The difficulty with religion is getting the claimants to understand what constitutes evidence, since believers assert one of two positions – that the universe exists is evidence of a deity or that faith is dependent on the lack of evidence, with no middle or varying order of magnitude position in between.
Actually, they usually claim both – that faith requires that there be no evidence, while that the universe exists is evidence – I think that this is an attempt to have it both ways, or to claim these opposites so that the non-resolvable nature of the claim is smoothed out by the blanditude of it being God’s inscrutable will. Which leads to the other problem of people who claim to know god’s position matters if god is beyond our comprehension.
It’s hardly a wonder that there’s an apologist movement for religion that tries to buff and polish the contradictions away. Mostly, I’ve always wondered why we allowed a special word for these people, since, in any other industry, they would just be public relations staffers.
Eventually, a believer will state that what constitutes sufficient evidence for themselves are subjective emotional experiences, appeals to tradition or ancient authority, that reality/the universe is too complex (for them) and thus must be deity driven, that a deity driven universe provides all answers right now and these answers are absolute while science is constantly changing and isn’t able to provide answers to everything.
You know, as evidence by there being only one religion and one way to practice it and how religion has unified everyone but perpetually rebelling and contrary atheists.
It is confounding me to how anyone with even a minimal understanding of history and a minimal understanding of the current world status, could not see that the rise and spread of religion conforms to cultural geography and population migration.
That the plethora of sects within any religion demonstrates religion to be lacking in answers – otherwise, there wouldn’t be a need to splinter off in every direction.
There’s as many ways to believe as there are believers – and in fact, people tend to modify their religion to suit their needs, making transgressions that the believer does of lesser concern to their deity than the transgressions of non-believers – as evidenced by all those who would damn gays and lesbians, while giving a pass to the right believers who embezzle, defraud or cheat on their spouses with opposite or same gender sex partners – it’s always about sex or money with these people. Earthly concerns that they are allegedly beyond.
Curious, how all the spiritual leaders in America live in luxury while proclaiming to follow a guy who never owned property and hung out with a bunch of other unemployed men with long hair and beards…
Even the current spate of softer peddled prosperity evangelicals who are channeling Mr. Rodgers with a feel good version of that old time religion, no emphasis on hell or hating anyone, just feel good, feel god and pray right and get rich.
Did they forget that whole easier for a poor person than a rich person to get into heaven?
Shouldn’t the truest Christians be people who are poor by choice? Shouldn’t giving away all the wealth that you have in excess of daily survival be the mark of a true believer?
As much as believers like to claim that no one is really an atheist – that when push comes to shove, we all secretly believe, is simply not borne out by observation.
There is a disparity in what a believer claims they believe and how they actually live, in that they rarely ever live up to their stated beliefs. Then claim that the standards are intentionally higher than humans can attain, because of our inherent unworthiness, and that it’s the attempts and the repentance that counts. No, just accepting god is what’s needed. No, it’s accepting god, plus deeds. No, just saying you believe in case there’s one because it’s better than saying there’s not a god. because a god who came up with the universe couldn’t predict anything as obvious as Pascal’s Wager….
In any case, we’re supposed to believe that any religion has figured out how to be in the world, based on ancient texts written in an entirely different language and cultural context, which have been compiled and edited by people with an agenda for their gain during their lifetime, and despite the lack of coherence and internal consistency, are the infallible word of god that is available for anyone to read, but it’s better to leave it to the clergy to explain it…
And really, any way to be in the world that doesn’t include getting along with and working and playing well with everyone else in the world, isn’t any kind of answer to the global existence that we know have.
Mr. Rodgers had it right, there’s room for everyone in the neighbourhood – but only as long as we keep our religion to ourselves and out of the public square.