Hi Exchemist, .. yes, I'm sure you are right about my upbringing regarding my catholisism, .. my church experiences were not particularly happy events as a youth, the local priest Father Sheehan was a particularly nasty fellow, with little compassion, he was a real fire and brimstone preacher with tales of hell on most sundays it would seem. My father would have a real struggle making us go every sunday, .. I have absolutely no fond memories of church at all. ( this obviously explains a lot about my view on faith now). Maybe I have a rather convoluted idea of Original sin and Adam and Eve from a mixture of sources.
Haha, yes, maybe that last question was a little bit facile and childish, it was actually put to me by a young niece, and i thought it did have some merit.
Obviously, i can think of lots of things I could do to improve our lives in 60 seconds, .. remove hunger, stop wars, stop illness's, have no religions, have inexhaustible resources.
I suppose it's another take on John Lennons Imagine. .. If God could do these things, why doesn't he? .. then do we go back to the circular logic thing of .. well, it's all down to mans original sin!
Yes, I've heard that the Qu'ran doesn't translate that well into English, and much of the poetry and prose is lost in translation.
Thanks for all the replies, it is good to have a reasonably informative discussion on here.
I dont totally rule out the possibility of some kind of deity out there in the cosmos, but I'm pretty sure it wont be the god of the bible. Have you ever seen the video by Philhellenes, called Science saved my life on youtube? .. it's rather good.
The Philhellenes video really makes me angry. How I loathe blatant propaganda like this. How can anyone expect to convince a person, if their presentation is so obviously one-sided from the outset? This video is replete with tendentious language. In the first 2 minutes of the dialogue on religion, religions are asserted, with no supporting justification:
- to make "magical" claims,
- to have engaged in an "arms race"
- to seek to make people "obedient" by
- "frightening" them with
- concepts that they "cannot easily escape".
- to use words like "eternity" cheaply while "all other words are open to abuse until they mean exactly what religion wants them to mean". [ er, whatever that may mean - I've no idea what they are driving at here, I'm afraid].
And so on, ad nauseam.
The contrast in language with the totally uncritical ooh-gosh stuff about the stars was laughable. I see no point in engaging with people who stuff a preconceived conclusion down your throat, instead of arguing their case properly, like men. And who is it for? Anyone with any lingering sympathies towards religious belief will be alienated in seconds, as I was. It must be just to preach to the converted, I suppose, to reinforce them in their beliefs. Bonnie, this is dreadful, manipulative bilge, surely you must have noticed some of these weaknesses?
Here endeth the rant. Now an attempt at some analysis.
Leaving to one side the cynical, marketing man's attempt to pull the strings of the viewer, one obvious weakness struck me, and perhaps this is its real failure. None of it deals with the inner experience of what it is like to be human - the realm of the humanities. It is all about the natural world - i.e. the realm of science. For example, the introduction to the part about religion says, "in light of this unarguable fact [not sure exactly which one from the preceding stream of ooh-gosh stuff but presumably something to do with the origins of the elements that gave rise of the earth and to life], what place in the c.21st for organised religion?"
What a clunking non-sequitur. Surely the real core of most religions is to do with how to life your life, both as an individual and as a member of a society, and how to cope with life's vicissitudes? Cosmology is NOT what religion is for. This video is symptomatic of the narrow reductionism of Dawkins and his acolytes, who seem to be stuck in the trap I fell into when young, which is, having labelled everything subjective about human experience as unscientific (which of course it sort of is, though some of relativity and quantum theory might hint that is not strictly so), to then make the error of rejecting the subjective as meaningless and valueless. It is as if these people have never read a novel or been to a play and found it told them something about life, have never listened to music and been transported, have never been in love or experienced the love of a child. (But they have of course, and to ignore this part of their experience because science doesn't help with it is just blinkered.)
And then it's back to what I can only describe as falsehoods and insinuations about organised religion. This fellow (who has no children by the way) says he's never "seen fear" in the eyes of children as he describes the cosmos to them. Well, mate, this may come as a shock but I can tell you that, contrary to what you insinuate, I've never seen fear in the eyes of children being prepared for their 1st Communion either. And why does he say "if you can't look, what does this tell you about your religion?" He seems to imply religious people are forbidden to do science. This is just arrant cobblers.
And you really think this is good, Bonnie?
Hey, .. what can I say, .. i liked it. It just highlights that we're all different, Yes, he layed it on really thick, with very emotional terms, but I found it quite moving. It hit a nerve with me. .. all my bad church experiences were encapsulated in the video. The immensity of the cosmos was quite well documented.Thanks for your replies, it was interesting hearing your views. I didn't expect such a huge backlash, but I'm more than happy to listen to your comments. Haha, despite me liking this video, Philhellenes has actually blocked me from his channel, when the video came out I asked him why he only allowed positive comments, .. a few seconds later, .. I'm blocked. I spend quite a bit of time on youtube, and I've generally found this to be a tactic of Christians.. block or disable comments etc.
Are you saying that love and all of our strong emotions can only come from God?, you seemed to imply that science can't tackle these subjects, .. I would strongly disagree with this, there are branches of science that deal quite well with our altruistic side. Why do I cry my eyes out when I hear a song from Adele, .. ( or hundreds of other pieces of music), .. I don't put this down to any Godly experience. Why does a dog pine for it's master?, ..I'm sure we can explain this in scientific terms.
Hey, at the end of the day, I'm just an average person from a run down council estate with a low education, It sounds like I'm punching well above my weight with you 2 guys. I'm searching for answers to life the same as you. I've not found them in organised religion, or with any personal emotional connection with Jesus.
Hmmm, I was going to recommend another video, but that last one went down like a lead balloon. If you think there is anything ( I'm talking youtube here), that I'd like to view that will give me a better understanding of your viewpoint, I'd be more than happy to view it.
Exchemist, you mentioned the "History of Christianity" from Mr McDiarmid in a previous comment, .. yes, i watched the series on channel 4 when it came out, very good too. Did you ever see the series on BBC2, Around the world in 80 faiths?, .. that was quite an eye opener aswell.
I seem to have been hit with both barrels!! , but, your comments have been noted. .. I'd pass them on to Philhellenes, .. er, .. but i can't.
Actually, it would be quite interesting if you could leave comments (within the alloted 300 spaces), on Phils video, and see if they get put up, .. and what reaction you get from other viewers. But like I say, not sure if he will allow negative comments.
Thanks again. Very stimulating.
Thanks for your words Exchemist.
Am i to assume you mean a certain Mr Dawkins when you write about "certain scientists who lead the New atheist movement".?
Again, here I have to disagree with you, .. for me, he's been like a breath of fresh air, unafraid to criticize the church and their beliefs in a celestial all powerful being. He probably does pop up a bit too much in the media for my liking sometimes, but, you say he doesn't do the thoughtful debate ,.. I've seen him do plenty, look on youtube, type in Dawkins debate. .. I'm sure you'll see a long list crop up.
The man does seem to be demonised from all quarters of the religious community, .. i suppose writing a book called "The God delusion", he must have known there would be a massive backlash from the religious side. To be fair to him, he does talk about the sheer beauty and majesty of Christian art, and the wonder of great pieces of music dedicated to God that move him to tears. But i suppose if there's one thing that Richard Dawkins fails to grasp, it's that people NEED religion, I saw how much it meant to my father, and various other family members. It would be wrong to take away that hope of salvation. I have a devoutly religious auntie in her last few years of her life, .. there is no way I would ever consider having this kind of debate with her. I've heard Richard Dawkins say on numberous occaisions that truth is what matters most. Yes, i agree with him, but you can't stop people from believing, we always have and always will. Was it Simon or Anthony who said somewhere in this thread, that even if they found conclusive proof that Jesus didn't exist, they would still believe.
Haha, i was thinking today about Richard Dawkins, .. i had this image of him going into a packed church of worshippers, ..and just generally pointing out things, and saying .. "Thats not real, .... that never happened, ........ he didn't exist . . . . . . . etc etc. Thats kind of how i think the Christian community see him, .. as a bit of a fly in the ointment. A party pooper perhaps.
Time has caught up with me I'm afraid, .. beddybies.
Regarding Simons point that I took something he said, and misinterpreted it ( quite innocently i may add), doesn't that highlight one of the bibles problems that throughout it's long and chequered history, that it's been altered ( again quite innocently by tired scribes mixing up or omiting words) and changed by religious councils with a far more deliberate hand, to ensure their power grip. I think it's quite natural that people see things and interpret them in different ways.
This was one of the reasons leading to my atheism. A book that I had been brought up to believe had some divine power within, was at closer inspection, nothing of the sort. Without wishing to denegrate the bible completely, indeed, it was one of mankinds earliest attempts to understand our surroundings, we didn't know about micro organisms etc, .. ( hey, here's a tip god might have put in his 10 commandments.. wash your hands). I applaud the bible for it's early attempts at trying to make sense of the world, .. but, it's not divinely inspired,.. no one in here can convince me of that, .. I'll be happy to listen to anyone who says it is, I'm open minded, .. if it makes sense ,I'll take it on board. Maybe god should have brought out a revised edition every year, with slight improvements and ammendments. Obviously I'm being tongue-in-cheek. But it seems to me, we've not done our species any favours by holding on to an out dated scripture. Why should I believe the bible?, surely no god would be idiotic enough to think he could write a book containing so many errors, and get away with it.
The Emperor has no clothes! Sshhhhhh
I await the backlash.
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