Tuesday, July 17, 2007

With God on our side

Take the time to listen to Joan Baez sing the Dylan song “With God on our side” everyone who practices a religion should do so every once in while to keep their perspective.

It is clear to me that many atheists are anti-religious rather than genuinely having that feeling of certainty that there truly is no God. But why should they not disavow God in the face of heaped evidence of injustice, no worse war and inhuman treatment and atrocities committed by those with God on their side? It is not enough for Christians to squeak out that those committing the atrocities are not real Christians or real Muslims or whatever – after all Christ taught that we would be judged by our actions. It seems that there is a reluctance among some religious to speak out (I would prefer "scream out") in protest against evil perpetrated in the name of God. Perhaps they fear their denunciation will somehow undermine God’s truth or their faith or affiliation.

We have atheists to thank for questioning religion and the acts carried out “with God on our side” … and yes we should thank them if they cause us to question our religious beliefs, in the hope that the questioning leads us to really understand the underlying precepts of the great religions of the world. There is a God, we should love God and our neighbour as ourselves.

It is a real pity that the anti-religious tend to throw out the baby (God) with the bathwater (religion) and end up as atheists.


BEAST said...

When the "baby" concerned is a white elephant conjured by an erroneous "bathtub", then yes, both should be tossed away.

akakiwibear said...

only if its an error. You choose yes I choose no. Let's not kid each other by saying either case is (bath)water tight. I would not believe in God if the theist case did not win out for me - clearly the atheist wins out for you.

BEAST said...

I see no reason to believe in a patriarchal father in the sky, which to me is as unconvincing as Santa Claus.

akakiwibear said...

You certainly don't have to believe in a "patriarchal father in the sky" to believe in God.

BEAST said...

When I say "patriarchal figure in the sky", I was referring to the father-figure God of monotheism: Islam, Christianity, Judaism, which, to me, is a pretty apt description.

akakiwibear said...

Apt if you like, but a bit limiting. If our understanding of God does not seem to fit with reality then we are faced with a simple choice. Revisit our understanding or reject the whole notion of God. If the any new understanding cannot be aligned with reality it’s an issue, but that is far from the case!

Adopting the scientific method requires that we revisit our understanding if it is challenged. It is irrational behaviour to simply dismiss the whole notion because of an imperfect interpretation. Knowledge grows from being challenged and refined. It would clearly be bad science to stay with say light theory from a few hundred or thousand years ago. So why should our understanding of God be trapped in the same era?

A lot of atheist thinking seems to focus on a simplistic fundamentalist definition of God and appears to take great pride in discrediting those views. It is almost funny to see atheist argument that “proves” there is no God yet depends on an understanding of God that theists have long since outgrown.

On reflection I think I see a lot of parallels between how atheists view challenges to their views and how I imagine ‘flat earth’ supporters reacted to the idea that the earth was round, prior to the ability to prove that it was; “Na!! You can’t prove it’s round so it must be flat and if you don’t think so you’re stupid”. At least theists rely on evidence to support their position.

BEAST said...

Actually, I equate belief in god with the flat earthers. Their beliefs are so archaic and outmoded that us rational thinkers simply scoff at such stupid ideas.

Theists relying on evidence? Pray, tell me, do you have any proof that God exists? I sure as hell don't. And don't even bother to talk to me about faith. Faith is a useless trait invented by religious authorities to ensure that everyone toes the line with regards to beliefs.

The problem with the idea of God is that, God is used by theists as an answer to everything. "How did life exist? God created it!" If scientists were to think along these lines, evolution would never be born.

"Why did lightning strike and kill so many people? Its God's wrath for Christ's sake!" If scientists think along this lines, Benjamin Franklin would never have invented the lightning rod, thereby saving millions from suffering from God's wrath.

akakiwibear said...

beast "The problem with the idea of God is that, God is used by theists as an answer to everything". So misuse = non-existence?

You ask "do you have proof that God exists?". I have said that I can offer evidence not proof categoric. If there was proof categoric either way we not be having this discussion.

I want to write a post that sets out why I believe that God exists. It may or may not satisfy you, it remains a matter of personal choice. ... I just need a big enough gap in my schedule.

BEAST said...

Evidence? Is it scientific, empirical, evidence?

Please do not give me the "oh the things we see around us proves the existence of a deity" allegory. I could just as well say that the sun is proof that Flying Spaghetti monsters exist.

I understand that it is your belief. And I also understand that there is not a shred of evidence to prove that God exists.yhocbl

akakiwibear said...

Haven't you seen the flying spag monster? Last seen in a mall near you promoting GE modified corn for human consumption!
Seriously though, still trying to find the time for the post. In the meantime ask why you would look to science to prove the existence of God. Science works for the physical not the metaphysical? You don't try to validate good art with science. Science has its limitations, you have to look to reason and to weighing empirical evidence not to lab experiments.

BEAST said...

Well, the problem is this: Religion wants to play in the realm of science, not the other way round.

Science accepts that God cannot be proved or disproved. Religion wants a piece of Science by saying God has to have a role in physics and biology.

Neil Turton said...

Hi Akakiwibear,

You wrote:
"Science has its limitations, you have to look to reason and to weighing empirical evidence not to lab experiments."

Science is based on reason and empirical evidence so I don't see the distinction you're trying to make. Are we just arguing over words after all this time?

In any case, science isn't all done in the lab. Geology and astronomy are two aspects of science which are done outside of the lab. Try to get a tectonic plate or a galaxy into a lab!

So science can handle indirect evidence. Why should it be any different with a hypothetical metaphysical realm? Can we observe it? Can we observe its effect? If not then it's the realm of pure speculation and your claim to use reason and evidence comes to nothing. If we can observe it or its effect then we can do science on it, just like astronomy and geology.

Perhaps it's that you don't like the answer which science has given you, so you look for another source to tell you what you want to hear...?

Peace, Neil.