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Medsen Fey
05-06-2011, 05:17 PM
This was all copied out of Loadnabox's brewlog to prevent an ugly thread jacking. :)





"Hydrophobic globules!" I have this mental image of amoebae running (crawling, slithering...) away from a lake. Perhaps the real beginning of evolution? ;D

That is exactly correct. The formation of Micelles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micelle) (another fancy way of saying fat droplets) and larger lipid bilayers would be the first step in making a cell. That creates an inside and an outside in the liquid medium. This would allow the the machinery for a cell to be contained inside and would probably be the first step in the development of cellular "life" as we understand it. Of course this assumes one believes in evolution and the spontaneous development of life.

When you look at even the simplest cells, the complexity is enormous. To assume that it self-organized is a huge leap of faith. Even the simplest "life form" (if you want to call it that) that of a self replicating protein, being trapped inside a lipid bilayer would be a long way from a cell. Assuming that such an organization would occur through random association of materials sounds more outlandish than taking all the parts of a Boeing 747 and putting them in a big pot and expecting it to assemble if you just keep shaking it long enough.

I have seen nothing in my limited life experience that has ever convinced me that any system will spontaneously develop more complexity and organization - quite the opposite. Without specific plans being carried out and energy being input, everything becomes more disorganized. This is why it is very easy for me to believe in a creator (call it what you will).

My apologies for the tangential discussion.

Medsen

AToE
05-06-2011, 05:23 PM
My apologies for the tangential discussion.

Medsen

Hey! Let's not go down that path! :eek:

(I personally have no problem at all believing life could have arisen on it's own and evolved to our current state, it seems impossible in some ways, but when it's broken down step by step it all becomes very believable, in fact not just believable, but more likely than not - it'd actually be more surprising in my opinion to NOT see life arise out of the right conditions, you roll a dice enough times and once in a while they'll all line up in a way that freak you out!

I have no issue at all with people believing in a creator, I'm just saying that it's very much possible for life to have arisen through chance alone (which doesn't prove or disprove a higher power obviously).

If life arising on it's own seems insanely unlikely, what about the creator arising on it's own?!?! ;)

Please don't flame me! ;D I mean well...)

Loadnabox
05-06-2011, 05:42 PM
A bit off-topic for a brewlog but I'll toss my dodecahedrons of chance in :)

hubble : deep field pictures (http://www.themudflats.net/wp-content/uploads/hubble_ultra_deep_field_black_point_edit.jpg) were pointed at the deepest darkest point in the sky where we thought there was nothing at all (Hoping to glimpse the edge of the known universe ala the expanding edge of the big bang), instead we see this picture. As far as we can see, thousands of galaxies each with millions of stars and each star with multiple orbiting bodies.

With these approximately 10^12 some planets (Just in these remote galaxies!), it's not so surprising we could be a random chance, and it would be even more surprising if we were alone. It would be an awfully big(lonely) place for just us.

AToE
05-06-2011, 05:54 PM
A bit off-topic for a brewlog but I'll toss my dodecahedrons of chance in :)

hubble : deep field pictures (http://www.themudflats.net/wp-content/uploads/hubble_ultra_deep_field_black_point_edit.jpg) were pointed at the deepest darkest point in the sky where we thought there was nothing at all (Hoping to glimpse the edge of the known universe ala the expanding edge of the big bang), instead we see this picture. As far as we can see, thousands of galaxies each with millions of stars and each star with multiple orbiting bodies.

With these approximately 10^12 some planets (Just in these remote galaxies!), it's not so surprising we could be a random chance, and it would be even more surprising if we were alone. It would be an awfully big(lonely) place for just us.

Totally - the likelihood of us being alone in this galaxy (let alone the entire universe, containing around 170 billion galaxies, each with between several million and a hundred trillion stars of their own) is pretty slim. But, don't get me pegged as one of those alien-believing people. The likelihood that we ever have or ever will run into anyone else intelligent is close to non-existant. (Unless someone hits the jackpot and invents a working FTL drive, but that's another discussion entirely!).

I'd be surprised if the number of planets with life on them (either currently or in the past) is a small enough number for us to even comprehend it's hugeness.

chams
05-06-2011, 06:19 PM
It wouldn't shock me. K1V can go to 18% (and perhaps beyond) and coffee seems to stimulate yeast. Now that we know caffeine increases yeast viability, it might be just the thing to push that ABV higher!



That is exactly correct. The formation of Micelles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micelle) (another fancy way of saying fat droplets) and larger lipid bilayers would be the first step in making a cell. That creates an inside and an outside in the liquid medium. This would allow the the machinery for a cell to be contained inside and would probably be the first step in the development of cellular "life" as we understand it. Of course this assumes one believes in evolution and the spontaneous development of life.

When you look at even the simplest cells, the complexity is enormous. To assume that it self-organized is a huge leap of faith. Even the simplest "life form" (if you want to call it that) that of a self replicating protein, being trapped inside a lipid bilayer would be a long way from a cell. Assuming that such an organization would occur through random association of materials sounds more outlandish than taking all the parts of a Boeing 747 and putting them in a big pot and expecting it to assemble if you just keep shaking it long enough.

I have seen nothing in my limited life experience that has ever convinced me that any system will spontaneously develop more complexity and organization - quite the opposite. Without specific plans being carried out and energy being input, everything becomes more disorganized. This is why it is very easy for me to believe in a creator (call it what you will).

My apologies for the tangential discussion.

Medsen

Ah, the watchmaker's fallacy. You must be a fan of Michael Behe and his theory of Irreducible complexity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreducible_complexity).
I won't go there. I'll stick to mead discussions on this one sane board. ;D

AToE
05-06-2011, 06:45 PM
I know, I have the same resistance to controversial discussions on this board, because it is the most on-topic and non-flamewar board I have ever seen!

I'm fine agreeing to dissagree with creationists. I don't have a problem with creationism, I have problems with specific details in specific versions of it (such as the whole fighting eachother business!) but not really with the whole idea. I obviously have a problem with the concept of creationism itself (or else I would be a believer myself), but not with it's believers.

Loadnabox
05-06-2011, 06:54 PM
I know, I have the same resistance to controversial discussions on this board, because it is the most on-topic and non-flamewar board I have ever seen!

I'm fine agreeing to dissagree with creationists. I don't have a problem with creationism, I have problems with specific details in specific versions of it (such as the whole fighting eachother business!) but not really with the whole idea. I obviously have a problem with the concept of creationism itself (or else I would be a believer myself), but not with it's believers.

Why can't both be true. My view of God is that he is God because he created us, but he isn't truly all powerful. He simply knows more than we do such that he can follow procedures to create with semi predictable results. Kinda like mead making, you know you use X honey with Y yeast and brew at Z temp you'll get a brew with predictable results. Then again this view is rather heretical to most believers :(

AToE
05-06-2011, 07:47 PM
Thanks for splitting this off Medsen!

AToE
05-06-2011, 07:55 PM
Why can't both be true. My view of God is that he is God because he created us, but he isn't truly all powerful. He simply knows more than we do such that he can follow procedures to create with semi predictable results. Kinda like mead making, you know you use X honey with Y yeast and brew at Z temp you'll get a brew with predictable results. Then again this view is rather heretical to most believers :(

This is the aproach I usually take when talking with most believers (unless they're young-earth proponents, then I don't even try. Not trying to insult anyone here who may be a young-earth person, but the honest truth is that a discussion between a young-earth and old-earth person is not likely to go anywhere productive! It's best to just walk away!).

That said, I'm personally as Atheist as it gets (unless you count people who are jerks about it as "extra" atheist ;) I don't though, they're just atheist and jerks!). I never decided to be atheist, it's just the way it worked out. I was raised agnostic with a slight lean towards Christian theology, but by the time I was probably 5 or 6 years old I was decidedly non-Christian agnostic, very close to atheist even at that age actually.

I think the last time I actually had even the slightest tinge of belief in a creator was probably my mid teens.

Like I said though, it wasn't my choice to be atheist - I could just as easily have been one of the agnostics who beleive in basically what you said (I couldn't have been any specific religion though, certainly not one of the big 3 western ones), but I ended up atheist. Just like I had no choice really with any of the other fundamental beliefs I have about the nature of reality, I think long and hard about reality all the time, and this is just how I've ended up based on the information that I've gathered combined with my own logic and gut reaction (I won't in any way deny that my atheism has a strong gut-aspect to it, much like believing in a higher power has a large basis in emotion, so does my disbelief).

EDIT: If that non-choice thing doesn't make sense, consider a non-religious belief you've come to based on data and logic, such as the beleif in a spherical Earth (note, I am NOT comparing believing in a higher power to believing in a flat earth here!). Even if you looked at all the oppositions arguments, at no point could you simply "chose" to believe what they believe, you're either convinced or aren't (or are hanging onto your old belief dispite the data/logic/gut reaction... that you would indeed have a choice in).

I avoid starting fights over the subject though, instead just encouraging honest conversation so that people can understand more about each other.

Medsen Fey
05-06-2011, 08:07 PM
Well I got the order of these posts screwed up while moving them, but what the heck.

As for the Behe argument, that's not really where I'm coming from. I'm more of a prime mover kind of guy. And maybe throw in a little of the 2nd law of thermodynamics where entropy will not decrease in a closed system. Order does not come out of chaos without energy input (and intent). I am not saying that I do not believe in natural selection - I do. I am not saying I do not believe in mutation - I do. What I believe is that the simplest one-cell organism and the human share a fundamental set of common instructions that make us similar. We are built from similar sets of engineering specs (DNA) but those specs did not develop through random chance.

Chevette Girl
05-06-2011, 08:10 PM
Why can't both be true. My view of God is that he is God because he created us, but he isn't truly all powerful. He simply knows more than we do such that he can follow procedures to create with semi predictable results. Kinda like mead making, you know you use X honey with Y yeast and brew at Z temp you'll get a brew with predictable results. Then again this view is rather heretical to most believers :(

Thanks, Medsen, I didn't want to get involved in anything this close to religion as long as this was on someone's brewlog :) But now that it's not... ;D

I have a friend who's got faith (I don't), who has a theory that God can either be all good or all powerful but not both, and honestly, that's the nicest rationalization I've ever heard for why some stuff happens the way it does.

Another friend who's got faith thinks similar to Loadnabox, that we're all part of a giant experiment someone's running up there. Which I think also rationalizes things nicely...

I always do my best to respect people's honest faith even though I admittedly have very little respect for organized religions, and I love it when people can discuss things like this without it turning into a screaming match where everyone's trying to ram their beliefs down everyone else's throats... I can even have discussions like this with my aunt, a Catholic Nun... Go, Gotmead! This community is the best!

AToE
05-06-2011, 08:16 PM
The whole entropy argument doesn't really apply, it's hard to explain but we're in such a vast system post big-bang that entropy is indeed in effect, but while things are going towards chaos lots of interesting combinations can ensue in the meantime - the two happening are not mutually exclusive. I'll try to find and post a better explanation of why that whole entropy argument doesn't work, I'm not very good at explaining it!

Part of my problem with creationism is that it doesn't actually answer "origin" in any satisfying way. Atheism currently can't go back further than the big bang (rest assured that everything that's happened since then can have a non-supernatural explanation, even if we haven't figured it all out yet!), and religion can't explain where the heck this creator would have come from in the first place.

So both schools of thought hit a brick wall in the end (for now at least), I just believe in the one that sits better with my logic and gut. ;D

Medsen Fey
05-06-2011, 08:17 PM
I love it when people can discuss things like this without it turning into a screaming match where everyone's trying to ram their beliefs down everyone else's throats... Go, Gotmead! This community is the best!

Indeed!

I realize I opened a potential can of worms with this topic, and it can touch some raw nerves and inflame some righteous indignation. I'd like to commend everyone for keeping it civil. Just a word of caution, if anyone cannot maintain polite decorum, this thread will be locked down immediately.

AToE
05-06-2011, 08:18 PM
I'm all for that, the last thing I want to do here is to offend anyone.

Chevette Girl
05-06-2011, 08:21 PM
I avoid starting fights over the subject though, instead just encouraging honest conversation so that people can understand more about each other.

Exactly!!!

Similar story on my side, but more disillusionment, as I was raised in a practising Catholic household. I took everything literally as a child, so when I started realizing that what was said in church was not absolute truth (at least not how saw truth as an 8-year old who could understand a similie but not a metaphor), that was the beginning of the end of any faith I had in the Church, eventually I realized that the only thing I had any kind of faith in was myself (heh, sounds kind of conceited when I see it typed out :p)... I do believe there are things that happen that can't be explained by science so I don't disbelieve in a higher power, or at least SOMETHING that can't be quantified. But I'm always interested in hearing from people with strong convictions either way.

<passes the microphone on to the next contestant>

Chevette Girl
05-06-2011, 08:23 PM
Just a word of caution, if anyone cannot maintain polite decorum, this thread will be locked down immediately.

Thank you. Glad someone's around to mediate if required.

chams
05-06-2011, 09:46 PM
Indeed!

I realize I opened a potential can of worms with this topic, and it can touch some raw nerves and inflame some righteous indignation. I'd like to commend everyone for keeping it civil. Just a word of caution, if anyone cannot maintain polite decorum, this thread will be locked down immediately.

Thanks for that Medsen. I've really enjoyed my time on this forum, and the people here, so with that in mind, I think I'll just remain an observer. :)
For the record, I'm an atheist, but I have several friends who are believers in different philosophies, and I've found it's quite easy to agree to disagree when folks are civil and adult.
I'm willing to change my mind given evidence. ;D

Cheers

Riverat
05-06-2011, 10:07 PM
Indeed!

I realize I opened a potential can of worms with this topic, and it can touch some raw nerves and inflame some righteous indignation. I'd like to commend everyone for keeping it civil. Just a word of caution, if anyone cannot maintain polite decorum, this thread will be locked down immediately.

One could always hope that broader minds can be open to other points of view and find value in them. The areas of spirituality tend to explore and teach in the direction of morals (right and wrong) and science in the direction of true or false.
Both of these domains of thought have very real value in everyday life and need not be mutualy exclusive, the arguments seem to arise when one domain intrudes into the other (mostly by means of inappropriate rationale) and defensive mechanisims come into play. After all spirituality probably has little to say about physical reality ( faith not meaning much if it needs proof) and science little to say about the devine as it needs to be able to manipulate and experiment (finite actions and models) I like to think I have a fair grasp of things and while I see nothng that calls for the devine (pridictable if you really think about it) I also see nothing that precludes it.
I am a scientist by nature and can't bring myself to believe in magic......but life....that's about as close to magic as you can get and so a great source for debate.

chams
05-06-2011, 10:26 PM
One could always hope that broader minds can be open to other points of view and find value in them. The areas of spirituality tend to explore and teach in the direction of morals (right and wrong) and science in the direction of true or false.
Both of these domains of thought have very real value in everyday life and need not be mutualy exclusive, the arguments seem to arise when one domain intrudes into the other (mostly by means of inappropriate rationale) and defensive mechanisims come into play. After all spirituality probably has little to say about physical reality ( faith not meaning much if it needs proof) and science little to say about the devine as it needs to be able to manipulate and experiment (finite actions and models) I like to think I have a fair grasp of things and while I see nothng that calls for the devine (pridictable if you really think about it) I also see nothing that precludes it.
I am a scientist by nature and can't bring myself to believe in magic......but life....that's about as close to magic as you can get and so a great source for debate.

Well said. 8)

Smarrikåka
05-07-2011, 06:20 AM
I believe life is a result of the world's desire to percieve itself. I don't think there's any plan, just a desire.

Loadnabox
05-07-2011, 09:49 AM
Thanks for moving this Madsen, I love discussing these kinds of topics but it's nice to discuss it AND keep my brewlog clean! :) I also appreciate you, AToE, The Alchemist and others looking at my brewlog! It gives me nice warm fuzzies to know that I can ask a totally newb question and get such polite responses!


As for the topic of the new thread: I would clarify that I don't believe we actually are a petri dish experiment, but it is the closest analogy of how God works IMO. My view of God is drastically different because of how logical I am. I was agnostic leaning towards atheism for a very long time until I had a deeply religious experience. No it wasn't my near death experience, that actually didn't convince me. It was an experience that had someone told me about it during my atheist years, I would have thought them insane. People still think I'm a bit crazy when I tell them, but I think the fact I can ask if I'm insane generally makes me not insane.

After my experience, I could no longer deny God, but I couldn't shake the feeling that somehow, things didn't line up with the concept of what God is. There were problems with the guidelines for going to heaven/hell which didn't makes sense compared to a kind/loving God. There were problems with the idea of an all knowing all powerful God together, The kind/loving God didn't make sense with things that happened in the world, especially lined up with the all knowing/all powerful parts.

As I thought things through I realized, that if things aren't adding up, you need to check your premises for the equation. Thus I came up with a number of conclusions.

God is real
Religion is a creation of man
The nature of God is not what most people think (All powerful/All knowing)
Religions are mostly harmless

I'm pretty accepting of religions, heck despite my weird views I'm married to a Catholic (Practicing but not strict). My family includes atheists, agnostics, wiccans, neo-pagans and even a Mormon father. I guess that adds up to why I consider myself Unitarian Universalist. I love having my beliefs challenged, it helps me to refine my understanding of the divine.

Chevette Girl
05-07-2011, 10:43 AM
After my experience, I could no longer deny God, but I couldn't shake the feeling that somehow, things didn't line up with the concept of what God is. There were problems with the guidelines for going to heaven/hell which didn't makes sense compared to a kind/loving God. There were problems with the idea of an all knowing all powerful God together, The kind/loving God didn't make sense with things that happened in the world, especially lined up with the all knowing/all powerful parts.

As I thought things through I realized, that if things aren't adding up, you need to check your premises for the equation. Thus I came up with a number of conclusions.

God is real
Religion is a creation of man
The nature of God is not what most people think (All powerful/All knowing)
Religions are mostly harmless

I'm pretty accepting of religions, heck despite my weird views I'm married to a Catholic (Practicing but not strict). My family includes atheists, agnostics, wiccans, neo-pagans and even a Mormon father. I guess that adds up to why I consider myself Unitarian Universalist. I love having my beliefs challenged, it helps me to refine my understanding of the divine.

That right there is an awesome attitude. :notworthy:

My aunt (the nun) is like that, but a number of others (especially born-again types) I know are not. And there's no point in challenging people who cling so tightly and so blindly, they obviously NEED that belief so badly that it's not fair to make them think about it.

And I always love finding out about people who've had actual experiences. Cool.

But let me throw a little gas on the fire... I disagree that religions are mostly harmless, a lot of damage has been done on small and large scale in the name of religion... They're only mostly harmless until someone at the top gets ideas, I believe religions were invented to control people... have you ever noticed that most of the wars ever fought have a religious base, at least on the outside? The Crusades, witch-burnings, the Holocaust, 9/11... Hardly harmless. But they're not a reflection on god/God/whatever, because as you said, religion is a creation of man...

Loadnabox
05-07-2011, 11:05 AM
That right there is an awesome attitude. :notworthy:

My aunt (the nun) is like that, but a number of others (especially born-again types) I know are not. And there's no point in challenging people who cling so tightly and so blindly, they obviously NEED that belief so badly that it's not fair to make them think about it.

And I always love finding out about people who've had actual experiences. Cool.

But let me throw a little gas on the fire... I disagree that religions are mostly harmless, a lot of damage has been done on small and large scale in the name of religion... They're only mostly harmless until someone at the top gets ideas, I believe religions were invented to control people... have you ever noticed that most of the wars ever fought have a religious base, at least on the outside? The Crusades, witch-burnings, the Holocaust, 9/11... Hardly harmless. But they're not a reflection on god/God/whatever, because as you said, religion is a creation of man...




That's why I said mostly harmless. Most religions were made to control people. The catholic church is certainly no exception. Confessions to a man were the early days version of domestic spying and to me make no sense especially in the light of an all knowing God. He knows what you did, he knows if you're sorry, why do you need to tell a man your misdeeds? (Funny, I'm away from my fermenters for a niece's first communion :-D )

I cut the church some slack on the crusades. The land up until the sixth century belong to Christians and Jews. Islam was converting the land at the blade of a sword (Dhimmi status and Jizya were no joke). Generally killing all the men in a city wasn't unusual, and sometimes even the women over a certain age. It wasn't pretty, nor was the response of the Crusades which can be seen as a defensive war. Islam had crept all the way from the middle east into Spain and was killing anyone who wouldn't convert. It's fair to say it could be justifiable at that point to go into an aggressive war to push back the borders of the invaders, who just happened to be religious groups as opposed to political ones.

Most of this is fairly old history as well. Religions in their modern incarnations are still mostly harmless, perhaps more so than their classic incarnations. The biggest threat from them comes in the form of intolerance fomenting hate. Mormon re-education camps are an easily identifiable point (used to try and beat gay teens into a straight lifestyle). Islamic Sharia law isn't butterflies and sunshine either. At the same time I don't mind my daughter being baptized Catholic, a little water on her head won't hurt anything, and most of the morality espoused by the church will go a long way to helping her to be a better person.

Riverat
05-07-2011, 11:30 AM
Most of this is fairly old history as well. Religions in their modern incarnations are still mostly harmless, perhaps more so than their classic incarnations. The biggest threat from them comes in the form of intolerance fomenting hate. .

Yeah, the biggest problem with most religions does seem to be people

TheAlchemist
05-07-2011, 01:33 PM
hubble : deep field pictures (http://www.themudflats.net/wp-content/uploads/hubble_ultra_deep_field_black_point_edit.jpg) were pointed at the deepest darkest point in the sky where we thought there was nothing at all...

Hmmm, it's humbling.

TheAlchemist
05-07-2011, 01:42 PM
Why can't both be true. My view of God is that he is God because he created us...(

So, you reckon God's a guy? Or at least "masculine gendered?"

TheAlchemist
05-07-2011, 02:00 PM
At the same time I don't mind my daughter being baptized Catholic, a little water on her head won't hurt anything, and most of the morality espoused by the church will go a long way to helping her to be a better person.

That her in your av? Who's the other little person?

TheAlchemist
05-07-2011, 02:02 PM
Well I got the order of these posts screwed up while moving them, but what the heck...

Thanks for moving this, but it seems to me this thread would fit better in The Hive...

Medsen Fey
05-07-2011, 02:23 PM
Quite true, however, the Hive is in a archive that makes it more difficult for me to rearrange the posts to get the order correct. ;)

TheAlchemist
05-07-2011, 03:11 PM
Waiting for Jenn to weigh in on this one...go on, Jenn, we know you have a heartfelt opinion on this, and gotmead's nothin' if it's not a place to express heartfelt opinion...

mccann51
05-07-2011, 03:58 PM
Wow, that's a lot of posts for a 24 hour period. I'm kinda jumping in the middle of it, so sorry if I'm being repetitive, but I can't not get in on this.

Firstly, I find it a little tragic that topics such as religion are seen as so "hands off" for discussion. Why is it so difficult for people to discuss something they firmly believe in without getting irate or "offended"? So long as arguments are formed respectfully and non-maliciously, I don't see where offense can be taken; the people who do get offended are often the ones who say the most offensive things, in my experience.

Next order of business: the development of life from organic compounds. I think one reason it's so hard to imagine this is the scales of time required for such development to occur. It's not as simple as a micelle forms, some passing amino acids are taken up, and self-replication begins. It's a very, very, very (effectively ad infinitum simply from the perspective of our very limited and finite human time-scales) gradual process. The organic compounds that are the basis of life did NOT develop spontaneously, they developed over however-long based on a large input of energy (energy required for order) and a VERY chance but conducive circumstance of chemical conditions. Over vast amounts of time, the compounds that arouse from the chemical reactions occurring acted as catalysts for further reactions of a similar nature. This is a slow ramping up process, but it results in areas (pools) with high concentrations of organic compounds. This is not just conjecture, these experiments have been done. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment)

In such highly concentrated conditions, it's not hard to imagine micelles that do uptake amino acids and other compounds. These proto-cells (I am using this term due to convenience and a lack of knowledge of more proper terminology) probably did not hold together for long, but ones that held together for slightly longer would have some influence on what reactions were being catalyzed, as the interior of these proto-cells would be more chemically stable. This primitive, chemical form of natural selection would select for organic compounds that worked most effectively together and were most stable in conjunction.

After some (excessively long, by our human standards) amount of time, you would have some very primitive forms of replication. Nucleotide strands (ie RNA) would facilitate the synthesis of amino acid strands (ie proteins) that facilitated the synthesis of nucleic acid strands, etc, etc. Proteins work by simple physical chemistry; given arrangements of amino acids produce structures that are useful for certain biochemical reactions. If you have a 20 base long nucleotide strand (not too hard to imagine), then you have the potential to have a 10 amino acid long protein (it's hypothesized that amino acids were initially coded by only two nucleotides, not three; I guess the third nucleic acid in most codons nowadays is repetitive). If the structure of this protein happens to facilitate RNA building, then it's easy to see how selection for the most "cooperative" RNA sequences and proteins would occur. Ramp this whole process up for several billion years, and you get self-replicating cells that classic biological natural selection can work on. Give it another couple billion years, and we get us, discussing our origins across an external, non-biological network, and that's a whole other can of worms, haha!

The Boeing 747 is a product of this total "evolution". To say a Boeing 747 does not spontaneously assemble (so why should a cell) is to make a false dichotomy. It took a long time of aeronautical trial-and-error to develop and build the first Boeing 747, the same is true for the first cell. Nobody is suggesting a cell just came together one day from a bunch of chemicals; it took a LOT of "development".

All this said, I am not a biochemist, molecular-, or micro-biologist. I have only a rudimentary understanding of this stuff - in the general idea of the progression, I think I've got some abstract idea of it - so I may not be conveying it very well.

In terms of a creator, I am not full on against the idea, but my immediate question is, what created the creator? It's an infinite regress, and eventually you have to draw a line and say, okay, some kind of ordering event had to occur here. My thought is - for parsimony sake - why not draw that line at our Archaean origins? If there is a creator, fine, but there's no reason - with what we now know - to rely on one for our biological start.

TheAlchemist
05-07-2011, 04:16 PM
...In terms of a creator, I am not full on against the idea, but my immediate question is, what created the creator? It's an infinite regress, and eventually you have to draw a line and say, okay, some kind of ordering event had to occur here. My thought is - for parsimony sake - why not draw that line at our Archaean origins? If there is a creator, fine, but there's no reason - with what we now know - to rely on one for our biological start.

Ah, The Causa Sui Project...

AToE
05-07-2011, 06:31 PM
One could always hope that broader minds can be open to other points of view and find value in them. The areas of spirituality tend to explore and teach in the direction of morals (right and wrong) and science in the direction of true or false.
Both of these domains of thought have very real value in everyday life and need not be mutualy exclusive, the arguments seem to arise when one domain intrudes into the other (mostly by means of inappropriate rationale) and defensive mechanisims come into play. After all spirituality probably has little to say about physical reality ( faith not meaning much if it needs proof) and science little to say about the devine as it needs to be able to manipulate and experiment (finite actions and models) I like to think I have a fair grasp of things and while I see nothng that calls for the devine (pridictable if you really think about it) I also see nothing that precludes it.
I am a scientist by nature and can't bring myself to believe in magic......but life....that's about as close to magic as you can get and so a great source for debate.

While science doesn't delve much into morality (there's science in there though!) and spirituality does, it's important to remember that secular philosophy is also fully capable of deep examination of morality. Morality doesn't come from spirituality or religion, those are just two methods of organizing/refining it, not the only methods though. :)

AToE
05-07-2011, 06:48 PM
My problem with the airplane parts being toss around analogy is that while it gets the point across, it's really not analogous at all for obvious reasons. Planes require welding, bolts, so forth and so on. On a microscopic level it's a lot easier for things to fall into place with each other - there are strong attractions between things (unlike plane parts, which have no measurable attraction to each other) and only certain parts can fit onto certain parts, and the fact that gravity has little/far less effect on something this size also removes one of the major problems that would arise if trying to assemble a plane in such a manner!

It's tough to come up with a macroscopic analogy that has any relevance because everything on our scale just behaves so differently than down at the molecular level.

As a side note: Obviously Medsen is a smart guy and knows darned well the differences I'm talking about (in many cases probably better than I do!). I just wanted to point this out in case that analogy had anyone confused/reconsidering evolution!

Now I'm off to try and find the explanation I'm looking for that explains why entropy does not in fact make a case for creation, because on the surface logic of it I'll agree it certainly does seem to. I want to tackle that one, because it's one of the more difficult to explain-why-incorrect concepts that people as evidence for creationism. (I don't think any of the "this is too complicated, could never have come together by accident arguements are really very hard to argue people out of, because of the timeframes involved and how though things seems insanely complex, the step by step makes total sense. This entropy thing though is something that I know is incorrect, but cannot for the life of me seem to explain why! So I head to the internets for help...) ;D

Riverat
05-07-2011, 06:50 PM
. My thought is - for parsimony sake - why not draw that line at our Archaean origins? If there is a creator, fine, but there's no reason - with what we now know - to rely on one for our biological start.

And to consider the larger universe in this, one might forego the idea of an "intervention" creating life here at all. Considering the speed that life took hold here (hmm, still, maybe an intervention?) it may be that the building blocks of the cosmos are such that life is inevitable where the basics are present. "God" would not likely be some old white bearded guy on a throne but the same divine (thanks for the correction) spark / life / organizing principle for you. me, that little praying mantis in my window, the tree it's on or whatever passes for life on whatever world wherever.
It's a pretty big universe out there and "life" probably has a pretty significant (if long term) part in it.

mccann51
05-07-2011, 07:08 PM
secular philosophy is also fully capable of deep examination of morality. Morality doesn't come from spirituality or religion, those are just two methods of organizing/refining it, not the only methods though. :)

Any excellent, under-appreciated point.


Now I'm off to try and find the explanation I'm looking for that explains why entropy does not in fact make a case for creation, because on the surface logic of it I'll agree it certainly does seem to. I want to tackle that one, because it's one of the more difficult to explain-why-incorrect concepts that people as evidence for creationism. (I don't think any of the "this is too complicated, could never have come together by accident arguements are really very hard to argue people out of, because of the timeframes involved and how though things seems insanely complex, the step by step makes total sense. This entropy thing though is something that I know is incorrect, but cannot for the life of me seem to explain why! So I head to the internets for help...) ;D

An input of energy is required to order things and fight the downward-spiral of entropy. Energy was present when life and its chemical antecedents were first making their appearance on Earth. Ultraviolet light and electrical energy from lightning I think are the main culprits here.

Once actual cells developed, they were able to order themselves and their environment by their own volition, utilizing carbon compounds and ATP as energy.

AToE
05-07-2011, 07:29 PM
I haven't found a single great article or essay yet, but the jist of it seems to be that the second law of thermodynamics only applies to a closed system. A planet, a cell, a creature, these are not closed systems. Energy is constantly being added from the sun (which yes will tend towards entropy eventually). There's more to it than that, but that's one of the main parts of why entropy doesn't disprove the random-chance development of life. Once that life is started, natural selection takes hold, and entropy actually helps evolution along by causing more randomized changes in the DNA, resulting in slow changes to the organism over time. EDIT: And I did meet one guy who said this argument actually applied to the formation of planets and stars as well, but gravity is the obvious foil to that argument.

I really need to get more info organized about this, it's an argument that comes up a lot in these discussions.

Someone, maybe you, said it well earlier - if there is a creator, fine. But so far there's nothing that actually suggests a creator is needed for life to have arisen and then to become as complex as it is now. (If someone wants to suggest a creator is needed for the creation of the universe in the first place, that's a whole nuther discussion, and that is something science has less of a firm grasp on at this point in time!).

Riverat
05-07-2011, 07:42 PM
I haven't found a single great article or essay yet, but the jist of it seems to be that the second law of thermodynamics only applies to a closed system. A planet, a cell, a creature, these are not closed systems. Energy is constantly being added from the sun (which yes will tend towards entropy eventually). There's more to it than that, but that's one of the main parts of why entropy doesn't disprove the random-chance development of life. Once that life is started, natural selection takes hold, and entropy actually helps evolution along by causing more randomized changes in the DNA, resulting in slow changes to the organism over time.
.

Perfectly expresed!

AToE
05-07-2011, 07:54 PM
On the topic of morality when it comes to religious vs agnostic vs atheist - I really don't think any one group has more or less capacity for extreme morality (though certain religions may encourage it, and certain ones do just the opposite. Just as some secular groups are extremely moral, some very dangerous).

People often tend to think of Atheists as some kind of robots, people who only think in terms of science. The reality couldn't be further than that - part of the problem is language. I cannot say I am spiritual, because that word implies beliefs in the supernatural, which I don't have. But, spiritual is indeed the cloest word to what kind of person I am, we really need a non-supernatural word for the same thing. Deeply intro and extro-spective, looking constantly for better morality, to be a better person, to love yourself more, and to love the rest of humanity more. To love non-human life too (from an Atheist point of view every single life form on this planet is my family, from the yeast I ferment mead with right on up to my parents!), to love the universe in all it's glory.

Deep morality, deep meaning/purpose, these things come from within, the difference between all us groups of humans is simply how we try to refine those concepts and communicate them to others (I think).

Loadnabox
05-08-2011, 08:49 AM
AToE, I wouldn't dare say any group is more or less moral. Morality in of itself is relative. Many cultures in the world a woman is still considered property. Not saying this is right, but to them we're weird that they're not property. Just using this as a way of dramatizing why I say morality is relative :-D

As a former atheist/agnostic I am always defending them to my wife. I understand why atheists are so in your face about defending themselves. Most Abrahamic religions are pretty rabid about proselytizing such that if you're on the other end you begin to feel attacked by the constant barrage. I remember listening to Dr Laura on the radio and how insulted I was as she literally blamed the failing economy, war, overcrowding in prisons, teen pregnancy, and high unemployment on atheists and agnostics. A defensive return of barrage is to be expected.

This doesn't excuse the way that some atheists return fire in a rather vitriolic manner. To some it becomes more than just a defensive reflex and almost becomes a matter of trying to convert to atheism as well.

The whole point of mine wasn't so much that churches are more moral, but that they provide much more structure in a group mindset to influence children positively. As the groups that have been preaching these morals (and they are the basis for our western morality) they are also very learned in how to accomplish these goals. Atheists and Agnostics, while there are some some groups, are nearly as organized and don't have the focus on morality that a church group would.

I personally think I could teach morality without the church, but as for how -I- view my daughters' attendance in these groups(eventually), that's the justification for me. It doesn't hurt anything AND they will help provide a moral foundation for her.

mccann51
05-08-2011, 10:31 AM
The whole point of mine wasn't so much that churches are more moral, but that they provide much more structure in a group mindset to influence children positively. As the groups that have been preaching these morals (and they are the basis for our western morality) they are also very learned in how to accomplish these goals. Atheists and Agnostics, while there are some some groups, are nearly as organized and don't have the focus on morality that a church group would.

I personally think I could teach morality without the church, but as for how -I- view my daughters' attendance in these groups(eventually), that's the justification for me. It doesn't hurt anything AND they will help provide a moral foundation for her.

I think you give too much credit to organized religions; not that people don't learn morality from their religious group, and not that it's a bad thing for such to happen, but I'd say the primary vehicle of morality being taught to children is the parents. If the parents happen to be active in a religion, then yes, the morality is probably coming down from the religion, but it is still primarily the parents.

Children learn most of their values from their parents (even if it is in a contrarian fashion, eg "my parents are alcoholics, so I abhor alcohol"), not just their morals.

Chevette Girl
05-08-2011, 11:20 AM
I honestly don't remember how I learned what was wrong and what was right. Always an empathetic youngster, I was always able to put myself in someone/something else's shoes and I learned very early that it made me feel bad if I hurt someone or something because I wouldn't like it to happen to me... so I think that's where it came from for me... and some people don't have that, and have to be told that hurting is wrong. And people who recognize that they don't have morals but still want to fit within society's norms develop a code of ethics instead, and that's more what's in the bible... it's an instruction manual for life with a bunch of basic rules that help a society to work.

I think where morality/ethics comes in with organized religions is that you're associating with a community (whether through school or church) and you sort of absorb the beliefs and behaviours of that community, societal norms and all that... and most religions have some basic tenets - don't murder, don't cheat, don't screw around on someone you're committed to, don't steal, and take care of your neighbours if they can't take care of themselves.

TheAlchemist
05-08-2011, 01:12 PM
Here's a quote from Lewis Thomas, healer, poet and all around renaissance man (I believe he was also a man of faith--?Calvinist? but can't verify):

What sticks in the top of my mind is another, unavoidable aspect of my genealogy, far beyond my memory, but remembered still, I suspect, by all my cells. It is a difficult and delicate fact to mention. To face it squarely, I come from a line that can be traced straight back, with some accuracy, into a near-infinity of years before my first humanoid ancestors turned up. I go back, and so do you, like it or not, to a single Ur-ancestor whose remains are on display in rocks dated approximately 3.5 thousand million years ago, born a billion or so years after the earth itself took shape and began cooling down. That first of the line, our n-granduncle, was unmistakably a bacterial cell.

I cannot get this out of my head. It has become, for the moment, the most important thing I know, the obligatory beginning of any memoir, the long buried source of language. We derive from a lineage of bacteria, and a very long line at that. Never mind our embarrassed indignation when we were first told, last century, that we came from a family of apes and had chimps as near-cousins. That was relatively easy to accommodate, having at least the distant look of a set of relatives. But this new connection, already fixed by recent science beyond any hope of disowning the parentage, is something else again. At first encounter the news must come as a kind of humiliation. Humble origins indeed…

Where did that first microorganism, parent of us all, come from? Nobody knows, and in the circumstance it’s anyone’s guess, and the guesses abound. Francis Crick suggests that the improbability of its forming itself here on earth is so high that we must suppose it drifted in from outer space, shifting the problem to scientists in some other part of the galaxy or beyond. Others assert that it happened here indeed, piecing itself together molecule by molecule, over a billion years of chance events under the influence of sunlight and lightening, finally achieving by pure luck the exactly right sequence of nucleotides, inside the exactly right sort of membrane, and we were on our way.

No doubt the first success occurred in water. And not much doubt that the first event, however it happened, was the only such event, the only success. It was the biological equivalent of the Big Bang of the cosmophysicists, very likely a singular phenomenon, a piece of unprecedented good luck never to be repeated. If the sheer improbability of the thing taking place more than once, spontaneously and by chance, were not enough, consider the plain fact that all the cells that came later, right up to our modern brain cells, carry the same strings of DNA and work by essentially the same genetic code. It is the plainest evidence of direct inheritance from a single parent. We are all in the same family-grasses, seagulls, fish, fleas and voting citizens of the republic….

I am obsessed by bacteria…

Lewis Thomas
A Long Line of Cells

Mitakuye Oyasin
All My Relations

TheAlchemist
05-08-2011, 01:32 PM
Aw, go on Jenn...get in the game...we all know you are both a woman of faith and a science teacher...you've got to have something to say here...

mccann51
05-08-2011, 01:41 PM
Nice quote, Alchemist!

Not sure what I think of Francis Crick's extraterrestrial-origins-idea, but it's one of those ideas that is a consciousness-raiser.

AToE
05-08-2011, 03:16 PM
There are secular equivalents to the moral teachings of a religious setting, but they are a lot more sneaky about it. We've got sports teams (a good coach instills a LOT of morality, teamwork, respect, hard work ethic, the list is almost endless), we've got classrooms (I've had some absolutely amazing teachers that made a huge impact on who I am today).

What we don't really have is a truely organized "lets sit down and only discuss morality" setting like is seen in religious groups. Now, I'll agree that the influence those groups have on a child is usually going to be a tiny fraction of the influence parents have on the kid (or even coaches and teachers, we spend a lot more time with them than we do in a religious setting... unless you're in a religious school or sports team, then that argument fails a bit).

But frankly it would be nice to have just big group discussions on how to live life best, not even really an atheist version, just a multi-faith and non religious setting where everyone could get together and discuss each others ideas. I wish something like that could be worked into the school system (I actually think too that a "religions of the world" class should be manditory in all schools, right from grade 1 through to 12).

Chevette Girl
05-08-2011, 05:05 PM
I am a product of the Catholic school system, and I think the only useful year of Religion class was the one year in high school where we studied other religions. The rest of it was studying scriptures, mostly go look up a passage in the bible and explain what you think it means, compare it to another passage somewhere else... we never discussed right and wrong that I ever remember, it was mostly bible study with the odd movie or story with some moral behind it... oh, and pushing abstinence.... And I had one or two good teachers (like the one who disapproved of how we are left in the dark about things like contraceptives and left the room during health class so we could ask our guest speaker ANYTHING) but am still trying to leave behind the continuing repurcussions of some really bad ones (like the bad taste in my mouth remaining from the one who implied to my class that anal sex causes, not spreads, HIV:mad:)... About the only other positive thing I can say about the religious teaching I received through the school system was that we learned that the bible is made up of the writings of multiple people who sometimes perceived the same event very differently. That was something specifically stressed at some point, but I haven't talked to too many others to find out if everyone was told that point-blank or if it was just my school/teacher that year... What I took away from it is to take nothing in there literally. Of course, by then it was too late for any kind of faith I might once have had...

But I really do wish we'd gone more in-depth on world religions. It would make for significantly fewer misunderstandings and less looking up things on Wikipedia... like, what does Halal designation mean, what is Ramadan, why do kosher Jews separate milk and meat, why do Catholics (or is that all Christians?) forego things for lent and advent, who believes in heaven/hell, who came up with the idea of eating pancakes the day before Ash Wednesday, what is the significance of the equinoxes and solstices, and does Satanism mean worshipping the dark one or just living in a selfish manner because you're going to hell anyway?

Medsen Fey
05-08-2011, 05:08 PM
This is a slow ramping up process, but it results in areas (pools) with high concentrations of organic compounds. This is not just conjecture, these experiments have been done. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment) ...

After some (excessively long, by our human standards) amount of time, you would have some very primitive forms of replication. Nucleotide strands (ie RNA) would facilitate the synthesis of amino acid strands ...

The Boeing 747 is a product of this total "evolution". To say a Boeing 747 does not spontaneously assemble (so why should a cell) is to make a false dichotomy. It took a long time of aeronautical trial-and-error to develop and build the first Boeing 747, the same is true for the first cell. Nobody is suggesting a cell just came together one day from a bunch of chemicals; it took a LOT of "development".

In terms of a creator, I am not full on against the idea, but my immediate question is, what created the creator?

I'll point out that their experiment did NOT show the development of nucleic acids which make up DNA/RNA.

And remember, the evolution of the 747 was intelligently directed and planned, with a purpose. It was not a series of random changes.


My problem with the airplane parts being toss around analogy is that while it gets the point across, it's really not analogous at all for obvious reasons. Planes require welding, bolts, so forth and so on. On a microscopic level it's a lot easier for things to fall into place with each other - there are strong attractions between things (unlike plane parts, which have no measurable attraction to each other) and only certain parts can fit onto certain parts, and the fact that gravity has little/far less effect on something this size also removes one of the major problems that would arise if trying to assemble a plane in such a manner!

It's tough to come up with a macroscopic analogy that has any relevance because everything on our scale just behaves so differently than down at the molecular level.


Again, compared to a 747, a cell is FAR more complicated and has many more parts. They all have to be attached through bonds (covalent, ionic, and so forth). Not only do they have to work in gravity, they have other forces such as osmotic pressures to deal with. They are extremely complicated and well engineered, self-regulating machines - a technical marvel. And if you glob together a few billion of them with various specialized functions, you get a self-aware creature - that's miraculous.

When one looks at a skyscraper, one does not need to acknowledge the architect and the builder. One can say, this must be a natural formation. Those steel girders must have formed deep in the earth where there is heat and pressure, and the glass windows as well. This structure, then, must have been pushed to the surface through tectonic activity, and the open space inside created by erosion over time. Or one could say, it's magic! One universal human trait is the ability to rationalize. Nevertheless, there was an architect and a builder, even if we can see no other proof of their existence other than the building.

When I see the amazing function of life, even at the molecular level, I see vivid proof of the genius of the architect. One fact that I've often wondered about in these discussion and haven't seen addressed is apoptosis - programmed cell death. It is an interesting concept, and accounts in part for the fact that we have a lifespan. I would think that natural selection would strongly favor species/organisms that didn't program in a life-span. Such organisms would be able to reproduce more and would have a competitive advantage. Building organisms with a cellular life-span sort of defeats that purpose and makes me think again, life systems were engineered with a plan.

As for the entropy issue, I recognize that it has some flaws, the biggest of which is that we are not in a closed system. There is constant energy input. Of course, you can take that back many steps. Who created the energy? who created the big bang? who created the stuff that went bang? and who created the creator? I believe this is the most fundamental question we have as humans. I don't think any of us will come up with answers in this corporeal existence - perhaps we get the chance to learn at some point later. For those who choose not to acknowledge the creator, that's certainly your prerogative, and luckily it does not preclude your creation. :)

In the meantime, I'll continue to tip my hat to God and thank him for the gift of life.

As for morality and religion, I do believe religion serves as a good way for us to draw closer to the creator. It encourages us to become something greater than our biological programing. However, like anything humans run, it has a tendency to run off the track at times. On the other hand, morality is not relative. There is good and there is evil. Slavery is evil. In our culture, it was considered acceptable (and even good) for a very long time. Just because a majority of people at the time said, "It's OK" did not make it OK. It was wrong, and it remains wrong (though it still exists). Moral relativism merely allow us to justify whatever we choose on the basis that others think so too. If we look in our hearts, it usually isn't too hard to see what "good" is - most people around the world can agree on at least some of it.

AToE
05-08-2011, 06:25 PM
As for the entropy issue, I recognize that it has some flaws, the biggest of which is that we are not in a closed system. There is constant energy input. Of course, you can take that back many steps. Who created the energy? who created the big bang? who created the stuff that went bang? and who created the creator? I believe this is the most fundamental question we have as humans. I don't think any of us will come up with answers in this corporeal existence - perhaps we get the chance to learn at some point later. For those who choose not to acknowledge the creator, that's certainly your prerogative, and luckily it does not preclude your creation. :)



Well, "some flaws" might be a wee understatement - this is an argument used all the time as scientific evidence for creationism, and because we're not talking about closed systems it simply doesn't apply at all. My issue with it is that it seems so convincing on it's surface that it misleads a lot of people into believing that it is actually proof of creation. I'm happy to see people believe in a creator if it impacts their lives in positive way, but I want people to believe for the right reasons, not because of misquoted science (that's NOT intended to be a dig at you Medsen, this entropy argument has been a hinderance to many discussions I've had with people over many years!).

When I say that life absolutely could have arisen on it's own, that's not just my opinion, that is the belief shared by the vast majority of the scientific community, the vast majority of whome are in fact religious themselves. The idea that evolution took place doesn't exclude the idea of a creator, just because it "could" happen on it's own, doesn't mean that it did, just that it could have. I don't like that a lot of religious people (not you specifically here, I'm talking about people who have museums showing people living alongside dinosaurs and such!) seem to feel the need to mis-represent science.

Regardless of how impossible it may seem, there are lots of solid leads into explaining how life got started, and we'll probably have it explained within our lifetime, hopefully with an experiment that actually shows it happening. Just because we who only partially understand the processes are baffled by it does not (and cannot) mean it's impossible.

Faith is supposed to be based on a lack of disproof of a creator (and there is indeed no way to disprove such a thing), and a feeling in your gut that there's something supernatural going on, that there's some greater being out there - not bad science! I want people to believe because they believe, not because they've been lied to/misled (not always intentionally) about science.


Now, when you bring up the whole "what the heck caused/came before the big bang?" thing, NOW we're talking! That's a discussion to be had for sure, and a great one! What I love about it is that it's (at this time anyways) unprovable, and so the discussion is free to run of into lots of interesting ideas. Us Atheists cannot explain what caused the universe to come into existance from a singularity (lots of decent hypothesis though), and religious people cannot explain what caused their Creator to come into existance. So in the end, both our experiences boil down (at least in part) to simple gut-instinct!


ALSO: We're only talking right now about atheism (common meaning of that term only) versus belief in a creator. We're leaving out entirely those atheist religions like Buddhism that actually do not believe in a deity at all, nor a creator, nor a creation. They believe that time is cyclical and the universe ends then begins from the ashes then ends again, with no true "start" or definite ending. This is REALLY fun stuff, because it actually does not conflict with the current scientific hypothesis about the nature of the universe (note, when I say "doesn't conflict" I'm not saying this means they're right!).

TheAlchemist
05-08-2011, 08:12 PM
We're leaving out entirely those atheist religions like Buddhism that actually do not believe in a deity at all, nor a creator, nor a creation. They believe that time is cyclical and the universe ends then begins from the ashes then ends again, with no true "start" or definite ending. This is REALLY fun stuff, because it actually does not conflict with the current scientific hypothesis about the nature of the universe (note, when I say "doesn't conflict" I'm not saying this means they're right!).

Delighted to see Buddhism come in to the discussion at last. Deeply spiritual thought that does not necessarily focus on God.

Also, we do not need to look too far to see evidence of the evolutionary process in our own lifetimes. MRSA and VRE are cases in point.

mccann51
05-08-2011, 08:43 PM
I'll point out that their experiment did NOT show the development of nucleic acids which make up DNA/RNA.

No, but other experiments (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment#Other_experiments) have.



And remember, the evolution of the 747 was intelligently directed and planned, with a purpose. It was not a series of random changes.

...

Again, compared to a 747, a cell is FAR more complicated and has many more parts. They all have to be attached through bonds (covalent, ionic, and so forth). Not only do they have to work in gravity, they have other forces such as osmotic pressures to deal with. They are extremely complicated and well engineered, self-regulating machines - a technical marvel. And if you glob together a few billion of them with various specialized functions, you get a self-aware creature - that's miraculous.

When one looks at a skyscraper, one does not need to acknowledge the architect and the builder. One can say, this must be a natural formation. Those steel girders must have formed deep in the earth where there is heat and pressure, and the glass windows as well. This structure, then, must have been pushed to the surface through tectonic activity, and the open space inside created by erosion over time. Or one could say, it's magic! One universal human trait is the ability to rationalize. Nevertheless, there was an architect and a builder, even if we can see no other proof of their existence other than the building.

When one looks at a skyscraper or Boeing, one is look at something that's parts cannot spontaneously be produced (ie the glass, the steel girders, the wiring, etc). Only a half-century of research has produced results that indicate the component parts of cells are spontaneously produced in conditions similar to those of early Earth. As AToE points out, the components of cells are on a totally different scale that operates differently from our own.

Consciousness is pretty miraculous, but within the context of evolution is by no means impossible; again, it's a ridiculously slow ramping up process. And though conscious we are, we are by no means perfect beings outside the influence of our evolutionary history. We have evil drives that speak to our violent, tribal ancestry. We - thankfully - also have compassion and ingenuity, which speaks to the same ancestry and evolutionary past. We also have trouble thinking about and dealing with issues of the incredibly small and incredibly big and old (exactly what we're attempting to deal with here, haha!); these issues were not relevant to our survival as a species when we were first evolving, so it's outside of our evolutionary experience.

As spectacular as our consciousness is, it is most certainly confined within the bounds of our evolution as a species.



When I see the amazing function of life, even at the molecular level, I see vivid proof of the genius of the architect. One fact that I've often wondered about in these discussion and haven't seen addressed is apoptosis - programmed cell death. It is an interesting concept, and accounts in part for the fact that we have a lifespan. I would think that natural selection would strongly favor species/organisms that didn't program in a life-span. Such organisms would be able to reproduce more and would have a competitive advantage. Building organisms with a cellular life-span sort of defeats that purpose and makes me think again, life systems were engineered with a plan.

Without knowing anything about the arguments for the evolutionary advantage of apoptosis (ie there's probably better, more well-thought arguments for its evolutionary advantage), I would venture that it somehow functions as a defense against progressive, deleterious mutations.



As for morality and religion, I do believe religion serves as a good way for us to draw closer to the creator. It encourages us to become something greater than our biological programing. However, like anything humans run, it has a tendency to run off the track at times. On the other hand, morality is not relative. There is good and there is evil. Slavery is evil. In our culture, it was considered acceptable (and even good) for a very long time. Just because a majority of people at the time said, "It's OK" did not make it OK. It was wrong, and it remains wrong (though it still exists). Moral relativism merely allow us to justify whatever we choose on the basis that others think so too. If we look in our hearts, it usually isn't too hard to see what "good" is - most people around the world can agree on at least some of it.

I couldn't have said it better myself (the bolded text); I agree with this 110%. Obviously there are more subtle situations that are not so black-and-white, but there are definitely things (such as slavery or genocide, or on a smaller scale, rape or murder) that every compassionate person could agree with. But I do not think religion does a better job at teaching it than a secular environment. "Don't do shit to others that you wouldn't want done to you." Yes, Jesus said something very similar, but I don't think it's a revelation that most people need the Bible to come to. Other religions say similar things, and so do many atheists and secularists. It's more universal than religion, and it's unfair for religion to take credit for it.


Faith is supposed to be based on a lack of disproof of a creator (and there is indeed no way to disprove such a thing), and a feeling in your gut that there's something supernatural going on, that there's some greater being out there - not bad science! I want people to believe because they believe, not because they've been lied to/misled (not always intentionally) about science.

Agreed. I also think this can be applied more broadly to any conviction a person has.


We're only talking right now about atheism (common meaning of that term only) versus belief in a creator. We're leaving out entirely those atheist religions like Buddhism that actually do not believe in a deity at all, nor a creator, nor a creation. They believe that time is cyclical and the universe ends then begins from the ashes then ends again, with no true "start" or definite ending. This is REALLY fun stuff, because it actually does not conflict with the current scientific hypothesis about the nature of the universe (note, when I say "doesn't conflict" I'm not saying this means they're right!).

Zen Buddhism, I feel, is a very good starting place for a secular equivalent to religion.


Btw, this is a very thought-provoking discussion, and I'm enjoying it thoroughly!

AToE
05-08-2011, 08:46 PM
Delighted to see Buddhism come in to the discussion at last. Deeply spiritual thought that does not necessarily focus on God.

Also, we do not need to look too far to see evidence of the evolutionary process in our own lifetimes. MRSA and VRE are cases in point.

I find there are two groups of creationists (huge generalization). Those who very much acknowledge evolution (how can one not? We see it happening right now, and the fossil records speak for themselves) but believe there was a guiding force involved, or, like Medsen, have a problem with that initial change from non-life to life (which is an understandable skepticism frankly).

Then there are those who deny it all. I don't know how to argue with those people because they've been so thoroughly taught psuedo-science that "backs up" the young earth stuff, or anti-evolution pseudo-science. It's not that they have a truely good argument, the problem is that they know the fake science far better than I know the real science! Which makes me clearly not the person to try to change their minds. I can point out little things here and there, but I'm never going to change their minds.

You also have the "universe as god's experiment" group, who believe life is indeed accidental, but that god created the universe and then just set it free to do whatever it did (perhaps in an attemp to figure out where god itself came from, or simply as part of a process to enrich the creator's life). I think one group of these people are the Process Theology people (though many of them do also believe life was sparked by god, or guided, etc too). I like Process Theology, I find it an extremely emotionally compelling school of thought.

akueck
05-09-2011, 02:28 AM
Interesting stuff. I always find these discussions entertaining, but honestly I come to the same spot every time: Who Cares? What it really boils down to is the fundamental question: how do I choose to live my own life? i.e. what fundamental basis do I use to understand the context of my existence? Religion is a common backdrop to frame the answer; personally I don't find it suitable. All just seem like wallpaper to me. To me it all distracts from the fact that I have to choose who I am, where I'm going, and how I'm going to get there. Getting all the answers from the back of the book just seems like cheating to me. Hmm, ok reading that sentence again it sounds like I'm calling anyone who follows religion a slacker. Not trying to do that, just saying that I--me personally--get no warm fuzzies from religion and in fact I think it messes up my lighting. I choose the blank canvas in the empty room with no one looking at it and no one to show it to.

Morality is well and good, and you can't have civil society without being able to transfer it from one generation to the next. But I'd like to think that I help people out because it makes me feel good, and I don't help people out when I don't feel like it. (hopefully for the rest of the world I feel like it more often than not.) I'm not trying to be righteous, get to heaven, or please a deity. I'm just here, for no plausible "big picture" reason, doing what seems right to me. And I better do what I think is right for me, because I might not be here tomorrow. Why do some things make me feel good? Not sure, probably a strong function of the morality suggested to me by family, friends, society at large, etc. Could be some deeper human/whatever truth? Again I don't really care, because I don't think knowing the answer would change anything. Really, if we all found out tomorrow that my neighbor down the street is actually God, would any of us change the way we live our lives?

Of course, the "do what you think is right" argument can quickly lead to a lot of really nasty hate crimes. I'd say it requires a bit of aloofness, and a general appreciation for how rare and interesting life is. Having the incredible luck to be able to even contemplate the question from my couch using wireless internet doesn't hurt either. To the point, coming to understand how crazy the circumstances (natural, supernatural, or other) must have been for me to even exist in the first place instills a healthy respect for life that should preclude the homicidal maniacs from using my "right for me" philosophy. It might lead to some selfish assholes, but I'm ok with that; we seem to get those anyway.

Now I'll add that respect for life doesn't mean I'm going off the deep end on the other side and only eating compost; in fact I am very omnivorous (on Friday I ate some of cow stomachs 2 and 3, apparently you can order them separately--#2 is better). Honestly I feel like eating is part of living, and something dies every time something else eats. Circle of life, yadda yadda, but I refuse to feel guilty for doing what it takes to stay alive another day to talk about why I'm still here. I will go out of my way to find animal products (and plants too) produced in sustainable, humane ways because that makes me feel better, and I can only hope others choose to do the same. And if not, well, so what. ("so what" from a moral standpoint, there are lots of compelling environmental reasons and some good health ones to head toward sustainable/humane.) Could turn out we're all in God's Arcade and then how silly would we look arguing about cows and pigs. My neighbor down the street eats them too. :p

AToE
05-09-2011, 02:34 AM
That all (especially about how we have to make our own decisions and be "good" or "bad" for our own reasons) really is similar to how I feel.

Even if I found out there was a god I don't think it would influence me very much at all.

EDIT: I should add though that religion is one of my all-time favourite subjects. It's been such an amazing part of human history, and has really shaped the many cultures around the world, and it's of course helped inspire (or at least fund!) much of the most amazing artwork our species has ever seen.

As much as I wouldn't really care if there were a creator (because then I'd just believe the creator was an evolved being just like I believe we are, so it really wouldn't change anything), I must say that I do prefer a universe without one. I'm a moral person because I choose to be, life has value because I say it does, and I like that my morality comes from only human sources.

TheAlchemist
05-09-2011, 11:09 AM
So many things to think about and say here...

I need Grace. Unmerited favor. It’s that simple.
I am a woman of Christian faith, and this alone would be reason enough.

A favorite C. S. Lewis quote springs to mind:
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

But I also need Somewhere to put my Gratitude. A world without God would be, for me, a lonesome place. I need Someone to whom I can call out at 3am when I am sitting beside my anxious and ill mother’s bedside. I, myself, am not Large enough to contain my sense of Wonder. I am at occupational risk of occasional exposure to the Numinous. I have colleagues that are exposed to the same signs and wonders that I encounter regularly who do not have a faith orientation. I just don’t know how they can make sense of these things…

Another favorite quote, this one by Frederick Buechner:
The place God calls you to
is the place where
your deep gladness
and
the world’s deep hunger
meet.

More to come...

Loadnabox
05-09-2011, 11:17 AM
So you reckon god's a guy or masculine?

no, not really, just the way I've always referred to that power (habit) It's hard to say if God even has a gender.

that's her in your AV?

Yup, my girl's on the right and the other little one is my 10 month old nephew :)

Medsen Fey
05-09-2011, 12:14 PM
When one looks at a skyscraper or Boeing, one is look at something that's parts cannot spontaneously be produced (ie the glass, the steel girders, the wiring, etc). Only a half-century of research has produced results that indicate the component parts of cells are spontaneously produced in conditions similar to those of early Earth. ...

Consciousness is pretty miraculous, but within the context of evolution is by no means impossible; again, it's a ridiculously slow ramping up process. And though conscious we are, we are by no means perfect beings outside the influence of our evolutionary history. We have evil drives that speak to our violent, tribal ancestry. We - thankfully - also have compassion and ingenuity, which speaks to the same ancestry and evolutionary past. We also have trouble thinking about and dealing with issues of the incredibly small and incredibly big and old (exactly what we're attempting to deal with here, haha!); these issues were not relevant to our survival as a species when we were first evolving, so it's outside of our evolutionary experience.

As spectacular as our consciousness is, it is most certainly confined within the bounds of our evolution as a species...


You can find naturally produced glass around cooled lava flows.
Finding girders seems a bit less likely, but perhaps you have to give it a few billion more years for those heavier elements to spontaneously crystallize in the correct forms. ;D

I think there is still a great leap from a stew of organic chemicals to a living organism. However, I will say that if the structure of organic materials is such that they will inevitably congregate together forming every-more-complex patterns that produce life, that is the coolest design job I've ever seen. It also means that there must be similar forms all over the galaxy and the rest of the universe, and it also means there's hope for up to continue developing into something a little better. So if I'm wrong, and humans are just a spontaneous development, there's still a lot to look forward to.

I think our consciousness, our sentience (what I refer to as our soul), is not merely a function of our biology. There is a spark (divine?) in each of us that I believe is a product of (or a part of) the creator. I've seen a lot of dead bodies, and the organic and biochemical machinery is still there, but something is missing. I've seen a lot of people whose hearts were still beating (with or without the aid of machines) where the spark was gone. There is an energy there that I believe is conserved - though I don't know how, or in what form, and I have no way of proving it (in this life). Perhaps it returns to the creator from whence it originated - I'd like to think so (who wouldn't want to merge the "the force" right? :) ). It is this spark which give us the ability to make choices rather than following instincts; to do good or evil; to (at times) be greater than the hairless apes that our genetic material programs us to be. I think it also gives us the creative impulse which allows us to do many things (including mead crafting).

I'd like to think we may be on the verge of gaining a better understanding of this because we may soon build machines that can develop "consciousness." A self-aware electronic entity will raise so many questions. Is it life? Does it have a soul? Can it exceed its programing (or rewrite it)? Imagine having a conversation with a computer about the meaning of existence. Will it acknowledge a creator? Certainly this is the stuff of science fiction at the moment, but hey, the development of life takes time right?

AToE
05-09-2011, 12:49 PM
I'm definitely a mind arises from material person, I've seen a lot of computers that were turned off, the circuts all still there, but something was missing. ;) (Take with salt, SALT! :eek:), the difference there is that a computer doesn't suffer physical damage when it's turned off, our bodies suffer instant damage. Once a cell is dead it's dead, not just the whole organism. - my point is that in a dead person, the "machinery" is not "all still there", not in the same way as when it was alive anyways, or else it would still be alive. Sure, each organ is still there, but down at the cellular level, where all the real magic/work happens, all the machinery is smashed and broken. Especially when we look at the brain, when someone dies, it's not intact anymore, it's broken, toast, just fell apart.

I really don't see any reason that there "needs" to be something more. But, I don't disrespect people who do believe there's something more in there than that, I can very much see why someone would feel that.

When you get talking about the whole issue of artificial consciousness I agree with you, it becomes a really seriously messed up philosophical/spiritual conundrum!

AToE
05-09-2011, 01:01 PM
So many things to think about and say here...

I need Grace. Unmerited favor. It’s that simple.
I am a woman of Christian faith, and this alone would be reason enough.

A favorite C. S. Lewis quote springs to mind:
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

But I also need Somewhere to put my Gratitude. A world without God would be, for me, a lonesome place. I need Someone to whom I can call out at 3am when I am sitting beside my anxious and ill mother’s bedside. I, myself, am not Large enough to contain my sense of Wonder. I am at occupational risk of occasional exposure to the Numinous. I have colleagues that are exposed to the same signs and wonders that I encounter regularly who do not have a faith orientation. I just don’t know how they can make sense of these things…

Another favorite quote, this one by Frederick Buechner:
The place God calls you to
is the place where
your deep gladness
and
the world’s deep hunger
meet.

More to come...

I loved Mere Christianity by CS Lewis, both for his unique take on the religion, but also for the way he absolutely insists on the integrity of the words used in such a discussion (for example, you can't call a bad Christian a non-Christian, it just muddies the waters of the discussion). It was a great book, I especially liked his take on birth control "I am not a woman, therefor I will say nothing. I don't like when people talk about the decisions soldiers make when they were not themselves a soldier (as he was), so I will extend the same respect I want to women, their bodies, their choice, as a man I simply cannot have a truely valid opinion" (Super heavily paraphrased of course!).

I find a lot of religious people think I'm missing that sense of wonder, man I have wonder by the bucketful! And gratitude, I could hardly be more greatful for every single thing in existance!

TheAlchemist
05-10-2011, 08:45 AM
As for the 747 analogy, in fact, virons can and do “just put themselves together,” given contact with all their necessary parts. "But that's just a viron," you say. Agreed. No, a viron is not “intelligent life” but that doesn’t mean a viron can’t take us down. Do not underestimate the power of a viron…

Riverat
05-10-2011, 07:25 PM
As for the 747 analogy, in fact, virons can and do “just put themselves together,” given contact with all their necessary parts. "But that's just a viron," you say. Agreed. No, a viron is not “intelligent life” but that doesn’t mean a viron can’t take us down. Do not underestimate the power of a viron…

Which begs the question of whether a virus constitutes a living thing (many camps on that by the way) If you're in the yes camp then people have already created life from raw chemicals in that the strand of RNA or even DNA (not to be mistaken for a chromosome) and the components of the case have been produced and as mentioned will self assemble outside of a living cell given the right conditions. and are as infectious as their natural counterparts, mind you these are copies of working systems, not new designs.

commonsenseman
05-11-2011, 07:00 PM
I'm no expert on the subject, but to me it just takes too much faith to believe that everything happened by chance. There's just too much complexity & beauty in this world for that. Everything I see points to it being created, a beautiful sunrise, coral reefs, mountains, forests, mead, & many others! Everything would have to be exactly as it is for life to even be possible, the odds of that happening on it's own are astronomical. I think it takes way more faith to believe in anything other than a creator.

As always, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I just cannot believe in a world where there is no purpose. :)

AToE
05-11-2011, 07:23 PM
The odds are astronomical, which is why we don't have life on the moon, mars, etc!

According to what we've figured out with science up until this point, life existing somewhere by accident isn't just possible, it's extremely likely. Sure, the odds are huge, but the universe is so huge as to be more or less incomprehensible for the human mind, and just as huge are the spans of time we're talking about.


The idea that someone created the universe isn't what requires so much difficulty for me to believe in, it's the idea that that creator spontaniously came into existance! If life on Earth seems too complex and unlikely to be accident, then a God coming into existance first is orders of magnitude more complicated and unlikely, from my point of view anyways. To my mind, adding the idea of a creator to explain this universe raises a hundred more questions and problems and "odds-against-it" than just believing that this is what happened to happen because the laws of physics happen to be what they are in our universe.

I'll certainly never cease to be completely awed and humbled by the beauty of this world, it's life, the universe itself, and I'll never stop being greatful that of all the unlikely things to come into existance, one of them was myself!

But never in my life did I ever look at the whole thing and think "must have been created", it just never seemed something necessary to explaining everything. That's just myself of course, I try very hard to understand, and think I do come close to understanding why people believe in a creator, I've just never been able to believe it myself.

:)

commonsenseman
05-11-2011, 08:09 PM
Well, assuming that there is a creator for a moment, what if our feeble human minds weren't meant to fully understand it all?

Not picking on science at all here, but we're constantly proving previous "scientific facts" wrong.

TheAlchemist
05-11-2011, 08:31 PM
Indeed, atheists are people of faith, just as anyone who espouses a particular faith are people of faith. It is only the content of what is believed (or "not" believed) that differs.

As for Process Theology, I never even heard of such a thing but find the notion of interest.

I'm certainly not a "young world" believer. I'm with Lewis Thomas. I am an n-great grand daughter of some ur-bacteria. I see no conflict between this and my faith. In a biololgy class very early in my own evolution our instructor placed the Genesis creation account side by side with common thoughts on the evolution of evolution and (excepting the definition of "one day") there are remarkable similarities.

Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.

I adore apoptosis and believe in it's evolutionary advantage. We wouldn't be able to have hollow vicera (think circulatory system, gastrointestinal system, parts of the respriatory tract, etc) without it. Apoptosis is brilliant! In fact, at the moment of birth, it may be that more of us has died than is actually being born. It's amazing.

TheAlchemist
05-11-2011, 08:32 PM
The odds are astronomical, which is why we don't have life on the moon, mars, etc!



And perhaps why so many mazers are sci fi geeks?

Riverat
05-11-2011, 08:32 PM
Well, assuming that there is a creator for a moment, what if our feeble human minds weren't meant to fully understand it all?

Not picking on science at all here, but we're constantly proving previous "scientific facts" wrong.

Well feeble or great, we by definition, can't understand it all; and not to dogmaticaly defend science, the vast majority of revisions are just that.
Science is questioning by nature and bent on greater understanding. Newtonian physics wasn't proved wrong by relativity, relativity (as a model) pickes up where newtonian physics lacks the resolving ability.
New models of greater detail have been and will be (ad inifitum) drafted to cover our growing observational tools.
One of my personal issues with much of mainstream science is the fixation on those models as reality instead of the tools they are.

TheAlchemist
05-11-2011, 08:43 PM
Since you've brought up physics...

What's the difference between wave theory and prayer?

While people of faith may say "I'll be praying for you" when someone's ill or struggling, an atheist may say "I'll be sending my thoughts your way." What's the difference?

One thing I learned when I went into the dark is that British English lacks a reference that American English has. We refer to "swear" words as "curse" words. And, indeed, they are.

So.

If a wave really does never go away, is that the sort of wave I want to be making? Do I want to be making cursing waves?

Riverat
05-11-2011, 08:51 PM
Since you've brought up physics...

What's the difference between wave theory and prayer?

While people of faith may say "I'll be praying for you" when someone's ill or struggling, an atheist may say "I'll be sending my thoughts your way." What's the difference?

One thing I learned when I went into the dark is that British English lacks a reference that American English has. We refer to "swear" words as "curse" words. And, indeed, they are.

So.

If a wave really does never go away, is that the sort of wave I want to be making? Do I want to be making cursing waves?

What goes around comes around?

TheAlchemist
05-11-2011, 09:00 PM
What goes around comes around?

My karma ran over my dogma...

Riverat
05-11-2011, 09:07 PM
My karma ran over my dogma...

Too good LOL!!!:occasion14:

commonsenseman
05-11-2011, 09:11 PM
Good stuff.....carry on :cool:

Chevette Girl
05-11-2011, 10:20 PM
Well, assuming that there is a creator for a moment, what if our feeble human minds weren't meant to fully understand it all?

Not picking on science at all here, but we're constantly proving previous "scientific facts" wrong.

Science is only as good as the data we have, and we keep finding better ways to get more accurate data, so we change our models to represent new findings... Which to me is better than continuing to do it wrong just because it's always been done that way...

And my own personal take is that if there is a god/God/gods, they would be to us as we are to ants, for example. Sometimes ants get stepped on even by people who don't mean them ill, they're just beneath notice and sometimes get in the way of what's important to us... and now and then someone takes an interest in an individual ant and drops a breadcrumb right in their path. And the individual ant in question never knows if it was chance or good fortune, or if it had something to do with that big thing up there that they can't really comprehend and can't do anything about anyways so just ignore it and be happy about your breadcrumb...

mccann51
05-11-2011, 11:03 PM
I, myself, am not Large enough to contain my sense of Wonder.

That feeling is something that I recently realized has defined much of my life without my realizing it... it's a very powerful, overwhelming feeling.


Indeed, atheists are people of faith, just as anyone who espouses a particular faith are people of faith. It is only the content of what is believed (or "not" believed) that differs.


This is not true. Saying you do not believe in something that there is no proof for is not a statement of faith. If - as a believer - you make that leap of faith, that's fine, but you can't say it's a leap of faith to NOT believe in something that requires faith.


So if I'm wrong, and humans are just a spontaneous development, there's still a lot to look forward to.

I don't think you have to be wrong for there to be life elsewhere. If there is a God, why should we presume to be so important as to be his only "project"?

As Carl Sagan points out, finding life elsewhere would de-provincialize biology, and I believe would help to de-provincialize global, human society. I agree, it indeed is something to look forward to :)

AToE
05-12-2011, 12:49 AM
Well, assuming that there is a creator for a moment, what if our feeble human minds weren't meant to fully understand it all?

I would agree, the idea that we could even begin to comprehend something capable of creating the universe is insane (which is part of why I prefer agnosticism to religion. Agnostics often are not "wishy washy", many believe extremely strongly in a higher power, but recognise that the likelihood of any current religion coming even close to the mark is extremely low. As such, they keep their faith, without the dogma).

But also, if you replace "meant to" with "capable of" in your statement, it also applies to both relativity and quantum physics. There's a good reason we cannot comprehend these concepts fully (anyone who says they can has missed something BIG!). Having to understand the extremely tiny, extremely massive, and the extremely fast, these were not things that we had any chance of observing, nor needing to observe during our evolution. This is why we cannot fully wrap our heads around them, they're just outside our "programming".



Not picking on science at all here, but we're constantly proving previous "scientific facts" wrong.

Most of the time we're not actually, we're more finding that they're incomplete. Thought an atom was a ball? Nice step, but let's look at electrons, proton and neutrons. Still incomplete (still not wrong though!), let's bring in quarks. Not deep enough for you? String theory's the stuff. That seems to be as deep as the rabit hole goes... for now.

Religions are also constantly being proven wrong. Sun going around Earth (part science of course, but I consider religion to be partially an early branch of science... an attempt to understand. Both have that, they just have different aproaches), wrong. Earth being a few thousand years old? Wrong. The list goes on and on.

I'll say the same thing in defense of religion as science. Being wrong about ONE thing doesn't make you wrong about EVERYTHING.

A religion might be wrong about the age of the universe, then right about there being a creator in some shape or form (potentially). And atheists (let's not say "science" in these discussions, as if it were "faith vs science" when it's really "faith in supernatural vs atheism". It's insulting to religious people in my opinion, it makes it sound like religion cannot be reconciled with science, which it can! Not that you intended insult there though!) might be wrong about the exact age of the universe too, but right about there being no creator.


Since you've brought up physics...

What's the difference between wave theory and prayer?

While people of faith may say "I'll be praying for you" when someone's ill or struggling, an atheist may say "I'll be sending my thoughts your way." What's the difference?




The difference is that a person of faith is saying "I am sending a request to a higher power to do what's right for you" but an atheist is saying "my sympathies, I feel deeply for you" with no expectation of results coming from that sympathy (not saying that people of faith always expect results to their prayers at all, just that that's what a prayer is in that context, a request for help).

That "wave theory" (gross mis-use of "theory" here from a scientific perspective, but we'll run with it as it makes sense in context) part of it is something that maybe 0.0000001% of atheists would buy into having any effect at all. Expecting results out of "sending thoughts your way" is more something someone of some new-aged belief would believe in (not slamming them, just saying almost zero athiests would believe in this).

Medsen Fey
05-12-2011, 09:04 AM
The difference is that a person of faith is saying "I am sending a request to a higher power to do what's right for you" but an atheist is saying "my sympathies, I feel deeply for you" with no expectation of results coming from that sympathy (not saying that people of faith always expect results to their prayers at all, just that that's what a prayer is in that context, a request for help).


And yet such thoughts, whether sent out as a prayer or not, may be capable of having an impact on physical matter. Those that study noetic science (http://www.noetic.org/about/what-are-noetic-sciences/)* would probably say that thoughts have energy (and particles?) and can impact the material world. This isn't so far off from beliefs and reported experience with some Eastern practices such as Qigong (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qigong) where thought energy (or energy channeled and directed by thought) is capable of moving objects or healing. I have had conversations with some folks who believe they were healed of their ailments by Qigong masters without them even laying a hand on them. If such things are possible, then it might be that prayers really can be "answered" and that our consciousness is more than the sum of our biochemistry.


* Yes, I've been reading Dan Brown books - so sue me! :p
There's even some good science fiction in some of them.

Loadnabox
05-12-2011, 09:34 AM
I would agree, the idea that we could even begin to comprehend something capable of creating the universe is insane

We can't completely explain the nature of a Higgs-Boson either, it's too complex and we just recently found proof of it's existence. We can from our limited knowledge make certain assumptions about it though.

Same thing with God. It is possible to look at God logically and figure certain things out. Not completely beyond definition, but certainly beyond what we could fully understand.


(which is part of why I prefer agnosticism to religion. Agnostics often are not "wishy washy", many believe extremely strongly in a higher power, but recognise that the likelihood of any current religion coming even close to the mark is extremely low. As such, they keep their faith, without the dogma).


This would not be Agnosticism then as Agnosticism actually says there is no way to know if there is or isn't a God. This precludes someone who proclaims there is a God. Rather, belief in a God but proclaiming most religions are wrong/hold a piece of the truth is closer to Deism or Syncretism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_belief#Syncretism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

TheAlchemist
05-12-2011, 11:41 AM
A question for the atheists:

What of the Buechner quote? If modified for the absence of God, is there meaning in this for you?

The place to which you are called
is the place where
your deep gladness
and
the world’s deep hunger
meet.

Does an atheist experience a sense of "calling?" And if so, are you in that "place?" What is the source, by whom or what are your called?

TheAlchemist
05-12-2011, 11:53 AM
And yet such thoughts, whether sent out as a prayer or not, may be capable of having an impact on physical matter. Those that study noetic science (http://www.noetic.org/about/what-are-noetic-sciences/)* would probably say that thoughts have energy (and particles?) and can impact the material world.

Hmm...Never had heard of noetic science. I wonder if Sandra Ingerman's
Shamanic work (http://www.sandraingerman.com/medicinefortheearth.html) with the transmutation of toxins would be considered "noetic."

TheAlchemist
05-12-2011, 11:57 AM
This is not true. Saying you do not believe in something that there is no proof for is not a statement of faith. If - as a believer - you make that leap of faith, that's fine, but you can't say it's a leap of faith to NOT believe in something that requires faith.



You've lost me here. Belief in God requires a leap of faith. Unbelief in God also requires a leap of faith. Neither stance can be "proven."

Chevette Girl
05-12-2011, 12:03 PM
You've lost me here. Belief in God requires a leap of faith. Unbelief in God also requires a leap of faith. Neither stance can be "proven."

I'm not sure that a disbelief in god/God/whatever requires a leap of faith. No personal proof = no god, seems straightforward enough to me, empirical, no faith required... I'm just not in that camp because I've seen too many weird things to discount the notion entirely.

Loadnabox
05-12-2011, 12:15 PM
I'm not sure that a disbelief in god/God/whatever requires a leap of faith. No personal proof = no god, seems straightforward enough to me, empirical, no faith required... I'm just not in that camp because I've seen too many weird things to discount the notion entirely.

This is actually the basis for agnostics, that God cannot be proven or disproven therefore you cannot make a good statement either way without a leap of faith.

Loadnabox
05-12-2011, 12:19 PM
A question for the atheists:

What of the Buechner quote? If modified for the absence of God, is there meaning in this for you?

The place to which you are called
is the place where
your deep gladness
and
the world’s deep hunger
meet.

Does an atheist experience a sense of "calling?" And if so, are you in that "place?" What is the source, by whom or what are your called?

As a former atheist During those times I felt plenty fulfilled, that I knew where I was going, what I wanted and actually kind of resented religious types that thought I couldn't have those without God. It seemed judgmental and arrogant.

My Mother-in-Law's reaction (DEVOUT catholic) to the concept of my brother's (Brother atheist SIL neo-pagan) children having never been to church or taught christian beliefs is a good example of the arrogance you want to smack out of them, "They what?!?! Oh my those poor children!" *grrrr*

TheAlchemist
05-12-2011, 12:26 PM
As a former atheist During those times I felt plenty fulfilled, that I knew where I was going, what I wanted and actually kind of resented religious types that thought I couldn't have those without God. It seemed judgmental and arrogant.



But you haven't answered my question.
Did you have a sense of "calling?"

Medsen Fey
05-12-2011, 01:06 PM
Another word of caution

When we try to take a conversation like this to personal, what-do-you-feel questions, the risk of inflammatory and hurtful things goes up and we don't want to go there. Nor do any of us wish to be insulting toward any groups (Catholics for example). So let's continue to be mindful as we tread this minefield.


And for TheAlchemist, I'm no expert on noetics, but I think that Shamanism would certainly contain elements of similar nature. Expectation may create outcomes. Even in scientific study we have to go to great lengths to try to eliminate noise in the experiments. This is why they need to keep studies blinded and placebo controlled when testing medicines. If a person gets a jelly-pill and takes it thinking it will heal him/her, there is a fairly high rate of healing and that is compared with the group that gets the study medicine to try to determine what is the effect of the medicine compared to the background noise. Perhaps that background noise isn't really random (we know there are lots of patterns we have difficulty identifying). How much of that background "noise" might be produced simply by the belief that one is going to be healed is a question I'd like to know the answer to - I'm going to check to see if I can find any literature.

AToE
05-12-2011, 01:25 PM
This would not be Agnosticism then as Agnosticism actually says there is no way to know if there is or isn't a God. This precludes someone who proclaims there is a God. Rather, belief in a God but proclaiming most religions are wrong/hold a piece of the truth is closer to Deism or Syncretism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_belief#Syncretism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

Absolutely, you're correct, I should have pointed out that I was more referring to those who call themselves agnostics. The term is indeed wildly missused, it often (in common speech) refers to those that I described, who believe strongly in "something higher" but refuse to put labels on it.

If we could get the proper terminology into common speech that would certainly aid conversations!

AToE
05-12-2011, 01:27 PM
And yet such thoughts, whether sent out as a prayer or not, may be capable of having an impact on physical matter. Those that study noetic science (http://www.noetic.org/about/what-are-noetic-sciences/)* would probably say that thoughts have energy (and particles?) and can impact the material world. This isn't so far off from beliefs and reported experience with some Eastern practices such as Qigong (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qigong) where thought energy (or energy channeled and directed by thought) is capable of moving objects or healing. I have had conversations with some folks who believe they were healed of their ailments by Qigong masters without them even laying a hand on them. If such things are possible, then it might be that prayers really can be "answered" and that our consciousness is more than the sum of our biochemistry.


* Yes, I've been reading Dan Brown books - so sue me! :p
There's even some good science fiction in some of them.

I'm not necessarily saying that atheists will flat out reject telepathy, telekinesis, etc, just that it's considered unproven and the vast vast majority of atheists won't be expecting it to occur.

My post really was only in direct response to the question of the difference between praying for someone to help them out, and what was mistaken as atheists expecting telepathy/etc to fix something, but is in fact atheists just sympathizing.

AToE
05-12-2011, 01:39 PM
A question for the atheists:

What of the Buechner quote? If modified for the absence of God, is there meaning in this for you?

The place to which you are called
is the place where
your deep gladness
and
the world’s deep hunger
meet.

Does an atheist experience a sense of "calling?" And if so, are you in that "place?" What is the source, by whom or what are your called?

Absolutely! Not every atheist does I'm sure, some do feel unsatisfied, without purpose, etc. These are generally the people who will eventually move to some kind of faith.

That's sort of the difference between two groups of atheists. Some people are "logically" atheist, they cannot support the idea of a god scientifically, or even rationalize the idea, so they force themselves to be atheist, but emotionally they simply never are ok with this. So they're sorta half-athiest, or a believer in denial (not to insult them in any way, I respect their struggle very much).

Then we have people like me, full-blooded atheists. Not one single inch of my being yearns for something higher, or feels dissatisfied without it. I absolutely feel deep meaning in life, and that calling you describe is there for sure, very strong.

And no, I'm not quite where the calling is calling me to. That's (in my opinion) a common mistake in life. People tend to think in terms of destinations, rather than journeys. No matter what I do, I will allways have a yearning for deeper understanding, more compassion, more passion, more love, more charity, more everything-positive. The idea of reaching "full capacity" doesn't cross my mind, it's just a constant journey, and at some point during the journey I'll die. (And since in my belief death will be a true end for my consciousness, the only imortality I can gain is by passing on as many of my good characteristics to other people as possible, trying to be a positive influence in their lives)

Where does the calling come from? Myself. Not my conscious mind though, this is a deep within myself thing.

Hope that helps explain the mind of a person who is not just rationally atheist, but also emotionally atheist.

AToE
05-12-2011, 01:48 PM
I'm really sorry for all the posts! I just wanted to toss my hat in the ring for this "both creationism and atheism require faith" discussion.

This isn't an argument either side will ever convince the other of, here's why.

To an atheist, it does not require ANY faith to not believe in a creator, because no-creator is the default belief for us. To us there is no need for one, adding a creator to the equation is just that, an addition.

A believer (in my opinion, feel free to dissagree if I get this wrong) sees the opposite, instead of seeing an atheist as not believing in a creator, they see the atheist as believing in the ability of the universe to exist without one. This is because for a believer, a creator is not a stretch, not an addition, it is the default belief.

I don't think this is a discussion that can be resolved without becoming very heated (and even then will just remain unresolved anyways!).

Smarrikåka
05-12-2011, 02:05 PM
Important update: In version Life 2.051 and later your default faith will be set to no creator. If you want the deafault faith to be set to creator, install an older version, and then run all the new updates ontop of that. ;)

Chevette Girl
05-12-2011, 02:13 PM
Important update: In version Life 2.051 and later your default faith will be set to no creator. If you want the deafault faith to be set to creator, install an older version, and then run all the new updates ontop of that. ;)

I believe you can save yourself the trouble by installing the "Born-Again" app... :)

Chevette Girl
05-12-2011, 02:14 PM
I'm really sorry for all the posts! I just wanted to toss my hat in the ring for this "both creationism and atheism require faith" discussion.

This isn't an argument either side will ever convince the other of, here's why.

To an atheist, it does not require ANY faith to not believe in a creator, because no-creator is the default belief for us. To us there is no need for one, adding a creator to the equation is just that, an addition.


Don't sweat it, I'm really enjoying this thread!

And I think you said better (in bold) what I was trying to say earlier.

TheAlchemist
05-12-2011, 08:16 PM
I'm not necessarily saying that atheists will flat out reject telepathy, telekinesis, etc, just that it's considered unproven and the vast vast majority of atheists won't be expecting it to occur.



Not too into The Collective Unconscious/UncleCarl/Dreamtime, etc?

TheAlchemist
05-12-2011, 08:20 PM
Important update: In version Life 2.051 and later your default faith will be set to no creator. If you want the deafault faith to be set to creator, install an older version, and then run all the new updates ontop of that. ;)

Ha!:)

(my post is too short, I know;), but all I want to say is:

Ha!)

jackdub
05-12-2011, 08:20 PM
This (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._R._%22Bob%22_Dobbs) is the one true religion. :cool:

http://img805.imageshack.us/img805/8546/bobdobbs.png

chams
05-12-2011, 11:22 PM
I know I said I would keep out of this, but I have to counter one assertion that was made.
Atheism requires no faith. It's right there in the word. "Not" a theist. A theist makes claims, which usually can't be examined, since they tend to the supernatural.
An atheist simply ignores the theist's claims since there is no empirical evidence to examine.
It's the default position for any logical stance.

I can't remember who said it, but the old saw; Atheism is a faith like not collecting stamps is a hobby.
Health is a disease caused by lack of pathogen. ie. not by choice.
Faith is a choice. Atheism is the default position while not knowing.

Chevette Girl
05-12-2011, 11:47 PM
I know I said I would keep out of this, but I have to counter one assertion that was made.
Atheism requires no faith. It's right there in the word. "Not" a theist. A theist makes claims, which usually can't be examined, since they tend to the supernatural.
An atheist simply ignores the theist's claims since there is no empirical evidence to examine.
It's the default position for any logical stance.

I can't remember who said it, but the old saw; Atheism is a faith like not collecting stamps is a hobby.
Health is a disease caused by lack of pathogen. ie. not by choice.
Faith is a choice. Atheism is the default position while not knowing.

Thanks... again, said better than I could...

AToE
05-13-2011, 01:21 AM
Not too into The Collective Unconscious/UncleCarl/Dreamtime, etc?

Since those are all capitalized I'm guessing they refer to very specific ideas, I'll have to look them up later (never heard of them). When it comes to any kind of mind to mind or mind over matter I will say this:

2 times in my life I have experienced situations where it almost does seem like the simpler more logical explanation is telepathy (telekinesis I've seen attempted many many times, never successful), and I'm a person who used to hang out with a lot of people who were really into that stuff. However one situation myself and the other person were on the phone, and the other myself and the other person had visual contact (neither had said anything for a while). In one case another person guessed exactly what was in my mind (something really complex and unlikely) and the other I guessed the truth of a situation on the phone (and this was no mere guess, I picked the most unlikely insane situation to be true and nailed it, first attempt). Both situations however, the person "guessing/receiving" had some amount of prior knowledge of what they guessed, and one had visual cues to tip off the subconscious, the other had vocal.

To this day I am unsure which is more likely. It makes more sense as to why these to me seem to be almost more likely to be telepathy than deep-subconscious computation if I explained the whole scenarios (it probably sounds pretty clearly not-telepathy right now!).

AToE
05-13-2011, 01:25 AM
I know I said I would keep out of this, but I have to counter one assertion that was made.
Atheism requires no faith. It's right there in the word. "Not" a theist. A theist makes claims, which usually can't be examined, since they tend to the supernatural.
An atheist simply ignores the theist's claims since there is no empirical evidence to examine.
It's the default position for any logical stance.

I can't remember who said it, but the old saw; Atheism is a faith like not collecting stamps is a hobby.
Health is a disease caused by lack of pathogen. ie. not by choice.
Faith is a choice. Atheism is the default position while not knowing.

This is my stance exactly, however I understand the other side of trying to understand this (or I think I do). Because for those of faith the universe, life, etc, seem so impossible that they think something more is needed to explain it. When an atheist says something like what you say here, their issue (I think) is that we seem to be making giant leaps of faith concerning what is possible in the first place. (How the universe coming to be and life arising is less likely than a creator (likely the most complex being possible) coming first is frankly something I do not grasp though. I try to grasp it, because I want to understand better, but I cannot).

Loadnabox
05-13-2011, 08:11 AM
This is my stance exactly, however I understand the other side of trying to understand this (or I think I do). Because for those of faith the universe, life, etc, seem so impossible that they think something more is needed to explain it. When an atheist says something like what you say here, their issue (I think) is that we seem to be making giant leaps of faith concerning what is possible in the first place. (How the universe coming to be and life arising is less likely than a creator (likely the most complex being possible) coming first is frankly something I do not grasp though. I try to grasp it, because I want to understand better, but I cannot).

From my stance I would say you are partially right and partially wrong.

I understand from the aspect of an atheist saying that "no deity" is the default. I understand the frustration in it being argued otherwise too. I will go on to say this is what moved me to agnosticism though. With that preface to my next statement; I began to realize that if I was being scientific and intellectually honest, you couldn't assume a default, there wasn't enough evidence either way to make a verdict either way and assuming a default was intellectually as faulty logic. Following up with the caveat again this is what moved me to agnosticism.

Most people born into a religion have it so ingrained into their ethos by adulthood that it is very true that they see atheism as a religion into itself. I don't think they can begin to understand where an atheist comes from.

For the moderator(s), sorry if I offended anyone, I was hoping to illustrate a point, if it seemed to target a group I apologize. Consider it more targeting my mother-in-law whom I tend to...to put it mildly(politely) have issues with. Not her religion, just her, our relationship (again mildly put) is strained :p

TheAlchemist
05-13-2011, 09:18 AM
For an atheist (or agnostic), is the word "sacred" meaningful? Do you have a sense of the sacred?

If so, in what way? What counts to you as sacred?

Your greatgranddad's snowshoes? The compost heap? The glorious blossoming Spring? Gazing into a baby's eyes for the first time? Standing on an elephant or having a deer cross your path? Mom's favorite poem? Aunt Julia's perfume? Dad's screwdriver? Your beverage frother? A book? Some thoughts or concepts? The weight of your cat on your chest? A lover's ecstatic embrace? Help me out here...

What counts as not sacred?

Chevette Girl
05-13-2011, 09:46 AM
Sacred, huh? Good question. Things with history, very old things, sometimes places, strike something in me where I would feel that if the thing or place were lost, destroyed or changed too much, humanity has lost a piece of itself.

Despite my being non-religious, I still find that churches are awe-instilling, seeing photos of bombed-out churches saddens me because I know the kind of work and emotion that has been poured into them by the people who created and use them.

My beverage frother isn't sacred, it's just a thing, if I find someone who needs it worse than I do, it can be replaced, if I find a tool more suited to the job, I won't hesitate, other than my usual "if it does the job, why do I want to pay more again to replace it?" reaction and my dislike for today's disposable society... however, things I inerited from my deceased father like furniture he made and his record collection are things I want to hang on to because they help me remember him, they bring up a lot of memories of my whole childhood. But they're not the same to me as, say, a museum piece or church relic, they're just memory-evoking to me personally. Then again, I have a lot of memories attached to things and I have a hard time letting go of anything I think I might miss when it's gone.

Loadnabox
05-13-2011, 09:46 AM
For an atheist (or agnostic), is the word "sacred" meaningful? Do you have a sense of the sacred?

If so, in what way? What counts to you as sacred?

Your greatgranddad's snowshoes? The compost heap? The glorious blossoming Spring? Gazing into a baby's eyes for the first time? Standing on an elephant or having a deer cross your path? Mom's favorite poem? Aunt Julia's perfume? Dad's screwdriver? Your beverage frother? A book? Some thoughts or concepts? The weight of your cat on your chest? A lover's ecstatic embrace? Help me out here...

What counts as not sacred?



For me, from the point of humor, nothing is sacred.

From the point of what makes me feel closer to God? Nothing beats nature. Get as far away from people as possible, view the splendor that abounds away from what man has created, and I commune in a really meaningful way.

Going into a church leaves me questioning my own belief in God despite my own very personal experiences and beliefs. Interesting eh? Church has the opposite effect.

AToE
05-13-2011, 12:30 PM
For an atheist (or agnostic), is the word "sacred" meaningful? Do you have a sense of the sacred?

If so, in what way? What counts to you as sacred?

What counts as not sacred?

Life is sacred, extremely so. Human life most, because I'm human. That's about it for me.

Great creations of humanity are by-association sacred to me. I would never burn a book, deface a work of art, so forth and so on. These things evoke a great sense of sacredness in me, but it's not quite on the same level as life, so I'm not sure (does "sacred" only apply to the maximum, or are there various levels of sacred? I guess that's more of a linguistics question!).

EDIT: Ok, I figured out what the most sacred thing to me is as far as how it makes me feel. A big oooolllllld tree. I repect things that are better evolved for their niche than I am, and like sharks and bees, trees are pretty perfect for what they do. Also, they live a lot longer than me, and the older something is the more awed by it I am.

I could sit next to a really ancient tree all day feeling humbled.


From my stance I would say you are partially right and partially wrong.

I understand from the aspect of an atheist saying that "no deity" is the default. I understand the frustration in it being argued otherwise too. I will go on to say this is what moved me to agnosticism though. With that preface to my next statement; I began to realize that if I was being scientific and intellectually honest, you couldn't assume a default, there wasn't enough evidence either way to make a verdict either way and assuming a default was intellectually as faulty logic. Following up with the caveat again this is what moved me to agnosticism.



If an atheist were to say "there is scientifically absolutely no creator" then you'd be right, that would be faulty. However to say there is non required, seems to be no evidence of one, therefor I am completely emotionally and rationally convinced a creator's existance is so vastly less likely than there being no creator, that's what we generally mean by no-creator being the default. We as people tend to round up the odds when we speak about this stuff, many believers would admit it's technically possible there's no creator, but would still say they are utterly sure there is one, atheists the opposite.

It would be too tiring to sit there and figure out what each of us actually thinks the odds are in one way or the other, and then instead of calling myself atheist I'd have to call myself 99.999999999% atheist, 00.000000001% agnostic!

So one can remain "totally" atheist while still being honest about the fact that a creator cannot be disproven (by "totally" we just mean as totally as is possible, not the true scientific definition of "totally").

Loadnabox
05-13-2011, 12:54 PM
...many believers would admit it's technically possible there's no creator, but would still say they are utterly sure there is one, atheists the opposite. ..

One of my favorite quotes is from a Rabbi, "Anyone who claims to know for sure there is a God is lying, in truth all of us are agnostics, pondering his reality at one time or another"

I wish I could remember what his name was because I thought it was awesome.

As for your argument, believe you me, I'm not trying to split that hair! I would even go so far as to say the we're both arguing the same side of the coin but it comes down to semantics of linguistics, which would be boring and annoying to begin with :-D

AToE
05-13-2011, 01:10 PM
That's the nail being hit on the head right their, it's semantics. We each have our own personal cut-off point where we start saying our belief or disbelief in something is total, and from that arises much confusion.

EDIT: Can I add too that I love Rabbis? Of the 3 Abrahamic religions (not counting all the little offshoots like Mormanism) I think Judaism is my favourite. Their whole approach to the business of religion just seems to sit better with me.

Plus I like that they don't think everyone other than Jews is going to hell! (Not saying that all Christians and Muslims believe that either, I've studied the matter fairly extensively and there are lots of Christians (no idea about the Muslims) who do not believe in exclusivism, and great scriptural arguments for that stance - however exclusivism is pretty common belief for Christians, won't try too hazard any guess as to what % though).

Echostatic
05-13-2011, 02:33 PM
It's good to know so many people can still have a civil discussion on this sort of thing. I've seen it get nasty quick more times than I can remember.

I personally believe that life and the universe were created by God as described in Genesis, but I wouldn't call myself a creationist. A large number of creationists believe the earth was created in six literal 24 hour days, and believe a lot of other things not supported by the Bible. Honestly, I think a good number of people believe in evolution because the alternative has been given a bad name by misguided religious folks. I greatly respect other peoples beliefs, however, no matter what they may be. Everyone has the right to believe what they wish.

AToE
05-13-2011, 02:47 PM
The beginning of the Book of Genesis is actually a great example of why I like Judaism. When they were compiling all their oral stories they had 2 conflicting versions of creation. Instead of picking one of them and getting rid of the "heretical" one, they put both down.

Most people when they think of Genesis think of the longer part, the Adam and Eve story, where it says Man was created first, then the animals, then woman.

But the other version says animals first, then man and woman at the same time.

I'm sure there have been many explanations for how to reconcile these two versions, but they remain pretty contradictory from what I can understand, and I like that neither was excluded.

It is nice that people can just discuss this stuff, turns into a fight all to easily.

Loadnabox
05-13-2011, 03:36 PM
That's the nail being hit on the head right their, it's semantics. We each have our own personal cut-off point where we start saying our belief or disbelief in something is total, and from that arises much confusion.

EDIT: Can I add too that I love Rabbis? Of the 3 Abrahamic religions (not counting all the little offshoots like Mormanism) I think Judaism is my favourite. Their whole approach to the business of religion just seems to sit better with me. I like that they don't think everyone other than Jews is going to hell! (Not saying that all Christians and Muslims believe that either, I've studied the matter fairly extensively and there are lots of Christians (no idea about the Muslims) who do not believe in exclusivism, and great scriptural arguments for that stance - however exclusivism is pretty common belief for Christians, won't try too hazard any guess as to what % though).

Exclusivism has always bothered me, Catholics and Mormons would be the first two that come to mind that do -not- believe in exclusivism. Both of these agree in earthly works being an outward sign of your faith. Good earthly works would tend to indicate a person who follows God inwardly as well.

Among the exlcusivist Christian denominations I would say they generally agree that so long as you accept Christ you're saved. JW's would be one exception to the exception.

I also remember seeing a study recently that showed that atheists and agnostics are better educated on religions than most people of a faith are in their own religion. I thought this was a rather intriguing idea.

Medsen Fey
05-13-2011, 03:45 PM
A large number of creationists believe the earth was created in six literal 24 hour days,...

I've always figured that if one human year was equivalent to 7 dog years, one "God day" might be a bit longer than 24 hours (maybe an eon). :)
On the other hand, time does fly when you're having fun.

Loadnabox
05-13-2011, 03:53 PM
I've always figured that if one human year was equivalent to 7 dog years, one "God day" might be a bit longer than 24 hours (maybe an eon). :)
On the other hand, time does fly when you're having fun.

So you're saying God drank mead before the first day of creation?

AToE
05-13-2011, 04:17 PM
One of the funniest stories about creation I ever heard was told to me by my religious instructor/professor/whatever (I take post secondary courses from time to time for fun).

He was in a cab with a Sikh guy driving, and so he started talking to him, always interested to learn more about Sikhism. So he asks the guy, what is the creation story in Sikhism?

Driver responds: God closed his eyes, then opened them, and there was the universe.

My teachers says: What a great story, powerful in it's simplicity! Definitely a lot more to the point than our JudaoChristian story.

Driver: Yeah, I never understood what took your god so long. ;) (clearly in good fun by the driver, Sikhs consider everyone's god the same god)

;D Man that always made me smile.

Loadnabox
05-13-2011, 04:18 PM
One of the funniest stories about creation I ever heard was told to me by my religious instructor/professor/whatever (I take post secondary courses from time to time for fun).

He was in a cab with a Sikh guy driving, and so he started talking to him, always interested to learn more about Sikhism. So he asks the guy, what is the creation story in Sikhism?

Driver responds: God closed his eyes, then opened them, and there was the universe.

My teachers says: What a great story, powerful in it's simplicity! Definitely a lot more to the point than our JudaoChristian story.

Driver: Yeah, I never understood what took your god so long. ;) (clearly in good fun by the driver, Sikhs consider everyone's god the same god)

;D Man that always made me smile.

This seriously made me LOL, my wife is giving me dirty looks wondering what's so funny.

AToE
05-13-2011, 04:30 PM
Oh I've got another one, also from when I lived in Vancouver (right in little-Punjab). I worked with an Indian guy (not Punjabi) and one day me and him were talking about religion, becuase at the time I didn't know much about the different Indian religions other than Buddhism. It went a little something like this: (Understand too that he was dead serious, that's what makes it so funny, he seriously didn't understand what my surprise was all about!).

(part way into the conversation)

Amit: Well, my dad is Hindu, and my mom converted to Hindu from Sikh when she married him.

Me: So what religion are you now?

Him: Umm, I go to Hindu temple on sundays, and Sikh temple on tuesdays. (I may have that reversed)

Me (surprised): That's really unique from an Abrahamic religion view, you go to both and it doesn't conflict?

Him with a confused look on his face (punchline of my LIFE): Well, the food is pretty much the same... sometimes the Sikh is a little spicier?

Me: Fall over laughing.

Smarrikåka
05-13-2011, 05:39 PM
When I see the amazing function of life, even at the molecular level, I see vivid proof of the genius of the architect. One fact that I've often wondered about in these discussion and haven't seen addressed is apoptosis - programmed cell death. It is an interesting concept, and accounts in part for the fact that we have a lifespan. I would think that natural selection would strongly favor species/organisms that didn't program in a life-span. Such organisms would be able to reproduce more and would have a competitive advantage. Building organisms with a cellular life-span sort of defeats that purpose and makes me think again, life systems were engineered with a plan.

I don't believe all animals have this. Alligators, and lobsters are missing it, among others I've been led to believe. I think the advantage that that programming serves, is linked to fertility. If the time-span of fertility is limited, the programmed death can be an advantage to the survival of the species.

TheAlchemist
05-13-2011, 05:57 PM
Your Thoughts?

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/abou-ben-adhem/

TheAlchemist
05-13-2011, 06:00 PM
...but it comes down to semantics of linguistics, which would be boring and annoying to begin with :-D

Ahem...what's boring about semantics?

The way we use language shapes the way we think...
A can of worms has been opened here...
More later...

AToE
05-13-2011, 06:00 PM
I don't believe all animals have this. Alligators, and lobsters are missing it, among others I've been led to believe. I think the advantage that that programming serves, is linked to fertility. If the time-span of fertility is limited, the programmed death can be an advantage to the survival of the species.

The other thing is that we don't only end up with things that are selected for, because some things cannot be selected against. Eye colour for example, serves zero purpose as far as we know, it's just how it happened to work out, and it never hurt us, so it never was selected against.

Cell death is an interesting one. In a single celled organism it's obviously a big problem, but since those reproduce so fast it simply may never have been weeded out properly (or we might be missing something big here, this will require research).

In most animals though it's not something that would come up very often, we typically (including humans until recently) would get killed off after having time to reproduce, but long long before we would die of aging. Getting old just isn't something most species have had to deal with very much.

I am interested to go look up some ideas on the evolution of that trait though, I'm sure people have put a lot of thought into it and have come up with some very good ideas.

AToE
05-13-2011, 06:05 PM
Your Thoughts?

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/abou-ben-adhem/

I think it is very nice, has a good message.


Ahem...what's boring about semantics?

The way we use language shapes the way we think...
A can of worms has been opened here...
More later...

I love semantics, I just like to simplify them as much as possible in other conversations so people can figure out whether they were even really dissagreeing in the first place about the topic or the words!

TheAlchemist
05-13-2011, 06:06 PM
It's good to know so many people can still have a civil discussion on this sort of thing. I've seen it get nasty quick more times than I can remember.

I do love that about here...

TheAlchemist
05-13-2011, 06:09 PM
The beginning of the Book of Genesis is actually a great example of why I like Judaism. When they were compiling all their oral stories they had 2 conflicting versions of creation. Instead of picking one of them and getting rid of the "heretical" one, they put both down.


It is nice that people can just discuss this stuff, turns into a fight all to easily.

New Testament has 4 stories about the life of Jesus, no perfect alignment there...many facets.

TheAlchemist
05-13-2011, 06:10 PM
So you're saying God drank mead before the first day of creation?

It does rather seem likely...

TheAlchemist
05-13-2011, 06:12 PM
One of the funniest stories about creation I ever heard was told to me by my religious instructor...

Driver: Yeah, I never understood what took your god so long. ;) (clearly in good fun by the driver, Sikhs consider everyone's god the same god)

;D Man that always made me smile.

Love this.

TheAlchemist
05-13-2011, 06:16 PM
Well, the food is pretty much the same... sometimes the Sikh is a little spicier?



Interesting, when Jews and Muslims come to the US for Seeds of Peace Camp, or when Northern and Southern Irish emmigrate to New Zealand, they come to realize that they are more like eachother than different in some ways (particularly with respect to food).

AToE
05-13-2011, 06:18 PM
New Testament has 4 stories about the life of Jesus, no perfect alignment there...many facets.

Oh man, let's not get started on the New Testament, the history of that collection of disparate materials is a long sordid and confused one! Remember too that only one of those stories is believed by most historians (Christian and otherwise) to have be dictated by someone who knew Jesus (Gospel of Mark), 2 of the others use Mark itself as a source in combination with the now lost "Q source" and I can't remember what the sources are thought to be for the 4th one.

The problem of all the long lost gospels/books is really saddening. I know at least 1 has been found and is being incorperated by some religious leaders, but so vastly many were lost and we'll never know what they contained. Terrible tragedy, really makes me sad.

TheAlchemist
05-13-2011, 06:20 PM
...apoptosis - programmed cell death...


I don't believe all animals have this. Alligators, and lobsters are missing it, among others I've been led to believe. I think the advantage that that programming serves, is linked to fertility. If the time-span of fertility is limited, the programmed death can be an advantage to the survival of the species.

Any creature that has hollow viscera (ie circluatory system, airways, intestinal tract etc) practices apoptosis in development. It's a stroke of evolutionary genius.

Ontogeny Recapitualtes Phylogeny.

TheAlchemist
05-13-2011, 06:23 PM
The problem of all the long lost gospels/books is really saddening. I know at least 1 has been found... Terrible tragedy, really makes me sad.

That's not to mention the Gnostic Gospels...

AToE
05-13-2011, 06:24 PM
Interesting, when Jews and Muslims come to the US for Seeds of Peace Camp, or when Northern and Southern Irish emmigrate to New Zealand, they come to realize that they aer more like eachother than different in some ways (particularly with respect to food).

I've never really understood all the fighting between the Abrahamic faiths, I get that everyone wants everyone else to join their religion (except for the Jews, they don't care if you join), but what's with all the killing?

Are all 3 really pretty different? Yes, in some ways Islam is closer to Judaism, in other ways closer to Christianity, and Christianity (being the middle child of the family) obviously has been heavily influenced by Judaism, and in turn have heavily influenced Islam. I just don't get why the anger though.

Just like here in the West we group Hinduism into one religion when really it is hundreds, anyone on the outside studying Judaism Christianity and Islam would write down that Christianity and Islam were reform branches of Judaism (rather radical departures of course, but still share the roots).

But nope, everybody's gotta slaughter everybody. :(

AToE
05-13-2011, 06:25 PM
That's not to mention the Gnostic Gospels...

I think the one I'm thinking of is one of the Gnostic Gospels that was rejected long ago and just now worming it's way back into use.

mesquite
05-13-2011, 07:15 PM
Truth is Truth even if no one believes it.

A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it.

Truth is absolute and a lie always opposes Truth.

Feelings can and do lie.

Everyone worships something, God, self, science, possessions, nature, power, ideas etc.

AToE
05-13-2011, 07:24 PM
Everyone worships something, God, self, science, possessions, nature, power, ideas etc.

The definition of "worship" is key here, if it's the common spoken meaning of the word then no, not everyone does worship something, but if it's the "hold in high esteme" kind of definition then sure, I would imagine everyone falls under that umbrella.

I'd add something to your above post though "untruth" not all that is not true is a lie, a lie is a deliberate untruth.

Echostatic
05-13-2011, 07:31 PM
Oh man, let's not get started on the New Testament, the history of that collection of disparate materials is a long sordid and confused one! Remember too that only one of those stories is believed by most historians (Christian and otherwise) to have be dictated by someone who knew Jesus (Gospel of Mark), 2 of the others use Mark itself as a source in combination with the now lost "Q source" and I can't remember what the sources are thought to be for the 4th one.

The problem of all the long lost gospels/books is really saddening. I know at least 1 has been found and is being incorperated by some religious leaders, but so vastly many were lost and we'll never know what they contained. Terrible tragedy, really makes me sad.

I never really had a problem with any of this myself. My thought process is as follows.

1) I believe in God as the Bible describes him.
2) I believe he provided the Bible for man's benefit.
3) I believe that, although it was written by men, they were inspired by God.
4) I believe there were many writings either not inspired by God, or not meant to be included in what would come to be the Bible.
5) I believe he therefore was responsible for guiding events to make sure that all of the material he wanted was included in the Bible, accurate copies were (are) available, and that he protected the writings from the many attempts to wipe them all out through history.
6) I believe he has the power to do all of this.

I see evidence of this not just in the fact that the Bible still exsists and is well known today, but also in that, despite being written across many years by many people, it still displays an internal harmony and consistent theme from beginning to end.

AToE
05-13-2011, 07:43 PM
I don't think it still existing and being widespread is really evidence that it's true, as the same can be said of scriptures from many different religions.

I agree with the rest of what you said though, if you're believing in the Christian God then there's no reason to believe he couldn't have guided the writing and assembly of the Bible as it exists today.

Of course confusion arises when passages conflict, but one could also imagine that God might have reasons for not making it easy! :)

EDIT: not so sure about that consistant theme, but that's deep theological fodder, up for endless good natured (and unfortunately non-good natured) debate!

mesquite
05-13-2011, 09:30 PM
I know there is one God who is all powerful, all knowing, all present and perfect in every way.

He created the Universe and all it contains in 6 literal days (since he created the day he knows how long it is and yes this makes the earth and the entire universe about 6000 years old)

He gave us his word, the Holy Bible and it is infallible and without flaw. Any perceived flaw is a lack of understanding on mans part.

All man can understand and needs to understand about God is written in his Word. All else about God is beyond mans ability to comprehend.

Man is so far below God and as a creation of God has no right to question anything God says or to even know how to please God.

God tells us what is pleasing to him in his Word and only by following what he says is pleasing may we be pleasing to him. All other attempts to please him are sin.

Man was created perfect and walked with God but soon became imperfect by disobeying God.

That which is imperfect (sinful) is separated from God for he is perfect.

Man cannot become perfect again by his own deeds. Once imperfect always imperfect.

Sinfulness required a penalty of death a payment of blood prescribed by God as the only payment for sin.

God emptied himself of deity and came to earth to walk as man among us in the form of Jesus Christ who lived a perfect life without sin in thought or deed.

He served as the perfect sacrifice, through death on a cross, for sin as mankind's representative.

He arose to life again on the third day (the first day of the week, Sunday)

By fulfilling the law as God had given to Moses on the mountain he did away with that law (covenant) and replaced it with a new covenant in which mankind could once again be spiritually perfect through Christ perfect blood sacrifice.

Christ tells us how to accomplish this return to perfection in the New Testament of the Holy Bible so we may once again not be separated from God.

We must hear God's Word.

We must believe God's Word.

We must realize we are imperfect and repent of that imperfection.

Repentance is to change the way we think and act.

We must confess with our lips that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.

We must be Baptized (that is Immersed in water)

We must continue to live according to Jesus's example found in God's word

Baptism is a transliteration of the word baptismo which means to immerse. It does not mean to sprinkle.

When we are Baptized we are added by God to Christ church, his bride, his possession which carries his name and no name derived by man.

The church of Christ is its members not a building.

You cannot "go to church" but rather the church (those who have been added by God) assembles together on the first day of the week to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Christ through communion by breaking and partaking of unleavened bread (his body that hung on the cross) and new wine, the fruit of the vine (representative of his blood shed for our sins) as he has commanded us to do until his return.

The first century model of the church and those who pattern themselves after it are the only one true church. this is what Christ states in the Bible.

All others are derivations of man and thus false.

Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father and therefore our ONLY intercessor.

This is Truth.

On the final Day every knee will bow and will confess Jesus Christ as Lord of all.

There is a chance to do something about sinfulness while you live but once this life is over so is the chance to be made perfect through the blood of Christ as outlined above and to live in absolute and unending bliss with the Creator.

If that chance is missed then all that is left is punishment for ever and for ever.

Even if you don't agree with these statements (and they will infuriate some of you because no one likes to be told they are wrong) you will remember them on the final Day.

These are not my words or ideas but the words of Jehovah God almighty.
I bring them to you as is commanded me to do by Jesus Christ in God's Holy word and out of love and concern for your eternal soul.

akueck
05-13-2011, 11:39 PM
Even if you don't agree with these statements (and they will infuriate some of you because no one likes to be told they are wrong) you will remember them on the final Day.

Well, I can't say you're incorrect. I just don't know. But honestly that is all kind of depressing to me. Having only one approach to the divine/sacred/eternal seems too narrow to me, and if there were a god I would hope he/she/it would program in some more leeway into the world. [Look at quantum physics, talk about "more than one way to do things"!] It doesn't infuriate me though, I think being wrong is a big part of being alive. My thought is that being wrong gives you an opportunity to learn; every time you are correct you are only affirming what you already know. If that Oakland radio preacher guy is right and the world starts to end next week, boy won't I feel wrong then. And I'm ok with that.

I'll admit I'm an atheist in the strict definition (does not believe in a god). [I was raised Catholic.] But I have definitely felt connections to the world around me (specifically about 3 instances in my life) that you could consider "spiritual". The flow of life suggests to me that there is some relationship between all of us (including plants, animals, etc etc). Not quite sure what that connection is, why it is, or if it has a purpose or direction. Personally I kind of like the idea that there is no purpose. Life is free-form, we're here to make our own paths. Every choice we make, every act we perform is shaping the world. There is no destiny, no design, no plan. Everything is sacred. Show me a world where everyone believes that and I think we'd all get along a lot better.

mesquite
05-14-2011, 12:31 AM
Odd you should use the term "narrow".

Here are the words of Jesus.

Mat 7:13 Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate.
Mat 7:14 But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.

I wouldn't worry about the end coming next week because no man knows.

Mat 25:13 Therefore, watch, for you do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man comes.


I would love to give you peace and comforting words but they are not mine to give other than to say there is a way out as detailed in my letter above.

Chevette Girl
05-14-2011, 12:34 AM
Even if you don't agree with these statements (and they will infuriate some of you because no one likes to be told they are wrong) you will remember them on the final Day.

These are not my words or ideas but the words of Jehovah God almighty.
I bring them to you as is commanded me to do by Jesus Christ in God's Holy word and out of love and concern for your eternal soul.

Thank you for your concern, Mesquite.

Unfortunately (for me, perhaps, guess I'll find out at the end of it all, or maybe not even then), I can't bring myself to believe that there is only one true way. I'm not the least bit infuriated that you believe there is but one way, but we'll have to agree to disagree.

I think as long as we can all respect each other's beliefs, the world will be a much better place...

Echostatic
05-14-2011, 12:39 AM
These are not my words or ideas but the words of Jehovah God almighty.
I bring them to you as is commanded me to do by Jesus Christ in God's Holy word and out of love and concern for your eternal soul.

Not that this was necessarily implied by this post, but I would just like to clarify in case there is any confusion, that many of these are not the beliefs helf by Jehovah's witnesses. It is good, though, to hear that someone else recognizes that the Bible does state his name.

Chevette Girl
05-14-2011, 12:44 AM
Are all 3 really pretty different? Yes, in some ways Islam is closer to Judaism, in other ways closer to Christianity, and Christianity (being the middle child of the family) obviously has been heavily influenced by Judaism, and in turn have heavily influenced Islam. I just don't get why the anger though.


Some years ago I read an interesting book on the whole fundamentalist thing, from the perspective of Islamic, Jewish and Christian faiths, and though the specific details are pretty foggy (I only read it once and I don't retain details the way I did in my youth)... but the gist was that many people have been so unsettled at the way the world has been unfolding that out of fear, they've thrown out all the newer religious beliefs and started over, gone right back to basics, taking the appropriate religious writings as a starting point, and coming up with often ultra-conservative (by today's standards) versions of their religion. I don't know about the Q'ran or the Torah but some of the Old Testament stuff I remember from school is pretty "angry vengeful God and not happy loving God", as one of my pagan friends puts it... so it wouldn't surprise me that this comes out in some of the fundamentalist movements if they start taking everything literally, that (and the fear, fear often begets anger) might be where all the anger comes from... that's my $.02 anyway.

akueck
05-14-2011, 02:35 AM
I wouldn't worry about the end coming next week because no man knows.

No argument there. Have you seen the billboards proclaiming "the end" on May 21? At work we're going to have a nice lunch on Friday to celebrate. I'm sure we'll all be in the following Monday though. :)

The narrowness still bugs me though. We can all pretty much agree on the basics, and all the religions have a lot of common ground: play nice with others, respect the world around you, give back. Wrapping it up in a complex structure tends to hide the fundamental messages, IMO.

I do like the "the church is the people, not the building" message though. I think community is the best thing religion has going for it.

Echostatic
05-14-2011, 03:43 AM
The narrowness still bugs me though. We can all pretty much agree on the basics, and all the religions have a lot of common ground: play nice with others, respect the world around you, give back. Wrapping it up in a complex structure tends to hide the fundamental messages, IMO.

Maybe I can help clarify the Bible's viewpoint on this "narrowness" you mention. There are, of course, many that believe that the only way to be "saved" is to put faith in Jesus. Those that do not, have no hope when they die. John 14:6 may be used to demonstrate this. ("Jesus said to him: 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'".)

This makes me think of people who have never even had contact with Christianity, such as the people who live on North Sentinel island. This seems horribly unfair, doesn't it? I would agree.

Without getting too involved, I would like to just quote one scripture to show that the Bible does indicate a hope for many who may not serve him in their lifetime. The first is at Acts 24:15 which states "and I have hope toward God, which hope these [men] themselves also entertain, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous."

Notice who it said would be resurrected along with the righteous. The unrighteous would be resurrected too. This includes the evildoer who was executed alongside Jesus. All who did not serve God properly that are brought back to life will have the chance to gain accurate knowledge of God and how to serve him, and then be able to make a fully informed decision on if they wanted to serve him or not. Does that help explain it any better?

TheAlchemist
05-14-2011, 10:27 AM
...not so sure about that consistent theme, but that's deep theological fodder, up for endless good natured (and unfortunately non-good natured) debate!

I'm with you.

TheAlchemist
05-14-2011, 10:34 AM
...These are not my words or ideas but the words of Jehovah God almighty.
I bring them to you...

Please say something about doctrine of The Priesthood of All Believers.

TheAlchemist
05-14-2011, 10:38 AM
If that Oakland radio preacher guy is right and the world starts to end next week...(May 22nd, is it?)...

I'll admit I'm an atheist in the strict definition...But I have definitely felt connections to the world around me (specifically about 3 instances in my life) that you could consider "spiritual". The flow of life suggests to me that there is some relationship between all of us (including plants, animals, etc etc). Not quite sure what that connection is, why it is, or if it has a purpose or direction.... Life is free-form, we're here to make our own paths. Every choice we make, every act we perform is shaping the world.... Everything is sacred. Show me a world where everyone believes that and I think we'd all get along a lot better.

Bless you, Aaron.
Mitakuye Oyasin

mesquite
05-14-2011, 12:03 PM
Pro 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Mat 7:21 "Not everyone who calls me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do.
Mat 7:22 When the Judgment Day comes, many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord! In your name we spoke God's message, by your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles!'
Mat 7:23 And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; "depart from Me, those working lawlessness!" Psa. 6:8

All will be raised to stand in judgement. Some to eternal life most to eternal torture. Once this life is over there is no second chance to repent.

Mankind can say its not fair and add many thoughts to make him "feel" better but it doesn't change the Truth of it. God's word is final and absolute.

Noe Palacios
05-14-2011, 01:20 PM
I also remember seeing a study recently that showed that atheists and agnostics are better educated on religions than most people of a faith are in their own religion. I thought this was a rather intriguing idea.



This is true, atheists need to convince themself every moment. Instead, believers do not need to convince themself, they just believe.

Chevette Girl
05-14-2011, 01:35 PM
This is true, atheists need to convince themself every moment. Instead, believers do not need to convince themself, they just believe.

Are you sure about this? I know believers who are always questioning. As an agnostic, I feel no need to convince myself of anything. I just acknowledge that I do not know, and carry on living my life the way I was going to live it anyway - help people when I can, try not to leave more of a mess when I leave than when I came in.

AToE
05-15-2011, 12:50 AM
This is true, atheists need to convince themself every moment. Instead, believers do not need to convince themself, they just believe.

I'd dissagree slightly, though it may just be a dissagreement caused by liguistic differences! Atheists in my opinion don't "need" to convince themselves over and over (I know plenty of blind-faith atheists who know nothing about what they're talking about, they just feel in their gut that gods make no sense), but most atheists choose to constantly re-evaluate and check the new data to make sure they still agree with themselves.

Believers I'd say are also split on this. Some of them just believe because they were told that growing up and it feels right in their gut, no further thought required, but many of them do constantly question and examine their beliefs.


Personally I kind of like the idea that there is no purpose. Life is free-form, we're here to make our own paths. Every choice we make, every act we perform is shaping the world. There is no destiny, no design, no plan. Everything is sacred. Show me a world where everyone believes that and I think we'd all get along a lot better.

Couldn't have said it better myself, practically poetry. :)



I'd get deep into this whole other side of this conversation that's evolving (and no, those ideas don't enrage me! I'm not a child, I'm ok with people having ideas other than my own! :) ), but I don't want to start inflamatory arguments just because I am atheist who yes, does in fact know more about at least one religion than many of it's followers (Christianity, I know lots about other ones too, but not more than their own followers know!), and also as someone who has done a large amount of research into the idea/fact that "only being Christian gets you into heaven" is not actually something very much supported by the New Testament and doesn't need to be part of Christianity at all. It is 100% possible to believe that the Christian God evaluates each person himself on criteria other than simply believing in Jesus and still remain an excellent Christian. It's only certain branchs of Christianity that think their way to heaven is the only way in.

But I'd rather not worry about it. I said it earlier, I am NOT about to debate young earth believers, or any literal scripture believers. It's a pointless conversation, we're both extremists and both "know" we're right, neither's going to give one single inch and the only thing that will be accomplished is anger, and I'm a person who tries to make other people's lives better, not make them upset.

mesquite
05-15-2011, 03:41 PM
Time will tell! Either a person will pass into non existence or into an existence that may make each wish that they had. I just don't think it is worth the risk! Eternity is a long long time.

Smarrikåka
05-15-2011, 04:18 PM
Either a person will pass into non existence or into an existence

This far I agree.


that may make each wish that they had. I just don't think it is worth the risk! Eternity is a long long time.

This I don't see any reason in.

If there is an existance beyond death, I find it to be much more likely to hold a basis in our own personal psychology, than in a universal truth. Which would mean, there is no risk as long as you don't contradict your own personal moral values, whatever they may be.

AToE
05-15-2011, 04:36 PM
Time will tell! Either a person will pass into non existence or into an existence that may make each wish that they had. I just don't think it is worth the risk! Eternity is a long long time.

Or the third option, there is an afterlife but who/whatever is in charge of it lets people into the good part based on their merit rather than what religion they were (which is 99% of the time just the religion you were born into, so if you have to be in the right religion then you'd better hope you were born into it because your chances of finding and converting to the "correct" religion are near-zero! :) ).

Or the fourth option, the Dharmic religions are right and there is nothing like heaven or hell, just constant cycles of rebirth until you become a completely good person, at which point you either cease to exist or become one with God, depending on which specific religion we're talking about.


It's not really a risk I have any choice about, I can't "choose" to believe in a creator, let alone a specific religion (let's say that one day I do in fact start believing in a creator, how could I possibly pick one religion out of so many?). I could pretend to believe in God and pretend to be whatever religion, but I'd be lying, which has got to be even worse than me just being honest about it.

When I was younger I went through phases where even though I was atheist I tried very hard to believe in a higher power, for years. Didn't work out for me.

I'll just have to hope that if there is an afterlife that me being as good a human being as possible weighs more heavily than the fact that I couldn't manage to convince myself of a higher power. Otherwise, yes, I'm screwed.

Chevette Girl
05-15-2011, 04:50 PM
I'll just have to hope that if there is an afterlife that me being as good a human being as possible weighs more heavily than the fact that I couldn't manage to convince myself of a higher power. Otherwise, yes, I'm screwed.

Well, if we're screwed, we're screwed... And if we are, see ya down there. :)

AToE
05-15-2011, 05:45 PM
When I talk about exclusivism with Christians I generally just ask questions, rather than provide my own arguments I wait to see what they think themselves (a lot of Christians I've talked to said at first that they absolutely believed that only Christians go to heaven, but after a few quick questions they started realizing that they might not truely be so sure). Regardless of what the scripture says about whether you have to follow Christ to get into heaven (and it actually says things both ways in the new testament) and regardless of whether we're looking at a literal or non-literal interpretation of that scripture, I think these questions are good ones.

Like I said, I'm not out to try and change anyone's beliefs, and I don't expect these questions to change anyones beliefs. The purpose of these questions is simply to clarify for people what their own beliefs actually are.

These questions all have a single root question behind them, and that question is: if only by accepting Jesus as the son of God and truly opening your heart to him can a person get into heaven - when did/does this come into effect? Remember that before Jesus came this was not a requirement YHWH had laid down, according to Judaism the laws in the Tanakh (old testament) only applied to themselves as the chosen people, people of other religions were judged by YHWH on different criteria.

One: Did this requirement for getting into heaven start when Jesus started teaching, or when he died? (Not a very important question, but it slightly effects the later ones).

Two: Whichever of the above you chose, or if you're unsure, this question is the same: IF this requirement came into effect at a specific time, might that specific time only apply to a specific place? More specifically: after Jesus died (let's say that's what you picked for Q1), did everyone other than the tiny handful of Christians at the time in the entire world instantly start being condemned?

If you answered yes, everyone became condemned instantly dispite the fact that they had no way of having even heard of this Jesus fellow, then the questions end here. If you answered no, or unsure, proceed to question three.

Three Considering that Christianity would take several hundreds of years to spread much further than a thousand miles or so around the local area, and also considering that not only did the religion spread slowly but even just simply hearing about the religion would take many generations for the vast majority of the world (and would take even longer than 1500 years to reach some places) - might it make sense that God would have not put that requirement into effect on the entire planet all at once, but rather would have extended amnesty to those who hadn't even heard of Jesus?

If yes, then on to question Four: If you do think that it might have come into effect at different times depending on when people even had any chance whatsoever to fullfill it (can't believe in something you haven't heard of!), once word of Christianity reached an area, what specifically would trigger it coming into effect for that area?

To be more specific - does it come into effect for a village in India when the first wandering Muslim comes through and mentions this other religion that's similar to his own, but just mentions it in passing? Or does it not come into effect until someone who's actually educated in the religion shows up to teach people about it?

If we're answering yes to the need for an actual person of the religion to come, then on to one of the last questions, number Five: How long after this missionary arrives do people have to accept the religion? If someone dies while the guy is just starting to explain who Jesus was, are they possibly exempt, or are they condemned because they'd started to hear but hand't changed their mind? Regardless of that, do people get to sleep on the concept before converting, or must it be immediately? If they are allowed a few days to learn about it, then how long are we talking? A week, a year, a generation? If we've decided it doesn't make sense for God to exclusively let in Christians when others haven't heard of it, or are just finding out about it - is there any possible way of even remotely guessing how long those people are allowed to think about it before throwing away the religion they'd practiced for generations and converting to this new one, for no reason other than that some guy showed up and told them they had no choice but to convert or burn forever?

(Sorry for the length of that one, it's a lot of questions in one)

Last question: What if that missionary just wasn't convincing? Nobody in the village converted, but they didn't reject Jesus because they didn't like him, they simply just weren't convinced? After all, the guy from Islam was there last year and he did a really good job, the Buddhist who showed up the year before that got a few converts, and the Jainist did even better ( that's just for example, the point is that if 15 missionaries show up from different religions, and the Christian guy happens to be less convincing, are they all condemned basically because the guy failed his job?).

Now let's get to the point of all this and fast forward to today. There are still places where people have never even heard the name "Jesus", and beyond that, there are lots of places that are barely even exposed. And even if they are, how are those people supposed to pick the right religion out of all the ones presented to them, why not just keep believing in their own? Could that original amnesty period still be under effect for some people?

And I'll cheat and sneak in one more question. If you answered those questions in a way that made you question absolute exclusivism, might it be better to give God the benifit of the doubt that he knows what he's doing here (I'll call God a male for now...)? Maybe he wanted the Bible written just the way it was so that people would take that particular religion seriously, but maybe he knew all along that a lot of people would take a while, and he's got a plan for that (something about him being omniscient comes to mind here).

Just food for thought, like I said, I'm not out to convert people, just to make them think.

mesquite
05-15-2011, 06:54 PM
One who reads God's word and understands who God is would not have these questions at all. Follow God's will or die spiritually forever. That has always been the way and will always be the way. Jesus said he is the way, the truth and the life and NO ONE comes to the Father except through HIM. That statement is plain and absolute. Each person has a right to make their own choices and each choice has a consequence. Follow the choices that God has outlined and the outcome is Eternal life with the Father. Follow the other choices and the result is torture forever. The best a person can earn with good deeds is HELL because sin demands death as a penalty (once you sin you cannot un-sin). A person is either under the cover of the death of Jesus or will suffer eternal death of his own if not. Sin is a living thing not simply something someone commits. It grows and perverts body, thought and soul till nothing of God remains in a person. It is all about the satan and God. satan's goal is to hurt God by taking away from him forever those who God created for the explicit purpose of living with God forever. There are two masters and everyone serves one or the other, God or Satan. Mankind was created in his image by his hand and brought to life with his own breath. Nothing else in all creation was made this way. Everything else was spoken into existence.
Mankind's sole purpose for existence is to be in relationship with God, to Glorify God through his actions and to Testify, Tell of the saving blood of Jesus Christ. Without it HELL is the only option under the justice of God.

AToE
05-15-2011, 07:08 PM
Fair enough, I take it you'd be in the "instantly after Jesus everyone who wasn't in the immediate area and following him was condemned" camp?

I don't mean to inflame, only to attempt to understand.

Not in any way was that post meant to convert anyone, only to make them think about how the changeover from how it was before Jesus (everyone who was good had a place in the World To Come, regardless of what religion they belonged to as long as they were worshipping God under at least some name (didn't matter the name though), this is the belief of Judaism and what the Tanakh teaches) to how things are believed to be by some Christians after Jesus (that only those who specifically follow that specific religion get into heaven, regardless of whether they even had a chance to hear of Jesus).

I'm trying to understand other peoples beliefs, because it's important for me to understand. The majority of Christians I have ever talked to about this all believe that God makes exceptions for people who had no reasonable chance of being Christian, but I know some Christians do believe this is not the case.

(It has no effect on me, whether you believe God makes exceptions for people with no chance of being Christian or not, someone like myself is still going to be condemned because I had a perfectly good chance and it just didn't work out. I'm not in the Amazon jungle or anything! I've made my bed, I'll lay in it.)

EDIT: Note to Moderators watching this discussion get pretty close to crossing the line: I think we're still on the good side of the line, having a nice discussion, I'm certainly not offended or trying to offend, and I think Mesquite is being civil as well, just extremely convicted in his/her (sorry, I'm not sure if you're male or female, my apologies) beliefs and his/her attempt to communicate them with us.

You're obviously in charge though, full respect from me. Ask me to shut up and I won't bring it up again!

mesquite
05-15-2011, 07:17 PM
Everyone is instantly in the condemned camp the moment they commit the first sin in their life. Before Christ if you were not a Jew or a converted Jew there was NO salvation. The sins of those of the faithful of the Jewish faith were saved up in a sense by animal sacrifice, until Christ died on the cross. Then they were forgiven (forgotten by God).

Also I intend to say no more. I have tried and that is all that is required of me by my Savior. I am a male for the record and a member of the body of Christ, his church, bride and possesion as described in God's Holy word. I live my life (worship and service to God) as a Christian of the first century did in the examples of the New Testament. Talk is cheap and an example of a life lived properly for God is the best Preaching I can do. You are absolutely allowed your own choices. That is how God made man, but he would like for everyone to make the choices that he has described in his Word that lead to life forever with him. Thank you for even listening. Many would not. I applaud this forum and it's members for allowing my posting of everything I have said from God's Word.

Chevette Girl
05-15-2011, 07:29 PM
Just food for thought, like I said, I'm not out to convert people, just to make them think.


Says the atheist :)

That's an awesome post. I so want to pass it along to a couple of people I know... but I don't think they'll be as civil in their responses as mesquite has been.

And mesquite, what if a person has never sinned? I mean, a baby can't have sinned, right? Is it condemned to hell if it dies prior to its baptism because of bad timing? Again, like AToE, I mean no offense, I just want to understand. (edit, just saw your edit, if you don't reply that's fine too :) )

Riverat
05-15-2011, 07:30 PM
Well I for one would have to weigh in that the divine (if this could even be expressed as a being, supreme or otherwise) might be a bit beyond any religion concieved of, or tome written by, even the most inspired / enlightened / guided individual or group. Should such actually be the truth it seems to me that, by definition, there would be as many meaningful / proper / acceptable (by that divity, people really don't count) relationships as there are mortal sources.

AToE
05-15-2011, 07:36 PM
Everyone is instantly in the condemned camp the moment they commit the first sin in their life. Before Christ if you were not a Jew or a converted Jew there was NO salvation. The sins of those of the faithful of the Jewish faith were saved up in a sense by animal sacrifice, until Christ died on the cross. Then they were forgiven (forgotten by God).

This is incorrect, the Jews were not a group (ever) that tried to convert people to Judaism, they never believed that someone needed to be Jewish or follow the laws that were set out specifically for Jews to get into "heaven" (gentiles had different rules to follow, which were basically "be a good person" and a couple weird rules).

Talk with any Jewish person and they will tell you that they absolutely do not believe this. Jews believe that they had a special relationship with God and that other peoples elsewhere also had their own relationships with God (though most did of course believe that they were sort of the "elite" chosen by God).

I can find quotes from Jews for hours showing this.

"God permitted to every people something he forbade to others...[and] God sends a prophet to every people according to their own language."

That sums up their beliefs pretty clearly.

Go hop onto this wiki page and it will explain more completely:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_views_of_religious_pluralism#General_classi cal_views_on_other_religions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_views_of_religious_pluralism#General_classi cal_views_on_other_religions)

I do very much apreciate you being civil, but in order for these conversations to be meaningful I absolutely need to point out when someone has made a claim that is incorrect about a different religion.

EDIT: Just saw your edit. I respect your wishes to bow out of this one, so don't feel obligated to debate me further. I'm not going to alter my post however, because it's important that anyone unfamiliar with Judaism doesn't get the wrong impression of that religion (which dispite having a lot of really bizarre rules (can't eat roadkill, but you can feed it to the gentiles!) is one of the religions of the world that I respect most highly, for my own reasons).

mesquite
05-15-2011, 07:51 PM
Says the atheist :)

That's an awesome post. I so want to pass it along to a couple of people I know... but I don't think they'll be as civil in their responses as mesquite has been.

And mesquite, what if a person has never sinned? I mean, a baby can't have sinned, right? Is it condemned to hell if it dies prior to its baptism because of bad timing? Again, like AToE, I mean no offense, I just want to understand. (edit, just saw your edit, if you don't reply that's fine too :) )

I will answer this. A baby and children up to the age where they realize right from wrong are innocent and sinless and belong to God. They always have been. All others have sin according to the Bible. Anyone can feel free to PM me and I will try to explain what God's word says about any subject. What I personally say if not consistent with his Word is error.

AToE
05-15-2011, 07:53 PM
I'd agree with that even without regard to the Bible, once people know right from wrong they certainly do start racking up sins. I know I have, as few as possible, but still too many to count.

TheAlchemist
05-15-2011, 08:18 PM
...I just acknowledge that I do not know, and carry on living my life the way I was going to live it anyway - help people when I can, try not to leave more of a mess when I leave than when I came in.

Some would suggest that the Jews (as well as many other faith traditions) initiated what might be called a Silver Rule: don't do as you wouldn't be done by (ie don't lie-"bear false witness"- don't kill, etc).

Jesus took this concept a step further with the Good Samaritan parable, initiating what might be called a Golden Rule: do as you would be done by.

One Buddhist thinker I know suggests that the concept might be taken one step further, a Platinum Rule: do unto the other as that particular other would be done by.

TheAlchemist
05-15-2011, 08:33 PM
...most atheists choose to constantly re-evaluate and check the new data to make sure they still agree with themselves.

Believers I'd say are also split on this. Some of them just believe because they were told that growing up and it feels right in their gut, no further thought required, but many of them do constantly question and examine their beliefs...

Although faith is as effortless for me as atheism is for you, I can say that my own faith has evolved over the years to the point that if my own youthful "evangelical" self met me now she might think (as CS Lewis might put it) "TheAlchemist is no longer a friend of Narnia..." Yet I've come to stretch so much that I consider myself more of a "friend of Narnia" than ever...


... I am NOT about to debate young earth believers... It's a pointless conversation...

I know a couple of Orthodox Jewish young earth believers...both scientists of a sort, professionally. When I learned they were young earth believers I was so stunned I just didn't know what to say...don't know how you can take your kids to the Grand Canyon. You'd have to call the Park Ranger a liar?


...EDIT: Note to Moderators watching this discussion get pretty close to crossing the line...

Just what I was starting to think...


OH! And Many Thanks to the Mods who figured out how to move this thread to The Hive, where it seems to be more happily suited...

akueck
05-15-2011, 08:42 PM
I think we're doing pretty good wrt "the line". Obviously we've got some very different viewpoints, but no one is flaming. As always, I'm super impressed with the folks here.

Thanks for the clarifications mesquite. I was raised Catholic with the "original sin" concept. That one always got me. I'd have to agree that you can't do "wrong" without first having the concept of what is right and what is wrong. Young kids certainly don't have that yet, and you can't fault them for doing silly things.

I'd be curious to know how many folks here consider themselves to be currently following the religion they were brought up in, and how many have either come to a totally different place or even just reinterpreted what their parents instilled in them.

I know for me, I started drawing outside the lines in high school. By college, I was reading a different book. The parents were not so pleased. :( Is that common?

TheAlchemist
05-15-2011, 08:57 PM
If there is an existance beyond death, I find it to be much more likely to hold a basis in our own personal psychology, than in a universal truth...

The phenomena of NDE has been rather well studied by Dr Raymond Moody ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Moody ) and certain archetypal themes do tend to come up for individuals who have had asystole for a long enough duration to begin to go on such a journey.

One recurrent theme seems to be that in Life Review we find that anything we have done that we thought was "unforgivable" turns out to have been forgivable, and whatever was done to us that we thought was "unforgivable" is likewise forgivable. There is universally a huge presence of Grace.

The experiences tend to be similar regardless of the person's previous life experience, personal psychology or faith orientation. They also suggest a sort of timelessness. People who are meeting pre-deceased loved ones find them to be very recognizable, but not necessarily of the age they were when last seen here.

The one exception seems to be with people who had a NDE as a consequence of a suicide attempt. These people relate that the experience convinced them that no matter how depressed they are, they will not attempt to end their own lives again.

Food for thought.

TheAlchemist
05-15-2011, 09:11 PM
...
Thanks for the clarifications mesquite. I was raised Catholic with the "original sin" concept. That one always got me. I'd have to agree that you can't do "wrong" without first having the concept of what is right and what is wrong. Young kids certainly don't have that yet, and you can't fault them for doing silly things.



I'm not sure the Baptists and the Catholics see eye-to-eye on this question, but the more theologically well-versed on this site may be able to answer.

Riverat
05-15-2011, 09:14 PM
I think we're doing pretty good wrt "the line". Obviously we've got some very different viewpoints, but no one is flaming. As always, I'm super impressed with the folks here.

Thanks for the clarifications mesquite. I was raised Catholic with the "original sin" concept. That one always got me. I'd have to agree that you can't do "wrong" without first having the concept of what is right and what is wrong. Young kids certainly don't have that yet, and you can't fault them for doing silly things.

I'd be curious to know how many folks here consider themselves to be currently following the religion they were brought up in, and how many have either come to a totally different place or even just reinterpreted what their parents instilled in them.

I know for me, I started drawing outside the lines in high school. By college, I was reading a different book. The parents were not so pleased. :( Is that common?

Indeed a really great bunch,
I was raised a Methodist by a family that encouraged independant thinking (that whole, free will thing) and ditto on winding up quite a ways "out of the box"
Neither of my minister uncles seem concerned with my soul however, supprising considering how far out of the box I am.

TheAlchemist
05-15-2011, 10:20 PM
And to think it all started with "Hydrophobic globules!"

TheAlchemist
05-15-2011, 10:38 PM
On Semantics:

I have said before on this thread that the way we use language has a powerful impact on the way we think. Imagine, for example, that all journalists world wide suddenly agreed to refer to anyone who has survived, who is surviving a tsunami, an earthquake, torture, an assault as a “survivor” rather than a “victim.” What difference would that make in the lives and spirits of those people who are surviving? What difference would it make in the lives of those of us that bear witness to the tragedy they are surviving?

For myself, I can say that I did not really begin to recognize my own calling, a calling which I would always theretofore have considered to be the exclusive realm of men, until 2 synchronous occurrences:

1.) I ceased to attend a church where a choir of little girls might be found singing at the top of their hearts and lungs “We are sons of God” (ahem…where I come from, little girls are not sons of anybody…little girls are daughters) and began attending a church that uses language that acknowledges, with the language used, that worshipers come in 2 genders, and that God is simply God (perhaps sometimes referred to as Father/Mother God, perhaps with both masculine and feminine attributes, but not as uniquely He/Him)

2.) I entered Jungian analysis (with an Episcopal Priest, himself conversant with inclusive language, the husband of an accomplished doctor, the father of daughters whom he wished to be unencumbered by perceived limitations secondary to their gender) and began to have a relationship with my dreams.

On Creation:
We know from animal life and from much of plant life that the act of creating, of sparking new life, requires both masculine and feminine energy. In fact, guys, let’s face it squarely. In the case of mammals, the male needs to contribute enough sperm to provide the acrosomal reactions that will erode the corona radiata, plus one that breaks through the cell membrane and contributes its DNA. Virtually all the rest of the molecular building blocks that make up a new life come from and through the female. So, which gender is, biologically, more “creator?”

Ironically, I expect that those who identify themselves as unbelievers here will be more receptive to the concept of God having feminine as well as masculine attributes than those who identify themselves as believers…

We shall see...

AToE
05-16-2011, 01:25 AM
I agree language is such a huge problem. In English we really need gender neutral pronouns, would make life SO MUCH easier! (Sometimes we can use "they" and such, but those are really plural and don't technically work... though people understand what you mean, and people understanding what you mean is the whole point of language! And we can say "it" but that doesn't refer to sentient beings very well. I want gender neutral pronouns darnit!).

The God as masculine thing is pretty offensive, not because people assume God is male (ok, also because of that) but also because it sets male as the default sex when sex isn't known. That's pretty depressing! (The male dominated roots of the Abrahamic religions definitely shows through in such a simple linguistic example)


Also, everyone reading the Bible in English really does have to acknowledge that not everything can be translated perfectly. If you want to know what those passages really said you truely do have to go learn Aramaic for the most important parts of the NT, and better go learn ancient Hebrew for the OT (and not just learn, I mean REALLY learn and spend years speaking and thinking in that tongue). I'm not saying you can't get the jist/message of the passages 95% of the time, but you have to always accept that you won't know which passages are that other 5% that you have all wrong.


I have talked with Hebrew speakers many times about passages in the English Bible which simply came out meaning something different than the original text (which is being corrected with newer translations, but because a lot of words have no exact English counterpart people start getting into arguments about which interpretation is the best... oh it's a mess).

I think that was a stroke of brilliance on Islam's behalf - very careful with translations. I mean, you can get translated versions of the Koran but they come with big disclaimers saying very clearly not to take anything in there literally without guidance from someone who speaks both Arabic and your language perfectly and is also schooled in Islam. I like that they do both, you can have your translation but you're taught that the translation is just that, a translation.

Especially with a language as clear, concise and methodical as Arabic, translating into our largely slang languages must mess it up pretty bad! (According to Islam the language is actually part of why Mohammed was chosen as the final prophet, God looked for the people with the clearest language that would express what he wanted and then told them they'd better keep the language straight and stop messing up his message over the centuries!)

EDIT: And @ TheAlchemist - you're right, I'm one non-believer that totally agrees with the feminine aspect of God thing. IF God had to be more one sex than the other, "She" would be the default for me, because I agree, while half the genetic material comes form the male, the female is much more the creator than the male is (while it's unborn anyways, then it goes all over the place from family to family!).

Chevette Girl
05-16-2011, 01:48 AM
2.) I entered Jungian analysis (with an Episcopal Priest, himself conversant with inclusive language, the husband of an accomplished doctor, the father of daughters whom he wished to be unencumbered by perceived limitations secondary to their gender) and began to have a relationship with my dreams.


...gender inequalities were another thing that really, really bothered me about the Catholic upbringing, I was truly upset when I found out women can't be priests...

I remember something about my philosophy elective in university, defining things like truth and knowledge, it had me thinking about a lot of this stuff back then when I was going through some other crap in my life... now I'm wondering exactly what I thought then, I should go back and read my journal, if I can find it... But I agree, the language we use is important and it really helps if you think the words I use mean the same thing to you as they do to me! :)



Ironically, I expect that those who identify themselves as unbelievers here will be more receptive to the concept of God having feminine as well as masculine attributes than those who identify themselves as believers…


Well, from what I've seen in my local Pagan/Wiccan community (yeah, they ARE different but Ottawa's small enough that a lot of them hang around together anyways and also include some atheists just because we can have discussions from different viewpoints like we've been having here, which is why I liked hanging around with them), that does seem to hold true for alternate believers too. Just Friday I was mentioning this thread to a friend and he found that what I was saying about my beliefs didn't jive with what he thought I was into just because I used to hang around with and know a fair bit about that crowd, he was a little taken aback that I'm not a goddess worshipper... but as another friend who's explored the goddess-centric side of things found, sometimes it goes too far and the male is portrayed as, oh, what did she call it... "hot beef injection" I think it was... and focused way too much on mothers and not enough on fathers and parenting in general. And after an initial giddiness of "oh, aren't we so bad, flaunting our former ways!", Christian bashing gets old fast and some of the members were just plain rude to some nice people of faith, which is a lot of why I haven't made much effort to continue with that group when I grew up and got a job and a life and responsibilities... <shrug>

Chevette Girl
05-16-2011, 01:56 AM
Also, everyone reading the Bible in English really does have to acknowledge that not everything can be translated perfectly. If you want to know what those passages really said you truely do have to go learn Aramaic for the most important parts of the NT, and better go learn ancient Hebrew for the OT (and not just learn, I mean REALLY learn and spend years speaking and thinking in that tongue). I'm not saying you can't get the jist/message of the passages 95% of the time, but you have to always accept that you won't know which passages are that other 5% that you have all wrong.



...actually I have been told on at least two occasions that it IS perfect because it's the Word of God and He wouldn't allow it be mistranslated... but everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.

... and I totally agree, I wish we did have neutral pronouns in English...

AToE
05-16-2011, 02:00 AM
...actually I have been told on at least two occasions that it IS perfect because it's the Word of God and He wouldn't allow it be mistranslated... but everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.


I've heard that too, but that's a really tough position to defend, because some of it (especially in older translations) really actually is just incorrect. Of course, you could say that while technically the meaning is different, the whole of the Bible still manages to convey all the concepts perfectly? I'm not sure, this is a tough one to really argue without knowing all the languages involved and being something of a linguist.

Loadnabox
05-16-2011, 09:32 AM
I'd be curious to know how many folks here consider themselves to be currently following the religion they were brought up in, and how many have either come to a totally different place or even just reinterpreted what their parents instilled in them.

I was baptized Catholic, my dad converted to Mormonism after my parents divorced when I was young. My Mom realized my brother and I were getting horribly confused by the completely differing theology and quit taking us to Catholic church, instead telling us, "Listen to what your heart tells you is right and follow that, that's all most religions really are about." My dad however took that as a sign that he should take my mom to court so that he could take us to the LDS church every Sunday instead of just during his visitation time :P

I'm not really Catholic or Mormon :P



Although faith is as effortless for me as atheism is for you, I can say that my own faith has evolved over the years to the point that if my own youthful "evangelical" self met me now she might think (as CS Lewis might put it) "TheAlchemist is no longer a friend of Narnia..." Yet I've come to stretch so much that I consider myself more of a "friend of Narnia" than ever...

I feel very much so the same way. Since I went "off the reservation" so to speak, my beliefs are really heretical, but I finally feel closer to God and am able to reconcile my faith (in something unprovable) with what my head tells me about religion.



I know a couple of Orthodox Jewish young earth believers...both scientists of a sort, professionally. When I learned they were young earth believers I was so stunned I just didn't know what to say...don't know how you can take your kids to the Grand Canyon. You'd have to call the Park Ranger a liar?


I know a guy, that got a full ride scholarship to get his PhD in astrophysics from a prominent university on Russia. He had articles that had his name and not his professor's before he even completed his master's thesis. A couple months away from getting his Doctorate he changed to an entirely new course of study, linguistics. He was thought to have been someone that could have brought about a dawn of new understanding about the nature of the universe.

The problem is that he was raised in a very conservative faith based family that held strong "new earth" beliefs. In his studies of the Universe he learned how it can be proven the earth and the universe are much old than a few thousand years. He couldn't find a way to refute it no matter how he tried. He left his study course abandoning his scholarship because his religion told him that anything that contradicted a literal interpretation of the bible was heretical work of Satan. So he left his course work.

He's still the smartest person I have ever met. He's fluent in Russian, English, French, Three dialects of Chinese including Mandarin and two locals, Japanese, Navajo, and a dead native American language not spoken since shortly after the birth of Jesus. The man is -BRILLIANT-. It's a shame that such brilliance....was stifled... by his beliefs.

Oh... I also contributed money to a fund that got him into China as a Christian missionary. Just saying I think it's a shame, but I support his choice to go that way too.


OH! And Many Thanks to the Mods who figured out how to move this thread to The Hive, where it seems to be more happily suited...

I'm pretty happy this isn't in my brewlog, yes :-D

Chevette Girl
05-16-2011, 09:50 AM
I feel very much so the same way. Since I went "off the reservation" so to speak, my beliefs are really heretical, but I finally feel closer to God and am able to reconcile my faith (in something unprovable) with what my head tells me about religion.


Your mom was a wise woman :) Too bad your dad tried to exploit it.

My husband and I were both raised Catholic as well and neither of us sets foot in a church except for weddings and funerals these days. It's funny though, he still has his faith, it helped him through some nasty times. My worst nightmare happened (when my dad died suddenly) and it was rough but I got through it with probably the least damage of my immediate family... but I didn't find faith in it. To placate my Born-Again brother who couldn't understand how I could get through something like that without God/Jesus's help and to let him into my heart, I told him, "Jesus is busy, let him go deal with the people who actually need him. I'm good. If I need him, he'll find me."

My husband, though still faithful to a lot of RC doctrine and faithful that God exists, actively disbelieves in some RC church policies, his whole family stopped going to church in protest when his very good priest was excommunicated for wanting to get married and have a family. We have joked for a long time that he's a heretic and I'm a heathen, it got pretty funny when we were making wedding plans... I suspect he feels much the same as you, Loadnabox, I think a lot of things gelled for him AFTER he'd left the church.

Pewter_of_Deodar
05-16-2011, 12:28 PM
Interesting that we have found a subject that we are all as passionate about as we are about making mead...

In terms of whether atheists or religious people are the ones making leaps of faith, the real question should not read:

Is there a God?
a) Yes
b) No

It should instead read:

Is there a God?
a) Yes
b) No
c) I don't know.

I believe that "c" is the default answer, not "a" or "b". The "not stamp collecting" analogy is not valid since the fact that I do not collect stamps would be a known, proveable fact. A better analogy would be another question with two sides, neither of which can be proven, like:

Is there life elsewhere in the universe?
a) Yes
b) No
c) I don't know.

For the "life in the universe" answer, at least at this point, we have no "scientific proof" that it does or does not exist. The same can be said about "scientific proof" to prove or disprove the existence of God. So in opting to choose any answer but "c" to either question, we are making a selection we cannot "prove" to be correct. If we refer to answer "a" as being a "leap of faith" we must also do the same for answer "b". IMHO

AToE
05-16-2011, 12:38 PM
I know a guy, that got a full ride scholarship to get his PhD in astrophysics from a prominent university on Russia. He had articles that had his name and not his professor's before he even completed his master's thesis. A couple months away from getting his Doctorate he changed to an entirely new course of study, linguistics. He was thought to have been someone that could have brought about a dawn of new understanding about the nature of the universe.

The problem is that he was raised in a very conservative faith based family that held strong "new earth" beliefs. In his studies of the Universe he learned how it can be proven the earth and the universe are much old than a few thousand years. He couldn't find a way to refute it no matter how he tried. He left his study course abandoning his scholarship because his religion told him that anything that contradicted a literal interpretation of the bible was heretical work of Satan. So he left his course work.




:( Holy smokes, that is one of the saddest things I've ever heard on the subject (and I've heard some gooooood stories about religion wrecking someone's life. NOTE: I'm not trying to argue that religion is bad, just that it is dangerous (which is ok, me calling it dangerous isn't an insult. Atheism is dangerous too, so are guns, but they can be used for good. Pretty much any instrument of good can very easily be used for evil as well).

AToE
05-16-2011, 12:50 PM
Here's something that's always confused me. Young Earth believers typically try to argue against mainstream science with their own psuedo science that is usually so weak it's scary that anyone falls for it. BUT what I've always wondered, why don't they take the path of least resistance, how's about this aproach to arguing Young Earth: The Earth is ___thousand years old, but the science says it is 4 billion, and that the universe is much older than that. The reason for this is that God created the Earth in such a way that it apears to be older, we're not sure why, perhaps to test our faith.

Am I missing something here? Doesn't that seem like a far easier position to defend (can't disprove it just like we can't disprove God's existance), compared to all the fake science that is so extremely easy to prove incorrect? After all this is an All Powerful God here, if he wants to take 15 billion years worth of aging in the universe and cram it into 6 days I see absolutely no reason he couldn't do this.

--

I'll give you an example of the bad science I'm talking about. Apparently some Young Earth people have an idea that the earth used to be surrounded by a globe of ice, up where the ozone layer is. What this globe accomplished is to create a greenhouse effect which warmed the planet enough for things the size of the dinosaurs and their plant food to live - and also it filtered out some of the UV rays, which is what allowed Methuselah and others to live so very long.

Now they're right, UV kills us (doesn't knock hundreds of years off our lives, but whatever, I'll let that slide) and the dinosaurs did in fact need a much hotter planet than the one we have today.

BUT a sphere cannot remain in place around a planet like that (without magical assistance anyways) because when you completely encircle/englobe an object, that inner object's gravity essentially loses it's hold on the sphere (because it's pulling in all directions at once, so it all gets cancelled out). So within minutes airpressure differences would cause the sphere to drift, then bam, gravity kicks back in and brings the thing crashing down!

So you could say God held it in place - but am I missing something here or is this way way way too complicated and based on nothing? If God wanted it hotter for the dinosaurs he could just nudge the Earth towards the Sun, or simply turn the Sun up a few notches. If he wanted people to live longer, he doesn't need a giant globe of ice, he can just make them live longer, he's freaking GOD after all isn't he?

Now that's one of the fringe group's more fringe ideas, but you get my point. Why use all this fake and easily disprovable science when you can just say "God did it" and bam, argument is probably over? Confuses the HECK out of me!

EDIT: I'm sorry about all the male references to God here, it was completely accidental and it depresses me that even for someone like me who totally views women as equals, male is STILL the default... it's hard to get past our programming sometimes.

Pewter_of_Deodar
05-16-2011, 01:39 PM
I, as an engineer/scientist, really do struggle with the concept of how life might have come into being without some sort of Creator. Especially that first cell...

The way I see it, if we believe that a random, natural process could overcome the scientific phenomena, some which have already been mentioned, like entropy, to finally create the "first living cell", we are already out in the area where the mathmatical probabilities of such an event would be considered "impossible" by statisticians.

But it is not just one cell that had to come into being and so here is where I begin to struggle. That first cell either had to be duplicated "billions of times" (billions of individual living cells come into being via random acts) or that first cell had to have the ability to feed itself, reproduce, survive the surrounding environment, and so on. So did billions of living cells that were incapable of sustaining themselves occur through the random process until one was finally viable or did the random process produce a supercell that had everything the first time?

If it took billions of times to produce a viable cell, then natural processes like diffusion and entropy had to be overcome by the application of lightning or heat or whatever method, which then had to occur that same particular way billions of times in just the right manner to produce the same result as the first time. These occurrances had to happen when the earth had cooled enough to allow life to exist (hard for anything to live in magma) so that puts some sort of limit on how many billions of years the whole thing had to happen.

Recently, I went through the discussion of how natural selection could even occur at the chemical level where certain "processes" necessary to the evolution of the first living cell "feeding", "reproduction" etc. could occur despite the absence of "life" per se. I have to admit that I find myself thinking that it is merely a method to explain away some of the concerns I just listed.

If we use the 747 example (which I know it isn't perfect), the chemical level discussion allows us to have the windshield occur separately where sand and heat could be alone for a while to create glass while iron and heat were alone somewhere else to create the steel beams. But I still find myself, looking at scientific evidence, thinking that it is impossible for it all to have occurred by pure chance.

How do the rest of you handle this concern?

AToE
05-16-2011, 02:11 PM
Well the entropy thing we already covered, the cells forming did not in fact have to overcome entropy because entropy only applies to closed systems.

There is certainly a lot we haven't figured out yet, there are some great hypothesis on the first cells coming together out of the organic molecules that we already know can be formed naturally, but many different ones, lots of questions. Replication first or metabolism first is a big one, most people used to believe metabolism first, but now as I understand it people are leaning towards replication. (So the idea that the first cell had to feed itself is actually not one that's necessary as far as we know currently, that could have come later)

I've gone over the math with a few people who really know the science a lot better than myself, and they were satisfied that there was plenty of time for the first cells to come together, even if the vast majority of them were failures. As far as I know (take with salt!) most scientists today are satisfied that life could have arisen on it's own in the timeframe we're talking about, regardless of the religious beliefs of those scientists - that we haven't figured it out yet is certainly a fact though.

As I am not a biologist I do have to at a certain point start taking their word for it. I'll learn as much as I can myself so I'm not just blindly following, but everything they say seems to work for me so far.

Deciding what the odds are that life arising on it's own is the job of biologists and other scientists dedicating their life to figuring that out. I'll try to keep up, but in the end I'm not the guy doing that math (yet anyways).


So my stance becomes this - I've got a lot of respected scientists saying that this is nowhere near as unlikely as people seem to think (most believe that life is downright likely to come into being in the right circumstances, and that the stars probably are host to billions of other living worlds), and they're making no claim for or against a creator.

Then we're got the creator argument, which to me is backwards. If the argument is that life is too complicated to have arisen on it's own, had too much to overcome, then how on Earth does putting the most complex thing possible (God) as the first step make any sense?

I guess what I'm saying is this - while we haven't proven without a doubt that life can arise on it's own, we are pretty sure we're getting there. As unlikely as it seems, to me it is still orders of magnitude more likely than a creator God coming together first (if we're going too compare a cell to a 747 coming together on it's own, then God by comparison is all the machines/electronics humanity has ever created coming together on their own, and then all joining together to form consciousness on their own in my opinion!).

Take with salt of course. ;D

havoc64
05-16-2011, 03:11 PM
Good thread and it's a refreshing breeze that this topic hasn't gotten heated.

I look at it this way..First, Earth's days are 24 Hours. Who know's how long God's day it. When it says he created everything in 7 days..maybe his days are 2 million Earth years? And who's to say that he didn't create man by starting him off as a little single cell creature.

Breeds of Dogs are not created in one litter? Take Australian Cattle Dogs, they are a combination of Several different breeds.. My look at things is god did the same thing, and still is, the whole Melting Pot thing.

As for intelligent life on other planets..I likes the way Carl Sagan said it.."Billions and Billions" I believe that the odds are in all those Billions, there has to be another guy somewhere sitting on his computer at work, checking out a forum similar to this one, commenting on God and life on other planets...LOL

Happy Meading everyone! ;D

AToE
05-16-2011, 03:16 PM
Since entropy keeps coming up I managed to find a wiki page that discusses life's relationship with entropy (doesn't seem perfect, but some of the linked papers I skimmed and are improvements). Just in case anyone is curious and wants a quick link to some starter reading.

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

Medsen Fey
05-16-2011, 04:05 PM
Since entropy keeps coming up I managed to find a wiki page that discusses life's relationship with entropy (doesn't seem perfect, but some of the linked papers I skimmed and are improvements). Just in case anyone is curious and wants a quick link to some starter reading.

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

Technically speaking, I think the Universe is a closed system.

Defining life as negative entropy is interesting. However to hypothesize that life starts spontaneously whenever a stew of chemicals sits for long enough sort of flies in the face of random motion and the tendency for things to break down when exposed to the environment. Organic material degrades under heat, UV light, oxygen radicals, etc. You have to hypothesize that there is an organizing principle in which organic molecules continue to aggregate in ever-more-complex forms just through natural motions. If that is in fact a law of nature, that "organic molecules will form together rather than being randomly spread and dissociated," then that is the coolest organizing principle in the natural world. To me that is more evidence of a plan than anything else - it would be sort of like looking at the technical drawings of the 747.


If we use the 747 example (which I know it isn't perfect), the chemical level discussion allows us to have the windshield occur separately where sand and heat could be alone for a while to create glass while iron and heat were alone somewhere else to create the steel beams. But I still find myself, looking at scientific evidence, thinking that it is impossible for it all to have occurred by pure chance.

How do the rest of you handle this concern?

As above, if it happens that way through spontaneous organization, that's the most incredible piece of engineering I can imagine. If we were created through a more direct means, if couldn't be any more spectacular.

I handle it by merely saying "Thank you."

I like the way Benjamin Franklin said it in one of the early versions of his will:


And now humbly returning sincere Thanks to God for producing me into Being, and conducting me hitherto thro’ Life so happily, so free from Sickness, Pain and Trouble, and with such a Competency of this World’s Goods as might make a reasonable Mind easy: That he was pleased to give me such a Mind, with moderate Passions, or so much of his gracious Assistance in governing them; and to free it early from Ambition, Avarice and Superstition, common Causes of much Uneasiness to Men. That he gave me to live so long in a Land of Liberty, with a People that I love, and rais’d me, tho’ a Stranger, so many Friends among them; bestowing on me moreover a loving and prudent Wife, and dutiful Children. For these and all his other innumerable Mercies and Favours, I bless that Being of Beings who does not disdain to care for the meanest of his Creatures. And I reflect on those Benefits received with the greater Satisfaction, as they give me such a Confidence in his Goodness, as will, I hope, enable me always in all things to submit freely to his Will, and to resign my Spirit chearfully into his Hands whenever he shall please to call for it; reposing myself securely in the Lap of God and Nature as a Child in the Arms of an affectionate parent.

AToE
05-16-2011, 05:46 PM
Technically speaking, I think the Universe is a closed system.


Yes but it still doesn't apply to individual planets, pools of water, life forms etc because they are not closed systems.

What was the organizing force in the universe was gravity, on a molecular level it's obviously just bonding.

Neither the formation of stars/planets, nor life itself violates the second law of thermodynamics - but it's gotta be one of the single most used arguments I've ever heard in these discussions, I'm guessing because the surface logic of it seems to so completely prove a creator!


Defining life as negative entropy is interesting. However to hypothesize that life starts spontaneously whenever a stew of chemicals sits for long enough sort of flies in the face of random motion and the tendency for things to break down when exposed to the environment. Organic material degrades under heat, UV light, oxygen radicals, etc. You have to hypothesize that there is an organizing principle in which organic molecules continue to aggregate in ever-more-complex forms just through natural motions. If that is in fact a law of nature, that "organic molecules will form together rather than being randomly spread and dissociated," then that is the coolest organizing principle in the natural world. To me that is more evidence of a plan than anything else - it would be sort of like looking at the technical drawings of the 747.

This again to me doesn't in any way hint at a creator, and we do know that sometimes matter will just do goofy things that look "designed" to us humans simply because of that matter's inherant properties. Look at some crystal formations, totally look like they had to be designed, but they're totally natural (extremely simplified example of course, but it fits the bill).

Yes things break down and there is random motion, that doesn't mean that life can''t form on it's own - ASSUMING that whatever forces are involved in creating the bonds that lead up to life are powerful enough to exceed the destructive forces. That's not even really an assumtion, because up to a certain complexity we've seen it occur. And a good analogue would be gravity - sure, there are lots of destructive and randomizing forces/events in the universe, but gravity has managed to keep up!

Also what you say about that "potential" law of nature doesn't really make sense. They don't have to form together, they just have to form often (not necessarily together, though random chance would occasionally have that occur) and then be capable/likely to recombine (which we know they can form often and do recombine on their own, so all you need then is a few million years and eventually random chance will take it's course).

There doesn't need to be any "new" organizing factor that that we haven't discovered beyond random chance and atomic bonding. That's my understanding anyways, and I've had great discussions with biologists and chemists who say this is totally a very natural process. I haven't met/read a non-fringe scientist who thought we were missing a piece that would make the formation of life possible according to the laws of physics. We don't know HOW it happened yet (we may never!) but all the mainstream scientists (including creationists) I've ever heard of say that there's no violation of physics happening here.

Now, if all those coincidences lining up starts looking like a blueprint for life, I can't argue with that. To me that's reversed logic, but you you my logic is reversed, so it's pretty hard for us to say who has it right!

It's a tough thing for either of us to convice each other, kinda a chicken/egg discussion.

Like when I'm talking with a creationist and they say "if Earth wasn't where it is in the solar system then we wouldn't exist, therefor Earth was placed here to have life on it" and I'd say "Yes, if we were too hot or cold we wouldn't exist, but somewhere out of the trillions of billions of star systems at least a few million other planets ARE going to be in just that right spot, around just the right star, with just the right atmosphere, it's simple statistics - and THOSE planets might have life arise and become sentient one day, and those people might easily come to the same creator conclusion based on the same thing and they'd be basing that decision on the wrong data, so it's possible you're doing that here too!" - the same true data on each side, just different ways of looking at it.

Plants need light to live, therefor light was designed to allow plants to live would be another good one that's come up before, but I think we can all see the problem with it! All these other arguments to me are exactly the same problem as this statement, it just doesn't work for my personal logic.

It's fun to agree to dissagree though, I'm always up for more questioning my beliefs.

I believe that until you question a belief you don't really have that belief. (And yes, I have questioned THAT belief itself many time! ;)).

AToE
05-16-2011, 05:59 PM
I just thought of a great (in my opinion) idea about a creator that came from a wonderful series of Science Fiction novels, the Rama series by Arthur C Clarke. He was an atheist, but was really interested in religion and I think wrote some of the most thought provoking things about the subject that anyone ever has written.

In the Rama series (spoiler alert!) it turns out that the universe was in fact created by God (not the Christian God or any specific god, just God). But, all life in the universe, all planet formation, everything was totally unguided.

You see, God had a problem. God existed alone, and had no idea where he/she/it had come from, how he/she/it came into being.

So what God did was start experimenting. God came up with the Big Bang scenario and just set it off and started watching. Never interfering (except in cases like the Rama series, but that was more of a fact finding mission, not evolutionary guidance or anything), just watching.

God was trying to figure out if something like the universe could naturally evolve into another God. The whole thing is just an attempt by God to understand God's own creation/formation.


I found that very deeply provoking and emotionally satisfying a concept. ;D

Echostatic
05-16-2011, 07:34 PM
I look at it this way..First, Earth's days are 24 Hours. Who know's how long God's day it. When it says he created everything in 7 days..maybe his days are 2 million Earth years?

Your thinking on this is right in line with what the Bible says :thumbsup:

Most overlook the opening words of the Bible, Genesis 1:1. "In [the] beginning God created the heavens and the earth." It's so simple, yet so powerful. The earth was created before the first creative "day" began, in verse 3. There is nothing in Genesis that contradicts the scientific conclusion that the earth and universe may be thousands of millions of years old.

As for the length of the creative days, it's important to understand that the word "day" doesn't have to be literal. Genesis 2:4 states "This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven."

All six creative "days" were referred to collectively as one "day". It's also important to note that the seventh "day" has no reference to having an evening and morning like the other six, indicating that the "day" of rest has not ended. The Bible gives strong evidence to a figurative use of "Day", and not a literal one.

Haven't you ever heard an old fogey complain about how much better things were back in his "day"? ;)

AToE
05-16-2011, 08:18 PM
I'm trying to remember my western religions class, I think that whole "day" thing might be disputable from a linguistic point anyways. (Could totally be out to lunch on that though!)

Echostatic
05-16-2011, 08:42 PM
I'm trying to remember my western religions class, I think that whole "day" thing might be disputable from a linguistic point anyways. (Could totally be out to lunch on that though!)

The hebrew word used in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 is "yohm", and can have different meanings. Proverbs 14:8 refers to it as the period of daylight, Genesis 7:17 uses it to refer to a 24 hour day, Zechariah 14:8 uses it to refer to summer and winter, the passing of seasons. Isaiah 49:8 uses it to refer to a day spanning thousands of years.

The real clencher, though, is Genesis 2:4 referring to all creative days as one day. The misunderstanding of a literal 24 hour creative day has, unfortunately, done a lot of damage to the reputation of the Genesis account.

AToE
05-16-2011, 08:57 PM
Thanks for some clarity!

What's the general take on the first part of Genesis saying animals first, then man and woman created at once, versus the more well known Adam and Eve story, where man was first, then animals then women (holy sexist batman! Women aren't just second to men, they're second to the freaking animals!).

I've always wondered what the classic and modern ways of rationalizing, or philosophizing (think I just made up a word...) these two completely contradictory accounts.

Riverat
05-16-2011, 09:09 PM
So my stance becomes this - I've got a lot of respected scientists saying that this is nowhere near as unlikely as people seem to think (most believe that life is downright likely to come into being in the right circumstances, and that the stars probably are host to billions of other living worlds), and they're making no claim for or against a creator. . ;D

Well if you just consider the reactivity inherent in oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, phosphorus and their periodic families, the abundance of organic chemistry not only isn't supprising, it's inevitable, I mean you find formaldehydes, cyanides, amino acids, the percursors of nucleotides everywhere you look, from moleculer clouds in space to the gunk baked on comets, I mean, just look at Triton. These are not exactly nice, warm, wet inviting places, so put that chemistry on a little better real estate....

Riverat
05-16-2011, 09:23 PM
And Genesis (I'm having fun here, not trying to be heretical, laugh with me) hey, that's not too bad if you were trying to explain the formation of the solar system (earth without form?) then light (the sun would have torched off after the protoplanetary forms) then that which creepeth (germs? simple life?) fish (still OK with that) then birds (dino's?) finaly beasts and then us LOL that's pretty good!

Echostatic
05-16-2011, 09:55 PM
Thanks for some clarity!

What's the general take on the first part of Genesis saying animals first, then man and woman created at once, versus the more well known Adam and Eve story, where man was first, then animals then women (holy sexist batman! Women aren't just second to men, they're second to the freaking animals!).

I've always wondered what the classic and modern ways of rationalizing, or philosophizing (think I just made up a word...) these two completely contradictory accounts.

On the surface, this may seem contradictory, but in reality this is the same account being discussed from different viewpoints. Genesis 1:1 to 2:4 describes the creation of the heavens and earth and everything in them. The second account from Genesis 2:5 to 4:26 focuses on the creation of the human race and its fall into sin.

The first account is written chronologically, divided into the six creative "days". The second is written in order of topical importance. It has a short prologue, then goes straight to the creation of Adam, as he and his family are the subject of what follows. It then introduces other information as needed. We learn that after his creation Adam is to live in a garden in eden. Therefore it then mentions the planting of this garden. God told Adam to name "every wild beast of the field and every flying creature of the heavens." Now, therefore, is when it mentions that God was forming those creatures from the ground, though their creation began long before Adam was made.

AToE
05-16-2011, 11:05 PM
Doesn't it specifically say though that animals were made to be companions to Adam (after his creation) and that since they weren't good enough God created Eve?

Definitely seems to completely contradict the first part with animals first then men and women as equals...

It's been a couple years since I read Genesis (holy crap, the atheist read the BIBLE?!?!) though so maybe I need a refresher. :)

akueck
05-16-2011, 11:41 PM
I wanted to add a bit to the entropy discussion, since it's come up again.

Given that the universe is a closed system (seems logical, though of course unprovable), the second law says that the entropy in the universe cannot, as a whole, decrease. Exchanges of entropy are allowed, meaning you can have local decreases in entropy and still be following the second law as long as somewhere else there is a corresponding increase. The earth is definitely not a closed system, so stating that biology causes entropy to decrease is totally in keeping with the second law, no problems there. [whether or not it does change the entropy of the planet is another discussion.]

What seems to be glossed over is that by saying "the universe is closed, entropy must go up", you're assuming that we can actually account for all the entropy in the universe and track which way its going. We're still finding new kinds of energy (dark energy & matter), so even suggesting we know where all the entropy is is kind of funny.

The entropy argument is certainly thought-provoking, but it is well past unprovable and will probably remain so. In such a large system of unknown entropy, finding pockets of very ordered systems is pretty likely IMO. Also remember that the influence of entropy on the energy of a system scales with temperature. 300 K is pretty warm compared to empty space, but it's nothing compared to the interior of a star.

Echostatic
05-16-2011, 11:54 PM
Doesn't it specifically say though that animals were made to be companions to Adam (after his creation) and that since they weren't good enough God created Eve?

Definitely seems to completely contradict the first part with animals first then men and women as equals...

It's been a couple years since I read Genesis (holy crap, the atheist read the BIBLE?!?!) though so maybe I need a refresher. :)

I find that many atheists make it a habit of trying to be well aquainted with the Bible. They have to if they are going to explain to religious types why they don't put faith in the Christian religions, and I'm certainly glad to hear that you do read it.

There is no mention of animals meant as companions to Adam. I'm not 100% sure what you mean by this, but if you mean reproduction, God had already ruled this possibility out in Genesis 1:24 when he said "Let the earth put forth living souls according to their kinds, domestic animal and moving animal and wild beast of the earth according to its kind." And we see this today. A fish cannot reproduce with a snake, nor can a human reproduce with anything but another human.

God didn't have Adam go seeking a mate from among the animals, as the scriptures say, they were brought before him to name them. Adam wasn't inclined torward beastiality and was able to determine that that there was no suitable companion for him among the animals. (Genesis 2:19,20: "So the man was calling the names of all the domestic animals and of the flying creatures of the heavens and of every wild beast of the field, but for man there was found no helper as a complement of him")

If I missed your meaning, or if you were thinking of a specific scripture, or if there is some other contradiction I didn't address, just say so.

wayneb
05-17-2011, 12:09 AM
OK, although I find this topic exceedingly interesting, I have refrained from adding to it until now. But, with respect to the statement that Adam had the animals to interact with before he got Eve, read (or re-read) Genesis 2:18 thru 2:24. Seems to me the order of things is pretty unambiguous there - the animals came before women, and were considered as "helpers" (or workmates, or companions, depending on the translation that you're reading).

BTW - while I am yet another amateur biblical scholar, I approached my study from a broader context of the investigation of all major world religions. I came to be interested in the study of comparative religions in a Catholic High School class on the subject, taught by of all folks, a Dominican priest. Yes, I was raised in a very traditional Catholic household - we're Polish, after all! ;) I am not a fundamentalist by any means, I do find it difficult to get my head around any literalist interpretations of scripture, and much of Catholic dogma and doctrine is also open to serious debate, but I still feel a spirituality that can be intense at times - so I can't say that I ever seriously considered atheism as a choice for me. I suppose I'm still searching for my spiritual path, and I believe that I still don't know whether I'm an avowed theist, or if I'm more leaning to a "interconnectedness of all things - Force like" agnostic spirituality where there really doesn't need to be a creator of all things. But it sure would be a hoot to encounter he/she/it if the opportunity ever presents itself! ;D

AToE
05-17-2011, 12:16 AM
If I missed your meaning, or if you were thinking of a specific scripture, or if there is some other contradiction I didn't address, just say so.

My fault for being unclear, absolutely did not mean animals for mating! I meant just to hang out with (I guess, I don't know what the heck God was up to frankly in that story). Like Wayne said, I'd had to go grab the text, but I'm really sure the animals were there before Eve.

By comparison, the first part of Genesis says the animals came before man, and that woman wasn't the last thing, but created at the same time as man.

This is pointless for me to do by memory, I'll go research and post the text I'm talking about!

Wayne - yours is an aproach I deeply respect, questing and searching, looking without and within. I also feel deeply "spiritual" (damn this language for not having a non-supernatural synonym!!!!) at times, and I think I grasp a tiny bit of what those like yourself are going through.

Echostatic
05-17-2011, 12:18 AM
OK, although I find this topic exceedingly interesting, I have refrained from adding to it until now. But, with respect to the statement that Adam had the animals to interact with before he got Eve, read (or re-read) Genesis 2:18 thru 2:24. Seems to me the order of things is pretty unambiguous there - the animals came before women, and were considered as "helpers" (or workmates, or companions, depending on the translation that you're reading).


The animals certainly did come before Eve, as we all seem to agree on. As for the animals serving as companions/helpers/what-have-you, what of Genesis 2:20? "So the man was calling the names of all the domestic animals and of the flying creatures of the heavens and of every wild beast of the field, but for man there was found no helper as a complement of him."

Echostatic
05-17-2011, 12:28 AM
My fault for being unclear, absolutely did not mean animals for mating! I meant just to hang out with (I guess, I don't know what the heck God was up to frankly in that story). Like Wayne said, I'd had to go grab the text, but I'm really sure the animals were there before Eve.

By comparison, the first part of Genesis says the animals came before man, and that woman wasn't the last thing, but created at the same time as man.

This is pointless for me to do by memory, I'll go research and post the text I'm talking about!

Wayne - yours is an aproach I deeply respect, questing and searching, looking without and within. I also feel deeply "spiritual" (damn this language for not having a non-supernatural synonym!!!!) at times, and I think I grasp a tiny bit of what those like yourself are going through.

Ah I see. Yes the animals were there before Eve. I don't see anything stating that man and woman were created at the same time, though. It says God created man, male and female, but I don't see how this is stating they were created at the same time.


I can certainly respect people pursuing spiritual things Wayne. I have done so myself, following a "crisis point" in my life, and over the course of years, not through blind faith but through research and study was able to come to the conviction that I had found the truth. I view accurate Bible knowledge as being very important, so I am always happy to discuss and help clarify the meaning of scriptures.

AToE
05-17-2011, 12:28 AM
Alright, sorry for the length (nobody ever said the OT was short!) First off we'll look at the very very beginning of the Bible, first thing in genesis.

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. Okay, so animals first.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Bam, man and woman at the same time, on the same "day".
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.


-----------

Now let me find the later part of Genesis where it COMPLETELY changes this order of creation:

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Man first... kinda seems like this is after the 7 days too, didn't notice that before.
8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. Totally unrelated, is this a weird translation? Because Ethiopia is thought to be the cradle now, but I do NOT remember mention of Ethiopia in the Bible... am I losing my mind?
14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. Here you go, animals created second.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. Ahah! Companion was the wrong word I guess, apparently Adam needed a helper and that's what the animals failed at.
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And here we have woman, created after man and after the animals.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.


So yeah, we have chapter one which explicitly states the order was animals then man and woman at once. Then we have chapter two which explicitly states that this is inside out, man first, then animal, then woman.

AToE
05-17-2011, 12:32 AM
BAH, you were posting while I was researching and typing!

I will agree that the chapter 1 saying he created man and woman at once is up for debate, but it's not just my interpretation, I have heard serious theologians interpret this the same way.

And regardless of whether chapter 1 says man and woman at once, or doesn't really specify - it does totally say animals first, and chapter 2 does say man first, animals second.

EDIT: after reading it again I think it's pretty clear. While I'll agree it doesn't clearly say they were created at once, it does say they were both created on the same day. (Note as well that chapter 2 seems to be saying that man, animals and woman were created after the whole 6 day thing, not during. That could be me missunderstanding something though.)

This is a huge part of why I respect Judaism, those don't line up so they decided not to toss one as heretical, but to include both and let people think about it for themselves!

Echostatic
05-17-2011, 12:52 AM
BAH, you were posting while I was researching and typing!

I will agree that the chapter 1 saying he created man and woman at once is up for debate, but it's not just my interpretation, I have heard serious theologians interpret this the same way.

And regardless of whether chapter 1 says man and woman at once, or doesn't really specify - it does totally say animals first, and chapter 2 does say man first, animals second.

EDIT: after reading it again I think it's pretty clear. While I'll agree it doesn't clearly say they were created at once, it does say they were both created on the same day. (Note as well that chapter 2 seems to be saying that man, animals and woman were created after the whole 6 day thing, not during. That could be me missunderstanding something though.)

This is a huge part of why I respect Judaism, those don't line up so they decided not to toss one as heretical, but to include both and let people think about it for themselves!

I think these were partly addressed in posts #188 and #192.

#188 discussed the meaning of the word "yohm" translated "day". Adam and eve were made on the same creative "day", but that does not mean they had to be created at the same time, since these creative days were very long periods of time, as scientific studies allude to in regards to the age of the earth and the life upon it.

In response to your lengthy post before this one, In #192 I explained how the two creative accounts were written from different perspectives, one in chronological order, the other in order of topical importance. The two would not be written in the same order.

AToE
05-17-2011, 01:00 AM
Ok, I'll buy that bit about that day being really long so man and woman not necessarily made at once, but dispite the second one being in order of importance (I've never heard that view on it, but I'm not educated enough to dispute it) it does seem to very clearly state that God made man, then decided he shouldn't be alone, so made animals, then because the animals weren't right made woman.

If it is supposed to be in order of importance in CH2 then that's even harsher on women!

I'd think that it's not impossible to interpret the whole thing simply as a story to express a point, not necessarily meant to be the literal order of anything, or even a true story necessarily (I know plenty of Christians who completely think that Genesis isn't meant to be literal in any way shape or form, just a moral teaching story).

Hmmm. I must think and research more.

Echostatic
05-17-2011, 01:17 AM
Ok, I'll buy that bit about that day being really long so man and woman not necessarily made at once, but dispite the second one being in order of importance (I've never heard that view on it, but I'm not educated enough to dispute it) it does seem to very clearly state that God made man, then decided he shouldn't be alone, so made animals, then because the animals weren't right made woman.

If it is supposed to be in order of importance in CH2 then that's even harsher on women!

I'd think that it's not impossible to interpret the whole thing simply as a story to express a point, not necessarily meant to be the literal order of anything, or even a true story necessarily (I know plenty of Christians who completely think that Genesis isn't meant to be literal in any way shape or form, just a moral teaching story).

Hmmm. I must think and research more.

I'm having a hard time seeing why God couldn't have intended to make woman all along. If god created all the other creatures with male and female counterparts to reproduce, is it that hard to believe that he didn't originally intend to do the same for Adam? (Food for thought: I doubt adam was created without genitals. If creating a woman was not part of God's purpose when he designed Adam, why give Adam reproductive organs?)

This harshness torward women has come up more than once. Could you explain what you find harsh about it?

AToE
05-17-2011, 01:38 AM
Absolutely he could have planned to make women all along, I wouldn't dissagree with that. My concern is that myself (and many scholars) still find ch1 and 2 to be contradictory, as the wording of ch2 really does seem pretty clear about animals being created after man (unless we start getting really creative and imagining that that line where God's thinking about Adam being alone and then creating animals to fix this was supposed to be back in time before he created man, and it was written the way it was in ch2 to deliberately confuse people!).

The question I've heard many times is, if men and women were to be equals then why is women presented in this chapter as secondary (tertiary actually)?

This isn't my original opinion, this is something I picked up on and then later agreed with in a class on Judaism. Many people believe that CH1 was written to show men and women as equals, and that CH2 was written to show men as the more important. (Not saying that interpretation is right, just saying it's a common one, not just my idea).

The harsh thing is that not just due to the order of creation (especially if you're right about ch2 being more about "order of topical importance", unless by topical you have something in mind that I'm missing) but the whole Adam and Eve apple story, women have been really considered second class humans (or perhaps I should say my opinion here rather than keep going from the point of view of the Christians that taught me this idea - I don't think those stories originally caused this, I think that women already being considered less important by the men writing the Bible is why they wrote the story that way, but that's another argument. Genesis was certainly used to justify the subjugation of women later on in history).

Genesis was one of the first parts of the Bible I read (makes sense, being the beginning!), right from being about 14 years old (nobody gave me the Bible, I just found one and started reading) and though it may be due to my own interpretation of it, I was pretty shocked to read that woman and man wouldn't have been created at once, even as a kid it upset me a little. (edit: also, I didn't just hear the woman after man story when I was 14, that's just when I read it. I heard it when I was much younger, and iit bugged me then too!)

Please let me know if I start stepping on toes or coming off as agressive or rude. While I may not agree with your interpretations exactly, I am considering them and will consider to, and I always want to hear new interpretations (new to me anyways!). ;D

AToE
05-17-2011, 01:52 AM
After reading both ch1 and 2 again, what is it linguistically that makes you and others think that ch2 is not supposed to be chronological but ch1 is? The only difference I see is that ch2 starts with God having finished day 7, and the following line which suggest that we're going back into the first 6 days for more details. Other than that both start every new line (once ch2 gets into the "recapping") the same way with "and" rather than something like "and then".

So once ch2 gets gets to line 5 and we're back into it talking about the 6 days again (though in line 4 it says these generations it's about to discuss took place on the same "day" as the creation of the earth and the heavens, which again contradicts ch1, though I guess we've already agreed that "day" means a totally random amount of time!) it looks to me that the generations are recited in order, as they are presented in exactly the same language style as ch1, and ch1 we're agreeing is supposed to be in order.

Wait, unless what's making you draw the conclusion that ch2 is non-chronological is that it stops saying what day stuff was done on?

I'm actually just trying to understand at this point, not trying to really debate anymore. I can get back to actually debating once I am better educated on this (not just by you in the interpretation you're putting forth, but also I need to go research other interpretations, including the one that I was defending that I was taught by a Christian teacher in college).

AToE
05-17-2011, 02:01 AM
I should clarify too, the person that taught me initially that ch1 and 2 contradict each other explicitly was not just some academic. He was previously a Minister in the United Church of Canada (and also previously an MP in the provincial government, and an elected member of the gov of Vancouver at the time he was teaching. Those aren't really important here though!).

Echostatic
05-17-2011, 02:55 AM
Absolutely he could have planned to make women all along, I wouldn't dissagree with that. My concern is that myself (and many scholars) still find ch1 and 2 to be contradictory, as the wording of ch2 really does seem pretty clear about animals being created after man (unless we start getting really creative and imagining that that line where God's thinking about Adam being alone and then creating animals to fix this was supposed to be back in time before he created man, and it was written the way it was in ch2 to deliberately confuse people!).

The question I've heard many times is, if men and women were to be equals then why is women presented in this chapter as secondary (tertiary actually)?

This isn't my original opinion, this is something I picked up on and then later agreed with in a class on Judaism. Many people believe that CH1 was written to show men and women as equals, and that CH2 was written to show men as the more important. (Not saying that interpretation is right, just saying it's a common one, not just my idea).

The harsh thing is that not just due to the order of creation (especially if you're right about ch2 being more about "order of topical importance", unless by topical you have something in mind that I'm missing) but the whole Adam and Eve apple story, women have been really considered second class humans (or perhaps I should say my opinion here rather than keep going from the point of view of the Christians that taught me this idea - I don't think those stories originally caused this, I think that women already being considered less important by the men writing the Bible is why they wrote the story that way, but that's another argument. Genesis was certainly used to justify the subjugation of women later on in history).

Genesis was one of the first parts of the Bible I read (makes sense, being the beginning!), right from being about 14 years old (nobody gave me the Bible, I just found one and started reading) and though it may be due to my own interpretation of it, I was pretty shocked to read that woman and man wouldn't have been created at once, even as a kid it upset me a little. (edit: also, I didn't just hear the woman after man story when I was 14, that's just when I read it. I heard it when I was much younger, and iit bugged me then too!)

Please let me know if I start stepping on toes or coming off as agressive or rude. While I may not agree with your interpretations exactly, I am considering them and will consider to, and I always want to hear new interpretations (new to me anyways!). ;D

Not aggressive or rude at all, you're questioning and clearly interested in learning (as am I, it seems like there's SO much I still have to learn) and that can only be viewed as a very good thing.

Women have undoubtedly had it very rough for much of human history, being treated as lesser people. And yes, the Bible has been twisted to justify a lot of terrible things in history, beyond the mistreatment of women.

It's important to note that mistreatment of women after the original pair sinned was predicted. In Genesis 3:16 we read: "and your craving will be for your husband, and he will dominate you."

However, Jesus set the example in proper treatment of women. Consider the account at John 4:4-9, 27. Jesus approached a well hot, tired and thirsty. A Samaritan woman approached to draw some water. Jesus asked her for a drink. In amazement, she asked "How is it that you, despite being a Jew, ask me for a drink, when I am a Samaritan woman?" Later, when his disciples returned from buying food, they were taken aback, wondering why Jesus was "speaking with a woman."

The woman's question and the disciple's concern was two-fold. She was a Samaritan, and Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. (John 8:48) However, at that time, rabbinic tradition discouraged men from talking to women in public. Yet Jesus still openly preached to this sincere woman, even revealing that he was the messiah to her. (John 4:25,26) Jesus thus showed that he would not be bound by unscriptural traditions, including those that degraded women. (Mark 7:9-13) By what Jesus did and what he taught, he showed that women should be treated with honor and respect.

In the interest of keeping this from becoming a massive post, I will reference one more example. Husbands are told to assign their wives honor in 1 Peter 3:7. Peter used a form of the same word for "honor" at 2 Peter 1:17. There he said with reference to Jesus' transfiguration: "“He received from God the Father honor and glory, when words such as these were borne to him by the magnificent glory: ‘This is my son, my beloved, whom I myself have approved.’"

At Jesus' transfiguration, God honored his son by expressing his approval of Jesus, and God did so in the hearing of others. (Matthew 17:1-5) The man who honors his wife doesn't humiliate or downgrade her. Rather, he demonstrates by his words and deeds, in public and private, that he esteems her.

I could go on and on, but there are many scriptures that make it clear that although women have their place in God's arrangement, as do men, they are to be given honor and respect.

Echostatic
05-17-2011, 03:08 AM
After reading both ch1 and 2 again, what is it linguistically that makes you and others think that ch2 is not supposed to be chronological but ch1 is? The only difference I see is that ch2 starts with God having finished day 7, and the following line which suggest that we're going back into the first 6 days for more details. Other than that both start every new line (once ch2 gets into the "recapping") the same way with "and" rather than something like "and then".

So once ch2 gets gets to line 5 and we're back into it talking about the 6 days again (though in line 4 it says these generations it's about to discuss took place on the same "day" as the creation of the earth and the heavens, which again contradicts ch1, though I guess we've already agreed that "day" means a totally random amount of time!) it looks to me that the generations are recited in order, as they are presented in exactly the same language style as ch1, and ch1 we're agreeing is supposed to be in order.

Wait, unless what's making you draw the conclusion that ch2 is non-chronological is that it stops saying what day stuff was done on?

I'm actually just trying to understand at this point, not trying to really debate anymore. I can get back to actually debating once I am better educated on this (not just by you in the interpretation you're putting forth, but also I need to go research other interpretations, including the one that I was defending that I was taught by a Christian teacher in college).

Just a side note, but the scriptures never actually say that day 7 ended. God is still at rest from his creative works ;)

Well, we have the two creation accounts. One from Genesis 1:1 to 2:4. The other from Genesis 2:5-4:26. Could some confusion perhaps be coming from trying to seperate it perfectly by chapter?

Echostatic
05-17-2011, 03:20 AM
(It is not my intention to totally dominate this thread, by the way... If this would be more appropriate to discuss in PMs, that's totally fine.)

Smarrikåka
05-17-2011, 05:17 AM
There doesn't need to be any "new" organizing factor that that we haven't discovered beyond random chance and atomic bonding. That's my understanding anyways, and I've had great discussions with biologists and chemists who say this is totally a very natural process. I haven't met/read a non-fringe scientist who thought we were missing a piece that would make the formation of life possible according to the laws of physics. We don't know HOW it happened yet (we may never!) but all the mainstream scientists (including creationists) I've ever heard of say that there's no violation of physics happening here.


I'm not so sure about this. Though it may well be described by chemistry and biology, which hold their basis in physics. The fashion in which life "creates order" within itself, is very unlike anything else described by physics, and you cannot describe life directly through current physics. So even if it doesn't "violate" the concepts of thermodynamics, that's really only because the concepts have been made vague enough not to be violated. One could easily imagine more narrow laws, which would work for everything else, but not for life.

So, I think there is certainly room for a potentially better description here.

Personally I believe there is a "life force" and that it has the capability of affecting the odds of the quantum wave equation, through "will". Not by a lot though (but enough for it to with time be able to build something significant). But I also think that thing in a sense is like any natural law, as in that it will act everywhere and succeed in creating order wherever the circumstances are right.

PitBull
05-17-2011, 08:45 AM
This article (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/05/cosmologist-stephen-hawking-rejects-heaven-or-afterlife-as-a-fairy-story/1?csp=hf) about British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking just appeared in today's USAtoday. He is a well-regarded scientist and perhaps THE strongest proponent of the "purely scientific" view of the universe (or at least the poster child for that view).

Below are a few passages from the article and I merely present this as "food for thought" and without judgement:

British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking says he rejects the idea of heaven or an afterlife, calling the belief a "fairy story" for people afraid of dying.

"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark," he added.

The observations by Hawking, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist who won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, go beyond those discussed in his 2010 book, The Grand Design, in which he asserts that there is no need for a creator to explain the existence of the universe, the newspaper says.

Medsen Fey
05-17-2011, 10:06 AM
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. Totally unrelated, is this a weird translation? Because Ethiopia is thought to be the cradle now, but I do NOT remember mention of Ethiopia in the Bible... am I losing my mind?...


19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. Here you go, animals created second.


Newer translations (there's that ugly word again) like the NIV and New American Standard refer to the River Gihon flowing around the land of Kush (Cush) which would refer to the Sudan if that makes any difference.

Speaking of translation I like the site Biblegateway.com (http://www.biblegateway.com/) because you can select a chapter or verse and switch between numerous translations (including non-English) to see the differences. I find that illuminating.

As for the order of creation, there is some wiggle room in Genesis 2. This is because it says "and brought them unto Adam." If he created animals prior to Adam this statement would still be true - out of the ground he formed them, and brought them to Adam. He did create them, and later (after creating Adam), when he wanted to create a helper for Adam he brought each of them to Adam and found that none would do, so he created Woman. Yes, that may be a bit of a stretch, but you could interpret it that way.

Still, even if there is consistency here, the Bible is full of other inconsistencies. The Gospels are a prime example. That doesn't mean it isn't a sacred work, just that humans have been involved with compiling it. Perhaps the inconsistencies are there intentionally - to force you to read it carefully, and to contemplate it with purpose. Perhaps the focused effort to understand and the desire to learn are part of the process to reach salvation (or to become what it is we are meant to be).



(It is not my intention to totally dominate this thread, by the way... If this would be more appropriate to discuss in PMs, that's totally fine.)

No, I think open discussion and sharing of thought on a topic like this is valuable.

Chevette Girl
05-17-2011, 11:34 AM
2:13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. Totally unrelated, is this a weird translation? Because Ethiopia is thought to be the cradle now, but I do NOT remember mention of Ethiopia in the Bible... am I losing my mind?


Congratulations, AToE. You inspired me to pick up a bible for the first time in about 20 years. :eek: I wanted to see if mine said something other than Ethiopia and also wanted to check on something else, which I'll get to in a minute...

In Gen 2:13 mine refers to Cush, with a note at the bottom, "Cush (of Mespopotamia), or Sudan"

What I wanted to look at additionally is based on this one:



1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.


Mine (Good News Bible, Today's English Version, first published 1976, authorized by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops May 1986) reads thusly:


GEN 1:26 Then God said, "And now we will make Human Beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small."


I wanted to see if both were using the plural form for this passage. Does this mean that the God in Genesis one of many, or does He use the "royal We", since that seems consistent across more than one translation?

The one thing I learned from my Catholic religion classes is that the bible was written by men, who are not infallible, and it was translated by men, who are not infallible.

On a tangential subject,


I don't think those stories originally caused this, I think that women already being considered less important by the men writing the Bible is why they wrote the story that way, but that's another argument. Genesis was certainly used to justify the subjugation of women later on in history

A lot of things in the bible have been used to subjugate a lot of people over the years based on people's definitions (here we go with language again!). Even the American "All men are born equal" didn't include women or people other than "civilized" caucasions at the time. Since we're not working with the ORIGINAL document and since there have been many times in history where the people were kept in the dark about what's actually IN the bible (ie, masses held in latin when the priest is the only one who spoke the language so the populace would remanin ignorant and have to trust the priest's word on what's actually in there), my suspicion is also that the original transcription and subsequent translations have been coloured by the views of the time and have perpetuated them. Another reason why I prefer my religions unorganized :), my own take on the bible is that it's a collection of lessons and instructions to be taken with a grain of salt. Although Medsen phrases it far more nicely :)

havoc64
05-17-2011, 12:41 PM
Maybe Chapter 2 of Genesis only speaks of Eden. Maybe chapter 1 talks of the whole of the earth. Then God Created a Garden called Eden. Like any Farmer knows, you must Till the earth asunder to plant a new crop. So here's my take.

God Made the earth, he was happy. He created animals and put them all around, Dinosaurs and then the Large Mammals and sea creatures. Then he made some Homo Neanderthalensis', Homo Erectus' and put them around here and there. (Chapter 1 mentions Man, but not Adam)

Then God decides to make the "Chosen" People. He wants to set them aside from the rest of the "Men" he has created so he wipes out a section of earth, tills the ground so to speak and then creates Eden. He creates a new Man, Homo Sapiens and places him in this new Garden. And gave him some trees and plants to eat off of. Then God realized that this new man was needing some help with the maintenance of the garden so he gave him some helpers. Now God knows that a Woolly Mammoth would trample the garden something fierce, so he creates some new animals trying to find ones that will help this new Man. So he makes some news ones, smaller creatures that are not as much a threat to this New Man and his Garden, Cows, Horses, Smaller Lions, Smaller Tigers and Smaller Bears, Bees and whatnot. I believe that the Domesticated Canine was the last one, as God was really close on the perfect helper for man with Dogs. But Dogs have no thumbs, so God Made Woman. (over simplified, I know)

All of this fits perfectly with Darwinism and with the scientific knowledge of Home Neanderthal and Homo Erectus. Homo Neanderthals and Homo Erectus were eventually pushed out of existence, and a gentle nudge by God to ensure the success of his "Chosen" Homo Sapiens.

Of course it wasn't that long that the Chosen were evicted, out of the garden, and then pushed out into the rest of the world. Also helping with the down fall of the other Proto Humans that God had created. They were pushed out together, hand in hand, Man and Woman. They left as equals, both naked and both very much afraid.

As both a curious Human and a Catholic, I try to see what is taught to me by the Clergy and then interpret what I read in the Scientific Journals. It all matches up in my mind..

Love the discussion..;D

Chevette Girl
05-17-2011, 01:12 PM
Then God decides to make the "Chosen" People. He wants to set them aside from the rest of the "Men" he has created so he wipes out a section of earth, tills the ground so to speak and then creates Eden. He creates a new Man, Homo Sapiens and places him in this new Garden. And gave him some trees and plants to eat off of. Then God realized that this new man was needing some help with the maintenance of the garden so he gave him some helpers. Now God knows that a Woolly Mammoth would trample the garden something fierce, so he creates some new animals trying to find ones that will help this new Man. So he makes some news ones, smaller creatures that are not as much a threat to this New Man and his Garden, Cows, Horses, Smaller Lions, Smaller Tigers and Smaller Bears, Bees and whatnot. I believe that the Domesticated Canine was the last one, as God was really close on the perfect helper for man with Dogs. But Dogs have no thumbs, so God Made Woman. (over simplified, I know)

All of this fits perfectly with Darwinism and with the scientific knowledge of Home Neanderthal and Homo Erectus. Homo Neanderthals and Homo Erectus were eventually pushed out of existence, and a gentle nudge by God to ensure the success of his "Chosen" Homo Sapiens.

Of course it wasn't that long that the Chosen were evicted, out of the garden, and then pushed out into the rest of the world. Also helping with the down fall of the other Proto Humans that God had created. They were pushed out together, hand in hand, Man and Woman. They left as equals, both naked and both very much afraid.

As both a curious Human and a Catholic, I try to see what is taught to me by the Clergy and then interpret what I read in the Scientific Journals. It all matches up in my mind..

Love the discussion..;D

That's awesome, sums it up neatly and humourously! ;D

AToE
05-17-2011, 01:23 PM
Thanks everyone for a bunch of different (and very good) explanations of the Biblical Genesis. I certainly am far from convinced on a couple details here and there, but I know one hell of a lot more now than I did before.

Can I offer what's always been my take on the Garden of Eden story? Bear in mind, this is heretical to the max, BUT if I were Jewish or Christian today, with modern knowledge at my disposal, this is how I would interpret the story of Adam and Eve (I didn't just come up with this now either, I've been running it past religious people for years. Not exactly well received so far!):

----

There was no literal garden. The Garden simply represents a "time" (rather than a place per say) of innocence for humanity. During our evolution into what we now call human, eventually we would have reached a point at which we were able to comprehend true morality and ethics. Before this point, when we were more "animal" we would have had a totally perfect relationship with God (like Adam and Eve before the apple) because until you understand right and wrong you cannot have sin.

At this point, which is represented in the story by the humans considering sinning by eating the apple (which probably would have occured at different times for each human, and I think still continues today even, every child as they grow up will have their own apples to test them), some humans would have started sinning (probably all of them, pretty quickly too).

At this point they no longer had a perfect relationship with God, so they are out of the garden, that time of innocence is over (for the species as a whole anyways).

----

Here's why I like this interpretation, it's because it's got a positive message. Most Christians I talk to look upon the "fall" as a purely negative thing, we lost our perfect relationship with God.

But is it even remotely possible to have free will and live a totally perfect life? I think not!

So I look at getting booted out of the Garden as a positive thing, this isn't just us losing that relationship, it was God granting free will itself upon humanity. Yes, our lives will be hard and without perfect communion with God, but once we die (assuming we go to heaven) that will be restored, so that's fine.

If we were perfect and had a perfect relationship with God, what would even be the point of us existing on Earth? We wouldn't have true free will, and I don't think it would really serve any purpose, why not just create our souls right in heaven and get it over with?

So yes, I don't look upon this as a negative story, all about us falling from grace. I look at this story as being about being gifted free will - because we'd have to chose, free will or perfection, it's not realistically possible to have both and remain what a human is.

Like I said, wee bit heretical...

wayneb
05-17-2011, 01:40 PM
I don't know, Alan. Perhaps a wee bit heretical, but darned near perfectly aligned with my take on the Genesis parable. (Apologies to the Biblical literalists - my studies have led me to the conclusion that the whole Garden of Eden story is apocryphal rather than canonical, but still a valuable teaching aid.) And my interpretation was honed during many discussions in that comparative religions class that I took so many years ago. Turns out that similar "self-awareness begets informed free choice, but that in turn begets responsibility" stories are found throughout all major religions' teachings.

Are you sure you're not ever "tempted" by the thought that there might be a creator out there? ;)

AToE
05-17-2011, 01:54 PM
I don't know, Alan. Perhaps a wee bit heretical, but darned near perfectly aligned with my take on the Genesis parable. (Apologies to the Biblical literalists - my studies have led me to the conclusion that the whole Garden of Eden story is apocryphal rather than canonical, but still a valuable teaching aid.) And my interpretation was honed during many discussions in that comparative religions class that I took so many years ago. Turns out that similar "self-awareness begets informed free choice, but that in turn begets responsibility" stories are found throughout all major religions' teachings.

Are you sure you're not ever "tempted" by the thought that there might be a creator out there? ;)

Ha, nope! But I really love religion (not going to lie, I love it as a thought exercise and "works of art" moreso than in practice, in practice it gets very dangerous). I think most atheists and even agnostics regard religion as primitive escapism and poor attempts to understand the universe, and also as a tool for controlling the masses.

That's not how I see it. Religions were created by the absolute best of the best with whatever knowledge they had at the time (and make no mistake, these "best of the best" are not just "for that time", these are people on par with the greatest minds of today) and were extremely carefully thought out. They were social engineering tools to be sure, but they were also deep deep journeys into understanding the human mind.


Religions shape how entire cultures think. The Dharmic religions encourage/teach thought processes that are extremely difficult for the western mind to even grasp (hint: a buddhist or hindu might have a much easier time understanding quantum physics and relativity, because their religions involve practicing wrapping your mind around something "impossible". All western religion has that's similar is the trinity and that time started when god created the universe, so there "was no before", but the Dharmics have thousands of Koans and riddles and stories to force the mind to work on these concepts constantly).

So while I do regard religions as incorrect in regards to all supernatural claims and often specific claims about the universe (such as the earth being 6K years old), the philosophy contained within the stories is invaluable, and in many cases better than anything we're capable of coming up with today.

Echostatic
05-17-2011, 01:57 PM
Very fascinating viewpoints to be sure! Very cool to get everyones viewpoints on things. I'd be happy to share a couple Bible verses that explain my belief in the literal interpretation of Genesis, when I'm not stuck at work...

AToE
05-17-2011, 02:26 PM
Very fascinating viewpoints to be sure! Very cool to get everyones viewpoints on things. I'd be happy to share a couple Bible verses that explain my belief in the literal interpretation of Genesis, when I'm not stuck at work...

I have a question about the literal Adam and Eve story - is it possible to still view this as a positive story rather than a negative one the same way myself and Wayne were saying (yes it was the end of a perfect relationship with God (while living anyways) but it's also the beginning of true free will, God knew all along we'd eat the apple, because it's impossible for us to not eat the apple at some point in our lives, so this story becomes about a gift from God, rather than a story about us failing God)?

TheAlchemist
05-17-2011, 03:04 PM
Interesting that we have found a subject that we are all as passionate about as we are about making mead...

In terms of whether atheists or religious people are the ones making leaps of faith, the real question should read:

Is there a God?
a) Yes
b) No
c) I don't know.



Thanks for articulating so elegantly what I tried to so awkwardly...and for throwing in your two cents. Welcome to the discussion.

TheAlchemist
05-17-2011, 03:07 PM
I just thought of a great (in my opinion) idea about a creator that came from a wonderful series of Science Fiction novels, the Rama series by Arthur C Clarke. He was an atheist, but was really interested in religion and I think wrote some of the most thought provoking things about the subject that anyone ever has written....very deeply provoking and emotionally satisfying a concept. ;D

I was wondering how long it would be before this thread crossed paths with the SciFiNerd thread...

TheAlchemist
05-17-2011, 03:08 PM
Go away to a Sweat Lodge for a day, and look how much thought has appeared here. I've got some catching-up to do!

Echostatic
05-17-2011, 07:27 PM
I have a question about the literal Adam and Eve story - is it possible to still view this as a positive story rather than a negative one the same way myself and Wayne were saying (yes it was the end of a perfect relationship with God (while living anyways) but it's also the beginning of true free will, God knew all along we'd eat the apple, because it's impossible for us to not eat the apple at some point in our lives, so this story becomes about a gift from God, rather than a story about us failing God)?

If we interpret the account literally, may I ask why you think Adam and Eve would not have have free will before eating the fruit?

AToE
05-17-2011, 07:37 PM
If we interpret the account literally, may I ask why you think Adam and Eve would not have have free will before eating the fruit?

They would have had free will, but with free will it is totally inevitable that they would eventually sin and get kicked out of the Garden, if they'd passed that test they would have just failed another. God would have known this obviously, and so the whole test and punishment were about teaching humanity that with free will comes the potential to cause harm, and great responsibility.

It doesn't work quite as nicely in the literal interpretation as in a symbolic interpretation, because in the symbolic we can talk about the transition into real consciousness. but I don't see any reason it doesn't work in a literal one too. Especially if we're taking the view that God knew all along what was going to happen it makes more sense to me that the whole thing would have been a lesson, not just a vengeful punishment.

That's how I'd take it anyways, with or without a literal interpretation it can still be a positive story rather than a downer about how we're all a bunch of sinners (which we are, but we're defined by ALL our actions, not just part of them in my opinion).


EDIT: I see where my last post was confusing with the "story about the beginning of free will" thing, let me rephrase that, I take it as a "story about learning the responsibility that comes with free will" (in the literal interpretation anyways).

Echostatic
05-17-2011, 08:20 PM
I'm just having a hard time understanding why you believe their eventual failure was inevitable. I think you may be looking at them as imperfect, since you and I and everyone else on this planet are not able to fully live up to God's commandments. It can be difficult to imagine what it is like to have a perfect mind, having never had one. Who here hasn't experienced a lack of willpower from time to time?

As humans were given free will, Adam and Eve had the privelege and responsibility of making a personal decision to the course they would take. This was, indeed, a test for them. As their maker, God knew what he wanted of them, and from scriptures like Deuteronomy 30:15,16, 1 Chronicles 28:9. 29:17 and John 4:23,24 it's clear that he wanted worship and service that came from the hearts and minds, motivated by genuine love, not an automatic, mechanical obedience. Their willingness to respect God's right to govern them and set laws could be displayed by their obeying the command to not eat that fruit.

There is also the Biblical example of Jesus, who proved that a perfect man can, in fact, stay unselfishly loyal to God. He passed every test that Satan put before him throughout his life right up to his death (which could have been avoided if he had been looking after his own interests.) Jesus never once sinned or made a mistake, in heaven or on earth.

Chevette Girl
05-17-2011, 08:31 PM
I'm just having a hard time understanding why you believe their eventual failure was inevitable. I think you may be looking at them as imperfect, since you and I and everyone else on this planet are not able to fully live up to God's commandments. It can be difficult to imagine what it is like to have a perfect mind, having never had one. Who here hasn't experienced a lack of willpower from time to time?

There is also the Biblical example of Jesus, who proved that a perfect man can, in fact, stay unselfishly loyal to God. He passed every test that Satan put before him throughout his life right up to his death (which could have been avoided if he had been looking after his own interests.) Jesus never once sinned or made a mistake, in heaven or on earth.

:) One perfect person. One. Out of how many people have been born on this planet?? :) I think that because we have free will, we can't be perfect. We will always make mistakes and hurt others, even without meaning to.

Echostatic
05-17-2011, 08:38 PM
:) One perfect person. One. Out of how many people have been born on this planet?? :) I think that because we have free will, we can't be perfect. We will always make mistakes and hurt others, even without meaning to.

Keep in mind, though, that there have only been three perfect humans, and because the first perfect humans sinned, that sin was passed on to all other humans. Romans 5:12 states that much. "That is why, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned"

This is why we are all imperfect. As an illustration, imagine a new, pristine bread pan. That bread pan is banged against a corner, so that it gets a dent in the side. Any bread you try to make with that pan will carry that imperfection in it. Likewise, when the first human pair sinned, they lost their perfection. They would be unable to produce perfect offspring.

TheAlchemist
05-17-2011, 08:41 PM
... imagine a new, pristine bread pan...

So sorry...I read this and thought it said "imagine a new bedpan...":D

AToE
05-17-2011, 08:45 PM
Jesus doesn't really count, he was God.

I don't think a perfect mind is possible, but that's something we can always dissagree on! Just my personal view, a huge part of being human to me is trying to be as good as you can dispite your failings, if you'd already acheived perfection you might as well just head off to nirvana.

I don't think Adam and Eve had a chance. The apple test would have been easy to pass, but there are many things in life that the human (non-perfect anyways) mind simply cannot truely unwravel the full ramifications to even figure out whether it's right or wrong.

EDIT: I also don't really agree with the moral message of children carrying the sins of their parents, but that's obviously not going to be up for debate I imagine!

TheAlchemist
05-17-2011, 08:56 PM
...
The question I've heard many times is, if men and women were to be equals then why is women presented...as secondary (tertiary actually)?



For me, a real sea change occurred when I read The Chalice and the Blade.

We are discussing here primarily Western religion and thought. But pre-bronze age faith practices were very different.

I wish there were a scholar of Religious History here who could offer a track on the subject of creation mythology from other eras and cultures. (Hmmm...and isn't it interesting that when I refer to The Ancients I call it "mythology" but when I talk of current Western thought I refer to "faith?" Wasn't it "faith" for them back then? The way we use language shapes the way we think...)

What, for example, of the sects of African animism whose creation mythology revolves around the Earth Mother whose bowel movement becomes our world? What of Greek or Norse creation mythology? How do the Hindus or Buddhists say we all got here? What do the Native Americans say?

Echostatic
05-17-2011, 08:58 PM
Jesus doesn't really count, he was God.

I don't think a perfect mind is possible, but that's something we can always dissagree on! Just my personal view, a huge part of being human to me is trying to be as good as you can dispite your failings, if you'd already acheived perfection you might as well just head off to nirvana.

I don't think Adam and Eve had a chance. The apple test would have been easy to pass, but there are many things in life that the human (non-perfect anyways) mind simply cannot truely unwravel the full ramifications to even figure out whether it's right or wrong.

EDIT: I also don't really agree with the moral message of children carrying the sins of their parents, but that's obviously not going to be up for debate I imagine!

Of course, we can always agree to disagree on anything. I'm not here trying to force anyone to accept my beliefs, just trying my best to explain what is within the Bible.

As for children carrying the sins of their parents, it might be a little more understandable to consider the scientific fact that, even now, children may inherit defects or diseases from their parents. The children are not personally at fault, but may still suffer as a result of what they inhereted.

As for Adam and Eve not having a chance, I find it interesting you think the apple test could have been easy. Think about why it would have been easy. God plainly and clearly told Adam not to eat the fruit, and he explained what the consequences of doing so would be. The world we live in today is vastly different from what it could have been if the original human pair had stayed faithful, naturally. Isn't it only reasonable to assume that God would have fully explained anything else he expected of humans, making the consequences obvious?

As for Jesus not counting due to being God... I'm hoping I don't ruffle any feathers with this (like that's possible), but Jesus and God being one and the same is actually not a belief supported by scripture. I can back that up if needed, of course.

TheAlchemist
05-17-2011, 09:04 PM
I don't know, Alan....
Are you sure you're not ever "tempted" by the thought that there might be a creator out there? ;)

Jesus doesn't really count, he was God.


You Go, Wayne! Good call...

TheAlchemist
05-17-2011, 09:09 PM
... And yes, the Bible has been twisted to justify a lot of terrible things in history, beyond the mistreatment of women.

...However, Jesus set the example in proper treatment of women....

Yes, Jesus did revolutionize the role of women within the context of the prevailing Patriarchy of the time. For example, the risen Christ first revealed himself as resurrected to women (rather than men) at a time in history when a woman's testimony was not accepted in court.

But, as developed in Chalice & Blade, Matriarchy preceeded Patriarchy....

Chevette Girl
05-17-2011, 11:43 PM
As for Jesus not counting due to being God... I'm hoping I don't ruffle any feathers with this (like that's possible), but Jesus and God being one and the same is actually not a belief supported by scripture. I can back that up if needed, of course.

And somehow this doesn't contradict the one and only one god part, which if I recall, is one of the BIG ONES? I hear the name Jesus uttered in worship far more often than God's name, as much as I love getting cut off by the minivan with the WWJD bumper sticker :) ... Ok, maybe just a little bit of feather-ruffling intended here, I could be a tad bitter because I never understood that part when they tried to explain it to me in school. If anyone's got a good explanation, I'm listening.

And yes, Jesus was the son of God (who is perfect and had never sinned) so he could be perfect, right?

Echostatic
05-18-2011, 12:20 AM
Many people do believe that they are one and the same (obviously) and as I said before, I don't want to offend anyone. So if anyone reading this believes that they are, feel free to ignore everything I say.

The evidence lies in Jesus' own words. If Jesus and God are the same person, they would have to be equal. However, as Jesus said in John 14:28, "The Father is greater than I am."Jesus also explained that there were some things that neither he nor the angels knew, but that were known only by God. (Mark 13:32) If Jesus and God were one and the same, how could God know something that Jesus could not? Jesus also prayed to his father "let, not my will, but yours take place." (Luke 22:42) Who was Jesus praying to if not someone superior to him? And again, if they are the same person, how could their wills differ? And it was God who resurrected Jesus from death, not Jesus himself. (Acts 2:32)

Scripturally, then God and Jesus are two distinct individuals. Some scriptures have been used to show evidence that the opposite is true, though, which would be contradictory. A closer look at their meaning reveals the true meaning though.

One such scripture is John 10:30, "I and the Father are one." On the surface, this does seem it could support the notion that they were one entity. However, several chapters later, Jesus showed what he meant by his being "one" with the Father. Looking at John 17:21,22 we see him in prayer. He asks God that his disciples "may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union with us ... that they may be one just as we are one." Jesus was praying that his disciples would, not become a single entity, but be united in thought and purpose, as he and God were. The Greek word used for "one" is neuter, literally "one thing", indicating oneness in cooperation. It's the same word Jesus used at John 10:30 to describe his relationship with his Father. It's also the same Greek word Jesus used at John 17:21,22.

In the interest of keeping this from getting too long, I'll just mention one more scrupture sometimes used in support of God and Jesus being one. In John 5:18, it says that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus because "he was also calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God." However, it was not Jesus saying he was making himself equal to God. He defended himself against this false charge in the next verse. (John 5:19) "To this accusation Jesus replied: ... ‘the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing.'" Jesus showed that he was not equal to God and, therefore, could not act on his own initiative. It's hard to imagine someone equal to Almighty God saying that he could "do nothing by himself.", especially when comparing Daniel 4:34,35.

Chevette Girl
05-18-2011, 10:21 AM
And somehow this doesn't contradict the one and only one god part, which if I recall, is one of the BIG ONES?

Sorry, I was referring to the first two commandments that thou shalt have and worship only one god, God. But a lot of Christians seem to focus their worship on Jesus.

Pewter_of_Deodar
05-18-2011, 10:24 AM
Couple of random comments that seem to fit here and there in the tomes of posts that are being written...

According to the Bible:

1. We are conceived in sin and thus sinners from the time our lives begin.

But...

2. Sin is passed through the seed of the father.

Take heart ladies. This is why Jesus, who had a human mother and God/Holy Spirit for a father could be different and live a sinless life.

3. There is an "age of accountability" though the Bible really does not tell us exactly when that is.

The best example is David and Bathsheba's child, conceived while her husband was alive and before David sent him to his death in battle. The child was born deathly sick and for the few days he lived David wore ashes and sackcloth and prayed for his recovery. But once the child died, he got up, wiped himself off, and went about his business to the astonishment of others. When asked why he was not still in mourning, David answered that the child had gone to be where David would go to be, which I assume to be heaven.

4. The thief on the cross next to Jesus fulfilled all of the requirements to go to heaven that day.

While I believe that believers should get baptized, and go to church, and do a lot of other things, I always keep this fact in the back of my mind when someone starts saying I HAVE TO DO something in order to be saved.

And on the topic we have generally been discussing about evolution/creation and unexplainable things...

5. There is enough evidence of God in His creation that every person is held accountable for recognizing His existence.

And finally on the thought of people that are never told about Jesus and their fate in eternity.

6. Abraham believed in God and his faith was reckoned as salvation.

So proper faith in God (and do not ask me to define what that is) will save someone that has not heard about Jesus. Also it appears that blood sacrifices by the high priest, prior to the destruction of the temple, were also a method.

My ten cents worth for this morning...

Pewter_of_Deodar
05-18-2011, 10:36 AM
Sorry, I was referring to the first two commandments that thou shalt have and worship only one god, God. But a lot of Christians seem to focus their worship on Jesus.

The Trinity, three Gods yet One, is one of the great mysteries. So is understanding the nature of God. I tend to think of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as being three manifestations of the same God. The "Jesus" manifestation of God was the one sent to provide an example and then die as a sacrifice for humanity. The "Spirit" manifestation is the one that supposedly speaks to our souls and provides encouragement, conviction, etc. The "Father" manifestation is the old bearded guy that sits on the throne and will judge us after we die. At least that is how I think of it...

TheAlchemist
05-18-2011, 01:29 PM
I like
Creator Christ and Holy Ghost...
because I'm into inclusive language...
but you already knew that.

AToE
05-18-2011, 02:08 PM
Sorry, I'm falling behind here, between work and recording a band after work I've had so little time! Lots of interesting stuff here, which I fully plan on responding to soon!

I'm happy when people find scriptural evidence for people other than Christians getting into heaven (there's lots more evidence actually, this exact subject is what I wrote my final paper on in one class I took), because while I fully respect people's right to their beliefs, the simple truth is some beliefs are more dangerous than others, and in my very personal opinion, the idea that only Christians go to heaven is one of those very dangerous concepts.

Plus it just doesn't make sense to me. Look at it this way - we know that before the time of Christ God wasn't just letting Jewish people into heaven (they didn't have quite the same concept of heaven anyways, but that's another topic), both scripture and the nearly unanimous beliefs of modern (and historical) Jews show that Judaism was not a religion anyone needed to convert to (or even should convert to) to be on God's good side - all that was required was to be righteous (basically anyways, there's something about also not ripping a limb off a living animal and eating it raw too... kinda strange) and off to heaven you go.

This is why the idea that only Christians get into heaven really doesn't work for me. Because the whole point of Jesus was to save people's souls and get them into heaven, but if only Christians get into heaven then he actually acheived the exact opposite (before him, everybody good gets into heaven. After him, the vast majority of people on the planet, probably 99.99999% start going to hell automatically, over a couple thousand years that % goes up to around 50%, but still, nowhere near as good as before Jesus came, when 100% of righteous people went to heaven).

Which makes no sense, why would God suddenly completely change the rulles for getting into heaven, and only tell people in one tiny area about it?

UNLESS someone wants to try to argue that only Jews went to heaven in the first place, but good luck, I've got scriptural evidence, testimony from as many Rabbis as I can look up, and a gigantic tub of logic to finish it off with. ;D

At this point I'm really crossing my fingers that that's not offensive, but the whole exclusivism thing is a hobby of mine to debate. I think the exclusivist branches of Christianity would be improved by ditching the exclusivism like other branches have done, though I know advice from an atheist on improving a religion isn't exactly going to be smiled upon.

Loadnabox
05-18-2011, 02:13 PM
...

And yes, Jesus was the son of God (who is perfect and had never sinned) so he could be perfect, right?

Well, if you go with the one and the same theory:

Jesus and God are the same, yet Jesus is also God who is also his father.

God also created all humans and therefore created Mary

therefore Jesus is his own grandpa!

I'll leave it at that because from there it gets even more blasphemous and I'm trying to be nice :)

Loadnabox
05-18-2011, 02:17 PM
I'm happy when people find scriptural evidence for people other than Christians getting into heaven (there's lots more evidence actually, this exact subject is what I wrote my final paper on in one class I took), because while I fully respect people's right to their beliefs, the simple truth is some beliefs are more dangerous than others, and in my very personal opinion, the idea that only Christians go to heaven is one of those very dangerous concepts.
[/B]

I would tend to agree. Take it a step further as I have been told by certain Christian sects, that If you were never taught Christianity or given the opportunity to learn it, then God would be forgiving since you never had the chance to be saved.

In the same breath they send missionaries all over the world. It becomes a paradox then that people who would have been given a chance by God having never heard the word of Christ, are now condemned thanks to missionaries.

...just a thought

AToE
05-18-2011, 02:25 PM
I would tend to agree. Take it a step further as I have been told by certain Christian sects, that If you were never taught Christianity or given the opportunity to learn it, then God would be forgiving since you never had the chance to be saved.

In the same breath they send missionaries all over the world. It becomes a paradox then that people who would have been given a chance by God having never heard the word of Christ, are now condemned thanks to missionaries.

...just a thought

There are also lots of Christians who go further, they don't just believe that people who haven't had a chance to be Christian get into heaven, but that even people who have had a chance but are of another faith still get in based on their merit and worship of God under a different faith. I've also met a rare few who believe even someone like myself would get in, but that's a little less common!

Loadnabox
05-18-2011, 03:21 PM
There are also lots of Christians who go further, they don't just believe that people who haven't had a chance to be Christian get into heaven, but that even people who have had a chance but are of another faith still get in based on their merit and worship of God under a different faith. I've also met a rare few who believe even someone like myself would get in, but that's a little less common!

Mormons and Catholics are two who believe in earthly works. That is you can be of another faith and so long as you lived in a holy fashion you are set.

Mormons go further to say that as long as someone lived properly within the edicts of their society they will have the opportunity to go to the highest level of heaven. This means the cannibal who never heard of Christ, can still be a cannibal. From the time he dies until the second coming of Christ he is taught about the LDS church, then at the second coming so long as he accepts Christ and the church he's golden.

Personally, having been to many Mormon services, I find the concept of spending the next few eons waiting for the apocalypse in Mormon studies to be worse than going to hell.

havoc64
05-18-2011, 03:59 PM
I was once in a 2 hour discussion with a Methodist Minister concerning the topic of who gets into Heaven. It started off with him saying the my Dog wasn't going into heaven and then progressed to an young boy in Africa. He believed that if you were not "Saved" then you not be allowed into heaven.

First, I grew up Southern Baptist and then converting to Catholicism when I was 19. I have a come to believe that Anyone can get to heaven, if they have lived their lives thinking of their fellow man. A little boy in the wilds of Africa who dies and is never exposed to any Christian belief can get to heaven, if he was a "good" person. You can not tell me that god put that little boy on this planet only to condemn him to a eternal life in hell.

Same with my Dog, he's one of the most loving and loyal creatures I have ever met. He gives me unconditional love. He dreams at night and has likes and dislikes. He doesn't like thunderstorms, they scare him, but he loves Fireworks. He knows the difference because of the Humans he's around. He looks forward to rides in the Jeep and will try to get me to the garage and then the Jeep to tell me he wants to go for a ride.

I finally told this Minister.."Matter of Fact, if a creature like my Pup can't get into Heaven, I don't know if I want to go to a place like that."

Jet Li has a great philosophy of religions, he mentions it in the extra's of Fearless. I quote this from his Website..I hope he doesn't mind, as he could kick the living poop outta me...

"Is there a religion that is superior morally and spiritually with respect to all others? I strongly believe the answer is no. Sure, religions differ from one another in their outward trappings, in the Gods their followers worship, in the customs and rituals which their practitioners observe. But upon closer inspection, the underlying heart and central principle in every religion is the same. Every religion boils down to love, to a respect for all living things, to choosing peace over violence as a means of resolving a conflict. The essence is universal; it is only the means to the end that varies......Only through a lifestyle of generosity, kindness, and love, and a positive contribution to humankind can one consider oneself a true practitioner of any religion."

I like that, if you practice the "Golden Rule" and care for all creatures, then you have a key to get into heaven...

AToE
05-18-2011, 04:36 PM
I finally told this Minister.."Matter of Fact, if a creature like my Pup can't get into Heaven, I don't know if I want to go to a place like that."


That's funny, I wasn't going to say anything but since someone else said it first, the heaven a lot of people believe in isn't one I'd like to go to. If for example Mother Teresa had a serious lapse of faith at the time of her death and goes to hell for that, but someone like Hitler could potentially repent, give his heart to Jesus and be saved... don't work for me. Or even a more moderate (and realistic) example, if some of the only moderately OK Christians I know get into heaven, but a very morally good Hindu is burning forever... yikes. If that's your belief that's your belief, but that's got to at least explain some people's reluctance to take up mainstream Christianity (I know lots of Christians don't believe this, but the impression everyone outside the faith gets is that the majority of Christians do very much believe it).

I know my opinion would change after about 15 seconds in hell, but until then I'll stand by that. (Yes it makes it a lot easier for me to have that opinion when I believe in the concept of hell even less than I believe in the concept of a creator)

Guinlilly
05-18-2011, 04:40 PM
I finally told this Minister.."Matter of Fact, if a creature like my Pup can't get into Heaven, I don't know if I want to go to a place like that."


A great Heathen king named Radbod of Frisia had basically the same thing to say (or so the tales say) . When he went to be baptized he asked the missionaries if he would meet his ancestors in Heaven. They replied, “No, they were not baptized, so they are in Hell.” Radbod replied: “Then I rather spend eternity in Hell with my ancestors than in Heaven with my enemies." (His enemies were the Franks and has already fallen to Christianization.)

AToE
05-18-2011, 04:47 PM
On the topic of dogs and such, that's another thing that's always made no sense to me, that they wouldn't have souls. I know many people believe in a fundamental difference between human and animal, but I don't - it's just a matter of degrees to me (lots of degrees, but still). I think the Buddhist belief is actually that the whole cycle of rebirth and soforth towards Nirvana actually applies to all sentient beings and I also don't think they consider themselves capable of deciding what animals are and are not sentient, which is why most hard-core Buddhists are vegitarian, as plants we know darned well don't have minds (unless you're really getting into weird metaphysics or something).

Then you've got Jains, who even consider plant life sacred. They don't eat any plant product that involve the plant dying (so no root veggies or anything) and I think they even wait for fruit to fall off a plant to eat it (not really sure what the point of that is). Historically they did eat dairy, but due to modern farming practices many are now essentially an extreme form of vegan.

I don't want to start a debate about whether animals would have souls if such a thing exists, just wanted to bring up that it's a lotta little stuff like this that added up to Christianity just feeling wrong when I was a very young kid (there was a short window of opportunity from probably the age of 4 through to 7 or 8 when I could have potentially been convinced, but it didn't come close).