A man, let’s call him Jason (that’s not his real name), came into the “I respect all spiritual beliefs” thread last night and had a thing or two to say. He started with:
Let’s see… As a 5th grader explained to me…so death is the worst thing that can happen to us on earth… But if we believe, that leads us to heaven…then I’m not afraid. God determines our ministry on earth, it’s content, it’s length..when we have finished our ministry He rewards us by calling us home. Earthly pain, sorrow, and even death are results of sin… We all have sinned and fallen short…
The world’s most brilliant scientists have not discovered god’s existence, so we’d better listen to 5th graders on the big question of god’s existence. I responded:
That same 5th grader wasn’t too far removed from believing in Santa Claus either, a belief that undoubtedly made him feel better. The thing is, there are all manner of fantasies that could make us less afraid, but the truth is not beholden to what makes us feel safer.
The good news is that we can have hope and relief from fear without believing in every hair-brained idea that comes along. If we’re sick (and when prayer, as always, doesn’t work) we can apply our minds to the problem and invent medicine. Believers act like comfort cannot be had unless we trade our good sense. They’re wrong.
Short version: Lots of people are petrified of death. It’s the cowards who cave to that fear and believe a person actually rose from the dead in order to escape it. Not death, of course, since no fantasy or myth will stop that, but to escape the fear.
But Jason came storming back, throwing out the same fucking comfort argument as though I hadn’t said anything at all.
JT, you believe there is no God..I believe there is…I think it is a matter of faith..you a matter of science/common sense. I am not afraid of death nor am I afraid of hardship. While teaching science the last 30 years, I have found just as many scientific proofs/theories that were considered laws but now are highly suspect (carbon dating) or theories that require great leaps of faith (macro-evolution) by the same scientist friends who laugh at my simplistic faith.While I would not wish the sorrow of loss on any living soul, my studies, yes, of a book 7000 years(ish) old and my life experiences continue to lead me to belief in a God who ultimately punishes sin… But loves the repentant sinner. I know that there are many highly educated persons on both sides of this argument and while I disagree with your stance, I feel comfortable with the educated, evaluated, and comforting belief I have.
Admittedly, this wore my patience a little thin. So this time I took off one of the boxing gloves:
” While teaching science the last 30 years, I have found just as many scientific proofs/theories that were considered laws but now are highly suspect (carbon dating) or theories that require great leaps of faith (macro-evolution) by the same scientist friends who laugh at my simplistic faith.”
Carbon dating is not highly suspect in the scientific community. You have your facts wrong about the subject you claim to teach.
And I know a thing or two about science. Why does macro-evolution take a great leap of faith? Since you made the distinction between macro and micro evolution, I take it you accept the latter. You realize, I hope, that macro-evolution is micro-evolution over enough time. To accept one and to deny the other is like saying you believe in inches but not miles. If you are really a science teacher and you’re unaware of this, that troubles me.
And what’s more, it seems like you’re dogging on science for changing as new information is acquired. This is perplexing, since that’s a strength of science. If new information comes along that shows we were wrong about, say, the age of the universe, we change our conclusions. You did the same with belief in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy.
It’s the people who never change their mind, no matter what, who are being foolish.
And I imagine the reason a scientist would laugh at your religious beliefs is because your beliefs are rendered impossible by science. You cannot appreciate biology while also believing someone rose from the dead. You cannot give authority to the explanatory power of physics while believing someone walked on water. You cannot accept chemistry and also believe that someone was converted into a pillar of salt. You cannot accept the conclusions of geology while also believing that a global flood could take place.
The tall tales of your holy book are called miracles because, by definition, they are abrogations of natural order. You had the chance to pay heed to science or to pay heed to scribblings of a small collection of men in a particularly ignorant portion of the Middle East in an age where people were ignorant of almost everything humankind currently knows. You made the obviously wrong choice, and I have no remorse in saying so.
“While I would not wish the sorrow of loss on any living soul, my studies, yes, of a book 7000 years(ish) old and my life experiences continue to lead me to belief in a God who ultimately punishes sin…”
First, the bible is not 7,000 years old. Historians put it at about half that, with the only surviving texts coming much, much later. You may be thinking of the Hindu holy books which long pre-date the bible.
Second, by citing your studies of this text, you’re implying that you have evidence and good reasons to believe that a guy rose from the dead and walked on water. I notice you didn’t take the time to include them, so what are they? If you have good reasons, I’d love to change my mind. If you have greatly insufficient reasons, you should want to change yours.
“I know that there are many highly educated persons on both sides of this argument and while I disagree with your stance, I feel comfortable with the educated, evaluated, and comforting belief I have.”
You act like comfort can’t be had without buying into an ancient and absurd myth. You are simply wrong.
And yes, there are highly educated people on both sides. The funny thing about the highly educated Christians though; when they have ideas about astronomy or chemistry, they submit those ideas to peer-review to make sure their reasoning is correct. Once those ideas have survived review by other experts, those ideas are taught in textbooks as scientific fact. There have been a few, but not many, Christians who have had the brass to say god is a conclusion of science, but their arguments never survived peer review. That’s why we learn about atoms in science class (and evolution, both macro and micro) and not about god’s existence.
Your “highly educated people” on your side cannot claim to believe the things you do for highly educated reasons. So I reject your implication that belief in god or in a man rising from the dead is the product of reason and research rather than the product of casting reason and research aside and believing whatever the hell you want. And so should you.
I really hope this guys was full of shit about being a science teacher…