A popular television programme and a new website

Question Time (TV series)

Question Time (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who does not know the popular topical debate television BBC programme “Question Time” based on BBC Radio 4‘s  debate radio programme Any Questions?, which is usually broadcast on Thursday evenings on BBC One after the late news (and slightly later in Northern Ireland). Repeats are usually broadcast in the following days on BBC Two and BBC Parliament. You can also catch up with previous episodes via BBC iPlayer, and listen to the most recent debate in full via BBC Radio 5 live.

David Dimbleby who has presented Panorama, 24 Hours, People and Power, The Dimbleby Talk-In and This Week Next Week, The White Tribe of Africa and An Ocean Apart, A Picture of Britain, How We Built Britain, and Seven Ages of Britain.

In front of a live audience with a single take recording, precisely as if it were broadcast live, David Dimbleby as a major presenter of current affairs programmes and documentaries for BBC television knows to catch his public.

In 2007 the BBC commissioned a new programme called The Big Questions, which has a similar format to Question Time but focuses on ethical and religious issues. It is broadcast on BBC One on Sunday mornings between 10am and 11am and usually presented by Nicky Campbell. Both programmes are produced by Mentorn Media. Each week, in the faith and ethics television programme replacing The Heaven and Earth Show as the BBC’s religious discussion programme, panel and audience debate three ethical, moral or religious topics which featured in the week’s news.

In those shows you might have found notable atheists, like Richard Dawkins, converts to Roman Catholicism like Ann Widdecombe, but also Imam Ibrahim Mogra, Muslim commentator Mohammed Ansar, Scottish philosopher John Joseph Haldane, Bible scholar Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Lord Carey, Jonathan Bartley, Peter Hitchens, Alexander Goldberg, Ian McMillan, Andrew Pinsent, Stephen Law, Tommy Robinson, Michael Nazir-Ali, Samuel Westrop and Decca Aitkenhead.

Questiontime-Vragenuurtje website: 01 December 2016All those big names you probably would not find on the simple new website Qusetiontime-Vragenuurtje from ‘Flanders Fields’.
But at that place there is also made time free for asking questions and is taken time to look at certain or possible answers on many questions humans can have in their head. It is hoped for that several people shall find their way to that place to come up with more questions and answers and would not mind sharing their information on certain subjects around our way of life, ethics, faith and religion. It shall look at monotheistic as well as polytheistic-religions.

To start of the site looked first at the beginning of everything, wondering what caused everything to start coming into existence. It questions if there is something or somewhat or even Some One behind it all. Looking at man and how he tried to find explanations for everything the site can not be blind for the worship of or belief in multiple deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals. When looking at history we also can find that there where doubts if there different gods responsible for the different things we can see, or if there was just One Creator God responsible for the Big Beginning or was there just a Big Bang from nothing?

In the 7th and 10th article is discussed how there are many primal ancient gods or creator gods worshipped in the world. When looking at history we can see many peoples have chosen to have mother goddesses and father gods, but we must also be aware that from ancient times there have been people who choose only to believe in One existent Divine True Creator God, Jehovah. It seems that many people had and have an other perception of God.

One of the many tri-une gods peoples worship or worshipped. One of the gods which is spoken about also in the Bible. “The Lord” (הבעל, Ha Baʿal) Baal, Baäl or properly Baʿal, a Phoenician deity and false gods.

Surprisingly also by people who worship one God there  are different names to be found. The most known and worshipped ‘singular’ gods being Yahweh and Jehovah, though for the name Yawheh we must be well aware that there was in ancient times (Iron time: 1200-900 BCE) also the pagan god with that name who was part of a pantheon of Canaanite gods. the same as we may find a tri-une god by several Christians, there have been other bi-une, tri-une and four-une gods.

At the site there shall be looked at how in most religions which accept polytheism, the different gods and goddesses are representations of forces of nature or ancestral principles, and can be viewed either as autonomous or as aspects or emanations of a creator God or transcendental absolute principle (monistic theologies), which manifests immanently in nature (panentheistic and pantheistic theologies).

You are kindly invited to come and have a look at the new site, where you are also welcome to have your say.

 

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Find additional reading

  1. A Place for Questions
  2. New platform for questions and answers
  3. The very very beginning 1 Creating Gods

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Further reading

  1. Six Things you might not Know about BBC Question Time 
  2. Question Time event returns
  3. Question Time could be interesting today
  4. Continuing futility | Question time
  5. Question Time Wrath
  6. Well…
  7. Growing old gracefully
  8. Is It Just Me: Horrified After Question Time?
  9. Don’t go to bed angry
  10. Question Time from Stirling.
  11. Question – Who do you look up to?
  12. Can I Question Time?
  13. Starting something futile | Question Time
  14. The Big British Ed Debate: Grammar vs Comp
  15. Question Time
  16. Created
  17. Sunday Short & Sweet – The Beautiful Glory of God
  18. Created in God’s image
  19. In the Image of God?
  20. In God’s Image
  21. Nuggets – God’s Image
  22. My self image vs God’s image of me…
  23. Self image and God image
  24. Our Image
  25. Image of God
  26. There is a difference between God’s “image” and God’s “likeness”.
  27. I Am God’s Impeccable Image
  28. Who Is This God?
  29. Who Is the Real God?
  30. What is God Really Like?
  31. Pagan Gods – The Deities of Powerful Ancient Civilizations
  32. God the Mother
  33. The True God
  34. The One True God?
  35. Christmas Without All The Trimmings
  36. America Worships Pagan Gods
  37. A Christian Testimony and the Norse Gods
  38. “Anti Christ Beliefs and Christian Beliefs Do Not Mix” by Dr.J.
  39. Eve is Mother-in-Heaven
  40. Rawhead Rex: An Answer to my Pagan Prayers
  41. Multiple Gods, Multiple Practices
  42. Using Your Gifts for the Gods
  43. Is Getting Tattoos a Sin against God?
  44. Debunking Anti-Christ Rhetoric Part 1-B
  45. Does Scripture Support Substitution Theology? Part B
  46. “And Yet… ” Part 1, Playing with paganism
  47. Is Hinduism the Truth?
  48. Mormons Have More gods than Hindus
  49. A Fearful Secret
  50. The New Places Of Worship
  51. The gods of our society
  52. Forgetting the Glory of God
  53. Penalty for Serving False Gods

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A Church without Faith!

Too many atheists forget that they themselves do belief. They might belief many things, like that there is no God. some belief there was a Big Bang, others have other beliefs about the beginning of this universe. They also forget that they too have services and forms of ‘worship’ though they are not called as such and do not take place in buildings to be recognised as such, though in some places we can clearly recognise straight ahead their meeting places, which are often also signalled by plates or names on the building.

In certain countries, like Belgium and Germany, they also receive working funds from the government like the other groups of beliefs, be it Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Laic or humanistic covenant, which they do not refuse, and as such should have to be honest for themselves to recognise to be willing to be part of a faith group.

Like many others they assemble or gather at regular intervals. They too are divided in different main groups with subdivisions of different laic thinking. You could compare it with denominations in the different churches, and by ‘churches‘ we do not mean only churches of Christian religion but also of the many other religions we have in our surroundings.

Though what we can notice is that it is only the atheist group which like some conservative evangelicals and Pentecostals, try to force their belief onto others as the only right belief. Being in the majority, those who want others to take it that there does not exist a God, often forget that the so called “freedom” they claim in their banner becomes very restricted in their way of thought, because it are just they and a few fundamentalists, who try to impose their thinking onto others as the only way of thinking to be allowed.

They should come to realize that human beings have an inner feeling of togetherness and somehow are attracted to the feeling of being part of something and needing to gather with others to keep that feeling strong. That is also the reason why we can find certain philosophers and laic thinkers finding it necessary to have regular gatherings or to have people like the atheist Sunday Assembly co-founder Pippa Evans who had to admit that when he left Christendom he realized

“it wasn’t God that I missed or Jesus, it was church. I really missed church.”

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Additional reading:

  1. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  2. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  3. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  4. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  5. Are Science and the Bible Compatible?
  6. Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life
  7. We all have to have dreams
  8. What moves mountains? Trust!
  9. Blinkered minds
  10. Faith antithesis of rationality
  11. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
  12. God’s forgotten Word 3 Lost Lawbook 2 Modern scepticism
  13. Condemnation of the World and Illustration of Justification
  14. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  15. Faith is a pipeline
  16. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  17. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  18. Everything that is done in the world is done by hope

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  • What do we do at the end of Christendom? (unsettledchristianity.com)
    Perhaps, as the end of Christendom comes, we should look East to see what role the Church played, what role theology played, and how theologianswere shaped.The dominant narrative of the West is no longer Christian and that is a good thing.
  • What if all Muslims convert into Christianity? (ireport.cnn.com)
    Will there be peace on Earth?Which one of the following Christian Denomination should they choose and why?
  • My Faith Evolution: The Search for Silence (thetrainofhisrobe.com)
    The last few years have been a roller coaster of faith, as I explored expressions of faith like pentecostalism, calvinism, liturgy, the emergent church, postmodern Christianity, and more.  Today I’m sharing how I found my place, for the time being, in the Episcopal church.
  • Inside the Universal Life Church World Organization (epages.wordpress.com)
    When it comes to the various denominations that have established themselves over the years, the Universalists are arguably one that is the most misunderstood. While there are some factions of the church thathave been ridiculed for their quick buck mentality when it comes to being an ‘ordained minister’, there are actually many positive attributes to the church that gets overlooked. This is especially true of the Universal Life Church World Headquarters which does not follow the path of some of the other churches in the same denomination.However, all churches have their flaws in certain regards, so it may not be surprising that some elements of a particular type of church may really stand out in the eyes of the public when the truth is that there are thousands, perhaps millions who worship in a church that offers real, direct services to its members.
  • Iraqi Christians try to celebrate Christmas (politics.ie)
    The Christian population of Iraq has fallen from about 1.5 million in 2003 to an estimated 400,000 in 2014. The outrages perpetrated by ISIS have caused mass flight among Iraqi Christians. And many Christians have been captured or killed
  • Three-Quarters of Americans Identify as Christian (grumpyelder.com)
    • About half of Americans are Protestant; a quarter are Catholic
    • 19% of Americans do not have a formal religious identity
    • Mormons attend religious services most frequently Princeton, N.J. — About three in four Americans interviewed in 2014 name a Christian faith when asked for their religious preference, including 50% who are Protestants or another non-Catholic Christian religion, 24% who are Catholic and 2% who are Mormon.
  • Salvation – It’s Not What You’ve Been Taught VIDEO (theupsidedownworld.com)
    Is salvation really about avoiding hell when you die? Yes, that’s the popular teaching we’ve all heard, but in this video I explain why this is a misunderstanding and what the truth of salvation actually is. (Hint – it’s better than you’ve been told!) Enjoy!
  • Open Door Class Study of the Book of Acts: “The Acts of the New Church” (arborlawnumc.typepad.com)
    The Book of Acts was written to provide a history of the early church. The emphasis of the book is the importance of the day of Pentecost and being empowered to be effective witnesses for Jesus Christ.

Purplerays

Atheist_symbol
Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atheist_symbol.jpg

I get it when someone says he(no gender preference meant) is an atheist! I agree with him when he says “I don’t believe in God or, gods for that matter”, he is unassailably right in stating his belief! It is only when the atheist asserts that “There is no God” that, in my mind, he has allowed his belief to get the better of him…he needs a reality check on this one!
What I find difficult to get a handle on is why atheists congregate under the banner ‘church’! Why church? At a time I thought the whole point of being an atheist was an attempt to free oneself from the rigidity of religion and sectarianism!
Now, pardon my old-fashioness: the human component of a church extends wider than a Christian congregation to include ‘any assembly dedicated to religious activities’ and religion is universally defined as ‘the…

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Science, 2013 word of the year, and Scepticism

Since Stepping Toes was placed from Xanga onto WordPress we had a look at the relationship or coexistence of Science and the Bible.

America’s leading publisher of dictionaries, Merriam-Webster, chose “science” as its 2013 word of the year. Merriam-Webster’s editors cited a 176-percent increase in searches for the word and cited

“heated debates about ‘phony’ science, or whether science held all the answers.”

In the United States we also could notice many bloggers went on about Creationism and ideas from scientists and what would be possibly been written in the Bible. We can not deny we find it strange that such an industrious and very developed country can have so many people who are sceptical about key tenets of scientific orthodoxy. On such issues as human evolution, the formation and age of the universe and, more recently, climate change, many Americans reject the dominant views of the scientific community.

In a 2008 survey of Floridians by the Tampa Bay Times, only 22 percent of respondents said public schools should teach an evolution-only curriculum, and 50 percent wanted only faith-based theories, such as creationism or intelligent design taught. {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science}

On Christadelphian World I discussed already the strange evolution we can see in the U.S.A. of people ignoring how the world evolved and how we have proof certain animals existed. There I also mentioned the Pew Research Center poll from 2009 which found fewer than a third of those sampled accepted the idea that humans evolved through natural processes, while 31 percent rejected the theory of evolution outright.

Top climate scientists issued a report in September saying the evidence that climate change is a real, man-made threat is as convincing as the evidence that cigarettes cause fatal illnesses. Yet a Pew poll from earlier that year found only 42 percent of respondents believed the earth is warming mostly as a result of human activities that produce greenhouse gases.

Some scientists and cultural critics see a dangerous trend at work. Science journalist Michael Specter wrote a book called “Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives,” criticized such disparate tendencies as claims that vaccinations cause autism, bans on genetically modified foods and the embrace of supposed herbal treatments over traditional medicine. { in Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p2}

What most people could see is that it does not originate in the classroom, but that most children get their conservative and creationist ideas imprinted at home.  We also can see that certain people can find themselves at ease by a certain political party because it brings so fervently those conservative ideas which although seem not to do anything with reality can bring people a very strong mood, active to out their voice loudly of what they believe everybody should believe.

A poll in 2011 found that roughly 50 percent of those identifying themselves with the tea party rejected the science behind both evolution and global warming.

from The Ledger tells us that The Ledger requested Gov. Scott, who is aligned with the conservative tea party political group, his personal views on evolution, the Big Bang theory, the age of the universe and human-caused global warming.

The governor said:

“We don’t need a lot more anthropologists in the state.”

but did not answer the questions. Instead, a spokesman emailed a general statement reading in part:

“In order to grow more opportunities for Florida families to succeed, we must invest in programs that will diversify our economy and create jobs for future generations. Governor Scott has been a consistent advocate for STEM education as a path for Florida students finding great jobs.”

Those conservative Americans let it look like believers may not believe anything what science present to humankind, because otherwise they would deny that they could be a “a walking miracle”. They started doing like the Muslims which always say ‘Inshallah’ ‘If God wants it’ and say “it’s God’s will.”

I shall not deny that it will be God his Will when he lets something happen. But when something happens it is not because God wants it to happen that way. We can wonder if God wanted the Holocaust to happen. Though He might have let it happen because it bringing a good lesson to the people of God. Though God has given the world to man. In case He would intervene every time, it would not exactly given to man to do like he wants. Than God could again be accused of what He was accused in the Garden of Eden, namely having the sole Power to rule the universe and giving man no right to think and handle for himself.

Carol Murray (62) of Winter Haven roundly rejects the notion that humans evolved over millennia from ape-like ancestors. The theory of evolution, developed over a century and a half by scientists through observation and research, has consensus acceptance in the scientific world and is part of the required science curriculum in Florida’s public schools.

“On the one hand, you’ve got kids going to Sunday school, and they’re telling them that God created them, and then they go back to public school and they’re being taught that man evolved from an ape,”

Murray said. “No wonder the kids have problems.” {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p2}

I think the problem lies more in the hands of the parents who can not explain enough people might have different opinions and can themselves not accept that others might have an other opinion. In case several opinions may exist next to each other they will not create so much confusion. Than every person shall be able to feel more at ease to find they have an other idea, but which many others would also agree with.

An other problem is that many people consider that the first man and woman looked the same as we do now. This concept of having a Caucasian Adam and Eve and a Caucasian, instead of a Palestinian Jesus, is distorting historical reality. A few years ago there was a heavy reaction when there was placed a brown baby Jesus in a Belgian manger. Lots of people could not accept that Jeshua from Nazareth, better known today as Jesus Christ, was brown skinned. In most countries the Christmas scenery is almost always placed in a European environment with fir trees and snow, having nothing to do with the place nor the time that Jesus was born.

Academic figures say scepticism toward science reflects misunderstandings about how science works and confusion about the way scientists use such terms as “theory” and “hypothesis.”

Russell Betts, dean of the College of Science at Illinois Institute of Technology, said hostility toward science often comes down to questions of “thinking versus believing.” Whereas science ideally is a dispassionate quest for understanding, Betts said those who attack scientific theories usually have differing agendas.

“The general public often takes scientists’ willingness to change their viewpoint as a weakness, as if that means they are fundamentally not reliable,” Betts said. “But science doesn’t claim to be absolute.

“It’s always open to change as new and better results become available. Largely, these changes are incremental; but sometimes, there’s a paradigm shift, often dramatic, as new evidence becomes available. Versus belief, which is what it is — unchangeable. That’s one of its characteristics.” {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p4-5}

Young-Earth Creationism: The Flintstones for G...

Young-Earth Creationism: The Flintstones for Grownups (Photo credit: PatinaLatina)

As a teacher I, by the years also noticed that many children and parents did not like it when others got to say how things where. They did not want to listen to others and where not interested in details or broader information. You can see that in the latest generations, just looking at the headlines or Tweeter messages, but not going further to click and look at the tweeted article.

Cottle, the FSU professor, said reactions against science reflect a more general backlash against intellectualism in America.

Scientists say the absence of complete proof does not disprove a scientific theory, whether it’s evolution or another matter. Cottle said a lack of absolute certainty is part of science, but he said scientists get defensive when sceptics cite uncertainties as proof the entire theory is wrong.

“When scientists feel that they are being attacked from the outside, they tend to get into a mode where they deny that there are open questions,” Cottle said. “In all our science, we have open questions. …

“I think it’s just one aspect of a broader problem — that we have lost respect for expertise. The idea that somebody else might be an expert and you should listen to them is simply not in vogue.” {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p6}

“The big mistake scientists make is when they’re being attacked by somebody from the outside that they don’t feel is informed, a politician or somebody else, they can throw their back up and say, ‘No, no, all the questions are answered,’ when in fact that’s not true. I see it in evolution all the time.”

The other great great problem is that several people do want to see the Bible as a literal text and do not understand the descriptive and idiomatic language of it.

In the world we can find many Christians who regard the Bible as a literally accurate description of history. They see a direct conflict to their faith in what are now accepted as scientific truths and do not want to accept that the universe and the earth might be billions of years old and had primitive life forms which evolved through natural selection over millennia to become modern animals and humans. they do not want to see the changes which have been taken place by the years, though if they would look in their own family they could already see great changes of length and form by their own children opposite their ancestors.

A poll by the Pew Research Center from 2009 found that 55 percent of evangelical Protestants said humans have existed in their present form since time began, and only 10 percent of them said evolution has occurred through natural processes.

The poll found that 26 percent of mainline Protestants and 27 percent of Catholics agreed that humans have always existed in their present form. Only 11 percent of Americans with no religious affiliation shared that outlook, the Pew Research Center reported.  {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p7}

Like Gaylord Paul Garcia writes in his blog: Yes, Science and Religion can Coexist:

Science and religion are publicly viewed as two different entities that will never reach a connection point where both will agree. They will never harmonize with each other because it has been a withstanding public truth that these two groups see each other’s views as either fantasy or fiction.

But I do not agree with what he considers to be the popular belief, that science and religion are ultimately incompatible – they cannot coexist. He himself knows that such is misguided.

Whether firm believers of this public truth decide to stay loyal to this belief, the truth is science and religion can coexist, it has coexisted, it coexists now, and it will continue to coexist in the future. {Yes, Science and Religion can Coexist}

The belief that the universe has an Author Who created everything, Who is all-knowing, and Who has everything planned for us, does not have to mean that He would not have given man the ability to think for themselves and to find many things out how the world was created and developed. It is wrong to think that scientist would work against the Creator or not believe in a or The Creator. It is not because a person believes in the Big Bang that he can not accept that the Cause of that Big Bang was a Divine Creator. To have something happening there should come something in action by something. That something could be that Eternal Spirit who also let the world know that He was and is the causer of everything “I am Who is”, “I am The Being”. Without The Being there can not exist a being or something that is.

Problem with several scientists and many atheists is that they have a generalised idea about Christians and never came to read what the Bible says and compared it what several churches made of it. When they would have done such a study they would have come to see that there are many churches who teaches other ideas than presented in the Bible.

Many Christians, in their turn, may forget that the Divine Creator is the One Who gives knowledge to man and Who has given also scientists the possibility to use their brains properly.

The 18 years old, undergrad at American University, Gaylord Paul Garcia, let us known what Abdus Salam, a physicist born in Pakistan thinks about this situation.

His father was an official for the department of education and because of that, schooling became a major factor in his life. Abdus Salam got his PhD in theoretical physics from Cambridge University at the young age of twenty-five years old. From then on, he received a Nobel Prize in physics for his work – Unification of Fundamental Forces – and created the International Center for Theoretical Physics. What is important of his work is that all of his scientific work has been epitomized by a quote from the Quran. The Quote is from Allah, that says,

“Thou seest not, in the creation of the All-merciful any imperfection, Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure. Then Return thy gaze, again and again. Thy gaze, Comes back to thee dazzled, aweary.”

As said by Abdus Salam, his religious spirit made him understand that there is a divine creator that created these unique systems and they are were created for a reason. He understood that this knowledge is for him to share to those who did not know about their workings. {Yes, Science and Religion can Coexist}

People should understand that the Most High has given different gifts to different people. We should trust the Creator and accept that He knows best whom may have which knowledge and whom might be the best one to share the knowledge with others. We all can not have the same knowledge about all the subjects this world has to offer; So there shall be people who are better in mathematics, geography, history, archaeology, anthropology, physics or an other subject we need to put all things together and to let this world turn reasonably well.

We do need chaos. God is a god of order. We should be pleased we can deserve somewhere a place in that universe created by the Almighty God.

Like Abdus, we should trust Allah, God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, and be pleased that we can find so many people who are willing to   contribute to the people who are less fortunate. Like he did knew what his role was in life, we should come to get to know our position and be satisfied we can play a role, be it different, in this community.

Abdus Salam did not lose his morals because of his faith and religion.

That despite the amount of knowledge or truths people attain, they are grounded by their faith and it keeps their ethics straight. Like Abdus Salam, he used and shared his knowledge to those people who are less fortunate because of his faith. Hence, science and religion in perfect harmony advances the human race in peace, while science without religion or religion without science may not produce something to that effect. In the words of Albert Einstein himself, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” {Yes, Science and Religion can Coexist}

In our trust in Jehovah we should share our knowledge and be content others have the willingness to share their knowledge about subjects we know less. Like he shared his knowledge to those people who are less fortunate because of his faith we should be sharing our knowledge and have others also to see that science and religion in perfect harmony advances the human race in peace, while science without religion or religion without science may not produce something to that effect. In the words of Albert Einstein himself,

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

It is wrong to think a Christian might not have critical thinking. Religious and scientific descriptions of the world do not in essence require a certain leap of faith. they only need a clear investigating and wondering mind.

Granger, a former Marine who works for a building-supply company, makes a good point when he considers science essential to progress and generally accepts the determinations of scientists.

“If somebody were to truly disregard science and evolution, that would limit what kind of advancements can be made with medicine and understanding the way the human body works,” he said. {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p9}

Therefore it would be best for schools to include alternatives,

not just one (theory), and they should get into discussions of it and not just say that theory is it,”

Geraldine Watson of Bartow said. At 78 she teaches a Sunday school class once a month at St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bartow, and she regards the passages in the book of Genesis as literally true.

The Florida Department of Education, which sets the curriculum standards for public schools, does not include those alternative theories in its science benchmarks. Biblically based narratives are incorporated into science teaching at some private, religiously affiliated schools, such as Lakeland Christian School.

Lithia resident Jonathan Smith, vice president of Florida Citizens for Science, said some Americans are illogical in rejecting certain elements of science while accepting the rest.

“You don’t hear people talking about, ‘We don’t believe in gravity; we don’t believe in germ theory,’ or stuff like that,” Smith said. “But evolution probably conflicts with people’s religious beliefs, and so does climate change. …

“We use our cell phones, we drive in our computerized cars, we rely on antibiotics — anything science can provide for us, as long as it’s convenient. If it’s anything that might alter your view of the world, particularly from a religious perspective, they reject it.”  {Science and Skepticism: Amid a Push for More STEM Training, Many Reject Key Elements of Science p10}

Dewey Funkhouser correctly says:

Religion is probably the largest business in America and the Bible thumpers want to bad mouth science as much as possible. So-called religion has done more to set America Back than any other thing. If you think the Tea Party movement hasn’t hurt America, you must be a kook.

We should be very careful before we accuse the schools of brainwashing the children. The schools should give a wide or broad margin of subjects and should teach the children the necessary things they should get to know, based on facts and science. Schools and educational programs do have the task to prepare people to stand strong in the world-community, being able to investigate and think for themselves. They should prepare them to compete in life, the world economy, college and anywhere else in life.

Schools in democratic countries also should learn that no religion may be allowed to oppress anyone, and that everyone should be allowed to believe and adhere whatever they want. Freedom of thought should be in the first line of duty.

Let us always remind:

“To think without believing disregards many possibilities, but to believe without thinking disregards more certainties.”

Religion and science are not mutually exclusive, to the contrary. Those who are Christian should not be afraid of science when they are standing straight in their shoes. When our Christian faith is strong enough and we are willing to use our heads properly, we shall get to find out how things really work and we shall overcome our challenges without fearing us.

Don Gifford says it nicely:

You should have enough faith in godless humanistic doctrine not to fear me. If we can agree to respect each others rights we can get along just fine and our children will be all the better for it.

Yes, Science and Religion can Coexist notes:

The greatest thinkers and contributors of science have been men and women of faith. The bible or other religious texts should not ever be taken literally as it is not based on scientific evidence. However, religion should not be brushed off. Religion in itself is a way of discovering meaning and purpose, to ignore it means to ignore morals and ethics. To most people, to have religion is to be grounded and a way to not forget to be selfless. Likewise, science is also not optional. Science explains to us the physical universe and how it functions and come about.

The last few weeks people could find a lot on

the much-ballyhooed debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye on creationism versus evolution (“Ham on Nye”), which only served the purpose of giving Ham’s ridiculous beliefs attention they did not deserve. And, it got Ham enough money from donors an taxpayers to complete his theme park. {How to Debate a Christian Apologist}

A writer/virtual assistant living in the Philippines writes:

I believe, as a scientist, if you go into science with unshakable, preconceived notions of what is and what should be (creationism), when you insist that only one theory, one thesis is correct, then you’re not being a good scientist. {Science, As a Christian – My Thoughts on the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate}

as a Christian, it goes against one of our main virtues: humility. Even with the Bible, we cannot assume to know exactly what’s God’s plan is and how he created the universe. He leaves clues and we follow the clues. We can’t just insist that just because it’s in the Bible it’s fact. {Science, As a Christian – My Thoughts on the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate}

We never may forget that:

God uses science as a tool for us to appreciate the glory of his creation, not to exclude or persecute. And that regardless of whether the universe is young or old, humanity hasn’t existed long enough for us to understand and appreciate it.

All the complexities and inconsistencies that we see serve a purpose we do not understand but can only attempt to comprehend. After all, life’s much more fun if we have a few surprises. {Science, As a Christian – My Thoughts on the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate}

Science seems to deal often with objects, such as quarks and black holes, that have not been directly detected.

Since multiple universes are strongly suggested by modern cosmology, they must be considered when we debate theological questions. As long as they are not ruled out, they cannot be used as a god-of-the-gaps argument for the necessity of a creator. What’s more, other universes are in principle detectable by their effects on the cosmic microwave background. {How to Debate a Christian Apologist}

Atheists as well as Theists do have to recognise that both have their dogma‘s. Both are”believers“, be it in having a god or gods or not existing gods or not having a Divine Creator God.

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This article is made possible by using material from a.o. who can be reached at gary.white@theledger.com or 863-802-7518. He blogs about tourism at http://tourism.blogs.theledger.com and about books at http://ledgerlit.blogs.theledger.com.

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Please do find also to read:

  1. Bible and Science: Scientific Facts and Theories
  2. Reconciling Science and Religion
  3. Bible containing scientific information
  4. The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)
  5. The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)
  6. Science and the Bible—Do They Really Contradict Each Other?
  7. Are Science and the Bible Compatible?
  8. Science and Religion Harmonized (Once and For All…)
  9. Book Review: Ann Gauger, Douglas Axe & Casey Luskin, Science & Human Origins. Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2012.124pp.
  10. God’s design in the creation of the world
  11. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  12. Incomplete without the mind of God
  13. Belief of the things that God has promised
  14. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  15. Stand Up

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In Dutch:

  1. Wetenschappers, filosofen hun zeggen, geloven en waarheden

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Map of the world, showing percentage by countr...

Map of the world, showing percentage by country who believe religion is important (2002). Data by the Pew Research Center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • GOP is increasingly anti-science on climate change, evolution: Editorial (nj.com)ed0103editAbox.jpg
    Forty-eight percent of Republicans now say they believe that humans evolved over time, either with or without help from a supreme being. The numbers of Democrats and independents who believe in evolution, meanwhile, have held steady, and reflect the population as a whole: Six in 10 Americans believe that humans have evolved.

    One can simultaneously believe that God created life, and set in motion the process of evolution that Charles Darwin described — even Darwin made that point. But to flat-out deny the undoubted changes that scientists have found in the study of fossils and life forms is just ignorance.

  • Public, Private Schools Diverge in Handling of Biology, Cosmology (theledger.com)
    Wasemann said he knows a certain segment of his students — and their parents — reject the prevailing scientific theory that modern humans evolved from lower life forms. Aside from the fact that evolution is crucial to a scientific understanding of the world, Wasemann tells his students, it’s also a subject required for high school science teaching under the Sunshine State Standards, the Florida Department of Education’s curriculum guidelines.

    That means it must be included on the exam that comes at the end of the term.

  • Republicans Reject Evolution in Favor of Devolution (planetpov.com)
    Many religious people expressed a belief in evolution, seeing God’s hand in it. Science and religion can indeed coexist for some but unfortunately, not for the extremists. 64% of White Evangelist Protestants (and 50% of Black Evangelist Protestants) don’t believe in evolution.

    The political breakdown…and breakdown may be the right word when one considers the deterioration in Republicans’ belief in science…is most interesting. In 2009, when Pew held a similar poll,  In 2009, 54% of Republicans and 64% of Democrats supported evolution. In this week’s poll, those numbers have changed to 43% of Republicans and 67% of Democrats.

    So in just four years, there are almost 20% more Republicans disbelieving evolution, the 10% gap with Democrats in 2009 has ballooned more than double to a 24% gap (meanwhile, there was a gradual increase of 3% more Democrats believing in evolution).

     

  • Conservatives (including Christian conservatives) aren’t anti-science as much as they’re anti-hectoring and unpersuaded by naked appeals to authority delivered with maximum condescension (climber.wordpress.com)
    First, let’s be clear that there’s very little quality scientific education in the United States (and that applies to liberal citizens as much as conservative).
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    Second, daily life teaches us that public scientific declarations are uncertain, debatable, and often wrong. Parents, for example, get bombarded with competing theories over their child’s intellectual and emotional growth, their diet, and their physical health — with incompatible opinions delivered at high volume and with absolute certainty. When it comes to our own diets, how many competing scientific voices are screaming for our attention? And that of course doesn’t count every other aspect of life where scientific certainty shifts, changes, is hotly debated, then changes again.
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    Of course, one can be Christian and understand that evolution could be one method of God’s creation, and one can be conservative and completely buy the “consensus” arguments surrounding global warming, but the debate has not been fought on those terms, and the other side has made effectively zero effort to meet Christians and conservatives where they are to make the consensus case.
  • A Move Is Afoot to Keep Climate Science Out of Classrooms (scientificamerican.com)
    For decades objections to the theory of evolution have bedeviled individual teachers, school boards, state boards of education and state legislatures. Educators fought to keep evolution in science classes and creationism out. We resisted intelligent design, the notion that natural selection alone cannot explain the complexity of life-forms, which served as a way of getting creationism through the back door. We are now fighting legislation that encourages teachers to teach the “evidence against evolution”—facts found only in the creationist literature.

    The consequences of antievolutionism are felt in many American schools: evolution is not taught or is taught poorly. Yet evolution is one of the most important ideas in human intellectual history, and students have a right to learn it.
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    Some political conservatives claim that global warming is a liberal plot to increase the power of the federal government, which if it reduces our reliance on greenhouse gas–producing fossil fuels, will jeopardize national security and threaten our individual freedoms. Some libertarians believe that policies such as carbon taxes are a socialist plot intended to cripple capitalism. True, some political and economic views cannot accommodate policies associated with combating climate change, but we should not let the ideologies of some prevent or distort the education of the many.

  • [Review] Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future, by Donald R. Prothero (kestalusrealm.wordpress.com)
    Reality Check goes in-depth into antiscience in general, as well as specific varieties of science-rejection.

    Prothero’s book begins a discussion of antiscience, its strategies and its tactics, moving to a description of science and it’s fundamental importance in our modern world, insights into its process and thinking, and then an expose of scientists who’ve betrayed professional integrity as paid shills of those with a vested interest in attacking science on financial and political grounds.

  • Creationism vs. Evolution: Where Does Islam Stand? (meditationsofamuslimah.wordpress.com)
    Muslims believe in a Creator, God, who created the universe. But on the other hand, most Muslim scholars do not throw out the entire theory of evolution, but do clearly discard the well-known piece that claims humans have evolved from apes (or ape-like creatures), as well as ideas that one species can evolve into another.
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    Regarding dinosaurs, Muslims generally believe that if science and fossil records prove that the earth is billions of years old, then it must be true. This is not a contradiction to Islamic belief, because Muslims believe that when God created the universe in “6 days,” this mention of time does not mean 6 earth days. God cannot be restricted to time as we on earth know it. In fact, the Quran specifically states that sometimes God’s “days” does not mean earth days, but can mean other periods of time such as thousands or tens of thousands of years. So we don’t know what actual unit of time it took, but 6 days most likely refers to 6 distinct phases of creation. In this view, it is permissible to believe that the dinosaurs were created along with other animals, and may or may not have gone extinct before humans were created.
  • Creationists Can’t Be Scientists (huffingtonpost.com)
    William Saletan sees creationism as “harmless” because scientists who espouse it can “compartmentalize” their beliefs. He recognizes its absurdity, but writes that, “You can be a perfectly good satellite engineer while believing total nonsense about the origins of life.” But creationism is part of the larger crusade within the religious right to make “biblical literalism” Christian doctrine and federal law. To espouse it is to preclude practicing science. Saletan believes that a distinction between historical science and modern science is what exculpates the creationist:
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    What should make us terrified of the creationist movement is this political mobilization. The movement is deeply intertwined with right-wing fundamentalism. Among the terrors Ham worries about are abortion and gay marriage.  Across the country creationism has tried to force itself into science curriculums, with political maneuvering and outright lies. But Saletan glosses over this concern, mentioning only briefly that seeing creationism as harmless “doesn’t mean we should teach creationism in schools or pretend it’s a scientific theory.” I agree we shouldn’t, but the creationist movement is trying to do exactly that.
  • Religious and scientific communities may be less combative than commonly portrayed (psypost.org)
    The NSB 2014 Science Indicators study, released earlier this month, found that roughly seven in 10 Americans believe that the effects of scientific research are more positive than negative for society — a number that has remained roughly the same since 1979.

    Other recent surveys show a partisan political gap, however, in views on scientific topics such as evolution and climate change.

    Between 2009 and 2013, the gap between Republicans and Democrats on the question of evolution grew by 11 percentage points, said Cary Funk of the Pew Research Center. “There had been a partisan gap before, but the size of the gap is now bigger. And what happened is that fewer Republicans said humans and other living things evolved over time.”

  • Why Climate Change Skeptics & Evolution Deniers Joined Forces (motherjones.com)
    anti-evolutionists and climate deniers were both getting dumped on so much by the scientific community that they sort of naturally joined forces. And that makes sense: We know that in general, people gather their issue stances in bunches, because those stances travel together in a group (often under the aegis of a political party).But there’s also the “declining trust in science” theory, according to which political conservatives have, in general, become distrustful of the scientific community (we have data showing this is the case), and this has infected how they think about several different politicized scientific issues. And who knows: Perhaps the distrust started with the evolution issue. It is easy to imagine how a Christian conservative who thinks liberal scientists are full of it on evolution would naturally distrust said scientists on other issues as well.
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Why think there is a God? (2) Goldilocks Effect

Those unfamiliar with astrophysics might get the impression that the Big Bang was just a random explosion of energy that just happened to produce galaxies with stars and at least one planet capable of supporting intelligent life. But nothing could be further from the truth. The more physicists have learnt about the conditions for a stable universe, and in particular a universe capable of sustaining intelligent life, the more it seems that the Big Bang must have been very finely tuned. Like Goldilocks porridge, the universe had to be just right.

One example of this fine tuning is the strength of gravitational force. If gravitational force were too strong then matter would clump together, if gravitational force were too weak then bounds between particles would be too weak. In either case, stars like our Sun could not have formed and without the Sun, life on planet could not exist. But what is really surprising is just how particular fine tuning is. If the strength of gravitational force had differed by one part in 1040 then our Sun could not exist. (1040 is scientific notation for a 1 followed by 40 zeroes, or in other words, ten thousand billion billion billion billion).

And the strength of gravitational force is just one example of many conditions that are remarkably finely tuned. Other examples include the difference in mass between a proton and neutron, and the density of the universe.

The point about these examples is not simply that they are improbable, but that they are crying out for an explanation. Imagine if you replayed the Big Bang over and over again, billions upon billions of times. And imagine that each time there was a Big Bang, you changed one of starting conditions (say, gravitational force) by a small degree. In almost every case the universe that emerged would either quickly collapse in on itself or would be entirely made up of hydrogen and helium; the scenarios under which the Big Bang produced a universe capable of sustaining intelligent life would be a tiny tiny percentage. This specified complexity requires an explanation and for a lot of people that explanation is a Designer.

And these examples of fine-tuning are not controversial. The physicist Paul Davies has written, “everyone agrees that the universe looks as if it was designed for life”. Both believers and non-believers agree that these remarkable coincidences require an explanation. However, there have been some attempts to propose an explanation that doesn’t require a Designer. Perhaps the most common alternative is the multiverse explanation, whereby there just are billions upon billions of universes and eventually one of them would turn out to be like ours. It is questionable whether this is a better explanation. Firstly, the multiverse is entirely theoretical and it is not clear how one might go about trying to prove it. Secondly, it seems odd to choose to hypothesize billions upon billions of universes just to escape the existence of one God. Thirdly, the multiverse hypothesis seems to complicate, not simplify the fine-tuning, as now one has to explain the origin of billions upon billions of universes.

God is the most straightforward explanation of the fine-tuning of the universe.

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Preceding article: Why think there’s a God? (1): Something from Nothing

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WMAP image of the (extremely tiny) anisotropie...

WMAP image of the (extremely tiny) anisotropies in the cosmic background radiation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Dr. Robin Collins explains two kinds of cosmic fine-tuning (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    I was busy working my way through “Debating Christian Theism“, a book published by Oxford University Press in August 2013. It features about 20 different topics from science, to philosophy, to history. For each topic, there is an essay by a world-class scholar in favor, and one opposed. So you get both sides of many interesting issues, at a very advanced level. The section on cosmic fine-tuning features a chapter written by Dr. Robin Collins.
  • Evidence For Universe Inflation Theory May Lurk In New Data From Planck Space Probe (mukeshbalani.wordpress.com)
    At first, there was nothing — complete and utter emptiness. Zero energy and zero matter.

    And then, out of this nothingness, the universe was born. Tiny, but extremely dense and packed with energy. And then, within a miniscule fraction of a second, it rapidly grew in size — inflated — by at least a factor of 10raised to the 25th power.

    This theory, known as inflation, is currently the dominant explanation for what happened after the Big Bang and for how the universe came to be the way it is today. But although many scientists now believe that inflation did indeed take place, they still don’t know how or why it started, or how it stopped. And so far, there hasn’t been any solid experimental evidence for this accelerated expansion. [8 Baffling Astronomy Mysteries]

    Scientists hope that in just a few months they might start to unravel the riddle, when they examine the next set of data from the Planck satellite. Since 2009, this radio telescope, run by the European Space Agency (ESA), has been mapping the oldest light in the universe.

  • Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes: Can Infinite Universes Explain Fine-Tuning? (christianreasons.com)
    Barrow & Tipler, in their landmark book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, note that if Einstein’s cosmological constant varied in either direction by as little as 1 x 10120, (which is a fraction so small that it would take more zeros to write than there are atoms in the universe) If this were to be changed by even that amount, the universe would expand too fast for galaxies & stars to form.
  • Craig’s Five Ways, Part One [EvolutionBlog] (scienceblogs.com)
    Writing in the thirteenth century, Thomas Aquinas famously presented his “five ways” to prove that God exists. He relied largely on extrapolations from observable phenomena in our daily experience to grand claims about the origins of it all. Thus, he argued from the presence of motion in the natural world to an unmoved mover behind it all, or from the contingency of existence in the natural world to the presence of a necessary existent, and so on.

    These arguments have received detailed philosophical development over the years, from Aquinas and from many others, but they have not fared well. Few philosophers nowadays defend them, and for good reason. All of them rest on dubious premises, and their conclusions are generally underwhelming. (For example, there might be a necessary existent, but why should we equate a necessary existent with God?)

  • William Lane Craig debates Lawrence Krauss in North Carolina: Does God Exist? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    Would you like to hear a debate featuring the least intelligent atheist ever? Well, this is a good candidate.

    The full transcript of the debate is here at the Reasonable Faith web site.

    Audio of the William Lane Craig vs. Lawrence Krauss debate at North Carolina State University has now been posted at Apologetics 315. The people who recorded it did not do a good job, though.

    And I also posted some background information on Craig’s arguments.

  • Video, audio and summary of Wiliam Lane Craig vs Peter Millican debate (winteryknight.wordpress.com)

    This debate on “Does God Exist?” took place in front of a capacity audience at the Great Hall, University of Birmingham. It was recorded on Friday 21st October 2011 as part of the UK Reasonable Faith Tour with William Lane Craig.

    William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, California and a leading philosopher of religion. Peter Millican is Gilbert Ryle Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College, University of Oxford and a noted scholar in studies of Hume.

    The debate was hosted by the University of Birmingham Student Philosophy Society, and the debate was moderated by Professor Carl Chinn.

  • Did Alien Life Evolve Just After the Big Bang? (lunaticoutpost.com)
    Traditionally, astrobiologists keen on solving the mystery of the origin of life in the universe look for planets in habitable zones around stars. Also known as Goldilocks zones, these regions are considered to be just the right distance away from stars for liquid water, a pre-requisite for life as we know it, to exist.

    But even exoplanets that orbit far beyond the habitable zone may have been able to support life in the distant past, warmed by the relic radiation left over from the Big Bang that created the universe 13.8 billion years ago, says Harvard astrophysicist Abraham Loeb.

  • Did Alien Life Evolve Just After the Big Bang? (space.com)
    “When the universe was 15 million years old, the cosmic microwave background had a temperature of a warm summer day on Earth,” he said. “If rocky planets existed at that epoch, then the CMB could have kept their surface warm even if they did not reside in the habitable zone around their parent star.” [Gallery: Planck Spacecraft Sees Big Bang Relics]

    But the question is whether planets — and especially rocky planets — could already have formed at that early epoch.

    According to the standard cosmological model, the very first stars started to form out of hydrogen and helium tens of millions of years after the Big Bang. No heavy elements, which are necessary for planet formation, were around yet.

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Why think there’s a God? (1): Something from Nothing

Let us start with the universe, the whole thing, the big picture. Why is there a universe? Why is there something rather than nothing? And how did all come about? These are big questions. Philosophers discuss these questions when looking at what is known as “the cosmological argument”.
There are many different ways of approaching the cosmological argument and many ways of stating it, but here is one common formulation:

1. Everything that has a beginning has a cause
2. The universe had a beginning
3. Therefore the universe had a cause

This is a deductive argument so if the premises (1 and 2) are true then the conclusion (3) is true. Intuitively, I think most people would accept the first premise and nowadays almost all philosophers and scientists accept the second premise, so it seems probable that the conclusion is true.

English: WMAP observes the first light of the ...

WMAP observes the first light of the universe- the afterglow of the Big Bang. This light emerged 380,000 years after the Big Bang. Patterns imprinted on this light encode the events that happened only a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang. In turn, the patterns are the seeds of the development of the structures of galaxies we now see billions of years after the Big Bang. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A good way to think about this is to try to imagine the alternatives. If the universe did not have a cause then either it didn’t have a beginning or popped into existence from nothing. But the universe did have a beginning. Around 14 billion years ago the universe began with the Big Bang. But the other alternative doesn’t seem particularly likely either. If you can get something from nothing, why do scientists spend so much time an effort looking for causes and explanations? If universes can just pop into existence uncaused then what is there to stop a brand new universe popping into existence in my shoe, say, or in my tea. If you find it just a little bit too unbelievable that the universe just winked into existence without rhyme or reason, then it must have had a cause.

The obvious follow-up question is what sort of cause are we looking for? The universe is space and time; what came into existence at the Big Bang was space and time. So whatever caused the universe to exist, whatever caused space and time to exist, must not exist in space (non-spatial) and must not exist in time (non-temporal) but – and this is the important bit – must also have cause power sufficient to kick off the Big Bang. And if you think about it, there aren’t that many options. If you are the sort of person who believes in abstract objects (i.e. that things like the number 3 aren’t just concepts but have independent existence) then you might identify abstract objects as potential candidates. After all, they are non-spatial and non-temporal. Unfortunately abstract objects don’t have causal power (the number 3 can’t cause anything). The only other available alternative seems to be an eternal and immaterial mind, and that sounds a lot like God.

“Aha!”, the atheist cries, “if the universe requires a cause surely God requires a cause too”. But this would be to misunderstand the argument. The universe requires a cause because it had a beginning (i.e. it is not eternal). But, God does not have a beginning (he is eternal) and so does not require a cause.

So if you can’t get something from nothing (and you can’t) and if the universe had a beginning (and it did) then it seems you need (some kind of) God.

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To be continued

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Additional literature

  1. Where did God come from?
  2. Attributes to God
  3. No good thing will he withhold
  4. Onsterfelijkheid – Immortaliteit
  5. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  6. Why is the age of the universe so different to the age of the Earth?
  7. Bible and Science (2): In the Beginning
  8. Bible and Science (3): Something From Nothing
  9. Bible and Science (4): How Did the Beginning Begin?
  10. Why did God take 6 days to create the universe? Why not do it in 1?
  11. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  12. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #1 Creator and His Prophets

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From other denominations:

  • The First Cause (christianreasons.com)
    The Cosmological Argument takes the reality of the cosmos to entail the existence of a something that created it.
  • Why the Kalam Cosmological Argument fails, and why it doesn’t matter anyway (freethinkingjew.com)
    There’s no way this amazing world could have come into existence by itself.  There must have been some sort of “uncaused cause” that created the universe.Philosophers have been aware of these sorts of arguments for many centuries, and yet philosophers have, by and large, rejected these arguments.  It’s easy to see why, when even just an average freethinker like me can see where these arguments fall short.
  • The 7 Most Intriguing Philosophical Arguments for the Existence of God (io9.com)
    Nietzsche is famous for saying that God is dead, but news of The Almighty’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated. Here are some of the most fascinating and provocative philosophical arguments for the existence of God.
  • Allan Gotthelf on Ayn Rand on the Existence of God (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
    According to the axiom of existence, “Existence exists.”  Gotthelf takes this to mean that Something exists. (37)  If that is what it means, then it is indeed a self-evident truth.  For example, it is self-evident (to me) that I exist, which of course entails that something exists.  But it is equally self-evident (to me) that I am conscious.  For if I were not conscious then I would not be able to know that I exist and that something exists.  “That one exists possessing consciousness is the axiom of consciousness, the second philosophic axiom.” (38)The first axiom is logically prior to the second.  This is called the primacy of existence and it too is axiomatic though not a separate axiom. “The thesis that existence comes first — that things exist independent of consciousness and that consciousness is a faculty not for the creation of its objects but for the discovery of them — Ayn Rand call the primacy of existence.” (39)
  • The Cosmological Argument: Arguments Put Forward By Copleston In His Radio Debate With Russell (olaleyedesola.wordpress.com)
    The radio debate between Copleston and Russell occurred in 1948. Copleston was arguing as a Jesuit priest with the firm belief that the cosmological argument is a logical proposition that God must exist. Bertrand Russell, on the other hand, was arguing as an agnostic with the belief that not everything has a cause because the whole concept of causes derived from man’s observation of particular things. Therefore, according to Russell, to say that God is the cause of the universe is rather illogical. The debate as a whole was split into two parts: the arguments from contingency and the moral argument.
  • The Cosmological Argument Defined (herose4grace.wordpress.com)
    The cosmological argument is in disguise.  In its premise, it calls on experience to prove the existence of God but in its untainted bounds, it is an argument of reason.  The main point of this argument is the simple premise that something can not come from nothing. It is our experience that dictates this absolute.St. Aquinas proposes the cosmological argument which begins by recognizing certain facts of experience and acknowledges the existence of God to explain these facts.  This argument, therefore claims to be a posteriori, i.e., based on observation and experience as opposed to a priori which is based on reason.
  • Essential Doctrines (Part 1): The Doctrine of God’s Existence (pastorbrianchilton.wordpress.com)
    The doctrine of God that needs to hold true for the Christian faith is that of theism. Norman Geisler explains theism as, …the worldview that an infinite, personal God created the universe and miraculously intervenes in it from time to time (see Miracle). God is both transcendent over the universe and immanent in it” (Geisler BECA 1999, 722). Geisler mentions that theism holds that God is both transcendent and immanent. These elements of belief in God are essential to the Christian doctrine. One could prove God’s existence without proving Christianity, but one cannot prove Christianity without proving the existence of a theistic God. Transcendence means that God exists as a separate entity from the universe. In contrast to pantheistic religions, God exists apart from the universe. Therefore, the universe is a creation of God. Immanence describes God’s working within the universe. Deists, like Thomas Jefferson, believe in God’s existence, but do not hold that God works within creation. Creation is like a wound-up clock and is ticking apart from God on its’ own. However, theists understand that God works in creation. God reveals God’s self to human beings (e.g. revelation).
  • William Lane Craig lectures on naturalistic alternatives to the Big Bang (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    This lecture might be a little advanced for beginners, but if you stretch your mind first, you shouldn’t tear anything.
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    The Big Bang cosmology that Dr. Craig presents is the standard model for how the universe came into being. It is a theory based on six lines of experimental evidence.
    +
    here’s a re-cap of the three main evidences for the Big Bang cosmology from Caltech.
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    The whole text of the article is posted online here.
  • Storkersen: God and The Big Bang Theory (iegrapevine.com)
    The man who theorized the big bang theory, George Lemaître, was an astronomer and professor of physics at a university in Belgium in the 1920s. In addition, he was a Catholic priest.
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    The fact is that while Lemaître attributed the cause of the big bang to God, it has been distorted over time and the cause has been attributed to matter or nothingness.There are various reasons why these two ideas coincide.
  • Does God Exist?: Trying to See Both Sides of the Question (adamstask.wordpress.com)
    Suppose:1) There exist things that are caused.
    2) Nothing can be the cause of itself.
    3) There cannot be an actual infinite regress of causes.
    4) There exists an uncaused first cause.
    5) The word God means uncaused first cause.
    6) Therefore, God exists.
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    the reason we ascribe to scientific facts some sort of objective and, in a sense, absolute nature is that they are validated by real-world experience; science begins in theoretical postulation, but if it is to be validated it must end in prediction of observations. And in the case of many multi-verse theories or other such theories one is left with only theoretical postulations that are less parsimonious and sensible than God.
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    the properties of God have intrinsic maximums. For instance, one could define perfect knowledge this way: for any proposition, an omniscient being knows whether is is true or false. An omnipotent being can do anything that is logically possible. An omnibenevolent being will always do what is right in terms of maximizing the good.
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    One of the ways in which Swinburne creates a more interesting argument for the case of theism is by rejecting deductive arguments, in the spirit of Cleanthes, for inductive arguments. Swinburne’s overall argument is placed within the setting of confirmation theory. He distinguishes between P-inductive statements, where the premises make the conclusion probable, from C-inductive statements, where the premises confirm the probability of the conclusion or make it more probable than it otherwise would be. 
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Science and Religion Harmonized (Once and For All…)

Things can be seen from different angles and told in different ways, though they should not have to contradict each other. Look for example at the witnesses of a car accident. They may bring a different story about the same account and both still telling what really happened.

Scriptures never did have the intention to give a scientific analyses of what happened in the world, but wanted to tell the story of the beginning and development of humankind in an easy to understand and to follow way. Details where there of no importance, and the Creator gave brains to the people which they can use to find out more, because it is all shown in the universe of the Creator, available to be seen by those who want to see.

The Creator did love His creation and did not want to annoy them with details of His creation. What would it contribute for them all? Those who are interested in more details He allowed to look for them and to find them. It is our own choice either to use our heads to think and reason with. for Him the heart is the most essential and He knows the heart of every living soul.

” And Jehovah said to Samuel, Do not look on his appearance, nor to the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For man does not see what He sees. For man looks for the eyes, but Jehovah looks for the heart.” (1Sa 16:7 LITV)

” So says Jehovah, Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and who makes flesh his arm, and who turns aside his heart from Jehovah.  (6)  For he shall be like a juniper in the desert, and shall not see when good comes. But he shall live in parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land that is not inhabited.  (7)  Blessed is the man who trusts in Jehovah, and Jehovah is his refuge.  (8)  For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters. It sends out its roots by the stream, and it will not fear when the heat comes; but its foliage will be green; and it is not anxious in the year of drought, nor will it cease from yielding fruit.  (9)  The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is incurable; who can know it?  (10)  I, Jehovah, search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.  (11)  As a partridge broods and does not hatch, so is he who makes riches, and not by right; it will leave him in the middle of his days, and in his end he will be a fool.” (Jer 17:5-11 LITV)

The Word of God should speak to the hearts of man. Wisdom and strength it can give. Nowhere in the Scriptures is written we should not use our heads to find out more about the universe, the why and how. But everything we can get to learn we should use in our life to advance and to make it better. Religion and science can be complementary and by integrating  the two we as human beings shall be able to progress and to achieve a broader spectrum of understanding.

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  • Science & Religion: The Paramount Candour (umbrascriptor.wordpress.com)
    Arising from the renaissance epoch, one of the most significant dichotomies that make us stop to ponder is religion and science. Relying on the definitions of science and religion, the difference seems to be evident because these two concepts originate from different dimensions of human activities. Science is usually referred to as the study of processes, forces, and development of nature, which is based on the analysis of evidence.  Religion, on the other hand, is closely connected to faith. These are two extremes and we are left to moot whether they can peacefully coexist or not.
  • Science is not a religion. (twoculturescourse.wordpress.com)
    The bible is far too often taken far too literally. It is a moral guide. Yes, some religions have extremists sects that are aggressive and believe in killing others. What about the religions that don’t? Kids may grow up in a household with their parents, taught what they should believe, then they grow up and think for themselves. It is not necessarily right for some kids to be forced what to believe, but in the end, they will make their own decision.
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    Some people don’t believe in evolution, that’s fine. But with a minimal knowledge of what religion is truly about, people too often jump to the conclusion that every single person who is religious believes in the story of Adam and Eve. There is a direct correlation between ignorance in science and ignorance in religion, I think. The focus should be mending that rift, not spreading it further through ignorant words, actions, and even hatred. Dawkins, you really fueled the fire. Faith exists for a reason. Faith is believing in something beyond yourself, that you may not be able to physically prove.
  • Science and Religion…a Contradiction? (apocalypticbluesblog.wordpress.com)
    Another common error in these comparisons is to cling too closely to one’s own religious dogma, ignoring not only science but also the vast tradition of wisdom handed down throughout history and existing among all religions. This sort of religious provincialism (my sacred scriptures are sacred and true, while your sacred scriptures are mistaken and false) waters down not only their own arguments, but those of all who cling to arguments of this type. Similarly, scientists might point to the obviously mistaken cosmology of early Christianity (for example) while ignoring the accurate cosmological (and astronomical) observations of Vedanta, five thousand years before.
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    Insofar as religions focus on our actions in this world, they concentrate on what we should do in the world. Science focuses on how the world works, not on what we should do in it.
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    In religion, knowledge can be obtained by inspiration, while in science true knowledge can only be obtained by testing, observation, and repeatability of results.
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    Religion focuses on the questions ‘who’ and ‘what,’ while science focuses on the questions ‘how’ and ‘why.’
  • Why religion thrived where science failed. (secularnewsdaily.com)
    Science has always been exclusive. If you can’t understand a scientific theory/fact you were deemed stupid and therefore not welcomed in the science community. Whereas, religion has always been inclusive. For the masters and the slaves, for the lords and the serfs, God has been ever present. Because religion doesn’t care how intelligent you are as long as you believe.
  • Understanding Spiritual Evolution – Part 3 (aquariusparadigm.com)
    It’s important for humanity to become informed of the existence of the spiritual realms and of our impending collective evolution into them, because despite the timetable our ascension is on, I must reiterate that we all need to understand and be focused on it to bring it into manifestation.
  • Can science address the idea of an ultimate creator and religion? (nerissavictoria.wordpress.com)
    Some atheists say that ‘God’ is just a word for ‘what science hasn’t discovered yet’. With the constant development of technology and the multiple findings given by scientists, this statement is becoming more and more accurate. However this scientific knowledge does not provide us as everyday people with the key to civilisation. Religion seems to be the glue that holds communities and societies together and so the fact that religion itself can have such a positive impact on a large scale makes me question… Why can’t theistic believers and humanist optimist see God as the brains behind the scientific explanation of the creation of the universe?
  • Dichotomy or duality? (twoculturescourse.wordpress.com)
    One of the most interesting parts of the Science and Religion article was the illustration describing the relationship between the two. The comparison was made between the dual properties of light as both a particle and wave. Based on what knowledge I have about physics I was interested to see how far the comparison could be taken. Light has characteristics as a wave and a particle that overlap to some extent, but at the same time have contradicting attributes based on the position of observation.
  • Science Vs Religion (beccsbordom.wordpress.com)
    I believe that science has stronger evidence against religion but due to my upbringing I agree with the religious side of everything and anything. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Gfa88SeNohY#
  • One for Dawkins (twoculturescourse.wordpress.com)
    I have always been skeptical when people believe that a religion helped to heal someone and not the sciences.  Even when I was a little girl and my mom made me go to church and Sunday school every week, I never had much faith.  I wouldn’t say that I don’t believe in any religion, I’m more just not sure what kind of higher power I believe in.  Anyways, I have always thought of everything in very scientific and technical terms.
  • David Barash explores science, religion and meaning of life in ‘Buddhist Biology’ (washington.edu)
    David Barash, a University of Washington psychology professor, is an evolutionary biologist, unapologetic atheist, and self-described Jewbu. In his latest book, “Buddhist Biology: Ancient Eastern Wisdom Meets Modern Western Science,” Barash examines the overlap between Buddhism and biology.
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    In the book, I relate Buddhist concepts to science. Anatman (“not-self”), for example, means that no one has an internal self that is distinct and separate from the rest of the world. Similarly in ecology, organisms and environments are inextricably inter-connected. Also, Anitya (“impermanence”) refers to the fact that all things are temporary and eventually return to the non-living world. Anitya has parallels with evolution, in that not only is every individual organism’s time on earth temporary but also organisms ebb and flow across time.
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    Both Buddhism and biology (and also existentialism) teach that there is no inherent meaning to life. We simply are, and that “we” or “I” or “you” or “he” or “she” is merely a temporary aggregation of matter and energy, destined (or doomed) to collapse back into the stuff of the world. Therefore, if we want to make our lives meaningful, we should not look to some outside deity, but rather to our own actions.

Just One Yogi

There appears to be a contradiction between the basic tenets of science and religion. Much arguing and division has resulted from the perception that the two are mutually opposed, or that one’s existence threatens the validity or purpose of the other. This conflict is most easily seen in views about the facts surrounding the Big Bang (or Creation, if you prefer) and evolution. I believe this apparent contradiction is easily resolved.

Consider this:

-What if science was right about the Big Bang, given their current understanding of it thus far?

-What if the religion was also right about Creation, and science merely described the process of how it was accomplished?

The same could be said about any function of God, of Life, and of nature and physics: science describes the operation of the world around us. Its realm is in that of the known, the seen, the empirical and objective…

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How to falsify a religion using scientific or historical evidence

With cyphers, diagrams and statistics people can juggle. It is true that every reasonable person can evaluate and reject different worldviews using evidence. For that reason it is also very important to know which reference works he uses as his basic or fundamental teachings and background.

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  • Cosmological evidence for leptonic asymmetry after Planck [CEA] (arxiver.wordpress.com)
    Recently, the Planck satellite found a larger and most precise value of the matter energy density, that impacts on the present values of other cosmological parameters such as the Hubble constant, the present cluster abundances and the age of the Universe. The existing tension between Planck determination of these parameters in the frame of the base LambdaCDM model and their direct measurements generated lively discussions and several interpretations.
  • A Dark Energy Mission (telescoper.wordpress.com)
    Here’s a challenge for cosmologists and aspiring science communicators out there. Most of you will know the standard cosmological model involves a thing, called Dark Energy, whose existence is inferred from observations that suggest that the expansion of the Universe appears to be accelerating.
  • The long war: a history of the conflict between religion and science (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    Many in cosmology have never made any secret of their dislike of the Big Bang, the generally accepted start to our universe first suggested by Belgian priest Georges Lemaître (1894-1966).

    On the face of it, that is odd. The theory accounts well enough for the evidence. Nothing ever completely accounts for all the evidence, of course, because evidence is always changing a bit. But the Big Bang has enabled accurate prediction.
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    Now I want to make a very, very important point about Christianity and the progress of science. And that point is that it is very important that Christians present the evidence in exactly the way that Denyse presented it in that article – in its historical context, featuring the conflict between naturalists and the experimental evidence.

  • big bang theory expiry date!? how much does the “horizon problem” undermine “big bang cosmology”? – 04min (societystacktrace.wordpress.com)
    Did you know the “Big Bang” has some scientifically recognized problems in terms of things that don’t fit observed phenomena & actual measurements? Enter the “Horizon Problem”. But wait! …the “Inflation Model” was supposed to rescue it all – then again, isn’t that just a theory?
  • What Caused the Big Bang? A Master Mason and Knight Templar Offers a Unique New Approach to Multiverse Cosmology (prweb.com)
    A central premise in Jeffrey Augustine’s work is that Infinity is a monolithic Unity. It is One. Augustine’s distinctive cosmology states that all universes are sub-infinite and are “sourced” by Infinity.

    Once sourced, Infinity launches these sub-infinite universes into the Multiverse in a “high-energy faster than light transfer process” that Augustine calls “Disunification.”

    Augustine says of this process, “Disunification is the mechanism whereby Infinity sources and then disunifies universes. Disunification is how Infinity populates the sub-infinite Multiverse. All of these sub-infinite universes can have different laws, thus allowing Infinity to realize every possible history and outcome as it evolves itself.”

  • How to falsify a religion using scientific or historical evidence (deadcitizensrightssociety.wordpress.com)
  • Ten Widely-believed Fallacies Today (christianityistrue.wordpress.com)
    Because Science has been proven to be the only reliable way to understand the physical world, it must be the only way to gain knowledge.
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    Modern public education is based on the false premise that The God of the Bible doesn’t exist.  So, from our very first days in school we are taught about a world in which God is irrelevant.  One is free to believe in God personally, but only if this belief has no impact on one’s life and understanding of the universe.  In other words, God is only acceptable if He is irrelevant and powerless.
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    There is plenty of evidence and arguments which show that belief in God is far more reasonable than believing that He doesn’t exist or, even, doubting that He does.  In a court of law, evidence will be sought and viewed differently by the prosecution and the defense.  Such is also the case between those believe in God’s existence and those who assume that God doesn’t exist.
  • Religion (thediaryofjensenvalentine.wordpress.com)
    Most of the religions were created thousands of years ago. When the man started questioning the world he was living in but the knowledge of that time wasn’t enough to give him the answers. Religion stepped into this void as supposedly it provided answers. Man made answers of course. It was the first attempts to philosophy just before science started. It has always been a brainwashing government tool. It kept the poor from murdering the rich back then. A psychological weapon. It forms the same ideology to people’s mind. Perhaps the most dangerous ideology ever because it’s not questionable. The criticizing of it could and still can cost your life. But that’s how the world changes. Criticizing old ideas. Yet, billions of people still believe man-made stories written thousands of years ago. If they read these books like they read any other, it would not be such a big of a problem. The problem is that people take everything in it literally. The talking snakes, the miracles etc. That’s one of the reasons to criticize religion. It makes potential intelligent people lose their sense of reality and say an enormous amount of stupid things, dumping down society.
  • Anfractuosity: The Case against Christianity as Will Fulfillment (birdandbabe.org)
    A common criticism levied against religion generally and Christianity specifically is that it is simply wish fulfillment, a human invention to help us manage our anxiety in the face of a chaotic world and eventual death.  Wanting something to be true doesn’t make it true.  And Christianity is just whistling in the dark to keep our hopes alive.Some answer such arguments by saying that just because we desire it to be true, doesn’t mean we are inventing it.  Starving people didn’t invent the idea of food.  Human longing could be an indicator of truth as opposed to falsehood.
  • Can Atheism Be Proven Wrong? (gretachristina.typepad.com)
    Is there any possible evidence that would persuade atheists out of our atheism?And if not — does that make our atheism close-minded and dogmatic?

    There’s been an interesting debate lately in the atheist blogosphere. (The media will no doubt point to it as a sign of a terrible schism in the so-called New Atheist movement; but really, it’s been a very friendly and civil conversation so far, among people who are fundamentally allies.) The debate revolves around whether there’s any possible evidence that could convince atheists to change their minds… and if not, whether that makes their atheism an unshakable article of faith rather than a reasonable, evidence-based conclusion.

 

WINTERY KNIGHT

I notice that a lot of new atheists seem to think that “I don’t like it” can refute a religion. What I often see among atheists is this tendency to set up expectations of how God would have acted and then complain that he doesn’t met those expectations. I don’t think that this is a good way to argue against a religion, because it’s subjective. God isn’t obligated to comport with atheist expectations.

So in this post, I wanted to show how a reasonable person can evaluate and reject different worldviews using evidence.

Falsifying a religion using science

Consider this argument:

  1. Hindu cosmology teaches that the universe cycles between creation and destruction, through infinite time.
  2. The closest cosmological model conforming to Hindu Scriptures is the eternally “oscillating” model of the universe.
  3. The “oscillating” model requires that the universe exist eternally into the past.
  4. But the evidence today shows the the…

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