An Atheist's Natural Theology

(Daniel Ang) #1

Let me ask you a question then Patrick. Could you be wrong about your belief that the material is all there is?

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AJ Roberts's Theology of Nature
#2

Yes, of course. I actually hope that I am wrong.

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#3

And to those who have never experienced a personal God? keep waiting? or keep looking within thyself for something that isn’t part of nature? Or perhaps live your life happy, full of purpose and meaning without arguing with one’s self.

(Ashwin S) #4

Waiting will not help you much… trying seeking for God…

#5

sure - which one?

(Ashwin S) #6

You don’t know. Start with the point of reference you have… God as creator of you and all things.

(I would point to my experiences and point to Jesus… But whether to take a pointer from me or not is ultimately your call…:slight_smile:

#7

I have no such point of reference.

(Ashwin S) #8

Exactly … That’s why people are talking about natural theology.
Perhaps you will find such a point of reference some time.

#9

Perhaps, I should worship the Sun as I can actually see the Sun. The Sun provides me warmth and the things necessary for life on Earth (and unfortunately occasional skin cancer.)

(Ashwin S) #10

You have the freedom to worship whoever or whatever you want. It’s your choice to make.

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(Daniel Ang) #11

That’s interesting. If you hope you are wrong, then why don’t you live your life in a way that reflects that hope? If it turns out you are wrong, you would be a little happy that your hope turned out to be true, but you would not have lived your life in accordance with that hope (i.e. non-materialism), so you would not be able to obtain the benefits of that hope. If it turns out you are right, then your hopes are dashed and your life also has been lived in a way that you don’t like.

The fact that there are multiple religions and opinions about the Divine doesn’t mean that they are all false, or that the right thing to do is not to commit to any of them. In science, there could be multiple contradictory explanations for a phenomenon, but that doesn’t mean we should then assume no explanation is true.

I think it is no accident that after thousands of years of religious evolution, only a few major religions are left. I think they are the most resilient and well thought-out systems. (For example, Augustine completely debunks the plausibility of the pagan polytheistic view of the world in The City of God). So instead of a few thousand deities, you are left with only several. From there I would pick a religion that you personally respond the most to. Of course, I’m biased towards Christianity, because I feel it is the most straightforward and clear system of explaining who God is, what his plan is for us and how to go about participating in it.

The question is, does the Sun respond to your personal worship? Is it a personal God that cares about you? How would you know? At least, religions like Christianity have sacred scriptures that claim God actually cares and desires for our worship of him. They could all be wrong, but at least some evidence is better than nothing.

#12

Thanks. (Note that freedom is made possible by the US Constitution and the men and women who work to maintain that freedom.)

(Ashwin S) #13

Patrick I am an Indian… America did not invent freedom… :slight_smile:
No one can grant freedom to worship. It’s an inherent right excercised through personal conviction. Even people in communist China had the freedom to worship whoever they wanted inspite of the state. They just needed a firm enough inner conviction and the courage such a conviction beings about.

#14

Most of the world problems are caused by the divisiveness and intolerance of the world’s religions. India is certainly no exception. In 40 countries today, you face execution if you don’t practice ANY religion. Freedom of Expression which is the combination of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and freedom of the press are a fundamental human right that most religions of the world reject.

(Ashwin S) #15

You forgot to mention communist governments. Where the state forced people to have no religion.

If human rights are fundamental, then it’s not the government’s to give. I don’t look to the government to tell me whether I can worship or not. Though i am grateful for my countries constitution which gives me the right to pursue any faith. I appreciate the peace.

As to theocracies… I believe in seperation of church and state. I believe you and all people have a God given right and duty to worship or not according to your conscience.

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(Jon Garvey) #16

If the general testimony of natural theology we’ve been mainly covering (creation points to a Creator) doesn’t convince someone, then it’s no great thing that any deeper natural theology escapes them too.

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(Guy Coe) #17

The One you ought to seek is the personal, transcendent yet immanent, creator of the entire universe, Patrick. Any others are false imitations or due to aberrant imagination.

#18

Then you support various atheist organizations who are against blasphemy laws and apostate laws that execute and lash citizens who go on atheist websites?

#19

I think that there all due to aberrant imagination.

(Ashwin S) #20

I am against the state enforcing any religion on people. I don’t see why organisations that fight against this has to identify themselves as athiest.