Although I laughed at your quote, I choose to believe in God. Not as stated above but on a different level.
But what intrigues me is your rejection of religion and selection of science. Science is a beautiful thing and although I cannot debate someone as intelligent as you regarding science, I have to ask why you choose to believe in Darwinism. Natural Selection to someone like me makes as much sense as your view of Christianity. And don’t misunderstand me please, I am neither defending nor rejecting it.
I recently had a visit with a surgeon who, as a scientist, was telling me how amazing it is to open up the human body and see things so beautifully organized. Likewise, I’m sure you see a Cell’s structure in a similar way. Then, how did such “beauty” come into place? How was it created? Who created it?
Who was it that decided the planets would orbit in such a manner and follow precise laws (in our standard definition) and if such a law were to change even minutely, the “system” would fall apart?
And how did Natural Selection come into being?
I’m still trying to learn more about your blog so if I’m asking redundant questions, forgive me. If I’m worth replying to, I look forward to links on your site that would give me a glimpse of where you maybe coming from.
First off, the post above was meant as humor, and I recognize that it doesn’t do full justice to the role of religion in our society.
And yet, it is humor at the expense of religion, or at least Christianity. The reason for this is that I find the belief in gods to be as childish as the belief in Santa Claus. Zeus, Vishnu, Yahweh, Thor – they’re cute, and belief in them unites people and convinces them to do crazy things at times, but they’re not real (sorry to break it to you).
I’m a rationalist to the core, I suppose. I “believe” in science, due to its empiricism. If you don’t understand the nature of empirical evaluation of evidence, then I’m not sure that there’s much that we can agree upon.
And to your questions, “Then, how did such “beauty” come into place? How was it created? Who created it?,” I must refer you to biology textbooks, select books on evolution, and the scientific literature, at least for the first question. For the second and third questions, as with the origins of the solar system in Galileo’s time, no creator appears necessary. Please see my “bookshelf” for references which I draw from.
I agree that there is not much use trying to “prove” the existence of God with science. There is no experiment that can be performed in a laboratory. The appearance of intelligent design is not a proof in the scientific sense.
What we are talking about is inferences from the current reality. And, science cannot prove, in the same way as noted above, the truth of its own theories of origins. They can no more do this by the scientific method than can those who accept ID.
Note that your logo on this page says “I believe in science” This is worded properly. You have a FAITH that everything can be explained with no reference to forces that cannot be detected by science. This is a wild faith given what it would take for elements to appear somehow, combine together into ever more increasing complexity, etc. etc. But don’t call it science.
If you are to be honest, you must request that all other philosophical premises, including atheism, be removed from all classrooms (including science classrooms). They do not belong in a discussion of what can be proven by science.
And you should prepare yourself better, because your own arguments may sound intelligent in your own mind, and you may be able to blow away simpler minds and those who are just as intelligent but are not experts in science, but you should be able to convince the most highly of intelligent who are experts in your field.
And, should you find yourself standing before the Creator, and have to answer for your ridiculing of theism, your arguments will suddenly mock you. How will you answer to supreme intelligence? Not by saying, “You don’t exist.”
By: Mark H on September 23, 2007 at 4:09 pm
Thanks for showing up to defend the fairy tale. As I said to ATW however – I “believe” in science, due to its empiricism. If you don’t understand the nature of empirical evaluation of evidence, then I’m not sure that there’s much that we can agree upon.
The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged istself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs.
Makes perfect sense.
By: Chad Watson on September 25, 2007 at 10:43 pm
Oh, now we can enjoy some abject stupidity! Thanks Chad for contributing. I particularly like the bit about dinosaurs being the inevitable outcome of atheism – awesome!
(hints for Chad – atheism is an absence of theism, not of everything; not magically, but physically and chemically, like in science class…)
(The following was written by a non-Christian writer as a result to reading and researching and listening to theist vs. atheist debates. Interesting stuff.)
A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students, “Let me explain the problem science has with religion.” The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.
“You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?”
“Yes sir,” the student says.
“So you believe in God?”
“Is God good?”
“Sure! God’s good.”
“Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?”
“Are you good or evil?”
“The Bible says I’m evil.”
The professor grins knowingly. “Aha! The Bible!” He considers for a moment. “Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?”
“Yes sir, I would.”
“So you’re good…!”
“I wouldn’t say that.”
“But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.”
The student does not answer, so the professor continues. “He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?”
The student remains silent.
“No, you can’t, can you?” the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.
“Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?”
“Er…yes,” the student says.
“Is Satan good?”
The student doesn’t hesitate on this one. “No.”
“Then where does Satan come from?”
The student falters. “From God”
“That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?”
“Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?”
“So who created evil?” The professor continued, “If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.”
Again, the student has no answer. “Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?”
The student squirms on his feet. “Yes.”
“So who created them?”
The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. “Who created them?” There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. “Tell me,” he continues onto another student. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?”
The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. “Yes, professor, I do.”
The old man stops pacing. “Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?”
“No sir. I’ve never seen Him.”
“Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?”
“No, sir, I have not.”
“Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?”
“No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.”
“Yet you still believe in him?”
“According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?”
“Nothing,” the student replies. “I only have my faith.”
“Yes, faith,” the professor repeats. “And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.”
The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own. “Professor, is there such thing as heat?”
“Yes,” the professor replies. “There’s heat.”
“And is there such a thing as cold?”
“Yes, son, there’s cold too.”
“No sir, there isn’t.”
The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. “You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees.”
“Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.”
Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.
“What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?”
“Yes,” the professor replies without hesitation. “What is night if it isn’t darkness?”
“You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word.”
“In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?”
The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. “So what point are you making, young man?”
“Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.”
The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. “Flawed? Can you explain how?”
“You are working on the premise of duality,” the student explains. “You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.”
“It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.”
“Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?”
“If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.”
“Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?”
The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.
“Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?”
The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.
“To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.”
The student looks around the room. “Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?” The class breaks out into laughter.
“Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.”
“So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?”
Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.
Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. “I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.”
“Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,” the student continues. “Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?”
Now uncertain, the professor responds, “Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.”
To this the student replied, “Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”
your meaning of “CHRISTIANITY” really “MAKE SENSE”…
That you have no “idea” about the “real meaning” of the “word”.
I believe in the existence of God and Science.
The God of the Bible and Human Science coexist…
note;the post above was “meant as humor”…
By: pathfinder on October 16, 2007 at 11:29 pm
Yes, the post is/was meant at humor – or at least my humor at Christianity’s expense.
To the existence of God – why do you believe in God? I assert that you believe in God because humans have a psychological predisposition in absurd gods for varying emotional and social reasons, not for rational reasons.
Do you truly believe in both empirical science, and that a human sacrifice two thousand years ago relieves you of certain moral responsibilities, or that such a thing as sin exists because “a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree?”
Or how about something more explicitly empirical – do you really think that prayer works better than a placebo?
I believe on the God of the Bible,for rational reasons.
HIS words has POWER,It is PROVEN.
ex:It was written in the Bible that “all men are LIARS”.romans3:4
The Bible was written 2000yrs. ago,was the writer “accurate” when he has said that “CONCLUSION”?was it still PROVEN until today?
Wherever he got that “knowledge” must be knowledgeable on human capabilities and limitations.
on this verse…
(James 2:26) For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Isn’t it true that a body without the “spirit” is dead?was the writer “accurate” when he has said that “CONCLUSION”?was it still PROVEN until today?
on this verse…
He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and “hangeth” the earth upon “nothing”.Job 26:7
How can a primative people from 2000yrs ago knew that the earth was hanging upon nothing?evidence of the earth’s photograph wasn’t available on their time.
I can go on if you like,I just want to point out to you “some” of my “rational reasons” why i believe in the the God of the Bible.
Now I want to ask you,where in the Bible was that your referring to that GOD ordered human sacrifice two thousand years ago…
By: pathfinder on October 17, 2007 at 10:37 am
Those aren’t rational reasons. You’re just regurgitating delusions and really stupid arguments. To wit:
HIS words has POWER,It is PROVEN.
That’s called the argument from assertion. It’s a fallacy.
Generally, from that and the rest of your comment, you’re typing like a drunk idiot. Sober up. Or get off the drugs. Or something. At least your last item seemed vaguely sober, if not intelligent:
Now I want to ask you,where in the Bible was that your referring to that GOD ordered human sacrifice two thousand years ago…
Huh? I didn’t say that your fairy tale god ordered anything. I said that you believe a guy named Jesus (of Nazareth) was (self-) sacrificed, and that you think that this absolves you of certain moral responsibilities (i.e. sin). So, to “where in the Bible,” I would have to answer “The New Testament.”
I’ll repeat the other inanities that I assume you, as a Christian, believe in:
1. Such a thing as sin exists because “a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree”; and
2. That prayer works better than a placebo, for anything.
Pardon me if my assumption was wrong.I’m still adjusting to your language.I’m not fluent in conversing on English,but I’ll try my best.
Answering your questions about Christ,a rib-woman and prayer would be like explaining to a blind man how magnificent a portrait looks like.You would not appreciate it because there was something blocking your point of view.you have already put a conclusion on your mind.
What I’m trying to establish was the FACTS & REALITY that surrounds us that was written in the bible 2000yrs. Ago.
Isn’t a FACT that…
-All humans lie?
-the body without the spirit is dead?
-the earth was hanging upon nothing?
-sweating is good to the body?
-exercise has a good benefit?
-amputation will save a man’s life?
-Law is needed to have order in the society?
-separating sick persons will help prevent further contamination?
And there’s more…and all that information was written in the Bible.
The knowledge inside the Bible cannot have come to a primative people.Even Daniel,one of the writers of the Bible admits he didn’t understand what was being dictated to him.
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: “many” shall run “to and fro”, and “knowledge” shall be “increased”. Daniel 12:4
And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? Daniel 12:8
And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Daniel 12:9
Daniel have no idea on what was being dictated to him that he was instructed to write,he wrote it anyway,and he wrote of the coming of the “Age of Knowledge and Technology”,where “many” will be “coming” and “going” on all corners of the earth.
Was he having a “stupid delusion” at that time?or what he have “written” was the “reality” that surrounds us today?
If you think that this is a “fairy tale”,then this “fairy tale” really do come true.
Now,To the existence of God – why don’t you believe in God?
Can you prove to me that God doesn’t exist?
Have you search the whole universe to support that claim of yours?
By: pathfinder on October 18, 2007 at 2:48 am
Then my apologies for the drunken comment, if English is not your first language.
Dan, I do not care what you think about that… What I am saying is don’t be an ass while you are disagreeing. Have you ever heard of disagreeing agreeably?! You are rude to anyone that you don’t agree with and that is the truest mark of pride and ignorance. I say this to you as a friend.
“Assert”-implies stating confidently without need for proof or regard for evidence(asserted that modern music is just noise).
“ASSERTION” would be more like a “personal opinion”.
“EMPIRICAL”-adj.based on “experience” and “observation”.
“Granting” that those I have mention “above” are just “assertion” of the writers of the Bible…
Are those “ASSERTIONS” which I have stated above EMPIRICALLY and SCIENTIFICALLY CORRECT?
Well,you can laugh at me all you want,you can call me delusional,stupid,idiot,moron,etc.I don’t mind it at all,If that would satisfy your “Psychological Predisposition”.
The least you could do is “answer” my “questions”.A simple “YES” or “NO” would be enough…
Ps:that includes my previous question re:”Why don’t you believe in God?”
By: pathfinder on October 19, 2007 at 3:49 am
Once again, forgive me if I have trouble understanding what it is that you’re trying to say. Also, would you stop shouting??? (stop using caps lock)
The point here is that in response to my questions, as to how you’re able to believe in certain absurd core beliefs of Christianity, you’re dodging them with irrelevant retorts. You can’t explain to me how there could be a talking snake, a magical tree, or how a death 2000 years ago could absolve moral responsibilities. And the funny part is that you’re trying to ignore your failure to admit that these things – core beliefs of Christianity – are complete nonsense.
To that last bit though: “Why don’t you believe in [the Christian] God?” For the same reason that I don’t believe in other gods. Think about it – why don’t you believe in the Greek god Zeus? Same reason.
Sorry – for some reason your last comment there got caught in the spam filter, and I just found/restored it. To respond however:
Have you ever heard of disagreeing agreeably?
Sure. However, my whole point here is that it’s really funny how far people will go to defend really absurd beliefs. Whether they’re idiots, morons, deluded, or whatever would be more appropriate, it’s just not very bright of them.
If you don’t think that I’m willing to “agree to disagree,” then you’re grossly mistaken. I don’t have to agree with someone to respect them. However, I do disrespect fools. So sue me.
Please stop trying to make your point… You aren’t even really making a point. It is impossible to argue with someone who doesn’t believe in the Bible, using the Bible… Please use your brain and stop making yourself look bad on here. As a fellow believer I am upset by how poorly you have defended our faith.
You may think it is absurd, but we don’t. If you want to have an intelligent conversation and get your point accross don’t attack ours. I am not attacking your beliefs am I? No, I am just asking you to not be an ass to me about mine.
Dan — I’m sympathetic to your irritation with the type of religion that literally believes in a “talking snake”, as you put it. But…
Dan and Tim — in Pathfinder’s defense, the argument that he seems to me to be making is as follows. He proposes that the Bible contains statements of uncommon insight and wisdom relative to the times when written. In support of this proposition he quotes various verses from the Bible. In doing so he is not adducing these verses as authority, but as evidence for his proposition. Allowing for English being his second language and a difference in cultural perspective, he appears to me to be attempting a kind of rational argument.
Pathfinder — if you want to gain more respect for your point of view, you will need to put it in a bigger framework. For instance, you would need to show how the Bible writers displayed superior wisdom to other thinkers of those times, by making suitable comparisons. (However, this may not be so easy, since there are other ancient writings that show just as much wisdom as the Bible.) Also, many of the verses you cite do not show any exceptional insight, but just ordinary knowledge that most people know about, e.g. that human beings are prone to telling lies. Your quotation from Job about the earth hanging upon “nothing” might have more traction if you developed this line a bit better. And perhaps you could resist the “talking snake” jokes by pointing out that the story of the garden of Eden is meant symbolically, not literally. (I hope you think so!)
This is quite an entertaining discussion and I couldn’t help joining in. Best wishes to all!
Indeed, I see that Pathfinder is trying to suggest that the Bible has passages of wisdom, pertaining to the human condition. It does. But that’s irrelevant to whether it’s rational to believe in the completely separate items that I’m mentioning.
Perhaps he should find a more appropriate thread to make his points. For instance, on the threads where you and I have entertained why people believe in irrational and counter-intuitive beliefs(instead of on this thread. The answer “because other parts of the Bible represent uncommon wisdom for its time” would be much more appropriate to such a question.
Instead, Pathfinder (and to some degree Tim) is trying to explain why such beliefs are rational and intuitive, which is a very foolish thing to argue for, IMHO.
Agreed however – Pathfinder would get a lot more traction from his arguments (at least in my eyes) if he didn’t seem to be pushing the literalist interpretations. It’s funny though how far some people will go to defend ridiculous (if taken literally) concepts.
Hi Dan. I’m doing fine. Still mulling over previous discussions and have some ideas I will post eventually, God willing. ;-)
Its difficult to tell exactly what views Pathfinder (and Tim) hold on certain matters that underly the discussion, because they don’t make their line of reasoning clear and explicit. Will be interesting to see if they come back with further.
It wouldn’t be hard for them to make their point in a manner that connects nicely with the thread. I won’t expand on that suggestion now as I’m right now running late for an appointment.
I trust your new status continues to give you much happiness…
You have trouble understanding?well that’s funny…
Jhon seems to understand how simple my questions was…it’s just a simple YES or NO.
The problem was not your “understanding”,you just have “trouble answering”…
(and I am not “shouting”,I’m just “emphasizing”)
My questions will be relevant to my answer about the rib-woman and the talking snake,etc. if you only have patience.
Without patience,there will be no understanding.
I don’t believe on the greek god Zeus because of the same reasons the Apostles of Christ do.
When they arrived on Greece,they saw that the people there worships so “many” Gods(Zeus included),there was even a place that was called “to the Unknown God”.So when the Apostles started preaching,they said that they have come in the name of the “True God”,which was “Unknown” to them.
Now,if I follow your conclusion that,“we have the same reason”…
Are you saying that like me,you believe that the “God of the Bible” was the “True God” and not Zeus?
If so,then your contradicting yourself.
Better clarify your answer.
By: pathfinder on October 20, 2007 at 5:24 am
Last we talked you said that “judging was wrong”,now here you are “judging me” while I haven’t gotten really halfway on my point of view.Isn’t that what we’re doing here,”exchanging views” to better understand each other.Lack of communication stands as a barrier between the Believers and Unbelievers.
I’m not against you,and I’m certainly not against them,it’s just we have different views.But I think I’m old enough to handle myself.If it would confort you,I’ll put this DISCLAIMER:
“ALL THAT I SAY ON THIS BLOG WAS ALL MY OPINION,NOT TIM’S,OR ANY OTHER RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS.”
By: pathfinder on October 20, 2007 at 5:25 am
My questions are just premises on what I’m trying to establish,and they are connected to my answer about the talking snake thing,if you could just be patient.
Patience is needed to gain understanding.There is a right time for everything.
For example;flying and aircraft takes years for a pilot to gain expertise.Have you ever heard a baby jumped to the pilot seat and flew away recently?
The problem was,Dan seems to have trouble understanding my “simplified” questions
By: pathfinder on October 20, 2007 at 5:28 am
Actually yes, I don’t believe in the Christian God for the same reasons the apostles didn’t believe in Zeus or the Greek Pantheon. For the same reason that the early Christians did not need many gods, a rational man needs no gods.
Or at least no gods that are predicated on believing in talking snakes, magic trees, or a human sacrifice to absolve my mistakes. As I said in the beginning, those are just silly.
To your feeble attempts at leading me along some mysterious path to enlightenment, save your trouble. Nothing you’ve said suggests why such things aren’t silly. You ask patience, and I ask you to get to the point. You ask me to take a leap of faith, and I ask why should I accept highly improbable leaps.
Simple questions of mine: Why is the Bible better than other books? Why should we not question the veracity of what is contained in it? How can snakes talk? How can trees be magical or evil? How can knowledge – what the tree supposedly represents – be evil? How could someone else’s self-sacrifice erase our mistakes?
With patience, one can tranquilize their intellect and stop asking such questions.
Pathfinder, I humbly suggest that it would help if you develop more attractive methods of getting your point across. For example, it would be preferable to be “up-front” with your views rather than asking leading questions. (Leading question = “a question so framed as to guide the person questioned in making his reply.”) The use of leading questions provokes resistance in the other party, as they foresee that an attempt is being made to trap them and they will naturally avoid answering in a way that closes the trap. Also, a tone of anger is rather evident in your statements. Although you may feel your deepest beliefs have been insulted, when being laughed at, to respond with anger is ineffective. Try to understand what the other party finds so funny. This way, you will not be a “victim” of the joke. You will understand where it is coming from and be better able to give a good answer. Take a few deep breaths, friend! (And, yes, leave the caps lock off. :-) …)
Dan, I saw the original post here not long after it went up, and chuckled over it briefly. It is certainly a witty little summary of certain beliefs reduced to language that gives them a tinge of absurdity. It is revealing that the joke has set off such a strong emotional response from a few folks. It seems to be a phenomenon of the times that there’s an all-out battle occurring, especially in the USA, between the “believers” and the secular camp. Regrettably a lot of the responsibility for this sad state of affairs rests with religionists who cling to ideas that actually invite charges of absurdity. “If the professors of religion had not called superstition, religion, the professors of science would not have called religion, superstition.”
The story of Adam and Eve and the snake in Genesis is a powerful allegory of the human condition if taken as a story and not literally. It highlights the dilemma of the human condition arising from possessing consciousness and the consequent necessity to make moral choices. We do not have the “innocence” of animals, which must pretty much do as their instincts dictate. The point in a far distant past when human beings emerged as a self-aware species marked a kind of departure from the “garden of Eden” of the animal existence, which is free from the cares, anxieties and conflicts that go with being human. The Adam and Eve story encapsulates the psychology of the situation. Greek myths, too, encapsulated a lot of psychological truths. Stories and allegories seem to be very good at dealing with psychological issues.
The doctrine of original sin that your post makes fun of, in no way necessarily follows from the Adam and Eve story. It is after all a story from the Hebrew scriptures, and I understand the Jewish religion itself has no such concept as “original sin”. Some of the origins of the original sin & salvation doctrine can be found in the writings of St Paul, but the doctrine as such wasn’t systematically spelled out until a few hundred years later, by the likes of St Augustine. I tend to think the people of ancient times were smart about leaving things vague and open to interpretation that should be left vague. Some types of discourse, such as the physical sciences and aspects of philosophy, need to be precise and analytical. Others, especially the artistic treatment of themes of the human condition, need to be open ended. A lot of trouble comes from confusing the two types of discourse.
I guess these comments might get me in trouble with both “sides” of the current debate. Anyway, good wishes to all.
As always, it is difficult to argue against you. Well said indeed! I agree completely that the psychology of the mythologies is at the heart of the matter.
The only point that I would contest, from your most recent comments, is that “the doctrine of original sin that your post makes fun of, in no way necessarily follows from the Adam and Eve story.” While this is true historically speaking, I do indeed think that the doctrine of original sin follows from the Adam and Even story to the Christians who argue for literal truth of Genesis.
As you say however, there’s a case to be made for the metaphorical interpretation. I’m skeptical though that our friends Pathfinder and Tim are open to considering that such things are meant metaphorically, which again gets back to my humor at their expense. Alas…
I have nothing against you personally, so I’m sorry if you feel insulted by anything here. I meant none of it maliciously. If being honest about the ridiculousness of certain ideas is rude, then I am guilty of that.
But why is it rude to question beliefs that appear to be truly absurd?
No matter how you look at it, people believe “ridiculous” things. I believe the thought of evolution (i.e. man from apes) is ridiculous because scientifically everything does line up with what the Bible says, BUT I will not sit here and call everyone that believes in evolution an idiot. Science is a beautiful thing, so is math and philosophy… I believe that God created those systems of thought and thereby can not be defined by them. BUT that is my belief and I could be wrong. All I am saying is I would never write a blog or a comment saying “You believe something ridiculous” to anyone because out of the proper rules for debate that is a big no no. It also shows ignorance. If our scope of life was limited to your experiences and what you thought was possible or impossible, we would live in a very limited universe. There are a lot of things we as finite humans can’t comprehend, but does that mean its not possible? Years ago people “knew” the world was flat…. That was considered scientific fact and anyone that thought otherwise was considered ridiculous. My paradigm is my own, and your’s is your own… Lets respectfully agree to disagree.
Talking snake? According to your belief system we are talking monkeys. There are a lot of belief systems out there and the trait they ALL have in common is that none of them can be proven. It takes faith to believe in anything involving mankind’s origin. And please re-read the comment because if you would actually read it you would see that I am talking about how ignorantly you attack others’ beliefs. I don’t care at all if you believe what I believe or not, but I do care if you disrespect my belief system (that has very much been proven to me to be true in ways I can’t relate to you). The point? Be respectful. I’m only 21 and I am having to write this to you… Please say you get it this time.
Tim, I’m afraid its a waste of breath appealing to Dan to stop making fun of your beliefs. He’s out to wind you up and succeeding quite well. I sympathize with you, but this blog is Dan’s space, and the only (self-respecting) options for visitors are to grin and bear his barbs or to withdraw from the conversation, if you think he goes too far over the top.
Now, turning to one of the points you made — “It takes faith to believe in anything involving mankind’s origin.” This statement seems to rest on a confusion about what constitutes faith and knowledge respectively. The knowledge systems that scientists have used to come up with the theory of evolution rest on the same assumptions that we use to go about our everyday lives. If one calls it “faith” to assume that the world is real and has properties and regularities that can be studied, then every sane person assumes this and has this “faith”. The methods used by scientists to determine the theory of evolution are no different in principle than the methods used in electronics, medicine and all the other fields that produce such demonstrably real results. There is so little doubt about the factual accuracy of the theory of evolution in broad terms that even the Catholic Church officially accepts it as a fact, not a hypothesis. It is in this context that Dan finds certain religious ideas “ridiculous”. As an expert biological scientist, he knows enough to know for sure that mankind evolved over an extremely long period and did not just suddenly emerge in our present form overnight. It is inconceivable to him as to why any educated person would want to deny this. The theory of evolution is just as well established as the roundness of the earth (that you mentioned) and the fact that a tv set works because of the activity of electrons in its circuits that can’t be seen but only described mathematically and perhaps detected by extremely elaborate machinery. Just because the proof involves quite a big intellectual construct doesn’t mean that “its only a theory”.
For my part I admit to being baffled as to why some religious believers engage in a battle with science that seems to me totally unnecessary. Religion has got no business denying absolutely evident realities. Its role is to help us cope with reality, not deny reality. The trouble comes from reading religious scriptures in the wrong way, that leads straight into a clash with science. The scriptures tell a lot of stories to get across a moral and spiritual lesson. I’m not saying everything in the Bible is completely unhistorical, but passages that are obviously stories should be taken as stories. Its a mistake to believe that there really was a snake that talked to Eve. As soon as you find talking animals in a narrative, you know you’re reading an allegory, not straight reportage. We should try to understand the ideas conveyed by the story. The author (God, if you will), was obviously trying to convey ideas, not scientific facts. This kind of understanding completely avoids the clash of science and religion.
I’m not out to disrespect your beliefs. But what you have to understand is that science rests on facts that you can choose to believe in or not. Reality is still real. You can suspend disbelief all you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that we have genes, and our bodies leave fossils, and that studying these and other phenomena will yield results that do not bend to one’s preconceptions.
Religion however requires the suspension of disbelief. Obviously you’re very emotionally invested in your beliefs, and not accustomed to questioning them. Fine.
I’m trying to be respectful of Tim. I really am. I plead frustration though, because I simply am astounded by the lack of intelligence that Tim and Pathfinder have been exhibiting. That they even need to be told…
If one calls it “faith” to assume that the world is real and has properties and regularities that can be studied, then every sane person assumes this and has this “faith”
I’m not trying to just get a rise out of him. I’m truly exasperated at the level of ignorance involved in someone who does not understand such a simple concept. Why should I have to argue that science represents reality, which is in fact real?
Dan, I too said that I was “baffled”, which is similar to your “astounded” but a slightly milder word. I guess I have a degree more sympathy with Tim and Pathfinder’s positions because of identifying somewhat with the emotional or spiritual underlying basis of their beliefs. As you mention, they have got a lot invested in it. They clearly don’t see that the intellectual expression of their faith doesn’t stand up against accepted modern knowledge. They are not very well informed. (This is condescension on my part, which admittedly is possibly worse than outright ridicule, but I don’t know what else to say.) The moral responsibility for perpetrating obscurantist religion doesn’t rest so much with the rank and file in the pews as it does with the religious leaders who foist misguided ideas on their congregations, while they presumably have the intelligence and education to know better.
If I say…
SSSSHH…DAN BELIEVES HIS GREAT,GREAT ANCESTORS ARE MONKEYS…
was that shouting?or how about this…
What the #%*$@?!!!Dan believes his great,great ancestors are monkeys?!!!
So which was shouting,the one using CAPSLOCK?
or the one using small letters?
now about the talking snake…
You don’t believe a snake could talk?why,even a rock could talk!you want proof?ask a geologist.A single rock can tell you many stories.How it was formed,it’s age,even the kind of organism that lived thousands of years ago.
Even a Blood of a person can testify inside a court.The blood of a person can tell how a person died,or what object was used that caused the death.It can aquit or convict a person of a crime.Isn’t that what the forensics do?
How about nature?Isn’t it true that when there’s mudslides,red tides,flash floods,fish kills,etc.,Nature was talking to us to stop abusing her?
Even Migrating birds can tell you that there’s a change of season.
Even books talks.It tells you history,values,discoveries,etc.Isn’t that where you gained your knowledge?
It doesn’t take a Zoologist to know whether an animal is in pain,sick,shocked,threatened,happy,sad,scared,playfull,confused,etc.
All you need is knowledge and Understanding.
that was the Scientific aproach,I’m just proving to you that It’s not an Impossibility for humans to Communicate with his surroundings.
it’s sad to say though that explaining it on the biblical way will be just a waste time.
Because as you have said,you don’t believe on it.
As Christ has once said…
“If I told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you heavenly things?…”
By: pathfinder on October 22, 2007 at 7:39 am
I think I’m growing bored trying to accommodate these idiots. You’re right, some greater responsibility must be placed with those who taught them, but we have to deal with these uneducated and close-minded fools somehow.
And this is running in circles. So, I hope you don’t mind if I close comments here.