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Thread: Questions I would like answered regarding religion?

  1. #1 Questions I would like answered regarding religion? 
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    Allow me to introduce myself...I am currently earning a degree in Biology and am headed to Med School...I am very much based in science and things that can be observed (nothing is ever proven). However, I come from a very religious family. I find that the more I learn about Biology and the human body the more that it reaffirms the belief that SOMETHING designed the world and everything in it, but I do not assign any particular name to this person/thing/it. I have many questions which have been troubling me about religion and I feel compelled to have them answered. I am new to this forum so hopefully you guys will be receptive to my questions and answer them in a mature manner. I do not wish to offend anyone here, and I ask that you respect my opinions and beliefs and I will respect yours as well... I would be greatly appreciative to anyone who is kind enough to respond to my questions&thoughts and can support their ideas with facts. I ask that if you do respond, you please address all of the points I have outlined here. Thank you in advanve for your valuable time and consideration.

    Question/Theory 1: Men have existed on Earth for somewhere over 50,000 years. Why is it that God/The Bible decided to show itself only in the last 3,500? Where was God and the Bible for the 45,000+ years or so beforehand?

    Question/Theory 2: My grandmother recently died after losing her battle with cancer. At her service a person from her church spoke. He said that "The reason we suffer on Earth today is because Jesus gave his life for us and we are imperfect. If you make a cake from a pan that has a dent in it, and continue making cakes from this pan, each cake will have that dent." I find this to be a completely ridiculous analogy as well as an extremely flawed logic or rationale.

    If I kill someone, I get punished for it and either goto jail or recieve the death penalty. However, the government doesnt then arrest my children, and then arrest my childrens children, and so on. It makes no sense to do so, and trying to say that people today suffer because of two peoples mistakes 3,500 years ago is a really asinine logic. It just doesn't add up, if someone here can give me a RATIONAL reason as to why we must suffer for the errors of people 3,500 years ago I am all ears....

    Question/Theory 3: Aside from the fact that this book was written 3,500 years ago. It was written in a language (Arabic) where some words do not even exist in the English language, and then other words even have more than one meaning. How can anyone be assured they are recieving an interpretation they were meant to hear? Also, add to the fact that this book was written before the invention a modern printing press, does anyone think that a book well over a thousand pages was copied word for word without one single error several thousand times over before the invention of a modern printing press.

    Also, the Catholic church edited the word Jehovah out of the bible several several times over. So if they had the audacity to edit God's true name out of the bible for their own gain, whos to say 1,500 years ago they didnt edit anything else?

    Question/Theory 4: Me being an open minded person, I posed the question to my cousin who is heavily into the church. I said, I am not totally opposed to the idea that God/Creator has used the big bang and Evolution as a TOOL to create the world and man. She replied that "Evolution cant be true because it disagrees with what is written in Genesis, that god created everythign and created Adam from dust and Eve from his rib." Well, obviously she is interpreting the book of Genesis very literally. So I said "Why do you have to interpret it so literally?" She replied "Because if you dont interpret the book of Genesis literally the restof the bible wont make sense." I simply replied by saying ya know, it is what it is...

    Question/Theory 5: In my own opinion the bible was an early attempt to give people a set of guidelines to live their life by, and maybe even a form of controlling people before any strong established government existed. Religion is big business, and I'm sure some people 3,500 years ago made nice coin off these ideas.

    Question/Theory 6: It doesn't make much sense to me that any creator would create an entire world and race of people, and then tell them that they're forever in his debt, and must kiss his ass for all of time. It seems rather selfish and arrogant to create man for the sole purpose of serving you and devoting his life to you...If someone could explain how this makes any rational sense, please do.

    Question/Theory 7: Why would God create man with all of these strong biological urges, to reproduce with as many mates as possible in order to ensure survival of the organism, and then in his commandments write a law to be monogamous? Why would a God create opiates on a planet as such a strong vice that has ruined numerous lives? Why would he create all of this temptation and then say, ok dont do this, even though its pleasurable. Some have theorized that man wrote the bible and the idea of monogamy because they were not Alpha males and felt threatened because they could not compete. I think its a viable idea...


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  3. #2  
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    1) Where do you get the idea that the bible was written 3500 years ago?
    I think the religous members of the forum will tell you it was compiled from scriptures around 1700 years ago.

    2) You may live in a country where your family is not punished for your crimes but this is far from universal, the threat of reprisals against a family has been and sometimes still is a powerful threat against 'deviancy'

    3) Who can say?

    4) Most scholars [as far as I can tell] do not take the bible word-for-word literally, by adding their own interpretation to passages they can make it fit to modern science perfectly [at least in their eyes].

    5) Kids are/were told "Behave yourself or the boogy man will get you" - in a time when people did not understand the world it's easy to imagine the start of religion along those lines.

    6) We make robots entirely to serve us, computer games with virtual people to serve our aims, kids have toy soldiers to 'serve' their purpose so why not a God doing the same thing [assuming god exists that is].

    7) Oh that's just a test they will say 'to see if you are fit to sit in the kingdom of heaven' - in fact it could just be to see if you are fit enoough to move up to the next level of the game as in 6) above!


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  4. #3  
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    Most of the Bible was written down around the time of Christ but was passed down from generation to generation the previous two thousand years. Before then, most mainstream religions were based on faith in many gods. Before that even, people believed EVERYTHING had a spirit. By the way, scientists believe religion goes back approximately 100,000 years when we first began to develop language.

    The Bible was not written in Arabic! Some of it was in the Hebrew tongue, some in Arameic and some in Greek. Then, it was translated into English in King James time.

    You have a lot of sound reasons for departing from the faith of your family! I hope you are true to yourself and think it all out to a satisfactory conclusion.

    But there is no need to make a big deal of it in your family. Let them deal with the world their way and concentrate on getting along with them without throwing up religious obstacles. You will need to master that in life because it is important for people to get along and not make a big deal about their differences.

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  5. #4 Re: Questions I would like answered regarding religion? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegodfather

    My reponses will not be from the viewpoint of what a god did or what it intended. Afraid i have no competence in that area.

    Question/Theory 1: Men have existed on Earth for somewhere over 50,000 years. Why is it that God/The Bible decided to show itself only in the last 3,500? Where was God and the Bible for the 45,000+ years or so beforehand?

    Homo sapiens is well over 150,000 years old. The line, going back to the split from a common ancestor with the Pan line, is 7-8 million years ago, if I remember correctly.
    The "Bible" (assuming you mean the Judaic/Christain Scripture), has parts from 5500 BN (Sumeria) and since then, from a variety of cultures in the Middle East. The "New Testament" was written between the early second century AD, and the end of the 4th century AD. (Councils of Nicea and Constantinople being important. Then for a couple hundred more years you have the drafting of the Vulgate bibles.

    Question/Theory 2: ... RATIONAL reason as to why we must suffer for the errors of people 3,500 years ago I am all ears....

    There is no rationale reason, so i would not expect one could find one. But human behavior is not always rational, nor necessarily are its customs, beliefs, and institutions.

    Question/Theory 3: ... this book was written ... in a language (Arabic) where some words do not even exist in the English language, and then other words even have more than one meaning. How can anyone be assured they are recieving an interpretation they were meant to hear? Also, add to the fact that this book was written before the invention a modern printing press, does anyone think that a book well over a thousand pages was copied word for word without one single error...

    different parts of the book were written in different languages. Some parts were written in multiple languages. Nearly all parts started as oral traditions and were later, written down.
    For the most part, it goes:
    Hebrew, Armahic, Greek, Latin.
    In the 9th century, it was first translated to Arabic, and medeval spanish Hebrew, in Cordoba.
    In the 14th century, it started to tranlated into most European Languages. In the 17th century it was tranlated from these into many, many languages.

    There is no way to determine which versions are for sure earliest (though there is a general chronology developed over time by historians). And you are correct. The number of meaning changes, from version to version, translation to translation, is huge.

    For instance, in Genesis, Eve is called a helpmate for adam. The word actually used in the older Hebrew means "friendly adversary". And, in old Hebrew, Ha' Satan is not a prper noun, and it means "the adversary". It was later translated as a proper noun, or name. Etc Etc.


    Also, the Catholic church edited ...

    Everybody edits it...

    Question/Theory 4: ..."Evolution cant be true because it disagrees with what is written in Genesis,..."Why do you have to interpret it so literally?" ...

    How literally or metaphorically the bible is interpreted ebbs and flows through time and cultures. sometimes it is a big deal, sometimes not. In ancient times, people seem to have been able to hold mythos (stories of meaning) and emprical knowledge as separate ways of knowing, without conflict. It seems that over the last 1000 years or so, in some parts of the world, people do not seem interested in doing that.

    Yes, if you require literal interpretation according to our current view of the words used, you will be in for a bumpy ride re most of science. The current hubbub (in the U.S.) arises primarily from the document called, "The Fundementals of Faith", from i think it was called The Niagara Conference of 1878. It was called by conservative evangelical christains in response to the publication of "The Decent of Man", and as they put it, creeping modernism. It coined the modern usuage of the word "fundamentalist", and declared, among other things, the necessity of literal interpretation.

    Question/Theory 5: ...Religion is big business,

    Yes, and it probably always has been. Being it does not deal with the empirical, you can not be wrong.

    Question/Theory 6: ...If someone could explain how this makes any rational sense, please do.

    To paraphrase May West, rationality has nothing to do with it. But it does sound like some folks i have known.

    Question/Theory 7: Why would God create... Why would he create all of this temptation and then say, ok dont do this, even though its pleasurable. ...

    Don't know about god(s), but the use of double binds in spirtual practices is very common. You will find them in stories about Jesus, Buddha, among others. They can aide in contemplation.

    Some have theorized that man wrote the bible and the idea of monogamy because they were not Alpha males and felt threatened because they could not compete. I think its a viable idea...

    There is not a whole lot in the "Bible" about monogamy actually. Who do not really run into it until early midde ages western European/Mediterrainian interpretations. And those cultures (Greco-Roman) were alread monogamous.
    entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem
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  6. #5 Re: Questions I would like answered regarding religion? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegodfather
    Allow me to introduce myself...I am currently earning a degree in Biology and am headed to Med School...I am very much based in science and things that can be observed (nothing is ever proven). However, I come from a very religious family. I find that the more I learn about Biology and the human body the more that it reaffirms the belief that SOMETHING designed the world and everything in it, but I do not assign any particular name to this person/thing/it.
    I am both a physicist and a Christian, and I must say that this perception of design is so much the wrong reason for believing in God or Christianity that I think it would be more productive to aid you in your disbelief rather than to try and convince you otherwise. Richard Dawkins calls what you have been observing "designoid" in his book "Climbing Mount Improbable". I suggest you read this book to cure yourself of this absurd notion that living things are designed before you build a religious faith based on something which simply isn't true.

    Quote Originally Posted by thegodfather
    I have many questions which have been troubling me about religion and I feel compelled to have them answered.

    I am new to this forum so hopefully you guys will be receptive to my questions and answer them in a mature manner.
    Yes but I am sorry. I don't think I can help you because I think these are all the wrong questions. Skepticism is a useful tool in both science and in academia in general so I think you should continue to develop it. And if you keep it up, perhaps one day you may even become skeptical of skepticism itself and wonder if perhaps despite all of its astounding absurdities there is some truth in religion hiding behind all of this obvious foolishness.

    Quote Originally Posted by thegodfather
    I do not wish to offend anyone here, and I ask that you respect my opinions and beliefs and I will respect yours as well...
    Nor do I wish to offend you. It is quite possible that you may take what I have said above as usufferably condescending, but let me explain a number of things that might help you to understand. I have learned that both reason and human language have some rather extensive limitations. I have also learned that science suffers from an incredible tunnel vision that is in fact part of its unparalleled success in discovering new and unexpected things about the world. I have come to believe that the belief in God is not of universal benefit to all human beings and therefore religious freedom is essential, so that people are free to look for and find the beliefs that are best for them.

    I have learned in the study of physics more flexible ways thinking: multidimensional thinking and a way of looking at the same thing from different perspectives that seem to utterly contradict each other. And that is necessary when we are only talking about the physical understanding of the world based on seeing the world around us only in terms of measurable quantities.

    In the effort to rationalize our perceptions of reality, we choose which perceptions to take seriously and which to dismiss as unimportant. Even science does this. It just does it in a rigorous and well defined manner. As a result, it is ultimately up you to decide what aspects of life you want to take seriously, as well as to determine what kind of identity you want to embrace for yourself.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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  7. #6  
    Forum Sophomore Nanobrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    ...hiding behind all of this obvious foolishness.
    What is obviously foolish? Skeptisism?
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  8. #7  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanobrain
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    ...hiding behind all of this obvious foolishness.
    What is obviously foolish? Skeptisism?
    Wouldn't that be a little inconsistent with what I just said?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Skepticism is a useful tool in both science and in academia in general so I think you should continue to develop it.
    No the obvious foolishness I was refering to was all the ideas of superficial Christianity that he was pointing out in his questions.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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  9. #8  
    Forum Sophomore Nanobrain's Avatar
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    Okay, I see.
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