Re: Spirituality Outside of the US.

Another blog (by the same person as the other one) about a tv show and another long reply:

“To assume that the earth is billions of years old requires faith and since I don’t base my knowledge on faith, rather empirical evidence (that means its testable) then it doesn’t matter how many “scientists” get together and say “We believe blah blah blah based on blah blah blah.”

You denounce the estimates of the age of the earth as faith based assumptions, then immediately dismiss the evidence they’re based on.  Assumptions and conclusions based on evidence are two different things.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too.  Either it’s a conclusion based on bad evidence or an assumption based on ideology.  Of course it’s neither, which is evidenced by the fact that even the vast, overwhelming majority of religious scientists in relevant fields agree with their estimates (and often are the ones who developed the science they’re based on).

“Not to mention that they continuously change the age of the earth and there are plenty of scientists who disagree.”

You are insinuating that these dates are in conflict, when they usually aren’t.  Different evidence is used to establish the ages of different things.  The US constitution can be dated back to 1787 via carbon dating.  That doesn’t prove the world is 226 years old, but it proves it must be at least that old.  Older artifacts push that figure back further and further.  That an older artifact gives an older age is not a contradiction, nor does it invalidate the first piece of evidence.  If we find a rock older than any other rock we’ve ever found, we adjust the estimate accordingly.  But we don’t say the earth is that old and no older, we say it’s at least that old.

“In fact the margin of error “4.6 billion give or take a few million years” is humongous. Not scientific at all. That’s like saying “oh you’re 20 years old, give or take 100 years.”

Actually the latest estimate is 4.54 billion plus or minus .05 billion years, which is a margin of error of 1.1%, not 500%, as in your ridiculous example.  If it was a margin of error of 500% that would be silly.  But it’s not.  It’s the equivalent of saying “You’re 20 years old, give or take 2.6 months”.

“Anyways. Back to the idea of spirituality and Christianity. There was one woman on the program who said that she was not a Christian, rather she was a follower of God and Christ and a believer in the Bible. Whenever she spoke, the other side could do nothing but roll their eyes and shake their heads. At the same time I rolled my eyes and shook my head, but not in agreement with the secular side. It amazes me that people who claim to be so open could be so close-minded.”

So rolling their eyes at a religious point of view makes them amazingly closed-minded, but you rolling your eyes at them makes you what exactly?  A scholar?

“The woman’s child died and her faith in God INCREASED. Why is that?”

It’s called belief perseverance in psychology, it applies to many views, not just religious ones.  People tend to believe things more strongly when confronted with conflicting evidence, especially if they’ve publicly stated their beliefs.  It’s a form of denial.

“She said she speaks with God, which is true I can attest to that in some form or another.”

I’d love to get everybody who says they talk to god in a room and ask them to go home and ask god what denomination is the right one, what version of the bible is the right one, and what god thinks about gays, abortion etc.  Then have them come back the next day and argue about the completely contradictory “responses”.

If even half the people who say they talked to god really did, christians would be a lot more on the same page about the big questions.

“What can you say in the light of personal testimony?”

Lots of things.

“Scientists testify all the time. The earth is billions of years old. Look at this rock I dated.”

That isn’t a subjective impression, it’s objective, testable, verifiable evidence.

“Were you there when the rock was laid down? Did you see it?”

So you’re saying any evidence older than you is invalid because you didn’t personally see things that happened before your birth?  So the bible is horseshit?  You weren’t there for any of it.  The civil war never happened either, right?  Or the holocaust.  Or ice ages.  And one orbit of pluto is about 250 years, so I guess it’s never gone around the sun because you weren’t there to see it.  

Very reasonable.

If you come home one day and there’s a baseball in your living room that you don’t own, all the doors are locked and a window is broken in a baseball-shaped hole, do you conclude that god must’ve created your house with the baseball in it and created you with false memories of a baseball-free home sometime that day? 

Same logic.

“Did you see this Big Bang you try so hard to prove?”

If you knew anything about the science you attack, you’d know that every astronomer has, in fact, seen the big bang since it’s still observably happening as we speak.  The universe is expanding right now, we can measure it and everything. 

“Seriously. The woman was there and heard the voice of God, and she’s not the only one.”

Hell, yahweh isn’t the only god people hear.  Hindus stress a personal relationship with their deities, even believing in household gods and many cultures perform rituals to commune with and gain wisdom from the spirits of their ancestors.  Apparently the sky is a crowded place.

“Moving on.  Back to the show. So this one evangelical stands up, he says two words and sits back down. On the other side there is a panel of geologists, biblical scholars, physicists, scholars. And on the other side there is a catholic priest, a few religious scholars and a random practitioner from the audience. Complete bias.”

How the hell is that biased?  Sounds pretty even-handed to me.

“The host is educated in all the atheist counter arguments and clearly supports the Secular side. Not only that, but he allows interruption after interruption and even applauds the other side. It’s clear where he stands.”

So a secular show where the host is secular and the religious side is very well represented with a whole panel of religious advocates is sickeningly biased, but the probably 99% of religious shows where only one side is ever represented is fine?  Isn’t that offensive too?  If not then you’re the one who is biased.

I on the other hand am used to people not agreeing with me.

“And why is this program even allowed to air on BBC? Is that amount of bias okay?”

Why do I have the feeling that if they’d been biased in the opposite direction you’d somehow be okay?

“But here’s what I hated about the religion side. Most of the people doing the most talking were not truly converted or had never really experienced God, were not filled with the Holy Spirit (oh you can tell) and frankly had no reason to believe in their religion. I’m not a Christian because I chose to be! I didn’t delude myself into believing in God! My life was changed back when I was eight and I realized the true danger I was in, but that didn’t stop me from sinning when I became an adult. I would have gone to Hell if it had not been for the Holy Spirit literally picking me up off of my seat and tossing me around like a rag doll. Most Christians are really deluded and believe that saying that you believe in something actually makes you a Christian. But why do you believe???? I don’t believe there is an invisible unicorn chewing on my toe. There has to be some kind of evidence and that evidence has to happen to me before I can believe. But the worst part is, most people think that if they continue saying they believe that somehow they will get into heaven.”

All christians think they’re the only “real” christians.  I agree that cultural/indoctrinated christians and born-agains are altogether different breeds.

“That’s ridiculous. Confess and believe in your heart. That means that just like the bowl of cereal that you eat out of, God is real. just like the couch that you sit on, God is real. In that case it wouldn’t be belief. I don’t “believe” in couches. I don’t “believe” in cereal bowls, they just are. And the same is true for God. God is. And people who change their “beliefs” never “believed” in the first place.”

Bowls and cereal exist independent of individual experience and can be equally observed by everyone regardless of their culture or worldview.  Gods cannot be observed and events and feelings attributed to them cannot be causally linked to them.  People say “I’ve seen god cure sick people” but that god had anything to do with it is always an assumption, or a conclusion based on faulty reasoning like the post hoc fallacy.

“And it not like there isn’t plenty of evidence either! Even secular scientist acknowledge the existence of God by acknowledging that Jesus existed. It’s not a “belief,” it is an absolute fact that Jesus existed! And there is evidence! So what? Do you still “believe”? Ridiculous. “

That a man named jesus existed and that he was the son of god are two different things.  Alexander the great was said to be the son of god, born of a virgin and immaculately conceived.  He was even said to have fulfilled prophecies, some from the bible.  Why don’t modern scholars believe this?  Because he was said to be the son of zeus.

“So back to the show. Of course no one on the other side was really adamant about their beliefs because they were not true believers. The Muslims are ridiculous. I don’t see how they can even maintain this farce of a religion. Islam is absolutely the most ridiculous religion ever. Here’s why. 1. The prophet Muhammed is Dead.”

Aren’t the gospel writers dead?  And isn’t jesus dead and in heaven?

“2. They believe that the Bible has some truth.  Enough said. You took your beliefs from another religion.  So why is only part of the Bible true and the rest untrue?”

Learn the history of your own religion, the new testament and the koran are both based on the torah, the founding texts of judaism.  And the torah is based on older texts like the code of hammurabi (golden rule, eye for an eye etc) and the epic of gilgamesh (flood story and adam and eve).

“Do you have proof? Really, you can’t have it both ways. Either all of it is true or none of it is true. Same goes for the Bible.”

Nah, some could be true and some could be false, mis-translated, copied incorrectly, or incorrectly included in the compilation.  The bible is after all many texts, and many more were excluded.

“Which brings me to my next point. Literal interpretation of the Bible. What?  You mean to say that you don’t think that the Word of God, breathed and handed down through generations unaltered (Dead Sea Scrolls), eyewitness testimony from people who literally walked with Jesus and talked to Jesus, is a story????? Adam and Eve are a story? Wha? I can’t.”

Actually the bible has been heavily altered from earlier texts, and the new testament itself is an alteration of earlier doctrines.

“The first words of Genesis don’t say “Once upon a time,” and they certainly don’t leave any room for anything but a literal interpretation.”

In my christian school they taught me about different types of literature.  Fables, they taught me, contain exaggerated or fantastic events and characters, the most common of which are talking animals.  The bible has a talking snake and a talking donkey, enchanted trees and many other fantastic things.  It is as easy to take figuratively as the three little pigs or little red riding hood.

“God made. That’s it. God said and it was. “And these are the generations of man.” Does that even sound like a story to you???”

Uh, yeah.

“But they insist that anyone who doesn’t read this as a story is completely stupid. Not only that, but if Adam and Eve were a story, then what about everyone who follows after them? Are they made up? Is Abraham a story? And if its a story, why go through all the trouble of listing generations and geneology and denoting real places and geography. No. It’s not a story. It’s real.”

Nearly all fictional stories mention real places, peoples, cultures, languages and historical events.  And here’s the genealogy of the greek gods.  If someone took the bother to write it down must it be true also?

“I just can’t believe the audacity that people have. I mean, how can you be so sure about something you know no thing about??”

You seem to manage just fine.

“The secular side cherry picked verses and claimed them as proof of contradiction (of course taken out of context anything can be contradictory). The Bible wasn’t even originally divided into verses, so reading it verse by verse is wrong in the first place. And its really easy to tell the difference between a parable and history in the Bible. Just ask any kid in Sunday School.”

Hang on, I thought that the entire bible was literal history, now you’re saying when it suits you some parts aren’t?

“At this rate, Christianity will be dead overseas in a few hundred years. Why? Because people don’t have the Holy Spirit.”

If christianity goes extinct like all the other religions wouldn’t that suggest it’s just another incorrect religion?

“But the Bible says it, so I’m not really surprised.”

Oh it says a lot of things.

“In fact, the state of the world as it is now doesn’t surprise me a bit. Evil is running rampant and people are sicker and more depressed than ever. Wars, famine, drought, earthquakes, floods. There is no surprise there.”

This is like pointing to the fact that it rains occasionally as though that proves something about the state of the world.  There has never been a time in human history where somebody wasn’t at war with somebody or building up to war or just having finished a war, and where there wasn’t too much rain somewhere and not enough someplace else.  These are constants, they mean exactly nothing.

“Am I worried, nope. I already know that this world is temporary. We pay for our sins, then we move on to glory. Those who refuse to acknowledge their sins, well they won’t move on.”

Glad to know you have an “I’ve got mine Jack” philosophy.

About agnophilo

Nerd.
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17 Responses to Re: Spirituality Outside of the US.

  1. TheSutraDude says:

    There are Sherlock Holmes clubs in which the members believe and argue adamantly Sherlock Holmes really existed. The stories included real places and objects that really existed like horse-drawn buggies, snakes, trains, pipes and violins. I love Sherlock Holmes stories. If I’ve not read all of them I’ve read almost all of them and I’ve read many several times. There are things one can learn from them but none of that makes it non-fiction. I’ve no reason to doubt Jesus existed but there have been many facts about his life omitted likely because they contradicted a religious-political agenda and as you point out there have been sections and entire books of the Bible omitted. My mom now reads the New American Bible version because it suits her ideas more closely. It’s not like she can’t understand the King James version. Her father was a minister and her husband, my dad was a minister. 

  2. 😉 I enjoyed this post…

  3. Is that you-know-who, again??? O.o

  4. agnophilo says:

    Do they argue it for fun or really believe it?@Sisterinchrst – Thank you.@sacredrendezvous – I don’t know, who do I know it is?

  5. agnophilo says:

    @sacredrendezvous – I don’t believe so, but I can see how you may have gotten that impression from some of it.

  6. Hunt4Truth says:

    I think that the Christian brother is working on his science the hard way. Oh well, I hope that you enjoyed yourself Mark. I did learn some things reading what you’ve said. This time, I read his argument before your comments in with it. It doesn’t make scientific sense to me and it doesn’t make Christian biblical sense to me either.

  7. First of all, there is SO much in this post that could be discussed and it would take a while… …but what I want to interject is that – Science vs. Faith…Scientist may say they don’t have faith. Yet they say the earth began in one big bang…(Genesis was written before scientist could come up with that thought with all the nano radiation this and that) In all actuality, Scientist DO have faith…They just place it in soundless – hypothetical doctrines…for instance, Darwin. He believed in and discovered evolution. It is proven, that people and animals adapt to environments, take someone from Siberia and transplant then in the jungle of South America and over time they will grow accustomed…now, it’s ever so slight, this change…matter of fact, so slight that it’s hardly noticeable in our ancestral skeletal remains/fossils. There is no skeletal proof  – of coarse they compare ours to that of apes…but when you look at other species, there just other species…it’s hard to actually connect the dots as Darwin tried to do…I do believe we are adaptive just like animals…We are actually witnessing something now…Polar Bears…the ice is melting faster and faster and soon they will be forced on land to hunt…will they adapt? or will they become extinct? If man doesn’t intervene, which we probably will, we would be able to witness a natural adaption of the polar bear…or it’s extinction…I can draw conclusions and hypothesis all day long – doesn’t mean they are facts…merely opinion and at best educational guesses… Anyway, I believe scientist have their part/roll to play but faith in God is each persons option. Either you believe or you don’t…The choice is always yours and yours alone…((Thanks for letting me speak my thoughts on this))

  8. agnophilo says:

    @Hunt4Truth – What doesn’t make scientific sense?@Sisterinchrst – “First of all, there is SO much in this post that could be discussed and it would take a while…”Feel free.”…but what I want to interject is that – Science vs. Faith…Scientist may say they don’t have faith. Yet they say the earth began in one big bang…”Most scientists in the US are christian, and the big bang theory was originally called the hypothesis of the primeval atom and it was first proposed by this guy, a priest in italy who also had a PhD in physics and taught it at a christian college.  The myth that the big bang theory is the atheist view of cosmology, is anti-god or hostile to religion in any way is just bullshit spin promoted by evangelists to poison people against science.  That being said, as I said in the blog the big bang is observably happening right now.  It’s observable reality not “faith”.  And the earth didn’t start with the big bang, the universe did.  The earth formed much later by unrelated mechanisms.”(Genesis was written before scientist could come up with that thought with all the nano radiation this and that)” Your point?”In all actuality, Scientist DO have faith…They just place it in soundless – hypothetical doctrines…”Soundless?  Do you mean unsound?  And science is the process of rigorously testing hypotheses.  A hypothesis isn’t accepted in science until strong experimental evidence can be brought to bear in favor of it.  It’s the opposite of faith (belief without evidence).  If science worked the way you imagine the world would be falling apart.”for instance, Darwin. He believed in and discovered evolution. It is proven, that people and animals adapt to environments,” How is something proven an example of blind faith?”take someone from Siberia and transplant then in the jungle of South America and over time they will grow accustomed…”No they won’t.  Transplant ten thousand people and wait many generations and then they will.”now, it’s ever so slight, this change…matter of fact, so slight that it’s hardly noticeable in our ancestral skeletal remains/fossils. There is no skeletal proof” And how many fossils of our ancestors are you familiar with?  Here are some.  The first is a modern chimpanzee for comparison.  No, we didn’t evolve from chimpanzees but our ancestors at one point were a lot more like them than modern humans.  Here‘s how the cranial capacity changed over time.  Still think there’s no evidence? “- of coarse they compare ours to that of apes…”Humans are apes right now, the same way cats are felines and dogs are canines (or canids to be more accurate).  Ape is synonymous with “primate” and refers to us, chimps, gorillas and other species.  Your parents were both apes and so are you.  In the same sense that they’re both mammals, just like dogs, cats and thousands of other species.  These terms denote levels of inherited similarity, and humans have a common ancestry with not just chimps and gorillas, but all life on earth.  Which is why we are so anatomically similar to so many creatures in the animal kingdom.  If you have a dog or a cat, out of curiosity some time do an inventory of your body and theirs, and tell me how many parts of your anatomy your dog or cat doesn’t have some equivalent of, and visa versa.  If you can find 3 I’d be impressed.  You say that the differences in the fossil record are minor – chimps share 95% of their DNA with us, how major should the changes be?  It’s not like they’ve got tentacles or something.”but when you look at other species, there just other species…it’s hard to actually connect the dots as Darwin tried to do…”The great thing about science is that it doesn’t connect the dots – it predicts where the dots should be before they’re discovered.  Darwin didn’t dig up fossils and speculate about their origins, he predicted what should be in the fossil record – creatures that don’t exist in nature and had never been found in the fossil record up to that point.  For instance he said if birds descended from land animals which have five digits on their fore-limbs across the animal kingdom then birds must have at one time had separate digits in their wings.  No modern bird has digits in it’s wings, and no fossil like that had been found.  This is a huge deal, because if we don’t find it then evolution is wrong.  It has to exist if birds descended from land animals.  Two years after darwin published the prediction the first archeopteryx was discovered.  It’s a dinosaur with feathered wings which have five digits in each wing and each digit has a claw on the end.Science is prophecy.  It’s learning so much about what we know now that you can predict the future.  Einstein had to predict the exact angle light would bend around the sun from a star behind the sun during an upcoming eclipse before anybody would take his theory of relativity seriously.  Darwin had to predict an extinct species unlike anything anybody had ever seen before (among other predictions).  Both predictions, if wrong, had the potential to destroy their theories.This is how science works.  Creationists complain about gaps in the fossil record and say that they falsify the theory of evolution.  They don’t realize without the theory of evolution we wouldn’t even know there are any gaps or where they are or what fits into them.  But as gap after gap gets filled in and prediction after prediction comes true creationists just claim the evidence doesn’t exist and rely on people being too ignorant to know better.”I do believe we are adaptive just like animals…We are actually witnessing something now…Polar Bears…the ice is melting faster and faster and soon they will be forced on land to hunt…will they adapt? or will they become extinct? If man doesn’t intervene, which we probably will, we would be able to witness a natural adaption of the polar bear…or it’s extinction…”Over 99.9% of the species that have ever existed are extinct.  Life goes on not because species don’t ever go extinct or fail to adapt, but because before they go extinct they branch off into entire families of species.  Evolution is like a family tree, some branches peter out, but there are always other branches.  If polar bears go extinct, sad though that is from an environmental standpoint, black bears and grizzly bears and panda bears and the rest will keep on going.  And eventually all of them will die out too, but by then barring some mass extinction that wipes everything out, there will be new kinds of bears, or bear-like creatures  Or the entire line will die out as many vast sections of the family tree of life have died out before (the dinosaurs are just the ones people who don’t study this stuff know about, there are many other groups just as diverse which no longer exist).”I can draw conclusions and hypothesis all day long – doesn’t mean they are facts…merely opinion and at best educational guesses…”Science doesn’t work that way.  A hypothesis is only taken seriously once tests can be brought to bear.”Anyway, I believe scientist have their part/roll to play but faith in God is each persons option. Either you believe or you don’t…The choice is always yours and yours alone…”I am ethnically prohibited from believing in that which I cannot find logical or empirical support for.  To me truth is the foundation of morality and to believe something because I want to or because I’m just going along with my peers or because it’s how I was raised or because I’m afraid is an abdication of ethical responsibility.  To quote thomas jefferson, “Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind.”  You strike me as a nice and kind person.  But it’s despite your religion as much as it is because of it.  For every passage you find inspiring about beauty and love there’s another passage about hate and fear that under other circumstances, with other parents, growing up going to another church, could’ve lead you down an entirely different path.  And that I find terrifying.So no offense but I’m going to avoid faith like the plague if it’s all the same and weigh claims about the world and meaning and morality very carefully.”((Thanks for letting me speak my thoughts on this))”Thanks for not blocking me the second I said something a teensy bit contrary.  I often get that response.  And by the way I’m sorry if I was rude to you anywhere in this.  I don’t know what’s come over me lately I don’t usually stand on my soapbox and lecture people like this. 

  9. Hunt4Truth says:

             what?  You took it apart already

  10. Table54 says:

    After reading this post and the long response above, we at Table 54 can think of only one reply.  HUH?!-Y

  11. Hunt4Truth says:

    Earleir, I said “what?  You took it apart already”I thought you wondered how I might critique his science. BUTI get it now. I’d meant that the Christian brothers science didn’t make sense to me.

  12. Hunt4Truth says:

    re: “Einstein had to predict the exact angle light would bend around the sun from a star behind the sun during an upcoming eclipse before anybody would take his theory of relativity seriously.” It was though that space-time is flat. Orbiting  masses actually follow a straight path in four-dimensional space-time. Einstein proved by the experiment that gravity is a consequence of the fact that space-time is not flat. It is warped by the distribution of mass and energy that is within it. This had to be accomplished in order to resolve that objects attract each other with a force that depends on the distance between them. Newton’s theory of gravity was an approximation that works when gravity is relatively weak. It breaks down when gravity is strong. This is because time-space is warped. 

  13. Hunt4Truth says:

    By the way, I love this: “Glad to know you have an “I’ve got mine Jack” philosophy.”

  14. No worries, our thinking is what makes us all different…I have my opinions and you have yours, doesn’t mean we can’t be adults and agree to disagree on certain things… 🙂 I’m fascinated by Science and History, space and time…I’m a novice at best – but I read things and then draw my conclusions from that – I try not to let what others say influence my way of thinking…Hope you have a good day…

  15. Table54 says:

    We at Table 54 just realized who you’re dealing with here.  Good Luck.  We’ve been there, done that.-Y

  16. striemmy says:

    To the bit about getting all christians on the same page, you’re correct if and only if god would view these questions, their answers and these issues in general as relevant. 

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