Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Is a rock scientific?

   My wife and I had an interesting discussion last night. I was reading Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, and paused to read a passage to her regarding the question of what, exactly, it is about religion that causes it to be selected for in the evolutionary process. Why is a mind prone to religious belief an advantage to human survival?

   Science, the wife postulated, cannot explain or investigate religion (a position, by the way, that Dawkins vociferously refutes in his book). Evolution, on the other hand, is "scientific," she said. Although I understood what she meant, I played a bit of Devil's Advocate with her. (It's just a saying, OK?)

   Evolution is not scientific, I told her, any more than a rock is scientific. Science is a process by which we can investigate, and then describe the rock, but the rock itself, is just a thing. Likewise, evolution is just a normal, ongoing process in our world. Our examination of it may be scientific in nature, but evolution itself is just another thing.

   Discuss.

49 comments:

princesssaurora said...

You are right.  Science is a method, evolution is an ongoing process that exists.

Still doesn't make me think that I can't believe in a supreme being/God/something else that cannot be explained by 'science' so far.

be well,
Dawn
http://journals.aol.com/princesssaurora/CarpeDiem/

iiimagicxx said...

I agree. There are two processes, the linear one et the circular one. A thing can be a concept and can be described scientifically, like religion for example. We need both, and more than the neurosciences to understand the human brain, for example "love" to get in touch with another.
Valerie
http://journals.aol.co.uk/iiimagicxx/surreality/

simianfarmer said...

I think that for a lay person to claim something like evolution is scientific isn't entirely incorrect, taken in context.  Evolution isn't scientific, per se, but is easily recognisable as a 'thing' that is susceptible to scientific scrutiny, and so to call it scientific is, like, I know what you mean, eh?

Religion, on the other hand, is less susceptible to that same sort of scrutiny.  The belief in some higher being is only one element that makes up any given religion.  It's not natural in the same way that evolution or mathematical proofs are, and the entire thing is a confabulation built by men, so falls down like a house of cards under intense investigation.  Religions were never built upon a verifiable foundation and then made to proceed in a logically supported structure.

May as well claim that democracy is the best possible form of government and expect THAT to stand up to scrutiny.

Simon

easuess said...

A good friend of mine recommend I read this book. I haven't yet, but that's because I've got other reading to do for grades. I suspect I may get to it next summer. At any rate, when she told me the author's name I was like, "Dude, you mean the guy from Family Feud?" And so the only thing intelligent (ahem!) I can add to this conversation is:

Survey Says!


http://2writehands.blogspot.com

dpoem said...

Umm...  The rock is a result of god's tinkering with the electromagnetic spectrum?  

Sorry, man...  I couldn't resist.

Anyway, I think religion is for the impatient and the lazy.  People want their answers here and now, so it's probably quite easy to embrace ignorance by accepting the notion that God exists because we, as humans, can't understand something.   Science requires a lot of brain-stretching work and a considerable amount of time that a lot of people just don't want to invest in the pursuit of the answers to those big questions of How and Why.  

Unfortunately, religion constantly gets in the way of science.  And, it's kind of puzzling because it gives the impression that people just want to remain ignorant by assuming that everything is simply the result of some sort of irrational figment's handiwork.  And, some people are happy with that.  

The best thing for humanity to do would be to simply accept the fact that religion is solely a philosophical principle and leave it at that.  Religion embraces and is based upon the immaterial, whereas science just tries to figure things out through a very strict discipline and course of hypotheses, study, testing, theories, study, retesting, etc.  

-Dan
http://journals.aol.com/dpoem/TheWisdomofaDistractedMind/

teeisme57 said...

And the study of science? Sciencology?

frankandmary said...

Why is a mind prone to size 24 white stretch pants an advantage to human survival? ~Mary

jennyp51 said...

I am a sceptic and a christian, and i also know personally some scientists who are also christian and have been to talks given by christain scientists.  Science tells us how and the bible tells us why.  I have never understood why people think christianity and science are incompatable.  The bible mostly upholds scientific principles, and why not if God created scientific laws and principles.  We limit ourselves when we just look to science to either prove or disprove God.  There is so much more going on out there folks.  I lived my life for about 30yrs without my rock and 25 yrs with, and i know where i want to be and which is the most fulfiling and excitng.
Jenny <><
http://journals.aol.co.uk/jennyp51/stop-the-clock-times-moving-too-/

princesssaurora said...

And Dan...

This is how in email Paul explained his wife's and my position...

<<<My wife seems much like you. She believes there is "something" more than just our material existence. She believes that some part of us must go on after our physical death. She does, to some degree, believe in a "God," although she is hesitant to anthropomorphize that being, or force. However, she recognises that religion, and God, as they are described in the Bible, are silly, and obviously not true.>>>

He hits the nail on the head for me, and neither she nor I are stupid, dear Dan.

be well,
Dawn

lurkynat said...

ok..Dawn, Dan and all, explain please why prominent scientists
believe in God
ha! hahaha (laughs all the way home..:)
nat

dpoem said...

Paul:  Can you in fact smell what the Rock is cooking?

Dawn:  I didn't mean to imply that anyone who has even the slightest belief in a god or some potentially greater spiritual being is stupid.  I apologize if that's what came across.  When I assert that people choose to live their lives in ignorance, I mean that a belief in god is counterproductive to any pursuit to find out how and why we are here by simply accepting the fact that god did it, and they accept that and stop searching, studying and learning.  

In my mind, the notion of God puts a very tight cap on the human experience, and we'll never advance very far with it.  There's a vast universe all around us to study, but to assume God made it is to take an ambivalent approach to discovery, to say the least.  

Take a look at a volcano, and try to imagine how utterly screwed humanity would be if it wasn't for the secular approach of scientists challenging the notion that it erupts because of a god's displeasure.  Look at the Polio vaccine?  Look at the airplane?  Hell...  Look at everything.  

Look at a rock and accept god made it, and then try to explain its composition and apply that information to every other rock on the planet.  It doesn't work, and because of religion, it conveniently doesn't have to work.  After all, why waste time trying to figure out a meaningless rock, and thus questioning god, when you should be in Church tithing yourself into poverty?

The thing is, there are people who accept that, and that's fine.  I just don't think any great scientific discovery will ever come from the mind of a human who is unable to ask the right questions because he or she is intellectually hog-tied out of fear of insulting an upppity god.

Anyway, I do apologize if it seemed as though I was calling anyone stupid.  Ignorance and stupidity are two completely different things.  

Ho

dpoem said...

Bastards cut my comment off....  So, to continue.

...pe that clears things up.

-Dan
http://journals.aol.com/dpoem/TheWisdomofaDistractedMind/

tenyearnap said...

My 8-year old and I were talking about interpreting things that he sees in science experiments the other day. Then I asked him what he would think if a rock fell out of the sky right in front of him. He said that he would feel it to see if it was warm because then it could be a meteor. What if it is cold? He thought maybe someone was throwing rocks at him. Then he laughed that the very religious folks next door would say "God sent me a rock." He was rolling on the floor laughing at his funny.

Of course, this same kid believes in Santa and the Easter Bunny. Perhaps if God left chocolate and Legos once a year, he'd believe in him too. Because Presents and jelly beans are EVIDENCE. --Cin

dpoem said...

What prominent scientists believe in God?  

I suspect that the notion of god is so ingrained in our society and in our upbringing within this society that people still feel the need to hedge their bets out of some shadowy fear of being branded a heretic.  And, some probably just want to "play it safe."  

-Dan
http://journals.aol.com/dpoem/TheWisdomofaDistractedMind/

plittle said...

Many prominent scientists believe in God. Many prominent priests do not. The world comes in all colours.
-Paul

princesssaurora said...

Okay... thanks Dan.  I thought you were telling me I must be stupid if I believe that there may be something else out there.  

As for Nat, a scientist believing in God just means that he doesn't think that his career conflicts with his personal belief in 'something else'.  Good for him/her or them.  Proves nothing.

be well,
Dawn


dpoem said...

There's lots of stuff out there, Dawn.  And, at this point in human existence, we can pretty much only speculate as to what it is.  

The disturbing thing comes when a lot of religious folks just willingly accept our place in the universe and don't strive to learn anything more.  Or, as in Galileo's case, when a discovery is made, it is silenced by the Church.  That's a tremendous crime to humanity, and it's an unforgivable crime in my book.  When a religious institution willingly takes steps to keep people ignorant, what possible good can come of it?  

So, it's one thing to believe in God and live a good life, but it's a whole 'nother kettle of fish to force your beliefs upon everyone and use your God to dictate how people live their lives.

-Dan
http://journals.aol.com/dpoem/TheWisdomofaDistractedMind/

simianfarmer said...

OK, Cin's comment is by far the best -- hands down.  Or rather, that of her eight year-old.  Lego and chocolate eggs ARE evidence!

Simon

jennyp51 said...

I just decided to do a bit of googling and looked up scientists who believe in God and found a huge list of some of the greatest scientists in history all who believed in God.  It didn't stop there the list for those who are alive and kicking is just as long.  In the Uk we owe so much to christians who fought for better things.  Hospitals, hospices, schools, orphanages, to name but a few.  Rather than say God made it all so i need look no further, it has inspired people to find out more about this great world he has given us.  God gave us our inquiring minds and abilities to grow in knowledge.
Jenny <><
http://journals.aol.co.uk/jennyp51/stop-the-clock-times-moving-too-/

plittle said...

"One of the proofs of the immortality of the soul is that myriads have believed in it. They have also believed the world was flat."--Mark Twain

Jenny,
  You have fallen into a logic trap called "argument from popularity." The fact that many people believe something to be true does not, in any way, affect its actual status. For thousands of years, virtually every living human being believed the sun went around the earth. Despite their belief, that was never the case. It doesn't matter how many people of esteem you name who believe in God, their combined belief in no way makes the case for or against his existence any stronger. Their belief is irrelevant to the actual fact of the matter.
  It is also true that my disbelief is irrelevant. Neither of us is equipped, at this point in time, to know the truth. To quote Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber, paraphrasing Jesus, "to know the truth, you only have to die."
-Paul

bpslider45 said...

Paul,
You said,
"Jenny,
 You have fallen into a logic trap called "argument from popularity."

I think if you look back, you will find Jenny simply addressing an earlier post by Dan which seemed to be indicating that no "true" scientist would believe in God.
I don't think she is trying to state that because many do, this proves God.

Personally, as you well know, I see no conflict between science and God.

Science and religion?? Whole other ball of wax.
It was religion which stifled Galileo and may others.
It is religion which has difficulty admitting obvious errors in doctrine, that cannot be reconciled with what current science has shown to be real.
Hence all the current denial of evolution and other issues which conflict with religious writings.

Much evil, past and present has been committed in the name of God by religion.

I doubt God approves but unless you see God as the guy (or girl) sitting on a cloud with thunderbolts (metaphorically) for the sinners, don't be lookin' for that to
change anytime soon.

I personally see Him/Her as more the scientist watching this little experiment started many years ago. He/she is patiently waiting to see if we can develop enough intelligence to keep from killing all of each other.
All in the name of God.

How ironic.

Brent

plittle said...

  Well, Brent, you had me going back over previous comments with a fine toothed comb, looking for Dan's alleged use of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, but I didn't find it. I think you might be reading into his words more than was actually there.
  Dan never said that no true scientists can believe in God. What he said was that belief in God, in general, was a hinderance to scientific inquiry, because it discourages one from asking certain types of questions, postulating that those questions have already been adequately answered by the Bible.
-Paul

bpslider45 said...

OK, ya got me. That was my interpretation.
And, I believe Jenny's.

I still take issue with the statement "belief in God, in general, was a hinderance to scientific inquiry" though.

Why should it be?

A belief in God does not need to involve anything prohibiting the scientific exploration of our world.

As I said before, religion is different.
BUT... religion is NOT God.
Religions are the attempts of men, to to set up what they believe are a set of rules they believe God would want.
Sometimes this was done in honest dedication to their belief in God.
Sometimes not! (in the interest of brevity, I will not go into my feelings on this aspect.)

Avoid the religious trappings... science and God are in no way in conflict.
I believe God would in fact highly approve of any efforts to better understand things.
Regardless of any conflicts with old books written by dead guys.

So there.
Brent

plittle said...

I didn't say prohibit, I said discourage. Two very different meanings there.
-Paul

bpslider45 said...

OK... discourage.
Why does a belief in God discourage scientific study?
Bueller?... Bueller?...
Brent

bpslider45 said...

Stand back folks!
This one might just cause him to write a whole new post!!

Hee Hee
Brent

princesssaurora said...

I agree with you Brent.  I don't see how 'God' belief discourages you in 'science'.  I just don't.  I also agree with your comment about religion, Brent.  Yes, THAT can be very, very prohibitive.  Not always, and not for everyone, but certainly, it has, and can and will be and is a problem for most of us seeking more enlightenment in life.

be well,
Dawn

dpoem said...

Dawn, what if, in your quest for enlightenment, you stumble upon something which disproves the teachings of your religious beliefs?  Do you deny your discovery, or do you deny the Church?

The problem with religion is that science inevitably finds something to contradict the assertions of the Church.  Then, rather than embrace these discoveries and incorporate reality into their theology, the Church inevitably seeks to censor those discoveries and keep the population ignorant.  It's more about social control than anything.  After all, knowledge (that forbidden thing) is the easiest way to dispel fear, isn't it?

I personally wonder how far mankind would have come had we not had the anchor of religion around our necks.  For example, in 130 BC, Hero(n) of Alexandria developed small steam engines approximately 1,700 years before their use in the Industrial Revolution.  However, as a result of Christianity coming to the forefront in Western society, the works of these "pagans" were ignored, condemned or destroyed by the church as humanity headed into the Dark Ages, and these works didn't really resurface until the Renaissance in the 14th Century.  In that time, The Church sent us backwards to the point where we were one step beyond living in caves and banging rocks together to make fire.

So, if I come across as being a little hard on religion, I tend to think it really deserves it.  We're still trying to catch up to the ancient cultures in some respects.  

-Dan
http://journals.aol.com/dpoem/TheWisdomofaDistractedMind/  

aleclynch said...

Dan, to be fair to Dawn, did she not in her last post agree with you that religion has at times held back science? Her (and Brent's) claim is that a belief in God does not conflict with the pursuit of science.  Thus, to be fair to Dawn, your first sentence would have to read:

"what if, in your quest for enlightenment, you stumble upon something which disproves *God*?  Do you deny your discovery, or do you deny *God*?"

And since science has not (and I think we can agree is unlikely ever to) either prove or disprove  the existence of a god, I can't imagine Dawn is ever going to have to make this choice. So if science and a belief in god do indeed conflict, it will have to be for a different reason, and one that is separate from religious belief.

I've said before I'm also an Atheist and a skeptic, and yes, I too can see how various religions have at times held back science (although, to be fair, religion has often helped bring about knowledge or the circumstances leading to discoveries as well). In any event, whether or not religion has hindered more than it's helped, or always hinders, is one debate. And I understand what you are saying in regards to that debate. But it is not the debate Dawn and Brent are arguing so you are, it seems to me, arguing at cross-purposes.

dpoem said...

Actually Alec, my point was to simply ask where do we draw the line when it comes to science versus religion.  At what point do we allow our scientific advances and discoveries to trump archaic religious dogma?  When does a scientist stop and say "this contradicts everything my church tells me."

I'll admit, I sometimes do have trouble separating God from religion (wow.  I think I just wound up back onto Paul's original point).  However, as it stands, the only definition we have of God comes from religion, so it's not entirely unfair of me to lump the two together, is it?  After all, the Church and the Bible (and other religious texts) tell us what God likes and doesn't like, so what happens when we find something completely rational and logical which defies what they are saying?  Do we appeal to those earthly representatives of God and censor ourselves?  Or, do we just accept that God exists, but what the Church and the Bible says about God is incorrect?  

By taking the latter, you pretty much accept the fact that the Church, the source of your definition of God, really doesn't have a clue.

However, I think it IS possible to believe in God, but you also have to be careful not to let that belief be swayed by religion.  

Oh well...  I'm pretty much just typing out loud at this point.  I really need coffee --which the Mormons say is bad, but it's a genuine godsend to me.

-Dan
http://journals.aol.com/dpoem/TheWisdomofaDistractedMind/
   

princesssaurora said...

Dan... your question isn't relevant to me... you asked me about 'religion'.  I already basically acknowledged, I don't do 'religion'.  I do believe in God/supreme being/something 'more' after we 'cross over'.

I don't understand what you are asking me.  If like Alex said, you want to know what would happen if I was enlightened and discovered something that proved there was no God/other side/etc what would I do... well, I don't know, but I doubt it will be proven or disproven either way in my life time.

be well,
Dawn
http://journals.aol.com/princesssaurora/CarpeDiem/

princesssaurora said...

In reading your second response then to Alex, you do seem to have a problem separating God from religion.  I do not.  The two are not even remotely the same to me.  Religion is the paradigm one chooses to use to worship/understand/interact with God.  I do not feel the need to have a 'religion' between me and my beliefs/spirituality anymore.

Did that make sense to anyone but me?

be well,
Dawn
http://journals.aol.com/princesssaurora/CarpeDiem/

dpoem said...

It makes sense to me Dawn.  I'm just saying that scientists can believe in God, but they can't have a strict adherence to religion since their work could potentially contradict their religious beliefs, and they will then be forced to make a pretty difficult decision.  

Anywho, to get around to what Paul was saying (and, correct me if I'm wrong here), science can give us insights into (among other things) rocks.  But, in light of all my babbling, I'm struck with an odd question:  Does religion really give us an insight into God?  

Yeah...  It's a complete irrational tangent, but that's pretty much a question that's been nagging me since I first sought to draw some sort of comparison here.  

-Dan
http://journals.aol.com/dpoem/TheWisdomofaDistractedMind/

princesssaurora said...

Well, Dan... that question that you ask 'Does religion really give us insight into God' well, that is the crux of the problem.  For the fundamentally religious, they believe that throught their religion is the ONLY way to gain insight into God.  

For the rest of the church going folk, I suppose they fall on a spectrum of believing it is necessary just less so than the fundamentalists... all the way to people like me who believe your own personal relationship is the way to gain insight, and maybe some pass me right by to thinking that a personal relationship is the ONLY way, too.  

I think it is such a personal choice the answers are endless.  However, personally, I belief the man-made insitutional trappings are barriers to any true personal insight to or with God/supreme being/ever after.

be well,
Dawn

bpslider45 said...

Cont.,

The biggest flaw I found was the notion that, "OURS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD!"

huh?

I could not and will never accept that a native living in some remote part of the world who cannot even access (insert religion of choice here)  can never go to "heaven" no matter how wonderful a human being he or she is.
How can this make sense?
How can a truly religious person accept this concept.
Most don't.
Ya see they pick and choose the parts that fit and ignore the rest.

I chose to skip the middle man. Religion.

As I said before, I believe religion is part honest effort to interpret God and part sham created to take and hold power. And if you don't see how religions have used this power over the years, you are being willfully ignorant.
Then again, for most, that is part of the deal. Accept what fits, ignore the rest.

I agree completely that religion stunts scientific exploration because it is rigid. "Rules must be obeyed!", even though they were written by a dead guy who thought the world was flat and used to think the sun was a god.

Religion is not God.
The bible was written by men, not God.
Here is one that will be sure to inflame someone.
Jesus, Budha, Mohamed, etc. were not God.
Were they men inspired by their beilefs in God? No doubt.
Were they divinely inspired by God? Maybe Rabbit... but I personally think not.

No matter what they were, that which they inspired to create has been adapted and twisted for other men's needs.
Not God's.

God I can accept. Religion I will not.

Oh ya, I think God likes discovery and exploration.
I doubt God has much patience for religion.
No conflicts there for me.
Brent
 

bpslider45 said...

Geez! It's times like this that I really hate workin' nights.
I'm missing all the fun.

Have to say I agree with both Alex and Dawn here, Dan.

I think that you would find if you could get a completely honest survey of people of religion, a vast majority would admit they only truly accept portions of the religious doctrine of their faith. They are not morons so they have to recognise that some of the tenents are ridiculous and write them off as misinterpretations  or misunderstandings of the times in which they were written.

This is where my problems with religion (not God) started as a child.
No matter which religion I looked at (and I looked at many), they all had certain aspects which made no sense and for the most part others I spoke to admitted this.
They would basically say, "Here is our Good Book, you must obey it to the letter. Except for that part in chapter 3... oh, and just forget chapter 7... oh ya and chapter 14 says this but it really means that..."!?!?!
Nobody seemed to know who got to pick the parts that stayed and the parts to ignore.

(sorry for the length!)

jennyp51 said...

I believe God gives us an insight into God.  In his word the bible and the life of Jesus, and our experience of him in our lives.  Out of pure nosiness i read the bible from cover to cover and at the end of it said, blast!  It is all true, now i have to do something about it.  I now have had a 25yr relationship with a God who is as real to me as my husband.  If there is no God (and i fully believe there is) then i still believe my life has been the more fulfiling, exciting, rewarding because of my belief in him.  If there is no God that would present me with the problem, where have all my experiences come from.  Who or what is it that talks to me, leads me, answers prayer, heals and lots of other things that there is no room to talk of here.  And what about my experiences of evil, who or what did knock me off my feet once when without knowing it i poked my nose in prayer into a place where 'evil' lurked.  If no God then my and others experiences are really scary!!
Jenny <><

dpoem said...

Brent, I think you, Alex, Dawn and I are essentially saying the same thing but from entirely different angles.  God is not the problem; religion is.  

One of the things which troubles me is how the Bible, for instance, is claimed as the inerrant word of God by believers who treat it as though it was nothing but an ala-carte menu to justify their hatred, their fears, and their ignorance.  

Now, these are the same people who seek to keep science in check by castigating valid research simply because it contradicts their religion's interpretation of their god's wishes.  Yet, nine-times-out-of-ten, their god's supposed wishes are actually a reflection of their own petty hatreds and fears.

So, I'll say it again:  I think religion is a terrible thing.  But, I think a belief in God is harmless.  

-Dan
http://journals.aol.com/dpoem/TheWisdomofaDistractedMind/

bpslider45 said...

Ahhhh!
Dan we are in agreement.
I say that with a little disapointment because it is always more fun to debate than agree.
You have hit on my point exactly.
A belief in God prevents nothing and allows everything.
After all God is supposed to be able to do everything and anything ;)

Religion on there other hand tries to box everything in and make rules which are for the most part supported only by allegory.

I have often in my life, wished I could believe the way some religious people do.
It would be very comforting to have that kind of faith and know that if you followed some book, you would have wonderous life everafter.

Unfortunately, I have not read any book, which passed the test of logic and common sense and allowed me that kind of faith.

The words of men trying to explain these books has only pushed my acceptance further away.

My belief in God is based in my studies of science and the intricasies of biological function. I believe that they are designed because I think they are far too complex for chance to have created. (Paul of course disagrees)
The important part is I understand that this in no way proves God exists.
That step involves the "leap of faith."
I have no problem with those who choose not to leap.
Paul has opened my eyes to the simplicity of life for just what it is and how not believing in God, might just be a purer form of life lived.
They are good people for no other reason than they that believe they should be.
Sounds more trustworthy to me than a "God fearing" person who says they won't do harm because a book tells them not too.

Would that we could all just recognise that the best way is to "tend your own yard" and stop trying to force others to join your little club.

I mean really, does it really matter what it is that makes you a good and happy person as long as it harms no others?
Brent

bpslider45 said...

God... I am a windbag.
Hey, is that taking the Lord's name in vain?
Ah well, I hope He understands.
Brent

plittle said...

  Brent, Dan, Dawn, et al. When I said that a belief in God discourages scientific inquiry, I was not intimating that some outside agency actively discourages one from asking certain questions. My point was that a person with a belief in God is comfortable that certain questions - for example that of origins - have already been answered in a satisfactory manner. I feel that people who believe in God also feel that it is then unecessary to ask certain questions.
  I disagree very strongly, and firmly believe that the only bad questions are the ones left unasked.
-Paul

plittle said...

Jenny,
  I have, up 'til now, left your comments without a response. The reason for that is not that I discount them. I value all opinions here. I simply feel that you and I will disagree at a fundamental level, and so any discussion we might have would border on futile.
  Your belief in God is based upon personal experiences of an emotional and intellectual nature, and by definition are entirely subjective. As a skeptic, I am very hesitant to lend significant credence to observations of that nature. For context, see my earlier entry, Two Suns In The Sunset: http://journals.aol.ca/plittle/AuroraWalkingVacation/entries/2007/05/16/two-suns-in-the-sunset/2390
-Paul

bpslider45 said...

Hey Paul,

My point, which as usual I am obviously making very poorly, is in direct opposition to what you have just said.
A belief in God does not create fences to new ideas.
That would be religion.

Your understanding of the world and mine are virtually identical.
The only real difference between us is whether or not there is a directing force and whether or not anything exists beyond this mortal existance.

I can be as skeptical as you (sometimes more so) and certainly as open to new ideas as you. I just believe there is more to it than our physical existance.

You as well as Dan (although Dan seems to have seen our light - hallelujah!) seem to be determined to see religion and a belief in God as the same thing.
That is like me saying an atheist must be anti-morality.

Someone can believe in God without buying into the crap or restrictions of religion.

Some do this by selecting the aspects of religion that aren't crap and discarding the
rest.
Some like myself (and Dawn if I may be so bold) toss out the man-made portion of God (religion) and maintain our faith despite the stain we feel that religion has been.

You know me.
I believe in God.
I defy you to tell me that I am not open to new discoveries.
"Just open-minded to the point of keeping my brains from falling out", I hope.
Brent

bpslider45 said...

Jenny,

While you may write Paul off as an unbeliever and therefore not credible I hope you will consider what I have to say.

I do believe in God.

I believe because the scientific wonders of this world seem beyond chance.
Their existance make me believe in a wonderous force of creation.

Not *spark* *BANG* there is Adam, but a force that initiated life and was the guiding force which allowed to proceed to where we are now.

You quote the bible as "God's word."
Do you believe everything written in the bible?
Surely there are portions of the bible that you recognise defy belief?

If you admit the bible has flaws, then you either have to admit God is also flawed (kind of in opposition to the concept) or that God did not write the bible.
I don't think that I have to state which side I'm on.

You use the "life of Jesus" as part of your comment.
Would God send one "Son", "Disciple" or "Man" to spread his word to all of mankind?
I mean, there are caucasians, asians, east asians, etc., etc., etc..
It doesn't take a genius to recognise that one messenger would fail to inspire a world of many races simply because he or she could only truly represent ONE race.
The fact that Christianity has spread so far is more a testimony of the Church's efforts to "spread the word" than anything Jesus did.

I'm sure God (if wished) could do far better.
You prove to me that this was God's actions and I'm afraid I might lose a lot of my faith.
Compared to what my faith is based on, this would be a rather pathetic effort for a "Supreme Being!"
Brent

jennyp51 said...

I have just read the comments but will have to answer if i may more fully later as i am out for the day.  I am off to a global day of prayer at a football ground where there will be about 8-12,000 of us, and will probably represent people from all races.  :-)
Jenny <><

princesssaurora said...

Brent,

You may be so bold as to speak for me anytime!  You really did hit the nail on the head for me... thank you.  

Paul,

I think like Brent... God for me is just there... a part of it all... I do not think any difficult questions perclude God so I avoid them.  

be well,
Dawn

bpslider45 said...

Awwwww!
Jenny no come back.

Oh, Dawn thanks for your trust but even I don't trust me ALL the time.
Just ask Paul.
Hee Hee!

Brent

lurkynat said...

oh Dawn:) you're right It is totally experiential..a thing I think Paul and I agree on...
oh Dan... uh...just for starters..how about Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, and uh.. Hawkings and oh yeah the guy who just came up wiht the new Gene information... Mr. Francis Collins..
love,natalie
ps hey Dan.. Albert Schweitzer and FDR and Churchill good enough for you? winkie winkie
natalie

plittle said...

Natalie,
  Having a particular expertise in one area does not prevent a person from holding erroneous ideas in another. Just because someone is a brilliant scientist does not mean that person's belief in God lends any more support to any argument for God's existence. This is a type of logical fallacy called Appeal To Authority. If I told you that a former Prime Minister of Canada believed that the spirit of his dead Mother had inhabited his dog, would you be more inclined to believe it was true than if some Joe Shmoe nobody made the same claim? If your answer is yes, you should very carefully examine why you came to that conclusion. Arguments like appeals to authority, or appeals to popularity (a similar argument based upon a belief being widespread) may sound like they support a position, but they really do not.
  Also, having explained all that, I think you need to know that those people who circulate the stories that people like Sagan, Einstein, and Hawking believe in God are leading you on. Any quotes from these people that seem to support that position are always being presented out of context, and when examined along with the balance of the statements made by these people, are shown to be unsupported. While Einstein did, on occasion, refer to "God," his contemporaries always understood him to be using a figure of speech. Hawking has never actually come out and openly professed to atheism, but those who know him tell us his references to "God" have been nothing more than polite conversation, and figures of speech. Hawking is almost certainly an atheist. With Carl Sagan, there is no doubt. We know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he was an atheist. He stated so, explicitly, many times.
-Paul