Glossary

To make some sense, we need to be sure we are talking about the same thing.

God

This is your regular white-beard-on-a-cloud version, monotheistic, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, benevolent and personal. In short, an infinitely powerful nice guy who cares about you personally. He listens to your payers and answers them. At least sometimes.

As a few strongly recommended options, you have an eternal soul, that lives on in the after-life. This is either heaven or hell, depending if you have obeyed a certain set of rules or not. Let’s add the devil, or some evil incarnate, that wants to take your soul to hell and will trick you into doing bad things.

Since the point is to make a rational view, god is not capitalised. Nor is the bible or other such artefacts. Since religions uniformly treat women as second class citizens, god is designated as « he ».

This book treats religion and faith in generic terms, but examples will overrepresent the christian faiths. Maybe because of its influence on western society, maybe because of the target audience, maybe because I am lazy.

Belief

Belief is conviction without evidence. Knowledge is conviction based on evidence. By definition, belief is completely irrational, notably belief in god. Tradition, authority, faith, revelation are not evidence.

Self

We are people, with qualities and shortcomings, likes and dislikes, habits, dreams, our memories. Our “bad” parts cannot be excised without losing who we are. We are who we are now. We are no longer who we were when we were young. We are our body, our capacities.

Atheism, agnosticism

Atheism is not a belief, but the absence of belief, the absence of belief in god. Agnosticism is an add-on saying we are not sure. You can be an agnostic atheist (not believing, but not 100% sure) or an agnostic theist (believing but not 100% sure).

Miracles

To qualify as a miracle it must counter the basic laws of physics.

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