1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Can Science and Religion be reconciled?

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by Runt, Mar 19, 2004.

  1. (Q)

    (Q) Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Messages:
    558
    Ratings:
    +12
    Gods word? How did he speak it? Who did he speak it to? Did someone actually SEE God and hear him speak? And then take dictation?

    If so, God is not supernatural because he can interact with the natural world. Therefore, a mechanism by which a supernatural being can interact with the natural world must be detectable, yet no one has ever detected such a mechanism.

    Most men who lived in the time of when the Bible was first written had no clue to the world around them – they were as ignorant as a 5-year-old child is today, maybe more so.

    These were people who believed the wind was created by a huge ogre sleeping in cave to the north. They thought the night sky was some sort of canopy with little holes for the daylight to peer through.

    And you are going to believe what they wrote?
     
  2. dharveymi

    dharveymi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    189
    Ratings:
    +2
    Please read my posts more carefully. I used a double negative. God does interact with His creation, that is the point. Faith is evidence for things not seen, but some of those things can be detected. They may not be explainable, or testable (repeatable.)

    Don't be so smug. Everyone has faith. When you sit in a chair you haven't personally tested, you are demonstrating faith, sure it's faith based on evidence (experience,) but it is nonetheless, faith. When you board a plane you are exercising faith. When you drive over a bridge you are exercising faith; when you buy real estate; when you believe that the earth is round; that it revolves around the sun; or that it was formed by natural processes over billions of years, you are exercising faith.

    Have you ever been on a jury? When you listen to the arguements of the lawyers, you decide in whom you will put your trust. They each present evidence (some better than others), you listen to witnesses, you discuss the evidence based on the judges instructions, and you decide in whom to put your faith. You did not personally witness these events (most of which usually involve something quite unusual, although not usually supernatural,) you usually have no way to explain the events, and it is very rare that your hypotheses can be tested. You must place your faith in one or another of the accounts, you do that based on many factors including evidence.

    For me that is what the Bible is like. I have learned to trust the words of inspiration, I have found encouragement and hope in its pages. The Bible says that in the mouth of two or three witnesses is a thing established, thats a very logical, and reasonable rule to follow. The Bible was written by many authors over the ages, some wrote what God said, but all of them wrote as they were inspired by God's Spirit. I believe many people are inspired to write, and some are inspired by God.

    Concerning what I choose to believe, the Bible has a simple rule, if it's not according to the law and the prophets, it's because there is no light in them. Later books must not contradict earlier books, and there must be two witnesses, for example, John and Ezekiel had visions of the same thing (two witnesses. Noah and his family where saved; eight witnesses.) I do have evidence for what I believe; in the Bible, archeology, and the natural world. It may not be evidence that you would except, but it is evidence nonetheless.
     
  3. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Messages:
    3,768
    Ratings:
    +399
    dharveymi,

    What are some of the things that god has done which are detectable?

    .

    Faith based on evidence and experience is very, very, very different from faith based on nothing.

    I hope that if I am ever put on trial, you are not in the jury, heh, heh! First of all, it is not your job to explain anything. That job belongs to the police, forensics, etc. Secondly, you don't just put your faith and trust in one side of the argument or the other. You analyze all of the evidence objectively and reason to a logical conclusion. Faith is not really needed.

    And here we see the second type of faith--that which lacks evidence. You have no proof or evidence of any kind that the bible was divinely inspired, other than the bible itself which says it is. Ancient mythologies of countless cultures parallel the bible so directly, that we can logically conclude the bible must be no different than them. Least of all, if we accept the bible we must accept those mythologies as well, because they are basically the same. Did you know that there is barely one story in the bible which is not represented in another mythology? From Adam and Eve to the crucifixion, it's all there. maybe if the biblical writers wanted to be more believable they could'v made up theri own story instead of stealing from others. Just a thought.
     
  4. (Q)

    (Q) Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Messages:
    558
    Ratings:
    +12
    By what mechanism does he interact? Why has no one ever detected such an interaction?

    Such as what? Provide examples.

    Yes, but please see my thread on “Faith Defined” so that you may understand the differences.

    But this has nothing to do with religious faith.

    So, essentially what you’re saying is that these authors spoke with God? They actually sat down and listened to God speak?

    Come now, don’t you find that even slightly hard to believe? Why hasn’t God spoke to anyone since then? Don’t you think he would have provided some updates to the Bible or perhaps a refresher course of sorts?

    What does that say about everything science has to offer? You wouldn’t have a computer, a car, electricity, etc. etc. etc. – that’s rather hypocritical, don’t’ you think?

    And yet, archeology does not support anything in the Bible. Its curious you appear to have some sort of archeological evidence no one has ever seen. Would you care to share it with us?
     
  5. dharveymi

    dharveymi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    189
    Ratings:
    +2
    Concerning a jury trial, AS I SAID, you do not gather evidence, you must have faith in the investigators; you do not test your hypotheses, you must have faith in the police; you cannot repeat the circumstances (especially if a crime was involved), you must have faith in one of the lawyer's reasoning. There is a place for the jury to reason through the evidence, but in the end it is all based on faith.

    Concerning the Bible, I do have evidence. Evidence from fulfilled prophecy, from history, from archeology, from personal experience, the natural world, and the change I have seen in others.

    Concerning the fact that similar stories can be found in many other traditions, you have not demonstrated that any theft took place. Maybe, they are all referencing the same event, to which they were each privy. Even if the Bible references another source (which on several occasions it admits,) that does not constitute theft any more than my quotation of your work represents theft. You have also not demonstrated which came first, maybe each of these are "stealing" from the Bible. The fact that other traditions have similar stories is more evidence for my case, there are more witnesses to the verity of the claims of the Bible. Based on the evidence I have seen, the Biblical account seems to be the most accurate. I would not be opposed to examining other sources to determine their agreement with the Bible.

    Concerning what I MUST accept as evidence, it is illogical to suggest that because they all tell a similar story, I must accept them all. All other things being equal, would you accept the witness of a person three feet from a crime as being the same as that from a witness a quarter of a mile away? Of course not. But you are willing to accept the witness of a person who wasn't even there, didn't live during that time, and doesn't even believe that time existed.

    Once again the Bible is not a monolithic book. It was written by many authors, most of whom didn't even know each other. One book of the Bible doesn't even mention God, and doesn't have any supernatural events in it. You regect them all, unexamined. Why? Because you regect that possibility that there is One who is above all.

    I wouldn't like you to be on a jury for me. You regect evidence simply because the people who present the evidence believe in God, that makes everything they say suspect. I am very tolerant of other peoples' beliefs, but I don't have to share them.
     
  6. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Messages:
    3,768
    Ratings:
    +399
    dharveymi,

    Fabulous! Let's have it.

    Alright, for starters I shall tell you the story of Mithra. Mithra sent his 'only son' to earth where he was eventually executed and the people ate his body and drank his blood. Sound familiar? This particular bit of mythology was published long before the bible was even a twinkle in Moses' eye. he Catholic Church adressed this erie parallel by saying that the bible did not steal it, but rather the writers of Mithrean mythology stole it. How is this possible when Mithra came before Jesus? Duh! Demons took the story of Jesus and went back in time where they re-wrote it as part of another religion! Darn those demons!

    I didn't think I needed to demonstrate, but very well. The bible, when compared to other pagan religions and mythologies, such as Greek, Egyptian, Mithrean, you name it, is pretty much the new kid on the block.

    Are you sure about that? I can guarentee you that more people belived in Zeus than did Jesus during the time the bible was written. t's called a fad, and religion is certainly one.

    Also, I wouldn't be too sure about those witnesses. You see, if witnessing Jesus was as big a converting experience as you say, then why is Judaism one of the world's largest religions? Lots of Jews witnessed Jesus, but only a handful changed their minds.

    Reject unexamined? Hardly. In fact, it is due to my examination of the bible that I don't believe in god, not the other way around. The bible is full of so many contradictions--not just with science, but with itself as well.

    You have presented no evidence as of yet.
     
  7. dharveymi

    dharveymi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    189
    Ratings:
    +2
    I have presented some of that evidence in prior posts. I have provided links to some sites which present evidence related to this thread. If you would like to start a thread dedicated to whether there is sufficient evidence to accept any of the claims of the Bible, I would like to participate, but in the end, the basic assumptions of the Bible cannot be proven, so if you are looking for conclusive PROOF, I cannot provide it.

    By training I am a mathematician, my attraction to mathematics was simple, there was no faith involved, it was totally abstract, an excercise in mental gymnastics. A proof, in the mathematical sense, cannot be argued against. Every other "science", requires some dependance on the work of others, some faith.

    Concerning Mithra, I am not familiar with it. I am aware of texts dated before the oldest Biblical manuscripts, so do not argue that there are likely texts like those you reference. It is evident to most Biblical scholars that the author(s) of Genesis (you said Moses, I make no such claim) where not witnesses to all of the events within it (I think the very thought is rather ridiculous, after all, the Bible includes two accounts of creation.) Instead, it is more likely that the author referenced at least two (probably four) sources. There is no indication of the date of these sources.

    The story of Creation, includes a prophecy of the coming Messiah, considering that the Biblical account of Cain and Abel includes strict rules concerning sacrifice, is evident to most readers that Adam an Eve, knew the details of the Messiah's coming, that God would provide a sacrifice. Is it not more probable that under the influence of Satan, the prophey given to Adam and Eve was distorted by this Mithra source, as well as a miriad of other people.

    Concerning which is older, I don't believe it is as cut and dry as you claim. The Jews have a rich oral tradition. Abraham left Ur, in the region that would become Babylon. Considering the ages listed in the Bible, he might have even known one of Noah's sons (Seth, I believe), and received those stories from him. The children of Isreal where captive in Egypt for four-hundred years. Moses was trained as a son of Pharoah, he had access to all the accumulated knowledge of Egypt, and the training of his mother, for the first twelve years. When I say that other traditions might have taken from the Bible, I mean the original story passed down (most likely orally,) which later became the Bible. As I said, the Bible is not a monolithic source.

    Concerning witnesses, and why more Jews did not become Christians, I don't know what the point is. God's true believers have never been in the majority. Elijah thought that among a nation of idol worshiping Isrealites, he alone worshiped the true God; God comforting him said there where 7000 that did not bend the knee to Bail.

    Concerning the Bible having internal contradictions, I regect it outright. I admit that there are seeming contradictions, but that a close examination of the author's intended meaning, these contradictions are minor and not related to the authors intent, if existent at all.

    I also believe that I have been very tolerant of other's beliefs. I have been very accepting of "evidence" that has been presented on this forumn, I do not believe that anyone is here with the intention to mislead (although that may not be true.) It, however, is not uncommon for the word of a Christian to be malined and distorted, in this forumn and in society as a whole. This has been amply demonstrated.
     
  8. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Messages:
    3,768
    Ratings:
    +399
    dharveymi,

    Could you please site the verses where there is a prophecy of Jesus in the creation story?

    I agree with this, but I was referring more to the New Testament. We all know when Jesus supposedly lived, and the documents which make up the story of his life etc. which make up the NT are fairly new compared to other ancient writings.

    The point here is is that you said there were more affirmative witnesses to the bible than anything else.

    How can anyone know the author's intended meaning? Isn't the author not supposed to have an intended meaning because it was inspired by god?

    I'm in the process of finding a good biblical contradiction site--I'll get back to you on that.
     
  9. dharveymi

    dharveymi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    189
    Ratings:
    +2
    Genesis 3:15 foretells of both the death of Christ (bruise his heal) and the ultimate destruction of Satan and evil (crush they head.) It seems evident from the story of Cain and Abel's sacrifices that they where told much more about the plan of salvation.

    It's true that the NT was relative new comer, but it is a mistake to see them as whole seperate from the OT. The scriptures which the NT writers reference are the books of the OT. The writers of the NT saw themselves as part of a religious tradition extending back to creation through the Jewish tradition.

    If I said that there are more affirmative witnesses to the Bible than anything else, I sincerely apologize, that was not my intention. I don't believe that to be true. I just find those witnesses more convincing than the witnesses to anything else. I find the evidence for belief in the Bible more convincing than the evidence either against it or the evidence for any compeating world-view.

    Concerning the nature of inspiration, you seem to take a very strict view. I don't believe inspiration is like dictation (although it can be.) I believe it is more like being compelled. When I am hungry I am compelled to eat. I do a little writing, it's not something that can be planned, but it does require preparation, taking notes, free writing, reading, meditation, etc. When it's time to write, all of that prepartion just comes together and I feel compelled to write. I believe that being inspired by God is something like that. The Bible says that holy men of God wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Notice there is nothing here about writing what God tells you to. I don't pretend to fully understand the process, but I believe it is not like writing fiction, but also not like taking dictation.

    Every good author has a reason for writing their book; some tell you right up front; some make it part of the story. The authors of the Bible where extremely good writers, even brilliant.
     
  10. phantom

    phantom Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Messages:
    20
    Ratings:
    +1
    regarding 'divine' inspiration.

    i feel it is quite contradictory that a religion that teaches man as inherently evil also uses the same inherently evil men to carry out works and write scripture.

    on top of this, i have an even bigger problem putting faith in these 'inspired' ones. perhaps i should read the inside of caves and declare the writings to be divine. at least theres pictures :)

    sorry for the cynical view...i try to remain upbeat.
     
  11. dharveymi

    dharveymi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    189
    Ratings:
    +2
    I'm not sure who else would write the scriptures, but God did not entrust the writing of the ten commandments to men. He wrote them himself. Of course only a few people have ever seen them up close and presonal.

    It is not important that you believe in the same things that the authors of the Bible did in order to accept their writing as evidence. You can accept the Bible as evidence without any such belief, you may not believe it to be very good evidence, but it is hard to dismiss writings that have remained so influential for so long.
     
  12. phantom

    phantom Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Messages:
    20
    Ratings:
    +1
    regarding that,

    as a computer security specialist, one thing that remains pertinent in my analyzing of data is the integrity.

    i feel that over the past millenia, the integrity of the documents has faded [regarding the Bible]

    i feel this is due to the fact of human error...inevitable

    faith is the only determinant in deciding the integrity
     
  13. phantom

    phantom Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Messages:
    20
    Ratings:
    +1
    ***MOD SQUAD EDIT***

    Double post!
     
  14. dharveymi

    dharveymi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    189
    Ratings:
    +2
    The evidence from archeology does not support your view. Dead sea scrolls and other evidence suggests that the books, which became the Bible, have remained largely intact for centuries. The Bible authors themselves cite now extinct documents as evidence for what they claim, they seem to have believed, at the time of the writing, that what they were saying was true.

    In ancient Jewish, and other cultures as well, fiction, was a foreign concept. It was also not acceptable to alter someone elses work. They went to extreme lengths to preserve the writings of others, even though they did not agree with them. Many of the ancient writings further are poetry. If you have every tried to alter poetry, you know the difficulty of changing the writing without either making it obvious that it was changed or destroying the poetry. Finally, Jewish authors used a complicated hierchical structure that further makes it difficult to change significantly.
     
  15. Runt

    Runt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,833
    Ratings:
    +189
    Let's see if this works...

     
  16. dharveymi

    dharveymi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    189
    Ratings:
    +2
    Let's see if this works....

    Science is concerned with things that can be observed, tested, repeated, explained, and proved. Its tools are reason and observation.

    Religion is concerned with things that cannot be observed, or things that cannot be tested, or things that cannot be repeated, or things that cannot be explained, or things that cannot be proven. Its tools are reason and faith.

    Faith is what many who have a scientific world view have a problem with, but they depend on it as well. All scientists have faith in those that came before, rightly or wrongly. Now they could go back and repeat those experiments, observations, etc., but in practice this is impractical unless there is a compelling reason to do so, but some scientific observations cannot be repeated, these must be accepted on faith.
     
  17. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Messages:
    3,768
    Ratings:
    +399
    dharveymi,

    If something cannot be observed, tested, repeated, explained, or proven, how do you know it's even there? Reason would tell you that due to the lack of evidence, god does not exist. Therefore we can most certainly rule out reason as a tool of religion.

    "Faith is what many who have a scientific world view have a problem with, but they depend on it as well. All scientists have faith in those that came before, rightly or wrongly. Now they could go back and repeat those experiments, observations, etc., but in practice this is impractical unless there is a compelling reason to do so, but if the experiment cannot be repeated, they must depend on faith."

    This argument seems to be a growing fad among Christians these days. "You condemn us for having faith, but you scientists have faith as well! Therefore god exists! Ahahaha! Ahahaha!"

    Technically, scientists have faith. Technically, faith is needed to perform even the simplest task. If you are sitting down and wish to go get some water, you have faith that you will be able to stand and do so, do you not? So what it comes down to really, is probability. It is impractical to go on about needing 'faith' to stand and go get water, because the probability that you will be able to do so is so high. You have stood and gotten water before, and you have incurred no injuries since you've been sitting, so logically it shouldn't be a problem for you to go get water.

    This is the difference between religious and scientific faith. Scientific 'faith' is based on high probability, which is garnered through observation and experimentation. Religious faith has an extremely low probability, because not only does it lack observations and experimentation, but as you said, such things would be impossible to obtain.
     
  18. dharveymi

    dharveymi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    189
    Ratings:
    +2
    Religion is concerned with things that can be observed, but maybe not repeated, tested, or explained, for example. Notice the difference in my wording (the repeated "or's)

    For instance, many people observed the Red Sea crossing (I believe), but it can't be repeated.

    I disagree with you about probability. I think the difference between scientific faith and religious faith is who you believe. Scientists believe other scientists. Religious people believe the Word of God. It's that simple. It boils down to who you believe. We each have the problem with probabilty.
     
  19. Mr Spinkles

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    10,985
    Ratings:
    +1,676
    It's difficult to say how much of religion depends on observation...on the one hand, the ancient Jews believed epilepsy was caused by demons...although I will concede that you can observe epilepsy, their conclusion (that it was caused by demons) was definitely NOT based on observation. Religion observes the same problems and phenomena that science does, but little or no observation is used in coming up with religious explanations to them.

    Most or all religious observation (like the Red Sea crossing) is second hand testimony, clever hoaxes or tricks, over active imagination, and credulity on the part of the audience. Notice that despite today's modern video and sound recording equipment, there is actually less evidence of angels, demons, etc. appearing to people than there supposedly was in ancient times (when people blindly believed much of what they read and heard--and hearing/reading stories was the only evidence for supernatural events they had).

    Think about what you are saying here...let's use an analogy: Many people believe that other people were correctly written of in another ancient religious text as having observed the prophet Mohommad split the moon into two pieces (as a demonstration of his power)...this, also, cannot be repeated. The funny thing about tall tales is they can be believed, but not repeated. Also, they tend to be second or third hand testimony.

    Religious people believe the writings of other, ancient religious people was the Word of God.

    Scientists do not simply "believe" other scientists at all--they debate, argue, pick apart each other's theories, peer review their papers, repeat experiments to check the other guy's results, and many scientists are in competition with other scientists. And unlike, say, the Christian community, the scientific community has members of all different religions and backgrounds. When Muslim, Hindu, Christian, and atheist biologists agree on something, you know the probability that it is true is high. When a bunch of Christians agree on something...well, of course they agree--they are all Christians. (The same would be true if a bunch of atheists agreed on something, but no one of other belief systems agreed with them)

    Science is what religion has always tried to be, largely unsuccessfully--a reliable method of finding the answers to things. The ancients thought the best method was to consult the religious leaders in power, or ancient scriptures. Nowadays, if you want to know the causes of epilepsy, you study it using the scientific method with controlled experiments, you don't consult the Bible.

    Here is the main conflict between science and religion, I think: science tries to find the answers, period. They could be good or bad answers, it doesn't matter. Religion tries to find the answers not for the sake of knowing the answers, but because finding the answers is an act in and of itself which provides comfort and security in a world which we do not fully understand. The purpose of religious "truths" in my opinion is to make a person FEEL a certain way about something...not provide a definite answer on how that something works. Notice that many religions are against the healthy, skeptical attitude required for any legitimate search for truth. This is because questioning leads to discomfort and disunity within a community, which are the exact opposite of what religion intends to accomplish.

    One final note: I am not saying that religion is inferior to science, so much as I am saying that religion has a different purpose altogether. Religion intends to find out how we should feel about the world, and science intends to find out what we know about the world (and don't know).
     
  20. dharveymi

    dharveymi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    189
    Ratings:
    +2
    I have so many problems with this statement, I don't know where to begin. First, my son has epilepsy. It is a horrible disease. At its very best it robbs a person of their independence, at its worse... well we don't go there. The treatment is not prize either. My son now lack concentration and his creativity appears to be affected as well. He use to read profusely, he doesn't any more.

    I believe there is a war in this world, sometimes seen, sometimes unseen. I know whose side I'm on, I'm His son. He is not responsible for this horrible disease, but somebody is responsible. So you believe what you want, but I know. I have seen, and I know.

    Next, epilepsy is a modern diagnosis. I don't think any doctor could, in good conscience, give a reasonable diagnosis based on any decription of a person's physical condition recorded in the Bible. Who is to say that the people that were described in the Bible where not possessed. You weren't there. You don't believe the people that where, so what's it to you?

    First, you haven't been seeing the same videos I have. Second, assuming that angels, demons, etc. are even slightly more intelligent than we are, isn't it logical that they could avoid detection if they chose to? In almost every movie I watch, the first thing that the people do is circumvent the video equipment, and those are just people. Finally, the Bible record what is proported to be a first hand account, for which there is very good archeological evidence.

    Some tall tales are true, many things cannot be repeated, murders, for instance. But you would reject even multiple first hand evidence of a supernatural event, which of course is your right, but I don't understand why you judge people who believe it.

    I take an opposite view. If most people agree about something, be them Christians, scientists, or whatever, they are probably wrong. The majority is usually wrong. I think you must have a rather limited view of Christianity, and those that seriously practice it, but the point that I was trying to make was that most science is based on other science, it would be prohibitively time consuming to question every bit of science that came before. I do agree that on occasion it is necessary to question old beliefs, I do that every day in my Christian walk. I would also agree that most christians don't do that, most scientists don't do that either.

    The basic assumption of a scientific world-view (as opposed to SCIENCE) is that TRUTH can be known only by what can be observed, explained, repeated, and tested. Anything that does not satisfy all scientific assumptions cannot be addressed by science, but rather that accepting that there are some things which cannot be known by science, those with a scientific world-view deny that these things even exist.

    I agree that if one wants to know the causes of epilepsy, one should set up controlled experiments, etc. I belive that the Bible authors would also agree, but that would not change their belief or mine that it was Satan behind all misery and pain. It also would not change my confidence that it is God behind any treatment or cure. I also believe that God does not depend on science to cure people, I believe He has the ability to transcend science as we know it.

    If that is the case than Jesus was a scientist. He also wasn't concerned with making people feel better, he was interested in real change. I'm in favor of questioning and the legitimate search for truth. I agree that it can lead to discomfort and disunity, but only among those that do not want to accept the truth. For everyone else, the truth sets them free.

    Just because most people are wrong about a subject does not make an investigation of the subject illogical.
     
Loading...