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Old 11-03-2006, 02:45 AM   #1
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Default Certain of God?

http://www.wsmv.com/news/10227869/detail.html

Many Americans Not 'Absolutely Certain' Of God

Americans are often thought of as people who believe in God.

But results of a new Harris Poll show that may be changing.

The poll found that 42 percent of all U.S. adults said they are not "absolutely certain" there is a God, including 15 percent who are "somewhat certain," 11 percent who think there is probably no God and 16 percent who are not sure.

Not everyone who described themselves as Christian or Jewish said that they believed in God. Only 76 percent of Protestants, 64 percent of Catholics, and 30 percent of Jews said they are "absolutely certain" there is a God. However, most Christians who described themselves as "born-again" (93 percent) said they are absolutely certain there is a God.

Differences Between Demographic Groups

Demographic groups that are more likely to say they are absolutely certain that there is a God include:

-People in all age groups 40 and over compared to people in age groups under 40
-Women (62 percent) slightly more than men (54 percent)
-Blacks (71 percent) compared to Hispanics (61 percent) and whites (57 percent)
-Republicans (73 percent) more than Democrats (54 percent) or Independents (51 percent)
-People with no college education (62 percent) or who have some college education (57 percent) compared to college graduates (50 percent) and those with post-graduate degrees (53 percent)

About 35 percent of all adults polled said that they attend religious services at least once a month, including 26 percent who said they attend every week or more often than that.

Nearly half of all adults polled (46 percent) said they attend services a few times a year or less frequently, while 18 percent said the never attend religious services.

Those who said they attend religious services once a month or more included 48 percent of Protestants, 46 percent of Catholics, and 12 percent of Jews. However, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of born-again Christians attend Church once a month or more.

Is God Male Or Female?

The public is almost equally divided between those who think of God as male (36 percent) and "neither male nor female" (37 percent), with 10 percent saying "both male and female." Only 1 percent thinks of God as a female.

Does God Have A Human Form?

Much of the public (41 percent) thinks of God as "a spirit or power that can take on human form but is not inherently human," according to the survey. But 27 percent think of God as a "spirit or power that does not take on human form," while 9 percent of adults think of God as being "like a human being with a face, body, arms, legs, eyes, etc."

Does God Control Events On Earth?

Only 29 percent of those polled said they believe God "controls what happens on Earth." Of those believers, 57 percent were born-again Christians. And 44 percent of respondents said they believe that God "observes but does not control what happens on Earth."

Do We Worship The Same God?

Poll results show that about 51 percent of all adults, including a majority of Catholics (63 percent), believe that Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God. One-third (32 percent) said they believe they do not and 16 percent are not sure. On this question, as on the others, the views of born-again Christians are different -- a 54 percent majority believes they do not worship the same God and only 34 percent believe they do.

Are Believers Declining?

Three years ago, in an identical survey, 79 percent of adults said they believed in God and 66 percent said they were absolutely certain that there is a God. In this new survey, those numbers declined to 73 percent and 58 percent respectively.

Why The Changes?

There are some important differences between telephone polling and those conducted online, as this survey was. Several surveys find that people are more likely to admit potentially embarrassing beliefs of behaviors when answering online surveys than to admit these behaviors when talking to an actual interviewer on the phone.

According to Harris, people are three times more likely to say that their sexual orientation is gay, lesbian or bi-sexual online than over the phone. Researchers called this unwillingness to give honest answers to some questions in telephone surveys a social desirability bias.

This distinction between online and telephone polls may explain why more people said they are not absolutely certain there is a God than have given similar replies in other surveys conducted by telephone.

The Harris Poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive between Oct. 4 and 10 with a nationwide sample of 2,010 U.S. adults.
I'm not 'absolutely certain' there is no god. The fact that some people are so certain is scary.
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Old 11-03-2006, 04:59 AM   #2
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Why is that scary Heretic? I am certain without a shadow of a doubt in my heart God exists. I have seen to many things that defy what can be explained by science, math, etc choose your poison.
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Old 11-03-2006, 05:59 AM   #3
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bg85 on another forum:
"i always refer to myself as a "missionary agnostic." that is, not only do i not know shit about shit, but i'm going to try and convince you that you don't know shit about shit either and there's no way for you to know shit about shit."

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Old 11-03-2006, 01:47 PM   #4
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Like the fact you havent been aborted retroactively for being a goober. Amen.
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Old 11-03-2006, 02:34 PM   #5
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I'd be interested to see how they conducted their sampling, and what their % of respondents' religion is versus the last census.
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Old 11-03-2006, 03:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Heretic
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My own personal experiences while working, someone walking away from the most horrific accident I have ever seen to the simplest of things like a child surviving an enviroment they live in to become something greater than you would have thought imagined, to a child living alot longer than expected to have thought possible. These are only a couple of instances of some of the things I have seen and been involved in and I truly believe God had a hand in each and every one of them. That is why I believe.
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Old 11-04-2006, 01:42 AM   #7
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Do you not believe in chance at all? If you had never heard of a God before, what would you attribute it to? I just think it is conditioning.
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Old 11-04-2006, 03:04 AM   #8
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Why is that scary Heretic? I am certain without a shadow of a doubt in my heart God exists. I have seen to many things that defy what can be explained by science, math, etc choose your poison.
First of all, I do believe in God.
However, your explanation for a reason for God is weak. The problem is that if you say that God is a reason for the unexplained then you believe that God's purpose is merely to offer an explanation. That would make God entirely an invention of man's mind and thus negate the existence of God.
The other problem is that God has always been an excuse of all peoples to explain the unexplainable to them. For example, many indigenous tribes believed eclipses were a product of a God and not a product of a simple solar explanation. Yet they invented a God for this. Unfortunately it wasn't the same "Christian" God that you believe in. Such has always been a reason for a God.
Merely because something is not known or unknowable by us doesn't mean there is a God. It means one of two things. The first being that we have not reached that level of knowledge. The second being that our understanding of nature is limited to the nature that we can only experience. In other words, we are bound to the earth and our understanding of nature can only be based upon what we can prove according to the bounds of our nature.
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Old 11-04-2006, 03:40 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bumbleroot
The problem is that if you say that God is a reason for the unexplained then you believe that God's purpose is merely to offer an explanation.
Something here doesn't jive, but I'm not sure how to put it into words. It's the second half, about believing that God's purpose is merely to offer an explanation. I don't think that's what Ini was saying. I'll think about it a bit more and post later.
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Old 11-04-2006, 05:16 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by bumbler
The problem is that if you say that God is a reason for the unexplained then you believe that God's purpose is merely to offer an explanation.
That's like saying that, because you like to drink water, you believe the only reason water exists is to quench your thirst. Just because he believes God "is a reason" does NOT, I repeat NOT mean that he only believes God purpose is to offer explanation. That is an incredibly short-sighted statement.
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Old 11-04-2006, 10:12 AM   #11
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[QUOTE=bumbleroot]The problem is that if you say that God is a reason for the unexplained then you believe that God's purpose is merely to offer an explanation. That would make God entirely an invention of man's mind and thus negate the existence of God.
QUOTE]

If you say god is ONLY a reason for the unexplained, then you're right, it's a self negating statement. That wasn't what was said though.
Ini's approach, by drawing conclusions from his experiences, is really the only valid approach. He wasn't saying god is the reason for everything unexplained, he was saying that things he has seen and calculations/logic he has been exposed to support his belief in god.
You have a good point, Bumb, that people invent gods to explain the unexplained. However, I don't think it applies to Ini's statement.

Originally Posted by Heretic
I just think it is conditioning.
Conditioning plays a huge part in the foundation of faith in a person's life. However, as rational humans (almost an oxymoron, but bear with me) we can rise above our conditioning and free our minds if we want to.
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Old 11-04-2006, 12:37 PM   #12
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This is only what I believe. Honestly does it bother you that I whole heartedly believe? Heretic asked why? I gave a few examples of things that I have ben involved with in my life as to why I believe. What more do you want? I don't believe in coincidence. I believe God has a role in everything from the most simple to the most complex. We just have to choose to except that he played a part in it. If you don't, you dont. Who am I to change your mind?
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Old 11-04-2006, 07:14 PM   #13
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Faith........... one thing about having faith is if you have it you can believe and not worry about being rediculed, one thing about not having faith is you don't have to believe and you can avoid being rediculed (for this one thing anyway) and someday you may regret it, you may not regret it either but we will never know and it won't matter.
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Old 11-04-2006, 08:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Wildane
That's like saying that, because you like to drink water, you believe the only reason water exists is to quench your thirst. Just because he believes God "is a reason" does NOT, I repeat NOT mean that he only believes God purpose is to offer explanation. That is an incredibly short-sighted statement.
Thank you! That's what I meant!
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Old 11-05-2006, 06:39 PM   #15
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:15 AM   #16
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I agree with Bumble to a degree here (please shoot me now!). I was going to make a similar comment.

In simple terms I think what he meant (and what I mean) is: Instead of Ini saying something to the effect of "I believe in God because I see so many beautiful things" it was stated as "I have seen to many things that defy what can be explained by science, math, etc".

Those statements are very different. Now, I didn't even want to bring it up here because I'm sure Ini didn't mean for it to sound that simple. However, I think it's reasonable for someone reading a statement like that to get a little critical, because by that alone, yes it does sound like God is just the explaination. That alone as a reason is very irrational. We all know that over time we have continued to considerably explain things that we would never have thought possible.

But.. again I don't think that's the case here, it just sounded like that from your post.
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Old 11-06-2006, 07:11 AM   #17
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I'm afraid I have to disagree. I don't think it's really that reasonable to assume that was the only reason he believes in God "without a shadow of doubt." I think being critical of the guy without asking "Is that the only reason you believe?" is also unreasonable. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt, that is reasonable.
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Old 11-06-2006, 08:01 AM   #18
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Personally, I think science itself is a testament to the wonders of creation. Consider how developers have such a hard time getting a damn mmo to run well... now consider how infinitely complex the universe is... it must have taken some cosmic debugging to get this thing going!!
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Old 11-06-2006, 08:06 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Everclear
now consider how infinitely complex the universe is... it must have taken some cosmic debugging to get this thing going!!
Yeah, but they're still working on the pathing and A.I. for the mobs.
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Old 11-06-2006, 01:50 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Wildane
I'm afraid I have to disagree. I don't think it's really that reasonable to assume that was the only reason he believes in God "without a shadow of doubt." I think being critical of the guy without asking "Is that the only reason you believe?" is also unreasonable. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt, that is reasonable.
Eh, I disagree because it's reasonable to assume that when someone posts and says they believe something, then gives a reason, that it is probably their main reason. So in this case, the main reason for belief was seemingly to have been given. Just look at the post again.

"Why is that scary Heretic? I am certain without a shadow of a doubt in my heart God exists. I have seen to many things that defy what can be explained by science, math, etc choose your poison."

It's structured pretty clearly:
Belief: I am certain God exists
Reason: I have seen things to defy science, etc.

But hey, whatever. This is all just a semantics thing anyway. I'm just saying I can understand how someone reading that post alone could conclude that is the main reason for believing. And yes it's easy to say "givesomeone the benefit of the doubt and ask more".. but come on, this is a message board, we all having to make some assumptions when people post becuase all we are given is that block of text.

On a related note, I also think that each example Ini gave really isn't related to defying science or unexplainable events. It sounds like Ini has seen many beautiful things happen; people showing amazing courage that most don't have. Absolutly that can be viewed as evidence of God helping to guide us. And I even agree with that to a certain extend. But it just doesn't have anything to do with the unexplainable... So I guess I'd just say it was poor wording to use that if not wanting to start an argument of "God existing because we can't explain stuff".
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Old 11-06-2006, 02:03 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Tuan
I'm just saying I can understand how someone reading that post alone could conclude that is the main reason for believing.
Well (and this is something I meant to post before), that wasn't Ini's only post on the subject before bumbler chimed in. To me, there is such conviction in Ini's "tone", that would suggest he isn't just using God as an excuse to explain things.
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Old 11-07-2006, 05:08 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by tuan
It's structured pretty clearly:
Belief: I am certain God exists
Reason: I have seen things to defy science, etc.
My argument isn't that you can't use things to defy science to be evidence of a god. My argument is that these people are CERTAIN. They can't be.
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Old 11-07-2006, 05:42 AM   #23
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That is why it is called Faith, faith that God exists, and yes, my post didn't come out the way I intended it to. Yes I know there are unexplained events in peoples lives, and I believe and have faith that in those moments is when God lends a hand to help us along. Maybe I can't get out what I am trying to say. /shrug
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Old 11-07-2006, 06:50 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Heretic
My argument is that these people are CERTAIN. They can't be.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, they're as certain that God exists as you are that homosexuality is a biological imperative. No, neither of you can be absolutely positively certain (at this time), but you believe it to be true based on things you've seen, felt, etc. 'Evidence' is in the eye of the beholder, apparently, while actual proof is another subject entirely.
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Old 11-07-2006, 10:21 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Veo
Yeah, but they're still working on the pathing and A.I. for the mobs.
I smell a patch coming...

Originally Posted by Brigiid
At the risk of beating a dead horse, they're as certain that God exists as you are that homosexuality is a biological imperative. No, neither of you can be absolutely positively certain (at this time), but you believe it to be true based on things you've seen, felt, etc. 'Evidence' is in the eye of the beholder, apparently, while actual proof is another subject entirely.
If we had irrefutable proof of god's existence there would be no faith, only automated obedience, and what fun is that?

Ini, I may not share your articulation of how divinity works but I'm in total agreement with your conviction. /applaud
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