Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Agnostic?

Perhaps I am cursed, or afflicted might be the better word, by a god I don't believe in, to wander about from one conviction to another; an explorer trapped in my own imagination.

A friend of mine is strong in his conviction: God, in his perfection, created the Universe, sent his son, Jesus Christ, to establish a new covenant then die for our sins. God also created an Objective Moral code to guide humanity. It is our choice to act accordingly and to, hopefully, choose with our free will to act in accordance of that objective morality and move towards communion with God. That's what God wants. At least that is my naive understanding. It's pretty simple, really, and sometimes I get a little jealous of my friend and his conviction. I wish I could be sure about something.

I wonder if my parents had been Atheists if I would have gone through some spiritual rebellion in my 20s, moved away from their atheism, and then found God. Instead of the other way around. Or maybe its just the simple matter of what we think we know from science. The world isn't less than 10,000 years old, and we do share a common ancestor with other animals. How can I square that with a teaching that is based on a book ignorant of modern science? Something must yield and for now God is losing. Badly.

But then I wonder: So what? Does it even matter? What if God does exist and created everything just as it is, including the pesky evidence that suggests otherwise? What would really change? I'm still me and I still enjoy sunsets, rice and beans, and making love to my wife. I will experience it regardless of what is behind it all. Does that make me agnostic?

I'm not sure.

4 comments:

  1. Hi John,

    I would like to say I have had a similar experience as you, just the other way around. I was brought up in a Church setting. I had always believed in a “higher power”, but as I matured I wondered. I wondered about all the differences in “religions”. How can there be some many differences in religions that are under the same title of “Christian”?

    So let me take a moment and share with you my testimony. First of all you imply that you can’t believe the bible as it is ignorant of modern science. I must say that I greatly disagree with this. I have studied the sciences and engineering all my life. The bible in fact tells us, way before the existence of Aristotle and others, that the Earth is round, and that it sits in space with nothing holding it up. That’s some pretty big stuff. All Aristotle needed to do is look in the bible and he could read that his notion was already accounted for long ago!

    Next, the bible does allow for the world to be very old, but it was only recently “made alive” again by God.

    As for human sharing a common ancestry with other animals, well I completely disagree with you here. This is where what I call a “knowledge differential” comes in. Just because we read or are told something does not make it fact. Just because we believe something as fact, does not make it fact. At times in our lives we just “adopt” belief systems and believe them as fact without ever really knowing why or without ever looking in to the detail to justify our beliefs. This was my dilemma. Ok so I believe in a “creator” a “God”, but why? Did I just blindly accept my family’s belief that there was a God? Actually I did at first, but then my experience and desire to know the truth kicked in.

    From your statements you suppose in your mind that science is winning the debate over “God”. Well I can tell you from studying the sciences my entire lifetime that I have concluded the exact opposite. My studies have proven to me over and over from experience, not just blind “believe-ism” that there has to be an Intelligent Creator. Every single avenue of science can only go so far and then it stops. It cannot explain thing fully and what you end up with are a bunch of men, albeit they are smart, giving us their hypotheses (basically they are guessing) at what they think explains the “what, when, why, & where” (note how they almost always leave out the one thing they can’t tweak, the “WHO”). Well think about it, is this really any different than a child just using their imaginations with the current knowledge and intellect they have to dream up what think their imaginary realm is really like? The fundamentals are the same, they have a knowledge set that only takes them so far, and then they just “dream up the rest”.

    Let’s take biology. Go ask any biologist a pointed question. “What makes a single cell alive? Why is it living?” Then when they can’t answer, ask them if they had all the building blocks of a single cell could they make a living cell? When they say “well no, can’t do that” then ask them how did the first living cells come about? And they will likely say “Well, over billions and billions of years, they just formed.” So then ask them “How can “time and chance” be smarter than they are?” And then expect some melt down.

    You see John every living cell in your body is a little tiny machine. It’s a living machine made of little tiny parts, with a little tiny “computer code” (DNA RNA)” that instructs it what to do, when to do it, and what role it has in the whole of the organism it is part of.

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  2. ....continued from above

    Now think about this, we humans can create machines, but there is only one reason we are able to do so, and that is because we posses INTELLIGENCE. So let’s look at that definition:

    “A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—"catching on," "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do. “

    So I think you will agree that without INTELLIGENCE we humans could not create anything even close to a functional machine. So now ask your biologist how in the world “time and chance” can possibly create anything? Basically “no intelligence, no machines”. Time and chance do not magically posses intelligence, nor have they, nor will they ever.

    So back to our single tiny living cell machine. If you believe “evolution theory”, basically somehow a bunch of tiny little “parts” constructed themselves and then one day they magically just fell into place to make a single living cell!

    Let me put that in perspective, consider an automobile. Take it all apart, and lay out all those parts on the ground. Now look at all of it and start the time clock. Ok, a million years goes by, now a billion years. Did those parts all by themselves somehow put themselves back together and you see a car sitting there again? No way, not ever, without some form of INTELLIGENCE working. Oh, and I left out the fact that those parts would not even exist in the first place without, yep, INTELLIGENCE.

    So you might say “well a single is cell is relatively simple in comparison”. Oh really? Well what is more complex your body and all its systems and functions or that car? There is no comparison. If you get stuck on the simplicity factor I urge you to really look at the cell to see that’s it quite more complex that you might think; we don’t even fully understand them yet. Then also consider that I have a deck of cards that has been sitting around for 40 years in a pile, and not a single “simple” card house has magically formed from that pile. Would one form in million or a billions years? No, not without an INTELLIGENT driver.

    So when I looked at things from this obvious perspective on intelligence, I then came to this conclusion. If this INTELLIGENT CREATOR exists, and by the looks of His awesome creation, surely He should be able to disclose the TRUTH to me about Himself and the TRUTH about everything else we need to know, right?

    So this is what I ask everyone: You have a set of beliefs, but have you ever sought after the real reason why you believe what you believe, and before you say you don’t believe in an Intelligent Creator God, have you ever actually sought after Him and asked Him to show you the truth? If you have not, then you are not being fair to yourself as we can’t just blindly follow a set of beliefs we formed or just adopted from someone else without seeking the alternative with a whole-hearted desire to know the TRUTH.

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  3. ....continued from previous comment.....


    Do this my friend, seek whole-heartedly for as long as it takes, and you WILL be shown the truth.

    I believe the only reason you feel God is loosing badly, is because you have not been fair and you have not whole-heartedly sough after the truth. Funny, the bible says “Seek me and you shall find me when you seek for me with all your heart”. I didn’t know that was in there till after I decided to seek for the truth. The TRUTH is revealed to those who actually seek. If you have not done this, then you have not done the most important thing in life you could ever do. It TRUMPS everything.

    You mention “pesky evidence that suggest otherwise” and I say that is exactly what it is, its nothing more than “pesky” attempts men take to try to disprove the existence of an intelligent creator God, that is headed up by the forces of evil. There is absolutely ZERO chance that even simple living machines were formed without INTELLIGENCE. SEEK this Intelligence and you will know the truth for yourself, don’t take my word for it or anyone else!

    What would really change if you decide to seek and then find our creator God? EVERYTHING will change, and you will enjoy your sunsets even more, your rice and beans even more, and your wife even more, when you know the truth for yourself!

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  4. Thanks, anonymous, for your thoughtful and detailed comments. I guess what I would say is that just because a question (what really is life?) does not yet have an answer in science (physics, biology, etc.), does not prove (or disprove) the existence of a creator. It just means we are still exploring. And its the exploration through science that excites me. But that is just one facet to understanding our peculiar existence. There is much wisdom about life and what it means to be human in ancient texts, like The Bible. And I also find much to be awed by with the continuing revelations of our wondrous world through our collective human curiosity and desire for knowledge. As a species we have slowly set aside the superstitions that were once deemed as fact (and which caused much pain and suffering). Local spirits and gods eventually yielded to our beliefs in a single God. Kings, once granted their authority through divine providence, have given way to democracy and we have a very different understanding of how we are to govern each other. I could go on to list many beliefs and practices (slavery and witchcraft to name two) that were once seen as factual or divinely directed and are now dismissed. None of this, I can honestly say, means God does not exist. It's easy to argue those prior beliefs were the human and fallible interpretations of a Single Truth. And yet it is that very unfolding of history that draws me towards a rational determination of reality through direct and repeatable observation rather than trusting my humans (and my fellow human's) ability to interpret the writings of men and women thousands of years ago. The Scientific Method, with it hypotheses, tests, and interpretations, sometimes wrong, are what move humanity, imperfectly, over time, towards a better understanding of our world, each other, and ourselves. The message Jesus brought about love is one of my favorite but I don't need him to be God to have an amazing sense of gratitude for how His message changed the world. Yet, you and I are able to communicate to each other in this curious way thanks to our pursuit of knowledge thanks to the Scientific Method. I guess, for now, that is where I will cast my lot.

    Thanks again, sincerely, for your thought provoking comments!

    John

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