Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The never ending discussion on the compatibility between science and religion asks if they can get along and coexist. The argument, no matter how it is stated, comes down to this: Science has facts, religion has faith. As long as religion has faith it will remain incompatible with both science and reality. Believers might argue that their faith is compatible with science yet they will not allow for someone else’s faith being compatible with their own. When believers can’t even get their ‘faith’ coherent but decide to disagree with the best method we have of knowing the world around us then it is completely incompatible with science.

A religion that is not incompatible with science would be one that requires no faith. Would that be a religion?

Can’t we all just get along?

NO, we can’t as long as you are unwilling to be a full participant in reality.

Before anyone thinks I’m calling all believers stupid, just stop. This is a reaction to the discussion of compatibility and not simply your particular point of view. That said, if you want to feel offended, that is your prerogative, just don’t expect an apology.

 

 

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  1. Hmm, a valid point. I’ve met a good number of people who hold onto their faith so strongly and without question that if science proves X but their holy book “disproves” X, they will say the science is wrong.

    Being an eclectic, solitary Pagan, I can’t think of much that my religion actively attempts to bolster over scientific findings. True, I enjoy reading the myths about the Gods, but I understand that they are myths. I believe in reincarnation, but if someone actually disproved it I wouldn’t shed a tear. I know that the theory of evolution is accurate and correct, and believe that the “big bang” theory provides a decent accounting of the beginnings of the universe.

    Maybe religion and science can’t ever fully “get along”, but I personally see our pursuit of science and thirst for knowledge to be a form of “worship” in itself. Besides…if NO Gods exist then we are progressing nicely. If Gods do exist, they would either be pleased with us for discovering the truth behind the universe They created, or they wouldn’t be worth worshiping anyway.

    • Well said… I can get behind that though calling curiosity ‘worship’ is, I think, bending too far to find a commonality.

      • Perhaps. It’s the way I think of it though. I understand that my faith is more of a Comfort aspect than a Knowledge aspect…and thus why it should *never* be taught in any schools except as a World Religions or Theology course. Our educational buildings are for things we know, not want to believe.

        • That’s something I can support. Thanks for commenting.

          • Thanks for having me. :)

  2. There is one religion that’s pliable enough to mold with science.

    “If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”
    ― Dalai Lama XIV, The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality

    • I’ll grant that with no problems that I’m aware of.

      • To it’s credit, Buddhism has no clear dogmatic stance, nor do they believe in a god.

        • I agree. The reincarnation and purpose things are incorrect in my view. It is not a completely peaceful religion either, but their stance on science is fair enough.

    • well, they do kind of kill people and set themselves on fire, though :)

  3. I guess I weird. I worked in research and majored in biology, yet I have a very strong faith in there being a God, etc. … I do think there can be both, but I totally understand that many people don’t see it.

    • My point was not that I think it impossible for both to exist… just that they are never going to be compatible. It’s completely possible and typical that people will hold a rational view in one area and an irrational view in others.

      • Faith is different that is for sure! :)

        • Yes it is…
          Thanks for following and commenting. I forget to say so then later remember and wish I had my stuff altogether they way I would like.

          • I like different world viewpoints… I love learning and science… and philosophy and faith! … Maybe I’m just strange

            • That’s not strange at all… Historically speaking, some of our greatest thinkers could be described in that way.

  4. We are not all-knowing, so a certain amount of faith is required by everyone to get through each day. The problem is when people put faith above knowledge. That’s where the problems begin.

    I actually came up with an Oreo cookie analogy to describe this issue, if you are interested:

    http://christianitysimplified.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/faith-and-reason-are-like-an-oreo-cookie/

    Basically, faith should always exist from within understanding. If understanding is put within the confines faith, things get sticky!

    • An interesting take on it but I think a bit better analogy would be ketchup to french fries as cream is to cookie. The french fry is clearly good without ketchup, and all the ketchup does is hide the flavor of the fry… even if you might like both flavors.

      • I think that analogy could backfire on you. A plain french fry may be good on its own, but with extra flavouring from salt, vinegar, ketchup, cheese and/or gravy, the experience can become much more satisfying and fulfilling – though not necessarily healthy for you.

        • Yeah, it’s the condiments that kill you in the end. How did that backfire?

          • Without some flavouring, eating them might not seem worthwhile at all.

            • I beg to differ. It is the potato which nourishes and allows you to survive and flourish. If you find the facts hard to swallow or distasteful, pity for you. Reality is as it comes, dressing it up is only to pretend it is not what it is. Pretending that reality is something that it is not is called delusion.

              How distorted the world is that people must always have special flavors when they eat, that every meal must be tasty rather than healthy, that every morsel must delight the senses rather than simply nourish the body.

              Yes, ignore the facts, chase the fantasy, because this is the way to enlightenment and happiness…. no?

              • There is a balance that should be sought. If you only seek out flavour and not nourishment, you will increasingly suffer from malnourishment. If you only eat what is nourishing and ignore flavour altogether, that seems like an approach that lacks any sense of joy.

                So if I understand correctly, you don’t add additional flavour to your food or indulge in foods that aren’t nourishing?

                • jasonjshaw, that’s correct. I will sometimes put a bit of salt on pizza but even salads are eaten sans condiments. Eating out is difficult because they serve many things choking in condiments of one sort or another, sauses, or what have you. Do you know what the difference in taste is between a carrot and a parsnip? How about cabbage and brussel sprouts?

                  Our food actually has plenty of taste to it if you’re not expecting a condiment laden something or other. You should try it… find out what food really tastes like. Meat doesn’t actually taste like fast food serves, and steak? puleeze – what you get in restaurants is disgustingly covered in flavors that did not come in the meat, potatoes have a nice flavor, not the salty fried crisp of french fries or the sour cream, chives, bacon, butter, and whatever else that comes on a baked potato.

                  As for fact vs. fantasy… I’ll stick with the facts and save my fantasy for dreams of being retired.

                  • Don’t worry, I’ve had plenty of unseasoned food in my day. It’s good to know the taste of foods on their own, but exploring the culture that brings certain food combinations together can bring a wonderful bit of perspective and connection along with it!

                    • Hmm food combinations… roast beef and rye, ham and cheese, bread and fruits… combinations are good. I just don’t believe that you should cover the taste of your foods. A radish or carrot applied sparingly to salad makes it more interesting to eat without making the mess of it that people normally do.

                    • Totally, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little flavour, but I agree, smothering something in flavour tends to do more harm than good.

                    • I like life as it is. I find that more exhilarating than dressing it up. Reality, far from some television show, is a wild ride just as it is. By pumping up our senses with stimulation we seek not to improve life, but drown out the reality that we live in. That reality is nothing like being queen or senator. For many of us it is barely better than when we were in the trees. Reality, that’s the thing that makes life worth living – experience the reality. The fantasy is actually not experience, it’s all expectations and disappointment.

                    • I agree, though the Christian viewpoint is mostly about expectations of what happens after life, so it’s like a trick to prevent disappointment. I think that’s a big part of the problem as it is used as an escape from facing reality, which is sad because reality is a pretty amazing thing in itself!

                    • Reality is very amazing. Sometimes I’ll sit on my patio and watch the geckos hunting at night. The beat of wild nature continues even in my very tame suburb. In the evenings you can watch the birds feeding and so on. We’ve isolated our own lives from the harsh reality of kill or be killed but it remains all around us. Look up to the night sky and think of all that Hubble has shown us. The harsh cold reality of more than 14 billion years of radiation, gravity, explosions, crashes and so on. The solar system is huge but it’s just a blip, if that, in the size of the known universe. We are nothing but stand on the precipice of venturing out and telling the universe hello and THAT is awesome.

                    • Totally, I follow a small handful of astronomy video channels on YouTube, and the things they have been discovering lately totally blows the mind! I think that not having all the answers for existence is even more amazing than thinking we do have all the answers.

                    • Exactly. If we knew everything it would be boring

  5. Valid point!

  6. Can’t we all just get along?

    We should try to get along. There are more of them, and they are much more prone to violence.

    • There is a certain truth to that though it does a body well to remember that might does not make right.

      • @MAL

        Absolutely.

        However, historically speaking though might has been making right pretty much all the way along.

        I know where I stand and I’ll be on the scaffold or against the wall with you when(if) society is to purified by the religious zealots.

        I’d just rather not have to be the first to go.

  7. I believe that I can agree with the spirit of this post–in that I agree that I do think not getting along is a serious issue. Socially, economically, and politically the world is getting smaller and smaller. One consequence of this is that the most prolific world religions now have followers intertwining in ways that is mostly unheard of in history (at least to this scale). This, and the rise of science in the last two hundred years, has lead to factions of these religions to revert to extreme fundamental conservatism–a pattern seen consistently throughout history. However, instead of this causing divides, I hope that these facts begin to bring all of earth’s people together. With the help of science, history, and philosophy, reasonable people from the world’s faiths should eventually come to the realization that men of the past may have molded their holy books and traditions in a way that benefited them in their lifetime, and not the myriad of followers to come generation after generation. In this light, we should come together to focus on global problems and scientific discovery. This does not have to mean the death of god, gods, or religion, but at least a well deserved stamping out of rash fundamentalism–the root of most evil.

    • Now, that is an idea I can get behind. I don’t care what people believe when they put their head down to sleep at night. It’s what they do in the public sphere that I care about. They can have a god or superstition or what have you… but keep it private and so on.

  8. I think that by ‘faith’ you may be talking about ‘blind faith’ – believing in something without evidence to suggest it is true. But not all faith is blind. Every day we put our faith, our trust, in things based on evidence. For example, I am currently putting faith in my chair that it will hold me up – I am not 100% certain that it will hold my weight, but I trust based on the evidence that it will.

    All worldviews require ‘faith’ in this sense – unless you are all-knowing! Both an Atheist and a Theist look at evidence and judge whether or not it is sufficient to place their faith in.

    For me, the evidence that a Creator of the universe exists and that Jesus rose from the dead is too great to put my faith in Atheism. When I look at the evidence, it seems more likely than not that Christianity is true.

    Interested in your thoughts.

    • samdavidson4628, thanks for commenting.

      I do mean blind faith. Even I have faith that the sun will appear to rise in the morning. Faith without evidence is wrong, IMO. I’d love to hear about this evidence that you have of a creator of the universe and that the christ rose from the dead. When I look at the world and the evidence available to me (including that offered by fundamental pentecostal Christians) it seems far more likely to me that there is no god. Very much so. It is my experience so far that most who think the evidence for a creator god is compelling have not actually looked at all the evidence available to make their decision.

      Do you have some evidence that is not already widely proffered by apologists?

      • Cool. I also am frustrated with those who have blind faith then! As you saw, i’m starting a blog which will go through some evidence in more detail, but it would be cool to have a short discussion here about it too. Perhaps I’ll mention what I believe to be the best pieces of evidence for (1) Theism and more specifically (2) Christianity.

        1. For me, the best evidence for Theism in general is the evidence of the big bang. Almost all physicists now believe that at some point, the universe did have a beginning, an origin, as explained in the standard big bang model. It clearly follows that if the universe had a beginning, then it had a cause – nothing comes from nothing! This cause must by definition be beginningless and outside of space and time. So there is evidence that an eternal, immaterial, non-spatial being is the cause of the big bang.

        2. In terms of Christianity, the crucial evidence is whether Jesus rose from the dead. If he did, surely his claims to be divine are justified. If not, he’s a liar or a lunatic. Three major pieces of evidence that he did rise are the facts that are historically undeniable:
        a) Jesus was executed by the Romans and buried in a tomb.
        b) The tomb he was buried in was discovered empty by some of his women followers.
        c) Various reports of post-mortem appearances of Jesus
        d) The sudden origin of the disciple’s belief in his resurrection.
        There seems to me no better explanation for these facts than that Jesus really did rise from the dead, as he predicted he would do.

        Hope that makes sense. These points were intentionally brief, I’m keen to explain any of them further.

        • Wow, okay…
          The evidence of Jesus’ execution are not corroborated. The discovery of the tomb is only found in the text that claims him the man god. The various reports of postmortem appearance are only found in the text that claims he is a man god. The sudden origin of belief in something is hardly evidence. There are many difficulties with the prophecy of the christ. You do not explain them here. Such explanation will not be a simple comment.

          The Kalaam Cosmological Argument is well versed by William Lane Craig and his version of it has been refuted many times in many ways. It is not a valid argument. Even if right, and it is not, it does not prove the existence of the Christian god.

          I don’t think, from your evidence here, that you’ve had a chance to examine all the available evidence.

  9. This all seems very vague… Who are some credible scholars of that time period who deny Jesus was a real person and who was executed by the romans? And you seem to believe the new testament writers cannot be taken as legitimate historians because they believe him to be god. Why? Every historian and writer has beliefs and bias. Does it mean their writing is discredited? Surely not. If you insist on reading a non-Christian history about Jesus, I recommend Josephus’ writings – a Jewish historian who didn’t like Jesus at all. I can link you to some of his stuff if you would like.

    In terms of the cosmological argument, I’m not really convinced by ‘this has been refuted many times and in many ways’. how has it been refuted? which claim is false?

    • sorry, went to new reply…

    • http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/jesus5.htm is a bit of information about the available historians. The NT writers are unknown. Attribution is dubious and as far as we know none of the NT books were written by anyone that knew the christ. The mention by Josephus is nothing more than a mention that people seem to believe in some Jesus and it was not written at the time of Jesus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus What you take as fact has a history and that history shows it to be dubious. It is, in the end, not about which writer talked about the christ but how many did not.

      I do not wish to spend my free time explaining to yourself how the KCA has been refuted. You obviously have a web browser and Internet connection. I urge you to use them to find the many ways that the KCA has been refuted. As above, a simple stop at Wikipedia will get you going on a search for truth.

      I do not wish to seem rude, but as I thought, you are not acquainted with the arguments against your position. I urge you to search for them before stating that you have evidence.

      https://www.google.com/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=refutation+of+KCA&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

      Investigate, ask questions, do not assume that what you are told is true.

      • Sorry, if you’re just going to be dismissive and patronising – suggesting I a search google, and posting links to wikipedia and a webpage that looks like a year 8 project – I’m not interested.

        If you’re willing to seriously look at the issues I’ve raised, let me know.

        • I am not trying to be dismissive and patronizing. The best way for us to discuss a topic is for both of us to start with the same background information. You find me offensive in some way yet it would seem that you want me to refute your KCA claim when it has already been done, over and over again. I have a post around here somewhere on the very topic. – http://wp.me/p1JG3O-4l What have you to offer on the subject that has not already been refuted soundly?

          • Thank you, I’ll have a look at the article later today and give my thoughts. Obviously I don’t believe there has been a convincing refutation of the KCA (I’ve read a few, but not all attempts). Every argument for Atheism and Theism has had refutations – it is whether those refutations are valid and convincing that is the issue.

            In the mean time, this article by a professor of ancient history here in Sydney might shed a bit of light on the whole ‘did Jesus even exist question’.. http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/12/24/3660194.htm

            • I had a read of your analysis of the KCA. Your main problems seem to be with the first two premises. A couple of my thoughts:

              1. Your refutation of the first premise does not seem valid. You say the cause of the water droplets is the water itself. But the water droplets did not begin to exist at the point that the wave crashed, they clearly already existed as part of the ocean. You seem to admit this yourself in the next paragraph though? (do you think the universe caused itself to exist or not?). Suggesting that the universe could have caused itself to begin to exist is obviously problematic. For the universe to cause itself to exist, it would have had to exist already to do so! This is clearly self-defeating.

              2. The second premise is not saying that we know for sure that the universe began to exist, but that the current scientific evidence suggests it is more likely than not. You seem to think you need 100% proof to say that a premise is valid, but that’s not true – it just needs to be more likely to be true than not. If we needed such 100% proof, I could deny your water-drop theory and even the fact that you exist at all – I cannot be certain after all! We would have to throw away almost everything we say is true.

              The current evidence shows that it is more likely than not that at some point (whevener that was), there was a beginning of all space and time (including all atoms, quantum particles, etc). As you said, the steady state theory has been discarded by almost every physicist since Hubble’s discovery (I can’t find any who still believe it to be true). Professor of physics Alexander Vilenkin put it pretty simply after his research in the area: “With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” Even just a couple of weeks ago, a team led by Stephen Hawking (certainly not a theist!) found even more evidence for the big bang (http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/scientists-reveal-major-discovery-at-harvardsmithsonian-centre-for-astrophysics/story-fn5fsgyc-1226857490478). So I am not claiming there is proof for the big bang, but that the current evidence strongly supports that model.

              Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

              • The water drops are not caused by the water but energy acting on the water without agency. Yes, the universe we know of could be born of a greater ocean of itself as forces act on it without agency. In fact, LKrauss suggests that such could happen all the time and that this universe we live in is simply one such example. The point is that saying the universe began to exist is a bit over simplified.

                Since we are talking about what can not yet be known, saying that the singularity is the beginning of all things is without evidence. How this universe separated from the greater instance is not described, only that it happened.(big bang). The KCA claims, without evidence, that an intelligent agent created the big bang but there is no evidence for this either. LKrauss’ book “A Universe From Nothing” explains how we can get this universe from a larger body.

                The point being that the KCA relies on a ‘nothing before creation/everything after big bang’ understanding. I hold that this is not known and therefore it is wishful thinking to say that evidence for the big bang supports the KCA.

                Further, Hawking’s latest book shows us that gravity is all that is needed to shape the universe how we find it.

                So, in your version of the KCA, what does the word ‘exist’ mean?

                ==The current evidence shows that it is more likely than not that at some point (whevener that was), there was a beginning of all space and time (including all atoms, quantum particles, etc).==
                If you would, please indicate where this evidence can be found.

                If what you mean by all space and time etc. is simply the matter and ‘stuff’ of this universe we live in, I still hold argument against this as it cannot currently be known that such happened and there is enough evidence and research done to indicate strongly that no such beginning is necessary nor such thinking warranted. Occam’s razor would not opt for the more complex unexplained intelligent agency from outside of time and space, therefore I conclude that your claims of the big bang being the beginning of all things as the more likely explanation do not hold true.

                Infinite regress is not necessary to presume. Where the KCA posits an intelligent agent to stop infinite regress, it is more likely that a greater ‘something’ from which this universe is made, exists outside of this universe in a steady state of affairs or even some other arrangement. Let’s say that the actual regress is 14 levels. Just 14 till we come to the final origin. We will not be able to travel to any of them outside of this universe. It might as well be 14*Infinity.

                What we can’t say is that god did it. There is no evidence for such thinking. Even if there was an intelligent agent that started the big bang it would not prove that agent to be benevolent or even interested in this universe. For that matter, perhaps if there is an intelligent agent it was what you call satan.

                Christian’s using the KCA to prove or support the thinking that their god created all existence seems silly. It doesn’t prove anything about their god nor that it was their god as the intelligent agent. Further it fails Occam’s test of what is most likely.

                When you say that creation is the most likely explanation, what evidence do you have for that? A book? There is no credible evidence that says anything like that. Our best thinkers have not suddenly concluded that god did it. I suppose you’ll find that to be a conspiracy or something. There is no credible evidence that shows the universe we know to be anything more than an act of the natural world.

                • (Note: quotes from you are in )

                  Enjoying this discussion! Personally, the standard big bang model appeals to me far more than the quantum water drop model.

                  The evidence for this is that of the standard big bang model, the one that is most widely held and is taught at our schools. Evidence for this includes the expansion of the universe, the second law of thermodynamics, and the galactic red shift.

                  By the big bang, what is meant is the origin of all space and time. There is literally nothing (i.e. not anything) before it. And so to answer your question, that excludes any matter – not just that of our universe. This is what people mean when they refer to the standard big bang model.
                  As part of his research into cosmic expansion in 2003, Alexander Vilenkin (whose quote I posted before) concluded that in fact any model of the early universe, or indeed the existence of a multiverse of which ours is a part of, would require a starting point, given the current evidence.
                  Another physicist, P. C. W. Davies, puts it this way:
                  “the coming into being of the universe, as discussed in modern science . . . is not just a matter of imposing some sort of organization . . . upon a previous incoherent state, but literally the coming-into-being of all physical things from nothing.”

                  You have basically come to my conclusion! That there is a beginningless “something greater” in a steady state of affairs from which everything exists. The only step further that the KCA takes is that the only things that we consider could exist outside space and time are abstract objects and intelligent minds. Abstract objects do not have causal power, so our best estimate has to be that there is a mind behind it all. Only minds can be creative.

                  You are right – the KCA makes no claim about the precise nature of this being, whether it is the Christian god or not. It is simply evidence for a greater beginningless being outside of space and time.
                  You say “Occam’s razor would not opt for the more complex unexplained intelligent agency from outside of time and space”. But the same applies to whatever physical thing came before the big bang. It is just a more complex unexplained physical agent from outside of our time and space.

                  The KCA is an example of the evidence for a creator, outside of the bible (though I think the evidence from the bible is strong as well obviously).

                  As well as many today, many great thinkers throughout history have believed in god! Capernicus, Gallileo, Kepler, Newton, Schrodinger, Pascal, Descartes, Kelvin, Planck, Einstein, the list goes on… Are they being unreasonable? This is not evidence that God exists of course, but evidence that is reasonable for someone to believe it.

                  • the quotes from you werent shown for some reason… hope it still makes sense!

                  • The big splash theory demonstrates the process of something small from something larger that ‘existed’ before it. Some small piece separated from the larger.

                    Any claim of what came before the big bang is guesswork. The idea that there is something before the big bang is relatively simple compared to the assertion that there was only an intelligent agent and not one other thing anywhere for eternity. The big splash says this universe is just part of a bigger system. The god theory claims what was and what was not before the big bang, and that is a terribly complex claim.

                    You’ve quoted notably Christian physicists who have been soundly criticized for their statements by pretty much anybody who has the pedigree to know such things.

                    The idea that great thinkers have believed in god has many times been shown to be a silly appeal. I doubt your list is well researched. The story of Einstein believing in god is thoroughly discussed and to conclude that he did believe in god is to ignore the evidence.

                    Think about it, for many of those listed, not believing in god would get them killed or imprisoned. It’s hardly ‘evidence’ then for their true belief, it is not possible to know with certainty for all of these and despite what they might have thought of gods, few of them are renowned for their theology. Just as you think believers can be physicists and their theism does not affect their science, so it should be that great ideas from great minds should have nothing to do with theism.
                    Science doesn’t work that way… it judges ideas on their merit. Ideas that are bad are thrown out, the good ones remain until proven wrong… theology doesn’t have anything to do with it.

                    See, science cleans its own house and that is what we see happening to your quoted physicists.

                    The KCA is not evidence of anything. It remains a hypothesis that is failed. You seem to have neglected to define what the word ‘exists’ means in your understanding of the KCA.

                    The KCA is not evidence enough to believe in a god. It fails on premise one and two. Everything that begins to exist (still waiting for your definition) does not have a cause, certainly not an intelligent agent cause.

                    The universe we know seems to have begun to exist at the instant of the big bang. This does not say that there was absolutely nothing prior to that point. Only that the universe as we know it began to take shape at that point. There is no indication of an intelligent agency to cause the universe to begin to exist, nor an indication that one is required. Both are suppositions without supporting evidence.

                    So, both premises are big IF statements. That makes the KCA wishful thinking and nothing more. If this is acceptable methodology, then can claim anything we want as long as we find a couple of ‘if’ statements … sigh

                    Oooops, my bad. The word IF is not in either premise. That makes both of them just bad premises and the conclusion false.

            • I read the link. It offers nothing more than a rehash of the same old arguments. All the ‘evidence’ used to state that a man named Jesus lived at one time does nothing for the claims of miracles, earthquakes and zombies walking around. There are at least two people on this planet right now that claim to be the christ.

              Whatever the reason for his crucifixion is, it was not because the people of the time thought him to be the messiah. Josephus’ writing mentions little more than that a man named Jesus existed and was executed. The later embellishments add not a lot more. More interesting is that had the story of the resurrection actually happened as the Christian bible describes would Josephus have stopped with just that tidbit that he did write? Wouldn’t other historians/scholars of the time have taken notice?

              Surely, had the world at the time actually believed there was a god man, the destruction of the temple might have been avoided.

              To say a man named Jesus lived… is nothing. To say that the world ignored the miracles and signs and pushed themselves further toward destruction but you want me to believe a story about an event that was so not supernatural that nobody wrote it down. It’s fine to say “oh look, this forged writing mentions Jesus” and that dubious one does too. Before that has any weight with regard to man-gods, you’ll have to explain why it is that there is so little evidence and absolutely no reaction at all by the rest of the world. Not even the Jews who were there believed something special happened. Imagine the story of the resurrection taking place today. Zombies everywhere, people claiming to have seen a resurrected man. The quake and skies and so on. Do you think that would simply be ignored?

              You’re asking us to believe that is exactly what happened and that now, without any evidence of that, we should believe such a story. A story that was not believable when it supposedly happened.

  10. To me, the biggest incompatibility between faith and science, is that of the two, only science has effective and reliable ways of telling you if a claim is wrong, so that errors may be corrected, and some knowledge gained.

    Faith has no such method, at least, no method for testing ideas against reality that are widely agreed on nor objective and fair.

    And every faith-claim has its rival. With no objective methods of showing the falsehood of inconsistent claims, faith has no reliable way to show what is true.

    • I agree with that … perhaps it’s a better way of stating what I tried to.

  11. A basic tenet of ye olde British law, one that the whole discussion should pivot on—

    He who alleges, must prove

    —so the war, really, is over what might constitute acceptable proof?

    I’m both agnostic and a devout Atheist—but if I were out in the harbour fishing and a bearded guy with bleeding feet came trotting across the water to me, radiating sunlight and weighed down with free loaves and fishes … I’d be very sorely tempted to have a rethink.
    I don’t think it at all likely, though …

    • Indeed, I visit believer blogs all the time. I’d like to see new evidence… there doesn’t seem to be any

  12. Fair argument. However, if you want to focus on “reality”, you’re going to have to identify what you think qualifies as real. If you’re a materialist, and you think reality is only what you can perceive with your senses, and you’re using this to prove that God does not exist, your argument falls a bit short. Senses cannot be trusted, either (read up on Descartes). In other words, how can you prove that the things you, yourself, can perceive are real? Are they perhaps only real to you? If so, can you also not argue that to those who genuinely believe in God, he is just as real to them as scientific evidence is to you?
    More so, saying that science is incompatible with religion simply because one is based on physical evidence and the other is based on faith is a fallacy. They may be contraries, but they are certainly not contradictory.

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