A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible
Hunc tu caveto.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Time for some Q & A. Someone asked me this question:

What can be used as evidence for what one believes? You say that a christian cannot use a bible to prove their point but a scientist can? If you yourself are still learning then how can you objectively know that you understand religion or anything else as well as you think you do? You used to believe in the bible's teaching and now you look back and feel you were wrong. Then how do you not know that you are wrong now? I find your points through out the topic very intriguing and was just curious as to what is the best way objectively to search for the truth? And for that matter what do you believe truth really is?

Well, the scientific method can be used. But so far, all the times it has been used on religion, it has failed. The biggest experiment on prayer, financially backed by the Templeton group (which is a group that seeks to show religious truth by scientific methods), showed that prayer makes no difference at all.

We can also use the Dead Sea Scrolls, and older manuscripts, that show differences in the Bible as it has been copied over the millenia.

You seem focused on finding an "objective truth". I'd have to say this is physically impossible, given our brain capacity and our having one fixed biological perspective of being the center of the universe (we experience the universe as it enters our senses). We can approximate an "objective truth" only through intellectual honesty. That is to say we must have the courage to call a spade a spade.

The truth is that religion is a failed science. Claims made by religions made sense thousands of years ago because people tried to interpret their experiences and natural phenomena by integrating their superstitions in with their explanations - that's how we get Biblical ideas like the firmament or the "windows of heaven" mentioned in the Flood myth, or the circular (not spherical) earth.

Science shows us that as time goes on, newer information is continually filtered and we are constantly updating what we know about the world. Imagine if humanity decided to be dogmatic about scientific notions and stopped at Newton. Einstein's theories on relativity and gravity, etc. would not be allowed into scientific thought.

Well, in a sense this has already happened with the practice of our religions. Except instead of being stuck hundreds of years ago, we are stuck THOUSANDS of years ago. Now THAT is scary!