Critiquing the enlightened

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by universaldistress, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. lalalandscape Registered Senior Member

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    It seems rather ignorant of you to assume all scientists are on the side of the fence 'there is no God.', especially considering the only reason you seem to be agnostic is so you won't lose arguments with religious people, while at heart believing there is no god. I am not sure if you are aware, but part of the basis of science's ideology is the willingness to evolve and change with new evidence. So far, there is NO evidence of God, therefore science has no proof or reason to support belief of God. That doesn't mean if new evidence suggested a phenomena similar to the God concept that scientist' wouldn't change their view. No, scientists don't push their ideology into their theories, they extrapolate theories based upon empirical evidence. Please do not mistake scientists or science with religion.
    Lastly, your half baked idea, is it possible to be in all positions simultaneously? No. Some positions are contradictory with each other, and unless you want to denounce anything remotely based in logic, then I would advice against this notion.
     
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  3. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

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    Didn't say all scientists.

    Wrong. I have no beliefs on this matter either way. I actually have a theory of how a god could exist. I am not adverse to the idea there is a god. Just don't like people suggesting there isn't or is. You have misread the thread methinks. Have you read the whole thread?

    Very interesting.

    So a scientist who wants to believe something from nothing has the same goals as a scientist who is following alternate interpretations of empirical data? Do me a favour. The world is full of subjective research and enquiry. I criticise only those scientists who argue against god, not those that criticise religion for instance.


    Of course its fecking half baked, that's the reason for posting it, to inspire discourse.
    I think you just picked out one possible interpretation of my suggestion. I was enquiring after any interpretations that could possibly have legs.

    The idea is kind of like agnosticism but without any affiliation or bias towards any one direction, which is possibly possible, though I haven't seen it yet; which was kind of my point (which you blatantly missed) that many scientists (or religions) follow a pet theory to explain the cosmos. There are many theories peddled. Though I think I am retreading ground already covered in this thread. Why don't you read the whole thing then get back to me?

    I did suggest this position (non-fixedism) is possibly not one possible to inhabit, or did you miss that? Being totally unbiased in religion, science or many things in life is difficult because everyone has a limited POV and ability to input data into their brain (and limited time to research, hence scientists tend to specialise and then follow one core lead).

    I like to argue based on logical issues I find with an empirically backable theory like something from nothing (as in this thread). I don't say it is definitely wrong. But then again I don't say something like dark flow is definitely true. Or that my pet theories are definitely true. I just don't like it when some scientists tend to push their ideas a little too forcefully, as if it were all sewn up already.
     
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  5. X-Man2 We're under no illusions. Registered Senior Member

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    I have no ball in the game here.Having said that why is it that people who dont believe in Science/Evolution automatically{almost always} take the god side? How un-original and why is it they themselves dont have a 3rd theory of their own? Just saying.
     
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  7. lalalandscape Registered Senior Member

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    Whether or not you said ALL scientists, you said 'scientists' without any further specificity. Though this could be interpreted as only a select group within, it is still vague and allows for the assumption that you meant all, or at least most. But what ever, this is a minor point by now and will let the misunderstanding pass. Oh, and many scientists do not believe the Big Bang was the beginning of our Universe's origin, and there are many theories being developed about what occurred BEFORE the Big Bang. So yeah, many scientists do not feel at all comfortable with the 'something from nothing' concept inferred from the Big Bang theory if such were the beginning.

    So? Whether or not you added this disclaimer to your idea, it doesn't negate my arguments against the idea which you put forth. This is basically saying 'here lets discuss my idea which may not be possible' and then using the 'may not be possible' defense when someone argues against your idea.

    You keep throwing around this term 'pet theory', acting as though scientists have unjustified biases toward specific theories, then you get mad when people point out to you that this is not at all within science's method of theory forming. Seriously, if you understand what science is, then stop acting like scientists have biases toward proving specific theories. Or must I again remind you that science bases its theories on empirical data, NOT human biases via theory peddling. This is precisely why there are peer reviews of new theories. Criticism is an aspect in the scientific community whose virtue is to scan for errors, biased or otherwise. Must I continue demonstrating how scientists lack your 'pet theory' bias claim which you continue peddling?

    There is a difference between holding all positions simultaneously and having an absence of a definitive quality toward positions. The difference being the level of degree in certainty. While no one should hold a 'completely certain' position toward any theory, 'almost certain' or 'more certain than X' are still quite appropriate. Basically, some theories have more evidence than others, thus generating more certainty towards them than others. This positioning it not simultaneously all positions at once, for you do not hold the same degrees of certainty toward all positions. A position incorporates a degree of certainty, and so too simultaneously all positions implies a same type degree. My position in X has certainty degree 9, whereas my position in Y has a certainty degree 3. What you propose means that we have all positions of all degrees, so that positions X and Y both have a a certainty degree 1-10 (if 1-10 where all the levels of certainty possible). This can be directly interpreted from your notion that one's position can sit on both sides of the fence and on the fence itself.
     
  8. Prof.Layman totally internally reflected Registered Senior Member

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    Universaldistress, you make an interesting point. I started studing theoretical physics to try to find the answer for why there was a Big Bang, but then I ended up coming up short. The laws of physics are completely unable to give us an answer to this question. For instance, the laws of conservasion would tell us that all the mass and energy of the universe would have always been here. This hypotheses would then not be too much different than saying that God has always been here. Either way you look at it, it seems that something has always existed. Then there is this thing called quantum superposition that you mention, maybe a particle traveling close to the speed of light can be at multiple locations at once. In a lot of relegions, God is the light, if taken literally photons can in a sense be everywhere at once. So, then it has lead me down the third option, I think the laws of physics allow for room for God. I think they could agree with each other. This is the idea that in a way converted me from atheisim.
     
  9. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

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    Like I said, you just picked out one interpretation of a concept I was purposely not concisely defining to inspire debate. The point was to explore (a) possible idea/s, not defend it against a narrow (one interpretation only) attack.

    So are you saying that there are not alternate theories of how it all works, that scientists within different specialised fields favour and pedal? I am not necessarily saying the scientific process itself is flawed but that it intrinsically follows different theories, that can be conflicting whilst still supported empirically, which scientists thrust forward too forcefully for my liking sometimes. I find this annoying, which I have already explained in detail.


    Did I specify the direction one should attack my loosely proffered concept/s? But thanks for approaching this with a bit more depth this time; I was being miasmal in approach to trigger just this type of debate, to learn; and wasn’t necessarily looking for the replier to restrict themselves to this 2 or that 2, but to maybe look to see if there was a 5 or 10 in there somewhere. I find two sparring minds often make more progress.

    Isn't this direction we explore now needing us to be assuming a philosophical position that everything, no matter how improbable, is possible? If freewill was absolute, as in we could manipulate matter around us in any way we could imagine, would it then be possible to hold such a position? I can see that one position (the extreme agnostic) is quite straight forward, and that the holding all concepts (with equal weight) simultaneously is more problematic, but this is a philosophical debate (General Philosophy) to explore the uncharted/fringe of conceptualisations.

    I must admit that I found your initial approach a bit terse (as was my opener), but are we making headway now?

    For example: But now imagine you have this power to control the very matter of the universe, through some distant future technologically advanced quantum manipulation (or somesuch) connected to your auto-created body of matter, to control as much matter as you like, and mould it to your whim, even to the point of being able to transcend time, then wouldn’t you be able to even conceive and enact the most complex computation and bring into existence the very god that would in trillions of years time develop the universe you would then be born into? Making the concept of holding any position’s certainties as important, irrelevant?

    Remember this is philosophy

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  10. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

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    Indeedy do. But I would say that agnosticism is a certain grade of atheism. Atheism is anything from belief there is definitely no god, to belief god is possible. I would say god is possible, and I (with my theory) see no conflict between the two (science and possible types of gods) coexisting in logical frameworks.

    I agree, I would say it is logically pleasing to say something has always existed. I think that transcendence of life is quite an exciting direction to contemplate. I have gone quite far off into infinity along these lines, but have plenty more frameworks to play with; the imagination being the non-limit (?).
     
  11. Prof.Layman totally internally reflected Registered Senior Member

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    I don't think it is logically pleasing at all to say something has always existed. That was one of the biggest obsticals in believing in God. To me science has just gotten as bad as religion in that respect. I just don't feel like it explains anything about how something could have come about. Then the only alternative to this line of reasoning is that energy can be created, if it wasn't always there. Then you are stuck with an even more outlandish theory that doesn't coincide with the laws of physics.

    I think it has become more mainsteam for Big Bang Theory to be described as being created by virtual particle pairs. Then the Big Bang could be seen as a quantum fluctuation of these virtual particles that somehow excape being annihilated from each other, like in Hawking Radiation. This would allow for "free energy" as it seems to be a loop hole to the conservation of energy, but there is still a problem with this theory. They do not know why there should be matter and not antimatter. If you have watched a science program that talks about the Big Bang, I am sure you have heard this before. The problem is that there just doesn't seem to be any reason why these particle pairs should become only matter dominate, and if someone could show why they would have to then they could explain for sure that the Big Bang and everything that came from it was given to us through this "free energy".

    I don't think we will find a solution to this problem, and just don't think there is enough energy involved in particle pair creation to account for everything in the Big Bang. Then it leads me to believe that there has to be another form of free energy, because I think all of the matter in the universe all in one spot would just be too massive to even have a Big Bang. In other words, if everything was already here, it could have never all been inside of an event horizon. Inflation predicts rapid expansion of the early universe.
     
  12. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

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    You allude to your standing but aren't defining it. Are you agnostic or theist?

    So it seems that something has always existed is different to saying it is logically pleasing?

    So do you believe in god now? I don't see the posit that something has always existed has to get in the way of possibilities of god, depends on the position/theory.

    Any theory of god has to be conducive to empirically proven data, or be shot down . Physicists are working on showing how it could be possible to create energy from nothing, though the jury is out on what that nothing should be. I hold that logically it could be a protomatter soup rather than the conventional nothing is NOTHING.

    Frontier thinking can be outlandish, that's the nature of it, but it shouldn't disagree with that which is proven?

    We know the universe is expanding, but there is much we do not understand (quantum and so on). For me, the minutiae (this or that conflicting theory) will pale into insignificance once something more solid is known. I don't get overly hung up on this stuff. We know the universe is expanding out from a point of unsure size, that is sure. The rest is theory. What came before the expansion is debatable. How this conflicts with god theories again is debatable. I wouldn't be definite on any of this stuff. I have my pet theories but they could be hogwash. I wouldn't commit to believing in god either.

    Answers are elusive on the specifics of expansion, to be sure. My theories tend to work beyond. We know space can expand. Whether it is one universe among many in a sea of protomatter, or only one universe in a sea of protomatter. Whether we define the protomatter as nothing, or say that all the universes in a multiverse are really one big universe of expanding and contracting zones, for me is irrelevant. A lot of it is terminology. But also logic, for me, points to an infinite eternity, and an eternal infinity, anything else doesn't make sense to me. If science can prove definitively that the universe really came from nothing-nothing then so be it. Until that happens my pet theory will remain that of an infinite infinity, though I will seek to not claim it as truth in any way.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  13. Prof.Layman totally internally reflected Registered Senior Member

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    Well, I haven't started going to church because of it. My family was non-denominational, but I didn't agree with some of the things they say and do(like speaking in tongues or coming up front to be overwhelmed by the holy spirit, it just didn't seem like it was really happening). So, I don't know for sure what is the correct religion, so I guess that could make me fall into the agnostic catagory. But, I have considered if more traditional or older religions could be closer to the correct one. I said a lot of religions because a lot of them do use the same Old Testament of the Bible.

    Right, I have gotten into the habit of saying something seems some way if it can be unsure of being the correct way of looking at it.

    It just doesn't seem to explain anything. It answers one question, but then it creates another question that seems to be further out of the range of possiblitities. Instead of not knowing how everything came to be, we are now left wondering not how our world came to be, but instead how a God came to be instead.

    On the contrary, I don't think God has to be proven. It is a big aspect of a lot of religions that you have to rely on faith in believing in God, and that faith is neccassary for getting into Heaven. Life itself is some sort of test to see if we are worthy to stay with God. I don't think it would be right to "shoot down" religion because of this.

    In a way, I think there was nothing (at least in our universe) around the moment of the Big Bang. I think it is possible that the phrase, "In the beginning, let there be light" could be an accurate description of what happened at the moment of the Big Bang, although I have come across some versions of the Bible that don't start out this way. If they said, "Before the beginning," it could be open to debate if it was an accurate description accoriding to our current theory, lol.
     
  14. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

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    There are many theories of god evolving today; if I was inclined to believe I wouldn't seek to butcher the bible into plausible metaphors (not saying you are, I don't know you well enough) to feel I could believe in god. I would look for a plausible mechanism of god and that would be enough I think.

    There is so much room within the unknown frontier (quantum mechanics, particle physics, astral physics, philosophy etc.) and beyond to hypothesize a god that no one can shoot down, as long as one doesn't profess belief (depending on the flexibility of the axioms of the philosophical discussion). Some religions can be shot down when they stick to illogical literal interpretations/doctrine whilst seeking to discourse within Sciences terms of engagement. Though many religions are evolving the way they interpret alongside Science's proven mechanisms. To go for a mainstream (though my knowledge of mainstream religion is far from complete) would seem difficult because I am not aware of one that is able to let go of literal "truths" that are inconsistent with Science's provens.

    The beauty of the human mind is that it can manufacture meaning when there is little or none. Any religious text could be reinterpreted to agree with Science if one was willing to redistribute meanings as one wished, though the mainstream may not agree. Religions tend to drag their heels as their preacher's in power are too old to adapt their thinkings quickly enough.

    Why does one need to believe when one can say god is possible. I don't see the need to have the psychological crutch so badly, that one is willing to let go of a reasoning agnostic position.

    One can explore and appreciate the beauty of "God" without believing. One can even understand the belief in god from a position without that position. If one has experienced belief in younger life or moments of weakness or if one has converted to atheism etc. and more besides.

    The subject will enthrall atheists and theists alike for years to come no doubt.
     
  15. lalalandscape Registered Senior Member

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    I am going to use this statement as my model to approach arguing my position in this discussion :

    There is a difference between holding all positions simultaneously and having an absence of a definitive quality toward positions. The difference being the level of degree in certainty. While no one should hold a 'completely certain' position toward any theory, 'almost certain' or 'more certain than X' are still quite appropriate. Basically, some theories have more evidence than others, thus generating more certainty towards them than others. This positioning it not simultaneously all positions at once, for you do not hold the same degrees of certainty toward all positions. A position incorporates a degree of certainty, and so too simultaneously all positions implies a same type degree. My position in X has certainty degree 9, whereas my position in Y has a certainty degree 3. What you propose means that we have all positions of all degrees, so that positions X and Y both have a a certainty degree 1-10 (if 1-10 where all the levels of certainty possible). This can be directly interpreted from your notion that one's position can sit on both sides of the fence and on the fence itself.
    I am going to extend upon this model in my explanation of it.

    Now, to address this point made:
    No, I am not saying this. Certainly, there are alternate theories in science which interpret data differently. This is because us humans have a limited capacity to understanding our Universe. Empiricism is our primary tool, but our ability to observe is limited by our tools, both technological and biological. The technology we have to observe can only penetrate so far into to the depths of our Universe, and our ability to process information is limited by our cognitive capacity. There is only so much information our minds can make sense of. Hence, the wide variety of theories which pick at each other’s integral seams. The conflict between Einstein’s relativity and quantum mechanics, one of the biggest contradicting theories in science, is but one example.
    Let me make this following expression clear: there is a difference between respecting different contradicting theories which hold strong grounds in empirical data and respecting all human ideas, many of which hold little to no grounds, such as God. This is precisely what I meant when I said that certain positions hold higher degrees of certainty than others, and that it is inadvisable to hold all positions with equal degrees of certainty. When a scientists, with strong confidence, asserts the non-existence of God; this is a very appropriate response because of how there is no evidence for a God. The foundation of theories must come from empirical evidence, and if there is contradicting empirical information, then both sides sustain merit. But a theory with evidence always trumps a theory without.

    I cannot help my reaction when I respond to this in the manner I do:
    ????
    Seriously? You’re going to use some speculative imagination-drenched hypothetical as an argument to the importance of holding positions with certainty? Therein lies our fundamental difference, distress: I base my arguments in evidence. And I see no reason not to, but if you’d like you can try and provide one for me. Otherwise, this last statement is dismissed.
     
  16. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

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    I was merely trying to point out that within philosophy the empirical is not the be all. You still fail to accept that I was presenting a foggy context to inspire debate; debate that comes to an end here due to a lack of depth in my counterpart. I do not see the idea that in the future humans may be able to control matter in amazing ways that far fetched; granted temporal influence is less easy to fathom. But that doesn't stop the fact an at present unimaginable amount of control over matter (future context) starts to shift certainties around in uncomfortable ways? Then we are just left with the specifics of any particular debate held in this interesting future (or indeed in the present using set axioms).

    You can't base a philosophical argument on just evidence (maybe you are in the wrong forum?), as philosophy is inherently speculative; speculative exploration through logic using agreed upon (or not) definitions and axioms. Certain positions that don't conflict with the empirical one is unable to dismiss easily or at all:

    But if you don't want to debate further on this then fine by me

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    However:

    What evidence points to god not existing? This is an erroneous argument. There is evidence against the literal interpretation of the Bible's contents, for sure. There is no evidence against a (deistic style) god that is in accord with all elements of the physical world and science. We are delving into philosophy here methinks. Does the fact we can't see beyond the edge of the visible universe PROVE there is nothing beyond it? To assert strongly that there is nothing beyond the edge of the visible universe is folly. To assert strongly there is no god is folly. One can't abandon reason; any scientist worth his mettle has to concede the possibility god could exist?
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2012
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Good scientists do not say that something is impossible unless it contradicts principles that have been "proven true beyond a reasonable doubt." And even then, if they're not being limited to sound bites by a reporter, they will elaborate and explain the Rule of Laplace.

    The existence of an invisible, illogical supernatural universe, full of creatures of astounding power and observational skills and (apparently) no scruples or compassion, is possible, but it would contradict all of science, which is predicated on the principle that the natural universe is a closed system. Since this principle has been tested aggressively for 500 years and never failed the test, any claim that it is false is automatically an extraordinary assertion. All we ask of the supernaturalists is just one bit of evidence, and then we will treat them with respect. Yet they continue to pound on the door of the academy shouting, "Let us in! Our preposterous bullshit deserves to be included in our children's science books, right next to Newton's Laws."

    Sorry, but no it doesn't. They may be right, but the probability is so small as to be safely ignored, in a world of finite resources.
     
  18. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

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    I see no reason for a specific type of deistic god to contradict, or be contradicted by established scientific facts. I also see no reason to allow (nutty) people who peddle beliefs access to any scientific institution

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    But I do see philosophy to be a very relevant arena in which to discuss such matters. Your illogical supernaturals I would agree to be a hard to swallow theory of god. But a deistic approach seems to me to be along the only reasonable lines for logical inquiry.

    Would you listen to a new theory of god that is based wholly on science (with no contradiction), that doesn't ask you to believe but only to admit it could maybe be possible?
     
  19. lalalandscape Registered Senior Member

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    Perhaps we should be more specific when defining God. While I know you used the term 'deistic' here, do you suppose that the God as described in religions (particularly Judaism/Islam/Christianity) is possible? Do you believe that the gods described in Hinduism or other polytheistic religions is possible? Are you simply defining God as the creator of the Universe? Please answer all of these questions.
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    You haven't discussed this with any Hindus. They will assure you that all their various "gods" are simply different facets of one god, and are in common use simply because that one god is so great that he/she/it can't be comprehended from a single physical image. Some people happen to relate more easily to one facet, and others to another. They will also assure you that he/she/it is the same god that the Abrahamists worship because there is only one god.

    As one Indian lady on a PBS special said, "I have prayed in a church, in a synagogue and in a mosque. The people around me were all praying to the same god that I was praying to."

    Hinduism is not a polytheistic religion.
     
  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I think that most contemporary Hindus do believe something like that. But not all of them. While Hinduism has been gradually drifting in a monotheistic direction for 2,000 years (especially after the Muslim conquest 1,000 years ago), flat-out polytheistic Hindus do continue to exist.

    I think that it both is and isn't. There's far more diversity of belief among Hindus than among Christians, Jews or Muslims (and that's already a lot). The reason for that is that Hinduism is less an 'orthodoxy' than it is an 'orthopraxy'. It's more about how people behave than it is about what they happen to think while they are doing it. Most of the world's religions lean that way. It's Christianity, which was strongly influenced by Greek intellectual culture in its early centuries, that seems to be the outlier in that respect, emphasizing correct theological doctrine above individual Christians' everyday practice. Hinduism is more about behaving as Hindus traditionally do at home and in public, being born into a caste arguably, and acknowledging the brahmins and the Vedic tradition.

    In fact, in recent years it's become common for the triendier post-modern Western scholars to deny that a Hindu religion even exists. They insist that it's merely the construction of the evil white colonialists. (A view that privileges the West even more than the older view, while simultaneously seeming to attack Western privilege.) They argue that Hinduism is really a whole collection of religions and traditions, all swept up by the Europeans under one general name. And if Hinduism is just an illusion, a Western construction, then Indian Islamic culture can take its place as the pristine indigenous ideal that was despoiled by evil colonalism. Many contemporary histories of India begin with the 17'th century Moghuls and pretty much ignore Indian history before the Muslims arrived, devoting all of their attention to how the British pulled the Indian Muslims down and screwed everything up. The purpose of these histories of India isn't really to discuss India at all, but to criticize the West and capitalism. These kind of books are pouring off university presses as we speak, and some big-name universities here in California are teaching history of India classes around these revisionist ideas.

    Of course the Hindus themselves don't see it that way. They have a very strong sense of what they call "Vedic" culture and tradition (despite the fact that much of it doesn't derive from the Vedas at all, and despite the fact that what individual Indians actually believe about their Vedic tradition can be all over the map).
     
  22. lalalandscape Registered Senior Member

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    Thanks for that Fraggle, but you're nit-picking and it's besides the point.
     
  23. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

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    I suppose that depends on the interpretation of said gods. I will use a couple of examples as a bit of clarity here. The Catholic Church preaches from The Old Testament, but also agrees with evolution and so in the age of the Earth, Universe etc. etc. (But stupidly insists on the wine and bread transmutation to be fact, even though they admit the substance remains the same, but it still becomes the body and blood of Christ (not accepted to be a metaphor)). This is due to a non-literal reading of the holy book, the extent of which they choose to define and redefine as they wish through the ages. In the Church of England many preachers interpret the holy book in differing ways. Some actually present a very deistic approach at times. It is this altering interpretation which keeps the leaders of the churches busy arguing, and room to slowly evolve as old procrastinators die.

    But I would say overall the christian churches need to evolve a seemingly long way before they can be conducive with scientific thought, and abandon their belief in god too I might add. I would apply this to Judaism and Islam (though I don't know much of these religions or their stages of evolution, willingness to change interpretations of scripture etc. etc.).

    So is it possible the main monotheistic religions' gods could possibly be real? Possibly, depending on the positions they choose to adopt, as in the type of god they claim going forwards . . .

    Not so sure about these types of religions. They tend to be more detailed in their claims, and I am not so sure how they interpret scripture, or what they demand their followers to believe in or accept.

    Am I defining god? I thought I was just suggesting there could be a definition out there that doesn't contradict Science. I suppose I could be defining in the fact I am inferring we would need to not contradict science.
     

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