A friend of mine is a pretty die-hard Christian (shock horror, both of his parents are missionaries/vicars) and he often posts little sayings of some kind or another on Facebook, which I usually ignore. However, today he posted something that really irritated me for some reason:
"The more I look at science, the more in awe of God I become."
And just to make that worse, one of his Christian friends commented "Boom" as if he had made some kind of infallible argument. Somehow, I feel as though nothing I say will make any difference because they must be incredibly deluded already to believe that God just "invented" science. Basically, this is the guy who thinks he's a "modern and intelligent" Christian by saying that things like Noah's Ark are "just stories and aren't meant to be taken seriously by Christians". But if that is true, then why take ANY of the Bible seriously and where does he draw the line between stories and (what he believes is) the truth?
In the past I asked him and his friend where the evidence was. He claimed science (yes, seriously) helped prove Christianity and that Christianity was about "opening yourself" to it and believing, and then you "feel God" or whatever. How do you argue with someone like that??
What do you all say to religious people (not necessarily just Christians) who claim that science is just an invention of God? Is there a specific way to argue with someone who twists everything to awkwardly suit modern day thinking?
One thing that I found really fun to watch was I would schedule some times with the local university's science department. Find out what type of experiments they have going on and taking my friends to watch/participate in simple experiments. There is a difference is reading about science and another to actual do it. Makes it hard to argue against.
In HS, I was ablt to sit in on a 'Young Scientists' retreat at OSU. Sadly my parents could not pay for it, so I sort of 'crashed' the conference.
During that one day, 'get in free card', we watched the superconductor experiments going on, and a few more, that now I can't seem to remember..;p(.
How can you argue with someone that is "religious" which to me is pretty much the same as insane, you would better spend your time talking to a wall, at least the wall won't make bizarre comeback arguments.
Warren, good points. I am very selective about discussing religion, which I why I love this site.
These days, I see the religious as victims of negative societal forces. Religion is part of the way the world makes sense to them at this point.
I have some friends on facebook that do the same thing. Here are my bottom-line responses to your post:
If you wish to remain friends with this person, then accept them the way they are. This doesn't mean you need to stay silent. Instead of trying to use logic or compelling arguments to change their beliefs (see #1 above), simply ask them questions, like: "what does science say about god?", "how do you choose what to believe as truth in the bible?", etc.
I have some friends that I question like this to try and figure out why they have these beliefs. I don't judge them and I tell them what parts I disagree with. They are aware that I'm an atheist and we both agree to disagree on many things, but we have interesting discussions.
I like your approach to discussing religion with the religious.
I find it to be a rather disarming technique to do as you do, ask questions. Honestly seek out answers to your questions about their position. I like to point out that I'm confused by their position, which is very different than telling them that they don't make sense.
Wow, lots of posts on this one.
Natasha, on the surface it seems like your friend is employing circular logic.
I recommend Wikipedia's page on informal fallacies in logic. Study of these will make you more cynical if you are like me, because you start noticing fallacies everywhere. Here's the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy
Also, this is one of the oldest arguments in the history of arguing, and time is only on our side as our telescopes and microscopes get better and better. They have no new information to use. The list of their foibles only grows, and the science on our side becomes more and more airtight.
Also, this is the information age, and I believe that religion is the enemy of information (being based on disinformation).
The easiest thing to do is youtube Christopher HItchens.
As the years go by, the good friend may have a harder time accepting infallible doctrine.
Thinking about this (today), metaphorically: Rational thinking requires planting (rational) flowers, and pulling (irrational) weeds. I don't see how I can pull others' weeds, but maybe I can plant flowers. Even if someone believes in God (or other delusion), it's okay with me as long as they're not out to discredit science, or out to spread lasting damage (like a garden pest).
Science is more about observing, describing and testing ideas than it is about disproving delusions. It's about the flowers that everyone can see, smell, and spread, and it's up to each individual to pull their own weeds to make space. Forcefully spraying other people's weeds for them usually does more harm than good.
The more I learn about science, the more awesome nature is. Even if God put it all there for us to appreciate, we still need to use our brains and our senses, learn about and appreciate the world we're born into, and pass it on healthier than how we found it. Skip their weeds but give them seeds.
Sometimes there is just no point in debating such people, you might as well bash your head against a wall. I stumbled on an interesting web page today, about Fractal wrongness, interesting read and it may apply here. here is the link...
Meant to add this to my post.
The fact that so many Christians approach the issues of science differently says to me that they are all actually different religions. Fundamental literalists who deny science are one religion. Allegorical literalists who believe that it's all true, but subject to interpretation are another, and allegorical non-literalists who interpret the whole book as basically moral poetry are another. The last group are the ones that blow my mind. If you can bring yourself that close to the edge of atheism, why not just cross over and take your moral lessons from a better source, like Dickens or Aesop?