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Customer Discussions > Religion forum

What if religion is a hoax?

Discussion moved to this forum by Amazon on Nov 27, 2009 10:21:09 PM PST.


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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2009 11:45:55 PM PST
Stephen S. says:
F. Cone,

I never said or even implied that believing in God negates the use of the brain God gave us. Some of the greatest minds and assets to humanity were devout followers of Christ. To name a few...

Abraham Lincoln - President and liberator of slaves

George Washington - US First President

Benjamin Franklin - Inventor/author... quote: "I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth-that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?"

Patrick Henry - Founding father of US government... quote: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here."

C.S. Lewis - Intellect/author/atheist prior to discovery of the truth of Christianity

Leonardo Da Vinci - Artist/inventor

Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, Newton, Babbage, Joule, Pasteur, Mendel, Wernher von Braun,

...and many, many, many others!! See this link for great scientists over the past 1000 years who were Christians: http://creationsafaris.com/wgcs.htm

Also check out this book on Amazon.com: "How Christianity Changed the World" (http://www.amazon.com/Christianity-Changed-World-Alvin-Schmidt/dp/0310264499)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2009 12:04:23 AM PST
F. Cone says:
Yes, Stephen, I am aware of the great men and women who have been believers. This is also covered in the Paulos book, it is called the argument from authority. There is some dispute about Lincoln. I have read speculation that he was actually an atheist. George Washington was also a Freemason.

In response to your little quote from Patrick Henry, let me quote from the Treaty of Tripoli, "as the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion," there should be no cause for conflict over differences of "religious opinion" between countries.

Furthermore, Article VI of the Constitution of the United States of America forbids the use of "a religious test" for officeholders.

Thomas Jefferson said that his bill for religious liberty in Virginia was "meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan, the Hindu, and infidel of every denomination." When George Washington was inaugurated in New York in April 1789, Gershom Seixas, the hazan of Shearith Israel, was listed among the city's clergymen (there were 14 in New York at the time) - a sign of acceptance and respect. The next year, Washington wrote the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I., saying, "happily the government of the United States ... gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance. ... Everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid."

Andrew Jackson resisted bids in the 1820s to form a "Christian party in politics." Abraham Lincoln buried a proposed "Christian amendment" to the Constitution to declare the nation's fealty to Jesus. Theodore Roosevelt defended William Howard Taft, a Unitarian, from religious attacks by supporters of William Jennings Bryan.

There are more, but I'm sure you get the point.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2009 12:07:10 AM PST
Stephen S. says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2009 12:32:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2009 12:47:16 AM PST
KevinT says:
Sorry, Stephen, but you are picking some horrible examples for "devout followers of Christ". Several were outright critics of organized religion.

Many of the leading founding fathers were "deists", including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, as well as Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, James Madison, and John Adams. It was actually a popular belief system during those days because there was no scientific explanation for the origins of life as of yet, and most rational men did not want to swallow the supernatural and the prevalent forms of religious authority in order to believe that someone/something had to put things in motion that gave rise to life. In short, believing in "the god of nature", a creator of things whom we can only understand through his handiwork, visible through the rules of nature which are observable by man.

Lincoln actually was quite disdainful of many aspects of Christianity, and most of his associates think of him as anything but a devout Christian. His former law partner, William Herndon, said of him after his assassination: "[Mr. Lincoln] never mentioned the name of Jesus, except to scorn and detest the idea of a miraculous conception. He did write a little work on infidelity in 1835-6, and never recanted. He was an out-and-out infidel, and about that there is no mistake." He also said that Lincoln "assimilated into his own being" the heretical book Age of Reason by Thomas Paine.

Washington was a deist, (http://www.deism.com/washington.htm). Even his close friend, Dr. Ambercrombie said as much when asked by a Bishop of Washington's faith after his death, to which inquiry he emphatically stated "Sir, Washington was a Deist."

Benjamin Franklin was clearly a deist, and was actually quite critical of the church. He was like many modern people in that he seemed to pick-and-choose, and partook the culture he liked and ignored the things which rebelled against his intelligence. Some quotes from him to make his stance clear:

". . . Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . It happened that they wrought an effect on my quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist."

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."

Franklin, unlike most others, summarized his beliefs himself in text at age 84. (Here's a guy's blog on it which makes it consumable: http://www.questioningchristian.com/2004/11/benjamin_frankl.html ).

Some other interesting, albeit very condensed and consumable, information on this topic:
http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

Some of your other cites are good examples, Patrick Henry was certainly both Christian and devout. Some of the earlier scientists like Newton and Galileo might better fit the term "Christian, but not very devout", as would the missing Copernicus...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2009 6:24:07 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2009 2:28:21 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2009 2:30:13 PM PST
F. Cone says:
SD, your post is so scattered as to be virtually incoherent. I take it that you are against evolution. Fine. The problem with believers such as you obviously are is that you assume that God created the heavens and earth, therefore, evolution is false. You also ask and answer your own questions.

You examine what you see as flaws in evolution, declare them to be "gaps," and rush to fill those gaps with God. Evolution is where the evidence takes us. There is no empirical evidence for Creation at all and you have offered none, just a flawed examination of evolution. I suggest that your education is filled with gaps. Creationism is religion and not science. If you prefer to believe creationism, that is your choice, of course, but don't try to fool yourself and others with the characterization that evolution is a "pseudo-science."

Why Evolution Is True
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene (Popular Science)

"(Abiogenesis isn't about evolution!? Yes it is."

No, it isn't. Evolution is about how life diversified while abiogenesis concerns the origin of life itself. Just because you assert it, doesn't make it true.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2009 2:38:52 PM PST
FIrst of all, the prime question is 'God' and that is a question amenable to reason. Any God there might be, or any that has been believed in, is a respecter of reason in that if you do the best your reason can give you, you are beyond reproach on that count, and any laziness or stupidity you are guilty of.

You DO know what to believe. God is good, so seek and seek, it is your highest work.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2009 2:45:04 PM PST
Stephen S. says:
FYI... I'm also not too fond of organized religion. Most of the time it is destructive and distorts or adds to the true gospel of Christ with rules or regulations.

Regarding some of those in my list, I tend to agree about the level of their devotness but my main point was that intelligent individuals throughout history helped change the world for the better even though they beleved in a creator. Believing in God does not automatically label someone's intelligence or diminish that persons intelligence.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2009 3:35:07 PM PST
Right on! This is the difference. Christianity vs Religion...two different things. Religion is legalism...the law... rules and regulations. Christianity, on the other hand, is grace... it is God living in people and through people.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2009 3:37:26 PM PST
Right on! This is the difference. Christianity vs Religion...two different things. Religion is legalism...the law... rules and regulations. Christianity, on the other hand, is grace... it is God living in people and through people.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2009 6:59:37 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2009 4:10:01 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2009 8:25:09 AM PST
Heidi Arvin says:
Adam, a few year ago, my husband published a book about alternatives to current beliefs because he found the answer he had been searching so long for. He too was disappointed by modern religions, skeptics, and philosophers alike. I read his book a couple of years ago and I really liked it. It really spoke to me. You can read about it at www.lifeconscious.com

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 5:32:07 PM PST
anne says:
Adam,
I was recently informed that there were originally 4 Holy Books written--one has no name and no longer exists, the Quran, the Bible, and the Torah.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 8:02:57 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2009 9:13:28 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 8:46:06 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2009 8:49:33 AM PST
F. Cone says:
Swamp Drainer says: "F. Cone - I'll admit my writing gets somewhat convoluted, but what's with the pop shots and stereotyping?"

I took no potshots at you, SD, just your idiosyncratic writing style. You write like someone in a frenzy. I only have time to address a couple of your points.

"...Famed Astro-Physicist Fred Hoyle [not a Creationist]..."

Fred Hoyle was the main proponent of the Steady State Theory and the coiner of the term "Big Bang," which he intended as a derogatory epithet. Hoyle was an astronomer and not an evolutionary biologist. The only people still quoting his long-discredited work are creationists like yourself.

"Final summary, Point 1; ABIOGENESIS, the imminent foundation for Darwinism, appears "infinitely removed" from any SELF-CREATING, NATURALISTIC MECHANISM ! (Tellingly, as Naturalism has failed Abiogenesis, so too will Naturalism fail Darwinism.) YOU NEED AN INFORMATION SOURCE OF SOME KIND ! !"

SD, you can put your entire post in all caps and add more exclamation points, but your typography fails to conceal the factual errors you have written. Abiogenesis is not the "imminent [sic] foundation for Darwinism." (check on the definition for "imminent") There is no way to defend this unsupported assertion, especially when there was no such science when Darwin was alive; abiogenesis as a science has only been around for the last 50 years or so. Furthermore, abiogenesis deals with the origin of life, evolution deals with how life diversified and how new species originated. You have provided no evidence for the veracity of your last statement. In short, you are merely regurgitating Behe and his friends rather than relying on real science. I suggest you take a deep breath, calm down, do a little reading to learn, and admit with humility that maybe, just maybe, someone might just know more than you.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 8:53:53 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 9:00:53 AM PST
F. Cone says:
That's what I said, but Dawkins has it all over me in terms of concise, pithy verbiage! Sometimes it is good just to cut to the chase!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 9:23:14 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 10:10:36 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 10:16:37 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 10:24:05 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 11:02:10 AM PST
KevinT says:
Like F. Cone, I don't have time to answer all the unrelated talking points your threw out there at the same time, so I'm going to pick what I have time to address.

Your "Macro Evolution" points: When it comes to asserting the raw machinery of evolution as the "big gun dynamic" of "gross mutation", I'm sorry to point out that perhaps you have read to much of the science from Christian apologetics sources without also adding some secular ones. Mutation is rare, maybe not as rare as you think (see "Munchkin cat"), but the key dynamic in diversity (and eventually speciation) has not been thought to be "gross mutation" for quite some time. However, this is the exact same thing I was taught in a Christian Institution over 15 years ago too, so it's no surprise the "other side of the argument" hasn't been updated in those places. Rather, the dynamic is about separation of populations and the differentiation and advantage created by direct or indirect advantages in reproduction. I think it would be more helpful to make this topic more accessible to all readers, so I'm going change the point to something everyone can better relate to: pure breeding of domesticated animals. Do you really believe that what separates a Great Dane from a Chihuahua in the common dog is a bunch of "Gross Mutation"? Does any think that it's even possible, ever, for two Danes to breed and out pop a Chihuahua? Of course not, we've seen it ourselves, and understand very well the science of creating and managing dog breeds. The first step, of course, is to stop cross-breeding and the subsequent introduction od undesired genes into your gene pool. If you breed Chihuahuas, you don't let your dogs get busy with the household mongrel dog. For that matter, you don't let just any male Chihuahua breed with yours, you select the best available Chihuahua stud you can afford which leads to.... The second step, selection for traits that are most "ideal" for the breed, be it length of snout, color of coat, skeletal structure, etc. We also know that this both works and does so quickly, in the matter of a short number of generations significant trait refinement is easy to obtain without "Gross Mutation". Why? Because within a single species (remember, this is defined as any group which is able to reproduce AND produce offspring capable of doing the same) there is really that much differentiation that's possible without any magic. It's not random at all, when breeders have sought to create a "squished" snout (pug), shorten legs (dachshund), or any augment any other breeding trait they have been successfull at doing so without any more powerful a lever than selective breeding. If you continue to differentiate enough, you'll find that you can no longer breed true with your distant relatives, which is how speciation occurs. It follows that once you understand the actual dynamic of evolution, it's easy to also easy to understand the perception of "stasis", as false as it is. We see obvious examples of rapid evolution around us every year, though you have to look at the forms of life with generational spans fast enough to see the changes in our own lifetimes. Tell a person with a serious MRSA infection that it's just the same old strep, the one you had in your throat as a kid, what's the big deal? Talk to scientists working on treatments to N1H1 and see if they think influenza is in "stasis".

Your "Evolutionary Gap" points: The cornerstone of apologetics has also been "gap" theory of defense. The problem has been that most of this defense is based in willfull ignorance of the theory being attacked. Why no "pigs with wings"? Well, because that's ludicrous, all would agree. Now, how about a more realistic question? Where are the creatures with wings, but can't fly using them? Need I bother digging into this topic, everyone should know of at least 3-5 examples off-hand of differentiation representing this without even doing any research. The fundamental problem with all of this is that attacking evolution on the basis of fossil record shortcomings has proven to be a horrible tactic, because time has turned-up many fossils which link known species with their common ancestors, including things like "dinosaurs with feathers". Your later point on there being no failed species in the fossil record not attributable to "Catastrophism", are you joking? This is such a softball point, I don't want to hammer it too hard. I'll pick just one simple example of an animal that went extinct without such "Catastrphism" that you asserted, the Australian large land marsupial called the Thylacine (or so-called "Tasmanian Tiger") which went extinct in the 1930's and for which we have photographic records as well as fossil records (want the cite, here you go: http://www.naturalworlds.org/thylacine/naturalhistory/prehistoric_range_2.htm). Did all contemporary marsupials have to die out at the same time? We know better. I think the fact we have tons of examples of failed species without such "Catastrophism" makes this point collapse, and probably shouldn't have been raised.

Don't have more time now, but whatever you do, please don't bring out the old apologetics reason for the fossil strata, I don't think I can take it... "You see, kids, the reason the dinosaurs and trilobytes are down at the bottom is because they weren't as smart as the rats and people, we knew to climb the top of the mountain before Noah's flood got us."

What I would point out to all reading is what I noticed when I first was exposed to both perspectives of the creation argument was how all of the emphasis in creationism is on trying to poke holes in evolution, and never, ever about trying to provide creationism. I think it's because of the rational dissonance it creates to try to work with facts and evidence to disprove the prevailing science, then to turn around with a straight face and say, "on the other hand, doesn't it seem more plausible that an all-knowing, all-powerful, invisible creator magic'd it into being?" Or being more allowable for sophisticated ID types, "that an all-knowing, all-powerful, invisible guiding force magic'd all this DNA, laws of physics, and primordial soup into existence so it would all work out according to it's plan without all the pesky creations ever being able to tell the entity was ever there at all." To most, I think it's hard to switch gears from trying to find the holes in a mountain of evidence in a rational, methodical way and then having to turn-around and abandon all need for reason and evidence in order to accept the philosophical underpinnings of the alternative.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 11:06:15 AM PST
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Initial post:  Nov 27, 2009
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