Hi John,
 
Your rhetorical questions about "heaven" point out how ridiculous the concept is - and no, I don't think heaven, hell, etc., are even remotely likely.  I think that when I'm dead, I'm dead, never again to be congnizant. 
 
The thing I'm agnostic about (defining "agnostic" as "without knowledge") is whether an infinitely powerful God is reponsible for the universe we see.   And if this God exists, why?  And where did IT come from? 
 
If you have an answer to "Why does anything exist?" I'd be glad to hear it.
 
With respect to the personal gods that much of humanity prays to and has faith in, I think they're the result of human nature, fables, fiction, and the machinations of priests.  The fact that so many have "faith" that these gods exist is dire testimony about a flaw in humanity that embraces the irrational.
 
Even though I don't think that personal gods exist, there are benefits to having faith that they do.  As Kevin Ryan said, there is comfort in submission.
 
Norman
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
   
 
----- Original Message -----
From: "John M" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 12:59 PM
Subject: Re: belief, faith, truth

Norman:

just imagine a fraction of the infinite afterlife: to sing the pius chants for just 30,000 years by 'people' in heaven with Alzheimers, arthritis, in pain and senility?   Or would you choose an earlier phase of terrestrial life for the introduction in heaven: let us say: the fetal age? or school-years with the mentality of a teenager?  Would you love spouse No 1,2,or 3?  Would you forget about the biggest blunder you did and regretted all your life?
Or would you prefer the eternal brimstone-burning (what a waste in energy) without a painkiller?

I did not ask about your math, how many are involved over the millennia? I asked a Muslim lately, what the huris are and what the female inhabitants of heaven get?

An agnostic has to define what he does 'not' know, hasn't he?  Just as an atheist requires a god 'not' to believe in.  We are SOOO smart!

Have a good day

John M

--- Norman Samish <
[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

> I'm agnostic, yet it strikes me that even if there is no God, those that decide to have faith, and have the ability to have faith, in a benign God have gained quite a bit.  They have faith in an afterlife, in ultimate justice, in the triumph of good over evil, etc.  Without this faith, life for many would be intolerable.   
 
If there is no God, there is no afterlife and they get a zero.  If there is a God, there is an after life and they get infinity.  So how can they lose?  Maybe Pascal's Wager deserves more consideration.
 
Norman Samish
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Brent Meeker" <
[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> To: <
everything-list@eskimo.com>
> Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2006 5:25 PM
> Subject: Re: belief, faith, truth
>
>
> Even within the context that Pascal intended it is fallacious.  If you worship the God of Abraham and there is no god, you have given up freedom of thought, you have given up responsibility for your own morals and ethics, you have denied yourself some pleasures of the mind as well as pleasures of the flesh.  It's a bad bargain.  
Brent Meeker
>
> “The Christian religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration- courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth.” --- H. L. Mencken
>
>
> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
. . . if you believe in the Christian God and are wrong, the real God (who may be worshipped by an obscure group numbering a few dozen people, or by aliens, or by nobody at all) may be angry and may punish you. An analogous situation arises when creationists demand that the Biblical version of events be taught alongside evolutionary theory in schools: if we are to be fair, the creation myths of every religious sect should be taught.  - Stathis Papaioannou
> >

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