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Reconciliation Issue

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This is my take as a conservative Christian. The Bible is not a science textbook. It's about the relationship between God and man.

 

I compare it to the way I answer my preschooler when he asks "Where did I come from?" I tell him, your Dad and I love each other very much, and we wanted a son to love, too. Is it a full scientific explanation of how my son was conceived and born? No. Is it true? Yes. It is appropriate to his age and level of understanding.

 

The first books of the Bible were written pre-Bronze age. It makes no sense to me to expect writing for that audience to fully explain 21st century science and technology. The Bible wasn't written to give a scientific explanation of our world. It was given to explain how we got here, how to live in peace with each other, and to let us know that we are God's beloved children.

 

I do not expect to ever fully understand God's creation from a scientific standpoint. I enjoy learning about it, but ultimately, I don't think I'm capable of ever wrapping my human mind around all the things God can do. I would make more sense to me to expect an ant to understand how and why I do things as a human. The gulf of understanding and capability between me and God is far greater than the gulf between the ant and me.

 

Isaac Newton was a faithful Christian, and had many good quotes about the relationship between science and God, including this:

 

"Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done."

 

Newton often said that the purpose of science is to begin to understand God's creation. I agree with him.

 

I often wonder that modern science has room to believe in 11 dimensions, membrane universes, and life on other planets, but no room to believe in God. I find the more I understand about science, the more support I find for God's existence.

 

Faith is something that has to be experienced with an open mind. I see evidence all around for God's existence and his love for me: in my husband, my children, my friends, and my life. It does require a willingness to believe.

 

I compare it to my relationship with my husband. I believe my husband loves me. I see all kinds of evidence that he loves me. I choose to accept that belief. Can I ever definitively, scientifically prove that he loves me? No.

 

If I chose to nitpick, I could come up with all kinds of "evidence" that my husband is a jerk who never loved me at all. He makes mistakes just like I do. If I chose to try to disprove God's existence, I could nitpick it to death and come up with plausible evidence for that theory.

 

There will never be a definitive way to prove or disprove God's existence. That's why it's called "faith".

 

Thanks for asking,

 

Georgia Mom

Your quotes actually work against you, I'm afraid. We can exactly explain how the planets were set in motion. And we have known that for a long, long time. As gravity begins working to pull matter together to form a star system, rotation naturally begins occurring because of the laws of momentum. The matter around the new star begins to move as gravity pulls it, and this is what sets that matter, which becomes planets, in motion.

 

Perhaps if Newton had not been religious, he would have easily seen this, and humanity would be more advance today than it was then. Newton's religion was in fact a huge block to his furthering scientific research, and it stopped him from considering all possibilities.

 

Newton's statement is cited by atheists as a case against religious belief because it closes the mind. Anytime God is the explanation, you've given up trying to find out the truth.

 

This common religious claim that Religion and Science coexist nicely used to drive Carl Sagan crazy. He was so diplomatic, but considered these superstitions as blunting the minds of American youth to scientific inquiry, curiosity, and the advancement of the human race.

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I do not think Herr Einstein "identified himself as an agnostic" :::.:

":Ich glaube an Spinozas Gott, der sich in der gesetzlichen Harmonie des Seienden offenbart, nicht an einen Gott, der sich mit Schicksalen und Handlungen der Menschen abgibt.".

  • Translation: I believe in Spinoza's God, Who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.
  • And....."Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the "old one." I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice."

I don't think a public figure like Einstein or Carl Sagan were stupid enough to publicly come out and speak ardently against religion. They carefully phrased their disagreement the same way I do in public around scout buddies to prevent myself from being identified. Christians react very, very negatively to opposing viewpoints. To say, "There was no Jesus. There is no God." to a Christian is tantamount to asking your family be ostracized in a community. They knew this.

 

Atheism vs. Agnosticism: There truly is no difference. Atheism is the lack of belief. Agnosticism is the indifference to the existence of God. One says they do not believe there is one. The other says they don't care if there is one because it doesn't matter if there is. Really you're just splitting hairs when you go down that road.

 

That's the sort of nonsense a table filled with astro-physics majors will argue about for three hours. The same way scouters will argue about knots on their shirts or should gays be allowed.

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Science is the collection of evidence, observations, experiments, and testing your ideas to see if they prove out under stress.

 

Religion is just a story someone wrote.

 

There is no comparison. One is a fiction book. The other is the real world.

 

I am happy that I do not believe anything that is in the Bible. All of the stories in the bible are just recycled stories with different names and slight twists from earlier cultures. Very little of the Bible to me is good advice or comforting. I find most of it brutal, horrific, and scary.

 

God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, but two thousand years prior was so pissed off that he nuked two cities and the surrounding areas because his creation had run amok. This speaks to an angry, flawed God with a temper who apparently cannot control man or create beings he is satisfied with. I can't remember if this is before or after this apparently non-innovative and highly flawed super being flooded the world to rid it of sin but somehow stupidly could not see that the people he saved would breed out randomly and result in there being sin again.

 

The entire bible makes no sense. I read it to my kids to see if they were interested. We got through two books, and they were sitting there mouths open. "Poeple believe this nonsense?" I told them, "People do not read this nonsense. People say they read it, but really they only listen to surgically plucked phrases and quotes while never actually reading it."

 

I've read the entire book cover to cover - unlike any other Christian I am aware of. Reading it as if reading a novel left me with my eyes bugging out at the goofy things I was reading and horrible advice I received.

 

It's not extremism on both sides. Only religion is extreme. The rejection of it is simply to not believe it. It isn't anything. It's just a state of not purchasing the idea of a God. You are not an extremist if you don't watch TV. You are simply choosing to not watch it. Perhaps extremism on the other side would be calling for burning of churches and the banning of religion. Atheists don't really do that. We mostly ignore it and quietly tolerate religious behaviors around us without outing ourselves for fear of being judged and preached at by confused believers.

 

The science of God is simple. People saw scary things, attributed thunder, lightning, comets, etc to Gods. Then a smart guy in the tribe saw opportunity and became the "priest" as a way of taking power without being chosen. If the chief was uncooperative, the medicine man said "The Gods have spoken. He is evil!" It's still done today by people claiming that God wants this and that when really it is just them who wants it.

 

I was raised with religion. I am happier and my children are happier in a home with no ghosts, no alien abductions, no bigfoot, no lochness monster, and no God.

 

This chart shows that the US is alone except for the third world in its religious fervor:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gallup_Religiosity_Index_2009.png

 

Here's a study showing that as a nation's average IQ goes up, the tendency toward atheism in the population also increases:

 

http://davesource.com/Fringe/Fringe/Religion/Average-intelligence-predicts-atheism-rates-across-137-nations-Lynn-et-al.pdf

 

The chart from that study:

 

http://hypnosis.home.netcom.com/iq_vs_religiosity.htm

 

There are well-studied links between growing up conservative and growing up with lower intelligence and fewer resources:

 

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/13/1131220/-Religious-and-Conservative-people-have-lower-IQs-than-their-counterparts

 

I believe religion is something that humans still feel they need, but eventually will just outgrow. No earth-bound religion will survive the arrival of a superior alien species or man's spreading out through space to other worlds. Once all of the events in the bible are easily explained with technology we possess ourselves, it's no longer going to interest anyone. It's all just a matter of time.

Check it out: http://www.aslo.org/lo/toc/vol_17/issue_5/0796.pdf

 

An actual scientific paper on the population density of monsters in Loch Ness. Journal of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography

 

 

 

Look, good fun aside, you must understand that the majority of 'good' ideas that scientists have had over the centuries have turned out to be wrong. You're just ignoring those because the process of science IS in fact the process that rejected them. And the ones we have right now 'seem' to work.

 

Or do I have to quote Theodoric of York, medieval barber?

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Science is the collection of evidence, observations, experiments, and testing your ideas to see if they prove out under stress.

 

Religion is just a story someone wrote.

 

There is no comparison. One is a fiction book. The other is the real world.

 

I am happy that I do not believe anything that is in the Bible. All of the stories in the bible are just recycled stories with different names and slight twists from earlier cultures. Very little of the Bible to me is good advice or comforting. I find most of it brutal, horrific, and scary.

 

God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, but two thousand years prior was so pissed off that he nuked two cities and the surrounding areas because his creation had run amok. This speaks to an angry, flawed God with a temper who apparently cannot control man or create beings he is satisfied with. I can't remember if this is before or after this apparently non-innovative and highly flawed super being flooded the world to rid it of sin but somehow stupidly could not see that the people he saved would breed out randomly and result in there being sin again.

 

The entire bible makes no sense. I read it to my kids to see if they were interested. We got through two books, and they were sitting there mouths open. "Poeple believe this nonsense?" I told them, "People do not read this nonsense. People say they read it, but really they only listen to surgically plucked phrases and quotes while never actually reading it."

 

I've read the entire book cover to cover - unlike any other Christian I am aware of. Reading it as if reading a novel left me with my eyes bugging out at the goofy things I was reading and horrible advice I received.

 

It's not extremism on both sides. Only religion is extreme. The rejection of it is simply to not believe it. It isn't anything. It's just a state of not purchasing the idea of a God. You are not an extremist if you don't watch TV. You are simply choosing to not watch it. Perhaps extremism on the other side would be calling for burning of churches and the banning of religion. Atheists don't really do that. We mostly ignore it and quietly tolerate religious behaviors around us without outing ourselves for fear of being judged and preached at by confused believers.

 

The science of God is simple. People saw scary things, attributed thunder, lightning, comets, etc to Gods. Then a smart guy in the tribe saw opportunity and became the "priest" as a way of taking power without being chosen. If the chief was uncooperative, the medicine man said "The Gods have spoken. He is evil!" It's still done today by people claiming that God wants this and that when really it is just them who wants it.

 

I was raised with religion. I am happier and my children are happier in a home with no ghosts, no alien abductions, no bigfoot, no lochness monster, and no God.

 

This chart shows that the US is alone except for the third world in its religious fervor:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gallup_Religiosity_Index_2009.png

 

Here's a study showing that as a nation's average IQ goes up, the tendency toward atheism in the population also increases:

 

http://davesource.com/Fringe/Fringe/Religion/Average-intelligence-predicts-atheism-rates-across-137-nations-Lynn-et-al.pdf

 

The chart from that study:

 

http://hypnosis.home.netcom.com/iq_vs_religiosity.htm

 

There are well-studied links between growing up conservative and growing up with lower intelligence and fewer resources:

 

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/13/1131220/-Religious-and-Conservative-people-have-lower-IQs-than-their-counterparts

 

I believe religion is something that humans still feel they need, but eventually will just outgrow. No earth-bound religion will survive the arrival of a superior alien species or man's spreading out through space to other worlds. Once all of the events in the bible are easily explained with technology we possess ourselves, it's no longer going to interest anyone. It's all just a matter of time.

You're just upset over Deuteronomy 23:1

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I am happy that I do not believe anything that is in the Bible. All of the stories in the bible are just recycled stories with different names and slight twists from earlier cultures. Very little of the Bible to me is good advice or comforting. I find most of it brutal' date=' horrific, and scary.[/quote']

Actually, that is how I became an atheist. Around age 12, about a year after having been baptized, I decided that I needed to get serious about this religion business. So I started to read the Bible. Pretty soon, I realized that I quite literally could not believe what I was reading. Well, since I couldn't believe what I was supposed to as a Christian, then it was time for me to leave.

 

That was half a century ago. I'm not sure how far I had gotten, but I'm pretty sure that I had not gotten to the part where Lot's daughters got him drunk so that they could rape him, because a pre-adolescent boy would not have forgotten that! And, of course, I had proceeded from a very possibly false premise, that my church would have required a literal interpretation of the Bible. That particular element came nearly a century later, when the "Jesus Freak Movement" suddenly swelled the ranks of fundamentalist Christianity circa 1970. By that time, as a "fellow traveller" (like McCarthyism's "fellow travellers" of Communism that they sought to ferret out), I learned a lot about fundamentalist Christian beliefs and realized to my very great relief what a wonderfully correct decision I had made to be an atheist.

 

The entire bible makes no sense. I read it to my kids to see if they were interested. We got through two books' date=' and they were sitting there mouths open. "Poeple believe this nonsense?" I told them, "People do not read this nonsense. People say they read it, but really they only listen to surgically plucked phrases and quotes while never actually reading it."[/quote']

I have heard an explanation for this and it brings us right back around to the "Jesus Freak Movement". Traditionally -- and I mean back to the turn of the last century, around 1900 -- , Fundamentalists and Baptists (not necessarily the same thing back then; that changed circa the late 1970's) pretty much kept to themselves. You were pretty much born into the faith and studied the Bible your entire life. That meant that there was a study plan for each individual that spanned multiple decades. Then circa 1970, there came the "Jesus Freak Movement." 1960's hippies burned out on drugs suddenly "got hooked on Jesus" (a catch-phrase of the time). Suddenly, small fundamentalist churches saw their numbers soar overnight and they became mega-churches; our local example in Orange County, Calif, was Chuck Smith's small Calvary Chapel on the corner of Greenville and Sunflower in Santa Ana, which grew to a circus tent in a vacant field at Fairview and Sunflower, which became buildings and a Christian high school built in that vacant field.

 

The problem is that this religion called for many years of Bible study, but now you had most of the congregation unschooled in the Bible and needing to be brought up-to-speed very fast. Which is what happened. So instead of careful methodical Bible study, everybody had to be given a crash course. What replaced the normal course of Bible study was a system of telling them what the beliefs were and here are the isolated verses to support that.

 

Now, there was a very long Baptist tradition leading up to this point. Actually, it goes back to the Reformation. In the Catholic Church, the priest told you what the Bible said. For the first millennium, lay-persons weren't even allowed to try to read the Bible for themselves (literacy disregarded) and there are stories, possibly true or not, of punishments meted out to those Catholics who dared to try to read the Bible for themselves. But with the Protestant Reformation, it now became the duty of Protestants to read the Bible for themselves. When BBC TV journalist James Burke treated this issue in his Connections series, he pointed to the art work in the churches. Catholic churches had very vivid artwork depicting the stories from the Bible. But that wasn't artwork, but rather learning. You had all the lessons memorized, so the artwork would remind you of a particular Bible story and that would trigger your memory of the actual story. In contrast, the Protestant Reformation was coincident with Guttenberg's printing press -- for that matter, it has been argued that Martin Luther's 99 Theses would have remained local had someone not have used a Guttenberg press to run off immense copies to distribute throughout Europe. The primary difference in the Protestant Reformation was that everybody was expected to read the Bible for themselves. Certainly, this marked the start of the modern German language, since it was based on Martin Luther's translation of the Bibel into German -- instead of just using Latin terms, he translated the Latin stems into their German equivalents -- (eg, express became Ausdruck and impress became Eindruck, words that are still used in German today). But you also saw it in the "artwork" in the Protestant churches, in that there was no longer any artwork. You didn't need to be reminded of the stories of the Bible, since all you had to do was to read them for yourself. In another note, the first Sunday Schools were intended mainly to teach members of the congregation of all ages how to read so that they could read the Bible.

 

I've read the entire book cover to cover - unlike any other Christian I am aware of. Reading it as if reading a novel left me with my eyes bugging out at the goofy things I was reading and horrible advice I received.

And I trust that you also could see where the same stories were being told over and over again.

 

Admittedly, I have not made it through the Old Testament, nor at the age of 61 do I feel inclined to (not when I have so much to write about BSA and about network programming). But I did read through the New Testament a couple times through. I have also read thePirke Avoth ("Sayings of the Fathers", part of the Talmudic tradition). I found the teachings of Jesus himself rather good, especially when he agreed with the Pharisees (spirit of the law vs the letter of the law, especially regarding the Golden Rule), but Paul's reinterpretation of Jesus into The Christ was very troubling and, most unfortunately, that is what Christianity is based on.

 

People saw scary things' date=' attributed thunder, lightning, comets, etc to Gods. Then a smart guy in the tribe saw opportunity and became the "priest" as a way of taking power without being chosen. If the chief was uncooperative, the medicine man said "The Gods have spoken. He is evil!" It's still done today by people claiming that God wants this and that when really it is just them who wants it.[/quote']

Tja! (please pardon my German -- there is an almost completely horrid movie, "Iron Sky", about Nazis on the far side of the moon, but then so much of the dialog is in German, though in one scene where all kinds of weird stuff is happening and a black astronaut from earth whom the Nazis had "albinocized" (Ich vergesse wie man das auf Deutch ausdruckte) could do nothing more than to say, "Na ja!")

 

An opportunist priest could make sense, but in reality there was a very real social purpose served by the priest. In our modern society where we have some scientific knowledge, a opportunistic priest would be such a charlatan. But in the ancient societies, he would have served a very real purpose. But let us move ahead a couple/few millennia to the mystery religions. These had a secret teaching in their "Inner Temple" that was known only to those initiated into the mystery, while most of the celebrants were part of the "Outer Temple" where all the religion's teachings were presented to them in the form of obstruse symbols and [parables whose meanings were not known to the masses, but rather only to the initiates "who had eyes to see and ears to hear." Does that sound at all familiar from Mark? Where Jesus taught in parables so that the multitude could hear but comprehend not. And then he drew the disciplines off to the side to explain to them the "mysteries of heaven". Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

 

I was raised with religion. I am happier and my children are happier in a home with no ghosts' date=' no alien abductions, no bigfoot, no lochness monster, and no God.[/quote']

About a decade ago, I had a lunch with a friend from church. He had been a fundamentalist Christian for many years. He described how he had to live each day of his life, surrounded by so many things that directly contradicted his fundamentalist Christian beliefs. He described how he had to every day turn a blind eye to all those things, to try in vain to deny that they existed. That sheer amount of denial is a very heavy burden to have to carry and eventually it became too much. One day, he decided to apply the Matthew 7:20 Test to Christianity -- "by their fruits, you will know them". Yes, there were some things that Christianity did right, but then there were also so many things that it did completely wrong. As a result, my friend became "a complete atheist and a thorough humanist" and as a result he says that he is now so much happier and so much spiritually fulfilled than he ever was before as a Christian.

 

I believe religion is something that humans still feel they need' date=' but eventually will just outgrow. No earth-bound religion will survive the arrival of a superior alien species or man's spreading out through space to other worlds. Once all of the events in the bible are easily explained with technology we possess ourselves, it's no longer going to interest anyone. It's all just a matter of time. [/quote']

So many think that religion is about finding answers, but that is not true.

 

Religions is about seeking answers. More specifically, religion is about finding the right questions to ask.

 

Os as our minister preached, the ultimate religious question is, "How, then, am I to live my life?"

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:)

 

There are only 4 options in life:

 

1) I believe and there is a God. - Well in that case I have it made in the shade.

2) I believe and there is no God - In that case I've wasted a lot of time and energy in this life, except maybe I was a bit more "moral/ethical" than I would not normally have been.

3) I don't believe and there is no God - It's a wash, life was good/bad or indifferent, but that's all there is to it.

4) I don't believe and there is a God - I'm screwed.

 

Everyone takes their chances. How's it working out for you?

 

Take all the scientific knowledge we possess and lump it all together and still the human mind has no idea of how this masterfully intricate existence has coincidentally came into being. There is far more we don't know than what we do, scientifically. Our high-tech medical knowledge/practices will be barbaric 200 years from now just as it was 200 years ago.

Science is not the journey, it is only a wayside along the route.

 

If I have a balloon in my hand, one can never scientifically tell if it will rise up, float away or fall to the ground until AFTER they have analyzed, probed, and tested it. Well we have not yet been able to analyze, probe and test everything everywhere. Until then one has to place their faith in what I say the balloon will do.

 

 

 

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:)

 

There are only 4 options in life:

 

1) I believe and there is a God. - Well in that case I have it made in the shade.

2) I believe and there is no God - In that case I've wasted a lot of time and energy in this life, except maybe I was a bit more "moral/ethical" than I would not normally have been.

3) I don't believe and there is no God - It's a wash, life was good/bad or indifferent, but that's all there is to it.

4) I don't believe and there is a God - I'm screwed.

 

Everyone takes their chances. How's it working out for you?

 

Take all the scientific knowledge we possess and lump it all together and still the human mind has no idea of how this masterfully intricate existence has coincidentally came into being. There is far more we don't know than what we do, scientifically. Our high-tech medical knowledge/practices will be barbaric 200 years from now just as it was 200 years ago.

Science is not the journey, it is only a wayside along the route.

 

If I have a balloon in my hand, one can never scientifically tell if it will rise up, float away or fall to the ground until AFTER they have analyzed, probed, and tested it. Well we have not yet been able to analyze, probe and test everything everywhere. Until then one has to place their faith in what I say the balloon will do.

 

 

Actually there are a few dozen (at least) more options than that. I suspect the "outcome" of most of them would be the same as your # 3 or some variation thereof.

 

As for your # 2, are you saying that you are moral and ethical because you are afraid of being punished after you die if you don't? As opposed to, it just being the right way to behave? I have known plenty of moral/ethical people who either don't believe in God, or who do believe in God but don't think God hands out punishments (or rewards), and/or don't think there is an afterlife.

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:)

 

There are only 4 options in life:

 

1) I believe and there is a God. - Well in that case I have it made in the shade.

2) I believe and there is no God - In that case I've wasted a lot of time and energy in this life, except maybe I was a bit more "moral/ethical" than I would not normally have been.

3) I don't believe and there is no God - It's a wash, life was good/bad or indifferent, but that's all there is to it.

4) I don't believe and there is a God - I'm screwed.

 

Everyone takes their chances. How's it working out for you?

 

Take all the scientific knowledge we possess and lump it all together and still the human mind has no idea of how this masterfully intricate existence has coincidentally came into being. There is far more we don't know than what we do, scientifically. Our high-tech medical knowledge/practices will be barbaric 200 years from now just as it was 200 years ago.

Science is not the journey, it is only a wayside along the route.

 

If I have a balloon in my hand, one can never scientifically tell if it will rise up, float away or fall to the ground until AFTER they have analyzed, probed, and tested it. Well we have not yet been able to analyze, probe and test everything everywhere. Until then one has to place their faith in what I say the balloon will do.

 

 

I have no idea what you're trying to communicate with that balloon thing. But as for the "journey" I kind of like this quote from Victor Hugo, "La science est l’asymptote de la vérité. Elle approche sans cesse et ne touche jamais." On the other hand, it seems that with religious faith, a person can feel like they are already in possession of it.

 

A person might think there is only a small difference between the two but it is actually a huge difference.

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TJ, Science is infinitely deep and always changing. What is true today will not be true tomorrow. But science has little guidance on how people should interact. One of the most important holidays in my religion deals with atonement and forgiveness. Spread throughout my bible is the concept of human dignity and how it can trump all of the harsh rules you complain about. Science does not give any hint on how to balance our selfish and selfless nature (high adventure and service?), my religion does. My religion encourages prayer and that creates calmness and other healthy benefits (scientifically proven, by the way). My religion also recognizes that character is a skill and it requires constant practice (Scout Slogan?). Science doesn't talk much about these things.

 

That's not to say that any religion doesn't have its problems. Where it falls down, and it appears to me that this is where you're unhappy with it, is when the religious take it upon themselves to, let's say, encourage others to follow them. This can be extreme, such as at gun point, or passive aggressive, as in complaining that you don't pray correctly, or even among the Boy Scouts that require you to have some faith. I stay away from the guns and ignore the rest. What's left is a vast collection of wonderful ideas and stories that I can learn from. I don't read them as history or science. Just one example: The number 7 in the Bible means something is good. So, the universe was not created in 7 days, but it was a good thing. One thing about my religion that I am absolutely, positively clear about, is that I will never have all the answers.

 

To be honest, TJ, you've insulted the vast majority of the population with what you wrote. I doubt that was your intent. As you said, you quietly suck it up and maybe you're tired of doing that. I suck it up every time someone asks me to remove my hat to pray, I don't, and they glare at me like I'm some sort of hideous atheist (just joking). Someone on this forum once said that religion and spiritual insight is a journey and it's different for a lot of people. Wise words. I wish you the best in your journey. At the same time, I hope you can respect mine.

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There are only 4 options in life:

 

1) I believe and there is a God. - Well in that case I have it made in the shade.

2) I believe and there is no God - In that case I've wasted a lot of time and energy in this life, except maybe I was a bit more "moral/ethical" than I would not normally have been.

3) I don't believe and there is no God - It's a wash, life was good/bad or indifferent, but that's all there is to it.

4) I don't believe and there is a God - I'm screwed.

 

Everyone takes their chances. How's it working out for you?

 

Take all the scientific knowledge we possess and lump it all together and still the human mind has no idea of how this masterfully intricate existence has coincidentally came into being. There is far more we don't know than what we do, scientifically. Our high-tech medical knowledge/practices will be barbaric 200 years from now just as it was 200 years ago.

Science is not the journey, it is only a wayside along the route.

 

If I have a balloon in my hand, one can never scientifically tell if it will rise up, float away or fall to the ground until AFTER they have analyzed, probed, and tested it. Well we have not yet been able to analyze, probe and test everything everywhere. Until then one has to place their faith in what I say the balloon will do.

 

 

There are only 4 options in life:

Pascal's Wager. It has many problems which followers ignore. And it shows up often as a proselytizing too in their "after-life insurance" argument which is little more than a scam -- I wrote of my experience with it at http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/wager.html. You can read objections to it through Google: pascal's wager objections.

 

To start with, there are far more than 4 options, literally thousands of them. It is not enough to believe that a god exists, but rather you have to believe in the right god. True, some gods don't care, but many gods do very definitely take exception to people not believing in them. That is most certainly true of YHWH and the Christian version of Him upped the stakes very greatly. So out of thousands of gods, you have to choose the right one.

 

But that is not enough, because you also need to choose the right theology. Pascal was Catholic, so even if you choose the Christian god, if you are not Catholic then you have lost the wager. For that matter, Pascal was a member of a small Catholic sect, so just being Catholic may not be enough.

 

And it's false that believing doesn't cost you anything. Religions make non-trivial demands on its followers, including banning certain occupations and loving certain people. Far worse, your religion could forbid you from seeking necessary medical care for yourself or, even worse, for a loved one like your child -- this does often happen. You're paying with your life in so many ways when you join a religion. That religious experience could be good, but it could also be bad. Currently, the majority of children raised in fundamentalist/evangelical/conservative Christian homes are fleeing religion altogether -- estimates range from 65% to 80%. If you were to visit forum sites like ex-christian.net, you would read personal testimonials of what these ex-Christians had experienced growing up.

 

When the "after-life insurance" scam was tried on me in the guise of a car insurance analogy, I responded with the following assessment:

So I told my after-life insurance salesman that his after-life insurance was a rotten deal (unfortunately, I didn't think of that name for it until the next day, but that poor guy was already hurting too much). We had to pay an exorbinant price for a policy that would only pay in the most restricted and oddest of circumstances. By the car insurance analogy, it would only pay if you were hit by a green Edsel -- on the northbound side of the Santa Ana Freeway -- while it was exceeding the speed limit -- backing up -- at night -- with its lights off -- being driven by a one-armed Lithuanian midget.

 

So your Pascal's Wager is not a sure thing, but rather ... now how did you put it? Oh yes ... you're screwed.

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Science is the collection of evidence, observations, experiments, and testing your ideas to see if they prove out under stress.

 

Religion is just a story someone wrote.

 

There is no comparison. One is a fiction book. The other is the real world.

 

I am happy that I do not believe anything that is in the Bible. All of the stories in the bible are just recycled stories with different names and slight twists from earlier cultures. Very little of the Bible to me is good advice or comforting. I find most of it brutal, horrific, and scary.

 

God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, but two thousand years prior was so pissed off that he nuked two cities and the surrounding areas because his creation had run amok. This speaks to an angry, flawed God with a temper who apparently cannot control man or create beings he is satisfied with. I can't remember if this is before or after this apparently non-innovative and highly flawed super being flooded the world to rid it of sin but somehow stupidly could not see that the people he saved would breed out randomly and result in there being sin again.

 

The entire bible makes no sense. I read it to my kids to see if they were interested. We got through two books, and they were sitting there mouths open. "Poeple believe this nonsense?" I told them, "People do not read this nonsense. People say they read it, but really they only listen to surgically plucked phrases and quotes while never actually reading it."

 

I've read the entire book cover to cover - unlike any other Christian I am aware of. Reading it as if reading a novel left me with my eyes bugging out at the goofy things I was reading and horrible advice I received.

 

It's not extremism on both sides. Only religion is extreme. The rejection of it is simply to not believe it. It isn't anything. It's just a state of not purchasing the idea of a God. You are not an extremist if you don't watch TV. You are simply choosing to not watch it. Perhaps extremism on the other side would be calling for burning of churches and the banning of religion. Atheists don't really do that. We mostly ignore it and quietly tolerate religious behaviors around us without outing ourselves for fear of being judged and preached at by confused believers.

 

The science of God is simple. People saw scary things, attributed thunder, lightning, comets, etc to Gods. Then a smart guy in the tribe saw opportunity and became the "priest" as a way of taking power without being chosen. If the chief was uncooperative, the medicine man said "The Gods have spoken. He is evil!" It's still done today by people claiming that God wants this and that when really it is just them who wants it.

 

I was raised with religion. I am happier and my children are happier in a home with no ghosts, no alien abductions, no bigfoot, no lochness monster, and no God.

 

This chart shows that the US is alone except for the third world in its religious fervor:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gallup_Religiosity_Index_2009.png

 

Here's a study showing that as a nation's average IQ goes up, the tendency toward atheism in the population also increases:

 

http://davesource.com/Fringe/Fringe/Religion/Average-intelligence-predicts-atheism-rates-across-137-nations-Lynn-et-al.pdf

 

The chart from that study:

 

http://hypnosis.home.netcom.com/iq_vs_religiosity.htm

 

There are well-studied links between growing up conservative and growing up with lower intelligence and fewer resources:

 

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/13/1131220/-Religious-and-Conservative-people-have-lower-IQs-than-their-counterparts

 

I believe religion is something that humans still feel they need, but eventually will just outgrow. No earth-bound religion will survive the arrival of a superior alien species or man's spreading out through space to other worlds. Once all of the events in the bible are easily explained with technology we possess ourselves, it's no longer going to interest anyone. It's all just a matter of time.

the majority of 'good' ideas that scientists have had over the centuries have turned out to be wrong.

 

That's factually incorrect - what you see as a flaw is in reality its strength!!! Science was always wrong before and will be wrong again? Not exactly. Scientific ideas are proposed, tested, observed, experimented with. As we learn more, we expand our knowledge, and the idea is clarified, additional detail is added, and the explanations improve over time.

 

Example: We once thought the Universe was 7 billion years old. We now have better technology and analysis and know it is at least 13.7 billion years old. We weren't wrong before. We knew it was AT LEAST 7 billion years old. We now have a new, bigger number that we know is AT LEAST the age of the universe. We could learn next year through some new means that it is AT LEAST 70 billion years old.

 

But, that is probably not going to happen, as in recent years we've uncovered the remains of background radiation of the universe reaching it's outer edges - we think. But we only think that. We don't say we know it. We say "It looks that way - we need more information."

 

Religious "knowledge" never says that. It is never questioned, changed, refined, improved, tested. Rather, religion just keeps on keeping on being nothing.

 

Look around you. What do you see? Electronic devices? Cars? Roads? Houses? Bridges? Lights? Cameras? Phones? All produced by science? What has religion produced that shows it works and that we know how it works?

 

Nothing. What evidence is there that any religion has any facts in it? None. There are no facts in religion.

 

While I congratulate anyone who seeks to morally better themselves, I would point out that morals are largely cultural constructs, and that they change with the times. The first commandment tells you to not make any image of anything ever. You are using a computer. You are breaking that commandment.

 

If you are female, you are violating Timothy 2:11.

 

"Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)"

 

Are you going to put me to death? God commands it. Oh wait, no, your morals don't come from the Bible? Or do they?

 

This statement is right alongside others you find comforting.

 

I submit to you that scientists are comfortable with their ideas being reviewed, corrected, found wrong, and going back to the drawing board.

 

But what religious leaders do is pick and choose what they like and ignore the rest.

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I am happy that I do not believe anything that is in the Bible. All of the stories in the bible are just recycled stories with different names and slight twists from earlier cultures. Very little of the Bible to me is good advice or comforting. I find most of it brutal' date=' horrific, and scary.[/quote']

Actually, that is how I became an atheist. Around age 12, about a year after having been baptized, I decided that I needed to get serious about this religion business. So I started to read the Bible. Pretty soon, I realized that I quite literally could not believe what I was reading. Well, since I couldn't believe what I was supposed to as a Christian, then it was time for me to leave.

 

That was half a century ago. I'm not sure how far I had gotten, but I'm pretty sure that I had not gotten to the part where Lot's daughters got him drunk so that they could rape him, because a pre-adolescent boy would not have forgotten that! And, of course, I had proceeded from a very possibly false premise, that my church would have required a literal interpretation of the Bible. That particular element came nearly a century later, when the "Jesus Freak Movement" suddenly swelled the ranks of fundamentalist Christianity circa 1970. By that time, as a "fellow traveller" (like McCarthyism's "fellow travellers" of Communism that they sought to ferret out), I learned a lot about fundamentalist Christian beliefs and realized to my very great relief what a wonderfully correct decision I had made to be an atheist.

 

The entire bible makes no sense. I read it to my kids to see if they were interested. We got through two books' date=' and they were sitting there mouths open. "Poeple believe this nonsense?" I told them, "People do not read this nonsense. People say they read it, but really they only listen to surgically plucked phrases and quotes while never actually reading it."[/quote']

I have heard an explanation for this and it brings us right back around to the "Jesus Freak Movement". Traditionally -- and I mean back to the turn of the last century, around 1900 -- , Fundamentalists and Baptists (not necessarily the same thing back then; that changed circa the late 1970's) pretty much kept to themselves. You were pretty much born into the faith and studied the Bible your entire life. That meant that there was a study plan for each individual that spanned multiple decades. Then circa 1970, there came the "Jesus Freak Movement." 1960's hippies burned out on drugs suddenly "got hooked on Jesus" (a catch-phrase of the time). Suddenly, small fundamentalist churches saw their numbers soar overnight and they became mega-churches; our local example in Orange County, Calif, was Chuck Smith's small Calvary Chapel on the corner of Greenville and Sunflower in Santa Ana, which grew to a circus tent in a vacant field at Fairview and Sunflower, which became buildings and a Christian high school built in that vacant field.

 

The problem is that this religion called for many years of Bible study, but now you had most of the congregation unschooled in the Bible and needing to be brought up-to-speed very fast. Which is what happened. So instead of careful methodical Bible study, everybody had to be given a crash course. What replaced the normal course of Bible study was a system of telling them what the beliefs were and here are the isolated verses to support that.

 

Now, there was a very long Baptist tradition leading up to this point. Actually, it goes back to the Reformation. In the Catholic Church, the priest told you what the Bible said. For the first millennium, lay-persons weren't even allowed to try to read the Bible for themselves (literacy disregarded) and there are stories, possibly true or not, of punishments meted out to those Catholics who dared to try to read the Bible for themselves. But with the Protestant Reformation, it now became the duty of Protestants to read the Bible for themselves. When BBC TV journalist James Burke treated this issue in his Connections series, he pointed to the art work in the churches. Catholic churches had very vivid artwork depicting the stories from the Bible. But that wasn't artwork, but rather learning. You had all the lessons memorized, so the artwork would remind you of a particular Bible story and that would trigger your memory of the actual story. In contrast, the Protestant Reformation was coincident with Guttenberg's printing press -- for that matter, it has been argued that Martin Luther's 99 Theses would have remained local had someone not have used a Guttenberg press to run off immense copies to distribute throughout Europe. The primary difference in the Protestant Reformation was that everybody was expected to read the Bible for themselves. Certainly, this marked the start of the modern German language, since it was based on Martin Luther's translation of the Bibel into German -- instead of just using Latin terms, he translated the Latin stems into their German equivalents -- (eg, express became Ausdruck and impress became Eindruck, words that are still used in German today). But you also saw it in the "artwork" in the Protestant churches, in that there was no longer any artwork. You didn't need to be reminded of the stories of the Bible, since all you had to do was to read them for yourself. In another note, the first Sunday Schools were intended mainly to teach members of the congregation of all ages how to read so that they could read the Bible.

 

I've read the entire book cover to cover - unlike any other Christian I am aware of. Reading it as if reading a novel left me with my eyes bugging out at the goofy things I was reading and horrible advice I received.

And I trust that you also could see where the same stories were being told over and over again.

 

Admittedly, I have not made it through the Old Testament, nor at the age of 61 do I feel inclined to (not when I have so much to write about BSA and about network programming). But I did read through the New Testament a couple times through. I have also read thePirke Avoth ("Sayings of the Fathers", part of the Talmudic tradition). I found the teachings of Jesus himself rather good, especially when he agreed with the Pharisees (spirit of the law vs the letter of the law, especially regarding the Golden Rule), but Paul's reinterpretation of Jesus into The Christ was very troubling and, most unfortunately, that is what Christianity is based on.

 

People saw scary things' date=' attributed thunder, lightning, comets, etc to Gods. Then a smart guy in the tribe saw opportunity and became the "priest" as a way of taking power without being chosen. If the chief was uncooperative, the medicine man said "The Gods have spoken. He is evil!" It's still done today by people claiming that God wants this and that when really it is just them who wants it.[/quote']

Tja! (please pardon my German -- there is an almost completely horrid movie, "Iron Sky", about Nazis on the far side of the moon, but then so much of the dialog is in German, though in one scene where all kinds of weird stuff is happening and a black astronaut from earth whom the Nazis had "albinocized" (Ich vergesse wie man das auf Deutch ausdruckte) could do nothing more than to say, "Na ja!")

 

An opportunist priest could make sense, but in reality there was a very real social purpose served by the priest. In our modern society where we have some scientific knowledge, a opportunistic priest would be such a charlatan. But in the ancient societies, he would have served a very real purpose. But let us move ahead a couple/few millennia to the mystery religions. These had a secret teaching in their "Inner Temple" that was known only to those initiated into the mystery, while most of the celebrants were part of the "Outer Temple" where all the religion's teachings were presented to them in the form of obstruse symbols and [parables whose meanings were not known to the masses, but rather only to the initiates "who had eyes to see and ears to hear." Does that sound at all familiar from Mark? Where Jesus taught in parables so that the multitude could hear but comprehend not. And then he drew the disciplines off to the side to explain to them the "mysteries of heaven". Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

 

I was raised with religion. I am happier and my children are happier in a home with no ghosts' date=' no alien abductions, no bigfoot, no lochness monster, and no God.[/quote']

About a decade ago, I had a lunch with a friend from church. He had been a fundamentalist Christian for many years. He described how he had to live each day of his life, surrounded by so many things that directly contradicted his fundamentalist Christian beliefs. He described how he had to every day turn a blind eye to all those things, to try in vain to deny that they existed. That sheer amount of denial is a very heavy burden to have to carry and eventually it became too much. One day, he decided to apply the Matthew 7:20 Test to Christianity -- "by their fruits, you will know them". Yes, there were some things that Christianity did right, but then there were also so many things that it did completely wrong. As a result, my friend became "a complete atheist and a thorough humanist" and as a result he says that he is now so much happier and so much spiritually fulfilled than he ever was before as a Christian.

 

I believe religion is something that humans still feel they need' date=' but eventually will just outgrow. No earth-bound religion will survive the arrival of a superior alien species or man's spreading out through space to other worlds. Once all of the events in the bible are easily explained with technology we possess ourselves, it's no longer going to interest anyone. It's all just a matter of time. [/quote']

So many think that religion is about finding answers, but that is not true.

 

Religions is about seeking answers. More specifically, religion is about finding the right questions to ask.

 

Os as our minister preached, the ultimate religious question is, "How, then, am I to live my life?"

"How, then, am I to live my life?"

 

Kill Homosexuals

"If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives." (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

 

Kill Witches

You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17 NAB)

 

Death for Hitting Dad

Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

 

Kill the Entire Town if One Person Worships Another God

Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him." (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

 

Apparently that is how you are to live your life.

 

Science is not an answer to how to live your life. It is the method through which we explore the universe and try to understand how it works and why.

 

However, science does explain why people want to life a "good life." Because of evolution. We evolved into social animals. And social animals all have interdependencies, that when violated, lead to the death of the tribe. You don't need religion to tell you it is wrong to steal. You know it is wrong to steal. Because when you steal, the pack/tribe/troop/herd attacks you and punishes you for it.

 

If you got rid of all of the religions of the world, and wiped everyone's memories, a new religion would be crafted up. I believe that. Would that religion look anything like religion today?

 

No. That's all I need to know that religion is just a story. Religions are invented by people.

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:)

 

There are only 4 options in life:

 

1) I believe and there is a God. - Well in that case I have it made in the shade.

2) I believe and there is no God - In that case I've wasted a lot of time and energy in this life, except maybe I was a bit more "moral/ethical" than I would not normally have been.

3) I don't believe and there is no God - It's a wash, life was good/bad or indifferent, but that's all there is to it.

4) I don't believe and there is a God - I'm screwed.

 

Everyone takes their chances. How's it working out for you?

 

Take all the scientific knowledge we possess and lump it all together and still the human mind has no idea of how this masterfully intricate existence has coincidentally came into being. There is far more we don't know than what we do, scientifically. Our high-tech medical knowledge/practices will be barbaric 200 years from now just as it was 200 years ago.

Science is not the journey, it is only a wayside along the route.

 

If I have a balloon in my hand, one can never scientifically tell if it will rise up, float away or fall to the ground until AFTER they have analyzed, probed, and tested it. Well we have not yet been able to analyze, probe and test everything everywhere. Until then one has to place their faith in what I say the balloon will do.

 

 

1) I believe and there is a God. - Well in that case I have it made in the shade.

 

Not really. Tell, me what is this shade you think you have it made in? It will not lengthen your life. It will not protect you from illness. It will not protect you from violence. It will not protect your family. It will not reveal to you anything you can use in today's world that a simple kindergarten lesson in ethics is not superior to. It will cost you money. It will cost you time.

 

I have been told that if I believe and there is a God, I will go to Heaven. I do not want to go to that Heaven. It does not sound appealing. It is filled with all of the unintelligent, closed-minded people of the world who were self-righteous, judgmental, and attempted to oppress others out of fear of offending their supreme being.

 

The supreme being, as far as I can tell, is a highly flawed, petulant, inconsistent super creature that stopped doing interesting things as soon as the motion picture was invented. It destroys worlds, cities, people, curses them, gives them diseases, and capriciously treats them like filth while resenting them for reflecting back to it its own flaws.

 

I do not wish to be "close" to something like that. Going into nothingness is preferable, even if I believed the stories.

 

Now, to turn this the other way around, if I were SATAN, I would at once construct a biblical story, get it published, get the people who followed it into power, and make them worship me and only me while telling them I was their God.

 

It's nice that religious people want to focus on the Golden Rule, a great idea, btw, but unfortunately the baggage and stories that go along with it are absolute rubbish.

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TJ, Science is infinitely deep and always changing. What is true today will not be true tomorrow. But science has little guidance on how people should interact. One of the most important holidays in my religion deals with atonement and forgiveness. Spread throughout my bible is the concept of human dignity and how it can trump all of the harsh rules you complain about. Science does not give any hint on how to balance our selfish and selfless nature (high adventure and service?), my religion does. My religion encourages prayer and that creates calmness and other healthy benefits (scientifically proven, by the way). My religion also recognizes that character is a skill and it requires constant practice (Scout Slogan?). Science doesn't talk much about these things.

 

That's not to say that any religion doesn't have its problems. Where it falls down, and it appears to me that this is where you're unhappy with it, is when the religious take it upon themselves to, let's say, encourage others to follow them. This can be extreme, such as at gun point, or passive aggressive, as in complaining that you don't pray correctly, or even among the Boy Scouts that require you to have some faith. I stay away from the guns and ignore the rest. What's left is a vast collection of wonderful ideas and stories that I can learn from. I don't read them as history or science. Just one example: The number 7 in the Bible means something is good. So, the universe was not created in 7 days, but it was a good thing. One thing about my religion that I am absolutely, positively clear about, is that I will never have all the answers.

 

To be honest, TJ, you've insulted the vast majority of the population with what you wrote. I doubt that was your intent. As you said, you quietly suck it up and maybe you're tired of doing that. I suck it up every time someone asks me to remove my hat to pray, I don't, and they glare at me like I'm some sort of hideous atheist (just joking). Someone on this forum once said that religion and spiritual insight is a journey and it's different for a lot of people. Wise words. I wish you the best in your journey. At the same time, I hope you can respect mine.

But science has little guidance on how people should interact.

 

Sure it does. Science reveals to us what happens in the world. We come to understand that when we do X, Y will happen. We test it repeatedly, and we know. What happens when you steal something? What happens when you help someone?

 

Simple physics: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you help someone, that's what you get back. Call it karma or whatever.

 

You don't need stories of ancient days and gods and demons and sins and crucifixions to be nice to people. You're just raised to believe that because you happened to be born into a society that believes that. If you were born in Japan or China, you would not think that.

 

To be honest, TJ, you've insulted the vast majority of the population with what you wrote.

 

The last refuge of the religious. "You have offended me!" Yet the religious expect atheists to not be offended when you pray or otherwise tell us that you believe there is a God when we clearly see it is just a story like Santa Claus.

 

People always get most offended when they are afraid what they are hearing is true and they don't like it.

 

I however, feel no offense at the claims that I am wrong. I do not rely on faith for my beliefs. I can see my computer monitor working. I know the scientists that designed it are correct. They proved it.

 

If my stating that religion is nonsense is offensive, it is no more offensive that someone saying that religion is true.

 

I hope you can respect my side of the argument as well. If not, then what exactly are you asking for? Me to respect you while you disdain my position?

 

I do not believe that ideas should be "respected." They should be treated as nonsense and tested, kicked, and debated until proven or disproven. That's what ideas are for.

 

That's how science works.

 

If someone has a strong argument that I am wrong, make it. I may change my mind. Because my beliefs are not a religion.

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:)

 

There are only 4 options in life:

 

1) I believe and there is a God. - Well in that case I have it made in the shade.

2) I believe and there is no God - In that case I've wasted a lot of time and energy in this life, except maybe I was a bit more "moral/ethical" than I would not normally have been.

3) I don't believe and there is no God - It's a wash, life was good/bad or indifferent, but that's all there is to it.

4) I don't believe and there is a God - I'm screwed.

 

Everyone takes their chances. How's it working out for you?

 

Take all the scientific knowledge we possess and lump it all together and still the human mind has no idea of how this masterfully intricate existence has coincidentally came into being. There is far more we don't know than what we do, scientifically. Our high-tech medical knowledge/practices will be barbaric 200 years from now just as it was 200 years ago.

Science is not the journey, it is only a wayside along the route.

 

If I have a balloon in my hand, one can never scientifically tell if it will rise up, float away or fall to the ground until AFTER they have analyzed, probed, and tested it. Well we have not yet been able to analyze, probe and test everything everywhere. Until then one has to place their faith in what I say the balloon will do.

 

 

Yeah, it reminded me of Pascal's wager as well. As if that kind of deception would fool an omniscient being...yeah, right!

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