Sunday, May 01, 2005

Losing My Religion and Finding My Faith

Do you know what convinced me there was a God? It was science and nature.

I remember when I was ten years old and we planted seeds in clear plastic cups near the edge so we could watch them sprout. I remember running into the classroom every day so I could see if my seed was sprouting. I remember watering it and caring for it and the first day I saw the little sprout begin to climb from inside the seed.

I remember the seed gradually opening and unfurling, pushing through the soil until it was no longer a seed, but the roots of the plant as the plant began to climb its way through the soil.

It was such a little thing, but magnified in significance. There, in perfect synchronicity, was order to nature and the universe. Every part of the seed was used to create this plant and every part of the plant had a purpose. From the roots that took in water and nutrients, to the leaves that performed photosynthesis to the plant turning and growing towards the sun or the leaves that would turn over at night to collect the dew on the underside of the leaves to the stamen and the pistol that were used to pollinate other plants and the fact that bugs and birds and the wind would carry the pollen between plants to create others.

It was a perfect design.

That’s when I realized that it WAS a design.

Now, as a ten year old, the magnitude of that thought was far larger than my mind could hold. It didn’t necessarily make me open my eyes and look at the entire world and the universe in that fashion, it just stayed with me, in the back of my mind playing their like a recording and sometimes hiding when other things, other less mind boggling thoughts and experiences, were taking over my life.

During this time, while I was growing up, we went to church on Sundays, had vacation bible school during the summer and I belonged to a children’s Christian group called Awanas. The vacation bible school and children’s group was basically designed to teach you scripture and focused on the promise of salvation through Jesus Christ. They never really focused on the world in general or how God created it. Mostly it focused on the soul and the need to prepare for after this world.

It did teach me things about the difference between good and evil. They never taught me to be intolerant, but the message was about love, that God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son and that Jesus was an instrument of love and compassion and that we should aspire to follow in his footsteps.

As guide posts for living in this world, they weren’t bad concepts.

Still, looking back, I realize that this was half teaching concepts of how to live and half about indoctrination into a belief system. When I was twelve, I accepted Jesus as my savior. I remember the ceremony vividly. We were at vacation bible school. I had passed through most of the levels of learning with my study group and I was convinced that Jesus loved me and wanted to take care of me and insure that I could walk in heaven with him and see the face of God, enjoy an eternal paradise with all those that came before me. I was filled with the Holy Spirit.

I sat on the front pew with three other children of the same age. The church was relatively empty with everyone down stairs enjoying crafts and other events as vacation bible school went on. The youth pastor came to each of us separately. He took each of the other two off to the side and spoke to them for several minutes. In the Christian church that I attended, it was believed that you had to make a free choice, free will, to make this transference or it wouldn’t count so they would ask many questions about what you believed and why before having a short prayer session.

Finally, it was my turn. I was the last in the church so the pastor came and sat beside me on the mahogany pew. I was half scared and half excited. To me, this wasn’t just a rite to passage into a great inner circle of people, but a rite of passage into adulthood. We spoke for several moments about what being “saved” meant and what I believed. Then the pastor told me to bow my head and pray, asking Jesus to come into my heart and wash away my sins.

I did and the whole time I was thinking about what my sins were. Generally, I considered myself a good kid. I got good grades, tried hard to listen to my parents, but I knew that sometimes my brothers and I would fight, we’d say mean things to each other and there were those few occasions when I lied through my teeth (or just didn’t admit to anything) to save myself from grounding, or worse, a butt whooping. All of these things were going through my mind while I prayed and I hoped that God would forgive me and Jesus would help me be a better person.

The pastor prayed silently, too. When we were done, I felt euphoric. This then must be what it was like to feel the spirit inside of you and to be complete. When we went home that night, my family was very happy for me, but after that, they didn’t really talk about what being saved meant or having crossed this threshold. It was just another thing that we did.

Naturally, as I got older and learned more about the world, I had more questions and they didn’t always seem to be answered by the pastor or the church. When I was fourteen and looking for the answers, I read the bible from front to back, looking for them. The bible seemed full of great stories, but it didn’t make me feel closer to God or make me understand anything greater. I was full of “buts”.

The church I attended was going through an upheaval. We had a different pastor every few weeks as the deacons tried to choose the one best able to guide the flock. By the time I was seventeen we’d had about ten guest pastors. I started wondering what was going on that it took so long to get a pastor. I finally started listening after church in the parking lot as the deacons and others would discuss the different pastors and the issues they had with each one. Some of it was about doctrine and some of it about politics in the church. I couldn’t exactly understand about the doctrine issues because I had always thought that God was God and Jesus was Jesus and the bible didn’t change every week, so what was the question?

As time went on, the church membership became less and less. I recall a time when the pews would be filled and you’d be lucky if you could sneak in a seat in the back, but, as the search for a pastor went on, the pews became more and more empty.

The last pastor I remember was a relatively young man. The last two services I attended at the church, right in the middle of my own crisis of faith, pretty much put the final nails in the coffin. The pastor was preaching about sin. He was just a little less verbose than other hell, fire and brimstone pastors I had had the privilege to hear, yet he was very forceful and occasionally did bang on the pulpit. To the dwindling congregation, he gave a sermon that focused on tithing. The church was in bad shape financially with the low turn out. He was excoriating the remaining congregation, spread out with large gaps, about tithing ten percent. I remember thinking how strange that was. Even today I realize that was just bad economics. Fifty or less people were not going to support a church and a pastoral residence with tithing. The church needed more people and the hem-hawing around of the deacons had left it in a sad shape.

The last service, the pastor was preaching on the sins of pornography. He admitted that he had looked at such pictures and had to ask God for forgiveness for such a sin. Then, two longstanding members of the congregation, a man and a woman, came up front and took the microphone. They admitted that they had a marital problem and that each of them had committed adultery. They asked the congregation for forgiveness and then God. There was much weeping and begging. Picture Jimmy Swaggert times two.

The pastor then asked if anyone else wanted to get up and make any statements or ask for forgiveness.

At this point, I was kind of shocked. Not that I thought everyone was perfect, but that we were now in the business of public confessions as if these things were not between the man and his wife and God and not for public consumption or requiring forgiveness from people who had no ability to intercede with God.

Was this what faith was about?

I remember after that that I would make excuses not to go to church.

At the very same time, my family was beginning to break up for the last time. My parents were on the brink of divorce and faith, which might have given me a place to rest in the bad times, but faith had started fading.

We learned in school about the dinosaurs and evolution. We learned about the universe and how stars were created. We learned about molecules and atoms and how they functioned together to form things. In all the learning of the technicalities of things, the idea that we, or these things, were created by something powerful when science seemed to say it was an accident of colliding atoms explained by mathematical equations, seemed strange. I couldn’t hold the two ideas in my head.

It wasn’t as if I woke up one day and had an epiphany that God didn’t exist. It was a slow and gradual eroding until the thought rarely entered my mind.

I went on, left home, did a lot of crazy things. I learned the world was crazy and a lot of random things seemed to happen and turn life from one direction to another. I rarely went to church except for weddings and funerals. My friends and I rarely spoke about religion or faith. It really had no place in my life.

Watching that plant grow in fourth grade and remembering the miracle was hidden away in my mind. Add to that all the insanity in the world and the cruel things that humans seemed bent on doing to each other and it seemed that a spark of divinity could hardly be present in such people, so how could I believe in a God who knew everything and controlled everything, who made us in his image, yet allowed such cruelty to exist?

I think that this is why there is a difference in “believing” something and understanding something. Belief is blind often and doesn’t look for answers, but simply accepts something as true. Some say that this is the basis of faith, the not knowing yet believing. It seems to me that, belief without a firm foundation of understanding is like sitting on a chair with only one leg. You’re bound to fall and break something.

So, did I wake up one day and have an epiphany that God existed? No. Did I suffer a crisis and look once again to my youthful faith for answers? No.

Like the erosion of faith I once experienced, the idea that there was God and an order to the universe, was equally slow in arriving. Unlike my youthful self, I am not easily convinced of ideas. However, I am an avid reader of just about anything that sparks my interest. I am also fond of watching the discovery channel and other informational programs.

I remember watching a program on the birth of stars and the theory on how earth was created from gas and molecules. How, eventually, falling into the gravitational pull of the Sun, these molecules began to spin, creating a sphere with its own gravity, the sun heating the elements and the spinning separating them into earth and atmosphere, the gravity causing the atmosphere to remain around the planet, until the core of gas began to cool and create solid masses surrounded by oceans created by other gasses. Then, how the solar system was created by other such planetary objects being pulled into the gravity of the sun, each being affected differently the further away from the sun they orbited.

Other programs talked about the evolution of animals and plants and the movements of tectonic plates; the slow erosion of oceans, seas and rivers forming canyons and mountains and rich plains.

I was, in a very real sense, re-learning the things I had been taught in school, but now they seemed to make more sense.

Somewhere in that learning, I realized that there was order to the universe. There was a design. Even the most seemingly random of activities came together in a precise function to create something. And, each thing that it created, worked together with another to create something else.

Even if you could drill down to the smallest molecule or atom, there was still something there that began from something else and you could drill down for eternity and never find the ending or the beginning.

Revelations Chapter 22:13

· "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
Of course, Revelations was written to talk about the end of time as we know it, but I took these words to mean something more than just the creator and possible final destroyer, or the end.

I am the Alpha and the Omega. To everything there is a beginning and to everything there is an end, but the end of everything is the beginning again.

It wasn’t the mystery of not knowing from whence the beginning came, but the fact that it was orderly and had a purpose, that convinced me there was something greater at work than random chaos.

There is a design. Where there is a design there is a purpose and where there is a purpose there is a logical Creator.

I call Him “God”.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

'God' is the answer we most often use to fill in this statement--

The origin of life and the universe is ______.


How we so much hate blank spaces....

So whose definition of God do we uphold? One spread by the conquering nations of the past? Or one held dearly to by pacifist nations who got trampled and decimated by the love of Jesus?

One whose people have subjugated the role of nature, thereby murdering entire species of animals, plants, (did this 'God' intend for his creations to be wiped off the face of the earth to make room for parking lots?),
or the people's God who revered nature, felt they were part of it--not above it, loved and respected all living things?
The God who supposedly wrote his will through man, but forgot about the millions of years he was just messing around when he dictated the history of the world,
or those who believe that God is in the spirit of all things, animal, vegetable, mineral, and has been since the dawn of time....?

Ink wiring minds want to know.....

Kat said...

First, let me say that you sound very angry.

Let me ask you, dear anonymous (Scott?), do you think that if men did not profess a faith in God they would be any less builders and destroyers?

If you believe that then you believe that man has an inherent good nature and it was destroyed by religion. I wonder which church you were raised in? (because I know you were and you haven't been able to separate the religious indoctrination, your bewilderment with man from your faith)

I know because you wrote these words:

"The God who supposedly wrote his will through man, but forgot about the millions of years he was just messing around when he dictated the history of the world,"

When I was learning about God and creation, we were taught that man was given free will. So, it is not surprising to me that men make of Him what they would (and some not at all). Is he the creator or the destroyer? The punisher or the compassionate? Justice or vengeance? Love or Hate?

That's why I wrote the sentence "The Alpha and the Omega." He is all things and without one there cannot be the other.

When I read the words:
Genesis I
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

I read this to mean that all living things have a purpose on earth and they serve one another. Sort of like the animal kingdom and the food chain. This is the "greater plan" that was created. Dominion simply means that man was given the power to think above the basic instincts of animals and was able to use it to control the things he would need to survive, like the Cheetah was given speed to run down his prey or the Elephant the trunk to reach the leaves on tree.

In the giving of free will, it means that God does not command men to either destroy or build nor laid down the exact line that man must follow, but simply a plan that created man and put his place in the scheme of creation.

Neither does God choose which antelope the cheetah will chase down nor does he choose which tree the beaver will cut down nor what flower the bee will pollinate nor what land men will plow or the cow he will butcher. Simply they have a piece to play in the plan.

In giving dominion over these things (or power, or higher reasoning) it does behoove us to be responsible towards the resources we are given, yet, like any other animal through out evolution, we have a beginning and an end, we die, our bodies and the things that we create return again to dust of the earth which then grows the plant that the antelope eats, who is then eaten by the Cheetah, etc. that is the overlying plan, the order in the universe.

In between that there is no finger moving man from one place to the other and dictating his every move, his every idea nor dictating the history of the world. That is your old indoctrination speaking. There is a design to how things grow, how things die and how they regenerate, including man. Beyond that, I don't expect God to be alternately crouching on one man's shoulder or the next telling him sepcifically what to do.

As far as "whose definition of God do we uphold" that is a personal question to be answered by the individual. That is the purpose of free will. Neither do I say these things to convert you nor convince you that Christianity or Hindu or Judaism or Islam or any other religion is THE religion nor even that you must believe as I do that there is a God. I simply state that the design of the universe has a purpose and it seems to me that purpose indicates a logical creator.

That is why I called the piece "losing my religion and finding my faith". I prefer to follow the tenets of Jesus Christ.
Another may follow Islam. I wouldn't call them an infidel nor say they were going to burn in everlasting hell, mainly because I don't believe in it, but would add that, with free will, men create their own religions to explain God and the workings of the universe and try to find their place in it. God did not create religion, man did.

However, if you want to know if God planned for man to destroy his creation, I would say that there is a beginning and an end and after the end there is a beginning. Which means that things, including whole solar systems and galaxies, are created to be destroyed. In their destruction, what remains is usually the beginning of another. The infinite plan of recycling.

I would say that includes man and this planet we live on. Does it mean we should hasten that destruction or that God has set a day and said "on this day man will be extinct and the earth will be destroyed"? I don't believe so, but that is a matter of my faith and not necessarily the tenets of religions. Rather, I believe that we can hasten or slow the demise in the over population and over use of resources, but I don't believe we will stop it anymore than the dinosaur could stop its extinction or the dodo bird or any number of other extinct animals regardless of our "dominion".

To believe so would be to lose sight of the design. No, I don't mean the mysterious day of resurrection, I mean "from dust ye came and to dust ye shall return". That isn't just an idea of how each individual body is born, dies and is degenerated into so much biological matter, but in whole species, plants and animals alike coming and going, living and dying. The GRAND plan.

I wonder if you see this plan, this design as flawed on its whole or just we creatures that inhabit it?

And, if you don't believe in God, why do you seem so angry about the idea God exists? Is it easier to blame Him or the idea of God for not leaving some lofty perch to stop all the madness or to blame the idea of God (religion) for the trespasses of men than it is to recognize the frailty of men and their inherent place in the scheme of creation and destruction?

I've told you what I believe, now you tell me what you believe.

Anonymous said...

Well you see, Kat, anonymous is far too smart to believe in God.

More later have to go now and I'm not on a secure computer.

Tom
http://www.redhunter.blogspot.com

Scott from Oregon said...

Well, my grandiose words have returneth....


I believe the two thousand year old religions we cling to are archaic and ill suited for our times. There is no anger in my words--just forceful words. I believe it is time for humans to embrace their own rationality, and drop the irrational doctrines of a long ago era. I believe that you have to be hypocritical and uncritical to allow others to follow their own religion while you follow yours. Each Book claims to be the final word of 'God'. By allowing these Books to have validity in the minds of others, you are saying that your Book is not necessarily the final word. What you are saying is that you do not truly believe your own Book, yet believe your own Book. Illogical and silly.

Again, and simply. I believe in the Mystery. That is enough. I believe humans have created these Books, these ideas, and these stories, in order to satisfy an inate anxiety in facing this mystery.

Quite frankly, the Mystery of all things unknowable is grand and exciting. These old Books, with their uneducated and lame attempts to explain this mystery, are bereft of pertinence and legitimacy in the world of today.

As far as the Environment goes, I believe humans now face a decision.We either step up and deal with what we create, or we face a future of wallowing in our own detritus....

The only place to start is by shouting this from every rooftop, transcending all borders....

For those who feel our children's children should not be privy to what our grandparents had, I say shame on you for being so selfish....

I went to a Catholic nursery school in Jerusalem. That was the end of my indoctrination to your Book. Watching the world's cultures go through the machinations of their various religions made me realize the commonalities and the perversities in this idea of 'having faith'.

Anyway, that's what I think....

Scott from Oregon said...

To answer your question about man being any less a builder or destroyer-- I say yes/and no. Christian culture believes the earth to be their domain, to be subdued.... Other cultures believed that the earth was created for all creatures, and that we humans were to live within its endless cycles....

Humans have created for their own comfort and amusement. That is inevitable. A belief in God doesn't really alter this inate human quality much one way or the other.... Nor should it change our recognition that it is time to alter our course, or we won't be very comfortable for very much longer....

Kat said...

I believe that you have to be hypocritical and uncritical to allow others to follow their own religion while you follow yours. Each Book claims to be the final word of 'God'. By allowing these Books to have validity in the minds of others, you are saying that your Book is not necessarily the final word. What you are saying is that you do not truly believe your own Book, yet believe your own Book. Illogical and silly.
*****************

ACtually, what you are spouting there are the words that extremists use to validate their ideas and why others cannot exist. I know that you are not an extremist.

However, I equally do not find it hypocritical or illogical to allow that these other religions have some legitimacy and say at the same time I choose to follow Christianity largely because these "books" often follow the same basic tenets in creation, morality, etc.

Frankly, I choose to disregard the endings of all of these books that say they are the final word of God because I am logical and can figure out that if three claim to be so it is NOT logical that only one is. Logical minds know that men wrote these books and they contain allegorical accounts that were once oral traditions and were finally written down. Logical minds also know that these are also in light of history books that tell of each civilizations development (yet, all three are based on a narrow group). Logical minds know that these books contain basic philosophies that are shared through many belief systems, not just the three major religions.

I think your still hooked on your old indoctrination that drove you from your faith in the first place. Particularly as you are expressing agnostic ideas of a "mystery" without daining to come out and call it "God". Which is fine by me. My faith is not threatened by what you believe or what a Buddhist or Muslim might believe. And, yes, I would agree that men in caves had very little concept of God or religion as we know it today.

As I was saying earlier, I chose to follow the tenets of Christianity. Your saying I can't be a Christian if I don't believe it is the only religion. I recall the translation of "Christian" was to be "Christ like" or to follow the footsteps of Christ. Since the teachings of Christ contain passaages about compassion, forgiveness, honor, dignity, etc, I don't find anything abhorent in that that needs to be extirpated for the benefit of man.

Also, I would contest your idea that man needs to lose his faith in order to progress. Whether you look at modern times or ancient, beyond the three great religions to all the religions in between, man has been able to build, to calculate, to study the stars, create medicine, even fly to the moon, all while having faith.

I might add what I said in another post, it was faith based ideas, taken right from Psalms in the bible concerning free men on which this modern concept of democracy was built. So, it does seem to be illogical and even hypocritical to suggest that a loss of faith or religion is required to progress.

Lastly, I believe you may be incorrect on two counts of christianity and domain. First, your basing your ideas that Christianity is the only religion to give domain over earth to man on the knowledge that this is the faith you know best. I'd say that it is not the only religion that mentions this.
Secondly, your assuming that Christians believe this domain gives them the sole right to build or destroy it, yet at the same time you acknowledge that men are builders and destroyers regardless. That also seems illogical.

here you say the one of two things that we can agree on:

Humans have created for their own comfort and amusement. That is inevitable. A belief in God doesn't really alter this inate human quality much one way or the other.... Nor should it change our recognition that it is time to alter our course, or we won't be very comfortable for very much longer....

I agree but don't expect man to give up his faith in order to alter this course since this course is set by the free will of man, not his religious beliefs. that is certainly still assigning the blame to something other than man's own bullheadedness.

Scott from Oregon said...

"Frankly, I choose to disregard the endings of all of these books that say they are the final word of God."

This tells me that you do not believe the Bible to be the 'word of God', but believe it to be a profoundly interesting book full of wonderful lessons on life and living. I have no problem with that, nor would I ever try to rend this ideation from you.

If that is true, then I contend that they are all outdated. Not a single one of these Books had any inkling we'd discover DNA, or amass in such large concentrations across the globe. They had no inkling of rockets and the exploration of Jupiter's moons. They could not foresee the decimation of species, the proliferation of noxious air, the ease at which we humans can scoot around the globe. They never dreamed of computers or jet engines, bio-altered food, and on and on.... They are Books and ideas with many time weathered merits, but they do not function as anything but a hindrance in todays world.

You, yourself, in order to rationalize your nihilistic views of the fall of the natural world, quote from a two thousand year old text which you yourself claim to be not the Devine truth after all....

This is the great danger of this type of thinking....

You have a problem, apparently, in the MYSTERY of life. You are not alone. It is one of the oldest 'problems' humans have faced, and thus.... ta da.... religion was born.

Not knowing is not the same as believing in "God'. Not knowing is simply not knowing. Being happy with the blank being left blank in the sentence far above, is far more liberating than trying to assuage an old Book into fitting your particular logic set.

I am so at peace with my 'religiousity', that I can laugh with the utmost of joy whenever the question is brought up....

Your assumption that I 'left a faith' is indicative of something inside yourself. The last formal rub I have ever had with religion from a BOOK is as a four year old. Catholic school, with Islamic playmates, living in a Jewish controlled city....

That said, I've held Joss sticks, tossed coins, knelt in Cathedrals, read about my Choctaw heritage, and basically exposed myself to the beliefs of the entire world. What you find is that people adopt the beliefs that surround them (for the most part). You are Christian more because you have a Christian heritage, than any other reason....

My contention is that this is no longer a valued reason to lean on these Books in solving the problems we face today....

SfO said...

'valid' not valued....

riceburner147 said...

Matthew 21:31,32 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Here Jesus is speaking to the "Religious" leaders of His day. Not exactly the way to win friends and influence enemies. If one is actually willing to read the NT and ask God for understanding the message IS DIFFERENT from all others. All other "Religions" require a set of works to gain the favor of "God". In following Jesus, we are told that our best, most "religious" works are as filthy rags to God (the word used in the original hebrew was the word for "menstrual rags", in the Hebrew tradition, not such a great thing.) It is the point of the NT (IMHO) NOT that we sin, but that we ARE sinners. It is what we are and therefore we need (in the words of Jesus) to be born anew (hate the connotations of that term).

Can you believe that Jesus, had a terrorist,(Simon the Zealot) a traitor to His own people (Matthew) and a (former) prostitute as His closest companions ?

Kat: Like you, i grew up in a christian millieu but was not brought to faith in Christ till I went to a "Biblical Creationism" seminar. This was just the start of Gods work in my life tho, it would be a year later (Feb 15, 1981) till i came to know that Christ died for me. Since then there have been many ups and downs (lately more downs than up :) but one thing i know is true, God loves me, the unlovely. When I am unfaithful, He is Faithful.

Isiah 44:24,25

24 "This is what the LORD says—
your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
I am the LORD,
who has made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,

25 who foils the signs of false prophets
and makes fools of diviners,
who overthrows the learning of the wise
and turns it into nonsense

MichaelH121 said...

Scott, you are just angry. At the world, at yourself and at those who would say you are not the chooser of your own destiny.

You continue to denegrate the faith of others. So much of what you say is ignored by others.

It seems kind of funny though that if there is no supreme power, then why do religions that are different and before they knew about each other basically had the same moral laws?

You still have not answered the question about how "WE" got here. If science is the answer then why do they keep having to change theories?

If life is just a mystery then why bother to degrade what people want to believe? Why it bothers you, why you have this hate is your problem.

You sound like a person not to invite to a party. Because the majority of the people you meet do have faith.

Scott from Oregon said...

"Scott, you are just angry. At the world, at yourself and at those who would say you are not the chooser of your own destiny."

An ignorant and incorrect statement.

"You continue to denegrate the faith of others. So much of what you say is ignored by others."

I state my opinion. If you feel denigrated, it is because you feel your opinions are being attacked.


"It seems kind of funny though that if there is no supreme power, then why do religions that are different and before they knew about each other basically had the same moral laws?"

Because humans the world over are basically the same, with the same needs, wants, desires.... Moral laws are common sense. Don't kill. Don't steal. Don't mess around with your neighbors wife. It doesn't take a 'prophet' to come up with these. Just common sense. Are you saying we had no common sense prior to Jesus? Pretty silly....

"You still have not answered the question about how "WE" got here. If science is the answer then why do they keep having to change theories?"

I have answered that question at least four times. You are stuck on an either-or. It is either God, or it is Evolution. I say it is a MYSTERY and as such, stands on its own. It doesn't need a Book, written by men, to have it explained. It is an unknown. It is not a six day work week by some thing imagined and written about. It is simply an open ended question that drives people nuts, because they really can't answer it.

"If life is just a mystery then why bother to degrade what people want to believe? Why it bothers you, why you have this hate is your problem."

Again, I have no hate. I look at your 'belief' the same way I look at the belief of an Islamic terrorist, a Hindi street sweeper, A Taoist computer wizard, a Budhist tour guide, a Native American black jack dealer who wears a good luck totem around his neck...etc....

With great amusement and affection.


I present my point of view because I believe the world is ready to drop these archaic Books and get on with problem solving this century and beyond's major problems.... These Books have no relevance to those who use logic, reason, and their critical minds.... They don't make sense anymore, without completely distorting and rearranging much of what is in them..... If that belief finds you feeling denigrated, then so be it.

"You sound like a person not to invite to a party. Because the majority of the people you meet do have faith."

I've been to parties all over the world. I've talked to people of all faiths. My reaction has been one of great affection and amusement....I've also mused at how, when a person of a particular faith tells me how their 'truth' is the real truth above all others, that I've heard this mirrored by all other faiths with equal zeal and certainty. I look at the reason for the need to have this certainty, and it is simply this-- An inate weakness in the human psyche that cannot live without having all the blanks filled in.... It transcends time, geography, stature, race, and MTV.

Ain't the MYSTERY grand!

riceburner147 said...

I have a post at my blog re: the 10 Commandments. It is what i believe about how Gods law should be understood. But then, I could be mistaken. I DO believe that all of Gods word should be seen as evidence of His love for His creation. In the past I would argue with folks until (often) it sank to the level of such a lack of love that it would be (to me) well, counter to the core message, I no longer do that and believe that if the message cant be commnunicated in the context of love for your neighbor it is counter-productive. I am gonna stop writing now cause I have had 6 hrs sleep in the last 2 days and I am not sure i an making good sense. Good night.

MichaelH121 said...

Scott, you so far are the one who puts YOUR TRUTH above all others.

You say you do not degrade but state your opinion but you just compared Christians to Islamic terrorists.

Don't worry yourself it takes more than you to offend me.

And as I stated before Prof. Stephen Hawking, still leaves open the Question of a supreme power. It seems that you have closed your mind to it.

It amuses me that you say others have told you how "their truth is THE truth" yet you are doing exactly that same thing.

When science cannot explain something they just say there is not enough evidence yet, but their theory is....

One month science say coffee good, next it's bad. Global warming IS here, yet the world IS cooler. The best example of the cooling is a simple pack of seeds.

I have 2 packs one made in 1975 and one in 2004. Same seeds same company, but on the back is the map of zones and you can no longer plant them above the middle of KY because the temp has gotten too cool. The '75 you could plant into MI now you lost MI and OH and half of KY.

Science cannot prove Global Warming so they stated to figure in the Ocean because it raised their numbers.

If you think that religion is going away then for all you observe, you are blind to seeing.

I see more young people who have faith, because they watched their parents move away from it and they want to believe in something. And I don't see Atheism growing. Even with all the attacks agaisnt the Churches.

A true Atheist believes in nothing. You die and that is it. No consequences.

And you still do not understand "FAITH" the truth is that faith is what fills the "blanks" those who have it do not need questions answered. They do not need a picture they do not need to see an angel to believe they exist. It is a mystery to you. But to the faithful it is a delight. Bacause there is something bigger than we.

As I said before PROVE evolution. Make a human, with flesh with a soul. Make it work. The human Genome has been mapped the billions of DNA particles are filed. Get the building blocks make up some primordial ooze in the lab and grow a man. Until man can make man, then there is more to us than randomness.

Tom said...

What gets me is why Scott feels the need to come here and debate so hard on the issue at all.

btw, Scott, were you the original "anonymous" or no?

What is your big deal? If you don't want to be a Christian, or religious at all, be that way. Your misfortune. I'll leave you alone to fester. I'll try once or so to bring the Word to folks like you but if you resist ok so be it.

Please just don't give us some B.S. about Christians "forcing their religion on me" because we both know it's the other way around in this country. Just check your TV listings if you don't believe me.

Scott from Oregon said...

I compared the 'belief' of Christians to the belief of everyone else's religion.Including Islamic terrorist. BTW, (Christians, historically, have copious amounts of blood on their hands.) I haven't put MY Truth above all others, I have simply stated my opinion.

As to the existance of a higher power, my mind is wide open. Fortunately, I don't have the overlaying of an archaic Books' ideation of God to hinder my viewing of any evidence presented...

"Science cannot prove Global Warming so they stated to figure in the Ocean because it raised their numbers."

No offense, but might I suggest you
think harder about what you just stated. My high school chemistry and physics is a little rusty, but even that doesn't stop me from seeing the silliness here...

"I see more young people who have faith, because they watched their parents move away from it and they want to believe in something. And I don't see Atheism growing."

I see more children playing Nintendo games instead of climbing trees. I guess that makes Nintendo more valid than tree climbing....

"If you think that religion is going away then for all you observe, you are blind to seeing."

Actually, I have stated several times here why I think religion exists. I don't see the need going away as long as humans remain humans.

"And you still do not understand "FAITH" the truth is that faith is what fills the "blanks" those who have it do not need questions answered"

Sure I understand 'faith'. An Islamic terrorist has 'faith'. His blanks are filled. So does every other zealot on the planet.Having faith simply means the aquiescence of the critical mind. You have given up the search and 'settled' on what was around you you. Your heritage was Christian Americanism, so you glommed on to that.

"As I said before PROVE evolution."

Prove that someone who looked like man (the inverse of man in God's image) made the world in six days and then took a break on the seventh day to what? smoke a cigarette?

You are hung up on either/or. It is not even remotely logic. You have an infinite amount of possibilities before you, and all you think about are two....

Here is a demonstration. You may eat a hundred fish hooks, or pull all your own hair out by the roots and tickle your cat with them...

Now STRETCH your mind enough to see that you can have another possibility, and another, and another, so that these two don't have to have any relevance what so ever in your decision making process....

"What gets me is why Scott feels the need to come here and debate so hard on the issue at all."

Actually, Tom, I could answer that two ways. The first one would be, because these religions, including yours, have been responsible for the copious amounts of blood spilled over the last millineum. It is time they are all reexamined in light of what is understood in today's world.

Or, I'm babysitting my very sick mother at her house, and it gives me something to do betwixt changing her nappies and bringing her soup....

"Please just don't give us some B.S. about Christians "forcing their religion on me" because we both know it's the other way around in this country"

There are more evangelical channels than education channels on my mother's sat.

I've never felt anyone forcing their religion on me. I have watched, with great affection and amusement, as brainwashed Jehovah's Witlesses have run through the machinations of their psychosis right at my door, and smiled at the pretty blonde giving me her spiel about her great Mormon faith, and furrowed my brow at being considered an infedel at an Islamic Mosque....

AIN'T THE MYSTERY GRAND!

ANONYMOUS

Sgt. B. said...

"Faith"...

Different from religion...

In this world, there are some things so large and so amazing that I'd go crazy trying to rationalize them. It's easier to simply attribute them to the Hand of God, and find something easier to wrap my mind around.
As far as I'm concerned, God created Man, and then gave him Free Will. That was the bargain; You decide to believe in Me during your earthly life, and I'll take care of you when you die. And to prove that I'm serious, I'll send MY SON to you to give you an example of how much I WANT to care care of you... But it's up to you...

It's that simple. And If I can succor my worries and fears by believing in God, and, in the interim, become a better friend to man, then I'll take that bet... If I win, I get peace of mind that I am doing good things, I get an increased quality of life, I get a certain confidence knowing that I am supported by a loving GOD, and, at the the end of it all, paradise... If I lose, I get, what? My own conscience gnawing at me, I am surrounded by those who are just as worried about my shafting them as I am of them shafting me, a sense of being totally alone in my efforts, and eternal damnation? Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out... And, if I'm wrong, and there nothing after death, okay, I leave behind the memories that I was a good man... It's not like I have to worry about it...

And finally, ask yourself this:

Do you do these things for your glory, or for the glorification of God?

Scott from Oregon said...

"If I lose, I get, what? My own conscience gnawing at me, I am surrounded by those who are just as worried about my shafting them as I am of them shafting me, a sense of being totally alone in my efforts, and eternal damnation? Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out..."

Actually, the only reason you come to this conclusion and not an infinite amount of other conclusions is because you read it in a Book. A very old and outdated one at that. Are you suggesting that a lack of Christian faith automatically lends one to shaft another? Hmmm..... Ask a Tibetan Monk his level of shaftiness, you might find it less than your fabulous Mr. Baker and his wonderfully mascaraed ex-wife....

Eternal damnation? Hmmm. Seems I read that in a Book somewhere. "Hey, we can get the ignorant masses to come to Church if we scare the hell out of 'em!"

"A sense of being totally alone..."

In a world rife with people? C'mon. A bit melodramatic here, wouldn't you say? If you are a Christian because you need to belong to a group larger than yourself.... Yeah. OK. In high school, I wore a hair style that didn't suit me to 'belong'. So I fall victim to this need as well...


Ain't the Mystery grand?

Scott from Oregon said...

"Do you do these things for your glory, or for the glorification of God?"

What THINGS and which God? If you haven't noticed, there are a huge assortment of God's out there to choose from. You mean the one that looks like man and created everything in six days? That one? Tee hee... That one brings me copious mirth and laughter.... He's such a card!

MichaelH121 said...

The Problem is Scott you never really answer a question posed to you.

You respond with little bits of drivel. Someone uses limited space to make a statement and you just go off into nothing and then claim the absence of logic is with them.

Six days is the days of GOD not man.

The problem with Atheism, materialism, science, humanism is the inherent problem of the Great Paradox.

In order for the Bog Bang to have created the universe it had to have Matter. Yet without the Big Bang there was no universe. Where did the matter come from?

Science says it simply "was always there" yet deny that a supreme being "was always there"

Science says a supreme being defies the laws of physics. Yet nothing can be created from nothing. The Big Bang had nothing to create the universe from. So it started out defiying the laws of physics.

You also should not worry about obeying "Man's Law" for a Jefferson said, "All laws should take from the religions the moral laws on which they all agree, that theft is wrong that murder is wrong, that to bear false witness is wrong."

Read not only the founding documents but those of other coutries they are all based upon laws of religion.

You also still do not grasp the difference between faith and religion. Or truth and bad science. The earth is cooling. Do a search there is a Glacier growing at 12 Kilometers per year it has been for the last 12 years.

It is monitored with a camera, and you can watch it live and see it move. It is headed our way.

When looking for a bomber and it fighter escort that flew over the Pole in WWII it was where they though. A fighter was brought to KY. The teams that found it found it buried by 250 feet of snow and ice. Global warming would have prevented that kind of growth.

Scott from Oregon said...

"You also still do not grasp the difference between faith and religion."

Faith is believing in something you can't know.

Religion is what tells you what to believe, though you still can't know it....


"MichaelH121 said...
The Problem is Scott you never really answer a question posed to you."

You just don't like my answers. Scince is about exploring the unknow and bringing it into focus. It isn't THE ANSWER to anything. It rubs us up against possibilities. Sometimes, it shows us things (like DNA) that are astounding and concrete.

Just because it cannot answer THE MYSTERY, doesn't make the answer from a two thousand year old fairy tale any more relevant, sensical, and valid....

Twosret said...

Scott,

"I went to a Catholic nursery school in Jerusalem"

Which Catholic nursery in Jerusalem you went to? How old were you when you made this decision while you were still in Nursery school?

Hey Kat, intense subject indeed!

Scott from Oregon said...

I don't remember the name of it, but I remember they made us wear a blue dress as a uniform....

I don't recall making any important decisions while four and wearing a blue dress....

Twosret said...

Scott,

Exactly that what I was thinking when I read your statement "That was the end of my indoctrination to your Book".

I think it will be more useful for you to stick to what you believe in rather than compare it or attack other religions and God.

Usually people who are happy with their choice don't have this strong urge that you displayed to attack God.

Whatever you chose to believe in will only affect your life not ours.