And therefore, God does not exist!

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby chownah » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:08 am

binocular wrote:

chownah wrote:Here's one: I have never experienced anything that indicates that god exists.

A.k.a. "I've never seen God, therefore, God does not exist. My experiences are the absolute measure of what exists and what doesn't. I know better than anyone else."

You are not answering to what I posted.....never having experienced anything which indicates that god exists as the basis for a belief is completely different from never having seen god indicating that god does not exist. Also, i am indicating that my experience is the absolute measure upon which my beliefs are founded, I am not saying that existence is founded on my experience, just my beliefs........we are discussing beliefs here aren't we? I am glad, however that you got one thing correct and that is that I know better than anyone else....at least about what I see as a basis for MY beliefs.
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Edit: changed "b asks" to "basis"
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Last edited by chownah on Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby kitztack » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:23 pm

binocular wrote:
kitztack wrote:it means that one will never be liberated from dukkha while the clinging to a belief in a creator God exists. the author explains
the Buddha's teachings on this quite clearly. it is not a matter of being fit to be a Buddhist or belonging to Buddhism- its a matter of following what the Fully Awakened One realised to be free of samsara

Of course it is a matter of fitting in and belonging. More importantly, it's also a matter of assuming that an unenlightened person can adequately understand the reasoning of an enlightened one.


Buddham saranam gacchami
I go to the Buddha for refuge.

i have faith in the Buddha, that he found a way to the end of dukkha, a state called Nibbana

Dhammam saranam gacchami
I go to the Dhamma for refuge.

I have faith in the Dhamma because it teaches the laws of nature and by the suttas often repeating the words of the Buddha on different subjects the Dhamma becomes clearly understandable to an unenlightened one with time, dedication, patience and discernment in following the Noble Eightfold Path


Sangham saranam gacchami
I go to the Sangha for refuge.

I believe many peoples lives have been improved by being taught the Dhamma and believe that members of the Sangha have achieved Enlightenment by doing so.
to take refuge in the Sangha as a matter of fitting in or to belong is to do so in ignorance, neglecting the teaching of anatta
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:48 am

I went through the trouble of listening the opening statement of WLC on Hitchens vs WLC. This guy is laughable. His ignorance is extravagant _ for someone who has published 100+ papers in the field of philosophy of religion, of course. I didn't even listened to all of the opening statement. I listened to the first contention and the first three points of the second contention _ cosmological argument, teological argument and moral argument. None of these arguments, at least as exposed by WLC, are worth anything. I think only 10% of his "it logicaly follows" are correct which, as you imagine, is enough to render his arguments meaningless.

I know some of you will be asking for counter arguments. I take the heat of giving none. Any suficiently scientificaly-educated person can see his arguments are like swiss cheese.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby alan » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:08 am

No point arguing with irrational people, it will just bring grief.

Taking on a debate with someone bound to his own viewpoint, who is not seriously considering other ideas, is always a losing game. Even standing on the podium aside him gives him an advantage, as others might consider you equals.
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby manas » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:37 am

The Judeo-Christian version of god as a psychopathic tyrant who can not even match the morality of his created beings is indeed silly. But there are other conceptions of god that are far less silly. And some are not silly at all, even if we as Buddhists do not agree with them on many points. Also as I note how often the concept of god is discussed on this forum, I wonder if despite consciously renouncing the numinous, if some of us might subconsciously still yearn for it; otherwise why would the subject come up so often?
Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:21 am

manas wrote:The Judeo-Christian version of god as a psychopathic tyrant who can not even match the morality of his created beings is indeed silly. But there are other conceptions of god that are far less silly. And some are not silly at all, even if we as Buddhists do not agree with them on many points. Also as I note how often the concept of god is discussed on this forum, I wonder if despite consciously renouncing the numinous, if some of us might subconsciously still yearn for it; otherwise why would the subject come up so often?


Well, the Judeo-Christian-Islamic notion is atrocious. Other versions of the concept can be discussed with some intelligence, but the notion of a god that is possible, without selfcontradiction, is quite weak _ compared to the western religions' version of him. Weak in the sense that it wouldn't be so powerful, knowing and ilimited.

Anyway, the second point is also quite interesting. Yes, we all desire a benevolent and super powerful parental figure that perpetuates the care and protection our parents gave us. Some more, some less. Some have a healthy wish for this. Some have an unhealthy one.
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby binocular » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:35 pm

manas wrote:Also as I note how often the concept of god is discussed on this forum, I wonder if despite consciously renouncing the numinous, if some of us might subconsciously still yearn for it; otherwise why would the subject come up so often?

Not necessarily due to a yearning for God.
But could also be due to anger; habit; the momentum of having discussed it before; conceiving of one's own atheist path as a rebellion or opposition to the theistic path.
Perhaps other motivations as well, such as membership in an atheist group and the peer pressure that comes with that.
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby binocular » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:49 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Being without an ability to meaningfully explain anything, what purpose does the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos serve? The Buddha certainly saw no value in a god idea in terms of liberation, of awakening.

One needs not try to disprove the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos for two reasons: It cannot, by its believers, be shown in any definitive way to exist, and it does not explain anything when pushed beyond superficial statements.

But why expect those who claim to believe in God to provide such explanations or demand such explanations from them?


And those who buy into the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos, when pushed to show what god explains, will almost invariably resort some such dodge as "God is beyond our understanding," "God works in mysterious ways," etc., which is another of saying that the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos cannot explain anything in a meaningful way.


"The idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos cannot explain anything in a meaningful way" _to whom_?

Explanations don't somehow exist in a vacuum, independently of people and their minds, their intentions.

Something can be explained in a meaningful way only to a particular person, at a particular time and other circumstances.

Verbally the same explanation may be meaningful to one person, but nonsense to another.

I find it strange when people demand an explanation that would stand per se, on its own, regardless of anyone, in a vacuum.


tiltbillings wrote:That is, of course, assuming that one demands from the supposed god that every whim be fulfilled,

And atheist arguments to the effect of "My aunt had cancer. People prayed for her. She died anyway. Therefore, God does not exist / God is not worth believing in." are evidence of that outlook of "God ought to fulfill my every whim."

and there is, of course, no reason to assume that that is a necessity in questioning the whys and wherefores of the supposed god. On the other hand it is not unreasonable for the supposed god's creations to ask of the supposed god why it created the way it did.

Questions should be directed directly to the person whose answers one wishes to obtain. In this case, to God himself.
Why some people demand answers about God, but seek those answers from anyone but God, is beyond me.
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby binocular » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:32 pm

Benjamin wrote:
binocular wrote: I am still waiting to see some good arguments against God.

Honestly, I don't think that's the best way to frame it. To give an example of what I mean:

"I am still waiting to see some good arguments against fairies."
"I am still waiting to see some good arguments against vampires."
"I am still waiting to see some good arguments against bigfoot."

??
It's not like I suggested "I am still waiting to see some good arguments against God, and until I get those arguments, I will continue to believe in God."

That said, I am still waiting to see some good arguments against God. Some arguments against God that I could really stand by, openly declare, some that I wouldn't feel silly to state in polite society. Until then, I am an atheist, just not a vocal one.


I don't believe in a god for the simple reason that I can't find any good reasons to believe. Just like the above three. I shouldn't have to come up with detailed arguments against something I've seen no evidence for, because until the evidence is very compelling it's just an intellectual/philosophical exercise.

By that reasoning, you also don't believe that, for example, free will exists, that all humans are equal or that democracy is a worthwhile goal. Because so far, there is no "compelling" evidence for any of those. --?


Mkoll wrote:One of the prime rules of communication is to know your audience. I think a lot of crusaders of any stripe often forget this rule and seem to think that their arguments are so good that anyone should be able to understand them. That's just not the case in my experience. The minds of some people are simply dead set in some regards and it's, at best, a waste of time debating about those things.

For all practical intents and purposes, in order to be a Buddhist, at least a Theravada Buddhist, one must adhere to a particular brand of atheism. This is where the eight worldly conditions effectively become the eight transcendental conditions.
If one isn't the kind of atheist as is expected from Buddhists, one gets kicked out, or leaves on one's own accord, as it becomes too unbearable to stay.


kitztack wrote:to take refuge in the Sangha as a matter of fitting in or to belong is to do so in ignorance, neglecting the teaching of anatta

I think that's an interesting take on the matter.
But it depends on what exactly do you mean by "anatta", given that this is one of the more hotly disputed issues among Buddhists.

Ignoring or downplaying the relevance of the social aspect of going for refuge in Buddhism, or of becoming a member of a religion can amount to a kind of solipsism, a kind of absolute belief that one "has it right" regardless of what the people who are also declared members of said religion say.

In Christianity, they sometimes use the term "lone ranger Christianity" - "when a person tries to be a follower of Christ all on their own, without any authority, relationships or accountability" (source).

I think that similarly, there can also be lone ranger Buddhism. Of course, there is that passage from the Dhammapada stating that if one fails to find a suitable companion, one should go off on one's own. But to start off already at odds with other members - then perhaps one isn't on the path at all to begin with. I'm not sure to whom that passage from the Dhammapada applies. Probably to advanced practitioners. But newcomers?
Newcomers to Buddhism are not rarely told to "join a Buddhist group and do as told." But what if one is already at the onset at odds with the Buddhists (such as being a very different kind of atheist as they are)?


chownah wrote:
binocular wrote:
chownah wrote:Here's one: I have never experienced anything that indicates that god exists.

A.k.a. "I've never seen God, therefore, God does not exist. My experiences are the absolute measure of what exists and what doesn't. I know better than anyone else."

You are not answering to what I posted.....

What would you consider to be an answer to what you posted?
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:41 pm

binocular wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:It might be worth considering that winning or losing debates has little to do with whether one's beliefs in a God or no God are truly justified.

Justified to whom? For what purpose?


Not justified to anybody, or for any specific purpose, but justified by virtue of being true.
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby chownah » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:32 pm

chownah wrote:
Here's one: I have never experienced anything that indicates that god exists.
binocular wrote:
A.k.a. "I've never seen God, therefore, God does not exist. My experiences are the absolute measure of what exists and what doesn't. I know better than anyone else."
chownah wrote:
You are not answering to what I posted.....
binocular wrote:
What would you consider to be an answer to what you posted?

Binocular,
One answer could be, "I guess that basing ideas or beliefs about the existence of god on ones experiences is better than making them from arguments of logic devoid of experiential content."...........or one could answer, "the idea that basing ideas or beliefs about the existence of god on ones experience is ridiculous and childish since arguments of pure logic devoid of experience is the only path to knowledge."..........or many other things as well.....I don't want to put words into your mouth......
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby Mkoll » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:24 pm

binocular wrote:
Mkoll wrote:One of the prime rules of communication is to know your audience. I think a lot of crusaders of any stripe often forget this rule and seem to think that their arguments are so good that anyone should be able to understand them. That's just not the case in my experience. The minds of some people are simply dead set in some regards and it's, at best, a waste of time debating about those things.

For all practical intents and purposes, in order to be a Buddhist, at least a Theravada Buddhist, one must adhere to a particular brand of atheism. This is where the eight worldly conditions effectively become the eight transcendental conditions.
If one isn't the kind of atheist as is expected from Buddhists, one gets kicked out, or leaves on one's own accord, as it becomes too unbearable to stay.

I had issues with the whole concept of God that were cropping up as strong thoughts in my mind when I first became a Buddhist. As time has gone on, those thoughts have greatly subsided and carry little strength. It just doesn't bother me anymore because I've divested the entire concept of any attention or energy; it has lost its significance. It's not worth giving my energy and attention to because it tends to lead to trains of thought tinged with doubt and fear (stress). I basically used method 3 from MN 20 and it worked.

Bhikkhus, whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind.
-MN 19
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
-SN 12.61

Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Peace,
James
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby kitztack » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:36 pm

Mkoll wrote:
I had issues with the whole concept of God that were cropping up as strong thoughts in my mind when I first became a Buddhist. As time has gone on, those thoughts have greatly subsided and carry little strength. It just doesn't bother me anymore because I've divested the entire concept of any attention or energy; it has lost its significance. It's not worth giving my energy and attention to because it tends to lead to trains of thought tinged with doubt and fear (stress). I basically used method 3 from MN 20 and it worked.

Bhikkhus, whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind.
-MN 19


thank you for sharing that personal experience of Dhamma practice Mkoll
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby kitztack » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:59 pm

binocular wrote:
kitztack wrote:to take refuge in the Sangha as a matter of fitting in or to belong is to do so in ignorance, neglecting the teaching of anatta

I think that's an interesting take on the matter.
But it depends on what exactly do you mean by "anatta", given that this is one of the more hotly disputed issues among Buddhists.

Ignoring or downplaying the relevance of the social aspect of going for refuge in Buddhism, or of becoming a member of a religion can amount to a kind of solipsism, a kind of absolute belief that one "has it right" regardless of what the people who are also declared members of said religion say.


i fail to see the social aspect of going for refuge in the Buddha
i disagree with your view of 'becoming a member of a religion'. its more about practicing the teachings laid down. otherwise its just another aspect of an identity and personality e.g im a woman, im a baker, im a father


binocular wrote:

In Christianity, they sometimes use the term "lone ranger Christianity" - "when a person tries to be a follower of Christ all on their own, without any authority, relationships or accountability" (source).

I think that similarly, there can also be lone ranger Buddhism. Of course, there is that passage from the Dhammapada stating that if one fails to find a suitable companion, one should go off on one's own. But to start off already at odds with other members - then perhaps one isn't on the path at all to begin with . I'm not sure to whom that passage from the Dhammapada applies. Probably to advanced practitioners. But newcomers?
Newcomers to Buddhism are not rarely told to "join a Buddhist group and do as told." But what if one is already at the onset at odds with the Buddhists (such as being a very different kind of atheist as they are)?

i see followers/believers -you once again instead refer to membership. there are no membrship cards or starter packs given out in religions.
could you please elaborate on the different types of athiest........... Baron d'Holbach said that "All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God." is this what you mean? :thinking:
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby Mkoll » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:12 pm

I'd like to add that I've never been religious in regards to monotheism. My parents took me to church for some time when I was younger but I wasn't interested. Singing songs in Sunday school and listening to preachers just bored me and I went through the motions because it was expected and I wanted to fit in.

So for someone who has been seriously monotheistically religious for a time in their life, I imagine they wouldn't have nearly as easy a time as I had to let go of the God concept so I sympathize. This is because thoughts regarding that concept would crop up more and thus it's more likely that energy and attention will be invested in them. I think it's useful to see it as a concept that arises and passes away due to causes and conditions.

:coffee:
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
-SN 12.61

Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Peace,
James
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:34 pm

binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Being without an ability to meaningfully explain anything, what purpose does the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos serve? The Buddha certainly saw no value in a god idea in terms of liberation, of awakening.

One needs not try to disprove the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos for two reasons: It cannot, by its believers, be shown in any definitive way to exist, and it does not explain anything when pushed beyond superficial statements.

But why expect those who claim to believe in God to provide such explanations or demand such explanations from them?
I do not give a rat’s tookus what theists believe, except when they insist that I believe the way they do.

But we are talking here about the market place of ideas, where god ideas get presented by god believers as a good set of ideas and then these god ideas can be looked at to see what questions such ideas can reasonably answer, if any, in debate and dialogue with god believers.

And those who buy into the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos, when pushed to show what god explains, will almost invariably resort some such dodge as "God is beyond our understanding," "God works in mysterious ways," etc., which is another of saying that the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos cannot explain anything in a meaningful way.


"The idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos cannot explain anything in a meaningful way" _to whom_?

Explanations don't somehow exist in a vacuum, independently of people and their minds, their intentions.

Something can be explained in a meaningful way only to a particular person, at a particular time and other circumstances.

Verbally the same explanation may be meaningful to one person, but nonsense to another.

I find it strange when people demand an explanation that would stand per se, on its own, regardless of anyone, in a vacuum.
This is a straw-man construction. I would certainly not expect an answer be presented in a vacuum. Certainly a lot of theists think that their god ideas are timeless, universal, and applicable here, there and everywhere. And many theists put their god ideas out there as if they are universally applicable, trumping all else, and if such god ideas are put out there by theists, they are certainly open to examination and challenge. Why wouldn’t they be? As for context, it is up to the god believers who are pushing their notions of a god, to give the appropriate contexts, inasmuch as they may or may not be important when such ideas are, in turn, challenged.

tiltbillings wrote:That is, of course, assuming that one demands from the supposed god that every whim be fulfilled,

And atheist arguments to the effect of "My aunt had cancer. People prayed for her. She died anyway. Therefore, God does not exist / God is not worth believing in." are evidence of that outlook of "God ought to fulfill my every whim."
That is more a theist lament. Also, importantly, praying for the return to health of a loved one in a dire situation is hardly a whim. Again, with this "whim" business you are presenting a straw-man argumentation. You might want to back up and try this again. There are serious questions raised here that you have just blown right over, or do not understand.

and there is, of course, no reason to assume that that is a necessity in questioning the whys and wherefores of the supposed god. On the other hand it is not unreasonable for the supposed god's creations to ask of the supposed god why it created the way it did.

Questions should be directed directly to the person whose answers one wishes to obtain. In this case, to God himself.
Why some people demand answers about God, but seek those answers from anyone but God, is beyond me.
That it is beyond you indicates a lack of understanding of the subject at hand. God. Ask god. And how does one ask god anything? A lot of people claim to talk to god and that god talks to them, but god can say very different things to different people about the same thing. “Kill those heathens.” “Love those folks.” I’d love to talk with god. You have god’s telephone number, e-mail address, snail-mail address?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby kitztack » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:47 pm

tiltbillings wrote: A lot of people claim to talk to god and that god talks to them,


withhout being disrespectful and judgemental this is a common symptom of schizophrenia and unfortunatlely psychatric wards contain many patients who converse with God.
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:53 pm

kitztack wrote:
binocular wrote:
Ignoring or downplaying the relevance of the social aspect of going for refuge in Buddhism, or of becoming a member of a religion can amount to a kind of solipsism, a kind of absolute belief that one "has it right" regardless of what the people who are also declared members of said religion say.

i fail to see the social aspect of going for refuge in the Buddha
i disagree with your view of 'becoming a member of a religion'. its more about practicing the teachings laid down. otherwise its just another aspect of an identity and personality e.g im a woman, im a baker, im a father


I think the perception on this depends on how you approach the religion. Clearly different people approach it in different ways. For me, the "social aspect" are extremely important. My (mostly monastic) teachers, my fellow practitioners, and the people I see most Sundays at the Wat...

As Binocular implies, a community that provides some instruction, role models, and companions can be a useful reality check on one's interpretation of the teachings.

:anjali:
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:58 pm

kitztack wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: A lot of people claim to talk to god and that god talks to them,


withhout being disrespectful and judgemental this is a common symptom of schizophrenia and unfortunatlely psychatric wards contain many patients who converse with God.
That depends, but I would say that most people who talk with their god -- prayer -- are not crazy.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: And therefore, God does not exist!

Postby kitztack » Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:05 pm

indeed the Sangha is very useful for those fortunate enough to have access one. However the community follows the teaching, the teaching doesnt change to accomadate different member. when this occurs new traditions and religions are formed.
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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