Religion vs. Science

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Postby argyll72 on Wed May 03, 2006 3:36 pm

Jucdor wrote:
Native Americans had very similar system, yet their belief has changed a lot over the centuries. For instance the idea of the Great Spirit as a the leading god in many tribes was born only when indians needed to be more united against whites & thus they needed someone to symbolise their whole faithsystem. So the fact that indian wizards, shamans (can't remember what word you generally use in english for poppamies) dedicated their lives to remember spells & stories doesn't mean that they weren't changed. Your logic is the same as "Bible can't have errors, because those who wrote them was divinely lead". It doesn't hold water. Human mind is not a copy machine. I for instance have a couple of very emotional moments in my life few years ago and at the time I paid heed to remember those moments as well as possible, paying particular attention to some of the words that were used. But do I remember them now? No I don't. And it's been only 3 years.


The Jewish people held the art of remembering stories and what people said in the highest regard. There is no way you can compare the Native American culture to the Jewish one. The Jewish people’s oral culture is head and shoulders above the Native American’s culture in respect to oral traditions.

In the Middle East now and back in the time of Jesus the ability to recite, and write poetry was held in very high regard. It was one of the many things that were found to be attractive about a man.


Jucdor wrote:Yes, I'm sure that the historical Jesus probably knew a lot more about medicine than average Joe at the time. I do believe that he probably did a lot what people back then called miracles, but would modern people call them such? Well, some of them probably would as some people tend to use word miracle on occasions like doctor saving lives.


I’m going to disagree with you about Jesus knowing more about medicine then the average Joe. His earthly father was a carpenter and he was also taught this trade along with this brothers. He would not have been trained in the field of medicine. The field of medicine at that time wouldn’t have made a difference any way in the healing of a blind or lame man. If they were blind or lame they had to depend on their family to take care of them or bed as many of them did. Their bones wouldn’t have been reset and there was nothing they could do for eye sight.

I think if we saw a lame man get up and walk after not walking his entire life we would consider it a miracle even today.

Jucdor wrote:Well my input wasn't to question anyone's belief. It's just my historian side that wanted to remind people how history is researched and what are proved & what are matter of faith.


I agree with you .

Jucdor wrote:I agree with you on this one. However as I earlier pointed out there were a lot of other Gospels as well and they were in use for 4th century until New Testament was assembled & at least half the Gospels were thrown out because they weren't coherent with the ones that were chosen as holy.


There were a lot of “gospels” written in the second and third centuries that’s true. But they were Gnostic gospels and were condemned as heresy at the councils of Nicea and Constantinople. Arius was the preacher in Alexandria that was condemned for his Gnostic beliefs. His beliefs were that Jesus was only a spiritual being and not a physical being. The orthodox belief is that Jesus was fully man and fully God.

These Gnostic “gospels” were written by people who were not who they claimed they were. Take the gospel of Judas for example. He hung himself before Christ was crucified so how could he possibly have written it. There is also the gospel of Peter, Mary, and Thomas.

Athanasius was the bishop of Alexandria that fought the ideas that Arius was trying to preach. Athanasius was the one that went through the books up for consideration for canonization and decided if they were legit. He canonized the books that are now in the Catholic Bible but not in the Protestant Bible. These are called the Apocrypha. The reason they are not in the Protestant Bible is because they have nothing to do with Jesus or have theological significance.

I disagree with you that the Gnostic “gospels” should be canonized. This is because they are not consistent with what the orthodox beliefs of the church are.
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Postby argyll72 on Wed May 03, 2006 3:43 pm

In a way I agree with you. The way Bible explains the birth of the world isn't necessarily contradicting with the reality. It is only written in language that people at Biblical times would be ready to believe. Now if someone was suddenly started going on about species evolving from others & Earth being all volcanoes billions of years ago, the least they would've done was laugh their hearts out. Bible is not a scientific handbook and it shouldn't be used as one, it wasn't the discussion alledged God wanted to have with us. God wanted to talk about different things, but had to explain unrelevant things as well - in words that people would understand.


If you look at the creation narratives, yes there are two, in Genesis and compare them to other creation stories of different cultures there are some uncanny similarities. The Enuma Elish (Babylonian creation story) is one such document. Basically the author of Genesis took the creation story that was common in Mesopotamia at the time and rewrote it to emphasize that there is only one God. The Enuma Elish has several gods (Tiamat, Apsu, Anshar and Kishar, Anu, Ea) that had a hand in creating the world and the things in it. The book of Genesis is a theological book that is monotheistic, which was the first of its kind.
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Postby rocksolid on Wed May 03, 2006 3:59 pm

fishfleas wrote:however I do believe some Catholics are ok themselves.


Whew! That was close. :wink:
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Postby fishfleas on Wed May 03, 2006 4:00 pm

not sure of your point in that last comment argyll might want to clear that up.
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Postby argyll72 on Wed May 03, 2006 5:14 pm

I was just adding some information on Genesis and the "birth of the world".
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Postby Jucdor on Wed May 03, 2006 5:32 pm

argyll72 wrote:The Jewish people held the art of remembering stories and what people said in the highest regard. There is no way you can compare the Native American culture to the Jewish one. The Jewish people’s oral culture is head and shoulders above the Native American’s culture in respect to oral traditions.


Even if I agreed with that (which I don't as I haven't studied either of the matters enough) you didn't reply to my actual point. That no matter how hard you try, stories change. Even if the message doesn't change, the words do. And besides, the leading Jews didn't believe in Jesus anyhow so these highly qualified men were even at the most common - exremely rare.

Jucdor wrote:Yes, I'm sure that the historical Jesus probably knew a lot more about medicine than average Joe at the time. I do believe that he probably did a lot what people back then called miracles, but would modern people call them such? Well, some of them probably would as some people tend to use word miracle on occasions like doctor saving lives.


I’m going to disagree with you about Jesus knowing more about medicine then the average Joe. His earthly father was a carpenter and he was also taught this trade along with this brothers. He would not have been trained in the field of medicine. The field of medicine at that time wouldn’t have made a difference any way in the healing of a blind or lame man. If they were blind or lame they had to depend on their family to take care of them or bed as many of them did. Their bones wouldn’t have been reset and there was nothing they could do for eye sight.

I think if we saw a lame man get up and walk after not walking his entire life we would consider it a miracle even today.[/quote]

Naturally I was ready to go for mild understanding of medicine. The rest is probably just exaggeration. Stories get exaggerated once they've told a dozen times.

There were a lot of “gospels” written in the second and third centuries that’s true. But they were Gnostic gospels and were condemned as heresy at the councils of Nicea and Constantinople. Arius was the preacher in Alexandria that was condemned for his Gnostic beliefs. His beliefs were that Jesus was only a spiritual being and not a physical being. The orthodox belief is that Jesus was fully man and fully God.


Yes, in council of Nicea, 4th century which is my case. Over three hundred years later was, in a nice little gathering, decided that "I think this one is holy, but you can burn that one."


These Gnostic “gospels” were written by people who were not who they claimed they were. Take the gospel of Judas for example. He hung himself before Christ was crucified so how could he possibly have written it. There is also the gospel of Peter, Mary, and Thomas.


And few others as well that we are aware of. Let's not forget that we're reading the history of the winners. Christianity was still young & looking for its form & the few parchments of gnostic texts that have been found does not tell the whole story. Particularly not when paper was expensive back then & you were not likely to afford all of the texts or gospels which left you to copy your favourite ones and sometimes parts of from several gospels. And we're not talking about any monks copying the books, but ordinary people doing the job quickly to have something to read for their wives and children.

Let's do a little mind game. There are 12 gospels to go for. Let's say that there are 100 original copies of each & one man affords let's say 5 gospels. So 1200 original copies makes 240 people have some of the original texts. Then let's say that there are 50 000 people who has those texts as copied, part from here, part from there. And this goes on till the Synod of Nicea. There is decided that all the gnostic texts must be burned (ok, the burning part came a little later than that, but on the 5th century at least). Now let's say that only 10 pieces of gnostic texts survives to this day. How likely it is that they're one of the originals? Practically not possible. Whereas the holy ones are spared so you can go back, look what indeed was written in the original text & start using that one.

My point? Don't be too sure about history. And particularly don't be too sure about thing that cannot be known for sure.


I disagree with you that the Gnostic “gospels” should be canonized. This is because they are not consistent with what the orthodox beliefs of the church are.


I've never said that. To me it doesn't matter that much what the holy Bible holds in as I'm not a believer myself. At some days I call myself an atheist, on most days agnostic. Agnostic is probably more suiting word, as I love religious conversations and I have religious friends. My best friend's parents (and she as well naturally) was missionaries in Ethiophia, and one of my friends grew up on a tightly religious family with whom she broke ties with after they didn't approve her non-believing husband. So I think I've seen the best & and the worst religion can do to a person. If I had to choose, I'd say believing has more pro's than con's (but not much) as long as it's more about uniting people than dividing. However god, God or gods, have not convinced me and if I have to goto hell because of it, then so be it. At least I'll have good company there with over half of my friends.
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Postby Jucdor on Wed May 03, 2006 5:34 pm

Sorry... 240 people have the original text. Erase the some -word.
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Postby argyll72 on Wed May 03, 2006 6:00 pm

Yes, in council of Nicea, 4th century which is my case. Over three hundred years later was, in a nice little gathering, decided that "I think this one is holy, but you can burn that one."


You are way over simplifying the process. It wasn’t that they just went through and picked the ones they thought were holy. There was over three-hundred years of debate on what was orthodox belief. They had to first decide if Jesus was who he said he was, God incarnate, and then they had to decide if the Holy Spirit was going to be deified. The Nicene Creed wasn’t formed until 381 at Constantinople and then affirmed at Chalcedon in 451.
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Postby WintersTwilight on Wed May 03, 2006 11:35 pm

Jucdor and argyll72, I am sorry but I fail to see what either of you are trying to prove. To have a debate about religion it seems that you must first establish that there is a God. Have I missed something, or have we already concluded that a Divine Being exists?
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Postby Jucdor on Thu May 04, 2006 4:50 am

argyll72 wrote:You are way over simplifying the process. It wasn’t that they just went through and picked the ones they thought were holy. There was over three-hundred years of debate on what was orthodox belief. They had to first decide if Jesus was who he said he was, God incarnate, and then they had to decide if the Holy Spirit was going to be deified. The Nicene Creed wasn’t formed until 381 at Constantinople and then affirmed at Chalcedon in 451.


Naturally I was simplifying the process (we can debate about the over -word:)) to make my point. If for instance I say that Rome all of a sudden attacked country X, it doesn't mean that there weren't any debate about the subject before hand or that it wasn't planned before. In this case my point was that for over 300 years there were just bunch of texts that were freely copied and after the Nicean creed part of those texts were just decided to be holy & some were not. But before Nicene Creed there were no persecutions of gnostic christians that later followed. And gnostism was very widely spread, I'd say it spread as widely as catholism. For instance when Charles the Great attacked Germania he was facing mainly gnostic populations. The East Germania as far as I remember was still worshipping their ancient gods, but West Germania wasn't.
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Postby Jucdor on Thu May 04, 2006 4:53 am

WintersTwilight wrote:Jucdor and argyll72, I am sorry but I fail to see what either of you is trying to prove. To have a debate about religion it seems that you must first establish that there is a God. Have I missed something, or have we already concluded that a Divine Being exists?


Why? If that was the case, then I could never debate about religion. And I've been doing that for years and years.
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Postby WintersTwilight on Thu May 04, 2006 8:45 am

There are three things that seem to exist in all religions. 1. A numinous of some kind. 2. A moral code of some kind. 3. A connection between the numinous and the moral code.

You have argued against religion, but you have not put forth an arguement against God or against the moral law. I doubt that you will convince many of your point of view by simply reciting a few pieces of history. If there is no numinous then there is no religion. But if all you can do is talk about a couple of historical points, you have said nothing about the numinous. As long as a God exists, you will not be able to disprove religion in general.

It also seems that you insist that Christian history is flawed or wrong. Yet you also insist that your history is correct. It seems that we believe in history either by experiance or by authority. Since this goes back long before any of our experiances, we must base our beliefs on authority. You have eliminated all possiblity that Christian history could be true. At least in my opinion, if you go into a debate with a closed mind, you will not learn much and probably will not teach much. Humanity is not perfect, and we must be open the to possibility that any of us could be wrong.

Still, if you can not convince someone that there is no God, then it is unlikely that you will be able to convince them that their religion is false. Especially if you are not trying to convince them that a different religion is true.
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Postby Jucdor on Thu May 04, 2006 9:46 am

Why would I want to convince someone that there is no god? Being an atheist or believer is not a value in itself. I know that particularly for religious people believing in the divine is crucial part of their identity & why on Earth would I want to attack someones identity? Besides all I can do anyhow is to help people build an enlightened belief system of some sort where they know which things are fact and which are matter of faith. But I am not here to persuade anyone. I'm here to so that all of us can learn how our innerworld is build & if there is something to fix. If someone convince me that there is a god, then I am ready to believe that or at least I wish to see myself as one that is ready to believe that. Conversation in itself has a value to me. Particularly when we're talking about people I know. I want to know who I know. What makes them who they are. And in the process I wish to be there to provide tools how people can fix their worldview if they see it needs such. And I know that you, WinterTwilight, are not listened that easily from the "other" camp as your conversation style is more aggressive & less ready to hear what the others have to say. If I wasn't ready to respond to a religious argument with a religious argument then I would be stuck to have a conversation about existance of god. But as I see such a thing as secondary goal, I prefer to talk more widely about subjects. For instance I would be delighted to know what sort of belief system fishfleas has & then I could argue wether or not he believes in a god he claims he believes.

In a way I see that people's (including me) world view is a colourful circle. Now I want to know what sort of colours are there in the circle and if there are holes as there always is, then help fill those holes. What I don't find interesting is the debate wether a square worldview is better than circle one. But in the process when we fill those holes, I would love to create an athmosphere where - by filling those holes, cicle could turn out to be a square. And I know enough psychology that if I say that "Invading Iraq was a idiotic thing and all Americans are gay" then all I manage to do is get all the Americans upset and on their backfeet where they most definitely are not ready to listen to me.


WintersTwilight wrote:You have argued against religion, but you have not put forth an arguement against God or against the moral law. I doubt that you will convince many of your point of view by simply reciting a few pieces of history. If there is no numinous then there is no religion. But if all you can do is talk about a couple of historical points, you have said nothing about the numinous. As long as a God exists, you will not be able to disprove religion in general.


Which is not my intention either. And although I know it is your intention I know that you're not going to succeed either. If your goal is to destroy people's belief system, they will only hold on to it more firmly. But if your goal is to help people see what are facts and what are not, then there is a ground that even the zealots can be brought more to this world. As I said, God is imporant part of people's identity and if you're going to take that away then you need to put something to replace it. And most often science is not the issue. The issue is that people need to have a meaning for their lives, people need to have a purpose & they need there to be something that will make the good things in life to beat all the shitty things that happen in the world. And science rarely can do that.


It also seems that you insist that Christian history is flawed or wrong. Yet you also insist that your history is correct.

What my history? I've been only talking about history as a science (which it indeed is). And there are certain ways how science is done.


It seems that we believe in history either by experiance or by authority. Since this goes back long before any of our experiances, we must base our beliefs on authority. You have eliminated all possiblity that Christian history could be true. At least in my opinion, if you go into a debate with a closed mind, you will not learn much and probably will not teach much. Humanity is not perfect, and we must be open the to possibility that any of us could be wrong.


No, I haven't eliminated that Christian history could be true. I said it quite clearly that on most things concerning the event in Bible, we cannot know for sure. Probably never will. For instance when I earlier wrote about the Period of War Chariots in Middle East, the fact that we don't know what happened back then doesn't mean that nothing happened. Most definitely there was a lot of things going on, but we just don't know it. And the word know is the issue here. We may freely believe that Jesus did all that the Bible said he did, but at the moment we cannot know that he did them. That still doesn't mean that we would know that he didn't do them. I haven't got a Bible at reach right now, but sure there are events that can be dismissed as probably untrue (big events leave "footprints" elsewhere and if there are no other sources other than Bible, then such a thing is probably not true). And this should be beared in mind.

Still, if you can not convince someone that there is no God, then it is unlikely that you will be able to convince them that their religion is false. Especially if you are not trying to convince them that a different religion is true.

As I said, my intention wasn't to have a boring debate where there is only two key aspects - A) God exist and B) God doesn't exist. I on the other hand believe that if you do such a division then you're more likely to divide the people in groups as well, which indeed is my primary goal. Religion is bad when it is seen as dividing aspect. Religion is good when it is seen as uniting aspect. Sure often there is in religion the good aspect, but in global world the bad aspects win. So naturally I don't wish to power up the division, but minimise the dividing aspect. If we see the world where there are muslims, christians, atheists, buddhists etc. etc. etc. then we are, once again in a world that is divided in rivalling camps. But if muslims are let to be muslims, christians christians and so forth & still feel like we're one big happy family then we may have a peaceful world. So I don't want to claim anyone that I'm somehow superior or that muslims are stupid to believe in Allah or anything like that. I want to know how people think, what their identities are build on, and help fill up any holes that come up. In the process I know I can fill up holes in my own thinking as well.

So to explain my writing instead of explaining my motives - There are things that can be proved even in history. There are things that are likely in history and so forth. What I as a history student wanted to point out is that religious people often neglect history and believe something as historical fact just because it says so in the Bible. Which is not the way history is done in any book, event, people or whatever. There are pretty good methods to research things & most importantly there is the world wide scientific debate that can shoot down any claims that are not true.
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Postby WintersTwilight on Thu May 04, 2006 11:16 am

And I know that you, WinterTwilight, are not listened that easily from the "other" camp as your conversation style is more aggressive & less ready to hear what the others have to say.


I am in fact very ready to hear what others have to say. The concern that I was voicing was that you have not seemed to succeed in saying anything of relevance. Or so it is in my opinion, and I hope that you do not take offense of it.

And although I know it is your intention I know that you're not going to succeed either. If your goal is to destroy people's belief system, they will only hold on to it more firmly.


Actually, my intention is not to destroy anyone's belief system. I was hoping that I could possibly help those who have their beliefs not based on anything. I am in fact a Christian, and am not trying to argue against religion at all. I was actually trying to make an apology for the existance of God, but no one seemed interested.

As I said, my intention wasn't to have a boring debate where there is only two key aspects - A) God exist and B) God doesn't exist.


I did not know that you thought this a boring debate. The existance of God is, in my opinion, the most interesting debate there is. If you refuse to debate this issue, then I am afraid that I can do no further good.
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Postby KoolBak on Thu May 04, 2006 11:36 am

What the hell, I'll play too.......first off, I am an optimistic agnostic I guess, not that it matters. Graduated from a Brothers of the Holy Cross private catholic colege (Notre Dame sister school), not that it matters.

I really enjoy Winter's writings...very nice.

In my humble opinoin, there is no debate. Religion is SUPPOSED to be a structure upon one bases their FAITH; faith is all that matters and has nothing to do with ones belief in science...completely seperate. Faith is, in theory, what one uses to become a better person / interact morally with society / embrace agape.

Unfortunately, this is harldy ever the case...oh well.

Does science exist? Yes. Does God exist? It doesn't fucking matter what I think - your faith is all that does for you, and mine is all that does for me.

Thanks - that's my spin!
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Postby Jucdor on Thu May 04, 2006 12:13 pm

WintersTwilight wrote:I am in fact very ready to hear what others have to say. The concern that I was voicing was that you have not seemed to succeed in saying anything of relevance. Or so it is in my opinion, and I hope that you do not take offense of it.


Fair enough. I think facts are relevant. My opinion is that even belief has to respect facts.

Actually, my intention is not to destroy anyone's belief system. I was hoping that I could possibly help those who have their beliefs not based on anything. I am in fact a Christian, and am not trying to argue against religion at all. I was actually trying to make an apology for the existance of God, but no one seemed interested.


Well if the discussion is limited to circle around God's existance then it is obvious that there are only two worthy opinions - he exists or he doesn't. And that is quite limiting and to my experience not very good ground to continue a debate long.

However I ran into hasty conclusion I admit. I read too much about you in the brief debate you had with fishfleas and I realise that it is evident that you didn't even say such things that my conclusions were. Sorry about that.

But now I didn't get what you meant with "making an apology for the existance of God." Care to clarify that sentence?

I did not know that you thought this a boring debate. The existance of God is, in my opinion, the most interesting debate there is. If you refuse to debate this issue, then I am afraid that I can do no further good.


No, this isn't a boring debate. What I meant was that if the discussion is limited to a mere existance of God then it's very restraining debate & not very fruitful in the long term.

I see things that to fully understand them you need to circle around them. Up, down, left, right, front & rear. All over again to see how things look like. As I've understood, you wanted to just go into the heart of things without the circlying around part at all. So it's not like we disagree on the topic, but on the method of discussion.
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Postby rocksolid on Thu May 04, 2006 12:58 pm

Jucdor, I think WT meant apology in a sense that most English speakers aren't aware of - this is from Merriam-Webster online - "APOLOGIA (apology) implies not admission of guilt or regret but a desire to make clear the grounds for some course, belief, or position."
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Postby WintersTwilight on Thu May 04, 2006 1:36 pm

That is exactly what I meant. Thank you, Rocksolid.
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Postby RabbitCold on Thu May 04, 2006 4:18 pm

hey nate :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby RabbitCold on Thu May 04, 2006 4:18 pm

OMG ROFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Flaming you for life!!! NOOBZZ SIW :shock: 8) :o :lol:
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Postby RabbitCold on Thu May 04, 2006 4:27 pm

Is this the right thread to flame? I dont like to impose on anyone...but yeah im like at school and bored and this was the thinkg that popped up in the off topic stuff...didnt want to ruin anyones game...PLZ dont kick :?: :?: :arrow: :arrow: :lol: 8) :shock:
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Postby WintersTwilight on Thu May 04, 2006 6:32 pm

I will try to rephrase the sentance. "I was actually trying to make a case to show why I believe in the existance of God, but no one seemed interested."
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Postby HighBorn on Thu May 04, 2006 6:50 pm

WintersTwilight wrote:I will try to rephrase the sentance. "I was actually trying to make a case to show why I believe in the existance of God, but no one seemed interested."


I enjoyed it... i just didnt feel smart enough to quote after each :oops: ...lol
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Postby 2dimes on Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:47 am

I can't wait to read this one somewhere in here "Man is compared to chickens".
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Postby CrazyAnglican on Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:06 am

PaperPlunger wrote:Here's a fun one: "Religion v. Evolution, which one is real? Or are they both?" let's argue over it!


My brother would disagree with me, but I don't see these as being mutually exclusive either. I mean take a peasant farmer from the Middle Ages. Suggesting that if he breeds this strong dog with that fast dog he might get a pup that is strong and fast probably wouldn't give him a problem.

But say "Hey, you know you're kind of like God to those dogs." or "You just proved that God doesn't exist because you meddled with creation". Then he might reply "Bllllllaaaaaaaaaaassssssssphemer!!!!!!!!!!!!!". Kind of oversimplified, but see my point?
Last edited by CrazyAnglican on Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
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