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?
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?
Hi, i acutually use to be a bit like that. I believed in evolution and god all at the same time and said adam and eve and all the rest were just metaphors to help us understand god. OMG cant believe i use to believe that stuff. see my blog if you want a long winded of why i deconverted. but in a verysmall nutshell it was the logic of god that revealed it to me and learn the contradictions in the bible. here a just a few of the many questions i asked my self that i couldnt answer as a christian...
for example... Many christians say god word was the same then now and forever. Then why is god so different in the new testament to the old testament? is he bi polar!?
If God is perfect and his creations perfect, why did he fail several times? He had to impose suffering upon the human race because Adam and Eve defied him by eating of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Failed! He had to flood the planet 1,600 years later wiping out all but eight humans. Failure! He had to confuse human language after Nimrod and the Tower of Babel incident so that they could not effectively communicate with each other. Failure! How is this a track record of a perfect being?
A disciple of Christ, Thomas, was a skeptic. He walked with Jesus during his time on earth and physically witnessed with his own eyes certain miracles performed by him such as raising Lazarus from the dead and so forth. However, after the crucifixion, Jesus supposedly rose three days later and Thomas did not believe it was truly him despite being told, prior to the incident by Jesus, that he would rise again in three days. Thomas required physical proof. Jesus allowed him to touch him and feel the wounds in his body to offer that proof to Thomas. Why doesn't god extend the same proof to humans alive today? Those that doubt his existence are no different than Thomas, requiring physical proof and he was a disciple of Jesus himself. If Thomas had been born one generation later, or even living today, he would have burned in hell for all eternity because he would not believe for the lack of physical proof. Paul was born after the death and ascension of Christ. Throughout his life, he did not believe that Jesus was the son of God and even went out of his way to persecute and murder Christians thinking that their religion was a dangerous belief system to practice. Lo and behold a flash of light came out of the sky and Jesus Christ himself appeared to Paul explaining to him that he is actually the one true god. Jesus told him that he was persecuting the followers of the only true faith. From that point on, Paul was a converted Christian. Again, if God was willing to go out of his way to physically prove to Paul that he actually exists, why is this not done today? Why isn't God willing to show those that doubt today the same degree of physical proof? Why should we be any different than Thomas and Paul?
Why do Christians share the same statistical rate of divorce as everyone else? "What God hath made, let no man put asunder." How could Christian marriages fail if they are sanctified by God? Hmmmm.... interesting.
If God and Jesus are the same, having the same mind, knowledge and power, then why would Jesus beg himself in the garden of Gethsemane, to spare himself from having to be crucified? Furthermore, why would Jesus ask himself why he has forsaken himself by allowing himself to be crucified?
If God is perfect then his creations should be perfect, right? Then that would mean that the earth is a perfect creation. Then why would God have to create another perfect place, heaven, and use it to entice us to believe in him? What kind of assurance do we have that heaven would be any better than his other 'perfect' creation, earth?
God allowed Jesus to be tempted as a human by Satan in the wilderness of the desert. Again, if God and Jesus are the same entity, then what kind of sense does it make for God to allow himself to be tempted by Satan in the wilderness to see if he would give in to the temptation? In addition to that, if he were all-knowing, he would have already known the outcome and, therefore, could have avoided the whole thing all together.
Why does God allow things to happen among his followers that he has already deemed to be sinful, i.e. incest example above, "thou shall not kill" and so forth, and it is alright as long as it is done in his name? Remember, more deaths have occurred in history in God's name.
Why would God give us the capability of logic and reason and expect us not to use it when it comes to belief in him and his word?
And there are many more but you get the jist?
If god is all knowing and powerful ect, Then he would have known about all the suffering and knew we would turn against him. he knew he was creating all the diseases and pain. would an all loving god and all powerful god really do that? if so i know i wouldnt want to follow him anyway!