity to see if the Holy Spirit finally decided to smite me, but then I got distracted making breakfast and never got back to the thought.
82 posted on 12/10/2004 3:06:46 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Tribune7

"There is hope for you guys yet. :-)"

Perhaps. Flew made a minor alteration in his views. He went from atheism to a sort of nebulous deism. He can't define this deity, but he can't figure out how life began without one. So, now he posits that there is some generic sort of deity that started it all up.

Hardly a revolutionary thought.


83 posted on 12/10/2004 6:30:47 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: MineralMan

It's a pretty big change in one's thought processes


84 posted on 12/10/2004 6:44:52 AM PST by escapefromboston (god fearing atheist)
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To: escapefromboston

"It's a pretty big change in one's thought processes"

Not really. If you read the entire article, it's clear that the sort of deity Flew discusses is hardly the sort of deity of Judaism.

Deism and atheism are closely related. Deists just believe in one more deity than atheists do.

In my view, a deity which has no attributes or even sentience, as Flew posits, can hardly be defined as a deity. A mindless force, perhaps, but not a deity.

Flew may be somewhat senile.


85 posted on 12/10/2004 6:48:26 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: MineralMan
Alot of people believe in one more God then Atheists. Also just because you disagree with the guy is no reason to insult him and call him senile.
86 posted on 12/10/2004 6:50:29 AM PST by escapefromboston (manny ortez: mvp)
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To: escapefromboston

"Alot of people believe in one more God then Atheists. Also just because you disagree with the guy is no reason to insult him and call him senile."

Yes, and atheists believe in one less deity than Christians.

I did not call Flew senile. I suggested it as a possibility. Please read more carefully.


87 posted on 12/10/2004 6:52:22 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: MineralMan
MM, as an atheist, how do you explain/understand creation and the many wonders and mysteries of the earth?

Honestly, you are the only atheist that I have ever really conversed with and you aren't at all anything like what I assumed atheists are. You're actually a very well spoken and intelligent person and kinds nice to boot.

I guess I am just curious for the sake of curiosity and since you said before that you don't answer Freepmail, I thought I would ask you here. If you don't want to answer I understand.

88 posted on 12/10/2004 7:01:56 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: MineralMan

Oh, you only suggested it, well in that case I suppose you meant no insult. I am sure then its okay to insult someone as long as you only "suggest" it. That makes everything alright then. I would also like to thank you for only "suggesting" that I have low reading compression as I was unable to decipher your last post.


89 posted on 12/10/2004 7:07:29 AM PST by escapefromboston (manny ortez: mvp)
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To: Dimensio
The ultimate origins of life are a seperate matter from Darwinian evolution. No, Darwinian evolution does not explain the ultimate origins of life, but then it never tried to explain it. It's like arguing that Darwinian evolution is inadequate to explain how to properly install Windows XP. Yes, the theory doesn't explain that matter at all, but the theory was never devised to explain such a thing. Thank you, someone else gets it. I shouldn't make it sound like you're the only one, there are certainly others on FR who seem to get it, but there are still lots and lots of people who don't understand this fundamental point. So many news stories try to paint a picture with Darwinian evolution on one side and some origin-of-life concept on the other side, when there is rarely any conflict at all. I wish these news outlets would get a science editor!
90 posted on 12/10/2004 7:14:17 AM PST by munchtipq
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To: AntiGuv
There is definitely no hope for me, though!

Being an atheist doesn't make you a bad person. Fred Hoyle (Belief.net link but well written) was a devout atheist and creator of the steady-state theory of the universe. He pursued evidence, however, to where it went and came to conclude that there was an unseen intellegence guiding the universe.

He never joined a church or professed Christ but I think salvation is possible after death (probably puts me at odds with many here)

Atheists get stigmatized, often unfairly, because many proclaim this belief not because their questions aren't answered but because they never ask questions, or because they ignore the answers that might require them to make changes in their life.

But skepticism is not a bad thing.

91 posted on 12/10/2004 7:23:54 AM PST by Tribune7
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To: PleaseNoMore
You didn't ask me, and I hope you don't mind my jumping in, but as I see things even if I chose to explain the wonders and mysteries of earth via a god, I would then just find myself pondering the wonders and mysteries of the god.

I honestly don't understand how people can answer the question "where did it all come from" with "it came from God" and actually find any satisfaction in that. It's not so much that I don't accept that there's something outside of the universe - as a matter of fact, if I had to guess I would say that there must be some dimension of existence beyond and 'before' the universe - it is just that its nature strikes me as utterly indecipherable.

No, it's not satisfactory to me in the slightest that existence seems so ultimately unexplainable, but it gives me no satisfaction to explain it with something utterly beyond comprehension. For that matter, every religion basically gives the same answer: "First there was nothing, then there was God." How is that any better than: "First there was nothing, then there was existence"?

The whole thought process is just all very perplexing to me. When I consciously abandoned the faith - if I could even call it that - I recognized in hindsight that I never actually believed. It was something I did out of routine, or whatever, but the sense that there was anything 'out there' is totally foreign to me.

It's also not that I have a personal problem with God (unless it's some kind of repressed thing, like a problem with him being so deceptive and inscrutable, or whatever LOL). Quite the contrary, I would more than gladly believe if I could persuade myself to believe. I actually want to believe in God. I want the serenity that I imagine would follow. But, at the same token, I just cannot imagine myself ever believing.

Oh well. Even if there were a god, my view is that there cannot be an omnipotent, omniscient god without absolute predestination. So, que sera, sera!

92 posted on 12/10/2004 7:29:53 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Tribune7

I'll definitely read the link when I get back this afternoon. Thanks!

Check out my post #92 if you have a moment.


93 posted on 12/10/2004 7:32:31 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Tribune7; Alamo-Girl; Eastbound; marron; StJacques; Taliesan; ckilmer; escapefromboston; ...
...biologists' investigation of DNA "has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved"... [Flew] accepts Darwinian evolution but doubts it can explain the ultimate origins of life.

Sounds about right to me! Of course, his theology is still sub-par.... :^) (JMHO FWIW)

94 posted on 12/10/2004 7:35:52 AM PST by betty boop
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To: MineralMan
Hardly a revolutionary thought.

To believe that there is an unseen intellegence behind the universe where as you once believed there was not, is revolutionary.

95 posted on 12/10/2004 7:38:05 AM PST by Tribune7
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To: betty boop
Indeed. At least he has taken a major step in the right direction.
96 posted on 12/10/2004 7:40:48 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: AntiGuv

Will do


97 posted on 12/10/2004 7:43:30 AM PST by Tribune7
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To: ZGuy
The guy is to be commended, not mocked. He moves in the right direction; good for him.

The skeptics and beleivers in our audience need to understand that this is NOT a small change -- it is HUGE. One of the earliest logical forks in the road is the god/no god question; everything after that is dependent on it. If you move a flashlight an inch the light beam will shift huge distances out there somewhere. Flew just shifted his flashlight an inch.

It is amazing to me that so-called sophisitcated thinkers can even form the concept of a "minimal" god. What does that even mean? What is a "minimal" person? Does that mean we think we need a god to get it all moving but let's not let him be anything but a cosmic retard? Do these people not realize that once you open the door to a god of any type you have conceded that you must look for his own self-definition? That you no longer have any defense from the threat posed to reason by the concept of revelation? That what you must next do, logically, is sort among all the claims of competing revelations for the one that most answers the questions implied by the human experience?

A "minimal" god? Don't insult yourself. He either made, knows, and loves us or he is not. And if he loves us he entered our flesh, was crucified under Pontias Pilate, amd rose again on the third day.

Stop all the intellectual games and make an existential CHOICE, for pete's sake.

98 posted on 12/10/2004 7:56:34 AM PST by Taliesan (The power of the State to do good is the power of the State to do evil.)
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To: AntiGuv
every religion basically gives the same answer: "First there was nothing, then there was God." How is that any better than: "First there was nothing, then there was existence"?

I agree; in your version, "god' is nothing more than a symbol for "everything".

Actually, though, this 180 degrees NOT what Christianity claims.

We claim there never was a nothing. We claim that first there was God, then there was something.

By definition, the effect cannot be greater than the cause, so the something is less than the God thing. Because it is second and therefore less, the second thing cannot comprehend the first thing.

The something is rational and comprehensible in its nature, because we are on its level, and comprehension is a species of circumscription. Hence, science. By definition, you can mentally circumscribe all that is not ontologically bigger.

But all beings equal to you or bigger than you, you cannot comprehend. You cannot fully comprehend another human, for example. Hence, supra (not anti) reason.

The God thing is also rational and comprehensible to every intelligence larger (of course, there are none.) To those smaller intelligences, He is partly comprehensible and infinitally not comprehensible. Not because He withholds, but because He existed first.

The method of thought is the same in all instances: we wonder so that we might know. We wonder at creation, then know it by science. We wonder at God, then know him by faith (which is NOT blind belief, but is a specific mode of knowledge.)

99 posted on 12/10/2004 8:16:19 AM PST by Taliesan (The power of the State to do good is the power of the State to do evil.)
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To: AntiGuv
I honestly don't understand how people can answer the question "where did it all come from" with "it came from God" and actually find any satisfaction in that.

I don't comprehend that either. It's like trying to solve a riddle by reducing it to a greater enigma, as someone once said.

"First there was nothing, then there was existence"

Well, there never was nothing. Just because we can formulate this sentence doesn't mean it makes sense. So to say that nothing is, is just an artefact of our language since without anything a temporal dimension doesn't make sense.
So when one says "the universe always existed", always means all points in time which make sense. However, this period doesn't have to go infinitely far back. This is just the same with the latitudes on a globe: if you go north you can reach the north pole but that's it, there is no point which is north of the north pole.

No, it's not satisfactory to me in the slightest that existence seems so ultimately unexplainable, but it gives me no satisfaction to explain it with something utterly beyond comprehension.

Well said, but it seems that for most people any answer is better than no aswer at all or an honest "I don't know".

100 posted on 12/10/2004 9:15:36 AM PST by BMCDA
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