Religion and science are not comparable.

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Stephen Sossna:
I disagree with the "science" itself evolving. The scientific worldview evolves, but the scientific method remains constant. Even if the scientific worldview would completely match up with the worldview of a religion, the scientific method would still not be that religion.

Yes, that would have been better phrased as evolving understanding rather than evolving process.

Stephen Sossna:

So, your position is that god does not directly interfere with this world? And how does one tell a "supernatural" event from a natural one?

God does take action in this world. But he does not micromanage every Hurricane.

To recap from my first post, a supernatural event has:
1) Messengers/Prophets sent to warn the people of the coming destruction. (Not the "End is Nigh" guys at the end of the street, but people with the ability to prophesy, work miracles, and gifted with wisdom. These are not the kind of people you see everyday.)
2) Everyone is offered the chance to repent and be spared.
3) Only the Evil are killed.
4) The righteous and innocent are spared.

Every time supernatural events are done in the Bible, it's extremely obvious, so that there can be no doubt.

In short, God lets people know beforehand by yelling into a bullhorn. :P

Stephen Sossna:

So is going to heaven just a natural consequence of loving god, or has god made it so that you need to love him, or else be damned?

The former.

But to address a misconception about the latter, every choice in life has consequences. Good or Bad. Choices without consequence are empty (red paint vs. blue paint, it's just a coat of paint that meant nothing to how you lived your life).

The Bible states that everything good comes from God. To be apart from God, is to be apart from everything good. I see hell less as "punishment from God", and more "you get what you ask for, if you choose to be apart from God you'll get your wish*". It is the natural consequence of choosing not to love God, to thus be put in a world without God.

*To be apart from everything good.... A place where Love does not exist, where Compassion, Honesty, Hope, Faithfulness do not exist. Make no mistake, hell is a terrible place to be.

If he forced everyone to go to heaven, that would deny the choice, deny free will and deny love. God loves people too much to do that, even if that means letting some go to hell by their own choosing.

So in short, it's not "...else be damned" as much as "...face the natural consequence of your choice".

Stephen Sossna:

I seems to me you misunderstand what a fable is. A fable is quite psrecisely something that "contains" truth, i.e. a message about how live is, without actually recounting "true" events. You can consider humanity in need of saving without believing that Adam and Eve were actual persons.

Dictionary.com:
fable
noun
1.a short tale to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters; apologue: the fable of the tortoise and the hare; Aesop's fables.
2.a story not founded on fact: This biography is largely a self-laudatory fable.
3.a story about supernatural or extraordinary persons or incidents; legend: the fables of gods and heroes.
4.legends or myths collectively: the heroes of Greek fable.
5.an untruth; falsehood:

There are a lot of falsehood definitions in there. So that is what I usually expect people to be saying when I hear "Fable".

The Gospel Luke gives the genealogy of Christ back to Adam. A genealogy is the last thing you'd expect out of a fable. When you write a genealogy, it's to show relationships between actual people, not hypothetical or mythical fable stand-ins. If Adam was not a real person, then what was the point of the genealogy?

I think the genealogy was put there to affirm that these were actual people, and that Christ didn't just come from nowhere, instead he was the exact fulfillment of all the genealogy promises in the old testament.

Silvanus:

Those who do not experience natural disasters are as capable of experiencing love as those who do. Many millions throughout history have lived their lives without even knowing natural disasters happen-- and they were perfectly capable of love.

I'd also like to ask why natural disasters are so unequal-- they batter some countries time after time after time, while others hardly ever get hit at all. If they have a purpose, and God (of course) allows them to occur, why the massive discrepancies?

I never said that natural disasters are required for love. Yet there are opportunities to love even in the tragedies of life (neighbors helping each other, people risking their lives to save others from flood waters/volcanoes/etc). So often people look at the bad but completely ignore all good things being done in troubling times.

The world is fallen, not "fair".

God is not a god of uniformity. He has justice, but that is not a tally to make sure everyone receives the same amount of everything. Love does not "keep score", it does not envy.

Quite frankly, I think an existence where everything was fair and equal would be boring.

Silvanus:
Come to think of it, if there would have been no natural disasters without the Fall, that must mean the moon's gravitational field would work differently, there would be no plate tectonics, etc-- these disasters are connected directly to the natural state of the planet and moon. Do you believe the entire earth was remade after the Fall?

Not so much the "earth remade" as "the whole universe cracked down the middle". Genesis hints at Heaven and Earth being two universes intertwined, that existed in perfection in the Garden. In the fall, those two universes were separated, with drastic consequences (that is, natural consequences of separation, not "punishment") for the Earth-universe. In that context, the Earth before the fall could have been very different then the one we observe today.

skywolfblue:

I never said that natural disasters are required for love. Yet there are opportunities to love even in the tragedies of life (neighbors helping each other, people risking their lives to save others from flood waters/volcanoes/etc). So often people look at the bad but completely ignore all good things being done in troubling times.

Do those good things make the bad things worthwhile? Most sufferers of natural disasters wouldn't say so.

skywolfblue:
The world is fallen, not "fair".

God is not a god of uniformity. He has justice, but that is not a tally to make sure everyone receives the same amount of everything. Love does not "keep score", it does not envy.

If he is so profoundly unfair, then he's not what I would consider just.

skywolfblue:
Quite frankly, I think an existence where everything was fair and equal would be boring.

I didn't say I wanted "everything [to be] fair and equal".

I would prefer it if natural disasters did not constantly afflict the poorest nations on earth, though.

skywolfblue:

Not so much the "earth remade" as "the whole universe cracked down the middle". Genesis hints at Heaven and Earth being two universes intertwined, that existed in perfection in the Garden. In the fall, those two universes were separated, with drastic consequences (that is, natural consequences of separation, not "punishment") for the Earth-universe. In that context, the Earth before the fall could have been very different then the one we observe today.

Interesting. Do you have any evidence?

skywolfblue:

God does take action in this world. But he does not micromanage every Hurricane.

To recap from my first post, a supernatural event has:
1) Messengers/Prophets sent to warn the people of the coming destruction. (Not the "End is Nigh" guys at the end of the street, but people with the ability to prophesy, work miracles, and gifted with wisdom. These are not the kind of people you see everyday.)
2) Everyone is offered the chance to repent and be spared.
3) Only the Evil are killed.
4) The righteous and innocent are spared.

Every time supernatural events are done in the Bible, it's extremely obvious, so that there can be no doubt.

In short, God lets people know beforehand by yelling into a bullhorn. :P

Thanks for explaining. We could be discussing at length how something not itself physical affects the physical world, or how an omnipotent being is or is not responsible for everything. But I think that is part of another thread, and has been discussed a lot already.

What strikes me as odd is that "everyone is offered the chance to repent", as creating a situation where people need to choose either A or die seems at odds with allowing everyone free will.

skywolfblue:

So in short, it's not "...else be damned" as much as "...face the natural consequence of your choice".

Ah, ok. So basically I get to do what I think is right, and in the end, get to hang out with people who were like me. Seems fair to me.

skywolfblue:

The Gospel Luke gives the genealogy of Christ back to Adam. A genealogy is the last thing you'd expect out of a fable. When you write a genealogy, it's to show relationships between actual people, not hypothetical or mythical fable stand-ins. If Adam was not a real person, then what was the point of the genealogy?

Not sure, I don't know enough about that bit or it's context. Maybe it was to show that Christ is indeed part of the human "family", not just the "divine" one. It's true that this makes the part more of a metaphor than a fable, but the point was that the bible need not describe historical events to make sense. In fact, some stories seem to loose significant meaning when you merely view them as historical accounts. The genealogy could, for example, never have been accurate (who would have kept records for every human on earth?). Just giving someone a document that says "you descend from X" is nothing special at all.

skywolfblue:

I think the genealogy was put there to affirm that these were actual people, and that Christ didn't just come from nowhere, instead he was the exact fulfillment of all the genealogy promises in the old testament.

You are welcome to interpret the text however you like. However, interpreting the bible as a historical text puts it in the context of empiricism, which means you also have to consider all other empirical evidence. And since this other evidence does not corroborate a lot of information from the bible (though I understand some parts are considered historical), that interpretation makes the bible a very inaccurate history book.

I think the bible does contain great wisdom and a number of truths. It doesn't seem to matter whether the stories containing such wisdom are historically accurate. I do not quite understand why people would feel the need to treat a religious text like a history book. Maybe you can shed some light on that question?

skywolfblue:
(Were there children in this case? We do not know.)

Considering we're supposedly talking about a global flood rather than the local floods the story is probably based on? We definitely know there were children. Many, many, many children, young and older.

(Were those children innocent? We do not know.) But God knows.

Depends what you (or your god) means by innocence. Original sin would probably still be stuck to them according to Genesis, but other than that I don't see 1-year-olds even having had the time or capability to do evil yet, for example.

I believe that God saves the righteous from his supernatural wrath.

And if you believe in Noah's flood literally, you therefore must believe everybody including little children, the unborn etc. deserved to be killed, with that one family's exception. Which leads to another question: What does "righteous" mean? Because maybe God kills the evil and the innocent alike, but spares only the righteous? As in, being innocent is not sufficient to be righteous? Being innocent is not sufficient not to be killed?

What is love without free will?

You misunderstand the question. What free will is there if the entire garden is set up so that failure is pre-programmed? Yes, Eve may have chosen to take the apple, but: The garden, the tree, the snake, Eve herself, everything was made by God. And that same god also is supposedly omniscient, so he knew that the particular setup he created would lead to exactly the outcome he desired: The Fall.

Basically, if you place a person in a situation that you created, where you know they are going to mess up and where you do nothing to prevent it, you are - at the very least partially, but probably much more so - responsible for what happens. Here, God, not only set up the particular situation and put the person into it, he set up the entire universe and even made the person who he put into the situation. Talk about free will all you want, but it's still rigged from the very start, especially because God always knew the outcome, yet still created the garden, snake, tree and Eve with these particular aspects to them.

Here's an idea: What if he had created Eve to want different things? He would have continued to give her free will to choose what to do and when, but her motivations would be different? Or how about making the tree less tempting to her? Maybe have it carry fruit she just doesn't like the look of? There are plenty of hypothetical solutions that especially an omniscient creator could employ to avoid the Fall yet retain free will. If the story were to be taken as literally true, obviously, the whole thing was a trap from the start. The Fall was meant to happen and Eve can carry little to no responsibility for losing in a rigged game.

God foresaw this. That is why he sent his son to offer himself in our place, to provide a way for humanity to choose to love him.

He foresaw it and - according to YECs - waited 4000 years for that. And, see above: Why didn't he change the rigged setup if he actually wanted to avoid it? It seems more likely that the Fall was always supposed to happen.

Despite all that humanity does to reject God, there are a few who love him. And those few, were worth every. single. second.

Very humble there. But it's not like humanity actively rejects the Christian god. It's just that so many are born into societies where other religions are the majority. Now, I can't speak for you personally since I don't know your family history, but isn't it so lucky that so many people are born to parents of the right religion? Brought up in that religion? Brought to believe in that religion? And that this right religion just happens to be theirs? Wouldn't it be a shame if they were born to, say, Hindu parents and thus extremely likely to end up Hindus themselves?

I do not believe the Bible is metaphor or fable. Even the parables are to point to a truth.

If the Christians you've met view the Garden, Adam and Eve, and the Fall, as mere fable. Then what was the point of Christ coming to die in humanity's place all for? (If we did not fall, why do we need a savior?) That seems rather strange to me. Every Christian I know believes firmly in every one of those as the truth, Adam, Eve, the Garden, the Fall, and Christ.

Your profile doesn't say, but considering the demographics around here, I'm going to assume you are from the USA where Biblical Literalism is rather widespread. I live in Europe where most people are Christian but Biblical Literalism is very, very rare, fortunately. For example, I only know one Creationist in person. One.

As for the Christians I do know, they obviously don't believe in Adam and Eve and Noah and all that because it flies in the face of all the evidence out there. But they still believe in the message of the Bible, although the details may differ. For instance, the coming of Christ (which is usually literally believed while Genesis is not) is to redeem the world of sin. You don't need to believe in a literal Fall in the Garden of Eden to believe that humanity needs saving from sin that is part of their nature, sin that they commit etc.. And, yes, that's what many believe the Garden of Eden to be: A fable for how humanity came to be sinful. A story that is not literally true but with a kernel of truth at the core that is supposed to explain part of the human condition. To them, it's not literally true but the message is true. Which is why I compared it to a fable. There was no actual sly fox that could talk, but the story may still teach something.

Overhead:

For one, you're trying to stick the label of science onto something which does not fit. Science as we understand it today didn't exist until a few hundred years ago where, thanks to developing hand in hand with the dual revolutions of industrialism and liberalism, it was typically very anti-clerical.

So science now and science then are... two different sciences? Even though they accomplished the same goal of technological development and understanding?

For two, it seems to be a very Europe centric view, with the the contributions of, say, China where Buddhists and Taoists were less predisposed to conflate religion with learning and where Confucianism was a popular secular belief being ignored.

First off, when did I say that religion has been as the same as science everywhere and it could only be so?

Thirdly, even in Europe that the ancient seats of learning were typically religious was a product of it's time. With the advent of public education in the 19th century, that no longer applies. Any connection between learning and religion didn't just happen by magic, it was a connection brought about by specific circumstances which has since been shattered and cannot be relied upon in a modern comparison. If every single secular place of learning were to disappear and we once again had to rely on religious orders, you might have a point.

I might have a point? So I don't even know what you think I'm trying to argue here.
My main argument was against using rhetoric like "it was only a product of its time" as a way to dismiss the people and institutions that developed many sciences.
There's two concepts here I'm arguing against whigism and boosterism. the first is the idea that we are the natural evolution that people have always aspired to. In this case it's the idea that those religious folk who contributed to the sciences really wanted to be atheists or would be atheists if it were not for the circumstances of the time. The second is the idea that we cherry pick certain elements to make our side look better and ignore those that do not.

I'm not sure why this idea has struck such a nerve with you. I think it's fairly a benign point of view, that we don't dismiss the role religion played when we talk about these scientists and their discoveries.

Fourthly, while I'll agree learning and religion were connected, this doesn't mean that people at the time were unable to differentiate the two. At the moment wealth (both personal and as a nation) go hand in hand with a higher and better education and a higher scientific understanding. This doesn't mean that wealth and science are comparable, as despite their being a correlation between the two they are patently different. This is something you actually need to show to make your argument work.

Only wealth is not a belief system, religion is and scientific discoveries for long periods of time were part of the same belief system. Not universally of course but it's important to not dismiss it when it comes up. Again Sir Issac Newton for many years tried to prove that the universe had order, that god had to in his words "wind up the clock" every so often by sending comets to correct gravitational imbalances. He never proved it of course and we know he was wrong but it was core to who that person was and dismissing it because some people believe "religious people are stupid" and that "those scientists merely hid their secularism for fear of punishment" is disingenuous. I'm not accusing you of saying those things, but it's rhetoric I hear that really irks me.

Fifth, although you haven't actually shown that learning and religion were viewed as comparable, just said that it is with no evidence, it is easy to show for a fact that they often weren't. Going back to some of our earliest records of this, there were many notable individuals (Socrates, Epicurus, Anaxagoras, Democritus, etc) who were notably atheist or agnostic to various degrees as well as entire movements dedicated to understanding the universe in a way which challenged belief in religion (Notably the Sophists). At best (if you back up your statements with evidence) then you'll be able to state that learning and religion were sometimes related and sometimes not.

Yup, didn't say it was universal.

Sixth, science is an evolving process. It's based upon the objectively tested nature of reality, which changes as more is tested. People a thousand years ago don't have the same knowledge or understanding of how the universe works that we will today. By it's very nature the reality shown by science will change over time as more is discovered. For all we know next week science could discover indisputable proof that Hinduism is real and lies at the root of every scientific discipline. If that happened science would be inextricably linked with that religion.

Completely off topic but if I was frozen and woke up 1000 years ago, I'd sort of hope that the advances in discovery of how the universe worked would seem like supernatural mysticism to me. Personally, I doubt any religion has gotten the universe right but I'm certain we have only scratched the top layer of paint into understanding how this big damn thing works.

What people historically thought when they had none of the knowledge and understanding that we do today isn't especially relevant.

Only it is when we're talking about comparisons between them since there is some shared lineage.

Lastly, this is all in the distant past. We don't assume that two things are comparable today just because they happened to be connected a few hundred years ago (but not even necessarily comparable, as you still haven't shown that). You seem to be ignoring the very real factual reality of the world as it exists today.

After all, would you agree that the people of the North American Continent are pre-industrial people descended from the Paleoamericans who crossed the Bering Straight some 14,000 years ago? If not, why not? After all, inhabiting North America has been directly connected with being a person in a pre-industrial society descended from Paleoamericans who crossed the Bering Straight pretty much since the continent was inhabited up until a few hundred years ago. By your reasoning the factual reality (North America not being full of pre-industrial natives, science and religion not being comparable, etc) should be ignored because there was a connected at one point in history.

So... I've read this run-on sentence a half dozen times and I can't really understand what you're saying or trying to say.

I'm going to take a guess here and say you're trying to say that the past has no relevance on modern times. I believe the saying goes "Those who ignore history... are safe to assume there's nothing relevant." or something along those lines.

Now I've already pointed out reasons that the recent debates, created by the recent advent of creationists which have no history in education and religious philosophy are a problem. They do not come from the same institutions and their goals are very different. However, that type of religion and the secular scientific debate is a disagreement on what constitutes knowledge, it's two different belief systems. I'm not even saying they're equal or one does not look bad when compared to the other, rather I'm saying there are points you can make comparisons between the two because some breakthroughs with science were done where people believed they made a religious breakthrough.

Strawman McFallacy:

-snip-

I think it's important to note that "science" is somewhat of an unclear term, and for a discussion like this, it's really necessary to make clear what we are talking about.

If we look at "science" as a method, then we mean a very specific set of principles that define what knowledge is and how it is obtained. In the past, the idea of knowledge, and consequently the way to attain it, may have been different. Consequently, that would indeed have been a "different" science. This also means that just because a person doing science is religious, that science does not become religious science.

If you say "the church as an institution developed many sciences", then you are not referring to science as a method, but rather at a certain body of knowledge. In that sense, it is most certainly true that members of religious organizations contributed to "science".

Strawman McFallacy:
So science now and science then are... two different sciences? Even though they accomplished the same goal of technological development and understanding?

I'm comparing science and non-scientific theories of understanding. Are you honestly assuming that any form of learning is science?

Philosophy, for instance? Or history? Or general education on any number of non-scientific topics (like religion)? Or engineering?

If you want a definition of science I'd suggest:

http://philoscience.unibe.ch/documents/MaterialHS12/Popper/Kuhn1970.pdf

Pages 7 to 10 where he considers astrology and astronomy are particularly relevant and interesting.

First off, when did I say that religion has been as the same as science everywhere and it could only be so?

"The truth is that religion and science come from the same need for human being to understand their environment, to make sense of the world around us. "

In your very first post where you explain what you think, you speak about them as an innate human drive.

"I understand that there's been a breach between the sciences and religion in recent years but historically religion and science were interchangeable"

You also made broad declarative statements like that. Not that they were occasionally interchangeable in certain geographic locations or at some point in history, but that they simply were interchangeable.

If you're referring to only some small subsection of time and geography then I'm not a mind-reader.

I might have a point? So I don't even know what you think I'm trying to argue here.
My main argument was against using rhetoric like "it was only a product of its time" as a way to dismiss the people and institutions that developed many sciences.
There's two concepts here I'm arguing against whigism and boosterism. the first is the idea that we are the natural evolution that people have always aspired to. In this case it's the idea that those religious folk who contributed to the sciences really wanted to be atheists or would be atheists if it were not for the circumstances of the time. The second is the idea that we cherry pick certain elements to make our side look better and ignore those that do not.

I'm not sure why this idea has struck such a nerve with you. I think it's fairly a benign point of view, that we don't dismiss the role religion played when we talk about these scientists and their discoveries.

No-one has stated that all scientists really want to be atheists, either in the context of a secular athiest society being what they were all struggling towards or pretending that religious scientists didn't exist.

I've already addressed the basic flaws in this argument (being based around a logical fallacy) in the post you are responding to here, where you ignored the points being raised and didn't address a single thing I'd said (Except admitting you didn't actually have anything to hand back up one of your claims), merely re-iterating your view as if restating your opinion with no evidence was an adequate rebuttal.

Also you're only covering part of what you've been arguing. The part of your argument that I've focused on is firstly your claims that religion and science were historically interchangeable and secondly that they are overall comparable because of this somehow showing their goals are comparable.

The last post of yours before barely touched on the two points you claim you are arguing while focusing entirely on the comparability of science and religion.

It's this that my posts revolve around because it seems unbelievable and you just keep on saying it's the case.

As I've pointed out, I also haven't said that science didn't play a role. I've said, as you have, that it sometimes (amongst a multitude of other things) could serve as motivation. What I haven't done is assume that science and religion are therefore comparable.

Only wealth is not a belief system, religion is and scientific discoveries for long periods of time were part of the same belief system.

Okay, just before I dive into this, can you give me your definitions of 'belief system', 'science' and 'religion'. This part makes no sense to me and I'm assuming it's because you're applying very unconventional definitions to at least one of the above words.

Again Sir Issac Newton for many years tried to prove that the universe had order, that god had to in his words "wind up the clock" every so often by sending comets to correct gravitational imbalances. He never proved it of course and we know he was wrong but it was core to who that person was and dismissing it because some people believe "religious people are stupid" and that "those scientists merely hid their secularism for fear of punishment" is disingenuous. I'm not accusing you of saying those things, but it's rhetoric I hear that really irks me.

I'm not dismissing who he was or any aspects of what he did, either the great or the wrong-headed.

What I'm not doing is assuming that because someone is heavily religious and does science that science and religion comparable, any more than someone being heavily religious and practising paedophilia makes religion and paedophilia comparable (to use an extreme example to highlight the point).

Yup, didn't say it was universal.

You made wide sweeping statements which left no room for it not being universal.

If you're saying it's not universal, how widespread was this belief and why is the particular degree to which you think it was widespread enough to make it notable? At the moment we've pretty much only got Newton.

Completely off topic but if I was frozen and woke up 1000 years ago, I'd sort of hope that the advances in discovery of how the universe worked would seem like supernatural mysticism to me. Personally, I doubt any religion has gotten the universe right but I'm certain we have only scratched the top layer of paint into understanding how this big damn thing works.

But getting back on topic, do you agree that science and religion are certainly incomparable now in the present day?

Only it is when we're talking about comparisons between them since there is some shared lineage.

What lineage do they have? That some people were both religious and scientific? Why does that qualify as a lineage? And if it does qualify, what does that mean and why does it matter? Having a shared lineage doesn't make things comparable except in very distant ways of the kind we're obviously not talking about.

Even if there were a lineage, that would only be the case if we're talking about comparisons between them historically. If we're talking about the modern day, the way things were in the past doesn't factor into our analysis of how the situation exists in the present day.

Dogs and the black death have a shared lineage (life on earth shares a common ancestor) but that doesn't mean they're comparable. In the same way, even if religion and science did have a shared lineage that wouldn't make them comparable.

So... I've read this run-on sentence a half dozen times and I can't really understand what you're saying or trying to say.

I'm going to take a guess here and say you're trying to say that the past has no relevance on modern times. I believe the saying goes "Those who ignore history... are safe to assume there's nothing relevant." or something along those lines.

The meaning of the saying about those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it is about taking lessons from and seeing patterns in the past. It's not to assume that anything that held true in the past automatically holds true today.

The conditions that you were talking about occurred hundreds, even thousands, of years ago. If you had a point it would be applicable to that time.

Those conditions are not applicable, it does not apply to today.

Also, let me explain my run on sentence.

I am taking every belief that you are putting forth. I'm assuming that your logic is 100% accurate.

I'm then applying it to ethnicity and the USA. By using your method of looking at how things were historically (Historically Northern America was full of pre-industrial people who emigrated from Asia over the Bering Straight 10,000+ years ago) and then applying your logic that because something held true in the past it holds true now, I can come to the conclusion that the USA is currently full of pre-industrial formerly asiatic people.

Now this is patently false because we know that the USA is full of post-industrial people of mixed descent, primarily Caucasian and Hispanic with many other sizeable minorities.

It's a Reductio ad Absurdum argument, one where I take the premise you are suggesting and use it in a different scenario to come up with a plainly incorrect outcome and thus highlight that it must be flawed.

For an even more apt example, I could say religion and cannibalism are comparable (Historically people have been religiously motivated to cannibalism) or suicidal thoughts and science are comparable (Historically many scientists have had suicidal beliefs and committed suicide).

However, that type of religion and the secular scientific debate is a disagreement on what constitutes knowledge, it's two different belief systems. I'm not even saying they're equal or one does not look bad when compared to the other, rather I'm saying there are points you can make comparisons between the two because some breakthroughs with science were done where people believed they made a religious breakthrough.

Yes, I get what you're saying. It's not that I don't understand your point, it's that I completely disagree with it, think you haven't even tried to put it together as a cogent argument (You for instance have explained several times that people performing science while being motivated by religion means they are comparable, but have not given a reason why this means they are comparable) and haven't backed up practically any of your points except for the ones that are not in dispute (that there have been religious scientists)

Silvanus:
Do those good things make the bad things worthwhile? Most sufferers of natural disasters wouldn't say so.

I would definitely say so. This does not make the bad things "good", but rather that bad things are "worth enduring".

Silvanus:
If he is so profoundly unfair, then he's not what I would consider just.

I would prefer it if natural disasters did not constantly afflict the poorest nations on earth, though.

This has kinda gone from evaluating based on God's law, to trying to judge God by personal perspective.

Silvanus:

skywolfblue:

Not so much the "earth remade" as "the whole universe cracked down the middle". Genesis hints at Heaven and Earth being two universes intertwined, that existed in perfection in the Garden. In the fall, those two universes were separated, with drastic consequences (that is, natural consequences of separation, not "punishment") for the Earth-universe. In that context, the Earth before the fall could have been very different then the one we observe today.

Interesting. Do you have any evidence?

Our current understanding of science is too limited to provide evidence for that. Our most advanced theoretical physicists can only make guesses as to the existences of other universes. Let alone understand and prove the full nature of how universes might intertwine and what the consequences of their separation might be.

Stephen Sossna:

What strikes me as odd is that "everyone is offered the chance to repent", as creating a situation where people need to choose either A or die seems at odds with allowing everyone free will.

There are very many situations in life where the choice, will literally be life or death. In war for example, an enemy is offered the choice of death or surrender.

Stephen Sossna:

Ah, ok. So basically I get to do what I think is right, and in the end, get to hang out with people who were like me. Seems fair to me.

If you say so! :P

Skeleon:
Considering we're supposedly talking about a global flood rather than the local floods the story is probably based on? We definitely know there were children. Many, many, many children, young and older.

The Bible does not say anything about the children of the wicked of Noah's time.
Given that God has in two other cases in the bible, whisked people to Heaven without dying (Elijah and Enoch), I think he could have easily done the same for those children.

Skeleon:
Basically, if you place a person in a situation that you created, where you know they are going to mess up and where you do nothing to prevent it, you are - at the very least partially, but probably much more so - responsible for what happens.

Here's an idea: What if he had created Eve to want different things? He would have continued to give her free will to choose what to do and when, but her motivations would be different? Or how about making the tree less tempting to her? Maybe have it carry fruit she just doesn't like the look of?

The Bible says that Adam and Eve used to walk almost hand in hand with God in the Garden. It describes an awesome relationship of love between creator and created.
Love is called the most powerful motivator in the universe, yet that wasn't enough to stop them from choosing otherwise.
As to "Making the tree less tempting", I already stated that the tree was not there to tempt them, but to offer a choice. To diminish (or prevent) the ability to make that choice, is to diminish/prevent free will.

Skeleon:
You misunderstand the question. What free will is there if the entire garden is set up so that failure is pre-programmed? Yes, Eve may have chosen to take the apple, but: The garden, the tree, the snake, Eve herself, everything was made by God. And that same god also is supposedly omniscient, so he knew that the particular setup he created would lead to exactly the outcome he desired: The Fall.

This requires a bit of speculation. (I don't claim to know the mind of God)

I think that God does not "preselect" based on what he sees.

A similar question has been asked of Predestination (The idea that God has already seen and thus pre-chosen the faithful) and is a topic of some debate. I agree with people that say free will supersedes Predestination. (The Bible rather explicitly states that salvation is possible for anyone. If predestination were true, it means that any un-chosen person reading the Bible would mistakenly think they have an opportunity to be saved when that simply wouldn't be true.)

Skeleon:
Very humble there. But it's not like humanity actively rejects the Christian god. It's just that so many are born into societies where other religions are the majority.

Sorry, I did not mean for that to be arrogant. I do understand that there are many people in the world who have not been told the Christian gospel. Many more who may not have yet fully understood God's love.

Yet there are people in the world who have had the chance to experience Christ's gift of love, yet chose to reject it.

Stephen Sossna:

Not sure, I don't know enough about that bit or it's context. Maybe it was to show that Christ is indeed part of the human "family", not just the "divine" one. It's true that this makes the part more of a metaphor than a fable, but the point was that the bible need not describe historical events to make sense. In fact, some stories seem to loose significant meaning when you mserely view them as historical accounts. The genealogy could, for example, never have been accurate (who would have kept records for every human on earth?). Just giving someone a document that says "you descend from X" is nothing special at all.

You are welcome to interpret the text however you like. However, interpreting the bible as a historical text puts it in the context of empiricism, which means you also have to consider all other empirical evidence. And since this other evidence does not corroborate a lot of information from the bible (though I understand some parts are considered historical), that interpretation makes the bible a very inaccurate history book.

I think the bible does contain great wisdom and a number of truths. It doesn't seem to matter whether the stories containing such wisdom are historically accurate. I do not quite understand why people would feel the need to treat a religious text like a history book. Maybe you can shed some light on that question?

Skeleon:
Your profile doesn't say, but considering the demographics around here, I'm going to assume you are from the USA where Biblical Literalism is rather widespread. I live in Europe where most people are Christian but Biblical Literalism is very, very rare, fortunately. For example, I only know one Creationist in person. One.

As for the Christians I do know, they obviously don't believe in Adam and Eve and Noah and all that because it flies in the face of all the evidence out there. But they still believe in the message of the Bible, although the details may differ. For instance, the coming of Christ (which is usually literally believed while Genesis is not) is to redeem the world of sin. You don't need to believe in a literal Fall in the Garden of Eden to believe that humanity needs saving from sin that is part of their nature, sin that they commit etc.. And, yes, that's what many believe the Garden of Eden to be: A fable for how humanity came to be sinful. A story that is not literally true but with a kernel of truth at the core that is supposed to explain part of the human condition. To them, it's not literally true but the message is true. Which is why I compared it to a fable. There was no actual sly fox that could talk, but the story may still teach something.

As I've been dealing with a lot of other points, and a limited amount of time. I would like to discuss this farther sometime, but it will have to be at a much later date and time. For the now I'll be content with acknowledging that we believe differently on this. Thank you for your perspective! :)

skywolfblue:

There are very many situations in life where the choice, will literally be life or death. In war for example, an enemy is offered the choice of death or surrender.

Yes, but the question is: Is forcing that choice a moral thing to do? For example, in the war situation, there is an important other choice involved that should not be forgotten: The choice to go to war at all. Which is why the "surrender or die" choice only applies to combatants. But what if you give a civilian the choice to do X (e.g. provide food and shelter for the soldiers) or die?

skywolfblue:

I would definitely say so. This does not make the bad things "good", but rather that bad things are "worth enduring".

As I said, those who actually suffer tend to wish they hadn't.

skywolfblue:
This has kinda gone from evaluating based on God's law, to trying to judge God by personal perspective.

That's right-- and it's perfectly legitimate to do so. Morality is subjective, and my moral code values fairness and abhors unnecessary suffering. If God performs actions I find to be abhorrent, then he is not worthy of my worship.

skywolfblue:

Our current understanding of science is too limited to provide evidence for that. Our most advanced theoretical physicists can only make guesses as to the existences of other universes. Let alone understand and prove the full nature of how universes might intertwine and what the consequences of their separation might be.

Scientists worth their salt, though, tend to build theories upon evidence. That's how we know everything we do about the natural world.

This is not one of those theories. There's just a book, and people saying it's true. That's all.

skywolfblue:

As to "Making the tree less tempting", I already stated that the tree was not there to tempt them, but to offer a choice. To diminish (or prevent) the ability to make that choice, is to diminish/prevent free will.

But the full consequences were never told to Adam and Eve. God had not told them that He would allow the universe to fall apart if they made what He considered the "wrong" choice. They were not making an informed decision.

Ekibiogami:
Religion,
A man in a black robe tells you God did this, or told him this.

Science,
A man in a White robe (Ok a Lab coat...) tells you that his science proves this.

Unless you do the Science, or a God talks to you, your going on the Faith you place in the individual telling you the "Truth".
So What color Robe/Coat do you prefer? Honestly that's the only difference.

Except that the white robes usually provide a several page long explanation on how they came to that point.
This several page long explanation (or scientific paper) is then published and other white coats try to reproduce the results.
Yet another group might think it's silly and tries to find a better answer. When (or if) they find it, and publish their paper the cycle begins again. You could say it's self correcting.

While the Black Robes go:
"God told us so, you have to trust us on that! What? No, he can't tell you, you're not worthy. What? Well, I guess there is no way to see if I'm actually lying and just telling you what I want, instead of what God wants. Well, True, that makes it a bit hard to accept at face value. But if you don't follow my new rules, you're going to hell. Yes, that is a nasty place. Very nasty. I agree, I do speak in exposition, but that just helps me bring my point across."

So yeah, if someone came up to you and said "We've found a new panda, it's blue and red!"
You're probably not going to believe them, whether they have a white robe or a black robe.
But if he takes out pictures, hair samples and a video tape of several months of study, You might start to believe him.
Until, eventually the evidence is so overwhelming that you might as well buy that stuffed Spider-man-Panda animal.

Ekibiogami:
Religion,
A man in a black robe tells you God did this, or told him this.

Science,
A man in a White robe (Ok a Lab coat...) tells you that his science proves this.

Unless you do the Science, or a God talks to you, your going on the Faith you place in the individual telling you the "Truth".
So What color Robe/Coat do you prefer? Honestly that's the only difference.

The guy in the white robe can back up and prove his claims.

The guy in the black robe is basically just trying to trick you without providing any evidence.

Zeh Don:

Third-eye:
Science shows that dark matter/gravity seeks to slow time and shrink space. When you analogize this to morality "good" becomes what slows time and shrinks space...

You'll need to explain how this equalisation occurs objectively for "Science" to have any kind of determinable base objective morality. As it stands, all you've done here is made a very large assumption, asked that we go along with it, and then used skewed thinking in conjunction to agree with yourself. "Gravity makes things fall down, so down is good" doesn't really translate in any meaningful way.

This reminds me of Sam Harris' talks about scientific morality - wherein he essentially wants to have his cake and eat it to. He believes spiritual enlightenment and morality should absolutely be a goal of scientific research... despite being an atheist, and not believing in the spiritual. He's been rightly dismissed by a lot of people on both sides of the discussion because of this hypocritical thinking. An atheistic worldview makes any kind of absolute morality authority impossible. Harris is, essentially, attempting to turn science into one - and it just so happens to agree perfectly with him.

Its one of the many reasons why I believe religion will never be killed off. Pull down the Gods, and we'll just worship something else. We'll simply call it "science" instead. We're already seeing the seeds of such "thinking" today.

I know this post is a little out of date, but having read a few of Sam Harris's books, I'd like to disagree with you.

When Harris approaches spirituality, me means it from an entirely secular perspective, that being the manipulation of the brain to produce feeling (and whatever other positive effects) like that which spirituality can cause/describe. Admittedly he could do better at explaining the separation between the concepts, but it comes out being unhypocritical.

As for his other argument to do with objective morality, he is not proposing what one would think. What he is proposing is a redefinition of the word 'good' to mean that 'which causes the feeling of pleasure in beings' and the word 'evil' to mean 'which causes the feeling of pain in beings'. Once one redefines those terms, the rest of his argument follows.
That is not to say, however, that you have to ascribe to those redefinitions. I certainly don't, and as such don't agree with where his argument leads.
-------

As for the more on-topic argument, the reason religion and science are at odds is simple because they are based on two different epistemological philosophies, one which proposes blind belief (based on whatever hits your mind and sticks I guess), and the other which proposes we try to figure out what is true (even if finding truth turns out to be impossible). So when science, which is based on the latter, invalidates something said by religion, which is based on the former, conflict naturally occurs. Ultimately they can be compared (though that may not be the sense in which the OP meant it) as they are both trying to do the same thing, provide the most truthful view of the world that they can. For anyone following a religion, I suggest they compare the two philosophies provided and make a decision about which one seems like it would be more likely to provide said truthful worldview.

skywolfblue:
The Bible does not say anything about the children of the wicked of Noah's time.
Given that God has in two other cases in the bible, whisked people to Heaven without dying (Elijah and Enoch), I think he could have easily done the same for those children.

I suppose. Although I find it very odd to believe that, considering it is mentioned when he did so otherwise.
I guess if you already have faith in him and his goodness, it makes more sense to assume that, though, yet it's not supported. At the same time, we know that a lot of the times during the Old Testament God was okay with his followers killing entire societies (including pregnant women and the unborn, young especially male children, while keeping female virgins for themselves etc.), so I'm inclined to believe the god as described in those texts would have little qualms about killing the innocent in Noah's flood. The texts we are talking about stem from a very different time and the tonal shift to the New Testament later on is pretty big.

Love is called the most powerful motivator in the universe, yet that wasn't enough to stop them from choosing otherwise.

They were like children. They had no understanding of what death meant, they didn't have knowledge of good and evil. They were placed in a position they couldn't handle and it was by design.

To diminish (or prevent) the ability to make that choice, is to diminish/prevent free will.

Changing the tree wouldn't affect free will. Changing Eve's motivations wouldn't affect free will. Because motivations are the input. If I have free will and have an apple and an orange before me, but I prefer apples, I will choose apple every time. Of my own free will. But if my tastes and preferences were changed, I would choose orange every time. Of my own free will. Now, we could get into what that does to me as a person and whatnot, but free will is a pretty iffy subject to begin with. I'm more of a compatibilist determinist, really.

This requires a bit of speculation. (I don't claim to know the mind of God)

I think that God does not "preselect" based on what he sees.

That's an... interesting view, to say the least.
It's like a person who sees a train rushing to hit a group of people, with the hand on the lever to switch rails, but choosing not to do anything. Because the people could choose to go out of the way. Not what you would call responsible and good behaviour in other circumstances. And, as I mentioned before, it's made worse by the fact that the guy put the people, put the rail, put the lever and everything else there.
In the end, the being with the ultimate power about how the universe is set up, how people think and feel, what they desire and when, where to place things or not, what to create and how... also has the ultimate responsibility for his creation and the things in it.
When you build a watch and it breaks almost immediately afterwards... then you don't blame the watch.

A similar question has been asked of Predestination (The idea that God has already seen and thus pre-chosen the faithful) and is a topic of some debate. I agree with people that say free will supersedes Predestination. (The Bible rather explicitly states that salvation is possible for anyone. If predestination were true, it means that any un-chosen person reading the Bible would mistakenly think they have an opportunity to be saved when that simply wouldn't be true.)

It's definitely a curious topic that no consensus exists on even within Christianity. Look at Calvinists, who basically believe that nothing you do matters because of God's grace already having been chosen to apply or not to apply to you. It's problematic.

Sorry, I did not mean for that to be arrogant. I do understand that there are many people in the world who have not been told the Christian gospel. Many more who may not have yet fully understood God's love.

Yet there are people in the world who have had the chance to experience Christ's gift of love, yet chose to reject it.

It's not just that people have not been told the Christian gospel. It's that they've been told other religions' beliefs for their entire lives and been brought up to believe it.
Imagine what it feels like for them? Assuming you were raised Christian, as most Christians were: It's like a Hindu coming to you and telling you about the divine salvation brought by his religion and that you need to get rid of your Christian beliefs and follow him into the one, true religion.
Of course it's not/only rarely going to work, because these people have lived their entire lives valuing the religious beliefs they were raised with rather than the religious beliefs you were raised with. How and why would they cease believing what they held to be true for their entire lives and switch to your religion? Would you switch your religion? I doubt it.
Just hearing about the Christian gospel doesn't make people lose their faith and switch over. And it also doesn't make people lose the standards they've held claims to, which is why Atheists won't join up unless presented with evidence and the like.
Considering how Christians tend to react to other religions' claims, I think it's rather disingenuous to act like it's somehow people's fault when they don't switch to Christianity after hearing about Jesus, because, frankly, when compared to all the other religions, Christianity isn't particularly more convincing.
Especially to me as an outsider, who wasn't raised with any religion (albeit being engulfed in primarily Christianity-affected culture), I don't really see the point in giving preference to one religion over the other.

As I've been dealing with a lot of other points, and a limited amount of time. I would like to discuss this farther sometime, but it will have to be at a much later date and time. For the now I'll be content with acknowledging that we believe differently on this. Thank you for your perspective! :)

Sure, just wanted to point this out. It's important to me as an academic because those Christians I described accept evolution, the big bang, everything science has found out about the world. Not taking Genesis literally but still holding on to the their Christian beliefs is a way for people to go forward. And while I may disagree with their beliefs on Jesus and what have you, I appreciate their approach nonetheless. It's better.
So when you hear somebody like Ken Ham conflate YEC with Christianity or evolution with Atheism, don't believe it, he's lying.

My apologies about the delay to post this.

Stephen Sossna:
Yes, but the question is: Is forcing that choice a moral thing to do? For example, in the war situation, there is an important other choice involved that should not be forgotten: The choice to go to war at all. Which is why the "surrender or die" choice only applies to combatants. But what if you give a civilian the choice to do X (e.g. provide food and shelter for the soldiers) or die?

Why do we go to war? I mean a just war?

To stop evil people from doing evil things (particularly against other people).

You have to understand the evil people in these situations were not just "lightly evil", "semi evil" or "misguided". They were the Hitlers and Stalins of their day, involved in horrible practices like Child Sacrifice. They're not civilians by any stretch of imagination.

Freedom to choose doesn't mean freedom from consequence. The people who chose to commit child sacrifices or the genocide of innocents, the consequence of which is often manifested by either God or other people killing them for their crimes.

Silvanus:
That's right-- and it's perfectly legitimate to do so. Morality is subjective, and my moral code values fairness and abhors unnecessary suffering. If God performs actions I find to be abhorrent, then he is not worthy of my worship.

Morality is not subjective if you take the Christian world view. Good and Evil are absolutes that are not affected by or dependent on people's subjective perspectives.

God's moral code values justice, and God has shared and understands what each and every person has suffered. You look at suffering and mistakingly assume God is capricious, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Jesus himself suffered when he died on the cross for humanity (he directly suffered it all, everything humanity has suffered and will suffer). He knows what it's like to experience pain, and he loves humanity.

I would in turn ask how you think Atheism (I am assuming that is what you believe) is fair or eliminates unnecessary suffering.

Silvanus:

Scientists worth their salt, though, tend to build theories upon evidence. That's how we know everything we do about the natural world.

This is not one of those theories. There's just a book, and people saying it's true. That's all.

Science does not yet have a full understanding of this universe. That which we do not yet know, does it exist? I believe it does. Why was the Large Hadron Collider built? To observe stuff we couldn't before! Science is the known, but it is also about exploration of the unknown.

You asked me about something that is currently unobservable to science, and I answered with a hypothesis upon the evidence I see in the Bible. I never claimed it was scientific proof, only a hypothesis about the unknown.

Skeleon:
I suppose. Although I find it very odd to believe that, considering it is mentioned when he did so otherwise.
I guess if you already have faith in him and his goodness, it makes more sense to assume that, though, yet it's not supported. At the same time, we know that a lot of the times during the Old Testament God was okay with his followers killing entire societies (including pregnant women and the unborn, young especially male children, while keeping female virgins for themselves etc.), so I'm inclined to believe the god as described in those texts would have little qualms about killing the innocent in Noah's flood. The texts we are talking about stem from a very different time and the tonal shift to the New Testament later on is pretty big.

Deuteronomy 7:2:

...and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods...

If they were to kill all the women and children, why did God even mention intermarrying in the very next sentence (how can one intermarry if all the women are dead)? The conclusion must be that the women and children were left alive, the "destroy them totally" refers to wiping out the evil practices of Canaanite paganism, and staying true and faithful to Yahweh by not intermarrying.

A notable example would be Rahab, who was a Canaanite, a prostitute, and in the middle of a military fort (Jericho), but who was spared. If God thought one prostitute was worth sparing, could he not have provided a way to spare other innocents in other cities? I think he did.

Joshua 11:14:

The Israelites carried off for themselves all the plunder and livestock of these cities, but all the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed

Joshua 23:7:

Do not associate with these nations that remain among you...
12 But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations and intermarry with them...

If no one in these cities were spared, why are there still (Canaanite) survivors in the land of Israel?
"When a city is in danger of falling, people do not simply wait there to be killed; they get out"
The civilians were likely evacuated into the countryside beforehand. (The whole northern Canaanite army had been wiped out a few days before. It would make a whole lot of sense for every civilian to evacuate their towns once the main army was defeated and knowing that Israel would be there soon.)

Notice that nothing is said about killing civilians in the countryside. Kings, Armies and Cities (which were primarily government or military installations, most people lived in the countryside in those days) were the targets, not civilians. For a supposed "genocide", Israelite actions were highly targeted, and left a large number of Canaanite civilians alive.

The same holds true for many other situations in the old testament.

Skeleon:
They were like children. They had no understanding of what death meant, they didn't have knowledge of good and evil. They were placed in a position they couldn't handle and it was by design.

Silvanus:
But the full consequences were never told to Adam and Eve. God had not told them that He would allow the universe to fall apart if they made what He considered the "wrong" choice. They were not making an informed decision.

Adam and Eve were active, reasoning adults. They were not like children.

He did tell them!

"...for when you eat of it you will surely die."

How do you explain death to a man who's never heard the word before? I believe God literally showed them a brief vision of what would happen if they made that choice. The word "die" here is not merely describing the end of a life, but all the pain, suffering and agony (The literal Hebrew translation is "dying thou shall die").

Skeleon:
Changing the tree wouldn't affect free will. Changing Eve's motivations wouldn't affect free will. Because motivations are the input. If I have free will and have an apple and an orange before me, but I prefer apples, I will choose apple every time. Of my own free will. But if my tastes and preferences were changed, I would choose orange every time. Of my own free will. Now, we could get into what that does to me as a person and whatnot, but free will is a pretty iffy subject to begin with. I'm more of a compatibilist determinist, really.

What if Eve likes oranges, but chose to eat an apple on a whim? Libertarian free will says she can do that.

There is a difference between motivations forcibly given to someone, vs. motivations someone is allowed to develop on their own. The former does lessen free will, the latter does not. If one cannot choose apples, because they were forced to like oranges by design, that's not free will (at least in my view).

Skeleon:
That's an... interesting view, to say the least.
It's like a person who sees a train rushing to hit a group of people, with the hand on the lever to switch rails, but choosing not to do anything. Because the people could choose to go out of the way. Not what you would call responsible and good behaviour in other circumstances. And, as I mentioned before, it's made worse by the fact that the guy put the people, put the rail, put the lever and everything else there.
In the end, the being with the ultimate power about how the universe is set up, how people think and feel, what they desire and when, where to place things or not, what to create and how... also has the ultimate responsibility for his creation and the things in it.
When you build a watch and it breaks almost immediately afterwards... then you don't blame the watch.

More like a parent warning their child* not to make the wrong choice, but loving and respecting their child's free will enough to let them do it anyway, and then the parent offers their own life to save the child.

*Make that child a teen/young adult that is already mature. Not a small child that doesn't understand the choice.

Skeleon:
It's not just that people have not been told the Christian gospel. It's that they've been told other religions' beliefs for their entire lives and been brought up to believe it.
Imagine what it feels like for them? Assuming you were raised Christian, as most Christians were: It's like a Hindu coming to you and telling you about the divine salvation brought by his religion and that you need to get rid of your Christian beliefs and follow him into the one, true religion.
Of course it's not/only rarely going to work, because these people have lived their entire lives valuing the religious beliefs they were raised with rather than the religious beliefs you were raised with. How and why would they cease believing what they held to be true for their entire lives and switch to your religion? Would you switch your religion? I doubt it.
Just hearing about the Christian gospel doesn't make people lose their faith and switch over. And it also doesn't make people lose the standards they've held claims to, which is why Atheists won't join up unless presented with evidence and the like.
Considering how Christians tend to react to other religions' claims, I think it's rather disingenuous to act like it's somehow people's fault when they don't switch to Christianity after hearing about Jesus, because, frankly, when compared to all the other religions, Christianity isn't particularly more convincing.
Especially to me as an outsider, who wasn't raised with any religion (albeit being engulfed in primarily Christianity-affected culture), I don't really see the point in giving preference to one religion over the other.

There are many religions in the world. Too many conflicting ideas, they can't all be true.
Yet the Bible says that all who seek the truth will find it.
By extension, those who do not seek the truth will not find it.

I never said it would be easy, but I think that everyone, regardless of their prior faith can find the truth if they look. I wish everyone would explore and learn about the major faiths, and carefully consider what is true and what are lies. I've read the Quran cover to cover twice, the tenents of Buddhism, a number of Atheistic books and was taught by Atheistic professors in university. I chose Christianity not because it was something my family believed, but because out of all of the religions I examined, I found it to be the most true.

I don't think I can persuade you in the span of a single post, or even a single thread. For now all I intend to demonstrate in all the above replies, is that the of God of Christianity is morally good.

skywolfblue:

Morality is not subjective if you take the Christian world view. Good and Evil are absolutes that are not affected by or dependent on people's subjective perspectives.

God's moral code values justice, and God has shared and understands what each and every person has suffered. You look at suffering and mistakingly assume God is capricious, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Jesus himself suffered when he died on the cross for humanity (he directly suffered it all, everything humanity has suffered and will suffer). He knows what it's like to experience pain, and he loves humanity.

What makes His moral code objectively better?

Is it his power? His knowledge?

skywolfblue:

I would in turn ask how you think Atheism (I am assuming that is what you believe) is fair or eliminates unnecessary suffering.

My moral code has nothing to do with the fact I don't think there are any deities.

skywolfblue:

Science does not yet have a full understanding of this universe. That which we do not yet know, does it exist? I believe it does. Why was the Large Hadron Collider built? To observe stuff we couldn't before! Science is the known, but it is also about exploration of the unknown.

You asked me about something that is currently unobservable to science, and I answered with a hypothesis upon the evidence I see in the Bible. I never claimed it was scientific proof, only a hypothesis about the unknown.

Science does not yet have a full understanding, that's true. But everything we have discerned about natural phenomena has been discerned through the scientific process. Religious holy books have not helped us discern anything factual so far-- more often than not, they've been way off the mark.

I simply see no reason to give any more thought to a hypothesis based upon biblical evidence than I do a hypothesis based upon the Prose Edda, or the old Greek stories. Why attribute it with any more credibility?

skywolfblue:
Adam and Eve were active, reasoning adults. They were not like children.

He did tell them!

"...for when you eat of it you will surely die."

How do you explain death to a man who's never heard the word before? I believe God literally showed them a brief vision of what would happen if they made that choice. The word "die" here is not merely describing the end of a life, but all the pain, suffering and agony (The literal Hebrew translation is "dying thou shall die").

So, God told Adam he'd die if he ate the apple.

He did not tell him the entire world would fall apart, causing all natural disasters.

On Jesus dying for our sins:
You give me a deal where i suffer for 3 days, and then i get to be GOD, i'll fucking take it (provided i could be assured in advance that the deal is real, which Jesus, being god, would fucking know).

Assuming we were to accept the idea of original sin (i don't), for the supposed sacrifice of Jesus (that almost certainly never happened, or if it did, was not followed by all the things Bible claims that followed) to actually matter, he should have faced more than just a temporary inconvenience followed by eternity of being all powerful master of the universe.

And that's without even going to the whole thing where God, sacrifices himself, to himself, in order to forgive people for the fact that their distant ancestors (that never actually existed) for eating a fruit from a tree (that also did not exist) against orders (that were never actually given) the he himself gave (actually, did not give, because there were no ancestors, tree, fruit, or garden, and i find the idea of a talking snake also a rather suspect).

I'm Roman Catholic and my faith is important to me... however I'm totally in agreement that science should remain untouched from religious authorities for the most part.

Personally I see no reason why some people have such a massive lack of faith or problem with their own beliefs that they believe it's a choice between taking every single legend as 100% factually accurate or living in a rational and scientific universe.

The universe is a beautiful, complex thing. I see no reason why some fundamentalists attempt to stunt any and all knowledge about creation.

God is the creator of everything and if the people that call themselves creationists accept that basic fact, I see no reason why they have trouble accepting how the universe was created. Everything from the tiniest atom to the stars in the sky can be beautiful in it's own right. The mere fact we've been given the privilege to look into the very essence of this world, to learn so much about the universe's rich history is a far far greater gift than anything else. The very fact humanity has risen from a bunch of apes to the rational animal it is today should be seen as one of the greatest gifts God could provide.

To be honest, sometimes I wonder if the most hardcore creationists are that was simply because they fear for their own faith. Might be sad in a way that they're so terrified of lacking any piety that they're willing to neglect humanity's god-given gift of ration and reason.

Witty Name Here:
To be honest, sometimes I wonder if the most hardcore creationists are that was simply because they fear for their own faith. Might be sad in a way that they're so terrified of lacking any piety that they're willing to neglect humanity's god-given gift of ration and reason.

Most are just ignorant, some are after profit (there's money to be made in here), few are pandering to the masses.
But some, i suspect, are creationists because they understand that without creation, there is no garden of eden, there is no tree of knowledge, no talking snake, no original sin, no fall, no need for Jesus to be nailed to a cross.

Remove Creation story, and everything else of Christianity is standing on air.

Witty Name Here:
The very fact humanity has risen from a bunch of apes to the rational animal it is today should be seen as one of the greatest gifts God could provide.

Little note-- humankind did not evolve from apes, though we share a common ancestor.

I appreciate your pro-science attitude, by the way :)

Silvanus:

Witty Name Here:
The very fact humanity has risen from a bunch of apes to the rational animal it is today should be seen as one of the greatest gifts God could provide.

Little note-- humankind did not evolve from apes, though we share a common ancestor.

I appreciate your pro-science attitude, by the way :)

Oh? Well the more you know I suppose, interesting to hear regardless.

And thank you for the compliment ^.^ I'm a huge fan of arts, sciences, and culture. To be honest I think those are among the most important aspects of running a nation (well, that and serving the people/making sure they're well provided).

The sad thing is this adverse relationship between religion and science didn't always used to exist. The Catholic Church was instrumental in preserving what little knowledge remained of the Roman Empire, giving patronage to doctors and artists, and when the Jesuits came around they founded universities that still stand to this very day. The muslim caliphate accomplished wonders in the fields of mathematics and medical sciences (there's a reason we refer to our numeral system as "Arabic Numbers" after all) and many Hindus had accomplished great feats of medicine (including a primitive form of vaccinations.)

Sadly things started going downhill a bit after that, and most likely only worsened by Martin Luther's "Anti-Reason" attitudes. No offense to any protestants that might read this (have a few close protestant family members) but in spite of Martin Luther's great accomplishments... he could be a bit of a dick at times.

I'm all for the teaching of evolution in public schools. Hell, I went to a Catholic school from kindergarten until I graduated from highschool and I still learned about the Theory of Evolution. It would be unfortunate if we didn't use our god-given gift of reason to understand more about just how humanity came to be.

EDIT: Also in regards to evolution... here's a fun little bit at the end of Darwin's text On the Origin of Species

"I believe that animals have descended from at most only four or five progenitors, and plants from an equal or lesser number. Analogy would lead me one step further, namely, to the belief that all animals and plants have descended from some one prototype. But analogy may be a deceitful guide. Nevertheless all living things have much in common, in their chemical composition, their germinal vesicles, their cellular structure, and their laws of growth and reproduction. We see this even in so trifling a circumstance as that the same poison often similarly affects plants and animals; or that the poison secreted by the gall-fly produces monstrous growths on the wild rose or oak-tree. [/b]I should infer from analogy that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed by the Creator.[/b]
-Chapter XIV: "Conclusions", page 428'

Rather than some "atheistic boogeyman" that a few fundamentalists like to make Darwin out to be, his text doesn't "completely deny the existence of God" nor go out of it's way to be "impossible" to be accepted by religious folks.

Silvanus:
What makes His moral code objectively better?

Is it his power? His knowledge?

So what makes his moral code objectively better? He is the author of morality, and the author of the universe.

God has reached down from heaven, and told humanity what is morally true. This is manifested with the life of Jesus Christ. He is the evidence and the life we should follow.

Silvanus:
My moral code has nothing to do with the fact I don't think there are any deities.

Silvanus:
If God performs actions I find to be abhorrent, then he is not worthy of worship.

Forgive me, but this is rather confusing...

You say your moral code matters enough to find the Christian God "abhorrent" for allowing natural disasters, but then turn around and say that your moral code doesn't matter at all when faced with all the unfairness and suffering in atheism?

If your code is relevant, then I have to ask why you do not judge atheism by it?

If your code is irrelevant, then why bring it up?

Silvanus:
Science does not yet have a full understanding, that's true. But everything we have discerned about natural phenomena has been discerned through the scientific process. Religious holy books have not helped us discern anything factual so far-- more often than not, they've been way off the mark.

I simply see no reason to give any more thought to a hypothesis based upon biblical evidence than I do a hypothesis based upon the Prose Edda, or the old Greek stories. Why attribute it with any more credibility?

The bible does have factual information, historical, moral, and also scientific.

This is sliding off topic, what I've been discussing (as mentioned at the end of my previous post), is the moral aspect, God's goodness. I'd love to talk about the other aspects of the Bible, but that would take longer then I have time to go into at the moment.

Silvanus:
So, God told Adam he'd die if he ate the apple.

He did not tell him the entire world would fall apart, causing all natural disasters.

Natural disasters and the fallen world are all implied in the "dying" part of the literal Hebrew translation.

The fall is also implicit in the very nature of the act of disobedience itself. If you love and obey your Parents, then you trust what they say. To call your Parent a liar, and disobey them, is to drive a wedge into the middle of your relationship. It was clear that eating that fruit would drive a wedge between them and God. Compared to that separation from God, natural disasters are a small potatoes consequence.

skywolfblue:

So what makes his moral code objectively better? He is the author of morality, and the author of the universe.

God has reached down from heaven, and told humanity what is morally true. This is manifested with the life of Jesus Christ. He is the evidence and the life we should follow.

The only reasons evident in what you said were that he created the Universe, and that he told us what we should believe. I'm still not seeing how this qualifies his stance on an issue to be objectively correct.

skywolfblue:

Forgive me, but this is rather confusing...

You say your moral code matters enough to find the Christian God "abhorrent" for allowing natural disasters, but then turn around and say that your moral code doesn't matter at all when faced with all the unfairness and suffering in atheism?

If your code is relevant, then I have to ask why you do not judge atheism by it?

Unfairness and suffering "in" atheism? What on earth does that mean? Atheism is simply the disbelief in a deity. There is no suffering inherent in that. It is a position on a question.

I was stating that if an entity were to cause natural disasters, I would regard it as morally abhorrent. That would be because the entity in question would have the will and the power. It would either cause the disasters, or allow them to continue.

Atheists believe that natural disasters happen as a result of various physical, geological and astro-physical laws. Those laws do not have minds or intentions.

They are fundamentally different. Christians believe somebody is responsible, or at least has the power to prevent these things, but doesn't[1]. Atheists do not. Atheists recognise the suffering in the world, they recognise it is awful, but there's nobody to blame (except those governments that fail to take adequate preventative/ restorative measures).

skywolfblue:

The bible does have factual information, historical, moral, and also scientific.

This is sliding off topic, what I've been discussing (as mentioned at the end of my previous post), is the moral aspect, God's goodness. I'd love to talk about the other aspects of the Bible, but that would take longer then I have time to go into at the moment.

Fair enough. Another thread on the scientific accuracy of biblical predictions may be a better place, but if I were to start it, I would be accused of creating an attack-thread (not by yourself, but by others).

skywolfblue:

Natural disasters and the fallen world are all implied in the "dying" part of the literal Hebrew translation.

The fall is also implicit in the very nature of the act of disobedience itself. If you love and obey your Parents, then you trust what they say. To call your Parent a liar, and disobey them, is to drive a wedge into the middle of your relationship. It was clear that eating that fruit would drive a wedge between them and God. Compared to that separation from God, natural disasters are a small potatoes consequence.

A "small potatoes" consequence?

I wouldn't say that to the sufferers (who, by the way, are themselves innocent of that apple-tree transgression).

[1] AgedGrunt called me out on this, and he's right; not all Christians believe this.

skywolfblue:

The fall is also implicit in the very nature of the act of disobedience itself. If you love and obey your Parents, then you trust what they say. To call your Parent a liar, and disobey them, is to drive a wedge into the middle of your relationship. It was clear that eating that fruit would drive a wedge between them and God. Compared to that separation from God, natural disasters are a small potatoes consequence.

If it was so clear that eating the fruit would not only destroy the image of himself he had created but permanently drive a wedge between them and himself.

Why the flying fuck would he even put that tree smack in the middle of paradise?!

If we keep using parents and children as an example.
Its like leaving a piece of pie in the child's crib, and then get mad when he eats from it.

So, either you're an idiot for putting that pie near a child.
Or you're a bastard for getting mad that he ate it.

I'd like to thank you for being civil and patient and allowing me to express my views. I am sorry my posting is slow. :)

Silvanus:
The only reasons evident in what you said were that he created the Universe, and that he told us what we should believe. I'm still not seeing how this qualifies his stance on an issue to be objectively correct.

How can being the author of the universe not qualify as objective? All reality, all truth, all morality, all life, all love comes from him, and exist independently of our subjective opinions.

Silvanus:
Unfairness and suffering "in" atheism? What on earth does that mean? Atheism is simply the disbelief in a deity. There is no suffering inherent in that. It is a position on a question.

I was stating that if an entity were to cause natural disasters, I would regard it as morally abhorrent. That would be because the entity in question would have the will and the power. It would either cause the disasters, or allow them to continue.

Atheists believe that natural disasters happen as a result of various physical, geological and astro-physical laws. Those laws do not have minds or intentions.

They are fundamentally different. Christians believe somebody is responsible, or at least has the power to prevent these things, but doesn't. Atheists do not. Atheists recognise the suffering in the world, they recognise it is awful, but there's nobody to blame (except those governments that fail to take adequate preventative/ restorative measures).

I am glad that you recognize nature as awful at least, I take it farther and call it evil.

Dawkins:
In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, or any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference."

A God who allows suffering as a consequence of free will (so that love can exist), who loves humanity and has personally experienced the suffering of all mankind, who offers justice (not always in this life, but in the next). That is far more moral and compassionate then a pitiless, unjust, indifferent universe.

All the evil and suffering in the world comes from us, humanity's own poor choices. We caused natural disasters. It is not God you should blame, but Adam and Eve and the whole human race.

Taking a break from showing my viewpoint for a moment, I'd be curious to hear what you have to say about:

Why does nature gets a pass because it is unthinking?
Why does thought demand the existence of a moral law?

If there is no (libertarian) free will, and human beings are just atoms and energy, and there is nothing special about them, then why are they "evil" or "good"? If humans are just governed by the laws of nature, which are (supposedly) not good or evil?

If DNA "neither knows nor cares" as Dawkins puts it, why should we?

Silvanus:
A "small potatoes" consequence?

I wouldn't say that to the sufferers (who, by the way, are themselves innocent of that apple-tree transgression).

Compared to "Dooming the whole human race to an existence apart from God", natural disasters are a smaller subset of that more dire consequence.

It's a bit of a stretch to say that they're all innocent. The righteous and innocent children will be rewarded for what they have suffered, in this life or the next. But all humans are children of Adam and Eve, we commit the same sins they did, almost on a daily basis.

Ranorak:
If it was so clear that eating the fruit would not only destroy the image of himself he had created but permanently drive a wedge between them and himself.

Why the flying fuck would he even put that tree smack in the middle of paradise?!

If we keep using parents and children as an example.
Its like leaving a piece of pie in the child's crib, and then get mad when he eats from it.

So, either you're an idiot for putting that pie near a child.
Or you're a bastard for getting mad that he ate it.

In order to have love, there must be free will.
In order for there to be free will, there must be a choice to not-love.
To hide the "pie" is to remove free will.

And God tells them up front, "don't eat the pie, or you'll die". He lets them eat the pie anyway, because he loves them too much to remove their free will, and then dies in their place so humanity and God can have a relationship again.

God wasn't "Mad" at Adam and Eve, so much as "Disappointed". His first words after they ate the fruit was "Adam, where are you?". Those are not words of anger, but of sadness. (Adam used to walk hand in hand with God in the Garden, a picture of the perfect relationship between him and God. God isn't asking literally "where are you?" he knows where Adam is, instead he is asking "Adam, why aren't you here walking with me? I love you, what happened to our relationship?") Even the "curse" that follows later is not a curse of anger, but a spelling out of the natural consequences of what they had just chosen.

Also Adam and Eve were not children, they understood what was being said.

skywolfblue:
I'd like to thank you for being civil and patient and allowing me to express my views. I am sorry my posting is slow. :)

No worries, I often take my time responding too :)

skywolfblue:

How can being the author of the universe not qualify as objective? All reality, all truth, all morality, all life, all love comes from him, and exist independently of our subjective opinions.

Well, being the creator of something does not convey ultimate authority, especially when the 'creations' have developed minds of their own.

For example, if we were to genetically create a creature or engineer a true AI, it would not be right for us to do whatever we wanted with it, if it could feel emotions and pain. Just because we created it would not give us the right to set arbitrary rules, or put it through an unpleasant existence.

skywolfblue:

A God who allows suffering as a consequence of free will (so that love can exist), who loves humanity and has personally experienced the suffering of all mankind, who offers justice (not always in this life, but in the next). That is far more moral and compassionate then a pitiless, unjust, indifferent universe.

All the evil and suffering in the world comes from us, humanity's own poor choices. We caused natural disasters. It is not God you should blame, but Adam and Eve and the whole human race.

To blame the whole human race, of course, is also to blame those millions who live good lives. It is to condemn them to the same terrible, unjust world.

Of course, to me, this whole question is besides the point; it all simply comes down to evidence. There is none that I find compelling that Adam and Eve ever did take the apple, so the entire story isn't of much use to me. I'm not going to take it into serious consideration when I'm coming to conclusions about the world.

skywolfblue:
Taking a break from showing my viewpoint for a moment, I'd be curious to hear what you have to say about:

Why does nature gets a pass because it is unthinking?

A "free pass"? I'm not sure what you mean. We recognise the awful aspects of nature, and we try to mitigate the damage they cause.

We can hardly condemn it, though. It would be like condemning the wind, or gravity, or rocks. It would be like Xerxes the First having the sea whipped for destroying the foundations of his bridge.

skywolfblue:
Why does thought demand the existence of a moral law?

It doesn't; I don't believe there is such a thing as objective morality.

skywolfblue:
If there is no (libertarian) free will, and human beings are just atoms and energy, and there is nothing special about them, then why are they "evil" or "good"? If humans are just governed by the laws of nature, which are (supposedly) not good or evil?

They are not good or evil. I don't believe in those concepts.

We define our own moralities; I define mine by maximising pleasure (and equality) and minimising pain. The value I place on those concepts comes from philosophy, psychology, politics and emotion, and it is all very, very subjective.

Silvanus:
I was stating that if an entity were to cause natural disasters, I would regard it as morally abhorrent. That would be because the entity in question would have the will and the power. It would either cause the disasters, or allow them to continue.

Atheists believe that natural disasters happen as a result of various physical, geological and astro-physical laws. Those laws do not have minds or intentions.

They are fundamentally different. Christians believe somebody is responsible, or at least has the power to prevent these things, but doesn't. Atheists do not. Atheists recognise the suffering in the world, they recognise it is awful, but there's nobody to blame (except those governments that fail to take adequate preventative/ restorative measures).

That's a huge generalization, and mildly offensive at that. If that's passed as a take-away distinction between religion and science, then you're basically saying all Christians reject science. I don't know another way to state that this is simply ignorant of what 2.18 billion people actually believe and we really need to start qualifying our statements around here.

AgedGrunt:

That's a huge generalization, and mildly offensive at that. If that's passed as a take-away distinction between religion and science, then you're basically saying all Christians reject science. I don't know another way to state that this is simply ignorant of what 2.18 billion people actually believe and we really need to start qualifying our statements around here.

The first thing you've bolded was in no way intended to imply that all non-atheists disagree. It's true of atheists; it is also true of many others. I was describing atheism specifically because Skywolfblue was asking about atheism.

With regards to the second bolded passage, the non-bolded part afterwards is quite important. If one believes a deity is omnipotent, then by definition, do they not believe that deity could prevent the disasters? They may give reasons for the deity not to do so, but they believe he could, don't they?

It's not my intention to be offensive.

skywolfblue:

If there is no (libertarian) free will, and human beings are just atoms and energy, and there is nothing special about them, then why are they "evil" or "good"? If humans are just governed by the laws of nature, which are (supposedly) not good or evil

Just to adress this little point:
Good and evil are human concepts. They are value judgements we apply to other human beings, and they are not empirical. So whether or not humans do empirically have free will does not necessarily have any effect on what value judgements we can make.

We use value judgements for entities that we percieve as subjects. It's very easy to observe this: We will not generally judge animals with categories like "good" and "evil", but we will occaisionally treat our pets like this, because we percieve them not as "biological machines", but as subjects with intentions and character traits.

skywolfblue:

If DNA "neither knows nor cares" as Dawkins puts it, why should we?

Because we want to be more than just the arbitrary result of natural laws. We want to see humans as subjects, so we treat them accordingly.

Silvanus:
/snip

Omnipotence just isn't something I'd regard as common core to Christians today. Beside, if every action of every thing was predetermined, and all events and history was bound to a will, that's basically fatalist. Not something people would put faith in, there would be nothing to effect change in a predetermined fate.

I think it's because of this that people lash out at the idea of God for allowing bad things to happen to good people. I don't see it that way. Here's what I find interesting though: society rejects the "helicopter parent" who hovers over their children. We understand the importance of maturing and developing as an individual. Why then do we expect God to hover over all of us and not develop on our own?

AgedGrunt:

Omnipotence just isn't something I'd regard as common core to Christians today. Beside, if every action of every thing was predetermined, and all events and history was bound to a will, that's basically fatalist. Not something people would put faith in, there would be nothing to effect change in a predetermined fate.

Really? I thought almost all Christians would agree on the "Omnipotence" thing. Perhaps I was wrong.

AgedGrunt:
I think it's because of this that people lash out at the idea of God for allowing bad things to happen to good people. I don't see it that way. Here's what I find interesting though: society rejects the "helicopter parent" who hovers over their children. We understand the importance of maturing and developing as an individual. Why then do we expect God to hover over all of us and not develop on our own?

Well, allowing people to develop as individuals as one thing. Allowing natural disasters to wrack communities on a massive scale as quite another. We can develop as individuals quite well enough without the planet murdering so many of us.

Yes, but religon and government mix even worse. Science is ok as long as we don't take it absolutely. Religon does have it's facts, but it's not easy to change unlike science.

Gergar12:
Science is ok as long as we don't take it absolutely.

Could you elaborate a bit on this?

Are you saying that some things are outside the purview of science, or that some scientific conclusions shouldn't be accepted?

skywolfblue:

Silvanus:
What makes His moral code objectively better?

Is it his power? His knowledge?

So what makes his moral code objectively better? He is the author of morality, and the author of the universe.

God has reached down from heaven, and told humanity what is morally true. This is manifested with the life of Jesus Christ. He is the evidence and the life we should follow.

Are things good because god says they are good, or does god say certain things are good because they are good?
And if god says things are good because they are good, from where comes morality?
And if things are good because god says they are god, would you rape a baby if god told you to?

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