This post is for an open discussion on the merits of faith vs. science as related to human existence.
On another post, one individual has indicated he believes humans are here (exist) because they were put here by a “Designer” (i.e., “God”). Others strongly disagree.
What do you think? If you’re new to the subject, I suggest you read some of the comments on the other post. If you have an opinion — whether you agree or disagree with what someone else has said — don’t hesitate! Jump right in. The more the merrier!
The following comment was made by a Christian blogger to an individual who disagreed with him:
But you will fail because you will never be able to answer the most important questions of all—why we exist, why are we here at all? Your “I don’t know” answers will always be found wanting.
I found this comment a bit condescending, but mostly, it’s simply not true.
To say that an “I don’t know” answer will always be found “wanting” reveals an obvious bias since NO ONE can definitively say why humans exist.
Even though multitudes of people attribute our presence on this earth to a supernatural entity (and not always the biblical god), there are scores of others who support a more “scientific” view. Still others simply shrug their shoulders and say, “Who knows? Who cares?”
I would say I lean towards the last point of view.
This is not to say I never ponder the heavy question of “why?” … but if/when I do, I admit my tendency is to accept the answers provided by science. However, having said that, I also recognize that science is not … and cannot be … the final answer.
But then neither is the answer found in a book written many thousands of years ago. Nor is it hidden in the numerous legends, myths, and fables that have been passed down though the centuries.
Simply put … we don’t know why we exist.
Therefore, when someone asks, Why we exist, why are we here at all, the most honest answer has to be “I don’t know.”
Just read a new post entitled, “Atheist or Agnostic.” In it, the author offers some thoughts on worship (God or otherwise) and asks the question, “Is there any valid basis for worship?”
At the beginning of his post, however, he discusses the terms “atheist” and “agnostic” — and then defines himself as an “antitheist.” Although I’d heard the term before, I was interested in a definitive meaning. This is what I found at Rational Wiki: Antitheism is a noncomparable term referring to the belief that theism and religion are not only very likely to be invalid and false, but that they are restricting, dangerous, primitive, and offer no unique benefits.
On the same page that I found the definition was something Christopher Hitchens once said. To some of you, it may be familiar, but I had not read it before (actually I haven’t read any of his works). He said it in response to an audience question during a public debate between he and Rev. Al Sharpton.
Audience member: My question to Christopher is; how you can justify wanting to take something away from people, that gives meaning to 95% of the American people, and replace it with something that gives meaning to just 5% of the American people?
Christopher Hitchens: Hah! Well. What an incredibly stupid question. First, I’ve said repeatedly that this stuff cannot be taken away from people, it is their favourite toy and it will remain so, as Freud said with The Future of an Illusion, for as long as we’re afraid of death—which I think is likely to be quite a long time. Second—I hope I’ve made it clear that I’m perfectly happy for people to have these toys, and to play with them at home, and hug them to themselves and so on, and share them with other people who come around and play with their toys. So that’s absolutely fine. They are not to make me play with these toys. Ok? I will not. Play. With. The toys. Don’t bring the toys to my house. Don’t say my children must play with these toys. Don’t say my toys—might be a condom, here we go again—are not allowed by their toys. I’m not going to have any of that. Enough with clerical and religious bullying and intimidation! Is that finally clear? Have I got that across? Thank you!
(After reading this, I can see why so many non-believers like and quote Hitchens. 🙂 )
Anyway, what he says falls in line with my personal approach. Do your thing, Christians. I don’t agree with you or your beliefs but if they work for you, fine. I may offer alternate opinions/ideas for you to consider, but if you don’t accept them, that’s your prerogative.
By the same token, as Hitchens says, do not make me play with your toys. Long ago, I looked at your toys — and even purchased and played with them. But one day, I outgrew your toys … and I have NO desire to look at, touch, and/or play with them any longer. In fact, I got rid of them in the far, far distant past.
Probably one of the most annoying things about Christian toys is you find them laying about everywhere. Even when you try to get rid of them, they turn up again. Hopefully, someday in the not-too-distant future, believers will discover toys are for children. And it’s time to grow up.
I believe that traditional Christianity can be proven false in five minutes by knocking out the three pillars of the Christian Faith (belief system):
The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus
The Accuracy of Old Testament Prophecy
The Witness of the Holy Spirit
He then clearly listed his perspective on each point. But it wasn’t so much his clear and concise explanations that got my attention, it was more Gary’s response to “Andrew,” who had left the following comment (condensed):
You are viewing death purely from a human standing. Jesus is God the Creator and only took the role of a human being in order to pay the price for sin. This He did out of pure love, a love that for most of us is sadly illusive.
True Christians live to love and serve others following the actions of Jesus when He became a man. Sadly there are millions who muddy the water with false faith and erroneous lifestyles under the banner of Christianity.
If am wrong and you are right nothing changes, but if I am right then the afterlife is going to be a lamentable experience.
And how sad that you all seem to think that death (as the world knows it) is all there is… What a waste…
In his reply, Gary asks Andrew if he’s studied other “exclusivist” beliefs so he can be 100% certain he’s made the right choice (I think most of us know the answer), and further points out that for most Christians, it’s really a matter of HOPE they have put their faith in the “correct” god. He goes on to say that ALL religions are simply human invention based on ancient superstitions.
He then challenges Andrew (or any other believer) that if they want to prove him wrong, they will need to do more than frighten him with threats of eternal damnation.
Of course I agree with Gary, but I was particularly struck by this part of Andrew’s comment: True Christians live to love and serve others following the actions of Jesus.
Ahhh yes. “True Christians live to love” while at the same time threatening non-believers with images of fire and brimstone IF they don’t turn their lives over to Jesus. Perhaps if someone has leanings towards “becoming a Christian,” these dire warnings might have some influence, but for those who have clearly and repeatedly expressed their non-belief in not only Christianity, but every other “god-based religion,” such admonitions become extremely tiresome.
However, in Christendom, it’s all a matter of “hedging your bets.” They would rather believe in the stories presented in a VERY OLD book than to make a “wrong” choice by simply enjoying the unconditional life that was given to them at birth.
The Pew Research Center projects that the demographic of religiously affiliated people will grow four percentage points to 87 percent of the world’s population by 2050, with roughly 8 billion of the 9.3 billion people subscribing to one or another religion.