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This is my opinion and I make no claim to prophetic vision, I make no claim to power, and I certainly don't claim immunity from attack.

I talk about God a lot. The concept of God, God's necessity in the universe he created, and the many perceived fuck-ups of the one who is ultimately blind. Now, when I talk to people about God sometimes it seems that they can't comprehend that maybe, just maybe, reason and faith can work hand-in-hand.

Point One: I ask people why they believe a certain way. They mention, constantly, the frequency of miracles and supernatural experience. Personally, I find this reason extraordinarily shallow. In fact, if I saw someone working "miracles" who claimed to be the "Son of God" I wouldn't believe them. A kind, charismatic man is a better tool for God than any fucking magician.

Point Two: I've read a lot on the idea of God, the Tao Te Ching, the Bhaghavad Gita, the Bible (more than one version, including the Apocrypha), and assorted other things. I ask people how they could possibly believe in that one thing so strongly that they would dare evangelise without ever having exposed themselves to the ways of the prosylot. They give me any number of Bible quote, or Q'ran quote, or whatever else. You would not pick a favorite food if all you've eaten is rice and you would not pick a car after only having seen a single one, how the hell can you pick a WAY OF LIFE after only seeing one?!

Point Three: This is on the sick semantics of typeface. The Bible and all these other wonderful things were written by men. MEN! Not God, man. The Word of God, whichever God may exist, is not easily translatable to Hebrew, Aramaic, or English. Teach the Pythagorean Theorem to a worm and you'll get a good analogy of a God-inspired text. They were all written, rewritten, translated, and retranslated with the ideas of the people who worked those ways. And especially to you Catholics, Christ proclaimed the SOUL of the law, not the WORD of it.

Faith and reason can go hand-in-hand. I think, however, that you are overgeneralising; and I think your logic is faulty, Lamed-Ah-Zohar.

Point 1: People come to God through different ways. If someone has personally had supernatural experiences that lead him to believe what he believes, so what? As long as he doesn't tell you that because of his supernatural experiences, you should always believe, what's wrong with it? And what's the issue with miracle as a means of proof? You say it is shallow, but you don't explain why. If a prophet asserts that he is carrying God's message, why shouldn't he give some evidence to his people by doing things that are miraculous? (By the way, I have serious problems with the idea of the Son of God, but I think you are talking about prophethood in general). And we're not talking either/or. To become founder of anything that has millions of followers, you have to be kind and charismatic anyway. I don't know anyone who would say that Jesus, Muhammad or Buddha, based on their descriptions, weren't charismatic.

Point 2: What makes you so sure that people haven't? Before I really accepted Islam, I did research other religions. There is an issue of numbers (there are a helluva lot of religions), but there are some quick culling techniques you can use to instantly eliminate some religions. For example:

  • Is the religion specific to a culture or race, or does it ascribe special rights to a particular culture or race? If so, how can it be meant for all of humanity?
  • Does the religion encourage people to join it? If no, how can God expect me to belong to it?
  • Do I have to pay any money to become a member of this religion? If so, how can poor people be expected to belong to it?
With those three questions, for example, I wiped out Hinduism, Scientology, Zoroastrianism and Judaism. And there are more culling questions, but I'll leave them for another node.

Point 3: This is just wrong. Both Zoroastrians and Muslims, for example, have their texts still preserved in their original languages. I can't speak for other religions, but in Islam, we believe that it was not written by man. You may choose to disagree, but we believe it was revealed by God. And surely if God is omnipotent, He can find a way to express himself to creation, right? Sure, we may not be able to express Pythagoras' Theorem in a way that a worm understands, but that's our weakness, not necessarily God's. This appears to be yet another case of treating all religions like Christianity.

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