Why I am An Atheist: Science is better than Faith

Since I am recently talking about The God Virus, it bears mention that religion is not the only viral idea out there. In my youngest years the “god virus” (to use the metaphor) was not the only viral idea I was exposed to. I was also infected at a young age with a high regard and respect for science and for logic. For a long time I thought these two ideas, the religious idea and the scientific and logical idea, were in no conflict with each other because, naturally, Truth cannot contradict truth.

Throughout my life I have been driven by the search for answers. Not just any answers, but answers that make sense, answers that I can understand well enough that I can competently explain and defend to another person. According to the evangelical religious tradition in which I was raised, it was my duty to “witness” to anyone that I could to bring them into the fold of Christianity so that they would be saved. But I had a problem….even at the point when I most deeply believed, when I tried to speak the ideas out loud I felt a conflict, like there was something unfathomable that was just not right. I didn’t really understand this thing that I was trying to convince others to believe, and I could just imagine all the ways in which a non-believer could shoot down every argument I had in my arsenal. This bothered me immensely. I had to resort to just parroting what others had told me, or just skip the theology completely and just invite my target to come to church with me. My lacking witnessing skills guilted me tremendously, and I prayed fervently that God would grant me boldness and tell me what to say.

So, in my search for sensible answers, I dug into apologetics books by authors like C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Ravi Zacharias, and Max Lucado. Without going into the details of each one, I found the following pattern nearly every time: I would read the book and it would bolster my faith and make me feel good about what I believed. Then, a week or two later the doubts and uncertainties would creep in again and I would read another apologetics book and feel good again…then go back to doubting again in about a week. I ran to the apologists and gobbled up their encouraging words, but didn’t really examine the arguments they were using. I so wanted to believe their conclusions that I didn’t really care if their arguments made sense or not. So when I tried to explain to myself what I had learned from them later I remembered the conclusions and good feelings, but still couldn’t reconstruct the arguments behind the conclusions. So back into doubt I would slide. After several cycles of this I started to get really frustrated. 

Little did I realize, I had two conflicting viruses vying for dominance in my mind. I wanted verifiable, scientific, logical answers and I just was not getting what I needed from the previously mentioned apologists. Then I got into creationist literature, including my heavily anti-evolution home-school biology text, and thought for a while that I found what I needed. That science really did support the Bible and Christianity.

I found bits of the truth about evolution and creationism later in college, with the help of Astronomy 101 which explained to me about the Big Bang, and showed me a timeline of the universe including that of life on Earth. That piqued by curiosity and lead me to read more on my own. I was furious at first and felt I had been misled on clear scientific matters by Christian authors I had trusted in the name of God. I gave up on the apologists and creationists and started perusing the science section at our small local library. That is where I found the book form of Cosmos by Carl Sagan, and River out of Eden by Richard Dawkins. And I was hooked.

Cosmos (book)

I started checking out all the books in the local library I could find on both cosmology and evolution. I would bring them home read them guiltily in my room, hiding them under the covers when my parents knocked at the door for fear of their disapproval (I was a bit paranoid perhaps?). This was my rebellion, searching outside the family religion to find my explanations in science. Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins and other science writers I discovered didn’t simply rush to a desired conclusion. They actually explained each step in the progression of their arguments in a way that I could grasp, slowly building up to the conclusion while I followed along. And it made sense, and still made sense a week later (though I usually had to go back and review.) I was actually learning new things when I read, unlike when I read the apologists, and the new understanding I found was intoxicating. The more I learned, the more my former supernatural beliefs fell away in favor of natural scientific explanations, all the way back to the origin of humanity and the origin of the universe. I could see that there were still gaps in scientific knowledge of course, but science had replaced the supernatural explanations so many times in the past. I couldn’t see any sense in posing supernatural explanations for what we didn’t know yet. To insert “God did it” anywhere in the natural world just made no sense.

The viral idea that truth cannot contradict truth lead me to embrace science and reason over faith.

Happy Darwin Day!

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21 thoughts on “Why I am An Atheist: Science is better than Faith

  1. You’re probably going to be skeptical of me since I’m speaking form a believer’s perspective. The experience of the ebb and waning of faith is something I experienced as an young believer. I kind of feel sort of like God was some eager to affirm my faith in him because at various stages just when I could use it, important pieces of the puzzle came together. In my early college years I stumbled upon a very meaningful read “The Mythology of Science” by Rousas Rushdoony. I found it important because it gave face to thoughts that I sensed but had no concepts to express. The read wasn’t anti-science but pointed out the difference between science which as Einstein said: “the refinement of everyday thinking….without religion science is lame, without science religion is blind”. If we had the tools we could measure and report on these things ourselves. But there are theories which are just that and are forced into some fact paradigm and become less that science, just so many rabbit holes into which we could loose ourselves. Where religion is concerned I kind of dug my heels in and never really bought much into so much of the charade of religious machine factory called church. I remember I couldn’t have been more than 16 or so when after service one Sunday I approached the pastor in the window isle of the church and gave him the Clint Eastwood face then told him, you know you should even be preaching. Not because he was an immoral man, but one can only swallow much mush without gagging. I have fairly healthy respect for empirical science and my faith in God in very much unshaken though for the last 7 years I haven’t been able to get myself to venture through the doors of those catacombs called church.

    I just posted this comment to another author which might be relevant:

    Before Martin Luther announced that those who want to be justified have to live by faith; for the previous 1500 years people lived in a contrary fashion. Its been almost 2000 years since Jesus and his disciples did these things that is the hallmark of a living faith. What you have today getting about as church is as far away from the church as the people 1000 years ago who who were not living by faith but living none the less. You are asking the right questions, and if I were in your shoe I’d probably be a bit more ungracious about my inquiries. I am presently struggling like Martin might have in his day to unearth the proof of such faith you wish to examine and deserve. I have to strangle my discontent with people who call themselves fellow-Christians cause I can’t seem to raise these issues with them. You post comments to their blogs they talk past you to their little peanut gallery of entrenched like-minded whatever. I know what it’s like to want to know and are on the other side of that knowledge; was like that for my first 19 years. I have learned quite a bit since but had no regrets. I hate to say it but these days if you had the knowledge base and could make sense of the information science seem more on point with the question of god that what religion you find getting about.

    Best regards

  2. Thanks for the feedback newgenesisres. I am aware that there are people who hold both the scientific ideas and religious paradigms in their head seemly without issue, but I have found that it does not work for me. Francis Collins is the first example that comes to mind. I listen with interest to their arguments, however, I have not yet found their arguments regarding religion to be convincing. Regardless of what Einstein (who wasn’t exactly religious in any traditional sense) might have said, science does not need religion. It needs values and ethics in order to prevent it’s misuse, but that is an entirely different sort of thing than religion. If I could see that religion added anything of value to the discussion that secular philosophy can’t provide, I might consider that, but at present I have not found that it adds any such value.

    • Hi Mikel
      Really appreciate the courtesy of your thoughtful response. Thanks. Sorry I am unacquainted with the Francis Collins you mentioned. Depending on what definition of religion is applied I have to say I’ve little of no use for it myself. One can make a religion out of electricity, a tree or a rock comes down to it. I keep away from traditional sense of religion which I see as a system of rationalizations and customs that are mindless. I prefer a more explorative response driven appreciation of the world. Life as I see it is too precious to let people do my own thinking or breathing for me. If I’m not being too impertinent in taking too much license, I’d almost like to know what you think rather that what some expert believes. I mean, it’s cool to reference the facts and all that cause all we’d have to talk about is what….feelings? On that note I have good excuse for not having my own Hadron Collider, it just couldn’t fit in my basement; so I’ll just have to read their reports and trust to some extent that they are consistent with real observations. I know Einstein wasn’t a traditionalist in much of anything, not even a scholar; but he certainly had some interesting ideas that held up under rigorous scrutiny. In the end he didn’t quite live up to the intellectual “maverick” his persona assumed over the years. Came to quantum mechanics he got “spooked”…LOL—( by spooky action at a distance).

      I have to say that I am intrigued by how the universe at a sub atomic particulate scale mirrors the spiritual world. Frankly I have explored the idea of what is meant by God being invisible; does it mean invisible to our naked eye or simply not visible at any scale but is in a dimensional plane that cannot be optically examined. Too much of what is being uncovered by close examinations and mathematical models of the cosmos is to me consistent with information about God in scripture to dismiss the assertions of God. At the risk of sounding eerily new agey; it appears the close observations of the cosmos is beginning to reveal God as is said (the heavens, and the firmament declares or shows the power/energy that is God in whom we live move and have our beings)

      Your interests are not all that different than mine, but the outcome of our conclusions are apparently different. Hope you don’t mind my risking objectifying you in the attempt to compare notes. I know I should be the eager proselytizer but the truth is I prefer to go with my heart; because the value of people are often overlooked by the same people who seek to make converts of them. The whole process becoming more important than the person themselves.

      best regards

  3. For more on Francis Collins check here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins.

    You said:

    “I have to say that I am intrigued by how the universe at a sub atomic particulate scale mirrors the spiritual world.”

    I see a huge difference between the sub-atomic world and the spiritual world. Both are mysterious and somewhat mind-boggling, though we are actually able to experiment with and learn about the sub-atomic world. This is, of course, what the Large Hadron Collider was built for. Even if we cannot have our own Hadron Collider, we can still follow the research somewhat and watch as other researchers confirm or disconfirm the experimental results that are found there. It’s all a very reason-based approach, and not one that relies on faith. Regarding a supernatural world, one can only speculate and not expect any sort of confirmation or practical application. Even if it is real, we have no way to know about it. For this reason serious disagreements abound regarding the “spiritual” world which will never be resolved, because no new findings will ever be made about it.

    It is an interesting comparison to make though. It seems that God always hangs out right at the edge of our knowledge, in corners where we have not fully explored. But the problem with that is that the more we learn, the less area there is for God to occupy…

    • Hi Mikel. Again I must thank you for every ounce of intellectual effort you’ve put into responding to my comment. You seem like the kind of person that appreciates candor, so I don’t hazard much risk in admitting that I’m more interested in what you’ve walked away with form Francis_Collins than what he has to say, since I have your attention right now and not his. I prefer to be direct wherever possible. There is clear distinction between talking at you, versus speaking with you; I think the former always has a sort of dismissive overtone which I don’t know that anyone appreciates. By the way, I do have a Hadron Collider, it just won’t fit in my basement where I carry out my experiments. I think I’ll just hurry back to return it and collect my $10 billion refund…NOT.

      We each have our individual proverbial pairs of eyes to gather our honest observations of our world. I appreciate and respect that you do not identify any parallels between spirit and particle “worlds” which I asserted was an intriguing observation of mine. The similarities that I’ve noticed are not a few. Well before I had a clue about particle science some to the things I gathered from scripture as I looked at it myself was the curious association that Jesus made between himself and “light”. He wasn’t just saying he was the enlightenment of mans minds and spirit; he actually (if you believe the report…which I do) said he is light, and demonstrated properties of electromagnetic radiation in the transfiguration account where he radiantly “luminessed” in strength of candlepower rivaling the sun in it’s full strength. Aparently that must be contagious because Moses developed similar properties so that he had to put a veil over his face. All the elements of e=mc2 existed throughout history before Einstein organized them into that famous equation. In antiquity going back even to pre-Socratic Mileseans there was without proof the assumption of what was later labeled “vis viva” describing the hidden force in the heart of all matter an (hidden or inner spirit).

      God is not what we think he is, he is what he is. When he gave his name to Moses, it wasn’t Jack, or, Mindy, or Simon. It was I AM THAT I AM, that is my name forever to all generations of mankind. He is saying I am stuff that lives; the Living One. He made man out of a 98 cents worth of raw natural cosmic dust material and made him to live too…… man for all intents and purposes is stuff that lives. When he is done that life goes back to God. If we try to force a meaning on God that doesn’t apply, we ought not to be surprised when it doesn’t play well. Somehow our minds seem to be irrevocably stuck in a certain mode and cannot exercise sufficient flexibility to appreciate what God is saying but we see instead what we are preconditioned to see; nothing larger than ourselves. We are in he habit of defining all reality according to what we are, and know. If you step back for a moment and look at the vastness of the universe; you realize there is relatively no accounting of us in the scale of geologic time much less that we should think to impose a meaning of reality that is based on our virtually nonexistent selves.

      God listed his address as being in a realm that is invisible; in light where man cannot approach; the state of energy which cannot be created or destroyed…eternal. When he says he is the Almighty, that’s what he is saying he is. All power/energy, but not just burte energy, energy that is the source and sum all knowledge. Light is never at rest and when you approach the speed of light, light moves away from you at the speed of light , and time itself is altered to resemble agelessness (by definition eternity), things do not age anymore so the fairytale term “eternal” is used. Man in his temporal mode lost his eternal mode which is hinted at in Moses who had to cover his face. When I read Genesis I wondered how could Adam and Eve be naked and not know it. Well it seems to explain itself. They were in their eternal state of energy….glorified “stuff” that had God’s life and was glowing like light glows eg. (Moses, Jesus’ transfiguration). Man having fallen cannot approach the nexus for transformation into energy. The science of antiquity from which Einstein’s famous formula e=mc2 derives it’s (squaring) principle but now applied to the speed of light (Celeritas)2 and the conservation of energy; is what science in it’s infancy called vis viva; that living spirit that is in all matter.

  4. You say “the more we learn, the less area there is for God to occupy…”

    That’s only true if you consider faith to be “superstition.” Many intelligent, well-educated (even scientific) believers are persuaded that their faith in Christ makes sense of the world. Take someone like C.S. Lewis who you mentioned above… he described himself as the “most reluctant” convert in England. And yet he found the conclusion that Christianity is true fully rational.

    I hope someday you’ll be able to differentiate between the essence of mere Christianity and the less credible aspects of fundamentalism that cause you to push against the door that Jesus continues to gently knock upon…

  5. Thanks for your feedback robstound. I have read CS Lewis, and rather enjoyed both of his fictional series as a child and teen. I was once impressed with his Mere Christianity but when I read it with a skeptical eye I found that his whole argument in Chapter 1 rests on the shaky assumption that we could have no sense of fairness and justice if there were not a god. Even though modern science (though maybe after CS Lewis’s time) has already shown how any non-solitary species will inevitably develop ideas like “fairness” in order to be able to get along and work together for survival and for other good things. He then uses that as his argument that there is a god at all, then tries to go from there to prove that the god must be the god in the Bible.

    So no, I am not convinced by the non-fundamentalist theology of CS Lewis.

  6. Hi newgenesisres,
    You make a lot of interesting claims in that last comment…for instance:

    When I read Genesis I wondered how could Adam and Eve be naked and not know it. Well it seems to explain itself. They were in their eternal state of energy….glorified “stuff” that had God’s life and was glowing like light glows eg. (Moses, Jesus’ transfiguration). Man having fallen cannot approach the nexus for transformation into energy. The science of antiquity from which Einstein’s famous formula e=mc2 derives it’s (squaring) principle but now applied to the speed of light (Celeritas)2 and the conservation of energy; is what science in it’s infancy called vis viva; that living spirit that is in all matter.

    To me, that sounds like a great basis for a science fiction story, but none of this actually has anything really to do with Einstein’s theories. If you think that what you said there is really factual, I would be interested in knowing where you got these ideas, why you believe they are true, and how you could know that they are anyone other than wild speculation.

    I have a simpler explanation that while the ancients that wrote these myths didn’t know what light was exactly, they had experience with it and knew that it was important. Angels and spiritual beings from lots of different religions have been described as radiant (though not always.) Humans have always attached importance to light since we are rather helpless without it…light has represented sight and inspiration and purity, and darkness is the unknown and uncontrollable. There is no need to make dubious references to modern physics to get the role of light in these stories.

    Never-mind that according to physics, for matter to glow it must either has phosphorescent properties (aka “glow in the dark”) or be very, very hot, like a star…

    • Hi Mikel, thanks again for your effort in offering another thoughtful comment. I really appreciate the variety it presents of my views through a fresh pair of eyes. Your comment is certainly consistent with your initial position of not seeing any parallels between particle and the spirit worlds. Do bear in mind that what I am sharing is what I see as an intriguing perceived parallels. The only facts that can be borne out in this flight of fancy would be the facts of science as they are, and the narriatives of scripture as they are. Where I make these comparisons I am reporting no new synthesis of the two but interesting conceptual similarities only. For instance according to science data we know that all matter is a condensation of light. Jesus says he is light and his God is the Father of light and all things are mad of him. We know the mechanics of the e=mc2 where matter and light are the same thing in fact all things are made of light. I could show you scripture narratives that outline Jesus’ statements to the effect that he is light and all things are made of him. Such comparisons are what I say are interesting and are not inconsistent with what I read as scripture as God says a study of the heavens will show him to be (deathless power/energy…the almighty—all power) where he says all things are made of him. I’m not a student of what would encompass the entirety human thoughts of light, but I’m not aware that any of them actually said all things are made of light apart from the two instances cited above.

      Where you see how this could be the basis for a science fiction story you are using language that describe what is science fact today, and it is actually tame compared to what science facts are for the last 100 years. When you look at what they are describing it actually looks more like God than you might be given to allow beforehand. A list of pejoratives that atheists have used to describe the notion of God, and which scientists also use to describe what the observe when the look at the mechanics of the universe include: ridiculous • bizarre • stranger-than-ficiton • imaginary • spooky • absurd • preposterous • irrational • unbelievable • confounding • voodoo • illegal • insane.

      According to your qualifications as to how matter could glow, one has to wonder to what extent these qualifications account for all the unknown factors which have yet to be recongizes. A man with a rather impressive resume once said: not everything that counts can be counted; not everything that can be counted counts. You need only look at the famous quantum mechanic’s “double slit experiment” to see how that works. God is not the sum of the universe, as some pantheists might think, but is quite utterly beyond the universe and is not defined by the universe. The example of the burning bush that was not the source of the flame which engulfed the bush as Moses reported, shows that as seen in scripture that God isn’t limited to the constraints of cosmological physics.

      As far as the glowing aspect God says he is light…light is energy that’s what electro magnetic radiation is. He is light and then more. Humans being familiar with light and light source would likely get the corresponding associations right if there were going to tell a fairy tale. Curious that Genesis puts light emerging on day one, and the sun being created on day four. Where God is concerned; light and the source are not necessarily dependent as physics would show to be rational; but in this way God in my understanding need not be rational no more than walking on water, or reconstituting matter at a molecular lever, or the dead restored to life is rational.
      Again the only thing that I maintain are factual about what I’m laying out are the facts of whatever the science might report and the facts about the narriatives of scripture if one believes them; in this case…I do.

      Where you have a healthy aversion to imagining untested scenarios about the cosmos some people actually think imagiation is more than knowledge; by imaging things you can explore outside the box of what is known. One of the things that I am fascinated by is God’s assertion that all things are possible and he placed no qualifications on that assertion.

      Hope to talk further soon

      Best regards.

  7. newgenesisres said:

    Somehow our minds seem to be irrevocably stuck in a certain mode and cannot exercise sufficient flexibility to appreciate what God is saying but we see instead what we are preconditioned to see; nothing larger than ourselves. We are in he habit of defining all reality according to what we are, and know. If you step back for a moment and look at the vastness of the universe; you realize there is relatively no accounting of us in the scale of geologic time much less that we should think to impose a meaning of reality that is based on our virtually nonexistent selves.

    Yes, I see clearly that universe is much larger than ourselves, and we do not appear to be at its center. I think this may be a common misconception of the godless, that we think we are pinnacle of all “creation” and that think we know everything? Hardly…just contemplating how little we do know about the universe blows my mind. But I will not accept made-up answers to try to alleviate the discomfort of not knowing.

  8. When I said your ideas were like science fiction, I didn’t mean that as a pejorative, and I am well aware that some scientific discoveries and technological advances have been foreshadowed by science fiction. However, I am also aware that most of the ideas in science fiction have remained fiction only, as is really clear if you read the classics. Jules Vern in From the Earth to the Moon was prescient about travel to the moon, however, his method of getting people there would kill if not liquify them if anyone really tried it. He imagined essentially shooting men to the moon inside the bullet of a huge gun! Like I said, a few ideas from science fiction end up being reflected in real science and technology, but most do not.

    You say:

    A list of pejoratives that atheists have used to describe the notion of God, and which scientists also use to describe what the observe when the look at the mechanics of the universe include: ridiculous • bizarre • stranger-than-ficiton • imaginary • spooky • absurd • preposterous • irrational • unbelievable • confounding • voodoo • illegal • insane.

    Oh yes. Science has experimented with and explored both the very tiny world and the very large universe and found it to be very surprising. Dr. Richard Feynman is well known for saying that if anyone thinks they understand quantum mechanics, they do not understand quantum mechanics. What we cannot therefore conclude that any idea that has been described as “ridiculous, bizarre, etc” is therefore up for grabs and something we should be willing to consider. First the idea must be proven worth our while, as quantum mechanics has been experimentally, and then we should consider it. As I see it, God (whether your concept of God or one of the other 10′s of thousands of god concepts out there) is not an idea that has demonstrated it’s worth for our consideration.

    You are welcome to believe whatever you like, and attempt to come up with scientific parallels for all the scriptural stories you like, but that does not get us anywhere closer to a real understanding either of the world or of the objects of religious belief. Unless perhaps you are willing to subject your ideas to formal scientific inquiry, the way other sci-fi ideas have on occasion found a place in non-fiction science. Though the odds of that happening are rather long.

    • Hi again Mikel, the greatly beloved of God. I should let you know that I personally count atheists among my association of mutual respect and acquaintance, and hold them in highest regard. Our views are known to each other, and we cross swords at every opportunity. If I had the impression that you were something different; of mean company, I would not seek your opinion. A person doesn’t have to say something overtly mean to tip the hat that they are indeed mean. Frankly I didn’t discern any pejorative meaning in your characterization of my analogies as “work of fiction”, nor felt the slightest offense. I freely allow wide enough latitude for you and others to express your disapproval with my opinions without investing them with offenses. The list of pejoratives I noted were collected from a comment thread at “Galileo Unchained” where I was fielding questions about Jesus’ Crucifiction. Though the host himself was Abundantly gracious, at times right out of the gates the respondents were without civility and liberal with the menu of pejoratives. I also noticed that these pejoratives were the very ones that Scientists were using to describe the world since it has been observed to be quite different from the Newtonian version that served us for hundreds of years.

      The difference between a Sagan, and the Einsteins is that someone actually laughed at the Eeinsteins while no one is really ever going to laugh at the conformist Sagans. They are bound fast by the chains forged of their own pedagogy. According to George Eliot (“It is an uneasy lot at best, to be what we call highly taught and yet not to enjoy: to be present at this great spectacle of life and never to be liberated from a small hungry shivering self–never to be fully possessed by the glory we behold, never to have our consciousness rapturously transformed into the vividness of a thought, the ardor of a passion, the energy of an action, but always to be scholarly and uninspired, ambitious and timid, scrupulous and dim-sighted.”) the Monday morning quarterbacks that they are, they never really turn out to be very original; or not by a sufficient degree to really matter. They are never heralding the advent of an age or turning the tide of human history, but are afloat upon it’s dark waves, drifting about hither and yon. They keep back at a safe enough distance to witness the calamity or success of the latter and cheer or decry as their moods suit them.

      As far as drawing parallels between particle, and spirit worlds I am well aware of the utter futility of attempting to put any such notions to the rigors of scientific scrutiny for reasons that are obvious to me. If the thrust of such scrutiny was to produce God in a test tube at the end of the day….no way. God is not sustained by his creation, but the creation sustained by God and is not the sum total of God; again evidenced by the bush shown to Moses, engulfed in flames yet not consumed as fuel for the fire…. Light appearing on day 1 yet the sun created on day 4. I’ve often caught myself in the tendency to dismiss something to out-of-hand as being worthy of ridicule based on my understanding at the time. I have come to see how that kind of reasoning might easily qualify as hubris and intellectually dishonest because if I cannot boast definitive knowledge that qualifies it as irrelevant, proceeding to do so then lacks sincerity. I might want to toss off the idea of actually seeing God in nature at first thought; but though I may not be able to wrap my mind around it I am mindful of the scripture that says (God and even the deathless power/energy of the godhead may be know by the things that he has created).

      Since science mentions spooky or weird things, maybe I can exercise license and do so as well. We may walk away from the laundry list of all such speculations in particle/spirit worlds, but were you to knock them all over and walk away from them, apart from all that, there are also other considerations which do not fall within the domain of science, and for that reason you may understandably not concern yourself at all; but even if they are only speculative in nature; after dismissing such a great cloud of potential witnesses…even if I considered myself of a conservative stripe I just might begin to think myself somewhat reckless, if a bit strong a characterization. I know your threshold for proof and documentation is too high to consider this of any worth, but among other things that I see as curious are things that scripture predicts like the Jesus’ birth. There were people who knew to within the tolerance of the span of a generation according to Daniel’s prophecy when he should be born. Upon christening him, Simeon in his old age who was waiting to see him before he died, gave thanks to God for letting him see the savior, and that being enough of an honor declared he was ready to be laid to rest. Now if you think about it. Astrologers who had no Jewish pedigree came from the east to greet him at that time.

      As you look at the breadth of that scenario which reaches up until our present day, you wonder at another speculation that might be dismissed or heeded. From the first time Christ was promised to Abraham till the time of David are 14 generations • from the time of David to the Babylonian captivity are 14 generations • from the time of the captivity till the birth of Christ are 14 generations…all told 42 generations accounting for 2000 years from the time of his promise to Christ’s arrival • Now from the time of his ascension to our present generation it has been 42 generations…2000 years. Awfully curious is just how the most telling of all the sign that should identify that generation in whose time he would come back at his second advent has not only taken place when Israel in 1948 became a nation after 2000 years of exile, but makes him over 20 years delayed in coming. Even this delay is consistent where skeptics would say, ha, ha, I thought he said he’d be coming back, where is he? But then he came like a thief in the night when no one was watching. As the non Hebrew wise men astrologers came to announce his birth; here is another wild speculation: it is so curious that the Aztec Calendar which starts as a time that predates their own civilization should oddly cease to log the consistent progression of time as detailed from the origin of a calendar that predates their own civilization.

      Not only does the generational chronicle of mankind starting from Adam ends at Christ, but identifies Christ as the last generation of the lines of humankind to be logged in scripture cannon. The scripture said of Christ, that one man (a seed) being Christ shall serve God and he shall be counted for a generation….shall be an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land…to him shall be the gathering of the world as one man..as one generation.

      Again the very best of reagards.

  9. You Said:
    “The difference between a Sagan, and the Einsteins is that someone actually laughed at the Eeinsteins while no one is really ever going to laugh at the conformist Sagans. They are bound fast by the chains forged of their own pedagogy. ”

    Excuse me, but what? You have seriously lost me here. Is this because Sagan was a skeptic? I know of no other scientist who has done more to bring scientific thinking to the public, or a grander appreciation of the real world. You’ve rather gone into preaching and declaring that your ideas are correct and everyone else is “conformist” in this last comment, to the point I think of grandstanding. Everything you say here is a claim with no backup or proof–only the assumption that things claimed in some ancient stories are true. Yes, I do have a high standard of proof for such amazing claims. As Carl Sagan said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    • The contrast that I’ve drawn between Sagan and Einstein is not along ideological lines of religion as much as they are about willingness to challenge the status quo regardless of popular opinions which is more likely to get you laughed at by those who hold populist opinions. Einstein’s ideas were so revolutionary his work laid the foundation for the atomic age which names him as one of the fathers of not the father. I’m not aware that Sagan’s work had that kind of far reaching impact as to determine the character of an age, thought he has accomplishments. I don’t put much stock in Einstein’s religious conviction as much as I respect his disarming candor in admitting that what we know is nothing compared to what we don’t know therefore the possibility of a God claim cannot with certainty be ruled out since we haven’t examined the vast unknown to make that determination. You look around at the universe, and you can’t help but be impressed by all that there is to see; yet all that can be seen is only a whopping less than 10% of the all the visible matter in the universe entire; some 94% of it is not detectable apart from its effect on the 10% that’s visible. Anyone then who then stands flat-footed to announce with virtual certainty that there is no God lacks credibility, and is no less deficient in intellectual integrity. If it is not a certainty, why so overeager to make a case for a no God universe if the unknown is out of reach to you in which case the jury would still out according to our limited knowledge. That to me has the guise of an agenda which if not laiden with hubris is very like it.

      The exception that I take to Sagan in this regard is not limited to people who espouse religious skepticism since this brand of pedagogy is the salient, perhaps singular liability of people in the church also, whose getting about is in the business of religion and the church as it exists; their learning blinds them. Though they are in the church they appear in scripture on a long list of those who whose wisdom keeps them within a box: the judge, prudent, prophet, the ancient, honorable, captains and titans of industry, mighty men,….lets just say it’s rather long list. I don’t think Einstein was a very traditional student in his approach to learning. Two of the acquaintances I mentioned as atheists by philosophy, and who I highly regard are brothers. The younger holds a Phd. from MIT. and his brother with whom I am more familiar is absolutely brilliant to the point that astonishes me all the time yet he has chosen a non-traditional approach to learning. To him all of life is a laboratory for learning; his intellectual, athleticism, musical, social, aesthetic and fine motor skill sets are something to behold. I only comment on Sagan in response to being cited as pointing to people that are laughed at and I’m actually not a big fan of laughing at people because it only points out our own blindness and inability to appreciate a wider view of things.

      Science is only the refinement of our everyday thinking; I’m not about to cede my intellectual liberties to anyone because they may have better tools for measuring or reporting everyday observations. If you tell me you do not see what I see, I ‘m not prepared to commence laughing at you; but if you then proceed to tell my that I do not see what I see nor respect that; then one day I’ll probably come into the proper range of vocabulary to appreciate diminutive view of things. It’s probably not very clear to me that I was saying my ideas are more correct than since I was saying merely that this point or that point was interesting with the exception of answering Sagan’s criticism.

      I’m still interested it exchanging thoughts while trying to avoid antagonizing you.

      Best regards

    • “Anyone then who then stands flat-footed to announce with virtual certainty that there is no God lacks credibility, and is no less deficient in intellectual integrity. If it is not a certainty, why so overeager to make a case for a no God universe if the unknown is out of reach to you in which case the jury would still out according to our limited knowledge. That to me has the guise of an agenda which if not laiden with hubris is very like it.”

      Now we start to get back to the point of my original blog post… Yes, there is a lot we still don’t know about the universe on the whole. However, we don’t need to know everything, or nearly everything, to conclude “with virtual certainty” that the claims of Christianity (or other religions) of God and supernatural beings are dubious. We may have very limited knowledge, but the men who wrote those stories knew even less than we do.

      To say we don’t know everything, therefore God exists, is not a valid argument. Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, etc point out that the old supernaturalist explainations are no longer needed and that we are capable of understanding so much more of the world than a religious understanding would allow. If that is hubris, it is still less hubris I think than that of those who teach that we must accept their religious teaching unquestioningly or else be punished in eternity.

  10. Hi Mikel, the luminaries you cited would make a case for a no God universe based on what they do not know abut him. If one does not know, I believe the accurate characterization of that limit upon ones scope of what is know is… I or we don’t know. They know nothing beyond that, and the quantity of what is known to them…”As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. why then boast of anything more before the jury is in as far as it is possible to have a verdict. They may do that if they wish, but I think it neigh unto utter falsehood. If I were to defer to man’s accomplishments as a reason why their unsupported statements ought to be considered I would think neither of thee men would shine next to Einstein who said —”As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.— reality is a persistent illusion. I’ll be hanged before I let others decide my reality for me.

    The men of faith on the other hand, and particularly those of whom I am aware in the Judeo/Christian cannon of scripture make their claim based on what they know of God who revealed himself to them. To their report I agree. You say extraordinary claims ought to have extraordinary proofs. Again there I agree with you. Such poof was appointed by the God who posited this knowledge with men to be presented with such claims of him to the world, but for the inept body of clergy who for the last 41 generations before my time have been little more than zombies you might have been presented with this evidence already. The entire purpose of my existence is to put an end to that charade in my generation by reviving this dead faith so the eyes of those who seek to know can be satisfied. If beyond the witness of all the mighty works of Jesus Christ anyone then choose to walk away for the knowledge of God; that is a liberty that free will affords.

    Blest Regards

    • You believe he stories of the men who claimed God spoke to them, at least those in the Christian tradition. I, on the other hand, think that there are much more likely explanations for their stories than actual revelation from the Creator of the Universe. They claim to know what the Divine Being is and wants from us and expect us to just take their word for it. That is what I call hubris. Is it any surprise to you that I am skeptical of these claims? I mean, the same ones who believe God gave special tablets to Moses scoff at the idea that an angel revealed he location of tablets to Joseph Smith. Or that Mohammed was visited by an angel and flew to heaven on a winged horse. None of these beliefs are any more justified than he others. You seem to me only to be assuming the truth of your religious tradition, even as you disavow traditional religion.

    • Greetings Mikel, Religion can be called many things, and many things are called religion. If emulating the life, and actual works of Jesus Christ in every way is a religion, then in only that singular instance will is accept the label of religion as it applies to me. Men like Moses to Jesus and his Apostles did not just present words but showed God by the life of God expressed in mighty works. Since the time of Jesus you have men who basically simply offer words which God told them not to do. Yeah, to that extent I agree with you that is indeed great presumption and hubris even by liberal definition because their failings has caused incalculable misery and sufferings throughout the ages.

      The difference here is that, I don’t have to settle for the word of any man, be he dead or living to validate the God claim; least of all those who are poor examples. It’s out there for me to prove it; and prove it I will. What other people do is of no consequence to me. If my life is distilled down to one purpose only, it is to prove God, not to myself only, but for all who have been ill-served by the zombies that go about as clergy. Men have scribbled messages through the ages that God is, and can be known; they are now dead, but God still lives for me to know the resurrection power that he is for myself. I know him as well as any man living today; but that is not enough; and that has been the error throughout the last 40 generations. The bar has been set much higher than what witness words bring. You can’t tell people about power for the witness of power; you have demonstrate the power whose name is Christ. As I will have no man tell me which reality to choose; I will have no man prove God for me but myself alone. He is not to be known in word, lest all you have at the end of the day are arguments; but he is to be known in the power that he is to give life to dead things, and make broken things whole again, and fools to be wise. I admire minds like Einstein, Emilie du Chatelet, Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, Galileo, Capernicus. The notable figure of the works of God are few since the Apostles were were laid to rest; but I am a child no more to we swayed by the ignorance of men who say they know God. Mine is a life giving spirit, and life it will bring to the dead, and all the works of Jesus Christ.

      My finest regards to you.

  11. There have been many people like you, all thoughout history, who have thought they had the right view of God and that all others were wrong. This is how there came to be tens of thousands of different Christian denominations. I do think it is a good thing that you question what others have said and come to your own conclusions in these matters. However, I have looked at your reasoning, just like the reasons of the apologists that I used to read, and I am not convinced. I’ve had lots of different people tell me lots of things about God, but it’s all nothing but their own opinion, even if it’s based on some traditional religious ideas.

    There is only one being in the whole universe that would be able to convince me that God exists, and that is God him/her/itself. Until that time comes, I will continue to live my life with the reasonable conclusion that he/she/it probably does not exist. Regarding the God of the Bible, it is way too jealous and cruel and inconsistent to be worthy of my worship–even if I might fear it if it were real. If I reached the point where I came to be absolutely convinced that a god exists, it is still mine to judge if that being is worthy of my adoration and obedience or not. You and other Christians I know might consider that the highest of sinful pride, but I call it being responsible for one’s own belief and action.

    • I dont know that it is all that complicated. I read the life of Jesus he said do what is do if you believe me in me. Maybe you missed part where I said ….what others do is of no concern to me. But my mind is made up to do what Jesus told me to do. It’s as simple as that.

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