For atheists, all religion is superstition

The “Good Book” is seriously flawed. Which book am I talking about? It could be any book. No single book … Continued

The “Good Book” is seriously flawed. Which book am I talking about? It could be any book. No single book contains the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. They all contain errors, and should be read skeptically. The older the book and the more it asserts about the universe, the more skeptical we should be. This includes science books.

Paul Erdos, one of the finest mathematicians of the 20th century, once claimed to be 2.5billion years old. His reasoning? When he was a child, he was told that the Earth was 2 billion years old. But many years later in 1970, scientists said the Earth was 4.5 billion years old. That was Erdos’ humorous way of saying we don’t have all the answers and, in light of new evidence, we must discard some beliefs learned in childhood.

Creationists would say that Erdos couldn’t have lived billions of years because the Earth is only 6,000 years old—and that Methuselah lived for 969 of them. I wish such irreconcilable differences between a worldview based on faith and a worldview based on science didn’t matter. Unfortunately, it does because we live in a world where the views of politicians deeply matter.

Anti-science arguments from politicians is nothing new, like this one from Rep. Paul Broun: “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell.” He added, ” as your congressman I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that.” Broun just happens to chair the panel on investigations and oversight, House Science Committee. Yes, the Science Committee!

Many Christians in this country expect the Rapture in their lifetime. Not surprisingly, because of Jesus’ imminent return, they are less likely to support long-term governmental policies such as those designed to curb global warming.

It’s easy to wave a Bible or most other holy books to justify political or social positions, though I’m troubled when seemingly rational people also feel the need to give biblical justifications for their positions. For instance, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) recently gave a fine speech about how carbon pollution is seriously affecting our planet. But to counter an unnamed senator who said “God won’t allow us to ruin our planet,” Whitehouse responded, “We are warned in the Bible not to plow iniquity, not to eat the fruit of lies.” He then went on to quote from Galatians, Job, Luke, Proverbs, Jeremiah, Samuel, Thessalonians and Revelations.

I understand that Whitehouse wanted to fight Bible with Bible, but I can’t say who won this theological debate about where God stands on global warming. The more disturbing question is: Why should it matter in determining public policy?

I’ve heard many theological debates about whether God supports gay rights, women’s rights and evolution. I find it a lot easier to take the homophobic, misogynistic, anti-science side when the Bible is our evidence. Liberal religionists often try to interpret as metaphor passages about stoning homosexuals and blasphemers, man being created 6,000 years ago, man being the head of woman (or even men beheading women), and countless other passages that should either be ignored or laughed at.

Fortunately, there’s a much better approach, though it requires more profiles in courage than most politicians are willing to display. Here’s a speech I’d like to hear on the floor of Congress.

But perhaps I should be a bit careful about what I call “superstition.” In a recent article that questioned whether Pope Francis had performed an exorcism, Rev. Robert Gahl expressed concern for what he called an upswing in the devil’s malicious activity. He blamed this in part on worldwide secularization, to which he also attributes a surge in drug use, pornography and superstition.

Why does the reverend believe that secularists are superstitious? Perhaps because we accept the DNA evidence that a cup of wine does not turn into the blood of a deity when a priest recites some magic words over it.

Here’s a bit of ancient wisdom for Rev. Gahl: He who lives in a glass house should not throw stones.

Herb Silverman is founder and President Emeritus of the Secular Coalition for America, author of “Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt,” and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the College of Charleston.

Herb Silverman
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  • inreasonitrust

    No doubt that all religions are invented by smart people, and most probably with good intentions. The followers of those religions, obviously, are less smart than the inventors of those religions. In order to impress the sheep of God, the inventors made up stories such as turning a stick into a dragon, parting the sea, bringing a dead to life, and the last was Mohammed who said he rode his horse called Barack to the out of space to meet with Allah. I don’t believe in any of these and I don’t stop the believers to practice their religion. But the problem arises when in the name of religion “an abortion doctor is assassinated in the name of Jesus, and the Marathon runners are bombed and in the streets of London a citizen is butchered in the name of Allah.”

  • DCFanOutWest

    No need for the wheat & chaff speech, because even if under the authority of a deity, the sciences are consistent. In other words, no matter which religion or philosophy is correct w/r/t God or lack thereof, we are left to observe a world and universe consistent with increasingly precise, singular sets of physical laws and history.

    God may have created the heavens and Earth 6,000 years ago, but if so, He or She filled it with evidence of consistent only with a 15 billion year existence.

    To compete with those who best understand truth, popularization of falsehoods can be of great help.

  • Canis Lantrans

    Rep. Paul Broun’s problem is not thinking what he was taught was wrong, but how he was taught it. School education, in its striving to be unimaginative and standardized, can be pretty deadening. If that was all I knew about those topics I’d also think the way he does. In school it is generally it is handed to us as belief, something that is to be tested right or wrong, and punished if we don’t get it. Luckily my parents had our house stacked full of books, and filled it with interesting people such as the great children’s writer Cornelia Spencer (Perl Buck’s sister) and her husband who happened to be a world authority on bamboo, a German Quaker philosopher fled from the Holocaust, many young people involved in the anti-war movement, and so many others from our Quaker meeting, from the US Naval Observatory, where my father the Quaker astronomer worked, and so forth. Plus I was lucky to have a couple exceptional teachers in school as well, so I knew textbook knowledge was like pablum is to food. Broun identified the problem, but he’s now used it as an excuse to shut down his thinking.

  • pelicanwatchcb1

    We still have Paul Broun in the US House of Representatives, but at least we will not have Michele Bachmann to kick around any longer. The crazy, bizarro Minnesota representative announced today that she will not seek a fifth term in Washington. In her short and inflammatory career, she galvanized Republican support by claiming that human paploma virus vaccine caused mental retardation and global climate change is a Democratic conspiracy. Her thinking (and Republican thinking) is absolutely pre-Enlightenment. But now she is gone. Good riddance!

  • Eoghan

    This itself is religion. The Atheists would replace the clerical collar with the lab coat. A change in leadership, but no substantive change in practice. Why? Because it is a philosophy of my way or the highway, and for all their vaulted claims, science itself is as profoundly flawed in its current forms and institutions as is any religion on earth. I will, with really guarded caution, consider many, but certainly not all of the recommendations of science for dealing with a variety of situations, but when it comes to my spiritual life, and that which I can directly experience in spiritual ways, I am going to tell contemporary science, with it’s sad compulsion for maintaining cartesian dualism, to get itself to a nunnery. It will not win my support. And thus, I absolutely reject the imperialistic and self congratulatory pontifications of Atheism.

  • vicdavy

    Eoghan, I totally agree! I am not “religious” but I have spiritual beliefs. I believe many “Atheist” lump
    all beliefs that are metaphysical as religion. “Atheist” can be as strident and judgmental as the most rigid Christian Fundamentalists. I have no problem with science trying to uncover the mysteries of the universe and reality. I have had many personal spiritual experiences and have studied my experiences and those of associates. In my opinion “Atheism” is a process of Undoing
    that can lead to Non dualism realization . “Atheism” could be the last battleground of the Ego?

  • Glockslinger

    Actually, atheism is the lack of religion. Arguing that atheism is a religion is like arguing which car pedestrians prefer.

  • jarandeh


    You use flowery language to say something untrue.

  • macnietspingal1

    Atheists would just love to ban the Bible. Can’t talk to a single Atheist on public forums because they ban the Bible. So they simply are ????. Because I’m awed by the intelligence in the Bible in every day living, since Buddha and Confuciuse had to run away from their families to figure out what made them happy, well I’m so glad I can read in the original language and see for myself what the Sefer Troah is all about. Atheists are dumbing down the USA. Better they start asking for Hebrew offered for Hispanics who already know Spanish (and English) in the public elementary schools. I don’t use the Bible fore any god. YHWHism is simply the Big Bang and how it produced us. The rest depends on how your own life has evolved. It’s back to the future.
    Especially now that I have a Hebrew Koran. Now I have to look for a Hebrew translation of ETHICS.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    Scientific empiricism is ONE branch of one theory of knowledge (out of several theories of knowledge). I notice that atheists tend to favor empiricism.

    Atheists hold up empiricism as being in some way superior to other modes of reasoning and claim that the evidence which we empirically observe in the universe around us shows no sign of a deity. They like to say that no one has ever seen God and our scientific observation of the Universe show no evidence for God’s existence and offer no reason to believe in a God therefore God is nothing more than a concept invented by humans to explain things we don’t understand.

    No one has ever seen God? There have been a lot of people in the world throughout history. Are you sure that NONE of them have EVER seen God? Some of the writers in the Bible have claimed otherwise. Oh, but you can’t use strict empiricism to study the truthfulness of ancient historical writings or events so the atheist who appeals only to empiricism is stepping a little outside of his territory here.

    There is no observable evidence to suggest God’s existence? Well that is just one way of interpreting the empirical data. Another interpretation would be that the objects of our observations (everything we study in the universe) are in fact evidence which gives us reason to presume the existence of God. So the atheist is being very arrogant when they suggest that only THEIR interpretation of the evidence is valid.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    Atheist statements claiming that “all of the gods known to man are nothing but the inventions of the human mind” are really very foolish statements. How does someone who believes so strictly in empiricism even make such a statement? After all, how do you go about empirically proving the truthfulness of such a statement. To say that some, or many, of the gods are mere inventions or superstitions is acceptable. But then you have to go about reasoning as to which ones are invented. I’m sure that there are probably several commonalities among the invented ones which would become obvious with inspection. The fact that most cultures tend to invent a god to be in charge of everything they observe (god of wind, god of rain, god of fertility, etc.) might be a sign that such gods are invented. But if we encountered a description of a TRUE GOD I’m sure we would begin to see such a being described in ways which run counter to our usual human way of thinking. I would think that the idea of ONE God is a unique enough concept to cause us to look a little deeper. I would think the idea of a Triune God would be even more unique.

    Modern man has given up inventing gods to explain things. Now we invent scientific theories. Many of them turn out to be as false as any false god and some are not much more than mere interpretations of the facts (basically opinions). Evolution from common ancestors is a good example of a mere interpretation of the evidence. Those who claim it is the best interpretation are being biassed. They have chosen sides and closed their minds to the other interpretations. It does not matter if a majority of people hold to a certain doctrine of origins. Majority of opinion does not determine the truthfulness of that opinion.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    (cont. again)

    Still, I’m sure this will not deter some atheists from resorting to childish name-calling and suggestions that those who disagree with them are merely “uneducated” as they attempt to assert that atheists, and only atheists, know how to interpret the universe.

  • Catken1

    Scott, do you know what would happen to a scientist who found substantial evidence overthrowing the theory of evolution, or establishing the existence of a creator deity (or any deity), or supporting creationism?
    Tenure and the Nobel Prize, that’s what. Overturning established theories is PRECISELY how scientists get glory, fame, and well-paid positions. Yes, yes, they would get government grants aplenty, would be on the cover of any number of journals, etc. IF they could provide substantial, testable, scientific evidence for their statements.
    But they can’t. Evolution has survived every test, every effort to disprove it since Darwin.

  • traderdad37

    HPV doesn’t cause retardation, voting Democrat does. Or is it the chicken and the egg?

  • Catken1

    Gee, how awful of us, to actually ask for rational, testable evidence rather than just BELIEVING in MAGIC!
    The difference between scientific theories and magic is that scientific theories work (vaccines and medicines have prevented and cured more diseases than prayer, by far), that they offer us means to predict actual results (meteorology works better at predicting the weather than offering sacrifices to Zeus for a fair day), and that they can be overturned with sufficient evidence.

    “Evolution from common ancestors is a good example of a mere interpretation of the evidence. Those who claim it is the best interpretation are being biassed. They have chosen sides and closed their minds to the other interpretations”

    Oh, please, provide us with some evidence for your other interpretations? Oh, right, it’s WRONG to ask for evidence and FACTS. Belief is JUST as good at determining what is real than, you know, looking and testing and examining what is actually out there.

    Aren’t you showing your bias by going by the scientific explanation of how a thunderstorm happens, instead of accepting the alternate explanation that Thor is fighting the World-Serpent as an equally plausible rationale? Are you biased because you believe that flowers are pollinated by bees and not painted by invisible fairies? Are you showing your “childish name-calling” if you don’t accept that a parent has the right to treat their child’s illness with chicken sacrifice rather than modern medicine?

    Anyway, I fail to see why one god, or three gods in one, is so counter to normal human interpretations. Humans have come up with any number of bizarre ideas about god – those are no different and no more special than any of the others. (Nor are they unique or original to Christianity, nor monotheism unique to Judaism – other faiths have had similar concepts before.)

  • itsthedax

    AFM: Your post indicates that you don’t seem to understand the scientific process. You might consider taking a couple of undergraduate classes in Logic and general philosophy.

  • persiflage

    ‘Creationists would say that Erdos couldn’t have lived billions of years because the Earth is only 6,000 years old—and that Methuselah lived for 969 of them. ‘

    When Christian theology includes our earlier hominid ancestors in their scheme of salvation and redemption, maybe we can talk…….we didn’t appear out of thin air, after all.

  • Rongoklunk

    Mulder; So many words – so little sense. You complicate things. It’s all quite simple. On the one hand there is no evidence for a god. On the other hand we know that all the gods of the ancients were made up.
    Conclusion; the current god was also made up. We know of nothing that contradicts that statement. If there had been evidence that Apollo was real, or that Jupiter was a real live god – we’d probably see it differently. But we know that making up gods was a profound activity among the ancients, who of course were mostly illiterate, and didn’t know much about anything. Superstition was rife. Ignorance was bliss. They thought that the sky was the Heavens and god lived there. They got everything wrong – but who could blame them? If any of us had lived in those times we’d be ignorant and illiterate too, and would believe ANYthing were told.
    That people here and there may have said they saw a god, is not evidence at all that a god exists. I’m sure we could find folks who saw Martians, but that is no proof that Martians exist.
    As I wrote below; God behaves exactly as if he doesn’t exist. Exactly. If god is trying to behave as if he’s mythical – then he’s doing a great job. I’m convinced he’s no more real than all the other gods. And science and commonsense says so too.

  • persiflage

    ‘Evolution from common ancestors is a good example of a mere interpretation of the evidence. Those who claim it is the best interpretation are being biassed.’

    Fox, your religious addiction has never been more apparent……denying the aggregate knowledge of any scientific discipline is something even the Catholic Church is no longer able to do.

    Protestant fundamentalism is the final frontier of 19th century thinking. It wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s infiltrated our governmental processes as well. You guys just can’t leave well enough alone.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    The religious apologists on these threads treat their own arguments with contempt. The basic refrain goes something like this: “Atheism is like a religion, so you atheists are in fact just as superstitious, irrational, and self-righteous as we are.” This line of reasoning betrays the fact that many religious people can, at least on some unconscious level, sense that the dogma they have organized their lives around is absurd, yet they feel that it is a perfectly adequate rebuttal to the atheist critique to simply say, “your thought process is equally absurd.”

    The simple truth is that atheism is a “belief” without content. The term “atheism” is a meaningless placeholder, and it says precisely nothing about an individual, their values, or their character. Atheism is nothing more than a commitment to the most basic standards of intellectual honesty. The religious admit defeat before they even begin when they try to frame this debate as if it were between two analogous systems of belief.

  • Rongoklunk

    You might be interested in the book “And Man Created God” by Selina O’Grady, who did an enormous amount of research into life a couple of thousands years was an absolute whacky place to be. She opens with this paragraph;
    “At the end of the first century BC, the world was full of gods. Thousands of them jostled, competed and merged with one another. Many of them flourished briefly before vanishing from view. In Syria ecstatic devotees castrated themselves in the streets so as to become priests of Atargatis – the Goddess of Love and war, of fertility and virginity – the contradictory, but for Pagans entirely unproblematic, result of a fusion of Syrian, Phoenician, Babylonian, and Canaanite Goddesses. In the Galilee of Jesus’ time, a region that had been forcibly converted to Judaism only a century earlier, holy men turned oil into ‘wine’, healed the sick, drove out the devils, and claimed to be the Messiah.”
    It describes a world where everyone believes in magic and superstitions, and where people believe they can become gods. Imagine a world like this. No media. No books. No knowledge to speak of. Everybody trying to figure everything out. A world of ignorance. That’s where God came from.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    Catken, there is not need for you to be so melodramatic. The choice is not between science and magic. It is between scientific empiricism and other methods of rational thought. Scientific empiricism alone is not sufficient for making rational decisions. Other modes of thinking are necessary to compliment it.

    Itsthedax, you simply fell by default into doing exactly what I predicted by accusing me of being uneducated.

    persiflage, I do not deny the aggregate knowledge of scientific discipline. I point out that when scientists leap from their data to final conclusions, they typically are no longer scientists but have instead become philosophers. This is especially true when it comes to that which is NOT repeatable (conclusions regarding the origins of life and common ancestry). Those conclusions are often open to interpretation. Does similarity in form, or similarity of genetic code indicate common ancestor or does it indicate common design? Both interpretations are equally valid and I have not heard a single good argument to prove otherwise. The only arguments I typically hear are, “you don’t know enough to understand,” or “the consensus of opinion is…” or “That invokes faith which is not allowed.” Those are not arguments. Firstly, there are a number of very intelligent people in scientific disciplines who advocate for design. Secondly, truth is not determined by consensus. Finally, faith is relied upon by scientists themselves to fill many of the gaps in scientific knowledge. Allowing some kinds of faith and not others is discrimination and it is typically done to protect agreed upon presuppositions.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    Rongo, you have simply reiterated what I previously said about false gods. The fact that there are counterfeit dollar bills does not indicate that there are no REAL dollar bills. Again, the fact that there are false gods does not mean there is no TRUE God. There are many similarities between man made gods. They typically are beings we can understand relatively easily. If we were to encounter a true GOD, I believe we would find ourselves at a loss to describe him in his entirety. He would likely be so beyond our comprehension that we could hardly wrap our minds around his being if at all. He would stand out from the crowd. I think you know of whom I speak.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    In that case, it would be better to say that atheism is like theism or buddhism in that is is a belief. And atheists are like theists in that they hold to certain beliefs, some of which are matters of faith.

  • itsthedax

    AFM: If you’ve had an education, you should get a refund.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    You over reach when you say there is no evidence for God. That is your opinion.

    I’m sure there are people who saw something they thought were martians. That they were mistaken does not mean they did not see something, or that martians do not or never did exists, does it? After all, NASA is spending large amounts of taxpayer dollars trying to find martians even as we speak.

    Atheism was also common among the ancients. Do you suppose that may have been due to their lack of intellectual sophistication?

    I suppose you mean that God is not behaving as YOU would have him behave. That he has not revealed himself as YOU would have Him do so. All science can tell me at this point is that it is not developed enough to perceive God. I believe you have misstated and misrepresented science. Science, empiricism, is a means of investigating data. Science does not say anything. We evaluate the data and draw our own conclusions, which are often subject to interpretation.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    Some creationists would say that. Christian theology does not say that. You need to learn to distinguish between the two.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    itsthedax, perhaps your education would enable you to offer a reasoned argument in place of insults.

  • YogSodoth

    Evidence is not a matter of opinion. Now, naturalism may be a matter of opinion, but I would put it to you that in ALL aspects of your life, SAVE religion, empiricism is a perfectly valid philosophy, even for believers. It is effective, and it leads to real, repeatable results. People use it and its products every single day. And yet you cut an exception for your “God”. That’s simply special pleading, not evidence.
    It’s all been said before, but basically, you have as much evidence for God as I do for invisible pink unicorns. I can tell you that you can’t empirically rule out the existence of invisible pink unicorns.
    What is there to separate your deeply-held and non-empirical beliefs from anyone else’s? In a word, nothing. So if we must admit the possibility of your God’s existence based on your PERSONAL “evidence,” we must also admit every believer’s gods, now that we’re throwing out empiricism.

  • itsthedax

    David Berkowitz claimed that his neighbor’s dog, Sam, spoke to him and commanded him to shoot people. He made this claim often, and in front of witnesses.

    By your standards, Berkowitz’ neighbor had a talking dog.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    I can’t help but infer that you’ve attached a pejorative to the word “faith.” This is exactly what I meant to highlight in my post. It seems to me that religious apologists constantly denigrate their own position when they dismiss atheism as nothing more than a faith claim. To them, there is nothing wrong with Christianity being a matter of faith, but when they confront atheism they seem to think that writing it off as a faith claim is a knock down argument. It’s fantastically ironic.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    No pejorative intended. Though I find it interesting that you are so predisposed to read it that way.

    We Christians see faith as a gift. We don’t see it as a negative. Your sensitivity to the subject is your issue to deal with.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    Yog, I was in agreement with you until you brought up the pink unicorns. There is no comparison between Christian belief and pink unicorns. There is no national history developed around the existence of pink unicorns (as there is with the nation of Israel). There are no writings spanning a period of several thousand years claiming interaction with pink unicorns. There is no world faith movement developed around pink unicorns. That kind of simplistic rhetoric just muddies the water and makes real dialogue nearly impossible.

    By the way, unicorns do exist (see the Narwhal whale).

    Dax, don’t be so obtuse. You know better.

  • Helen36

    Each individual has their destiny and belief system. Religion is helpful for some but it is not okay for others. Everybody has free will to select their belief system and it does not mean that when they do not follow some religion they do not believe i God and are called atheists. Or thinking that following a religion is superstition. This way we develop prejudice and create problems to others. We can respect others and their path and live peacefully with each other. Human main goal is to connect their energy to higher energy in any way, does not matter in which way. Both groups can connect themselves with chanting and prayer to higher self or the Creator.

  • persiflage

    You’ve said on a number of occasions that you don’t buy the idea that modern moan evolved from earlier ancestral hominid and pre-hominid forms. What you need to do at this point is clearly present your own alternative theory as to how humans arrived at their present state of development i.e. your own theory on the origins of man. Please feel free to include any scientific evidence that supports your hypothesis…..fossil or otherwise.

  • Catken1

    OK, so what would be the distinction between your religion and all the other religions, some of them with more history and more literature than yours? What do you have to offer that makes your religion more rational than everyone else’s?

    And why is your god not findable by empirical means? Is he hiding? Does he want you to not believe in him, or does he want an excuse to punish people for not believing in him (or believing in the wrong version of him)? As a parent, I can’t see why I ought to expect my child to believe in me or obey me if I don’t actually show up for him in a verifiable, substantial, tangible way, and insist that he take the FEELING of my presence (something that can easily be a delusion of the human mind) and frequently-conflicting stories told about me by others (with their own agendas, likewise frequently conflicting) as proof of my existence and of what I want for him.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    Was higgs boson hiding before science figured out a way to find it? Science is not perfect, you know. There are some things (even physical things) that we are currently unable to examine with current scientific tools. Perhaps someday, scientists will figure out a way to examine God as they have figured out a way to examine the “god particle.”

    First, Judao-Christian faith is intimately tied to historical events (enough so that archaeology has served to validate biblical historical accounts rather than call them into question). This is something unique compared to most religions.

    Second, in the Bible we have occurrences of God giving people advanced notice of future events, with the most important being the arrival of Christ.

    With Christ we have a truly unique situation. While other religions prescribe certain things we must to (religion) to please a god, Christianity is about God doing something for us so that we are made acceptable to Him. This is counter intuitive to the human mind. Even Christians have to regularly remind ourselves of this dynamic as it seems to be part of human nature to feel compelled to earn our rewards.

    Finally, we have the resurrection which can be placed at a specific time and place in history with observable, measurable results.

    This is a start. I’m sure your next challenge will be for me to prove all of the above which I will not do; there are plenty of books out there which cover those topics far better than I could.

  • persiflage

    ‘Finally, we have the resurrection which can be placed at a specific time and place in history with observable, measurable results.’

    While there are no true absolutes in nature, the likliehood of this happening a single, solitary time in human history is very close to absolute zero…..

    The observable results of this fictitious yarn is a 2000 year old belief system that still hinges on an event that defies the laws of physics, and is biologically impossible according to the accrued knowledge of modern science – dead is still dead. Faith in the impossible is still faith in the impossible…………

  • persiflage

    sandcrab vs pelican – pelican wins every time……..

  • dcrswm

    People who ask “did the chicken or egg come first” have zero understanding on how evolution works.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    I appreciate that. But if the likelihood of the resurrection happening here high, if it did not defy the laws of physics and biology, then it would NOT be a very miraculous event proving Christ to be God. So what then would be the point?

  • JohnHA

    Any evolution scientist can be made a fool of in less than 1 minute. Pure and simple child’s play. Dawkins is no different. Evolution is a theory created so people don’t have to feel accountable for their actions.(It is theological, in that it takes far more faith to believe it, than to believe in a creator) To stump an evolutionist, ask them where matter came from. When they get back to the tiny black hole of the big bang exploding, ask them where that tiny bit came from. Evolution doesn’t answer this question, and the followers of it will never admit that God made everything. Scientist put the age of the earth at 13 billion years. They cannot explain how this matter (the individual elements) came together to form molecules and they can’t explain how they came together to form amino acids. They cannot explain how all the different proteins were formed and how a strand of DNA which contains innumerable bits of genetic material somehow lined up perfectly to create even one cell. The odds have been figured to 1 in 1 followed by over 300 zeros years for this to happen, by mathematicians. Let’s say for arguments sake, that this happened and a cell somehow formed. What did it eat? All cells need to be “fed” to get the energy to split. Did it eat oil? Carbon based life eats carbon based substances to survive, oil is carbon based and all the carbon we have, came from living things that have long been dead according to evolutionary science. Now why would single cells evolve into a complicated multi-celled blob of something. They are already at the top of the evolutionary process. They can make more of themselves simply by splitting. They are already the perfect life form when you take into consideration evolution teaches survival of the fittest. Why would they evolve into a multi-celled multi-organed creature that requires 2 sexes to procreate? How did 2 different sexes of each creature, insect, plant etc., just happen to evolve at the same time in the same place

  • JohnHA

    so they could find each other to procreate? The odds of this happening once are so astronomical that it could not have happened in the time they say the universe has existed, much less the earth. Then you have to multiply those odds with each different type of life form on the planet. (just dog, or cat or, human, not different breeds or races of each, just whatever can interbreed) The numbers become so outrageously huge that their is no scientific explanation of how this world could have happened without a creator.
    Atheists just don’t want there to be a God. The good news is that God would forgive this attitude and all they have to do is accept him for who he is and ask for forgiveness. they have been trying to prove there is no God for as long as we have existed, but they cannot find physical evidence of evolution. They only show evidence of mutation and call it evolution. i.e. A Great Dane standing next to a Chihuahua would make you think “evolution” but the fact is they are still dogs, and you can take sperm from a chihuahua and impregnate a Great Dane. They are still the same species. Man cannot interbreed with apes. This has been the bane of evolutionary theory for years. There is no fossil record to support any creature evolving into a new species. They can only show different characteristics among the same species and try to call it evolution, when in fact, it is just different mutations of the same species. Look at all the different races of man. We have people over 7 feet tall and we have pygmies. If they were to have found the graveyard of a tribe of pygmies, and not known of their existence, and then one with normal to large sized people, just by looking at the different structures in the skull and the bones would have them saying they found the missing link….again, but a 7 foot tall person and a pygmy can interbreed and therefore both are the same species, with just a different genetic makeup pre-dispositioning one to grow tall and the other

  • persiflage

    JohnHA – you just proved conclusively that without the human brain there would be no God or gods. The religious imagination can create any kind of supernatural world that suits it’s fancy, and can distort everyday facts to suit it’s purposes.

    It’s not that atheists don’t want there to be a supreme deity, It’s that theists want one so badly they’re willing to spin the entire world of scientifically acquired knowledge and hard-won objective observtions to that end.

    You’re talking as though the entire world of science is purposefully engaged in a conspiracy to deny the existence of your god…….because the methods of science and it’s theorems are (a) theistic in every conceivable way.

    Just imagine where humans would be today if the growth of knowledge stopped with the invention of mythical deities as an explanation for everything under the sun.

  • RickK101

    “We Christians see faith as a gift.” Faith – the belief in the absence of evidence or in the face of contrary evidence. So when the evidence in the courtroom all indicates the defendant is innocent, then as a juror I can still use the gift of my faith to vote for his guilt. If there is no evidence that Freudian psychology or Marxist economics actually work, I can still use the gift of my faith in these doctrines to continue promoting them. The gift of my faith tells me the Apollo Moon landings were a hoax, that the 9/11 conspirators were paid by George Bush, and that the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is an accurate historical record.

    Wow, who needs evidence or rationality or objective truth when I can just wield the gift of my faith.

  • RickK101

    We know how major religions start and grow – we’ve seen it happen many times. A charismatic charlatan like Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard, Mary Baker Eddy or Sun Myung Moon convinces a core group of impressionable, gullible people to follow him/her, the movement grows, Eventually it gets big, organized, self-propelling and its size gives it legitimacy. That’s why today we have Mormonism, Scientology, Christian Science and the Unification Church. Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism – they’re no different – just older, larger and therefore more “mainstream”.

    Religion is great for starting movements, organizing people, and building communities of like-minded folks. But let’s not delude ourselves to think of religions as any different from other faith-based, evidence-free social movements like Communism, belief in UFOs, or racial/ethnic superiority movements.

  • Frrederico Andries Lopes

    This very good article by Herb Silverman and virtually all comments here don’t show how infinitely subtle are the for/against arguments on deity, atheism and so on. I see some prejudice in both sides, and, as far as I can perceive, I see no crystal clear thought in any side. Unfortunalety.

  • JohnHA

    How so? Please provide specific (provable examples) of where I distorted facts.

    I do not believe God is a mythical deity. In fact, I embrace science and the proliferation of knowledge. I believe God (whomever or whatever it/he/she is) is bound by Physical Laws too. I think science and the idea of a creator can go hand-in-hand if we just all agree it can.

    Why are you so defensive? All I was doing was taking on Catken1’s challenge…Catken1 wrote:

    “Evolution has survived every test, every effort to disprove it since Darwin.”

    I believe I provided some substantial evidence to throw a loop into the Theory of Evolution. I think at least enough to get someone with any logical sense to think twice about it. I’m not trying to disprove it entirely, as I do believe in parts of evolution. We don’t have all the facts and have much of it wrong. This fact can’t be disproved; otherwise, you would have offered logical answers to my statements/questions instead of resorting to the typical “Mythical Being in the Sky” type of statements that atheists always do when they can’t answer the tough questions.

  • persiflage

    ‘I believe God (whomever or whatever it/he/she is) is bound by Physical Laws too.’

    JohnHA, your concept of a supreme creator is amorphous to an extreme degree, and without an apparent function in the universe as a transcendent being. What exactly is the point of a deity that is bound by physical laws, and what role does this creator entity perform in a physical universe composed of matter and energy that emerged in less than a nanosecond, and now ranges from the sub-atomic scale to the macroscopic scale?

    The long and short of it – the gaps existing in evolutionary theory are far less daunting than establishing the parameters of deities that are both super-human on the one hand, and bound by physical laws at the same time. There seems to be a deep contradicion here.

    The tough questions won’t be answered by theology, because there’s no theoretical framework to begin with. Taking comfort in the rituals and ceremony of religion are all well and good, but recognizing a psychological benefit from a source of actual first-hand knowledge is important.

    And yes, evolutionary theory has survived every skeptic since Darwin, with much additional supporting information and evidence coming from other fields of science since that time. Myths are stories that don’t change, whereas science is all about change – what we don’t know today we will know better in 100 years………and so forth. We won’t know what’s wrong, until we have a better answer.

  • persiflage

    ‘I think science and the idea of a creator can go hand-in-hand if we just all agree it can.

    JohnHA, it struck me that your views are very similar to ancient Gnostic concepts of the divine…..which are considerably at varience with mainstream Christianity. Even today, Gnosticism exists in obscurity, although in complete agreement with your own views.

    They still believe that the creator of the physical universe (Jehovah of the Old Testament) is in a sense a fallen angel or an archon (not unlike Satan) that has no knowledge of it’s limits – much less it’s origins in the Absolute………which is above all.

  • Karin Karejanrakoi

    Here’s a piece of Ancient Wisdom for *you* — “Those who sit on the fence and up with splinters in their backsides!”

  • Karin Karejanrakoi

    The *really* frightening thing is that Paul Broun and his ilk sit at the decision making tables, not of some obscure island in the middle of nowhere, but of the *World’s Only Remaining Superpower (TM),* an entity with the power to destroy the entire planet a million times over

  • Blanche Quizno

    The problem is that people are not defining superstition correctly. For something to truly be superstition, it must entail rituals and/or behavioral requirements. As in actually rapping one’s knuckles on wood while saying, “Knock on wood” to ward off harm, avoiding stepping on cracks so as to not break your mother’s back, not opening umbrellas inside, taking care to avoid breaking mirrors to avoid 7 years of bad luck, etc. Belief is not necessarily superstition – there’s a difference. People can believe whatever they like; it only becomes superstition when it prompts certain ritualistic behaviors. Like eating a cracker and taking a sip of grape juice or wine and believing you’re committing cannibalism. Like praying because you’re afraid that if you don’t, bad things will happen to you. Like going to church regularly because you believe that’s what some nonexistent whatsit wants. Like reading the bible because you believe it will cause something that does not exist to send you tangible benefits. Reciting “The Lord’s Prayer” like some sort of magical incantation. All “just because.” The beliefs that drive people to perform these empty rituals are superstitions. Simply believing that Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster might exist are not.

  • Blanche Quizno

    Sorry, Rick, but unless belief in UFOs requires specific rituals or behaviors, it’s not superstition. But if the belief entails thinking VERY special thoughts, going to a specific location on a regular basis, singing certain songs, consuming certain food that’s supposed to represent something else, and signing up for a ritualized dunk in a tub of water, that’s OBVIOUSLY superstition. They’re not the same thing in the least. If the belief does not require ritualized behavior, it’s not superstition. Not every belief is superstitious, but all religion is.

  • Blanche Quizno

    Yeah, atheism is a belief the same way that bald is a hair color. The same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby. The same way that not holding any superstitions means you’re superstitious. The same way that naked is a fashion style.

    I guess that something we have in common is that we don’t believe in others’ gods. The only difference is that we atheists go one further than you do. That makes us 99.999% the same.

    The Christian scriptures define faith as “the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1) The rest of us call that “wishful thinking.”