28th November 2009

“Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.”

Chapman Cohen1868 – 1954

8 Responses to “28th November 2009”

  1. Chris Says:

    Just to follow up on Dragonknight’s excellent point regarding our inability to keep a story straight. Consider this – the old testament was written in Hebrew and a little Aramaic, the new in Greek. While this is certainly a giant step forward in terms of accurately passing along information it is significant to note that the meaning of a great many passages come down to a contextual guess. Why? These ancient languages predate punctuation. We’ve all seen cases where moving a comma can change, even reverse the meaning of what’s written.

    Let’s eat, mommy.
    Let’s eat mommy.

    To me, this begs the question: Could not the divine ruler of the universe have come up a more idiot proof way of passing along his instructions for, among other things, murdering homosexuals, witches, disobedient children, prostitutes, innocent children and livestock (who, I have it on good authority were simply minding their own business)?

  2. dragonknight Says:

    Maybe.
    But maybe, if there is a God, then His not giving us a better way to pass along His/Her/It’s teachings was some kind of lesson. You know… listen better.

    *shrug*

    Placing blame for our inability to communicate with one another on a higher being, either faceitously or as a legitimate argument, is kinda like blaming your teacher cause you didn’t listen in class and failed the test.

    Now, I’m no bible thumper, I just like to hedge my bets and maybe the church I used to go to as a kid, and my parents and family, convenietnly left the bits about murdering homosexuals, witches, disobedient children etc etc out. I’ve heard the argument many times, and I know that institutions behind religion have often twisted the moral lessons present in the bible to suit its own ends but can someone please, to satiate my and possibly others curisoties, provide specific, context relevant examples where it says these things? That’d be nice.

    On the subject of the quote now: (wow i’m long winded)

    I don’t think it’s all that true. There are MANY, in the scientfic community who are fervent believers in religion. And I know alot of people who are very religious who have excellent common sense. In niether situation do I see God exploding in a puff of logic and disappearing. If that comment above were true, religion would have died out long ago.

    The problem is, there’s alot of things we don’t know the answers to in the universe. And until someone can conclusively say the why and how of everything, then religion will still have a place, it probably always will.

    I think, as a self identifying ‘fence sitter’, the only correct answer is to stop trying to prove each other wrong and admit that neither side has all the answers and come to a common understanding.

    I feel that I’m in a very small minority, Atheists seem very intent on the eradication of religion under the pretext that it’s better only believe in cold hard facts and the religious hold close their mysticisim in an effort to find solace about the parts of the universe we don’t understand fully (like what happens after we die, where does out conciousness go, and if it doesn’t go anywhere, then whats the point of life?).

    I for one, choose to sit on the fence. I want to understand the world around me for what it is, but at the same time, I can’t imagine a life without a little magic and wonder in it.

  3. Chris Says:

    There is no meaning to life. But there is meaning in a life well lived. I’ve never understood why one would find life somehow lacking if they don’t have an eternity of groveling to look forward to. Indeed, when you view your life as a one time opportunity, you place perhaps a little more value is making the most of it.

    Anyway, my point wasn’t to blame a non-existent teacher but to poke a bit of fun at the silly idea that the bible is anything more than just a book.

    The bible is upheld as a model for morality. Human morality is superior because we universally reject crimes that the bible condones.

    Bible condoning rape: Judges 21:10-24
    Jesus condoning slavery: Luke 12:47-48
    Bible condoning murder: Deuteronomy 17:12, Exodus 22:17, Leviticus 20:13, Leviticus 20:10, Deuteronomy 13:13-19 (entire town) plus many more!
    God demanding human sacrifice: Judges 11:29-40, Joshua 7:15, 1 Kings 13:1-2, Ezekiel 21:33-37, Deuteronomy 13:13-19

  4. PEB Says:

    Why does life need to have a point? Personally I believe there is plenty of magic and wonder around without religious superstition.
    Like most atheists I simply don’t care if religion is eradicated or not as it plays absolutely no part in my life.
    I do care about religion encroaching on my life in areas like politics and education when it shouldn’t.
    The quote above is true. Over hundreds of years gods have come and gone and today’s religious flavour will be no exception. It might just take a bit more time!

  5. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Check out Symphony of Science music vids, featuring Sagan, Dawkins, etc…:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGK84Poeynk&feature=player_embedded
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc&feature=player_embedded

  6. Tony Provenzano Says:

    Obviously the quote is true, read about the history of Gods or Religion to see the many hundreds that have dissolved into thin air. While doing so, consider the fact that almost everyone everywhere was also worshipping them as fervently as Tech does here. How has it serverd their purposeful, magical, and unending (as so promised) lives?

    @ fence sitter
    It appears that you can’t make a decision. That is the problem I have with most Agnostic’s and Deist’s. They decide nothing can be proven so they don’t throw their hat one way or another.
    Well sometimes you must take a stand. Doing so, you are better than the arbitrator or facilitator (I know sometimes needed to keep dialogue continuing).
    We can change the world, if we Decide; rather than watch it go by affecting little by our neutrality too often turned into apathy.

    As progress shows, Science continues to supply the largest % of the answers to our wonders. Magic and its supernatural correlation is nowhere to be found. It is an insult to every bit of scientific research and discovery. Magic/Supernatural beliefs and the ideologies they breed (psuedoscience’s and religions), bring the ignorant, -only by proclamation- closer to a level playing field to all those who work so hard to supply the tangible real life answers. No evidence required, just try to prove it wrong, they say.

    I am an Atheist and proud of it. I know where I stand and if you hang around here long enough you’ll be inundated with evidence of the ills of religion and all supernatural claims (Chris is doing his job so well as usual[see above] ).

  7. dragonknight Says:

    Thank you for the references Chris, I’ll be sure to take a look at them.

    To tony’s comment about God’s disolving into thin air: Alot of ancient religions have just gone the way of the dinosaur and just died out entirely. Far more have been absorbed and resturctured by other, more prevalent religions.

    This is what Rome did, they’d go into an area who had a compeltely different belief system and go ‘your not that different from us, your ‘insert god name here’ is just like our ‘insert god name here’. This act of understaning, helped make a situation that where groups who might have resisted Roman rule vehimantly find a common ground and be more accepting of differing ideas. When christianity became the primary religion of the empire they overwrote ‘pagan’ religious events with more christan friendly ones (christmas used to be the Saturnalia, a celebration of the god of agriculture saturn, who had an alagous diety in ancient greece) in an effort to show people that it was all the same, just with different names.

    I have made a decision and I do lean to a more rational viewpoint on life. I don’t ‘believe’ as it were, but rather I understand why some people do. Human beings, in general, fear death, and a promise of a life after death, be it one where you just lounge about on clouds or kneel in supplication to a perfect being (whatever works best for any given person) can often be a comforting belief.

    As to religion brinigng out the ignorant, yes that happens. But as I said, I know plenty of people who have a strong, religious background who are perfectly rational people. To make broad, sweeping generalizations that if you have a belief in the supernatural that you are somehow stupid and ignorant does not work to harmonize people, it only polarizes them.

    If you want the religious to sit down and talk civil like, you need to not call them stupid, hating people. Even if there are a very vocal group who fit into that group. You’ll win more minds by being understanding than you will by being confrontational. And when the vocal stand up and shout their drivel, they need to be summarilly ignored.

    A general rule of internet messageboards: do not feed the trolls.

  8. Tony Provenzano Says:

    Good points dragonknight.

    More empathy (boy, if the world could use more of one thing) is needed on both sides.

    On religions: Yes many have changed and many for the better. Yet most still hold onto their traditions at least in their writings, even if not in their actions. That’s why it is so easy to pick apart the Bible as a perpetrator of evil deeds even though much of its teachings are innocuous.
    But I will argue that that is the problem.
    If change for the better has occured and yet the religion still uses a book full of erroneous and obselete data; then of course there is a good chance that the more pious will think the proper way to obtain even more graces would be to follow their book more closely.
    History shows that religions do this again and again. Like a rollercoaster going up and down they

    On confrontation: Maybe you could use more empathy.
    Don’t summarily ignore those who want to get their point across just because they are somehow more vocal.
    As I understand where the religious are coming from, I confront each issue I disagree with.
    We are all different.
    Some shout, some quiet.
    Some verbose, some concise.
    Some use vulgar language, some do not.
    Some call names, some do not.
    We all deserve our say.
    I don’t think we should write off any of these people at first, although I will limit my intake to those who have the best message.