View Poll Results: If you are atheist, would you prefer that a god exist or not?
I would prefer that there be a god 21 18.75%
I would rather that there not be a god 78 69.64%
I am not atheist 13 11.61%
Voters: 112. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 09-06-2019, 10:47 AM
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Atheists: Would you *prefer* that a god exist or not?


Sidestepping the age-old debate of whether a god exists or not, I would like to ask: If you are atheist, would you prefer that a god exist or not?

(Not going to elaborate about what such a god might be like - could be up to your own description or imagination, although I would prefer that this not turn into a "well I would want him to be a genie who grants me wishes" type of thread)
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:50 AM
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Broadly speaking, I would like there to be something that validates our existences and life experiences so that all we've done and learned in our lives serves some greater (and hopefully beneficial) purpose.

Does this require a god or gods? I dunno.
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:05 AM
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Non-religious/agnostic rather than atheist. I answered that I wish there was a god because thatís the closest to what Iím thinking. I donít care one way or the other if there is a celestial dude. I would prefer that there were an afterlife. Like the final scene of This is the End.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:59 AM
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:00 AM
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Definitely not.
Don't feel that my (or anything else's) existence requires "validation."
And I much prefer a world/universe that is consistent with rational explanations, rather than the whims of a deity.

I guess if I wanted to be silly, I could come up with some sort of deity that I WOULD like - maybe like one that would grant everyone's wishes.
But I didn't understand your poll to ask about such fairy tale exercises.
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:04 AM
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If there is an omnipotent god, it would mean all the evil in the world happens on purpose, and I don't know if I could go on in a world like that.
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Old 09-06-2019, 12:27 PM
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If there is an omnipotent god, it would mean all the evil in the world happens on purpose, and I don't know if I could go on in a world like that.
And that is the part that keeps us believers up nights sometimes.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:41 AM
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If there is an omnipotent god, it would mean all the evil in the world happens on purpose, and I don't know if I could go on in a world like that.
"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."
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"My ways are so mysterious, even I don't know."

Then why should I worship you, ya useless git?

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  #9  
Old 09-11-2019, 10:14 AM
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Not only are we too stupid to see the solution, we're too stupid to even see the correct problem.
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I'm just pointing out that this proposed interpretation solves "The Problem of Evil" that seems to worry so many people.
It's perfectly possible that humans are just unable to understand the universe, whether or not there's a god involved.

But, in addition to how multiple others have answered this, that doesn't "solve The Problem of Evil" because "We don't and can't know what the answer is" is not an answer.

And if our understanding is that poor, we can't possibly understand what any god means us to do, or if that god means us to do anything in particular at all, or if that god has even noticed us. Anything we take for instructions might equally well have been meant for some other purpose altogether. There isn't anywhere I can see* to go from 'god's purposes are ineffable' other than 'there's no possible way to tell what god might want, so we may as well act as if god's not there'.


*obviously, mileage varies.
  #10  
Old 09-06-2019, 11:06 AM
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I haven't found a god described thus far that was somebody I would want to hang with, let alone an enternity, so no.

As to a god of my own invention, sure, why not.
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:18 AM
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I'm an agnatheist, which should be close enough. If there is a god then it's a fucked up god who made a mess out this planet so I'd rather this was all accidental and not intentional.
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:51 AM
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I'm an agnatheist, which should be close enough.
Definitely harder for you to chew on these sorts of issues, I would expect.

I'm not sure how to answer the OP. I'm rather comfortable with my view of the universe, why would I want to do away with that? So, I mean, "No. I don't wish there were a god", but also my opinion on this and essentially everything else is less than immaterial.
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:20 AM
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Well, yes, as according to many belief systems that brings along with it an afterlife, and I would like there to be an afterlife. If there is a god but no afterlife , or I'd go to The Bad Place, well, I'd prefer that wasn't the case.

Last edited by Ashtura; 09-06-2019 at 11:23 AM.
  #14  
Old 09-06-2019, 11:23 AM
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I would "prefer" that people be content to live with the reality that we have and not make stuff up and then kill other people over it.

I would "prefer" that people stop demonizing atheists by singling them out as a monolithic bloc and then asking them stupid questions.

If there were to be imaginary entities I would "prefer" unicorns.

Thanks for asking.
  #15  
Old 09-06-2019, 11:23 AM
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prefer not, assuming the religious environment stayed the same as it is.

meaning, if God did exist but still left us with some books of dubious pedigree to try to figure out what the hell he actually expects us to do, then no thanks. things would be just as bad or worse as they are today, what with things like three major religions who all supposedly worship the same god yet hate each other...
  #16  
Old 09-06-2019, 11:25 AM
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If there's an all-powerful, all-knowing being, that means that this all-powerful and all-knowing being is content with standing by and doing nothing about all the child abuse, child rape, child torture, and other absolutely mind-tearing stuff going on in this world. That's a truly horrifying thought, and its confirmation would render life, and the struggle for good things and against bad things, pretty meaningless, IMO. So I hope there's no such god.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 09-06-2019 at 11:25 AM.
  #17  
Old 09-06-2019, 11:45 AM
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I cannot speculate as to whether or not I prefer the existence of a god when the properties of this god are unknown/unstated.

I would certainly prefer that, if a god exists, it conforms to the laws of nature and our shared reality, and is as open to scientific study and inquiry as any other part of nature.
  #18  
Old 09-06-2019, 11:49 AM
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Before I vote, I wanna know -- what kind of deity?

Transcendent Creator of Reality,
or Personal God,
or Vengeful Old Testament God,
or lusty yet mercurial Graeco-Roman pantheon?


Are we getting King Stork or King Log?
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  #19  
Old 09-06-2019, 11:59 AM
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Making some rather broad assumptions about what you mean by "god", I voted no.

Specifically I presumed that you meant for this god to be existing concurrently with the reality we currently exist in, which means that the Problem Of Evil is fully in effect. This means, necessarily, that the god is either low-power, ignorant, or an asshole (or alternatively disinterested/apathetic/insane). If we're talking about a being that somewhat resembles the Christian god, then we're talking about the asshole/insane type. Which is not an appealing thought.

If I had to choose a god to exist alongside, I'd pick the low-powered type, rather than the one who doesn't care about me or considers me a plaything for their amusement. If I could design the god to my specifications, I'm thinking "I dream of Jeannie" would be a good starting point.
  #20  
Old 09-06-2019, 12:13 PM
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A college friend of mine would always tell people that he was majoring in Theological Engineering... Almost nobody blinked. Those who did would hear him say, "building the Gods of tomorrow, Today!"

If you could design a God, what attributes would you want that God to possess?

For myself, I wouldn't mind a God that could provide reasonable wisdom or other guidance. I wouldn't want an interventionist God, but I see the comfort that the fantasy offers to desperate people. I wouldn't mind if their comfort was something more than illusion.
  #21  
Old 09-06-2019, 12:39 PM
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Not voting, because it makes a huge difference what kind of god is meant.

Would I prefer there to be a god who tortures people forever for guessing wrong what name to call that god by or what sexual positions are permitted? Most definitely no.

Would I prefer there to be a god who could have made people so nobody wants to torture anybody but thought it was funny to make a percentage of people who think that it's fun*? Most definitely no.

Would I prefer there to be a god who isn't omniscient and just hasn't noticed the mess over here yet, but who might eventually show up and straighten it out? Maybe, depending on what they thought "straightening it out" ought to involve.





*I know that the standard argument isn't that god did that because god thinks it's funny, but that god did that in order to allow free will. I just don't see why allowing free will requires making people who enjoy torture. Wouldn't making people who enjoyed the "wrong" kind of food have been enough? Or, for that matter, making people -- as we are -- so that our short-term desires for perfectly reasonable things are likely to cause long term damage to somebody else.
  #22  
Old 09-11-2019, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
Specifically I presumed that you meant for this god to be existing concurrently with the reality we currently exist in ... If we're talking about a being that somewhat resembles the Christian god ...
I was going to say these things. One cannot answer this question without agreeing on these assumptions.

Given these statements, I vote that I prefer there be no god. If there is a Christian-type god, a personal god who is omniscient and omnipotent, and given our experience of the world, then this Christian-type god would have to be a malevolent being.
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Old 09-06-2019, 12:07 PM
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Kind of hard to side-step the "what kind of god" issue in a question like this. It depends on whether or not this "god" will benefit us or not, wouldn't you think?
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Old 09-06-2019, 12:17 PM
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If a god could exist, I prefer to design him as I see fit, not as others do. If that option is ever available, I will proceed accordingly. Meanwhile, this is a stupid question.
  #25  
Old 09-06-2019, 12:28 PM
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Atheism is a lack of belief on a point of fact, the existence of God, so whether I want a god or don't want a god is totally irrelevant. I'd love for gold to be buried in my backyard, but I have no belief that there is.
However, given the state of the world and the universe if there is a god he is a gigantic putz. Who just let a very nice set of islands get wiped out.
We've got a big putz in power already, we don't need an even bigger one.
  #26  
Old 09-06-2019, 12:36 PM
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Atheism is a lack of belief on a point of fact, the existence of God, so whether I want a god or don't want a god is totally irrelevant. I'd love for gold to be buried in my backyard, but I have no belief that there is.
However, given the state of the world and the universe if there is a god he is a gigantic putz. Who just let a very nice set of islands get wiped out.
We've got a big putz in power already, we don't need an even bigger one.
I don't think it's an unfair question. I don't own a dog, but it's a fair question to ask if I'd like if I owned a dog. Answers would vary.

ETA: And yes, it would probably matter what kind of dog it was.

Last edited by begbert2; 09-06-2019 at 12:37 PM.
  #27  
Old 09-07-2019, 12:35 AM
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I don't think it's an unfair question. I don't own a dog, but it's a fair question to ask if I'd like if I owned a dog. Answers would vary.

ETA: And yes, it would probably matter what kind of dog it was.
But if you had no belief that dogs existed, asking what size you prefer would be odd.
How fast should a unicorn you wanted to own run?
  #28  
Old 09-06-2019, 12:27 PM
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As others have said, the question makes no sense without defining the gods you are talking about.

As I've never had anyone define a god with the necessary specificity then I can't answer with anything other than an honest "I don't know"
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Old 09-06-2019, 12:40 PM
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"Therefore, make peace with your god,
Whatever you perceive him to be - hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin."
-Deteriorata

Personally I wouldn't mind it if one of the trickster gods(Loki, Coyote) were around to put purpose to the madness of this world.
  #30  
Old 09-06-2019, 04:16 PM
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Personally I wouldn't mind it if one of the trickster gods(Loki, Coyote) were around to put purpose to the madness of this world.
Any deity that would create Quantum Mechanics has got to be a trickster.


I am an agnostic (I lack the courage to commit to atheism), but:

I would prefer that there be an afterlife. (Or, better yet, immortality in this life.)

I would prefer that there be a deity that would predictably, reliably cure disease and heal injuries when we perform the proper ritual.
  #31  
Old 09-07-2019, 02:27 AM
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I am an agnostic (I lack the courage to commit to atheism), but:
I do wish people would be a little clearer with this. You may well be "agnostic" but you are either an agnostic thiest or an agnostic atheist. That is relevant to the question and incedentally it takes absolutely no courage to be an atheist. What is it about "I'm not convinced" that is particulary courageous?

The way you use the words above ecourage people to think that atheism is a view of certainly and knowledge. It isn't.
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  #32  
Old 09-07-2019, 09:29 AM
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If there is an omnipotent god, it would mean all the evil in the world happens on purpose, and I don't know if I could go on in a world like that.
oops, eta this was supposed to be attached to my first post, not this one.

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I do wish people would be a little clearer with this. You may well be "agnostic" but you are either an agnostic thiest or an agnostic atheist. That is relevant to the question and incedentally it takes absolutely no courage to be an atheist. What is it about "I'm not convinced" that is particulary courageous?

The way you use the words above ecourage people to think that atheism is a view of certainly and knowledge. It isn't.
Yeah. Technically I'm agnostic, but I think the odds are very low that there's a god anything like what's described by the major religions near me. So I'm okay being called an atheist. Maybe more important, I live my life assuming there is is God.

Last edited by puzzlegal; 09-07-2019 at 09:30 AM.
  #33  
Old 09-06-2019, 01:42 PM
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Absolutely not... for all of the above reasons.
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Old 09-06-2019, 02:41 PM
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If it is anything like the insane jealous god of the bible, I want nothing to do with it. But if it isn't, then I cannot imagine what "god" means. No, I want nothing to do with it.
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Old 09-06-2019, 03:16 PM
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The world isn't consistent with there being a benevolent god, so no.
  #36  
Old 09-06-2019, 03:43 PM
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The world isn't consistent with there being a benevolent god, so no.
There could be a benevolent god; it just can't also be aware of bad things and have power over them.

Once, a couple dozen years ago, I declared that the styrofoam cup sitting on my desk was a god. An omniscient, omnibenevolent god - though one that was quite limited in potency (in fact it only had the powers of a typical styrofoam cup). The cup was sad all the time about the state of the world, of course.

I can't think of any argument by which a person could demonstrate that that cup wasn't in fact a god.

(Also I believe that cup really existed, which technically means I'm not an atheist. I'm atheistic to the nonsense most theists actually believe, though, for what it's worth.)
  #37  
Old 09-06-2019, 03:47 PM
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As mentioned in the OP, the thread states that the god could be up to your own description (as long as you don't take it too far, like "god who gives me the winning lottery numbers,") etc. I see a lot of Dopers here commenting that they don't want a god who allows evil to happen, but that's the point - you can have a god who doesn't allow evil to happen.
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Old 09-06-2019, 03:56 PM
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As mentioned in the OP, the thread states that the god could be up to your own description (as long as you don't take it too far, like "god who gives me the winning lottery numbers,") etc. I see a lot of Dopers here commenting that they don't want a god who allows evil to happen, but that's the point - you can have a god who doesn't allow evil to happen.
The dodgy part is reconciling that with reality, of course. Unless you take the question as letting you not only will the god into existence but also remake the entire world in the same fell swoop.

Last edited by begbert2; 09-06-2019 at 03:56 PM. Reason: typo
  #39  
Old 09-08-2019, 10:42 AM
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"Therefore, make peace with your god,
Whatever you perceive him to be - hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin."
-Deteriorata

Personally I wouldn't mind it if one of the trickster gods(Loki, Coyote) were around to put purpose to the madness of this world.
I like this one best so far

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The dodgy part is reconciling that with reality, of course. Unless you take the question as letting you not only will the god into existence but also remake the entire world in the same fell swoop.
Um, wouldn't that make you, in fact, god?
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:50 PM
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Um, wouldn't that make you, in fact, god?
I'm already a god, thanks for asking.



(I'm an author. As far as my characters are concerned I'm a god - and not a benevolent one either.)
  #41  
Old 09-07-2019, 12:29 AM
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As mentioned in the OP, the thread states that the god could be up to your own description (as long as you don't take it too far, like "god who gives me the winning lottery numbers,") etc. I see a lot of Dopers here commenting that they don't want a god who allows evil to happen, but that's the point - you can have a god who doesn't allow evil to happen.
Okay, so with this I went ahead and settled on "no."

Because I want god to conform to observable reality, subject to rational inquiry, and just in general not be playing games with us. And it’s pretty clear from the world we live in that no such god exists, which means that within this world, this framework of reality I am forced to live in, I must therefore say I prefer no god exists.

Now, if you are saying you really meant to ask "atheists: would you prefer to live in a better world, one compatible with a god that can be demonstrated to exist and to not be a total dick?" Then I would say you should just apply a razor to that question and ask "atheists: would you prefer to live in a better world?"

Because I can’t imagine a scenario in which god is a necessary entity to make the world better. Which I guess is kind of in line with secular humanism (a common traveling companion of atheists in the western world).

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 09-07-2019 at 12:33 AM.
  #42  
Old 09-06-2019, 04:22 PM
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I'd prefer to keep my universe godless; thanks.
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Old 09-06-2019, 04:31 PM
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I would be OK with the universe having a help desk/complaint office, if matters are usually resolved in a timely manner according to my personal ethics, without undue expense or inconvenience.

If we can't have that, then I'll take the universe as it is, thanks.
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Old 09-06-2019, 04:40 PM
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First thing, I love to be right, and so prefer that there are no gods. Second, hell no, just like I don't want aliens to be visiting the earth. Gods/Aliens, assumed they are magnitudes more potent than us puny humans, can't be so good for us. Third, I don't wanna live forever (a nod to Lemmy).
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  #45  
Old 09-06-2019, 07:50 PM
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This strikes me as a weird question. Like "If you are a Christian, would you prefer that Jesus had a twin brother?"
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:04 PM
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I voted that I would prefer that there be a god, because my preferring that there not be a god means I'm up to something shady.

It's not up to me to wish for a god or not. God either is or ain't. And I truly don't know which it is or isn't. So I claim to be a deist, because as Mike Royko said, "You never know what'll give you the edge."
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:28 PM
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No matter how perfect heaven were to be, an infinite period of consciousness would have to eventually become torture.
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Old 09-07-2019, 12:02 AM
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I like the idea of an afterlife. But I have no need for a God.
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:46 AM
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The most appealing god I've ever had described was in Isaac Isamov's Final Question. For one it can't be blamed for all the bad in the universe because
SPOILER:
it doesn't come into being until near the end of the universe
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Trancephalic View Post
The most appealing god I've ever had described was in Isaac Isamov's Final Question. For one it can't be blamed for all the bad in the universe because
SPOILER:
it doesn't come into being until near the end of the universe
Is that the god near the Milliways restaurant?
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