I realize that the "God of the Gaps" fallacy is based in delusion, but it is hard to argue against. Aside of Occams razor, I really can't come up with a good argument against the existence of an impersonal prime mover for the existence of the Universe. Is it more absurd to believe that matter simply happened or that it was created by something that always existed without a beginning?

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Simply to assert that something or other has always existed does not make one a theist.
Remember, it's not up to you to prove the non-existense of all the gods, or even the seemingly more reasonable prime mover. It's up to the person who proposes the prime mover, or god, to provide, if not proof, reasonable evidence. Neil Tyson does a good job on this subject. One video at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJyShsxMTeg

There's nothing wrong with just admitting you don't know, as no-one knows how the universe began or even if it makes sense to use the concept of "begin" in terms of the universe.

Besides, if you did accept a prime mover, what does that solve? You've just defined how the universe began without providing a real answer.
"Is it more absurd to believe that matter simply happened or that it was created by something that always existed without a beginning?" Wouldn't it make just as much sense to say matter always existed without a beginning?
not with the big bang, in which al matter came into existence. Either way, no matter what, putting God in the gaps is not an answer its a cop out.
Please elaborate.
Words, thoughts, numbers. These are all forms of communication. Even the least intelligent of animals communicate. We just do it with more complexity (or do we?).

I hadn't heard before the Xian argument that words/thoughts/numbers are 1) immaterial and 2) therefore must be the construct of a god-figure.

1) Bullshit.
2) How? Why? That's not a leap to conclusion, it's a pole-vault of ridiculous proportion.
It is absurd to make the claim that you know. An educated best guess from observation is all we will ever have.
The god of the gaps is simply a fill-in-the blank to ignorance.

As Carl Sagan says, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

Big Bang theory talks about a singularity; it does not say this singularity popped into existence. It was there already. Remember; there can BE NOTHING, because with Nothing, there is no "be." Something rather than nothing, because nothing has never existed.

As far as that baffling paragraph goes, time itself was a result of the Big Bang. Basically, there IS no "before" the big bang, because there was no time. There was no action to be described by time, since time is just the way we describe the hands of a clock moving. Just matter/energy (no space!), hence no action. The singularity, therefore, did not "just sit there and all of a sudden explode" because "just sitting there" implies time and action. There was no time; hence big bang=beginning.

Claiming a first mover is definintely a god of the gaps, because there is an unknown. Just because one doesn't know does not mean "goddidit", it means we don't know---yet. Care to wait until we figure it out before dressing a man in a robe?

Chinese tradition states that the singularity was an egg, and the beginning was the hatching of a dragon. At least the jews could have been more creative than just putting a man in some blackness. Blackness being the "nothing" they talk about, which is absurd, because blackness is something. Whiteness would make more sense. In the Beginning, it was dark. "It" is something. "Dark" is something. Well, if God's Creation of the Universe is the true beginning, then so can the big bang be the beginning. Occam's Razor can take Big Bang Theory and shave the Supernatural right out of there.
Chinese tradition states that the singularity was an egg, and the beginning was the hatching of a dragon. At least the jews could have been more creative than just putting a man in some blackness.

I started teaching myself biblical Hebrew. Very, very rudimentary knowledge of the language so far, but even so, enough to see just how way, way off modern biblical translations are. Starting with the fact that the writers of the Old Testament clearly did not see God as "A man in some blackness." Of their two words for God, one (Elohiem) literally translates as "Big Energy" or "Lots of Energy." The other word (YHWH) is an acronym which came from a phrase which loosely translates as we can never really know what God is so it would be arrogant of us to give it a name. (To this day, you'll sometimes see Orthodox Jews write "G-d" - against the religion to actually write the name 'God' as it implies you know who/what God is). As to the male identifier, Hebrew, kind of like Spanish, is a language where everything has either a masculine or feminine quality.

The first line of Genesis, usually translates in our language as "In the beginning, God made Heaven and Earth."

A more accurate translation of the original would be more like: "At the head/start, Great Energy brought about the universe and the earth."

Even from what little I've learned so far, it sounds like the Ancient Hebrews really did have something closer to the right idea: "God" is a placeholder for "We don't know, so we're going to make up this cool-sounding fairy tale." I often wonder with tongue-in-cheek if that's why there's so many conflicting stories included in the scriptures; so someone later on won't be stupid enough to take the thing as literal fact.

;-)
Sorry - post later on where? How? If you mean post more often on it, I likely will, but holding back to a large degree so as not to bore too many to tears. ;-)

My wading into the kiddie pool of Ancient Hebrew might be embarrassingly brief, but I consider just how massive a language wedge I discovered just at that level. That anyone can think we have accurately translated the bible into modern English, or even the KJV is beyond laughable.
Hello Mary,
This is the discussion(minus the expertise in Hebrew) that I've had with friends, theist and non-theists, is the error in translation that occurs in all forms of human communications. Imagine translating something with a political agenda, and the will to control others.....errors of omission could easily shape a doctrine from a higher power that I find in most religions subjigate women.
Why are we such a threat?
As for the ambiguity of scriptures, again, cyclic arguments are common with theists as first of all few have actually read scriptures and if so whose version? Secondly, they are usually the self imposed victims of cognitive dissonance.
Interesting about your study of Hebrew!
I live in Canada, speak English and a little French given the opportunity. I had no idea of the masc/fem allocation in Hebrew just as in French.
Honestly, my final motivation in learning a little Hebrew (and I can not emphasize 'little' enough) is when a friend told me it's a relatively easy language to learn in that everything is pronounced just like it's spelled with only a few silent letters.

The trick is, Hebrew - especially in biblical times - is traditionally written with the vowels left out. Better yet, the Torah et al was written with no punctuation. In most ancient cultures writing was almost a form of divine magic in and of itself, reserved for only the most elite. As such, they had no reason to make it easy for the masses.

So to put it in modern terms, take a standard KJV bible today. Take out all the vowels, all the spaces and all the punctuation leaving only a string of consonants thousands of characters long. How accurately do you think someone else is going to be able to translate it? Into a language that bears no resemblance to the original?

And yet somehow people cling to every little semantic of their KJV bible as if God spoke to Moses in perfect, Victorian English.

:-/

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