If, as some have suggested, belief in a Deity is hard-wired into our brains, how do we explain atheism. If, as some also suggested, evil exist for the purpose of evoking free-will, could we then extrapolate that atheism exist for the same purpose?
In some ways it is indeed hard-wired, but not in the normal sense.
Humans are curious creatures, always wanting answers as to how the world around them works. We want to know how it all started, what causes lighting and why the crops failed this year. We are also masters at deceiving ourselves; without real answers we will make up our own.
We fear the unknown, just as most animals do. Death is the great unknown; we are afraid of it and don't want it. It becomes quite comforting to declare, then, that we won't have to die and that is a part of many beliefs in a deity.
Granted that early humans, in dealing with the demands of surviving a hostile world, had to evoke the supernatural in explaining natural phenomena that were far beyond their level of comprehension. But now that we have a superior understanding terrestrial and extr-terrestrial events, why does belief in a Deity persist. In this our century of scientific advancement and technological breakthrough, theists far, far outnumber atheist and the ratio have not changed much. Atheism became the escape route (free will and all) of those whose EGO have overcome this hard-wiring, thus it could be said that atheist are in fact going against man's natural bent, man's natural predisposition, and therefore treasonous to his ability to ponder existence beyond the material and physical.
Because of the fast scientific advancement, we have a superior understanding of terrestrial and extr-terrestrial events. So we denied the Deity and create the atheism. But the belief of the Deity has been so long a history that it becomes a deep-rooted tradition and culture. We just don't want to see the culture disappear and can't help continuing it. Actually, in the thesits' deep heart, they also know the Deity doesn't exist in essence.
Because it is a probabilistic tendency, like any other aspect of temperament or indeed any trait.
Just like most people are heterosexual, have two ears, and see colors. Others can't.
There is nothing more to it.
I am not entirely sure what you are saying, but let me get this straight. Are you saying that being an atheist is just a part of some people's temperamental predisposition which has nothing to do with exercizing free will?
I'm not sure atheists would agree with that formulation.
There is probably something that idea. For many people religion provides great comfort in the belief that God watches over them, helps and protects them, and that is sufficient reason for belief.
I am saying that genes and experience makes temperament. It makes some people religious and some people not.
I don't see what is complicated about that. And at least one athiest clearly agrees with it.
Well now that you've added "experience" to the mix then I can support your conclusion... for what is experience but a compilation of the choices (free will) one has made in response to life's perplexities and complexities.
Saying something is a 'predisposition' includes the fact it is modified by experience. That is what makes it not a certainty.
And experience is experience. it is everything that goes in through your senses to your neural systems.
I don;t know about you but I don't just get up in the morning and choose what I believe in the same way I choose a blouse. Some things just seem true to me even if believing other things might be more advantageous or enjoyable.
Conscious choice is, in my opinion, largely irrelevant. We focus on it because we like the illusion of complete control over our lives.
Choosing a blouse is not exactly what I would include under " life's perplexities and complexities". Believing what you chose to believe is infinitely a much more complicated endeavour than chosing a blouse, don't you agree?
Concscious choice (free will) despite the fact that we do not have complete control over our lives, is still important because without it the concept (and the world) of good and evil, crime and punishment. love and hate etc. etc .. falls apart.
I at least would not agree that choosing a belief system is more complicated that choosing a blouse.
Most people choose a belief based on what makes them feel good; what they want to be true without regard to actual validity or reality. Most women choose a blouse based on the same criteria (what makes them feel good) but with more variables thrown in. Color must match, and material appropriate for the season, for instance.
What I was disputing is that you choose a belief system. It develops within you. I once tried to consciously choose to belief in life after death because I thought that was nicer. But I don't. I believe what I think is true in a deep and largely unconscious level. I can't just choose to believe differently any more than I can choose to believe unicorns live in Australia.
It is true of course that some people make decisions or choices faster than others because of their heightened sense of intuition and instinct, thus your statement that your decision making process is largely subconcsious, i,e no great effort is spent. ... almost similar to athletes that depend on muscle memory to do specific sporting activities.
To believe in the afterlife just because you thought it was "nicer" was just stunning to hear from someone who is not a pseudo-intellectual as some of the folks I interact with on Hub Pages .
Psycheskinner: If people aren’t “pushed to believe” in a religion, then please explain to me why there is a predominant religion in every country: Christianity in America (and many other countries influenced by “Western” culture), Hinduism in India, Islam in Iraq, and Buddhism in Mongolia. Religion is highly dependent on geography (likely due to exposure, upbringing, and brainwashing), not necessarily on individual perceptions about which religion is “best” or the “right” one.
As I’ve previously stated, religious belief is tied to ignorance, so the more knowledgeable and intelligent someone is, the more difficult it becomes for them to embrace myths/legends which contradict their current understanding of how the world works (the brain will attempt to resist such actions). Religion is most “effective” when it is able to fill a large knowledge gap in someone’s world understanding with “comforting” myths/legends.
What might be "myths and legends" to you may infact be the TRUTH to some. It all depends upon the context (material or spiritual) upon which the narrative is being cocooned with. Your statement "religious belief is tied to ignorance" might make sense if by ignorance you mean not totally enamored of all things that your 5 physical senses are able to perceive and solely on the basis of how the brain process those input into a less than coherent view of what is real or unreal.
Ah yes, the ethical outpost of "feel-good(ism)" which is always accompanied by its twin brother called "immediate gratification(ism)". The two "isms" in our current ethical landscape that has, to our eternal damnation, supplanted stoicism and epicureanism.
If people make critical choices that are life changing based on the concept that it makes them feel good... then God help us.... the "blame game" scenario could and would fester and eat into the moral fabric of anyone infected and infested by it. The "blame game" is what follows when people make choices and decisions willy-nilly, and when the result of those decisions and choices becomes a disastrous failure, then they blame other people for it.
Humans possess a pre-frontal cortex that grants them the ability to have free-will and make their own decisions/conclusions in life. Although there are many biological “tendencies” in thoughts/behavior, they all ultimately pass through the center of complex thought before being executed. The human brain has evolved to be able to make sense of the world from a standpoint of ignorance by creating religious Creation stories and such to explain natural phenomenon. The more knowledge someone has, the less their mind has to “make up” or rely on myths/legends. This is why religiosity is positively correlated with low intelligence. This also explains why/how atheists tend to be people that are more educated (and possess greater knowledge).
The last two sentences of your reply were just too stunning to be believed... some generalizations are appropriate and entirely factual, but on this one, you are way off the mark.... by a mile.
I think he was just supporting your ego hypothesis.
A. Villarasa: I try my hardest to only make statements that are supported by scientific evidence. Maybe you should try reading scientific literature, sometime…in fact, here are the journal articles supporting my prior statements to get you started: 2011 Heaven, et al. (Cognitive ability, right-wing authoritarianism, and social dominance orientation: A five-year longitudinal study amongst adolescents); 2011 McCann (Do state laws concerning homosexuals reflect the preeminence of conservative-liberal individual differences); 2010 Kanazawa (Why liberals and atheists are more intelligent); 2009 Bertsch and Pesta (The Wonderlic Personnel Test and elementary cognitive tasks as predictors of religious sectarianism, scriptural acceptance and religious questioning); 2009 Lynn, et al. (Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations); 2009 Nyborg (The intelligence-religiosity nexus: A representative study of white adolescent Americans); 2008 Jost, et al. (Ideology: its resurgence in social, personality, and political psychology).
I am not in the habit of accepting willi-nilly the conclusions of any article in so-called "scientific literature"". I am in a profession where reading journals(in my case, medical journals) is like eating cereals for breakfast.
Fort me to accept the conclusions "your articles" seem to band about, I have to know (1) in what context or frame of mind the data was collected, evaluated, and interpreted, (2) was the conclusion put to a rigorous peer review process, (3) and are the results credible, edible and duplicatable.
By "edible" I mean something that I could swallow, and digest without immediately regurgitating it.
I do not endorse people accepting scientific conclusions “willy-nilly” without understanding the scientific process and critically evaluating the methods used in the study and their results. You have all the information you need to find/read those articles to evaluate them, yourself, so how about cooking them up for tomorrow’s breakfast?
It may seem incredibly arrogant to you, but it's actually true. For example, third-world countries that are extremely religious (and it doesn't matter which religion it is) are less likely to have a majority of people with a high level of intelligence and education. More secular countries like Scandinavian countries, conversely, consistently have higher test scores, IQ levels and educational degrees. Crime rates also seem to be directly related to the rate of religious influence. Denmark, Norway, Holland and other examples boast of very low crime rates in matters or rape, murder and violent crime and are almost purely secular. Other countries like America, however, have extremely high crime rates and are of a religious majority.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religiosit … telligence
There's a reason why (at least in certain fields of study) scientist are predominantly atheistic or agnostic. I don't think it's too far out of line to suggest that the more educated you are and the higher you rise on the education scale, the less likely you are to believe in a god. This is not the case across the board, but there does to be some direct evidence to suggest that it could be the case.
I agree with part of this. Academia resists bestowing it's blessings on anyone refusing to drink the atheistic Koo-laid they peddle. Haven't we all had professors who won't pass you unless you at least pretend to buy into their ideology? It is far easier to take the path of least resistance and go along with the indoctrination. That doesn't have to define you, but those who aren't concerned with the issue will often accept what they are taught as a default, going forward. Scientists will also find their professional life to be much less stressful if they go along with atheism. Professors aren't likely to gain tenure if they don't acquiesce.
As for intelligence, please don't confuse that with education. Many highly intelligent folks are not fortunate enough to have access to higher education, and others go on to be great successes without it. Bill Gates appears to be pretty bright.
You're claiming a scientific conspiracy theory? Seriously? That may apply while you're in college, but not in the breadth of your career.
Its not just education. its intelligence as well
I am a life long career scientist and have never worked in a lab anywhere (a dozen labs in 4 different countries) where there was an atheist majority or any pressure to be atheist. Slightly the reverse, in fact.
Conspiracy theory sounds a bit dramatic, but perhaps accurate in academia. From the time a 5 year old has an evolution book shoved in front of them, to the day they graduate from university, they get a steady dose of indoctrination...5 days a week, not just on Sundays.
Do we agree intelligence and education are two different things? You can find high intelligence in the poorest, most backward countries in the world and you can find people with college degrees who still can't spell or string a thought together, doing menial labor or basic retail. You may also find very intelligent people, stuck in those positions by circumstance, who perhaps have not had the education. It is not at all strange to find successful business owners, with no degrees, frustrated at trying to get workers who have degrees to perform well at basic levels.
bBerean: You appear to be confusing indoctrination with education. Although every teacher will put their particular “spin” on the material in their classes, that doesn’t change the validity of the knowledge/facts/understanding that they are presenting (no matter how you say it, the Earth is round). Sure, Science is constantly changing, and it can be difficult to keep up with it, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to be ignorant of it. Researchers, by default, must be on the leading edge of knowledge/understanding, which is why they often have the best grasp of where the Science of their field currently stands.
Indoctrination is common in religion, which is never changing and heavily based in myths/legends not supported by Science. Saying that Science education is indoctrination like saying that the TV programs in the United States are comparable to those in North Korea. North Korean programs are all filled with Communist-style propaganda, where they are completely biased towards supporting North Korea and putting down the rest of the world (using lies and exaggerations, with minimal facts).
Much like religious institutions, North Koreans don’t want their subjects to be knowledgeable/educated, capable of thinking critically (for themselves), and asking questions. Science education is all about disseminating and discovering facts (by encouraging scientific inquiry), not myths/lies and bias.
Of course intelligence is different than education, but the two are correlated. Intelligent people tend to seek education, and education makes people more intelligent. Do you need one to get the other? No, but it sure helps.
So is it your contention that science and religion are mutually exclusive?
I think that formulation can only be explained on the basis of man's licentiousness (via an EGO that has gone wild and wooly) , overiding his soul's conscientiousness.
Does science have to prove that a soul exist, for a soul to exist?
Has there been any scientific methodologies that prove the existence of the Ego?
EGO and Soul.... concepts/entities that exist because humans would otherwise act differently if they did not exist.
See, that is what hampers science to the degree that it could not and would not consider that the spiritual EXISTS.
The current scientific predisposition only clues in to the obvertly and obviously physical and material...a myopia so stunningly incoherent in more aspects than I can think of.
So basically your position is that god exists without proof, and everyone who disagrees with you is just too arrogant to admit the truth, right? Brilliant. Makes a meaningful conversation so much better - especially since you are the one claiming absolute truth and knowledge if a god being that you cannot prove, any more than you can prove that Bigfoot lives in your attic. Who's ego is in question again?
I don't think we will ever agree on the question of whether or not God exist. You ask scientifically derived physical proof that He exists, and I could not because I believe that God does not exist in the physical realm but in the spiritual realm. That is what I and other people who believe call ...FAITH.
The question of absolute truth is not for science to uncover, since it prefers to deal solely with the material and physical. Faith on the other hand evokes a kind of understanding that goes beyond what is immediately inferred by our 5 physical senses... what our physical brain interprets as REALITY. FAITH and REALITY in my perception has to converge at some point, and that point is the neither scientifically nor religiously determined.
I asked for scientific proof of as soul. I asked for ANY proof of a god, and despite multiple Christians claiming to be able to prove his existence, no evidence is forthcoming. Pity.
If your god exists in the spirit realm and not the physical realm aren't you a deist? And how, without manifesting in reality, is your god distinguishable from no god?
Kindly list one book that you think is an absolute must for me to read... from your perspective.
A.Villarasa: Yeah, scientific evidence of a soul (in any living being) is paltry at best. Here are some interesting soul questions: Do only humans have souls (not cats, dogs, snakes, etc.)? If so, why? When/how do humans acquire souls (fusion of sperm and egg, birth, etc.)? What makes a multi-cellular organism special and distinct (enough to possess a soul) from single cells?
I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but we can scientifically explore far beyond the obviously physical, material world. We’ve been able to view an atom with an electron microscope and been able to blast apart subatomic particles (using the LHC at CERN) to better understand space, time, and Quantum Physics. If there was some “invisible force” (soul or god) or “invisible realm” (heaven/hell), we should be able to detect it using modern technology, but we have not.
The only time that faith and reality are going to intersect is when the faith is grounded in reality (and not in a fairy tale). I sure wish I could invent something that is unquestionable, untestable, and impossible to know by a mere mortal such as myself (e.g., the spiritual realm). Here’s a novel thought…if there is no evidence of something, then perhaps it doesn’t exist? Since the universe ( http://christopherjrex.hubpages.com/hub … uire-Magic ) and life, itself, could have arisen without the aid of a supernatural creator, what role is left for “god” to play?
The last time I checked even Einstein believed that the sub-atomic world is still part of a larger physical/material world. The fact that we could not see with our eyes atoms with their electrons, proton and farther down.. quarks and bosons does not mean that they are part of a spiritual totally non-material reality. So to infer that sum-atomic particles are "far beyond the obviously physical and material world" is at best misleading.
Scientists of various stripes and types have, far from being inchoate about the connection between the physical and spiritual world. posited that humans are spirtiual entities that have come to reside in a physically discernable form, and when that physical form cease to exist (death as we earth-bound beings call it), then we go back to the spiritual realm where we originally came from.
Now do they have any empirically proven evidence that such formulation and conceptualization is realistic and factual. Not at the moment..... and that moment may never come because science have become too teethered on the physical and material.
Additionally, that moment may never be manifested to those whose belief in reality is solely anchored on the physical and material.
A.Villarasa: Einstein was not flawless and has been known to be “wrong” on a couple of subjects. Quantum physics describes that a pair of particles (a particle and an anti-particle) can, at random, appear from nothing (as described in the article I supplied in my last comment). I’d like to think that the place that these particles (in addition to the four fundamental forces in the universe: gravity, electromagnetism, and the weak/strong nuclear forces) originate from is “far beyond the obviously physical and material world.”
You failed to address any of the points I asked about having a soul, so what makes humans “special” that they must have a “soul?” It seems to me that it’s just another religious myth designed to make people feel good about themselves and superior to other lifeforms. If there is no evidence for an immaterial “spiritual realm,” then what relevance does it have to our lives? Who/what leads you to believe that a “spiritual realm” exists in the first place and how do “they” know this?
Here’s the big question: what further knowledge/understanding would be gained by “having faith” and “believing” in something that can never be proven?
And it is those randomness that Einstein could not quite accept thus his statement: "God does not play dice with the universe".
You might want to read Dr Eben Alexander's book ;"The proof of Heaven". But your eyes and your soul should not be too closed while doing it. IT could prove life changing.
Have you started any of the books I suggested? I was waiting for you to give an indication, since that was the deal, right? I'll read the book you're peddling if you are likewise open-minded enough to read one or more of my suggestions.
Still pushing that nonsense?
A.Villarasa: Of course they are mutually exclusive! Religion serves to “fill the gap in scientific knowledge/understanding.” Therefore, the more breakthroughs that are made by Science, the less ground there is for Religion to stand upon. Take Christianity for instance: it claims that Earth was made by a “god,” even though Science proved that it was made by natural, astrophysical processes; it claims that a “god” flooded the whole Earth to punish humans, even though Science proved that no such worldwide flood has ever occurred in the time of man (and that no concomitant large-scale genetic bottleneck in terrestrial life ever occurred); it claims that a “god” created every living organism, even though Science proved that all forms of life have descended from a single, common ancestor; it claims that praying to a “god” will likely result in supernatural intervention in your life, even though Science proved that prayer is as effective as a placebo (at best).
You appear to (falsely) believe that ethical conduct is imparted (uniquely to humans) by a soul. Well, not only is there no scientific evidence of a soul, but ethics have been proven to reside within the brains of humans as well as other animals (Brosnan 2011, An Evolutionary Perspective on Morality: http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcbs/pdf/Brosnan … 202010.pdf ).
I am pretty clear on the definition of indoctrinate. I realize if well implemented and the Koo-laid is fully consumed, those who have been indoctrinated will consider the views their own and not recognize where they got them from.
tr.v. in·doc·tri·nat·ed, in·doc·tri·nat·ing, in·doc·tri·nates
1. To instruct in a body of doctrine or principles.
2. To imbue with a partisan or ideological point of view: example - "a generation of children who had been indoctrinated against the values of their parents."
How is it you don't consider 17 - 25 years, 5 days a week, in an environment promoting a liberal and atheistic ideology, not allowing any discussion or deviation for the most part, and even having to proclaim belief in said ideology by answering test and assignment questions which support it at the risk of otherwise failing, not indoctrination of the highest order? If you do try to deviate from the doctrine, leadership and peer pressure within academia are there to try and knock you back in line. I realize there are exceptions, but as a rule this is what my tax dollars, and university tuition pay for. Few children see anywhere close to equal time with any other view, even if their family has another religious affiliation that tries to compete.
Studying in later years to reinforce the views you have been force fed since you were barely older than a toddler, without even recognizing that is what happened, is hardly "reaching your own conclusions through critical thinking". Obviously this doesn't apply to everyone's experience, but it appears in North America and Europe at least, it applies to most.
Absence of religion does not mean atheistic. There is no religion taught in schools because it shouldn't be taught in schools. 2+2=4 does not require theology. It isn't intrinsically atheistic it just doesn't in the least bit relate to philosophy or religion. There are books that AREN'T the bible that require absolutely no discussion of God or his absence to learn how to read.
The lack of relevance to anything religious does not mean atheistic. A conversation on gravity needs no religious or non-religious basis. Bringing one in does nothing to help the understanding. Atheist teachers aren't standing over students saying an apple falls because there is no God. Theist teachers shouldn't be saying the apple falls because it's God's will.
I agree the theoretical intent is to have a neutral learning environment, and that political and religious ideologies are not relevant to much of learning, particularly at more rudimentary levels. It would be naive, however, to think this goal is achieved. It is inescapable that political and religious ideologies would be presented when dealing with things that are not black and white, or that call for interpretation and judgement. At every turn, the default for academia seems to be a liberal political and social perspective, (in higher levels it is often quite aggressive and extreme). Religiously the big bang, macro-evolution, and no god are presented as facts. If that is your ideology, that may seem fine to you. Although most in America do not believe any of those things, people have come to expect it from academia and they ignore the impact of doing so. Ignoring the issues comes across as an endorsement to the student. Regardless of who agrees or disagrees with what is promoted, the fact remains it is the very definition of indoctrination. It would be difficult, and perhaps impossible not to do this, but a step in the right direction would be acknowledging the bias and slant.
Evolution is taught because its a scientific fact. I want taught the big bang, it was discussed as a possible theory. Nor was anyone I know actively taught "no god". That's a ridiculous statement.
Passively taught "no god" for 17 - 25 years is very effective. I know we have been down this road before. We disagree about evolution as a "fact". It is clever that the adaptability engineered into creation is used as evidence, and to some even considered proof, for the unsupportable theory that one kind of creature ever becomes another. A shell game, if you will. It should stand, instead, as a testimony to the creativity and forethought of the engineer. A fruit fly adapting to environmental stimulus is not evidence it will ever be anything but a fly.
Have you ever studied evolution? Did you go to the site I gave you a long time ago? Transitional forms are everywhere, and you can't honestly say the aren't.
Passively taught no god? religious education does not belong in public schools. Are you expecting a science teacher or a math teacher or a history teacher to stop mid-lecture and say "oh, by the way, there's a god". There is no religious education in public schools because they are public schools. Which religion are you suggesting that they teach? Which class does god belong in? What about children who are being raised in a different religion? Religion is the responsibility of the parents to teach, it has no place in school. creationism can't even be called a theory. Its nothing more than a hypothesis with no proof - and loads of proof against it.
Julie, I did go to the website you recommended and will go there again if you like. I did not save the link, so you will need to provide it again if you want me to revisit it. If I recall, you felt the fruit fly was the best evidence, and I did look at that. Mostly I saw presentations and perspectives I was familiar with, so I did not spend a great deal of time there. Perhaps I missed something. I did see where they were interpreting fossils as missing links, or as evolutionists now prefer, transitional forms. Interpretation though, not proof. What I would find particularly interesting is evidence of information being added to DNA, since that would have to happen for evolution to be a "fact". Are you aware of anything like that you could point me to?
Yes, telling little Johnny that his religious views are nice and all, but he should put them aside because now we are at school where we "know", teach and promote that the big bang, evolution, etc are all "fact", is very much a matter of teaching a religious view, and discouraging another.
I'll try to find some specific pages for you, I'm not home at the moment and doing it on my phone is just frustrating.
Do you believe that religion has a place in public schools? Which religion? What about students that believe in A different god? Why teach math or science at all? Just turn all public schools into Bible studies. Teaching science, language, history, etc is what education is FOR. Not religious indoctrination. What if the teacher is a Muslim? Is it okay to use class to talk about Allah ot do you only want kiss to learn about YOUR god?
Does that mean you are aware of an instance where information has "naturally" been added to DNA? Regarding the phone, I know, as I often am responding with mine. Tedious.
First, although thoroughly familiar with public schools first hand, and being a product of them myself, I am not at all a fan. Either religion should not be taught or comparative religion should be, but considering the diversity of religions these days I don't know how you would pull that off. Charter schools do much better, because your dollar is not a given...they have to compete for it.
Schools should teach math, language, history and genuine science. Explaining and exploring systems, processes and observable, verifiable and repeatable results is great. Jumping to conclusions from those observations, which cannot be supported, yet are presented as facts anyway, is wrong. Revisionist history, political and social agendas, etc. should not be endorsed or promoted. "Just the facts, Mam."
We shouldn't be paying for our kids to learn and perform songs promoting political candidates and environmental agendas, to name a couple recent exploitative examples that come quickly to mind. In higher education professions and trades should be taught, but aligning yourself with the politics of the university or professor, should not be a prerequisite.
I'm confused... do you not want children taught scientific theories or do you want them taught that God exists?
I'm not sure what you are proposing the public school system should do?
I would really like my kids taught scientific theories but I most certainly don't want are essentially complete strangers teaching their views of religion to my kids.
Scientific theories are pretty solid... the ones that are taught at an elementary level anyway. (In college you are an adult and can chose what you want to be taught... so the argument on indoctrination is pretty silly there) By solid I mean that 98 percent of scientists agree. You couldn't find two people on this planet that agree on every aspect of any given religion.
So are you saying you want your kids taught opinion as fact?
Melissa, just acknowledging your post. I addressed this in my post with Julie, above. Problem now is, opinions are being taught as fact, and that is what I oppose.
Peer reviewed scientific opinions are being taught as theories. There's a difference.
Agreed. And the word "theory" in science is far different than a hypothesis
They use the word "theory" allowing a way to back off, if called on it, but there is no mistake they are being presented as undeniable facts. Julie, you have explained many times how you consider evolution to be a fact, and no less confidence comes from the teachers and professors.
additionally, Berean - I looked up a christian site called Answers in Genesis, and they actually maintain a side site which is a list of arguments against evolution and science that creationists should not use. The "just a theory" argument is actually on it. http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-ans … e-dont-use Also on it, ironically - is the argument that there are no transitional forms.
Julie, your comments would seem to infer that Answers in Genesis (AIG) dismisses those arguments. Far from it. Here they are in context:
AIG: "Evolution is just a theory. (“Theory” has a stronger meaning in scientific fields than in general usage; it is better to say that evolution is just a hypothesis or one model to explain the untestable past.)"
I would be happy to refer to evolution as a hypothesis if you prefer. Evolution is used to mean many things in science, including the engineered adaptability I spoke of earlier. That adaptability is used to piggy back as credible the idea that one kind of creature has "evolved" into another. Fact is, that version of "evolution" is far from being a fact. It would be less deceptive to not use the term evolution for the many things they do, but I think being deceptive in order to promote a bluff that there is more proven than there is, is intentional. It is a bluff that has paid off well.
AIG: "Microevolution is true but not macroevolution. (People usually mean that we see changes within a kind but not between kinds; however, the important distinction is that we observe changes that do not increase the genetic information in an organism.)"
Further clarification of what I was speaking of above.
AIG: "There are no transitional forms. (It would be better to say there are no intermediates between two different kinds. We find variant transitional fossils for animals within the same kind—horse to a horse for example but that is expected in a biblical worldview.)"
This also does not discount what I said in any manner other than semantics. Wide variations as a result of the adaptability I mentioned simply illustrate that within a kind of creatures you will see vastly different fossil configurations. Skeletons from Teacup Chihuahuas and Irish Wolfhounds are not proof of different kinds of animals evolving from one another, just two very different dogs.
So you have no problem accepting that humans and other primates likely shared a common ancestor? Your problem is having reptiles evolve into birds... Gotcha.
I am guessing the only way you could make this leap is that you are considering other primates and humans to be the same kind of creature. I am not sure why you would conclude that, but I disagree.
Really? You have no problem seeing that a Chihuahua and a wolfhound are the same type of animal but you can't see how human are primates.
Carry on then.
Let me put this in another way for you. Lets look at evolution in regards to language.
What you're saying, from what you've demonstrated to know of evolution, is that you'd expect someone to wake up one morning in a Latin-speaking country suddenly speaking Spanish. that's the kind of "transitional" form you're looking for, one species crossing into another species. You're looking for Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort's crock-a-duck. that's not how evolution works.
If someone woke up one morning speaking Spanish where everyone else spoke Latin still, who would that person talk to? How would they communicate. Language didn't evolve that way, and evolution doesn't work that way. Instead, you had Latin as a base, and many other languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, etc) developed from it. It started with small changes - little dialect differences. Now it's a completely separate language. That's how evolution works. Someone that speaks french most likely cannot communicate with someone who speaks Portuguese unless they've studied the language. Yet they both have a Latin root. How is that possible? Evolution.
You compared a Wolf-hound to a chihuahua. Yes, they're both dogs, but they can't breed with each other. All dogs are descendants from wolves, but they're unable to interbreed. Dog species are a result of both natural and artificial selection, and that's evident by the fact that several dog species have been so selectively bred that they can no longer give birth without help. In nature, they would die out.
bBerean: “Does that mean you are aware of an instance where information has "naturally" been added to DNA?” Wow, you really need to take a few Evolution classes, friend. In the meantime, however, this article may help a little: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 … 135411.htm
I’ll address your remaining points later, I’m done for tonight.
Chris, very interesting article. It of course does nothing to prove one kind of creature ever could or did evolve into another. Changes mentioned in the article do not exceed that which we would expect from breeding within a kind of creature. It does illustrate well the incredible adaptability within creation which I have mentioned several times. Considering the simplest thing God engineered is more complex than man's grandest achievements, this comes as little surprise.
You have done an excellent job of showcasing, in the above comment, the very indoctrination I have been speaking of, and illustrating how those who have bought into it don't even see it for what it is. You confidently declare no god was required as though it were fact. Wrong, it is just your opinion and belief. Whether you reached this on your own, or are just parroting your own indoctrination, I don't know. Either way, 17-25 years, 5 days a week of that view as a foundation for education...presenting your opinion as fact, is quintessential indoctrination.
If peer review decides the issue then please consider, instead of a group of atheists patting each other on the back and agreeing there is no god, I have consulted my peers and we all agree there is a God. I guess that settles that.
bBerean: I actually think it’s great to teach facts and tolerance, which are not indoctrination. If education was such, you would be unable to ask questions, have any degree of “lee-way” on your answers, and it would be never-changing. Religious conservatives like to resist change and tell people what/how to think. Atheistic liberals tend to encourage change (for the “better”) and provide people with a solid foundation (knowledge/understanding) so that they can build their own (more accurate/meaningful) views and opinions of the world. Education has been on its way to focusing more on project-based learning and critical thinking exercises, as opposed to simply rote memorization, but this transition will, unfortunately, be a slow one.
Building a solid foundation in knowledge/understanding is necessary for people to become functional members of society. Allowing people to believe that the world is flat and that “gods” cause disease doesn’t aid them in the modern world. Therefore, “other viewpoints” based on myths/legends have no place in a classroom because they will do nothing to prepare people for the real world.
In my experience, teachers (professors included) have never tried to “pressure” anyone to be religious or atheist. In fact, they are specifically instructed not to push their personal “beliefs” on students (or else they could lose their job). You may have had a traumatic experience related to a teacher “indoctrinating you,” and for that, I feel sorry for you, but it’s time to get over it and realize that such things are the exception to the rule.
The origin and development of this universe and life, itself, did not require a “god,” nor does anything else in this perceivable universe. Since education teaches modern scientific knowledge/understanding, it is reasonable for classes to never invoke “god” as being responsible for anything. If you don’t like this treatment of mythical, supernatural powers (because it “offends your beliefs” or whatever), then maybe you should publish some credible, peer-reviewed research to the contrary.
Your perception and conception of religion is so "dark-ages" that it bugs me no end why you are living in this century. For a person with such obvious intellect to be spouting ideas that belong to another age and time is just unbelievably stunning.
A.Villarasa: My perception of religion is from the “dark ages?” Really? I was thinking it was more Hellenistic, actually. Religion has not changed much over the ages (as it is designed to be a constant force, by default). It tends to indoctrinate people, condemn Science/education/free-thought, encourage discrimination/genocide, and serve as a method of control. Remind me again what motivates Islamic terrorists to attack Americans, why embryonic stem cell research is banned/restricted in several countries, why Catholic priests molest little boys, what motivated Saddam Hussein to perform ethnic cleansing on his own people (much like Hitler did), why Israel is constantly under periodic attack by its neighbors, why Evolution is a “taboo” topic of discussion in many places, why raping women is ~okay in India, and why being homosexual in some African countries is punishable by death? It seems to me like a bunch of “archaic” religious stuff is still playing a major role in modern society.
Not all religions... not even all branches of Christianity. Just a certain type of people within each religion.
Just saying... If you don't want the religious to brand all "insert group here" as bad maybe you shouldn't do it yourself... eh?
while I somewhat agree, Christopher has a point.
If you somehow created a time machine and brought someone from the 1400's in Europe here, today - they'd be blown away by technology, by understanding, by science, etc. Ironically, however, theologically speaking, they would be on almost the exact same page. Religion - at least the big 3 as they've been organized - doesn't change. In order for religion to change fundamentally, the principles it rests on would have to change. The same book that 15th century European would point to as a justification for burning heretics is the same book that right-wing christians are using today to claim that homosexuals should be jailed - or worse.
I'm going to disagree with you. Since the 1400's there have been dozens of splits from the Catholic faith. And even the Catholic faith would be largely unrecognizable. Luther nailing his diatribe to the door threw open the doors to Protestantism which further split into the myriad of denominations today. At about the same time Luther picked up his hammer a group in Transylvania REALLY split from the Catholic Church and formed yet another denomination of Christianity that would play a significant role in the founding of America. In short I can not think of one church that you could throw your hypothetical peasant into that wouldn't be completely foreign to him.
Now... Yes the Bible can be used as justification to claim homosexuals should be jailed or worse... but honestly so can scientific text book. So could information from the CDC. Anyone who wants to do it will find their justification where ever they can.
You're right. It was late and I didn't quite phrase it correctly - while the doctrine and the interpretations may have changed, at the core the book is the same (unlike the early church, where each congregation had a different book, and there were many different variations of books floating around).
Yes, there are over 30000 denominations that could technically be described as "christianity" as a whole, which the Middle Ages transplant would have a difficult time understanding without a lit torch in his hand, but the basic book is familiar.
My whole point would be that religion is one area that is dogmatically opposed to change fundamentally - whereas science, technology etc has grown by leaps and bounds.
Again I disagree. I think you are viewing ALL religion as represented by a very small (but excessively loud) group of fundamentalists. There are many religions that welcome change. There are even some branches of Christianity that are fighting for it. You never see them because the media likes to put our loudest and most---er--- stagnant (not the word I wanted to use but one that fits) on.
It seems like progressive Christians are hated by the right because we aren't thumping our bibles and hated by the left because we read them.
Do you really want to be manipulated by the media and fundamentalists like that?
As for me personally I am tired of being accused of being ignorant and hating homosexuals when my congregation and my religion in general has been carrying the rainbow flag for as long as the people who are accusing us have been alive. Assuming that all Christians are anti-gay is like saying all whites are racist. You are just as bad as those who you dislike. (You meaning knee-jerk atheists who make assumptions not you in specific)
In Sam Harris' book "The End of Faith" his entire argument is against religious "moderates" that try to put a kinder spin on their holy book. The enable the extremists to exist, whether that extreme view is the Westboro Baptist church or the terrorists that flew those planes into buildings on September 11. They are not coming out and condemning these types of actions, because they tolerate the freedom of belief. I suggest that you read the book - you may find it extremely interesting.
Whether or not a church flies a rainbow flag is irrelivent. Churches that are becoming increasingly tolerant just view the same bible differently - and they ignore the unpleasant bits and focus on the good ones. I am not accusing you of hating homosexuals or that you're stupid. At worst, I'm saying that you choose willingly to not follow the bible to the letter of the law - and fundamentalists do - at least the laws that they like. All Christians don't have to be anti-gay. The book, however, is.
I've had the same debate about Mr. Harris before. From my point of view militant atheists dislike moderate/liberal Christians because they can't group them easily... They weaken the militant atheist arguments. They LIKE insane Christians because they can point at them and say "SEE!" Moderate/Liberal Christians throw off their data... they break their stereotypes.
But whatever Sam has to think to sleep at night. It's still hating an entire group based on your own agenda/viewpoints with absolutely no data to back it up. Some Christians hate gays. Some white people hate gays. Some Black people hate gays.
If you don't like people grouping all gays into stereotypes then don't group all of another group into a stereotype.
Two wrongs don't make a right.
My church doesn't wave the rainbow flag... It was fighting for gay rights before you were born. It isn't becoming increasingly tolerant... It kicked the doors open and actively tried to force tolerance... again likely about the time you were in diapers. Show some respect and give some appreciation eh? Instead of saying that it doesn't matter because we are putting on some kind of show. Do you treat all people trying to further equal rights this way?
Okay, first of all - is your response an example of your church's tolerance towards atheists? Maybe you should consider their rights before jumping down the throat of one. What does my age have to do with anything - and I will be more than happy to offer respect where it is offered in return - and nothing you have said in this post could possibly be construed as respectful. I don't know why you're getting so defensive and uptight. I'm not attacking YOU. I'm not even attacking your religion. I'm simply pointing some things out - some things that you appear to be taking extremely personally, although you and I have had some pleasant, fun and respectful discourse previously. Two wrongs don't make a right indeed - so are you #1 or #2? Isn't your religion the one that says "treat others like you want to be treated?"
While I cannot speak for Sam Harris (although I have read all of his books multiple times) I don't see him out there hating ANYONE. I'm certainly not hating anyone, least of all you. I don't like stereotypes at all, but you have no problem stereotyping atheists, it seems. I don't have stereotypes about "all" christians. I can only go by what I've personally experienced - and you're doing nothing to disprove that, incidentally.
Wow... um... yeah.
I'm defensive? There wasn't a thing offensive in anything I said... unless you consider yourself a militant atheist. I didn't jump down anyone's throat. And if you saw disrespect I assure you it was at the receiving end not typing end.
You gave you opinion on why Sam disliked moderate/liberal Christians and I gave my opinion. I've read Mr. Harris' stuff and I consider him a militant atheist with a chip on his shoulder and a HUGE problem with stereotyping. Unless you ARE Sam Harris I have no idea why that would offend you.
You are stereotyping. I'm sorry if that offends you to have me say it but um... How do you miss that?
I at made the distinction between militant atheists and normal atheists but you seem to be throwing all us Christians together. I have theological discussions with atheists every Sunday (a bunch go to my church) and it never turns into "All Christians are this or that" and it certainly doesn't turn into "The bible is a tool of hate" They-for the most part- think Sam Harris is a douche too.
Your age got brought into it because you seem to think that All Christian churches are out to get you because you are gay. The ones that AREN'T are somehow pandering to public pressure. That's crap. In many ways the Gay movement is standing on the shoulders of a religious organization that started fighting for gay rights well before the matter ever became a political hot button. Hence you age... and the very real FACT that there were churches fighting for gay rights before our generation could "pressure" them.
And yes I am treating you exactly how I would like to be treated. If I was being bigotous I would certainly like to be told about it so I could correct it.
I'm hardly a militant atheist - although if this kind of conversation is par for the course with "moderate" christians, I may just become one.My perception of your post may indeed be a fault of mine - but if it was, then over 7 people independently agreed with it. Funny, that.
You can consider Sam Harris to be anything you want, but that doesn't make it true. He's far from militant. He doesn't hate believers. He calls for change - social change as we move away from old, outdated religions towards a more rational, tolerant state. If that's militant to you, I don't know what to tell you. I've read all of his books. I've heard him speak and seen him speak - and never once have I heard him speak hatefully about believers about any stripe. I've never even heard him raise his voice.
How exactly am I stereotyping? Atheists go to your CHURCH? Yes, I may lump the majority of christians together - because the majority don't agree with your dogma. If you're so moderate and tolerant and accepting, then you should have no problem recognizing that the "majority" of christians believe differently than you do.
You seem to be missing the point as well. I'm sure there are churches out there, including yours, that are fighting for equal rights. But the bottom line is that the christian holy book says that gay people like me are to be put to death. Several times. Moderate and tolerant christians have reinterpreted the book to be more accepting. I commend you and your efforts to be more inclusive - but that's not scriptural.
Yes Atheists go to my church. My faith has no dogma. I didn't reinterpret anything. I read the bible and interpreted it myself. If you interpreted it to be hateful then that has more to do with the reader than the book. Sam Harris- or anyone else- doesn't have to raise their voice to be hateful... just because you are hateful calmly doesn't make you any less hateful. The Majority of Christians really do feel the way I do about gays. Sorry... but fundamentalists are not the majority of Christianity. Most Christians are moderate Christians... but once again that throws off the militant atheists... because they really do like hating fundamental Christians. It be really nice if both sides of the nutcase coin would leave normal people out of it. Moderates are moderate largely because we recognize that the zealots on both sides of the coin really need to find another hobby. We don't want to be associated with either crusade. Zealots hate us because we haven't picked up a pitchfork... Those who thrive on drama hate those who are reasonable.
why do you assume that I'm hateful? I don't hate Moderate Christians, I just don't understand them. From studying the bible so thoroughly, I cannot conceive of a christianity that isn't out there condemning everybody who is different from them. I haven't experienced in my normal every-day life. I haven't met a lot of christian tolerance and moderation - and that moderation is not condoned by the very book that they hold sacred.
I think the misconception that atheists hate god or christians or anything else is preposterous. I don't find many (if any) atheists calling for the destruction of religion. I post in the forums because I believe that it is my responsibility as someone who is well-versed and educated to point out things that don't make sense - and to open the door to reason that many raised in dogmatic approaches are unable to find. To whom much is given, much is expected. To sit here and say nothing would be a gross injustice and a waste of my own knowledge. That being said, I don't hate you. I don't hate any christians I know. At most, I feel sorry for them - even the fundies.
No - this is not why atheists dislike "liberal" Christians who do not follow the teachings of the bible.
So-called "liberal," Christians just provide a smokescreen and validation for the Christians who try to follow the teachings of the bible.
The fact that there are a few Christian churches who stand up against the majority of Christian churches who are following the bible in condemning gays as sinners destined for the lake of fire along with the atheists does not negate the fact that a good proportion of self-professed Christians are against gay marriage and equal rights for gays.
You are just another sect amongst thousands who decided to re-write the bible for yourselves and claim divine authority. The fact that I agree with you on this does not change the fact that you are using a nonsensical majick book as your authority - therefore you are no better or worse than the other lot. In fact - I would say you are worse, because you are capable of thinking for yourselves, but only go so far before needing the majick after life.
Read your bible. I am getting cast into the lake of fire after I die.
And you still choose to worship this deity? And you want my respect for that?
Sorry - I forgot you didn't actually want to know anything.
Much better you tell us what we think rather than hear it from us huh? This is why your religion causes so many fights.
Worship the guy that will punish me for not believing. K then. Whatever you say sweetie. Huggles back......
Hon You know I'm actually quite fond of you. I have no idea why. Must be that irrational part of me coming out again
I calls 'em how I sees 'em Mark. You know as well as I do that people make all kinds of rationalizations for their beliefs. I'm sure that some of you do think that moderates are a shield. I'm also sure that some of you are just really pissed off that moderate Christians don't fit into stereotype. It's hard to argue with someone who sees both sides of an issue...(especially when you are trying to call that person ignorant and unreasonable) and there are militant atheists that LOVE to argue...
And you know from our... lengthy... conversations that I don't worship any diety... and my God is certainly not going to punish you for anything. After all Jesus especially loves the sinners *ducks*
I'm still waiting for that cup of coffee... Next time I cross the pond I'm looking you up.
Looking forward to it. I enjoy you also.
Seriously - I think it is fantastic that you reject most of what the bible says - but - I think you might want to consider not calling yourselves Christians. That just adds to the confusion when us poor atheists read the bible to see what Christianity is all about. I am not pissed off about this - far as I can tell - all the other cults re-write it to suit themselves as well.
But it does offer a shield to the less moderate Christians unfortunately. Like your Lord and Savior tells you - if you are not with me, you are against me. And you are definitely with the less moderate Christians by adding your name to the list of "Christians."
Hmmmm. You know, Mark, this is something I think about a lot. What to call myself in regard to my belief. And, I wonder as far as Melissa's concerned also. (Melissa, don't think I'm being presumptuous, I'm just curious, because you and I are cut from quite similar pieces of cloth).
The word "Christian" has indeed become tainted in our modern society, because of the majority of those who claim the name, yet behave in a manner so contrary to what it SHOULD mean. Followers of Christ are Christians. Not all of us believe literally in every word of Scripture from front to back. That doesn't mean that we don't believe that much of it is divinely inspired. And in all honesty, the Old Testament law wasn't given to the Gentiles to begin with, so unless one is Jewish, that law doesn't apply to us. At least as far as I see it. Of course, I'm not afraid to be told I'm wrong, and I'm not afraid to admit when I am.
I have a cousin who is Jewish, but she has simplified her religious beliefs, and her practice of them, into a simple statement: Be good to others and the planet. She and I totally agree about that. Hell, over time, even you and I have come to realize that we agree about that.
IMO, common religious practice should exist simply for the sake of worship. (Unlike Melissa, I do worship the God I believe in). BUT, it has become an expression of one's belief system, one's way of life, and the rule to which we adhere in terms of how we treat others.
I believe that compassion, love, tolerance, acceptance, charity are, first, instinctual in human beings, and, second, very Godlike qualities. If one's religion directs us to behave in a way contrary to that, I think it's false.
Julie, I personally believe (and have come under fire from many, many religious friends because of this) that what is condemned in Scripture is sexual immorality - not homosexuality. I know my Bible well. I am NOT a scholar, however. But I think the single most important thing to consider when studying, reading, examining, or teaching Scripture is to remember its historical context. A lot - and I really should say A LOT has changed in society since then. People have become more enlightened, more knowledgeable, and more understanding of the universe and the people who inhabit it. In other words, we don't live in as primitive a culture as was present when Scripture came to be. Those who don't understand that are the ones you should feel sorry for. Not those of us who get it.
All that being said, I call myself a Catholic Christian when I am asked because that's my expression of worship toward my God. Beyond that, I keep my mouth shut and try to practice toward others the compassion, love, tolerance, and acceptance, and charity that MY God has exhibited in my life.
Mark and Melissa - I want in on the coffee klatch!!! Love you, guys.
To Mark and Julie...
If I were to offer proof that MOST Christians are moderate would you be willing to honestly look at the data objectively and change your viewpoints accordingly? I mean hard numbers from respected non-biased research organizations.
I have the numbers and the research but it would be lengthy and honestly I don't want to take the effort if you are going to dismiss it outright.
It honestly doesn't matter what exact percentage is supposedly "moderate," if you are a smokescreen for the non-moderates. Does it matter that MOST muslims are moderate when there were enough non-moderates to fly planes into buildings om 9/11?
Most Christians in California were "moderate," enough to vote to ban gay marriage. Most Christians in Nazi Germany thought Hitler was doing God's work. Most Christians in Uganda think homosexuality should be illegal.
The fact is - you are not a Christian. Your bible instructs you to worship your deity yet you claim not to do so. The bible tells you clearly what is the fate of non believers - yet you say that is not the case. You have basically become secular, and adopted all the same values (non-biblical) as me - yet kept the moniker, "Christian."
WHY you ask ... because the majority of Christians & non christians & people in general are or have been hypricrits at some time in their life.
People in general are in a state of becoming .... and do things that are later seen with regret
That did not answer the question I posed. Unless you are saying Melissa is a hypocrite?
If you want to look at what I said through a magnifying glass overlooking the intended message...
Well ? I guess you can say that.
WE ALL are or have been guilty of being one. YEP I'm saying that YOU are or have been guilty of being one. Myself included.
Are you saying that YOU aren't or have never been one?
Really? That is not what you said at all - please stop lying at me - thanks. Why even bother answering if this is all you have to offer?
I asked you a straight question and this is what you got? No wonder your religion causes so many fights.
It is still not too late for you to repent.
There are none as blind as those that refuse to open their eyes
No wonder your religion cause so many fights.
So you are saying that the MAJORITY of Christians are a smokescreen for the MINORITY of Christians?
I have kept the monkier "Christian" because it most describes my religious beliefs. Like every other Christian/Muslim/whatever my individual beliefs vary from others. You are unlikely to find any two members of any given religion/non-religion that agree on every aspect of their faith.
Now... if you are truly interested we could go point to point on every single spiritual view I have. If more people did that then individuals of a common group would be treated as individuals. That would be pretty neat. Then you could say that I was [insert adjective here] rather than all individuals who are in a common group with me being [insert same adjective here]. Think of how much more enlightened we would be that way.
So that's a no on the proof that statements like "Christians" or "the majority of Christians" or "Most Christians" believe the way you think they do are statistically incorrect?
If you want to be treated as an individual - why label yourself into a group? And then complain about being treated as part of the group you claim to be representing?
In any case - you already told me you reject most of what the bible says.
I did not say what you are now claiming I said either. I don't think the MAJORITY of Christians reject most of the bible as you do. What I said was this:
Clearly, "Christian," is not an accurate reflection of your religious beliefs.
One hundred percent agree with this post. Thumbs up. I couldn't have said it better
Believe it or not, Mark, some of us rarely - if ever - consider the 'majick' afterlife. We're too concerned with this one we're living now. Now, I only say some, because you're right - the majority of Christians, even the moderate ones, do good works solely because they are hoping for that great reward. But there are people like me, and I know you may not believe this, who do good works for others simply because it is the right thing to do.
I've read it a number of times, and I still don't know if I believe in hell for anyone - other than those who have committed awful, evil, and depraved acts against children. And, in truth, I may only be hopeful that that will be the end result of their time on earth. I know that my God, however, is far more merciful than I am, so who knows. The only thing I know (or anyone for that matter) for sure is that I don't know what will happen in the afterlife. I do, however, hope that if something does, it's pleasant and that I'll get to share it with my friend in France.
I don't think we want your respect for the way we choose to worship so much as for our efforts to make the world better - regardless of what motivates us to do so.
So -why bother labeling yourself "Christian," in that case? And then complain that you are lumped in with the other Christians?
If we are going to meet up for coffee, I am certain we need to do it in this life.
Well...I don't complain when I'm lumped in with other Christians. And as to why I call myself that...honestly, I only put a label on it when someone asks. Otherwise, I think I'm just a person who believes in God.
Oh, I meant in this life, brat! Although if there is a heaven as some believe, it will be chock full of awesome coffee!
Strictly speaking, religion of any kind, to be worth its designation as such should and must be based on the humanistic concept that man' has inate dignity, integrity, and verity. Religion's foremost purpose is to constantly remind man of his spiritual etiology and destiny. Any religion that deviates from this basic entymological formulation, can only be considered as having been corrupted by man's ego.So all the things that you ascribe as having been caused by religion has nothing to to with religion in its purest form, but by human's exercising their free will.... to chose evil instead of good; to chose licentiousness instead of conscientiousness; to chose war instead of peace; to chose hate instead of love.
2 Chronicles 15:13
Whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Jeremiah 18:11 "Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you."
Ezekiel 20:25,26 "I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live. And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord."
Exodus 15:3 "The Lord is a man of war."
sounds peaceful to me.
For an atheist, you sure know how to nit-pick bible passages that seem to augment your argument that GOd is a wilfull deviant.
I am not a bible scholar, so you will have to go to someone else for a rebuttal. Or are you looking for a rebuttal?
It comes with having a degree in theology. I still read the bible every day (and can read it in Greek, Latin and Hebrew) because I enjoy being educated.
Yet.. ironically... the only people that agree that the bible should be taken literally are a small group of atheists and a small group of fundamentalist Christians.
How did we go from talking about Birkenstocks and Anne Hathaway to bickering like children, exactly?
Julie I am not bickering. I am trying to have a conversation. I'm blunt and I'm opinionated but I'm honestly just trying to have a debate. I like you... just as I like Mark. I honestly believe that you both do yourselves a disservice by not treating individuals as individuals.
With the question before "Does it matter that MOST muslims are moderate when there were enough non-moderates to fly planes into buildings om 9/11?"
Yes... It very much DOES matter.
If I were to phrase it about something important to you... like say I said "Does it matter that MOST gay men don't have HIV when there were enough Gay men with HIV to infect thousands?" Then the answer would be Yes... It does matter.
Gays who practice safe sex aren't providing a smokescreen for those who don't.
It very much does matter that the lifestyles of an entire group are being judged on the basis of the bad behavior of a small percentage of that group. There's a name for that. It's not right when all blacks are prejudged because some are criminals. It's not right when all gays are judged because some of them have risky sexual behaviors. It's not right when all mentally ill people are considered dangerous because some have killed other people. So what makes it okay to do to Christians?
Not an appropriate example - sorry.
The reason there exist a few radical Muslims is because there is a smokescreen of moderates. The same with the fundamental Christians. They can only exists and survive because you personally identify with them and tell us you are part of the same group.
As I said before - I think it is fantastic that you reject most of the bible's content and do not follow the instructions. I still find it strange that you identify yourself as a "Christian."
It seems you have much the same values as myself, which are certainly not biblical values - then you claim to be a Christian, and then start whining when you are lumped in with the other Christians - and we assume you follow the teachings of the bible.
Why not accept the fact that - as you reject the bible like me - you need to call yourself something else?
They must find it hard to take Truth for Authority who have so long mistaken Authority for Truth.
Ok Mark... I'll take the bait.
Even though we've had this conversation before.
I don't reject the bible. I find inspiration in it. I don't take every word literally. And I believe that for me it is an appropriate guide for my life. I also believe that each person gets out of it what they are looking for.
Yes I cherry-pick it. It's not an insult to me when people accuse me of it. That's what everybody does with any information. They take the parts of whatever information that are meaningful and use them. It could be a bible- a work of literature-cosmo magazine- whatever.
What you are doing now with the moderate smokescreen thing is cherry-picking Sam Harris.
You can challenge me but I really don't find it offensive. I don't really care if you consider me a Christian or not. It doesn't really bother me when the fundamentalist say I'm not a Christian either. You seem to keep wanting me to goad me into something... probably to prove that "That's why religion causes so many wars".
I'm not whining... and I think you know that. I am simply stating that you are wrong. You pride yourself on logic... and that's great. Logic is a wonderful thing. However sweeping generalizations are not logical. If your premise is all X=X and not all X's = X then you have a logical fallacy. You can make up all sorts of reasons why they should or you can say that they really shouldn't be counted as X's anyway... You can try to talk X into saying they are really Q's. You still have a logical fallacy.
Now... If you want to consider yourself logical and reasonable... please continue. Who am I to say what you call yourself or consider yourself? However you are making statements based purely on emotions and cherry picked data. That's fine... we all do it.
I am not making sweeping generalizations. Look back through history and you will see that your religion has massacred millions because the "moderate," majority did nothing. This is factual and logical. I can give you the figures if you wish.
Logically - you reject a good portion of the bible, do not worship God, and tell me that the bible is completely incorrect when I point out what it actually says. Logically - you cannot call yourself a Christian.
I am simply pointing out that - if you choose to label yourself a Christian and then cherry pick which bits you are going to accept - very little it appears - you should not be surprised when people - Christian or otherwise - point out that you are not actually a Christian or assume that the label you have provided for yourself is as the bible tells us.
If I label myself a Christian and then point out that I don't believe there is a god or that Jesus Christ existed - what would you say to me?
I don't really know Sam Harris' work, but - my opinion is the only reason there are as many fundies as there are is because of "moderates," banding together with them. You will not be able to listen to that point of view because your need for whatever it is that you get out of claiming fellowship with the rest of Christianity outweighs the damage that may be done. This is why Christianity has gotten away with so much for so long.
Ok... If I believe what the majority of what liberals believe is it appropriate to call myself a liberal?
If you want to be taken as a liberal - I suppose so. Do "liberals," have a book written by god with a set of instructions as to how to be a liberal?
That didn't really address the point I made though - did it? If you have now redefined Christianity - as you seem to have done - why not relabel it? Not worshiping god, not believing what the bible says, rejecting bigotry in the bible? You should start calling yourself an atheist.
It is your choice to label yourself "christian," and I am rather surprised you don't like being lumped in with all the other christians. The Christian handbook is quite clear on a number of points that you outright reject. I am also surprised that you do not see that this is why there have been so many schism and wars between cults. No one can agree what the majick book says. But - because their interpretation comes from god they give it more authority than if they simply had to accept that it is their own opinion - not god's.
Nonsense! What about the fact that religious beliefs are COMPLETE and utter foolishness, that the average six year old can easily see as absurd?. I went to college, and it didn't take a professor to hip me to the contradictions and absurdities of religion. This is an extremely distorted, and willfully ignorant, view of the REAL REJECTION of this mind boggling nonsense.
Your compelling eloquence almost won me over Einstein.
really Berean? I respect you and your level of intelligence, and I don't recall you being demeaning or mocking towards me. You're better than this, man :-) Remember, new year - avoid sinking.
Julie, that was aimed at Getitrite, (ergo "Einstein"), not you. That is why I quoted him. I felt it made the point while not quite sinking to a matching level. Sorry if you thought that was for you. I will still use wit or sarcasm where appropriate, (won't you?)
lol I know it wasn't aimed at me - but we talked about not "sinking" previously and agreed to keep each other on track :-) Just trying to look out for ya.
Agreed. The right thing to do is not feed the trolls, but it can be so hard to do. "Please Mom, can't I just give it a morsel?" Thanks for the reminder and encouragement.
My pleasure :-) Should have that hub finished soon. Darn real life, getting in the way of my writing.
I can relate. I have a half dozen hubs in various stages, none done. I am debating with myself about photos or art. Also reconsidering the tone, wanting to make sure they come across right. Add to that my life only affording me a couple hours of sleep, and very little time to concentrate on projects outside of work. I have time to chime in on the forums here and there, but not much uninterrupted time for writing. I'll get there eventually.
Let me break this down for you, and anyone else who’s actually interested in an answer.
First, let’s dispense with this notion that belief in a deity is somehow “hard-wired” into people, it’s not. Now before the believers start clicking furiously on the “reply” button to start arguing the point, let me explain.
The easiest way to demonstrate that belief in a deity is an external concept is the lack of substantive “evolution” of the theory over time. As humanity has advanced and evolved over the years so has almost every other aspect of our lives; our increased curiosity and understanding of our environment has led to: exploration, new technologies, advances in medicine and biology, and a greater understanding of the Universe and our place in it.
By comparison, religion is pretty much the same as it’s always been. Sure, the names have changed over the years (Zeus became Jupiter, Horus became Jesus, etc.), but the concept has always been the same: there are gods, and we must please them or suffer the consequences. Now if belief was hard-wired into us, then we would expect that the concept of religion would have progressed as well, this just isn't the case.
The reason most people think belief is hard-wired, comes from the “method of insertion” of the concept, not the concept itself. Now if my first paragraph didn't have believers scrambling to start flaming, what I’m about to say will, but I’d only ask that you read on before you start blasting.
The source for all belief in a deity invariably comes from one of the “Three I’s”: Ignorance, Insecurity, or Indoctrination. Again, let me explain:
Ignorance: First (and before the angry replies start) ignorant does not mean unintelligent, if you think it does, please stop here and go grab a dictionary before you read another word. When our primitive ancestors first started becoming aware of the world around them, they needed ways to explain things they simply couldn't comprehend: “what’s that big bright thing up there, and where does it go”, “why is there water coming from the air”, “what’s this pretty orange thing that’s burning my hand off”, you get the idea.
As our understanding grew, we needed those deities less and less, hence why polytheism gave way to a largely monotheistic world. Knowledge has always been the "arch-enemy" of religion because the two are polar opposites. Knowledge comes from curiosity and a searching for answers to complex problems. Religion claims to already have all the answers, and when the facts disprove those answers (i.e. a 6,000 year old Earth, Geocentric theory, etc.), they use faith as the spiritual "get-out-of-jail-free" card.
Insecurity: This one covers: late-in-life, near-death, and converts. There is almost always (and when I say almost, I mean 99.99% of the time) a trauma of some sort (be it physical, emotional, or psychological), with this bunch. Something happens that shakes them to their core, and calls into question all of their perceptions of reality; in this vulnerable state, most of the time, they turn to spirituality and religion.
No one, who’s completely happy with their life, just wakes up one morning and says “hey, I think I’ll start believing in a god today” (and before you waste your time typing out some b.s. story of how that’s just what you did, save it), it just doesn't happen.
Indoctrination: This is the largest and, by far, the most adamant group. A child’s reality is defined almost entirely by its parents, they are, for all intents and purposes, the first “deity” that a child believes in; as Thackeray said: “mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of all children”. Children believe in god for the same reason they believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny: because their parents tell them that those beings exist.
Now, is all of this to say that belief in a deity is good or bad? No, just like with anything else, that all depends on the individual. As an atheist, I've never had a problem with people who believe in God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, or whoever, my problem has always been, and will always be, with the oppressive nature of organized religions.
I believe in science, that’s my “religion”. I find the complexity and chaotic beauty of the Universe to be more than enough to handle my “spiritual” needs. I’ll leave you with this quote from Lawrence Krauss, it pretty much sums up my beliefs:
“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn't be here if stars hadn't exploded, because the elements - the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life - weren't created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.”
A belief in a Deity is not hard-wired into our brains. Indoctrination can hard-wire a belief in a Deity into our brains unless the seed of doubt is not injected before the brain is fully developed. A belief in a Deity is a learned behaviour.
Free will is a necessary illusion.
Why are you so against atheism? Equating it with evil is just silly. Who could atheism threaten you?
But perhaps not accurate unless I have been living and working in a parallel universe of some sort. And I think you will find that most people who accept evolution are religious. I was taught about it by a professor who was also a church deacon.
Psycheskinner, I am not sure if you were responding to me and if so, which point this is referring to.
Actually, I believe all people are religious, but that opens a can of worms better suited to a future hub.
Many more "Christians" have decided to go along with the evolutionary theory since 1996 when the Catholic Church embraced it. They aren't interested in the endless debate, and noticed the Catholics took less grief for acquiescing than was anticipated, so I guess they figure why not?
I am sure that before the Catholic Church "embraced" evolutionary theory, it as an institution, convened its own concordat to evaluate the scientific evidence and found those evidence compelling ENOUGH to change its stand on how Homo Sapiens came to being. But did that mean that the Catholic Church abandoned its basic TENET of Creationism. Absolutely not.
Personally, I think that the Catholic Church came to the obvious realization that there is nothing mutually exclusive about creationism and evolution.
Constantine created a marriage between the would be Christian church and Paganism. It is not out of character then that Catholicism would attempt a marriage between Creation and Evolution.
I disagree and suspect this statement puts you at odds both with the creationist and evolutionist.
And Christianity blossomed despite that "marriage" (your word not mine). So I suppose as Great as Constantine was, he never was given the more appropo title of: Constantine the Politician... if by politics one mean, the science and the exercise of the impossible.
I'm not sure I can get behind the "born Christian" thing. I do believe that ignorance does play a part in a majority of people who were indoctrinated by parents or were "converted" by missionaries in underdeveloped countries. Lack of intelligence? I'm not sure that IQ has anything to do with it. Lack of knowledge in options, I believe, definitely does.
I will say that certain religions are probably more statistically intelligent than others. For instance, I would be willing to bet that- on average- members of the Buddhist religion are "smarter" than those of other religions. I would assume that Hinduism and Jainism would be high as well. Religions that encourage self-growth and questioning would likely produce/attract more enlightened individuals than ones that practice Dogma and "to the letter" following of a single holy book.
Right on, Melissa! May I add... those religions that practice not only self growth but, self knowledge and self mastery, as well. What did Jesus mean when He said, "If thine eye be single thy whole body will be full of light." What do you think?
You know... I have absolutely no idea. (It happens sometimes)
I'd have to read it in context to get some sort of understanding. I've made a note of it and I'll read it as soon as I can.
I just found it. Luke 11: 33 through 36.
Ok... basically after reading it in context what I got was:
33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.
Pretty self explanatory... Lights are meant to illuminate.
34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy[generous] your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy[stingy] your body also is full of darkness.
What I get from that is when you open your eyes (don't cover the lamp with a bowl) and see the good (generous) things then you become generous. If you only allow yourself to see bad things then you become what you see.
35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.
Don't be negative
36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.
If you are full of goodness then it will show.
So that's my simple semi-preschool my little pony interpretation... Hey you asked
Christian seems to be a name tag hat we pin onto ourselves regardless of our belief system.
When asked if I am a Christian ... I answer with depends ... what is YOUR definition of Christian.
No one has ever told me that I am one. Instead, they ask ME if I am one. I "believe IN" president Obama, (He does exist) but I do not believe everything that he says or everything that it is said that he said.
Just my opinion but I believe the most important verses a Christian should life by is .... First and foremost "Vengence is MINE saith the Lord" and One sin is no greater than any other. and Judge not that ye not be judged. By the same measure that we judge another ... we will be judged.
Whenever WE see someone that are doing things that "I Would Never DO" We should remind ourselves that "Except by the grace of God that would be me"
Which way a building leans depends upon what stuff the foundation is built.upon and with.
That's just it though. It's not just done to christians. I do it equally to all religious groups - and even groups of atheists who adamantly do things that I disagree with. By the same token, however, I find it difficult to wrap my head around the idea that, although you hate being lumped in with "christians" you have no problem turning around and doing it to atheists. It's a dissonance.
I understand that no one likes to be stereotyped. I don't. You clearly don't. Whether Christianity is overall becoming more "moderate" or not, they have a 2000 year bloody history of trouncing, torturing and killing those that disagree with them. You're right, we should all be treated as individuals. The fact of the matter is, though, that the term "christian" comes with baggage, just like the term "atheist". Not all atheists are out to destroy religion at its core and are incapable of communicating with people of faith. Not all Christians want to burn homosexuals at the stake. But when you say the word "christian" and you willingly put yourself in that category, the only way to separate yourself from that historical and modern baggage is to start inserting a disclaimer every time you speak. " I call myself a christian, but I don't believe this, I do believe this, etc etc etc, and it would become tedious for you.
Muslims are under a similar stereotype because of 9/11. Do all Muslims want to kill christians, atheists and jews? No. Does their holy book tell them to? Yes. I think it's great that some christians are venturing out of their historical dogmas and becoming more tolerant. They're still not the majority. Until the fundamental bent can be overcome, however, I fear that there will always be baggage associated with the title "christian". If you want to avoid being thrown into that stereotype (and it is admittedly unfair to put anyone in that grouping) then why identify yourself as one? When most people, atheist or otherwise, hear the term "christian" they think they know what that means because of their past experiences, education, etc. Without that disclaimer, I don't think it's practical to vehemently oppose those that think that way. The best you can do is try to explain yourself calmly and rationally. Sure, you'll have to repeat yourself a lot. That doesn't make you singled out - that makes you just like the rest of us. Hell, I still have to explain that just because I'm an atheist, that doesn't mean that I'm a devil worshiper.
Misconceptions bred from ignorance exist. It's a reality.
"It's not just done to christians. I do it equally to all religious groups - and even groups of atheists who adamantly do things that I disagree with."
Being equally stereotypical doesn't really make it OK.
I find it difficult to wrap my head around the idea that, although you hate being lumped in with "Christians" you have no problem turning around and doing it to atheists. It's a dissonance.
I didn't do it to all atheists. If I inadvertently did then I apologize.
"Whether Christianity is overall becoming more "moderate" or not, they have a 2000 year bloody history of trouncing, torturing and killing those that disagree with them."
Yes... Some African tribes do as well. Most developed countries do too. Gays have the HIV epidemic. Don't get me started on the Irish... The English... The French... etc. I- as an italian-american should not be held responsible for Mousilini[sp] either. As a bi-sexual I should not be held responsible for ever freaking actress in a porn. As a women I should not be held responsible for the actions of every female ever either. Now... does that absolve me from guilt by association... Only if I choose to keep repeating the mistakes that people of my group have made in the past. Yet what you are essentially telling me is when we behave differently then we are just providing a smokescreen. Which is okay I guess... since evangelicals tell us that we are essentially uncle Toms.
"But when you say the word "christian" and you willingly put yourself in that category, the only way to separate yourself from that historical and modern baggage is to start inserting a disclaimer every time you speak."
And every-time you speak do you say "I'm a Lesbian but I'm not a truck driver and I don't hate men. " Why should I be responsible for another person's stereotyping of my faith? I'll liken it to this... I am a bisexual. I get asked the most ignorant questions in the world when people find out. Should I also say "Yes I'm bi but that doesn't mean I do threesomes. I don't have a girlfriend and a husband. That doesn't mean I'll sleep with anyone. No my husband doesn't get to watch and he isn't any luckier than any other man. "In a committed relationship" means the same thing to me as it does to anyone else"
Or should I say I'm not bi because it could give someone the wrong idea?
"I think it's great that some christians are venturing out of their historical dogmas and becoming more tolerant. They're still not the majority."
That's what I've kinda been getting at. They ARE the majority. They really are. I offered to produce unbiased proof of that earlier and was told it didn't matter because a handful of Muslims flew a plane into a building. I'm still kinda confused about that.
"Misconceptions bred from ignorance exist. It's a reality."
So... you are saying that I should just accept those misconceptions about my lifestyle and deal with it? Think about what you are saying. Take all the time you need.
While you are doing that I guess I'm going to be barefoot and pregnant (from the last threesome I had)(because I am a woman) making a lasagna and screaming curses at the top of my lungs (because I am Italian) for the bi-racial child I have with my black husband (disregard his skin color... he may look white but he HAS to be black because once you go black you never go back) I have to do it by memory (because I am Christian so obviously so uneducated that I can't read) Later I'll be going to burn some some crosses and have sex with a sheep (I'm a southerner).
Edit: I'm a liberal too... so I guess that lasagna was bought with foodstamps.
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Atheists like to point out that Atheism's conceptual formulation is humanistic in that it attempts to liberate or unshackle Homo Sapiens from all sorts of religious fervour, fantasies and mythologies. In the process of doing so, however, Atheism have gone so far as to deny man's inate dignity...
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by Alexander A. Villarasa 9 years ago
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Is atheism non-belief in the existence of God or belief in the non-existence of God?
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