Archive for October, 2011

Convergence

Posted in The Facts and Ideas on October 31, 2011 by RWZero

I don’t understand why I have to have a completely different conversation with every new person I talk to about something like Christianity. Everyone does it their own way. Everyone has a unique set of special modifications that make the belief system work (some of them quite serious in their differences).

I’m tired of this. Why can’t you argue amongst yourselves and at least narrow it down to say, 30 religions before involving me in the problem? If I had a nickel for every time I heard a unique Christian belief about the fundamentals, we would run out of nickels, and there would be no more unique beliefs allowed.

Personally, when I realized how finely my beliefs had been tailored to work for me, I couldn’t do it anymore.

You people seldom talk to each other about anything important. Please argue more often and save the world some time.

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Design

Posted in The Facts and Ideas on October 20, 2011 by RWZero

Suppose that there is design in the universe. Although by some counts it is quite absurd and seemingly random, uncaring and undirected, it does fit together quite elegantly. Humans can design and reason, but humans did not create themselves, hence, design and reason are not inventions of ours. They are in the code.

If there is design in the universe, a lot of people seem to think this means there’s a God. A nearby atheist will ask “who made God?” and the retort will inevitably come around: God is outside space and time and doesn’t need a designer or a cause.

Let’s think about this for a minute. Why does the presence of design, or intelligence, imply that this world is the work of someone named God? Presumably God designed the universe to… have design in it?

Perhaps you see my problem: this entire idea of “design,” and of things having parameters that can be shifted and tinkered with, requires a stage. It requires some kind of a setting where the designer can sit–full of reason, intent, and intelligence–and execute the design by adjusting things that exist. But in this case it is precisely the existence of reason, intent and intelligence (perhaps even sentience) that we are trying to explain in the first place, so it is not clear how positing a grand designer–who possesses all these properties himself–explains anything. It is practically circular.

I suspect that there is an explanation for the existence of all this “design” that is slightly more sensational than the materialists will allow for. But I don’t see that it is evidence for a singular, omnipotent being named God. It could mean any number of things. It could mean that the universe is God. It could mean that human beings are little Pieces of God. It could also mean none of those things.

The universe contains design within itself, and I have some suspicions that that may mean something (sorry, hardcore skeptics)–but it is not clear to me at all that the universe as a whole is designED.

The Three Impossible Virtues

Posted in The Facts and Ideas, The Narrow Path on October 10, 2011 by RWZero

There’s something that I’ve been waiting for the church to show me.

I want to see someone who covers these three bases that I’ve listed below. Every Christian I have ever met, including my former self, lacked one of these three things. Yet, it seems that most Christians should be able to have them all, if Christianity is sound.

1. Understands and accepts all the basic, established facts–the scientific, archaeological, scholarly conclusions about the world, the Bible, and the history of life on earth.

2. Displays the appropriately impassioned and emotional state of mind that correctly accompanies Christianity–belief in heaven and hell, the expectation of a life with God, and a burden for all the poor and inevitably damned souls on the planet. Trying to evangelize the lost. Telling people about the news.

3. Is not a hypocrite. Actually lives in a way that is consistently different from the worldly ways of the world, follows all the rules, and gives things up for being a Christian.

I’ve never met anyone who has all three of these qualities. In order for Christianity to work, such a person should be possible. But I have never met such a person. I myself could never manage #2, and for a long time I thought there was something wrong with me.

I have met intelligent scientists who attend church and talk about their sons who work on atmospheric chemistry in such and such a State. They aren’t jumping up and down and quaking with the power of the holy spirit, nor are they preaching red-faced about the flames of hell, or trying to do much about it.

I have met impassioned believers who preach fiery sermons about the Bible, living the radical life. But they don’t know anything about where the earth came from, where humans came from, and where the Bible really came from. If they knew, they wouldn’t be able to be so passionate, because their passion derives from various direct and demonstrable falsehoods.

I have met people who claim to accept all the facts, and who seem rather excited about the Christian things they’re involved in–but ultimately all this charade serves some other purpose, and in the end you find out that their sexual deviance, or worldly gain from the enterprise of Christianity, far exceeds that of people like me.

And of course, most Christians lack all three of these qualities.