@ douglas_peep, yes you are putting your faith in the men telling you what is scientific "fact", those "facts" change all the time as "new studies show" contradictory information to what was previously known as fact. The greatest scientific minds in the world once told you that the world was flat. Keep putting your faith in men, my story ends a lot better.
Right. Knowledge does change as new, better studies come along. Scientists change their mind when presented with new evidence. That's how science works. Unlike many religious folks, good scientists don't presume to have unchanging, absolute knowledge or truth, or double down on their "truth" even in the face of contradictory evidence. The ancient Greeks thought the universe was created by a magic bird that laid an egg, and that half the shell became the Earth while the other half became the sky. We now know that the sky and Earth are not made of eggshell, and I doubt any modern Greek would say the universe was created by a magic bird laying an egg.
You're severely confused my friend. The fact that science is ever-changing and evolving as new and better data comes in is a good thing. The fact that science can look at old ideas and discard them when we learn new (or invent better techniques) to analyze the world is a feature of science, not a bug. Again, it has absolutely nothing to do with "faith" and everything to do with evidence. Your infatuation with scientific "fact" is a strawman argument. Scientists are CONSTANTLY trying to prove other scientists wrong. You know the quickest way to establish a name for yourself in science? Take a well known hypothesis or idea and completely turn it on its head (with new evidence) and you'll instantly become a rockstar and have your research funded for the next 30 years. As far as "your story ending better" ... I'm afraid you've merely proven my point. I get that your faith makes you feel good and comforts you, but I care about truth. I can't simply comfort myself with something because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I don't like the idea of dying ... I don't like the idea that "the party will go on, but I'll be asked to leave." But, that doesn't mean I can simply superimpose ancient myths and stories over that inevitable end to make myself "feel better."
I'm not confused, just entitled to my opinion like everyone else. You are believing what someone else is telling you, you are not a scientist, and so yes you are putting your faith in that person. I do what works for me, you do what works for you. Show me the scientific study that proves there is no God and we can talk, otherwise we just continue on in faith. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe you are wrong, one day we will know. If I am wrong the worst that happened was I lived a good life, if you are wrong, whoopsie, eternity is a mighty long time brother. It's been fun being a witness for today. I'm out!
Yes, you're definitely entitled to your own opinions, and I believe I (and others on here) have said multiple times now that everyone in this discussion is free to believe what they want. Regarding science proving there is no God, again, you're simply misled. Science isn't in the business of disproving God ... science doesn't much care about it, really. If the evidence pointed to a God, that's where scientists would more likely end up. As far as 'eternity,' meh, that's a pretty small/petty God you believe in who would punish me for not believing even though I lived a good and decent life. Do you seriously believe 5 billion people in Asia are going to spend eternity in hell simply because they had the bad luck of being born into a different culture than you? A different religion/God? If that's the case, your God sounds more like a monster to me, but you're welcome to it. Have a great day.
PhillUnfair suspension without reason. No rules broken
Guys, guys, our nation was founded by Christians, our motto is IN GOD WE TRUST. When we say the pledge of allegiance we say "ONE NATION, UNDER GOD". If that bothers you so much, you need to start considering your move to a different country. (Something like Cuba where religion is heavily discouraged) Why is it that atheists are always so angry anyway? I never met a happy atheist.
“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” —John Adams
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. -US Constitution
"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. ... But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding...." (Thomas Jefferson)
@Phil, sometimes I can't tell whether or not you're a troll, or just that bad at history? Our nation was founded on The Principles of the Enlightenment. There were Christians, absolutely, but quite a lot of the Founding Fathers were deists - NOT theists. Educate yourself my friend ... it's really sad to see so many "patriots" try and rewrite history. "In God We Trust" and "God" in The National Anthem are all contemporary additions. Again, this information is easily accessible ... I can't take you seriously if you're that out of touch with basic facts of our nation and its history.
Your "angry atheist" comment is pretty comical, too. Who's angry? Show me one example where I've gotten angry ... show me one example where I've ever been anything but polite. You need to brush up on your tactics, I know the Christian talking points. I know that you're just supposed to call people "angry" and "bitter" when you're unable to argue your position in a salient way, but those tactics are so 2010 ... surely you have better than that?
Phil, the Pilgrims came to America to get away from the Church of England. They did not want to be ruled by the church-state. That is why the Constitution distinctly separates Church from State. The original Pledge of Allegiance did NOT have the words "Under God". It was added by politicians in 1954. P.S. You seem to be the angry one.
I am not particularly religious now. Raised Catholic. Christianity in its essence is to follow Christ. Was he God incarnate? People will debate that until the cows come home. Whether or not he was God or just a man, he is s role model; simple teachings for humanity. These kids who killed all these other kids were not following Jesus' example. What do you call it; hate?; no value for human life? disrespect for authority?; thrill seeking?; insanity?; lack of impulse control?'; revenge?
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Comparative religious studies should absolutely be offered and taught. Ironically enough, it was a deep-dive into the Bible and a thorough, cover-to-cover reading/understanding of the work that had the largest impact on me becoming an atheist. I suspect it's like that for quite a lot of non-believers.
We don't need to push anti-religious agendas, actually, quite the opposite. Teach critical thinking and religiosity will diminish on its own through an inevitable decline. The more we learn about science and the natural world, the more we understand that we know/understand so very little ... the less and less impressive religions become.
When you're scientifically literate, the natural world becomes leaps and bounds more magical and mysterious than any scripture I've ever read. That's why religions are fading so fast in educated/developed areas of the world. The free marketplace of ideas has expanded, and talking snakes, burning bushes and human sacrifice are, in a word: lame. Religions are losing because they're culturally local ... they're small and provincial. The world/universe is much bigger than it was a generation ago, even 20 years ago. Humans are outgrowing magical thinking. If we're going to thank God, let's thank him/her/it for that.
Are they going to teach that the majority of religions were created BY men, FOR men?If they plan to teach the history of religions, they need to make truth the priority. Most wars have been fought in the name of religion (power). Are they going to teach how most religions consider women as lesser beings and treat them as such? Just keep religion out of schools, until college, when somewhat mature minds can choose what courses to take.
@Sheila - That would be like saying we shouldn't teach about slavery or the holocaust because the history is unpleasant and may be offensive to some. The Bible is still one of the most influential books to ever be compiled, you can't gloss over that fact from a historical perspective.
In addition to freedom of religion, we have to consider cultural pluralism, i.e. 'E Pluribus Unum'. As one nation, we cannot promote separation by culture or religion. When there was prayer in the schools, there were still fights because some people wanted only the New Testament taught.
A question to the non-believers. Have you ever had an experience that you or science couldn't explain? I'm asking because I thought everyone had such experience which left the door open to the question of a greater being.
This is not a question as to belief. It concerns constitutional rights among a diverse population. I agree that information on religions should be taught as part of social studies but this has become difficult because of the many objections made to teaching children about Islam.
@agentaaw - There are countless things that science doesn't know or can't explain. Actually, it's quite a bit worse than that as the more and more we discover, often times the more we learn just how ignorant we really are. The geneticist Haldane once said: "I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only stranger than we suppose, but stranger than we can suppose." That's why science is so beautiful, it's a constant search for answers and often leads to the most interesting questions.
As far as having 'transcendental' experiences, of course we do! I can't look to the sky on a clear starry night without having one. But guess what, when a Buddhist meditates, so are they. When Hindus pray, so are they. When Muslims pray, they are, too!
So what is it? All these Gods can't be the one true God, right? No, all these faiths are built on vastly different modes of God-belief, yet they all elicit similar experiences (even for non-believers like me). So what's the common denominator here? We are. We're human beings and we're all part of the human condition. We invented these Gods to provide answers to these early questions ... to explain these experiences we all share. It's why religions look exactly like they do today. It's why different cultures invented different explanations depending on their cultural inheritance, and why they were geographically isolated from one another. I would think anyone could see that's not how true "revelation" would work, but that's for a whole different conversation. I'm not here to talk you out of your faith. But if people like you could start to better realize why people like me don't accept your personal beliefs, maybe you can understand just how bad of an idea "prayer in schools" truly is.
@Agentaaw - But that doesn't make any sense ... no one is saying "man is the creator of himself." It's actually a little odd you would even say that as that's exactly what you believe ... that a being "created" himself, right? After all, who 'created' your God if not for himself?
Evolution explains where we came from, and it does so with a mountain of evidence. I get that you don't believe in evolution ... and that's fine. That's your choice. But you don't get to act like there's not a mountain of evidence to support the claims of evolution just because you 1.) don't understand it, or 2.) simply refuse to ignore it.
The same God YOU believe in surely "created" Muslims, right? He surely "created" Hindus, right? It's kinda odd that this "perfect" creator you believe in also just happened to engineer the cultural isolation that led to these different societies inventing their own "wrong" religions. I mean, you do realize the Chinese were going about the business of civilization for thousands of years before your Jesus ever even arrived? Imagine that, millions and millions of humans being born and then dying thousands of years before they would ever even hear of your form of "salvation."
Douglas, I thought I was stating another common denominator to your points. As you stated, "all these faiths are built on vastly different modes of God-belief". God as their creator, right?
The Bible does not say that God created himself and FYI, Jesus was always here.
It is written: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:1-3 NIV
No, the common denominator is us, not our Gods. There has been something like 30,000+ recorded Gods throughout human history. To put it simply, they're really not all that unique or special. The point I was making was that all these individual faiths were built on incompatible belief systems that all contradict one another. Your God is merely one of thousands, he (along with the core three) are just what happens to be popular and 'current' at this given time in human history. But there's ZERO evidence to support your God over any of the other long dead Gods that predate yours ... Zeus, Poseidon, etc. At any rate, this conversation is getting circular, so I leave you to your scriptures. Have a great day.
The whole problem with religions is that people refer to their gods as HE, and talk about MANkind. There are a majority of females in this world, and religions ignore this fact. They only refer to women as temptresses and sinners. Oh, except for the imaginary Virgin Mary. They didn't even acknowledge that it "takes two to tango." Mary tangoed. Yeah, lightning is gonna strike me now for referring to sex.
@ Douglas. Slavery and the Holocaust were real. The only thing real about religions is the wars they fought, how they treated non-believers, and how they treat(ed) women. The hard, truth should be taught in history books, not the fairy tale B.S.
OK. We have covered most of the points regarding religion, politics, science, the constitution and secular humanism. I had the impression that the very first post on this loooong thread had to do with guns and prayer in schools. So, what about guns? The evidence suggests that GUN FREE ZONES don't exactly accomplish anything. Have any of these school shootings taken place in A) non-gun free zone schools or B) Catholic or religious based schools? I'm just asking. I don't know.
@Sheila - Christianity (as well as ALL religions) are part of the "hard truth" of history, I seriously don't know what you're arguing against. I would think it's quite clear from any one of my myriad of comments that I'm NOT advocating for the "preaching" of Christian scripture(s) ... but if you want to gloss over one of the largest cultural phenomenons to shape Western civilization, do that at your own peril. I prefer kids actually get educated, and that includes all facets of literature, philosophy, art and civic theory.
As far as I know all of the schools were public. The most recent school (at the time this post started) did have an armed police officer working as security but he is being accused of not responding properly when he heard gunfire.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16
In the case of the young man that committed the shooting at this school he was a former student. Who knows how different his life could have been if the school had taught him to pray.
Why should the government disallow prayer in schools but not disallow people from carrying guns that are meant to kill people? If the persons carrying the guns were God fearing people following God's command to "love thy neighbor" there would be no problem. So here we stand, we have protection from prayer but not from guns.
@agentaaw -- Your theory that religious people "won't kill people" is comically absurd, to the point where it doesn't even deserve a reply, let alone a rebuttal. So I won't even go there, but I do thank you for the quiet chuckle.
I wasn't commenting on your writing, it's your logic that I'm having trouble with. I mean, "God fearing" people kill people ALL the time, and a lot of the times they do so under the impression they have 'their God' on their side.
If someone told me that God told them to kill another person, I would believe that person to be a liar.
Matthew 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
I'm not saying that. Hopefully this will make sense. Some people strive to be good people even though they are not believers. Therefore, they are, to some extent following God's laws. They just are not giving God the credit for the goodness that is in them. I give God the credit for the goodness that is in all of us.
For me I would say "God fearing" people, for non believers I would say "good people".
@agentaaw -- I respect your "beliefs" in this matter, but facts are facts, and when it comes to the history of recorded ethics/morality, we can actually track this stuff and see how/when it originated and how it evolved over time. Babylonian's were codifying laws and solidifying ethics thousands of years before Jesus was born.
Even Jesus' best message (The Golden Rule) can be easily traced to Confucius' time. He wrote "What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others" circa 550 BC. Does that phrase sound familiar???
We don't get our morality from our religions or the God's we create to govern them. Our religions get their morality from us. And those "morals" and "ethics" have evolved over time to get better and better as we become more enlightened human beings.
There is also an enlightenment happening in the church. Churches are teaching that Jesus was here since the beginning of time and the Messianic Jews have the same belief. Both groups are teaching that the old and the new testament is about Jesus. Scripture supports it.
That's great, and I'm happy for you that it's something you're excited about. And as long as it stays in your private church and out of our public schools, you and I are as kosher as a couple of hotdogs.