Benefits of Christianity

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Benefits of Christianity

I pressured a theist to explain what benefit Christianity had on society. Here's his quote

theist wrote:

Benefits of Christianity throughout history:

The personal transformation of billions of human beings

The preservation of the western world against the Islamic world and paganism

Some of the greatest art in existence

Some of the greatest music in existence

Some of the best literature in existence

The foundation of the political ideas for individual life, liberty, equality, exercise of conscience, understanding of human nature in terms of the need for checks and balances, and the mportance of the rule of law, applicabl to all regardless of status

The moral underpinnings for charitable organizations, including two of the largest in the world - the Red Cross and the Salvation army

The foundation of thousands of hospitals

The foundation of countless schools, colleges, and universities, some of which ar the most reknown schools of all time

The ending of slavery

The foundation of scientific exploration

That's a short list.

What about atheism; what has it been responsible for?

What do you guys think? I think the most ridicolous one is "the foundation of scientific exploration". The "preservation against islamic world and paganism" is quite phobic tbh.


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All the ones about freedom,

All the ones about freedom, and anti-slavery, Christianity actually fought against freedom and in favor of slavery. And certainly against science, as it continues to this day. Actually, it continues to fight against freedom to this day - ie anti-abortion, anti gay rights, censorship, etc.

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Funny, the man who was

Funny, the man who was president when slavery ended, Mr. Lincoln, was probably an atheist and even wrote a book attacking Christianity. I also love that this theist mentions the moral underpinning's of Christianity towards the end of the list and yet states "The preservation of the western world against the Islamic world and paganism" at the beginning. The key word their being against.

"My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the Scriptures have become clearer and stronger with advancing years, and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change."-Abraham Lincoln

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It just occured to me that

It just occured to me that much of the ideas that we call the foundation of western society, greek philosophy and the achievements of greek science, were lost to Europe in the dark ages when Christianity was running a rampage across the continent, converting everything in its way. Who preserved the Greek writings? Arab and Persian scolars, later Islamic scolars. Only through contacts with the Islamic world were these treasures re-introduced to Christian Europe.


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Quote: The personal

Quote:
The personal transformation of billions of human beings

Aint that the truth.

Here's one of those transformed people now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-D68W9x8n0

Quote:
The preservation of the western world against the Islamic world and paganism

Huh?

Quote:
Some of the greatest art in existence

Some of the greatest music in existence

Some of the best literature in existence

This point is moot. Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and many other religious people have also contributed greatly to those areas. Additionally many atheists have contributed in those areas as well.

It's from here on that I would simply remind the author, that there is nothing, I repeat NOTHING a Christian can do that an atheist can not.

Quote:
The foundation of the political ideas for individual life, liberty, equality, exercise of conscience, understanding of human nature in terms of the need for checks and balances, and the mportance of the rule of law, applicabl to all regardless of status

None of this stemmed from Christianity. I'll need some evidence that it did.

Quote:
The moral underpinnings for charitable organizations, including two of the largest in the world - the Red Cross and the Salvation army

The founding of the Red Cross has nothing to do with Christianity. When saying "moral underpinnings for charitable organizations" one must admit that only the good morals from Christianity are being used. One doesn't need to be a Christian to have those morals and those morals didn't start at Christianity, Christianity stole those morals as they existed well beforehand. Ironic that one would "steal" these morals and claim them as Christian while spouting about morals, eh?

Quote:
The foundation of thousands of hospitals

... for profit. There are plenty of secular hospitals. Again, what can Christians do that atheists can not?

Quote:
The foundation of countless schools, colleges, and universities, some of which ar the most reknown schools of all time

Many of those schools pride themselves on teaching things a secular school would never accept because the teachings aren't provable. Intelligent design and creation science come to mind as two things that one must be ignorant about reality in order to believe. Those religious theories aren't provable and as such don't deserve to be taught to our children. Doing so, is dishonest... not a good moral.

There are also countless secular schools, more of them are renowned for being the best schools in the world than the Christian ones.

Quote:
The ending of slavery

Slavery was ended by a man who is pegged as an atheist or at the bare minimum someone appaled at Christian beliefs... Abraham Lincoln. The bible however condones and requires people to hold slaves. This point is not won by the Christian.

Quote:
The foundation of scientific exploration

lol

Quote:
What about atheism; what has it been responsible for?

Ending slavery Sticking out tongue and E=MC2.

Someone else feel free to compile a list of things atheism has been responsible for.

Here's a video that includes some things atheists have accomplished: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CI3TJsz8P0

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Hey Sapient, do you mind if

Hey Sapient, do you mind if I use some of your points when I reply to this theist's points?

Atheism is just the disbelief in God(s). Can I really ask questions like what it is responsible for in a society? However, what atheistic people have done for society would be a justified question. My favorite example is Richard Feynman. Because Quantum Electro Dynamics is sweet, and it describes reality.


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KSMB wrote:Hey Sapient, do

KSMB wrote:
Hey Sapient, do you mind if I use some of your points when I reply to this theist's points?

Of course, I don't even need credit, as it might detract from the discussion.

Quote:
Atheism is just the disbelief in God(s). Can I really ask questions like what it is responsible for in a society? However, what atheistic people have done for society would be a justified question.

Well basically atheism is responsible for everything that theism isn't. Sticking out tongue

It's important to note, atheism is not responsible for terrorism, and wasn't responsible for the crusades or the holocaust. Eye-wink

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Theists seem to be composed of faulty reasoning...

theist wrote:
Benefits of Christianity throughout history:

The personal transformation of billions of human beings

The preservation of the western world against the Islamic world and paganism

Some of the greatest art in existence

Some of the greatest music in existence

Some of the best literature in existence

Okay, "the personal transformation of billions of human beings"? Are we talking about the Native Americans that didn't ask to be converted and were forced to submit against their will? Or are we dealing with the victims of the Salem Witch Hunts and the Spanish Inquisition who were converted through death and ingenious torture devices? Or maybe we are on the subject of the poor Africans that not only had to be physical slaves but, religious slaves as well? "The preservation of the western world against the Islamic world and paganism"? I suppose if one looks through the tainted "Bin Laden" colored sunglasses, Islam may look worse than Christianity however, the Christians track record by far surpasses any crime that Osama has even dreamed of commiting. So, it really only reads as Xenophobia, loud and clear. Fear not the "Melting Pot" my brothers; you never know what you might discover from other people. "Some of the greatest art, music, literature in existence"? Eh, those are opinions, not facts. Both the music and the literature sting of irrationality when they drone on about the alleged wonders of God. And art...well, if you've ever seen Dadaism you already know where I'm headed. If not, then I have written the art form "Dadaism" correctly, you may go and do a "Google Image Search" now.

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KSMB wrote:I pressured a

KSMB wrote:
I pressured a theist to explain what benefit Christianity had on society. Here's his quote

theist wrote:

Benefits of Christianity throughout history:

The personal transformation of billions of human beings


This is the second time in 2 days I've seen someone say "billions" when it comes to the number of Xians. That's just got my scruff in a tangle.

I strongly suspect that there are many more Hindus, Muslims and Buddists than there are Xians.

Does anyone have any numbers on how many Xians there are?

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I find this link pretty good

I find this link pretty good on this subject:

http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html


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Susan wrote: Does anyone

Susan wrote:

Does anyone have any numbers on how many Xians there are?

Christianity: 2.1 billion
Islam: 1.3 billion
Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
Hinduism: 900 million
Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
Buddhism: 376 million
primal-indigenous: 300 million
African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
Sikhism: 23 million
Juche: 19 million
Spiritism: 15 million
Judaism: 14 million
Baha'i: 7 million
Jainism: 4.2 million
Shinto: 4 million
Cao Dai: 4 million
Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
Tenrikyo: 2 million
Neo-Paganism: 1 million
Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
Scientology: 500 thousand

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You can actually read the

You can actually read the thread from Left of Larry, where I posted a lengthy exposition into the Bible and how it promotes slavery and is anti-homosexuality. I also have a lengthy list of the Bibles position on anybody who isn't a Christian. It's a good read. (In my opinion)

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I also think it is a good

I also think it is a good read. In my reply to this guy I said that the Bible condones slavery, and left it at that, since I had many points to reply to. I almost hopes he gets uppity on the issue, so I can dig in to the points you made.


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Update: I got banned when

Update:

I got banned when replying, for violating this:

Dear KSMB,

You have recently been engaged in activity in our Community in a manner or with content determined by our site administrators to be in violation of our Terms of Service. As a participating member of our Community, you agreed to abide by these terms. As a result of this violation your account has been disabled, pursuant to #20 of the Terms of Service. (http://l.salemweb.net/CommunityTermsOfService)

We must unfortunately insist that you not make any attempt to participate further in any of our Communities, even under a different name.

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This is what #20 says

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I got the general ban they don't need to define. I can just feel the love. As for the slavery, the guy I replied to just did a bit of a rant about Lincoln and Jefferson, and completely left out the Bible... wonder why...


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Sapient wrote: Susan

Sapient wrote:

Susan wrote:

Does anyone have any numbers on how many Xians there are?

Christianity: 2.1 billion
Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion

If half of the Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist group is "theist but nonreligious," that means there are 550 million Agnostic/Atheists worldwide. According to the website, they estimated that in 2004 there were about 2.6 million Atheist/Agnostics in the US.

We're working on it!

Unfortunately, also according to the website, in 2000 76.5% of the US defined themselves as Xians.

How frightening is that?!?

In 2005, Canada was somewhere between 19% and 30% Atheist/Agnostic. Toronto is looking better all the time!

Largest Atheist/Agnostic Populations:
http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_atheist.html

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A friend of mine said that

A friend of mine said that if it was not for Christianity we would never have had the printing press. This seemed not quite right to me, but I hadn't taken the time to reasearch it, so I simply asked where in the bible does it encourage invention? Where in the bible does it tell us how to make a printing press? He could not say. I told him that invention is a human ability and that Christianity had nothing to do with it.


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That site seems very

That site seems very Nazi-ish.


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Sapient wrote:Quote: The

Sapient wrote:
Quote:
The personal transformation of billions of human beings

Aint that the truth.

Here's one of those transformed people now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-D68W9x8n0


That was a damn good one Smiling Watched the whole series. They couldn't have chosen a better monkey-faced, fat-assed person for this role (sorry on the words, it's my opinion, the UN grants me the right to express it, and you don't have to agree with it)

As to the numbers of non-believers, I'm really surprised !

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I am a Christian, and proud

I am a Christian, and proud of it. But the theist you quoted was quite right in many ways.

The foundation of scientific exploration- Practically all of the first great scientists were Christians: Isaac Newton, Nicholas Copernicus, Sir Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Rene Descartes, Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, Gregor Mendel, William Thomson Kelvin, and Max Planck.

The ending of slavery- William Wilberforce, the man who accomplished abolishing slavery in England (and thus Canada), was a Christian.

As to freedom- MattShizzle mentioned Christians fighting against it. One of the things listed as evidence for this is abortion. Agreed, Christians are not fighting for the parents' freedom in this case. What they are fighting for is the baby's freedom. One could say that it is not a child yet, but it is still very much alive.

Food for thought.


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JonB wrote:I am a Christian,

JonB wrote:

I am a Christian, and proud of it. But the theist you quoted was quite right in many ways.

The foundation of scientific exploration- Practically all of the first great scientists were Christians: Isaac Newton, Nicholas Copernicus, Sir Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Rene Descartes, Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, Gregor Mendel, William Thomson Kelvin, and Max Planck.

1- Being that apostacy could find you roasting at the stake, and that humans are by nature inclined towards self preservation, they could all have been atheists just going through the motions of being Christians. So, it's a logical fallacy.

2- There is nothing to preclude persons with a non theistic worldview from developing principles and disciplines that are more practical and efficient at achieving objectives accurately through modeling and testing.

 

JonB wrote:
The ending of slavery- William Wilberforce, the man who accomplished abolishing slavery in England (and thus Canada), was a Christian.

Then it points to Christians deciding morality for themselves, going over and above what god sees fit.

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

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"1- Being that apostacy

"1- Being that apostacy could find you roasting at the stake, and that humans are by nature inclined towards self preservation, they could all have been atheists just going through the motions of being Christians. So, it's a logical fallacy.

2- There is nothing to preclude persons with a non theistic worldview from developing principles and disciplines that are more practical and efficient at achieving objectives accurately through modeling and testing."

I can't really answer the first one. It is possible that they were all faking it, though their devotion and lifestyles seem to suggest otherwise. Isaac Newton actually spent more time studying the Bible and writing books on it than he did writing books on science.

As to your second comment, I didn't say that Christians are better at the scientific method. (I will say, however, that I believe Christian scientists are at an advantage as they start out on the right track). I simply said that many of science's founders were Christians. The major reason for this being that they wanted to understand God's creation better and more in depth, whereas the rest of the world didn't see a need for it.

"Then it points to Christians deciding morality for themselves, going over and above what god sees fit."

I don't think so. I say it points more towards God using his people to solve some of the problems and injustices that man has created. (You may ask, 'Why doesn't God just do it himself?' This is because God has given man free will, so constantly slapping the hands of people whenever they do wrong wouldn't be fulfilling that. I do believe that God has, and is, doing miracles in people's lives and society as a whole, however.)

"As an atheist, I am the antithesis of acquiescence. I will only adopt that which is unequivocal, as an absolute. I can't help but notice those, who have exponentially lower standards than I."

The truth is, science cannot prove anything. It can come up with explanations that best fit our current knowledge, but even scientific laws can be overthrown because of a single counter-example.

Don't get me wrong. I love science. So many advances have been made, and worlds opened up that we didn't know about, all because of science. All I am saying is that science is inadequate. It helps us understand things, but, as mentioned above, it can't prove anything.  I personally can't put my faith in it.

In summary, I am not trying to convince you that, "Science is wrong and if you're really good, maybe God will let you into heaven." The truth is, I don't think I would be a Christian if that was what it was all about. What it is about is having a relationship with him. I heard it put well once, "Religion is man reaching up to God; Christianity is God reaching down to man." Science constantly changes; God never changes. He is the one thing I can depend upon.

I won't ask you to immediately share my beliefs, but please think about what I said.

" Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

I find your saying creative, by the way. Smiling

One more thing... How committed are you to absolutes?


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I can think of one actual

I can think of one actual benefit -the Commercial Revolution of Medieval Europe, sparked off by the Crusades bringing various luxuries back to europe, and the plague destroying feudalism.

Christianity also presided over much of the feudal barbarism of Europe's Dark and  Middle Ages. So you have the odd case of a social phenomenon being both part of the problem and part of the solution.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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You don't get to claim

You don't get to claim christianity as the source of science just because it happened to be the prevailing religion at the time and place these people made scientific discoveries. Especially when other cultures and religions were lightyears ahead of christianity before christianity wiped that knowledge out.

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"You don't get to claim

"You don't get to claim christianity as the source of science just because it happened to be the prevailing religion at the time and place these people made scientific discoveries. Especially when other cultures and religions were lightyears ahead of christianity before christianity wiped that knowledge out."

True, however, as I mentioned in my last comment, the main push for people (like Isaac Newton) to make discoveries and learn about the earth was because they wanted to understand God's creation better.

Also, Christianity itself didn't wipe that knowledge out, a warped understanding of it did. I am not going to preach against Catholics, but many churches at that time mistakenly began to look down on science. There is nothing in Christianity's theology that discourages scientific discovery.


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JonB wrote:"You don't get to

JonB wrote:

"You don't get to claim christianity as the source of science just because it happened to be the prevailing religion at the time and place these people made scientific discoveries. Especially when other cultures and religions were lightyears ahead of christianity before christianity wiped that knowledge out."

True, however, as I mentioned in my last comment, the main push for people (like Isaac Newton) to make discoveries and learn about the earth was because they wanted to understand God's creation better.

Also, Christianity itself didn't wipe that knowledge out, a warped understanding of it did. I am not going to preach against Catholics, but many churches at that time mistakenly began to look down on science. There is nothing in Christianity's theology that discourages scientific discovery.

1. Indeed, that's why religion put so much effort into trying to stop them. They were trying to find out what was behind the curtain.

2. Proverbs 3:5 stands against you.

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Those wanting to understand

Those wanting to understand "gods creation", as you put it, were actually motivated to find out how reality works so it could be more easily manipulated to their own benefit. Rarely, if ever, has a search for a god actually turned up anything of scientific value. No other search for information can be attributed to any god in any way.

Also, christians DID wipe a shitload of knowledge out. Libraries were burned, and entire cultures assimilated or destroyed. Some of it was intentional, some was not. But it all happened regardless. And it lies at the foot of christianity.

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JonB wrote:Also,

JonB wrote:

Also, Christianity itself didn't wipe that knowledge out, a warped understanding of it did.

All versions of Christianity are warped. Including yours.

Quote:
There is nothing in Christianity's theology that discourages scientific discovery.

Except that whole "Don't eat from the Tree of Knowledge" thingy, right there on the first freaking page.

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Normal 0 "1. Indeed,

Normal 0

"1. Indeed, that's why religion put so much effort into trying to stop them. They were trying to find out what was behind the curtain."

I believe that God hid things in creation in order for us to discover them. He did not make the world only to say, “No peeking.” I believe that God welcomes us finding and learning things, and that the church was very wrong to think that God would disapprove of us seeking answers and information in his creation.

(By the way, I challenge you to come up with a scientific discovery that disproves the existence of God.)

"2. Proverbs 3:5 stands against you."

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5.

I take this as saying 'do not trust in your own understanding,' not 'do not attempt to understand'. In other words, put your faith in God, not in what you think you know. Go ahead and search for new knowledge and answers, but keep God as the ultimate authority.

 


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"Except that whole "Don't

"Except that whole "Don't eat from the Tree of Knowledge" thingy, right there on the first freaking page."

Ummm, please clarify. I see nothing in the Bible that bans scientific discovery, as I just stated.

By the way, check out Expelled, a documentary with Ben Stein. It brings to light some interesting information...


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"Also, christians DID wipe a

"Also, christians DID wipe a shitload of knowledge out. Libraries were burned, and entire cultures assimilated or destroyed. Some of it was intentional, some was not. But it all happened regardless. And it lies at the foot of christianity."

You missed my point. The people who did this acted on their own accord; I have found nowhere in the Bible that states, "Destroy all knowledge and discovery."

"Those wanting to understand "gods creation", as you put it, were actually motivated to find out how reality works so it could be more easily manipulated to their own benefit. Rarely, if ever, has a search for a god actually turned up anything of scientific value. No other search for information can be attributed to any god in any way."

I would be interested to read your source on these scientists' motivation. Also, if indeed the founding fathers of science were searching to better understand God's creation, then this point, "No other search for information can be attributed to any god in any way", is null.

Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard all began as Christian universities started to encourage scientific discovery to, once again, better understand God's creation (however, as non-Christian management has risen, their Christian heritage has been completely turned around). The Christian heart is to promote education, and, as I have spent over eight years living overseas, I have witnessed school after school that were started by missionaries in order to give people the opportunity of learning. Also, countless hospitals and charities have been founded by and continue as Christian organizations. World Vision, Red Cross, and Salvation Army are all just examples of these.


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Hi, JonB. If you register

Hi, JonB. If you register for an account on the homepage, then your comments will not get held up in the approval queue. Using the guest posting way you're doing it now means that they get held up until one of the mods checks the queue, which is probably not as frequently as you might like.

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JonB wrote:"Except that

JonB wrote:

"Except that whole "Don't eat from the Tree of Knowledge" thingy, right there on the first freaking page."

Ummm, please clarify. I see nothing in the Bible that bans scientific discovery, as I just stated.

You are moving the goal posts. My answer was in reply to your statement that:

JonB wrote:
There is nothing in Christianity's theology that discourages scientific discovery.

That is a false statement. The commandment not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge has discouraged many Christians from scientific discovery, and you would be foolish not to admit that.

The word you used was 'discourage', not 'ban'. I responded to 'discourage'.

Quote:
By the way, check out Expelled, a documentary with Ben Stein. It brings to light some interesting information...

Already did, thanks. Check out Expelled Exposed, it... well... exposes that 'interesting information' as dishonest crap, to put it mildly.

By the way, have you been following the news about the Evangelical scholar who was expelled over evolution?

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JonB wants to move the whole field, leaving the goalposts behind

JonB, please provide some support for your apparent notion that science started with Copernicus. Did Greek science and other bases of science not exist?

Please essay your view on the significance of Indian and Islamic mathematics and science and the extent to which they helped to drag christian Europe out of the substantially nescient Middle Ages.

Please describe the principal contributions in the bible to mathematics, scientific method, biology or medicine. Start with the number of legs on an insect or taxonomy of a rabbit and work up from there. Point out the importance of faith over facts in science.

Do you know anything of this subject you have entered here, or are you just another believer bending facts to your opinions?


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1: No, they did it for the

1: No, they did it for the church, to wipe out competing religions and cultures.
2: Oh we're asking for sources now? Fine. Provide evidence that every scientist in christian history would not have made discoveries if they were not part of the church. Otherwise concede the point.
3: Making a couple schools and hospitals for rich people hinders your case, it does not support it. Where's the Oxford for the poor? Could be a lot more useful than a few soup kitchens.
The christians heart is about greed and power, nothing more.

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"That is a false statement.

"That is a false statement. The commandment not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge has discouraged many Christians from scientific discovery, and you would be foolish not to admit that.

The word you used was 'discourage', not 'ban'. I responded to 'discourage'."

Point taken. Moving the goal posts was unintentional.

What I meant to say was that I see nothing in the Bible that conflicts with scientific discovery.

"Already did, thanks. Check out Expelled Exposed, it... well... exposes that 'interesting information' as dishonest crap, to put it mildly."

Once again, point taken. Ben Stein did not do this very honestly. Though with the video on Expelled Exposed, I would be happy to have Creationism offered in public schools, rather than having Evolution as the only option.


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"JonB, please provide some

"JonB, please provide some support for your apparent notion that science started with Copernicus. Did Greek science and other bases of science not exist?

Please essay your view on the significance of Indian and Islamic mathematics and science and the extent to which they helped to drag christian Europe out of the substantially nescient Middle Ages."

Let me clarify. I am not disregarding the huge contributions of many other non-Christian cultures, nations, and people groups. I was simply saying that many of modern (forgot this bit) science's founding fathers were Christians, and that their beliefs were what caused them to do so much good for science.

"Please describe the principal contributions in the bible to mathematics, scientific method, biology or medicine. Start with the number of legs on an insect or taxonomy of a rabbit and work up from there. Point out the importance of faith over facts in science."

As for this, I was not saying that the Bible was as much a contributor to science (though it does have some very advanced concepts) as were the people who followed it. As to faith vs. science, science is great for finding out new information, much of it greatly improving our existence. However, with science, nothing is a guarantee. Even widely accepted laws (such as that of spontaneous generation) can be overthrown by a single counter-example. Basically, I cannot put my faith in science. However, God is a guarantee; the only one I can put my faith in.


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"1: No, they did it for the

"1: No, they did it for the church, to wipe out competing religions and cultures."

Once again, these people did this because of an incorrect sense of what the Bible entitled; nothing in it requires the destruction of competing religions. In fact, it gives a position of acceptance.

"2: Oh we're asking for sources now? Fine. Provide evidence that every scientist in christian history would not have made discoveries if they were not part of the church. Otherwise concede the point."

I will not try to prove that every Christian scientist made his discoveries solely because of his beliefs. However, the motivation of many of them was to better understand God's creation, giving them a greater incentive to make discoveries. I was simply asking what made you say that they were all conducting research just "to find out how reality works so it could be more easily manipulated to their own benefit".

"3: Making a couple schools and hospitals for rich people hinders your case, it does not support it. Where's the Oxford for the poor? Could be a lot more useful than a few soup kitchens. The christians heart is about greed and power, nothing more."

The point I was trying to make here was just that, contrary to popular belief, Christianity is not all about hindering greater education and learning; many of the great universities were founded by Christians. Also, Red Cross, World Vision, and Salvation Army are certainly not for the rich; these target the poor in both Africa and North America. Plus, as I said before, these are only a few examples.

I am not here to fight everyone's arguments against Christianity, or defend everyone who calls himself a Christian (I will be the first to say that several Christians and people who call themselves Christians have messed up big time. But Christianity is about God and what he says, not what mistakes his people make). I do believe that Christianity is not just blind faith; there are huge amounts of evidence for it. However, to me, this is not the main point. The main point is really where one goes after he dies, and what his purpose in life is. Some may be able to believe that we exist just because we evolved from primordial soup, and the whole point of our existence is just to have fun, and help others on the side, and that when we die we simply cease to exist. However, I am not satisfied with that; I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins so that I can have a relationship with God. I believe that my purpose is to bring others into this relationship, and that, when those who have a relationship with Christ die, they will go to heaven and live with him for eternity. THAT is what I live for, and I enjoy this life tremendously.


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Hi JonB, sorry for the delay

Hi JonB, sorry for the delay in comment approval. Try registering for an account here: http://www.rationalresponders.com/user/register

It is free and basically anonymous (except for an email address, which could be as anonymous as you want). Your posts will get posted immediately, rather than waiting for approval. Plus it cuts down on the number of posts we have to sift through in the approval queue to find the good ones. Thanks.

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1: Now don't get me wrong.

1: Now don't get me wrong. I'm not going to try to say every christian in the flock was consciously aware of their attempts to destroy other cultures and religions, but that IS what happened.
The fact that the bible can be interpreted nullifies its credibility as a source of absolute knowledge.

2: And that is different from non-religious scientists ONLY by the terms god and creation, which by the existence of non-religious scientists proves they are not necessary to be motivated to understand existence.

3: The church always keeps more than it gives. Elaborate and multiple multi-million dollar structures and possessions prove this.

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JonB,most Biblical claims

JonB,

most Biblical claims or assumptions about the nature of reality are definitely counter to scientific understanding.

The whole of Genesis is about as unscientific and counter to what science points to about the Universe as you can get.

Please point to what you consider 'advanced' ideas in the Bible.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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JonB wrote:Once again, point

JonB wrote:

Once again, point taken. Ben Stein did not do this very honestly. Though with the video on Expelled Exposed, I would be happy to have Creationism offered in public schools, rather than having Evolution as the only option.

 

I'm fine with creationism being offered in schools.  In the comparative religion class.

Jon, any time someone says, "and then a miracle occurred", it is not science.  Science doesn't "do" miracles.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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JonB wrote:

JonB wrote:

.......snip.......

The main point is really where one goes after he dies, and what his purpose in life is. Some may be able to believe that we exist just because we evolved from primordial soup, and the whole point of our existence is just to have fun, and help others on the side, and that when we die we simply cease to exist. However, I am not satisfied with that; I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins so that I can have a relationship with God. I believe that my purpose is to bring others into this relationship, and that, when those who have a relationship with Christ die, they will go to heaven and live with him for eternity. THAT is what I live for, and I enjoy this life tremendously.

 

When you die, you are dead.  Do you remember not being born?  No?  Same when you die.  I know some people want to be with loved ones and family when they die.  My sister is like that.  She wants me to be in the Jehovah Witness "paradise" - they don't believe in heaven unlike many christians - with her after we are dead.  No thanks.  Living an eternity with her would drive me insane.  I feel the same way about Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and all those guys.

As for purpose in life.  Does god/s/dess text you every day - or even monthly - with updates?  "Dude, there is a soul needing your testimony four blocks north of your current street preacher stake out."   Didn't think so.  You are also wandering around in the dark.  There is no light.  No one out there leading you.  You are leading yourself.

Now, is this all that terrible?  Why would you think so?  I am perfectly capable of leading myself.  I am very capable of enjoying this life.  I have friends and family I love.  I enjoy rainbows, rain on the roof, waterfalls, sunsets and so on.  (Hm, the water theme is because I grew up in the desert.  Water is precious.)  There is joy in every day I manage to wake up.

Every one leaves a legacy when they die - even the poorest and least apparently significant people.  With their family, their neighborhood, their friends and sometimes further afield such as this forum.  Attempting to "save" me from hell accomplishes nothing in making this a better world to live in.  And I'm not interested in being "saved" - just ask that JW sister of mine.  So you are wasting time you could be using to restore natural habitat in your neighborhood.  Or raising your children.  Or cleaning your room - which is a valid and good purpose for making the world a better place to live.  This is my purpose - that where I live will be at least not dirtier, maybe cleaner, maybe happier, at least not sadder.  That my family will remember me with fondness, and will go on to do good and be bright.  What more could anyone ask for?

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

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Abreaction

"The personal transformation of billions of human beings" would have been better WITHOUT religion.

"The preservation of the western world against the Islamic world and paganism"
While it's true that we get christian fundies, I'll admit that that is a point.

"Some of the greatest art in existence"
Yeah, hundreds of years of bloody/nailed Jesuses and crying Madonnas, good.

"Some of the greatest music in existence"
No comment.

"Some of the best literature in existence"
I hope this is a joke.

"The foundation of the political ideas for individual life, liberty, equality, exercise of conscience, understanding of human nature in terms of the need for checks and balances, and the mportance of the rule of law, applicabl to all regardless of status"
Foundations for genocide, oppression, xenophoby, property, and what else...

"The moral underpinnings for charitable organizations, including two of the largest in the world - the Red Cross and the Salvation army"
No. Also... and Emergency?

"The foundation of thousands of hospitals"
Well, or these hospitals cure people with the holy imposition of hands or I don't see what it has to do with christianity...

"The foundation of countless schools, colleges, and universities, some of which ar the most reknown schools of all time"
As above.

"The ending of slavery"
Puzzling

"The foundation of scientific exploration"
No comment.

Atheism? Made a difference for billions of people too, it wakes them up, it frees them.


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JonB wrote:Pacioli

JonB wrote:
Pacioli wrote:
JonB, please provide some support for your apparent notion that science started with Copernicus. Did Greek science and other bases of science not exist?

Please essay your view on the significance of Indian and Islamic mathematics and science and the extent to which they helped to drag christian Europe out of the substantially nescient Middle Ages.

Let me clarify. I am not disregarding the huge contributions of many other non-Christian cultures, nations, and people groups. I was simply saying that many of modern (forgot this bit) science's founding fathers were Christians, and that their beliefs were what caused them to do so much good for science.

Many Greeks followed Greek mythologies (oe none) and many muslims followed Islam. That is to say, they often followed the dominant religion of their culture, just like modern Western scientists followed the dominant christianity (although atheism is now highly prevalent, for example among Nobel winners). Does this mean that when Kobayashi, Maskawa and Nambu won the Novel prize for work on quarks that shinto got one up on christianity? You need evidence to provide evidence of a causl link from "their beliefs" to "do so much good for science" rather than a mere coincidence.

On the same basis as you attempt to support christianity by coincidence, you could support white supremacy or perhaps the inspiration of failing eyesight. These are propositions without evidence.

JonB wrote:
Pacioli wrote:
Please describe the principal contributions in the bible to mathematics, scientific method, biology or medicine. Start with the number of legs on an insect or taxonomy of a rabbit and work up from there. Point out the importance of faith over facts in science.

As for this, I was not saying that the Bible was as much a contributor to science (though it does have some very advanced concepts) as were the people who followed it. As to faith vs. science, science is great for finding out new information, much of it greatly improving our existence. However, with science, nothing is a guarantee. Even widely accepted laws (such as that of spontaneous generation) can be overthrown by a single counter-example. Basically, I cannot put my faith in science. However, God is a guarantee; the only one I can put my faith in.

Firstly, show me advanced concepts from the bible, not involving post-hoc interpretation but actual inspiration of ideas. Provide documentation for the relevant scientists.

Secondly, you say you are unable to put your faith in science, which is demonstrated to work precisely because of its falsifiability, but you are happy to have faith in something which relies on and contributes only ... faith.

Show the successful guarantees by god, how, when and where they were given to what audience, and their evidence of success. Show replication of these trials. Do not use the bible which is known variously to be fraudulent or post hoc pretence and reinterpretation.


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Thanks for the advice! I am

Thanks for the advice! I am currently working on it...

Sorry for the delay! I won't be getting back to the debate for yet another day or two, but hopefully I can get some replies in.


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Sorry, let me clarify. What

Sorry, let me clarify. What I meant was, I am currently working on getting a user on the site.


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Hi JonB. It should be fairly

Hi JonB. It should be fairly straightforward. I think all you need is an email address. If you don't have a good one yet, you can get a free anonymous email address from Google Mail: http://mail.google.com/mail/

Once you have an email address, you just go register at http://www.rationalresponders.com/user/register. Use your email address to sign up, and then once you've completed registration, you should get an email to confirm your account. Don't forget to keep track of the passwords you use for your email and also your RRS login.

After you have done all that, you should be able to log-in/sign-in to the RRS site at the top of the links menu on the left side of the homepage: http://www.rationalresponders.com/. Just enter your name and password.

If you have any difficulties, let us know.

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The successful contribution

The successful contribution of scientists with many different beliefs, and the fact that most top scientists are not believers, means that what helps scientists come up with their ideas cannot be anything exclusive to Christianity. 

Whatever aspect of a world-view or general philosophy of life assists the process of scientific investigation and discovery, it may well be something that Christian belief helps in some people, but clearly it is something that Christianity shares with many other ways of coping with life. Maybe all we need is some framework to provide a context for our life, and Christianity can do that for some people, but not for all. Since the claims of scripture about the origin and nature of our reality have been shown to be well past their use-by date, it works less and less well, especially for scientists today.

However well it may have worked in the past when there were far fewer, if any, inconsistencies between scripture and the 'scientific' understanding of the time.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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"I'm fine with creationism

"I'm fine with creationism being offered in schools.  In the comparative religion class."

What I would love to see is two separate science classes: those who want to study science in light of the theory of evolution, and those who want to study it in light of Christianity.

"Jon, any time someone says, "and then a miracle occurred", it is not science.  Science doesn't "do" miracles."

Is not science the study of events and processes in the past, present, and the future? Thus, if miracles are found in these categories, even if they turn out to be false, is not science required to study them? I have actually heard testimonies and second person accounts of people suddenly getting better, or coming just short of death, in which the only explanation is indeed a miracle (let alone the stories of them around the globe). Miracles are phenomena that can be proven and verified just like any other process or occurrence.


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"most Biblical claims or

"most Biblical claims or assumptions about the nature of reality are definitely counter to scientific understanding.

The whole of Genesis is about as unscientific and counter to what science points to about the Universe as you can get."

I would appreciate you pointing out these areas so I can better reply to your comment. I don't really see any of these cases, except perhaps God telling people not to eat from the tree of knowledge (as has been pointed out). I would say the reason for this command was simply so that man knew only what was good; there was no need to know the bad. You could say that God was hiding information from us, but I think he was just giving us the best existence possible.

"Please point to what you consider 'advanced' ideas in the Bible."

Leviticus is filled with these: many of the rules that would have made no sense to the Israelites make perfect sense with today's knowledge. Leviticus 11 talks of clean and unclean foods. Pigs and shellfish were among the unclean. The truth is, with the medical knowledge of the Israelites' day, many diseases associated with these animals would have been deadly. Also, rigorous washing rituals are found throughout the book, required after many unclean (both Biblically and in reality) activities and occurrences. Doctors themselves did not begin to wash their hands until the last few centuries. These, and other cases in the Bible, point to an omniscient God who knew what was healthy for his people and what wasn't.


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"1: Now don't get me wrong.

"1: Now don't get me wrong. I'm not going to try to say every christian in the flock was consciously aware of their attempts to destroy other cultures and religions, but that IS what happened."

The point I am trying to make is that just because "Christians" (quite possibly in name only) destroyed things, Christianity was not at fault. If I blew up, say, Madagascar, thinking I was doing my country a favor, Canada itself would not be at fault.

"The fact that the bible can be interpreted nullifies its credibility as a source of absolute knowledge."

It is true that parts of the Bible can be interpreted in different ways, but I think I can safely say that no significant part or theme of the Bible can be understood differently than what was intended (unless, of course, he is reading a really faulty translation).

"2: And that is different from non-religious scientists ONLY by the terms god and creation, which by the existence of non-religious scientists proves they are not necessary to be motivated to understand existence."

That is true. I still believe that Christian scientists are at an advantage, as (I believe) they start out in the right direction. But, yes, one doesn't have to be a Christian to be a scientist. I simply can't imagine my existence having any meaning apart from God. Apart from him, I would find life pretty depressing.

"3: The church always keeps more than it gives. Elaborate and multiple multi-million dollar structures and possessions prove this."

There are most certainly times when Christians have kept more than they give, however, I would not say this is the norm. One can look in the book of Acts and find that the first churches were almost always more than eager to give all that they could. In fact, they would sell all that they owned and spread the money around to where the need was (Acts 2:44-45). Even today, churches around the world give eagerly to fight poverty, tyranny, and improve peoples' standard of living. I am not denying the cases where Christians have been selfish; I am simply pointing out the cases where they haven't been. Also, as these church buildings you refer to are usually (always?) paid for by the congregation, what does it matter if people spend their money on their church instead of a brand new SUV or a rock concert ticket?