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#154265 - 13/04/2003 02:13 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: m6400]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
As I said before: because it's demonstrable. This only fails if you assume that our perceptions are illusory.
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Bitt Faulk

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#154266 - 13/04/2003 02:50 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: wfaulk]
m6400
member

Registered: 18/09/2002
Posts: 188
Loc: Erie, PA
really? we've demonstrated the theory of evolution? why didnt anybody tell me? which lab did they do it in? how did they get life to spontaniously form? have they gotten non-sentiant life to turn into sentiant life yet? (plants to animals) how about non-rationalizing life into rationalizing life? (animals to humans)

scarcasm aside, yes, there are many things we can know through experiment and demonstration, but that in itself doesnt prove there isnt a God. aditionaly, we cant prove that all isnt an illusion. we also assume we can trust these experiments and demonstrations because we are somehow outside of them, able to think about them and reason about them without those thoughts and reasons being nothing more than a product of the world around us. even IF evolution IS true (which you are very, very far from convincing me that it is) that doesnt necicatate the non-existance of God.

I hope you dont think that i think im actualy out-right proving the existance of God, that still has to be taken by faith. i belive there is substantial evidance in suport of a creator. i also belive that science is not capable of disproving God (not just now, but ever, the existance of God is greater than the relm of science)

so, my objective is this, what is that one thing that keeps you from beliving in God? that thing that "if it wasnt for this....then maybe i just might give the thought some credit" i hope (i dont say i will succede, it certiantly doesnt look like i am) but i hope, to remove that one obstical from your path. the steps afterward still have to be taken by you, if there was no difaculty, there would be no faith, and hence no love, which (back to the topic of the thread) is the bloody point of it all!

so i guess thats basicly what i have to say about that, we dont seem to be moving in to much new teritory here, but, so it is.
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#154267 - 13/04/2003 03:47 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: m6400]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4148
Loc: Cambridge, England
lets look at a few examples, we have laws which goveren our country, but they dont produce criminals, or more precisly, they dont produce the people which they goveren, do they? [...] likewise, there are laws wich goveren the universe, but they did not produce the universe.
Um, you do realise that scientists' use of the word "law", to mean those equations or statements that predict the results of physical experiments, is a metaphor, don't you? Most dictionaries have (at least) two definitions under "law", one for "law of the land" and the other for "law of nature". The two are quite different. I'm sure if scientists had anticipated that anyone would confuse the two, they'd have come up with some new word instead of co-opting "law". Perhaps they'd have used "quig". If you'd written "There are quigs which govern the universe, but they did not produce the universe" (although "describe" would have been a better word than "govern") then it looks a lot less obvious that they did not produce it.

(Apparently the ISO C++ standard deliberately avoids the terms "legal" and "illegal" constructs, because there are languages in which, if translated literally, it's genuinely confusing.)

at least I'll admit that what i belive has eliments of faith in it, how about you?
Indeed, my mental picture of the world relies on faith in the integrity of my perceptions and of my memories of my perceptions. So, I believe, does anyone's; it's hard to imagine any way of removing faith from those beliefs. That has, IMO, no bearing on whether or not it's a good idea to try and replace faith with logic or proof in those beliefs where it is possible.

"what we called his thought was essentially a phenomenon of the same sort as his other secretions - the form which the vast irrational process of nature was bound to take at a particular point of space and time." - C.S. Lewis
Yes. And if we were all completely incorporeal beings, we could sit around -- or float around -- and debate our, entirely unanchored to physical reality, philosophical notions all day, with neither side able to get anywhere. Fortunately, we are not entirely incorporeal beings: we can perceive and interact with physical reality -- we can demonstrate physical laws to each other, and point at compelling evidence of events we were not present to witness. From these results, perceptible by all and demonstrable to all, we form the notion of scientific truth. (And why can we? Because reasoning, even at the stage of IF I can break this branch off THEN I can get at the fruit on the end of it, is evolutionarily selective. Which, of course, is merely a suggestion of how natural selection itself could give rise to a capacity to search for truth, and not a suggestion that anyone's personal belief in natural selection is superior or inferior to their personal desire to seek the truth.)

So it is not IMO coincidental that "irrational" (by which I specifically mean, as I think Lewis did, "not micromanaged by any conscious or rational being") evolution gave rise to professors of anthropology who seek the truth through reason.

"Science does not preclude the fact that a creator exists, but it does preclude the fact that he interacts with us on a regular basis, unless he always does so in accordance with the rules of nature as we observe them, in which case, that creator would be no different than the nature of the universe itself."
but if you remember that He created the laws of nature, and furthermore, created the universe which interacts with them, then it is extreamly logical that He would interact with us and communicate with us through them.
I don't think you answered there the point which you were replying to. The point was, that if the predictions of the quigs of nature are coming true all the time, then this isn't really "interacting" as the creator has no choice about how things happen.

It strikes me that, if there was a sentient creator, He went out of His way to cover up the fact: patiently implementing quigs of nature for every scale of matter and every form of energy, tirelessly working out Hubble's constant and red shifts in order to use million-mile-wide open-frame fusion reactors to make nice little speckles in the night sky, laboriously burying fake dinosaurs, and then just setting the clockwork going and walking away, resisting any temptation to tinker with it later. Faced with all the fake evidence for His non-existance that He planted, I think it's pretty clear that His intent was that we don't believe in Him. And I for one wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of a creator who plays practical jokes on that sort of scale.

Peter

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#154268 - 13/04/2003 05:55 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: peter]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13884
Loc: Canada
It strikes me that, if there was a sentient creator, He went out of His way to cover up the fact: patiently implementing quigs of nature for every scale of matter and every form of energy,z

Yeah, almost as if time were no object; or maybe because said Being created time as well..

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#154269 - 13/04/2003 07:01 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: peter]
bonzi
pooh-bah

Registered: 13/09/1999
Posts: 2401
Loc: Croatia
It strikes me that, if there was a sentient creator, He went out of His way to cover up the fact: patiently implementing quigs of nature for every scale of matter and every form of energy, tirelessly working out Hubble's constant and red shifts in order to use million-mile-wide open-frame fusion reactors to make nice little speckles in the night sky, laboriously burying fake dinosaurs, and then just setting the clockwork going and walking away, resisting any temptation to tinker with it later. Faced with all the fake evidence for His non-existance that He planted, I think it's pretty clear that His intent was that we don't believe in Him. And I for one wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of a creator who plays practical jokes on that sort of scale.

Exactly! Very nicely put.
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#154270 - 13/04/2003 07:30 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: m6400]
jasonc
member

Registered: 08/12/2001
Posts: 109
no, i dont agree at all with the "random" nature of the universe. i dont think there is anything that is truly random, i dont belive in chance, luck, or coincidences. i also think the claims you are making are at least as outrageous as you seem to think mine are. You say, nothing + nobody + blind chance = everything. I say God is the fundamental explination of all things. The burden of proof rest on both of us.

Yes I'm using the word "chance" incorrectly as Tony pointed out, but given what is testable about our universe, I could (I've said this before) claim that there is an Almighty Yeti (who created us in his image) that no one can see created the universe in it's entirety. I would have as much proof (repeatable testing) as you do about your god.

So prove to me the Almighty Yeti doesn't exist.

I suppose techinically the universe is not random in any way if you have the ability to predict the outcome of every single energy transfer. Last time i checked the science wasn't quite there, but at least there are people actively working on it.

Faith doesnt predict tomorows weather or build a better airbag. How many important scienctific theories have been tested, proved and adopted from a religious facility?

Do you mean the idea of God, or God Himself?


I'm saying I have no proof for lack of a god or Of a god, and for the same reasons I don'd believe in a ToothFairy. I'm not going to jump to an illogical conclusion there is a god.

now most assuredly if naturalism is right then it is at this point, at the study of man himself, that it wins its final victory and overthrows all our hopes: not only our hope of immortality, but our hope of finding significance in our lives here and now.


This is stricly an opionion and contains no facts.

on the fully naturalistic view all events are determined by laws. our logical behaviour, in other words our thoughts, and our ethical behaviour, including our ideals as well as our acts of will, are governed by biochemical laws; these, inturn, by physical laws which are themselves actuarial statements about the lawless movements of matter. these units never intended to produce the regular universe we see: the law of averages (successor to lucretius's exiguum clinamen) has produced it out of the collision of these random variations in movement. the physical universe never intended to produce organisms. the relevant chemicals on earth, and the sun's heat, thus juxtaposed, gave rise to this disquieting desease of matter: organization. natural selection, operating on the minute differences between one organism and another, blundered into that sort of phosphorescence or mirage which we call consciousness - and that, in some cortexes beneath some skulls, at certain moments, still in obedience to physical laws, but to physical laws now filtered through laws of a more complicated kind, takes the form we call thought. such, for instance, is the origin of this paper: such was the origin of Professor Price's paper [the paper he is responding to]. what we should speak of as his 'thoughts' were mearly the last link of a causal chain in which all the previous links were irrational. he spoke as he did because the matter of his brain was behaving in a certain way: and the whole history of the universe up to that moment had forced it to behave in that way. what we called his thought was essentially a phenomenon of the same sort as his other secretions - the form which the vast irrational process of nature was bound to take at a particular point of space and time." - C.S. Lewis in the essay "Religion without Dogma?" contained in the book titled, "God in the Dock"

heres a good quote i found
In reply to:

"Chance" in evolution, or any other scientific theory, is a semi-quantitative statement about our ignorance --- our lack of precise knowledge of the initial conditions, or our lack of understanding of how a particular final state is selected.




Just becuase we dont know the exact circumstances something (say how we could evolve and you end up typing a thought) does not mean thats not the way it happens(ed).

So youre saying theres some kind of "soul" because you refuse to believe you're just a pile of biochemical reactions?

So my choices here are an invisble thing that is "me" that no one can prove exists, or that my brain is a complex system of chemical reactions.
These reactions i manipulate on a daily basis by ingesting drugs, which then effect my mental/physical state.

Down these lines, does the soul store information? we've proved if you remove pysical parts of the brain the person loses mental abilities, at what point does the soul "take over" information control? how would you prove this?
How can you make the leap from the physical reality to an imaginary one?

The whole idea for a soul seems designed to control other human beings afraid of their own mortality.


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#154271 - 13/04/2003 07:42 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: m6400]
jasonc
member

Registered: 08/12/2001
Posts: 109
scarcasm aside, yes, there are many things we can know through experiment and demonstration, but that in itself doesnt prove there isnt a God.
I hope you dont think that i think im actualy out-right proving the existance of God, that still has to be taken by faith.


So what youre saying is "we will never be able to prove there isnt a god, but that you need zero proof that there is a god to believe"?

just doesnt make any sense.
you use science to disprove science, but I'm spose to "just believe" in some higher being for no reason?

what is that one thing that keeps you from beliving in God?


If there was proof of a god I would believe. I just can't toss my scientific curiosity out the window like some.

if there was no difaculty, there would be no faith, and hence no love

I don't suppose you could define this without using any metaphors...seems like complete gibberish.

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#154272 - 13/04/2003 08:12 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: m6400]
jasonc
member

Registered: 08/12/2001
Posts: 109
we've demonstrated the theory of evolution?


We have museums full of fossils, we have genetic information that we can follow back generations either plant or animal. It may have its flaws, but is obviously more substantive than some creator popping everything into existance.
how about non-rationalizing life into rationalizing life? (animals to humans)


What about some of the higher primates that have been tought to speak using sign language. I've seen entire conversations with some orang's, and they seem to think, rationalize, communicate very well. They can even be devious. How are these animals not a reflection of ourselves?

quote from Dr. Anne Russon:
In reply to:

In my study I found ex-captive orangutans doing many things they must have learned by imitating humans. They chopped firewood, washed laundry and dishes, weeded and swept camp paths, sawed logs, sharpened axe blades, hung up hammocks and rode in them, and siphoned fuel. One even tried to make a fire and almost succeeded; she tried every single trick she had seen the camp cooks using daily. In all of these cases, orangutans did the jobs the same way humans did, yet no one had taught them - you'd have to be a fool to show a free-living orangutan to make a fire or wield an axe - and these tools were even hidden from the orangutans. So we concluded that the only way they could have learned all of these skills was by watching humans.




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#154273 - 13/04/2003 09:36 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: peter]
m6400
member

Registered: 18/09/2002
Posts: 188
Loc: Erie, PA
Um, you do realise that scientists' use of the word "law", to mean those equations or statements that predict the results of physical experiments, is a metaphor, don't you?

how do you figure? if you mean that man has the power to break one kind of law and not the other, then i agree, but hardly see how it is relivant. or perhaps you mean one kind of law describes what "should" be done and the other describes what "is done, well ok, but i still dont see quite how it is relivant. i also noticed you overlooked my mathamatical example.
If you'd written "There are quigs which govern the universe, but they did not produce the universe" (although "describe" would have been a better word than "govern") then it looks a lot less obvious that they did not produce it.

Can i condense this to:
"There are quigs which describe the universe, and because they describe it, it seems obvious to me that they must have produced it"
First, i agree with your preference for the word "describe". Second, if what i have rendered above corectly reflects what you belive, then pardon me if i call it silly (since you've done as much with my beliefs). I can stand here all day and describe the mona lisa in intracate detail, its not going to suddenly appear on the wall infront of me, now is it? or, to take a more scientific example, i can sit at my desk doing equasions concerning the flight and path of bullets, but at the end of the day i still wont have a gun now will i? likewise, you can talk all day about how an amoba woud evolve into yourself, but you still havent accounted for the amoba.
Indeed, my mental picture of the world relies on faith in the integrity of my perceptions and of my memories of my perceptions. So, I believe, does anyone's; it's hard to imagine any way of removing faith from those beliefs. That has, IMO, no bearing on whether or not it's a good idea to try and replace faith with logic or proof in those beliefs where it is possible.

here, i think, is one thing we agree on, though we might debate on what is possible
Fortunately, we are not entirely incorporeal beings: we can perceive and interact with physical reality -- we can demonstrate physical laws to each other, and point at compelling evidence of events we were not present to witness.

So it seems that you agree with Lewis and me, in that, in order for our rational thoughts to mean anything they must be more than simply the product of our enviroment. The modern God-debunking psychologist and sociologist does not, i think, agree with you.
Which, of course, is merely a suggestion of how natural selection itself could give rise to a capacity to search for truth, and not a suggestion that anyone's personal belief in natural selection is superior or inferior to their personal desire to seek the truth.

point takes, however, im still asking which you take to be the better man, the one does everything with the purpose of being the "fittest" for natural selection, or the one who regards truth, in and of itself, for the sake of being true, to be the most desirable thing? because if you say the man who goes for natural selection, then i say, "to heck with truth for its own sake, when it helps me survive, then truth is good, when it doesnt, i should toss it away as 'excess baggage'" on the other hand, if you say truth is important in and to itself, then i say that reaks of a morality not associated with darwinsim.
I don't think you answered there the point which you were replying to.

i dont see at all how you come to that conclusion. "He created the laws of nature" + "He created the universe which interacts with them" does not equel "the creator has no choice about how things happen."
Yeah, almost as if time were no object; or maybe because said Being created time as well..

Mark, i can't thank you enough for that statment. its been 25 posts (pertaining to this discussion) since anyone backed me up on anything, i was begining to get lonley. 2 days of fighting out numbered is wearisome.

In general regard to Peter's final paragraph:

Do you even understand the definition of God? Do you know what we are talking about here? God is outside of time. He created it. He is not subordanate to its "quigs". If God is what we say He is (and we say He could be no less) then you would expect a massive, insanly complex universe. It goes without saying almost. But furthermore, you seem to be under the notion that creating the universe is something God did, then stoped doing, then might "tinker with 'later'". but dont you see that if time is not relivent to Him, then you cant look at it that way. the world being created, Himself going down into it, dying on a cross, coming back to life on the 3rd day, the end of all time when all shal be renewed, this is all in the same "moment" for God. This isnt a new theory, the people in the Old Testament knew this. and of course nothing is diffacult for Him, because there is nothing for Him to struggle with, He created it all. So all your talk about "laboriously" and "tirelessly" is just nonsense. Perhapse you should learn who God is before you go around talking about Him, hmmm?
Faced with all the fake evidence for His non-existance that He planted

what evidence?
burying fake dinosaurs

i dont seem to recall saying the dinosaurs were fake, nor do i recall the bible saying they were fake, infact, i seem to recall the bible mentioning a few things that sounded like dinasaurs. further more the bible states that man was created after animals.
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- Marcus -

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#154274 - 13/04/2003 10:29 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: jasonc]
m6400
member

Registered: 18/09/2002
Posts: 188
Loc: Erie, PA
So prove to me the Almighty Yeti doesn't exist.

actualy, were you to say this, i would say that it appered as though we were talking about the same being, just using different names. we might, however, disagree on what he wants us to do, but you dont belive in God or "the almighty yeti". so there isnt much use in us having that discusion, now is there?
Faith doesnt predict tomorows weather or build a better airbag.

please show me where i said it did
How many important scienctific theories have been tested, proved and adopted from a religious facility?

need i remind you that up untill the early 20th century almost all colleges (where the majority of research took place at the time) were religious facilities? The church was the main push behind most scientific research and discoveries from the end of the middle ages onward. you seem to have the idea that religion excludes science. well, it doesnt, rather it offers answers to the questions which science can"t answer.
I'm not going to jump to an illogical conclusion there is a god.

by illogical, to do mean "not suficent evidance to come to a logical conclusion" or "this can be disproved by logic" if you can disprove it, show us, if there isnt suficent evidance then i belive i did say that God has left just enough gap to require faith to belive in Him.
This is stricly an opionion and contains no facts.

a philisophical argument is nither an opionion or a fact, it is an argument, you can either agree with it, or refute it, you have done nither.
Just becuase we dont know the exact circumstances something (say how we could evolve and you end up typing a thought) does not mean thats not the way it happens

but it does mean that you do not have enough evidence to prove it, it remains a theory.
So my choices here are an invisble thing that is "me" that no one can prove exists, or that my brain is a complex system of chemical reactions.
These reactions i manipulate on a daily basis by ingesting drugs, which then effect my mental/physical state.

It seems to me that you and Peter disagree on this. he seems to say that he has a more direct control over his thoughts and therefor can trust them to make judgments about things, you seem to think your enviroment can change your "mental/physical state". how about the two of you hash that out and get back to us on it.
Down these lines, does the soul store information? we've proved if you remove pysical parts of the brain the person loses mental abilities, at what point does the soul "take over" information control? how would you prove this?

i honestly dont know the answer to this question, i imagin however, that strict information retention is not quite so important in heaven (i asume that is where you are going with this) furthermore, when you reduce the mental abilities of a person in such a fashion, at what point would the human element with in them be considered "dead" (perhaps the heart still beats, the lungs still breath, everything still works, there is just "nobody upstairs") at this point i would say the soul has left the body.
The whole idea for a soul seems designed to control other human beings afraid of their own mortality.

actualy the existance of a soul seems to make people fear their mortality less. i am not afraid to die because i belive death to be mearly the begining of my existance. as far as "control" goes, you must mean holding people acountable for there actions and seem to regard that as a bad thing. on the other hand, if there is no soul then we sould fear death greatly (it being the irreversable end of our existance) and furthermore, feel free to do most anything we want because there will be no lasting concquences for it.

I would write more, i am aware there is still much to reply to, however "life" calls. Next chance i get i will be writing out replies to the rest of this however.
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- Marcus -

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#154275 - 13/04/2003 11:28 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: m6400]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Let's stop all this expostulating and wordplay. You seem to often totally misunderstand peoples' points, so let's get rid of them.

Are you trying to say that God exists? Are you trying to say that science's claim of the non-existance of God is untrue? (Which is a non-sequitur, as it doesn't make any such claim.) Are you trying to say that God interacts with us on a daily basis?

What exactly is it that your sentences are attempting to demonstrate? There seems to be no common thread other than bashing your misunderstood science.
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#154276 - 13/04/2003 11:46 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: m6400]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4148
Loc: Cambridge, England
how do you figure? if you mean that man has the power to break one kind of law and not the other, then i agree, but hardly see how it is relivant. or perhaps you mean one kind of law describes what "should" be done and the other describes what "is done, well ok, but i still dont see quite how it is relivant.
You made some statements about laws of the land and then made out that those statements also applied to laws of nature. I was pointing out that that argument was a non sequitur based on confusing two, importantly different, meanings of the word "law". Rewrite your argument using "law-of-the-land" or "law-of-nature" as appropriate each time, and see whether it still makes sense.

i also noticed you overlooked my mathamatical example.
Would you like me to do that one too? You wrote:

or take math, you can know and understand all the mathmatical equasions in the world, but it doesnt mean anything untill you actualy mesure something, or count something, right? just because i do math concerning my bank account doesnt mean more money gets put into it.
(That's the entirety of what I elided.) I missed that out because it was IMO well into the territory of what Bitt called "talking in riddles". I genuinely don't understand what you were getting at here, which made it difficult to argue against it.

First, i agree with your preference for the word "describe". Second, if what i have rendered above corectly reflects what you belive, then pardon me if i call it silly (since you've done as much with my beliefs). I can stand here all day and describe the mona lisa in intracate detail, its not going to suddenly appear on the wall infront of me, now is it? or, to take a more scientific example, i can sit at my desk doing equasions concerning the flight and path of bullets, but at the end of the day i still wont have a gun now will i?
Of course not.

likewise, you can talk all day about how an amoba woud evolve into yourself, but you still havent accounted for the amoba.
Indeed, there is still a gap in mankind's knowledge, right in-between "lightning-type discharges through gas mixtures resembling the early Earth, produce trace amounts of amino-acids" and evolution by natural selection. But a hundred years ago you would have as cheerfully pointed to mountain-range formation as something science had not yet accounted for, or 150 years ago magnetism or genetics, or before that celestial mechanics, alchemical reactions, or weather. Does it not worry you that your collection of gaps (there's another popular one about causation of the Big Bang) is forever shrinking? Was your deity more real when it had shrunk less, when people saw gods in planets and thunderstorms and disease epidemics? Will your faith falter when the Big Bang and cell genesis questions are cleared up?

If you can prove that science is fatally flawed by producing one phenomenon that science cannot explain, would you allow me to claim that theism is fatally flawed by producing one phenomenon, hitherto thought to be direct theistic action, that science can explain? I suspect you wouldn't.

So it seems that you agree with Lewis and me, in that, in order for our rational thoughts to mean anything they must be more than simply the product of our enviroment. The modern God-debunking psychologist and sociologist does not, i think, agree with you.
I think that there are truths which are not products of our environment, if that's what you mean: laws of nature and mathematical theorems were true back when Earth was lifeless and will still be true when Earth is lifeless again, however far in the future that is. Mathematical theorems, in fact, I would expect to be truths even in other universes with wildly different laws of nature. I don't think they need any souls or anything else metaphysical going on in order to remain true: they just are.

i dont see at all how you come to that conclusion. "He created the laws of nature" + "He created the universe which interacts with them" does not equel "the creator has no choice about how things happen."
Perhaps I wasn't being precise enough. Bitt had originally said that science, or more precisely the observed consistency of the laws of nature, doesn't prove there wasn't a creator, but does suggest that the creator doesn't interact with the universe in measurable ways: if He made choices about how things were going to happen, He did so in his choice of initial conditions, and since then the clockwork universe has been carrying on with no further operator intervention.

im still asking which you take to be the better man, the one does everything with the purpose of being the "fittest" for natural selection, or the one who regards truth, in and of itself, for the sake of being true, to be the most desirable thing? because if you say the man who goes for natural selection, then i say, "to heck with truth for its own sake, when it helps me survive, then truth is good, when it doesnt, i should toss it away as 'excess baggage'" on the other hand, if you say truth is important in and to itself, then i say that reaks of a morality not associated with darwinsim.
"Still" asking? Actually that's IMO the first time you've asked that question so clearly. And my answer is that evolution, which has bred creatures focussed on the survival of their own genetic traits, has poorly prepared humankind for living in the modern world's large social groups. (Large social groups, of course, being too new a concept to have had any significant evolutionary effect.) So human happiness is often best served by suppressing urges which evolution has hitherto selected by: xenophobia, the use of force to overcome disagreements, even prolific childbearing. My definition of "the better man" is the one whose actions better benefit human happiness. Of course this is not the same set of criteria as natural selection of hominids has previously used; I wouldn't expect it to be. Natural selection has no way of "seeing the big picture". Darwinism proceeds in an entirely amoral way, but I don't see it as paradoxical or surprising that it eventually produced creatures whose ability for reason and introspection allow for the concept of moralistic action.

Believing that Earth's flora and fauna arose as a result of evolution by natural selection, is not at all the same as believing that evolution by natural selection the right way, or even a sane way at all, to conduct modern human society.

Incidentally, even the man who lies and cheats to get ahead can still be a seeker of truth; it's hard to deliberately lie when you don't know what the real truth is. Deluding others, though not a moral trait, is sometimes an evolutionarily selective one (e.g. cuckoos); deluding oneself is probably not.

Faced with all the fake evidence for His non-existance that He planted
what evidence?
The evidence in favour of laws of motion, of celestial mechanics, of weather systems, of natural selection, of all the things mankind once thought to be the activities of a perpetually interacting creator but now have coherent non-theistic explanations of.

burying fake dinosaurs
i dont seem to recall saying the dinosaurs were fake, nor do i recall the bible saying they were fake, infact, i seem to recall the bible mentioning a few things that sounded like dinasaurs. further more the bible states that man was created after animals.
Okay, "burying fake dinosaurs" was kind of a gloss, but what I meant was faking up the fossil records of evolution and faking up the various physical signs of extreme age which inform palaeontologists' dating methods.

Of course, only some theists are the 4004 BC variety. Plenty of others believe palaeontology over the Book of Genesis. In that scenario, there's no need for fake dinosaurs: the creator abandons his position at Genesis (which at the time was a perfectly plausible theistic explanation of part of the real world) and falls back, retrenching at the Big Bang (which now is one of the few plausible places left to hide for a theistic explanation of part of the real world).

Peter

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#154277 - 13/04/2003 11:59 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: m6400]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
OK, maybe this will turn into a 300+ thread, I can admit when I'm wrong! I'm not going to respond to everything here, but there are a few points I'd like to bring out.

As Tony said, evolution and the creation of life are two different questions, and if we divorce them, evolution really becomes something of a minor issue. Evolution does not explain how life began, so while it may cause some uncomfortability with a Christian notion of God, it by no means precludes a Creator. Even then, evolution would not be the nail in the coffin of Christianity even though Evangelical (and Time magazine) say it is, just as proving the earth was millions of years old is not irreconcilable with the basic tenants of Christianity. Most of these arguments goes back to biblical accuracy, something we've discussed in detail before. However, biblical accuracy is a far removed argument from believing that there is no God, or even whether or not He became man, died for our sins on a cross, and was resurrected from the dead.

It seems popular to debate the issue of faith vs. science, and this is unfortunate. Evangelical Christians often imply that using our scientific knowledge to interpret the Bible is "reading into" the text and that we should rely on a plain understanding from what it says. While "reading into" the scriptures is bad, using scientific knowledge to better understand what God would tell us is not "reading in". A plain, non-scientific reading of the bible would lead us to the conclusion that the world was flat, yet this is clearly not the case. It is also abundantly clear that God is not trying to tell us anything about geography of our planet in these texts; He (or actually the inspired human writer) is merely using words that would be understood at the time the text was written. It isn't wrong to apply science to the bible, however it must be good science.

Christianity should never encourage a person to leave his or her brain at the door in order to enter, though this seems to be the attitude many have, both on the outside and the inside. Yes, if we question what we hear in Church we might find we can't answer every question, but having an answer to every question isn't necessary to make a commitment of faith, just as having all the answers isn't necessary for scientific theory to become widely adopted.

Can science prove or disprove God? As I've said before, I don't think so. Science is about repeatable experiments that follow the laws of nature as we've identified them, of which clearly God is on the outside. Can God intervene within these laws of nature? I don't see why not, though if those events were examined under the microscope of science we'd come to some very wrong conclusions even if we were using the most rigorous of scientific methods.

Not all of our beliefs come from science, nor do I think any of us claim they should. Science helps us along in many areas, but love, morals, decisions of what is pleasurable, etc. all fall outside of what science can tell us.

Someone said earlier that the proposition of God is an outrageous claim and needs to be supported. However, based on my experience and knowledge, the opposite is true. The claim that there is no God working in my life would be an outrageous one to me, and a great amount of proof would be required to make me believe otherwise.

There are many philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God. Logic is good as far as it takes us, but I've heard people use (at least what appeared to be) sound logic to argue two completely different sides of an issue, yet one (if not both) of them was clearly wrong

This is my attempt to cut through the many arguments being offered here. Evolution is not as key an issue as some (on both sides) would make it. Science does not have a "magic bullet" to defeat the Christian God. Likewise Christianity cannot defeat science, nor should it seek to. My belief is that it's rational to place my faith in Jesus Christ' death, burial and resurrection as a solution to my sin problem. I do have philosophies and science that backs this up, but many other people will put forth science and philosophies that deny it. It ultimately does come down to a matter of faith (imagine that) but not on issues of evolution or science (though of course these should be addressed); the real issue is: do I have a sin problem that is keeping me from the God relationship I was designed to have and what can be done about it?
_________________________
-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#154278 - 13/04/2003 12:58 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: JeffS]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
I think you've just created a three-sided argument.
the real issue is: do I have a sin problem that is keeping me from the God relationship I was designed to have and what can be done about it?
Let's define sin for a second outside the concept of Christian religion (but not necessarily outside the realm of Christian philosophy). Let's say that sin is something that harms yourself or others. I think that this accurately describes the concept described in the Bible outside the ``no other gods/believe in me'' clause, which is irreproducible outside religion.

So if you have a ``sin problem'', that would mean that you're hurting either yourself or someone else. Why does that necessarily have to have any relationship to God? That's firmly based in mundane human ethics. It makes sense, even from an evolutionary standpoint, for one to avoid hurting one's self or others. There's no reason to believe that those sorts of ethics and morals have been inserted into us either through divine intervention or training.

This leaves only the ``no other gods/believe in me'' part. This has only internal logic. It means nothing if there is no God, and if you believe that there is a God, it's pretty self-fulfilling.

So, again:
the real issue is: do I have a sin problem that is keeping me from the God relationship I was designed to have and what can be done about it?
The real issue is that any ``sin problem'' that you have that can be applied to God must be firmly grounded in ``no other gods/believe in me''. Which doesn't seem to make any sense.

I feel like I've glossed over something here. Please tell me what I've missed.
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

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#154279 - 13/04/2003 13:14 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: JeffS]
jasonc
member

Registered: 08/12/2001
Posts: 109
My belief is that it's rational to place my faith in Jesus Christ' death, burial and resurrection as a solution to my sin problem. I do have philosophies and science that backs this up, but many other people will put forth science and philosophies that deny it. It ultimately does come down to a matter of faith (imagine that) but not on issues of evolution or science (though of course these should be addressed);

So when people refute your "philosophies and science that backs this up" of jesus christ, you just ignore that science and rely instead on your faith? Why? why the necessity to dump the obvious solutions for the wacky one. for some reason i still cannot wrap my brain around ignoring all that i know about science to say that theres some supreme being no one can see, but that some guy(s) over the last 2 thousand years talked to, maybe.


the real issue is: do I have a sin problem that is keeping me from the God relationship I was designed to have and what can be done about it?


What logic brings you to ask this question? under no circumstance in my entire life have i asked myself this question, nor would I. Because i haven't sinned. I don't break my own moral code. unless you'd like to point out otherwise..and please dont use the bible, i dont believe it's any more devinely inspired than "Gross Jokes Volume IX".


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#154280 - 13/04/2003 13:42 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: m6400]
jasonc
member

Registered: 08/12/2001
Posts: 109
well, it doesnt, rather it offers answers to the questions which science can"t answer.


No it offers possibilities of answers. As your faith doesn't allow you to challenge those answers, how do you know youre right?

by illogical, to do mean "not suficent evidance to come to a logical conclusion" or "this can be disproved by logic" if you can disprove it, show us, if there isnt suficent evidance then i belive i did say that God has left just enough gap to require faith to belive in Him.


So what scientific question could be answered that would prove to you theres no god? or rather what about that science gap screams "believe in a supreme being that no one can see, and is obviously rather eccentric"?

you seem to think your enviroment can change your "mental/physical state"

You don't? So nothing i can physically do to myself will change my mental or physical state? This obviously isnt what Peter is refering to (I cant seem to find the post from Peter you're refering to).

at what point would the human element with in them be considered "dead" (perhaps the heart still beats, the lungs still breath, everything still works, there is just "nobody upstairs") at this point i would say the soul has left the body.
How do you know? What are you basing this information on?

The whole idea for a soul seems designed to control other human beings afraid of their own mortality.

actualy the existance of a soul seems to make people fear their mortality less. i am not afraid to die because i belive death to be mearly the begining of my existance.


This is exactly what I'm saying. People weak enough to need to believe in an "afterlife" would generally gravitate to a religion that promises such a thing. I've no such necessity. I'm not afraid to die.

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#154281 - 13/04/2003 14:02 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: peter]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3155
Loc: Portland, OR
It strikes me that, if there was a sentient creator, He went out of His way to cover up the fact: patiently implementing quigs of nature for every scale of matter and every form of energy, tirelessly working out Hubble's constant and red shifts in order to use million-mile-wide open-frame fusion reactors to make nice little speckles in the night sky, laboriously burying fake dinosaurs,


Well, you know... let's see what we have here:
  • a dude who has always existed...
  • ...in the middle of absolute nothingness.
  • whose future consists of continuing to exist in said nothingness


You say "yeah, right, as if he'd do this," while I might say "what else is he going to do, twiddle his thumbs for eternity?"

and then just setting the clockwork going and walking away, resisting any temptation to tinker with it later.


Except that you know (according to the Bible) that He does tinker -- great flood? Jonah swallowed by the whale? Jesus?
Any of those ring a bell?


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#154282 - 13/04/2003 14:19 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: canuckInOR]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Well, you know... let's see what we have here:

a dude who has always existed...
...in the middle of absolute nothingness.
whose future consists of continuing to exist in said nothingness
We don't know any of that. All we ``know'' is that there was nothingness in our plane of existance. It may well be that God is just playing a remarkably complex game of Conway's Life and showing all his friends the new shooter he created.
you know (according to the Bible) that He does tinker
None of those examples can be demonstrated to be anything more than natural occurrence. You cannot base proof of something on facts that require proof of the supposition. It's circular logic.
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

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#154283 - 13/04/2003 14:38 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: m6400]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
laws can state that "if X then Y" but they cant produce X out of thin air. so if your not saying that X was produced by "chance" then where did it come from?
So you're saying that us pronouncing the laws of the universe does not make the universe. True (although that's not what we're saying). At the same time, you're claiming that God exists solely because you (or others) have proclaimed that he exists. So you're attacking us based on a point we're not making while your argument falls to that same attack.
what is that one thing that keeps you from beliving in God?
The utter, abject, and complete lack of any evidence supporting any such being's existence, and the occasional evidence implying (usually via Occam's Razor) that one does not.

To be honest, I have no evidence that a being did not create the universe itself. There may well be some being that did. So I don't not believe in that. (In fact, I'd probably believe that that being would not ``exist'' in the realm of space-time as we intuitively, and, perhaps, intellectually, understand it.) I specifically do not believe that there is any being that modifies the rules mid-game in order to interact with us. He may have set the rules in the beginning so that what happens is what he wanted to happen, but that's not really a useful supposition -- interesting, perhaps.

As Steven Hawking says, if we were to find a unified theory of the universe, we would ``know the mind of God''.
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

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#154284 - 13/04/2003 15:12 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: JeffS]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4148
Loc: Cambridge, England
However, based on my experience and knowledge, the opposite is true. The claim that there is no God working in my life would be an outrageous one to me, and a great amount of proof would be required to make me believe otherwise.
Well, this is more like it, frankly. Refutations of a personal faith such as this using science often sound pretty much as daft as refutations of science using faith. If you have directly perceived God, then I can't possibly tell you that you haven't: we each must have faith in our own perceptions. I can only tell you that I never have, and at one stage of my life I spent a while looking. I perceive only a bunch of unusual biochemical reactions on the surface of a rock, one scarce different from a billion other rocks in this galaxy alone.

I would ask, though -- what was it that made you sure it was Christianity that this perceived God wanted you to follow, and not, say, Islam, or even Jove-worship? Direct perceptions of God do seem to come with, and I know this phrase was used for something different upthread, lots of baggage these days...

Peter

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#154285 - 13/04/2003 16:11 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: wfaulk]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3155
Loc: Portland, OR
We don't know any of that.


Well, that's what it says in the Bible. Given that the argument is over Christian theology, I'm just starting from the Christian concept of God. If you aren't going to do that, then there's no point in arguing, because you haven't agreed on what you're arguing about yet.

None of those examples can be demonstrated to be anything more than natural occurrence.


Please demonstrate, using the technology of 2000 years ago, how a virgin woman can naturally become pregnant without having sex.

It's circular logic.


Of course it is. No one ever said religion was logical.

The way I look at it is that we have two choices:

1) There is no god, and everything (quigs/laws/mathematics/evolution/etc.) essentially boils down to a long past random happenstance and that the entropy of the system has settled to a point where those random happenstances no longer occur (or, in the case of things like evolution, occur much less frequently), leaving us with an essentially fixed system. Science is the discovery of the state of the current entropy.

or

2) There is a god, and long time ago he cooked up a game for himself that had some really complex rules that he's been following (more or less -- does God cheat at Solitaire?) since then. Science is the discovery of those rules.

I don't find either option to be any more or less plausible than the other. At some point, they both devolve to what I consider "the fantastical". It's either
    "you mean to tell me that there's some magical being that created this? Yeah, right."
or
    "You mean to tell me that this is all just a huge coincidence, despite the statistical probability of that ever occuring? Yeah, right -- just the odds of winning the lottery are astronomical."
Now, since we'll never really know (i.e. be able to demonstrably prove) the answer to whether we exist under option 1 or option 2, all we can do is pick one and go with it until proven wrong. In the face of multiple theories, both of which explain the observed facts, pick the simpler one until you get more evidence (remember our good friend Occam?). For a lot of people, it's far simpler to pick option 2. (Edit: Particularly if they also have some sort of personal experience which they *can't* explain via option 1.)

Pick one, live and let live.

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#154286 - 13/04/2003 16:26 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: canuckInOR]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
that's what it says in the Bible
You can't use the Bible as a reference to prove the validity of the Bible.
Please demonstrate, using the technology of 2000 years ago, how a virgin woman can naturally become pregnant without having sex.
I was going to add, but left out for the sake of not being overly offensive, ``or falsehoods''.
we have two choices:
There are more choices than those two. In fact, the only mutually exclusive pieces of those two choices you provide are the ``there is no/a god'' parts.
You mean to tell me that this is all just a huge coincidence, despite the statistical probability of that ever occuring? Yeah, right -- just the odds of winning the lottery are astronomical."
Yet people win the lottery all the time. Just because it's unlikely doesn't mean that it can't be. We got lucky (or unlucky) by being the ones that beat those infinitestimal odds. It's hard for the beings that don't exist to pipe up and show us that they're the ones that lost.

Or another way to look at it is that, given the fact that we're here, it wasn't unlikely at all. However, at least to me, that smacks of assuming that my presupposition that those series of events are regular and controlled by nature itself is true, but that's what I'm trying to prove, so I think that common argument, the outcome of which I agree with, doesn't work.
For a lot of people, it's far simpler to pick option 2
It's also a lot simpler to assume that one plus one equals three than to go through the immensely complicated mathematics to prove that it, in fact, equals two. But just because it's simpler doesn't make it so.
Particularly if they also have some sort of personal experience which they *can't* explain via option 1
Example? I'd bet that it's because they'd rather attribute it to option 2.
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

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#154287 - 13/04/2003 16:40 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: canuckInOR]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
If you aren't going to do that, then there's no point in arguing, because you haven't agreed on what you're arguing about yet.
Absolutely true. I'd love clarification from both sides.

My point is that science describes the laws of the universe. Those laws may or may not have been put in place by a creator, but that point is irrelevant. Whether we're determining natural law of the rules put in place by that being is irrelevant. In fact, they may well be the same way of stating the same thing.

In addition, any potential creator does not rig the results of this reality.

My ultimate point is that those of you that beileve that you can depend on said creator to provide you with things, physical or psychological, are mistaken and setting yourselves up for failure. Depend on yourself, not the boogeyman.
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

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#154288 - 13/04/2003 16:42 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: wfaulk]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I think you've just created a three-sided argument.
I hope not, it wasn't my intention. I actually agree quite a bit with m6400, it is clear that we are coming from very similar points of view. The argument he's making about ethics being evidence for God is a good one, but it's difficult to encompass the whole if it in a forum of this kind. This line of reasoning is very clearly put forth in C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity, but he takes several chapters to develop it.

That being said, there are all sorts of debatable issues within Christianity, but there are a few "non-negotiables", the heart of which is the Gospel: Jesus dies for our sins. I don't believe that evolution or science should be allowed to serve as a stumbling block to seekers when the real question is about sin, not science.

Moving on then,

So if you have a ``sin problem'', that would mean that you're hurting either yourself or someone else. Why does that necessarily have to have any relationship to God?

"Sin" means to "miss the mark." We are not living as the beings we were created to be when we sin. No matter whom a sin is against, ultimately God is aggrieved because we are not behaving in the perfect way we were created to operate.

There's no reason to believe that those sorts of ethics and morals have been inserted into us either through divine intervention or training.
I believe that these morals have been inserted into us by divine intervention, but I don't have any scientific proof of that. As mentioned above, C.S. Lewis has a very compelling philosophical argument for this idea.

All of this course this has no meaning if there is no God, or even if there is a God but he doesn't particularly care how we turn out. I fully recognize that the concept of "sin" is a religious one; in fact I believe that if there is no God or ultimate culmination of the effects of humanity, that there can be no real concept of "right" or "wrong".

This leaves only the ``no other gods/believe in me'' part. This has only internal logic. It means nothing if there is no God, and if you believe that there is a God, it's pretty self-fulfilling.
I'm not sure I quite understand what you mean by "internal logic" so you may need to rephrase, however what it comes down to is this: if Christianity is right, "sin" has consequence and must be addressed. If it is not, there is no such thing as "sin" (or if there is, it is determined by another "true" religion).

If the Christian concept of sin is true, there are consequences whether it can be proven or not. Christians believe that if people die without their sin problem being addressed, then they are eternally separated from God, the one who can love them perfectly as they were designed to be loved for all eternity. In effect, it is taking a "godless" state that is lived in now and making it permenant. Permenance for the person who has trusted Christ as savior is the same: it makes the current state of the Christian eternal, spending eternity worshiping and adoring a Creator who loves him or her perfectly. I say all of this because Christianity doesn't claim that sin is bad for sin's sake. It is bad because of the effects it produces in our lives and the ungodly state in which it leaves us.

I feel like I've glossed over something here. Please tell me what I've missed.
Actually I'm sort of feeling similar about how I've responded to your post, so maybe when should both clarify a bit.
_________________________
-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#154289 - 13/04/2003 16:50 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: wfaulk]
genixia
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/02/2002
Posts: 3411
Please demonstrate, using the technology of 2000 years ago, how a virgin woman can naturally become pregnant without having sex.


Even better, please explain how Mary could have been married without having had sex. Sacraments and all that...
_________________________
Mk2a 60GB Blue. Serial 030102962 sig.mp3: File Format not Valid.

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#154290 - 13/04/2003 17:26 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: jasonc]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
So when people refute your "philosophies and science that backs this up" of Jesus Christ, you just ignore that science and rely instead on your faith? Why? why the necessity to dump the obvious solutions for the wacky one.


I never said that I ignore science and rely instead on faith. In fact, I went through great lengths to state that this was not the case. You are assuming that because their were arguments against it that they were good arguments. Science cannot possibly tell us that Jesus Christ didn't rise from the dead. All it can say is that all things being equal, dead human beings typically do not get up and start walking around again. However, Christians believe that all things were not equal: Jesus was/ is God and exists outside of our laws of science. There is evidence that Jesus rose from the dead (and this is by no means exhaustive):

1. The bible says so, in several different ways. I realize that you don't take the bible as authoritative truth, but you have many different witnesses describing the event and making the same claims. Inspired or not, this at least provides some degree of evidence for the resurrection. In fact, the first letter written that contains a belief in the resurrection was written five years after it happened, which is certainly not long enough for a myth to take root and grow.

2. The bible claims that women were the first to witness the empty tomb. As women were not considered worthy to present evidence of any kind, this is a very strange "proof" of the resurrection at the time the accounts were written. However, no one would consider their words less credible now simply because they were women.

3. As quickly as the report of Jesus's resurrection gained popularity, it would have been very easy for the Roman government or the Jewish officials to defeat it if it weren't true: they simply could have visited the "empty" tomb. However they did not do this, because the tomb really was empty. Also you should know that the stone in front of the tomb was so large it could not have been easily removed by the small band of disciples.

4. The fact that Jesus's disciples died for their faith. Of course many have died for false religions in the past, but it is clear from reading the historical accounts in the bible that all of the disciples had basically given up on Jesus when he was crucified. Only later, after the resurrection, did they follow him to their deaths.

A given in all of this is that for arguments sake the bible is not the "inspired word of God." However, as I stated above we can look at several different accounts at determine some things that were most lily likely true, at least from the perspective of the authors. Luke specifically was a very well educated scholar (as evidenced by his writing style) and would not have been prone to include myths and legends.

Will this convince you that Jesus died and rose from the dead for our sins? Probably not, but science can and does say very little to refute these arguments. Philosophically there are arguments as well, but I haven't heard any yet that convince me the resurrection didn't happen.

for some reason i still cannot wrap my brain around ignoring all that i know about science to say that theres some supreme being no one can see, but that some guy(s) over the last 2 thousand years talked to, maybe.
Believing in Jesus Christ would not require you to ignore all you know about science. Science does not claim there is no supreme being. Also, Jesus did not merely "talk to God". In Christian theology he was God in human form, though I realize this distinction has little meaning for you.

What logic brings you to ask this question? under no circumstance in my entire life have i asked myself this question, nor would I. Because i haven't sinned. I don't break my own moral code. unless you'd like to point out otherwise..and please don't use the bible, i don't believe it's any more divinely inspired than "Gross Jokes Volume IX".

Of course you will believe what you will. Clearly the moral code you've adopted is different from what I believe God expects of us, but it would be impossible to prove there was an external moral code to someone who doesn't believe in God.
_________________________
-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#154291 - 13/04/2003 17:56 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: ithoughti]
muzza
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 21/07/1999
Posts: 1765
Loc: Brisbane, Queensland, Australi...
I love this board.

Rob should know that we all care about him by the sheer quantity and quality of the posts in this thread. In fact, if he were to read it, it would take so long that by the time he finished he'd be out of his depression. (i hope)

Rob, I've had some long bouts of depression, too. You have to know that many people here (around the world, in fact) are concerned for you.
_________________________
-- Murray I What part of 'no' don't you understand? Is it the 'N', or the 'Zero'?

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#154292 - 13/04/2003 18:03 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: peter]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I would ask, though -- what was it that made you sure it was Christianity that this perceived God wanted you to follow, and not, say, Islam, or even Jove-worship? Direct perceptions of God do seem to come with, and I know this phrase was used for something different upthread, lots of baggage these days...

Excellent question. I'll admit I was brought up in a semi-Christian household. My mother was a fairly liberal Christian and my father was an atheist. I ended up following neither of them, though I did end up adopting something similar to my mother. She, however, wanted to meld Christianity with other faiths which didn't make sense to me. Coming to my current beliefs in Christianity was partially based on my experiences in the church in which I grew up and partly from looking at other religions teachings. I found that the church I was in didn't seem to be doing anything more than working out a religion that told them what they wanted to hear. Since I can do that alone and in my bedroom, I went seeking elsewhere.

Long story short, after prayer and seeking I came to the conclusion the bible was inspired by God, that I had a sin problem, and that Jesus Christ was the only solution for it. Though I didn't look at every other religion (there are thousands in the world) there seemed to be only a few different categories:

1. Salvation from sin based on grace. We cannot be good enough to redeem ourselves and require outside intervention. To my knowledge Christianity is the only faith that teaches this.

2. Salvation by works: We earn forgiveness by following rules and proving our superiority over others. There are many such religions, and time and time again people have tried to turn Christianity into this. Fighting this inclination was one of the major tasks of the early Christian church.

3. No salvation required. Self-explanatory here.

Of course this is an oversimplication of all religions, but I was inwardly convinced in my seeking that I had a sin problem (actually, I think had this innate belief before I ever started studying religion seriously) so that was the aspact in which I was most interested. Since #3 didn't address the issue, I was either left with trying to follow rules or embracing Jesus Christ as the solution. I found that I agreed in my heart with the biblical passages that told me God was interested in the heart more than following rules. Sure the rules were there, but they were pointing to a problem I had. God wanted to deal with my heart, not just my deeds. I can say a lot more now about Christianity versus other religions, but at the time I felt that Christianity posed a God who was intamently involved with His people and wanted to change them on the inside, not just the outside.

Once I started to follow Jesus, however, it became more and more obvious that I was following a real and present God. Through the refining in my moral character, unbelievable circumstances, and simply studying, worship, and experiencing God most of my doubts were eradicated. I must admit I sometimes question if it's all a grand dillusion, but when I look back at my life, or even around in my current circumstances the evidence is everywhere.

To all,
I'm sorry about this series of long posts. This is something that is obviously really important to me and I wish I could share with everyone. I think everyone should have an empeg, I hate it when people just don't "get it." In many ways, my faith in Jesus is the same only a billion times stronger!
_________________________
-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#154293 - 13/04/2003 18:04 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: JeffS]
jasonc
member

Registered: 08/12/2001
Posts: 109
Science cannot possibly tell us that Jesus Christ didn't rise from the dead

and beside centuries old heresay, you can't prove he did.

I have a hard time believing information published until verified, news and the like. How can you blindly take for fact a book written over such a period of time and edited by so many.

the first letter written that contains a belief in the resurrection was written five years after it happened

Didn't you ever play the telephone game?
One sentance in 5 minutes becomes completely different, yet somehow these bible stories are accurate?

Will this convince you that Jesus died and rose from the dead for our sins? Probably not, but science can and does say very little to refute these arguments. Philosophically there are arguments as well, but I haven't heard any yet that convince me the resurrection didn't happen.

I guess im just stunned by someones blind faith in an ancient, fluid text. The fact that this story is recorded in the bible, or elsewhere does not make it fact. As wfaulk mentioned you cant use the bible to prove its validity.

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#154294 - 13/04/2003 18:11 Re: Sometimes I wonder.... [Re: JeffS]
jasonc
member

Registered: 08/12/2001
Posts: 109
I think everyone should have an empeg, I hate it when people just don't "get it." In many ways, my faith in Jesus is the same only a billion times stronger!

I first believed when i saw an empeg video floatin around somewhere...It would be much easier to believe in jesus christ's resurrection if you had it on video...

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