Richard Dawkins – #1 Atheist

I had it on my computer for quite a long time; The Root of All Evil – The God Delusion – The Virus of Faith was a documentary done by Professor Richard Dawkins, the most well known atheist of 2006. His disbelief in a creator (i.e. God) has compelled him to come up with the bestseller book entitled The God Delusion. What I downloaded was a BBC TV Special that summarises the points made in his book.

Clinton Richard Dawkins (born March 26, 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer who holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University.

Anyway, in the show, he tries to attack the need of religion by looking at its effect and hypothises that the negative outcomes (i.e. war and differences of opinion) proves that the actual nature of religion is less than idealistic and more of just man-made excuses that enables man to perpetrate their own prejudices against others. This is done with him going around the world, hitting out at the main world religions and interviewing the ‘main persons’. His approach is problematic to say the least, since he uses an assumption of results rather than to start from the beginning. He also likes to employ a confrontation of ‘evolution as a fact and science’ against the ‘leaders’ chosen for his documentary. What ensues is of course chaos, which is what Dawkins want.

What do you hope to get when one thrusts forth an apple against a person who is carrying an orange? You get an explosive premise, especially when the documentary is edited by the one carrying the apple, with all the glamour and style necessary.

In all, Dawkins certainly has an interesting appeal, but his methods is nothing revolutionary in itself. Of interest is his dealing with a man who was formerly Judaistic, who converted into Islam… he flew into a rage and brought up the fact that ‘just because you claim to be atheist, does not in any way mean that you are not responsible for the environment you are living in’. I thought Dawkins was pretty shaken up by such vehemence, although he turned it around in the documentary to show how ‘irrational’ such people are.

Ah well…

I found some of these articles written by him on various topics within this subject matter:

Viruses of the Mind (1993) – Religion as a mental virus
The Real Romance in the Stars (1995) – A critical view of astrology
The Emptiness of Theology (1998) – A critical view of theology

I’m quite intrigued by the things being propounded by this man, especially since I see great worth in knowing the truth, especially those connected to God. And that’s the thing: for all the yelling and shouting that Dawkins have on religion being a ‘mindless’, ‘robotic’, ‘dogmatic’ concept, there are many who belief because of the logical thought and good evidences given.

I’ll probably have a short write up on the articles. No, I am not afraid of reading these articles. Never had after being truly converted.

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17 thoughts on “Richard Dawkins – #1 Atheist

  1. Taking away his god-and-religion-are-fake dogma, Dawkins is actually a rather intelligent and knowledgable individual. Afterall, he was the man who came out with the ‘meme’ concept, which was deemed a breakthrough in evolution study. (and the web 2.0 buzzword meme may indirectly came from him too, haha)

    But what i feel Dawkins truly lacks off is the little wisdom on how to make convincing arguments. Many times, he was way too extreme in his debates and arguments againts other religious philosopher. But don’t take anything away from him. He has his points, although he could have put it in a much more better ways.

    Let me express a piece of thought from my mind. First, look at the way how bible and quran are written. Now, we all know bible and quran are something which are translated and re-written many times over and over again to fit with the changes of time during these 2000 years. So, for one thing, it is unwise to interpret the words from bible and quran literally. I think that’s what those hardcore atheist are often pointing at – violence and brutality in both bible and the quran by literally taking the meaning of the verses word by word. Hence, to effectively interpret the meaning of the verses in both bible and quran, one should read in an allegory style.

    Now , why should bible and quran read up allegorically? Because there are some verses in both the holy books which are seemed extreme and do not make sense when read literally. One of the well known quote goes something like this “kill the infidels who do not believe in God”. And that’s caused atheist’s hormone to rage such like what often happened to Dawkins. But if one read it allegory, the verse may be interpreted something like “punish the people who tainted and ruined the name of the religion” which then, may not seem harsh at all.

    Ok, i know im abit ‘cheong hei’ and dragging. But here comes my point – i believe most violence in this world, especially terrorists from certain region and also a president of a certain country, used the name of religion to wage war and attacks. Let’s look at the terrorist first, it’s very often they quote words from their holy book and misinterpret the words that God give them permission to kill other people regardless of tactics for the sake of ‘defending’. It is because these terrorists, reading it literally, simply pick any verses to fit in with their idealism and justify their actions by saying – god allows us to do it. Same goes with the president of a certain country.

    A wise person will always interpret the verses properly and see the meaning it in while the unwise, whether they are atheist fanatic or terrorist, will always find verses to fit in to their personal agenda. So the root of the problem here is not with religion, but rather the people who practices it.

    So here’s just a little thought, if religion do not exist, could had earth became a better place ? or worse? that’s something interesting thing to ponder on. Back on Dawkins, i enjoy listening to him when is calm. He has a lot of good points, and sometimes i even marvalled at some arguments he made. But the reason im not a big fan of his is simply that – he is such a turn-off when his hormone rage and it makes him looks like a hardcore extremist at times. I’m sure you can find his debating vids at youtube, if you’re interested. =)

  2. I haven’t read much about Dawkins, but he’s just another atheist buzzing the same tune. The difference: He’s probably got more charisma and a wider appeal because of his wit.

    Fortunately for mankind, the case for a creator does not really require great faith. Though God is unseen, he has given us ample proof of His existence by placing us on planet earth in which creation marvelously testifies of his presence. Let’s say for example you find a beautiful bunch of well arranged flowers sitting at your office desk on monday morning, even without a tag you’ve ‘got to’ surmise somebody put it there. But let’s imagine you don’t and say to yourself “Oh boy, this is just my incredible luck and a result of random chance!” The guy who gave it to you would think twice about your sanity. Worse, he just might not send you flowers ever again. However, unfortunately that’s what the atheist does when he sees a flower. No one behind the idea of the flower, it’s just random chance and millions of years. Ok, it’s a silly illustration but i hope you see where i’m gettting at. You don’t really need faith, just open your eyes.

    When you behold a beautiful painting in a frame, you immediately know that an artist was behind the work of art. Just a simple consideration of design, function, beauty and the intricate workings of this world point us to an intelligent being behind. Go tell the scientist that the way to build a fully working robot is by pure chance upon chance, coincidence upon coincidence as ‘proven’ by the fact of evolution. They don’t need to understand math or engineering or design….whatever, because it’s going to work itself out after a couple of million years. It takes great faith to believe in evolution because the science and weight of evidence is stacked against the evolutionist. Right now, you’re placing your faith in the very chair you’re sitting on. Can you say there was no creative purpose behind it and no one who built it? Of course not. It was designed with the purpose to hold your weight and i think it’s serving it’s purpose quite well, don’t you?

    Just look at something as small as your eye and go figure how millions of years of evolution could come up with something as intricately built as that. The very fact that your eyes are interpreting these very words you’re reading into brainwaves, processed into understandable thoughts which in turn generate feelings (hey, where do feelings come from?) of joy, disgust, rage or even bewilderment is nothing short of a miracle of science. For the fact that you’re even able to use your dialing finger to scroll the mouse requires thousands of things to fire off correctly in sequence in your body. In short, you just have to look at the human body to acknowledge that you are a work of art. I’m not saying that everyone has perfect chiseled abs(i wish), symmetrical faces ..etc.. i’m just acknowledging that it should be clear that there was thought behind the design of the human body. How we can joyfully articulate Psalm 139:14 ‘I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

    The words of the psalmist king David in Psalm 53:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God..” That’s how God sees them, but clearly not how they would see their intelligent selves. After all, they do have doctorates and phd’s. In fact, the bible says Dawkins is right. Richard Dawkins is 100% right. Just like how Proverbs 12:15 puts it “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes..” To look at creation (by the way the word itself implies that there was a ‘creator’) and come away saying it’s random chance is to confirm the verdict of scripture. Cosmic explosions like a big bang can only cause disorder and chaos, not order and beauty.

    Proverbs 14:16 “A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.” The fool is confident of his intelligence, is self assured and self made setting himself up against almighty God. He just doesn’t know who he’s shaking his tiny fist at. When will we humble ourselves and acknowledge that we are finite beings with finite knowledge? Fools spew foolishness and their intelligence is celebrated. Just because you can’t see something doesn’t not mean it’s not there. Think of the folly of stickin’ your finger into an live socket just because you don’t see electricity. You can’t see the wind but you can certainly feel the effects of the wind. How is it that you have little men sitting in television sets telling you the news? What about our emotions? You can’t see love but you certainly can feel it. Just because you can’t see something or make sense of something doesn’t invalidate it’s presence or reality. Just because you don’t understand theory of relativity or why e=mc2 (squared) doesn’t make it’s reality any less true. Just because you deny God doesn’t exist has no bearing on the fact that He does. He’s there whether you like it.

    Romans 1:20 says “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” One can deny, even evade plain reason and glaring evidence that there is indeed a God , but the day will come when you’re staring death eye ball to eye ball that you’d better hope you were right and that all you are is a carbon shell. Some are going to be in for a rude awakening when they realise the invisible soul is that which lives on after the supposed finality of death. Just because you’ve never died before doesn’t make it real

    The much celebrated Nietzsche claimed that “God is dead”, but from the looks of it i think God’s not the one who is. I really don’t mind people labeling me a fool for believing in God because they’ve got the proof of pseudo-science and ‘deep-thinkers’ behind them. I just don’t want God calling me one when all is said and done.

  3. I’ll respond to this in a bit… I have too many things to do at the moment… interesting comments by both… will need time to digest and to articulate my thoughts (when it comes :P). Pls be patient. 🙂

  4. ad,

    If you understand about evolution, you will know that evolution is just not just about random stuffs popping around and create the ‘coincidence’. Evolution is about systematic changes which occur to the nature throughout a period of time in order to adapt and fit in with the environment. On earth and universe, nothing stays permanent forever. Everything works in cycle and keep moving and evolving. Even something as dead as rock go through the process of evolution. I believe that’s a very basic philosophy/principle of life and nature. Hence, i would rather use the word probability rather than coincidence. Do you know why human race have different skin colours? It’s simply because ancestors of darker skin people are living in a hotter part of the world. Depends on which point of view you see it. If you perceive it from divine point of view, you will see that God is trying to ‘protect’ these people. If you see it from evolution point of view, you will think this is a process of adaptation. However, it is never a coincident that i have yellow skin for no apparent reasons.

    ad said,
    “Think of the folly of stickin’ your finger into an live socket just because you don’t see electricity. You can’t see the wind but you can certainly feel the effects of the wind. How is it that you have little men sitting in television sets telling you the news? What about our emotions? You can’t see love but you certainly can feel it. Just because you can’t see something or make sense of something doesn’t invalidate it’s presence or reality”

    There’s a very interesting theory in Placebo Effect. I expanded the theory and apply it to many philosophical areas and it made great sense. What our mind say to ourselves …. has a great deal of impact to ourselves (on a whole). It sounds corny, but …. the line “If you think you can, you can” its the best advice you can ever give to a person.

  5. zy:
    Finally, I have some spare time to give a proper reply on this subject, which I am quite fond of, and which I am continually astounded by. Let’s tackle the main issues from your comment that caught my eye. 🙂

    1) “When it comes to the manuscript authority of the New Testament, the abundance of material is almost embarrassing in contrast. After the early papyri manuscript discoveries that bridged the gap between the Time of Christ and the second century, and abundance of other manuscripts came to light. Over 25,000 copies of the New testament are in existence today. The Iliad has 643 manuscripts and is second in manuscripts authority after the New Testament.” Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict (1999) – He is refering to work done by Charles Leach, OB, 145.

    And again, in writing “First, look at the way how bible and quran are written. Now, we all know bible and quran are something which are translated and re-written many times over and over again to fit with the changes of time during these 2000 years…” it shows the ignorance which the common general public has concerning the bible. I have read documents and account from both bible scholars (who are believers) and secular scholars (non-believers) that give the same level of confidence to the writing.

    To simplify, the hebrew and greek language is much akin to the chinese. If you understand chinese, you’ll see what I mean. One word is assigned for a single type of situation/adjective/verb. Therefore, the words used are specific to the meaning conveyed.

    This is not true with English. e.g. there are 4 words to describe love in Greek… which our English has only one word for. That is why it is harder to translate from English to another language rather than vice versa.

    Which is why, if we were to scientifically study the origin of the book (I will not deal with Quran as you will probably be able to find resources on its validity on the net) you can never argue that the message conveyed was ‘polluted’ in any sense. Besides, the fact that so many authorship conveying the same message authenticates and makes the evidence of truth stronger. Dawkin’s does not attack on the bible itself, because scientifically it fulfills the strictest requirements of historical/archaelogical criteria.

    2) “And that’s caused atheist’s hormone to rage such like what often happened to Dawkins….” You’re defending Dawkins on a point that he does not want people to defend. He is militant, yes, he is… not because of the contents of the book… he is enraged of the concept of God itself. He argues that the books doesn’t matter… it shouldn’t be part of the equation at all. He is pointing at the wars and violence as a result or natural outcome of religion. He is saying (as I read him) that religion is the catalyst for human evil’ness as religion defines it. Even if religion is watered down to an acceptable ‘lovey-dovey’ concept, he would not stop his militancy. (Lindsay, J., 2007, http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070421/COMMUNITY03/204210370)

    3) “A wise person will always interpret the verses properly and see the meaning it in while the unwise, whether they are atheist fanatic or terrorist, will always find verses to fit in to their personal agenda. So the root of the problem here is not with religion, but rather the people who practices it.”

    I could not agree more with this assessment. 🙂 Well done. It is true that human sin is the cause of all problems. We do things that we want and listen to the things we want. We cannot help it. Which is why it is so important to determine that there is such a thing as ‘truth’.

    An objective and unbendable truth that is NOT based on human knowledge. And this truth has to come from an external source. Using this argument, which I would defend at great lengths, Dawkins and everyone else, including my own opinions would be easily destroyed. That brings us to objective truth… it must be a source that does not claim to be of itself. See the religions around, and at the end, two main religion claims that the authoritative source is not human, but conveyed through humans; (you guessed it) Christian and Islam.

    However, notice that here it boils down to the use of scientific methods to assertain objectivity of truth. In scientific research, multiple sources of evidences showing the same fact would gain higher credence over others. Quran (recitations) is from Muhammad alone, as it was said to have been revealed to him over a period of 23 years. We learnt that from the books and you can read more into it from other sites that are credible. Whereas, the bible is made up of so many different authors ranging from fishermen, to learned doctorates and kings, princes and others. All saying the same thing; Jesus Christ. In all the books.

    Now if that does not pique my interest in truth and objectivity, nothing else will. And really hope that you would not just leave it the evidences (like Dawkins does) by sweeping it under the Science vs. Blind Faith category. Because it is not. We just don’t subscribe to the science as Dawkins see it. Experiments are subject to limitations and assumptions (basic things we learnt in secondary education). Which of course creates a limited Hawthorne Effect even the most physical sciences (like microscopes crushing cells while under observation affecting the quality of cells observed, etc. *got this from Crichton’s Lost World*). Not only that, the interpretation is done by individuals with the loudest and best interpretation taken as the finalised version (correct version). If these are not assumptions, I don’t know what else is. Which is why journals are highly prized research mechanisms; to weed out week arguments.

    So, yes, I have a big problem with Dawkins and evolution and all. Yes, I do understand what evolution prescribes… I’ve been studying it for sometime, and I agree about systematic changes and probabilities… but remember, probabilities are at the end random events that may happen. Even a 1% probability may turn up as an event in the rare occasions. I believe in micro-evolution. But I definitely would disagree against the gigantic scale which is put forth by the atheists like Dawkins.

    Hah, and you think you were ‘cheong hei’! 😛 hahahahahaha.

    ———————————————————————————

    Ad: Ermm… agreed on the main thrust, but not on the delivery 😛 hahahahahaha… over simplifying the arguments, no?

    🙂

    Ok, I’m calling it a night!

  6. zy: Placebo effect might explain the way why some people respond to positive statements and why some people like Anthony Robbin’s style of motivation. But it does not explain away factual meanings and events, as ‘ad’ was trying to say. 🙂

    I’m impressed with your bringing up the effect. Hahaha… rare to see student’s being exposed more to other theories…

  7. Pingback: Comment On "Richard Dawkin Post" « Thoughts, Unleashed!

  8. Dawkins did question the validity of the bible. He called it a “moral fable”. He also attacked the Old Testament and questioned whether the New Testament is anything better. I think you can read that in his book The God Delusion, chapter 7. He believes bible is just a documented history of the olden days along with … well, as how he put it “moral fable”. The bible is certainly real; however, was there any divine touch/intervention on it? Or was it purely written by men alone (with the ‘fables’ composed by these men). He also questioned whether was Jesus a mere mortal who was ‘immortalized’ by human for the reason of politicing religion. All the things he questioned, were surely … controversial.

    Putting Dawkins aside, the New Testament has also a little interesting conspiracy theory about it of plagiarizing the Buddhist Gospels (read it in wikipedia before). I only treat it as an interesting read though, nothing more.

    I do not agree with your view on the scientific experiment methods pertaining evolution because I believe scientific theory is more than that. I think it will be hard to articulate this point out on evolution context, so i will give an example on astronomy context instead.

    Isaac Newton was the first person to explain gravity, both on the earth and space. He attempted to explain on how gravity works in space in his work Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation. 200 years later, when Einstein studied the theory along with other astronomy studies, he realized Newton’s theory did not explain certain questions in space. One of them is the non-constant orbit movement of planet Mercury around the Sun. And that’s when Einstein realized perhaps the space is not flat as what assumed by Newton but rather the space is curved. Hence, Einstein introduced General Theory of Relativity to better explain about the space (that all matters – space, time, light, gravity, inertial masses, etc. are relative to each other).

    Therefore, what we can learn about science from the scenario above was:

    1. Although Newton made wrong assumptions when introducing the law of universal gravitation by assuming that the space is flat, credits should still be given to him for attempting to explain gravity on space. He needed to make assumptions for a simple reason – he was the ‘pioneer’ in the gravitation research and nobody before him done it before. Due to the limited existing scientific knowledge, resources and technology at that time, he has no choice but to make assumptions in order to proceed with his theory. And that’s what all scientist-thinkers do to create a breakthrough in discoveries. They need to keep exploring possibilities by making assumptions. Hence, if this assumption is wrong, then they will move on and create another assumption. As what a famous quote said, “If you are not making any mistakes, you are not trying hard enough.” Even Michael Porter himself based on certain assumptions in coming out with the 5 Forces of Analysis. Few years after that, he refined the theory again to fit in better with the existing environment. Whether it is business theory, scientific theory, engineering theory, or even cooking theory, every theory has its own assumptions. But I never believe these assumptions are as wild or as random as rolling a dice. They are all built through meticulous research and observations.

    2. Scientific discovery is built on each other. Newton’s theory has laid a very strong foundation for Einstein’s theory of relativity and this is what science is all about. Science build on each and other and it is progressive.

    In his book the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin has noted that his theory of evolution is ‘provisional’ (that the idea is the best truth at the present moment). He urged scientist not to take his idea as the truth but rather as a foundation for future scientific research works. He also said should there be better theory to explain lives in planet, then throw away the theory of evolution. I think he should be well respected for saying those words, but why was he being hated so much by certain quarters is beyond me. Extreme religious sentiment or over-exaggeration/boasting by evolutionist (atheist)? I think it is the ignorance from both sides.

    At the end of the day, I’m not really interested in the creation vs evolution discussion because I feel it’s a never ending spiral of argument. Besides that, I never view people who practice religion is someone who has blind faith. To me, regardless whether God do really exist or not, religion will always have its goods and merits. And to me, that’s what Dawkins lacked off in his arguments, he discredited the positive side of religion.

    But I think afterall, this is what human being is all about. We are all bias towards our own ideology and tend to discredit opposing views regardless how strong the argument is. Human nature, eh …

  9. Ah…. but then we are discrediting the main part of human life and all if we leave it merely as “bias towards our own ideology and tend to discredit opposing views regardless how strong the argument is”…

    You see, you’re using Dawkin’s approach that science actually teaches that it is all about the rejection of old theories and the use of new ones that are better. Surely that is true if you view the history of science. You can google up a whole list of discredited theories from the Net. My premise is not that science is wrong of itself… if you read the lines carefully, science is good for physics and areas in which are currently moving within the scope of our existence. But even in the physical realms there are challenges in validation. Challenges, mind you, does not mean that it is impossible. This is why scientific research always limits the scope of its experimentation, in order to ‘manage downwards’ the challenges (I won’t elaborate on the challenges since this was mentioned earlier).

    Now, Newton/Einstein is miles away in its scope from the realms of ‘metaphysics’… which is what evolution falls under. Relativity can be tested now… and the effects are still close enough to our being that the experimentation falls under the same locus. But not for evolution. The time factor is it’s biggest problem. And this is not like CSI, where you can check on the evidences of a few days, weeks or years. We are dealing with centuries of ‘evidences’ that you will never be able to look or experiment on. The locus of cause and effect is not strong at all. And this is where evolution falls under, a branch of assumptions that can clearly be applied to our days (e.g. we can still see microevolution in our day), but becomes unclear as the years are stretched backwards. So, although I am happy with your bringing up of Newton and Einstein, you are talking oranges and apples with Darwin.

    The evolutionist believes that science is a changing science (post modern approach… where truth is not absolute, but we’re getting there). That is a fact. It get’s better but it cannot be perfect. Truth in effect is relative.

    Evangelical Christians (not the ones that are called fundamentalist in USA though they are in other places) belief that truth is absolute and that truth must belong to a being who created all things. That’s the premise. You can either fall on the former or the latter. There’s no possibility for a middle ground there.

    Let me go off tangent to address something else quickly (going for evening service soon)…

    Dawkins. That’s my point, Dawkins is not putting any scientific methodology on his approach to the bible. ‘Moral fable’ shows his ignorance in the way of historical science. And this is what PhD professors ought not to do: use their presuppositions as a case without learning anything.

    Let me back up what I am saying with some basic historical science evaluations: The earliest scripts of the New Testaments were within the first generation of Jesus’ ministry on earth (i.e. within the first century AD). Fables can only occur after at least 2 centuries. That is why, we are able to apply the same concept with the holocaust and the rape of Nanking and etc. because if we do not document the findings now, what will happen after 2 centuries is that history will pervert facts (fables). However, Dawkins doesnt want to take the trouble of learning how the historical science works… in fact most people are guilty of this… they have a pre-supposition that is built within them from their profficiency in one area of research and form their whole world view aspect based on that premise. That is at best called laziness, and at worst call hypocrisy.

    There are in fact oppositions that would never take the lazy approach of Dawkins, that to me are stronger arguments (text criticisms are one such).

    Sigh…

    Truth is absolute (as Mulder told Scully once in the X-files). If it is not, relativity in post modernism will only discount the simple truth in life which we all have in front of us. I really pray that you will see in life, there is only 1 thing that is proveable and are guaranteed. Only 1. Most scientific theories you can say that you will not stake your life on it, and I won’t blame you. I will not also guarantee you whether I will be doing what I am currently doing in 2 years time. But there is 1 real thing that I can guarantee in your life and mine and everyone else.

    Death.

    That is the only certainty you will ever have in life. You can say everything and predict and theorize anything… but one thing I will guarantee is that you (as well as all human beings) will die one day.

    The life you had is not yours to ask (no one asked to be born nor paid for their own life)… this would already be troubling to the soul.

    But what more about death? If that is the only guaranteed thing in life, I would want to make sure that I have the answers to it and to understand what it is… instead of just believing that there is no absolute answer for it. Eventually, you will have to deal with it… Dawkins, myself and yourself.

    Death is just you blinking out? How would that feel? You cannot even know how it was like before being born… and it scares the crap out of everyone to try to envision the time before birth… what more about death?

    Truth is absolute. It has to be if death has a meaning.

    God bless.

  10. Woah, this discussion is getting longer and more complicated! And draggy .. haha. I think I will just post my last comment for this entry with an interesting insight of mine (I hope…) .

    During the ancient times, lightning is the most fearsome entity in our human’s world. The terrifying flash accompanied by a deafening thunder scared the crap out of everyone. Nobody knew what the heck it was all about, the purpose of it, why and how it happened. However, human wanted an answer for it regardless. This is human – we want to know and we want answers. And instinctively, human fear for things which are beyond our comprehension.

    Hence, Gods and Deities associated with lightning were created all around the world – such as Zeus (Greek), Thor (Scandinavian), Tien-Mu (Chinese), Indra (Indian/Hinduism), Ptah (Egyptian), Yaluk (Mayan – South America), Sango (African), Perkusan (Baltic) and etc. People took these Gods/Deities as answers and people were comforted that it was divine power after all who summoned the lightning and thunder. Divine power is the only convincing answer they could get at the time.

    Today, we know lightning is just a natural process and we no longer associate it with God/Deities anymore. There’s no purpose for lighting, it is just a natural phenomenon. You may say that I’m comparing apple with oranges but I have this same belief, not only for evolution, but also for life …… and Death.

    I’m always convinced that the truth lies with the way of how nature on earth and universe work. It might take up to hundred or thousand of years to discover the answers and i may not have the life long enough to witness the truth – but I believe time will tell the answer …. for our next generations.

  11. I thought the discussion was getting clearer actually… 😛 I agree with you that it is an interesting insight… because it reveals what fundamentally is your belief approach. Let me also chip in some final thoughts on this before we ‘end’ (hopefully not) this line of discussion…

    I AM seriously intrigued with your insight, because it reminded me so much about myself when I was in my middle-late teens era. Relativism and a fixed mind-set of futility in the knowledge of being.

    That was until I found some friends who showed me that truth is real, and is reachable, and is revealed to us. If you have noted my skepticism in lecturing and my perchance for questioning and asking for proofs (evidencing)… that’s just me. It is not easy to convince me of an absolute truth that is knowable within our life time.

    Someone pointed out to me about lightning (remember, during those times, we don’t have wikipedia and google to help out in finding things out… I had to go to Sunway library and search them out from the encyclopedia myself!)… it had a purpose. It was to create ozone, which we know protects us from the effects of the sun. Yes… that’s why recently, the big gap in the ozone layer has closed (still there but smaller). Lightning does that. And that line of thought brought me to acknowledge that everything has a purpose. Even when humans (now) think there is none, there will come a time when it will be known. Like our appendix (at the moment, it is all hyphothesised only… ok… i’m guilty of not knowing much in terms of its advancement at the moment :P).

    And that lead me to the predictment that, if everything that is created has a function, then who made that function? A computer friend of mine (I was in accounts remember?) told me that you only create a function (in programming) and declare it to achieve the objective which you as the author have set. And that is just so true, if truth is already set.

    ———————————————–

    Quote: “This is human – we want to know and we want answers. And instinctively, human fear for things which are beyond our comprehension. Hence, Gods and Deities associated with lightning were created…”

    The case exemplified is exactly my point. Curiosity drives a person to find out! Fear drives them away from the truth. Which is why the pagans opted to come out with their own gods to avoid the painstaking approach of truth finding.

    That is why the person who ‘discovered’ (more like researched) lightning was Benjamin Franklin (the contemporary of the famous 18th century preacher, George Whitefield). Truth drives us find out. False pretenses of truth drives us away from finding out. Franklin believed in a god (although he was not a christian), and wanted to find out the purpose and nature of lightning.

    —————————————-

    Coming back to the earlier line of thought, I found that the concept of the whole universe and life having a design necessitates that there is an author. If things are just there because it is just there and have no purpose, then you are right… we all can just sit where we are and just theorize and banter to and fro and nothing would be changed.

    But thank God there’s a God who designed purposes for everything. Which is why even with a Big Bang theory, you have the question of ‘who created the bang’… what was the mass before the bang, etc. It comes down to ‘Purpose’.

    “…when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” Quote from Sherlock Holmes to Watson.

    If Bang theory does not postulate a purpose before the bang, then I concluded that the God theory is more probable, since if God is infinite, then He has been there even before anything was created. Infinity is infinity. You just cannot see it as ‘before infinity’. Unless you can prove to me where the mass came (there has been none… I checked) from before the bang without having to divulge back to more why’s, I am still holding on to the God theory!

    Logic you see held sway in my decision.

    I cannot put all my research into this comment, but basically, I had to face to the fact that if God is real, and is infinite, then He must be omnipotent to the extent that all matter is held within His control (that all laws are subject to Him and He can choose to break them whenever He wants since He is the creator). And then I concluded that there is just no way, we can ‘find’ Him since we are finite beings UNLESS He reveals Himself to us.

    That is why I was intrigue with your final statement… truth can ONLY be known for us (let’s put us as an ant and God as a giant… there is only so much we can know from what we see… unless He tells us so) if God revealed Himself to us. Which brought me into the area of ‘revelation’.

    Historical research on revelations of God is limited to only a few. Chinese one was interesting in that we used to believe in One God during the old dynasties. But due to politics that has been broken down into deities. The Biblical account gave the most evidence of an inspired Word from a single God being. (Deitism never worked because God must be infinite and yet not separated or shared… most deities have the concept of gods and demi-gods which fight each other, things which logically cannot work… cannot be split personality).

    After so much testing and learning of historical evidencing, I concluded that the God of the Bible has revealed Himself His purpose for His creatures (us). We are called to worship Him not because He needs it (since He is all-powerful and self-sufficient) but because He IS the Creator. And salvation (the fulfillment of our purpose for which we were created) is GIVEN by Him based on His own pleasure. This clearly separates the God of the Bible from ALL other religions on this earth (another convincing point for me, on uniqueness of the revelation) which requires humans to do something for God in order to be granted salvation.

    Metaphysical questions you see, have to be answered using right approaches and based on evidences. That is why, because of my curiousity, I found the Truth… and the best part of all, the Truth has profoundly changed my life (it has to be real, not only in the head knowledge, but also in practice).

    I do not believe in an answer that just sufficiently gives me enough to know the now. I want answers that reveals the questions of the past, the present and the future. Surprisingly, it is there in this lifetime. If you are right in your assumption of truth not being reachable, then I have nothing lost except my time on earth being contented with my ‘answers’. But if I am right in my ‘logical assumption’ (which I have pleaded on), then you have ALL to lose in an infinite condemnation.

    Will curiosity drive you to fear and create things to allay the fear? Or will it drive you to find out the truth on matters that really matter? 🙂

    I pray it is for the latter.

    *Long post… might as well post this on the main blog! hahahahaha

  12. I’ve been following closely on the comments posted. Very impressive thoughts indeed 🙂 I’ll keep my comments short (unlike zy and erlern – *salute*), as best as I can 🙂

    Facts are the fundamental block of our belief. From the simplest thing to the most complicated thing in the world, we believe that something is to be true only when sufficient facts are given to support its validity. If such facts are able to convince us out of our current belief system, we would then choose to abandon the former way of thinking and engage into this new one. Otherwise, we would be all the more, convinced that ours are the correct one.

    For this discussion, insufficient facts shouldn’t be an issue (just look at the length of each comment *wow*, if not there are plenty more elsewhere), the issue here is rather “which one now?”

    Sooner or later, we would have to deal with this individually.

    I agree with zy on ‘human nature’, where he/she said “we are all bias towards our own ideology and tend to discredit opposing views regardless how strong the argument is”. Were it not so, the “ideology” itself cannot stand (without supportive facts). This weakness which lies in the very nature of ours i.e. bias, selective retention or whatsoever it is; THIS, we must be reeaally careful.

    Can we really see fact as it is, see truth as it is? We must really ask ourselves.

    What is the point of having vast collection of knowledge if all we ever do with it is to engage into vain discussion with no absolute solutions at the end of the day (though I understand some may very well enjoy it). Worse, and then, die.

    The nature of the facts plays a vital role. I could agree no more to erlern. The facts are right here. No one bothers to find out. If only one would spare time to seek the Truth, check out its validity in a most non-bias way… If.

    If God so gives us our life which we never ask for it, He would also very well show us the very purpose of living.

    There must be one among all. The only one.

    Wisdom is absolute. Truth is absolute. All these helps to point us to the solution. The Way. Before infinity. Right in this life.

    Was it mere delusion? Or solid absolute facts? It is for all of us to find out…

    And it takes faith to believe, convinced and convicted, which God alone can give.

    God bless 🙂

  13. “If you are right in your assumption of truth not being reachable, then I have nothing lost except my time on earth being contented with my ‘answers’. But if I am right in my ‘logical assumption’ (which I have pleaded on), then you have ALL to lose in an infinite condemnation.”

    If a person will be condemned by God for not believing in him, then isn’t it unfair for the people who lives in countries which have little exposure to One-God religion (Christianity/Islam/Judaism) such as Buddhism countries like Thailand, Japan, China, Korea and Sri Lanka? (Buddhism do not believe in God .. and i think i will consider myself a Buddhist … i think). Or how about in some hardcore poor countries where most people are illiterate to read? And also i came across many individuals (especially common among malaysians) that do not care and bother about religion. They are not evil or sinful, but they just do not care or aren’t curious about how this world came by. (lazy to know) Why should they deserve the eternal condemnation when nobody alert them of the importance of acknowledging God?

    Forgive me if i had asked some silly questions above, because this piece of thought came to me instantaneously after i read your reply. But at the present moment, i think the whole concept of eternal condemnation is just a scare-tactic created to make people more faithful and adhere to the religion. (i had this thought 2-3 years ago when i read about Buddhism’s concept of Nirvana and Reincarnation). I always believe fear is the easiest way to control people.

    Anyway, thanks for the various replies you have given, mr erlern. I definitely have learned quite some things from this discussion.

  14. In no way are these silly questions, for I myself asked them before. And the logic, and fact of such condemnation is borne from the premise that God is absolute in knowledge, power and presence. Thus holiness and the concept of good cannot be derived apart from God. God defines good, because He is good. Not the ‘good’ that we define through our experiences of pleasure and satisfaction. Therefore, our point of reference of what is right and wrong stems from God’s declaration of it.

    This is evidenced through our finiteness and inability to grasp things, no matter how much time is given (ceiling to our abilities).

    Now, all man are born into sin, due to our inherent sinful nature. Sinfulness is chiefly expressed as the departure from God, in actions, inactions. Our individual centeredness stemmed from our common forefather Adam, and therefore all human beings do not have God centeredness in their lives but individual centeredness. A baby born cries because it wants food, comfort, etc. A child tells white lies to manipulate the parent and so forth. Worst is our inaction… not doing things we ought to according to God’s Will.

    Which comes to punishment for sin. Why death eternal? Firstly, God is the Creator. When a potter makes a pot from a mold of clay, it belongs to him. Whatever happens to the mold of clay/pot is up to him. No one can rightfully tell the person to ‘do this’ or ‘do that’ for the significant fact that the potter owns his creation. In our legal environment this is true. You have the right of ownership to do anything and it is your right. God therefore has all right and He is not wrong in anyways to do anything, since it is His universe.

    Second, God declares that the people that are not fulfilling their purposes as creatures (sin) cannot be with Him, since His holiness cannot be marred by imperfection. It is not possible for a sheet of white cloth be stained by a dot of black… if it is, it is no longer considered clean. Therefore, such sin must be punished with eternal separation from God (hell). That is why God embodies the concept of Justice. Just in vindicating the right, and punishing the wrong. With God and in His presence, all things are controlled for His purposes (Creator Mandate and Privilege). Apart from Him, things are not sustained and sin will compound on itself (eternal suffering).

    thirdly, ALL human beings are flawed and are incapable of achieving any measure of righteousness (as oppose to sin, aka. being right with God). One sinful action (breaking of His Word or not following His Word) is sufficient for that punishment. e.g. A bit of salt added into water will make it salty. Does not matter whether there is much or little; it’s salty already.

    fourthly, therefore, salvation cannot come from human actions or intentions for all are sinful. (If you want me to elaborate on the origin of sin I would, but later). This is in contrast to ALL other religions that insist that you can be saved if you do this or this. God says, no… flawed creatures can never save themselves or make themselves alright again. It’s like saying can salt water be made unsalty by itself? Struggling in a quicksand is more accurate in description. Therefore, it does not matter whether you are in the most remote areas of indonesia, or antartica or whatever. All are destined for the same end. That is why even if a person were to declare himself or herself to be a Christian and

    fifthly, whether or not one is privileged to listen, or have the interest is not a defence point. Ignorance of the law is in many ways never a defence in any country, what more to the originator of all spiritual and physical laws? In fact, history has shown that man are called into salvation out of the abundance of grace and pleasure of God (it is His Creator privilege that allows that) even from background that is devoid of any exposure to the Scriptures (Bible). Of course, if any man or woman were given such privilege we would have a problem, because the person is no better than us! How can a mere man or woman have the right to save and leave for condemnation as he chooses? That is unfair indeed since man are flawed and thus do not have any right to do so. God is Creator. He is perfect, infinite and has the right to do so. Sovereign will. Out of His pleasure He created all things, and therefore no one has any right to say that He is unfair if He chooses to punish the condemned.

    Lastly, we live in an era and place where much of the world is connected. If one really is curious about God and is really seeking salvation that is absolute and not relative, the truth is never hidden from them. Even for yourself, you have the privilege now. To escape such a condemnation is impossible for humans. Therefore, how can a God be both Just and Merciful? Isn’t it contradicting? To be Just is to punish the sinful (everyone). To be merciful is to pardon although they do not deserve it. The God of the bible accomplishes this (only Him) through the sending of God in the form of man, Jesus Christ who is sinless, to die on behalf of His chosen people. That is where Justice and Mercy is fully met.

    The Christian is thus relying not on himself, but on an act of Divine Intervention. By repenting (acknowledging his/her sinfulness) and submission to God’s rule. This can ONLY be done through God’s work in the person’s heart.

    Scare tactic will not make a person faithful. Unless God’s power is working in you, no matter what is given to scare you, nothing will change you. Christians are those who know that their change is not wrought by fear of death, but a reverence for God’s Being and thankfulness in God’s mercy upon their life. You can be scared all the way and still end up in hell, unless God saves you.

    Ascribing a Sovereign view of God will reveal such things to anyone who seeks Him and are truly looking. 🙂

  15. P.S. Many christians are illiterate and are unprivileged in many ways who still, out of their desire to find the truth and to follow it, were given to know the gospel. God provides that promise that those who seek them truly will see Him. I have many friends who know the same truths as me, and yet they merely accept it as head knowledge. And that is so sad, because salvation is not something that is merely of the mind, apart from the heart. It is an active, living relationship. Which is why I hesitate to use the word religion, as it tends to cast a light of “religion = a doing thing that I subscribes to”.

  16. Every real origin question is absolutely unanswerable by atheis;evolutionism and actually wipes out all pseudo “scientific” fabrications together with Dawkins gibberish
    The “theory” of “evolution” is the dummest nonsense the sredulous can ever swallow.
    Greetings.

  17. If anybody could answer me this.
    If god is perfect, why are his creations not? Why does my foot hurt when i get a blister, the perfect mechanism would be that my blister would release some form of anestetic which would numb it, that would be far more perfect? It seems silly but why would god not make us perfect Biologically? Why do we suffer for Bilogiacal imperfection?

    Evoloution gives at least an answer.

    Why must i put my “Faith” into something untangable and something that dements repsepect and does not earn it?

    Why do i need to go to church and be baptised to go to heaven, could religion not go and be replaced by a more personal relation with such a powerfull being?

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