As far as the reverse goes, if everything in the Bible was proven to be true, I’d believe.
I would believe that he placed unsurmountable temptation in front of a couple of innocents, then waited for the inevitable conclusion. I would believe that he ordered his people to slaughter, rape and pillage. I would believe that he murdered untold thousands of people and destroyed millions of innocent animals in a temper tantrum. I would believe that he put a put a trusting believer through absolute hell just to win the equivilant of a bar bet. I would believe he would kill children just because they were unfortunate enough to be the first born. I would believe that he would turn a grieving wife into a pillar of salt because she looked back at her city being destroyed and friends being killed. I would believe he would send his only son to fulfill the prophecies in some vague way and purposefully ignore the rules he himself set up for the fulfillment of said prophecies. I would believe that said son would set up one of his deciples to betray him.
I would believe that the universe wouldn’t be a large enough place to hide from those who know total injustice when they see it.
Wow, dalovindj, I think you’re a pretty cool guy and all, and you ask some pretty sharp and thought-provoking questions. But I have to agree with Newton Meter and say I feel pretty insulted by your statements here.
I don’t like your claim that anyone who believes the accounts in “a 2000 year old book” and “personal feelings” is irrational. Especially as much stock as you put into the astrophysicist creationism (well, there was nothing, then it exploded and became everything), which is basically a bunch of guys sitting around and going “what if…” but with the rule that all of the what-ifs must presume the nonexistence of any sort of god. I read Scientific American too, and on occasion those guys publish some of the most ridiculous claims I’ve ever seen.
Anyway, to answer your question: Would I still cling to my irrational faith, which any reasonable person knows is the product of a frightened and incompetent mind?
No, if you can prove me wrong, I’ll change my position. And your question isn’t even particularly original (except for the “past-viewer” part). Paul answered it about 1,950 years ago:
How much stock do I put in this idea exactly? Cite? I have not seen one theory ever that can accurately answer the question “Where does everything come from?”. I will consider any idea on this issue that I come accross, but guess what: The criteria I judge things by remains the same no matter what the topic!
Say a guy, let’s call him Alvin, comes up and says he has created a free energy machine that will create endless amounts of free power. If you believe him without demanding evidence and testing those claims that makes you irrational in my book. After pointing this out to you, if you tell me that you just KNOW it is true cause you got a really good, but kind of vague feeling that it is true, I would call that an irrational argument. The approach required to classify as having a rational position on the subject does not change if god is the subject.
Claim: Jesus was born and resurected.
Proof?: A book. A book written by men. And a really good feeling when jesus (god) communicates with me.
Let’s examine the proof. Have men ever been known to lie? Yes. Is it possible that people could have lied when they wrote those words? Yes. Then I guess those words aren’t such great evidence. Not a rational belief yet.
A feeling? Hmm. Have you ever made a mistake? Yes. Is it possible that your interpretation of the cause of the feelings you perceived could be incorrect? Yes. Still not a rational belief. It is just as irrational as belief in the following claim:
Claim: George Washington invented a time machine
Proof?: An old book that says he did and a really good feeling I get when GW communicates with me.
It is unfortunate that you are insulted by my position. Regardless, belief with the evidence available to date would be irrational. So would claiming there is no god with the amount of evidence available. The rational move is to collect more evidence.
I am glad to see that most of you would change your minds in the face of powerful evidence. There is hope yet. Luckily, there are many who search for evidence - I can’t wait to get my past viewer.
Considering a little further what I would do if the opposite were true and the bible proved to be an accurate description of events (including the supernatural ones), I would certainly believe in the power of the christian god. But would I bow to it? I just don’t know. Perhaps eternal burning is too heavy a price to pay for pride, but as Czarcasm pointed out, that god sure seems to be a bastard. I can’t worship anything that would torture animals or people.
If I accepted this god, it would be in fear - not in love. I’m not sure if I would be brave enough to stand up against a god for what are truly evil actions in my book. Hatred of pain may cause me to cave in.
We don’t really need some kind of sci-fi ‘past viewer’. We already have plenty of proof that a great deal of the Christian mythology never happened through archaeology, paleontology, etc. We have serious conflicts between Biblical history and that recorded by other civilizations, and absolutely no proof that Jesus ever existed, much less was executed and reborn. Yet people still believe. I don’t think your scenario would have much effect on the faith of a vast majority of religious people.
Does anyone else find it interesting that both the believers and nonbelievers must have faith in their particular beliefs? It seems that faith is pretty much a constant.
To the believers, you all pretty much understand what I mean by faith.
To the nonbelievers, what I’m saying is that you do not know with 100% certainty that there is no God. It takes faith in science and logic to believe that He doesn’t exist. Most of scientific thought is based off of theories, such as the Big Bang and Evolution. Both of which are still theories, not to say they aren’t true.
I’m not trying to start an argument, I just wanted to say that I find this parallel interesting. For the record I believe in the Big Bang and Evolution. I’m not religious but I do believe in Divinity (not in the traditional sense.)
***If my friends knew I was defending religion…hooboy. ***
I maintain that no person can be judged as purely rational. If one is not purely rational then there is room for irrationality in actions, thoughts and beliefs.
I offer a paraphrased example from the book Einstein’s Space and Van Gogh’s Sky.-
People exist on many different levels of consciousness/rationality during their daily lives. An accountant works in a very rational world of numbers and finance. A job requiring intelligence and a certain level of concentration. A job where God, even if there is belief in him, is very distant.
In the evening the accountant may listen to a favored and moving piece of music so intensely that he completely loses himself and track of the world for the 15 or so minutes while it is playing; another example of altered being. The logic of the world is summed in the logic of the music.
Finally, late at night, he hears his child cry out in pain and fear. Remembering that there has been an outbreak of meningitis among youths in the area, he says (mentally and quite earnestly) “Please, don’t let it be that” -a prayer to God, Fate or the empty air. Not very rational when judged from his daily workplace, but at that moment he is expressing a very rational hope to a non-rational being/creation.
Now given that no one is purely rational on all levels at all times, a rational person can still believe in God even in the face of have having their religion disproved factually. A person exists on many different levels of being/rationality. The person may not appear to be rational by believing in God after the OP situation, but they are still is a rational being.
And for my next trick I will prove that red is actually blue…
You’re quite right. And for the record here are a few other things that I have faith in:
The non-existence of Santa Clause
The non-existence of an Invisible Pink Unicorn (BHHH)
The non-existence of fairies
The non-existence of the Soul Cake Duck
The non-existence of yetis
The non-existence of the Loch Ness Monster
The non-existence of a “Past Viewer”
On-loan goalkeepers from Swindon Town
The non-existence of UFOs
that Elvis is dead
That the thing attached to my leg is a foot
That I am looking at a computer screen right now
That I am at work
People will believe whatever they want to believe despite all the evidence to the contrary. You could take them back to visit the time and place and they will still believe whatever they want to believe.
I saw a TV program where there were a bunch of people who would gather to watch “apparitions of the virgin Mary” and sometimes even her son would make a guest apparition if he had the time. The apparitions were in the form of a figure with a red lantern (always after dark, obviously).
Some TV station decided to uncover the truth and set up some reporters hiding behing trees with cameras and floodlights. When the apparition was in full swing, they ran towards it and turned the lights on and started filming. It turned out to be a woman who lived nearby and was in charge of some association profitting from all this.
You would think the believers would be angry at her but instead all these old women turned against the reporters for having spoiled it. I remember an old woman trying to beat a cameraman saying “why did you do it? Jesus himself was about to appear”. There was no reasoning with these people and all the evidence in the world made no difference. Not one single one changed her mind about the apparitions. Their attitude was “don’t try to reason with me, I know your dirty tricks”. <<sigh>>
To say, at this point in time, that there is no god is just as irrational as saying that there is one. There simply isn’t enough evidence either way. The universe is so big and vast, it will take us a long time to collect all of the evidence available to us. To say the puzzle is solved is to be intellectually dishonest - it is far from solved.
I never said they could. Humans are notoriously irrational in many areas of life quite often. Sometimes it does us good - sometimes it screws us. You can argue that being irrational isn’t a bad thing, but belief that the issue (how did everything get here)is settled is irrational either way.