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#19287 - 03/22/07 03:25 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: quantum]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
quantum.

"...how can there be nothing? doesn't that contradicts physics?"

Well, it does seem absurd, your dead right; but the Big Bang theory says that it was the beginning of the space-time continuum and all the stuff that physics deals with. Notice the term "space_TIME". It was the "biginning", with no before. Time itself started. It beats me, too. Don't ask me how it can be, but there it is.

Of, course, the Big Bang theory may prove to be incorrect in it's details, but there's very convincing evidence of which I'm sure your aware.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#19288 - 03/22/07 03:27 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: quantum]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
quantum wrote:
"they teach us all our lifes that universe is eternal, infinite and that there was nothing before the Big Bang. true,"

They may teach you that but it is not the current thinking in physics in many quarters.

"how can there be nothing? doesn't that contradicts physics?"

Not at all. We don't know what "something" is. But it is equally true that we don't know what nothing is nor is that what physics teaches. What physics teaches is that space did not exist. I know the distinction may be hard to fathom at first ... but it isn't about the creation of "stuff" it is about the creation of length, width, height, and time. Put everything into one point, mathematically possible and supported by Bose Einstein condensate and you eliminate all four. It is actually rather simple conceptually.

"...if Big Bang created universe what existed before?"

Nothing or something? We don't know. But try to understand that "before" and "after" are human constructs. The universe need not care.

"...how did Big Bang occur if there was nothing before"

See my previous answers; above. We don't know is the most honest answer. But the assumption that there was nothing is invalid.

What school?
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#19290 - 03/22/07 04:09 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: quantum]
Wayne Zeller Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 120
Loc: Southern California
Quote:
You can't have it both ways. Either it is all true, or it is not all true. If it partially or somewhat true then no one can tell which is which.

It disheartens me when I hear very intelligent people thinking like fundamentalists and assuming that all the religious people in the world think the same way.

Imagine if David of biblical times was given another vision: "Yea, and the peoples did ride in the bellies of roaring monsters all to one great place where they were disgorged upon the ground. And though the meeting place was walled around, at their approach God did open the walls to them and, verily, the did enter without effort. A great stair appeared before them, and as they stood upon it God lifted them so they climbed towards Heaven without effort."

This, as you may have guessed, is a description from David's point of view if he was shown a bunch of people arriving in their cars at the shopping mall and using the automatic doors to walk in and then taking the escalator up to Sears. Does the fact that he didn't understand everything he saw mean that he didn't see it?

The bible was not written by God, as some people claim. Nor was it purely an invention of man. It was written by man with divine inspiration. It tells us stories of things that happened, but the narrators were not omniscient. An incredible deluge wiping out an amazing amount of land really did happen. And to anybody shown it, it would have seemed to have happened to the whole world. And so stories were told about it. And the stories with the most worthy lessons were retold and one eventually became the story of Noah and his ark. The fact that the entire world wasn't flooded and that his ark couldn't have fit all the animals doesn't negate the values in the story. The only way to negate the lessons shown in the story would be to take the entire thing as literal: If you assume that it is a literal accounting of the exact happenings of the time, then you are no longer obligated to examine the story for any meanings it might actually have. It's just a history book at that point.

Quote:
If it partially or somewhat true then no one can tell which is which.

Then it is your contention that the whole shebang should be thrown out because we don't have the intellectual wherewithal to ferret out the truths, be they couched in parable or literal account? Remind me to keep my baby out of your bathwater, Dan.

Quote:
But I am somewhat puzzled by your statement about Exodus. The Old Testament clearly identifies the murders as being directly at the hand of the deity.

Indeed. I was thinking of King Herod's slaughtering of all the children in Matthew 2:16-18.

In Exodus, we are told of a tyrannical ruler keeping a race of people as slaves and refusing to let them be free even under terrible threat. As punishment for his acts and as a sign of God's greatness, the first borns in his country (and only those under his rule) were killed. As a result, a people were liberated and celebrate it as a great day even now thousands of years later. George W. Bush has killed more people, and less discriminantly, and he's just a man with an ego problem - not a deity with a people to rescue. (Although that's exactly what GWB wishes he was.)

As for Penicillin, I thought you meant that when it was discovered somebody hid it away for some time. I hadn't heard about anything like that, but wasn't going to question it since I knew nothing of it. But now, if I understand correctly, you're saying God should have given the secrets of penicillin to the first people ever to be sick so that it would be with us for all time. There's so much wrong with that, I don't even know where to begin. He gave us a whole universe to discover. If all the beneficial parts are handed to us on a silver platter, then what's the point of exploration and learning? And let's say it WAS given to us thousands of years ago: All the things that are affected by antibiotics would have adapted and made it useless within a century and then we'd be REALLY screwed because it would just be another Bible story about a miraculous substance that seemingly doesn't exist anymore and we'd have no way to discover it now since it would no longer be effective even if we did rediscover it, so we'd never learn how to make new antibiotics at all. It's miraculous, to me, that it was discovered with such a perfect timing that we had just enough technology to be able to make new antibiotics to treat an even wider spectrum of illnesses and to be able to keep up with the adaptations of the bacteria they are effective against.

It sounds to me, Dan, like you are less of an atheist and more of a person so mad at God that he can't accept that He even exists. Your reasons for rejecting God boil down to this: He has done things you disagree with and hasn't done things you wish he had. So, he doesn't exist.

I have a strange curse upon me: Every new car I have ever bought has gotten in an accident (usually super-minor paint scratchers) within a week of me buying it. It's incredibly frustrating. I can't convey the level of frustration - it's astonishingly, amazingly, and all other superlatives-ly frustrating. Well, the one I had two cars ago got rearended as I was less than block from the delaership. There I was, stopped at a red light when some doofus rammed into the back of it at about 30 miles an hour doing some real, serious damage.

I got pissed. Oh boy, was I pissed. I very rarely lose my temper - I'm an incredibly laid back guy and very few people have ever seen me angry. But this guy was freaking out because I was so pissed. I was screaming at the top of my lungs, "You f***ing a*****le" and every obscenity I could think of. The guy came up to my window, thinking I was going to kill him, and said, "Dude, calm down a little." My response was to turn to him and tell him, "Shut up! I'm not talking to you! I'm yelling at God!" Oh yeah: Pissed at God and tellin' him so.

I got it out of my system and then calmly exchanged insurance info with the guy (who probably thought I was completely whacko) and we went our separate ways.

Maybe God has it out for my new cars and maybe I'm just incredibly unlucky with them. Regardless, the point is that it's okay to be mad at him. I'm sure (especially when you were a teenager) that you got mad at your parents, and you probably let them know it. It doesn't negate the fact that they are your parents. While you may not have agreed with their decisions and acts, they did them out of love for you.

Reject God on a scientific basis if you believe he cannot exist. Don't reject him just because you'd be mad at him if he can.

w






Edited by Wayne Zeller (03/22/07 04:39 PM)

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#19291 - 03/22/07 04:09 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: quantum]
Wayne Zeller Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 120
Loc: Southern California
Quote:
don't yell at me if i ask question that has been already asked.

On a forum with this many discussions, that would require a lot of yelling at a lot of people. smile Welcome.

Quote:
they teach us all our lifes that universe is eternal, infinite and that there was nothing before the Big Bang.

Or that the universe isn't eternal, that it began with a bang and might end with a crunch. We aren't sure yet about the crunch, but the acceleration of its growth is starting to make it more likely that there won't be a crunch.
Quote:
...how can there be nothing?

By not having any space to put stuff in.
Quote:
doesn't that contradicts physics?

Nope. It is predicted by physics.
Quote:
...if Big Bang created universe what existed before?

If time began at the big bang, then what does "before" mean? Imagine a room full of marbles. You take out a marble every day. Eventually, you are down to your last marble. You take it out. The next day, there aren't any marbles left. Do you take one out anyway? You can't: There aren't any. So what is the room like after you take out another marble? The question makes no sense because it implies more marbles can be taken out. In the same way, "What was the universe like before time?" can make no sense because there wasn't any time to be before. (Or maybe I've just lot all my marbles.)

Quote:
...how did Big Bang occur if there was nothing before?

In any other thread in this forum, my response would be "We don't know that." I might even bring up Stephen Hawking's notion that the Grand Unified Theory is so compelling that it spontaneously brought itself into existence.

However, this is a thread called "Evidence for God" so I'm going to give myself a tiny bit of extra leeway and hope that Dan doesn't kill me for it. (I think he's reaching his limit of God tolerance.)

In my opinion, God set up the Grand Unified Theory and poured himself into it. All the energy of the universe came from one huge source, and I think that source was God. And by setting things up the way he did, with an exactitude that boggles the mind, he made it inevitable that we (and probably others all over the universe) would eventually come into existence and be able to commune with him.

But, even though this is the "Evidence for God" thread, it is also the "Science a GoGo" board, so I'll stop it there. wink

Quote:
i'm on college now and still whomever i ask can't answer me becouse they have same questions as i have.

That was my biggest disappointment as a freshman in college: I had been expecting to finally be at the place where everybody knows all the answers. Nope. But there are still some great resources there if you take the time to seek them out.

Quote:
is there any link or book that explain existing theories without waking new questions in my mind?

Any good book on the subject will raise far more questions than it answers. That's what makes it good. If it answered them all, it would be so large as to take several lifetimes to read. If it didn't answer them all, but didn't raise any new ones either, it would put you to sleep. I'll leave it to Dan and others who are more well-studied than myself to suggest books. Although, a quick trip to the library and a seach through the catalog on keywords like "Quantum Physics" and "Cosmology" would be helpful as long as you restrict yourself to books written this decade. (There are lots of great older books, but since many of them are outdated and in many cases flatly wrong, I would suggest reading those only when specifically recommended.)



Edited by Wayne Zeller (03/22/07 04:31 PM)

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#19292 - 03/22/07 04:52 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: Wayne Zeller]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Wayne.

"The bible...was written by man with divine inspiration"

You state that as a matter of fact. You are therefore certain that anyone who says otherwise is wrong. Does that fall into line with your knowledge of science and the scientific method?

If so, how do you know it to be true?

As much as I would like to comment on the rest of what you said, it looks very much like a classic and pointless dispute between two individuals on opposite sides of the religious divide. OK, in that case it's none of my business, I'll let you get on with it. A friendly word of warning, though: beware of rising hostility and antagonism. They have a tendency to develop very quickly amid these metaphysical contentions.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#19297 - 03/22/07 05:16 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: Wayne Zeller]
quantum Offline
Member

Registered: 03/21/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Croatia
To redewenur: Thanks anyway wink

DA said: We don't know what "something" is. But it is equally true that we don't know what nothing is nor is that what physics teaches. What physics teaches is that space did not exist.

exactly my point. as a young, still not enough educated mind (at least considering physics) i find that rather deficient, i hope you can forgive me. but thank you.
you asked what school? Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (how ironic), department for Chemistry and Biology

Wayne: On a forum with this many discussions, that would require a lot of yelling at a lot of people. Welcome.

thanx for that.

Wayne: So what is the room like after you take out another marble? "What was the universe like before time?" can make no sense because there wasn't any time to be before.

that's what's bothering me! if there wasn't any time to be before, why is it before? what initiated the beggining...you'll say big bang...i'll read the books first then bother all of you again!

Wayne: That was my biggest disappointment as a freshman in college: I had been expecting to finally be at the place where everybody knows all the answers. Nope.

tell me about it!
well, i didn't expect them to know all of the answers, but few would be nice...yea right!

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#19305 - 03/22/07 07:02 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: quantum]
Wayne Zeller Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 120
Loc: Southern California
Quote:
"The bible...was written by man with divine inspiration"
You state that as a matter of fact. You are therefore certain that anyone who says otherwise is wrong. Does that fall into line with your knowledge of science and the scientific method?
If so, how do you know it to be true?


Well, I know for a fact it was written by man. Because you see, there were these men, who were writing, and they said, "Hey, look what we wrote!" And they sent their writings around. My point in saying that biblical writings weren't written by God himself was that they are not infallible. They are, in fact, filled with hyperbole and parable and misinterpretation.

The thing is, they wrote of stuff that they couldn't have experienced and at least some of those things were true. Coincidence? Perhaps. I don't think so. I think they were inspired. You don't need to think so.

I think, also, you'll find I rarely state religious thoughts in terms of fact. When it seems from a single sentence that I do so, take the context of my writings into account. I frequently admit that these are matters of faith, and that I hold no ill will towards those who don't share it.

Quote:
Wayne: So what is the room like after you take out another marble? "What was the universe like before time?" can make no sense because there wasn't any time to be before.

that's what's bothering me! if there wasn't any time to be before, why is it before? what initiated the beggining...you'll say big bang


Okay, my marble metaphor was lacking. That's to be expected, I suppose, since I made it up as I went along. Here's another one I made up, but also illustrates the same thing. Maybe it will be more to your liking...

Imagine, if you will, a sentient bacteria living in a balloon. You talk to it and ask it about the universe. It tells you, "In the beginning, the creator breathed life into the universe at the great nipple. The universe expanded and expanded in all it's rubbery goodness. We call the Universe the Great Balloon."

You ask, "Well, what's outside the Great Balloon?"

"Outside the Great Balloon? What do you mean? There can be nothing outside the Great Balloon! Inside are all our laws of physics: Everything is under pressure! Outside the balloon would be no pressure. We can't even begin to imagine the world without pressure. It's beyond our imaginations and so nothing can be there."

"Okay," you respond, "How about before the Creator's Exhalation at the Great Nipple?"

"Before the Nipple? That would be outside the balloon! The universe, as we know it, came into existence at the Great Nipple. There is nothing before that!"


The point being, of course, that our minds are not equipped to imagine the world from outside of time, so we cannot imagine a "before" the Big Bang. Even seeing it, we would be unable to comprehend it. To the capabilities of our minds, there is no "it" to comprehend. What if no organism in the Universe had ever evolved eyes or any ability to sense any part of the spectrum? Would the color Purple still exist? It might as well not because we would be unable to comprehend it. People might talk about the existence of Purple. They might write whole books about it. Others would condemn them saying there is no proof of Purple. But they'd write about it anyway, and they would call it faith. Would they be right? I dunno.

So what existed before the big band and what exists outside the self-contained universe? Nothing, or God, or the color Purple. Choose the one most comfortable for you and know that while you can't be proven wrong, nor will you ever prove yourself right.

w

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#19306 - 03/22/07 07:21 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: Wayne Zeller]
quantum Offline
Member

Registered: 03/21/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Croatia
Wayne: So what existed before the big band and what exists outside the self-contained universe? Nothing, or God, or the color Purple. Choose the one most comfortable for you and know that while you can't be proven wrong, nor will you ever prove yourself right.

very nicely said Wayne. especially the last sentence. but i have to say that not knowing something, not knowing how to exactly explain it (i'm not refering to you, i'm refering to every scientist) and say that it WAS and it IS - SIMPLY LIKE THAT, doesn't sounds like science.
but as i already said, it is not my area and there's a lot of reading for me before i could talk and especially argue with you guys.
not that i'm arguing...just...asking wink
thanx

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#19313 - 03/22/07 09:14 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: quantum]
Wayne Zeller Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 120
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: quantum
not knowing something, not knowing how to exactly explain it (i'm not refering to you, i'm refering to every scientist) and say that it WAS and it IS - SIMPLY LIKE THAT, doesn't sounds like science.


And yet that is what science is based upon.

You have to define something arbitrarily before you can start to build a framework for your science.

What is a second? Nowadays it is defined as "the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom at rest in a temperature of 0K." That's pretty arbitrary.

Even before atomic clocks, it was still arbitrary: A second was defined as the duration of a single one-way swing of a one meter pendulum. Great. So what's a meter? Nowadays: "the distance traveled by light in absolute vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second."

Who picks these numbers? 9,192,631,770? 1/299,792,458? It's almost as though somebody had super-incredibly accurate measuring tools and used them to measure how long a second was and how long a meter was. Nope. They are both abstracts. Scientists took the estimates that existed before and replaced them with highly accurate numbers for the purpose of moving forward with more accurate language. A second could have just as easily been defined as 9,192,631,000 oscillations of that Cesium atom, in which case all calculations depending on that degree of accuracy would have just come up slightly different but with the same answers relative to everything else.

So why is a second that long, or a meter that length? "It is simply like that." And to say so isn't unscientific - it's a requirement for hanging the framework of science.

So what's outside the universe and what happened before the big bang? It's undefined. Why? It is simply like that. That's not unscientific - it's just realistic.

w


Edited by Wayne Zeller (03/22/07 09:15 PM)

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#19315 - 03/22/07 09:27 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: Wayne Zeller]
quantum Offline
Member

Registered: 03/21/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Croatia
believe it or not, it actually helped!

i still dont like the idea that something is determined so accurately being based on something so abstract, but i understand it now.
once again - thank you

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#19318 - 03/22/07 09:52 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: quantum]
Wayne Zeller Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 120
Loc: Southern California
Quote:
believe it or not, it actually helped!

Cool! I'm happy to hear it.

I thought of another one regarding what's "before" time: Imagine you are an ant on a piece of 2x4 plywood. One of your well-traveled friend ants comes you and says, I've been everywhere on this board! I walked to the edge a couple inches over there and then walked all the way around! And then I walked to the end of the board, and then all the way to the other end. I can tell you, it's made of wood everywhere you go. It's about four feet long and a little under 12 inches around. It's got this cool grain the whole way, and the ends are kinda bumpy so I had to wear my special hiking boots to avoid ant-splinters!"

"Great!" you reply, "And what's it like further out than that?"

"Huh? I'm telling you, it ends."

"Yeah, I understand it ends and all, but what is the board like AFTER it ends? What's this board like if you go twenty feet in THAT direction over there?"

"Well, it's not there. This board doesn't exist over there."

"Yeah, but what's it LIKE?"


As you can see, the well-traveled ant (and the well-learned physicist) have a hard time explaining that beyond the board, there is no board.

(I thought that one up while making a smoothie a few minutes ago and just had to share.) smile

w

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#19320 - 03/22/07 09:56 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: quantum]
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Wayne,

It's good to have you around - we have had some really nutty Christians in the past who have approached debate in the following terms:

"I'm right - Don't believe me eh? Then I'm happy to say you're going to Hell you filthy dog."

You appear to be able to think things through and I like your approach to faith issues.

Why not fill out your profile so we can know a bit more about you.

Cheers.

Blacknad.

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#19323 - 03/22/07 10:28 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: Blacknad]
Wayne Zeller Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 120
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Blacknad
It's good to have you around

Thanks! I'm glad to have found the forum.

Quote:
- we have had some really nutty Christians in the past who have approached debate in the following terms:

"I'm right - Don't believe me eh? Then I'm happy to say you're going to Hell you filthy dog."

Well, here's the thing: I happen to think I'm right (in terms of religion, anyway). I also happen to know that not everybody agrees with me. Are they all going to hell? I dunno. I'm not God and I'm not privvy to the mind of God. I suspect that as long as they lead good lives and are good people who spread love in the world that they are probably fine. And even if they are all going to hell, who am I to judge them? It's the whole "Judge not lest thee be judged" thing. They already know that it's the opinion of a lot of people that the unfaithful will go to hell. If I said it, it wouldn't be news. It would just be another whacko Christian preaching at them.

Instead, I find great interest in the actual interface between science and religion. There is no divide there - the divide is created by misunderstandings on both sides. It's a continuum, and a smooth one at that. We're in a scientific golden age right now. But I think that within a few centuries we might begin to discover even more incredible things in that gray area. The grey area is dark right now because of the divide created by close-minded people. But as light is shed there, it will become gray and then golden. And THAT'S when we will have truly evolved - when we can harness the power of all the science behind us with the light of communion with God before us. (Oops, I accidentally got my preaching hat on there for a minute. I thought about deleting all that, but it seems it would be a shame to not leave it since it's all sincere.)

Quote:
You appear to be able to think things through and I like your approach to faith issues.

Again, thank you. There are more logic-minded faithful out there than you think. Most of them just aren't as vociferous as our fundie cousins.

Quote:
Why not fill out your profile so we can know a bit more about you.

The only place that really asks for anything at all insightful is the Interests/Hobbies question and it only gives 200 characters. I went ahead and filled it out, but if you want to get to know me then just keep prompting me to write stuff. wink

w

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#19325 - 03/22/07 10:42 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: Wayne Zeller]
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Cheers Wayne.

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#19334 - 03/23/07 12:03 AM Re: Evidence for God [Re: Blacknad]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
A few quick comments:

Wayne wrote:
"It disheartens me when I hear very intelligent people thinking like fundamentalists and assuming that all the religious people in the world think the same way."

I agree. But I am trying to find out how you distinguish between what is real and what is allegorical. Where do you draw the line. What if the birth wasn't virgin? What if there was no snake in the garden? What if the walls didn't tumble? What if there was no crucifixion as reported by Islam? How are you walking through the maze.

If you were not both literate and intelligent, like Blacknad, I wouldn't be interested. But obviously you are both and thus I am trying to understand how you assemble the pieces of the puzzle.
It is a treat to have you both here. We are finally developing a community capable of sentient discourse and a methodology from sending the trolls scurrying back under the bridge. Yeah!
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#19350 - 03/23/07 03:44 AM Re: Evidence for God [Re: quantum]
terrytnewzealand Offline
Megastar

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Quantum asked:

"is there any link or book that explain existing theories without wakeing new questions in my mind?"

Now quantum. You are probably old enough already to know that each answer brings in a dozen more questions.

Wayne and Blacknad. I agree with Dan. It's great to be able to get your reasoned viewpoint. No meaningless quotes from some ancient book. I actually agree that many stories in the Bible have relevant lessons for us today.

But Wayne wrote:

"In Exodus, we are told of a tyrannical ruler keeping a race of people as slaves and refusing to let them be free even under terrible threat."

Have you ever considered the possibility that this is an account of a real event distorted to present a particular political perspective? The timing and some surrounding events fit reasonably well with the retreat of the Hyksos from Egypt. Even to the Pharaoh changing his mind after the peace agreement that let them retreat. After they had been kicked out many Egyptian Pharaohs had names "--moses". Not before. But the Hyksos were certainly not slaves, although they may have had some. They spoke a Semitic language and came from Canaan originally. It wasn't till Thuthmoses III the Egyptians finally defeated them at Megiddo. Any comments?

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#19359 - 03/23/07 04:27 AM Re: Evidence for God [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Wayne Zeller Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 120
Loc: Southern California
That is probably very much what happened. In fact, I suspect that the Jews themselves may have revolted and killed the people (including the children) that were killed during the massacre. That doesn't make a good bedtime story to tell your Jewish grandchildren though, so it became an act of God.

"But wait!" you say, "You're saying that it was people and not God! You heathen!"

Nope. I'm saying that God acted through people. That without Him they would likely not have prevailed.

Quote:
I am trying to find out how you distinguish between what is real and what is allegorical. Where do you draw the line.

I draw the line by critical thinking. If you know a source book has a lot of good facts in it, and also has some allegorical information then you have to decide what to take literally. But here's the thing: Even if you take NONE of it as absolutely literal, the Bible (particularly the New Testament) teaches us a way to live that (if followed) improves our communities. The fact that much of it is based on historical accounts makes it all the more useful. If you believe that the writings in it are divinely inspired (as I do) then you also know that it is a manual for communing with God.

Quote:
What if the birth wasn't virgin?

This has actually been my most frequent source for crises of faith. It's central to my religion that Christ is the son of God. But what if Mary and Joseph got busy pre-maritally and got themselves in trouble? Contrary to popular belief, the hymen does not always break the first time a woman has intercourse. Mary's intact hymen would have been the proof to the clerics at the time that she was virginal. She and Joseph had a very strict Jewish upbringing, and would have known their religion well enough to really put one over on everybody if they noticed her hymen was still intact.

Thinking about that really does bother me. And it's my one major test of faith. There's no way it can ever be proven either way. When fundamentalists call fossils tests of faith I just kind of laugh about it because fossils are absolute proof that their faith lies in misinterpretation of evidence. But this one isn't a matter of proof either way. It's a matter of me believing. And that is hard sometimes for me when so much of the rest of my faith relies on science to back it up.

Quote:
What if there was no snake in the garden?

That's an easy one: There was no garden. Genesis itself gives two entirely separate and contradictory creation stories. When the book contradicts itself in it's very first book, it becomes obvious that you are reading allegory.

However, consider this: Somewhere, back in the mists of time, is a single male and female couple - probably great apes, but maybe even before the great apes - from which we are all descended. What set those two apart from their brothers and sisters and parents and uncles? Nothing. And yet they are the ones from which the entire human race sprung. Couldn't you call them Adam and Eve? They certainly became set apart, even if only posthumously, and that setting apart could be interpreted as leaving Eden.

Quote:
What if there was no crucifixion as reported by Islam?

The Crucifixion was witnessed by many people and historical accounts exist outside the Bible confirming it.

w



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#19361 - 03/23/07 04:41 AM Re: Evidence for God [Re: Wayne Zeller]
terrytnewzealand Offline
Megastar

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Wayne wrote:

"Somewhere, back in the mists of time, is a single male and female couple - probably great apes, but maybe even before the great apes - from which we are all descended."

No. There is no species that is descended from just one couple. Some may have gone through a population bottleneck but any species reduced to just a single female is almost certainly doomed to extinction. In fact the NZ black robin was rescued from just one female and four males but it took careful manipulation of the breeding to enable them to survive. There are also rumours of rabbit populations descending from a single pregnant female but I have my doubts.

The Hyksos didn't revolt. They had control of Lower Egypt for more than a hundred years. If anything it was the Upper Egyptians who revolted. They had the Hyksos penned up in their capital but agreed to let them retreat in orderly fashion. Then chased them. Sounds like treaties between the Native Americans and the US government.


Edited by terrytnewzealand (03/23/07 04:42 AM)

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#19373 - 03/23/07 07:23 AM Re: Evidence for God [Re: terrytnewzealand]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Wayne wrote:
"Nope. I'm saying that God acted through people. That without Him they would likely not have prevailed."

But they might have. We just don't know. If your version is correct then god is reduced from being the actor, as portrayed in the book to serving in a capacity floating somewhere between irrelevant and vaguely influential.

Using a Catholic website as my source:
http://www.newadvent.org/bible/exo013.htm#15
I find this:
"13:15. For when Pharao was hardened, and would not let us go, the Lord slew every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of man to the firstborn of beasts:"

It seems you are unequivocally saying that this is not true. And yet, it would seem, it is the basis for your belief. Thus, you can understand, my puzzlement.

Wayne wrote:
"Contrary to popular belief, the hymen does not always break the first time a woman has intercourse. Mary's intact hymen would have been the proof to the clerics at the time that she was virginal. She and Joseph had a very strict Jewish upbringing, and would have known their religion well enough to really put one over on everybody if they noticed her hymen was still intact."

I'll grant everything you wrote true or probable ... but if that is what happened then it was nothing but a deception. Hardly the basis for the worship of the Virgin Mary or for the tremendous amount of attention given to her in the Q'ran. Thought the Islamic texts speak of her more than the Christian they never once refer to her as a virgin.

Wayne wrote:
"That's an easy one: There was no garden."

Actually, it seems, there actually was a real garden to which the story refers.
http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=1957&language=1
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-02-19-garden-of-eden_x.htm
But I too doubt the veracity of the biblical telling.

Wayne wrote:
"The Crucifixion was witnessed by many people and historical accounts exist outside the Bible confirming it."

And it is also discussed in the Q'ran where the story is told very differently. Why is one historical telling more accurate than the other? Especially given that we have an incredible amount of historical evidence that what you have read, in English, is highly modified from the original text?

In the Q'ran you will find Jesus referred to as Issa, John the Baptist as Yohanna, Mary as Marium ibnata ?Imran.

You will, I suspect, find this fascinating.
http://assyriatimes.com/engine/modules/news/article.php?storyid=3209
You too Blacknad.
Of course whether Arabic or Aramaic is a matter of some debate. And you won't find many people supporting the authors POV.

But you still seem to be artfully dodging the intent of my questions which is HOW do YOU distinguish? And thus is it possible that those things you think "real" today you might think "allegorical" tomorrow?
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#19395 - 03/23/07 04:56 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: DA Morgan]
quantum Offline
Member

Registered: 03/21/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Croatia
to Wayne: nice one wink

terry: Now quantum. You are probably old enough already to know that each answer brings in a dozen more questions.

yes, i know... i hate that!

and i finish there (for now) becouse even the smart ones are not able to answer the questions about the Bible.
i feel that religion is faith, faith is individual, and that individuality makes conditional upon belief. (not sure if i used the right words but you know what i mean - please feel free to correct my grammar anytime!)

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