Disclaimer

Many of my essays are quite old. They were, in effect, written by a person who longer exists in that my views, beliefs, and overall philosophy have grown and evolved over the years. Consequently, if I were to write on the same topics again, the resulting essays might differ significantly from their current versions. Rather than edit my essays to remain contemporary with my views, I have chosen to preserve them as a record of my past inclinations and writing style. Thank you for understanding.

April 2001

God's Existence

I'm adamently agnostic, but have an interesting thought experiment

Brief Description

There are two main points to my view on God. I was entirely atheist growing up [See footnote 2], and I remain so as it pertains to human-invented religions. In other words, regardless of the status of God's existence I don't believe there is any connection between God and human religions. However, I learned a cool little fact in a statistics class in college. Nothing can be proven to be false, and thus I extraploated this to mean that nothing can be proven not to exist (which is basically a false assertion of existence) [See footnote 1]. This is the first of the two main points I mentioned. The other thing that made my head woozy with other-worldness was my discovery of artificial life, a field of computer science that I have taken up as my life's persuit. The idea that I could create a world in a computer, inhabited by organisms with no knowledge of my existence stirred the idea that our universe may work the same way. Nevertheless, I find it fairly ridiculous and don't accept it as an accurate description of physical reality; it's just an interesting philosophical idea.

Full Description

Sections:

Introduction

Now here's a touchy subject. Does God exist? Can you imagine a more controversial question? Practically every other issue of serious debate stems off this question and the interpretation of any one person's answer. No other question has lasted as long, affected so many lives in the belief of one answer or another, or otherwise had a more profound impact on the history of the human species and consequently on our planet as a whole.

Since this question is so far-reaching, and since it seems to spark such serious debate and contention to the point of triggering discrimination, war, slavery, and genocide, not to mention sparking such reverence and awe to the point of magnificent art and music, deeply ingrained moral codes, and a warm, fuzzy feeling of belonging to something much greater than oneself, it would appear to be pretty important that we clear this matter up once and for all, wouldn't it? The answer to this question, whatever it may be, ought to be vitally important to us. We use this question and its supposedly available answer to define not only our personal lives, but our societal structure as well. One thing is for sure. We better damn well have an answer one way or the other. We sure as hell can't afford to be wishy-washy about this. No less than the fate of the very universe itself rests on the answer to this question so it is extremely important to have an answer, right?

I absolutely disagree! Fancy that. For some reason we as a population, humanity when taken as a whole, seem to have a tendency to fear the unknown. Seems to make sense. The unknown has snakes and poisonous insects. We are simple primates swinging about the forest with no claws and no teeth. Fearing the unknown is a good business to be in, no doubt. Unfortunately, this fear translated into an irrational form of cognition as our brains evolved into larger and more complex forms. The idea of an unanswered question is absolutely intolerable to us, and when it comes to the big questions, matters concerning the nature of the universe, the origin and meaning of life, and the proper way to behave in the course of our lives, these questions which seem to be unanswered must be answered. They must! We cannot admit with honesty that we don't know where the universe came from or where we came from. We cannot admit that we really don't have a clue what "morality" is and we're just stumbling along trying to figure out what to do as best as we can. So, in a complete and total void of information on these subjects we dream up answers. We would prefer some solid answers, but those not withstanding we will resort to the contrivance of answers. It is much more settling than having to admit we don't really know.

Various points of view

Does God exist? Many people know for a fact that God does exist. They are as certain of it as they are that they stand upright and not the other way around. A smaller number of people, although just as insistent in their beliefs, know for a fact that God does not exist. It is so painfully clear to them that this is so, that they are driven positively mad by all the religious nuts running about. It is a very very small number of people indeed who will admit that when it all comes down to it, they aren't really sure. Many atheists will make this claim [See footnote 2], because it sounds more politically correct. Denouncing God with strength sounds close-minded and atheists are absolutely certain they aren't the close-minded ones. It's the religious people who are close-minded as far as they are concerned, so they will throw around the term atheist but will then make slightly more open statements when confronted. For example, instead of insisting that God doesn't exist and walking away, they will offer up questions like, "yeah, sure. I'll believe in God when you offer me some proof." These aren't the words of someone who is sure they know the answer. This is the way a person talks when they are awaiting further information. Most atheists aren't awaiting further information though. They consider the matter to be entirely closed.

Where do I stand? Well, I'm certainly not middle of the road, I'll admit that. I bend pretty far toward the atheist camp [See footnote 2]. Atheism has one really big thing going for it, Occam's Razor, which states that the simplest explanation is often the correct explanation. Atheism holds to the argument that God is the most complicated, most involved explanation ever conceived and that so long as there isn't any particular evidence of God, the logical deduction is that there is no God, at least until satisfying evidence is presented.

However, religion basically makes the exact same argument in reverse. To a religious person, the simplest explanation is God. It is much more complicated to try to figure out how all of this mess could have happened without a little intelligent foresight. The atheists will counter that God is not simple if one is willing to face the challenge of having to explain God. The common religious counterargument is that God lies outside rational reasoning and that is the end of it.

You have to give religion credit. It really did conceive of the simplest possible explanation. No physics equations, no microbiology textbooks, no chemical reactions. Just God. What could be simpler? The simplicity of God only breaks down when the explanation requires an explanation and religious people solidly refuse to debate this matter. Debating the origin of God almost doesn't make sense to these people. The question doesn't really have any meaning to them, which makes it utterly impossible to debate the issue further, regardless of the interpretation one places on the resulting stalemate.

A touch of open-mindedness

While I hold strongly to the basic atheist tenant in that I am not going to give God too much of my time until I see some evidence suggesting that I ought to be doing so [See footnote 2], I have learned some interesting facts about how to think rationally and objectively, which is the goal of any unbiased scientist. One thing I have chanced across is the fact that a falsehood cannot be proven [See footnote 1]. In statistics you either prove something to be true, or you have failed to prove it true. That is how you state your conclusions. This makes sense.

Think about it. If you see a ball in front of you, then you can positively assert that there is a ball in front of you (illusions aside for the moment). However, if you do not see a ball in front of you, what can you conclude? Perhaps the ball is transparent. Perhaps it is moving back and forth so fast that you cannot see it (the way propeller blades become invisible when rotating at high speed). Perhaps the ball only flashes in front of you when you blink your eyes and the rest of the time it darts behind your head. Perhaps you are blind. Eh? The only statements of falsehood that can be made are perceptual statements (subjective statements in other words), not of-the-world statements (objective statements). In other words you can state the falsehood that you cannot see a ball. Right? You just can't prove that there isn't a ball in the first place.

This extends to any argument concerning a binary yes/no true/false issue. God is an easy one to understand in this context. Perhaps God exists but will only make his presence known in the year 5000 AD. We simply aren't privy to evidence of God as yet. Atheists often argue to me that a God without presence is no different from no God at all. This is essentially true, except that in the end either there is a God, or there is not. Regardless of God's willingness to shake our hand, the question "Does God exist?" still has only one right answer. However, the answer wouldn't mean a whole lot under these circumstances. What difference does God make if he doesn't actually do a damn thing? Believe whatever you want if that is the case. It changes nothing.

In the end, what I believe is this. I am absolutely positively certain that there is no God in the human-invented sense. I refuse to believe that some sort of white-bearded fellow wearing a blue nightgown (what's that about anyway?) has had some sort of direct contact with certain privileged humans. The selfish, utterly egotistical notion that God has engaged in conversation with the leaders of one particular religion at the expense of all other religions strikes me as uniquely human. God should certainly be above such picking of sides, at least as he is generally defined. [See footnote 2]

Some people like to take the everyone-is-right attitude. They say that the God Christians believe in is the same one that Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists believe in, not to mention a thousand other religions. What sort of nonsense is that? If anyone is welcome to interpret God in any unbounded fashion they wish, then how does this provide even the remotest definition for God? Some people even call nature God. This slurs the whole issue to the point of absurdity. We all know exactly what God is, and it isn't nature. The only question is whether God exists, not what it is. Christians believe with all their heart that God only talks to them, only saves them, only rewards them. There is no room for hippy-love here. Either God is the ultimate Christian or he is not. There is no in between. That is the very basis of Christianity. Islam takes an almost identical view. Hinduism has such a different concept of God (being strongly polytheistic), that there no reasonable way to reconcile this view with the monotheistic views, so saying this overlaps with other main-stream religions doesn't fit any conceivable groove. Likewise, the Buddhist concept of God, which varies greatly between different forms of Buddhism, doesn't seem to have much in common with the good ol' Christian God. Out of all the religions in all the cultures of the world and throughout humanity's history stretching back tens of thousands of years at most one can be correct, and I figure if the vast majority are wrong, they may as well all be.

A nonsupernatural definition of God, an interesting thought experiment

However, while denouncing the arrogance of human contrived religions, I must as an objective thinker give God the opportunity to exist without presenting himself. What sort of god would this be? It wouldn't have to fit any concept that we have presently defined after all. Here's a funny little mind rambling I have come up with. This is really really strange.

In computer science there is a field called artificial life. This is computer science, not biology. It doesn't involve test tubes with brown goo trying to trigger protein synthesis and RNA formation. It involves creating worlds in a computer that have rules, kind of like physics or chemistry. These worlds can be populated with organisms that consist of data in the computer's memory. These organisms can interact. They can evolve and grow. They can reproduce and die. They ingest food, expel waste, move around, fight, compete, and sleep. In short, they are alive. Within artificial life circles there is an on-going debate when "artificial life" as a field will actually spawn a truly living thing. There are all views. Some people believe we have already created things that should be called alive. Plenty of people think it is impossible to ever accomplish of course. Regardless, simply consider the possibility.

Let's look at what this artificial world is really like. Although it only exists as data in a computer's memory, and thus has no corporeal form, as far as the entities inside it are concerned this is not the case. When they try to move through a defined barrier on the world-map, they fail in this task. The world has substance to them. They can be hurt by falling off a ledge. Anything the world's underlying rules dictates will define their existence. Do they know that they exist in a box on a desk somewhere? Do they know that the box has a powerswitch that could flip at any moment? Do they know that a separate intelligent being created their world and their own lives? The answers to all these questions are clearly no. We as the creator exist outside their realm of existence. We aren't in another dimension exactly. We are entirely outside their concept of reality.

Wouldn't it be cool if that was how our universe worked? Imagine that there is no true physical form to the universe. It's all just data. There is a box sitting on a desk somewhere and we (our programs) are running inside it. There's a power-switch which means that at any moment the universe could suddenly wink out of existence and us along with it. In fact, the program can be paused. Maybe time just froze for fifty million years while I was writing this sentence and we didn't miss a beat. Strange, huh?

Some "person" wrote our universe program and set it running. This person is effectively God of course. He may choose not to interact with us or perhaps he likes to toy with our small brains. However, I am not advocating God in the magical sense. This is a being living in his own universe, with its own laws of reality. He lives, his body metabolizes, his species evolved, everything is natural. There is no notion of supernaturalness here, and yet this is a concrete definition of God. God is omniscient (all-seeing, all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful). He can see, know, or do anything anytime, anywhere. Now think about this carefully. I have defined a way in which God, having all the powers that God must have by definition, can truthfully exist without resorting to mystical legends. It is an explanation by nature. It is the only natural definition of God that I have ever heard. I have never been told a concept like this by anyone. I don't think anyone has every really thought of it before.

Now clearly, we are the hallmark of this universe, yes? How can stars and planets compare the the magnificence of Earth? We must be the point of the whole universe, and being as slick as we are, this experiment must be a success, right? Actually, I take quite a different view. If our universe is an experiment in life, I consider it to be a dismal failure. Our universe appears to be almost entirely void of life. How is that a success story? Maybe you think we are some sophisticated program running in an advanced government lab, but maybe we're just some kid's toy running in his bedroom. Maybe you can buy our world at the local department store in the six-months-old bin for five bucks, like SimCity and all its variants. We could be hanging on a friggin' keychain for Christ's sake like one of those disturbing Japanese electronic pets. Please don't drop us in a puddle mister.

I stated a moment ago that I have explained God using natural means. It goes without saying that this is hyperbole of the grandest kind. Let it be known that I have explained absolutely nothing. First and foremost, there is zero evidence to support this "theory", in which not even I personally place much value, despite my being its original dreamer. It holds no water at all. It's just a cute thought-experiment. Second, and this argument stings religious people in the side like the proverbial thorn that just won't go away, even if I could offer evidence that my theoretical concept of God is true, it would offer no explanation for the origin of said God, and therefore would not answer the mightiest questions in all of the universes, only the mightiest question in our tiny little universe, and thus this is not a final answer at all. It only begs the oh-so-obvious question of explaining where this God-dude came from in the first place.

But none of this matters, because he is moments away from spilling a coke on the keyboard, and that is all she wrote folks.

Footnote 1
Added June 2009 (but applicable to my beliefs several years prior)

I must admit that since the time that I wrote this essay, the argument from the unprovability of a negative has severely lost its luster for me. The clincher was Dawkins' description of Russell's classic teapot analogy (I don't recall in which book Dawkins elucidated this example, probably The God Delusion), which demonstrates with crystal clarity that some statements, despite their unprovability in the mathematical sense, can never-the-less be trusted with extreme confidence, and that the posited existence of God is precisely such a claim.

Footnote 2
Added June 2009 (but applicable to my beliefs several years prior)

The terms atheist and agnostic no longer have the same meaning to me that they had when I wrote this essay. I now prescribe to a pair of nonmutually exclusive definitions such that neither, either, or both of these terms may apply to any given person. My current usage is that atheism is the belief (the hunch?) that God probably doesn't exist, whereas agnosticism is the statement that God's existence cannot be known for certain one way or the other. As such, both terms apply to me: I am agnostic in that I believe emphatically that God's existence cannot be known for nor against, and I am atheist in that my inclination is toward the nonexistence of God, as per Occam's Razor and Russell's teapot. On Dawkins' seven-point scale, I rank a proud hell-bound six (assuming fractions are not permitted, which would deeply convolute my attempt to use the scale in the first place).

I would really like to hear what people think of this. If you prefer private feedback, you can email me at kwiley@keithwiley.com. Alternatively, the following form and comment section is available.

Comments

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Name:モンクレール ダウン激安 Date/Time:2012/11/01 16:06:00 GMT
Great piece of information! May I reference part of this on my blog if I post a backlink to this webpage? Thanks.

Name:Keith Date/Time:2011/08/25
NOTE THAT ALL COMMENTS OLDER THAN THIS ONE PREDATE THE COMMENT SYSTEM. They originated as email feedback and have been retroactively converted to public comments to seed the new comment system. As such I have redacted them where appropriate for the purpose of preserving their anonymity.

Name:Anonymous Date/Time:2004/06/15
I have had similar thoughts to the one you have presented. Four years ago I started struggling with the inevitable depression that should result in one concluding there is no God. But after really thinking about it all, I finally brought a certain peace to my mind. The "Who or what is God" debate will never be settled through means of our current or future thinking abilities. Religion provides a means for people who want an easy definition of God, which is not a bad thing if this is the only reason. It is a bad thing is one tries to persecute another for taking a different approach to understanding God. Who God is will always be an impossible topic to make sense of just as truly understanding something like space by means of language in the form of letters. Space is debated and studied using mathematics, because using a worded language is to primitive a means in exploring it. We already use math to explain what can't be explained completely by using language. So, understanding God being obviously more complex than understanding space, and space being obviously more complex than understanding the color pink (pink being the color formed when mixing red with white-see, easily described by words), God's existence can't be possibly be debated by us by any human method. The topic of God can't be understood, proven, or disprove by math, and His real existence certainly can't be defined by the use of "words". There is no reason to ever debate the subject with the goal being "God's identity" at all using our current or future intelligence. He is beyond any comprehension of any since. After saying this, in my mind, I do believe he does somehow exists, because if He did not, to exist in the first place would be stupid and pointless. I don't really understand what this means really, it is just something I feel. If any person was somehow kept away from all human interaction from the time they where born, and having the same intelligence factor modern humans of today posses, I think they would each come to a similar conclusion...there is something, but what it is they are unable to conceivable. Without having any sort of past scriptures to taint their conclusions, each person participating in the experiment would inevitable come to a somewhat similar singular thought of something being higher. No matter how much we are able to improve our own intelligence through nature, computer uploading, or any other future conceivable way, I don't see how we can convince our minds that God does not exist? If anything, history being proof, it will only bring forth a more complex agreement about what He is or isn't. Just as air can't ever develop to understand humans, humans can never develop to understand God. Even though matter is obviously everywhere, it has no way to even initially conceive the thought to begin in understanding us, unless it makes up a living thing (humans, animals), or we somehow create it to communicate with us (A.I, mind uploading). I take this example as the basis for my belief in God. Though we are in and around God, and possibly made in his image (whatever that means) (even trees can be said to be made in our image-we are both made of matter) we will never have the slightest possibility of being able to understand or debate God's literal existence without Him wanting to make it a possibly. If someone thinks the topic is answerable, then this same person should also think grass is capable of debating the existence of humans. But, possibly someday we will have the means to give grass a mind of its own so that it is able to debate the existence of humans or know humans, as God has already given us the mind to debate his existence, and someday know his existence-except he already has the means to let us know who he is and can bestow these means at anytime(we still do not have the mean to give grass a way of talking to us)-and there will be a time-which will be the eventual end of time-the end of time again being something we also can't begin to understand the meaning of-the end of time possibly being something different from the concept that comes to mind when we hear the phrase "the end of time"-matters of God, and the end of time, are and will always be infinitely impossible to discuss with the forms of communication at our disposal hoping to make any sense about them-resulting in this particular email being pointless in this respect-but because I'm physically able to type and have a computer I'm doing so, just as people are psychologically able to debate a multiple of abstract subjects-just because I'm typing, and people debate, doesn't mean I'm, or they are getting anywhere, it's something a living, thinking entity will always do to develop an increasing sense of what it means to exist-even if, or it is 100% of the time ultimately leading to nothing even close to a real meaning or obtaining whatever the heck is ment by the word truth. THE ONLY THING CAPABLE OF DEBATING GOD IS GOD. The only thing capable of debating what it means to be human are humans. AND we have enough problems debating our own existence. Tables and chairs have no business debating our existence, and therefore don't. Just because our level of intelligence allow us to debate what may have created us does not mean we will ever be able to come close to the real understanding of GOD unless he gives us the ability to, which we will somehow know when this happens. Everyday we strive to give tables, and chairs (A.I.) the same ability to know us as humans. The same will happen with God someday He will give us the ability to undoubtedly know him. Until then we will be always remain in the dark until God Himself reveals his own true nature. And computers, chairs, and tables will remain in the dark, incapable of human understanding until we reveal our own nature through to them through technology. Until then our only ability is to put faith in what we think is right, without condemning what another might think is right-to a point-the idea of baseing a religion in the name of killing any human will always be wrong. Anything more than this is a bunch of RAMBLING.

Name:Anonymous Date/Time:2004/03/10
Hi Keith,
[...]
I got particularlly interested in your god theory.
I was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic school for 9 years.
I'm 53 years old and didn't finish High School ! I dropped out and joined the Army. Back then they would take anyone!
I went to Nam right out of training at the ripe old age of 19. [...]. While pulling perimeter duty in the bush I had such ramblings myself and my one conclusion was that we could well be a molecule in someone else's piss!
I don't hold to that :)
Your view just gave me a flashback! Thanks

Name:Anonymous Date/Time:2004/02/18
This is what I get for googling names at 6:30 in the morning when I am supposed to be working...

Did you listen to way toooo much Pink Floyd in front of a fireplace in your parent's living room during your high school years???? Is there such a thing as too much Floyd?

I am trying to think of one absolutely certain, he will get this even though it has been twenty years phrase that I can put here so you figure it out, but then from the looks of the resume, you can do it. If you want to... blast from the past time, darling...

Anybody got a spatula???

Name:Anonymous Date/Time:2003/11/11
Keith

You obviously have a keen mind and have made a lot of your own conclusions.
Bravo. Good science. You've also got some interesting hypotheses.

A few points:

We must die to evolve. Death is good. Death works. Yet, we must survive and
succeed. Conflict and trouble for the arrogant human brain, but not for the
honeybee.

Religion (any belief) is survival. Almost everything we believe and do is to
that end. For scientists, we survive and succeed by making sense of things.
For crows, belief in the threat from scarecrows keeps them alive, as wrong
as that belief may be. You're right on, solve death and the need for
religion as a survival mechanism is diminished. 100 years though? And is it
a good idea? Would you rather Einstein was still around? Or is it better
that other minds pick up where he left off?

Good work out there. Have you checked out http://www.talkorigins.org/
lately?

Name:Anonymous Date/Time:2003/07/30
Greetings, I was once very skeptic on God's existance. Now I am only seventeen but I'll tell you why I believe in God (this will sound unlikely) I truly did not know if God existed. I yearned to know if there was existance after death (God obviously was consulation of the fear of death and meaninglessness in non existance for me) I really desired to know the truth. I begged in prayer out in desperation if anyone heard me to give me a sign. For about a while I was smoking pot but this was before. I told my grandfather who was a JW that I was waiting for divine intervention in my life to believe in God. He said that doesn't happen anymore Surely enough about two weeks later I was came home from smoking at a friends house. Upon sitting down a moment later , an audible voice said "You Understand Everything Now!" echoing three times. I could no longer think of anything other than this was God. Without control I was crying, bowed face down to the floor and said Lord. I felt like a robot. I knew the truth of our existance. During these moments "the righteous will live by faith kept coming into my mind." I was actually saying out loud I can't take this God, let me have faith. I actually said that! During the whole night I knew God was real. But in God's cleverness, he did it when I was high. I have 2 choices, say that it was God or say I was trippin' of the Bud. I have not smoked since. But that was just an "experience" I can't justify my faith fully by this. If I can believe Christ rose from the dead, everything else is simple 1 Corinthians 15 "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not eve Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is USELESS and so is your FAITH ....More than that, we are found to be FALSE WITNESSES about God......And if Christ has not been raise, your faith is FUTILE.... those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope for Christ we are to be pitied more than all men. But indeed Christ has been raised from the dead. Paul wrote this, also he was tortured and beheaded for maintaining his testimony "to live in Christ and die is gain" 2 Peter 1:16 " We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord but we were EYE witnesses to his majesty Peter saw the resurrected Christ. He chose to be crucified upside down instead of dying like Christ. Did he so willingly suffer by not renouncing his faith because he was delusional, a liar to the end, or he knew Christ was resurrected? Factors deciding belief theism antheism and agnotism is these things Do you want God? Does it matter if he exists or not to you? Would you submit if you knew the truth? Are you satisfied with your life? Would you be happy if you knew God exists? Would you serve God if you knew he exists? If God exists and you really wanted to know if he exists and were willing to submit to his will if you asked for a sign to believe, don't you think he would reveal himself in a way you could truly be faithful to him? Let me know what you think

Name:Anonymous Date/Time:2003/07/07
He speaks . . . yet he says nothing.

Name:Anonymous Date/Time:2003/04/16
Hey my name is [...]. I completely agree with your article on the existence of God. I'm guessing you wrote this article before you saw the Matrix?

Name:Anonymous Date/Time:2003/01/31
Keith,

Very, good. I have been a Christian for all my life, but also an engineer. So, I always question everything -
how was it built? who built it? why did they build it? and... Where did god come from and who is he?
You are right, when i ask 'fellow' Christians these questions, I'm scorned and at one time almost stoned to death.
But I do agree with your theories - especially the one that we are all just computer programs going about our little programmed lives, sort of like 'the Matrix' without a real world behind it or in a glass marble for giant aliens to play with.
My wife likes to attribute everything, good or bad, to god's feelings towards us. If we are good, he rewards us - if we are bad, he punishes us. And for good measure lets add a bad guy too - Satan to screw with us. Did you see 'Batman Forever' with Tommy-lee Jones as two-face? He said it best: "Why? Why? Why? Blind, stupid, doo-dah luck!" Why am I unemployed for 2 years? Is this god's punishment for being bad, or just a bad economy? Why did my arm get broken? Was this also punishment from god or being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Wow, I got an incearse in my unemployment check, was god saying I'm good or Grey Davis finally realizing the economy sucks?
Just for fun, I'm going to send the address to your web-site to all my religious friends, just to put that thorn in their sides.
Till then, when the Master programmer gets to my program, I hope he hits the 'delete' key, because the 'Sim's' program I'm in sucks!

Name:Anonymous Date/Time:2002/07/25
I found your godsExistence.html page interesting. I like that you tried to take an objective point of view, and that you have a belief and that you stick to it. You, for the most part, didn't 'bash' any religion, but you formed opinions about them, and who doesn't?
I think the page was well written, and truly your own thoughts. It doesn't get much better. Especially considering you know you will never please everybody.
I personally do not agree with what you said, myself being a Christian, although the way I think about God is exactly what you described when you mentioned the artificial life software running on a computer. To take it a step further, imagine the switch has already been turned off, and the nice thing about the program is that it implemented memories into every organism. This means that we really do not exist, but that whatever has happened thus far, didn't really happen, it is just a memory, and within the next second or so the capacitors will run out of juice and we are gone. All that exists is the final instance of a universe full of memories and scientific writings pre-conceived by the software package.
Anyway, as stated before, I believe in God, and that he exists outside of our world, and I personally feel that instead of being memory allocations, we are actual beings, and our world instead of being data, is the universe (which is just a lot of data interpreted by our brains anyway, right?). Basically that God exists outside of everything we know, outside of time and space. Not necessarily supernatural, but I guess that is what we've allowed supernatural to mean.
Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm not trying to convince you of God's existence (or maybe I am, who knows?) but I wanted to let you know that I'm a Christian, I believe in God, and I found your article interesting, and was not offended. (I assume you get flamed by many people who claim to be Christians, but are more hypo-christians, or Christians-and-water as C.S. Lewis wrote) I apologize on behalf of any true Christians out there for those who claim Christianity, but instead insult others and their beliefs.
Nice page, btw, all I ever see are the standard "this is my CS 131 page so I can get an A in my slack class" web pages, it is refreshing to see actual original ideas.
My crappy pages can be found at: [...]

Hope I didn't sound preachy or offensive.

Name:Anonymous Date/Time:2002/05/06
Dear Keith Wiley, my name is [...] and I have read through your
Mind Ramblings web site. You have presented a valid argument for your
choice of belief. I would like to present to you something you may have
not yet considered. Please allow me to ramble!
there are three distinct realms, the physical, the physiological, and
the spiritual, which currently exist and may be fully accessed by us.
each has it's unique ability to prove and disprove the existence of a
corresponding element. If we are to adequately prove the existence of
something, we must first chose the realm in which we are to prove it's
existence in and then comply with the law of that particular realm. For
example, in order to properly prove to ones self the existence of
anything in the physical realm, such as a ball, we can only substantiate
it's existence by touching it with our own physical body. only in
touching the ball do we then prove it's absolute physical existence. The
fact that our own body and the ball dwell in the physical realm enables
us to confirm the ball's existence. It would improper to attempt to prove
the existence of that same ball by mere reason or even logic. For
example, If in fact we were unable to touch or even see the ball, at best
all we could do is theorize and reason about it's possible existence.
Reasoning about the existence of the ball inevitably keeps us in the
physiological realm and thus inhibits our ability to provide the
necessary proof. Only in touching the ball does this bring us into the
physical reality of it's existence. The preceding is also true for God.
He is only real to us and substantiated when we experience Him in His
corresponding realm, which is the spiritual realm. Keith, I can only
share with you from my personal experience of God in the spiritual realm.
I can't prove God exist for you, but I can share with you the proper way
to experience Him and all that He is for yourself. I hope to hear from
you. With much faith, [...]

Name:Anonymous Date/Time:2002/04/19
I have to apologize, Its late, and I'm tired, so I'm just skimming along and catching high points. I like good discussions a lot. So I just like to through out stuff that has bubbled through my neurons, and I didn't directly notice whilst skimming.

I grew up fundamentalist Baptist holy roller, yada, yada, yada. My views have changed radically since. I still have a strong belief in God. I personally believe that whether or not God exists, or not is really none of our business. If he wanted us to know, he'd sit down in front of us and have lunch or something. God only concerns me in the area of personal growth. God, for me, as a concept, is totaled up in 2 ideas. 1. There is something out there more powerful than I am, and its not me (it is very unhealthy for me to believe that I'm the center of the universe. Though most of the time I act like it). 2. I don't know everything there is to know about life, and my life can always be improved. Since my life can always be improved, then there is something that I'm always aspiring to. So Gods other definition becomes a state that I know is there, because I haven't reached it yet.

From what I've seen, most religions have begun by someone trying to drill that into a bunch of people's heads. Some people got it, some people became televangelists, and the rest bought TVs and sent in checks.

Everyone goes to God to get answers, when they haven't even stopped to figure out what the damned question is. Am I going to die? Unless things change radically Ð yes. Is there a heaven? Who knows, but we'll lie to you if you want Ð if it was any of your business, you'd probably be there now or something anyway. Am I gonna hurt, cry, be happy, be sad, be rich, be poor, be human?? Yep.. Is another damned Republican president? Yep, but thank God there's a war.

Chances are, if you know what the question is, you already know the answer.. Just that a lot of people out there would rather kill each other than admit it.


Oh well, I'm coming down off that soap box high pretty good now.. Laugh..