Will We Ever Agree About Religion…Part 3

Parts 1 and 2 are immediately below this entry.

Hi John Andrew, thank for your reply.

You write:
“Do colleges, the media and the internet give you unbiased information?  You might think so, but is it really true?  It’s nearly impossible to write about how things are without letting your worldview – your bias – peek through.  And the only worldview that is acceptible by most colleges and high schools, and therefore their textbooks, is the kind of God-denying secularism they seem to hold in high regard.”

Well, I think the Main Stream Media (MSM) is very biased with only very few one-off exceptions. The internet is as biased as anyone can be…depends on the site you are on. The college textbooks on science are of course biased to science, after-all that’s what they’re teaching. You don’t want to teach or promote religion in a science class.  Of course that is exactly what the religious right is trying to do.

If you go to a religious college or high school that is supported and privately run by a religious group or association you might expect religion to be taught in science class.  If I send my children to a public school that is supported by government and my taxes I fully expect that religion does not enter into the curriculum. I expect that wall of separation that the constitution provides for to protect my child from someone else’s vision of religion or from religion all together.

You write:
“You seem to have a completely different view of our founding fathers’ reasons for setting up the wall of separation between church and state than mine.  My view is that they had learned – in some cases first hand – the oppression of both church-controlled state, and state mandated religion and wanted to find a better alternative.  They believed in the reality of sin.  They believed that every human being has the capacity for both great good and unimaginable evil.  The checks and balances were put in to limit the ability of any one man or even small group of men to dictate the laws of the society.  And the wall of separation was one of them.”

The wall of separation, or checks and balances, was to prevent the churches from taking over society again; the founders wanted a secular government that was not ruled by religious dogma. They respected religion, but feared its known capability and eagerness to take over and rule all things earthly.  They knew their history.

It is not public schools place to promote and teach an evangelical fundamentalists vision to my child.  If you really want to get religion into public schools, design a course that incorporates all currently practiced theisms, and make the course separate from science, and make it an optional class. Creationism or Young Earth Creationism or Intelligent Design is not by any stretch of the imagination science or scientific despite the attacks by some “scientists.” At some point all these Creationist scientists and their explanations break down and attribute God as a causal agent. “That’s it God did it…look no further.”

“I’m sure you’ve heard it, but science is purely naturalistic and does not accept the supernatural or magic as a causal agent of anything. If we don’t know all the facts or can’t explain it now, then we research it more until the ultimately natural cause is found.  And you know what… it’s always a natural cause. This is not just man being prideful or egotistical; it is a well proven method of solving problems and gaining knowledge.  Religion seems to be anathema to gaining more knowledge.

When evil men, in the early centuries after Jesus, grabbed the power of religion and used its power to subjugate all the surrounding lands it showed its true potential to suppress and degrade humanity.  It was Christianity, but it was not loving by any means. The evil men of these early years of monotheism tried every trick they could think of to convert all people to their faith. They brutally suppressed any variations of what they declared was the true path of-or-to God. You either converted or died, you either worship the way they want or you die, you accept our theology or die.  This is a real strong clue that this religion is not the work of a real God.

One forms opinions of people and institutions by their past performances and how they interact with and treat us and all they come in contact with.  We know how God treated the people he created, by reading the Old Testament, and in the times after Jesus by reading history.  This is history folks…its written down and attested to by witnesses, the OT is said to be true by Jewish historians, and the histories written about the Dark Ages and the later slaughter of Catholics by Protestants and visa-versa is independently attested to by writings and witnesses.  This growth and spreading of the Gospels that the early church promoted was not a Godly enterprise.

If the Christian God was actually behind this early diaspora of “The Word” and the “One True God” then I doubt he is a God of love…you’re being bamboozled folks.

John, I know you are bothered by my constantly bringing up the early times in Christianity, but what I am trying to get across is the point that all of the stuff that went on in the spreading of this religion cannot by any way imaginable be the work of a God, let alone a “loving God” I reject the thought that a God that I might want to worship…has killed or caused to be killed so many of us.  Don’t try to insert free-will or God was just killing bad guys…those excuses are lame.  My sadly deficient intellect says that things could have been done tremendously better than what we know happened.

I think that the early Hebrews just made it all up for their own unknown reasons and later folks picked up on it–not realizing how destructive the force could and would be.

You write:
“What overwhelms me is the colossal arrogance of anyone (and I’ve been plenty guilty of this, so I’m not just pointing the finger at you) who presumes to know more about the situation than God does.  Suppose (and this is just a speculation) his purpose in creating everything as it is now is to teach us?  Suppose He knows that we would never learn to do good unless we saw the consequences?  And suppose life is not just what we see in the here and now, and that everything you think, say and do in this life sets the course for your life in Heaven.”

Hey, 🙂  this is not arrogance at all…at least not in my case.  1st. point-I’m talking logic and God’s not acting in a logical manner, and I’m thinking that He’s acting like an ancient goat/sheep herder would think a God might act.  2nd. point-teach us???? How is it Godlike to cause so much suffering and death and destruction?  I’ll just throw that out and try not to think about it again.  3rd. point-Yes, there is always the chance I am wrong…I fully admit that.  The afterlife has been promised many times by many religions. I think it is just a gimmick to fluff up the enrollment ledgers.

You write:
“You’ve now said for the fourth time that Adam and Eve did not exist – not that the evidence suggests they didn’t, but that they flat out didn’t.  I don’t know, but that kind of unequivocal statement, made as if it were even possible for you to know, makes you what?  Over zealous?  I don’t see why you keep coming back to that.

I won’t say a word. 🙂

You ever hear a DA trying to convict a killer with circumstantial evidence?  How sure are they of the evidence?

You write:
“…The answer is that only someone with a limitless wealth of goodness can come up with enough to buy me salvation.  That’s why we need a savior, and it’s true whether Adam and Eve were real or not.

Why do you need, or why is Jesus selling, salvation?  Do you not lead a good life? Don’t you treat your family well, treat your friends and acquaintances with respect and charity? Do you have fleeting thoughts of pure evil or perversion of some kind?

I’ve heard that most folks lead lives of quiet desperation. How many of us humans go out and do evil things like be a serial killer or child predator or seriously cheat and steal from our friends or people who believe in us? Damn few when you consider how many people there are.  Most common people get along with very minor transgressions in their lives, like cheat at cards or gossip or tell little white lies.

Sometimes your church may find out that their preacher is a homosexual or drug user or is having an affair out of their marriage or have singles making a little whoopee.  Other than the murderers and predators and seriously bad folk out there, where is the sin in being and acting like humans have for thousands of years.

You write:
“Now, on abortion, here’s the thing.  When a woman or girl ends up with an unwanted pregnancy, approximately 94% of the time, it’s because she decided to have sex for the pleasure of it, and assumed that it would not have consequences.”

I can only repeat that I would seriously not want this girl/woman to have an abortion…however I would not want the government or church to deny her humane and safe access.  Maybe tell her she only gets one chance or procedure.  I don’t know…I just think that the government and church do not own this person’s body, as much as they like to think they do. Personal decisions to have unprotected sex vs. sex by rape or incest or known physical deformity are totally different matters and require different rules. Again this is a matter between a woman and her doctor, but rape and incest and deformity should be cases where ipso-facto the offer of abortion is there immediately.

7

I couldn’t find an 8 week embryo, but this is a 7.5 week one.  Notice the size reference in lower left.  This is about the size of a butter-bean.  This is not a viable human at this point, it has no higher brain functions or self awareness and I don’t believe there is any Biblical injunction against aborting at this stage or any other.

What should we do with a woman/girl who has an abortion?

If abortions are outlawed, as they used to be because of religion, and women/girls still have them, as they always did…what should we do to them?

pope benedict xvi
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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.

4 Responses to Will We Ever Agree About Religion…Part 3

  1. Pingback: Will We Ever Agree About Religion…3

  2. John Andrew says:

    I’d really like to get your response to this talk by Tim Keller.

    http://veritas.org/media/talks/610

  3. thewordofme says:

    Hi John Andrew,

    The man gives a good talk. I don’t think I have ever been hung up on the “why does God allow so much pain and suffering?” argument. My main problem or question is….Are we expected to believe that the beginning of Christianity was really caused by a real belief in a real God?

    If God and Jesus were preaching a sermon of love and understanding, what the hell is going on with all the so called Christians killing each other for over a thousand years? Is/was this Godlike?

    What on earth was the Jewish God thinking when he was going around telling “His” people to kill and maim everyone in sight?

    I’m thinking that if you take in and consider all the horrible things that have happened in the history and name of Christianity or YHWH or Elohim or El, or whatever you want to call this God…it’s all a lie…what we have seen and read about is not worthy of a real God…a real God would not allow such a screwed up operation to go on for over 2,000 years and still be in such disarray…unable to agree on anything.

    Why do you think we have so many religions and schisms and enclaves and crazy people running around killing each other….

    If there is a God, He is one damn poor organizer and even lousier communicator.

    That such terrible things have been committed in the name of God is shameful, and the people that continue and preserve this travesty should be ashamed.

  4. John Andrew says:

    After stating that you’re not hung up on pain and suffering, you immediately bring up an argument that says maybe you are!

    We’ve covered this before, and Tim Keller did so again, but let me answer as directly as I can.

    We don’t understand why God ordered the wiping out of certain people groups, but when we judge God for being unjust, we are a lot of things, none of them right, none of them just, and none of them smart. God has much more information than you. He has reasons for the things you complain about that we cannot possibly understand, because we have too small a perspective and our capacity to understand is so much more limited than God’s.

    Every parent knows that when he tells his child he can’t have unlimited amounts of junk food, he’s doing so out of love, no matter how unfair or unjust the child thinks it to be. That’s common sense, but it’s also biblical wisdom.

    With respect, let me also caution you on something. God will not be mocked. When you go from asking legitimate questions to angry dismissals of God and his goodness, you commit the very sin for which God threw Satan out of Heaven. You appoint yourself judge over God! Could anything be more absurd?

    As Tim Keller said, you cannot disprove God any more than you can prove Him. Therefore, both acceptance of Him and rejection of Him are acts of faith. So faith is not optional.

    Whether I am right or wrong, whether professing Christians are “the problem”, whether Christianity is the only viable long-term worldview, or regardless of the outcome of our ‘debate’, The fact remains that if one is to learn, one must be willing to be taught.

    I like the way The Message Paraphrase translates Proverbs 1:7 :

    7 Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
    only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.

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