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10 Reasons Why Atheism Doesn't Work For Me

10-reasons-why-atheism-doesnt-work-for-me

In the vast majority of discussions I've had with atheists over the years I've found that many seem to have settled on their position based almost exclusively on their rejection of the standard beliefs of traditional Christianity. They'll often list their reasons why Christian beliefs seem contradictory to the bible or why the concept in general seems flimsy to them. And in those discussions it seems their assumption about me, being a Christian, is that I must not have pondered the same things they have or that I must not have critically analyzed my beliefs for myself.

However, where most atheists I've spoken with are concerned, it seems as if they've critically analyzed Christian beliefs and found them lacking, and have then simply settled on being an atheist. When pressed, it seems they have not turned that same critical gaze on the viewpoint of atheism itself. Does it stand on its own? Does it hold water if put to the same test of logic and scrutiny? Because in my personal experience, while I have at times found myself troubled with my inability to reconcile God as I understand Him with some of these more troubling stories, I have also weighed the atheist viewpoint on its own merit and have found it a hollow framework that doesn't truly reflect the vibrance and beauty of life. Not that it doesn't stand to reason, necessarily, just that I personally have a hard time accepting it as a viable alternative.

Now, clearly this isn't absolute, as I have also spoken with atheists who seem to have thought it all through quite extensively, and simply aren't bothered by the same things I am, but these seem to be more the exception than the rule.

The truth is, I find the conclusions I reach when considering a god-less existence ranging from truly troubling to just plain illogical. In fact, it's at least partially due to my pondering of these dilemmas that I have since found reconciliation with the things that first troubled me about the Christian viewpoint in the first place.

So, here for you now to consider, I have compiled the primary reasons why I cannot see that a god-less existence can offer an adequate explanation to account for all that existence is.

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1. The Origin of the Universe

We have obviously learned quite a lot through science in this modern age. It's only been about 90 years since the Big Bang Theory was first proposed. Before this it was the general consensus amongst the scientific community that the universe was infinite with no beginning and no end to its vast expanse. Nowadays we understand the universe to be finite. Much like the bible described it thousands of years ago, it actually had a beginning. Even time, which once seemed constant and infinite as well, is finite and relative, as it seems it began when the universe did.

Our understanding of matter and energy in this universe has allowed us to actually define the physical laws that govern this universe, and has actually given us the capability to peer billions of years into the past to understand where it all came from by reconstructing a chain of causal events all the way back to the very first moment when this universe first came into being. But it is at that point that we hit a barrier. Because matter and energy began as a singularity of infinite mass, and because we are only capable of studying the matter and energy that resulted from that initial singularity, we are unable to "see" beyond it. Unless we're someday able to actually witness a big bang we have no way of knowing what came "before", though 'before' isn't exactly an accurate term as both time and space as we experience them came into being at that exact same moment. So, technically, there is no 'before'.

For the universe to have expanded, or inflated, into the universe as we know it now, that singularity had to already exist. And the fundamental laws that govern and shape this universe had to already exist within that singularity as one single fundamental force. And those fundamental forces could only be the values they are for us to be here, because if they were even slightly different in value than they are, we wouldn't exist as we do, if at all. Change even one of those values one direction and matter no longer binds together as it does, greatly decreasing the percentage of matter in this universe that eventually formed stars, planetary systems, and eventually us. Change those values the other direction and everything would have been crushed, if the universe were able to inflate out from that initial state at all before collapsing back in on itself.

There are, of course, theories regarding the 'just right' values of these fundamental forces and the way in which matter behaves in the environment they create. And those theories always in some way suggest that this universe is just one of many. Whether it be the same universe expanding out, then collapsing back in on itself back into a singularity that then expands out again, over and over. A theory known as the 'big bounce'. Or, there are other theories that suggest this universe is just one of many that exist all at the same time. Part of a multi-verse, with each universe differing slightly in the values of those fundamental forces, and we find ourselves in the 'just right' universe simply because we actually exist to observe it.

So, it turns out that whether you believe the universe has a creator who deliberately and intelligently designed this 'just so' universe to allow us to exist, or whether you believe we exist in one of the few, if not the only, universe where it's possible for us to exist to even ponder these questions, it's ultimately still a matter of faith. The only answer that is not a proclamation of faith one way or the other is "I don't know". Given this, combined with the other reasons on this list, I find it difficult to accept the god-less existence scenario where the origin of the universe is concerned.

2. Intelligence and Reason Coming About Through an Unintelligent/Purely Causal Process

I also find it difficult to reconcile intelligent reasoning beings capable of fathoming the universe and our place in it coming about in a totally causal, indifferent, chaotic process. While intelligence would certainly prove beneficial from a 'survival of the fittest' evolutionary standpoint, the level of intelligence and the capability to reason inherent in humanity seems well beyond the needs of survival alone.

One thing that science has made painfully clear is just how significant our intelligence and reason really is. These traits found, at least as far as we know, exclusively in humanity, makes us an anomaly, not just amongst the animal kingdom, but in all the universe. The whole reason we're able to establish objective truth via science is because matter and energy behave in very particular ways in accordance with the fundamental laws of the universe. Both the balance of the natural living world, as well as the workings of the entirety of the universe, have been revealed to be an improbably delicate one. The consistency of behavior in both matter and energy, as well as the behavior of living organisms on this planet, is what makes the natural world work so efficiently.

The dawn of reason in humanity means we are the first and only bundles of matter in all the universe, at least to our knowledge, capable of choosing our behavior, not by natural instinct or the inherent nature of the behavior of the matter we're made up of, but through reason. This is a hugely unique and powerful thing. We humans instinctively make the distinction between what is 'natural' and what is 'man-made'. There are things born of the human mind unlike anything else found in the natural world. There are satellites orbiting this earth and a rover rolling around on Mars right now because of it. There are chemicals and materials manufactured that do not break down naturally, and that actually harm the ecosystem of this planet, through our capability to reason. We are able to manipulate and bend the natural world to our will because of our capability to understand it, rather than simply existing in harmony, or at the whim, of the natural world.

Through the theist perspective, this is what its all about. Our behavior. And in that light, in a universe created knowingly and deliberately through an intelligent being, this makes perfect sense. In a god-less scenario, given the consistency of the rest of the natural world, this development in humanity seems exceedingly improbable, if not impossible. Especially through a purely causal process that resulted in just one single species populating and completely altering the landscape of the entire planet where all others simply continue to exist as they always have.

And this reason leads right into number 3 .....

3. Free Will

Whether or not we as humans truly have free will, or whether we are simply the product of our physical make-up where all of our decisions and actions are determined solely by the behavior of the matter we are made up of, is a long-standing philosophical debate. To the determinist, the way in which our mind functions, considering options, imagining possible outcomes for each, remembering past experiences, and employing reason to then choose the best of these competing choices, only makes it seem as if we have a choice. When, in actuality, each decision we make in any given moment is simply the only decision we were physically capable of making.

In a purely material world, where the entirety of reality is nothing more than the physical matter and energy we are able to observe and measure, true free will is simply impossible. Though it may seem as though we have a choice, in actuality matter can only behave as matter behaves. Just as matter can't decide of its own volition whether or not to adhere to the law of gravity, our physical brains could not have chosen any differently in any given situation than it did.

From the theist perspective, an idea that is universal amongst all religions, there is a spiritual/non-physical component of the self. A soul. And because that component is not physical, then it stands to reason that it is not bound so strictly to the laws of the physical world. In that scenario it is perfectly reasonable that we could in fact be in control of our behavior and capable of actually making a choice. From the atheist standpoint, at least the strictly materialist atheist, an actual free will is simply impossible. And even in the case of those atheists who are not strictly materialists, who think of the human mind itself as a non-physical product of a physical brain, a true free will cannot be truly reconciled. Because even if the mind being non-physical made its workings exempt from adherence to the natural laws, without a spiritual soul there is no way a bundle of matter, or the non-physical mind it creates, could be capable of actually making a 'willful' choice. No matter the configuration of matter, no matter whether or not the mind is capable of behaving free of the fundamental laws, at best our choices could only really be random.

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4. The Mind/Body Problem

Another philosophical conundrum debated throughout the centuries since the dawn of reason is commonly referred to as the mind-body problem. Basically, how do non-physical thoughts impact the behavior of a physical body? What mechanism in our make-up makes it possible for something as abstract and formless as a non-physical thought to then be translated into physical action, or inaction, in a physical body?

It has been determined in recent decades that even products of the self like emotions have physical causes in the body. There are chemical changes that happen in the body when one is stressed or sad or happy. Yet these emotions generally come about as the result of non-physical thoughts. Whether it be the result of the mind considering the possibility that we are not actually in control of our actions causing one to become depressed, or whether it be an event in the past that reignites the emotions felt in those moments when they first happened, these non-physical thoughts can result in emotions that then have a physical impact on our physical bodies. Thoughts that cause high levels of stress can result in some people experiencing painful hives raised up on their skin. The heart rate can increase. The body can begin to sweat. We can begin to cry and secrete abundant levels of tears from our tear ducts, or we can feel goose bumps up the back of our necks.

To the theist, there is nothing strange about this at all, as the physical body is simply a mechanism through which our spiritual selves interact with the physical world around us. Our bodies are, in fact, a physical extension, in a way, of our spiritual selves, as even a person's natural disposition can have a significant impact on our physical well-being. Like in the way a generally positive outlook can result in better posture than others who have a more pessimistic mood and tend to hunch over and slouch. We've even learned to communicate through body language and facial expressions because they so accurately and visibly reflect our non-physical minds. From the materialist/atheist standpoint, this is all attributed to physical happenings. Physical neurons firing, enacting components in the brain causing action in the body. Like a machine that's always forming new pathways and simply reacting in the ways it's programmed to do so.

And this reason leads quite nicely right into the next ...

5. A Sense of Humor and Our Appreciation of Beauty/Art/Music

Like an intelligent reasoning mind, I also find it difficult to reconcile how these traits that so enrich our lives can have come about in a purely causal, indifferent, callous process of survival. While evolution effectively and logically explains many of the physical forms that living things have taken throughout the millennia on this planet, when it comes to things born of the non-physical, non-observable mind, things get a bit more murky. Social evolution can often at least put forth a reasonable explanation for the emergence of traits like an audible laugh, which could have soothed potentially tense situations when encountering strangers by conveying a sense of levity or serving as a kind of social lubricant in social and even mating practices. Though this is not one and the same as a sense of humor. It doesn't answer the question of why we find some things 'funny'. The same goes for recognizing beauty. From an evolutionary standpoint the recognition of symmetry in a face, or the recognition of 'good genes' in a physical specimen of the opposite sex, can and probably do have significant benefits where procreation is concerned. But this doesn't really translate so well when considering how we find things like a waterfall, or a particularly striking sunset, beautiful. The same goes for music. While there may be something we find soothing about particular sounds, or even the beats between the sounds or the rhythm it creates, that could be associated either with sounds we associate with the environments our ancestors spent the most time in, or rhythms that might sooth us because we maybe associate it with our own heartbeat, or even the heartbeat of our mother while still in the womb, it's difficult to reduce it all to these things alone.

In every case, even if we can formulate a possible explanation for these things coming about through our being forged by a struggle to survive this harsh environment, this means reducing all these things that so enrich our lives to merely being bi-products in our evolution. For example, there's a particular song by the band Radiohead called 'Exit Music (for a film)' that builds to this incredibly powerful crescendo. Layers of sounds are added as the story being told in the lyrics builds towards an emotional out-pour at the end by the band's vocalist that moves me in the moment that crescendo reaches its peak each and every time I hear that song. And I've heard that song countless times. And not only is there that palpable feeling that comes up within me, but there are physical goosebumps that I feel first coming up the back of my neck then down my arms. Every single time.

Again, like in the other examples given, this is perfectly understandable from a theist perspective. That same intelligent being that created the universe and us, in nearly every religion, is said to share the same emotions we do. He can be angry, He can love. He is pleased by smells and songs and poetry. And we, being the creations of this creator, being spiritual beings ourselves, it is perfectly reasonable that these traits that give our lives such texture and pleasure should come about in us and actually cause our bodies to respond physically. But from the atheist perspective, again, I find these hard to reconcile, and saddened by the mere idea that these traits could be nothing more than bi-products. And that sadness, in and of itself and the mere thought, again makes me think the universe being created by a deliberate purposeful creator is the more likely answer.

And just as so many of these do, one leads to another ...

6. The Purpose and Meaning We Assign to Life

This issue I have with the atheist viewpoint has resulted in some of the most emotional responses I think I've heard in these discussions. Even though this seems perfectly logical to me, the mere mention of this cold hard reality actually angers some, though highly respected thinkers amongst the atheist community, like Richard Dawkins, have said much the same thing ....

"This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous - indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose."

No matter how one may react to this, it is simply a true statement. If there is no deliberate creator of the universe, who intentionally created this universe and us as a part of it for a specific reason, then humanity's existence on this planet has no meaning or purpose. And any purpose or meaning we assign to our own lives can only really be a manufactured concept by a brain that, for whatever reason, 'needs' to feel the life it's living is meaningful and has purpose.

More so now than ever, as we have learned in recent decades that the entirety of the universe is finite and will eventually end, there is no escaping this. If we are nothing more than biological machines, with no non-physical soul that can go on once our physical/finite bodies are no longer capable of sustaining life, then death will be much like it was before we were born. Which, at least to our recollection, was simply nothing. Like everything else in this finite existence, we too are finite and have both a definite beginning and a definite end. And without a spiritual element, this is absolute. At best we can feel our lives serve a purpose and have meaning if we can in any way improve the lives of future generations by somehow making the world a better place during our short time here. But even if that is the case, it can only last so long. Those future generations will eventually die and no longer exist as well. And even if we do manage to end wars and resolve our every conflict with one another and learn to live harmoniously with one another so as to not eventually wipe ourselves out, eventually this planetary system that allows us to exist here will become unstable. Our sun will supernova and collapse on itself, as will all the other stars throughout this galaxy and beyond. No matter what we do or how we live, no matter what great accomplishments we manage, in the end the entirety of human existence will be the equivalent of a faint spark on a small fraction of the total timeline of this universe that lit up for just an instant before ultimately fizzling out again into nothingness.

Of course, to the theist, this finite life is simply the precursor to something 'more' on the other side of death's veil. Some see it as preparation, whether it be this one life, or multiple lives in reincarnated forms, there is a spiritual self that will live on once the physical body finally falls. From the atheist standpoint, much like free will, the purpose and meaning we feel our lives have is ultimately nothing more than an illusion.

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7. The Phenomenon of Life

What animates animate matter? The engine that drives evolution is the inherent will that all living things have to survive and procreate. To "be fruitful and multiply". To quote Dr. Manhattan, though he's a fictional physicist from a comic book, his words regarding biological organisms at the molecular level are factually true... "A live human body and a dead human body have the same number of particles. Structurally there's no difference." Yet, when an organism is alive it inherently exhibits no less than 6 specific behavioral characteristics; homeostasis, metabolism, growth, adaptation, response to stimuli, and reproduction. When an organism is alive it is these traits that biologically define it as 'alive'. When it's dead it, of course, exhibits none of these.

The phenomenon of life itself, as well as death, still to this day lacks clear conceptual definition. Every living thing on this planet today represents the final link in an unbroken chain of ancestors that reaches all the way back to the primordial pool from which life first sprang. In this way all life on the planet can be seen as a kind of collective organism, continually driven to perpetuate itself and continue existing. These behaviors are the physical manifestations of an inherent 'will to live' that all living things share. Life is compelled to live. And not just live, but thrive. Not just maintain, but grow. To become something more. The same inherent will that compelled life to first make use of its evolved locomotive capabilities to climb up onto the land from the sea is the same will that made us what we are today. True, we have evolved and have been forged by the environment in which we live, but without this propellant force in all living things evolution simply would not have happened.

Now some may simply dismiss this as one of the first traits to have randomly mutated in our genetic make-up, which very well may be the case. But it's a difficult question we still struggle to answer. How did life begin? Today some of the components that make up RNA can be created in a lab through 'natural' causes. Elements that conceivably would have existed on this primal earth that result in some of the parts that make up the whole of the process of passing on 'information' to future generations to benefit. But for a living organism to even reach the point that it could benefit from evolution, even the simplest level of organism, it would have to have all 6 of those above traits, as well as the ability to replicate itself, and it would have had to have developed these capabilities without the benefit of previous generations passing on tried and true traits. Just the emergence of a single molecule out of trillions somehow developing the ability to replicate is exceedingly improbable. Given the extensive timeline and the large number of molecules that would have existed, it's not necessarily impossible, but definitely improbable. Add to that everything else and it becomes exceedingly difficult to see how life could have just 'come about'.

Of course, from the theist perspective this is an easy question. Even in the creation account it doesn't describe God physically molding life, but rather imbuing life with an inherent will to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and the seas". From the atheist perspective, well, our greatest scientific minds are still wrestling with the initial onset of life, and biologically those 6 traits are simply seen as a 'given'.

8. Compassion and Altruism

In Dawkin's book "The Selfish Gene" he puts forth a rather fascinating concept for how altruism could have come about by showing how 'biological machines' who are selfishly compelled to propagate their own genes could actually be benefited by the emergence of altruism where kin are concerned because even sacrificing themselves for the good of another will still pass on these traits if that other is then able to procreate because of their sacrifice. And it's potentially understandable how these traits first born of evolution could sometimes be seen in the behaviors of animals who are not closely enough related to share genetic code. But compassion, as well as what appears to be a wide array of emotions shared in common and once thought to be solely human, can and have been witnessed throughout the animal kingdom. Primarily in mammals, which have proven to have nurturing traits not found in other types of animals.

For example, I recently saw a documentary regarding the 'odd' relationship between a blind horse and a goat who lived together amongst many other animals in a protected habitat. The horse was not born blind, but became blind over time. From the time when the horse first lost site in one eye this goat became an inseparable partner. At first the goat would always walk on the side of the horse where he could still see, and would guide the horse through the terrain and aid him in where he needed to go. Then, later, when the horse lost site in the other eye, the goat began to walk in front of the horse, allowing the horse to follow the sound of his steps. This went on for many years. And in one case, after a particularly bad storm when the horse was surrounded by brush and unable to find a way out, the goat actually went to the people that managed this habitat and led them to the horse so they could help. Once the horse finally died, the goat simply went back to behaving as he did before, but the goat's health quickly and obviously went downhill once his friend had passed, and died not long after.

Now I recently read an atheist comment on this story as something that counts against the existence of a God, as its often thought in the more traditional religious views, namely those who reject evolution, that humans are not one and the same with the animal kingdom. So, to this individual, this was further proof that that ideology is wrong. And accurately so, as many of these same individuals will not even acknowledge the fact that we are clearly mammals who share quite a lot in common with other mammals. But to the theist, whether they are like me and accept evolution or not, they view these commonalities as being because we all have the same 'designer'. In either case we all come from the same origin, so it's not at all odd that scientists are coming around to the idea that much of the animal kingdom are capable of a similar emotional experience to our own.

Again, from the atheist perspective, I find this hard to reconcile, with the only real explanation being much as Dawkins put it initially, then cropping up in inter-species relationships as a kind of 'unintended' bi-product. To the theist, however, this should make perfect sense.

9. Human Intuition

Acceptance of the atheist viewpoint means acceptance of the fact that human intuition where a higher power is concerned is totally off-base. This one may be more of a personal thing for me, than a purely logical one, but I have a kind of 'faith' in our human intuition that has managed to bring us to where we are today.

Though many atheists will vehemently argue this point, it seems pretty clear to me that the default state of humanity in general is belief in a higher power. I base this conclusion on where and when in human history atheists exist. Or, at least, where there is clear documentation. The first appearance of the atheist viewpoint can be seen in ancient Greece and Rome. But beyond that, from the fall of Rome through to the age of enlightenment in Europe over a thousand years later, atheism appears to have been all but non-existent. It then came about in that age, which continues on through to today. And it seems to ebb and flow with the availability of accumulated knowledge and the adoption of logical/philosophical thought. Based on this it would seem that an atheism viewpoint is not something inherent in the human condition, but rather something arrived at through the practice of reason.

Beyond those two eras, belief in a higher power throughout the entirety of human history seems absolute. In indigenous cultures, like the Aborigines of Australia, the sub-Saharan tribes of Africa, and the native American tribes of the 'new world', animism, or the belief that there is a spirit force that animates the natural world and links mankind to the sun, the wind, the mountains, and the animals, is consistent across the board. Beyond that you've got the Mesopotamian religions of the Sumerians, then Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the mythologies of western Europe like that of Greece and Rome, the eastern European mythologies, and Buddhism and Hinduism throughout Asia. It seems, to me at least, that this clearly illustrates that this is the default state of humanity, where a belief in a higher power must be 'reasoned' away.

Now, this may seem more of an argument FOR atheism than against, but as I've tried to illustrate through the entirety of this list, atheism isn't necessarily 'right' simply because it requires reason to reach it. It is through reason that I first had doubts about the traditional Christian beliefs as they were taught to me through traditional institutions, but it is also through reason that I cannot see a god-less existence standing on its own. The same human intuition that eventually brought us into this modern age of scientific enlightenment and understanding is the same intuition that first manufactured religion. It would seem that those religious ideals that came about throughout our social and societal evolution was an important building block along the way that no one should be so eager to yank from beneath us. I understand the urgency for which some feel we should remove religion, but don't be too quick to toss that bathwater as I think there may be a baby in there.

10. The Bible

I know it's common nowadays to just dismiss the bible as some product of old world ignorance/delusion. I could never take this scenario seriously. I mean, we've all experienced life enough to see how things of interest come and go. It'll be the hot thing for a while, then people lose interest and move on to other things. That never happened with the bible. It's remained relevant and ever-present throughout every age since it was first written. It never just fades away. There are plenty of ancient stories written. So what is it about this one that it sticks around? So we're supposed to buy that it's just some fictitious work made up by desert-dwelling Jews thousands of year ago?


According to the story, especially the earlier ones towards the beginning, this text claims to be a record of a time in human history when a God interacted with people. It turns out that the very thing I would think you should expect to see if those events actually happened, for there to be a palpable impact on human history, is there. That part of the world has been in constant turmoil in every age since its inception.

It seems to me that exactly what you should expect to be true if this text truly were something more than old world folklore is there. It was written who knows when by who knows who exactly, nobody knows. And, it undoubtedly originates in the cradle of civilization where civilization originated. All of these things keep me from dismissing this text as just being the world's oldest piece of fiction or the oldest and most successful form of propaganda.

In Conclusion

While I often find myself more at odds with believers than non-believers because I am pro-science and pro-evolution, the atheist movement is troubling to me for many reasons. Though there are certainly exceptions, in my discussions with atheists it seems that for the most part many simply settle on the atheist viewpoint because they've found reason enough to discount traditional religion, but all too often do not seem to have turned that same critical eye towards the atheist view and pondered whether or not this world view truly holds up on its own.

To assume reality will fit within the confines of a purely material box is to pre-define what reality can possibly be. Material science is the best method to date for determining objective truths about reality, but it's highly unlikely it can completely encompass it. So a universe created through intelligent intent is not an assumption I make to make me feel better or to relieve existential angst. In my view I'm simply being realistic.

A purely material/mechanical explanation does not make logical sense to me. When I consider it, not in comparison to any alternative view, but simply on its own merits, it does not hold water. It most definitely defines and gives better understanding of the make-up and mechanics of this place, but when extended out to account for all the intricacies of reality, I find it's ultimately a hollow and highly improbable explanation.

It's kind of like Ptolemy's calculations to track planetary paths across the sky. It was a really complex explanation that did mathematically account for the way the planets appeared to loop in the sky and speed up and slow down at certain points. But the whole concept was built on the idea that the earth was the center of the universe and that all the heavens rotated around it. Copernicus, a thousand years later, simply said "what if" the sun was actually at the center. All of the sudden he also had a mathematical explanation for the planetary paths, but his was much simpler than Ptolemy's because his was built on top of a much more accurate foundation.

Given the evidence, I see intelligent intent being the much more likely explanation for this causal universe. Given that intelligence is indeed a 'natural product' of this universe, it is something that naturally occurs, I do not see how or why consideration of intelligent intent as an explanation is so vehemently opposed as if it were some ludicrous consideration. And given all the unknowns still surrounding intelligence and consciousness and the mind and life itself, I think it's a little premature to think intelligence and reason and creativity only exists in our heads.


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The Bible in the Context of Science ...

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Science and History in the context of the Bible ..

Comments

Mamerto Adan from Cabuyao on June 26, 2018:

Love this article Jeremy! For me, atheism won't work because it won't inspire me to become a stronger person. People could point out the rationality of a belief, but that's their belief. My belief is different.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on January 05, 2018:

Aryaman,

I'm glad you enjoyed it. What in particular did you find funny? I don't want to be the fool that thinks something that everyone else so clearly sees is ridiculous and laughable. Help a brother out.

Aryaman Goel from Allahabad, India on January 05, 2018:

Atheism is way better than theism.

Thanks Jeremy for a funny article.

I really rolled in the floor laughing!

Keep Smiling!

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on July 17, 2017:

Thank you, John, for your comment and explanation. You're right in that God and His actions cannot be verified through scientific means, but I don't think that means you can't verify. If you have the time and a high enough interest level, please read my hubs. I have laid out the timeline and series of events described in early Genesis and have shown through scientifically gathered evidence that it supports that these events happened as described.

Peter Bartnicki on July 17, 2017:

John Heininger,

Evolution isn't a plot hatched by atheists, there is actually very strong evidence for it. You can actually predict that certain things should be true if evolution is valid, and we have in fact observed these things. In comparison, there are no predictions you can make under the theory that "God magically created all the animals", because you can't test magic, and have no idea what to expect because no one knows God's mind.

For example, we would expect species with a common ancestor to share much of the same anatomy, and in fact this is true. Secondly you would expect that our genetic codes would reflect this common ancestry, all the way back to the first organism, and in fact we do see this common ancestry amongst all species, including humans. You can also see common characteristics amongst species in certain geographical regions, which is what you would expect if evolution were true, since they all had to adapt to the same environment.

Beyond that there is also direct evidence for evolution, by looking at how various micro-organisms evolve over the span of days or weeks, sometimes even hours or minutes. There is no reason to expect that animals, which are based on the same DNA as micro-organisms are, would not evolve over longer time periods while viruses and bacteria would over short periods.

In science you don't necessarily need to see the thing in order to demonstrate its existence. For example, when Rutherford estimated the size of the atom, he did so by firing electrons at a screen of Gold, and found that only one in a million (or something like that) were scattered, indicating most passed right through. He was able to calculate a cross-sectional area of the atom that was extremely small.

Technically, even for this, you could say that "maybe God made the electrons bounce off, but really atoms are huge; since you never directly observe these collisions you can't know!". But you see, the problem is that if you invoke God in all of these instances you never get anywhere, because you can't prove of disprove the hypothesis that "God did it". You get nowhere, which is exactly why nothing happens when people look to the bible for solutions, while when we looked to science we made an explosion of discoveries that yielded satellites, skyscrapers, supercomputers, and who knows what else now.

Thus science, in order to make progress, assumes that the only valid theories are ones which can be tested. It may very well be the case that science can't discover something due to this limitation, but we have been incredibly successful thus far. This is the only "philosophy" you could say exists as far as science is concerned, and it has nothing to do with atheism. But I hope you can see why it is necessary.

Virtually any theory of science could be explained as "God did it" if you try hard enough. Even gravity; although we see a direct correlation between the mass of an object and the gravitational force of attraction it generates (assuming a constant attracting mass, at a fixed distance), you could always say "you don't know that mass is directly producing that gravity, it could just be accidental. God is really the one who is doing it behind the scenes!".

There is no way to prove or disprove your hypothesis. Science would not make any progress if it took your 'theories' seriously. That's why its not science. Its not a question of your theory being definitively wrong, its just that its simply not something science can test, and therefore it ignores such possibilities.

But in addition, most people find God unlikely due to the sheer number of contradictions present in the bible, which is unlikely if you really think of God as being a perfect being. I could go on about these, but suffice it to say that there are other reasons as to why scientists would also have a legitimate basis to distrust God. For one, the whole story of Noah's Ark is scientifically preposterous. But, you could always counter with "scientific laws are suspended, because God did it". And once again, you end up nowhere.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on July 16, 2017:

John,

I appreciate your comment. I don't feel I'm under that delusion, though I do in fact agree it's a delusion many are under. My focus was more on the atheist explanations for each of these things and why I can't get on board with them. The logical problems I have with each.

jonnycomelately on July 15, 2017:

Dear John, thank you for this very entertaining comedy. Would you like to tell us what sort of institution you live in?

John Heininger on July 15, 2017:

Interesting comments, but you seem to be under the delusion that the scientific word operates on real science. And have yet to discover the the scientific world has extended its boundaries beyon methodological naturalism and the experiment and observation science of the scientific method to embrace the hard-core atheism of "philosophical" naturalism and godless materialism, on which all atheistic sociopolitical global movements operate. And formulated an entire worldview based on contrived atheistic philosophical constructs that have no verifiable empirical scientific basis. Which includes cosmological and biological evolutionary "historical theories" about unobserved events in the distant past with no possible way of ever empirically establishing that events happened one way, and not another way, or even weather they happened that way at all. This is why the Nobel committee does no regard cosmological and biological evolutionary "historical theories" about "supposed" events in the distant past as "prize worthy" science. Yet, the scientific mindlessly accepts these "as a fact" from the outset - until proved wrong. And in doing so turns the principles on which science operates on its head, In real operational science everything remains a theory until proved to be a fact. The scientific method cannot be applied to unobserved events in the distant past. That's why the contrived atheistic philosophical constructs on which the scientific world operates are entirely founded on unverifiable assumptions, inferences, conjecture, subjective interpretations conform to predictions and circular reasoning. Thus we have an entire atheistic worldview that functions entirely on science by EXPLANATIONS, rather than verifiable empirical science. What we have is atheistic Scientism, masquerading as science. Start here"http://thegodreality.org/secularismisatheism.html

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 22, 2014:

IM,

Right, and that's what I'm saying. That even though this 'objective versus subjective' debate is "lame Gobbledygook", it's still very much necessary. We're still subjective minds that have to coexist and cohabitate together. Everybody has their own unique brain made up of associations and sense memories through their own unique life experience. There will always be a subjective layer to nearly all we do. It may suck to talk about, or in the context of, but it's still totally necessary that we do so.

Insane Mundane from Earth on December 22, 2014:

Headly,

Exactly. I thought I already went over this nonsense a few comments back. Yep, this entire debate about 'objective versus subjective' is lame gobbledygook at its finest... *Sigh*

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 21, 2014:

IM,

Right, your subjective IS your objective because you can experience it. But nobody else can, making it subjective. We all hold subjective opinions and beliefs. There's no way you can't.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 21, 2014:

Jonny,

Wishes of the observer. See, there's the problem. You say this God only exists if you want Him to. Yet there's that 'want'. The belief is a part of humanity. The sense that He's there. Yet, the only things that exist in us are things that were caused to be there. Without light we would not have eyes. Without sound waves we would not have ears. Yet we have this want and this desire. This innate sense of right/wrong. Good/bad. They can only be there if they were caused.

There is objective proof with what I'm presenting. All the expected results of the hypothesis can be observed. Every culture from that time/place wrote about immortal beings who lived among them that can be observed. All the expected physical results, like a crater left showing the impact of a meteor in the past, are there. The impact can be seen in human history, in the evidence, in the texts, in the religions and the human behaviors that resulted. It's all there.

Insane Mundane from Earth on December 21, 2014:

Headly,

My subjective IS my objective because I feel that my internal is at least semi-atomically connected to the eternal. Now, if I was a "particles-to-people from inanimate objects" believer, I'd probably say that I'm truly objective without any subjective opinions. LMAO!

jonnycomelately on December 21, 2014:

It's the most subjective "thing" in the world. A god that you cannot see, cannot hear, cannot taste, cannot smell and cannot touch. Therefore, the only way to describe what you get without your senses is analogy, metaphor.

Now, tell me that "faith" is nothing to do with imagination!

Your God is only alive if you want "him" to be. "He" only has the attributes that appeal to you personally.

Your results of your studies appeal to you. Since there is no OBJECTIVE proof of what you claim, even if anyone wishes to follow the same line of thinking, the same logic as yourself, there is no universal truth that can be gleaned from your faithful understandings.

No proof. No confirmation, not even consensus, as to what that god looks like, or even that "he" is male/masculine by nature. All that detail about the nature and attributes of "God" depend totally upon the individual wishes of the observer.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 21, 2014:

IM,

Yes, exactly. And everything having to do with a soul and the existence of God or heaven is subjective. All anyone has experience with is mental/internal matters that can't be seen. You just have to take their word for it. There's no objective confirmation. Anything having to do with the subjective/mind requires faith by others.

Insane Mundane from Earth on December 21, 2014:

Headly,

Oh, no, I was simply making fun of the subjective vs. objective nonsense I've read online during the last few years. It is like, somebody can say THEIR view is objective without realizing they are, in fact, using a subjective-objective which later proves to be subjective; ha-ha!

It was just word play on a redundant subject.

The verse you just used sounds more like 'living with faith' and the unseen spiritual treasures to be found, which has nothing to do with the objective vs. subjective subject nor does it have anything to do with the fact that I can't see my atoms move about through thought, etc.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 21, 2014:

IM,

2 Corinthians 4:18 - So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Our physical/material eyes and senses can only pick up on what's there to be seen/heard/smelled/felt. To think that those senses are somehow enough to pick up on everything that exists is a bit of a stretch. Subjective is always going to be a part of it. It's the subjective that dominates most of our debates, political actions, morals, etc. It has to be discussed and weighed logically. It may be boring after a while, but it's no less necessary.

jonnycomelately on December 20, 2014:

The flame and flare of fan fare!

Insane Mundane from Earth on December 20, 2014:

The subjective vs. objective debate equates to the initial subjective opinion that is defended by an objective-subjective statement that offends the ones that claim to be utterly objective in their perception. Meanwhile, it is later discovered that the objective chatter is subjective because it's actually representing a subjective-objective to the objective-subjective which truly means that neither exist by their original definition. The next tidbit goes high, the next round of verbiage goes low, and the next thing you know, nobody really fu*king knows. LOL! Okay... I thought that was appropriate for some strange reason. Hey, existential futility gets boring, so why not flare it up a bit?

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 20, 2014:

Jonny,

Only my logic, and whatever way my beliefs pulled my mind, caused me to reach a conclusion that continues to prove to be consistent. Even parts of the story I wasn't yet aware of when I first came up with my explanation, continue to prove to be consistent. Events in history I wasn't yet aware of continue to fit right in line. Continue to be exactly what was predicted. Every phase, from every angle, whether it be the rest of the biblical story, whether it be in the context of the causal universe, continues to tell one cohesive story.

I don't mean to argue. I'm not trying to perpetuate an argument. There are just some, you included, who I think truly have the capacity to appreciate this. People like you and I began engaging in these kinds of conversations because I think we wanted to understand. It really is beautiful. And, at least for me, it's nice to realize that there's a deliberate and meaningful purpose behind all the death and suffering. There's a good reason we're here. A good reason why people are the way they are. It is the most epic of stories, the most relevant to us humans, it's a story that every child should know. That every human should know. It's our origin story. It was right there all along. We just didn't have all the information at first.

jonnycomelately on December 20, 2014:

The purposes as you see and understand them, but then your perceptions will always be influenced by what you wish to see, just as my perceptions will be influenced by what I wish to see.

Your "logic" takes your mind one way, my "logic" takes my mind another way. Can you accept that neither way might be the absolute answer? Can you see that even the stalwart christian mind could be totally in error? Can you accept that all of what you have read in your deliberate studies of ancient writings, might, just might, be erroneous?

Finally, can you see that there is no need for you and I to agree upon anything? Because whether we agree or disagree does not add weight to the ultimate truth? It only boils down, after all, to opinion.

Arguing simply becomes a waste of time. There are more important things to get on with.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 20, 2014:

Thank you, that was a good hub. I always like to read things where the author is able to flesh out these ancient cultures that these documents are written in. But I think it's also important to recognize the overall purpose of all of these passages. God had promised Abraham numerous descendants. Notice how all the things God commands of the Israelites and how it relates to breeding practices. He makes sure to separate one group from another and forbids interaction. Much like a breeder would do. A breeder would section off groups to control which animals mate. Now imagine you own cows and a stable of bulls. The bulls you purchased were solely for the purpose of breeding. But some of the bulls will not mate with the female cows, but rather only with each other. This would be an issue that would work against the goal of breeding. God also gives specific commands as far as what they're to eat, much like a breeder would.

I was not aware of the practices of the people in the temple of Molech as that hub illustrated, but it does make sense. Through the OT we see God testing and choosing particular candidates. Candidates who all are ultimately a part of the blood line that Jesus comes from. First He tests Noah and finds favorable traits, then breeds from him. He does the same of Abraham. Just as a breeder would do. Mixing with these other people dilutes the bloodline and the traits He's looking to harvest.

jonnycomelately on December 20, 2014:

I am no scholar concerning the bible, and can only point you to the hub by Hanavee, concerning the bibles references to same-gender sex. He has so thoroughly researched the matter, with his deep background in understanding languages and cultures of that day, it has given me so much insight regarding prejudice.

You may like to give it a read, including the book he references.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 19, 2014:

Jonny,

I understand that. And it's not my intention or desire to change your mind. I think I tend to get a bit defensive when I'm told that I'm imagining things. From where I sit it's that kind of thinking exactly that has kept us in the dark this whole time. It is my wish for people on the cutting edge of discovery to look at what I'm proposing and consider it seriously. I really do think it could steer investigation and lead to new answers. But it's been nearly impossible to get this thing off the ground for reasons just like this. I respect your choices, but I can't be content simply choosing one way or another. There's too much lingering information. Too many clues to ignore and just make a choice. I have to know. For as long as I can remember my mind has wrestled with this. This tear in our modern human psyche between the truths of science and where the truth is concerning religion. This unresolved seam in our understanding that continues to unravel and separate us. It's like my mind will not rest until I know and understand why everything is as it is. I believe I have found the answer. I'm anxious to get other people with the means and the opportunity to advance it to give it a try. It resolves so much. It could, for example, help the religions of the world realize the reasons for the passages that speak against homosexuality in the OT. They could finally realize that the purpose of those lines was to aid in the breeding of Christ. That all that was said in those passages had everything to do with the Israelites breeding to serve a particular purpose. This is why it was spoken about so sternly. There are so many things that this would bring clarity on. It could only ultimately help. Help us all understand ourselves better and what makes us tick. It could finally bring resolution to one of the most divisive topics we face today. In my mind there is nothing more important.

jonnycomelately on December 19, 2014:

Because I'm adamant that it is humans who have constructed any concept of a judgmental god, purely for human gain over other humans.

It has been argued elsewhere, both in HubPages and in other forums, about the possible existence of a god that oversees us. It has also been argued, certainly in the couple of years since I have seen you and discussed with you in these forums, the possibility or likelihood of a level of existence, a place we go to, after our death.

Neither of these am I prepared to enter fresh argument. It's a waste of time and will get us no where new.

My choice is to accept this life, here and now that I am conscious of and part of, let it be, live it to the best of my ability, then say good bye, for ever.

None of your research or argument has given me the slightest reason to change my views. In fact you tend to confirm my choices for me. Thank you.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 19, 2014:

So, if what I'm saying is just my bias coloring my judgement, who's to say your adamant rejection of a judgmental God isn't causing the same in how you see things? What makes you so certain that I'm the one who's deluding things? I have a perfectly plausible scenario that explains good/bad behavior that, like everything else in nature, has to be governed. Something a creator, if there is one, would have to account for. A seamless explanation, aided by modern knowledge, that paints the picture of a modernly understood God. A more realistic God. A better understood God. An explanation that simultaneously offers an explanation for the whole purpose of life, that puts the actions of the God into the bible into something plausible, that offers explanations about what makes us humans what we are. That's one hell of a delusion.

jonnycomelately on December 19, 2014:

I accept that, Headly, and very much respect all of that hypothesis, study, exploration and the conclusions you arrive at.

But you then, also in your personally honest moments, reveal your christian bias. I don't think I am mistaken here. That bias [i]does[/i] cause you to believe in a judgmental god that will inflict punishment for non-compliance. This extends the god you perceive as the "Creator," and produces the god as the Judge. I am saying [b]this[/b] is the false, man-made religious conjecture that drives me right away from christianity. regardless of any ideas about a creator.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 19, 2014:

Jonny,

Yeah, I know, in your mind the only way you can accept what I'm saying is to convince yourself that I must have confirmation bias. I just see things the way I want to. But do you know how I know that isn't true? Because I formed a hypothesis first, then made predictions off of that hypothesis. For instance, my hypothesis was if the narrative of the story is indeed how I'm reading it, and if it took place in the timeframe that I think it did, then this should be true, and this should be true, and this should be true, and so on. Literally a dozen or more predictions based on that hypothesis. And every single one of them proved true. And not just vague predictions either. One of those predictions was that if true, there should be a significant behavior change that happened in this particular region in this particular time frame. And there it was. If true then there should be a fairly significant event around this time frame that mirrors what the Babel story is talking about. And there it was. A climate change that caused mass dispersions of humans just as the story describes. And it turns out these events that I predicted are not just some insignificant events. These are the events that literally shaped modern humanity. Just as it's describing.

I get it. I get how you see it. And you're right in that the 'comply with God and His commands or else' thing has been used by religion to control. Humans often misrepresent Him for their own gain. But what I'm describing puts that same significance on human behavior in a context that makes sense in a God of the universe context. And it's something I only gained by reading these stories in the right context. It's is undeniable. It cannot just be something I'm seeing the way I want to. There are way too many pieces that just lined right up for it to be delusion on my part.

jonnycomelately on December 19, 2014:

Again, everything you perceive and understand is only from your presumption that "God" exists. Anything that seems to support that presumption sits well with you.

The pictures you paint of man's existence before and after "The Fall," are done in the context of your fanciful presumptions. You are like an artist, put your impressions on canvas, then asking people to accept your impressions as "truth" and exactly as they are presented.

You speak of compliance in a way that "God" wants that compliance, and "...ignore his commands at your peril." This is just another human trick to control others. A convenient and oft-used ploy.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 19, 2014:

"The notion of us being brought back to life by a "God" that made us, at the behest of "His" "Son," only if we have been good boys and girls, to live together for eternity , all this is religiosity, loud, in-your-face, demonstrative and demanding of compliance."

Compliance is necessary. That's what society is. A group of people complying to a set of rules or laws, allowing coexistence in a community. Without it we all eventually trample on each other's wills and wants.

Now, being able to see the narrative in the bible grounded in our history, I find it helps to put things in a historical context. It's interesting when looking at what Jesus was talking about. For instance, Jesus often spoke of giving up personal possessions, the futility of wanting for things that can be stolen or destroyed by rust and decay on this earth. Well, if we look at humans before that behavior change, according to the biblical stories a behavior changed that was the introduction of free will, what Jesus is describing very much resembles how humans used to act. Before that change humans were already figuring out farming and building large, highly populated societies. Yet in these societies there was no class stratification. Women and men were equal. All were equal. And there was harmony and balance. Everyone contributed. And there was no harboring of personal possessions. It's only after that behavior change that we see boundary lines on maps, organized militaries, cultures with defensive walls, weapons, etc.

In the context of the bible, these humans lacked free will so they therefore behaved according to God's will. They carried out what God commanded of them. They were fruitful and multiplied, they filled the earth and subdued it, and they established themselves as the dominant species on the planet. They lived together in harmony, in very much the same way as Jesus used to describe. There were long winding trade routes where they roamed freely from land to land, trading goods with one another. With no prizing of possessions there was no desire to take the stuff or the land of others.

Free will makes compliance necessary. Without it compliance is natural. Like in the way matter is in compliance with the laws of nature. There's no question, no particles that think themselves deserving of something more or something else. And because of that across-the-board compliance, the system works. There's harmony, order.

There has been disharmony since that behavioral change. There have been wars and constant upheaval. And yes, religion is a part of that. Like everything else it has the same shortcomings as anything else made by man.

I get how the whole bible narrative about God's son and such sounds silly to you. But in the context of history, the clarity that it brings to the biblical stories, it's really not all that silly. It actually make some sense. For instance, Jesus is not God's "son" in that God impregnated a woman. Jesus is God's son in that he is God's creation. God's interactions with the Israelites all throughout the OT is God creating Jesus in an environment where free will is in control. God is not in control of free will, so to create Jesus He had to work in that environment to make it happen.

Now knowing the material world in the context of science it all kinds of makes sense. We are material flesh. But because of free will we've become hazardous. Corrosive. Like if some of the cells of your body decided they were all going to do whatever they wanted, whether or not those actions complied with the DNA code of the body. These cells, still being a part of the system of your body, still feeding off its resources, only now no longer behaving in ways that are in the interest of the body, they're a potential detriment.

Like, for example, lets say all the cells that make up your left hand decided together that they'd rather be a hand five times the size and green. It's their right to be what they want, so they just do it. There's no real consideration given to how this is going to affect the rest of the system. How this new larger hand is going to require more bodily resources to function. How this larger hand throws off the bodies balance and makes for a large, awkward appendage that's more of a hindrance than a help. The body is now being put in peril as a whole system. Everything that lives as part of that system is put in danger because of the actions of these cells in your hand.

It makes sense that God would need to permeate this material flesh, to make a connection to it by creating one of flesh who is in compliance. One who does work in harmony with the system. One that bridges us wayward cells back to the system and reconnects us. Like a stem cell.

In my mind what makes Genesis so relevant, and what makes its significance so obvious, is this theme of behavior. Being good and being bad. Our behavior is the one thing in the whole universe not governed by laws. Human behavior is the single most relevant thing that the biblical story could focus on as a theme. This story really isn't that silly. It kind of makes a lot of sense.

jonnycomelately on December 18, 2014:

Headly, I am not depending on an analysis of what ancient people thought about, and the sort of mysticism they might have reacted to.... I only need to watch people of this present day, believing in just as much irrational nonsense.

I do not try to paint ancient people as totally ignorant and crazy in the beliefs. Sure, apparently the people of the Eastern Mediterranean region were very resourceful, well educated, innovative in the way they explored and scientifically studied natural phenomena. And the possibility of there being a "designer/creator" of all we are conscious of, does not get thrown out of the window... not by me, anyway.

How often do I have to say this? - The notion of us being brought back to life by a "God" that made us, at the behest of "His" "Son," only if we have been good boys and girls, to live together for eternity (a misnomer, because what they really mean is for ever, whereas "eternity" is touched upon in the here-and-now), all this is religiosity, loud, in-your-face, demonstrative and demanding of compliance.

Make no mistake, I reject all of that nonsense. Your studies, your opinions, your conclusions for your own satisfaction, I continue to respect.

I remain a non-believer.

Insane Mundane from Earth on December 18, 2014:

Headly,

Your last comment to Jonny reminds me of an old Egyptian proverb I read a long time ago that roughly stated: "Only those that forget their past, are truly lost."

I wish I knew the exact quote and the actual proverb at hand, but it meant about the same thing. In a thumbnail (if I had to translate it in my own words), it was simply saying that those that disown their actual roots, origins and their recorded history while pretending their past didn't exist the way it was previously remembered by their fellow sentient beings of brotherhood, it would alternatively be orchestrated into a fictitious reality that isn't even remotely close to being true to our own existence.

In even less words, the trending scientific jargon featuring "particles-to-people from inanimate objects" is total bull-shit, at best; ha-ha!

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 17, 2014:

Jonny,

See, I have a serious problem with this line of thinking. When speaking of these bronze age humans, so many are so quick to dismiss them as superstitious and delusional. It's the only way people can rationalize what they wrote about. They must have been mistaken in their utter ignorance of the world around them. Let's not forget that it's these bronze age people who gave us our first written languages, mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, organized society, laws, order, etc. Yet, because of the kinds of stories they wrote about, we modern people are quick to categorize them as ignorant fools, basically. And we then build on that, dismissing modern humanity as basically being an extension of that, still being the same ignorant fools we were then, only now armed with more knowledge. I think it's factually inaccurate and it gives a false impression of the inventors of modern civilization and the foundation modern civilization is now built atop of.

These bronze age people found it important enough to take the time to record this history and make sure it's known to future generations. Yet here we are, having that information in our hands, yet unable to benefit from it because we're too busy dismissing it all as superstitious malarkey, because we're much smarter now and they were just ignorant fools.

No, I don't think so. If we can just get over ourselves for a minute and just look, you can see that what they were talking about is actually quite plausible. And if we actually allow ourselves to consider it for a second, and maybe consider that the imagined history that we've convinced ourselves must be right is actually wrong, we find out that there is copious amounts of wisdom and insight to be learned about our past and about what makes us what we are today. Truth makes it all better in all the right ways. Until we correct that and learn what the real truth is, all these efforts being made, no matter how pure in intention, is taking us further off course and is doing more damage.

jonnycomelately on December 17, 2014:

The people of those ancient by-gone times also had their superstitions.....and they focused upon a mystical "god" out there somewhere, that caused all manner of happenings here in the home-environment.

The human trait of attributing the unknown and the scary and the awesome and the beautiful....to a god is, it seems, genetically set up in us.

So, just as "they" believed in a god then, so people of today believe in a god. It does not make either of those, or any, gods real. It simply means they imagined as do people to day.

They and we have the same animal instincts within our psyche. We react to hunger, threats, strange happenings around us, sexual urges, automatic protection of our young.....

Fear of Death is paramount and a simple extension of the instinct to survive. And it is the fear of death that drives most religious beliefs.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 17, 2014:

Jonny,

This is exactly why I do what I do. I think it can be known, proven. Showing the beginning books of the bible are real stories describing this God interacting with humans and describing the events that set the modern human world in motion goes a long way towards that. And it more clearly illustrates the purpose of this God, the purpose of life, and it exposes organized religion, who have placed themselves in a place of authority regarding what the 'truth' is, for being wrong about their interpretations of the bible. This free will, being shown to be the primary reason for life, is why religion is what it is. It's a human-made institution that has all the same drawbacks as any other human-made institution. Finding the truth, the real truth, exposes inaccuracies and lies. It brings clarity.

Right now there are all kinds of loud voices out there pushing agendas through what I think are demonstrably wrong information. On both sides of this discussion, religions as well as atheists, are promoting inaccuracies and fallacies. If we hope to move forward, these things must be corrected. I understand atheists recognize the problem that is organized religion, but they're too busy throwing out the baby with the bathwater in their efforts to expose religion for what it is. That doesn't help. That does more damage. That leads away from truth.

jonnycomelately on December 17, 2014:

Fine, for sure, that there might be a "designing" creator of all this. Might, we can never be sure. But there is no problem with that.

My problem is with the man-made rubbish that's built on top of that possibility, only to use it/exploit it for ulterior motive.

For me, there is NO judgment, other that what other humans impose (try to!) upon me. For us to assume that there is a life after death, that is in itself part of the control factor. So, possibly a Creator, yes. But looking down upon you or me, no.

Now someone is going to come back at me and presume there is a hidden guilt within me that wants this negation. Believe what you like, I know my inner self.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 17, 2014:

Jonny,

I can't deny that some of this could be what I want to believe. I can say that I do want for there to be a meaningful reason for all the pain and suffering of life. I cannot say that my belief in a higher power is wishful thinking. This universe does not look like a universe resulting from pure happenstance. The mere fact that it's important to me that there be meaningful purpose to life is an example of that. When I try to rationalize this fully causal universe coming about through pure chance those are the kinds of things that trip me up. If this were some movie I was watching I'd be the same way. If an environment in some sci-fi movie were described as something that just came about naturally, through the pure chaotic chance, then I'd be questioning why the indigenous culture introduced as characters show such human characteristics like wanting to find meaning and reason in things. It just doesn't make sense. We don't make sense in that regard. I don't doubt the causal natural of our universe. But I do strongly doubt that things are as they are without having been deliberately made to be so. The nuances of life, the fact that life feels like a perpetual lesson to be learned, the emotional and physical challenges we face and the way we grow in strength and resolve as we conquer each one, nothing about this life fits the insensate explanation that is the materialist view.

I avoid organized religion for the same reasons. But I think it's important to recognize that religion is just another form of the same human tendency to twist and distort things to gain control. It's not specific to religion. It's in everything made and maintained by man.

jonnycomelately on December 17, 2014:

Headly, I can't help seeing all of what you have written above as being the result of what you, Jeremy, want to believe, because it suits your reasoning. Your unique desire(s) in what you want this world, this order, this "purpose" to be, is honoured and respected. Regard it as fact if you like. But it don't cut it for me.

This statement of yours above: " Without having been deliberately made we have no more reason or purpose than a pattern left in sand by the wind. " Clearly indicates your thought processes, and this is what is driving your opinions.

For me, my life IS just that...a pattern left in sand by the wind! When my existence ends, it will remain only as the memories and experiences which others have had of me.

If, by the process of free will, I were to concentrate on a belief that my body/consciousness continues on the other side of my death, then I begin to value and work towards that belief. It will influence how I act here and now. THAT is the purpose of all religious teachings. In the case of christian and islamic religion, it leads to guilt, threat of punishment, restitution and forgiveness, all controlled by those who's purpose it is to control.

So, as I have said before, it's fine for individuals to have thoughts and beliefs such as yours. But when institutions and groups band together in order to use those threats and punishments for control of others, THIS is what drives me away from organised religion.

This is the exercise of my Free Will.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 17, 2014:

Kylyssa,

I do not think you're stupid and am not angry at you. I think your thoughts on the topic are legitimate and reasonable. You'll have to forgive Insane Mundane, that's just how he is and I guess I'm just used to it.

"You are so special simply by existing that it baffles me you need to believe you are the special creation of a caring God to feel your life has any meaning or reason."

If you think about it, what I'm saying is not a feeling on my part. It's a simple fact. If we were not deliberately and purposefully created, then there is no purpose or meaning to our existing. It's just what happened. Without having been deliberately made we have no more reason or purpose than a pattern left in sand by the wind. However, if a being deliberately made us, then there is a reason that being chose to do so.

I agree that we are each unique in our existence. That alone makes each of us special. But without free will then all we are is predetermined by our make-up. Without free will you have no deliberate say so in anything you say or do. Free will takes each of us to another level of specialness. We are the only clumps of matter in all the universe able to determine our own behaviors and actions. What we do in this life has an impact on the environment around us, yet unlike any other matter in all the universe, our actions and decisions are determined through our logic and reason and not solely determined by the natural laws of the universe. Without free will we are nothing more than passive observers in this life, not able to willfully choose our actions. We have as much willful control of our actions as a tree has in choosing how it grows.

My issue with there not being free will is that it diminishes who/what we are. Such a big part of what makes humanity what we are is what we choose to do. What we choose to do with the time we have. Who/what we choose to spend our time with/on. Yes, those thoughts and feelings ARE us, but without deliberate choice in our actions, none of that really matters. They're just sensations we experience. It's the capability to willfully choose our actions in response to those thoughts and actions that make humanity what it is.

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on December 17, 2014:

It's too bad you think I'm stupid and you feel angry enough at me to hold me up as an example of stupidity without any consideration for me as a person. I thought we were having a good discussion up to that point.

If the brain is a physical functioning system necessary to think and feel how do you then think and feel in your afterlife without one?

Absence of absolute free will doesn't diminish humanity. You are so special simply by existing that it baffles me you need to believe you are the special creation of a caring God to feel your life has any meaning or reason. You are already the one and only unique you who never has existed before and never will again. You are an awake and self-aware piece of the universe consisting of materials born in the death of stars. You think, you love, you dream, and you are amazing. There's nothing to fear in that.

Your thoughts and feelings ARE your emulation of free will. Your thoughts and feelings ARE you. I wonder if you fear the idea of ultimate free will not existing because it would mean that people don't get to choose what they think is real, but instead are limited by their own processing of perceptions?

If thinking God is real makes you feel as special as you need to feel, that's great, but it isn't necessary to insist everyone else who doesn't share your religious views is stupid. There's plenty of room for my belief in a physical and logical universe and plenty of room for your belief in a God-centered universe with its own internal logic. I don't think you are stupid for your beliefs; they are the only logical ones you could have because you unshakably think God is real, more real than I think my keyboard is.

Insane Mundane from Earth on December 16, 2014:

Exactly.

There are endless amounts of spiritual vessels that spawn from the divine substrate. A physically transitory life is the only way it can work without stagnation albeit there is nothing temporary or visibly physical about the actual source that fuels life from within.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 16, 2014:

IM,

I find its a more and more common thing for people to see the discovery of physical/causal origins and workings to somehow mean no God was involved. In actuality, science, being the study of the physical/material, has nothing to say about the 'super-natural'. There is no detecting something 'super-natural' with the natural sciences. Like the life that animates living things. It remains a gap in our understanding. We still, to this day, even with all of our understanding of biological mechanics, have no idea what life/death is. Given what we know about the physical world, it would seem more people would recognize the significance of living things willfully compelled by an energy that originates from within the organism as being something that differentiates the animate from the inanimate. That, by all accounts, would constitute "magic" moreso than anything normally deemed "magic" by the non-believers. Yet, much like Kylyssa demonstrates here, they often show an over-confidence in our knowledge of the biological. Exhibiting a 'faith' that, given enough time and research, all about the physical body will one day be understood. There's no mystery. It's just a physical functioning system. Yet, we to this day have no explanation for what actually 'animates' life. We just know what once it's lost, whatever it is, it's difficult if not impossible to get back.

Insane Mundane from Earth on December 16, 2014:

The most hilarious thing I've read on this Hub during the last few weeks was from Kylyssa when she said: "Neuroscience seems to be a little bit taboo with some believers as it explains a lot about thought and emotion and that's probably pretty uncomfortable to people who wish thoughts and emotions to come from something that isn't physical. If thoughts and emotions aren't natural functions of the brain then why does damage to the brain affect them?"

LMAO!

That's like saying, "I just clubbed somebody in the head so hard with a baseball bat, that their thoughts and emotions will never be the same due to the brain damage that occurred from a crushed cranium, which further proves there is no God after all!"

At least that's how that asinine statement sounded to me... Ha-ha!

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 16, 2014:

Kylyssa,

It appears your view of how I think is colored by your beliefs about me. This is not accurate. Maybe I should say that it's not so much that God is the logical answer as much as explaining the universe as we now know it without a God, or just a deliberately creating consciousness of some form, is illogical. You seem to think my conclusion that God exists is some kind of default state. Not true. There are simply too many truths I would have to ignore completely to get on board with the conclusion you've reached.

As for free will, this is one of the elements of the atheist viewpoint that it seems most atheists have not really thought about. I don't think you realize just how much your viewpoint diminishes humanity in general. Without a deliberate creator, there is no purpose or meaning to anything. Any purpose or meaning we imagine there is is only assigned long after the fact by our minds. If the atheist viewpoint is the reality then we humans are reduced to irrelevant passive observers with no real control in what happens. No free will means that everything in human history, all our biggest accomplishments and tragedies, are nothing more than the result of biological brains reacting to the situation they were in at the time in the only way they physically could have. It means there's no significance or importance to anything we are or anything we do. It means that those who love you in your life do so because they're predisposed to, not because they have a choice. You're right that a lack of free will doesn't really change anything except that it does in that it removes our deliberate participation.

If there is no deliberate creator, then there is no reason or meaning behind anything, no meaning in anything we choose to do or choose not to do, no purpose in our existing at all. It's simply what happened. It reduces all we think and feel to being nothing more than causal chemistry. Love is nothing more than an unintended biproduct of evolution. A sensation that separates us from reptiles. Even the fact that we assign purpose and importance to things doesn't make sense in that context. Why would we even have this need? Similar to what CS Lewis said about light being irrelevant if there were no light in the universe because we never would have evolved eyes to know the difference. Somehow we evolved a need to assign purpose and importance when there actually is none.

Every angle you look at it, it's illogical and doesn't match up to what we know.

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on December 16, 2014:

Why is the idea of not having free will so frightening to you? Physical laws constrain the possible choices you get to make to such a degree that any close approximation to free will ought to be good enough for you. It's OK to make your choices by reasoning. It's what you already do whether you have free will or not. You've explained your reasoning so much it's obvious you reason.

Think of the last major decision you made. Did you just decide without thinking about it? Or did you weigh the pros and cons and hold your possible choices up against a set of ethical standards you hold? A computer can be programmed to do something so similar it could be hard to tell the difference.

Whether free will exists or not, you've managed to get along just fine either with or without it. Its existence or non-existence has no practical effect on how any human being lives.

You couldn't have come to any of the conclusions you did above if you hadn't been looking through a worldview in which God is real. You've considered the idea that God might not be real. You started with a deep belief that God was real and then imagined what if God were not real. It's very slightly similar to me wondering, what if my keyboard didn't actually exist? I feel I know on a deep level that my keyboard exists, possibly on almost as deep a level as you feel you know God exists. It would be mighty hard for anything at all to be meaningful evidence to me that my keyboard might not exist. And if someone somehow proved my keyboard didn't exist it wouldn't destroy what I've thought my whole purpose in life was, especially if it had no functional effect on my ability to use my keyboard.

You came up with all of your ideas about how the universe works after you came to firmly hold the belief that God is real. If you think God is real, of course God is the logical explanation for everything you don't understand! If I though God were real, that's what I would think, too.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 16, 2014:

Jonny,

I'm afraid you've misunderstood me, primarily it would seem because of the wording I chose to use. Rather than "believe" I'll use "accept".

Let me illustrate through an example. Let's say I believe the singularity that led to the formation of our universe through the big bang was caused by a black hole in a pre-existing universe that existed before this one. Now, we do know that black holes can and do form singularities. But we do not know if a universe existed prior to this one where a black hole existed that could form that singularity. So, while this belief of mine would be consistent with what is known, singularities are known to be formed by black holes, it still requires belief where the pre-existing universe/black hole is concerned. There's no way of knowing if that's true, thus a belief. But it is a belief that is consistent with what is known.

Again, my belief is not a need. This universe, given all we know about it, I do not find to be consistent with a universe where no God exists. I find the explanation of a God as described by the biblical accounts is consistent with what is known and is the most likely explanation. Take free will, for example. Our being willful creatures, capable of willfully choosing our actions is not at all consistent with a purely causal/physical universe. The only way it would be consistent is if what seems to be a free will is actually just an illusion we're under. Because we directly experience the inner workings of the brain, and because the brain weighs options as far as what choice to make, those other options only give us the illusion that there was another choice we could have made. When in actuality the workings of our brains is wholly dictated by natural/physical law and we were not actually physically capable of choosing one of those other options.

Given the order that forms from chaos in this universe, the laws that govern the behaviors of matter/energy and how the reality that those laws shape causes a perpetually existing universe, with life that is compelled from within to "be fruitful and multiply", I find there to be numerous reasons to think the 'God does exist' scenario to be the more likely explanation. It is not a need. It is a logical result.

jonnycomelately on December 16, 2014:

Again with respect to our on-going dialogue, Headly, this paragraph is, in my view, so contradictory.

"That is not the case. It's not that I have a need. It's that whatever explanation I accept or believe must be consistent with what is known and observed. To take the stance that you and others here have is not consistent. To require proof before allowing for something to be possible is flawed, as I've illustrated. Because it isn't consistent with what is known."

Here it is again, so I can hi-lite it using upper-case, the only way of doing so when no HTML is allowed:

"That is not the case. 1.IT'S NOT that I have a need. It's that whatever explanation I accept or 2.BELIEVE must be consistent with what is known and observed. To take the stance that you and others here have is not consistent. 3. TO REQUIRE proof before BELIEVING something to be possible is flawed, as I've illustrated. 4.BECAUSE it isn't consistent with what is known."

1. You are not being consistently honest about yourself, Headly. You obviously HAVE a need to believe, otherwise you would not do so.

2. It is entirely possible for you to BELIEVE something, even when it is not consistent with what is known and observed. Believing comes into play when you DON'T know from observation. It's a fall-back position.

3. Seems totally contradictory to what you have written in 2. We are entitled to see what is "known and observed" as "proof." Leave a small crack of evidence, sure, so that new knowledge can perhaps modify our understanding or even change it completely. This is honesty in science.

4. Here you have admitted that BELIEF is not consistent with what is known.

So - the ball is back in your court. If you are asking for consistency, how about it?

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 16, 2014:

Kylyssa,

"I don't usually hear a voice when I read, I see words and they become images and other sensory data. It's apparently fairly common among autistic people and slightly less so among people who aren't."

I don't believe you. Prove it. See, the thing is, you can't. It's most definitely a part of your reality, the things you see and experience are real, do exist, but cannot be observed by anyone other than yourself. And no, it can't be confirmed with a brain scan. The best we can do is determine what parts of the brain are active, but that's it. And that doesn't confirm anything other than what part of the brain is active.

"I still believe you hear words because...."

Key word, "believe".

"The spoken words you think you hear come from your own mind; no God is necessary to explain them. It's just you thinking."

Don't get what I'm saying confused. I'm not saying God is required to explain internal dialogue. I'm using that as an example of something that most assuredly exists, yet lacks any concrete evidence of existing.

"Your perceptions have led you to believe God is real and you seem to have a deep need for everything to have an explanation and for some kind of specialness. Not knowing or understanding things seems to make you feel uneasy."

That is not the case. It's not that I have a need. It's that whatever explanation I accept or believe must be consistent with what is known and observed. To take the stance that you and others here have is not consistent. To require proof before allowing for something to be possible is flawed, as I've illustrated. Because it isn't consistent with what is known.

"Making up supernatural explanations seems like a way to shut off curiosity to me. To not allow for anything to have a logical, natural explanation is to render yourself unable to accept any that might be discovered."

Not true. And people who know me, like Jonny, know that's not true. They know I readily accept new natural explanations. Nothing about a natural/causal existence in any way conflicts with God. If you think it does, then you hold a flawed concept of what God would be if He did indeed exist in your mind.

"Magic doesn't exist. That is the logic of atheism you reject."

That is not the logic of atheism I reject. I reject it because reality doesn't properly reflect the atheist explanation.

"I'm not afraid of being an animal as all the evidence suggests I am. I don't need to imagine I'm not an animal to feel special because an intelligent animal is a pretty darned special thing. Existing at all is pretty special."

I agree.

"Neuroscience seems to be a little bit taboo with some believers as it explains a lot about thought and emotion and that's probably pretty uncomfortable to people who wish thoughts and emotions to come from something that isn't physical."

I don't disagree that everything you experience as far as thoughts and emotions are physical. The fact that you physically experience them means there must be physical causes. That is not the "magic" part. The "magic", if any, is in the fact that you can willfully choose your actions. Without God, without a soul, you and I can only be biological machines, which are all governed by physical law. The brain can only be mechanistic and causal. So our choices and decisions can't actually be willful decisions. We can't actually have any more control than a river has in choosing its path. Don't confuse yourself or oversimply by attributing all that isn't "real" with "magic".

"You'll always see God in everything because you expect to."

No, but it seems that you'll always see whatever I say as this because that's what you expect. I keep my mind open. Like in this hub. I seriously considered a godless existence. It's not my perceptions that show me it doesn't work, it's the facts of the case. When all is taken into consideration, a god-less existence is simply the less likely scenario.

jonnycomelately on December 15, 2014:

Beautiful writing, thank you Kylyssa.

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on December 15, 2014:

I don't usually hear a voice when I read, I see words and they become images and other sensory data. It's apparently fairly common among autistic people and slightly less so among people who aren't. I doubt congenitally profoundly deaf people hear a speaking voice when they read, either. It could probably be confirmed by a brain scan because the areas of my brain associated with visual processing would light up. Your areas for verbal processing would probably show increased activity instead, were you given something to read during a brain MRI. We don't all perceive things the same way. I still believe you hear words because many people claim to and MRIs of humans reading show many have increased activity in the verbal centers of their brains. The spoken words you think you hear come from your own mind; no God is necessary to explain them. It's just you thinking.

Belief or absence of belief are shaped by the perceptions and needs of the person who believes or doesn't.

Your perceptions have led you to believe God is real and you seem to have a deep need for everything to have an explanation and for some kind of specialness. Not knowing or understanding things seems to make you feel uneasy.

My perceptions have led me to believe God is not real and I am delighted that mysteries and unknowns still exist. I feel existence itself is special enough without adding anything beyond it. I'm OK with mankind not knowing all the answers. I don't need a fantastical explanation if there's no good reality-based explanation for something yet; I'm satisfied knowing that whatever the final explanation of anything is, it will be a natural part of the way the universe works. Making up supernatural explanations seems like a way to shut off curiosity to me. To not allow for anything to have a logical, natural explanation is to render yourself unable to accept any that might be discovered.

I've also discovered that my needs and desires have little to do with what I think is real. I'd like a caring God to be real but I just don't think one is.

Magic doesn't exist. That is the logic of atheism you reject.

I'm not afraid of being an animal as all the evidence suggests I am. I don't need to imagine I'm not an animal to feel special because an intelligent animal is a pretty darned special thing. Existing at all is pretty special.

Neuroscience seems to be a little bit taboo with some believers as it explains a lot about thought and emotion and that's probably pretty uncomfortable to people who wish thoughts and emotions to come from something that isn't physical. If thoughts and emotions aren't natural functions of the brain then why does damage to the brain affect them? If thoughts and emotions are magic rather than products of the brain, why can brain chemicals get balanced with medication and change unhealthy thoughts and emotions to more normal ones? Why can other chemicals affect the mind adversely if the mind isn't something physical?

The mind also plays tricks because it is physical, fallible, and delicate. Things we perceive are colored by what we expect to perceive. I had it happen when I was very tired and I saw something out of the corner of my eye as I sat down at a picnic table near dusk. I marked the objects off as ducks in the water until I turned straight on and saw they were actually pieces of a submerged dead tree sticking out of the water. If I'd never turned to look at them straight on, I'd have always kept the mistaken perception that there were ducks in the pond. It wouldn't mean I was stupid or illogical, just that I'd been fooled by my imperfect perceptions. You'll always see God in everything because you expect to. Your mind will always fill God in into the fuzzy spaces, the empty places, and wherever you can't make sense of what you see. I don't think God is real so I don't expect to see God in anything. I just expect things from reality to be in the spots I can't see clearly. I guess that's why I thought I saw ducks rather than angels on that pond.

There are plenty of amazing real things to experience and see without imagining magic in everything we can't look at straight on.

Jeremy Christian (author) from Texas on December 14, 2014:

Kylyssa and Peter,

I understand that atheism is simply a lack of belief in God. But it's not like belief/lack of belief can exist in a vacuum where the realities of existence can't be seen as directly related. Existence still exists, therefore still requires explanation. The reasons I've listed here are the reasons why I can't logically accept a Godless existence, and why therefore I cannot accept an atheist reality. There are far too many assumptions and leaps in logic required to consider it a viable option.

" I'm not going to have a belief in them arbitrarily! I need to have some reason to believe the things I do, or my mind would be chaotic indeed."

This is a perfect example. I understand the confidence and the comfort that