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Are You Religious?

Are you religious?  

33 members have voted

  1. 1. Are you religious?

    • Yes
      18
    • No
      15


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Ah, well, I guess I could have worded that differently. Since we don't KNOW what actually happened, all possibilities are available. But probably not equally likely.

 

If you start this I may not be the best one to take the bait, since I don't believe strongly in any viewpoint. (Although young earth is pretty hard for me to swallow.)

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I was actually about to weigh in myself, and even though I know very little about evolutionary science, to take a slightly different approach, but James' input was useful in pointing me in another direction. I'm not likely to contribute much to this phase of the discussion, but nevertheless, I have found this thread thoroughly productive, and I always wondered how a religious thread would proceed amongst the CC community. This is the sort of thread which demonstrates why I vastly prefer "discussion between people who disagree" over debate.

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This is the sort of thread which demonstrates why I vastly prefer "discussion between people who disagree" over debate.

 

True. When I used "debate" in my spoiler, I meant it more as an unleashing of effort, resources, time, etc. to the discussion rather than a heated rage-inducing nuclear explosion type thread. I think how that type of discussion was unwanted was talked about in another thread.

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...debates are also too regulated, imo. Discussions are free to adapt to the backgrounds and temperaments of those who care to participate, making for a more organic and interesting dialogue.

 

Re: evolution, I confess that I sometimes fall into the "How does an eye evolve?" camp. I also confess that science is not my bag, and that I am in no position to evaluate any theory in any regard. While I recognize that it is an important issue (whether it's "true" or "false"), it's also something that doesn't really directly affect my life. Global warming, on the other hand...that'll affect my life if half the eastern seaboard is underwater in twenty years.

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I think people that deny evolution usually accept the validity of genetics, given how important and useful it is to modern science. They also accept the validity of the notion that traits are heritable, and that over time traits that give improved fitness become dominant due to natural selection, and possibly even that mutations can create entirely new phenotype, and that separated populations will diverge genetically due to genetic drift.

 

What they deny is the "long-term" effect that these things have, that over a large enough timespan, these changes can cause new species to form, and that the billions of years that life has been known to exist on Earth is a long enough time for the complexity of modern lifeforms and their equally complex interrelationships to have formed from very simplistic organisms, themselves formed from a stew of chemicals in the ancient oceans. Why they express disbelief of this when they accept so much else of modern science, despite the fact that evolution is a central tenet of biology underpinning so much of what we know, seems to me to come from a tendency to see humanity as singled out, and apart from the rest of life on Earth. This hubris is at least partly due to religion, and can be seen as part of a general mistrust of science which has been shown to have grown significantly over the last 30 years amongst conservatives, particularly the religious.

 

The worst effect that this could have with regards to evolution is that fewer people get involved in biology and the state of science suffers in the countries where these beliefs are common, whereas with climate change it could prevent concerted global action before the point that we can no longer prevent the worst disaster of the coming decades from happening. This point will probably occur before the effects of climate change are no longer able to be ignored.

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How could an eye evolve? Well, there are various levels of "eyes" in current animals, including multi-faceted insect eyes, independent vs. bifocal eyes, and eyes that don't work anymore. It may seem like a jump happened somewhere, but you should google "punctuated equilibrium" to see more on this.

 

And it doesn't matter WHY there is climate change, it matters IF there is climate change. Because if what we are seeing is not cyclical but truly is a trend, then Al Gore may be right -- and therefore we may be seeing the Pacific Coast in Colorado in the near future.

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I'll have to trust you guys on this; I have absolutely no hope of understanding that stuff (and even if I did, I lack the background to truly analyze whether it's plausible or not). :(

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This is a huge topic, not a small one. My degree is in biology, and so was my field of work, so I am not turning my back on "science".

 

Creationists fully accept natural selection. But, natural selection cannot create new information, which is what evolution demands. Natural selection actually decreases genetic information by eradicating certain alleles in favor of others. Mutations also do not create new information, they rearrange existing information, or remove sections of existing information.

 

That article James referred to uses what we call "bait and switch"

Its strict biological definition is "a change in allele frequencies over time."

this is what is referred to as "micro-evolution". It has nothing at all to do with "changing fish to philosopher". So, having shown that micro-evolution is accepted (which everyone agrees on anyways) and calling THAT evolution, they switch the meaning of evolution midstream to macro-evolution. So when they go on to say:

Evolution is supported by a wide range of observations throughout the fields of genetics, anatomy, ecology, animal behavior, paleontology, and others.

they are blowing smoke rings. Not a single piece of evidence was presented. This is a logical fallacy known as "elephant hurling".

As for my understanding of genetics, I went to class under Dr. Suzuki when he was at UBC (University of British Columbia), including lab studies in gene mapping of fruit flies through induced mutations. There is a lot that scientists are only beginning to understand in the field of genetics.

 

Regarding the "billions of years that life has been known to exist". This is an interpretation of the evidence and not the evidence itself. The interpretation arises from the worldview. (remember worldviews?) It may be the prevailing worldview, but it is not necessarily the correct one. Truth is not a matter of who gets the most votes.

 

Changing topics midstream. As part of my job, I maintained a rural weather observer station for Environment Canada for 30 years. Having seen the unvarnished daily data back to the 1940's, and seeing the deliberate falsification of data by the AGW crowd (the East Anglia scandal among others), I came to reject the Al Gores of the world. If you want to know what is really happening about the global warming thing, then I suggest you follow the money.

Two good sites for the unvarnished truth:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/ and http://www.climatedepot.com/

 

ian

 

Scepticism of prevailing dogma is not a bad thing. It is good practice for developing your thinking skills.

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There is no difference between microevolution and macroevolution. Microevolution + time = macroevolution. "Changing fish to philosopher" is a straw-man. Thought experiment: assume, for sake of argument, evolutionary theory as we know it is currently true. If you had immortality and used a time machine to go back to the moment of abiogenesis (or the moment where theistic-driven evolution began, or whatever), and just started observing life for 3.8 billion years until the present, at no point would you notice any changes at all. For every day X that you woke up, you would notice literally no changes in morphology compared to days X-1, X-2...X-10...X-100...yet if you could view the various morphologies in discrete large chunks, you would certainly notice profound differences.

 

It's like having a child. When your child is 1 day old, it looks the same as it did when they were just born. When they are 2 days old, they look the same as they did when they were 1 day old....When they are 4 years old, they look the same as they did when they were 3 years 364 days old...When they are 14 years old, they look the same as they did when they were 13 years 364 days old...When they are 22 years old and getting married, they still look the same as they did the previous day, and then you look at a baby picture and go "Wow, kids grow up so fast" as you realize how all the incredibly small changes have added up quite massively. (not intending to say that child development is like evolution [although it is, just in a different meaning], just providing an analogy for "micro" vs "macro").

 

5:19 to 5:54 of

video demonstrates this quite well, IMO (ignore the title and certain other things, by the way, as the uploader's opinions have nothing to do with the concept). The contents of the video were created with an evolutionary algorithm.

 

In any case, your definition of "macroevolution" determines where this part of the discussion goes next. Also, can you elaborate your point on information? That argument is extraordinarily common among creationists, but each creationist defines "information" differently and has different reasons why "information" cannot be created.

 

@ Age of the Earth, how do you interpret the evidence? Well, we obviously know your conclusions, but what specifically leads you to reject the scientific consensus of a ~4.5 billion year old Earth? Also, your thoughts on "worldviews" seem to imply that if a person has viewpoint X, they will never relinquish viewpoint X and will always interpret things as supporting X and will always reject things that go against X and will never even think about questioning X and so on. While people obviously do view the world in different ways, I think you may underestimate the people who try to be objective and open-minded about their views, as well as the amount of people that gladly welcome challenges to their views. (It's also quite possible, and I fear quite likely in this case, that I have misinterpreted and/or misapplied and/or misremembered something you said, but I'm having difficulties searching for your previous posts on the subject...apologies if any one of those three is true).

 

Dogma: A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true

 

That hardly applies to science. If science operated on dogmatic principles, it would fail profoundly; in fact, its lack of dogma and its openness to change is its fundamental strength. One need only look at all the points in time when prevailing scientific thought has been completely turned on its head...by no other than science itself.

 

Skepticism of prevailing thought is more a sign of the existence of thinking skills rather than a way to practice them. If one does not have thinking skills, one will not be capable of questioning the prevailing thought in the first place. And you are quite right that truth is not a popularity contest, but at the same time one must be able to account for the reasons why current thought became so prevalent in the first place. Also, one who accepts claims contrary to prevailing thought is not necessarily more open-minded, or skeptical, or intelligent, or <insert similar quality here>, as 0:54 to 1:23 of

conveys nicely.

 

Not going to comment on the climate change bits, as I don't have enough knowledge on the subject to put up a decent discussion.

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To be honest, as someone who calls himself a Christian, I don't really have any problem with the idea of an eons-old universe or some degree of evolutionary theory. The book of Genesis was not meant to be a scientific treatise in any way, particularly since it was written for an audience that - at the time - had not made any significant scientific discoveries, at least to our knowledge. If anything, the language in the creation account is heavily vague - why, even Christians debate it amongst themselves. While I don't believe that science and human observation are perfect by any stretch, I do believe in a God who's not deceptive. So if some rock appears to be billions of years old by multiple measuring standards, it probably is that old. If God decided to use natural processes across a long period of time, I don't see why that's an issue. But then again, I haven't really looked into this too much.

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So when they go on to say:

 

they are blowing smoke rings. Not a single piece of evidence was presented.

 

I forgot to mention in my last reply, the actual evidence itself to back up that claim was presented in my second link (here).

 

Also, on the subject of micro vs. macro, 5:12 to 6:06 of this video is another good example, although it's pretty much just rehashing the concepts from earlier. I'm mainly bringing up this video for the people that feel they aren't versed enough in evolutionary theory. It's 10 minutes long and explains the fundamental tenets and debunks some common misconceptions, well worth a watch.

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I stand by what I said about the difference between micro- and macro-evolution. There is no mechanism to add genetic information to the cell. I repeat; there is NO mechanism that adds genetic information to the cell. If you think you have found one, then post the link. Natural selection (microevolution) decreases genetic information, it cannot add genetic information. So to say that natural selection over time is creative does not make sense.

 

For those with a mathematical bent, I believe that the definition of impossibility was calculated to be anything that surpasses 10^50 : 1. Where that figure approximates the number of atoms in our universe. Would you like to take a guess on which side of the line that the probability of evolution of a single vertebrate organism lies? (let alone a few thousand) But even that assumes perfect conditions. In the end, the first "supposed" steps comes down to protein synthesis. You need energy to assemble proteins, but energy breaks down proteins faster than they can be created. It is supposed that proteins are assembled in some kind of primordial soup, but water hydrolyzes proteins, and if a single water molecule grabs the end of a protein chain, it is game over for protein synthesis. And that is not even considering left-handed versus right-handed amino acids.

 

News flash! Dogma prevails in science. You just don't know that it happens because no-one is going to tell you, unless they want their career to be over.

 

The article on the evolution of the eye explains nothing, but it makes a strange claim, namely, "They also explain why the eye, far from being a perfectly engineered piece of machinery, exhibits a number of major flaws—these flaws are the scars of evolution." I beg to differ. The eye was created in perfection. Now, if you want to read a good article on the design of the eye, and why it had to be designed that way in order to work, I recommend: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v4/n1/retina-design

 

Like I said, this is a huge topic. Take Note: It will not convince anyone to change their worldview. I am perfectly willing to demonstrate the logical consistency of young earth creationism (universe created over a six day period only a few thousand years ago.). But not instantly. I have a life to live too.

 

ian

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Okay. It appears that both sides are being argued quite well. This I like.

 

I must point out a couple of things though. For example, while the creation of many species from one over time is completely reasonable to most people, the sticking point for some people is the creation of ALL species from one. (This is one thing I'm holding in "suspension".)

 

There IS a mechanism to increase genetic information. You have to be careful when arguing anything about "the second law of thermodynamics" or "entropy". Not only is information NOT energy, but also the earth is not a closed system. Energy is constantly added by the sun, and lost by heat radiation. The earth has the ability to keep some of that energy, which means the earth is anti-entropic. Yes, the universe is total is entropic, but you can still have anti-entropic "pockets".

 

And, believe it or not, information can come from non-information. This was demonstrated 30 years ago as part of chaos theory. Unless you've seen it in action, it's hard to believe, but it is true. In the midst of a very chaotic system, order can appear spontaneously. All that's required is sufficient amounts of energy.

 

While it's possible that all primates derived from one primate, there are some very "suspicious" things in the human genome, which make it unlikely (but still possible) that we evolved from apes unaided.

 

The age of the earth is pretty much undetermined. However, since there are 11000 years of history in the Ulduvai gorge alone, it's hard for me to swallow 6000 as the age of the earth. If we are to believe the Sumerian record, earth is hundreds of thousand of years old (at least). Also, the remnants of the last ice age (12000 years ago) are pretty hard to ignore.

 

Now when you start talking billions of years, the science is much more sketchy. There's no way to know for sure if those dating methods are valid -- it's all theory. It's certainly possible, but it's not FACT.

 

And if you tie your religious beliefs to a certain scientific interpretation, you are bound to be disappointed. We know in part, and we understand in part.

 

Do you know why we had "jungle gyms" in elementary school? Something called "social Darwinism". Since kids are evolved from monkeys, they must be something like monkeys -- the child goes from monkey to human as he grows up. We all know this is pretty much bunk (and jungle gyms over concrete are stupid), but you see how dangerous and insidious a belief system can be. What if we found out tomorrow that tater tots caused cancer -- could we all sue the school lunch program?

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I apologize in advance for this extremely lengthy response to James posting of the 29+ evidences for evolution. But it demonstrates just how huge a problem arises if we engage in "elephant hurling" I only post some responses to the number one point. Since it leads to a falsification of the theory of evolution, there is no need to continue to the next one. No-one will take the time to read an entire treatise and respond because evaluation of the paper is just not that important to them. And it won't change their worldview anyway.

 

Referring to the article pointed to by James here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

Note that even the evolutionist accepts that abiogenesis is statistically impossible, therfore it is assumed (taken on faith): "it is taken as axiomatic that an original self-replicating life form existed in the distant past"

 

Section: Introduction to phylogenetics. Evolutionary phylogenetic trees are common. ie. "a method for determining phylogenetic trees based on morphology" But classification of organisms based on morphology was invented by Linnaeus, a creationist who believed that God is a God of order, and not chaos. A major problem with phylogenetic trees and other related models is the lack of evidence that supports the links between known organisms and their supposed fossil relatives. An alternate to the phylogenetic tree is the phylogenetic orchard, where each tree in the orchard is the original created "kind", approximated by family, and the branches of the tree going down to species and sub-species. see: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/ee/classifying-life

From the paper, Prediction 1.1 the fundamental unity of life

According to the theory of common descent, modern living organisms, with all their incredible differences, are the progeny of one single species in the distant past.
From this you can know for sure that abiogenesis is so statistically impossible that the evolutionist assumes it could only have occurred once.
If every living species descended from an original species that had these four obligate functions, then all living species today should necessarily have these functions (a somewhat trivial conclusion). Most importantly, however, all modern species should have inherited the structures that perform these functions. Thus, a basic prediction of the genealogical relatedness of all life, combined with the constraint of gradualism, is that organisms should be very similar in the particular mechanisms and structures that execute these four basic life processes.
Since everything was created by a single Creator, could not the same thing be said about common design? That God would only need a single code for DNA? The argument proves nothing.

 

I found this statement astounding because it is so true, and so rare.

Independent empirical testability is the hallmark of science—in science, an explanation must not only be compatible with the observed data, it must also be testable. By "testable" we mean that the hypothesis makes predictions about what observable evidence would be consistent and what would be incompatible with the hypothesis. Simple compatibility, in itself, is insufficient as scientific evidence, because all physical observations are consistent with an infinite number of unscientific conjectures. Furthermore, a scientific explanation must make risky predictions— the predictions should be necessary if the theory is correct, and few other theories should make the same necessary predictions.

Now for some problems with the assumptions.

Problems with Chemical Homology: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/hasnt-evolution-been-proven

Many evolutionists readily admit that they have failed to find evidence of the evolution of large structures such as bones and muscles, so instead they argue that they have found homology among the complex organic molecules that are found in living systems. One of these is hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in red blood cells. Although this protein is found in nearly all vertebrates, it is also found in some invertebrates (worms, starfish, clams, and insects) and also in some bacteria. Yet there is no evidence of the evolution of this chemical—in all cases, the same kind of molecule is complete and fully functional. If evolution has occurred, it should be possible to map out how hemoglobin evolved, but this cannot be done. To the creationist, however, hemoglobin crops up complete and fully functional wherever the Creator deems it fitting in His plan.

 

Problems with Homology: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cfl/similarities-homology

Consider hemoglobin, for example, the protein that carries oxygen in red blood cells. Dickerson says that hemoglobins pose “. . . a puzzling problem. Hemoglobins occur sporadically among the invertebrate phyla [the animals without backbones], in no obvious pattern.” That is, they don’t occur in an evolutionary branching pattern. I would suggest that they do occur in a creationist mosaic or modular pattern ...

...

By comparing lysozyme and lactalbumin, Dickerson was hoping to “pin down with great precision” where human beings branched off the mammal line. The results are surprising. In this test, it turned out that humans are more closely related to the chicken than to any living mammal tested! Every evolutionist knows that can’t be true, but how can he get around the objective evidence?

...

In fact, when it comes to many of the similarities among molecules, the theory of evolution is not only weak, it has been falsified. ... Finally, Patterson said with dismay, he was forced to conclude that evolution is an “anti-theory” that generates “anti-knowledge”—a concept full of explanatory vocabulary that actually explains nothing and that even generates a false impression of what the facts are.

...

Michael Denton independently reached the same kind of conclusion regarding homology and the so-called “molecular clock.” After documenting the misfit of molecular data with both of two competing evolutionary views, he writes this summary (p. 306):

The difficulties associated with attempting to explain how a family of homologous proteins could have evolved at constant rates has created chaos in evolutionary thought. The evolutionary community has divided into two camps—those still adhering to the selectionist position, and those rejecting it in favor of the neutralist. The devastating aspect of this controversy is that neither side can adequately account for the constancy of the rate of molecular evolution; yet each side fatally weakens the other. The selectionists wound the neutralists’ position by pointing to the disparity in the rates of mutation per unit time, while the neutralists destroy the selectionists’ position by showing how ludicrous it is to believe that selection would have caused equal rates of divergence in “junk” proteins or along phylogenetic lines so dissimilar as those of man and carp. Both sides win valid points, but in the process the credibility of the molecular clock hypothesis is severely strained and with it the whole paradigm of evolution itself is endangered.

As you can see, to present a critique of any paper will take a lot of space and a lot of time. That is why I referred to it as the logical fallacy of "elephant hurling". All points in this treatise can also be explained by the existence of a common designer.

Ian

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As you can see, to present a critique of any paper will take a lot of space and a lot of time. That is why I referred to it as the logical fallacy of "elephant hurling". All points in this treatise can also be explained by the existence of a common designer.

Ian

Plus, the designer as defined by Christianity not only has the capability to create life, but would be expected to do so, while cold, unfeeling, unintelligent matter's ability to create life is wholly questionable and, even if possible, so entirely arbitrary that I cannot accept it as the most reasonable explanation for existence. Glad I could have reached this point, and James is free to respond.

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Plus, the designer as defined by Christianity not only has the capability to create life, but would be expected to do so

 

Expected by what/whom?

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Expected by what/whom?

I could suggest attributes of God's nature that could explain why, with all knowable information at hand, He would decide to create rather than (as I sometimes joke) lounge around and mentally solve Sudoku puzzles for all eternity. The biblical understanding of God, as I'm reading it, is creative and personal, such that it gives Him pleasure to create and to share Himself with sentient beings; it's just in God's nature, so we would expect creative action when presented with this scenario. (Dave might have more input, as he commented on a similar status of mine; ask him.) The parents here could also relate this to why they decided to have children: not because they needed kids, but because having children pleased them. To gauge somewhat what I'm posing, you can test this thought experiment: what might you decide to do in God's position, with all knowledge and capability thereof? We can perhaps divert this thread to this thought now; I would argue that we all have ideas of what a god or gods should be and do, regardless of whether we even believe in any. I never had truly considered your query before, BitBuster, so thank you for asking it. :)

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There's a difference between feeling an urge to do something and being expected to do it, imo. Some people feel the urge to drink heavily, or smoke, or use drugs, or play CC, but I wouldn't say that any of them are expected to do so.

 

If it gives God pleasure to create, does that mean that we're not the only world? Would he stop with just one?

 

Do you believe God to be omnipotent? Depending on the definition of "omnipotent," wouldn't it be possible for God to change his nature (if he wanted to)?

 

I have class, so I'll ask about the "share Himself with sentient beings" part later, but in short, I guess I have questions about the utility that an omnipotent being could derive from lesser beings that are wholly his/her/its creation.

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This brings up a completely different topic -- the origin of creativity. For those of you who don't believe in angels and devils and such, you can probably skip this comment.

 

Anyway, it's my opinion that part of God's nature to be creative, and being "in his image" we are also creative. However, since demons (including Satan) are not created in his image, they didn't get this. As a result, Satan is not creative. So, he uses the same tricks over and over. Also, he co-opts OUR creativity to do his dirty work.

 

I think this is probably a better argument than evolution to make people thing about God -- if there is no God, then where did we get creativity from?

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I don't see anywhere that it is argued that angels, including fallen ones like Satan, are not creative or created in God's image. And humans aren't the only animals which are creative.

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I think part of the issue is that even if you accept that there's a God, it brings up the issue of "which God?" Even Christianity has plenty of different sects, most of whom interpret the Bible in a different way (and within those denominations, individual people often interpret it a different way...).

 

If it's in God's nature to be creative, and we're supposed to be creative too, does it offend God when we accept a job that involves menial, rote labour?

 

Sometimes it's not good to be creative (this coming from a person who believes strongly in romantic ideals and the value of novels, music, etc.). I mean, if you're killing a wooly mammoth, you probably want to use the "same tricks over and over" (assuming they've worked in the past). You don't want to say, "Hey, maybe we can capture the mammoth by using logs to trip him up, ala the Ewoks in Return Of The Jedi!" I mean, that's just a recipe for disaster.

 

I'm not sure creativity directly implies that there's a God. Why do you think that, Dave?

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I think part of the issue is that even if you accept that there's a God, it brings up the issue of "which God?"

 

Certainly a valid question; there are a few approaches by which I determine this. I find no historical evidence supporting religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, and while I hold respect for the philosophies of these belief systems and find significant truths within them (some of their philosophies definitely influence my Christianity), I can't accept them as a true religion as opposed to a true philosophy. As a prominent world religion and an Abrahamic faith, Islam is reasonable to consider, but I find it lacking in how it describes human nature, and I find no compelling reason to believe its alternate historical account of major events in Christianity. Traditional Muslim explanations of Christ's crucifixion are that He was crucified, but ascended to heaven before dying, or that He asked someone else to double for him and suffer the crucifixion instead; not only have I found no historical corroboration of either event (except what the Qur'an says, and that was written six hundred years later, when skeptics question the reliability of the Gospels for only being a few decades late), but Jesus asking someone else to die in His place is out of step with His character as displayed by the rest of His life, of which Muslims would have to accept much of the biblical and extrabiblical sources of to have any support for their claim anyway. Perhaps I'm rambling somewhat, but I find the Muslim account of events simply doesn't make logical sense to my mind, nor do I see sufficient reason to think that, if one accepts that the Abrahamic God exists, the Muslim explanation is more credible than the Christian one. I independently studied some Islamic theology and concepts in the past, but I'm largely operating from my own understanding here.

 

One other observation I make about the differing gods is the often-cited argument from inconsistent revelations: that all theists experience God, so why should one be any more credible than the other? It is obvious that not everybody can be correct, so the solution is, again, which god makes most sense. I find that positing the Christian God as true, or at least one of the Abrahamic ones, sorts out this problem: His omnibenevolent nature explains why everybody senses Him and why He seems to bless everybody whatever their beliefs are, and the mess of incorrect gods is an attempt of the devil to imitate God and be like Him, the same trick as always. My basic belief is that if one posits a deity, there are only a few religions which have any notable apologetics at hand, and there is one which makes the most overall sense in the broad world context; I chose Christianity as that one, and Muslims follow the same path, though end with a different conclusion. Perhaps you can grasp my perspective somewhat by asking yourself another question: if you knew there was one true religion, which one would you pick and why? Maybe even answer this before rebutting my earlier points, which I, as always, anticipate with interest. I find you satisfyingly informed, BitBuster, and I've learned much from this discussion.

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People don't choose their religion based on fact or evidence, because no religion is supported by facts. They choose evidence and facts which support, or at least do not conflict with, their religion, because they have to justify that their faith is not blatantly contradictory to reality. I'm sure that many (most?) religious people live with a cognitive dissonance of knowing things that seem to contradict their religion while simultaneously having faith in that religion. The market for apologetics to try and create "scientific" narratives to fight this dissonance is probably only going to increase even as the evidence comes out more and more against faith.

 

The only thing I have faith in regarding God is that God's existence as a concept accepted by educated people is doomed. Nietzsche said that God was dead, I think he was just a few hundred years early in that prediction.

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Plus, the designer as defined by Christianity not only has the capability to create life, but would be expected to do so, while cold, unfeeling, unintelligent matter's ability to create life is wholly questionable and, even if possible, so entirely arbitrary that I cannot accept it as the most reasonable explanation for existence. Glad I could have reached this point, and James is free to respond.

I'm not James, but I feel like replying to the bolded statement since no one else has yet... Actually, could you elaborate on this a little bit first?

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