Thursday, 29 November 2007

Christmas is looming.....again

it's that time of year where you have to rack your brain thinking of things to buy that the intended recipient might like, I have to admit I really don't like Christmas one little bit, mainly because its so commercial these days, secondly because I miss my children, and thirdly because I don't actually believe in God, which after all is what it's all about, I used to believe in God a long long time ago, I even got baptised, you know the full body immersion thing, but over the years little things crept up on me that didn't tally with the gospel or the bible and it left me in that place where I had a foot in both camps and the gap was getting wider, eventually I jumped to the dark side (use the force luke....)

you see I like things to be explainable or to have some tangible grasp on reality, something which the Bible and Christianity failed miserably on to me at least, and the knowledgeable people within the fold so to speak when posed with the many questions I had over the years which questioned their very faith simply said "well that's what faith is" and you see that has never been enough for me....

it was those huge gaps in Christianity filled in with huge wodges of faith which had no explanation other than the well worn "that's what faith is" which eventually made me turn into a Jedi on the dark side ;¬) it wasn't helped by some of the people within the church who used to refer to me as Derek Brabrook then whisper "he's backslidden you know" a term which I never really understood, because I was having great difficulty getting anywhere near the slope or their heady heights to slip if you see what I mean ?

I was still tripping over how we were seeing light from stars billions of miles away if the earth was only 6000 years old ? and why tyrannosaurs weren't chasing Adam and Eve around the garden looking for their next tasty morsel and how the hell snakes were the first on earth before their eggs......ahhhh sorry I forgot "creation " another HUGE leap of the imagination required, which brings me nicely back to Dinosaurs, how the hell did man manage NOT to become Dino feed if we were on the earth first ? surely any self respecting member of the Adam and Eve club would have made sure that Velociraptor's and Tyrannosaurs and any of the really big nasty dinosaurs were either killed off or had their sharp teeth filed down and claws removed !! surely ? and I won't even start to talk about why Genesis makes no mention of our reptilian past, mind you it's a good job because if Noah had put a pair of Tyrannosaurs in the Ark it's unlikely there would be ANY life left on earth except for some fossilised pair of dinosaurs who died of overeating in amongst a load of rotted wood, that is if you believe that such a boat/ship could have been made to carry two of everything at that time, even in biblical times to have an Ark capable of carrying two of every species it would have been enormous, then you have food to consider and water, but then again if Jesus can feed 5000 with a few loaves of bread and some water anything is possible....if you believe that is, personally I think the dinosaurs were killed off by a huge meteorite or a massive volcanic eruption either of which would have blacked out the sun long enough to kill off all but the hardiest of animals, and at least it's not as weird as some of the theories flying around like the earth is flat and the 1960 moon landings didn't take place, in which case where did 841 lbs of moon rock come from ? and how did the laser reflectors get up there ?

anyway lets get back to see it's all these little things that cause me huge problems with Christianity, I don't have any problem with other people who believe and I certainly don't hold it against them if they get some kind of comfort from it..... but it's simply not for me, if you consider most civilisations have some form of afterlife and/or deity or have had in the past and the whole beauty of religion in that form is that you can never find out before you die if it's actually true..... which makes it the perfect religion, always new believers and you never get any dead customers turning up complaining

hands up anybody who knows somebody who has come back from the dead and said it's all true ?

which smart arse said "Jesus" ? ? ........there is always one .....get out !!! ;¬)

that's like the Pope saying he sells life insurance, actually I haven't looked into the Vatican they probably do ;¬) well you know they make you an offer you can't refuse ;¬)


Miss the boat said...

Interesting post but there are a few holes in it. Your implication that Christianity depends on faith and an atheistic view of the universe does not need faith is nonsense.

Unless I missed something can you explain exactly why the universe came into existence, how it got started out of nothing and where exactly the evidence is for intermediate life forms is found. Perhaps you could also explain the tangible evidence your belief rests on, for dinosaurs being killed off as a result of the sun being blacked out.

Whether it's Christianity or atheism you gotta have faith. There are of course huge differences in the consequences of where those faiths take you.

More importantly I'm so sorry you had a bad experience of some Christians. There's no excuse for this but don't give, the issues you raise are too important for you to be put off by their bad behavior. There are some good, genuine, thinking Christians out there - find some and take your questions to them.

Either way have a good Christmas

Digamy said...

firstly thank you for commenting :)

Ahhhh well you see, that is where you and I differ :)

I don't need to know why or how the universe came into existence my faith doesn't depend on it, but from a Christians point of view it is fundamental to their beliefs how and why it came to be because it's written down in the bible....

as for the evidence for intermediate life forms you only have to look in the DNA record of our modern birds to find out that they share a considerable amount of their DNA with reptilian life of yesteryear and in amongst that fossil record lay countless examples of the development of a species, you just have to look

as for some cataclysmic event wiping out dinosaurs which you cannot argue did indeed exist otherwise they wouldn't be in the fossil record, how else do you explain the dominant species on our planet suddenly disappearing from the earth ? not to mention the layer of iridium found all around the world (which is extremely rare) which is mainly found in meteorites and was scattered all around the world by a massive impact such as the one that wiped out the dinosaurs, and lets face it if something hit the earth at 200,000 mph it would kick up an enormous amount of dust which would black out the sun as have volcanic eruptions of the past (even in recent history although not as devastatingly as the mass extinction) and would have a knock on effect on ALL life on this planet including plant life which is fundamental in the food chain, how else do you explain dinosaurs not existing after a certain period in earth's development ? a flood ? hmmmmm even if the ice caps melted there still wouldn't be enough water to flood the entire planet, and if it was a flood then why don't we see a mass extinction through drowning ? we don't because dinosaurs died out gradually not quickly as they would have in a flood.....

and you don't need faith to be an atheist you use your own judgement and thought processes to take in all the possibilities and evidence to date and make an informed decision.....

and that's another thing I really don't like about religion in general, "if you don't do this you are damned for eternity"

but what if when you die, there is nothing ? absolutely zilch, nada....what if we are just really highly evolved chimpanzee's ? with the gift of higher thought processes which allow us to dream up deity's and an afterlife for our own comfort ?

In my case it won't matter who is right or wrong because neither of us will be there to debate the issue

and if I'm wrong ....then oooops....but you see I'm willing to take that risk and think outside the box rather than run with the sheep and take the "safe" option

mis the boat said...

Interesting response, you just demonstrated by point. The caricature of 'Christianity is based on myth and needs buckets of faith to work but atheism is rational, based on facts and has no place for faith' just does not stack up.

You still believe things you can't prove or worse you believe things on the basis of fitting the 'facts' to suit you case.

You can't tell me why the universe came into existence but you dismiss the challenge with 'I don't need to know'. There is nothing wrong with that but it's no different from the answer a Christian may give tot he question of the origin of evil or the reason for suffering. It still doesn't make the question go away.

DNA similarities and examples of intermediate life forms are two different things. The fossil record should be packed with many examples of intermediate life forms as the process of chance from species to species took place. Where is the fossil evidence for the gradual subtle change, in the example you raised, from reptiles to birds? Surely as evolution takes millions of years there should be loads of examples, slowly charting the progress from species to species? But where are they?

Old Darwin was clear, if you can't produce this evidence his theory collapses. He expected that given time we would eventually dig them up. But it's been nearly one hundred and fifty years since the 'Origin of Species' was first published and we have uncovered huge numbers of fossils but we are still waiting for fossil evidence showing gradual change form species to species, to prove his theory.

I fully appreciate and respoect you are using your own judgment in response to these issues to choose what you believe and that you also believe you are doing it in an informed way but it still comes down to a whole lotta faith. And that's really my point.

Personally my global catastrophe is the flood. I 'believe' this on the basis of the biblical record and the fossil record. I appreciate that the evidence that satisfies me may not (though I like to think it might) satisfy you. My point is I believe it, in the same way you may believe on the basis of your interpretation of the same data. Again the difference that regulates our diverging interpretations is not 'science v myth' as some rather cheekily put it, but our different world views.

You have probably the same measure of faith now as an atheist (though I wonder if you might really be an agnostic) as when you were calling yourself a Christian. Today, it seems, you believe certain things that really can't be proved and you are content with not asking certain questions that rock the peace of your particular worldview. On one level this is no different to a Christian.

So maybe you are more of a sheep and more locked inside the box than you realize. Lets face it in contemporary western secular culture the major structures within its popular culture all preach the philosophy of evolution to the masses. The media, education system, much of the arts and entertainment all do it regularly. They do it claiming fact for theory and giving no room for debate. When there is debate it is generally done to show how 'stupid' anyone is who does not accept their message. The long term effect of this is that people stop questioning secular evolutionary atheism and just believe it.

So to go along with this as you now do, makes you more of a sheep in the eyes of your society and generation than when you believed as a Christian.

If you want to be a real rebel today put your faith in Jesus Christ. You'll soon get criticized and mocked.

So if you want to be really outside of the box ask yourself, 'who is Jesus Christ and what do I make of his claims?' Try and do it on the basis of biblical evidence rather than conjecture. Sure there will be loads of 'holes' and places for faith but as a Christian I'm up front about it. Take a look at what the 'text' actually says about him (after all it's Christmas) rather than the stuff in the latest documentary.

But maybe that is a little too radical, even for you ;-)

Digamy said...

you have made some interesting points, I didn't say Christianity was entirely myth, indeed there was a Jesus, he was nailed to a cross until dead, he existed, it was written down in Roman history however like most stories handed down by word of mouth they inevitably become distorted over time as to the level of distortion it's very hard for anybody to's a mixture of myth and fact

and not believing in God is not a matter of believing something else blindly it's based on weighing up the probability and likelihood of things and events, Christians, at least the ones I have met put an awful lot of trust in their faith, it fills enormous gaps and papers over some pretty fundamental questions which otherwise would cloud their my opinion

i.e./ it's too hard to understand but God says it's this way so I'll trust him 100% in what is being said to me....all is well with the world.....what's for tea ?

that's fine if you are satisfied with that answer but I'm not, The bible wasn't written by God personally, it was written by a disparate collection of men/women over many years supposedly under the influence or guidance of God, again completely unprovable as to when and who wrote it except for "some" parts of it, much like the 10 commandments which were smashed by Moses for reasons I need not go into on here, we have examples of writing from many thousands of years ago, you only have to look at aboriginal cave paintings, they have survived but 10 stone tablets which anyone from that time believing them to be the written word of God allowed them to be convenient ? there is practically NOTHING of historical worth left of this man Jesus, in fact is there anything ?

as for me telling you how the universe came into existence, nobody can do that not even a Christian, they can tell you what they believe happened because of what it says in the bible, which was written by men a few thousand years ago with absolutely no scientific basis or experience and very limited knowledge or you can look at the universe as it is now and what is happening to it and grasp a very primitive understanding of how things work, how stars explode, why they explode and how the universe is expanding and the utter vastness of the universe, and then can you honestly sit there and tell me that God created all of this enormous universe yet he only put one single tiny blue marble (not even in the middle of it.....sloppy to say the least !!!) and populated it with two people of a different sex, a tree of knowledge and a snake ?...and if he did then WHY aren't we finding modern day man mixed in with Dinosaur fossils ???? simplistic I know..... but I'm sure you understand what I am saying....

and the origin of evil is simple and it goes hand in hand with man's suffering....and it's incredibly simple to answer...mankind, man has caused more suffering to it's own species than any's not down to some red guy with a bad attitude and a toasting fork, man's inhumanity to man has been well documented over the years.

They burned the witches of Salem for witchcraft it's a shame they didn't know about ergot poisoning or encephalitis in those days ? "just ignore her Mary, she's been at the rye bread again !!!"....."but her head is turning around Elizabeth !!!!".... to be ignorant through lack of information is excusable but to be ignorant through choice is not, to be a free thinking human being you have to leave yourself open to all possibilities, I've done the Christian bit, it just didn't sit all

and I am fully aware intermediate life forms are different to DNA similarities :) there are plenty of examples of evolving lifeforms in the fossil record, you should research it.....

Ask your average palaeontologist who is familiar with the phylogeny of vertebrates and they will tell you that yes, birds (avians) are dinosaurs. Using proper terminology, birds are avian dinosaurs; other dinosaurs are non-avian dinosaurs, and (strange as it may sound) birds are technically considered reptiles. Overly technical? Just semantics? Perhaps, but still good science. In fact, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of birds being the descendants of a maniraptoran dinosaur, probably something similar (but not identical) to a small dromaeosaur. they have also found fossils of Dinosaurs with FEATHERS if that isn't evolutionary work in progress then I don't know what is to be honest....look it up it's called an Archaeopteryx it's meaning is "Ancient" and "feathered or winged" it was first found in 1862 and is clearly a transitional creature bearing clear reptilian features AND avian features in the shape of feathers.....

The fossil record is enormous most of it still undiscovered, we will no doubt turn up many thousands of other fossils, one of them and it may well only take one fossil will turn Christianity on it's head.....and that old chestnut will be resolved.... and you are wrong in thinking that there should be millions of fossils clearly showing the transition of a species, it takes very specific circumstances for a fossil to form, what are the odds that an entire species lines itself up for fossilisation ?

"this way for fossilisation....oiiii you , you're a bleedin crocodile this is the bird fossilisation queue...there's always one isn't there!!!"

and one hundred and fifty years is a minuscule amount of time compared to the amount of time it took to lay down the fossil record, it's a bit previous of you to assume if they haven't found anything in one hundred and fifty years they never will, isn't it ?

The thing is we both obviously have vastly differing views on "what the crack is" ;¬) I have been in your position so I know full well how much conviction you have on this, (I also know it is completely pointless debating with you, although I have enjoyed our crossing of swords so to speak) I was once as passionate about the Christian point of view as you are, I believed 100% as you do, and if I'm an agnostic (a hedge better) or an aethiest (legion of the damned, or quite possibly a Mormon) in your eyes, it matters very little to me, and I don't mean that in a nasty dismissive way, I simply do not believe in any kind of God or deity or creation for that matter, I don't have all the answers, I never will, not in my lifetime anyway and from my viewpoint neither will you (even after you shuffle off your mortal coil), but one of us is closer to the truth than the other......and I know for a fact that I have no sheep DNA in me ;¬) other than the roast dinner I had last week there's an idea.....lamb curry ;¬)