faq.dtnorway.com
Are the band members religious?
The following was confirmed by Jordan Rudess on his message board, in a post made by one of the members asking about JR's religion:

James LaBrie - Spiritual Deist

James has said in many interviews that he is Christian, and actively practices the religion. There is a (no longer available) interview from HM Magazine that had him talk in-depth about his beliefs, and the lyrical meaning of the song Blind Faith, with the interviewer and John Petrucci.

From http://www.dprp.net/specials/labrie0405/
"He may be talking from the other side of the Atlantic, but from the conviction and confidence in his voice, I get the sense that this last idea is one he has spent a lot of time thinking through. Indeed Ive long had the impression from his lyrics tracks like Blind Faith - that James LaBrie was a practising Christian. He again has no hesitation when I ask him to clarify his beliefs.

I was brought up in Catholicism. My parents still go to church every weekend. When I grew up, I went to church every Saturday evening. But basically as you get older, you start to read things, observe, you become your own thinker or at least I hope you do. I would say that today Im a more spiritual-directed person.

Like politicians, in an industry dominated by the culture of sound bites, it is unusual to find a prominent musician willing to unveil more than he or she has to. But warming to the topic, James LaBrie is happy to oblige, when I invite him to go a little deeper.

My whole concept on it is that we are in a dimension that is what it is. We are put here for a purpose, but I think its beyond human comprehension. I dont think its something that we really need to know. At this point of spiritual evolution, I think we are dealing with this stage that we are in right now. As an existence. We have to go through it. We have to live with it and we grow, so that when we go on into another dimension, it is completely beyond what we could ever conceive.

I really do think that there's an entity or a creator that has brought the cosmos and has rationale. Its not necessarily random. I think there is a purpose. There is a place that all of this is going to. I definitely feel that the consciousness that we have, there's a reason for it. Its not something that we completely have to understand for every question and every answer theres so many yet to come. Anyway without getting into it in great detail wed need six hours and more for that thats my take on it. "

John Myung - Christian

This is as much confirmation as we can get: he said in an interview once that Jesus is his biggest influence in life. Anyone with more information please contact us.

John Petrucci - Catholic

In the above-mentioned interview with James, he stated that he is a catholic and actively practices the religion. This is also evident in some of his songs, particularly Scarred and Voices.

Mike Portnoy - Jewish

In a Ytsejam.com "10 Quick Ones" interview, Mike said that he is Jewish, but doesn't practice the religion. Jordan Rudess also confirmed this in the message board post mentioned above.

Jordan Rudess - Jewish

In the message board post above, Jordan stated that he is Jewish... see the comments below for some more information.

Ronny
Hi Dreamers,

In one of the forums in Israel i found an Email that Jordan sent to one of the biggest DT fans in Israel, Tal.

Tal met Jordan offstage in one of the shows, and since they keep in touch. I want to show one of thoes Emails.

---------------
Hi Tal!

So great to hear from you!
I like the pictures a lot.
I will put them on my tour diary.
It was cool that you guys came all the way from Israel to see us play.
ya know on my record with Rod Morgentein "The Rudess Morgenstein Project " there is a song called "Masada" which is named after the mountain in Israel. You know it?
Have you heard that CD?
Rod and I are both Jewish, and he experienced
some real power at his visit to MASADA. I have never been there. I would like to
come but it seems so turbulent there these days. Hopefully when things settle a little it will be easier to come and play some music and visit you and see the country!

THanks for writing! Keep in touch. Good luck with everything you do!!
Musically,
Jordan
---------------


This is the Email. I didnt change a word.
cool ha?
If ya dont want to believe you can enter the official Israeli DT site and ask for it there.

http://ytsejammers-israel.fan-page.com

silentman
Hey guys,I'm one The Israeli Ytsejammers, we have done a trip of 40 people to DT's show to Turkey last November(their last world tour of 6DOIT!); here is a E-mail which the GREAT JR sent to me:


Hello Aharon,

I am finally home after a long world tour.
Thank you so much for the beautiful gift that you all gave to me.
It was heart warming.

I also felt terribly about being cut so short with all of you in
Turkey.
It was not a calm experience at all.
Although I had planned and asked to meet with my Israeli friends
separately
and calmly that night when the TUrkey show became a reality it was an
entirely different experience for all involved.
Not only was the security especially tight around us, but there was
also
pressure with our schedule to get the band out of the venue and back to
the
hotel.
I'm sorry it was NOT smooth.... My tour manager is actually a very nice
person who was under pressure that last night of our tour!

Anyway- all that aside! I was so happy to see you and Tal and meet the
others as well.
Even though as you say it was short- at least we got to make the actual
connection
of physically being in the same space! It was fun to see the pics of
all of
you near the airplane and the fun you had during your trip. Really
cool!

So- do keep in touch, my poet friend, and lets do our best with our
talents to energize peace in our world.

Your bro from across the ocean-
Jordan


Musically,
Jordan

Berserker
You know, for years I've had the suspiscion that Kevin Moore was a Pagan who believes in the Norse pantheon of deities. I mean, I look at the sleeve pictures for 'Images & Words' and I noticed this thing around his neck which highly resembles the 'Valknot' which is religious symbol of Odin.

On one hand I may be right but on the other hand I could be hoping that he is or formerly was a Pagan who had believed in the Norse pantheon since that's my belief.

(PS - Contrary to sub-popular belief, we Odinists/Asafolk/Asatruers are not all neo-nazi's nor do we advocate any such intolerant acts of bigotry - just to clarify)

Rock On, Dream Theater!
See you in London in January.

Marty
I was just wondering about how James LaBrie could be a Christian when in the song 'In The Name Of God' he talks about Jesus (The chosen one) leading people to their deaths by leading people to Christianity? And that he is killing people in Gods name?
Is this the true meaning or am i wrong?

Brad
ITNOG was written by John Petrucci, not James LaBrie.

otcconan
I think the song was a general condemnation of people who kill in the name of God. The Chosen One, as mentioned, could be any number of false prophets, whether Jim Jones, David Koresh, or Osama Bin Laden.

But later on, JP makes it clear:

Self-proclaimed messiah
Led his servents to their death
Eighty murdered in the Name of God
Forty sons and daughters
Unconsenting plural wives
Perversions in the name of God.

80 people is roughly the number of Branch Davidians killed in Waco. Unconsenting plural wives clearly is about Koresh's edict to his followers that ALL women belonged to him, even the married ones. He even seperated them all from their husbands, an act that led many couples to leave the compound weeks before the confrontation with the BATF. Perversions in the name of god? How about Koresh's alleged molestations of underage girls.

I think the song is meant to be general; but I also think JP was singling out a specific example as an illustration of the kind of thing he's against.

I also find interesting the next part that talks about "underground religion turning towards the mainstream light" and wonder if perhaps he's referring to the occult, and how it has become an accepted form of religion in this day in age (a good example of that would be something like Wicca).

milu
to marty:
i believe that the song speaks about other things : the fact that people do murders in the name of god does not mean that god ask people do to so . it is their choice to believe so. "the chosen one " could be a leader who misscomprehends things and justify his actions of murder as beeing "in the name of god"...maybe a recference to the iraqi war?
and about the virgins ...maybe we have to see the stupidity of the ancient who believed that they have to make human sacrifices "in the name of god"
conclusion: a general missunderstanding of god and what he wants from people

Philip Palmer
It's a shame that interview with James and John on Blind Faith is now unavailable. The lyrics seem to me to be rather anti-God, does anybody know the true meaning of the song because I'm obviously getting the wrong end of the stick!

Terence Camua
I think the song is somewhat related to the terrorist incident of 9/11. He could have been describing the way the terrorists/suicide bombers were indoctrinated in order to fulfil their mission. They blindly followed their faith through a fanatic fundamentalist leader such as Bin Laden, who led them to their deaths. It, however, is a general statement describing those kinds of people who blindly follow their religious leaders not thinking whether or not their actions would really lead to salvation. Well, that's MY interpretation, I could be wrong...

Brandon Olson
I don't mean to sound condescending, but I think a lot of you guys are reading things into In The Name of God that are not there.
Obviously we all know it's talking about God. But when he says "The Chosen One" I think he is talking about Jesus Christ. For that is who went by that name and that is what God named him. I believe the song is just talking about those who try much too hard to be a better religious person than they really are, and Satan easily finds himself into those thoughts, producing these entirely irrational actions and uprisings that they believe are In The Name of God, but are not.
The song seems to be from the perspect of someone who believes that Christ DID lead these people to do these things, when in reality, it was the Prideful, misled individuals. That may be why some people find religions so dangerous, because they see the name that many people give it, in a bad way.
Terence's reference (above) to the 9/11 bombing could be a very good example of these type of people.

Fredrik Nowacki
Another interesting aspect of James religious views, is his participation in the frameshift project - unweaving the rainbow (2003). The album is basically an artistic interpretation and door-opener to modern evolution theory. After having heard his singing on that record, I think James has more than just strong christian beliefs - I think he embraces the scientific explanations of life as well, cheers all :)

ogrejedi
Small correction here: Catholic is a type of Christian; distinguishing Catholic from Christian is actually very offensive to Catholics and also simply incorrect. Should be "Catholic" and "Protestant."

antipopular
I remember reading that Mike Portnoy converted to Christianity a year or two back. It was when he was on tour with Neal Morse, after Neal was "Born Again".

Evan
Brandon,

On Live At Budokan on the giant projector, it actually shows pictures of these cult leaders that were mentioned earlier on. And the fact that there are actual literal references to what was said, I think it is about the cultists and people who tell others to do stuff in the name of God. The Chosen One also applies because to these cult leaders and the followers, the leader is the Messiah, or the Chosen One. Though this applies a bit to Christianity, Jesus in no way harmed anybody or led people to their deaths or performed acts of perversion. Jesus was the all-loving Messiah who performed only peaceful and helpful acts.

Scott Corbett
I think that even though the dogma of particular religeons remain in a stasis (If they are the word of god, they have to) the various songs released by the band are written from an interprettive view point, what the writers are feeling about thier religions, as a man\'s belief strucure is given to change or have more depth than can be confered in a single song.

Though the author may feel as though religious fanatics mislead and damn zealots, to make a broad and sweeping generalisation of the bands mythos based on a song or two would be folley.

Marcel de Graaf
Confirmation on what is said above about John Myung being a Protestant Christian can be found on the second DVD of "Live At Budokan" (the extra footage).

In one of the shots (I could look up the exact track/time if needed) we see JM backstage, in front of a black flightcase with a sticker on it that says "I Love Jesus".

Arturo Diaz
Obviously it refers to the hypocrisy in "killing in the name of God" while Jesus' message to the people was one of peace. The song refers to how people use religion as an excuse for carrying out acts in their own interests and how religion is misinterpreted but it isn't actually against religion.

nick
I always thought Sacrificed Sons sounded anti-christian.

Who would wish this
On our people
And proclaim
That His will be done
Scriptures they heed have misled them
All praise their Sacrifice Sons

It seems like the lyrics are saying that God wished for 9/11 to occur.

Words they preach
I can't relate
If God's true Love
Are acts of Hate

It also says it right there. The lyrics say that God's true love are acts of hate.

I might be misinterpretting this, but why would Christian band members wright this about God?


Ravi
Pretty enlightening stuff there.

As a Catholic myself, I find the most obvious Catholic imagery in the songs written by Petrucci - starting from "Voices" and "Scarred" and ending with "I Walk Beside You" from Octavarium.

"In The Name of God" is certainly NOT about Christ. It's more about (as many have stated above) people who abuse religion for their own ends, or commit atrocities believing them to be divinely inspired.......and the lyrics go on to give many examples, such as violence, perversion, creating a cult of personality, etc. The references to the Branch Davidians seem pretty explicit, but I think the song has a more universal theme.

In that context, the reference to "Battle-Hymn Of The Republic" in the closing bars (with its lyrical theme of a vengeful God who takes sides) can be seen as very ironic. Clearly Petrucci has some serious issues with people who see God, and more specifically the God of Christianity, in this way.

Anonymous
I really didn't imagine 4/5's of Dream Theater to be religionists. I would have thought that they would not only be progressive musicians but also progressive thinkers. Catholicism and Protestantism are two ethos intended to halt progress. It seems strange to me. However it dosn't matter. DT fucking own!

Brian
I'm glad someone else saw that sticker. Another thing I noticed that I thought was interesting no matter what DVD you see, JP never says a swear word. That's pretty unusual with today's musicians. Of course that doesn't automatically make him a Christian but Christianity is the only religion that I know of that prohibits swearing. I don't know that's just my 2 sense

Kyle
Here is the link to the interview where Myung says his biggest influence is Jesus Christ:
http://www.cavemanproductions.com/REVS/myungiv2.html

Chris
Hmm... I don't appreciate the comment about progressive minds not having religion. Religious leaders may have a tendency to discourage progressive thought, but that doesn't mean religion and progressive thought are mutually exclusive. Anyhow, looking at this list, I was actually surprised. If I was going to guess based off of lyrical content, I would have said Portnoy was the only Christian, with no clue about Rudess or Myung.

I find it cool that so many of them are Christian, though; I just wish Portnoy was, since I'm a drummer. His songs from the AA Suite are very Christian-sounding, which is only natural, since the AA program was partially founded on Christianity. I have my doubts as to whether God really cares if one actually titles himself a "Christian", because I think that once a person is at the stage of realizing one's own helplessness and letting God take over, you have come to the point that God was hoping for all along.

Ross
about the comment of Petrucci never saying a swear word, that is wrong. watch the 5 years in a LIVEtime dvd.

\"tonight\'s gonna suck. it\'s gonna be the worst album ever. i\'m just not in the fucking mood.\"

it can also be heard on the once in a LIVEtime cd

casa
Hey guys..... I want to dissagree that being christion either protestant or catholic is non progressive. On the contrary; what progression could be obtained if everyone in the world was governed by one true love. One true freedom. one true light. Wow all the free time to think and create once our weapons are down and our money is not spent on defence.Listen to the two great comamdments. Love your God with all you heart mind and soul and then love each other. Now that is true progression. peace love Guys ...love you all.

casa
me again...oh and all you guys in dt. maybe you could make things a little easier for everyone to understand where you are comming from....... God bless you all

Ash
Yeah, and some of his song lyrics have swearing.

And to a comment earlier, Christianity does not prohibit swearing, however there are many other religions who do in a way. Christians don't often swear because it's offensive, but there's nothing really Biblical against it. Just a common thing that has been accepted by the Western church, that somehow these word are un-Christian. The only thing the Bible really prohibits is blasphemy (i.e. taking the Lord's name in vain or declaring another god as your own, or disowning God). This is often misinterpreted as Christians not being allowed to say "Fuck" or "Shit".

And another comment further up, Mike Portnoy hasn't become a Christian, but he's doing a lot of work with Neal Morse and that's been challenging his religious thinking, as I read somewhere, probably his website, that he talks about his new understanding and self opinions on religion.

And finally to Nick's comment, Sacrificed Sons is about 9/11 (as you would realise if you watched Score). And I'd put money on the "God" they mention being based on Allah, the Islamic God. When God is mentioned, don't assume that they refer to the Christian God. Allah is the Arabic translation to God, after all. This doesn't attack the whole Islamic religion, just the extremists that misread the Quran.

I hope that clears up a few things.

~Ash, Christian and Dream Theater fan (btw, yes it is offensive to say John is Catholic and the others Christian, even if I am protestant. We generally have the same beliefs; we're both Christian faiths)

smallg
I really didn't think DT's members were religious. I am Christian and I do find a lot meaning in their songs. I definitely agree that "In the Name of God" is not anti-Christian. It could talk about, besides from all the things already said, the crusades. The Popes and kings would call for war in the name of God to "recover the Holy Land", but what they really were looking for was to have more lands and control... you know history.
Btw, as I understand it, and my World's Religions teacher explained, Protestants and Catholics could be both called Christians because they believe in Jesus Christ. The point is that protestants can be catholic as well because catholic used to mean or means in the strict sense "universal", which means it is available, so to say, worldwide, universally. This is hard to explain, I hope you're getting it. The difference should be made by saying Roman Catholic and Protestant. Roman means that the church keeps the traditions of the old Roman Curch...but I don't mean to give a lecture.
I also believe that having a religious thinking is having a progressive thinking. You have to be progressive in order to understand the mysteries of God!
DT's members being religious just makes me loving them more

Julien
Hi everyone,

about this very interesting topic, I have one question after listening Systematic Chaos and seeing us in concert in Paris ; I wonder whether christians like (some of) them can write and play a song like "in presence of ennemies" ; first, the inspiration of this song is a manga "Priest" which is clearly about Satan and very dark intentions ; what is the goal of petrucci with these lyrics ? In concert, the images are very very special too; Is he always christian ? I ask this for you... this last album has disappointed me

Guys, give me your impressions plz

See u

leictln
thanks for the info, i've been thinking about these songs and wondering whether these guys were anti-religion or something..glad to hear they're open about their beliefs, which for me makes them really 'progressive' and not stagnant trend-followers. now, i could listen to the songs with a better kind of thinking and feeling.

arnvanhalen_van_ru_dess
i got to say that Dream Theater rocks! whatever your above comments about them, that doesn't matter. I listened to their music a lot and I have all of their albums starting from "When Day and Dream Unite" up to "Systematic Chaos". It's been less than a year since I had interest in them, and I'm loving it.

Regarding their religion and all that stuff, they are (in fact we are all) entitled to choose our religion or means of worshipping. But those people like the cult leaders (David Koresh, Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite, etc.) abused this right, and instead, they kinda deviate from the norms of the society and make their own religion. The song "In the name of God" vehemently condemns these people.

Somehow, overall, DT really allowed people to understand more about life through their songs, and I'm kinda touched with what we do. As a musician, I don't only listen to them to get some techniques from them, but for me to understand the real meaning of life.

Benxander
To Julien,

I'm not sure what you mean when you're unsure of their intentions when they wrote In the Presence of Enemies in regards to their religion.

Yes it was inspired by the manga which i have yet to further read about, but what i think youre getting at is: Christians cant write about stuff to do with demons, monsters and 'dark masters' like Satan?

Its true that alot of Christians shun away the existance of demons and things and think that theyre lunacy. But its a general Christian trend to shun away things that they dont understand. Afterall, Christianity is largely buily upon Blind Faith, so why not believe in demons? And why not write a song about demonic influences?


Christopher
About sacrifised sons: it\'s pretty clear to me that the lyrics read along the line that \"someone does an act of terrorism and then hides behind a lie that this was Gods will. These are false prophets that act on their own agenda and then makes up some interpretation that this is what GOd wants to gain acceptance among the people they\'re set to guide.\"

So a critic against those that use religion as a tool to further their own ends (like almost all warlords the world has ever seen...)
Keeping in line with the general religiousness of the DT members, it\'s easy to see that the attack is not against christians, or muslims, or even the religion itself, but the people that read lies into the teachings for their own sake.

Michael
Hi! Just want put my 2 cents in. First, I'd like to say that I am happy to hear about DT's religious aspects. About christians and writing dark themes ... Dean Koontz is a writer that usually write with dark themes and he mentioned in an interview that acknowledging the evil around and within doesn't mean you have sinned but mean that you are willing face the demons that plague us and in doing so able to stand up to it.

jason
.I ve been interested in dt lyrics for some time, they have great music, so reading all their beliefs also caught my eye. What saddens me is what all of u call your selves Christian and I know u r being sincere but I would love to tell u what a true christian is! Any takers"

guitarguy270
Actually Petrucci says on Chaos in Progress that In the Presence of Enemies is a song about a classic clash of good and evil in which a guy is fighting the demons inside of him.

Mith
I love DT guys... they are the best, they deserve the heaven, and all the sucess they have, :) thanks for all

Hadoitz
I agree with guitarguy270, I always think that all DT's lyric is NOT anti-god, anti-religious, or something. They just write they thoughts about what life is really are.

Lars-P
The song In The Name of God is about extremists.

On the end of the song they sing:

Mine eyes have seen the glory
of the coming of the Lord
he is trampling out the vintage
where the grapes of wrath are stored
he hath loosed the fateful lightning
of his terrible swift sword
his truth is marching on.

glory, glory, hallelujah
glory, glory, hallelujah
glory, glory, hallelujah...


That is pretty awesome!

Dante
Dream Theatre is one of my favourite bands but when I learnt about them being religous I was extremely surprised and a bit dissapointed since for some reason the band members struck me as being non-religoius, quite open-minded and rational people. Unfortunately, I was wrong because noone that has been religously indoctrinated can be an open-minded, rational, unbiased person but a narrow-minded wussbag that is afraid of questioning natural phenomena from a more rational point of view and instead contents themselves with ludiscrously lame religous explations. Their music is fantastic anyway.

Dream Theatre: please URGENTLY get a copy of this book: \"The god delusion\" By Richard Dawkins (a man that gets it) and set free your rational mind.

Dante

Caleb
Hey, thought I'd share my thoughts....I'm sure they mean that John Myung is just a non-Catholic Christian...I'm pretty sure most would find it pretty obvious that JP and James are obviously Christian being that they are Catholic....also the darker themes on Systematic Chaos are just fun lyric writing...Is there any real religious statement John is trying to convey in Forsaken? Doubt it...It's just dark and makes for interesting listening. Also, Sacrificed Sons is about the terrorists on 9/11....listen to the news audio at the beginning....They are sacrificing for Allah. Not talking about Christians here....probaby the same goes for In the Name of God and its message. The song has a middle eastern feel...I think its pretty obvious.

Jose
There are some of you guys that haven\\\'t any idea or what you are talking about, I\\\'m very surprised. The fact is that John Petrucci, the writer of this lyrics, is a extremely intelligent, reflexive, and humble person who searc for the truth in the life and in the music, and live and fight for good, and the path to this was given to him by Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. This happens also with the rest of the band. And I\\\'m very proud and happy because this is so. Respect and support Dream Theater forever.

David
To Ash,

The Bible doesn't necessarily say that just blasphemy is what you can't say.

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) says, " Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

That is why I choose not to swear, because in our culture those words like F and S are looked upon as unwholesome, or words that do not bring others up.

On the other hand, I think when Petrucci said, "this sucks, I am not in the fing mood." Or whatever the quote was that doesn't mean he is doomed to hell because he let who slip.

Anti Paganist
To Dante and all those who stated that being religious was irrational.

I am a Christian and read the God Delusion by Dick Dawko. I don't deny he is smart and intelligent. But you, him or any atheist should realize that atheism itself is a belief (Dawk hates to hear this). Of course, the burden of proof (for existence of a deity) is on the theist position, but no one can know naturalistic reasoning as I will explain further down.

Some irrational person many posts earlier mentioned that he's disappointed to find out DT members are religious, and thus it's irrational (Dante, your opinion was in the same vein).

If you're proud of your rationality, then think rationally about this one: If one were an atheist, then the person must be believing his own brain is nothing more than re-arranged pond-scum (from 3.5 billion years of evolution from organic molecules without any guidance or plan of super-human/super-intelligent eing or a thing). The fundamental question is, THEN, how could you rely on your own reasoning based on random collection of chemicals?

What Dawko and many atheists actually misunderstand (hopefully not intentionally) is that the biblical religions are blind faith, and thus useless. But it was the Judaeo-Christian worldview that actually gave fathers of branches of science (Newton, Boyle, Kepler, to name JUST a few.. and even von Braun, the first NASA administrator) the impetus to search out for wisdom based on the assumption that the world was designed by an orderly Being. (Again, remind you that I've already mentioned that atheism or theism can be proven objectively because they are essentially *worldviews*) It wasn't the faith in Greek gods (who were so whimsical and prone to making mistakes like humans) that brought about the rational mind. So, what can a faith in random-mutations constituting the meaning of the world offer us in terms of rationality?

One question might be brought up that there was Dark Age. Well, that was a product of *man's institution in the name of religion, i.e. expansion of monasteries or impractical "indoor practice" of the religion*, not what Christ has commanded - He told His followers to go out into the world. So, to be consistent, non-Christians cannot blame the *man's establishment of religious system* to be what the *original doctrine of the religion* (which is biblical Christianity).

So just don't accept whatever mainstream atheist apologists or newsmedia and even public schools (!) spoon-feed you, but search out for yourselves by actually reading such ridiculed texts as the Bible, alright? And search for apologetic works that would allow you to actually properly interpret the original meaning of the text, culture, language etc. I challenge you to be as courageous as claiming to be rational.

God bless all who've read this.
And check out
http://www.tektonics.org
http://www.creation.com for most of Bible-related questions answered.

Jensen
To Anti Paganist:
Which god is the correct one? The christian god? Why is that? What makes the christian god more likely than any other god out there? Why do you have a lack of belief for any of the other gods this world has concocted throughout history to control society and explain nature? Are you not a disbeliever for all other gods than the one god you believe in? And by the way, which version of the christian god is the correct one? Surely, not all sects of the christian faith can be correct?

And no, atheism is NOT a belief. It is nothing more than the LACK of a belief. An atheist is nothing more than a person who does not believe in god. And as a good saying I know off says; we're both atheists, i just believe in one god less than you do. I mean, it's just the same as me not believing that there are aliens (ufos) on this planet, not believing in bigfoot or the yeti or nessie or whichever magical creature someone has said exists, and it's the same as me not believing in magical powers like psychics, accupuncture, faith healing and so on and so forth. My lack of belief in these things is not a belief in itself, but it's one that christians like yourself always try to push on us. But you forget one thing. By trying to reduce atheism to a faith instead of what it really is, you're actually trying to bring it down to your level. Essentially, you're admitting that believing in god is downright borderline stupid, and that belief is something rational people do not do, and therefore you're trying to justify your belief by stating that "those who do not believe are also believers", hoping that this somehow will better your position in the grandeur of things.

If one were to be a young earth creationist christian like you, one would have to ignore the countless of millions of evidence for the age of the planet, evolution, and nature's science. One would have to believe that a supreme being created oneself for a grander purpose in life, instead of being the result of a magnificent natural process over billions of years. And at that; how could YOU rely on your own reasoning based on you being a creation of a being that could insert whatever the hell he wanted into your mind to make you think you knew something? How do YOU know what is real and what is not?

And are you really trying to say that "christian faith" is better than any other faith in creating knowledge? Surely you're not trying to do this? Or did you really fail history as much as it looks like? Greek and roman societies pretty much buildt the foundation for the world we have today. So much of the sciences that we have today were brought about by the greeks and romans. There's such a huge amount of knowledge that is spun from what the greeks and romans discovered, in maths, in physics, in architecture, and so on. Not to forget the impact that the arabs of the 6th through 10th century had on science developments. But of course, since science is an ever expanding venture, as the tools we had improved, so has our discoveries and as a result also science improved. But you forgot a few scientists that were pretty darn important for our society, and that the christians were not loving. Like Galileo Galilei. Or what about Einstein? Of course, in a society predominately christian, what are the chances that people from that society BEING christians by upbringing? And how come christian faith tries to hide scientific discoveries that shake the foundation of your faith (like the fact that the earth isn't the center of the universe, or the fact that man isn't a creature made in "gods image" but is the result of a long process of evolution).

Please. Don't accept whatever mainstream theist apologist or newsmedia or private schools (!) spoon-feed you, but search out for yourselves by actually reading such ridiculed texts as the origin of species or the god delusion by richard dawkins, alright? And search for works that go OUTSIDE your established sphere of christian apologists to get a viewpoint that -properly- interpret the original meaning of the text, culture , language etc. After all, by going the apologetic route, you're fitting the discoveries to the belief, instead of letting the discoveries -be- the belief. See the difference? Me, I make up my mind based off of a simple process of gathering evidence, THEN making up my mind. You christian narrow-minded buffons do it opposite: you make up your mind, THEN search for the damn evidence that supports your position. It's intellectually dishonest, and not at all rational or courageous.

Please, check out
http://www.infidels.org/library/
or
http://bandoli.no/

poster12345
Jensen,

Secularism is the mainstream, being shoved down the throats of students, and the human race in general. The mainstream media is a constant outlet for anti-religion. The internet especially is a breeding ground for it, since everything can be said anonymously. This is why the harshest opinions such as yours flourish here. While you think you are a part of some "elitist," "freethinking" minority, you simply display your gross pretention (much like the inferior intellect of the authors of your favorite books, who should stick to science).

Your ideas of believers are quite naive...thinking that one's mind is made up before they seek answers. Again your pretention. You are not some elevated, superior being that is able to reason. All are born with it.

Start here:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/ccc_toc.htm

poster12345
Please read:

The Devil's Delusion by David Berlinski

Quite simply (and humorously) puts Dawkins in his place.


Very good post by Anti-paganist. Atheism is inherently flawed.

Joe_Kid
Jensen,

You are being somewhat naive, thinking that Christians make up their mind before "gathering evidence." You are incorrect when you say that the choice to be Christian is not preceded by reason.

Pick up a book called "Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview," it's a good start. Then move up to "Fides et Ratio"...it was written by a guy named Karol Wojtyla...you might know him by his more common moniker.

We are the minority here, not secularism and anti-religion. What you call "freethought" is actually being forced upon every human being quite strongly.

Jon
AHHH...you fools are so immature. Grab the reigns...go out and buy a clue.

Beebe
To Jensen:
First off Einstein believed in God, I don\'t know where you are getting you\'re sources, but yeah he was a believer. Also, you say Atheism is not a belief but you believe that there is no God correct? Therefore it must be a belief because you believe something, for it is simply impossible for it to not be a belief. You either believe in one thing or you believe in another thing, which could be not believing in it at all which in turn is a belief.
You say that the Greeks and Romans gave us much scientific expansion, yes I agree that is true. However, if you look later in history you will see how their immorality made them and all their science plummet into the ground. Also, last I checked The Byzantines lasted longer than the Roman Empire did or the Eastern Empire as I should say, and the Byzantines were Christian. So if the Holy Roman Empire lasted longer than they did without Christianity than how can you argue that it is a bad thing?
Another thing, evolution. Evolution is a theory, nothing more, it should never be taken as fact for it cannot be proven unless you were there, its impossible to prove. In fact the big bang theory states that at one time there was an equal amount of matter and anti-matter, yet somehow (still unknown to scientists) there was suddenly more matter than anti-matter, yet if matter collides with anti-matter both are canceled out and if there was an equal amount constantly colliding with each other it is illogical that there could suddenly be more matter than anti-matter, for why wouldn\'t there suddenly be more anti-matter than matter? What was stopping that from happening. Also, Micro-evolution (adaptation) has never led to Macro-evolution, in any case, in any study, it has never happened.
You claim that all Christians are closed minded, and I will say some a lot can be, however, making such generalizations and shutting out the idea all together how are you any different? For you are doing the same thing that you are bickering at Christians for doing, so what makes you better? What makes your beliefs so much better than mine? Seeing as how you seem to think they are, condescending us Christians like that. Are you aware that it is unnatural to not believe in a higher being? since the dawn of man we have had a belief in a higher supreme being. Many religions have come and gone, yet only a few have been here since the beginning. How is it that the Jewish/Christian faith has lasted since the beginning of time practically until now? Think about it, if Jesus was a liar, and all the disciples knew than why did they die for a lie? or did you not know that they where beheaded, hung upside down on a cross, boiled alive, etc. If it wasn\'t true than why do we die for our beliefs? You could say that we just believe so much, but when it all comes down to it, when you have put your life on the line would you really die for something your not sure of? Atheists have no purpose in life, and the belief that they have no belief, what is so rewarding about that? While a Christian has a purpose to live, has a belief in something, has hope, and has joy in their life (joy is not to be confused with happiness, they are not interchangeable).

So tell me what has your enlightened and greater intelligence brought you in your life. Because mine has brought me great joy and gladness, as well as hope, and that I do have to fear death, and you know what? I don\'t fear death, I honestly don\'t because I have faith and hope in my God. Its not about religion its about a relationship with God.

Knut
While Einstein wasn't an out and out atheist, he certainly didn't believe in a personal god that meddled with the lifes of man. For a thorough indepth article about Einsteins beliefs, please read http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1607298,00.html.

The lack of a belief is NOT a belief in itself. It is merely the lack of a belief. To illustrate; if i said I believe that there is a pink elephant living in your fridge, but he's fantastic at hiding whenever you go look, would you say that YOUR opinion of the matter is a belief as well? Why do gods enjoy such special treatment that the lack of belief in that god has to be assigned to be a belief as well?

As for evolution being a theory. Yes, this much is true, but you have to get something straight here. A scientific theory means that something has gone beyond being a hypothesis, with many proofs and models to support said proofs, that can predict what will happen in the future. In fact, the daily use of the word "theory" fits more with the word "hypothesis" when you are trying to relate it to scientific terms. Here's a few other things that are "just a theory", gravity being one of them. In fact, Evolution has had over 150 years of rigorous testing from actual scientists, who have produced more evidence than pretty much any other scientific theory in the same period of time. They continuously make predictions about which types of animals should be found in the fossil record, and they do find them. And its blatantly false to say that we've not found any evidence for macro evolution - we have a large range of fossils and DNA evidence that show us the evolution from dinosaur to bird, from land mammal to whale.

Man is cursed with intelligence, and with intelligence comes a need for explanations. People -need- to know why their world works the way it does. When people do not have detailed information to change their views, they tend to make up their own explanations. So mankind observed that the sun rises and sets in an arch over the sky. The obvious explanation is that the sun revolves around the earth. Only when our scientific observations showed this not to be true did we discover the truth, that the sun is the center of the solar system and the earth revolves around it. In fact, there's a concept called "god of the gaps". Religious people use the gaps of knowledge to insert god as an explanation for the unexplainable. As long as something is unexplainable, there's room for gods. The problem is that most people don't KNOW everything, and therefore there's a lot of gaps they can fill. Which is also demonstrable by looking at the rate of religiousness compared to education.

MeMyself
Why are you discussing atheism is a belief? It does not really matter. Atheism denies the existence of a God. And that's all.

Rustius
If I was going to say anything I would say stop the arguing. The fact of the matter is for both sides, it's like shouting at a brick wall. Belief in God or a lack of is major part of peoples lives and no one likes being told that they are wrong.

There are some good parts to religion. It can help to encourage good morals and help create strong communities. However, without scientific development we wouldn't have many of the medical and technological advances we take for granted today. Many scientific advances have been seen to be against god at some point but now people of all faiths the world over wouldn't be able to live without these advances, and as I said before religion has helped to bring massive communities together and helps to give people hope in many difficult situations.

There are also issues with both sides. Catholicism generally (and I really don't mean to group people up) is against the use of condoms and in places like Africa where Aids is a very serious thing and causes many deaths every year but many people still don't use condoms because of this. There are also other obvious advantages to the use of condoms in today's modern society. But science can sometimes bring up some very major moral issues which I am sure everyone is aware of.

My own opinion is irrelevant but the one thing that does annoy me is preaching. What you do in your own time is up to you, believe (or don't) in whatever you want but don't tell me that I am wrong if I don't agree with you or that I am a bad person.

If I was against anything I would say it would be organised religion which is usually what causes the problems. Because regardless of good intentions there is always a man at the top in charge that everyone else listens to and they do as they are told. The point is massive religions are no different to cults there on a much bigger scale.

Listen to this whatever you believe and then shush. :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KnGNOiFll4

Stephzorz
Hey! I must say, I love the debates going on here. And I love DT. =3

Just to comment on the last more recent entries, I\'ve been reading a book that I think everyone with an opinion on God (whether you think He even exists or not) should read.

\"The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life\"

For real. It\'s amazing. =3

Love ya\'ll!

lala
That Myung is influenced mostly by Jesus, is no proof at all that he is Christian. Many ppl respect Jesus (whether he was real or not) for what he stood for. The persona of Jesus is a very pacifist and, I daresay, even anarchist one at times. There are many ways to look at Jesus. I am an atheist, so for me he is a moral story, just like the fairytales.

PS.: The capthas on this site are really painstaking.

???
Atheism is not a lack of a belief; it's a lack of a god. (A-:not, no, etc.; Theism: belief/believing in a god. Put 'em together, and you get "not believing in a god.";)

An atheist is a hypocrite by saying that he does not have a belief. He BELIEVES in the idea of no god, so it constitutes as a belief. I can't believe how hard this is to understand. Atheism is NOT a lack of a belief; it's the lack of a god.

Rationality and religion DO mix, as proven in comments above mine. As long as you separate religion from reality (I mean stuff like claiming that the universe is 6000 years old because the Bible "claims so";), offense from scientific rationale should be impossible. What gives religion a bad name, however, is the group of people I like to call "fundamental nutjobs," or people who take their faith to the point of murder "in the name of God."

Speaking of which, DT nailed it with ITNOG. Faith is a good thing. It unifies mankind. No matter who you speak to, they always have some kind of underlying belief, whether it be Christianity, Judaism, Atheism, or whatever. But we must not use faith as an excuse for irrational or damaging acts.

I freaking love DT.

Kurt
There's a sea of difference between these two sentences:
"believing there is no god" and "not believing in a god". The first is an active belief, the other is the lack of a belief. A person can be an atheist through an active belief that there is no god, but a person who does not have a belief (a person with no concept of god would not believe in god) can also be atheist.

I mean, do you actively -believe- that there is no pink elephant in your fridge? Why not?

Aaron
Dang this conversation is awesome.
I think it's great that it says that John Myung and James Labrie are christian, but I have doubts about whether or not they are actual christians. During live shows, Labrie drops F bombs frequently which I (as a christian) believe is wrong. Neal Morse is the perfect example of a christian musician. He quit is secular band Spock's Beard so he could do solo albums such as Testimony and Lifeline which are clearly about his faith. Even Transatlantics new album The Whirlwind is based on christianity. I would love it if they we're was stronger evidence about their faith but I don't see it.

MyungFan
Aaron,

Oh my gosh, Morse is AMAZING!!!! He is the only guy out there that like to listen to more than Dream Theater. (Best album: ? Question Mark)
And I agree with you, I doubt that Labrie is a Christian, pretty muchly for the same reasons you do...
I desperately HOPE that Myung is a Christian, and so far, there\'s no real evidence against it... if he is (again some evidence for it, nothing against it) he would be the greastest role model ever.


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