Templeton’s Legacy of Humility

Billionaire investor John Templeton, who died Tuesday at age 95, might have had more money than God, but he knew … Continued

Billionaire investor John Templeton, who died Tuesday at age 95, might have had more money than God, but he knew better than to mistake wealth for wisdom.

“We should admit that no human being has ever known one percent of the infinity of God. We are terribly ignorant,” Templeton told me in 2002.

Humility is a wonderful trait in a billionaire, or any person of faith. How do we find more of it? Templeton spent a good deal of his fortune trying to figure that out.

The Wall Street Legend was the first and only billionaire I ever met. I interviewed him in his hometown, Winchester, Tenn., better known as the birthplace of Dinah Shore.

I wanted to ask him for a stock tip. He wanted to talk about science and religion. Just my luck.

“When new discoveries are made about science, do we not merely discover more about God?” he said. “All of nature reveals something of the Creator.”

I’ve always thought so. Like Templeton, I’ve never thought of science and faith as rivals. Science can tell us how, faith can tell us why. Science deals with facts, faith deals with truths.

But I didn’t grow up in the shadow of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, which pitted religion against science a mere four counties east of where Templeton was being raised in the Cumberland Presbyterian church.

Templeton said he was fascinated by the trial, but he was equally enthralled by the natural wonders around him. He began to wonder Why couldn’t God create an evolving universe that operated on both physical and spiritual laws.

After he made his fortune, he set out to make a contribution. In 1987, he established the John Templeton Foundation to encourage the use of scientific methods to discover more about the spiritual realm. Foundation grants are being used to study such virtues as forgiveness, gratitude and humility.

What Templeton wanted more than money was meaning. What he wanted more than certainty was wisdom — knowledge tempered by humility.

“I grew up as a Presbyterian,” he told Business Week in 2005. “Presbyterians thought the Methodists were wrong. Catholics thought all Protestants were wrong. The Jews thought the Christians were wrong. So what I am financing is humility. I want people to realize you shouldn’t think you know it all.”

That’s more valuable than any stock tip.

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  • IAMTHATIAM

    It is true that there may be multiple paths to God. However, religions do leave us with some unresolvable conflicts which make us either a believer or not.For instance, either Jesus was divine or he wasn’t. Either, the elect, who will be saved, have been chosen before time or they haven’t.Either, the Pope is the Pope or he’s not.Either there is life after death or or it’s just magical thinking.Or do any of the above have anything to do with God at all?I don’t think any amount of intellectual endeavor can ever answer any of those questions, because they are not questions that reside in the external universe. They only exist within the human soul, and as unique humans we all possess a unique soul. Of course, that soul is malleable and shaped by culture, but there I go again…

  • artistkvip

    nice article.. i’ll echo the obvious.. i’ts amazing 2 me… that when i know .. that i don’t know…then i know… more…. than i did before ….when …i… knew…. everything lol….

  • JJ

    John might have done well to have gotten to know more intimately what Socrates and Taoism were all about.The thing that always struck me about the Templeton Foundation was that, for all of its talk *about* the topic of science, nobody there ever seemed to delve beyond the most superficial level *into* the subject.John’s lasting legacy will be that of highly successful investor/businessman, philanthropist, and virtuous humanitarian. A wonderful person.But not particularly informed or adept at science, as the article implies.

  • JJ

    John might have done well to have gotten to know more intimately what Socrates and Taoism were all about.The thing that always struck me about the Templeton Foundation was that, for all of its talk *about* the topic of science, nobody there ever seemed to delve beyond the most superficial level *into* the subject.John’s lasting legacy will be that of highly successful investor/businessman, philanthropist, and virtuous humanitarian. A wonderful person.But not particularly informed or adept at science, as the article implies.

  • Clement

    Mr. Templeton was a man unique in today’s world, humble in his search for knowledge. It was really good that he spent his money on the pursuit of knowledge which not a one of the other billionaires have done with humility.Christians hold that jesus Christ ascended to heaven so that he could send the Holy Spirit into each one of us. The Holy Spirit brought with him the gifts from GOD. There are 7 of them:I have been in a science related profession for a long time. I believe that things have been always present but the discoverers of these things act as if they created them, not merely discovered them. If a person has all of the 7 gifts, we would not be in the mess we are in. To get the gifts of the Holy Spirit, one has only to ASK, SEEK and KNOCK.

  • Enemy Of The State

    The world would probably function a lot better if we all took Templeton’s advice and realized how limited we are. I don’t know if there’s a sentient creator or not; if there is, I tend to agree with Carl Yung – such a being would be completely incomprehensible to us.

  • L.Kurt Engelhart

    “use of scientific methods to discover more about the spiritual realm”This is precisely what science is and has been always about. However the spiritual realm remains what it has been, is, and always will be: the part of our understanding that science has yet to substantiate. In Templeton’s terms, that would be most of what we “know.”

  • Mauisurfer

    Templeton(s) are/were warmongers with no understanding of any religion except violent fundamentalist Christianity and violent fundamentalist Judaism. Don’t believe me?

  • Paul

    John Templeton sounds like a real sleazebag.

  • meg

    All those different religions can’t all be right.There is no way any two of them can be right.Is it likely that any one of them is right?The likelyhood is that none of them are right.They are all superstitions, and all equally wrong.Ask a scientist. There are no gods.

  • Harry T.

    Nice article making good points. How can any ONE religious institution say they have the inside track to God?But many do just that.

  • Robert Gandy (RCG)

    MEG said:I’ve talked to scientists and mathematicians, and have been told there IS a God, or ARE Gods, depending on whom I was talking to. Maybe you’re not asking the right questions, or interpreting your data in a different way.That’s all there really is to it, I think. I remember reading that “By being observed, both observer and subject are changed.” – I wish I could remember who said it. Anyone know? It comes down to a semantic argument, eventually, but since we communicate in a limited, symbolic language (especially English), we’re stuck with it. ENEMY OF THE STATE SAID (very well):Trying to apply the empiricism of Science to the Mysticism of Faith is going to boil down to semantic arguments of why whatever happens, happens. Benevolent God, decentralized pantheon, depends on who you ask, who’s doing the asking, and what they both hope to achieve with their answers.You cannot successfully apply Objective rules (science/empiricism) to Subjective (Faith/Mysticism) subjects and expect – or even hope – to get duplicated results.Why – as Mr. Waters or Mr. Templeton seemed to suggest – do they have to be mutually exclusive?I know the stars above are furious balls of incandescent gas going through fusion of elements due to the crushing force of their own gravity, billions of miles away. That doesn’t make them any less of my ancestors when I talk to them at night.They may have just discovered water on Grandmother moon – I still hope to see a colony built on her in my lifetime.To arguments of “MY religion is right, YOURS is not!” I relate the story of an old Zen master and two students:One student was arguing with another over who was right on a deep and meaningful Truth. They brought their arguments to the Master, the more senior student presenting his side first. The Master said to the senior student, “You are right.” The junior student protested, “But Master! You have not heard my side!” and told the Master how he saw things. After listening, the Master said, “You are right.” A third student, not debating said, “Forgive my interruption, but I was listening, Master. You said they were both right. How can that be?” The Master replied, “You are also right,” and walked away.

  • Premier

    David, I enjoyed reading your article. Yes God wants us to share “forgiveness, gratitude and humility” with others. God also wants us to be patient–keep your faith strong.

  • spiderman2

    John Templeton said “I want people to realize you shouldn’t think you know it all.”The problem John Templeton has is he didn’t realize Jesus Christ know it all.If he knew that, he would NOT have been wasting much money to seek the Lord.Jesus said “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.” (John 7:34)Many religions would NOT find him and that’s the truth despite them claiming to have known Him.”Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, AND FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT.” (Matthew 7:14)Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, having billions of followers would fail by that criteria alone. You study their doctrines and you would know that Jesus was accurate when he said that.

  • Soja John Thaikattil, Sydney, Australia

    Dear DavidSir John Templeton was surely a great man and his foundation is doing great work. Thank you for bringing it to the attention of the Washington Post On Faith forum readers.Here the link: Best wishesSoja John Thaikattil

  • Peter22

    Sad news. A wise man is gone.

  • autonomous

    Despite John Templeton’s great generosity, we are still seeking the first accurate description of God – there are none, and can be none. The biblists have their book, but they clearly do not have God…..believers are like leaves and number in the many – the knowers are like the root, and their number is One.’Those that know do not say, and those that say, do not know’. How true those words……

  • autonomous

    Despite John Templeton’s great generosity, we are still seeking the first accurate description of God – there are none, and can be none. The biblists have their book, but they clearly do not have God…..believers are like leaves and number in the many – the knowers are like the root, and their number is One.’Those that know do not say, and those that say, do not know’. How true those words……

  • Farnaz

    Robert Gandy,Re The last paragraph of your postReligions and Public LifeONE OF MY FAVORITE STORIES tells of the rabbi who listens to one disputant and says, “You’re right,”• Debating the DivineThe link is from Eboo Patel’s site. The story is very old in Judaism, going to the Jewish tradition of disputation. It’s meant to have both resonance and humor, as I guess your see.

  • Farnaz

    Robert Gandy,Re The last paragraph of your postReligions and Public LifeONE OF MY FAVORITE STORIES tells of the rabbi who listens to one disputant and says, “You’re right,”• Debating the DivineThe link is from Eboo Patel’s site. The story is very old in Judaism, going to the Jewish tradition of disputation. It’s meant to have both resonance and humor, as I guess your see.

  • Shirley Jane Webster

    You quote Mr Templeton ;”I grew up as a Presbyterian,” he told Business Week in 2005. “Presbyterians thought the Methodists were wrong. Catholics thought all Protestants were wrong. The Jews thought the Christians were wrong. So what I am financing is humility. I want people to realize you shouldn’t think you know it all.”Could it be, I wonder, that they were ALL wrong? That would make the most sense it seems to me.

  • Anonymous

    spiderman2: “John Templeton said “I want people to realize you shouldn’t think you know it all.”The problem John Templeton has is he didn’t realize Jesus Christ know it all.If he knew that, he would NOT have been wasting much money to seek the Lord.Jesus said “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.” (John 7:34)”Spiderman2 how right you are, again!

  • Nic Brady

    David. ( @ july 12 .8:47pm)I agree with you that Mr Templeton’s main contribution to society was to show that prayer didn’t work, though I do believe it was not the outcome he wished for. He would have preferred to show that prayer works and thus show that God is in His Heaven and All is right with the world. That he is now a bit of a hero to unbelievers is ironic. What he wanted to prove is that God exists. He ended up inadvertently showing there is no God; or at least showing there is no God who answers prayers.Regards.

  • Rich Rosenthal

    Templeton sounds a man who was sincere and wealthy enough to pursue interests other than bigger yachts and land holdings. We could use more like him.He just wanted his cake and to eat it too.Reconciling faith and fact is futile.

  • Joe

    “God” is often refered to as a someone apart who does things. God may also be the very Condition and Consciousness of All, which is not a someone or something.I have great respect for Adi Da Samraj http://www.adidam.orgThe reason is he talks about realizing God not as belief but the actual realization beyond mind and self-identity. One who realizes God shines beyond the ego and is obvious to others. His understanding is radical and transcends the chit-chat nature of this article.

  • Nic Brady

    Billy”Thy God is the most beguiling & amazing creation of all human thought. Truly I say unto you, “That until thou are truly scared to death like a chicken about to loose it’s neck, thou shall understand the power of religion.” What you are saying Billy is that you believe in God out of sheer terror. You are saying that when an unbeliever is as scared as YOU are, he will then believe in a supernatural SkyGod.Not a lot of logic or common sense about that. You might as well say that when a person is scared enough they will believe in Tinkerbell – Queen of The Pixies; or The Flying Spaghetti Monster.Billy. Be not afraid. Being dead is painless; and the only thing to fear is fear itself.

  • joe

    I am at once impressed and ammused by how much passion, time and talent atheist devote to proving there is no God.

  • meg

    JoeWhat’s more important? Wanting a God, or wanting the truth? (which may mean there is no God)For arguments sake lets assume there is no God.I believe the truth is that no God exists. Of course, I may be wrong, but it’s what I believe.1. No proof of a God,(not even a scrap of evidence).2. The thousands of Gods made up by our ancestors, Gods like Apollo, Aphrodite, Shiva, Woden etc, demonstrate that inventing Gods is what our species has done throughout the ages, and says the current God too is also made up.9/11 shows how dangerous religious superstition can be. If unchecked it may destroy us all.

  • Partha

    The likelihood that a billionaire will find either God or humility is vanishingly small. The author is perfectly free to indulge in that exercise in futility. But why must he inflict us with it?

  • Jack

    Just believe.

  • zendeviant

    One of my favorite definitions of “God” is the vanishing point on a simple line drawing of railroad tracks disappearing on the horizon. God is the vanishing point, even if we travel five-hundred miles forward, the vanishing point remains on the horizon.That is not to say we should not make the journey. My belief system is certainly based on my parents, but if it ended there, I would be long dead of suicide. God will always be mystery, but for each of us, the experiment with our own beliefs and mysticism is sacred. The relationship with our creator is absolutely the most profound and intimate of our experience in this lifetime. Only sometimes can our individual experiences with faith be translated to aid others. The Templeton Project could do well to work on ways of communication, of listening with acceptance. I know my sacred text contains a lot of hooey; I imagine the others do as well. It is only with an honest mind can faith truly be cultivated.The truth shall set you free.

  • ted gardner

    Billy: As you say…”Thy God is the most beguiling & amazing creation of all human thought.”Agreed Billy. God is the creation of human thought.There is no actual God, just what we make-up in our heads. It is very comforting this amazing creation of human thought, better than Prozac I’ve heard tell.

  • Dbrandon

    We’re all believers by definition. Athiests, for their part, believe ‘that they don’t believe’.

  • Harry Scrivener

    3 act play, the Bible is a 3 act play. The 1st act is bloody mean and action packed with every sort of iniquity described, then there’s the weak 2nd act. The 3rd act is all out war where every black hat imaginable finally gets theirs : by any means necessary.

  • Filster

    God automatically expands to fill the hole in one’s intellect that one calls faith. If God gave one the intellect, why does it have a hole in it?

  • Diana

    Abraham Lincoln said, “Many times I found myself on my knees because I had nowhere else to go.” This recovering alcoholic also found herself on her knees, beaten down by the disease of alcohol, and the only reason I’m alive today, I’m convinced, is because of the grace of my higher power, who I choose to call God. God does work in our lives, if we let him.

  • Seriously?

    Why is it OK to call those who believe in God ignorant, irrational, illogical or superstitious? Just because a person has come to a different conclusion than someone else doesn’t mean that he or she didn’t use plenty of rational thought, research and testing into their chosen beliefs. Sure faith in it’s essence is faith and not hard and fast proven fact, but I can assure you, as someone who has chosen to believe in God, I don’t go at it blindly or mindlessly. If I’m going to choose to believe something and let it be the driving force for my life, I am going to test it and check in continually along the way. I am probably just as educated as most on this discussion and find it insulting that it is assumed that I must be some sort of village idiot because my university degrees did not bring me to the same conclusion as those who choose to be athiests. I suggest those that believe that take some time to get to know someone who lives by faith, to see if you still feel that those who believe in God are as mindless and ignorant as you make them sound. I can promise you that the athiests in my life do not blindly believe that all believers are mindless idiots. It takes an open mind to consider that those who believe differently from you may be just as intelligent and rational as you are.

  • redhotpapasan

    That is true, you can learn something from everyone if you try. I learned kindness, patience and the value of friendship————–from a woman who could neither read nor write!

  • patrick

    You don’t know it all. This a perfect understanding of the humble recognition of human limitation that the Enlightenment cannot recognize. it is not possible for human reason to comprehend the totality of existence. Science cannot promise us that tomorrow it will all be clear. it is a limited method, and it’s goals are limited by human imagination. on the other hand we simply cannot be protestant, that is we cannot assume that every man unto himself will produce a moral vision or a moral decision. Hence the eternal interaction of the particular and the universal, of the historical and natural good universals. too much of any one is a bust. objective moral good must always be part of our discussion, but so too must be the historical circumstance in which we live. the roman catholic church has in the past best represented the dialectic, but since the council of trent and especially in recent years, theabsolutization of the center and its universal decrees has been and is chocking off all particularity and all creativisty. it is just like communism, fascism and liberal democracy which has finally come home to roost in the presidency of george bush, centralized manic destruction of all american traditions.

  • patrick

    You don’t know it all. This a perfect understanding of the humble recognition of human limitation that the Enlightenment cannot recognize. it is not possible for human reason to comprehend the totality of existence. Science cannot promise us that tomorrow it will all be clear. it is a limited method, and it’s goals are limited by human imagination. on the other hand we simply cannot be protestant, that is we cannot assume that every man unto himself will produce a moral vision or a moral decision. Hence the eternal interaction of the particular and the universal, of the historical and natural good universals. too much of any one is a bust. objective moral good must always be part of our discussion, but so too must be the historical circumstance in which we live. the roman catholic church has in the past best represented the dialectic, but since the council of trent and especially in recent years, theabsolutization of the center and its universal decrees has been and is chocking off all particularity and all creativisty. it is just like communism, fascism and liberal democracy which has finally come home to roost in the presidency of george bush, centralized manic destruction of all american traditions.

  • patrick

    You don’t know it all. This a perfect understanding of the humble recognition of human limitation that the Enlightenment cannot recognize. it is not possible for human reason to comprehend the totality of existence. Science cannot promise us that tomorrow it will all be clear. it is a limited method, and it’s goals are limited by human imagination. on the other hand we simply cannot be protestant, that is we cannot assume that every man unto himself will produce a moral vision or a moral decision. Hence the eternal interaction of the particular and the universal, of the historical and natural good universals. too much of any one is a bust. objective moral good must always be part of our discussion, but so too must be the historical circumstance in which we live. the roman catholic church has in the past best represented the dialectic, but since the council of trent and especially in recent years, theabsolutization of the center and its universal decrees has been and is chocking off all particularity and all creativisty. it is just like communism, fascism and liberal democracy which has finally come home to roost in the presidency of george bush, centralized manic destruction of all american traditions.

  • jcazador

    Templeton quit his USA citizenship to avoid taxes, moved to a sunnier climate, and then pompously advised USA to extend Bush’s stupid war on the people of Iraq. If it is such a great war, why did he stop paying his fair share of the tax contributions to support it?

  • Old Coot

    Befor you can have any understanding of other intelligence in this universe you must first look inside yourself. Until you gain some understanding of who and what you are, you have no right to judge others.

  • wardropper

    God is not so difficult to find:Clearly not for the squeamish.

  • meg

    Seriously, you ask…To actually believe in the existence of a world nobody has ever seen, (the supernatural), and to believe without evidence in a celestial superman called god, is irrational and superstitious by definition.Read “God; The Failed Hypothesis” How Science Shows God does Not Exist. by Victor Stenger.You will find it very interesting,and it will answer all your questions.

  • Billy

    Thy God is the most beguiling & amazing creation of all human thought. Truly I say unto you, “That until thou are truly scared to death like a chicken about to loose it’s neck, thou shall understand the power of religion. -Billy

  • Billy

    Thy God is the most beguiling & amazing creation of all human thought “someone say hallelujah”. Truly I say unto you, “That until thou are truly scared to death like a chicken about to loose it’s neck, thou shall understand the power of religion. -Billy

  • nic brady

    Deep down I know that religious people don’t want the truth. They are just not interested. They got religion, and that is the end of the search for truth.

  • AgentOrange1

    I was talking to God just the other day…AgentOrange1: “God, you don’t exist”God: “AgentOrange1, you don’t exist”AgentOrange1: “I don’t need you”God: “I don’t need you”AgentOrange1: “Man can bring the dead back to life and create life from mear dirt with science.”God: “I challenge you to a context. The first to create life form mear dirt wins.”AgentOrange1: “You are ON!”As God and I reached for a handful of dirt, God said “Oh, no, AgentOrange1. Get your own dirt.”Then God said to me, “How could you accept a challenge from a God that doesn’t exist?”AgentOrange1: “But, it is clear now that you exist.”God: “And so do you, AgentOrange1.”

  • AgentOrange1

    I was talking to God just the other day…AgentOrange1: “God, you don’t exist”God: “AgentOrange1, you don’t exist”AgentOrange1: “I don’t need you”God: “I don’t need you”AgentOrange1: “Man can bring the dead back to life and create life from mear dirt with science.”God: “I challenge you to a context. The first to create life form mear dirt wins.”AgentOrange1: “You are ON!”As God and I reached for a handful of dirt, God said “Oh, no, AgentOrange1. Get your own dirt.”Then God said to me, “How could you accept a challenge from a God that doesn’t exist?”AgentOrange1: “But, it is clear now that you exist.”God: “And so do you, AgentOrange1.”

  • John T.

    The athiests would hardly be so concerned with God unless they had a sneaky suspicion that believers are right. As for faith, read the Book of Hebrews Chapter 11 in the Holy Bible. It says it best. Templeton made a great point. None of know it all.

  • Anti-Hypocrite

    “Billionaire spent a fortune searching for God and humility.”

  • luke waters

    i like it

  • DoTheRightThing

    No human being can “know it all.” But each human being can know what is necessary for eternal life, because Jesus Christ told us when He said, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him the Father, God, has set his seal…This is the work of God, that you believe in the One He sent” (Jn6:27-29).

  • luke waters

    i like it a lot

  • david waters’ son

    i like it a lot

  • S. Heriger

    For the non-believers out there who leave the posts about science trumping faith: Have you ever considered that the so-called natural world that you offer as “proof” of no God is in fact a created world that follows immutable laws? Can you explain the cause behind those laws, and how they came to exist, and how sub-atomic particles formed into the conscious being that is you? It’s a fact that science cannot offer scientific proof of what’s known as “first cause.” When we back up in time, we hit a spot milliseconds past the Big Bang where scientific laws break down (for lack of a better term), and science is no longer of any use in predicting anything, or what gave rise to the deterministic laws that govern the physical universe. If you claim the the observance and study of the natural world is proof of naturalism and shows no signs of a supernatural creator, then you’re opening yourself to the claim that you know what a supernaturally-created universe would look like. I’m pretty sure you can’t provide proof for that claim. The fact is simple. Whatever causes lay on the other side of the singularity that we call the Big Bang are locked in secrecy. The laws of science are of no use in describing them, as they fade from existence as we move backward toward that split second after the event itself. Whatever caused the Universe and imprinted those “natural” laws onto sub-atomic particles is not knowable. We cannot claim that naturalism is true if we cannot claim to know what brought those laws into play. We’re looking at the mother of all questions here (pre-Big Bang conditions), and learning that it’s an indefinable element taking place in an undefined space. In other words, we have no idea, and science cannot claim to hold the trump card as there is no scientific laws in play within that undefined space…at least not laws that govern our four-dimensional world. Like it or not, God has his foot in the door. It’s a pretty big foot, by the way. This shouldn’t be a threat to anyone, believer or not. Whatever caused the Universe isn’t knowable, yet whatever took place since that first moment can be clearly be studied and quantified. That much is indisputable. So whether you choose a Creator, or blind chance, as the “first cause,” the science remains the same. It’s actually quite cool and wonderful. Blessings…S. Heriger

  • David Ben-Ariel

    Nobody knows it all but God, but some of us have read enough of His Word (the Bible) and believe it to know that some things are right and some things are wrong.

  • Anonymous

    “The historian Hugh Trevor-Roper has said that it was the spread of the spirit of science in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that finally ended the burning of witches in Europe. We may need to rely again on the influence of science to preserve a sane world. It is not the certainty of scientific knowledge that fits it for this role, but its uncertainty. Seeing scientists change their minds again and again about matters that can be studied directly in laboratory experiments, how can one take seriously the claims of religious tradition or sacred writings to certain knowledge about matters beyond human experience?”Prof. Steven Weinberg Quoted in Portable Atheist

  • George Carlin

    George Carlin, You Are All Diseased

  • JonnM

    The Templeton prize: A reward to scientist who were/are willing to prostitute themselves for financial gain.The Templeton legacy: Promotion of ignorance and stupidity, of superstition and delusion, of intolerance and hatred.Good riddance, but seemingly his son is a REAL nasty piece of work.

  • Anonymous

    This article seems to conclude that Templeton’s search equates God with a human need to find meaning. I can buy that but not the notion of God as expressed in all the religions cited.

  • nic brady

    S.HerigerTo a nonbeliever the default position on the God question is there is no God. You believe in a God because you are a product of your environment which raised you to believe what you now believe.If you had been raised somewhere else you probably believe something else.There is no reason to believe in some supernatural superman God just because some old book claims he exists. I see no Gods and I never knew anyone who did see any Gods anywhere ever. I regard the bible as ancient myths written when superstition and ignorance ruled the world.It’s time to shelve God as a failed hypothesis and look for answers elsewhere.Your God is as dead as Apollo and Zeus; they never existed either.As science says, the planet, the cosmos, would work exactly as they would work if there was no God. So, as Stephen Hawking says, who needs God?

  • Robert Gonzalez

    Organized religion is necessary for some, but no one knows what will happen after we die. However, you must truely be blind if you look around you and believe that everything your sences tell you just sprang up by chance on this infintessimal part of what we call …the known universe. Jesus Christ was just another “JEW with his SCHTICK”. The CREATOR or whatever name you want to give it, has to be what made us and everything around us. For what purpose? Who know! I don’t know and cirtainly YOU don’t know nor has anyone ever known or will know. When we die……we will just revert back to the matter we originated from…..as we are just part of the “scenery” and nothing special! BUT…just in case…be a good human being while you are alive…..just in case.

  • nic brady

    Re below…I think what Hawking said was, “What need then,for a god?’

  • brian

    Amazing. I glanced down through the comments and I see the usual gang and their usual comments. Such a preponderance of spiritual-realm deniers/haters, hanging out on a spiritual forum, spewing forth their bromides and shaking their fists. Such irony is so sad. Templeton, for all his faults, had some noble aspirations. Shame that most of the usual gang can’t see any of that.

  • blanding

    As far as we know there are no gods and never were.Cultures indoctrinate children into religious beliefs, without which they might all be atheists.Different cultures have different ideas of gods; and put these ideas into children’s heads. The children grow up believing in the absolute truth of whatever nonsense has been drilled into them.The truth of this is obvious to anyone with eyes.The religion you hold is a result of the environment you grew up in.

  • charles lallo

    I think that most people that don’t believe in “God” are confused about their perception of “God”. I was taught that God is everything. That was confusing at first but now I have a better understanding of it and I do believe that Jesus Christ is and was an expression and a part of and truly the “only begotten Son” of God. And, for those that think otherwise I say that I don’t know of anyone else that has given us better principles that Jesus for having a fulfilled life and for the betterment of humanity were we to align with spiritual principles. In addition I don’t know of any other entity that rose from the dead and I do believe it happened. I also believe the lifespan of human beings are increasing and that our own limitation of who and what we are dictate our lifespan. Maybe, we can be eternal were we to adhere to spiritual principles such as pure intent. Maybe when we can have purity of heart other resources will be unlocked from within our mind. One of my quotes are: This doctor is always in…MinD™ (as in this MD is always in…)Anyway, I believe here in the US we have all the resources to create heaven on earth, beginning here at home and let others learn from our example. Everything is for a reason and I believe America has this special purpose “if” we can finally “come together” in our vision. We are God’s rainbow. I also believe God has given us a ray of hope and I believe I have found it.I have much more and present a bit of it on my web sites if you would like to learn more about it. Visit: http://www.charleslallo.com and/or http://www.earth-heart.comPlease, pay attention to detail. Eartheart® transcends all our differences by way of these two “common denomonators” to every one of us and thereby gives us a platform to “come together” or maybe “come to get her” and by this I mean our earth, our liberty, and the truest sense of freedeom. Thank you and God Bless US all!

  • Yustam B.

    It is very important to know that praying is a waste of time. Time is precious. Why waste it praying to a god who is as real as Neptune?If you say so that praying is waste of time, why don’t you think that goes to a disco also wasting time too. In a religion like islam, praying is a time to rest our soul to ask what have we done, could we get righ way in our life on the next. So praying is not a waste a time but enjoying a time.

  • SuperPants

    I don’t understand why there’s a debate about this. Science doesn’t know if there’s a god, perhaps someday there will be some unified theory that can explain pre-big bang conditions, but curently, nope.Religion doesn’t know if there’s a god, all religions offer a bunch of faith biased “I sure feel like there’s a god” arguments.Horrible power hungry people have and will do horrible things in the name of religion or science or Twinkie profits or what ever easy explanation they have at hand to justify their actions.When I die, it sure would be nice if something cool happens afterwards.When I die, it sure would suck if something bad happens afterwards.When I die, and if there’s no afterlife, I won’t know as my brain will no longer be receiving data.Science leads to progress in industry giving us computers and vaccines and crop rotation and global warming and overpopulation.Religion is rooted in the past giving us holidays and soup kitchens and Jack Chick Tracts and intelligent design.So far in the history of the world, every time that religion has been at odds with science, science wins. (See round earth, gravity not being faster for heavier objects, etc..)Scientists saying that there is no god, is not science.Scientists saying there is a god, is not science.

  • SuperPants

    I don’t understand why there’s a debate about this. Science doesn’t know if there’s a god, perhaps someday there will be some unified theory that can explain pre-big bang conditions, but curently, nope.Religion doesn’t know if there’s a god, all religions offer a bunch of faith biased “I sure feel like there’s a god” arguments.Horrible power hungry people have and will do horrible things in the name of religion or science or Twinkie profits or what ever easy explanation they have at hand to justify their actions.When I die, it sure would be nice if something cool happens afterwards.When I die, it sure would suck if something bad happens afterwards.When I die, and if there’s no afterlife, I won’t know as my brain will no longer be receiving data.Science leads to progress in industry giving us computers and vaccines and crop rotation and global warming and overpopulation.Religion is rooted in the past giving us holidays and soup kitchens and Jack Chick Tracts and intelligent design.So far in the history of the world, every time that religion has been at odds with science, science wins. (See round earth, gravity not being faster for heavier objects, etc..)Scientists saying that there is no god, is not science.Scientists saying there is a god, is not science.

  • SuperPants

    Dear Soja John Thaikattil,The universe is expanding, but after it’s done expanding it’s going to shrink. This will happen a long time from now, but that’s the plan.

  • looking

    Often people embrace “God” to fill in the gaps of their knowledge about the world. This sets them up for failure as science explains away our physical existence.The only real way to live is in awe, absorbing and relishing the intricate universe. This too includes uncovering the mysteries of the human spirit, and the existential other.I find no answers or dogma, but rather an infinite beauty that I can increasingly know. I call this “God”.

  • Unseen Hope

    To all the sarcastic (those who undoubtedly undertake their trade with only love for their neighbor) consider this: the existence of the universe has only three possible explanations.Explanation 1: The universe is eternal having no beginning and no end.Explanation 2 is impossible, because something that does not exist cannot create itself. That leave us with numbers 1 and 3. Explanation 1, if true, leaves the question of why things change. “Why the big bang?” for example. Does the universe have the power to think and impose change upon itself? As someone (i.e. Newton) once said, bodies at rest tend to stay at rest. If the universe exists eternally, and is in flux, then it must be making decisions to do so–causing itself to change. Otherwise change was imposed on it by an outside force–and we’re talking about God again. Are you scientifically minded willing to acknowledge your belief in a universe with god-like qualities? I don’t doubt that you are…and if you are then our debate is about the nature of God, not God’s existence. Or are you unwilling to face the limited possibilities?This leaves us with Explanation 3, which is at worst logical. To explain his disbelief in God, a well known columnist once wrote that he owned a TiVo, but just because it existed did not mean he believed God made it. Well, know one believes God made it. The point he missed, however, was that someone did make it. The device did not just pop out of nowhere…and though he has not seen who that person is, the TiVo clearly has the marks of a designer. In a more complex way, it is entirely reasonable–in fact logical–to believe that God created the universe.Not all “science” is science. Neither is all “religion” true. The question to be answered, what is best supported by all the evidence. Some, like myself, do not reject science for its inductive value, but reject some (not all) of sciences deductions. And this type of rejection is common even among scientist who evaluate one another’s theories and critique the methods and conclusions of research. What becomes unacceptable within “science,” it seems, is when someone rejects a scientific conclusion because they hold evidence that is not found in the lab, or seen through the telescope, or dug up from the earth.As far as Templeton is concerned, he appears to have suffered from the same trouble many in modern society do; that belief in universal truth is arrogance. It does not have to be.

  • Soja John Thaikattil, Sydney, Australia

    SuperPants:Dear Soja John Thaikattil,The universe is expanding, but after it’s done expanding it’s going to shrink. This will happen a long time from now, but that’s the plan.July 14, 2008 1:32 AM===========================BTW, the God of the Bible is able to create new universes without much difficulty, with merely a word. Now that is something, don’t you think? Before the universe shrinks back to its pre-Big Bang size, let’s hope God will say the Word again and create another universe. Don’t the cosmologists plan that too – a series of shrinking and expanding universes?

  • interpreter native (jazz.intext@gmail.com)

    Queen Elizabeth had visited Ankara Bursa Istanbul and had stayed on board of a plane-ship with 14 planes. one B-2 plane, worth 14 billions of USD, has fallen because of a drop of water : ) an officer has reported that heat should be used to keep the sensors clear, for B-2 is large and seated in open field but not in barn.Prime Minister Recep TAyyip Erdogan, with tough exclamations, seeked the water drops and followed the tears, went to hospitality to heal. daha iltifat etmedim. “is this drop of water on my hand, from sky or from eye? we will walk, because we know the reason you whirl why.”www.classicsnetwork.com/showcreativeprint.asp?IDNo=1246John Templeton’s, was the first advertisement i had verbalized on. i had replied three questions on His website : ) later i visited Didim and explained the science that had further continued in the Pasific Ocean. SHELL + CREATOR = THOR’S CEREAL (just a coin in the pork)

  • Soja John Thaikattil, Sydney, Australia

    looking:Often people embrace “God” to fill in the gaps of their knowledge about the world. This sets them up for failure as science explains away our physical existence.The only real way to live is in awe, absorbing and relishing the intricate universe. This too includes uncovering the mysteries of the human spirit, and the existential other.I find no answers or dogma, but rather an infinite beauty that I can increasingly know. I call this “God”.July 14, 2008 1:44 AM======================I find your life philosophy laudable, to call awe “God,” whether in the universe or in the mystery of the human spirit. Believers go one step beyond that, that is all. The Eternal and unchanging cause of the awe filled universe, the Absolute Spirit that gives rise to the mysterious human spirits.God is not fitted in the gaps, but as the beginning and ground and end of all things. Science does not explain “away” the physical universe. It merely explains the physical universe. The creator does not cease to exist simply because the physical universe He created is explained.This blog is about Sir John Templeton, the founder of the Templeton Foundation. Many wonderful have been posted on the Templeton Foundation website explaining how science and faith in God is completely compatible. Maybe you’d like to read them?

  • interpreter native (jazz.intext@gmail.com)

    how is Claire Hoffmann? She is German, isnt She? does She like ice cream? is there any one around Her a lawyer or attorney?

  • Premier

    Yes God wants us to share Power and Love to help others who are in need. That is why you are rich and smart. God is not being searched: God is always there in our mind.

  • Dwight

    if he truly seeked humility, he would have given away all his money and kept just enough to live and he should have engaged in acts of charity…Our Lord JESUS, The CHRIST, Son of the Living GOD said it would be easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven…

  • Dwight

    if he truly seeked humility, he would have given away all his money and kept just enough to live and he should have engaged in acts of charity…Our Lord JESUS, The CHRIST, Son of the Living GOD said it would be easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven…

  • Dwight

    if he truly seeked humility, he would have given away all his money and kept just enough to live and he should have engaged in acts of charity…Our Lord JESUS, The CHRIST, Son of the Living GOD said it would be easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven…

  • willandjansdad

    If there is a God, he/she/it is so busy running the universe that I doubt seriously he/she/it has much time to devote to this particular cosmic citizen.To believe otherwise is arrogance.

  • vandal77

    Mr. Templeton was on to something and while one commenter suggested he should have given all of his money away, I don’t begrudge him for keeping it to assist in his search for truth. It is the great paradox of our existence to consider how meaningless each of our lives are when we consider the shortness of our lives compared to long history of this planet or when we consider the impact of our individual behavior, whether good or bad, to the vast accounting of human history. And yet, at the same time, we must consider that the great God of this world, the Creator of all that there is to consider, is somehow mindful of each of us. To paraphrase from the 8th Psalm, “For (He) has made (us) a little lower than the angels, and has crowned (us) with glory and honour. (He has caused us) to have dominion over the works of His hands; (and has) put all things under our feet.” What a humbling thought that is.

  • Unseen Hope

    willandjansdad,You wrote, “If there is a God, he/she/it is so busy running the universe that I doubt seriously he/she/it has much time to devote to this particular cosmic citizen.To believe otherwise is arrogance.”——————I would offer an alternative to your sad conclusions: If there is a God and that God pays attention to me in a benevolent way–me, less than a speck in this vast universe–then that is 1) humbling (because, quite frankly, I don’t see how I deserve it. I have never exhausted myself to know God or what God sees as right behavior–that’s arrogance) and 2) exhilarating and perhaps a bit scary that God can keep all things in order and knows my mind and circumstances intimately.Humanity cries out for help, for purpose, for relationship to something greater than our miserable little lives, but is quick to dismiss the God of creation, who, when finished making the created world, said, “It is very good.”

  • TJ

    “Science can tell us how, faith can tell us why.”I get really tired of this bit of brain dead bumper sticker nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    TJ: I get really tired of this bit of brain dead bumper sticker nonsense.– Your response is why I can never be a full-fledged progressive. This arrogant attitude and … dare I say it … faith in science to answer all the questions of existence (physical and metaphysical) is just too much to stomach.

  • Mariano Patalinjug

    Yonkers, New YorkBillionaire investor John Templeton must have known, long before his body was reduced to cosmic dust, that he had only wasted a lot of his money trying to find meaning to human life, and trying to reconcile science and religious faith.The author himself, David Waters, says he “never thought of science and faith [religions faith, that is] as rivals.” He goes on, without giving us an iota of empirical evidence, that “Science can tell us how, faith can tell us why.”Truth, to be absolutely credible, necessarily must rest on evidence. And evidence, to be absolutely credible, necessarily must rest on facts. Once upon a time, and for centuries, the Catholic church, presuming to be infallible, held that planet Earth, the absolute truth, was flat, and that it was The Center of the Universe. That long-held religious belief was passed off as the truth, but truth based solely on the Bible, which was and is believed to be the word of the Jewish and Christian God.It took a Copernicus and a Galileo Galillee, courageous pioneers in Science, and the long train of Scientists after them, to disabuse mankind completely of what amounted to Jewish and Christian superstitution.It is of course true that science deals with facts, and unalterably only with facts, as Mr. Waters asserts. But he is wrong to say that “faith [religious faith] deals with truths.Faith, as a matter of fact, is based on fear, and insecurity, and emotions, and myths, and superstitions, and miracles, and hopeless hopes.Thus Science and Faith are not only rivals; they are opposite to each other. They exclude, as they must rationally, each other. They are irreconcilable with each other.Mariano Patalinjug

  • MB

    Religion is just a temporary stage in the evolution of human kind. It represents solace and primitivism and superstition for much of the world’s population. It explains nothing.I frankly believe that there is a speghetti monster that created the universe. If there is anything to be in awe about it is the human mind not the superstious beliefs of the irrational.

  • spiderman2

    Mariano wrote “Once upon a time, and for centuries, the Catholic church, presuming to be infallible, held that planet Earth, the absolute truth, was flat, and that it was The Center of the Universe. That long-held religious belief was passed off as the truth, but truth based solely on the Bible”.WRONG. The Bible never said such things. Catholicism is not Christianity, therefore it is always naturally wrong. Those who claim that the Bible is myth are lacking in wisdom. Let an unlearned person read a very technical science book and you’d be sure he would treat it as garbage. Thru the Bible I can foretell future events. In fact I already know what’s the next coming war. Stupid people continue to grope in the dark. The Bible is the “flashlight” and many people like you don’t even know how to switch it on.

  • Sean

    The greatest thing about reading these responses is that some of you people show my biggest problem with religion which is assuming you know the right and proper way of things and that anyone else who thinks differently is obviously wrong. This is the main fact why I no longer practice a religion there is way too much ego in it.

  • spiderman2

    A qoute from Jose Rizal:”Oh what blindness!! What Lack Of Undersatnding!!”” Consider well that kind of religion that they are teaching you. See whether it is the will of the God or according to the teachings of Christ that the poor be succored and those who suffer alleviated. Consider what they are preaching to you, the object of the sermon, what is behind the masses, novenas, rosaries, scapularies, images, miracles, candles, belts, etc., etc.; which they daily keep before your minds; ears and eyes; jostling, shouting, and coaxing, INVESTIGATE whence they came and WHETHER THEY GO and then compare that religion with the pure religion of Christ and SEE whether the PRETENDED OBSERVANCE of the life of Christ does not remind of the fat milk cow or the fattened pig, which is encouraged to grow fat not through love of the animal, but for grossly mercenary motives. “Fuji, maybe by definition, you are not a true catholic. I hope you’ll take that as a compliment.

  • spiderman2

    Sean, in every thing there are two sides – the wrong way and the right way.You got to search for yourself and examine both ways. Closing one’s eye is not a solution.It took me years to search for the truth. “Seek and ye shall find”. God doesn’t lie.

  • Sean

    Who determines what is wrong and right though? A book that was written thousands of years ago that tells me how I should live my life? What took me a long time to figure out is that you can be a good and just person without religion.

  • Sean

    Who determines what is wrong and right though? A book that was written thousands of years ago that tells me how I should live my life? What took me a long time to figure out is that you can be a good and just person without religion. Maybe God doesn’t lie but humans do, and the Bible is a man-made creation.

  • spiderman2

    Sean wrote “What took me a long time to figure out is that you can be a good and just person without religion. “If you think you are good and just, the Bible should not trouble you. If it does trouble you then something is wrong with your definition of good and just.

  • spiderman2

    Sean wrote “the Bible is a man-made creation.”WRONG. If you can fully understand the Bible, you’d be awed by it. It’s the most intelligent book I’ve ever read. How it sees future events accurately is NOT man-made.

  • TJ

    Anon writes: “TJ:I get really tired of this bit of brain dead bumper sticker nonsense.– Your response is why I can never be a full-fledged progressive.”And why would being a ‘full-fledged progressive’, whatever that is, require you to adopt the same attitude that I have in this regard?and then continues: This arrogant attitude and … dare I say it … faith in science to answer all the questions of existence (physical and metaphysical) is just too much to stomach.”There’s nothing arrogant about it. If you understand the nature of the answers that science provides, and you understand the nature of the answers that faith provides, then it’s easy to see that assuming their answers are equally valid is, frankly, pretty stupid.Maybe if I extend the statement a little you’ll understand. Science can tell us how, faith can tell us why, and a Magic Eight Ball can tell us whether or not we will eat spinach tomorrow.It’s telling that you assume that I think that science can answer every question that we might be capable of posing.You won’t become a ‘full-fledged progressive’, I agree, but the reason you won’t doesn’t have anything to do with my supposed arrogance.

  • La

    There is a God. He is our Father which means that we are his children. He does know us individually; our thoughts, our talents, our problems, our needs.

  • william snyder

    I cannot prove that God exists and you cannot prove that he doesn’t. Tie

  • Russ

    I’ve always found it strange that many folks consider the “the God of the OT” vs “the God of the NT” as brutal vs loving. It makes me wonder how much of either they have read. Has anyone ever read the book of Revelation? That book make’s Noah’s flood, Saddom and Gomorreh, and the Exodus plagues seem like a cake walk.

  • Russ

    I’ve always found it strange that many folks consider the “the God of the OT” vs “the God of the NT” as brutal vs loving. It makes me wonder how much of either they have read. Has anyone ever read the book of Revelation? That book make’s Noah’s flood, Saddom and Gomorreh, and the Exodus plagues seem like a cake walk.

  • SteveCO

    SEAN wrote:——The bible has never troubled me. Some good stories in it, some good philosophy. But some stupid stuff as well, condoning slavery and second citizen status on women. Of course, the most remarkable part of the bible is its failure to mention one single word about abortion. Any history book will additionally show that the Catholic Church in particular allowed abortion until “quickening,” or first movement of the fetus, until 1869. An actual Christian deity-inspired tome would surely have addressed what the Christian religious right has turned into a misogynist battle cry of religious control. Shows how people just make crap up out of religious myth for political and power purposes.The Old Testament is the most disturbing, and would trouble me maybe if I believed it for some reason, because that Old Testament God is pretty much a malevolent thug, killing entire cities of people for a few people’s sins. God’s amazing “transformation” in the New Testament was simply more modern and thus learned men post-Christ, who realized the fallacies of the Old Testament deity and re-wrote his entire image for a new millennium, sort of like the fifth or sixth Hollywood-style resuscitation of Celine Dion.——Even if that were true, which it isn’t (arrogant religious putz), it hasn’t done a single bit of good. Only a smallish minority of Christians truly try to live the, face it, hippie peace-and-love themes, the tolerance, taught in the bible. As we’ve shown as a nation by torturing war prisoners and bombing civilians in Iraq to death when the premise for invasion was composed of outright lies, while this same war criminal president claimed a “line to God” approving of this cold-blooded murder, proves how little good Christianity, and its deity, are.

  • TJ

    Good question Russ. You’ve got to admit though, the good cop/bad cop son/father team thing is pretty effective.

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