ARCHIVES:

Posts in this section were archived prior to February 2010. For more recent posts, go to the HOME PAGE.

Archived Articles

5/03/2008                                                                                       View Comments

If a watch points to a watchmaker, then...

By Dave, the WM

A look around at the tremendous variety, beauty, power, and complexity in nature can evoke admiration, awe, and wonder from even the most hardened cynic. Modern Christians often appeal to these emotions to argue the existence of a creator deity. Many Christians consider the arguments from nature to be powerful and convincing evangelistic, apologetic tools.

The concept of nature somehow proving the existence of god isn’t particularly new. In 1691, John Ray, one of the most eminent naturalists of his time, as well as an influential philosopher and a theologian, wrote, “The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of Creation.” One of the most popular books on the subject was written in 1802. Authored by William Paley -- British Christian apologist, philosopher, and utilitarian – the book was entitled Natural Theology, or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity Collected from the Appearances of Nature.” Paley is also the one credited with birthing the now famous Watchmaker analogy that is so often recited as some great “AHA” by Evangelical Fundamentalists.

To be concise, Natural Theology asserts that the vast complexity of nature points to a designer much in the same way a watch points to a watchmaker.

But is this line of reasoning really effective for proving the existence of Christianity’s god?

While a watch assuredly implies some sort of a watchmaker, it can also just as likely imply a whole group of watchmakers, or an apprentice watchmaker, or even a watch making machine. The “god” found through Natural Theology lacks any of the attributes associated with the god of the Christian Bible, and describes more accurately the god of Deism. And, by analogizing god as a watchmaker, the basis for the design argument rests on the premise that God behaves much like a human being.

But there are more points to consider:

1) We can easily confirm the existence of watch factories, watchmakers, etc. We also know that watches do not naturally occur and that watches are in fact made by people. We cannot, however, be sure whether the universe is really designed or not. There is no way for us to compare a designed universe with an un-designed universe. We have no reference point, no measuring stick, and no knowledge about the matter.

2) The watchmaker argument is basically an argument from ignorance: “I cannot imagine how an intricate system could come about without an intelligent designer.” Therefore, god exists?

3) The argument from design seeks support from the emotions of awe and wonder rather than from reason.

Intelligent Design (ID) is nothing but a repackaged version of the old Natural Theology. ID purports to be scientific, but the fact that ID is primarily argued for in the courts of law and public opinion, rather than in scientific arenas, presents an interesting picture. Lately, the most vocal proponents of ID appear to have a clear political and social agenda which has nothing to do with science.

Further, ID explains nothing. If GOD, in a spontaneous act of design and creation brought the universe and all that is in it into existence, then that event wasn’t exactly natural. An event like that would be supernatural and miraculous. And by definition, supernatural, miraculous events are unexplainable. All we can do with a supernatural event is label it as supernatural. There is no way for us to explain things that lie outside of nature. In fact, should we actually explain a miracle, it is no longer miraculous.

For discussion:

If Intelligent Design lacks the ability to explain anything beyond simply saying the universe is inexplicable, what is the real point behind the rabid promotion of ID?

26 comments:

TastyPaper said...

Terrific article, I was hoping someone would touch upon the Blind Watchmaker argument.

exrelayman said...

If God (who is fooling whom with intelligent designer?) makes universe is analogous to man makes watch, consider the following:

1 - We have testable evidence that man exists, but no testable evidence that any God exists. This point was made in the post.

2 - Man is more intricate and complex than a watch. By this analogy, God is more intricate and complex than the created universe. Since something of greater complexity is required to produce the designed item, then a more complex God' would be required to create God. Continuing in this vein leads to an infinite regression of ever more complex Designers. Occam would not be happy with this.

Note to tastypaper - Watchmaker was Paley's argument for a designer. Blind Watchmaker is evolution per Dawkins, clearly using the terminology of the argument he was refuting (this is a free online ebook).

resonate11 said...

"If Intelligent Design lacks the ability to explain anything beyond simply saying the universe is inexplicable, what is the real point behind the rabid promotion of ID?"

To save God. That is, to save the Christian proponent of intelligent design from having to jettison belief in one of the corner stones of his/her life view.

Intelligent design proponents know too much. They have lost their innocence. But they are not ready to let go of God. So they seek salvation through intelligent design.

Either that or they are disingenuous!

Dave8 said...

WM: "If Intelligent Design lacks the ability to explain anything beyond simply saying the universe is inexplicable, what is the real point behind the rabid promotion of ID?"

I think you hit the nail on the head, with political and social reasons as the impetus for ID argument.

The argument is used to appease secular Christians, who may be sliding towards philosophical naturalism.

Hardcore orthodox Christians are not the demographic targeted by ID proponents, in my opinion.

Those Christians, who are curious, and will study, are not going to be satisfied with "just" the creation story of the bible, in conflict with scientific fact. Such Christians are vulnerable to becoming "secularized".

ID is the solution, provided by some not so intelligent theory designers, that is supposed to send a curious and young secular Christian into a cognitive thought loop, that they are not able to escape - without intervention, vis-à-vis "secular" education. Hence, "religious" universities are part of the Christian protocol sponsored by ID proponents.

In my opinion, ID proponents are attempting to "re-culture" a segment of Christianity, by infusing natural elements as "hypothetical" mortar, to mend the fractured keystone of Christianity - the keystone being the creation story/myth.

I'd suspect it to be a rare occasion, that an ID proponent isn't promoting ID while at the same time being outspoken about dinosaur fossils as man-made/synthetic artifacts. The ID MO is to protect the keystone, and keep filling the fractures & gaps with hypothetical mortar. ID’ers are engaging in a battle-of-words, without evidence, to re-contextualize the biblical setting, in order to promote a different type of world view lens for upcoming Christians, who are prone to secular persuasion.

Thanks for the article WM, have a great one.

billybee said...

WM's article ends with "... what is the real point behind the rabid promotion of ID?."

Maybe it boils down to our fear of death...?

Being dead is not cool...let's try really really hard to find a way to not be dead...m-kay?

Lorena said...

Great article, as usual, WM.

what is the real point behind the rabid promotion of ID?

Well, the Christian religion was created for political reasons, to prolong--reinforce--the Roman domination.

Nowadays, at least here in the West, Christianity is a supporter of the powers that be, with its doctrines of submission to authorities, the promotion of male domination, and its advocacy of the inferiority of children.

I say ID is yet another attempt to keep people following blindly, to maintain the masses under control, to preserve the status quo.

That's why atheists are finger pointed as dangerous, terrorist-like individuals, because they're a tremendous threat to the establishment.

twincats said...

"... what is the real point behind the rabid promotion of ID?."

It's to get the public schools to allow religious (xtian) propoganda in the classroom.

This has been stated in something called the Wedge Document.

Google it.

muttmutt said...

Heres a question that makes some (if not most) christians uncomfortable, if there is a God, why should it be the christian God? If they try to push ID, I can counter it with a) the Polytheistic POV, b) the theory of stupid design c) insert witty counter theory here.

The thing is, if christians dont knock thier shit off, they will find themselves at the short end of the stick, because there ARE still atheists and pagans in america, maybe not as much as there should be, but enough to be outraged at what the christians are trying to accomplish.

Amber said...

If anyone is interested, Dr. Barbara Forrest has an excellent book exposing the Religious Right's agenda on teaching creationism in public schools-"Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design." Additionally, visit www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/program.html for a free documentary that you can watch online concerning the 2004 intelligent design court case.

Bill said...

Evolution of time pieces. Fascinating stuff. Starts with a stick stuck in the ground and someone noticed a shadow and then you have sundials and hour glasses and before you know it, bam, the Swiss evovled.

.:webmaster:. said...

Bill,

Timepieces do not occur in nature. They are not living, do not self replicate, do not self repair when injured, etc. Comparing inanimate objects made by the human hand with a life form that grows from a microscopic one-celled creature into a fully developed adult entirely on its own volition is a logical error. Obviously watches don't evolve -- that's why they don't exist in nature. The only things that exist in nature are those things which evolve through natural processes.

Your logic could be used just as effectively to prove that evolution is true.

Bill said...

Damn Poe's law. I guess my attempt at humor failed. Just trying to point out how time keeping devices have evolved over time. Similar to paintings. From drawing in the sand, to cave walls, to eventually pixels on your screen.

exexchristian said...

Hello all,


It seems as though people here looking for support are anti-religion. Perhaps this is the case. I would like to point out as an “ex-ex-christian” (i.e. Christian) that Jesus Himself was anti- establishment religion. Religion is more of a map. If you look at the world from space as an astronaut, it would be a whole lot different than seeing a model globe. Religion is just a vehicle to understand the concept of God, not to put Him in a box. What people can’t seem to get a grip of is that being a Christian is matter of the heart. More of a thought process. This process leads to Faith. Not blind Faith. Most cite that faith is the belief in something that you know isn’t true. I say that faith is belief in something that you know to be true based on observations and environment. As C.S. Lewis said, faith in God is like faith that your general anesthetic is going to work when getting open heart surgery. It seems as though the atheist would say “ Well, you can’t tell me its going to work, how do YOU know?” Its not the best argument, but it shows the general thinking.

Only when you are completely honest with yourself in your heart can you truly know somewhat how God operates and have faith. What do all the world’s problems come from? You could name a host of symptom problems, but bottom line, it comes from breaking the conscience or inner ruling in our hearts. Point in case, we have enough food to feed the world, yet 1/3 of the world starves. I’m not casting stones, I’m just stating fact. It seems as though the more educated we get, the more immoral.

Perhaps God only cares about what our hearts are like, not how educated/religious/smart/pious/fill in the blank. Perhaps why some leave the faith (if they even had it) is because they were missing the point. Maybe some super ex-religious people would have appeared like super-Christians from the outside (i.e. were pastors, gave to the poor, did good deeds) but didn’t bother to take out the garbage for their wife when she was sick because it was too inconvenient. Or were wrapped up in all the apologetics of religion that they missed the point that its about a humble heart. Really the original sins were pride and wanting to be in control of their own lives. Look where we are now… war, broken homes, mental illness, starvation, money, etc.

Another point that absolutely cannot be overlooked is Israel. I mean come on, the Jews are the ONLY ancient race of people in the history of mankind to not have a country for centuries and still maintain national identity. And the prophecies of Jeremiah/ Zecheriah cannot be overlooked about the Jews coming back into their own country. This goes to show more about the nature of God. The Jews are Very insignificant in the grand scheme of things by man’s eyes, yet here they are standing. Where are the Assyrians, Philistines, Persians, Babylonians, Romans, these Great Wordy Empires? Vaporized, all of them. God likes the insignificant. He doesn’t think like us. Here we are on a floating ball in the middle of no where. An insignificant planet with an insignificant sun, in an insignificant galaxy. God likes the weak. If most of us were given a universe in which to create life, we would most likely pay more attention to the more glorious magnificent galaxy’s/ stars it would appear, not so with God.

We keep looking for happiness and all the things that our soul yearns for through money/ power/ significance/ whatever. Yet when search only for those things, it is only temporary relief, then we must search again, and this vicious cycle follows forever. Maybe what we are looking for is opposite of what the world says is what we should want. Maybe God cares about the silly/ stupid things of the world that no one would notice. The things that the world would despise. Here the Jews were looking for a Grand (worldly) militaristic Messiah, but Jesus came to be tortured to death and show us how to live. The ultimate anti- what the world says would make us happy. Perhaps we must give up to what we are holding onto in order to save our lives and be happy, because what we keep looking for NEVER makes us happy. We look for happiness in pride and grandure, but happiness truly lies in being humble. Even most fundamentalism is just a mask for more worldly pride and grandure. Perhaps the more Godly person is volunteer maid that cleans the toilets in the church for free even when she can’t afford to pay her bills. Perhaps the robber and prostitute that are in jail are closer to the kingdom of heaven than the pompous preacher, because at least they KNOW they are wrong and repent. Yet the preacher scoffs at members in the church who come in wearing jeans and unshaven. This is the matter of the heart. This is where if you search your soul, you will be drawn to Christ if you choose to repent.

Back to Israel. It cannot be denied that Old Testament prophecies have come true. Many of them and many concerning Christ. And thousands of years ago, God told Abraham that his decendants would be as the stars of heaven. Well, nearly the entire middle east can trace their lineage to Abraham, and Christians can through adoption. The Bible says that all nations would be blessed through Israel, and so they have though Jesus. The Jew have been nearly wiped out numerous times in history, yet here they are still standing. Little ol’ Israel. The Bible says those that curse Israel will be cursed and those that bless Israel would be blessed. The counties that back Israel are blessed (U.S., U.K, Europe) and the countries that curse them will be cursed (Iran etc.) These things cannot be overlooked.

Now for another important issue. Some say that God isn’t fair in the fact that not everyone has heard of Christ, how can he hold them accountable of hell if they’ve never heard. I don’t assume to know others hearts. I know that true faith in Christ and following his commands will save you, and that He is the only way to God, but I don’t know if only those who believe in Him will go to heaven. We know He is the only way to heaven, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to have heard of Him to go through Him and for Him to save you. I can’t say for sure, but I don’t like to put God in a box. He judges the hearts and can do what He wants. But if you have heard of Him, you will be drawn to Him if you are His.

Some say that Islam is so similar that how do we know which one is true? This is why Islam is a false religion. Islam focuses on outward religion. Do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that. Its not about the heart and the conscience of the soul and self sacrifice for others on the small everyday scale. Islam seeks to have a world religion on this earth. Whereas, Christianity is in the conscience, the heart, in cogneto. Here’s a big one; radical all out Islam seeks a physical worldly War. Radical all out Christianity seeks to help others self sacrifices for other’s happiness at all costs and is very physically passive and morally/ spiritually active. Our battle is the battle of the mind and principalities, hidden and insignificant. Not of the world.

If we were all here by chance then Christianity doesn’t matter. For that matter, nothing matters. But if we are here for a reason, then Christianity is ALL that matters. Its by no coincidence that the moon is 400 times smaller than the sun, yet surprisingly is 400 times closer, so that when viewed from earth, look nearly exactly the same size. God is real. Evolutionists claim that all that morals are mere by products of us evolving and help us to survive. Then why are we getting worse! We should be all angels by now! They also say that the Bible can’t be true, because the Bible says the world is only 6-10,000 years old, when we know it took billions of years for light to get here from other stars. They could very well both be true. Time and space are warped. It could be that the universe from the Earth’s perspective is only 6,000 years old, but to another star it is 10,000,000 years old. We know that the more gravity something has, the fast time goes by on it. This is a futile attempt at explaining the Bible away. Time is just a pond we are in, but the pond has waves.

Believing Jesus is the Son of God IS a matter of faith, but not blind faith, it’s a matter of the story fitting perfectly in your heart like a puzzle piece, that is if you are willing to admit it. Its not an intellectual question, but rather a moral one.

Thanks,
God Bless

.:webmaster:. said...

Hello ex-ex-Christian,

I’ll take a crack at responding to your homily.

It seems as though people here looking for support are anti-religion. Perhaps this is the case.

You would be more accurate to state that it seems as though some people here looking for support are anti-religion.

I would like to point out as an “ex-ex-christian.”

I’d love to know the story behind when you became a Christian and then an ex-Christian and your subsequent re-conversion to Christianity.

Religion is more of a map...

And your assessment and definition of religion should be accepted as the true understanding of this human phenomenon because…?

What people can’t seem to get a grip of is that being a Christian is matter of the heart. More of a thought process.

The heart has nothing to do with thought. What you just said was self-contradictory. You basically said that religion is based on feelings (the heart) – a thought process (logic). I’m afraid those are two completely different approaches to accumulating knowledge and understanding about the world we live in. Intuitive feelings are not the same as empirical evidence.

Most cite that faith is the belief in something that you know isn’t true.

I would say that faith is belief in something for which you have no empirical evidence of being true.

Faith in God is like faith that your general anesthetic is going to work when getting open heart surgery.

Not really. Anesthetic was developed over a long period of time through many trails and errors. It was developed through scientific experimentation with various chemical combinations, not through faith. A person undergoing anesthetic perhaps has faith in the judgment of his or her doctor, but it is the doctor’s knowledge, education, training and reputation which gives the patient confidence or insecurity.

Its not the best argument...

I agree – not a very good argument.

Only when you are completely honest with yourself in your heart can you truly know somewhat how God operates and have faith.

I have no idea what that means. It was being completely honest with myself that helped me shed the shackles of superstition. I had to finally admit that my beliefs were based on nothing more than feelings.

What do all the world’s problems come from?

Let me ask you this: Why, if GOD is omnipotent and in control of EVERYTHING, why are there problems? Don’t tell me because of man, because tornadoes, tsunamis, earth quakes, lighting strikes, disease, etc., have nothing to do with the behavior of human beings. These forces of nature seem to care nothing for the general welfare of human beings, yet these forces are supposedly under the direct control of your GOD.

Perhaps God only cares about what our hearts are like, not how educated/religious/smart/pious/fill in the blank.

This is a lovely thought that helps people feel good about being relatively insignificant, but that’s about it.

Perhaps why some leave the faith (if they even had it) is because they were missing the point.

You imply that you were once a Christian who left Christianity (ex-ex-Christian). So were you once a Christian or perhaps you were never really a Christian. In that case, your moniker is misleading.

Maybe some super ex-religious people would have appeared like super-Christians from the outside (i.e. were pastors, gave to the poor, did good deeds) but…

Yes, yes. Anyone who changes his or her mind about religion wasn’t a real religionist. If an atheist becomes a Christian, does that mean that the person was never a “True atheist™?”

Really the original sins were pride and wanting to be in control of their own lives.

So you are not in control of your own life? You are an automaton?

Another point that absolutely cannot be overlooked is Israel.

Israel is unique for a number of interesting reasons, but the Chinese have been around a whole lot longer, have faced many seemingly impossible hardships, and yet still exist. Should we infer from their survival as a people that GOD has some special tenderness toward the Chinese?

God likes the weak. If most of us were given a universe in which to create life, we would most likely pay more attention to the more glorious magnificent galaxy’s/ stars it would appear, not so with God.

And this statement is trustworthy because… ?

We keep looking for happiness and all the things that our soul yearns for through money/ power/ significance/ whatever.

That may be your motivation in life, but it has never been mine. Why is it you think everyone only values shallow things like money and prestige?

Jesus came to be tortured to death and show us how to live.

Thousands if not millions of people have suffered horrific privations that in some cases lingered on for decades and generations. Surely you’re not comparing a three hour tour on a torture stick as comparable to all human suffering?

Back to Israel. It cannot be denied that Old Testament prophecies have come true.

Since the Old Testament is GOD’s word to the Hebrew people, it would seem to me that the Hebrew people would be the most reliable people to determine which if any of those Hebrew prophecies have come true. I also think there are more stars in the sky than there are all humans who have ever lived, regardless of lineage. Perhaps that was a false prophecy?

The Bible says those that curse Israel will be cursed and those that bless Israel would be blessed. The counties that back Israel are blessed (U.S., U.K, Europe) and the countries that curse them will be cursed (Iran etc.) These things cannot be overlooked.

Wait a minute. First you say that GOD likes weak things, and now you are saying that the reason some countries prosper is because GOD likes those countries? Perhaps GOD liked the fact that the United States committed virtual genocide of the Native Americans? After all, in the OT, GOD supposedly commanded the genocide of a large swatch of humankind. In fact, HE supposedly personally committed it HIMSELF on occasion.

I don’t assume to know others hearts.

No, it’s all “perhaps” with you. Perhaps you are not being honest with your judgment here.

I know that true faith in Christ and following his commands will save you…

No, you believe that your version of your religion possesses some supernatural power that will usher you into a glorious netherworld after death. You don’t know anything of the kind.

I don’t know if only those who believe in Him will go to heaven.

You don’t even know that such a place as heaven exists. You only believe it exists because you have been told it exists. You have faith based on hearsay.

I don’t like to put God in a box.

That’s good, because if there is a GOD, IT is incomprehensible and therefore impossible for anyone to say anything authoritative about IT.

Some say that Islam is so similar that how do we know which one is true?

Have you ever seriously studied Islam? If not, how can you make dogmatic statements on what that religion teaches?

Radical all out Christianity seeks to help others self sacrifices for other’s happiness at all costs and is very physically passive and morally/ spiritually active. Our battle is the battle of the mind and principalities, hidden and insignificant. Not of the world.

But you said that GOD is blessing certain nations. Aren’t those nations in the world? And what exactly is a principality? Can you describe one of those? And this “radical Christianity” of yours. Are you inferring that you have the true, honest-to-goodness, real Christianity as opposed to other Christians who see things differently from you?

If we were all here by chance then Christianity doesn’t matter. For that matter, nothing matters.

Really? You mean to tell me that my life has no value if I am not a Christian? I beg to differ. I like my life and I like being alive. I think most people, regardless of their religion, lack of religion, or general circumstances cling tenaciously to life. If you believe your life is worthless without your religion, then by all means keep drinking it in. Better to be a live drunk than a dead sober person.

But if we are here for a reason, then Christianity is ALL that matters. Its by no coincidence that the moon is 400 times smaller than the sun, yet surprisingly is 400 times closer, so that when viewed from earth, look nearly exactly the same size. God is real. Evolutionists claim that all that morals are mere by products of us evolving and help us to survive. Then why are we getting worse! We should be all angels by now! They also say that the Bible can’t be true, because the Bible says the world is only 6-10,000 years old, when we know it took billions of years for light to get here from other stars. They could very well both be true. Time and space are warped. It could be that the universe from the Earth’s perspective is only 6,000 years old, but to another star it is 10,000,000 years old. We know that the more gravity something has, the fast time goes by on it. This is a futile attempt at explaining the Bible away. Time is just a pond we are in, but the pond has waves.

I’m sorry, that whole rant is extremely ignorant. You do realize that the vast majority of educated Christians understand that the universe is incompressible old and that the earth is vastly older than 6,000 years. Please share with us the courses you’ve taken on these topics so we can be enlightened on how you arrived at your interesting conclusions. As far as your “we are getting worse” idea, that’s also ignorant. Things today are significantly better than they were in 1,200 C.E., when Christianity was in its ruling hey-day. I wouldn’t wish the dark ages of theocratic society on anyone. And let’s not forget about all those natural disasters out there, like the ones that wiped out the dinosaurs after those poor innocent animals had roamed the planet for millions of years.

Thanks,
Reason Bless

exexchristian said...

“Things today are significantly better than they were in 1,200 C.E., when Christianity was in its ruling hey-day.”

Maybe physically and medically better, but not morally better. You haven’t acknowledged the moral aspect yet. People change partners now like they change socks. Its not unheard of for men to sleep with 50-60 women in their lifetime. Don’t you think there is something disturbing there? Do you think that is ok? Do you think it is ok to steal, murder, rape? All are animal qualities, and we are just animals competing for survival right. Your whole rebuttal was very intelligent and well versed though. I have always admired your intelligence. It doesn’t seem like you are doing much different than what you were doing in your Ehud of Gera days though. You seemed quite intelligent battling the atheists online then, now you’re just on the other side, or are you? Not much difference in the passion there, its just channeled differently now. I pray for you daily though and love you and wish for a meaningful relationship one day.

“I’d love to know the story behind when you became a Christian and then an ex-Christian and your subsequent re-conversion to Christianity.”

Boy oh boy. Long story. But I don’t think you’d love to know. A long story of a life of sin and bad choices and God speaking to me. Call it stupid, but I have felt God. Not through church, not through anything but faith. I was a teenager, gave my life to God, shortly thereafter cursed God for stupid reasons (sin again) , then re-converted years later when I realized the only answer to life was Jesus.

“The heart has nothing to do with thought. What you just said was self-contradictory.”

Not really, I don’t mean the heart as in feelings. I mean the heart as in conscience. The way you think and use your conscience. A way of thinking with the soul. Not feeling. I wonder if you would feel so staunchly about you current beliefs if something tragic happened in you life. Or if you ever had to do something really hard and trying. And tragedy is a horrible reality of this life. Its easy to explain away God when your life is fat.

“This is a lovely thought that helps people feel good about being relatively insignificant, but that’s about it.”

Wow, you are far worse than I thought. I hope you come around one day.

Let me ask you this: Why, if GOD is omnipotent and in control of EVERYTHING, why are there problems?

You ask a mortal man why God does what he does. If there is no right and wrong as you believe, then what does it matter that there are problems? There is no God, right, if your house burns downs from a meteor attack, oh well, there’s no God. Who knows why God does what He does. Can he not do with His creation as he pleases? The fact that you even have an idea of what right and wrong is and then are trying to say there is no right and wrong is contradictory yourself. You’re assumming that if there is a God He’s bad, but what is bad then??

Bottom line, its faith that makes you believe, and you’ll only believe when God allows you. You are right, I am not educated as thoroughly as you. You still seem to think that one’s worth is based on the wealth of mental knowledge one has though. But Anyway, good talking to you.

Dave8 said...

X2C (Not to be confused with the drug ecstasy): "Bottom line, its faith that makes you believe,..."

Actually, it's your belief without experiential knowledge that makes you faithful.

X2C: "...and you’ll only believe when God allows you."

I have no faith in your statement.

X2C: "You are right, I am not educated as thoroughly as you. You still seem to think that one’s worth is based on the wealth of mental knowledge one has though."

One's conceptual relationship with a God can be no greater than their experiential knowledge.

That means, your God concept should keenly resemble the gross experiences of your life - minus the taxed parts you have justified as unworthy. What you are left with; is the net-worth of your life experiences - expressed using the word God.

AtheistToothFairy said...

exexchristian wrote:
They could very well both be true. Time and space are warped. It could be that the universe from the Earth’s perspective is only 6,000 years old, but to another star it is 10,000,000 years old. We know that the more gravity something has, the fast time goes by on it. This is a futile attempt at explaining the Bible away. Time is just a pond we are in, but the pond has waves.
---
Hey XX,

Did you think up this really BAD psudo-science apologetic yourself, or did you take astronomy/physics lessons from your fundie preacher instead?

It never ceases to amaze me how some people, can take a pebble of valid knowledge and wrap it up in a mountain of manurer.


ATF (Who is now about to build a special Space-Ark, so he can take a 6000 year cruise on "pond waves of time", but still be home in time for brunch)

.:webmaster:. said...

"Maybe physically and medically better, but not morally better."

First of all, people are the same today as they've always been. Switching out partners is nothing new. And quite frankly, most of the people I know are in monogamous marriages. In nearly 50 years of life I've never met a single man who has slept with 50-60 women. Perhaps you hang out with a different crowd than I do.

Do you think it is ok to steal, murder, rape?

No, do you? If you weren't currently religious, would you have any deep desire to rape and steal? I've never in my life had the desire to rape anyone. I can't imagine wanting to. I've never been interested in hurting other people. Is this something you wrestle with, a craving to hurt people? Because if so, that's scary.

"I wonder if you would feel so staunchly about you current beliefs if something tragic happened in you life."

You must not have been paying close attention during my Ehud of Gera days. I've had my share of difficult times. In fact, having an eternally estranged relationship with you is one of those trials.

"If there is no right and wrong as you believe, then what does it matter that there are problems?"

Who said I don't believe there is a right and a wrong? Just because I think Christianity is superstition doesn't mean I don't believe some things are wrong and others right. Your gross generalization that all non-Christians are immoral is asinine. I just don't think "right and wrong" are based on superstitious religions.

Think about this: Is murder wrong because GOD says so, or is murder wrong because it is inherently wrong? If GOD were to say that murder is right, would murder then become right? Or would GOD be wrong to call murder right?

"What is bad, then?"

Exactly, if we are all at the whims of some arbitrary GOD who makes up the rules at HIS pleasure, then there really is no right or wrong. Wrong would be disobeying the GOD and right would be obeying the GOD. None of our actions would have an inherent good or bad qualities. Everything would be merely obeying the commands of the GOD, and if that GOD commanded rape, murder and theft, then good would be to rape murder and thieve.

In fact, that's exactly what GOD supposedly did command in many places throughout the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua and Judges. He commanded the rape, murder and pillaging of entire people groups. So maybe you're right. Maybe there really is no right or wrong -- it just depends on what GOD is commanding a person to do that day.

exexchristian said...

"Think about this: Is murder wrong because GOD says so, or is murder wrong because it is inherently wrong? If GOD were to say that murder is right, would murder then become right? Or would GOD be wrong to call murder right? "

Its both, they are on paper and stamped in our hearts. Do you think people would be still "moral" like you if there were no laws in th U.S. ? It would be total chaos and be more horrible than you could imagine. Let me ask you this, Is cheating wrong becasue its wrong, or is it only wrong because the teacher says don't do it? Or is it wrong to cheat on a spouse? Why? Maybe someone else feels different. There has to be a law to protect us from ourselves.

"In nearly 50 years of life I've never met a single man who has slept with 50-60 women."

Then you might want to get out and realize how depraved people actually are. This is VERY common in the world of nastiness that we live in. A good majority of young adults growing up are addicted to pornography, sex, and alcohol. I'm not 50, but the vast majority of people I come into contact with treat women with such distain, it is disgusting. It is meritorious to be with 5-6 women or more per year. It doesn't matter that they share the same partner at the same moment as someone else. People are selfish, sexually depraved and murderous. The people I work with talk about how cool it was to watch certain things happen in other countries that were nothing but flat out murder. How something so gross could be called cool is beyond me. This generation is growing up disgusting. Maybe you are living outside of that because typically you are around folks your own age? Or maybe you keep yourself realtively "moral." But I am around all types of demographics of people and its all pretty much the same story EXCEPT for the fundamentalist Christian.

billybee said...

It never ceases to amaze me; the lengths that people will go to in avoiding the obvious fact that when we die, we are dead.

boomSLANG said...

Item: "exexchristian"

So, at face value, we can conclude that during one's first stint as believer in Christian doctrine(i.e..as a "Christian"), that one believed in the supernatural..i.e..talking snakes, witchcraft, walking cadavers, virgin births, semi-invisible winged people, smearing bird's blood on the sick, etc., etc...and then at a later time, determined that those things are quite silly, and just not plausible(presumably through healthy scepticism, reasoning, and rational thought). And then, at some later point in time, went back to believing in the supernatural.

Here is my conclusion:

Said person was never really a "True Ex-christian"; they never stopped believing, and only convinced themselves that they didn't believe. Possibly, they were influenced by those less-than-perfect self-confessed "Atheists, who also were not "True Atheists", thus, they never really disbelieved it in their brain = )

Aaah, sweet f%cking irony! Muah!

stronger now said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
.:webmaster:. said...

Japan has an extremely low crime rate, yet less than one percent of
the population calls itself Christian. The US has the worst crime rate in the world, yet over 90% of the population claims to be Christian. There are more churches per square mile in the U.S. than any other part of the world!

"There is one thing alone that stands the brunt of life throughout its length: a quite conscience." -- Euripides 480–-406 BCE

More interesting, less than one percent of the American prison population calls itself atheist. Over 90 percent in prison claim to be Christian!

If god's law was sufficient for society, why do we have so many other laws? Laws are not put in place to keep people restrained; laws are in place to protect the innocent from the less savory members of society.

Was slavery immoral? "All men are created equal," said the founders of this nation. That is to say, all men that weren't black or red were created equal. If a man's skin was black, he was enslaved. If a man's skin was red, he was subjected to genocide. But the laws weren't in place on this land for centuries to protect blacks and heathens. Therefore those people were victimized by -- of all things -- Christian Americans, some of whom upheld the institution of slavery and the extermination of heathens quoting texts from the Bible. Apparently the Bible was insufficient for delineating morality.

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

If you are trying to say that Christians are more moral, more
compassionate, more giving, more self-sacrificing, or more generous
than the general population, then I challenge you to find a single scientifically non-biased study to support that rhetoric. Good luck.

"Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions" -- Blaise Pascal

Some people turn to religion because they are filled with guilt and regret over choices made in life. Others turn to religion to provide some authoritative direction for themselves and their children. There are other reasons to accept that some supernatural realm affects reality, but I have never met a person who converted to Christianity based on a purely intellectual study of the topic. In every case of conversion I'm familiar with or have read about or have heard about, an emotional experience brought on by some stressor was the underlying foundation for the conversion. No matter the reason for your religious conversion, to now dogmatically and authoritatively project your own narrow perspective and viewpoint of life onto all other people on the planet, based solely and entirely on your individual personal emotional experiences, accumulated in just the past few months in a life that is barely over a couple decades in length, is probably not the most convincing approach for helping others to conclude that Christianity is true.

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Benjamin Franklin

Regardless of all this off-topic blather, you have offered not one shred of evidence to indicate that Christianity is true. Even if it were possible to demonstrate that Christianity creates a more peaceful, law abiding, and orderly society, (which it can’t – Hitler’s Germany was strongly Christian) that wouldn't provide evidence that flying chariots; talking snakes, donkeys and bushes; floating ax heads; a flying un-dead god-man on a stick; invisible warring angels and demons; etc., are real.

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one." - George Bernard Shaw

On this thread you have communicated a number of harsh, judgmental, dogmatic, black-and-white statements about how you think other human beings aught to live their lives. “Disgusting” is an adjective you favor. I appreciate that you want to live your life a certain way, but using demeaning, self-righteous language of condemnation toward other human beings is not a particularly effective way to show others the magical way Christ has transformed your heart. You might want to reconsider wearing the robes of the Pharisaism when presenting ideas. It's really a turn off.

"You know your god is man-made when he hates all the same people you do." --[from Usenet]

"What men call gallantry, and gods adultery, is much more common where the climate's sultry." Lord Byron (1788-1824) British poet.

Finally, the openly and repeatedly disrespectful tone toward not just my thought processes but my very personhood belies something a bit deeper than mere disagreement with my ideas about religion. I wonder at your motives in engaging me in this way. I can tell you this: this tactic accomplishes nothing toward healing any prior rifts.

Besides, it should be apparent by now that I’m not going to change my mind based on the arguments you have to offer, and, as I tried to convey in an earlier email exchange, I’m not particularly interested in arguing with you about religion. If there is something you’re trying to learn about my perspective, then I could suggest a number of books that I find insightful. I suspect, however, that you aren’t really interested in anything I have to say about this or any other topic. If you are just here to practice your evangelism, surely you realize that I’ve heard it all before, believed it all before, and have abandoned it forever. So, I would ask that you at least grant me the courtesy my unique position in your life is entitled and respect my position on these matters as I respect yours.

"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart." -- H. L. Mencken

exexchristian said...

"I wonder at your motives in engaging me in this way."

I HAVE been hurt by you, and am vexed horribly because of you lack of repentance. Not one day goes by that we (esp. me) don't mourn and pray for you. But I ASSURE you that my intentions are pure and I promise I have forgiven you for any and everything. It might not seem that way because my inflection can't be annotated on a PC screen, but I assure you that I say these things posts are out of deep love for you, not just to argue or prove a point. I just emplore you to be moraly honest with yourself out of a pure heart. ...much love from me.

webmdave said...

"I HAVE been hurt by you [...] But {...} I promise I have forgiven you for any and everything."

That's nice. What in the world did I ever do to hurt you so much that you feel a need to forgive me? And why in the world do you find this medium better than simply calling me on the phone?

This is childish.

say hien said...

beneath the venality of pity and love of the xtian is actually judgement and pride. emotional and spiritual blackmail of the non-conformist is the last refuge of the existentially insecure.