T Nation

For Ye Christian Ones...

First off, don’t take this as a guy trying to piss off and flame you because you’re Christian. I’m looking for a good discussion…

There is not a single shred of anthropological or scientific evidence supporting many of the stories and beliefs associated with Christianity:

Noah’s Ark - Do you honestly believe that the oceans of the world suddenly increased in size astronomically, engulfing all land on Earth? Furthermore, do you believe that 2 of EVERY species on Earth were taken onto one ship, then were later released, once the waters suddenly disappeared? That would be a boat filled with millions of animals, big and small, very impossible…

Why is it that the accounts of miracles so often quoted and glamorized in Churches today only exist in the Bible? It seems like SOMEONE would’ve noticed those amazing things that supposedly were occuring, and that someone would have wrote about it. Yet still, the only ones who attested to that being true were the ones who wrote in the Bible.

Creation - So God was around forever, but sometime during this ‘forever’ he suddenly decided, “Hey, I’m gonna make some light.” Then, “Hey, It’d be cool if there was a rock in space called Earth. I better throw in water and land to. Maybe some plants and animals and humans to entertain me further…” etc…

Some Christians now believe in creationism through evolution, that is, God created the world as we know it through the process that wasn’t theorized until 150 years ago by an athiest. I kind of see this as rationalizing “well, evolutionary theory is gaining more evidence and proof every year, why don’t we just mix it with what we believe?”

Others deny it completely. Some even believe that the Earth, and every form of life living on it, were created only 10,000 or so years ago. The very rocks we walk on attest to the Earth being BILLIONS of years old. In addition to that, the fossilized remains of millions of species that lived in the past litter the Earth. Most of these fossils are carbon-dated to millions of years ago, pretty far reaching compared to 10,000. Also, even if God created the world through this long evolutionary method, who were Adam and Eve? Some speculate those names to symbolize the 2 origional groups of humans. But there were no 2 origional groups of humans. From anthropological evidence, it appears that primates emerged from the rest of the mammals roughly 50 million years ago or so(these dates may be a bit off from what’s agreed on by most of the experts in the area). These creatures were very smart compared to the other organisms on the Earth at the time. As they continues to evolve, some became more and more intelligent. The line that formed the great apes broke away from the other primates 25-30 million years ago. Think of the main line of the great apes as the chimpanzee line. From 25-30 million years ago to now, the great ape species broke away from the chimp line one by one. First, orangutans did, then gorillas, then humans, then bonobos, and modern chimps are the evolutionary result of that origional line(this is the accepted figure among most expert anthropologists). We broke from the chimp like about 5 million years ago. It was a slow progression to our modern state, and it can be followed by fossils. The human like that broke off started, of course, as the same apes chimps were 5 million years ago. They slowly moved from quadrupedalism to bipedalism(walking on 2 legs), and the size of the brain slowly increased. Those physiological changes became more and more like us, till we reach the point we’re at today. How does the Bible explain those fossils? Why doesn’t the Bible have similar critical evidence to support its claims/stories/beliefs?


It appears to me that the only ‘evidence’ Christians can throw out to support their beliefs is their faith, which is, of course, not evidence.

If you think it is evidence, what about the hundreds of other religions around the world? Every culture and social group created some form of religion, what makes yours so special? They are all founded on and carried on by faith. If faith is such a powerful true force, then all of them are founded on truth. If your religion is true because of your faith, theirs is true because of theirs. Oh, maybe its because Christians’ faith are worth more than, say, Muslims’ faith.

Your thoughts/replies?

Many people would agree with you. Few would care. What makes you take the time to write an essay about what someone else believes?

[quote]Aleksandr wrote:
Many people would agree with you. Few would care. What makes you take the time to write an essay about what someone else believes?[/quote]

Few would care? You’re suggesting that few people care about how we came into being? You’re suggesting that few people care about wether or not Christianity is true?

Read the very first thing I wrote in this thread, and that will answer your last question.

I appreciate your thought’s and comments. Yes I am a Christian and no I do not share your ideas…which are simply that, ideas. While there are pieces of evidence that support your side, they are exactly that, pieces. There are many fossils but no missing links, all of those things are taken on faith. Just as with my beliefs, there are certain things that are historically proven and documented the rest I have to take on faith. If you care to look at some articles that respond well to some of the things you stated there are quite a few at http://www.icr.org/research/ I do not wish to argue for no matter what amount of arguing I do with you , you will still believe what you believe and I will still believe what I believe. I feel that is for each person to research what is out there and find for themseves what the “truth” is. It seems as though you have done that, and I respect that. Naturally I would like for you to see things from my perspective, but not everyone is going to agree.

Just a little side note that I found to be thought provoking.

“If you live like there is no God and you are right, there is no loss, If you live like there is a God and you are right there is no loss, If you live like there is no God and you are wrong, there is a loss, and if you live like there is a God and you are wrong there is no loss. So logically it would be better to live like there is a God for there is no chance of loss.”

Once again, thank you for your thought provoking post.

[quote]Billberg wrote:
I appreciate your thought’s and comments. Yes I am a Christian and no I do not share your ideas…which are simply that, ideas. While there are pieces of evidence that support your side, they are exactly that, pieces. There are many fossils but no missing links, all of those things are taken on faith. Just as with my beliefs, there are certain things that are historically proven and documented the rest I have to take on faith. If you care to look at some articles that respond well to some of the things you stated there are quite a few at http://www.icr.org/research/ I do not wish to argue for no matter what amount of arguing I do with you , you will still believe what you believe and I will still believe what I believe. I feel that is for each person to research what is out there and find for themseves what the “truth” is. It seems as though you have done that, and I respect that. Naturally I would like for you to see things from my perspective, but not everyone is going to agree.

Just a little side note that I found to be thought provoking.

“If you live like there is no God and you are right, there is no loss, If you live like there is a God and you are right there is no loss, If you live like there is no God and you are wrong, there is a loss, and if you live like there is a God and you are wrong there is no loss. So logically it would be better to live like there is a God for there is no chance of loss.”

Once again, thank you for your thought provoking post. [/quote]

Thanks for your reply. I to don’t want to argue, but I enjoy a good discussion that is taken openmindedly.

The fact that the fossils exists is direct proof that what many people believe is wrong. I think that makes the fossils, and the most logical theories surrounding the study of them, very significant. However I agree that a theory is still a theory. There’s no way of telling for sure how things happened, but the theory of evolution has evidence(fossils, DNA comparisions between organisms, etc.), while creationist theories have none. By that I mean that none of the various religions of the world have anything in the way of evidence supporting their fundamental doctrines: That God exists, and that he created everything. How can you believe something that doesn’t have that basic component?

If there were a God who loved us so much, why would he allow us to burn in hell, regardless of religion? Why would he allow sin to exist in the first place? And, if God created everything, why did he create sin?

I was raised in a Christian family and have gone to Church and Church related activities all my life. I went, but never actually practiced privately or thought much about the religion. Around when I turned 18, I did begin to get more involved, studying/meditating in it on my own very often. I actually tried to be a Christian, and it was the most miserable time of my life. I felt like I was wasting so much time and effort. Now that I’m in college, I’ve been introduced to many other views and beliefs, but the only one that has consistently made sense to me as well as having proof(even if it is limited proof) supporting it. I’ve been much much happier ever since, although happiness certainly isn’t the objective of my beliefs.

Just thought I’d let ya kno where I’m coming from.

From Time Mag (aust) November 2004
http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101041025-725072,00.html

The God Gene - a scientist has isolated a set of genes which indicate an individuals predisposition to feeling spiritual.
A couple of excerpts:

“Hamer decided to use the data he gathered in the smoking survey to conduct a little spirituality study on the side. First he ranked the participants along Cloninger’s self-transcendence scale, placing them on a continuum from least to most spiritually inclined. Then he went poking around in their genes to see if he could find the DNA responsible for the differences. Spelunking in the human genome is not easy, what with 35,000 genes consisting of 3.2 billion chemical bases. To narrow the field, Hamer confined his work to nine specific genes known to play major roles in the production of monoamines?brain chemicals, including serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, that regulate such fundamental functions as mood and motor control. It’s monoamines that are carefully manipulated by Prozac and other antidepressants. It’s also monoamines that are not so carefully scrambled by ecstasy, LSD, peyote and other mind-altering drugs?some of which have long been used in religious rituals.
Studying the nine candidate genes in DNA samples provided by his subjects, Hamer quickly hit the genetic jackpot. A variation in a gene known as vmat2?for vesicular monoamine transporter?seemed to be directly related to how the volunteers scored on the self-transcendence test. Those with the nucleic acid cytosine in one particular spot on the gene ranked high. Those with the nucleic acid adenine in the same spot ranked lower. “A single change in a single base in the middle of the gene seemed directly related to the ability to feel self-transcendence,” Hamer says. Merely having that feeling did not mean those people would take the next step and translate their transcendence into a belief in?or even a quest for?God. But they seemed likelier to do so than those who never got the feeling at all.
Hamer is careful to point out that the gene he found is by no means the only one that affects spirituality. Even minor human traits can be governed by the interplay of many genes; something as complex as belief in God could involve hundreds or even thousands.”

and:

"Hamer also stresses that while he may have located a genetic root for spirituality, that is not the same as a genetic root for religion.
Spirituality is a feeling or a state of mind; religion is the way that state gets codified into law. Our genes don’t get directly involved in writing legislation. As Hamer puts it, perhaps understating a bit the emotional connection many have to their religions, “Spirituality is intensely personal; religion is institutional.”

"Other researchers have taken the science in a different direction, looking not for the genes that code for spirituality but for how that spirituality plays out in the brain. Neuroscientist Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has used several types of imaging systems to watch the brains of subjects as they meditate or pray. By measuring blood flow, he determines which regions are responsible for the feelings the volunteers experience.
The deeper that people descend into meditation or prayer, Newberg found, the more active the frontal lobe and the limbic system become.
The frontal lobe is the seat of concentration and attention; the limbic system is where powerful feelings, including rapture, are processed. More revealing is the fact that at the same time these regions flash to life, another important region?the parietal lobe at the back of the brain?goes dim. It’s this lobe that orients the individual in time and space. Take it off-line, and the boundaries of the self fall away, creating the feeling of being at one with the universe. Combine that with what’s going on in the other two lobes, and you can put together a profound religious experience. "

I was going to make a few humourous and ironic quips, but really, the article speaks for itself.
Religions should die a quick and quiet death.
ShaunW

Nice post Shaun

To sum that up:

People of many religions talk about amazing feelings and experiences they have when deep in prayer/meditation/worship. Various studies have shown that levels of neurotransmitters such as seretonin/norepinephrine were raised while people were in such a ‘spiritual’ state.

Drugs mimic the actions of those neurotransmitters. Injecting alot of methamphetamine into yourself basically has the same affects as your body secreting tons of epinephrine.

Therefore, these ‘spiritual’ states could be compared to a slight drug trip, as far as the physiological feelings that occur with each. No wonder such experiences are so gratifying and, dare I say, addictive to those who have them.

i used to be christian and ive found no better evidence for the flood than that which is represented by Kent Hovind of Creation Science Evangelism.

[quote]wufwugy wrote:
i used to be christian and ive found no better evidence for the flood than that which is represented by Kent Hovind of Creation Science Evangelism.[/quote]

I’ll look it up myself later when I have more time, but could you outline some of the basic arguments Hovind presents?

[quote]XCelticX wrote:
There is not a single shred of anthropological or scientific evidence supporting many of the stories and beliefs associated with Christianity:[/quote]

I’m an atheist, but I’m going to answer anyway, based on the answers my Christian friends usually give me…

People like to have a simple, digestible, story to connect what they see. They also like to have simple foundations to build life on. Simple instructions. The Bible provides both.

Scientific theories, on the other hand, don’t provide either: neither a consistent story (there are many holes in the scientific story of the Universe) nor simple basic principles and lessons to live on. As your own testimony proves, someone needs several decades in school to begin to grasp the whole thing, even without trying to understand all the details. And, even after starting to grasp the whole thing, many people – including many scientists – still want a simple reason to justify how the heck can all of this work so well.

How can a couple of cells (literally) develop into a full-fledged mammal. How can the Earth be so incredibly diverse and beautiful.

Who designed the laws of physics and made them so incredibly complex on the surface but so elegant after you “get” them. Things like the way the speed of light in vacuum seems to be one of the binding constants of the Universe. A limit imposed to make it manageable.

The Universe feels and looks like a work of engineering art.

How is that possible?

There MUST be a God that created all of it, and made it work.

At least that’s the simple explanation.

Thinking that it is all, essentially, the result of a series of fortunate events and circumstances, in a very large set of possibilities in a enourmous Universe with a size and age far beyond our comprehension, for many actually requires more faith than being a theist…

Try to tell people our Universe and our Earth is basically the result of the proverbial infinite set of Monkeys typing on an infinite set of typewriters for an infinite time that evenually spewed out the works of Shakespeare, and see their reaction.

The fact that scientists are constantly revising the theories doesn’t help.

Now, you might say that people could believe in a God without believing in the Bible. So there comes the other problem:

People want a simple story that they can teach their kids.

They will also believe what they want to believe in. So the jump to picking a particular faith is very small. Especially because the Bible, as many of the books of its kind is EXTREMELY open to interpretation. Its words can be bent. People can read it their “own” way and accept it within their parameters. They choose to ignore certain parts of it and accept others to fit their own perceptions and ideas.

They just want a story they can grasp, and the Bible provides them with that.

Every proven scientific fact you can throw at them can be bent around and adapted. Or the Bible’s words adapted to it. Some people will claim that the fossils were planted by the Devil to trick us.

In light of this, and the fact that I’ve observed that many extremely intelligent and capable people are Christians, prompted me to respect their faith – as long as it doesn’t go into the realms of fundamentalism and is distorted or imposed on others.

People like Professor X are the example of Christians for which I have the utmost respect.

I’ve seen people from all faiths – including atheists – being judgemental and overbearing and more worried about their neighbors’ life than their own.

The people you see bashing gays or calling the TV station because a girl’s T-Shirt strap is broken and she’s being coy about it, are not behaving like that because they’re Christians – after all, the New Testament specifically instructs them to love everybody like you love yourself. And love means respect. They’re behaving like that because they’re idiots. And idiocy is not faith-specific.

So there’s no value in trying to convert people to atheism. It won’t change anything. It’s a waste of time…

1 Like

[quote]XCelticX wrote:
Nice post Shaun

To sum that up:

People of many religions talk about amazing feelings and experiences they have when deep in prayer/meditation/worship. Various studies have shown that levels of neurotransmitters such as seretonin/norepinephrine were raised while people were in such a ‘spiritual’ state.

Drugs mimic the actions of those neurotransmitters. Injecting alot of methamphetamine into yourself basically has the same affects as your body secreting tons of epinephrine.

Therefore, these ‘spiritual’ states could be compared to a slight drug trip, as far as the physiological feelings that occur with each. No wonder such experiences are so gratifying and, dare I say, addictive to those who have them.[/quote]

I find it interesting that many people have, as they describe, “religous experiences” while on hallucinogens.

Why are you directing your post only to Christians?
Most of the things you talk about, such as Creation, and Noah’s Ark, are talked about in the Old Testament. So this thread should’ve been addressed to Jews and Christians.

Something you fail to take heed of is the sense of time in Genesis. When discussing creation, the word “day” shows up in the English translation, however, it does not literally mean a span of time equivalent to one of our days today. More accurately, the word being translated would mean “time period” or “era”. If one looks a bit closer at Chapter 1, one will note that the description is a very abbreviated version of the blackhole/evolution theory put forth by science, proceeding from plants, to fish, to birds, to mammals, to man.

There have been numerous persons of late, both biologicly, and mathematicly utilizing science to at the least support intelligent design. If nothing else, take the example of the black hole which science says began our universe. Somehow the black hole lead to the big bang, but, how did that happen? Science has found no way it could have logically done so, yet, I feel, an independent outside force(God), was responsible. Logical is it not? This does not neccesarily support the full biblical spectrum of beliefs, but there are strong arguements(that was just one example) for an intelligent force of some kind beginning things, and planning things.

Why has there been sin in the world since the dawn of time? Why did God perhaps create sin? I think it highly possible that the God spoken of in the Old Testament, who created things, is a lesser deity, one whom is imperfect. The true supreme being sent Jesus to free us all from the first. That is how I see it.

[quote]NycMan wrote:
Why are you directing your post only to Christians?
Most of the things you talk about, such as Creation, and Noah’s Ark, are talked about in the Old Testament. So this thread should’ve been addressed to Jews and Christians.[/quote]

My understanding of their religion is a bit limited, but, I think Muslims use at least some of the Old Testament, and, I believe some sects accept Jesus as an important prophet(though not a Messiah), so, they likely should be included as well as Jews, in this religious probing.

This conversation is so old and pointless…

[quote]cap’nsalty wrote:
This conversation is so old and pointless…[/quote]

Yep.

kicks dead horse in mouth

Christians suck.

Oh, wait a second.

checks tatoo on ass - reads “Crazy Southern Baptist”

Nevermind then.

As an aside, this is a rather tired argument. but, let’s look at it with a T-Mag-like paradigm: constant reevalutation.

I’ve yet to hear a solid, all-encompassing theory of evolution (how many different variations of that idea are there? I read it in National Geographic once, but cannot remember, but I want to say either 12 or 17), of the introduction of matter/energy into space, or of the interactions between matter, energy, and what are generally called the “laws” of nature, physics, etc.

I’ve also yet to hear a solid, all-encompassing theory of the accuracy of the Bible using top-notch scientific techniques and equipment.

And I ne’er expect to see one.

If we are constantly reevaluating our knowledge base, we will be constantly shifting our focus, our ideas. And that’s the way it should be. To stick to a particular ideology, whether spiritual or non, requires a constant evaluation of available evidence, use of techniques, and a hell of a lot of sittin’ and thinkin’.

Read Thomas Aquinas’ proofs for the existence of God. They do not have the holes that every scientific theory has.

I doubt I have a very popular position on this subject, but here’s my response to a few things stated. Hope I don’t step on too many toes with this one.

XCelticX:

With this kind of attitude, you will never find any evidence, not because its not there, but because your presupositions won’t let you. Its like the guy who goes into the gym and thinks he’ll never get big, and never does.

you partially answered your own question when you typed earlier that

check out the RATE study by ICR, i found it to be fascinating as well as radiohalos in coalified wood.

hspder:

This is only the case if ones seeks to eisegete the text and read what they want into the work, as opposed to studying hermenuetics and exegeting the passages of interest.

MoonKnight:

The Hebrew word for day, “yom”, can be used as a general period of time, but when read in context it means a literal day (Answers in Genesis does a pretty good exegesis of the creation account). Also consistency becomes an issue when you try to read the rest of the Bible, whether or not to read it allegorically or literally. That compatabilist position also runs into problems when you take into account the Homo floresiensis found last fall and try and determine whether or not they were humans with souls or not.

MoonKnight:

Pentateuch, Proverbs, Psalms, Gospel accounts, i think are read by some and not by others depending on the particular sect of Islam. However these books take a back seat to the Qur’an because of the Muslims’ own presuppositions about inerancy.

XCelticX again:

“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” -C. S. Lewis

Also on a side note, Antony Flew, a previous ardent atheist, recently became a theist of some sort because “It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism.”

Jesus was not a popular person. He had few followers and hung out with the bottom of society. So how did christianity become a mass movement? The answer is the resurection. They saw something they never saw befor. A miracle.