“Darwin’s historic work showed that we were very likely related in an evolutionary sense with all the other beasts and vegetables on the planet. And there remain many people who are enormously offended by this idea.”—Carl Sagan (via whats-out-there)
How can I approach my friend about religion. She posted something about the bible opening her eyes and how it's been a godsend.... How can I tell her there are better and more amazing things that can actually open her eyes rather then cover them up with bs?
To be honest, I’m not really big on “converting” people away from their chosen religion or the Bible. However, I suppose that if the Bible has opened her eyes, it might be the best tool to getting her away from it as well. There are many horrifying and contradictory things within the Bible that should cause anyone to question it (it doesn’t, but it should). The Bible also contradicts reality in many, many ways and perhaps pointing out these contradictions might open her eyes.
Along the same lines, another approach would be to say something like we know that the Bible was written by the hand of man. People argue that it was dictated God, but there are enough problems with it to show that man must have gotten some things wrong. The one thing that almost any believer will attest to is the idea that the universe would certainly have been created by the hand of God. Therefore, if we wish to learn God’s intentions for us, we should look toward the universe as the primary source.
You might also point out that many of the stances supported by churches (abortion, birth control, gay marriage, etc.) are in fact nowhere supported in the Bible. (Even if the Bible calls homosexuality an abomination, it does not say that therefore homosexuals should not get married.) These are man made laws and as such may not reflect “God’s actual stance” (as if an actual stance could exist with a non-actual creator).
That said, I’ve never actively tried to change anyone’s stance on religion unless I’ve been asked to debate something. I’ve never wanted to be accused of evangelizing for atheism.
“In a life short and uncertain, it seems heartless to do anything that might deprive people of the consolation of faith when science cannot remedy their anguish. Those who cannot bear the burden of science are free to ignore its precepts. But we cannot have science in bits and pieces, applying it where we feel safe and ignoring it when we feel threatened - again, because we are not wise enough to do so.”—Carl Sagan, The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (via onerouscognition)
I think you could easily say "my wife and I are having a baby" because no, you're not pregnant, but you are hoping to have a baby with your wife.
And that’s the thing. That is more or less EXACTLY what he said (quote: “My wife and I are having a baby very soon as well”). If he said my wife and I are pregnant, that would be one thing. But he said we’re having a baby, so, umm, I don’t know why you’d have a team of pregnant women defiantly eating ice cream if some people don’t find that phrase wrong.
First of all, I am hardly devoting my life to it. I spend maybe 15 to 30 minutes a day on this stuff on an average day, maybe an hour or two on a busier day, and probably half my days devoting zero energy to it whatsoever. Most of my life involves being a librarian and a good father and that kind of stuff. Virtually none of my friends even know that I’m an agnostic atheist.
Secondly, the question of an all powerful god is freaking fascinating. Just because I find no evidence for one doesn’t make the question any less interesting. I like to play what if scenarios in my head involving what a being of infinite knowledge would be like. (And one of the most important answers that I come up with is that this god would be absolutely nothing like the one found in the judeo-christian-islamic religions).
Third, just because I don’t believe that there is a god does not mean that there are not many, many others who DO believe in a god. And the ones who do believe are often trying to make laws regarding their beliefs (abortion, creationism in schools, prayers in schools, vouchers for religious education, churches violating the separation of church and state by making political statements from the pulpit) etc. That others believe in a god affects my life on a daily basis, and I ignore this at my own peril.
Fourth, I could just as well ask people why they like watching football or golf or poker if they never play the game themselves. The answer is because they enjoy it. For me, it’s kind of a hobby.
Fifth, I am continuously flabbergasted by incredible inconsistencies and irrationalities that people accept without question. It’s kind of like picking at a wound. I see something and say, “YES! This! This is something else that makes absolutely no sense, yet more than half the planet believes in it! Just look at this thing! It’s so incredibly obviously crazy, yet people buy into it unquestionably! How can they do that??”
And so on. I could probably list another half dozen reasons why I run my blog (I love to teach people, I love talking about science and skepticism, etc.). The one reason that you may be looking for is because I secretly believe in a god. This is unquestionably not true. The thing is, I have no real dislike of the idea of a god. If there were a god I would have no problem accepting that whatsoever. But the fact remains that there is absolutely zero evidence for a god, and a good deal of negative evidence for the existence of the one(s) from the judeo-christian-islamic traditions.
What is the difference between believing and knowing?
Well, just to be existential about it, “knowing” something with absolute certainty (beyond allpossible doubt) is impossible. But in terms of conventional usage of the words, knowing is something supported by peer reviewed scientific evidence with results that have been replicated many times by different scientists using different methods. Knowing is also used to describe personal experiences (i.e. I know that my father was a Junior High math teacher). For the most part there is no reason to doubt this type of knowing, but it should at be mentioned that human observation and experience is among the least reliable evidence available. As to my father being a math teacher, I could find a lot of collaborating physical evidence if i needed to.
Believing has none of these characteristics. One can believe something even if all available evidence is against it, or if there have been no scientific studies about it one way or another. I might “believe” that a supplement called zq12 will help me grow muscles without exercise because my muscles always alway twitch whenever I take it, but there have been no scientific tests about it because the only place it’s benefits are touted is on internet pop-up ads that started 3 days ago.
Well, these are my unofficial definitions anyway. A dictionary or reliable website might have better ones.
“The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so ‘slow,’ so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament.”—
People who are atheists and/or existentialists and aren’t mildly terrified 24/7 scare me.
Screw all the existential angst jokes… If you don’t have angst about the future of a world with less meaning than the word meaning itself, and you’re content without believing in anything, what the fuck are you doing that I’m not? Either tell me the secret or stay the hell away from me and stop sticking your dickish happiness in my face.
I guess I just don’t understand what there is to be terrified of, mildly or otherwise. I was never really a believer, so I have trouble understanding the perspective of someone who had the “god” rug pulled out from under them, so to speak. Life to me means pretty much exactly how much meaning I’ve ever chosen to give it. I choose to give life a lot of meaning because I can’t imagine life…um…without it.
I’m not an existentialist. I suppose I could argue that the world has no meaning outside of myself. However, since I know of no way of ever actually BEING outside of myself, this strikes me as an irrelevant point. The world has meaning because I choose to give it meaning and also because me and my loved ones live on it. If the world didn’t exist, we’d be stuck out in space watching the moon go flying off before our eyes dry out and we die of asphyxiation. So yeah, I kinda still want to have it around.
And as Good Reason News stated, there is certainly plenty to believe in. I would add pizza to the list, but then I choose to add pizza to almost all lists whether it applies or not.
I hope that this helps and you don’t just see me as being dickishly happy. I can try to be more unhappy if it makes you feel better.