There are certainly plenty of people who are not religious and live good, happy, productive lives, so of course it is not strictly necessary for these goals. Of course, it probably also differs from person to person. But regardless of whether you feel you need religion to keep you happy, Jesus offers the way to obtain something more than living happy, productive, virtuous lives. He gives us the opportunity to obtain eternal life (1 John 5:11-12), to fully be restored to the way of life that humans were originally intended to live. This is why following Jesus is more significant than just going to church on Sundays: following Jesus might make you less happy in this world, but it will ultimately give you something far, far more than just happiness.
Sure it might have been legal, moral and ethical at the time, but you have to agree that today it wouldn’t be as our morality and ethics have changed drastically in the past decades.
Yeah, I really don’t know. It doesn’t say how old she was. In general, it seems to me that God does typically work within the norms of the culture he’s working with. Non-Christians may see that as “of course, because that culture made him up” but to me it’s reflective of a God that works with us wherever we are, which I find helpful.
But is there any evidence that this is true?
I am talking today. Your moral gut feelings. Your 21st century American moral values and ethics. Let’s say a freshman woman came to you with this story? What if you heard the story about a woman in the Middle East. What would your FIRST reaction be? I would venture to say that your first inclination would be moral outrage.
The same outrage that you would feel if I told you that some innocent man in Jerusalem is going to be killed next Friday because of transgressions by humanity against the innocent man’s father who impregnated the man’s mother so that the man could grew up and be killed for humanity’s evilness against the man’s fathers. And the man’s father is allowing it to happen but it is the only way the man’s father can forgive all of humanity for being immortal, immoral humans.
Back when I was a Christian teenager, I did not see this as a problem. If there is a god, then the resurrection should be within the capabilities of that god.
I began to question the resurrection a year or two later, but not because of science. I questioned it because, on closer examination, the account in the gospels did not seem credible. The gospel account made more sense as an account of mass hysteria than as an account of actual events. It wasn’t the scientific problems with resurrection that raised concerns.
In my view, it is more about overturning the very idea of how you determine something to be true. Where do you draw the line between natural and supernatural? If you are allowed to invoke the supernatural wherever you please, then you can’t do science. Many christians seem to draw this line around evidence. If there is evidence for a natural process then the supernatural is not invoked. That seems reasonable, but then it begs the question of how you pursue answers for questions that currently don’t have evidence.
But like I said earlier, humans aren’t machines forced to follow wrote logic or the scientific method. It is up to each of us to decide how we arrive at answers to questions.
How do we determine that a phenomenon is regular, repeatable, and reducible to simple laws to begin with? You have to do the science before these things are discovered. If you decide beforehand that something is supernatural, then you might not do the science. The reason that we often use science is that it has been extremely successful, so it isn’t about faith but about a track record.
I agree that science can’t rule out God. The real question is how you rule in God.
Mercury had an anomalous precession in its orbit, but no one thought it was a miracle. It helped lead to General Relativity. Many other anomalous data points have led to new theories and moved science along. So what’s the difference between a miracle and our models being wrong in this scenario?
Am I saying that you can’t believe in God through faith? Absolutely not. It isn’t a belief I share, but I hold no grudges towards those who do. Can someone demand evidence for one claim, but not for another? Absolutely.
I still say to start with Jesus. Consider him. Not the cartoon version, but the one recorded in the Gospels. If you have not already done so, consider reading Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John with fresh eyes.
The point of @PeacefulScience.org is not to reduce matters of faith to scientific analysis… but to balance evidence with positions of faith.
We dont require heaven be reducible to science…
We dont expect the witness from the natural sciences to be overturned by just a word or sentence from the Bible.
Atheist and Agnostic science professionals expect too much when they insist the resurrection should be amenable to physics…
While Creationists expect too much to think science should be swept away by the reading of 2 chapters in Genesis!
I also agree with this statement.
I grew up in the church, so I am very familiar with the gospels and they have been considered (along with Paul’s teachings). I even took a New Testament course at a Presbyterian founded liberal arts college, although the class was much more secular than a Sunday school class.
@T_aquaticus, I know you are very familiar with the gospels. I meant no disrespect.
For me, the way I know God exists, is good, and wants to be known is because of Jesus. There is the Gospels, but there is also public evidence outside the Gospels too. As I trusted in this evidence, there also grew private evidence as well. Early on, many times, it was the outcome of an evidential inquiry. Now, it is different. I see something that is very hard to “unsee.”
I’m going to give you the answer that goes along with PeacefulScience.Org… not the one that Atheists or Agnostics particularly enjoy:
You draw the line with the preponderance of evidence … and ALLOWING for both spiritual and scientific events to co-exist.
There’s no point in arguing with a Christian about trying to use JUST ONE type of evidence - - and IGNORING all the other categories of evidence. That’s not really how Theists are wired.
So: the same logic that makes us (here at Peaceful Science) cringe when a Creationist insists on dumping millions of years worth of physical evidence…
applies to Atheists and Agnostics when they insist on dumping 2000 years of religious events and developments… just because science gets dinosaurs and cosmology correctly.
Creationists and Atheists represent opposite extremes of two brittle end-points.
Peaceful Science is not here to PROVE religion to Atheists, nor is it here to PROVE science to Creationists. We are here for those Christians who are already at the point in their life where they see the value of both.
Isn’t one of the lessons of science, essentially, that if you can’t test it, then you can’t really claim to know it?
How can there be another “kind” of knowledge that could in any way be said to be reliable if there is none of the kinds of quality controls that makes science work? You seem to be insinuating that there’s this completely different arena of investigation where things like double blind trials, replicability, and measurent, or even having consistency with our background knowledge of how the world around us works, don’t apply, and yet it still produces “knowledge” of some kind that we can be confident in.
How does that work exactly? What is it that gives us confidence (if any) in this different type of “knowledge” which don’t submit to any sort of repeatability, measurement, and so on?
If you’re somehow okay with a particular brand of claims not being submitted to the kinds of quality control that we put scientific claims, how can you even distinguish true from false claims in this different arena of discourse? Who’s claims of Gods, ghosts, demons, psychokinesis, levitation, and leprechauns, could not be supported in the same way you would support your beliefs in virgin births and resurrections, by just insisting it’s a different “type” of claim that doesn’t need the kinds of quality control we demand in science, or we would demand in a court of law?
Isn’t there something deeply inconsistent in insisting there’s these two completely different types of knowledge and methods of investigation. Why don’t we allow divine intervention as evidence in court?
Is it not obvious that it’s all just a rationalization you come up with to avoid having to admit that your religious beliefs are probably false? Especially in light of the fact that we know, historically and sociologically, that this is what people do about their cherished beliefs? They rationalize them, when all the evidence implies they’re false.
Pictures of a round Earth? NASA doctors them!
No insiders have come forward about the 9/11 conspiracy? They’re being silenced/assassinated!
Spoon bending/water divination/levitation doesn’t work under properly controlled conditions? It’s because the skepticism of the observers interferes with the psychic power! (If you all believed first it would totally work I swear!)
We get the exact same excuses with theism:
God doesn’t reveal himself to us today (but did 2000 years ago to all sorts of people)? You can’t put God in a test tube/it’s to preserve your free will to deny him/you have to believe in him first!
And so on ad infinitum.
How is this idea that God and his miracle works are just part of some completely different arena of “knowledge” not just another example of this kind of rationalizing your beliefs to save them from falsification?
We have so much evidence that humans do this, and have done it for millennia about their beliefs. I don’t see how belief can be rationally maintained in light of our scientific knowledge of the world, and of human psychology, culture, history, and sociology.
Let’s not even talk about theology - there are many areas of human experience which natural science cannot model accurately, much less predict. Some atheists would retort, “But in principle everything, including human history, consciousness, ethics, and religion, is reducible to physics!” But this is more of an article of faith and expression of optimism in future science than anything with direct empirical proof.
If they can’t be modeled, and no predictions made, how can you even believe it is true? What could possibly give you any confidence the truth of your conclusions when they have been submitted to zero independent testing of any kind?
If you forgo the scientific method, what kind of claim could you not support with an ad-hoc insistence that this type of things is somehow just different and can’t be tested?
Now when we put God into the picture, the limitations of science become even more apparent. God, if he exists like the Judeo-Christian conception, would be the Creator, Sustainer, Sovereign of the universe. When one claims that one can “scientifically” rule out the existence of God, one is really claiming that science should be able to fully model God’s actions in the universe. But why should this be the case? If God exists, he is the one who is responsible for the order and regularity that makes science possible in the first place. This would be like ants trying to decipher the actions and motivations of myrmecologists.
What could you NOT continue to believe if you simply invoke in the same ad-hoc fashion that this entity in question has the supernatural power to hide from human scientists looking for it and is only irregularly active in a way nobody can predict? What snake-oil salesman could not invoke a similar rule to explain why the expensive crystals he sold you didn’t cure your child with leukemia?
These reasons are why I think science is extremely limited as a tool for assessing the existence and actions of God in the universe.
Then what would you use in it’s place, and how could you have any confidence in it’s reliability? How could you possibly tell true from false miracle claims, or true from false claims about God’s actions in the world?
It seems to me that exactly because you have no way of actually determining the answers to these questions, the claims can by definition not be rationally justified. It’s nothing but blind faith. What could not be believed by blind faith?
By definition, miracles are special, unrepeatable events with special significance. Through scientific lens, miracles are “five-sigma events” - events which if they happen, a scientist would likely interpret as a malfunction in equipment causing anomalous data points. A good scientist would reset their equipment and try to see if the anomaly happened again. If it didn’t, then the data point would be tossed out. This illustrates how unequipped science is to handle miracles.
If God’s actions in the world are so nebulous, so vague, and so undetectable that they could never be scientifically demonstrated, then in what way could we even claim to know that God has interacted with the world at all? If those interactions by definition don’t leave evidence behind, can never be measured, seen, or tested in any way, how is that any different from God not interacting with the world at all, and what is it then, if anything, that justifies any belief that God interacts with the world?
This is the parable of Carl Sagan’s invisible dragon in his garage again. For every test suggested about God’s actions in the world, some reason will be invented for why that test wouldn’t work. We end up with a conception of God has is functionally equivalent to a God that doesn’t exist.
@Rumraket, most things that are important and real in the world are not demonstrable with science. Most things. It seems like you are a positivist, is that correct?
The same could be said for moral claims like “racism is wrong.” Are you trying to say we live in a world that is functionally equivalent to say “racism is wrong” and “racism is not wrong”?
Nope. I am not a positivist. Not sure what you’d call my position though.
This makes no sense in the context of what you are quoting. Can you rephrase this question?
I think we may have gone over this topic once before, and it is really a difference in opinion as to what counts as evidence. I think that is as far as we need to take it.
Visit the Department of Philosophy at any major university in the world and tell them about your viewpoint that philosophy can’t produce any knowledge without empiricism and scientific methodologies. It sounds like you are rehashing a popular brand of Scientism.
I wish I had a link to the post on Peaceful Science where someone posted a nice summary of the various kinds of knowledge produced by philosophy which is not subject to scientific-empirical verification. It included the very foundations which made it possible for modern science to evolve from Natural Philosophy, a very important subset of philosophy.
The following article is not meant to be some sort of “clincher” to this discussion. I simply provide the link because I happened to read it yesterday and it is nicely relevant:
University students no longer receive mandatory instruction in philosophy, logic, and the history of Western thought and so these types of myopias are not at all surprising.
POSTSCRIPT: While visiting the university campus of your choice, you may also want to drop in on another group of non-scientists, the Dept of History.
I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me how you can claim to know something with no way of distinguishing true from false. I see some attempts to try to label me, and an invitation to tell this to philosophers. What would they tell me, these philosophers?