I expounded on it somewhat in Message 130, but, for a skeptical theist like myself, I think you'll find that all arguments lead back to, "I don't know." My whole believe system consists of a network of "if, then" statements that are arranged like a dichotomous key. It allows me to maintain my theology (and thus, my hope for a next life and my good-terms relationship with my family) while also not having to deal with a crisis of faith every time my own research finds something that does not reconcile to my cherished beliefs.
Open MInd writes:
Then you said that your religion requires little in the way of thinking. You then projected your religion onto religions in general.
Well, forgive me if that was the point you gleaned from that. I intended to say that most religious people tend to use religion as a reason to not have to think things through, because they think God already gave them all the important answers.
And, I have met a lot of religious people from a lot of different religions. I spent two years as a missionary in Taiwan, where I discussed the subject of religion with several (up to 50 in good days) Daoist/Buddhist people every day. My post was not projecting my personal beliefs onto anybody: I was extrapolating the trends I have repeatedly observed in Mormons, Southern Baptists, Catholics, Buddhists and Daoists (among others) into a pattern that has so far unearthed few exceptions.
Open MInd writes:
I am open minded in the sense that I am willing to believe a religion altogether.
But, you are unwilling to abandon it. I admit that a lot of people are close-minded when it comes to religion. Also, a lot of people are close-minded when it comes to science. A lot of people spend a lot of time trying to figure out a way to get the facts and logical formulae to say what they want them to say.
But, I have spent time on both sides. One side will nail you for a bad argument even if it provides the long-sought-after support for their favorite pet theory, and the other side will praise God for giving you the wisdom to torture logic into a discombobulated heap and boldly declare that it must be proof of God, without even remotely understanding what it was you just said.
I try my best to be open to both religion and science, but I find it more and more of a struggle to find any sort of evidence for the validity of a lot of theistic principles, whereas I see scientific principles verified almost daily in my literature searches and day-to-day interactions with scientists in the lab.
First of all, since most religions in the world are completely false, it is expected that you would find a pattern among religions. Before you hit the true religion you will find a false trend. If you read what I wrote in my posts to Straggler you will see why I believe a religion must be mentally stimulating. G-d gave us a brain, He must want us to use it. Also, the world is so complicated, and it would make no sense for religion to be so simple.
You mention problems with science and religion. Does the advances in mathematics, computers, and economics challenge your faith? Science should be no different. All scientists are doing is finding patterns in nature, making assumptions, and giving names to certain patterns. Religion should not conflict with the physics of the universe. Most conflicts involve wild extrapolations billions of years into the past. This is absurd since the evidence has only been studied for the past 1000 years at most. To make such wild extrapolations would never due when trying to get a loan.
Are you dying as we speak? Yes. Life is what I call a terminal illness. Mortality is happening to every human every second of the day. On that day, Adam began to die.
No. Actually I am immortal. But don't tell anyone else.
If you read Genesis carefully you will see that G-d warns Adam not to eat from the "tree of knowledge" and says that on the day that he eats from it he will die
Now I don't know what the Torah sayd so I am genuinely asking but you do seem to be contradicting yourself when you say "that on the day that he eats from it he will die" is the same as dying several years later. In fact was Adam not supposed to live hundreds of years or something equally silly?
I seriously have no clue what you are trying to say. You are just praising the inventors of the internet and you think this will have something to do with the debate. I have already told you exactly what science is. After scientists find certain patterns in the universe, smart engineers figure out how to manipulate these patterns to create sophisticated equipment. That is a credit to the engineers for their creativity. But, I have already told you that this has nothing to do with religion. I understand you are a scientist and you would like to think highly of yourself. However, all science does is find patterns and give them names. Then they find ways of manipulating these patterns to do what they want. This is no different than saying: Since everything falls to the ground, I will attack the enemy from a highpoint in order to have an advantage. The scientists came along and found the pattern and they called it gravity. They never explain what actually causes any of the patterns. If they happen to find other patterns, they may explain the previous patterns in terms of other patterns. ALL YOU ARE DOING IS FINDING PATTERNS AND GIVING NAMES TO THOSE PATTERNS. This has nothing to do with religion.
Just on a side note, what great technology has come about because of the scientific extrapolations into the past?
Some atheists have trouble resolving contradictions in the Torah. They feel that a contradiction indicates falsehood of the text.
This is because, when someone thinks logically, they realize that an argument must be scrapped if it leads to internal inconsistencies. Rational, thinking persons don't claim that internally inconsistent arguments are only invalid where the paradoxes and contradictions come into play.
Open MInd writes:
However, this is nonsense if the contradiction is so blatant that even a fool would not have left it there, let alone the crafty people that are trying to start a religion.
Are you admitting that the Torah is full of blatant contradictions?
And, are you using that admission to support the veracity of the Torah?
I told you, there is a very fine line to be drawn between apologetics and interpretation. It depends purely on whether one believes in the religion or not. If the religion is truth, it is obvious that it is a complicated text made for interpretation. However, if one does not believe in the religion, he will look at all the things that are made for interpretation, and consider them to be refutations. You would want a book that was actually written by the Creator of infinite wisdom to be readily understandable on a 4th graders reading level. This makes no sense, and only irrational heretics would bring such refutations.
This is one of the clever arguments that I have come up with on my own. When atheists discredit the Torah, they are actually claiming that a human being wrote it. The motive would have to be some sort of hoax. Then they prove that the Torah does not make sense by bringing what look like blatant problems. One of these is the global flood. Many atheists would say that such a thing did not happen, and therefore, they claim that the Torah may not actually be correct. The problem is that this logic will contradict any logical hoax explanation for the founding of Judaism. This is because it would be stupid for a person (or persons) who is trying to sell a religion, to add unnecessary doubtful stories, that seemingly add nothing to the text. A crafty liar would never add such things into a new religion. Therefore, I think that these stories prove that the Torah was not written as a hoax.
We've earlier come to the logical conclusion that God is not and can not be omnipotent. Let's look at the following scenario - suppose for a moment that God is the evil guy who becomes very angry with us and wants to destroy us all and send us to Hell(or just exterminate us forever). What kind of chance do we stand in an all-out war against a God that's not omni-powerful? If he wants to annihilate us, he's got to use material weapons for we reside in a material world. I don't think magic and possible and will work in a world like ours. So what does he have in his arsenal? The Bible teaches us that he could send fire, earthquakes, tsunami but at the same time he's not omnipotent. So maybe, just maybe because he's not-omnipotent I'd assume he'll be constrained to show some physical limitations that we could exploit against him. Let's get rid of the magic part for a moment, if God is to send fire on us, he has to show up in our 3D world at least for a moment. Do we stand a chance?
This is because it would be stupid for a person (or persons) who is trying to sell a religion, to add unnecessary doubtful stories, that seemingly add nothing to the text. A crafty liar would never add such things into a new religion. Therefore, I think that these stories prove that the Torah was not written as a hoax.
I think that one point that you are missing here, is that we are examining these texts from a modern day outlook on life. For people who had no ability to examine geological, archeological evidence, along with a old understanding of physics, these stories seem completly possible. It is only through years of education and cooperation/ sharing of knowledge that humanity has been able to advance our concept of the world around us. We no longer have the same world veiw as our ancestors. We now know there are resonable and natural explenations for what was once attributed to the supernatural. So no it is not unreasonable that many people see the inconsistancies in religious texts as evidence for their unreliability. 'Qui non intelligit, aut taceat, aut discat' The mind is like a parachute. It only works when it is open.-FZ
I could have sworn I already responded to this message. I even remember the examples I used.
Open MInd writes:
This is one of the clever arguments that I have come up with on my own.
Open MInd writes:
The problem is that this logic will contradict any logical hoax explanation for the founding of Judaism.
Like Rueh has already pointed out, this logic only contradicts any hoax explanation that posits a hyper-competent hoaxer. Most people who think the Bible is a hoax do not regard the writers of the Bible as hyper-competent.
Is it your argument that all hoaxers are smart enough to know what people 6000 years in the future will have shown by scientific studies, and to know how to refute those studies?
Is it also your argument that stupid people don't ever succeed at tricking other stupid people?