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Atheists Take On YouTube: The Blasphemy Challenge.

Talk about creating controversy: filmmaker Brian Flemming and atheist Brian Sapient's new project called The Blasphemy Challenge asks people to upload a video clip of themselves blaspheming against the Holy Spirit onto the popular website YouTube:

With that five-second submission to YouTube, a 24-year-old who uses the name "menotsimple" has either condemned herself to an eternity of punishment in the afterlife or struck a courageous blow against superstition. She's one of more than 400 mostly young people who have joined a campaign by the Web site to stake their souls against the existence of God. That, of course, is the ultimate no-win wager, as the 17th-century French mathematician Blaise Pascal calculated—it can't be settled until you're dead, and if you lose, you go to hell.

The Blasphemy Challenge is a joint project of filmmaker Brian Flemming, director of the antireligion documentary "The God Who Wasn't There," and Brian Sapient, cofounder of the atheist Web site Their intent was to encourage atheists to come forward and put their souls on the line, showing others that you don't have to be afraid of God. The particular form of the challenge was chosen because, by one interpretation, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, a part of the Christian Trinity, is the only sin that can never be forgiven. And once something you've said gets posted on YouTube, as any number of celebrities can attest, you never live it down.

Link | Blasphemy Challenge website

If you don't know the bit about Pascal, it's called Pascal's Wager [wiki] where Blaise Pascal outlined why it's a better bet to believe in God.

It's rather ironic to see atheists proselytize. But since organizations of faith tend to recruit, it makes sense, I suppose. And atheists have the most faith of anyone.
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Popular misconception, Blacknimbus. Atheism in its purest form isn't a faith-based perspective. It is simply lack of belief in a god or gods. Faith is belief (that is, accepting something as true or real) without evidence. It's up to theists (people who believe in a god or gods) to provide evidence for the existence of the supernatural. With no such evidence available, it's perfectly rational to assume that there's no such thing as supernatural dieties.
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Active atheism is trying to "explain" not tell, not sell, not even teach the truth, but explain the truth. The only knowledge is the science knowledge, facts can't be denied. If you record the video you're denying a myth... The dead girl from the curve and the like ^^. You won't ever be punished about it.

The most the world goes atheist the more freedom there'll be. I think you're from US, you tell the world about freedom, you should think about it a bit, I mean, why do you "belive"?

was a god there telling you he will save you? or was it a taught knowledge you got since your early years? I had it too, but rational knowledge grow up in me.

I've found we could do a better world. Religion wars are just a spoil children game in wich people dies stupidly... EVERYDAY.

Fearof dead that's the thing. We'd like to be inmortals. And I don't like to live in a world where very bad things such as attaching a country only to get more oil or influences can be forgiven just by praying on sunday. I hope one day Aznar and company will be jailed for life ^^.

Let's see justice on Earth and let the sky for the stars.
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"It is simply lack of belief in a god or gods."

That's agnosticism.

Atheism asserts a universal negative: that there can be no such things as gods. In order for atheism to be true, one would need exhaustive knowledge. Absent that, atheism requires faith. One may hold it's a reasonable belief, but it's still faith.

It's equivalent to saying, "There are no flying polka-dotted elephants." That no one has discovered one doesn't mean one can't exist somehwere in the universe. You can be agnostic about FPDEs and say it's unlikely they exist, but that's different from conclusively asserting they cannot exist (atheism).

Theists have presented evidence supporting the existence of God. That it is not universally accepted does not mean it's not true. And even if there were absence of proof, that's not the same as proof of absence, anyway.
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Jeff cites a rather common misconception about "a-gnosticism," which is, simply, the antithesis of "gnosticism." It is actually the belief that humans DO NOT possess the faculties necessary to detect or comprehend the supernatural. "A-theism" is the lack of belief in a god or gods, and can be either definite/strong ("there absolutely are no gods") or tentative/weak ("there is no evidence of gods, and thus no reason to believe"). In the end, it comes down to definitions, and a person believes -- or doesn't -- what they choose. As for the YouTube video challenge, this atheist (and agnostic) finds it silly. I have no worries about "denying the holy spirit," but I find it rather silly to do so, especially in this provocative fashion.
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"Theists have presented evidence supporting the existence of God. That it is not universally accepted does not mean it’s not true. And even if there were absence of proof, that’s not the same as proof of absence, anyway."


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This is just the sort of shrill, immature banality I could expect from anything that Brian Flemming is attached too. The God Who Wasn't There was pretty awful. Richard Dawkins this guy is not...
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"Theists have presented evidence supporting the existence of God. That it is not universally accepted does not mean it’s not true."

The reason it is not universally accepted the the very rigor that makes a scientific approach so novel. These data you are alluding to can not be tested, tasted, felt, inferred or in any way observed. If you cannot test a hypothesis, it has zero scientific value. For a good example, look at the current debate over the once promising M-Theory.
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Theists have been showing proof of the existence of a higher being for millennia. We can't help it if people see the movement of the trees, feel the breeze on their face, and still say "Oh but I can't see the wind, so therefore it doesn't exist."

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We feel the wind therefore it exists. We can't feel the hydrogen in the space emptiness but it can be measured ergo it exists. Gravity cannot be explained yet but we can demostrate it, measure it, therefore it exists.

Theists never ever proved the existence of god. If the existence of god were that obvious the world should be different because everybody could feel that and belive in the same kind of supreme existence.

But, those gods, ghosts, and the like, all the supernatural phenomenon only explains what the unculture or unknown cannot explain. So each year when a new Nobel price is given, those gods and witches go smaller...

Your god shrinks!!! ^g^
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Pascal's wager is for intellectual chickenshits. Do you really think the vindictive bully deity described in the scriptures would fail to see through your insincere veneer of belief that you hold "just in case"?
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I challenge you to assert a single piece of solid scientific evidence supporting 'god'. This shouldn't be a challenge if "Theists have been showing proof of the existence of a higher being for millennia."

On another note, it irritates me to no end when people claim atheism is a "faith" or "religion". That's like saying not having a dollar is the same thing as having one. "And even if there were absence of proof, that’s not the same as proof of absence, anyway." -- sorry, but that's not how rationality works. The opus ALWAYS falls on those who make the claim of something existing/being true/etc.
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This is an interesting video on the double standard when it comes to the validity of the New Testament compared to other ancient works.
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Here here reid, I'd also like to challenge Denita on this as well. Let's see some solid scientific proof about these theists that have been showing proof of the existence of a higher being for millennia. Cause I haven't seen jack shit. Theists never ever proved the existence of god, and until they come up with some solid scientific proof, I'll still go on believing you're all batty.

Richard Dawkins owns you.
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Here's another thought: OK, fine, you're an atheist. If you're content with it, then great.

But why the heck do so many atheists feel the need to be so ugly towards those who are religious? Take the above, for example. Or folks who sue an entire school district because one fellow student had the audacity to bring up God in casual conversation. Or folks who feel the need to eradicate any form of religious text or writing in a public library, just because they don't agree with it. Most folks are willing to get along, to let an atheist be an atheist or a Muslim be a Muslim or a Christian be a Christian, etc.

Heck, the Witnesses just knock on your door and, if refused, they walk away and list the householder as "Not Interested". They don't incite fellow Witnesses to bombard YouTube with spew-filled clips like Flemming is.

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Well, to say nothing else it's gotten people talking. As a self proclaimed Agnostic my biggest problem with faith (christian) is that it is baised on a book written down at least 500 years after the fact.

That said my biggest problem with Atheism is this...the big bang happened and NOTHING was guiding/shaping/forming the aftermath? It was a fluke? And everyday I live and breathe and grow and change will be for nothing when I die?

There has to be something else because you can't distroy energy. It must go somewhere. Where? I have no clue, but it doesn't just end. That is all the proof *I* need.

Sorry about the spelling, I suck at it. ;>

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I used to have the same problem as Starstonight... (oh no this is sounding like an infomercial) - i.e., the chances of us being created were so incredibly against us that some higher entity must have created us! But my mom got me Leonard Susskind's "The Cosmic Landscape" for Christmas (irony?) and it attempts to explain, through science, the awesomeness of how we exist.
I, for one, am content enough with Nature as my "thing" (is it a thing?).
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Denita: my email is r{dot}scoggin{at}gmail{dot}com if you'd like to continue our exchange there.

In response to your comment about atheists being "ugly" towards religious people, I say that we treat religion just as we treat any other attributes such as political alignment - and criticize as we see fit. It has been addressed before (and with far more grace than I can put forth), but essentially my position is that there is an undeserved respect (I believe I picked up this term from Dawkins' new book) that people hold in place for religion, that we don't hold for other viewpoints. Atheists are just applying the same critical style to religion as anything else.

As for "folks who sue an entire school district because one fellow student had the audacity to bring up God in casual conversation... folks who feel the need to eradicate any form of religious text or writing in a public library, just because they don’t agree with it," I have never heard of either of these happening, ever. I don't know of any atheists who want to totally eliminate all thought about religion. It has a pivotal place in world history -- and, of course, atheists promote free thought. That means including all the details available for accurate representation of the facts.
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So far the back and forth seem civil and thoughtful for the most part. I commend everyone who can hold a civil discourse on a topic as controversial as this.

I'm sure each person on both camps are entrenched and would not be dissuaded by the other side - so, the nature of the argument is to persuade the readers "on the fence".

I'd like to add that it's possible to be deeply spiritual without being religious (or at least subscribing to an organized religion).
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Until someone can prove, without a doubt, how life began, there will never be a truly satisfactory answer to the question of "is there a God?". There are too many "ifs" on both sides of the argument.

Atheism and the belief in God both require faith of one type or another, because no one has all of the answers. And faith of some type comes with not having 100% of the equation solved, but still choosing a path.

On a lighter note, after looking at layout and writting style at the Blasphemy Challenge website, you'd almost expect to see that the webmaster's name is Parry.
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Emmh... Life creation is clear for me... Materials are created by reactions with the surrounding world, some react and end destroying others but create another results. The builded tree is really huge.

Some of the created stuffs survived in new forms mutating through reactions with the media reacting and joining the other materials present around it. At last there came RNA wich is the simpler form of life storing info.

After millions of those reactions we could get a simple structure for a primitive cell: A protein surrounding a kern... The association can be a chemical reaction and very easy to break by a simple protein interaction.

That's life, that easy to break and that little brick can make a huge white whale.

Energy can't be created nor destroyed but for that there are bacteria, worms and flowers to breed from your dead body.

Severo Ochoa said that love is "just physics and chemicals".
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You may be right, but what you propose is your belief. Show me an accurate simulation that proves your statement.

As of right now, you are as unable to produce that proof as someone who believes in God can produce undeniable proof of God's existance.

Currently, technology and our intelect are unable to handle the near infinite calculations needed to prove either entirely random chance, or divine intervention when it comes to the origin of life.

As to myself, much to my wife's frustration, I'll find out when I find out, it is not a huge question that keeps me up at night... But my beliefs are not on the side of pure chance.
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"I challenge you to assert a single piece of solid scientific evidence supporting ‘god’."

That's the point. There can be no scietific proof either for or against the existence of a non-material being or intelligence. Science is not equipped to measure, observe, or "prove" any non-material reality. The claim to have "disproved" god (and the demand for supporting evidence) is impossible and illogical. It's a confustion of categories.

I that thesits have offered reasonable arguments for and evidence supporting belief in God, not proof.

Science does a great job at measuring and explaining effects, relationships, and processes. It cannot explain or address metaphysical cause. Theists are as justified scietifically to suggest a super-natural reality as atheists are to deny it. It's a category science doesn't address.

Science is concerned with measuring observable physical phenomena and developing hypotheses and theories to explain physical processes. It has nothing to say about about the supernatural -- that which is literally above or beyond nature. Both theism and naturalism are worldviews which can neither be proved or disproved scientifically.

So you're free to believe that scientific measurement of physical phenomena has "explained away God" or that theism is illogical, but you can't prove those assertions. They are conclusions scientific inquiry isn't equipped to reach.
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Stop talking about "proof", theists. Proofs only exist in mathematics. There is no absolute proof when discussing natural (or supernatural) matters. We can only ask for evidence.

The existence of god(s) is not a question for science because it is not falsifiable. That means, is there a set of conditions that would show that the supernatural does not exist? No, because gods have always occupied the unknown... squirreled away in the depths of human ignorance.
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You were doing great up until your last phrase. Why the rancor against theism?

If it can't be proven or disproven, how can theism be a matter of "human ignorance"? You might as well say people who refuse to acknowledge Bach as the greatest composer ever are stupid.

People who refuse to learn are ignorant. Pompous jerks who are covinced of their own intelligence and heap scorn on others' beliefs may be ignorant. But people who believe in something that can neither be proven or disproven and which has enough evidence to make it reasonable are not ignorant.
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Jeff, I have negative feelings towards all religion because superstition has wrought havoc upon humanity's rational thinking processes for thousands of years.

I'm not quite saying that theism is a matter of human ignorance, I was saying that the realm of gods is "that -which-we-do-not-understand". Why does the thunder come? The gods. Why don't the crops grow? The gods. Where do we go when we die? The gods. As our knowledge expands, the realm of the gods shrinks.

We would be scornful of those who would suggest that invisible floating energy spheres encompass the entire earth. We would laugh at the notion that transparent magic beings hitch rides on our shoulders and direct our actions. My feelings towards religions based in superstition are exactly the same.

"People who believe in something that can neither be proven or disproven and which has enough evidence to make it reasonable are not ignorant."

That's true, but religion doesn't fall into that category. There's no reliable evidence for the existence of anything supernatural. Some may feel that there is, but those people probably have different standards for evaluating evidence. In my experience, most well-educated, intelligent people have no belief in anything supernatural.
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Reid--give me a little time to do some research in my Bible, and I should have some Scriptures for you before tomorrow afternoon. I'd already have them, but I was dealing with backed-up plumbing (yucky toilet water all over the bathroom floor!), a hyperactive four year old with cabin fever, and I have to work tonight.

I do want to commend you on being polite and considerate, as I would also like to commend all the others here for genuinely trying to keep things civil. This is a hot-button issue, capable of flashing over into a full-on orgy of vitriol-slinging, and the fact that that hasn't happened yet is testament to the patience of everyone on this comments thread. Thank you, honestly and sincerely, for making the effort to keep this a debate, rather than a mudslinging contest.

I will admit, however, that my husband Eric is right. This is something that neither camp can simply reach into their pockets and pull The Great Answer out, and wave it around and say "see, here's your proof."

I guess, for me, it's looking at something like the intricate curl of a strand of DNA, or the brilliantly-constructed wreath of proteins whole sole job is to "zip" and "unzip" said string of genetic material, or the flight and skeletal system of a hummingbird, or an aurora borealis, or even the human spirit's tendency to overcome nearly any physical challenge that it's presented with, that compelled me to take the life course that I have chosen. I just can't look at these things and NOT believe, deep down to my very cells, that they were just the product of "chance".

I'll elaborate later...but for now, I have to get ready for work. But I wouold like to say to all of you, on both sides of the line, thanks for tickling my brain! :-)

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While I can sympathize with your position, that everything is so beautiful and seemingly perfect that it seems impossible that it could happen by 'chance', your arguments are heavily fallacious. For one, evolution - the natural mechanism that produces the creatures such as hummingbirds that you find so beautiful - is by no means random. It could in fact be considered the opposite of chance - the best suited survive and create better suited offspring, over long periods of time (though I don't think you're disputing evolution; You seem more likely to subscribe to intelligent design [not that I agree with it], though forgive me if you don't). The same basic principles apply to all life, including DNA.
The other examples you put forth, senses of beauty (the Aurora Borealis) and admiration (for the human spirit) are purely abstract human-made concepts, devoid of any scientific method of measuring them. In fact, the 'human spirit' - the will to pursue goals in the face of adversity - is perhaps an extension of the basest of emotions: the urge to survive.
The problem with theism is that it is intellectual cowardice. It is saying: "If you don't understand [insert concept], don't try to! Don't let science try to pursue it! It was God!"
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"The problem with theism is that it is intellectual cowardice. It is saying: “If you don’t understand [insert concept], don’t try to! Don’t let science try to pursue it! It was God!” "

Ok, this is where I jump back in. It is possible to believe in a higher power (whom *I* tend to think of as an archatect) that designed things and set them into motion.

It is also possible to believe that science will be able to explain things if given the chance to catch up with the power of human curosity.

These two beliefs are not mutually exclusive.

As a side note I do know highly intelligent and capable people who also believe in God...One of whom is an award winning, patent holding Chemist. Intelligence, knowledge and learning do not kill belief...that is the nature of belief.

We will all find out in the end...
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I think the simplest way to look at all of this is that some people believe in gods because they want to. They don't care if it's rational. There's no evidence to support the existence of the supernatural, but that just doesn't matter to everyone.

That's why there's usually no point in presenting a rational argument against an irrational belief. Very few people can let their rational thought processes overwhelm a deep-seated emotional desire.

I believe that's why we see some very intelligent people who are superstitious in spite of themselves. We humans are able to compartmentalize our thinking. The critical standards of evidence that we'll happily apply to real-world experiences fall apart when held up to our personal belief systems.

In our normal day-to-day lives, we wouldn't dream of accepting extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence. However, when it comes to what happens to us after we're dead, all too many of us are willing to conveniently abandon rational thought for the sake of the comforting thought of life after death.
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Since the New Testament is a purposeful Roman deception and the so-called "God" of Abraham is a Babylonian inspired "strong delusion," these people have nothing to fear. Besides, the true meaning of blasphemy is to tell lies about the Creator for profit. That means that religion is blaspemy.

The Creator of the universe prefers that people use their minds to think and seek truth and wisdom. That is the complete opposite of "faith." Freewill infers the ability to make mistakes in order to learn from them.

Here is Wisdom !!
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I overeaded a bit and found somebody investigatin in the Bible. I suppose it's a random chosen book to investigate about any god existence. You could take The Cora and start killing not believers or something.

And yes, that's my creational beliefs. I may be wrong, it's my theory but snaps really good with the evolution fact. I mean that a simple form of chemical equilibrium reacts to the media destructing itself and generating some other results. The breeding material species are now reacting in a manner this great: took consciousness. It's an amazing thing that phisics and chemicals know we are reacting and keeping alive.
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