Author Topic: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions  (Read 25578 times)

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Offline ic2705

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2008, 03:02:53 AM »
Before I answer any more questions I want to briefly apologize for the length of my responses. I feel it necessary to do more than make a simple statement but to explain my position as detailed as possible since most of you believe Chrsitians cannot think linearally, which unfortunately many cannot and many misrepresent Christianity by overly simplistic responses to valid question. I will try to be more concise but I have always found it difficult. Thanks for baring with me.

ic
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Offline Hermes

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2008, 03:07:42 AM »
Before I answer any more questions I want to briefly apologize for the length of my responses. I feel it necessary to do more than make a simple statement but to explain my position as detailed as possible since most of you believe Chrsitians cannot think linearally, which unfortunately many cannot and many misrepresent Christianity by overly simplistic responses to valid question. I will try to be more concise but I have always found it difficult. Thanks for baring with me.

No problem.  Thank you for your efforts.   

To help with your efforts at brevity, here's a quickie;

ic2705, I have only a couple questions to start with;

Are you a presuppositionalist?

  • If yes, which type?
  • If no, why not?

If you don't know the term, I apologize for any confusion.  A very cursory overview is available here if you are curious;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presuppositional_apologetics

3 words to a couple sentences should be plenty.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Hermes

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2008, 03:09:49 AM »
(Side note: Try not to tell people what they think.  It gets annoying really fast.)
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline ic2705

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2008, 03:21:53 AM »
I have one question. (Feel free to take your time.)

When you were an atheist, what did you consider the best argument for atheism?

It is hard for me to pick one because I think atheism inherently has many benefits. I think three argument mostly compelled me.
1. That theism is unverifiable. Being a scientifically minded person I desired verifiable proof and it disturbed me that so many people believed in something that could not be tangibly proven. Of course what I didn't understand is that metaphycial reality does not always require material proof, and scientifically and logically it is very possible that realms exist beyond our material reality, a belief the majority of the world continues to hold to.

2. The societal evolution of religion. A good argument (though one I now can debunk) is that if you follow the development of culture from ancient Mesopotamia and onward it seems that religion was simply an evolving idea, one in which places Christ as simply one of the developments of this cognitive evolution of ideas. So we began as primitive belief in our surroundings and in spirits controlling our environment. This developed to a form of theism which was rooted in lore. This then progressed to absolute polytheism and then to hierarchical polytheism which emphasized one of the gods being greater than the others. This then of course became monotheism and the rest his history (all the way to enlightened atheism). This understanding of the development of religion and cognition made me to see the God of the bible as simply a development within the human psyche which in no way can be distinguished from the other religions and I saw this as a powerful argument that could not be answered by theists.

3. When young, I began to give credence to evolution based on the indoctrination of it being a reality and not an hypothesis. This lead me to assume it's truth and to view reality through this lens. This is how I was able to come to the conclusions of the prior two questions. Because of this I believed evolution had a stronghold that could not be broken and so another great argumentation I used was that evolution was what most enlightened and all intelligent people believe. This of course would be the flat earth way of argumention, by saying that the majority consensus makes something inherently true, and this also assumes that most intellegent people do believe in evolution which is not what the polls would suggest, nor can it be proven because intellegence is a very opinionated arena as we have people who are intellegent about different things and others who think they are intellegent but could not think linearly to save thier life.

ic
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Offline Airyaman

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2008, 05:37:27 AM »

3. When young, I began to give credence to evolution based on the indoctrination of it being a reality and not an hypothesis.

Am I the only one to see irony in this statement?
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Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #34 on: September 12, 2008, 06:00:52 AM »

3. When young, I began to give credence to evolution based on the indoctrination of it being a reality and not an hypothesis.

Am I the only one to see irony in this statement?

No. But I can name one person who definately does not see the irony.
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline Boots

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #35 on: September 12, 2008, 06:24:50 AM »
ic2705--
I would like to thank you for your thoughtful and comprehensive replies.  I would like to address some of your replies to mine, but I lack the time today to do so--I need to do some research.

One thing I will say now: you are correct, I'm no biblical scholar (I'm not wholely unfamiliar, but have not studied it anywhere *near* the extent as you have).  You are also correct that I claim "chock full of inconsistencies" due to having seen others site them--in my defense, typically these inconsistencies have been enumerated, I jsut can't recall them off the top of my head (hence the need to do more research--I feel you deserve answers, which I plan to give).

So it may take me a few days, but I will answer your replies!!

cheers,
Boots
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Offline Former Believer

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #36 on: September 12, 2008, 09:37:48 AM »
Quote
Answer us why Zeus, opposed to Jesus, doesn't exist.

I'm a little confused by your question. The way you phrased it makes it sound like you want me to explain why Zeus doesn't exist. I don't believe he does. But I'm assuming that this was the intent of the question: "Why isn't Zeus real instead of Jesus." If you meant something else sorry for misunderstanding you.

Answer: I could answer this question in three ways: Theologically, Historically, and Pragmatically.
Theologically Zeus is portrayed characteristically as a glorified man with the same type of sensual appetites as man. He has sex with mortals, he marries his sister incestuously, he gets extremely jealous over mortal woman and kills people due to his jealousy. Christ displays attributes that are unworldly and this make it hard for him to be a product of man's imagination. His whole philosophy was to give sacrificially for the sake of God his Father and others.

Your answer, among other things, suggests that the God of the Bible is good.  Even if the Bible were credible from a scientific, historical, and factual standpoint (which it is not), and it could be demonstrated that the God of the Bible is real and has power over our lives, I would argue that one should not have any respect let alone worship such a despicable being.

The God of the Bible either commanded or committed acts that most people today consider to be immoral and in many cases, felony crimes.  Moreover, most Christians likewise regard these acts as completely immoral and would label them as such if they belonged to any other religious tradition or were seen outside of a biblical context.  These acts include:

Genocide
Invading people's land and stealing it without provocation
Punishing people for crimes that they did not commit
Animal sacrifices
The killing of innocent people, including babies and children
Parents showing favor to one child over another
Expecting perfection of people and sentencing them to death for failing to achieve it
Animal cruelty
Taking virgins as the spoils of war
The toleration and regulation of slavery

To argue that the Bible and its God are beacons of virtue, ignores the content of the book and the representation of its deity.


Faith unsubstaniated by the facts equal foolishness

Offline ic2705

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2008, 02:00:50 PM »
Quote
Answer us why Zeus, opposed to Jesus, doesn't exist.

I'm a little confused by your question. The way you phrased it makes it sound like you want me to explain why Zeus doesn't exist. I don't believe he does. But I'm assuming that this was the intent of the question: "Why isn't Zeus real instead of Jesus." If you meant something else sorry for misunderstanding you.

Answer: I could answer this question in three ways: Theologically, Historically, and Pragmatically.
Theologically Zeus is portrayed characteristically as a glorified man with the same type of sensual appetites as man. He has sex with mortals, he marries his sister incestuously, he gets extremely jealous over mortal woman and kills people due to his jealousy. Christ displays attributes that are unworldly and this make it hard for him to be a product of man's imagination. His whole philosophy was to give sacrificially for the sake of God his Father and others.

Your answer, among other things, suggests that the God of the Bible is good.  Even if the Bible were credible from a scientific, historical, and factual standpoint (which it is not), and it could be demonstrated that the God of the Bible is real and has power over our lives, I would argue that one should not have any respect let alone worship such a despicable being.

The God of the Bible either commanded or committed acts that most people today consider to be immoral and in many cases, felony crimes.  Moreover, most Christians likewise regard these acts as completely immoral and would label them as such if they belonged to any other religious tradition or were seen outside of a biblical context.  These acts include:

Genocide
Invading people's land and stealing it without provocation
Punishing people for crimes that they did not commit
Animal sacrifices
The killing of innocent people, including babies and children
Parents showing favor to one child over another
Expecting perfection of people and sentencing them to death for failing to achieve it
Animal cruelty
Taking virgins as the spoils of war
The toleration and regulation of slavery

To argue that the Bible and its God are beacons of virtue, ignores the content of the book and the representation of its deity.




I want to let everyone know that I am sorry if I take awhile getting back to some of your replies but I have run into some busy times and will try to answer at least one or two questions a day (with more brevity). I did want to make a quick response to this question because I think it is extremely relevant and an excellent question which Christians need to give an account for. FormerBeliever, please have patience with me as I think this response deserves a comprehensive reply. I assure you I have an answer for your statements and will give you a point by point response before the end of the weekend. The truth is these accusations are ones that have bothered me for some time and they are accusations which are fair and deserve attention. My other responses I am going to try to be brief but with this one I must take some time. So I'll get back to you.

Thanks for your patience,
ic
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Offline ic2705

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2008, 08:02:11 PM »

3. When young, I began to give credence to evolution based on the indoctrination of it being a reality and not an hypothesis.

Am I the only one to see irony in this statement?

This statement was meant to be ironic. For as much as the argument is often made that Christians are Christians only because of youthful indoctrination (and this is often true), I have found that there is just as much indoctrination being done by the evolutionists.

Whether by the public school rearing or the movies and t.v shows which speak of it often as obvious fact (Such as Discovery Channel, National Geographic, History Channel; shows like Star Trek, CSI, and others) or whether it's  by me taking my little girl to the Texas National History Museum so she can hear about the entire story (from the Big Band of over 10 billion years ago, to the formation of the earth, to the stormy conditions upon earth eventually creating an environment fit for life on to macro evolution) there's almost no getting around it. This is indoctrination as something that is an unproven hypothesis and an admitted theory is stated over and over again as fact.

It was Hitler who said (And I'm not trying to compare evolutionists to Hitler for the claim I'm about to make could also be leveled against Christianity) that if you say a lie loud enough and long enough people will begin to believe it. He was the master of propaganda. I am not trying to argue that evolution is a lie, but  my point is that certainly it is guilty of indoctrination as much as Christianity. But this seems to be something that is usually not realized by those who still use the argument (which is an extremely weak argument) that people are only Christians due to indoctrination. So until there becomes a general consensus that both beliefs are possibly valid and it is left to the individual to truly examine each before he is made to believe one or the other at an age where they are very mutable, then both systems are guilty of indoctrination. This is why this comment was made to be ironic.

There are some doors that science should not enter; and for those who trust in science alone to explain reality they will never be able to even open these doors.

Offline Red McWilliams

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2008, 08:05:06 PM »
If this is what being a "staunch evolutionist" means to you, I'm glad you don't accept it anymore.
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Offline Hermes

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #40 on: September 12, 2008, 09:26:43 PM »
ic2705, I realize you are overwhelmed and have quite a bit to deal with.  My question is (I think) direct and simple and would take only a few moments to answer.

If there is anything about it that makes it difficult to answer, please let me know and I will be glad to make reasonable adjustments.

ic2705, I have only a couple questions to start with;

Are you a presuppositionalist?

  • If yes, which type?
  • If no, why not?

If you don't know the term, I apologize for any confusion.  A very cursory overview is available here if you are curious;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presuppositional_apologetics
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Vynn

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2008, 09:30:22 PM »
I have one question. (Feel free to take your time.)

When you were an atheist, what did you consider the best argument for atheism?

Whenever you get the time.

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2008, 09:41:10 PM »
It's like having Mullah Omar visit the forum. So much intricate knowledge expressed from within the bubble of delusion.

You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline ic2705

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #43 on: September 13, 2008, 01:19:21 AM »
ic2705, I realize you are overwhelmed and have quite a bit to deal with.  My question is (I think) direct and simple and would take only a few moments to answer.

If there is anything about it that makes it difficult to answer, please let me know and I will be glad to make reasonable adjustments.

ic2705, I have only a couple questions to start with;

Are you a presuppositionalist?

  • If yes, which type?
  • If no, why not?

If you don't know the term, I apologize for any confusion.  A very cursory overview is available here if you are curious;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presuppositional_apologetics

I would not consider myself a Presuppositional apologist mainly because I am willing to consider your arguments apart from the Bible, and to use observation of real life to prove my arguments. I don't consider myself an apologists at all though this may be how I am functioning in this forum. I'm more a student of life. Someone who is studying where we have come from?, how does the world function as we see it? where are we going? why are we here? what does life mean? how should I live? etc. Because I am a Christian I naturally do view the world through the lenses of the Bible but am also willing to critically examine the Bible, and the claims of Christians (many of whom are bad representatives of the Christian philosophy, unable to think linearly, and who are self-contradictory in their logic). But when I examine the Bible I do not consult an unbeliever (just like when you study evolution you don't consult a Christian), nor do I rely on a liberal Christian who is basically an unbeliever who likes to study the Bible for its ethcial reasons. I dig into the Hebrew and Greek. I read every book and every passage. I find what seems to be inconsistencies and so I consult an actual biblical scholar commentary (just as you would contact a specialist in any field) to see if they have a reasonable and plausible explanation which shows that there is no inconsistencies. I have done this same thing in many other worldviews including atheism and evolution. Most atheists I speak to are either ignorant of the Bible, ignorant of hermeneutics (how to treat the Bible like a literary book when interpreting it) or they consult people who are not specialists of the Bible when they do any outside studies of it. This is not critical study, this is guided study. Of course you're going to arrive in unbelief if you are consulting unbelievers about the Bible. Critical study would contact both sides or would be willing to look at what the actual specialists (many of whom are PhD's and have studied the Bible for decades). I've seen books which try to claim inconsistencies but these books themselves are inconsistent and fairly easily debunked.

So no, I am not a presupposionalists because I am willing to critically examine the Bible assuming that it is possible that it is not true while yet always coming to the conclusion that it is true, which I base not only on its own intricate value but on it explaining far better than anything else the world around me and why men do what they do, while at the same time (in my opinion) never being solidly disproved by those who say they have done so.

Thanks for the question,
ic

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Offline ic2705

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #44 on: September 13, 2008, 01:21:35 AM »
I have one question. (Feel free to take your time.)

When you were an atheist, what did you consider the best argument for atheism?

Whenever you get the time.

Vynn, I have already answered your question which will be a few posts up on this page (2).

Thanks for the question,
ic
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Offline kcrady

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #45 on: September 13, 2008, 06:35:58 AM »
Hi ic, welcome to the Forum.  Thanks for being willing to do this.  I hope you don't get dogpiled too badly. ;)

My question: Can you list any actions that you consider to be morally wrong no matter who does them and/or commands that they be done?
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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #46 on: September 13, 2008, 08:53:18 AM »
Yes or No

Is the Bible "all or nothing"?

Offline Vynn

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #47 on: September 13, 2008, 11:03:01 AM »
Vynn, I have already answered your question which will be a few posts up on this page (2).

Quite right. I apologize. I foolishly skimmed the posts too quickly on this page.

Online Azdgari

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #48 on: September 13, 2008, 11:10:22 AM »
It is hard for me to pick one because I think atheism inherently has many benefits. I think three argument mostly compelled me.
1. That theism is unverifiable. Being a scientifically minded person I desired verifiable proof and it disturbed me that so many people believed in something that could not be tangibly proven. Of course what I didn't understand is that metaphycial reality does not always require material proof, and scientifically and logically it is very possible that realms exist beyond our material reality, a belief the majority of the world continues to hold to.

Logically, yes.  Scientifically, no.  For something to be scientifically true, it has to be testable/falsifiable, by definition.

3. When young, I began to give credence to evolution based on the indoctrination of it being a reality and not an hypothesis. This lead me to assume it's truth and to view reality through this lens. This is how I was able to come to the conclusions of the prior two questions. Because of this I believed evolution had a stronghold that could not be broken and so another great argumentation I used was that evolution was what most enlightened and all intelligent people believe. This of course would be the flat earth way of argumention, by saying that the majority consensus makes something inherently true, and this also assumes that most intellegent people do believe in evolution which is not what the polls would suggest, nor can it be proven because intellegence is a very opinionated arena as we have people who are intellegent about different things and others who think they are intellegent but could not think linearly to save thier life.

How much had you actually learned about evolution at the time?  To continue into a 2nd iteration the line of questioning Vynn began, what were the strongest arguments you knew of for evolution?  If your belief in evolution was not due to knowledge of any of the arguments in its favor, then do you believe that such arguments (and evidence) do not exist?
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Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #49 on: September 13, 2008, 12:10:04 PM »
Quote
But when I examine the Bible I do not consult an unbeliever (just like when you study evolution you don't consult a Christian)

Ken Miller does a superb job of understanding the biology and physics of evolution. So does, I think, Francis Collins. I'd consult either any day about evolutionary science.

You should change it to "ignorant christian" instead of christian.   

You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline Vynn

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #50 on: September 13, 2008, 12:49:30 PM »
It is hard for me to pick one because I think atheism inherently has many benefits. I think three argument mostly compelled me.
1. That theism is unverifiable. Being a scientifically minded person I desired verifiable proof and it disturbed me that so many people believed in something that could not be tangibly proven. Of course what I didn't understand is that metaphycial reality does not always require material proof, and scientifically and logically it is very possible that realms exist beyond our material reality, a belief the majority of the world continues to hold to.

Do you then think that because something might exist, that's a good reason to believe in its existence? (To me, that doesn't follow.)


2. The societal evolution of religion. A good argument (though one I now can debunk) is that if you follow the development of culture from ancient Mesopotamia and onward it seems that religion was simply an evolving idea, one in which places Christ as simply one of the developments of this cognitive evolution of ideas. So we began as primitive belief in our surroundings and in spirits controlling our environment. This developed to a form of theism which was rooted in lore. This then progressed to absolute polytheism and then to hierarchical polytheism which emphasized one of the gods being greater than the others. This then of course became monotheism and the rest his history (all the way to enlightened atheism). This understanding of the development of religion and cognition made me to see the God of the bible as simply a development within the human psyche which in no way can be distinguished from the other religions and I saw this as a powerful argument that could not be answered by theists.

I'm not sure how this would be considered an argument for atheism. (Just because an idea evolved doesn't mean it's more or less likely to be true, i don't think.)


3. When young, I began to give credence to evolution based on the indoctrination of it being a reality and not an hypothesis. This lead me to assume it's truth and to view reality through this lens. This is how I was able to come to the conclusions of the prior two questions. Because of this I believed evolution had a stronghold that could not be broken and so another great argumentation I used was that evolution was what most enlightened and all intelligent people believe. This of course would be the flat earth way of argumention, by saying that the majority consensus makes something inherently true, and this also assumes that most intellegent people do believe in evolution which is not what the polls would suggest, nor can it be proven because intellegence is a very opinionated arena as we have people who are intellegent about different things and others who think they are intellegent but could not think linearly to save thier life.

I don't know too much about evolution, but i don't see how it relates to atheism or theism, generally. Are you suggesting that there's a viable alternative to evolution that makes theism a better "bet" than atheism?

Offline jedweber

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #51 on: September 13, 2008, 02:10:30 PM »
I'm a little puzzled by your apparent insistence that evolution is somehow incompatible with the Bible. At most, it is merely incompatible with your particular interpretation of the Bible.

Of course, you're free to reach whatever conclusion you want about evolution. But you're not free to claim that it is a necessary conclusion for a Christian. In fact, it is not the position of most Christians.

Your parent church, the one that gave you your Bible, sees no inherent contradiction between faith and the science of evolution.* Neither do most of the mainstream Protestant denominations. Most Christian thinkers from mainstream traditions would say that if a strict literalist interpretation of the Bible conflicts with science and reality, that is because it is a theologically erroneous way of interpreting the Bible. Genesis was not meant to be a science manual. 

This is not a modern argument. I refer you back to St. Augustine, who 1500 years ago warned that Christians who insist on an overly literal reading of Genesis make fools of themselves and other Christians:

Quote
“It often happens that even a non-Christian knows a thing or two about the earth, the sky, the various elements of the world, about the movement and revolution of the stars and even their size and distance, about the nature of animals, shrubs, rocks, and the like, and maintains this knowledge with sure reason and experience. It is offensive and ruinous, something to be avoided at all cost, for a nonbeliever to hear a Christian talking about these things as though with Christian writings as his source, and yet so nonsensically and with such obvious error that the nonbeliever can hardly keep from laughing.

...they then try to defend their flippant, rash, and obviously erroneous statements by quoting a shower of words from those same Sacred Scriptures, even citing from memory those passages which they think support their case, ‘without understanding either what they are saying or things about which they make assertions’ (I Tim. 1:7)”  -- Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis

http://dracil.wordpress.com/2008/04/22/st-augustine-on-using-the-bible-against-evolution/

http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/14745.htm

Isn't it possible that the Bible itself is not in error, but your strictly literalist reading of it that leads to creationism is?

*There may indeed be a conflict between Christian faith and atheistic philosophical conclusions that some people may draw from evolution. But these have nothing to do with evolutionary science, which is not inherently theistic NOR atheistic. To say that evolution is necessarily atheistic is a falsehood, and to say otherwise suggests that you fail to understand it, or are deliberately misrepresenting it.

Offline Hermes

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #52 on: September 13, 2008, 04:53:34 PM »
But when I examine the Bible I do not consult an unbeliever (just like when you study evolution you don't consult a Christian), nor do I rely on a liberal Christian who is basically an unbeliever who likes to study the Bible for its ethcial reasons.

Is that because you only ...

I dig into the Hebrew and Greek. I read every book and every passage. I find what seems to be inconsistencies and so I consult an actual biblical scholar commentary (just as you would contact a specialist in any field) to see if they have a reasonable and plausible explanation which shows that there is no inconsistencies.

?

If so, a note on not consulting any non-original source would be appropriate as a clarification.

If not, then you're leaving out potentially valid insights based on specific knowledge that a believer may not consider (but may still be consistent with being a believer).

If you think that is not possible, then I have nothing more to add as commentary to this preference. 

I have done this same thing in many other worldviews including atheism and evolution.

A story on 'worldviews'.  Something I wrote in another thread but seems to apply here as well;

Quote
This conversation reminds me of a course I took in college.  It was a survey and discussion course that changed with each professor that gave it.  As the survey was required, I was forced to take it -- and that semester the survey course was on feminism.

Before the course, I had neutral to positive ideas about feminism.  Women should have pride and rights, so if they have a separate subject area to work within that's a good thing so that they can build up a core to work from.

When I took the course, I found that it was internally consistent and had some interesting topics.  It also rejected a few ideas that were considered "male".  Guess what was at the top of the list?  Logic.

Though I am male myself, and was constantly called out for being wrong (after all, I was a male and by definition wrong), I still ended up with a B in the class.

In these discussions, I'm not a Christian.  The Christians here also want to toss out logic, and in another thread one said they consider themselves delusional and thus don't need to give any reasons why they think as they do.  Yet, in both cases -- beyond logic or deluded -- they have the same problem the feminists did; how do you know what you know?  How do you decide anything?

It is telling that none have an answer to that beyond "I know" or "I believe".  Like the feminists, they have cut themselves off from a real conversation and insist on the power to assert whatever they wish without being questioned.

To tie this into 'worldviews', I find them as ways that whole groups of people and ideas can be dismissed without dealing with the knowledge they provide.  The perspective alone is determined to be enough to justify a bias, a bigotry, used to dismiss anything not in the preferred bubble.

I hope that dismissive attitide is not your point of view, but from what you have wrote I'm not at all encouraged.

FWIW: I'm far from the stereotypical atheist ... well, as far as any atheist probably is.  For me, I'm a registered Republican, pro-gun, pro-death penalty, pro-military, and pro-states rights.  Yet, when I am convinced of an error in my point of view, I correct it.  So, as an example, while I am pro-death penalty I realize that the facts are that capital punishment has not been applied evenly, fairly, or even justly.  People were getting executed when they have done nothing to justify that punishment; they were innocent or prosecuted for the wrong crime.

If I have any bias that I am proud of, it is for the truth with a small 't'; what are the facts?  If something is not in dispute, I will concede it no matter how it contradicts my wished for outcome.  Reality is the friend who tells you your shirt is ugly but only when it is.

Most atheists I speak to are either ignorant of the Bible, ignorant of hermeneutics (how to treat the Bible like a literary book when interpreting it) or they consult people who are not specialists of the Bible when they do any outside studies of it.

Most Christians, you will likely agree, are less informed than most atheists about the contents of your holy book -- quite a feat for the atheists in general as it's not even their book!

This is not critical study, this is guided study. Of course you're going to arrive in unbelief if you are consulting unbelievers about the Bible. Critical study would contact both sides or would be willing to look at what the actual specialists (many of whom are PhD's and have studied the Bible for decades). I've seen books which try to claim inconsistencies but these books themselves are inconsistent and fairly easily debunked.

Ah, so the point of view of the person with the information determines the results?  I have to disagree.   Ask the former Christians here if the Bible made them stronger believers or weaker ones.   Go ahead; ask!

While the source can be an influence on attitudes, it does not stop someone with a sharp mind and the ability to consult hard data and original sources.

So no, I am not a presupposionalists because I am willing to critically examine the Bible assuming that it is possible that it is not true while yet always coming to the conclusion that it is true, which I base not only on its own intricate value but on it explaining far better than anything else the world around me and why men do what they do, while at the same time (in my opinion) never being solidly disproved by those who say they have done so.

Continue your studies.  Dig deep.  When you complete them, tell us what you found beyond what you currently know.

Thanks for the question

Thank you for your response.  The details have been more enlightening to me than I expected.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline ic2705

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #53 on: September 13, 2008, 11:26:48 PM »
jedweber,


[quoteI'm a little puzzled by your apparent insistence that evolution is somehow incompatible with the Bible. At most, it is merely incompatible with your particular interpretation of the Bible.

Of course, you're free to reach whatever conclusion you want about evolution. But you're not free to claim that it is a necessary conclusion for a Christian. In fact, it is not the position of most Christians.

Your parent church, the one that gave you your Bible, sees no inherent contradiction between faith and the science of evolution.* Neither do most of the mainstream Protestant denominations. Most Christian thinkers from mainstream traditions would say that if a strict literalist interpretation of the Bible conflicts with science and reality, that is because it is a theologically erroneous way of interpreting the Bible. Genesis was not meant to be a science manual. 

This is not a modern argument. I refer you back to St. Augustine, who 1500 years ago warned that Christians who insist on an overly literal reading of Genesis make fools of themselves and other Christians:
][/quote]

There are many points here that I think are misleading. I do agree with your first point that, just like any interpreter of the Bible, my understanding comes from my interpretation. I also agree that there are many Christians who believe that evolution is consistent with belief in the Bible. I also agree with you that the Bible is not a science book or that Genesis was meant to be one.  But here is where I begin to disagree.

First, you say that most Christians would not conclude that evolution is incompatible with the Bible. This is an extremely controversial topic in Christendom and one where all Christians of all denominations fall on both sides. There is no proof nor statistics that would hold that most Christians believe either way. So this is a misleading statement. I do believe that a Christian can hold to a form of evolution and still be a believer in the Bible, but I also believe he has to compromise many clear statements in Scripture to do so.

Next, I'm not sure what you mean by parent church, but if you mean the Catholic church, this argument absolutely proves nor means anything. First, they did not give us the Bible. The Bible is a compilation of over 5,000 manuscripts some which were preserved by the Catholic church, and others which were found in the east, such as with the Orthodox church, and even some which were held by unbelievers where there was no affiliation. The Old Testament (more than half the Bible) is a Jewish document which existed before any Christian church did. It is true that the Catholic has preserved the Scriptures well for the rest of Christendom but this does not inherently make them authoritative, as can be seen by the Reformation where thousands broke away from the church based on disagreement with its interpretations of various text (mostly those based on salvation). As for your statement about most Protestant churches not finding evolution to be inconsistent with faith, this is begging for a reference for most that I have been involved with would disagree. You cannot just say things like "most of" without showing polls and statistics. This may be true for many more liberal Christians, but these would have problems with many other orthodox teachings and usually use modern schema to interpret Scripture by reading into Scripture instead of reading out of it.

As for your next statements about a strictly literalist way of interpreting the Bible now you are delving into the realm of hermeneutics which is an entire debate in itself. The position you are advocating for, the same postion St. Augustine held and even helped to promote is an allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures. This is in no way a majority view of the church. Very few hold to a strict literal view as is the language which most who allegorically interpret use. But instead those who would disagree with an interpreting the text allegorically would call their view the historical, grammatical view of interpretation. This means that they approach the Bible like any other work of literature. This leaves room to interpret each literary genre the way that is customary for that genre. The book of Psalms for instance, being a book of poetry, uses poetical devices which make it unique and different from narrative literature like the Gospels. So we would treat each book within the rules of each genre. We wouldn't take the Psalms literal as sometimes they use poetical devices that must be considered when bringing out the point of the passage. I could name you many biblical scholars who would take this approach as they believe the Bible should not be treated any differently than other literary books. We don't read other books, such as history books or philosophical books and try to allegorize them. We do however allegorize those books which were meant to be allegorized such as fiction and fantasy. The Bible falls into neither category (for those who take it seriously).

As for your quote of St. Augustine I think Augustine has a point if what is being argued is against obvious and proven reality. I never suggest that non-Christians do not know more about the certain aspects of the world than Christians. Christians do not have a monoply on the truth. That's why when  I go for a surgery I'm going to the best surgeon in town regardless of his beliefs. Science is real and many non-Christian scientists have an excellent grasp on real scientific matters. But I believe that evolution, falling the realm of the theoretical disciplines of science departs from scientific method in many aspects and thus I do not equate the two (Evolution=Science).But in using Augustine's quote it seems you are guilty of the very thing you are accusing me off. You are suggesting that a Christian should come to the conclusion that evolution is consistent with the Bible, just like you are saying that I'm suggesting the contrary. Augustine was a great theologian who contributed greatly to the Christian church but was in not right about everything. Many biblical scholars would disagree with his method of biblical interpretation: (Lewis Chafer; Dwight Pentecost; D.A Carson; Douglas Moo; John MacArthur; John Piper just to name a few).

Quote
Isn't it possible that the Bible itself is not in error, but your strictly literalist reading of it that leads to creationism is?

*There may indeed be a conflict between Christian faith and atheistic philosophical conclusions that some people may draw from evolution. But these have nothing to do with evolutionary science, which is not inherently theistic NOR atheistic. To say that evolution is necessarily atheistic is a falsehood, and to say otherwise suggests that you fail to understand it, or are deliberately misrepresenting it.

As for your first response here I would say that it is possible but highly unlikely that evolution can truly coincide with the Bible even without a strict literal reading. All that has to be made is observations of the Biblical text to show outright contradictions to the understandings of evolution.

Evolution would say that land animals came before birds
The Bible says that on the fifth day God created the creatures of the sea and the birds, and then on the sixth day he created the land animals. You do not have to be strict when interpreting to notice the glaring contradiction. To agree with evolution you must twist the Bible to fit into its scheme but there is nothing in the text itself to allow for this and thus you would be abusing the Bible. Even those who hold to allegorical interpretation work within rules that do not allow them to just do anything with a text.

Evolution would say the it took billions of years for the earth to even be habitable and then millions of more years for man to appear.
The Bible says that God created everything in 6 days. Now I understand the argument from the Hebrew about the word translated "day". It is possible to be referring to a nonspecific amount of time and is not necessarily referring to a day. And it may even be that a day in Genesis 1 is millenniums in our time. But all of this is not coherent with the context. Genesis 1 is clear to modify and explain what type of time span it is talking about when it uses the formula "and the evening and the morning were the first day." Because of this strong textual evidence that a literal day is being spoken of every Bible translation I have ever seen translates the Hebrew word to mean a day which consists of an evening and a night. Again, serious interpreting backflips have to be done to fit evolution into the Biblical account.

Evolution would say that thousands and thousands of species have completely died off before man even came onto the science (Dinosaurs being just an example of this).
The Bible says that Adam named all the creatures and thus is clear in saying that man has existed alongside every creature that has ever existed. Again, you could flip this to not mean the apparent meaning but the context nor the original language leaves little if any room for this.

These examples are simply details but there are things that are more important.
For example, the Bible says that God made man to rule over the creatures of the earth. This was man's purpose. Evolution would suggest that creatures have lived for millions of years without the rule of man and this would suggest that this would never have been man's purpose for he simply came into the picture along the way and is not an integral part of the world and God's plan.

Another glaring inconsistency is in the question of the dignity of man.
Evolution inherently suggests that man is no more important than animals for man is simply a glorified animal, one who is more intelligent but still just another animal. The Bible never suggests anything like this. In fact, the Bible says that man was made in God's image, and in the likeness of God. This not only distinguished man from animals but it gives him more inherent value. Based on the biblical account man was never an animal and it could never be suggested that the Biblical language leaves any possibilities for this type of interpretation of the Scriptures. In fact, the bible specifically states that man was created separately and differently from the animals. The animals were simply spoken into existence whereas man was made from dirt. If this is an allegory why even make a distinction? Most allegories make clear allusion to what is being allegorized unless the very point is missed. The reason for allegory is to make a point and there can be no point to be made from this distinction. The author of Genesis so wanted us to understand the distinct creation of man that he refers to it again in Genesis three when God says "From dirt you came and to dirt you will return." Allegory simply strips meaning from language and words and would say that God either didn't really say that, or didn't really mean that.


Next, evolution says that man and woman evolved at the same time.
The Bible says make an entire story out of the point that God made woman from the rib of man. The apostle Paul uses this fact to argue in the book of 1 Timothy that the woman was created after the man and so is for the man. The apostle Paul believed Genesis was an actual account of what happened and in fact based exhortation upon it (Paul has much more authority than Augustine to Christians).


The issue is not one of a literal or an allegorical interpretation it is about taking the rules of language seriously. For language to have meaning and to be understandable it must follow a set of grammatical rules that allow the hearer or reader to understand what is being said. What if using this entire response I spoke in gibberish. You would not be able to understand what I am saying much less get my message. But instead I am using the rules of our language to communicate to you my mind. Rules of language are integral for any communication or understanding to take place. But to accept evolution one has to ignore the biblical account of creation or has to completely disregard the rules of language. By doing this, one can make the Bible say whatever he wants it to say and then there is no order to interpretation. Genesis is not a science book but it is the biblical account as to how God created everything. Since evolution claims to have another account this opens up various suggestions as to the validity of the Bible and of God.

 The one point that I will concede to you is the point that you make about me not being free to claim that a Christian has no right to accept evolution as consistent with the Bible. Christians can use the Bible any way they want, but I would argue evolution is inherently anti-biblical.

Now the main reason that I insist on bringing up evolution when making my arguments is because evolution has given atheists a foundational philosophy on which to base atheism upon. Before evolution the atheists could simply just say "I just don't believe." Either because he didn't like the Bible, or the God of the Bible, or saw many hypocritical Christians or other reasons. But now with evolution they have a positive belief system to embrace as alternative to God. They can now actual give intelligent argumentation for a world without God, and because of this I find it sad that many Christians have comprised and attempted to fit evolution into the Bible and Christianity. Evolution gives credence to the world not needing a god. It gives the atheists a creation story; a basis to deny biblical morality and in fact embrace biblical immorality, particularly when it comes to sexual mores but there are other categories as well. Evolution allows the atheists to have a foundational philosophy for not believing in God and in fact is a good foundation if evolution is true. Any philosophy or worldview must be exposed at its foundations and to try to simply argue against atheism without including evolution would simply not be viable or productive. The real debate is not atheism vs. theism, if it were neither side could go very far for God cannot be adequately proven just as he cannot be disproven. Therefore the debate is a philosophical one, it is a debate of belief systems: Evolution vs. Christianity; Strict materialism vs. a spiritual reality; chance vs. volition.

I believe there are good Christians who hold to evolution but on this issue I think they are gravely wrong, although I can admit the possibility of me being wrong.

 So I would end with respectfully making this comment which is a direct response to your final statement: Evolution is not necessarily atheistic but is necessary not the correct representation of the God of the Bible, and to say otherwise suggests that you do not understand the Bible or are deliberately misrepresenting it.

Regards,
ic


« Last Edit: September 14, 2008, 12:47:28 AM by ic2705 »
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Offline Vynn

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #54 on: September 14, 2008, 12:39:48 AM »
The one point that I will concede to you is the point that you make about me not being free to claim that a Christian has no right to accept evolution as consistent with the Bible. Christians can use the Bible any way they want, but I would argue evolution is inherently anti-biblical.

Can you spread this around, more?

I think that if all christians thought this way there'd be a lot more atheists.

Offline ic2705

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #55 on: September 14, 2008, 12:51:41 AM »
Quote
But when I examine the Bible I do not consult an unbeliever (just like when you study evolution you don't consult a Christian)

Ken Miller does a superb job of understanding the biology and physics of evolution. So does, I think, Francis Collins. I'd consult either any day about evolutionary science.

You should change it to "ignorant christian" instead of christian.   



I agree that I mispoke and you are correct in what I should have said.

Thanks,
ic
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Offline kcrady

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #56 on: September 14, 2008, 12:56:36 AM »
Next, I'm not sure what you mean by parent church, but if you mean the Catholic church, this argument absolutely proves nor means anything. First, they did not give us the Bible. The Bible is a compilation of over 5,000 manuscripts some which were preserved by the Catholic church, and others which were found in the east, such as with the Orthodox church, and even some which were held by unbelievers where there was no affiliation. The Old Testament (more than half the Bible) is a Jewish document which existed before any Christian church did.

What I think he means is that it is the Roman Catholic Church that determined which books would be considered "Canon," and thus included in "the Bible."  They assert the right to do that based on the doctrine of "Apostolic succession," Jesus' grant of authority to Peter1 and that the Church itself (tradition, Church councils, the Pope speaking ex cathedra) is a legitimate source of spiritual authority.

Why is the Book of Revelation in your Bible, while the Didache is not?  Because the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church voted on which books were and were not "Canon."  This issue of which books ought to be "Canon" was contentious, and even now there are differences in "Canon" between Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, the Coptic Church, etc..  See Bart Ehrman's book Lost Scriptures.  It includes differing "Canon" lists from major Christian "Church Fathers," demonstrating that the selection process was not a ratification of the self-evident. 

"The Bible" we are most familiar with is a creature of the Roman Catholic Church, not the other way around.  If you try to assert that the RCC is not a legitimate source of spiritual authority (as you do when you reject their position on evolution), then you set dynamite under "the Bible" as well.  The Protestant doctrine of "Sola Scriptura" (as a rejection of the authority of the Catholic Church) is invalid, because the "Scriptures" themselves are a product of that authority.

NOTES:

1. "You are Peter, and on this rock I shall build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  Whatsoever you bind on Earth is bound in Heaven, and whatsoever you loose on Earth is loosed in Heaven."  I don't recall the chapter and verse offhand, but since you're a Bible scholar, you're probably at least as familiar with it as I am, if not more so.
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Offline Mar

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Re: A Biblical Scholar who can answer most of your questions
« Reply #57 on: September 14, 2008, 01:13:33 AM »
Just so you know. You don't have to respond to this. Read it in your free time. :D

ic2705
, I am not going to be rude to you, don't worry. I try to treat people like I want to be treated.

I will respond to some of the comments you made in your original post.

"I have noticed in many of my talks with scientists and other atheists that they do not treat Christian responses to their questions as intelligent or even possible."

Um, generalizations. You should avoid them.

Not all Christian responses are dumb. Some are well-thought out. Some are dumb, though. How they are treated has to do with personality, not whether someone is an atheist or scientist. Some people will answer the dumbest question like they would answer an intelligent question. If you ever saw me on the street (I'm agnostic, by the way) and asked me a dumb question, I would not mock you or anything. I'd answer it plain and simple and be on my way. I don't want to hurt people's feelings and I understand that I too ask stupid question sometimes.

And just so you know, even some Christians think that other Christians say stupid things. All Christians don't agree with each other, as you know. Ever heard of the Phelps family? Yeah. A lot of people think they say dumb things.

Also, please remember not to group atheists and scientists together. Some scientists ARE theists.

"This is contrary to the science you all hold so dearly."


Though a lot of atheists think science is a wonderful thing, you do not HAVE to like science to be an atheist. Atheism is the lack of belief in a God or Gods. That's it. You can be an atheist and not even believe in evolution.

Also, um, science is objective. Research is objective. Science can change. (These are good things) Just because some scientists laugh at stupid questions, it doesn't mean that science suddenly loses all of it's credibility. And I don't know if you realize it, but you are kind of implying that you don't hold science dear. Which is odd because everything around you (your computer, your mug of hot cocoa, your chair, etc.) has to do with science. You might be taking medication. That has to do with science. If you are -- God forbid -- hit by a bus and taken to an emergency room, science may keep you alive. Science helps the human race survive. It makes us asks questions and it prevents us from being mindless robots who will believe everything we hear. (As you know, you can't believe everything you hear. If someone tells you that jumping off of a bridge will save the human race, you are going to ask some questions.) Science is a good thing. You should value it. Without it, many of us would be dead, I assure you. Again, science has nothing to do with atheism. And you can be a religious person who values science. Science = life.

"Though I realize my responses to your questions will mostly not be accepted"


Don't assume that we will not accept your responses. If they are well-thought out, we will consider them. Us atheists/agnostics are open to new ideas, I assure you. We want to know more about the world like you do. Do remember though that we may have heard some of the things you will say before. :D

"I wish to prove that there are intelligent and thoughtful responses that at the least pose possibilities"


We agree. :D We believe that some things are possible. We just need evidence to actually believe them.

"For example, I assume that not all things have to be scientifically proven to be true or believable. Because of this I can believe in the supernatural knowing that there may be much more than even this very realm which we can observe."


By your logic, you should believe in fairies, leprechauns, Santa Claus...basically anything. If someone tells you to kill yourself in 24 hours or a demon will swallow up the universe, you are telling me that it makes absolute sense to shoot yourself in the face. That's not how the world works and you know it. Personally, I believe that ghosts COULD exist. However, I don't believe they exist. Why? Not enough evidence. You can believe that things COULD exist. However, without evidence, they may or may not exist and they are not even worth worrying about.

"On the contrary, you assume that science is the absolute decider of all truth."

Science helps us to determine what's what when it comes to our world. (i.e. like the fact that you shouldn't purposefully fall from a tall building) Like I said before, it's a good thing. You rely on it, whether you believe it or not. Please stop making it out like it's a bad thing because it isn't. And it's not an assumption either. Science is objective. If you choose to believe in the supernatural without evidence, YOU are being subjective, and, therefore, assuming. You cannot compare your beliefs to science. It just doesn't work. Also, remember, that science does not admit to knowing everything and it DOES change. And we WILL change our views when we have evidence.

Also, science cannot decide everything, anyway. For example, science is not going to help us with establishing morals.

"The rest of your post"


::sigh:: Could you stop with the assumptions? You're hurting my brain. Let me break this down for you: WE NEED EVIDENCE. Science isn't "our Bible" or anything. We just need evidence. If you tell us that there is an invisible purple elephant on your back that will send us to Hell for not believing in it, we need EVIDENCE like you would need evidence if we said that. You don't believe in everything. I assure you if you did you'd be in a mental institution. (One word: Cthulhu. ::shrudders::)

How do you know there is a "meaning of existence" in the first place? Perhaps there is none. ::sigh:: There are Christian evolutionists. Evolution does not explain how everything came to be like creationism does, just so you know. Evolution just says that creatures evolve. We don't know how everything came to be and we are trying to figure that out. If creationism turns out to be right, then we will all accept it. But there is no evidence. Currently, your creationsim story sounds like the creationism story of every other religion.

In conclusion: We need evidence. If God pops his head out of the clouds and says "Hey bitches!" that is enough evidence. And remember EVIDENCE. Science often provides us with evidence. That's why it rocks. Science isn't the antithesis of religion. However, it can make religion seem less credible, I will admit. Nothing is wrong with that, though.

You don't have to respond to this, by the way. Because I do realize that I wrote a lot. Just let it invade your mind. XD
« Last Edit: September 14, 2008, 01:18:03 AM by Mar »
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