Will We Ever Agree About Religion ??

I’m having a great discussion at the “Bloom Where You’re Planted” blog Here. It started with his blog on the resurrection that I replied to around Easter time, and quickly blossomed into a full discussion on religion.

You write:
“…it has relevance for anyone who is getting their information about Christianity from secular sources like college, Wikipedia, and the internet in general.  Our modern culture in the USA is so ruled by secular thought that it’s hard to even see where the bias comes in.  When the founding fathers of our country determined that there should be a wall of separation between the church and the state, they had it exactly right.  But their intent has been so mangled that it has come to mean something much different from what they intended…”

In regard to this opening sentence in your reply. Where else does one get information about religion but colleges, encyclopedias, other books, and the internet? One cannot just go to the Bible and theistic tomes written by the founders of a particular sect and expect unbiased and factual information. You must check many sources and compile diverse viewpoints and thoughts to arrive at a synthesis or approximation of truth. If you only follow one line of thought or viewpoint then your understanding of that subject is necessarily biased…and may not be true in a literal sense.

When our founding fathers erected that wall of separation between religion and state they were responding to the religious darkness that had for so long constrained and controlled the world that our forefathers knew. They and their ancestors had suffered religious and spiritual control by kings and religious leaders of the old country. Our main founding fathers were mostly agnostic or non-believers and they didn’t want the same kind of government leadership they were breaking away from.

As for the intent of the founders being mangled, I think what you are talking about is the normal expansion of knowledge and understanding that intelligent people experience as their civilization grows and begins to comprehend the truths and reality of the world around them.

I agree with you about the USSR and China and their treatment of the various religions they try to suppress. My only thought in bringing up the genocides that Christians (and other religions) have committed is to make the point that no matter the religion…one is not better than the other in regard to human rights.  In fact, if you think it through, all religions and all secular authorities have abused humans throughout time. Even Solomon hired out his citizens for slaves labor.  We in the US do it as well as anybody.

You write:
“It’s really interesting that you’ve mentioned your belief that Adam and Eve never existed at least three times now.”

In regard to Adam and Eve, should one take it as a literal story… were they (and the rest of the universe) really created and placed in the Garden of Eden about 6,000 years ago? If that is your position…you are up against tremendous-testable-scientific-evidence that modern mankind (and the universe) has been around for waaay longer than 6,000 years, and then of course there is the Neanderthal’s which in all ways appear to be a natural human predecessor and 98.5% human.  Then there are the other various predecessors to the  Neanderthals such as Homo-habilis, Homo antecessor, Homo erectus, etc.

You write:
“…by the way, the original sin was actually committed by Satan, and the sin was pride.  He decided that he really didn’t need God telling him how he should live.  So he led a revolt, and for this he and his minions were cast out of heaven.”

I’m talking about the “original sin that Paul wrote of in Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:22 for its scriptural base, and see it as perhaps implied in Old Testament passages such as Psalm 51:5 and Psalm 58:3. According to Paul, Adam and Eves consumption of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was the origination of sin in all humans thereafter.  Jesus was our redeemer of that sin, to make us OK with God again, by his death on the cross.

A short aside here, the Bible says that God does punish the son for the sins of the father and then it says in a different place that he does…which is right?

Just a thought about Satan’s revolt…God deconstructs him…end of problem.

You have to wonder about this; God (omnipotent and omniscient) made evil in the form of Satan and fully allows him to exist and foment seriously bad Mojo for us humans…key point here being–“God allows this”  The tremendously bad logic in this story just overwhelms me…does no one else see it?

I’m talking here of the theology that the evangelical fundamentalists have been championing in our times as the reason for Jesus’ being alive and being crucified. He died for our “sins” so we would/will have eternal life.  Without Jesus dying to atone for this inherited sin we would all go to hell.  Yeah, I know it’s kind of a hokey story, but remember Paul was making this stuff up 2,000 years ago. So the natural logic here is that if Adam and Eve did not exist; as they surely didn’t, we have no real need for Jesus. Now Jesus mentions God making humans, but he does not name names, even though as a Jewish rabbi he had access to the Torah or Tanakh

You write:
“…Without God’s definition of right and wrong, it’s up to man to decide, and we have a hard time agreeing on anything.  Some societies see it as OK to murder if you have a good reason, others say it’s never OK.  You say you’re against abortion, but not enough that you would actually agree with a law that made it illegal.  You say that you would never want to “impose my feelings or morals about these matters on anybody else”.  But you do.  You also say you are “totally on the side of women on this matter.”  So you’re saying you won’t take sides, but you are on the side of women.”

Our society right here in the US says it’s all right to kill…not murder. Distinction?  I agree with you that mankind has a hard time agreeing on anything, but we have had some success in the past at this and there is the UN statement on human rights which is a step in the right direction, however futile it appears now.

The thing is that people live together and decide that there are certain ways to conduct themselfs when in this societal milieu, and most people follow the rules.  When there are disruptive forces afoot then we tend to make laws to punish the wrong-doers who step out of line.  When families are involved we are much more controlling of social misfits. All societies will make laws against murder and thievery and the more common misdeeds naturally. In smaller social groups the laws tend to be unwritten but known by all, in larger groups they get written down and advertised …think of the code of Hammurabi in Babylon.

The point is that as groups of people get together they tend to set guidelines for behavior, which is simply a way of living peacefully and without fear.  The God of Moses seems to go way overboard when Gods laws include how to treat women when they’re menstruating and what to eat and how to prepare it, and many other weird commandments or laws that Deuteronomy puts forth.  I really feel that this is not God’s thinking.

Men have been able to visualize “perfect societies forever…they did not, and do not, need a god to instruct them in what’s good for them; that information has been floating around forever and is self evident.  By the way most Biblical scholars believe that Moses did not write the Pentateuch. It was written anonymously in the late 7th. Century with later additions after the fall of Judah in 586 BC

You write:
“…You say you’re against abortion, but not enough that you would actually agree with a law that made it illegal.  You say that you would never want to “impose my feelings or morals about these matters on anybody else”.  But you do.  You also say you are “totally on the side of women on this matter.”  So you’re saying you won’t take sides, but you are on the side of women.”

I admitted that although I did not like the idea of abortion, I believed that there are exceptions to this, as there is to most things in life.  To me the mother’s life takes precedence and if there’s a problem in this regard…the baby is sacrificed. Rape or incest is arguably the worst thing that can happen to a woman or girl-child, and making a woman/child carry a baby under these circumstances amounts to pure evil. These are decisions to be made by the women alone…not some church or government official. I would not vote or champion a cause to take away this right of women.

I would not impose my feelings or morals on someone, that’s not the same as talking about these things. Impose has the connotation of forcing ones viewpoint on someone…forcibly making a person do or not do whatever evil it is you are selling.  I don’t believe I said I would not take sides. I will not force (by legislation or other means) my position on others.

By the way I would welcome your input on the thought of abortion and how it has slowed population growth in the US, thereby, in some ways, helping our quality of living by alleviating some eco-concerns. Think of how bad smog and water quality (or availability) and crowding and scarceness of resources, etc. would be if we had an additional 100 to 150 million people living in our country right now.

You write:
“Have you ever watched the movie Bruce Almighty?  Funny, but it made a good point or two.  For one, when Bruce had the ability to be god, he didn’t do too well at it.  He tried to just grant every prayer request, but it went completely amuck.  For another, when he couldn’t make his girl love him without taking away her free will, God (played by Morgan Freeman) said ‘Welcome to my world, son.  If you figure that one out, you let me know….'”

I never saw the complete movie, but am familiar enough with it to understand what you are saying.  I wrote a post awhile back about the matter of free-will, I’ll have to find it and give you the Biblical references, but the gist of it is that the Bible says in many places we have free-will and many places it says we don’t  have free-will.  I still haven’t figured this out.

If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; … Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.— Deuteronomy, Chapter 17:2-3,5

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About the word of me
Interested in family and friends,grandchildren, photography, darkrooms, history, archaeology, scuba diving, computers, software, fast cars, journalism, writing, travel, ecology, news, science, and probably most other subjects you could think of. Did I mention family and friends?? I require iced tea or cold brewed coffee and a internet connection to be fully functional. Sometimes there are just so many words in my head they spill out.

One Response to Will We Ever Agree About Religion ??

  1. slingword says:

    I have a serious question that may be related to this thread:

    http://slingword.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/an-open-question-to-the-religious/

    And I would love to hear replies….

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